I Love Simple, Fast Crafts!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's been a very fun couple of weeks doing some little crafting projects.  The kind that you can sit down and finish in about an hour!  

I love this little mitten garland that I made to hang in my kitchen window.  It adds a little bit of cheery charm to the gloomy days of winter.

I also knew it would be a really fun project for a craft night with my little grand-girls.   So I gathered all kinds of ribbon, lace, buttons, fabric scraps, yarn and felt and planned a craft night!

I've been trying to do some crafts that even Rosy, the three year old, can do without getting too frustrated.  She did amazing with this!

I sewed the little mitten together and let her sew on the little red patch and the button.  She did so well and it just came out darling.

Jillian, who is six, is getting very good with a needle and thread!  She had no problem sewing the outline stitch and the patch on her mitten.  She also sewed on her buttons.   She is at the age where she really sticks with a project until it is finished.  I was really proud of her!

Her stitches are getting more and more consistent!

So if you are looking for a fun winter project to do with your little children or grand-children here is the little how to for you!  I got my inspiration and mitten pattern from here.  You could also do stockings, but I love the little mittens.  

Cut out your mittens from felt.  I really liked how the grey felt came out.  Cut around the edges with regular scissors and across the top of the mitten with pinking shears.

Sew around the edge with your sewing machine, leaving the top of the mitten open.  I didn't worry about sewing that close to the edge or that perfectly as you will trim this anyway.  Then, with colored embroidery thread sew a decorative stitch around the mitten, right to the edge of your seam.  (Be sure to start about an inch down the side so that when you fold your mitten "cuff" over the stitching won't interfere with that.)

Once you've sewn your decorative embroidery stitch, use very tiny sharp scissors to trim off the extra felt.  Cut carefully right up to the edge of the seam.  

Then you end up with a nice finished edge.  

Have fun and try different stitches.  Anything goes and they sure don't have to be perfect.  

Add any kind of embellishment that you want.  This little snowman ornament and a tiny pom pom came out very cute.  (Jillian made the pom pom - she worked until she got all those little pieces of yarn trimmed to perfection!)

Buttons and fabric patches are really cute.

Use vintage clothes pens and pen the mittens to a string of yarn in the window.  It is a very fun little project that costs very little and takes hardly any time!

Happy Holidays to you!  We are looking forward to good food, good times and good friends next week.  (Remember Baby Grant?  He and his sweet Mommy and Daddy are coming to visit!!)

Have a wonderful Holiday week!

An Antique Trunk Just For Me!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Back in October I was visiting with a friend in Alabama and she said, "Dori, I've got an old trunk that I don't have a spot for anymore, would you like to have it?"  

I was almost salivating when I said, "Yes, please"!  

A few weeks later her parents delivered it to me and I was shocked.  I had absolutely NO idea it would be so huge.  

I also had no idea it would be in such excellent condition and so beautiful.

The details are just amazing.

I love the wooden slats on it and the hardware that connects them.

And the embossed flower pattern on it is so beautiful.

I've discovered a few things in my research.  There are tiny little numbers on the lock that are very hard to read but they are the Patent number and the year of manufacture.  Mine says 1883!!!  Isn't that crazy?   

On the ends of the truck there were leather handles at one time.  I found out in my reading and research that you can hardly find a trunk that the leather handles are still intact. I guess that makes sense in a trunk that is 131 years old!  However, the leather can be replaced and I hope to do that some day.  

I also read that the trunks with rollers are more valuable than the ones without.  I didn't think mine had rollers until I turned it upside down and there they were... tiny little rollers!  

The inside tray is missing, but that sure doesn't bother me any.  It is in very nice clean condition and guess what I intend to put in there?  Yep, you guessed it.  My old quilts!  

I have been reading about Miss Mustard Seed's Hemp Oil and I have decided to purchase some.  I think it will really bring the trunk to life.    I'll be sure to do some "after" pictures so we can compare and see what it does to the old wood and metal.

Have any of you used it and if so, what do you think about it?  

I kept the trunk in my living room for about a week and just didn't ever feel like it quite worked.  I moved it to a place of prominence in the guest bedroom and it is perfect!!!  It really makes the room come alive!  

P.S.  Thank you Anita!  

November Monthly Moos {There's More Grass On The Other Side}

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Summer, and green grass, has officially come to an end and now we are thinking about making the best use of our grass before we begin supplimenting our cows with hay. 
Our lower pasture is fenced off from the rest of our farm because it is our hay pasture and we don't want the cattle on it while we are growing the hay for cutting.  But when the end of the season comes and the last cutting of hay is put up, it's time to open it up to the cows! 
This year we didn't want to open up the entire lower pasture but we also don't want any permanent cross fences put in either as we need to make it easy for the tractors to cut the hay. 
So we decided to extend our little weaning pasture into the hay pasture with some temporary electric fencing.   Three years ago when we were living in our travel trailer on the hilltop we used one strand of electric fencing around our travel trailer and home-site and so our cows got very used to the fence and have great respect for it! 
Eldon purchased these amazing heavy duty plastic stakes that he easily pounded into the ground. 
Then he attached one strand of electric fencing to the existing T-post in the weaning pasture.
He connected this awesome solar charger, and he was finished!  Talk about a quick way to build fence!
It's a great little pasture because it has a very nice grouping of trees along the property line that provide shelter for the cows.  They love it in there.
They also really enjoy the change.  There's something about "new" pastures that just makes cows so happy!
And Belle too... for some reason she gets so excited when the cows are in a different pasture!  She would hang out down there with them all day if we let her!  (This pasture is also pretty close to our Grand-girls house... and Belle always manages to make her way there if she's down with the cows!)

