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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

this weekend was quite lovely.
on saturday we went apple picking with our close friends, alex and celena, at carter mountain orchard in charlottesville. their apple doughnuts are delicious (don't taste much apple but who cares!).
fuji and pink lady were the current picks. we got 12 lbs. worth.
now i just need to decide what to do with my abundance of fujis. the pink ladies make very tasty snacks so no need to cook them.
after hitting up the orchard, we lunched at bodo's bagels in downtown charlottesville. it was delicious!
then we got coffee (my second cup of the day = slight panic/caffeine attack later on) and rode out in the country a little.
out in the VA countryside, celena tooks us to her favorite flower shop and i fell in love!
it was a memorable day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

going apple picking tomorrow in charlottesville with some good friends!
hopefully i will come back with a stash of apples to make applesauce, apple butter, apple chips & a few leftover to eat with peanut butter. yum!

i finally tried no knead bread from this blog. i have heard a lot about no knead bread recently and have been wanting to make it for a while. it was very easy to make and quite tasty (especially with cinnamon & sugar butter). i substituted the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour for a more textured & healthier bread.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

in the kitchen, as usual.
the quote on the chalkboard is a summary of wendell berry's larger quote: "Eaters, that is, must understand that eating takes place inescapably in the world, that it is inescapably an agricultural act, and that how we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used."
check out this article from wendell berry about eating.

the large squash by selva's head is a cushaw.
jeremiah surprised me with this small (large) gift yesterday.
supposedly it cooks up like any other squash or pumpkin.
i think it will be feeding us for a while.

my staple breakfast is made up of a few, simple ingredients.
old-fashioned oats, local honey, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg (not pictured).
i cook the oats (1/2 cup oats to 1 cup water) on high to medium heat until they are nice and soft.
then i add a spoonful of honey and a little bit of everything else to taste.