Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

Fall cleaning

I always think about sorting and cleaning in the spring, but never seem to do it. I’d rather be outside hitting the New River Trail or planting tomatoes and peppers in the garden than inside scrubbing walls and windows, weeding through mountains of paper or cleaning out closets.

I tend to get in the mood for major overhauls in the fall when the flowers are beginning to wane and the air gets a cool crispness to it. I’m not sure if anyone else feels that way, but that’s when I start to feel restless and begin to look at all the clutter accumulated in corners. I get an urge to file things away, get rid of things gathering dust and update my wardrobe.

The past few days I’ve been throwing away old business cards, frig magnets and mail, and stacking up books and clothes to donate. To me, when the sunflowers start to turn brown and there are more cool days than warm, its time to renew my space and life.

Maximillian sunflowers

Maximillian sunflowers

Harvest Time at Booker T. Washington National Monument

On our trip to Smith Mountain Lake State Park, we stopped for a picnic at Booker T. Washington National Monument in Hardy, Va. It was raining, but we refused to let it keep us from our picnic! It was only a light sprinkle. đŸ™‚

We didn’t get to check the monument out, so would like to go back to check it out.

When Chris went in to quickly check out the visitor center, an interpretive guide told him about Harvest Time, an event that the monument will host on Sept. 21. It features wood working, doll and soap making, pottery, farm animals and costumed interpreters.

Cold Weather = Sweaters!

It was cold enough today for me to put on a sweater!

The first sweater, in fact, I’ve ever knitted.

Note the “I Voted” sticker on the collar. I cast my absentee ballot today. Make sure you get out to the polls on Tuesday! If you can’t vote that day, there’s still time to cast an early ballot.


I’ve been working on these pair of pants for weeks now:

And I’ve finally finished!

When I first completed the pants a few weeks ago, I was discouraged to find the pants were too big. I mean huge! I looked like I was ready to audition for the circus.

So the past few weeks I’ve been mulling over what to do to correct the mistake. Do I have to take out every single hem? How much should I take out?

After much thought and discussion with my mom and some other people, I decided that I’ve worked much too hard on these pants for them to go to waste. There’s not much warm weather time left so time was running out!

So I took off the casing, which is at the top and holds the drawstring, and undid the hems at the bottom. But I left the hem at the top. A classmate in my sewing class, which I’m taking through Oct. 7, suggested no one would see the top hem, so leave it. So I did.

Unfortunately, all that seam ripping didn’t come without casualties. I tore a small hole in the casing. But, I refuse to worry about it! It’s a small hole and hopefully no one will notice since a shirt will cover the top of the pants most of the time.

After taking out the seams and casing, I marked an inch from each outer leg hem and sewed ’em up. I then tried the pants and decided to take out 3/4 inches more. Now the fit was just a tad tight in the hips, but otherwise fit nicely.

So I trimmed off the excess material, reattached the casing and drawstring and hemmed the legs. Perfect!

I wore the pants yesterday to visit family and go to a show with my hubby.

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Fall Festivals!

I know it’s still summer, but there’s nothing more exciting than autumn and the festivals that come with it.

I was reminded that this special time of the year is quickly approaching when I received a flyer at work from Covenant Church United Methodist, 1526 Skeet Club Road, High Point, N.C. The church will host a fall festival Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring barbecue, music and games.

When I worked as a reporter in Grayson County, Va., I got my fill of festivals. It seemed like I was going to a festival every weekend to snap pictures of pumpkin paintings, lawn and tractor races and music jams.

Some festival in that area include the Grayson Highlands State Park Fall Festival, Mouth of Wilson, Va., Sept. 27-28; the Mountain Foliage Festival, Independence, Va., Oct. 10-11; and the Whitetop Mountain Sorghum Molasses Festival, Whitetop, Va., Oct. 12.

The festivals at the state park and in Whiteop feature yummy molasses and apple cider made in traditional ways. Spectators can watch as the molasses is stirred in a huge vat over a fire and visit a site, not too far from the park, where maple trees are tapped. In Whitetop, the apples are squeezed using an old apple press and you can get fresh apple cider by the bottle for usually a $1.

The festival in Independence is something not to miss either. One of the biggest attractions is the annual privy race. For those who don’t know, privy is another word for outhouse. Old outhouses or replicas are attached to wheels and a team races down Main Street with a person sitting, er, uh, on the throne. It’s a hoot.

But the potty race isn’t the only thing the festival has to offer. There’s also the annual Potty Princess Beauty Pageant, where the men pull on wigs and skirts to compete for the crown; a pumpkin pie cook off, vendors and music.

In my hometown of Asheboro, N.C., there’s the Fall Festival on Oct. 4-5. This features music and vendors and usually draws quite a crowd. I have very many fond memories of this festival. Many of the natives claim it’s not fall without first visiting the festival.

If you enjoy fall and its plethora of festivals as much as I do, I encourage you to check some of these out this year. If I stumble across anymore, I’ll let you know!

Also, feel free to post your own recommendations.