Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We Card.

I've spent the last two days doing crafty crap....oh how I love crafty crap.

This particular brand of crafty crap is cards. I have been on a make-your-own-cards kick lately, and I am loving the results. I went yesterday afternoon to my current favorite place, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and found some lovely lace in the bargin fabrics. I was looking for a couple big patterns and a smaller, delicate pattern and I found exactly what I was looking for.

When I got home, I cut the pieces of cardstock to the size I wanted and then folded them cards. I used all different colors, mostly sticking to deep, dark colors however. From here, I used the larger lace patterns as a kind of "pattern sponge." I cut large pieces out of the lace, measuring about 8 inches by 8 inches. I placed a cut piece on a paper plate and spread acrylic paint over top of the lace, making sure to really saturate the fabric. On a separate paper plate, I placed a card and then layed the paint-soaked lace on the paper. I pressed down evenly on the lace with a paper towel, lifted the lace and moved the card to dry. I reused each piece of lace multiple times, until I was finished with that color of paint. I started with white paint, but found it to be too much of a contrast; black, navy, dark brown and gray are much better shades to use on the dark cardstock.

Earlier in the day, I had printed several of my photographs on regular computer paper, some in sepia tones but most in black and white. While the cardstock dried, I used craft scissors to cut a decorative edge to all of my photos. When the cards were dry, I cut a piece of the smaller patterned lace to fit behind each photograph. I made sure about 1/2 inch of the lace was visible on all sides of the photos. Using a thick-bristled brush, I applied a thick layer of tacky glue to the back of each photo.

 I then pressed the photo into the lace and through to the cardstock. The glue will chage the color of the photo slightly, but in these pictures, it worked to my advantage.

A few weeks ago, I collected some of the first fall leaves that had dropped. I placed them in an old book to dry and found them to be dry and flat when I checked them this afternoon. Using the same idea as before, I took cardstock and painted on the lace pattern in autumn colors. After the cardstock was dry, I used the same thick-bristled brush and tacky glue to paint a thin layer of glue onto the back of the leaves. After the entire back of the leaves were covered, I pressed one onto the center of each card.

I have several more leaves and some fall flowers drying and they should be ready to use in a few weeks...can't wait to start working with them!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Just wanted to send a thank you out to Delightfully Tacky. I stumbled upon her blog a few weeks back and really enjoy her posts and her layout. I really loved the picture links on the side of her pages and she was kind enough to tell me how she did them. I added some to my blog....the photos and links are mine, but the idea was all hers...Thank you!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mix, Chop, Process, Bake, Saute, Drink, Eat, Repeat.

Whew! Busy last few catch you up:

Thursday: had to go to the dentist...again. I got my first cavity and had to go have it filled. Never. Again. It took longer to numb my mouth than it did to drill and fill my tooth...and the numbing lasted forever. Instead of just marketing brushing teeth to young kids, numb them up really well one'll never have to do it again.

Friday: had my TB test check bright and early for my new job at the hospital....which I forgot to mention, um...I got a job! I start October 16th as a CNA at the long-term care facility in the hospital. They are starting me at $11.19 an hour with a 45 cent bonus each day that I arrive on time. Paid extra to do what you hired me to do? I can handle that! Anywhooo, Friday night, I met Meg at Mongolian BBQ for a little catch up dinner. We hadn't seen each other since before my roadtrip and lots of information needed to be shared. We spent two hours there chatting until our waitress began making it quite clear she would like us to vacate her table. We moved from the restaurant to the coffee shop downtown and had some hot cider while we finished catching up.

Saturday: went home with Greg to Lake Orion. We had to take Buster to the vet and then I met Greg's best friend, Grant, and Grant's wife, Jaime. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon there and then had to head out to pick up Buster. From the vet, we headed to Yate's Cider Mill. We bought a gallon of cider and a dozen doughnuts to take home, and cups of spiced, hot apple cider and a caramel apple to enjoy while we walked along their wooded paths. The cider was sooo yummy and the area was gorgeous! I unfortunately left my camera at home so no pictures are available.

Sunday: was little suzie homemaker yesterday. Greg needed to work on a project and wanted to watch football; I suggested he do it at my place so we could spend time together while he did his things and I did mine. Before we settled in at my place, we took Buster for a long walk down to the park. The leaves are starting to change here...most are still green, but there are quite a few colorful trees. I picked up several colorful leaves to dry; I am planning a bit of a craft project, but it will take a while for the leaves and plants to dry, so that will be a much later post. We walked back, dropped Buster off at Greg's house, and headed to my place. He settled in on the couch, and I settled into the favorite place to be. I am really loving my's open to the living room so he and I can talk while I cook. On our walk, we talked about things we hadn't had in a while and Windmill cookies were mentioned. As soon as we got back, I looked up the recipe and gathered my ingredients.

