Archives for November 2013

Eatable Decor

It’s cold and sunny in Mendota, Virginia today.   I have been cleaning house and enjoying being inside where it’s warm.  We have snow in the forecast for next week.  If it occurs, it will be a snag in our Thanksgiving plans for sure!  Can’t worry about what might or might not happen.

If it does snow, however, I usually am okay–more than okay– with groceries. I keep two of all the essential grocery items. Haven’t ran out of milk in over 10 years!! I organize my pantry so I can find things, and I always have some “basics” right out in the open. Like above my cabinets…colorful and useful and sparkling clean. I just cleaned each jar so I know this to be true! 

Jars on Top 1

And the other direction..more jars. I have them all around my kitchen cabinet tops. I went in a friend’s house about 14 years ago, and she had green beans on her cabinet tops. Her name is Amy, and I’ve been copying Amy ever since. Sometimes there are more tomatoes than green beans. It depends on how much I’ve canned and how much I’ve used. I once asked someone “did you notice my green beans on the cabinet top?” The person sneered and said “talked about it all the way home.” Did you know that I didn’t get it? I thought she really liked them (how could she not?) and talked about them all the way home Ha! I’m serious!

Jars on Top 2

Above the plates…it’s a little sparse in this picture. I usually have several jars of pistachios as they are our special nephew’s favorite. That is Neth, and he can put away the pistachios!

Shelf Above Plates

I like red and yellow in the kitchen. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get a picture of the plates on the wall that looks  good. I enjoy looking at them every time I walk in the room..and frankly I want to show them off. Never quite looks right. There is always a shadow. The shelves are a place where I keep pasta. I need to refill these jars.


I’m watching more Lifetime Christmas movies tonight with my Dear Girl beside me. Currently watching Country Christmas with Dolly Parton. I know it’s not cool, but I love Dolly Parton.

Yep…love these plates.

Plates 2


How to Preserve Boxwood in Twenty Days

Fresh wreaths are the best ones but they dry out!! I’m going to have some guests in early December,  and I want to have wreaths up.  I decided to try preserving boxwood and making wreaths that, hopefully, will last until Christmas and perhaps be stored for next year.  I visited a lot of bloggers and asked questions, but ultimately, everyone had a slightly different approach on how to preserve boxwood.  I ended up talking with a local floral supply store and followed their insructions.    Here’s the end result..

Wreath on Chair 2

This process takes more time and patience than supplies. However you will need 20 days and the following for two jars of the mixture .  I doubled what is listed below and made enough for four Mason jars — each with about 3-4 inches of liquid in the jar.

  • One cup Glycerin (I found mine in the soap making area of Hobby Lobby). $4
  • Two tablespoons Absorbit Floral Dye – Holiday Green (floral supply store). $9
  • One tablespoon absorbic acid (if you are a home canner, you’ll already have this)
  • One and one-half cups hot water
  • Wire wreaths
  • Floral wire
  • Boxwood clippings
  • Gloves
  • Spoon to mix the above
  • Two Mason jars

Boxwood Lineup


Day One

Start by taking boxwood cuttings about 8 inches in length.


Prepare your mixture of glycerin, dye and hot water. I used Mason jars for this project.    Stir your dye and hot water until it is blended, and then add the glycerin and absorbic acid.

The Absorbit Floral Dye is not green in its dry form. It looks like chili powder.



Don’t be mislead.  This is a bright green dye.  Wear gloves or you’ll look like the Jolly Green Giant.

Green Dye

Trim the lower branches of your boxwood, snip the end of the stem one more time and immediately place in the mixture in the jar and mixture.     If possible, work outside because of the dye.


All the stems are sitting in the preservation liquid in the picture below   These actually look pretty, but there is no way I’d leave them sitting out. The disaster potential is just too high with all this bright green dye. I hid them in a far away corner of the garage. Here’s one completed jar ready to be carefully walked to its hiding spot.

