Cream Cheese, Quilts, Cars & Gratitude


Clearing through the attic last week, I found a treasure. When my girls were little I used to make their clothes. Whatever material was left was cut into patches to make simple quilts. I found a bag of these patches, wrinkled but otherwise perfect. I ironed them and sewed them together into a quilt.  I showed it to my daughters this weekend and it brought back such nice memories for all of us.  My middle daughter is the most sentimental of my 3 so I’ll do some hand quilting on this and have it done for her by Christmas.
I’ve been wanting to make my own cheese so I started with an easy one..cream cheese. It was just a matter of getting the milk to the right temperature, adding the culture and letting it sit until the whey separated. Then I set it to drain. It came out delicious.

Now that gardening season is over, I’ve been putting aside time to take walks.  There’s woods, fields and streams right outside my door and this time of year is especially beautiful.
I’m mad at myself for not taking better care of my car.  It’s 9 years old and the road treatments for snow have created a big rust problem.  I should have  rinsed it down and parked it  out of the elements but I never did.  Soon I’ll be traveling a lot to help my daughter take care of her baby since she has to go back to work.  I was hoping to trade in my jeep and get something newer but the rust has devalued it.   Lesson learned.  The money part is a problem but what bothers me most  is that I didn’t care properly for something that I was lucky to have.  Poor stewardship.  To me , that says there’s a lack of gratitude.  Not a good thing.  I started this blog for the opportunity to stay focused and thankful for all the wonderful things in this world and in my life.  It’s been  so great to see, read, learn things and make blog friends from all over the world.   Thank you all!

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Fruit Toppings & Keeping Flowers

A few weeks ago I made strawberry topping for ice cream sundaes. There was some left so I refrigerated it used it to top the yogurt and kefir I make. It was delicious.  I decided to do a healthier version with the small amount (1 cup) of gooseberries I harvested. I mashed and cooked them down for a few minutes and then once they were cooled, I stirred in raw honey. Heat kills the enzymes in the honey. Had I been sweetening with sugar, I would’ve just added the sugar in the beginning with the berries. I’ll keep this gooseberry topping in the fridge and make blueberry and strawberry as well.

Flowers are so pretty I wish they would last forever. My cousin told me that Mod Podge preserves fresh flowers. I printed out some quotes that I like in a dimension for bookmarks. Then I decorated them with fresh flowers and glued and sealed them with Mod Podge. (Elmer’s or white glue works just as well but needs to be thinned a little bit with water.)

I posted about our losing my cousin John a few weeks ago. His daughter Stacey (she is so much like her Dad), sent me roses. I wanted to keep them so I made rosepetal beads . The link gives easy directions and a wonderful story of how they were used in Medieval times. The only ingredients were 4 cups of petals and water. They were very easy to make. I strung them on a chain that I wear with my Grandfather’s wedding ring and a few other things that are meaningful to me. Body heat imparts the rose fragrance. It’s a beautiful reminder to me of people that I love so much.

Good Friends & Lily Bugs

Saturday, I was picking bugs off the lillies.  I don’t know what these red bugs are but they will decimate a lilly patch in no time.  Then, they move on to asparagus fronds.  I’m loving all the time in the garden, (even the bug picking) and thankful for it because things around here have been very stressful. When things get tough, I go into seclusion but my good  old friend of 20 years caught wind of what was going on and was having none of it. She showed up unexpectedly and dragged me away on a surprise “field trip”.  We went out to breakfast and then went tag saling.  It was a fun day.  It was good to get out. it was fun to look at a lot of “junk” and mentally transform it into something fun or pretty or useful.  It was great spending the day with a wonderful friend. I found a vintage serving bowl in perfect condition and  a beat up, wooden sewing box table. The cost was $7 for both and a metal plant stand was thrown in for free. The sewing box  table is cheap wood and not worth doing a lot of hand painting on.  I decopauged it instead and  replaced the handle with a glass dresser knob.  This was a quick, fun project and will  be a good thing to keep my threads and needles in.

