Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Both Wall Hangings are Tacked Down.

I worked on my two wall hangings again today and have got both tacked down and pieces all in place.
Here's "Cat in a Pumpkin" all pieces in place and ready for the satin-stitching.

And "Cat in a Pumpkin Patch" is also tacked and ready to be satin-stitched.
I should have these done by this weekend.  Crossing my fingers that woks out.

Have a good day.

Monday, September 18, 2017

I'm Working on 2 More Halloween Wallhangings

I am on a roll.  I chose two of my designs and started tacking down the pieces.
This is "Cat in a Pumpkin" so far.  Its pinned atop another wall hanging.  I found that tacking down black fabric with my usual black thread wasn't working for me.  It was too difficult to see where I should be cutting away fabric.  With this one I made two glaring errors in cutting and had to reset more fabric after removing the damaged pieces.
The background fabric I've had for a few years and with its dark clouds and a moon above, I thought this a good place to use it.
There is still lots to go on this but I had to stop when my back starting acting up.  I was doing a bit too much today.

This one is "Cat in a Pumpkin Patch" and will have a large pumpkin to the left of the cat.  The background is a darker gold than is showing here.

Now its time to rest up a bit and with the light going so quickly with the overcast sky, I won't get back to these til tomorrow.

Have a good day.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Two Ghost Wall Hangings are Finished.

I finished the pair today.  Both are 14 x16 inches.
I named them "Boo" and "BooBoo" since they are turned in opposite directions.  The white of the ghosts is the same, but the one on the right was in a darker part of the room so it looks different.

I think the black cat wall hangings will have to wait for next week.  I am pooped from sewing and pinning and pressing and all that goes with getting a wall hanging finished.

Have a good day everyone. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

'Witch in a Cauldron' Wall Hanging is Finished

Here it is, my first Halloween wallhanging.
I finished it today, and am very pleased with it.  It measures 14 x 16 inches so its the perfect size to hang on my front door.

Now I have to layer, pin, and quilt my two Ghost wall hangings but maybe not until tomorrow.  I'm rather tired right now.  I have to get away from my sewing machine now and then.

Its a good time to read and I have a book I know I will enjoy, A Good Man with a Dog by Roger Guay, (published 2016), a retired Maine game warden who served for 25 years in the Maine woods.  Its started out great and caught my interest so I really want to get back to it.
I have a fondness for our game wardens.  They do terrific work tending the wildlife in our state and if you haven't yet seen the TV program North Woods Law, you need to check it out.  It deals with all the things that go on in our woods.   I notice that lately under that title they are showing programs of the New Hampshire conservation officers (another name for game warden).  As our next-door neighbors their jobs are the same and I give them all credit where credit is due.
Good job men and women who serve our wildlife.  Thank you.

Have a good day everyone.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Halloween WHs in Progress

Today I managed to get the borders on 3 Halloween wall hangings.  I bought the fabric yesterday during my day of shopping with the gang on the Parks and Rec Bus.

Here is 'Witch in a Cauldron.'  Satin-stitched and with borders added.  I bought the border fabric at Walmart in a package of several different prints of 2.5 inch strips.  I wanted something that had some orange in it.

These are the two ghosts I made with fabric, again, bought yesterday because I really needed some orange.  When I moved here all my bright orange fabric was given away.  I needed to get a bit more.  Especially for orange pumpkins planned in a couple other wall hangings.

The next step is pinning, layering and quilting the wall hangings before I add the binding around the outside edges.  Then they will be done.  I'm hoping to get to that point soon.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Halloween Is Coming!

I really needed to get back to sewing so I drew a few patterns for the Holiday and started my first one, Witch in a Cauldron wall hanging.

