Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell 2010! Au Revoir!

And so we close down the days of 2010 and prepare to open the New Year into which we shall traverse with merry steps for at least the first two weeks.

After that, all bets are off!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Red and White, snow and hollyberries

Still feel like I don't have enough RED and WHITE stuff! I am just loving the red and white this Christmas season. So I decided to whip up a little throw for the back of the sofa. My challenge was to use just what I had on hand and not buy ONE THING for this project.  Heaven knows I've got enough in my fabric stash to make many a quilt...but there is always just one thing you want to add to it and the next thing you know you are at the fabric store buying lots more fabric!

So here it is. It took 2 days.

I really whipped it together. It's 8 inch squares, with  machine zig-zagging all around...including the binding! I had no idea how that would work or look but I like the effect. I would like to do this with deep browns and greens, next! Use up some of that fabric stash!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Santa Sighting!

Yesterday I went to meet a friend for Sushi Lunch. It required going on the Business 80 past the Arden Mall Corridor which means MAYHEM and MADNESS on the highway.

It can take 10 minutes to merge onto the freeway and then another 15 just to get to the next exit where more people are trying to merge onto the freeway.

In the middle of all this merging the retard designers of the freeway itself have placed 2 lanes that END abruptly and you have to merge left because there is nowhere left to go.

So it's always a bottleneck and during Holiday Shopping Time it's just awful.

Yesterday, I was waiting and waiting to merge...creeping along slowly because my lane was going to END in an embankment if I didn't get over...and nobody was budging whatsoever. It's like their attitude is: I'm in a lane that works, screw you!

When suddenly, what should appear behind me but a small red vehicle being driven by...SANTA CLAUS! And he waved me right in! And I merged ahead of him and looked into my rear view mirror and sitting beside him in a bad white hair wig was MRS. CLAUS! You don't see them out for a spin together very often!

They both had Rosy Red Cheeks and Santa, who was not wearing his hat in the car, had flowing white locks and a very beautiful snowy white beard! Very real! And perched on his nose was a lovely pair of gold wire rim glasses.

It just gave me the happiest day, in that moment!

Santa is an excellant driver!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Out with the Old In With the New!

Oh I love it when I get to salvage something and fix it up and make it brand new again!

Last year I managed to get bleach on my Christmas PJ's! 

Out Damned Spot, OUT I say!

But they are barely worn and still so cute and the colors are bright and merry...

So I cut the good part out of the t-shirt and sewed it onto a new t-shirt and VIOLA!! I have re-made, re-tread Christmas PJ's!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter Blues

Yes, I've got a case of the Winter blues!  Or maybe I should say the Silver and Blues!

I have been dealing with a big flare-up of my fibromyalgia, and with that comes a good deal of depression. Work is slow right now, I'm always on the verge of homelessness anyway, and it all starts to pile up on me in ways that dry up my creativity and make me feel very, very blue.

And yet, I love these dark days of winter! I do not mind the grey, grey skies or the rainy nights. I don't mind the cold or the dreary drip-drip-drip of water falling off the trees. All that seems minor if you've grown up in the Midwest and know what REAL cold weather, gloom and winter feel like! HA!

Occasionally I like to close my eyes and imagine I am  back home again in Indiana, walking the icicle streets on one of those silverthaw mornings. So I guess that is what inspired these new blue cards, which I will be using for my New Years Greeting Cards! Which is just around the corner, isn't it? New years.

Anybody want some unmounted rubber stamps? The theme is Victorian clip art. They are very cool! They are already mounted on cushion. I used these with a plastic block and double sticky tape for stamping. I'm selling the whole grab bag for 20 bucks. It's at least 40 stamps, very good quality, too! It's just time to ring out the old, ring in the new! And this year I want to pare down my 'stuff' to even more minimal stature. I've just got TOO MUCH STUFF!

I have had some fun lately: it hasn't all been pain and plodding! I got to meet a blogging heroine of mine: Kimberly Morales of "Poor Girl Eats Well" She is a local woman who creates her own recipes on the tightest of shoe-string budgets and comes up with some wonderful edibles. She lives only about 8 blocks from me and had a garage sale this last weekend. So I tracked her down and introduced myself and it was really neat and fun. Go check out her blog (on the sidebar) and she is also on Facebook.

