Monday, January 31, 2011

Counted Cross Stitch and Joyful Expressions

I have a new friend in Sandra who designs these wonderful counted cross stitch patterns.....I just posted a blog post on my other site, Sweet Home Stitchery about her great designs...especially the ones that she personalizes for loved ones....I've been fortunate enough to have two of them for my youngest son and his steady girlfriend....thought they would make unique gifts this year for their birthdays...her website is called Joyful Expressions

I learned to do counted cross stitch through my sister in law when she and her husband (Alan's youngest brother) lived in the LA area for a time....I haven't done counted work in several years but have the Aida cloth and of course, plenty of floss..the nice thing about her designs is that they are designed for regular sized frames that are easy to get....counted cross stitch is easy to do and I did post a video of instructions on the other really only gets difficult for the very fine counts...I used to  do 18 and 22 count but no longer as my eyes just can't handle the fine work any more although I do admire it....the most I do now is 14 and 16...
the above pattern is for 14 and so simple but what a wonderful effect, huh? Counted cross stitch fits in so well with prim and country decorating....
Yesterday, temperatures dropped and a rain storm came rained most of the afternoon....and into the night..we woke up this morning to fog and our warm weather front we expected...I just  hope we don't get a killing frost as our nectarine tree, feeling the warmth, started to bud..this happened one year before and we didn't get a crop that year. Last year we had all the nectarines we could eat...
Alan planted last week two grape vines (bare root), both seedless, red and green grapes...our neighbors have grapes that do well every year..we are going to train them to climb up on the side of our patio cover.
We also picked up some seed potatoes and onion starts but haven't planted them potatoes which are so  tasty.....
Paula..yes, Alan's has a white beard now...LOL..I was also going to mention that Alan's mom has a huge collection of mini pitchers and can see some of them behind us on the shelves that divide the kitchen from the living room..she has even more now, of course...she also collects red cardinals and coffee mugs.....the mug collection hangs underneath the cabinets and is used...I wonder if that orange one is still there?

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Old Photo

My brother inlaw posted old family photos on Facebook..Low and behold! there was one I'd never seen before, this is  yours truly with hubby some 35 years do you like the shag hair cut? My mother in laws  house is very tiny but full of love and good times....coming from a small family ( I have one brother), I was a little overwhelmed by the Iowa family but fell in love with all of them..all of Alan's 9 brothers and sisters and my inlaws were wonderful to of course, most of them are grandparents.....its been 10 years since we've been back. I sure miss seeing many of their smiling faces.....we lost Alan's dad some time ago but Mom is still living and still lives in the tiny warm house....I am happy though as we do talk through Facebook...and if you haven't can connect with people that you may not have seen for years...I even found a old room mate from when I was going to college....40 years ago now.....

Circus Cats

I found this fun video on Facebook so thought I'd post it...cats can be trained with patience....all his cats are rescues...and speaking of rescues, I have posted a short list of animal rescues on the left hand side of the blog...the list leans towards cats...we've always been cat lovers (not that we dislike dogs, of course not)but there are fewer cat rescues around and they need our support......if you can find the time, the Pure Bred Cat Rescue has photos of some of the most beautiful cats I've seen...

another warm day..just hung out tons of clothes from our boarder....I charge him a little extra for wash...still cheaper than going to the laundromat for him..and more convenient....its been great having him rent..he's quiet and you hardly know he's here....
January was a rather bleak month for us, work wise..but its picked up this week and we've gotten paid for alot of past work....soon with the garage finished and our tools back (should be within 10 days) we will start working on week, they will putting in a new fire door and epoxy the floor..all done then!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sheep Nursery 2011

The other day, we went to Winco for some needed groceries and discovered the sheep nursery again....we so enjoy watching the babies and their mom' peaceful with the mountains in the background..
I just noticed in this last photo of the mom with her twin babies, do you see the sky diver in the background on the right? This area has a large sky diving school just north of the fields....its been so warm and wonderful here the last few can't last but we enjoy it while its here!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Changes and Laundry

First, I have put up a page of all the recipes I've shared...a little easier to access and I've included most of the ones I posted from my mom's recipe box....hope you enjoy them.....
secondly, I am now on Twitter! I just started this morning so don't know my way around....I am under Stitchincrazy so follow me if you are on there too.....and I will follow you also....

