Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
"One faithful friend is enough for a [wo]man's self, 'tis much to meet with such a one, yet we can't have to many for the sake of others."
~ Jean de la Bruyere ~
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KARLEEN
*Photo: Karleen's ever welcoming front stoop.*
*Photo: Karleen's ever welcoming front stoop.*
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Karleen and I have been at it again; plant shopping. We never go shopping for clothes or shoes or kitchen gadgets together. But when it comes to plants, the fun begins! Yesterday Karleen called to see if I wanted to go find sweet potato vine plants with her. "Of course," I said. And off we went. Our sweet potatoes vines, in vibrant green and sangria were easy to find at our favorite nursery. But, if you like plants and gardens, you will understand how many other green treasures are dropped onto the shopping wagon before the shopping is done. Tiny daisies, ginger and chocolate mints, orange geraniums, lemon grass, lemon verbena, and more filled the car with enticing fragrances as we wove our way home. What a delightful afternoon! More soon, but right now, I'm off to the garden!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
With springs arrival in the valley, I sometimes wonder why we trek mountain ward, simply to be back to snowdrifts and chilly weather. Part of the reason is that there is one very 'happy camper' in the family when he can be on the mountain. A campfire and a cozy fire in the wood stove warm us, and 'happy camper' and I enjoy the serenity of being at the mountain top. Last week-end the cabin was opened for the season. A new chimney topper was installed after being carefully fabricated in the shop at home during the winter months. Later, the springs of fresh water were explored and checked. The tank is clear and what's usually two springs during most of the year was multiplied to seemingly a dozen or more during this season of melting snow and run-off. The ground was soggy with rivulets of water streaming down the hillside. In some places, like the meadow, wildflowers slowly are poking out their faces from the earth and the mullein patches are green with new growth. In others, snow is still packed and abundant in the places the sun rarely shines. The lavender plants? They are still buried in snow, just waiting for more warm sunshine to release them from their blanket of white. An friendly deer has taken up residence in the woods behind the shed, seemingly unafraid and very curious of humans. Observing nature through all her seasons brings joy and contentment to the heart. God is good!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Spring is just arriving on the mountain top. Snow still sits on hillsides where the sun does not directly shine, but the meadows and open places are free of snow and the early spring flowers are starting to bloom. They are not abundant yet, but with a careful eye, tiny treasures can be found. A yellow violet, a dandelion, and strawberry blossoms can be found in small clusters. The dog-tooth violets are pretty as they show their yellow faces all around. Early spring wildflowers show their beautiful faces and bring joy to all around!
Friday, May 07, 2010
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Sometimes it is fun to walk down memory lane. It is interesting to look back and to realize how certain situations or people helped form you into the person you are today. I found a box filled with old school pictures recently, and enjoyed time reminiscing about youthful days. In this picture are the girls from my eighth grade class. We are with our home ec teacher, Mrs. K, who taught us homemaking skills every Friday, and Physical Education on Monday through Thursday. On this day we made salads, and my group made spring pea salad on lettuce leaves. I think the other group made cottage cheese filling in tomato cups. I don't remember the three-tiered tray, but there must have been quick breads or crackers on each level. It's interesting for me to observe the little things. Our shoes, for example, which were usually always black and with a clunky heel. Or the fact that those nylons were probably not pantyhose! We always wore dresses to school, since pantsuits didn't become fashionable, nor allowed, until 9th grade. Either long, straight hair or a puffy bouffant were the fashion of the day. At this age we were very influenced by Coed magazine and we read it faithfully each month. We could order a subscription through our home ec teacher and it would be delivered to us in class. When the bulk order arrived at school, our home ec teacher would give them to us and dedicate a class period to reading them. So many memories. I know how Mrs. K and this class influenced my life. I wonder how it influenced the others in my class. That would be fun to know!
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Crafts made from something as simple as paper can be beautiful and fun to make. Since scrapbooking and altered art is so popular, pretty papers are readily available and a crafter is simply limited by their own imagination. Both old and new papers can be used. I found these pretty boxes in an antique mall recently, and appreciated how they had utilized both types of papers for these covered box projects. The boxes are lightweight, balsa-wood boxes that are readily available in most craft stores. A coat or two of acrylic paint provided the base. Paper was cut to size and glued on with a lightweight spray adhesive. I especially love the 'old' photos used for the vintage family boxes. The papers were made by photocopying and enlarging pictures from the past. What a creative way to use the old in a new way!
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Blustery, chilly weather outside made this a perfect day for sewing. Karleen and I enjoyed working on 9-patch quilt blocks together today. They will be used as part of a quilt block swap where they will be exchanged with blocks stitched by eighteen other participants from around the world. The simple 9-patch design is pretty and was quick to stitch. Packages of blocks have been arriving in my mailbox all month long. Once all the blocks arrive, all 378 of them will be sorted and organized into new sets and mailed back to each one who joined in this project. It's fun to think of the quilt blocks you made becoming a part of 20 other quilts. Each participant made one extra block which will become a quilt for charity. Although 20 coordinating quilts around the world is fun to think about, I couldn't help but imagine what one large quilt of 378 quilts might look like as well! Can you imagine?
Monday, May 03, 2010
Spring is abundant in blossoms, but some seem to come and go quickly! Lilacs bloom in early spring, but the life-span of their blossoms is short. Finding way to preserve their delightful fragrance is a challenge, at best. Last week I decided to try to make lilac sugar for an oil and sugar scrub (otherwise known as a manicure in a bottle!). Fresh blossoms cut from their stems were added to an equal amount of plain, white sugar. These ingredients were placed in a gallon-size zip-lock bag and sealed overnight. Then the contents of the bag were placed on a rimmed cookie sheet and spread out to dry. Lilac blossoms contain a fair amount of moisture, so it took several days for the sugar to dry completely. Today the sugar was sifted through a colander and then a sieve. The sugar now has the gentle fragrance of lilacs. Next, it will be blended with an equal amount of almond oil and placed in a jar for future use. It will be used sparingly --- so that the sweet fragrance of lilacs can be enjoyed for weeks and months to come. Fragrant. Beautiful. Lilacs.