Monday, December 19, 2011

I Am UnBlogged Down At The Moment

I am finally caught up with past blog entries. I tried to post them in order of "happnins". I don't know why it didn't turn out that way.

We'll see how long I can stay caught up.

Next post?

Don't hold your breath too long.

I Am Blogged Down

NOTE: This post was originally written 12/17/11.

It seems that I haven't posted an entry since November 6. Well you should know I really haven't NOT posted, just haven't finished one TO post. I have 5 in the works, but attaching pictures and having to think (this time of year) is rawthaw a chore.

As usual, work is BUSY and with Christmas in one week and with a new grandson coming the first of February, I am feeling bogged down (mentally). Therefore with all those blog posts in the waiting, I am blogged down.


Patent Pending: I am officially patenting that phrase, unless it already has been. Let me check Google.



There are already plenty of people using Blogged Down. I did find a definition: Spending too much time blogging to keep a person from interacting with the real world. This is not what I'm experiencing. Au contraire! My reality (or my reality as I see it - who knows how real it is?) is keeping me from blogging.

I thought I found a site with fun definitions and wanted to tell you to check it out. Well, after looking it over I guess I won't. A lot of it seems to be a bit earthy for my taste. And most of you know my taste, but, EEEKKK!!!! I wanted to post the Word of the Day. However, HAHAHAHAHA, it was NOT appropriate. Only funny because it was so awful. Oh My!!! Nevermind!

This is another reason why I can't finish posting a blog. I get myself in messes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Puppies - Good Thing They Are Cute!

NOTE: This post originally was dated 11/17/11.

These two puppies!!!

We have put up with their shenanigans for more than 9 months. The yard is littered with trash pulled from the burn barrel. Bones are brought up from the woods. We can't have nice flowerbeds.  It's a good thing they're cute. The latest?

Margaret Thatcher (top) and Winston Churchill (bottom)

We got to noticing foamy chunks all over the yard. What is that?

Winston? Buddy, who's a good boy?
What are you up to? What is that?

Winston! You are not a good boy!    Margaret! What is your part in this?

What the heck? The 4-Wheeler has been sitting in the yard forever.
What would obsess them to do that now?


The Bubble Quilt Is Finished

NOTE: This post originally dated 11/13/11.

     I finished the last of the binding the night of 11/6. It immediately went to the washing machine and dryer to start the fuzzing of the patchwork circles. The fabrics were preshrunk, but I did not preshrink the batting. The batting will shrink slightly in the dryer, causing the quilt to krinkle, giving it a vintage look. I can't wait for Emily to see it.

The binding turned out nice.

     The block design is called Bulls Eye. See my blog post from 7/10 showing the finished top. The process of quilting this quilt didn't happen like I envisioned, but still it's FAB. I hoped the colored bubble circles would be the quilting, but I couldn't free-motion stitch perfect circles. I decided to hand embroider the bubble circles, but didn't go through all layers. So for the quilting I made a spiral on the pachwork circles and machine stitched around them for additional quilting. I used white thread, not wanting them to be visible.

 A few of the many colored bubbles.


  These two pictures show the blocks after the quilt was washed. I used a 1/4" seam but maybe it was still too close for raw edge applique. Some of the fabric was thin-ish. A lesson learned: Be sure to use quality fabric. I think the fabric I used was fine, but all the fabrics were not of the same quality. I shortened the stitch length, but maybe it should have been even shorter. While taking these pictures, I noticed there are several places where the fabric "fuzzed away" when it was washed. I will plan on patching this a lot as it is "loved."

NOTE: I wanted to use clear monofiliment thread, but my sister, Kathi, instructed me that it's not advisable to use on anything for babies. If the thread should break or loosen, little fingers could become entangled and damaged; the unspeakable could happen. Thank you, Kathi. That's why I come to you.

These two pictures show the front and back of the same block, showing the spiral quilting.

This shows the quilting better, the white circle around each Bull's Eye block
and the multi color thread spiral in each block.