I hope you are all having a wonderful, blessed, light and love filled pre-Christmas pre-solstice Holiday Season everybody!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Sometimes things just come together and make magic!

I love how this turned out! And it was just a fluke when I put it together.
I took my normal pitcher: because I can't live in a world without pitchers, can you? and I decided to use it for the handful of poinsettias and plastic holly that I got last year at the Dollar Tree.

And then I just decided to string some teeny white lights through them. Because teeny white lights that are twinkly but not BLINKING are very pretty and make everything look like fairyland, don't you think?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It Grows on Trees

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all had a wonderful, blessed and THANKS-FILLED Thanksgiving! Here are some items that are grown on trees around here.  Okay not the candle. And not the beer. But the apples, pomegranates and the leaves! AND the mandarin oranges which I picked right out of the back yard!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Skeletons in the Closet...

Everyone has a messy closet, at least some place in their home, and Miss Pink Ponsonby is no different!
Except she IS!
So she decided she could no longer stand for this:

And changed it to This:
Just don't look under her bed...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Left Holding the Bag!

 I just had a few precious days visit from my cousin full of WAY too much really good food. (silly remark! There can never be way too much good food!) and not NEARLY enough thrift store shopping!

In the course of eating way too much good food vis a vis some butternut squash soup and focaccia bread with cornmeal at Ettore Cafe, we spotted a sign that said Consigner Designer, or Designer Consigner and decided to check it out.

It is the coolest little shop filled to the gills with barely used top designer brand clothing, shoes, purses and jewelry. And nobody in there was snobbish. I find it so thought-provoking, though, to imagine a lifestyle in which a woman buys a designer t-shirt for $250.00 and then never wears it. Designer Price Tag still in place, she throws it into the 'take to the consignment shop' pile and goes on her merry way to shop some more.

I'm in the 'if it's not under $5.00 with a big stain and some holes under the armpit I can't possibly afford to even LOOK at it' variety of shopper!

Well, there is no use bemoaning the fact that Poverty knocks on my door far more often than Opportunity, and what can I do but invite it in for Tea?

What I did notice at this cute shop and all around the town as we dined and lunched, is that women are carrying the HUGEST HANDBAGS I've ever seen. They dwarf the old fashioned gigantic diaper bags by quite a mile! The bags I saw women carrying were large enough to obliterate entire bodies from view.

Now I thought my last year's Nan Satchel was a really Big Bag but after seeing what I saw, I decided it was time to make myself a REALLY BIG BAG!!!!
So I grabbed a couple of pieces of my feed sack fabric and whipped up this adorable Big Bag!

And then I made it fully reversable!

With lots of pockets of course!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Today, the neighbor of the lady I care for asked me if I'd like a box of fabric. Since I had just mentioned to God the other day that I would like some more fabric, I of course said a resounding YES.

I didn't even ask what I was being given.

When I got there, I was handed a huge box from a sweet smelling old cedar chest. The box was fully loaded with FEED SACKS! Beautiful, woven, 30's and 40's print feed sacks! Some still put together as bags and not opened out yet.

Most of you know that in the olden days before plastic wrap and such, flour, salt, wheat,--whatever--came in cloth sacks. Someone got the bright idea to make that fabric be printed fabric and farm wives all across the nation rejoiced.

It is quite collectible and also still quite usable. This batch I just got is in primo condition and doesn't even smell dusty. The colors are as bright as when it was brand new and full of chicken feed!

When I brought it home I took it out piece by piece and looked it over and refolded it.

In the bottom of the box was a fragment of a very old apron! SCORE!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Chicken Innards

 The Innards of the Chicken!

What to do, what to do? It's time to start the conveyor belts and start cranking out some Christmas presents! Early, I know, but I've learned in the past that if I want this to be FUN, I have to do it when I feel like it. And I have been feeling like it, like crazy! I just don't have enough FABRIC I need MORE and MORE.

