December 30, 2014

Ending 2014 With Thanks

The third memory bracelet is this one in purple with silver charms.  It was part of a group which were made for three friends at a difficult time in my life. I just wanted to thank them for being there in spirit and in words.

I thought it would be nice to end the year on my blog with a Thank You to readers who stopped by on a regular basis and to readers who did a quick drive by just to see if anything was interesting.

2014 kicked me around, and made life difficult. However, I survived bruised and cautious with a deeper understanding. 2015 better watch out!

Happy New Year ...
May 2015 be
Generous and Kind
to YOU!

December 24, 2014

Christmas 2014 Traditions Yes and No

There's a little dry spell here on the word front, what with packing, unpacking, painting, and other stuff. I looked back at my posts from Christmases past and there are recipes and videos, and lots of Lucy's precious memories.

This year I am going very low key on the cooking, in fact there's a choice of meatloaf or nachos debate going on in my fridge. I bought some sprouts and carrots for roasting, so I may jazz up the meatloaf and mash with some of those veg on the side. Try as I might, I am not a traditionalist when it comes to holiday cooking. Are you?

You don't have to know, nor care, who would? TMI that I still have turkey in the freezer and leftover ham beside it. (That's why meatloaf sounded good.) 

Don't we live in remarkable times when we can just retrieve food from the fridge/freezer? Unlike the Waltons.

This video with silent excerpts from 'The Children's Carol' a Christmas episode has Mariah Carey and a choir singing, 'Silent Night' in the first part. The last 60 seconds is a clip from the episode where the family and friends sing Jason Walton's Christmas song.  

Two British children, temporary refugees from the bombing in London, end up staying with the Walton family. Apart from the seriousness of the war, this episode is a reminder that things never stay the same, they often change and we have to adapt and accept. 
People and other loved ones come in and out of our lives and we come and go in theirs. 

I had the opportunity to visit Schuyler, Virginia some years ago. The 'Walton Mountain Museum' is located in the school. I had a white knuckle grip on my steering wheel driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains- something I'd not like to repeat. But, if I hadn't persevered, I wouldn't have talked to some interesting and likable people who love the Walton stories.  (Earl Hamner, the author, his career includes movies, tv series, and so on. Twilight Zone included!)  

(I feel a dry spell moistening up here, so I better wrap this up.)   
I leave you with my wishes for a 
Happy Holiday!
Hope you have a safe and peaceful Christmas.

Enjoy the sprouts and the eggnog!

December 12, 2014

Playing With My Food Making Corn Muffin Waffles in the Waffle Iron

As if I don't have real work to do at home. Yes, I played with my food again. This time, I made Corn Muffin Waffles, and I liked them. There's a song in there somewhere.

Stuffed French Toast Waffles got me thinking about what else I could cook in the underused waffle iron. I had two boxes in the pantry of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix and decided to sacrifice one in the test.

I made the waffles/muffins according to the directions on the box, and added a tablespoon of vegetable oil. I thought the oil might help the waffles not stick to the waffle iron- and it worked. Whether they would have stuck without the added oil, I don't know.

You can see the results of my experiment, noted A, B, and C. I got sidetracked on C and left them in too long, but they were still edible.  A was me being too anxious to see what was going on. B was because of the little bear's bed, no that's the wrong fairy tale.  But it was nearly perfect.

So, I think the experiment was a success. I got 6 waffles from one box of mix. When I wanted to eat one, I just popped it into the toaster to reheat. Lovely.

These are good topped with a fried egg, the egg keeps the waffle warm and steamy, not hard and crisp. No sawing required.

Sometimes it's okay to play with your food. You might like the result and be inspired to play some more. Not always, but sometimes.

December 9, 2014

Two Things I'm Happy About

Wanted to share with you two things I'm happy about. One is this beautiful Christmas Cactus. I bought it last week and it's blooming like crazy.

I think it must be enjoying the new Swan White color on the walls of the parlor. I know I am. The previous color(s) were depressing, so although the white is a drastic change, I'm going to see how it feels over the next few months.

The ornaments image was taken last year(?), could have been the year before.

The second thing I'm happy about is sharing the second memory friendship bead bracelet.  I made three bracelets and this is the second one to show you. I showed you the first one in this post, Blending.

This one was made considering how much she enjoys her plants and nature.

I used antique glass seed beads, new charms and new wood beads.

I wanted to give each of the ladies something to recognize them individually and to thank them for their support and good wishes.  I can't measure what that means to me and I think they know that.

It's just a little thing, but making these bracelets helped me, too.

December 5, 2014

Eggsactly As You Like It Easy Casserole

Hope your December is off to a good start.  The computer hobgoblins visited me last week, so I decided that waiting them out instead of fighting them was the way to go. Things seem normal again, so I am sharing a recipe that is easy for you to make, bake, and hopefully, enjoy.

I call it
Eggsactly As You Like It Easy Casserole. (Corny)

It's been about a month since my last food post. Holiday leftovers could be used in this casserole, so instead of forgetting to share the Sausage and Stuffing Muffins from Thanksgiving of 2013, I thought I'd better get to this one before the leftovers are gone. Thank goodness for freezers.
  • Preheat Oven to 350F
  • Grease or Oil Spray a small baking dish     (Mine was an 8 inch square.)

