Thursday, April 18, 2019

Rock Painting with Triton Paint Pens -The Kindness Project (sponsored)

My girl and i had some fun with paint pens yesterday.   We are painting rocks for the Kindness Project again this year. These #Triton paint pens are great for Rock Painting - Ceramic, Wood, Metal and Glass. They come in a set of 12 vibrant colors and are easy to use. They have a .7 mm fine tips for details and are fast drying. The super fine tip is good for dotwork. They are waterbased and non-toxic.

 They have a .7 mm fine tips for details and are fast drying. The super fine tip is good for dotwork. They are waterbased and non-toxic.  We decorated quite a few rocks, but my rocks are a bit rough and it was hard to make nice lines.

So i had the idea to try applying vinyl decals, and then using the paint pens to color them in. i pained a base coat over the rock first, but i'm not sure if that's necessary.  i cut out my vinyl decal using my Silhouette cameo 3 and weeded it so it was ready to transfer.

Then i used transfer tape to lift the decal off the carrier paper and transfer it to the rock.  It stuck really well.  i rubbed it good before removing the transfer tape. 

Once the design is transferred to the rock, you can begin painting it.  

The paint pens work great with the vinyl, and if you accidentally get a little paint on the vinyl it's easy to wipe off without effecting the design.  We really loved working with these paint pens, the fine tip is really good for writing and for the details. i just need to find some smoother rocks.  Once we have these finished we'll put a layer of  Mod Podge Outdoors over them to seal them. We are looking forward to hiding a few rocks around town this summer. 

You can find more info about the paint pens we used here .

disclaimer. i did not receive compensation for this post, however i did receive a free product to review in exchange for my opinion. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way. This post may contain affiliate links

Spring Harvest- Garden to Table Meals

Garden season is here!  Although it' still too early to plant much more than seeds, we are still starting to harvest fresh food.  Our hens have been laying well, so there is no shortage to fresh eggs.  My asparagus is starting to come up, and besides the asparagus is also full of chickweed.

Although chickeweed is considered a weed by many, it's a tasty edible that can be used in place of spinach both fresh or cooked.

Our shiitakes have been producing all winter, but are really popping now. i have about lbs in the fridge at all times and we've been cooking with them almost daily. They are a thick hearty mushroom and really make a fabulous meal.  We are also starting to get oyster mushrooms again, and morels should be popping soon. Our freezer is still stocked with chanterelles from last year's mushroom season.

New asparagus just coming up. Although i have an established asparagus bed, we put in about 50 new crowns last year.  So we are expecting a fabulous harvest this year.

My first Harvest meal, from garden to table was an amazing omelette stuffed with fresh picked mushrooms, asparagus and chickweed. Everything was homegrown except the cheese and seasoning. Everything was picked fresh / collected that day.

Then for dinner i made a creaky mushroom fettucine using shiitake, chanterelle (frozen from last year) and Oyster mushrooms, chickweed, garlic and asparagus.  The butter and cream came from our cow share. The only thing store bought was the pasta noodles, Parmesan cheese and seasonings.

Garden to Table Mushroom Fettucine.

1 lbs fettucine noodles
1 lbs fresh mushrooms sliced ( i used shiitake, oyster and  thawed Chanterelle)
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup heavy cream 
1/4- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch chickweed or spinach (washed and chopped)
1/2 lbs asparagus
salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to directions and set aside.
While Pasta cooks. Melt the butter in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. 
Add garlic and cook until fragrant about 2 minutes. 
Add the mushrooms and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until they have released their liquid and become tender. 
Add chickweed/spinach and Asparagus and saute a few more minutes until asparagusis tender crisp.
Add the cream and most of the parmesan cheese and cook until mixture thickens.  Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss well until pasta is well coated. transfer to your serving dish and top with addition Parmesan cheese.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

STOMP at the National Theatre (Flash Giveaway!)

STOMP is hitting the stage April 23rd through April 28th at the National Theatre! It is explosive, provocative, sophisticated, utterly unique and appeals to audiences of all ages. With an eight-member troupe, they use everything but conventional percussion instruments – matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms.

The return of the percussive hit also brings some new surprises, with some sections of the show now updated and restructured, utilizing props like tractor tire inner tubes and paint cans. As USA Today says, “STOMP finds beautiful noises in the strangest places.” STOMP. See what all the noise is about.

Plan on a run time of approximately 95 minutes with no intermission.  Children under the age of four are not permitted to attend the show.