Today is supposed to be warm and windy..perfect for hanging laundry....and wouldn't you know it? our washer isn't working doesn't go through the spin cycle as it should so I have to fool it and rinse everything twice..the dryer hasn't worked properly for months...and we've been saving to get it fixed...(no more credit cards for us)....soon, I might be beating the clothes on rocks in the river at this rate! LOL

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to Find Real Food at the Supermarket

 I found this flow chart on the Summer Tomato,
website...really cute..she says to consider it a supermarket GPS.....just click for a better look,.it is hard sometimes to find healthy food but with a little know how.....I am going to start using coupons again too but the only problems is many of the coupons are for things we don't ordinarily buy....I don't wear much makeup or use fancy shampoos or cleaning agents...we get our shampoo and cleaning supplies at the Dollar Store...same brands too....and for some things, like dishwasher soap..we go to Costco and get the big boxes which are cheaper in the long run. You probably do similar things.....

We canned a lot last year and have been enjoying the canned peaches, plums, figs and tomatoes.....the tomato soup recipe I got from Oodlekadoodle was from 1948 Kerr cookbook and is so good, please check out her blog as she has the best recipes.....this year I plan on canning at least a dozen quarts as we so enjoy tomato soup and a toasted cheese sandwich for supper. I'd like to can other soups too as there is nothing nicer on a cold evening than homemade soup....
Our weather has been really the 70s....and I've been putting all our wash on the line..nothing better than freshly washed and sun dried sheets!

I've been in contact again with the burrowing owl specialist and he said he would be coming down this week to examine the nesting site......he said he's doing a study to mark where all the nesting areas are in the county...the owls don't seem to mind people too much as long as their nesting area is undisturbed...there are a community of burrowing owls over by the Lake Elsinore high school.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Good News about the Owls

I got a good response from the county about the burrowing owl site..they are very interested in learning more and protecting the nesting site...I sent them directions on the property so things are looking up...hope will be nesting time soon so  hope the little guys will be safe......guess I emailed the right people! The owls are considered endangered in Mexico and in several states...California is a little slow in getting them considered endangered here..probably because of the big real estate groups that want to pave everything over with houses. The entire field of about 15 acres is slated for houses least that is what its zoned for. We all wish it could be made into a nice natural wildlife park instead with walking trails but that remains to be seen..
We've been organizing our garage.....its almost completed..the electrician came over the weekend and we now have lights both inside and out....Alan's put up shelves in the attic portion for storage of our Christmas stuff...we are now waiting for them to epoxy the floor and a new fire door which had to be ordered...

I didn't know if you knew I have a Bonanza site with quite a few craft and cookbooks for sale......its called
Dani's Book is one of the cookbooks..

 this is a softcover book and has the best recipes.......All made from cake mixes...
We also found out that now Pillsbury has sugar free cake mixes and frosting's! We found some of the frosting at our local Ralphs store today after looking online...I've been fairly successful baking sugar free cakes but the sugar free frosting recipes are not quite up to standards so was delighted to find if you are on sugar free diet...check your local grocer and if they don't have it, ask for it......the frosting wasn't too expensive either.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sing Allelu

This song is from the oldest known Christian hymnal, compiled in about 100 AD. The hymnal is known as the "Odes of Solomon". This is Ode #40, subtitled "Sing Allelu", performed by Fernando Ortega. It's from a compilation CD called "The Odes Project, Volume 2". Exquisite!
I can just imagine early Christians singing this and it has spanned several thousand years

