Monday, January 31, 2011

Spring Peek and Deer Wars

Little Crocus leaves pushing up through the snow melt.

Just when you think it's never going to happen, you walk by the same dead plant debris and empty flower beds and wham, you look down and see the first sign of the season barely poking up through the earth. 

I am so happy to see even a hint of green this time of year.  We can officially say that in central Virginia the first sign of Spring occurred in January!

Tulips - One spared by the Deer munch.
I also see that the DEER have been brazen and are already making their mark on our garden.  Deer love Tulips and Hostas.  When we moved in to our house the Hostas were in full glory in our front flower bed.  It took about one week without a yard guarded by 2 dogs and invisible fencing for the Hostas to be devoured and an attempt was even made to pull the roots up out of the ground.  I researched online and checked out a book from the library and developed my own Deer Repellent concoction.  You can safely pour this on your plants and reapply after a rain.

1 gallon water
1 egg
good sprinkle of cayenne pepper

"Carnival Parade" Mini Rose on Forsythia Hill, Fall 2010.
I've even found that after 2 doses, you can just  sprinkle cayenne pepper on the plants after each rain and that seems to do the trick!  I purchased a huge shaker at Sam's Club --- so I'll have plenty on hand.  You see, we can't really smell a fresh egg but a deer's nose is so sensitive that it is something they can smell and they do not like it.  Also, they generally do not like any herbs because they too smell.  Now a rose is a different matter, they love rose blooms, the lovely smell and all. 

Of course the best defense is to not plant "deer feed" by tempting them with plants they love.  But I'm told that if they get hungry enough they will eat just about any plant!  I inherited the Tulips and Hosta and have moved most of them to our chain link fenced dog area near the house where they will be less likely to want to munch.

Ahhh, Spring and Deer wars, let the fun begin!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stitch and Chat

Jane's cute finished bag.
What does one do when they have a knitting project that is 15 years old and still unfinished.  The obvious answer would be to throw it in the trash but I don't give up easily and this is another test of my "lack" of patience to see it through to the end, no matter what. 

Lovely finished quilt.
One of the many groups that one can join as part of the Newcomers Club of Greater Charlottesville is Stitch and Chat.  A few months ago I decided to resurrect my unfinished knitting project and trudge off to my first monthly meeting.  It can be a little daunting when you don't know the participants but the women in this group have been so kind and welcoming and you can always bury your head in your work (no matter how scary the situation is or your project).  The good thing about the Newcomers Club is that everyone there at one point was new to the Charlottesville area.

Stitch and Chat Group is comprised of about 15 women of varying ages stitching expertise.  There are some amazing, and I mean AMAZING stitchers in this group.  So far Lydia, Susan, and Jane have helped me with my "beginners" sweater project (which to me seems advanced) and I have only attended two meetings.

Lydia's handmade vintage dress & photos.
I was so impressed with the little beaded bag that Susan was knitting, it was incredible.  Lydia brought in a darling dress she handmade in the 60's for her daughter, that her granddaughter wore years later.  It is in pristine condition and made of lace that just isn't made like this these days.  A wonderful quilt was passed around for an examination and a crewel embroidery piece was being made for a future wedding.

I'm truly blown away at the creative talents in this group and if you are a newcomer and have an old craft project that you have yet to give up on (as I did) or just need inspiration, contact the club and check it out!

I don't give up easily and this sweater is not going to go unfinished -- no matter what the end result (ugli, backwards stitches, non-formfitting, saggy collar and all).  I'll have to wear it to a meeting when it's done and at least we can all get a good laugh out of it.

Crewel Embroidery

I must make mention of the dessert, coffee, and tea, which is a part of every Stitch and Chat session - guaranteed to be yummy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Sweet vintage Sugar and Creamer Set by Forsythia Hill

All items in my online Etsy Shop, Forsythia Hill Vintage have been marked down by 20%.

For those of you that are not familiar with Etsy, it is an online craft and vintage goods store where over 300,000 sellers have shops.

My shop features pristine vintage from my stash of family finds.  I have hundreds of eye and sunglasses from when my father sold eye glasses in the 70's and 80's!  They have never been worn and are now making a comeback.  Aviator, Elvis, and GAGA come to mind when you see my sunglasses!  I also have glassware and bling from the 80's.  Two of my favorite items are winter coats, one from the 50's and the other from the 70's.

Mod coat that my mother actually wore in the 70's by Forsythia Hill.
 On my blog page ===> over there on the right ====> you can enter my personal shop and see the items I currently have for sale.  I add items each week.  Check it out and spread the word!

Trish modeling Elvis Shades by Forsythia Hill.
HURRY the sale ends in just 2 weeks and all items are unique one of a kind so once someone else grabs it - it's GONE. 

Happy shopping.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

To Craft or Not to Craft

At the moment, I am chewing on a wonderfully delicious Cappuccino Creme Wafer Stick - OK, this is my 2nd one --- 3rd one coming up ---

Crafting a blog is not always a simple thing.  The ideas always seem to come, that is not the problem, it is the logistics of it all that can, at times, drive me nuts (or to personal injury).

