Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happy Doll Day!

Yesterday was Memorial Day - a day that we take the time to think of and thank the soldiers and families that sacrificed much to keep our nation free.  God bless them.

I spent the later part of the day doing something that I have not done in years - making a doll.  Granted it is a pretty simple doll - but I had a great time making her and was very thankful to find that the old skills are not gone - they've just been dormant.

The pattern I took inspiration from is from a Tilda's Studio book, copy right 2011 I think.  It's a pattern called cupcake angel. These type of dolls have been around a long time and similar patterns can be found all over the web.  I just happen to be a book junkie so I have had this book a few years.  Part of the reason for making this doll is that my son-in-law wants me to make physical dolls out of some of his line drawings.   Guess I need to practice a little first.  Another reason is I have way too much stuff in my stash of doll making materials and I need to use them - thus - another chapter in doll making may just start.

Here are some pictures of the making of Violet - I hope you enjoy them.  I may just do a video of my doll making process at some point - if I can figure out how to shorten the length of the video - it would be a mini series at this point - well maybe even a saga - and we don't need that.

Pattern was traced onto the muslin, sewn and then cut out
with pinking shears (aids in the release of tension on the
curved areas of the material)
turned right side out
slit for stuffing sewn closed on the back
Don't you love this little travel sized iron?  It works very well
I'm ironing the bottom trim material for pleating
doll dress top is sea-foam green felt and the hand pleated material
is pinned on for attachment by more hand sewing
It fits

More trim and a few pearls are added for decoration
hair and face are added - she's almost there
Meet Violet - she doesn't have wings - so she's not an
I hope you enjoyed this quick look.  Doll making is a lot of fun and you never know what you're going to get when you're finished - kind of like a box of chocolates.

Have a spectacular day!  K

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and a Lemon Meringue Pie - Happy May!

Another post today!  (And still one more to follow - busy weekend)

This past week found me in the kitchen a couple of times.  My daughter's fiance, Calvin had a birthday last week and I offered to make his birthday "cake".  Calvin isn't really a "cake" eater so instead I made him a lemon meringue pie from scratch.  I'm getting into whole foods and doing my own making and I'm enjoying myself - kind of going back to my roots and doing things the way I used to do them many years ago.  Feels good.  Here are some pictures of the pie:
Cooking the Lemon 
added to the baked pie shell
Meringue is spread on pie

Ready to eat!

This is the recipe I used from allrecipes.com  
I forgot to add the butter - but I've never used
butter in Lemon Meringue and it came out just fine
without it.

 Earlier in the week, I made up some strawberry rhubarb jam.  I had to buy the strawberries but the good news is that they are fresh and plentiful right now.  The rhubarb I grow myself and it's looking good although it's been a very dry spring here in upstate NY.  A few pictures:
Freshly cleaned and cut fruit ready to cook.
Cooking enough to release juices

Adding sugar - I think 4 cups in my case

Continue cooking to melt sugar and juices together
See the bubbling?  That's the foam starting this needs to be skimmed off

This is what "skimmed foam" looks like - discard it
Cook a little more - keep stirring

I turn the heat of and stir in a little nutmeg, cinnamon (not shown) and
a teaspoon of my homemade vanilla

ready to refrigerate and enjoy
I'm enjoying this with my morning greek yogurt and granola - a tablespoon of this mixed in is oh so very good!

I hope that you are living a life that is full of the things that make you happy.  k

Jacquelyn's Aquaponics project -

Good morning!  I hope this finds you well and doing what you enjoy.  My granddaughter, Jacquelyn, came over this weekend and among other things, we worked on an aquaponics system for a school project.  This project stems from one of our visits to Disney World where we went on the "Behind the Seeds" tour and saw first hand how Disney portrays "Living with the Land".  It is fascinating and I highly recommend it - so very inspiring - especially to young minds.  Anyway - here are a few photos and I uploaded a video of the experiment to my Kelly Bell YouTube channel.


I hope this brings you to it if you would like to see the process we followed.  Our thanks to Vinil Ratnakaran for his video using a 5 gallon water jug.  We decided to go even smaller for a school experiment and use a 2 liter Soda bottle.

Jacquelyn with her functioning system.

