Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

Monday, January 31, 2011

Quilted Memories

Mike's parents passed away a couple of years ago. Since then, two of their grandchildren became parents of their own. I am so glad that I kept a few items of Meemaw and Papaw's clothing. That way, I can incorporate some of the fabric into quilts for those great-granchildren they didn't get to see. I have items from my great-grandparents and I treasure them. I like to think of those great-grandbabies lying on quilts that are made of fabric that Meemaw and Papaw actually touched.

I started with strips of a pretty cream colored shirt from Meemaw that had red and brown patterned squares. I then cut strips from Papaw's shirt that had blue, brown and rust colored squares. I filled in with some soft, rust colored, suede type material. I intended to tie the fabric layers together with this ribbon rather than quilt it with stitches. The ribbon turned out to be too thick, so I used rust colored embroidery thread as ties.

My niece opened the gift at her shower and it meant a great deal to her and the family.

My goal is to make one for each of the great-grandchildren-on both sides of my family, as they come.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I just finished reading this book. It is very different from the movie version (that I've seen about 10 times). There's a lot to think about in this book. I haven't decided if I would really recommend it to everyone. I might recommend to someone I knew very well. There are some odd concepts, I guess I mean "foreign concepts to me" that are brought up. I know nothing about being so poor, uneducated, black and female during the 1930's. What a hard life. But....the main character does triumph. Hmmmm, a lot to think about....
Did you know that purple can be the color of brutality and violence, and it can be the color of beauty and joy?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Anyone who comes to help me sew tomorrow can have some of these:
(Martha Stewart's) Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Don't be fooled by all the white powdered sugar.

Underneath is a rich, extremely dark chocolate cookie.

While the cookies bake, they spread and the sugar cracks, revealing the truth-chocolate and butter.

I used some of my usual shortcuts but followed the recipe fairly closely. I am really pleased with the result.

Tomorrow, we will sew more curtains for Camp For All,, drink coffee and eat these cookies. Of course, the other helpers will bring treats too. You're welcome to join us.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Waste not...."

This pretty pumpkin has lasted all through October..November..December..and had no signs of deteriorating. All through December, it even sat out on my porch. I asked my Mom what she thought I should do with it. She told me that's why people always used to grow pumpkins-because they last and store very well for winter. She said that I could eat it or put it in the compost pile in the garden to let nature take its course. I actually did a little of each.

I cut it up and scraped it out. That left the seeds, the top and the bottom to go in the garden.

I roasted the pieces with salt and olive oil. I removed the peeling and cut the flesh into chunks. Then I put one package in the fridge for later and cooked half of the pumpkin with bacon and one clove of garlic.
It tasted really good. I think I'll blend up the other package and use it for muffins.

I was proud of using this pumpkin for its real purpose.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Closing the Gap: The project continues

The bull dozer didn't make an apearance today but a bigger tractor did! The gap is now only about 1 inch wide and they are working on it as I type.

Mike looks on as our neighbor, Randy, gently nudges the house with his tractor.
They took a break for lunch (chicken and dumplings remember?) and now there is a discussion going on about moving the winches and somehow lifting up the side of the house. They also assured me that I am not in danger as I sit here in the living room.

The next step apparently is to reposition the winches and bolt the beam to the joist, or maybe to the foundation. I'm not sure what they decided. I do know that the weather is beautiful now and the sun is out, but I'm still staying inside...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Come-along? Come again?

When I say that we built our house, I mean that Mike and I were the ones who manned the hammer, pounded in the nails, and used the measuring tape and level. Yes, we had other people help, especially when it came time to hoist up each 20 foot, 4x6" beam.  The main construction, plumbing, and electrical work were our own handiwork. We've had some repair work to do over the last 25 years but I don't think it was any more than a commercially built home. A while ago, Mike discovered that the side wall of our A-frame
was separating from the front. This week,  Mike and a neighbor worked to fix the gap.

 The repair work started with a heavy chain and a "come-along", which is a pulley type hook and chain that you winch to tighten.
A lot of digging and chiseling concrete has taken place. My neighbor brought a tractor and I have heard rumors of a bull dozer coming tomorrow. The two of them also made a trip into Bryan/College Station to purchase a 4000 lb. come-along. The last I heard, the gap was down to about 2 inches (from 5 1/2!).
It has been extremely cold this week, for Texas that is. And, it has been raining lightly for 2 days. It won't deter them...
I'll just make a dutch oven full of something warm to eat and make a pot of coffee to sustain them. I'm thinking chicken and dumplings. What do you think?

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January's book club choice

Read "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and join me at my book club site:

You won't regret it!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Southern roots, Southern food traditions

Being from the South, New Year's Day celebrations include making this meal for dinner. And by dinner, I mean lunch. If I say supper, I mean dinner. Yep, that's the way it goes here in Texas. I did a little research to find out what each item represents. It seems that it all started during the Civil War:

 The green part of the meal is for money. The hope was that you would have a few "greenbacks" in your pocket during the coming year. I usually make collard greens but this year I baked cabbage with slices of bacon.

 The cornbread  represents something humble. The old saying is "Eat poor the first of the year, eat richly the rest of the year".

 The salted pork is for prosperity. Having a little meat preserved in salt left for winter was definitely a sign of prosperity.

Black eyed peas show humility and good luck. Peas and cornbread are "soul food", probably something the poor people and slaves were likely to have. This meal would be welcome by any family during those terrible times.

During the Civil War (which is when most of these traditions were started) it was lucky to have enough staples this time of year. One theory is that Northern soldiers weren't familiar with the dried peas or with the collards growing in the fields. They may not have recognized these as food sources. Therefore, the soldiers didn't confiscate these items. That meant that Southerners who had these left to eat were "lucky".

Today, for my family, it means a hearty, extremely tasty meal. Fried pork fat,  two vegetables seasoned with bacon, and a pan of hot cornbread can't be topped. Try it!