Saturday, December 16, 2017

Winter Crafting Fun

The season of winter is a time of less light with shorter days, longer nights and more time spent indoors.  I like to take advantage of the winter months with the time spent indoors to catch up on all the projects I think about doing through the year.  Through the year, often I will get started on a project, but the outdoors will call me, and they get put aside.  Winter is the time of year that I focus on getting back to my crafting projects. 

A dear lady reached out to me through my blog after discovering we live close to each other. We have met several times since to visit together.  Because we both love to craft, we planned a crafting day together.  She purchased this gorgeous fabric to make 80 yo-yos.  I brought my Big-Shot and cut out 80 4" circles to make yo-yos by gathering a stitch around the outer edges.

I saw her yo-yo table topper and we came up with a plan for me to make one similar to hers. 

While I was visiting her, she was also working on the finishing touches for this darling snowman!  She finished it and
sent me the picture.  It is a punched needle Snowman and she made a little pillow out of it and set it on an old oil funnel.  Isn't he the cutest! In the New Year we plan to have another crafting day
and I may have to try my hand at punched needle working! 

Because we were sharing craft projects with her, after she shared the yo-yos with me, then we worked on some stamping/scrapbooking projects I had brought.  I found coasters at the dollar store,
and she stamped them with brown Staz-On ink with a lighthouse
and a stamp that says "Thy Word is a Light Unto My Path". 

The final step is to seal them with an acrylic sealer spray. I forgot to bring the sealer spray with me to show that step. 

Then we made a little stand-alone accordion photo album to put pictures of her grandchildren in. 

A picture of the little album from the back. 

Very fun and easy to make little album, and makes a great gift for someone to keep pictures of their grandchildren, children, or family members on display. We had such a sweet time of fellowship together, and sadly, my phone died and I couldn't take a picture of the beautiful lunch she prepared for us to eat.  What a blessed day of crafting it was!  And of course, we sat down after our crafting was done, and drank a cup of hot tea together. 

Speaking of hot tea, I found this darling tea pot at a thrift store, and I suspect it is very old.  I believe it is a Rockingham teapot, but I am not sure as it has no name written on it, only a hand painted number. It has the distinctive markings of the Rockingham line, but I have not been able to positively identify it as such.  Perhaps some of my tea drinking friends will know more about this teapot?  I cannot find any pictures online of one that looks similar to it.  

As I've worked on my yo-yo's I've often had a little helper trying to tangle my threads! 

We have had some days of sunshine where the mountains could be seen with the frost dipped tree line in the horizon.

Walks with the dogs on beautiful afternoons, soaking up the sunshine. 

Roger always has this look on his face as if he knows something I don't,
with a look of wonder or a knowledge of something I can't see.  He is quite a funny little fellow! 

The sunsets have been glorious!  After an late afternoon trip to Wal-Mart, I was dreading the drive home in the dark.
I exited Wal-Mart to these gorgeous skies, and I got to enjoy the beauty of the skies on my drive home! 

Because of my carpal tunnel surgery this past fall, my tomatoes had not finished ripening, so canning was put on hold.  I simply froze the tomatoes until they all finished ripening.  My husband helped me one long afternoon as we canned in one setting all the tomatoes from our garden this year.  My tomatoes did not do well this year, but I still got a good amount to put up for the winter! 

You probably recognize this picture! It is also on my blog header.  I found a company who makes gorgeous canvas art out of your photos.  

I was very impressed with the quality of the canvas print and the sturdiness of the boards too. 
I had two photos printed on canvas, and my favorite by far was the first one,
but I was pleased with this one as well. I wanted to do a bold bright print and a soft muted one. 
The quality of both was excellent. 

I had a hankering for cherry pie.  I had found this old recipe framed in a thrift store some years ago,
and it has been a favorite cherry pie recipe since.   

I kept the pie crust simple with no lattice crust, and it tastes amazing!
This was made with cherries we picked this past summer that I canned. 

I'm making progress on my yo-yo's! 
I was so blessed earlier this year to win a giveaway with Kim @ ExquisitelyUnremarkable.  Thank you Kim for this generous giveaway!  She sent me the cutest card and a get well card too, because the tartlet tins
came to me just as I had my carpal tunnel surgery. 
Because I was in recovery mode with the surgeries,
I set these gorgeous little tins aside for my winter projects as well. 

So this past week, I pulled the tins out of their vintage box and began to play with them.  Oh what fun!  I also had some beautiful paper that I covered magnets with as well.  Once the crafting fun starts, I never know where it will end! 

I made some of the tins into magnets as well, and some were made into hanging ornaments. 
Most of the magnets I've given away as little gifts for friends. 
It is a fun and easy project! I just buy the peel and stick business card magnets
and attach pretty paper to them, soo easy! 

