Thursday, December 22, 2011

For my Baby Girl or . . . You're Not Home For the Holidays

Dear BS and PJ, or PJ&B, whichever way you guys abbreviate yourselves, Merry Christmas!  We SO enjoyed being with you last year, but now that you're married and live a zillion miles away and can't make it here to visit this year, we're taking here to you, via electronic miracles that didn't exist fifty years ago.  (Somehow I find it ironic that old fashioned Christmas cheer is being spread by new fangeled technology!).  Whatever the case, WE LOVE YOU GUYS, miss you and wish you the most joyous of Christmases!

Last used at your wedding.  
Don't worry, the new stockings are in the works.  :)
I added led candles in jars and around this group this morning.  LOVE the led's!

This is the little red maple that had to be sacrificed to build a fence to keep the horses out of the orchard.

LOVE what the girls did here!

Foyer Tree

Dining Room Tree -  love the look with the blue stuff
I couldn't bear to put away Mama New's quilt after Thanksgiving so its been blinged up some for Christmas.

 Charlie Brown Satsuma Trees

Cloe's the best decoration of all in light of the recent break in's around here.  And last of all . . . .

The Girls miss you and Send their Love.
Your parents do too!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bag Lady

We interrupt this series of belated wedding posts to announce that this blogger has become a bag lady.

Ok, that just didn't sound right.  So let me start again.  Tonight I learned to make gift bags.  Seriously.  And it wasn't even hard, though my fingers are telling me next time to use something else to crease heavy kraft paper.

A friend called needing an order filled earlier today.  While thrilled at the big order I wasn't thrilled about the non Christmassy look of my cute little cellophane bee gift bags.  Rather than do the thirty mile round trip to the local WM, I took matters into my own hands, quite literally, and used what I had at home to make what I wanted.  I must say, I'm quite happy with them.

For the record, I watched several youtube tutorials before attempting to do this.  "How to make a gift bag" search will produce lots of links.  And I did a trial run out of a Christmas sale paper before  attempting the real thing, something that taught valuable do's and don'ts.   If you have any notion of doing the same, go for the short videos first, and please understand that you don't need any special tools or gadgets to do this like some videos show.  Like sewing, if you cut well and measure and mark things correctly, it goes together easily.  The main thing is to not be afraid to give it a shot.

So enjoy, Merry Christmas, and if you get a handmade bag from me you better reuse it!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Butterflies - Theme I

Our Bride and Groom had three things they wanted to incorporate into their wedding.  The first was butterflies.  I'm not privy to how that got started, but I do know a necklace was involved early on.  Beyond that . . . well, it's ok not to know.  That being said, one of the visions for this wedding was for them to be surrounded by butterflies as they said their vows. 

For the record, the smaller butterflies were cut from card stock by Toni at on her Pazzles.  The larger ones were cut by hand from a damaged Strong's Concordance and inked by hand.  Fitting for Bible majors don't you think?

Many thanks to Bonnie at for sharing her awesome photos with us!

images copyright Bonnie B Photography

Friday, December 2, 2011

Long Time, No See

I have obviously been remiss on my blogging intentions.  What happened?  Well, lets see -beekeeping,  my mother visited for 6 weeks, our garden kept us canning for weeks on end, our bride to be came home and, oh yes, a WEDDING!!  Then there was after wedding shock, candle sales going viral, extracting honey, sick for a month, fall farmers market . . . in short, life happened. 

That being said . . . rather than bore myself (and you too eh?) with more words about my semi-insane life, please enjoy some handmade photos from my absence.

 Ranunculus stems from a well known national chain store whose initials are WM. We enjoyed them "as is" in a hollow stump "vase" a long time . . cutting them was hard till they started looking like this . . .

 A few of many  boutonnieres for the groomsmen, fathers, preacher  . .  and the lily for the groom.

Burlap and ranunculus corsages for all the moms.  In case the above photos seem vaguely familiar, my friend Sonja (  was involved in planning and execution of many details of the wedding and shared them earlier this year. We had a blast making all the flowers.   Many, MANY thanks to Bonnie Horton who did the wedding photography for sharing her awesome photos shown below. Check her out at

images copyright Bonnie B Photography

Monday, June 20, 2011

Had a wife and couldn't keep her . . .

Since posting Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater I've kind of/sort of been haunted by pumpkins. Seriously - I've not been able to browse a thrift store without hoping to find an inexpensive funky orange item that can be remade into a pumpkin. I'm pleased to announce that many an unwanted garment has found new love and new life as a one of a kind pumpkin from down here where they're hard to grow. The small ones made their public debut last week at Poplar Head Farmer's Market. Many Thank You's to Julie for the fabulous photo.

