Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


We’re all in this boat together

Today is the second anniversary of PawPaw’s funeral. I read this quote at his funeral:

“I encourage the adult children to keep the big picture in mind: that these are the people on your boat; these are the people with whom you are granted the privilege of traveling across the ocean of life. All you have is each other. It is not just a burden but also a joy to help those we love. It is our chance to stay connected, to return love, and to grow ourselves. Of course there are times when helping is not convenient or easy. There are unpleasant and painful times. But few people regret their choice to help. We care for the old because it is good for them, and for us.”

It’s from Mary Pipher’s Another Country. I think it’s a beautiful sentiment about life, and something we should remember about our older folks as well as each other.


Christmas napkins

As you’re reading this, we’re probably already on our way to Indiana to enjoy Christmas with the hubby’s family. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the company of loved ones!

Ta Da! The final crafty Christmas presents of 2010 (minus some last minute baking) — napkins! These are four sets of 9 napkins made out of fabric Chris selected earlier in the year (scroll to the bottom of that post to read about it).

(From top left, clockwise) American flag and bird fabric for Chris’ parents, vine-y fabric (which I think looks sort of Christmas-y) for Chris’ aunt and uncle and butterflies for my parents. All this was bought at Mountain Plains Fabrics in Fancy Gap, Va.

I cut out 14-inch squares and rolled hemmed the edges with my serger. This is a quick and easy project if you’re still looking for something to make as a last minute gift.

To make more fancy napkins, cut out squares that are at least 15 inches and create mitered corners (here’s one way to do it, as seen on BurdaStyle). You can also make larger napkins, if you like.

Fold and tie them with extra yarn or ribbon and they’re ready for gift giving!


Snow at the N.C. Zoo

While in N.C. celebrating Christmas with my family, Chris and I headed to the N.C. Zoo for a few hours last Saturday.

While we were there, it started snowing!

Snow at the grizzly exhibit.
The grizzly was asleep earlier when we saw him. We woke up to check out the snow, I guess.

Here’s the grizzly sleeping earlier in the morning.

Instead of taking the tram back to the parking lot, we chose to walk, stopping at some of the North American exhibits.

Here’s some more photos from the trip:

I’ve never seen this snow fox up walking around before. I guess he was happy to see the snow.

Sleepy bobcat.

Bison.

An elk in the pasture with the bison.

Red wolves.

This hummingbird flew up to the fence and chirped at me several times. I don’t know if he was happy or mad to see me.

The coati (pictured) and cacomistle were up and active.

Some orchids in the Aviary.

More flora in the Aviary.

Eclectus parrot in the Aviary.

More flowers in the Aviary.

Victoria crowned pigeon.

Gorillas in the Forest Glade exhibit.
A close up of the gorilla.

I thought there were new Australian exhibits, but I guess, like the red kangaroos, those were only temporary. So those have come and gone before I got a chance to see them. 😦

The lemurs were also not out. I guess, like the elephants, giraffes and rhinos, it was too cold for them. Maybe next time.


Cranberry-Orange Relish and PawPaw Recipes

I made cranberry-orange relish yesterday as a Turkey Day side dish and I believe the orange in both the relish and my first attempt at pawpaw preserves is what I don’t like.

My aunt, Shirley, did like the relish. I think she and I are the only ones that tried it. I used the recipe on the back of the cranberry bag:

Cranberry-Orange Relish

1 bag (12 oz.) cranberries, rinsed
1 medium orange, seeded and quartered
3/4 cup of sugar, more or less to taste

1. Chop the cranberries and orange in a food processor.
2. Add 3/4 cup of sugar to the dish. Add more or less to taste
3. Let set for several hours or overnight in refrigerator before serving.

I could have used more sugar to see if that would have balanced out the twang of the orange. I also probably didn’t peel off enough of the pith (white part on the orange) and that’s bitter.

For next year’s batch of pawpaws, I plan to use a recipe a woman gave to Chris when she learned I was canning some of our fruit:

PawPaw Butter

1 1/2 quart pulp
1 quart sugar
1 package of Sure-Gel
1/4 lime or lemon juice.

Hopefully I’ll like this recipe much better than our own.