Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fair Should-of-Beens

Last week was the Atchison County Kansas Fair! I'll share pictures soon, but am first showing what I had stitch and intended to enter into the fair, but didn't as they're not fully finished. 

There were 3 framed categories for cross stitch and I was hoping 1 or 3 of these pieces would have fit the required size;

 

 

 

 

For Christmas decoration I had hoped to finish this piece into a flat fold. 

 

For pillow it was going to be one of the following. The rabbit was going to be a large sofa pillow. The second piece will have stitching on the front and back and was is in memory of my friend Sharon who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year. 

 

 

 

For non-Christmas decoration I had hoped to finish this into a flat fold. 

 

Last but not least, this piece was going to be entered into the mini cross stitch category. 

 

All open class entries have to be made (stitched) between the last day of this years fair and entry date of next years fair. Basically anything I stitch between Aug 2017 - Aug 2018 can be entered into next years fair. I have to start anew. I love the Atchison County Fair and I always have plans to enter a dozen different categories, not just cross stitching, but my plans always fall short. Even so, I've printed out the open class list from this years fair and can't help but make notes, consider patterns and think about the 2018 fair.  


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Two finishes and a start!

I recently finished two WIPs (Works in Progress) from my stash. The first was No Bees No Honey designed by Birds of a Feather.  I've had this pattern for 10+ years and have always enjoyed it.  I'm glad to have finally finished it.

 

I'm thinking I'll remove JLA and either stitch in a lighter color or replace my intials with another bee. Thoughts? 

The second piece is Everyday Sampler by Hands on Designs.  I started this earlier this year, January I think and completed the middle section.  I made a mistake starting the border, couldn't identify where the error was and put it aside.  I am determined to stitch from stash and finish some of my WIPS, so pulled it out, struggled with it until I found the error, frogged it and got it stitched correctly.  Ta Da!  I love it!

 

My current project is part two of a series of patterns released by Lizzie Kate. Part one 6 Fat Snowmen was released in 2011 and the next year Lizzie Kate released another series called 6 Snow Belles.  I finished part back in 2012, but hadn't ever gotten around to stitching the second series.  Both series are for my mother and she wants matching frames, so time to get the second set stitched and both framed.  Here's a picture of the first set of snowman and I hope to be back soon with a picture of the second set. 

 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Today I army crawled through the desert!

Okay, so it wasn't today, but that sounded better than; Recently I army crawled in the desert. And it wasn't really the desert, but there were some similarities. It was very dry, dusty and dirty. When I showered afterwards I had to wash my hair twice! It was hot, but actually it wasn't. The humidity levels had dropped and it was rather nice out, unless you're army crawling in the desert. There were threats all around. Spiders, silverfish, bugs... There was desert wildlife; camels! Well, camel crickets. Hate them. I don't really know what an army crawl is, but I crawled lots. Kneeled and did the worm too. My core and arms were rendered useless afterwards. So, can you guess what I was doing?

 

I was knocking a biggie off my forever long house and yard to-do list. I was cleaning out under my front porch. It's a big porch. The width of the house and maybe 7' deep. There was a TON of wood under there. Crazy amount of wood and I did not want to encourage termites, so finally after 12 months I got it removed. Unfortunately it's still on the property. I moved it to the backyard and suppose I'll slowly throw some of it away and some of it I'll burn. A few pieces were good and I've kept as scrap lumber. 

 

In addition to a bunch of scrap lumber, old trim and who knows what wood, I found; 2 dead squirrels, a big old Sears mower attachment to catch grass (I guess that's what it was), two big circles of old wire (looked like barb wire but without the barbs), some brackets for attaching wood to other wood (decking), an old door thingy (looks kind of like a tar gun, but it's what opens and holds open the door), some odd (to me) cinder type bricks (I hadn't ever seen ones shaped like these before), two really heavy metal L things (they were maybe 3' and HEAVY), some trash, screws and a rabbit nest. 

 

There was so much more pulled out than shown in the pictures. I was too hot and dirty to take more pictures. 

I spread diatomaceous earth under there to kill the bugs and spiders. This stuff is good stuff. It'll kill spiders, silverfish, roaches, fleas, crickets, etc. If you get the food grade kind, it's safe for use around children, pets and poultry. I found it at Orschelns. Three quarters of my house sits on a basement, the remainder quarter is a crawl space. I plan to dust it and the garage with diatmaceous earth. It's safe for use in the garden, but will kill both bad and good bugs, so I haven't used it there. I have so few bees coming to my garden, I wouldn't want to do anything to harm them.  Oh and hopefully no one ever has to deal with this, but it is effective against bedbugs. 

