Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Can't Mess with Mother Nature

Around midnight last night-tornados and storms hit all over Missouri. Woke up to a phone call around 6 am this morning; a friend who went to work at Tracker Boats in Lebanon called to say he found tornado and golf ball hail damage everywhere at his work siteso everyone was sent home. Boats thrown every where. That end of town is our Wal mart store-haven't heard yet what kind of damage they had.
Branson was hit very hard, in Buffalo the tornado went right thru a trailor park there. Also tomorrow is opening trout season here at Bennett Springs-a really big deal, and they showed a nearby camping area had gottont damaged pretty bad-campers upside down.
I was up at midnight with our Nikita (she does not like storms) and I heard lots and lots of strong winds here go thru, but glad to say no damage right here where I live.
These storms are now traveling thru arkansas tennessee and more-so please stay safe. There is also a major snow storm developing now in the upper midwest-dakotas-minnesota, wisconsin and more
My hubby always says-we can't mess with mother nature.
stay safe everyone

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Quilt Block Sample

This went together really nice-the bottom photo is of the spray I had left over. My mom bought it for me probably 5 years ago, something she used alot when putting together baby charity quilts. I was not so crazy about it, but worked great for this project.
I did put my walking foot on the machine; the only way to sew together three layers like this.
I started out with big X and then decided to do two more lines, so there is lots of quilting in this now on the edges to keep it from stretching. The photo is the back side of this piece-I see now I missed cleaning off a stray thread on the bottom
I started out with the quilting foot-but decided I want this project to go fast, get finished, so it's completed, we are using it, and one more scratched off my list-lol I am determined to get my projects in process finished and if I no longer want to make them, they are going to the resale shop.
This spray will probably be all gone in the fabric in a couple days, so I can sew a few blocks together and see how I like this. I used 80/20 cotton poly batting, as I want this quilt to stay mostly cotton. Hopefully this will not end up super heavy with the quilting and when washed will be a bit fluffy too.
But so far I am pleased how this first one went together, and I am not buying stabilizer, but I will need another can of this spray, and I am using t shirst on the top and the bottom-so no backing to purchase.

Quilt Ideas Popping in my Head

Bummer, I woke up early again this morning around 2:30 am, when I do that I rarely go back to sleep. So I came in the living room and got that wood stove going (we were in the 20s last night) and read thru my rug hooking books again.
Last year I went thru all of my long time best loved t shirst and sweat shirts and cut out bit squares from them-12 1/2". I have all my Bulls shirts from when Michael Jordan played in Chicago, lots of green bay packer shirts, my orange crush t shirt from the denver broncos back in the late 70s, and bird shirts from our business and much more. I have plenty to make a pretty large size quilt.
I have had it put away, cause most of the directions say one must use interfacing on all of the pieces-for ease of sewing, do to the stretchiness of the knits. However I just really do not want to that. Those interfacings take away the softness of the shirts, and it would cost alot of money to buy all that interfacing too. So for the last year I have been thinking of ways to sew these blocks without doing that. I have also seen articles online where they carefully sew the knits together with out the added bulk of the interfacing. I think also the problem of machine quilting could pose a problem as well, due to the stretchiness.
So anyways the last couple mornings when I woke up in the middle of the night-was to sew these blocks together style. Like when I sewed up all those raggy jeans and flannel quilts. This would also take care of the quilting problem as well.
To sew these squares you layer them-the back piece, batting, and the top piece and then sew a big X on the square-to "quilt" it. Then you just join these blocks together as big and as long as you want. I am thinking this would use up lots of these t shirt squares I have cut out and by using a special walking foot, should be able to get this together with no interfacing-I need to do a test square on a really stretchy piece and see how it goes.
The guys are checking out the gun show this morning, they went last week and discovered it was today instead. Later this afternoon, several locals go down and jump in the cold river and then have lots of food afterwards. I am definately not jumping in-but may go this year to watch. We have full sunshine, no wind now, and will get to 50 degrees so will actually be "warm" for them this year.
I am off to finish watching my quilt shows on pbs this morning-and then try out my "theory"
Happy weekend everyone

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Healthy Mondays Greek Yogurt

My new favorite yogurt, besides my own homemade, is greek yogurt. I love it cause its thicker and just yummier. So just what is it that makes greek yogurt?

I found this very informative article comparing regular yogurt to greek here One thing I did not realize is that the greek although higher in proteins and other good things is higher in cholesterol than the regular. Choosing either yogurt with the lower fat and no sugars added are the always the best choices.
When I first started reading labels more closely about 15 years ago, I was amazed how much sugar is added to alot of those tiny cups of yogurts. I always buy plain and low fat or no fat yogurts now. I find it very important to read the labels on yogurts-to make sure no added thickeners and things are added that you do not need or want.
The greek yogurt is excellent to replace mayonaise and sour cream in many recipes. It is also more heat stable than regular yogurt. You can also make your own greek style yogurt from plain yogurt that you put in a strainer over a bowl overnight in the frig, all the excess liquid will drain out and you will be left with a thick yogurt.
If you do not use dairy, you could make yogurt from other sources-like almond milk, soy milk and such and buy a culture from your health food store that is not from dairy. I used to make soy yogurt all the time and it is really good.
found a recipe for creamy orange vanilla ice pops here
Creamy Orange-Vanilla Ice Pops recipe
Here is a nice assortment of recipes using greek yogurt. I especially liked the chocolate frosting to use on cupcakes. recipes here

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Art Sunday Mermaids

I have a couple friends here that love mermaids, so this post is for you especially.

from here
from here

from here
from here

from here

Homemade Cough Syrup

I am looking for recipes this morning, as I was up most of the night from coughing. I remembered Mom gave us lemon and honey but I think it was missing the whiskey to really help-lol
this recipe is really different here but I found this recipe repeated on several different sites.
Homemade Cough Medicine. Photo by Trixyinaz

variations of the honey-lemon-whiskey here and here (no sweetener) and here How to Make Homemade Honey Lemon Cough Syrupthumbnail
This one is really different here Ma's Cough Syrup. Photo by Mimi in Maine

Do you have a recipe you like for homemade cough syrup?

