Saturday, October 29, 2011

~Aunt Grace's Floral Vintage Style Apron~

Since starting my new blog, I have not talked much about my online shop.  I make and sell items...vintage style aprons, camera purses, tote bags, doggy clothing and accessories and anything else I have a mind to add to my store.  I have an Etsy store as well as a blog...Dawggone Cute Creations...but have put the the blog on the shelf for a while until I set aside the time to finish the reconstruction on it.

Recently, I got an order to make an apron that I call Aunt Grace's Floral Apron.  I don't have an aunt named Grace.  I don't know anyone named Grace other than a couple of little girls in my church.  I named the apron after the fabric.  Pretty original, huh? :)  I wanted to show you my latest project.

Seam binding is very commonly used on vintage aprons to finish out most of the seams. Very pretty but not that easy to apply if you don't know what you are doing.  Ruffles on the bodice make this apron look so dainty and feminine.

I make all my own seam binding to coordinate with the fabric I am using.  This binding is in a yellow floral print.  I love the small white flowers on the blue fabric.  A little flower button and yellow ribbon complete the look on the bodice.

Deep pockets are also common on vintage aprons.  To hold little items of necessity..maybe a few bobby pins, a few scraps of paper with notes scribbled on them, a small toy, a hanky or maybe small things that need to be put away when one has the time.

The apron strings are long so as to fit a waist of almost any size.  The shoulder strings have two buttonholes to make adjusting a little simpler.  They can be worn straight, as shown, or crisscrossed.  Whichever is more comfortable.

All of the items I make have, of course, the name tag but also a little silver dog charm.  My signature.  I have several different ones that I use.

I love vintage aprons.  They speak so much of the housewives from generations ago.  I'm glad they are making a comeback.   Alot of vintage things are coming back into vogue.  Even though I was very young during this era, seeing the styles, story books and decorating from my childhood days brings back some memories and such a sweet feeling of nostalgia.  What's your take on this "new" style?

Okay, time to do my commercial:   In case you are interested, this particular apron style comes in small, medium and large. I also have this fabric available in a pretty shade of green if blue is not your color.  If you want to know more about this apron or some of the other things I sell, you can contact me or just check out what I have in my Etsy store.  The end.

Hope your autumn day is beautiful where you are ~

Thursday, October 27, 2011

~Crock Pot Apple Butter~

I love apple butter.  Plain and simple.  I will always choose it first before any other type of jam spread.  Unfortunately, I am the only one in my family who likes it.  Unfortunately, the apple butter found in stores always come in huge jars and I end up throwing about half away before it goes bad.  Why is that?  The huge jar, that is.  I know why it goes bad...I can't eat it fast enough!  Hehe.

So, I decided to try and make my own.  I've seen lots of recipes about the crock pot method and knew that it would be a no-brainer as to how easy it would be to make. I go again :)  I didn't know which recipe to try.  Decisions, decisions.  Sometimes life can be so hard!

I finally found one on that got lots of great reviews and decided to give it a shot.  It didn't say what type of apples would be best, but I used a combination of Gala and Granny Smith even though I forgot to include them in this photo...about 3 pounds.

Other ingredients include...
     3 cups sugar
     2 tsp cinnamon
     1/2 tsp allspice
     1/2 tsp cloves
     dash of salt
     3/4 cup water or apple cider (I used apple juice)
Fill crock pot three-fourths full of peeled, cored and chopped apples.  Mix together all other ingredients and add to apples, stirring until evenly coated.  Cover and cook over low setting overnight or until the butter is a thick spreadable consistency.

If apple butter has too much liquid, remove lid and cook on high until thickened.  Stir often to keep it from scorching.

Note:  I was rather busy and didn't have the time to 'watch' the apple butter, so I just left the setting on low and cocked the lid just a bit to allow the butter to cook down slowly.  I did have to smash my apples as it was more chunky than what I wanted.  Look at all that yummy goodness!!

Store in the refrigerator for up to six weeks or freeze for longer storage.

