Comings and Goings…

I’ve been trying to keep “home” in my thoughts as the new year unfolds,
but so far “in my thoughts” has been about the extent of it!

We “overed” Christmas and the New Year… That’s a pretty busy time of year for our family. We cleaned up the wrapping paper and cleaned out the fridge. And then we packed, and left home for 12 days. Almost two weeks… Almost half the month! But it was worth it to see these two sweet faces…


And even though we were far away from home, we discovered that…

Home is where they love you.

Even if they are a little bit silly…


Fresh Starts…

Don’t you love fresh starts?

January always feels like an empty notebook to me,
and it’s a good time to start a new art journal!


I’ve discovered that slightly bumpy plane rides are perfect for drawing wiggly branches. I’m trying to think of turbulence in a positive light.

…It’s all a matter of perspective, I guess!


And, though it’s hard to sketch in tight quarters,
having compact art supplies helps a bunch…


I found these a few years ago at Barnes & Noble and they’re still available!

Having a whole day of travel gave me the opportunity to get a new journal going for this year. I’m going with my “Home” theme…
…Nesting, Dwelling, and Being.

If you need some ideas for art journaling, scroll down on the sidebar here, and click on the “Art Journaling” category! Lots of things to get you started!

Or visit this wonderful blog

There’s a translator button on the sidebar…

What a beautiful, creative blog… Can’t wait to see their art journal develop throughout this upcoming year! Thanks for stopping by, Annemieke!

A Resolution, of sorts…

I actually like to make New Year’s Resolutions.

They sort of make you feel like there’s a possibility
of getting your act together, once and for all.

And then January 2nd rolls around.

A couple of weeks ago, I read a blog post about
choosing just one word for the  new year.

And that sounded a lot easier than making normal resolutions…

… And a lot harder.

And maybe a little over simplified…


…Was there just one thing that I needed to focus on this year?

…Something the Lord had placed on my heart
that I might have neglected in my busy-ness?

It took quite a bit of thought, and a whole scribbly mess of words
being jotted down, circled, grouped together, and crossed off.

And one word began to stand out…


And that one word led to a bunch of words
that encompass the idea of Home.

I’m sure there are more.

Beyond the Empty Nest
and the “What Now?”
Home has been waiting patiently.


Moving into December!

Well, I didn’t quite finish the Pie from Scratch series in October… or in November… but have decided that I will save those last few posts for later. November orders, a couple of shows, and preparing Christmas designs have taken their toll on me! I am still working on the book, and it got off to a great start during the 31 Days Project, so I feel that, Lord willing, it will be ready for publication in just a few months! I also learned that one should be working on a “Fall” book the Winter before… There is quite a bit of lead time needed in just the printing prep and publishing period. As things progress, I’ll stick up those last posts! I think they’ll be much better quality and have more information about making a book than if I just try to finish the posts quickly.

So… moving on…


I started working on some new Christmas designs
just before Thanksgiving, with this little watercolor…

Comfort and Joy Watercolor

It’s still not finished, but it has inspired plans for a
“Comfort & Joy” Collection!

First… a paper cutting, of course…


There might be some more tiny Comfort & Joy cuttings,
but my thoughts are leaning toward some printed things!

Gift Tags… Notecards… Christmas Cards…

Why don’t I think of these things in August?

And, in a moment of sheer insanity,
I revisited the little cuttings for pendants…


These are hand cut, hand painted, and REALLY tiny…


… But they have possibilities!


And they should be showing up in
our shop in the next few days!

And in other news, I bought a new toy…


…Which I think might also have possibilities!

It was not supposed to arrive to arrive until next week,
and amazingly showed up LATE last night!

The UPS Guy scared the soup out of me when he knocked
on the door at that hour! He practically ran across the porch…

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Poor guy… I guess late nights are standard issue this time of year.

But alas… We have a show tomorrow and are frantically prepping.

Can’t play with it for a few days.


Come visit us tomorrow at…

Christmas in Odessa!

We’ll be in the Craft Show at the
Appoquinimink Training Center!

(Spell Check went crazy over that one!

Our girl Katie D. of
Corner Chair
will be there too!

Use It Up…

One of the earlier Pie from Scratch posts was about making things from scratch… A value that Annie is being taught by her grandparents. As Thanksgiving is approaching, I keep thinking of a little sing-song-y bit of wisdom that Nana always quoted…

Use it up, Wear it out,
Make it do, or Do without.

