Wednesday, May 31, 2006
This is a pattern I bought today. Hancock Fabrics has their Butterick patterns on sale for .99 each, no limit, but must be in stock. I love the one in the middle and the upper left corner.
This and the gown below are lovely patterns that I think would work well for a fairy or someone in tune with nature! *g* I would love to try to make one, but alas, I have no where to wear one. It would be fabulous in a plain muslin fabric.
I have been trying to post photos of the 24 costumes...group photo...I made for my daughter's third grade play. I worked on them from January until mid March when the play took place. The play was: Of Mice and Mozart. I made floor length dresses in a colonial style for the girls, vests and colonial style jackets for the boys. I even made a few wigs for the boys too! As soon as I figure out how to upload from my camera, I'll post them. The parents were totally blown away by the costumes and sets. I had a ball with the sewing...in hog's heaven so to speak! The children were so excited, the looks on their faces when they saw their costumes made it all worth it. I probably spent about 200 hours on costume and set construction. I recently purchased two sewing dressmaker models on stands. One is : "Uniquely You", so I can do customized sewing for myself...now if I can just wriggle into the fitting sleeve...LOL. The other I found in my favorite junk shop for under $30. It is for a size 10 to 12 figure which I used to be once upon a time, long long ago!! I plan to use it to hold the aprons and capes I am planning on making! Anyway...my good farmgirl friend Kathy, please let me know if any of these patterns catch your fancy, and I'll get started with your special apron ASAP!! I will be working out custom modifications for the special Anne Shirley apron over the next few days.
But before I can do any sewing I have to finish mucking out my sewing room. Last fall, I converted our dining room into my private space. I put heavy curtains up with tension rods in the two doors into/out of my room, set up a huge cutting, sewing table, added a fabulous spring green colored bookcase, wall unit to hold my fabric and notions and got started on the costumes for the play. I am now shifting gears and am thinking I'd like to try those aprons and more shilly shallys soon, but I must sweep away the debris and start fresh. I'm almost done, one more morning of sorting, dusting and my hands are almost able to sew again! (recovering from carpal tunnel surgery on both hands...I can feel my fingers again! yeah!!) I am just babbling now, see what happens when I blog about sewing....I go all nutty in the noggin! LOL
Later, as always, drop me a note if you get a minute!
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
"I only like two kinds of pie..." my grandpa would say chuckling, "...hot and cold." Another one of his grandpaisms was: "I never met a pie I didn't like." Grandpa would eat any kind, anywhere as long as it was pie!
Now my sister Andi claims to be the best pie baker in the world. "Ya wanna know the secret to a great pie?" she whispered one Thanksgiving. "Lard!" I remember looking at her aghast when she uttered the name of "he who should not be named!" "Did you hear me George?" she would nudge me and say, "isn't that the best stuff you've ever had in your mouth?" She saw my eyelids flutter and my eyeballs roll back in my head...and she knew I was hooked."
"There's lard in this pie? Why in the world did you use lard?" I couldn't decide at that moment whether I should really be enjoying this cholesterol loaded, pig laden scrumptious, melt in the mouth crust, so I took another bite. "I can't eat anymore of this lard crust!" I announced to the family...had to uphold my quasi-vegetarian beliefs at the time...and marched right to the kitchen, pulled out the waste basket and shoveled the rest of that pie right into...
my mouth. I threw caution to the wind that Thanksgiving and discovered that my sister was the best pie baker in the world. Which pleased her to no end!
I don't cook with lard, never did. I prefer to just eat my sister's pies, which doesn't happen very often, she lives 800 miles from me, but I still like pie...but only two kinds...you guessed it...hot and cold!
Here is a link to my favorite and easiest pie crust recipe in the whole world. I'll let you decide on the filling!
Tonight I filled this crust with smoked turkey breast that my husband spent 5 hours cooking this past weekend and tenderly simmered vegetables: red potatoes, parsnips, turnips, Vadalia onions, carrots, fresh snipped parsley and chervil, sea salt and freshly crushed black pepper. Made a butter, milk and vegetable water creamy sauce and poured over all then topped with egg yolk brushed crust! Baked it at 425 for 30 minutes. My son...in the restaurant business...just had some of the leftovers and said: "Mom, that is the best one yet!"