A while ago I found some fun patterns while out thrifting, and among them was a pattern for some animal theme teapot cozies. I'd show you but I can't find the picture.

I made the chicken one today.

Now, the thing about a tea cozy is that in my world, it has to be functional! Once you have that, you can be as serious, whimsical, silly, architectural, floral, etc; as you want to be.  But the thing must function as a working tea cozy!

And that means be able to hold in the heat of the teapot. So a person can sit around with a teapot at their elbow and a cup needing refilled in her hands and can get a hot cup of tea without budging from her big, lazy, comfy easy chair.

NOTE: If you drink tea from a mug using a teabag, this entire informative section is moot.

Now, this little adorable tea cozy pattern was a cinch to whip up but I noticed instantly it had a fatal design flaw! Namely, it was not INSULATED in any way! It was just meant to be decorative. Who needs a decorative tea cozy in the shape of a chicken just lying around? Well, I do,but that's not the point. The point is, I quickly had to re-engineer this little chicken so that it had some stuffing in it's innards!

I am not going to post any pictures of the final, final product because I don't want to spoil anybody's surprise or anything, but if I don't blog about my crafts between now and Christmas I'll go mad! MAD I tell you! So here is the binding being stitched onto the chicken body.

 And finally, here is a LONG DISTANCE shot of the tea cozy, awaiting some eyes and a beak and the final hand-stitching of the binding.

Identity of this chicken has been disguised in order to protect the innocent.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

When Live Gives You Cabbage...

Well here I am with another picture of FOOD! What is up with that? Any Freudians out there want to take a stab at that?

Well, while you are concocting a mental evaluation of me, here is what I took a stab at this morning:

Cabbage Rolls!

Or at least that is what I called them. I had odds and ends and a mish-mosh of stuff in the fridge from when my lady's daughter let me empty out her fridge after she went into the 'pital with her broken hip. I had things like a half a pound of ground round, a half of a cabbage, a can of Pillsbury Bread Sticks, and a whole lot of mayo and cheese.

So here's the RECIPE for these utterly DELICIOUS if I DO SAY SO MYSELF Cabbage Rolls!

Brown and drain 1/2 lbs. Ground Round and 1/2 small Onion, diced.

In large frying pan, put finely diced cabbage with 1 cup water and 2 bouillion cubes. (I used beef this time but chicken or veggie would work just as well.)

Let the cabbage boil and simmer until tender. Add the burger/onion mix and stir it up with  1/2 cup Mayo, 1 slice swiss cheese, 1 slice medium cheddar cheese. (These cheeses were those packaged deli sandwich slices. Use whatever you have on hand.)

Cook just until the cheese is melted and the mayo is well blended.

Then, open up a can of whoop-ass. Oh no I mean open up a can of Pillsbury's Breadsticks. Don't separate them out into breadsticks, just lay the two pieces of  dough out and spoon the meat/cabbage mixture onto them. Carefully roll them up and you will see the lines for where to cut once they are baked. It's totally cool like that!

Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes until dough is golden brown. Lay on cutting board to cool before you slice them.

I carefully calculated all these ingredients and then divided by 12, since that is how many you would get when you cut them, and I came up with 216 Calories per roll.

I'll be having 2 of these for lunch with a cup of celery soup which basically has NO calories or so few that you don't have to care about it.  Bone Apple Tight!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I've had about enough football today.

Time to get out an autumn activity!

Just so I don't screw up and eat a puzzle piece instead of a pretzel.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Paper Pleasures A-Plenty

Ah, mucking about with paper! I do love it!

Lately I've noticed I just cannot sit down to the television unless I have something else to do at the same time. It's like it's just not enough to hold my attention; plus I feel like it's a waste of time so I'd better be multi-tasking. After all, idle hands are the Devil's Workshop.

Earlier this week I got out my scraps of cardstock and cut them to size for fun gift tags and wee notes. I made sure that the darker papers had a nice white lining.

Then last night I sat and made oodles of decorative hand-made gift cards. Mind you, I don't use them myself on gifts, I GIVE them as gifts.

