Monday, February 28, 2011

Just what we've been waiting for

The temps are up a little and the rain (LOTS of it!) is melting the snow, but this evening during dinner I was so excited to hear geese overhead :)

Each fall their flights south signal that winter is coming and a few months later we hear them on their return trip north, a sure sign that nicer weather is on its way!

Tomorrow morning at 6:00 EST I will draw the name for my 1st giveaway this month. Add a comment to the post linked here for a chance!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Equation

The hunt for a Spring blog header has been going on here but we're still in those last days of Winter here in the northeast. As for me, I'll gladly take this heavy rain that's settled in. After all, according to my non-scientific mind:



R = MS *


But the days are getting longer and the sun is a little higher in the sky, when it's not raining or snowing. I have heard a few songbirds early in the mornings. Can the crocuses be far behind?


I'm thinking of a spring-related giveaway next week, something bright and cheery. In the meantime, please take a look at what is in this week's drawing. Add your comment to that post before Tuesday, March 1st for a chance to win :)


By the way, I found this out too late to join in, but Zo from So, Zo... What Do You Know is hosting a Me Made March similar to her Self-Stitched September. I haven't made enough cool weather clothes to be able to successfully join but I'll be stopping over there to see what everyone's created! There is always a great group of talented stitchers in her challenges.


Thanks for stopping by, folks! I hope you enjoy a terrific weekend :)

(* Rain = Melting Snow ;)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The 4 Bushel Variation of Carrot Cake Oatmeal

I make coffee in bulk, and I often cook a dinner that can be packed into single-serve lunches, so why hadn't it ever occurred to me to make oatmeal in a large batch for quick reheats? (Except, of course, for this wonderful baked oatmeal. Yum!)

To fill in the blanks from yesterday's post, I modified this recipe to make this:

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

2 cups cooked oatmeal (your choice/style)
1 grated carrot
1/2 cup water, and more as needed
1/4 cup raisins
1 teasp cinnamon
1/2 teasp nutmeg
1/2 teasp ginger
1/4 teasp ground cloves
2 Tablesp ground flax seeds


Simmer grated carrot in 1/2 cup water for 10 minutes. Add cooked oatmeal and reheat, adding more water, if necessary.

Add spices and flax seeds. Cook 5 minutes, adding water if needed to reach desired consistency.

Toppings: chopped walnuts, crushed pineapple

Optional: a cream cheese or marscapone "frosting", but I haven't tried that.....yet;) Other folks have made a zucchini bread oatmeal. That sounds good, too.



Looks like I'll be making weekly batches of oatmeal from now on :)





Don't forget to add a comment to Tuesday's post to be entered in my 1970's giveaway! The drawing is on Tuesday, March 1st at 6:00am EST.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

testing, testing.....

I had the opportunity to work in a chemistry lab for about nine months, some years back. The manufacturing plant where I worked was going through a reduction in workforce and some of us were shifted to other departments until we met our inevitable fate. I was moved to the chem lab. The funny thing is that I was a quick learner, and would take accurate samples and perform the testing procedures well. I also enjoyed what I was doing. I didn’t have a degree. Actually, I never even took chemistry class in high school. My scientific knowledge is limited to salicylic acid being what makes up aspirin, and that 16 degrees Celsius is equal to 61 degrees Fahrenheit.







Anyway, I think what I miss about being in a lab shows up in my interest in the kitchen. I love what happens when you mix, heat, and reduce.








Did you know that using cold milk will result in creamier oatmeal? I don’t know why, however I learned a long time ago that putting quick-style oats in a saucepan with cold milk will result in nice creamy oatmeal, not that watery cardboard-tasting stuff.






When I stumbled upon this recipe for Carrot Cake Oatmeal the other night, how could I resist? Those are two of my (many) favorite things. I set out to try it even though I had to substitute dried cranberries for the raisins and I have nothing that even slightly resembles cream cheese. (I decided to skip the frosting altogether.) So, as is my usual style, I experimented.







