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Monday, November 19, 2012

Tie One On and Win at Apron Memories

 I did! I won a My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Suite (fun with your photos) and this lovely package from Nancy Zieman. I'll be using this template and hardware to make a new purse very soon. Enter by leaving a comment at Apron Memories telling EllynAnne how you will be putting the Give back in Thanksgiving.
Go here to see the prizes that can still be won. There's fabric, a sewing machine, yarn ...well you get it so go ahead. Shoo.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cumberland Gap

Since we last visited Goodman and I took a li'l road trip north of our foothills to a quaint area where Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky meet - Cumberland Gap. The small town is in Tenn. It's really tiny, but as I said very quaint.
Some buildings were closed so I suggest visiting in spring or summer if you want to have a home-cooked meal while there,
This photo and the one below are courtesy of my photographer/granddaughter who visited the Gap in June. (The rest are mine.)
If you love vintage shopping don't miss Whistle Stop Antiques. The lady who runs it arranges all household items by color! It's the prettiest shop of it's kind I've ever seen.
After seeing all we wanted to in town we headed through the mountain via this tunnel to ...
the park. There's a gift shop at the park and a museum, also.
This is what I really wanted to see, the view into the valley below where the likes of Daniel Boone and others had been before us. Cumberland Gap was considered the gateway to the west in colonial and Revolutionary times.
Anytime the walk to an overlook shows a scene like this you know it's going to be good.
Lofty mountain grandeurs ...
   You can see all three states mentioned above from the Pinnacle.
It's a lovely trip even on a brisk autumn day.
Just a few miles into Virginia is historic Martin's Station.
There was a lot more to see so if you have the opportunity I think you'll enjoy the trip.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I've Been Dyeing to Show You

 Hello there! Until yesterday we were enjoying a wonderful fall with temperatures in the 60s or 70s by day and 50s by night.  Wonderful time of year.
 Morning glories are blooming on the chicken yard fence.  We like to keep our fence clear, but these aren't weeds; I didn't have the heart to pull them down. They're still blooming since we haven't had a frost yet.
 Our jalapeno peppers did very well in the garden this year. I saved some in jars, but we have literally stuffed ourselves with them more than once since I found the best recipe here that is amazingly similar to Cheddar Peppers @ Sonic, only better. ;)
 I made a batch of soap and defiantly cut a few of the bars fatter than usual. I'm just stubborn sometimes. ;)
 I prepared some off-white yarn to try dyeing with ...
 These lovely poke berries that I gathered in the pasture.
 I have wanted to do this for ages. Anyway, I used the directions in my book Harvesting Color to guide me. Here I pre-mordanted the wool in vinegar for two hours. This method as described in the book yielded better results than I'd had before. The book may be available at your local library, if not, you can request they get it. Wonderful book on natural dyes.
 Meantime, I squeezed the berries then strained them and brought the mixture to the correct temperature for the dyebath.
 As I lowered the wool in the bath it soaked up so much color I had a feeling it was going to work. The dyebath was kept at 170 degrees for two hours then I turned the heat off, covered it with a lid and let set overnight.
 Here's the finished result. The yarn is actually darker red than the pic, but my camera is defiant, too, so this is the as close to the true color shade as I could get.
 Goodman built some raised beds for my strawberry plants. I really enjoy working in raised beds as I can sit on the side and weed away without getting a backache. We filled them with regular topsoil mixed with mushroom compost. That's asparagus in the far back bed. Goodman found some asparagus plants growing along the back fenceline, and we put them in the bed. I'm pretty sure they grew from seeds of the plants I had several years ago, that were scattered by birds.
Hope you're having a wonderful fall, Y'all!
Linked with: Wildcrafting Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Good Fences" target="_blank">
Summers Acres: The HomeAcre Hop

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yay For Old And Cranky

 We were out browsing antique stores last weekend when this little wooden sewing machine case caught my eye.

Nope, I wasn't kidding about old or cranky. This little gem is a 1915 Model 99 hand-crank Singer. I'd actually used one similar to this one long, long ago. We were living in Germany at the time, and a friend had lent me hers for a day or so. I swooned over it the whole time I had it in my possession.

