Saturday, December 31, 2011

Let's Ring It In Brightly

Hawk thinks 2012 is really going to be something to crow about!  Later today, we'll be enjoying a wine tasting with my brother and his wife.  And a new to us Japanese restaurant.  The coming year looms bright and shiny before us.  Let's bring our highest hopes and dreams to mind, and create a year to remember.  A year of caring, sharing and goodness.  Happy New Years, everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Time To Relax

Things have begun to slow down, and the house is returning to some semblance of normal.  I'm still making a few things.  I had sewn the dogs new beds for Christmas, and McNibs bed was lacking buttons, which were finished today.  I also sewed a little banner of favorite cards today, which is hanging in the windows above my kitchen sink.  There are several angels, some snowy scenes, a dove and a fairy.  I love to see reminders of dear ones, as I look about my house.  I hope you're having some time to relax this week.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Wishes

I've been enjoying this recent music share by Jenna.  I'd never heard of Buddy and Julie Miller, but sure enjoy their harmonies.  Wishing you the Sparkliest and Merriest of Holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Inspiration and Light

What a wonderful time of year!  Decorating with lights and fresh greenery, a time of giving, and getting together with loved ones.  This has been the first year that the majority of my gifts have been handmade.  I've had the desire, and with spending most of my time at home these days, it seemed like the perfect time to make it happen.  What worked well for me was to begin thinking about it in the spring and summer.  Whenever I came across something I liked, and had the skills and resources to create, I would save it.  If it was in a magazine, I kept the page, and also created a "Gift" document to save all the online inspiration. There is always so much swirling around my brain, I need prompts to remember. 

For the bookmarks, there was online inspiration, but no tutorial followed.  I basically sandwiched colorful fabric in between some linen, and cut either a heart or banner in the top piece of fabric, and stitched them together.  Pretty easy.  There were pinking shear challenges, so they're not exactly what I envisioned, but perfectly serviceable, nonetheless. 

The needle book and pincushion were finished yesterday.  The button I picked for the pincushion seems to have the same marble effect as the fabric and paper.  I had cut out a felt flower to apply to the needlebook, but after stitching the lace, I decided to leave it just as it was.    With the Winter Solstice arriving last night, daylight begins to lengthen once again.  Here's to the return of the light!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fun with Wool and Fabric

A batch of granola in the oven is filling the house with almond and cinnamony goodness.  Recently, I've swapped regular whole wheat flour for the pastry flour, and I can't tell the difference.  I'm still loving this recipe.

I wanted to share a couple of the gifts I've been making today.  The first is a sewing kit for a niece.  It's a gift she requested, as she's been wanting to learn to sew.  I made a pincushion using this tutorial.  Instead of a catfood can, I used a small olive can.  Anything similar should work fine.  I still need to pick the perfect button to add to it.  Finishing touches are being put on a needle book.  I didn't use a tutorial for this, but inspiration came from all the lovely ones on etsy, like the ones in this shop. 

There are also dryer balls.  I made some this summer for myself, and a friend, who tells me that instead of having to wait for a dryer load to finish when a wash is done, they are now ready at the same time.  She says they're a great time saver, and loves them.  I rarely use my dryer, opting to use the clothesline for the most part, but it does seem they help shorten the drying time.  So, I've made some more for gifting this holiday season.  There are many similar tutorials out there.  Here's an example.  The first time I made them I did it in one fell swoop, without doing a core separately, and they have held up just fine.  But this time, I opted to create the core first, as I read so many times that it's possible they'll unravel otherwise.  I've used all thrifted wool, and for these latest ones, I wadded up a (washed)cashmere blend sock that had seen better days to start with, then began adding wool yarn.  You could also use scraps of wool felt or wool sweater in the middle, to cut down on the amount of wool yarn needed, and to re-use/recycle.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Making Joyful

One of the benefits of this blog has been to encourage me to pay attention to what is all around me.  The beauty of a late fall sky, with clouds scuttling past.
Holly berries down at the creek.

                      The varying greens of moss and lichens.

                      The rustle of beech leaves.
The attentiveness of the pups, as a pileated woodpecker calls out.

