Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Starter Balls

I wonder how many folks just had to see what I meant by starter balls.Connie, next door,of Granny's Sewing Room, was making the fabric covered balls this past summer. I have not spoke to her for a spell, so I'm not sure if she is still making the fabric balls now or not.It seems she was making them for a local gift shop.When my sister,Vicki, of My Favorite Things, was in for a visit, she made a few for her daughter's booth,back at her home in the mountains.Every now and then, I run across a piece of fabric that is no longer usable in it's normal manner. For example, this piece was used for a long time, as a cover for my porch swing. I loved it as a cover, but that has been many years ago, plus the sun has bleached it out, and  it is in tethers.I guess it's sentiment that won't let me toss it in the trash, and it isn't the type of material that would even make a decent grease rag for Pop's garage.So deciding what to do with it, is the next question.

I have decided to make starter balls with it. If this Primitive Craze continues for a spell, my niece in the mountains should be able to sell them in her booth, after her Mother,Vicki, has covered them with the appropriate fabric.Vicki is excellent in mixing and matching colors for the beautiful quilts she makes,therefore, she does a great job picking the colored fabric combinations to cover these little fabric balls.I know. I have seen some that she has made while she was here. I am not into the Primitive type of decorating, so I'll pass them on to her to finish for her daughter, Beverly's booth.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A woman's work is never done.

Our small house is roughly 32 by 42 feet or something close, but we have an eight foot porch on three sides. It is a job retreating it each year,if it's lucky enough to get it that often. We had unexpected company for breakfast this morning, and after we all finished eating, we moved out to the porch for more visiting. Pop can sit and visit all day and never worry about what's not getting done. It makes me crazy to sit and sit and sit some more. I can't do it. Since the visitor was mainly Pop's company,I decided to get myself a pail of vinegar water and wash down the vinyl siding while they visited.I could still hear their conversation and join in when ever I saw fit.He is a dear friend and I do enjoy his company as well, but he knows me well enough to know that it makes me uncomfortable to sit for very long, so like most of our company, they don't seem to mind if I must stay busy while we visit. I could only do the portion of the siding where they were not sitting,so I figured I'd get the Thompson's porch finish out and work a bit on retreating that portion of the porch.The company stayed until noon, so I had plenty of time to get most of the porch treated. It does tend to make work seem less like work if you are visiting with friends or family while you work.I did stop occasionally to share a cool glass  of a Wild Berry Pomegranate Fruit Drink.
My original plan for today was to finish putting the Aluma-Kote on the rooftop of one of my sheds. I had started it one day this past week, but the heat drove me indoors.
I am so ashamed of myself for neglecting my two sheds like I have done this summer. The heat has made it too unbearable to go outdoors and do much of anything. The grass didn't grow so there was no need to mow. Mowing usually keeps me outdoor most of the summer under normal conditions.This year was much hotter and drier than any I can remember. So the sheds must wait once more for their share of landscaping and attention.

P.S. Terry, Leah's mail got here today.I told her on Facebook. I haven't heard back from her yet, but I know she will be so thrilled that you thought of her.Thanks!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Watermelon Anyone?

Wallah! I have finally finished my Watermelon wall hanging.This little project has been such a joy to make.If you have read my previous posts, you already know what got me started with it.A dingy little paint covered rag that Mom had used to clean her paint brush, which normally would have been tossed in the trash bin.I could see Watermelons when I looked at the little rag, so this is what I ended up with. Now all it needs is a cord to hang it by, and a place to display it. The 3 bowels are some of my collectibles that I keep around just for munchies when we have summer get togethers.

The edging around my wall hanging were not as neat as I would have liked,since it was cut from a towel, so I crocheted several yards of a chain from some type of green jute string,which I had found a bolt of, at a local consignment store.It was the perfect color.I glued it around the border until it was completely filled in to my satisfaction. Then I used a single strand of the jute string to go around the rest of the raw green edges. I may edge the 2 small pieces of melon with red thread to neaten them up a bit, later. I think it really made the picture look much neater with the edges trimmed that way. I kinda felt like an artist, touching up his painting, as I kept tweaking my project. It was a very calming and satisfying feeling, trying to get the project just so so. I want to say perfect, but that would be impossible to achieve, but I am so happy with the finished product.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Do I Have a Sickness or What?

