Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Ongoing Quest for Amazing Photos

I'm trying. Honest. I really, really, reeeeally want to take fabulous photographs for the etsy shop and my blog, but I'm not a photographer. Well, in the strictest sense of the word I am; I mean, I do take pictures but they don't look at all polished and professional. So, what's a girl to do? There's no budget for hiring someone, or even for a new camera. Hmmmmf. (Picture me sitting with my arms crossed, hunched over, frowning.)

Okay, pity party's over. Make do with what you have, missy. So I read and search and read some more and then try stuff to see if it works. It's been so cloudy and rainy here that using outdoor light hasn't been an option, but since it wasn't actually raining yesterday, I went outside anyway. Here's the result:

The above photo was taken just outside my door, using only natural light and a little bit of editing. I'm pretty happy with it and it was a cheap solution. It only cost some time to gather a few things from the house--a big piece of paper, a metal bucket from my bathroom, a pitcher and a laundry basket.

Below is the setup:

Considerably less glamorous than a fancy studio, but that's pretty much the story of the craft business. I know, it looks flashy from the outside, but it's almost like a real job. Honest.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Peddler Craft Show

The Bede Sisters had a great time at the Christmas Peddler Craft Show in West Columbia, SC, this weekend. It's a small show, but the best run show we've done all year. Many thanks to Darius Suber, who coordinates this event. He is readily available all day, making sure things are running smoothly and that vendors are well cared for. There's a vendor break room, with coffee and doughnuts, and lunch is delivered right to the booth. You read that right--lunch, from Subway, is included in the booth fee. Great job, Darius and staff!

The photo below is of Lori's jewelry table. Her husband came up with the pendant tree after seeing a gargantuan pendant tree in Tennessee. Our setup is...shhhh...a bowling ball inside a plastic flower pot with tree branches stuck into the finger holes. Lori wrapped the flower pot in a tree skirt for the Christmas show. Leaving it exposed does have an advantage, though. Men will come into the booth to check it out, and hopefully, bring their wives with them.

This photo is of my scarf and market bag table. Many of the scarves are made of bamboo, which is my new favorite thing. It's amazingly soft, just feels like air. I'm planning to photograph them this week for our etsy shop,
So, how was your weekend?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Great weekend!

Lori and I had a wonderful time at the 39th Annual Christmas Craft Show in Aiken, SC. There were so many amazing crafters there, from woodwork to metal craft to quilts. Our reversible aprons got lots of attention, as did the bamboo scarves. Unfortunately, the jewelry slots were already full when we applied, so we didn't get to bring Lori's charm pendants. We'll have them with us next week, though, at the West Columbia, SC leisure center show.

We had an interesting afternoon out yesterday. The four-year-old stayed with her oldest sister, while the rest of us went shopping and to the movies. Yikes, $47 dollars just for the tickets! But it was just about worth it. We saw A Christmas Carol, with Jim Carrey. He did a fantastic job as Scrooge and the animation was amazing. Some of the scenes were a little intense, even for our eight-year-old, but he liked it anyway. If you are looking for a movie to get you in the Christmas spirit, do give this one a chance.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How do you take your oatmeal?

I'm having oatmeal for breakfast. It's chilly in the swamp today, below freezing, (honest, I live in a swamp) so oatmeal sounded good. Please understand, I'm a southern girl, so grits are still an important part of the morning menu, but today it's oatmeal for me.

Growing up, my mom made a classic breakfast every morning-- eggs, bacon, toast and grits if she were feeling particularly chipper. She and my dad were active people, so they burned it off by 10 am most days. But oatmeal was rarely on the table until later in life, when they started to watch cholesterol levels and even then, they were more likely to have cereal than warm oatmeal.

So, on to my life today. I'm not a morning person. I freely admit it. My husband is usually in charge of breakfast for himself and the kiddos. I'm on my own, mostly because I don't want food for a couple hours after waking.

My "recipe" is 1/2 cup quick oats, 3/4 cup of water, microwave for 1.5 minutes.