This is a rough tacking down of the pattern.  The witch's dress is purple, tho I see it looks sort of bluish in the photo.  The socks are red and blue.  The background is a light orange and cream.   I will add gold buckles to the shoes.
Its simple, but it says Halloween.  I just want a small wall hanging, about 10, x 12 inches or so to hang on my front door.
There's lots of stitching needed to finish this before I can add borders but if I am lucky, I will have it ready by next week, plenty of time for Halloween.
I also free-handed a few other patterns: two with different ghosts, one with a pumpkin and a cat side by side, one with a cat sitting inside a pumpkin, and that should be enuf for the holiday.
I have to buy some orange fabric, that's for sure.  It seems to be I bought some last year but I have yet to locate it among my stacks of cotton fabric. I know other quilters know what I mean.   I think a trip to the local quilt shop is needed next week.

On a positive note, I have lost 7 pounds of the six I gained eating good candy the last couple of months. Yes, I lost one more pound that I gained   I think I may have found my problem when it comes to weight loss.  
I get to craving food and can't help myself and have to pile it in.  But this time, along with limiting my portions and avoiding most snacks, I also cut way back on soda.
I knew that drinking diet drinks always made me crave more food instead of cutting back, but now I'm thinking that regular soda has the same effect, only to a lesser degree.  So that means I am limiting my soda intake to a glass every other day or so.  So far, its been a week, and I am not craving snacks as I had done always in the past.
So friends, cross your fingers for me.  I wanted to lose that extra 6 pounds before my regular checkup mid-Sept. but I really need to lose about 20-30 lbs more if I'm honest with myself.  
Maybe this will work out better for me.  I can only try.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Utility Cart Came Today

I've needed one of these but had to shop around for one with rubber wheels.  So many now are being made with plastic wheels and I don't care for plastic.  It may last forever in a landfill, but when it breaks there's no fixing plastic.

Mine is black and it holds 120 lbs so when I come home from shopping on the bus, I can unload right into it and bring my goods upstairs on the elevator.  It will make things easier.  We have one in the laundry room for anyone's use, but sometimes it is being used by someone bringing home their laundry.  There are a couple of other carts there, but smaller and no use to me and my amount of shopping bags.  I wanted my very own.

Here's a view of the wheels.  I wasn't sure I could put this together, only the wheels were needed to add with washers, springs, and cotter pins, but the directions were clear and it was easy.  I managed just fine.
I also added some large-sized name labels to the handles and the front placque so everyone will know this is a personal cart and not the laundry's.  I will keep it outside my apartment when not in use.

Have a good day.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Meat Loaf in Potato Nests

I just made these the first time today and they were terrific.  I will share.

I used a large-sized muffin tin 3 inches across.  This is a photo of the tin after my loaves were baked.

Preheat oven to 400* F

3 Lg or 4 Medium Russet potatoes, well scrubbed
olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic pepper
1 lb Ground Beef (I used 80/20)
1 Lge Egg
2 Slices White Bread
1/4 Cup milk
Seaonings for meatloaf mixture:
Red Pepper Flakes, Parsley Flakes, Oregano, Season Salt, Garlic Pepper, Salt, Pepper

Rather than peel my taters, I trim off the 2 short ends, then trim away most of the peel on 4 sides to remove any blemishes.  Saves time not peeling and the skins that are left are tasty.

Slice taters thinly.

Place taters in a bowl.  Add olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and garlic pepper to them and toss to coat.

Line the muffin tins with the thinly-sliced taters, all around the sides and the bottom.  You do NOT have to oil or spray the pan since the oiled taters are oily enough.

While the taters are pre-baking;   In a bowl, crumble up 2 slices white bread.  I put some on one hand and with the other hand I grind my palms together to make the crumbs really small.  I don't bother to use stale bread but any that is handy.

To the crumbs, add the milk, stir together, then add your seasonings.  I use Red Pepper Flakes, Oregano, Season-All, Thyme, garlic pepper, salt and pepper.
Mix them all together.

Put your ground beef on top and add your egg.  Stir them all together til they are mixed well.  I next  placed this bowl in the fridge while my taters were cooking.

After 20 mins in the oven, the taters are pre-baked.  Turn the oven down to 375* now and add your meatloaf mixture to the potato nests.

I found 1 lb of meat worked perfectly for six loaves.  Now place the pan right in the oven.  I didn't wait for the oven to cool down.  I wanted that extra bit of heat to help brown my meat right away.
You need to bake at 375*F now for 20-30 mins. depending on how well you want your meat cooked.  Mine took the full 30 mins.