Most folks would see a little piece of a dingy old towel that was used to clean up the paint brushes after we finished painting Mom's lawn chairs last week.They would pitch it in the trash so quick,it would make your head swim,but,Oh,no,not me. I'm not throwing that away. I can just see it now. A big fat juicy slice of an ice cold watermelon.

What's wrong with me? Do other folks have this problem or am I the only one? Of all the supplies I have filling up every nook and cranny of my home and the surrounding out buildings, why do I feel I MUST use that paint covered little fragment of a dingy old towel to make a banner or a wall hanging?

I'm making a little progress on my Watermelon sign. I only hope to get it done in time to hang it over the picnic table on the porch of Pop's pouting room.That's where we gather to eat ice cold watermelon,straight from his garden, that's been cooled in his fridge.He is the care taker of the melons. He loves growing watermelon and cantaloupe each year.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Who ate all the cake????

So we're a family that doesn't eat sweets? Then who ate all of the Fruit Cocktail Cake?

The same day I fell heir to the cherries, I got grapes,too. Another perishable fruit that is impossible to hold over for very long.I thought,"Why not try canning them?" So I did. The grapes did not turn out as pretty and nice as the cherries. I may have heated them under pressure too long, but nevertheless, when mixed with fruit cocktail and/or other fruit,namely canned cantaloupe, which I just learned about last year from the local Amish, they make an excellent Fruit Cocktail Cake.

Many years ago, when I first left home and went to work, the ladies I worked with were forever bringing in delicious dishes to share with their fellow employees. That's so much fun no matter where you work and it does seem to lighten the work day for every one.Especially,when lots of good food is involved and it's free.

The Fruit Cocktail Cake was one of the popular recipes going around in 1966.We all loved the cakes that were brought in and we all just had to try our hand at making our own. Like all other recipes it finally died down and other delectables were cooked up and brought in to share with the gang.But the Fruit Cocktail Cake Recipe remained in most of our files from then on. As for myself, I use a yellow cake boxed mix instead of making it totally from scratch. It turns out just as nice, and I can pick up the cake mixes at the local Amish owned discount stores, for a song.I keep lots of the mixes in the freezer to use when we have spur of the moment drop in quests.

The FCC is so easy to make, and it is good served hot, but we like it better after it sets over night. Most fruit type cakes are drier the first day,when fresh out of the oven, but moisten up quite a bit,after setting over night..

Bing Cherries

It didn't take Leah and I long to finish off that pint. Yum! There was barely enough left to get a decent picture.

I have never been exposed to Bing Cherries to any great extent. I never buy Bing Cherries. They are wonderful, but they are too expensive. But guess what! I fell heir to a case of Bing Cherries this past week and I have now canned thirty three pints.Namely because they are so perishable. I would have loved to kept them around to eat as it, but I didn't think they would last too long in the fridge.

I had no idea as to what I was doing, and you can only find so much information on the net about any particular topic, so I winged it. I opened one can, after they had cooled, just to see what they were like, and they were wonderful. Leah, my grand daughter, and I, ate one whole pint by ourselves. We dipped ours in whipped cream.What a nice cool refreshing treat they make,and so healthy,too.That is indeed a plus. Getting this opportunity, was a once in a lifetime thing,for me, but I think I might be more willing to purchase a few next time I get the chance,if that ever happens.I have never seen them at the local Amish Auction yet,to my knowledge,so it's doubtful they even grow in our area.I may need to do more research on growing them here.

And we didn't discard the juice when the cherries were gone. All of those wonderful antioxidants,you know. We added a little water  and a few ice cubes and had ourselves a cool refreshing nutritious drink.We are indeed a frugal bunch. Well, I am hoping Leah picks up on the frugal ways of her grandparents. I doubt she is getting that kind of training at her home.

Step back,Froogs. I'm the Queen.