It took me far longer that I expected and I have two lumps under my knees from kneeling and crawling on all kinds of stuff, but it's so good to have that behind me and to have had no signs of active termites. It was especially nice to have nice weather at the end of July to do it!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Unstuffed Skillet Peppers

This smelled and tasted soo good, but needs some work!

I had some bell peppers from my trip to Bates County Produce several weeks ago that needed to be used.  I was wanting to make stuffed bell peppers, but its been too hot to turn the oven on.  This last Saturday we got up to 103 degrees actual temperature, but with the high dew points the heat index was 120!  Too Hot! I opted for unstuffed skillet peppers instead.  Actually the blogger calls it One Pot Wonder Stuffed Pepper Skillet and you find the recipe HERE

Its very easy to make and I'd make it again with a few changes.  First you brown and drain ground beef.  Add some dry rice and brown for 2-3 minutes. 




Then you add tomato soup, diced canned tomatoes, chopped onion, chopped peppers, Italian seasoning, minced garlic and brown sugar.  Bring to a rolling boil, cover, reduce to simmer and cook approximately 40 minutes if using brown rice, less if using white.





I used brown rice and simmered that baby for well over an hour and the liquid wasn't getting absorbed. It was bubbling on the simmer level, so slightly boiling and I had used a lid. I sent panicked texts to my friend Jenna who without knowing many details said a tablespoon of oats will help soak up the moisture without altering the taste. 





In they go and I cooked it another 4-5 minutes.




Still really soupy.  I tried a spoonful and the rice was crunchy!  So I added some more beef broth, brought it up to a rolling boil, lowered to simmer (it still bubbled), covered and cooked it some more. 




I called it quits at 2 hours.  Its good, but the rice probably still could have cooked for a while longer.  I will definitely make this again, but use white rice or plan to start dinner at 3 in the afternoon! 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ring

I got Ring Pro for my front door and am planning to put a second at the back door.  Ring is door bell/motion detector that allows you to live view, record and view missed movement and answer your front door from anywhere you have internet access on your phone.  I love it! 

 

Expecting company and have to pee first, go ahead.  The Ring app chimes when movement is detected in the areas I've specified and I am given a heads up that someone is pulling in the driveway. Forgot to check for mail, check the app for motion detection alerts while I was at work to see whether mail was delivered. 

 

This is a screen shot of a recorded motion detector video. Ring began recording when he entered my yard and continued to record for 45 seconds, by which time he'd moved out of sight. I'd have taken a better picture, he's easy on the eyes, but I don't have a signed consent to share his picture. The image quality is really good. 

How about if someone is at your door at 10 o'clock at night? You can view who from your bedroom and then speak to them through the App on your phone.  This is great as my old wood floors creak and I doubt I could get to the front door to look out the peephole quietly.  Potty training your toddler and someone rings your bell?  Check the phone app and answer through the app if you desire; Hi So-and-So, I'll be at the door in just a few minutes. (My friend Jenna has been blogging about potty training!) Someone casing the house to see if you're home to break-in and you're at the store, the app will notify you of movement even if they don't ring the bell and you can talk to them; May I help you with something?  The other night after 9 pm the app alerted me to movement on the porch. Spooked, I quickly looked at the live view.  Turns out it was a pretty orange tabby taking shelter from the rain.  

 

This is a screen shot of the live view. To stop live view, I press the red button. If I want to speak to someone outside, I press the green button. 

Motion detection works by heat, so trash blowing through your yard won't set it off, but vehicles will.  You control the motion boundaries and unless you're worried about some vehicles driving around, you shouldn't include the street in your boundary. At least thats how it works on the one I purchased.  There is a cheaper version, so read specifics before purchasing. 

You also control the frequency of alerts that you receive. I have it set on the second highest frequency and get alerted when ever there's movement in my front yard or porch. If motion continues, you get multiple alerts. The following screen shot was taken after I had been out front feeding the birds. 

 

Mowing also triggers a lot of notifications. I don't mind it, but if you did, you could turn notifications off while you were out front. 

I ordered mine through Amazon, but I've seen them for sale at Home Depot.  In addition to the purchase price, Cloud recording storage costs $3 a month or $30 a year per device or $10 a month or $100 annually for unlimited cameras.  I alsp purchased a extra piece that I installed first that the Ring doorbell goes on top of. This extra piece allows me to angle the doorbell to include the driveway. Depending on your layout, you might not need it. 

