Wednesday, November 6, 2013

heads up

I'm headed back to Wichita to take care of some business.  I won't have any computer access until I get back sometime in the middle of December.

Everyone take care!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

not a whole lot going on

As you can tell from the lack of posts not a whole lot going on.  I have a quilt setting in the sewing machine not being quilted.  Mentally I have moved on to the next quilt, which will be a T-shirt quilt for Sister Suzy.  My new sweater is setting in my knitting bag waiting for me to pick it up and finish the collar so I can get the sleeves knitted on.

Hubby brought a cold home from work.  I am at the beginning stages so I'm going to have to stay on it.  With my asthma I can't ignore it and just ride it out.  I have to be proactive or I could end up with pneumonia.  I don't even want to go there again.  So hubby is suppose to bring home some Vitamin C and some Guaifenesin (an expectorant) tonight.

I have baked my mother's oatmeal-raisin cookies for Hubby's lunch bucket.  Here's the recipe:

With my changes

1 cup butter, softened or shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1 cup coconut, flaked
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 deg.  Yield is 4 dozen 2 1/2 to 3 inch cookies.

Grind raisins in meat grinder or food processor.  Beat together butter, sugar, molasses, and raisins until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.  Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Stir in oats, coconut and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten with wet glass bottom.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet then remove to wire rack.

Notes:  If you choose to not grind your raisins you will need to add another ½ cup sugar to have the same level of sweetness.  Also, if you want to use brown sugar replace half of the granulated sugar and molasses with half brown sugar.

I didn't have any flaked coconut so I left it out and the other change was I used chopped dates in place of the raisins out of curiosity.  The dates gave the cookies a very mellow taste not the sharper raisin taste.  I would do that again.  Oh!  The dough is just as good raw as I remember it as a kid.  :>)

Everybody have a good day!


Monday, September 23, 2013

jalapeno cream cheese topping

Last week we went to Hubby's favorite Mexican restaurant.  His family has been going to Popo's at 6542 W. Indian School Rd. since they move to the west side of Phoenix back in the early 70's.  They measure every Mexican restaurant they eat at against Popo's.   When one of them comes back to visit friends and family still in Phoenix the first question they ask is, "Did you get to go to Popo's?"  

While we were there Hubby had a combo plate that had a red enchilada with it and he had the choice of two toppings.  One of the toppings was jalapeño cream cheese.  Hubby liked it so well that he had me take a taste of it to see what I thought of it.  I like it well enough that we sat there taking tiny nibbles of it to figure out what was in it and how it was made. We came home and I did a search for recipes, taking notes and combining ideas, then heading to the kitchen for the experiment.   Here's what I came up with:

Jalapeño Cream Cheese Topping

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
3 TBSP of cilantro, finely minced (And for the cilantro challenged, use parsley.)
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 to 2 finely minced pickled jalapeño peppers or to taste (You could use fresh here, seeded or unseeded based on the heat level you wanted.)
2 TBSP of jalapeño pickle juice to thin (Milk could be used here, also.)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. of salt, to taste
1/4 tsp. of mesquite smoke, if you want a smoky flavor

Use a fork to blend.

Some of the recipes suggested heating it in the microwave until warm if you wanted a hot dip.

This turned out very tasty.  It was more of a spread consistency than a dip or topping.  We spread it on tortilla chips and I topped a few with some refried beans I was making for supper.  WOW!  Extra Yummy!  I do wonder if you added some sour cream or crema if you could get more of a dip consistency without losing the tangy flavor.  By the way, this gets hotter the longer it sets!

Have a good day!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

ice cream

While out pursuing the elusive 2 foot by 4 foot folding table with adjustable legs at Target, Hubby and I found an ice cream maker on the clearance rack that is battery operated.  The ice cream maker holds between 6 and 12 ounces.  It is put out by Hamilton Beach and doesn't have very good reviews but what the heck it's kind of fun to play with until it goes kaput.

