Beary Handmade Christmas

Meet my latest project:

With the “extra” time I’ve found myself with I thought I would branch out from scarves and hats and see what I could do with three dimensional. I think it came out pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself.

I’m trying to bust my rump to have some things put together for a crafts show this Saturday (while Chris is out of town and a toddler under foot and a busting headache and a grumpy attitude – yikes!) and I will be taking orders for these guys. For $35 this one of a kind handcrafted bear can be your little one’s little tag-along pal. You pick the colors (or let me know boy or girl) by Dec 8th and I will have it to you in time to go under the tree. Email me [elizabethbford(at)gmail(dot)com] or comment here to order.

Tell you friends. And thanks for contributing to the Feed the Ford Family Fund. (Don’t google it. It’s not official – yet.)

(This bear does contain some wool – if you prefer cotton, let me know…)


Lainey Love: Bundles of Joy

Remember a couple of months back when I showed the dress I was making for a sweet little girl’s adoption fundraiser?

Just in time for Christmas (and you know you want to buy handmade this year) Erin at Tiny Twist Creative has three incredible bundles up for raffle:








Each comment (on the bundle blogs) gets one entry for the giveaway and every dollar after that gets you one more. Every dollar counts to help this sweet family bring their little lovely home – so bust out your Paypal and take a look. Spread the love on facebook or twitter or your blog for an extra entry – and to give the chance for more people to give.

Tis the season for giving.


Neglect doesn’t even begin to describe this little ol’ blog of mine. I won’t make excuses, we’d be here all day. However, this mama’s days as a working woman are soon drawing to a close (for now)… which means more times for the things that bring me joy. Time to cook. To read. To sew. To crochet. To play with a two year old before he turns three. To write. To hula hoop. To start my book. To volunteer. To love on my chickens. And my husband. To get my Dave Ramsey on. To dream about starting my own business (and then I’ll need to Dave Ramsey some more). To be.


And to hold you over a little longer, some photos of our recent(ish) happenings:

This kid turned two… I know, shut the front door.
Baby chicks were born… we’re not sure to which mama bird. They aren’t either. 
Who said chickens can’t fly?
Donuts (aka bagels) have been consumed in record number and Harry Potter scars have been worked on.
We’ve been honing in on our culinary skills – my sandwich, that he later finished, didn’t quite have the finishing touches it deserved.
Someone learned how to read a crochet pattern.
Camera strap orders – finisimo! (Order yours now if you would like one for Christmas!)
And remember this? We “decided” to give it another whirl. We’ve got plans for May 19(ish), 2012 – do you?

It’s a Sham!

Well, it used to be…

Pattern from Amanda Blake Soule in Handmade Home

And now it’s a dress (that needs to be ironed, but I just couldn’t help myself) – perfect for a toddling little lady!

I found this upcycled pillowcase at the thrift store for a buck – I know, cross-stitchers, embroiderers, and crocheters all over the world just had a little piece of their hearts break. I think I would have to be resuscitated if something handmade of mine ended up in the bargain bin – joyful that someone else was loving it for a low price, but let’s be serious.

Thanks to my good thrifting fortune, you can watch for this dress and lots of other great handmade items to be in a great raffle at Tiny Twist Creative, friend of Liz, where Erin and her family are raising money to bring home a sweet girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I will be working on a few other items as well – a felted mobile, something crocheted… Erin has some awesome shirts in her shop that she prints herself that are super cute – I have been perusing them for Noah’s birthday coming up…

She will be posting the baskets & selling tickets next month – stay tuned! – I will let ya’ll know when they are up for bid. You can score some sweet handmade goodness and help a family grow in love – even if you don’t buy a ticket, keep them in your prayers, I’m sure they would appreciate it.

If you are interested in donating your handmade items to the raffle, let me know – I can pass along the information to her.

Bookmarks the Spot

While “Camp Noah” was in session (check back for more details and how you can sign up for this camp in the future), Bigail and I were feeling a little crafty. Flipping through Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule lead us to create, together, these little beauties:

She created the pictures all her own, drew them straight onto the vintage linen from my grandmother’s stash with permanent markers, and I went back over them with the thread she picked out. Once they were embroidered I threw a piece of batting behind the linen and put a back piece of scrap fabric to pull it all together. The “ribbon” is also vintage from mamaw’s stash… I am pretty pleased with how they turned out. And what a cool & useful way to keepsake a drawing forever…

These are Bigail’s & ALo’s, but there is one in the works for big brother Wilbur as well – the program director of Camp Noah has been a little busy lately. She will be back in the office this week…

The Handmade Home is full of great inspirations that you can create and make your very own out of recycled and vintage materials. So far I’ve done the feminine items, a wool hat, a market bag, the bookmarks and next on the list from her book is the Pillowcase Dress – repurposed from an embroidered pillowcase I found for a buck at the thrift store.

