Thursday, July 2, 2009

heading out

We're leaving any minute now to go camping for the weekend. I'm so excited, I need a break so badly. Hopefully I'll take enough photos to share them with you all next week when I get back. Hope you guys have a great weekend (with lots of sunshine!).

Monday, June 29, 2009

almost there

I finished quilting the summer quilt this weekend. I really wanted to do some fancy free-motion quilting (like this), but after much practice and playing around with settings and a bit of swearing, I've come to the conclusion that my cheapo machine just can't handle it. Oh well. So I did a simple diagonal grid instead. Good enough for a beach blanket right?

I made the binding last night (when I should have been studying), and I sewed it on today. Now it's on to my most favorite part of the entire quilt-making process: hand stitching the back of the binding on. Oh I love it! My mom thinks I'm nuts. :) Maybe I'll have this thing finished before the end of summer after all.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

two things that have been occupying my days:

One explains my absence here during the past couple of weeks, the other explains how I've kept my sanity.

We have a decently sized strawberry patch that has, until recently, been keeping us in good supply of fresh strawberries. Every other day for weeks now I've gone out there and picked. It's been my peaceful, quiet time. My chance for a bit of a break.
There was enough on some days to bake something, but they were just too good. We've been binging on them.
Oh, have they been good.

But... there has been no strawberry shortcake, no strawberry-rhubarb squares, no strawberry jam, no strawberry ice cream, no strawberry pie, and no strawberry smoothies. Sad, don't you think?

So yesterday we decided that that had to be fixed. We took a ride out to the country to a pick-your-own strawberry patch. It was a gorgeous day.

And we picked some gorgeous berries..


Oh yes! I can already taste the strawberry pie... and the shortcake... and the ice cream.. and..

Saturday, June 13, 2009

flower photos







(I used the pioneer woman's 70's action (which I found from doe-c-doe) on the photos. Isn't it fun?)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

b&w cheesecake squares

I haven't had a whole lot of time to bake lately (sorry rhubarb!), but I just found this photo of black-and-white cheesecake squares that I made a few weeks ago for a family get-together. They were quite popular (some people went back for thirds and at least one person took a couple home. hehe)... they were really, really good. It was like a brownie cheesecake.. how perfect is that?

It's Martha's recipe of course.. I think it was in the April issue on the last page, or you can find it here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

summer reading

My mom owns a lot of books. She has so many that I almost never buy a novel or a memoir for myself, I just borrow hers to read. She has pretty good taste so it works out well. :)

Last week I asked her to collect five or so of her favorites so that I can work on reading them over the summer. She came back with 10, unable to pick just 5. So now this stack is sitting on my dresser, waiting for me and I'm loving it there. Every time I pass by I think of reading them during lazy weekends in the backyard, sunny days on the beach, chilly mornings in the woods, and late nights with the crickets chirping. What would summer be without a good book (or 10)?

I already sped through Water for Elephants this week, staying up far too late and being a bit groggy during the day because of it, but it was worth it, I thought it was very good.


Anyway, I don't exactly know what most of these books are about, or whether I'll like them or not, but I figured I'd share the list here in case some of you were looking for something new to read this summer:

- For One More Day, Mitch Albom
- Durable Goods, Elizabeth Berg
- Revenge of the Paste Eaters, Cheryl Peck
- A Million Little Pieces, James Frey (I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book, and that it is really mostly fiction. I'll probably give it a try though, but it may be last on the list!)
- The Good Good Pig, Sy Montgomery
- A Three Dog Life, Abigail Thomas
- Jim the Boy, Tony Earley
- With a Hammer for my Heart, George Ella Lyon
- She Got up off the Couch, Haven Kimmel
- Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

unraveled

Last week I unraveled an old sweater for the first time, using these directions. It was rather easy (just a little time consuming) and I ended up with a ton of pretty, light blue cotton yarn. I haven't figured out what I'll make with it yet.
I'm really excited about this. I already bought two wool sweaters at the thrift store to unravel to make dryer balls (which has been on my to-do list forever!!). One tip: don't do this right before bed. I had dreams all night of untying knots and clipping seams!

Here's the sweater before:
I haven't had much to share here lately. A couple weeks ago I was really busy in the garden getting it ready and planting. That's almost all finished... all that's left is potatoes and some flowers that I'm going to try to dye yarn with (hopefully!).

I'm taking a couple classes this summer, which started last week. That's pretty much all I've had time for since then. My head is getting crammed with scores and scores of medical terms. May I complain a bit more? I don't remember the last time I touched my sewing machine. It's been dark and cold here for days now. I injured my knee running so I haven't been able to do that in a while. It's very frustrating and I miss it. I have no idea when I'll have the time to prep the soil for the potatoes and get them in the ground. And between my and Brian's schedules, I'm afraid we won't have any chance at all of enjoying summer, even though I know that we still will..

How do you guys juggle busy schedules and stay sane?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

pie season

Ahh.. rhubarb pie. It's one of my favorites, maybe because rhubarb is the first fruit-like thing that's ripe in the spring? I really, really love anything with strawberries and rhubarb together, but there won't be any strawberries for about a week or so, so the humble pie plant was able to shine in this pie that I made for the party last weekend.

I really want to learn how to make a perfect crust, even though I'm still a bit freaked out about it. For this pie, I used this recipe from Martha for the bottom crust and I made a crumb topping by mixing 1/4 cup each of brown sugar, flour, and oats with 2 tablespoons of cold butter. The rhubarb pie recipe I got from here.. really simple and delicious. Overall the pie was fantastic (I ate a leftover piece warmed up for lunch yesterday. With ice cream. Shhh..), but I don't know about the crust. It was good, just a litte hard. Maybe I'll substitute some shortening for the butter next time to get it more flaky? Anyone have a great recipe to share?

Thankfully I have an entire season of pie-making before me to practice...

Friday, May 22, 2009

planting time

a day off yesterday + sun + temps in the 80s + a garden ready for planting + a bit of lounging = a very happy me :)


(I hope all of you here in the states have a great Memorial Day weekend! I have baking (rhubarb pie!!), maybe some thrifting, a painting party and bbq at my cousin's new house, and more gardening on my agenda for the weekend. Should be fun!)