Saturday, January 30, 2016

cheap cheap cheap

Sometimes, when I'm pawing around through the marked down items at the grocery store, I will find a product that I've never tried before, and I'm not sure if it is even worth the clearance price. It's a hard decision to buy or not to buy.

But I didn't hesitate to pile a bunch of these in my cart...

Talenti Gelato Pops.   They are chocolate covered gelato ice cream bars.

Three in a package for $1.00 !!

My husband ate one (or two) bars after supper and he said "Let's go down to Kroger and see if they have any more left!"

But cooler heads prevailed and we didn't do it. They pack a lot of calories...about 230 in each bar.
Besides that, the freezer is stuffed too full to hold anything else!

I need to rearrange everything and bury about half of these boxes in the back of the freezer.
Out of sight - out of mind!

Friday, January 29, 2016

quilt group night

We had a lot going on at our Crazy Quilters group.

A lady stopped by with a lot of fabric she was selling for $1.00 per yard.  It wasn't stolen merchandise...she used to work in the fabric department at Walmart, so she had first chance at clearance fabric.
She must have tons of it, from what she told us, but now she is having health problems and has moved into her sons room for all that fabric!
I bought 4 yards of it. It wouldn't be right not to help her get rid of it, you know!

As I mentioned yesterday - it was time to turn in our Red Dress projects. These aren't all of them. Some had been turned in already and weren't there.

They were all lovely!   That's mine, second from the right. I did decide to put ribbon around the waist and I think it was an improvement.

Everyone was working on a project.  Below is Dee, on the left with some blocks of a quilt she is working on.  
Beside her is Stephanie, our newest member. She's been working on her very first quilt...and sewing it all by hand. I will be sure to get a photo of that next time!

Barbara is still working on her 2015 Block of the month, too (like me). She is doing hers in fall colors.

Joan was sewing up some sets of coasters (like you put under a drink) to use as gifts.

Isolde and Jan were making some lanyards that will be used as name badge holders at an upcoming quilter event.

Linda was doing some different and weaving.

There is a square of plywood inside that green cloth. Linda placed a row of sturdy straight pins in the cloth at the top and bottom. She then looped heavy thread (maybe crochet cotton) back and forth between the pins.
Then she began weaving different yarns through the thread.  Normally she she goes from bottom to top, but she told us she is trying something different by placing that tree shape first.

Pin weaving looks like something I would like to try...but I have too many other projects going right now.  Maybe someday!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Red Dress Project

Each year, the Homemakers sewing groups have been asked to make these table centerpieces for a fancy luncheon that is held later in the spring.

We don't actually go to the luncheon. It's a fundraiser for women's heart health awareness...$125 a plate!
Their slogan is "Go Red for Women"...that's how the red dresses figure in.

Each of us are given a small wire "mannequin". We use  fabrics or materials  of our choice to design and construct a red dress for it.

The fact that the dress doesn't ever have to come back off of the wire form makes things easier. You can just stitch it together without having to worry with snaps or buttons.

I had my materials ready to work with, but for some reason I just kept putting it off. 
But yesterday I had to get it has to be turned in at the meeting this evening!

I might see if I can make some improvements on it yet today. I think maybe the shoulder wrap should be longer.  Maybe belted at the waist?

It will be fun seeing what ideas the other ladies in my group have come up with for their red dresses.

I think later on, we will be invited to a little party where all the red dresses made in the Louisville area will be on display...with judging and prizes! And refreshments!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

a walk in the snow

Sunday afternoon was sunny and beautiful, and after dinner, Chopper suggested that we  go for a walk in the snow.
Luckily, I still had a pair of his rubber boots here, from when he still lived at home.

 The Sasquatch had on some water resistant hiking boots so we were all set.

Back in the field we saw this in the snow...   Can you guess what it is?

It's where a wild turkey flew down from the trees and landed.

We walked to the abandoned camp houses.

The sun and snow made it easy to see inside, but it's still kind of creepy and scary.

They have all been ransacked.   It's so strange that so much was left behind to begin with though.

Someone thought they would be coming back to use this hairbrush and hair band.

A pretty floral window shade dry rotting where it hangs.

This concrete block one still looks pretty good from the outside....

Not much left of this one...

But the television is still there...

