observations, ideas and inspiration... from my pennsylvania home, garden, kitchen, and studio

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Family Joy and Blessings for the New Year

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential.
~Ellen Goodman

I hope your enjoying the holidays! As you probably noticed, I've not been on the computer much. I've been having fun with family~~ especially Lydia. Christmas was great! We haven't stopped playing since Christmas morning!!

Just a little note to wish you all a New Year filled with joy and happiness.

See ya next year...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Buon Natale.....Happy Christmas Everyone

Happiest wishes to you all this Christmas! I've been busy baking, cooking, shopping and wrapping since I waited until the last minute to do everything. We are hosting Christmas Eve dinner tonight. Since Dino's family is Italian (bet you couldn't figure that out) we always do the feast of the seven fishes. Not that I make any of the fishes...just a shrimp ball ~ does that even count? My MIL brings everything hot to our house, how lucky are we??? Dino and I switch our dining and living rooms so that there is enought space to seat everyone at one big table. It's a lot of work but it's so worth it not to be crammed. I'll be making appetizers, desserts and drinks today. Below is a recipe for the best punch ever. I make it every Christmas Eve....just watch out it really does pack a "punch"!

Yesterday was Lydia's last day of school and will be off for the next 10 days. We have big plans for more baking, ice skating, shopping and definitely going to the movies. Our cousin Jason was a lead animator for the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. We are planning on dragging him there and embarrassing him! He's a good guy. It will be fun and we are all so proud.

I hope that you'll be doing some wonderful things this holiday with your family and friends. Wishing you many blessings for a very Merry Christmas!!
Love and warm holiday hugs ~ Jenn

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Christmas Eve Punch

1 bottle (12 ounces) Lime Juice
1 can (46 ounces) Pineapple Juice
1 fifth of Rum
3 small cans frozen Limeade, defrosted
1 Lime, thinly sliced
1 bottle Champagne, chilled

Combine lime juice and pineapple juice and freeze in an ice ring.

In a tall container, combine rum, limeade, and lime slices. Chill for several hours.

When its time to serve, place the ice ring in a large punch bowl and add the chilled rum mixture. Slowly add chilled champagne, stir and serve.

Makes approx. 25 servings.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Aunt Jenn....Did you make my Christmas Toad yet?

Yes Antonio, there is a Christmas toad.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard that over the last year. Anyone reading this who knows Antonio is laughing right now because they've heard it 100 or so times also. My nephew is Hooked on Frognics. (Did I just say that?? I'm really here just to amuse myself). The kid loves amphibians. And I finally made the toad that he was suppose to get LAST Christmas. He is a Soft in the Head pattern and what a joy to create! Never thought I would make a primitive toad.....kind of cute ~ he's got that Beatrix Potter thing going on.

Well I'm off to start some Christmas shopping. Have a happy day! xoxo Jenn

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Holiday Update Tonight 8 p.m.

I've got some simple winter offerings on my website tonight if you'd like to stop by and take a look. www.rabbithillprimitives.com

With the holidays just around the corner this should be my last big update for the year. I'm looking forward to finally putting up the Christmas lights (I just rolled the pumpkins over the hill on Monday) and baking some Christmas cookies!

Hope your all doing well and enjoying the season....it goes by too quickly!
Warm hugs ~ Jenn

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

Our Christmas Open House is tonight at 1824 Antiques. Please let us get those few flurries that are suppose to be coming our way. That sure would make the evening perfect with all the candles inside and out. I've noticed that I've been making lots of "snowy" primitives.....icicles, snowangels and men, frosty trees etc. I'm really ready for a little snow.

Don't forget that on December 9th I'll be updating my site for a Country Farmhouse Christmas. Send me over an email if you'd like to be notified for updates. jenn@rabbithillprimitives.com

Time to get back to sewing. Hope your weekend is wonderful!
xoxo Jenn

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Blessings

"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds."
Psalms 9:1

I am so grateful that you take time to stop by every now and then and leave such warm hearted comments...it makes my day extra special, thank you!

Enjoy your family and friends today. Its a time to be thankful for all our blessings. Gather around the table, eat good food and laugh. Then eat more food!!

Wishing you all Thankgiving Blessings and Smiles!
xoxox Jenn

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Miller House Antiques

Somedays I'm not really sure what to write here on this little blog. That was today. Then I remembered I had a few pictures to share with you that you will LOVE!

The day before the Simple Goods show my friends from 1824 Antiques drove us to their friends' Linda and Ralph Miller's homestead. Oh my oh my! It is beautiful.

