Friday, May 9, 2014

Playing Catch-Up

This post has a little of everything. I've been so busy, I haven't had time to blog! Ugh!
Remember the linen/cotton yard I bought on sale in Brevard? My mom loved the look of that yarn, so I finished this shawl for her for Mother's Day and popped it in the mail. (This mirror photo is yucky because the mirror is very old.)
It's a simple knit stitch, but the texture of the yarn gives the shawl some complexity.
I had a bowl of strawberries left over from all the strawberry jam I made, so we had waffles and pancakes one morning, with strawberries atop.
So, so good!
This clematis grows happily in dappled light on a good friend's front porch. I wanted to share it with you.

I had a clematis one year in Iowa, but it died.
Adam and I did a run to "big town" to shop for soap-making stuff. He rode the electric wheelchair in WalMart.
He had his second physical therapy session. Here you can all see how much he can bend his knee now -- 45ยบ
It's difficult because the surgeon is very cautious, perhaps too cautious. His concern is that the work he did in the knee not be undone. We want that also. But the therapist's opinion is that more movement and a little weight-bearing would help the knee to heal very much. Delaying movement and weight-bearing only weakens the leg, stiffens the knee, and makes recovery more difficult. I see her point too.
They cleaned up the wound a bit, and Adam cleaned it more at home, so now the scar is much lighter. He rubbed my bee balm into it.
Julia went to her final art class session of the school year. They continue in the summer, but I give her the summer off school. She drew this lovely picture of a lady in formal dress. She told me, "Tell them that she's for sale for $5."
Bless her, she wants to make money from her art, and I think she can. Artists (young and old) always hear from everyone that you can't make any money doing art, and everyone believes it. But if people bought art from the artists, they would make money, and art would flourish, which we all say we want. All that to say, if you ever see some of Julia's art here that you'd like to buy for a little dab of money, ask in a comment. Perhaps, if her mother isn't too attached to it, we can strike a deal :)
Speaking of the arts, we're producing You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown in our little village, all volunteer, to benefit The Old Theater and enrich the community.
You see Lucy's doctor booth there, and the cast. They're giving the director a birthday gift. They're all doing a great job. We had the dress rehearsal last night with a handful of old folks from a local nursing home as our audience.
I'm playing the electric keyboard for the show. The score is written for a small orchestra, but we have a piano, keyboard, drums, electric bass, and flute. So I play all the extraneous parts (celeste, xylophone, melodica), plus fill in the piano line whenever I can. (A celeste is the sound you hear during the Sugar Plum Fairy song in the Nutcracker, high and tinkly like a harpsichord. A melodica is a bizarre instrument -- picture a small handheld keyboard with a reed attachment on one end. It sounds like a harmonica or an accordion.)
Here's the view of the stage from my spot next to the curtain.
We don't own the scores; they're rented. So I can't write in mine, and I use lots of sticky notes.
Since Adam's accident, he can't do much with his bees. It happened at a bad time, when the bees were growing in their hives and needed to have boxes added on top and frames moved around. We knew if we waited to do this, there was a chance they would swarm, an event when some of the bees leave the hive with a new queen and find a new location. Yesterday morning, one of our hives swarmed.
The swarm settled in a small tree in our front yard, a handy spot.
Adam called Christine, my friend with a small farm and a new hive of bees. She recently lost a hive, so he asked her to come in her suit and remove the swarm, place it in a box, and take it home.
And she did it! She did a great job. The swarm can now be happy in a new home and start settling in.
My soap inventory was getting low, so I made two batches this week. Below you see lavender loofah, lemongrass, lavender, and my new pumice soap (l-r).
I've decided to expand my product line a little by making a salt scrub for rough, overworked hands.
I also tried a crazy recipe for a lotion bar called Dandelion Lotion Bars. I changed her recipe some.
I did infuse a cup of dried dandelion flowers into safflower oil in a pint jar for two days. I must admit, it did not smell pleasant. Dried grassy material like that is kind of ewwww.
But I persevered. I strained out the flowers and melted that oil with beeswax, purified lard, some coconut oil and a little jojoba oil, plus some vitamin E oil, and these essential oils for scent: lemon, orange, lemongrass.
The bars are beautiful, and they feel wonderful. I prefer them for everyday use over my bee balm because I do a lot and wash my hands often, and it's inconvenient to apply a greasier balm. I prefer the balm for elbows, feet, and legs, and I use it on my face -- places where you apply the balm and it stays. But these bars are for hands.
I read quite a bit about using lard before I decided to do so. Her recipe calls for shea butter or cocoa butter, which everyone raves about. But from what I read, lard and tallow are excellent for our human skin precisely because they are animal products -- closer in cellular structure to what our skin is made of. And they are so creamy. The name "butter" when applied to shea or cocoa is beguiling, but in the end, they're all oils. I'm pleased with the bars. They'll be on my table tomorrow! I'm also making new labels for all my products, designing them online and printing them. I'm not much of a businesswoman; I enjoy the creative side of it all. But the "professionalization" has to be done too, so I'm told. Not my favorite task, but I'll try.

7 comments:

  1. Good morning, MK! Your "everything" post is full of great things! I know these are special times --- the Lord is blessing you richly. Have a creatively wonderful day there. That's what we're having here on the farm and enjoying the heat, doing most of our outdoor work early in the morning and evening. Hee haw from the donkeys and cheep cheep from the chicks --- and a hug from me!

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  2. Greetings to Adam, he gets better soon!your Shawl! I love your Clematies, you have a seeds that can send or sell me? my email janinalyrolin@gmail.com.
    hugs!

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  3. All your potions look beautiful and I'm sure your labels will too. You certainly have been busy but the warm days of summer will soon be here - ah summer, just around the corner.

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  4. What a busy and joyful post!

    Yes, Adam 'needs' to do some bending and standing on his leg, you do NOT want to become stiff as that will make recovery all the harder to do. Easy does it, but do it!

    I'm sure your Mom will love her shawl. I like how it turned out.

    Your soaps and lotions look great!

    I'm with you, creating is much easier than taking care of the business end of things.

    Have a lovely Mother's day ~ FlowerLady

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  5. You have a lot going on, busy girl! Yay!
    I love reading about your potions.

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  6. I've never heard of "lotion bars". What a cool idea! Can you recommend some books or websites where I can learn more about making this sort of thing? Fascinating! Making money with art is a difficult thing. I'm wondering how to do that myself! I'm looking at the craft fair idea sometime in the future. Thanks for the newsy blog post and congrats to Adam...45 degree angle on that knee! Woo hoo!

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  7. That dandelion bar looks so yummy - for my hands, I mean :-) That's interesting about the animal fats being well-suited to our "animal" skin. Do you ever use lanolin?

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