Bluebirds & Lilacs


I saw a bluebird going into the house I put up! ..bluebird of happiness…  I embroidered one right in the middle of the quilt I made for the little baby coming our way. Speaking of which, I was hoping  lilacs would be nice to cut for the baby shower next week. It’s been in the 80’s here and dry so I’m not too sure that’s going to work out.
Viburnums and spurge are looking beautiful and the apple blossoms are opening. Giant bumblebees are everywhere. I am glad I decided not to get beehives this year. I have a good local population and I didn’t want to meddle with it.
I’ve been planting out cabbages, bok choi and some herbs. I still have a  a lot more planting to do.  I should have started the kale sooner. I’m glad I did extra tomatoes though. I broke 12 plants by dropping a light on a tray and last night my husband tripped in the dark onto another tray on the back porch.
My daughter will be home from her first year of college this weekend, just in time for Mother’s Day.
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Bleeding Hearts & Tadpoles


Today I’m off on a little road trip with my friend Pat. About an hour away is a giant garden center. People visit from miles around. These days, I’m hesitant to buy anything because I don’t want to bring flowers into my yard that may have been sprayed with something that could kill the bees. I never would have even thought of that 10 years ago. I think that is sad.
On a happy note, we’re getting a much needed drizzle today. I planted 25 more strawberry plants and dug a new bed for my homeless potatoes yesterday so they’ll get a soak. A new bed isn’t ideal for potatoes but as I’m going to build the soil up anyway as the grow, I think it will be fine.
The bleeding hearts are looking gorgeous and my little pond is filled with tiny black tadpoles! I wonder what kind of frogs they are. They develop into tiny black frogs, only about 3 mm. long.
I finished the bag I started a while back. All ready for Spring!
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Getting Ready

Baking, cleaning, finishing up a few things to go in the Easter baskets,continuing to sow seeds for the garden…today was the beginning of a busy week.  I made Laurie’s  ginger-carrot soup from Notes from the Hinterland  and it was delicious!  We’re still getting snow..flurries mostly and the temperatures are cold so chances are that we wont be having any daffodils or tulips anytime soon ouside.  Luckily, the indoor plants are doing their best to make up for it.

Cabbage Patch, Calendula & Diamataceous Earth

I may have been a little over enthusiastic in sowing the seeds for my cabbage patch.  I have over 60 little plants.  Cabbage is great for saurkraut, of course,  and if you make your own you can add all sort of good things to it…carrots, kale, onions..even oranges.  Delicious!  I like to stir fry cabbage in coconut oil. It is  sweet, a little crunchy and doesn’t smell like sulfur when cooked this way.  Onions, fresh garlic and sea salt taste great with it.   Pea pods make a great addition too.

I have a lot of calendula started too.  Fresh calendula petals added to stir fries, salads..even fruit salads make things look pretty and add extra nutrition.  Dried petals retain their shape and color when added to glycerine soaps, vinegars and oils.  In the garden, they  are workhorses and make terrific companion plants.

I notice the fruit flies beginning to hover and multiply over my seedlings.  A little food grade Diamataceous earth sprinkled on the potting bench will take care of that problem in no time.  It’s non toxic and safe for pets.  Once it gets wet it is no longer effective. In the past, I’ve had issues with ants and japanese beetles in my old house.  Last year I sprinkled Diamataceous earth in all the windowsills, along the perimeters of the cellar and on top of the beams.  It really worked .

Speaking of Cabbage Patches and little sprouts…my daughter is having a baby!  The first grandchild!  I added the last stitch to this happy little quilt last night.

Hyssop , Cactus Sprouts & Roof Rakes

This is what a roof rake looks like.   It has come in very handy.  I’m getting a lot of needlework and painting done in these long, cold nights.  My cactus seeds sprouted into 7 little cacti so far.  Still holding back on the major seed starting but I can’t resist starting a few early trays.  I planted some blue hyssop.  The bees love it but really I’ve planted it for my friend Arthur. When I had my shop, he would cycle in a mile or so every day to visit me .  On his 80th birthday, he brought in a cassette player and some big band music and asked me to have a birthday dance with him.  He loved Blue Hyssop.  It will bring happy memories and good energy to my garden.