I only took these outside photos (with Linda's permission). We didn't have a lot of time so I just snapped away as fast as I could. I wish you could see the inside! The Miller's are the kindest people you ever want to meet. I hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

And if that mockingbird won't sing, Mama's gonna buy you some apple butter???

My mockingbird has started singing again. He visits me daily in my little studio in the garden. Not because he wants to see me but because I have a large crab apple tree about 10 feet from the door. Cedar waxwings and blue jays have been competing with him but he seems to be the ruler of this tree! He's not shy either as you can see I'm standing underneath him taking his picture. Its such a joy hearing his song while I work.

We finally made it to the orchard last Sunday. I think I was suppose to go about a month ago! Brown's Orchard is a simple building the size of a four-car garage with about 12 giant bins of different apples and a small refrigerator for cider. It smells heavenly! There is a large old barn next to it were all the hard work must be done. Surrounding these two buildings and a sweet farmhouse across the lane are acres and acres of apple trees on rolling hills. It's truly a lovely setting especially for a fall drive.

Lydia and I did manage to can 6 pints of apple butter and make 2 apple cakes which we froze for Christmas this past weekend. We've already finished almost a whole jar! I know I only have these 6 jars (well 5 now) but it is so satisfying making something from scratch using very little money.

Just in case your not sure what apple butter is, its a highly concentrated form of apple sauce that you slow cook so that the apples caramelize turning the apple butter a deep brown. It has a much longer shelf life than applesauce and was very popular in colonial America. The Pennsylvania Dutch often include apple butter as part of their traditional seven sweets and seven sours dinners. Yum!

This is my very simple recipe for apple butter. I've tried others in the past but found they were just to spicy for me....like eating potpourri. We love it on my friends' mom's english muffin bread the best but I didn't have time to make that this weekend. When I do, I'll post the recipe. Until then we like to put it on our pancakes, buttered toast, and use it as a side dish for dinner.

Apple Butter
16 - 20 apples ~ I asked them to mix it up for me because they had many different varieties but if your going to the super market I'd say to mix up Golden Delicious, Rome and Granny Smith or whatever apples you like when you make applesauce. I like tart and use more Granny Smith.

4 Cups Apple Cider
2 Lemons ~ Juiced
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
a couple shakes of Allspice and Ground Cloves (just a little ~ you can add more later)

Core and quarter the apples ~ don't peel. Put in a large dutch oven with the apple cider. Bring to a boil and then simmer until all apples are soft.

Once soft, put entire mixture through a food mill and add back to pot. Add the lemon juice, brown sugar and spices. Bring back to a boil then simmer over low heat for 3 hours stirring occasionally. I usually do a few taste test during this time and adjust the spices if needed.

Can your butter according to manufacturers instructions or you can put it in small containers or bags and freeze it. Canning is not hard at all and it looks a lot prettier than freezing. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse. Keep them warm so they don't crack when you fill them with the hot apple butter. Screw on lids and place in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. That's it! Sounds scary but its easy. Before my mom gave me her canning pot I would do 2 jars at a time in my soup pot (just be careful when your removing the jars not to burn yourself). Also, let the jars cool on a kitchen towel because if they come in contact with a cold surface the glass could break and all that time and hard work would be lost.

Enjoy the day and thanks always for reading my blog. xoxo

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November Offerings on Primitive Gatherings Group

New offerings go up on The Primitive Gathering Group tonight! I'll be offering these Primitive Snow Fellows....I've been dreaming about that first snow I think.

While there don't miss the chance to win one of the wonderful generous Christmas giveaways that are being offered.

This Early Style Little Santa is my giveaway.

Thanks always for visiting and have a wonderful relaxing Sunday!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hot Off The Press ~ Simple Goods Show

Some photo's from this past weekend. What a great show! I didn't get any pictures during the show because it was so crazy. I did get to meet many of my online customers which was such a delight! And the dealers and artists are truly are so talented. Each booth was a joy to visit, all decorated so primitively. Enjoy!!

This was the line when we came in at 8:00 a.m. Some got there at 5:00 a.m.!
I took this the night before the show. It was set-up on the porch of the convention center.
Ivy Hill Primitives ~ I loved everything in this booth...especially that early bear dressed in a velvet!

"To Far Gone" Set-up on the porch ~ they had the best snowmen and reindeer ~ life size! That photo was too blurry to add but I also loved their mantel.
Our booth

My mom and me before showtime

Cloth Dolly's
More Goods....

