Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Hope this post finds you all doing well. I am always inspired by this poem to try new things and not be afraid to take the road less traveled. So, here's the list. On the knitting agenda is a pair of toe up socks from "Simple Socks Plain and Fancy" by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts. (Or I could just finish all the W.I.P.s in the basket!) Then I must plant the 100+ seedlings I ordered from the Conservation Department including Peacan Trees, Walnut Trees, Dogwood Trees and more. Some dry days will be helpful there! Next I must learn how to work this little ipod that is bound to organize me and my life...if only I can learn to fill it full of all my valuable information. And finally, the brand new sewing machine, still in it's box, is waiting for a trial run.
As you can see I am in desperate need of inspiration! But I can't be the only one who needs encouragement to conquer the new and venture into unknown territory. So I am offering you this poem and a pat on the back. Forge ahead! You can do it! Break a leg! And all that stuff!
I recently had a request from an annonymous reader about my Local Yarn Shoppe, so I am sharing this information here. However, even if you don't live close, they do take orders and ship items, so my LYS can be your shop, too. They do have a wonderful selection of yarns from around the world and are very helpful. I would recommend them to all of you.
Anyway, my LYS is located in Columbia, Missouri. Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe For us country dwellers, a 75 mile drive is still considered local. After growing up in the city, that took a little getting used to. Soon after I moved here I was invited to a "neighborhood" party. I remember looking out the window of our 1900's farm house at the fields that lay beyond and wondering what on earth this person was talking about. I had grown up in a neighborhood in the city where our backyard neighbors were just beyond our chain-link fence, 100 ft from our back door. So with no other houses in sight, I could not imagine to what neighbors she was referring. Come to find out, anyone within a 3 mile radius of my home was considered a neighbor!
Guess I have adjusted to this way of thinking, since I often refer to Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe as my LYS. It is a bit of a drive, but well worth it and a real treat. Hope this helps and that you are able to do business with them, also. Happy Snow Day!
Yes, we had a pizza party in our own country kitchen. Using the master recipe Bread dough from "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" I was able to roll out 1 lb. loaves and make pizza crust. It was so simple. No mess, no fuss, just home baked pizza in 10 minutes! It took longer to warm up the oven than it did to create and bake the pizza!
I recently purchased flour, mozerella and sauce from our Food Coop so I had all the supplies in house for a simple pizza...no fancy toppings. We like pepperoni and pineapple with mushrooms. Little Al just wants plain ole cheese. She is so easy to please!
So it was simple and quick and didn't last long. In fact, I intended to show you the finished product but just ended up wtih a photo of the last piece...minus one bite! Guess you get the picture!
Quick, healthy food means more time for my true love, crafting! So I am off to the woman cave to create something new. My wheels are spinning! I'll be back soon!
My New Year's Resolution... to buy local and buy American when possible. Well, so far, so good! However, I think I should explain my resolution. My decision to buy American is not a prejudice against other countries, I am only opposed to people being expoited so that we Americans can buy large quantities of cheap goods. I gladly support Ten Thousand Villages and other Fair Trade organizations. Handmade items from Etsy.com and local artisans is a plus. I am just afraid our nation is so concerned with money that we are always looking for a bargain and overlook the injustices to those producing "cheap" items for our consumption. I am especially opposed to the Big W store in every town. They continue to destroy local businesses and run out competition. Enough said!
So, buying local has been a fun adventure. I started with milk. Our family drinks alot of it. Growing up in the city, milk always came from the grocery store in a big plastic jug. Finding a local source took me down several gravel roads and finally to the home of the Kauffmans. They are an Amish family that raises and milks Holstein cattle. Wow is their milk fresh! We are loving it. And I have even tried my hand at making butter, hence the churn in the picture. However, I have learned that this type of cattle does not have as much butter fat. I may have to find a source of Jersey milk. I hear it works better.
They also sell eggs. So that is convenient. One Saturday morning stop for milk and eggs!
Next I found a local producer of Grass fed beef. This is delicious meat! The beef and lamb from Sunrise Pastures is free of antibiotics and hormones. The cattle are grazed instead of being fed corn which is much better for them. Not only is it local and fresh, it is also much better for my family. In case you want to try it you can e-mail Tauna from her website. She ships meat Fedex. But you might want to find your own local source down a gravel road and though a gate! The kids will love the adventure.
And finally, I continue to order food from United Natural Foods though a local coop. This is something I have done for 10+ years, but I still enjoy the process. We place our orders online, then meet once every two months to pick up our food. It is a great way to buy bulk, natural and organic items at a reasonable price. If you want to find a buying club in your area visit UNFI.com. They can help you find a coop or they can help you start your own.
And no, you do not have to wear the hat to enjoy the adventure, but it is quite warm on an icy winter day! Don't worry about the "look" no one will recognize you anyway!
The women in my family worked up this baby blankie for our newest addition, Baby Kaitlyn. Since my 11 year old niece and I were the only current knitters (knitted in the past 12 months) we decided to make a blanket of squares. Mom and sis picked up the needles and refreshed themselves as the helped to create this soft, 100% organic cotton, keepsake.
Little A finished it off with a fabric label that hopefully will stand the test of time. Here's how it is done: we cut a piece of fabric and a piece of butcher paper to the 8 1/2 x 11 size for printing. Ironed the fabric on the shiny side of the paper and ran it through our printer. We then removed the fabric and ironed fabric laminate on both sides of the fabric. We cut it to size and stitched it on the blankie.
A great family project. As much fun to make as it was to give!
