Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This Moment

'Tis the season for pumpkins...
Beautiful, glorious pumpkins are everywhere. Pumpkins of every size, shape and color. These soft creamy white ones have always been my absolute favorite with the rather dusty looking green ones coming in a close second. The stores are filled with them, front porches and steps are dotted with a variety of them and where I live we are surrounded by fields of pumpkins still growing on the vine. I also live close enough to the Libby's canning factory to smell the pumpkins being processed drifting along the Autumn breezes.
This picture of me holding the pumpkin was taken by my daughter Chelsea yesterday at a local park. She and Parker stopped by and he ran through the house looking for me. "Grammy, Grammy!!!"
"Do you want to go with us?!!"
Well now... how do I say NO to that?
Monday's are busy for me as they are for most people. I do extra housework to prepare for my Knit Night Girls to be here for the evening and I spend a portion of the afternoon in my kitchen baking.  Like I've mentioned already as well, I have a steady flow of knitting work to accomplish from now until Christmas. This pair of Jane Austen Mitts was a custom order that shipped this morning.
The season for fingerless mitts is in full swing too.
While Parker was running around enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, his mommy was able to snap a few photos for me to use for my Shop. It was just a sudden thought on the way out the door for me to grab these mitts just in case we had a chance for a quick picture or two. I'm so glad it worked out.
More importantly, however, I realized that the real heart of the matter was that I was so happy to be there at the park with my daughter and grandson, watching him skip along from the curly slide to the swings, then to the bouncy dinosaur and car, while the wind ruffled his hair, all the while calling over his little shoulder, "Come on Grammy, Come ON!!!"
I could have so easily told them, "No... I have way too much to do today... I really should just stay home."  But then I would have missed out on that particular moment that will be forever engrained within my heart and soul. We weren't there long and by days end I still got everything accomplished  that I needed to.
There was time to work on another custom order ...
A Crocheted Shawl in the making.
Most of my orders are in some shade of Grey these days.
I have no problem with that,
as I can never seem to get enough of the color myself.
And I had plenty of time to mix some pumpkin and spices around in the kitchen and make the house smell warm and inviting for the arrival of my knitting group...
Pumpkin Spice Bread

2/3 Cup Unsalted Butter
{softened to room temperature}
2 2/3 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Cups Pumpkin
2/3 Cup Cold Water
3 1/3 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Cloves
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place Parchment Paper in the bottom two Loaf Pans and
spray with Cooking Spray
In large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until well blended.
Add eggs and beat.
Add pumpkin and water and beat well.
Sift dry ingredients together and add to pumpkin mixture.
Pour half of batter into ONE prepared Loaf Pan.
Add walnuts to remaining batter.
Pour remaining batter into second Loaf Pan.
Bake for 60 - 70 minutes, watching closely as ovens vary.
Cool bread on wire racks for 15 minutes.
Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
Enjoy with your favorite hot drink!

"The living moment is everything."
D.H. Lawrence
(1885 - 1930)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Tranquil Heart

As I have continued to step from one decade of my life to the next I have discovered something about myself. I think it was always in my original blueprint but it took the hand of Time to continuously polish and perfect it day after day, year after year over the many moments of my life. It can be summed up best in one simple, yet profound word...
In retrospect, I have basically always believed wholeheartedly in the theory that one should bloom where planted and, quite honestly, that seems to come rather naturally for me. Even my mother has always said this about me, which has always made me feel really good inside. When I reach for the stars, they are the stars in my own backyard. I am a nester, a homebody, a nurturer and, well, quite simply, content in the life God has blessed me with.
My husband is still my best friend after being together for 37 years. Our two grown daughters are a constant source of pure love and joy to me, along with their husbands. My grandchildren fill my heart to overflowing. They all make life a continual feast for me.
Amongst my many blessings, I also have beautiful friendships. The flowers were a gift from a sweet friend a couple of weeks ago when she came for an afternoon of knitting, laughter and tea on the front porch. I have reached a point in my life of taking pure pleasure in the sweet, simple things of life, like that afternoon with a friend, beautiful new twists of yarn, a new project to crochet or knit, an unexpected gift of flowers, a phone call from an old friend who I haven't heard from in awhile, a cozy kitty napping in my kitchen, the many wonders of nature and the sheer bliss of a good pot of tea.
A new shawl in the works

Leia ~ Hilary, Brandon & Archer's kitty

Tallulah, who eats from my hand
A friend who showed up on the porch
As Time carries on its march and I continue to stroll through this world,
 I am constantly aware that my heart becomes increasingly more full
peace and thankfulness
for the simple treasures that are my life.