Windmill Cookies
2 c. butter
2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 tsp. soda
4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
4 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1/4 c. chopped wlanuts

Cream butter and brown sugar. Sift together flour, soda and spices. Add sour cream alternately with sifted dry ingredients. Stir in nuts. Knead dough into rolls, 2 inches thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Cut into slices and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

I rolled the dough with my hands into long tubes, 2 inches in diameter, and wrapped them in press-and-seal wrap.

After they had been in the fridge for a couple hours, I took the tubes out, one at a time, and cut them into half inch slices. I then rolled those slices in sugar and baked them according to the recipe...pretty and delicious!

While I was waiting for the dough to harden, I also made a pumpkin pie. It seems like as soon as the weather turnes colder and the leaves start changing color, I start craving a warm pumpkin pie, with homemade crust. The crust came out beautifully, but the pumpkin was the darkest color I have ever seen, even before baking....didn't seem to affect the flavor though.

I also made pesto while I was waiting. It has been getting quite cold here at night, even frosting a little here and there, and my basil plants were starting to take a downhill slide. Instead of letting all those lovely leaves go to waste, I cut all of the leaves off the plants to take inside and be frozen. I washed half the leaves and used my food processor to make pesto, which I divided into single-use portions and sealed in press-and-seal packets. the other half of the leaves I cleaned, dried, and then sealed whole into an airtight bag to use in recipes that call for fresh basil. I know the pesto will freeze and thaw nicely, but I'll have to wait and see about the whole leaves.

I ended my flurry of cooking and baking with dinner for me and Greg: crispy BBQ chicken and sauted asparagus.

Crispy BBQ Chicken
Chicken Breasts/tenders
1 c. plain bread crumbs
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbs butter

Mix dry ingredients in a shallow bowl. Melt butter in a 9x13 pan. Roll chicken in dry mix and place in pan.

 Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the outside is crispy.

I then sauted the asparagus in a shallow pan with a little seasoning salt and 3 tbs of water.

We capped off the evening with a some spiced, hot cider....trying to recreate the flavor we had at the mill on Saturday. I placed two mugs worth of cider in a sauce pan and added a stick of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of whole allspice.

We curled up with our cider and watched the 2 hour premiere of The Amazing Race...perfect, relaxing end to a busy weekend.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Indy's Bowl

When I first moved into my apartment, I bought a large decorative bowl to put in the center of my dining room table. My plan was to the fill the bowl with some sort of pretty, decorative objects. Unfortunately, I didn't fill it fast enough, and Indy claimed the bowl as his own. Instead of glass orbs or something similar, my bowl is filled with paw prints and some cat hair...and a good share of the time, Indy. I'm not sure if he notices or not, but he used to fit inside it a lot easier......

He may not fit very well, but chasing his tail in the bowl sure has gotten a lot easier.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Adventures in Backcombing

One comb, one very hot curling iron, and one hour later, a new "do" emerges from the hairspray cloud....

It's kinda retro. It's big. It's definitely a fire hazard. I think I like it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rainy Monday

Beaded Blades

Beaded Berries

Queens: Past and Present

Current Addictions...

Adele: She has the most beautiful, soulful's on my Ipod and Itunes has been on repeat in my apartment for the last week. Do yourself a favor...if you haven't heard her yet, check her out!

Coffee: MMMM I can't seem to get enough! I have been trying new flavors and concoctions at the little coffee shops downtown, but I love love love my homebrewed cup with a healthy shot of sugar free vanilla caramel creamer from Coffee- I can enjoy the latter in my pjs.

Snuggle naps: With the best snuggler in the whole world....Indy. We have gotten quite good at it...he no longer scares me awake by knocking down all the picture frames on my desk and I try really hard not to roll over on him. We both revert back to bad habits occasionally, but we're making progress.

Dexter: Delicious man who cleans up the scum of the Earth....yummy. Serial killer = small detail.

Pita Bread: Stuffed with cream cheese, tomatoes and grilled for breakfast.....stuffed with tuna, tomatoes, carrots, celery, sweet pickles, lettuce with a little mayo for lunch.....cut into small pieces, baked and dipped into my homemade salsa......anyway you make 'em, can't go wrong!

Stability Ball Workout: Better Homes and Gardens has a great workout in their latest's a total body toning workout with a stability ball. I have done it the last couple of nights after my cardio workout....wooo baby! I can feel it working....or I have injured myself....either way, I can definitely feel it in my abs, back, booty and arms.

Hidden Home

On Saturday, Greg and I went for a walk on some of the university property down the road from my apartment. The land is gorgeous; it's a mixed plot of swamp, field, woods and a lot of it is bordered by the river. We walked out to the far edge of the property...right up to the river. The land builds up and creates a little cliff that overlooks the water. While we were admiring the view, we happened to notice a large pile of sticks and leaves piled on the very edge of the cliff. Looking closer, we realized they were covering some sort of shelter in the wall of the cliff. We wanted to get a closer look, so we climbed down the cliff wall toward the river's edge. At the bottom of the cliff, we found exactly what we thought it was, a shelter of some sort...long abandoned.

