Friday, August 29, 2014

Thriftin'

The other day I ran into my favorite haunt.  Although I didn't find much, I did find this fabulous set of red clay Mexican Pottery nesting pans.
I adore the scalloped edges on the top, as well as the folksy painting on the outsides.  They were in perfect condition, and I simply had to have them.  I also have a set of stacking bowls like this that we love and use all the time.  However, one has recently broken.  This set was marked 11.00, but was 40% off.  What a steal!  It just so happened that I had two over ripe bananas in the fridge just waiting to be made into Banana Nut Bread.  And look how perfect these two smaller pans of the set worked for this!
My recipe comes from a neighbor we had when I was growing up. She always slit the bread down the center right out of the oven, and poured melted butter down over the top.  This bread is the best I have ever had!!  I also spotted a couple of boxes of  battery operated candles.  They were marked 8.00 a box. Each box had two candles in them.  AND they were 50% off!  My Mom has a set of these pretty candles in her entryway, and they turn off and on automatically.  So they are always lit at dark and she doesn't ever come into a dark house.  I love this idea!  I was eager to get them home and put batteries in them to see if they work. They do!  And they also have the timer setting as well.  They come on every night at 5, burn for 4 hours, then go off for 20 hours.  I love seeing them pop on every night, just as it is getting dark in the house.
They flicker just like a real candle, and are made out of real wax too.  I love these!  I have three on a little table in the family room, and one of them I put in the guest bathroom.  I was in Joann's the other day, and for the same size candle, it was 20.00 for one.  I got 4 for 8.00!
 Then over at The Goodwill, I found a few more things.  I have recently found out how to do a crochet pattern that creates a basket weave look.   I rescued this gorgeous deep red throw for a mere 5.00!!!  It is done in this basket weave pattern that I love so much.  I took it home and washed it, then hung on the line to dry.  It is so soft and cozy feeling!
It won't go here, I just threw it over a chair in the living room where it is lit well.  Here is a closer look at the pattern.
I spotted these lime green plates and immediately thought of my daughter Erika.  Her kitchen accent color is lime green.  I got her a lime green Le Creuset Tea Kettle a couple years ago, and she has cute accent things in this color in her kitchen.   There wasn't a chip on them!  I paid .79 c a piece.
I crocheted this dishcloth to match.
For 2 dollars, I couldn't pass up this Roo.
That's it on the thrifty finds this week.  I will end with a photo of dinner last night.  My Mom and I go to a little deli in Yorba Linda that has the best cold orzo salad!  I eat it every time I go there!  It is so good! z
Then, the other day, I saw this recipe on Pinterest, and knew I had to make it immediately.
Here is what you will need.. I also put green onions in the salad, but they were not out of fridge yet.
Cook your orzo according to package.  Drain and cool.  In another bowl, zest the two large lemons, and then add their juice  Add 1 cup olive oil.  Whisk together, adding some pepper to taste.  No salt, as this is added when cooking the pasta.    My neighbor had gifted me with a beautiful basket of yellow and red grape tomatoes.  Those were  halved and added to the bowl, along with a handful of sweet peppers,  and a  handful of Italian parsley, a handful of basil, about 6 thinly sliced green onions, and a few roasted red peppers. One bag of shelled and thawed edamame goes in.  When orzo has cooled, add it to pot and stir all together.  If I had some feta cheese, I would have added that. And marinated artichokes would be good, as well some Kalamata olives.  Whatever you like really.  This is such a pretty dish.  And  SO good!!
 I breaded some chicken tenders and cooked those in a pan, after dredging in a seasoned flour.  Delicious!  
I can hardly wait to have my lunch of leftovers today!  
We are going to the lake for a couple of days.  Hope all of you have a safe and fun Labor Day Weekend.  See you next week.
Tootle Loo!!
XO  Kris     

