Friday, June 27, 2008


We jammed on the mulberry jam this week! I'm so excited. I was really intimidated by the idea of making jam and canning it - it seemed like something that one should not attempt if they don't have someone on hand that has done it before. My friend Jennifer and I tackled it without any wisdom at our side. We followed directions from along with the directions that came with the pectin. We dirtied a lot of dishes, wondered what we were doing from time to time, laughed and made a mess, but the results are so worth it. We used a gallon of frozen mulberries and ended up with 12 8 oz. jars. The girls and I opened one this afternoon and pronounced it yummy. Really, it tastes very similar to the mulberry pie I was making, so how can you go wrong with pie on toast?

The girls and I went to Crabtree Farms this week with some friends to pick blueberries. Their trees are small and the berries are ripening slowly. The advice we got was to get there early...and not come with all your friends, if you want to get many. I'd say we all ended up with about a half a cup of blueberries. We're thinking about hitting this blueberry farm in a week or so. I've been there before and there was a multitude of berries. I got an email from them this evening and they said it looks like they're going to have a really good blueberry season this year. I'm thinking more jam! Also planning to head back to Crabtree Farms in about two weeks, when they said that their blackberries will be ripe and going gang busters. Watch out berries, you're going to be jammed!

I'm not just cooking and eating these days. I've started making pinwheel squares to put into winter quilts for the girls. I'm really hoping they'll be done by winter so that I can surprise them. I'm also finishing up another Emmeline apron. And there's more embroidery on the way as well. Pictures to follow as progress is made.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Off the road

We're finally home from an almost two week trip that took the girls and I first to my parent's in Indiana, and then on to Northern Michigan to visit my grandparents. The trip was good, the weather was decent and while we had lots of fun, I'm glad to be home for a while. I feel like this summer vacation will be over before we know it. That might have something to do with the fact that Rachel starts kindergarten August 12, which feels entirely too early for me. I guess I don't get a say though.

I got in as much thrifting as I could, which included two trips to my parent's Goodwill, on to the Goodwill nearest my grandparent's and a frantic trip through the Bargain Barn on the grounds of St. Joseph's Orphanage in Louisville. This store was the best, but sadly was only open from 9-12 and it was probably 11:30 when I got there. I know there were so many more treasure to be had in there and I'm already kicking myself for not buying more buttons. They had a whole room that was just sewing patterns, notions and costume jewelry! Thinking about it just makes me short of breath. I did score these great buttons, as well as a really nice white vintage sheet that will probably be cut up and used in some quilts that are rattling around in my head.

This dress became mine as well. My Grandpa had a box in their basement filled with random things (old wallpaper, a pair of socks, a sheet that I've never seen on one of their beds and I can't even remember what else) that he told me to go through and take what I wanted. I felt like I'd hit the lottery when I saw this dress. I'm guessing that my Grandma must have bought it while they were in Hawaii at some point. The tag reads "hoaloha". I am loving in. I'd really like to turn it into something for the girls to wear, but what? The colors are just too good!

There were more treasures along the way, but I have to save something for another day! One of my biggest surprises though, was the discovery of this. Part of the road from my parent's house into Louisville was closed and my Dad showed me his secret mystery detour instead of the one indicated by the big orange signs that read DETOUR. I'm so glad I got to take his route, as how else would I have learned that this exists in Southeastern Indiana?

A castle? A secret site for Knights of the Round Table to rendezvous? The place is huge. I have never been to a medieval dinner theater thing, but I would guess that it's about the size of one of those places. There are no signs, no indications of what it might possible be used for, no sign by a mail box that says, "the Joneses'". Nothing. Lots of grass, no paved parking lot, no obvious front door, and also no drawbridge or moat. I am very eager to get to the bottom of this mystery, but a google search of "southeastern Indiana castles" turned up nil. This one's going to haunt me!

Friday, June 6, 2008

If I Were a Strawberry Shortcake Doll.....

My name would have to be Mulberry Pie.

Or mulberry pancakes, or any number of other mulberry treats. I tell ya, these dern mulberries have taken over my life. It is with a happy sigh that I notice that not as many are dropping on the ground these days. For a while, I was picking upwards of 12 or more cups a day. I froze 4 gallons, which basically took up my entire freezer. Some have gone to live with a friend in her spare freezer until we have time to try our hand at making jam with them. We're thinking we'll try our hand at regular jam and also maybe try freezer jam. Who knows what the last of the mulberries will turn up in!

Aside from being a slave to the mulberries, I have been working on my Mom's Mother's Day gift. Yes, that holiday that passed a good few weeks ago. I'd told her that I'd deliver her present in person, when I made a trip up in June, but what I didn't tell her was that the gift wasn't done by Mother's Day. It also wasn't done this past Monday. Or Tuesday. But that's beside the point. It's done now. And here it is. It did not turn out anything like what I'd imagined when I set off to make it. Inspiration came from an episode of America Quilts Creatively, which I talked about earlier. I think that the layering thing is a challenge for me. I'm really intrigued by the idea of building up layers, incorporating fabric, paper, paint, stamps and more into a piece , I'm just not proficient at it. At all. It was a good learning experience for me and in the process I was lucky enough to stumble up on the work of Judy Scott, who has some really beautiful images on flickr. It was one of her images that got me going in a direction that enabled me to get this finished this week. Phew! If only I could take better photographs. That's my Dad's Father's Day gift at the top, by the way. Late with one and early with the other. What's a girl to do?