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Friday, December 26, 2008

Of Whining, Dining & Grey Poupon

You didn't believe that bit about "Dining & the Grey Poupon, did you? Whinin' & chowin' down on our favorite foods is more like it...chuckles.
First, the whinin'...Poor Goodman, if he heard me whine once about not havin' enough time to start these mittens with the Patons SWS yarn all over again, he must have heard it twenty times. (Did you guess they were mittens?) Ah well, I surely believe he'll be rewarded someday for his patience with my knitting dilemmas. They did turn out well, I think, even though the stripes are not identical as I'd hoped. (This picture really makes them look huge.)Here they are complete with a crocheted "keeper cord", modeled by their new owner, Punkin' #2. She was still oohing and ahing over their softness. :)
Now, a little peek at some of the dinin'...
Here's a tasty spread that we made for our family get together, Salmon Party Log. It's in the Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks circa 1972, the first cookbook I ever owned and still my favorite.
Simple little ham & Swiss sandwiches made with Artisan French Bread from the deli at Walmart. A fancy-dancy name for white bread made without shortening, don't you think.A quick and very tasty bean dip, recipe below.
Fiesta Bean Dip

1 large can refried beans
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1 jar Pace salsa
3 small cans sliced black olives
12 ounces sour cream
6 ounces grated fiesta cheese

First, add one to two ounces of water to beans to make them spreadable, then mix refried beans with the packet of taco seasoning mix. Spread beans on a large serving dish making a little raised edge around the outside edge with your spoon. I do this to help hold the salsa in check so it won't weep allover the serving dish. Spread salsa over the beans keeping it inside the raised edge. Sprinkle the olives over the salsa. Spread the sour cream over the olives. Top with the grated cheese. Serve at room temperate with your favorite tortilla chips.
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Remember my blackberry jam makin' extravaganza last week? Well, I had two cups of blackberry juice left over, which was not enough for another batch of jam, so I used it to make blackberry syrup to have with pancakes. Mmmm, mmm was it good. :)
Hope your still enjoyin' lots of holiday cheer, Y'all.
We have leftovers that will last all weekend, most likely, and that'll be just fine with me as I have a lil bit of knittin' lined up for the next few days.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Peanut Butter Dream Fudge

Goodman loves peanut butter fudge and had been saying how he'd like to have some so I made a batch last weekend. It's all gone now. It's the recipe, I tell ya. Even the snowman in the striped hat dropped what he was doing to sample it. I basically use the old Fantasy Fudge recipe with a tweak or two. (Tweaky recipe below.) I hear they changed the original recipe, so go here if you want the chocolate version. Here's my method:
Peanut Butter Dream Fudge
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 10-ounce package peanut butter chips
1 7-ounce jar (any brand) marshmallow creme
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring all the while. Remove from heat. Add the following in order beating each till blended before adding the next:
Peanut butter chips, marshmallow creme, peanut butter and vanilla. Pour into buttered 13 x 9-inch baking pan or smaller size if you want thicker candy. Let cool and cut into squares.
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I sewed this fleece blanket this week. The tutorial link is in my sidebar.  These blankets only take a few hours to sew and make a great, snuggly gift.

I also put up (canned) some blackberry jam this week. Four batches from berries I had frozen last year, yes, last year which is not to be confused with this year...chuckles. The freezes killed the blooms this year. I'm way behind, but it's very good anyways.

Keep smilin', Y'all. :)

Shared at The Art of Homemaking Mondays

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cookies & Candies

'Tis the season for making lots of cookies and candies, so what has Emily of Yarn Miracle gone and done? She's designed The Great Cookie Swap of '08. It's a virtual cookie recipe swap, but that's not all; there may be prizes! Can you say, "WOW!"? I can, and I've entered my Turtle Recipe/Tutorial in the swap. The swap is open to all so feel free to go enter your own pictures and recipes here, Y'all. I love new recipes so I can't wait to see all the entries.

