Thursday, December 18, 2014


Good gravy!  i haven't posted since October?  sheesh.  I did a poor job preparing for many handmade gifts this Christmas, but I thought I'd give an update on what I've made.  My parents both requested socks and I knew I could do that.  Did and done (that may sound cockier than it should - I just finished my dad's socks last night!)  I started a pair for the fella out of worsted weight, and I have one sock finished.  I think i might be able to eek out the other.  We'll see!!  I'm also making some ornaments on my embroidery machine for the nieces and nephews and my brother and SIL

 They're kind of large, so I might suggest that they be door knob hangers too!  they have an exchange student from Norway so I made  him the dala horse (which I know is actually a Swedish thing, but I guess I'll claim to just being going for a general Nordic thing!)

I also made this table runner with some red fabric I picked up at the thrift store (I love when that happens!) and my beloved embroidery machine, of course.

This was my first time doing an applique on the machine - it's not easy to see from my crappy pictures, but the bunny's body is felt, then it's embroidered over and around.  The little mushroom house has some printed quilting cotton for the base!

Same with the little fox and santa!  These are all from the Woodland Wonderland pack from Urban Threads!  Oh, i also LOVE that little scallop stitch on the edges - it feels very vintage to me!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

more color = more gooder!

The chicken coop needed to be protected in some way - the instructions said to paint or seal it.  I definitely wanted it to be colorful, not just wood, so paint it I did.  sooooo cute!

It is taking FOREVER to paint - first it was primed, and then I've needed a couple coats of each color.  And for some parts, I had to crawl into the run and paint on all fours!  The roof still needs another coat, as does all the green, but it's going to be worth it!  I can't wait to get the ladies moved in!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

You know it's fall when...'re buying yarn at the Woolgathering, the chestnuts are falling, and the chicken coop is in place!  yay!  the mister put together our chicken coop this weekend and its' just fantastic!  now we need to paint it to protect it - and I'd certainly rather have a colorful and cute coop!  

oh, i just love it!  I can't wait to get chickens in the spring!

The chestnut empire continues this year - I think we've collected nearly 200 lbs so far!  I roasted up a bunch this morning to freeze for use in recipes later.  I got this tip after talking to one of the Chinese ladies at work who bought a lot from me this year.  Apparently chestnuts are really big in Chinese cooking - in real chinese cooking - not the chinese that we get at the restaurants, which is not really chinese at all!  haha!  Anyway, aren't they beautiful?

I got a pumpkin and a warty gourd from a guy who runs a little farm stand just down the road from me - it doesn't get much more "fall" than that. He also had bird's nest gourds - the green crook neck ones - that will dry out and be hollow!  Those were $1 each so I got a bunch!  i want to make a couple toad houses from them - we seem to have a lot of toads here and I just love them!

This giant guy, who I call Fritz, likes to sit in the track for the sliding glass door at night when we have the light on - I guess it attracts a lot of insects and he has a feast!  

On the crafting front, I've got a pair of socks on the needles for my mom for Christmas.  After that, it'll be a pair of socks for my dad, then hopefully I'll have time for a pair of thick worsted weight ones for the mister, and maaaaybe a hat for him too!  yowza!  it's not like any of that takes so long, but I've realized that having 2 kittens in the house makes knitting really difficult!  they inevitably want to be in your lap and then it all goes downhill!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Plunge!

I just ordered a chicken coop!!!!

Our plan was to build one this fall and get chickens in the spring, but I found this Clubhouse Coop online for $399 and it had great reviews and tons of features that I wanted.  I waivered on the prospect of building a coop - it went from totally doable to something I wasn't sure I wanted to tackle - back and forth and back and forth.  Neither the mister nor I are master carpenters, but I know people with way less skill have cobbled together coops.  I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg so I thought making it would save money, but I also know I'd have to buy lots of stuff - even with our stash of lumber, I'd need hardware cloth and hinges and latches.  plus, i kind of didn't want my coop to look like crap, and our cobbled together one probably would.  This one isn't huge - big enough for 4 chickens, which is all we want to start with - but you can add runs lengthwise (they sell them separately) or if we get more chickens than this will hold maybe then we can tackle making another coop and this could be a separation coop, or one for more delicate little ladies.  I'm pretty excited!  We'll still get chickens in the spring!

Monday, September 1, 2014

baby quilt!