Snowed In

We were snowed in again yesterday.  At this point, it really doesn’t matter.  I think I ‘ve gotten used to it.  I spread my projects out on the dining room table and spent the day meandering through them all.  It’s too early to plant up the seeds but a few pots here and there give me something to look forward to.  It’s exciting to see the little sprouts coming through and to check them each morning.  March 1 st came in like a lion so you know what that means!

Warm from the inside

 

I woke up to snow this morning! I never checked the weather report so it came as a complete surprise. I guess I’ll spend some time shoveling today before everything turns into a frozen, crusty mess..it’s still soo cold.
Yesterday I made a good, warming soup. A bunch of kale, 2 carrots, 2 small potatoes, a tuber of tumeric and a 3 inch chunk of ginger root all went into a pot with homemade chicken stock. Everything was brought to a boil and then simmered until the carrots were tender. When it cooled down a bit, I pureed the whole lot. It tasted good.. a little,spicy, warm and kind of exotic to my New England taste buds. Sea salt, black pepper and a teaspoon of coconut oil made it even better. I’ve been trying to think of ways to incorporate fresh tumeric into my diet..it has so many health benefits: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and there’s a lot of studies showing it may improve brain function and increase endorphins. I’m in! Maybe I wont feel crabby and sore from shoveling this snow:)
My daughter is still home with me for a few more days. Last night we watched the first of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy together and we turned this year’s Christmas cards into next year’s gift tags. Tonight is part 2. I do love having her back home.

Homemade Christmas Gifts

My house felt like a Christmas workshop up until Christmas Eve. The carols were playing, sewing machine whirring and the house was filled with the smell of warm cookies, beeswax and herbs.
All my homemade gifts were done on time. Cotton pillow slips and floursack towels were embroidered, washed and ironed. Beeswax votives came out clean and sweet, their wicks straight and trim. The rosebud and lavender drawer sachets smelled like my summer garden and so did the lavender soap. My daughter’s painting was finished, framed and varnished.
The last of the baking, apricot pastries, went quickly so I had time to try out a new recipe. I saw these Almond Bars on Everyday Cheer and I knew they would be delicious and easy… they were!
Christmas Eve was rainy and chilly but it didn’t matter. We had a fire crackling away, a delicious dinner and everyone was filled with a happy, expectant feeling.

Spicy chocolate & honey, cookies & candy canes


Ten days until Christmas! It’s windy and cold outside. Our little town is bustling with holiday busy-ness… Carolers singing on church lawns, a Christmas play at the old Town Hall, our annual town festival with boy scouts selling wreaths on the green and all of our churches hosting craft fairs, white elephant sales and holiday luncheons. New York was great for a visit but I am very happy to be living in my little town, especially at this time of year.
Finishing up projects, baking and playing Christmas music has kept me busy between all the fun events. I found this little Linzer cookie kit last year for $5, recipe included. The cookies were very easy to make, the dough handled well and they taste good!
There’s nothing like a good cup of hot chocolate at this time of year. It’s simple and delicious to make from scratch. I use honey instead of sugar and add some holiday spice.
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
Dash of nutmeg
Heat milk and honey over low heat, stirring until honey is dissolved. Add cocoa, continue stirring and add spices. When the milk starts steaming, it’s done.
This is so easy and can be modified to your own taste. My daughter likes to add a touch of cayenne pepper to hers. My other daughter prefers it with just cocoa and honey, no spices added. Cardamom is nice, if you have it. Of course, freshly whipped cream would be delicious on top too:)
Decorations can get elaborate. Sometimes it’s just as satisfying to use what is on hand. These candy canes are cute and festive and a few bows left over from last year add a little color and hide the construction. I used a plastic lid, punched holes in it and wired the candy canes, still wrapped, on to it. Simple but homey and cheerful in my cozy old kitchen.
I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful season. Thanks for stopping by!

