Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spinning Class at SAFF

This past weekend, I took my first spinning class, and no, it did not involve a stationary bicycle.  I used a spinning wheel for the first time, with adult supervision of course.  My instructor was the very patient, Julie (she's the one sitting on the floor).  She assured us that spinning should be fun; perfection doesn't have to be the goal.
 The class was held at SAFF, the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair, in Fletcher, NC.  It was just about heaven for anyone who loves anything fibery--from fiber animals to roving (fiber prepared for spinning) to finished projects. 

And there were spinning wheels!  Who knew there were so many kinds?  From a hundred year old parlor wheel to modern versions made from PVC.  I had told Andy, my husband, that I wanted a spinning wheel for my birthday.  He knows me well enough to take me seriously, so he told me to pick the one I wanted.

I chose a Lendrum, like the one you see in the class photo.  It doesn't look like the kind you picture from fairy tales, but it suits me well.  It's easy to figure out and I can even fold it to take along.  You know, for all those spinning events I imagine myself attending.

There's also a nice stash of dyed wool in my trunk, waiting to be spun...

(Oh, and apparently I frown when I'm concentrating.  Don't confuse that with grumpiness.  I was having fun, honest!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I am excited beyond all reason for this weekend.  I'm going to SAFF, the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair in Fletcher, NC.  It is heaven for fiber enthusiasts--spinners, crocheters, knitters, weavers, as well as those who raise fiber animals. 

I'm going to take a spinning class on Friday and spend Saturday shopping for my birthday present from my husband.  Yep, I've been given approval to buy a spinning wheel. 

In honor of my trip, I thought I'd offer a few links to amazing spinning/fiber oriented websites:

Joyuna--This post has a picture of some stunningly beautiful sheep.  Really.

One Crazy Fiber Lady--Nice pictures of drop spindles, as well as a beautiful wheel.

The Fiber of My Being-- The first post here shows some Newfoundland dog hair, cleaned for spinning!

The Sojourning Spinner--Love this blog that focuses on spinning with a drop spindle.

Bessybee Fiber's Blog--My goodness!  The gorgeous fiber, ready to spin...

PumpkinTownPrimitives--And, this is Renee Gillespie.  My husband bought my drop spindle from her a couple of years ago, along with an instructional video.  I had a chance to meet her at a living history event last weekend and we exchanged phone numbers.  Hopefully, we'll cross paths at SAFF!

I plan to come back with pictures of my weekend, including my new spinning wheel.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hey, at least you don't have to sit through a slide show...

Count your blessings, people, I'm showing vacation photos and you don't have to sit in my family room and watch 100's of slides with pictures of my thumb covering half the view. 

For the first time, my husband Andy and I took just our son on a special trip.  We even let him pick the place.  He chose Hawaii (that's my boy!)  We went to the big island, Hawaii.  
One of our side trips was to Volcanoes National Park where we went in a lava tube.  It's a tunnel sort of cave left behind when lava makes its way though.  Andrew loved it!

Depending on which side of the island you're on, it's mostly sunny or mostly rainy, as you can probably tell by looking at the pictures.  There are beautiful views around lots of corners and a wonderful botanic garden on the east, or Hilo, side. 

 On our last day, a local man suggested we drive to the northern tip of the island.  I thought, "Really, it's that much better there?"  Yes.  It is.  This is the Hawaii that was in my imagination--absolutely spectacular.

(Do you like the way I've just jumped back into blogging, acting like I haven't neglected it for the past two months?)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mad Scientist Birthday Party

My son recently celebrated his 11th birthday (I can hardly believe it!)  My sister-in-law, Lori, volunteered to host the party.  She's great at this sort of thing; honestly, she can plan a party in her sleep.  So, with just a couple days to plan, she came up with what may have been the best party theme ever for an 11 year old boy. 
The party decorations included glass jars filled with color coordinated candy, a plastic skeleton and various desktop type science-theme toys, like a the solar system looking one as a center piece.  Of course, we all had lab coats (men's white dress shirts) and safety goggles (from the dollar store).  Food included "worms" (spaghetti) and a lab experiment gone wrong (the cake, with a tipped jar on it and green frosting coming out).

 We had a great time and Andrew will never forget this birthday!  Thanks, Lori!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Easiest Cake Recipe EVER!

My friend Karan suggested this recipe to me and it's brilliant!  It has only two ingredients and they may already be in your pantry.  This cake is super moist and has almost as many variations as there are cooks.  Here's what you do--thoroughly mix a boxed cake mix with a can of pie filling, pour into a 13x9 inch pan that you've sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes (check for "doneness" with a toothpick at 30-35 minutes).  That's it.  No, really.  That's it.
I made mine with devil's food cake mix and cherry pie filling, but I've also made one with spice cake mix and apple pie filling.  My daughter said it tasted like fall!  I'd also like to try lemon cake with lemon pie filling.

