Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Does a Farmer Do On Halloween?

Well, today is Halloween, but I live too far out to expect any trick or treaters. I haven't done any holiday decorating, unless you count the dead hanging plants on the porch, clods of dirt and leaves at the front door, and bales of soggy straw that seem to be sprouting grass or moss or something green?

Still, I need to protect myself from wandering ghosts and vampires, I guess. So, in the "spirit" of things, I did what any farmer wanna be would do..Plant Garlic!

It's hard to tell in this picture (and I had started sinking them into the dirt) but this bed is laid out with cloves from 4 different varieties of garlic. I got my "seed" from Hood River Garlic, a nice family owned farm in Oregon. This is my first year planting garlic, so I will let you know how it goes. But with four varieties, I should be safe from the ghoulies, right?

So, after hoisting and spreading 150 pounds of cow manure and planting the garlic cloves, I put them to bed under some straw for the winter.

Just to be on the safe side of Halloween, I decided to visit the cemetery that is on our property. Really, I have one! It is an old family plot with graves dating from the late 1800's to 1926.

The oldest grave of a preacher and his wife.

Can you see the hands holding on the top of the stone?

This metal marker is the most recent addition and used to have a paper label. Who thought it was a "lasting memorial" to use paper?

The cemetery is surrounded by old cedar trees and when they die, they become appropriately creepy and skeletal.

The cemetery needs a bit of tidying. Maybe this winter, we can clean out some of the leaves and downed trees and make the old family plot a little more presentable. In the mean time, I have paid my respects to them and plan to stay out of there tonight!! Even 4 varieties of freshly planted garlic might not be enough to protect me otherwise. Unless I pelt the creepies with the garlic and am unerring in my aim!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Panty pouches and whatnot

So, I've been feeling under the weather (and under the covers) the last couple of days, and I know myself well enough to know NOT to try to sew anything when I feel like this. The last time I tried to be creative while sick, I managed to sew my finger into the garment with the sewing machine! I have cut off the wrong fabric parts, sewn sleeves on upside down, and caught skirts in the cutting blade of my serger. Just don't do it!

Consequently, I don't have much new to share, so I will spill on some crafts I have been working on for Christmas. Based on something I saw on Etsy, I have made some Panty Pouches!

This one was made just with stuff I had in my stash. It is about 4"x6"...a coin purse size.

Then, in honor of the fashion of today (if you are young, self confident, have a much, much better butt than I do, and don't mind "picking your seat"), I tried my hand at thong ones.

This one is slightly larger, say 4"x7", so it could hold personal hygiene items, or whatever.

Of course, what is a panty pouch without a coordinating booby trap one, so...

Finally, DH's favorite so far...

No bra one for this pattern yet. I worked on getting the sides to match better, and added bows as well.

May try some bloomer or granny panties too.

So, I am soliciting opinions on this project. Aside from my girls (who are genetically obligated to want and adore these), do you think anyone else would want them if I put them on Etsy? All comments, or suggestions welcome...unless you are a troll, in which case, go back under your bridge until I call your name...three times, in my best falsetto, under a full get the point!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Doggie Morning

It's a beautiful crisp fall morning here in Tennessee.
View across the vegetable garden towards Steve the Shed ("'s a pretty name!")

Every morning. Nick and Sassy "hound" me to play out front. The backyard just isn't as exciting as full run of the property. If I so much as walk into the kitchen, Sassy practically has a stroke spinning around by the front door and talking like crazy. She looks at me, then at Nick's hunting vest, then back at me. Touching the vest prompts all sorts of dances and squeaks until the door finally opens. Then as Nick streaks out to check his property lines, Sassy grabs her red Frisbee toy and viciously beats it on the porch floor. And so starts everyday.

Sassy would spend all day playing "catch and torture" with this toy, provided you were out there in all weather watching her play.

Nick, having patrolled the farm looking for invading squirrels, infernal birds, or commuting deer, returns to taunt Sassy and her toy. He really has no interest in playing with the Frisbee, but like any brother, enjoys tormenting his sister. Let the games begin!
Nick looks like a white tail deer, hence the bright orange vest! Don't want him shot on his own land by rouge hunters.

