Friday, March 28, 2014

Post #42 - craftiness

While waiting for warm temps to return, I've been avoiding chores by working on some needlework patterns.  I ordered the Happy Eggs patterns from Shiny Happy World a couple of weeks ago. She had an early bird special and I jumped at the chance to do more felt work.  I've made lots of felt birds and was ready for a change. (I only had three when I wrote that post. I should show you the rest that I've made. Another day.)

Anyway, what was I saying?

Oh yeah...I received the first pattern in my email and cut out the applique pieces and the egg pieces and started on it. Then put it aside. But not before I wrote about it in this post.

Then the second pattern came by email. And I thought, "I need to finish the first one before starting this one."  Then after a few days I thought that was silly, so I cut out the second egg and marked the pattern. Then stitched and stitched on it all afternoon until it was finished.
 It's an adorable little poofy egg.
 The original pattern called for purple felt. I had pink felt left over from the Christmas gifts I made, so I used in instead.  It looks Spring-ish.

Since that was finished and I was in the mood, I picked up last week's project and finished embroidering the applique for the first side.
Then I tackled the embroidery on the egg. Marking the felt was difficult since my fabric marking pens are blue, purple, or pink and the felt was bright blue.
 This is the back side of the egg. The applique pieces are on the left. The pattern picture is in the background.

 Adding French Knots. 
Those used to be an iffy stitch for me, but I watched the video lesson that Wendi did at Shiny Happy World and gained confidence. I have made dozens of them now and every single one has turned out. I am thrilled!
 This is where it started getting exciting for me. I had the body stitched onto the egg and was placing the ears, then stitching them into place.
I made the bunny out of fleece instead of felt. He's soft and furry-looking.
 And here it is. I only have one more to do just like it, then I can stitch the two sides together, stuff it, and have another cute egg.  
Just in time for the next pattern to arrive.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Post #41 - facts about me

  • I love to cook & bake.
    This comes to no surprise to most of you.
    This comes as a shock to those who knew me before I was married, though.
    (I was a tomboy who never had time for anything domestic.)
  • I enjoy trying out new recipes.
  • I rarely make recipes as written. Very rarely.
    And I rarely make it the same way twice. Always tweaking and adding my spin on things.
  • Last night's supper was made totally off the cuff. No recipe. I just started putting things together that sounded like they belonged together.  
  • I enjoy cooking that way--but it also scares me a little bit because I'm never sure how it will turn out.
  • I also enjoy making lists with the cute dot things (called "bullets").  :-)

When I saw a crockpot recipe contest last week at the One Good Thing blog, I knew exactly what recipe to enter. Once I discovered that the crockpot was a perfect device to make custards in, I knew it would be perfect for my simple cheesecake recipe.
So I entered it in the contest. And I won!
Photo courtesy of One Good Thing by Jillee.
This is the picture from the contest. I have NO idea how they got such a perfect slice out of the pan/dish. Isn't it pretty!
 We usually just spoon it out from the dish and it looks like blobs on our plates.
But it's yummy, and that's what counts.

So go check out all the yummy looking recipes at One Good Thing by Jillee.

And because I can share it, here is my winning recipe:

Crockpot Cheesecake

·         6 graham crackers (rectangles), crushed into crumbs

·         3 tablespoons of stick butter, melted

·         3/4 cup sugar

·         1 cup sour cream

·         2 8oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature

·         1 teaspoon pure vanilla

·         3 eggs

1. Choose a small (1 ½- to 2-quart size) oven-proof casserole dish that will fit in the bottom of your crock-pot with room left on the side. You want to be able to pull the pan out without too much difficulty. Mix graham crackers and melted butter in that dish; pat into the bottom and slightly up the side.
2. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, sour cream and cream cheese until they are well blended. Stir in vanilla.*
3. Add the 3 eggs one at a time; blending well after each addition.
4. Add the cream cheese mixture to the top of the graham crackers.
5. Add 2 to 3 cups water to the bottom of the crock-pot making sure that it will not rise above your dish when you place it in the crock-pot.
6. Place the cheesecake dish in the crock-pot. Put on the lid of the crock-pot.
7. Cook on high for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until the center does not have a watery consistency when you stick a knife into it. Check on it about an hour into the cooking time; if there is a problem with condensation from the lid dripping onto the cheesecake, sop up the moisture by dabbing with a paper towel, then place paper towels across the top of the crock-pot to catch any more drips before replacing the lid.
8. Remove dish from crock-pot. Let cool on counter for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
9. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

*(I sometimes add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice with the vanilla to give it a little zing.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Post #40 - another update

So while we're waiting for Kate to have something to blog, I thought I'd give you another update on some of the things I've talked about around here. 

 The celery ends are growing nicely. I've trimmed enough of the stems off that they both can fit into one cup now. They've grown a good bit, are bright green and have roots (all by just keeping them in water) so it's time to plant them in some soil. I'll have to get a pot and some potting soil soon. It is way too early to plant them outside.

