Sunday, December 28, 2008

...and a Merry Christmas to all!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! We had a lovely day and a nice dinner...what more could a person ask for? We were busier at work last week, and this week will be busy too. My nephew is coming down on Wednesday with his mom and grandmother for a few days. He's seven and both he and Emily are super-excited - they haven't seen each other since August when we were in Tennessee on vacation. They are going to Chuck E. Cheese's one day and probably to the beach too; who knows what other fun things we'll find to do while he's here.

As 2008 comes to a close, I have been thinking about the past year a lot. It has gone by so very quickly! I have heard that from a lot of people too, more so than in years past. Since life in general is not so good for a lot of people, maybe we just think it went by fast because we want to move forward and hopefully have a better 2009! I don't know the reason, but the New Year is upon us. I am trying to work through some personal dilemas that are proving more difficult than I thought they were going to's emotionally draining at times, but I am doing my best to focus on the positive. Please send any good thoughts, mojo, etc. you may have my way when you have a spare minute, I need all the help I can get!

My little garden that could is doing well. Three varieties of cucumbers and three varieties of tomatoes have sprouted and are looking very good; and my mesclun & peas are thriving. I think I am going to have enough plants to share with a few people, which will put a smile on their face and mine. I am going to order some pots from to transplant my herbs into. I have about 30 "plantlets" each of chives, basil, cilantro and parsley. I may be able to sell some for a little extra money; that would be nice and come in handy too - there are several new essential oils and other nifty items that I am wanting to order for my soapmaking. Soapmaking is a lot of fun, but the price of supplies has risen quite a but over the last 12-18 months, just like almost everything else. Keep on keepin' on I say - what else can you do?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pre-Christmas musings.

This past week flew by...before I knew it, it was Thursday night. I had to bake cookies and make a small meat & cheese tray for Emily's class party on Friday. These things always take longer than you think they will and I was up until about 1:00 getting everything ready. Thank goodness it wasn't too terribly busy at work Friday and the day turned out to be a pretty nice one in several ways so my tiredness didn't get the best of me. Most of today was spent cleaning the house and doing a little laundry (my least favorite chore ever), then the spouse and I went Christmas shopping late this afternoon. We didn't have a lot on the list this year and the kids are fine with that. They realize that Dad's layoff has made things a little more difficult, and we all know that the holidays aren't really for presents don't we? Our annual Christmas package from my mom arrived at work Friday, and it has some really lovely handmade things in it. I promise I didn't peek - she always leaves a few unwrapped and they are so pretty! I will take pictures of the goods and share those with you on Monday.

Tomorrow I am going to wrap and label some soap, and maybe re-read my sewing maching manual so I can remember how to thread the thing correctly. I currently do not sew well at all and really want to become better at it. I want to learn how to make altered clothing...I think it's quite cool. I don't know when I will fit that in my schedule, but I am determined to find a little time somewhere. :)
I hope everyone has a wonderful and joyous Christmas (or any other holiday that you may celebrate). Don't stress, and remember - we can all breathe on Friday!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A busy weekend and some pictures to share.

Sunday is never a day of rest for me. There is always too much to do around the house to get ready for the upcoming week of work and school plus do the things I want to do, like play in the dirt and make soap. Saturdays are somewhat busy too, but a lot of that time is spent running around town. I did make a batch of hot-process soap Saturday morning before I went and checked out a craft show with my 8 year old daughter. I had considered having a booth at this one but when the husband got laid off I decided against it. I think I made a good decision because there weren't a lot of people there. There were some very lovely things at the booths - lots of handmade jewelry, felted purses, repurposed furniture that was just gorgeous and another local soapmaker. I love talking to other soapmakers; and while yes, there is competition because we are making the same thing, we are each unique in our methods, recipes, etc. We chatted about 15 minutes and I bought a bar of her soap. It smells really great and I can't wait to try it tomorrow. After the show we went to Jo-Ann's and shopped for a bit of crafty stuff...I did have my trusty 50% off coupon and spent less than $10. :) A stop at the library was next on the agenda then we were homeward bound.

Today was garden day. My deck box full of mesclun was getting crowded, so I thinned it out by transplanting some of the seedlings into bigger pots and harvesting quite a bit of the greens. They are safely tucked in a dishtowel in my fridge awaiting the salad bowl tomorrow night. I also transplanted some basil, cilantro and chive seedlings; I think I am going to have a great crop from these three. I also sowed some more seeds, and although I am a bit late in the season I know I can have a nice harvest in a few months. Italian parsley, tomato and cucumber seeds were the choices today. The tomato varieties are Manalucie, West Virginia Hillbilly and St. Pierre. Lemon, Burpee Picklebush and Poinsett 76 cucumber seeds are also settling into their new home (also known as a Jiffy Greenhouse). I hung two paper lanterns on the lanai to go with our new (to us) patio furniture we got Friday. It's kind of homey out there now and I really like it. I juiced the remaining Meyer lemons and put almost a quart of juice in the freezer. A little laundry and a little housework are always on the to-do list on seems like it's never done.

I'm going to play checkers with Emily and watch the Survivor finale, then it's time to start all over again tomorrow morning. I'm posting pictures of some soaps I recently made plus some pictures from Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's farm. One of them is of a fox squirrel that comes right up on their porch - Aunt Delta feeds it (shhh, don't tell anyone!); and the rest are pictures of her roses, which I absolutely love.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A visit to our farmers market.

I went to our local farmers market today for the first time this season. I am not in love with this market, even though I had a booth there with my soaps three seasons ago. I did "fair" with my sales; the market customers just weren't used to handmade soap and never really warmed up to it...that is why I don't have a booth there anymore.

The market has a good number of vendors this year but some of them are pretty out of place in my opinion. For example, there is a lady selling Avon, another vendor selling several different brands of flip-flops and sandals, a real estate agent, and few others that wouldn't be allowed in a "traditional" market. "Oh well", I mused to myself as I set out to find some truly homegrown veggies for our table this week. One of my favorite vendors is still at the market; his name is Jeff and he owns Venus Veggies. He and his family grow lots of delicious things - all sorts of lettuces, greens, radishes, herbs and other vegetables. I bought organically grown white radishes, red radishes, butternut squash and acorn squash. I also bought a nice bunch of arugula, a head of romaine lettuce and Boston bibb lettuce. He has some lovely herb plants including pineapple sage, orange mint, bay and allspice trees. I didn't get any of his plants today, but some of them are calling my name and may come home with me next Saturday. At another booth I got fresh "Peaches and Cream" corn, very large plum tomatoes (I've never seen any this big at the grocery store), cucumbers and big, round "cherry" tomatoes. These are the ones that are packaged in the hard plastic containers in the produce section and are sort of expensive; down here they are called Campari tomatoes (that may be the brand) and they are four dollars for about twelve tomatoes. I got three pints for three dollars which was an excellent price. They may have blackberries next Saturday - I will be there bright and early to see if they do.

Tomorrow for Sunday dinner we are having chicken, corn on the cob with cayenne lime butter, salad and I'm not sure what else, but I do know it will be delicious! Do you have a farmers market where you live? Do you shop there? I would love to hear about yours!