Friday, May 30, 2014

Quilting: Perfect Fabric Disk

One great thing about quilters is that all you have to do is ask for help and lots of talented and generous folks come to your aid. I needed help with making a fabric disk for the center of my Dresden plates. I wanted perfectly crisp edges and a perfect circle, and no matter how I tried, I just could not get it PERFECT. Although many shared their favorite methods with me, this is the one that I finally settled upon that worked perfectly for me. (Thank you Sue Dague!) You may have found another way that works just right for you; there are many ways to do most things and you just have to find one you like best. Here's the method I like best for the project I'm working on right now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Meet Libby!

Here's our newest "bottle baby," Libby. We can't figure out who her mother is. We think she was born a twin and her mom abandoned her for some reason. Bob found her one morning, cold and wet and very weak. She slept on a heating pad for a week and I fed her every two hours. She's getting stronger every day!

Libby, still a bit wobbly, but ready
to discover the great outdoors!

Peeking around a bird bath
Louie meets Libby

Now they are inseparable!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Our Newest Baby!

Here's our newest baby. When I moved the sheep out of the tall grass to their secure pasture for the night, this momma refused to go. She was showing signs of early labor, so I just left her alone. Hobart, our Anatolian livestock guardian dog, stayed with her. Just before dark, I checked on her and could just see a little bobble headed lamb under her, but the grass was too thick for me to get a good look. This morning I was delighted to see that we have another healthy ewe lamb!

Fancy little girl!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Quilting: I love this iron...

All you quilters will understand the infatuation I have with my mini Rowenta steam iron.

I made 240 of these little wedges for my new quilt project. My big Rowenta iron would have been total overkill. This little baby has the same tapered tip as its big sister, and the size and weight are much better for pressing small pieces.

Oh, by the way, the handle folds down neatly against the body of the iron, and the whole thing fits into its own little zippered bag for taking to quilt retreats, which is why I bought it originally. Now I'm using it at home, too!

You can click HERE to find this iron on Amazon, and it's a great price, too. (I'm such an enabler, aren't I?)

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Birds & the Bees

Mr. Peacock loves to hang out in the corner of the yard where the bee hives are. That's been his favorite spot since long before we got the bees, and they seem to be getting along just fine. Today I had to shoo Mr. Peacock out of the way because I had work to do in my bee hive.

Not long ago I would have run fast and far from this many bees all in one place but, through aversion therapy (I took a local beekeeping course),

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Grandma's Peonies

I'm so glad that I have some of Grandma's peonies. Years ago, I raced to Pennsylvania when she had a heart "episode" that was serious enough to put her in the hospital. None of us thought she would recover. My heart was full of sorrow. I stayed at her house all by myself and I really and truly looked at everything as if I'd never see any of Grandma's things in the same way ever again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Luau Pork Burger with Grilled Pineapple, Vidalia Onion, & From Scratch Luau Sauce

This has everything a burger have. Each bite is a big mouthful of layered flavors with juice and sauce that end up running down your hand to drip off your elbow. You've got to start with ground pork that is unseasoned... pork sausage won't do for this burger! Buy the best pastured pork you can find, like Thames Farm (they ship!) ground pork, that is tender and lean and flavorful, then add some special seasonings, grill up a slice of pineapple and vidalia onion, then layer all in a sturdy bun. Then comes the sauce. Oh, the sauce!. Here are the recipes....

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs

Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs with Bow Tie Pasta (Farfalle)

Wisdom and Ice Cream Cone

Great news! I went to an oral surgeon for a consultation to have all four wisdom teeth extracted, and he told me instead that he wanted to remove only one. Wow! He could easily have just taken all four and I'd have never known that there was no reason to extract those other three healthy teeth. I appreciate that he based his decision on what was best for me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

DIY: Thread Catchers

Thread catchers, or paper clip holders, or wedding favors filled with rice or birdseed for throwing, or cups for nuts or candies....I can see lots of good uses for these, depending on the fabric and the buttons! Members of my quilt guild are making these for a fall retreat, and I just finished my 10 this morning and thought I'd share the instructions. (I'm not a tutorial-blogging gal, so no pictures of each little step; just a list of instructions. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to help.)

I used scraps of fabric that I have left over from other projects. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

To Rob on Mother's Day

Every day is Mother's Day when you have a son like Rob!
Rob gave me this in 2005, just as he was beginning his culinary journey.

Still working hard and making your mother proud of your accomplishments!

Happy Mother's Day!

I am so fortunate to have had such a wonderful grandmother in my life, who influenced me in so many positive and creative ways. I miss you every day, Mary Catherine Kimmel Heller. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms who, even unknowingly, inspire their children's and grandchildren's creativity.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Spring Roses on the Farm

The roses are in full bloom at our farm, and boy, do they ever smell as good as they look! The first thing you do with a beautiful rose is stick your nose in it, right? What a disappointment florist roses are because they seldom have an aroma, no matter how otherwise "perfect" they are. All our roses have been chosen for their beauty AND their aroma. Hyperventilation is a very real danger in our back yard!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Cast of Characters: Easy Laugh Woman

Just a couple miles away from our farm lives a couple who have become new friends. We actually got to know them after we made a farm visit to meet their Anatolian shepherd because we were thinking of getting one to be a livestock guardian to our sheep. We've really grown to appreciate them for all their farming knowledge, their easy friendship, and great senses of individuality and humor. My new friend, Dede cracks me up with the most unexpected and funny comments about the most mundane things, and she laughs so easily; I just really enjoy her company.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

And the Baby Lamb's Name Is.......


Bob named him and I think it fits just perfectly, and has a lyrical lilt, "Louie Lamb." Now I find myself singing "Louie Louie" to him and, of course, making up all the words I don't know. 

Here he is as a week old baby, right after our friend and vet, Kent Thames and his wife Amy, showed us how to make a splint for his leg. Louie stayed most of that first week in the bottom of a Rubbermaid tub (when he wasn't cuddled in my arms).