Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week 27, June 26, 2016

Thoughts and Quotes:  Life is a song and you get to make up the melody.  Unknown

This got me thinking.  If I had a theme song, what would it be?  The Best Things in Life are Free?  Accentuate the Positive?  You Never Walk Alone?  I Believe?  Climb Every Mountain?  Feelin' Groovy?  I finally settled on What a Wonderful World.  Thank you, to all the composers who add to our lives.

Tidying:  Yes, I know, I promised, but I MUST share this formula I found for cleaning the grout in your tile.  Mix: 7 cups water, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup vinegar.  Put in a spray bottle and spray the grout generously.  Wait 4-5 minutes.  Scrub. I use a nail brush.  My toothbrushes are too soft.  Rinse clean.  When it dries, apply sealer. NOTE: Never add bleach to this formula, as bleach and ammonia or bleach and vinegar mixed together gives off toxic fumes which can kill you.

Since tile is really hard on my poor old knees, I use two of those cheap kneeling pads for the garden, one under each knee.  This way, I can move one at a time as I progress, without getting up and down.  As you can see, they've been used in the yard as they were intended.

I wrote this formula some time ago in my "Home" notebook.  I have no idea where I got it, but to that source, I am eternally grateful.

Tidbits:  More techie stuff.  I'm fascinated by the 3D printers.  Nephew Ron has a friend who wanted an owl and a skull.  This is the result.  WOW!  According to Ron, "It was designed by member cerberus333 of . That member has designed over 500 things that can be made with a 3D printer. That member, along with several hundred others, put their creations on for others to download and enjoy free of charge, so long as it’s not used commercially and you give credit to the designer".

Tasting:  I was supposed to be having fun this week, but Mim beat me to it.  She went to Arizona to visit relatives and look what she ate at a French restaurant: Chicken Florentine Bruschetta, salad and herbal tea.  She knew I'd want a photo.

Tidying:  Yes, I'm supposed to be having fun, but believe it or not, I enjoy organizing and sorting.  I've heard that you should work at making a living doing something you love, but I'm not sure I could survive alone on a file clerk's wages.  So now that I'm retired, I can organize to my heart's content, and that's what I've been doing.  I had lots of wallpaper samples from discarded sample books I got from a home improvement store.  I gleaned out this much for Katie's class:

And I still have this much for myself.  I made three cards today.  These are made with only wallpaper, a half sheet of 8-1/2" x 11" card stock each,  two ready-made envelopes, glue stick, and two-sided tape. 

And wallpaper makes great background paper. 

Things that Grow:  This is in a neighbor's yard which I pass when leaving our subdivision. Don't you love it?  I want one.  It gets prettier each year.

Tidbits:  Another of my sometimes guests at my Kitty Cat Cafe.  This is Midnight and she slipped in between showers.  

Another day, I snapped at photo of Bomber, so named because he looks as if he's wearing one of those WWII caps with ear flaps which the pilots wore.

Not a bomber, but maybe the same vintage.  I snapped this prop plane as we were leaving the restaurant today.

Temptations:  Friends Joey and Katie Sue and I had lunch at Nearly Famous, where everyone is so nice and the food is wonderful.  We had ordinary lunches, not necessarily photo worthy, but the dessert was.  Lemonberry Cake.  It's lemon cake with blueberries, cream cheese frosting, and drizzled with raspberry syrup.

Time for Others:  Katie and I finished our cards for show-and-tell.  She's been so industrious lately, I haven't even contributed to her shut-in cards.  I'm stockpiling mine for my own use right now.  Katie Sue on the left, Patsy on the right.

I didn't cut off the corner - you just don't see it against the black table.

Thrifting:  After lunch, I told Friend Joey I wanted to show her the shop I'd told her about earlier called Charming Charlie.  The store is beautifully arranged, superb merchandising, and friendly sales people.  A visit is a feast for the eyes.  Well - they had a big sign in the window - "Biggest sale of the year on jewelry - 60% off clearance price".  Uh oh!  We found lots of costume jewelry which had red stickers showing the price at 50% of the original price. Then we could take 60% off the reduced price.  The most expensive thing I bought was originally $18, so half would be $9 and then 40% of that would be $3.60, a savings of $14.40.  The items which were originally $14 were $2.80.  I pay $3 at the thrift store for a necklace, and it doesn't come with earrings, as many of these did.  How could I resist?  I couldn't.  Take a look.

See the orange set?  Goes perfectly with Day 33, but I'd already taken the photo.

And I got a $10 coupon to use on a future visit in July.