After 30 mins. mine looked like this above.

They are ready to serve.

Let them cool a few minutes so the meat will hold together a mite better.  With the taters and the meat and a side of salad, these were a complete meal, thanks to the tater nests.

Everyone likes their own version of meat loaf so just follow thru with what you like best;  adding green peppers or onion to the meat mixture or maybe adding a topping of ketchup or tomato sauce over the tops the last 15 mins. of cooking?  Maybe some crumbled bacon over the tops?
I'm pretty much a meat and potatoes woman so I didn't need those extras and was very satisfied.  The taters are similar to the 2-Step Potatoes I make but without the sauteing and then the steaming at the finish.

I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as I have.  Have a nice day.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

6 More Tomatoes Today

The tomatoes are coming in now and I'm pleased.
Note:  They are redder in life than they appear in their photos.  I'm not the best of photographers.
The Left loner is my first Patio tomato and the other 4 are more Better Bush.

Here my 2nd Red Pride is on the right with the 4 Better Bush to its left.  I'll taste test the Red Pride and the Patio when I roast my tomatoes later today or maybe tomorrow.  I have the others I harvested earlier to add to the group.  I'm hoping to get a full quart bag of them when they are finished.

My report on flavors will take a later posting.

Have a Good Day.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tomato Taste Test

The results are in but I need more Red Prides to make a true comparison.
I sliced and added the newly-picked tomatoes to a salad last nite.
I found the Red Pride to have a much thicker skin so the eating was not comfy.  It was a job chewing thru that skin.  I had to cut some of it out entirely in order to have a smooth salad.
The Better Bush toms were very tasty and the skin perfect for eating in salads and as a whole tomato.
Here's another Better Bush tomato picked fresh yesterday.

Compare the size with my hand.  I'm a tall person and with some uncomfortable girth to go with it so my hands are large.  The size is commendable along with the flavor of Better Bush.   The reddish slash of an oven burn on my hand is healing well.

Have a good day friends.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Bald Eagle Visits Our River Today

I was astounded to see a beautiful bald eagle soaring over our river today.  It took me by surprise.  I had been told we had one that fished our reservoir in the summer but this is the first time I've seen it.
You can spot him sitting in the top of a tree about in the center of this photo.

He's still sitting and watching from the same spot in this shot that shows the river below him.

I only took 3 photos of this lovely figurehead for our free country.  I'm sorry I couldn't get a closer shot or two.   I hope to see him again soon.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bissell "Featherweight", Now Do I Love Thee

My report on this little wizard, is a 'thumbs up' for sure.
I am older and weaker than I was a few years ago.  My old vacuum was too heavy to drag around and even setting it up was getting difficult.  What does one do in such cases?
One finds a way.....
Above is my new Bissell "Featherweight" which truly lives up to its name.  It was a joy to push around the carpeting.  So light and easy.  The fact that it has a cup for dirt was another plus I liked.  No more dirty bags to deal with in emptying.

 This is the section that can be removed it one wants to zip over the upholstery or in between the sofa cushions for a quick clean-up.  Just push a button and it comes apart.  Easy Peasy.  I love easy.

This is the blurb in Dr Leonards catalog.  I liked the weight, I liked the idea of a dirt cup.  Why not try it.  If it didn't work out, I could send it back.
This little baby will NOT be going back.  I really like it.  It makes quick work of my limited carpet areas, only the living room and bedroom.  I live alone with only a dog for company.  Its a great way to suck up the dog hair every day in only a few minutes time.  Emptying the dirt cup is a breeze and there's a filter to keep the air clean.  What's not to like.
I get a catalog from Dr Leonard's quite often, but if you want a fast purchase, just go to  drleonards.com and check out their items.
In all the years I've done business with them, I've only sent back one item, a small exercise bicycle that fell apart on its first use.  It was the kind where you sit in a chair and only use your feet on the pedals.  They didn't quibble.  I got my money back right away.

