Thursday, July 31, 2014

Zucchini Mint Salad- Shockingly Delicious

I don't think it's a secret that I dislike zucchini and yellow squash.   I continue to grow them year after year and then I spend lots of time wanting to like them.

Most recently, I found a really good muffin recipe that calls for fresh pumpkin and I found that fresh zucchini works just as well, so I've been shredding and freezing zucchini.  I've  been looking at my yellow squash wondering what I'll do with that.

I currently have oodles of mint growing and I was hoping to find recipes that call for fresh mint.  Other than mojitos or juleps, not much called for actual mint.  Most things  require peppermint extract.

And then I found this.  It was too unusual not to try it!

It's very simple and amazingly really good.  Here's how I made it, altering the original recipe slightly:

1 small zucchini and 1 small yellow squash
1 T. fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 T. or so, olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper (I've been using a ground pepper that also has red chile for extra kick)

Cut the squash as you like.  The picture had lovely spirals, but I gave my spiralizer to my sister, not realizing what it could do, so, mine isn't as pretty as the picture.

Put the squash in a bowl and sprinkle some salt to encourage the water to release.  Leave it while you're preparing your main dish.

While the main dish cooks, add the lemon juice, oil, mint and pepper.  Mix and be amazed.

That's right, no cooking.

It's crunchy, but you don't feel that squeaky feeling that squash usually provides (one of the main reasons I dislike it so much!)  Even the crazy bumpy texture of the yellow squash is unnoticeable.  The mint does amazing things with the lemon flavor.

Basically, it tastes nothing like the squash, which is always a bonus for me!

K-ster liked it too.

It's kind of refreshing and definitely very different.

But we both agreed that it could get old really fast, so it's something I'm not going to make many times this summer.

Linking here:

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Big Cookout Party

What's more exciting in the month of July than the annual W family picnic/cookout/party/bbq?

Once again, the W family hosted its annual cookout.  Some of us call it a party.  Some call it a cookout and some of us call it the Bauer BBQ.  Party is a bit fancy for what this shindig really is.

It's a cookout.

A backyard supper.

A chance for people to sit on the lawn and eat each others' food.

This year, we had a couple of showers just as the party/cookout started, so people headed inside or under the awning or the easy-up tent that k-ster put up.  We've never had rain the day of the Bauer BBQ, so that kind of threw us for a loop!

Remember, we don't know how to deal with rain.  That fact will come in handy at the end of this post.

Somewhere along the way, I started making chicken and beef kabobs and now they are a staple at our annual cookout.

Every year, I buy a million skewers because I think I have hundreds to make.
It doesn't even take one bag and yet, whenever I see them on sale, I think I have to BUY THEM ALL because we'll never have enough.

It could be that every year, I remember that it looks like this before I start threading the skewers.  It looks like so much that I'll be stuck to the grill for days.

This year, I swore I was going to cut back on the kabobs and offer hamburgers and hot dogs too.  We have some less fancy people who come and ask for hotdogs and hamburgers.  I'm tired of trying to expand their palates, so I caved on the hamburgers and hot dogs this year.

Plus, I hear that we always run out of kabobs long before people have had their fill, so I figured this would satisfy everyone.   I wouldn't know because I'm usually knee deep in cooking them all night long.

It turns out I didn't really cut back, so I spent just as much time threading and cooking these kabobs as I do every year!  Instead of cooking them at the party while everyone talks to me and I'm not really paying attention to them, I decided to cook them on my new grill at my house.  It's a little bigger than my parents' grill plus, with the burgers and dogs needing cooking, we needed extra space.

This was a nice break from the usual.  Instead of not listening to people who were trying to talk while I worried about how pink the chicken might be, I grilled by myself and worried about how pink the chicken was and then brought everything over.

As always, the kabobs were sucked down by the masses, but I hear they also had their fair share of dogs and burgers.

Next year, I swear I'm getting one package of beef and less chicken so I can spend a little less time on the prep.  But, I've got a well oiled machine here, so I'm sure that as I stand at the meat counter, I'll end up with just as much as I always buy.

The tedium is in the threading of the skewers.  Plus, it's always a fun game of chance to see if I'll stab myself with the skewers and get splinter. 

I do it every. single. time!

