This part of my blog is all about the things I collect or the things I make myself. I love so many things, I paint and draw and want to learn oils and pastels. I knit and crochet but want to learn tatting. I embroider and can turn my hand to most things given a chance. So much still to learn and do. I live in hope of some day reading all my books, learning all I want to learn and now I am learning to blog. You will often find my original poems, poor as they are I offer them here. I also appreciate other people art and will feature things I find that I have enjoyed. That includes pictures of fairies and fantasy or maybe just anything beautiful.
I try to use my own photo's as much as possible, sometimes I borrow from the web. If I inadvertently use your picture without giving credit, please do let me know and I will either credit or remove it, I hope you will do the same with mine.
If you wish to leave comments on my blog you can do that by joining google if you do not have a blog yourself, please comment if you can I appreciate that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

More recipes................

Well there is not a lot going on, bring on Spring. Snow snow snow. What to write about when there is nothing going on. Could not go out this week because Reina has the flu so Laura is staying close to home. I sure can't afford to get it anyway so staying inside. I can't say I am bored, I have too much to do to be bored but..........I really want to be outside. Supposed to warm up a bit. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice so maybe I can do a tidy up outside.
Meanwhile, I am really enjoying my veggie shredder. I had some zucchini in the fridge and wanted to make Shrimp for supper. So this is what I did.
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This time I shredded the zucchini and did not cook it so long. I cooked it in butter and added Dill and Parsley to it. It was wonderful.
Anyway, that was to be the base for the shrimp scampi. I bought that at Sams. Why try to improve on something that you love right. The shrimp are large and meaty, tender and I love the sauce.
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When it was done I added a 1/2 can of corn. This was awesome
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That was a quick and easy dinner and one of my favourites. LOTS of shrimp each.
So today I used the Crock pot and made homemade Baked Beans. I used to do it with bacon but do not eat that any more. So, I bought some chicken sausage that had Basil and Sun dried tomato in them. I fried those before adding them at the end of the day.
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I love Baked Beans. Especially home made ones. They are not normally this soupy but these I made that way on purpose. To prevent that I would just use less sauce.
So to make them, without a recipe I do not have measurements because more often than not I made them by taste.
What I use.....
I large jar of white beans (comes in a jar, and I get them at Sams club)
I large can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato sause or use tomato paste if you want it less juicy. If using paste just add 1/2 the can until you taste it. Add more if needed.
Brown sugar. A palm full taste careful with this, if you add too much just add more brown sugar to sweeten things up.
Salt to taste
Pepper just a dash.
Dash of onion powder
Palm of dried parsley.
To this I add chopped celary and one large onion.
I cook it all day and at the end I add my cooked sausage or hot dogs or brats or whatever you want.
Make sure to taste the beans and that they are the consistency that you want.

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If you want the proper recipe and measurements I can give them if you let me know.
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This was so good, I had two bowls.I can't believe I ate that much.
So the other morning I made some breakfast muffins. That did not go so well. I will try them again because I have an idea what went wrong.
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That is the recipe. It should not have been so complicated. It says to spray with vegetable spray to make them easy to get out. Well I think that made the bottoms soggy, It was horrible.
They really looked good
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Then when I took them out, I tried one.
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Actually I ate two because I had to pull off the bottoms.
I threw the rest away and the squirrels and birds, especially the Starlings really enjoyed them.
This is what the bottom looked like. Yeuk!!!! I can only assume it was the cooking spray. They were also just a tad dry so I would cook on minute less next time. I have to try again before I give up.
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I have been buying fresh eggs straight from the chickens so the eggs are good. The spray is all I can think it was. So I will try them again, it was a non stick pan. Or maybe butter the bottoms, that should work. Determined to succeed.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cats I have known..........................