A tire swing silently waiting for kids who won't be coming...

There were horseshoes nailed up inside and outside of this one. For good luck?

We didn't make it around to all the houses, the sun started getting lower in the sky so we headed back.

This was such a pretty little stream surrounded by snow. We had to cross it just beyond that small waterfall. It was mossy and slippery!
The Sasquatch took this photo.

It really was enjoyable to get out and tramp around in the snow.  No one even threw any snowballs at me! 

It felt like an oven when we walked back inside our house. We had gotten adjusted to the temperature outside!

Monday, January 25, 2016

beef stew

For the second time this winter, I've made a batch of beef stew.  I looked at several recipes online and from there I sort of put together a recipe of my own.

I noticed that several of the recipes include wine as an ingredient. I think the acidity helps to make the meat tender.  I have never really cooked with wine so I used a few generous splashes of balsamic vinegar instead.

Here is what I started with...

That's a sirloin roast, celery, onions, carrots, red potatoes.
Beefy Onion dry soup mix, bay leaf, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano.
Balsamic vinegar and ketchup (a substitute for tomato paste and sugar).
Not pictured here but I also had some beef broth from my freezer that I used as well.

I started by sauteing diced onions and celery, then transferred those to my roasting pan.

I diced the beef roast into large cubes, salted, peppered, and rolled them lightly in flour.

 I browned the cubes in oil, in small batches, deglazing the pan each time to get the all the sticky cooked-on bits to add to the stew. 

Transferred the meat to the roaster, sprinkled with beefy onion soup mix, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, bay leaf, and balsamic vinegar. 

The sliced carrots went in too, since they take longer to cook than the potatoes. Oops, just remembered to add parsley too.

I added beef broth/ water to cover the ingredients and baked (covered pan) in a 325 degree oven for an hour. 
Then, I added the chopped red potatoes, along with ketchup and more liquid.

Then back in the oven for about 2 hours longer...until potatoes were done and beef was tender.

it just isn't very photogenic!

We had this for Sunday dinner, along with Grands canned biscuits, deviled eggs, and homemade cole slaw.

  The bread ring on the right rear there is a "5 Cheese Greek Spiral" that I had bought at Trader Joes for us to try out.  We liked it okay - except for Chopper - he suspected that it had some goat cheese in there...which he doesn't like. He says goat cheese is baa-a-ad!

The small bowl of shredded cheddar is on the table for the Sasquatch. He likes it in his cole slaw.

Later for dessert we had two things...both made from mixes that were on clearance after Christmas.
I had bought a pumpkin bar mix for 25 cents, and the Sasquatch had brought over a "Salted Caramel" cookie mix that he bought for 99 cents.

The salted caramel cookies had a good flavor...something different. There were little caramel flavored nuggets in them.
I'm going to search around on the internet and see if I can find a recipe for making that type of cookie.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

sewing blocks into rows

All the blocks were finished for this 2015 Block of the Month quilt, so I cut some sashing and started sewing the rows together.
There is still one more row to go.

Here is a close up of the sashing fabric. You can hardly see in in the first photo because it's so close to the color of the carpet.
This might be one of those times that I am making a bad color choice (the sashing), but I like the sharp contrast with the black floral fabric.
well, there will be no turning back now!

My husband gets antsy when it snows and has a strong urge to get out of the driveway (to see if he can). He thought we should go out to see a movie when the forecast was saying to expect 5 to 8 inches of snow.

I discouraged that idea and we just had a movie day at home...

I'm not sure how I'll keep him in the house for the next day or two!

Friday, January 22, 2016

more snow on the way

My sons' Granny, on their dad's side, used to say this about snow...
"It's a layin' on the ground waitin' for some more"
...meaning if the snow doesn't melt in a day or two - it's likely to snow again.

She had a lot of sayings like that, and it seems like this one always holds true. We had snow earlier this week and the forecast is saying we'll get several inches more.

I threw some cracked corn out for the crows, then the turkeys happened to come by and see it there. They trampled down a lot of snow searching for corn, there are turkey tracks criss crossing everywhere.

Like everyone else, I made a trip to the grocery to stock up before the big snow...even though there was already plenty of food here.  
I won't need to go anywhere again until this is all melted!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

what I've been reading

Last week I stopped by the library to drop off some donation books, and as usual, I was drawn over to their "discard" shelf...the books they are getting rid of.

