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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Sunday, August 16, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ August 16, 2015

Wow, the past five weeks have been a whirlwind of good times, but it has left me exhausted~ a good kind of exhausted, the kind where you *know* the effort was completely worth it and so you also have a great deal of satisfaction to go along with the exhaustion.  First, there was a week spent in Dallas at the Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education conference, plus a day of sightseeing afterward.  After that, we spent a week preparing for a three-week stay by Elizabeth and her family, which included a birthday party for both her girls to which all the extended family within driving distance was invited.  As I said, good times and so completely worth the effort!


I will try to chose the best of the best, but it is very difficult to pare down the hundreds of pictures we took over the past five weeks.  I will try not to be overwhelming.  First of all, this bit of loveliness is from the grounds of Messiah Lutheran Church in Dallas, TX.

And then there are these bits of loveliness~

Verity, almost 1yo

Arane, 3yo
My daughters, Hannah and Elizabeth


We visited some local points of interest with Lizzie and family.  Here are a few highlights~

Rockbridge State Park

Rockbridge State Park

Local garden immaculately maintained by a
prominent insurance company for public use

A different part of the same garden

And again. . .

And a couple of the birthday party, which included uncles and aunts and great-aunts and great-uncles and great-grandmothers and cousins and grandparents . . .  Arane's birthday is in June and Verity's is in August, so we thought a joint party would be a fun way to celebrate and also provide a reason for everyone to get together.  Not that we really need a reason other than we like to be together! :)


When you are three-years-old and you are painting a birdhouse all by yourself, it is absolutely imperative that you also paint your baby sister.


This is what happens when a 3yo gets a hold of your camera . . .

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