Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Time is "SPEEDING" by!

My my how time does fly...I have been so incredibly swamped these past few weeks...found it necessary to go car shopping after my car of 8 years and I said our final goodbye when the transmission blew...the second BIG repair in less than one month.....I am now the proud owner of a 2008 Mazda CX-7...ice blue metallic...she is lovely, sleek and fast (I know this, because she completely got away from me coming down the mountain from visiting my daughter...and a trooper helped me realize just how fast I was going! UG.)

I still had a wonderful weekend in the mountains, and enjoyed time with my daughter and with my sister! Had some time in the studio with Jane, and made a few flower pins. Jane always helps me stretch my imagination and creativity, and I came up with a few new design ideas for flowers. I'm incorporating more beading, which takes lots and lots of time, but is worth every minute in the end result...can't wait to show you what I'm working on as soon as I can get some pictures made.

I made a little trip to Michael's tonight to get some more supplies for the big push in the next month to get lots of inventory made for the holiday sales. Pin backs, beads, and some display items for the Holly Days show have me excited for the weekend...I need to crank out the work! As usual, everything always seems to happen at the same time..and I need to get my items to the Alamance County Arts Council for their Holiday Gift Invitational the same week as the Holly Days show. Hope many of you readers can come to the Holly Days show on November 14th (more details will come) and then to the Arts Council between November 21st and January 5th. I'll put more details on both events later...but mark your calendars! Fall is in full swing now...the pumpkins and scarecrows are all around...and Christmas is now on the radar! (Can't imagine why I have radar on the brain!!! ha!) Until next time...be careful out there..and watch your speed!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Screen Porch Weekend

My weekend started off with a big pot of chili and a pan of cornbread and two of my closest friends over to enjoy it with me. Sitting on the screen porch is one of my very favorite things to do with company, and it has just been too blame hot ALL summer to enjoy it. Last night we were able to sit and chat with a nice (although still very humid) fall coolness surrounding us. This morning I had the best surprise when my sister called on her way through town, and realized that she had time for a quick visit. I always love having her here...to catch up with family stuff and to share our newest creative ventures and teaching highs and lows! I shared the last of the coffee that my daughter brought me from Kenya this summer. Jane's visit was a nice start to my Saturday!

Checked the mailbox and another nice surprise: my Martha Stewart Living magazine...I don't consider myself to be a huge Martha groupie or anything like that...but I DO love her magazine!!! The cover of this month's issue couldn't be any prettier or speak any better to my favorite season: Fall. It is a mossy, woodsy vignette with gourds and pumpkins carved and made into mushrooms, a snail and a sassy jack-0-lantern. Absolutely charming. It makes me want to go out and get lots of pumpkins and create a similar scene in my front yard....but....just eyeballing and calculating the cost of pumpkins and gourds these days and the amount used in this picture, I'm not sure I could afford it! For all you pumpkin and gourd growers out there...this is YOUR project!!! There's also a really neat article on cast iron pans, with pictures of all sorts of pans, my favorite being the plain old rectangular cornstick pan - it conjures up memories from childhood of taking my sweet grandmother out to lunch many Sundays in Greenville, NC at Parker's BBQ. Nowhere have I found in "these parts" those scrumptious cornsticks that taste like Parker's. I recently bought a cast iron pan while antiquing...it makes 6 corn-shaped sticks. Now if I could just replicate Parker's recipe!

Another exciting thing happened this week! A while back, I subscribed to the Sew Beautiful online newsletter. (This is the magazine which will feature my Exceptional Woolies in their November/December 2009 issue. ) I opened my email to the newsletter and non-chalantly scrolled down reading about the newest issue...then began reading about the editor's excitement over the next issue....then scrolled a little further and got a HUGE surprise...the first picture is of my wooly wearables on bottles!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it...right there in front of me..sent all the way from Huntsville Alabama to my email box...a picture of my little creations! I can't tell you how exciting that is for me...I still have to pinch myself that I'm going to see a whole spread with pictures of my Woolies! Check out the Sew Beautiful website if you need to know where to purchase the magazine. I've found it locally at Barnes and Noble, Joanne's and Walmart.

I better get back to work...I am ping-ponging today between my community college class duties and wanting to make some new Woolies. I have experimented with needle felting on a Woolies glasses case, and in the process have broken all of the needles in my needle felting tool. I have looked at various tutorials online and can't find anywhere that tells you what to expect as far as how often to replace needles. Hmmm...guess I have more learning to do! This was a nice break to share some of my weekend's highlights. Hope you have a great weekend too!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Too busy for words..literally.

