Monday, November 15, 2010

Forever Fall

I absolutely love this time of year.  Fall is my favorite season and it begins for me at the end of August.  The Back to School displays are out in the stores, all of the supermarkets have their Halloween candy out, and I know that in just a month or so I will be pulling out the long sleeve shirts and long johns. 

One of my favorite things about fall is walking into any given supermarket and seeing the display of apple cider and the smell of cinnamon scented pine cones.  That smell always brings a smile to my face and thoughts of beautiful colored trees and carving pumpkins fills my mind.  

A trip to the Apple Orchard is always on our list of things to do in late September.  Since I was a little girl we have gone to a place in Warwick, New York called Pennings Orchard.  There is nothing better than walking through the rows of apple trees and crunching down on a freshly picked, super sweet Gala Apple.  As we walk around the kids notice all kinds of little nature gems in and among the trees.  This birds nest was a cool find this year. 

Leaves crunching under my feet has got to be one of my favorite sounds at this time of year along with the sounds of the geese that are beginning to head South for the winter. 

 When we rake the leaves in our yard we always pick up the little branches and sticks that have fallen out of the trees and burn them in our Chimenea while we rake.  That smell of wood smoke while we work in the yard just brings me right back to my childhood when we would sit by the fireplace with my dad who would play the guitar with all of us happily singing "Old Dan Tucker".

Every Halloween I make a big pot of chili.  After Trick or Treating we come in the house with full bags of candy, rosy cheeks and rumbling bellies just dying for a bowl of that warm goodness.  Here is the recipe I use.

                         Texas Style Chili

1-1/2 pounds of boneless stew beef (cut in 1/2 inch cubes)
1-1/2 pounds of ground beef
1-1/2 cups of chopped onion
1 cup of chopped bell pepper
3 cloves of garlic chopped
2 (28 oz.) cans of whole tomatoes undrained and broken up
2 cups of water
1 (6 oz.) can of tomato paste
8 beef flavored bouillon cubes
                            2 Tablespoons chili powder
                            1 Tablespoon ground cumin
                            2 teaspoons oregano leaves
                            2 teaspoons sugar

 In a large kettle or Dutch oven, brown the beef cubes and ground beef.  Drain off the fat.  Add onions, pepper and garlic; cook and stir until tender.  Add remaining ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer 1-1/2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally.  Serve with corn chips and shredded cheddar cheese.  Makes about 4 Quarts.

Another great thing about the fall season is carving pumpkins for Halloween.  We take a trip out to Pennsylvania every year to go and get them.  On this annual trip we make a stop at Country Junction which claims to be "Americas Largest General Store".  This fantastic place has a full out Pumpkin Festival every fall complete with a haunted hayride, midway rides, and a Halloween store.  They always have The Wizard of Oz playing on a big movie screen in the dining room and you could wander around the store for over an hour looking in all the nooks and crannies for treasures.  After visiting Country Junction we usually head over to the Pocono Cheesecake Factory.  Not the popular chain restaurant, but a little place in Swiftwater, PA where you can go to get home made Pumpkin cheesecake. This delicious cheesecake weighs about 80 pounds! (just kidding...kinda) and is the creamiest, dreamiest cheesecake you'll ever taste.  Before we get back on route 80 to head home we make one last stop at Callie's Pretzel Factory.  This little out of the way place boasts tons of different kinds of pretzels, but our family favorite are the everything pretzels. YUMMY!

This past February I started a new job.  It was my first leap back into the workforce since my oldest son was born almost 13 years ago.  I work for our towns Dial a Ride program where we transport Senior Citizens and disabled adults to doctors appointments and other places that they would not be able to get to without this service.  In this job I am driving most of the day and I must say that my favorite season to drive so far has been the fall.  A couple weeks ago I took my camera to work with me and here are a couple of the shots that I got.

No fall season would be complete without my all time favorite singer James Taylor.  any song by him reminds me of fall for some reason, but he put out a CD back in 2002 called October Road, and it has an amazing song on it called "September Grass".  Here are the lyrics to this wonderful song:

Well, the sun's not so hot in the sky today
And you know I can see summertime slipping on away
A few more geese are gone, a few more leaves turning red
But the grass is as soft as a feather in a featherbed
So I'll be king and you'll be queen
Our kingdom's gonna be this little patch of green
Won't you lie down here right now
In this September grass
Won't you lie down with me now
September grass

Yeah, I kissed the girl at a football game
I can still smell the sweat and the grass stains
We walked home together. I was never the same.

