Friday, September 30, 2016

Recipe for Camping Canned Chicken Pot Pie

Four days camping!

I'm happy camping in anything with hard sides. I want STEEL between me and the bears. And lots of pillows. That's all I ask. I'm quite happy just to be in the woods, and exhale, wander around looking at the pretty leaves and stuff, and when it gets dark I want to close the door and lock it.

The van was pretty full with bedding, pillows and kids.  Ten pillows is a necessity.  An ice chest is a luxury I decided to do without. Anyway I didn't think the ice would last for four days.

My idea of camping food is a quick trip through Costco for non-refrigerated comestibles, like cashews, dried blueberries, jerky, those little round nut-and-seed blobs, so delicious, you know the ones.  Food:  *crosses that item off list*

The only problem was there was going to be potluck! What to bring?

A proper church lady must show up with a casserole in a pretty dish!  And not leave it all to the motorhomes and 5th wheels, ice chest or no!

Solution:  canned goods.

Ingredients:


I wouldn't usually buy Campbells Cream of Soup.  Just this once for a good reason.


Crumbled up saltines are indistinguishable once they're mixed into the soup, and the effect is really quite like bits of flaky, golden Marie Callendar's pot pie crust!


When I tested this at home before going camping, the kids loved it and ate the whole batch almost before I could take a picture. 
A week after we got home, they asked if I could make more of that stuff from the campout. 

Success!  :-D 

Homemade Fish and Chips

Happened to be in Walmart when the need for fish and chips became irresistible.

Walmart is a great store, I am not among those who refuse to shop there, rather I APPROVE of Walmart because I find it easier to find Made in USA items there than in any other large store, because they refuse to sell the worst offensive, violent music, and they promote Christian material and gift items with verses.

That being said, it's not the place to find fish fillets with natural ingredients.
Reading the ingredients on Gorton's fish sticks is rather unappetizing, I must say!
But, I was at Walmart when the urge struck...

Walmart had a bag of tilapia loins pre-skinned and individually wrapped!  And they had taters. 


I did those properly, first dipped in flour with salt and pepper, then in egg, then in bread crumbs with seasoning.  
How to make chips?  Well, how hard can it be?  


Best fish 'n' chips EV AR.

And by the way, here's what I bought myself for my birthday this year.



Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pears!




The quarry-- a big pear tree on sort-of public property. 

The pears are falling and the homeless are ignoring them. 


Admittedly the pears have been picked to the level that tall people can reach.  Let’s think.



Hangar, plastic bag, mailing tape, yardstick. 

I felt a little silly whipping out this contraption in public, up until the moment that it worked.  Pity I didn’t take a video!  The bag goes up around the pear, the end of the hangar snags the stem, a little yank and the pear drops into the bag. 

Yield: 


Now the pear tree is loaded with pears above the level of tall people and clever redneck chicks. 





For the second trip, a modified apparatus. 





One guy who stopped to watch me expressed doubt because, he said, those pears are HARD. Right. Who cares if they’re a little crunchy? They’re like hard CRUNCHY PEAR SUGAR BLASTERS, never tasted such excellence. I gave him a big fat pear and he went away eating it.

Most people who stopped to watch me at this activity (which with a stick this long harks to fishing) told me I was clever, so I gave them nice pears to eat. 

And still took home: 







Sunday, September 11, 2016

Plastic Canvas Outgoing Mail Holder

I made one of these aeons ago and it was a cool, useful thing to have on the wall.  Recently someone admired it so I made a copy.  Here's the information in case you'd like to make one. 



As you can see, there is some lag time between photos and blogging  :-)


Front design


The back is reinforced with double layers of canvas to make it stronger.  
I was running out of that blue cord, so I switched from my usual favorite basketweave to half cross on the back to economize, then left the bottom part unstitched.  It's against the wall, so it doesn't show! 


Dimensions to cut the plastic canvas:



Sunday, July 31, 2016

One New Painting

Karen decided it had been long enough since she painted  :-)



Thursday, July 14, 2016

I'm Still a Housewife

I just had to write a summary of myself.  Okay:  Some years ago I was born, and did various things, and this pattern continues up to the present day. 

But if I must be summed up in a word, "housewife" is the best one. 
I've had extra pleasure in using it ever since a feminist type commanded me not to-- for the sake of my own self-respect! Since my self-respect is based more on the need to define myself than on my pride in how well I can follow others' instructions, here we are.  A housewife.

