Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas in Review

I finished my son's rag quilt just in time. Here it is, after a washing and drying. You can see that the ragging/fraying process is started. The seams end up with a sort of chenille look.

Here we are, with the annual reading of the Christmas story by the Cousin-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. Quite possibly the best Christmas gift I've ever given him. Swords and shields for everyone!And, here's our traditional Christmas breakfast--cornmeal mush. It's delicious. Honest.
So, how was your Christmas?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I've always wanted to go to....

Reykjavik, Iceland. I know, you're asking, "Why in the world would you want to go to Reykjavik, Iceland, Kay?" I'm not sure exactly, but I can trace my desire to see Iceland back to October of 1986. That's the date of the Reagan/Gorbachev summit that eventually led to the end of the Cold War.

To be embarrassingly honest, I wasn't all that interested in the politics of the summit. I know, I was in college and I should have been more aware of world events, blah, blah, blah. What I remember about that summit was thinking, "People actually live in Iceland?! There are houses? And hotels? Who knew?" Not me, obviously.

So, ever since the fall of 1986, I've wanted to see Iceland. I want to see the geysers, the glaciers and the unpronounceable volcano, Eyjafjallajokull. Maybe someday I'll go there, although I probably won't be trying to negotiate world peace.

What places are on your bucket list?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fluffy Balls of Fall

I was separating my gorgeous, hand-dyed roving a few nights ago, getting it ready to spin when my college daughter walked by. She looked at the basket of wool and said, "It looks like little fluffy balls of fall!" I think she captured the color and texture perfectly. I've started spinning the wool on my drop spindle. I'm still very much a beginner, as you can see by the wide range of thick to thin places in my yarn. My more experienced fiber friends graciously call that "novelty yarn".
Most of the fiber arts people I've met are online friends. They are some of the most giving, helpful and encouraging people anywhere. They never make fun of beginners (at least not to my face) and they are quick to offer advice and instruction.

Even though I'm a complete novice, I'm made to feel like a part of the "in crowd" with fiber people. They jump at the chance to talk sheep, wool, hand spindles and spinning wheels, and don't get them started on roving vs. top! Actually, I love to get fiber people started. Uh-oh, I'm becoming one of "them".

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shhh! Don't tell!

I'm working on a rag quilt for my son for Christmas. I spent an afternoon or two cutting up his old blue jeans into squares as well as cutting new flannel.

A rag quilt is made by having the seams exposed on one side of the quilt. The exposed raw edges are clipped close to the stiching. Then, the whole thing is washed and dried (probably at a laundromat) to start the fraying process. The finished quilt will have one side with traditional seams, the other will have frayed edges that look a bit like chenille.

Remind me to post a picture of the finished quilt. I hope he likes it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Last Craft Show of the Year

We spent this past weekend at a Christmas craft show in Aiken, SC. It is a two-day, indoor show at the Odell Weeks Center in town. Lori and I enjoyed meeting other crafters and talking about our plans for the new year. It was a bit slow sales wise, but still a nice weekend.

Our booth space was open on two sides, so we set up a bit differently. The sides were not as tall as usual and we split the framework so people could walk through from one side to the other. One of the things we've learned from doing a few craft shows is that you never know before you get there exactly what your space will be like. Always be ready to adjust.

I don't have any more shows scheduled until spring, so I'm going to enjoy my holidays and work on building up inventory in the Etsy shop. And bake Christmas cookies.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday at Our House

For our homeschool lessons, we've been reading about the Jamestown settlement and the paths people took to get there. One of the books is titled A Lion to Guard Us. It is the fictional story of three children, who's father has gone to establish a life in the New World. While waiting in England to join him, their mother dies. They are taken in by a kind doctor, who then decides to take them to the New World with him.

In today's chapter, they have a breakfast of tea and biscuits. I'm not sure if biscuit means, you know actual "biscuits" or the British biscuit meaning cookie. We went with the flour, shortening and baking powder kind, served with tea from a real teapot.

Also, my college daughter had an art project due today. She was to replicate an art piece from the museum. She got a pot to paint from her professor, that was close to the shape of the original Greek vase. I think she did a great job!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me...sniff, cough, sniff

Okay, so we're still suffering from colds around here, but that didn't keep my husband from bringing home dinner and a cake for my birthday. We ordered take-out Chinese food and had cake from a bakery.

The cake was delicious! And my friend Lisa sent me a bag of treats, including special teas and her homemade marshmallows--pumpkin flavor! Yum!

Now, if I can just get over this cold...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Halls Are Decked

In spite of a nasty case of sniffles which seems to be going around my family (I'm blaming the teenager--she started it), we managed to get our Christmas decorations put up today.

Our tree is in its usual spot, with it's blue ribbon and big bow on the top. The children put the decorations on it and they are nicely arranged, the decorations that is. Now that the children are a little older, the decorations manage to make it all the way up the tree. When they were smaller, there was quite a concentration of ornaments around the lower half.

I also put up a wreath in my kitchen. It's pieced, a bit like a Dresden plate quilt block, in Christmas fabrics. My mother made it many years ago and it's nice to have something of hers to keep me company this year.

This is also the one time of the year that I load up the top of the piano with decorations. I usually resist putting anything there. It's a musical instrument, not a shelf, but a few well-chosen, and padded items are allowed to rest there for a few weeks.

I'll try to get some pictures soon. It's a bit late today and the light is terrible, so you'll have to use your imagination. Actually, your imagination is probably better than the reality, so I may just let that suffice.

Have you done any decorating yet?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let the cooking begin...