But before we go in for a drink of water and a nap in a sunbeam, Nick poses to show off his finery.

This will hold us until, say, an hour from now, when we'll want to do it all over again.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Watermelons and Birthdays

With the morning temperatures in the 40's, I guess it's safe to say that summer has ended. And so, it was time to eat the last of the summer watermelon.

Now, before you notice that this guy isn't fully ripe, let me say that I grew this. From a plant that was all but dead most of the summer. From a plant that didn't get around to actually growing until August, when all the other little watermelons of the world had long been eaten. So I am suitably proud and the melon was suitably sweet!

Today is my sister Christina's birthday. After my remarkably off-key rendition of the tradition song, we got to talking about how Mom died shortly after she turned this same age. This led to a discussion of how kids think their parents are so grown up and know everything. Well, we did before we became know-it-all teenagers! To think that *we* are now the same age as our parents were, is, to say the least, freaky. (Note: I'm still younger than Christina)

The discussion turned to signs that we are, in fact, at least as "mature" as Mom and Dad were. Having children and managing to keep them alive, making and spending money, usually having food in the house, and for Christina, the ultimate proof...never running out of toilet paper! Now, of all the indicators of success as an adult, this one takes the cake! Toilet paper...*giggle, snort*

But, maintaining the household TP supply is one of those mundane yet essential tasks that signify that you are grown up. Like doing your laundry instead of buying new when you need clean underpants. And eating leftovers to avoid waste (and dang! you worked hard to make the stuff in the first place!)

However, nowhere in the Grown Up Manifesto does it say you can't have fun while being an adult. So, build TP forts, put marshmallows in your cocoa, and dress your dog up in stupid, I mean stylish, outfits. Ride on the back of the shopping cart down the store aisles (done that), hide in the middle of a clothes display and yell "Pick Me! Pick Me!" to the people passing by (not yet), and make funny hairdos in the shower with the shampoo (you bet!)

Because, as I like to say (to myself in the mirror), "Growing old is inevitable, maturity is optional!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Soggy Day

Today is just one of those days...cold, rainy.muddy, get the picture. I could actually take a picture, but it would probably look like one great big raindrop.

I like this picture better...

This is my studio on a prettier day. A space of my own, with thread all over the floor, stacks of magazines and fabric, and an ginormous plastic bag of trash that I keep forgetting to take to the dump. Comes in handy as a doorstop.

I should probably name my studio...I do my cars, dogs and kids. My feelings about a name change depending on the day and how much chocolate I've had. Hen House is one idea, Craft Cave is another. At one point I thought "Mine, Mine, Mine!-No Stinkin' Boys Allowed" but decided that wasn't fair to those of the male persuation in the household. (I love you Honey!)

Today, though, I would probably have to vote for "Cottage With Leaky Ceiling, No Dry Firewood for the Stove, and Too Much Stuff Everywhere." Kinda long, I know. Would probably have to paint that name right off of a sign and wrap it around the building. Of course, then the deer and their biker buddies would come and *tag* the place, and there would be no end of trouble!

So, it's raining. Oh, I said that already. The studio ceiling is leaking in the bathroom and storage room. The attic ladder has been pulled down in anticipation of the arrival of the as-yet invisible roofer. The insulation falls like snow whenever I hit my head on said ladder on the way to my ironing board. It sounds like this, "Whack! Ow! Snow, Cough, Sssss (the iron.)" Rinse and Repeat.

But, inspite of all this, I have been working in my little cottage. I am working on Christmas gifts for the family, so I can only give a peek like this...

Admittedly, I saw this idea online...somewhere...can't remember, but I'm thinking I might make some and put them up on Etsy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A woman's work is Never done

I received this card by snail mail from my most excellent friend Ann. I know the picture isn't very good, but it is a sepia toned picture of a woman vacuuming (sp) the horse corral, with the quote in this post title. Seems so appropriate for me...not the horse part, but the housework and country life reference.

When I moved to Tennessee this past spring, I had this deluded idea that my housework would magically decrease. I figured, I would have a smaller home, I was putting laminate flooring throughout...piece of cake! Both girls would be off at college most of the time, so cooking would reduce. I would have tons of time to spend in my little studio doing whatever crafts I wanted, whenever I wanted.