Here's the recipe for the kabobs.  We cannot deviate from this recipe!  I had my own squash and onions growing this year, so all I needed to get was the mushrooms and the zucchini.  I will cut back on the oil next year.  It seemed like too much though I've never noticed that before.

Also, I always make a few skewers that just have meat for those who don't like my vegetable choices!  Or maybe it's because really, I end up having more meat than veggies at the end!

So, back to the little tidbit about the rain.  Once the showers had ended, most everyone was outside.  Some were still under the rollout awning on my parents's deck, but most of us were down on the lawn.

Suddenly, I heard a noise like a hose and wondered why anyone was hosing off the deck with people on it.  And then I realized.

My close to 90 year old aunt was standing, soaking wet, sputtering.  Someone had rolled in the awning and all of the water that had collected poured out on her has she was standing and saying her good byes.  Like a total soaking shower.

We work hard to make our gatherings memorable!

When anyone tried to leave early, we made sure to send my niece Beanster after them.

No one gets away before dark.  NO.ONE.

Linking here:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Super Sunday Smilefest 5

Welcome to another Super Sunday Smilefest!  The rules are simple:

1.  Follow me in some way.
2.  Write a post that tells about what  made you smile this week.  It can be funny, cute, charming, or just something that gave you one of those super satisfying sighs.
3.  Share your post (just one per week) in the linky at the bottom.
4.  Go visit a few other people and enjoy their sharefest too!

Link  up at the bottom of the post.

Here we go!

My sister a-ster arrived a few days early for their annual summer visit.  Today, they were in total vacation mode just hanging around, while my sister sewed this outfit for L-ster.   We went outside to take pictures for her blog, so I ran around with her for some good action shots.  It looks like we're playing football with this stuffed animal.
We came over to my garden for some different background color and she found both of my nozzles and started stuffing leaves into them.  Definitely a future gardener? 

Lots of smiles playing with her.

I finally took the time to figure out how to recycle t-shirts, so I whipped this baby together on afternoon.  Read more about that here and visit my etsy!

Smiles when I finished it because a) it was complete and b) I only used pre-owned t-shirts, so nothing new was used!

This post cracked me up when I experienced it, then again when I wrote it, and even now as I reread it.  Lots of big smiles!

Now, link up what made you smile or laugh or just sigh with contentment this week!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Crochet To the Max A Tutorial For Recycling T-shirts

A while back, I saw something about using t-shirts to make a usable "yarn" that you can then crochet or knit into something else.  I glanced at the tutorial but it seemed really hard, so I stopped thinking about it.

Recently, k-ster decided to get rid of a few t-shirts, some that weren't really worn much, and I thought about the whole idea of recycling t-shirts again.  I googled it and found a GREAT tutorial that makes cutting the strips a breeze.

I had some unworn shirts from the days when I did alcohol promotions, and then I scrounged around for a few others that k-ster didn't want anymore.

This is what I came up with:

It's a 14.5" x 22" rug that feels so cool underfoot.  Sadly, it doesn't go with anything in my house, but these were the materials I had available, so I went with them.  I put it on my etsy for sale.

I love how the crocheting looks when it's so fat!

I have to say, it was a full body workout.  Using a fat crochet hook is hard on the hand and those first few rows were hard to figure out.  I had to change the way I hold the yarn because otherwise, it was way too tight and was impossible.  Laying in my hammock was the best position to wrangle this thing!

Ok, so how did I cut the t-shirts?  First of all, I wouldn't do this unless I had XL t-shirts.  Anything smaller would make it really irritating to deal with.  And, if you can use t-shirts that don't have side seams, it's even better.  The less seaming you have, the smoother it all looks.

I apologize that my lighting is not great for some of these.  

1.  Lay the t-shirt on your cutting surface so that neck is to your left and the bottom is to your right.  If you're left handed, then you can do everything here in the other direction.

Pretend that you're going to clear a really open space for yourself so you can think straight, but really, just push things out of the way just enough so you don't run them over.

Wonder if you accidentally are cutting something else every time you make a cut.

2.  Fold the shirt almost in half, with the part closest to you going up toward the top, but don't bring it right to the top edge.  Leave about 2 inches.
3.  Smooth everything as best you can, and when you've folded it, make the armpits on the same line so you know it's all as even as it can be.

