Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall, 2010

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

I love love love Blogger's Quilt Festival!  Sometimes it takes me several days to look at all of the links, but it is one way I've found a bunch of blogs I want to keep reading.

My entry for this festival has got to be the Orange Crush quilt. For the entire back story and all the mistakes made along the way, you can click "Orange Crush" in the tags for this post and it will take you along the journey.  For the festival, suffice it to say that this was not a quilt in a day kind of project.

Orange Crush was a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from way back in 2008.  I started it right after Bonnie came to speak at our guild meeting, which was also the spark that got me blogging to begin with.  She's an inspiration, I tell ya!

Every scrap holds a memory
I love how scrappy it is, and how Gracie can amuse herself by pointing out the different fabrics and remembering what quilt it was originally made for. 

I can't tell you what a little thrill it gives me every morning when I wake up Gracie and unearth her from her quilted burrow, or at night when I peek in on her sprawled under its bold colors, with just a few toes peeking out.  
Beaded Curtain by Leah Day
 Love this FMQ design by Leah Day.

Hand dyed back by Ben Hollingsworth
And did I ever even show you the back that Ben hand dyed just for Gracie?   They discussed design and her favorite colors about a year ago...and then one day he just showed up at bee with it.  She loves it so much, she says, that she can hardly decide if she likes the front or the back better!  Thanks, Ben!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Harvesting the Basil

Ready for Harvest
Have any of you ever harvested your own seeds? I haven't. A few years ago my Great-uncle Tony got my attention when he mentioned that he was harvesting his basil seeds. This is a man who really knows his basil - he and my Great-aunt Rose had a legendary battle going one year over the epic drying vs. freezing debate.

So I've always wanted to try it, but I am notorious for abandoning my gardening projects in August when it gets too hot for humanity to be outside. My basil is rarely alive long enough to harvest any seeds.

But this year I did much better. This year I pinched as I made pesto and fresh salads, but left a few spikes to go to seed. I googled to see how to do it - Uncle Tony's advice was a bit fuzzy after so long - and found a lot of information, and a YouTube video.

The Herb Gardener
Dave's Garden

So I decided to try it.  I guess we'll find out next summer if it works.

And did you know that you can harvest other kinds of seeds? 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Washington Farms

Part two of our fabulous day in Watkinsville includes our trip to Washington Farms.  I am a facebook friend of theirs, so I get updates during the year when the strawberries and blueberries are ripe. 

When you arrive, everyone loads up for a hayride around the pumpkin patch to the other activities.  Heads up - they only take cash or personal checks, but there is an ATM.  $12 for adults gets you everything you see here, plus the pig races (we missed it by half an hour), several fun playground/trike track areas, and more.

 There's a corn a sand box but with dried corn kernels.  What a strange yet appealing sensation!  (Can you believe how big Piper is getting?)

They rode the cow train...

 Grownups can ride too!

Where do the baby goats in the petting zoo sleep?  
At the Goatel 6, of course!

 There were two sets of baby goat twins in the petting zoo area...

Gracie let them suckle on her finger...
But Piper did NOT like it!

She's such a good big cousin.  
They can't wait til she's old enough to babysit.

Everyone had a blast on the jumping pillow.

And my girl caught some big air!

Last, we got lost in the corn maze.  What a perfect day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Wonderbarn

Yesterday Gracie and I had a beautiful day visiting with some cousins out in Watkinsville, GA.  They live on some beautiful property with a pond and a barn and lots of cats and dogs and ducks and fish.


The barn, the Wonderbarn, is home to Main Street Yarns and Fiber which, sadly, was closed.   We got to peek inside at the beautiful hand dyed wool, incredible selection of yarn, and serene spaces to sit and knit.

The back of the Wonderbarn is Cindy's art studio, and a space to envy. 

I am bound and determined to go back one day when the yarn shop and nearby Dragonfly Quilt Shop are open.  I hear it's fabulous, too.

Tomorrow - part II of our big day!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Holiday Grand Plan Week 9 - Pantry/Closets Week

How did week 8 go?  While I didn't achieve my dream of cleaning out every cabinet and drawer, I did  do a major deep clean of my fridge.  WOW was there some old yucky stuff in there!  Now it looks so clean and roomy for my holiday cooking!

While I was dumping stuff out, I saved the jars for this week's holiday treat to share.  I also managed to get some ground beef browned in onion and taco seasoning in the freezer for a super quick and easy dinner that I'll share.

And I finally got my first three gifts purchased!  Have any of you been to a Dove Chocolate Party?  It seems to be the latest in the MLM home party businesses, and I went out of friendship loyalty (like usual) last week.  YUM!  Way more fun than candles or kitchenware, although I love those too!  We got to sample all kinds of chocolate-y goodness and laughed a lot.

OT Alert!:  I am a big fan of doing as much shopping as I can at these types of businesses for several reasons.  One year I even invited over all of my favorite reps and had a fall gathering for my friends.
  1. Due to the shipping/ordering process, it forces you to get the shopping done early.
  2. It's way more fun to flip through a catalog with friends than to frantically push through the malls in December.
  3. You are supporting small business, usually owned/run by women employing women.
  4. You are less likely to buy the same old thing that everyone has seen.
  5. The quality tends to be higher.  Although the prices are also sometimes higher, you can check out the deals and know you are giving a really nice gift.

