Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Memory Mobile

I made this out of objects that we found at the beach this summer. While I was making it I was brought back to each time and place where it was discovered. And now we have something lovely to look at that reminds us of our adventure.

seashells, sand dollars, beach glass, snake grass, mossy stick, cotton pearl thread, beading wire, beads, our memories.

You can turn any outing into a Memory Mobil , a walk around the block, a hike, road trips. Collecting objects helps you become more aware of your surroundings and then you have something that will trigger your senses and conjure up a memory.

*This project was inspired by and is dedicated to my dear friend Sage who once gave me a Memory Mobile.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our New Fence

We are a part of a wonderful group called The Barn Raising Collective. It was started by four families who were new home owners and needed help with all the large projects that come with owning a home. Brittney, one of the originals from the group and a good friend, has written more about the group with additional pictures from our fence building party.

The fence that needed to be built was on the property line with the neighbors on the south side of the house.

Denny and our neighbor Sam bought all the supplies, set the posts and figured out the design of the fence a few weeks before the big day.

We had a great turn out.

We wanted to have the fence taller near the back of the yard for more privacy. We also wanted to have a gate and a shorter section so we could still chat with our neighbors.

Snacks for the workers. Some of those delicious black berries I brought home from the market and some Coconut Banana Bread from Baking Bites. We also made them lunch, part of the deal when holding a barn raising. You get workers to do your projects, they get fed. It's a nice trade off!

We had enough people to help us paint a room inside as well. The colors don't show it, but the room was originally an apricot color that I've really disliked. Now it is a lovely blue gray.

Denny finishing the last of the panels.

I loved the various colors of the cedar planks. They wont stay like this though, it will all turn a grayish color. We could seal it, but that would be a whole other work party. I'm just glad to have a new fence!

Our new fence and some of the great workers who helped us build it. It really does take a village. Thank you!

Summer Food!

The peppers have started to arrive! That means that it has been hot and sunny enough for them to ripen. Still a bit behind schedule, but so appreciated now that they are here.

These are actually sweet peppers. They have a very strong red pepper flavor and would be delicious roasted.

Eat ugly food! These ugly tomatoes are delicious. They are called German Stripe and have variegated red and yellow flesh when sliced.

I had to get this guy! Just look at that face, it was calling out to me.

Green beans made their appearance as well. These are Romano Italian Pole Beans. I love these things, my kids ate them last year, I hope that is the case again this year.

These burst in your mouth, seriously delicious black berries! I'm definitely enjoying the fruits of summer.

Monday, July 28, 2008

We Have A Winner!!

Denny helped by making a number generator on his computer. We threw in the number 15 and this is who it picked:

"dph said... I love kitty cupcake! I would promise not to eat her too."

I wish I could make one for you all. Thanks for reading my ramblings!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Give Away Reminder and A Shout Out

Hello readers! Just reminding you to go and comment on this post so you will be entered into my Reader Appreciation Give Away. Anyone can enter, new reader, local or half way across the world! I will do a random drawing on Monday and announce the winner. Thanks for reading!

And now a shout out to Joss Whedon, the creator of many fine TV shows, movies and comics. My recent favorite being Firefly.

Joss made this joke in a recent interview “Fact is, there’s been some buzz, but it hasn’t reached the places it would normally. Where’s our write-up in Crocheting Monthly? (I did a very sexy shoot for that one.)”

Kim Werker, editor of Interweave Crochet and decide she wants to take him up on the challenge. So I'm helping to get Joss Whedon's attention. "JOSS, the crafty ladies want you!"

Pleas visit Kim's original post for more info.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Day For Sewing

We are quarantined to the house for a bit until the bugs in Wren's throat (as he puts it) go away, so I got a chance to do some sewing!

This book has tons of great sewing projects, 24 to be exact. I saw the Simple Drawstring Backpack and immediately decided that Wren needed one to start kindergarten with. Violet would need one too, of course!

It is a nice basic design. Lotta Jansdotter says that although this is a simple pattern, you should allow a day for this project, which was fairly accurate. I made these two assembly line style and it took me most of an afternoon and part of the evening. I did all the cutting and ironing first and then sewed them up. There were a few type-o's, but nothing that stumped me. Lotta suggests that this is a project for a beginner that is ready for a challenge and I do agree.

I think they turned out super cute, now I hope they are super useful!

