Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pinterest Addiction

     I have finally made my way to Pinterest!  Oh my gosh!  This site has me written all over it.  Pure eye candy for those of us who are visually motivated.  If you haven't checked it out yet, please do.  In the search box, type in something that interests you, like crafts, crochet, home, trees, food, whatever makes your heart sing.  Then sit back and click like crazy.  You will be rewarded with beautiful pictures that will make your eyes really smile.  I just joined last week and have spent way too much time pinning photos.  I'll slow down eventually but I'm just trying to get some boards established.  I think I will have to set a timer and allow myself about 10 minutes to pin or I could sit with some sweet tea and pin for hours-which I don't have time for.  I wonder if I could find a job that pays me  for simply pinning!
     Here's a little piece of advice if you start a Pinterest account of your own.  When I set up my boards I started with broad topics.  Now that I'm farther along in the process I have narrowed the boards down a bit.  For instance, one of my boards I called "CraftFabulous" and I pinned many crafty things that I love.  Now I wish I had subdivided those items a little farther and had separate  boards for crochet, embroidery, felt etc.  I may have to go back at some point and amend those original boards.
     So, go check it out and have fun with it.  If you are interested in checking out my pics you will find them under "The Pattern Shack".  Happy pinning!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

More Joy From the Fair/Plug for 4-H

If you didn't make it to the fair this year you can visit vicariously below.  But first, I would like to sing praises  for    4-H.  Even though most of the pics I have shared are of the livestock,(cuz I love the critters) 4- H is so much more than animals.  It's leadership, citizenship, music, rocketry, animal/entomology/ projects, writing, art, crafts, Lego building, food, photography, sewing, technology, entrepreneurship, shooting sports etc. etc.  So if you know of a child who perhaps, isn't big into sports but loves to do a lot of other activities, check out 4-H.  It might be just what that child needs to blossom.  It's the best kept secret out there!  Ok, I'll get off my soapbox and show those pics.

Thought I'd share a few more fair pics for all you farmy types.

                      Monster Truck Night

                             Mini Horses

                            Rocket Launch


                           More Mini's

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Week Of Fair Highlights

Well, Fair Week is over and we are all rested and on to other things this summer.  But we love the fair!  OK, true confessions time...I love the fair.  I simply love the fair.  Since I was a little girl, I have loved the fair.  Now that I'm a big girl I still love the fair.  It's not the rides or the games or anything like that.  It's the animals, crafts, food atmosphere, people watching, summer nights, lights and colors, night time shows, etc.  Anybody with me on that?  Any other fair lovers out there?

I submitted several crafty and food items this year-18 to be exact-(I know, a bit of over achieving this year.  I was scolding myself as I was up at midnight the night before baking a pie)...   but anyway, I won a ribbon for most of my exhibits, sometimes by default because I was the only person to enter in that category!  Not sure I would enter as many items next year.  It was crazy trying to finish up all three kids' projects, plus mine.

We took our new camper this year so that we would have a home base to come back to if we needed a break.  I took my stitching, thinking I'd get a chance to sit under the canopy and grab a few stitches here and there, but alas, that never happened.
This is our Buff Cochin Hen.  She took a third place ribbon.

Plus a photo of the Figure 8 races.  Stay tuned for a few more fair pics and photos of my winning crafts.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Last Step, Using Your Binder

OK,  so you have made dividers for your food groups and you have a binder full of torn out recipes.  Or maybe more than one binder.  I won't tell how many I have.  Now you can start using these to your heart's content.  Leaf through the pages, put a few recipes aside each week to try out and give 'em a whirl.  If you like them, write some notes on the recipe if you want, and file in the correct divider section.  Ah, but what to do with recipes that have several food groups mixed up on the page?  I put it in a special section marked "Mixed" or if I don't want to use the rest of the recipes on the page I either cut that one out and glue it to a blank sheet and file appropriately.  Or I simply write my notations on it, knowing there are other recipes on the page that I might want to try and I file it under "Mixed".
     So there you have it.  It's a simple way to tame all those recipe tear outs.  And honestly, it doesn't take that much time once you get on a roll.  Happy filing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Intentions For This Blog

Craft sharing was my primary intention for this blog with a little sprinkling of food/family/country living.    I love all things crafty.  I have etsy shops, do craft shows every fall and crafting is always, always, always intermingled in my everyday thoughts.  It's simply a part of my soul.  However, time is short in my life right now.  Cancer is currently part of my family and I spend as much time as possible with this person...on top of caring for my own three children and husband.  I simply do not have time to do any extensive crafting.  What I am working on are stitchery patterns because I can fling the needle around while I'm visiting.  If I can figure out how to, I will start at least sharing some free patterns. In the meantime, writing is sporadic at best.  Life simply gets in the way sometimes.  But life is rarely simple, is it?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Look At Siesta Key, Florida

 We were lucky enough to spend last week in Siesta Key, Florida.  It's a lovely place but it was extremely busy last week.  
It truly has white powdered sugar sand and beautiful aqua water.  The heron was at the Myakka State Park.  A must see  place if you go to the Sarasota area.


