Sunday, November 30, 2014

What I learned from NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo for November, Posting everyday for thirty days. I started a blog, oh a couple of years ago and that's how far it got. I had the urge but not the determination to follow through. Then I saw some posts on Ravelry of all places and I decided that the time was right. 

I know that I enjoy writing, but could I actually sit down and do it. You know it's been years since I had to write something. I learned that I could and that I really enjoyed it. I don't think I have found my voice yet but I will.

I learned that you don't have to be perfect, you just have to be you. People will like it or they won't, that doesn't meant that your ideas are useful or important, it just means that they have their own. And that's good too.

I learned that it takes more than a couple of minutes a day, and some days I just don't have that but I made myself a priority and got it done. It felt good to put myself first even if it's for a few minutes a day. 

I learned that there is so much more to learn! I have enjoyed discovering other blogs and learning from them. This is just my start and I can see it moving forward from here. Will it ever get a thousand hits in a day, probably not,  I have a gained a couple of followers. And that means the world to me. If they leave, is it the end of the world? Nah, I'll survive and I'll perhaps pick up a few more in other places.

Will I blog everyday going forward, chances are not in December , it a really busy month, but then again I have ideas floating around. I am promising myself that I will post at least three times a week. I hope that you will stick with me and maybe invite a friend or two. I've enjoyed your blogs and your links and I have made a few friends, it's been worth it and I for one thank Blogher  for giving me the push I needed to become a blogger. Here's to the hope that I can learn enough from all of you to become a better blogger, writer
and photographer, too.

One day this whole thing might grow into a real blog. I can't wait to see. Thanks for joining me on this trip!





Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sign Saturday

I'm a sign person, I enjoy the everyday strange about signs, road signs, advertising and just plain informational signs. It should be interesting if you have to write it down or make a sign for it! I'm going to try and add this as my regular Saturday post. Enjoy!

This was one my Cousin sent to me from Cracker Barrel, I think I will be heading over there this weekend to pick one up for here! I Love it and she knew I would, family is great like that!


This on the other hand, this one will never find a place at our House. There is a reason we stayed in the south and didn't go back to Michigan with the rest of Chris' Family.


Do you have a great sign, that you'd like to share? Send them on!

Friday, November 28, 2014

No Stash Busting Here

There is a group on Ravelry that did a stash busting exercise. Well the goal I think was to bust the stash but maybe it was more to show how much that comes in and what doesn't go out, which is more the case in my house. I think it led to some ugly truths for some people and others were pleasantly surprised. But due to lack of interest I don't think that she will do it again.

They were measuring by yards, and tracking what comes in vs. what was used. I think its a great idea but measurements might be a bit much for me to track. So I've decided that I will start in December and see how long I can keep it up. I'm starting with 0 instead of the real number that is packed into my craft room and all over the house and keep going from there. If I get adventurous after Christmas I might make some adjustments. I figure if I use part of a skein that will count for one and if I buy something I will use the actual number that comes in,

I am not one that buys for a specific project but I can, normally I run across yarn I love or if it's a good sale, then I have to stock up. Or if I visit Carolyn at Heelside Farms, then I know I will come home with a few bags of something wonderful and local. It's gotten a bit out of hand lately. I also have a few enablers in my life so they don't help either.

I'm not going to sugar coat it, my craft room should be declared a disaster zone. If I get really brave I'll post a picture to show how bad it really is. I'm not sure how brave you guys are if you're ready to see it. It hasn't always been this bad but it is in a bit of a reconfiguration right now. We recently painted and it hasn't been the same since.

I am in awe of people who have only project and one project going at all times, or that will buy just for a certain project. Tell me how that works and maybe I can wrap my brain around it. I admit I have a yarn problem and admitting it is half the battle right?

I can say that I saw the ads for Michael's Black Friday Sale and I am not impressed, I just bought some charisma and that's really all that's on sale yarn-wise, So I will be safe for a couple of weeks anyway.

I think I'll try and do Bi-weekly updates and keep a running total. Any one else out there have this problem? Willing to share your counts too? Don't let me feel like the only yarn hoarder out there!

Make sure you are sitting down for these pictures. This will give me a reason to get back there and straighten it up. Right now I sneak in, grab some yarn and run out. Chris had put up these great wire blocks for me and I started to get organized and then as usual something came up and I never got back. Did someone say Squirrel?


 










Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

For Everyone in the US. We're wishing you a Bountiful Thanksgiving with Family and Friends! 
For Everyone Else wishing you a Wonderful Day Too!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Shawl Pattern Search is on

Chris is setting the wood turning equipment back up and some of his first projects after the holidays will be some shawl pins that I have been asking for. I've also been asking for a few yarn bowls but that's another story..

Anyway I have been hunting around for a while for a few shawls that are just right for me and some to make that would show off the pins and buttons that he is working on. I'm not too girly and I want it to be functional as well as decorative, so am I asking too much? Maybe the problem is that there are just so many and it's hard to pick just a hand-full to try.

These are some of the ones I'm considering.
Oswin I love it but is it practical.. Would I use it?
INSTANT DOWNLOAD, OSWIN, Crochet shawl pattern pdf


Same Designer as above Hera. More me maybe and I do love the shawl pin..

INSTANT DOWNLOAD, HERA, Crochet capelet pattern pdf

This designer is local to our area, well kinda local, within a couple of hours. and I love the edging detail.
Tropical Breeze

4435862844_2a3d195a02_n


Again Same Designer but this one is named after my home county Onslow
Front_view_125_dpi_small2

and one just for my mom. This is her style all the way. Proud as a Peacock


Any Ideas or votes for your favorites?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Later Gator, never say Goodbye

As this posts will be attending the funeral of the person who has been my best friend since I was 14.
I'm not going to do the weepy sad post that I'm feeling because she would seriously disapprove of that. I will say that she was and always will be my hero. She smiled and fought when I know her heart wasn't in it and she never missed an opportunity to help someone else or to try and lift up someone who she thought might not have as much as her.

I have stories I could tell but I won't in case our Children ever get around to seeing this post. There are things that are just better left in the woods, and at bonfires and on the beach. But I'll pull them out every now and again when I'm feeling low, to give myself a chuckle or a huge belly laugh, depending on the situation.

