Sunday, October 4, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ October 4, 2015

It's October and today I'm wearing a sweater and boots for the first time this fall.  There's an extra blanket on the bed and I'm thinking about new soup recipes.  By the end of the month the last vestiges of Indian summer will have disappeared and we will be prepared for the cold winter months.  It sounds very appealing right now though I know in February I will feel like it's always winter and never Christmas.  But at this moment, I'm looking forward to it!


The distilled, mellow, autumn sunshine makes our front "yard" more beautiful than ever.


Yesterday, Dave and I drove to Village Lutheran Church in Ladue, MO, to hear Craig Parton speak on "Christianity for the Academic and the Artist," a topic of keen interest to us.  Craig is a lawyer and apologist and serves as the US director of the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism, and Human Rights.  He's an excellent speaker and thinker with many insights into bringing the gospel to people of various stripes.  Afterward, there was an exhibit of liturgical art by the talented Kelly Schumacher.  Thomas Winter, violinist, provided music. We had dinner with my mother on the way home.  Such a lovely day!

There was a good crowd.

Signing the books Dave bought


If you live within shooting distance of St. Louis, I urge you to check out Village Lutheran's on-going lecture series, which focuses on issues relating to the intersection of Christianity and culture.  This is the first one Dave and I attended and we thought it was well worth the drive. We are already planning to attend the one in April.  


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Sunday, September 27, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ September 27, 2015

September has been unusually warm and dry.  Despite the warm temperatures, signs of fall are appearing.

{Pretty} and {Happy}

I have never seen a mum with multiple colors before, but I love it.  It kept me from having to decide among all the gorgeous colors.  I got this at Walmart, of all places!

The leaves are just beginning to turn.

And this unidentified bush is full of berries.

Anyone know what kind of bush this is?

The sky is the deep, clear blue of autumn.

And the woodpile is getting bigger in preparation for cozy winter blazes.


I love it when the squirrels leave evidences of their activities all over the place.  This upright log served as a squirrel's dining table one day last week.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ September 20, 2015

This weekend has been perfectly beautiful!  Blue skies, cooler temperatures, crisp nights. . . Lovely!


Dave worked down by the pond all afternoon clearing out brush piles with chainsaw and fire.  He had a great time!  During the last of the fire, we roasted smoked sausages and marshmallows.

Part of our ever-increasing supply of wood

Anyone know what kind of flower this is?  It's all over the yard.


The two pumpkins growing in our actual garden were bug-eaten when I picked them up, but the volunteers in the compost pile were prolific.  That means the pumpkins I paid attention to (okay, I paid them only a little attention) did not do nearly as well as those I ignored.  Plus there are gourds.  I can't explain it, but I am happy to have these despite everything.


What's a cookout without a burnt marshmallow or two?

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ September 13, 2015

My supply of pictures is pitiful this week.  I just didn't take many, but I will share what I have.  Read on . . .


The color of this soup is pretty, don't you think?  It's homemade bean and bacon soup. . .  if you count using canned beans and broth as homemade.  It's semi-homemade, maybe?  Anyway, it was better than the canned variety.  I made cornbread to go with it, and we liked it enough and it was straightforward enough that it will go on our regular menu rotation.  Here's the recipe.


Hannah asked me to make her a new quilt for her bed.  Such a large part of the job is gathering fabric (from the scrapbag and from the store), washing it, and finally ironing it.  This weekend I actually had some time to begin cutting the squares and rectangles.  I have a long way to go, but I'm sure I'll enjoy the process, and I'm happy she wanted me to do this for her even though she could make it herself in much less time.  I'll post periodic updates.


We are trying to decide on a paint color for a very large, very useless room in our house.  The aqua is too overwhelming in the space with 20 foot ceilings (I'm not joking!).  We are going with a neutral because all our accessories come in a wide range of colors.  The gray, which is actually greener than it appears here, is out.  I don't think I can live with gray, even one tempered with green, anyway, though I know it's very en vogue right now.  I'm so happy to be getting rid of the aqua, though!  I haven't shown you this room because it's just. too. much, but I promise a great big reveal when it's all finished.  