As to how I take my oatmeal, it should be sweet. I know some people add salt, but salt is for grits. No self-respecting southerner adds sugar, honey or syrup to grits. It must be butter and salt, red-eye gravy, or on occasion, a cream gravy. For oatmeal, it should be brown sugar, syrup or honey. After that, it could be any combination of cinnamon, raisins, butter, maybe even apples.

Today, I had butter, cinnamon-sugar and raisins. Yes, I know the butter kind of defeats the cholesterol-lowering benefit of the oatmeal, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

I'm always looking for other ideas to dress up my humble bowl of oatmeal. How do you take yours?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend in the Swamp

I had a great weekend, busy with Thanksgiving dinner for 21 people and then my birthday on Saturday. I spent Wednesday making pies, cheesecake, casseroles and cranberry relish. Here are pictures of me getting the pumpkin pies in the oven.
My husband, Andy, and I got up at 6 am on Thursday to get the turkey in the oven. It was delicious! He gets the carving honors every year. And, yes, you do see two turkeys there. The one in the foreground is the one we roasted; the other is a smoked turkey, and it looks and tastes like ham!
To top off an already busy weekend, Saturday was my birthday and I love my gift. Andy bought the components for a quilt rack and our son-in-law put it up for me. The quilt was a wedding gift to my parents in 1963, from my dad's mother.

So, how was your weekend?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas Open House

It's Open House time! The Bede Sisters are participating in Audrey's Country Crafts Christmas Open House. There are 14 shops in the open house, each with an amazing item to give away. Visit Audrey's Blog to see all the wonderful crafters and get some shopping done.

Our shop,, is offering a 15% discount on everything in the shop so drop by and look around.

The Bede Sisters give away item is this cutie-pie bag, made from a cotton fabric with a brick red background. The design is of cowboys and cowgirls roping and riding and doing what they do. The lining is a small red check pattern. The handles are made from black cotton webbing. The top of the bag is approximately 11 in across, the bottom 9 in across and it is about 9 in high. The handles have a drop of approximately 10 in. I used a medium weight interfacing for stability.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Art in the Park at Myrtle Beach, SC

The Bede Sisters had a great weekend at Art in the Park in Myrtle Beach, SC. Art in the Park is an arts and crafts event that takes place several times a year at Chapin Park, just a few blocks from the ocean.
Our new sign:
There were lots of great artists there, from blown glass (he was demonstrating his craft at the park!) to metal work to painting to hand made fabric items. Next to our booth was a lady, originally from Germany, who does silhouettes. She works both from photos and from live models. She did two while people sat and posed for her. Amazing.
Scarves look great on a drying rack:
The weather couldn't have been better, clear skies and temperatures in the 70's. Our booth looked great and our new "anchors" worked well. We used 20 pound hand weights at each corner of the canopy. I think it looked great!
Here's Lori, adding beads to a scarf:
We'll be doing three more shows between now and Christmas. I'll try to keep you all posted!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Virtual Open House

The Bede Sisters are participating in a virtual open house for the Christmas season. It's the brain child of Audrey at audreyscountrycrafts.blogspot. Eleven online shops will offer special deals from November 15-30, 2009. Each shop will also offer an item for a giveaway on Audrey's blog.

no pics

I'll update later this week about what the Bede Sisters will give away and exactly what our special promotion will be. Any opinions? Would you prefer a bag or jewelry?

See you at the open house!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Clothesline

I'm doing laundry today. In between homeschooling, crafting, cooking, and all the other things that need doing in a day, I'm washing clothes. As long as I get to use my clothesline, laundry is one of my favorite chores. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for my dryer. It makes all the difference on cool, humid days here in the south when nothing will dry and it keeps that "aluminum siding" feeling away from our jeans.

But there's just nothing like hanging clothes outside to spend the day, dancing in the breeze and basking in the sun. The house smells so good when our things have been line-dried. No dryer sheet can duplicate that.
Excuse me, the washer just beeped. I have to go outside.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New (Sort of) Chandelier

A few months ago, we (I say "we", but really mean "son-in-law") hung a chandelier in our dining room. It is beautiful--an old, dripping-with-crystals chandelier. It was on the floor of a rental house we bought about a year and a half ago. It's perfect. But what to do with the one we took down?

I hadn't really liked the one in the dining room, it just came with the house. It had seemed a little puny. Turns out, a chandelier that looks puny over the dining table looks great in the bathroom. What do you think?