I always like to take a few of these home. No worries about getting them back by a due date. I can even just leave one in the car to read if I get stuck in traffic or get stuck waiting for a tow truck.

This time I found five books that looked interesting. I read this small, short one first...

"Still Life with Chickens", a memoir by Catherine Goldhammer.

In a humorous way, the author tells the story of the first few years of her life following a divorce.

She realized that she, and her thirteen year old daughter, would have to downsize from their huge, beautiful home in the upper crust section of town.  After months of searching for a house, she settled on buying a small fixer upper cottage near a beach. (the city or state are not mentioned but it must be along the coast in the north east).

Her daughter hates the cottage at first sight, so in order ease her daughter into their new home, Ms Goldhammer promises that they can raise chickens there.

Lot's of funny chapters about the two of them learning all about taking care of chickens...also about the condition of the cottage and the remodeling and repairs being made there. There are also descriptions of the neighbors in their new community...some good, some bad, and some very eccentric!

Gradually, the author and her daughter make their new house a home...a place where they feel like they belong.

Ms Goldhammer keeps her writing upbeat and light pity party here.  That made the book an enjoyable read.  

It's very short, only 178 small pages. 
I will just slip it back on the "discard" shelf at the library next time I'm there.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Labyrinth Walk quilt completely finished

I finished the quilt I was making for the Sasquatch and gave it to him just in time for the coldest night so far this winter.  He emailed and said it was warm and was a good size.

I was concerned that it has a sort of stiff feeling (as opposed to soft and drapey). I think that is partly because the fabrics were not pre-washed and partly because it has a lot of close together quilting.  It needed a lot of quilting though...because it's heavy and it had to be strong for everyday use... and to hold all the layers in place (used two battings).
With time and use it will probably soften up more.

I had plenty enough fabric for the backing, but the Sasquatch had one request...some way to easily know the head from the I added a black strip to one end on the back.

Outside, hanging sideways. It looks better from a distance. When you're close it's harder to see the dimensional effect.

You can see the texture of the quilting better out here too.

Here is some of the quilting close up. All done on my regular sewing machine while listening to the radio or half watching old "Frasier" reruns on my little TV, up in my sunny sewing room.

Looking back, I see that I made the first block in August, so I've been working on it off and on for nearly six months. I have enjoyed the challenge of making it and I'm happy with how it came out.

Now I'm ready to clean and oil the machine, reorganize my sewing area, and get started on something else!
There's that 2015 "block of the month" quilt to finish up, and a quilt I'm planning as someone's birthday gift. 
Plus I just found out there will be a baby girl arriving in June on my husbands side of the family. She will have to have a quilt too, of course!
Time to get busy!

Monday, January 18, 2016

garlic pull-apart

Usually, I like crunchy toasted garlic bread...but this soft pull-apart garlic bread is good to change up the menu sometimes.

I use Kroger frozen dinner roll dough, butter, and fresh garlic.

I let the dough thaw in the fridge overnight, then arranged the dough balls in a greased tube pan.
These are one ounce dough portions. I used twenty one of them and it was a bit crowded in the pan, as you will see.

Chop at least three or four big cloves of garlic...or more if you like.

Melt six or seven tablespoons of butter in a skillet (you can use part butter/part olive oil too).
Add the garlic and saute it briefly. Not too long or too hot or it can turn bitter.

Pour this mixture over the dough balls...

...and cover with plastic wrap.

Let rise in a warmish place for a couple of hours.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes...until it sounds hollow when you tap it.

Oh dear!  I baked these in the small oven and they swelled up and hit the top element...that's what the black marks are.   That's not what you should do!

No problem though...because I tipped them upside down on a plate!

We had this for Sunday dinner, along with Famous Butter Chickenfried rice, and a mix of vegetables.  Notice my new baking dish there in the center of the table?  It's Fiesta brand, made in the USA...a Christmas gift from Lonnie.

Looks like no one minded the burned spots on the garlic bread!

Later on we had No-Bake Cookies for dessert.  They were a bit crumbly this time but no one seemed to mind that either.

There were snow flakes swirling around in the afternoon. Pretty to look at and not enough to show up on the ground.