Friday, August 10, 2012

The Graue Mill

Last fall, while visiting my husband's native Chicago, we took a little detour on our trip to our hotel  from O'Hare. My husband was raised in the suburbs, in Downers Grove to be exact, and has fond memories of the Graue Mill, which is located in the neighboring town of Oak Brook. Knowing that a sampler by the same name (and in the mill's collection) was on my To Stitch Bucket List, he was all to happy to show me this lovely old mill.
Graue Mill
Oak Brook, Illinois
He said the old girl looks a lot better than he remembered. Apparently, there has been some restoration. And while the sampler bearing her name was not on display, it was fun to look around. Old mills are pretty interesting places, even if they don't have a sampler squirreled away somewhere. 

Graue Mill
Oak Brook, Illinois

Last month I stitched the Graue Mill Sampler, reproduced by Threads Through Time. Isn't she lovely? Stitched on the heels of Ann Rayner, I was happy not to have to work a single alphabet. Miss Rayner stitched  six on hers. Mercy.

The Graue Mill Sampler by Threads Through Time
Stitched on 40-count Lakeside Linen using
Needlepoint Inc Silk and Planet Earth Fibers Silk
Now the fun of choosing the next project. As the temperature is going to soar to 115 today, I think it sounds like the perfect indoor activity. Autumn cannot come soon enough. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Eternal Vigilance

Liberty Sampler by Of Female Worth

May life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness be yours this Independence Day and forevermore. 

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Hey, Boo

I've been a blogger recluse lately ~ the Boo Radley of the blogosphere, so to speak. Forgive me, but I am in a To Kill a Mockingbird state of mind.

My little book club decided to read TKAM in June, even though all of us had read it at least once before. Coincidentally, a local community theater was staging a production of the play last month. We all decided to go, and along with a delicious supper before, we enjoyed a perfect summer evening. It was community theater at its best. And the "Hey, Boo" scene remains my favorite, both in the book and the play.

Moving forward , or I should say looking back, here is a sampling of the last three months:

Lots of time spent with family and friends  . . . .

Springtime garden with little barbarians
at the gate

and in the garden and with the girls. . . . 

There's something so homey about
making jam.
enjoying the fruits of our labor . . . .

 rearranging one corner of my life . . . .

Ann Rayner by Threads Through Time
40-ct. Lakeside Linen Vintage Buttercream
Mostly Needlepoint Inc. Silk

and spending some stolen moments with my needle and thread.

See you again soon!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mr. Mason, revisited

Look at this! Mason jars have been re-released in the 1.5-pint size. I know some may not find this as exciting as I do, but I know I am not alone in my adoration of this humble vessel. I use my Masons for my everyday drinking glasses, and water with lemon is my constant companion. This is the perfect size for so many things ~ you know, when a pint is too small and a quart is too big. I found mine at ACE Hardware. (The come 9 to a box.)

Also, another great find was the travel mug adaptor, as I have been known to take my non-lidded Mason with me when I am scooting about town in Miss Daisy. I no longer buy bottled water for home use, and I cannot stand to drink water out of a stainless steel bottle. The solution ~ meet the CUPPOW, especially designed for Mason nerds like me. (This also works if you are drinking coffee from your jar, but a cozy of some sort would be needed to keep your hands from being burned. I have seen many of them on Etsy.)

As for Mr. Mason's coaster, it is my latest finish, Harriet Hazlin 1869 by The Sampler House (Eileen Bennett). Don't you just love simple marking samplers? Miss Harriet was stitched on an older piece of 40-count Lakeside Linen Vintage Navy Bean using Gumnut silk.

That's it for today from The Garden Gate! I hope you are all having a lovely week!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Of Little Lambs and Fairy Eggs

Even though Ann and her man are still disembodied, I am done counting the sheep on Miss Rayner, thank Heaven, because those little lambs over one were rather tedious on the very tightly woven 40-count linen I am using. But I do love the way they look, don't you? Sigh. I love this sampler. I am s-l-o-w-l-y working my way through my sampler bucket list, and if this one doesn't send me to a rheumatologist for my arm/hand issues, I don't know what will.
Ann Rayner by Threads Through Time
(Mostly) NPI silk on
40-count Vintage Lakeside Linen
Now for the farm report part of this post. One recent afternoon,  I went to gather the eggs, and as they are wont to do, three of my girls had used the same nesting box. However, this time Abigail had produced a teeny tiny egg that was so sweet but certainly a fluke of nature. (This happens from time to time with the egg-laying process.) Upon researching, I learned that these little eggs are sometimes referred to as "fairy eggs." To give a some perspective, the B-52's pretty blue egg and Abby's regular egg are the size of an extra-large, I would say, so you can see just how small Abby the Chicken Fairy's egg is.  I haven't opened it yet to see what is inside, but I'm guessing it is yoke-less.
The Fairy Egg
Last week, I also gave the coop a really good cleaning. As I have such a small flock and I clean up the coop on a daily basis, every two weeks is a good schedule for this. However, I added something a little extra this time ~ Nesting Box Blend from Treats for Chickens, which contains all kinds of fragrant herbs and flowers. Not only is it aromatherapy for the hens, but it helps to ward off any bugs and parasites that can invade the coop. The girls really seemed to like it!
Nesting Box Blend
So that's the news this week from the Garden Gate, where the gardeners are strong, the hens good looking and the eggs are (mostly) above average. Happy weekend everyone!

Pssst. Abby! Does your nest smell funny?

Monday, March 05, 2012

When life gives you lemons . . .

 . . .it is a very good thing!

Lemon paradise
Honestly, I think lemons have gotten a bad rap. Replace the word lemons with liver and onions and now we're talking a bad situation. Nothing good can come of that. But lemons? I use lemons for about a thousand different things for which there is no substitute. And ingesting lemons in one form or another is not the only use for them. I just read instructions somewhere online for using lemon waste (the squeezed-out halves) and tap water for making an enzyme cleaner. Anyway, the reason I am defending lemons is that my tree is now loaded with them, and my week will be spent juicing and zesting as much as my freezer will hold.

So, February was quite the full month. The winter garden provided us with tons of good stuff, but none of it preserved. I spent quite a bit of time researching and then trying about 500 ways to use broccoli, as I do not care for it in frozen form. Also, our heirloom lettuces were a great success, and we have more than enough for us, the neighbors and the girls ~ not necessarily in that order. The last couple of weeks of the month were spent planning and then planting our spring garden and pruning our deciduous fruit trees, which are all blooming. It is glorious!
Blossoming apricot tree
But it was not all work. We took time to stop and smell the roses, too. February is the month when most of my husband's side of the family come to visit. It really is the most beautiful month in our desert, in my opinion. Having family come to visit forces us to remember to slow down and enjoy it with them.

So with everything in bloom right now, I am thinking spring cleaning and getting back to basics. I am trying to figure out where I can incorporate a clothes line into my back yard. I love clothes lines. But I don't want it to look like I just wandered down from the hills. More research needs to be done on this. This week, I am also going to make my own laundry soap, which just makes my little frugal, laundry lovin' heart go pitty pat. (The thoughts of spring cleaning were what led me to discover the lemony enzyme thing.)
Lancaster laundry day
As for stitching, I have started Ann Rayner, but I have been struggling with a nasty episode of tennis elbow, so I have been trying to not over do. Next time, I hope to have a progress photo that won't bore everyone to tears. But in keeping with my "back to basics" theme, I will instead post a little finish from last year: Carriage House Samplings' Hornbook Sampler. Basic at its very best.

Carriage House Samplings
Hornbook Sampler
I will leave you with a photo of the girls in their new playpen, which is an old wheelbarrow filled with compost. Once my arm  heals I am going to paint it a different shade of green. That is, if I can keep them out. I may have to do it under the cloak of darkness when they are all snoozy in their roost to avoid a real mess ~ or in my new parlance, one of those liver and onions moments.
And a chicken in
every wheelbarrow!
Happy week everyone!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

War and Peaceable Kingdom

Recently I joined a book club, which was kind of a difficult decision for me. I am very jealous of my reading time, as it is  limited at this point in my life, and I don't want to mess around reading something in which I have no interest. The first two selections I enjoyed and would have read anyway.  However, January's selection, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, was another story altogether. I dreaded reading this book. I knew several people who had read it and reported that while it was a very good read, it was a difficult one due to the subject matter. I was advised not to read it before bedtime. Ack! I read up to a certain point and then put it down, thinking I would just have to wimp out and beg off this month's discussion. However, by the time the brutal part arrived, I found myself not being able to put the book down, even taking it to bed with me to finish. It is an incredible story; and while I rarely recommend books on my blog, this is one that I highly endorse. So far, my book club is three for three and my decision to join has been reinforced.

Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks ca.1834
National Gallery of Art
In the public domain
So that's the "war" part of this post. The"Peaceable Kingdom" refers to one of my favorite motifs in American art as portrayed no less than 61 times by Edward Hicks, one of my favorite artists. The symbols in Hicks' works refer to the prophecy in Isaiah 11:6, which reads, "The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them." 

Birds & Beasts Rejoice
by Bittersweet House
for Christmas of Olde
How happy I am when I can find the peaceable kingdom expressed in needlework! I stitched a sweet little sampler this week with this very theme. I will probably finish it as an ornament rather than framing it, using Vonna's tutorial. The fact that I stitched Birds & Beasts Rejoice the same week I read Unbroken was pure coincidence, but it was a very appropriate bookend to a story about the horrors of war.

As for the news from the Coop de Grace, it is a mixed bag. I have been waging my own little war against red mites, which in spite of my preventive measures, have invaded on the wings of the wild birds. I will spare you any photos. Dolley has started to molt with a vengeance, which means the end of her egg production for awhile, but Abigail has resumed giving us her gorgeous brown eggs. Let all the birds and beasts rejoice over that one!

Until next time have a happy, peaceful week, everyone!