Hi all Wooly Watchers...I am a little overwhelmed these days with too many responsibilities pulling at me constantly. Teaching a course at the community college, the beginning of a new school year with my "real" job and only 24 hours in a day, I'm having a little trouble doing everything I want to do! The weekends fly by...Labor Day was such a treat...wish there were more 3 day weekends between now and Thanksgiving!

I did receive my business cards and am very pleased with them! I found my bags from Nashville Wraps on my porch today. I have created labels for my cardboard "wine bottles" and they look great..so I'm all ready to go on the "Wooly Wearables for Bottled Beverages". I just need to make a TON more. These proved to be a favorite last fall, and I'm hopeful that they will sell well this year. They are so much fun to put on a bottle of wine, sparkling cider or European soda to present as a gift. I have fun making them too...cute little hats, cute little scarves - each so individual and not one exactly alike.

This weekend I plan to do some needle felting on the glasses cases that I've cut out, but not sewn yet. As soon as I get some made, I'll post a picture! I haven't done much needle felting so far, and do want to include some of it in my Woolies for Fall '09. Until the weekend..take care and enjoy this "almost Fall" weather!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day: Productive Day

This weekend has been absolutely beautiful here in the piedmont of North Carolina. I have enjoyed being at home, planning and working on new Woolies! In expectation of several events and sales venues this Fall, I got BUSY. I made lots of wooly wine wear, created a new packaging idea for the wine wear, ordered cello bags for products, bought price tags and stamped them with little sheep faces, and designed and ordered business cards. Whew. I'm also super excited about a friend's offer for me to spend some time in a lovely little studio space where I can get away from the distractions of my house. So, I will be focusing the next few weekends on having some wonderful Saturday workdays. I will NOT prepare for Holly Days like I did last year: 3 weeks of 2, 3 and 4 a.m. mornings getting items made to sell. Nope...this year I'm pacing myself!!!

I'm pretty proud of my commitment to reuse, repurpose and recycle as much as possible. My new wine wear will be displayed on wine bottle shaped cutouts from cardboard boxes I had in the garage.

My business cards from 123Print.com are being printed on 100% Post-Consumer Waste Recycled cards. My cello bags from Nashville Wraps are certified biodegradable & compostable. I tried several card companies and was unable to download my logo on several of the sites. I found 123Print to be easy to navigate and affordable. Hopefully I will be happy with the cards when they arrive! It's back to work tomorrow and the end of a nice holiday weekend....but dreams of next Saturday when I can forget about everything else and immerse myself in WOOL!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Oh-So-Good Pie

Okay...here it is...My daughter and I just finished a piece of this pie. I wrote about it as one of my favorite autumn things and ever since, I've been wanting some. This is usually more of an October or even Thanksgiving pie, but this year it's a Labor Day Weekend pie!

Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, divided into whites and yolks
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. ground cloves
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 cup raisins

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, spices, vinegar, nuts and raisins. Add stiffly beaten egg whites. Cook in rich crust. 450 degrees for first 10 minutes, then 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
(You may need to adjust to your oven. I bake mine for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.)

P.S. I didn't have quite enough raisins, so I added currants. That's what you see in this picture.) Also, this is WAY good with fresh whipped cream on top, but we didn't have any...and half and half won't whip (yes, I tried!) Whipping cream is on the grocery list for tomorrow.
Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fall is in the air...

This morning I stepped outside and breathed in that sweet, cool air that says "Autumn is coming, Autumn is coming!!" I LOVE Autumn. I love everything about it....
  • lightweight sweaters
  • apples at the mountainside fruit stands
  • crunchy leaves
  • people getting excited about their football teams
  • marching bands and the boom, boom, boom of the drums
  • the cheers of the crowd
  • mums - gold, deep red, orange
  • pumpkins - especially the itty-bitty ones
  • gourds..the bumpier and weirder the better
  • scarecrows
  • Halloween
  • Fall Festivals
  • the State Fair
  • candy apples
  • hot cider
  • Oh-So-Good Pie
  • getting excited about new knitting projects
  • my birthday
  • socks
  • Thanksgiving
  • bonfires
Okay, okay..I KNOW that we live in NC where we get a little taste of cool weather, start dreaming about Fall and then next week it will be back up to 90 degrees. Oh well....at least I know it's coming!

Ta-ta...for now...but I know you're just dying to know about Oh-So-Good Pie..so I'll post the recipe soon.