Well, I didn't know it could be done! I love to bake fresh bread, but typically only bake one day a week because I don't like to clean up. And as you may know, fresh home baked bread doesn't stay fresh for long. So I was very excited to learn about the new book, "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day," by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., & Zoe Fancois. Apparently this is their second book, but I don't know that I would have been as excited about the first one since they used white flour recipes. But this one I love!
Here's the trick...you stir up a batch of dough, let it sit for 2 hours and refridgerate for up to 14 days. When you want fresh baked bread you cut off a one pound piece of dough, shape, rest and bake! That is it. No kneading and no flour mess to clean up. Just amazing!! Kudos to these folks for their hard work and hours of trial and error (I'm sure) to produce the perfect mix for 100 Artisan breads. The book runs $27.99 in hardback, and is well worth the money. I recommend this to anyone who loves to bake and is limited on time. It is packed with valuable bread baking tidbits to produce that perfect loaf in yes, just five minutes a day!
Besides several loaves of bread, I also decided to make the Cinnamon Raisin Whole Wheat Bagels. Since high quality bagels are rare out here on the prairie, I thought it was worth a try. Not bad for a beginner. The sizes weren't real even and they were not as pretty as the pictures in the book, but the flavor and texture were nice. I would definitely do this again.
Oh, and the best part, I didn't have to go to the Big W place to buy my ingredients. The local Amish Variety Store stocks everything I need. Working on the resolution...the family is watching!
Well, it was a fun holiday season complete with homemade treats, handmade gifts and fair trade! I made a committement to buy and give handmade gifts this year, though I did not make them all myself. I bought bowls from a local potter (see mug featured in previous post), scarves and chocolate from Ten Thousand Villages (selling fair trade items made by artisans around the world), and I made several reusable shopping totes. I had more fun making than shopping, but I am sure you all know that feeling! And the most fun of all was carving out a few hours to bake with Little Al. She is quite talented with the icing bag.
Now on to the new year! I am not big on resolutions and haven't made one for several years. I usually don't follow through, which is very frustrating on my end, so I just skip that part of the new year. But this year will be different. Our family has made a New Years Resolution...together. Accountability is a good thing for me. We have made a committment to buy local and buy American whenever possible.
I don't enjoy "need it" shopping, I much prefer "want it" shopping. In other words, I would rather browse the local used book shop than buy groceries! As you can imagine, that doesn't always work out so good when dinner time rolls around. So, I am going to avoid the grocery store (as much as possible) and buy from local farmers. We may even try producing some of our own food. More to come on that! But being able to meet the people who grow the food we eat will be a refreshing experience for me. I am going to turn "need it" shopping into "want it" shopping this year. As far as the idea to buy American goes, we just think it is the right thing to do. Buying one American made item can provide so many jobs! The farmer that grows the cotton, the designer that creates the pattern, the manufacturer that makes the T-Shirt, the IT person that creates the website, the marketing associate that designs the ads, the customer service rep that answers the phone, the warehouse employee that packages the items for shipping, the FedEx drivers that deliver the package to the front door, and I am sure I missed someone along the way! But you get the idea!
After a quick run through the closet we discovered that none of the items on our racks were made in America. We have been big contributors to the state of our American economy and we are ready to make a change. My husband was a bit concerned that I was going to ask our Amish neighbors for a pants pattern! But do you know you can still buy clothing made in America? Even Jeans! No, you can't buy them at WalMart or Target or Old Navy, but they are out there! I found a blog listing lots of American made products. You may want to check it out at All American! I hope you will join me this year in putting our American workers back to work!
Oh, and for all of you artists out there, don't miss this site Best American Arts! I'm thinking they should add YOU to the list!
It has been a busy fall and without much to report...until now. I have completed "gift" socks, finished a sweater for little Al, and walked on warm white sand to the sound of crashing waves, but today is worth reporting!
This actually wasn't today's brew, but it still made a good start for this post...and a pretty picture (unedited). I had to share.
But today, started one reed at a time. Little Al and I took a basket weaving class. I have always enjoyed making fabric from yarn, but I have never thought about weaving reeds. It does make a beautiful fabric all it's own.
After sorting and marking. The process begins.
Lots of measuring and marking. Yes, we used those math skills.
Then things started to take shape. Her little hands went to work making old world art. And to think women used to make baskets to carry water from the well! We might need a little practice before our weave is that good!
But she took very well to the tools and worked with ease.
Then a little stain to enhance the color. And...
...7 hours later a basket was born. She is a beauty! Little Al is proud of her finished product though she said she would have rather been playing basketball. Oh well, she has learned a new skill and so have I. Not to mention we now have a handmade basket to charish for many years to come!
Hope this post finds you all doing well. I will try to do better to keep up with the goings on in Blogland. If only the world would stop spinning for a moment so I can catch up! Have a great day! Liz
From the Middle of the United States that is. Sitting atop a prairie ridge in Northern Missouri. A big city girl in a small town! I knit, I cook, I enjoy life on the prairie and evenings on the porch. I feel blessed to live in Missouri, a diverse state alive with metropolitan areas rich in art and culture and rural areas that support crops, livestock and over 70 wineries. The people that inhabit this state love their families, their communities and their way of life. The view from the middle is truly grand. Come by for a visit anytime. You're always welcome!
I am a thirty-something mom living in NE Missouri. I enjoy crafting, especially fiber arts. I also like to travel but love coming home. I am a busy wife and mother, but never too busy to take a deep breath and thank God for the many blessings of this life in the middle.