Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Last week I spent 2 full days canning the "fruits" of my garden labor.  This year my green beans and cucumbers are really producing.  YAY!  In the past couple of years things have not produced as well as I would have liked but with a new arrangement in my beds and the addition of a large trellis for the cucumbers I am thankfully picking a basket full of veggies almost everyday.  The addition of the cucumber trellis has made everyone in this house happy because that means mom makes pickles.  

Pickles are probably one of the easiest veggies to can.  I made two kinds; bread and butter and dill. The prep work for pickles is probably the most time consuming because it requires lots of slicing but once you have that done everything else is really simple.  

This year I have conquered my fear (I think) of the Pressure Cooker.  My grandmother used a pressure cooker for so many things but I was always terrified of it. The only way to can green beans safely is to pressure can them. I am not fond of frozen green beans and I'm really not fond of food poisoning so I was left with only one choice.  Pressure canning. I purchased my pressure canner and it sat in the box for several days. Unfortunately the box is quite large so "out of sight, out of mind" didn't work.  Finally, knowing that I needed to can the green beans soon or they would go bad, I got out the book and read all the instructions.  I talked to my mom several times about how scared I was and she suggested that I find a You Tube video to watch.  Huh, why didn't I think of that?  I watched the videos, reread the instructions, crossed myself (I'm not Catholic but what could it hurt, right?!), said a few prayers, and went to work.  Thankfully my kitchen is still in one piece and so am I. I will admit to standing in the doorway of the kitchen for most of the 20 minutes clutching the instruction manual.  
I think I will attempt to can some salsa next.  I have lots of jalapenos from the garden and I think that salsa will be a good use for them. Chips and salsa, yum!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

House of Piles or My House in the Summer

I love summer.  The weather is warm (although I could do with less humidity), the days are long, the nights are fun, and things just move at a slower pace.  I love having my kids at home all to myself and drinking my coffee warm in the mornings.  What I don't like is what my house becomes in the summer time.  I freak out every year because I've already forgotten that it was the same way last year. Because there are more bodies in the house during the day things tend to get piled up or just flat out ignored. 
The first place that gets piled on is the dining room table.  It is the largest and first flat surface you come to in my house.  This is where, purchases, gifts of thanks (that I can't manage to deliver, sorry Katie), projects and and pockets are dumped.  

The dining room is also where I sew.  This is where my W.I.P's find a home.
The kitchen is a never ending room of piles.  Piles of clean and dirty dishes.  Cups from various people on every counter and veggies from the garden that need some attention.  (I really need to repaint the cabinets. *sigh*)
We have an oversize coffee table in the living room and it doesn't take long for it to pile up especially when the girls are home..
And of course it wouldn't be complete without including the piles of laundry.  Clean laundry here, no one needs to see the dirty stuff.  You can just make out the overflowing recycle bin in the back corner.  That would be the same said recycle bin I was told would be emptied before bedtime last night. Hmmmm, I think SOMEONE forgot.  ;)

This post goes against every part of my Type A personality. The fact that you are seeing my house in disarray gives me a panic attack.  But I am not a perfect person and my house can not look like a page from magazine.  It's just not realistic.  I know that these wonderful summer days with my family will be over too soon and I need to enjoy every minute of them.  The piles will be tended too and there will be new piles.  That is my house in the summer. Is it yours too?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Baby Sewing

I know about 9 people that are either pregnant or trying to adopt.  Sadly I do not fall into this category but I do get to enjoy all the fun sewing for the new little ones.  My niece and her husband are expecting their first baby in August.  The are expecting a girl and I can't wait to see her.  I couldn't make up my mind what I wanted to make for her so I just made them all.

The color scheme for the baby's room is pink, light grey and white.  I found some really cute quilting fabrics to match and went to work.  I wanted it to be special just for her so I hand embroidered an A (for Ava) on the bottom corner square.  I used the pattern from Alicia Paulson's book Embroidery Companion.  I am really pleased with how it came out.

 I stumbled across this pattern/tutorial on Pintrest for the dress.  It also has a link to the shoes. I used this pattern/tutorial for the bloomers.  The dress is a super easy peasant dress. The bloomers, however cute, were pretty fussy.  Trying to make a casing for the legs with the ruffles on something that small was a test to my patience.  The shoes were a last minute decision.  I had enough fabric leftover so I decided to try them.  They are so sweet.  The headband is all mine.  Have I mentioned that I make hair bows? Well maybe next post.  

Burp cloths are must have. These are just embellished cloth diapers with some cute flannel I found in the remnant bin.  I have tried other patterns that have you cut the diaper and sew the fabric on but found out that they do not wash well.  I also made a cute pacifier holder and embellished a wipe case.

Last but not least, a bunny lovey.  My good friend sent me the link to this cute little bunny.  Such an easy pattern and quick.

Well I hope Miss Ava and her mom enjoy all the fun stuff I sent.  I can't wait to see her precious face.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Whole Again

The last couple of weeks have been wonderful. We are whole again with him home. Each one of us letting out our own sighs of contentment.  I think a collective sigh could be felt from both sides of the country when he stepped foot off the plane.  My parents and his own sighing in relief that he is safe and back where he should be.  We have been busy and lazy, silly and serious, quiet and talkative but most importantly...together.

We took a little trip to visit my in-laws at Holden Beach, NC.  We had a lot of fun and it was really nice to get away and just concentrate on each other making up for time lost.  Nothing relaxes your soul like parking your butt in a beach chair with toes digging in the sand watching the people you love the most running in the water, jumping in the waves and screaming in the delight and simpleness of it all.

We did all the typical beach activities including putt-putt golf, a trip to Broadway at the Beach (Myrtle Beach),swimming at the community pool, and fishing off the pier at night.  I got some much needed reading in and a lot of relaxing.

I sent him off to work this morning not really ready to let him go again but at least I know he will come home at the end of the day to us and that my friends is all I need.