     I can't wait to see my new grandson wrapped up in it, or later dragging it behind him, dirty and well loved. Or better yet, dragging it off to college.

     Well, it's on to finishing another...

Thanksgiving Dinner - My Favorite Day To Cook

NOTE: Originally written 11/23/11. I've had a terrible time getting pictures put on.

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year, but Thanksgiving is my favorite day to cook. I don't know if it's the foods or the table decorations or just the feel of the season.

I haven't made a Thanksgiving dinner in probably 5 years, so when my daughter asked if I was going to cook a Thanksgiving dinner I thought, "Well, I guess so", and I felt kind of excited. I ran out and found the biggest turkey I could find, 20 pounds. 20 pounds is quite a big turkey for just 5 people, but I thought a week's worth of sandwiches that could be made. And the soup stock that could be made from the carcass. Smells so so so good. If you think about it, it's actually bone soup. Thinking about that could turn one into a vegetarian.

I made out the menu: turkey, yukon gold mashed potatoes and gravy, Aunt Dorothy's sweet potatoes, green bean casserole (ick), corn dookey, homemade rolls, cinnamon apple rings, fresh cranberry relish, roasted root vegetables, green salad, stuffing, spinach balls, pumpkin AND pecan pies.

Oh, the pies! I planned on making 2 pies. I had invited our friends to come over Friday for leftovers, so I decided I would need to make 2 pumpkin and 1 pecan pies altogether. I knew the pie dish I used for the pecan was deep so I 1 1/2 the recipe. I got confused and doubled the sugar so I had to add make another 1/2 recipe of the other ingredients. Okay, so now I'm making 2 pecan pies. I made another pie crust. When I poured in the pecan filling I didn't have enough to fill 2 pies. Turns out BOTH dishes were deep. So I had to make ANOTHER 1/2 filling recipe to fill the remainder of the the 2 pies. HUH? When they baked they both puffed way above the top of the pie dish. Never had that happen before.

My friend said it was normal for a pecan pie to raise like
this. Never had that happen before.

This is the first time I got to use my pie holder.   

 This must be true love. I HATE that "famous" green bean casserole.
(Don't look too close at my messy oven. Baking soda is a
great thing to  reduce the smoke from  something boiling over.)
Corn Dookey, formerly known as Shahoskahavi. Corn, bell pepper, whole canned tomatoes
onions, chili powder. Pretty darn good.

Aunt Dorothy's sweet potatoes: To die for!
Emily is making the stuffing. Mmmm! I am a messy cook. Just look at that stove!

Mashed potato rolls. These are SOOO good. You really must try them.

Yukon gold potatoes. I did add a lot of butter, but not enough to change the color.
These potatoes really are yellow.
We served buffet style so we could enjoy some elbow room at the diningroom
 table. Emily also brought spinach balls and Maggie made the most wonderful
fresh garden salad.
I really enjoy setting a table for Thanksgiving. This isn't too elaborate as some I've
done, but I love finding leaves, sticks, acorns and flowers outside to decorate with
the pumpkins, gourds and candles.

How could this have gotten so out of hand?

Herb Infused Oils - Oh Man!

NOTE: This was originally written 12/10/11  Ignore the posting date.

I was shopping yesterday in a kitchen gadget store for Christmas gifts. I like to check out the fancy food items in stores like that, things like jams, vineagers, mustards and oils. I saw Blood Orange Olive Oil. What could be bad about that? I bought all they had - 2. I really needed one more. So I got to thinking about making my own for that "one last person who reallly needed one." I grow many kinds of herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Wow, that would make great lyrics for a song! Anyway, my most favorite herb to grow is BASIL. I usually grow sweet, lemon and purple ruffles, but have been known to grow more. One summer I grew six different kinds, but there are approximately 100+ types.

