Wednesday, September 30, 2009


(how perfect is that acorn?!)

For most of the summer, our local roads and deserted lots were lined with chicory and Queen Anne's lace--such a lovely natural combination. I loved climbing a few hundred feet (that part in my car) and finding them again.
Ah, and such good acorn hunting this week! I love all of the colors and shapes and sizes individual oak species drop in our neighborhood.
And the terrarium is thriving. The ferns died, but something new is unfurling...

babe in the woods

Today baby and I walked on the Appalachian trail. He had been especially observant all morning, waking in a solemn mood, and watching so closely. It felt very important, today, to be in the woods with him, to touch their texture, and witness the first week of autumn.

(I couldn't help it)

Once Reuben figured out I wanted him to touch, I think he loved it.
Guesses what this photo shows?Reuben is section hiking. A scootin' on the AT.

( a rate of 2 feet per day...that would make...)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Audrey is, so far, having a great middle school experience.

But. But! Sending your own out into the savage world of pre-teens is very frightening. Especially your own who are so like you...

(junior high V: walking home for lunch every day because I was too scared to find someone to sit with).

I read this: Dark Glass, Energy of Heart tonight and loved it so.


I'm giving a lesson on friendship tomorrow night at church for a sweet group of 8-11 year olds and have thoughts a'swirling.
(does that mean I was supposed to stay up until 2 am blogging?)

No, actually.

I can't. stand. the. cuteness.

(Chemo last week was the usual ick, and the couple of days following the usual pukey, but today R is feeling super fine. And rather interested in learning to walk. Thank you for your continued prayer and good love our way!)

Cream Torte!

"What's that cake I like? Oh yeah, 'varian cream torte!" Marian, my new eater, is in love with this dessert. My family was eagerly passing this recipe around 4 years ago, and we wholeheartedly accepted it into our dessert repertoire. I made a couple of mini ones for the carnival's cake walk last week, and thought it was high time I shared the recipe. I usually top it with chocolate shavings, but molded little chocolate leaves and flowers this time. I just melted a few dark chocolate chips in a wee ceramic bowl in the microwave (just heat a few seconds at a time, stirring until it's smooth), and scraped them into a rubber candy mold I wiped with a bit of olive oil. After I put the molds in the freezer for a couple of minutes, the chocolates popped right out. My girls were crazy about them.

Chocolate Bavarian Cream Torte

1 pkg (18 ¼ oz) devil’s food cake mix w/out pudding

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

2/3 c. packed brown sugar

1 t. vanilla extract

1/8 t. salt

**I added here ~1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1 pt (2 c.) whipping cream, whipped

2 T. grated semisweet chocolate (I melted chocolate chips in the microwave, put the resulting block in the freezer to chill, & used a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls).

Mix and bake cake according to package directions, using two 9-inch round pans. Cool for 15 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt until fluffy. Fold in whipped cream. Spit each cake into two horizontal layers; place one on a serving plate. Spread with a fourth of the cream mixture. Sprinkle with a fourth of the chocolate. Repeat layers. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight (really helps the cutting & serving).

Monday, September 21, 2009

country carnival

We had the privilege of helping at the country carnival birthday party last week of two of our best fairy friends. (see that great macrame necklace Audrey is wearing? It was made by her great-grandmother not just in a fit of 60s nostalgia, but in the actual 60s. I love it.)It was wonderful.I made a couple more fairy block puzzles for gifts, and the project was just as satisfying as the last time I made them (find my original tutorial here). They're not only pretty but good fun to play with, infinitely adaptable, and a more challenging puzzle for the recipient than they seem at first glance.

more hospital crafts

Last week in the hospital, it was Marian's turn to benefit from a little embellishing. For this pattern, I just stitched over my pencil sketches directly on the fabric, using a combination of stem stitch, chain stitch, and French knots. Lest you think I'm having a scale problem, the wee bunny is just there to illustrate that this Butterfly is Giant-Sized.

(also the beginning of a new bike craft...hmm...can you stand to wait until goat's birthday next month?)

It's Friday again

Our district scheduled a 2-hour early dismissal on Friday, allowing time for a spontaneous after school gathering in our courtyard. I knew of a nearly-empty kiln being run this weekend (glaze tests), and thought a wee pile of pumpkins might as well be included, so invited friends Becci and Shannon and their crafty sidekicks over to help us make. Becci brought tees and paints for the kids to make puzzle-stamped peace shirts (the school is celebrating a week of peace), as well as a coil of silver wire, whipping out lovely wrapped rings while she sat on our steps. The kids made glorious messes of both red clay and fabric paint (handprints were included, of course) and ran in and out and up and down in a pack for a couple of hours. The mamas just kept making pumpkins. It was good.

First Friday recap

Our First Friday social was good fun. Lovely friends, fresh-baked bread, and sweet local melons. I love more than I can explain seeing little people rummage through fabric with good crafty intent. The pencil topper idea was popular, so popular that I'm happy that I took photos of my pencil toppers beforehand because someone loved them so much that they took them away. Yes! Kidnapped toppers! Ay de mi!

handsewing note: I am always wishing that I kept better track of the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog. I particularly felt so in August: Handsewing Month! So many great projects... I printed out a pile of the Pocket Stitch Book booklets that Cassi of The Crafty Crow (a great kids craft collective) and Bella Dia made especially for SMS readers. I had them available with the floss and felt and, though I don't think they were used by this particular demographic, I'm happy to have them around for groups of holiday stitchers. Oh, I do love handsewing...So does Kate! (but not Audrey--see her wandering the background of the photos above? stitched out!):

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


410 Apartment Therapy posts on my Google Reader were way too many to read, but I am so happy I browsed a couple of them because these framed leaves bring me joy. I already have a lovely 9-group in glass and copper tape gathered from Provo canyon a decade ago, but surely one more....

* switchplate covers. After painting this weekend, I sure hated to screw those ugly yellow plastic things back on the wall. What do you think of covered ones? fancies? tacky? cool kitch? Hmmm....

*still wanting to sew... newest inspiration from Golden. Except the girls both have too much clothing. I think these could be for me...ah, the clothing angst I'm feeling right now for my unfashioned self!

*fall crafts, you're calling my name!Owl gourds?!! I happen to know a neighbor with a bumper gourd crop this year...

*everything at A Toy Garden.
If anyone wants to make anything inspired by this site, go ahead and let me know, because I am IN. It's time for holiday gift planning, for real and certain! (I'm going to host a monthly small toy workshop--working on your own projects or joining me in mine--in the next couple of months leading up to the big Gifting. E-mail me if you're interested....)

*surprise balls.
Read this: from Oh Happy Day
and tell me this: can I get away with substituting Christmas stockings with surprise balls this year?

*linked animal puzzles.
I want to design my own for a bit of Santa's workshopping, but am afraid I'll just use one of these for a template: Enzo Mari's classic ($499) design:
Enzo Mari: 16 Animali Italian Modern Design Wooden Puzzle
This great one I can only find a review of:
Or maybe I'll just use my Tupperware giant cookie/jello cutter.

but since that will be cheating, I'll work on it...

*edit: I just found this by Selecta Spielzeug. $85 at the Wooden Wagon. Hmmm...