STOMP at The National Theatre Giveaway
Enter to win two tickets for Tuesday, April 23rd at 7:30pm!
Rafflecopter form may take a minute to load. 

Giveaway ends on April 20th, and winner will have 24 hours to reply or a new winner may be chosen.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Spring is Springing!

i hate to get to ahead of myself, especially when it comes to Spring. Our frost free date isn't until around May 15th, but when it's 70 degrees and everything is blooming in April i get a bad case of Spring fever!!

i have 6 peach trees in full bloom! Last year we didn't get any peaches because of a late freeze, so i am really hoping they make it this year. It's been a few years since we've had a good peach harvest.  Our main peach tree died a few years back, and all the ones we have now were grown from seed from that original tree. So it's taken a few years for them to be producing peaches.

Blossoms bring butterflies.  i spotted a couple Comma butterflies over the last few weeks, but this week i spotted my first swallowtails. 

They are loving the peach blossoms.  This time of year when i step outside i can hear the peach trees buzzing from all the bees and pollinators that are covering it. 

Our shiitakes have been producing all winter, but now that spring is here they are really starting to pop. We plugged more logs last year, so i'm eager to see what we get this year.  We plugged more shiitake, but also pink and yellow oysters, lions mane, and chicken of the woods.

These are wild oyster mushrooms that come up every year on a Poplar stump near the goat fence. 

Blue oyster buttons, just coming up.  i don't like the taste of these as much as i like the shiitake and chanterelles, but they sure are pretty when they come up in a big cluster.

Spring means so many eggs!!  Pretty happy with my egg colors this year. i have a 3rd generation Olive egger, and several that lay pinkish/lavender colored eggs.  i have about 5 hens trying to set, but we are trying not to hatch out anymore babies this year. Especially no more of the wild ones that lay the boring cream eggs. i'm really trying to thin down my flock and focus on the pretty egg colors.

We should be finding morel mushrooms soon, but i haven't spotted any yet. i've been out hunting every day, checking all of our regular spots. i thought perhaps with the temps being warmer this year, we might see some popping early, but so far that hasn't been the case.  i think we probably have another week or so before we start to see them.

i'm loving the warmer temps, have my spring garden mostly planted. Spring fever has me wanting to be outside all the time though, and i really need to get myself back in the glass shop!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

God Save the Queen! Honey Bee update.

Earlier this week we did a full inspection in the bee yard.  All of our hives survived the winter. We have 4 full size hives and 3 nucs.

 All hives are looking great except the Hufflepuff. They are getting ready to overthrow their queen (supersede). About a week and half ago the hive was full of capped brood and larva, but when we check them yesterday there was no capped brood and only a few larva. We spotted the queen, so she is still there...but she's not doing her job. So they are attempting to raise a new queen to supersede her.

We have a few different options that we could do. We could cull the queen (kill her) and introduce a new queen, or let nature take it's course and hope that they are able to successfully raise a new queen on their own.

We decided to allow them to raise their own queen.  We gave them some frames of eggs and larvae from another hive, and are hoping for the best.  This photo is a supercedure cell, and it's where they will raise their queen. Once the queen hatches, she'll most likely kill the old queen and go on a maiden mating flight to seek out drones from a different hive to mate with.  She will then return to lay eggs and act as the ruling queen.  It's all a little risky, but we are hoping it all works out other wise we could lose this hive.

 All other hives look good, we'll be doing some splits soon to hopefully prevent swarming. The bees are bringing in all kinds of different colored pollen. Red, orange, yellow and green!

They love the Dead nettle, this guy is covered in pollen.

i had no idea there were so many different colors of pollen.   You can see red, orange, yellow and green in the hive! 

i found this chart online to help identify some of the pollen colors. Right now our peach trees are in full bloom, but the bees can travel up to 2 miles radius looking for pollen. So i'm not sure what all they are bringing in.

We are hoping to pull honey after the next big honey flow. A bit disappointed that we probably won't be getting any from Hufflepuff while they are busy trying to raise a new queen instead of focusing on honey production.  i'm just really hoping that the new queen survives and can save the hive before it's too late. God save the queen!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Help Grow The Rebellion! Another Rebel Gardens Giveaway!

A few weeks ago i hosted a giveaway for Rebel Gardens.  It was so much fun, we decided to do it again!  Rebel Gardens is growing company out of Canby, OR that offers organic, Non GMO, Heirloom Seeds.  On the surface Rebel Gardens is just a seed company. But under the surface they are actually something a little different.  Their real goal isn't just selling seeds, the real goal is undermining the industrial food system. In a nutshell they believe that our modern food system is not healthy for our bodies, for our planet, for anything really and they we want to be a part of the solution.