The first recipe I tried was from Leslie's blog, La Cocina De Leslie. I tried Paletas de Jamaica y Limon recipe with some variations, of course!  I used:

4 cups water
1 cup dried jamaica flowers (hibiscus flowers)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. stevia extract powder
1 tsp. dried quarter-cut ginger root
1 TBSP of lemon juice.

I brought the water to a boil.  Removed the water from the heat and stirred the jamaica flowers and ginger root, covered and let it steep for an hour or so.  Strained and then added the rest of the ingredients.  Stirred until the sugar was dissolved.  I chilled the syrup in the refrigerator until I was ready to make the sorbet.  The sorbet didn't freeze up very well and the paddle rode up in the freezer bowl.  After I broke up the ice that was building up on the bowl it froze a little better but we ended up sticking the freezer bowl back into the freezer and I whipped it a couple of times before we got the consistency we wanted.  Delicious!

Next up, I tried a recipe from the booklet that came with the ice cream maker with some changes, what else! Observation: why, if the capacity of the machine is 12 ounces, would you write the recipes in the booklet for twice that much?

1 cup half-n-half
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

I stirred everything up until the sugar was dissolved.  But this time I stuck the mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes before I tried to make the ice cream.  Because I remembered reading that La Gringa from  La Gringa's Blogicito pre-froze her ice cream mix to get it to freeze in her climate.  I still scrape down the sides of the freezer bowl for the ice cream maker a couple of times to make sure all the frozen cream mix was being incorporated into the rest of the mixture.  I let it harden about 30 minutes in the freezer after churning. Very tasty!

The last go round I wanted to try making a non-dairy ice cream so I used Elana's recipe from Elana's Pantry as a starting point.

1 cup raw cashews
2 cups water
3/8 tsp. stevia extract powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

Soak the raw cashews in warm water for a couple of hours, drain and rinse.   Put everything in a blender and blend until creamy smooth.  This yields about 3 cups of cashew cream.  I measured out 12 ounces of the cream and put that back in the blender. Then added:

1 tablet of Abuelita's Mexican Chocolate, softened in the microwave

to the cream in the blender and gave it another whiz.  I pre-froze this batch also.  The mixture was very thick but not icy coming out of the freezer and I only had to scrap the sides of the freezer bowl once while making this batch and didn't have to harden it at all.  Excellent!

So, we will keep playing with our little gizmo until the motor craps out or the freezer bowl cracks and leaks all the blue-ice stuff out.

Hope everyone is having a great day!


* The photo is courtesy of the Hamilton Beach web site.

Friday, September 13, 2013


There was a fire in the apartment complex across the street from ours.  A young lady with waist length hair was hopping around on the back of the fire truck unloading hoses.   I stood at my kitchen window shaking my head.  Not at the fact there was a female firefighter but at the loose hair.

Over forty years ago I watched a co-worker get scalped because she didn't have her hair tied back and up.  Her hair got caught in a conveyor belt.  I stood there getting sick to my stomach praying the firefighter didn't get her hair caught in or on something.  Man!  I don't ever want to see someone get scalped again!  She did get her hair tied up.   I don't know if the guy working the truck with her said something or she just finally had time to take care of it.   I guess memories like that never lose their vividness.

If I was still a drinking person, I'd have a couple of shot of tequila to get rid of the willies.


Friday, September 6, 2013

hello phoenix!

 Warning:  This is long-winded!

We have arrived, unpacked and finally have telephone and Internet service all at the same time as of last night at 10:00 PM.  It's been a wild and patience-testing ride since the 14th of August.

We left Thursday morning and by the time we had got to Andover, Hubby had dealt with three phone call wanting documents to verify our income and bank statements.  Holy Mother of God!  Where were these requests two weeks ago when we could have faxed everything from the home computer?  It's tied down, under a tarp and buried in one of fifteen bazillion boxes and wouldn't cost $2.00 a page to fax! 

