Walking and hiking

The weather here is still really nice and I have been getting out quite a bit with friends to hike and walk.  We have been seeing lots and lots of wildlife.

We saw this beautiful buck and cute little bunny at Rancho San Antonio.  The buck was completely unafraid of us and let us get quite close for pictures.

As always, the Baylands are a favorite place of mine to go running and walking.  That Turkey Vulture sunning was absolutely beautiful!  I love seeing the pelicans, ducks and other birds hanging out together like this in the water.  My husband and I love to go out early before anyone else and enjoy the quiet and peacefulness of this area.

SAL Update and Slow Stitch Sunday

I’m still working on the Santa Christmas Stocking.  I was playing with other things in the studio and did not work on it as much this month as I did last month.  Here is where I was last time:img_4376

And this is where I am now:img_4584

Well, this is why I like to look at before and after photos!  Even though I didn’t get as much done as I wanted, I realize I did manage to get more done than I thought!  I really have to buckle down on this one if I want to finish by Christmas!

About the SAL in case you would like to join us

This SAL (Stitch Along) is slightly different to other SALs in that we don’t all stitch the same design at the same rate. We choose ONE unfinished project, or ONE new one, and show progress of its completion over a series of three weekly updates. There are no deadlines and no set amount to stitch. The result is that the space in our drawers full of WIPs (works in progress) is gradually being freed up to store lots of new crafty goodness. It’s surprising how much motivation I’ve gained from being in this SAL. If you’d like to finish a project you’ve left unfinished for a while, or start a new one with us, you can join us by contacting Avis fromSewing Beside the Sea.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyTonyMeganCatherineDeborahClare

I am also linking up with Kathy at Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitch Sundays.

All of them!

All of the chairs for the studio are done!!!img_4459

They are so fun and colorful!!  I think my students are going to love them and they were so fun to do!  Now I am just looking for something else to spray paint!img_4460

This is what the studio looks like with the chairs in place.

Studio Happenings

I teach sewing, weaving, embroidery, knitting and crochet to kids (and sometimes adults) out of my home studio.  Each student chooses what they would like to work on and then that’s what we do:

Some cross stitch…

There is weaving, sewing, and knitting…

And as soon as one project is finished, another one can be started!  The student on the left just finished making a blouse and now she is making a tiered, ruffled skirt.  The one on the right just finished making a quilt and is now cutting fabric for a patchwork binding on another quilt.

Chicken Dinner

Sometimes when we are having a super busy afternoon with me teaching and then kid’s activities, I buy one of the pre-made roasted chickens from the grocery store.  We actually really like the taste and I can pull together the rest of the meal very quickly.  What I truly like about a whole chicken is the other meals/uses that we can make from it when done.  We eat one whole chicken at a meal.  I like to use the bones etc to make chicken broth.  I put the carcass in the crock pot after dinner, add vegetables, herbs and spices and then let it cook overnight.
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I’m not sure that looks very appetizing, but after being strained…img_4401

The broth is delicious.  It’s getting a little cooler here so I decided to use the broth immediately to make Matzo Ball Soup.

Our whole family LOVES this soup and it’s great for leftovers.  Grab a hunk of bread and warm up a bowl of soup – YUM!  You may ask what I used the leftover vegetables and bones for from the broth.  Well…img_4402

About a year ago, I bought this – a Food Cycler – I was tired of throwing food away.  Either because, as in this instance, I had used up all that I thought I could, or because we had let something stay in the fridge for too long and it was bad.  This is a fantastic addition to our home.  We just put anything that cannot go into the compost bin (i.e. bones, pizza, leftover meat scraps, anything) into it…img_4403

Here you can see I just dumped all the “stuff” that cooked down in the crock pot for broth into the pot.  Close up the pot and press “start”.  Two or so hours later the stuff in the pot looks like this…img_4409

and goes directly into the compost bin to be used in the garden at a later date.  I really like the idea that I’m not wasting any food anymore – it all gets used in one way or another. A win-win in my book!

Santa Barbara

One of my daughters attends UCSB so this past weekend we went down to visit her.  It was a fantastic weekend!  The weather was perfect and it was great to be with her again.img_4501

We hiked up Gaviota Peak (this is the view on the way down).img_4489

This is from the peak.  The hike was hard, but not too hard.  img_4494

This was the bin that held the notebooks that you could sign your name in that said you had climbed this peak.  I was really surprised at how many notebooks are in the bin!  Lots and lots of them!img_4499

This is most of us.  Our oldest couldn’t make the trip, she had something else going on this weekend.img_6551

The hubby and I!  Hiking is one of the things we have always done for fun, even before kids.  Now that the kids are older, we are getting back into longer hikes and it really is so much fun.  This hike wasn’t all that long – 7 miles with a 2200 foot elevation gain – but it was strenuous enough that it felt like an accomplishment for all of us.img_4488

This cute little lizard was in the middle of the last little bit of our path before we reached the top.  I think he is so pretty with the blue coloring down his sides.  We didn’t see any other wildlife.  Lots of evidence of coyotes and lots of deer tracks, but no sightings.

This is what happens when you give your 18 year old son the phone to take a selfie of THE WHOLE FAMILY because he is best at it…weird photos of him.  Believe me, there are many more of these!  I didn’t even know he had taken them until I was uploading photos right now for this post!  He is a quite the joker!