Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pinned Image
via la tartine gourmande.

quiet evening spent reading and reading in my parents' living room.
we have a little cozy fire burning.
i split my first logs tonight for our little fire.
what an empowering feeling to fill the hearth with an armful of wood that i helped chop with my own two hands!
(well, in all honesty, the logs were already split but i just split the logs further so that they would burn easier...i still raised an ax above my head and made one log into two! i'll tackle the whole logs later.)

tonight i have been reading and reading about all things to do with homesteading.
my mind is running wild with thoughts about chickens and gardens and foraging and much more.
i borrowed a lovely little book from a friend last night (Made From Scratch by Jenna Woginrich).
i started reading it today and am now overloaded with thoughts and ideas and imaginings of what i could do.
it has rekindled in me some of my early aspirations and goals for amelia and now i feel recharged and ready for our return home to country life. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

merry christmas, a few days late!
hope your christmas was filled with delicious treats like these!
jeremiah and i were most spoiled this christmas.
i received so many new toys for my kitchen, the most notable being a pasta maker attachment and a flour grinder attachment for my kitchen aid mixer!
i can't wait to get back into my kitchen to try everything out...
but i will gladly spend a few more days here in nc relaxing with my family. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

happy december seventeenth!
it is now officially christmas break for the austin family!
jeremiah and i are in the process of family to texas to nc again.
it's definitely the best time of year.
on a different note, today has been filled with thoughts on body weight to be exact.
what brought this on?
jean shopping.
do i want to sound like a stereotypical girl right now? no.
but, really, shopping for things like jeans can bring out this most stereotypical worry for any girl.
[as can other things, like eating (while other people are refraining) and exercising (when you are not the one doing it].

i am pretty okay with my body, but i do have my own worries and insecurities about it.
i have accepted the fact that i will never be a size 2 or anywhere close to a 110 pounds ever again.
i could probably tailor my diet and exercise routine enough to get somewhere close to those numbers but, in all honesty, i have no desire (zero) to put that much worry and obsession (as i know it would become for me) into something.
it would have absolutely nothing to do with my health.
and that's where the issue lies.

the only reason i want to care about my body weight is because i care about my health.
not because i care about what i look like in a swimsuit or in a pair jeans.
yes, i want to look pretty.
but i want to be okay if i can't fit into a skinny pair of jeans because i have thighs and a behind that make jeans that hug my ankles look ridiculous.
or that i can't wear a certain cut of a dress because i have a chest and a behind, once again, and would end up looking falsely pregnant rather than fashionable. 
i want to watch how much sugar i intake or the amount of food i eat at a meal or how much i exercise a week because i care about my overall health.
because when i am 80 i want to be able to touch my toes and go for long walks and do yoga.

 i am sick, sick, sick of comparing myself and beating up myself and not appreciating what i do have.
i can't do this for the rest of my life.
i can't play this game with other girls.
i just cannot stand to think of dealing constantly with this issue of weight for the rest of my life but i know i will. 
but in the midst of the struggle, i am determined to fight a few things.
number one being the self-condemning and body-analyzing talk, especially with other ladies.
i want to be able to admit my flaws or a goal i may have, but all in a healthy, positive manner. 
that's it.
not easy but simple.

there is so much more i could write about this but my train of thought has left me and i feel pretty relieved by what i have written already.
i don't want to sound like i am coming down on people who do work really hard at having a well-oiled machine of a body.
it's impressive.
but it's not me.
 and i am learning to be okay with that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

happy december fourteenth!
here is a lovely set of pastels that jeremiah gave me for one of my advent gifts.
i wish this photo could properly display the beautiful rainbow of colors. 
things are quiet here today.
as they are everyday.
although there is a little bit of snoring going on by a certain puppy.
today is overcast which seems to only amplify the bare, brown trees.
oh i wish it would snow!
i set aside today for baking christmas cookies for jeremiah's coworkers.
the kitchen is full of butter, sugar, molasses, eggs and flour.
now i just need to pick a handful of tasty recipes to concoct and a good christmas movie to watch.

