handmade friday

Oh has it ever been one of those weeks…. the kind where you know dark chocolate and coffee got you through it. I think we're all looking forward to the weekend…. some relaxing time and some sleeping in are in order. And maybe waffles and whip cream too. Definitely.

I thought you'd like to see some colorful photos of this small pile of new quilts I've been working on. I can't really decide which one is my favorite. I love completing a stack of these….. there is just something about a stack of quilts. *swoon* 










Wishing you all a wonderful Weekend!


Mindful Monday

After a quiet morning of Easter bunny magic, we spent about 6 hours tending to the garden. We, mostly meaning Joe & I with the intermittent help from the little ones and snacks made by the house chef (Jade!)

5 pm arrived before we knew it and we stumbled inside, exhausted and happy after a hard day's work. Our dinner flew together quickly……. our first taste of goat steaks from Brookshire Farm, beautiful yellow & green beans roasted with sea salt & olive oil from Market Basket and fried squash blossoms from our own garden.

As the meal came together I realized {with the exception of the flour, spices & olive oil} that we were sitting down to a completely local meal. I was awfully, ridiculously, giddy at the notion of this…. and a recent passage from this book came to mind……


"Eaters must understand, how we eat determines how the world is used." 

Barbara Kingsolver in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


squash blossoms from the garden


The meal was delicious and eaten with such gratitude.

Mindful food, how wonderful is that?

And if like us, you have an over abundance of male squash blossoms in the garden…. you can pluck them off after they've closed and eat them in salad, pasta or for a lovely treat try this recipe. 

~Whisk together one egg & 2 TBSP of milk in a bowl, set aside. In a shallow dish mix 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour with 1/4 cup of blue cornmeal. Sprinkle in some salt, pepper & garlic powder. Dip the squash blossoms in the egg mixture and dredge through the flour mixture. Fry gently in olive oil over medium to medium high heat. (preheat the pan with the oil, it's ready when a sprinkle of flour sizzles in it) Turn to evenly cook, they are done when they are golden brown. I've heard they are delicious stuff with a spoon full of  cheese before frying…. we're trying chèvre next time.



some rather exciting news….

Over the past few weeks, especially during my quiet month of March, I've been working on making some big changes to the shop. I have long wanted to use organic textiles in my sewing, however purchasing these fabrics at retail meant charging a price for my handmades that was very out of price range for most of us. Over the past few weeks I scraped & saved and sold off some unused crafting supplies in a huge destash sale to buy…….. bolts. 




Gypsy Forest has officially gone wholesale!

And even better, organic. I'll still be sewing with my previous stash of fabric too for awhile, but things will slowly be going green in the shop and there will be lots of all organic handmades to choose from. Having yardage also means customers can easily request custom orders as well.

But the bolts…. I mean BOLTS! Wow. After a week of sewing with them I can say that I do love the change of having so much of one print. The first bolts in are all from Cloud 9's Nature Walk Collection. These fabrics are made using low impact dyes and organic cotton and they have been a wonderful company to do business with as well. You can read a bit more about their business and why organic cotton is better for all of us right here.




More bolts are due in sometime in May & I will share them with you just as soon as they arrive. 

But that's not all, I'm participating in my first ever Art Fair at……



Squam ArtFair_BUTTON    



Yes really, at Squam. Even as I type those words it all seems a little too surreal. My mom & I will be attending the workshops this year and I offered to donate a quilt for the fundraising raffle. Elizabeth admired my work and suggested I participate in the fair and my mom has graciously offered to assist me in any way… and there you have it. It all fell together in such a way that I still wonder if it's all real. If I'm dreaming, please wait until mid June to wake me up, okay? 

And so, in order to keep my sanity I will sadly not be updating my shop until after I return from SAW. All of my sewing time will be to fill a suitcase full of goodies to offer at my table. I will however be showing all of you a sneak peek of the goods each Friday until then, sort of a little show & tell each week. I hope you enjoy it.

And for any of you that might be thinking of heading to the Squam Art Fair I would love to meet you, do stop by & say hello!


One man gathers what another man spills……

"Steph, you have to see what the neighbors are getting rid of." Joe yelled from the door. "It looks like a greenhouse!"

Louisiana might not offer much by way of traditional recycling, but the "reuse it" system down here is something else. Every weekend people put their bulky stuff that's no longer wanted/needed on the curb and by Sunday evening a whole lot of it is gone. People drive their cars around and pick up other folks "garbage". We've gotten a lot of good stuff this way. A bike, patio chairs, an old wooden box and gardening pots.

But a greenhouse? So I wandered outside to find my husband in the driveway. He points to his treasure. I tell him it's a curio cabinet. "A what?" he says to me. It's like a display for knick knacks, I tell him. He found this amusing and we walked over to look at it. Laid on it's side, the hinged glass door opened like a toybox of sorts.

"It would make a perfect little greenhouse, you could grow lettuce in it all winter," Joe said to me.




And so the two of us hoisted it up and carried it across the street. It needs some holes drilled for drainage & ventilation and he is going to attach a larger pull to open and close it…. but it really does make a darn good little greenhouse. My pepper seedlings are totally digging their new house.




Everything in our suburban garden is going well. We've been getting a few organic strawberries each day. Big juicy sweet ones eaten straight out of the garden. 