I am not getting paid for this commercial and only sharing as I'm very happy with it and think you might be too!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Hanging Clothes

 

Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth.  One women's quest for a slower, simpler, more sustainable life.  The library's card catalog suggested this book when I was searching for something entirely different.  It sounded good, so I borrowed the book and took the next three weeks to read it!  I need to borrow and read it again sometime when I'm less distracted by life.  She had a lot of good thoughts on living and I would recommend the book to others.  The clutter parts though, ouch.  I have clutter.  I like my clutter, but I can and am going to try to do better.

I don't recall whether she suggests hanging ones clothes to dry or if reading her book made me think of it, but for the last month I've been hanging my laundry. I've been a clothes line hanger all of my childhood and my parents still hang their clothes out, so I knew what to expect. 

I have clothes line poles in the backyard, but they can't be used due to the new fence constructed last fall and the growth of trees.  There is a very small patch of grass that I could put a round type clothes line like either of these;

 

Picture from Homedepot.com

I have so many birds in the backyard, I'm thinking bird droppings might be an issue.  Another issue is that my backyard is one big chigger patch.  I'd have to spray with deet every time I went out.   Inside it is!  Someone suggested I not hang in the basement as that would add moisture to a space I'm trying to remove moisture from and I'm happy to not have to navigate the basement steps to hang clothes.

I'm using this hanger from Ikea:

 

It can lay like this or;

 

This works better for pants. I leave the clothespins attached. I set it up for clothes in the dining room and store it beside the washer in the utility room. 

I love it and the price was right.  You can find similar items for several dollars more that don't hold as much.  

A few things I've learned;

I am drying all my bedding in the clothes dryer.  If I had a clothes line like my parents (4 really long lines), I might dry them outside, but I'm not having them hang around inside and get dusty from the floor.

You can't build up several loads and expect to wash and dry them all on the same day. 

Yes, your clothes are stiff, but I only notice that when I first put them on.  All the clothes I'm wearing while I type this were "line" dried.  All and I don't feel any stiffness.

Bath mats can be dried for 10 minutes, then hung and will be as soft as if they dried the entire time in a dryer.

I am drying most of my work shirts.  I never could get all the fine wrinkles out when "line" drying them and I not about to take up ironing!  I used to dry everything for 50 minutes, but am experimenting whether I can dry for less than that, get most if not all the wrinkles out and finish drying the shirts on hangers.  

Those little bumps from hanging clothes on the dyer rack or by hanger are quickly removed with a little tap water sprinkled on them. Just remember to do that before you leave for work! 

Lay your socks on the dryer rack rather than hanging them with clothes pins.  

Cotton clothing is more linty line dried, especially t-shirts.  I'm experimenting with turning cotton clothing inside out to see if that helps.

Items line dried will also have more cat hair, but that's because Lyncoln thinks its his personal fort and loves sitting and/or lying underneath the hung clothes.

Its a two day activity.  Wash and hang day one, fold and store day two.  This bothered me at first, but doesn't any longer.  One must plan laundry around company though as you don't want your undies on display when someone arrives!  If you come over and I don't let you in, theres a good chance my clothes are on the drying rack in the dining room!  

I actually enjoy this process, it doesn't really add much time if any to the chore and I'm going to continue hanging my clothes to dry. I wouldn't recommend it if you had children.  How would you ever keep up, though I guess plenty of mothers managed before we had dryers.  If though you don't have children, I would definitely give this a try.  If not for all your laundry, for a load or two per week. You might find that you like it. 



Thursday, August 3, 2017

Freezer Salsa

While I was bagging up my frozen corn, I got the tomatoes going for salsa!


I used Christy Jordan with Southern Plate's instructions on peeling tomatoes found HERE








The recipe said to peel and seed.  This is my first ever batch and I'm not sharing it with anyone but family and close friends, so I didn't mess with seeding (in other words, I was hot and tired from cooking up all that corn!).  I saved what I could of the tomato juice while chopping them up and froze that for another recipe this winter.




I used Taste of Homes freezer salsa recipe that can be found HERE




See that red powder at about 11 o'clock?  That is ground cayenne pepper and I think that is a bit too much! 






It has a great flavor, but its too hot for me.  You can tell the tomatoes are fresh.  I'd make it again, but skip or skimp on the cayenne pepper!  I'm a weakling when it comes to heat, so it might not be that bad for others. 






I frozen it in disposable containers and ended up with 11 cups.