I declared it a complete success and had to package it up so that I wouldn’t eat it all. The two servings that I cooked by halving the recipe are slated to be my at-work breakfast for the next two days. Many of my co-workers bring in packets of that instant “stuff”, to which they add hot water and pretend they are enjoying their breakfast. But my jar of Carrot Cake Oatmeal will put their mush to shame when the heavenly aroma wafts from the microwave. And so, I can say……."Let them eat cake!" (carrot cake, that is ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Celebrate! 1972-style ;)

To celebrate over 400 posts, 2 years of blogging, a new etsy shop, and the many new friends I've met, I'm hosting 4 giveaways in the next few weeks. Today I'm listing a Simplicity sewing pattern from 1972. Whether you are an experienced seamstress, a novice stitcher, or someone who just likes vintage graphics, I think you'll like this pattern (or just the envelope;)











The pants View 1 has cool seam interest on the back. View 2 has a yoke front. Views 3 and 4 (with and without front pockets) have cuffed legs. So you have many looks from one pattern. It's a veritable wardrobe!



This pattern is a Miss Size 12, which translates to waist: 26.5" and hip: 36", but don't despair if this isn't your size. There are many tutorials on the internet showing how to re-size a sewing pattern so you can size it up, or down!










The pieces were well kept and are ready for use again!



Please add a comment to this post to be entered in the drawing for this item. The winner will be picked at random, on Tuesday, March 1st, at 6:00am.


Take a hop over to my etsy shop sometime. I've only started listing all the interesting finds and lovely pieces that have come across my path. There will be so much more! You know I search out pieces of the past from all over New England, so you never know what I will find out there :)


Monday, February 21, 2011

Preserving pieces of the past, crafting a future

That's the "slogan" I've chosen, which you may have already noticed in the addition to my sidebar. This month I have opened my etsy shop. (Trumpets, please ;)

My fascination with the design, color, and lifestyle of previous decades is fairly evident to anyone who reads my posts. I love to learn about history. I delight in holding an item that was useful in another era, whether it be a well-worn darning egg or a garden tool. One of my favorite personal treasures is the trench-art ashtray brought back from Europe after WWII by my military uncle. To hold it is to imagine the determination of the soldiers amidst the conflict.

Throughout my many years of collecting all things vintage, I always consigned them through brick and mortar shops. This worked well at an earlier time in my life, but now I am taking on the responsibility for the promotion and sale of these lovely pieces of the past so that others may also enjoy them. You may find clothing, eye wear, or even a length of feedsack.








Several boxes of older sewing patterns are patiently waiting to find new homes, and new use!





I have also created a section of my shop for my upcycled accessories. You've seen many of the pieces that I have re-styled for myself over the past year. Now I will be offering handmade repurposed items. There will be quite a selection appearing in the next few weeks! The projects in my mind are ready to spring from my sewing machine ;)


As a Thank You to all my longtime blogging friends and a Welcome to all my new friends, I am having 4 giveaways, one in each of the next few weeks that lead up to my 2nd blogiversary. The first will be posted tomorrow and may be of interest to my sewing friends, or anywho who loves the styles from years past ;)


This new adventure is very exciting. I hope to meet many new friends. Stop over and visit while I preserve pieces of the past, and begin to craft a future :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Applique quilt progress - 2/18/2011

I have made many quilts over the years, and done hand quilting on consignment for a quilt shop while my children were young. But this is my very first appliqued quilt. It may take longer, but I'm enjoying the process.


This is the beginnings of a floral wreath medallion on this center panel of muslin.








There will be many, many more flowers inserted into the blank spaces as I stitch. All the appliques are cut from vintage aprons that were well worn and loved by women from decades past. (I have yet to find the appropriate yellow-orange apron for the center of the large flowers.) But I am SOOOO pleased with the results of last night's sewing.


I plan to have the center medallion finished before next month's Sew In so that I can start on the corner panels at that time.

Take a quick hop over to Friday Night Sew In for the links to see what others have accomplished! That's where I'm headed now. Thanks for stopping, and have a GREAT weekend!