Froogs, I am addressing this post to you today, simply because I feel I am the ultimate Frugal Queen(if only for a day). I am so proud of my latest fine, I am beside myself.No one believes that I found this dresser by the roadside. It is a beautiful piece, and it matches my new bed really close.At least it's close enough to suit me and the company I keep.

I do buy nice new pieces on occasion, but most of the time, I buy from consignment stores, yard sales, second hand stores. Pop and I live a very frugal lifestyle.He is just as frugal as I am, although he notices it more in me than in himself,but he calls it ,being cheap.Many times when I bring in something useful, such as the new dresser, he is embarrassed by me doing so. He hates having others to think we NEED to pick up the junk of others to survive. Later,when folks brag and rave about what I have achieved, he is so proud of me. I guess he is just too proud.He worked for years making big money,and his first wife always had to have the most expensive furnishings.He hated paying the bill, but he was always proud for folks to know they had the best.Strange, but that's my take on Pop.

This dresser is very cheaply made,but Oh,so pretty. I figure the last owners might have done like many others. They purchased this piece when they first took up housekeeping,because it was so pretty and inexpensive, and within their budget at that time,Then as it began to deteriorate and they could better afford it, they upgraded to a nicer piece of furniture.I can easily see that happening. But, knowing how pretty this piece was, and being working folks,perhaps they thought that someone else might get some use from it, until they could do better.thus, they decided not to trash it completely,but to put it out by the roadside.Many folks are doing that nowadays.

For whatever their reasoning, I am so happy to have found it. Mom spent the night with me Saturday night and we rearranged several areas of the house to accommodate the new dresser. I gave the drawers a good overhaul. They were in the worse condition of the entire piece. They are made of really flimsy material. I reinforced them with luan and liquid nails and real nails insted of staples.I feel they should hold up nicely for several more years,if I just use them for undies,sheets and pillowcases,and the like.I do have a tendency to overload drawers,but I'll force myself to store my heavier things elsewhere.

Thanks,Froogs, now you can have your title back now. I just wanted to brag about my latest fine.I am so proud of it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Are you, or have you ever considered being a Master Gardener?

 a mere sample of what one can grow and teach others to grow
Are you, or have you ever considered being a Master Gardener?I attended a program yesterday which was to encourage more folks to get certified as Master Gardeners. I have considered it for years, but never thought I could squeeze in the time to attend all of the classes required.I think there is about 14 to 16 classes. Then you are certified. After that, it seems you must log 40 hours per year of community related service to maintain your certification.

I have considered this program many times, but it seem there is always a stumbling block getting in my way. At least that's what I tell myself. Pop has always said,"You can always find time to do, what you really want to do."I find that to be true myself. If I want to do something badly enough, I will make time for it.So what is holding me back?

I'm sure I could find many excuses, but Fear, for one thing. I am afraid I would not be able to learn enough to be a MG.It seems they know all the answers without ever having to take time to look them up. That's the way I have always done. If someone asks me a question, I will research the question, and find an answer for them. It seems it would be impossible to store every bit of that knowledge in one's head, and be able to recall it at any given moment.

a small glimpse of the fruits of my labor
The real purpose of being a MG is to educate the public about growing and maintaining plants,thus helping them to be more self sufficient.A quality that has been lost over the last generation.Uncle Sam seems to keep more and more folks fed today.

I have always considered sewing seeds and contributing tiny plants to kindergarten and preschool kids, hoping to instill the love of gardening in them.

You've heard the verse related to fishing.

Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day.Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

Why not insert the words vegetable and gardening, and teach folks to grow food to sustain themselves and their families for their entire life.

Give a man a vegetable, and he'll eat for a day.Teach a man to grow a garden and he will eat for a lifetime.

It seems each new day, brings more unexpected responsibilities to attend to, but one day,hopefully, I will be able to relax and investigate the possibilities of becoming a MG,more thoroughly.

I will add that to my I Would Love To Do One Day list.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Vicki!

Although I'm not into Card Making, I could very easily be.I have all the necessary supplies, and I have always enjoyed the thought of sending cards for every occasion, but I just never got into it. If more folks could use telepathy, there would be no need for sending cards anyway. My thoughts would reach the intended recipient, just the same.I did do a little reading on telepathy,and it seems there is a learning procedure for it. Maybe,one day, I'll take the time to look into it,but for now,sending cards and emails will have to do.

