Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tomato and Fig time + a Strawberry Thief

Its tomato time here at the garden and we're enjoying a good crop of  the flavorful fruit. We're harvesting not only regular tomatoes but also cherry tomatoes. Today, Jayden (who will be 3 in August) picked all these cherry tomatoes. He really is turning into a good gardener!

The fig tree is in full production too and I've been making a fig puree for the most part. Cooking the fruit down and adding sweetener plus some cinnamon. I then puree it well with my stick blender and cook it down to a thick sauce (like applesauce) and put it in freezer bags for the winter. This will make nice jams, and breads for later. 

I also took a break from Christmas cards and stitched this little bird getting into the strawberries. The pattern is called Strawberry Thief..

I plan on making three of these to sell as a set of note cards. I have the larger pattern too which features 4 birds and many strawberries.
That's about all the news in our neck of the woods. Its hot here most days, in the high 90s or low 100s. Cools off nicely at night though. Both the kids are working hard. Our oldest son who got the new job is still working part time at his old one, Del Taco. So he works most days, his better half works many hours too so we're left to watch the little guy. Its exhausting at times. and we both hope they can get situated to get their own place soon. At our ages its difficult to keep up with a soon to be 3 year old. He's very intelligent for his age and already has his own little tablet which he plays games and does art work on. Even has set of head phones. He knows most of his colors and is learning his numbers  too. Our youngest son thinks he's "scary" smart. All the more reason to lay down a good foundation for his future.

Friday, July 11, 2014


I don't know about you, but I get really tired of the TV programing today. There are a few shows we both like but all the reality TV is getting worse and worse. I think the programmers are finding less and less good material. Where are all the good writers? Reality shows are cheap to produce and they seem to keep churning out more and more ridiculous shows.

Alan and I have turned to some of the old shows that are still playing. MeTV has many of them and we're enjoying Rockford alot as well as some of the old favorites like Dragnet, Perry Mason,etc. One thing I like about the Rockford series is all the scenes of Southern California way back when California made sense.  One episode even had scenic views of the old Las Vegas which was fascinating.  If you don't get MeTV, you can also find episodes on Hulu for free. I've always liked James Garner and am a fan of his on Facebook.

Of the shows on today, we both like Longmire and I'm partial to Major Crimes but that's about it.
Question, what shows do you like? Do you enjoy the reality shows?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Christmas Cards

As I promised, here is the fourth in the series, 4 Calling Birds. I like the way the musical notes turned out, more bead work on this one.
Here are two more Christmas cards I completed also.

sorry my photos aren't that good, I'm having trouble with the focus on my camera. It got dropped too many times to count!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

Hope everyone has a good 4th of July. We're staying at home, grilling ribs, with coleslaw, Texas toast and a tomato pie..I got up early and made a cherry pie also. The grandchildren are here and it will be a fun day, I think.
The weather is hot, hot, hot. In the triple digits. We're having to run the AC from early in the morning until bed time and beyond. The solar helps but we're using more than it generates right now which is a problem.  Having not be on the computer as often, trying to conserve energy in other ways. Keeping the lights off, etc. and not washing as much. Still we were $13 over yesterday. Sigh.

Below is a vintage photo of the hotel that used to be in my hometown of Oceanside, Ca. I remember it when my parents first moved there, back in the 60s. At that time, it was an abandoned wreck and soon after burned down but in its heyday, it was a lovely Victorian  building.

The Oceanside historical society has been posting many old vintage images of the area and I just love them.
Here's one of the early piers, called the Small Iron Pier about 120 years ago.There has been about 4 piers as several were destroyed by hurricanes, etc. Its much longer now and its the longest on the Californian coast.

Here is a recent photo of it.

There is a nice restaurant on the end of it and its a wonderful walk. I kinda wish sometimes we could move back there but its very expensive now. Still we're close enough to visit and enjoy the ocean. My brother has a home there and will be here at the end of the month for his 40th high school reunion. It will be wonderful to see him again as its been a number of years. He lives in Hawaii now.