So we sweated that and keep moving down the road.  Five miles north of Dalhart, TX, I dodged a road alligator.  I got on the radio and ask Hubby if we just had a blowout on the trailer.  Sure enough, we lost the driver-side rear tire on the trailer.  We limped into Dalhart, got a room and spent the night.  Just our luck, the tire shop had closed five minutes before the tire blew.  The Super-8 has nice rooms, by the way, and the steak house up the road had great chef salads.  Psycho Cat was so freaked out she was literally trembling when we got into the motel.  I put her under the covers and she hid there most of the night.

Friday morning, Hubby gets both rear tires on the trailer replaced and the bank statements e-mailed to Phoenix and we find out the retirement office didn't fax my income verification but stuck it in some internal e-mail account I'm suppose to have access to.  Rrrright!  Hubby tells me he did not pack the blue book that has all my retirement account access codes are in.  It is still in the center drawer of the desk we left.  Sister Suzy finds it and gives us the codes.  Next piece of the puzzle is sent.  30 miles north of Alamogordo, NM the front tire on the driver's side blows.  We have someone come out and put the spare on which is the only new tire we started with.  We call it a day when we got to Alamogordo and got a room at a little motel that had top ratings.  Psycho Cat is still freaked but better.

Next morning, Saturday, Hubby got another new tire and off we went.  I notice the check-engine-light is on at the Border Patrol Station on I-10.  I don't say anything; the car is running great.  Just outside of Deming, NM, another blowout!  Driver's side front tire, again!  The one new tire we had in the beginning!  Of course, it's noon, and all the tire shops have closed for the day!  We pick up a tire at Wally-World, and they can't change the tire because it is against company policy to change tires on trailer.  Ok, whatever!  So we head back down the street to the Chevron station at the first exit heading west into Deming.  The gentleman not only changed the tire but also balance it and sold us a used tire for a spare all for $40.00 bucks.  Happy dance!  Hubby checked out the idiot light on the car and came back with error messages that did not agree with the performance of the car.  The car was running great!  We headed for Phoenix with the wind-shredded tarps flapping in the breeze watching the rain at Tucson.  I explained to God I wasn't Job and He could knock it off!  Evidently, He was listening because we only drove through a light shower.   Psycho Cat decides she can eat, have a drink and use the litter box. Yeah!  I was starting to worry about the cat.

We slept in on Sunday!

Monday morning, we can't have the keys the apartment isn't ready.  Oookkkaaayyy!  We can have the keys Tuesday morning at 8:00 am.  We reschedule the moving crew, again, for 8:30 am.  Great, another night in a motel room with questionable A/C!

Tuesday morning, Hubby heads for orientation for his new job and I'm sitting in the parking lot of the apartment complex waiting for the apartment manager to show up.  She's late; and I have to promise to set all the boxes in the dining area because the carpet cleaner hasn't shown up yet to clean the carpets to get the keys.  First order of business is to install the cat in the master bath so she has a safe, cool place to stay.  The carpet cleaners don't show and we set the cots up to sleep on until we can get our pedestal bed rebuilt.

Spent the next couple of days washing cabinets, laying shelf paper and unpacking the kitchen.  I gave the apartment manager a gift for the cleaning crew of a mummified potato we found on a top shelf.  And people wonder why I'm so anal when I move into a place!

Friday the transmission died on the car for Hubby, on the way to work.  Fortunately, it happened at the end of the block.  We pushed it back into the parking lot and Hubby took off in the truck.  The car is still something we need to deal with.

We discover the DSL worked but we didn't have phones.  Do people in customer service actually listen to anybody when they call?  Don't answer that!  And when you get the phone line fixed, how hard is it to ring in to check to see if it is actually working?  Don't answer that!  We had an electrical storm and guess what happens when you turn off your laptop but still have it hooked up to the modem?  You not only fry your computer but the modem as well!  I'm just sick about Hubby's laptop.  Back to customer service. Sigh!

Last night while we were trying to get the new modem set-up we discovered the phone jacks in both bedrooms do not work.  I haven't worked up the courage to go talk the apartment manager but I need to before the day is out.  I really don't like being wireless.  I like my computers hard-wired.  I know, I'm a Luddite!

