Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Toaster Oven Tuesday

If you've been reading my blog over the last year and a half, you may recall that I do not have a normal, full-size oven.  It isn't that it doesn't work, it flat out does not exist.  If you haven't been around all that long and aren't aware of this, I'll explain.
The OLD wall oven, can you guess what era this was from?  Harvest Brown with Avocado and Chrome handles. Note the bungee cord holding the oven door closed...yeah, it had problems.

The back-story:  In February/March of 2012, we had a leak in an upstairs bathroom, it actually became evident way before that though.  Marty could not find the leak.  It wasn't the toilet, and it wasn't the pipes.  We never did call in a plumber, but he wouldn't have found the problem either and would have charged for his visit.  

We could tell that the moisture was coming from under the tub after showers, so started thinking perhaps it was the tub's drain.  To make a long story short, we decided to call in a contractor and have him look at it since it appeared we'd have to be tearing out some tile and walls and/or the tub to find the source of the leak. Marty had already pulled up the linoleum and we could see that the underlayment wood was very wet and had buckled some. 

After removing toilet and linoleum trying to find leak.
Having a contractor look at it gave way to conversations of complete remodels and ultimately included a second bathroom which was directly below the bathroom with the leak because we had no way of knowing if the floor/ceiling between the two was damaged from the months of leakage.  There was evidence from the downstairs ceiling that it had already been replaced in that area some time in the past.  Ultimately, the leak was determined to be saturated wall board behind the tile where the grout was allowing water through - happens in older homes even if you can't see that the grout is failing.  Another reason for considering the redo on the lower bathroom as well was that neither Marty nor I are getting any younger and we both have elderly parents that could ultimately end up with us, and maneuvering stairs to get to bathing facilities could be a problem - as I did find out when I broke my foot and couldn't get in nor out of the standard tub.  Oops, sorry, rabbit trail.


Downstairs bathroom showing where the oven cavity was, that walled area directly in front of the man next to the toilet. Vanity is already gone, and I'm happy to say, so is that tile - I hated that stuff.  We still have about the same amount of it in our entry - some day it too shall be gone :)
The project became one of gutting both bathrooms and putting in a full shower downstairs, which previously had only a toilet and vanity.  Between the toilet and vanity were the three walls that formed the wall-oven cavity from the kitchen just on the other side.  To put in said shower, the wall-oven had to go and the oven cavity along with cupboards above and below had to go in order to make room to move the toilet over to fit the shower in. 
Having added a full shower; toilet not yet installed.  And no oven wall cavity!
The present:  Our original plan was to then do a fairly extensive kitchen remodel relocating and adding a free-standing range with oven.  In February of 2013 Marty and I hit a personal brick wall and delayed the kitchen even though we'd had four contractors give us bids.  We have not revisited the kitchen remodel, and I focused myself on finding a good toaster oven, because face it, there are things that just need an oven.  We'd been thinking of replacing our old toaster oven for a long time.

Oster Toaster Oven
The old one was a nice large toaster oven that included a built-in rotisserie and convection features.  I liked it but it had a problem with one of the elements that had warped and was looking a little too much like an "S" and had some bright glowing spots.  I dared not leave the room when it was on as I feared it would start a fire.  I knew it had to be replaced, but when I began looking for a replacement, I didn't want to spend a fortune, and I didn't know what brand was considered good.  The one we had previously, was an odd brand and no longer available.  Marty had seen one that he thought might make a good Christmas gift for me in 2012, but he wanted to run it by me and after looking it up on the internet, I decided we just didn't have the space, and reviews said it got too hot on the outside, so didn't get it.  It was also several hundred dollars more than what I was willing to spend!
with racks and drip pan, oven door open
Meanwhile, I'd mentioned the need on Facebook and a friend recommended the Oster and said it was sold at Walmart for $99.  Well, every time I went to our Super Walmart, they had only the one on display and never any in stock.  It was quite some months before they had one in stock and as soon as they did, I snatched one up and have not regretted it.  It takes up more space than the old one so I had to put it on a different counter, which is a bummer as I don't have a lot of counter space, but I do have an oven now...a toaster oven.  
The extent of my right-of-sink counterspace
It's large enough to fit two medium pizzas at the same time as it has two racks, it will hold a 9" x 13" glass Pyrex baking dish.

It will likely be quite some time until we get our kitchen remodel with a big oven, so in the meantime, I'm learning to cook all things possible in the toaster oven.  The first and most frequently made is the toast we have for breakfast nearly every day.  That's an easy one.




I've decided that I will attempt to create a weekly post on making something in my toaster oven that I might normally have cooked in a full-size oven.  There will obviously be space limitations.  I cannot put my turkey roaster in this oven, but that doesn't mean I can't roast turkey.  Nor can I put a full-size cookie sheet.  I will learn to adjust pan sizes and cooking times, some of which I've already experienced are different than when cooking in a 'normal' oven.

These posts will be on Tuesdays.  Some things may be very simple, others perhaps a bit more complicated.  Of course if I find I've overwhelmed myself, I will may admit defeat and let you know or just post them less frequently, say once a month.  

For now though, beginning 07 January 2014, I will begin posting Toaster Oven Tuesday every week -  AND, as I will be using my toaster oven, I cannot vouch for how any recipe or pre-made frozen food item might turn out in your toaster oven, nor will I specifically recommend that you even try them in yours, especially if you do not have a large capacity toaster oven; I know there are some things that say on their packages "not recommended for toaster ovens".  For those things, I will either not make them, or determine if the warning is due to the container it comes in and perhaps swap containers and try to cook.

I receive NO compensation from the makers of Oster and am not specifically recommending or endorsing this product.  It just happens to be the toaster oven we have, the price was right for our budget at the time, and it's working well for us.  It does not have the rotisserie feature as our old one did, but it does have convection cooking.  While the old one had convection, it was always on and with the Oster, it has to be selected, so I'll be learning.  