I tried a new old-fashion recipe this week, Candied Citrus Peel from Martha Stewart Living. I had picked up the December magazine to read on the plane trip to Texas and was pleasantly surprised to find I liked several things in the issue. (So tell me, when did the magazine get back on track with real people stuff again?) Here are the peels in a bath of sugar and water.
All sugared up and quite tasty, not to mention a veritable treasure trove of vitamin C. Just a little knitting...I'm back on track myself makin' a li'l somethin' for a li'l someone on my list. :) Have a great weekend, Y'all!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Toe-mah-toes

One toe-mah-toe.Two toe-mah-toes.And nearly a dozen more...okay, okay they're really tomato pincushions. (I just was lettin' you know I can talk right when I'm a mind to...lol ;) The free pattern is at marthastewart.com.  I did two things different from the pattern. I added 1/4 cup of rice in the bottom for weight, but you can add sand if you like. Also, I made a little felt stem for each tomato by rolling a small rectangular piece of felt, hot melt glued it together, then glued it to the top of the tomato.
A few more pictures from the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, World Birding Center Headquarters. Grebes, Ibises and other water birds. I know you can't see them very well, but you get an idea of how diverse the park is with over 700 acres of birding habitat.
Palm trees wavin' bye till next week.
Have a great weekend, Y'all.
Linking to

May Sewing Party Week # 4

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Far Yon Tip of Texas

Greetings Y'all. We're back from our trip to Pharr, Texas to attend my niece's wedding. All went well with that. (Uh huh, the mints were much appreciated. ;) Then we went shopping in Mexico and had a good time sightseeing for a few days. After our second (How can a body shop good going just once?) shopping excursion in Mexico we headed to South Padre Island for a short visit to the beach. This ship lit up the harbor with brilliant color. Looks like a pirate ship to me, Matey.
The Gulf of Mexico waters at South Padre Island.My granddaughters loved collecting seashells to bring back home with them.We were not the only ones strolling along the beach.
As we were leaving the island the sun was setting just beyond the bridge to the mainland. If you click on the picture you can see the bridge stretching across the water. It was about a mile long.
On Monday, our last full day in Texas we went on a birding tour at the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. We saw a lot of different birds that are not common here in Tennessee. I really enjoyed the tour. Here's a small sampling of the many birds we saw:
Green Jays at a feeding station. We observed and took pictures of them from behind a blind.
From a distance the Great Kiskadee.I had been hoping to see this bird, the Chachalaca.
Birds and javelinas were feeding in the same area. The tour guide reminded us that javelinas are not a wild pigs. Sorry, but it looks like a very hairy, little ol' wild pig to me. ;)I'll leave you with this shot of some butterflies enjoying their corner of the park.My my, but it's good to be home again. Have a great week, Y'all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sad, It's Just Really Sad

We had wind and lots of rain last week, but our autumn leaves are still hangin' onto the trees. That's fog you can see through the branches.
Now, here's the sad, sad story....Several months ago Melanie showed us all the pretty aprons she had bought for herself. Oh yes, they were lovely, and I was impressed with them, but here's the thing.. I lingered in admiration a little too long. (Reaching for tissues.) I let my guard down and found myself almost instantly beyond self-control. (Swallows hard.) Before I knew it I was in a chasm of free patterns, lovely cotton fabric and matching thread. (Stifles sob.) I want to return to yarn and needles, but I haven't found my way back just yet. I'll let you know how it goes. Meantime, the free pattern for this one is here.
I finished the rose mints, all 140 of them. The flavors are banana and Bavarian Creme.
Have a great week, Y'all. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Trees Ablaze With Color in the South

Our trees here in the South are starting to show peak color now. The evening sun lit this one up like fire for the picture. I huge, big "Thank you!" to all who visited Emily's site and voted for my hat with the dishrag bow!I didn't win the contest, but my entry did give the winner a very close shave. ;)
Nope didn't win that one, but to my great surprise I won the best time to knit a dishrag contest..go figure..very surprised about that one.
I'm still sewing aprons, can't stop myself. I free-handed the pattern for this apron, but it doesn't fit me so I guess it's back to the drawing board...too bad since I really like chickens.
Heeere chick, chick.
No knitting to show as I've been busy making wedding mints for my niece's wedding reception.
Here's a look at a few of them packed in containers. I've done 84 pink peppermint hearts, 90 amaretto doves and 80 creme de menthe leaves. Next comes the roses, lots of roses. You can see the molds in the bottom right side of the picture.Have a great week before the week before Thanksgiving, Y'all. ;)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