"Rebel Gardens is about invoking the spirit of WW2 Victory Gardens. But this time we grow not to support a war but to support a Rebellion. The industrial food system is slowly destroying our health and we are not going to take it anymore. Plant a seed with us and grow the rebellion! "

Rebel Gardens offers several different seed collections. They have a Culinary Variety pack that contains 10 packages of  organic herb seeds.  An Heirloom tomato collection (my personal favorite) with 8 different heirloom varieties, the Survival seed collection which is the best value 28 seed packs for $19.99 and many others! All of their seeds are certified organic, non-gmo, heirloom and USA grown and packed!

So are you ready to help grow the rebellion?

The Generous folks at Rebel Gardens have offered an Heirloom Vegetable Garden seed Collection and a set of Gardening tools

Can't wait for the giveaway? You can purchase them here.  

Now for the giveaway!

 One lucky reader will win the Vegetable Garden Collection and a set of Gardening tools!

Enter below using the rafflecopter form (it might take a minute to load). One entry per person/IP address. US only. The winner will have 48 hours to respond by email or another winner may be chosen

Connect with Rebel Gardens

You can find them on Facebook at 
Also you can add Rebel Gardens on messenger chat to be kept up to date about future contests and coupons. 

disclaimer. i did not receive compensation for this post, however i did receive a free product to review in exchange for my opinion. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way. This post may contain affiliate links.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Hanging Rock State Park- Hiking Season is here!

We finally had a beautiful weekend and decided to spend a day hiking. It was much needed after what felt like the longest winter ever!  We decided to go back to Hanging Rock, which we hiked a couple years ago. Besides the hike up to the top of Hanging Rock there are several other trails and 5 waterfalls in the park.  The last time we came we only saw three of the waterfalls, so i wanted to come back and see the other two.

First we did the short hike to Hidden and Window Falls. There were actually a ton of people hiking, and hanging out at the falls so we didn't stay long at either fall.  This is Window falls.

This one is Hidden Falls.  Both are nice, small falls that you can walk right up to them and climb the rocks near them.  They are both on the same trail right off from the visitors center. After we hiked back to the parking lot, we decided to hike up Hanging Rock.

This is the view of Hanging Rock from the visitor center parking lot. We hiked all the way to the top! 

Just to give you an idea of where we hiked up to, you can see folks sitting on the 'hanging rock'  here.

My husband and daughter were the only ones brave enough to walk all the way to the edge. My son and i made it about half way out before deciding our knees would turn to jelly if we walked out any further.

We found a spot not quite as scary to sit and relax on.  Directly across from us is Buffalo Mountain in Floyd, Virginia (home).  It's hard to see in the photo, but you can see it in the one below.  We could also see Pilot Mountain to our Left, although i didn't get a photo of it.

That mountain hump right in the center of the photo is Buffalo Mountain, which is just down the road from us.  It's pretty neat to be so far from home, and still be able to see the Buffalo.  It's the highest point in Floyd County and can be seen almost anywhere in the county.   If you take route 8 out of Floyd toward NC, it will take you right to Hanging Rock.

After we hiked back to the parking lot, my kids were tired and of course didn't want to see the other water falls. We did hike out to see the Upper Cascades, which is a super quick kick...but still didn't get to see Tory's waterfall or the Lower cascade which is the whole reason i wanted to come back to Hanging Rock. Looks like we'll just have to come back again next year. :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Festival Season is starting!

We are finally making our way out of the winter funk, and spring flowers are popping up everywhere. i have a feeling we'll get one more snow before it's over, but it is officially spring. Spring means festival season!!  i only have a few things scheduled this spring/summer so far, but will be adding more to my event calendar as i schedule things.

Indian Valley usually has a Fall Fest, but last year's fall festival was cancelled due to bad whether so this year they are having a Spring Fling on April 5th instead. This is mostly an event for the kids, but they do have a handful of vendors too and i set up at it every year.  The vendors are usually a lot of Scentsy, 31 bags, Lularoe etc but there are usually a handful of craft vendors as well. It's not a great show, but i always do alright for it only being a couple hours long, and it benefits the school.

This will be my first year doing Mayfaire which is held outside at the Floyd Center for the Arts (formally) the Jacksonville Center.  Hopefully the weather will behave, since it outside. The last event i was set up at there was a complete washout, when a huge thunderstorm came through.  This should be a fun family event with the food vendors, drumming circle and performances by the Mystic Witches. 