I'm sure Marty and Nick will appreciate this lofty goal of mine as I may be cooking more, or at least with more variety.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Post-Christmas Post

I thought I'd share some photos from around the holiday.

 Ice cream.  This was ('was' because it is now eaten) Blue Bunny peppermint ice cream.  It is seasonal and may or may not be available still.  It was pretty good.  My favorite is still their cherry chocolate that reminds me of my most favorite ice-cream, Cherry Garcia.
If you can, enlarge this pic and take a look at how Nick tied that red tie.  It may have loosened up some, but was really interesting.  I forget what he called the 'knot' but he'd found it on the internet back in May/June when he graduated 8th grade, and he spent the time learning how to tie it from the internet.  This was at his first-ever recital.  He performed God Bless the Outcasts from Disney's Hunchback animation movie.  The young man on his right is his instructor.  He and his wife were there with their toddler daughter and one day old son. 
Our little 4' artificial, pre-lit tree.  I had to use a pipe-cleaner to hold the lighted star on as using the base that came with it, designed to sit on the top of the tree, and the star, it was too heavy and the top would flop over like a bunny's ears.
 How do you sneak gifts into the house when the recipients are present?  Bless the paper bag inventor :)  The items are in one bag, you take the second bag and place over the first, then invert and carry in by the handles.
These would be Christmas cards.  These would be late Christmas cards.  These would be very late Christmas cards.  These would be so very late Christmas cards that they got dropped into the blue collection box in front of the already closed post office mid-afternoon of Christmas Eve.  And to think I actually pulled out the materials, and started updating my address lists the day after Thanksgiving.  There's always next year to be timely, right? Sure.
Klepto-Kat aka Flame, is Klepto-ing the water for the little iron.  Now I know which one gets the water all over the cutting table top that goes under the cutting mat!  Lick, lick, dip, lick, lick, dip, dip, lick.
A local television station, as well as ATT U-verse Showcase channel presented a Yule log for our Christmas gift opening experience.  The local station included music, that we did not care for at all so we muted the TV and turned on the CD changer with Christmas music of our preference.  When the local station ended, was when I discovered our provider's station and it went on pretty much the entire day and had nicer, instrumental Christmas music playing, so I had that on in the dining room while I was busy in the kitchen.  

We have a fireplace, but I've been neglectful and there's still a long table sitting in front of it with who-knows-what on it and I wasn't about to take care of that too while my two guys sat on their duffs awaiting their Christmas dinner!  On the bright side, I won't have to clean up and remove ashes.  On the downside, we missed the fragrant aroma of burning wood, and the crackling and hissing of that wood as well as the warmth that a real fireplace provides.  Always next year, right?  Hmm, where have I heard that before?  Somehow, when it's 70+ degrees outside, lighting a fire just doesn't quite fit.

I'd better go finish those final seams, which I didn't get to as planned, on Celtic Solstice (see Webs of Threads) before Bonnie releases the next step bright and early tomorrow morning. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Concert

A wonderful Christmas Concert, fully Christ-centered, uplifting and worship-filled.  It is being replayed every couple of hours through Christmas.  Update: Due to popular demand, re-broadcast has been extended 24/7 through 12/31/2013 :)  Enjoy!

http://www.gracechurch.org/christmasconcert/

Have a blessed Christmas.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Panda's Kitty

I thought I'd share a little video and a (won't load) couple of snapshots of my friend Panda's kitty, Sierra.  Sierra is a male kitty, 13 years old.  He's on the thin side but has been deemed healthy by the vet, eats heartily, and is very alert and actively follows me around when I'm over there.  He's an affectionate kitty, so I really enjoy taking care of him. 

Sierra

I'm cute :)
Sierra is camera shy.  I had to take quite a few photos before getting these two.  He'd look at me with the camera until he heard me press the shutter and then he'd look away!

My own two kitties are not so affectionate, though they may hang around me a lot and sleep on my bed.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Returning to Calm

Well, it's Friday, and after Wednesday, I had 'the dreads' of going to my friend's to check on her kitty again.  'The dreads' might be an overstatement, but I have to say, it's still just a little unnerving each time I open the front door and hear the alarm chimes that would require deactivating within 23 seconds.  

Her kitty is doing great, and he really enjoys when I show up.  He's the kind of kitty that will look up at you with those big round eyes - reminds me of the cat character in Shrek - and purrs and rubs against your legs.  If I didn't think it would be traumatic, I'd bring him to my house, but with Flame and Raven here, that just might be too much for kitty.  It's almost time to head over and check on him again today and to gather her mail.  I'm glad it's so close.  

We (Nick and I) stopped in earlier today but it was only long enough to put the food on kitty's plate, give him a quick snuggle and pet, and leave...I had groceries from Costco in the car that needed to get to a refrigerator, after having picked Nick up from school in between.  It was his last day at the private school, semester finals are over, and he's now registered at the local high school to start on 1/17/2014...a nice long Christmas break.

Speaking of Costco, I should know better than to go on a Friday before the last weekend prior to a major holiday.  Everyone in the county is there getting their holiday party stuff!  Even though I was there before they opened, it was a mad-house - crazy people, rude people, inconsiderate people, and everyone in a hurry - including me!  Hurry or no, can't people still be considerate by moving their carts out of the way?  And what's so hard about 'driving' your cart toward the right so that opposing cart traffic can get by - you know, drive your cart like you do your car on a two-lane, two-way highway.  And the aisles are wide enough - pass through the middle.  There certainly didn't appear to be much Christmas good cheer going on there.  It was additionally crammed by a slew of point-of-purchase sampler vendors pushing their products, ugh!  I was also disappointed by not finding a few items that they usually carry, along with the delicious sweet pickled beets I'd found the last time I was at Costco.  I still have one jar of them, but I was prepared to stock up on a couple more, and they came as a two-jar sale.

