Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sitting by the Fire

I have had absolutely nothing to say lately other than
It's Cold

Strange weather we are having this year.
Iced in one weekend then 73 degrees the next.
Snow the following week and even more this weekend.
How can you plan for this?

So we started up the wood stove again.
It's been running 24 hrs for the last two months. 
 I just sit by it and make my granny squares.
 Quilt a bit and then back to the granny squares.
If this weather keeps up I'll have an afghan in no time!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Iced Over - Skating on the Road

The road turned to ice after a slight warm up Friday.
We didn't try to venture out on Saturday,  
even the grass was iced over.  My husband
slipped and slid down to the coop to give them 
water and put them up for the night.

The paved road is OK but we are expecting
  freezing rain between midnight and morning
which could make for a nasty commute.
I'll have to see what happens before I take off.

This is the way out-around the 
corner and it winds down the hill.
The actual hill is paved so maybe it will be ok.
Certainly the street crews will be working
in town, it's just getting to the main road that is the problem.

I shared our deer photos this morning on FB
with a video as well.  One little guy started
at the chicken coop looking for stray feed
and was then joined by two others.
This is our side garden, mostly for salad greens
and where my pumpkins grew as a surprise.
It is directly below my living room window.

They new I was there but couldn't find me through the window.
The turkey are much smarter, they know exactly where we are.
The box is our potato box which worked really well.
The white tube is our well.

The white pole is one of our ham radio antennas.
This is looking towards the coop.
The deer made their way around the house to the 
front courtyard where they munched on honeysuckle bush,
even though it is brown and dormant.

I'm getting pretty tired of winter.
It's the worst one in a decade at least.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another Library Sale

We have such wonderful libraries here. 
So many in each little town plus East Central College,
the local community college in Union, MO.

I found this reproduction with beautiful drawings
entitled The Country Diary of and Edwardian Lady
 by Edith Holden in 1906.  It was seventy years later that
 someone found it on a shelf and had it published.

She worked as an illustrator

  until she died in 1920 by drowning.
Her illustrations are breathtaking. 
There are bits of poetry and dates of note 
sprinkled about the pages.

I also found a reprint of an old 1850's manual
providing tips and tricks for managing the kitchen.
I can't wait to try some of the recipes!

  I also  picked up the Christmas Edition of
the Gold Medal Flour Cookbook reprinted in 1970
but packed full of recipes and menus!

Each $1 or less.
Add these to the reading pile.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

It's My Leverage-- or Bribe-- You Choose!

It's my leverage- or bribe, you can choose,
either way, it's delicious!
I gathered up the ingredients for 
Toll House Cookies- both the original recipe
and my butterscotch variation-
 baked up five dozen and packaged up half
for my co-worker (and friend) 
who works in one of our offices out of state.

She's a gem.  With a demanding schedule
she'll take time out to help me with special 
requests and projects outside the normal scope of her job.
I owe her a lot so . . .  I thought a bribe was in order!
I'll send them off to her tomorrow assuming we're not
both buried in snow, sleet, ice, tornadoes, earthquakes . . . .
You get the idea.

The other half of the batch goes to my husband who
graciously (with very few complaints) 
 drove with me into St Clair, MO.
I opened (last week's) paper and saw 
The ad for Ace Hardware's twice a year
All regular fabrics reduced to $2.99 a yard,
some of which I have seen, and bought, at JoAnne's 
at twice the price.
Who could resist?

I rushed him out the door and into the car.
"Can't I eat just a couple of crackers?"  he said, " I haven't had lunch."
"NO," I responded, they have fast food there,
have Taco Bell! 
This is an EMERGENCY,  the sale is over Today!!
(Well, really tomorrow but I have to go to work,
and it's snowing again)

Actually, he is very nice to sit and watch me select fabric.
I'll say I was fast, choosing several 1/2 yard cuts to add to my 
stash.  I particularly love the leaves and coordinating brick pattern.
He sat in the "husband seats" and chatted with the cutters.
I heard laughter.  I think they were talking about ME.

Yes, I could have gone alone.
I'm more than capable, but I really like his company.
 And I did make him cookies!
 Worth the drive, I'd say.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Granny Squircles

It just shouldn't be this difficult!
EVERYONE can make a granny square, 
everyone but me!!