I recently looked up the word husband to be sure I could use it as a synonym for steward in the sense that I wanted, and found out something interesting.  Y'know how we joke about a house husband-- well, they're ALL that because "hus" means house! 
hus·band late Old English (in the senses ‘male head of a household’ and ‘manager, steward’)
from Old Norse húsbóndi ‘master of a house,’ from hús ‘house’ + bóndi ‘occupier and tiller of the soil.’ The original sense of the verb was ‘till, cultivate.’
The word "wife" just means a woman who is doing an occupation.  So a "housewife" is a woman whose primary occupation is the upkeep of a house, and "husband" is her male counterpart.  

That I haven't a husband is of no matter for my choice of self-descriptive terminology. 

Since I live in an apartment, I'll do some more defining.  I'll go with "house" as a private establishment which shelters a family and supports the daily activities of all of its members, the good keeping of which makes it possible to live economically.

Haha, oh, I really came over here just to rejoice! I've been so happy lately! Quietly keeping my little place, peeling my little vegies, sweeping my floors, sewing and selling stuff. These are my favorite, most contented days.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Making CD Sleeves from Calendars

That's the level of craft I can handle these days  :-)

It's SOOO satisfying for a hoarder type to be able to think of a use for those calendar pages that were just too pretty to throw away!

Some time ago I opened up a CD sleeve and copied it onto thin cardboard for tracing. 
 


It took some trial and error (as you can see) to get a square just the right size, but once I have that, I can fold the flaps over it and they come out perfect every time. 












Pretty, yes?

Unlike my larger dreams and plans, a craft on this scale actually ends up being made  :-)




Monday, February 8, 2016

Homemade Pot Rack


I have some very nice stainless steel pans that came from a relative, but in this little apartment kitchen there's nowhere to store them.  I love my kitchen, LOVE, I'm just saying there isn't room for the pans!


Last year I got clever and harvested a vine maple branch from the woods behind us, crafted some hangers from hangers and there you go.
There's still that certain level of celebration because "there's nobody to stop me!" from dragging forest products indoors to use for stuff.

And yet.  Now we have a saggy branch with the bark still on hanging in my kitchen.

I won't spend money, but I... kind of... took... utilized... swiped... one of the long boards my older daughter had left in my garage.
They were for a project she was going to make and then didn't. 
When I had the idea I grabbed that long board and sawed it into the length I needed really quick before my conscience could kick in.

Hey, she had left it there a LONG time!
Yeah, okay, I'm gonna discuss it with her.  

Meanwhile.
There's the hand drill I got at a garage sale for $4 back when I had money :-)
I ALWAYS drill pilot holes, just because I love my non-electric drill so much.


Sawdust!
You mean man glitter?

Sudden sidetrip down memory lane, as I remember being fascinated by the piles of sawdust under my dad's table saw.  As a little kid I loved sweeping up that pleasant-smelling sawdust and vacuuming under the mats. 


It's not visible here, but of course I put the two legs on the wrong way the first time.
Just take 'em off and reverse 'em, no harm done. 







 








The pizza peel is a storage problem.
Really the only place for it is standing alongside the fridge, then it has to be washed before use, which isn't ideal.  








Large allen wrench through the handle, and it just hangs on top of the board.  It's not going anywhere.  The whole setup would have to scoot five inches away from the wall before it could fall down. 











Dave says, "That looks MUCH better." 

Apparently that piece of 1x2 oak cost twenty some bucks. Gulp.
DD graciously forgave me and converted the theft into a gift  :-)





Friday, February 5, 2016

Life and My Homemade Pizza are Amazing

Now, here is an example of provision.  Long ago I bought a big pizza stone, but it got left behind. 

A pizza stone doesn't qualify as something we "need" to spend money on-- actually very few things qualify as that!
But this one was free!  It may be smaller, but it's prettier  :-)


I did get the pizza peel.  (The huge wooden surface with a handle, for getting the pizza in and out of the oven.) 

Making homemade pizza is so fun!
In my case there's a slight overtone of defiance that goes with it.
Everybody knows about the famous ex and his soul-curdling horrors, we're used to that.  Every ex is horrible, that's why he's the ex!
Well mine, among his more serious offenses, also told me not to make homemade pizza any more, "Because you trash the whole kitchen doing it!"

That wasn't a health and safety issue like the ones I eventually divorced him for, so, fine.  No more homemade pizza.

