Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Winning Ticket

I put all the names in a bowl, and Joseph's nimble fingers pulled out "Suburban Prep" as the winner of the giveaway. I'll be contacting you by email shortly. Thanks to all who participated. Wishing you a day in which many treasures come your way.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Silly Dog Saturday

My Mom recently sent me a link that has had me giggling every time I've thought about it since. It's silly and involves a big dog... works for me! My favorite part comes close to the end, so don't give up on it. It may not be terribly high tech-- you can hear the videographer laughing throughout, but I'm right there with her. I've been admiring the primroses that other bloggers have shown, and picked one up yesterday. It says it's a perennial, but I suspect it's a tender perennial. More research is in order. You've got a few more hours to enter the giveaway if you haven't already. Just go right here. I'll announce the winner tomorrow.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fresh Food

I don't know about everyone else, but right about now every winter, I'm craving some good, fresh food. I used to buy broccoli slaw & compost my broccoli stems, then decided that was pretty silly, so have been making my own. Last night, I grated a couple of small carrots-- one yellow, one orange, 3 peeled broccoli stems, and 2 small sunchokes. For the dressing, I used 1 tbs mayonnaise, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, and 2 tsp agave nectar. It turned out pretty good, and colorful, and made just enough for 2 people. It's pretty flexible. Use what you like & have on hand. I can see kohlrabi, apple, red or green cabbage working well. Any natural sweetener will work, though I'd start out with 1 tsp honey or sugar, or 5 drops of stevia, and adjust to taste. Be creative. The more colors the merrier, giving you a broader range of nutrients.

I saw a post I could relate to this week. One of the things Christina said was that handmade goods have a certain quality that mass-produced goods don't. I think I've always felt this way. Never been one for "unecessary plastic objects", as Nanci Griffith so aptly says. It may be one of the reasons I settled in this area, around so many who make their living fashioning things out of the earth. There's a soul to things that someone has created with their heart and hands. It feels good to have those things in my home, and to support those who make their living creating them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winter Gardening

I fixed some favorite winter foods for dinner last night. Grandma's Pumpkin soup, bread and a Winter salad. The soup recipe came from Jackie Clay of Backwoods Home magazine. My pumpkin/winter squash harvest has always been good here, but I've never loved a pumpkin soup recipe before this one. The soups were edible, but left me wishing I'd made pie instead. This one's wonderful, and pretty to boot. We had dinner guests not long ago, one of whom didn't care for pumpkin soup. Well, um, he asked for seconds. The Winter salad was the creation of my ex-husband, and it's a keeper. Lots of zesty flavors, which is sometimes just what I need in the depths of winter. I grow a blend of greens in my cold frame through the winter. In these parts, they call it Grandpa's salad mix. It's a blend of a dozen or so winter greens; several mustards, kales, rape/canola... I get it at the local feed & seed, and ask them to blend mine a little heavier on the kales. Oh, I almost forgot. I also made the Buttermilk Apple Cake posted by Rhonda on down-to-earth . We're feeling pretty fat and happy! If you haven't entered the giveaway, go here.

Grandma's Pumpkin Soup

2 tbs vegetable oil
1 minced onion
1 minced sweet pepper (I used frozen from last year's garden)
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 c cooked, pureed pumpkin
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 c stock
1 c cream (more or less to suit you)
salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil & saute vegetables until soft. Add pumpkin & spices, and saute until aroma is released from curry & cumin. Add stock & cream. Heat through. Double for company.

There really isn't a recipe for Winter salad, & it's a little different everytime, but always good. You'll need:

a large bunch of winter greens
the best olive oil you've got 
feta cheese
oil-cured olives (we've been using black Provencal herb from the local coop instead recently)
lots of garlic, pressed or minced finely (maybe 6 cloves,or to your taste)

Wash & tear greens into bite sized pieces & drizzle with some olive oil to moisten (it helps things mix better). Mix olive oil, feta (break into small pieces if needed)and garlic in small bowl.
Pour over greens & mix well. Throw in a good handful or two of olives & mix. Tastes best if allowed to sit a bit, allowing the greens to wilt a little.

More Blooms and What Makes Me Happy

The amaryllis is having it's second round of blooms. My newest one is sending up a bud too. I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like. Carolyn, in Rose Notes tagged me to list 10 things that make me happy:

a cup of strong black tea
big dogs
a good book
falling asleep to the sound of the surf
seeing the chickens run when I let them out for the day
cashmere socks
seeing the twinkly lights on when I drive up
meeting a friend for a glass of wine
the sound of the peepers down at the creek
planting flowers in the sweet-smelling earth

Now I'm picking:


So, consider yourself tagged. Pick 10 things that make you happy, & pass it on to 10 more. For all I couldn't pick, what's making you happy today? And if you haven't been by already, make a comment to enter my giveaway.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Time for a Giveaway

I've been having such fun creating lately, I wanted to share some of my new products. Too, in these often cold, gray days of winter (for many of us), I thought a little pick-me-up was in order. So, the giveaway will include a set of Lavender Bath Melts and a Wake Up & Smell the Coffee soap set. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment. It'll be a random pick. The giveaway will end the night of Sat., 2/27. I'll post the winner on Sunday. Please check in on Sunday, and leave your address if you're the winner.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ugly Soap

