apple cider……

apples, apples, apples....

apples, apples, apples ~ macs, galas, honey crisp, pink ladies, red delicious….

Have you ever made apple cider?  I haven’t until now, and I’m not sure I can even claim to have made it at this point, though I did wash a few fruit….

christy and me washing, washing, washing apples....

christy and me washing, washing, washing apples….

Randy and I were invited to the annual Pentwater Cider pressing extravaganza by our Irish/American friends, Deirdre and Adam…

deirdre ~ irish, adam ~ michigander

whoopee!, aren’t they cute?  deirdre ~ irish, adam ~ michigander …. aren’t they the best?!  i just love them!

By golly, I’ve never experienced anything like it….

20 bushels of apples, all different varieties, all needing to be sorted/combined…

my randy and ireland's best -loved-citizen deirdre

my randy and ireland’s best -loved-citizen deirdre, sorting/combing apples

After sorting, or combining, or whatever we did, the apples then had to be washed (or “warshed”, as my grandpa would say). Once the happy apples have been sorted/combined and washed they have to be crushed, smushed, chopped and grated…..

chipper

chipper

That’s what the above machine does.  Like a wood chipper, it pares the apples down to a manageable, smush-able, crushable, press-able size…..

nobody does it better...

nobody does it better…

apple chips...

apple chips…

Adam’s in charge of the pressing….

adam........

adam…….. wow!…….

He does a great job!  Look!….

ohhhhhh, yummmmmm

ohhhhhh, yummmmmm… golden goodness….

Does that cylinder look familiar?  It’s a washing machine drum/ cum cider press.  Stainless steel…. what could be more sanitary?

cider!

cider!

It takes but a few moments from apple to cider…..

filter, filter, filter.....

filter, filter, filter…..

The cider has to be filtered before consumption…..  See that guy holding the  funnel?  He’s the one that created every single bit of cider-pressing machinery, from wood chipper/ cum apple chipper to washing machine drum/ cum apple press, all these discarded/found objects (sterilized thoroughly first, of course…. right?!) are the vision of one really creative mind.   I don’t think I could ever look at a washing machine or a wood chipper as anything but a washing machine and a wood chipper, but he has the apple cider vision!!  So, with all this genius, what do we get???

ciderrrrrrrr.........

ciderrrrrrrr………

Ooodles.  I mean, oodles of Cider!  Bring On The Doughnuts!

chris and christy.... absolutely essential to the process...  no cider without C and C!

christy and chris…. absolutely essential to the process… no cider without C and C!

Chirsty and Chris are old hats when it comes to pressing…..

but what about the cats?

Okay, so there weren’t any cats involved…..

"what? no cats?" ~ ellis

“what? no cats?” ~ ellis

"no cats??? look at me! i'm sitting in a sink ~ who else could do this?" ~ otis

“no cats??? look at me! i’m sitting in a sink ~ who else could do this?” ~ otis

"no cats? not a single cat? what is UP  with that?????" ~ lilly

“no cats? not a single cat? what is UP with that?????” ~ lilly

I know, I know, I’m sorry… but there were DOGS assisting… and while DOGS aren’t CATS, they do have something to offer… right?

"u betcha!" ~rosco and molly

“u betcha!” ~rosco and molly

"are you kidding me.... cats??? what's a cat??? a cat could never press ANYTHING!"  ~suki

“are you kidding me…. cats??? what’s a cat??? a cat could never press ANYTHING!” ~suki

Regardless of cats or dogs, Randy and I had the time of our lives, and can’t wait until next year!!

Cider and doughnuts??? Yummmmm!  Bring.  It.  On!! …..

 

rebecca

 

 

meet george and gracie….

My sister recently rescued two adorable kittens ~ I thought you’d like to meet them.

george on the left, gracie on the right

george on the left, gracie on the right

They are busy, busy, busy and they have a lot to do, so getting a clear photo of either of them is nearly impossible!

gracie...

gracie…

Gracie is a gorgeous, tiny, bit-of-a-thing.

george...

george…

George is a big, beautiful kitten who is  going to be a big, beautiful cat.