4.  Using a rotary cutter and a ruler, cut off the bottom hem, cut it all the way through, right to the top.

5.  Make the slits 1.5 inches apart and when you cut, DO NOT cut through to the top edge.  You do go through the bottom edge and the lower part of what you folded up, but then you stop before the edge.  My finger is pointing to the edge you cut through but don't go much higher than that.

This is what you'll have when you're done cutting.
6.  Unfold the folded edge so you can see that your cuts went through.
The top edge and the bottom edge are unsliced.  You want to cut through the top but not the bottom, and you'll get one continuous strand of material.

7.  Slide your non-cutting hand in through the top edge that is still connected.  Slide it all the way through.
8.  Make the first cut.  You cut from the outer edge to the corner of the first slit you made.

9.  Now cut the rest on the diagonals.
When you get to the last one, cut on the diagonal like you did with the first one.

10.  Now you're left with a very long line of shirt, like this.

11.  Find one end and give a tug and you'll get it to curl in like this.
It doesn't always curl in perfectly, but I suppose if you worked at it, you could the edges to all roll in perfectly.  I wasn't going for perfect.  This also lengthens the material A LOT and gives it some stability.

12.  Roll it up into a ball and get to work!
When I made my rug, I took all of the shirts in one color and sewed the end of one to the beginning of the next so that I could just keep right on crocheting and have fewer ends to weave in.  Then, I rolled it all into one large ball.  It was much faster than my first method which was to keep each shirt separate and add on the new piece when the old one ran out.  I think sewing them together makes it more durable.

Linking here:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2 Chic To Shop

I found a new shampoo at Whole Foods when it opened here and I really liked it at first.  It's from Giovanni and it's called 2Chic.  I got the tangerine one because I loved the smell (which is really rare) and it was for fine, limp hair, for which I am the spokesmodel.

I was not blessed with hair that will stop traffic as I swing it around.

Instead, my hair looks good for about 3.5 seconds after it air dries and then within an hour of actually living, it's flat and touches me and up it goes.  I am not a user of "products" because I find that they make my hair look and feel dirty, no matter what I do.

The only traffic my hair stop is because people have to do a double take to see if it's really Cousin It under that mess when it's down.
It's never a stunning result.

For example, for my sister a-ster's wedding, I thought it would be nice to have my hair done, so I went to a salon she loves.  I went with day old hair and the guy judged it too slippery, so he had to "dirty it up" with lots of stuff.  For most people, that's all you need to do and then you can sculpt into whatever perfection you want.

The look on his face after several minutes of "dirtying it up" said everything.  His hands looked as though he was massaging dog crap into my hair and his face gave the same, sad message.  He decided to wash it and start over.  And it went downhill from there.

I wasn't at all impressed with the final product and it looks very mousy in the pictures.  Definitely something I could have just done myself, without 450 pins.   Not his fault, but I was pretty irritated as I wrote his check.

A similar thing happened for another wedding I was in years before that.

I've given up on getting a fabulous 'do.

Anyhairdo, I go through phases where I have amazing hair with a certain shampoo and then my hair gets tired of it and it's just hohum.

When I first started using the tangerine one, I had the most fabulous hair.  I wash my hair at night and in the morning, the effects were marvelous.  It looked thick and full and pretty.  And it even felt thick.

But I still couldn't wear it down because it wouldn't stay fabulous for long.

Recently, I've noticed that my hair's feeling dry and the tangerine version isn't making my hair happy at all.  I tried a free sample of the same brand but a different type and that was disastrous, twice.  We're in humid weather right now, so anything that is supposed to moisturize in a thick way is just asking for nasty hair.   Conditioner asks for the same thing.

On the free sample card was a coupon for $1 off any Giovanni hair product.  I saw that they had a version for dry hair, so I planned to get some.

I was tickled when I saw that Stop and Shop carries it because I can get my gas points and it's the same price as it is at Whole Foods.  And I can have $1 off.  And I don't have to drive 10 miles to get it.

So, off I went to do my shopping and I remembered to bring along the coupon.  It was one of those thick things like posterboard and really big, so I couldn't forget to use it.

When I go to Stop and Shop, I use the self scanning guns that you get as you walk in.  Giant has them too.  They are a lifesaver.  I speed through so fast, pack my bags as I go and don't have to deal with the cashier throwing my stuff around and bruising my produce.

