Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween! :)

The jack-o-lanterns are glowing bright...  keeping the evil spirits at bay.  The little ghosts and goblins have come and gone.  All is quiet...
Happy Halloween!!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Apple Pie with a Caramel Streusel Topping ~ Recipe

The fall weather in Northern Illinois has been absolutely beautiful.  The colors are a little late in the trees, but the temps have been comfortably cool.  My hubby left for a trip back in September and returned with a bushel of McIntosh apples.  He was passing through Gayes Mills and picked them up as seconds for $20.00. 
Since then, our family has definitely eaten our fill of caramel apples!  :)  So this weekend was perfect cool weather for canning some applesauce and making some pies.  I started with the sauce and worked my way through 25 jars.  Then, I decided to make 14 half circle hand sized pies.  With the apples left over, I decided to try a new pie recipe.  It was an apple pie with a streusel topping.  The pie was a big hit here which is great since I froze two for later. ;)
The recipe calls for a one crust pie shell... bought or homemade is your preference.  I made my pie in a 8 inch tin and the apples cooked down fine.  McIntosh cook down a little more than other varieties.  I made some alterations to some recipes that I found on line.  So here is my version:


Apple Pie with a Caramel Streusel Topping

7                      medium sized McIntosh apples (any tart apple would do)
2 T                  flour
1/2 rounded t  cinnamon
1/4 rounded t  nutmeg
1/4 c               white sugar (could use 1/3 c if the apples are really tart)

When the pie crust is ready in the plate, peel and slice the apples into a bowl.    Mix the apple slices, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and white sugar together.  Add them to the pie crust arranging them into a mound. 

Streusel Topping

3/4 c                 brown sugar
1/2 c                 flour
1/2 rounded t    cinnamon
1/3 c                 butter softened

Mix all the ingredients with a fork to combine.  Break up the topping and evenly cover the apples.

Put the pie in a 350 degree preheated oven.  I had the pie tin sitting in a glass 13x9 cake dish situated half way down in the oven,  and it baked for 60 minutes.  Since all ovens differ and my dish had sides that hindered the distribution of heat, check your pie at 40 minutes and decide from there.   I kept checking by pushing on the crust to make sure it was firmed up.

We didn't eat our pie until later in the day.  Mr. Hollow likes his warmed up a little, and mine was straight from the pan.  The one thing we agreed on was a caramel drizzle topping. For that, I unwrapped 6 Brachs caramels  and placed them in a small bowl with a couple of teaspoons of water.  The caramels were microwaved in 15 second intervals until bubbling.  Then, it is simply stir and drizzle.  The pie was absolutely delicious!  Packed with the best flavors of fall.  :)

Friday, September 11, 2015

127 Yard Sale Finds for 2015

I found a few photos on my camera with some of my 127 Yard Sale finds for 2015 to share... 
Although most of our stops are large flea market areas, this Limited Edition Project Runway sewing machine was found in the morning of our second day at a local garage sale.  It was brand new.  The previous owner purchased it and never got around to using it.  Mr. Hollow found it being unloaded on the first day of a garage sale, and the gentleman was asking $30.00 firm.  Although I am not a big fan of plastic body machines, I decided to give this unit a home.  It's test run went impressively well.  :) 

Every once in a while, I make an odd ball purchase.  While at my favorite Amish hosted stop, this postal scale from 1969 caught my eye.  I bundled it with some other items to purchase it for $7.00.    Mr. Hollow never saw it until our arrival home.  ;)


Where ever I am, the fabric calls to me!  For a few dollars, this assorted grouping of John Deere yardage made its way into my stash.  The yardage is destined to become some microwave plate and bowl holders.  If only Minneapolis Moline would come out with some licensed fabric... *sigh*

Next to the fabric remnants is a cutter quilt.  Some previous owner had added a new border to this old feed sack quilt.  It is hand sewn and suffers from a few blown out areas.  My intention will be to tea dye the vintage area and preserve the quilts handcrafted beauty in Christmas decorations.  

While I was purchasing some old yarn spindles, Mr. Hollow was busy buying from a military surplus vendor.   He called me over to check out the gentleman's wool blankets.  I walked over a little reluctantly, until Mr. Hollow told me that they were $10.00 a piece.  WOW!   I rifled through them and picked out six perfect blankets... A great deal at $60.00.   To Mr. Hollow's astonishment, I turned to the dealer and asked if he could do better on six.  Hey, it doesn't hurt to ask. ;)  He said that he couldn't.  I said that I completely understood.  As I turned to get my money, he said, "You must be a quilter... Just give me $50."  How sweet is that?   I still marvel over the purchase price of $8.35 a blankie!   

