Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thinking of Camp River Glen

For some reason I was reminded today of Camp River Glen, a camp that our church used to lease in the San Bernardino National Forest. I have great memories of weekends there in all seasons, first as a college student, then later as a young married, and eventually a young married with a couple of tiny kids.

It got me wondering what happened to the camp. The lease had run out many years ago, and there have been fires through that area of the forest over the years. A quick Googling told me that the facility was eventually donated to UniCamp, the summer camp service arm of UCLA. I found a YouTube video of a bunch of kids enjoying camp. I didn't see much in the background that I could be certain was the camp I remembered, though I think I saw the main lodge building in one shot. Here it is.

Good to see it's still giving people joy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Catching up on the laundry in a big way

Recently Mary Hunt's Everyday Cheapskate email told of a woman who washed her daughter's wedding dress in the washing machine rather than sending it to be dry cleaned (for a small fortune). I have never had my dress cleaned. I got it out to take a look at it, because for June's celebration of our church's 125th anniversary we are celebrating weddings and everybody is supposed to cram into their wedding clothes if they still can, which I can't, and since I had it out, I decided to wash mine, too.

I did, and it turned out just beautiful.  I dried it on a dress form in the yard. Here it is on the back porch before I packed it up again.

I had forgotten how much I liked it at the time. It went so severely out of fashion there for awhile that I had a hard time even looking at it. Now young ladies are wearing high-necked wedding gowns again. I hope someday someone wears it again.

Chicken Walker of the North Woods

With apologies to Lynn Rogers of Bear Walker fame, here are my Girls enjoying a sunny, unseasonably summery late May day in the yard.

That's a who-me expression if ever I saw one. As in, "I would NEVER tear up Daddy's hosta bed. No way, no how."

 And here's my favorite, sweet little Eowyn. Eowyn raised all the rest of the birds, though none of them are from her eggs. She's gentle, cuddly and cute. She also crows.  She's getting kind of old and her hormones are out of whack, and besides, SOMEBODY'S got to be the rooster, right? I think she still lays an egg now and then, but it's been a long time since she went broody, and she crows, though not very well.

The Return of Saturday's Apron: A repro of a cute homemade vintage apron

This apron is made of vintage and new fabric and is from the design of an apron one of the women of our church brought one Sunday when she would be working in the kitchen. She said her grandmother had made it. She kindly allowed me to bring it home to write down the design. It's made of two fabrics, a cotton print and a cotton organdy underneath. I reproduced it using pieces of a pretty polished cotton chintz (vintage) and new white cotton organdy bought on eBay from seller Exclusive Silks.  I used vintage bias edging, too.  It turned out so pretty that if I don't come up with something I like better, it's going to be my fair entry apron this year.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Otis Fashion Sophomore Studio: Invisible Zipper

I could once do these in my sleep, but I got away from dressmaker sewing for so long that I forgot how. Great tutorial here courtesy of Jona.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Easiest, Bestest Focaccia Bread Ever!! - 27968 - Recipezaar

The Easiest, Bestest Focaccia Bread Ever!! - 27968 - Recipezaar

I thought for sure I blogged this before but then I couldn't find it when I needed it. My father recommended this focaccia recipe. He mixes and raises it in the bread machine, then shapes it and bakes it in the oven.

I didn't make up that title, by the way.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oh, the stuff you can find while cleaning

Today was that annual rite of spring, cleaning all the winter leftovers off the back porch. It looks lovely now.

This wasn't actually lost, just stashed in such a safe place that I had pretty much forgotten about it. When I found it, I took it out to the picnic table and gave it a bath. There's actually a matched pair; the other still has the wood frame around it. A good friend gave us these from her house (also a block house of the same vintage as ours) when she was about to sell the house and realized the new owners cared nothing for beautiful old things, so she didn't include the windows in the sale. We have rather vague plans for them for someday but in the meantime, I visit them about once a year, like I did this morning.

It's suddenly hot and humid. It's still a novelty, but I'm sure we'll be sick of it before long. Just not yet.

Graduation party later today and more cleaning, also some overtime for work and hopefully some sewing. I'm making a baby quilt for a baby boy who is expected by the children of some old friends of ours.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Vintage Butterick dress patterns, one maternity

Three vintage patterns I picked up at The Way Station this week. Aren't they something?

  • Butterick 3818. Very 60s princess-seamed dress, complete, cut to the high straight neckline which I love, only a vintage 14 is like a modern 8. Teensy.
  • Butterick 5577. Another A-line with a yoke top and "standing darted neckline" (I was wondering what you'd call that). Pattern is missing the pocket piece (no big deal) but is otherwise all there. The front yoke piece is torn. What's the best way to deal with this? I know tape is a bad idea. Just make a copy if I ever actually use the pattern?
  • Butterick 3111. Great maternity pattern that hangs from the shoulders, with neckline variations. I think I remember my mother wearing something like this in pictures where she was pregnant with me or my brother. It's complete, and cut to use the collar option.
Butterick, oh Butterick, why did you not mark copyrights until the 1970s?  These are pretty clearly Jackie O era but sometimes it's trickier to tell.

