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Cleaning Up, Cleaning Out

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It’s been a while since I’ve written! Call it winter doldrums, call it not keeping it up, but we’ll call this post a nice big catch-up. The last entry was for the annual Pie Party. The following week we were set to go to the New Jersey Pie Party, but snow prevented us from making it. [The first pie party ended with us driving home in a blizzard on the PA Tpk, an event which was terrifying and made Paul and I extremely wary about going out in bad weather.] We didn’t make it to the party, but we all got to enjoy the pie that I’d made for it–Sour Cream Lemon Pie.  I’ve made this pie several times before and man is it a winner. Just look how beautiful it is when you swirl the sour cream into the homemade lemon curd:
Lemon Pie

Lemon Pie

The bad weather was followed by a “warm” day, which was so exciting we all went for a walk down to the river. It’s been partially frozen, slushy, melts, re-freezes, and so on. No giant ice floes like last year, but still fun to look at.
O Sunny Day!
Yeah that’s right. Paul is wearing shorts here and I’m not wearing coat. We were giddy with the warmth of 40 degrees.
O Sunny Day!

I’ve also been undertaking some organization/cleaning out projects. Basically I’ve had lots of those projects that I intended to do once school started and have only just started them. It’s almost like a reverse nesting. In anticipation of (hopefully) going back to work this year and a new phase of our lives I need to get the house in order. I know it will never be a tidy, spare type of house, and that’s ok, but really some things were out of control. After the roaring successes of my closet, floor, hall “closet”, and some other areas, I turned my attention to some more fun types of things I’ve been wanting to tackle-fabric and recipes. For the fabric I decided to go for it and try the “Scraptherapy” approach I’ve read about. Basically taking your scrap fabric and cutting it all into squares of a specific size. I had some hemming and hawing-what if I needed a bigger piece? What if I didn’t want it as a square? But ultimately decided that my wadded up scraps weren’t doing me any favors and there’d always be more scraps coming down the line. It took a shockingly long time to just go through ONE bag of fabric (there are more to be tackled)-ironing things took a while. But I’m delighted with my supply of 3 1/2″, 2 1/2″, and 2″ squares. I can save them for a special project, or if I ever just want to use them up just sew them all together into a patchwork scrap quilt, or I’d even happily let Tabby use them to make her own first quilt.
Cutting scraps

Going through all that got me inspired to begin working on a Christmas quilt project. I dithered so much about design and whether or not I really loved the fabric anymore, but a sewed up a couple of blocks as a sample and decided finally on a Sawtooth block, alternating with red and green (it’s really more of a turquoise and coral color palette,which makes this fabric collection so interesting) backgrounds.
Christmas blocks

Christmas blocks

This is the first quilt I’ve made where I’ve calculated blocks and pieces and had to see written out- 240 2 1/2″ squares and find it a bit daunting.

The recipe reorganization was also a more than one day project. As you know, I love to cook, and for many years dealing with my recipes has been a recurring project. This time I sat down, determined to weed the collection down to only things I knew for sure I’d be cooking or were tried and true. I tried to be honest with myself about what I really needed and whether or not there was a recipe in one of my cookbooks I preferred. It was like a little trip down memory lane as I’d paged past some of these recipes what seems like a million times. I was once quite the mad Cooking Light clipper. If you only looked at the collection you would think that I a)often cooked chicken with artichoke hearts b)constantly hosted cocktail parties featuring a variety of tasty little finger foods. Neither one of those things is true. I am thrilled to have gotten the collection down to less than half of its previous size, and the remaining recipes are re-organized for easier, quicker access. It also made me feel very inspired to do some menu planning. And of course it led to a cookie recipe testing. (Consensus-these coconut cookies were a keeper.)

2015-02-27 14.21.22

And meanwhile, like everyone else, we’ve just been trudging along in the winter weather. I usually like the snow to last as long as possible, but I think I’m ready for a thaw. Though I dread the thought of the ensuing mud and puddles. The chickens are pretty fed up with the snow as well. Look how cute Gordon is, basking in the sunshine in a flower pot.
Potted Bunny
I know spring is definitely on the way, though. Instead of looking down at the snow covered ground-look up. I went for a walk on a sunny day last week (still cold, but the sun!) and the whole time a very active pair of red tailed hawks was by me. (the only time of the year they pair up; and bald eagles are laying their eggs now if you check out some eagle cams) I could hear birdsong galore, and in our own coop a little spring fever has gotten into our head rooster. He handily confirmed for me that the young chicken that looks like a Silkie is,in fact, a hen. So, take heart-spring is on its way!


About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

2 responses »

  1. I live in a little town on the Ohio River now and I think we have a pair of Bald Eagles nesting near my house! I saw one sitting in a tree by the river and another about to land the other day. It is so exciting – will keep you posted. I drive home via the river road every day now in hopes of seeing them again. It will never get old for me.


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