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Monday, November 15, 2010

Raspberry Jam

I finally made my first batch of Jam! I can't believe I waited so long. It must have been the memories of my mom canning food that seemed to be an all day process that caused my hesitation. Back in the day she not only made jam but she canned cucumbers to make pickles, a vegetable relish (which she called meat relish), peaches, pears, applesauce and grape juice. Maybe the kind of food she was canning did take all day but, making Freezer Jam is easier than making dinner.
I used the Ball brand no-cooking required pectin mix. The recipe on the back calls for half the sugar of most recipes and I think twice as delicious.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Who Let the Crows Out?

September is coming to a close which means Halloween is just around the corner. Once again the crows have been unearthed from their decoration tote and they are already causing havoc in the neighborhood. It looks like Barbie should be more careful next time she's cruising around the block.

In all seriousness this was my narrative project for my photography class. We were to tell a story with five photos. The story developed in part due to the imaginations of Thomas and Kate, but the initial idea was mine. I'm not sure what in world this says about me considering I could have come up with anything, but it definitely suggests I'm a little cuckoo.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Yellow Sash

Fresh Cuts are my sewing projects that are made from patterns, adapted from patterns or are simply made up as I go along. (Mostly are the latter.) Some of the things I make are complete disasters, some are what I expected and others turn out better than I imagined.
Sewing something to wear is most gratifying and fills my soul with a whole lot of happy.

My most recent Fresh Cuts project is a striped jersey top with a hand dyed curry yellow sash.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This project was about 10 months in the making. Really.
It started with a trip to the pumpkin patch along with Jack's preschool last October. The tour guide gave a brief explanation of what would happen if you left a gourd out to dry for several months. It turns rock hard that what happens. And that is exactly what happened to our two little oddly shaped gourds we bought at the pumpkin patch. Although several months was more like several months times two. Every so often Jack would give them a good shake to see if he could hear the seeds dancing inside. Each month the rumble of the seeds grew louder and louder as the inside guts dried out.
Finally when they were hard enough I cut off the tops to make them look more like pottery.
I could have left them in their natural state, which was quite beautiful actually (tear), but I could not resist the glossy epoxy spray paint I found in the garage.
And so out came the paint and it's partner in crime...."Makita." By the way you can not live with her. She one of my best crafty friends!
I love the super glossy look achieved with this appliance epoxy. Beware this is serious spray paint. It takes longer to dry and it's very hard to remove from your hands. One of these days I will wear gloves.

I like they way they look even before I sanded, but I hadn't seen "Makita" in a while and so together we ruffed them up a bit.
My gourds with well with the sign I managed to purloin from an old abandoned house several months back during a photo shoot.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Placemat Basket or Tote

The following pictures shows a two added details. One is the monogram letter. If you are going to add any detail that would require sewing it's a good idea to attached it before you sew up the sides of the bags. I always learn the hard way.
I also showed how you can make little pockets for pencils by sewing along the edge of the seam.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Note to Self - Love Your Own Company

What a commentary on civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it...
Like a secret vice.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

A friend passed along this video entitled How To Be Alone by filmmaker Andrea Dorfman and poet/singer/songwriter,
Tanya Davis.
It made me reflect on what it means to be alone and ultimately loving your own company. We all need time to be alone, to be introspective and to purify or thoughts and get things in order. I have always been one that needs time to feel, work through and gain clarify on what going on around me. Mr. Frugal likes to call it smoldering, I like to call it gaining perspective.
But beyond the occasional times I must walk away from a current standoff, I have through the years learned to love my own company. There is no one to please or adjust your expectations to meet that of another. You can hurry along or linger as long as you'd like. The dialogue you have with yourself is less distracted more real and to the point.
I must have liked my own company even as a child because I don't ever remember feeling bored or needing someone to play with at all times. Probably my favorite times as a child was when I was alone playing within the four walls of my bedroom. During these times my imagination was unrestrained and my bedroom became whatever I made it to be. Most of the time is was an apartment with two bedroom, a kitchen and a family room all divided off by blankets and pillows. My baby dolls provided all the company I needed. I was content for hours.
Over the years my solitary moments have taught me not only to love myself but have also cultivated a greater sense of freedom, independence and creativity, all the while gaining heaps of personal growth.