In High School we as best friends, dated a set of best friends. She would go on and marry her one and only boyfriend. I won't say he and I always saw eye to eye and that it is my fault that I shied away from them at times because I disapproved of him, so therefore I was the one who missed out.

We attended the same college although at different times, and I was the one who dropped her off to college and worried the whole way home, if she would be okay up there by herself, while she worried about me driving home, alone. I was the one who had to go and visit her when someone dug up a prediction from some book that their would be a disaster at a college near a railroad track on the such and such parallel at such and such date. Didn't happen but we enjoyed the craziness of it all.

I will take the blame for killing her goldfish in her first apartment, but in my defense it had to be the clean water that did him in. When I saw the water in that tank moving around but couldn't see the fish I was afraid he would be a mutant, so I had to help. Sadly Herman had grown used to the slime and couldn't handle daylight or oxygen.

When I was pregnant with my daughter and the majority of people around me were less than thrilled, she made sure to remind me that it couldn't be that bad, we had practically raised ourselves, and that she would be there to help. But the diapers were my duty.. Bestest Friend duties only go so far. When E was born premature, while everyone else stood around and wrung their hands, she held my hand and pointed out how much she looked like her dad but had my eyes, so just wait until she got old enough to date, we were going to have trouble... she was right as usual.

She was ridiculously book smart but like a turkey I was afraid to send her out in the rain for fear that she would drown. But she made it through college on scholarships and then on to law school. First as a family attorney and then as an Assistant District Attorney, because helping people made her happy.

She loved soccer and was E's biggest fan, I remember her being very pregnant in the stands of my five year old's soccer game, and yelling directions to the team. Didn't want to coach but would have been the best one they had. She'd settle for working in the concession stand with her mom, during the crazy cold days as well as the horribly hot ones too.

She has two wonderful, smart, athletic boys who thankfully got the majority of their gene's from her. My wish for them is to know how many people love their mom and how much she'll be missed. I also hope she taught them how to pee in the woods better than she taught me!

Even when that f*ing disease was winning she made sure that she didn't miss an opportunity to spend time with her friends, just because we wanted to be with her.

There will be new inside jokes, new places to explore, and new fears to conquer. I won't be alone in any of these because of my guardian. She's gone on to break a trail for us, and get the party started. My advise to the Angels meeting up with her is to not let her stay up too late, she gets the giggles and can't stop when she's over tired, teach her that she doesn't have to do it all, others really do want to help, and  be prepared to make tons of rest stops along your travels or make her go before you leave the house, she has the smallest bladder in the universe.

I wonder if Father Cass will be giving your Mass, Hopefully he won't bring up how many times he caught us sneaking out early to head to the beach. Your mom did only say we had to go, she never said how long we had to stay...

Rene' I miss you more than I can say.
PS Just for the record Mom, If Rene' had jumped off a bridge you can guarantee I would have too.











Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday 11/25/14 I Made a Thing

I've got a crap ton  Few projects in process but I was able to knock a few out this weekend with a little help from my Fiber buddies. I meant to take picture of all of our goodies this weekend but after I packed the projects, yarn hooks and snacks, I totally forgot my phone.. I posted in the morning and set it down right by the door and that's' right where it was when I got back. There will be other meetings maybe even next weekend and I'll make sure to show them off!

I bought a bit of Charisma from Michael's a week or so ago (very Cheap), in fact it was a better sale than their Black Friday Sale, at least from what I've seen so far. So I've been looking for a few quick patterns for gifts and items to sale. Rose came to my rescue, again, she had a great stitch and again I should have taken pictures to explain but I'll make sure to make a few more and show how It was done. I might even hunt around for a real tutorial, I'm sure someone has done it better justice than I ever could.

Right now this is just my show off page to prove that I am accomplishing something!

So here's my Bulky scarves. One is done using two Skeins of Charisma, Half doubles but instead of going in the top loops I went into the third loop on the back side. Strange I know but I creates a very dense but squishy fabric, with a nice ridge detail. Once I got it working it went very quickly. I'll be making more of these.

and here's the ridge detail view



Then there is scarf #2 I used a basic offsetting dc2tog. I had originally thought to do the Scarfati by Moogly  but my bulky was a bit too bulky and it didn't lay right and was way too long. So I backed it down to 111 starting chain with a 9 mm hook  and the dc3tog down to dc2tog with two chains instead and it worked better. I stayed with the same format of four rounds. I think that they will work well as multiples. I'll be knocking out a few more of these for stocking stuffers for sure.



And for the last one, I was asked to make a winter beanie for a friend. She said she had a fall themed hat and she wanted a winter themed hat. So here's her Winter Themed hat, with it's very own snow flake. Hopefully it will be the only kind of snow we see this year!

Hoping you have a productive week too!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

December Calendar is getting out of hand..

It seems like every time I turn around something else is being added to my calendar. At this point I'm thinking I'm either going to have to clone myself or hire an assistant to get it all done.
I really shouldn't complain, I enjoy being busy but I'm not a fan of the Holiday Season and all the craziness that goes with it. I'd love to be able to slow down and enjoy it all, but it doesn't look like that's gonna happen this year. So I'd better teach Abbey to crochet so I can get ahead on the inventory!

So far I have for December:

  • 1 Wool Dying Class
  • 2 Brownie /Daisy Meetings
  •  3 Holiday Parties to Attend
  • 5 Vendor Shows
  • 7 Gift Basket orders to fill
  • 40 small loaf and 5 Bundt  Friendship fruit cakes to Bake 
  • A few last minute Gifts for friends from us
  • Make sure to add in the unknown number of last minute Christmas orders
And I feel like I should add something about swans a swimming or make that Chickens a laying to just round it out.  Oh crap I'm fairly sure there should be some Christmas Cards sent out and I should do some Christmas shopping, decorate a bit and visit with my child..and it's my birthday month too. We can forget that one, I'd really be thrilled if we skipped it this year.

 How many Projects do you have on the books for December? Make me feel better and post your lists!

