Sunday, November 30, 2008


"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play."

~Friedrich Nietzsche

1: Snuggle, Watch a Christmas movie, and drink hot cocoa.

Kalin stayed home this morning. The three of us snuggled and watched Shrek the Halls while sipping cocoa. It is really cold here and snowed on and off all day yesterday. Winter is definitely around the corner.

We are also getting ready for castle. What is castle you say? Well it is sort of like the Hollow Earth Swordworks' company picnic...but on a much grander scale. Friends and family come in from all over to attend.
It begins on Friday and ends Sunday evening. We usually have an attendance of at least 100 people on Saturday. There is much sword fighting, feasting, and merriment. I have a little faery hut set up for the wee ones where we craft, read and play games. It should be a lot of fun.

We have a lot to prepare for this event. Today I baked 2doz banana muffins, 2 doz cranberry orange muffins, a six batch of baked oatmeal, which by the way is a great quick and easy breakfast dish. You can bake it plain and sprinkle with dried fruit, nuts, or granola, and/or you can chop fruit and add to it before you bake it.

Baked Oatmeal

3 cups oats (I substitute 1/3 c corn meal, or any whole grain flour, or wheat germ whatever you want)
1/2 c sugar (you can use white, turbinado, or brown)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c butter or oil
2 eggs
2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp spices (any combination of cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cloves)
2 c chopped apples or any fruit (optional)
3/4 c nuts (optional, you can add coconut)

Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl. Pour in a 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.


... oops I realized that my link to Kid's Craft Weekly did not work. It is a great site and worth checking for those of you that are interested click here.

Tomorrow is the first day of December. We get to open out first envelope. Wahoo!!

Friday, November 28, 2008


"Every year at just this time,
In cold and dark December,
Families around the world
All gather to remember,
With presents and with parties,
With feasting and with fun,
Customs and traditions
for people old and young."

- Helen H. Moore

These are the first signs of December. I have not unpacked the decorations yet, but I had these tucked away and decided hang them up this morning.

I also watched The Holiday...again...and made an advent chain. I got the idea from my weekly email from Kid's Craft Weekly. She has great simple ideas and I look forward to her newsletter. I am excited. I think that it will ensure that I do one fun Christmas thing with Violet everyday. Christmas can be a very chaotic time around here. We always stay so busy trying to make and ship our sword orders. My goal this year is to remember the meaning and spirit of the holidays. I think it will be a lot of fun!


"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. "
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

No, this is not a deleted scene from the Labyrinth (remember the helping hands?), I got camera happy and started doing a series of just hands. They can tell a lot. I was able to get four generations of helping hands. Pretty sneaky huh? This is my Arkansas family portfolio. Texas family look out!

There were several new traditions brought to the table this year. First off, Kalin prepared his Grandma Lois' oyster patty recipe. Apparently these are a New Orleans tradition. When we were in Hammond, Louisiana this weekend...visiting Kalin's Grandpa and working the show ...we picked up the pastry shells and oysters for the recipe. They were a big hit.

I decided to make my Mama's sweet potato delight and Cranberry Orange Salad recipe. Yum! Everyone raved about those as well. My other contributions were green beans with bacon and onions (deglazing the pan with wine is the secret) and Grandmother's buttermilk pie. We had a very small attendance this year, which made it rather nice! (16 instead of 30-50)

Violet had her own contributions this year. She made pumpkin cupcakes and her own teeny versions of the pies that were being created around her.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Over the last week, I have been flooded with memories spent with my family during the Thanksgiving at our farm in Texas. It was such a wonderful placed filled with some of the best times of my life. Upon dressing up the table for fall, I was moved to take the picture of the farm house off the wall and place it with the other fall things that had collected there. I have enjoyed looking up and seeing it there. I am so thankful for those wondrous memories, for family and friends, for good food, and the hope for good things to come. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008


"I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines. "
~Henry David Thoreau

Well we have been home in Arkansas for a few days. I spent those days organizing and tiding up. Wahoo! Isn't a clean house grand!

Violet and I managed to squeeze some fun projects in as well.

I was inspired by Lois Ehlerts Leafman, an awesome and beautiful book. She collages fall leaves that have been scanned, and printed as soon as she finds them, in order to retain their color. Violet made her own versions - A leaf girl and and adorable rabbit by the name of "Piggy Pinkie." We also looked up some of the leaves and acorns that we had collected in our tree field guide. It was a fun project.

On another note, I have finally gotten my craft area organized. It is amazing how creative one can feel in and organized space.

I was able to finish several projects that I had been working on, including my flower broaches. I will post pictures later...I have to go finish packing, we are leaving for Louisiana in T-minus two hours...and counting...

Sunday, November 16, 2008


"He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate." ~Henry David Thoreau

This has been a great weekend. Kalin drove down to Houston to work at our Hollow Earth Swordworks booth so that Violet and I could stretch our visit just a little bit further.

I have been reminded at one of my favorite blog spots, Soule Mama, of the importance of slowing down and staying in the moment. Our lives speed past us at an amazing speed. This weekend we were able to slow down and really enjoy all being together.

Friday Violet and I spend the night with Mimi and Grandaddy, and had a bang up time. Saturday, Granddaddy chauffeured us around town to various yard and estate sales. Mimi, Liz and I found some treasures.