So what have I been doing with all my free time without a computer and the Internet?  Knitting!  I have five dishcloths done and my sweater out.  And just for kicks and grins, once I got my sewing machine set up I started quilting a top I found in a tub I had forgot about.  I plan on giving the quilt to the neighbor kid and his girlfriend that are house-sitting for us in Kansas.

Oh!  It should stop raining since I am more or less unpacked now.  LOL

I hope everyone is having a great day!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2nd update to my woes

The diesel is back!  Yeah!  Hubby and I did another whirlwind trip to pick it up.  We though about pulling the loaded trailer with the 1/2 ton to Guymon; then hooking up the diesel and finishing the trip to Phoenix.  But we quickly ditched that idea, as we didn't want the diesel to crap-out on us somewhere between Guymon and Tucumcari.  We are just a little gun-shy after the last trip back from Phoenix. ; >)  So it looks like tomorrow morning we will be pulling out O-dark-thirty for Phoenix.  Catch a nap in Alamogordo, NM.  Then do another O-dark-thirty to be in Phoenix by noon on Friday. 

I guess I should warn everybody along the route and everybody in Phoenix, I don't seem to be able to move unless it is raining.  So expect rain!

The washer runs like it's new and the roof still leaks like a sieve.  We will deal with the roof when we come back in December (Please, warm dry weather, Lord.) to visit family and get the rest of our stuff.  (Hi, my name is Judy, and I have a fiber addiction.) 

We got a harness for Psycho Cat.  (I don't want her to make a dash for freedom on the trip.)  Oh my God funny, she thinks she is incapable of walking with the harness on.  She is, also, extremely docile, hum, I just may leave it on her.  Nah, where's the fun in that! 

Got to go!  Time to pack my computer!  See y'all in Phoenix!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

update to my woes

The Ford dealership in Guymon, OK is finally looking at the diesel.  Hubby had to remind them that the warranty expires the first of August, and then, they could duke-it-out with the bank as to who is paying for the repairs, as we don't have the money.

The car made it into the tranny shop.  Tranny shop replaced some module on the inside of the tranny, which the computer said was the problem.  That didn't fix it so the tranny shop pulled the cover again and got to poking around in there and discovered that there are no clutches left from second gear on.  It would cost $2400 to have it rebuilt.  Which, quite frankly, is more that the old girl is worth at over 220,000 miles.  So Hubby and I took a whirlwind ride to Albert Lea, MN yesterday to pick up a used tranny with 73,000 miles on it, to replace the old one.  Hubby will deliver the tranny tomorrow morning to get the car back on the road.  26 hours on the road with a 6-hour nap and we are both tired!  Blinding rain storms and road construction makes for a slow, tedious trip.

We have the water pump in to repair the washer.  We will tackle that as soon as Hubby gets back from the tranny shop tomorrow morning.  The laundry has reached critical mass and I need to do something even if it is wrong!  We think we have figured out how to get the water out of the tub without drowning ourselves.  Wish us luck!

Sister Suzy’s A/C was an easy fix.  The last time the lights went out during a thunderstorm the reset button on her A/C was tripped.  She pushed that and she now has A/C.  But, not before she went to the garage and retrieved the new A/C and brought it upstairs to her room. ; >)

The roof still leaks like a sieve but I have buckets in all the right places, though.  We need to get the roof tarped until we can get it fixed properly.  I know!  Pure white-trailer-trash!  I'd cover it in duct-tape if I had enough.  Red Green would be proud of me because I thought of duct-tape first!  LOL

July is almost over and thing are settling down again!  Yeah!

Hope everyone is having a good day!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

woe is me

Remember this song?!

From the TV Show "Hee-Haw" (1969 -1992)

By Buck Owens & Roy Clark

Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me

Here are my woes over the last month.