The reality...I live in the boonies! There are no decent restaurants for quick dinners less than 40 minutes away, so I cook more than ever. The house, while smaller, seems to be covered in a less-than-delicate layer of dust bunnies, dog hair and farm dirt at all times. There are endless chores outdoors, whether it is scorching out or raining buckets.

And my response to this reality? Prepare lots of food for the freezer, so I can still make "quick" breakfasts, lunches, or dinners. Work outdoors first thing in the morning before the heat of the day. Most importantly, ignore the rest of the housework until I run out of clean underpants or the dust buffalos form a herd and go on a rampage, chasing the dogs around the house.

But, hey! This is the life I wanted and worked for. I dreamed of this for years. When I walk out on the porch in the morning, and realize that *should I feel inclined,* I could garden naked! Just me and the birds, oh, and DH kickin' back on the porch watching the show. And when I close up in the afternoon, and see a view like this at the end of my driveway,

I wouldn't trade it for all the dinners cooked by somebody else in the world.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I *heart* my tractor

Have I told you how much I love my tractor? I lurve it, I luff it, I can't get enough of it! Today has gorgeous early fall weather, bright and clear, with a slight breeze. Since it is supposed to rain and/or storm most of the week, I thought I better get to mowing the back roads. Or, I could let Mother Nature have them back since I almost can't locate some of them.

So off to work I go...

That is actually me wearing the white t-shirt (which has periodic table elements that spell out Chocolate, better living through chemistry) using the 5 foot wide bush mower behind! The front loader is a bit raised because the weeds were so tall, I couldn't see where I was driving!

See, the potato shaped woman drives! Well, she mows backwards alot to get into those tight spots.

So, here's the lower field. The road to nowhere starts just to the right side, the turnoff towards the creek bridge is further right, out of the picture.

I love my air-conditioned cab that keeps the bugs, bees and pollen out. It even has a cup holder and a radio! Such luxury! So, I'm thinking....some cute curtains, a few throw pillows and even Martha Stewart will envy me, right?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fall 'n Leaves Bracelet

After spending another night sitting in the storm shelter, the ground is way too wet for any tractor riding. But before the rains came, I spent some time in my studio creating this bracelet. This was just practice for me to learn wire working techniques, so it is made from regular craft wire, not sterling silver. 'Cause I don't own any (hint hint, Christina) I based the design on the cover photo of a current issue of a wire jewelry magazine (which I left in the studio and can't remember the name of!)

And this is the mess it took to make this bracelet...

I had to crop this photo because the mess was too big to upload!

But if you really want to see some awesome jewelry, and art quilts, you must check out the beauties that my sister, Christina makes and sells in her Etsy shop! This woman, who couldn't thread a sewing machine 8 years ago, has turned into an inspiring artist. A stop into a gem and bead shop in Singapore while visiting me, unleashed the jewelry muse within her. She completely intimidates me with her artist's eye! And I love her to death!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Storms 'a brewin'

There is nothing quite like waking up from a dead sleep by the shrieking of the weather radio alerting you to a tornado watch. At 2AM. After you stayed up waaayy to late watching tv. As if you can do much about it. And the watch posted is for 7 hours!

So, since I am destined to feel like a steaming pile of uselessness all day, I will attempt to work on this blog thing. Blogger and I are having a disagreement about how to insert a link within a post. Blogger is winning...selfish bastard! I have tried it Mac, then rebooted in Windows which brought up editing windows that look more like the help page indicates. BUT, the "insert link" icon doesn't open a window to paste the URL like the help people seem to think it will. One of us has been smoking some funny weed!

I need chocolate. yeah! That will help!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My first purse!

Look what I made! I've never attempted anything more than a square tote before, in the purse making realm.

It even has a zippered pocket in the lining. I learn how to do the zipper from a tutorial at the wonderful U-Handbag. Oh the wheels are turning now!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Testing 1,2,3...

I wonder if this will actually first post as a blogger. Frightening! I might actually be joining the 21st century. The kids will be so proud!