Market season is also starting up again. i'll have a table at the Floyd Artisan Market every Friday Night. It runs from May to October from 5-9pm.  Just up the street from the Floyd Friday Night Jamboree.  So if you are in town for the Jamboree, be sure and stop by the Market!

Floydfest isn't until July, but i'll be hosting a few workshops in the Children's Universe so i'm already thinking about it too! It's going to be a great time!  They have a good line up this year, and i really enjoyed volunteering last year so it should be fun! 

So far that's all i've got scheduled, but i'm looking for more opportunities for the summer and fall.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Dusting off my sewing machine.

A couple weeks ago my daughter asked if we could get her sewing machine out so she could work on making a cosplay outfit.  i got the machine all set up and ready to go, but she decided she wasn't in the mood to sew anymore. So i got out some fabric and decided to make a few rag dolls.

i do most of my sewing on the machine, but these dolls and my Waldorf dolls both require a bit of hand sewing as well.  The arms and legs are attached with the machine, but the head is attached separately by hand using a ladder stitch so no stitches are visible. By sewing the head & neck separate it allows me to pack the neck and body really firm, so it doesn't end up floppy.  i've found it difficult to do this if the head and torso are all one piece.

The biggest struggle i always have making dolls is choosing the fabric for their clothing and accessories. i have so many gorgeous fabrics, it's really hard to pick.  i have a bin of premade clothing  i made so once i have the dolls hair and face finished, i can find an outfit that matches the personality i'm trying to create.

i've been having a ton of fun putting them together. i always start off with the plan of making basic rag dolls, but then i can't stop adding jewelry, bags, hats and sweaters.  i'm trying to keep them mostly simple, but the accessories are so much fun.  

The hair is hand sewn in three layers, a trick i learned while doing Waldorf dolls. It gives the look of having a full head of hair, without having excessive amounts of yarn weighing down the head.  i still have to finishes the faces on these but i love the way they are turning out.

A little more progress on these ladies. It's been a while since i've done a lot of sewing having taken a break to focus on my glass work last year.  i forgot how much i love it.  i already made a few dolls since getting this picture, and just bought more fabric to make more.

Ragdolls are a really fun and easy project to make.  If you are new to sewing, you can find all the information you need to get started sewing at Teach You to Sew. You'll find information about the best sewing machines, different types of needles, notions, supplies and everything you'll need to get started.  i created my own basic pattern for these, but you can find similar ones online.

i'm really hoping my daughter will regain her interest in sewing so we can work on a few projects together. A few years ago she really got into it and made herself a couple pokemon plushies, a few pygmy puffs and animal ear headbands for all the girls in her class. :) 

i'll have these dolls available for sale soon. i have a few craft shows coming up next month, and then i'll eventually get them listed for sale on my website.

disclaimer. This is a sponsored post. It contains affiliate links and i do receive a small compensation for posting.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Bread Baking obsession

i've really been enjoying the process of making (and eating) homemade bread. So much so, that's i make at least one loaf a week.  i'd like to start making sour dough with a starter, but so far have just been making simple breads like challah and a basic honey white bread.

This recipe  by Don't Waste the Crumbs blog is my current go to for basic bread. It uses a little honey and coconut oil. i've been trying to find more recipes that use honey (since we'll soon have an abundance) and this one is just fantastic. 

Challah bread is the other bread i've enjoyed making. i use this recipe, but do a 4 strand brain instead of the double braid in the recipe. i've pretty much fallen in love with braiding bread.  

"The braided bread loaves were invented by the women of Teutonic tribes, who used to make offerings of their own hair to their Goddess. Eventually they learned to preserve their braids by substituting the imitative loaf, which was called Berchisbrod or Perchisbrod, bread offered to the Goddess Berchta, or Perchta."

i love to do the traditional 4 stranded Challah, and have also begun doing a braided round.  i was orginially just doing these as the plain honey white or wheat bread, but occasionally add filling as well.

Braided rounds  filled with cinnamon and sugar.  It way too good like this and we devoured this loaf quickly. 

This a garlic butter braided round, with a cinnamon sugar braid round behind it.

The Challah bread is my kids favorite because it is slightly sweet.  We've found it makes fantastic french toast, especially when it's filled with cinnamon and sugar. 

These are my go to recipes at the moment, but i'm always looking for new bread recipes to try. i'm planning to make a sprouted seed loaf and get started with the sour dough this month. i'm also going to try getting a bit more creative with my braiding.