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sunny Saturday


HEY! It's Caturday and I'm out with the girls getting a bit of Fibre things done. So I thought I'd let Chipmunk give you a bit of Good Morning Cheer. I caught her on her way to the top of the hay pile this morning on my way out. It's still a bit Chilly but she's about to settle in for a morning nap in the sun. I hope where ever you are you at least have a nice bit of sun to nap in too!
Hopefully I'll a have a bit of updates for on some of the projects I'm working on soon, this should be a productive Saturday with my Knit/Crochet Group.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fall has Fallen a bit short

I swear we went straight into winter around here as well the rest of the county but seriously this is the South! We live here for a reason, frost we don't mind because you need a little to make the collards taste better for Thanksgiving, but we do enjoy our Fall weather. Cool nights and warm days. Just nice enough to sleep with the windows open and work outside during the day. This year we skipped all that. We didn't even get a chance to see the leave change much around here, they are still green when they froze and fell off. Speaking of which when I left the house yesterday there were a few leaves down. Today I leave and the ground is covered, with green leaves! See them, they are GREEN!
 

Bob is seriously concerned about this turn in the weather. He is not appreciative of the crinkling noise when he is trying to sneak up on the mice. I think that look says "Make sure you take care of this mess this weekend!"

Sorry Bob maybe if it doesn't rain on Sunday I'll take care of them for you. They are headed to the garden to become mulch, nothing goes to waste around here. I hear that the temperature will be heading out of the teens and back into the high 50's. That we can handle, but I do miss getting to see the leaves turn and all of the great colors.Here's to getting back to normal November weather and leave January weather in January. Hopefully the crazy cold then warm ups won't do too much damage to the garden either.

If nothing else it encourages people to bundle up, which is good for business..lol

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A winter something for me

I'm trying to get back into the swing of completing some projects and to that I give you a set of boot cuffs that I made for me. Yeah I know I'm supposed to be working on inventory but I saw these and I knew it would a quick self serving project. Now I just have to find a perfect pair of boots to wear with them. I have a tan pair but I think these would work best with black. I really didn't plan it that way, so I would have to shop for another pair of boots but it's been a busy season and since we skipped Fall and ran straight into Winter I think I have earned them..


Here is the Pattern for Boot Cuffs shown above. I used Vanna's Choice in Linen. It has a more of a grey color than what I would think of as Linen but I think it will work nicely on black. After the holidays I think I will work on a few more in different colors and maybe I can squeeze in a few for last minute stocking stuffers. Yay for me..

What is your go to project when you need a little pick me up?



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Getting the orders out

I took November off so I could get some of the Christmas orders completed. It doesn't seem to be working out the way that I had planned. I had this idea that I would be able to crank these items right out as well as replenish the inventory that had sold in the prior months. I'm not sure if it's the time change or the lack of light but I have been sluggish and slow. Projects aren't moving as fast as I feel like they should and so on and so on. BUT an order is going out today so Hopefully this will get me back on track for the other items that are not quite ready to be sent out. I have also been back about taking pictures of finished projects, which I find when I do have then it is very helpful for the next sale.

So having said that this set is heading out today for a December Baby. I really enjoyed making it and I think that I should concentrate on some smaller items to get my crocheting mojo back!
Bootie Pattern is here and the hat is just a basic newsboy/beanie type. And below is the corresponding basic diaper cover.



This Saturday I will be able to meet up with the local fibre group for a few hours! I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else is working on and maybe a bit of their finishing will rub off on me. it's really bad that I have to bring the items into work to get a good picture.. lol. Please ignore the stacks of files that snuck into the picture.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Just because you can..

Doesn't mean you should. Just saying that Science is capable of doing so much and yet there is are groups of people doing the strangest things just because..

The Quest to Create a Living Velociraptor Is Underway

They are manipulating Chicken genes to try and create a Dinosaur. Does this ring any bells about how bad an idea that just might be..Jurassic Park.. anyone? In fact it seems like George Lucas is even doing some of the funding for the project.

If you have ever had a chance to spend anytime around a group of chickens, then you have no doubt that in an earlier evolutionary stage they were surely at least related to Velociraptors. They might seem fairly harmless scratching around in the yard but they can be ruthless. Try taking a bowl of oatmeal out on a cold day or a nice bowl of watermelon on a hot one and see how they act. Those fluffy creatures who don't seem like much of a predator turn into a crazy pack of wolves. Even as fluffy little yellow chicks they are often kept under a red lamp so that if one is injured then the others won't peck him to death. The sight of blood does that to them. The whole idea is Just plain scary.

But on a lighter note...

Dr. Ian Malcolm: God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.
Dr. Ellie Sattler: Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth
credit Jurassic Park (1993)

Hey you never know...





Monday, November 17, 2014

I made a Thing Monday 11/17/14

So here is Today's thing.




I had gotten the book The Finer Edge and I'm determined to be able to do something with these patterns. I make a simple scarf with a row of doubles and half doubles and then on one side I added the Birch Scallops Edging. Just one side because I thought it would lay better while you were wearing it. I'm not a fan of too many ruffles.  It was done in Lion Brand HeartLand and I'm not really thrilled but it will do for now. I'm hoping that a bit a blocking will keep it from the frog pile but I'm not holding out a lot of hope. Here is a bit more detail of the Scallop. I feel like it just doesn't fit with what I was going for. But that's my opinion today, tomorrow it might grow on me. maybe a bit thicker yarn would help also, heartland is a bit soft for this kind of project.
Detail:

On to other items. I should have been working on orders but I need a diversion and the book came in so I wandered off track again. Back to work for me. Have a great Monday!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Edgings

I was recently on Amazon and had made a small order and of course I needed a bit more to make the minimum for the free shipping. I hunted around a bit and came up with this.



It is nice in the fact that it does give you written pattern as well as charts and it does have a nice selection but they seem to be more clothing oriented rather than for what I would have thought about using edgings for. Again that's not bad because I'm always up to learn something new. All in All it has 20 Top - Down, 8 Bottom-up, 14 side to side and 12 motif patterns, along with 10 projects using some of the motifs and edgings.

The book just came in this week and I can say that I do like the boarders it has but I'm not so thrilled with the selection. There are as many Motifs as boarders and I know it says that on the front and in it's defense it does give you projects for uses. I thought I would try out one as a edging for a scarf, something to jazz it up a bit. It's in the works but it should be ready for my Monday show off.