Preparing for the video - materials we used listed below.

2 liter soda bottle - cap and label removed
3 paint stir sticks (free from Home depot and re-used)
zip ties
Crop-a-dile hole punch - a dremel or a drill would work for the stir sticks hole punch is plenty for the bottle
Plastic cap from a bottle of salad dressing - with several holes drilled into it - we made many more holes than the ones shown in the video as the system didn't drain fast enough to prevent overflow - after additional holes it was perfect. (Initially we used a hammer and a nail to make the holes but I found my dremel and it went much smoother - although a hammer and nail work)
Small fountain water pump
aquarium tubing
aquarium gravel - I found out later that the kind we used may raise the PH level and harm plant growth - clay pellets or regular small gravel may be better.
Black spray paint - Jacquelyn explains why in the video
duct tape - can be any color - again - Jacquelyn explains it in the video.
scissors to cut the bottle
Hot glue gun to attach the salad dressing cap inside the bottle top for drainage in the plant area
T-square if you want the holes to be perfect.  (We used it on the first stick - then we used a white charcoal pencil to mark the rest from the first one used as a template.)

I think that was it - if you have questions just ask and we will try to answer them.

Enjoy your day!  K

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Another beautiful cool day here in Upstate NY

I took a walk out in my apple field today and recorded a short video - you can see the video on YouTube at: http://youtu.be/TV2pJZvrqGA

These are a few additional pictures from today.

The iris' are coming into bloom and are so stately!

The pink lilacs are getting very full
and smell so wonderful!

This is a bird house that my dad built
a long time ago - I'd say it's withstood the test
of time - it's been on that fence post at the
entrance to the field since around 1995.
Another episode in my day today was to wander over to the rhubarb patch and cut some stalks to make some Strawberry Rhubarb jam.  I didn't make a whole lot - but it will be very delicious on whatever we decide to eat it with.  (It looks beautiful too - which is always a bonus with food - isn't it?)

Cleaned and cut Rhubarb and Strawberries with a little lemon
juice in the pot ready to stew.
Starting the cooking process - the fruit begins to give off it's juice.
Add the sugar - this is a little blurry - must be sugar shock.
Continue to cook and melt the sugar.
Ah, cooking nicely - starting to bubble and the sugar is melted!
As it bubbles it begins to foam a little - this needs to be skimmed
off with the spoon.
Result of skimming the foam - discard it.
beautiful red color - almost ready.
This part is just me - the jam is ready to put in a jar at the last photo.
I like to add a little nutmeg, cinnamon, and some of my homemade
vanilla - kicks up the flavor even more.
Here is the final product - in a jar and ready for the refrigerator until
we get ready to eat it up.  *The portion I prepared made a little more than
this one jar - just enough this time that I won't need to do the canning
process.  (YAY!)
I hope you enjoyed today's foray into my landscape and then into the kitchen to play a little.  I've enjoyed showing you around.  I hope you have a blessed day - thank you for stopping by.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rock garden is started - I have a lot of gardens - too many? Nah....

It is cool today and overcast.  I took the opportunity to start to clean out the Rock Garden.  I think I've touched all of my growing areas now - I haven't completed them all - but they are started - weeding and clearing out anyway.  Most of them have been around here as long as I have been.  Here is a picture of the started work on the Rock Garden - this is after about 5 wheel barrels full of weed, leaf and just junk plant removal.
Left end of garden by Garage.

Middle and right end going toward the deck and the other
rock wall garden shown in the picture below.

This is my supervising help - Wally.  He's been doing a very good
job inspecting my work.  He's checking out the fire bowl now.
(You never know where you might find a snake.)

This is spicy oregano and sage - the beginning of a herb garden.
They may go in a pallet garden - not sure.
I thought it was supposed to rain today - it misted a little but I'm still waiting - as are my plants.  I don't want to water if it rains - but it's been so dry that I need to water if it doesn't rain - what a dilemma.  

I want to get some more lavender for the front garden and the rock garden.  I also need some rosemary and thyme.  I used to have these in quantity but they've all died out now.  I'm trying to think of a portable herb garden arrangement that could come inside in the colder months, but I'm not sure how that would work.  In the winter my sunroom is already full of house plants that spend the warmer months in residence on the deck.

