Friday, March 31, 2017

Let's Make Chocolate Walnut Clusters.

Today is candy day at my house.  I'm making Chocolate Walnut Clusters.  You can use walnuts, pecans, or unsalted cashews, the choice is yours.  In my house that usually means walnuts.
There are only 3 ingredients and it takes about 12 mins. to make from the time you put the chocolate pieces in the double boiler til you spoon them onto the cookie sheets.

All you need is......
12 oz. Baker's Sweet German Chocolate Baking Bars (green label)
14 oz. can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (red label)
1 1/2 Cups Nuts of your Choice.

You will need cookie sheets.  I use two 9.5 by 14 inch sheets because it is easier to find room for them in my refrigerator.   Cover the sheets with waxed paper.

You also need a double boiler.... or place a bowl over hot water to melt your chocolate. 

Above are my ingredients.  I love walnuts so that's my choice.

Let's begin.......
Over medium heat I broke up my chocolate bits and added them to the pan to melt.  I use a wooden spoon for this part.  Stir them around a bit to induce quicker melting.

When the chocolate is melted nice and smooth, REMOVE FROM HEAT.

Add your can of condensed milk and stir together til its all chocolate in color.

Add your nuts to the chocolate and stir together til the nuts are all covered.

It should look like this with nuts all covered in chocolate.

Using two teaspoons, spoon the chocolate candies onto the waxed paper.

When I finish, I add a few walnuts to the last 2 or 3 candies because at this point they are pretty much mostly chocolate, dredging up the end of the chocolate in the pan.
I made 40 pcs of candy, some small on the first sheet, and the rest larger on the 2nd sheet.
Place both sheets in the refrigerator to harden.

To store, you have to keep them in the refrigerator.  The chocolate gets too soft otherwise.  You can store them in a covered container in the fridge when they are firm.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

I've Got a Pink African Violet Now.

Yup, bought myself an African Violet at the grocer's.  They had in a new supply and I wanted something pink.
Here's the newcomer on my windowsill.

Here it is with its buddy.  Now I have two.  I'm sure I'll add to the group next week if they have something in light lavender, or even white.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Flower Fairies" Wallhanging is done.

I changed the name from  Garden Fairies because all the little panels are flowers with fairies named for them. 
The final size measures 19" by 22" and is very much depicting spring.  I have it hanging in my living room for the season with a winter one stored away til winter comes again.
Its so pretty and flowery and makes me smile.

I should have pressed it before taking its picture so it looks a bit wobbled on the left, but this is the back and its normally smooth.  I put a small bit of honeybee fabric on the hanging sleeve, which is also my quilt label.   Its my signature for labels.

It may look like spring, but they are warning us of 3" of snow coming on Saturday.  I hope they are wrong.  After all, Sat. is in April and I'm wanting spring flowers and green grass.

I've been checking on the birds today.  Robins are hopping on the back lawn looking for nourishment.  By the single birdhouse I've watched a sparrow checking it out.  I hear a pair of sparrows raise their brood there every spring so I think he's checking it out and laying claim before another bird takes it.  This lone sparrow has been sitting on a branch in front of the house and also right up to the opening in the house. 

Temps. today are in the mid-40sF which is very good for us.  I have my living room windows open to enjoy the fresh air.  The sun is shining.  Makes one feel really good.

Have a good day.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

How About Cooking Some Potato Salad.

I had the urge for potato salad the other day so I made a batch.  I just kept peeling potatoes so I had more than enough in the pot. There was enough leftover to make hash browns later.
I make a pretty decent potato salad that my family enjoys, as do I, so I'll post it here.

3-4 Large Russet Potatoes, cubed
4-6 Large Eggs
1 Onion, chopped
1 Cucumber, sliced thinly with seeds removed
1 Heaping T. Yellow Mustard, or mustard of your choice.
2-3 Heaping T. Mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper, to taste

I peel and cube Russet potatoes.  I like them bite-size.