Originally bought it because I had been thinking about adding some boarders to a few fleece blankets I had picked up. I wanted something functional but different. Kinda something for an impulse buy for the summer or spring markets.

I would recommend it to others but I don't think my search is over. Next time I'm on Amazon they'll get me again and I've got my eye on a couple. What do you suggest?

I hope that everyone is having a great Sunday, We're a bit bundled up over here this afternoon and some of us are snoozing, while others work...


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cotton and Traffic Jams

If you aren't in our neck of the woods or even in this hemisphere you might not realize that it is Cotton Picking season right now, along with soybeans but they aren't nearly as dear to my heart. I know you may have read or seen movies where they are picking in the summer but trust me cotton is done in the late fall. I'm a fan of Fall, it has all the great tree colors, Pumpkins, my favorite holiday, Halloween and the weather has generally toned down a bit. You get those great cool nights, when you can sit outside with out being eaten alive by bugs or melting from the heat. But Fall really means harvest time around here. The winter crops are planted and the last of the summer crops are coming in. I few weeks ago I was walking around down our road and we have a few fields on either side. The cotton was just about ready so I appropriated a couple of stalks for a fall wreath I was working on. I neglected to get a picture of the wreath but I did get one of the Cotton, Some of the bolls (that's the green thing on the right side) hadn't opened yet so it made a great addition to the wreath, along with a few magnolia leaves. I'll have to make a point to make another for me. I think I still have a branch or two of the cotton left.

As someone who works with fibers, crochet and spinning, I get all worked up when I see how much cotton actually gets left on the ground after the harvest. It will look like it has snowed around here for a couple of weeks until it gets worked back into the ground. I always want to run out and pick up a few bushels for combing but then I think about the thousand of pounds of pesticides they spray it with and it keeps me from snapping it all up. Just barely but that is some pretty nasty stuff. You can see the huge bales on the left, that they compress it into so that it can be transported to the mills. It's hard to tell from here but those are huge piles of cotton.

And I'll sum this all up with the reason I got on the cotton kick for today. I was trapped behind this, on my way out this morning for a good while. These things just crawl along..
We don't have to worry too much about traffic around here but tractors can certainly back everything up for a while. I wouldn't have worried too much but I was on my way to Michael's with a great coupon AND yarn is on sale, so it wasn't very welcome this morning. I did make it to the sale and I'll have some posts soon showing off a few projects I've got planned.

Here's Hoping you'll have a traffic free day also!

Friday, November 14, 2014

And on the flip side

Yesterday I talked about the awesome Fruit Cake tradition that I'm now the proud owner of, but there is a dark side to some of our Holiday Food Traditions. Yes, I said it and I know there are those of you out there that will totally agree. Some ideas and/or recipes should have been left right where they were back in the 70's, 80's and before. We have a few that thankfully I don't have pictures of but I'm sure a majority of you will have seen it sometime in your life and for that I you have my apologies. For the ones who don't agree with me and continue to love these items, Good for You!. Just please leave them at your house..

I'll start with Watergate Salad. Heard of it? It a staple in the south and not just for the holidays but that's when we see the most of it. It's Pistachio Pudding with pineapple and apples at our house or other fruit, whipped topping, nuts and marshmallows. You'll find that I am horrified by many things that contain marshmallows, there is a story there but I'm not sure I should share it. My opinion is that it's green goop. It's chilled and served cold. I'm hoping this won't be on the table this year but you never know. Someone always says "I should have made that green salad this year". I for one am always thankful that they didn't have time..

My second item is not as offensive but in my opinion has passed its prime. The dreaded jello mold with fruit. Again not a Jello fan and it's the same reason as the marshmallows and I have seen marshmallows in the jello fruit mold which is doubly scary. For some reason at our celebrations green jello was used, maybe it was to help it seem more festive? I will admit that I have my Grandmothers Jello Mold, it's one of those Tupperware sets with the different inserts for the different holidays or seasons. I have it for the sole reason of preventing anyone else in the family from making this unwelcome desert. And maybe for a bit of sentimentality   I stole this image off of Amazon, with a link if you are so inclined to revisit this adventure at your holiday table. i won't be putting mine up for sale anytime soon, I think it's best for everyone if it stays where it is.

To round out the Holiday Horrors I'll add one more but it's only related to a food item. It is actually a byproduct or left over from the feast and thankfully it's only happened once. But having said that I am officially scarred for life. My crafty mother saw a Santa Sleigh made out of a turkey breast bone somewhere, I can't imagine where. Yes it was the eighties but still, really. Why in the world would you go to all of that trouble of keeping the bones intact, bleaching them and then to top it all off spray paint it glittery Red. I felt bad for the turkey but I felt worse for me having to pass by it for the next month. Horrors on top of horrors.

It's not quite as bad but I'll include it here, I'm being pressured to make Icebox Fruit cakes for Thanksgiving. I have nominated myself to be the family baker so I should have seen it coming. I'm considering it since I have found a recipe that doesn't include the dreaded marshmallows, so maybe it will make it to the table but I'm not promising anything yet..

What makes up your list of food items (or food related crafts) to be avoided during the holiday season? Share with us please,  we all want to know we aren't alone in this...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Taking over a Tradition

My Grandmother was "The Baker" and holiday cooker in the family. The rest of us might have brought a side dish but we were also smart enough to stay out of her way. We kept to the edges of the warzone, ah I mean Kitchen and if called upon we rushed in to do our duty then got the hell out of her way. She was a dynamo in the kitchen and as much I try there are things that I will never be able to duplicate. The Chocolate Gnash frosting, Biscuits, Lemon Meringue Pie  and Hush puppies. I saw them made for years, biscuits and hush puppies almost every day, can I make them, yes, do they taste or look remotely like hers, nope. There was nothing fancy added to the mix, flour was poured onto the table, she made a dip in the middle, Crisco, powdered milk were added, it was mixed by hand and holy cow they were Awesome. I even have her pan! Not happening. The dogs even shy away from my feeble attempts.. I give. I will never be the family bread person.

BUT I can bake, not like her of course but in my own meager way I am picking up the spoon and I am attempting to make fruit cakes for the family this year. I do have an aunt who held the position for the last few years but due to health problems is unable to continue in her duty. Could I let it fall to the wayside, NEVER!