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
Laura Ingalls Wilder

"A tranquil heart is life to the body ..."
Proverbs 14:30 a

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Glory Days

October is being gentle of spirit for a few days, giving us tender days of golden sunshine and huge cotton clouds drifting lazily across clear blue skies. I find myself opening windows once again to air the house, grabbing my knitting, brewing a cup of tea and wandering out to the front porch to settle in on my beloved porch swing to enjoy these days. They are like a beautiful ear of Indian corn, these fresh early glory days of Autumn that are sprinkled in here and there. I know they must be captured and appreciated when we are blessed with them. Before too long the porch swing will be silent.
Therefore I continue to knit cozy warm articles for the cooler Fall days and Winter that surely is coming. For I know it's easy to be fooled on these mild days of lovely, light breezes but eventually the winds of change will come. So I find mitts and mittens continuing to fall from my needles.
Then in the midst of it all I had the pleasure of something light and almost Summery come through my Shop as a custom order. I was able to put down the knitting needles for a few hours and pick up my crochet hook.
I have a regular customer who likes to purchase little pretties from time to time and after buying one potholder in a different color combination she also placed a custom order for this one.
The first time I ever made one in these colors was for my sister, Bridget, so I always think of her when I recreate it. I have to say it's my favorite color combination for these potholders.
Speaking of Bridget, we do finally have a diagnosis after the many doctor visits and blood tests.
She has Aplastic Anemia, which you can read about by clicking on the live link.
We Thank all of you for your continued prayer on her behalf.
Your love and support mean the world to all of our family.
Those of you who know Bridget know how much she loves to cook and bake.
Here's a sampling of her recent artwork.
Even though she doesn't feel her very best, she continues to worry about her big sister when I get overly tired. The week after the Pumpkin Festival Craft Faire she sent supper over every single evening so Scott would be fed while I was knocked out on the couch. Not only was I exhausted from the Craft Faire but once I get through the Pumpkin Festival, my busy season is in full swing and I knit or crochet all hours to stay on top of it. She has also baked fabulous desserts for my Monday night knitting group the last three weeks. These gorgeous pumpkin cookies were last nights offering.
How wonderful it is to have a sister to go through life's journey with.
These are glory days indeed.

"What sets sisters apart from brothers and also from friends
is a very intimate meshing of heart, soul and the mystical cords of memory."
Carol Saline

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October's Soul

Enchanting October,
we Welcome you back.
We knew you were coming.
September told us as she bid us farewell on her way down the garden path,
aglow with traces of Summers last fading sunset.
We've been preparing for your visit,
as our knitting needles have been busy with wool
that will warm hands, heads, necks and feet
when you caress us with your cool fingertips.
We know your approach will be gentle and light of step,
bringing just a subtle softening around the edges of our world.
In the beginning you will be sweet and mild mannered,
allowing us to open a window from time to time,
so Miss Puss can experience the beauty of your breath in the air
if only for a moment ...
However, we know your fickle ways only too well and before long
we will have much need of warm garments and steaming cups of tea as you begin to shake your glorious head of russet and gold,
leaving falling tresses in your wake for us to trample through.
There are sure to be days of gray when we endure your brooding moods.
We will weather your storms and the many aspects of your personality as we gradually adapt to you by working with even heavier wool to knit warmer mittens and always keeping the kettle on and the blessed teapot filled.
There will be cozy afternoons of leafing through whole magazines devoted solely to you, as we relax and snuggle deep down into our favorite thick sweater in that chair that fits only us exactly right...
And tender moments to make new memories with precious loved ones.
Regardless of which element of your temperament you choose to reveal,
we remain bewitched by your alluring charms.
 Cherishing your return to us year after year, we celebrate your presence
 by filling our homes with the rich spicy fragrances of fresh baked goodness.
Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, swirling together and rising up ....
all fragrant and warm, inviting you in as our honored guest.
 Carrot Cake

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
3 Cups Finely Grated Carrots
1 Cup Oil
4 Large Eggs

Sift together first six ingredients.
Add carrots, oil and eggs.
Beat until well mixed. {approximately 2 minutes}.
Turn into two pans that have been layered with parchment paper
and sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.
Turn out onto wire racks and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 Stick Unsalted Butter - softened to room temperature
1 - 8 Ounce Block of Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese
-softened to room temperature
2 Pound Bag Confectioner's Sugar
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla
2 - 3 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream

Mix all ingredients till smooth and creamy.
Use more or less cream according to your preference
on the consistency of your frosting.
{I tend to like my frosting a bit on the stiff side}
Use a dash of milk instead of cream if you prefer.
I realize there are a whole lot of recipes out there for Cream Cheese Frosting,
this is just how mine has developed over the years.
So October,
our multi-faceted and ever changing
Friend of old,
We Welcome You Home
with open arms.
We give thanks to You
for the wonders of your bounty
and the mysteries
that wait around each corner for us.
Come In,
Our Souls are ready to embrace You
and all the Magic you contain,
once again.

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables