Sunday, December 2, 2012

Music Sunday

Tramploine by Greg Trooper
This song is dedicated to my baby girl.  And while we're here, the artist, our friend, Greg Trooper, lost his house in Rockaway when Hurricane Sandy came through.  Greg has suggested several organizations that are doing good work in that area, in case you want to get your holiday spirit on.  These are the links

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Music Sunday!

Introducing you to The Dirty Beggars, an awesome bluegrass band from Scotland.
Hey Hey from their album, Bite the Bullet

Turkey! (the cardboard kind)

A turkey post should be before Thanksgiving, and I had every intention, but planning and preparing Thanksgiving dinner for 15 (I thought there would be 18) just got in the way of talking about cardboard turkeys.

On the Friday before Thanksgiving I made turkey pins with fourth-graders at Swansboro Elementary School.  I mentor there once a week.  My mentee, Meosha, and I prepared for the project by cutting circles from cardboard boxes.
The students were really great.  They were engaged, respectful, and gracious, making it easy to finish the project AND have a snack in about 45 minutes.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We did here!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Frankenstorm Sandy

I feel like this storm is never-ending.  We spent the weekend in Williamsburg for our 35th college reunion and the weather there was yucky all weekend.  There were clouds and drizzle Friday (apparently it had nothing to do with the storm), black clouds and stiff breezes on Saturday (the rain held off until after the really bad football game), and when we left on Sunday it was raining steadily.  By the time we got home to Richmond it was just cloudy and rain.

Now it is Monday and everything is closed down in anticipation of worse weather.  It is raining but not hard and there are some mild wind gusts.  The bad stuff is supposed to arrive this afternoon and evening here.  It is expected to be worse north....from NOVA to New York and beyond....and it is already worse on the Virginia coast. 

Yesterday we made preparations.  We have lots of ice, water, batteries, and beer.  I made chili and pasta sauce that we can heat on the grill and I made an apple cake with some apples that were not going to last too many more days.  And Bill made the last run a few minutes ago...for charcoal and Halloween candy.  His list yesterday included the last two ingredients for Hurricanes...not the kind you get at Pat O'Brien's in NOLA.  These are 500% better.  I promise.

For one Hurricane
Mix in a large glass with ice:
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. light rum
1 oz. gin
1/2 oz. dark rum
1 oz. amaretto
1 oz. orange liqueur
A splash of grenadine
Top it off with half grapefruit juice and half pineapple juice
And enjoy (maybe just one).
To all my family and friends in the path of the storm...stay safe!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Brown Thumb

You would think that I would have a little more than a brown thumb....maybe a pea green one, at least.  My grandfather lived in a small North Carolina town where he gardened the two extra lots adjacent to his house.  He had amazing gardens.  He also had grape vines and cherry trees.  My dad had a huge garden for years and then when he moved to a place that didn't have room he grew tomatoes and peppers and beautiful gerbera daisys.

This is a picture of 3/8 of my tomato crop this year.  The three plants look so bad that I won't even show them.  And, yes, I know that if you want to grow vegetables and flowers and such that you have to actively take care of them.  You can't just stick them in the ground and expect them to produce...but that is what I do year after year. 

I have been spoiled by this.  The herb garden, planted in the old sandbox.  It is a crazy mass of chives, sage, mint, tarragon, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and basil.  And I think that I will just stop with that from now on.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Big Front Porch

Our front porch is probably the biggest "room" in the house.  And I think that it is our favorite too.
 I finally got around to painting it a few weeks ago. That is something that I try to do every year but I think I skipped last year so it was looking a little rough.

I like bright doors.  This one used to be purple, but purple doors became quite popular so we changed it.  Now this color seems to be popular too, but I am not really anxious to paint the screen door so I don't expect changes any time soon.  Speaking of the screen door, it is new.  I have wanted a slammin' screen door for years.  Now, thanks to our friend Henry we have one...custom-made.
This side is where we do most of our sitting.