Thursday, August 28, 2014

New Sewing Machine

Good morning to you, on this very hot, end of August day.  Is it hot where you are?  Or are you beginning to feel the changing of the seasons?  The only changes we are experiencing here, are the slightly shorter days, and the leaves are turning brown and beginning to fall.  Other than that, it is still summer and HOT!
I did something the other day that I have NEVER, EVER done before!  I was channel surfing, and happened upon a demonstration being done on a sewing machine.  That caught my attention, and I tuned in to watch.  Turns out I was watching The Home Shopping Network.  I don't ever watch the shopping channels, and I have certainly not ever purchased anything from them.  But there I sat, watching.  The more I watched, the more I was tempted.  I phoned my husband, and told him that there was a fabulous deal on a sewing machine that I would love to have.  He laughed, and brushed it off, but then I texted him said, "No, I'm serious.  This is a great deal!  Can I get it?"  I had no business buying this.  I have machines.  Plural.  But I do not, however, have a machine with all of these stitches.  Nor features that I would love to have on a machine.  I haven't had a new machine since I married, 35 years ago.  I bought it at Sears, a Sears Kenmore straight stitch, for 99 dollars.  I paid for it on time.  10  dollars a month.  I used that machine until the motor blew up about 10 years ago.   I have a very good Viking.  It is 35 years old, and sews beautifully. I bought it from my sewing machine repair man, for 200 dollars, after my Kenmore blew up. tw But it lacks some stitches I would love to use.  And I need a new quilting foot with an open toe, and a new walking foot.  Those purchases alone, would be nearly half of what I could buy this new machine for.  Greg said get it.  So I did.
I pulled the trigger, and called the number on the screen.  The cost was 199 dollars.  It came with an additional package of  accessories worth another 100.  The shipping was free.  It arrived the very next day!  I couldn't believe it!!  It is a Singer One.  I priced it at Joann's the other day, where it was listed at 349.00.  But that did not include the supplemental package with all of the extra feet and things that I got.  It was a good deal indeed.  I just wish it had needle down option for machine quilting on it.  Oh well.  I guess I can't have everything.
 
I opened it up and put it on the little table I have in the family room, so I could read about it and play with it, while Noah had his after school snack and watched his shows.  I read the manual and learned how to thread it and wind a bobbin, and all of that.  It has an automatic needle threader too, which is great for my old eyes!!   I called my friend Jae, and she ran right over so we could ohhh and ahhhh over it together!  I sent her home with my other Viking, and told her to go home and play with it.  Hers is only a straight stitch machine.  I took out my scraps and began to demo all of the stitches.   This machine has a blanket stitch on it, which I like to do for applique, but I do it by hand.  Woo-Hoo!!!  Everything is touch screen, and so easy to change stitches.  My Viking, although I love it, has cams that are inserted into the machine for stitch changes.  This is simply a finger touch to change.   I took these pumpkins out and practiced the blanket stitch with them.  That does take practice going around curves and stopping and starting at corners!  I need to work on that.
Jae and I ran to Joann's the next day and I got some fabric to do a table topper.  I used the same self binding method as the flannel baby blankets I have made. What a great pattern that is.  You get such nice sharp mitered corners.  I thought I wanted to put it on the table in the family room.  It has antique red trucks, and wagons, and red barns.  It looks very Fallish.
But I don't think I will leave it there.  I should have made it larger for that table.  I think I will put it in the kitchen at the little deuce.  It is smaller and looks better.   I used the herringbone stitch, the one for smocking, to top stitch the topper down.
The back and binding is a pretty golden yellow.  The corners are so crisp and nice with this method.  You can see the fabric a little bit better in this shot.  It is a Susan Winget print.   12  dollars a yard, but I used my coupon for 40% off
Although I do like the fabric, with red barns and trucks, I will be making another one soon, as I would get tired of this print looking at it every day.  A little too busy for me.  But a cute topper to use for a Fall day on the table from time to time.
I am in the process of reorganizing my sewing room to better serve me.  I want to have my Hannah over for a little sewing lesson, and I want to get her set up at a smaller table to work at.  I will take her to Joann's to select her own fabric, and help her to make a pillow case.  She is excited and so am I!
I am eager to get going on several Fall projects I have to work on.  What are you working on?  Are you thinking about the holidays yet?  I am!
I was with my Mom the other day at a few furniture stores.  We were in Ethan Allen and I was aghast at how much the pillows were!  I like to make pillows, and I have sold several for the holidays.  I snapped some pics for ideas.  This one was on sale........for 159 dollars!  E Gads!!
The pillow was a very simple piece of linen with jumbo black ric rac, and piped edges.  The pillow form was however, down.  But I can duplicate this very easily, and for far less!
I liked this one too.  I want to find an anchor applique and make a couple of these for my brother's boat.
Loved this one too.
Hey Patty, could we paint this on fabric????
I also wanted this chair.  So pretty and feminine looking.  However, quite a bit out of my price range.  But oh so cute!
I have a few good thrift store finds to share with you for next time.  Til then.........
XO  Kris

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Can" You Dig It? I'm Back In Business!