From notsewnew

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More Wedding Love

Seeings as how I've not been blogging for various assorted reasons the last few weeks, I thought I'd share a teenie bit what I've done wedding wise via my super crafty and much better organized than I friend who has been keeping me on track wedding wise. (Did I actually just say all that in one sentence???)

So without further adieu, here's Sonja and her side of our floral adventures.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

T2T Blackboard

One of the things on the list for my daughter's wedding this summer was a blackboard. Don't ask me for what, that's to come, but since it was on the list and she's in Wisconson at college and Moi Momma is taking care of as many details as possible in the meantime, well . . . this is what happened.

This framed picture was found at a thrift store for $15. I thought it was too much, but in essence, I was paying for the frame, not the faded print, and even though it had been around the block a time or two and was scuffed up, it was still solid structurally.

From notsewnew

Rather than risk smearing the frame, I removed the print to paint the surface. My new best friend is Rust-Oleum Blackboard Paint. I gave it a good three coats before putting it back in the frame, and touched up the scuffs on the frame with gold paint. The back was recovered with kraft paper as it had been originally.

From notsewnew

So there you have it. I love the thing and plan to use it or make another for use at farmer's market this summer.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Adventures in Twig Balls

Just for the record, I'm not posting a photo for this blog entry. I could, but, well . . .

Today was a big day in our wedding preparations. A friend told me the other day that they had pruned their scuppernong vines (a southern cousin of muscadines or wild grapes) and that I was welcome to the vines. (Truth be known, I think maybe they just wanted somebody to clean the yard, but . . nah, they really were being really nice!)

This was awesome, the moment I was waiting for! I have been studying and planning for weeks to make many, MANY twig balls to decorate for our Becky's wedding reception. No doubt you've seen them - small versions in potpourri mixes, larger ones on display at florist shops and in photos of high end magazines - they're like the IN organic decoration right now. And they're expensive.

As a country gal, this should be no problem - get them babies and shape them into, well, . . . shape.

So I emptied out the bed of the little work truck best I could, loaded the dog (all good southerners load their dogs in their pickup trucks once in a while just to stay in touch with their cultural heritage) and headed south to get us some scuppernong vines.

As God's good grace and mercy would have it, I had to take about a 2 mile stretch of dirt road on the last part of the drive to get there. I do thank Him for such blessings. I've gone out of my way to enjoy that little piece of country heaven a few times.

My friends met me outside and helped me back up to the pile of vines. It didn't look so bad just laying there, but the moment we started scooping them up and trying to get the unruly things into the back of the truck I knew we had some finagling to do. Fortunately there was still a piece of rope in the back of the truck and Mr. Tony knew how to tie a knot. We finally got it all piled up and in . . sorta. And I set out for home

I knew I was in trouble when my rear view mirror fell off about halfway up the dirt road. Up to that time everything seemed to be staying in place, but it had rained, the road was bumpy, I was probably driving too fast and well, things didn't stay where they should. It was about the time I got to pavement again that I checked my both cracked side mirrors and saw that things were not where they should be on the drivers side of the truck bed behind me. And the dog wasn't looking so well either.

Now, the last thing you need in Alabama or any other state for that matter, is things falling or flying out of your pickup truck that would strike the vehicle of another motorist, even if it is just a vine or a twig. Fortunately there was only one busy intersection to cross en route back. There was no avoiding it so I sucked it up and drove through, passenger tires practically off the road both before and after the traffic light. It was kind of scarey, but seriously, me, and my sick dog and that truck with what looked like thousands of spiders hanging off it, was probably pretty scarey to those around me too. They seemed to want to stay away as bad as I wanted them to.

We did a little more off roading before we got home, mainly whenever we met another vehicle but nothing serious. Cloe was glad to get on solid ground again and has stayed away from me the rest of the day. My husband yelled at me for dragging an armload of vines through the house. The magic words "It's for your daughter's wedding!" got me off the hook, especially when I drained the hot water tank to soak them in the tub.

You would think after all that, that making the twig balls would be the easy part. I'm here to report that's not the case. Making a two dimensional item of organic material is fun. Making a three dimensional item of organic material is . . . frustrating, even with nice soft soaked vines. Even once you get something that faintly resembles "round" there are still all these annoying little pieces that keep popping out making your twig ball resemble an alien creature having a bad hair day.

So that's why I'm not posting a photo. We've got a long way to go baby . . .

One things for sure, I sure must love this girl. Yeah. I do. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blast from the Past

When I was a kid my sisters and I would occasionally raid our grandfather's little country store. No, we were not little hellions or hoodlums, but we would raid the nasty box at the bottom of the coke machine where all the bottle caps from the local farmers, the hunters and housewives would fall when they opened their bottled drinks. They were taken home, washed real good and left to dry. After that . . .

