Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday - More Bees

It's that time of the week again. Thursday! I missed posting last week. I did stop in at Suzanne's last week to see what others shared. Make sure you stop by Coloradolady's place this week to see the fabulous vintage items my friends are sharing.

Several weeks ago, I shared my non-vintage collection of bees along with my vintage beehive cookie jar. If you missed it, you can see that post here.

I want to share some new bee items I have acquired since that post.

This is not a vintage item as its copyright is 1990, but I wanted to share it as another one of those unusual finds from Hubs. I have no plans to make this bee glove as I already have a manufactured one.

I've been doing some EBay shopping. Very dangerous! Recently I purchased two separate lots of vintage embroidery transfers. I knew this pattern was in one lot. Click on the picture to enlarge it. The price sticker on it says "CO-OP" and cost nineteen cents.

In the other lot, to my surprise, I found this one. It has a price sticker and cost nineteen cents as well. This one is from Sprouse-Reitz Co. Inc. Anyone ever hear of this store? I'm not familiar with it.

I've been busy getting ready for a trip home next week so I will miss posting to VTT again next week. On my return, I will check in to see all your goodies.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits - Grumpy Grumblings

Every time I have to make a trip to our local post office, I get grumbly. It can't be that there is no parking. Lots of parking spaces as every one parks in the "NO PARKING FIRE LANE". It could be all the trouble I have trying to get my SUV backed out of the parking space without hitting all those cars parked behind me in the "NO PARKING FIRE LANE".

Since our front porch is under construction, we have had to have our mail held at the post office. Last week when I went in, I talked to one of the postal clerks about the fact that our porch was not done and the thirty day hold was about to expire. She told me I could place another thirty day hold. Great!

Yesterday I went in to extend the hold. Another postal clerk told me I couldn't do that. What about moving our mailbox off the porch? Nope. Mailbox has to be attached to the house. The solution is that we had to get a post office box.

I had to come back home to get Hubs as they have to verify that you are who you say you are with two forms of ID with your correct address. Then we had to make a change of address. The clerk informed us that the mail would come to our local post office, then be rerouted back to the regional office where they would change the address, then send it back to our local post office. GOOD GRIEF!

Now I have to make MORE trips to the post office. OH, YEA! Hmmm? Maybe since I will just be "running in and out" I can park...

After the post office stop(s), the next thing on my list was to go shopping for a dress to wear to Daughter P and son in law's wedding reception. Shopping therapy...IF I didn't detest clothes shopping for myself. The selection was very disappointing but I managed to find five dresses that would be "okay". One fit and didn't make me look like an old lady or an old lady trying to look twenty years younger. And I managed to find a pair of shoes in the same store...which is not easy being a skinny foot in a wide foot world.

The warm weather has brought out the termite swarms. Yesterday they invaded Hubs' office. Today they invaded our bedroom. I know they can't harm me, but it is just GROSS having them swarm over my bed.

Speaking of warm weather, why is it that two college educated, computer literate people can not figure out how to program our HVAC thermostat? It can't be rocket science, can it?


Monday, April 27, 2009

Blue Plate Mondays - Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken and Potatoes

Time for Blue Plate Mondays at Kelly’s (un)Deniably Domestic. Check out the great recipe ideas that others are posting. Yummy! While you’re there, check out the cute apron Kelly made and what you can do to win it.

A working woman’s best friend in the kitchen has got to be the slow cooker. And why not? Put it in the slow cooker before you head to work and dinner is ready when you get home. A Yahoo search for crock pot recipes produces 21,700,000 hits!

When I was working, I used my slow cooker on Sundays to fix soup that I would take for lunch the following week. It also would be called into action at least one day a week to fix dinner. My favorite cookbook is Busy Woman’s Slow Cooker Cookbook by Sharon and Gene McFall and you would be able to pick it off my shelf and know I have used it often.

The following recipe is not one that came from this cookbook, but it is one I make often. The chicken is supposed to taste like a rotisserie chicken you would buy at a grocery deli. I’m not so sure about that, but it is good and easy.

Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken and Potatoes

1 whole chicken*

Olive oil

Rotisserie chicken seasoning

Baking potatoes

Aluminum foil

Clean chicken inside and out. Rub a little olive oil over the chicken or spray with olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle liberally with the rotisserie seasoning. Three to four tablespoons is not too much.

Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the foil wrapped potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker. If you do not want the potatoes, roll three or four wads of foil into two or three inch balls. Do not put water in the slow cooker. Place the chicken, breast side down, on top of the foil wrapped potatoes or foil balls. The aluminum foil is what gives it the deli taste. Cook on HIGH (will not come out the same if cooked on low) for four to six hours. A three pound chicken usually cooks in four hours.

*Do not spend extra money buying a chicken labeled as a roasting chicken. Most stores take large fryers, repackage as roasting chickens and charge more per pound than for a fryer.

The potatoes can be eaten as you would a baked potato, although they are more like potatoes from a roast. I have thrown two or three cloves of garlic in the slow cooker, then made garlic mashed potatoes.

Leftovers? I’ve used the leftover chicken in quesadillas or a casserole. There will be a lot of liquid in the slow cooker. Use it and any leftover chicken with a bag of egg noodles for chicken and noodles. If you aren’t planning on using the liquid soon, freeze it in a zippered bag or container to use for soup. Don’t throw away the bones and skin either. Put those in a freezer bag and freeze. Next time you have chicken, add that carcass. Once you have three or four chicken carcasses, use them to make stock.

Join us for Blue Plate Mondays. Tell us what’s cooking at your place.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Finished for Friday - Sewing Apron

Lit and Laundry

It's been a "slow" week around here due to a dreadful allergy attack but I'm better now. Well enough to chase around our 19 month old grandson for the weekend.

This week, I finished up the embroidery pieces for two more needle cases. Since the entire project is not complete, I'll wait until next week to share those. Pictures of the needle case I have finished can be seen here.

Youngest daughter and her husband's renewal of their wedding vows and reception is rapidly approaching. I got several things scratched off that list this week. Must finalize plans with the florist today.

When I'm sewing or working on a crafting project, there is nothing more frustrating than having to look around for the tools I need. Even though I gather all the things needed before hand, a lot of time is wasted looking under material or on the desk or on the ironing board or on the sewing table for the scissors or the rotary cutter, the seam gauge or the seam ripper. I started wearing a bib apron with a large pocket across the front so I could easily find these items when I needed them. I loved the pocket, but hated having the fabric of the apron hanging around my knees. Seeing one of our son in laws wearing his carpenter's tool belt while tearing down the front porch gave me an idea.

Here is the "prototype" of my sewing apron. I'm going to wear it for a while to see what I need to fine tune.
I can already tell I am going to have to do something to the widest pocket, the flowered one on this apron, to keep the scissors and rotary cutter from falling to the bottom of the apron. Maybe stitch a seam across the apron just above the narrow, bottom pocket?

I made a matching pin cushion with a velcro loop that can be attached to a side loop sewn into the apron. Since I am right handed, I might want it on the right side?

What have you accomplished this week? Share it with us at Lit and Laundry. Make sure to see what others have "Finished for Friday".


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits - TUSAL is Not a Misspelled City in Oklahoma

If you spend any time in the blogosphere, you have probably found that lots of crafters, quilters, stitchers and sewers (Hmmm? Maybe I should say “people who sew”) have blogs. They often come together in SALs, Stitch Alongs, to compete with one another in completing a project. The hostess of the SAL sets the rules and people interested in that particular activity may join. Everyone seems to have a lot of fun.

Since I am a *flitter*, working on this project then moving to another project and another before anything else is complete, I wouldn’t do well in most of these competitions. I’m also too humble and too much of a perfectionist to think that any of my work would be good enough to pass along to someone else.

However, one of my bloggy friends, threeundertwo at "Lit and Laundry", led me to the TUSAL, Totally Useless Stitch Along at "Dragon My Needle". I can so do this! No worry about perfection or completing something in a given time frame. For the rules of the TUSAL, go here.

Here is my TUSAL so far.

