Life · Uncategorized

Northeastern NC Craft Workshop 2017

Another Northeastern NC Craft Workshop has come and gone! I love attending this yearly workshop. Since this is my 4th year attending, I’ve come to expect certain individuals to appear there each year. One of those individuals did not attend yesterday but I’m hoping that everything is alright with her and she just decided to attend today.

My chosen course this year was Embroidery taught by a lovely woman by the name of Glenda (her husband teaches the decoy carving class) from Virginia Beach. She was full of knowledge and was a great instructor.

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She had already traced our patterns and chosen the colors for our “masterpieces” which left us with the hard job of piecing it all together. We learned several stitches – Lazy Daisy (my least favorite), the French Knot (which I didn’t like at first but came to love), the Back Stitch, the Satin Stitch, and there may have been another one.

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Our prepaid lunch was provided by the delicious Golden Skillet over in Plymouth, with choices of salad, chicken and pastry, and fried chicken. We were also able to purchase cookies – which I definitely took advantage of.

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So this is the outcome of my 6 or so hours of work. Upon wetting it, the blue pattern should fade. You can certainly see where I struggled (the flowers) and how I improved on the french knot as I went. It’s funny – my shoulder was getting sore by the end of the day!

I’m undecided what I will do with this – I’m thinking of bringing out my granny’s vintage sewing machine and maybe filling it with lavender and turning it into a sachet of sorts. I discovered that I enjoy embroidery and am already daydreaming of my next project.

It’s great getting to try out skills that I might not normally get to try. I’m crossing my fingers that maybe next year I will be able to take two days off from work to try out one of the two day courses!

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Holiday

Things Remembered on MavenX: Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is coming up soon and is the perfect time to honor that special someone in your life.

1929765_559420474839_2175_n.jpgThat’s my mom and I on a cruise to the Bahamas not long after my high school graduation in 2005. Without my mom, I would not be half the person I am today. She’s always been there for me, encouraging me, and I am so blessed to have her in my life.

For my MavenX board, I tried to pick a few items from Things Remembered that I thought my own mom would enjoy. Remember, get 20% off plus free shipping with promo code A159 (valid though Mother’s Day, May 14). What’s great about TR is that they offer so many options to add a custom message to your gift.

I love the Willow Tree set of figures. I can’t remember what holiday it was for but I remember getting my mom one several years ago (not the one pictured below). This one is another favorite that I think captures the mother/child relationship perfectly.

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Willow Tree Grandmother Figure | Click Here

Another item that I picked out was the Mom Charm Key Chain. It’s something small and simple, yet can be a year around remember of how much someone cares.

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Mom Charm Key Chain | Click Here

These are just some of the options I featured on my MavenX board. Want to see some other great gift ideas from Things Remembered? Then follow this link to my board!

What are you doing for your mom this year for Mother’s Day? Maybe just taking her out to a nice lunch?

Garden · Life

A Week or Two in Pictures (3/27-4/10)

I’m starting this post out with a picture of my lovely girls enjoying a treat block. That block sure didn’t last long but we had fun watching them attack it! I like to give them a treat every now and then. Usually we just let them feast on the scraps we throw out from our chicken (ends of cucumber, carrot peels, etc) in addition to the layer pellets/corn we toss out.

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I planted an Ichiban eggplant in my garden bed. I love eggplant though and hope to pick up at least another variety to add to my bed. A great way to use up eggplant is to make Baba Ghanoush – it is delicious!

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My pineberries are looking good in my garden bed. Thankfully the recent burst of cold weather did not phase them as I see little berries forming! I’m awaiting on some Old North Sea strawberry plants to arrive from Baker Creek seeds any day.

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We potted up a bunch of plants for the front porch. One contains herbs I started last year (lemongrass, chives, thyme, parsley), one contains violas, two contain a mixture of Rainbow Chard and Brussels Sprouts. There’s a rosemary lurking in the back (along with my Belle watching me from inside the house, she’s never far from me). The red pot and the pot in the middle contain shallots that I got from my grandfather’s house – apparently they’ve been passed down for a few generations!

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On these pretty evenings, we’ve been working with the dogs a lot more than usual. It helps Belle run off some energy and it helps Jake (Robb’s dog) stay in shape for when duck hunting season rolls around.
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The peach tree (located within our chicken coop) is doing fabulous. I’m glad that the cold weather didn’t damage it either. I love a fresh, juicy peach picked while still warm from the sun.

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My comfrey is rocking it! I like to use it in products that I make for The Southern Belle’s Garden. In fact, most of the herbs I use I actually grow myself.

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We went for a walk on Sunday. Robb wanted to check on a couple of potential turkey hunting spots. Though he really didn’t see what he was looking for, we did spook up a couple of deer and I found my first ever shed antler! Okay, so really Robb found it but only because he was walking in front of me!

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All in all, it’s been a good couple of weeks! The next few weeks will fly by though and I don’t know how many pictures I’ll be able to snag! I enjoy letting you all have these little peeks into my life (plus it helps me remember to jot down information in my garden journal) and I hope you enjoy them as well!

Food · review

The Farmette Cookbook [Review]

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through those links, I receive a portion of your sale which helps this blog continue to grow.]

I fell in love with Imen McDonnell’s blog Farmette long before she released her cookbook early 2016. Originally working in broadcast production, Imen met and married an Irish farmer and essentially uprooted her life to move to Ireland. Looking at the gorgeous photos that she posts on her blog of her life in the Irish countryside – who wouldn’t?

When I heard about The Farmette Cookbook, I knew that I wanted to get my hands on it. In the age of the internet and Pinterest with its slew of yummy recipes, for me to actually want to own physical cookbook is proof as to how magical her writing is. I added the book to my Christmas list and was thrilled when it appeared under my Christmas tree. Traveling home with my boyfriend from my mom’s house, I couldn’t help but to share my excitement with him as I flipped through the pages.

“Oh my god babe! There is a chapter on making items from dairy.”

A few minutes later.

“Oh my god babe! There is an ENTIRE chapter on just potatoes!”

I’m sure it was a long ride back home for him.

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Even months later as I flipped through it yet again, I found myself still completely in love with every page. This cookbook can easily be considered one of my favorite cookbooks. The recipes tend to be more on the simple side (i.e. rustic) but produce fantastic results (such as the dairy section which shows you how to make items such as cream cheese or sour cream). The ingredients either already exist in my pantry or could be picked up at my local grocery store.

Some of my personal picks from this cookbook are:

  • Buttered Eggs (page 10) – A seemingly simple recipe that produces a rich, buttery flavor in eggs. This is a great recipe to use the fresh eggs from our girls.
  • Best Brown Bread (page 41) – Long before Imen’s cookbook was published, I found her blog by doing a search for an Irish brown bread recipe. I came across this easy recipe and fell in love with her blog.
  • Sweet Farmer Cheese Danish with Elderflower Glaze (page 135) – A danish is the perfect addition to a weekend breakfast and the idea of making it from scratch tickles me. Plus, you get to use the Basic Farmer Cheese recipe from page 12 as well! The use of Elderflower in recipes is still a bit of a novelty stateside I think.
  • Pasty Pies (page 185) – I love anything wrapped in pie dough and this recipe will lead to a delicious end product without a lot of work.
  • Buttermilk Fried Chicken (page 237) – Now this might get my Southern card revoked, but I have never made fried chicken. It just seems so labor intensive to me (even though I know it’s not). Imen’s recipe looks so nice and crispy that I think I’ll give it a shot one day.

I can’t say this enough – go and buy this book. You won’t regret it.

Food · Recipe

Food in Jars Mastery Challenge: Shrubs

For March’s Food in Jars Mastery Challenge, we had the option of choosing between making a jelly or making a shrub. Since making a shrub has been on my agenda for a while, I decided to go with that option. We already have quite a few jars of grapes jelly canned so it was nice to have the option to try something else.

So exactly what is a shrub? There are a couple of different beverages that go under this category – one being liquor mixed with sugar and citrus, the other being what we are going to focus on. Popular during the American Colonial area, a shrub (also known as drinking vinegar) is a combination of fruit, sugar, and vinegar left to infuse for a few days to create this wonderfully sweet/tart liquid. The resulting liquid can be added to cocktails, sparkling water (for a healthy drink that gives you the feel of soda), salad dressing, or really anything you can think of. It was developed as a way to help preserve berries and fruits at the end of season.

Food in Jars recommends a ratio of 1:1:1one part sugar, one part vinegar, and a handful of fruit – easy enough, right?

March isn’t exactly the best month around here for fresh, local fruit. It’ll be another month or so before strawberries start popping up in the fields and our fruit trees have only just began to bloom. That’s sort of a bummer to me as it feels a bit like cheating to purchase fruit from the grocery store.

I already knew that I wanted my shrub to have ginger. I love ginger (in fact, I just purchased plants a few days ago to grow my own ginger to get fresh-fresh ginger). I combed the grocery store looking for the best looking fruits before settling on a mixture of blueberries and blackberries. Robb loves both of those berries so I knew that he would enjoy eating what I didn’t use.

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In a quart mason jar, I added one cup of berries and one cup of organic cane sugar, muddling them together. Then I added 1 cup of vinegar. In any other circumstance, I would have used apple cider vinegar, but I had a bottle of homemade peach vinegar in my pantry that I had purchased from my local farmer’s market a few months ago.

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I gave everything a quick stir and grated about a 1.5 -inch piece of ginger on top. Stirring one more, I covered the jar with a lid and stuck it in the fridge.

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After two days in the fridge, I did a quick strain (to get out more of the pulp, you’ll probably want to use cheesecloth or something similar). The leftover berries went straight to the chickens! I packaged my finished shrub in a leftover Kombucha bottle.

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Eager to try it out, I poured a glass of water and added a bit of my shrub – yum! I want to pick up some sparkling water for next time, but I loved the almost kombucha-like taste of this shrub.

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