Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No stitching, but I've been busy!

Seems I'm still in one of those lulls where I can't seem to focus and find the time to do any stitching. I have so many things that must get done around the house. Since there's been no stitching, I'd like to share some of what I did yesterday.

Early in the morning I decided to put a roast in the crockpot. Roast was on sale at my local grocery store and my family loves my roast and gravy with mashed potatoes. I decided to do it in the crockpot to keep from heating the house. I'm trying to be energy conscious these days. Here's a peak at my roast. I also fixed mashed potatoes, broccoli salad, and cucumber salad. You can see dessert later in this post.

After getting the roast started, I realized I needed to bake bread because we were almost out of bread. I have been baking our bread for years now. It's something I enjoy doing. Most of the time a slice or two disappears as soon as the loaves come out of the oven, but this time I did manage to get a picture before that happened.

While I was mixing the bread, I noticed I had two bananas that were going to have to be used or consumed with a straw. Somehow mushy bananas do not appeal to I decided to make banana bread. I am a diabetic. My banana bread recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar. I altered the recipe so I can eat a little of this. Instead of the sugar I used 1/2 c. Splenda and 1/4 c. sugar. I believe the literature on Splenda says to use it cup for cup when you substitute it for sugar. I have tried that and thought that the item was too sweet. When I cut back on the quantity of Splenda, I liked this banana bread much better. You can still rises nicely and browns just as well as with all sugar.
I also wanted to make a mixed berry cobbler for dinner. So I mixed that and put it in the oven to bake at the same time as the banana bread. I used some frozen berries that I had bought. I also used Splenda in the dough for this cobbler.
About the time the banana bread and cobbler were coming out of the was time to put the bread in, so I made best use of the oven heat and had the oven on for as short a time as possible.

After all the baking was done.....I then got busy with a chore I have been putting off for so long.

Yes, that's right....ironing slacks for DH. I don't enjoy that task and so I let it pile up until I have a mountain of ironing. I ironed 10 pair yesterday and have a few more to do today. Then I still have plenty of shirts to iron.

As you can see, I'm busy. I'm just not doing much stitching or posting to this blog for that matter. It's difficult to post when I'm not working on anything interesting. I'm sure hoping that changes soon!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Guessing game

Let's play" guess what the weather was at Belvie's house on Monday"!!! Enlarge the picture below and look at the wire on the tomato cage. I bet you can figure it out.
You can see my hummingbird feeder hanging there. I need to make fresh liquid to put in that today! My cherry tomato plant is doing well and has lots of little ones on it. My roma plants also have lots of little ones on them. I just wish they were ripe since the news about tomatoes and salmonella. I eat lots of tomatoes. And, if you guessed that it was raining at my house again on would be RIGHT! We had light rain all morning. At least we weren't having severe thunderstorms. I'm thankful for that.

There was no stitching at my house yesterday. I had to do my weekly shopping. DD came in the kitchen as I was washing things to put them away and she said my sink was colorful and pretty. Here's a picture of my fresh items.
Before I clean my veggies, I thoroughly scrub and disinfect my sink. I have a raised wire rack that I put in the bottom. It keeps the veggies raised about 3/4" above the bottom of the sink. I then rinse them thoroughly with cold water.....I spray them with hydrogen peroxide...then white vinegar...then rinse with cold water. I then repeat that again. I let them drain and then put things in the refrigerator. My family knows that everything in my refrigerator is clean and ready to eat except things in the very bottom drawer of the refrigerator. Do you have a special method of cleaning your fruits and veggies? If so, I'd love to hear about it.

See those big green peppers in the picture above. Those are jalapenos. I slice them in half longwise, made a meatloaf mixture and stuffed them....and baked them slowly for about 1 1/2 hrs. They turned out wonderful. They were a little hot, but the flavor was so good. I always make tomato gravy when I cook stuffed peppers, and so I did the same with these. To complete the meal, I made mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, and a carrot and raisin salad. It was a colorful meal. I should have taken a picture, but never thought to do that.

When I had my camera in the kitchen, I also took a picture of my African violets. A couple of them are blooming beautifully. I have a wide area behind my sink where I keep 3 of them (only 2 are blooming). They seem to like it there and I really enjoy looking at them as I work.

Hope you aren't bored with flower pictures because I have one more to share. My fuchsia plant is doing nicely on my back patio. I have never been able to grow these, but this one seems to be doing well. It is loaded with the little buds. Hummingbirds love the bright pink and purple blooms. Hope they find this one as I love watching those little birds!

My week is going to be a busy one and I probably won't post for a while. In-laws are coming to visit this weekend. My time for the rest of the week will be devoted to cleaning the house and doing some baking to prepare for them......but I will take time out on Thursday for my applique class. I deserve that break!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rainbow Sherbert and Liquorish Applique

Wrote this post on Sunday evening, but had to shut the computer down due to thunderstorms. Seems those are almost an everyday occurrence in this area!

I realized today that this is the week for my applique class. In the past I have posted several pictures of the botanical blocks that I've made in those classes. Our instructor has started us on some of the patterns that she designs and calls "papercuts". I am not through with my botanical blocks, but I decided to work on at least one of the papercuts to see if I was going to have any problems or questions for her this month. Here's a look at my progress.

The background appears to be navy blue in the picture. Actually it is a very dark charcoal grey. The batik is one of my most favorite pieces of batik fabric. I have enough to make 4 of these papercuts. I'm thinking the 4 blocks will become a wallhanging or maybe a table topper. I think I'll call these blocks "Rainbow Sherbert and Liquorish". The blocks are about 18" square. The design is traced onto freezer paper and cut out like a paper snowflake. It is then ironed onto a square of the top fabric. The design is drawn on that top fabric with a mechanical pencil or marking pencil that will show up on the fabric. While the freezer paper is still the top fabric square onto the background square. Mine is pinned with several small brass safety pins on the backside placed randomly all over the square and then I use small applique pins in the area I am stitching on the top side. Stitching is begun by carefully inserting the blade of the scissors between the two layers and cutting a few inches of the top fabric leaving about 1/8 inch of seam allowance. Then the needleturn method of applique is used to stitch the layers together. You continue to cut and sew a few inches at a time. My sewing kit to take this project when I go somewhere consists of one spool of neutral thread, a dozen applique pins, and a small pair of very sharp pointed scissors. All these items can be easily carried in a small ziploc bag which makes for a very portable project.

Now, if only life weren't so busy.....I could settle down, get my projects prioritized, and actually finish some items!