 I have my grandmothers recipe book and I have already started the traditional Friendship Fruit Cakes. And it is quite a process, you have to start your starter, which takes 14 days and then for another 30 you feed it. Then you have to bake! Quiet a process but I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of the kitchen counter this endeavor. In fact today is the day that I will take this starter and turn this into something more.



 It will become the base for a fruit cake you and your family will actually enjoy. I know all about how people run from the dreaded fruit cake at Christmas but this one is the one you'll be glad to get or even give. I'll give you a link to a traditional Friendship cake and starter recipe but I can't share the family secret just yet..Friendship Fruit Cake. But remember part of the deal is that once the cakes are made you will have starter left over to gift to your very bestest friends,, as we say down here, along with the recipe so that they can also gift their families with this wonderful treat. It's not just a Christmas deal, my grandmother would often whip out a few for special occasions.

The jar shown above is actually a big bigger than a gallon, it's my Collard Kraut jar but I'm not quite ready to start that yet. We haven't had a really good frost and y'all know collards aren't the best until they have been frosted on. And this is a double batch of  starter because we started counting the people who would need a cake, we're doing the medium bread pan size and one batch wouldn't do it. Then I mentioned that I was making these to a friend and she decided she needed some and then Chris mentioned it and now we have orders pouring in. So last week another double batch was started and hopefully everyone will get what they hope for but we'll see. I'm glad they are processing a week apart, that will give me a bit of time in between marathon baking events.

But I'll enjoy every minute of it and I might even break out Grandma's apron to wear. I know she's enjoying watching me carry on her traditions. One day I might even pass it along to my daughter. The only catch will be that her version will be vegan..since she's named for my grandmother I might make one batch vegan and see if they can tell. Chances are they will like that version more and a new Tradition will be born, from one Elizabeth to the next..

What Holiday food  tradition will you uphold or which ones would you like to see drop off the menu? The good, (this cake) the bad and the ugly ( those two are for Friday's post).


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Shhh... I think it heard us!

A few weeks ago we were in the backyard talking about the things that needed to be done before it got too cold.


  •  Chicken coops need new litter
  • One coop needs a new Latch on the door
  • Peach and Pear trees need to be pruned back into order
  • The grapevine needs a new support added
  • Hay bales need to be picked up so they can be ready for spring planting
  • Spread the Alpaca and Horse poop over the garden
  • Trim the Kiwi Vine
  • dig up the SunChokes
  • and so on and so on
So last night I got home a bit early and I wanted to check on the Sunchokes that are in the back garden, we'll be harvesting them soon, just waiting for a good frost first. I snuck  around the barns instead of walking through the yard and upsetting the chickens/cats/dogs and came up on the Arctic Kiwi Vine first. It really has taken over and is heading towards the bee hives. The bees might not mind having the flowers a bit closer this spring but before they know it they'll be covered! This stuff is worse than Kudzu. I think it might be the pile of Alpaca poop we planted it in four years ago.

I checked on the Sunchokes and they are doing great, so then I'm heading back to the house. No need to be quiet or sneaky this time, since I have already been spotted by the dogs who are sounding the alarm, chickens are already heading to bed by this time since it's about dark. And when I get to the fence what do I see but this..

That Kiwi is trying to tie up the gate! At first I'm amused that it has made it his far down but then I think oh no, it heard us talking about giving it a major trim and it's trying to thwart what it sees as an upcoming attack! I quickly untangle the gate and make sure it knows we've got plenty to do this winter and I'm fairly sure that job has fallen off the list for this year. I may have won this round but I'm not sure if I have won the war. We'll be sure to keep an eye on it in the near future, and I think we'll schedule the planning discussions for the front yard..


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It was Not Exactly as I had Expected

I was surprised and a bit confused by some of the things I saw this weekend, we went to the Mistletoe Magic Holiday Show in Morehead City and the Farmer's Market in New Bern. I'm a bit late on this but I had a couple of other ideas already planned for posts so as to not get off track I'm doing this now. If you are in our area you are welcome to go and make our own decisions about these two locations everyone's opinion is different and you are encouraged to visit these locations and come to your own conclusion.

We took a morning off to run away from the farming and canning for a bit this last weekend. We were thinking about applying to a Holiday Show down on the coast as a vendor for next year. Neither of us had been so we thought we would check it out first and see what it was like. Would our items fit in or would it be a waste of time. I also wanted to check out a local farmers market that was sort of on the way, at least we had to drive through the town it was in.

Neither one ended up being what I though it would be.

 I'll start with the New Bern Farmer's Market, which we hit first. It's easy to get to and in a historic district but parking left a bit to be desired. I was thinking Farmers for Farmer's Market but out of about 25 Vendors there were only 3 and one was only selling sweet potatoes. I know it's late in the year but there really are some great veggie coming off now, and the selection with one vendor was really nice, so I guess it was good for him! The others were a very diverse group of crafters. Handmade items from Jewelry to Sheep milk soap. Christmas is right around the corner and I think that might have had a bit to do with the variations of vendors available. I'd go again to see what the spring or summer is like.The weather was wonderful for the ones outside and there were even a couple of real food trucks standing by, one with Vegan options, too. I was impressed by that! I was impressed with the size of the crowd too. And shockingly enough there wasn't a Jam or Canning Vendor in sight. We'll have to check it out but I might be back for more than a visit.

Then we head over to the Holiday Show, it was totally not what I expected. As we walked up we saw  a few vendors outside, one was for novelty cutting boards, something we use quite a bit and after seeing them I'll pass along the link. I'm all about shopping local but this deserves a shout out. Pig Cutting Boards are too cute and handy, too. Then there were a couple of vendors that would fit into what I would say was the handcrafted category, but they were mainly stuck outside like an afterthought. One person was selling knit hats for kids for 5.00, I know it wasn't a wool hat or expensive yarn but goodness you can undercut yourself, I saw people browse but no sales for her. We then ventured in, there was a 3.00 fee for entry and that was the only money we spent. I did see some very nice turned wood bowls but they didn't even have a business card available. Chris does some wood turning and has promised me a yarn bowl but it never hurts to have a back up plan. The building was pretty small and there were some nice booths but I was surprised to see one for Rainbow Vacuums and then one for Verizon. Seriously if you needed a filler couldn't you have put the other vendors inside. I know it didn't tout itself as a craft fair but as a Holiday Market, but in my opinion Vacuums are not what women are wanting to find under the tree. And as far as who was shopping the majority were woman with a a few significant other males dragged along.  We can mark that one off the list of possibilities.