Three containers? What can I say? I've always been an overachiever. But here is why I have three containers:

This vase holds the tidbits from the embroidery and crocheting I do while watching television in the evening.

This vase sits beside my sewing machine. It gets all the tidbits from the starts of seams, seams I have to rip out, basting stitches, etc.

This vase sits beside the ironing board. It gets scraps of fabric too small to go in my scrap basket, selvages trimmed from fabric, and other bits of fabric "debris". May need to get a bigger container for this one. Check back at the next new moon to see how I am progressing with my TUSAL.

The azaleas are in full bloom in North Carolina. They are gorgeous. I think they have more blooms than last year. Ann, our 86 year old neighbor, says, “If you come to North Carolina when the azaleas are in bloom, you will never want to leave.”

Here are some pictures of the azaleas in our yard.

Most of the red buds have leafed already, but the dogwoods are in full flower. I’m anxious to see what our magnolia tree looks like this year.A couple weeks ago, I put out the hummingbird feeders. To my delight, I have seen a couple scouts feeding from them this week. I fed three or four pairs last summer. Hopefully, I will have that many and more this year.

The wrap around porch reconstruction has been stalled waiting for a mason to replace the brick foundation. He was here today for a bit and will be back tomorrow. Now maybe things will move along quickly.

The city did come by and picked up most of the old porch that could not be salvaged.

Saturday, Hubs, daughter K, grandson Boogie and I took a day trip to the Crystal Coast of NC. The purpose was to look at some vacation properties for our upcoming family vacation in September. We found this place. It is absolutely perfect for our family of five kids, spouses, and two grandsons. This is a picture from the beach side of the house. To see picture of the inside, click here.

Hubs is like a kid waiting for Christmas. So I’ve added the countdown clock to my left sidebar just for him. Lots of time left but lots of projects and plans in between that will make time pass quickly.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Blue Plate Monday - Menu Planning and Pasta Shells with Italian Sausage and Broccoli

What’s for dinner? Do you hate asking yourself that question as much as I do? Years ago, I learned the way to avoid answering that question was menu planning. There have been times when I’ve set aside the practice for one reason or another, but I eventually make my way back.

Since our big move almost eighteen months ago, I have not been very diligent in my menu planning. When Kelly announced Blue Plate Mondays, I decided I would get back to my menu planning again.

My system isn’t very sophisticated, but it works for me. Here’s how I plan:

Check to see what has been stashed in the freezer.
Since I usually only buy meat on sale, there is probably something in there that I purchased but haven’t used yet. This week, I found a package of sweet Italian sausage, a large chuck roast (too big for just the two of us), and a container of spaghetti sauce.
Look at this week’s sales circular from the local grocery store.
The only grocery store in my town besides Wal-Mart is Food Lion and they have four stores. Guess where I shop. Since I typically only shop the outer edges of the grocery store, I’m most interested in the meat, produce, and dairy items on sale. This week, Food Lion has pork tenderloin, two po
und chubs of ground chuck, center cut pork chops and packages of frozen boneless chicken breasts (buy one, get one). In the produce section, they have yellow and zucchini squash and broccoli crowns on sale. They also have Birds Eye Viola! Pasta meals in the frozen section and New York brand Texas Garlic Toast. I’ll pick up one or two of each of these items to throw in the freezer to use if I need a meal in a hurry.
Take a quick look through past menu lists.
As you can see from the above photo, I keep all my menu lists. I look to see if there is something we haven’t had in a while or if there was a new recipe I tried that we really liked.
Look through my file of new things to try.

If I am looking through a cookbook and find a recipe I like, I note the name of the recipe along with the name of the cookbook and page number on a list. I might also note the key ingredients. A lot of times, I find recipes when I’m browsing the internet so I make a copy and put it in my file. My file also contains recipes torn from magazines or the back of boxes or cans. There is no real organization to my file
other than a section for main dishes, side dishes, and things to bake (cookies, cakes, breads, etc.)
Each week, I try to include one new recipe, whether it is a main dish or a side dish, in my menu planning. If the recipe is from a cookbook, I note where the recipe can be found on my weekly menu.
Otherwise, I paper clip the recipe to my menu list. After trying the recipe, I make a note on the menu list as to whether we liked it and if I should fix it again.

Wow! This looks like a daunting task in itself. But I’ve been doing it this way for so long that it really only takes me fifteen to twenty minutes. Then I sit down with my trusty yellow note pad and make out my menu for the week. While I’m making out my menu, I also make out a grocery list. My grocery list isn’t anything elaborate either, but I do list things by section: meat, produce, dairy, etc. Saves time in the grocery store which makes a task I dislike a much more pleasant experience.

Here’s what my menu looks like for this week:

M – Pasta shells with broccoli and Italian sausage, green salad, copy cat Macaroni Grill rosemary bread.

T – Leftovers from Monday. *We eat a lot of leftovers. We don’t mind them and it saves me from having to cook every night. If there are still leftovers after two dinners, Hubs knows it is fair game for lunch.

W – Grilled chicken breast, herbed rice, sautéed zucchini and yellow squash w/diced Italian tomatoes. *Since Hubs is the master griller in our house, I try to include something grilled each week which eliminates me having to cook the entire meal every night. I will have him grill the entire bag of chicken breasts so they can be used in menu items for the next day or two.

TH – Salad with grilled chicken and honey mustard dressing.

F – Stir fry using grilled chicken and any fresh veggies left OR omelets and toast.

S – Fish sticks, mac and cheese, peas. *Our grandson will be visiting so I need something “kid” friendly. Thankfully, Hubs also likes this meal.

Because I picked up pork chops and ground chuck on sale this week, I already have two menu items on my list for next week. I’m getting back in the groove!

The recipe I would like to share with you this week is the pasta dish we will be having for dinner tonight. This is one of those recipes that has no set amount of ingredients. Just play it by ear for your family.

Pasta Shells with Broccoli and Italian Sausage
8 – 16 ounces of medium shell pasta
1 package Italian sweet sausage links (The sausage I use comes in a package with a little over a pound in it.)
2 – 3 cups broccoli florets
1 sweet red pepper, diced or cut into thin strips
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (more or less to you taste)Tablespoons crushed rosemary Dried or fresh, whatever is on hand
Olive oil

Cut casing from sausage or leave casing on and cut into 1” pieces. Brown sausag
e in large skillet. Just before sausage is completely browned, throw in garlic, red pepper and rosemary. Finish cooking sausage while sautéing the pepper. You may need or want to add a little olive oil. In the mean time, cook pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is two minutes from done for your liking, throw the broccoli in the pot. After pasta is cooked and broccoli is tender crisp, drain well. Place pasta in a large bowl and pour the sausage mixture over top. Stir well. Serve with grated Italian cheeses.

Part of Kelly’s give away is sharing a photo of us wearing a favorite apron. Go to Kelly's blog here to see the cute apron she has made and the guidelines for winning it.

Let me say that I am really not as "plump" as these pictures portray. These pictures were taken in December and we had NO heat. I have four or five layers on underneath those aprons.

Above is my favorite vintage apron. It has a bib and hangs below my knees. Make sure you OH! and AH! over that beautiful loaf of cheddar cheese braid coming out of the oven.

For Christmas, I made aprons to give as gifts to four girlfriends, five daughters/daughter in law, my mom and Larry's mom. I picked out material that reminded me of each person and included vintage buttons from my grandma's button box. I had to make one for myself when I found this fabric with bees. To see all the aprons I made at Christmas you can go here.

Join us for Blue Plate Monday at (un)Deniably Domestic and see what others are cooking for dinner. Tell us what's cooking at your place.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Finished for Friday - Needle Case

Lit and Laundry

It seems like this week has gone so fast. Maybe I'm just moving a little slower or I've finished a lot of unfinished projects for previous Fridays. This week I only have one item to share for "Finished for Friday".
I finished this needle case and matching pin cushion as a gift for my mother in law for Mother's Day.

Thanks to Threeundertwo, our weekly hostess of "Finished for Friday" for the idea. She shared a needle case she had completed a few weeks ago. That got me to searching the internet for free patterns for them. I couldn't find one that was "just right" so I took bits and pieces of what I liked about ones I found and created this one.