Time for Others:  Not my time.  Lady Anne's time.  I received my first letter from my new letter exchange friend.  Royal Mail!  And a picture of the Queen!  How exciting is this?!  And yes, she's really a titled "Lady".  I want a title.

Tidbits:  Remember the forks with long handles from last week?  Even Chosen Brother Peter, my go-to expert in all things for dining, says that he's mystified.  If he doesn't know, no one knows.  He gave me permission to show some of the photos I took at his Downton Abbey Tablescape presentation.  Yes, he did it all himself, right down to arranging the flowers, and with his own dinnerware.  This was at our local botanical center, where he is the horticultural interpreter.  He also paints, draws, writes books, and can carry a tune.  I'm urging him to publish a book he's just finished about his days with the cruise lines, Twenty-five Years Before the Mast, A Cruise Director Looks Back.  Then I'll start working on him to write about his experiences as the head overseer of a castle in Ireland, where the family still dined in the Crawley manner. He hired the maids, butlers, etc., designed their English gardens, tutored the children, and on and on.  Probably didn't get much sleep.  Here's the castle.

And the tablescape presentation

Tip:  A young lady from The United Arab Emirates (Dubai) visited my blog this week, and left a comment.  I can't even begin to know how or why she found my blog, but I was curious to know about her.  I truly believe the Universe takes care of us, if only we trust it to do so.  I was in a very weepy and blue mood this morning, missing my kitty and my brother, both having passed at the beginning of this year.  When I starting reading Shilpa's posts, I found this:

Instead of asking
Why they left?
Now, I would ask
What beauty will I create in the place they no longer occupy. . .
And will I?

                                                                              Shilpa Chandrasekheran

This was just what I needed to see my loss in a totally new way.  I enjoyed her posts so much, I'm sharing her address.  I think you'll enjoy her writing, and be sure to click on "Culture" to see some of the most interesting photos and the most vibrant colors imaginable.

Here's Shilpa who lives in Dubai.

Teaching and Learning: I must admit that when Shilpa's blog said that she lives in Dubai, yet my page views said I had a visitor from the UAE (United Arab Emirates), I was confused. If you are as well, I found someone who can explain it perfectly, and it's right here.

Tidbits:  I find myself complaining about the heat this summer.  As a matter of fact, I complain about the weather a lot.  I'm really only completely happy when the temperature is 70 degrees and overcast.  I don't like the sun beating down on me, but if it's overcast, the clouds cause humidity and I don't like that either.  Never satisfied.  Well, I had quite an awakening this week when reading Amy's Five on Friday link-up.  Karen at Beatrice Euphemie talked about what she does when it rains.  I'm hanging my head in shame.  If I complain about the weather again, please just smack me.  Check this out and you'll feel the same.  Let's all join in with Karen and share her weather attitude.  Here's Karen.

Temptations:  I've had trouble with my cable bundle recently, so when I called to tell them I thought I should have a refund for the TV I hadn't been able to use for almost two weeks, they told me that my package includes 1-4 TV's at the same price.  I told him that I felt better just being able to blow off steam because everything is working again, but it seemed someone from their company had been at my house daily for a two-week period.  It was if they traveled from New York to California by way of Brazil.  But I've found that this company always finds ways to make me happy.  He offered to send me another receiver, no charge, no installation if I just hooked it up myself, etc. etc.  Then he told me that one reason it took so long on the first visit was that I was changed over to WiFi.  Well, whole new ball game. All I have to do when I move the TV is plug it into an electrical outlet, attach the receiver and I can take it anywhere - even to the garage or to the patio.  

So I bought a small TV I can put in the corner of my office (don't know where I'll put all the junk on top).  I was hoping to get rid of that bookcase one day (unsightly), but now I'll probably be stuck with it. 

And while I was there, I found one which will fit my entertainment center.  Everyone is buying huge screens now, and they are a  joy, but I'd have to put one in my living room (not an option) or tear out my entertainment center (also not an option), so there you are. My kids will be so happy to hear that Mom finally got around to buying a new TV because the old one is dying a slow death - it makes everything pink.  The people all look as if they've spent a day on the beach in a hot sun.  I thought one big burly guy looked so sissy in pink trousers until I realized they were probably khaki or beige.  Anyway, I was happy to find a fit for my "hole" because someday we probably won't be able to buy smaller sizes.  Maybe I should buy an extra for a replacement.  We've come a long way, haven't we?  Remember the great big wooden boxes with a little 8" screen and a snowy picture?  I wheeled my two TV's out on one of those special carts they have at Best Buy and was getting ready to put them in my trunk.  A nice young man was walking by and asked if he could help.  I was so happy I could tell him thank you but I could handle it because the bigger one only weighed 8-1/2 pounds and the smaller one even less. And cheap?  Wow!  Pretty soon the cable companies will be giving them away if you sign up with them. Now to get that big chunky one out of the hole.  Different story. I didn't think he'd be willing to come home and help me with that though, so I'll wait until they come to mow my yard on Monday.  See what I mean?


