Cooking, Sewing, Working, Traveling, Gardening and Pondering

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.

~Winston Churchill~

Saturday, December 31, 2011


At our house we did a major purge over this last week.  Lots of stuff taken to Goodwill.  I'd been meaning to go through my scrap bins for a while...So last night I started sorting by color and tossing what was just a crumb.
It looked something like this...

Then I wanted to look for a scrap-friendly quilt project.  I flipped through this book.

I found this quilt..

So most of my scrap pile ended up looking like this..

I also realized I have a gingham problem...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Years and No Excuses - Pass it on.

No excuses, folks. Don't drink and drive- and don't ride with anybody who does.Tipsy Tow offered by AAA: You don't have to be a AAA member, from 6pm-6am on New Year's Eve/Day they will take your drunk self and your car home for FREE. Save this number... 1-800-222-4357. Please re-post this if you don't mind to help save lives.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Reason for the Season

Luke 2

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Curse of the Chicken and Dumplings

The first time I went to make chicken and dumplings (CND) I made it how my grandma made it, with little round balls of dough for dumplings.  However, this was not how the hub's grandma made it.  This lead to quite the heated discussion (aka argument) on how this needs to be done.  Then the next time I made them like I thought his grandma made them...but "too" thick"..this lead to another heated discussion.  Then the next time the broth was too thin and this lead to a heated get my drift.  The dang things were cursed!  We banned them from our house in an effort to avoid arguments for quite some time.

Then this week I got up the gumption to try again. Low and Behold! we got through the making of them just fine! Even got through dinner just fine.   Only comment he made was that maybe the dumplings could cook a little longer next time..I was ok with that as I may have rushed things because it was 9 o'clock by the time I spooned the first bowl and I was hungry and tired.

Have you ever had a situation like this before because, to me it was the oddest example of pure stubbornness on both our sides that created this mess!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bread for the Masses

Matthew 14 18:21

“Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

I've always loved this passage.  I love to feed people and see them enjoy a good meal.  I have always been the one that brought in goodies to the office.  I remember taking gumbo into the machine shop in Boise to a bunch of guys that didn't know what gumbo was. I would bring in hot cider in my crock pot for the guys that worked outside to enjoy.  Now days, I tend to schlep whatever I've baked that weekend into the office.  Lately, I've been wanting to learn how to make bread.  I think it was even one of my New Year's resolutions for 2011.  I've found two great recipes that I'm really enjoying making. 

For the Baguettes - I used this recipe from The Sisters Cafe: 
(I hope its ok I put this here  - it is her recipe)

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbs. (2 packages) dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
In a small bowl mix the warm water with the yeast and sugar. Let it sit for about 5 minutes – foam should form on the top.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour and salt. Gradually add the yeast mixture. Mix until the dough becomes a smooth ball and knead for 5 minutes. (I use my Kitchen Aid with the dough hook)
Cut in half and then shape into 2 baguettes. To make them smooth and pretty, roll each half of dough into rectangle and roll up lengthwise. Pinch the edges to seal and place on lightly greased cookie sheet (or silpat) with seam down. Cover and let it rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With a very sharp knife (I like to use a serrated blade) gently make a slash down the length of each baguette. This will give it that authentic look. Pour water in a cookie sheet and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Half way through, brush the bread with melted butter.
This are the ones I made last night - went pretty fast.  I just went too heavy on the butter :O

For the crusty bread I used this recipe from Simply So Good
 (I hope its ok I put this here  - it is her recipe)
Crusty Bread

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. 

Crusty bread

So go out and make bread and feed the masses.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Yes, I signed up for this.  Yes, I actually did some stitching.  I just didn't feel like I stitched enough.  My hairdresser asked if I could come in after work Friday instead of Saturday afternoon so I didn't get home until 8ish.  I took a bit of time to setting down and finally sat down to "sew" on the dresden quilt.  It's been my TV watching stitching lately.  I am 90% done with the hand quilting - I only have like 3 more panels to go and I can bind it.  But I was so pooped from the week I was only able to quilt one stinking panel for the Friday Night Sew In.  So I didn't blog it yesterday because Heidi gives away such great prizes, I would have felt too guilty if I had been fortunate to win something from her giveaway.  But next month, lookout! I'll be all over the FNSI.

