Thursday, July 31, 2014

July in the Rear View Mirror

Weather-wise, July was a strange month here at The Sticks.  Twice, for a week at a time, we had some really, really cool nights.  Cool as in the upper 50s!  Bad thing though… very little rain.  The yard is getting pretty well baked.  We have started bringing out the watering buckets (our 5 gallon buckets with a tiny hole drilled in them). 

No trips this month, except for a day trip to Nashville with my sister and family.  Yep… the babies came down to Tennessee!  What a blast that was!

We have done a lot of entertaining this month… large groups.  We did a spaghetti dinner for our Sunday School class and had a tea for my Homemakers club.  Fun!

We have been taking advantage of those cooler temperatures; we have been and are BUSY in the yard.  I’ll have several projects to share over the next few weeks.  I am so happy with what we’ve been getting done!

With the work outside and our entertaining, not much has happened inside.  The studio is coming along slowly but surely.  I have a couple room makeovers planned for August.  I’m excited about those!

In fact, August seems like it is going to be our Makeover Month!  Lots of changes planned…

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Southern Night: Cicada and Lightning

We are experiencing some wonderful cool mornings and evenings this week.  Perfect for another round of yard work.

But this great weather came in with a round of thunderstorms.  Here at The Sticks two strong cells passed on either side of us.  We got a few drops of rain (which we are needing badly) and some lightning.  Not enough to stop the summer cicada from singing.

From our back deck...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Simple Book

I've always been fascinated by hand bound books.  So when I had the opportunity to take a class on Japanese 'stab binding' I jumped on it!  

Each place at the table had a kit waiting for us that we would make two books from.  We then were able to chose the papers we wanted for the books.

This is the paper I picked for my 'hard' cover book.

And this is my soft cover book.  It is the book we started with.

You get everything cut the same, then clamp it down so it doesn't move.  Then with an awl you push through to make holes in the pattern of the binding you have chosen to do.

Then it is time to start stitching.  

It is slow work because if you pull too hard on the needle as you work it through... it breaks.

Almost done!

And here is my finished book!

I used different colors pages 'just because'.  I'm not yet sure what I'm going to use it for.  But it will be for something special, that much I already know!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Salud! at Whole Foods: Chinese Carryout (recipe Fortune Cookies)

Another Whole Foods cooking class last week.  This one was part of their 'kid's camp' week long series (we only worked one of those days!).  The day we worked was "Chinese".  And I'm going to share the 'Fortune Cookie' recipe because it was soooooo good.  (Yes, I know fortune cookies are not really Chinese... just think of the class as Chinese carryout).

The biggest trick to making the cookies was to do them in small (very small) batches and work with them quickly once they are out of the oven.  They get crispy as they cool and they cool very fast!  Double gloving helps with the heat.

After folding, set in a cupcake tin to keep them in shape as they cool.

Perfect cookies and BETTER than at a restaurant!

You'll need to keep a good eye on the first few batches to see how they cook in your oven.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Buy Local: Natural Mulch

In getting our yard under control we use wood mulch... and we need a lot of it.  Fortunately just 4 miles down once you get to the main road, there is a company that does natural mulch and composting.  They are called "The Compost Company"  

They take this... 

...and turn it into THIS!

No loading, they do it all.

He does a great job getting it packed in.

See... I told you it was packed! (It's darker than this sun exposed photo shows - the below shows it better).

That is one cubic yard of mulch.  It cost just $25.  If we had bought it in bags at a big box store it would have taken almost 14 bags and would have cost us about $46.  And those bags would have had dyes and chemicals in them.

Here's a sneak peek at one of our projects that we will finish this week with the coming round of cool mornings. 

To find out if there is similar business near you, contact your local agriculture extension office or a nursery that does not sell mulch.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Day for Us

There is Mother's Day and Father's Day.  There's even Grandparent's Day.  But who would have thought it... there is an Aunt and Uncle Day!

