Friday, October 31, 2008

Fall & Winter Projects

As the days are getting cooler and my major sewing seems to have gotten caught up, my mind turns to the projects that I want to work on this fall and winter.

Projects, such as this, need no longer wait for me to delay in finishing them.

I found a pattern for these mitten ornaments, and several other cute ideas, this time last year and was immediately struck with the potential for them! Mom and I fell in love with the idea and made a trip to Hancock's for supplies. I was able to find wintry type fabric on sale, we already had thread, and since we have a large stash of buttons handy we didn't need to buy any!

I already have quite a few mittens started so I shall work on putting the blanket stitching around the edge and embellishing the mitten itself.
What am I going to use them for? I can see them used as a "garland"-strung across windows or up the stairway, used as decorations on a small tree, or put on gifts. What I like about them is that they are winter decorations not just Christmas.

"In my Sewing Stash"
In my overflowing sewing fabric basket I have some camouflage fleece and two types of decorator fabrics. The camo is Sawyer's Christmas present! Since he enjoys curling up with Sayre's fleece blanket, I figured he would enjoy one of his own. He helped pick it out and he actually sits on it when he's in the sewing room. Last week I told him it was his Christmas present to which he responded "Ohhhhhh, that is so sweet of you Ashy". I'm hoping that he forgets about it in the next two months!!! Anyway, I'll be turning the edges under, sewing them down, and then I'll do a blanket stitch along the edge to give a special touch.
With the decorator fabrics I shall be assembling a purse/tote bag. The white and blue toile will be on the outside while the blue stripe shall be on the inside and possibly the straps (I'm not wild about the stripe, but it was the closest matching fabric I could find).

I also need to start this cross-stitch that I bought earlier this year. I have everything I need other than time to work on it! Maybe I'll finish it by next October!

There are other things that I have down to do...
1) make the curtains for my room.
2) Momma and I want to make a quilt together.
3) I have a skirt and two blouses I need to make in addition to three other skirts that I need to find fabric for.

I do believe that these things will keep my busy until oh, February at the earliest!
Do you have any fun projects planned?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Well, Now We Know!

There is nothing like the aroma of baking bread winding its' way through the house that calls one and all to the kitchen. Neither is there anything quite like piping hot-out-of-the-oven whole wheat bread that has a good slathering of butter on it! Mmmmm, many a meal at the Castlebury Quarters has consisted of fresh baked bread!
A month or two ago a friend of my Mom's told her about a new method to making whole wheat bread that breaks the whole wheat down so that your body can digest it easier. All one needed to do was to use 1 Tablespoon of Yeast and substitute a small amount of buttermilk for a small amount of water. After mixing the sponge up, you were to let it sit for the rest of the day (therefore you need to assemble this in the morning); at the end of the day you add the remaining flour (using white flour as you don't need to add that much), form into loaves and let rise.
Momma has been making bread this way ever since and I thought it was time for me to try it!

"It worked!"
Let's just say that there was a little miscommunication and I added all the flour and let the Bosch begin kneading it before both Momma and I had realized it was a sponge that needed to sit all day NOT the dough itself! Oh well, Momma was rather dubious as to whether the dough would rise but we figured we may as well try. As the Bosch bowl was still really warm I wrapped it up in several towels to help keep the heat in.
Around lunch time I heard male voice sing out "Hey Ashley... I think your dough exploded!" and explode it had!

Both Momma and I were tickled pink to see that the dough had risen! It had risen so much that it needed a bigger bowl to grow in...

"Letting it Rise"
After wrapping it up nice and tight I went back to the normal everyday tasks, but it wasn't long before I heard another male voice ring out "Oh Ashley, you might want to check on your dough!". Even after taking the towels off of the bowl, the dough continued to rise at an amazing rate!

"Forming the Loaves"
Around five o'clock I finally called an end to the dough rising escapade, formed the loaves up and set them to rise.
Ahhh, there is nothing like fresh bread!

" Junior Cook and Beginner Cook"
This particular bread making day was made even more delightful by the presence of these two beings who descended on the kitchen at the noontime hour. Collin made his famous mac and cheese/tuna fish concoction while Sawyer asked questions about everything that went on. Between goofy bantering and the blending of personalities we all had a hoot in the kitchen! I wish you could have been a fly on the wall!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Until Then...