Sorry, Vicki. I just couldn't wait to post your card. I was so pleased with myself. I know to Real Card Makers,
my card is no big deal, but it is to me. I am so proud of it, I just had to post about it.I only use recycled materials, and I guess I should have used brighter colors, but I was so excited at 4 and 5 am this morning, I jumped out of bed and got right to work on it,using what I can find at the spur of the moment.

When I awaken that early,and that's the times I call Mom to let  her know it's time for her medicines,I'm usually so wide awake by then, that I can't get back to sleep, so I decided the card making would not be so noisy as to disturb Pop.I can usually catch another nap later in the day.I called Vicki to let her know it was on it's way, so she can get an early peek at it here.I hope she likes it, as I know she will.Happy Birthday,Vicki!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is It Possible To Think Your Pain Away

(I found I had several post in drafts, so rather than delete them, I have decided to send them along. With all of the other responsibilities, I have had little time for blogging,so for now, these older posts will help.)

Due to the many experiences in my life,I am convinced that it might be possible to think your pain away.I am 64, and for the most part,Thank God, have very few aches and pains.I do have a few on various mornings when I first awaken, or after arising from a quick nap. Most of my aches and pains show up immediately after I have been idle for a few minutes.It seems as long as I am moving about,heavily absorbed into the job at hand,I have no pain to speak of.

Lately, I have been having a problem with what seems to be a leader in the back of my foot.The long ligament or tendon or whatever it is, that runs up the back of your foot.I awaken finding that I can hardly walk, and this has been going on for a few weeks,off and on.

Nevertheless, we have been working with Mom's house this past week, and of all the weeks in a year, it had to be the hottest week on record for this area.With the family coming from La. on the 7th, we have been tidying up around her house and yard a bit. Mom has most of her problems with being disoriented,occur immediately after awakening, which is every other hour or two, all through the day and night,unless we are by her side, keeping her busy.She tends to sleep a lot,if she is not engrossed in a job of some sort.
 Even though she has the early stages of Alzheimer's, she has no problem seeing to it, that we are busy every minute. If she had her way, we would all still be living with her, and she would be working our buts off, like she did our entire lives.I cannot hold up working with her too often. I have learned that there will be another day. No need to kill yourself trying to finish it all today.That is definitely not her philosophy. She's thinking,"Get this done today,for tomorrow I will have a new job for you all to do."I have decided, I cannot work as fast as she can think up new jobs for us to do, so I've quit trying to be superwoman.Sorry if these words sound harsh, but you'd just need to know my Mother.

I told Mom,on one of the four times she called during the night, that we all needed a break from the work and the heat, so I would be staying in this morning,doing some things I needed to get done for my household,so this morning, I decided to get involved immediately after arising, with painting my Big Room.I found a gallon of really good paint on the Marked Down shelf for $11.The color was close to that of the paper I had just put up around my counter top.I was leery at first, but once I got started, it wasn't that bad.I have completed two sections of the wall. Very little painting to be done since we have so many windows and doors in the Big Room, and they are trimmed in white.Although I didn't paint for long, I did notice, when I am doing something I enjoy, the pain in my foot diminishes or disappears totally.I think the substance,produced in the body, responsible for numbing the pain,is called endorphins.I found a lot of great reading on the topic. Some I was aware of, but several things, I was not. It's amazing how simple things can give us such relief.We just need to do the research. I know popping a pill is easier, but I'm sure most would agree that engaging yourself in a task that brings you pleasure is a much better way to quieten your pain.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Our Louisiana Family Headed Back Home Today