It's amazing how much time it saves and when I go to a grocery store that doesn't have one I feel like I might spend the rest of my life there, putting things in the cart and then putting them on the belt for the cashier and then putting them back in the cart.  With the scan gun, you scan, put it in the bag and you're done.

Unless you're up for an audit, which is irritating because it slows you down a little, but I still think it's worth it overall.

When I buy produce, I weight it and then print the sticker and I always stick the sticker on something in case I get audited.  That way, it proves that I did weigh and scan it and it saves time having to weigh it again.   I usually stick them on the plastic bag of the produce I'm buying.  Or, I'll put them on the back of my shopping list.

Always a method to my madness.

So, as I shopped the other night, I bought produce and put the stickers on the back of the huge coupon since I got several things and none of them had plastic bags.  The coupon is the last thing to go through when you check out, so I thought that was a good place to stick them.

One of the vegetables I bought was an avocado, which was on sale.

As I sped through my shopping, thinking 8pm is the best time ever to visit the grocery and why don't I do that all the time because no one is there, I gave myself a high five for remembering to get the shampoo.
The idea of avocado oil and olive oil on my hair in the summer gave me pause, but I thought I'd give it a whirl since I was so impressed with the tangerine.

When I got to the checkout, I scanned my gun and then my card.  So excited not to have an audit this time!

I scanned my coupons and then it was time for the big kahona.  That shampoo coupon was really big and thick and I'd have to fold it to go into the coupon slot.  I was afraid it might not actually go in and then I'd have to call the girl over.

As I scanned the coupon, the machine told me to place my item on the belt.  What?  That's not how you do coupons.  Usually, you "place it in the slot near the blinking light."  But the belt was spinning and she was impatiently telling me to "place the item on the belt". 

And, it was taking off $2! I was saving $2 on my avocado shampoo!  And getting gas points WHooooo hooooo.  I love the grocery store at 8pm!

I was really worried that the coupon wasn't going to fit and jam up the whole works.

So, I quickly fished around for my shampoo and "placed it on the belt".

And was really confused by the procedure because she didn't direct me to "place the coupon in the slot".

And then I realized.

I was so worried about the girth of my coupon,  had rescanned the avocado sticker.  The one on the BACK of my coupon for the avocado shampoo!  It was $2 but on sale and I didn't notice the sale price until I started looking at the screen.

So, it didn't take $2 off, it added another avocado!

And I laughed.  And then had a .3 second debate about whether to tell the girl of my foolishness or just pay the price for my foolishness.

But no, I went there to save $1 and by God, I was going to save $1. 

And of course, the girl is one of my students. 

I explained to her what I had done, laughing like a madwoman, trying to explain about the avocado sticker and the avocado shampoo.  Cackling.

She laughed and took off the second avocado but I'm not sure she really believed me.  

And then I made her stay as I babbled about how the coupon is so thick and blah blah blah, will it going in slot, blah blah so she stood and watched.  And it went in just fine.

And she walked away shaking her head at my ineptitude, thinking "they'll let anyone teach, won't they?"

Did you link up your smiles yet?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Super Sunday Smilefest 4

Welcome to another Super Sunday Smilefest!  The rules are simple:

1.  Follow me in some way.
2.  Write a post that tells about what  made you smile this week.
3.  Share your post (just one per week) in the linky at the bottom.
4.  Go visit a few other people and enjoy their sharefest too!

Link  up at the bottom of the post.

Here we go!

When I started riding in 2009, I quickly realized competing with a horse was not for me.  Too many factors to make us both nervous, way too expensive and time consuming and the silly outfit you have to wear just sealed the deal for me.

And for all this time, I've proudly said that I don't compete.  Shows are not for me.  I don't need to pay money to get a ribbon.

And then my "home barn" had a show and I just couldn't resist.  All of the factors fell into place:

-it's where we ride so no trailering would be necessary and it's familiar ground
-it wasn't too expensive since we didn't have to actually go anywhere
-I could wear whatever I wanted!

That last one might have been what made me do it.  When I refer to the outfit you wear, I'm talking about tan pants, tall boots and that navy blue tailored coat with a white shirt.  Way too much of a get up for 80 degree weather.

And I don't own any tan pants right now.

Some shows just require tan pants and a colored short sleeved shirt but I don't have that either!

