Category Archives: Heirloom Homestead




I’m working through my current stash of fabric in an attempt to use what I have.


I’ll be moving again sometime in the next few months — as it goes with renting — and I do not need to pack and haul all of these craft supplies. Yarn, fabric and books — they seem to multiply at my house. Some are even paired with patterns or sticky notes for the project I thought would be perfect.

How quaint, five years later.


This is the first pattern I’ve sewn out of Fresh Fabric Treats, and I like it. I skipped the gathering on some pieces and am glad. It is my first table runner and I wanted to keep the lines simple.

Perhaps I’ll graduate to one of the quilts featured; they are gorgeous.


Come to find out, step 1 of any new quilting endeavor should be: buy a new rotary blade. Makes a world of difference when your tools are sharp. New needle in the machine. Iron steaming. Piles of fabric and ideas ready.

Now, to stay focused.




Christmas supplies in action

  • Christmas tags stamped
  • Christmas photo taken, cards ordered and stamps in hand. Envelopes to be addressed this week.
  • Decorations out and ready to be swapped for Fall decor
  • Shopping underway (I’m so not a Black Friday girl)
  • Christmas spreadsheet updated
  • Craft supplies purchased, patterns printed
  • Holiday theme decided: year of the monogram

I love me some Christmas!




Who needs a cute fix to get them through this painfully long short-work-week so we can all just go stuff ourselves with turkey already?

Couch hog


Wait. Did someone say turkey? WE LOVE TURKEY.



It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like…


Christmas is less than two months away, and oh do I have my sights on another great handmade holiday. This year, the focus isn’t on quantity, as it has been in the past. Instead, I’m putting self-care as top priority. I will not run ragged to produce handmade gifts; I fully recognize my family and friends appreciate a good mood far more than they’ll ever love yet another wonky handknit.

To meet this, I have to get my stuff organized.


To get started, I create a Google doc spreadsheet. (The template, if you’re interested in playing along.) This document will help follow both a financial and time budget. I can give one hour per day for the next 7 weeks toward projects. That’s a chunk of time, most of which will be spent late at night in my little upstairs office, listening to tunes and working at my sewing machine. Or watching British television shows on Netflix, knitting like mad.

Additionally, I create a timeline. I love sending holiday cards, creating my own package tags, decorating the house, baking for neighbors, etc. If I place these into a calendar, I know what the next 8 weeks look like by task. Everything doesn’t hit me at once and I can actually enjoy the holidays rather than feeling overwhelmed.


To see this handmade holiday vision come to life, the tentative schedule:

Week 1:

  • Complete gift list spreadsheet, including budget
  • Buy necessary crafting/art supplies
  • Start any extensive knitting projects
  • Schedule photo for Christmas card

Week 2:

  • Update Christmas spreadsheet
  • Knit
  • Take Christmas photo, order cards
  • Print holiday address labels
  • Review gifts to be sent to friends abroad, and schedule early post dates

Week 3:

  • Update Christmas spreadsheet
  • Knit
  • Address Christmas cards
  • Purchase Christmas stamps
  • Mail after Thanksgiving
  • Coordinate holiday travel with family

Week 4:

  • Update Christmas spreadsheet
  • Knit
  • Decorate house
  • Create baking list for neighbors
  • Buy baking supplies

Week 5:

  • Update Christmas spreadsheet
  • Knit
  • Begin sewing projects
  • Stamp gift tags
  • Wrap gifts as completed
  • Mail international gifts

Week 6:

  • Update Christmas spreadsheet
  • Knit
  • Find holiday dress(es)
  • Coordinate holiday party list with date
  • Prepare party hostess gifts, tags
  • Mail gifts that can’t be hand delivered

Week 7:

  • Update Christmas spreadsheet
  • Deliver gifts to neighbors
  • Complete any remaining projects

Week 8:

  • Create list to send thank you cards after the New Year
  • Rock a great holiday dress
  • Drink egg nog with friends; immediately remember you don’t like egg nog
  • Drink Christmas margaritas with friends
  • Go to church. Thank your lucky stars. Hug your friends and family.
If you are making gifts for friends or family this year, I’d love to hear your ideas!
Happy planning, y’all.







Sunday dinner

My friend BJ and his dog Chaco are living at the homestead for a bit. In turn, my kitchen has become the grounds for a highly competitive cooking show. One night, BJ cooks. The next, I do. Dog-eared cooking magazines, pages graffiti-ed with greasy thumbprints and splatters of spice, sit in a pile on the counter top. Coupons for staple ingredients are clipped to the side of the fridge. The Dutch oven is either on the stove, bubbling — or full of delicious leftovers.

These are delightful problems to have.

We’ve gone at this back and forth pace for a few weeks, each impressing the other with our culinary prowess. So far, BJ’s greek yogurt dip is the winner. Paired with his curry chicken and spiced couscous, I thought about climbing into the bowl for a swim.

Sunday dinner

Last night, I threw down saffron almond chicken from the October issue of Bon Appetit. Saffron is stupidly expensive. Apparently I’ve never cooked with it before and I was not forking over $10 for two tiny packets. As such, we actually ate smoked paprika almond chicken. (Note to self: do saffron research. Determine why it is so pricey. Consider hitting spice markets next time you travel internationally.)

Sunday dinner

This was tasty. The sauce is thickened with chunks of bread added to the almond/spice mixture in the food processor. As such, this is not a fat-free, paleo-loving or any other specific diet happy meal. Unless you just really like good hearty food. Then it is — wait for it — a winner, winner chicken dinner.


