Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Keeping Busy

The full moon tonight sure is pretty.  I'd take a picture of it for you but I don't have much luck taking pictures at night -- somehow they always blur on me.  Makes me itch to buy a better camera, but I've learned how to ignore unnecessary spending itches, LOL. 

I have finished sewing Lara and I new aprons to wear at the farmers market this year. 

Here is a detail of the lace I put on the neck and pockets -- my grand aunt, Mathilda Ledvina, crocheted it; it has to be at least 80 years old.

Lara happily modeled her apron for this picture:

I have a different fabric to make one more apron that we will try to sell at the farmers market.  If people like the aprons, I'll make some more of them to sell.  The pattern is a Depression style apron so I will sell them as "heirloom aprons".  They certainly are sewn to last, and I even sewed them on my Singer black top sewing machine that came to me from my mother (who got it from her mother when she married my father) when Tom and I got married.  The fabric will rot before a seam sewn on that machine gives way.  The high quality cotton fabric for each apron cost about $30.  I specially ordered it from Hancocks in Paducah, KY.  There is a lot of hand sewing on the aprons, too, as well as the use of the antique hand made lace for trim.  The fabric is pre-washed and pre-shrunk so what you see is what you get.  I figure that once the antique lace is used up, I'll get out my lace patterns and make some of my own lace.  Any ideas what I should charge for something like this?

Another "to do" task scratched off my list:  I brought some canned blackberry juice up from the basement and tried my hand at making blackberry cordial.

I boiled one quart of blackberry juice with three cups of sugar and two teaspoons each of cinnamon, cloves, and lemon zest until the sugar was dissolved and the mixture started to thicken. 

Then I shut off the stove and strained the mixture into another stainless steel pot.

Next I added a bottle of brandy (about 2 quarts or 1.75 litres), stirred well, and refrigerated over night.

This morning I bottled the cordial in the brandy bottle and an old wine bottle (I never throw out good containers of any sort), added new labels identifying the contents, and tucked them away in the basement to age undisturbed for at least six weeks.

Blackberry cordial is useful for a number of ailments.  You can use it straight (very potent!), but I plan to use it by the tablespoonful added to a tea cup (about 4 oz.) of hot water for respiratory ailments, sipped slowly.  Blackberries are astringent so they are good for drying up those wet coughs and cases of mild diarrhea among other things.  Check out Maude Grieve's book A Modern Herbal; it's one of those books I think everyone should have in their personal library.

My niece, Jill, is coming to visit with her new baby next week so I am busy knitting a gift for her.  When I go to town to get her a card and some gift wrap, I'll stop at the hardware store and buy the lumber I need to make my warping board.  That probably will be my next photo essay for you!  I am determined to get that weaving loom strung before winter ends.

Speaking of my weaving loom puts me in mind of something else; I have to tell you about a movie I bought our Ed for Christmas.  It is one of the old Disney movies called, "So Dear To My Heart"  .  If you are interested in homesteading, I recommend you watch that movie!  Put the movie on "pause" when you need to take a closer look. It shows the building layout of a 1903 homestead, fences, livestock, and the interior of the log house.  Granny cards wool into rovings which she spins into yarn on a Great Wheel spinning wheel.  It shows Granny winding a warp on her warp board and later weaving a cloth on a big floor loom.  She also likes to hand quilt.  That movie is a real treasure. I'm so glad I bought it.  And Ed likes it, too.

We're in for another below -0F cold spell here.  I hope you are all safe and well wherever you are at.  Please remember all those suffering from natural disasters around the world in your prayers.  By the way, the good folks over at Half Past Human will soon be coming out with issue 9 of The Shape Of Things To Come (SOTTC) reports.  I am a huge fan of the web bots (they were mentioned in a show on the History Channel the other night) and recommend the SOTTC reports as a help to getting through these difficult times.  Having an idea of what I may be facing in the weeks and months ahead certainly helps me with keeping my act together. 


  1. I am wondering where you got the pattern for your aprons? We do a farmer's market and I have one very sewing oriented teenager, we'd love to be able to offer this sort of thing at our market! I have old beads that we've been using to make decorations for our Christmas tree, etc. from my grandmother. I think it is so special to incorporate the old and new :) thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi, Barb -- I bought the pattern at JoAnn Fabrics years ago. It's McCalls 5174.

  3. That blackberry cordial is just the things for these frigid winter days. Love the apron!!