Another treasure from the Depression Era! The reason I’ve been thinking about it, is because of a phone call from my Uncle the other day. Now, he’s not usually a chat-on-the-phone sort of guy, but he had heard a statistic about Thanksgiving that completely blew his mind. So he called us to see if we could guess the correct number to the following question…

How many pounds of turkey is thrown away after
Thanksgiving Dinner in America each year?

We’re not talking about in restaurants, or leftover turkeys in grocery stores… Just the turkey that’s left after we all sit down to eat. Thrown away.  Any ideas? My answer didn’t even come close.

280,000,000 Pounds.

Somehow that struck me as important when illustrating
a children’s book that focused on old-fashioned values.

I never “picked” a turkey until my first Thanksgiving away from home as a new bride. I’m sure it had been done in my home, but I guess I was oblivious to the clean-up process. (My poor Mother.) For our first Thanksgiving, we invited another Navy couple over for dinner (which was MUCH later than expected, because I also didn’t know it took DAYS to thaw a turkey! That morning included me and Hubby desperately trying to thaw the biggest bird we ever handled in a warm bath tub!) They brought along the wife’s mother and elderly grandmother. After dinner was over, cleaning up was the last thing on my mind, but that Grandma took me in the kitchen and showed me how to pick a turkey! (She even showed me a secret hunk of yummy turkey meat under the bird, with the admonition that “We don’t tell the men about this.”) Before I knew it, I had POUNDS of turkey meat in the fridge waiting for post-Thanksgiving meals. Like Hot Turkey Sandwiches, Turkey Soup, Turkey Stuffing Casserole… You get the idea. AND, she told me to save the carcass, and boil it the next day with some celery, onions, and carrots to make Turkey Stock to freeze!

How did I not know to do that?

I’m guessing, according to that 280,000,000 pounds statistic,
that there must be quiet a few young wives out there that also
do not know how to “use up” every bit of their Thanksgiving Bird.

Sooo…. in the spirit of Annie’s farm grandparents,
who would have “used it up” and not thrown it out…

What do you do with your Thanksgiving leftovers?

You can post a link in the comments if you have a great recipe!

Here’s one of our favorites…

Leftover Turkey Stuffing Bake

Mix in a large bowl:
2 cups diced, cooked Turkey
2 stalks Celery, chopped
1 small Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 cup Milk
Seasoning to taste… Salt, Pepper & Mrs. Dash is our choice!

Place mixture in deep casserole dish, and top with 2 cups leftover veggies.
(Peas are our favorite!)

Cover the veggies with Leftover Stuffing and bake at 400° for 25 minutes.

Top with grated Cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes.

This recipe was adapted over the years from a Campbell’s Soup Recipe, as we tried to really use up our leftovers, and also adapt it for our dairy-intolerant family members. The original recipe is yummy too!

Cooking Pumpkins…

Today, I attacked the pumpkins!

Or at least it felt like I did, considering
the big knife I needed to cut the things open!

It’s been a while since we’ve cut open a pumpkin around here. And usually we leave the hacking-in-half process to the men. However, it was just me and the chickens here, so I got to do it. These Fairytale pumpkins had a sweet scent inside… sort of like a cantaloupe… and they had bright orange flesh. It was a slightly messy adventure, so I’m glad I did at least part of the hacking and scooping outside.

I decided to roast the largest pumpkin in the oven. After scooping out the stringy middle flesh and seeds, the pumpkin halves went open-side-down on a baking pan, and into a 350°oven for about an hour and a half. (It was a big pumpkin to roast… a smaller pumpkin might only need an hour of roasting.)

The other pumpkin went into a pot on top of the stove. I cut it up into smaller pieces,
peeled the rind off the outer edges, and boiled it for about 20-30 minutes.

After both pumpkins were sufficiently cooked, (fork tender) I set about pureeing them. I needed to mash the boiled pumpkin before processing it further, but the roasted pumpkin didn’t need mashing. I first gave the “old fashioned” method a try, and ran some of the pumpkin through my hand-cranked food mill…

…And then decided that for blogging purposes,
my food processor would be faster.

I did want to post about this TODAY, after all.


And, after giving my 20 year-old tiny food processor a good workout…

Lots of pumpkin puree for pie-making!

The Results

The boiled pumpkin took longer to prep for cooking,
but cooked much faster and was easier to process.

The roasted pumpkin had no prep time, but took
longer to cook and to scoop out of the shell.

The finished products had the same consistency,  which
surprised me because the boiled pumpkin seemed more watery.

HOWEVER… The roasted pumpkin had more flavor!

AND… Neither pumpkin had the same thick
consistency as store-bought canned pumpkin.

I wonder how that will effect the finished pies?

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

And the Winner is…

Okay, it was Really Really Hard to pick one “best” pumpkin!

