Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We are now picking ...

What a beautiful summer day ! Best of all, the local orchard announced that their cherry trees are ready for picking.

When that announcement is made, you better get there fast since the local bird population also has its eyes on the cherries and will strip a tree in a flash as soon as they are ripe.
I had visions of jam, desserts, rows of gleaming canning jars filled with cherries, cakes...can you tell we love cherries ?

On the way to the orchard, I saw these elderberry blossoms and picked a bag full for an experiment. I'm going to make elderberry blossom syrup; it's supposed to be delicious mixed with mineral water or prosecco. It's a German recipe from a cookbook given to me by the Global Clapotis Knitter .

When I got to the orchard, the trees were absolutely weighed down with fruit and picking was quick and lots of fun. Blue skies, puffy white clouds, pleasantly cool with sunshine and birds singing and the occasional cherry to eat while picking - what's not to like ?

I finally stopped picking when I ran out of bowls. When the cherries were weighed, I had picked 24 pounds .

At home, I made a batch of jam and we had this Clafouti for dessert. What a delicious day !

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer is here !

The lilies are starting to bloom

The strawberries are ripe

and my first ever quilt is finished just in time for the first picnic of summer.

It's not perfect - the corners of the binding are kind of weird, but I don't care !

I love the way ity turned out. It took a surprising amount of time to decide where to place the different blocks, but the sewing was quick and the quilting of the top was fun.

The dollies grabbed the quilt the minute the last stitch was made and headed out side for a lovely ( felt ) strawberry tea under the trees. Don't forget your napkin, Mr. Bear !

Looks like it will be a grand summer .

Where the wild things are

First they were in the orchard, then under our bedroom window and now they're in the house ! This bird was flying merrily around our livingroom while both cats were sitting on the couch, completely riveted.
Mr. RFD claims he gave the masterful command of " Leave it ! " and supposedly Pete , the more intelligent of the two, immediately sat like a stone. Yea, right.

After the bird release, Pete thought he would come and entertain himself where I was working. My sewing chair swivels and as soon as I got up, Pete would take a running jump which was enough to spin the chair around. He also does some complicated maneuver with his paws, pushing and pulling himself sideways so the chair spins faster and longer.

Kind of makes you dizzy in a delicious way.
( This cat can also open doors ! )

To show how versatile he is, he thought he would help me with my next project .
I wonder what it can be ?

Saturday, June 21, 2008


What smells like pig manure, rotten eggs and a hint of cadaver ?

I do - after spraying deer repellent on our little trees in a slight breeze. That is one powerful spray !! Note to self : wait until total calm, wind will veer around in a split second and dose you with noxious smells.

After a long shower, I went to bed, secure in the knowledge that deer would find our orchard repellent and peace would reign on the old homestead for at least one night. What we did not count on was that apparently it would attract other wildlife. We spent the night listening to a bunch of foxes yodeling under our window. Yodeling is the wrong term, a fox has a high-pitched, hoarse bark that combines a scream and a cough - startling to put it mildly, especially in the wee hours , rendered at a high volume and without cease.

Where was our trusty dog, protector of hearth and home, you ask ? Fast asleep on her pillow, next to the open window where the fox concert took place. Maybe the fumes from the deer repellent knocked her out.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Under siege

The local deer herd has found our baby fruit trees and has done some real damage to them.

In desperation we covered all baby trees with sheets last night, hoping to keep the menace at bay. Today we're going to build cages around each tree, which will make our lovely orchard look bizarre.

Thank goodness they haven't touched the rather heavy peach crop; maybe they only eat leaves and shoots and not fruit ?

