Friday, August 30, 2013

An Aw-flea Good Sunday Morning

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Kelly

So guys, I finally went to the East Avon flea market this past weekend.  I've been wanting to go for a long time but it never jived with our calendar.  The whole family headed down to Avon for an early morning adventure.  It actually was fun for the entire family.  Truth!  Some of the vendors are total characters!  The air smells of freshly baked donuts.  And the wares are plentiful.  It's a feast for the senses.

Here are some photos I snapped with my phone.

I thought this would be fun hanging on a wall in a boys room!  It was big.

I'm a sucker for an old chair...especially one that's painted red and super shabby.

A galvanized tub.  Lots of possibilities!


Sure most people would love the yellow ware in the left of this picture (me too) but I was really digging the bird dish.  It reminds me of the pigeon from our favorite Mo Willems books.

There was something for are my kids drooling over lego sets.

I don't know who Duke is but I do know his donuts are amazing.

I snapped the picture below for my sister-in-law, who is a big "Everybody Loves Raymond" fan.  No offense to the artist (says something about the beholder) but all I could think of was that episode on ELR where Marie presents her sculpture.  I know it's not even remotely similar but it made me laugh.

Finally, there were lovely little stools scattered about.  I don't know why I have a stool obsession.  That sounds wrong.  Anyway, the little black one was 5 bucks!

And after all that, here is what I came home with...

It's a vintage locomotive toy for my son's room...$4.  

If you're bored this Sunday, you should flee to the market in Avon. ;)

Note from Mrs. Williams:  That's my kind of family outing!  Just wondering?  Did the prices seem reasonable?

Note from Mrs. K.:   Yes, I thought so.  Of course all the vendors are different and some are more willing to negotiate than others.  Depends on what you're looking for.  Guess you'll just have to go and see for yourself!  Wanna join me?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cedar Plank Window Box Update

Passing Notes:  Mrs. Gosling & Mrs. Hepburn

So, I'm a little embarrassed to show you this.  Not about the window box itself or the way I hung it up or the WOLF spiders that live in the corner of the dining room window .... but, the way that the hostas transplanted.  I dug them up and they were looking pretty good.  Well, season appropriate drought ridden good.  Since I have moved them .... eh, not so much.  However, I am hopeful that they will bounce back.  Actually I am certain that they will.  I know in my heart that hostas are one of the hardiest perennials and they can usually be transplanted at any time.  I also know in my heart that I will not enjoy their "glory" until next spring.  That's cool.  I'm patient. 

And this is why I enjoy the Audrey Hepburn quote.  In my younger years (sniff, sniff) - I wanted the garden NOW.  Like yesterday.  In my older years (still lookin' fine) I am much more patient and I plant and snip and mulch and prune for a better tomorrow.  I envision our yard at high school graduations (11 years down the road) and the grandbaby showers.  When we started at this house there was nothing and now there is something.  A real something.  We have bushes, trees, perennials, hiding spots, Christmas light branches  .....  I find so much happiness in watering what we have grown at our Casa.  Which makes this reveal that much more pathetic.  But here it is goes. 
I can't do it ...
I'm sorry for the lame state of my plants ...
I feel like Grover, not wanting to turn the page
Here is goes.  Don't hate me.
Not my finest hour.  I know.  But that's why I plant for tomorrow.  Next Spring this window box will be the talk of the town.  Or the basketball court!
Hosta La Vista

PS - You saw that correctly ... Miss Thang (aka A Hep) was wearing sequins in the garden.  Love her! 

Note from Mrs. Kelly:  I too wear sequins in my garden.  ;)  This post made me laugh!  You'll show those hostas who's boss one day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just Peachy

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hey Mrs. K. and Mrs. G.,

A few weekends ago I got a "sweet" tutorial on how to make peach jam from my friend Donna.  She grew up making jam with her mom (which totally makes her an expert in my eyes).  I, on the other hand, grew up buying jam in the grocery store, so I was very intrigued and excited to learn how to make some of my own.  

Before I arrived at Donna's house I picked up a bunch of peaches from our local farmer's market, a five pound bag of sugar, a case of 8 oz. jam jars, and some boxes of Sure Jell.  Aside from gathering the ingredients/supplies, I also washed the jars to prepare for the big jam jam.

When I arrived at Donna's she had the whole kitchen set up for jam making - so fun!  

The first order of business was peeling and smashing the peaches - lots of them.  

Then, the smashed peaches went into a large saucepan.

Before we started heating up the peaches, we added lemon juice and cinnamon (the secret ingredient?).

Sure Jell went into the mixture as well.

Once heating up on the stove, there was a lot of stirring.  (Oh, and we added a little bit of butter to cut down on the foam that usually forms on the top of the jam mixture).

Five cups of sugar went into the boiling jam mixture, too.

Before I knew it, it was time to pour the jam into the jars.  As you can tell by this picture, my aim was a little off.  (I guess I'm not a natural.)

The melted wax went on top of the jam to seal it off.  Since I already burnt my finger once, Donna did this (my hero!).

After a little bit, the wax began to harden.

And then...they were all done.  So cute and peachy!

Once I got home, I thought the jams would make a nice hostess gift for all the people we were planning to visit in Ohio.  So, I picked up some cute coffee mugs and paired them with the jam.