Last night, we went to our church's annual Christmas Concert.  It's held from Thursday through Sunday, and will be live-streamed on Sunday.  I'd have been happy to wait until Sunday and listen with my good headphones - I don't like massive crowds, and our concert is VERY crowded.  We arrived 45 minutes early and had to park out in Timbuktu and the closest we were able to find seating was already quite close to the back in one of the side sections.  I've always enjoyed our concerts, and I certainly enjoy Christmas music that is biblically sound.  But, yeah here's the but, I've been going to the concerts since 1987, and back when I was single, I'd go to every single night's event. I'm a bit burned out I suppose. We have excellent singers and musicians, and a large choir, and the tickets are free, so, I can just as easily stay in the comforts of my home, save gas and the risk of auto accident, leave space for someone else, and not feel like I could be using my time better during the time I'm just sitting waiting for the concert to start.  I know, it's a little bit of Bah Humbug.  Marty wanted to go, so we went, and it was good despite my inner objections to going.  Next year, the headphones!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Harrowing House-Sitting

I'm tending my friend Panda's house for awhile.  After tonight, she just might fire me.  Heck, I might fire myself!  No, I can't do that, but I tell you, after tonight I'm questioning my abilities.

While I'm house-sitting, I only need to stop in once or twice a day to take care of her kitty, get her mail, water the plants and just make it look like someone's around.  Easy peasy right?  Yes, all of that is.  But....

Tonight was the first time I needed to stop in as she just left this morning and had fed kitty before going.

I forgot to mention, she has her house alarmed, therein the harrowing events. 

Before she left, she went over all the how-to stuff with me a couple of times, and it's written down and I had it with me, but even so, I managed to mess up upon entering the house.  I got in, closed the door, found a light switch and went to the control to enter the disarming code, and entered it WRONG!  Now what?? If she'd told me how to turn the alarm off once it came on, I forgot and that part wasn't written down.  

So I panic, oh what do I do, think think, and I'm moving around to find a paper she said she left for me, and I can't focus my rapidly firing brain enough to read to see if it says what to do, and the alarm is blaring, indoors and out - oh the poor neighbors - aye yi yi, and then I barely hear the voice on the answering machine as it ends - was that the security company?, and then my own cell phone rings (she'd given the security company my cell number) and I can hardly hear him for the blaring but hear him tell me that I should stand still and not move and it'll shut off to reset after two minutes.  Do you know how long 2 minutes is, especially after it's already been going off for forever?  Good grief!  Then there's a knock at the door and two of her neighbor ladies are there (she has met them and given them my name so that they'd expect me being there), and the alarm is still going off, as that two minutes is now extended because I had to move to answer the door.

It finally stops, and I think, okay, I can enter the code, so I do, because it's beeping like it still needs the code and you only have 23 seconds, which that by the way seems to pass very quickly, and I enter it but the alarm goes off again, oh no!! now what?  And there's still no obvious way to shut it off, and what am I doing wrong?  So I stand still, it does shut off again and I call my friend Panda and she finally answers after about five rings and gives me the master reset code, and my adrenalin and anxiety is at its max by this point, the poor kitty has run and hidden, and Panda's trying to calm me so that I can enter the code correctly.  I was so glad to finally be without that blaring noise.  I feel so badly for her neighbors though.  So Panda and I chat for awhile until my cell phone battery starts giving out - it was low to begin with.  Oh, and the original code to disarm? I had it written correctly on the paper, but was I looking at that paper? No, I was going from memory, and my memory completely missed one number, ack!  No wonder, I'd messed up on two counts!

Then I was able to tend to the kitty and make sure his bowls were filled with water and dry food.  I gave him a can of food, and then read the instructions she had written which just happen to say he'd already had his one can for the day before she left.  Not a problem as he needs to add weight, but doesn't need to develop a preference for can food, kibble is good too.  

As I read the instructions, I thought, well his plate had been empty, and I wouldn't be able to get there until early afternoon tomorrow because of Nick's school finals schedule so it would count as his morning serving, but now realize I could get there earlier.   

I was finally starting to relax and, what do I see but what looked like a flash of light out the window, then I hear another knock at the door.  Asking who it was I was met with "the Sheriff"...yep, the Sheriff!  Yet another neighbor was concerned about the alarm going off...twice...it was after dark after all, so they called the Sheriff.  He was nice and only asked my name and phone number as I explained my purpose for being there and totally messing up on disarming the alarm. I would have thought he'd have asked for some i.d. though, hmmm.

Sheriff left, and I then sat and recomposed myself while kitty came and jumped up into my lap to be petted.  Kitty seemed none the worse for the events of the evening. 

But I have to say, two hours later, I am still just a little rattled.  I used to be good at these "under pressure" situations, but wow, not tonight.  I have to say though, I am very happy that my friend lives in a neighborhood where her neighbors or attentive to the goings-on around them, and I am so very sorry they had to endure my boo-boos tonight.  

On the bright side, it's a good thing I didn't decide to go over at 3:00 in the morning!


Monday, December 16, 2013

My Mundane Monday


 Don't forget to check out my quilting blog:  Webs of Threads


Lately, I've taken to keeping a couple small spiral notebooks at hand constantly.  



One notebook, just started a couple days ago, is for those things that come to mind that I need to do or want to do, but it also is for taking notes in general.  I only added this notebook because it seems I'm always jotting things down on sticky notes that hang out here, or there, and over there too, and oops, there's one there, and then I gather them all up and end up pitching most of them without doing what should have been done.  When I have nothing to write on, I'll think of things, attempt a mental note, and promptly forget until I remember later that there was something I was supposed to remember, and not remember what it was. And not remembering what I forgot bothers me.  Should I be concerned?  

