Turning my frown upside down….

So I had a bad day, I know we all do.  Sometimes I think we need them to appreciate all the good days we have.  Well I decided I needed to turn my frown upside down so I went outside and took a tour of my yard.  Here’s a little of what I looked at….

The lemon tree that my Mom and Dad gave us when we moved into our house.  Mom has since passed, so makes me think of her.

my first burpless cucumber of the season.  Its almost ready….

my first zucchini of the season….

mini yellow rose bush my Grandma gave us when we moved in.  She has passed also…

a salvia start from the front yard.  Its doing great, has a few blooms!

plums are coming along….

Grandma’s favorite flower….Hollyhocks

my Redbud tree is getting so big!  It looks a little droopy cause it was the hottest part of the day when I took his picture.

pinchushions are back.  They got a mildew really bad during the winter and i cut them all the way to the ground, wasnt to sure they would forgive me and come back. But they did!

a new addition, my favorite plant name ever!  Portulaca!

Another fairly new addition, State Fair Zinnia

Of course then I saw this….

my strawberry patch full of weeds.   But you know, it was ok.  Life goes on whether Im having a good day or not.  So I get to make the choice of how I react to things.  So I decided to just concentrate on all the pretty things I saw and smile.

The weeds will be there tomorrow……

Crochet Fleece Blankets

Crocheting is still very new to me.  I only learned about 5 months ago or so.  But I wanted to make blankets for Project Linus.  Its a non-profit that distributes blankets to kids, here’s a link if you want to lean more…..http://projectlinus.org/index.html

But as you know if you crochet, it takes a long time to do a blanket.  I made one for my daughter and am working on one for my hubby but I wanted to find something that has a faster turn around.  So I thought i would try to crochet on fleece.  So my options are to do a blanket stitch around the blanket or crochet on the blanket.  I like the look of the yarn going around the blanket instead of embroidery floss, so it then became how do I make the holes in the fleece.  Everyone told me about a rotary cutter with a blade called the skip stitch.  Ya, well, cant find it!  The company that had been making them has since stopped, not sure what happened.  There are a few others that I saw on the web but they had mixed reviews.  I went to the local fabric store talked with the lady there, she was ordering a new one and it was supposed to be in next week.  Next week came and went and still no rotary cutter.  I was tired of waiting so I decided to try something else.  The first thing I tried was cutting the fabric with super sharp scissors.  That is the blue blanket in the pictures.  You can see that some of the holes came out a little big.  didnt really like it.  Plus my hand was super tired.  I tried a few other things to poke the hole, nothing really worked good.  Then I thought I would try a seam ripper.  Totally worked!  I was so happy!  So thats how I did the green blanket and you can see that it worked really well, you dont see the holes.  So that is the way I will be making them!

Im sure there are several different ways to do these but this is the way I did mine.

I bought a yard of fleece trimmed it up.  I cleaned up the edges they werent cut very clean, then cut about 8 inches or so off.  Then I used a disappearing ink marker and a yard stick and marked every half inch.

After I marked all the way around, I made the hole.  This picture is the blue blanket so you can see where I used the scissors.  I then did a single crochet in the hole then one chain and single crochet in the next hole.  All the way around.

Next row is single crochet.

then half double crochet. Then single crochet to finish it.   With the green I did the same but I also added a little ruffle on so it looked girly.  For that I did half double crochet, double crochet, half double crochet, then chain 4 skip 3.  Does that make sense????  haha  Ok, well if you REALLY want to know let me know and I will do a step by step.  These 2 are all ready to be donated now I need to go get more fabric and yarn and start another.  I think I may try to do a receiving blanket.  From what I have seen online doesnt look like you have to really make a hole if you use a small enough hook you can work it in between the threads……anyone try it before?

Chocolate Saltine Toffee

I have been trying to post this for DAYS!!  Its just giving me such a hard time.  It was all done then my pictures disappeared!!!  So let me try again…….

SO!  As many of you know I am on pinterest alllll the time!  Well, I saw this recipe and NEEDED to try it.  I mean, chocolate, butter, brown sugar and saltines…….could it really be bad?

Here’s the link for the recipe I followed…..http://www.justapinch.com/recipe/lisa-allen/chocolate-crack/quick-easy-candy#.T7lj9hf0WAs.pinterest

They also called it chocolate crack, I can see why…..

Here’s the recipe:

saltine crackers, I used 1 1/2 sleeves you’ll have to break some to get them to fit

2 sticks of butter not margarine (1 cup)

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 cups milk chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350.  I lined a cookie sheet (15×10) with the saltines

Melt the butter over med high heat.  Then add brown sugar.

Bring to a boil.  Cook for 3 minutes. Stirring constantly…

After cooking for 3 minutes, remove from heat.  Pour over crackers and spread with a spatula.

Put in oven and cook for about 5 minutes, till it bubbles.  Remove and sprinkle chocolate chips all over, let them sit for a few minutes for the chips to melt.

 then spread with a spatula and put in the fridge to harden.

I was the only one home, so, I HAD to make the sacrifice and lick the spatula!  mmmmm….

When all is said and done this is what it looks like.

It is so good!  I wasnt sure how it would taste with the saltine cracker in there, but really you wouldnt know it was there.  I didnt want to keep it all at my house so I sent some home to my friends house, her son ate it all within the hour!  I guess he liked it.

Surprises and reruns

One of the things I enjoy most about gardening are the surprises that pop up every once in awhile.  This morning while I was out watering, yes, sadly I hand water.  Sprinklers are on the list….