(Wow! Over 160 people have signed up this month!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Preparation

This Friday night I will be sans computer by choice. Instead, I will be sitting in the comfy recliner appliqueing dozens of small fabric cutouts to a piece of white fabric while listening to the radio. This evening I cut out little freezer paper pattern pieces and ironed some onto the fabric in preparation for Friday. This Friday is the scheduled monthly Friday Night Sew In, which is hosted by Crafty Vegas Mom and Handmade by Heidi. There are well over one hundred folks already signed up to participate, and I have been enjoying perusing their blogs to see what crafting they have been doing. On Saturday, all the participants post photos and details of their work.


Please stop back on Saturday to see how my quilt top is progressing. Meanwhile, I'll be hopping over to all the other Friday Night Sew In crafters to see what they've accomplished :)


Have a wonderful Thursday (and Friday)!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Almost

I love this picture. It was in those baskets I rummaged through a few weeks ago. It's a shame that there's no name or date written on the back, but this proud farmer and his herd really struck a cord with me. He worked hard, taking care of the cows, and he liked what he did. I can just barely make out a smile on his face in the photo. Guessing by the length of the shadows and that he's not wearing a hat, it must be getting closer to Spring. The trees are not yet in bud, but some of the snow has melted on higher spots in the field. The sun must have felt good that day.





I smiled when I looked at the barnyard, remembering what it's like to walk on gloppy ground that froze unevenly where heavy animals walk. It can be a hair-raising experience ;)

Temperatures are rising, the days are getting longer. Keep smiling, folks. Spring will soon be here and the cows will be back out in the fields.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Special wishes


I hope your day is filled with love and happiness!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Repair

This blender cost me one dollar a few years ago and it has paid me back many times over for all the times I've used it. It's one of those 60's era models, hefty and solid, with a good motor. But recently the gasket deteriorated and liquids started leaking badly. I was faced with two options, buy a new model or try to fix this one. Yep, you know what my choice was.









I found an online shop that specializes in parts for vintage appliances and ordered two sets of gaskets, one for now and one for the future. I plan to keep this blender for a long time. Both sets cost just under $14, delivered. The blender was repaired for less than $7, with the other $7 set safely taped inside my main cookbook where I will see it often.

I didn't drive around looking for a replacement, so I saved gas. No raw materials were used to produce a new blender or wasteful packaging (only the gaskets and envelope they were mailed in.) And I still have that classic green model sitting on my kitchen counter. Win, win.

Now, breakfast...... :)




...ahhhhh! :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gotta love technology

Hello all,

I have been having problems connecting to the internet for the past two days. Please forgive me if I my posts or comments lag behind. (I'm at the library now to post this quick note.)

I have one post pre-scheduled for this Sunday, but I'll try to get on again when I can.

I guess it's finally time to take my laptop in and let them clean it out.


Update: Well, now it's working again at home ~ : /
But I've scheduled it for a tune-up next week, no matter what!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sweet things

Some years ago this pinafore must have made a little girl very happy. It turned up during my visit to a secondhand shop last Sunday. It's a very light cotton blend. The lace is starting to come loose at the hem and there are some small, barely noticeable rust colored stains here and there. It was definitely well worn.









Going on the feeling that all the pink and lavender is what little girls love, I restyled it into a dress for my granddaughter's doll. In my stash was a piece of lavender rickrack, just big enough to trim the hem and neckline.










Tomorrow morning it will be in the mail. Speedy delivery! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Five Things

Maria really had me thinking early this morning. For anyone not familiar with my New England neighbor, she writes My Full Time Life and her life really is full, all the time! She's an energetic gal. She tagged me to list five things I wouldn't leave home without. Perhaps she's seen my small (overstuffed) purse! ;)



Well, here's the quick list -



My eyeglasses. I've been nearsighted since fifth grade, but I only wear them when driving. (I wore contacts when I was younger but vanity has moved on.)

Ponytail elastics. My hair is long enough to warrant being tied back whenever I darn well please :)

Cellphone. 'nuff said 'bout that.

Small pocket calendar. The One Dollar type, for appointments, birthdays, and scribbling down notes that I won't be able to decipher later.