I think it needs shades.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Can't Believe I Forgot My Camera!

The Bede Sisters went to the Lake Lure Arts and Crafts Festival this weekend and I forgot my camera! Lori and I, along with our "sherpas" (our husbands) went to North Carolina to participate in the arts and crafts festival across from the beach at Lake Lure. We camped in nearby Rutherfordton, NC.

We arrived Friday night to rainy weather. I lay awake much of the night, listening to the rain pouring on the roof of the camper, glad we hadn't set up already. When we arrived Saturday morning, the rain had mostly stopped, but the temperature had dropped. It was damp and cold all day, but a surprising number of shoppers came out for a visit.

On Sunday morning, we returned to find our canopy right where we left it but inside our tables were a mess. Hmmmm, we wondered, had an animal gotten in? About then, a fellow crafter came over to explain. Our tent had ended up in the fountain and some wonderful folks, (who were experienced enough to have sturdy anchors on their canopies) had already put ours back in place. Turns out, ours was one of at least eight booths which had flipped during the night. Our product was safe, thanks to Lori. Before leaving on Friday, she had said, "Let's pack up our product in case anything happens during the night." Whew!

Sunday was sunny, cold and windy. Our guys anchored our tent to a light pole, a bowling ball and a cooler. We were good for the day and arrived home safely to the first freeze of the year. Glad to be home, snuggled in our own beds.

So, how was your weekend?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Our Orchard

We're finally planting an orchard! I've wanted to do this for years, maybe 10 years. Turns out, 2009 is the time. We cleared about 2 acres and planted grass, to stabilize the soil and we've planted 14 trees--apple, pear, peach, pecan, plum and fig. The photo above shows the trees waiting to be planted.

Here is our cleared field, with stakes to mark where the trees will go. The blue thing is the tank for the well.

This last photo is my dear husband, planting trees. He dug all the holes, while the children and I followed, putting the trees in the holes and watering them. Today's "all day rain" is coming at just the right time.
Any projects going on at your place?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Simple Beauty

I boiled a dozen of our eggs this morning. Okay, so boiling eggs isn't all that exciting, but they came from our own hens and just looked so pretty in the bowl. We have 10 black sex-links (a hybrid), 9 Rhode Island Reds, and 5 Easter eggers (Auracana mix).

If you aren't familiar with the various types of hens and the eggs they lay here's the story:

Rhode Island Reds (RIR's) lay varying shades of brown egss, as do the black sex-links. Auracanas lay green to blue eggs. Our are Easter eggers, which are Auracanas mixed with something else. There are so many other kinds, some of which lay almost bronze colored eggs. Hmmm, we need to add to the flock next year...

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Bag from My Sewing Room

I just love working with great fabric! This large bag in Amy Butler's Morning Glory fabric may be my new favorite thing. It was a joy to make this bag and now I can't wait to order more great fabric and keep sewing.
The other thing I love about this bag is its size. As a mom, I always seem to be carrying a ton of stuff. This bag is big enough for all my stuff and theirs and there's an interior pocket so my cell phone can't hide from me anymore.
I may have to make one for me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Jewelry from Lori

Lori has new jewelry listings on etsy! These bracelets are just beautiful. I had a wonderful time with the pictures. My photography skills are a work in progress, but I think I'm finally making progress.

The photos were taken at Haven Hill Farms, where my children take riding lessons from Marlene Chavis. She and her husband Steve do a great job with the horses, as well as keeping the whole farm beautiful. They do weddings regularly so there are great places to take pictures.

So, here's the result of my day at the farm:

Gorgeous glass bead bracelet

Bracelet made from vintage wood beads :

Both of the above bracelets are currently listed on etsy.

I took lots of pictures and plan to list many more of these wonderful pieces this week. What's your favorite?

