Monthly Archives: September 2009

Babyandapplesnotincluded

  {crinkle comfort blankets available in my shop sometime today}

Here I sit at our old pine table on a most wonderful autumn day with cold fingers and a whipping wind.  Poppy is sleeping against my chest and I am wearing thick, striped, wool socks and layered yellow.  Listening to Yeasayer's Tightrope for what must be the 56th time since yesterday morning, I can't help but think to myself that it is time for some change and focus.

You may have noticed that I have been tweaking the look around here lately and it is beginning to feel a bit more like a space of my own.  I have, in my sidebar, links to my etsy shop, my blurb book, my flickr, a link to the talent that designed the new banner for both the blog and the shop, a fascinating map to show where my readers are coming from, blogs I love to visit and one of the most fun features is a list of links to love where I will share my favourite finds from the interwebs.

I have decided to take a hiatus from the weekly "it begins with a colour" challenge.  I can't give you a good reason other than the simple fact the I feel I need to.  I realize that I don't do well with writing specific things on specific days; it cramps my style and my process.  It has left me feeling a bit drained with the obligations of artist interviews, snail mail, photo challenges and promoting of others that I have little time to just write unabashedly and with occassional frivolity.  Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed these things very much and don't feel resentful in any way, but they have begun to take too much time away from my own living and writing.  It is time to give my time to knitting, sewing, mothering, wife-ing, baking and exploring. 

Rather than this being a place I avoid because I don't feel inspired enough to even attempt challenging or inspiring others, I would like it to be my place for my own trials and tales.   So I am reclaiming this space for myself by letting go of obligations and writing from the heart and maybe letting my freak-flag fly every once in a while.  Perhaps that will be inspiration enough or perhaps I will lose readers, but whatever the outcome I know I will be ok as long as I have my words to write, a family to love, bread to bake and friends to laugh with. 

Thank you for understanding and I do hope you will continue to follow my adventures in homemaking and creating.

Applesforpoppyanne2 

On a lighter note, the Apples for Poppy Anne Shop is officially open for business though the shelves are a bit stark.  Stocking shelves in an etsy store is proving to be a rather tedious job what with taking photos, re-sizing photos, writing descriptions, setting prices, organizing my thoughts, and figuring out shipping costs.  My plan is to add a few items each day so be sure to keep checking back for updates as I have lots of lovely items looking for new homes!

As a delayed sort of celebration, I am also planning a little giveaway for my loyal readers in the coming days, so stay tuned for a chance to win some Apples for Poppy Anne goodness!

 

e.

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nineteen

Sunday19

annette::erin

 

 

twenty

Sunday20

annette::erin

 

*two weeks of the good stuff* 

P.S.

listen.

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Triple Squash Soup

7 cups Roasted Squash (I used butternut, pepper, and buttercup squash)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion Chopped

4 Cloves of Garlic Chopped

1-2 Tbsp Pepper Medley (I used a steakhouse and garlic blend)

5 cups Organic Chicken Stock

Optional {but highly recommended}:  Tzatziki Dip for garnish

Roast squash until scoopable and set aside to cool.

Heat oil and cook onion, garlic, and spices for about 5 minutes.

Scoop out flesh of the squash and mix.

Add broth and bring to a boil.

 Use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth.

Serve in a pretty bowl and garnish with ½ tbsp of Tzatziki if desired.

 

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Basic Farmhouse Crackers

{as seen in Mary Jane’s Farm Magazine}

1 ½ cups Flour

1 ½ tsp Cream of Tartar

¾ tsp Sea Salt

¾ tsp Baking Soda

¼ cup Olive Oil

½ cup Water

1 egg

2 tsp Sugar

1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

¼ cup Sesame Seeds {I didn’t have any so skipped these}

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix first four ingredients together.

Add oil and stir until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add any spices or flavouring you wish at this point {I added rosemary and parmesan cheese to one batch and garlic powder and oregano to another} or leave plain if you desire.

Add water and stir until dough forms.

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, egg and sugar.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out very thin.

Brush with egg mixture.

Cut  into desired shapes and place on greased baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes depending on thickness and size.

Allow to cool on cooling rack and serve.

 

 

e.

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Bonjour

We have returned from a most lovely Quebec City.  We had a wonderful time eating croissants and wandering the cobblestone roads and narrow streets.  The Chateau glowed as though it were some magical castle upon a hill as we meandered the foggy boardwalk at dusk.  It wasn't hard to imagine we were in Paris and we couldn't help feeling slightly envious of the city's inhabitants.  Every street with its very own soundtrack of harps and song.  We ate breakfast beside open windows with the clip-clop of horse's hooves outside.  Even the simplest greetings sounded like happy french songs to our english ears.  Everyone we encountered spoke english and sadly never challenged us to speak french. 