By the way, although I can't find the post now, a couple of years ago I asked on this blog for ideas on how to store vintage dressmaker patterns. I finally settled on comic book sleeves made of Mylar with acid-free backing boards.  I take the pattern tissue and instructions out of the envelope, put the envelope on the front side of the board and all the innards behind the board. The instructions are made of such cheap paper that they can wreck the pattern envelope if you leave them inside. Once I run out of comic book bag-and-board I'll have to wait for awhile to replenish, but I am finding this works very well.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sunday's Coming

My brother brought this to my attention:

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

From one of the comments there on Vimeo:
“For some years it has been apparent that the rage for novelties in singing, especially in our Sunday Schools, has been driving out of use the old, precious, standard hymns. They are not memorized as of old. They are scarcely sung at all. They are not even contained in the non-denominational songbooks which in many churches have usurped the place of our hymn books.

We cannot afford to lose these old hymns. They are full of the Gospel; they breathe the deepest emotions of pious hearts in the noblest strains of poetry; they have been tested and approved by successive generations of those that loved the Lord; they are the surviving fittest ones from thousands of inferior productions; they are hallowed by abundant usefulness and tenderest memories. But the young people of today are unfamiliar with them, if the present tendency goes unchecked.”
The guy who made that observation, made it in 1892. Heh.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Loot Report: Spring Grove (MN) Syttende Mai Rummage Sales

Over all, Lisa and I thought the sales were a little on the sparse side this year, which is not surprising, as this is the first nice day all week. Who wants to have, or even plan, a garage sale when it's 40 degrees, raining and blowing the water in all directions?

I'm not really happy with Blogger's latest version of the photo uploader. It's okay for one or two pictures, but not a whole City-Wide Garage Sales' worth. I'm going to try a Flickr slideshow instead.

Click below to go there.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Informal pottery show at the Stahl House

Barry took his last final today, and afterward he brought home all the rest of his pottery from his class. Here's a little show we put on in the dining room.

The kind of friends I have

This juxtaposition of posts on my Facebook feed beautifully demonstrates the range of friends I have.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Muffins with Mom

This morning I was invited to the first annual "Muffins with Mom" over at the elementary school as Little Miss A's guest. Turns out it was more than muffins, it was a full light breakfast of muffins, fruit, juice and coffee. Just wonderful. It was very well attended. Moms, grandmas, aunts and other significant female figures in the children's lives were all invited.

As I looked around the room, I realized once again that I was the oldest mom in the room. Sure, there were lots of grey heads, but they were all grandmas. Heh.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Gourd seeds!

Anna of Chickens in the Basement sent me a selection of seeds from her gourds. I'm so excited! Here they are in peat pots. I hope they do what they are supposed to in spite of my black thumb.

I like to train gourds over the chicken pen for shade. It's tricky, because you have to get them past the point where the chickens can reach the tendrils and leaves and snip them off early.

Her note reads that gourd plants "like a lot of sun and things to climb on - sort of like kids!"

She included Amish birdhouse gourds, apple gourds and bushel basket gourds. This is so cool. :o)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

What's for Breakfast: Apple Fritters

2 c. flour
1 c. white sugar
2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder

2/3 c. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped

In a small skillet, heat about half an inch of vegetable oil.  Meanwhile:

Mix the dry ingredients. Then mix the milk and egg together. Form a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in the milk and egg and mix with as few strokes as possible. Fold in the chopped apple.

Drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Fry on one side till puffy, then carefully turn using a slotted spoon and fry on the other side. Fritters are done when they are nicely browned all over and have puffed.  Remove them to a paper-towel-lined plate using the slotted spoon and allow them to drain. Dredge the hot fritters in powdered sugar.Serve hot.


  1. If you put your powdered sugar in a zip-top plastic bag or a plastic storage container with a tight-fitting lid, you can just put the fritters in the container, seal it and shake it to cover them evenly with powdered sugar.
  2. This goes a lot better if you set up an assembly line near the stove: Skillet with slotted spoon ====> paper-towel-lined plate ====> plastic container with powdered sugar ====> serving plate. Just keep the fritters moving down the line. In my house, you can add a fifth station, a teenager waiting at the end of the line with gaping maw, chowing down on fritters.
  3. Be very careful not to splatter the hot oil on yourself.
  4. These are supposed to be deep fried, but if you use a small frying pan and pan-fry them, you use a lot less oil. Do be watchful and add more oil if the fritters are soaking it all up. Allow the pan to return to heat before starting another set of fritters.
  5. I have to adjust my stove heat a lot. You want the oil hot enough to seal in the surface of the batter so it does not soak into the fritter too much, yet you also want it cool enough that the inside can bake before the outside gets too brown.