Tuesday, November 22, 2011

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: "Smokin' Seventeen" by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum is at it again: she thinks the mob is after her, she gets into hilarious antics with Mooner and ends up with an enhanced photo of herself on Mooner's bus. Of course she ruins another car.
PLUS we get to have our fix of Morelli and Ranger. It seems as though Stephanie CAN have her cake and eat it, too!
I really have enjoyed this series of books! I may need to look into reading Evanovich's "Alexandra Barnaby" novels.  Not sure if Alexandra could beat the amusing antics of Stephanie!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: "Life in Spite of Me" by Kristen Anderson

     I heard this gal give a talk (on the radio) and was compelled to read her whole story.  Kristen was a semi rebellious teen from a good family who decided to kill herself by laying down on the tracks in front of a train: the only thing she succeeded in doing was losing both her legs.

     This book is her story of her miraculous survival and her soul searching which led her to develop a personal relationship with Jesus. She came from a good home and was a Christian, but she apparently didn't realize that she was a daughter of Heavenly Father.

     Keep a box of tissues on hand as you read this touching story!  She tells of the loneliness she felt as a teen, the reasons she decided to take her life, and her long road to recovery.  She talked about the doubts she felt and the anger.  Kristen then talks about people who introduced her to Christ as she never knew Him before.  She decided that she had been spared for a reason, and founded "Reaching You Ministries" which tries to tell people that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them.  She said that had she known that she was loved, she may not have tried to take her life.  She even received an email from one young man who told her that he had had a gun in his hand and was about to take his life when he happened to hear her telling her story on Oprah.  He told Kristen that hearing her story saved his life.  That was one of the testimonies that let her to begin her "Reaching You Ministries."

     Kristen apparently suffered from depression.  This book gives the signs of depression and the warning signs of suicide so that we may recognize them if we see them in friends or loved ones.It is a wonderful, uplifting story.  Kristen has made a wonderful life for herself  'In Spite of Her'.

GRANNY'S KITCHEN: Pizzarino Green Beans

When trying to think of something to take to the Ward Thanksgiving Dinner, I wanted to use from my food storage.  I had several beans and decided to try to find something other than the green bean casserole made with cream of mushroom: I figured there would be plenty of those.

While browsing the web, I found this wonderful website called 20 ways to cook Green Beans. I found a quick and easy recipe that called for 2 cans of green beans, some sliced olives, oregano, garlic salt, wine vinegar and oil. That's IT!  OK, I chose it for the simplicity, but I make it because it was a HIT!  I took home NO left overs from the party. I then made them again for dinner with the missionaries.  This is becoming my new favorite way to fix green beans. I think next time I will try to fix this with balsamic vinegar rather than the red wine vinegar for a different taste.  I may also have to try this with my favorite vineger, malt vinegar. That might be a good twist.

Here are the quick and easy directions:

~I opened and drained 2 cans of French style green beans (the others would work, but I like the way these look in a bowl!) I poured these into a microwave safe casserole.
~I stirred in some sliced olives.  The first time, I sliced my own.  The next batch, I added a can of pre-sliced olives.  So much easier and just as yummy!
~Next I added in 2 tsp Oregano.  It's time for me to buy more of this!  If I forget to buy more soon, I will use Italian seasoning in my next batch.  It might be fun to try this with basil, too.
~The fourth ingredient is garlic salt.  Stir in 1/2 tsp garlic salt.
~Last, I added 2 Tablespoons EACH of red wine vinegar and olive oil.  The recipe did not call for olive oil, but I thought that would go nicely with the oregano and garlic salt.

I nuked this for 3 minutes, but this could also be heated on the stove.  It's always a good thing to find something tasty AND easy.  Simple is best.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: "They Popped My Hood and Found Gravy on the Dipstick" by Todd Barnes

If you want a book that will have you doubling over with laughter, THIS is the book to read!

It is an inspirational yet funny book about Todd Starnes' journey through heart surgery and weight loss.  I'm just going to quote some of my most favorite parts of the book here.