We went to Phoenix to see what the employment market looked like.  Hubby's been unemployed for three years now and it is time to do something.  Phoenix is Hubby's old stomping ground.  Job market looks fair and we found places to live that were as economical as where we are at now.  On the way back to Kansas our diesel pick-up crapped out on us in Albuquerque.  We spent a week in a motel room eating bean-n-cheese burritos and dollar menu items at Mickey D's.  We had to borrow money from my sister to get home.  We ended up renting a car for Sister Suzy and I to come home in.  Hubby limped to Guymon, OK with the diesel after spending a second week in Albuquerque and the Ford dealership telling us the truck was fixed a second time.  Don't use Rich Ford is all I'm going to say about them.  The truck is still in Guymon waiting for parts and repairs. We have to sell the travel trailer to pay for repairs.

Next, the car's transmission is going out.  Hubby thought he would just pull it and rebuild it himself.  After getting the rebuild manual and reading through it he has rethought that idea.  Still not sure what we are going to do there.

Next up, the washing machine had stopped filling.  A quick search on the Internet said we needed new brushes in the motor.  So we ordered a pair; tipped the washer on its front and pulled the motor and replaced them.  Tipped the washer back up, hooked everything back up and plugged it back in.  Hey! Everything works!  NOT!  Something is now wrong with the water pump!  When we tipped the washer over something that was in the trap fell over the edge and got caught in the water pump.  Great!  Now the washer needs a new water pump!  More trips to laundry mat until that is fixed and the roulette game of, "Is this washer or dryer going to eat my money or work?"

Oh, it just keeps coming!  Sister Suzy came in this morning and said her air conditioner has stopped running.  The good new is we have an extra one we bought on sale a couple of years ago.  The bad news is it is larger than the one currently in her room, so the hole will need to be cut out and re-framed and finished.

One final woe, we had a series of frog drowning, gully washers last night.  The roof leaks, guess where?  Yup, my side of the bed!

 Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me

I know just how they feel.

I hope everyone is having a better day than me!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

exploring scones

I'm fascinated with the concept of scones.  Maybe it's my ancestry from the British Isles.  Mom’s mother was mostly Scotch-Irish, my mother's dad was of Welsh origin.  My dad is of English origin. 

I have watched a boatload of you-tube videos and read at least a cookbook's worth of recipes.  I have read that making good scones can be difficult.  Hubby says his ex-bride made ones that would break teeth and the ones he has had elsewhere weren't much better.  As I was watching the you-tube videos, scone making looks to me to be about the same process as biscuit making.  And we all know that with biscuits if you aren't careful you can end up with hardtack!

I watched a you-tube video of a unique process that really intrigued me put out by the American Test Kitchen.  Then I searched for the recipe and direction; finding it here about half-way down on the page.  Here's what I did to their recipe.

ATK Blueberry Scones

8 TBSP unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda (Ha! I used too much! Didn't affect the taste though.)
I forgot the salt! It calls for a 1/2 tsp.
1/2 tsp. of lemon extract. (The recipe calls for lemon zest, I didn't have any lemons.)
2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of whole milk (I used 2% cause that's what I have.)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries

I set the oven to preheat at 425 degrees.  I thought I would be slick, pull a stick of butter out of the fridge and use my food processor to grate the butter.  LOL, what a mess!  Freeze the butter!

Time to punt!  I decided to cream the butter and sugar together in the food processor.

Okay, that doesn't look too bad!  Then, I added the baking powder, baking soda and lemon extract giving it a whiz.  Scraped everything down; added the flour and gave it another whiz until I had bread crumb consistency.

Hey, I may be able to salvage this!  Next, I added the milk and sour cream and whizzed it until it just barely came together.  I then scarped a very sticky dough onto a heavily floured piece of parchment paper.

At this point, I should have stuck the whole sticky mess into the freezer and firmed up the dough but I didn't.  I tried to work the dough like she did in the video.  I finally put the dough in the freezer.  I went to switch the laundry over and came back.

I retrieved the dough from the freezer and proceeded to press the dough out to a 12-inch square. I sprinkled the frozen blueberries on, while lightly pressing the blueberries into the dough.  Then I scraped and folded the dough in thirds.  I patted the dough out to about 4 maybe 5 inches wide.  I cut the dough into quarters and then again into triangles to make 8 servings.  I moved the wedges to my parchment lined baking pan and baked them for 18 minutes in the 425-degree oven.