But I decided I wanted to can my apple butter and used half-pint jars processing in a boiling water bath for ten minutes. Done!  I forgot how much I enjoyed canning and the the joy of having something in the pantry that you put together.

Now, when tasting this yummy goodness, I noticed that there was an extremely strong taste of the spices in my lovely butter.  I may have...just may have doubled the cloves and allspice.  I'm not really sure.  I've never had homemade apple butter before and so I'm not sure if it's supposed to be this strong.

So....I'm asking for your help here.  Do you make your own apple butter?  Is your recipe different than mine and, if so, would you mind sharing it with me?  I would love to try a different version especially from someone I 'know'.  :)

An apple a day.....

Update:  I tried the apple butter on some English muffins and it wasn't as overpowering as I thought it would be.  It was good.  If I make this recipe again, I'll have to pay close attention to how much of the allspice and cloves I add. :)

Participating in Fresh From the Farm Recipe Swap

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

~Quality Down Time~

Over the weekend, I had to spend most of my time lying horizontal.  Long story short, I think I developed a minor spinal fluid leak as a result of a nasty fall on my tailbone a couple of weeks ago and had to lay low in hopes of it healing.  It worked by the way.
I wanted to do some digital scrapbooking and all I needed was my computer.  No need to get up and down to get forgotten supplies or pictures.  Before starting though, I decided to do a little cleaning and organizing of the photos that I have on my computer.  I take lots of pictures and it really needs alot of organizing.  I am the world's worst at keeping things organized and I don't mean just my photos!! Always have been and probably always will.

Even though scrapbooking is my most favorite hobby, I have really gotten behind.  You can read about that post here.  I decided to start with 2009 for the digital scrapbooking only because that was the year my youngest grandchild was born.  I've already got my traditional scrapbooking going for 2003 (about two thirds done) but it's upstairs in my sewing/craft room.  There's no rhyme or reason as to why I do something.  That's probably why I'm unorganized.  Ahem...anyway.

 As a side note, I keep my photos and digital scrapbooking supplies in an external hard drive.  One:  because they take up alot of memory on your computer.  Two:  In case my computer crashes, I don't lose my photos.
Once I did a little of that, I was ready and opened the My Memories Suite program, bought several on-sale kits from a few of my favorite digital scrapbooking sites...KB and Friends; and Just So Scrappy Too (they don't know me from Adam or Eve for that matter) and even some FREE ones.  I love the type of graphics they offer and they are so inexpensive.  Well worth the investment.
It took me a bit to get my mojo going, but once I got started it was so easy.  Now only about 96,472 more photos to go...more or less.  I lost count.  No, I didn't really count but it might as well be that many.  So I tackle it a few pages at a time and hope I get them done before the Lord calls me home!

Have a beautiful Autumn day today ~

Sunday, October 23, 2011

~Because It's The Right Thing To Do ~

A couple of weeks ago, we got together with my son and his family.  My daughter-in-law gave us something that, later on, I knew I needed to return.  I didn't need to.  I could have kept it and nothing more would have come of it.

But I sent it back with a note basically saying that it was something she would get better use of than me.  My "d-i-l" is a very sweet soul who is tenderhearted and very loving but she's not prone to shed tears like her mother-in-law. I, on the other hand, can shed buckets of tears.  Cry-me-a-river type tears.  And she, on several occasions, has brought me to that...tears.

Now, my intention was not to make her cry nor did I expect it to affect her so.  But she did.  And she told me so.  It touched me knowing that she was moved by my gesture.  Again, I didn't need to return it but I did it because it was the right thing to do.

My point is that there are many times that doing something or saying something is the right thing to do.  My favorite phrase, in such cases, is "it's the principle of the thing".  You never know how it might affect the person on the receiving end.  That person might perceive it as kindness or generosity.  Or be deeply touched at such a gesture.  Or cause one to wonder why.  Or to see you in a different light.

But, on the other hand, it might not even have any affect on them at all.  Not a bat of an eyelash.  No how do you do.  No turn of the head.  No thank you.  Nada.

