Saturday, March 27, 2010

Little Daffodils

I have some miniature daffodils growing in my yard. The picture below shows you how tiny they are! Aren't they cute? I wish more flowers came pint-sized!

Friday, March 26, 2010

SCF--cleaning and crochet today

Well, I hope I get in some crochet! I decided when I woke up this morning that my concentration will be on a big kitchen overhaul. That means taking everything off the counters and table-top, cleaning those 'behind the scenes' areas and then putting things back. I'm not one of those 'stick to a job until it is finished' types. It's boring, IMHO. So I do some fun stuff--like blogging--in between boring stuff like wiping crumbs from where the toaster sits.

But I want to keep up with Sew Crafty Friday
over at Shereen's blog, so I'll just show you some of my on-going crochet projects:

The yellow thing on top is the start of a baby blanket. It will be for the first great-grandchild of the family. My older sister's daughter is having a little boy in July--my first grand-nephew! I plan to make this about the right size for a car seat (because a light blanket is good when the A/C is on) , and add a blue border around the edges. It is a very easy shell pattern--each shell is simply one single and two double crochets.
I need to finish this one, so it is where I'm concentrating. I try to do a few rows a day (it's 120 stitches across).

Moving down is my first attempt at mittens. They are easier than I expected but I didn't get them finished in time for a Christmas gift last year, so they will be for someone next winter. I only need to do one thumb!

The blue and brown thing is an afghan that is about 1/4 done. It's another one I try to work on regularly, although it is not in line to be a gift. I bought the multi-colored yarn on the clearance rack a while back because I love the combo of turquoise and browns. I picked up the turquoise yarn for the solid part of the blanket. I did about 20 rows of the mixed, and I'll do a large section of solid, then one section of mixed and will finish with solid on top. It is grownup-sized, btw.

Lastly, the purple thing on the bottom will be a giant crayon pillow. I started this a loooong time ago and only pick it up once in a while. I really have to be in the mood to do all those single crochets.

Which brings me to one last item, which I did not photograph because there's nothing to see yet. I'm actually attempting to crochet socks. They are taking a long, long time because the sock yarn is very fine and the hook is teeny-tiny. And it doesn't help that I lost my instruction book!

Please visit Shereen's blog and participate in Sew Craft Friday. Please? We want to see how talented you are! (And yes, whether you knit, sew, crochet, scrapbook or whatever, you ARE talented!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I heart roti chicken...

...although not 1/1,000,000th as much as I heart my husband (see previous post), LOL!

Okay, I know I have blogged about rotisserie chickens before, especially when stores offer them for half price. Last Friday I got a huge one (a "Big Chickie," LOL) for only $4.50. It's about twice the size of a usual chicken. Anyhoo, I broke it down and I'm getting two meals (for four) and several lunches out of it. Plus I boiled it up the leftover bones/etc. for broth--two free quarts! And of course, the dog and cats enjoy any scraps.

The reason I'm writing about it today is because I just finished a delicious chicken salad sandwich. It was a little different because I put chopped up dried cherries in the mix. I had bought some a while ago because I have heard cherries are really, really good for you. The dried ones are too pricey, but you only need a few and they keep for quite a long time. (Think about adding any dried fruit next time you make chicken salad--yum!)

Hey, if you've gotten this far, I hope you will check out some other wonderful tips at these 'blog parties' (or carnivals or whatever they are called!):

"Works for Me Wednesday" (Wednesdays) at:

"Penny Pinching Party" (Wednesdays) at:

"Kitchen Tip Tuesdays" (I know, I'm a day late!):

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My husband is awesome

But I think I probably blogged that already. Can I say it enough? He comes inside today and says, "Merry Christmas!" (Yeah, I's really the second day of spring.) So what do you think he got me?
A new laptop! Here I sit playing with it. It's a Compaq. Don't ask me the tech stuff about it, but it's faster than any other computer we have with a longer-lasting battery.
My son (the computer expert) set it all up for me. I just need to get a mouse. (I've found from experience I do not like the little pad attached to the computer, but it's okay for now.)