Nice day here but overcast.  I love the fact that it is cooler, only in the 60sF.  This week will be pretty comfy around here.  We got a nice rain shower last nite that petered out early this morning.  Much needed, that shower. 
I don't even have a fan going at this moment and its nearly noon.  Nites have been in the 50sF so even when the days are sunny with high 70s to low 80s, the cooler evening bring the temps back into line.  Nice weather.

Have a good day.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Fresh Blueberries

I got a terrific gift from a good neighbor yesterday.  She picked fresh blueberries and kindly brought me a pint.
Don't they look divine.

Their size is great as well.  In Maine there is nothing like fresh blueberries.  Its one of the crops we grow well in this state, second after Maine potatoes.

I like them fresh eaten without a muffin or pie to honor them, just from my hand.  A bit of whipped cream doesn't hurt either, but alas, I am out of whipped cream.

Thank you Estelle.  You made my day.

I checked the weather for the coming week and it will be very nice indeed.  Days in the 70sF and nites in the 50sF which is ideal in my book.  No rain in site now after last nite's little bit, until a week ahead when temps will return to the low to mid-80sF.

Walking the dog last nite near midnight, the air was cool and brisk.  No air conditioning needed today, just a fan to move the air a bit.  Outdoors on our noon walk, the breeze was terrific and one needed a sleeve to be comfy.  If one opened a window, the breeze was so cooling and divine.

Have a good day everyone.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I Love Using A Pill Dispenser.

For years now I took my daily pills and vitamins daily, taking them out of their bottles, one after the other and swallowing them down.
Today I use a Pill Dispenser.  I've had a couple, two too small for my portions and this one a larger one that has space for daily morning and daily afternoon or evening pills.  I love it.  It cost me a buck at Dollar Tree and it has removable lids so it is easily refilled each week.
Here's my dispenser with my bottles of daily pills and vitamins alongside.  Refilling it only once a week is so time-saving.

This is a close-up of my compartments filled for the week.  I have only one Potassium tablet to take in the evenings.   I love that the lids are removable.  Its just a matter of counting your pills and dropping them in the slots....1, 2, 3 etc.

Lids closed up and dispenser ready for another week of easy, peasy.

On the garden front, my tomato containers are still sporting only green fruits.
tomato containers
From Left to Right:  Patio, 2 Better Bush and my Red Pride.
All still green.  That's what happens when one gets a too late start to the season.  Usually I am transplanting tomatoes before Memorial Day each spring, but this year it was well into June before I bought them locally.
I've harvested Oregon Spring tomatoes (which can be transplanted outdoors 4 weeks BEFORE our last frost date), before the end of June in the past, but their flavor, alas, was not the best in my opinion.  I like rich, juicy flavor for my home-grown tomatoes.  Not having fresh fruits in July is very unusual for me.  I just hope the flavor is worth the long wait this year.

Have a Good Day.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I Have A New Range.

It was a big surprise.  I finally complained to management about my overheating oven ruining cookies, brownies, and now my roasting tomatoes getting tinged.
They quickly followed thru.
Maintenance looked at it 2 days later, pronounced that a new thermostat should set it right.
Imagine my surprise when the following day a knock at my door produced two men with a new range.  Evidently the new thermostat was going to be an outrageous price so they gave me a new range instead.
Its white so it matches the fridge.  This one is a Whirlpool instead of a Tappan.

Its first use proved the top burners are working just fine and fast.  If the weather cools down in the next few days, I will christen the oven with some chocolate chip cookies.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Freezing Roasted Tomatoes.

I've made these the last few years and they certainly add some great flavor to soups, chili, sauces and the like.  I just toss in a bagful or two still frozen.
I have to give credit where credit is due.  I got this recipe from Melissa D'Arabian on Ten Dollar Dinners which was on the Food Network a few years.  By the way, her book of the same title, is fantastic.  I've given it as a gift before and it was much used and loved.

Lots of tomatoes, any size or variety, as long as they are fresh.
Olive Oil
Chopped Garlic
Salt and Pepper

About 10 minutes to Prep
Two Hours to Roast.
One Hour to Cool.