Thanks to everyone who visited us! And to Candy and Max from Simple Goods for their kindness. We appreciate all your support and had a fun day.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

We fancy men are individuals, so are pumpkins; but every pumpkin in the field goes through every point in history.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
~photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

I just loved these little pumpkin mushrooms and snails and so wanted to make them this year, but here we are Halloween evening and not a pumpkin mushroom to be found.

I've only got a few moments to spare because I've got to get Lydia ready for trick or treating and then we are off to a Halloween party. I'm sporting my spider earrings and Dino is going as an Italian guy (we're so lame).

Lydia decided to dress up 1980's style ~ aka Desperately Seeking Susan. Creating her costume has been so much fun. We've been looking back at some of my old photos (being a teen from the 80's) she keeps asking me questions like "What time did you have to get up to do your hair?" "Were you hot wearing all those accessories?" And the best "Did you dress like this everyday?" We did...the funkier the better. I was even able to find one of my old jackets....I believe its "vintage" now hee hee! What do you think???

Time for me to go tease some big hair on my girl. Wishing you all a safe and happy Halloween.

Have like a totally spooky evening.

xoxo Jenn

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Passing Time

As I've been busy as a bee sewing in my new studio in our back yard, to pass the time, as I have yet to have a tv put in, I've been watching old and classic movies on my computer. My techie hubby bought some kind of sound system with a woofer(??) to plug into my computer and the sound is fantastic. He's always hooking me up with all that cool stuff.

I have to tell you that I just finished watching Cranford. If you haven't seen it it's an absolutely lovely movie. The series is set in an English village in the 1840s, just before the Industrial Revolution, and is based on a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. The setting, the clothes, the homes and furniture, everything about it is just wonderful. The plots are full of unpredictable turns...some parts funny and sweet while others are truly sad, it is a must see especially if you like classics.

Watch part one here and get hooked. You can see the whole series on youtube.com or rent the DVD.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"It was not the apple on the tree....

but the pair on the ground that caused the trouble in the garden"

One of my favorite Fall things to do is going to our local orchard for apples. Brown's Orchard also makes the best cider. Last year they lost there cider man and I hope upon hope that this year they have someone. Please Please Please!

If you've read my blogs before you may know that I have a sweet tooth (just a little one ~ hah!) My favorite pie is apple....or anything mixed with apples. I just read this interesting article about the history of pie dating back to medieval England. They were called coffyns, the crusts were tall and straight, like pots to hold the meats. The filling was served and the pie crust was thrown away...can you imagine! In America, the top crust was a disposable lid. In hard times, many households reverted to baking just a lower crust. Only the wealthy could afford an upper crust; hence the phrase "Upper Crust". I love finding things out like that.

Next week Lydia and I are planning our trip to Brown's Orchard. We'll be making apple butter and applesauce. I'd love to try canning apples for apple pie filling...I just have to figure out how to do that. I also found a recipe for apple cider donuts that I'm hoping to make, doesn't that sound lovely with a cup of tea? Of course, I'll be sharing recipes and pictures!

Sending happy thoughts today.....Jenn

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

FALLing behind

We've had chilly mornings here in Pennsylvania. I've brought out the wool blankets and have been lighting fires in the evening. It's been so cozy.

Autumn is definitely here and we are almost at our peak with the trees changing colors. Above is one of my favorite old trees by the church across the street from our house. I love watching it every fall. On the grounds is an old cemetery with some of the stones dating back to late 1700's, it's very interesting but kind of spooky when your trick or treating.

I have done a little decorating around here. On our front porch swing is a quilt that I bought from my friend Audrey at 1824 Antiques. It's a cutter quilt. Once I got it home, I just couldn't cut it. The colors are too beautiful....browns, greens, blues, and butterscotch calicos and homespuns. The backing is a wonderful old blue ticking. It makes me happy therefore no cutting will be done on this one.

Fall is also a busy time of year around here with my Dad, Dino and Lydia's birthday all falling within a month of each other. Of course we have to have parties. We do love to party....anything to eat, drink and be merry. Please if you know what's good for you try the Pioneer Woman's Pecan Pie. (I really do have a crush on her.) I made it for my Dad/Dino's birthday....not for them of course but for those of "us" who do not like cake. "Us" meaning mostly me. I could eat pie every day, it's just another food group here.

The Simple Goods show is coming up quickly and I've been stitching my fingers to the bone. How do you know when you have enough? How do you know what is going to sell? What to price them at? These things run though my mind daily....I do a lot of thinking and praying while sewing. What do you all look for while shopping for primitives?