This first picture is a plant that comes back every year.  The first year I had it I wasnt sure what it was.  You know you have a problem when you plant so many plants that you have no idea what they are or if you even planted it!  In my defense, i worked at a nursery and would rescue plants that were on their way to the dumpster.  sometimes they made it sometimes they didnt.  sometimes i knew what I was planting sometimes it was just a surprise.  I have planted SO many surprise tomatoes!

So anyway when this started growing the leaves were pretty so I left them.  Then it started spreading and creeping all over and I was like hmmm….maybe this is a weed.  Then it started growing shoots up.  i took a picture and took into work to see if anyone knew what it was.  One person did.  THEN it bloomed!

Isnt it pretty!  Its a campanula.  I have no idea which one, like I said it was a surprise plant.  Before it bloomed 2 of my friends thought it was a weed and wanted to pull it out for me.  haha  So far I just have the one spike but I should be getting more.

Another happy rerun is this geranium….this one i believe is “Rosann”……again it was a rescue.

This poor little plant.  When i got it it was barely alive.  And it has “died” at least 3 times in my garden.  It will disappear and then come back, this is the first year that it has grown and flowered.  AND at some point I must have had phlox nearby cause there is a white phlox growing with it!  It had tripled in size so i think its going to make it this time!  Fingers crossed!

Another surprise is this Gerbera.  I do remember planting this plant!  In fact Im pretty sure I paid retail for this plant!  haha  It disappeared a few years ago, the plants around it got bigger and it was getting to much shade.  But he decided to come back this year.

I do need to cut back the plants around him, hes a little smooshed.

OH! My lupines bloomed!  They are purple.  Very pretty.  Ill have to get some pictures of them.

Cant wait to see what other surprises are waiting for me out there!

 

Sangria

This year for our Mother’s Day get together I wanted to make sangria.  I havent made it before, so I started out by asking for recipes, googling and looking at pinterest.  There were alot!  I thought I better test a few out before the big day.  So I made it for Book Club.

I came to the conclusion that it would be really hard to mess it up….but, if it could be done I may be the one to do it.  haha  But I didnt let that stop me!  I just went ahead and kinda followed a few…but not really.

Basically i got a red wine, I used a  cabernet.

Added a simple syrup of 1/3c sugar and 1/2c water, cooked til the sugar dissolved.  then let it cool.  I didnt use it all, just depends how sweet you want it.

2 apples, cubed

1 orange sliced

1/2c peach mango orange juice from Trader Joes.  Regular OJ would be fine.

juice of 1/2 lemon

let sit in fridge overnight.

ummm….I think that was all i added.  Cause of course i didnt write it down.  :/ haha  But like i said it’s hard to mess up. After looking at all the recipes you can add just about any fruit you want.

I also made a white wine spritzer?  im not really sure what you call it.  haha  I did follow the recipe on this one, here’s the link….http://pamperedjes.blogspot.com/2012/03/thirsty-thursday-sarasota-lemonade.html

It was really good!

White wine

sprite

pink lemonade and raspberries.   The recipe called for 2 bottles of wine, but since i had made the sangria too I cut the recipe in half and only used 1 bottle.  After all there are only 3 of us drinking……I wont tell you that we drank both pitchers…….we did…but like I said i wont tell you.

For Mother’s Day Im making a punch bowl of the sangria, since that has to sit overnight.  Im going to make the white wine spritzer also, but I can make up pitchers of those as we go.

Hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day!!!!

Plarn Grocery Bag

A few years ago I saw a purse made out of shopping bags other recycled plastic bags.  They had been layered together, was very interesting.  So since I am always trying to find ways to entertain myself I thought I would look and see if i could find out how to make it.  While I was looking I found a bag made out of plarn.  I wasnt sure what that was, turns out it’s plastic yarn.  Made out of grocery bags.  Sounded fun so I thought I would try it.

I usually use reuseable bags when i go to the market so I know I didnt have enough at home so I asked friends and collected all these.  I wasnt sure how many i was going to use cause I really didnt have a pattern that I was going to use.

You can really make any bag with it so if you have one that you like just use that one.  I used this one as a guide, http://www.kaylaksthriftyways.com/basic-plarn-tote/, kinda just made up my own as I went along.

This is the bag that I ended up with.

All together i think I had about 70 .  I have a small ball left over.

So to get started you need to turn your bags into “yarn”

So the first thing you do is flatten out your bag and then fold it in half length-wise, and then in half again.

 So you should end up with that….^

Then you cut both ends off.

Put the ends in with your recycling.  Then you cut the piece left into about 1″ pieces.  If you are using a bag thicker than a normal grocery bag I would cut them thinner than an inch.  They were to hard to work with….

I went through and cut up all my bags first then sat in front of the tv that night and put them together.  Made it seem to go quicker.   haha

To put them together….you work with 2 at a time.  Open 2 and then overlap them.

Its super easy even thought its going to sounds confusing, once you do it, it will totally make sense….

You pull the top thru the bottom..

Then pull tight.

I hope I explained it ok, i took alot of pictures hoping that made it easier to understand.

You just keep going with them til all your bags are gone.  Then roll it in a ball.

It will be doubled, so its like you are working with 2 yarns.

My daughter took it to school the next day and the kids all liked it and asked if I would make one for them.  So I guess i better start collecting more grocery bags.  :oD

As for the other bag I was looking for i think I found out how to do that, so Ill be trying that soon!