I have no doubt that you have flipped through your new binder full of recipes since you visited last.  Hopefully, you have weeded out a few in the process.
     Now, it's time to make some dividers.  For this, you can simply buy some dividers with those little tabs on the side or you can make your own with some tag board and those nifty  sticky tabs.  These are great because they stick like a post it but they are movable so you can move the tabs on your dividers as you add additional dividing sheets.
     Now, let's decide how to tag your dividers.  I separate the "proteins" into the following:  beef, chicken, pork, fish, tofu, meatless.  When it comes to salads I also separate into several catagories: green, pasta, grain, vegetable, etc.  I do the same with veggies.  There are so many potato dishes I have a separate divider for just potatoes.  You can use tags such as greens, root veggies, corn, etc.  It really depends on what you make a lot for your family.
      So the assignment for this week is to make dividers for your recipe stash and try out a few more recipes, deciding whether to keep them or recycle them.  If you like them just put them into the front of your binder for now.  Don't be afraid to write on your recipes.  I note whether to add more or less of something, any changes in heat or timing, etc.  Making these dividers isn't something that you have to sit down and take 20 minutes to do.  While waiting for the water to boil, taking a phone call, or sitting in the dentist's office, jot down a few dividers.  Before you know it they will be done and it didn't cost you a block of time.  In the meantime, your binder is useable!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Those Three Hole Punched Recipes

     Now, what to do with that stack of recipes that you hole punched last week???  Remember, I said I needed a system that was  simple and streamlined to deal with this pile of tear outs that I had been collecting. And I didn't want to spend a big block of time dealing with it.   If you are anything like me, the number of tasks on your DAILY TO DO LIST  far exceeds the number of minutes in the day.  I needed to break it down into quickie  steps.  Your next step is to simply put the whole pile into a binder.  Yes, unorganized and all types of dishes together in one place.  Don't worry, further organization is coming!
     So, now that they are all in a binder you can AT LEAST flip through them and zero in on some recipes to try.
     OK, that took you maybe 10 minutes, tops.  You can be done for now-OR- you can choose 2,3,7 recipes to try this week.  I put my choices in a little folder and tucked them into the binder.  You can simply put them at the top of the pile if you want.  When you make them this week, keep those that you like,make notations on them and put them on the top of the pile in the binder.  Guess what you are going to do with them if you don't like them.  You are simply going to recycle them.  Put them in your recycle bag and take them to your local school or library.  Or make some plant starter pots.  More on that this week.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie With Biscuit Topping

I have had ZERO time for crafting these days so I am going to share a Skillet Pot Pie Recipe that I found on the internet.  I had to tweak it a bit so I'm going to give you MY version.  You can find the original on

There is a yummy biscuit recipe that goes with this but I did not have the heavy cream that it calls for so I skipped it.  Normally, I would have made a healthier biscuit, but this time I grabbed a box of Bisquick(which I know is not healthy) and added some goodies to dress them up a bit.  You can even use biscuits in a tube.
Find the biscuit recipe on the box, whip that up but add 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese.  Once they are out of the oven, mix 2 Tblsp. melted butter and 1/8 tsp garlic powder together.    Brush this mixture on the hot biscuits.  Set these babies aside while you make the pot pie mixture.

1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts(I used thighs)
4 tbl. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced (1 cup)
2 ribs celery, sliced thin
4 small potatoes, peeled, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flour
1/4 c dry vermouth or dry white wine
2 c. chicken broth(I boiled my chicken and used the broth from that)
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 c. frozen peas and carrots, thawed
Dash of pepper

In a pot, add your chicken and 2 1/2 c. water.  Bring to a boil and cook until chicken is done.  Remove the chicken and add the potatoes to cook in this broth.  When the chicken is cool, cut into bite sized pieces.  When potatoes are soft, put aside.
     In your skillet, add 2 tbl. butter, garlic, onion, celery and  cook 5 minutes or so, until onion is softened.  Stir in the flour and cook stirring constantly, until incorporated, about 1 minute.
     Stir in wine and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds.  Slowly whisk in the broth from the chicken, evaporated milk, and thyme.  Bring to a simmer.  Add chicken, potatoes, and mixed vegetables.  Simmer 5 or 10 minutes to combine.
To serve, ladle up a bowl of the pot pie mixture and top with a biscuit.  Mmmm, comfort food!

