Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Ah, it's been good! I'm not sure what is different, but I really feel like we have had ample time to have a blast over this holiday vacation. There was loads of time to make our prezzies, cold cold temperatures to provide a daily dose of skating on the pond, and, well, a very large ham to ensure that no one went hungry- for many many meals and between 2 households we ate and ate fresh roasted ham in many ways (I think the tacos were my favorite, but no surprise there).

We were pleased with how our gifts turned out for sweet young friends, so take a look.

For Birdy, we made a story starter kit- inspired by all the excellent work that my friend over at Red Bird Crafts has been doing with her story stones and discs. It looks like this:

How does it work? Easy. Roll a handful of dice that have a different image on each side. We made 6- a character die, 3 object dice, a weather die, and a place die.
Then we made cardstock discs that had all of those images on the dice (I traced a ton of 1" circles on a piece of paper and Ava drew all the pictures. Then we used that as a master to photocopy as many sheets as we wanted. I have a craft punch that cut the circles out easy-peasy).

After you roll the dice, you find the images rolled and glue them to the top of your story page. the idea is that the storyteller will incorporate the pictures into the story she is spinning.

I wish I could share some of the things she has written since getting the kit. There is nothing better than giving someone a gift and watching them love it. Nothing!

Jonny and Ava created some excellent personalized mad libs for Ben- about their school, the various places we have gone on vacations together, and even a bonus mad lib on beavers. And now here is another example of my gal's supremely thoughtful and gorgeous artwork (and now we will rename this blog "One Kvelling Apple").

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


From fairy ornaments to lard...what? I don't think I have ever mentioned the pigs we raised this year in the front field, this being a crafty sort of forum, but all five left for the slaughterhouse and came back as pork this week and they deserve the stage. Now, if you are a vegetarian who is squeamish or sad when it comes to this sort of thing, you should probably head off, but if pork belly and lard pique your interest, then get a load of this:

We rendered about 9 gallons of lard! Well, I took the pictures, being in a particularly sensitive state currently, but my man and dear friends were slick with it.

What will we do with all this lard, you ask? Fry eggs, make pastry, confit something or other, grease machinery, sweat down vegetables for soup in it, and make toffee, apparently. Jonny made this before he left this morning as a gift for his boss. And, yes, it was really good.

One pig came back unbutchered and we got a half and our friend got the other so the two fellows could have the butchering experience. We have a butcher block thanks to our friend Timothy and the weather has been good and cold, so the cider barn was the venue.

Cute butcher!

Ham, weighing in around 25 pounds!

Pork belly being cured. Hello bacon!

We've been eating our share of pork this week, and though I remember our piggies quite fondly (they are wonderful animals, really)I must say, this is the best pork I have ever eaten and I feel incredibly fortunate to know exactly where it came from.

And if you live nearby, we have some for sale still.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

ornament swap

Despite the flu still being an annoying house guest, Ava, Harry and I had a chance to make our ornaments for the Crafty Crow Annual Ornament Swap. This year's theme is Fairy Tales, which is great luck for us since we love to make these little lovelies every year. We had a "great crafty mess"- Ava's appropriate description- on the kitchen table of fabric scraps, buttons, feathers, acorn caps, wool roving, and wool felt. Starting with an old fashioned clothespin (also called a doll pin, fancy that) and some tacky glue, it is impossible not to make something ridiculously cute.

We made her tutu by taking a long strip of crinoline and sewing a basting stitch along the top edge. Then we simply pulled the crinoline along the stitch and it bunched up and we tied it on with the ends of the thread. Easy peasy. We did the same with fabric strips too, as you'll see in some other examples. We put a couple dots of glue to secure the skirts in place, as well. The fabric tops and dresses are simply wrapped around the clothespin and secured with a dot of glue.

You can see we just glued the wings on in the back too. And can you guess how we attached the wool hair and acorn cap?

Front and back of this felt sweetie. The mark that makes her nose was part of the wood. I like it!

Fabulous, dahling!

Harry's Superhero fairy. This was all he could muster the energy for, then he dragged his tired sick self over to the sofa. And, no, we will not be sending his germy hero to some unsuspecting child, not that he ever intended to in the first place.

Alright, that's it. I couldn't choose which ones to show, so you got all of them.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

machine doodles

My lovely mom is having a birthday tomorrow. We are never together this time of year since she lives all the way out in California, but I do think it would be nice to give her a big birthday dinner party sometime- the kind where she is forbidden to clean up. She's the kind of mom who sends me cards every week telling me how proud she is of me and how much she's thinking of me. She is super stylish and sometimes I feel like the stuff I make might not suit that style, but I think she might like the stitching I've been playing around with a lot lately and only had to ditch the botanicals and replace them with something geometric. This is a scarf made from my new favorite material- wool jersey.

Stitching like this is super fun and I love how it looks. It's nice to take something plain and make it fancy. I've been making neck scarves- maybe they are kerchiefs?- which I think are sexy and fun. A quick gift for all the last minute makers of things.

Happy Birthday Mom! I love you too!