Later that evening I put Violet into bed early and had a girl night with Liz. We posted up on the couch to knit and watch girl movies. (29 dresses -CUTE, and The Holiday which we have watched countless times and never gets old)

The sock project continues. Liz has gotten pretty far.

I on the other hand have torn out and started over countless times.

I consulted my friend Becca who is a knitting genius. Did you know that when you are knitting stockinette stitch in the round, you just have to knit every stitch? This is unlike knitting with two needles, in which you knit one row and purl one row to achieve the lovely stockinette stitch. Apparently, these are good tidbits to know when you are knitting socks. I am now finally on the right track to sockdom. Wahoo!!

Sunday morning the couch-a-thon continued with cartoon watching, more knitting and a little bit of blogging. All in all a grand time for all.

We are leaving tomorrow with a pocket full of memories.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again. "
~Elizabeth Lawrence

Yesterday while I was catching up on some laundry at Liz's, Violet found a little nook to curl up in, and watch a bit of PBS. Auntie Lizzie's place rocks! Remember what it was like to be able to curl up into such small places? MAGIC.

Friday, November 14, 2008


" Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts. "
- Author Unknown

We are in Texas working our booth and visiting my family for a few days.

Last night after working all day, my mama whipped up a delicious mock Thanksgiving dinner. The food was tasty. I am going to have to get that chicken recipe. YUMO! No pseudo Thanksgiving meal can be complete with out the addition sweet potato delight. To thee I sing praises. AHHHHHH! It has become one of Kalin's favorite dishes. I am going to try it out this year at his mom and dad's house. It is destined to be a success. I love Thanksgiving. It is so nice to have family and friends all gathered together in celebration.

Anyway back to the dinner. Mama had the table fixed so pretty. Simple elegance is absolutely one of her specialities. She put Violet and me in charge of the non-alcoholic (Liz is on call so we kept wine off the menu) cocktails. The cranberries looked like little jewels floating amidst the sparking apple cider.

Mimi thought of everything - even a Happy Thanksgiving cake!! I think that this was a first for everyone, but Violet loved lighting the candles and singing "Happy Thanksgiving to you!"

Thank you Mimi! We all had a great time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting."

- Princess Elizabeth, Asquith Bibesco

While trying to still enjoy and acknowledge the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, despite stores like Wal-Mart etc putting their Christmas stuff out before Halloween and playing Christmas music in the store, I having been trying to keep Christmas gift giving in my mind. It always has a way of sneaking up on us, and I want to be able to slow down and enjoy all of its magical moments, without feeling overwhelmed. In the process I have found the neatest toy companies online. My favorites are Magic Cabin and Nova Natural Toys (where the inspiration for our good friend Berry Sue originated). Violet has gone through the catalogs and requested the fairy house. Kalin is working on his own version for her and I have decided to experiment with wet felting to craft some fairy dollies to go with it. I am very excited about this project and have several ideas I want to play with. I will keep you posted on the evolution of these little pixies.

Looking through these catalogs has been such a source of inspiration. I love all of the natural fibers and wood that are used in their products. I also love the simplicity - allowing the child to use their imagination in play.

It feels good to get a few of these Christmas purchases under my belt and feel the beginnings of the excitement that accompany the holiday season.

Violet and I have also mulled around a few joint handmade crafts ideas (no hints) and I think that they will be cute.

The little elves have to get cracking....

Friday, November 7, 2008


"There is more to life than increasing its speed"


In the midst of furiously packing for Texas, I had to slow down and take a minute. My pockets were full of leaves that I gathered while outside doing chores. I sandwiched them in between the layers of my lovely field gardener's press. I love it. It is portable enough that I can throw it in my bag when the mood strikes. It came with sheets of blotter paper which retain the color of the whatever medium I am pressing. I love it!!!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."

- George Eliot

Well fall is definitely here in the Ozark mountains. The leaves are changing. Despite all of the rain that we had this year, the leaves were not as brilliant as years past. Even so, this time of year is my favorite and there are a lot of beautiful colors out there.

We have been gathering hickory nuts and persimmons. Kalin and Violet had a fun cracking the nuts open on the porch.

I made persimmon bread and it was great. I used Mama's famous (it really is around these parts, quite a requested item) pumpkin bread recipe, and substituted persimmon puree for the pumpkin. I also added walnuts to the batter. Yummy delicious. I am going to try to crank some out tonight to take home to the fam in Texas.

We leave in tomorrow afternoon for Houston, where we will work the TRF booth and then head to Fort Worth, after the weekend.

We have been harvesting the last of the tender veggies from the garden. It has frosted a few nights. We managed to cover the pepper bed and eek out that harvest a little longer. After much anticipation the multi-color sweet bell peppers that I planted finally started to change color. Wahoo! Unfortunately they will not all have a chance to all turn before the weather turns too cold and that bed is put to sleep. I can't tell you how much joy it brings me to pick and cook with these jewels. I will definitely grow them next year.

I also picked all of the basil and wizzed up some pesto.

We have also been pecking away at our house. We worked all day on Sunday and got a ton of blocks moved on our handy dandy pulley.

You can watch a video of the contraption in action here. It is exciting and really starting to shape up.

Well gotta go, I have a ton to pack. I will see some of you soon. Lots of Love to all!!!!!