Handcrafts and self-sufficiency…Inspired by Tasha Tudor !!

04 October 2016

Tasha Tudor Day 2016

The 28th of August would have been Tasha's 101st Birthday! 
It was my 7th year hosting a crafty get-together in her honor :)
It was too hot to have it comfortably outside, so this was the first time 
I hosted it inside.There was knitting, spinning, weaving, eating, laughing...
just a good time had by all!! 

Weaving on a rigid heddle loom.      

Happy knitting hands!      

Some serious spinning!      

Beautiful handknit sock!

Smiling. Happy. Spinning!      

One happy knitter :)      

Twins? Nah, but make 'ya look ;)      

These tomatoes were dehydrated on the hood of a car! Yes, it was that hot out!!

23 August 2016

Apple Crisp

      Ahhhh....home made apple crisp...what could be better?

This has been one of those special desserts that goes back as far as my 
earliest childhood memories. My mother made it and I learned from her. I don't 
know exactly where the recipe originated. My copy is hand written on an index card.
 If you do a search for apple crisp you will get many variations. Most I found 
included brown sugar and oatmeal with various spice mixtures. Sometimes it  
just needs to be kept simple. I think this is the simplest, most delicious 
apple crisp recipe you will find anywhere!!  

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Make the topping mix first
  The topping consists of flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon & butter.
 I usually make this first so that the apples won't have to sit and start browning.

The basic recipe is: 1 Cup of Flour, 1 Cup Sugar, 1/2 tsp Cinnamon,
 1/4 tsp Salt and a stick of cold Butter.

  You can tweak these to suit your tastes. I usually put more than a tsp of cinnamon because I really like it. You could use other spices or make it more or less sweet. Blend all of the dry ingredients together and then cut in the butter. It helps to slice the butter into several pieces before cutting. I mostly use a pastry cutter but you can use the two knife method and cut into the butter like scissors.  The butter pieces should be about pea size. Set it aside when mixed. 
I think Macintosh is the best apple to use!

I have always traditionally used Macintosh apples. You can use any variety 
you like but I think the tartness of the Macs goes well with the sweetness of the topping.

Very handy manual slicer/peeler!

I used to use a knife to cut them but that took forever,
 so I invested(all of about $20) in a manual peeler/slicer.

It works great!

Get out your favorite pie dish and fill it about half way with your peeled & sliced apples. Add some topping to the apples. I do this because I always seem to end up with too much for just the top. Finish adding apples. Remember that the apples will cook down, so pile 'em high! 

Thank you to my friend Louisa for help with the photo shoot :)

Finish it off with the remaining topping mix. If you slightly shake the pie dish,
 it will settle the topping down into the apples a bit. Bake at 375 (pre-heated) for about 45 minutes. You may want to put foil or a cookie sheet on the rack underneath to keep any drippings from getting on the bottom of your stove. Cool on a wire rack for a little while. While it's cooling, I often go ahead and make fresh whipped cream to top it with. It makes it just perfect! Vanilla ice cream is good too!!


~ Kimberly :)

14 August 2016

Hosting My First Fiber Retreat

         Since I was home alone for almost two weeks, I thought I'd host 
a fiber retreat and invite all of my fiber lovin' friends!
     Here are a few pics from the weekend...
Direct warping a rigid heddle loom.  
Getting some help with knitting.  
Threading the reed(heddle).  
First time combing fiber :)

19 February 2016

Chickens are Funny :)

My daughter with chicks from years ago when we raised several batches of chicks.

   Once upon a time, long ago, I had chickens...then a raccoon killed them all! This was at Merrie Mill. No kidding...it took forever to find and fix the problem, but by then, they were all dead :(  Well, all but one, which I took to the bf's farm, but wouldn't you know it that that house had a weakness that the raccoon there found and also killed that last chicken...and the remaining peacocks and turkey hens that were there. So frustrating...I have stopped naming chickens for the most part. They are just too darned easily killed by marauding wild critters... so as sad as that all was, new chickens aren't hard to come by and in spring of '14, I bought 6 new chickens. They weren't chicks, but a few months old. I had gone through the babysitting of little chicks more than once, and, while fun, I just didn't want the responsibility again, so...I bought older ones.

   This is the newest batch of chickies(when they were still smaller) that I got. 6 in total.

                      Unfortunately two of them got killed by another raccoon who was getting into the chicken house. Luckily we found the hole and sealed it, but we are down to 4 now.

  This is Sid, he was the lone bird after the raccoon killing spree, I guess he was just too big to deal with. Now he has a Mrs. Turkey...needless to say, he is much happier now!

         So, why are they funny? Well, since they have been able to be free range(the last dog, who would have killed them, died), they have slowly gone further and further from the safety of their house. I looked out the window and saw them on the house side of the boxwood hedge. I slid open the sliding patio doors, which they heard and promptly lifted their skirts and ran off(see above). That made me laugh!!
Seems any noise gets them nervous. They don't usually go far, then turn and look back.

  Here, they are on the other side of the box hedge, closer to their house, so they feel safer.

      This is the only red hen I have. She is a sex-link. The best layer!! I hate to say I have any favorite, but I do...and it's her! She's easily the friendliest and most inquisitive of the four.

    Most of the time when they see me, they run over, sure that I have bread to give them. They LOVE bread...I can throw out fruit, which they will eat, but if I put it out first, they look at it and look at me with the look of "is that it?", which I find hilarious!! Then they get their bread, which they always fight over. If there is a particularly large piece that one gets, they grab and run as far away from the others as they can. They DO NOT like to share!

    Anyone who has chickens, knows how amusing they can be. I hope to get a couple more, maybe this spring :)

28 November 2015

Holiday Wreaths 2015 and past...

Store bought wreaths just cannot compare to the beauty and uniqueness of making them with your own hands. These all start with going out and cutting fresh greens from around the farm. Then we head back to the craft barn and they are put together. With so many different types of trees, bushes, pine cones, etc...they are always different, no matter how many times we make them. 
Scroll all the way down to see wreaths from past years as well as the current year.

2015 Wreath Making

Adorning a cottage door!

Wreath making underway...

An assortment of textures to choose from...

Coming together...

Starting one on a wire frame...

And the gorgeous wreaths...

 A close up of the bottom...isn't is just stunning?!!



An all holly wreath...interesting!

2014 Wreaths

Wreath Making from 2013

Who is that hiding under those dark glasses...?


Being tall has it's advantages...you can reach the good stuff up high!!

What a lovely assortment of cuttings!

Who is that?... I know who ;)

Adding candle holders.

Almost finished!

Each one is always so unique!

Not a wreath, but a spray.

Wreath Gallery...

2012 Wreath Making


What smiles!!
Someone looks happy !! :)
Under the Holly tree.
An overflowing bag of greens!!

Getting started.

Deciding what to use.

Selecting greens and bunching them together.

Using wire to tie greens to wreath frame.

Coming along nicely :)

Adding lovely large Magnolia leaves to the wreath.
Some Holly cuttings.

Almost finished !

And...ta-dah!!! Finished wreath gallery...

What a day!! Good company and many, many gorgeous holiday wreaths
ready to showcase on a front door or other advantageous location to admire!!

I can't tell you all who participated...
just how much I enjoyed spending the afternoon with you :)

Thank you! Happy Holidays everyone !!
-Kim :)