Saturday, October 26, 2013

One Button, A Square of Tulle, A Circle of Felt and a Hair Clip

Ivory threaded the needle up and down through the button holes. 
Tacking down the tulle, sandwiched between the button and a layer of sparkling felt.  
I stitched the whole thing to hair clips. 

There they are: 

We are ready to go to celebrate a birthday!

Friday, October 25, 2013

One GIANT Stocking

This took me 10 months to finish...

and it is all wrong - wrong yarn, wrong gauge, wrong size.

I knew it was all wrong just a few rows into the project.

I finished it anyway.

I learned new skills.

Next time I attempt this, I will splurge for nice yarn, the correct gauge and make two that are a reasonable size. Now that I know what I am doing.

This one I am giving to a friend to use as a display for toys in a shop window.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Painted Trees, Painted Leaves and Colored Paper Creatures

"Mama! Painted trees!"

I glance back at Sylvan in my rear view mirror and then back out of the windshield to try and decipher what he is telling me.  The car smells of apples.

"Painted Trees!

He repeats his phrase until my eyes rest on a line of small red Norway maples that line the road leading into a yet undeveloped development.

Oh.  Painted trees.
Yes, they are beautiful.

This is the first autumn that Sylvan is really taking in.  He wades through the dunes of yellow maple leaves to pick up they few red ones and hand them to me.

"Painted Leaves."

Ivory begs daily, reminds me constantly: "Mama you promised that we could make Halloween decorations."   "Today. Yesterday. Tomorrow.  Before dinner. After dinner. After School. Now!!!!!!!!"

I know I promised. I sigh. I feel guilty.
I say things like: "We have to make food for your dad first." or "It is too late." or "later." or simply "oh, Ivory."  and feel guilty.

This is the first Halloween that she wants to decorate.
It is all she talks about.

"Can we make bats? Cats? Spiders?"

So we take walks.  Pick up leaves. Piles and piles that flutter away a short while later.

I clear my afternoon, move all those self imposed projects aside.
The pears can wait another day.
The dishes can sit till evening.
The pottery really needs to be done - but not now.

We cut.

We glue.
We google - how many eyes does a spider have?  Eight. Most spiders have eight eyes.

We staple.

We string string until our porch is a giant web and we hang a few spiders.

It is autumn.  It is almost Halloween.
Ivory wants to be a mouse.  Sylvan doesn't care.

The leaves are fluttering down - faster and faster.
Did someone mention snow?

Slow down.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Adam Borrowed A Sawzall - I Decided Our Closet had to Go!

Our house looks pretty much like it always has.
A drab white exterior, peeling paint on the windows and trim.
Over a year of home ownership has passed and we are the only ones that know that things are changing ever so slowly.
It is a constant balance of doing those things that need to be done and doing projects that are temporary but increase the immediate functionality of our house.
While Adam had in his possession a borrowed sawzall, which he was using to cut through the old steal sewer plumbing under the house, I casually suggested that this might be the perfect time to cut away the wall of our closet.
The opening into our bedroom closet was less than twenty inches and those clothes that hung in a neat row in it's confines simply stayed hanging.  It was too much of a pain to retrieve anything. The ceiling panel was a mysterious few inches lower than the rest of the ceiling and I had long decided it all had to go.
The wall went, the ceiling panel went, the old layer of fabric wallpaper that contained a frightening quantity of black dust went, and we were left with a tongue and grove ceiling and three walls.

Adam painted. 

I decided to take a cue from those who came before us and I dug through my stash of fabric until I found a piece that matched our room and was large enough... and we simply covered the ceiling back up with fabric and a staple gun. 

Adam made custom trim, and after a week of all of our clothes laying in a pile on the floor in the kid's room, everything got put away.  Finally.

Since then, our house has been sported by a net work of 6 strong beams.  The bathroom floor has been redone and for the first time since we moved into this house we have a properly seated toilet (don't ask me about the details on that project.).

As the flowers fade and leaves flutter off of the trees the climbing vines that screened our porch in a vibrant green and once were dotted with bright purple flowers are brown.  Our house is melting into drab.  The heater is turned on.  All the access points under the house are closed. We are hunkering down for winter.  The peeling paint on the windows and trim will have to wait till next year.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Stocking the Shelves - The Growing Season Will End Soon!

Do I have a stopping point?  An end goal? 
I can't remember any more. 

Six quart jars of Amarito Pears line the back of my kitchen counter and six more are ready to go. 
I am out of shelf space. The extra shelves Adam hung in our kitchen are filled to capacity.  

I am stuck between projects.
The things on my list are forever long.
I have moments of panic when I remember some thing that I need to do and have not yet done.
With only a box and a half of pears sitting in the back room, I feel that I can finally take a moment to sit down - reflect - and recall the sequence of the season that is now filling the kitchen shelves.


6 - 1/2 pints of Rhubarb Orange Jam
            I opened the first jar two days ago - It is fantastic!
3 pints of Pickled Baby Garlic


5 - 1/2 pints Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
6 - 1/2 pints Cherry Jam with Apple as Pectin
6 - 1/2 pints Cherry Jam (with Palimosa Pectin)
11 quart bags of cherries (frozen)
3 - 1/2 pints of Cherries with Thyme (frozen to be served with Brie Cheese)

2 quart bags of Cherry Pie Filling (frozen)


3 - 1/2 quarts Strawberry Syrup
4 - 1/2 quarts Strawberry Butter
5 pints Gingered Apricots
7 pints Cucumbers (dill slices)

4 pints Apple Butter
7 pints Dilly Beans


5 pints Honeyed Bread and Butter Cucumbers
6 pints Cucumber Chips
10 quarts Peaches
4 - 1/2 pints Peach Jam
7 pints Peach Salsa
12 - 1/4 pint, 2 - 1/2 pints and, 1 - 12 ounce jar  pizza sauce
20 pints Spiced Tomato Sauce

8 pints Zesty Salsa

6 - 1 1/2 pints Tomatoes
5 - 1/2 pints Tomato Basil Jam
8 - 1/2 pints Chinese Plum Sauce
5 - 1/2 pints Cardamon Plum Jam
3 pints Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms
3 - 12 ounce jars, 1 - 1/2 pint of Cardamon Plum Jam
7 quarts Unsweetened Applesauce


3 apple pies (frozen)

2 gallon bags (half full) apple pie filling (frozen)
10 - 12 ounce jars apple chutney

8 - 1/2 pints Chinese Plum Sauce
11 - 12 ounce jars Pear Hhutney
3 -  1/2 pints, 2 - 12 ounce jars Pear Cranberry Conserve
4 quarts Slightly Sweetened Cinamon Apple Sauce
12 quarts Amarito Pears

Now I remember.

I do have a stopping point: when there are no more fruits and vegetable to store away for later. There is an end goal: to taste the seasons one ripe fruit at a time - and it has been a yummy year.  It is going to be a yummy winter. The insanity of the end of the growing season will pass.  It will pass much to fast.

Most recipes are from: Canning for a New Generation
and the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preservation