Before & After and What Sticky Notes Are For


We don't have a dishwasher, so our counter looks like this, often. Most of them are rinsed and ready to be washed, but it can still be overwhelming.


20 minutes later I had them all done. I forget how much you can accomplish in 20 minutes. Now I'm all ready to make bread and then dinner. So, the cycle starts again.

The kids got a hold of a sticky note pad and now the house is covered. The ones on the door actually have little scribbles on them, messages of some sort.

These must be for a splash of color. Funny thing is that they are still there, I haven't cleaned them up. But what can I do with them now? They can't be re-stuck together, they might as well be enjoyed for a bit longer. Maybe I'll start writing my lists on them, this could be my new system!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's Reader Appreciation Day!

Many thanks to all you readers and for your great comments. I feel like I've been super busy and haven't been able to reply to everyone. So I want to say "Thank You!" with a fun little give away. Leave a comment on this post and I'll enter you into the drawing for a custom made crochet cupcake! I'll draw the winner on Monday, something fun to start next week off with!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Putting Food By

I came home with a lot of berries from the market yesterday, which means it's time to start putting some away for the winter. We already made raspberry jam, now it is on to strawberries.

Basically all the preserving I do involves the freezer. I don't have the time for canning, some day I'd like to though.

First wash them. I've found that the easiest way to do this is in a big bowl of water. This does the least amount of damage to the berries and is pretty fast, which is essential when working with a lot of fruit.

I have a little system. The berries are in a bowl in the sink, the knife in my right hand with the discarded tops on the right. The berries are held in my left hand and then put in a bowl on the left. Denny calls me the efficiency police, can you see why? But seriously, this makes the job go fast and smooth.

This is for the chickens. The girls are eating good today!

We just throw them into plastic baggies portioned out to around 2 cups because that is what most of my recipes call for. If you want individually frozen berries that will pour or scoop out of a larger container, wash them, lay them out on a tray and place it in the freezer. Once frozen, you can dump them into a large bag or container.

Now we can freeze the bags like this or make some jam.

Next up, these beauties.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Family Visit

Some of my family came for a visit this week.

We took them to the Beach and did some sand dune jumping,

and some cave exploring.

We went to a local farm and went berry picking, something they don't get to do at home.

"Is this one ripe?"

A wonderful time was had by all. Now we are settling back in and the kids are missing their cousins. Of course, I've got a million things 'to do' and I'll be trying to catch up. Catching up doesn't really describe it accurately because I wont ever be able to catch up, but I will be able to get things to a manageable enough state to start again.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jam So Easy, A Kid Can Do It

Step 1: Buy pectin. This one is my favorite, the directions are on the back and it uses less sugar than any other recipe I've seen, 4 cups fruit to 1 & 1/2 cups sugar.

Step 2: Wash fruit. In this case, we are making golden raspberry jam.

Step 3: Smash fruit. This is the best smasher ever! I don't think they make these anymore.

Very kid friendly part.

Step 4: Mix pectin, sugar and fruit together. If you don't want seeds, push raspberries through mesh strainer before you measure and mix.

Step 4: Label, bottle and freeze. Done!

Now you have jam to last you until next year.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Quick Market Pics

It was hot and sunny today. There were a lot of shoppers at the market, which means a busy day!

We still have fava beans, and they are gorgeous!

Clockwise from top left: French White zucchini, Romanesco zucchini, Zypher squash, basil, garlic and green zucchini.

These black raspberries were being sold at a booth near us and we had to try them. I thought the taste was similar to mulberries but with a lot of seeds.

A close up of these striking berries.

I've got family coming for the week, so we will be off and running. Back to the beach tomorrow, then the zoo, lots of grilling and maybe we'll get to go pick blueberries!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Unplug Your Kids: Stone

The beach was the perfect place for the weekly Unplugged Project. We collected stones and made little stacks. Turns out I'm more into beach combing and the kids are more into digging in the sand. That is still fitting, because the sand is millions and millions of tiny stones.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Heart Summer

My friend and I took the kids camping at the beach while the husbands worked and had a wonderful time. I love the Oregon Coast, it is so beautiful and relaxing. Here are some of my favorite scenic pix.

Going away always seems to cultivate more work when you get home, plus, we are having family come to visit next week! We are heading back to the beach for more fun and will also do some things around town.

I am also working on something for Dot's Summer Doldrums Contest and I'm trying to incorporate the Unplugged Projects in to our weekly activities. Lots going on around here!