30 November, 2010

Holiday Baking

I'm a big fan of Amy Karol's blog, Angry Chicken. She lives here in Portland and her pre-holiday gift idea is worth borrowing.
She likes to come up with basic recipes and enhance them as she makes the item. One of her spice mixes caught my eye: Pumpkin Pie Spice. The blog entry is here.

 Cook's Vanilla is my favorite brand of vanilla. I started buying it at the grocery store  many years ago and then bit the bullet and now I order it once a year from the web site. I also like their lemon extract, peppermint extract and their vanilla powder. You can use the powder in Orange Julius's and in frosting. It's an off-white powder so it won't add color to whatever you are making.  
I thought how fun it would be to get some of this vanilla and make some pumpkin pie spice for friends and family who like to bake. Imagine how lovely it would be to get into the holiday baking spirit with a small package in the mailbox.

The most difficult part of making a quantity of pumpkin spice mix is converting tablespoons into cups, etc. Just to make sure, I hauled out my Betty Crocker cookbook with the cook's glossary. 4Tbsp. = 1/4 cup. Just so you know.

I had some little spice-type bottles but not enough. I finally found some on the bottom shelf at Fred Meyer's where they sell the kitchen gadgets. That was my biggest expense other than the vanilla. I bought the spices in bulk at Winco in their bulk foods department. They constantly turn over their stock so I feel assured of the quality.

For labels, I went very simple as  I really needed to post these to arrive before Thanksgiving. You can be as fancy as you need to be. I printed out these labels (after I changed out my color cartridge). I then hand-wrote the name of the spice, the year, a couple things you could do with the spice. Then I cut them out and glue-sticked them onto the jars.
---Here's another label idea from Martha.


Here's a sneak peek at what else I did this weekend.

22 November, 2010

Funny Bit About Dogs

I don't remember how I found this but if you have dogs; terribly funny. If you don't have dogs, I can't help you.

Dogs don't understand basic concepts like moving.

presented by Hyperbole and a Half

21 November, 2010

Tie-Dye Scarf

I was inspired to make this scarf after seeing it on the SewMamaSew blog in the Handmade Holidays for November  17, 2010. Category: Hipsters. 
It's so cool to be hip.
Here's the link to the tutorial.

Here's how mine turned out. I used a length of tie-dyed cotton sheeting that my friend, pencil girl, whipped up. I believe she wanted me to look at it and tell her how she could make a scarf for me but I turned it around when I saw the above post. My original tiny thoughts about this tie-dyed material was to make it straight and narrow and somehow fringe the ends into somewhat long spirals. Maybe add some beading. I am so glad I didn't see that idea through. This sewing with elastic in the bobbin is so much more rewarding - and faster.

 You start with a thin material. This cotton sheeting, well washed and re-purposed, is almost too thick. Measure and seam together a piece 90 inches x 17 inches.
You could either use your serger for a rolled hem on the edges or use your iron and fold over 1/4" and fold again 1/4". Sew down for a neat edge.  

Leave the ends unseamed for now.
 Next, spread the 'scarf' out and mark, lengthwise, three lines evenly spaced. I folded my side edges to hem so my finished width was 16". I laid my quilter's ruler out and saw easily that my three lines would be at 4", 8" and 12" (4 inches between lines). It's not rocket science and they don't necessarily need to be exact. Random, undulating lines could be on the next scarf I make.

Grab an extra bobbin and nylon elastic thread. Wind the bobbin by hand trying not to stretch the elastic too much as you wind. The tutorial said a longer stitch length (4)  and higher pressure foot tension is key. Use your regular thread on the upper spool. The elastic thread is only on the bobbin.  Sew as normal down each of your chalked lines.

To finish, hem your scarf ends with a narrow 1/4" hem by folding over 1/4" and folding a second time 1/4" and sewing it down.

Proudly modeled by Rocket. Or,  fill in the blank space for what Rocket really thinks about being abused like this. "________  _________  ______________  ____  _______  _________"

Turkey Day

I don't have the picture as I was driving at the time. 
I did a couple of errands after I finished work on Thursday last and I passed a fire house with the reader board outside.
It said, " Listen carefully. The turkey is really saying, "buckle, buckle, buckle.""

19 November, 2010

Why Did The Chicken Cross the Road?

