Saturday, January 19, 2013

Celebration of Elvis's Birthday

Last year on January 6 we heard that Dan Sutter was doing an Elvis show at the Senior Center in Oregon Wisconsin.  It was in honor of Elvis's birthday.  We have known Dan for almost 20 years.  We took a little road trip and surprised him for the show.  It was wonderful and we enjoyed it very much.  This January he was doing it again, so we planned to attend.  For many reasons we weren't able to make it.  We were disappointed but that is how things go sometimes.  Imagine my surprise when two Cd's arrived in the mail yesterday.

I found this little youtube video someone did with a sample of last years show. 

If any of you have the opportunity to see or hear Dan sing you will be pleasantly surprised.  Dan sings and plays in a band called Universal Sound.  They play almost every weekend in the Madison Wisconsin area. 


Friday, January 18, 2013

A Day to Remember or to Forget

Well I guess all days living in this nice area with lots of privacy and wildlife isn't perfect.  No place is.  I had quite a day.

In the morning we usually have oatmeal for breakfast, except two days a week my husband makes eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast.  On this particular morning, I made oatmeal.  There is no need to cook oatmeal on the stove or buy instant oatmeal.  It cooks great in a microwave and you don't have a separate kettle to wash.  All you do is put in half as much oatmeal as water and microwave it for a minute or so depending on whether you have quick oats or old fashioned.  So I put in 1/4 cup of oatmeal, 1/2 cup water, a few raisins and some sugar in a bowl and set it in the microwave.  I set it for 1 minute 15 seconds.  Then while that was cooking I cut a piece of bread and put it in the toaster.  When the oatmeal is done so is the toast.  I pour a little pitcher of milk, put some cinnamon on the oatmeal and take it to my dad.  This time when the microwave beeped and I opened the door,  the oatmeal wasn't done.  I tried again and realized that although everything on the microwave was working (timer, light, fan, turntable), the food wasn't cooking.  The microwave is less than two years old and it's broken.

The next thing I do in the morning is go out and retrieve the SD card from the trail camera and replace it with another.  I did this as usual and came in to look at the photos.  The card reader didn't work.  Card readers are such a convenient way of loading photos onto a computer, but not today.

The next thing to happen was my camera.  I always have my camera handy in case I see something of interest either in the house or outside.  My husband spotted either a fox or coyote running across the marsh.  I grabbed the camera and didn't get there in time, but noticed my LCD screen was not lighting up.  I took the battery out and charged it.  This camera has a rechargeable battery and it lasts a very long time between charges.  I put the fully charged battery in the camera and it still didn't work.  I emailed Canon and they gave me a solution.  I tried and it drained the battery.  At that point Canon told me I had to send the camera in.  Now I don't know what to do.  I may buy a new battery to see if that is the problem or else I have to send it in.  My camera is a very good camera and this makes me mad.  It is still under warranty so I guess that is what I need to do.

This is not a good day, but then I discovered the problem.  I was finally able to see the photos on the trail camera and this is what I found.   The Headless Countess Wannabe has struck again (see Critters of the Night blog) and this time she is wearing a gray wig and has stolen my turquoise ring.  She is eating well too.  Look at that double chin.  And her pants don't even match.  She looks a bit like Queen Elizabeth but I'm sure she wouldn't be traveling incognito in Wisconsin in the winter.  Hopefully soon the stars will align and everything will get back to normal.

I can only guess what she is pouring into that dish.  Yuck!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Making an Irish Cable Knit Sweater

By the weekend it's going to be extremely cold.  All summer I said that I couldn't wait for cold temperatures so I can sit and knit.  Here it is the middle of January and I still haven't made much.  Today I took out a project that I had started in the summer but it was too hot to knit.  Especially this year with temperatures near 100 degrees on many days.

The project I am doing is an Aran style pull over sweater.  This is the third sweater I have made with this pattern.  My daughters may have them because they are no where to be seen.  Or I gave them to Goodwill in a moment of haste.  Sometimes I just start thinning out my closets and go crazy.  It doesn't matter where the others are because I'm making another.

I have a good start but I have a long way to go.  I'll post the finished sweater at some later date.

I love making these Irish cable knits.  A few years ago a friend of mine wanted a cardigan sweater for her granddaughter.  I found this Vintage pattern online.  It's amazing the free patterns you can find with a simple search.  I have so many knitting magazines that I don't really need anymore.  Some day I will probably be clearing them out too, but I'm not quite ready yet.

The free pattern is called Child's Irish Cardigan

This is the photo of the sweater I made.

I have done a few baby items which I donated to a fundraiser.  I made them out of leftover yarn and enjoyed making them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

One Thought Leads to Another-lampshades

The thought process is an interesting thing.  I am probably just like everyone and something that you see sparks a thought that leads you to another totally unrelated thought.  That is what happened to me today.  Well it is kind of related.  I got an email about a craft project.  They took a sweater and cut it to fit over a lampshade.  It was interesting.  I imagine how good it looks depends on the sweater you choose.  I pinned it on Pinterest to remind myself, but I probably will never do such a thing.

While I was thinking about lampshades, I remembered the lampshade that my husband made.  One year he thought he would take a stained glass class.  He went to the first class and instead of coming home with a little suncatcher or ornament, he came home wanting to make a lampshade.  His first project required cutting 204 pieces of glass, putting them together on a foam form and soldering it all together.  I thought he was biting off a lot more than he could chew, but after many weeks, the final product was wonderful. 