Sunday dinner

Sunday dinner

I also served roasted pasilla peppers stuffed with cheese as a side dish. If I had unlimited funds, I would have a massive greenhouse where these peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and peas would grow all year long. Oh, and saffron.

Your turn, BJ. Game on.






Big Mama was in town last week. And because I am the spoiled only daughter, she brought me a beautiful new quilt:

New quilt

One of the many talents I wish my mother had passed along is her patience. She has patience for her patience. Her quilts take so much precision and time, and yet she’s like a machine. You wouldn’t believe how many of these she makes each year.

New quilt

Spring colors and I don’t care — it’s on my bed. And it looks gorgeous with the other shabby chic elements of my bedroom. Look at that quilting! Those swirlies are just so perfect!

New quilt

Pretty, right? I am so lucky.

New quilt

Of course it came with a Nelson tag. Thanks Big Mama!*



*Yeah. I’m not terribly fond of that nickname either, but she’s certain she’ll never be called “grandma.” So she’s trying this one out, hoping we’ll get used to it by the time little ones show up. I think my brother and I are playing along for the time being because it is simply so ridiculous. It’s also pretty funny to be at the market and call out, “Hey Big Mama, you want some coffee?”

Recipes: Roasted Apple and Pork Loin

The crab apple trees in Golden are ripe for harvesting, and that’s just what several friends and I did the other day. I came home with more than 50 pounds of fruit and an idea. What if I put together a meal with apples in each course?


As my friend Juliann says — the best parties are themed.

And so began the Apple Extravaganza! Green salad with apples, stuffed pork loin roasted on a bed of apples and apple crisp for dessert. If I’d really been on my game, I would have come up with some signature brandy drink, but alas — I love grapes too much in that department to stray. And of course in the middle of whipping up this ridiculous meal, I didn’t take any photos of the completed project. You’ll have to take my word for it: it was good.

Apple party

Apple crisp

Roasted Apple and Pork Loin*


12 small crab apples, or 6 larger apples — cored

1 pork loin

A bit of butter, or olive oil

1/2 cup goat cheese

1 cup porcini mushrooms, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, diced

dash of rosemary, salt, pepper

1/4 cup white wine

Apple roasters


Place cored apples in roasting pan. Butterfly pork loin. In a cast iron skillet, cook onions, garlic and mushrooms in butter over medium heat until onions are translucent — about 10 minutes. Place butterflied pork loin on top of apples.

Stuffed pork roast

Pour onion/garlic/mushroom mixture down center of the loin. (It’s okay if some falls out. It will all still be yummy.) Add goat cheese on top of mixture, with a dash of rosemary, salt and pepper. Close pork loin flap/sandwich and contain with a handful of toothpicks. Sprinkle another dash of salt and pepper on top of closed roast.  Roast at 360 for 1 hour or so, until a meat thermometer reads at least 160. Apples should be warm and mushy.

Place apples and pork loin on a serving dish. Add a 1/4 cup of white wine to the roasting pan and place back in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove, scraping at bits left in the pan. Pour au jus into a separate serving dish.


Great game

Apples to Apples afterward, over dessert? Divine.


* An improved take on this recipe.


Animal, Vegetable, Sermon?

Garden fare

Have you read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle?” I’ve long considered Barbara Kingsolver one of the best American authors. I adore her work, have written fan letters, stumbled all over myself with inappropriate fan-girl questions the one time we met, and did I mention adore her? A little bit.

I’ve had two of her books on my shelf for some time collecting dust. “Animal Vegetable Miracle” is the year-long memoir Kingsolver wrote chronicling what she, her husband and two children were able to raise on their small farm in Virginia, or buy locally. The mission was to eat only what they could produce or find in their community. While there are a few exceptions to their rule, they work tirelessly to raise small animals, harvest a huge garden and keep their menus varied and healthy.

A friend mentioned to me years ago that she found this book excessively preachy. And to some degree, I get it. There are parts that read like a political textbook, lecturing the reader about energy conservation, obesity, mindless consumption, etc. Such social issues are what inspired Kingsolver and kin to take on this project. Considering I beat myself up for just about everything and had already given a self-lashing on these topics — when it got to sanctimonious, I turned the page.

Where I found inspiration was in the family’s pantry preparation. The woman can plan, plant, harvest, cook and can a garden. She also wasn’t squeamish to raise chickens and birds for meat. She and her family killed and prepared the meat — some for the dinner table that night, others for the chest freezer. While I can grow a mean tomato, I am not sure I could ever kill my own meat. Let’s be honest, the three chickens that I never even had a chance to bring home already had names. They were cherished members of this little homestead’s family. And so, the weight of this inability weighs on my shoulders to be a better consumer of locally raised, ethically “grown” meat.

My biggest take-away is a renewed spirit to be a better consumer of all products. While I may not be able to actually run a proper homestead, my little home’s garden is valuable. Eating what’s in season is critical. Hanging my clothes on the line to dry, riding my bike to complete errands, being frugal and resourceful with purchases — reusing rather than falling into the culture of buy-buy-throw-away-buy-some-more! These small acts are not going to stop global warming, but they are steps to make my life a bit more environmentally friendly. So, thanks Barbara. Did I mention I’m kinda your #1 biggest fan?

4 out of 5 bananas