Three more pumpkins came in yesterday, so here are all the new entries…

Bekah’s Pumpkin

Love the leaf you added, Bekah!

Kati’s Pumpkin

Kati, I like how you tucked that leaf behind your pumpkin!

Cheryl’s Pumpkin

Cheryl, great perspective… you hinted at the 3-D-ness
of the pumpkin by showing the back “bumps!”

And here are the earlier entries…

Gavin’s Pumpkin

Maddie’s Pumpkin

Owen’s Pumpkin

Like I said… Picking just ONE was hard!

Harder than I thought it would be!

I couldn’t just CHOOSE

…So I put the names in a basket and
the first one I pulled out was….

I’ve got a special spot in mind for her pumpkin in
Pie from Scratch!

The other three winners are…

They’ll be getting a little pumpkin painting in the mail very soon!

I really wanted to put ALL of the pumpkins in the story…

…they were all so awesome!

Thank you all for joining in the fun!


See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

A Sunday Post…

Short post today… Enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon!

After church today, Hubby and I stopped for lunch, and then headed to our local farm produce market in search of a good “pie” pumpkin! As soon as I asked which pumpkin was the best for baking or cooking, the gal there pointed to a wagon filled with these… Fairytale Pumpkins.

I thought that was rather appropriate,
since they’re going to be part of a storybook!

What is your favorite pumpkin to use for pies?
Do you roast them in the oven or cook them on the stovetop?

I bought two, so I could see which cooking process I liked the best.

Just a few more hours left for the
Pumpkin Drawing Contest!

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

Painting Leaves that Pop!

Thought you might like some more painting tips!

Below is a fun way to paint leaves… Wet on Wet!

First, on a heavy piece of watercolor paper, draw a leaf shape… or trace around one that you find outside. Mix a light grey-brown from orange and blue and paint the middle of the leaf… but not all the way to the edges.

While it is still wet, add other colors…I used orange on one side, and blue on the other. Paint right up to the edges this time. the edges are still dry, which will let the paint look crisp on the edge. But go ahead and let the wet colors mix inside the leaf. And then added wet drops of blue-green and blue-purple.

When it’s almost dry, touch up your edges a bit. I used a little more orange. You want the paint dry enough so the edges look crisp, but still wet enough to blend the new edge paint into the middle paint. You can blend with a damp brush, if the paint is having trouble blending. When the leaf is completely dry, add some veins with very thin lines of paint and a dryer brush. You can also outline the leaf edges with a very thin pen, such as a Pigma Micron pen.

Here’s how the leaves will look in
Pie from Scratch!

And there are a LOT of them, so I’d better get back to painting!


Oh! We’ve had some great entries for the
Pumpkin Drawing Contest!

Gavin’s Pumpkin!

Great job, Gavin! What detail!
I Love the stem and the spots on the side!

Maddie’s Pumpkin!

Beautiful Pumpkin, Maddie!
It stands very tall and strong!

Owen’s Pumpkin!

Super pumpkin, Owen!
You did a great job with those curly vines!

Here’s a link to the
Pumpkin Drawing Contest
in case anyone else want to participate!

Thanks Gavin, Maddie, and Owen for sending in your drawings!!!

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

A Bit of Blue…

Adding blue to the Pumpkin Patch illustration shows how much contrast those complementary colors give you! I had a bit of a dilemma when adding just this little bit of blue… Annie’s dress was going to be blue throughout the story, but Pop’s overalls should also be denim-colored. (That’s where doing Color Roughs would have come in handy!) So, I compromised by dressing Pop in a paler blue, and being more heavy-handed with the color on Annie’s dress…

Pumpkin Patch, copyright Kim Frey, 2012

I think getting the shading right on Annie’s dress
is going to be a challenge! Lots of wrinkles and draping!

And look what happens when you start mixing Orange and Blue…

You will get some neat grey-brown’s… subtle Fall background colors that will still allow my main colors to stand out. Usually, when I want to paint a stem and leaf, I’ll reach for a green of some sort. Light and lime-y for spring scenes, Leafy green for Summer scenes, or Earthy green for Fall. Using the color that we “know” something should be is called using “Local Color.” If you ask any kindergartener what color an apple is, they will usually answer “Red.” Using local color is like that… we reach for the tube of paint that makes the most sense to our brain. However, keeping to a color scheme gives the painting a more cohesive, unified appearance. I figure that painting this whole book in the same color scheme will be like brain therapy for me! 😀

Don’t forget the

Great Pumpkin Drawing Contest!

I’d really like to be able to include someone’s Pumpkin in
Pie from Scratch!

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!