Our garden this year has left much to be desired.  Ugh.  It had so many strikes against it, the first being that this is the first year we have planted a garden in this spot.  (We moved too late in the summer last year to get a garden going.)  The second was all that cold and rain we had in May and well into June, which caused a late start.  And the third was Dave's broken wrist, which greatly hampered our efforts on many gardening fronts. So our harvest has not been bountiful.  We'd all but given up on the beans when Dave managed to get a small saucepan full.  Wow, were they good!  

So far, we have gotten a total of one tomato, the above saucepan of beans, a handful of carrots, a few leaves of spinach, and enough cucumbers to make a gallon jar of pickles and also some for eating.  There is a field pumpkin and a couple butternut squashes coming on, plus a few mini pumpkins and gourds for decorating.  And we have hopes of more tomatoes if they ripen before frost.  The volunteers in the compost pile are doing better than those we planted on purpose!  

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ September 6, 2015

Joining Like Mother, Like Daughter for {pretty, happy, funny, real}~


The past two weeks have been intense prep weeks for my classes at The Potter's School, especially since I had just found out that a textbook I had relied on in past years was not going to be available this year after all.  That left me scrambling, but I think I've come up with a good plan.  Executing it will take a lot of time and detailed planning, though.  So with all that plus what I was already expecting as far as workload goes, this week's meals were quick and easy and the housework got only a lick and a promise.  This week should be better (hopefully!).

Dave understood the added pressure and brought me these beautiful yellow carnations as a treat and encouragement.  Wasn't that sweet?  I added some zinnias from the garden and look what a pretty bouquet they made!  I find that flowers and quilts are similar in this one way~ even when the individual parts don't seem to go together, when you get them together and arranged, it always turns out well.



After I met my deadline for school, to relax and blow off some steam, Dave took me to dinner and . . . 


the shooting range!  Though he has gone a few times, it was my first, and I have to say that it was a lot of fun.  First I got a lesson in gun safety and how to shoot, and then it was time to aim at the target.  I did really well according to the instructor!  See?

And you know what?  It was relaxing!


The place we went to dinner is a local favorite with a long history.  It's run by a Greek family, and I guess that this was one of their first impressions of the U.S.~

Sorry the picture isn't better, but it wasn't easy to photograph!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ August 29, 2015

For once I'm not squeaking in just under the wire with {phfr}.  Last week, I began work in earnest on school prep for the classes I teach at The Potter's School.  Yes, I should have gotten to it sooner, but did I mention we had company (wonderful company but company nevertheless) for three weeks?  And that before that I was spending every spare minute on my granddaughter's busy book?  So, now it's time to get down to business, and get down to business I did.  Lots was accomplished, but there is still lots to do and a Thursday deadline is looming for it.  But I made such good progress last week that I took today completely off to recharge my batteries.  I stayed home (bliss!) and did housewifely things (more blisss!).  See below . . .


The zinnias are profuse and colorful!  I'm sold on them and plan to plant them every year from now on.  Honestly, they practically grow right before your very eyes, and the colors are stunning!

The yellow flower is a Jerusalem artichoke (why are they named that??) and there
is a red geranium thrown in for good measure.


My housewifely things today mainly consisted of cooking.  First I made and canned some applesauce~

I always forget just how much time it takes to prep apples!

For dinner, I made a pot pie with leftover pork roast and vegetables (and additional veggies to make enough filling for another pie, which I popped into the freezer).  

It made Dave happy, and isn't it pretty too?



Hannah has asked me to make her a new quilt for her bed, which I am happy to do, even though she's a much better quilter than I am.  I have made a total of one quilt. I'd been saving* pictures and patterns of quilts that are simple enough for me to actually accomplish, and today we looked through them and she picked one.  I don't have a picture to show, but follow the link to see!  I'm going to do the one on the right, though I won't try to give it the woven look.  Hannah preferred it to be random, which is a good thing because I have a feeling it would turn out that way anyway!