Because, as a gift-giver, who wouldn't love a stack of ready-made labels on hand to put on a present?

In this way I get to use up tons of scraps AND make something creative that doesn't take a huge amount of planning or fussing.

Fortunately, Mackie was asleep or outdoors or something during this crafting mela, because he just HAS to stick his nose in stuff and whatever it is, try and LAY on it!

He's so damn cute!

HOWEVER,  I had to give up on making this apron for a friend because, obviously, he kept lying on the fabric anytime I tried to lay it out and pin the pattern to it. This is why I never had a 2 year old!  All my imaginary children were adorable infants and then instantly 3 years old and talking.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

Everyone asked what I'd done over the Labor day weekend and I had to say I didn't do much: no funds for such amusements as the local R&B festival or Pioneer Days down in Old Sac.

In fact all I had funds for gasoline for my car. And it's a happy thing that I did go out and do just that because standing across from me at the pumps was a kindly gentleman who just finished his morning selling strawberries at the farmer's market...

Which he just GAVE me out of the back of his truck!

And when life gives you strawberries, you make jam!

All cleaned up and ready to go.

Bile them strawberries down, gals, bile them strawberries down!

Testing with an ice cube for consistancy. I never let it cook long enough, though! I always end up with runny jam.

Three jars at a time in my handy dandy too-small pot!

Never too early to get started on home-made Christmas presents.

However, I seriously doubt if anyone is going to want my pickled cauliflower. Guess I'll just have to keep it for myself.

And afterwards: Grilled Tuna in ginger sauce and a freshly-shaved parmeson cheese Caesar salad.

Friday, September 03, 2010

A Thrifty Surprise

I finally put up the plates I  got at the thrift store the last time I was there.

I love that blend of creamy white on white.

And today I had to go to the DMV for a licence renewal and since it's only a few blocks over from the thrift store I went again! This time I spent under a dollar. I just saw two patterns I could use so I got them.  
29 cents for a pattern, I just love it! If only fabric was as inexpensive!

But WAIT! There's MORE!

When I got home and  peeked inside the envelope to see if the pieces were all there (something I usually do before I buy them but for some reason I just didn't bother today) I noticed that the previous owner had left some of her work behind!
The yoke had been pinned cut out of  this cute blue with white daisies and red ladybugs fabric! And then carefully folded and stuck back into the pattern envelope. It was just a neat surprise, I thought.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In a Pickle!

I got a little goodie packet from an aunt the other day which had this wonderful old shabby white relish dish in it that she picked up for a quarter at a garage sale in the midwest where such things are still possible, and tucked in with the dish was a jar of her home made bread and butter pickles.

Which I opened and ate in less than an hour! SO delicious and there's no way to describe how perfect that blend of salty and sweet is to someone who's never tasted them. The closest I could come up with was to say they taste similar to the Japanese cucumber salad you get in the sushi bar.

(People in California can relate to that. They can't seem to relate to being able to eat a whole jar of pickles at one setting. That's because they are thinking Vlasic Dills, or those limp, lifeless things they put on your cheeseburger at McD's.

These pickles are like a salad. A jar is about a 2 portion salad, but since I'm a hog I can eat two portions standing up while digging in the fridge for more stuff to munch. I'm just saying, is all.

Anyway, I decided to make a batch of my own so I went to the co-op and bought a likely amount of pickling cucumbers, 5  jars and the rest of the ingredients I didn't have on hand. On hand were vinegar, sugar and kosher salt aplenty.

Beautiful! They even still had the blossoms on the ends! No oiled up cukes from Paraguay, here!

I put this picture in to show my awesome knife. It's so you know I mean BUSINESS as a slicer-dicer person.

I'm pretty sure I overdid it with the salt. Isn't this beautiful though? That's my giant deep bread dough bowl. And it was just at this brining point that I realized from eyeballing these cukes that the 5 jars I had weren't going to be enough!

So I was off to the co-op again where I discovered they had their cans on sale at the moment and I got a dozen for $9.99. Which is good because the pickles were expensive! Those water-logged suckers weigh a TON. Buying produce to can it in order to save money is really a myth! You must grow your own if you are doing it for budget reasons. I'm doing it for gluttony reasons and because you can't get bread and butter pickles that taste like these unless you make them from scratch.