I'd love to hear your ideas for other combinations.  What do you think- lemon cake and blueberry filling?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

All American Family Reunion

A couple of years ago, after attending what seemed like the millionth funeral in our family, my cousins and I decided we were tired of only seeing each other when somebody died.  So, I invited them to my house.  And they came.  We've done it for two years in a row and it's wonderful.

My sister-in-law Lori, came over with her magic party bag and started decorating.  She used to plan huge events for a church so she can do this kind of thing in her sleep.  She pulled out every red, white and/or blue thing she could find and turned my house into an "event".

We put red, white and blue table cloths on all the tables, along with themed cupcakes and mason jars filled with flags and flatware.  Add some napkins and plates from the warehouse store and, lo and behold!  It's party time! 
 I'm rather proud of my party favor idea, if I do say so myself.  I knew that most people who were coming had to travel for at least an hour, if not several hours.  So I sent them home with snacks for the road--bottled water, crackers, cookies, etc.  And I stashed them near the door, in blue and white canning pots.
Have you had any special events lately?  I'd love to hear your ideas (and maybe steal a few of them for my next shindig).

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spring Flowers in Holland

I love tulips, but they are a challenge to grow in the deep south.  It's just too warm for most tulips to thrive, without a lot of attention and replanting.  So, for years I've dreamed of going to Holland in the spring to see the tulips in bloom.  Last month, I had that opportunity and I wasn't disappointed.

There are flowers everywhere and the variety is astonishing.  My husband and I visited Alsmeer, the largest flower auction in the world.  Every day, millions of flowers pass through this building to be bought and immediately shipped to buyers around the world.  It is an amazing place.

Alsmeer Flower Market

We also went to Keukenhof, the world famous spring garden in Holland.  It boasts 4.5 million tulips in 100 varieties.  It was the experience of a lifetime for a tulip lover!

Wordless Wednesday--Tulips

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Floating Flower Market

Andy, my husband and sherpa, recently took me to Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  I absolutely love tulips and since they are difficult to grow in my southern garden, I had long wanted to go to the place known worldwide for growing them.  I was not disappointed.  The world's only floating flower market is located in the city of Amsterdam.  It began in the 1860's and is still a busy flower market for the city. The only problem was that I couldn't take bouquets home with me!  Can you imagine living within walking distance of this incredible market?  I would spend way more than I should, in time and money at the Bloemenmarkt (Dutch for "flower market").  Here I am, fascinated by the amazing variety available here.

You should probably get comfortable.  I plan to show lots of vacation photos.  Hey, at least you don't have to sit on my couch and watch a 3 hour slide show, with Frodo the Wonder Yorkie on your lap.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Teaser Tuesday--The Red Pyramid

"The two of you...you combine the blood of two ancient families, both of which have a long, complicated history with the gods.  You are the most powerful Kane children to be born in many centuries."

from The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

What are you reading?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

My mother had those words in a framed picture in her bedroom. I think a friend gave it to her. My mom was one of the busiest people I've ever known. Until she became ill, I rarely saw her sit down and when she did, she was still working on something. She did her hand sewing and mending, as well as lots of cross-stitch projects while she watched a little television at night.

I've felt a bit like that saying lately. I seem to be really busy, but I still get behind in my projects. Lately, I've had lots of business and tax related things to take care of, and very little sewing has been done. Add to that, lots of my fall and Christmas listings just expired and you get a Bede Sisters Etsy shop with about half the inventory it had just a month ago.

In the past week, I did manage to make two new large bags. They are wonderful as diaper bags, as well as a great all day purse.

Tonight, I finished four baskets and I'm hoping for some sunshine tomorrow so can get them photographed and listed soon. I suppose the lesson is to keep working and eventually, you'll be...um...less "behinder"?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

More Adventures Around the Homestead

We had a frost warning (or advisory or whatever they call it) for two nights this week. It's not unusual to have a cold night or so in April, but we've had such a warm winter that I had hoped we were done. Not quite!

So, what do you do with tomato plants that have been in the ground a mere few days? You cover them with anything you can find--half bushel baskets, buckets and sand castle building forms. I think we saved the plants, but time will tell.

Also, Timmy (the new baby goat) is doing well. He and his mother joined the rest of the goats on Thursday. He's discovered the salt block.