 Many years have passed since then, and I never once thought I'd see another one. It was covered in dirt and drips and splotches from who-knows-what, but I wanted this machine.  The price was very reasonable, but I hesitated thinking it'd be a waste if it didn't work. Goodman said he could probably fix whatever might be wrong so I took her home. Well, after a good cleaning and a lot of adjusting she works just fine.

 There's a small compartment on the side for accessories. All that was in there was some needles and two bobbins. Still I'm thrilled. I hope to find some more bobbins and a belt since this machine can, also be used with a treadle cabinet.

The serial number was still intact so I was able to get the date of manufacture from the Singer site.

I sewed these lil white pumpkin pincushions on it earlier. Who knew white pumpkins were so cute? o.O

 Hope y'all have a splashin' good weekend!
Linking up with May Sewing Party.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lovin' Fall in the Foothills

This purple wildflower growing in the pasture is ironweed.

It's been used to dye wool a green color so I, actually, gathered some and prepared a dyebath for a skein of wool, but it didn't take. I don't know what went wrong as I followed the directions closely - Oh well... it's a beautiful plant regardless.

Meantime,  I gathered some appropriate fabrics for a little project.

 I used the directions at  to make some fall themed pincushions, changing the stem appropriately for a pumpkin.  For each pincushion just cut and sew the small, rectangular strips of fabric, as directed, (By hand if you like since there is very little sewing to be done.) together at the ends then cinch with embroidery thread to form the pumpkin shape.  This project is so easy I think young girls would enjoy it, too.

I love it when something useful like a pincushion looks good and can be used for decoration, also.

 I used a dried shoot from our Bartlett pear tree for the stems, but you can use any type you have available or even pieces cut from a 3/4 to 1-inch wooden dowel. Just saw the branch or dowel into 1-inch pieces and hot-melt glue them in place.  I think they look much better than using felt for stems.

As you can see they must be quite fun to make as I did get carried away a bit.

 For now they're gracing the dry sink in my kitchen. I'll probably let them out to earn their keep as the real pincushions they are when I bring out my big ceramic Thanksgiving turkey and put it in their place.
Update:  Most of these have been gifted out and are being used as pincushions now. :)

All summer long this li'l bird, an American Goldfinch has watched from the top of the pear tree for other birds at the birdbath to clear away before diving for a drink. He's so timid and watchful.

 And a beauty.
Have a wonderful week! And don't worry about a thing - it's ALL in God's plan. :)

Linking to:  The Art of Home-Making Mondays

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ahhh - gust

We've cooled down a bit here in the foothills. August has been more like September, and I couldn't be happier. I'm really enjoying the moonflowers I showed you in my last post. This is a better shot as I took this one just before dark in the evening.

I've been busy, as usual, in the kitchen and garden. I had some tasteless fruit from the grocery store a few weeks ago and ran across this post over at A Sonoma Garden around the same time so I decided to make fruit roll-ups with my lack-luster plums and peaches. This is the peaches. I did them in separate batches, but I'm showing pics of both in this post. I peeled and chopped the fruit and added about 1/3 cup of water and let it cook until the fruit was soft.

 Then I poured the fruit into a parchment lined pan and let it dry in the oven. This is the batch of plum fruit.

 After it dried out well I cut it in strips with kitchen shears, This batch was a bit thick and took two days to finish drying, but it's very tasty and worth the bit of effort to make.

Our garden is still producing in spite of the high temperatures for most of this growing season. These are a dozen pie pumpkins which are the one of four different kinds of pumpkins that we planted. The other varieties gave up in the heat.

Each pie pumpkin yields about 2 cups of pulp, enough for a pie so I'm not complaining.
ETA: I didn't can this jar of pumpkin. I froze it.

We're, also, harvesting watermelons. This one has yellow flesh.
 Don't pass out from surprise, but I have knitted a dishcloth. Most of my blue ones are looking raggedy.

 It's called Vineyard by Danielle Cote, and the pattern is free.

Have you, who live in the South noticed how early all the spiders a preparing their egg sacks? Goodman and I were moving our firepit when he noticed it was holding water so he tipped it over and discovered this little gem, a black widow spider...ewww.

Rocky wanted to say Howdy to all his fans.  He's six months old now and ready to chase rabbits anytime he gets the chance. Yeah, we let him give Peter Rabbit a heart attack now and then. So far, Peter has won, but Rocky's getting faster everyday.
Have a great week, Y'all!

Shared at The Art of Home-Making Mondays