3 eggs
1 cup Milk or Half and Half
3 slices of bread or enough croutons to cover the bottom of the dish
Dash of salt or omit it
1 cup cooked diced Ham or Turkey or Sausage or combination thereof
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese or other cheese that you like
Spinach, thawed or fresh, chopped, about 1/2 cup, omit if you're not like Popeye.
Spices or Herbs added to your taste including liquid seasonings if you like.
Any other vegetable if you like, cut small or shredded, about 1/2 cup.

Cut and fit the bread or croutons into the bottom of the baking dish. I removed the crusts,
     but you can leave them on or not, your preference.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and any spices/herbs/sauces.
Add any vegetable to the wet mixture and stir.
Pour the wet mixture onto the bread.
Top with cheese.
Bake for about 55 minutes.  That's it. 

Note: This could be doubled easily.  I will make this again without the bread and see if it's doable. I made this one with leftover ham and turkey, the next one will be with sausage or sausage and cooked bacon.

I like the ease of this recipe, and I can walk away from the kitchen while it's in the oven. I never used to like casseroles, but they are a help to me. What about you- do you like to eat casseroles?  

December 2, 2014

Blessings in the palm of my hand

Something's going on - it always is. Sometimes the joys come out of nowhere? We don't expect them and feel unworthy when they come to us.  

A few weeks ago this ------------------------------>
lovely little Blessings heart showed up in a package at my front door.

That morning was going downhill fast and then out of the blue a message from a special friend and the gift. The message was a hug from an understanding friend.

The heart, small and substantial, polished and smooth with indentations.  Not unlike a human heart being welded together, all the broken bits- splits and chips, melding together into one workable, wiser, and defensive thing.

This heart, shiny and new, is weighty, like an anchor in the turmoil of the past few years and months. Focus on the blessings, I tell myself.

I let her know how much this meant to me. With things up and down as they often go, I was blessed from out of nowhere, not actually nowhere, but out of the ordinary. That's what she is. Extraordinary.

I wish everyone of you will have an out of the ordinary day whenever you are most in need of one. You are blessed and a blessing to others.      

November 17, 2014

Blending New and Old in Friendship and Memory Seed Bead and Charms Bracelet

It's snowing here today, the first of the season. I'd been expecting it, and sure enough, this morning it was all over the trees and the ground. The snow is piled on top of the fence line and the big trash can at the end of the driveway has an inch or more on top of the lid.

A few birds are looking for their early morning feed amongst the unraked leaves in the snow. Squirrels are still laughable as they shake their tails and run in circles up and down the big tree trunk. I have to hold on to these images, for soon these little peeks into the natural world will disappear until Spring.

In a little while I'm going to paint my parlor or living room as it's also known, sorry I have always called it a parlor. I hope this is no more than a three day job, for I am slowwww and meticulous. I still carry the damp rag, to wipe up my accidents. I might be meticulous, but there's still some clumsy in my movements. I'll probably never grow out of clumsy, and not for lack of trying. Just put the table over that spot.

The snow is steady and heavy at the moment, so I am going to distract myself from the white onslaught by sharing this bracelet with you and then start moving the furniture and getting on with the paint job.

When I moved into the house, the parlor had a mucus-like green swirly stripy look and it made me nauseous just to be in or walking through the room. The front door was the same snot-like color. Sorry, I wanted you to know how much the green was a poor choice. Weird, ugly, just repulsive.

I painted the parlor a beigey/tannish color and one wall was a very light yellow- all because I ran out of paint and energy. I wasn't happy with the end result, but had to let it stay those colors for a while.

For a few years I fought the urge to paint it white, but no longer. I have given in and bought a primer and paint-in-one in something called, "Swan White." It should be white enough, not gray and not too glaring.  I hope it's worth the extra money for a primer and paint in one.

I thought this striped design might poke through, even with a primer, so I used some light colored paint leftover from another room to paint over the stripes.  

Some of my furniture has white in it and I bought a small coat rack with iron hooks to put on the wall after I clean and paint it in a white color, too.  More ornamental, but still useful. (Finally, a thrift store score.)

It's been three months since Lucy died, and yesterday was the anniversary of my Mom's passing. It's taking everything I can to muster the energy and do the work in myself to move forward. Setbacks not excluded.

The snow is not helping, but I can't control the weather. That cold blanket of white, just confirms the finality of things. It's going to be a long time before there is life again. No green poking through, the birds, squirrels, and rabbits take themselves to another place.

I don't want any big changes right now. For me, painting is an exercise and a comment that no matter what happens, life doesn't ever stay the same. Even though I'd give anything to have them back with me.

I wanted to show you this bracelet, it went to a friend. It was a labor of love and helped me to make a little inch-hold in moving on. Not quite a foothold, in due time, though.

The glass seed beads are antique, some of the other beads are upcycled, and other charms are new. The bracelet was made with the wearer in mind.

I found the burlap bags in a craft store. I sewed on the flower and button felt. The reverse side has a white heart (to which I added her initial.)

