2/23/2018

Today everything is ducky!!!

With the bad weather, being gone and being sick it has been more than a month since I have fixed a "company" meal and I  am on Sunday..  DH especially requested I serve duck crepes (one of his favorites)  and I found a recipe  for duck breast in sweet potato crepes with a blackberry sauce..


I wonder why so few people cook duck... It couldn't be easier to cook than in a slow cooker. Besides being delicious it is really quite economical for a special meal. When on a restaurant menu it is usually a very pricy meal but I can get a duck for $2.98 a pound which compared to beef or seafood, is quite cheap and I can get 3  meals out of a six pound duck..  So today I thawed a duck, cut it up and it is in the slow cooker... I put it on a bed of onions, rubbed it with poultry seasoning and stuffed the breast with parts of an orange....added a little white wine and it will be done tonight and I will cool it overnight in the frig and take the meat off the bone tomorrow. I save the skin separately and put it under the broiler until it is crispy and delicious and then slice it thin and use it as a  garnish.


We can have one meal with the legs as they are large, another meal  (or two)using the breast meat  and finally I get a lot of "confit" (which is a fancy word for bits) from the wings, neck, back, heart etc. and it can be used with pasta, dumplings, etc..  The Maple Leaf Farm site is loaded with recipes using duck and has everything from appetizers to duck soup.


When it is cool I save the duck fat and freeze it to use later. There is a long, delicious culinary tradition of cooking with duck fat.  If you google "duck fat" there is no end to the sites singing its praises.   The high smoke point of duck fat makes it a chef favorite; it can be cooked at high temperatures without smoking or altering   flavors. The French have known all along: duck fat is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat, making it one of healthiest animal fats you can eat. And a large selection of brands of duck fat are even sold on Amazon.

The day started out well with the duck but when I tried to finish the last of the cookbooks the last albums I bought didn't have enough pages and then I decided to work on the fiesta necklace and became discouraged and packed it all up and it is history for now.. So I wrote the blog and now will take a nice nap to rest my eyes and hope the afternoon goes better.

2/19/2018

Foliage and Yoga Dog

I'm telling Morris..."inhale - exhale- relax" and he does!









Earlier I gathered up any bits in my laces that were leaf-like and dyed them.. I will use them as part of the base for the ribbon flowers. 

I used Kreinik very fine  gold thread for the webs.  It is a little heavy, but since this is a bag that will be used I went for a heavier thread.

Having  all the vines will make it easier to get a nice flowing motion to the foliage.  There will be many kinds of foliage in lace, ribbon and threads.... plus a few more webs.

2/16/2018

Spider webs and Yoga Dog

This project is definitely talking to me loud and clear...especially since I decided to treat the back of the bag differently.  I wasn't sure how but now it is taking an entirely new shape in my mind.... coordinated but different...  Once I decided not to use that pattern it became a whole new concept.  Having the front and back the same was boring..  Who wants boring.. I should be able to finish the webs on the front this weekend and start on the leaves.





About the time I get seated to do my yoga and relax my shoulders and clear my mind, Morris burrows into my lap... We now call him "Yoga Dog"

2/14/2018

Happy Valentine's Day.... Remember this from the 40th anniversary quilt?
 
 
This is the only crazy quilt that I have hanging on a wall and it is my favorite.
 
 
 
 


2/12/2018

caught up and GREAT TIP!!!

No pending project has a deadline... a new experience for me... but all wedding projects are done and I can do what moves me and am finishing smaller UFOs.  One of my dearest friends became a new grandmother just before Christmas.  I found these lovely 2" MOP discs and decided to paint the baby on one for a Christmas ornament for next year.  Meet Federico, born in Como Italy on Dec. 18, 2017. 
My three oldest grandchildren are almost thirty and a year ago not one was even dating anyone special.  Now a year later all three may be married soon....one  the upcoming wedding, another soon after her graduation  and the final one has a serious interest in someone.  I never even gave a thought to being a great grandmother and now it is very likely indeed.
 
So while I am gathering bits for the fiesta necklace I am going to start on the spider webs... Already back tracking though.  I took the back side of the bag to CA to do the vine and never took a stitch so have decided to move forward on the front with the webs and flowers.  I can always have a tapestry back if necessary. If I have the webs done I can work on the flowers when we take Morris on his vacation in March.
GREAT TIP!!  This is one of my better ones. Many of you will recognize this green thing as a Starbuck's stopper or if you don't some of your friends will.  I started saving these little sticks several years ago because they were just the right length and shape to stir the craft paint which settles in the bottom of the bottle.  Worked perfectly but since then I have found many uses....
 