Then, I just wrapped them up and tied them with a bow.
These days I'm enjoying some peach jam on my toast each morning.  I'm not sure what I enjoy more, its awesome taste or the sweet memory of Donna teaching me how to make jam in the most patient and kind way.  Thanks Donna - it's delicious!

Gotta Jam - 

Note from Mrs. Kelly:  Oh Mrs. W., you know your signoff made my heart flutter.  Hah!  I want the recipe.  Those look awesome (nice skills Donna)!  Did you sample?

Note from Mrs. Gosling:  Some of my favorite things - fruit, cellophane (weird, I know) mass packaging and good friends.  Nice job ladies! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Double Duty Cedar Planks

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Gosling

Who is officially over Summer?  I know, you can't imagine thinking it ... but I am a little.  The couple "unbearable" weeks in July were too much heat for my annuals ... they all look a little .... lame.  And the record breaking rainfall we had, didn't do anything for my garden.  It was too much rain, in too little time.  The tomatoes, cukes and peppers pulled the short straw on that deal.  They looked pathetic. 

So, in an effort to prepare for the end of summer:

can you see the faint blue spray paint?  guess what it outlines?

We decided to rip out the garden and its cedar planks.  We put it in 2 years ago, along the fence line to soak up the rays and discourage the weeds that grow along there.  Rays, check!  Weeds, not successful!  They put up a great fight and usually won in the end.  Back-breaking weed pulling continued.  I would have loved to keep it there, but our plans to expand our driveway basketball court in the back, WON!  I was trumped.  Actually, it wasn't even an argument.  We have 4 boys, they love basketball and I can't cook dinner and watch them in the front.  So, we get a court in the back.  Instead of spending our "piggy" money on this

so pretty
We are spending it on this
Psyche.  Keep dreaming kiddies.  Something a little more "small scale" is coming your way

In order to prepare for this makeover, we needed to move things around.  One of which were some of my hostas.  I decided to make a window box out of the cedar planks and put the hostas in it.  That way I can move the plants, use the wood and dress up the dining room window.  Done & Done! 

The garden used to be here. Now I'm thinking arborvitaes for height and basketball-over-the-fence-defense

I cut the brackets with this guy. "Hey Guy"  
And, I sanded all the rough edges
The screw holes are from the garden construction.  I didn't do anything with them, because I think that it makes it look TOUGH!
Confession:  When making something this like, I don't like to worry too much about the deets.  I used the actual length of the planks (60") and just freehanded the brackets.  I wanted to use what I had onsite, so I didn't have to spend any $$$ ... so I didn't buy stainless steel nails.  I just used finishing nails that I had and called it a day.  I will eventually prime and paint the window box (when I paint the house again, WHAT?) so I will try to combat any nail rust. 

And now that it's up (I used heavy duty wall hangers and anchored screws into the shingles & plywood) it looks like this.  Now it's time to add the dirt and dig up the hostas.  Stop back for the final REVEAL! 

Can you dig it?

Note from Mrs. Williams:  I totally dig it! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Basket Weaving 101

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hi Guys - 

Remember my friend, Sherri?  (She's the friend that taught me how to make a seasonal wreath.)  Well, she has a friend who is a talented basket weaver.  Sherri convinced her friend Terry to give Sherri and I a basket weaving tutorial one Saturday afternoon.  It was so awesome and gratifying.

I'd like to say that the photos and steps I'm about to share with you will be useful, but it turns out that basket weaving is NO joke and there's all kinds of new words for materials, tools, and techniques (that I should have written down or tried to retain but I was too focused on WEAVING).  If the photos intrigue you, let me know, maybe I can get you a lesson with Terry - she was the best teacher ever!

Terry had all the supplies ready and waiting for us.
It was like craft school and I was in heaven!

Here's what we ended up making...just kidding!  This is actually a basket Terry made - she's crazy good!

We started with something simpler - a square basket.  First step - unravel and cut up strips of flat reed.

After Terry cut the reed, we soaked them in a tub for a couple of minutes to make them more flexible.

Then, we marked the center on the stakes before we started arranging the base of the basket.

The basket weaving began when we arranged stakes an equal distance apart .  For this basket, we used the most common technique - under-and-over-weaving.

The spoke weight (the black ruler-type-thing in the pic) helped keep everything in place. 

The keeper row came next as we started manipulating/encouraging the reeds to  "move" in a more vertical direction.

It really started to look like a basket as we added row after row of flat reed.

The basket got a soak every once in a while to keep it pliable.

Along the final row, we tucked in all the inside stakes.
We placed flat/oval reed inside and outside of the basket and sandwiched seagrass between the rims (and secured it all will clothespins.)

Finally, we "lashed" the rims with flat reed and secured a metal handle to the sides.

When we finished, this basket was fit for an egg hunt!

Terry said we could stain the basket, but for now, I love it just the way it is!
The truth is, my basket is heavy on the imperfect side...but an afternoon hanging out with crafty friends...there's nothing more perfect than that!

Thanks Terry and Sherri - 

Note from Mrs. Kelly:  I will never look at a basket the same way.   Also, considering I can barely braid my daughter's hair, I fear that I would be an awful basket weaver.  How long has Terry   been making baskets?  I'm impressed by your finished product.       Go you and Sherry!   Move over Longaberger.
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