In between making, we'll be visiting with family this weekend.  I hope to take some good photos, so I can share some of what I'm making.  Wishing you a most joyful weekend of this holiday season!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Far Flung Places

It has been heartwarming to see all the support for my online shop this holiday season.  How wonderful it's been to wake up to orders each morning.  And to see the far-flung places they're going.  Yesterday, I shipped an order to Anchorage, Alaska.  How lovely to think of my products being enjoyed in so many places around the world.  I just wanted to say a big thank you to all my friends, family, and those I've never met, who have supported my little shop this year.  I can't tell you how much it has meant to me.  You're the best!  *Of course, this thank you goes to all my customers~ from shows, local shops and otherwise.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Few Happy Things

I'm enjoying being mindful of what I can find blooming at this time of year.  On the way to the mailbox this morning, I spied this dandelion.  A little while later, I saw a honeybee on another, which made me happy.

These two were awaiting my return from the mailbox, which was another happy sight.  They were good boys, and heeded my "stay" command, to keep them away from the road.  They don't often sit so still, or together, so this made me smile.

Here's a new tune that's making me happy.  Hope you enjoy it too!

Monday, December 12, 2011

December Blooms

Last post, I told you about the calendula I found blooming here.  I since found one of my orchids blooming.  There are many more buds on it, so I hope it will cheer us with it's beauty much of this winter.  I do so love blooming pretties!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fall Cleaning, Calendula and Creative Folks

A bit of fall cleaning has occupied me this week.  Some friends are soon to visit who haven't seen the house since we've "finished" it.  That seemed a perfect reason to get the house in order.  I'm always so happy once it's done, but often need a push to make it a priority, with the days so busy.

I was excited to find the blooming calendula, on a walk with the dogs near the pond this week.  We've had quite a few hard frosts already.  There have also been some warm days and nights, though; warm enough for McNibs to decide to take a dip.  Silly dog!


The movie Grow.  The energy of these young folks is inspiring.
I'm loving this house.  It reminds me of the ones in the Handmade Houses books.

Today I'll be tackling the great room.  Some good music will be in order. Wishing you a wonderful day!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Metal Art

It's a gray and chilly morning here.  I believe I'll continue putting away the show stuff, before venturing outside to work at the shop this morning.  I had a great time at the show, meeting vendors, shoppers, and  fellow blogger, Stephanie.  Joseph's pig, some smaller pieces, and lots of soap went to new homes.  Some sweet orange lotion and herbal tincture from Henrietta at Edge of The World Farm came home with me. And a goddess from my friend, Eve.  The tincture is one to help lift spirits, helpful on these gray days.  The goddess will fit among what I think of as my altar, a space filled with found bits of the natural world~ shells, feathers, stones, antler..., and objects that have meaning to me, including an angel holding a bird, a smiling buddha and a little blue glass bird dish that belonged to my grandmother.  Wishing you a lovely week ahead!

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Pig On The Block

Here's a peek at two of Joseph's offerings for Saturday's show.  Don't they have personality?

This is one of the things I've been working on..... soap on a rope!  Not something I thought I'd ever do, but a friend recommended it.  And, well... you know me, I've got to try new things.  You can't easily see, but there are several pieces of bamboo on each "rope", and a soapstone bead at the bottom. I will say, with the time I invested in these, I do believe these will be a Handmade Holiday 2011 exclusive!  Wishing you a marvelous weekend!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fun With Metal

There are just a few days left, before the Handmade Holidays show. 

Joseph and I have been busy creating. 

Yesterday, I put the finishing touches on a pig and a chicken.  No picture of either of those yet, but if I have time, I'll share them with you later this week.

Though I am very grateful for all the recent orders, and am excited to be a part of the upcoming show, I'm looking forward to time to make like this turtle, and slow down a bit!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


        Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of all the things you love!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


The photo is some of my experiment of dyeing with marigolds. With the bright orange and red flower petals, I expected the fabric to turn orange. Surprising!