You see the photo. It's a trivet I made my grandmother when I was fourteen or fifteen. It's not rocket science. You cover a bottle cap with a circle of durable fabric, stitch it down good, then stitch them to each other.

Bottled soft drinks aren't common these days and we saved our bottled IBC root beer caps through the holidays to resurrect this craft. Seriously, it had been over thirty five years since I had covered a bottle cap with wool. It felt good. I think Memaw probably grinned from heaven. And I don't think she'll mind one bit when I call some bars about collecting their bottle caps. There's no way I'll drink that much IBC.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chocolate Sin

I should mention that we have an upcoming wedding in our family. I'll share photos of the happy couple another time, but for now, we have "the kids" (I'm not sure how much longer I can get away with calling them that) for another week before they fly back to college. The engagement was official Christmas day and winter break turned into a madhouse wedding planning event.

In determining what things were important to them to include in the festivities, a particular cake came up. Apparently it's the specialty of a staff member at their very small university in the middle of the woods, and the gentleman has graciously shared it with the rest of the world.

So we did a test cake to see how it would fly as a wedding cake. I made it last night, let it cool on a plate under a cover as instructed, frosted it this morning and it's all gone tonight. Seriously.

You've seen the photo. Here's the link. A couple of notes in case you're compelled to join me needing a bean cake support group . . .

1. Don't use vegetable oil. Mr. Gaugler apparently doesn't know that cooking with vegetable oil is VERY unhealthy. I used canola and "the kids" couldn't tell the difference in taste.

2. My texture was heavier than what they were used to. Could be the oil, could be that I used bread flour. Could be both. But then again, it didn't affect the taste.

3. If you make fresh strong coffee, make sure it's cooled sufficiently not to cook your eggs when you combine the liquids. No - I didn't cook the eggs doing that. I just thought it worthwhile to mention.

4. Next time - 50% more frosting/icing.

5. I'm in love with egg meringue powder. First time I've used it.

The unfortunate thing about this (besides none of us restraining ourselves "testing" it) is that *sigh* I have to make it again. This time was to test the recipe and it passed. Next time I have to test what type pan it will cook ok in. What a sacrifice. I guess we'll just have to suffer through it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater . . .

2010 was the Year of the Pumpkin at my house. After rescuing a half dozen huge "pig pumpkins" (slightly blemished pumpkins destined to feed a farmer's pigs) and canning a LOT of pumpkin, I realized that I really liked having pumpkins around the house for color and general ambience. Here in the deep south (LA as in lower Alabama to be specific) pumpkins don't grow well, don't keep outside very long due to our humidity, and generally have to be trucked in.

Thanks to a hand me down craft magazine, I found wonderful instructions for creating handmade pumpkins out of fabric - recycled fabric to be specific. The photo shows what I was able to make out of one fleece hoodie (left by one of the kids friends how many years ago) and one lined linen dress ($1 at the thrift store). I had them out maybe ten days before it was time to decorate for Christmas. The good part - I'll have pumpkins for years!

2011 will the the Year of the Funky Pumpkin. Our holiday thrift store visits while in South Carolina yielded a fun assortment of plaids, polka dots, stripes and prints. I can't possibly use all the pumpkins it will yield and will be making them available on as I get them made.

So stay tuned . . . . !

Monday, January 3, 2011


Maybe it's just a touch of schizophrenia that I decided to split my recycling/vintage/handmade/crazy farm woman identity from my Prima donna beekeeper identity, but for the sake of sanity, that's what this blog accomplishes. No apis millifera or hive configuration here. This is another kind of good stuff.

And to start things off on a good note, I want to pay homage to Little Ma (Florence Hendon Warren), MeMaw (Alpha Omega Warren Heard) and Momma (Francis Heard New), three great ladies to whom I love and owe so much. Without them I would have never learned to think, to learn, to love doing things myself and appreciating the past in the present. They taught me love, life, scripture, music, laughter, all the things that make up running a home: cooking, canning, sewing, gardening, etc. Their homes were handmade, from the flour sack church clothes for the children to the recycled clothing made into quits that kept the family warm. They were common sense, no nonsense kind of women and I am so thankful for each of them.

Today, I posted fire starters on Etsy. Thanks Mom for telling me about these! In in case anyone is game to make their own here are instructions:

1. Collect dryer lint - LOTS of it.
2. Stuff it in the scoops of a 2.5 dozen paper egg crate.
3. Pour melted wax from old candles, tarts, etc over it.
4. Let it harden
5. Cut or tear in pieces and use 1-3 to start a fire.

TA-DA! There you go! Trash to treasure - something useful from something destined for the landfill. You just can't get much greener than that.