1. Great for applying dabs of glue
2. Mixing epoxy
3. For appetizer skewers
4. For shaping cuticles
5. Perfect to apply bait to mouse traps.
etc.
etc.
etc.

I saved them, DH saved them and soon all my friends were saving them for me.
 




2/11/2018

Yoga and a project out of nowhere....

I did go to the yoga class the other night. 
I did enjoy it... I couldn't see or hear so will make sure I am up in front next time. I just watched the young woman next to me and she helped me... I'm taking a dense foam pad for my knees also next time....
 
I have tried to do it at home but I have to go into the bedroom and shut the door... Morris thinks it is play time if I am on the floor .  I definitely feel taller.

The biggest problem is staying calm when I struggle getting up from the floor.  I found this video which is great and  will really help.  I'm trying to work on this before the next yoga class Wednesday

 
How to Get Up and Down from the Floor | The spiral  Cynthia Allen is a Feldenkrais practitioner, and senior trainer .  There were numerous videos on this subject but I liked her the best.  It focused on using the momentum of your body (rather than strength) to shift your body. 
 

 
I've done the alterations on my jump suit for under the lace  jacket.  Now I just need to put finishing touches on this necklace  which has been on the table for months.  I wanted to incorporate a gold necklace and it just didn't work.  When I stopped trying it is all coming together and I will finish today. 
 
But as usually happens an unplanned project  has arisen out of absolutely no where.  I found these loop earrings last week at the thrift store.  They just screamed Mexican fiesta at me who NEVER wears big hoops like this.
 
So of course I had to buy them and lo and behold I found some beads in my stash that will go well and it is now on my to-do list.  The colorful beads are separate strings I got in a bag at a thrift store years ago.  They have to be restrung as they are on quite fragile thread.  The red squares are from an old bracelet and the cloisonné butterfly has been around forever.  I just need to find some more antique gold metal bits.


And thanks to a reader's comment I put the Shirells into Pandora and now have a whole bunch of fabulous female groups from the 50s added to my collection... Really gets me moving in the morning...
 
 
 
 

2/03/2018

Yoga and Doo Wopping

I don't particularly  want to do this but I would love to be able to get down on the floor and be able to get up without help.  When my DIL Vivian was here recently she found  a small yoga studio only about 15 minutes away and she went every day.  Just before she left she signed me up for the beginners class which starts next week... I know I should go but every yoga photo I see is not user friendly. 
I have a stack of yoga and exercise dvds which are unopened and I just can't get motivated to do it alone.  I discovered a neighbor keen to do it also and DH has offered to drive us.    And if we can do it maybe we will sign up for their curvy class.

So last trip out to thrift stores a yoga mat and yoga pants were on my list... Found them and this foam massage thingy which I'm using on the bottom of my feet.

But on senior day at my favorite thrift store they play music from the 50s.  I wasn't  interested much then but now I like hearing those old songs.  I couldn't think of any of the group names and when I was in the lamp section they were playing a great song and  I had to  step lightly to the music and saw a man about my age nearby.  I asked him if he knew who the artists were... He said is was on the tip of his tongue and it would come to him... I kept running into him in the store and it got to be a joke.  We'd do a few Doo Wop steps and he'd say he was still  thinking.  At  one point a young lady giggled at us old timers... I told her that she was too young to be there on senior day and what did she expect...  But this time I wrote the names of the songs down to find them on Pandora.

I discovered if I entered the "Clovers" in Pandora all kinds of great music groups came up.. Dell/Vikings, Dion/Belmonts, Platters, Everly brothers, Drifters,  etc. and if I entered Fats Dominos I got him plus Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke  and on and on.  I have been doo wopping all over the house since Tuesday.  Bring on the yoga!!!!

1/31/2018

Another BIG finish!!!

Another BIG finish is my lace jacket.  I had started this to take on our cruise last year but had a melt down working white on white.  I had all the lace work done and it just had to be assembled. 





















I had started this also to use up some of my lace stash but it didn't even make a dent.  When my daughter-in-law was here, she drove me all over town looking for something to wear under it.  I had my heart on something   leaf green  with a tapered leg  and we found absolutely nothing.