Friday Night Sew In

Last night I played around with something I've had awhile.  Miss Nadine over Apron Valley Road sent it to me in the Aunt Pitty Pat Sewing Accessories Swap.  It's called the Lil' Twister.  I participated in another Swap, The Charming Christmas Fabric Swap and received all these wonder charms (5x5) Christmas fabrics.  Angela over at Summerfiled Quilts put on a great swap!.  So I went to work putting the pieces together last night and taking the Lil' Twister to them.  They are gonna be so dang adorable if I do say so myself.  Just two more panels to go and I'll have 3 very fun little table mats.

Friday, December 16, 2011

'Tis the Season!

Happy Friday everyone! A little update here. Some of you may know I have Bruxism (teeth grinder). I've had it for as long as I can remember. The last 4 years I've been seeing an Oralfacial Pain Management specialist. I've googled this guy I don't know how many times making sure he's not a "quake". He is everywhere in published books, papers, medical journals - both in the US and abroad. I've had some good things from my treatment. He was able to finally make the piercing ear pain go away, I've been able to get through regular dentists appoints to fix some bad teeth I'd neglected because my jaw was miserable. He'd told me when I first went to see him(long story but all dentist and other docs before him wanted to do surgery immediately) that he wanted to avoid surgery at all costs.

So here I am 4 years later without surgery and I've had some successes. Now about a month ago or two ago, he replaced my night guard with one for the upper teeth to try to pull my bottom jaw forward to stop some of "popping" of the disk in my jaw. Since then I've had nothing but pain and inflammation. He's done steroid shots into the jaw and I've taken two rounds of prednisone to get it under control. I saw him yesterday because now the jaw "grinds" in it's joint. I don't think it would be so bad except I can HEAR it. The sounds just reverberates through my head.

So he wants to get new xrays (last ones done in 2008) and see how much the jaw is deteriorated. He said that now that the steroids have reduced the inflammation there is nothing "cushioning" the joint and that is why it's grinding - I almost want the inflammation back..Ha! Anyway, he provided me with some pain meds, muscle relaxers, etc yesterday to keep me comfortable until the insurance approves the CT of the joint. This doctor has seen on his off days before and even offered to see him today and Monday if need be - the university is closed even. I have his cell and email numbers and have always been encouraged to call if it gets out of hand. I really appreciate that. So I today it feels much better - but that could be because of the muscle relaxers...or it could because the muscle relaxers let me sleep last night. Either way it's better today.

The moral of this story is simply about wanting Soft Food recipes. Soups, mashes, blender - you name if you have something you enjoy - please either post or email me the recipe.

Ok enough about me. I got a happy package in the mail yesterday from my swap partner for Aunt Pitty Pats Christmas Stocking Swap - Donna! It's just awesome. Here are pictures of the wonderful things she sent me. Today is my deadline to mail and I"ll send to her at lunch today - it's all packed up and ready.

Love this sewing ornament!! So cute.
She packed that stocking full! Love it

Thank you so much Donna and I hope you enjoy your package as much as I enjoyed yours.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

From mistakes come challenges

When making the dresden plate quilt, I decided I needed to add additional plates. So I ordered more charm packs, and went to work. However, I couldn't find the paper template I'd used before on the previous dresdens. I ended up buying the plastic template. Measured it as best my pea brain could again the already made plates and went to work sewing them up. Well, we all know this doesn't end well. They were not the same angle/radius so they did not match the older ones. Here I was left with 2 odd ball dresden plates. What to do what to do. So I wiped up these little candlemat/mug rugs - depending on the application you see - multi-taskers. Then this week's surprise in the mail was this awesome mug rug from Regena over at The Distracted Domestic Diva! Thank you - you are such a wonderful lady and I'm so glad you're my close friend. One evening I tried my hand at these microwave homemade caramels. super easy - took longer to wrap them all than to make them. I sea salted some and pecanned the others. (is pecan-ned a word?) Recipe here Here's a sneak peak at something for an upcoming swap...I'd say which one, but that might give it away to my partner. Just a little over a week - are you ready for Christmas?

Monday, December 12, 2011

something to ponder

I read this quote today and it made me think...maybe it will get you to think too.. “One of the consequences of such notions as "entitlements" is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.” by Thomas Sowell.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Hello everyone! sorry for my bloggy absence. I've opened up blogger many times to post and just got busy. I must make a not to myself that next year during this time to prepare several timed posts to happen so I don't loose everyone. Here are some of the things I've been working on. I'm hand quilting the dresden quilt. Some table runners... Some aprons for a friend of mine... Pinwheels from the Charming Christmas Swap to be made into some mug rugs at some point... a stitched reindeer to be made into something... Not sure you remember Rudy the reindeer - but I unpacked him when I was decorating for Christmas and put in by the fireplace...then this is what I found...two very guilty dachshunds...

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