     "I hate butter!"
     My declaration was met with stunned silence around the Starnes family table.  I was just a little boy, not even seven years old, and my taste buds had not yet adjusted to the taste of cold yellow slabs of butter pasted onto fluffy biscuits.
     Mom was flustered.  "What do you mean you don't like butter? Of course you like butter. We're from the South. We're supposed to love butter."
     Indeed a Southern boy not liking butter is akin to a kid in the Bronx not liking the Yankees.  Uncle Jerry was so shocked he stopped gnawing on his pork chop and declared, "There's something wrong with that boy."  Uncle Jerry is from Coldwater, Mississippi, and folks there are prone to say things like that. "I told you that boy was too skinny."
     After recovering from the initial shock of the moment, Mom did what any God-fearing mom would do.  "We should pray," she said.
     "But we've already prayed, honey," said Dad, "Besides, the potatoes are getting cold."
     But when Mom said it was time to pray, it was time to pray.  The entire family joined hands and bowed our heads.  "Dear Jesus," Mom petitioned the Almighty, "thank You for butter.  Thank You for giving us the cows that gave us butter.  And thank You, Lord, for buttermilk biscuits on which we can place a dollop of butter. Because, Lord, we know that somewhere in the world tonight little children are going to bed without any butter at all. Amen."
     Well, good grief!  I was just seven years old. I didn't want to disappoint my mom and I sure didn't want to disappoint Jesus. So that day I started eating butter -- and never stopped.

   I just LOVE this chapter!  Another favorite part from this chapter reminds me of ME and my 'Fry day."  I used to fry up fish and/or chicken strips. And since the grease was hot, I would add fried green tomatoes, fried okra, fried dill pickles, fried cheese, fried squash, and french fries.  I had a friend's family over one time for lunch and she is the one who termed my day the 'Fry day'.  And one time a guest to one of my fish fries say she could feel the grease just dripping out of her pores.  I don't have these so much any more, but this sure makes me want to get out my 'Fry Daddy' and cook some chicken and fries.  This excerpt is from page 35:

     I'm not quite sure how we manage to do it, but Southerners have figured out a way to deep-fry the entire food pyramid -- from fried pork chops to deep-fried green beans.

     Hehe. I just get a kick out of this. And (although I did not attend the fair this year) I hear they had deep fried BUTTER!! What a HOOT! I should have gone just for THAT.

     The next chapter is about the author's move to California. He says "There are no fat people in California. I'm not sure why, but it could have something to do with their steady diet of tofu and tree bark.  And a fairly sizable chunk of the state appears to be the offspring of George Hamilton.  I've never seen so many well-tanned Americans.
     "And then, there was me -- a three-hundred-pound white guy with a pale complexion and a Southern accent.  I could just imagine the horror at the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce. 'Well, there goes the neighborhood.' I felt like a catfish at a sushi bar."
    When Starnes talks about trying to find his new apartment, he said he asked the policeman who said that Starnes must not be 'from around here,' he answered "What gave it away? My weight or my pasty white skin?"  Luckily the policeman didn't take offense and answered "Your license plate."
     And what a wonderful support system the author has in his friends and church family.  One gal organized a party to celebrate his surgery, calling it the 'Last Supper.' Almost sounds morbid, but it seemed like a fun idea for friends to help relieve the tension and fear that Todd was feeling before his surgery.  He even had a friend come spend a couple weeks with him before the surgery, and two couples who 'adopted' him for his after surgery care.  Todd is really a lucky man.

     Another hilarious part of the story is going in to take blood tests after the surgery. His blood has to be thin in order for the valve to work right. Anyway...

     My first visit did not go so well.  On paper, the Coumadin test isn't so bad.  The nurse pricks my finger with a tiny needle, draws a small amount of blood, and slaps on a bandage.  Unfortunately, I have a problem with needles.  As soon as she poked me, I passed out.  I fell right out on the floor. It was quite a scene.  The next week, it happened again.
     During my third visit, the nurse closed the door and gave me a stern look. "Mr. Starnes. I'm having a difficult day, so if you plan on passing out you'd better tell me now."  Would you believe I stayed upright? Who says tough love doesn't work? After my test, she even treated me to a lollipop.

     Starnes is not a married man, but wanted to find someone.  After his surgery he recalls beginning to date:

     The object of my affection was an amazingly beautiful and kind girl who worked at a coffee-house near my apartment.  She was always friendly, and it turned out she was also a Christian.  And when it came to making coffee, she really knew how to put the froth on my latte.  The hard part was figuring out how to invite her to dinner.  The first effort resulted in total failure. I worked myself up into such a frenzy I had to take a nitroglycerin tablet.  i regrouped and, the next morning, I found the courage to invite her to dinner.  When she accepted my invitation, I walked outside, slumped onto a park bench, and popped another nitroglycerin tablet.  "Sweet mercy," I said. "Dating is awesome, but it's going to kill me."