I am not a Cat person. I am a Poodle person. I adore Poodles.
There have been some memorable and maybe not so memorable cats in my life though. Well, I suppose I should not say that really because I do remember every one.
When I was a baby and toddler we lived with my Grandparents, Seabrook. They had two cats, Tiny and Tarzan.
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Tiny (above) I don't remember but have a picture of me with her and I do seem to remember that day because of the photo.
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Tarzan (above) I remember well, and he had to be quite old when he died of cat flu.I remember my Nan being very upset, he had been with her awhile. He was named Tarzan because he liked to swing from Nan's curtains. He was probably the first cat I really liked.
We got a cat when we moved to Bidwell Hill. Mum seemed to think that it was more in line with what she wanted than the big dog Jerry who got banished back to St Omere wth Granddad Burt. That cat didn't last long. It came home injured one day and had to be put down. I don't remember it's name and apparently had not had it long enough to become attached, but I buried it under the apple tree with all ceremony. That was the last cat we had and Mum soon got a Poodle who became my constant companion and set me up for life for loving Poodles.
When I got married and we lived in Bedford we took in a cat from a person who was going home to the States and could not take the cat with him. A big orange cat named Tom. Tom didn't like us and moved in down the road where he was apparently more appreciated.I was not that fond of him but was worried when he didn't come home. Then one day walking to the shops, there he was laying in the sunshine in someones window. I left it at that and was happy he found a good home.
So eventually we came here to Traverse City, we got a dog from the pound and named her Lady, and we got a grey cat that I named Pussy. I didn't know better OK. So when Pussy went missing my husband refused to go looking for her and calling her name. No idea what happened to her and for a very long time we got no more cats.
I say I am not a cat person. I don't adore cats, I don't like their nature and do not really find them amusing. I am an animal lover though and so cats have become a part of my life as an adult.
When I had my horse there was a barn cat that I loved no end. Her name was Rolo. I loved that cat and the cat loved me. She was always hanging out at the barn or off in the woods doing cat things, but when she heard our car, she would come running. You could hear her coming across the fields yowling and would hang out for as long as we were there. There were other barn cats and they were OK but not memorable. I loved Rolo and would have had her myself but she loved the barn life. I have a picture of her on my wall upstairs.
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To more modern times several cats have come to me. Laura has always had cats and when one had kittens I took a little black pile of naughty fluff and called her Buffy.
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I loved Buffy (the mouse slayer) She was adorable. She would run for toy mice and retrieve them bringing them back and placing them in a hand to be thrown again. One day she was on the table and her tail caught fire from a candle. She moved so quick it blew out and I have not had candles again with a cat in the house. Her tail was her pride and joy, very fluffy, it was only singed.
One winter night there was a tap on the window by my seat. An orange and white cat was asking to come in. My husband said NO, in no uncertain terms. He is not fond of cats. Well, I took out food, a bed and blanket and hoped that would see her through till morning. Nope, that cat wanted inside. Eventually I went back to the door and she waltzed right in made herself comfortable and stayed with us. Buffy was not thrilled but she accepted her even though they were never friends. We named her Beatrice. She was a wonderful cat. They would both hunt mice, of which we had a few. They didn't kill them though. So I would catch the mouse once it was out of breath and put them outside. Perfect. Bea Bea (Beatrice) gave us some good laughs, she got in a plastic grocery bag one time and when done she got out. The handle caught around her neck and she was flying around the house with it billowing like a parachute behind her. We were laughing so hard and it was impossible to catch her until she was out of breath and laying under the table. Poor thing. Yes good times with both of those cats.
Beatrice with Alexandra
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When they were gone I had no intent on getting anymore. I liked Sam and Toby, two of Laura's cats and got my cat fix often enough when we were over at her house. They also lived with us for a time, and Toby always remembered me. Toby, a fat cat in a small basket.
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Sam Mr Blue Eyes, loved by so many small children and so patient.
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I could have lived with either of those two and I think boy cats are better with other cats than the females. I always ended up with females. I never chose a cat, they always chose me.
We now have two cats. Boots was a stray that we took in, we got her fixed and she became and indoor/outdoor cat. She has been inside all of this winter not liking the snow. She is an odd cat, does not play like the others did.
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She loves a lap but ours is usually taken so when someone visits she makes the most of it. She settles in on any empty lap. She would be the perfect lap cat. She hangs out in the garden, sleeps on the garden chairs and watches the fish in the pond. Ideal cat for me.
Then along came another stray. Laura brought her over on her way to work one day, found her going through her garbage. She was supposed to find a home for her but here she still is. I figure if I take them to the vet, get them fixed and then they can do as they choose after that. Well Bessie is Tristen's cat. She actually likes him now he does not live here. She goes to him when he visits. She is also an outdoor/indoor cat. Bessie wanders and one day came home with a note attached. She likes people and visits and receives food gifts from the neighbourhood. She has her territory.
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Like Boots she has stayed inside all winter and not ventured forth. All the cats I have had have got along well with the poodles.Picture below of Beatrice hugging Bambi after Buttons died.
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Beatrice thought she was a Poodle and hung out with Bambi our white Poodle at the time.
Boots is like that and she likes Bijou our current white Poodle.
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In fact Boots shares Bijou's supper in the evening, she never tries to eat any one else's but her and Bijou are a team.
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I can't say I want another cat, but like all animals I can't resist taking them in. Saving a life is saving a life. The two we have now, both Boots and Bessie would like more human contact but do not like each other. If they were more like Toby and Sam they would have more companionship.
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Beatrice used to lay with the Poodles but these do not although Bessie trys to sleep on the bed with us. She is a fidget though and soon takes off to wreak havoc during the night.
Cats, got to love them...............

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Tristen was here.....................