Today has been a busy day... We attended the funeral of our neighbor, Mr. Evans', who has been a godly example to all those around him. Collin has helped him and his wife out with yard work, gone on fishing trips with him, and been there to help out whenever they needed him. Mr. Evans' in turn challenged Collin with scripture and made him think. I know Collin will miss him but we know that Mr. Evans' is rejoicing in the presence of the Lord.
"I got Ashy's Bing-Bing!"
Tomorrow I'm headed into Greenville to do some special cleaning for one of my former cleaning customers, so I have spent today making attempts at getting things caught up here at home. It's been a busy day but a very profitable one!

"Now how do I get this thing to move?"
So until Wednesday...
(I am aware of the fact that most of my pictures are of Sawyer! Nobody else is as photogenic or even as agreeable to having their picture taken as he is. I do my best to try and capture the others on "film" but...)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Hymn for Sunday

Sweetly Resting
In the Rifted Rock
Lyrics by: Mary D. James
Music by: W. Warren Bentley

In the rifted Rock I'm resting,
Safely shelterd I abide;
There no foes nor storms molest me,
While with-in the cleft I hide.

Now I'm resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me;
Jesus, blessed Rock of Ages,
I will hide muself in Thee.

Long pursued by sin and Satan,
Weary, sad, I longed for rest;
Then I found this heav’nly shelter
Opened in my Savior’s breast.

Now I'm resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me;
Jesus, blessed Rock of Ages,
I will hide myself in Thee.

Peace which passeth understanding,
Joy the world can never five;
Now in Jesus I am finding;
In His smiles of love I live.

Now I'm resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me;
Jesus, blessed Rock of Ages,
I will hide myself in Thee.

In the rifted Rock I'll hide me
Till the storms of life are past;
All secure in this blest refuge,
Heeding not the fiercest blast.

Now I'm resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me;
Jesus, blessed Rock of Ages,
I will hide myself in Thee.

You can hear the tune to this hymn Here

Saturday, October 25, 2008


The weather has been cool and you can see the changing colors of the trees more and more each day!

Yesterday was overcast with a little bit of rain, but that didn't stop Daddy, Trevor, and Collin from putting some siding on Trevor's house. Daddy had taken the day off from his "bean counting" in order to meet with the well digger and Trevor had gotten rained out from work, so I'm sure they enjoyed the break from the normal everyday routine. I wish that both Daddy and Trevor could stay home everyday as it makes the day brighter when they are home.

"Trevor's Driveway"
I finally made it over to Bull Run for the first time in several weeks yesterday morning! You would think with it being two miles down the road I would make it over there at least once or twice a week! Anyway, Trevor had gotten his driveway laid out, the dirt tilled up and raked out on each side of it, and grass planted last week! I can't wait to see what it looks like come spring!

"The Siding Begins"
Trevor is patiently awaiting his electrical friends to come out and run the electric, so in the meantime he is working on the siding. I love the way the windows are "framed" as it makes it look neat and trim!

"Sewing Away!"
As some of you may know, I have recently become a part of a group called "Sinfonia" at a local college. We had a concert last night that I needed a black dress for, so I have spent the past few days in the sewing room. Sawyer sits in there with us and has taken to cutting fabric scraps which he says are for Thelma!

Although I had bought fabric for the dress weeks ago, knew what pattern I was going to be using, and realized that I needed to make the dress soon, I somehow forgot about making it until Monday afternoon. I was finally able to begin assembling it on Thursday and as with all projects that you start at the last minute, problems arose! Such as... I accidentally sewed BOTH sleeves onto the wrong side of the bodice (the bodice is lined and I mistook the inside for the outside!); and then, the knob on my machine became stuck and I couldn't wind a bobbin (after much exertion, my Mom and Thelma laughing at me, and quite a few goofy pictures later, it loosened up!)
With Momma and Thelma pitching in the dress was done five minutes before I had to leave! What have I learned from all this? Start a project as soon as the fabric is washed and dried, that way you have plenty of time to finish it!

Now for the Breaking News!!!!!!Maggie had her puppies last night!!!! As of ten o'clock this morning there are eight black and furry pups nestled in the dog house!