Back from the store and these are beautiful and starting to look like pickles. They were in the salt for 2 hours and I rinsed them very well because I could tell I'd overdone it.

20 minutes boiling the pickles and onion in the vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard seed and celery seed sauce. YUM!

This is where I sure wish I had a helper, a bigger stove, a bigger kitchen, and a real canner not just a pretend one. Oh, and a jar grabber and a canning funnel, too! I made do with tongs and burned fingers.

Keeping with the myth that I do things effortlessly with nary a spill or a disaster in the kitchen (LOL-not!) I carefully edited the part where the stuff slopped all over the counter, the jars got knocked over and had to be re-sterilized, and the sink was so full of sticky syrup pans and utensils that I didnt even have room to put WATER in there for washing them, and am now leaving you with this cool picture of my 9 jars of bread and butter pickles, the one jar of leftover syrup/sauce that I couldn't really bring myself to throw out, and the 2 jars of quickie-refrigerator anti-pasta pickles I made out of King Kale and some cauliflour I had on hand and threw in after the pickles were done, and which I've already eaten because I couldn't wait.

Taking into consideration all purchases and that I had to buy my own jars, I figure it cost me about $4.00 a jar for these bread and butter pickles. Really crappy ones cost that much right now at the store, and these are..well...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Poor Nelly!

I had planned on getting up early this morning and going to the farmer’s market and having a quiet morning. But alas it was not to be, because I overslept by several hours due to lack of a good night’s sleep the night before.

Last night at 3:15am I heard a commotion in the parking lot of the church. It woke me up but it didn’t sound dangerous so I tried to go back to sleep. But soon I realized I had to get up and check out the scene: I heard women screeching and one of them said, ‘put away that knife!’ so I thought I’d better drag myself over to the window.

Well, the upshot of the deal is that either some guy was trying to rob another guy and these two women intervened, or it was just a drunken knife fight, but by the time I got to the window, somehow one of the women had gotten a face full of pepper spray and was flat out on the ground and the two would-be assailants had high-tailed it out of there to finish their scuffle in peace and quiet and a little privacy.

That left Miss Eggplant (wearing a shimmering purple eggplant dress) who was big and had wild big hair and a loud aggressive voice and a commanding personality, down on the ground rocking and screaming and barking orders at the poor stunned Miss Nelly, who was dressed in what I would swear was hooker garb except they were in the church parking lot so maybe it was just a dress- up evangelical occasion, flailing about gasping for air and in a lot of pepper-spray pain.

There were lots of bystanders trying to help, but Miss Eggplant was running the show. “KEEP BREATHING, NELLY!” she would scream and rock this woman until she must have been addled from the shaking. She forced Miss Nelly to take a hit from her asthma pipe or whatever those things are called—inhaler, that’s it—which then caused Miss Nelly to go totally unconscious or else slip into a fit, I’m not sure, because then Miss Eggplant was screaming, “She’s stopped Breathing! She’s going into Convulsions!” all the while bossing everyone around telling them to call 911, etc;

Pretty soon here came the fireman with their giant truck a-blazin’ lights and diesel fuel, and you could see they washed her face down and then told her she wasn’t having an asthma attack, it was just a little pepper spray and she was going to be all right.

They asked Miss Eggplant to let go of Nelly so they could check her over and Miss Eggplant refused. So they had to fix up Nelly while Eggy was screeching and bossing and commanding the show. At one point she said, “She is signing to you in sign language! It’s because that’s all she knows right now! She can’t talk because of the pepper spray!”

I don’t know, that just made me laugh. It would take a Miss Eggplant to interpret helpless waiving gestures as SIGN LANGUAGE.

I tell you what, I think it was her pepper spray, if you ask me. Nobody asked them any of those kinds of questions but I would bet money on it.