One morning recently, just after I finished painting the porch, the bed was a little rumpled and things were moved around.  There was no wind the night before and no tracks that would indicate varmints.  I guess someone just took a rest some time during the night.  Oh well....
I think it is time to head out there now with a gin and tonic.  The days are shorter and we need to enjoy as much porch time as possible.


Friday, September 28, 2012


I love granola...homemade granola, that is.  This is my go-to recipe from Fresh Every Day
by Sarah Foster.  It has toasted oats, coconut and almonds.  Then it gets maple syrup, honey, and oil. 
And finally, dried cranberries and dried apricots are added.
I like it best with cold milk.  Yogurt is good too.  I have been known to just eat a handful.
Foster's Homemade Granola
from Fresh Every Day: More Great Recipes From Foster's Market
Makes about 6 cups
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1 t. kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil, plus more for greasing the pan
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Spread the oats, coconut, and almonds on a large baking sheet with sides.  Sprinkle with salt and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are lightly toasted but not yet golden.  Transfer the ingredients to a large bowl.
Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease the baking sheet with oil or spray with vegetable oil spray.
Stir the maple syrup, oil, and honey together in a small bowl, pour over the oats, nuts, and coconut, and toss to coat evenly.  Spread the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the granola is just crispy and golden brown, stirring several times while baking.  Let the granola cool completely on the baking sheet, breaking up any large clumps while it is still warm.
When the granola has cooled completely, add the cherries and dried apricots and toss to mix.  In an airtight container, this will keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wee Folk Doll

Some projects work better than others.  This was not one of my best efforts, mostly because I'm not good at drawing faces.  Actually I'm not good at drawing much of anything, but little bitty faces are especially challenging.  But the idea has potential.

This doll is from the book Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects by Salley Mavor.  This is one of the simpler projects in the book.  All the dolls use wooden beads, pipe cleaners (or chenille sticks if you want to get fancy), and embroidery floss.  Most of them have acorn cap caps and the fairy dolls have dresses and wings made from silk flowers (pretty clever).
I think this doll looks like a zombie fairy.  She reminds me of the pysanky eggs I made in a class once.  I called them punk pysanky.  I have a problem with detail.
But I want to make a pretty little doll, so I will try again.  The next time I will paint the wooden bead first and try painting the features on (instead of using the Sharpie :)).  And I think I will make some of the fancy felt clothes that are on many of the dolls in the book.  Maybe if the clothes are pretty enough noone will look at the face.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Music Monday

Songwriter, Susanna Clark, died June 27, 2012.  She wrote this song, Easy From Now on, that Emmylou Harris recorded in 1978 on Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town.  It has always been one of my all time favorites.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Music Monday

American Aquarium...on their new album, Burn. Flicker.Die.
I have a soft spot for songs about my lame hometown.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Gingermelon Doll

This is what the floor of my guest room/craft room has looked like for over a week. 

I started this doll last weekend but didn't have the right size safety eyes.  If you need eyes fast the place to go is this etsy shop.   I had eyes by Wednesday.
 This is a Pocket Pixie doll designed by Shelly at Gingermelon.  She has lots of patterns available. 

By making different kinds of dolls and trying out things I hope I get better at dollmaking.  It is a lot of fun when one is finished and looks like this (don't look too closely).

Uh oh....time out!!!

Music Monday

The Everybodyfields....I first heard them opening for The Avett Brothers at Cat's Cradle...Amazing!!!
They split up but came together a year ago at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival.  Jill Andrews recently toured with Kasey Chambers....Sam Quinn?????

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


This is another Mimi Kirchner pattern.  Remember the and here?  You can see Mimi's owls here and get the pattern here.  I only used the sewing machine to sew up the body...the rest was done by hand.  And the only cost was the plaid wool skirt that I found at the For Love of Jesus thrift store....$1.  Everything else came from my stash.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Really Needed This

We live in an 85 year old house with very little storage in no big closets, no pantry, and very little cabinet space.  So the last thing I need is another set of dishes.  But that is exactly what I bought a few weeks ago.  I just couldn't resist.