Since I like eggs in my salad, I boil them in the pot at the same time with the potatoes. The eggs I boil for 8 minutes.  The potatoes take a bit longer, around 12-15 mins. depending on their size.

While the potatoes are boiling, I chop one small  or medium yellow onion depending on how much I'm making.  You can use a red/purple onion if you like more color in your salad.  Set aside.

Scrub a cucumber clean.  Slice it in half lengthwise and with a spoon remove the seeds.  The wetness would make your salad watery so remove those seeds.

With seeds removed, slice cuke I half again, so its quartered, then slice very thinly across.  Set aside.

Remove the eggs after boiling 8 mins.  Cool the eggs under cold running water and bang them on the sink or counter all over so the shells are crackled completely.  It makes it easier to peel them.

I only like the yolks of eggs, so I discard the whites, or at least most of the whites.  I then break up the yolks with a fork so its rather fine.  Set aside.

When the point of a paring knife slides smoothly into a potato cube, the potatoes are done.

Drain the potatoes in a colander and run under cold water a few seconds.  In this case, I made too much for the potato salad, so put some in a separate bowl to make hash browns later.
If you don't want your mayo to absorb into the potatoes too much, put the potatoes in the fridge for 20-30 mins. to cool off before taking the next step.

In a large bowl, place about 1 heaping  tablespoon yellow mustard (or other mustard if you prefer a different flavor) and 2-3 heaping tablespoonsful of mayo.

Stir the two together so they are nicely combined.

Next, add the potatoes, onion, cucumber, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir together well.

Lastly, top the salad with your chopped eggs and stir in the eggs gently till all combined.  Taste it.  If you want more salt and pepper, add it now. 

Place salad in a covered container and refrigerate.  Keeps well for 3-4 days..... if it lasts that long.

Have a good day.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Garden Fairies top is finished.

Next its a matter of layering, pinning, quilting, and binding it.  I'll put it on the back burner for now.
This will measure about 19 x 22 inches when done.  I love fairies.

Here's a closer view. 

We got snow yesterday but it was so warm at the time, in the mid-30sF, that the snow falling on the tarmac just melted.  On the lawns its added a couple inches.  The flakes were huge and beautiful for a few hours in the afternoon.  Last night when temps dropped, rain fell and it was a bit frosty.  My trip out with the dog was very quick and I had on my ice grippers to prevent my slipping.  They sure are helpful in the winter.

Court continues......

Q.  I understand you are Bernie's mother?
A.  Yes.
Q.  How long have you known him?
Q.  As an officer of the Police Dept. did you stop an automobile with plates 123ZZ?
A.  Yes, sir.
Q.  Was the vehicle occupied at the time?
Q.  Just what did you do to prevent the accident?
A.  I closed my eyes and screamed as loud as I could.
Those are your smile moments for today.  Enjoy your day.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sashing Is Added To Garden Fairies Wall Hanging.

I worked on fairies this morning and into early afternoon.  We are getting our snow now and its a day to stay indoors and keep warm.
As you can see, I've added the sashing around the fairy blocks.  I'm liking it so far.
I still have borders to add and the cornerstones, but I have other things to do right now.

Here's the close-up of the printed panels.  Each fairy is named for a flower that is also in that specific little panel.  All in pinks, rose, and lavenders.  As a color combination, I adore pinks and lavenders.

I'm considering making peanut butter fudge but that will be later in the day if I make that decision.  In the meantime, I'm going to continue to choose fabrics for the wall hangings that are still to come.

Have a good day and think positive.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Brrrrrr. It Was a Cold One Today.

Temps. just don't want to climb high enough to be comfortable around here.  Today it drifted up to the 20sF again, but the wind was blustery and cold.  At least the sun was shining.

I cooked potatoes today but I'll show you those another day.

Today, its my Garden Fairies small quilted wall hanging on which I worked.  I got the pieces all cut out, the strips, even the cornerstones and border pieces.  The next step will be to sew the blocks and strips together, maybe tomorrow.
All this is the fabric in what another quilter buddy was so kind enough to send me because she knows I love my fairies.  Thank you, Patty.  I've loved the fabric and didn't want to cut into it until now.  I think I'm ready to use it in a small wall hanging.  Some of the fairy blocks I saved for d├ęcor on a tote bag in the future.

