Thursday, February 25, 2010

Turning Twenty

I finished Mom's last block yesterday, and think the quilt will be pretty spectacular.  So now I'm trying to decide on my next project.  I usually make 5 quilts to donate for an auction at the Saddle Up to benefit St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital that DD Kristin's FIL sponsors in our local area.  I have panels to make two - one is the Queen of the Ranch, and the other is called Back in the Saddle.  But since the Saddle Up is the first weekend in May, I need to (as my Granny would have said) get a wiggle on.  We do accept donations from others, most of our quilts are about 45" x 54" or so.  If you are interested in donating to our cause, please let me know.

I remember buying the pattern for Turning Twenty several years ago.  I tried making a quilt from it, but since I didn't pay attention to what was A and what was B, my quilt looked just like I put it together -- helter skelter.  So, the quilt has never been finished.  I had used FQ's of Halloween fabrics, and not enough solid fabrics, and the quilt is still in the basket of disliked objects.  But since I have boxes of FQ's, I think I will hunt out this pattern and see what I can do with it.  It should go pretty quickly since I can chain piece the blocks and then quilt an overall pattern on it.  So, I think I will mosey back to the sewing room and pull out the pattern and then pull some FQ's to use for the quilt.  Finding 20 won't be a problem -- picking out 20 that will mesh may be a problem.  So wish me luck.  More snow is moving in -- stay safe and warm.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recipe Wednesday

This morning, bright and early, one of my nieces posted to me on Facebook that she had lost her recipe for Poor Man's Steak.  A few years ago, I put a lot of family recipes into a cookbook that I made and gave to family members.  It was really well received and some have asked me when I'm doing Volume 2.  So I've decided that for the next few months I will do a Recipe Wednesday and post some of my favorite recipes here on my blog.  And thanks to Paula's request, today's recipe will be Poor Man's Steak.  I got this recipe from an Amish Friend, and it's become a family favorite.

Poor Man's Steak
2 pounds ground chuck
2 cups cracker crumbs
2 cups milk
2 cans Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 medium onion , finely chopped
pepper to taste


The day before, combine ground chuck, cracker crumbs, milk and onion. Mix well. Shape into two logs and wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, slice logs into 1 inch slices. In a skillet, brown slices well on both sides. Remove from skillet and put in baking dish one layer at a time. Spoon cream of mushroom soup over top of this layer and add other layers as needed, ending with mushroom soup. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
I have made this into patties when I was rushed, and then cooked as instructed.  It was just as good.  Hope you enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Finish It Up

Oh Yea.  The sun has given me the push I needed to start doing some sewing.  I started working on the blocks I was hand piecing for a quilt for my mom.  I haven't done anything on these blocks since about Thanksgiving.  I had seen these fabrics on clearance on one of my favorite internet sites, and bought them thinking they would make a great quilt someday.  I'm so pleased with how the quilt blocks look.

These are six of the blocks I have finished.  The block at the center left is called "stamp baskets".  I get a lot of my blocks from Quilter's Cache.  It's a really great site with some unique blocks, and there are more blocks than you can imagine.  The blocks at the top are Dresden Plate on the left, and a block called Balkan Puzzle which is on the right.

These are the last four blocks which are finished.  The sashing has been attached.  I still have two blocks to finish.  I have Bear Tracks (another block from Quilter's Cache) and Card Trick to finish.  Bear Tracks is a Bear Paw variation, and I have one "paw" to finish.  Card Trick is cut and marked, and I should start it today.  I'm hoping that I can put this together on Tuesday, and get it ready to send to the longarm quilter this weekend.  It sure feels good to be working again, and to finish up a project which should have been done long before this.  Good thing my mom's a patient woman.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Princess Builds a Castle

One of the greatest things about being a stay-at-home-granny is being able to see the world through a child's eyes, and creating with their imagination.  We have slain dragons, saved baby dolls from falling off a cliff, and cooked a five course meal.  But on Friday, Izzy decided to build a castle for her pappy.  With nearly 40 inches of snow and a gravel driveway, using a snow thrower isn't a good idea.  So Rod decided to buy a flame thrower -- it's just a little one.  Nothing like GI Joe would have used.  Izzy couldn't have cared less about the contents, she just loved the box.  And so, armed with that box and a brand new box of Snoopy band-aids, Izzy proceeded to build a castle for Pappy.

Here you can see how the castle building began.  First she had to take all the wrappers off the band aids, and I do mean all the band-aids.  And where would you have put them?  Certainly not in the trash!  Oh no!

Here's another view of the band-aid wrappers, combined with the Rite-Aid ad.  Castle Building requires some pretty complicated supplies, and this castle could not have been completed without the assistance of the Rite-Aid ad.  On the box, you can see the first few band-aids in place.  It was not an easy task.  Many of the band-aids just didn't want to cooperate, and had to be placed over and over again.

