Saturday, June 12, 2010

Some Very Needed Time Away...

I know some of you are missing my posts, and I know I haven't had so much to say lately.  I'm doing ok though, and during this hiatus I've been following along with your posts.  My time away began as a time-budget thing.  It was really hard for me to manage my time because of my new job.  I pretty much came home, cooked supper, tended to as many chores as I could manage, and hit my pillow already asleep.  I wouldn't trade my job for anything though.  Love it!  As much as I love to post things on my blog, I had to cut back in one area for the success of other important areas.  For those of you who haven't given up on me yet and are still reading this, I thank you and am humbled.

When our winter finally broke, that began a whole new arena for me to spend any extra inkling of my time.  I usually have all sorts of new plantings and the occasional new flower bed happening.  This year is a little different though.  I dialed it back.  Oh, I still have new plantings don't worry about that.  I just didn't get too crazy with the creativity this year.  I have just enough planted that I feel like there's something pretty to look at. 

I never really had an annual color theme thing going on here.  I usually planted whatever sparked my fancy and tied it all together.  This year, I don't know why, but I decided to have a "Color Theme" with my annuals.  I think an Annual Color Theme will be fun!  Maybe I could create whole new bedding ideas with this?!  For my First Annual Color Theme, I've decided to go with something of a Patriotic palette.

I don't have any photos of that yet (I'll try to do that soon!), but I do have a couple I took of my bleeding hearts. I absolutely swooned over them this year.  They were just so striking, and there were so many bloom spikes that lasted for weeks and weeks!  Our weather must have been just right for their liking.

There was also another thing going on for me during this time.  Well, ok, a kinda big thing.  And this big thing has been going on for some time now.  Nearly 3 years to be exact.  And it was getting bigger.  You'll have to trust me on this, bigger is not always better.  It brought along with it many complications; quite debilitating at times!

So after dealing with far too many evil complications, much contemplation, much self-reflection, and a great big deep breath...

2.  Days.  Ago.  I.  Did.  Something.  About.  It.

The new me.

Each day has been a tiny bit better than the previous one.  Tiny is good.  I'm up on my feet, albeit a bit unsteady and a bit achy, I am up on my feet!  I'm a very lucky girl; my family and friends have been so supportive of me.  Somebody needs to tell me to knock it off and try to rest after all!

Now, a whole new chapter awaits me.  And I can hardly wait to see what and where it will bring me.  So my flower beds will keep till next year.  I'll be ready.  For now I'm content to have my little uncomplicated plantings.  Amen.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Early Spring Quietude


 Not very far from the farm is a single-lane bridge that nobody has used for quite some time now.  I'm not sure that is would be very safe to actually drive across it these days though.  But then again, I've seen the river so high that the water is actually rushing across the floor boards.  On closer inspection, it's surprising to see that the floor boards aren't nearly as rotted out as you'd think they should be.  It stands as a testament to how well-built things were  "back in the day."  I sometimes wonder what year it was built, and I try to imagine how many changes in cars there were from the time it was built, until the last one drove across it.  If only it could talk!  It may not be as beautiful or interesting as the covered bridges we all love (we've got those around too!), but I always thought that this was an interesting structure and beautiful in its' own way.

(here's how it would look without the effects)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What's a dog to do with so much snow?

 Aha!! Have snow cones of course!!
Mmmmm....very happy.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sea Glass Washes up in the Midwest

Yep, that's right, sea glass.  Here?  In the Midwest?  Can you believe it?!

I can.

Well...sort of.  I made a new batch of my sea glass soaps!  I came up with this design about 20 years ago, quite by accident.  I was re-batching some of my leftover M&P soap scraps and the end results came out pretty.  I liked the way the colors worked together, and the softness of the whole effect, but it didn't dawn on me that it looked like sea glass until I had been using one of my bars for a few days.  I was washing my hands and the sun happened to shine through my window just right onto the bar.  I immediately thought of sea glass.  I love sea glass and whenever I can manage to get to the ocean, I'm always on the lookout for some.  It's so pretty.  I'm a loooong way from any coastline, but these bars always take me back to the ocean.  I think they add a nice touch to my powder room.