Jar ready to go

Day 10

By this time, your cuttings are ready to start drying.   When removing the cuttings from the jars, it’s best to do this outside allowing excess dye to drain off the stems.   Here’s a few of mine just lying on the grass.  Note the bright, holiday green stems:

Cuttings AFter

Following this step, place the cuttings on newspaper on top of plastic and allow them to dry for ten days.   I did this in my garage floor in an out-of-the-way corner, and I checked on them once during the 10-day period.     They were still there….still green!   Interesting side effect, you’ll now have some green jars.

Green Jars

If this green does not wash off, I’m going to place white carnations in the jars for Christmas.

Day 20

You are ready to make your wreath(s). All that is required now is your wreath form, floral wire and your talent and patience in tucking and wiring the branches.

Wreath and Wire

I have a few stems still sticking out, but I like the casual look of the wreath. It does not look like it was made in a “production” environment.   My two little wreaths will go on the back of barstools in the kitchen.   A few pictures of my first completed wreath. I took these outside because the light is so much better.   Check out that sweet little nose in the right hand side of the picture.  She helped me.

Wreath on Chair


Here’s another…I’m not even sure if I’ll add a bow but I will tidy it up a little bit…I see a green stem sticking out.

Wreath on Chair Cropped

From my four jars, I have enough to make two wreaths like this with a small amount of boxwood left over.   The plants did not absorb all of the liquid so I started four more jars of cuttings.   I plan to make one larger wreath from this batch.

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.      Roslyn Beaule



Mini Quilt Retreat Day Two

We finished up Day Two yesterday of our Mini Quilt Retreat. I don’t have a lot of pictures, and I don’t have a picture of my quilt. I’ll post it in about a week when I get it back out. I was so tired that I shoved my sewing machine and the accompanying “stuff” that goes along with quilt making in the bedroom and shut the door.

My poor quilt. It’s a sad little thing because all of it’s seams are every which way. They should all be a certain way but I got mixed up, and I then decided that completing the quilt was a better goal than seam ripping. Here I am…I pulled my hood up because I felt so guilty. The Uni-Quilter.

Uniquilter I

I was so tired I didn’t take many pictures at the end of the day. Here’s one on the ironing board. If you don’t like to iron, quilting may not be for you. Isn’t that IRONIC? Get it…funny. This was Erin’s quilt…it turned out really pretty. All her seams did what they should.

Erin's Quilt

Here’s another quilt and quilter!

Tineke's quilt

More later…I’m watching Lifetime Christmas movies the remainder of the weekend


Mini Quilt Retreat Day One

There is so much talent in them thar hills!

My friend and neighbor Chris has grace, kindness, beauty and talent. She is not only a great quilter, she is an experienced and gifted instructor. Today I learned that she taught in a fairly large quilt retreat for about 14 years. I’m feel so lucky that she’s teaching a few friends and me. Today we had a mini quilt retreat. Our group was small…just five of us plus Chris, and since my house has a finished and heated garage, we set up our sewing machines and tables there and got at it!

The first part of this was cutting the fabric. We cut all of our fabric into 2″ strips…

Quilt Fabric Teneca

We then sewed the strips together and cut them again into 5″ rectangles. So much progress was made! Here’s Tineke’s fabric once the rectangles were created and positioned…

Quilt Tenica

Erin’s fabric…

Erin Quilt

Margie’s fabric…

Margie QuiltNancy’s fabric…

I didn’t get to take a picture of it laid out in “quilt form”..I’ll have that tomorrow. Here’s Nancy’s fabric..

Quilt Fabric Nancy

Oh..and here’s mine! Mine is a baby’s quilt, and if it turns out decently, I will be donating it.

Quilt Eva

A very productive Day One. Whew! This is hard work! Come back tomorrow and see what we accomplish!


Visions In My Head

And visions of little quilts all dancing in my head tonight. Tomorrow is the first day of our Mendota Mini Quilt Retreat hosted by Chris and me!