For your smile today just think of the good things in your life.  The food in your kitchen, the warm house you've enjoyed all winter, the companionship of 4-legged friends.  I know it makes me smile.
Have a good day.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wall Hanging Now Leaded.

I worked all afternoon on adding leading to my Small Roses Stained Glass project.  It looks pretty good, I think.  I have a few touch-ups to do but its coming along well.
This is only 9 x 12", smaller than I usually work but it still takes time.

It was rather cold today and I wasn't expecting it.  Temps only in the low 20sF but with the wind gusting to 15 MPH, it felt a lot colder.  I didn't stay out too long with my dog on our noon walk.  I stopped to brush her down.  She's shedding her winter coat.

Your smile for the day follows:

The Court:  Now as we begin, I must ask you to banish all present information and prejudice from your minds, if you have any. 

Did you smile?  I know I did. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Small Roses Wall Hanging is Coming Along Little by Little.

I worked on Small Roses Wall Hanging today and got a little more done.  I had to put it aside to clean house.  I can't ignore my home especially when company is coming later tonite.

Now all the components are stitched on.  The next task is doing the leading which will take a bit of time and effort.  I hope to get back to it tomorrow.

In the meantime there's a pizza party here in the building to welcome home a resident who's been in the hospital and rehab.  It will be nice to see her again.

How about a bit of courtroom drama.....

Q.  Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A.  All my autopsies have been performed on dead people.

Q.  Were you acquainted with the decedent?
A.   Yes.
Q.  Before or after he died?

Q.  Officer, what led you to believe the defendant was under the influence?
A.  Because he was argumentary and he couldn't pronunciate his words.

Q.  Mrs. Jones, is your appearance this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
A.  No.  This is how I dress when I go to work.

Q.  You say you're innocent, yet five people swore they saw you steal a watch.
A.  Your Honor, I can produce 500 people who didn't see me steal it.

That's it.  Have a nice day and Smile.

Monday, March 20, 2017

I Worked on the Small Roses Stained Glass Wall Hanging.

I thought I'd work on this small piece because it should work up in a few days and I have the urge to see another finished work.
I got the background and frame on and the leaves.  So far it is all stay-stitched in place. The next step will be the roses when I finally decide what color I want. 
Then the leading gets done to finish the art work.  Its only 9 x 12 inches so should fit on a wall or door or somewhere without any problems finding a spot.

I found my very first effort at making handy quilter's pockets packed away and not wanting to waste it, I set it under the TV in the living room.  I place my ironing board in front of the TV when I'm working on quilt projects so its handy for cutting fabric, pressing, pinning, marking, etc.  I have a set of tools necessary in the pockets right in front of me so I don't have to go to my sewing machine in another room to find them.  Makes it easier when doing a project.

I'll only post one funny for you today.  I'm a bit tired and achy.

Q.  Why did the chicken cross the road?   A.  To get to the other side.

I'll bet you thought I had a new twist on an oldie.  Sorry, I haven't got the energy to think of something new at the moment. 
Have a nice day.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

I Made a Start on "Spring FLowers' Wall Hanging.

First, lets start with a smile from the courtroom.......

Q.  James stood back and shot Tommy Lee.
A.  Yes.
Q.  And then Tommy Lee pulled out his gun and shot James in the fracas?
A.   (after a brief hesitation)  No, sir, just above it.

Q.  Doctor, did you say he was shot in the woods?
A.  No, I said he was shot in the lumbar region.

Q.  Now Mrs. Johnson, how was your first marriage terminated?
A.  By death.
Q.  And by whose death was it terminated? 

Q.  What is your name?
A.  Esmerelda Smith
Q.  And what is your marital status?
A.  Fair

Have you smiled yet?  Now for the rest of this post......