The Paperwhites are done blooming. They've kind of grown out all over the place. 
They may or may not be in dire need of water.
{tilting head}
I'm leaning heavily towards the *may.*

 I have a couple new sewing projects started. One will be done with the machine; the other by hand and with a good bit of embroidery.  I ordered 4 patterns by email which will arrive once weekly for 4 weeks for some egg-shaped decorations. I received the first one Sunday. I have a week to complete it before the next one shows up.
Maybe I won't procrastinate knowing another one is on the way.
Yeah, right.

 I made stove top mac & cheese for lunch along with hot dogs and sliced tomatoes. The kiddos gobbled it right up.
And I put a roast in the crockpot for supper.
 It's smelling up the house this afternoon. In a good way.
My latest favorite liquid to toss in the crockpot with a roast or chicken is some doctored up bullion. 
It doesn't look like it, but that's only about a half or three-quarters of a cup of liquid in with the roast. It was bigger/thicker than I thought it looked in the package. I should have gotten out the bigger crockpot, but I'd just washed the round one up from the breakfast oatmeal that had cooked it was sitting on the counter.
What I'm sayin' is: It seemed like a good idea at the time. make this wonder-elixir I put some hot water in a mug and add around a teaspoon of bullion granules (beef or chicken) and stir it until dissolved. Then I add a couple of dashes of Worcestershire Sauce and a squirt of brown mustard along with several dashes of black pepper.
The mustard/Worcestershire Sauce combo is magic, I tell ya.
I first used the two together last November when I baked a ham for Thanksgiving.
Don't judge...we don't care for turkey.
But I digress.
I've used the combo several times since with different cuts and varieties of meats and it hasn't disappointed.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Post #39 - Note to my 20-something year old self.

Dear me in my 20's,

Don't sweat it, you've got this.  The 50's don't feel a whole lot different than the 20's. Well, except for some aches and a few pains, but they make medicine for that. But you usually don't take it; either because you are relaxed and comfortable in bed before you remember and you don't want to make the trip downstairs because it will completely wake you up and it will take hours to get to/back to sleep (which is a lie because it will take hours to get to/back to sleep anyway) don't want to risk any of the side effects of said medicine.

Other than that, life is good.
You still feel the same.  You think you can do all the things you did at 20-something, but after you climb a ladder or get on top of a chair you realize that probably wasn't the best idea.

But still, not much has changed.

Eh, I wouldn't say that--life is better in lots of ways.

You no longer make plans for "one day."  One day is here and if you want to do something, you do it.  You make it happen, not just dream about it.

You have friends. Real friends. You make plans to do things together and there's no drama. You have double/triple dates, bonfires, hayrides, girls nights, parties, come-over-for-pie or let's-grab-a-pizza impromptu get togethers. And there's no drama. Your friends are there when you need them, no questions asked, no stipulations, no matter the time of day or night. You have good friends.

You're lazy now.  Well, not really. You are better at prioritizing and so well organized that you get more done in a day than you did in your 20's. It's just that you like to take naps in your down time now.

And somewhere along the way you lost the filter to your mouth. If you think something, chances are it's going to pop out of your mouth.  But it's okay because your friends have the same problem.

There have been some tough times, but God has been faithful and been by your side, helping, loving, caring, guiding. He is your best friend. Never forget that.

You graduated college, had a career, fell in love, got married, had three children (and home-schooled them to boot). You are still madly in love. Your children are not ugly. They are good kids. Not angels; but good kids. You have kept your mind active over the years by learning another computer language and building web sites, mastering several computer programs and becaming accomplished in many others, having blogs, teaching yourself to sew, crochet, knit, quilt, embroider, applique, play guitar & drums, cook, bake, campfire cooking, photography, home maintenance/repairs, jewelry making, cake decorating, puppetry, puppet making, painting, carpentry, candy making, paper crafting, and the list goes on and on. Basically, if it strikes your fancy, you explore it.  Keep that up!

And yes, you read that did learn to cook. And bake. And make candies. You've gotten much better at prioritizing the dishes so now everything is ready to eat at the same time--no more cold hamburgers because you didn't start the french fries first. You collect recipes and are getting pretty good at picking out good ones to try. You enjoy creating.  Again: always trying new things, always expanding your capabilities.

P.S.- You got fat.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Post #38 - Say what?

Whoever is in charge of keeping this blog up to date: You're fired.

Two weeks without a post is way too long.  Let's try harder, guys.

On a sadder note, several of my blogging friends have experienced hackers or picture thieves. So, from now on I will be putting a watermark on photos.  This will make blogging a little more labor intensive. I might put up fewer pictures. We will see how that pans out.

Spring is here, my friends.  The trees are beginning to bud. The birds are returning. The snow is melting. It's just a matter of time before the color returns to the landscape.