Whatever you're doing this week, be safe, have fun and keep your chins up.

All the best,

November 7, 2014

If You Forget, Just Add Garlic Plus the Necklace is Finished!

Anybody know that expression, "I can't remember half the things I was supposed to forget?"  Or, something like that?

I looked at a picture file on my computer and I saw a half dozen or so nice lookiing meals. I cannot remember what the ingredients or the steps of cooking.

It would be funny except that, this is the way I often cook. Most of the time it turns out fine, if not, add garlic, and no one is the wiser, no really, no one is the wiser.

So, before I forget, I wanted to share with you that I got my courage up and submitted a necklace to the Jewelry Gallery section at Jewelry Making Journal.  Being offline for a bit and not checking emails, I didn't know that I received an email from them (Rena and Alice) to let me know my necklace was included in the latest newsletter and on the website.  Pardon me while I regain my composure.  It's probably not a big deal to any of you, but for me, who doesn't rock the boat or reach for anything too high, it was a lovely little  thrill - and I want you to be a part of it.

If you have a moment, will you please click the link and leave a comment.  The Jewelry Making Journal has a great amount of information and sharing tips among contributors. You could spend hours reading through it and maybe sign up for the newsletter before you leave.  

I showed the necklace here on the blog in a different, unfinished state and received helpful comments.  For some time the necklace and other projects were set aside while I shuffled my way through some bad times.  A couple of weeks ago I finished the necklace and a few other items which had been on my mind.

I'd appreciate if you could comment on the necklace and hope you enjoy reading the JMJ.

November 4, 2014

Make Stuffed French Toast in the Waffle Iron and Skip the Griddle

Instead of taking out the waffle iron to make waffles every once in a while, try making other things that are just as delicious. Make stuffed french toast and skip the griddle for a change.

I thought it was going to be a messy cleanup and I was proven wrong. The wet bread cooked up brown and tasty. I layered some cooked bacon and slices of cheddar cheese on top of one slice and placed the second slice, closed the lid and in a short time, the cheese was melted.

Pressing my luck, I also made regular french toast, grilled cheese, and toasted sandwich with filling.  Of all that I tried, the grilled cheese was the least favorite, but that's because it takes a lot of butter and I don't want all that cholesterol.

I've used the waffle iron to make chocolate waffles and regular waffles.  When I have the patience, I make about a dozen waffles, cool them on racks, and once cool, sandwich them between waxed paper or parchment paper and freeze them. They taste better than frozen factory made store bought waffles; I know what the ingredients are; and I adjust the flavors to suit.  Bon appetit!

Have you tried something like this, too?  What's your favorite waffle combo?

October 30, 2014

DIY Personalized Layered Felt Bookmark with Scraps and Assorted Pretties

Back in the olden days (before the Great De-Cluttering of 2013) I bought some brown wool felt to make a Rosary Case as described in this blog post.  The de-cluttering is ongoing and the sewing machine was donated, so any sewing projects will now have to be limited to hand sewing or using glue.

Here is a very easy DIY using some of the remaining wool felt, silk necklace cord, eyelet, wood beads, glue, and a crystal letter "C" purchased for 25 cents.  The silk cord was also a clearance item for 25 cents, just thought I'd throw that info out there, and I have another in the pack.  Bargain shopper.

Cut the felt with pinking shears or whichever scissors you desire. I cut three small rectangles for layering. Eyeball or measure precisely the rectangles or make them circles or triangles if you wish. Iron the crystal letter on the smallest rectangle according to the package directions, let cool before handling.

While the crystal is cooling, decide where you want to place the eyelet on the largest rectangle.
Punch a hole for the eyelet- I used a paper punch- and attach the eyelet.  If you don't have eyelets, no biggie, but they give a smoother, cleaner finish.  A small grommet is another option.

Glue the middle size rectangle on top of the largest rectangle and glue the personalized rectangle on top of the middle one.

Thread the silk cord through the eyelet, make a knot, thread a bead, make a knot. I made this bookmark to slide over the cover and inside a hardback book of about 9.5 inches tall. If you need a bookmark for paperbacks, size the silk cord to that. The cord is doubled. One length goes over the front of the book and one length inside the book.

Near the bottom of the cord, thread beads.  Between the middle and last bead, tie a couple of knots. Tie knots after the last bead and finish off the cord with a bow or however you want it to look.  The other beads can move freely, being sized up to fit snugly on a smaller book.

I considered whip-stitching, beading, and embroidering the bookmark, maybe that'll be another project.  I  hope the printed book never disappears.  Kindles and e-readers are great, but there's comfort in actually turning the pages of a book you hold in your lap.

October 7, 2014

I am a thousand winds ... Of quiet birds in circled flight ...

Click on image to enlarge.

Can you see these words in motion?

I recently discovered this famous poem when someone asked about it.  I'd never heard it before.

I like to imagine that it gives some comfort to any of us managing loss and grief.

Whether or not it is true, I feel it seems generous and loving, giving great consolation.

This link at Wikipedia says that Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep was written in the 1930's.   There is more background info there, too.