My broken power cord came today.  I mistakenly said it was my battery, but it was my power cord that broke.
I do also need a new battery.   But at least I can use my laptop now.
Well, I did it.  I ventured into canning!  I have wanted to learn for a long time now.  This was the time.  My friend gifted me with a huge box of Zinfandel Grapes that were grown on her daughters orchard in Temecula.  They sell their grapes to a local winery.  They are small, and have seeds, but I thought I could still make some jellly with them.
I must have watched 25 different you tube videos on jelly making.  However, none gave instructions on how to do this using grapes with seeds.  I do NOT recommend that you do as I did!  Make it easy on yourself, and buy grapes WITHOUT seeds!  I had a MESS going, but was determined to make jelly!
At first I thought that I could remove the seeds, and still retain some of the grape skins for the jelly, but this was not possible.  I was about to give up, but then decided to go another route, and remove all seeds, skins, pulp, and strained, and strained, and strained the grapes, until my fingers were raw, and my feet ached from standing on my very unforgiving brick kitchen floor!
It was about 104 on this day.  I had to go and get my little bedside fan and roll my butcher block to allow for the fan to blow directly on me.  Finally, I wound up with just the juice from the grapes, and I was ready to begin the jelly making process.  I don't have the proper equipment for this, so I used a tall pot that I use for steaming tamales.  ( A favorite thrift store find )
I was concentrating pretty hard while I was actually boiling the jelly mixture with sugar and pectin, that I didn't take any photos.  My pot worked okay, as it had a rack for lifting, and was tall enough to allow for the water to fully cover, but I could only do a few jars at a time.  So it took quite a while to get all of them done.
I finished the grape jelly, and decided to make some sweet pepper jelly with my jalapenos.  I had the fever!
This recipe sounded good to me.  I don't typically like spicy things, but pepper jelly is sweet, with just a little kick.  I like it as a sauce to baste pork or chicken.  I like it as an appetizer, with cream cheese or another soft cheese and crackers.  So here we go....The recipe called for using 12 medium jalapenos.  Mine are small, so I used more.  My first mistake!!!
I used my food processor to puree the peppers.  When I took the lid off, I nearly choked.  I should have known right then, that it was going to be too hot!!!  But I proceeded.  I added the sugar, the apple cider vinegar, the pectin, and stirred the directed time, all the while, holding my head away from the pepper fumes!!  I poured it into the jars, and then into the water bath just like the other jelly, and hoped for the best.
After the pepper jelly, I had enough roasted tomato sauce to jar and process three large containers of sauce.  When all was said and done, many hours after beginning, I had a beautiful basket of jellies and sauce.
 I had not bought the labels yet, but aren't they pretty anyway?  And just so you don't think it all went off without a hitch..................
 That is one entire spilled jar of pepper jelly.  Sticky.....thick....HOT...pepper jelly!!!  Aw well.  This is what I tasted for heat.  Oh my, it was way...way...way too hot!!!  But a couple of days later, my Mom and I opened up one of the jars to try it.  It was far too hot for us.  So she suggested mixing a jar of the grape jelly, with the pepper jelly.  Oh wow!!  Was THAT ever good!!!!!  We were saying how great it would be on a pork roast.  Or ribs.  Or even chicken.  I actually grilled some pork chops using this as a basting sauce and it was fabulous!!!!  So all was not lost in the too hot pepper jelly.  I will make more and tone it down with the peppers.
After spending an entire day canning, I knew that I would be doing it again.  In fact, just a couple of days ago, I found a good sale on strawberries, and guess what?
I had enough berries to make two batches of jam.  I bought some more jelly jars, and even invested in a canning bath.  SO much easier!  I could do one whole batch at a time.  Greatly reducing the time spent on my feet!
These berries were so plump and sweet!  I proceeded with the directions, and it all went so smoothly.  I had done enough research and now knew just how to best sterilize jars, lids, and rings.  I had my system down pat, and thoroughly enjoyed the process.
I love the little "popping" sound that the lids make when you take them out of the water bath.  This is how you know that the process was done correctly, and the lids have sealed.  I have put their cute labels on them.  
I have put the cooled and processed jams and jellies back into the cardboard canning boxes that the jars came in, and I have two full for gift giving!  I have already given out a dozen or so.