I finished the next in the series of cards, the 12 Days of Christmas. I will post a photo of it in my next post. It turned out the best so far, I think. Its 4 Calling Birds.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins

The other day, I got a hankering for some chocolate. As I had a few chocolate chips, decided to make these delectable 

Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 cups regular flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 orange flavored liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 t. grated orange rind
1 t. vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease your muffin tin. I use Pam. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder and soda, salt. Mix well. In another bowl, stir together the wet ingredients, the oil, orange juice, egg, vanilla and liqueur, If you haven't got  liqueur, you can use orange flavoring or go without and add a bit more orange juice. Make a well, in the dry ingredient bowl and add the wet, stirring until just mixed well and then stir your chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Take out and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. These are delicious and best the first day. I'd freeze them if kept  longer. They have a nice orange flavor and the chocolate is just right.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Christmas cards and other news

Wow..I didn't realize how much time has flown by this month. I had an appointment for my mammogram and when the receptionist said it was on the 16th, I was thinking it was  two weeks away. Turned out to be only one week, guess I'm a week or two behind times! The last time I had one, it had been such a painful experience that I swore I wouldn't do it again but on the advise of the doctor, went ahead for another bout. This time was much better so all is well. Hopefully the results will be good, I should know soon. My grandmother died from breast cancer so its good that I go in as often as the doctor recommends. I also had blood work done that turned out just fine.
We're both so thankful that we  have medical insurance!

 I've been working on Christmas cards! Stitching the 12 days of Christmas..This is one is the Two Turtle Doves..its not finished yet, I'm waiting to get some red beads for the holly berries but think its turned out nicely.

Here is the third...3 French Hens

And of course, Partridge in a Pear Tree

There are the complete series available. I'd like to get the next pattern  in the series, 4 Calling Birds can find all the patterns at Pinbroidery.  They're sure fun to stitch!

Our oldest son who just turned 26, got a new job which he seems to love. He works for a company that recycles cooking oil from fast food businesses. There is lots of driving though but he loves it. The company is based in Arizona but has a outlet in San Bernardino. He drives up there and then uses their truck for the job. He works nights and his job starts at 7 in the evening. He makes more than he did at the fast food restaurant by far. Lots of  hours. Last night he had to drive all the way to Yuma, Az  which is a 3 hour job one way. He said he had 30 stops to make along the way, stopping at fast food restaurants to pick up their cooking oil. Thankfully he only works 4 days a week so has time to rest up. Early in the week, he went to Disneyland to pick up their oil...kind of an interesting job if you like to drive.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Garden News and Changes

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Our raised beds are starting to produce..we harvested all the peas and they were really good this year. We both agreed to plant more this fall when the weather gets cooler. Very yummy..I never liked peas until one spring my family visited my grandparents. Grandpa took me into the back garden. I helped him harvest and shell peas. Ate all that I shelled as I remember which didn't please Grandpa but it did please me. I never knew peas could be that delicious. Fresh, home grown vegetables always taste wonderful.

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The strawberry beds are producing also and we've gotten several pints already. So good on cereal in the mornings and also in fruit salads. No large tomatoes yet, but the cherry tomatoes are producing, both yellow and red. I like to eat them like candy.

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Our weather has been getting warmer and afternoons get very warm. So I've been stitching Christmas cards. I tried doing some more complicated designs but had a hard time with them so went back to simpler patterns.
  I no longer have the Inspiration Memories shop on Etsy. I hadn't made any sales 6 months and decided to close it. I still have the Home Sweet Stitchery shop but no longer have the additional blog as it got to be too much for me to handle right now. Changes in the works which is ok. Less is more and much better.
I'll share some photos of the cards later in the month and may have a giveaway of a card in July. Christmas in July?

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Foundings of Memorial Day

There is much speculation on who actually started Memorial day or Decoration Day. However, it officially started on May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan to honor the dead after the Civil War.
It is claimed that African Americans founded Decoration Day at the graveyard of 257 Union soldiers labeled "Martyrs of the Race Course," May 1, 1865, Charleston, South Carolina.

At nine o'clock in the morning on May 1, the procession to this special cemetery began as three thousand black schoolchildren (newly enrolled in freed men's schools) marched around the Race Course, each with an armload of roses and singing "John Brown's Body." The children were followed by three hundred black women representing the Patriotic Association, a group organized to distribute clothing and other goods among the freed people. The women carried baskets of flowers, wreaths, and crosses to the burial ground. 