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep 
I am not there. I do not sleep. 
I am a thousand winds that blow. 
I am the diamond glints on snow. 
I am the sunlight on ripened grain. 
I am the gentle autumn rain. 
When you awaken in the morning's hush 
I am the swift uplifting rush 
Of quiet birds in circled flight. 
I am the soft stars that shine at night. 
Do not stand at my grave and cry; 
I am not there. I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Clark Frye

August 15, 2014

Saying So Long For Now

On August 13, 2014 my gentle good girl, Lucy, left my side.  Funny ladylike loving demure friendly smart soft playful quiet loud precious.  She had all those qualities and more.

Lucy needed a lot of love when I met her.  She had no home stability, was abused and neglected the first eight years of her life.

I earned Lucy's trust and affection, minute by minute.  She gave an inch and I gave a yard until one day Lucy's world was stress-free, happy, and optimistic.   She realized that she was in a home with people who wanted her and accepted her completely.  

Last week she had an emergency health problem which surgery was supposed to have fixed, but the surgery created problems, too big for Lucy to overcome.

There are no definitive answers for why she could not recover.

I searched high and low, asked loads of questions, all without success.  Now there is a huge aching hole in my heart and soul.

Lucy made me a better woman by letting me shower her with love, compassion, kindness, and patience.

She built up my energy each day in return with little triumphs and encouragements.

I'm going to try and remember her life lesson and how it included me.  In time, letting her go, with all the pain and hurt, will probably soften, but never go away.

Paw prints on the heart are indelible.

Good night my sweetie pie, 
you're my best and most good girl.
I love you dearly and completely.
Lucy, you are my treasure. 

Thank you Linda, Stacy, and Debbie for your prayers and positive energies. Knowing that Lucy and I had you encouraging us was a blessing.

I wanted to let friends and readers know that this will be my last blog post for a while.

I hope you all get to experience a great love from a pet you treasure.

Until we meet again - my wish is for you to be well, kind, and content  ...

August 9, 2014

These Shoes Are Made For Walking, Shoe Makeover

glitter on the sidewalk shoe makeoverHere's a sneak peek at another project which may be completed sometime before the new year.

Joking aside, these shoes haven't been worn in years and the faux suede finish came off on my hand while I was cleaning out the closet.  Not wanting to toss them in the trash I wondered if I could cover the crumbling suede with something sparkly.

Never having worn glitterized shoes, I said I may as well try it even if it's just an art project and not wearable in the end.

So I decided to give the still comfortable shoes a fancy makeover.  First I cleaned and sanded away all the loose bits.  Then I used glue and paint with the glitter.  The black ice glitter was incorrectly named, as you can see it is actually gray on the back of the shoe on the right.

I went and bought some proper black glitter and will give it a another try and post an update once the shoes are ready for their moment in the dance spotlight.  Ahem.  Lucy and I will have a turn around the floor to Adele or Van Morrison, maybe both.

I just realized how clunky those heels look, alright, old-ladyish even.  My three inch heels have been traded in for more stability, especially needed when driving and sidewalk pounding make the feet scream.  I do love a nice heel, just don't have the need for them as often as I did in my fun, yet hard working days.

Now, to just get this song out of my head, love-  Love Shack!  Enjoy the video, glitter on the highway, glitter on the bed ...

August 5, 2014

Art Helps

Taking time away from the blog seemed like a sensible idea.  Then I discovered that getting mired in the trials and troubles of life and not filling up with inspiration from all of you didn't help to lift the grey veil.

As cycles go, it seems as if there is nothing but troubles. I back away from the internet, tv, radio, and all sorts of media.  I'm trying to salvage some peace.  

Shutting down everything helps for a short while. Sometimes I fill the gaps where the bad news keeps pushing out the positive, with work.

Cooking, cleaning, rearranging furniture, pulling weeds, emptying cupboards, redecoration, throwing things out, and so on ...  Just recently I finally tossed a barely used can of pricey hairspray.  Hairspray which I had kept for more than ten years.  In the old days, I used hairspray nearly every day, these days I use it maybe a few times a year.  I surprise myself with the reasons I save potentially useful things.  

Sometimes when I get bad news I can clean for a few days and not feel the pain.  Or ironing.  I've ironed forty pieces of clothing at one go.  These were clean items and items in the closet not worn.  I still remember that day, the day of ironing and not talking.  Bad news that changed the course of my life. These days it would be a blessing if I could iron for hours, but alas, the body can't do what the mind wants it to do.  

Pain is a funny thing.  You can ignore it or ease into it or face it with all the thunder in your soul.

These past few weeks, past two plus months more or less I have been facing a devil of a dilemma and shut myself off from everything but the necessities to survive.  

A couple of days ago I started to accept that there are more things I cannot do than I can ever do and used to do, so will make myself accept the new me.  You know that prayer, "To accept the things I cannot change ..."  
Art helps.  You don't have to be an artist to make art.  You just have to listen to your soul and be kind to yourself.

Your blogs are inspiring me and others to keep going in the places of loneliness and hardships, we keep each other company any time we connect.  With or without comments, with many or few readers, we leave a trail of ourselves, funny, clever, sad, creative; and these true cookies from the heart remain whether we delete or share. Thank you.

