Why We Live in Minnesota

Snapping turtle

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of complaining about Minnesota’s weather (and I am not alone in this–it’s become our state’s Official Conversation).

However, living here does have its compensations…

In the last few days, we’ve had the pleasure to host a small zoo’s worth of creatures great and small.

First, this snapping turtle came ambling up our driveway…(probably to lay eggs in our neighborhood pond).

Snapping Turtle, Minnesota

It is fierce-looking–and we gave it a wide berth…

Snapping Turtle, Minnesota

Next, this Tom turkey came strutting through the yard…

Snapping Turtle, Minnesota

I believe he was “showing off” for his…

Snapping Turtle, Minnesota

Rafter of girlfriends

Snapping Turtle, Minnesota

Later, a dozen deer came to feed off our apple tree…

Snapping Turtle, Minnesota

Turkey, turtles, deer, three baby raccoons…and more birds than I can name (including a really cool pileated woodpecker–)

Snapping Turtle, Minnesota

All provide us with constant entertainment…(and Ruby and Roxie with constant agitation!)

Strawberry Hand Pies

Strawberry Hand Pies, King Arthur Flour

With all of our six children home this past week, we’ve been doing a lot more cooking and baking.

Strawberry Hand Pies

We found this recipe for Strawberry Hand Pies in the King Arthur Flour June catalog. (Request the catalog HERE)

Strawberry Hand Pies, King Arthur Flour

We didn’t have ClearJel —so we used 2 teaspoons of cornstarch mixed with a splash of water instead.

Strawberry Hand Pies, King Arthur Flour

The results were amazing!  Absolutely a new family favorite!

While Faye did a great job baking them….

Strawberry Hand Pies, King Arthur Flour

WE ALL did a great job eating them!

Strawberry Hand Pies, King Arthur Flour

Hand pies and milk for breakfast–yum!

Strawberry Hand Pies, King Arthur Flour

You might also like A New Family Favorite–Hot Pretzels from King Arthur

Mister Blue Bird–a Work in Progress

Bird Project, Sewing

One of my favorite things about Spring is watching for the birds as they return to Minnesota after their winter vacations in warmer states.  I can’t wait  for The Eastern Bluebirds to return to their houses in our garden. So,  when I saw this pattern on Pinterest, I couldn’t resist!  As we plodded  impatiently through our extra-long winter, I stitched a little bluebird for myself!

Bird Project, Sewing

You can find the pattern at Spool HERE or HERE

Bird Project, Sewing

It’s a darling pattern, but I made a few refinements and corrections...

First, you only need ONE Bird Belly:

Bird Project, Sewing

Next,  I made the bird’s head a bit larger and extended it down the back farther.  When stitching the back of the bird’s head, extend the line  as long as necessary to create a very smooth, tapered line—otherwise the head will be lumpy.

Bird Project, Sewing

The final refinement:  the pattern instructs you to stitch from tail to chest.  Reverse that:  sew from the chest point to the tail.  When it is time to stitch the head, begin at this chest point again.  This is important because the chest point is the critical point— where things need to line up perfectly.    By beginning at that point you can control it with more precision.  If the tail is a little off–it does not matter.

Bird Project, Sewing

This is the point where everything must match precisely—start here:

Bird Project, Sewing

Now that I have tested the pattern, I think I shall make a flock of birds:  Baltimore Orioles, Red winged black birds, Blue-jays, Cardinals….

Bird Project, Sewing

Bird Project, Sewing

Maybe I’ll give them wings?   I think I will be spending a bit of creative time in my Sewing NEST!