  • In lieu of anything meaningful to blog about, I bring you the question that has dogged us all of our lives:
Why did the chicken cross the road? 
SARAH PALIN:  The chicken crossed the road because gosh-darn it, he's a maverick!
BARACK OBAMA:  The chicken crossed the road because it was time for change!  The chicken wanted change!
JOHN MC CAIN:  My friends that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.
HILLARY CLINTON:  When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.
GEORGE W. BUSH:  We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not.  The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.
DICK CHENEY:  Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL:  Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.
BILL CLINTON:  I did not cross the road with that chicken.
AL GORE:  I invented the chicken.
JOHN KERRY:  Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.
DR. PHIL:  The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.
OPRAH:  Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a NEW CAR so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN:  We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.
NANCY GRACE:  That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.
PAT BUCHANAN:  To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.
MARTHA STEWART:  No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.
DR SEUSS:  Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY:  To die in the rain, alone.
JERRY FALWELL:  Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth? That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, That chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the Liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side.' That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.
GRANDPA:  In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.
BARBARA WALTERS:  Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heartwarming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.
ARISTOTLE:  It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.
JOHN LENNON:  Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.
BILL GATES:  I have just released eChicken2010, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken2010.  This new platform is much more stable and will never reboot.
ALBERT EINSTEIN:  Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?
COLONEL SANDERS:  Did I miss one?

(presented (stolen)(borrowed) from my brother-in-law ( who, in turn, borrowed this from someone else who remains anonymous))

08 November, 2010

I Want a New Phone

My son came home this weekend to lend some help to a friend in need and helped us as well. His buddies moved the kitchen island back into the kitchen from where it has been nesting during the remodel. So glad to unload those pans and cookbooks. I seriously purged my cookbook collection and even let go of a cast iron dutch oven pan - with a lid!

Never Mind the Burgeoning Clutter

If you will remember - this is the difficult part of the remodel. Seriously being ruthless and purging the house of items I rarely use. It is emotionally wearing.
I helped a friend last weekend do just that in her shop. Boxes were piled willy-nilly, kids books, costumes spilling out, the walkway was being encroached upon. She was saving the boxes for that 'rainy day'. Her husband was okay with saving them - as long as they were flattened. I have to add in here; I have to hide boxes from my husband or they are recycled. period. 
She had two purposes to save boxes; one to have them - they have moved a couple of times. Have you ever tried to move without enough boxes? The second reason was her u-pick strawberry field. So, we saved the obvious moving boxes and the strawberry 'flat' boxes and flattened the rest and recycled them. This was obviously highly stressful for my friend and I had to keep looking at her face to determine the amount of hyperventilating going on. We also organized and put away 1. costumes her kids had worn, 2. hair doodads, 3. books and games, 4. small items to give as extra gifts to her nieces and nephews, and the dreaded 'garbage' category.   It was obviously very emotionally draining to decide what to do with the kid's stuff.

The point of this remodel is to not only make our home beautiful but to simplify and reduce the clutter of living twenty years in this home. Some days, it is very daunting to let go of anything. Other days, it causes me to hyperventilate myself and oddly, there are days when it is easier to let go. In my defense, it is definitely helpful to have the kids living away from home, busy in their lives. My friend still has both kids at home but they are on the point of departure. 
 My re-upholstered garage sale sofa set find is home at last. There is a chair, a sofa and this charming loveseat. The upholsterer did a bang up job. Rabe's Upholstery; his dad, Don does furniture. Rabe does cars - and airplane seats. No web site: They are located at 34081 Barlow Rd. towards Woodburn.

 Ready for Sunday morning fires.

 Two more of these Oregon plates have joined my 'collection'. I had four of them on my kitchen soffits. Now I have six. I cannot extract from my overloaded brain where they will be hung. I need two more plate hangers. Paying a visit to Michaels to buy them - will this decide where the plates are hung? My newest acquistion is the yellow Oregon 1859 -1959 Centennial Plate. I found it at a church runmmage sale. In the lower left is a picture of the Jantzen Swim Girl. My son asked, "Where's Jantzen."
 I think the blue one of Mt. Hood and the fancy cut-out one of Crater Lake are my favorites.

My son brought home his new phone as his last one had  stopped working. He is studying Pharmacy and he downloaded the free version of the pharmacology app. He can look up Tylenol and see all the different versions available, see the dosage amounts, drug interactions, the chemical name, and also take notes.  My brother got a new phone sometime last year and brought it camping at Crater Lake. His app was star gazing. You pointed the phone at the night-time sky and the phone would tell you all of the constellations above you and you could move it into the next sector, etc. That was interesting but when the boy showed his phone, that's when I fell into serious phone lust. I want it. I want to use up my valuable free time researching which downloadable apps to use. I think an ebay app would be great for when I am garage saling and I don't know if an item I am looking at is worth 'something'. 

The boy added this later:

Blackberry Curve 8520
Seeing that it took me about a whole day to discover all the benefits and tricks to it, you might wanna isolate yourself for a whole weekend with it. 
there are more styles, i got this one primarily because it had a good camera, WIFI router built in for free internet, and an amazing organizer with alarm function to remind you of everything you have to do. and it comes with word and powerpoint and excel :) 
its a business phone that i think you would like. full keyboard for typing.