All in All it was great to get out of town, to enjoy the sunshine before this cold snap takes over again and I learned a few things, Sunday was back to the grind, finishing up the last of the apples for Apple Butter, working on Holiday gifts and orders and working in the garden. We'll have to rake soon, since the pecans are falling and that's a whole new adventure waiting for us. Enjoy your week!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday 11/10/14 I Made a Thing!

So now that I've been doing this for just over a week I thought I would try to keep myself on Track with not only blogging but completing projects, see yesterday's post. I'm pledging to post a finished Object every Monday! Some Mondays it will be crochet, but it could be something else crafty. I also make wreaths, do pottery. cross stitch and quilt. So it could be any combination of any of those.

Today's project is a small crochet one but it's functional and that's what we are shooting for this holiday season. We have so much stuff and we are working on paring down quite a bit of the things we just don't use or haven't un-boxed in the 6 years since we moved here. So in that aspect I give you my version of the Holiday Towel Holder.

I thought instead of a spring daisy I would try a poinsettia for Christmas. After a bit of trial and error I think I'm happy with it. It needs a bit of tweaking but it works.








I got the idea from here-Daisy Towel Holder



Then I ran across these towels and since my Daughter is such a huge fan of owls I just had to do this.
Now this owl needs a bit of help and I think I will change out the strap to be more Christmas colors but I thought I would match the center. Ignore the horrible picture, it doesn't do the owl justice. It would help to have a beak too or just the solid color center. I think this one is going back to the drawing board for some adjustments...Keep an eye out for upcoming changes..

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Startitis I have it..

What  in the world is startitis? It's a common problem many crafters face, we start a project and suddenly come across another that just must be made, and then another and another. Then you wind up with other issues like a box full of WIPs (works in progress), UFOs, (Unfinished Objects), I unfortunately have my share, in fact I bet I have enough to have your fair share also.

Why do we do this to ourselves, can't I just sit down and finish one project before I start the next? Not everyone has this problem, could it be a gene we inherited? I'll take that explanation and run with it. I have run a cross a project or two that my mother started before I was born and it just never got finished, we won't talk about how long ago that is let's just say they might have gone out of style and are heading back into system by now.

I could list them but I just don't have that much time, If I'm going to get something accomplished today so I'll leave you with a few pictures and you can see I do make progress just not much at once. And in my defense I do try to have a travel project, a take to work project and who am I kidding. If I could stay off Ravelry I'd get more done!

Here's a few I'm working on and the links if you are so inclined to join me in my madness..

This my version of a modern granny square Blanket. Just sold the boy version last weekend so It's time to do another and get this one finished!

The there is the Elf Hat that just needs the ends tucked in a pom pom
http://oodles4noodles.blogspot.com/2011/03/long-tailed-baby-elf-hat-tutorial.html

Then a Star Blanket that I had started for a baby boy but with the Dallas Colors I might have to make the big boy of the house one..
http://www.yarnspirations.com/patterns/star-blanket.html


Then one more blanket to show, but not the only ones that are in process. It's the Irish wave and I plan on using light pink, darker pink and two shades of green.. I love the way it comes together.
http://bizzycrochet.blogspot.com/2014/05/new-free-irish-wave-baby-blanket.html


This might or might not be another reason I haven't gotten much done lately..
Check out that face, too sweet. I was using her window box so I guess she deserves a bit of a tummy rub too.

Have a great week!





Saturday, November 8, 2014

Taking a Saturday for Me

After seven straight Saturdays of markets, bazaars and other events, I'm taking a weekend off from selling. And what I am I doing, I'm going to take advantage of this awesome fall weather and visit a new farmers market and then on to a Holiday Sale about an hour away. I know you would think that I would run the other way and try to enjoy something other than what we've been doing for the last eight months. But alas I'm digging in enjoying the fruits of everyone else's labors instead of my own.

I do have another full time job and I can guarantee you if an opportunity to do something related to   that job came up on my day off, I would run in the other direction, quickly! But I love the craftier side of my life and I enjoy spending as much time as I can immersed in it. I'm always interested in seeing what others are working on and talking about my projects of which there is always a wide variety.

Or it could be because I have so many items started at home that I just need a break from? Nah, never that! I think it could be chalked up to just enjoying the season, even if it is a bit early for Christmas in my opinion. I am looking for ideas for Gift Baskets that I would like to offer for the Christmas Holidays. Not that preserves, spreads and crochet aren't awesome enough on their own I thought I would look around for other crafters that are looking to get the word out about their products. Surely there are plenty of other types of crafts that would go great in a themed basket. Girl's night in, Tea for Two and Window Sill Gardens are a couple of ideas I'm kicking around. I'll have to see whats new for the season and put some ideas together. We have been kicking around an idea for a Crafters Co-op in our area for a while but that's info for another post..

Get out and enjoy the awesome weather before the cold sneaks in. Stop by some shows, or set up one of your own. Let's get the word out that Handcrafted and Local is the best idea for the holidays and everyday, Too!


Friday, November 7, 2014

The Lost Art of Canning

I just can't tell you how many times I get asked at the market "Did you make all these yourself?" It's not just the canning, although that is where the majority of the questions come from, it's about the crochet and veggies and fruit also. It makes me wonder if people are honestly shocked that and individual still does these things or if I am pimping out my grandmother..lol. I smile and say "Yes, we did and we also grow a majority of what we can or if we don't have room we always source it locally". Sometimes I get a- Wow that's a lot of work or occasionally I get the really awesome customer who says-I wish I knew how to do that, or I miss getting things like that from my Grandmother/Mother. Those are the ones who make it all worth while.