When she said it's just a casual show with no restrictions, I decided to do it.

There are 2 parts:  flatwork and jumping.  In the flatwork, it's like dressage, where you have letters on signs around the ring and you have to do certain things at certain letters.  Like walk at C, trot at B, canter at F, cross the diagonal and when you get to M do the same thing in the other direction at L.  Something like that.

A lot of people freak out that it's too many things to remember and too hard to know what to do where.  You're given the course ahead of time and you just have to remember what to do.  Since r-ster used to do this kind of thing A LOT in my lessons, this was a no sweat category for me.  Like I could teach this, it's such a normal course of events for me.

And then there's jumping.  12 inches, 18 inches, 2 feet- 2.3 feet, 3 feet or something like that, which is way higher than I will do right now.  And each of those is called a "class".  After each class, you can participate in what she calls Jackpot Jumper where you have 45 seconds to cleanly jump as many thing as you can, your choice.

You pay for every "class" that you do.  That's where a show can really get expensive.

I chose to do one flatwork class and one jumping class.

I have a video of the flatwork but I didn't put it on youtube yet because our internet is ridiculously slow right now.

I do have the jumping class, but I warn you, it's the sloooooooooowest jumping course you will ever see.  I had to go over 8 jumps, a prescribed course, and I could take as long as I needed.  I took a liiiiiiitle longer than what would be normal but that's how I remained in control.  I learned that if this was a serious show, I would have been disqualified because on some of my circles, I went past the jump I was going to do next, and that would have been considered refusing the jump.

If you  have 3.5 minutes, watch this video.  I'm pretty happy with how cleanly he went over every jump.  If you know about jumping, you will see my very novice mistakes which I am working on!

Oh and those are 18 inch jumps.  For the jumps that are Xs, the center of the X is 18 inches tall.  For the wooden thing I jump over at #7, the top of that is 18 inches.

And so, for my jumping class and flatwork class, this is what I we got:
I feel a little silly as an adult getting excited about first place ribbons in a horse show, but it was pretty exciting.  Even if the competition pool wasn't very large.
Smiles all around for my first show with Jackson!  And yes, I plan to do a couple more "home" shows but no, I AM NOT going to get all gussied up and put him in a trailer and pay a fortune to go somewhere else.  


After seeing this post about storage bins, I decided to give it a try and make one of the round buckets.  I wanted something to hang below my saddle rack where I can put some things.  The math is right on and I was really pleased with how it came together.  I've made two more since, a little shorter, and without a strap.  You can see my post here.

I wanted something kind of tall for the one I made, but it was too tall to really stand by itself.  The next two that I made were only about 6 inches tall and slightly smaller in diameter, so they are holding their shape much better.

As my aunt walked by this afternoon, she took a picture of the roses from my front yard.  These are idiot proof roses that have been here longer than I've been alive.  They are "wild" roses in that they just take care of themselves and will grow anywhere and take over.  They have a good fight going on with bittersweet and we've torn them all out and they grow right back.

I love this view because even though I know it well, looking at it from this perspective, I picture a completely different setting than what I know to be true.
If you look closely, that's me by the front door.  She didn't realize I was there when she took the picture and when she heard my scratching through the gravel I was weeding, I scared her!  I'm surprised I'm not wearing of my signature hats but I was staying out of the sun, so I didn't need it, for a change.

These roses make me smile every year for a few reasons:

1.  because they are so foolproof and so consistent.
2.  because they remind me of every summer of my life.
3.  because when they would bloom, my friend from Canada would visit and I always associate them with her!

And finally, we went to see Martina McBride in concert this week.  It's a small place that seats about 2200 in an outdoor tent and we have seen some amazing people there.  We like it because everyone's so close to the stage AND the stage slowly turns so the performers don't have their backs to us for long before they're back in front of us again!

She is TINY!  She had on ridiculously tall heels and still was a peanut as she walked down the aisle.  She had an enormous band with her and they all looked pretty crowded on that little stage but she was good.

She sang a lot of songs that are not her own, which is unusual for someone to do.  She sang some of her classics, but I was surprised to hear her sing some jazz and some blues.

Smiles for getting great entertainment just 5 miles away in such a small venue!

Now, link up your posts about what made you smile this week!