Song Saturday Baby It's Cold Outside Willie Nelson

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chocolate Anyone?

benefits of dark chocolate here

recipe for this cookie here (my changes: coconut oil instead of butter, swap up some of the sugar with stevia/sugar blend or zylitol)

this is dark chocolate almond bark sold by a retailer found a recipe for this here (this has no added sugar-love that)
Chocolate Fondue
chocolate fondue-recipe here

Chocolate margarita recipe here

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ended up with Soft Greens on Muslin

This was my first total failure with dyes (see previous post) so I wrote to a professional natural dyer over on blogger whom I follow. Helen lives  in Wales. You can read her comment here
We also wrote up and back by email as well, and she has written a few books that she has self published. One of her accomplishments are inks that she makes herself. She said she makes an original cover with her inks for each of the books she sells. I hadn't realized she also had written books on the subject. I think I would like to buy her book on eco dyeing which is alot of solar dyeing and such.
Anyways she was pretty much of the same opinion that I had read in many articles that red cabbage was not a sustainable dye. Here are links to her sites:
I have learned so much from following her blogspot.
This morning I emptied out the pot, rinsed out the fabric, and decided to use up the rest of the cabbage with the fabric in the water, to perhaps "catch" the color better. Of course still no color after the 30 minutes of simmering, even with adding in more mordant to the dye pot. So, I always have brown onion skins on hand that I save, so I added a cup of those, along with some vinegar and simmered another 15 minutes or so. I ended up with a very soft spring green. Not what I wanted but at least I got color on fabric for all my efforts and time-lol

This is kind of a yellow green which I am not real thrilled over but could be a good base for other projects-such as over dyeing with sun paints.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

So Far my Dye Project did not Work-sigh

After over 8 hours spent with the process-I have no color-sigh
To dye natural materials on cotton one must do a long mordant process first. I use the method from earth hues which is actually a shorter process and usually works better than the old alum and tanin technique. I still had about 4 hours in the mordant process though, which I usually do one day and then dye the next day.
The day was gloomy this morning so I thought I would just play today. I had done alot of reading on dyeing with the red cabbage; from the new book I have, and I also found a blog entry on how pleased the author was with the results. I wrote her to ask how colorfast it was, and after 4 years hers was still beautiful.
When I simmered out the red cabbage I had a very pretty blue in the water, but when I put the fabric in-nothing happened. after the 30 minutes, I did get a pale green-well that's not what I wanted. With this dye you can play around with the ph to get the color you want. If you add salt it should get more blue and if you add vinegar it should turn pink; but in the first 30 minutes I should have gotton a gorgeous lavender.
well I added the salt and nothing happened, so with nothing to lose I added in vinegar-wow the water turned a gorgeous violet and turned my fabric white-wow this is really different-lol sooo I decided to just let the whole pot set overnight and see what develops.
This really puzzles me cause I know I used a pure cotton muslin, I scoured the fabric first and then went thru the whole mordant process-and then made up the dye bath. I used my own well water which could be a problem but that can get fixed by changing the ph. the red cabbage was bought from the grocery store-looked really nice, but perhaps not fresh enough.
oh well, this is my only failure with natural dyes so far, unless I get a surprise tomorrow morning.
The photo is what it looks like now after I added in the vinegar, you can see the pretty dye water, and my fabric is now white again-lol

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Art Sunday Cowboys

I always loved cowboys-still do, so here are some cowboys in paintings.

from here

from here

from here
Cowboy Coffee

from here

from here
Cowboy recipes here including coffee, I also found this version of making cowboy coffee here


The eggrolls turned out pretty delicious, considering we have not done this in at least 20 years.
For the filling I used a half of a cabbage that I sliced thin, celery cabbage-a whole stalk sliced thin, portobello mushrooms-chopped, bamboo shoots sliced in small pieces, broccoli tops only chopped, sweet red peppers-the little ones-chopped thin, and I added a little shredded fresh ginger too. I split this in half and we added tiny shrimps to one, and sauted fresh pork to the other one.
I had a feeling we might have trouble with the skins, as I remembered we sometimes do-especially using brown rice flour-everything has to be just right for the skins to work. I made the mistake of buying brown rice flour but I couldn't find any white rice flour when I was out shopping.
I could make the rice flour at home but I didn't want an added thing to do. so the guys were able to make enough skins for me to have the gluten free egg rolls, and I switched over to making the unbleached white flour skin batter-those worked much better. We got to thinking afterwards that there is not enough starch in the brown rice flour for this-and we always did use the white rice flour. so lesson learned.
for sauces we had chinese hot mustard, duck sauce, soy sauce, my wild plum sauce, and I had picked up some hot wasabi mustard too. so we had flavors for everyone's tastes.
we had a raw veggie with dip platter for munchies while making the egg rolls, and one person brought fried rice.
So it was a fun afternoon, with good eats, and everyone had a fun time.


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