"Momma and her babies"
They lay in a giant heap and grunt a squeal when they are disturbed. We can't wait to see what they look like as they get older and I can already foretell a bunch of rambunctious fun that is coming our way!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Lamplighter

As you know, I love to read! I also love to give books as gifts and quite a few of the books on my shelves have been inspirations for gifts. Although I have yet to give The Lamplighter by Maria S. Cummins as a gift, I know I can give it to, or recommend it, to someone with great excitement! It is among my favorite Lamplighter books and is one I can re-read with relish!

Gerty has been raised by a woman who cares nothing for her and there is no one who shows her any care or love. One evening she is turned out of the house and the kind Lamplighter takes her in. She soon finds herself surrounded in a new and wholesome atmosphere where she is pointed to the loving God. As Gerty gets older she learns to yield her passionate temper to the Lord and allow His will to be worked out in her life. Through many different circumstances Gerty learns to give to others even if it means that she gets nothing in return with the example of blind Miss. Emily is one that is forefront in her mind.
What makes this story so endearing to me, is to see a young girl who has had "the bad qualities" cultivated in her "previous" life yet when she yielded herself to the Lord and let Him take control of her passions, He was able to turn her into a beautiful young woman. You will experience with Gerty the battle that she fought when wronged and yet she chose not to pursue vengeance; you will feel the sting of hurt with her as her intentions are misunderstood, willfully it seems; and you will learn that the actions of others are not necessarily what they seem. A wonderful, almost a surprise, ending rounds this delightful book off.
As I read, I saw myself in so many areas of this book but felt hope in knowing that the Lord can, and will, have the victory if I but yield to Him.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Wonderful Weekend!

Oh what a wonderful weekend we had! It all started Friday afternoon, when the Franco's came over for a visit, and then carried through until Sunday! It was a wonderful time with most everyone working around the house!

"The newest member of the animal family"
To begin with, Sayre bought this little guy from Happy Cow! Isn't he cute? He is furry and has a pink nose with a white spot on top which makes it look like his mouth is even further up on his head than it really is!

"Look at his size in relation to Moo Cow"
Believe it or not, this little guy is only several weeks old. Sayre bottle feeds him twice a day and in between times he has access to grain. He and Moo Cow will moo across the field to each other which is so neat to hear!

"Ohhhh, it's another playmate Buck!"
Lila and Buck are doing really well with it. The just want to romp and play with it and I'm sure they would somehow get it into their dog house if they were allowed to do so!

Now, Sayre needs a name for his calf. Does anyone have a suggestion?

"Morning Solitude"
Moo Cow really, really, really likes the calf. When not grazing she can be found over by the little guys' pen keeping him company. She getting also seems to be getting bigger each and every day and Tristan can't wait to move her over to Bull Run!

"Preparing for winter"
On Saturday the garden was pulled up and everything plowed under. After the dirt was all turned over Daddy ran the disc through it and the dirt is nice and dark. There is one lone tomato plant in the middle of the garden that was saved as it is still bearing lots of fruit. Watching Daddy and Collin avoid that was amusing!

"Thing One and Thing Two"
These two acted as if they were on a long vacation Saturday morning! Between randomly chasing each other, pulling monster sticks around the place, chasing soccer balls, and in general acting goofy... I've never seen such weird dogs in my whole life. Of course, we are the Castlebury's! :o) Odd things seem to grow here!

"The Birthday Boy"
Sunday was Sayre's thirteenth birthday and he was the happy recipient of ten Ballantyne books! These might keep him busy for three weeks as he reads non-stop these days.
Sayre is a goofy guy who keeps us all laughing and on our toes as to what he might do next. He has developed a real interest in wildlife and is very gentle with animals.
He's a joy to have around!

"Oh so that's why you wouldn't let me buy this yesterday!"
You should have seen his eyes when he saw this animal trap!

"The Men-Folk"
Left to Right: Daddy, Trevor, Sayre, Tristan, Collin, and Sawyer.
What a wonderful weekend with fall temperatures, colors, and delights! I hope yours' was just as delightful!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Each time it seems that I am settling back into doing blog posts three times a week, something, or somethings, happen which remind me that I am not the one who is in complete control of my time! I am learning to ask the Lord to direct my day which means if I don't get certain things on my "list" done it's ok. I gave the day to the Lord and there is such satisfaction in ending a day knowing that He allowed me to accomplish what He wanted.