But how about now?
Nobody to stop me.
I'm gonna make homemade pizza!  See?  SEE ME DOING THIS THING?  Nyah, nyah, nyah, I'm making homemade pizza!
Yeah.  It's kinda like that.


The discount grocery doesn't have organic pizza sauce, so I made my own, with tomato sauce and tomatoes and basil and oregano and garlic and pepper and minced onions sauteed in olive oil first.  Oh, yeah. 


There's an example of why the ex told me not to make pizza any more.

You ought to see the oven.  It doesn't show up in the picture, but there's cornmeal EVERYWHERE.  The cornmeal doesn't go in the pizza, it goes on the peel, so it's the first thing your tongue comes in contact with when you take a bite.  Another little detail to makes it taste all authentic and stuff.
But yeah, I'll have to be cleaning the oven tomorrow.

SO WHAT if I get cornmeal on the floor?  I'll clean it up after! 



The second pizza can honestly be called round! 


Onions on top of the pizza guarantees that this one's mine.
I thought.
Actually that didn't work, the darlings are old enough now that a few onions won't stop them.  I had to hork down some pizza in a hurry before it all vanished. 

Mike said, "This pizza is AMAZING!!!" 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The New Curvy Barbie, and Newsweek Interview

Well, wasn't that a fun surprise!  A request for an interview by a Newsweek reporter! 

It made me feel famous! Hehe, although it didn't get me any fame-- my page views are the same or actually a little less than average since the article came out  :-)


Whatever else, it was a fun way to shake up a morning.  One minute I had dropped off the kids to school, was sitting down with my breakfast and to-do list, and of course sparing a moment to indulge in re-examination of my pain and familiar dilemmas, with some self-doubt and ennui.  Next thing you know the phone's ringing.
I only had time enough to say, God, don't let me say something stupid!
And then I was chattering all kinds of cheerful, positive and enthusiastic opinions about my almost-forgotten hobby, from the almost-forgotten old days.

Here's the article: 
http://www.newsweek.com/new-barbie-dolls-what-will-they-wear-421358

After the interview, I was kinda wound up, and on a whim I jumped in the car and zoomed down to Walmart to get one of the new dolls.  Only a few minutes' thought or one minute's research would have told me it'll be a long time before the new body dolls hit the big box store! Oh, well, there were plenty of other things on my shopping list, it wasn't a wasted trip  :-)

The new Curvy dolls can be pre-ordered here:  http://www.barbie.com/en-us#curvy
And I did so as soon as I got home. 
Went with this one:

Not only because she was only ten bucks.
I love the hair.  Remember what I said about the purple-hair girl?

Blue hair makes me think Space Princess, possibly another of Captain Kirk's girlfriends.

It probably would have been this one if not for the bent arm, obviously-dyed hair (I see that blue hair as natural, just not from this planet) and the fact that her face reminds me of someone I know.
And she was $20.  Yes I am that tightfisted.  I'm only allowing myself to *buy* a doll because she'll further the hobby, which does at least pay for itself  :-) 





I'm set up to make some clothes, now. 
In this apartment, I have a bedroom all to myself-- a little 10x12 square all my own that I love and am so grateful for!  It's not that there's ROOM for a sewing table, it's kinda sitting in the middle and I go around it to go to bed!


I gotta do something with that website.
People still write me occasionally, still send me thank you notes and pictures of what they've made with my patterns, but I've fallen behind the curve.  It's time to get those photos up, fix some errors I know about, make some long-overdue improvements, even add some NEW CONTENT. 

I got a notifier yesterday saying Miss Blue has been shipped.
I can't wait! I'm gonna get a wardrobe together for her lickety-split, post the patterns and sell the prototypes.  Yay!

Hey-- did you notice what just happened?
I just admitted that I bought a Barbie doll because I wanted it.
When my early teens turned into my late teens I got self-conscious about my Barbie collection and packed it away, but with so much regret!
Then, I was an outsider, exiled from the pink aisle.
I was so glad once my baby girl was big enough to look around and reach for things, so I could carry that baby girl into the pink aisle!  She was my ticket, my passport back into the world of Barbie!

The girls are now 17, 21 and 23 years old, but I'm 45 -- I could wear a red hat if I wanted to, but I don't!  But I'm plenty old and bold enough to admit I'm buying a plastic doll because I jolly well want to!