Okay, back to flavored oils - when I got home from shopping, I was on the hunt for instructions for making my own herb infused oil. I went to Google and found many websites with instructions, recipes and warnings. WARNINGS? Yes, warnings. Who would have thought you would need a warning when it came to cooking with olive oil? Isn't olive oil the food of the gods? Yes, but it's man who can mess it up, especiallsy when it comes to botulism. The moisture content of the herbs or other things added to flavor the oil can be BAD. I've been reading about the dangers of garlic infused oil. "They" all recommend keeping the oil refrigerated and using within a few days. if the oil is made with fresh garlic and fresh herbs. I don't do much daily cooking anymore so that wouldn't work too well for me. I would have to make it 2 or 3 tablespoons at a time. I want to be able to store it unrefrigerated in the cabinet or on the countertop.

I got to wondering about using minced dehydrated garlic. Hmm? I'm still waiting for an answer from  Also on this website, in the comment section, someone named Cheri (post dated 11/20/09) took a course at Williams-Sonoma and gives directions how to cook the oil to give it a 2 month shelf life. I'm going to try that. I want to give these oils for Christmas gifts along with some homemade bread.

Who knows? This might be so fun, so good that it will be an annual food gift item, like my beef jerky and Conway corn.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Look and Learn From My Mistake!

     My husband brought wood up to the house. "Hey, bring some inside and make a fire. It's a fire building kind of day." I thought, "Okay."  

     I put some crumpled newspaper in the wood stove, added some bark and small pieces of wood, then lit the paper. It took off pretty well, so I added 3 or 4 nice sized pieces. The wood was nice and dry so it took off right away. I sat in my recliner, enjoying the warm, orange glow coming from the stove's window.

     The fire got pretty hot pretty fast. I could smell that hot smell. You know what I mean, when the metal stove pipe gets so hot it has that "smell", like an empty cast iron skillet left on the burner? I thought, "I'd better put down the damper to slow down the fire." I looked up and noticed the plastic window fan was still sitting on top of the stove, leaning a little on the stove pipe. AAAAAAAA. I pulled it away from the pipe. Strings of plastic, like a cheese pizza, strung across. I pulled it and pulled it. It just kept coming in fine threads. It wouldn't stop. I had a wad of what looked like a ball of thread. There was a lovely melted grid of white plastic on the pipe. I tried to wipe it off to no avail. Whoa is me! Eventually it melted and dripped down into the connection of the pipe and stove. I guess it dripped inside that connection into the firebox. It's about gone from the stove pipe now.

     The fan had been sitting there all summer and, I guess, just became another fixture in the room. Well next summer it will be an art fixture in the room.

I wonder if it still works?
NOTE:  The fan was checked on 12/9/11. It still works. Hurray?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Don't Want To Be Left Out

I just found out I'm the only one who hasn't posted this picture. I wasn't clued in.
There. I feel better.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Ultimate In Laziness (Or Ingenuity?)

Sometimes laziness gives birth to ingenuity. Here's my latest example:

     I found JUMBO marshmallows at the store the other day. Jumbo? Yup, and to top if off they are SWIRL! Regular marshmallow flavor AND CHOCOLATE!! How can that be a bad thing?  

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony,
side by side in my marshmallow, oh Lord, why don't we? 

     I've been hungry lately for roasted marshmallows, so when I saw these I HAD to have them. I didn't want to build a big ol' fire outside, and since my back has been bothering me lately I didn't want to stand at the stove, fork in hand.

Here's where laziness turned to ingenuity: 

Why not gather the necessary items and sit in the recliner in the livingroom and enjoy some TV and a gooey, melted marshmallow?


Let's see. What do you need?

1: Marshmallows - check!

2: A Fork - check!

 3: FIRE - check!

4: A Recliner - check!

5: A TV - check!  Judge Judy? Not required.
Also, not required are sweat socks on the table.
They have no affect on the final product.


     Be sure your marshmallow is securly fastened to the fork. Believe me, cleaning molten marshmallow off the carpet is no fun. Don't question the wisdom of the blogger.

     Hold the marshmallow over the candle flame. As you can see, holding too far from the wick causes soot, rather than that lovely char.