I finally finished the baby quilt that I've been working on!  I'm still not totally happy with the quilting, but I think I just need more practice.  I guess it's not just that - i thought it'd be cool to do some different quilting on each of the blocks, but I wish I'd stuck with one theme - either the straight lines like I did on most of the blocks or the meandering which I did on only two.  I didn't like the meandering after the 1st block, but then I kind of had to repeat it at least once.  bleah.  oh well.  i liked it after the 2nd one but then it was too late for more.  Oh well - I'm not going to stress!  babies don't judge.  The little girl is due in early October, i think, and she'll be getting the February baby sweater and the little pink dress with the bear on the front too!  For her big brother, I embroidered 4 cute aliens on a sweatshirt - because I know that a 5 year old doesn't understand why someone is getting a gift and he's not!  It'll be his big brother gift!  Now to start thinking about Christmas!  My brother and SIL have 5 kids with another in the oven AND a foreign exchange student.  because they're nuts, i guess.  Anyway, i'm thinking about making the whole darn family Thorpes (the bulky weight earflap hat).  My only fear is that for kids, a hat may be the equivalent of a pack of underwear.  I want to think a hat is more fun than that.  Part of me doesn't care.  i think I could knock them out quickly and have time to make something special for my mom, who really appreciates it!  Any opinions on how kids view hats?  they range from a baby up to 13!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

late, but still good!

I found this pressure canner for only $35 this weekend at the Village Antiques!

I have been thinking about getting one, but just didn't want to pay a much as new ones cost.  Even on Craig's List they were $50-$100 and then I'd have to drive to some faraway place to get it!  this one required 2 trips actually - we went to the Antiques Village yesterday but I didn't get the canner and the fella passed up a couple sports coats, so we decided last night to make another trip today!  silly.  but now I'm happy!  It's from 1975, but seems to be in great shape - it's a Presto and it still has the original instruction manual and came with a jar lifter too.  I have a waterbath canner, but this will be great for beans next year!  Unfortunately, it's a little late for this year because this is what the garden looks like now :(

It's the end of the season for things like beans and squash and cukes - powdery mildew got ahold of our melons and tomatoes, but we still got lots of tomatoes, but the melons just never got to ripen as they should.  Next year I'm going to plant spaghetti squash on the little fence!  

This is where the corn was.  I planted a couple rows of sugar snap beans here and 3 red cabbage plants that I started from seed.  Borris is supervising while recovering from this run in with the car in the road.  Maybe not the best idea, but it sure raised his spirits to be out there - never unsupervised, of course!  he's still very limpy, but he doesn't seem to realize that he needs to limit himself!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

More cat stuff

We've had more than our fair share of terrible cat issues lately, I feel!  almost 2 weeks ago, our Borris got hit by a car out at the road.  Thankfully, it clipped his back end and his injuries were fixable.  He broke his femur, which is a pretty significant injury - the vet had to put 2 pins down the length of his thigh bone to fix it, which means he's got a whole leg full of staples.  The inside of his other leg was also pretty torn up, but he stapled that too.  No internal injuries - which is amazing!  For a week I felt like I was at the vet almost everyday!  he kept pulling out staples, then had to get a cone, which he hated and tried to pull off every chance he got, then he wouldn't go to the bathroom - he could barely stand, and definitely couldn't squat.  it was just terrible because you knew he was suffering but couldn't do much to sooth him.  I slept on the floor next to him every night.  Suddenly, in the past few days, he's made recovery by leaps and bounds - he's getting up on his own, walking about (even on little walks outside!) - it's great to see!  His staples will come out on Tuesday and then the dreaded cone will be gone - he'll be a happy guy!  It warms my heart to see him acting more normal - he's an amazing cat and i don't know what we'd have done if he didn't make it!  I took pictures of him all laid up, but I imagine it's not the way he wants people to see him!  soon, he'll be back out in his favorite spot...tracking field mice!

THEN, if you can believe it, we were walking around up near the front of the property, which we haven't done in a while since we've been taking care of Borris every minute, and heard a meow, meow, meow coming from the hill down to the culvert.  We've got a bunch of crown vetch there because it's too steep to mow.  I said "where are you" (well, first I said "ooh no") and saw a big rustle in the leaves down below and then this guy climbed his way up the hill through the crown vetch and popped out the top!  he was super sweet and lovey right away - like he'd been around people, but was super skinny, COVERED in fleas, and had a bum leg.  oh, another cat with a messed up leg!  but what could we do? you can't just put him back in the ditch!