Happy Baking Farmgirl Friends! With lots of love,
Pie sign is available at allposters.com just do a search for pie!
...pink fingers of dawn slid over the distant horizon.
“We’re here Lizzie! Hurry, out of the truck.”
“Finally. Now what is it you want to show me.”
“This.” Minerva Jane swept her arms in a circle. “This beauty.”
“All the way out here this early to see a lake. I thought we were going fishing?”
“Hush Lizzie, listen.”
It was quiet. They stood still, arm in arm looking out over the water. The lake was so still, that the paths the ducks and geese took across the pond looked like ice skater's lines in the pollen floating on top. Mist curled up from the lake and formed translucent clouds of fog just above where the water kissed the shore.
Lizzie was lulled into quiet reverence from the beauty of the early morning. A bullfrog with its deep-throated bellow echoed the morning wake up call. A blue heron skimmed the surface searching for fish on his way over the placid water.
Lizzie looked at her grandmother. The sparkle in her eyes reflected the lake and Lizzie could feel her grandmother absorbing the beauty and the energy from the scene in front of them.
Then she understood that it wasn’t just fishing that they came for. She held Grandma’s arm and drank in the tranquil splendor of the early morning.
“It’s beautiful grandma,” Lizzie whispered. “Yes, it is, I’m glad you like it,” Minerva Jane squeezed Lizzie’s arm gently.
Above is an excerpt from a short story called: Dawn Patrol. Minerva Jane is my paternal grandmother combined with my sister Andrea and Lizzie is my niece, Ainsley. Grandma MJ passed to her forever home long before Ainsley was brought forth to this earth. I hope through this story, she may meet a grandmother who would have given anything to meet her.
Today I feel like I'm on Dawn Patrol. I woke up to the sound of the great horned owl in our back acres hunting. They hunt directly after midnight and shortly before dawn. Today at 5:23 I heard the Whoooo whoooo who who, then again whooo whooo who who. I waited for the terrified scream of a rabbit or squirrel, but the hunter went home without breakfast this morning. In one way I was glad of it today. I enjoyed the serene rustle of the leaves, the cheerful twittering of the dawn birds and the cool caress of morning on my sleepy skin. I thought of Minerva Jane and the smell of white bread toasted to golden perfection with a thin spread of peanut butter on top. The rich smell of brewing coffee and coal oil nibbled at the edges of my memory as I watched the ground squirrels foraging for seeds and fresh tiny shoots. Ah, Dawn Patrol...my favorite time of day.
Monday, May 29, 2006
After Grandfather died, Grandmother had no home. She stayed with each of her grown children until the moon grew bright and full, then she moved on.
“Grandmother,” I asked one day as we sat under a tree and brushed each other’s coal black hair. “Daddy said we’re moving, no more cotton to pick.”
As I braided her hair, her leathery face curled in thought.
“He said we wouldn’t have a house. We’ll be living in a tent. I’m scared of not having a home.”
“My little one,” Grandmother spread her arms wide, “Don’t be afraid, this is our home. Every blade of grass, every leaf on every tree, every grain of sand is our home and the home of all things.
“What do you mean grandmother?” I asked while I tucked golden leaves in the dark plaits of her hair.
“Come with me and I’ll show you.”
We watched the squirrels build their nests, leaf by leaf. We watched the ants dig their tunnels, rolling each grain of sand with care. We watched a caterpillar spin its cocoon and beavers pile stick upon stick until they sheltered their young. We took cover from the rain in a cave, and rested in the cool shade of the trees.
“Home is where your family is,” Grandmother said.
I learned home is where you make it.
Grandmother moved on to my uncle’s place, but promised to return with the Planting Moon.
Whenever the moon was bright and round, I watched for Grandmother. One night I saw her long shadow stretch in front of her as she walked up the lane. She had her one bag slung over her shoulder and her feather bed rolled up under her arm.