Our garden has been a dismal failure this year.  What the rain and cold in May and June didn't kill, the wildlife has eaten.  We didn't get the fence up in a timely manner due to Dave's broken wrist, alas.  We may still get a little, but it's nothing to write home about, let me tell you.  Ah, well, hopefully next year will be better.  But we did get a few cucumbers, so I took a little time away from school prep one evening to make refrigerator pickles.  I loosely followed these instructions and improvised on the spices quite a lot.  I put them in a big gallon jar.  


The camera said this shot was in focus . . .


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*I was a reluctant convert to Pinterest, but now I'm a true believer!  (Within reason, of course.)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ August 23, 2015

It has been quiet around here since the West Virginia branch of the family went back home.  Part of me revels in the quiet, but another part of me very much misses the noise and activity and the house packed full. Ah, well.  That's life!


Some of my flowers have been fabulous this year, and some have been disappointing (probably due to the excessive rain we had in May and June).  But when Lizzie takes pictures of them, they all look fabulous!

Photo credit:  Lizzie

I'm going to share a couple birthday gifts I made for my granddaughters this year.  First, I made this flying squirrel for Verity following these instructions by Abby Glassenberg, who blogs at While She Naps.  Verity's actual birthday is August 31, so I will be popping this in the mail very soon.  (We gave her most of her presents at the birthday party, but I didn't get this made in time.)

The instructions were clear and easy to follow.  I made this in an afternoon.  Now that I've made one, I should be able to go faster if I decide to make more.  I needed a quick project because I decided to make Arane a busy book for her birthday, and I did not count the time costs of that project!  I spent (many enjoyable) hours and hours putting it together, which left little time for anything else.  Want to see it?

Here's the cover:

I bought the letters and flowers pre-cut.

Page 1~

This is a magnetic fishing game and it was a big hit!  The red bag is a storage pouch.  I made the fishing pole with a chopstick, which I cut it to the right length with a pair of gardening clippers and sanded the rough edge with an emery board.  The hook has a magnet inside and the fish have paperclips.

Page 2~

This was the grown-ups' favorite page, and it was also the most time-consuming for me to make.  The clothes are stored on the line or in the laundry basket.  And of course, the little girl's outfits are interchangeable.  I used miniature clothespins from the craft store.

Page 3~

Arane is just at the age where she is learning to play games, so I thought tic-tac-toe would be perfect.  I used velcro to attach the X's and O's.  I did cut these letters out by hand, and that's what led me to decide to buy some pre-cuts! lol

Page 4~

This purse holds a coin purse with play money and real coins, a set of keys, a lipstick, and what is probably my favorite part of this whole book, a smartphone.  It also contains a pencil and pad of paper and a comb and mirror set, which I did not make, obviously.  Here's what it looks like with everything tucked inside:

More pre-cut flowers . . .

Page 5~

The caterpillar segments are attached with snaps. The cocoon is a pouch for quick storage.  This page works on two skills:  the obvious snapping and also putting the numbers in the correct order.  

Page 6~

On this page, each item is outlined so Arane can practice setting the table with everything in its proper place.  I think the salt and pepper shakers are my second favorite thing from this book.  The back cover has an extra storage pouch for quick pick-ups.

I used embroidery floss to blanket stitch the pages together.  I bought a simple eyelet set at Jo-Ann that was easy to use and seemed to work pretty well.  I did have to repair one eyelet later, but I haven't heard of any others coming apart, so hopefully they are staying together well.  I used ordinary binder rings to gather all the pages into a book.  There is room for more pages, so maybe one or two are in order for Christmas presents.  We will see.  Verity is next in line for a major project from her Grandma. :)


Now that our visitors are gone, this is one of the sights I miss seeing~

Arane's pink boots, her favorite footwear, also great for going down to the pond

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