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Inside Nana's Head and Changes

Nancy is having a Progresso soup giveaway on her get a free coupon for a can of Progresso soup plus some exercise equipment, soup is a good way to lose weight and is a filling lunch or supper.....hope you sign up and also check out her cute cat Inside Nana's Head

 On our walk yesterday we spied this red tailed hawk looking for a meal....there is alot of work being done in the field..huge equipment is there, breaking up alot of the rocks....we are both alarmed as this has been a nesting place for the burrowing owls....and I've sent emails out to the Fish and Game Department, I don't know if it will do any good though but at least I'm trying.......its a crying shame when progress destroys endangered and native animals .....we've seen alot of dead rabbits on the road behind the field they are getting displaced.....Alan spoke to one of the equipment drivers and he said they were breaking the rocks for fill to line the creek that is about a mile away. I don't think there was an environmental study done........

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kitty Bungalow-Charm School for Wayward Cats

I am rather active on Facebook and am a fan of the Kitty Bungalow-Charm School for Wayward Cats....they help, socialize  and adoption of feral cats/ kittens in the Los Angeles area....they have a new website that is so much fun to explore....and to see the kitties that are available for adoption, just click on the  Our Students button at the top....
as you may know we lost our  cat, Smokie a few months ago. we have 3 others...the above cat is Tommy who is alive and well..Tommy is the clown of the group...very curious in whatever you're doing and into anything new..especially loves to play tag with his mother..
here is his mother, Tuppence who is one of the sweetest natured cats we've ever had..she will sit on your lap for hours, and loves to be petted...a real lap cat...very gentle and good natured.
last but  not least is Bandit

She is bit of a diva...the top cat of the first she was rather stand offish and haughty but has become much sweeter with time....she has a regal bearing. Through some research, we believe she is a Norwegian Forest Cat.
All our cats have been rescues...we found Tommy and Tuppence abandoned in an foreclosed house and Bandit was found at a  local animal shelter......
I hope you will check out the Kitty Charm School and see the good work they are doing rescuing feral animals.....its a worthy non-profit charity....and if you are on Facebook, please like them!

Did you know that Sal, the cat has been called for jury duty in Boston?
read about it here

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another New Blogger and Urban Gardening

Just found another new blogger, Debbie from Sugar Mountain Memories just has started a new blog...she is a wonderful artist who has an Etsy shop also but the blog is new to her...and I must say, its lovely so please give her a hi and welcome....

Now, I did mention in a former post about our garden and planning on what we're going to grow this 2011....we have an urban garden..Menifee is a  new was formerly farm land so there are still many open rural areas outside of the town center..our housing tract is on the outskirts so we have a rural feel yet we can walk to the shopping center which is nice...we have a large yard, over 12,000 sq. ft. lot so about two years ago, we started thinking carefully about the land and how to make it work for us....two blogs have been inspiring and helpful, Urban Homestead and Urban Homestead South Africa for I'll share them with you..right now South Africa is in their spring/summer so if you are in snow and ice..(or not) might like to visit and get inspiration from the winter blues....lots of good tips about becoming more self sufficient, frugal and saving money.
The below photo was part of our garden  from last year.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Giveaway , New Blogger, new tags and a weird story

A new blogger, Marcy at W.H. Baxter & having a giveaway of this darling prim bunny so hop on over and give her a welcome! I've been blogging for several years and always like to welcome new bloggers. I've met so many wonderful new friends by blogging and connecting with old (gold) ones too.....between blogging and Facebook..... I am enjoying Marcy's selection of music too.....she has Michael Buble music. very classy. If you do sign up, please let her know I sent you...

Finished 3 more Valentine tags...they are not quite finished but had to share
They will be under Redwork in Sweet Home Stitchery.....