This project.  Though I did not find it before it was pulled from Youtube, I'm intrigued by what I've seen.
A recipe mentioned on The Splendid Table.
The soulful words and awesome video* in this gorgeous post.

I am back home again, after spending some time with family out of state.  This weekend, I'll be helping out here.  Come on by if you can!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Green Bee Farms & Honey Glass

In just a few short weeks, the Handmade Holiday show will take place. You've seen my work, and Joseph's work. I thought I'd share a bit of Joseph's business partners work with you today. Rick is a local beekeeper. He has hives in various farms in the area, including Brent and Tuesday's , and the Piedmont campus. His Green Bee Farms honey is wonderful stuff.

As you can see from the photo at the top, Rick is also a talented glassmaker.  He creates necklaces and earrings with his glass pieces.  I hope you'll come out and support Rick and 39 other local artists on December 3rd.  Keep your holiday dollars in the area by supporting local, small businesses.  They'll thank you, your local economy will strengthen, and in turn support the area.  A good thing all around.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Evening Angel

I'm having to spend some time away from here.  I'll be back before long.  Be well, friends!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Last of the Summer Garden

We had our first frost a few days ago, and one every day since.  I harvested the last of our summer garden... a handful of okra, several eggplant, tromboncino squash (heartily recommended- these bore faithfully all summer and fall), 3 tiny tomatoes, pimiento peppers, a few crowder peas and raspberries, and a bouquet of zinnias, sunflowers, celosia, and purple coneflower.  The leaves are dropping in earnest, and the air is rich with the spicy, earthy scent of Fall.  While researching links for the tromboncino, I found this interesting recipe.  And another.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Colors of Autumn

I've had the dyepot out again.  This time, it was marigolds. Our first frost is predicted tonight, so I'll be gathering herbs, vegetables, and the last flower bouquet of the season.  J & I are using up the last of the red tomatoes- there are still a few green ones we can look forward to- along with tomatillos, onions, garlic, herbs, to can up some salsa today. Wishing you a most lovely weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's a Mystery**

Recently, I came across some very tall fruiting shrubs on this land. They were just covered in fruit.

I would say the one in the pictures is close to 12 feet tall.

There are many of them here, most much smaller. I'm wondering if they are related to the blueberry, but my wild plant books, and an online search have not helped me with identification.

The fruits are small, about 1/4" diameter. Perhaps not so wisely, I did end up tasting them. They have a slightly sweet, somewhat "berry-ish" taste, though the flesh is quite dry and mealy. Any ideas?

Last night, I made Rhonda's Impossible Quiche. This quiche has no crust, which simplifies things. I made a vegetarian version, which turned out wonderfully.  I couldn't find hers to link to, so here's my version-

Impossible Quiche

Place the following in a frying pan and cook, then put to one side.
1 tbs olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 small sweet red pepper, diced
approx. 1/4 cup mushrooms (I used some I canned)
handful of lambs quarters, chopped

In a mixing bowl, combine
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup kefir (hers called for cream)
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup grated tasty cheese (I used 2/3 Robusto & 1/3 sharp cheddar)
handful of chopped basil- use the herbs you like
salt and pepper to taste

Add the fried vegetables to the egg mixture and pour into a greased quiche dish or shallow pie pan.  Cook at 375 degrees until golden brown and set in the middle, approx. 30 mins.

**Note-  Thanks to Mrs. Mac's comment, which sent me off on another tangent, I discovered these plants are Vaccinium arboreum aka sparkleberry aka farkleberry- don't you love that name?!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Green Machine

                  It's been an exciting week for New Earth Fabrication.

  Joseph and Rick took delivery of a 21,000 lb. press brake (aka brake press).

It arrived on a flatbed and was moved to the shop with a large crane. 

                           That was something to see! 

                    The machine has a lot of history, as you can see.

By sundown yesterday, they had made some adjustments and had it running to suit them. 

     They can now bend 10 foot pieces of metal into a myriad of shapes. 

     The possibilities are endless, and some pretty wonderful ones are being discussed.

 My Mom and Frank were on hand for the adventure.  Though they'll likely paint it, I thought it was pretty neat that it already matched the shop's paint color.