The electric fence ties in to our existing corral and has a great little insulator handle so that we can open it and drive through if necessary. 
We leave the corral gates open so the cows can go through to their old pasture.

And to the pond! 
That's our Angus bull, McKinley, standing there on the pond bank.  Isn't he a beauty?  We love him. 
Well, I'm still in New Mexico with my parents and I'm eager to fly home to our wonderful little hilltop farm tomorrow.  I have a feeling we have a long winter ahead of us and I'm anxious to get back home and do some winter crafting in our warm house! 
Oh and CALVING!!! 
We're really looking forward to some new little calves on our farm! 
Happy (almost) December! 

My Momma, Hip Surgery, and Comfort Food!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I’m here in New Mexico with my folks at the home I grew up in, helping my Momma recover from a total hip replacement.  My mother is a hard working Ranch Wife and I’m pretty certain her motto in life would be, “Get up and get going”!  So this thing of being sort of chair-bound is a little hard on her. 

I love being here and have been enjoying an early morning walk most mornings, if I can squeeze it in.  But I’m going to be honest and say that I haven’t worked this hard since we finished building our house! 
Don’t get me wrong.  I’m NOT complaining.  I’m so happy to be here and consider it a huge privilege to help take care of my mother.  I’m thankful every minute that I still have a mother and that she is in good health and such a treasure to me. 
But I’m exhausted.  And when I get really tired I laugh constantly.  At the worst things at the wrong time!  Like when I went to move Mom’s walker and knocked her in the knee with it and she just about jumped out of her chair.  I laughed so hard I had to sit down on the floor.  My Dad laughed just as hard, mind you.   Dad said,  "She’s going to need a knee replacement next"!  Smile! 
So, imagine my horror yesterday when Mom said (from the recliner where she was forced to lay because it was time for her ice pack), “Today we are going to can those apples”.  I burst out laughing.  She just looked at me seriously.  My next thought was that I was going to call my sister at work and say, “WHY did you pick all those apples off Mom and Dad’s tree?  They were fine just hanging there”!  But instead I wearily said, “Okay, let’s get you set up in the warm sunroom”. 

My Mom was so happy.  She peeled, cored, and sliced apples to her hearts content.  I love watching my mom’s hands when she does something like that.  They fly through the air like you would not believe.  She is FAST. 
So we canned apples.   And you know what?  It was so lovely.  I realized so many things from those few hours.  Probably the biggest thing being that I am my mother’s daughter.  I love the same things she loves.  I’m happiest when my hands are busy; be it cooking, crafting, working, or writing.   I pretty much hate laying around.
When I got up this morning and looked at our beautiful jars of canned apples on the counter top, I smiled.   I’m going to be here two more weeks and, even though I miss my family in Tennessee more than you can imagine, I’m so happy to have this time with my dear Momma and Daddy.
And one other thing I’ve learned that I never realized before is that I’m my Daddy’s daughter too.  He and I can laugh until the tears are rolling down our cheeks! 

So to close out this very (exhausted) jumbled blog post, I thought I would share with you my Mom's favorite comfort food! 

A fresh pot of Pinto Beans. 


All you need is some dry Pinto Beans and Salt Pork. Throw the beans in a large stock pot, cover with water.  Add a few slices of salt pork and bring it all to a boil.  Lower the temperature, put a lid on your pot and let it sit there and simmer for several hours.  Check frequently to make sure there is enough water and add more as necessary.  Add salt as desired but only after beans are completely cooked and soft.

We love to serve our beans with what I thought was my Mom's bean relish recipe.  She said, "It sure is funny that both you and your brother make that bean relish with cucumbers".  She says she never did, so I'm not sure where we both came up with the idea to add cucumbers.   Anyway, here is my Mom's bean relish recipe (my version).

Chop equal portions of onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and green chile (preferably Hatch, New Mexico green chile right out of your Momma's freezer!). 


Throw them together into a bowl and pour in a bit of olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. 

Have your dear daughter (smile) dish up a bowl of steaming hot Pinto Beans with bean relish on the side and serve it to you in your recliner! 
On a very serious side note.  My mother would far rather be the one serving ME.  I can only think of a few times in her life that I've had the privelege of being the one doing the serving.  And believe me when I tell you that if you are ever sick or in need of some TLC, nobody does it better than my Momma!
Dad and I just have to tease her a bit! 
P.S.  I am so excited that I'll be going to the airport tomorrow to pick up Eldon!  My Dad is just as happy as he'll have someone to escape with him to The Ranch!