     The author then accepts a new job in New York. He uproots himself once more, and heads back east.  Thinking of all his wonderful friends who helped him through major surgery and recovery and helped put him on the road to weight loss and healthier living, he began feeling a bit sad.

     Boy, I sure could use a good dose of comfort.
      And a few miles down the road, my prayer was answered.  There was a larger-than-life sign on Interstate 40: CRACKER BARREL -- NEXT EXIT.

     Cracker Barrel is an inside joke with a circle of my cousins, having stopped at all the Cracker Barrels on our road trip.  Makes me smile every time I see a Cracker Barrel.  And this passage in the book really brought a smile to my face.

     I have just thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  It is filled with fun anecdotes weaved into the success story of Barnes' road to recovery from heart surgery, weight loss, and a healthier lifestyle (which included running in a marathon.) He gives all the credit to the Lord, and his good friends (who are the kind of people we should all strive to be).  This is a 'must own' book: Spiritually uplifting, full of encouragement and laughter.


Monday, October 3, 2011

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: Spider Web by Earlene Fowler

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of another Benni Harper Mystery, and here it is! In Spider Web, Benny is in charge of putting together a memories festival. It sounds absolutely wonderful.  Earlene Fowlder's descriptive writing really makes the story come alive!  The mystery in this story is, believe it or not, NOT a dead body that Benny happens upon, but of a sniper who seems to be targeting policeman in Benny's town.  This book really has you on edge in a place or two as you are concerned not only about Benny's Police Chief hubby, but also her friend's little brother (whom Benni used to babysit) who is also on the police force.
Benny's grandmother, Dove, belongs to a quilt group that is making a graveyard quilt patterned after the one I found HERE.  I was curious and had to look it up and found this blog post on it.  What a unique story behind the quilt.  I imagine one would bring quite a price in real life, just as it did in Spider Web.  It would fit into the whole 'Vampire Mania' that seems to still be going on after the "Twilight" saga.

This is the 15th book in the series, but I cannot get enough. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the Benni Harper mysteries.

Monday, September 19, 2011

GRANNY'S SEWING ROOM: Garage Sale Quilt Update #2

 Here is another finished quilt from a quilt top I found at a garage sale:
See here for the original post.

I put some square machine embroidered 'quilt blocks' in the large green squares. 

Good practice on my embroidery machine and good quilt for charity.  I will be giving this and the other one I've finished so far (see the post on it here).

This is a close up of one of the blocks.  There are ten different ones.

Here are a couple more close ups. I guess the flash made the picture color of little off..

This and the other garage sale top I finished are going to the Children's home.

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: "In the Heart of the Sea" by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick was quite a book to read!  In spite of the tragic details of this true story, it was a captivating tale.
This is the real event that inspired 'Moby Dick'. It says that where "Moby Dick" left off, this tale began!
This is the story of whalers of Nantucket who get attacked by an 80 foot sperm whale in the very middle of the Pacific Ocean and the horrific ordeal that follows in their 90 days at sea in tiny whaleboats.
This fascinating story is filled with details about 19th century Nantucket, the whaling industry, Quakers, the ocean, the whales, the ships, etc.These facts are all inundated in the story of the survivors along with the details of cannibalism that was necessary for survival.  Philbrick even included facts on how the body reacts to starvation and compared what the survivors went through to starvation studies.

I knew that survivors of tragic events could resort to cannibalism of dead companions, but this sad tale explains how the men decided to 'draw lots' for their survival: the first 'short straw' was who would be killed for food; the 2nd short straw was who would have to do the killing.  How terrible to need to resort to killing and eating your friend, cousin, co-worker. It is unfathomable.
Here is a picture I found done by a whaler:
And here's another picture of a sperm whale attacking a whale boat.  This was a dangerous occupation!
This is altogether a wonderful tale of nature, disaster and survival.

Monday, August 22, 2011

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: "I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced" by Nujood Ali

When I think of arranged marriages, I think of loving father's trying to do best for their children. I think of Sleeping Beauty and how she is promised to Prince Charming.  I often think it would be wonderful if I could pick the husbands for my daughters!   And, I am sure that there ARE wonderful fairy tale endings. I picture the act of children being 'betrothed' or 'married' as more of a 'promise' to get together as adults. They would still continue to live at home, but grow up knowing they are promised.  I like to dream of a picture perfect world.