I think I make granny squircles
not quite a square, not quite a circle.
More like a mess.

See the RED one?
That's one made by my co-worker. This is how it should look.
See the pink ones?
I started on those the other day --there are more.
I finally stopped when I got too frustrated.
Then I moved on to GREEN yarn,
as if that would somehow improve my technique!

I have watched YouTube videos.
I have watched slow motion videos.
I have followed along Wiki articles with step by step photos.
I got a little closer- the large green one.
Still, it's ummmmm... wrong.

My co-worker owes me a tutorial at lunch
(I traded eggs for it)
but our schedules haven't come together yet.
I will say that she gave me a pre-read of her instructions
and she made me about 10 examples.

I'm thinking, if I play my cards right,
she may  make me 10 more examples.
Then maybe another 10.
At some point she will get sick of it
 and just make me the entire afghan!

Think it will work?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Corn Bread Dinner

  When you make a skillet of corn bread, you've made a meal.
My husband loves to cook especially with his cast iron skillet
in which he makes a wonderful corn bread using creamed
corn and a little cayenne pepper, a little Emeril and a little Usher.

Creamed corn seems to keep it much more moist

and using bacon grease, rather than solid shortening,
gives it a bit more flavor.
It's bacon- it makes everything better.

It come out all nice and browned
with a firm crust but nice and soft inside.
Add a little butter and you have a meal.
Add some fried chicken and spiced skillet potatoes
for a feast!

2 C corn meal
1 C flour
1 1/2 tsp salt (you will split this)
1 Tbl sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  1 beaten egg
1 1/2 C milk
1 can Creamed Corn (approx 16 oz)
1/2 C onions- chopped
3 TBL Bacon Grease

Set oven to 400 F
 combine cornmeal, flour, 1 tsp salt (save the other part)
sugar, baking powder and cayenne in a mixing bowl.
 Add the egg and milk mixing well.  
Add corn and onions- folding rather than stirring
 Heat bacon grease in the skillet, very hot- almost smoking.
Add the mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes.  
Transfer the skillet into the oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Sprinkle the remaining salt on top and let cool .

The Emeril link above will take you to a copy of his cookbook,
Louisiana Real & Rustic


Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Weekend of Finishes!

 What has to freeze over before I complete a project?
Well, whatever it is, it happened this weekend.
I contentedly sat next to the fire with needle work in hand
and completed both my afghan and this little bee table runner!

I love the bees, the colors, the gold accents and script.
I'm no so sure I'm thrilled with the other fabric I paired it with.
I was trying to get the colors in the bee print; however, 
in retrospect, I would have toned it down a bit.
Same colors, just softer.

I still have to pluck a few threads and give it a little ironing.

The bee fabric is from Big Beautiful Bugs,
the other pieces I got at Ace Hardware in St. Clair, MO
which has a fabric shop in the back. I don't know
who makes that fabric and not sure I have the selvages.

Then I also completed my afghan.

 I'm now on to quilting my Wickedly Easy Red fat quarter quilt.
I am trying free motion again, something I am not good at
but if you're going to learn, you have to just jump in.
This is my quilt so if it's not so good, no problem.

The first few areas were not good, in fact, 
I  unstitched a couple of them because they were so bad.
I won't use this batting again, it's a higher loft and I 
think the low loft is easier, at least as I am learning.
I am really struggling with spirals and think I need to draw them
but following the lines is hard too.
Heck, I won't even show them to you!!

So for now, it's a learning stage.
Good or bad, it will be comfy!
And I'm having a good time.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Not Perfect but Done!

It's a cold and rainy, sleety sort of day, 
just perfect to sit in front on the fire 
while everyone else is out of the house,
catch up on a Netflix series I love, and 
finish my crochet afghan.

It's not perfect but head and shoulders better
than the last one I did.  I seem to have a 
problem making sure I have the right number of stitches
because one side is typically longer than the other,
or the ends are somewhat scalloped
and not intentionally  LOL!
Regardless, it's big and it's warm
plus it's done!

Now I can move on to something else.