Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring is here!

By Becca


Finally! After weeks and weeks of snow and cold temperatures the sun has come out and melted it all away, well most of it.  Some of that melted snow has found it's way into our basement, oh dear.

Here are few more signs of spring we have seen.


Saturday saw the death of our snow-Dalek


Now all that's left of it, the eyestalk and death-ray.

We also encountered a snapping turtle, 


 He was a rather docile fellow, didn't seem to mind us looking at him. I think he was only trying to sunbathe. 

Also the first green sprouts of a crocus starting peeking out.


Early this morning the tightly closed bud was showing


And now it's bloomed fully


After waiting for spring for so long, it feels all the more special when it finally does arrive.




Monday, April 22, 2013

Sewing Room Redecorated

By Becca


We had a dysfunctional little sewing room, actually it was more of a closet.  It was dark and cramped with a funny slanted ceiling where anyone over four feet couldn't stand up straight.   A big gapping hole gave us access to one of our upstairs crawlspaces.   A large unused cement chimney took up needed space, and the look was completed with wood-paneling on every finished wall.

When Beth and I were younger, we used it for a playroom, though it was so small I'm not sure what we did in there…              



As we grew older and our interests changed, the room turned into sewing/costume/prop room.  To be honest, many other miscellaneous items got tossed in there just to hide them from sight.
 
 This winter I was itching to do something, not quite sure what, but that big ugly chimney was just asking for some demolition.


It took a few months to knock that puppy down.   Granted, I worked on it sporadically and had a tiny hammer.   ( well, it was no sledgehammer) But finally all that was left was a bunch of rubble, three pieces of chimney pipe, a awkward hole in the floor and a bruised toe ( There is a reason construction workers wear steel toed boots). 


I was pretty excited when the last cinderblock was hauled out the door, but then looking around at the rest of the room…



I knew it wasn't done yet.

After Beth and I cleaned all the stuff out, and with the chimney gone the room seemed a little larger. 
 We had a list of problems that needed solving. The first on the list was the chimney, so we crossed that off. 

  1. Chimney
  2. Hole in the floor and ceiling
  3. Unfinished wall
  4. Open hole to the crawlspace
  5. Not enough storage
  6. Wood-paneling
  7. Ugly : )   
A few more months went by and the room began it's transformation.  Now it's completely done… well almost.   I still think the ottoman needs one more pillow, another project for this afternoon.

Before
After            
Before

After

Keep checking the blog, as we'll post in more detail about the individual projects.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April Snow Showers


 If April showers bring May flowers, what do April snow showers bring? Last week was beautiful, the snow was almost gone from our yard, the temperatures were up in the 40's, and it was really starting to feel like spring! But then it struck… A snow storm! On and off since Tuesday it has been snowing big, fluffy flakes that just keep piling up. Will spring ever get here?
   The snow reminded me of a poem I had written when I was about 11 or 12, and sent to my pen-pal. It went something like this.

 (Belated) April Fool's
By Beth
                                         
  Snow?
   In April?
You must be crazy!
Is there something in your eyes that makes them hazy?
Is that snow that I see?
Or is there something wrong with me!



We have so much snow in our yard, and it's the kind that's perfect for building stuff with, nice and packy. Becca and I decided to make something today, but we didn't want to make an ordinary snowman, so we made a snow-Dalek!

"Ex-term-in-ate!"

I know Daleks aren't supposed to be cute, but isn't it? Just a little bit?  :)
Hopefully this white stuff will melt soon, but until then, why not have some fun with it? We'll have to put our bicycles back and get our sleds out again.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Molasses Cookies

By Bethany

 On a whim this week, I made a batch of molasses cookies.  These aren't a kind we make very often, but in the absence of chocolate chips, we had to see what else we had in the cupboard to make cookies with.   




The original recipe came from a cookbook my grandma gave me.  Eet Smakelijk is a Dutch phrase that means to eat well and with taste.  Well, the cookies turned out very good, and I made a few tweaks, so I thought I should post them!  There was just one problem…there weren't any more to photograph!  That was easy to resolve by making another batch (yum yum!)

    Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups natural sugar ( I used Rapadura)
1 cup coconut oil
6 tablespoons Blackstrap Molasses
1 large egg
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
  Natural cane sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Cream together sugar, coconut oil, and molasses.  Beat in egg, then add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger,  cloves, and salt.


                                                 Form into 1" balls and roll in cane sugar



                     Place 2" apart on a greased cookie sheet, or one lined with parchment paper



Bake for ten minutes, or until large cracks appear


Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.
Eet Smakelijk!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Embroidery.

By Becca

Embroidery is a rather new thing for me.  I had never really been interested in it. I had always thought it was pretty, and the comical little animals embroidered on the corners of the dishtowels at church where darling,  but I decided it wasn't for me.  You had to have patience, a careful hand, and frankly I thought it was boring. I was wrong.

On a whim one day I typed 'how to embroider' into a search engine. I would try to make a cloth cover for a journal I made for a movie prop, and thought that some embroidery would be period appropriate for the pioneer film we where planning.  Then I got distracted. It was fun and exciting to see the small (slightly crooked) stitches coming together and forming letters and shapes. The finished product wasn't at all what it started out to be.
   

All right,  it's not perfect, but it was my first try and I was pretty impressed : ) Especially with the treble clef. I nearly freehanded it! All that to say, I was hooked. The slow pace insured a neat precision that I rarely have, it was like drawing with thread and I'm all for drawing.

 With each project I learned a little more, new stitching techniques and that you shouldn't really add fabric after the embroidery (Opps!) 


The sky is a silky fabric that I thought would look nice after everything else was done. Sewing the fabric around the owl, branch and moon, well, let's just say I'll never do it that way again : )

When we found out that our Aunt and Uncle where expecting a baby boy, Beth and I started thinking of what we would make for  a baby gift. Still brimming with ideas of how to use this new medium, I designed something that incorporated his name ( They had picked out a name already)


This time I actually planed things out,  no more last minute decisions. I put together a plan on the computer, printed it out and then traced it on the cloth.  Fabric went on first, and it went smoothly.  Well, there where a few problems, but practice makes perfect. 

My Aunt liked it a lot, in fact she asked if I could make something similar for their daughter Alice. I couldn't wait to do something sweet, frilly and girly. All the cute fabrics I could use and adorable designs I could make,  of course I said yes. 
 So that's what I'm working on now, I've just started but I think it might be super cute!

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