Saturday, July 30, 2011

Frozen Fruit Pops

Today, Miss Abigail and I are at the annual clean-up day to get the fairgrounds ready for the county fair. Abigail made another batch of these fruit pops to enjoy when we get home. This recipe is part of her Quick Meals project. They are so simple - 100% fruit. If you are interested, go to Mower Cookin to get the recipe.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Scrapbooking Pics

These are the pictures of Miss Abigail's scrapbooking exhibits. She is still working on the "theme album" exhibit and the covered photo album. I hope they get finished. (Sigh. I really am going to be better organized next year!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Flower Arranging

On to flower arranging! A woman has so many opportunities to decorate with flowers. I have wanted Miss Abigail to have some skill with arranging flowers. I've taught her just a bit about composition and she seems to have her usual knack for what looks good. She has the basic "triangle" down, for the most part. I think this silk arrangement is very nice.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Fruit of Our Labor

It was a long day. Miss Abigail sweated in the heat. But, in the end, she joins the ranks of those few women who know how to can. She is only twelve and she couldn't do it again by herself, but I'm so impressed with how hard she worked to learn this skill. Of all things, Abigail enjoyed blanching and peeling the peaches and the tomatoes. As long as there isn't a bushel left to do, I could enjoy that also. We did peaches and tomatoes in the morning and then, in the afternoon we did a batch of quick pickles, zuchinni relish, and spiced pickled cantaloup. Don't wonder - it's delicious! BTW, the second batch of peaches turned out beautifully.

Last year, at the county fair, a 4-H friend of mine said to me, "I really want to promote the canning project. Would you help me teach a workshop?" So we did. We held a workshop in October for anyone interested in the project and we had about ten kids respond. We taught the kids about safe preserving and did a fun experiment with PH. Then we canned apples together. I don't know how many kids went on to finish the project, but I hope there will be some of those other apples entered, at least.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Precious Grandson

Isn't he just the cutest baby you've ever seen? His name is Erik (with a k, so I understand. Perhaps the k is a nod to his Norwegian ancestry.) His daddy was just as cute and seeing this picture makes me almost weep with many memories. I'm so happy he is finally here. I'm so grateful that everything is well. I just can't wait to see him in person.

These beautiful pictures were taken by his Auntie Kate. She is so talented (website). Thank you for sharing, Kate.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Canning - Peaches, Tomatoes, Pickles

Miss Abigail and I are canning today. Last October we canned apples and this week we are canning everything else. But, I had to come out to the store to get more peaches. When we took the jars from the water bath, the sliced peaches were floating halfway to the top of the jar. I think Abigail was so careful to pack the peaches without bruising them that she didn't get enough fruit in the jar. I've always canned just for the family and never had to worry about making everything look perfect. Alas, we will have to do another batch. Abigail isn't sad about that. She thought it was wonderful fun to blanch and peel the fruit. We also did a batch of tomatoes this morning that were perfect. She's pretty good this! I'm glad that I will have such a good helper for canning.

Coming out to the store was really only an excuse to come to the library to look for pictures of my brand new grandson! Little Eric is our first grandchild and he is so beautiful. Born on July 21. I'm pretty excited to see him - soon, I hope.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Busy, busy, BUSY!

Our family has been involved with the 4-H program for almost twenty years and July is always our busiest month. This year, Miss Abigail is happily swimming, way over her head, in many projects.  Since our county fair is the first full week in August, July is always the crunch month to get the exhibits for the projects completed. My job is to facilitate all these projects and, at this time of year, it feels like a full time job! You would think that after twenty years I would be more organized. I always intend to be. Each year I say to myself that we will complete projects earlier, but July still brings the same mad dash to get items completed for the fair. I turned in the pre-registration for indoor exhibits today, so now Miss Abigail is committed to finishing bunches of stuff in the next couple of weeks. Some of these projects are items that she has been working on for some time, but other things haven't even been started. Sigh...

Yesterday, Miss Abigail spent all afternoon working on her scrapbooking project. I took pictures to post here, but, alas, I arrived at the library without my thumb drive. So, I'll post these and other pics when next we come out of the cave.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bridal Shower Favors - Wood Burned Spoons

I am hosting a bridal shower this weekend. The theme of the shower is “All Around the House.” I had a small challenge to overcome with the game favors. I wanted a favor for each of the guests to take home, but I’m planning for 25 guests! Obviously the favors needed to be inexpensive. I think these wood burned spoons are the perfect solution for my problem. Blank spoons come in a package of four for 88 cents at Walmart. And each spoon takes just over a minute to create. So, everyone gets a nice favor for a cost of just 22 cents!  I already own a wood burner. You can purchase this tool at any craft store, in the wood aisle. Walmart also carries one, for about $10.00. This craft is called pyrography and is really fun.

Some of the spoons will be a little rough. Just use some sandpaper to smooth out the worst spots. The wood is quite soft. You can buy more expensive hardwood spoons, and they are lovely! But these cheap ones also develop a kind of patina as they are used.

You’ll be working on the back side of the spoon. Start by heating the burner. Be really careful because the tool gets extremely hot! You don’t want to burn yourself and you also don’t want to drop the burner on the table or floor. There is zero time to retrieve it before a burn happens. So take precautions. The burner will come with a little metal stand to rest the tool on and this can be taped securely to the table. You could also use glass underneath it, as an extra precaution. Work when small children are napping! The burner takes awhile to cool down, even after begin unplugged.

Once the burner is heated, make a small “c” in the middle of the back of the bowl.

Make another curved line, from inside and in the opposite direction, around the bottom of the previous curve. Work smoothly and rather quickly. If the burner stays too long in one place, you’ll create a small depression or hole and the line will seem uneven.

Continue adding these curved lines, around the edges of the others.

Make the flower as big as you wish, creating additional petals to form a “rose.”

Add a leaf.

Add another leaf.

And two more leaves at the bottom.

Touch the burner gently on the wood between some of the crooks and crannies around the petals and leaves. These small dots add dimension to the design and look like the statice flowers that commonly come in a bouquet of roses.

Turn the spoon over and do a second, much smaller, flower on the front of the spoon.

You can alter the design any way you wish, this one has my monogram. You can also add a bit of squiggle around the edges. This makes the spoon seem even more “finished.” Just be creative. The spoons are cheap enough that you can practice and fool around.

Finished! I think they are so cute.

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