Finally...a weird story..just to shake up your Monday......
In Las Vegas, Nevada, in Febuary 2004, hundreds of people in Las Vegas called locksmiths, towing companies, and auto dealerships with the identical problem: the keyless entry devices for their cars didn't work. Many people, locked out of their cars were stranded. Some resorted to the old fashioned way of opening doors, keys, but set off their car alarms in the process.
People have come up with possible causes. One was solar flares- but local observatories reported low solar activitity  on the day of the lockouts. Another reason was a weather-induced static electricity build up- but researchers said the damp, cloudy weather make that unlikely. Others said it was caused by secret technology at nearby Nellis Air Force base. (A similar lockout happened in 2001 near a Navy base in Bremerton, Washington) The Air Force dismissed the idea, saying any equipment they may (or may not) be working on would affect car remotes....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This is My Fathers World

This video by Fernando Ortega is contemporary and wonderful..he puts the old hymns into a little new format which is very least I think so and hope you do sure to listen to the last verse as its so appropriate for the times we are living in...God is in is the history behind the hymn...
Maltbie Davenport Babcock was a pastor in the Presbyterian churches. He would regularly go out in the early mornings to a nearby hill to meditate and surround himself with what he called, His Father’s world. Babcock wrote one day,

“This world is the best for one who is called according to God’s purpose . . . How long we are to suffer or to serve is for God to say. Let us not look too much out of the schoolroom windows, or too impatiently at the clock. Until God’s time comes for us, this world is best for us, and we make the most of it and do our best for it.”

His love for what God created drew him to write the hymn, “This is My Father’s World.”

Our weather, unlike most of the country is very the 70s and 80s..Alan and I worked in the back garden yesterday.... trimmed the fig and sumac trees getting them ready for the spring.....hope we get some seed catalogs soon as we are both looking at the garden soil, wondering what we should plant this year..we've all been enjoying the canned goods from last year..especially the tomato soup so will grow more tomatoes for sure. It's too early yet of course, this warm spell is just temporary....I plan on pressure canning this year too...didn't last was just too hard living in the hotel as we were, driving back and forth between house and hotel.
The garage was painted yesterday, inside and out..and looks great..we are on the home stretch!..

Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Giveaway Links!

This seems to be giveaway many of my favorite blog friends are having them..guess I'll have to get going  soon but am waiting for the General Mills giveaway items to come....any we go...
Shelley, Shelley's Vintage Variety is having a giveaway of the above vintage items....a child's handkerchief, a vintage wall pocket, cute vintage Annie and more.....
Linda Parker is having a blow out giveway with 4 different can choose which one  you'd like to win... to enter, go to Parkers Paradise...

finally, Tammy at A Primitive Place is having a giveaway of this wonderful prim pillow, candle holder and prim sheep...
I am heading  out to our local little thrift shop now so cherrio!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fig and Walnut Biscotti, Fire Photos and Restoration

This recipe was posted on Facebook by Faithfulness Farm...its from Martha Stewart.....Fig and Walnut Biscotti....I've made biscotti before and have several recipes....and have been thinking of baking some again..biscotti is rather fun to easy and fun to bake..great with coffee in the morning or as a snack....this recipe will be a good way to use up some of our dried figs from our Brown Turkey fig tree....the recipe calls for Calimyrna fig. The anise seed is unusual probably really good, something I wouldn't have thought of....

           Walnut and Fig Biscotti
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon anise seed, chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 large orange)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped dried Calimyrna figs (6 ounces)
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Read more at Fig and Walnut Biscotti
We've been enjoying sunshine and warmer the high 60s and low 70s..more our typical winter weather and its a good thing....getting the ground dried out before the next storm come.....
Our garage restoration continues....last night, two men came and textured the dry they'll be painting..tomorrow the painters come to paint the outside will be done soon...the side door went in yesterday and Alan put a deadbolt on knob yet but its getting there....the workers last night stayed until 9:00 p.m. so they are really hustling.....we still need a new fire door going into the house.....its not required any more but we had one (which did an excellent job by the way)...the door kept the fire and alot of the smoke out of the house......highly recommend getting one if you don't have a fire door..actually a fire door is just a heavy solid core door...we've replaced all the doors in our home with solid core doors.
There will be some new shelving put in as well as cabinets that were destroyed....and the garage floor will be epoxied and sealed....they're supposed to power wash the driveway also as there is some smoke damage....
I don't think I posted any photos of the night of the fire..Alan snapped a few photos....the firemen was so impressive and efficient....after wards, we went to each one individually and thanked them....5 fire trucks came as well as a hook and ladder truck (they were prepared for anything) and paramedics (which weren't needed, thank the Lord!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