Cookies and Christmas Projects


Such a fun time of the year! The weather has been icy, rainy, snowy and overall dreary but it doesn’t matter, I’ve been busy inside baking and trying to finish Christmas gifts. This picture will be for for one of my daughters. My Dad’s 79th birthday was this week so I made a batch of his favorite cookies. It’s the same recipe his Grandmother used when she made them for him. I had a lot of felt from my Mother’s sewing room so I’ve been playing with making these ornaments. I had them all hanging in the kitchen window. My girls noticed them on Thanksgiving and took home what they wanted. You learn to share everything when you come from 3 sisters and have 3 daughters, lol! I’m glad my daughters liked them. I hope all of you are enjoying the season!

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These cookies bake from 7-10 minutes.  It’s best to refrigerate the dough,  for about 15 minutes, before rolling it into little balls.  Set them a couple inches apart onto the cookie sheet, they do spread.

Thanksgiving Table Arrangements

I spent some time today figuring out how  I’m going to set the table for Thanksgiving.   There’s a lot of Bittersweet outside but the berries are poisonous and drop easily from the vines.   Better to keep everything contained. A few strands placed within vases does the trick. There’s no need to add water and they will stay pretty for a long time. These bring color to the table, look light and airy and stay neat.  Sparkling glass, natural twigs and berries with a bit of metallic…  Simple, homey and a  little special. Works for me!

Loose Ends


This has been a busy week! Mostly I’ve been cleaning, organizing and tying up loose ends so next week I can focus on Thanksgiving. Then our Christmas season begins. So exciting!
Oranges are tasting good right now. Citrus shouldn’t be composted but I don’t throw away the peels. The oils are naturally antibacterial and they smell so nice and fresh and clean. I spread them out on some paper and as they dry I add them to  white vinegar in a big jar. Soon this will be filled with the dried peels and in about 4-6 weeks, I’ll strain the peels out, put the liquid in a spray bottle and I’ll have a good, natural cleaner that won’t smell like salad dressing.
The tinctures I made this summer were all ready to be strained, bottled up, labeled and put away in the medicine chest. One of my favorites is lemon balm. It’s such a safe and gentle herb and it is said to have anti viral properties and be mildly relaxing. The tincture picks up that green, lemony scent. It’s delicious as a tea but it’s properties aren’t retained well in drying. It’s very easy to grow, kind of takes over really, but for some reason the tinctures and essential oils are  pricey in the stores. I think it would make an excellent cordial- another project for next year.

There’s going to be a lot of cooking, baking and holiday projects going on here. I arranged a separate work space for the projects because I’ll need my kitchen free. It’s been fun organizing my sparkly bits and pretty patterns and arranging it all together. Just looking at everything gives me so many ideas! The sewing machine will take up a permanent residence in the midst of it from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas week. This is such a wonderful time of the year!!!

Kuri, Cabbages, Tomato Soup and Winter

The forecast of snow and freezing rain prompted me to pull in the last of the cabbage. Blustery winds and an icy chill, the kind that goes right to the fingertips, drove me into the kitchen. The tomatoes had all ripened in the windowsills and I found an interesting looking Kuri squash on sale at our organic market.  The squash was such a rich and pretty color, I decided to use it to make our Thanksgiving soup. Googling it, I read that Kuri squash has a delicate flavor reminiscent of chestnuts. I interpreted that as being bland so I seeded, quartered and roasted it on a cookie sheet with other vegetables that I had on hand; garlic, onions, carrots and tomatoes. After about 30 minutes, I scooped the flesh out of the squash and puréed it with the other roasted vegetables. It tasted delicious. Into the freezer it went. I will add broth to thin it out and finish it with a little cream on Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, I stewed the last of my summer tomatoes and put them through the mill. Instead of freezing the lot, I made a quick batch of tomato soup. I sautéed an onion and a little garlic with lots of fresh oregano in butter until the onions were soft. I puréed that with the tomatoes and let it simmer for awhile.  A touch of cream  cut the acidity and brought some richness and warmth  to the mix.