But that was a long time ago
And where is she now? I don't know

Won't you lie down here right now
In this September grass
Won't you lie down with me now
September grass

Oh, September grass is the sweetest kind
It goes down easy like apple wine
Hope you don't mind if I pour you some
Made that much sweeter by the winter to come 
lyrics found on

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My summer in photos

It seems to me that summer seems to go faster and faster as the years go on.  Just yesterday I was 10 years old and making mudpies with my sister in my grandparents back yard.  Those summer days seemed to last forever.  This summer seems to have gone by in a flash.  I have decided to document it in the photos I took. I hope you enjoy.

Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD
Sweet Summer Cantalope
The boys and their friends out on the lake
Michelle O'Bama throws out the first pitch in Camden Yards at an Orioles game
Sunset at the balloon festival
Hot air Balloon Launch
A tiny baby grasshopper
Dragonfly at the Rennaissance Faire
Spending a day with the Knights
Seashells at the Jersey Shore
The dunes at Island Beach State Park
A Beautiful Summer Sunset
Ride the rides on Moreys Pier at Seaside Heights
I captured this beauty while playing mini golf with my boys
My boys enjoying a roller coaster at Hershy Park
We went out of the way in Amish country to see our very first covered bridge
Yuengling is the oldest brewery in America and we toured the facilities in Pottsville, PA
Oh Beautiful for spacious skies
We went on a 3 hour hike and I just love this photo

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Discover Me Wednesday

I am constantly on the lookout for new artists to feature on Discover Me Wednesday.  I love to wander around on ETSY and just put in key words and see what comes up.  Last week when I put in the keyword "Tree" I came across so many wonderful items, but one artist really caught my attention and I wandered around her shop for quite some time ooooo-ing and aaaaah-ing over every little thing.  

Underglass is the name of the shop I'd like to introduce you to.
These gorgeous creations are not made with glass, as the name of the shop would suggest.  All of the items you will find are handmade Resin and mixed media jewelry. 

In the artists profile she talks about the name "Underglass" and how it came about.  Her grandmother used to have a collection of glass domes in her home.  Under those domes she kept items that were special to her.

When this artist would give her grandmother a handmade gift she says that she would know that she got it right when her grandmother would say; "This is wonderful, this belongs under glass!"  You can visit Underglass's profile page to read the whole story in her own words. 


Please be sure to visit "Underglass" and wander around her shop like I did.  Enjoy the beauty there.  Purchase a lovely of your own to place under your own glass. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Discover Me Wednesday

This week's edition of Discover me Wednesday is very special to my heart. I am featuring my best friend Dorana.
Dorana and I met many years ago and I will never say it was chance that brought us together. I don't believe in chance.  I was a Partylite consultant at the time and went into Staples to make some copies. Dorana was there as well and we started talking at the register. After a brief conversation about candles and Partylite I left her with a catalog and we both said goodbye. I walked out of the store. Once outside I remembered something I had recently learned in a training. The teacher said..."never walk away without getting the other persons information", so I took a deep breath, walked back in the store and asked Dorana if I could have her phone number to follow up with her. She gladly gave it to me and encouraged me to give her a ring.
That day God brought Dorana and I together. Through the years there are days, weeks and sometimes months where Dorana and I don't speak regularly (we are both extremely busy women), but when we do get together it is like no time has passed at all and we laugh, cry, and love like we were never out of each others company for even a day. I recently found a quote on a blog whose name I can't recall at the moment and it reminded me so much of Dorana that I wrote it down. It is this " What a gift it is to stand in the light of an old friends gaze and feel the wonder of stopping, even reversing time - for at least a few days. A stopped clock presents us with time to remember - time to know that who we were, remains who we are." That is how I feel when Dorana and I are afforded the luxury of spending time together. Like time has stopped and each moment lasts for an eternity.

