Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas From New Orleans

"Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." Matthew 2:2
Let Us Worship The Lord!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finishing Up...

Since my yard looks like a mud derby race track, I decided to stay in and finish up all the unfinished projects stashed around the house. December has made history as the wettest December ever around here. It had beat the record yesterday at 21.8 inches of rain with two more weeks to go in December and more rain predicted. Today the sun peeked out a little bit, but no rain. Maybe it'll have time to drain a little....fingers crossed.

Anyway it gave me time to sew the bias tape on these cute little flannel monkeys. Two pieces of flannel back to back and edged with bias tape makes great burp cloths. I like to make them nice and large. With a baby you can find so much use for them. Especially when you're on the go. I made these to match the little monkey outfit I bought for a friend who had a baby recently.

I used some of this bias tape. A older friend of mine gave me a large bag of bias tape since she no longer sews. I had so much fun rooting through the bag. I even found a package labeled "Boiltex Seam Tape". It was marked .19 cents on the label. Not even sure how old that is. I know one of the stores "Zayre" had been out of business for many years.
I had started this purse last summer and only finished the knitted part. I knitted a tube then sewed the bottom closed with a piece of yarn. Next I used a crochet hook to attach the bamboo handles.
Then I sewed a black small corduroy liner the size of the purse. I attached the liner in the purse by hand. Next...a cute little sparkly thing scavenged from costume jewelry to finish it up.
On to those loofah sponges I've been growing. You may have noticed if you shop at Whole Foods, these little pot scrubby things made from loofahs. Of course I thought...I can make those! For a whole lot less. First peel the loofahs and remove the seeds. Next you smush the loofah and cut out the shapes you wish. I made ovals and hearts. Not too many hearts because they were more difficult to sew. Next I removed some of the inside of the shape around the edges to make it easier to sew.
Then I put my machine on the thicker material setting, smashed the edges of the loofah shapes together and sewed them tight with a zig zag pattern. I started going over the edges twice and I found they looked nicer. Then I trimmed any scraggy edges and.....
I have these extremely cute little pot scrubbies. Some of the loofahs were softer than the others. I saved them for the bath. I'm going to put a couple of scrubbies with a couple of knit dish rags together....tie them up with a raffia bow and a homemade tag....and now I have some really cute useful homemade Christmas presents to give special people that other than time literally cost pennies!
If you are one of the many individuals I gave loofah seed to last year, I'd really be interested in your success or failure...if success...what did you do with them?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Think My Mantle Won The Gaudy Award

I think my mantle could win the gaudy award if there were one! It has all my favorite colors...
aqua, pink, green...and lots of glitter.
These are all things I have collected over the years.

I just manage to make it a little gaudier each year.
The glitter snowflakes were an impulse buy from the dollar store. O.K. pink, green and aqua snowflakes...can't help myself...I love them.
...Most of the other glittery stuff I bought years ago for literally pennies after Christmas....
...Yes, I know...not very traditional...but delightful and Christmasy to me any way....
My nephew said he liked my Mardi Gras display....Thanks Gene...See if I invite you over again.
But all the birds!!! I love birds...I need to find a glittery owl to add to the mixture....
there is an owl who lives in my side yard. Each night we hear him hooting....'s a very lonesome sound...The cardinals are back for the winter and I ofter hear them calling in the morning...
The blue flocked birds are back as well. They don't say much.
Hope your Christmas decorating makes you smile.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pergola Progress And The Garden

The pergola's taking shape! We still have to put the large cross rafters. See the notches Byron cut out to accommodate them? Next there will be a third layer on top of smaller boards. After that we will add a decorative lattice panel to the back with a circle aperture cutout, two bench swings and a round fire pit that will double as a coffee table in summer and spring. I can just see it now....
Cabbage seedling. The cabbages are sprouting. I plant mine a little later than the farmers here. There are already huge drum head cabbages for sale in the roadside stands.
Loose leaf lettuce mixture. This will provide us withs salad until late spring when temperatures first reach the 80's.
Beets have some of the most beautiful greenery. This variety is called Bull's Blood. When the root is cut you can see darker rings within. It's very pretty. I also thin them and use the thinnings in salad or in a "greens" recipe.
Some more of the beautiful lettuce growing in my garden. I am also still harvesting wax beans, purple hulls, peppers, egg plants, celery and miscellaneous herbs and seasonings. The carrots, Swiss chard, spinach, collards, Brussels sprouts, and turnips have sprouted as well.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Things To Do On Thanksgiving Vacation

Watch the chickens....
Make a hut using bamboo, palm and ginger. Push tall bamboo sticks into the ground in a 3/4ths a circle. Gather at the top and secure with a large cable tie. Weave smaller bamboo stalks in and out to create the wall. Fill in with ginger leaves. Add palm fronds to the top and a piece of fabric "deer skin" for a door and you're a pretend Native American....(You could probably use willow and other leaves for those areas that do not have bamboo and ginger.)! There's a black panther checking out the wicki-up!
...or you could draw faces on miscellaneous objects...Seleste explained that this yarn was so sad because it had to wear a dunce hat....
....This dried cucuzza squash looks pretty happy all cozy by the fire...
...or you could make "Steen's Molasses Cake" and eat it right out of the pan with a very cold glass of milk using.....
...the recipe right off of the jar!
Steen's Molasses Cake
1 cup dark molasses
2 tbsp sugar
2tsp vanilla
1/3 cup salad oil
1 1/2 cup flour sifted
1 egg
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk
Combine all dry ingredients except sugar. Beat egg and sugar until creamy. Add dark molasses, mix well, add oil, mix. Add dry ingredients, beat 100 strokes or 3 min with mixer at moderate speed, add milk and vanilla, mix. Do not over beat. Pour in pan. Cook at 375 degrees until done.
Now don't waste that very last day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Contemplating Electricity and Seeds

I know seeds and electricity do not have too much in common, but I have been thinking a lot about both of them lately. Usually I can't wait for summer or winter to come. Both of them have their drawbacks and blessings, but in the winter my electricity bill hits almost nil.