"I live in my own little world, but it's OK, they like me here."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hands On Help

FYI: The following pictures do not include the fighting over the knife, the crying because a wooden spoon fell on the floor and was retrieved by another sibling, the burnt hamburger buns or the near fall off the counter. The pictures suggest peace, happiness and sense of cooperation. If only it was that simple.
We are fast becoming an all hands on family. I decided my kids helping me in the kitchen is generally one chore they are eager to be involved with and usually fight over who gets to pour, stir or cut. (I wish I got the same response when it came to cleaning their rooms.)
I look at my kids as little people in training to one day be independent adults. Doing for themselves and others is hugely important to me, like I'm sure it is for most moms.
I was introduced to Merrile Boyack's "plan" of how to raise children who one day can care for themselves, keep a job, have good professional and interpersonal skills and so forth. Her plan lists skills and knowledge your child should develop at each age group. I've keep the list and often refer back to it to see how I'm doing. The Plan among other invaluable advice can be found in her book, The Parenting Breakthrough - A Real-Life Plan To Teach Your Kids To Work, Save Money, and Be Truly Independent.

According to the plan this a big year for Thomas. He needs to be taught how to mop the floor, clean pictures, bake cakes, bake cookies,understand emergency preparedness, learn basic first aid, fill the car with gas, wash the car, vacuum interior of car, hammer nails, saw wood, cook vegetables, write letters, understand puberty and sex (oh boy), use e-mail, understand basic science, wrap presents, sew on buttons and so on.
You get the idea.
We'll get to "the talk" later, this week I'm concentrating on chopping vegetables which seems a whole lot less intimidating.

Cowboy Grub
6 medium tomatoes
1 bunch of long green onions
1 bag of frozen sweet corn
Juice from 2 limes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 bunch cilantro (chopped)
1 can black beans (drained)
2 lg. avocados
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 package of good season Italian dressing

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jr. Lifeguard

Thomas has been going to Jr. Lifeguard for the last three weeks. It's a physically demanding camp where lifeguard rescue techniques are taught with fun and plenty of competition. Last Friday it was parent participation day. Chris joined in for the tough workout.
They did a lot of running along the beach...
and through the water.
And there were plenty of push ups and sit ups.
And crawling through surfboard tunnels.

Only to exit and have cold ocean water dumped on your head.

There was a long jump competition in which the Foulger boys proved that just because you have short legs doesn't mean you can't leap like a gazelle.

After a short break it was time to perform a rescue. Thomas went first and then it was Chris' turn to rescue Thomas.
The last competition of the morning was the ball toss. Everyone lays down and when the instructor yells go they all stand up, turn around and fight for tennis balls. Each heat two unlucky participates came back from the water without a ball.
It was like watching a bunch of dogs chase after their beloved ball. Very funny.
And what was Jack doing while Thomas and Chris were doing the workout...
Not much.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Moving Out Of Auto Mode

So these pics are not shinning examples of awesome photography but they are a step in that direction. I have liked photography for some time and am continually enamored by the sheer brilliance that some photographers seem to possess. I had a moment in college when I thought about joining the photography department to then one day take interior photos of the homes of the rich and famous. I was reading a lot in Architectural Digest at the time. But I decided that switching majors one semester away from graduating was probably not the smartest idea.
I bought my first SLR camera a couple of years ago. There was such a difference in picture quality from my point and shot camera that I felt no need to venture away from auto mode. Why mess up a better than average turn out?
One day I was looking at some photos online of a popular photographer and I wondered what made her photographs so awesome. Was it that she was uber talented and had gifts beyond the average?...Maybe. Or was it that she had the best, most expensive camera and lens that money could buy?...Maybe. Or was it that she was an expert in photoshop?...Maybe.
And then it dawned on me.....she may have had all those things but most of all she probably knows her camera in and out and has learned to shoot whenever, however, whatever.
LEARNED being the KEY word here.
So I may not be her one day but maybe if I learn my camera in and out and how to take photographs whenever, however and whatever I can come pretty close.
The first step:
Take the Get out of Auto Mode Pledge:
I, state your name, commit to learning how to shoot out of auto mode. This means from this day forward I will never have my dial turned to auto. I will fully embrace manual mode and all that it can offer. I will learn how to manipulate the shutter speed and aperture.
Okay enough silliness.
My aspiring photographer friend found this cool wall to take pics in front of. My kids where less than thrilled to be dragged around all morning posing as my models, but who else am I going to get? They'll also work for donuts which makes them cheap labor.