The raspberries are also still safe. They are just starting to get ripe and I enjoyed the first berry of the year this morning. When I was a little girl, it was the custom to make a wish whenever you ate the first fruit of the season that year. I fervently wished for a bicycle with each first cherry, berry, apple and pear and would you believe it ? After several years I actually had my wish come true and got a beautiful blue bike. So we know this wishing thing works !
This morning I was considering what to wish for and thought maybe - now that I'm grown up -I would go for world peace, but death and destruction to all local deer was an extremely attractive alternative.Oh deer !!
Think I'll go sit in the meadow on the hill and restore balance and harmony to my soul by contemplating the world of flowers instead.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Midnight photo shoot

I just finished five little rompers for a very sweet little two year-old.It's very late and the light is not very good for a picture, but aren't they cute all lined up in a row ?

Trucks, sailboats and fire engines, it doesn't get any better than this.

Or does it ? How about puppy dogs ?

And how much longer can you dress a boy in polka dots ?
Carpe diem or rather , Carpe Puerim*, I always say.
* that's my Latin joke for the month - puer, pueris = the boy

Cool and understated in classic stripes

Extremely manly, even down to the buttons !
And just because it's after midnight and we get silly when it's very, very late, here is a bonus question for you : identify the largest round object in the picture below.

Give up ? It's a radish from my garden !
Most amazing of all, it was perfectly edible and delicious.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


The new dress !
It fits and the recipient seems pleased with it - I'd say we were the pink.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ready for a cool summer

So, let's review : here's the worn out pink shirt. a perfect candidate for a nifty idea I had seen on a craft blog .
I carefully cut the shirt apart along the seams.

The back of the shirt plus yoke was cut to look sort of like the front of a little girl's sundress. I wound up reversing this piece since I thought the pleat looked better inverted for the front of the dress.
I used the front of the shirt to cut another shape just like this and that would become the back of the dress.

The flattened sleeves were cut off and I sewed a hem on the bottom to become a casing for 1/2 " elastic. Once the elastic was threaded in, it ruffled the little sleeve/wingy straps very nicely. But, oops, the were too small !

No problem, the bottom of the sleeves was even better for my purpose. The hem of the sleeves became the casing and I just cut a sort of pleasing wing shape freehand. Once the elastic was in, the straps were perfect and could be sewn on at the top of the dress.
Add a little eyelet lace and voila ! I give you a very cool sundress for a little girl who loveslovesloves pink.

The front

The back !
Now wasn't that fun ?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pretty in pink

The Clapotis is blocked and dry at last and since I fear my modeling shot will not make it into America's Next Top Model Hall of Fame, so I give you this instead :

Chair, modeling Clapotis ,with gratuitous cute kitty. By the way, Emlyn , you were right : Clapotis is pronounced " Clap-O-teeee" - it's French and means "little waves."

While the ClapOtee was blocking, I went to the fabulous Fabric Row in Philadelphia and bought this pretty pink toile fabric.

I used it to resurrect the old dressing table which had been languishing in the top of the barn. Today we delivered it to a happy little girl who loves pink more than anything. Kindly note pink crown !

After much hair combing, lotion applying, hairclip selecting and make-up applying, it's also wonderful fun to crawl under the skirt and pretend the dressing table is a house.

Next up - a new project involving Mr.RFD's favorite pink shirt which has a frayed collar and is worn out.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Clapotis Finished !

The Overseas Knitter has finished her Clapotis ! She added fringes and it looks like she decided to forego the triangular points on either end. A very cool adaptation of the original pattern . Lovely knitting, Elke, I'm sure you will wear it a lot -probably sooner than we would think here in summery USA since the weather in Germany has turned decidedly cold and rainy. Let's see a picture of you modeling the shawl.
My Clapotis, by the way, is also finished, but still blocking. In hopes of making it longer and wider, I stretched it severely - now I'm thinking that was probably a mistake. Stay tuned for a picture as soon as it is dry.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Birthday news

There was some serious partying going on this weekend

Kindly note festive attire which encompassed crowns, sunglasses, bridal gowns - there was even a lion and a mushroom which made a brief appearance. And, no, it was NOT a costume party.

After all, you're only Five once !