I haven't done too much today.  I allow Sunday as my day of rest when I'm in the throes of sewing projects but I kept worrying about the vase's fabric.  I finally came to a decision so I added it.
The original fabric had fairies too large to show up well so I found this one and liked it.  The straight stitching here just holds the fabric in place before the work begins on satin-stitching.

This is part of the patch of back lawn where the robins feed.  The 17" of snow we had completely blew off this knob of land so it worked out fine for the early arrivals, fooled by the warm weather we had a couple weeks ago and flying in a bit early.

The river and reservoir are today free of the thin layer of ice produced by Storm Stella.

My African Violet is still blooming.  When I get out to shop, I'll try to find it a companion or two.  I love African Violets.

To greet any guests who come visiting, I took down the Leprechaun and put up this Easter Bunny.  It almost feels like spring when I see it.

Have a good day.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

"Frosty and Friends" Wall Hanging is Finished.

Its been a productive day today.  I finished "Frosty."
This wall hanging measures 20" wide by 22" long.  It fits perfectly over my glass cupboard doors.

Here's a close-up of one of his friends.  The others, cardinals, are in the tree.

Once again I used the blue teapot fabric for the backing.  Label name is covered for security reasons.

When I work on sewing projects, I don't like hunting for tools that I might need so I made pockets (made from 2 Fat Quarters) to make things simpler for me.  These pockets are braced under my machine on my desk.  It holds things handy such as seam rippers, pins, needles, rulers, fabric turners, soap marker, embroidery scissors for those tiny things, half-square triangle ruler, thread cutter, bodkin, and one of those things that you use to hold your fabric steady under the foot, plus a few other handy items.

Hanging over my sofa arm is another set of pockets to aid me when I'm hand sewing things like labels and binding and buttons.  It hold pins, scissors, ruler, thimble, thread, and even a nail file.
The tail end is very long, making it easy to tuck under the sofa cushions and able to hold the pockets safely.

On the other side are two pockets for my TV remote and my DVD controller and also a magnetic wand to pick up fallen pins and needles.

As you can see, I believe in making things easier for myself.  It saves a lot of time.

"Vase of Flowers" above is officially done, but I was thinking of adding a fairy sitting on the edge of the vase.  I pinned it there so you can see it, but it needs trimming down and sewing on.  I like to add bees or fairies to my projects when I can.

Even tho' I took a couple of breaks, my neck is aching a lot.  Time to tone down my work and sit and read a bit.
Have a nice day.

Another Quilting Plan on Board.

I am always thinking of designs and plans to work on when I have my quilting mojo and there's fabric to make me happy

I was sent some darling fairy fabric by a sweet quilter friend some years ago. I loved it but never got around to using it.  My brain just could not settle on what to do with it.  Now that I live in smaller quarters and make only small quilt projects compared to bed-size quilts, I have a new plan or plans for it.
These are the fabrics gifted to me.  Thank you Patty.

A close-up view of some of the fairy panels, which are all 4" by 5" and there are 16 of them.

Some of the other panels. 

My idea is to make a small wall hanging from the panels using the fairy print as a border around it.  This way I can enjoy the fairies hanging in my living room. 
The 2nd idea is to use a couple of panels on the Big Pockets of my Big Pocket Totes that I like to make.  They would work well on the huge pockets.
I did that with Holstein cows for a dear friend who loved cows.
So my brain has made a decision and now I have to press and design the top today while its fresh in my mind.
Again, Thank You dear Patty.  I love the fairies

Need a smile or two.....then lets get back to excuses for children to miss a class.......

Please excuse Harriet for missing school Monday.  We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch and when we found it on Monday, we thought it was Sunday.

Sally won't be in school 2 weeks from Friday.  We have to attend a funeral.

Please excuse Fred for being absent.  He had a cold and could not breed well.

Please excuse Mary for being absent yesterday.  She was in bed with gramps.

Please excuse Velma.  She has been sick and under the doctor.

That's it for today.  I hope you have a good day.