Friday, March 23, 2012
With the temperatures flitting between the high 70's and low 80's, my son broke out with a bad case of garden (or in his case field) fever, hitched the vintage International 2 x 14 pull type plow on the back of his Minni Z, and began turning over rows for this year's sweet corn. (You do remember the 37 quarts from last year? If not, I posted about it here.) Lucky for Farmerboy, we acquired a lot on the other side of our small town with nothing but one tree on it. Aaaah... Land for the taking or plowing anyways! ;)
I love the smell of newly turned soil... Mmmmmm...
Farmerboy has huge hopes that this year will see the last of the big pieces of rock finding their way to the surface! :)
Aaaah... Tomorrow, the International 8 foot disk will come out of storage to smooth out this rough field.
**Just a little note** The photo below reminds of the famous quote from Peanuts creator Charles Schulz... "A Boy and his Dog". Except in this case, it is "A Boy and his Tractor". :)
I must admit that it has been a pleasure having all that sweet corn from last fall in the freezer. After being heated, the corn tastes the same as when it was harvested from the field... even without the pesticides, added sugars and preservatives! ;)
Remember how I complained last fall about the over abundance of sweet corn piled in my backyard? Well, this Mom isn't too proud to say that she was wrong. I could have stood to process quite a bit more than the 37 quarts. That's the great thing about life. It is constantly teaching us lessons along the way. :)
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I love this piece, haven't hauled it outside to clean it up yet, but wanted to get a photo to share with my friends! ;) It is an old Arctic Boy water cooler. The exterior and plastic 5 gallon interior is in great shape. My hubby actually questioned the need for my purchase on this one... That doesn't happen to often! Lucky for me, I actually put some thought into this buy. ;) Here goes the explanation...
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Do you remember when I talked about getting that candle mold in Baraboo and a couple of chunks of beeswax? It was going to be my little adventure... not a hobby... just an adventure. Have to repeat that, because another hobby in my hands scares my hubby aka Mr. Hollow to death! ;) (If by chance you do not remember my purchase last fall, you can jump over to that post by clicking here. ) Well, I finally decided to take a modern day pioneer stab at making them.
Got to give you a little prequel to what pushed me to finally trying my hand at candle making. See the mound of beeswax in the picture below? After I had purchased the original beeswax and candle mold, they were wrapped up carefully and set on a shelf... and forgotten. :( Then many months later, my hubby dumped two loads of chips from our tree business at a local establishment that sells shrubs. It just so happens this gentlemen has an apiary. My hubby, who is always making deals, tells the owner that he would take some beeswax in trade for the loads of chips. Where that idea came from?? Who knows. I honestly had forgotten about the candle project, but he apparently didn't! Hey, is this the same guy that shuddered when he saw my candle mold purchase originally?? What a guy! :) To make a long prequel short and around 26 pounds of beeswax later (not counting my original purchases), I was stocked with enough beeswax to light up our little town! LOL
After a little procrastination and outright dawdling, I picked up some sticks in the yard that were strong and straight, stole the old crock pot out of our motor home, and decided to spend the afternoon creating 8 six inch tapers.
I began by breaking up a one pound block of beeswax and adding it to the crock pot set on Low. And to be thrifty, I tore up some "garage saled" beeswax honey comb candles (the ones that people buy in a kit but never make) and added them to the pot. It took a good couple of hours, but they melted into a nice liquid as I stirred occasionally with a wooden paint stick.
As you can see, I set my crock pot on a cookie sheet, and my candle mold on a cookie sheet covered with newsprint. I took the candle mold and ran a rag up and down the inside of each taper with a towel spritzed with vegetable oil on the end of a wooden spoon handle. The tips of the mold were each covered with a little blob of play dough (Gifted to my son by a humor loving friend!), just in case of a leak. Then, I tied my wicks to two sticks, got them centered, and tightened up the wicks by balancing the sticks on to over sized mason jars. A little primitive... but necessity is the mother of invention, and after all I am a rustic girl at heart! :)
I used a small enamel ware pan (garage sale tag still on the handle!) to ladle the wax into the molds. After the beeswax started to harden, it dropped down in the mold. So, I ladled a little more in the molds to cap the candles off. Then, I talked to my kid for a while. He pointed out that if there would have been ice water in the house, I could have submerged the bottom of the mold to push the process. (They use this technique at the local historic fort.) I opted for ten or more minutes in the freezer... but the tapers weren't budging.
So, I took the opposite approach and ran some hot water over the sides of the tapers for a few seconds and this is what I got... Eight tapers and a great feeling of achievement. :) Pioneer primitive is my style, and these would be so rustic displayed on their original sticks until needed... possibly darkened or grubbied. Maybe the kid could make me a barnboard holder for them. Oh the possibilities! :) My head is spinning with ideas...
My hubby was snooping around and checking out the finished product with a smile on his face. He's not kidding anyone and loves this sort of stuff just like me. I asked if he was impressed. He just looked at me casually and said, "Didn't you buy some scent to add to these?" Aaahh... Maybe next time dear! ;)
Sunday, March 4, 2012
As my friends that follow my blog already know, I have a little bit of a fabric stash. ;) (I wrote about it here.) It was purchased with the hopes that one day I would learn to quilt in my spare time. Last year, the opportunity to learn presented itself with Sewn's "Skill Builder Challenge". My skills have grown by leaps and bounds. Thanks to Leila, my little Kenzie and I have been humming ever since! Now, I can open quilting books or look at patterns on fabulous quilting sites and understand the directions... WOW!!
After completing over half of the challenge, and due to the fact that we are on a break from the Challenge (Hope your feeling better Leila!), I went on a search for a quilt pattern for my bedroom. Since I wanted it to be from my stash, a scrappy quilt was called for. My design preference has leaned towards star based blocks with a simple design. So with that in mind, I looked through some favorite sites to find my first major quilting adventure. The search ended at Bonnie K Hunter's "Quiltville's Quips & Snips" site. Bonnie has several wonderful free patterns that I am anxious to try, but for this project, I fell for the name and design of the quilt "Sister's Choice". (You can click on the title to view the pattern and check out Bonnie's outstanding blog!)
Our front room table transforms into the designated area for construction of my quilt... for at least twice a week anyways! ;) The center of the star block is a nine patch and at least one of the two colors will be a form of red/burgundy. The only other set color will be the star points, which will be done in a shade of green.
I hunted for the right fabric out of my stash and cut the pieces for the nine patch centers first. It took quite a while, but I loved every minute of it! :) On my new work at home schedule (desperately needed it to keep my home business art and hobbies organized... Aaaagh!), Friday and Sunday afternoons are allotted for sewing machine piecing. These were the first nine patch centers that were assembled. More blocks have been added to them today. I plan to finish all the nine patch blocks before starting the outer border of the stars. :)
I thought that I would share this final block from the Skill Builder Challenge, since this post is on the subject of quilts. :) It was one of the applique challenge blocks. This block surprised me in being a fun project. Needle turn applique would not have been a technique that I would have looked to learn on my own.
I cannot honestly say that I am in a hurry to start an applique quilt with cotton fabrics, but it does get my mind spinning about the possibilities of wool applique. Penny rugs and candle mats are something that I am anxious to try. This block gave me the push to begin drawing my first mat. It will be fun to stitch on at night! :)