 I cannot imagine hurting children because I think they are life's greatest treasures. I think my children are my greatest asset -- I am greatly blessed because of my wonderful children, and as they grew up (and sometimes still) I have taken on the role of mama bear: I would do ANYTHING to protect my children and keep them safe.

I just finished reading a story about the plight of a ten year old girl who was married off against her will to an older man. It is a heart breaking story, because this girl was not treasured by her parents or her 'husband.' The father gives her to an unkind man who ends up being a child abuser. Nujood's mother-in-law stands idly by as her son molests an innocent child and also mistreats the girl.  When Nujood tells her family of her abuse, she is told to go back and honor her 'wifely duties.'

Luckily, Nujood has a strong spirit. She recalls watching court tv shows with a friend and runs away to a courthouse, where she tells the judge that she wants a divorce. The judges, who seem to be loving parents themselves, can hardly believe what she is saying, but they do believe her and quickly step in to protect Nujood.

Nujood is granted her divorce and makes national news, which gives other children the courage to run away and ask for divorces also.  She seems to have paved the way for other girls to speak up for themselves. And now laws have been passed making it illegal for anyone under the age of 17 to get married.

This book has a happy ending, but I am sure that this kind of abuse still happens. Just as child abuse happens everywhere, even here in America.  There are wicked people in all races, cultures, countries.  But I have to believe that Nujood's story is the exception to the rule and not the typical life of the children in Yemen. Nujood does talk about the judges who helped her, and she had an uncle take her in while the divorce proceedings were going on. Yes, I have to go on believing that most people are good!  But sometimes we have to hear the sad stories to remind us that life is not always a fairy tale.

GRANDMOTHER'S SEWING ROOM: Garage Sale Quilt Update #1

 I've been working on my charity quilts. This is one of the tops that that I bought at a garage sale for $5 (see HERE ).  These 16 patches were all hand done!

I added art deco suns in the connecting blocks. I LOVE these sun patterns.  I bought them from Designs by Sick, one of my favorite sites to get designs.

Below are some close ups of some of the suns. There are ten designs, and I was able to get the complete set for only $1 (Frugal Granny!). 

The quilts are going to a children's home.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong

This is the first book in The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong.  The focus of this book is Paige Winterbourne, a witch, and her half witch/half demon foster child, Savannah.  In this book, Armstrong gives details of the 'politics' of witch covens and sorcerer cabals (which are similar, it seems to me, to 'mob families.')  Paige gets involved with Lucas, the son of a major cabal, and together they are trying to solve crimes in which cabal children are victims. Things are complicated by the fact that cabal sorcerers don't look highly on witches, and Paige has been kicked out of her coven for associating with sorcerers and Savannah.  It was another fun book to read.  I am looking forward to reading the next book which is centered around Savannah's mother.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


 My friend Hannah had 4 friends that had babies very close together. She wanted to give them a personalized gift and request onsies.

She wanted the babies name and birthday (and the weight, too of the ones she knew). She bought newborn size, and said once they outgrew them it would be a keepsake.

What a cute idea!

I took the onsies and my patterns down to my mothers where she offered her services (and machine).

We had a wonderful visit as we worked on these.  The girls onsies turned out fine.  The embroidery on the boys messed up royally!  After she worked and worked trying to get it out, we decided to redo them with applique.  You cannot tell that there is an embroidery disaster under each of those seals!  I am so blessed to have a wonderful mom with her patience! I would have thrown them away and given my friend burp rags for the gifts! hehe

I've made these before (when my great nephew was born), but never had this much trouble.

Oh well. They turned out great!  I hope her friends like them.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


I started making the fish for this last year when my niece, Heather, got married in Florida.  Took me a while, but finally finished them up and put this together in time for an anniversary gift!  It really turned out to be a house warming gift as she had her hubby Kevin just moved to Jacksonville. She was married on the beach and now lives in Florida, so I thought the fish were appropriate!

Friday, July 29, 2011

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

This is the first of Orson Scott Card's science fiction books that I have read. I did read his "Women in Genesis" series of novels and LOVED them!

This book takes place on a planet called 'Garden' which is inhabited by descendents of humans from earth.  The main character, Rigg, lives on the planet in a wallfold (an  area of the planet sectioned off by an invisible wall).  He has a special ability to see 'paths' of where people have been -- where ALL people through time have been.  He has a friend, Umbo, who can slow down time (or speed you up in time, depending on how you look at it). Umbo can use his ability along with Rigg's ability to see paths that people have taken, and push people back in time.