I made up a batch of sauerkraut with my cabbages and added carrots and kale. I get such a thrill over my sauerkraut.  It’s so gratifying to think how I started with tiny seeds in April and end up with beautiful jars  of healthy, probiotic goodness that will last me all winter!  A lot of people give testimony about the healings that take place when they introduce fermented foods into their diets.  The only thing I noticed was  a weight loss , around 10-15 pounds.  I’m not complaining.

 So, Winter is here, unofficially.  I have embraced it.  There’s usually something good bubbling on the stove and roasting in the oven.  Extra quilts are pulled out of the chests and piled on the beds.   Sewing  baskets, hooks, yarns and my paintbox keep me happy and busy after dinner,  by the fireplace.  Life is good.

 

 

Staying on Task


I would like nothing better today than to pull out my paintbox, brew up some tea and spend the day painting happy pictures. This always happens when I make commitments or have looming events that I don’t want to deal with on the horizon. I promise myself that tonight, after supper is cleared, I will paint. In the meantime, I’ll plan my pictures and  think of all the colors and cheerful things I’ll put on my boards as I get on with the tasks at hand.

November- Wormwood & Apples


Wandering outside in the garden today, Silver King Artemesia caught my eye. It’s a Wormwood, one of the few things harvested in November and I had almost forgotten about it!  I snapped a few stems and within minutes had them wound into a simple wreath. It has a fresh, clean scent. I hung it in the kitchen, on the door leading to my spooky old cellar.
Tomorrow, I’ll gather the rest of the Silver King. Dried, it makes a great addition to sachets, being a powerful moth and insect deterrent. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties so I use it to make a simple household cleaner. I fill a glass jar with fresh or dried wormwood and citrus peels and completely cover everything with white vinegar, so all the herb is submerged. This mixture sits for 4 weeks and is shaken daily. Then the herb and citrus are strained out of the vinegar and it’s all done. All this will take no time at all but today I had other plans.
I had a big basket of local organic apples and wanted to use them while they were fresh. I made apple turnovers. They freeze really well and are worth the effort. I used organic, non hydrogenated vegetable shortening and butter to make the pastry and rolled it a little thinner than I would for a pie. Also, I mixed a couple tablespoons of arrowroot flour in with the apples, sugar and cinnamon. That thickened the juice as the fruit cooked so the crust didn’t get wet or soggy. So delicious!
 

Hello November

Hello November! Today was windy, raining and cold.  Gloomy  Aconitum, not one of my favorites,  is still holding on to its flowers.  Also called Monkshood and Wolfsbane, every part of this plant is poisonous.  It’s often featured as the culprit  causing gruesome deaths  in murder mysteries.   It was one of the few plants here when I moved to this house 14 years ago.

This little Black Eyed Susan vine, on the other hand, is so cheerful and  still blooming.   I started the seeds inside in early April and  then set the baby plants into a pot,  trellis in place,  6 weeks later.  By mid June the vines had scrambled to the top of the trellis and were covered with flowers.  I save these seeds.   After the flowers bloom, I pull the pods and set them in a bowl on the window sill.  One night in September, I heard  lots of little popping noises. All  the pods were opening and shooting little black seeds out of the bowl.  This is a fun and exuberant plant from start to finish.

Today I made some pizzas.  Trying to come up with a  thin crust that is  both crispy and a little chewy, I  substitutied 1/3 of the white flour for semolina flour and it worked pretty well.  I topped them with mozzarella, cheddar and asiago cheeses and tomato sauce.   Really good! Thinking of something else I wanted to get done, I headed out to the vegetable garden for some cabbage. Halfway there, soaking wet and freezing, I turned around and decided not to make sauerkraut. Better to spend the afternoon with a pot of tea in my favorite chair, making Christmas presents.  Happy November!

Herbs in the Home

One year ago, I was putting up “Going Out of Business” signs in the windows of the little store I had for 9 years.  I carried a lot of organic herbal products that I made and packaged myself. Many of the ingredients were grown in my own gardens.  It was a LOT of work making it all on a large scale and adhering to strict, high quality, organic and sustainable standards that I wanted to maintain. I gave up the whole business and selling part of things, but I still make everything for my home and my family. I thought it would be nice to start sharing some of the recipes of the things I make on this blog.

