Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Flowers are blooming in the garden!

The month of June brings flowers, flowers, flowers into my garden. There are a couple that have never bloomed before. It seems that it takes a couple of seasons for most plants to bloom. This year I've got Flander's poppies that are all over my side yard (which need very little water to bloom apparently), Oriental poppies ( I love their pale pink color), and orange lilies. Also, my rose bushes have also bloomed prodigiously despite the attack of aphids in late spring.

And for a daily dose of cuteness . . . .

There are a couple of blogs out there that will satisfy anyone's need for a big fix of "CUTE"! One is call Cute Overload. Here are a couple of pictures that makes me want to get another dog (preferably a tiny little Chihuahua puppy that I can dress in little sweaters!) Now, if only I could convince my husband!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Vintage style pot holder

Here's my first attempt at a potholder. I didn't use a pattern - I just cut out two cotton fabric squares. I made one larger than the other so that I could overlap for binding. I also cut out a matching square of batting. Next time, I will use a thicker batting. This potholder was made with lightweight cotton batting and it is just too thin. I might even double up the thicker batting next time. Before embroidering the design, I first quilted the entire potholder, then folded over the edge for a binding. On the front of the potholder, I transferred a design using an iron-on pattern from a company called Aunt Martha's. This company makes reproduction vintage transfers that are very easy to use. I then stitched over the lines, making sure that my needle didn't go all the way through to the back of the potholder. At the end and the beginning of each thread, I buried the ends in the batting of the potholder, thus hiding them. My next project is a matching tea cozy made with coordinating fabrics and a small Scottie embroidered design. These will be donated to a silent auction benefiting the Nevada Society of Scottish Clans.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Miss Marple returns Sunday on PBS. Set your watches!

Tomorrow night the Miss Marple series returns with "Sleeping Murder". It is post-WWII Britain and the wiley elder sleuth continues to solve crimes even before the police detectives on the case have a clue. I love Agatha Christie and these are well done renditions. Fortunately, they are on late so I can sit in the quiet after everyone has gone to bed and enjoy!
By the way, if you enjoy British mysteries, I recommend books by Elizabeth George and P.D. James. Two more great lady mystery writers. You can just lose yourself in their books.

Interesting and yummy childhood recipes

Here are some great food recipes from my childhood.

  • Tuna jello salad mold (See picture and recipe above) Although this sounds awful, it is great! I can sit down and eat about half of this in an afternoon (nothing to brag about!) My mom also makes a sauce for this consisting of lemon juice, sugar and mayonnaise. You could make this with low fat mayo and use Splenda to convince yourself that you are eating something healthy. This recipe comes from a 1973 Jello cookbook that my mom had - now I own. It has everything you every wanted to make with jello in it.
  • Fluffernutter sandwiches You take two slices of white bread (preferably Wonder bread, or any other kind of white bread that you can roll into dough balls to store in your pocket to eat for later) and spread peanut butter on one side and Kraft marshmallow cream on the other. Squish together and enjoy!
  • Banana, peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches (I think Elvis liked these) I personally can't stand them, but my mom always made them for my lunch.
  • Fruit "salads" with marshmallows, nuts, Jello, and whipped cream My grandmother made Waldorf salad every holiday, and it is wonderful in all its green fluffy goodness! By the way, why were these called "salads"? Maybe another way to convince one that one is eating "healthy". Canned fruit does has some vitamins.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pillow is complete!

Finally, I've finished the pillow I have been working on for the last month or so. I started with a design of my own. I appliqued the moon, hills, and some of the stars onto the fabric, then I embroidered around the applique and added some more decorative embroidery. The top says "Every child begins the world again", but since I used a light green thread, it is difficult to see on the purple background. Next time I will use a darker thread.
I started to hand quilt the top (with border), but I lost patience and decided to do the rest by machine. As you can tell, my quilting and sewing is not "perfect" and it probably never will be. Like my cooking, I go for the "hand made" look. Therefore, I do not have to try to do it perfectly and exhaust my limited patience in the meantime (and thus give up before I finish!)
I have no idea what I will do with this pillow. I might put it in my son's room, but I think it would just get lost in the mess! I might try to do a craft show this fall and see what I can sell. Maybe the pillow will be one of my items. I find that I really don't make many things that I would actually use. Generally, I just like the process of making them. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I do so envy those who have organized and neat tidy sewing rooms. My "sewing room" is actually the dining room table. It is not only necessary (since we don't have the space anywhere else), it is convenient because I can watch my son while I'm (trying to) sew. Too bad I'm so disorganized though. I bought a bunch of plastic containers with lids to organize my supplies, but it seems like everything still ends up all over in the table in a huge mess. When I sew or cut out patterns, I just kind of push everything to the side and hope it doesn't slide over the edge of the table. I think I need help. P.S. Note the Fisher-Price toy train on my sewing table - what's that doing there?