Do you know how many quilts I’ve started? Do you know how many quilts I’ve finished?

Quilt 3

I’ll post what we’ve got accomplished tomorrow night. I’m always optimistic.


I’m Mad!

Until Mike retired, he was gone all week just about every week. Gradually, I became a night person and it remains so. I’m a bat or isn’t it more popular to be a vampire? So as it gets dark, I get energetic. Add a little anger to that, and I am a Cleaning Machine.

If you look at my house, you’ll know I don’t get mad that often. However, something totally chapped me tonight. Armed with a toilet brush, I cleaned commodes. Two to be precise. There were paw prints all over them. Sam the Cat leaves his mark.

Then…I started in on our kitchen drawers…might as well take pictures of them.   I knew I’d have a night like this at some point so I prepared…I bought the little red inserts at TJ Maxx just for this evening…I didn’t know the exact date, but I knew it would arrive.    It’s like a bottle of wine that you might set aside for that special evening…well…I didn’t buy wine…I bought organization stuff.

Drawer 1

I’m feeling better. I did another drawer…more little red things to play around with. This one has a lemon juicer thing plus several flat things that are 4 inches wide. I just stacked them as best I could. See the cute little silver thing in the front that looks like an acorn? I use that when I make Russian Tea. I put cloves inside and drop it into the tea…if I leave it in a long time, the tea makes my tongue almost numb. I talk like dis when dat happens! Oh…I wiped out the entire drawer and everything as I did this. Sparkling. Smells like bleach.

Drawer 2

I don’t know why I’m keeping these things pictured below. They are probes or something that go to the microwave or the oven–probably the OLD one that we removed when we changed to stainless steel. These are the kind of things you don’t want to throw away but know you’ll never use.

Drawer Insert 1

Feeling better already. Going to clean the mirrors. At least I won’t be frowning. I can’t. Sue put some Botox in my frownies.


Mendota Trail Flyover

For those who want to go for a ride on a hiking/biking trail between Bristol and Mendota, here’s a little trip for you via someone on You Tube. While you’re watching , don’t close out the pop up windows — they will close on their own.

Hope you like!



Dinner at Rivermyst

Remember the Farm to Table dinner at the Kiser family farm which is called Rivermyst? It was tonight.     I thought I’d take you along.

RiverMyst Sign

It was so nice to NOT drive to town to eat.   Just right up the road, and we were there!  Sweet! Even so we  arrived late–we were playing Rook and watching Nebraska beat Michigan.   The novelty of eating dinner close by was great…we didn’t change clothes or get “fixed up.” Mike hesitated about wearing his Ohio State sweatshirt, but I reminded him…this dinner was in a barn! And while the barn looked like…a barn, there were special touches to give it a nice ambiance…black tablecloths with burlap here and there.


These two nice ladies drove from Marion, Virginia.  We are so glad they came!

Marion Ladies

Bits of twine to fancy up the Mason jars…

Rivermyst Farm

Here’s a snippet of the pretty menu…Emily Kiser’s work?

Rivermyst Farm Menu

And guess what…this soup has some bits of apples. Guess where they came from? Yep..these are from my trees!! Feeling pretty smug.

Rivermyst Farm Soup

And here is a picture of the main course…


This is the line up of the younger generation of the Kiser Family and one of the Mehl’s girls.   Bet they are back home rubbing their feet.  They worked hard!

Kiser Gang

I didn’t get a picture of Don and Molly.   I went to high school with Don Kiser but I didn’t really know him. (He was older than me!!! So much older..years and years. Possibly ancient.) We then worked in the college work study program at the YMCA in Bristol; and now he and his wife, Molly, are our neighbors. The Kiser kids pictured below were really young when I first met them more than ten years ago. I’m so excited to see God’s plan unfold for them in the next ten years.

