Saturday, January 31, 2015


A late Christmas gift arrived by mail. It's from my husband's brother, Charlie.

It's Honeybell Oranges!  They are available only once a year in late January. Post cards are mailed out at Christmas time to let you know when to expect your shipment.

Actually, they are classified as tangerines...big juicy ones!   The company used to tuck an adult size disposable bib in the box to protect your clothes when you eat them.
Also inside were some chocolate mint candies and a small bag of tangerine flavored hard candy.

They are named Honeybells because someone thought the knobby end made them look like bells.

Of course we had to try one right away. It was so good we had to try another! Sweet!

Thank you Charlie, for this healthy and delicious gift!

Friday, January 30, 2015

I like it

I was going to wait until I had all the furniture back in place before I took more pictures...but it might be a couple more days before I can get the trim painted.

I am completely happy with the new paint color!

It made the room darker, but gives it a warm cozy feeling. Yellow is my favorite color for most things.

The Valspar paint was good...not drippy...doesn't dry too fast. Everything went smoothly except for a couple of kamikaze lady bugs diving into the paint!

Now on to trim painting, which will be gloss white.  The window frames in here need some extra attention because I had taken down some shutters that were nailed on and had been painted around. Some scraping and sanding will smooth them out.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

ready to paint

This room has been needing a new paint job for quite awhile. I've been putting it off because my computer stuff is in here and I didn't  want to disconnect everything to move it...worried that I will forget what plugs into where.
My husband used to have a computer in here too, but now he just uses an iPad, so at least I don't have to worry about moving his system around too.

I believe if I am careful I can shift things around just enough to squeeze in behind them to paint without unplugging very much.

This used to be my younger son's room. He had teal colored carpet and he wanted the walls painted teal too. We tried it and It looked pretty good.

After he moved out, I wanted to lighten things up in there so I painted it this light gray. That might have been about 14 years ago!.   I told you I've been putting it off!

See the paint color card I am holding on the left. The darker yellow is what I will be using.
It's called "Honey Butter'.  Who could resist that?

That green splotch on the wall next to the bookcase is another color I was looking at- too dark!

Here is the new color ready to go on!  The photo color is a little off (caused by the overhead lighting) It was later in the day when I got all the junk cleared out of the room and spackled a few nail holes and could start painting.

I got one coat on, but it will need another. I will show how it looks when it's all finished.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

mexican corn

It can be difficult to find a side dish to go with tacos or burritos, aside from the usual rice and beans.
I saw a recipe for "Mexican Blackened Corn" on ( click here to see it ), that looked good so I wanted to give it a try.

I made several substitutions...and my version was just okay.

I started by sauteing onions and peppers.

The original recipe instructions say to cook fresh corn in a hot skillet until it blackens a bit. 
I used frozen corn and it didn't really blacken...more like browned and turned sort of starchy and dry.

 I  added  the minced garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, cilantro and cooked bacon.

But I had to make substitutions for the beer and cotija cheese... I splashed in some balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese instead.

I might try a variation of this again...using green peppers for color and just leaving out the cheese.

We had other cheesey dishes anyway...and the whole meal was brownish...not a green vegetable in sight!

Beef and cheese burritos, refried beans, mexican corn and baked sweet potatoes. Sunday dinner.

Monday, January 26, 2015

bald eagle

I saw a bald eagle from my kitchen window!

The story starts early one morning last week. Just before daylight, I heard a big "thwump!" sound coming from out on the road.  I figured there had been a wreck and I looked out the window.
I saw brake lights and a little bit of a back up in traffic, but in about a minute, the cars started moving again.

After it got light outside, I glanced out and noticed cars backed up again. This time, there was a police car with lights flashing, pulled off the road. An officer got out, pulled his weapon and fired two shots...low toward the ground. He got back in his car and drove away

That's when I realized a deer had been hit by a car...but not killed, and the policeman was there to end it's suffering.

So, there was the deer carcass laying there, not too far off in the field next door. Gradually, as animals began eating it over the next few days, it was dragged further from the road, to a position where I could see it easily from my kitchen window.  Buzzards came.