Sweet and innocent gift tags
Today I decided to recycle my lovely Christmas cards into something useful.  It's a shame to just pitch them along with thoughtfully crafted messages in the trash.  I went online and proceeded to find all sorts of neat ideas describing how to convert your cards into various objects but most required sewing (gluing was challenging enough) or combining my cards with even more paper.  So I came up with a quick and dirty way to create cute gift tags for next years presents.

Some people have a patient mind and are totally at peace sewing and crafting a plethora of goods.  I love the end result but patience is not my virtue.  I also do not have a craft workspace and that was difficulty number one.  I am amazed at the huge work spaces people have in their homes for crafts and cooking.  But when you try to tackle the simplest project, you can certainly understand why it requires SPACE.  Problem number two, my "expandable" camera tripod legs kept sinking to the ground right as I snapped the shot.

Out of camera view but a dangerous accumulation!
My limited "craft space" is my computer desk, along with a printer, keyboard, computer monitor, speakers, Stained Glass lamp, a bucket of pens, all sorts of paper, and a cup of tea.  It was quite a challenge to keep it all out of the camera shot. You think that a simple little gift tag project would take up the area the size of a place mat and no more, but when you trip over an expandable tripod holding the light source (a Stained Glass lamp) all the while keeping your beverage close at hand (in retrospect, does any of this sound like a GOOD IDEA) disaster is bound to be looming.

After the near loss of my treasured Stained Glass lamp, the submersion of my computer keyboard, the continual struggle with my camera and the handy dandy "expandable" tripod, and the drenching of the Christmas cards, I'm about to rip my hair out (as I reach for another Cappuccino Creme wafer).

This is what craft tools should be used for!
I'm exhausted.  I think the process of creating the cute gift tags will have to wait until another blog posting and my other crafty knitting project will remain jammed in my closet and will not be addressed for a long, long time. 

Pass me another wafer (something I'm good at) that only requires a small amount of space and a chewing mechanism! 


Monday, January 17, 2011

Our little Sink Drinker

I'm not sure if this classifies as a "drink" or a "bath".  -Rebecca

Our Sylvie

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Saving your Dollars

SPENT $63.00 SAVED $73.00

This week was Harris Teeter Super Doubles which happens about every 8 weeks.  They will match any coupon face value up to $1.98.So if you have a coupon for $1.50 off, you actually get $3.00 off!
Harris Teeter Spent $43.00 and Saved $44.00

My goal is to at least match what I spend in savings which I managed to do.
A few of the super deals:  Ziploc Containers - .27, 7th Generation Automatic Dishwasher Detergent - .99, French Bread - .49, Skinny Cow Ice Cream that is to die for - 1.99, California Pizza Kitchen - 3.99.
I also picked up a FREE scanner/copier on FREECYCLE (the print function misses every now and then but  I only needed a scanner)!

Harris Teeter & Kroger Spent $20.00 and Saved $30.00

 A few of the super deals: Kroger:  Stoneyfield Yogurt -.25, Bread - 1.39, Box Granola - 1.49.  Harris Teeter:  3 Pastas - FREE, Syrup - .79,
4 Apples - .91, 5 Limes - 1.00, Can Soup - .55, Welch's Grape Juice - 1.99.

It always fun to shop on Super Doubles week!  If you need help getting started or have found deals yourself this week - would love to hear from you - leave a comment below. - Rebecca

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's Freakin Freezin

I know that many of us are in the same situation but I couldn't just ignore it and not write about how freakin freezing I am today.  It is to be 12 degrees tonight which is way too cold for my liking.

Yesterday I dashed outside to empty the compost bucket and snapped a few shots of Anthony chain sawing the neighbors huge dead Cottonwood that fell over.  They say this is not a particularly warm heating wood but our experience is that it actually is better to burn than Pine. 
The old wives tale is that pine should not be burned but actually it can be if it is allowed to completely dry.  The difference between the heat that is generated between cottonwood (a popular) and pine is drastic.  The cottonwood generates much more heat but it burns fairly fast.  The pine generates little heat but is more slow burning.  So mixing the two seems to balance it out. 

I can't wait until the wood stove is fired up today.  We're very lucky to have it and there is nothing better than heat from wood.

Our regular suet visitor,  the Red Bellied Woodpecker
Stay warm and dream of Spring peeking through soon.


Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 Deals Begin

 SPENT $22.00

PAID .25 at CVS for 7 products

Something had to have been in the water this past Monday.  I ventured out to sell an item I had listed on Craigslist with only 5 coupons in hand.  I didn't even take in ANY coupons to Kroger and ended up saving $6.00.  This is how it all went down...
Spent $22.00, Saved $32.00, and made $12.00
14 products purchased, 5 coupons presented

I sold my craigslisted wallet for $12.00, then I walked down to CVS and presented 5 manufacturers coupons, a $10.00 CVS ECBuck and a .50 ECBuck that spit out of the machine in the store and purchased 4 Reach toothbrushes, 2 packs of floss, and a bag of Starbucks coffee and PAID .25.  I knew it was going to be a pretty decent transaction but not quite that good.  In the end, I received $6.00 CVS ECBucks back. 