Their adventures (losing a father and a brother, finding a sister, getting caught up in political turmoil, and finding a way across 'the wall') made this a fun book to read.  Among all the happenings of Rigg and Umbo, the tale of how the planet became inhabited by humans and how it ended up divided into 'wall folds' is also told.

There is no racy scenes, no cursing, and no immoral behavior (other than steeling a knife from a person in the past who has been dead for hundreds of years, so not sure if that counts!). 

Orson Scott Card actually has a trailer for this book on his official website. Go there to see -- it makes the book sound exciting (and it IS).  It is supposed to be the first of a new series, but it stands alone quite well! I do hope for more, and am anxiously awaiting the next book, but it is not necessary to finish the story. I do recommend this book.

GRANNY'S KITCHEN: Home Canned Tomatoes

First of all, I want you to notice my new canning pot!  I was at a kitchen outlet store in Branson, and bought this 30qt Hamilton Beach stainless steel pot.  It holds 11 quart jars!!  I only have ten here, because that's all the tomatoes I had. How wonderful to get my ten jars done at once instead of in two batches!!  I used to have 2 old porcelain water bath canners, but I wore both of them out -- they sprung leaks in them.
Anyway, this should last quite a while!  It is nice and thick.  For the inside, I put one of my cookie cooling racks. It works fine, although now I will have to buy a new one for my cookies!  I always pour a bit of vinegar in my canner so that the lime doesn't build up on my jars (we have very hard water here, and if you don't do that, the jars come out WHITE because of the lime -- whoever said it takes millions of years for those limestone formations to form in caves has never been to Missouri!!). Anyway, the vinegar was hard on my cooling rack, and rusted it out.  Wonder if I could find some stainless cooling racks??

One gal at the shop where I bought my new pot said that she just puts a towel in the bottom of the pan! I may have to try this. It is just boiling the towel, which won't hurt a thing. And the towel will keep the jars off the bottom of the pan. I should have done that rather than ruin my cooling rack!

Also notice that I DID can on my electric glass stove. It did work. It just seems to take a while to get the water boiling. I know they say not to use pots that much bigger than the burner, but what's a gal supposed to do when there's tomatoes to be put up??!!

I was short on time, so I did not cook my tomatoes down like I normally do.  I blanched them in order to slip the skins off, then put them in my electric dutch oven to heat up.  I washed up my jars and filled them with the hot tomatoes and added 1/2 tsp canning salt to each quart jar. I then put in my new canner and boiled for 35 minutes.  That's all there was to canning tomatoes.  They are prettier if you cook them down first. If I have enough tomatoes to do another batch, I'll make a post on that method.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

GRANNY'S KITCHEN: Strawberry Jam

I tell you, it is amazing that strawberries are so affordable when everything else is almost not!
Aldi's has been fluctuating between .89 - .99 /box (quart) of strawberries, depending on the week.

I bought a flat and made jam. YUMMY.  It is almost gone already.. but I have another flat of berries waiting for me to put up into more jam.

The recipe I used is simple:
1. Mash strawberries with a 'tater smasher' until you have 5 cups mashed berries.
2. Put in cooking pot and add a box of pectin.
3. Bring to a boil.
4. Let it boil steadily for a minute then pour in 7 cups sugar.
5. Bring back to a boil and skim the foam off the top. (I put this in a bowl for those who want to sample it).
6. Jar it up and process for 5 minutes in Boiling Water Bath.

I have no idea when or why I started doing this, as I used to never BWB my jellies (or pickles for that matter).  But I did sterilize my jars by boiling them before using them for canning. Now I just make sure they are clean by rinsing in hot water (cold jars break if you pour hot jelly into them), then put my hot lids on and drop in the boiling water bath.  I figure it doesn't matter if I boil my jars before or after I put the jam in them -- and it doesn't seem to hurt the quality of the jam by putting in the BWB.  *A bonus is that it is a bit easier on the fingers to fill a jar that has just been rinsed off rather than get the jar out of the boiling water to use.

FRUGAL GRANNY: Today's Coupon Savings

I had 8 coupons about to expire so I decided to run to the store for 8 items only.  I cannot believe I managed to get out of there with only my 8 items!!