I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed with myself for retaining barely an ounce of the french I took in school everyday for 10 years or more.  How lame.  So Mike and I made a pact that we would make it our goal to learn the language once and for all; a goal we have both hoped to one day fulfill.

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It was a lovely trip, but my heart ached for home.  You see, we recently inherited enough furniture and items from Gramma's house to refurnish our living room and beyond.  A couch and two antique chairs, a craft cabinet spattered with paint.  A spinning wheel and huge amounts of un-spun wool.  Cameras, jars, books and blankets.  I find myself burying my face into the cushions and blankets trying to commit the scent to memory as I know it will soon fade.  Salty tears mix with a pain I never knew takes my breath away when I realize I will never smell it again.  So I sleep under her blankets, knit in her chair and cook with her pans and quietly hope that she will one day visit Poppy with a message of love.

I finally rid our kitchen of teflon and plastic cooking utensils and began using Gramma's cast iron frying pan.  My eyes welled up as I made our first dinner and the heat released the smell of Gramma's cooking and home into my own kitchen.  Like the rings of a tree tells the tree's story, cast iron holds a homemaker's tale in its seasoned layers.

I don't know if it is the season or the comfortable antique chairs calling me to sit for a spell, but I am nesting like never before.  I have mentioned before that this house has felt impermanent to me, but with the addition of Gramma's things it somehow feels more complete and welcoming now.  I feel energized and rooted here now.  I sit in her chair and reacquaint myself with knitting projects tossed aside in the young days of spring.

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Yesterday Mike and I made 11 jars of spicy salsa from our very own tomatoes (barely making a dent in the abundance) and 4 jars of organic apple butter.  I now know the sweet satisfaction of snapping lids of the resting jars.  I think we shall buy a preserve cupboard at the Farmer's Market for our treasures.

The end of my paid maternity leave is looming and I fight the panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think of it so today will be dedicated to Etsy shop construction craft show searching.  There is something exciting and freeing about challenging ourselves to a frugal and simple life though.  I can't deny the thrill I get when I make something with my own hands or change an overripe banana's destiny to that of warm banana bread.  It is as though my body holds onto some sort of cell memory that responds and swells when I busy my hands and heart with the fading arts of homemaking.

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I am exactly where I am meant to be.  I am grateful and perfectly happy.  I will begin to weave while trusting the Universe to provide me with the thread I need.  I trust this sated warm feeling in the pit of my belly to be contentment {finally} in fulfilling a life purpose.

P.S. See more of our trip photos here!

e.

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Poppy-Love

Croppedpoppy

Goldpoppy

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We're off to Quebec City!

See you next weekend!

 

{e.m.p.}

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I am pleased to announce great snail mail success to you this morning!  After a little tweaking and some last minute submissions, all participants have been paired up and no one left out.  You should have received your email by now with you and your partners name in it.  Please email that person your mailing address and a friendly hello as soon as possible!  Then begin constructing one of the most lovely care packages you can dream up!

You can trust that the paring was done in true oldschool randomness.  The names were printed out and placed in a pretty bowl.  Poppy then drew your names with a little, but not much,3 help from mama and papa.  As I stated in your emails, the universe has conspired to bring you to this person so be open to whatever it is you may learn.

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I am cetain that the world will be a better and more energized place once the 60 {yes 60!} care packages of love and light begin production and circulation around the world!

Be Wonderful!

e.

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Mug

For all that has been, thank you.
For all that will be, yes.

It is in the earliest hours of a day that its potential rests.  Smooth mugs, damp grass and young sun.  Cool breezes and quiet potential.  It is much like the top of the ferris wheel where time seems to pause, if only for a moment, and you dangle.  You feel the wind in a way that is rare.  You see the world from a different angle.  It is in this quiet and still moment that you prepare for the descension into your day and activities demanding your attention.

Although circumstances don't always allow for cup of coffee or journal writing, these are my favourite ways to start a day.  I have many mugs and can't help but love this  oversized, white mug (despite the corporate logo *le sigh*).  There are many mornings I use my handmade pottery mugs glazed in soft blues and greens  while some days call for the bright red or orange variety.  Needless to say, the mug choice is important to me, but the quiet contemplation and written moments while Poppy plays are what make my mornings remarkable.

This week's challenge is to capture a morning ritual.  Where do you find your peace for the day?

e.

P.S. Remember, today at noon is the cut off time for participation in The Great Snail Mail Revolution!  We are well into the 40's now so it should be fun!