     Get that marshmallow right down in the blue part of the flame and let the roasting commence. Just like any marshmallow roast, keep turning it to get roasted on all sides. Duh!

Mmmm! Goo!

     Get back in there and do it again. The great thing about these JUMBO marshmallows is that they can be roasted many times. That's one tall flame!

     Burn, baby, burn! That's so preeeetty.

Oooo, these are really good!
     After 4 of these, I was about sick. The rest of the bag is going to a bonfire and weenie roast tomorrow night.

     So, there you have it. Lazy doesn't always mean the brain is on hold. I wonder how Einstein would compare this to E=MC2. Hmm?

Couldn't resist leaving this picture on here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oh, The Paintstiks Are Fun!!

     Maggie was here a few weekends ago and helped me try out the Shiva Paintstiks. They are as nice as I had hoped. I definately need more experience. We were experimenting on cheap, thin muslin.

     I started out using a butterfly stencil, first as a rubbing (didn't work too well), then as a stencil. It was so awful, I threw it away. Nothing but a smear.

     So I looked around and found my daughters' old baby shoes to use as a rubbing. It sort of worked out. I think the problem here is that the shoe is old and curved on the bottom. I wanted to take off the wrapper and use the side of the paintstik, but thought better of that. Chaa-Ching.

     I've had this hummingbird stencil for quite a while, never using it. It worked great. I used Q-tips to get in the lines. The irridescent colors were great for the hummingbird.

     Maggie used freezer paper to make stencils. A picture can be drawn on the matte side of the freezer paper, then the design is cut out. Be sure to think "mirror image" when designing, cutting and painting your stencil. The new stencil is ironed, shiney side down on to fabric. It temporarily stays in place while the painting is done.

     Maggie did a good job with her dove and heart design stencil, but she really hit it when she made this mermaid stencil. We could already tell this was going to be good so I found some black cotton fabric for her to use. She saved the stencil for me to try it.

The hair might look a little odd due to a fold in the fabric. That will iron out.
 (And I'm still using my cell phone
to take pictures. She's gorgeous!)
     I made a stencil also. I really like it, but it doesn't compare to Miss Maggie's.

     Next we should try an Elvis stencil on velvet. HAHA. Seriously, wouldn't that be pretty cool?!

     The heat setting directions said to let the paint dry for 24 hours, or if the paint is applied especially heavy, let it dry for 3 to 5 days. Besides heat setting with an iron, it can also be heat set in your clothes dryer for 30 minutes. I wanted to set it with my iron, but I couldn't get it to work. (It's been dropped a few times so it's reliability is ify. It will work the previous time and the next time it won't heat at all. But then it might the next time. Do you suppose I need a new one? Oh, Saaantaaa!)  Our examples ended up drying for about 3 weeks, when I could finally get around to it AND the iron would heat up. I was a little disappointed with it. It seems the red & yellow paints bled oil into the fabric, even after 3 weeks. I don't think I/we applied the paint terribly heavy. Here's my spiral. Suppose it could be the cheap muslin, just too thin?

     Here's the center heart of Maggie's heart with doves stencil. I didn't show the birds. They were blue with the center of their bodies a little on the silver side. They didn't bleed any oil, but the red heart did.

     I noticed while heat setting Maggie's mermaid that I could smell the oil and could see just a little on the black, but not enough to show. The black was a much better fabric than the cheap muslin. Don't have it figured out yet.

     I found this scarf weight fabric and thought it would be beautiful with a little gold or bronze/copper paint added. I don't know exactly the fiber content. It was on the $1.99 table. At that price you can't go wrong experimenting. The store owner burned a little piece. It sort of melted, but some of the threads turned to ash. I will be washing, drying and ironing little pieces to see what happens before wasting any paint on it. Even without adding any paint I will still be making some scarves with it.

      Like I said at the beginning, I need to practice more. And will be. (As soon as I get some projects finished in the IMMEDIATE future - there's a grandbaby coming.)