And I never leave the house without making sure the heat and all unnecessary appliances are turned down or off. I hope that doesn't sound obsessive but one time I came home after two days away to find my home a nice, toasty 68 degrees! Those were dollars going up the chimney :(

Now I should ask two more bloggers to play along although everyone is invited, if you so choose :)

How about:

Mug from ParadingChicks

Impera_Magna from The Adventures of the Empress of the Universe

Care to post 5 things you wouldn't leave home without?




P.S. Don't forget about the upcoming Friday Night Sew-In on February 18th!

A chance meeting


Two weeks ago I met this mysterious gentleman. I was drawn to his sturdy yet work-worn demeanor, and the way his large frame settled in that chair. His suit was made of a coarser fabric, strong but unpressed. It had softened a bit over the years from use. He wore durable work shoes. There was nothing fancy or pretentious about him. His beard was trimmed for the occasion, perhaps by the town barber earlier that day. His large hands looked strong from many years of hard work, and his stern gaze seemed to show he was a man of determination, clarity, and sincerity. I wanted to find out more.










His photo is the first that I really noticed, the one that said we’ve all lived our lives here, long ago. We’ve all laughed and cried and went to church on Sundays and maybe had a little too much to drink on Saturday nights. We’ve been in love and cared for sick babies. Some of us stayed on the family farm and some of us worked in town.

The shop owner was pleased that this photo was one of my choices. He had sorted all of them and noticed that this one had information lightly penciled on the back, something that I completely missed. There were notes that the photographer made to touch up spots for the final print. More importantly, the name and address of the mysterious gentleman was revealed, showing that he lived only a few blocks from the store where this photo had been waiting in the box.

Anywho.com lists 14 folks with his last name in the same town. I’m fairly confident I would get results from a small ad listed in the local paper. It would be ideal to get this gentleman back to his family but I’d also like to learn a little more about him and those fields, now long gone. On another trip north I may stop in at the city clerk’s office to look through records to find out the exact years he lived there. Perhaps do some amateur genealogy research to trace down his descendants. And at some time this summer I’ll be walking through that neighborhood, to see if his image outlasted his house.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sign ups for Friday Night Sew In - 2/18/2011

In case you'd like to join in with some crafty folks on Friday, February 18th, just follow this link






to sign up for the next Friday Night Sew In!

Wouldn't it be great to start some projects for Spring and Easter, or maybe just spend an evening working on a favorite craft?

Check out the participants and see what they've been doing. And be sure to add your name and blog link so everyone can stop by to see what you're working on.

I hope to see you there! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jaconde Imprime

Wow! My eyes popped when I saw these fabulous looking desserts. I read all the steps in the recipes and I definitely have a great admiration for the patience these folks must have. Each of these desserts is wrapped in a light layer of decorated sponge cake.



Elegant!





The multi-colors make these look fun :)





Photo from the Show Food Chef







What a sweet surprise for a special person!





Photo from A Little Bit of Everything





Wouldn't it be great to have one of these setting on your dining room table now....with a cup of coffee.....mmmmm!




For even more tempting cakes, take a click over to The Daring Kitchen !



Sunday, February 6, 2011

Productive weekend

We finally caught a break with a missed winter storm. The mess that was supposed to start on Saturday morning never materialized. I had prepared for the worst and planned on staying in all weekend to putter in fabrics and read, which is exactly what happened.

Saturday started with a few cups of coffee, a cleaned kitchen, a batch of lavosh, and dried garbanzos soaking to make falafel.










On Sunday I dashed off to some secondhand stores looking for unusual fabrics and such needed to go to the grocery store so I made an extra stop, just for fun.


I also cut out a few dozen of these....




So I could start sewing them on this....



Now I'm going to cook up some wild rice to use during the week, then I'll sit back down with a needle and thread to see about getting a few more leaves on the quilt.

I hope you had a great weekend, and that the sun was shining on you today!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Faces

While on my recent road trip, I stopped at one of my favorite secondhand shops. It's one of the smallest stores I frequent, and I often leave empty-handed. But on this visit I had to stop myself from making a sizeable purchase.

At the front of the dimly lit shop were a few boxes and baskets of very old professional photographs. There were about two to three hundred pictures of folks who had primped and fussed and then sat to have their photos taken. So many faces all dressed up to impress.

