Friday, November 30, 2012

the place to be

Much like a large, woodland creature, I find myself stockpiling food as the days get colder and shorter.  I don't think I'll get to hibernate this year, but I like to be prepared. 

We ate turkey sandwiches until we ran out of bread and tomatoes and everything but turkey.  So, one afternoon this week, I spent several hours in the kitchen making use of all the leftovers.  I made turkey soup (like chicken soup, with turkey).  I made turkey tetrazinni (it's in the freezer and I love knowing it's there).  I made sausage and potato soup (no turkey- we also had some sausage to use up). 

The kitchen might be my favorite spot in the cold months.  It's toasty and there's lots of light and I can crank up the music while I work. 

So this morning, I am back at it.  I've got chili simmering in the crock pot for dinner and I'm making a special lunch for two dear friends who are coming over.  Visitors in the middle of the day- what fun! 
(Incidentally, Steve and I are both still mourning the absence of that pie- cheesecake on the bottom, pumpkin on top, dark chocolate in the middle.  Oh, my.)

Hope your weekend is full of Christmas cheer- we're going to finish decorating and hopefully start on some gifts!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

we're here, we're there... we're everywhere

We have a lot of irons in the fire right now.  It's fun, this holiday bustle.  For the next three weeks, in addition to selling online and at two retail stores, a few select Plumfield Shop items will be available through The Makery.  The Makery is a website, run by three sisters from North Carolina, that features sales on handmade goods from North Carolina artists.  So it's handmade, plus local, and you don't even have to leave your house. 
Be sure to check out the "Men's" category for our items- we're selling scarves and iPad cases this week and they're going fast!  (Is it any wonder when the model is so handsome?)
Now, if you like to leave your house, here's another way to pick up some locally made Christmas gifts- The Boulevard is having a one year anniversary party tomorrow night from 6-9pm.  You can check out the invitation right here.  There will be drinks and snacks and 15% off everything!  Steve and I are so excited about going and plan to grab a few gifts while we're there. 
Scoop Charlotte did an awesome write up on The Boulevard last week and if you scroll down to look at all the pictures in the article, you'll catch a glimpse of some familiar looking leather and wool zipper pouches
Want something fun to do this weekend?  We'll be at the Christ Church Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, December 1st, from 9:30-1 with all kinds of cool stuff.  I've been sewing faster than we can photograph everything and, as a result, we're taking lots of items to the sale that aren't available online yet.  It's like a surprise! 
Truthfully, I'm a little tired just typing this all out.  But I'm also feeling energized with the adrenaline that can only come from doing something you love.  So, it's back to work for me!

Monday, November 26, 2012

we gave it our best shot

Well, we celebrated Thanksgiving in full-on party mode.  There was turkey.  There was pie.  There was blood orange sparkling soda in the middle of the day.  And we were all properly thankful. 
The theme of this year's Thanksgiving was supposed to be relaxation.  I give us a 7 out of 10.  Sometimes we have trouble relaxing.  Sometimes we think that work is relaxing.  Sometimes we find ourselves running an online business that doesn't take holiday breaks. 
I completed a couple of major sewing projects last week and was so excited to get some pictures of them.  Thankfully, the weather was pretty great and we spent lots of time outside and then taking pictures seemed less like work and more like fun. 
One new item in the shop is a lunch box that was designed specifically with Steve in mind.  In fact, I made him one first, then made another because I liked it so much.  It has a large, flat bottom and can hold enough food for two regular people, or one very hungry man. 
We were even able to multi-task on a few chores (does that count as relaxing?) and I took pictures of Steve modeling some new scarves while he hung the Christmas lights.  Festive, right? 
I've been saving up things to share with you over the long weekend, so stop back in tomorrow for some more fun stuff!
P.S. - It's Cyber Monday!  Treat yourself to 10% off your entire Plumfield Shop order with the coupon code "FALL2012"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I looked back over our pictures from the year today and I found so many reasons to be thankful.  There are always reasons to be thankful, but sometimes they're right on the tip of your tongue and, other times, you need a little reminder.  I'm glad that we take so many pictures, because I needed the reminder. 
I'm thankful that I get to run a business that I love and sew and sew and sew.  Sometimes I can't believe that's my job. 
I'm thankful for every meal I cook.  I love that I can provide healthy meals for our family and I'm grateful that there is always enough to eat. 
I'm thankful for all of our family members.  Steve and I are lucky to have a whole passel of parents and siblings to love. 
I'm thankful for my best friend, Natalie.  She is by my side (mostly via phone) for every frustration and every joy.  There are days that I doubt I'd make it through without her voice. 
You probably could have guessed it, but I am so thankful for Steve.  His kindness and care for me are much more than I could have dreamed of and he has the heart of Christ.  My cup overflows. 
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.  I hope that you are able to see all the ways your cup overflows too. 
"From the fullness of his grace, we have all received one blessing after another."  John 1:16