Saturday Mar 4th, we had Tristen for the afternoon and the poodles went to the groomers. When we went to pick them up, I just had to drop in at the Thrift shop. Tristen came in with me. He found a dart board game, so I bought that for him. He posted a picture of himself with it on Facebook.
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I had posted a picture of the pillow case I just made for him. He saw it and read the comment. So now I have to watch what I write. He CAN READ. That's wonderful. He has done very well in that aspect, and obviously still does well with computers even though his access is restricted these days. Anyway, he wanted me to do something with him and as my sewing machine was out wanted me to make something. I did not feel at all like sewing. I had bought some fabric to make him a pillow case so decided to do that.
Well he was into everything trying to help. I had him find me pins, he did but then played with everything else and kept taking my scissors. I was sort of glad when he got bored and went in search of Granddad.
This is the pillow case. Took about 20 mins.
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I found a few other things, but, I must say that I was very restrained. I did see cups and saucers but did not buy them. I am looking mainly for jars. Things to put out on the bathroom cupboards and to decorate. I didn't find any and that was just fine.
This pretty blue bottle I had to get to add to my collection for outside this summer
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There was a little house that I also could not resist, I have several of those sitting around and it may go outside as well, not sure yet.
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I was also on the look out for small dishes to put my blue stones in. This candle holder was quite nice I thought and may give that to Laura if she wants it.
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That was it. I am trying to limit myself I already have way too much stuff around.
The cat Bessie enjoyed a bag after we unloaded the groceries we got earlier.
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Cats love bags.
Tristen enjoyed his weekend but again was reluctant to go home. We saw him at his TaiKwanDo class and he is doing very well with that, I was glad to see. He went to the store with Granddad and came home with this.
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He didn't want to go back, I still can't say "home" because he does not think of it as home yet. I was hoping he would be much more settled by now. Should be back in a couple of weeks we hope.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Zucchini shredder....................

I sent for a zucchini shredder. Well it's not just for Zucchini. I got it from Amazon I got a cheap one just to see if I like it. I do. So tonight for supper I tried it out and made some Zucchini spaghetti. It worked a charm.
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Not quite enough for what I wanted so I added some onions and mushrooms. I stir fried the vegetables in butter and added dried garlic, garlic salt and some dried parsley and dill. I sauteed them until just done.
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What I intended to do was to have that as the base for some Pasta pockets filled with cheese.
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So what next. I figure that gets topped with spaghetti sauce. I chose a chunky one with caramelled onions in it. Very tasty.
That would be topped with cheese. I didn't have Parmesan left so I grated some Smokey Provolone.
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So here it is. The finished product. It was very good. Very tasty.
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A simple meal and very good. I cook either in butter or olive oil. Butter if I can because I like the taste. It was certainly filling.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lazy days....................

It's snowing again. I did some painting in my sketchbook and as I have nothing else to post I will just catch up on that.
Three unfinished pages first. These will be painted and added to in time.
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I often go back to pages that are not quite full and add small things to them. These pages are ideas that I may sometime use if I ever get around to it. I want to make some cards and things at some point. I love Pinterest and I go on there all the time. I sketch ideas that I see, use faces to practice drawing and often copy ideas for my own sketch later on, some day. I would never copy someones work but will get ideas from them. I think I may be addicted to Pinterest.
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I really like doing faces. STill unsure of doing men's faces, I just cant get a grip on that. They always turn out feminine.
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The faces remember are just sketches and not portraits so are very simple line drawings. I am thinking some day to do a small book for Tristen. If I can come up with a story. That's right, where is that? I started a story somewhere, I must look for it. I bet it's on my old computer.
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The Flamingos I saw in and add, or maybe on Pinterest and just had to copy it. I am thinking of a Birthday card using that idea and putting some netting and glitter on it somehow.
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I am liking some of the flowers now. Again, they don't have to be lifelike. That's my problem and why I began all this. I always want perfection, photographic realness. So I began this journey to loosen up.
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It's been a lazy day. I should be doing some housework. I should be sewing. I have to get my quilt backs ready for when my friend Barb gets back from her holiday.
This is the mess in the dining room at the moment. I got the machine out in hopes of starting in on my sewing and mending. I will get to it, just not today. Oh I so want
a craft room.
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This stack is done, ready to be quilted. My friend Barb is a long arm quilter and she will put them together for me (I hate that part) then I finish them off.
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The others need the backing sewn together and its not that it will take that much time. It's just so boring. Still, once done I can press everything again and move them out and get to more fun things
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I asked a friend, Donna, to come over and take a bunch of my fabric stash. She just got back into quilting. I have so much fabric I know I will never use it all. What waste it. Barb, Edna and Nancy all have their own problems of overloaded stashes. So I hit on Donna to come over and get an arm full. Oh I know I will still buy more but from now on I buy things I actually know I will get done. I also need to have a huge sort out of quilting books and Cook books. Oh boy. Don't get me started on cook books.