And here are more of the strategically placed band-aids.  Each one required more than one attempt at placing in just the right position.  There was some screaming, some foot stomping, and finally she was satisfied with where they were resting.  And in the end, she stood up and proudly announced that Pappy's Castle was finished.  And to think, I was afraid she was just making a mess!

And here's the final product -- Izzy's castle for her Pappy.  It required only 1 box of band-aids ($1.19 at Giant Eagle), one box from a flame thrower (free with the flame thrower), and two hours of a little girl's time.    And you end up with a castle for a Pappy built by a princess . . .  and believe me it's priceless.  So tell me again, why do we buy expensive toys at Christmas?  

Monday, February 15, 2010

Two for the Price of One

I couldn't resist doing a second post for today.  I know that lately I've been talking all about the weather, but that's about all that has been going on here.  But today I glanced out the window and saw some of the most beautiful icicles that I've ever seen.

Have you ever heard of glass artist Dale Chihuly?  He does some really amazing glass sculptures.  This is one of his pieces.  I have always loved glass, and some of Mr. Chihuly's make you think of seaweed, and other colorful and twisted undersea creations.  But, when I looked out the window this afternoon, the icicles sort of reminded me of one of Mr. Chihuly's art pieces.

This isn't glass, but an icicle sculpted by the sun and the Man Upstairs.  It's almost like crystal.  and I was just amazed to see how part of it was clear and other sections were frosted.

And here's another shot of the front of the house.  With these beautiful ice sculptures, who needs icicle lights?  And how exactly did I capture these pieces of art?  Well, I put up the window, put up the screen and then stuck my little ol' head out the window and snapped the photos.  Hey, it's cold out there, and I wasn't about to go out to take pictures.  One thing these last few snowstorms have done is to make me appreciate even more the beauty you can find in nature if you just take time to look.

Another Snowy Monday

Yep, it's another snowy Monday.  It snowed over the weekend (surprise) and the weatherman is calling for another storm to come in this afternoon.  Will this snow ever end??  I have my doubts, so when I rescheduled my drs. appt. last week, I made it for May 11.  Hopefully our driveway will be clear by then.  I think I heard the snow plow just plow it closed again.  Thanks, guys.

We had a really nice weekend.  Friday evening Kris and Izzy, Pat and Pam, and Krissy and Bubby were here for dinner.  We ordered fish, shrimp, clams and, of course, chicken tenders from a local tavern for dinner.  Don't know why I was so hungry for seafood, especially with Lent rapidly approaching, but I was.  Mary and Jimmy had gone furniture shopping, and I asked them to leave the kids here.  After all, how much fun can furniture shopping be for 6 and 9 year olds?  Then Saturday night, Pam and Pat kept the kids while the parents went out for Valentine's Day.  After taking Izzy to her Nunnie's, they brought the other two here for ice cream sundaes.  Who knew that they make sugar-free hot fudge and caramel sauces.  The grandkids brought me a bouquet of flowers for Valentine's Day.  We put it on the top of the bookcase with the flowers that Rod had gotten me earlier that day.  I love flowers, and prefer carnations to roses.  The carnations last longer it seems.  One bouquet has carnations and daisies.  The other has carnations and white bells (don't know what they are).  They look so pretty.

But Sunday -- that was a day for just Rod and I.  We spent a lazy day watching the Olympics and playing on Facebook.  Then for dinner, Rod grilled steaks and baked potatoes -- yes, outside.  The jury is still out on whether he is sane or not.  But, I have to admit it was a welcomed taste.  For dessert, Rod had bought a cheesecake assortment on Saturday when he went shopping (don't you just love a man who will shop for groceries).  We snacked on that all weekend.  The wonderfully lazy day ended with a concert on our local PBS station by Celtic Women.  I love their music, their voices, their orchestra.  Hope your weekend was just as wonderful.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wednesday (?) Whine Fest

Do you remember when I used to have a Wednesday Whine Fest?  Well, I know it's Friday, but I need to whine. . . and I will take any cheese you care to give.  The weatherman can turn off the lake effect snow machine any time now, or better yet just pull the plug.  I'm so sick of snow that I could spit!!

Do you remember this photo of my beautiful back deck after the roof was finished and the carpet was down?  The patio set was new, and I was a happy camper.  Some of my happiest hours were spent sitting on this deck, sewing and watching the fish.  Well, I'm not sitting there now.

And here's why.  This is a picture of my beautiful deck today.  You can see the roof rafters, so why is all this snow taking up residence on my deck?  For pity sake, Rod has been shoveling the snow off the deck.  It's not supposed to be like this.

That's the smoker in the background.  We won't be using that any time soon.  And the boxes . . . those are because we can't hardly find the burn barrel.  So we're putting the papers in these boxes to keep them from piling up in the house.  The garbage cans are here because they were filled with snow and frozen to the ground.  And once Rod got them emptied and thawed, he wasn't about to let them fill up with snow again.  And since it hasn't quit snowing for a week, it was a really smart move.