July 16, 2014

The Stinky Albatross and Writing Something New

practice lines and shapes
Limited to 20 shapes
Pencil drawing, New End Studio 

(Pencil drawing- Lines, Shapes, Space, and Directions.  Sorry it's upside down, a little like how I am.)

The situation here is still in flux.  One day it's up and the other day it's down, and around ...

To help pass the time and distract me from the myriad of worries I need a little creative outlet.  The heat and humidity stops me from gardening.  Bless you who can enjoy the sun and the bugs, but give me a screened in breezy porch and I'm happy.

Leaving things unfinished is like bad karma, the albatross on the neck. Stinky and uncomfortable. So, I'm giving myself permission to finish before I start something new. (Update: Two done, a few more to do!)

In the meantime, I started writing a couple of stories.  (No boxes to unpack, only my brain.  lol )  Last week with the first story, I got about 1,900 words in and I thought this one might need a pen name so I put the story aside for now.  With the second one, I was zipping along but my blood sugar was drooping, so I got to about 2,400 words and had to stop.  While I was writing it, I realized that it was going to be longer than a short story, so I named the chapters and scenes and pretty much know what's going to happen to the characters.

Writing with new to me software  (I long for an old typewriter) it's highly rated, but still an unopened book to me, a puzzle book, pun intended.  The software has more features than I have played with- I just want to get the words down and worry about the formatting later.

I don't know if I'll let these stories see the light of day.  How do you feel about pen names?   Don't care one way or the other?  Use initials or be gender neutral?  Or, use real name if at all possible?   (Something to ponder in case I finish these stories.)

If you've published something leave a link in the comments, too.      

July 11, 2014

Must Finish What I Started, Jewelry Supplies

Last month I got some supplies when I went looking for a soft cord to finish this no clasp necklace. 

Down in the lower right corner there is some ombre cord in two color combos.  I wanted a blue tone, but this was what I found.  I think it will work and I may knot a few of those beads in the middle of the image, if not, I have other beads stored away.

I have a little affection for umbrellas, so when I saw brass Vintaj umbrellas and toadstools, I had to buy them.

The owl earrings are going to become charms or rings, haven't decided on those yet.

The coral, blue, and brass beads were so pretty I couldn't leave them on the rack.    Sparkling round buckles, little birds, and assorted chains jumped into my basket and came home with the others.

We're all such good friends, my supplies, they have ideas of their own and since most have been packed up for moving (since last summer) I decided to look for some new to me items.

chain and ribbon necklaceI will get the necklace finished this week or next at the latest.  I used to always push myself to finish what I started, but with things changing at home and so many things to deal with, I have let things slide.

Sitting on my desk is a present for a blogger, I have not been able to decide how to fix and complete it and this has gone on for more than a year.  The other parts of the gift are ready to go, so maybe I should bite the bullet and send it on.

Tomorrow I am packing up presents for two little ones a 4 year old and 2 year old siblings.  They don't have a birthday, I just feel like sending them something- teddy bears, activity books, crayons, pencils, etc.  Lastly, a birthday card was finally purchased and will be on its way, too.

I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but a decision on moving is still in flux, most of my belongings are packed or donated, and sooner or later I have to either stay or go.  I'll let you know which it is.

I know what I want to do, it's the next step that's the hardest.  Do you close your eyes and jump or stretch out the decision making?

P.S. The necklace is finished and shown here and was included at Jewelry Making Journal.

July 4, 2014

Happy Birthday America

Happy July 4th!!!!
Hoping you have a pleasant and safe day with your loved ones and memories of those you hold dear.
All the best!

July 4th

June 24, 2014

Time to Decide; Nature is Giving Me a Nudge

How hard is it for you to make decisions?  From choosing a pair of shoes to where to go on vacation; from "What's for dinner?" to a new pocketbook- the choices from big to small are just part of everyday living.  Thank goodness most decisions aren't the earth shattering, "Will I regret this?" ones.

I grew up having most of my path laid out in front of me.  I can tell you this is not the way to live and learn.  So I procrastinate and put off decisions even when my "gut instinct" tells me the right one to choose.  Sometimes backtracking is obtainable, but mostly a decision is a decision that can't be reversed.  From a bad choice comes life lessons and a new decision is made, but 20/20 rear view living is not smart or satisfying.

abstract acrylic canes and leaves
Abstract Acrylic
New End Studio 
If you're still with me, I have come to the conclusion that it's time "I made a Decision to Make a Decision!"  Can't get clearer than mud there.  Trying to go with my gut, checking out the experts, getting good advice and then stepping off into the mostly unknown.  Sort of like sky diving or bungee jumping might feel, all the anticipation and excitement wipes out the worry once you can't retract yourself from letting yourself go into the wide unsupported spaces, where only a rope and a parachute are your bosom companions.  Step out and then laugh, scream, and enjoy yourself.

Maybe it's the weather with all the wildlife in my neighborhood, you know, the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, bees, and other bugs all doing their thing- getting on with life and preparing to make some new lives, too, which are influencing me.  They live moment by moment, prepare a nest, gather the food, and do the best that they can.  So why shouldn't we all?  All, being me and you and any other worriers or procrastinators who may be reading this.    