This is a project that I've NOT made myself... yet! But it is on my "bucket list" to try.  I just love the pretty vintage look of the painted bottles.  I saw these in a local thrift store.  

I wanted to find a fun yummy treat to take to a Christmas party with some of my dear friends.  I cut pie crust with a 3" circle cutter, placed them in the mini tart pan (from Pampered Chef) and then used the fun Pampered Chef wooden tool to push the dough down into the tart pan. 

Homemade apple pie filling went into the mini tarts and baked at 400 for 15 minutes.  Sprinkled with cinnamon on top. 
Yum yum!  Sprinkled with a bit of confectioner's sugar... so simple, easy, and I promise... you can't eat just one! 

Making more progress on my yo-yos.  Just a few left to do now!
I won't get the table topper made until after Christmas,
but I will show you the finished project when it happens! 

Some handmade bookmarks being made as Christmas gifts too. 

What is cause for more joy than this gorgeous pillow that I also won in a giveaway! I can't believe that I was the blessed recipient of two very generous giveaways!  I won this pillow from Connie who blogs at Connie's Crafty Creations.  I was just soo excited to receive this gorgeous pillow in the mail, handmade by my very talented friend!  I have long admired her work, and was so excited to have the perfect place for this beautiful pillow in my living room.  However, you can see a lazy Mister Simba who really does symbolize total and complete joy in this picture, ha!
Cats do have the art of sleeping perfected! 

Whew! This has been a long post... I've gotten quite behind in my blogging with all the projects I have going on.  Our world finally was dipped in white a couple of days ago, and I am just loving the glorious beauty of it all.  We have an inversion of heavy clouds over us right now and we haven't seen the sun for days, but at least the snow helps brighten up our world! 
Christmas is just around the corner, and I can hardly believe it! We will be traveling over the holidays, and it is possible that I won't get back here to post again this year.  I pray that all of you have a blessed and very special Christmas, and I will see you in the New Year of 2018. 

I will leave you with a couple of fun short videos I took as the snow came down yesterday.  My daughter was playing the piano and I think you will enjoy them!

Happy hugs to all! 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Chance Encounter with an Elk Stampede

Riley and I were taking our afternoon walk a little earlier than usual.  I had just put a pecan pie in the oven (per my son's request.. as if we didn't have enough of pie already, ha!) and had homemade bread rising, and since I had about an hour's window of time, we took our walk earlier than usual.

It was a brisk nippy day, and I walked along enjoying the cool air that nipped my cheeks.  Suddenly I realized Riley had stopped in the road in front of me, and was staring very intently at something. I always pay attention to the dogs as I walk as I know they are the best alert system I have.  I was slightly below her as we were climbing a hill, and I couldn't see her perspective.  I continued walking, as she stood very still,  and then I saw what she saw, ears... lots of ears! Oh, just deer, I thought, as they often graze in that field.  However as I got closer, I realized these weren't deer, but were a herd of about 19-20 elk.  I stopped then, and watched quietly with Riley. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and turned my camera on.  Suddenly something must have spooked the herd and the stampede began.  My heart was in my throat as my ears filled with the noise of the thundering hooves, stampeding in my direction!  It all happened so fast that I barely had time to press the camera button to try to capture the action.  I did wildly think in a short millisecond, what should I do if they come my direction, but it all happened so fast that I stood rooted in my spot.

As the girls thundered past me, no more than 20 yards away, I was close enough to feel the earth shake as they ran by me.  Riley remained rooted in spot, as did I, in the middle of the road. Suddenly I saw what the stampede was all about...  it was a bull elk chasing the gals.  As he thundered up behind the girls, suddenly he became aware of me, and turned, stopped... and stared me down.  I can tell you in that moment, as he and I locked gazes, that I knew I was putty in his hands.  I couldn't move.  I just quietly returned his gaze and moved the phone away from direct contact with his gaze to hopefully put him at ease, because I know that anything pointed in their direction feels like a threat, even a phone. Once I did that, he relaxed, turned, and went back to chasing the gals across the road.

At that point, Riley came back to me.  It all lasted about 36 seconds, but it seemed much, much longer than that!  Riley sat at my feet and we just watched them until they crossed the road, went down into a draw and back up into the mountains.  When the world was quiet again, the only noise that I could hear was the pounding of my own heart!

One never knows when an unexpected encounter with wildlife will happen.  We have been very prepared before to see wildlife, and have seen nary a thing.  And then, in a few moments of time, I witnessed an event that my husband and son are really wishing they had gotten to see!  We have seen elk many, many times.  But never have I seen them stampede like this.  So thankful that it all ended well, and that I had presence of mind to capture most of the event.  Riley and I continued on our walk and I could see the path that the elk had taken before us, as Riley followed their tracks as we walked.