The tomato seedlings are officially into plant status at nearly 8 inches tall and thankfully my extras will be heading to homeschool co-op on Friday to friends. Sliding glass door greenhouse & fish emulsion are certainly responsible for their healthy stature. I have never had such good luck!






And the basil, oh how I do love the basil. It tolerates the heat & humidity down here and makes me smile and swoon all summer long with it's tasty leaves and intoxicating aroma…..




The heirloom tomatoes I purchased have also grown and green tomatoes are making my mouth water and have me checking them every day for the slightest hint of red peeking through…… not yet…. but there will surely be a celebration of sorts for the first ripe tomato from the garden.




Thanks to Joe, who climbed on the roof of the garage to get this shot, you can see my whole garden. It's definitely taking over the driveway…… but we love it. I spent all day rearranging things and planting tomatoes on Sunday while Joe built more boxes to house my plants. We're getting pretty close to running out of room…… 




Anyone else enjoying their gardening?






Sometimes it's not actually about the photograph.

It might not seem be a good picture. It might be grainy, or out of focus. The background could be full of "recyclable toys" and patches of grassless yard and leaves that need raked. It's a picture that will most likely not make it's way to the annual holiday letter. But for some reason you still love it. Do you have these too?

Something about this imperfect picture captured a truthful still life of our days…. an every day sort of real moment of nothing and everything all wrapped up together.

I found my boy sitting in this bucket talking away to no one…. happily lost in his world of make believe amidst the chaos of our messy backyard. His favorite dump truck with him. For a while, I just watched. As soon as he heard the camera click he looked up at me and grinned and asked what I was doing….. 

I was thinking the same thing about him.

I had broken the quiet with click of the camera….. and even though I snapped a photo of his sweet cheesy smile next, it didn't quite seem to sing to my mama heart the way this one does.


~right now~

right now I am:


~looking forward to a very full weekend 

~loving the handmade gifts my girls are pulling together for their friend's birthday

~thankful for all of your sweet comments on yesterday's post

~inspired by my friend Rachel's idea to give plants as gifts

~savoring the last bit of our first homemade mozzerella (oh.my.goodness)

~reading this book

~swooning at these sweet birdies

~enjoying these immensely with my kiddos

~feeling like my thumb is getting greener every time I look at our tomato seedlings plants!

~counting just over 6 weeks until the trip with my mama

~tasting strawberry season, so very good

~ever grateful for a girl who is old enough to bake her family amazing desserts

~in awe of the emerging food photographer in said baking girl 

~wishing you all a very lovely weekend!



{photo & strawberry dessert by Jade}


Show & Tell

In March I took a pottery class. We met Colleen, a local artist, a few months ago while we were wandering around waiting to pick up some Cuban sandwiches & plantain for dinner. {so good!} We wandered into her shop/studio and chatted and quickly signed up for her next class. Jade & I both have had a lovely time getting to know Colleen.

During the six week class I learned about hand building and more about clay and a ton about high fire glazes. Surrounded by a group of women we all talked and laughed and created…. it was a great experience and now I am trying to figure out where I can fit a full size high fire kiln. Both space and budget wise! I'm trying to convince Joe our someday farm needs one.

I had this idea of creating very organic funky looking pieces. I  made a set of six bowls for us to use and a huge, I mean HUGE bowl for the table. Usually the big bowl is full of fruit, but I can't wait to fill it with our favorite summer pasta dish when we have garden fresh tomatoes. As Colleen presented the fresh out of the kiln bowls to me, I think I may have squeaked with excitement, she flashed a smile and said "Everything will taste better out of these bowls, really." 



Do you want to see them?

















Thank you for letting me share them with you. I'm still looking at them in that "wow, I made that" sort of way. I think a new recipe inspired by these is sure to follow soon……


The Note




After eight years I finally drove it. The bus.

I'm chicken, I know. I drove it to the pottery studio to help Colleen load the kiln.

Upon departure a handwritten note fluttered from the windshield.

It read :


"It was so good to see your plates. I just moved back to Baton Rouge after 22 yrs in AK. Have fun! ~ Liz"


 Between the nostalgia of the vintage vw and the Alaskan plates….. funny things happen when you drive that bus. That little note had me smiling for the rest of the day.


Avery Island :: Part II


Gator watching. 

We all stood at the top of the bank watching three heads peeking up out of the water and gliding along. Avery Island is a preserve and these gators were most likely far too familiar seeing humans (not afraid of us). Cautious, yes but so curious. They swam along the bank and then slowly crept out of the water to nibble at the oak leaves…. no doubt hoping we had tossed them food. Yes people do feed them…. why someone would want anything with that many teeth associating food with them is beyond my understanding.




And then the gators brought their friends……..






 Luke watched from a safe distance…….




With mama very close by.




Some of the gator's friends were very, very small…..




Pretty soon ALL of us were watching…..




That's about the time this one, the biggest of the bunch, looked at us and let out a great big "hisssssssssss!"




Which made the kids squeal and do this….. (totally more silly than scared!)




I had no idea that alligators hiss. I'm pretty sure it means something along the lines of "go away". Which we did after that! These alligators look big in the pictures, but they were only about 4 feet or so, which is a smaller gator. We kept our hands on the little ones and stayed a safe distance away, just in case your wondering. (I promise Grandma, we did!)

I'll be looking for those eyeballs floating above the water line next time we're out in a kayak. Life in the swamp, oh my!


{ps ~ thanks to the mamas who let me share this photo of the kids together, it's so great!}