I'm linking here:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Using Geometry Without The Tears

Have you noticed that women are kind of obsessed with bags?  You only have to look at Thirty-One, the company that makes its millions on bags, to know that it's in our genes to want bags.

We think we'll store everything in bags and everything will be neat and tidy.  But it doesn't really work that way, does it?  Bags get lost, things get put in the wrong bags and *GASP* bags get dirty and nasty.

I even wrote a post about my many bags and how I stay organized because of bags.  I really do use them to keep my sanity.

But I'm always fascinated when I see people's round and square bags that they make for storage.  Something about it captures my attention and it makes me think that in my sewing room or my classroom, these open bags will be the solution to everything.  The kajillion posts on the interwebs supports my theory that we all wish we could be organized and we think these bags and buckets are the solution!

Recently, I saw this post about making one of those round storage bags/buckets that everyone loves so much.  Her directions include some serious math, but I thought she might just have the key to making one of these actually look pretty decent.

The math involved diameter of a circle, pi, and degrees on a circle.

I got a little sweaty as I read it, but I liked the way she explained how to make assembling it work, so I got going.  I always get excited when I think I can use pieces of batting and fabrics from my stash.

First, you find a circle of the size you like.  I had a round container and traced it onto this peppers fabric.

I've had it forever and ever and ever.  I bought like 3 yards of it a long time ago and wanted to make curtains for the kitchen and k-ster outlawed it.  I have no idea why he banned it, or better, why I even asked what he thought.  He probably has no idea what our kitchen curtains look like right now, so I could have totally gotten away with it.

Wouldn't it be so cute in a kitchen?  And since I had dark wood in the kitchen, I thought it would be so perfect...

Anycurtains, I misread the directions, as I usually do, and I cut out a round piece for the bottom and for the inside of the bottom.  I didn't realize that I'd be making a lining, so all of this would be made with the batting on one side and material on the other, with no material over the batting.  So, the bottom has double the fabric it should have.

Because I always have trouble with linings, I would not do it that way next time.  I'd use material on both sides of the batting and finish my seams with the serger.  I would either use some kind of binding on the top or I'd roll down the top which is fairly common right now.

But, for this one, I did as I was told, except on this bottom piece.

Because this is a bag to store something at the barn, it absolutely doesn't matter what it looks like or what it's made of.  So this was the perfect place to use scraps of batting and hideous fabric.  There are places where there is no batting, but no one would know.  And the hideous fabric is only on the lining.

I used my favorite wavy quilting pattern with a green thread as the top thread.

My favorite part of the tutorial is where she explains how to make marks at 30, 60, 90 degrees.  Go look, it's pretty neat.  And it totally works for matching up the pieces.  I've never had such an easy time sewing something round.

Because the tutorial is very open about what size you will make the bag, you could make it any height you wanted.  Mine is about 12 inches tall.  Probably too tall for the bucket style but fine for a bag.
It ended up with way more of a Christmas theme than I meant to have.  It just wanted the green and red to go with the peppers!  It was all scraps that I had and still have plenty of.

Her tutorial didn't a strap but I thought I would put one because I will hang it beneath  my saddle rack.  Hers has side handles.  I ended up making the strap way too long and cut off two pieces that could have worked as handles, but I didn't see the need.

I put fleece in the strap as well.  I love the look of a padded strap.  It makes me feel like an expert seamstress when I do a padded strap.

Someone should just find me a padded cell.  Or better yet, I could just make my own.

The thing to remember when adding a strap is to sew it between the lining and the outside so it's fully embedded.  I don't like the look of straps added on after the fact.

A ridiculous statement for this bag because, as I said, it's going to hang beneath my saddle at a barn.  I could add anything I wanted after the fact and no one will even see it.

Because I was using scraps, and I was thinking you'd never see the inside, I grabbed this hideous Christmas fabric that was in an old stash of mine.  I'm not happy with this lining because a) it didn't come out the way I wanted it to and b) because as it turns out, you can actually see it.

I suppose I could tack down the lining so it doesn't come out every time I reach into the bag.  That's one of the main reasons I don't like the lining.  I don't want to be fighting with it!  But, I'm "done" with this bag, so I don't want to be bothered with sewing anything else on it.  We'll see what happens the first time I reach in to pull out something from inside.

