Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bosom Buddy...

It's known by many names....
Bosom Buddy, Hooter Hiders, Bebe au Lait Nursing Shawl, Nursing Cover-up among others.
Today I made this fun Mommy/Baby Thing using one yard of an Amy Butler fabric.

I first saw these online at Amazon and thought, "Why would anyone pay $35 for a simple apron?" So I went out googling for just the right tutorial on how to make one. The best tutorial by far was this one from Made By The Mama Monster. And I promise, it's EASY to make! Even with the cute Amy Butler print, I made this nursing cover-up for under $10.

I dont' know about you, but when I nursed my five children, I had a hard time with the old "blanket over the shoulder trick." It seemed always to fall off or the baby would pull it down and bring about Instant Indecent Exposure. This nifty contraption looks like the perfect solution. And notice the boning in the neckline of the apron that makes it easy for Mommy to see what her papoose is doing. I love that.

There's a double baby shower coming up next week at our church and one of the honored guests will be my daughter-in-love and Hazel Peach along with DIL's friend and her little boy, born exactly one week after Hazel. They are both nursing mothers so I thought this looked like Just The Ticket! At least I would've loved this when I was nursing my babies.

Here's how it is worn.
Nifty, eh?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From pits to pies....

You know that old saying, "If life's a Bowl of Cherries, what am I doing in the pits?"
Well, yesterday I was "in the pits" all day long.

A friend from town asked if I would like to come pick cherries from her sour cherry tree. She said the last few years she had to beg people to com pick. This little tree was LOADED with gorgeous red cherries. Thankfully, two of my sons were along so they helped pick too. We picked 3 six-quart Schwan ice cream pails full. I didn't want to seem greedy since there were others who wanted to pick, and I knew that there was more work in those buckets than meets the eye. I had never picked nor pitted sour cherries before, so this was going to be a new experience for me all around.

Before we left my friend's house, she invited us in for fresh cherry pie. How could we resist? We didn't. OH MY was delish! The best pie EVER! My boys agreed, and I knew I just had to get these cherries processed so I could make cherry pie like this for my own family and friends.

I asked my friend how she pitted her cherries and she said she just squeezed the pits out by hand. Her hubby liked to use a cherry pitter, but he said it was pretty slow going. I checked online for any tips and found one that worked like a dream, once I got the hang of it. You take a paper clip, bend it open into an "S" shape. Then you stick the loop into the stem-end of the cherry and pull out the pit. It takes a little doing, but it worked. I pitted all three pails by myself yesterday and I figure it took me approximately 1 hour per pail. Then I froze the pitted cherries in 1 quart yogurt cartons. Each quart will yield one cherry pie, and I ended up with 13 quarts.

Immediately after pitting all those cherries, I made my favorite big batch pie crust recipe, rolled out two pies and 4 extra crusts for the freezer. Guess what my family had for breakfast this morning? Cherry pie and milk! (I had coffee too) Oh My!! Now this is living!

Big Batch Pie Crust

5 c. flour
2 c. lard (or crisco)
1 T. salt
2 t. sugar
1 egg
cold water

Mix flour, salt, sugar together.
Then cut-in the lard until the looks like small peas.
Now put one egg into a 1 cup measuring cup and beat it with a fork.
Add enough cold water to the egg so that it equals 1 cup.
Add water/egg gradually and mix gently until dough is moistened.
Makes 7 single crusts. Dough freezes very well.

Fresh Cherry Pie
~Betty Crocker Cookbook

4 c. pitted sour cherries
1-1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/4 to 1/2 t. almond extract
2 T. butter

In a large bowl, mix flour and sugar together first and then add cherries. Coat cherries well and pour into the pie shell. Sprinkle with almond extract and dot with the butter. Add second crust on top. Vent with slits, sprinkle with a little sugar and bake at 425* for about 35-45 minutes or until juices begin to bubble through slits. Cool completely before serving.

Serve with ice cream and hot coffee or milk.

Tip: When using frozen sour cherries, allow them to thaw first, drain and follow the recipe as written.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A prairie walk...

I went out to check the cows today. That means you go looking for them out in the pasture, make sure the cows and calves look healthy and look for the bull and make sure he's not hurt. It's breeding season, so the bull must be found and he must be in his cow bunch. If not, the hunt is on! This is where I drove and later took a prairie walk with my dogs. I didn't actually wade out into this sweet clover, but walked the trail which was lined on both sides with clover up to my eyeballs.

Cows 'n' clover

And here's the bull, right in the center of the cows. Isn't he a pretty fella?

My trusty companions.
Jessie (above) is 11 years old and is a wonderful cow and sheep dog. We couldn't ranch without her.