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This time of year, I used to sell a lot of herbal sachets. They are little bags filled with dried herbs that naturally repel mice and insects, particularly moths. They are used in dressers, linen cupboards, closets and packed among clothes and blankets in storage. They can also be used in suitcases, tossed in a sleeping bag or sent off to college in the clothes bins.
I make them with dried herbs from the garden. Lavender is one of the main ingredients because I love the fragrance and it is a natural moth repellent. I use lots of peppermint and pineapple mint. Any type of mint is fine. It acts as a fixative and is an insect and mouse repellent. Ground orris root is a fixative as well. It has a subtle, powdery floral scent and one tablespoon of orris root is added for every 5 cups of dried herb.  If orris root isn’t handy, no worries, mint will set everything up just fine. Dried rose petals go into the mix too. Dried citrus peels or chamomile flowers add a nice note. There is no set recipe here, the key is to make mint about 1/4 of the total mix.


Mix all the dried herbs in a bowl. Essential oils can be added, if you like. A tablespoon of vegetable oil for every 5 cups of ingredients can be added to enhance the natural fragrance of the herbs. Loosely fill muslin, drawstring bags. They can be used multiple times. Little bags are easily made using fabric scraps too.

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Rainy Day Remedies

imageThe ordinary arts we practice every day at home are more important to the soul than their simplicity might suggest -Thomas Moore

We’ve had a lot of rain.  Truth be told, waking up to gloomy skies again had me feeling a bit glum. I began to imagine all the bulbs I recently planted rotting away outside under all the soggy leaves. That led to the thought of leaf removal, never a fun prospect. As I thought about this, my yard grew into gigantic proportions and the thought of raking it all made me want to stay in bed. Overwhelming thoughts…one led to another. Better to get up and moving instead of mentally wallowing around in moldy leaf piles.

A little Aromatherapy was called for. I added some lemon oil to the cleanser I’d made.  Lemon, clean and bright was bound to help lighten up this dismal day. Motivating too….soon the kitchen was sparkling. A touch of lemon oil and tangerine on my dust cloth had things picking up a good shine and looking better. Thunder began rumbling outside, the temperature was dropping. I soaked a bit of cotton with cinnamon oil and sucked it up with the vacuum. The faintest scent of cinnamon trailed behind me as I made my way through the house. By now the rain was pouring, pounding on the roof and lashing against the windows. Definitely a day for soup and some home made bread. A big pot of soup went on the stove and as it was simmering, I mixed up the bread dough and set it to rise.

Upstairs, before putting fresh sheets on the bed, I sprinkled a few drops of lavender oil on the mattress underneath. A few drops more on the mop smelled heavenly and picked up the grain on my old wooden floors. It looked so good, I did the stairs on my way down as well. The wind was picking up and howling. Leaves were coming down in sodden masses. Soon the trees would be bare. Still some time for apple picking but not this day. This was a good day for baking them. Baked apples and whipped cream. I peeled the apples, sliced them up, added brown sugar, some spice and popped them into the oven with the bread. I made myself a cup of tea and pulled out my work bag. Spreading out my projects, deciding what to work on, I noticed the darkening sky which got me thinking how nice it would be to light the fireplace…..

Home Made

hand painted table

Table I painted

My Grandmother grew up on a farm and raised her children on a farm as well.  They had a cow and some pigs, geese, ducks and chickens and a giant garden.  Canning, churning, cheesemaking, baking, sewing, soap making, tending the garden and the children…she did it all and nothing went to waste.    She made comforters and stuffed them with goose feathers.  Any stale bread or cake was ground into crumbs and added to the next batter.   Ashes and fat were used to make soap.

I’m told the house I live in now is a lot like where she raised her children.  By the time I knew her, she was widowed and  living  down south in reduced circumstances.  She had 4 small rooms and the littlest bit  of land.  No matter.  She made it her own and she had a garden.  Behind the house was a small tin shed she called her “utility room”.  There she kept her treasures, all cast offs and rummage sale finds.  There were yards and yards of material,  neatly arranged, color coded, on  floor to ceiling shelves that lined  2 of the walls.   Glass jars filled with buttons, thread, yarn, laces and trims, were on shelves along the third wall with pots of glue, sparkles and paint. In the middle of it all was an old wooden work table and next to that, her  foot pedaled, black Singer sewing machine.