Day 29, June 20, 2016 Looks black, but it's navy.  Why am I not using my new camera?

Day 30, June 21, 2016 The blouse came from Friend Joey, by way of Friend Billie - love it!

Day 31, June 22, 2016

Day 32, June 23, 2016, Same pants, different top.  Adding a few sequins and pearls to a plain tee makes a big difference.  I worried about how the washing machine would treat the sequins, but no problem. 

Day 33, June 24, 2016.  Good to wear when you're meeting a friend in a big crowd.  Can't possibly be missed.  You saw this plaid blouse earlier when I was bragging about how I bought it for $2.40 at the thrift store.  I tried pairing it with red pants, but wow!, hurts your eyes.

Day 34, June 25, 2016

Day 35, June 26, 2016

Time to Buckle Down:  Next week will be all about work-work-work.  I'm going to put in one week of long days of lots of work, so I can finally get caught up and then have fun.  Also, my togs will all be brown, so a pretty boring post next week.  I'll make up for it.  Promise.





Thank you for sharing my life

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Week 26, June 19, 2016

Thoughts and Quotes: A father is someone who keeps photos where his money used to be.


Tips:  Friend Joey's cousin Billie and her husband Richard make all kinds of wonderful jams, jellies, and butters.  Each jar top has a label identifying the contents, followed by a really fun quote.  They buy Avery labels which are round, and as I understand it, they come with instructions on how to print on them.  Look how cute.

Tidbit:  A Techie Tidbit.  Nephew Ron bought a 3-D printer.  He needed a container for holding the fuses he uses at work so that they didn't get all mixed together.  This is what he "printed" to hold them.  Remember - it's 3-D.  He said that it took 32 hours.

I asked him what they're made of, and being the true techie in every sense, he didn't say that it's sort of like cardboard.  He told me that they're made of polylactic acid and it comes in different colors and sent me this from Wikipedia: "Polylactic acid is derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch, tapioca roots, chips or starch, or sugarcane".  So my guess is that it's sort of like cardboard.  But how exciting.  Wouldn't you love to be able to make a custom holder for your makeup, or your desktop items, or your scrapbooking goodies? 

Tidbit:  A Tea Tidbit.  Angela, of the Tea With Friends Blog, had a post this week showing the cutest teabag in the entire world.  Take a look.

Teaching and Learning:  This time it was learning.  Friend Joey and I went to the library for a class on apps.  She already has a smart phone, but I'm still at Consumer Cellular for $17.66 per month.  She wanted to learn new apps and I wanted to see if I could justify a reason to get a smart phone.  I took my Kindle Fire, hoping I could find some useful apps for it.   Well, it turns out that we only learned about library apps.  But - did you know that you can check out music?  and read magazines?  and take classes on a multitude of subjects, in addition to learning 72 languages?  watch TV shows or movies? all on your phone.  You can, of course, check out e-books as well.  Check with your local library.  You might be missing out on all sorts of fun things.

Tidying:  My kitchen and breakfast area ceilings have a new coat of paint.  No, I didn't do it, but I went after the paint and supplies and a nice young man (Jase) did the work.

Tidying Again:  I took all the dishes down from the tops of the cabinets and bookshelves for the painting of the ceiling, and the next day I washed every single one of them.  Applause, please.

Things That Grow:  Again, no, I didn't do it.  This is from Friend Joey's bush.  Isn't it lovely? Now I want one, but don't know where I'd put it.  I read in Southern Living Magazine that your blue hydrangea can turn pink.  If you want it pink, dissolve one tablespoon of hydrated lime in a gallon of water and drench the root zone in April or May.  If you want it blue, dissolve one tablespoon of aluminum sulfate in a gallon of water and drench the root zone in April or May.  They didn't say where to buy the chemicals, but I'm assuming wherever they sell plants.  If you want white, you have to buy a variety which won't turn regardless of what you do to it.

Tidbit:  Thank you to the makers of mixes.  How did my grandmother accomplish so much? How she would have loved being able to open a box of brownie mix and a can of frosting and have dessert in no time.  And then I can put everything in the dishwasher.