NOT the eagle here - these are buzzards

They are interesting, so throughout the day I would go to the window and watch them for a few minutes.

Now finally, here is the part with the eagle...
At one point, this enormous bird flew sort of  low over the group of buzzards, and then flew into the woods out of sight.

It was like all the buzzards looked at each other and said, "let's get out of here!" 
They all flew away.

  The next time I looked out, there he was!

At first, I didn't know it was an eagle. I looked at it with binoculars and I could see the beak was hooked like an eagle and he had huge yellow feet.  But his head wasn't pure white, like you see in photos of eagles. 

So I looked online to see if it could be some other type of bird, but I found that eagles have speckled heads until they are 4 or 5 years old. It was an eagle!

I know these pictures aren't the best - that's as close as I can zoom in. In the photo below, the eagle has his wings up and back as he is tugging off a strip of  flesh.

Look at the size of it compared with the deer!

He was there eating quite awhile...and then back again on Sunday morning.

I never would have imagined I would see an eagle around here - I was so surprised!
I did read that they are increasing in number again and they are becoming more common in this part of the country when it isn't their breeding season.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

snowing and sewing

This quilt top was ready for layering and pin basting. It is one of the charity quilts my group is working on.
The blocks were made by someone else and I've sewn them together

I do the pin basting on the kitchen peninsula.

Snow started falling as I was working.

Then, just after dark it really started coming down!

What a nice night to be inside quilting!  
This quilt is getting some close together stitching.  I had noticed some of the seam allowances were a little skimpy. The close quilting will help to keep them from pulling apart.

Snow was still coming down when I decided to quit sewing for the evening. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

skillet shopping

Do you call it a skillet or a frying pan?  Or maybe just a pan?

I was shopping for one online and I wasn't sure what word to put in the "search box" to get the best results.
I eventually tried them all, and I looked at dozens and dozens of pans.

I needed to replace this enormously disappointing piece of cookware junk.

I bought it about 2 years ago...thinking I was getting a better quality item than the lightweight teflon coated pans I had gone through over the years.   
This one has a ceramic coating...supposedly a better non stick surface. And, it was at first.

Gradually the pan humped up in the middle, dry docking and burning any food in that area.  Those black stains will not come off with a scrubby pad or a baking soda paste - and anything harsher would probably damage the surface even further.  
Just so you know - I do not recommend Zwilling pans or any ceramic coated cookware.

I didn't buy online. Instead I decided to see what I could find locally and...what luck!...there at Big Lots, I found this teflon pan made in the USA! (it is stamped on the back).

I tried it out and it seems fine.  It's so rare to find an American made product, I'm thinking about going back and buying another for when this one wears out.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

a small change to my blog

I have added something new here on my blog.

Just under the heading "darlaville" will see a gold color stripe with the words "home" and "2013 quilts"

Think of these words as tabs on folders in a filing cabinet. If you click the tab labeled "home" you will always see the newest post I've posted.

The other tab, "2013 quilts" is different. When you click on that you will see a page with pictures of quilts I made in 2013.  This page will always stay the same.

Over the next few weeks I will be adding a tab for each year, with quilts I made in those years (except the ones I am too embarrassed of to show!).  I am adding these as sort of a back case I ever lose photos from my computer.

I am hoping this works out and doesn't slow everything down or something.

Unrelated..but these are geese on the lake at Bernheim Forest.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

creepy and repulsive photo from 2009

I was looking through some older photos on my computer and I came across these from 2009.

It is one of the weirdest and grossest things I have ever seen.

It was summer and I was organizing stuff that had been piling up in our shed. Underneath some tarps piled in one corner was a small "live trap" that my sons had built with their dad years ago.
 The trap had a door that opened inward once an animal went in, they could not push the door open and get out.

This trap had been sitting there for ages...not set to catch anything...not baited, just being stored.

When I lifted the tarps I noticed a bad smell. It isn't real bright in the shed so I leaned in for a closer look.

Eeeek !  Snakes in the trap!