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eighteen

Sunday18

annette::erin

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Chipmunk bait

Mr. Chip Munk
The Laundry Room, My House
Lindsay, Ontario
K9V 1R2

Dear Mr. Munk;

First and foremost, allow me to apologize for Mr. Jelly's barbaric and unacceptable behaviour.  Mr. Jelly, in case formal introductions were skipped, is the black and white cat who rudely brought you into our kitchen.  I assure you that he is  a rather nice bloke once you get to know him though I am sure you have already formed your own opinions of him.  I understand that he removed half of your tail and do hope that you are recovering quickly from these very traumatic events.

I must admit, you have been a most delightful house guest and not as intrusive as one might think a wild chipmunk to be.  I hope that you have been pleased with my gracious hosting abilities.  I should tell you, It has not been easy protecting you from a repeat of the frightful Tuesday morning episode  with two dogs and four cats roaming their territory.  I also hope you have been enjoying the menu of almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cat food I have placed out for you, as well as the fresh water supply. 

However, as we are on day four of your visit, I can't help but think your family must be wondering where you are!  When I consider the rate at which the nuts and seeds are disappearing, I admit I am a little concerned that you have found the perfect place {that place being our laundry room} to hunker down in this winter.  Now, we are about to take great lengths in order to reunite you with your loved ones unharmed {except, of course, for you tail} and hope you will follow our lead.

So tonight, we will build you a ramp with nuts and seeds acting as a road map for your great escape.  I wish you well and hope you will spread a kind word about the humans who live in house number 29 to the fairy and gnome folk.  My hope is that we can let bygones be bygones and chalk it up to be a great tale to share with your grandchildren.

Godspeed.

With Warm Regards,

The Ellenberger-March Family

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Thegreatsnailmailrevolution

The first part of this project is a personal one, but one that I am very excited about.  I share it with you in hopes that you may find inspiration to ask your own family elders similar questions and record your own history.  I think about how I let time run out with my Gramma.  I think about all of the stories that were never told because no one ever asked.  I am saddened by the fact that Poppy,nor I, will ever know those stories of war and escape, caring for sheep or working in a cigar factory.  All of it is gone and it makes my heart ache.

As it turns out, I was able to have arather serendipitous visit with my Nannie this weekend.  She was born in Montreal and so I asked her how she found herself on a farm in the tiny town of Maynooth, Ontario.  What followed was a most enjoyable story of a request written to a farming magazine stating that she would like to experience life on a farm in Ontario.  43 letters, 3 of which were immediate marriage proposals,arrived offering their hospitality (all of which she still has!!).  I quickly realized that she has an impeccable memory and is a gifted story teller with tales of escape monkeys, trapeze artists and the sound of whippoorwills serenading them at the Lake St. Peter dances she would attend.  And so, the first, and very personal, goal for The Great Snail Mail Revolution is to begin correspondence with my Nannie.  Handwritten letters exchanged between generations.  Recording her very important memories and enthralling stories so that they may live and be known. 

Without further ado I announce The Great Snail Mail Revolution!

The Plan:

  • I will, in a completely random fashion, pair two strangers/future friends with each other.
  • I will then send the two people the email address of their partners so that a mailing address may be exchanged and mailing date may be set.  Please keep emailing to a polite minimum as we don't want to ruin the surprise!
  • The two people will then carefully craft a small package of found objects and a personal note to send to their partner.
  • This will act as a kick off of sorts and hopefully induce further snail mail correspondence.

A Few Friendly Guidelines:

  • After the initial email to exchange mailing addresses, each person should refrain from further electronic correspondence and should try to maintain a strictly handwritten connection whenever possible.

  • There is no need to purchase special items for your package.  Some ideas include leaves, sand, seashells, an extra copy of a book or cd  you may have, a piece of jewelry you never wear, a scarf, have your children create some art, create some art yourself, a recipe, etc. 
  • Get creative and be yourself.  Don't be afraid to infuse the package with your personality.
  • Each package should contain a handwritten note or letter to your snail mail friend.  Talk about the weather, the leaves, your plans for the day, your art, list your favourite things, make a list of random list of your traits and talents, etc.

    I felt it was necessary to lay down a few ground rules so that everyone is able to have a similar joyful experience when opening their package. Remember to enjoy yourself and be present in the artful task of creating a care package.

    If you are interested, please email me at applesforpoppyanne@hotmail.com "The Great Snail Mail Revolution" in the subject line and your first and last name (or last initial if you are not comfortable leaving full name), as well as your email and website (if applicable) all written into the body of the email in point form. All entries must be received by Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 at 12:00pm EST.

    All care packages should be mailed out on or around October 15th, 2009 (if this is not possible, be sure to arrange another date with your partner in the initial email)

    e.

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