  And it doesn't take long to whip up.  It's much faster than making a crust and baking.  If you could plan ahead and have the chicken cooked that will save you time during the regular preparation.  The original recipe  has you pan browning the chicken but since my chicken thighs were half frozen I chose to boil and use that broth!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Let's Tame Your Recipe Tear Outs and Simplify Your Dinner Recipe Search

     If you are a recipe and cook book hoarder like I am you have torn out recipes in piles, folders, boxes or strewn about on counter tops, in files, and tucked into the magazines they were extracted from.  Actually, I'm not that bad. I do have all of my tear outs and newspaper clipped recipes in a pile in my cook book cupboard.  Do I EVER make any of them.  Ah, no.  And why not?  Because I won't ever go through the pile to find that recipe that I ripped out months ago.  Who has time for that? But, I tear out some really yummy looking dishes and hope to make them "Someday".  That's the 8th day of the week - "Someday" - the one that never comes.  Long ago, when I had time,(BHAK(before husband and kids)) I would actually cut out the recipe and glue them on paper and tuck them in a binder.  I have three of those binders and I use them often.  Well, I just don't have time for that anymore  so I tried to come up with a way to streamline that idea so that I could use those recipes without investing a lot of time finding them.  It's not perfect and it's not really pretty, but for me, at this point in my life, it is functional.  That's as far as we can go sometimes, isn't it?
     Here is your first step to using all of those recipes.  This week, I  want you to  accomplish three tasks.  The first step is to collect the clippings and  put them all in one place.
     The second step is going to involve a hole punch - preferably a three hole punch.  It will make your life much easier.  Now, three hole punch your stash of recipes.  Actually, you would be surprised at how quickly this will be accomplished with a three hole punch.  If need be, take five minutes, here and five minutes there to get this done. Do it when you are waiting for the onions and peppers to fry or the toast to pop.

     Step three will help you with dinner this week.  During hole punching sessions, pull out a few recipes that you can make for dinner this week.  Now, put all of the recipes back in your pile, file or bag and sit tight 'till next week.  Enjoy those that you pulled out for dinner.  If you liked them, note that on the recipe and put that on the top of your pile.   If you didn't, pitch it.
    That's it for now.  If you don't have time to punch, just collect and stack this week.  Next week we'll put them somewhere.

For next week: You will need a binder or two, depending on the height of your recipe stack.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

200 Creative Crafts For You & Your Home - Time for another book review...

I buy books that inspire me.  It is very rare that I actually use a pattern straight from a book.  I swoon over the pictures, log the basic idea in my mental file and learn new techniques that I can apply to my own creations.  Some of my favorite books are older publications that have some great basic retro-type ideas.
     This book, "200 Creative Crafts for You & Your Home"  is packed with exactly what it says, 200 pieces of inspiration.  Most of these ideas are simple and fast to create.
There are two sections to this publication.  The first section, crafts for you, contains more personal craft projects like jewelry, bags and accessories.
The second half of the book has projects for your home including frames, vases, teaspoon coat hooks and furniture.  There are 312 pages of goodness here.
There are so many ideas I have tagged in this book I'll never have the time to make them all, but if you are looking for a quick project-some of which can be kid/teen friendly, give this publication a looksy.  Take the basic idea and embellish to your heart's content.   Out of 200 ideas you are bound to find more than a few that pique your interest.

Winter Outside Spring Inside

We finally got a snowstorm here in Michigan-our first this year! There was plenty of hype and hoopla from the news teams about the huge winter storm with 6" - 8" sure to pack a punch right in our backyard.  I made plans to go sledding with the kiddos in the morning as we were sure to have a much needed snow day.  Yahoo! We woke to 1", school as usual,  no flakes falling but a promise of more snow to come throughout the day.  We ended up with five inches, maybe.  Some big snowstorm!
    But indoors we have been enjoying a bit of spring, courtesy of my Farmgirl friend, Pat.  I received her gift of two bulbs at Christmastime and look what they have grown into.  Lovely!
Notice the stowaway?  Inside my house.  In february.  It's one of those cabbage butterflies-or moths, I think.   I don't know where it came from.  Probably in my closet, eating my wool sweaters!  She was fluttering around my kitchen lights so I invited her onto my finger, ferried her over to the blooms and gently placed her right on top.  She seemed delighted to be there as her proboscis dipped in and out of the blossoms.
Perhaps it was just her time to go  or maybe the nectar was poisonous to her but two days later she was lifeless on my windowsill.  Poor little thing.  It was an amazing  breath of springtime in our little corner of the dining room.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day Silverware Cozies

