Friday, December 31, 2010

....And....

Happy New Year!!!

Let us send out the old year old with a misty eye, and welcome the new year with open arms and lots of ideas, hopes, and goodwill to all.

Best wishes to everyone for a healthy, successful, and happy 2011!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Buttoned up


Hi, what’cha doing?


Not much, just ironing this drop cloth. The heavy one.


That’s what my sister heard when she called last week. She thought I was a bit off, ironing a painter’s drop cloth. So I explained to her that I would be using it for a (very) heavyweight curtain to help keep out the cold from the sliding door to my deck.

I did decide to put up the shrinkable plastic on the inside of the door to seal out drafts. It pulled tight and clear. I’ve used this stuff on windows many times over the years and found the best procedure is to affix the top, bottom, and sides, in that order. Wielding a huge piece of plastic was easy when following the same routine. I left my vertical blinds up since that is safer than storing the six foot plastic slats anywhere else. Over all that is this drop cloth drapery, hanging from a $5 sash rod. The rod is just barely perceptible without the cloth so I’ll leave it up when winter is through.

And what results did I achieve from all this? I can now sit comfortably at the kitchen counter in the morning, drinking coffee and reading news online. It’s still cool because the thermostat is turned down, but it’s not c.o.l.d. or drafty. I’ve sat here listening to the wind howling out there on one particular morning without even a shiver.






Total cost: $25.00 – with leftover material. There are too many variables between one winter and the next to know whether it will make a difference on my usage of heating fuel, but my comfort level has improved.

The bay window in the living room may also get a treatment.


And those fold lines and wrinkles? They don't all iron out. But, then again, what does? ;)


Have a wonderful (warm) day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Done, and done!


I didn't meet my expectations to get all the culinary gifts completed for gifting this season but, in retrospect, I think my expectations were too high. I will save the recipes for homemade fudge and caramels for next year. I did, however, make a quick batch of Avalanche Bark from Your Home Based Mom as quick gifts for some co-workers. This candy is gooood, with a peanut butter cup kinda taste. Mmmmmmm. (Note: I renamed it 'Reindeer Nuggets' and signed the zipper baggies from Dancer, Prancer, Blitzen, etc. It was well appreciated :)


I finished and wrapped the scarflet for my friend and hope she likes it. I used a vintage button for the closure. The Homespun yarn is definitely something I'll use again for future gifts. I love the soft, new-kitten feel to it.




So all the holiday cards and long distance packages were shipped last week, the co-workers have been gifted, and all that's left is to wrap my mother's gifts and get ready for dinner on Christmas Eve with family. I'm anxious for the Christmas Day phone calls to my grandchildren to hear their happy voices tell about all their treasures :) It is a wonderful season, made special by family and friends, and especially you, out there. Thank you for stopping by. I'm hoping you are ready to sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy a mid-winters nap ;)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Night and day

Older New England towns have a wonderful custom of setting up a beautiful Christmas tree on the town green, or using an existing tree in town that can be decorated each year. Below is a picture taken of a local tree, decorated in only white lights. It's quite pretty, in it's simple way, when driving home from work.









But is really what it seems to be?



Or is it something else?











It is a tree sculpture made from recycled items, including flattened oil drums. It certainly has put the "green" in the holiday tree! The main tree trunk seems to be a recycled utility pole. I'm enjoying it, and hope you do, too.


Friday, December 17, 2010

After hours


(Come back on Monday for more about this tree!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Scarflets

The long tails of my scarf that would inevitably unwrap from around my neck while my arms were full would get me frustrated. I've even had one flapping behind me while treading to the car in mid winter, loaded down with groceries. It certainly wasn't keeping my neck warm.

Two winters back I was cruising through knitting and crocheting blogs (oh, happy place, the internet:) and found some instructions for scarflets, which are short scarves that button, or otherwise hook, around your neck. They easily tuck into your coat and keep your neck cozy warm. I used yarn from a thrifted green sweater to make one for myself and found that I wear it more than any other scarf that I own. It's gotten a bit shabby now and I'll probably make a replacement sometime this winter. Or next.





Here are some photos of scarflets, and also some links to blogs with instructions for making one. There are some beauties out there.

Bella Knitting

Red Threads

Adventures in Running and Crafting

Dollar Store Crafts



Get your crafting on!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Exhale

Sometimes you just have to wade through the muck. I'm still wading but for now, let's move on to some good stuff.



Like doggie treats!






These were a good work out (rolling thick dough) but fun. After cooling they hardened up considerably. I hope my doggie friends will be able to chew them!


I lost the link but here's the recipe:


3/4 cup hot water
1/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3 cups whole wheat flour

In large bowl pour hot water over the margarine. Stir in powdered milk, salt, and egg. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Knead for a few minutes to form stiff dough. Pat or roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into bone shapes. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool. They will dry out quite hard. Makes about 1.25 lbs of biscuits, much more than you see in the photo above.

(Note: I will look for the link again to give proper credit to the original author.)




And granola...




I made a larger batch so I could divide it between two recipients and added a sprinkling of pistachios. I love this because the only sweetness is from the bananas and dates.


I added a scarflet to my list of gifts. This is for my biking friend, after she admired the one I wear. She wears jewel-like colors well, so the purple and emerald in this yarn will suit her. It should be finished by Thursday. Love working with large needles :)


Now, on the home front....

Last weekend I gathered (or tried to gather) one common mallow (don't fret - it's not on a protected list). This is the plant my grandmother used to dry, then boil with fruits for a cold remedy. The plants have a VERY tough, woody, strong root, and with the ground being semi-frozen from our early freeze I could not pull it out. It broke off just below the surface of the soil. I am drying as much of it as possible and set the large section of root in a pot of water. The small leaves attached near the base have remained bright green and healthy.




I will post updates about how this goes.

It's Wednesday! Have a great one!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pause

Murphy has stopped by to bestow upon me every trick in his book. It didn't seem too bad until the thumping noise started whenever I put pressure on the brakes. That's when the knot in my stomach grew larger.



Please excuse me for a short bit while I get things under control.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Breakfast

...probably my most favorite meal, even if it's just oatmeal with honey and cinnamon.



But


I've got a few tricks up my sleeve (or, on my plate.)




I didn't take a picture, but this recipe is soooo good! I shortcut it a bit, because I have organic pancake mix on hand. I added a large scoop of pureed squash, a bunch of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves), and enough milk to thin to desired consistency (I skipped the egg.) I enjoyed the most heavenly pancakes topped with real maple syrup (is there any other kind?) Thank you, Karly, for this idea!


I routinely make my own granola from a favorite recipe that is sweetened by dates and bananas, which are pureed with vanilla and a little water. But after my current batch is finished I'll be making this one. milk n cookiezzz is written by a fifteen year old girl who knows her spatulas from her whisks :) You'll enjoy looking through the recipes she has posted. (Great photos, too!)


I do have one photo to share. This recipe is from the 80's, copied from a magazine, and adapted. It's a very dense banana bread with a twist - caraway seeds. (The original recipe called for anise seeds.) It's a drier bread that carries butter very well ;)






(The second loaf was very quickly put in the freezer.)



Happy Thursday!