See, There's This Contest

The Dishrag Tag Race is over, but there is a contest at Emily's website that I've entered. Please go here and look over the entries. I have more than one entry as you may detect from my flagrant use of my kitchen as the background, but only one really has a chance of winning.
Search your conscience and please vote for my Darling Chapeau Embellishment. http://yarnmiracle.com/2008/11/05/picture-perfectbest-use-of-dish-rag/
Thank you, thank you! Oh, and if I win I'll see there's a chicken in every pot and a Cadillac in every driveway. ;) Cool, huh?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall Cont'd

Our sugar maples are starting to color.I made another apron. For this one I used the free pattern found here. By the way, don't go here if you don't want to catch the apron bug.
I made a li'l batch of my own laundry detergent this week, Y'all, and got an added bonus; I'm saving green/$$ by going greener. Hang onto to your money and smile, Y'all.
I used the first recipe found here. Another step-by-step tutorial is here.
The ingredients are easy enough to find. Walmart carries borax. I'm told Kroger has washing soda, but if not you can buy 100% sodium carbonate (basically the same thing) at a pool store. Also, you can call the toll free number (1-800-524-1328) for the Arm and Hammer Co., and they'll tell you where in your area you can buy washing soda. I already had the sodium carbonate so I used what I had on hand.

Be cool, Y'all, Go Green. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Autumnal Doin's

Howdy from the hills, Y'all!
A few weeks ago Goodman and I took our annual trip to Kyle Carver Orchard in Cosby, Tenn. The drive is as much a delight as the apples in my opinion. Can you see why our mountains are called "Smoky?"
At the orchard.In the market.
Have an apple, Y'all.
As we drove through Gatlinburg on the way back home I spied this little guy perched on a rooftop. ;)

We also went on our little annual flea market trip to Ohio. I'll spare you those pictures and just show you this very unusual statue that looks like it's rising out of the ground at a church in Miamisburg, Ohio. Click for a better look.Knitting...I've done a few ballband dishrags, but I'm resting my hands for another task I'll be busy with in the next few weeks. I'll be making hundreds of wedding mints for my niece's wedding reception. We're planning a trip to Texas next month to attend the wedding. I've never been there, so I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Tisket, A Tasket

A look at a few of my homemade baskets..
A large Williamsburg basket which is a reproduction of the baskets that were made centuries ago in Williamsburg, Virginia by a Mr. & Mrs. Cook. They were used as serviceable market baskets.

A small Williamsburg basket that Punkin 1 (first granddaughter) and I made several years ago.A small egg basket that will hold yarn for a knitting project just as easily as fresh eggs. Could you imagine a broken or soiled egg (they don't come freshly washed from the hen house) in this basket..not me.
A tater basket...just large enough to take to the garden and bring back enough taters for supper.
A wool-drying basket replete with legs, my favorite basket.

I made these baskets at different times as you can tell by the difference in the shade of the reeds. The potato basket has been made the longest and the wool basket is one of the newest. There are other baskets that I'd like to make someday, like a fishing creel, a Cherokee picnic basket, a Nantucket Lightship basket, etc. The directions for the ones pictured here and the ones I've yet to make are all in this great book by Lyn Siler. I got mine from eBay for $3.  I"m using the money I saved on the purchase of the book for basket reed, handles, etc. ;)
Goodman has been driving over the walnuts in our country-style, gravel driveway for me as he leaves for work and returns home again. (He's used to my dabblings & is always a good sport about them. :) I wouldn't recommend doing that on a concrete driveway because of the dye in the hulls as it makes a royal mess, but here it will wash into the soil as it would in nature anyway. Why would I want him to run over the walnuts? Trust me, it crushes the hulls open slightly and makes it a lot easier to remove them . (Remove the hulls with gloved hands, of course)
Hulls in the bucket to save for when I have enough for the dye bath for the baskets. ;)Drying the nuts for later to use in holiday baking recipes like fudge, chocolate cookies, on top of hot fudge sundaes...drool. I've had lots of questions on an easy way to crack the nuts..and as far as I know there's no easy way under the sun to do that - grab a hammer and lay the nut on a hard surface and whack. If you find a better one, give me a holler!Have a great weekend, Y'all!

Linking with The Art Of Home-Making Mondays, Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop