Friday, July 24, 2015

What's going on

   Had another of those blogging lapses ... but really, I've been doing stuff!  It's also hard to believe that the summer is slipping by.  Just realized that in another month or so, we'll have apples and squash.

   Here's what's going on at the casa de chaos:

   We're jammin:  Made a batch of mulberry jam, and for the first time, tried my hand at making peach preserves. (It helps to find peaches on sale, LOL!).   The preserves taste great, but I think I should have cooked them a bit longer.  They're still a little runny.  

In the garden:   We've had so much rain, that I feared everything would drown.  But this stretch of hot, dry weather got the tomatoes and green beans going.  Been picking lots of beans, and am about to freeze my first batch of tomatoes.  Hopefully, soon I can report the arrival of zucchini and eggplant.

The never-ending painting job:   It started with the woodwork in the kitchen. Now I notice that the woodwork in other rooms need a coat of paint, too.  So I've done the front windowsill, next is the trim around the patio door. Then the basement door, then the master bath ....


 The big job:   Replacing our rotting
 mailbox post. (Seen at left in its dismantled state.) We opted to buy the new post only. DH picked it up and did the installation, while I contributed the 2 coats of paint. (What's that about never-ending painting?)


On the sewing front:  Turned a pair of pants with worn-out hems into a pair of capris.  Did some mending.  Cut out a pair of sleep shorts and more quilt squares.  Do need to finish the duvet for our big comforter before it gets cold again. 

Plus the stuff of daily life, like cooking, cleaning, dental visits, vet visits, shopping, and what have you.  At some point, I need to find at least a part-time job to help cover some increased expenses.  Though lately, I'm not sure I've had time for a job ;)  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Another project down!

  Finally finished one of my "musts"  -- cleaning out the main bookcases!

  Admittedly, I love books ... but there comes a point where there isn't enough room to keep all of them, especially since I have a large pile of books that  "I plan to read when I retire."  ( Methinks the time may have come for that ;)

   Anyway, cleaned out some books that were at least 25 years old. And while I enjoyed them at the time, I have no interest in reading them again.  And while I was at it, I tried to shelve the remaining ones into "interest" sections. Translation: I finally put all the cookbooks and the reference books together. Now I don't have to hunt when I want to cook ... or look something up. 

    In the end, I donated two large grocery bags worth of books.  I have several more bags that I will try to sell at the second-hand book store.

   Now, I need to kick up my reading a notch, since I have more unread books lurking in another closet.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Free food

  We've recently had some odd adventures in dining that resulted in some free meals ....

   Odd adventure 1:  We stopped for burgers at a national chain restaurant.  Knew from the outset we were going to have problems because the worker couldn't comprehend that the sandwich I wanted was actually on the value menu.  We had to persuade her to walk over to the sign listing the value menu items and say, "See ... there it is"  (right below the item she kept insisting that I wanted.)
     I ordered the burger without cheese ... yep, it arrived with cheese.  Manager apologized, remade my order and told me to keep the other burger.  (Which DH ate later.)

Odd adventure 2:  DH wanted pizza and had a 2-fer deal ... OK.   When he got there, he realized one pizza had the wrong sauce and was missing toppings   He had them remake it.   Before he left, he looked at the second pizza, and realized this one had the wrong toppings, too. (and the wrong sauce, we were to find out later)  A chat with the manager, and he ended up with all three pizzas, for free. 

I've never worked in a fast-food joint, so I can't speak to what kind of system or conditions the workers have to deal with.  But this isn't the first time we've had messed-up orders from restaurants ... gotta wonder just how much money these companies are losing -- not only in food, but in customers who don't return -- due to mistakes.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Fourth of July!

      Wishing all of us in the U.S. a safe, happy ... and frugal  holiday!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Salvage store shopping

   I believe I've mentioned that we discovered a salvage grocery store in my city, and while I don't buy a lot there, it's always worth a look.

   Found out they were having a $5 case sale over the weekend, so drove over to see what they had.
   As sales go, it was pretty good.  I would have preferred more staples, like canned goods, but I'm finding those are far and few between at any salvage store.
    Anyway, this is what I came home with:
  Six 12-ounce boxes of granola bars. (This time of year, DH runs through our supply.)  Six 13.5 ounce boxes of cereal; 6 40-count boxes of tea bags; and 24 8-ounce packages of shelf-stable soy milk. 
   (I was very good and passed on the cases of cookies.  And since I bake my muffins from scratch, I passed by those mixes, too.)

   So, not bad for name-brand goods, and with one exception, all of them have "best-by" dates into next year. 
     One odd thing: Someone took my cart.   I parked it to look at something and when I turned around, it was gone.  Fortunately, I didn't lose anything I couldn't replace. 
     And because I am inherently nosy ... I wonder about the folks whose SUV was filled with cases of pancake mix.  Restaurant?  Big family?  Lodge/church pancake breakfast?

Monday, June 29, 2015

A quilting question

  Last time we chatted, I mentioned my late aunt's quilt block project.  And that she did all of her projects by hand.
   
   Now my aunt had a beautiful hand stitch ... straight, perfectly spaced. She could give Amish quilters a run for their money. Sadly, I did not inherit that talent.  I can't hand-sew a straight stitch worth a $%!!

   So I thought I would try to do a bit of machine quilting ...  a 3-inch square ... two rows of stitching to create two smaller squares within.  Easy, right?

    Er, no.  I can't machine sew a straight line worth a *&!*!! either.   Odd, because I can sew a reasonably straight line to make things.   
     So for those of you who quilt ... am I missing something?  Is there some quilting gadget I should use?  A special foot for the sewing machine? Or should I make a stencil of some kind?

Friday, June 26, 2015

A quilting we go ...

   When my aunt passed, I ended up with one of her unfinished quilt block projects.  I've worked on it on and off over the years, and recently picked it back up again.
    I was coming to the end of the pieces that I had and was wondering what I should do next, when it hit me ... there were more cut pieces put away somewhere.
    So I dug through a box, and boy howdy, did I find quilt pieces.  Problem was, many of them -- some finished, some not -- were for another project ... one I didn't particularly want to finish.
    As I thought about it, I realized that the unfinished ones (which are hexagons) could be cut into the proper size squares.  And the material is similar to what's in the first project.
      At this point I should  explain that my aunt sewed her blocks ... with batting ... separately, quilted them, then sewed them together ... all by hand
      So I had all these nicely stuffed and quilted hexagons left ... what to do?
     I finally decided to cut the hexagons  into smaller squares and use them for another project.  After cutting, the batting could be used as "stuffing" for the squares in the first project.
     I'm experimenting with some nine patch for the smaller squares, but haven't decided just how I'm going to use them.  But at least they'll be out of the box, right?