Mother of pearl heart earrings:

Bracelet, made with vintage beads:
Glass bead earrings:

Pssst! These glass bead earrings would be great with the blue bracelet above.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sidewalk Sale in Aiken

I had a great time participating in the sidewalk sale in Aiken, SC, the last two days. The bedesisters have a booth at the Antique Emporium in beautiful downtown Aiken. The store's owner, Beverly Huff, invited those of us who have a booth to set up outside the store on Friday and Saturday. The town of Aiken had its annual Aiken's Makin' festival and many downtown businesses join in the spirit of welcoming folks to do some shopping. So, here are some pictures of our day.
This is Beverly with Paul, one of the antique vendors who has a booth in her shop. His dear wife was nearby, helping with their sale for the day. She knits beautifully, by the way.
This is the Bede Sisters sidewalk sale set up. The bags looked so nice on the drying racks; the colors were really eye catching.
The table displayed Lori's jewelry so well. Once again, her pendants were the hot item. One young woman stopped short and just gasped at a stone fish pendant. She bought it immediately; it had always been my favorite piece of Lori's jewelry. She has such good design ideas.
Here's photo of our booth inside the Antique Emporium. I think it looks inviting, kind of like grandma's kitchen.
This fun and spirited lady is Pamela Petruschke. (Did I spell that correctly, Pam?) She also has a booth inside the Antique Emporium, along with her very youthful mother-in-law, Dorothy. In addition to the antique store, Pam has an etsy shop, alteredstates. She's been busy this summer and her shop has been on vacation, but should be opening back up in the next few days. She makes jewelry as well as remaking things into new things, like vintage fabric into aprons. Can't wait to see what she puts in her shop!
Here's Paul and his wife, outside the store, enjoying the wonderful weather. Can you see the scarf she's making? It is as soft as it looks. Lucky grandchildren!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The (Canned) Fruits of Our Labor

Here's what we made from the pears! Well, some of it anyway. The golden colored concoction is pear honey, made from pears, pineapple and sugar. The other jars are filled with pear relish, made from pears, onions, peppers, vinegar, sugar and spices. The cubed pears are already in the pantry. We'll eat well this winter!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Picking Pears

Friday evening was just beautiful, the air not too humid and the temperature comfortable. So what did the bedesisters do on such a lovely night? They picked pears! Okay, technically, we sat on the porch while my husband climbed the tree and shook down the fruit while his brother gathered it and put it into baskets. Hey, we picked the low hanging ones.

Here's a picture of our guys near the tree. That's my husband, Andy, on the left and his brother, Kevin (and Lori's husband), on the right. Aren't they cute?

I'm spending my weekend putting up pears-- cubed pears, pear relish, pear honey-- I'm the Bubba Gump of pears.

Whew! That was hard work; lemonade, anyone?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Small Town Life

I went to the feed store yesterday. I love going to the feed store. To appreciate just how strange that sounds, you need to know that I'm a suburban girl. I grew up in a quiet neighborhood, outside a not-very-big city. I didn't like to get dirty or, horrors, sweaty! Now I live in the country, with chickens and a garden (that needs weeding.)

So, now I have to go to the feed store on a regular basis. Chickens eat a lot. I think I like going to the feed store because it feels like stepping back in time. The owner is always there, usually talking to customers about what kind of seed would be best for their garden or which feed is best for their goats. In my case, it's whether I need the layer crumbles or the pellets. He remembers better than I do.

The feed store is a place where my grandfather would feel right at home. There's usually a cat napping on a stack of feed. Occasionally, there's a box of puppies or kittens looking for homes. There are pails on the floor filled with seeds that you can buy by the pound and several boxes of dog treats, also available by the pound. When my son went in with me one day, he came out with a treat to take home to our dog, no charge.

I've never had to load my own feed, although I did have to help get a square hay bale into a plastic bag so it wouldn't make a mess in my car. That's what I get for not driving the truck. I hope the feed store is around for a long time. The chickens don't care where their food comes from, but I do.

By the way, they eat the pellets.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My New Wallet

I got a new wallet last week and I just love it. I bought it from Ripenstitch on Etsy. She does great work. I feel so organized now. This wallet has a place for cards (ID, credit cards, library cards, etc), cash, checkbook and change. I used to search constantly for those things in my purse as well as often misplacing them. Now it's all in one very pretty place. Thanks, Ripenstitch!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nice Saturday

Our family had different places to be today. My husband and older children helped with the 4-H car wash, which was a great success. They all came home with a slight sun burn, but my husband's family has a distant Cherokee ancestor, so everyone should be fine tomorrow. Unlike, me, with my Scotch-Irish forefathers. It takes about 15 minutes of sun to give me a burn.