Use any fresh tomatoes, large or small.  For small or medium ones, cut them in halves.  For larger tomatoes.  Cut them in quarters.  Remove the stem section.

In a large bowl, place the cut tomatoes.  Add olive oil, chopped garlic, fresh or dry tyme, salt and pepper and toss them to coat evenly.

Place the tomatoes on foil-lined baking sheets, cut-side up.  Roast at 275*F for one hour on this side.

 Unfortunately, my oven is overheating.  It won't stay at 275* but leaps higher, hence the blackeing of he foil, so a report was made to Maintenace about it.  Its been a pain making cookies and brownies and anything that has to bake or roast the last several months.
Anyway, after one hour the tomatoes looks like this above.
You have to turn them all over so they are skin-side up and let them roast for another hour.

When they are done, they are a bit shriveled and if your oven is working right, you will have juices on your foil which you also want to save.  Unfortunately mine are a bit drier because of the overheating oven.

You can freeze these with the skins on, or remove the skins.

You can easily lift the skins off the tomatoes with tongs.  If they won't come right off, give a bit of a shake and the skin will lift off easily.
These are terrific eaten fresh from the oven as a side dish to a meal.  Yummy.

Mark your freezer bags with the information you want, and the date, and seal them tightly.  Putting them in a double bag is best.
When you need to add something to chili, sauce or a soup, you can take a bag or two from your freezer and toss in the tomatoes still frozen.  Easy peasy.  And it gives your dish such an added flavor, you won't want to miss.

Have a Good Day.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Stroll Thru Our Gardens

We've had some lovely weather the last few days, in the mid-80sF here is southwestern Maine, but such low humidity and cool breezes off the river that made it so comfy outdoors.  Many residents here sitting out under the huge trees and enjoying the passing of the river and the summer blooming the last couple of days.   There's some 60'sF days coming for Monday and Tuesday and nothing really hot for at least a week which makes things pleasant for Mainers and tourists alike.

My container garden of tomatoes are still only greenies with just a touch of blush on one or two as you can see here.  L to R: Patio, two Better Bush and a Red Pride on the far right.

Here's a close-up of one of my Better Bush pots.

As for flowers, where does one begin.  Here is one of the Hosta Gardens out front and there's my corgi Penny checking it out.  The  several varieites of Hostas are in flower with lovely, tall, lavender spikes.  A large rhododendron in the background yet to blossom.

On the other side of our main entrance is the other half of the Hosta garden.  There's another large rhododendron in the background but no blossoms there yet either.  And on the right is a lacey vine.

I'm not sure what this is, but its very pretty.  Not in full bloom yet.  Covers a tall fence.

This one is in the back garden near the curbside bench.  I think it might be a lacey Hydrangea.

In the close-up it looks very much like the Bombshell Hydrangea and its flanked by bush roses.

We also have Snowball Hydrangeas on the far lawn.

Here's a close-up of the larger of the three planted along that hillside.

There are summer flowers blooming in the raised beds as well.  Here is Echinacea or Coneflower, a red variety.  Very pretty.

I can't identify this one, but its tiny purple bells on tall stalks.

Some of our flowers have passed, such as the Black-eyed Susans, Dianthus, early-blooming coneflowers, and the Shasta Daisies but I see later Black-eyed Susans are just opening in our birch tree garden where there's more shade.  I'll try to remember to take some photos of the birch tree areas soon.  Its shady under the trees and grows shade-loving flowers.  We've had a variety of blossoms in that area already which have passed and more to come from the looks of things.

Our Flower Box under the trees is going strong with an assortment of flowers and colors.

Its always a pleasure to stroll thru our grounds with its many flowering bushes and blooms.  I thought I would miss my own garden from back home when I moved here, but with all this color and beauty, I don't miss it at all and another more energetic and gardener takes care of it in all seasons.  I'm happy to just have a few containers this year.

I'm not the only one with pots to tend as you can see here with grape tomatoes, dahlias, dill and other greens.  Our patio is a nice sunny spot for growing flowers and veggies.

Have a good day my friends.