Sunday, June 5, 2011

Strawberry Picking and Crafty Adventures

Sorry readers! I feel like since I stopped my religion series, once I regurgitated 20 years of my life I finally settled the thing in my brain that was making me write and now...I am now having problems coming up with blog ideas, or at least the motivation to write about my adventures.

My mom has been visiting for the last couple of weeks and is, sadly, leaving today. For the first time in my life I don't want her to go.  This speaks volumes on how our relationship and changed and grown over the years.  Go hug your mom...or a mom like figure.  They'll appreciate it.  oh...she says she's my mum. I'm too lazy to change where I wrote mom.  

Yesterday my husband and I hit up the community yard sale.  I've got this killer sinus infection that had me up coughing at 7am on a Saturday, which worked out perfectly since the sale started at 8am.  I didn't think I'd be able to make it, so the night before I'd given him a list of things that I was looking for.  When we get to the sale,  the first thing I see is an exercise ball--score! Then, looking more closely I see all this beautiful middle eastern art.  totally me. I pick up this ornate box and the man says "I'll give it to you for free if you can open it!"

Since it was almost identical in design to one my husband had given to me as a gag gift a couple of years ago, I sort of knew how to open it already and got it for free. I'm pretty sure he didn't think that I'd open it in less than 10 seconds (in fact, he was getting a little desperate about timing. As I'm looking over it he told me I had 30 seconds. Then I opened it).  Sorry dude, I love stuff like that.

I think my favorite purchase though, was this beautiful glider that we got for 1/3 of the retail price, in perfect condition.  It is so incredibly comfortable.  My mom has been umm...trying it out for me (we'll go with that) since I got it.  The cats seem to enjoy it too.  I picked up a couple of books, the first season of Tutors, some cookie cutters, a peg board kit (so I can put up a peg board in my workshop) and some other odds and ends.  As we drove home we saw someone in our neighborhood was having their own yard sale (since they didn't want to schlep their stuff down to the community center) and we stopped.  the first thing I saw was a salad spinner, another thing on my list! I'm was far too psyched that I finally got my salad spinner.  Now...I have to reorganize my kitchen to make better use of all these things.  Overall, it was a very successful yard sale adventure.

On Friday I had soooo much fun strawberry picking.  Something my mom and I did when I was a kid was go to u-pick fields for different fruits.  I was so excited to bring this tradition back this week. I scheduled it as a meetup event, and three of us signed up. I over packed including bringing a gallon of water, loads of sun screen, a sun hat (which I discovered doubled nicely as a bucket) and snacks.  We made the half hour drive out to the farm and, after getting out of the car sprayed the heck out of ourselves with sunscreen.  I have discovered that spray sunscreen is my friend. The field wasn't far from the car, since they kindly let us park on the side of the field.  There weren't too many people out, being a Friday morning, but every single child there had red smeared faces and big smiles. We, of course, had to taste the goods as well.  My policy became, if I squished a berry WHILE picking it, I would eat it.  It worked well, and I only ate about 5 berries at the field.  They were delicious, small and juicy berries, ripe and ready to go.  In about an hour and a half, the three of us picked more than 20 pounds of berries.  We wanted to hit 20 pounds because they give you a 50 cent a pound discount at that point, and that saved us a LOT.  The weather was gorgeous, the conversation good, and the pickings were de-licious.  I came home and washed/hulled all of the berries.  We used the vitamix (who would have thought) to mash the berries and froze them.  It was a great trip and I can't wait to go back again!
Friday night we had a friend over for dinner.  I'm pretty proud of my menu actually.  Here it is

starter: lettuce from my garden, sliced strawberries, homemade balsamic vinaigrette. (The vinaigrette was strawberry jam, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It was delicious)
Entree: Chicken Havarti Sandwich
Dessert: Strawberry shortcake.  Since I was having Internet issues I couldn't get the recipe I wanted for the shortcake, but everyone seemed to LOVE them, so I think I did well.

Here are some pictures of that lovely day.

All done! On our way home.