After Gustav our electricity was out around 18 days. Actually and unbelievably a longer time than after Katrina which was incomparably worse. It was sweltering. If you've never experienced the summer in New Orleans the best description I can use is oppressive. Humidity drapes over you like an iron x-ray apron and sweat soaks underwear, spine and stomach first and works it's way out. In the hottest part of the day it's best to rest to avoid overheating.

Me in my optimism and desire to "find out how much I can take" after Hurricane Gustav, resisted the desire of my husband to run out and buy a gas generator and window unit. After much sweating and griping my husband explained he really didn't want or care about my "experiment" and went out and bought both. We kept the master bedroom and bath cool and the kids "camped out" on the floor around our bed. I must admit I didn't volunteer to sleep in the living room to complete the experiment. What a difference it made in the attitudes of certain people in the household. We also ran the refrigerator and a few fans and lamps.

It really bothered me that we were so quick to rush out and spend large amounts of money to get our own electricity. My grandparents and my parents, Byron's grandparents and parents didn't always have air conditioning. Even though she had central air my grandmother from Mississippi never used it. I'll never forget the feeling of laying in bed with her on a summer night with the windows open and a breeze blowing, all the covers kicked off and my silky night gown sticking to my skin while my grandmother told me the story of the very wise King Solomon who wanted to cut a baby in half. That story really stuck in my mind and I mulled it over and over. Byron's mother likes to say, "I don't remember it being this hot when I was a little girl!" In many ways I believe her, but always just tell her she's wimpy now. Everyone cuts down their trees to "keep them from fallin' on the house during a hurricane", and so much more of the land is concrete. When I stand in the dense shade of a large live oak I realize we've been cutting down our "air conditioning" for years. In college I couldn't wait for the first sunny spring day to take a nap under the wide low sweeping branches of one of the ancient live oaks that can still be found in most city parks.

I once read on someones blog that his goal wasn't to replicate dependency on electricity with solar or wind. He explained that those who did went to great expense to secure a source that was still basically dependent upon outside sources to supply the necessities to generate electricity....turbines, solar panels, batteries, repairs...etc.... His goal was become less dependent upon electricity period.

Life should be able to go on with out it. You should be able to eat, entertain yourself, function and most of all cope. I quickly saw a breakdown of my family's ability in the cope department. But could you? Could you really live without electricity and actually be happy? I certainly love all the great stuff electricity gives me one of them being the limitless fingertip knowledge of the Internet, but if it and all the other electrical niceties disappeared would I moan like a wronged in love country singer or conjure up a "I will survive" spirit?

...and oh yes, on the seeds. I've heard quite a few advertisements about "emergency seeds". You know... just in case anything apocalyptic happens. This really is a joke. Unless those seeds fall into the hands of an experienced gardener or farmer, planting them and getting a decent crop is about as certain as winning the lottery. Maybe they should come with gardening classes as well. So if you're thinking about stocking them and have never gardened a lick. Go head and plant them as soon as you get them...It'll do you more good in the long run. You'll have more fun than you've had in a while too....

....hmmm maybe my next post will be on steps I've taken to help my family cope without electricity.....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Preparing to Build The Pergola

You've probably read about my plans for the last section of my potager. It includes an outdoor room in the form of a pergola covered by and surrounded with tons of bright aggressive flowers! It's going to be 16 X 12 and 10 feet tall.

It's going to include a back panel with a circle aperture and built in bench, two bench swings and a fire pit that will be topped with a piece of stone and serve as a table in our mostly warm climate. In the winter we'll enjoy fires on the occasional cold day we have. Fortunately it's gotten into the 40's at night lately around here. Whoo Hoo down right fireplace weather here, and yes, I did have a fire.

Finally after all these years of planning, Byron's started my pergola! First things first, we had to rent a small utility thingy from Home Depot to move a pile of garden soil. This utility thingy also comes with an auger and a ditch witch.....which...Byron will use to dig the holes for the column footings and waterlines to the garden. Also we're considering drainage as well.

Byron was working with me gawking, when he asked, "You wanna drive it?" Me, "You Bet, Get out of the way." This picture is of the first pile in the wrong place. I had to move it to the second pile out of the way. "O.K....Hmmm what's all these levers for....hmmm....forward, backward, bucket, up, down......"

"Hey this is easy!...."
O.K. Here's the second pile. Now I just have to dump it out. "This is fun."
"Very Cool"
"I could be dangerous with this thing.....Think of all the stuff I could do around here....Those guys who drive those giant construction bucket thingys must have a blast....."
"All right, All Right, I'll let you get back to work...."
"You're such a sweety Byron.....Thanks for caring about and helping me make my dreams come true!"