And he hasn't learned to escape the arms of a little girl who thinks he's the cutest thing EVER.
Anything new at your place?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Opening a new box of plastic wrap

Okay, if you already know this, you can skip this blog post and get on with your day. However, if you've always struggled with getting plastic wrap to pull out of the box smoothly, read on.

I saw this somewhere a few years ago and had one of those moments my daughter calls a "face-palm". That's where you cover your face with your hand, the way you would if you just discovered that you'd been wearing two different socks all day.
When you open a new box of plastic wrap, start by finding the end of the plastic and pulling off just enough to get it through the open side.

The next part is the really cool thing that I didn't know until, well, adulthood. There are tabs on each end of the box. With the roll in place, push the tabs into the box. They are designed to hold the cardboard tube securely in the box while you pull wrap off the roll.

Any questions?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New baby goat this morning!

The children came running back to the house this morning, after their usual chores, to tell me that there was a new baby goat in the shed. This one was a bit of a surprise since we weren't sure if the mama goat was pregnant.

We had not moved her into our kidding pen, so it was up to me and the two younger children to move baby and mama out of the big shed and into the separate kidding area. It was an adventure, trying to get mama to follow me. I finally picked up the baby and sort of tempted her with him. Once we got them settled, I took a few pictures. Isn't he a cutie?

At least, I think it's a "he".

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesday--Kill Shot

From Kill Shot by Vince Flynn:

"Rapp flipped up the collar on his black jacket and pulled a thin black balaclava over his face. He hefted the coil of climbing rope, looked over the edge of the building and said to himself, "Two shots to the head."

I'm reading a spy novel and smelling like sunscreen. Must be almost summer. What are you reading?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sitting on the porch

It's spring and prime porch-sitting weather around here. The weather is warm enough to be comfortable, but the humidity isn't too high yet. In addition, the bugs aren't out in full force yet. So, my husband and I decided to relax on our porch and do some reading and puzzles.

Wonder of wonders, the children didn't follow us so we had a bit of quiet time together. Then, Abby the Ginormous Dog joined us. She's pretty quiet, but really hates to be left out of anything. She offered to help Andy with his crossword (or sudoku, I can't remember). Abby was eager to help but she can't spell. Or count.

Then, she apparently wanted me to read to her. Nothing doin', Big Dog! Read your own books.

Finally, she settled down to what she does best. Lay around and pant. And drool a little.

How's your spring coming along? Or autumn, if you are south of the equator?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April already?!

How did it get to be April already? I've still got so much to get caught up on from winter--there's still wool to be spun and crocheted, there's a quilt started that needs work, even herbs dried last fall that need to be put into jars.

No matter! The days are getting longer, my porch has been cleaned (though it could use another rinse to get rid of the rest of the pollen), the hummingbird feeder is hung up and the new herbs are planted in the herb garden. The vegetable patch has been tilled (thanks, sweetie!) and there are container tomato plants already on the patio.

This week I plan to take a sample from the pool for testing. The water looks good, but I'm sure it needs something to keep it that way. The children are already asking when they can go swimming. We stalled them today by hooking up the sprinkler. April 1 and we're expecting 91 degrees tomorrow!

The strawberry farm is open for picking already and I have plans to go there this week with friends. We'll pick in the morning and then we'll head back to the house to make jelly and jam.

Whew. I'm tired already. Maybe I should sit on the porch for a while and watch for hummingbirds.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Yay! Vacation pictures!

Break out the popcorn and find a comfortable seat! I've got vacation pictures for you.

My family and I went to Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago. We had a nice time, although my son and I managed to get sick and one of the girls was sick the night we got home. On the whole though, it was a nice trip and we brought back great photos.

First up, this photo is from Disney's Animal Kingdom. It's a great park and my son, the animal lover, really enjoyed it.
Next is my husband and children at the Magic Kingdom. The is the original park at Disney World in Florida. It's younger than Disneyland in California, but the first Disney park to open in central Florida. It's got the classics--Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo, etc. Should it worry me that my husband and daughter coordinated their outfits?

Look! It's me and my girls at Epcot! We stopped for a snack at the Land pavilion. I love Epcot and the Land has two of my favorite rides--Soarin' and Living with the Land.

Soarin' is a simulator ride that has you flying over California, with views of the ocean, orange groves and even a golf course.

Living with the Land is a slow ride through a greenhouse. But it's a Disney greenhouse and you see the most amazing ways they grow things, like tomatoes growing like trees (with elaborate supports) and plants growing without soil. They spray the nutrients directly onto the roots.

It was a fun trip and the children had loads of fun. On the whole though, I'm really glad to be back home, with fresh eggs and herbs just starting to peek back through the soil. Hmm, an omelet is sounding like a really nice dinner...