Tasting:  We didn't get around to making the Swiss steak my son wanted while he was here. I had the meat in the freezer and everything else I needed, so I decided to go ahead and make it.  I don't have a recipe.  I simply put some oil in the skillet, cook some chopped onion at a low heat until translucent.  Pound some sirloin or round steak pieces with my metal meat tenderizing hammer (on my bread board shaped like a pig that he made in high school).  Then I dredge the pieces in flour, salt and pepper and remove the onions to a bowl, and brown the meat in the oil.  Next I return the onions, put in petite diced or crushed canned tomatoes, a brown gravy mix dissolved in one cup of water, and a bit of sugar to counteract the acid in the tomatoes.  Cover and simmer until tender.

I also made mashed potatoes, buttered carrots, and a vegetable salad.  I took dinner (and the brownies) to a recuperating friend (and husband) and they're always so generous with their gratitude, you'd think I took a gourmet meal.  They won't know the brownies came from a box until they read this.  They'll taste better that way.

And this meager offering from my weed patch.

Things That Grow:  I have to be the world's worst gardener.  Every year it's new mistakes.  I never have any luck with carrots, but thought I'd plant a few "test" carrots this year.  Just look.

What causes this?  I think they're so embarrassed by my garden that they try to sprout another leg so they can run away.

Tidying:  I had a box of bits and pieces of silver in the garage, badly in need of polishing.  I picked these things up at thrift stores, so nothing cost very much.  No big loss (money-wise) if I messed something up, so I decided to experiment with some methods I'd saved in my "Home" notebook.  I started with this creamer and sugar bowl (actually, I did pay $10 on eBay for these) and this flatware.

The method was to mix 1 quart of hot water, 1 Tbs water softener, 1 Tbs salt in a pan with a a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of the pan.  No good.  To be honest, my water softener had a moisturizer added, so maybe that messed it up.

Then I tried this: Line a pan with aluminum foil, fill with water and bring to a boil.  Then add baking soda and stir.  When it returns to a boil, put in the silverware and turn off the heat.  In a few minutes, you should have clean silverware.  That didn't work either, but it did loosen the glue which held the shell spoon together.  I didn't even know it had been broken.

Then I resorted to my labor-intensive method.

The results were satisfactory, and yes, the spoon in the middle is Mr. Peanut.

Alas, the creamer and sugar bowl are too far gone to use for food, so I intend to use them to hold flowers on a tea table. The creamer has a spot on the handle where the silverplate is missing, so I bought some metallic silver paint, and we'll see how that works.  I didn't know such paint existed.

If it works, I'll try it on these:

Then when I was talking with Friend Joey, she told me about this, which I found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

There's a basket inside.  You drop in the flatware, wait ten seconds, pull it out and rinse. It made short work of all this:

I have no idea what this is.  I must ask Chosen Brother Peter.  He probably knows.

And I found that Weiman now comes in a liquid form, which should be easier to use, and will be better for larger items.  It smells just like the Hagerty brand.  Also from Bed, Bath and Beyond.

And LInda at, if you're reading this, these are the forks I told you about which say "Sheffield, England". They also say "stainless", so I'm assuming that they're not very old.

These forks are a mystery.  Why are the handles as long as iced tea spoon handles? Peter? Anyone?

Tasting:  Finally, I used my larger-size muffin tins from Friend Joey.  I made muffins from Joann Fluke's recipe in her book Blueberry Muffin Murder, and they're called Blue Blueberry Muffins, because you mix blueberry pie filling into the batter.  You can get the recipe here. I didn't put the crumb topping on.  

Before baking, the batter was the color of the gray modeling clay I used in grade school.

After baking, they looked fairly normal.

But cut open, they rather remind me of dingy laundry.

They're very good.  I believe the pie filling does add to the blueberry taste.  I followed her directions and divided the remaining pie filling into 1/2 cup portions and froze it for the next three batches.

Tidbit:  A new customer dropped by my Kitty-Cat Cafe on Monday.  She must have liked my menu, because she's been back every evening for dinner since then. Glad to see her back, because she looks really skinny.  I believe that my regular customer, Pepper, proposed to her.  I certainly hope that she turned him down.  I don't need any mini-customers running around.

Day 22, June 13, 2016

Day 23, June 14, 2016

Day 24, June 15, 2016, Different pants, remove tee

Day 25, June 16, 2016

Day 26, June 17, 2016

Day 27, June 18, 2016

Day 28, June 19, 2016

Gee, do you think I might be yearning for a trip to Hawaii?


(Maybe a little tidying, but I won't talk about it)

Thank you for sharing my life