General notes in that notebook, for example, are things such as the rough content of phone calls, specifically those from my mother.  I have about a dozen items in it and have taken care of only three of the items, getting to them only today.

The other notebook, I've done off and on for years.  I'm not sure why, but it helps me see how often I do some things, or not, which is more likely the case.  I seem never to have anything on a set schedule, well, except getting Nick to and from school.  I'll note the date, sometimes the high and low daily temperatures, maybe my weight, occasionally my blood pressure.  Then I'll list the key chores I've managed to do for that day, you know, those things like sweeping floors or stopping at Walmart, or scooping the cat litter pan.  I'll even make note of what I fixed for dinner, or where we got take-out from.  I suppose it's a diary of sorts of my mundane life.  Knowing the date I fixed something for dinner comes in real handy when trying to identify the science experiment in the fridge that Marty insists is still edible.  I'm not consistent, I sometimes go for days without making notes.  And I don't note everything I do.

Today's entries in the latter notebook included "school trips" where I take Nick to school and then go get him, "Trader Joe's" - I needed to pick up milk, bread and orange juice - glad I picked up those hamburger buns because that's what was entered for "dinner: hamburgers".  Oh, and also "laundry: gather, sort, run four loads" (only I use tally marks for each load) of which one is still in the dryer, one in the washer and one in the basket to be folded, update "Quicken", and run a voided check by our financial man.  I've done a number of other things today too but haven't jotted them down.  I still need to tend to a sink of dishes and scoop the litter box. If I were really OCD about this, I'd be much more detailed with the time spent on each task and the time I did it.  Hah, never!  That might train me to be disciplined!

It seems Marty and I were at odds with each other again today, sigh.  Mars? Venus? Maybe Pluto!, he's related to the discoverer by marriage!  We have our issues off and on like all couples, but some days it seems nothing I say comes out right and he takes offense.  And then I take offense because now I can't say anything being afraid it'll come out wrong.  It was nice most of the day though because while I was doing my chores he was off at the local college or whatever finding out about some re-training options.  That's another whole long story.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Chicken Sweaters!

And who do you think I thought of when I saw this out in the social media world?  Absolutely, Judy Laquidara! Chickens + knitting! So I sent her an email link to make these knitted sweaters.  Are these just not the cutest (or funniest!) things you've ever seen?

Check out the link here:

 Chicken sweaters.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shoot! No, Don't Shoot.

That's exactly what I can't do, I can't shoot...with my camera.  Why?  It's missing.  I had it with me yesterday when I went to my quilt student/friend Renee's and was sure I'd put it back in my purse but it isn't there.  And it's not in my coat pockets. I'm thinking it's in the car and probably slid under the driver's sit.  I put my purse on the floor behind the driver's seat, and it often falls over and stuff falls out of it.  I'll check tomorrow when it's daylight.  No photos tonight.

All of the photos posted yesterday reside on my computer or on the blog or at Picassa, so I didn't think about my camera at all.

 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mid-week Update

Oh yeah, I'm falling behind out here in blogland, my sincere apologies.

Sometimes I wonder if I have what some refer to as adult ADD, but I'm not one to stick labels like that on what (at least on MY part) is really nothing more than undisciplined behaviour.  I bounce from one thing to the next rather than pushing myself to stay focused on any given task at hand...including washing dishes!

As you may have noticed, I finally figured out how to change the image in my header - yeah, took me awhile, a long while in fact, as I didn't find Blogger very intuitively friendly at finding answers, but maybe I'm just dense along those lines.  Here's a couple more photos from that era, ca. 1965 I believe.

Oh, that would be me as a 12 or 13-yr old, with our cat, Tommy. 

This was our house.  It's where I call "home" as most of my teenage years were spent there.  The house has since burned down and a really ugly, old, green mobile home sits there.  The house was built on a slope and there was a daylight basement at the back.  That front section was added on just before this snow storm, not completely finished.  The back part of the house was built largely from salvaged lumber from an old house that was about 1/8th of mile down the road.  We had lived in it when I was pre-school age.

Nick is taking part in his first piano recital on Friday, so that has mixed things up a bit.  Instead of having his regular lesson on Thursday after school, it was switched to Tuesday after school.

This is the piano at which he practices.  We learned it was made in the 1940s.  It doesn't look like this right now as there are no Christmas decs up yet, and to this extent they won't be going up this year either.  He has a real bench now too rather than this old coffee table loaded up with pillows.
And because we're transferring him to a public school, we picked him up early on Monday so we could turn in the paperwork and choose his classes, only to find out that we would have to have a counselor appointment to do the latter, which will have to occur before the Christmas break, during school hours...and he has finals next week, but they're only in the morning so we should be able to set an appointment for an afternoon...now we're just waiting for them to call to schedule the appointment....as instructed!  I don't like waiting. I always feel like I've been forgotten, especially if it takes days to get answers.

The above photo is of a prior Christmas several years ago.  This year we will only be putting up the 4' artificial tree...that is if I can get anyone to retrieve it from the storage loft...I'm not about to climb that ladder again, at least not without having someone there to steady it.  I also need to do some cleaning in the living room.  There's a 6' folding table in front of the fire place that has become a dumping ground for who-knows-what.  We won't talk about the dust level.  We obviously don't use that room much.  Nick goes to his room where his computer is and it's warm, Marty goes to his computers which are through a doorway on the right where you can just see the edge of bookshelf, and I'm either in the kitchen/dining room doing what gets done there, or I'm in my Sanctuary working on quilt stuff or watching TV.

Marty has yet to hear back from his face-to-face interview of last Friday.  He hasn't had any other contacts since then either.  It's very discouraging and frustrating.  