But you know what?  That's okay.  Doing something because it is the right thing to do or because it's the principle of the thing means that one does not expect anything in return.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." ~ Romans 8:28

Monday, October 17, 2011

~Little Touches of Autumn~

Internet Photo
Autumn is my favorite time of the year and, normally, I decorate my home during this time of year almost as much as I do for Christmas!  But I haven't put out any decorations for the last two years due to major back surgery and then being diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  I have missed having my decorations up and decided to take the plunge and put out as many touches as I could even though we are two weeks into October!

Internet Photo
What is it about autumn that we love?  Is it the crispness in the air?  The vibrant colors?  The end to a hot summer?  The smell of wood burning?  The last of the harvest?  I found some quotes and snippets of poetry that describe and speak of the fall/autumn season.  Will they touch a chord with you?

Internet Photo
I took tons of pictures of my little touches of autumn but never fear!  I used the My Memories scrapbooking software to edit the photos and put them in clusters.  So grab a cup of coffee, hot tea or hot chocolate, cozy up and get comfy...

"For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.  For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad." ~ Edwin Way Teale

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.  So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.' ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

One of many basket arrangements used in my daughter's fall wedding reception
"October, here's to you.  Here's to the heady aroma of the frost-kissed apples, the wine-y smell of ripened grapes, the wild-as the-wind smell of hickory nuts and the nostalgic whiff of that first wood smoke." ~ Ken Weber

"Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it and, if I were a bird, I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." ~ George Elliot

"A few days ago, I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of the leaves with each step I made.  The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, aer as crisp as autumn air." ~ Eric Sloane

Grapevines, fall swags and small lights add a warm glow above kitchen cabinets
"In the garden, Autumn is, indeed, the crowning glory of the year bringing us the fruition of thought and care and toil.  And at no season, safe perhaps in daffodil time, do we get such superb color effects as from August to November." ~ Rose G. Kingsley

"Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolor, Summer an oil painting and Autumn a mosaic of them all." ~ Stanley Horowitz

"The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools." ~ Henry Beston

Autumn's bounty in full show on the fireplace mantel
"Listen!  The wind is rising and the air is wild with leaves.  We have had our summer evenings now for October eves.!" ~ Humbert Wolfe

"October is the month when the smallest breeze gives us a shower of autumn leaves,  bonfires and pumpkins.  Leaves sailing down - October is red and golden and grown." ~ Anonymous

The ironstone pitcher adds a beautiful contrast to the colors of Autumn.

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." ~ Albert Camus

"Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue and nights that suddenly become clear and chilled.  The season comes full with the first frost, the disappearance of migrant birds and the harvesting of the season's last crops." ~ Glenn Wolff

No Spring or Summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one Autumnal face." ~ John Donne
"Come, said the wind to the leaves one day.  Come o'er the meadows and we will play.  Put on your dresses, scarlet and gold, for summer is gone and the days grow cold." ~ A children's song of the 1880s
You can't have autumn without a scarecrow!  He keeps watch above the refrigerator.

"The clump of maples on the hill and this one near the door, seem redder quite a lot this year than last or year before: I wonder if it's jest because I love the Old State more! ~ David L. Cady

"October is nature's funeral month.  Nature glories in death more than in life.  The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming - October than May.  Every green thing loves to die in bright colors." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

An adorable piece I purchased yeas ago at an Arts and Crafts festival.  I love all the details!

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." ~  Elizabeth Lawrence

"October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter." ~ Nova Blair

"A woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart." ~ Hal Borland
A vignette of fall leaves, grapevine pumpkins and pussy willows above an antique cabinet used to house movies.  I love adding small lights for warmth and ambiance.

"When the trees, their summer splendor, change to raiment red and gold; when the summer moon turns mellow and the nights are getting cold.  When the squirrels hide their acorns and the woodchucks disappear; then we know that it is autumn, loveliest season of the year." ~ Charlotte L. Riser

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

May your day be filled with all the beauty, bounty and blessings that Autumn has to offer. ~


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