Friday, November 1, 2013

Crocheted Snowflakes

I spent some time today finishing a project.  Last Spring, my daughter asked me to crochet her some snowflakes to hang in her window.  She asked me early so I would have time and not be pressured into making them in a hurry.  Over the summer, I worked on one whenever I remembered.  Now that the weather is getting cooler, I need to finish up.

I made several different sizes and shapes.  Most of the patterns are free on the internet, and others I found in old books and magazines.  They are very easy to find.  I imagine there are even books in the public library that have patterns. is a good source.  Just search for free snowflake patterns.  I have quite a few made, but now I have to block them.

In order to block the snowflakes, I need a piece of styrofoam or a few pieces of cardboard stacked together.  I found some blocking circles online and printed them out.  Click on this link for the circles I used.   Blocking circles  I printed different size circles by changing the percentage of image.  The large one I made was at 120%.  That worked the best for the larger snowflakes.   I taped the circles on the styrofoam and covered it with clear plastic wrap.  I just taped it on the back to secure the plastic wrap and keep it from slipping.

When the snowflake is completed, it has to be stiffened.  I do this by mixing school glue and water in a 50/50 proportion.  In a small dish, I mixed the glue and water.  Then I dipped the snowflake and saturated it.  I squeezed out the excess and put it over the circle, lining up the center.  Then I pinned the points to the proper line.  If you have 12 points then pin to each line, pulling to the same circular line.  If the snowflake has 6 points, then pin to every other line.  At this point you can sprinkle with glitter if you want sparkles. 

When the snowflake is completely dry, it will peel off the plastic wrap easily.  When my daughter hangs the snowflakes in her window, we will take some pictures and I will update this blog.  

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013

Happy Halloween 2013

Today is actually Halloween.  A few days ago I wrote about going trick or treating with our grandchildren.  A few communities celebrated a few days early.

Last Sunday was a beautiful day for the kids but today it is a dreary rainy day.  I feel bad for the kids who want to go out tonight.  Hopefully the rain will be finished by then.  On the positive side, the temperature is quite warm for this time of year.

I did check the trail camera today.  I haven't reported on that for a while.  I didn't see any photos of big foot, big boot or any other ghoulish creatures.
We had the usual array of animals.  We have raccoons, possum, crows, squirrels and deer.  I haven't seen anything very interesting for a while.  I put some corn out so I did see this today.   It was a buck who came at 6:21 pm last night, then four hours later a doe came, then the buck again at 6:35 this morning.  I think it is almost time for the rut so I'm hoping I don't catch any of their shenanigans on the camera.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rice Pudding

Every now and then I would make rice pudding using different recipes.  My husband isn't a fan so I would make it for myself and my daughters once in a while.  A little over two years ago we moved my parents into an assisted living apartment.  They didn't have much of an appetite for the food they served there, but they loved rice pudding.  My cousin gave me a very good recipe and every week I would make a batch.  The only trouble with the recipe is that you had to stand at the stove and stir for twenty five minutes.  I did this every week for four or five months until my mom passed away.  That is a lot of hours standing by the stove and stirring.

Dish of rice pudding with raisins and sprinkled with a little cinnamon.

After my mom died, dad moved in with us.   He quickly got his appetite back, but he still likes rice pudding.  He calls it his comfort food.  I misplaced the recipe from my cousin because I have a bad habit of writing recipes on any piece of scrap paper that I have at hand, but I remember most of it because I made it so often.  Now I make it in my digital pressure cooker.  I have written about this wonderful appliance many times before.

Rice Pudding

3 cups Cooked Rice (3/4 cups dry rice cooked in 1 1/2 cups water)
3 cups Milk (I use 2% milk)
1/2 cup sugar (a little more if you want it sweeter)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together and put in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes on low pressure.  Allow the pressure to release naturally.

If you want to stir or don't have a pressure cooker, just mix the ingredients and stir over low heat for 25 minutes until thickened.

The rice pudding will  thicken up as it cools.  I add raisins after it is cooked or the raisins will turn the pudding a tan color if they are cooked with the rice. The good part is that there are no eggs in this recipe.  My dad likes it with more sugar and a little milk warmed in the microwave. 

I made a batch to make sure I had the recipe right.  Yum!

I posted another pressure cooker version of rice pudding here:

Monday, October 28, 2013

High Tech Dentistry in our Little Town

Today I went to the dentist for a six month cleaning.  It was quick and painless.  I have a gold crown that was put in many years ago.  I remember getting it shortly after we were married 45 years ago.  It cost $60, and I was so upset at how much it cost.  Times have sure changed.  She is keeping an eye on that one tooth, but otherwise I'm good for another six months.

Technology has changed so much.  I remember as a kid going to the dentist.  I can't remember exactly where the office was, but I believe it was on Main Street in Stoughton Wisconsin where I grew up.  We had to walk up a big flight of stairs and through a dark hallway into the dentist office.  Then I would usually have a cavity.  They didn't have sealants back then, and we ate candy without brushing all the time.  They didn't have high speed drills, but drills that would drone with a low pitch grinding sound.  And the smell, I will never forget the smell of the teeth being drilled.  The dentist would tell us to raise our hand if it hurt.  Needless to say, the arm would go up and down as if it were motorized.  I imagine they didn't get all the decay and finally just put a silver filling in and hoped it would last a while.  That is why I have crowns on most of my molars.

When we moved to Princeton, we needed to find a new dentist.  We looked in the phone book.  Even eleven years ago we used phone books.  There were no smartphones back then.  We found two dentists and chose one.  It was a very good choice.  She had all the latest equipment and procedures.  Some of my old crowns needed replacing and so one by one I have had that done over the years.  Our dentist has the CEREC method.  It is an amazing computerized method that can do a crown from beginning to end in one visit.  There is no need for taking impressions with that awful gunk.  The old tooth is measured out using a mini camera and the picture is transferred to a computer screen.  Then a new tooth is designed to fit in with the existing teeth.  When she is satisfied with everything, she pushes a button and a new tooth is ground from a block of porcelain that matches the other teeth.  The new tooth is then glued in place and your done.

Even the x-rays are high tech.  They put some camera type thing in your mouth and pictures of all your teeth appear on the computer screen.  Problems can be detected by looking at the computer screen. 

This is probably one of the most boring blogs ever, but that was my day.  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Trick or Treating with our Grandchildren 2013

Even though Halloween isn't until next week, the local communities had trick or treating today.  We have never had a trick or treater at our house, so sometimes we go to see the grandchildren in their costumes.  We are fair weather trick or treaters.  If it's cold or rainy we don't go, but today it was beautiful.  I walked with my daughters and the kids and my husband gave out candy.

Here is the Happy firefighter Ewan and Jack as Captain Hook.

These are our four grandsons, Sam, Ewan, Jack and Dylan. 


I noticed people went out of their way this year to decorate.  Many people who were handing out candy were dressed up.  It was kind of creepy at times because some of the costumes were very graphic.  Jack didn't stay interested very long.  He went to a few houses and wanted to go home.

Jack got a little tired because playing Captain Hook is hard work.

Ewan had a lot of fun playing in the leaves.

The strangest thing of all was that this house was handing out jello shots to the adults.

I'm not sure how legal handing out the jello shots were, but many adults were taking them.  I wonder if they were the real thing or the Trick was that they were plain jello.  I didn't try them so I will never know.  All in all, it was a Happy Halloween.