After I stopped shaking I grabbed a rake and drug the trap closer to the door, where I could see that the snakes looked dead and even if they were alive - they wouldn't be able to get me.

I put the trap on a wagon and brought it up to the driveway.  Ugh...take a look...

At least two snakes - dead, some cast off skin, and eggs...and poop.

The first snake must have squeezed in and been trapped. But why did the second one go in? To mate?
And then there is the shed skin. Does that mean they were in there awhile before they died?

I felt sorry for them getting trapped unintentionally and I probably would have freed them if they had been alive.   But that sure was a nasty, smelly, hideous thing to find.
Then what was I supposed to do with it? 
I just put the whole thing in our garbage can for pick up.

Monday, January 19, 2015

reuben spread/dip

If you like Reuben sandwiches then you will like this spread!  It is rich and hearty, so it's a good winter time snack.

This recipe makes a big amount but it stores in the fridge well and can be reheated in the microwave.

Reuben Spread/ Dip
7 oz. corned beef or pastrami
5 oz. aged swiss
1 cup drained sauerkraut
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. spicy brown mustard

Dice the corned beef and swiss cheese.

Add this to sauerkraut in a mixing bowl.

In another small bowl, stir together cream cheese, sour cream, ketchup and mustard. Pour this over corned beef mixture and stir to mix well. 

Spread in a baking dish. I like to use a glass pie pan.


Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve warm with rye or wheat crackers.

With this recipe you can be a bit flexible with the ingerdient amounts. The original recipe listed 8 oz. corned beef, but my package was 7 oz. and that was plenty. You might be able to scale back a bit more and have a creamier, more dip-able dish.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

what I've been reading

I have been reading an interesting true travel adventure...

"From Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego - Across the Americas in Two Years"  by Michael Boyny

A youngish German couple , the Boynys, spent two years on the road driving first across Canada, then up into Alaska, south along the west coast of the US, then on to Mexico, and continuing through a total of fifteen countries to the very tip of South America.

They had been planning and preparing for their journey for a couple of years before it even began (in 2005). they researched all the areas they would be traveling through and also most importantly..the vehicle they would use for their travels.

The couple ended up with a 20 year old 4WD diesel Ford F250 pick up truck with a new camper top attached. They chose this vehicle because it was a common make and would be easier to get parts along the route if necessary.

a photo from the book

The Boynys loaded their truck with supplies in Germany and had it shipped across the Atlantic to Halifax Canada, where they picked it up after flying to  New York and spending a couple of weeks visiting the New England states.

Then they began their 33,660 mile drive!

The author is a professional photographer as well as a great story teller. The book is full of photos of breathtaking natural scenery and wildlife, and also cities, small towns and people they met along the way.

They took time to stop and hike,swim,kayak, canoe, shop at local markets, see points of interest and watch cultural events. They were robbed, had vehicle breakdowns, got sick, got lost. They met other travelers on the same type of road trip.

They drove through all types of terrain, from rain forests to deserts...mountains to below sea level...through all types of climates.

In other words - the trip of a lifetime!

I really enjoyed this book. I can't help thinking that I would have loved a trip like this...but truthfully,even if  I'd had the opportunity I would probably have been scared, and too much of a "softie" to rough it for so long.

  But it sure is fun to think about it...and to read the experiences of those who have done it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

won ton soup

Back around Christmas time, I had bought a package of won ton wrappers. Sometimes, I use them to make appetizers or little snacks when we are having people over.
You can use nearly anything for a filling...meat, cheeses and so forth...fold the wrappers over, brush with oil and bake until crispy.

But, here it is the middle of January and my won ton wrappers were still in the fridge, threatening to go past their expiration date!  I decided to actually try making won ton soup with them. It came out pretty good!

I looked over some recipes and sort of used what was on hand that might work.  For the filling I mixed ground turkey with onions, garlic, dried ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil.

It took forever to fold the won tons and seal them  up. After making 36 of them, I cut the rest of the wrappers into strips and fried them for a crunchy noodle topping.

I took the last of the broth from our Thanksgiving turkey from the freezer and added onions and garlic to that and simmered.
I didn't have any green onions for color...but some sliced romaine lettuce was a good substitute.