I'm trying to convince Marty to take Nick and go visit his 86 year old father. He lives a good 8 - 10 hour drive away.  After hearing of two deaths and one stroke in just the last few days, I think it would be a really good idea for them to go.  He suggested I go too, but I've happily committed to caring for my friend Panda's kitty during that time while she's gone, and Marty's dad lives in a small retirement apartment, so it will likely be a tight fit even with just Marty and Nick.  Additionally, FIL has a lady friend/companion who may be there.  There's probably a motel if need be, but I'm thinking of them sleeping on his dad's floor to save a little money yet still get the most out of visiting.  See how I like to plan their trip?  Just thinking ahead of all the possibilities.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Just Too Much To Do

Whoa, here it is Friday already.  For me, it seems like it's been go, go, go, do, do, do, and I'm spinning my wheels more than anything.

Marty has a job interview, an in-person one in about 15 minutes (I may not have this posted by then!).  He had a phone interview last Friday, or was it Monday, with them.  I'm praying something comes through soon, very soon. 

A 2-hour meeting with our financial advisor, once again went 3.5 hours.  It isn't that there's so much there, but he gets to talking, and Marty gets to talking, and my eyes just glaze over!  This week's meeting was to cover our various insurances to make sure we had adequate coverage.  We won't have another meeting until February, I'm glad to hear that!  But post-meetings, there are always actions for us to take, and since I'm the one who does those things, it's on my shoulders.  Most things are falling into place, and we have only to take care of one element at our local credit union branch on Monday, and I have one phone call to make on another matter.  Then it's just a matter of adjusting to a new way of doing things.  Seems there's been far too much "adjusting to new ways" since August!

I also started getting the necessary documents gathered so that I can transfer Nick from the private school to the public school.  The private school has half-day on the 20th then it's Christmas vacation, the public school needs to have everything by the 18th, so time is short.  And I have to go there before 3:30 in the afternoon when I go, so I'll need to pick Nick up early one day so that we can get to the public school so that he can pick his classes. 

I'll post later at Webs of Threads as to how I'm doing on my Celtic Solstice.  Again, I need to learn to count!  


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Music

Hah! Blog confusion!  I had meant to post this here on D.O.O.W., but accidentally put it on Webs of Threads.  It's ok I guess even if it isn't quilting related.

Enjoy.  This group is fantastic. Perhaps you've seen them, they're called Pentatonix and they sing a capella.  Awhile back I had seen them on TV or maybe here on the 'net, and written their name down, and then this showed on Facebook and has been going viral.


Monday, December 2, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

How is it Monday's get to be so ... messy?  After recognizing my errant stitching seam widths on Celtic Solstice yesterday, and tearing out every stitch, yeah, every stitch, I had great plans of getting it all back to where it should be today.  That didn't happen as planned.  

Being Monday, I had to take care of some paperwork, pay some bills, update Quicken.  Also a bit of housework needed to be done, the usual emptying of the dishwasher and reloading with those dishes I let go last night, ahem, yes that happens around here.  The cat litter needed to be scooped too.  Sure would be nice to get some other residents in this house to do that chore!  Other things also had to be done.

Then when I did sit down to work on it, after noon as I sat with my lunch sandwich, and no more than five minutes later the phone rings, and a friend asked to stop in for a few minutes.  She did only stay for a few minutes, all the while as I finished my sandwich.  I get back to the Sanctuary and to work on the quilt units, only a few more minutes pass, and my mom calls, and there goes another huge block of time as she boggles my mind with all that's on her mind, which btw is a bit boggled with decisions for the future - my parents are both 80 so some plans need to be made. Our phone isn't such that I can rest it on my shoulder and work with my hands so I got nothing done while talking with her.  Thankfully, Marty came up and said he was expecting a call for a phone interview - yay, I pray he gets it - so I was able to get off the phone.  That left me with all of about 20 minutes during which I finally got the last of the snipped threads picked off just in time to go pick Nick up from school.  

I was so tired by the time I got home I went in and took a nap.  The nap was about a half-hour and the kitties came and helped keep me warm.  I was still groggy when I got up but needed to get to work on those units.  You can read all about them, and see pics at Webs of Threads.  

Well, tonight, I've finished only a handful, and have one 'flap' added to the center triangle on about 1/3 of the units.

I'm watching/listening to The Voice, still don't have a hand's down favorite - down to the final six contestants and they're all good.

The next few days all have commitments too so at this point, I can only hope to fit in time to work on the units and get them done.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

It Was A Wonderful Day

We spent our Thanks-giving Day at the home of our friends, the parents of Nick's best friend Tino.  They're originally from a big state known for hospitality, and they know how to do it right.  Tino's dad prepared smoked goose, along with smoked turkey breast, and ham.  I'd never had goose before and found it quite good; it is chewier than other poultry.

Sides, some brought by guests, included mashed potatoes and gravy, a dish of roasted beets and sweet potatoes, broccoli-cheese casserole, mac & cheese, cornbread dressing, and a corn casserole, green bean casserole, rolls, green salad, two different types of deviled eggs, cranberry sauce.  There had been appetizers of veggie plates, chips and their daughter had made two different types of baked brie in a puff pastry - oh my, was that ever tasty and new to me :)   Then for dessert, there was chocolate pie, pecan pie, whipped cream, individual cheesecakes,  lemon-cake cookies.  They only missed pumpkin pie, but wow, oh, wow, who needed it with the spread that was put before us. No one could go hungry.

And I'm sad to say, I didn't have my camera with me to take a pic of  all the yumminess.

Most of the guests who were there, we knew from previous get-togethers and activities through the years.  There was one new couple. Outside was also one new puppy belonging to some guests, which was just too cute.  

We watched football, their team lost.  Nick's other friend, Jay and his family were there also.  They left earlier than we did, so we did a little switch-a-roo.  We all live reasonably close together, so they drove Marty home so that he could prepare to go up to the mountains for photo-shooting Fri & Sat, and I took Jay home later, so that he could have more time to spend with Nick and Tino, the three of them engaging in a game of Monopoly in Tino's room.