"Momma Dog"
We are still awaiting Maggie's puppies. I gave up on following the "timeline" for an expectant dog I found on the internet; we have no idea how far along she is and per the timeline she's been stuck in the seventh week of gestation for almost two weeks now!!! I'm just keeping an eye on her... Tristan thinks she will whelp by the end of the week, and I wouldn't be surprised if she did.

"The Hunter"
Rifle Season opened last weekend, much to Collin's delight, and he celebrated it by getting two does on our neighbor's land Monday evening!! Hip-Hip-Horaaay!!! He gave one to a friend and kept the other to help fill the freezer. This is just the beginning... we have to wonder what else is in store!

I have to admit that I cannot wait for tomorrow to be over with. I'm spending the morning making three batches of soap (start at nine and get done by noon, hopefully), after lunch I need to practice my horn, make eclairs, work on the things that I didn't get done in the morning, and if I have time I'll go weed my garden. I have a rehearsal at six and a horn lesson following it so I won't get home until after eight. A busy day is ahead, but with the Lord's help I'll do my best.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Recipe and A Birthday!

"Chocolate Eclairs"... that seemed to be all I heard about for the first part of last week. I heard about it through a blog, I heard about how good they were from one of my piano student's family, and I heard about these goodies being made (by ten and twelve year old boys) from a mother! I had chocolate eclairs on my mind until Wednesday; it was a rainy day perfect for making something sweet. Since I was making rolls anyway that afternoon I found that I could easily prepare both the rolls and the eclairs at the same time (such as while letting the roll dough sit I could quickly mix up the eclair pastry and get it in the oven). The recipe was more than simple... it was just way to easy for something that tastes oh so good!!
Let me give you the recipe and let you decide for yourself!

"Yummy Sweetness"

Place in a Suace pan:
1 stick of butter
1 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
Bring to a boil and add in:
1 cup flour
Stir vigorously until a ball is formed.
Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time until silky smooth.

Using a small ice cream scoop, place batter, with 2 inches between each "batter blop" on a greased baking sheet.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and the at 325 degrees for 10 minutes more. Check for doneness- should be lightly golden all over.
Remove from oven and cool- Then poke a hole into the hollow center with a butter knife of the end of a wooden spoon.

Fill cooled puff pastries with a mixture of:
1 large pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 cup milk
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese
Beat this until fluffy and then fold in:
3 cups cool whip topping.
Pipe this filling into the puffs.

Drizzle with thick chocolate syrup before serving. Keep filled eclair puffs chilled. Make about 20-28 puffs.

"Puffs waiting to be filled"
You will want to be sure to take the baked puffs off the baking sheet to cool. I left mine on the sheet for about ten minutes and many of them "stuck".
I will be making these again later this week AND I'm putting this recipe in my recipe book! It's definitely a keeper! I'm sure these are better than the ones you can buy at the store!

In addition to the excitement that the eclairs caused we also celebrated a birthday Friday!

Thelma hit the "ripe 'ol age" of twenty last Wednesday and Momma wanted to celebrate with her. It was so much fun to see Momma plotting what to get her, agonizing over what the Birthday dinner was going to be (the menu changed a time or two and in the end I just asked Trevor what he wanted to eat ,which settled the agonizing), and discussing all the little loose ends that still needed tying up.

"I gaw you Fuuuy socks Felma!"
The highlight for most of us was watching Thelma open Sawyers gift! He had bought "furry socks" with much excitement and we had to be on guard for a whole week lest he spill the beans! He wrapped them, with help from Momma of course, in some soft pink flannel and slept with them on Friday afternoon! It was so sweet to watch.

"The Festivities Continue"
Cake and Ice Cream came next along with coffee to keep us warm after the ice cream had lowered the temperature of our blood! We had a splendid time together!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another Book Review!

I was very hesitant about purchasing "Cobwebs and Cables" as it sounded like a very depressing book. The item description clearly stated that this book was about one man's sin and the way that it seemed to keep compounding. As I began to read, I soon found that it was so gripping that I couldn't put it down.