Thoughts of this lampshade brought me to another lampshade.  Back in the 1970's, I was a stay at home mom with not a lot of money.  I had a wooden floor lamp that we had picked up at an auction.  We went to auctions a lot in those days and furnished our entire house.  Most of the furniture was oak and we refinished it.  We still have most of the pieces that we purchased back then and most of the furniture store purchases are long gone.  The floor lamp came with a shade and the shape was perfect for the lamp, but it was ripped.  I didn't know where to get another shade of that style and probably couldn't have afforded it either.  So, I stripped off the cover, found some yarn and crocheted a replacement over the wire frame.  This lampshade has been relegated to the lower level, but I have never been able to throw it away. 

 Someday I will talk about some of the treasures we found at auctions and sales.  At least we thought they were treasures, others thought it was just junk.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Several Meals From One Chuck Roast

This is going to be a quick post about a good way to save some money.  Last week I went to the grocery store.  They had an offer which you would get carrots, a bunch of celery and 5 pounds of potatoes with the purchase of stew meat or a chuck roast.  They had this offer in the past that included carrots, celery and onions.  This time I purchased a chuck roast which was about 2 1/2  pounds.  It cost around $2.29 a pound.  Today I put the roast into the pressure cooker with some beef broth and cooked the meat.
 In the meantime I cut up the carrots, part of the celery, a couple potatoes and an onion from my last freebie.

When the roast was done which was 50 minutes from being frozen solid to completely tender.  While that was cooling, I put the veggies into the cooker and pressured 15 minutes.  A little too long, I think 10 minutes would have been better.  I shredded half the meat and kept the other half for dinner tonight.  The process for making this vegetable beef soup is the same process as I have posted for chicken soup.  I did add a can of diced tomatoes and a little garlic.  For very little money and a lot of nutrition,  I got 5 quarts of vegetable beef soup, a meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes and carrots for dinner and probably some leftover beef for sandwiches later in the week.  Not too bad.


Plus I have all the peeling to feed my worm farm described in an earlier post.

Monday, January 14, 2013

An Old "New" Cabinet

This will be one of the many posts I will be writing about my clever husband.  He has no idea how handy he is or maybe he does but doesn't want me to ask him to do anything else.

Eleven years ago when we purchased our home, it needed a lot of work.  One of the first things we did was on the exterior of the house.  It is a log home but for years it had been left in it's natural state.  Although it had a thin layer of insulation between the logs, it didn't have any chinking.  Chinking is used to fill in the narrow space between the logs.  In the old days they used mud and straw but now there is a caulking material that is strong and flexible.  For an entire summer, my husband chinked the entire house.  We also took down all the old fascia boards and replaced them with new ones.  We salvaged all the wood we could and this is what he made...a small television cabinet.  See, I told you he was clever.  

The inserts in the doors are wall lathe that was salvaged from another house we owned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We put a little TV and a VCR in the cabinet.  It's a perfect little area for my dad to sit and listen to the news or a game.  We also store our bird books underneath for quick reference when we aren't close to the computer.  A sample of interior chinking is seen on the wall behind the cabinet.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Suet Cakes are Popular All Year Long

 Wisconsin Birds love their suet anytime of year

There isn't much happening today in Princeton, or at least at my house.  Last night the Green Bay Packers lost their playoff game to San Francisco.  This put most of Wisconsin in mourning.  The weather which was mild all week for Wisconsin, turned seasonable but it seems very cold.  It's garbage and recyclable day tomorrow, so that needs to be done.  I had to make bread because we only had one slice left.  I finished knitting a hat which I started a couple days ago and played Words with Friends.  Then I noticed that the suet feeders were empty.  It turned cold and the poor birds had nothing to eat for warmth and energy although they like to eat from these feeders all year long. Fortunately during my trip to the grocery store last week, I noticed a couple packages of suet already ground up.  They were inexpensive so I bought both of them.  I put one in the freezer and put the other in a saucepan.  I melted the suet, added some peanut butter, some shortening, a cut up apple that had seen better days, some birdseed and lastly a handful of dried meal worms.  It cost almost nothing.  The shortening was so old, I don't remember when I bought it.  I think I bought it to grease the birdfeeder poles to keep the squirrels from climbing up.  The apple should have been in the compost a long time ago and the meal worms were from last summer when the bluebirds were nesting.  I really don't think there is a special recipe for making suet cakes because the birds like any combination I put out.  I shouldn't say that.  My last batch had some dried prunes that I had in the back of the cabinet.  I threw them in without cutting them up.  When I refilled the suet feeder all that was left was big plump prunes.  I cut them up and put them back out on the tray and they were eaten.

When the premade suet cakes are on sale, we buy them.  I saved a couple of the plastic trays to use for my homemade version.  I pour the warm combination into the trays and chill.  The weather is cold enough outside to accomplish this easily.

 The Downy Woodpecker was one of the first to taste the new suet cakes.  
He came back many times so I think he likes them. 

 There are Sparrows and Juncos also.

 This Junco was also snacking on scraps of an old granola bar and a couple stale soda crackers.  
Nothing goes to waste in our house.

A few days earlier the Bluejay snacked on some pretzels.