Monday, September 15, 2014

Bee hold

All that remains to do is the title....

The Queen Bee.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Memories of Autumn

Memories of Autumn
P.J. Laney

Autumn always brings back special childhood memories, when we lived in a little, gray, four room house that had a wood buring cook stove in the kitchen. The house sat up on a hill, backed by woods, overlooking farmers fields in Slanesville, WV. I was six years old at the time and my younger brothers were five and two.

We would help mom rake all the leaves in the front yard into gigantic piles. You would have thought the two trees in the yard would never stop dropping leaves. But most of the leaves blew in from the woods behind the house. We would spend all day raking, then take turns running and jumping into the piles. Becoming completely engulfed by the leaves and watching the sun dance in the branches above.

Fall activities were taking place all ove the county in late October. Our small mountain church would make apple butter for the Church Bazaar. The nearby White House Apple Company would donate crates, around 48 bushels, of apples to nonprofit organizations, each year. Church members would go over to the warehouse on a Friday night after the lines shut down to use the peeler and coring machines. As the machine spit out the washed, bare skinned apples, several men and women would cut and quarter them befor dumping them in to large plastic trash bags. We would all gather at the Boar Family's home on Saturday, to spend all day cooking down all of those apples mixed with sugar and spices; making batches of apple butter. There were three very large copper kettles on the front lawn. Each with a nice steady fire already burning, since early morning, before the sun rose. I loved taking my turn stirring the sweet smelling contents with the long wooden paddle. It was nice to enjoy the fruits of our labor. When it came time for the Bazaar, Mom would buy at least two jars to take home.

At home we would make caramel apples. I remember unwrapping the caramels from the clear cellophane wrappers, that crinkled like the fallen leaves outside. mom would pour the milk in the pan, then we would start dropping the caramels in a little at a time. I took delight in the fact that my mother trusted me with the duty of slowly, stirring the caramel. I had to stand on a kitchen chair to reach the top of the old wood burning stove. I recall how my hands would get warm, then start to sweat as the spoon would heat up. I would change from my right hand, to my left hand, back to my right hand again to keep them from burning. I now know my mother was a pretty smart woman; why would she stand over the hot stove when she had such an eager volunteer? The aroma of the warm melting caramel filled our little house like a warm, strong hug. When it was time to dip the apples, Mom would stab the apples, some red, some green, with the Popsicles sticks that came in the bag. Each of us, my brothers and I, got to take turns dipping the apples. Mom would line cookie sheets with wax paper and neatly place the golden, sticky treats on the tray. She would then place them on the back porch railing to cool in the Autumn air.

These are just some of the activities that led up to the biggest event of the season. Halloween! Anticipating the big night was just as exciting to me as waiting for Santa Claus. Our costumes were homemade, as we were on a pinch-Penny budget. Mom improvised with what we had. We each wore a flannel shirt, which Mom made for us last Christmas, stuffed at the belly, old dungarees with patches strategically placed at the knee and back pockets. Mom used a piece of charred wood to smudge our faces and added freckles to my face. We were three cheerful Hobos, ready to collect our goodies. Over the years I have learned to make due with what I have, and I realized how creative my mother could be with the simplest things.

Living in the country prevented the traditional door to door Trick-or-Treating. Neighbors from all over would bring their children to the Slanesville VFD Hall for a Halloween party. Each family brought baskets, bowls or brown paper bas filled with candy. The grown ups would sit in chairs, along the walls, around the room. The kids would all line up and Trick-or-Treat from one person to the next and I was always sure to say Trick-or-Treat for me and my two year old brother. A special spooky room was set up at the back of the Hall, where a Halloween story was played out for the older or braver kids. The story was about a witch that crashed as she was flying home one Halloween night. The room was very, very dark with the exception of the eerie glow of a black light and the slow steady flash of a strobe light. Haunting music played low in the background to complete the spooky mood. The details of the story as it was told the are sketchy now. But I still have vivid memories of touching peeled grapes and cooked spaghetti in oil that was supposed to be her eyeballs and brains. There was chunky jell-o for her innards and a bowl of stitcky, liquid for her blood. For a six year old girl it was pretty scary stuff, but I was enjoying the thrill of the scare. My muscles would tense up and a quiver would wash over my body as I reached out to one container after another of supposed body parts and gore. As we made our way through the room we exited into the kitchen, where we washed our hands of all the gory mess we touched. I still enjoy the thrill of a good scary stour and going to haunted houses.

The first hints of Summer changing into Fall, the sweet, tart smell of apples, smoke in the air and the sound of the breezes rushing through the turning leaves spark these memories. This time of year seems to ground me, taking me back to a simpler time when happiness and love could be found in a pan of swirling, melting caramel.


Buzzing along

I am hoping to have the crest finished to night. Buzzing right along. 
I've been on the look out for a nice fabric to make her into a little pillow. 
We will see.

Today was a delightful grayish day. I worked from home today and it was so nice listening to the rain showering down on the trees outside the window.

Finished with work; so the quick commute down the stairs to the coziness of the candle lit living room. Smells of apples from the cider I drank and the yummy candles just calms my spirit. 

Love, love this time of year.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Rug rescue... FERN

When my mother was up in August we had stopped in Avalon Antique Mall where I saw two old hooked rugs that I liked; one of which I really liked.  I got an antiquing itch this morning and called on my Best Girl Friend to see if she wanted to join me. It was the perfect September Sunday for a mini road trip!

We grabbed a bite to eat at Sarah's in Wiscassett so we had fuel to browse! This place is pretty big.

My mom will be pleased to know I did pick up the Fern rug. She is a bit rough for wear but I love the rich colors and the flora design. The mossy gray greens and browns with a field of reds and a smattering of orange.


I am ambitious in hopes to reproduce this pattern! 
I am thrilled that Fern was still there waiting for me.

I really do need to win the lottery so I can have more time to stitch and hook!

Hope y'all had a delightful weekend as well.


Saturday, September 6, 2014


I am so excited that I have a stitching progress report. I did get the chance to settle in on Monday to do some stitching. I worked on the Spanish Mystery Sampler while watching the Trek-a-thon!! When I started I had just a bit of the B stitched. Not bad....

The pale blue and white do not show as nicely in the picture as they do in person. Love the color combinations in this piece.

Three days this week I worked on stitching over lunch. 
I've been carrying around my Queen Bee since cruise in April. 

A little on Tuesday

                                                    Before                                 After 

A little more on Wednesday

And finished the bow on Friday!

This crest design is a bugger! But she sure is cute. :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

No bean left behind...

And another reason I can't keep my needle working....

We picked the garden again this morning. 
The raspberries are still producing even if the bounty is small it sure is sweet.

Grandpa Percy's bean basket was filled to the brim, which will make him so proud. 
Can't wait to show him pictures when we visit in October.

Grandma Bengtson's bowl

I put back a half quart of wax beans and sugar snap peas...

And four quarts of green beans this round.

The kitchen was at 72% humidity when I got done.
Even my Tervis was sweating

 I need a shower and then...


Nothing like a cold, well water shower to perk a girl up!