Throughout the years while I was raising my four kids (beginning in 1954), I kept a journal where I periodically made notes about holidays, school, vacations, etc. As an occasion arises where I think one of my journal entries would be pertinent, I’m going to post it just as I wrote or typed it back in the day (except for an explanatory note or correction of a typo).
The children will be known here by the nicknames their grandfather used when they were toddlers: The oldest daughter will be Newsie (because she was as good as a newspaper for finding out the latest happenings), the oldest son is Bar (because he called Grandpa’s truck Bar and Grandpa called him Bar), the youngest son is Jackson, and the youngest daughter is Shanty (as in Shanty-Boat).
“Jackson saw a plump robin on the front lawn today and with the confidence of childhood announced: ‘There’s a robin. It’s spring!’ And I’ll have to agree with him that the miracle of spring has come to Maple Drive. The sky is a pale clear blue, serving well as the background for tender green buds and leaflets appearing on so many of the trees. Each lawn is the fresh green of spring and the gorgeous color compensates for the bare patches of earth. Daffodils, dandelions and violets are blooming, and the tulips are budding. The leaves of the iris are straight and sure and reassuring. The temperature is 80 degrees this afternoon and the kids are wearing shorts and crop-tops, and Bar and his friend Danny are tossing a baseball. Our dog Penny ran with great glee over newly-seeded lawns and through flower beds, and dug a foot-deep hole in the dusty patch beside the back porch. Newsie and her friend Rosanne came in with nosegays of violets, dandelions and large leaves, picked in the hollow and carefully placed in a yellow plastic cup on the refrigerator.”
Precious memories of a spring almost 50 years ago.
Probably every one of her readers wished she had some cute little bird salt and peppers. Yesterday, my daughter and I were browsing through one of our favorite shops, Covered Bridge Antiques in Mt. Healthy (a suburb of Cincinnati). Guess what I saw on a shelf at a very reasonable price?
They are about 2-3/4 inches tall, are marked “Japan” on the bottom and have holes with cork inserts. They are just perfect for spring.
I also found this precious glass basket which is 3-1/2 inches tall, including the handle.
This piece is going to be filled with something sweet and included in an Easter package to a special friend.
Desert Sky Quilts has a great quilting blog which includes tutorials for some blocks she designed. I liked her Indestructible Star and tried it using her instructions for a 12-1/2 inch unfinished block. I added a border and ruffles to make a nice cushion cover.
I thought this would be a good pattern to use with scraps for a springtime mantel cover. For this cover I reduced the blocks to 6-1/2 inches.
For the length I wanted, I made 5 blocks using scraps of a different coordinating color for each.
I added setting and corner triangles along with a border and a plain piece of fabric for the top of the mantel.
I didn’t want to use batting and placed the backing right sides together with the block portion and sewed around the edges, leaving an opening on the back edge. The piece was turned and pressed, then I used a minimum amount of machine stitching to hold the back and front together and top stitched around the edge.
I like the cover very much – cheerful and spring-like.
This is how it looked outside today – two inches of snow on the ground and four to six more inches due by suppertime.
This is how it looked inside.
Yesterday, my daughter had brought home these daffodils, bright with the promise of spring.
Meanwhile, we need something warm and comforting. How about some Maple Walnut Muffins?
I copied this recipe from a muffin cookbook that I sent my daughter-in-law as a birthday gift in the early 1980s. We have enjoyed this muffin ever since. It has a good maple flavor and the crunch of toasted walnuts.
*To toast walnuts: Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 6-7 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Grease 12 muffins cups or use paper or silicone liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, maple syrup, buttermilk, vanilla and maple extracts and cooled melted margarine.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar and salt. Add to the egg mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the chopped walnuts.
Spoon batter into 12 prepared muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until a tester inserted in one of the muffins comes out clean. Place muffin pan on rack and cool for 5 minutes…
…then remove the muffins from the cups/silicone liners and continue cooling on a wire rack.
Serve warm from the oven or wrap and store for 2-3 days. These muffins also freeze well. To warm stored or thawed muffins, place on a pan in a cold oven. Turn heat to 350 degrees F and after 10 minutes or so when it has reached 350, turn off heat and remove from oven. They will be just right to eat.
The last two weeks have been spectacularly beautiful in our southwestern Ohio neighborhood. I took my hound dog, Rusty, to our township park to enjoy the daffodils that line the trail that leads into the woods. Rusty normally spends 90% of his time in the park sniffing and he wasn’t sure what to make of the pretty yellow flowers.
The trail is a very natural setting, just like walking through the wooded area of an old farm.
Rusty enjoys nosing among the dry leaves, inspecting every tree and bush, and generally giving the park the once-over.
Rusty and I enjoy the park the year-around but I think spring is our favorite time.
I didn’t know what I was going to do with it until I started thinking about a hoodie for spring similar to the one I made forfall which I liked very much. I had only bought one yard of each of the Moda fabrics and got enough additional Kona off-white fabric to make the jacket. I used a pattern I found in my local quilt shop, A QUILTER’S HOODIE #0351 by A Little More Effect Pattern Company, 10736-125 Street, Edmonton T5M 0H1. The pattern is for an unlined jacket, but I wanted to make mine reversible and basically made the jacket twice and then put it together with a reversible separating zipper. It turned out to be very comfortable, the right weight for our Southwest Ohio spring weather, and with the colors of April. This is one view of the hoodie.
This is the reverse side of the jacket. I like the deep pockets.
Whenever I make a jacket, I use the scraps to make a small purse to carry in quilt shops, antique stores, malls, etc., to avoid lugging around a heavy purse. This purse has a flip-out section for credit cards/cash and a holder for my sunglasses.
Sunday was so beautiful – sunny, blue, bright, cheerful. I took my hound Rusty for our early morning walk and was surprised to see a sign taped, of all places, on the fire hydrant. We got closer to read it and I had to admire the marketing strategy – some teenagers were advertising a Dog Wash.
For $10 they are willing to wash your dog – provided he is friendly. That leaves Rusty out – he’s very friendly unless someone comes at him with soap and water.
It was so nice to be able to walk in the neighborhood and see the grass getting greener every day, the spring flowers starting to bloom and have the weather be warm enough to wear just a light jacket. It has taken awhile, but spring finally arrived yesterday.