And here's Sue. She's Jessie's 2 year old daughter. She's learning how to be a good cow and sheep dog too.

I just couldn't resist a grassy meadow of flowers.
These are prairie cone flower.

(click photos for a closer look)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Making hay and a dog shirt...

Here's what's happening right now on the ranch -- Haying!
This is a picture of the swather that cuts the hay down. We'll use all this hay to feed our livestock through the winter and part of next spring.

Then we go over the hay with this little tractor (my favorite) and an implement called a rake. (this photo doesn't show the rake) It goes down between two windrows that the swather makes and turns the hay over into the center, making a larger windrow. The hay is left to dry to just the right moisture level (about 15 %) and then it is rolled up into big round bales. I get to run this little tractor with the rake now and then, but I nearly have to fight my boys for a turn. While I rake hay, I watch the meadowlarks feed on the grasshoppers and the butterflies fly in pairs through the pastures. No iPod for me!

I just made this onsie for another newborn baby, Braden. He was born one week after our little grandangel, Hazel Peach. I hope they'll grow up to be good friends. It's so much fun for me to be stitching for Littles again.

I'm not sure where I found this pattern, but it might be from Doe-C-Doe, but now I'm not certain. Oh well, she's got lots and lots of wonderful vintage patterns on her blog and on Flickr Hoop Love. Have fun looking!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cuppa roses...

In my grandmother's teacup
gracing our table
a cuppa roses.
I think she's smiling
down from heaven.

These are tiny shrub roses from my garden. They have many buds and blooms on one stem so I thought this would be a nice way to display them indoors.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Precious feet...

Grandpa's hands and Baby's feet.

"How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news..."
~Isaiah 52:7

Another frock for baby!

"Do not be anxious for your life as to what you shall eat or drink, nor for your body as to what you shall put on..."
~Matthew 6:25

(especially when Grammy is around!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bird shirt...

Since Grandbaby Hazel arrived, I've had a hankerin' to make something special for her. I really enjoy embroidery so I went looking for some ideas and then added my own touches. First, I ironed some interfacing to the underside of a plain Onsie. Then I traced the pattern on with a washable pen, using a window for back-light to see through the shirt. I found this cute Bird Pattern at Hoop Love from Beetastic's Vintage Finds, also known as Sweet Bee at her blog. I loved her color combos so I copied her and then added a little running stitch to the front of the collar for a homey touch. I'm quite happy with it. I can just see "Hazel Peach" in it in a month or so. I'm working on another Onsie with a Busy as a Bee pattern, also from Beetastic's Vintage Finds.

Addendum: One more finished tonight!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

She's a GIRL...

Our first grandbaby has arrived.
July 11th, 2008
She's a darling-dumpling, sugar-plum, cuppycake-gumdrop!
We called her "Shelly Peach" before she made her debut because calling a baby "it" is not what I'm about, so I decided to give her a special prenatal name. It's a love name, a pet name, and I'm thinking it might even stick.

Her real name is Hazel Marie, named for her great grandmother.
I can imagine her with pigtails and bib over-alls walking through the pasture to Gramma's House for cookies and milk and a storybook. I admit it, I'm smitten.
Look at this book that I've picked out for her!

I think Hazel will have her copy and Grammy will have one at her house. Am I going to have fun or what? (She lives next door!!!)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Making stuff....

I've been making stuff.
Above are some clothespin bags that I tried. There are two different styles, and I really like both of them. Don't they look like they are talking to one another?

The green clothespin bag is made with a larger hanger and the yellow one can be buttoned directly onto the clothesline or buttoned onto a child-sized hanger as you see here. I made the green one for myself (practice bag) and this yellow one for a bride-to-be, and a couple others too. My daughter-in-love got one and another friend will get one in her birthday box. You will find tutorials for these clothespin bags at My Lucky Chicken and at Christy's Creations.

I love to embroider so I thought I'd add another gift for the new bride. All brides really ought to have a few cute tea towels to add to their kitchen linens, don't you think? I was crazy over these BEE patterns. There must be six or so to print off. I was browsing at Hoop Love Flickr Group for some embroidery ideas and landed these little Bees at Beetastic's Vintage Finds starting on this page. Don't miss her vintage dancing fruits and veggies either! O Sew Cute!!

Sometimes people ask me where to find quality flour sack towels. You sure don't find them at Wal Mart. Those cheapies get ratty and go to shreds in no time. My best outlet is American Chair (I know, it doesn't sound like a place to buy flour sack towels). I like the 30x30" set of 10. You can't beat them for quality and price anywhere!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday Americans!

The Grand Finale of Fireworks at Mount Rushmore.

Happy Independence Day!

God Bless America!


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