Whip these little silverware cozies up in a flash, no pattern necessary.  To make these heart cozies, I simply doubled my felt, folded it in half and cut out a half heart.  You know how to do that.  I stitched an easy design and there you have a bright addition to your Valentine table.  Don't just save them for Valentine's day though.  Use them often to show your loved ones that you care.  You can even tuck a napkin in behind.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Winter is rearing its ugly head - finally!  This  snow and cold can be hard on your backyard chickens.  Did you know that a rooster's comb can get frostbitten?  And do you know what happens when a rooster's comb gets frostbitten?  His points turn black and fall off!  That's what happened to Hucks' comb a few years ago.  He is my very suave,  non-attacking, gentlemanly Black Maran rooster.  I actually keep vaseline in the coop this time of year so that I can lube those combs on nights like tonight.  That night, I didn't think it was cold enough to do damage to the boy's combs.  I was wrong.  Sure enough, the next morning, his comb tips were white.  Eventually, they turned black and then...his points fell right off!  So he is point-less!  Poor Huck.  His lovely comb is smooth on the top.  It didn't seem to affect his manhood but it probably makes the hens do a double take.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Today, I'm going to review a fun publication by D'Arcy-Jean Milne called "fabric leftovers - Simple, adaptable ways to use up scraps".  And do we all have a mountain of scraps that we can't bear to part with?  Crafters tend to be a frugal lot and we are certain that we can put each and every one of our little scraps to good use.  This book will help you to do just that.  Even the smallest scrap can be incorporated into awesome little works of art.  One of the projects that really drew me to this book are the colorful embellished little fabric beads.  It's a quickie craft and one that is very portable.
I see each of these as a blank canvas so the possibilities of fabric and embellishing choices are endless!
     The beginning of the book focuses on sorting fabric, colors, threads, processing and decorative stitches.  The base of several of the projects is "lazy crazy patchwork"-alias sewing your scraps together.

   From there you can construct many of the projects in the book such as these boxes and frames.

     Coffee cuffs, wallets, cases, "jewellery",  bowls,  journals and bags also use this technique.  There's plenty of other craftiness included in the book such as painted buttons, "no worries" dolls and fabric flowers.
     Give this little gem a look-see.  I think you'll find new life for your treasured fabric scraps.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Too Simple Felted Flower Brooch

This quickie little brooch is simply too easy!  I love these because you can choose any combination of felted sweaters and each brooch comes out with its own character and design.  
What you'll need: felted sweaters, glue gun, pin back, scissors.
Lets get started.  First you will need an array of felted sweaters of your choice.  I chose 4 in the purple(ish)family.
Next, from each sweater(I cut from the sleeves) I cut one  strip, 5 to 8 inches long.  The two inner colors were about 1/2 wide, the two outer strips were about 1 1/2 wide.
They do not have to be perfect.  
Next, snip the first two strips about every 1/2 inch, the whole length of the strip.  Be careful not to snip all the way through or you'll end up with two pieces.
The next piece you will cut differently.  Fold one of those wider strips in half.  Now you will snip this from the folded end.  I snipped a little wider than 1/2 inch.  Do the same with the last strip.  They will look like this.
Rev up the glue gun and let's put it all together.
Choose one of the first strips you cut to use as your center. I chose the hot pink.  Simply roll the uncut edge on itself and secure with a few dabs of glue as you go. It will look like this.

Next, add your second strip by rolling  it around your center.  Again, glue as you go.  See, how it starts to take shape.

Next, grab one of your folded/snipped pieces, fold in half like the above photo, so that it fans out.  Roll this strip around your first two.  Now, you have three different layers.

Next, Add your fourth strip by rolling around your budding bloom, again secure with glue as you roll.
Now you need a pinback.  I just eyeballed the size of the back of the flower and cut a felted piece to cover the back. Putting glue over the entire layered back helps to secure it all and give it a bit of stiffness .   Add your pin and you are finished.
What I love about this, beside the fact(s) that it is ridiculously  easy and doesn't have to be cut perfectly, it is so versatile.  You can use any combo of colors, thicknesses of strips, width of snips or combo of folded or non folded strips  and they all come out beautiful.  
Stay tuned for more variations on these lovely brooches.