So i took him to the vet where he was diagnosed with a broken lower leg, but that we probably didn't need to do anything - kittens are pretty resiliant and he'd probably heal up just fine.  He does walk on it, he's just all gimpy (i actually thought maybe it was a birth defect, but there are wounds there that are healing)  He got some shots, and some blood tests and we took him home and gave him a hell of a bath, then some Revolution to take care of his fleas.  He's probably 14 weeks old and now we have yet another kitten!!  oy!  i've never met a more lovey cat though - he's sweet as sugar and super affectionate!  we're still tossing around names...more to come!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

summer dining al fresco

Yesterday we made dinner over the fire and ate outside!  it was fantastic!  I've made little foil packets of potatoes, onion, peppers, squash, etc. to send with the mister when he goes camping, but I've never had the end product myself!  So yesterday he made a fire and I made some packets and foil wrapped corn.  We pulled out the table and ate right there!  oh, the red corn stayed red when we cooked it over the fire!

But just to get back to showing something other than gardening/food, let me show a few things I've been making for a friend who's wife is having a little girl soon!  I'm so excited to make little girl things! She's due in October, but I had this little dress cut out from ages ago, so I made it with the intent of making a little shirt and leggings or tights to go under it (I always think of these little cross-over dresses as pretty springy).  I used my embroidery machine to do the little bear on the front!  note the rick rack edging - it makes everything cuter! 

And I'm also making her this little quilt.  I started embroidering these blocks ages ago, but never did anything with them, so I finally pulled them together into a quilt.  I love all the shades of orange together!  I'm still working on the quilting part - I'm not very good at it, and I'm already regretting some of my choices, but babies rarely complain!

I also knit her this February Baby sweater - I've always wanted to knit this!  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

how does your garden grow?

I keep meaning to take pictures of the garden now that it's almost entirely covered with watermelon vines!  haha!  I'm sure no one but me will get a kick out of it, but it's pretty crazy.  not surprising - i planted way too many and I knew it.  oh well.  mistakes were made - i hope to eat many watermelons though!  and that'll be great!  Right now though, I'm rich in cucumbers and green beans!  I planted an heirloom purple pole bean and they've produced like gangbusters!

Arent' they pretty?  I swear I could pick a pound of them, close my eyes and turn around, and there'd be another batch on the vines already!  it's crazy!  We've eaten a lot and today I blanched and froze a few bags for the winter.  

The other amazing thing is this CORN!  I grew corn!  it's called Ruby Queen and it's red (of course).  I think I already mentioned that with all the rain and wind, the stalks got blown flat to the ground, and had to be reset, with fingers crossed.  Well it worked!  and finally we picked two ears and ate them - fantastic!  I'll tell you, it's not easy to know when corn is ready!  if we had a whole field of it, we'd just pick an ear periodically and check, but we didn't want to waste any.  We picked one ear too early and that made us gun shy to pick more and risk another wasted ear.  Finally though, it's ready!  We might be eating corn every day for a week now!  I can think of worse things!

Sunday, July 6, 2014


This weekend our sweet little Olive got killed by a coyote.  

Since moving here she's been able to go outside and it's her favorite place to be.  Even though I can't stop crying, I don't think I'd do anything different if I had it to do over.  She was an entirely different cat outside - rolling around, wanting belly scratches, affectionate - inside she just stalked around growling at the other cats and not wanting to be touched.

She was Borris's mother - though I'm not sure he realized that.  They were just great pals - playing together like kids and following us around together.  I feel awful for him too.  The whole thing is just awful.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Introducing Lulu

Oh boy, we need another cat like we need a hole in our head, but the fella found this little lady on the side of the road, all alone, on Wednesday evening.

What the heck are you supposed to do?  He brought her home and we fell in love - it's a kitten, how can you not fall in love?  We named her Lulu.

The vet thinks she's only 4 weeks old - she' not even a pound yet!  just 14 oz. of cuteness!  She's a ball of energy and hijinks - well, when she's not sleeping!  and she sleeps a lot - just like babies do!  Our oldest cat Buckley just loves her - they jump around and play!  It's hilarious!

something new everyday!

wow!  i can't believe my last post was less than a month ago and when I look at that picture, it's like a world away from how the garden looks now!  i guess when the temperatures start to go up, the plants really take off!  yesterday, there were no tassels on the corn, and this morning there were!

This is Ruby Queen corn, which is likely why the tassels are so amazingly colored - they look like something from a Dr. Seus book, i think!

And there are cucumbers that I bet I'll be able to pick this weekend! (and a couple tomatoes too!!! I can't wait for that first one!)

It's just amazing how big everything looks compared to the last post!