If I would have walked in and just blindly bought a bag of  coffee, it would have cost me $7.00.  I now have enough toothbrushes and floss for my husbands shiners for the year.
Next stop was Kroger.  I purchased a few items and looked at my receipt - darn that Kroger - they once again didn't give me the sale price for two items.  The good thing about Kroger is that they refund your money if the price you pay is not correct!  So I got some Parmesan Cheese and Seltzer for FREE. 

Check your receipt in Kroger, this is not my first time catching wrong price ring ups.

Last stop was Michael's.  They have regularly been printing 40% off, 50% off coupons in the newspaper.  This week the framing department was INSANE because they published a 40% off and a 25% off coupon on top of that.  I didn't have anything requiring framing but did need a special frame for a photo of my Grandparents that my mom gave me for Christmas... so it happened to be 30% off and then I used the 25% off coupon in the paper, getting a NICE $7.00 frame for $3.70... and the register spit out a coupon for 50% off my next purchase... allowing the deals to go on...

I would love to hear about your deal - share your blog link below if you have one! 


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

And a Stinky 2011 to YOU

Enough of the Stinkith!!  I can't take it any longer.  I am reasoning with myself by thinking... Simmer down, it's alright, they are only STINK BUGS.  They won't stinkith on you unless you squish them so be kind.

I should have known they were going to be trouble when the cats wouldn't even play with them, much less dine on them.

It was so much easier this summer when all the doors were open and I could just swoosh them up and toss them out.  This time of year the cold air blasts into the house when I "free them" so I've resorted to popping them into our compost bucket in the kitchen until it is taken outside to be dumped.  At least there is food in there for them!

Today I found one in my hair brush!  I'm glad I didn't brush my hair or the stinkith button would have been pressed.  They have almost become pets in our household.  The other day I was carrying one around on my shoulder and didn't know it.  Yesterday one was sitting on the couch beside me!  He looked entertained by the movie playing on TV, "Winged Migration".

I took out a book of the book shelf beside the "always opened in the summer patio door" - need I even finish this sentence --- after removing all books on the shelf, the bugs were in the hundreds and they were stinkith'in to high heaven because we were panic sweeping them into the dust pan in order to kindly shovel them into the compost bucket for immediate removal to the great outdoors.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug was first imported to Pennsylvania and it is reported that nothing likes to eat the stinkith so they will be with us from now on.  I will say that last year a spider set up camp on our back porch and was enjoying the STINKIES - YAY - One unreported predator.  Needless to say, the spider was permitted to STAY.

(cat laughing) - U want ME to eat THAT.
I'm going to stick to my "be kind" motto and not kill the stinkies, now that they have become my friends.

Happy Stinky 2011.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Packing Up 2010

No blog would be complete without a year in review

This year proved to be filled with new opportunities and friends.  Here is a little recap of the year and the changes on Forsythia Hill, our little spot of paradise.

  • Officially named our property in Charlottesville Forsythia Hill because of the groves of Forsythia that outline the area and circle our home.  It started out as a joke, giving our modest home "a name", like they give to estates in this part of the state.
  • Transplanted a host of plants from Pleasant Hill (our family home and prior residence).  Black Raspberry, Catnip, Daylillies, Red Hot Poker, Daffodils, Primrose, Glads, Peony, Sweet Woodruff, Variegated
    Solomon Seal, Iris, St Johns Wort, Oxeye Daisy, Periwinkle, Hyacinth, and Phlox. 
  • Planted 13 trees on Forsythia Hill, several succumbing to drought and heat.  Survivors include Seckel Pear, Sweet Cherry, Catalpa, Crab Apple, Viburnum, and several other shrubs.
  • Reworked the vegetable patch and harvested tomatoes, peppers, kale, basil, catnip, mint, and other herbs.  Many plants grown from seed in our sunny basement windowsill.
  • Found some great friends at the Vegan Meetup and Newcomers Club.

New friend Aarti from India enjoying her first EVER sandwich

  • Began couponing in July and recorded saving of $1,000 for the year.  Not getting too anal about keeping track of all of it so there were even MORE unrecorded $$ saved.
  • Plunged into creating Forsythia Hill Finds blog in September and crafted over 40 blog postings and over 2,000 hits.
  • Opened my Etsy Vintage Shop in October and sold 10 items.
  • Lost two dear pets, Daisy and Buttercream.
  • Staved off EMPLOYMENT for a whole year.
  • Had a really nice Thanksgiving in Roanoke.

    In the garden on Forsythia Hill

  • Ended the year with Christmas on Forsythia Hill with family and friends.
Cheers to a happy and successful 2011.

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