Thursday, September 27, 2012

Making Gardens

This year a wild Morning Glory vine has decided to grow voluntarily out in the vegetable garden.
I'm letting it make its' home there, among the dried corn stalks.

 They only have blooms in the morning. 

 I'm going to see how long the vine will last. 
They are so beautiful. 

For a long time now I have been trying to transform my little garden into a 
'Secret Garden' for the Gran-babies. 
My little garden is already separated from the big yard by a huge Honeysuckle bush that grows between the two. 
The other day at Home Depot I found this gate on clearance for $20.00, normally $50.00. 
It was the perfect gate for the garden entrance. 
(I will be painting it)

 We hung it up, and I used an old  'hot' water faucet handle that I picked up at a barn sale.
(that gate picture looks weird.. I took that shot lying on the sidewalk)

 The welcome sign is one I already had, that had been hanging above the other gate that was there. 

The hinges we used are off the door of an old wood shed that Beth has in her yard. 

 I work on it little by little, as I find interesting stuff to 'embellish' the Secret Garden. 

A secret garden for little girls to pretend, and imagine a world of make believe. For secrets, and dreams, and fairies, and frogs. For wonder and innocence, and the precious days of childhood that pass far too quickly. 

“Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world," he said wisely one day, "but people don't know what it is like or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen. I am going to try and experiment.” 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

The Girasole Lady

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Aprons

I never got around to making those pumpkins this weekend, life just got a little too busy.
I'll have to wait until later this week for that project.
Yes, sometimes I actually have responsibilities to take care of.
i know hard to believe, isn't it?

I did get the pictures of the full size aprons I made...
It's a smock style

with ties on each side
and big double pockets. 
For me, having the ties on each side is more comfortable than a tie at the back of my neck. My hair, often times, gets caught in the ties and pulls. (I have long hair, but I always wear it clipped up)
Too, with the ties on the side, it allows for more variation in size fit. 

French Post design on Michael Miller fabric. 

The ladder used to display the aprons is from the ranch Caveman grew up on (just down the road from our home),
it was used for picking olives. 

Mary Lake Thompson design, Down On The Farm, on Robert Kaufman fabric. 

The back is Chicken Fence print, matching the front pocket.

 This cute apron fabric, Chinese Take Out,  is a design by Sheri McCulley Studio (Sheri Berry Designs)

I'll be putting my new aprons in my Etsy store a little later today.
In the meantime - I'd best be getting to those darned responsibilities. 

The Girasole Lady

Saturday, September 22, 2012

First Fall Sunrise

Another Summer has passed, at least that is what the calender says today- 'AUTUMN'
The first day of Fall has equal parts of sun light, after today the day light hours will be shortened. 
It doesn't feel much like Fall around here, today it will be a warm 90 degrees, and there is still lots of gardening work to be done.
I tried to get in the Fall spirit a few days ago, and set out some felt pumpkins on my wood stove hearth. 
No inspiration what so ever, looks like I just tossed them up there with no thought at all.
Today is the annual Salmon Festival here in our small town of Oroville, which usually ends up as a reunion with friends I haven't seen since the last downtown gathering, oh the joys of small town living. 
I'm hoping that gets me in the Fall mood, although I can hardly imagine how it will feel when I'm walking around downtown and it's 90 degrees!
I'm excited too, because a friend of mine, who has the cutest shabby chic furniture shop, asked me if I would   like to display some of my aprons in her booth.  You really should check out her Etsy store HERE In fact, I made 3 FULL SIZE aprons just for her booth, and they will be for sale. I have been searching and searching for just the right full size style and I finally came up with something. It's a combination of a couple of different apron patterns I really liked. Now here is the bummer part, as of right now I can't show any pictures of them because my photographer daughter hasn't sent me the copies yet. But I promise pictures as soon as I get them. 
Yesterday I had a visit with a dear friend, gosh we have been friends for over 30 years. I love her dearly, as she in one of my guardian angels (in one of my darkest hours, through the tears, she was unexpectedly there). Not only is she just plain fun to be around, she is crazy crafty, she made some pumpkins out of books and was kind enough to show me  how she did it (Pinterest idea). It really sparked up my Fall creativity, and I am planning on doing some today. 
Tonya, although she doesn't know this yet, will be doing them with me too. I promise pictures of the whole crafting process. 
I watch the sunrise every morning, I've rarely missed one. 
It's beautiful, it's quiet, and it's the promise of another day. 

The Girasole Lady

Friday, September 21, 2012

Summer Tomatoes

Once again this Summer we put up some tomato sauce. The jars of sauce we put up last Summer lasted until just this last week. It's amazing to have the fresh taste of Summer tomatoes during the long cold months of Winter.

I gather up my favorite canning book...

A daughter to help...
with her Baby Bump too...
p.s. It's a GIRL 

Fresh picked and washed tomatoes...

dice them into quarters...
(removing the core and any bad spots)

Cook the diced tomatoes down for about 10-15 minutes...

peel off the skins and process in a food processor...
be careful the tomatoes are HOT

simmer down until reduced by about half...
(the reducing takes a good deal of time)

having hot sterilized jars (I run my jars through the dishwasher on a hot wash with a sanitizing rinse)
add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (don't use fresh squeezed lemons, it has to be the bottled type, it raises the acidity level to maintain proper pH levels, the lemon juice does not change the flavor of the tomatoes)
into the bottom of each quart jar and ladle in your reduced tomato sauce...

Put your quart jars of sauce into a boiling water bath for 40 minutes...

 there you have it- Tomato Sauce...

Summer in a jar...
until next year.