I thought winter was the optimum time to draw within, observe, and think long on making choices, but the warm weather is nagging me with all the scents and noises saying it's, "Now or Never" to get on with IT.  We never know how short or long our lives will be.  

Thanks for reading this far.  Enjoy the summer (Northern Hemisphere people) and I hope the cooler weather people are having a beautiful change of seasons.

June 20, 2014

This is mostly about Faux Danish, and You can eat it, too

lemon danish crescent roll cakeWho's up for a quick Faux Danish recipe?


  • One can of refrigerated Crescent rolls.
  • Cream Cheese or Neuchaftel (Low Fat Cream Cheese)  8 ounce package
  • Table Sugar and/or 10X Powdered Sugar
  • Fresh Lemon Wedge 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Chopped Walnuts or other topping you desire

Get to work:

Preheat the oven to the temp stated on the can label.

Have the Cheese at room temperature (in this summer heat it varies) but cheese should be pliable and not stiff. You could soften it in the microwave, just don't heat it up.

For one can of Crescent rolls I used 1/4 to 1/3 of the package of cheese.  Save the rest for something else or use more cheese if you want them to be heavy and gooey.  Your preference.

In a bowl:  Combine the Cheese, Juice of the Lemon wedge, and about 4 heaping tabletop (cutlery flatware) Tablespoons. I did not use a measuring spoon.  If you want to be more precise, use a little less than 1/4 cup of Table Sugar (granulated).

Blend well.

quick and easy home made danishOn a baking sheet, no need to grease it, place two crescent rolls long sides together, so they form a rectangle.  Squish the dough together where the two rolls are aligned.   Repeat until you have 4 rectangles of dough.  A package of 8 crescent rolls will make 4 Faux Danish.

Lightly sprinkle Cinnamon on the dough.   If you want to add nuts to the dough do this now or just sprinkle them on top once the crescents are shaped.

Start at the short side of the dough rectangle and roll it like a log.  Once you get to the end of the dough, bring the two sides together and squish them so they meet and hold their shape.  Stretch the little Faux Danish shape a bit and make a crater in the center with your palm or fingers.  The dough might shrink back so show it you're in charge and make it stay the way you want it to.  Down boy!

Take a spoonful of the cheese mixture and place it into the crater you just made.  Sprinkle some nuts onto the cheese if you like.

Bake according to the label, about 14 minutes.  Once cool add a drizzle of icing, or if you want a glazed danish, drizzle on the icing while they are still warm as it will melt and cover the roll.

I experimented with these a few times.  Sometimes I used 10X Sugar which made the filling very light and fluffy which made them taste better the day after because the filling firmed up in the fridge.  I also went part table sugar and part 10X, I thought this had the best flavor.

Another variation was to make the Danish with some fruit spread (sugar-free jam) and the cheese.  I also used fruit. Finally, I used refrigerated non-flaky round biscuits in the tube.   I thought dough in a tube would have the same flavor, but the tastes were not exactly the same.  For the round biscuits I made more filling as there were 8 biscuits.  I just baked them the same way, stretching the dough a bit and made a crater for the filling.

refrigerated crescents turned into home made danish treatsIf you have extra cheese mixture left over, you can keep it in the fridge and use another time or in other ways. Probably be safe to keep for 3-5 days?
For the drizzled icing I just used about 4 heaping tabletop Tablespoons of 10X and added a teensy bit of room temperature milk.

Cold milk makes the 10X lumpy and it's easier to not battle the little lumps.  Sometimes along with the milk I add clear color Vanilla Extract.  10X needs a small amount of liquid in case you aren't familiar with it.

This week I don't want to use the oven too often due to the summer temps.  Luckily I had a Lemon Ginger Honey Tea Cake already baked.  I've also used the slow cooker a few times.  Slow cooked chicken falls right off the bones and made many meals- chicken noodle soup, chicken and rice, chicken with fresh spinach and noodles, chicken sandwiches, and oh, all those tidbits for Lucy.

Have a great weekend and try to stay cool, use sunscreen!

June 13, 2014

It Hasn't Just Been All Tea and Chocolate Around Here

Tea!  Chocolate!  No, there have been Green Smoothies full of healthy veg and fruit, too.  Ah, well.
It's been about a month since I showed myself here on the blog and it was busy times with sickness, to boot. Feeling better now and so is the other party who had me a little worried.

I was hoping that the kidnapped Nigerian girls would have been rescued and reunited with their families by now, but it hasn't happened.  All the hashtags and blogging haven't made any difference, at least not yet. With a hopeful heart, I will continue to keep good thoughts and prayers for the girls.  May their suffering soon be over.

Three am this morning I was busy making a birthday cake, my icing skills not the best, but the taste made up for the lack of curly swirlings.

Friday the 13th has turned out to be quite a nice day so far.  The weather is gorgeous after the humidity of the morning and the birds are so loud I wanted to tell them to Button Up about 5am. Sometimes it feels a privilege to listen to their songs.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend.  Get up to something fun!  