One nice aspect is a button that tells you if a site is okay to use. It is a green circle. If it isn't all green, the site is questionable. In fact, Michael says it won't even let me on any bad sites at all! I'm pretty sure that's why my last laptop eventually crashed.

There is a blessing in disguise, though, regarding the old laptop. After it crashed, Nick reset it to its original factory settings. Everything was lost, but the truth is that all my photos are both on my desktop computer and my camera, and I had already moved my writing work to that computer, too. So...without all the programs, the computer now runs almost as fast as it did two years ago.

What a great day--I got my new laptop, and Nicky now has his own. I'd say that was awesome, except I'm reserving that word for my husband.

Yeah, he's a keeper.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sew Crafty Friday: Necklaces

Here are some necklaces that I've made. These are just simple one-strand designs, but I have a beading magazine and plan to try my hand at more complicated patterns like flowers.
I make my necklaces on stretchy cord and I use magnetic clasps--except for the blue necklace, which has a barrel clasp you screw together. I prefer the magnetic ones--all you do is hold them close and they immediately snap together. I don't know about you, but reaching behind my head to hook necklaces in the regular way is annoying and clumsy.

I picked up most of the beads on sale, or using my Michael's coupon. The blue pendant was purchased for $4 at a store in Columbus, Ohio. It is glass and one-of-a-kind. That particular necklace probably cost me $10-12 to make and you know you wouldn't find it in any store for that cheap of a price!
Please take a hope over to Shereen's blog (link on my sidebar) for Sew Crafty Friday. It isn't just for sewing, but for any kind of crafters. C'mon, show us all how talented you are!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Well, first, you really need to hop over to "Tammy's Recipes" (see my sidebar for link) and check out her awesome cheesecakes! The orange and vanilla one makes me crave a Creamsicle Pop, LOL!

My tip today is silly, I think, but it works. Do you buy coffee in cans? If you do and you are like me, you probably save them. Well, I found they make a great place to store 'crushable' items like donuts or muffins before you put them in the freezer. Just put as many of the item as you can fit, close the lid, then label the top of the can. This is a good way to put aside a few snacks for later use (don't ice your cupcakes, btw), so that when you are in the mood for something sweet--but you don't feel like baking--all you have to do is take one or two from the can (or all of them, LOL!), let them thaw, then ice and enjoy.

Please visit Tammy for links to more tips!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Almost Missed Sew Crafty Friday!

It's past 10 p.m. and this was the kind of day that went by too fast...suddenly I remembered Sew Crafty Friday (check it out on Shereen's on my sidebar.)

I don't have my camera handy but I wanted to post something. So I just got an idea.

For all you crafters out there, may I suggest checked "" first for your supplies? The prices are reasonable, many of the items are things not easily found, and the sellers are regular people like you and me. They not only offer wonderful handmade goodies, but also just about anything you need to make your own projects.

I just got a package of pink safety eyes that I will use for homemade Easter Bunny stuffies. The seller is Stephanie over at

Oh, and btw? The shipping on most items is much, much more reasonable than regular retail!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Organization Tips

Lori over at Couponomic Stimulus Package asked for some organization tips a few days ago. I just came across the post but I'm sure she won't mind my joining in. I might have already posted these tips, and they are certainly not originally from me (I wish!), but they are worth repeating.

1. Think "FIFO" (like fee-fi-fo-fum, LOL), which stands for Full In, Full Out. It means never walking up or down a flight of stairs or in or out of a room without something in your hands. Leaving the bedroom? Grab a load of laundry to take to the laundry room (even if you don't plan to do a wash just then). On the way out of the living room, grab a cup or a bowl to drop off in the kitchen.
If I'm heading from the kitchen to my bedroom, I pass the pantry closet (used to be a linen closet), so I always try to grab one or two things to put back there. Remember that every thing you put away is one less thing out of place!

2. Don't throw your manuals and guide books into one big folder. A better idea is to make a folder for each section of the house, and file all that information according to where the appliance/toy/thing is kept. For instance, the warranty and receipt for my dishwasher is in my 'kitchen' file. It's a lot easier to find what you are looking for when you only have a few things to go through instead of 30 or so!

