Cast Iron Carnival

My husband and I love cast iron cookware, but don’t get to fully utilize our collection on our glass top stove. So, why not have an impromptu harvest party? The weather was gorgeous and cool enough for an outdoor fire. I dug some venison out of the deep freeze and simmered a stew all day. We made cornbread in the Dutch oven and sautéed greens that came straight from the garden, minutes before (the kiddo added a wild onion for extra measure).

The kids got messy with some jack-o-lanterns and ran around like banshees in super-hero costumes due to a misunderstanding by my husband about the V8 “energy” drinks. Of course, no outdoor fire is complete without roasted (chargrilled) marshmallows.

What a beautiful evening to finish a great weekend.

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Columbus Day Dress

The kiddo came out of her room one day this past weekend wearing a dress I made her last year.
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I was trying out a pattern I had come up with and wanted something that was cute and comfy. I made it big last year because the kid grows like a weed. This year it fits her just right and is very cute. She asked if I could make her another one…how could I refuse.

Long sleeved, stretchy with a fun pocket in the front and a double-thickness skirt for playground fun. I think it turned out cute and my model loved it!

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A Herd of Memories

I love the special sewing projects. Someone comes to me with an idea and allows me to take a little creative licensing with the end product.

A friend asked me to alter a robe that belonged to her grandmother. The robe was very long and she wanted something shorter to have with her at the hospital for the birth of her first child. She then asked if I could make some stuffed elephants with the leftover fabric to give to her sisters as gift.

I love these kinds of projects. I love hearing the stories about the items and I love hearing the reactions of the recipients.

Sewing makes my heart happy.

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A Quilt for Owen

I fell off the sewing bandwagon for a while (darn full-time corporate job), but I’m back! First on my list was finishing a sweet scrapbook quilt for some friends. Their son, Owen, is almost six months old, but it’s been hot and who wants a quilt in the summer? (Great rationalization of my procrastination.)

Family and friends all contributed to the quilt by designing blocks in the color palette that matched the nursery. I appliquéd all of the blocks and then assembled the top and finished it with super soft minky fleece and gingham binding.

It takes a fair bit of time to make one of these quilts (this is the eighth one in the last five years), but it’s worth it. I love hearing the stories of how people are enjoying their quilts. I hope that they are enjoyed for years.

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Vinegar Facials

The garden is producing a lot of great goodies right now, so I thought it was time to get out the tub of canning supplies and put some food back.

So far, I’ve canned the following:
– peach preserves (peaches from the market)
– Concord grape jelly (grapes from our vines)
– pickled okra (from Farmer Bond down in the valley)
– pickled cucumbers (courtesy of our neighbors)
– pickled green beans (from our garden)
– pickled tomatoes (from our garden)

Pears are still a couple of months out and I’m sure there will be more pickles in the week or so.

Hot, steaming pots of salted vinegar….my skin has never looked so good.
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Fakety Fake Fake

Ladies, I’m here to tell you that most swimsuits aren’t designed for natural bodies.

No surprise, huh?

Let’s just say that the new fake ladies look smashing in a swimsuit. Given that they are fake as fake can be (in case you missed the whole BRCA/breast cancer/double mastectomy/salpingoopherectomy/hysterectomy posts: Tall Boots and Big Girl Panties), some clothes don’t fit as well as they used to. There are a few exceptions.

Swimsuits and strapless dresses.

I’ve never been able to wear a strapless dress with much comfort. But, with the fakey McFakesters, the dresses stay up with ease. I should have had some snaps or magnets installed for some very easy accessorizing.

Given the choice, I would have chosen my old real ones over the new fake ones, but I am glad I chose reconstructive surgery. I’m also glad I chose the surgery that I did. One surgeon told me that if I chose this surgery, it wouldn’t look as natural as the result of the more complicated surgery involving back or stomach muscles. Oh well. I’m ok with a little bit of fake-looking if it allows me to get back to doing the things I enjoy.

Pulling back my 45 lb compound bow. Check.

Swinging an adz and digging a trench in the garden.
Check.

Picking up and carrying my 50lb kid. Check.

And now I do all of those things while wearing a swimsuit.

Not really. Maybe. No.

Family, Stories and Forced Crafting

My mother-in-law’s family tries to get together every couple of summers for a family reunion. Usually the site of the reunion is down south, as that’s where most of the family has been over the last couple of hundred years. This year we met in Natchez, MS for a few days of story-telling and fun. My husband’s uncle, John, always prepares a genealogical summary of a specific branch of the family and it is presented at the reunion.
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My husband enjoys all the stories and the recording of said stories.

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I, of course, use the opportunity to force sewing and crafting on people. At the last reunion, I coerced people into making quilt squares and then put them together for a small lap quilt. We continued the tradition this year and I have some fabulous squares to work on over the next few months.

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It’s always a fun time and hard to say goodbye to everyone. Until the next time….

Blackberries and Vinegar

I have fun memories of picking wild blackberries when I was a kid. We lived down a dirt road that had bushes on either side. We’d comb the banks and come home with our haul and dump it on cold store-brand vanilla ice cream and devour the dish.

After finishing dessert, our mom would yell at us to jump in the bath and not forget the gallon jug of white vinegar. I’d stand in the bath, washing off with vinegar, trying to neutralize the hundreds of chiggers’ bites that I had sustained while wading into the blackberry bushes.

The taste of wild blackberries.
The smell of white vinegar.
Summertime.

Enjoy the 4th.
Don’t lose a finger or an eyebrow, but if you have to lose one, make it the eyebrow.

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Better Than a Trip to Six Flags

When my sister and I were little, my parents made us a chore chart for the summer. It wasn’t one of those pretty, dry-erase bad-boys you see on Pinterest with cutsie ribbon and magnets. It was old school poster board with lines drawn on with the help of the local feed co-op wooden yardstick. The goal: Do our chores and don’t fight (can I get an ‘amen’ from the gals with a sister 2.5 years younger than them?). The reward: A trip to Six Flags! Or so we thought.

Half way through the summer, my parents took a day trip to Springfield to visit the exotic Bass Pro Shop (romantic, huh?). When they returned home that evening, what was strapped to the top of our family’s 1981 Mazda GLC? A brand new Old Town canoe. My mother went on to explain, “You girls have done such a great job with your chore chart, we thought we would reward the family with something that we can use over and over again.” This news was not well-received, to say the least. My sister and I sulked around the house for the next couple of weeks feeling sorry for ourselves because we didn’t get to go to Six Flags.

Fast forward 25 summers and guess what was strapped to the top of our Jeep last weekend, on its way to the Buffalo River? Yup, the Six Flags Old Town. Guess my parents knew what they were talking about!

It was a fabulous day in the river and it was documented in style by my dear friend and uber-blogger, Sarah Martin Hood. Check it out! Musings of Motherhood