Mom,86, on the left,  Edna,88, on the right

Mom's oldest sister,Edna, and some of the family, left this morning on their return trip to their home in South Louisiana.They've spent the last week with Mom. Mom is 86 and Edna is 88. Mom is poorly these days with Dementia or the early stages of Alzheimer's, and I'm sure her sister must be going through something very similar,plus she is loosing a lot of weight. The daughters speak of a lot of similar things going on with their Mom. Mom and her sister Edna have always tried to stay in touch. Probably more so than their other siblings,but their personalities are so similar, it gets rough at times trying to keep peace between them.I think we all know their remaining days left on this earth are few, so the cousins try to bring their Mom to visit once a year,if possible.I am so grateful to them for that, since it is so hard to get our bunch together and headed south.The cousins are a bit younger and much more capable of cutting loose from their jobs and such for making the trip.At least that's what I tell myself. Pop has always said,"You can always find time to do what you really want to do."I guess we simply don't care to travel at this stage in the game, so we make all sorts of excuses. Nevertheless, it all worked out. One of the cousins had another stop she wanted to make along the road home, so they left a little earlier than usual.

Most of the time they were here was spent in the kitchen. They love to cook those Cajun dishes for us whenever they come up.I hate it that they seem to stay in the kitchen so much, but they are all head strong like my Mom, so what can you do other than let them cook.One day we had Red Beans and Rice. I have never seen such huge pots of Red Beans and Rice. We do enjoy the meals, but a vacation, to me, is getting out of the kitchen.  We did visit a few consignment stores and they visited the Flea Market. Those are Hot Spots for them and most of my family enjoy those places,too, so we had a good time.

The visit was nice, but getting back to normal is nice,too. I spent the day canning green beans, tomato juice,squash and zucchini,not to mention catching up on dishes, and laundry.All is well though. We got a little rain today.The temps are coming down and hopefully the weather will get back to normal.The heat and the drought have been unbearable at times.

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Blogger Pen Pal

Do you have a Special Pen Pal Blogger friend? I do. I have one particular Blogging friend, that struck me as almost family from the first time I met her on Blogger. I can't really put my finger on it, but I just felt a kinship with her from the start.We even talk on the phone on occasion. We have never met,personally, but I would love to do so,one day. She lives in Texas, and I have family in Louisiana, so the hope of meeting her is not such a far fetched wish.She has her own soap company,The BlueMoon Soap Company,and her own Etsy site,The BlueMoon Vintage Cafe.I do admire her for her endeavors. I wish I were brave enough so as to tackle such feats.

I recently gathered up several thing I thought she might be able to use,mostly in her apron making.I get the feeling from her posts that she is very creative and could recycle some of the items I sent and I was so right. She has posted on one of her upcycled items(once a valance,now an apron) just today.

Terry,I'm so glad you can use the items I sent, as I knew you would. I love recycling fabric,but I don't go through sewing stages, often enough to keep my fabric stash in check. I get into so many other things I'd rather be doing.I have been working in my craft room when I get a couple of free minutes, trying to narrow down my supplies to my most favorite crafts.That is so hard for me to do. I love having all the supplies,just in case I decide to work with any particular craft, but the clutter of it all, gets overwhelming at times.With Mom and her Alzheimer's,there is so little time to spend on my crafting.Hopefully, I will find other usable pieces for your aprons,soon.Love all of your the aprons.You are so talented.
Hope you are having a better season than us. We are in the mist of the worse drought I've ever seen. It is truly depressing.My flowers have all died and my newly planted trees are in great danger of the same fate.Afraid to stress our well too much by watering.Pop uses it for our small garden most evenings.We have a few of Mom's family in from Louisiana this week, so we will be helping to entertain them for a bit.One or two of them are fascinated by the Amish culture, so we will be taking them around to visit several of the Amish businesses and allowing them to meet some of our Amish friends.
I think Pop is planning to fix them up with a ride in a horse drawn vehicle owned by one of our regular English fiends.They are so excited about doing that.