So anyway, at the Dove party, I got a gift for my dad, SIL, and friend.  Two are birthdays, but November and December birthdays get folded into this whole crazy plan!

Welcome to Week 9!

This week we are going to continue to work on a freezer meal, a holiday treat, and our gift shopping.  Work an hour a day on your handmade gifts.

The deep clean job this week is the pantry and extra closets.  This is one that is long overdue in my house.

Although we're not sending cards, this is also the week to start addressing them and getting that family picture done.  You can order your turkey for Thanksgiving, and send invitations for Thanksgiving (if you do that kind of thing - somehow over 40 people always manage to show up at Mom's even without them).

When ground beef is on sale, stock up!  The recipe at this link calls for 1 1/2 lbs ground chuck, and the first step is to brown it with some diced onions.  Then you stir in the taco seasoning.  At this stage, the meat can be frozen in batches and used later for this recipe or your favorite tacos, burritos, taco salad, etc.  You can also easily substitute ground turkey or shredded chicken.

I made this on Friday for tailgating at the last home football game.  I needed something quick and easy because I had a sub job Friday and a hair appointment at 3:30.  Getting the car loaded and food prepped in the remaining time needed to be simple!

I used both recipes at the link (the corn salsa is yummy!) and also made my world famous guacamole.  Okay, maybe only famous with our family and friends, but still good.  The recipe took no time at all, was easy to eat (some ate it with a fork from bowls, some wrapped it in a tortilla), and reheated beautifully the next day for some college football viewing pleasure.

Holiday Treat of the Week - Mom's "Homemade" Hot Cocoa Mix
Remember those jars you saved when you cleaned out the fridge?  Let the kids decorate the outside of the lids and stir up some hot cocoa mix.  Mix up in the biggest bowl you have and get the popcorn ready for movie night. 
  1. 2 lb box (actually 40 oz) Nesquick
  2. 1 lb powdered sugar
  3. 11 oz jar CoffeeMate
  4. 8 qts powdered milk
Stir together.  To make cocoa, add 2 heaping Tbsps to a cup of hot (not boiling) water.  Top with marshmallows and stir with a peppermint stick to be fancy.

If you didn't save any jars, it's also quite cute to put the mix in a disposable icing piping bag, top with mini marshmallows, and tie with a pretty ribbon.
Lovely to share or keep!   Enjoy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blogtoberfest Fail

Blogtoberfest, in the words of my sons, has been an epic fail for me.  Not only have I missed several days of posting during a month when I committed to posting daily but, quite frankly, some of the posts are just boring.

I think there is great value in getting into the habit of writing daily.  I think the blogs that are updated, if not daily, then very regularly are of a higher caliber and more widely followed. 

Which is why, I suppose, there are only 36 people following this one. 

But some days life just happens.  Some days I get to the end of the day and absolutely nothing of interest has happened.  Some days I haven't touched my crafting, I haven't made dinner, I've done nothing special with my children.  Some days I'm just trying to get through to the end.

So I apologize for those of you who subscribe and have been bored during October.  I will try to post more regularly when there's something of value to share, but I don't think I'll be committing again to daily posts.

Now I'm going to try to find something creative and brilliant to do for tomorrow!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Enjoying the Small Things

Does anyone else here read Kelle's blog? If not, you should.

My mom pointed the way last spring when they were visiting Naples, FL, and saw an article in the local paper about her. Mom kept asking me if I had found the blog, if I had read it, and I never found the time. Until one day, when I was substitute teaching and had two planning breaks back to back, and I got bored with my book and decided to google it.

Oh my!  I was so sucked in!  I was subbing for that same teacher for four days, and by the end of the job I had read all the way back to the beginning of the blog, back before Nella.

And now, when a new post pops up in my reader, I save it for last.  I save it because I know I'm going to want to take my time and because I know I'm going to need a moment to collect myself when I'm done.  There is no reading Kelle's post and then moving along to planting bulbs or the perfect slow cooker stew.  Uh uh.

Not much makes me cry anymore.  I'm a pretty jaded old gal, and I've seen a lot of things in this world.  But these posts almost always get me.  I feel the tears welling and I'm just done.  Not sad tears, although sometimes her beautiful pictures of Lainey and Nella make me wistful for this little girl:

No, the tears are tears of appreciation and acknowledgment for the truth behind Kelle's words.  They always make me stop and, as they are meant to, enjoy the small things in my life.  Like rainy days when practice is canceled and we have time for a real dinner as a family.  Or Sunday afternoons in front of the football game.

And sometimes, every so often, she spurs me into action.  That's what happened today.  I was behind on my reading when Grace asked if she could shoot hoops before studying for her Social Studies test.  I gave her 15 minutes, and decided to catch up on my reader.  I like to be in the office so I'm right by the front door, because my girl is getting grown up but not so big that I want her all alone in the front yard while I'm vacuuming, you know?

I cleared out all of the home improvement and quilting posts, and finally clicked on Kelle's.  When I read this one, I just stopped.  And suddenly, without thinking too much about it, I grabbed my camera and the jeans quilt and walked out into the yard to sit with her and talk while she shot baskets.

It was more than 15 minutes.

I refueled.

Find your fuel today.

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