The one task that I haven't done this year (as far as growing stuff goes) is the weed whacking.  (Gotta love the term...)  I have a re-chargeable battery operated one that also has an electrical port.  I really like it because it's Ryobi and fairly light.  I was going to do some of it today but my back is not very happy right now - so I guess it will wait until tomorrow.

Pretty soon I may start my craft work back up and my blogs will contain doll and paper craft content again.  It's hard to work inside in the short spring/summer months in upstate NY - the nice weather season is so short and even then - mowing grass never seems to end.  (Not my favorite part of summer.)

So until next time - be safe and be happy.  K

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mid-May and my eldest daughter's 38th birthday - where does the time go?

Wow - where does time go?  I've been retired about 13 months now and I can attest to the fact that I am not bored - I think the days have gotten shorter by half at least and I have twice as much to do.  I am loving it.  I just need to take the time to sit down and write about it - and do some video.  Life is good.

The first part of today I spent in the vegetable garden.  I am planting the same area that my late husband used to plant.  I'm doing it my way though.  I've created a boundary around the garden that I like a lot using cement blocks and landscape timbers.  I've also put up a makeshift pergola made up of a tarp and some tent poles for now.  Maybe by next year I will have the nerve to scavenge some lumbler and actually make a year round pergola for the garden.  It would be nice to grow peas and beans on while shading lettuce and other leafy greens.

I'm adding some photos that I took after I finished working in the garden.  This is a big blog post - lots of pictures to document some of the areas that I've been working on as well as the vegetable garden.  I have so many plans and ideas.  One of my new projects for this year will be to do some experimenting with Aquaponics and Hydroponics.  I bought some buckets to start out with and just need some PVC and aquarium pumps to get started.  Fun.
Marigolds, basil and seeds for radishes, carrots 
Hot Pepper plants and seeds for beets
View from the vegetable garden back to the house

Nasturtium seeds planted
Tomato plants, cucumber, yellow watermelon, yellow squash
and sunflowers
The undisrupted space to the right is Sunflower seed.
There will be three variety.  5-7 foot, 7 - 9 foot and 12 foot.
rock wall garden pink lilac
Peony garden
Iris and peony garden with a view
 back to house,
deck side.
This all takes a lot of time and labor.  I mow it and grow it.

Lily of the valley in front/right side of house

Wisteria in front of house
Birch stand at left side of house view
to vegetable garden.
Front Right of house.  Dwarf
bush, white snowball and lily of
the valley.

View back to field with
Apple Trees.  Red is a pole
barn and black "cannon"
are compost bins.
Another view of the Apple Orchard.

Left side of garage
facing the field.
Birch Stand showing
the shed.
White Lilacs by the Garage.
Rock wall garden with
Bleeding hearts.
Another bleeding
heart by the garage.

A cute aside about my compost barrels.  I use the word "cannon" to describe them in the picture because last weekend when my 9 year old grand daughter came for a visit she asked her mother why Nana has cannons in her field? - LOL - (survival of the fittest...)

I bought a small 5'X7' green house to put up.  I am thinking of starting the aquaponics in it.  This is a new adventure for me.  I've enjoyed gardening but it's usually flowers - Ted was always the bulk veg gardener of the family.  We shall see what we shall see.  Thank you for taking the time to look at the objects of my endeavor.  If you have any comments or questions I would love to hear them.

Have a beautiful day and enjoy every nano second.

About Me

My photo

I am a mother and a grandmother. I was married to my best friend, Ted for over 17 years.  I am now a widow - but have many wonderful memories.  I am an incredibly proud parent and grand parent.  I am very blessed. I live with five frisky cats, one extra large swim-e fish aptly named - Fish.  Fish is a very old member of the family too, like over 18 years.  There is also a five year old crazy dog named Wolowitz in residence - kind of in the middle of nowhere - but I kinda like it that way too. I worked for a tax department which I don't find at all interesting or full filling and just a blur in my mind now.  My main time soaking love, outside of the family and friends that are very dear to me; is creating and making artfully crafted objects that warm people's hearts and tickle their souls.  Who could ask for more than that?