I purchased 2 2-litre Cokes, 2 jars peanut butter, and 4 bags of Louisiana fish fry ..............................
for the whopping total of $4.86. 

I've never used Always Save peanut butter, but for the price (with my coupon), I only paid  75 cents per jar. I thought we could try it out at that price!!  And if we don't like it on bread, it will be yummy in cookies.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: You are Still Being Lied To ~Russ Kick, editor

You Are STILL Being Lied To: The NEW Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths is a collection of essays by various authors that supposedly 'reveal the truth' about various things ranging from the news media and large corporations deciding the 'truths' to be given to the people to the lies of AA.

I will just hit a few points from some of the essays and give some of the quotes that stand out..

One essay, entitled "The Truth about Corporations" states that one of the big reasons for the American Revolution was colonial opposition to corporate power.  Some of the statistics given about corporations include: 1) You are 50 times more likely to be robbed by a corporation than by a person, 2) You are six times more likely to be killed by a corporation than by a person, and 3) Under the early American system, corporate charters tended to be granted sparingly, in keeping with the widespread belief that the potential for corporations to accumulate power rendered them inherently dangerous to democracy.  One more quote given in this essay is attributed to Abraham Lincoln: "As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

A second essay, "What's Missing from the Picture?" by Jim Marrs follows various crimes throughout history in which the crucial evidence had gone missing.  These  include missing pages from Booth's Diary (Lincoln Assassination), missing minutes from a tape (Nixon's Watergate scandal), missing code book, brain, and casket (from the John Kennedy Assassination), missing gun and evidence of shots in door panels (from the Robert Kennedy Assassination), high resolution photos from space which Astronaut Gordon Cooper said were "unbelievable close ups of license plates", etc.

"The Unkindest Cut" by Tristan Taormino compares the way we view male circumcision compared to female circumcision. We 'vehemently oppose this when it's done to women and see it as a way of mutilating their bodies, controlling their sexuality, and limiting their sexual pleasure." Yet in America 60% of the male population are circumcised as compared to about 20% world wide.

Another of these eye opening essays is entitled "Cheap, Crappy Food = A Fat Population: How Corporations and the US Government Create the Obesity Epidemic" by Steven Greenstreet, Bryan Young, and Elias Pate.  They say "When it comes to powerful lobbyists and moneyed corporations influencing the government to implement policies that endanger the health and safety of its citizens, the issues surrounding obesity are no exception."  When we think the food pyramid and daily food recommendations changes because of new research, think again. The authors say that these are the target of some of the fiercest lobby efforts in the government, and they give the reasons for this to be so. My favorite quote from this essay is "In a bizarre world where one salad can cost as much as five burgers, and water costs more than soda, all biological and economic incentives seem to line up against the healthy options."  I have actually found this essay online. Click here to read it.

I could go on and on about the various topics brought out in this book. But it would be better if you just read it for yourself.  Since they are short essays, you can read in increments rather than needing a large time frame.  This book has moved from my 'books to read' list to my 'books to own' list.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I saw this great blog post here on Purl Bee. and thought that was something I could do for Mark for Father's Day.

It looked easy enough. So I went to Wal Mart to find some fabric. This is NOT what I had in mind, But I found this faux leather (washable! hehe) and thought it would be perfect!

I read over the blog and read the hints on the Stars and Sunshine blog.

One of the hints was to make it a bit more narrow.
So I trimmed 1/2 inch off the taped together pattern.

When I went to trim the extra 'ear' off the cut pieces, I found that mine was not quite a 45 degree, so I trimmed it to make it a 45* angle with my quilting ruler.
 After I sewed on the interfacing, I folded in half and trimmed up the edge so it would be even. No idea why I cannot seem to cut a straight line with scissors.. I guess that's why God had someone invent the rotary cutter and rulers!

I added 3 1/2 inches to the pattern, so had to do that on the interfacing piece, too.

 Look how much was off when I sewed the tie pieces together. UGH... I think maybe the one piece in the middle was curved or something before I trimmed the pattern piece down.

Anyway, took my trusty ruler and wend from the edge of the middle piece to the edge of the end piece and trimmed the length of the tie on both sides to make it even.

I discovered there needs to be a lot of ironing and this is NOT a good fabric for ironing. It melts.. BUT, I was able to put my iron on a low setting and use a pressing cloth and it did ok.
Another thing I would do different with this material is that I would NOT iron on this interfacing!!  I've decided the material was thick enough without it.  When I needed to iron 1/4 inch on the edges, it was too thick, so I had to trim it off. What a mess. And then it would not say flat because it was too thick.
 Made a Wal Mart run and found this permanent fabric tape!!  Wish it had been 1/4" size. I will have to look around to see if it comes that small.