I probably wouldn't make this again. Putting together the won tons just takes too long.
We did like the flavor though, so I would use these ingredients to make a soup, maybe leaving out the won ton wraps and adding  a combination of rice and wild rice instead.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

finished 16 Patch quilt

The quilting is finished on the 16 Patch donation quilt ...and I've got the binding on.

We quilters have a tendency to make feminine looking quilts...mostly because there are lots of florals and other girly looking prints at the fabric stores, but this one would be suitable for a man or woman. It will be one that will go to Hospice.

Since it was a lovely sunny day, I just brought out all the donation quilts our group members have finished so get a photo.

The one on the left isn't quilted yet. Those are blocks made by others...I just joined them together and I'll layer and quilt.

The second from left and the striped one on the right were sewn by my friend, Shirley...and also the pink and white one. Those are all nice and bright and will be good Project Linus quilts- which go to children.

Third from left is mine, and beside it, is a quilt made by my friend, Isolde. She had this one already finished and wanted to donate it.  I really like her design! I want to make a quilt like this to keep!

Here is a close up of her quilt. I like the way she used even more triangles as a border and how the binding is also scrappy.

For now, I am going to have to put away my projects and tidy up the sewing room. The guest bed is in there and we will be having a relative staying the night before an early flight.

Clean up includes crawling around on the carpet patting it down for straight pins that I may have dropped !
I sometimes consider putting the guest bed in another room, but it is so handy to have it where I'm sewing, to arrange my blocks on it when putting together a quilt.

Well, I'd better get busy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

rainy day at the movies

Going out to see a movie is such a good way to spend a rainy day.

We used to go often, but now it seems like practically no time before movies go from the theater to cable or Netflix. We usually just wait to watch them like that, on TV.

But it seemed like all the conditions were right. It was raining. We knew of a movie with good reviews,"Unbroken".  And,we had...a gift card !

Actually we have had this gift card since Christmas 2013. It's only good for a theater a couple of towns away, or one across the river.

We decided on the one across the river. It had an earlier show time.  It was a nice theater...stadium seating, everything clean and updated. Really not that far away, either.  Not at all crowded in the afternoon.

And, what is even more pleasing to my eyes that my handsome husband?
My handsome husband with a big bucket of popcorn, of course!

The movie was really good, based on a true story of an Olympic athlete who fought in WW2, was stranded at sea in a life raft, captured by the enemy and endured more than you would think is humanly possible.
If you get a chance to see it - do!  "Unbroken".

Monday, January 12, 2015

pineapple upside-down cake

My older son told me he had been listening to the radio and they started talking about bundt cakes.  This made him think about a pineapple upside-down cake...baked in a bundt pan.

 I am pretty sure that I've never baked one like that, but Lonnie said he has seen a bundt cake with pineapple rings all around the outside too.

At any rate, they all agreed they would like  pineapple upside-down cake...but I just made  a flat one, since I had used the recipe before and knew it was a good one.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1  20 oz. can pineapple slices in juice
maraschino cherries
pecan halves
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 340 °.Place 1/4 cup butter in 9" square pan and melt in oven while it is preheating. When butter is melted, sprinkle brown sugar evenly over top.

Drain and save pineapple juice. Place pineapple rings evenly in pan on top of brown sugar. Place a cherry in the center of each ring and fill in with pecan halves.

Prepare cake batter; Cream softened butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla. Mix well.
Stir salt and baking powder into flour. Measure reserved pineapple juice and add water to make one cup.
Alternate adding dry ingredients and juice mixture to batter, mixing as you add. 

Continue beating until or two more minutes.
Spoon batter carefully over pineapple slices in pan.

Gently spread to edges.

Bake 28 to 30 minutes or until cake is done in center.

Allow to cool slightly...about 4 or 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen.

Invert onto serving plate and carefully lift pan.

It's a really sweet cake. Good with vanilla ice cream!

Fruit desserts seem especially good in the winter time.  I guess I will search around the internet for a pineapple bundt cake recipe so we can find out if that's something good that we've been missing!