Here are a few of the bars that I've been making to cut up for embeds.  Ever since my accidental Sea Glass Soap Invention, I've been making the embeds instead of using scraps.  It may not look much like sea glass at this stage, but it looks much different once it's built into the soap.

I make all sorts of different M&P (as well as CP) soaps.  Since I've got my M&P stuff out, I thought I'd share a few of my other ingredients.  The only ingredient I'll be using from this group is the Shea butter.   (clockwise from top left: 100% Cocoa Butter, Unrefined 100% pure Shea butter, Unrefined beeswax).  The beeswax is from a local beekeeper who sells all sorts of honey-related products.  We try to support as many of the local "mom & pop shops" as we can.  They are such an important part of what defines our country.  The Shea butter I use is from Ghana (couldn't find that product made locally!!), and it was hand milled.  Can you imagine what a loooong day it would be hand-milling Shea butter!!!  It'll add just enough milkiness to the looks of my soap, and the real bonus is that it adds super moisturizing qualities.

And here are a few of the products I use to color and fragrance my soaps.  I didn't pull them all out for this picture, so what you see are a very small representation.  One of my favorite fragrances for soap is Satsuma.  I pick it up at The Body Shop.  Whatever you use, just make sure to only use essential oil when fragrancing your soapsFragrance oil is not the same as essential oil, and it will provide unexpected results once it's added to soap.

This is what my carved-up sea glass embeds look like before i mold the bars.

Here are my results.  The bars look darker in my pictures than they do in hand, but I think they are reminiscent of sea glass.

The bottoms..

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

4 Generations of Aprons

I've been really, really bad and haven't posted for a while.  A long while.  I started a new job a couple of weeks ago, and have been trying to settle into a new routine of leaving home while it's still dark, and getting home after it's once again dark. Even though I haven't actually posted anything (for weeks now!), I have been keeping up with everything you've been writing about.  I really enjoy reading all of your blogs!  I can hardly wait to get home so I can catch up on everything.  I don't know what I'll ever do if I end up without electricity for an extended period of time!


I just looove vintage aprons!  I've got a few that were my grandmother's, and I even have one that belonged to my great-grandmother who was born in 1852!  Talk about vintage.  They were both excellent seamstresses.  These aprons were sewn by them, and are very special to me.  Please forgive the fold lines from being stored.  I just don't feel comfortable putting an iron on the fabric.  My grandmother was a quilting goddess who learned to sew from her mother. Grandma had won many, many blue and purple ribbons in fairs for her work.  She was an outstanding seamstress and continued to quilt well into her 90's.  She did have a Singer treadle sewing machine, but all of her quilting was done by hand on her huge quilting frames.  Her aprons were a combination of treadle sewing machine, and hand stitching.

Here is some of her apron work...

 And another whimsical one...

And one more with her beautiful embroidery


And this one was made by my great-grandmother.  It's over one hundred years old.  It's not flashy, but it was an effective way for her to keep her skirt clean.  It's hard to tell, but there's a patch pocket near the top.  Notice how short the ties are...she was a tiny petite little thing and stood right about 5' tall.  Gathered up, her apron was a basket she used to gather eggs, and harvest fruit and veggies from her garden.  I imagine it came in handy when she removed down-feathers from her ducks to stuff pillows with too!

Finally, I'm hoping to find some time really soon to begin working on my own apron.  I recently bought a vintage apron pattern and have already carefully traced all the pieces.  I looked for a long time before I found the fabric I wanted.  Well, I actually ended up buying "Plan B" fabric, because I couldn't find any really cute vintage-looking cabbage rose prints in any of the stores in my area.  It even took me a long time to find the Plan B fabric!  But I think this fabric is really cute and it should have a nice look once it's finished.