The other place to be today was a birthday party for my 4 year old daughter's friend. They had a ball playing in his backyard, which is fantastic. It's fenced and huge, with lots of grass for running around, which they did a lot of. Pizza was served, along with ice cream cake. I'm still full.

All in all, I'd call this Saturday a good day. Even though I didn't get the mopping done.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What is parkin?

I'm so glad you asked. Parkin is a traditional bread from England, according to Bauer's Story of the World and Wikipedia. It has oatmeal, molasses and ginger, along with flour, sugar, baking powder, honey and butter. Apparently, the oatmeal, molasses and ginger are the defining characteristics of parkin. It is like a soft gingerbread.

We made it for our school history lesson today and the children liked it. We are studying England around the 1500's. Since haggis is hard to come by in these parts, I decided to give parkin a try. I'm sure the children were disappointed.

Anyway, here's what it looked like, after we ate about half. Wish you were here to share!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Joy of a Cuckoo Clock

Cuckoo clocks make me smile. I didn't know that about myself until recently. We bought one on vacation recently and I just love it. There's something very satisfying about a clock that doesn't require a plug or batteries. We just pull the chains down and give the pendulum a little nudge and it tick-tocks away for 24 hours.

The half-hourly "cuckoo" and music are a source of giggles and "ooo-aahhs" for all of us. I was worried that the extra noise in the house would be annoying, but I enjoy it, although I might feel differently if we couldn't turn off the music at night.In a world of constant noise, computers, television, video games, washers and dryers, and all the rest of our "modern conveniences", there's something precious about clothes that hang on a line to dry and a clock that you have to wind.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wonderful, Boring Day

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I received an order yesterday from imeondesign. She makes the most beautiful cards. I'm torn though; should I send them to well loved friends or should I frame them? Aren't they great?
After taking my son to his riding lesson this morning, I came home and hung laundry out to dry. I just love the smell of line dried clothes. We then read a chapter together in Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, great story of a Revolutionary era man. He was an amazing mathematician and navigator from Salem, MA. Good family reading material.

Nothing earth shattering going on around here, but it's may favorite kind of day. Boring is good.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Great weekend around here

I had a great weekend. I cleaned house on Saturday, then went to an auction with my husband on Saturday night. Sunday, we went to church where my seventeen year old daughter and I kept the nursery. We got to take care of two cutie-pie boys, both about two and the brand new sister of one of the boys. She spent the entire time in our arms and didn't fuss at all.

After having a great lunch at home, my daughter and I had a "girls' afternoon out". We hit the bookstore and Bath and Body Works. It's fun and a little scary to negotiate a new kind of relationship with her. She's closer to being an adult than to childhood. She's becoming a great companion.

While we were gone, my husband and two younger children picked bullaces, which are wild grapes that grow around here. I'll be making jelly later this week. Mmmmm...

Have a good week, bloggers!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And the winner of the tote bag is...
Kim's Critter Designs! Congratulations!

For everyone who signed up by August 15, I will send you a business card wallet. Just let me know how to contact you or you can convo me on etsy at

Thanks to you all!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We had a great time on vacation!

My husband and I had a great time on our vacation. We went to Bern, Switzerland. Switzerland is beautiful; there's a postcard view everywhere you look. Here I am on the terrace of our hotel restaurant. The view was great, even on cloudy days. This was a particularly good day for seeing the mountains.

We went to the top of Mount Schilthorn on Tuesday and had a late lunch in the Piz Gloria, the restaurant at the top of the mountain. This is where scenes from On Her Majesty's Secret Service were filmed. I'm sure the view is stunning when the clouds lift.

Isn't this what you have in your head when you think of Switzerland?

Here we are at our "summer home". (Feel free to snicker) This is Chillon Castle. It sits on Lake Geneva in the western part of the country. It's an amazingly well preserved castle. Andy, my husband, could have spent all day exploring.

As much fun as we had, I'm glad to be home. There's nothing like a wake up call from our three year old daughter, even in beautiful Switzerland.