Although the drought is such a horrible thing, and I hate that my Mom's family could not see my beautiful flowers and yard, it has definitely freed me up from mowing. The grass crunches beneath your feet,sounds like you might be walking on Rice Krispies.Oh well! Hopefully the grass and flowers will grow back some day, and we have lots more time to spend with the family.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Alas! My Grand daughter may be evolving into a thoughtful young lady, after all.But then again, it might be the little talk I gave her this past week or so. She thinks she must take something home with her each time she visits my home. Nothing major, but usually something pretty that caught her eye, while visiting.I usually go ahead and let her take the item, knowing good and well, it will end up in the garbage or the give away pile. Her Mom doesn't like anything lying around that doesn't suit her own tastes or interests.  I have noticed this in Leah's Mom for years. I don't mind Leah taking things that she likes, but it pains me so to know what will happen when she gets it home. Leah had been wanting some of those 60's beads. The kind that folks hung across an open door, back in the hippie era. I found a set, and sent them home with her. Each time I would visit, I would see them in a pile out on the carport. I suspected the beads would be going to be set out soon,for garbage pick up day, so I asked Leah why she had never put them up on her bedroom door. .She replied that she had asked her parents to put them up for her, but to no avail.I took an expansion rod and showed her how to put it up herself, so hopefully, the beads got put up on her door.
I picked up this plaque,a few years ago, because it said it all, about my Grand daughter,Leah.

Lately,I was telling about how her actions were similar to the habits of a pack rat.A pack rat will gather in things that are generally pretty and shiny, to decorate it's bed. BUT,he generally leaves something in exchange for the pretty item.Shortly after telling her this piece of trivia, she brought me a Grandmother's cup, a juice glass, and a vase,so I assume the little talk had sunk in, or she is evolving into a thoughtful young lady.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

... they licked the platter clean.

Last night we visited friends who recently purchased a farm near the river.This farm has been the main attraction to several folks who already knew the family since most of them come from the Louisville kind of lifestyle.I suppose if I lived in Louisville, I'd want to find a nice getaway,too.Nevertheless, the new owner is a tremendous cook and that's a big draw,too. Folks love to know other folks who like to cook and entertain, and have a nice place to escape the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.Especially, if they are picking up all the tabs.Pop is a ham, and when it comes to finding that kind of set up, he's right there in the middle of it all. I don't usually attend those big bashes, but this family seemed a little different, so I went. Lo and behold,I had a good time. Dan, the owner is the cook, and of course, he and I hit it off right away. I love to discuss food,recipes,etc.I don't do a lot of cooking anymore, since I've retired, but I still like to talk about it.
The group was down for the holidays, so Dan had every days menu lined up like a business. Don't people like that make you sick? Why do they have to be so neat and meticulous and organized about everything?Why not be a helter skelter person like myself?Anyway....Dan had been cooking all day for the meal last night. He had Jambalaya,fresh green beans,sliced tomatoes,and burgers and hot dogs for the kids.He said no need to bring anything, but I think he just hated to ask. I brought some baked beans and sliced cukes and onions in vinegar and salt water.I know,2 kinds of beans, but it was a short notice, and then I knew those men would devour the entire meal he had fixed in a heartbeat, so no one would notice,I hoped.It all went really well.Leah went with us. She took her first canoe ride and then finished the evening in the pool. She was in heaven.She had no trouble sleeping last night.

and in the recliner,too.She had not stayed over night with us for quite sometime. The bad hurricane that hit La. a few years back scared her so bad, she would not be separated from her parents after that,only under dire circumstances,until now.She loves a "shindig"as she calls it, and too, she is getting to be a little more mature nowadays.She had a blast.

Back to the platter....I spent the morning trying to imulate the dish Dan had fixed the night before, only using ingredients I had at hand, possibly incorporating a few fresh veggies,and trying to move a few items along,out of the freezer, making space for the new veggies.You will not believe how good the mix turned out. We devoured the entire pot by 5 o'clock pm.Dan stopped by and tried a bowl, and another neighbor was brave enough to try a bowl, and between myself,Pop, and the two other game fellows, we licked the platter clean.It was scrumptous.

My Version of Jambalaya today(my recipe will probably change with the next pot)
2 small grated squash
1 large onion diced
1 green pepper
some bacon drippings
creole seasoning
Cook till tender.
1 pint of seasoned diced tomatoes
1 pint of beef broth
1 pack of spanish rice
1/2 pound of cooked hamburger meat
1 cup of finely diced ham
Cook until thick.

I don't like to follow recipes, but I think it turned out rather tasty. If you try it, you might want to tweek it a bit with your own additives.I cooked it in the slow cooker until it was thick, and the veggies and rice was well done. A good way to use up some of those fresh garden jewels.