Dorana is my crying shoulder, my nursemaid : ) , my confidant, my inspiration, my sister, my opposite and my equal. She drives me crazy and grounds me all at the same time! We have been a lot to each other and I ponder what our future looks like all the time. Along the road of our relationship, Partylite went by the wayside and I started with a new direct sales company that had me going to peoples homes and teaching them how to make their own jewelry with gemstones and sterling silver components. Naturally Dorana; ever the artist; was intrigued by this concept of making your own jewelry and joined the company to support me. But Doranas journey went a different way than mine and she began to create some of the most intricate, and beautiful designs I had ever seen. It was not long before she found ETSY and started her own shop where she could sell her handcrafted jewelry. Not only did she open her shop "A Dorana Design" but she also started a Forum on ETSY called More Meaningful Gifts which is a Buy and Replace Thread where ETSY artists support one another through sales and encouragement. One of the many ways that Dorana and I are alike is that she is a little ADD when it comes to crafting. She is constantly thinking of new designs, ideas, ways of doing things. In January of 2009 Dorana opened her second ETSY shop called "ddots". This unique shop sells greeting cards and gift tags that are all hand-dotted with hammer and special tools. They ARE NOT done by a hole punch!  I have been in Doranas art room at her home and I can attest to how much work goes into just one of these beautiful cards. You really need to check out her shop to see all of the choices and keep in mind that Dorana also does custom work as well if you are looking for something personal. This driven woman did not just stop at two ETSY shops and a thread that she maintains in the ETSY forums; NO! She went on to create her own website called My Handmade Registry. This fantastic site is original and innovative. It is not just another networking site for crafters, it is a place that connects buyers of handmade gifts to sellers of handmade gifts. Anyone can go on this Handmade Registry - a place where everyone can create a personal page with a list of their favorite items from only HANDMADE RETAILERS! It is really an incredible website and you should take a moment to check it out and create your own registry page! 
Dorana is not only an artist, but she can write the most eloquent Blog posts. Her Blog Siempre - Dorana, will make you laugh out loud, run for a box of tissues, and have you watching patiently for the next Blog post. She writes in a way that is so vivid you can almost see exactly what she is trying to convey in words in your head. I promise you will not regret going to her blog and taking the time to read her posts.  

I remember when Dorana first discovered ETSY she told me that someday she wanted to have an all handmade wedding and then have it featured on ETSY. This was a dream that she just recently turned into a reality when she wed her wonderful husband Todd this past December. On December 26th 2009 among only their closest friends and family Dorana and Todd got married in their beautiful home in Mendham, NJ. The entire wedding was handmade. The dress, The cake toppers, The flowers, everything was found on ETSY. On July 19th 2010, Doranas handmade wedding was featured on ETSY. In an article titled "Handmade Weddings - A Simple Fairytale" Dorana describes her dream of a handmade wedding and shares photos of the items she used as well as links to all the artists shops who participated in this beautiful day. Her next have a Handmade Baby shower!  

It has been my honor to share this incredible woman with you. I hope you have enjoyed the photos of Doranas work, as well as hearing her story. Please visit her website, shops, Blog and thread on ETSY and let her know you heard about her here at Heathers Meadow.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Into the Trees

As I drive down the roads in my town and the surrounding areas, I find myself looking into the forests and woods that I am swiftly passing by in my car. Along the edge of the road there is a blur of wildflowers. Blue Cornflowers, White Daisy's, Queen Ann's Lace, Orange Tiger Lilys, and little purple flowers whose name I do not know. I catch glimpses of fallen trees and baby pines among the saplings and majestic elder trees that grow just inside the curtain of leaves at the edge.
I can envision all types of life that must be carrying on in these forests. Momma bear is teaching her twins the dangers of crossing the road to get to the river for an evening drink and dinner of wild raspberries that grow there.The beaver family is busy slapping together a home made of mud and freshly cut trees with their flat tails.
Chickadee parents are teaching their babies to fly.

Does, Bucks and Fawns are having an afternoon snack of Birch Tree bark, and squirrels are scurrying about their work of forever preparing for the long cold winter ahead that I am not even thinking about on this hot August day.
Then there is the forest world of my imagination. A forest where fairy families build their homes among the roots of the trees that are so plentiful. Where fairy ladies are sewing new clothing out of Black Eyed Susan petals. Fairy men are out risking their lives for a bit of stolen honey from the local honey bee hive. Then there are the fairy children. They are happily chasing dragonflies and building forts to play in among the toadstools that grow low to the ground.

This is is the world that I often dream about and wish that I could escape to as I am driving to the next destination on my list of errands that must be run.
For now I will have to daydream but who knows what I will find in the forest when I pull the car over, step off the road, through the wildflowers and into the trees.