A few things I didn't do!  I didn't brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle sugar across the tops.  They would have looked nicer if I had at least brushed the excess flour off the tops.  Next time I will add the salt to see if it is really needed.  I thought they tasted pretty darn good without it.

The scones had a light lemon under-tone with a great blueberry taste.  The scones also rose/raised??? very well and were very light.  They were not crumbly at all.  And best of all, Hubby and Sister Suzy liked them!  We even discussed what different fruits we thought would taste good in this recipe.  I'm thinking frozen cherries next! 

I think next time when I get to the bread crumb stage I will turn the flour mixture into a bowl and incorporate the liquids in the bowl to cut down on the mess in the food processor.  It would make chilling the dough easier before working it into its final shape.  The other thing I think I'm going to do is add an extra 1/4 cup of flour instead of trying to handle such a sticky mess on a floured surface.  Something else I would do is divide the dough into 10 maybe 12 servings instead of the 8 as I thought they were almost to big; if you can believe that!

Stay tuned!  I want to try a French Apple Walnut Scone recipe and look at some recipes that have the traditional oats in them.

Have a good day!


Friday, April 19, 2013

lookee at what I found

An outfit I made for Sister Suzy about 20 years ago!  I took three day off work, at the time, to make her six outfits so she would have plenty of cute clean clothes when she first arrived at the in-laws house.

We were cleaning the shed out of stuff from the in-laws that had migrated to our house and I found the outfit lying in a magazine rack that looked like a cradle.  The mice had a good time chewing out one side of the top.

Sister Suzy had trouble believing she was that little.  She was also fascinated with the size of the shoes.  I had to chuckle when she was flabbergasted about her wearing a dress every day.

I went looking for the pattern in my pattern drawer but didn't find it.  I bet the pattern is in some box rolled up with some fabric waiting for me to get back to it and make another one.  She's a bit too big for the pattern now, LOL, so I will have to wait until somebody has a little girl to use the pattern again.

That's the most blog worthy thing I've done in a while.  Haven't felt like sewing and knitting on my sweater is progressing very slowly.  However the computer card-game hearts is sucking up a bunch of my time when we are not cleaning out storage rooms and sheds.

Have a good day!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

more on life's happenings

So what have I been up to since the last post? 

Knitted some more on my sweater.  I've got most of the body knitted and as usual with stockinette it is all curled up and not very photogenic.

Cooked up and dehydrated some ground beef we found on sale to make backpacker's gravel for camping and such.

Starting to finish our remodel of our travel trailer.  We have one bed frame installed but can't seem to get to the other because life is interfering.

Hubby's mother entered hospice and has passed away.  The dear lady is now without pain for which we are all very thankful.

We decided to trade our diesel pick-up truck in that we tow the trailer with for a gasoline powered one.  That will lower our one-n-only payment.  The good news is the loan isn't for any longer than what was left on the diesel.  A little monetary breathing room would be nice.

We've been kicking around the earth boxes idea.  The cost is way more than we can afford so I've been looking at DIY clones of earth boxes.  I think we will use that guy's idea with the wicking system that I saw in this video.  We are hoping to get some kind of garden this year because it is still very dry here.  So unless we get a lot more rain this spring, things don't look good for crops or forage for animals.  The watershed ponds are still dry.

That's about it except our anniversary rolled around this month.  We went to Emporia, KS and picked up Sister Suzy.  Then, the three of us played in the hot-tub and heated swimming pool for two day at the hotel.

I hope everyone has a good day!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013


My terminal case of startitis has been flaring-up.  I have started three shawls and a sweater.  The shawls need to be frogged and put back in the yarn stash.  The sweater looks like a keeper even though I have restarted it twice.  I have bought the yarn for a matching set of mitts and balaclava for Sister Suzy.  I have the patterns printed and everything in a bag together.  As much snow as we have had in the last week I should have got them done two weeks ago. : >)

I have two quilts I've started and lost the inspiration to finish.  Got two more planned but haven't looked in the fabric stash yet.