I made an ugly batch of soap yesterday. I'd been wanting to try another batch of Kitchen Thyme & another using vegetable glycerine leftover from the biodiesel process. I've been tweaking both recipes, but thought I'd figured out the problem with both, so decided they'd be a good match. Well, the soap seized, which means it very quickly gets too thick to pour. I patted it into the mold, & had to hand cut this batch, just like I always did up until last year. On a happy note, it's the first batch of the Kitchen Thyme that hasn't separated. It smells delicious & will be perfectly usable soap. But pretty... not so much.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Little Warmth

The weather is warming a bit. Weekend plans include soapmaking, Wintersowing some more seeds, sorting through and purging some of the contents of my shed. It will be lovely to spend more than a few minutes outdoors. Happy Saturday, friends!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Wrapping my products has been a growing edge for me. Though I've always enjoyed wrapping presents, this has been a bit more challenging for me. This morning, I've been playing with a couple of my soap gift sets. I was really excited when I came up with the idea to wrap the Coffee set in burlap from locally roasted beans, but not sure about the rest of it. Paper, ribbon or gold stretchy rope? The Rose set has confounded me. Not sure if cheesecloth does anything for it, or if ribbon or fabric are enough. I took some pics, and would love some feedback, if you're so inclined-- preferences and ideas welcomed. Too, I'm pondering my first giveaway. I'd love it if you took a peek at my shop, and let me know if anything in particular would inspire you to join in. It'll be a simple giveaway; just a comment will get you entered.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Abundant Day

It's been a good, full day. After my work at Hospice, I stopped by one of the local thrift stores. In addition to finding a couple of plates I intend to turn into dessert stands, I found a gorgeous bolt of upholstery fabric. Not sure exactly what I'm going to do with it yet. It matches my couch & living room rug, but would also make some pretty awesome cloth bags. It was really tough to take a picture of. It's one of those fabrics that has a bit of shimmer, & looks different from different angles. I also dropped off 3 bags of clothes, part of my recent organizing efforts. My nursing supervisor called with several days in March, so it looks like that's going to continue for a bit longer. I'm grateful for the many ways I was showered with abundance today.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love Is In The Air

Wishing you a Valentine's Day full of all the things you love!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Folk

Oh boy, we got another nice snow! I wandered this morning, and took some shots of the various garden folk who live here. Some other blogs were inspiration, including this one, which amused me. Happy snowy Saturday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Bit of Color

The first amaryllis blooms are opening. It's so nice to have a bit of color right now. Last year was the first time I planted my amaryllis bulbs in garden beds for the summer. They usually have to make do in their pots. I think they're happier.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I love all the wonderful, wise, silly, creative bloggers out there. Today has been a long day. Massage work this morning, a quick dropoff of some of my products, then headed to my nursing job this afternoon. But, this post was just what I needed. If you're a chicken lover, and can use a laugh, I'd highly recommend it. And I don't even watch the Olympics! But I do love some silly.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Morning Light

The ideas were flowing yesterday. New products and new packaging. I've been giving lots of thought as to how I can make a go of this, making more of my living from home. I'm determined to give it my best shot, and so, taking small steps to move towards that goal. The sun is out, the sky is blue, and I'm excited about another day of possibilities.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hellebore Hopes

Darn! We were predicted to be at the edge of the Mid-Atlantic snowstorm, but it missed us after all. One consolation is the snow is off the hellebores, and one shows a good amount of new growth. We'll hope there will be some nice blooms coming forth. I can't hope for anything as lovely as Catherine's, but her garden sure is an inspiration to work towards. When I got in from work yesterday, I made my first batch of bath melts and bath bombs. The melts are unmolded, and look really pretty. The bombs will be ready to unmold in the morning, and are a bit more finicky. I'd say some trial baths are in order.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good Tools

My sweet man surprised me with a really nice pair of scissors. I've never had a good pair before, and ahem, kinda messed up his pretty good pair when I cut some thick upholstery fabric backed with a rubber-type layer for my cloth bags. He's the best.

The snow is lingering, but it's raining now, so I'll post a couple more snow pics while I can.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow Day

The roads are beginning to clear, but our driveway is still mostly ice. The chickens are slowly venturing out, though two of them especially, are not happy with the snow. Our tiny pond, which will eventually be enlarged, and a waterfall added, is frozen over. Famata has enjoyed hanging out near some bird feeders there, but thankfully is quite noticeable against the snow. I don't know the exact Italian translation, but Famata, in our family, meant someone who loved to eat, as in bordering on glutton. Famata cat has thankfully slimmed down a bit since her kitten days, when she was quite roly poly. Her sister, Callie, has always been very much on the lean side. I guess cats are like people in that way... constitution and all. Joseph ventured out to work this morning, leaving a bit later than usual in his truck. They're calling for the dreaded freezing rain tonight, so I may just be here again tomorrow, enjoying another snow day.