"Cobwebs & Cables" by Hesba Stretton
The book opens with a man reflecting on the web of sin and lies that he has woven for the past several years. As the clock strikes the hour he rouses himself and puts into action the plan that he has laid out to save himself and, seemingly to him, his family. As the story unfolds you begin to see the effects that his sin has on his wife and children. You will meet Phebe Marlowe, who is a dear friend to this man's family, and see how she is "the strong one" through all of the difficulties while bringing comfort and support to all those who are affected.
The book covers all the way up to the adulthood of this man's children and you will be unable to put it down. As you finish the final chapter you begin to realize how loving and forgiving our God truly is.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Of Housebuilding and Gardens

I'm so enjoying these beautiful fall days! Temperatures have hovered in the seventies during the day and getting down into the fifties at night. With the windows open a delightful breeze comes through certain rooms and seems to clear the air! I think fall is my favorite season although spring ranks right up at the top as well!

"The Work Continues"
Trevor's house has begun to look more and more like a house during the past week. They put the tin on half of the roof over the weekend and he spent Monday "puttering" on those small projects that have to be done sometime (like putting a doorknob on the door, filling some holes he accidentally put into the bathtub, etc..)

"Taking a Tour"
On Saturday he gave Momma a tour of the house and showed her where future walls are going to go. He had also made a few changes to the floor plan that he was able to confer with her on.

"Construction Acrobats"
Trevor wanted to see how high he could climb the ladder while keeping it standing up. I'm sure Sayre will be trying this one out sometime soon!

"Of Onions and Zinnias"
I moseyed out to Mommas garden late yesterday afternoon to see how the fall vegetables were doing. Since her garden is inside of a fence she thought that this would be a good place for the veggies as I'm sure "the critters" would get into stuff out in the big garden.

"The Broccoli Patch"
As you can see the plants are HUGE! They aren't quite knee high yet, but compared to how big they were when we got them... well they are monsters now! Several of the plants have heads on them and I am now going to be monitoring their growth; I wonder how big they (the heads)will get?

"The Cauliflower and Brussel Sprout Patch"
You have to pay attention to the "item tags" when you're in this particular patch as everything is huge and "all together". If you aren't paying attention you may mistake the Brussel Sprouts Cauliflower!!
You can also see that the zinnias are still in bloom. All of the flowers are enjoying the cooler weather to their fullest! I simply had to go out and pick some for a centerpiece last evening for they are so cheery looking!

"It has finally Bloomed!"
The roses have gone nuts and are producing beautiful blooms! My little rose bush finally put on some buds and it's happy peachy color brightens my day.

Even the grass is performing now! We have to mow once a week just so it doesn't begin to look like a jungle out there. Apparently the cow wasn't eating "her" grass fast enough for Tristan had us mow it (at the highest setting mind you) late last week.
I found it highly amusing to watch the cow pen being mowed... MooCow, Lila, and Maggie were all playing mind games over a cantaloupe that someone had thrown out of the garden. Each time the mower got to close whoever was eating it, they would jump up and then as it moved on they would all stare at each other and see who would make the first move! Since the cow doesn't have teeth that grip she couldn't run off with it like the dogs could!! :o)

"Playing Baby Moses"
Momma has been reading Bible stories to Sawyer and we've found them being integrated into our everyday lives. For example, at dinner last night Sawyer started talking about God creating the animals (or something like that. We couldn't understand him very well.). Then this morning he came and got the laundry basket so he could "make a nest" which turned into Momma re-enacting the "Moses story" with him. I became Miriam and had to watch him for a little bit. He is truly a hoot!

"Y'all come back here now, you hear?!"
Ahh yes, we are going to have puppies sometime in the next few weeks! After my initial "oh boy, how on earth are we going to find homes for ten to twelve puppies?", I have to say that I'm really looking forward to this occasion! It will be fun and I know we/I am going to learn allot! Maggie is huge... she's eating a ton... and her personality has become sweeter (she was sweet before but now she's downright lovable). We're all eager to see what kind of a mother she is and if she matures at all.
Does anybody want a puppy?!