I will be making more very soon!!!!   It is so good!!  I have been enjoying it on my sourdough toast!   I think the one pictured below is the grape jelly.  The strawberry jam is thicker and has seeds.
If you have been wanting to can, and were a little unsure about it, I encourage you to try it!  It isn't hard, but there are a lot of important steps to follow to ensure the safety of your food items.  And there are some very good and inexpensive tools you can purchase that will help immensely!  I highly recommend the wide mouth canning funnel.  Also the magnetic lid lifter, so as not to burn your fingers when removing the hot lids from water bath.  And of course, the canning bath set with wire lift is a must if you will be making more than just a few jars.  I had a jar lifter that I purchased at a thrift store not too long ago.  Give it a try.  I am sure glad I did!!!  Next year I will be doing a lot more canning of my garden goods!!
I have been trying to read along on your blogs with my ipad, but it is not operating correctly, and keeps bouncing out of whatever I am trying to read.  So I will be getting caught up with you in the next few days.  
Come on back soon.
XO  Kris

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Broken Battery

Hi everyone.  I have a computer problem.  Well, not my computer, but the battery for my laptop broke. I have a new one on order, and as soon as it arrives, I will be back in business.  I will be reading from my ipad.
See you soon.
XO  Kris

Friday, August 15, 2014

Yoo-Hooooo, Are You Still Out There?

A couple months ago, there was a fire across the street. We were all standing out on the sidewalk in horror watching it burn.  Greg ran back into the house to get my camera, and accidently dropped it on our brick floor.  Ouch.  She broke!  We only sent it back to Nikon last week for repair, and I received it back less than a week later.
I was SO excited to get it back!  I have been lost without my camera.  I feel like I have missed so many photo opportunities, and although I am using my iphone, it is not the same for me.
My post tonight is just a bit of random this and that. A whole lot of nothing really.  Starting with the garden.  Very much in the last days of production.  The heat has taken a toll.  I continue to harvest tomatoes and cucumbers, green onions, and peppers, along with lots of herbs.  But most has now been harvested.
I have been able to make up several batches of homemade sauce to store in the freezer for the winters use.
When I first starting making my own sauce, I was doing it on the stovetop.  But then I saw the way my friend
Priscilla made hers, by roasting it in the oven, and I have been making it this way ever since.  Thanks Priscilla!!!  I add lots of basil, an onion, a few cloves of garlic, a chopped jalapeno or two, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and then roast in oven at 375 for about 45 minutes.  When cool, use slotted spoon to transfer to food processor and blend.  I either use it right away, or freeze it in gallon freezer bags.  I can usually make enough in the summer, to not have to buy any all year.  It is delicious!
Our grandkids have all gone back to school.  I am finding myself with a little time on my hands.  Yesterday I popped into one of my favorite haunts to do a little thrifting.   What a lucky find too, because I am planning to make freezer jam this weekend, and needed some small canning jars.
20 jars for 10.00.  This wicker basket caught my eye with the pretty fabric insert.  The fabric is also covered by a protective plastic.  The fabric is so pretty and looks like my nasturtiums in my own yard.
See....