I also wanted a little more structure for the base, so I did a little stitch around it.  She didn't have you do this in the tutorial.

It gives it a little more definition.  I'm toying with the idea of putting a piece of hard plastic in the next one so it's more sturdy.

I like these fabric bags/buckets but I don't like their flimsiness.  If this was shorter, it would work better as a bucket, I think.  But I wanted this one to hang, so it's fine.  I'm thinking 6 inches tall, max, would work well.

If I were to make storage for my sewing room, I would make it shorter, go without the lining, and probably fold the top down to give it a little bit more structure.  I don't like it when they collapse down if nothing is inside them.

I really like the tutorial and the math was totally right, even when I did it.  Geometry used in real life- who knew?

Don't forget to link up your smiles!

Linking here: 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I'm My Mother's DAUGHTER

 I'm not sure if I need glasses, if I'm oblivious or if everyone else is using Botox, but I've lost the power to read people's faces and determine their age.

I don't mean like 25 vs. 26 or 50 vs. 55  I mean I can't tell if someone is 30 or 50.  40 or 60.  Sometimes, I'll look at someone I'm sure is 24 and think maybe they are really in the 40s?

The people I see on a regular basis become so familiar to me that I'm often beyond shocked when they have a birthday and I find out they're much older than I thought.

I always seem to err on the side of thinking they are much younger than they are.

Maybe it's wishful thinking as I head toward another decade marker?  Maybe I'm hoping that people will surely think I'm only 24 when I'm not.

But I don't think it's working yet.  There have been a few strange comments lately by people who seem to think we are of a similar age and yet I know they are in their late 50s or 60s because of their children's ages, or things they reference that I did not live through (Sputnik, the Kennedy assassination, Woodstock, Reganomics).

Ok, I was alive for president Regan.  I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.

People will make a reference to something and go "you know, like we would do/watch/say when we were kids" and I'm like "no, I only know that reference because I watched it on Nick at Nite or my parents talk about it."

I'm not that old.

A few years ago, this guy made a stupid guess at my age but I thought it was a fluke.

Then there was a TERRIBLE discussion at lunch with my lunch buddies (the people who got moved from my former school to my new school with me- we ate lunch together every day because we were just about the only people who had lunch at that time).  Someone said something like "and it's hard to believe you're 40" and I lost it.  I'M NOT 40!

And then it came up a few more times, possibly as a joke but possibly not.

A few weeks ago, someone who used to camp here came to check out the place and started talking to me about how nothing has changed and it's so much fun to come back and reminisce.  Because he remembered coming as a kid and how we had a horse.  You know, like about a decade ago.

A decade ago?  No, sir, that was my mother's horse and that was more than 4 decades ago!  I never knew that horse.  It was way before my time.

And then about a week later, it all came to a crashing end.  This youthful glow that I thought I had? 

Completely extinguished.

Because I had this conversation with another guy who has been camping here since he was a kid.  Like in the late 60s.  Again, way before my time.

"So what are you, like a sister in law or something?"

"You mean K-ster's sister in law?"

"Yeah, are you her sister in law or sister?"

"K-ster's??????"  I was speechless.  "I'm her DAUGHTER!"

"You're her DAUGTHER?"

"Yes, her DAUGHTER, not her SISTER."

No apology.  No "wow but she looks so young she can't have a daughter your age".  Nothing.  Just a look of shock.

So I charged him double the week's rent and spit on him.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Amazing Salsa Recipe- From The Grocery Flier!

Being an avid fan of saving money, I cannot go to the grocery without reading the circular to see what I should buy.  I seriously have trouble walking in to the store and buying something unless I know every single thing that's on sale.

Which is absurd because it's not like they don't have signs all over the store showing what's for sale!

Sometimes, our Stop and Shop circular has recipes.  I've tried a few over the years and other than the amazing Mediterranean Burgers, nothing else has been that outstanding.

Until now.

Stand back.

Prepare to  be blown away.

You thought the Salsafication of a Watermelon was amazing last summer.

That's nothing compared to this.

I'm pretty lazy, so I didn't type it out for you.  I think if you click on the picture you can get it large enough to actually read it.  If not, leave a comment and I'll do something.

Basically, it's peaches, tomatoes, avocados, jalapenos, vinegar, lemon, lime, onions and probably something I'm forgetting.