All is Bright Giveaway

I wasn't going to post today but on my dashboard found this wonderful giveaway which I just had to tell you about..isn't this the cutest doll? I thought so....if you'd like to win her and see the other creations from Pat C at All is Bright....this brings out the little girl in me, does she you?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Early this morning on our walk...we spied many rabbits playing amongst the bushes and rocks...I was able to capture this little guy...with all the rain we've had the ground is covered with green grass.....we have mostly cotton tails here...although Alan says he saw a Jack rabbit once...they are rare....
Alan had two jobs today in San Diego county but I didn't go as we have workers here...they are putting in a new side door in the garage right now....
I finished 3 more tags..these are from Primitive Stitches and are absolutely a new design..I am really pleased how they came out....I did them in redwork....they would make really great book marks....they are in my stitchery shop if anyone is interested under the redwork link....ordered several other new patterns and will have them ready in a few days....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Funnies

thought it was time for some funnies....another chilly day with lots of pounding with the roofers, and other workers outside....the goal is to have it done by the end of this week!
I will be having a Blog Spark giveaway soon from General Mills cereals....should be fun to check back...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cold Saturday

This has been a cold weekend....I've been wearing sweaters and drinking lots of hot tea and such today..we had ham and beans for supper tonight which is always good on a cold evening.......

Today the roofers and dry wallers were supposed to finish the roof and dry wall but no one showed up or called...Alan and the boys went to work and almost completely finished the dry wall as they had left the materials here....don't know what the workers will think when they finally show up but it serves them right, don't you think? The guys know how to do alot of home construction, we've often thought of "flipping" a house or two as we could do most of the work ourselves...

I finished 3 more tags....these are really prim..

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chocolate Sugar Free Birthday Cake and HomeMade Vanilla

I've always had a hard time finding a sugar free cake recipe..they always come out flat and tasteless..until now....this cake, although it didn't raise much (and this is two layers, believe it or not) is absolutely delicious and luscious....I used a boxed sugar free frosting but will include the frosting recipe.....its so good in fact, there is only a small portion of the cake left today...the kids all found it too good to pass up...that's saying something in this house...they usually look at sugar free things with suspicion.

Sugar free Chocolate Cake

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil (I didn't have any oil, so melted a stick and 2 T. butter)
2 t. vanilla
2 1/4 cup Splenda
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 c. boiling water
1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, shaved (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9" round bake pans or one 13" by 9" oblong baking pan. Combine eggs, milk, oil and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. (I used our Kitchen Aid mixer). Combine dry ingredients (Splenda through baking soda) in a large bowl and then add to mixture. Beat at medium speed for two minutes or until well mixed. Stir in slowly the boiling water and mix throughly. Add shaved chocolate. Pour into pans. Place in oven and baking for 30-35 minutes or until it tests clean with a toothpick. Cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to completely cool..frost with No Fuss Sugar Free save some calories, eat plain or drizzle with melted sugar free chocolate or top with sugar free Cool Whip.

No Fuss Sugar Free Icing
3/4 c. solid vegetable shortening
7/8 c. Splenda
1 t. vanilla
3 T. cornstarch
1 c. milk
Cook the milk and cornstarch until thickened. let cool. With a electric mixer beat the Splenda, shortening and vanilla until thickened and beat well. Makes enough icing to frost either size cake.