Monday, November 19, 2012

the weekend of not-what-I-expected

Happy Monday, friends!  Can you believe it's Thanksgiving week?  I always love the days leading up to a holiday. 
As promised, I would like to report on the new recipes we tried out over the weekend.  On Friday, I made Spicy Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Slaw.  The pork cooked for six hours and made the house smell great.  I honestly couldn't wait to eat it.  So I sampled a little bit before dinner time and BOY was it spicy.  And I know that it's called "Spicy Pork".  But really- this was serious.  Not at all what I expected.  I even used less peppers than called for, as suggested in the recipe for those that like less heat. 
It was really the sauce that was spicy, and, thankfully, the sauce ends up being separate from the pork.  Each time we ate this pork over the weekend, we used a little less sauce, until the final time when we just ate the meat with some plain old barbecue sauce on it.  The meat was super tasty and, if you like to sweat while you eat, the sauce had a nice flavor too. 
Saturday night we went to see "Babes in Toyland" at our favorite community theater.  Do you know the storyline?  No?  Well, I didn't either.  But I'd certainly heard of it and assumed, wrongly as it turns out, that it was a holiday play.  Am I the only one?  It has "toyland" in the title, for goodness sake! 
"Babes in Toyland" is not a holiday play.  There is one song at the end where they mention the word "Christmas", but otherwise it is a sort of Mother Goose story variation with several love triangles and a couple of evil villains who turn out to be halfway decent guys.  Thankfully, Steve can make almost anything fun, so we laughed our way through it and made friends with the people seated next to us. 
Last night, we cooked dinner together and tried the Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce.  It was so, so good.  Five stars.  The sauce has whipping cream, and wine (plus the whiskey we added for good measure), and lots of garlic, so it really would be hard to go wrong.  I am seriously looking forward to eating it again tonight.  As the sauce is semi-heavy, we made some green beans with pearl onions as a side dish and it was just right. 
Today I am making chicken stock and sewing up some more men's scarves for the shop- we had a run on scarves this weekend and are all out!  Possibly early Christmas shoppers, or just people who are cold.  Speaking of Christmas shopping- have you started yet?  Steve and I worked on a list over the weekend, but haven't really gotten serious about it. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

only today

Steve is working from home today and I am glad that he will get to enjoy the leaves with me, all day long.  It's true- sometimes I catch a glimpse of our back yard, all red and yellow, and I feel guilty that I am here and he is not. 

Lately, I've been in super think-ahead mode.  I guess almost everyone is with the holiday season upon us.  (Is it really upon us?  I still can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week.)  How do you approach the holidays one day at a time when it seems like everything requires pre-planning?  Meals, gifts, travel, parties, everything has to be thought through. 
Sometimes all the thinking makes me weary. 
So today, I am giving myself the gift of thinking only about today.  We need clean socks, we need something for dinner, and there are little threads all over the living room floor.  I'm looking forward to working my way through that list and, when I'm done?  Feeling done.  Feeling ready to enjoy the weekend and the fall air and my trusty companion. 
Tonight we're trying this new recipe- I'll be sure to report back here next week and let you know how it was!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I haven't cooked in four days

As is usually the case, when it rains, it pours.  This week I needed to make enough products to restock my space at both retail stores, plus have extra leftover for a couple upcoming events. 
So I had to quit multi-tasking. 
I'm usually a HUGE multi-tasker.  Working from home is perfect for me.  I love to have the washer and dryer going and something cooking on the stove while I stitch away at projects. 
But every task takes time and I realized that I needed to be a woman of singular focus this week if I was going to accomplish my goals. 
I will confess to doing a bit of laundry, but it was sort of a necessity.  Other than that, it was me and the sewing machine for eight hours straight each day.  And sometimes the iron got a turn. 
I am happy to report that my method worked and I have already completed my list for the week.  So now I can turn my attention to other important things, like grocery shopping (we have exactly three eggs and a bunch of parsley in the refrigerator) and wearing my hair not in a bun. 
I'm drooling over a couple of new recipes on the Pioneer Woman's blog that I want to try out this week- Spicy Shredded Pork and Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce.  We'll test them out and then report back here, okay? 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

long weekend

I am beginning my work week one day late after a lovely Veteran's Day spent relaxing, picnicking with Steve, and having dinner with friends.  It's amazing how long a long weekend can feel.  We had guests here on Saturday (who, incidentally, were so much fun that we're hoping they'll all come back real soon) and it seems like a week ago now. 
The downside to a long weekend, of course, is waking up today with that panic-y, must get one thousand things done, feeling.  I'm trying to squelch it by starting on laundry early, making a detailed list of what to do, and staying focused.  Oh, and also tea.  There will probably be lots of tea today to spur me along. 
It's dark out this morning.  I'm setting my ironing board up in front of the window so that I can see the leaves and watch the squirrels run around frantically, preparing for winter.  Those squirrels crack me up. 