I made a fence for my french melons - they're climbing it!  when a melon start, I'm going to make a little sling for it and hang the sling on the fence to support it.  in the foreground there you can see the watermelon plants.  Yes.  I said "plants" - plural.  i'm nuts!  well first I planted some heirlooms watermelon seeds and thought they just weren't going to germinate, so then i got a couple plants on impulse - THEN the original seeds germinated!  i couldn't pull those out!  any sane person would put in ONE plant.  i probably have 6.  My garden will turn into watermelon city, i know.  oh well!

i had the same germination thing happen with cucumbers.  bought plants...then the seeds started.  so I'll also have waaay more cucumbers than i can handle!  that's ok - i love cucumber salad and when I'm floating in them, i give some to the neighbors and take some to work.  The same will be happening with my patty pan squash, I'm sure - they're starting to form too!

Borris loves to help out in the garden too - basically just by rolling in the dirt and getting filthy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The garden in June

What a difference a month makes!  now my garden doesn't just look like I'm raising dirt!  You can see stuff even from afar, and that makes me happy!

The corn is going to town, as is the patty pan squash, pole beans, melons, and tomatoes ( I have a bunch of green ones!)  I jumped the gun and though my cucumbers and watermelon weren't going to germinate so I bought a couple plants on impulse when I was at the nursery - of course after I popped the plants in the ground, the seeds started popping up!  The watermelon seed I planed is an heirloom variety, so I really want it - I'm going to be stupid and leave them all - I'll deal with the miles of vines somehow!  haha!

I planted marigolds, zinnias, geraniums, salvia and cosmos around the edges.  I used to hate marigolds - what was I thinking?  they're beautiful!  and tough!  I grew a bunch from seed and some of my favorite varieties are this Flagstaff, which is supposed to get 3-5ft tall.  it's taller than the others now, and the flowers are gigantic!  

 This one is called Yummy Mummy - it's kind of curly.  The red ones to the right are called Cottage Red, I think.  I ended up buying a couple flats more, so I'll definitely plant more from seed next winter!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Fungus, 7 days later

In case you're losing sleep over this weird fungus (and I'm sure you all are!), this is what it has turned into over the past week:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Let the growing begin!

Last year I just had a dinky little garden for about 8 tomato plants, but this year I made a nice big one!  I think it's about 16x20', but I'm not sure - I almost feel like it's already too small, but I'm sure I won't feel that way when I'm weeding in July!

I made two wonky teepees out of branches for my purple pole beans.

I'm well aware that these are pretty unexciting pictures -  just a plot of dirt!  soon though!  I planted watermelon, a french melon, Ruby Queen corn, cucumbers, patty pan squash, pole beans, and some herb seeds.  I'll also be putting in tomatoes and peppers, of course.  I'm also doing flowers around the edges - I already have in some marigolds and foxglove that I started from seed in the basement!

If you want an exciting picture though, check this out:

It's a Luna moth sitting on one of the black walnut trees - super rare to see!

Gorgeous!!  And then there's this weird fungus growing in one of the holes of a silver maple! whaaat?

We have tons of weird mushrooms and fungus here so I got a book on fungus and mushrooms of Ohio from the Ohio State University - I see nothing in it that looks like this stuff!  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

down with brown

when we bought this house, just about everything on the outside was brown (though based on chips in the paint, it's been every color of the rainbow over the years - including pink!)  The eaves needed painting and we wanted to do away with the brown shutters, so this week we painted!  I won't say it was terrible, but I don't want to have to do that again for a while!  Painting surfaces over your head is not fun.  The porch ceiling needed to be painted (overhead) and that took nearly a whole day!  The eaves were the other hard part, but the trim wasn't too bad.  The good part is that we LOVE it and the house seems so much happier and fun now!

The green is called Bold Avocado, but when I look out the kitchen window and can see the porch trim and the grass, it's all the same beautiful color!  It's like we trimmed the house in spring!

Also this weekend, I did a little mediocre carpentry (that's the only kind of carpentry I do - it's adequate for yard stuff!)  We love vines and I have a bunch of seedlings of several types ready to be planted.  I made this vine pyramid for them - it's about 8 ft tall.

Then I found a 2x8x10 in the barn!  I had to rip it down into 4 -2x2's to make the sides, but now I have a 10 foot pyramid too!  I don't have a neat little topper for it yet, but I'll get one the next time I'm at Lowe's!  The fella has requested a shorter one too - maybe 5 or 6 feet.  He's the artistic visionary and will put them out where they'll look cool - I have the patience that he lacks and will do the building!  We saw plans for a cool planter box/bench combo that would be cool around the fire ring - that may be my next project!