I need to knuckle down again and get something finished.  Otherwise, the projects start piling up and my monkey-mind gets to driving me crazier than I already am.

Been cooking and canning up a storm.  The grocery store had all the ingredients for salsa on sale so I went nuts and bought enough to do 24 pints.  Only this time I dehydrated the salsa after I made it and the salsa fits in a 1/2-gallon ice cream container.  The stuff tastes great after re-hydrating which was a concern when I came up with the idea.  Made Hubby two kinds of pickled jalapeños with the leftover peppers.  The recipes say to let the jars set for a couple of weeks before trying so I'm not going to publish the recipes until we have tasted them.  Cabbage was on sale, also, so we picked up two heads.  I want to dehydrate them to make up a soup blend of vegetables to have handy for when I want to make a quick soup.  If it turns out well I may get more cabbage.

My desire to wear clean clothes says I need to start the laundry so back to the salt mines!

Everybody have a good day!


Monday, February 4, 2013

tossed nine patch quilt

This is the fourth quilt I made for the girls.  It is called tossed nine patch and this you-tube video was the inspiration for it.
Sister Suzy wanted this one for herself.

I cut 5-inch square patches.  I used the dark-purple print in the border for the center blocks.  Then I used random purple squares for the outside corners and random green squares for the four inside blocks of the nine patch.
I had to add a fourth inside border on each end because the center of the quilt wasn't long enough to fill the space for a 48" by 72" quilt.  I cut a small diamond stencil that fit on-point and using my washable quilt pencil drew around the stencil for the quilting of that border.   As you can see I used stitch-in-the-ditch for most of the quilt and put a big X in all the larger blocks to make sure the batting didn't shift or bunch in those squares.

One of the things I did differently for this quilt was useing up a bunch of scrap batting that was the same weight or loft.  By spraying the backing well with the spray adhesive it was easy to butt the pieces of batting up against each other and get complete coverage without any shifting or bunching.  The quilt will have to be washed several times to see if I have enough quilting to hold some of the smaller pieces in place. I plan to try it again with another quilt with higher loft scraps.

I decided to go with big squares for the backing on this one.
And here is the label so it can go to it's new home with Sister Suzy.

As a Side note:  I was off-line for about a week as Hubby rebuilt my computer and him trying to get all the bugs worked out.  He ended up having to replace the new motherboard he installed because Windows 7 would not recognize the video card on that board.  The computer is still choking every once in a while so he has some more fine tuning to do.  So my access may still be spotty for a while.

I hope everybody is having a good day!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Xs and Os quilt

This is the third quilt I made for the girls.

The pattern is called Xs and Os.  The inspiration for the quilt came from a You Tube video by the Missouri Star Quilt Co.  I didn't want to make too deep of borders so I used four and a half blocks across the width of the quilt and alternated the placement of the half-block on each row. Which really made the Xs and Os stand out.  I discovered that after I had the quilt laid out so the light and dark blocks are bunched in areas. (You know, one of those, I wonder what this would look like ideas?)

Figuring out how I was going to pull off the way I wanted the quilting to look was a bit of a challenge.
I had to over-quilt some of my stitching in the ditch to have continuous lines of quilting instead of stopping and starting a lot. I originally planned for the dark red to be the outside border and binding but after measuring and some calculations I discovered I didn't have enough fabric so I reversed my layout of the border.

For the back I decided I wanted to do strips of fabric.
I didn't take a close-up of the label but it's there in the lower right-hand corner!  LOL!

Have a good day!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

appi slopes helix hat

Sister Suzy's hat to match her Helix Mitts.
I had her look at several hat patterns and this is the one she liked the best. It is Appi Slopes by Melissa Mall.  I found it on Ravelry

If I knit it again I will make the crown shallower by about two inches. (Start the decreases for the top sooner.)