 But anyway, I put it 1/4 inch away from the edge, and folded the edge over the edge of the fabric tape, That worked well.....
UNTIL I had to fold it over and sew it together. It says NOT to sew through this, but I did anyway. I had a tough time getting the need through and it was a stick mess, but as you can see in the first picture, it all turned out well.

I will definitely make some more ties for the men in my life!! I just probably will NOT use the faux leather.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

GRANNY'S KITCHEN: Tuna Quesadilla's

 Again, I was in need of a quick dinner.  Where does all the time go??
I heated up some tortilla shells. Opened up 2 cans of tuna (using 1 can to fill 3 tortilla shells).

I grabbed a bag of shredded cheese from the fridge. I happened to have some Colby blend. I think any shredded cheese would work.

I finished heating these on the grill until the cheese was melted.  I thought they were good and my son actually thanked me for the dinner. :-)  always a good sign!

GRANNY'S KITCHEN: Strawberries and Twinkies

I was in need of a quick and easy dessert.  I needed to make dessert with what I had on hand, but was in a hurry.

I found 3 Twinkies and had almost a whole box of strawberries.  I sliced the sliced the strawberries in a bowl and put a scoop of sugar over the top and let set in the fridge for a while. I hid theTwinkies until I was ready for them.  Before serving, I sliced the Twinkies in a pie pan and poured the strawberries over the top. And, viola, dessert in a hurry!

GRANNY'S KITCHEN: Kool-aid filled graham crackers

My kids LOVE these graham cracker treats.  I first discovered them at a bake sale when I was a kid and I asked how they were made. It was so easy, I've been making them for special treats ever since.

Just take a powdered Kool-aid pack and put in a bowl with some powdered sugar.  Drizzle some milk in as you stir and this makes the frosting.  It is just trial and error as to how much you use on sugar and just a bit of milk. (maybe 2 cups sugar)..

Spread on graham cracker halves, top with another graham cracker half and let it set a few minutes before serving so that it is not so runny.  This makes a super easy, sweet and tangy dessert -- and of course, graham crackers are healthy! :-)

FRUGAL GRANNY: Antique Quilt Top Finds

I picked up 3 antique quilt tops from a garage sale this morning and only paid $5 each!  These were all hand pieced by the woman's mother-in-law and her mother.  I cannot believe she would part with them and at such a low price, but who am I to argue with the woman??

This first one is the smallest. It is a throw size quilt (roughly 60x42) and is Mark's favorite. I will quilt this up and keep for myself.

 It is very colorful and most of the fabric is the old feed sacks. I took a close up of some of my favorite designs.
 Look at this fun rooster!

I have found no stains or holes (as of yet)in this top.
It is absolutely gorgeous!
 I believe this cat is from the same fabric as the rooster, but I really liked the animals. Just a fun quilt to look at.

 This second quilt is a bit larger, approximately 76x84.I think it looks nice. Mark doesn't like the large empty spaces, but I said that was for the hand quilters to put pretty designs.  I am not a hand quilter, but am thinking of doing some redwork type embroidery in the large blocks.

It appears to be made from shirts.. All the blocks have stripes or plaids, except this one block, which is made from prints.  The square blocks definitely look like a 30s print to me.  There is a stain on the one triangle here.
 Here is the other stain on this quilt. Both look kind of like 'rust' stains.  This stain is on the green solid.  This doesn't quite feel like a feed sack, but also doesn't feel like the shirt material; maybe it is  flour sacks?

The last quilt is a 16 patch set off with blue blocks.
It is about a 78x66 size.

I haven't found any stains on this one yet.

And I plan, again, on doing some kind of redwork embroidery in the large empty blocks.   Maybe I'll do a design in gold to match the 16 patch blocks.

Here is a close up of the back. It seems such a shame to machine quilt these wonderful hand quilted pieces, but I am not a hand quilter.

These last two I will finish up and donate to charity. This year my quilt group (the Calico Cabin Quilter's Sew-ciety) are giving to an orphanage.

But then again, I will probably make at least one quilt for the Joplin survivors. I might send these to Joplin and make fun quilts for the orphanage.  When I get these done, I will update the post. :)
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