It's snowing!

Just when I planted my tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, you name it - SNOW! Of course! In Northern Nevada, always expect snow until June. Just last week, it was 85 degrees and sunny. This morning we woke up and - guess what - just to keep everyone on their toes - snow and freezing temperatures. I do have plastic covers on my tomatoes, peppers, and pumpkins, but everything else was hit. I'll just have to wait and see how they fair. I might have to re-plant.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Everything is FOOD!

Hmm, it seems like 50 percent of my life revolves around food - what to cook, what to eat, what not to eat, etc. It's 3:00pm and I'm trying to figure out what to cook for dinner tonight. I really like Rachael Ray, so I looked up her website and found a recipe for Cheese Straws (very easy and uses only six ingredients. I thought I would have it with Veggie Chili (I use whatever is in the garden or whatever is in the freezer!) Find the recipe at http://www.rachaelraymag.com

Only 160 days 'til Halloween!

Only 160 days until Halloween! That means, start preparing now! Here is an good link for Halloween crochet patterns. http://home.inreach.com/marthac/hallo.html
I haven't started on one yet, but when I do, dear reader, I will keep you posted.
Also, I'm including a vintage photo of some cute Halloween decorating for your home. It looks like from around the 1920's or 30's.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

pie - after

pie - after
Originally uploaded by buchanan_shelley.
Here is the "rustic" rhubarb pie baked.

pie - before

pie - before
Originally uploaded by buchanan_shelley.
Here's my first rhubarb pie of the season. Since we are overflowing with rhubarb this year, I've got to find something to do with all this rhubarb! Although this pie tastes really good (I added cinnamon for flavor), the crust is a little bit messy! I do not have a lot of patience for pastry perfection! So, my motto is - when it's not perfect, call it "rustic" ! (It will look a lot better baked.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Railroad museum

For Mother's Day, my husband, my son and I visited the railroad museum in Carson City. My son is a train nut so, needless to say, he had a hard time eating his lunch before we visited the trains! For those of you possibly visiting Carson City (Nevada), I recommend the museum. Although it is small, it has some great examples of old western steam engines. It also has a small "train" that kids can climb into called the "Puffing Billy". Also, every weekend in the summer, they have steam engines running that you can ride. There is a great outdoor park area, and sometimes the Jaycees do a fundraising BBQ as well. Here are some pics of the "G" man enjoying the trains and some other neat train pictures.

Homemade granola bars

Here is my first attempt at homemade granola bars. They turned out pretty good, but very sweet! Gus (my three year old) had some this morning and it was a hit! I was pretty excited, especially since my son is the king of picky eaters! For those who are interested, I found the recipe on http://southernfood.about.com. I modified the recipe a little bit to fit the ingredients that I had already in my pantry.
Tip: grease the pan you cook it in really well - the bars really stick when they cool off.

1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup melted butter
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 - 4 cups muesli cereal
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/3 cup ground flax seed

Mix all ingredients together till mixture is sticky clumps. Press mixture into greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into bars.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

apple blossoms

apple blossoms
Originally uploaded by buchanan_shelley.

stinky pear

stinky pear
Originally uploaded by buchanan_shelley.

swing area

swing area
Originally uploaded by buchanan_shelley.

baby daffys

baby daffys
Originally uploaded by buchanan_shelley.

Late Spring Northern Nevada Style

Summer is finally here in Northern Nevada. Since we had an unusual amount of rain early in the season, things have been blooming like crazy. There are blossoms all over my fruit trees (apple, pear, plum). Unfortunately, the blossoms all over my pear tree smell like dead fish for some reason. Fortunately, those blossoms are finally beginning to fall off.
In addition to all the blossoms, we've got weeds, weeds, weeds. And not only the usual bindweed and mini-baby tumbleweeds in the making (more on that later) - we've got dandelions all over. I've been pulling and digging and pulling! Since we have that hardpan soil (hard dry clay with rocks - lovely!), those babies just break off at the roots! Grrrr.