 We put together homemade vanilla about 2 months is the finished product...all you do is get some good quality vodka..pour this into your bottles. Then get find some fresh vanilla beans...these can be found at specialty kitchen markets and also online..cut the beans in half,split the beans and scrape loose the vanilla beans inside, keeping everything...put both the scrapings and the split beans. into the bottles with the vodka and let sit for 1  to 2 months. absolutely delicious for your baking needs. I also had a split bean left which I put into some sugar  to sit for a few weeks..wonderful vanilla sugar...I never realized how versatile vanilla beans are..when the vanilla is finished, you just add more vodka and let it sit again...

Here is a preview of the new tags/bookmarks..I am planning on getting some interesting ribbon or fibers for the ties, haven't found exactly what I want yet... will be threading the vintage buttons through the ties....Alan likes these and says we are the two old crows...LOL

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Birthday and a Thursday walk

Happy Birthday, Alan! today is his 61st.....he's busy writing his memories and I made him a chocolate cake!

Alan and I took the grandog for a walk this morning and I snapped this photo of our local mountains...they're still covered with snow after all the rain we've had...
We are trying to get back into the walking habit and Kingston is always raring to go so its a good match....Kingston is half Jack Russel and half Chihuahua so he's got lots of energy...he's very smart too and obeys fairly well.....he knows how to sit, and stay which is about all we ask of him. Good watch dog too and always lets us know is someone comes into the yard or is at the door....but doesn't just bark at everything like some of the neighbors dogs....he's intimidated by Mrs. Q and doesn't bother her..she's been known to challenge him occasionally when he's in the back yard and he just runs he is waiting while we snapped photos....the kids had given him a bath so he looks quite dapper......

I've been working on some new bookmark/tags that are looking good...crows and prim Raggedy Anne so will show a photo in a day or so....I was cleaning out my computer files and found a huge bunch of zip files with tons of primitive tag patterns I didn't know I had! It was a nice surprise....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wednesday Chat

 Shall We Chat?

so glad to see everyone is on the same page about books..I love a good book... I am glad that people are reading again so I guess of one likes the Kindle or other e reader and starts reading..its not all bad.....Don and his fiancee gave me two books at Christmas, I just finished the first one which was about the Boston Strangler called "A Death in Belmont" by Sebastian Junger (he also wrote A Perfect Storm) .it was very good, well written and not a little terrifying....

The second book which I haven't started is called "Lost and Found" by Carolyn Parkhurst..Not sure what its about ..something about a round- the- world type game show and the interplay between the different dynamics, romances, etc so it might be good..will let you know..I read a little every evening before bed with a cup of tea or hot's little pleasures.

We had a wonderful sunny day today. I was able to wash and hang out our sheets and pillowcases...another of life's little pleasures, slipping under freshly washed sheets that smell so good. We get windows of opportunity on the sunny days...its been cold and rainy most days.

I've been getting more material for the book I am writing ...its been put aside since the fire but this year I am committed to start again....

Work has been continuing on the garage...the tiles are back on the roof...the garage has been rewired, the insulation is in the walls and the drywall goes in tomorrow....I called our local power company and they will have someone come out  in the early morning  to take off the temporary box and put in the regular one for our internet, phone, etc. Still will be work to do but the end is in site...finally! I don't know if there will internet tomorrow so will post the night's been a long time coming....!

Monday, January 3, 2011


I am back to transferring patterns and getting ready to make a whole lot of bookmarks..something a little different...I also designed a few with sayings on them...bookmarks always come in handy...

unless you're into the own opinion but I prefer to hold an actual book in my hands..I love the feel and turning pages but that's just me.... I also think children benefit from holding the book, feeling the pages as they turn them..not clicking on a screen...I think we are getting too technical anyway...
so I am putting this to my readers....

or this?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Beautiful Video