I'm starting my Thanksgiving cooking with Cran-Apple Relish. It is delicious and freezes well, so not only am I set for tomorrow, I'm also set for Christmas.

Here's the recipe for Cran-Apple Relish:

1 orange, unpeeled

5-6 red apples unpeeled

1 pound of cranberries (actually, they usually come in 12 oz bags and that's enough)

2 cups sugar (I reduced this to one cup and it tastes fine.)

1 20 oz can of crushed pineapple, well drained

1/2 cup chopped pecans (I usually leave these out.)

Quarter orange and apples; remove cores. Grind apples, orange and cranberries in a food processor. Add sugar, pineapple and pecans. Mix well and refrigerate overnight. Makes 2 quarts.

Thanks to Cousin Leanne for the recipe!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Flu Shot Day

My children and I went to the doctor's office this week for our flu shots. You might think that they would dread this day, but thanks to a little bribery, it wasn't too bad.

My deal is this: behave for your shot and you get a treat afterward. "Behave" is defined as holding still, not kicking the nurse and no excessive whining. A tear or two is tolerated, just no tantrums.



It helps that there's a Walmart across the road from the doctor's office.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Weekend at the Craft Show

I spent the past weekend at the Carolina Craftsmen Christmas Classic (don't try to say that five times fast). It was fun, exhausting, entertaining--in other words, a 3-day craft show.

If I had a dollar for everyone that walked into my booth, looked at a basket and said, "How cute!" and then walked out without buying anything, I could retire. It was huge fun though, to have lots of other people say "How cute!" and then proceed to buy two or three!

Another aspect of craft shows is that I get to spend time in the booth with some of my favorite people. Friday, my booth buddy was the wife of the Cousin-who-shall-not-be-named. She's a fellow homeschooler and, even though we spent 11 hours working a craft booth, it seemed like a day off! Thanks, Leanne!

Saturday and Sunday, Lori, the "other Bede Sister", was with me. She's amazing at staging the booth. Sales are always better when she's in charge of set-up. Yay, Lori!

How was your weekend?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

For school today, we read to each other some of our favorite fall and Halloween stories.

Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanine Titherington

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White

The Beast Who Couldn't Say Boo by Amanda Agee

And a chapter from Richard Peck's A Year Down Yonder, that tells the story of Halloween with Grandma Dowdel.

We also made cupcakes (devil's food, of course) with sprinkles.

Tonight, I'm hoping for a chance to watch Arsenic and Old Lace with my older daughter.

Any special plans at your place?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

State Fair Judging Results

We picked up our entries from the fairgrounds yesterday as well as a handful of ribbons. Yay! As usual, the things I think are winners get nothing and the ones I think are just so-so, are the ones that come home with awards.

Here's the list of winners:
Bread and Butter Pickles--1st place
Apple Jelly--2nd Place
Grape (muscadine-wild grape)--2nd Place
Strawberry Jelly--2nd Place
Blueberry Jam--2nd Place
Purse--2nd Place

Apron--2nd Place

Girls Wear (dress)--2nd Place

Pillow--1st Place

We also had the great pleasure of meeting our state fair hero, a charming lady who enters literally dozens of categories and wins in lots of them. Miss Dorothy was there picking up her entries, an all day task for her, and we happened to see her cart and recognized some of her work. She was just as sweet and friendly as I had pictured. My son was thrilled to meet her and couldn't wait to tell his big sister about meeting Miss Dorothy.

Time to get started on next year's projects!

Monday, October 24, 2011

In Atlanta for Country Living's "Pitch Your Product"

The Bede Sisters spent the weekend in Atlanta for Country Living magazine's "Pitch Your Product". It's kind of like American Idol for craft people. We checked in at the "pitch" desk and were sent to a waiting room with lots of other people. The hope is that Country Living will select out product for a mention in the magazine. (Here we are at the hotel, with our fabric baskets.)

We had three minutes to present our product, then the people from the magazine asked a couple of questions. That was it. Now we wait for a few weeks to see if we're "going to Hollywood". At least nobody called us "dawg".

After we were done with our pitch, we went to the Country Living Fair, held at Stone Mountain park. We had a great time checking out all the booths.

I spent a long time talking to a couple who raise their own sheep for wool. She's a long time spinner and I had the fun of watching her spin some of her hand dyed wool. I also brought home some roving for myself, of course.

The picture below is of Lori and me in front of a small camper belonging to the Sisters on the Fly. They are a group of women who go on adventures together, often fishing and many in their own wildly decorated campers. We may join them someday. When we grow up.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What have you been doing, Kay?

I'm so glad you asked.

I've been visiting Florida theme parks in the rain. Checking out the chickens at the state fair with my son: Grieving the loss of our 20-year-old chair, lovingly known as "the blue chair":

And sewing. Lots and lots of sewing:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2011 SC State Fair Entries

I'm headed to the SC State Fair grounds later today to deliver my entries for 2011.

These are my canning entries: jams, jellies and a jar of pickles. I wanted to enter some things made from pears, but I wasn't able to get pears this year.

I also have two stocking entries, the first from a recycled rice bag, the second from new materials. I love this little purse! It's made from leftover Halloween fabric from other projects.

This is a skein of my homespun yarn. It's way to lumpy and bumpy, but I had a great time spinning it. The judges may not be impressed, but I am. Yay me!

My scarf entry is made from bamboo yarn and is super soft. The colors are purple and white.
The last two entries are a crocheted shawl (including a bit of homespun yarn) and a Thanksgiving apron.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday--Ode to Jackson Pollock

This is my son's artwork for the SC State Fair. It's his Ode to Pollock-Part 2.

Jackson Pollock was an American artist, known for his unusual techniques.