Making the bill was interesting. The direction say to cut the bill from plastic and wrap in duct tape.  So I cut the bill from an old plastic binder and wrapped it in red duct tape.
I used red for the bill and duct tape because I was worried that the bill would show through the knitting. 

Everyone have a good day!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Blogger's spam filter

Just for kicks and grins I decided to look to see what was in Blogger's spam filter for comments on my blog.  I found some comments in there from the last of October to the first part of November that should have been sent to comment moderation.  Makes you wonder about the flakiness of the programing.  It, also, makes me ask the question; do you really need a spam filter if you have comment moderation turned on?

I promise to do better and look in there on a more regular basis from now on. :>)

Have a good day!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

helix fingerless mitts

I asked Sister Suzy if she would like a pair of fingerless mitts.  She was agreeable.  After looking over several patterns I settled on a simple pattern but wanted to make one row stripes.  I started in and ripped it out because making jog-less stripes for one row wasn't happening for me.  I did some research on how to do helix knitting. (I saw the pattern and thought it was cool.)  By using TECHknitter's tutorial and reading Kristin Briney pattern Walking Stripes carefully, I figured out how to do helix knitting on circular needles.  This is a documentation of how to set up helix knitting on a circular needle vs. 4 double-pointed needles.

First off knit your cuff the length you want.  I used Magic Loop and the pattern calls for one-inch cuffs in 1x1 ribbing.  Then to help me visualize the knitting being on four double-pointed needles I placed stitch-markers about halfway on each side.  Then I added the three additional colors I wanted to use between the stitch markers.

By the way, I only cast on 42 stitches instead of the 48 called for in the pattern.  So I had two sections of ten stitches and two sections of eleven stitches. I wanted the mitts to be seven inches around not eight.

The pattern tells you to go to the third needle and pick up the purple yarn in this case and knit to the last three stitches of the blue yarn.   To get to the purple section I slipped the blue yarn back onto the left-hand needle.
Then I knit the purple yarn to the last three stitches of blue yarn.  Slipping the last three stitches.

The directions then tell you to turn the work and knit section two to the last three stitches of the purple yarn.  To get to section two, I slipped everything from the right needle on to the left needle.

Then I knit the yellow yarn to the last three stitches of the purple yarn.

The directions next tell you to turn the work again and pick up the yarn on your first needle and knit to the last three stitches of the yellow.  So I slipped all the stitches on the right needle back onto the left needle and got out a smaller double-pointed needle and slipped all the yellow stitches in section 2 on to the double-pointed needle.

At this point you are asking the question, "Why didn't you just start out on double-pointed needles in the first place and save yourself all this hassle?"  The answer to that question is, I do not have any US #4 double-pointed needles.  I have every other size but those.  That shall be remedied when I get to town and can shop at the Twist for some HiyaHiya needles.

Then you knit to the last three stitches of yellow.

Now you slip the nine stitches remaining on your left-needle on to your right-needle.  You are now ready to pick up the yarn at the end of the row (blue at this point) and start knitting until you are within three stitches of the last color you knitted the round before.  Drop the yarn you are using and slip nine stitches and pick up the yarn at the end of the slipped stitches.  Then rinse and repeat until you are ready to start the thumb gusset.  You are not to twist any yarn in the back like intarsia because this type of knitting does not create any holes.

I tried moving the thumb gusset around on the mitt and I couldn't avoid slipping stitches through the thumb area, probably because I cast-on 42 instead of 48.  I decided to start my thumb gussets where the yellow stripe starts.  I only had to knit one extra round to get all the slipped stitches out of the thumb area.  A note to self: pale yellow yarn doesn't work; it looks like a dirty white with the rest of the knitting.

So this is what the finished mitts look like.

I thought the directions for finishing the helix were pretty understandable as written so I didn't worry about translating them to Magic Loop.  I wish I had made the portion above the thumb about 1/2-inch longer so it covered more of Sister Suzy's fingers.  Nice fun little knit and I learned something new!

Have a good day!