….and, those are the only clear (ish) pics I have of the hundreds my sister and I have taken of George and Gracie.  3 out of 300 isn’t too bad, is it?

 

enjoy the day!

 

rebecca

 

simple….

glass cloche

glass cloche

I have this glass cloche which has been floating around the house not earning its keep.  When I saw it in the shop a year or so ago, I thought it would be perfect for something, which escapes me now.  At any rate, it wasn’t perfect for whatever I thought it would be perfect for, and so it’s been taking up space, a reminder of my inability to distinguish between a good idea and reality.  The real trouble with this dome is, though the glass is clear, the ribbing makes it difficult to see what it’s cloching, therefore nullifying it’s purpose, as far as I’m concerned…. that is, until this morning.

rosemary olive oil bread

rosemary olive oil bread

This morning, I made rosemary olive oil bread ~ yum.  Now, I love bread, but the thing about bread is it has to be kept in plastic or some sort of container so it doesn’t dry out, right?  Well, I just never seem to have the right sized vessel for my lumpy loaves, which always puts a damper on my bread making.  You’re thinking, “how about some foil or plastic wrap”, right?  Both perfectly good suggestions, but here’s the thing:  I have to actually unwrap and re-wrap the bread each time I want a slice.  This probably doesn’t sound like a huge and insurmountable issue, but for someone as simple (read:  lazy) as I am, wrapping and unwrapping are just too much botheration to bother with.  So, here I am with a loaf of bread that’s going to dry out and a glass cloche that I’m about to get rid of because it’s taking up too much room…

ah ha!

ah ha!

This is where my, “AH HA!” moment happens ~ “shall these twain combine to create the perfect oneness?”, I ask myself.

voila!

voila!

Heavens to Betsy!  Who would have guessed that the cloche would have been big enough to cover a whole loaf of bread but have been small enough to fit on my cutting board?  Would you have guessed it, Lilly?

"zzzzzzz...." ~lilly

“zzzzzzz….” ~lilly

Would you have guessed it, Ellis?

"zzzzzz......" ~ellis

“zzzzzz……” ~ellis

Oatbran, how about you?

"zzzzzzz......" ~otis

“zzzzzzz……” ~otis

I’ll bet if I got out the butter I’d get a more immediate response from my friends!

I love simple, obvious projects like this one.

May all our problems be so easily solved…..

 

rebecca

a donkey’s dream…

Are you familiar with Apifera Farm?  Yes?  No?  It’s a delightful place… a place for dreaming, a place to rest, a place of kindness… gentleness….. and generosity….

visit apifera farm by clicking here

visit apifera farm by clicking here

Apifera farm is a place of sanctuary…. sanctuary ~ what a lovely, lovely word ~ The farm was created by Katherine Dunn and her husband Martyn.  It’s become a place of refuge for animals who have been used and/or abused, a place for misfits and a place where Katherine bakes pie…

side_pig

“A grumpy pig can be herself” ~katherine dunn

As something of a misfit myself, I felt completely at home the very first time I visited Apifera Farm (via the internet), and I was hooked.  “what,” i asked myself, “could be sweeter than to be part of such a place?, a place overflowing with hope, a place filled to the brim with all things endearing.”, and so, I’ve been following and supporting Katherine Dunn and her “misfits” ever since.

3.15g Katherine Dunn is more than a good Samaritan, more than a farmer, more than a baker of pie.  She’s a writer and an artist (and a grower of lavender… i love lavender), she has a book in the works right now, in fact.  It will be the second Apifera Farm book to be published.  Here’s the cover of the farm’s first book…

apifera farm's first book

apifera farm’s first book.  don’t you just love katherine’s artwork?