 The Mutual Aid Society, a benevolent association of black men, next marched in cadence around the track and into the cemetery, followed by large crowds of white and black citizens.
The "First Decoration Day," as this event came to be recognized in some circles in the North, involved an estimated ten thousand people, most of them black former slaves. During April, twenty-eight black men from one of the local churches built a suitable enclosure for the burial ground at the Race Course. In some ten days, they constructed a fence ten feet high, enclosing the burial ground, and landscaped the graves into neat rows. The wooden fence was whitewashed and an archway was built over the gate to the enclosure. On the arch, painted in black letters, the workmen inscribed "Martyrs of the Race Course"

All dropped their spring blossoms on the graves in a scene recorded by a newspaper correspondent: "when all had left, the holy mounds — the tops, the sides, and the spaces between them — were one mass of flowers, not a speck of earth could be seen; and as the breeze wafted the sweet perfumes from them, outside and beyond ... there were few eyes among those who knew the meaning of the ceremony that were not dim with tears of joy." While the adults marched around the graves, the children were gathered in a nearby grove, where they sang "America," "We'll Rally Around the Flag," and "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The official dedication ceremony was conducted by the ministers of all the black churches in Charleston. With prayer, the reading of biblical passages, and the singing of spirituals, black Charlestonians gave birth to an American tradition. In so doing, they declared the meaning of the war in the most public way possible — by their labor, their words, their songs, and their solemn parade of roses, lilacs, and marching feet on the old planters' Race Course.

  After the dedication, the crowds gathered at the Race Course grandstand to hear some thirty speeches by Union officers, local black ministers, and abolitionist missionaries. Picnics ensued around the grounds, and in the afternoon, a full brigade of Union infantry, including African American Troops, marched in double column around the martyrs' graves and held a drill on the infield of the Race Course.

ace and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, Professor David W. Blight made the case for Charleston, South Carolina, as Memorial Day's birthplace,
ace and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, Professor David W. Blight made the case for Charleston, South Carolina, as Memorial Day's birthplace,
Other cities lay claim to the founding also and you can read more, if you're interested here
No one is sure if this ceremony influenced General Logan but only 3 years later, Memorial Day came into national attention.  


Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Swap

Nancy Huggins just sent me these nice place mats that she stitched. I'd been wanting to replace the ones I had before as they were getting shabby. I love country checks. I didn't bother to iron them to see how they looked on the table. I'm trading them for one of my stitcheries...

and some mice..

 The pattern is from Stag Lane primitives who you can find on Ebay and also Pattern Mart. I haven't made the mice in some time but they're really realistic. Fun to tuck into a bookshelf or use in unexpected ways.
I'm always open to swaps!

Our weather has cooled down and is very nice right now. We've been gardening and pulling alot of weeds. Weeding takes up much of the gardening work now. Alan pulled out all the onions and I've dried about two quarts so far. Nice to have to throw into soups and stews. I put the dehydrator outside as it stinks so bad with the onions and it worked out great.  We're going to put in more tomato plants where the onions were. I want enough to make more tomato soup later.
I'm thinking of closing down my other Home Sweet Stitchery blog as I just don't have time to devote any more for two blogs. If there is any links or anything on there you'd like to save, please do so. I'll keep it up until the end of the month.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

More Fire News and Pinterest

Yesterday afternoon the smoke from the fires really settled into our valley and the air was full of the acrid smell of fire. Rather awful really. It was so strong we went outside and looked around as it felt like our house was on fire. Thankfully that wasn't the case. Warnings were put out to stay inside and if you had asthma to have your inhaler close by.

As I type this, most of the fires are out now which we are all thankful for. The air is much cleaner now too with no smoke smell anymore. All of the fires were in San Diego county, none that I am aware of in Riverside county.  Most of the fire that effected us was from the Camp Pendleton fire. Fires are common on the base as they sometimes use live rounds which set off brush fires. They have their own fire department which is very good.

Its been very hot, summer temperatures! In the high 90s and low 100s. We've had to turn on our AC unit which we don't like to but its almost a necessity. None of our roses are blooming, they stop when it gets this hot. According to the weather report, our temps should get back to normal in a day or so. Usually this time of year, its still in spring temperatures of 70 or so.  We've been harvesting peas which are a delight and the tomato plants are blooming so it won't be too long for them. Alan planted green beans but they're not  up yet.

 I'm on Pinterest and thought I'd share a couple of neat things I've found.

                             I found this on Hometalk and thought it was a great idea.

Below is a tutorial for a Cathedral Window pincushion. I've made Cathedral window ornaments before so it is a fun project. 

and lastly..make a place for the birds to snack. I always put out water for them, especially in this hot weather. I've seen these vintage snack sets at the thrift shop for pennies and wondered what I'd do with a set. Now I know! I found this on Home Talk too.


                  Hope everyone is having a great weekend!