Processing all these beautiful berries!
Another project that I've been working on is making purses out of jeans.  Years ago in college I had a friend who owned a tote made out of jeans, and I've wanted to replicate it since then.  I'm not sure mine is a great replication, BUT, I managed to make something usable, and learned a lot about sewing in the meantime.  My mother is pretty OCD about sewing needing to be exact (either that, or I suck more than  I thought) so I would stitch, pull out, stitch, pull out again and finally stitch correctly.  I'm finally done ( a clasp) with the first one, strap included. Here are some pictures I took.  What do you think?  In the future Ill line them but I like the raw jean look.  What do you think?

Tuesday I'm having another crafting meetup, so I will continue to work on these. I have an old dark blue cotton sheet that I think will make an excellent lining for the other bags that I have pinned already.  The problem is the waist band is a complete pain in the butt to go near.

So I got a new phone--if you hadn't seen that from my messages.  Please message me if you need my new number! I'm really re-thinking this whole new phone thing. More on that later, but let's just say I needed them to replace the battery within the first 48 hours.


  1. I'm glad you had such a nice visit with your mum! Those strawberries look yummy! I wish we had a place like that here. Well, we very well might. I just don't know of one. I like your purse. I've seen those, but never made one. My daughter would think they are especially cool. Perhaps I'll try one someday soon.
    Anyway, I'm glad to read that things have been going well!

  2. Your bag turned out wonderful and knowing your mother has OCD, don’t let the needle thing get to you. It is her issue, not yours. It took me a long time in therapy to realize that myself. My expectations can be different. I just need to agree at the moment so the moment will pass quickly. Then, I can do it my own way when she is not round. I look forward to learning how you made it on Tuesday. Maybe you have a new cottage business?

    Thank you so very much for doing the driving out to the farm. I don’t think you over-packed at all. I think you were prepared for several possible options. You probably learned that during you years as a nanny and the pre-learned skill will come in handy when baby-time does arrive  Or, maybe it was because I was just as well packed a you were [LOL]

    I also got to re-live a mother/daughter childhood memory. We picked strawberries together for years. The freezer needed to be full to accommodate the poolside strawberry daiquiris. I grew up in the 70s, do I need to say more? It was wonderful to remember one of the good times I had together with my mom every year. We often forget the small, day-to-day living we had growing up and Friday reminded me that there are additional small memories locked away in my brain that I need to pull out while I have the luxury of her still being healthy and alive.

    My most favorite treat I created with some of my strawberries was Sat morning. I took some pre-made sponge cake out of the freezer Friday for traditional short-cake after dinner. On Sat., the addition of chocolate with protein turned it into brunch. I took 2 slices of sponge cake and liberally slathered with Nutella. I placed these in a shallow, flat, rimmed pasta bowl and covered with at least a pound of sliced strawberries [no extra sugar—they were so perfectly ripe and sweet on their own]. I skipped the whipped cream from Friday night. It was nicely complemented by an iced coffee or 2 or 3 … This morning’s breakfast, a strawberry and banana smoothie and the rest will hit the freezer for future smoothies before they spoil.

    They also had a farm store with some pre-picked items, bakery items and bedding plants. I don’t know what the other ladies found, but I found several herb bedding plants for prices between $2.15 and $3.50. While they did not have one herb plant I was looking for, chocolate mint, I was able to find some pre-picked. Darn, they would have been great on the Sat brunch too. Maybe I will keep the rest of the strawberries out and have that for dessert tonight and add the chocolate mint herbs too. As it was a nice mild day on Friday, I was able to plant all the herbs right when I got home

    Sarah, I bet if you did an internet search for pick your own strawberries and your state, or major city near-by and you will find something. That is how I found this farm myself last fall when I was looking for pick-your-own-apples. Other members in the Meet-Up Group had already known about the farm too. It is not a certified organic farm, but they use few chemicals and use mainly integrated pest management. They have some wonderful working dogs who keep away critters like bunnies and deer. It is very expensive for small farms to get certification for organic but do still have organic farming processes. They are typically very happy to chat with you on the phone about their farming styles.



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