When you visit her farm/blog you will meet the finest of creatures, and you’ll find ample opportunity for helping these misfits, should you choose.  You may even find your way to helping Katherine publish her new book,  Donkey Dream {A Love Story of Pie & Farm}.  You can read a bit about the book by visiting Katherine’s blog, here, or by visiting kickstarter.com, here. Ellis can tell you all about being a misfit ~ about being neglected and abandoned ~ about the difference a tiny bit of kindness, a small lump of generosity, can make….

"there aren't any cushions to share when you're abandoned" ~ ellis

“there aren’t any cushions to share when you’re abandoned” ~ ellis

"there aren't any catnip sockies to attack when you're abused." ~ ellis

“there aren’t any catnip sockies to attack when you’re abused.” ~ ellis

"there's no place to rest your head when you're thrown." ~ ellis

“there isn’t any place to rest your head when you’re thrown away like a worn out glove.” ~ ellis

And so, Ellis and I hope that you’ll visit Apifera Farm and fall in love with Katherine’s creatures and creations, just like we did.

may life always treat you with kindness….

rebecca

thank you to Katherine Dunn and Apifera Farm for allowing me to use their beautiful photographs, and for giving me the opportunity to be part of something i believe in!

one rug down, another in progress….

 

finished rug!

finished rug!

Well, YaHoo!  I finally finished the rug for our entryway.  The above is the only photo I took sans cats.  The rug quickly became a favorite spot….

"ah... life is all peace and tranquility..." ~ ellis

“ah… life is all peace and tranquility…” ~ ellis

Ellis was the first to discover the new flooring, but he was soon joined by Otis….

"i just want a tiny corner, ellis..." ~ otis

“i just want a tiny corner, ellis…” ~ otis

Ellis is not yet ready to relinquish his territory and a mighty battle ensues….

"this rug is not big enough for the two of us, partner!" ~ ellis

“this rug is not big enough for the two of us, partner!” ~ ellis

After the fur settles, Oatbran enjoys his corner and then some.

"ta da!" ~ oatsy

“this rug is mine, all MINE!” ~ oatsy

Lilly came along shortly after Otis’ victory….

"this is my rug, lilly." ~ otis

“yo lilly! SCAT!” ~ otis

…and the fur continued to fly.

While I was upstairs taking photos of the rug, I took this photo of the “art gallery”…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve been thinking about taking all the paintings and globes down and just having simple white walls, but, now I don’t know… I think I kind of like this view.

Anyway, on to the next weekend-hooking-project.

what a wrinkly mess

what a wrinkly mess

Between the grid I drew on the linen and the wrinkles from over two years of storage, it’s nearly impossible to see the design.  Here’s the original rug from which I took my inspiration.

2 horses 6 birds original antique rug

2 horses 6 birds original antique rug

For some reason, which escapes me, I decided to make my rug shorter and wider than the original.  However, I did draw the pattern just like the original so I’ll share that here.  I think you can just grab the photo below and drag it to your desktop.

2 horses 6 birds

2 horses 6 birds

Here’s the pattern reversed, if you’d like to punch it.

2 horses 6 birds, reversed

2 horses 6 birds, reversed

When I drew up the design on linen two years ago, I made a small start on the rug.

a beginning

a beginning

I think I must have been feeling extremely ambitious, because all my strips are about 1/3 the width of my usual cuts….

strip on the left ~ usual cut (about .5 inch to .75 inch) strip on the right ~ oh my gosh, what was i thinking?

strip on the left ~ usual cut (about .75 inch to 1 inch)
strip on the right ~ oh my gosh, what was i thinking?

…um….. yeah…. This is going to take me a loooonnnngggg time.  Because I hand tear all my strips, now, I’ll be tearing wool for this rug and then hand cutting each strip into three narrow strips.  That won’t be time-consuming, at all.  Maybe I can recruit a helper… “Lilly?  How about it?  Will you lend me a paw?”

"ha ha ha ha ha ha HA!" ~ lilly

“ha ha ha ha ha ha HA!” ~ lilly

*sigh*… guess I’m on my own.