Here is the video below, and the quality is not great, as I was unprepared for this kind of action! The camera gets a little wobbly and then I move it away from the bull's direction as he stares me down.

How thankful I am that I got to see these magnificent creatures in action!  As that bull stared at me, I realized how you can be frozen in an instant. I felt completely unable to move as we watched each other for what seemed longer than it was, and that image of him and I staring at each other will remain in my heart forever!  I went back through the video, and realized that for a full 2 seconds we stared at each other.  Long enough to make an impression, one that I will never forget!

The pictures that follow are taken from my video, and are not of the greatest quality, but you get a sense of my stare-down moment with this bull elk.

You can see the tracks on the road that the elk left as they thundered across. 

Riley smelling the tracks of the elk where they crossed into the draw and headed up into the mountains. 
As I returned home to pull the pecan pie from the oven just as the timer started to go off, I thanked the Lord once again for the magnificence of His creation, and there was amazement in my heart at having had this kind of an unexpected encounter with His creation.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Thankfulness... It is Enough

Thanksgiving 2017 has come and gone, now with its loving memories tucked inside our hearts.  We enjoyed a relaxing celebration this year.  It was just our family this year, which was really nice, because there was no stress of a certain time to have the food done!  We just ate when it all got ready. We made our family's simple favorites, and nothing fancy, well, except the pies!  My husband loves coconut cream pie, the kids love pumpkin, and I had a hankering for lemon meringue, so that is what I made.

These pies were made for Thanksgiving, but we broke the rules!
Friends stopped by for a visit, Thanksgiving 'eve and our family all agreed
it was not too early to indulge in a piece of pie together with our friends :) 

Lemon meringue pie was high on my list this year, oh was it ever good! 
While we were getting ready for Thanksgiving, I looked out my kitchen window to this scene. Oh the guilty parties!  Annie-girl wanted me to know she was innocent and absolved of all guilt, even as she appeared to oversee the whole incident, lol!

Thanksgiving morning, this gorgeous sunrise greeted us.  How thankful we were to see it,
after days and days of rain and gray cloud cover. 

The turkey was cooked to perfection, and we leisurely ate when all the fixin's were ready. 

We kept the meal quite simple since it was just the four of us.  Plus... all that pie was waiting! 

After the turkey was completely deboned, I put the carcass in the roasting pan, covered with water,
and simmered for about 12 hours to get a deliciously golden turkey bone broth.

When the last dish was dried and put away after the Thanksgiving meal, I noticed the world outside had turned crimson,
so Riley and I headed for a post-Thanksgiving walk.  Oh the colors were grand! 

It was as if there was a bowl of liquid gold in the skies! 

It felt so good to walk off the Thanksgiving meal and enjoy such beauty. 

And I supposed once I got back home,
that surely I deserved two pieces of pie after the brisk walk? Ha! 
After the turkey bones simmered for over 12 hours, I strained the broth, and poured it into freezable Mason jars,
leaving 1" headspace. I then separated leftover turkey into quart baggies to freeze with the broth.
This will make 3 pots of turkey bone broth soup.  No part of my turkey will be wasted.
I will feed the remnants of the softened turkey bones to the dogs for a special post-Thanksgiving treat for them. 
For Sunday dinner, I made my turkey bone broth soup with vegetables left over from our turkey dinner (carrots, corn and green beans), adding in a package of egg noodles. I also made homemade scones to accompany the soup.  So delicious! 

What was left of the pumpkins that I grew in my garden this summer was carried out for the chickens to enjoy. I planted Amish pie pumpkins and was very impressed with the beautiful thick puree they made and will definitely be planting them again next year.

We woke up to this beautiful sunrise this morning.  It was hard to get everyone back moving on a Monday morning after the
long relaxing holiday, but the sunshine and amazing skies were a lift to the spirit!

Riley and I walked this afternoon just as the sun's last warming rays of the day lit up the skies in pinks and purples. 

I never shall tire of the art gallery displayed in these skies, particularly in view of the sparse offering of color in a November world!
With November being the month that we stop to rest, think, ponder, and be thankful, I am glad that the season of Thanksgiving was truly just that, a time to be grateful, to ponder the blessings of the Lord in our lives and to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are blessed beyond measure.  

No life is without its pain, sorrow, disappointments and struggles - indeed so many at this time of Thanksgiving have more than their share of deep struggles, sadness, difficulty and health issues that overshadow their lives.  We don't live in a picture-perfect world.  

But one thing I have found, is that being grateful in all things really does bring a greater blessing into our lives than to spend our time wishing and desiring for more.  It seems that finding contentment in what we have will bring a greater blessing than even receiving all we desire.  

And so... I hope this season of thanksgiving doesn't end, but rather has simply just begun, and will continue on and overlap into the next season upon us... thankfulness... gratefulness for what we have.  It is enough.