I like her very much – her approach to family, life, and simplicity are music to my ears. If only the internet and book world could translate into for real life. I think we would be friends…

CSA: In the Box (Week 6&7)

Clearly I am behind on sharing the wealth of CSA goodness – not because it isn’t scrumptiously satisfying, of course. We have been like a small hive of bees around here, buzzing around all over the place. I like the busyness and bustle, however, that’s about all I can muster the energy for…

Enough with the excuses and justifications.

Yesterday was an especially exciting CSA pickup & market day for me because I got to go on my own (the boys were left sleeping at the house) and because we were having the summer staff (about 20 folks) over for an appreciation supper for all of their hard work and love they’ve poured into camp the past several weeks. There is something wildly satisfying about feeding a brood of folks as close to “farm to fork” as possible on a budget. Especially when they are mostly college kids who eat out of boxes and the frozen section most of the year.

Even with the extra squash, lettuces, peaches, berries, & tomatoes that came home in my basket, my favorite purchase at the Market yesterday was a non-edible goodness that I have been eying for several weeks:

Fresh cut flower vase by Stony Clay Station Pottery

I love fresh cut flowers – even of the weed variety. I pulled off the side of the road just last week to bring home some purple, vine-ish flowers & a few white baby’s breathish type flower (picture above) for a mason jar on my kitchen table. I had big plans of doing the same yesterday on my journey home to fill up my new handmade vase, had my spot picked out in my head, and lo and behold when I got back this way the county mowers had plowed down my little purple specks of loveliness. Sad day.

No worries. I still love fresh cut flowers (as you can see – I had to improvise this time. I stopped at our local florist and bought a few fresh stems from her…). And really love my new vase. Check out Stony Clay Station on Facebook or stop by the Dixie Lee Farmer’s Market – they are usually a front table at the market.

Back to the edible goodness.

A couple of weeks back we had turnips in our share box.

  1. I hate turnips. Always have. (No, mom. I will not try them again. I am 20-something and know that I do not like them. Thanks.)
  2. I have never cooked them before, except the time that I pureed them for the boy and that went horribly wrong. Which brings me to #3…
  3. I don’t think anyone in my familia will partake in the rooty grub.

So what’s a southern gal to do?

Fry them, of course!

A Little Bit of Turnip Fries

Handful of turnips
Garlic Salt
Olive Oil
Fresh Parmesan Cheese (grated)
  1. Wash and peel turnips. Slice into “french fry” size pieces.
  2. Toss the turnip pieces in a bowl of olive oil, coating them well.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a plastic bag. Throw in turnips and shake, shake, shake until turnips are coated well in mixture.
  4. Place turnips on a baking sheet and put in a preheated oven (425) for about 20 minutes. The outside should be nice and crispy, the inside tender and warm.
  5. Serve with a dill dipping sauce or homemade ranch.

Frying something you don’t know what to do with is always a good choice.

Most always a good choice.

There are a few exceptions

Prayer Bear

Friends, today is the day for the greatest of jubileessweet Clara is home with her mama and daddy after several weeks of roller coastering challenges and triumphs from the very day she was born.  She is certainly a dainty fighter and has proven time and time again that she will do great things in her life with God by her side.

When I first learned about R0bert & Chrissy’s little love and that she would face big, big trials early on, I started to pray (like thousands of others) for her daily. Then several times a day. Then the prayers turned into a quiet meditation over Clara and her God that made her, knitted her in her mother’s womb, knows the hairs on her head, and cares for her so and will heal her and make her tiny body whole again. Before I knew it I was spending several minutes, several times a day in this quiet meditation – more than I have in years. Years.

Many times this coincided while needle felting (what would turn out to be this bear) a small gift for Clara:

With each stitch and intertwining of the fibers I was reminded at how delicately we are put together, how careful and intentional our loving God is in our creation, and how he is so faithful – not just in times of need and desperation, but all the time. Every day. Each moment.

Praying over Clara and handcrafting this bear will likely mean more to me than the bear itself will ever mean to her. I hope that she can one day know and realize the multitude of people who have loved and prayed for her since before she was born – and that those praying were as changed by the praying as she has been and continues to be.