I know I maybe in the minority now, being one who grows and puts up their own foods, much less one who goes so far as to sell it to others. There was a time, not really that long ago that this was common place. I do know that there are small pockets of people who are still carrying on this tradition. I read articles all the time about how seeds sales are increasing every year, that's very encouraging to me. And good for the people who are working behind the scenes to make it happen. Growers, harvesters and the processors. If you are in the market for seeds for next spring our Favorite seed company is Baker Seed Company, www.rareseeds.com. They have a gorgeous catalog with a wide range of seeds from all over the world. No GMO's and many that are organic. Our favorite Local seed company is Sew True Seeds, they are located in Asheville, NC near the arts district, or find them online at www.sewtrueseed.com. All organic, open pollinated seeds, that are great for our area. Not as big of a selection as Baker but well worth the time.

 I see more and more canning jars and implements on the shelves even at the higher end stores. Is it just a fad? Have we figured out that growing and saving our own foods is beneficial to our families? I for one never took home economics, and I'm not sure with all of the budget cuts that it is still available. How do we bring the next generation back to the idea that gardening and preserving those veggies and fruits can be fun? Is it time consuming, yes. Is it tedious, sometimes. Is it worth it, Definitely. Just ask anyone that has used a jar of tomatoes that they canned back in July for that special sauce for their January dinner party. It's a bit of sunshine in the winter months, and it makes every sweaty minute with wrinkled fingers worth it. It's a labor of love for those around you. It's giving back a bit of yourself with every jar that leaves your table.

I for one, along with all of the others in small pockets all over, will make sure that the Art of Canning doesn't die. We'll pass it along to our kids and to your kids if they are interested. We'll sell at markets and to your friends so they can brag to you about the great Pickled Brussels Sprouts/ Squash Pickles/ Peach Butter they got. Hopefully you'll be intrigued enough to come out to the market and support us with your order, ask questions about the process, be aware of where your food comes from and most importantly help keep canning and other handcrafted items from becoming a Lost Art.













Thursday, November 6, 2014

Why I Farm Now



I was one of those lucky kids that got to grow up next door to my maternal grandparents, my parents moved from "town" back to the farm when I was nine and built a house between my grandparents and an uncle. Some days it was awesome and some days I complained loudly about being dragged away from civilization and my friends. My days before had been filled with riding my bike in the neighborhood, taking the quick walk to the library or to Dairy Queen for a dipped cone with my group of friends. All of a sudden I was out in the country, no local anything. But I was lucky enough to live on a loop road, so I was able to ride my bike as much as I wanted with little to no worries about traffic.

While I won't say it was all rosy and wonderful, I can say that I had a different, happier, independent childhood than the friends that lived in town. My parents both worked in town, not on the farm but I did learn about farming. My uncle had cows, my grandmother had  a wonderful garden full of flowers and vegetables, and my grandfather had the all important tractor. We had ponds, woodlands, a small creek and dirt, lots and lots of dirt. I never did catch the elusive "Ground Itch" I was constantly warned about and I am happy to say I still avoid shoes whenever possible.

 My early memories of summer are working right along side my grandmother, in the garden with a old large kitchen spoon. I was allowed to dig and make mud pies to my heart's content, my cousins called me the dirt dobber (which is also a name for a wasp so I never understood that one..lol) and they claimed to find spoons in the garden space many years after I had moved out and away. 

Later I would be consigned to a chair in the yard shelling beans, shucking corn and scraping potatoes for hours. I didn't realize how much of an impression sitting in the shade with my Grandmother, Aunt and other assorted relatives had really made on me. I was given a job, which taught me responsibility,  I learned about growing food and "putting it up", which gave me confidence that I was a valuable helper and best of all I got to listen in on the gossip which made me feel included, as well as gave a bit of leverage over my older cousins..lol. Along with that I learned self sufficiency, we weren't poor nor did we do without but we made sure everything was used to it's fullest. I learned where food comes from and when it's available. I learned how hours in the sun snapping or shelling beans pays off at Christmas when everyone is enjoying the family dinner. The best part was being let loose after the work was done, to go play hide and seek in the cornfields or to splash around in the creek with the crayfish and turtles, and more than often it was just to find a sunny spot to read a book

Late Summer and Early Fall brought harvesting, I still miss the smell of the tobacco curing and the smokehouse in full swing with hams and homemade sausage. Growing and Carving our own pumpkins and not to mention the 100 year old grape vine that was first picked and then pruned back. That meant jelly had to be made and then grapevine wreaths and baskets were made for family and friends for the holidays. Sweet Potatoes and other crops to be harvested by hand and have no doubt my cousins and I were easy and cheap labor. 

In the winter there were always barns to play in and trees to climb. My Mom got ambitious one year and we trekked through the woods until we found the perfect cedar tree, we dug it up and transplanted it in the yard, only because I couldn't stand the idea of it being cut down and then thrown away. Then there is the fact that my grandmother was a professional seamstress and I learned so many crafts from her. We pieced and hand-quilted a quilt for each of her grandchildren for when they got married. She valiantly worked with me on learning to sew, Showed me time and time again how to crochet and  I in turn taught her how to cross stitch. We both decided embroidery was a waste of time.

Then spring finally rolled around and it planting season again. I loved being able to go to the FCX and help pick out the seeds for the year. They sent them home in small brown paper bags and I spent hours counting and sorting seeds when I was small and then being allowed to gently place the seeds in the rows, (that was my personal take on it, I'm sure they were strewn all over and some happened to land in the right spot, but no one complained)

Yes, time makes the memories seem better than they were, at 18 I swore I would never ever shell another bean and I couldn't get out fast enough. Were there time it was awful, yes but those fade with time. Now I'm glad to have had the experience to learn about where my food comes from, understanding that local really is better and that a cool stream on a hot day makes it all worth while.
That's why many years later we continue to garden, make preserves and "Put up" veggies, and sell it to others so that maybe they can catch a glimpse of how great it is to have a connection to a farm including the dirt, the sunshine and the past.

Find a local farm, take a tour, get some veggies and most of all play a bit in the dirt, it will make everything just a bit better.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Photo Bombing on the Farm

A few day ago we had one of those really great early Fall days. We don't get too much Fall here. We seem to go from really hot to kinda hot to freeze warnings. So when we get a nice sunny day that isn't above 85 we try to get out and enjoy it.