We had eaten around 1:00 and because of our complete gluttony the amount of food we availed ourselves to, dinner was not needed, but I did nibble on a few potato chips when I got home.  I brought home the leftover green salad I had taken, except for a portion the daughter took, and a portion I left for the hosts, so in Marty's absence, I won't be cooking any huge amounts and will have some nice guilt-free greens to munch on tomorrow.

The day is now over, it's nearly bed time and I'm tired.  

It was a blessed day, and I'm very thankful that I can call these wonderful people my friends too, not just Nick's best friend's parents. 

I hope your day was great too.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanks-Giving

Happy Thanks-Giving

http://s1.hubimg.com/u/8434344_f520.jpg 
When I was young, my grandparents had a small painting/print of the above image in their dining room.  I now have it, it seems so much smaller now though than it did then.  I've always admired the image, even when I didn't believe in the One to Whom I am now so very thankful to for all that He has given.  
May your day be blessed with love, friendships, family, great food, safety, and above all, a personal relationship with the Saviour, Jesus Christ, Creator of all things.
 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mixed Bag

My 'fortune' from the other night:

If only!
Nick had a project in school where he had to draw:

It reminds me of Nicolas Cage, though that isn't who it's supposed to be.
Raven wanted the trimmings out of the trimmings bag. The problem was that she was trying to ingest them:

Nom, nom, nom.  NO! NO! NO!
A week or so ago, I put the leftovers of the Cheeseburger Soup (a la Eleanor Burns) into the freezer.  I save containers for such things.  The ingredient combination sure smelled up the freezer, had to put the two containers into a plastic zippered bag...much better.

Whewwwwie, seal it up.
Reminds me of an old-fashioned windshield wiper:

Swish, swish
Time for The Voice.  I may not like all kinds of music, but I still enjoy this show.   I haven't picked a hands-down favorite this year, it's really a toss-up for me.  When I was a child, I wanted to grow up and be a Country-Western singer.  Those were the days of Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Skeeter Davis, Patsy Cline, Ferlin Huskey, Faron Young and so many other old-time greats.  CW was all we heard at home, and of course we watched Hee Haw and The Porter Wagoner Show.  Today, I can barely carry a tune and my voice cracks and breaks.  Well, back to the show.  Have a blessed evening.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wide Awake

Today is Saturday.  Saturdays are for sleeping in.  Nope, not me, not this Saturday.  And for no reason other than I just was wide awake at 6:30, surprisingly so as well, since it was well after 11:30 by the time I went to bed last night.

Well, that's all I have for now.  Except that, for my Webs of Threads blog, I found the gadget for you to become a follower which I now have added to the left side-bar, so if you'd like to follow just my quilty stuff, you can head over there and perhaps by the end of the day, I'll have a relevant post showing.

Have a great day my friends.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Finding Friday

Whew! Where'd the last couple of days go?  Into history for sure.

This morning was again taken up in a meeting with our financial guy.  It can be aggravating for me as Marty's insecurities kick in and we use up half the allotted time re-hashing the same stuff we've gone over in practically every meeting we've had to date, which pushes out going over what we were scheduled to go over.  Big sigh!  This is how Marty processes things.  Drives...me...batty.  I sit by quietly.

Marty clearly needs a place to go to so that he can get his mind off all of the job-hunt stuff and decisions for the future so I pushed for him to go ahead a spend the little bit of money and GO.  He received word today that he did not get the position he interviewed for last week with Yellow Pages.

So with the forecasted snow for the areas where he enjoys going to do landscape photography, he and his friend left just moments ago for an overnight and all day tomorrow outing.  I'm hoping it's a really refreshing time for him.  And I won't say just how much I'll enjoy these next 24 hours of having my own space....oh, I guess I just did, snicker :)

I used the dust mop on the Sanctuary floors for the first time in several days, and wow, what a lot of dust and cat hair!  

I didn't realize until this morning that Nick doesn't have school at all next week, and here I was thinking he had to go Mon. through Wed.  Silly me.  Nick has been invited to a four or five hour activity tomorrow, so I'll have the better part of the afternoon entirely to myself.

We had some rain yesterday and our temps have turned quite chilly.  At 7:30 p.m. we were already down to 49, but that's still no where as cold as where my daughter lives.  Her area is expecting temps in the upper teens and 20s over the next few days, brrrrr. 

There's not much to speak of today I guess.  I haven't done any quilt-work today, so there'll be no post at Webs of Threads.  And I only did the pressing on the star-point units last night so that's not a lot to write about.  

Tomorrow's another day; we'll see what the Lord has in store for it. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

These Trying Times

I added a link at the upper right corner for Webs of Thread to make it easier to get there from here.  I'll probably add a quilty post over there later this evening. 

It's hard to believe it's been almost 3 1/2 months since Marty lost his job.  The reality of how that is changing, and has changed our lives hits every day.  For me, often in fighting off depressive moods.  His severance pay was only for 16 weeks and that's about up, and the added cost of COBRA insurance eats up just about every dime of unemployment.  

Today's depressive trigger was facing that it is time to begin the process of Nick's transition from his very small private school, where he's been since his first day of kindergarten, to his placement at our district's public high school, which is bigger than the entire town I grew up in.  It's a daunting thought that my sheltered son will be thrown into a lion's den.  My view, not his as he has wanted this since before school started.  But I'm the one who knows what's best for my son, not the 15-year old who hasn't been through all the ugly experiences of life.  And yet, I must let him go, and pray that my loving Father will watch over him.  As one of the ladies in the school office told me today, "God is there too."  And truly He is, and as his parents, Marty and I still have at-home responsibilities for his guidance and maturity in the things of the Lord. 