When visiting Susie in California I found a knit jump suit on the first rack in the first store we shopped in.  It has gathers at the ankles to show off these funky shoes I found on the internet.  Not only are the shoes gorgeous they are cork soled  and are super comfortable.



The final thing to finish is jewelry and I still haven't done anything with all these green components but that is next on the list.











While I recovering   I went to visit Susie Wolfe and mostly dozed on her couch and Susie gathered up the jacket parts and assembled them beautifully

.  We met on the CQI site years ago  and became fast friends.  I have been to visit her 3 times and she had come here 3 times, we went on several retreats together and she went with me and the suffrage quilt to Houston....



Although she doesn't crazy quilt any more she still has all her stash.  I had taken some laces that might work for the front edge but Susie found a better one in her stash...(see you never should get rid of any stash...)   So the next pictures you see of this jacket will be at the wedding March 5 in Mexico and I'll be in it. It has now become my official  attire for weddings of grandchildren.  Maybe I will also wear it for my upcoming 80th birthday...

1/29/2018

The family cookbook

I ended up using a different kitchen picture of me... This is later and unedited.  I have more pictures of me in the kitchen than anywhere else.  I'm sure that has a profound meaning but haven't decided what. Either that I'm in the kitchen too much or they're so glad I'm in the kitchen that they run and get a camera.

This is one of those projects you mean to do for years and years and don't.  And I wouldn't have unless my lovely daughter-in-law Vivian hadn't shown up for a wonderful visit and offered to help.  Not only with this project. but with hauling me all over town and giving my poor DH some chauffer relief.

This battered and beaten old cookbook has a history.  Thirty five years ago in 1984 I was running out to our camper and fell and had a compound fracture in my right forearm and elbow.  If you aren't familiar with a compound fracture it is when you look  down and your arm is hanging funny and a bone is sticking out.....not good.  Much surgery and months in casts left me with a partially  paralyzed right arm and hand.  I was not only unable to hold a pencil or paint brush I was unable to even hold a fork or toothbrush.  I had lost all potation and rotation movement of that hand.

This couldn't have come at a worst time.  I had just gotten a degree in graphic design and had been hired to the job of dreams. The therapy to stretch the span of muscles in that hand included months and months  of doing exercises with a pen.  Since I had to do it anyway I decided to write out favorite recipes for my kids.

Starting with large letters and persisting I eventually was able to regain most of the use of that hand.  I will never be able to play the piano (never a problem anyway) or type with that hand and the type and style  of brush work I can do is still limited by this long-ago injury but I have moved on over the years. The majority of art work in the cookbook was adapted from projects before I broke the arm.

But I was left with this cookbook for my kids and for several years I have been going to make copies for all my grandchildren.    First I thought I would add some recipes and update others.  But I knew if I expanded the project it would never get done.


So I scanned all the pages and resized them to be consistent and while I was scanning and resizing, Vivian was trimming the pages and putting them into albums. It took the better part of two days but we have enough pages for 6 books for grandchildren and two for other family members.  Without her help I would have never finished.   It is a big FINISH and it is now on a disc in each book in case it is wanted by great grandchildren in the future.

I also included copies of family recipes I did for my husband years ago... One of his grandmother mixing sour cream rolls .......

















and one of his grandmother and her recipe for paprikash



 Some of these recipes went back to the 50s and I was amazed how many I still use on a regular basis.  In fact one son just called last week for the pickled egg recipe.

















And my favorite of my teenage son who went on to be a gourmet cook.

I am on the mend now but since the first of the year I've had two root canals and a wicked spell of cold/flu.  I also got to go CA to visit dear Susie W and recuperate on her couch.. more on that later.

1/07/2018

Nips and Tucks

I'm about to start on a project that I need a picture of me in the kitchen and am going to use this one.. I'm making the topping for apple pies..

I have to confess that this picture is not exactly accurate.












The last time I used this picture I decided to do a little photoshop enhancing. I did a rather major tummy tuck,, perked up my boobs and did away with the double chin..

So when I brought the picture up again I wondered why didn't I do something about the shaggy hair cut and the hair hanging in my eyes???  So with the flick of a computpr tool I tidied up my hair and figured while I was at it I would do something about the saggy arms. If I keep enhancing this photo every time I drag it out, pretty soon I'll look like Barbie.
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