3. Color-coordinate your files. In my house, taxes are purple, cars are blue, health-related is green, for example. Having that purple file every year makes it much easier to toss in all those forms and statements needed for our taxes--instead of just dumping them and then having to hunt them down later.

Obviously we have a file cabinet. It is the kind where you use hanging files. Remember that those 'hanger files' are not where you put your papers. You put them in folders, and then put the folders into the hangers. A file cabinet, even a little 2-drawer one like we have, is a great investment. You might even see them at garage sales!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

It's Kitchen Tip Tuesday time over at Tammy's Recipes (see my sidebar). Here's my donation this week:

Sometimes, your local supermarket will have a really good deal on rotisserie chickens. I blogged a long time ago that we found one store that sells them half price after about 8 on a Saturday night.

My tip is to use the carcass (lovely word) the same way you'd use leftovers from your own chicken--for stock! Throw the bird into a pot and add some water (plus spices or onions or whatever if you want), bring to a boil and then simmer for about an hour. If you can,break up the chicken so more of the marrow goes into the water. Then strain it into a jar or two. You might only get about 4 cups of broth, but that's four cups you don't have to pay for (and that don't have MSG or whatever in them!)

BTW, the skin and parts that aren't 'pretty' go to the dog and cats. I'm more popular than ever when I've got chicken for them!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Tortilla Pizza

I found a pizza recipe using flour tortillas instead of pizza dough. I figured it was a good, quick way to make something different for lunch. The recipe calls for turkey pepperoni. Now me, I'm fussy--don't mess with what I know. But since I'm having some blood pressure problems and need to lose a little weight, I figured what the heck.

To my surprise, it tastes almost exactly like regular pepperoni but with 75% less fat! I have to do a comparison of the sodium content, but you get to eat a lot of pepperoni slices in one serving--and I only eat about 1/4 of that.

All you need is flour tortillas (or make them if you are ambitious), some sauce, low-moisture* mozzarella and whatever toppings you want. I have a pizza stone but you can use a cookie sheet just as well. Just throw it together and pop it into a 400 degree oven. It should cook up in a few minutes--if it turns brown around the edges, it's crispier. I like it that way. My younger son had his softer and just bent it like a soft taco.

*I think I've blogged about this before, but you always want the low-moisture kind so your pizza doesn't get all runny.

I made up a menu plan for two weeks and for the first time included some breakfasts and lunches. I'm not going overboard here--breakfast happens to be whatever was on sale in the frozen section of the grocery, cereal or maybe French toast or bacon and eggs. (Yeah, I know--bacon and blood pressure do not mix well. If I eat the stuff once a month, that's a lot. Ha, ha, maybe I'll see if turkey bacon tastes good!)

Hope everyone has a nice week! I'm seeing green things poking out of the ground, yay!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Sew Crafty Friday

Please visit Shereen's blog (see my sidebar). Sew Crafty Friday isn't up yet--it's early, but you can see how cute her dog RJ is...and I hope that SCF is there later on!

Here are some more St. Pat's things I've made. The potholder on top is a recent project. The back is a plain square of the darker green and the front is just two rectangles sewn together. I free-hand drew the shamrock for the applique, and I made the bias binding. I had bought some insulated batting* for the middle. It makes a pretty thin potholder, but is good for taking things out quickly from the oven, like cookies. If I need to hold something a little longer, I just double-up and use 2 potholders. (*A great investment--one package will make many projects!)

I did the pillows a few years ago. I had a pattern for those shamrocks, which is why they look so much nicer, LOL!

The heart-shaped pillow was the easiest thing to make. You start with a square, then draw two round bumps around two sides. The way I did it was to sew the heart together, then use that to trace a plain heart for the back.

And, btw, you can see that a shamrock is nothing more than 3 hearts put together! So all you really need to do is trace a Valentine's heart 3 times. Or you can get 3 heart-shaped pieces (wood, styrofoam, whatever), glue them together and paint them or wrap them in fabric and you have a St. Pat's decoration!