There were a few other deals here and there.  At another one of our favorite spots, some local tobacco farmers had bundles of tobacco sticks.  (They were used to hang the tobacco during the drying process.)  After my purchase, Mr. Hollow was kind enough to carry a large bundle to the truck for me.  The sticks will be used to hang wool in a future studio space... a rustic reminder of our trip.  :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thrifty Find ~ Pfaff 130 Sewing Machine

It feels like autumn here in Northern Illinois.  Great weather for hitting the weekend flea markets.  I know that my vacation finds still need to be posted (Plus, our semi annual jaunt to Baraboo Gas and Steam Engine show... Yipee!), but this little beauty had me so excited that its story must be told first...
Mr. Hollow and I rose early for a 2 hour drive on Sunday to a small weekend flea market in Wisconsin.  Usually, we find one or two small items and some produce.  I shudder to write that  my first extremely, and now a little regretting, "tempted to purchase"  pass was on a spinning wheel at a great price...  Hmmm... Do I really need two?    Then, I talked myself out of some cool jars.  (Makes you wonder why I got up at the crack of dawn doesn't it?)   Finally, my hubby waves me over to a pile of goods laying in the grass in front of a pickup truck.  He must of asked me three times what I thought of the item in the farthest corner.  Maybe it was the sun glare, but it took me all of the three times to see this Pfaff 130 sewing machine.  Did I really need another sewing machine? ;)
I skeptically walked over while the vendors, a man and his teenage son, stood watching.  Wow!  This machine was really clean.  Definitely someone's baby.  The decals shown absolutely perfect with the paint smooth and shiny without a  single chip.  The man nodded to his son to walk over and do the haggling... Yep, me versus a very sweet teenage boy. 
The young man assured me the machine worked.  Pointed out that the handle was broke on the cover.  (Hard to believe that the case belonged to this pristine machine!)  He also stated, the machine was very heavy to carry, since he was the one who loaded it in the truck to take to the market.  Poor kid... After that confession,  I am sure Mr. Hollow was afraid he could talk me into any price! :(   I decided at that moment to just ask the price, figuring it would be hideous, making my  polite get away a little easier.  So, I did.  The young man replied 5 dollars.   Seriously, how do you bicker over that?  I really do not need another machine but are you kidding me 5 DOLLARS?   I looked over at his Dad.  He was smiling -very proud of the job his son was doing- nodding in agreement.  What kind of heartless quilter would say "let me think about it" to such a duo for that price?  Long story short, I have a new machine in the fold!  :)
We arrived home by afternoon, and the Pfaff was humming away an hour later.  I consider this heavy duty machine a "he" that until a few minutes ago was yet to be named... And yet to be cleaned!    I am just floored by the immaculate shape of this machine...  His previous owner's address label was still adhered to his under carriage, along with the shop that he was purchased from in Janesville, Wisconsin.   
I have had to do some research on the Pfaff 130.  The sites say it is from the 50's and can plow through 4 layers of leather.  Now that my friends is a work horse!  Not really sure if I need this kind of a machine... But my projects are continually changing, so it could very well be a future life saver.  You never know with me! :)

I notice that only a few have the "Made in Western - Germany" decal.  Most are Germany.  Talk about a blast from the past! 

While adding captions to the photos, I was reminded that his previous owner's name was Fred.  Being the spur of a moment kind of gal that I am (which explains all of my pets' weird names!),  this Pfaff is going to have the name Friedrich in honor of his previous owner.  Sounds very distinguished doesn't it?  Welcome to the Hollow, Friedrich Pfaff.   :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

127 Corridor Yard Sale 2015

The 127 Corridor Yard Sale is over for another year.  *sigh*  Mr. Hollow and I ran solo, since Farmerboy decided to stay home and house sit.  Our starting destination... the tip top of Kentucky.  (While planning our trip, we decided to run for 2 days -- ending near Crossville, Tennessee.)
During the week, the weather forecast called for warm temps, possible storms and 40% chance of rain.  Mr. Hollow and I remained positive.  If there is one thing the weather has taught us this year, it is to make the best out of a wet situation.  So... we arrived filled with optimism at our motel in 80 degree sunny weather and woke up the following morning to rain... A torrential downpour actually. 
Taking advantage of our dry room, we delayed our departure.  When the rain suddenly turned to mist,  our search began!  :)   A few sales had to be passed, since the proprietors decided they did not want to greet the morning weather.   No worries though... There were plenty other venues open.  The mist let up periodically, and we had blessed overcast skies with temps in the mid 70's!  Yippee!!       