I stopped by an estate sale with two friends after we finished our morning walk.  These dishes just screamed at me.  Of course I had neither money nor checkbook with me and I seriously told myself that I just couldn't find a place to put them.  I went home.  And I kept thinking about them.

Around noon I went back...checkbook in hand.  I had decided that they couldn't possibly still be there...the price was too good.  And I was going to be okay with that.  But they were still there...and I bought them...along with a book of short stories, a travel guide to Costa Rica, and Bill Clinton & family paper dolls.

They rode around in the back of my car for a few weeks.  I finally unpacked them and I have found a place to put most of them...well, maybe half of them.  I originally thought they were carnival glass...but after researching, I find that they are actually yelllow irridescent depression glass.  They were made by Federal Glass Co. between 1933 and 1939.  The pattern is called Normandie. 

So now I have 78 pieces....and couldn't be happier about it.

Another Fish

I made another fish.  And this one is better than the first.  I only made two mistakes that had to be fixed....and it just looks better...healthier, I might say.

The two fish look great together....but I'm afraid he is just visiting.  I made him as a gift for a friend who turned fifty this week.  I think he will have a good home there.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Floyd Fest 11

Floyd Fest!!!!

Floyd Fest is a family-friendly music festival held near Floyd, VA...just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It features roots and progressive music from around the world and it is awesome.  Floyd Fest 11 happened last weekend.  And we were there!!!  Actually we have been there the last 7 years now.

The festival is at an incredible venue and it is clean, eco-friendly,  and well organized (for the most part....glitches do happen). Oh, yeah...they have great food too!  This is a Veggie good!!!

 We first attended in 2006 with both college-aged daughters.  In 2007 only one went with us and in 2008 the other and her boyfriend.  In 2009, 2010, and 2011 it was just the two of us (and thousands of friends) and this year sister-in-law and brother-in-law (otherwise known as Maribeth and Chris) traveled from Cleveland to go with us...they will be back.

Camping is available but we are not campers.  We have stayed in a hotel in Christiansburg (45 minutes away), at Fairy Stone State Park ( 35 minutes away), and for the last 4 years we have stayed at the Hotel Floyd in Floyd (25 minutes away)....perfect.

We almost always just do 2 days of the 4+ day festival.  That is enough for us.  We now arrive in Floyd on Friday...and get to enjoy the Friday night music in town.  Last year we were inttroduced to a band from Scotland...The Dirty Beggars...who were touring the US....playing wherever they could find a place.  They were amazing!!

This year the Saturday highlight was Brandi Carlile!

But we also enjoyed Doug & Telisha Williams and Scott Miller...and others. The Sunday lineup was over the top.  Darrell Scott, Steep Canyon Rangers, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Sam Bush, Bruce Hornsby, and Alison Kraus....the Sunday lineup all made for crazy long lines but it was all worth it.

Floyd should go!!

And this is what you see on the way home.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vintage Handkerchiefs

This is a pile of vintage handkerchiefs.  All of them belonged to my mother or my grandmother.  I have had a few of them for years but I found the rest stored with these things.

My mom always bragged about all her boyfriends.  I always thought her stories were just a little exaggerated, but evidently she had at least one boyfriend in the Navy who sent her these things.  And evidently she thought enough of him to save them.  Or she just thought they were cool.

But back to the handkerchiefs.  They are too pretty to keep stored away in a lingerie bag that my mother's Navy boyfriend gave her.  So when I found this I was inspired to make this.

It was simple!!  I just picked 6 hankies that were the same size, stitched them together on the machine, and it was done.

Now I am thinking about what to do with the others.  A baby quiltBurp cloths?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Fish for the Porch

I have been wanting to make this little guy for a while.  The pattern is Mimi Kirchner's.  Her blog is here and you can get the pattern here.


I used scraps...the largest piece was from my mother's stash that I inherited.  The green corduroy is from a jumper that I had in high school....a long, long, long time ago.  The fins are made from a skirt that I discarded recently.  Now when I clean out my closet..instead of throwing things in the Goodwill pile..I often hang onto something just so I can cut it up later.  It was pretty easy.  I may make him some pals before the summer is over.  He looks a little lonely.