CSA: In the Box (Week 3)

The Dixie Lee Farmers’ Market delivers again – adding to the veggie selection cucumbers (one of my fave!), broccoli, cilantro, & beans. After a stop at Earth Fare for a couple Grainger County tomatoes (local to Knox), lime, 

and a jalapeno, I whipped up this amazing recipe from the The Pioneer Woman Cooks (if you don’t own this book, you just aren’t living yet).  At least your tastebuds aren’t…

Pico de Gallo (Ree Drummond – The Pioneer Woman)

Yellow or red onions
1. Dice up an equal amount of tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
2. Slice a jalapeno in half. With a spoon scrape out the seeds. Dice very finely.
3. Dump the four ingredients into a bowl.
4. Slice a lime in half and squeeze the juice in the bowl.
5. Sprinkle with salt and stir together until combined. Be sure to taste the pico de gallo and adjust the seasonings.

We have been crafting this recipe since last spring and can never get enough. I like this recipe best when the tomatoes are in season and local – not hydroponic or green house ‘maters. It makes all the difference in the world

(literally) when you use fresh and local goodness.

Equally as exciting, in many ways, is the way we brought our loot home from the market this week. Some of you folks may have received a crochet gift from me in years past. Chances are if you all compared notes you would learn that you all were gifted a lovely scarf or (feeble) attempt at a hat – that’s because I don’t know how to read

crochet patterns. At all. I think my scarves are delightful, but the buck stopped there – until now.

Call it inspiration or my competitive nature to not be defeated (by my mother’s crochet ability or my lack of following directions well), I found this pattern yesterday and kept at it until I ended with this:

Crochet Market Basket

This might be my new favorite thing to make (until the next thing I make, of course).  One, because I’ve proven to myself that I can read a pattern, 2) because it is super easy to whip up – which makes me one step closer to potentially having a table at the market, and 3. because how flipping cute and sustainable to carry home my beloved produce!

I am halfway through my second market basket – this time in red and slightly different fiber.

I promise I won’t neglect the rest of my life to crochet. Today.


Between the Sheets

This project started with scissors, sheets, a vague idea of my size, and a measuring stick. I had no pattern or clear vision of what I wanted to make, but I must say I am rather delighted with the final product.

The skirt wraps around, passes through a button hole ( I added a second button hole for potential growth) and ties either in the front or back or side. You can see the “wrap” goes around my backside in these photos, but I can tie it on however I am feeling at that moment…versatility is my friend.

Sheets to Skirt: 3 Vintage sheets from Trafalgar (circa 1980’s)


I still have a plethora of sheets to work from if anyone is interested… I can make them for little lovelies, too.

I Have Not Seen The Wind

If Arthur Alligood had an entry in the dictionary it would read something like this:

Arthur Alligood (arr-ther   al-lee-gud); nounsinger-songwriter who can make friends through his gift of words and song due to his melodic voice and unique ability to make the listener feel as though they are entranced in good conversation with a lifelong friend.

And that’s the Cliffs Notes version.

I met Arthur in 1999 at a little place down County Road 876, back where the city folks call the sticks, at Camp Living Stones where my brother, Matt, was working for the summer. I then was reintroduced to him while I was in college when my brother brought home one of his CDs (Under the Gray) at Christmas time – I don’t think it was my gift, I recall that we traded CD’s (little did I know that Matt had a stash of them and was shamelessly plugging them at every stop) and without a doubt I came out ahead in the deal. I then “met” him for a third time at the chapel dedication at CLS last May, this time accompanied by his lovely wife, Tracy (who I also met back in 1999) and one of their little girls.

And just the other day I opened my mailbox to find this beauty inside:


Hand – stamped just for me – and everyone else who buys this album

My Chaco feet couldn’t find a CD player fast enough… and this album is the same as the other – it isn’t good.

Arthur tells a story and you believe it. He sings a verse and you want to scribble it down. He makes a joyful noise and you want to hang on every note. He plucks the strings and you can feel it in your soul. His passion – for people, music, Jesus, life, truth, love, his family – radiates with every chord and stirs something deep inside.

And now it’s your turn to meet (or be reintroduced) to Mr. Alligood – find him on Facebook, visit his website where “I Have Not Seen the Wind” is streaming and turn up the volume, plan to go see him play in Knoxville on April 21, make a Pandora station, buy his album – it’s only $10 and you get a hand-stamped CD cover and a mailing envelope sent straight from the Alligood homestead – he’s legit.

Check him out – leave me a comment referencing a line from your favorite song from the new album – there may be something in it for you a week from today. Just saying…