For now, it's advising one school, gathering info at the other, and in the few weeks between the Thanksgiving break and Christmas (or sadly as the new school calls it: Winter Break) we will make sure he gets registered and he gets placed in the necessary classes; that books get returned and new ones issued.  As the public school doesn't offer AP Biology until his sophomore year, I had to find out if he'd be able to continue with the Sophomores (he's a Freshman) or if he'd lose 1/2 a year of that study.  He can join them! Yay! 

It was also a day to head to Costco again.  There were times that was a bit discouraging as there were some things that I might have placed in my cart if Marty were working, but I didn't.  All the wonderful holiday foodstuffs are overflowing the shelves at the stores.  I did splurge on a tub of red vines.  I've been craving something sweet and we haven't had many sweets here other than the Brownie Bites, but I try to leave those for Nick's sack lunches that he takes to school.  One of the best deals at Costco is their rotisseried chicken.  We can get several meals from one $4.99 chicken, AND it's already cooked and seasoned!  They also had bottles of Johnny's garlic seasoning which I haven't seen since I bought some a few years ago and was nearly out of, so I bought another one.  It's yummy sprinkled on buttered bread for garlic toast, or occasionally on pasta or vegetables.

I'll be back later with my Webs of Thread post. See you then.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Design Wall etc.

I have added, and am linking to, my Design Wall Monday post over at my new blog Webs of Threads where I now place all things involving thread, whatever the form.

Since I set this blog up a couple years ago, it appears Blogger has changed a few things, and I can't figure out how to add that link/button/whatcha-ma-call-it thang called Followers/Join This Site/Members at WoT.  I posted about that over there too, so hopefully, some one can give me some insight.

It is currently very dry again here in the dry land.  My hands look like alligator skin - I have the great blessing of having naturally dry skin, but dislike having to use an abundance of creams.  It seems to be worsening as I age, so I'll have to succumb to those moisterizers.  I just need to find unscented ones or ones whose scent is at least acceptable to my odor fragrance processing center.  It's so dry, even my eyes feel like sandpaper!  I suppose that's one of the reasons I don't like this time of year in this part of the country.  If I were in the wet land, I'd likely enjoy it more, at least I'd like to think so.

I do like this product.   In the past when I purchased it the tube looked different, so I don't know if they reformulated it, or if it's just a different package, or if there's more than one variety.  The previous formula didn't feel quite as slippery as this one after I rub it in, and was unscented.  This one feels slippery on my palms longer and I usually use a tissue to wipe my palms, and it also has a light scent, along the lines of maybe lilac or honeysuckle - at least it's a natural-smelling scent.  Some fragrances remind me of nothing I've ever smelled naturally and I don't like those at all.  

The ash tree turning yellow.  Fall arrives late here.  These leaves don't usually completely drop until almost Christmas.

On Saturday, I enjoyed my visit with my friend Panda.  She is a true blessing in my life as a friend and for some conversational reasons I won't go into here, and we had a great time of talking and sharing.  There were some tears, but there were also laughs and smiles.  She's going to be kept busy with some family things as the holidays approach, which hopefully, will ease the pain of these "firsts" without her husband, so we likely won't have an opportunity to get together again until after the first of the year.  Losing a beloved spouse is never easy, no matter how many days or years pass.  

Hi Mom!
 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Hah! Do you have that David Bowie song stuck in your head now?  Right there with It's A Small World, um, yeah, moving right along. Please, no throwing tomatoes, or open rotary cutters!

I'm not sure why, but I got it into my head today to really change things up a little.  

Internally, I think I've been bothered with not knowing the direction I wanted to take my blog and by default, it's become a mish-mash of everything, which isn't necessarily bad.  Some of my favorite blog-reads are like that.  Yet, I've been thinking about keeping all things quilty, or stitchery-related, separate from my life blog in general.  I also wasn't sure I really liked the name of my blog all that much in that it really has no correlation to quilting. 

So with those thoughts swimming around in my head, I decided to come up with a new blog name, and give it its own blog home.  Today, I created Webs of Threads, another blog, linked to this one, which will going forward, have all of my quilt-related stuff on it.  I've already set it up with my previous tabs for my GALLERY, along with updating the comments on the photos under that tab, my UFO PARADE, in which I still need to update with current additional projects, and the list of the "SOMEDAY" quilts I'd like to make.  There may be more tabs in the future.  I considered transfer all past truly quilt-related posts to the new blog, but I'm not techy enough to figure out if that's possible, so I may just put a link to any references if I post new stuff that pertains to something over here.

You may have noticed I also updated my photograph.  I didn't like the old one, never did, but then I don't really like many photographs of myself, and these days, all photographs make me look old, really, I'm not that old, am I?  Shhush, don't answer that.  I recall an old saying about if the barn door needs paintin', paint it, but it's been so many years since I stopped wearing make-up that I don't even know if I'd remember how to apply it...and I'd have to buy new stuff at that.  So it is what it is!

And I'm not sure, but if you're a follower of my blog, you'll probably have to follow me anew.  I will have to likewise add those I was following onto my new list of favorite blog sites, not seeing any way to just copy them over and have the links work.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Wing Blocks or Star-Point Blocks

I've been calling them wing blocks because they look like wings or flaps hanging off the 9-P blocks on the design wall, but only because I haven't pinned up the corner squares to complete the whole block.  I guess they should be called Star-Point Blocks, though you wouldn't know they were star points until you put all four sides next to the 9-Patches.
Using reds/brick tones for the star points, and neutrals for the background of the star-point blocks.
Chain piecing adding the squares for the star points.
I really dislike drawing diagonal lines, so I use tape and then just line up the bottom corner along the edge as I sew.  The blue tape is several layers thick, and is used to give me a consistent 1/4" seam.
After the first diagonal stitching is made, I'm adding a second line of stitching  for those bonus triangle squares, a la Bonnie Hunter :)
Ooooh, do you see the problem?
Yep, I sewed the second line of stitching to the wrong side of the first diagonal line of stitching!
Pile of trimmed off triangle squares ready to be trimmed and pressed.  They will be 2" square when trimmed to finish as 1.5" blocks for a something someday quilt.
I have 21 of 77 sets done.  I didn't get to any sewing yet today, but the evening isn't over, so there's still hope.  