Poor Nelly! Here comes the cops and they took Eggy aside and I could rather hear her talking about a knife and some pepper spray and her asthma inhaler but just at that time a car came tearing up onto Capitol Avenue and out of the driver side jumped a GIANT GRIZZLY BEAR of a man dressed all in white like a plantation owner, or possibly a summer pimp, and it appears that he is married to poor Nelly, because he’s suddenly screaming and wailing, “How did this happen? How did this happen? My Wife! My Wife!” and yet he never got anywhere near her, he just stomped and paced around the giant parking lot Flinging his arms wide in those aggressive/fear gestures you see people do who are under extreme emotion and want you out of their body space.

The police told him to park his car properly, and he did, but then he came right back out again and started rampaging around the parking lot repeating, “how did this happen? How did this happen?”

Meanwhile, Miss Eggplant has told her tale to the cops, the fireman have bundled poor Nelly into the back of Eggy’s car and just LEFT her there, and they all gathered around at the far end of the parking lot and proceeded to laugh and exchange war stories. This went on for at least 15 minutes before they all departed, along with the cops. I wanted to call down to the cops at that point that they might want to try to rein in the emotional Giant Husband but I decided to just keep out of it.

So now, act III: We’ve got poor Nell passed out or just stunned and silent in the backseat of the car with nobody around to hold her or comfort her, we’ve got her husband flailing around violently and stomping up and down freaking out, we’ve got Miss Eggplant now trying to corral him by telling him to go to his wife and hold her.

He was having no part of that suggestion, though! He enacted quite a fierce drama for at least another 15 minutes until Miss Eggplant was able to prevail upon him to get in the back seat of her car and attend to his wife. He would go over to the car and look at her in the back seat and then fling himself away in sheer agony and stomp around the parking lot some more. It was so touching I wish I had a husband who would so thoroughly neglect me like that in a crisis!I just wished so heartily to hear the words, “WOE IS ME!!” come out of his tortured lips.

He finally decided he was going to drive off in his car, still saying “HOW did this HAPPEN???” but Miss Eggplant had determined otherwise. She dragged, cajoled, ordered, coerced and basically muscled the husband to get into her car so she could drive them all somewhere safe and sound.

So the dude gets into the front seat of the car! This will not do for Eggy! She DRAGS the husband by the arm OUT of the passenger seat and basically tries to fold him like a tortilla into her back seat.

Poor Nell, it seems, is sprawled out across the seat so there really isn’t room for the big giant Husband so they all start yelling at Nell to SHOVE OVER! MOVE OVER, NELL! And that poor half-sick, half-unconscious woman had to sit up and drag herself over in the seat so her husband could get in back with her.

There were two other church dudes there, small bit players who helped corral and contain the husband, and one of them offered to drive his car to their destination. But first we had to have the husband, still overcome by the reality of a maced spousal unit confronting him, get back OUT OF THE CAR and start pacing around and rampaging in the parking lot some more. Apparently his grief was too strong to be confined to the mere back seat of a car!

I was seriously praying for this to all end in a big Bang of dramatic Flair: perhaps the husband could throw himself down in front of the car and beg to be run over and put out of his misery? Perhaps he could start beating his head against the brick wall of the church until he bludgeoned himself unconscious? Perhaps Nell would snap out of it and pepper spray her husband to shut him up?

Finally, finally, the husband got into the back seat of the car, Miss Eggplant drove out of there and the extra dudes went in hubby’s car and all was quiet in the parking lot again.

And that was why I overslept because I sat up watching Live Theatre out my living room window on a Saturday night.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Farmers Market Sunday Stroll

Ahhh, it's summer! And that means time for the Sunday Market!

Sacramento has some of the loveliest farmers markets; there is one almost every day of the week.
The Sunday market is the largest and has unique things like organic chicken, seafood vendors, goat cheese farmers and a couple of lavender farmers.

I love to get up super early before the crowds hit, and wander through the stalls as the vendors finish their set-up. Well, maybe not THAT early. I think they  must get there at 5:00 am!

I bought some new bok choy, fresh dill, fresh cilantro, and something called 'apriums'. Which is a blend of an apricot and a plum.

Ahhh, the bounties of nature! I'm so happy.