Monday, December 12, 2011

happy december twelfth! 
we went on a tacky christmas lights tour in richmond this past weekend.
people actually pay to ride around in a limo to look at lights...
but alex and celena had a better idea.
why not just follow the limo in your own car?
and that's what we four did.
and this is some of what we saw.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

happy december eleventh!
lazy sunday here at the austin household.
reading in bed with sweet luna bean...
with sounds of football on the tv in the background.
one more week to go before jeremiah gets two weeks off for christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

happy december eighth! 
the sewing bug has bitten...
right in the middle of the holidays.
simplicity patterns are on sale at hobby lobby for .99 cents!
i bought 3 patterns yesterday and started the easiest one today.
i also made a pinafore for one of my close friend's nieces.
i love the design and colors of the fabric.
the pattern is from this lovely little book.
it's great to be in front of my sewing machine again.
it's been too long.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

easy-to-make rice-filled hand warmers.

happy december seventh!
here is an easy project to make at home for the holidays.
it would make a great stocking stuffer or small Christmas package for a friend.
also consider making some for yourself.
i know i will be in need of a pair!!

You will need: a piece of flannel, bag of rice (not instant), funnel, sewing machine, and basic  sewing supplies.
Cut four 4" x 4" squares.
With right sides together, stitch two squares of flannel together with a 3/8" seam allowance. Make sure to leave a 1-2" gap on one side. Repeat with other two squares.
Turn bags right side out. Using a funnel, fill each bag halfway to three quarters full of rice.
Machine stitch gap closed. Make sure your stitch is tight. 
To use, microwave on medium high for 2 minutes. Will stay toasty for around 30 minutes. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

happy december sixth!
tomorrow i hope to do a post on making rice-filled hand warmers.
this was one of my advent gifts for jeremiah and they are easy as pie to make.
all you will need is a piece of flannel, a bag of rice and basic sewing supplies. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

happy december fifth! 
it's amazing how quickly the days go.
made my first garland using cuttings from around the yard.
our little tree has been up and decorated for a few days now.
jeremiah and i decided to exchange gifts for advent.
he gets a gift on the odd days and i get a gift on the even days.
i think this will be a tradition we definitely keep!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

happy december third!
last night we had our good friends, alex and celena, over for our first official sleepover. 
we all decided that adults should be able to have sleepovers too.
so every month or so we hope to make it a tradition of getting together, eating lots of good food, talking, and watching movies and then sleeping all under the same roof.
and last night was the beginning of it all...
and it was lovely!

Friday, December 2, 2011

happy december second!
winter is closing in and it's easy to forget about the beauty outside.
fall and spring are stunning in their own rights,
but there is something so lovely, so comforting, about the season of winter.
snow is by far one of nature's more amazing sights,
but i love the bare trees and the clear skies and the muted colors of winter. 
last night i was reminded of this when i joined jeremiah and wake for their usual after work playtime.
it was dusk and i couldn't help but take a couple of pictures.
they do no justice to the beauty i saw but are a reminder to look out the window or step out on the porch from time to time and appreciate a winter's sky. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

happy first of december...
i hope it's a cold one with lots of warm blankets and a toasty fire!

Monday, November 28, 2011

stacks of firewood ready for the cold.
kitchen scraps going into the compost bin.
my next post will be about composting for the beginner (which is me).
back home from thanksgiving. 
if i am being honest, i am reluctantly back home.
it is hard for me to leave my family and to watch jeremiah go back to work.
this big house can get very lonely at times.
thanksgiving was lovely.
lots of sweets and sweets and sweets and sweets.
this was my first year participating in the making of the thanksgiving meals.
i am great at eating the meals but for some reason have never helped cook them.
for my dad's side, i made a texas sheet cake.
and for my mom's side, i made a pumpkin pie with freshly roasted pumpkin and shortbread crust.
both turned out relatively well considering it was my first time making both recipes.
the other highlight of my holiday was going to see breaking dawn.
yes, breaking dawn of the twilight series.
and, yes, i loved it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