Kiser Trio

Thank you for coming along to dinner with me.   If you want to learn more about this certified organic farm, the Rivermyst CSA box program, or just talk farming, please look a member of the family up at the Abingdon Farmer’s Market and/or the Bristol Farmer’s Market.   Want to see another post about Rivermyst Farm from a long time ago?   Here’s a link!

As always, thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage!


My Vote is in Mendota, Virginia

Happy Election Day!  The providing of flu vaccine at no cost to residents on Election Day is a Mendota tradition.   I met my girlfriend Helene (aka Dr. Helene Holbrook) down at the Community Center at 7 am this morning. She had managed to locate a small amount of flu vaccine and although she could not vaccinate everyone, she could get to a few as they came in to vote. We are so grateful to Helene, Patti Vanhook and our friends at ETSU for taking such good care of us. There are folks here who would not otherwise get the vaccine if this effort was not made.  Hopefully if more becomes available, more folks can be vaccinated.

Election Day is also  a fun day to catch up. I got to give everyone’s friend Bubby a hug as he soon will be joining me in a special club. He’ll be a “senior citizen” in a few weeks. We’ll be AARP buddies! Notice Bubby is wearing cammo…did he really think he could hide from Helene and that needle?   He’s thinking about the needle in this picture…he’s sort of tense!   However…she got him! He’s all vaccinated.  He was so brave…said he barely felt it.

Bubby and Me

Another tradition that I love in Mendota is the food that is brought by the ladies working the voting table. I had quiche and nibbled on a biscuit.

Food At Mendota Voting

Here’s another friend, Curtis, who stopped stuffing his face for a minute so I could take his picture. Curtis lived in Texas and had friends living in Mendota. Over a few visits, he got infected with that Poor Valley mud on his feet and had to move here. There’s no known cure…you  just cave to the desire to live in Poor Valley. He’s a talented woodworker.

Curtis B.

I was home by 10 am and felt like I’d been gone all day. There was still much to do! If you read this blog regularly, you know we’ve got a Farm to Table dinner on Saturday at the Kiser’s RiverMyst Farm.  (See more about that here. )

RiverMyst Sign

Last night Molly Kiser called needing local apples for Saturday’s dinner so I delivered 1/2 bushel of our Red Delicious apples. They have been refrigerated since we picked them. They’re starting to shrivel just a tiny bit. Here’s a couple of the apples…all fancy and excited about being part of the salad that will be served Saturday.


So I got back from RiverMyst and decided to work on a chalkboard project. You can see where this project was going…it was going to be so awesome. The wreath that you see is not the one I’ll use at Christmas. I’m making a wreath out of boxwood that I’ve stolen from every neighbor with boxwoods in Mendota, but my boxwood stolen booty is “being preserved” in a magic potion in the garage. I’ll be blogging about preserving boxwood if it works. With my’ll be a dismal failure.

Project Failure

So I had this on its way and was feeling pretty smug when I realized the chalkboard hanger was on the bottom. If I leave it as it is, it would be upside down.

Peace on Earth Upside Down



October Unraveled — Finally!

October’s over. Done! Finished. In my rearview mirror–I used to say that about wanting to leave Mendota…when I was very young and very STUPID, I told my friends…”I can’t wait until Mendota is in my rear view mirror.” When I turned 35, I began pleading to come back here.   Gasp…I actually ached to return here.   It’s a mountain thing….a Poor Valley thing…hard to articulate but easy to feel.   At any rate, my dream came true. I live where I love and love where I live.

Here’s my favorite blog picture from the month of October.    Mr. Burley, we still miss you.

Burley Surprise

My favorite quote during the month of October came from my sister, Pat.  She posted a picture of  a barn–she’s like me…barn crazy– with this quote.   I don’t know whether she dreamed it up or read it but here it is:

“I’m not Southern.  I’m Appalachian.”

Finally, because I don’t have anything else to put in this spot, here is a picture of me that Mike took this morning.  He’s not much of a picture taker, so there are not that many pictures of me.   I’m completely askew!!

Me Crooked

I hope we all have a great November!


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