After picking Nick up from school, I just needed a nap so I took one, and woke to Marty being frustrated by COBRA messing up on our prescription coverage even though the payment was sent.  We, yep, it involved me and using speaker phone, and after 20 minutes of phone tree hell we were told the number we called couldn't help us, we had to go back to whomever was administering the COBRA plan.  He'd already talked with them and was told they'd have to 'research' it...well, it's Friday, so we won't hear anything over the weekend and in the mean time, Marty goes without his prescription... unless he was willing to pay $119.00 for it...not!


Recipe Inundation

Recipe keeper.  Recipe clipper.  Recipe filer. Cookbook collector.  TV food channel watcher.  Internet Foodie.  Do these terms fit you?  They fit me.  

I've gathered recipes since my childhood.  I have made many and rid myself of many.  I have favorite cookbooks, and books I've rarely opened.
 
My all-time favorite set of cookbooks

Repetition becomes boring; I like variety and experimentation, and trying new recipes on Nick and Marty can be fun, and enlightening. 

Many times I've picked through the recipes and created weekly menus.  I've inventoried my pantry to make it easier to determine what I have and what I need to buy.
Front left = pile to sort through, back right = to keep for a "better kitchen", right front = menus, back left = possibilities
One year I went through a cookbook that was a year of weekly menus along with shopping lists.  The exercise was good, the menus and recipes not so much - though some were good and became keepers, I found most didn't fit our eating habits or style and sometimes the meals were far too skimpy, or just not to our liking.  There were times I intentionally had to modify the plan.

I've been culling through those stacks of recipes again. Attempting to put together some new weekly menus of my own.  Attempting to incorporate some breakfast, and lunch plans as well since Marty is presently at home.  Thinking about doubling up some of those meals for freezer meals or freezing leftovers in individual servings for at home lunches.  It can be overwhelmingly time consuming.  

Considerations in my planning are that my kitchen is not efficient nor entirely functional due to the kitchen remodel that didn't happen (no real oven, minimal counter space), and Nick's pickiness and peanut allergy though the latter is less of a concern.
The ones that just don't cut it end up in the paper recycle bag.
The last couple of years have seen far too much reliance on quick meals and convenience foods, so I'd like to get away from that, plus, I'm just getting tired of some of those same old things again.  I need to plan my shopping better and use up some of the things that have hung around in the pantry for awhile.

That's my project for today, and likely the next few days.  I did a little bit of quilting piece-work yesterday or the day before, and will fit some more in today or tomorrow too. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Paper Please

 This is a video that a friend posted on social media, and it was just too good to not share.  If I knew how to imbed it here I would, but I don't, so you'll just have to click on the link.  It's short, but oh so good. 

http://www.flixxy.com/the-paperless-future-emma.htm

Monday, November 11, 2013

Design Wall Monday, 11 November 2013

On my design wall today are elements for my November NewFO.  I have all the 9-Patch units done and have only begun working on the side elements that create the star points; the one you see is the only set of four that's done.  I was side-tracked over the weekend!

How was I side-tracked?  By genealogy.  You see, ArkivDigital, a Swedish genealogy site was offering complete viewing of their records ... FREE for the weekend !!!  And I like free, especially at this time in our life.  And who wouldn't like being able to search for document images in Sweden?  I was able to find, and save to file and print, about a half-inch tall stack of documents, mostly church records for births and what amounts to a form of census called "Household Records".  All of which gave me birth dates I didn't have and even names of siblings of my direct ancestors.  Some of these were from the very early 1800's.  All that to say, I didn't make much quilting progress.

Another small sampling of the 77, 9-Patch blocks, one with the star point units pinned next to it.
I love scrappy!  So much fun mixed in! 
Close up.  These are the only 4 "wing" sets I've done, who knows which 9-P they'll become attached to later.

Wait a minute, do you plan on doing my pressing?

Look at the fun ice-cream treats in there, yum.

Here, kitty, kitty, join me for tea in my garden?
Linking up with Patchwork Times and then I'll see what you've all been up to :)

Marty's at his all morning long interview, with four or five different individuals in rotation at that company, so I'm praying God's will and that if he gets this position, great, we can celebrate, but if not, that Marty won't be discouraged and will recognize he just needs to keep trying, God will provide in His timing and His location.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Stash Report Sunday - Week 45, 2013

I guess it's been a few weeks since I've submitted a stash report again, so much for accountability, but then, when you've brought nothing in, and you haven't put anything 'countable' out, it's almost not worth the effort.  And yes, I think I will definitely change my in/out counting method beginning 1/4/2014 (that's the first Sunday).  At that time, I will set three separate points for counting fabric out of the stash: 1. fabric out when constructed to the point of being a flimsy, 2. fabric out for the backing when it has been pinned - even if the quilt isn't yet quilted, and 3. fabric out for the binding when it is done!  I'm looking forward to 2014 where I can count some of these NewFO projects as I get them to the fllimsy stage.  Heck, I may even count some of them that are at the flimsy stage just because they've never been counted before :)

Here are the same old boring numbers.  I'm thankful I suppose that my IN numbers are as high as they might have been.  Surely I'd be adding a whole lot of neutrals to my stash since I'm using a lot of them in my recent projects. 

Used This Week: 0 yards 
Used Year to Date: 10.25 yards  
Added This Week: 0 yards  
Added Year to Date: 46.375 yards  
Net Used for 2013: -36.125 yards

The last quarter of 2013 is becoming known as use it up or do without.

Linking up at Patchwork Times.

Marty has a face-to-face interview tomorrow, please keep his job hunt as a matter of prayer.
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