I also got these two rolls of shelf liner paper.  How perfect for me.  It is roosters, chickens and eggs, and sunflowers.  In red.
I couldn't pass up this little ceramic eye glass holder.
I had not been in so long, and it was fun to be on the hunt.
The other day a friend of mine dropped by with a big box of Zinfandel grapes for me, that were from her daughter's vineyards in Temecula.
Aren't they beautiful?  And oh so sweet too.
I put them in the fridge out in the garage, with the intention of making jam this weekend.  So the jars were a terrific find!
Today my girlfriend Jae and I went to lunch and had a great mushroom burger, and a caught up on what has been going on.  She watches her one year old grandson, and I watch Noah, so we don't get to "play" as much as we used to.  She had today off, and had heard of a new quilt shop in town for us to check out too.
Jae and her husband Tom, just returned from a month long trip across the States on their Harley.  They are so adventurous!!!  I could never do that!
After lunch, we went in search of the new quilt shop.  Turns out, they had only been open for a few weeks.
 If you are local to my area, they are in Norco, on Hamner, right next to the Western facade shopping center.  Just before In & Out. They are small, but have a good variety and lots of things to choose from.  They will be having classes too.  Go check them out.  While we were browsing the shop, I happened upon a Sampler quilt on display on the classroom wall that looked very familiar to me.  I was invited to participate in a friendship quilt block exchange several years ago, and each person was assigned a block to make, one for herself, and one for the rest of the group.  There were about 20 or so of us I think.  I made the pumpkins, which was of course one of the less difficult blocks to make.  But I so enjoyed doing this!  I never put the quilt together....shame on me.  I will now!!  At first, I thought the quilt was made by someone else and like the one we did.  But I turned the quilt over to the back, and there it was, the label that each one of us signed.  My name, next to Pumpkins....dated 2003.  I did not take a photo!  But I will go back and get one soon.
Last night we had all of our grandkiddos, as it was back to school night for the parents.  It was fun to hear
 of their experiences their first week back to school.  Hannah and Noah are in second grade, and little Clairey is in Kindergarten.  Here is Geeps with all of them.
And here they all are with Gramma.
Oh how we love these kiddos!!!
I know I said I would not do a food post for awhile, but I have to share this easy and delicious layered dish. My Mom told me about it, after I was telling her about making my sauerkraut.  She knew someone who made this, maybe my Aunt?  I can't remember.  But it was GOOD!!!
 I bought a small boneless sliced ham.  Layered the dish with ham, then kraut, then sliced apples, sliced into round, flat pieces, then I layered a couple slices of good Swiss Cheese, and repeated the layers two times.  Finishing with ham slices.
I baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes.  I covered the pan loosely with foil.  It isn't a pretty dish.  But oh my, it is good!  A salty bite of ham, with the subtle sweetness of the apples, and then that tart kraut...and a wee bit of a gooey melted cheese bite.  Oh wow!!
See....it isn't a pretty dish.  But one of those comfort foods that I think we will be craving again come Fall.  I hope you try it.  It is easy, and yummy!  Don't forget to cover the dish with foil or the ham will dry out.
I will end this today with some yarny stuff.  I have been trying to get my stock built up for the holiday orders. I love to give dishcloths as hostess gifts.  So I like to always have some on hand.  I usually knit them.  Like this one.  I made a dish scrubbie with tulle in a matching color.
The hand made dishcloths are all I use.  I must have 20 of them!
I wanted to learn how to do this textured basket stitch in crochet.  So I You tubed it, and watched a few videos.  All of which made NO sense to me.  So I just put the ipad down and started to do my own thing.
It could very well be quite incorrect.  But it is just a series of front post and back post stitches, to form this weaved look.  I love it.
I couldn't stop!  I used up all of my soft cotton/acrylic blend that I bought up in Big Bear at the yarn shop there.  It is so soft and it washes up great, holds it's shape, and dries fast when hanging over the sink to dry. I LOVE this yarn!

The stack keeps growing.  These are fun and quick to make, and make nice gifts.  I like to make face cloths for the shower in a natural cotton and give them with some nice bars of soap.  And the ones for the kitchen, I  like to give with some nice pump soap like a Meyer's Basil or some of the seasonal soaps from Bath & Body Works.
I told you it was going to be a whole lot of nothing randomness!!  I hope all of you are enjoying the waning summer.  We are still in for a good 8 weeks of hot, hot hot!  Lots of triple digits!
I will be back soon, now that I have my camera back!
Thanks for coming by.  I always love to hear what you have to say!  Some of my readers don't have blogs of their own, but I want you to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to comment too!!!
Have a great weekend.  Not sure if we will go the lake, Maybe even just Greg to fish for the day.  Lots to do for me.  Like jam making!
See you soon.
XO  Kris