Enjoy the week and thank you for stopping by. Sending warm thoughts your way.....Jenn

Monday, September 28, 2009

Are you smarter than a third grader??

My happy place...

Lord help me I can't do third grade homework! Normally I am the most patient person in the world but between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. I am some crazed lunatic (as in suffering loss of emotional control). Thank goodness for the Internet....what did our parents do??? I really don't think they were as involved as we have to be but since I've had a child I am slowing losing brain cells and can't remember.

Although all of the above is true, I hate to say it but I am learning new things. For instance tonight Lydia had to write sentences from her vocabulary words. One of the words is "records" as in the best performance in a competition. I want to tell her examples but that will make it easy (it is so tempting) and she needs to make up her own.

Stay with me for a minute I am going somewhere with this. I had her look up the word "records" (again thank you Internet). She noticed a crazy picture from the Guinness Book of World Records. I can't believe I never told her about these? We looked up everything from the fastest time to carve a pumpkin ~ 24.03 seconds, to a boy balancing 16 spoons on his face. We are learning good stuff tonight!!

I thought you all would get a kick out of what she decided upon....

"In the book of world records the smallest teddy bear is 0.17 inches."

Just for the record he is fully jointed with hand sewn eyes, nose and mouth. Can you see him below the coin??

I'm going back to my happy place now.

*Photo copyright Guinness World Records.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Favorite Quote of the Month ~ September

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting–a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I just love Emerson....
Being animal lovers, Lydia and I were so intrigued by this tight knit little family above that we met on vacation. So sweet but so sad it breaks my heart. Although the man was homeless, he told us he didn't want our money and Lydia asked if we could take a picture. After talking with him awhile I got the impression that he had lost faith in people and only trusted his animals. Lydia and I still talk about it to this day. Hopefully those animals will help him trust again by the people he meets.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Good Intentions

I had them...

Back on April 7th I blogged about the "Great Sunflower Project". They send you seeds and you count the number of bees in a half-hour, then email it in for research on why the bees are disappearing. This is one of the few Lemon Queen sunflowers that came up. I don't think they liked my soil. I envisioned large beautiful sunflowers in my veggie garden, I got daisy sized flowers. They are the tiniest sunflowers I've ever seen. I will start counting today if the little bees can find them :)

Today is the update for the Primitive Gatherings....go there and check out the great stuff by great artists. I've listed a primitive little witchy and a few jack-o-lanterns.

It's been a crazy few weeks getting ready for the Country Farmers Fall Gathering this weekend at 1824 Antiques. Keep your fingers crossed for no rain!

I did manage to sneak away last Saturday for the Shaker Woods Antiques in the Woods Festival in Columbiana Ohio. Did anyone else go? It was the perfect day with the feel of fall in the air. The woods smelled so good with vendors cooking over an open kettle.

I found a few treasures and some presents. I particularly love old books especially childrens books. I also collect anything with little rabbits. So happy when I found this...."Timothy Crunchit the Calico Bunny" I haven't read it yet so I don't know why he is the calico bunny but I love the title and the sweet illustrations inside.

It was a good day...a well needed day away.

That's it. I'm headed back to work and....


Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9-11

“Now, we have inscribed a new memory alongside those others. It’s a memory of tragedy and shock, of loss and mourning. But not only of loss and mourning. It’s also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend–even a friend whose name it never knew. “
-George W. Bush

I'll never forget those that lost their lives that morning.....3,000 people! Somehow it brought us together as a country. I hope it doesn't take another horrible day before we have that unity again in this country. May we never forget and always keep this day in our hearts. Sending happy thoughts to you today ~~~ Jenn

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Will the real kitty cat please say "meow"

Ha Ha! I had to share this photo with you. My neighbor just brought over those gorgeous hydrangea's in the background. (I have the best neighbors!) I finished putting them in water and started sweeping up the leaves on the kitchen floor (yes it would be cleaner to go outside but I'm to lazy to walk out there plus I think I have a touch of adult A.D.D. and would probably get distracted!) When I turned around, Hannah was posing for this shot. It's amazing that she sat there long enough for me to get the camera AND take her picture...she is an old lady though.
Have a happy day!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Offerings at Early Work Mercantile Today

There's a nip in the air...have you noticed? September is here! I'm looking forward to this upcoming fall season. It seems everyone is in the mood. For my update on Early Work Mercantile I have a few autumn offerings...


an Old Looking Sock Kitty ~ SOLD

and a Primitive Scarecrow.

For more info click here

Happy September!

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