May 3, 2014

#bringbackourgirls The Kidnapped Schoolgirls of Nigeria

kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls April 2014
Were you aware of this?

One of the saddest things to hear from tv news came at me early this Saturday morning.  CNN said that about two weeks ago in Nigeria, the powerful Islamist regime, "Boko Haram" kidnapped young girls from their homes.  CNN reported a total of 276 kidnapped girls.

The CNN reader said that no one is giving it any attention. CNN, you are supposed to put focus on it and tell us.        DO YOUR JOB.  (Maybe tv news is not the best place to get up to date information.)

Twitter and Facebook.  These are sources with links and contacts to put pressure on the governments to rescue the girls.

To read about the kidnappings, click on the links listed below.  (Not an exhaustive list, just a few.) What they show is heartbreaking and alarming.

kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls april 2014
Nigeria's Stolen Girls , The New Yorker

Hundred of Nigerian School Girls Sold as Brides to Militants, The Washington Post

Nigerian Kidnapped Schoolgirls Forced Into Islam, Businessweek

Is Anyone Really Trying to Save Nigeria's Kidnapped Schoolgirls?, The Telegraph

kidnapped nigerian schoolgirls april 2014
Boko Haram has been murdering children for
going to school.  They do not want girls educated.
They slaughtered youngsters inside schools and disrupt with bombs and bullets.  A complete takeover of the country to instigate and control through Sharia law is their ultimate goal.

The following is quoted from, All Africa, Voice of America.

While no one has claimed responsibility for last month's kidnapping, it is being blamed on the Boko Haram militants, a group known to kidnap young women for use as servants, spies and so-called "wives." It is believed the militants, whose five-year insurgency has killed thousands, have divided their female hostages among several camps in the Sambisa forest near the borders of Cameroon and Chad...

Despite a yearlong military campaign against Boko Haram, Nigerian security forces have been unable to stop the near-daily violence in the country's restive and predominantly Muslim northeast. Now the plight of the Chibok girls has become a national cause for a population frustrated by Abuja's inability to stop the crimes of an elusive enemy."

An unidentified mother cries out during a demonstration with others who have daughters among the kidnapped school girls of government secondary school Chibok, Tuesday April 29, 2014, in Abuja, Nigeria.  Two weeks after Islamic extremists stormed a remote boarding school in northeast Nigeria, more than 200 girls and young women remain missing despite a “hot pursuit” by security forces and desperate parents heading into a dangerous forest in search of their daughters. Some dozens have managed to escape their captors, jumping from the back of an open truck or escaping into the bush from a forest hideout, although the exact number of escapees is unclear. (AP Photo/ Gbemiga Olamikan)
An unidentified mother cries out during a demonstration
on Tuesday April 29, 2014,
 in Abuja, Nigeria. (AP Photo/ Gbemiga Olamikan)

If you connect with the images I made with the hashtag, #bringbackourgirls, feel free to borrow.

What a world this is.   Beautiful and Dangerous at once.   I'm going to look for some peace and try to pass it on...  

kidnapped nigerian schoolgirls april 2014

kidnapped nigerian schoolgirls april 2014

April 29, 2014

How Would You Complete This Necklace?

no clasp necklace
The finishing touch is still needed on this long necklace.  I put it together for someone who is tallish, about 5' 10".  She has difficulties with her hands, so this has no clasp.

The ribbons are doubled in the photo, and are a bit lightweight.  With her arthritis and other problems, a heavy chain was a no go for her.

I'm not satisfied with it though.  I was thinking about adding a wider ribbon or a lightweight chain intertwined to the ribbons. Another idea was to wind a thin type of soft braided cord to the ribbons.  I want to keep the look simple and elegant.

I know she likes monograms, so the letter charm was a nice find.  She is active in her church, so I added the other charms, a key and pearls, a bit hard to see in this photo.

What would you do to make the ribbon a little more hefty, but not weigh it down too much or make it scratchy on her neck?  I can't work with seed beads or tiny items because of vision issues.  I want to keep to soft colors- blue, brown, off white, and silvertones. Any suggestions appreciated!

P.S.  See the finished necklace in this post.
        Here is the necklace at Jewelry Making Journal.

April 21, 2014

Potato Pie for Lent or Anytime ~~ Inspired by Kevin Dundon and The Big Freeze of 2014

Lenten MealPicture this:  it was the middle of Lent.  I need to make a meatless meal but did not want to have fish, grilled cheese, eggs, waffles, french toast, etc.  It was one of those days where green salads wouldn't cut it.  Too cold and not cozy if you know what I mean.

As it was still in the bitter cold range on the other side of my front door, I did not want to venture out in the, "Is the car lock frozen?" day.  Grocery store parking lots were for the most part, unplowed.  And driving amongst the pot holes on the roads is less fun than driving bumper cars at the amusement park. Meaning, not fun at all.

I said there must be something in the house to cook which will be hot, hearty, and taste good, too.   To have a think and procrastinate, I had a sit down on the couch with my tea and turned on the tv. Flipping channels as we do, I had a glimpse of some potatoes, cream, and puff pastry.  The program was nearly over, but I got the jist of it and caught the chef's name.  A few days later I searched online and found his recipe at RTE Food.