From this place, she worked her magic, transforming  her little home into a clean, cozy nest.  She did it all with her own hands.  Everything always had a fresh lick of paint.  Starchy white curtains were drawn back so sunlight filled the rooms.  Chairs and couches, plumply reupholstered, were strewn with cheerful pillows in happy colors. Chenille bedspreads and patchwork quilts were on the beds and her braided rugs on the floors. Here and there, you’d see a bit of sparkle from some old jewelry, on a soapdish she’d  made or on a picture frame.  Pick up a dishtowel, and there was a smiling duck she’d embroidered.   There were always homemade jellies and a scratch cake in the pantry, and homemade bread in the breadbox.  Her house smelled like laundry brought in fresh from the line.

This is what I aspire to, though I have a long way to go.  I have my own little workspace where I sew, paint and repurpose things to make them beautiful to me.   I’m happiest there, in my garden and my kitchen, working on things to make my home fresh, cheerful and clean, where nothing goes to waste and  I can make things that I call beautiful.  Life is not easy, far from it.   Appalling things happen, personally,  globally.   I am learning to do what I can and let go of, or pray about , those things over which I am powerless.   In the meantime, this is where I am and what I do.

Painted rocker with my Granmother's quilt

Rocker I painted with my Grandmother’s quilt

Celebrating Fall in New England

Trees are brilliantly colored and within a a week or 2, the “peak” leaf peeping time will be here.  Cider donuts, pumpkin patches, apple picking….all part of fall in New England.   Baked beans are  in the oven, along with pumpkins and cinnamon apples. The house is filled with a warm, spicy smell.. so good to walk into from the crisp air outside.  Summer is swept away as front gardens, doorstops and entryways are being decorated  for Autumn. There is a festive, clean feel in the air.

I notice the Bittersweet vines are ready to be cut.  The berries are still green, verging on yellow.  They will soon turn colors… peach, orange and finally popping out in red,  echoing the trees. The vines are supple and easily formed into wreaths.  It’s a simple matter of cutting a long vine with lots of berries.  Form it into a circular shape and wind it and weave  it among itself to hold it.   Leave the leaves on or take them off, whatever suits.  Weave more vines into the wreath if a thicker wreath is wanted.   Secure it with a twisty tie if there is trouble maintaining the shape  while weaving the branches in.   Birds love the berries but they are poison for people.  It’s fun to watch the berries turn colors and open and become framed by their shell.  If  not in a winding mood,  the branches can be cut and  popped into a vase or laid in a basket, that looks pretty too.

 

Pinwheel Party Favor Bags

Pinwheel Party Favor bags

Pinwheel Party Favor bags

This past summer I had a bridal shower for my daughter Emily in my home.  Of course, I wanted to make everything myself.  Lol!  Looking back, I see that I need to work on my delegating skills, not to mention that whole ‘perfectionist’ issue I have going on.  Anyway, I found some really cute bridal shower wrapping paper that fit perfectly Continue reading

Vintage <3

Easy  vintage iron transfers

Easy vintage iron transfers

I love vintage patterns! I feel like I found a treasure when I come across a great, clean tablecloth or fabric at a flea market. When I was a kid, I used to go to Woolworths with my Grandmother. They had drawers full of iron on patterns. We would pick out the one we wanted and then choose the colors we needed for our design. I had a little blue embroidery hoop and my own sewing basket. Such great memories! Lots of fabric stores still sell the iron on patterns. There are a lot of really cute vintage designs. They are so inexpensive, and the embroidery floss and the hoops are too. I add my own vintage touches to my pillowcases, hand towels and flour sac towels.  Just iron on the design, stitch in the embroidery and it’s done!  Very quick and easy to do!  This was shared at Share Your Cup Thursday!