And here's another whine.  We can't get the car up the driveway to the house.  The driveway is on a slope, and if it didn't meet the road, it would be a great sledding hill.  But it does meet the road, and that's part of the problem.  In order to get the car up in the snow, you need to "get a run for it". And when the road is bad, you can't run.  Rod and daughter Pat have shoveled out the bottom of the driveway after the drive was plowed so that we could get the car in far enough to get it off the road.  But every day, when the Township road crew plows the road, they plow in our driveway.  Yesterday they even knocked our mailbox off the post.  Thanks, guys.

And so ends another Whine Fest.  I'm sorry to bend your ear this way, but I just needed to vent.  And now I'm taking a deep breath, holding it for a short time, and then letting it out.  Have a good weekend, everyone.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow Fashion Show

It snowed, and it snowed, and it snowed.  And it has finally quit, I think.  Our local weather forecasters had predicted 6-8 inches of snow.  We have somewhere between  23 and 27 inches.  And our yard and neighboring areas have decided to give a snow fashion show.

Here is our bird feeder wearing a tall hat of snow.  And it goes up farther than the window lets us show.  The birds were a little upset that they couldn't find where to eat from.  The sun has melted a little of the snow, and the birds are happy once again.

And here's the pond showing off it's new winter blanket.  We have some carriage lights around the pond, but the snow is so deep that they are invisible.  Sure hopes this blanket keeps the fish warm enough to survive this winter blizzard.


Next we have the pine trees looking very seasonal in their new white gowns.  They are so proud of how sparkly they look, and are ready for any winter carnival.

And not wanting to be outdone, the car has decided to show off it's new white body-suit.  Really, there is a car in there somewhere. 

And here's the ramp after being half shoveled.  You can see just how deep the snow is.  Rod did finish plowing the ramp, just in case you were wondering.

The front of the house is looking quite lovely with its white hats on the railings and the large white tossle cap on the roof.  Good thing there's a sign telling people to go to the back door, since you can't find the steps out front.

And last, but certainly not least, is the deck at the back of the house.  It insisted that since it's the newest and most used area of the house, it shouldn't be excluded.  Needless to say, I won't be venturing out in this, and so I can say that it's absolutely beautiful.  It's almost like living in a snow globe.  Stay warm and safe everyone.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ready . . Set. . . Snow

We're getting ready for the next major snowfall, which is supposed to start this afternoon.  Right now Rod is at a drs. appointment, and then we're heading to Costco with daughter Mary and Izzy.  We're in line for 5-7 inches which is nothing compared to what the east coast is looking at.  But it will be a good weekend for soup and sewing.

I did one of the green blocks for the Sew In this weekend.  Excuse the lousy photography.  The quilt will be part of the green blocks and part of the pink blocks posted the other day.  Will let you see the top when its finished.

I had a couple of comments on my blog the other day from people who I don't know and didn't recognize.  I didn't like the sound of their blogs, and the fact that one was in Spanish.  Since I'm new to the blogging world, I wasn't sure if they could contain a virus that could be passed on.  So, I deleted those comments and am praying the they didn't harm anyone.  It was almost scary that they were there, and so I didn't take any chances.  If you can tell me anything more, please do.  Stay warm this weekend.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Camp Sloanie

Pat Sloan is sponsoring a sew along weekend this coming weekend.  She calls it Camp Sloanie and has provided a free pattern for a "Stashbuster" Quilt.
I have decided to participate, and surprisingly enough, I have found the drive to get started.

This is the group of greens, mixed with a little orange, that I have pulled to use for this quilt.  The large piece of green at the bottom will be my "solid" in the half square triangle block we're doing.

This is the pink/purple grouping I have chosen for my second color.  The large pink piece will be my "solid" for the half square triangle.

And, voila!! Here's my first block.  I have a total of four blocks made from this strip grouping.  Once my blocks are nearing completion, I will audition block placement to see which layout I want to use.

It feels so good to be in the sewing room again, and actually using the sewing machine.  I'm anxious to see this project to completion.  Will keep you updated.

Yesterday I finally ventured out to the hairdresser's for a much needed new "do".  The color was old, faded, and very much grown out, and the style was most definitely out-grown frumpie.  And today, I feel refreshed, revitalized, and much more attractive.  It's funny how a new hairdo can make you feel like a new person.  And I really needed it, since I was starting to dislike the old person.  And so I've made myself a promise -- I will never go 5 months without a cut/color again.

It's snowing again -- big surprise.  But this morning I can sit here in the living room and watch the birds at the feeder.  Our bird feeder is close to the front deck, and the birds sit on the railing and patiently await their turn at the feeder.  All except the blue jays, who seem to think they own the feeder.  We've got a few pairs of cardinals who visit on a regular basis.  And always the male sits by and stands guard while his lady eats.

Well, it's off to breakfast and then some more birdwatching.  Izzy's coming today, and sewing with an active two year old isn't a task I have mastered.