I was inspired to make it because this was so easy to prepare and cook.  It didn't take a lot of prep time, no boiling of the potatoes ahead and premade pastry made it faster to assemble.  I had unused puff pastry in the freezer from Christmastime and wanted to make something out of it as I was sick of seeing it every time I opened the freezer door.  I also had some mixed shredded cheeses waiting to be used.

On my next shopping trip I bought the Yukon Gold potatoes, a small container of Whipping Cream, a bag of fresh whole Carrots, and a small package of fresh Asparagus Spears.  I figured the potatoes on their own wouldn't be quite hearty enough so the roasted veg would be good sides.

Kevin Dundon inspired meal
If you look at Kevin's recipe on the newspaper site above, it's easy to follow.  I changed it of course, as I didn't have fresh herbs, I used dried and I added a handful of cheese to the potato cream mixture before it went into the oven.  If I remember correctly, he suggested adding cheese- and I did!

Because the recipe used only half of the cream, the following week I made the potato cream combo again, but added thawed cooked small shrimp and thawed frozen mixed veg.  I didn't bake it in the oven, or add cheese, but served it as a meal without a pastry crust.

I imagine you could add any cooked and cut up meat or poultry and veg to the potatoes and it would be pretty tasty.  A basic potato, cream, and herb combo that was easy to make and versatile, too.  Thanks, Kevin.

April 19, 2014

Wishing You Easter Blessings

Easter from the peeps

I want to Wish You 
Happy Easter 
May God Bless You 
Keep You Well
Give Peace to Everyone

April 15, 2014

Two Quick Tips: Help When You Hammer in the Kitchen (Bag It) and How Does Your Blog Look on Other Readers and Devices?

green kitchen, frugality, tenderize It was a glorious warm day on Sunday, 77 degrees. I opened the windows for a bit and enjoyed all the breeze that graciously came my way.  The only bad part of the day was all the noise.  It seemed that the weed whacker folks, the cutting the lawn before it's even grown folks, and the muffler free folks all decided that yesterday was let it all loose day.

Oh well, it still was nice while it lasted. Today it's back to winter.  That's right, 2-4 inches of the white stuff is predicted.  I hope the weather people are sun struck from Sunday and they are way off on their guess.

I have two tips for you.  First this one for the kitchen, see the photo above.  I wish I had thought of this trick before now.  I no longer have a production with layers and clean up and having little chicken bits shooting out of the layers onto me, the floor, or the appliances.  To use the recycled bag, I clean it out and when it's time to whack away, insert the meat or fowl, and hold the opening closed.  Only once a bag split open as  I took out a little too much frustration in my hammering.  But, it's all good.

Second tip.  If you want to see how your blog or site looks in a variety of electronic screens, (Kindles, Galaxy, Android, iPad, etc.) go to Quirktools to their Screenfly tab and type in your blog address or any website.  They will show how your site looks on a variety of screens.

I changed my blog header to show it better on a variety of tablets, phones, etc.  When I look at my blog statistics, it shows that some people are reading on gadgets other than a desktop.  I thought this may help readers see my page a bit easier.  It also helped to see how the images/photos line up on the gadgets.

Because I have vision issues, I don't like to scroll back and forth to read a blog post or look at the images, so I considered this in setting the overall width of my blog and now that I looked at it on Screenfly, I can see the variations in screen resolutions much better.  I know we can't please every gadget's requirements, but a couple of them might do.  Hope my little tips help.

March 28, 2014

Any March Lambs in Your Area and Pepper Me Crazy

Is March leaving like a lamb?  The view from my kitchen window gives the answer.

snow wind tree

I'm going to believe that by the end of April, the bulbs will be poking up and showing their colorful buds and that the forsythia at the back of my yard will be covered in yellow petals.  No matter what winter does and for how long, it will not last    f  o  r  e  v  e  r...

Bell pepper craziness resumes...

bell peppers

Come to think of it, maybe that's why "March Madness" got its name, the weather makes you long for spring and basketball is basically an indoor game.  Now, if they could only stop the constant sneaker squeaks on the gym floor, those will make you a bit loopy.

March 25, 2014

Surprised by Mother Nature

What would you call this?  Surprises, Bonuses, Quirks? Mother Nature surprised me twice last week with vegetables growing inside the outer layers.

First, it was a pretty little red pepper inside.  So cute, like a heart.  I took it as a good sign after facing surgery and health issues recently.

Have you ever seen anything like this?

Or, have you ever seen anything LIKE THIS?

The pretty little pepper turned out to be 3 pretty little peppers, not just one!  They were all snuggled up and attached to one another.

A few days later I opened up a bag of carrots to find 3 carrots growing inside this large carrot.


I don't know what these veggie bonuses mean, but winning the lottery was not on the cards.

One last thing, years ago my Mom had double yokes in the whole dozen eggs in a carton. Simply amazing.

Have you ever gotten under the skin and found something fun- no not insects.  I think that's why I don't like to shuck corn, all the little surprises you find in the cornsilk.