Monday, June 26, 2017

Strawberry Jam and A Sale

This past Saturday Adam, Jemimah and I went to a local farm to pick strawberries. Our own strawberry patch is still quite small and most of the few berries we had were eaten by a mysterious critter. However Saturday proved to be the perfect day to pick strawberries! The sun was shining, there was a cool breeze and Jemimah was overwhelmed by the abundance of strawberries, her favorite fruit. All weekend long she referred to our time picking as the "strawberry party". There was quite a crowd picking and several children among them.
 Saturday afternoon I made a batch of jam, as well as strawberry shortcake. Making strawberry jam brings back many sweet memories of being a young woman at home. My two sisters and I first learned to make and preserve strawberry jam in our late teens. We were absolutely thrilled with the outcome and went on to make jam from every berry we found fresh in our area. We would generally put on some music, wear our calico aprons and make a real event out of making jam.
 You do need an apron when making jam. It has a tendency to splatter when boiling or when pouring the jam into the jars. I always wear an apron while canning. : ) With this thought in mind I am offering a discount of 15% on all of the items in my shop this week. A new apron is a great way to inaugurate the canning season! Strawberry jam also marks the beginning of the canning season for me and I am sure for many other ladies. Please be sure to stop by my shop and check out the different style aprons I have currently listed. To take advantage of the special offer use coupon code LILAC15 when checking out.
 I hope you all have a lovely week enjoying the beauty and bounty of springtime! Have you made strawberry jam yet this year? Do you have a favorite jam you make each year?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Our Garden

Last week I finished planting flowers and putting down wood chips for the season. My flower beds have been a real challenge for me over the past four years. The previous owners of our home had planted something with a lot of roots, plus the house is surrounded with huge old maple trees. Each year I have battled roots and I am still learning what grows best in our soil.
Dianthus have grown beautifully here! Each year I add a few new dainthus plants, and I always have some plants that return from the previous year.
Last year my mom suggested that I might add some potted plants for extra color. Plus it would allow me more control over the soil. I added a few pots of petunias, one of my favorite flowers!
I hope that as the summer progresses my petunias will grow fuller, as they are wave petunias. I just loved this soft lavender color.
I also added an Asiatic lily this year. It is so pretty and vibrant!
Here is another one of my favorites! Wild roses grow everywhere this time of year. They smell so sweet. I can actually smell the wild roses as soon as I walk outside. There are a few large plants growing along the edge of our property and even more growing across the road.
This particular rose bush is growing near the stream. We now also have elderberry bushes growing along the stream! Adam planted eight plants this spring, they were actually eight sticks. To tell the truth I was a little concerned as I watched Adam go to so much trouble planting his eight elderberry sticks. : ) However they are no longer sticks, they are beautiful flourishing plants that have grown taller than Jemimah. The elderberry plants have just begun to blossom. We are delighted!
Our vegetable garden looks quite a bit different in comparison to the photo above, which was taken a week ago. Last week we enjoyed some lovely days in the 90's, as well as, plenty of rain. I am thrilled to see little tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers forming. Plus everything looks so green and healthy!

In front of the raised beds Adam has planted black raspberries and red raspberries. The black raspberries are growing quite quickly this year and each plant is full of berries. Adam also planted two red current bushes and four blueberry bushes.
Our strawberries are beginning to ripen. Jemimah is excited to visit the strawberry patch each day and pick as many ripe strawberries as she can find. We don't have enough for jam yet, but it is fun to enjoy a few fresh strawberries each day.
One of Jemimah's favorite songs this spring has been "Bullfrogs and Butterflies", so when I spotted these books recently I knew she would enjoy them! Each book describes the life cycle of a butterfly/frog in a way that is easy for little ones to understand. Plus they rhyme, something I love in children's books.

"Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered."
Psalm 40:5 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Nan's 1940s Wrap Apron

This past winter my Nan (paternal grandmother) had to leave her home and move to an assisted living facility. At that time my dad and uncle offered my sisters and I the opportunity to have a keepsake from her home. Instantly I remembered this apron.

Throughout my childhood and teen years my sisters and I would sometimes spend the weekend with Nan. We had wonderful times going on picnics, visiting the lake and going for long walks. One time during our teen years we decided to clean Nan's house while we visited. As we started to clean Nan went down stairs to her basement and soon brought up aprons for each of us to wear while cleaning. I have always loved aprons and I remember being impressed with the clever design of this wrap apron. It was unlike any other apron I had seen.

This truly is a practical apron design. One tie pulls through a slot on one side and then ties in the back. Your entire outfit remains protected, even the back.
Soon after receiving Nan's apron I began to do a little research and discovered that this apron style was popular in England during World War II. This made sense since Nan is from England and was in her late teens/early 20's during World War II.

Over the years Nan has many times shared with us her experiences of being a young woman throughout the war years. The second in a family of four girls and one boy, Nan worked for Burberry's sewing coats while her older sister was in the RAF during the war years. One story Nan would tell us was how she would collect the scraps of lining fabric at the end of her work day and take them home. She made a tea cozy from the scraps, appliqueing a picture of a cottage and rising sun to the tea cozy. I wish I could have seen it!

Nan has many fond memories of evenings spent with her family. Her mum, sisters and herself would knit or sew while visiting. She also shared stories of her early years of marriage and my dad as a little baby. I remember Nan recounting the deep contentment and satisfaction she felt while knitting a sweater for my dad as she sat beside the fire, and dad was in his bassinet. I have a picture of my dad as a toddler wearing a coat Nan sewed for him.

I am grateful for the many sweet memories I have of spending time with my Nan. At this time she is 94 and her memory is poor, she has a very hard time remembering any of her family.

Here is a picture of Nan taken sometime in the 1940's. Wasn't she beautiful? Nan moved to America in the 1960's when my dad was a little boy. It was a difficult transition to make; she has always spoke of England as home.

P.S. I have made a copy of Nan's apron and it is currently for sale in my shop here.