Tuesday, April 15, 2014

tree hugging & new things

My husband wanted to go looking for drift wood to decorate the bathroom with. I took my new things along. My newest book has arrived (Herbal Antibiotics) and I couldn't wait to dive right into it. I brought the new project I am currently knitting. I carried these things over large rocks, over thousands of oyster shells, and under low tree branches and I didn't even use them. Instead I collected lots of pretty shells and stared at The Hudson River, which was extra sparkly. 

At least I did use my new Libre tea glass. I picked up this nifty gadget a couple of weeks ago at the NYC Tea and Coffee Festival. It's a pretty nice thing to have if you are particular about your tea. I like to keep my tea tasting like tea, just tea. I can always taste the plastic or metal that containers are made of.  The Libre has a glass interior which doesn't taint the tea. It has a tea infuser top for loose tea, you flip the bottle upside down to brew. The only drawback is that the tea doesn't stay hot for long. 
My child found yet another stick/tree branch that needed to come home with us. 

My husband found one too, a gorgeous red branch.

Husband and daughter contemplated how they could fit it into the car.
I looks like we'll be going back...with a saw.
I hope wherever you are that you can find the beauty that was put there just for you.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring, Knitting and Frogs

My daughter has been knitting for around six years, the exact amount of time I have been knitting. She wanted to learn, so I learned so I could teach her. It all started with this book. Although she knits and crochets quite a bit, she never used patterns...until this hood.
 She usually gets an idea of what she wants and just goes to it.  She wanted a fox, so she made this. She doesn't plan it out. She just starts crocheting and as she says, "feels" what to do.
 I can do that with food and fabric, but not with yarn. 
Over the years I have suggested that she learn to read and follow a pattern. She never wanted to.  No need, no interest, why do it? Until the book Woodland Knits arrived. She flipped through it and saw this hood.

 "I'm going to make this hood in green.", she said. 

She ordered the yarn, bought double pointed needles and the circular set that it needed and knocked it out in a couple of days. First time on DPNs and circular. She also altered it, "I didn't want it so long, so I shortened it and added a tassel." Oh, first time for a tassel too. 
When the interest is there, learning is comes naturally and is self motivated.
Today we caught our first frog (and a few crayfish as well).
So for me, it's officially Spring!
Listen to the frog. Yep- he says, "It's definitely spring. Now put me down."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Is it spring yet?

Finally something is poking up through the frozen ground. It's skunk cabbage. For me skunk cabbage does not evoke spring tea parties and bunnies. But, that's all we have here...so far. 
My daughters think it's spring though. When the temperature reached a sunny 56 degrees they shed their coats and had a jolly time.
I walked around collecting acorn caps clutching a delicious (very dark) hot chocolate in my gloved hand. Spring? No, I don't think so.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hello Chickadee!

We were walking through a park eating popcorn. There were a bunch of chickadees fluttering around us, my husband suggested that we hold some corn in our hands for the chickadees. He said they would land on us to eat it and they did! These little feet felt so light and cold.
They landed on all of us and kept coming back for more until all of the popcorn was gone. They are very brave for such little birds. Maybe they are just very greedy!
We get quite a few chickadees at our bird feeder at home too. We have a certain couple that my girls have named Timothy and Nellie. They make up extensive stories about them. While watching them at the feeder one morning (and telling the tales), my daughter sketched them. Later that day she took her drawing upstairs and returned with a felt chickadee. He has little glass bead eyes and a soft yellow tinged belly. He sat on our kitchen windowsill for months. Other crafty things the girls made joined him there. It got a bit cluttered looking, so I had the idea to string them all up. They are not piled up, falling on the floor, or ignored. Instead they now bring life to an otherwise empty corner.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Sock Bun

When I first saw the sock bun on The Freckled Fox I must confess I was more than skeptical. My hair is heavy and it's long. I use hair pins and hair sticks to keep it up. But, half way through the day my head hurts and I end up lowering the bun down to my neck. 
What did I have to lose? My husband has way too many socks anyway! I took one and followed the sock bun tutorial. As I said, I was skeptical...10 seconds and it stays up? We'll see about that!

Well, it stays up and it feels great. What's better than a sock bun? Two sock buns of course!

Friday, March 7, 2014

making potions

My 10 yo will often ask if she can "make potions", which means mixing food colorings up in water. Then she puts them in bottles and saves them. She sometimes refers to them as medicine. When she asks to do her "sciences" that means mixing up any and everything she can find in the kitchen and yard. She crushes it up in mortar and pestle first. Sometimes her "sciences" will mean taking any of those random found items and seeing how each one burns. All of these things will mean me cleaning up afterwards, but for the hours she spends experimenting, it's worth it.
Yesterday her big sister joined in the potion making and suggested they take pictures. They take pictures of everything they do. Hmm, I wonder where they get that from! ha ha

While they were busy mixing I took the opportunity to make a couple of salad dressings. I made the little one's favorite carrot ginger and the big one's garlic balsamic. While I was bustling around the small one said "You are making potions too!" I told her that was true. Cooking is like making potions and medicines. You can mix up things that can heal people or things that can hurt them. 
After all of our potions were cleared away and salads eaten I asked her if she might be up for mixing up one more thing, lemon curd. Her eyes bulged out. I took that as a "yes". I watched over her shoulder as she whisked up a small batch of curd. Once in a while I don't mind a not so healthy potion.

Monday, March 3, 2014

lid recycle tip

Did you know that mayonnaise jar lids fit these size canning jars perfectly? I use Trader Joes, but I think all big brands and stores brands use the same lids for mayo and they're usually blue.