Canning tomatoes is a bit labor intensive. I set up a make shift outdoor kitchen under a shade tree, and the process takes the better part of the day.  
We have more tomatoes in the garden and I may, or may not, process another batch this Summer. 

I really enjoy the time working on the sauce, but more importantly I enjoy spending the time with family, creating memories and stories to share together. When I close my eyes and think of Summer I want to remember sitting under that shade tree on a Summer day chatting, working away, and being together. 
It's all part of
'Preserving a Past to be Proud of'

The Girasole Lady

Monday, September 17, 2012

Garden Spiders

I have two Garden spiders in the little garden, I let them be.
Their webs are in quiet spots in the garden, and not in my way.

When I was about 10 years old I read the book "Charlotte's Web". I loved the story and it became one of my favorite books. 

"You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.” 
― E.B. WhiteCharlotte's Web

Garden Spiders are a guest in the garden, they eat pest and insects that are disease carrying and crop destroying,  they will eat almost anything that they can catch in their web.  
They just need to be left alone. 
The Girasole Lady

Thursday, September 13, 2012

All The Days Of Summer

Indian Summer last a long time here in Northern California.
In Summer... all the days feel the same.
Caveman works at a job that requires him to work 7 days a week from around July 4th to late September.
Yes- even Sundays. I love when people ask me 'even Sundays?', yes- even Sundays, as it is one of the days of the week. This year the long days of overtime started in early Spring, and were 12 hours days, but since July they have been 8 hours days.

Since I left my 'office job' last year, the days of Summer are just days, no weekends or week days. Half the time I never know if it's a Tuesday or a Saturday, as it makes no difference one way or the other. I can't say that is a bad thing, it's just the way it is.

In addition to keeping a tidy and organized home, I keep up with all the watering and outside chores myself. I work harder physically than I ever did sitting at a desk in my office chair all day, I love that most about my stay at home job.
I love that when I am done with chores, time permitting, I am able to sew, craft, or bake.
Being home full time is a privilege, and certainly one I do not take for granted. 
There was a time, not so long ago, for many years, that this wasn't an option for me, for us.  
This is a personal choice, and it works for our life together.
 I love most that Caveman allows me this opportunity to take care of our life here at home, inside and outside.
 I'm not so sure he was convinced, when I decided to leave my previous job, that having me home full time was going to make all that much of a difference, but I can tell you it certainly has. As for Caveman, well, he is sincerely happier having me home, meals are cooked, shopping, cleaning, and laundry is done, occasionally a pie is baked and ready for him when he comes home. Call me old fashioned (don't worry, for me there is no higher compliment), but having something for Caveman to eat at the end of his work day is the least I can do to show my appreciation for his financial contribution to this life we live together. Sure, there are times it gets crazy, maybe the gran-babies have been here all day, I was out in town for most of the day, or I was involved in a sewing or crafting frenzy, and dinner wasn't planned for the evening. Caveman is OK with that too, some evenings dinner is as simple as grabbing some cucumbers, tomatoes, corn from the garden, and serving it with some bread.
There is a peace and contentment in our home that surpasses anything money could ever buy.
 I've been asked, 'Do you have children at home.?' No, not now, we are 'empty nesters', but we have 'us'. I love being a wife and a Grammy at home, yes- even on Sundays.
The Girasole Lady

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

 Typically Labor Day involves visiting family, specifically my sister usually comes up from the Bay Area for the holiday weekend, but this year it was quiet. My sister and I spent a lot of time together this Summer, so we each spent the holiday weekend at our respective  homes. 

Saturday Beth and I headed out for a Vintage road trip to Loomis to visit the shops in the  High Hand Fruit Sheds.   

Oh my goodness, there was the most beautiful nursery there, it was like walking around an amazing park-like garden. Beth picked up a few plants for her garden. 

Inside the Fruit Sheds was just as charming. 

We grabbed lunch to-go at the Conservatory Deli
yummy chicken salad sandwiches with homemade potato chips 

I picked up this picture at The Vintage Bricoleur  
It is called 'Golden Hours'.
 ♥ I love it ♥
I hung it above my entertainment center in my living room. 

I rarely purchased pictures/art for the walls of my home. I have lots of 'homemade' art hanging, cross stitch pictures, shelves to hold trinkets, painted signs, and such like things. 

We were a little limited on time for this trip, but intend to make another one in the near future. We made it home just in time to meet up with Tonya and Kristina, and head up to Chico for some fun fabric hunting. I came home empty handed of fabric, but we also stopped in at the Plant Barn , yes Beth needed MORE garden plants, and I picked up this vintage medicine cabinet front that I will be using as a mirror in the guest bathroom. I've been collecting several items for the 'bathroom re-do', ya the one I haven't even started yet! 
By the way I never realized how hard it would be to take a picture of a mirror. I had to sit way to the side, to avoid seeing myself in the mirror. The reflection is of my couch and foot stool- (another item that needs to be worked on).

Sunday was spent at home canning up more pickles and another blackberry pie. 

What is it about blackberry pie that is so reminiscent of Summer? 

The heat, the sweetness, the soft reminder of the days of my childhood. 
The childhood ranch, where I grew up, had blackberry vines down at the creeks, and we would go out with Mom and pick the berries, careful of the thorns, bees and the occasional water snake, wearing long sleeves for protection, and eating them faster than we could pick them. I would watch as she baked the pie, admiring its beauty and just waiting for that first mouthwatering taste when dessert finally arrived.  In the years to follow into my adulthood, picking the prized berries out by the river in the Rock Piles, here in my now home-town. 

Pie always wins, 
over cakes, cookies, ice cream or candy.

The Girasole Lady