While I was just sitting out back talking to the Chickens and enjoying nature I thought that I would try and get a few good picture of them for my instagram account. There in lies my problem. Generally if you aren't feeding them (or the cats) or directly talking to them they tend to ignore you. Quietly I get down on their level and pull out the camera, and there they are, all up in your face trying to figure out what interesting thing you are up to. Curiosity is not a domain limited to cats.

I waited until they had wandered a bit away and I here's my first shot. Not too bad, chickens being chickens. Holy Cow! I just saw Yoda there in the background waving, great, now the cats are bombing me too. Check out the crazy cat on the left,

Then I think they start to catch on that something is going on. I swear they think they are posing for the next issue of Backyard Chickens.

Then just as I think things are going well, I get this. And in all honesty I shouldn't have been surprised, she thinks she should be the center of attention at all times. And did I mention she is the complainer..Diva Chicken we call her,

So I try for one last group shot, they are never all in the same area at once. And Ookami just happens to pick that moment to wander by..There are Chickens behind that fuzzy head.
And he even has the nerve to smile for the camera. The Diva has been upstaged! 

Do you have a photo bombing animal at your house too? We can't be the only one with this problem..lol

Hope you are enjoying your Fall Days too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Day Dreaming about the Great Pumpkin

As you may have figured out we have a small farm, and we use every bit of it to the best advantage available. Fall is my favorite season and I have a crazy love for pumpkins.Big pumpkins, small pumpkins, different colored pumpkins, fake pumpkins, I love them all.

So in my love for pumpkins, in 2012,  I got the great idea that I would have our very own Our Greene Acre Pumpkin Patch! How awesome, kids could pick a pumpkin, we'd have Apple cider and pictures and all of that happy fall afternoon fun. Planted tons of seeds, six different varieties and they came up great. They were growing right along and then BAM , August rolled around and of course here comes Hurricane Irene, Tons of rain and wind and it did my pumpkin patch in. I was discouraged but I still held out hope for another patch in the future. Last year I sowed a few Long Island Cheese Pumpkin seeds in the flower bed up front and WOW, those took off. They climbed the bushes around them, and almost made it to the road. We kept turning the runners back towards the house. No crazy weather this time and I was rewarded with about 10 pumpkins off of just those couple of vines.

Following that success, I wanted to try the Pumpkin Patch again, but we were a bit short on garden since the 300 tomato plants, along with the other plants we had were doing so well. In steps Jimmy, our great neighbor from just down the road. He had a patch of garden that he wasn't using and we were welcome to it. All he wanted in return was a couple of pumpkins and a tour for his grandson. We could totally do that! Seeds planted, check. Organic (smelly) Fish Fertilizer in, Check. Plants growing like wildfire, Check. Blooms everywhere, Check.






 Too much rain in August, Check. Arggh 
Six and a half inches of rain in just four days,My Pumpkin Patch was on a bit of an incline and the rain just washed everything out and then we got mold, it was crazy and heart breaking, We had so much rain it cut ditches in the fields and washed plants right out. I couldn't believe it, I was just sick,

 I'll try again next year and fingers crossed it will eventually happen. We are lucky we didn't lose everything in our garden we had so many things that were ready and we harvested the majority of it a bit early but we saved it.
So instead of the Great Pumpkin, I'm settling for making these great Pumpkin Hats. The orders have kept me busy but I would have loved to see some of them running around in our patch, but there is always next year...

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Joys of Rural Internet


I was trying, I really was, I signed up  for Blogher's  NaBloPoMo, promising to post everyday in November and then the internet went down on me on day two. Sigh
We have to live in the only county in the United States that doesn't have access to some sort of Cable. We are left to the mercy of the phone company, while we do have DSL now, the first two years we lived here we had dial up. Yes you read that right Dial up! I didn't know that even was an option anymore.
In the county's defense they are trying to help and give us another option but I don't know if it is any better than what we are currently subjected to by the phone company. They are putting in a WiFi system on the county's water towers. So if you can see or are in a certain radius of these towers you have the ability to get on this system, for a price of course. Is sounds fairly archaic but necessary since the local Middle and High School were given a grant by a former Senator's foundation (that has since been to court and created a bit of drams for the country and not to mention the state) to make sure every student had a laptop to use at school and also bring home to do homework and research with.
Having said all that I plan on subjecting you to another post later today to hold myseld accountable to the total amount of posting for the month if not the correct days..

I really can't be living in the only county or state with this sort of problems, Can I? make me feel a bit better and tell me about your rural internet issues..

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fall 

It's finally here, Football, Pumpkins. Apple Butter and Pecans. It sounds simple but those things pretty much sums up fall around here. Not necessarily in that order either..

The great thing about living in North Carolina is the ability to travel from the coast to the mountains without ever leaving the state. We recently took a day trip to Asheville and stopped in at their farmers market. We are frequent visitors to the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, because we have to face the fact that we can't grow everything, and I love to just browse to see the veggies and plats available, But Asheville's Market is a whole new adventure. There you can get apples direct from the Orchard and since their season is a bit ahead of ours we get a sneak peak at whats up coming!

We brought home a couple of Bushels of Early apples, Arkansas Black and Suncrisp, they make awesome Apple Butter and Apple Sauce. We fill up the counters with Crock Pots and let them do all of the hard work. By the time we're done we'll have made at least 10 dozen jars for the Fall and Christmas markets. If you're interested in making some of you're own here's an easy recipe for you to try.

Crock Pot Apple Butter
 About 5lbs of Apples (we leave the skins on since they aren't waxed)
1 to 1 /12 cups of Sugar (Depends on the Apples and your preference, Brown or White Sugar)
1 Teaspoons of ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon of ground Cloves
1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar.

Core and Chop the Apples. Place then in the Crock Pot and cook on a medium heat for about an hour.
Once they have begun to soften add your spices and vinegar. Cook on a medium heat for 8 to 10 hours depending on the apples. They will be dark brown. We use and immersion blender to get a smooth butter. You can leave the lid off for the last hour or two to get a thicker consistency. Fill your jars leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles and place your lids.
Can be put into clean jars and kept in the refrigerator or it can be water bath canned. We process 1/2 pints for 10 minutes.  Makes about 8 1/2 pints

Great for Homemade Holiday Gifts or keep them all for yourself!