I want to share with you some of the beautiful faces that I came across last weekend. At this time I am trying to get them scanned, but here are a few that intrigue me.









I couldn't imagine this young woman's background or the occasion surrounding this photo. She's very dignified and serious. Her photo was taken in Palmyra, NY by "The only photographer in America holding six gold medals awarded in national competition.







This gentleman's eyes are so clear and bright. He appears to be a very happy person. I've been referring to him as "The Captain". I imagine him to have a homestead outside of town or perhaps he owns the general store. He keeps a pleasant demeanor while working steady and for long hours. His picture was taken by a photographer in North Troy, VT, which is in the northeasternmost corner of the state. North Troy can have bitter cold and snowy winters, which makes living off the land difficult. Folks from there are a strong stock.








The details in this photo really caught me. The sailor outfit on the youngest child. Mother and daughter are wearing matching blouses and brooches. The detail at the hem of the daughter's skirt as well as the pleats in that skirt make it very stylish for the era. How carefully combed is the hair on the youngest children, and the part in the son's hair was done with precision. With all their careful planning, I wonder if this portrait was done as a gift for father.


I looked through the photos thoroughly at least twice, and pondered over the ones I had chosen. So many faces, pompadours, grandiose mustaches, toddlers dressed and combed and fussed over. With so many dreams that I could never guess. I could only bring home a few of these treasures.




Many of those other beautiful faces will be posted soon.





Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Introductions

These are the two reasons I make homemade dog biscuits.


First is young Mr S, who lives with my youngest son and his girlfriend. Mr S is very friendly and loves to play catch. He is well behaved and was told to "sit" just before this photo. (He was also expecting me to give him another biscuit;)












...and this is Ms S, a sweet gal who calmly lets my grandchildren hug her and fuss over her. Here she is watching them as they play in the snow....just making sure they're okay. She had quite a romp in the snow that day. We threw small bits of bark from the woodpile which she chased after across the snowy yard. (After she discovered that I brought biscuits with me, she would often sit in front of me, waiting for another treat.)











I accept that my life isn't styled for a pet at this moment but when that time comes I could see a canine companion like either of these two. Especially since they both like snow :)



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Too far between....


....trips.


Once I realized it had been many months since my last trip north, my itchy foot and aching heart demanded that I visit children and grandchildren, pronto. It had been much too long since I had seen family and friends so I set off on the dreary, snowy morning last Tuesday to make things right. The first stretch of the trip, which usually takes 45 minutes, took almost two hours due to traffic moving at a snail's pace on the interstate. The weather was being a bear, but that was the only traffic issue it caused for the rest of the trip. I arrived to see my grandchildren shortly after their schoolday was done, full of excitement and energy.



The sun shone for most of the visit, allowing us to be outside and enjoy the crisp air and clean snow. The children had small "hills" of snow for sledding, courtesy of their dad's plow. I chose to jump back into the country life by bringing loads of firewood from the woodpile behind the barn to the smaller supply near the rear door of the house. It is true that firewood warms you twice. I wore a cotton turtleneck with a sleeveless fleece zippered hoodie and was as warm as could be.










I saved one day to spend with a dear friend who had recently lost her brother. We chatted away the hours and I felt as if I had never moved away. We talked of everything from recipes to the stock market, and I was caught up on all the local goings-on by the time we ran out of things to say. We chat on the phone every other week or so but once we sit in the same room, time is irrelevent.



One day was saved for time with my youngest son and his sweet girlfriend. It makes me smile just to be with them. Lunch was at a local spot where I enjoyed an excellent beef stew with slabs of fresh whole wheat bread. The kitchen is mostly open so we were able to watch much of the cooking and prep work.



My nights were cozy in the "extra" room, which has the added benefit of large windows that look out towards the field. In the middle of the night I can watch the stars or softly falling snow. I also kept the woodstove going by adding logs in the wee hours of the morning. Oh, how I miss that warmth from the woodstove now that I'm back home.








So between family and friends, good food, games, resting, and rejuvenation, it was a winter getaway of epic proportions.




more to come....