The embroidered flower is on muslin. It was a free pattern I found on the internet then just reduced it to the size I needed. It folds up and closes with a bit of ribbon wrapped around a button.

This is the inside of the needle case.

The "pages" are of felted wool. The left side is for needles and pins. On the right side, I stitched a pocket to hold a pair of small scissors or thread snippers. Then I added three little pockets at the bottom to hold small items such as a thimble, needle threader or a stitch puller.

The matching pin cushion was a pattern I had saved from a weekly craft e-letter I get from Better Homes and Gardens. Once I figured out the instructions, it took less than an hour to complete. You can see the pattern and instructions here. You may have to sign in as a new member, but it's free and they have some great ideas there.

It was fun putting this together. I am about finished with the one for my mom and will share it with you next week. The prototype of a seamstress apron I have been working on will also be finished. Can't wait to share that with you.

What have you finished this week? Share it with us. Check out what others have finished this week at "Lit and Laundry".


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday - Sewing Basket

WOOHOO! It's Thursday again! My favorite blog day of the week as I get to see all the wonderful vintage things others have to share. Be sure to visit Suzanne's blog here to see all things vintage.

Last week, I shared some recent flea market finds. If you missed them, you can see them here. On that same weekend, I found this fabulous vintage sewing basket.

Here's a look at the beautiful blue satin lining.

Look at all the goodies in there! I didn't wait to get home to explore the contents.

The snaps cost all of fifteen cents! The metal piece on the left looks like a piece to a button hole attachment for a sewing machine.

The previous owner of this basket loved seam binding. There were five or six packages.

Several cards of buttons and a pair of pinking shears. It takes both hands to open these shears.

This box was inside the basket.

It holds some straight pins, a sewing machine bobbin, lace sewn to velcro, blue sequins, two small spools of thread, a seagull applique, and a puzzle piece.

I've never seen a zipper repair kit. This one cost all of thirty nine cents. The kit contains zipper wax, replacement slider and a tool to remove old slider. You just "TWIST MAGIC DIAL Jaws open up allowing permanent ZIPPER REPAIR. FIX ZIPPERS FAST! ELIMINATES ENTIRE ZIPPER REPLACEMENT".

This is an unopened package of "measure-clip hemmers". They are the "perfect aid to hemming without pins...measures and holds evenly up to 3" width...ideal for clothing, curtains, drapes". These clips look like long clothes pins with markings every half inch. The copyright on the package is 1970.

My favorite find in the sewing basket was this package of THRIFTEE NIFTY Liquid Fabric Mender. "Successor to the Needle and Thread". THRIFTEE NIFTY is a "new wonder product from the field of chemistry."

What sewing basket would be complete without...?

A hair trimmer?

I hope you enjoyed rummaging through my vintage sewing basket with me.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits - Kelly's Giveaway, Easter, and Neighborhood News

Kelly at (un)Deniably Domestic started hosting Blue Plate Mondays this week. Each week, participants of BPM share recipes and more. She has made the cutest apron to give away. Go to her blog here to see it and what you can do to make it yours. (I've already got my name in the mason jar!) Look for Kelly's Blue Plate on my blog Monday to see what's cooking here.Hubs and I hosted Easter dinner here on Sunday. The daughter and son in law came up from Raleigh bringing the grandson and a friend of daughter's. We dined on barbecued ribs, grilled veggies (sweet potatoes, asparagus, zucchini and yellow squash), cole slaw, deviled eggs, and home made rolls. Dessert was chocolate sheet cake, home made frozen custard and these cute bunny cakes. They were more frosting and coconut than cake.

This was Boogie's first Easter to hunt eggs. He had to open each egg to make sure there was candy in it.

Lots of police cars racing around the neighborhood all afternoon. Our eighty six year old neighbor crossed the street to tell us her friend called and told her to stay in the house as there had been a shooting a block away. The shooter was on the run. Ann had to come out and look down the block to see if she could see anything. Another typical day in our neighborhood.