The first day would see us arrive at our motel around 4 o'clockish, which is not out of the ordinary.  After having a light supper, I made use of my Kindle loaded with newly purchased episodes of "Flea Market Flip".   Kind of appropriate,  right?  ;)

On the second day,  the weather man promised skies of blue with temps in the 80's.  This pic is the only sun our travels would see for the day...  The very last venue attended.  I am not complaining though, the temps stayed in the 70's under overcast skies.  Beautiful mild weather that mocked Fall.  Our hunt lasted until 6 o'clock and was an absolute blast. :) 

If you have not attended a 127 sale, I highly recommend it.  One little tidbit of advice:  Around mid afternoon, figure out the town you would like to end in, call ahead and book a room.  The motel stays are few and far between. 

Today, I am finishing my unpacking, cleaning some finds and getting some groceries.  With a quick peek at the local thrift store thrown in!  ;)    It is always nice to be home and unwind a little before heading back to work.  I feel like I have been gone for months!  A post will follow soon with some of my finds for this year.

A huge thanks to all the vendors, old and new,  who endured the torrential rains.  You are all the greatest!  And to the fellow scavengers that we laughed and talked with at breakfast and met along the route, we hope to see you all happy and well next year!  :)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Rutledge, Missouri & Maquoketa, Iowa Flea Market Finds

Mr. Hollow and I have been trying to get some traveling in on the non-rainy weekends; although, they are few and far between! ;)   The summer is speeding by so fast.  Our intentions are to get as much running in as possible before the cold weather is upon us again. The amount of rain has us at a slow start this season,  but it has also made us more grateful for the sunny fun filled outings. 
Maquoketa, Iowa had their annual flea market at the fair grounds.  The morning was beautiful and overcast.  The blessed cloudy skies gave us a break from the hot and humid July temps.  The indoor venue had a lot of antique vendors .  I was surprised to find a wonderful display of Alfalfa feed sacks (9 to be exact) and a few Fulton heavy duty sacks.  The wonderful lady was only asking a dollar a piece!   I just love the sage green against the cream of the feed sack cloth. :)

An outdoor vendor had a stack of woven soybean sacks.  I have been on the search for ones like these that have a tighter weave and strong coloring.   These should do nicely for a pattern that I have been working on. 

The rainy weekends have been relentless in these parts.  Mr. Hollow and I decided to take an overnight trip to check out the Rutledge, Missouri flea market.  Believe it or not, the weather man was predicting rain. :(  We took some time off from our jobs and went anyway.  I am so glad that we did, since the weather was absolutely beautiful!  Here are a few of my finds from the trip...

My first purchase at $2.00 was for some pie tins.  As you can see, they are marked Lucille's pies.    They will go great with my small collection and will be special to me since Lucille is my maternal grandmother's name.  :)

The same vendor had a trunk full of medium sized plastic letters for a dollar a piece... some red and some black.  The red ones would lite up fairly easily.  Mr. Hollow picked out ones to spell our last name twice and then enough to spell my son and his fiancé's first names.  Yes I wrote it, fiancé.  My Farmerboy has gotten himself engaged! 

This looks like a muffin tin, but it is actually straight sided for small cakes.  It is from Chicago and heavy duty for industrial sized ovens.  I had thought of having a friend cut it down for me, but a few other ideas for it have popped into my head.  This piece will remain uncut, until I can be sure... Hmmm. ;)

I love handmade rag rugs.  There is a local dealer that I purchase them from.  You cannot beat their durability.  This one is a long runner, and the photo does not due the apricot color justice.  The vendor was such a nice man to chat with.  His array of rugs were simply breath taking.  He even had some made from white chenille bedspreads!  If it weren't for my black cat, they would have been mine.  Absolutely lovely!!  This one is a strong couple of yards long, created from an acrylic bedspread.   It was the best $20.00 that I spent on the trip. 

It was so nice to visit a new area and have a relaxing trip and break from the work routine.  This past week, I have been taking the time to reorganize my studio.  There are a lot of projects building up that need to be worked on.  I guess, I can thank the rain today for keeping me home! ;)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Vintage Bucilla Alphabet Quilt ~ WIP

Here is the progress on the vintage Bucilla Alphabet quilt.  The colors are so funky bright, and the little characters are charming.  They really should have kept making this quilt.  It is such a wonderful starting place for newbies to embroidery.  I have been stretching my knowledge with this one.  I inadvertently screwed up the pattern by using the outline stitch instead of a backstitch around the main characters.  Funny thing... My Mom was certain she used the outline stitch when she made my sister's.  Talk about channeling the past! ;)
E is for Elephant...  Very exotic looking isn't he?

F is for Frog... I was so proud of how the satin stitch worked out on his eyes!!

G is for goose...  His beak looks a little weird due to the hoop being just removed off it.  :(

H is for Humpty Dumpty (in progress)...  Is he still popular?  LOL

These character quilts are so fun, but I really need to reduce my stash!  With my million other interests, it will be hard to complete them all.  Plus, I really doubt Farmerboy is going to have that many kids! LOL