Thursday, July 31, 2014

Custom-Made Brackets in their New Home

Jeff makes many custom projects during fact, it makes demos exciting from a blacksmithing standpoint, at least from his point of view.  He always walks in with ideas and pieces of metal cut for those ideas, and he rarely ends up making those pieces.  Instead, he loves to take ideas from our visitors and forge custom pieces for them.  These brackets are one such piece.  They are unlike anything I've ever seen before, yet there are perfect for their purpose.  In fact, they are quite beautiful and it makes me want to hang a wind chime from one!

We were at a demo this afternoon -- a small, lovely demo and someone asked about a piece I had displayed on the table.  It was a bracket, a companion piece to the ones pictured here.  And, I got to tell the story of these brackets, and it made me want to show the brackets in their new home.   We are very thankful to the Keith family for sharing these photos with us.  We can't wait to see you again!   And, if you are interested in the one remaining bracket of this type, please just let us know.  It's waiting for its home!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

In the Kitchen: Preserving Summer

Although we are quite busy with blacksmithing events and the like during the summer (not to mention the kids' activities and our other jobs!), we spend a lot of time preserving the summer's bounty.  Maybe it's because I grew up in the Midwest where everyone had chest freezers and pressure cookers, but I tend to consider putting up food just a normal part of the summer routine.  

My garden is too small to produce everything we need so we often supplement from other sources, but we have a great time doing it.  Just this morning, I froze peaches for pies in the middle of winter and yesterday, I canned whole tomatoes for future soups.   Earlier this summer, we picked blueberries, which we froze.  We also picked cherries, which we froze, turned into preserves with some raspberries, and tried to make fruit leather (which I accidentally burnt -- oops!)

Tomatoes from our garden went into "bruschetta in a jar" and pizza sauce.  Our garden tomatoes will also be regularly roasted and turned into sauce that I'll freeze.  

And, as the jars are finished, a supper of squash starts to saute on the stove:

Our garden's cucumbers turned into a small batch of bread and butter pickles: 

And, of course, I make pesto out of our basil as it ripens, and every year, I realize that I didn't plant enough basil for a year's worth of pesto!  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Out and About: The Ferris Wheel at National Harbor

We took a "mini-vacation" to explore the new Ferris Wheel at National Harbor the other day.  Lots of fun!



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Please Check out Another Blog About Market Fair!

While we were at Market Fair, we got the chance to visit with a lovely family (we meet LOTS of those!).  This family, however, mentioned that they had a blog about history and social studies fun.   How cool is that?  And, to make it even better, they did a blog post about Market Fair (complete with photos) and mentioned Blackforest ArtWorks.  Please check it out and their other posts, as well!

Many thanks to Sara for sending the link over to us!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Day 2 of Claude Moore Colonial Farm's July Market Fair: A Tutorial on Lantern Hooks

Day 2 of the July Market Fair at Claude Moore Colonial Farm was a day for big blacksmithing projects.  Of course, Jeff made some custom hooks for friends who needed to hang wind chimes, etc... He also made a 4 foot cooking tripod for a guest....and then got to work on two large hooks to hang lanterns for another friend.  They turned out wonderfully!   

Jeff and Vince worked together on the lantern hooks.  At times, it was a bit tricky to figure out how to work within the confines of the space and the materials/tools that we had on hand.  They did a great job, though.

We were located next to some Osage Island hogs, who didn't seem terribly impressed with the good forging going on!:

What a great day!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Claude Moore Colonial Farm's July Market Fair: Day 1 -- Cooking Trivets, Turkeys, Fencing (and Much More)!

As always, we had a great time at Claude Moore Colonial Farm's Market Fair.  We demo for all their Market Fairs (the 3rd weekends in May, July, and October) and it is such fun to see all our friends and teach the many visitors, who often become our friends, too!   Here are some scenes from the first day of the fair:

Jeff decided that Day 1 of the Fair would be spent making cooking trivets...among all the other projects that he and Vince picked up along the way (we often forge custom pieces for folks who visit the fair).   I am eager to have a cooking trivet for outdoor or hearth cooking and Jeff hadn't made one of these trivets in years:


Anyone who has come to the fairs can hear the cry, "Bread...Bread for Sale" for days afterward!:

I would LOVE to remember what Jeff was discussing in these photos!: 

 Not only did we have two smiths working on projects, but we also brought along our kid-friendly anvil with smaller-sized tongs and hammer, and aluminium, which doesn't have to be heated in order to bend.  It's always very popular:


Love the camera with the historical costumes. It's the way I pretty much look at most of these fairs!:

Photos from Day 2 to come....