I ran to meet her.
“Grandmother, I never thought you’d find us? Aren’t you afraid of walking in the dark?”
“My little one,” she said, “the moon follows me and shows me the way. I am never alone or lost with its light guiding my path.”
“Grandmother, what do you mean?”
“I will show you, little one.”
We watched the moon, night after night. It grew smaller and then grew larger. Wherever we went, the moon bathed us in its silvery light. We planted corn under the full moon. We watched the deer and raccoons the bats and the possums. We listened to the night songs of crickets. She taught me to count the days by the moon’s many faces.
Grandmother went away, but promised to return with the harvest moon. I learned to count the days until grandmother’s return.
Four full moons waxed and waned before the Harvest Moon lead Grandmother to our door. I showed her the tall corn we planted together many months before. We walked hand in hand between the green walls. She whispered stories in my ear.
“Grandmother,” I asked one day. “Why do the corn leaves shush, shush, shush in the wind?”
“Little one,” she said, “lie down with me near the corn, and feel the pulse of life in the earth and listen to the prayer of thanks from the corn as it stretches its arms toward the sun.”
I lay still on the cool ground. I felt the Earth’s pulse and listened to Earth’s many songs of life. Grandmother said, “When you touch Mother Earth, you know you are alive and part of the ground and the sky and the water and all living things.” She taught me to feel the life within myself and to feel the life in every blade of grass and in every leaf on the tree.
I laid my head on grandmother and felt her beating heart and learned her song of life.
“Grandmother,” I said to her one day. “Let’s wade in the creek. I’ll show you how to make leaf boats.”
We sat on a big flat rock, making our leaf boats. The water eddied around our feet.
“Grandmother, why we do we have the same crooked baby toes?
“Little one,” she said, “Be proud of your toes. Many great warriors and wise women had the same toes. It is a mark of our family, of our people. Just as water flows in this creek, our ancestors flow through you.”
We waded in the stream with our bare feet. We sailed our leaf boats and picked up pebbles. Grandmother said, “Father Water knows the beautiful pebble within each rock that waits patiently inside until it is freed.” She placed a smooth stone in my hand. It warmed to my touch.
“This is your patience stone,” she said. “Hold it and remember all things in their time.” I held my stone and learned to wait and to dream.
Grandmother’s long shadow trailed behind her under the Winter Moon. She promised to return to help me plant corn again.
Three full moons passed.
I learned Grandmother would never return.
She is now with my grandfather and our ancestors in her forever home.
But grandmother is part of all things around me. She is the earth, the sky, the wind and the water.
When I miss her, I lie on the earth and feel her beating heart.
I look at the corn and see her stretching to the sky.
I listen to the wind and hear her stories whispered in my ear.
I wade in the creek and feel her life song and the songs of our ancestors flow through me.
She taught me to feel the earth, to breath the wind, and to taste the sky.
When I feel lost or alone, I hold my smooth stone. It warms to my touch and I remember: “All things in their time.”
At night I look up at Grandmother Moon and know that she is with me. She follows me wherever I go. Her words fill my heart and her spirit lights my path.
Photo of moon available through allposters.com (Cold Moon Giclee Print 18 x 24 in Baogui Zhang)
At Aunt George's house, I hope to share many thoughts, feelings and happenings in my life with my many friends and family. Used to be in the not too distant past, one could just sit down after supper dishes were cleared and discuss with grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers about the happenings of the day, which field to plow or plant next, that cussed hatch of racoons hiding out in the baler or figure out who left the lid up in the outhouse! Today though, we are such a scattered nation, that a blog may be today's solution to the seperation of family and friends. Remember when you would yawn at the thought of another one of cousin Martha's long annual Christmas letters, but now a lump forms in your throat at the loss of those sweet lines of kinship. Hopefully here at Aunt George's house we can all be cousins, neighbors or aunties and uncles to each other.
So again, Welcome, grab a cup of tea, pull up a chair and let's chaw the fat awhile!