We ate it with these Late July quinoa and chia seed chips and it was fantastic.  Have you tried them yet?  I like Late July and they are literally just down the road from me.  Their stuff is super expensive because it's non-GMO and real, but I had a coupon for the quinoa and chia chips and OMG.  Fantastic.

I also ate this salsa for lunch with a different chip and it was just as spectacular. It's one of those salsas that's so amazing you could just sit with a spoon and eat a bowl full of it!

I'm not big on spicy food, so I didn't do much with the jalepenos.  I think I put in two small, canned jalapenos. I know, why canned?  I don't have a good answer.  It was just enough for me.  You could probably add more and have your head blown off but I like to remain intact when I eat salsa and sweating out the bridge of my nose is not something I enjoy.

Good job, Stop and Shop!

Did you link up your smiles?  There's still time!

I'm linking here:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Super Sunday Smilefest #3

Welcome to another Super Sunday Smilefest!  The rules are simple:

1.  Follow me in some way.
2.  Write a post that tells about what  made you smile this week.
3.  Share your post (just one per week) in the linky at the bottom.
4.  Go visit a few other people and enjoy their sharefest too!

Link  up at the bottom of the post.

Here we go!

So, we got a little visit from Hurricane Arthur.  I was really concerned that the wind and rain were going to destroy my flowers and gardens which have just started to look really good.

We got a lot of wind and some rain, but everything seems to be ok!  My pin wheels blew off the fence in the garden, but otherwise, things look pretty good.

And the gardens love a good soaking from real rain.  There's always a noticeable difference after it rains, compared to just the drip irrigation watering.

Always a smile for superb growth in the garden!

It was time for a new gas grill and I've spent months trying to decide what I want to do.  I had some gift cars to Sears from my credit card points, so I finally made the big leap this week.

I expected that I'd just get it in a box and k-ster would have to put it together, because that's what it said online.  To my great surprise, when I got there, the only thing they had were preassembled grills!  K-ster was pretty happy not to have to put it together and I was glad not to have to wait.

Smiles all around!

Because my car looked like this, it took some serious rearranging in the parking lot to make it fit, though!

And speaking of saddles.  After a years long search for a saddle that works for both me and for bony Jackson, I've found the magic fit!  I found this saddle on ebay at the beginning of June and because it was identical to one that someone has at the barn, and which the saddle fitter liked on Jackson, I bit the bullet and took the risk of buying it on ebay.

The planets were aligned from the moment I searched for it because it wasn't very expensive, it happened to be at a barn about 45 minutes from my sister a-ster's house and I was going to visit her like 2 days after the auction ended.  When I said I could pick it up, the girl refunded my shipping charge.

I tossed it into a suitcase and brought it home on the plane and rode in a few times before the saddle fitter came.  It seemed to fit well and Jackson wasn't acting like it was torture, so that was a good sign.

Getting this saddle fitter to come is like trying to find a needle in a haystack- completely impossible, but by some stroke of luck, he was in town on Monday and I was available to go check it out with him.  There's a correction pad that I have that allows shims to be added to the front or back to raise the saddle if it needs to be.  He fiddled with it a little bit and pronounced it a great fit and off we went.

Since I only use it on Jackson right now, and I'm the only one using it, it's made things one step simpler in getting him ready.  It's not the most comfortable thing for me yet, but it's not agony.  It's a feeling that I'm pretty sure I will get used to very quickly.

And it puts me in a better position than the saddle I was using, and that puts a smile on everyone's face.  It's like I can finally get out of my own way!

I will never comprehend potatoes.  You put one in the ground and somehow lots of others come from it.  This year, I have some accidental and some deliberate potatoes.  The reds are deliberate and yes, they were really that red. 
I have a wheelbarrow in the greenhouse where I've been growing potatoes for years.  The part that mystifies me is that I think I pull them out in the late fall and then in the spring, up pop some more green plants and low and behold, there are potatoes!

I pulled these out to make a potato salad and they were fantastic.  The plants are going completely crazy, I expect a lot more.  The part I never understand is what happens if I pull out the big potato that the plant actually grew out of?  How will I know?

And I read something about waiting until the plant dies back before harvesting but I paid no attention to that carefully removed these and then pushed the soil back up.

Smiles all around for potato salad from my own ground!!

Now link up your own smiles!