All Things Andrea

All Things Andrea

Sunday, May 29, 2011

25 Years

Friends celebrated their 25th anniversary milestone today with a lovely gathering at their beautiful home and garden.  Here are just a few glimpses of the beauty that was at every turn:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Quotes Worth Contemplating

Great Stuff by Paul

I first came across "Great Stuff by Paul" at the York Garden Show last spring.
Then today a friend introduced me to their store in Frederick, MD today.  What a cool place!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Today's Thrift Shop Find

Isn't this the sweetest jelly jar?!  I didn't even know these existed....  I'm guessing they're from the 70's.  I had purchased a dozen jars just like this last year, only without the metal lids, and had been wondering what kind of lid to use with them.  Now I know what to keep my eye out for, but I'm guessing the lids didn't hold up as well as the jars.  :(

Saturday, May 21, 2011

More Raised Beds!

Heritage House Museum Quilt Exhibit

I had the fun of displaying one of my favorite quilts at the Winters Heritage House Museum's 10th Anniversary Quilt Exhibit this month. 

(Can you spot my quilt on the program?!)

What made the exhibit even more special for me was the fact that the quilt inspired Casey Meier to write a poem for her Creative Writing class at Elizabethtown High School:

Search for a Stable Spin
by Casey Meier

A pinwheel twirls to a child's laughter.
Spinning, spinning
to the tune of joy

Dark vines riddle the ground below,
 reaching toward the pearly pinwheel.
The spinning slows.
Barely clinging to life
it flutters off center,
wobbling in the fragile fingers that cling to it.
The child stares
deeply into the dark center,
wishing, hoping, believing

A gust of wind sparks life,
driving the pinwheel into a stable spin
as a smile spreads across the child's face

Even though this poem was sparked by an assignment given by teacher Chris Bradley, it's still a wonderful example of fact that quilts are meant to be seen, touched, experienced and to inspire.  A quilt folded away on a shelf or tucked in a blanket chest doesn't impact or motivate anyone.  There's something about this particular quilt that connects with people.  The fabric isn't anything special, but when the light and dark fabrics are combined and arranged in the pinwheel pattern, suddenly it has a voice.  It created the same response when I displayed it last fall at Fort Hunter Day; it received the most attention by far of any of my quilts on display.  Why??  I don't know....  Perhaps it's because it took ten years to complete, and it represents a number of difficulties in not just my life, but the lives of others during that span of time.  Or, perhaps because those buttons that draw you in came from a local thrift shop and represent who knows how many person's lives, full of joy and sorrow.  Or perhaps, it's simply because it's common, yet most definitely not ordinary.

Anyway, thanks Casey, for sharing your poem with us!

Also, as part of the month-long quilt exhibit, a quilt appraiser was available to appraise antique quilts for a nominal fee.  I was able to glean some more info on my family's antique quilts which will be helpful when I will again be displaying my ever growing collection at Fort Hunter Day in September.

Garden Planning

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tackling the Pressure Canner!

Today I finally worked up the courage to try using my new pressure canner!  After deliberating for quite a while, I purchased one several months ago, mainly for the purpose of being able to can vs. freeze chicken stock

I've used a water bath canner for years and feel comfortable with the process.  It can't be used for canning stock or vegetables, so I had to freeze my chicken stock the last time I made it.  But, I have made the switch from plastic to glass for the most part, and freezing stock in glass risks breakage (unless your freezer is organized a bit better than mine!) and hogs up freezer space.  Plus, there's always the fear of losing all that hard work to a power or freezer failure (maybe you don't worry about such things?).  And of course, it's much handier to open a can of stock vs. remembering to thaw a container of frozen stock ahead of time for use in a recipe.

Not sure why I was so intimidated by the pressure canner -  maybe because it scared me as a kid?? I still remember the weight jiggling and hissing when my mom would process green beans; I was certain the whole thing was going to explode. I also knew that trying it out would mean studying the manual, so I needed to wait until I had time and mental energy to devote to the process. I was running low on my supply of stock in the freezer, so today was the day to learn a new way of preserving!

My conclusion?  It's not as quick to use as I had hoped.  Although it doesn't take as much processing time as a water bath canner, it still takes a bit of time for the pressure to build and then be released. But, it's definitely worth the time and effort for stock.   Isn't is beautiful?!!  (OK... maybe I need to get a life?!)

I want to try canning garbanzo beans (chick peas) and black beans next.  Soaked and cooked dried beans are much cheaper, tastier and healthful than canned beans from the store (especially if you grow them yourself!!), so I've pretty much gone that route, unless I can get them for a steal at BB's, the food outlet I frequent. 
I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Today's Root's Run

Local goat cheese, fresh mushrooms, lemons, thyme and peppers plants for the vegetable garden, as well as ornamental sweet potato vines.  Also, some handmade bar soap.  :)