May you always be happy and healthy!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

ah ha!…..

This may be one of those posts you read and go, “duh!  I’m so sure!  I can’t believe Rebecca just posted that….”, but, for me, the following was a total “ah HA!” moment….

So, I’m sitting here, punching away, and I’m freezing… I mean, goose bumps and everything, and I’m thinking, “what the?  here am i, under an electric blanket with a heating pad behind me and a cat on my lap ~ how can i possibly be cold?”  The answer is simple.  It’s winter and I’m wearing a 3/4 sleeve sweater.

see? it's winter

see? it’s winter

I can think of two solutions  for my 3/4 sleeve problem.  I could simply get up and put on another sweater, (in fact there is a warm wooly sweater right over there, just out of my reach), or I could get up, go downstairs where my hooking is and get my arm warmers….

see that grey thing on my wrist?  that's one of a pair of arm warmers/protectors i wear while hooking, which i spent way too much $ on, but which i love and adore....

see that grey thing on my wrist? that’s one of a pair of arm warmers/protectors i wear while hooking, which i spent way too much $ on, but which i love and adore….

You, of course, have spotted the difficulty inherent in both these solutions.  Both require the removal of said electric blanket and the abandoning, though temporarily, of the heating pad.  One runs a risk, too, whenever getting up from any chair in this house, namely….

"what? you thought your seat was saved?  you were right, it was saved for ME!" ~oatbran

“what? you thought your seat was saved? you were right, it was saved for ME!” ~oatbran

So, as I sit here, freezing, as I mentioned before, I look around my immediate vicinity for a safer, warmer, more palatable solution than getting up, and I spy….

old pair o' socks

old pair o’ socks

Eureka! or, if you prefer, Ah hA!  I’ve had this pair of socks for 11 years.  I remember where I got them (a shop in Lowell, MI), I remember when (July ~ a broiling hot day, unsuitable for purchasing long wool socks), and I remember how much they were ($7 ~ originally $35, because, as I said, it was July and nobody, almost, buys long wooly socks on a July day in Michigan).  I’ve worn these socks many a time and oft, not because they were comfortable (they weren’t.  to begin with, they’re knee socks and, let’s just be generous here, i have “curvy” calves.  if you have “curvy” calves than you know all about knee socks and comfort, if you don’t have “curvy” calves than hooray for you, you are the perfect knee-sock-wearing-kinda-gal).  I’ve worn them, because I paid $7 for a $35 pair of socks and that’s something of which I’m pretty proud.

plus, i like argyle

plus, i like argyle

These socks had been slated for catnip cat toy usage, but not anymore!

First…

a thoughtful incision

a thoughtful incision

…I cut a little bit off the heels where my thumbs would be….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen…

snip, snip

snip, snip

I cut the end of the toes so my fingers could manipulate my punch needle (and turn up the temperature on my heating pad).

And…

warm and toasty

warm and toasty

Voila!

Now, I know many of you have done the same with your husbands’ (or your own) gym socks, but have any of you ever gone to such lengths to avoid getting up to get something that would take all of 3 seconds to get?  I hope so, for in laziness and personal comfort lies the inspiration for creativity!

 

wishing you warmth and simplicity today and every day!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

 

happy new year…..

Happy New Year to you and yours!  I hope your eve was warm, happy and safe…

Did you keep any resolutions in 2013 that made you content and joyful?

I met one of my goals for 2013.  I, at last, listed several of my “patterns” on etsy ~ whew!  If you’d like to take a look, click here.  This, for some reason, has been a huge ordeal for me….  possibly because my patterns are just very rough line drawings ~ no instructions, no suggestions, no floss or wool lists.  Apparently, I believe most people want more than just a sketch to work from…. Anyway, there they are, on etsy, finally.WhiteRoseVintageGraphicsFairy0091

may all your happy dreams for 2014 come true!

 

rebecca

p.s. thank you graphics fairy for the clip art!