The plastic was obviously part of the ceiling at one point, but has since come unfastened. Inside the shelter, we were able to see shovel marks where the walls were carved out.

The walls themselves were a mix of hard clay and silt. It was a decent size...Greg and I could both stand comfortably. Inside, there was also a fire pit that had been dug and wire grate that I imagine was used for cooking.

The whole shelter looked very well built and I bet it was a very nice place to stay during the warm summer nights. We figure someone was using the shelter for a project, something for a class at the university perhaps....or maybe someone just wanted to get a little closer to nature. With the view from their shelter, can't really say I blame them...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Buttered Up and It's Peachy

What an eventful week! I have finished my canning for this year. I went home last Wednesday and picked apples off Grandma's tree. We don't know what kind of apples they are, but they are large, yellowish-green and delicious! (Perhaps yellow delicious?) Mom and Dad came along to help, and we picked 3 five-gallon buckets and a half-bushel sized box full of apples. I spent the next day parked on my couch in front of the TV with a peeler and three clean buckets: one for peeled apples, one for bad apples and one for peelings. If I don't have to peel one more apple until next canning season, it will be too soon. I only tossed out 3/4 of a bucket full of bad apples; the rest were peeled, cored and cut into slices. The sliced apples were placed in a large kettle, boiled with water until soft, and then blended with my hand mixer until they were the consistency of applesauce. Then I added my spices and let the mixture cook down for 6-8 hours. I placed the mixture into jars and followed the canning procedure. Over the next 3 days, I repeated this process in the large kettle three more times and the end product....viola! 63 12oz jars of apple butter! Mmmmmmm....let me tell you, it's TASTY!
This last Sunday, Mom came over with a 25 pounds of peaches from Papa's Pumpkin Patch, and she helped me to blanch, peel and can them. We made 16 pint jars and one quart jar of honey-spiced peaches and 14 pint jars of honey peaches. I haven't tried them yet, but they looked and smelled so good!

I'm sure my neighbors have been wondering about the smells coming from my apartment...first salsa, then apple butter, and then spicy sweet's smelled so good in here!

I also worked last week to finish up my applications for graduate school. Things were going well until I had a bit of a set-back...okay, a major set-back. Earlier this summer, I was told by CASPA, the program/company we use to apply to PA schools, that processing of our information would take between two and three weeks. I did a lot of job shadowing and class work late in the summer that I wanted on my application so I waited until three weeks before my deadline to apply to turn in my applications. I talked to CASPA again, and now the processing time is 4-6 weeks...which causes me to miss my deadlines. I called the schools I am applying to, and all but one say that processing time does not matter because they consider the day you turn in your information is the day you applied....give you one guess which school doesn't go by that thought...yup Central. I shouldn't have waited so long; it sucks that the information changed, but it's still my fault. I talked to an advisor at Central and he told me not to worry, he knows me and knows how hard I have worked to be eligible for their program. He said he would do everything he could to help. I went drove the next morning to Saginaw and then turned around and drove to Ferris to pick up official transcripts and reference letters to take with my printed application to Central; they aren't the official copies, but at least the program has all of my information before the deadline and they can see how serious I am. The advisor was impressed when I brought him the information, and said he would talk to the admissions board right away. Here's hoping it all works out...

On a happier note, I finally got a job interview! I have applied EVERYWHERE, and I finally have an interview for a CNA position at the hospital on Friday. The building is just down the road from my apartment, and they apparently pay very well. Keep your fingers crossed....I would love to get this job, and my bank account would love to see some money roll in instead of roll out!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tomato Time!

I have been busy the last few days....learning to can! I love it so much...I think I am addicted!

On Friday, Mom came over with 25lbs of tomatoes bought from Papa's Pumpkin Patch to help me learn to can. We boiled and peeled and chopped all the tomatoes and then canned them in quart jars. The process made 7 quart jars of stewed tomatoes, but only 6 sealed. The jar that didn't seal I used in chili on Sunday...the tomatoes were tasty!!

On Saturday, I went shopping and got all the peppers, onions and special ingredients I would need to make my own salsa. I also purchased another 25lbs of tomatoes from Papa. Mom came over Sunday morning to helped me chop everything and get it started on the stove. I let the salsa cook all evening...about 6 hours and then canned the salsa in pint jars. All of the jars sealed....woo! I made a second batch yesterday, and only had one mishap...all the jars sealed, but one the bottom broke out of one of the jars during the canning process...what a mess! All in all, the process was worth the outcome....the salsa is super delicious-spicy but still sweet- and it made 40 pint jars! I'll be enjoying salsa for a while!

Next up: I will be attempting to can honey-spiced peaches and homemade applebutter...yumm!