  And today is the day!

My aunt and uncle are one of a kind,

A little goofy but are quite a great find.

They like to play the same silly games,

And are always calling me strange little names.

They love to hug and kiss, tickle and squeeze,

And sometimes I even bounce on their knees.

I like it so much I can't help but grin,

I know it's their hearts I'll surely win.

by:  Bernadett Redmond

Meeting Little Bird

She was born in August while I was in Tennessee and Himself was in Alaska.  I got up to MO the next week, so I met her when she was about 4 days old and Himself met her a couple days after that (he flew into St. Louis).  

The first time she locked eyes with me, I was lost.  I knew this Auntie stuff was going to be awesome.

He's already wrapped firmly around one of those tiny fingers.

Then joy of joys... we got to do it again the next year!

This time ol' Auntie was on hand for the big day.  Dad and I had Little Bird babysitting duties over Little Hoss' forthcoming arrival.  He was only a few hours old for our first cuddle.

It was two months before Himself made it home.  But those two didn't waste any time bonding.  Little Hoss looks like he realizes that this will be his rowdy playmate... "come on Unca"!

(Sometimes they BOTH get in trouble for the games they think up!!)

My how they are growing.  Both of these photos were taken in June at the St. Louis zoo.

Being an Aunt and Uncle is such a blast!!!

Thanks Sis and Big J for letting us be such a part of their lives!

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Visit to Opryland Hotel

Part of our visit with my sister and family was to check out the Opryland Hotel.  It had been years since Himself and I had been, so we were curious about the changes after the flood a few years ago.  Big J had never seen it.

We spent most of our time in "The Delta" area.

It's really fantastic.  That 'river' you see has a boat ride going through it... and this is all INSIDE the hotel.  Strangely enough, finding info on these beautiful inside areas is nearly (or maybe completely) impossible to do on the Gaylord Opryland hotel web site.

Everyone enjoyed looking out at the 'river'.  

There were a lot of very large fish and even a flatboat ride.  Unfortunately it would be over $60 for everyone to ride so we watched instead.

There were many levels and places for the kids to explore, which they enjoyed very much.  We all enjoyed the fact it was nicely air conditioned too!  It was in the mid to upper 90s outside!

There are so many photo opportunities in the three areas (The Delta, The Cascades, and The Conservatory). 

Over in The Cascades the kids were fascinated by "The Dancing Waters".  The fountains shoot water jets in different patterns from one rock to another or sometime straight up.  

There were also some really big koi in the pond too.

In The Conservatory it is like taking a walk through a tropical garden... without the heat.

For a moment we thought Little Hoss was going to dunk his sis!

But she stayed dry!

Back over in The Delta they burned off more energy while we adults sat, sipped a soda, and gathered energy.

Gotta get that shoe on tight!  I love this shot of him!

There are a few strange critters in the hotel.  The kids had fun with this photo op.

This strange person was a bit scarier...LOL.

The hotel area is a nice cool place to spend a hot summer day.  Beautiful views (bring your camera!) and good food are there waiting for you.

A tip:  If you want to visit the hotel, be aware that the hotel parking is $21 dollars!  Yes... $21.  So to avoid that, park at the very end of the mall's FREE parking lot.  There is a short walkway over to the hotel that brings you to an entrance that leads right into The Delta area.  You can drop off people at most of the entrances then drive around to the parking lot if you need to.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

...Another Monkey Jumping on the Bed

Sis, Big J and the babies came down to The Sticks for a visit this week.  For the visit we slept in my studio on an air mattress.  The kids thought this was the neatest thing ever.

Each morning we would have little visitors.

It would start out quietly enough...

Visiting and playing with Pink Ducky.

Then it would start getting a bit more lively...

And turned to downright rowdy!

Yep... Unca Himself and Little Hoss are most definitely cut from the same bolt of cloth.

Morning squeals are fun too... after ol' Auntie Teri has had her morning cuppa!