Today I am mainly working on more of these pouches, in two different sizes.  I'm hoping to finish two dozen this week to send out to my retail stores and sell at upcoming shows.  Wish me luck!

Friday, November 09, 2012

chasing the light

There are many ways to organize a day.  I am a list-maker, so each day in my planner I make a two column list.  One side is personal and one side is business. 
But the sides get intermixed a lot.  Sometimes, if I have phone calls to make, I separate the tasks into "during phone call" and "not during phone call".  I can make banana bread or iron fabric while I talk on the phone.  I cannot, however, balance the budget or type up a blog post.

 In the summer, I find myself organizing tasks into "before it gets hot" and "after it gets hot" categories.  I used to do this more when we had a car without air conditioning and I was trying to run errands, but it still applies at our house where I aim to leave the air set at 80 degrees during the day.  Anything upstairs needs to happen before 10am or I'm toast. 

But now it's fall.  Specifically, it is post Daylight Saving Time.  Plus, the days are getting shorter.  Plus, we still haven't figured out the lighting situation in my new office.  So for the past week, all tasks have been organized into "need good lighting" and "don't need good lighting".  On a sunny day, like today, I feel like I've hit the jackpot.  I can do detail work and sew with black thread on black fabric and see every last stitch. 

And you know- even though it's 2012 and we have things like electricity and air conditioning, I kind of enjoy being tied to the weather a little bit.  There's something slightly unnatural to me about sewing after dark under bright lights or being really cool when it's 100 degrees outside.  I think that having a few limitations makes me more productive overall. 

So I'm off to sew while the light is good!  Then later, when it's dimmer, I'm making cornbread and breakfast casserole and getting ready for our visitors to arrive- my mom and her friends are coming tonight!  We're so excited to see them, even if it's just for a short visit. 
Happy weekend to you!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

vintage inspiration

A few weeks ago when we were in Virginia, we had the chance to visit the Old Lucketts Store again.  What an inspiring place.  When we're there, I find myself wishing that I could move into a house next door and keep a constant eye on the merchandise to score the perfect deal! 

Since I've had leather on my mind lately, I had Steve snap pictures of some great bags we found in the store. 

Next on my list of skills to master: metal rivets. 

Although thrift stores make me want to compulsively wash my hands, they also remind me that a collection of mismatched objects looks way more cozy than a matching set.  I've been dreaming up some holiday vignettes for our house and can't wait to try some of them out. 

Speaking of holidays- who knew that Thanksgiving is two weeks away?  Certainly not me, until I checked the calendar this morning.  Between now and then, we've got a car full of house guests and a holiday open house to think about, so I'm putting all thoughts of Thanksgiving on the back burner until I mark a few more items off my list!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Amy's party

Our weekend was a whirlwind of activity.  I think we were at home for a total of four waking hours between the two days.  It was almost one of those weekends that you need a weekend to recover from. 
By far, the most fun thing we did over the weekend was host our first Plumfield Party of the season.  It was at my friend Amy's house and was an absolute blast. 

 Amy is so much fun to be around because she is super upbeat and really, really creative.  Her enthusiasm makes her the perfect party hostess and it was awesome to see what a great time everyone was having.  I'm posting this picture of us mainly because Amy looks so cute.  I, on the other hand, look only half awake, but in fairness this was taken after my usual bedtime. 

We brought lots of products and went home with significantly less than we came with.  Which is awesome, and means that I have some serious sewing to do to get ready for the holidays. 

The party was also the debut of my new fall/winter line of leather and wool items.  Probably my favorite part of the night was when I observed someone running her hand over the row of zipper pouches and saying "I just want all of these".  I was beaming for the rest of the night.  I worked so hard on those, but it makes it all worth it when someone thinks they're as cool as I do. 

Steve made a new friend named Ginger at the party and, when I looked back through the pictures he'd taken, about half of them were of her.  She was a very well behaved party guest. 
We're still scheduling parties for the holiday season, so be sure to let me know if you want to host one!  It's super easy and the hostess ends up with lots of free or discounted items- what a great way to start (or finish) your Christmas shopping! 
Today I'm trying to get the house back in order and work on my long list of sewing projects for the week.  I'm also making chili, which will be a treat to smell as I work- I love to have something simmering on the stove all day! 


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