have you ever observed the light in your home?
how the kitchen is bright and cheery in the morning...
or the family room all the sudden has this beautiful stream of afternoon light moving through it.
i love, love, love sunny rooms.
these are photos of my sunny rooms in this big, old house.
the sun rises right in front of the tall windows in the kitchen so my mornings (which always start in the kitchen) can be quite heavenly at times.
then the sun makes its way to the other side of the house 
and I am caught off guard in the late afternoon when my sewing room is cheery and so inviting. 
or the books in the living room are all aglow and begging for me to come sit and read a while.
but sometimes the best light is found on the other side of the door. 
friday was quite grey and then the sun made an appearance right before it was to set.
i ran outside with my camera and skipped through the yard trying to capture the glorious moment upon me.
the sunlight was breathtaking 
as it peeped through the half-empty branches and lit up the golden leaves that still held on.

on another note...
wake went missing yesterday.
and i spent most of the rest of the day crying. and crying.
this morning i woke up depressed and restless.
where in the world was the little animal i was responsible for? 
i shed a few more tears and decided i would just sit there until the animal shelter opened and i could call to see if he was there. 
and then jeremiah called and said he was okay.
a neighbor down the street had him.
and i cried again.
now wake is sound asleep here in the kitchen with me.
my heart is so thankful that i get another chance to love and take care of this precious (yet very mischievous) puppy.

the cats are still going strong.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

homemade journals & notepads.

jeremiah and i are not the wealthiest people around.
nor are we big shoppers when it comes to things we feel we could make ourselves 
(and could keep us from supporting "MADE IN CHINA").
so when Christmas comes around, our crafty (and frugal) genes go to work. 
(well were not really frugal. we like to spend money on others and ourselves. we are just poor - in the american sense.)

here is a project that encompasses two things about me: 
my love of reusing/repurposing/recycling and my tendency to not throw away things.
with all these lovely characteristics combined, i give you an easy-to-make Christmas gift idea,
 homemade journals and notepads

Start with a collection of cardstock and thin cardboard. I have a hard time throwing away decent cardstock so I had a lot on hand (old cards, invitations, postcards, mailers, etc). I also rummaged through the recycling and pulled out an empty cereal box and cracker box. Try not to use overly thick cardboard.
Gather blank paper. I used some printer paper and then a lot of ruled paper leftover from college. Once again, I have a hard time throwing away anything, especially blank paper.
Using a paper cutter or scissors (for a more precise cut, use a paper cutter), I cut 2 pieces of cardboard and a handful of blank paper to my chosen dimensions. Keep in mind that to bind your booklet you will be running it through a sewing machine so be mindful of how much paper you put in the middle. Play around with all different dimensions. This step can take a while because you want to make sure all your edges line up well which means more precise cutting.
Next, take the front of your journal/notepad and crease the edge where you will join all three pieces together. This will make it easier for the booklet to open. Try using a ruler to make a straight edge. Fold the flap over the ruler and then bend back and forth until a nice crease is made. Do not do this too many times or it could possibly start to tear the cardboard.

Using a size 14 or larger needle, sew all three parts together. If your machine is having a hard time going through all the layers, try taking out some of the paper in the middle. Make sure you backstitch at each end. I used a wide, straight stitch.

Embellish with stamps, fabric, etc. This particular notepad is embellished with a piece of stamped fabric sewn by machine onto the front. 

Remember to play around with different dimensions and get creative with the types of covers you use. On the bottom lefthand corner, I repurposed on old photo from jeremiah's high school photography class days.

One of my favorite designs is using old invitations, particularly wedding invites or save the dates. This would make a great gift for a friend especially if it is their wedding invite!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

our trees are dripping with fall foliage. 
listening to kate havnevik

Thursday, November 10, 2011

today is a lovely grey. golden leaves shine even brighter against the cloudy sky. it's the kind of day where you want to sit by a fire, wrapped in a heavy blanket, with a large mug of hot cocoa and fresh bread baking in the oven.

these are some photos i took out in the yard today. my kale seedlings are doing very well. i hope to have at least a small supply of fresh greens throughout the winter.

today i went to library and came across a fascinating little book called The River Cottage Bread Handbook. i think i am going to have lots of fun exploring its pages and hopefully trying out some new bread recipes.