Making Progress

16 May

Betty White is one of my favorite people. Somebody once asked her how she stayed so fit in her old age. (They probably didn’t say “old age”, but she’s 98, and has well and truly earned the title.)  Her answer was “I have a two-story house and a bad memory”.

And, boy! Do I know that feeling.

Working on Austin’s dollhouse has really been a case of “a two-story house and a bad memory”. When I was working on this house for Austin’s dad, we still had the old “work horse” table in the dining room, and the power saw was next door in the laundry room. Now, I’m working up stairs in what was once the nursery, but is now a junk room, not to put too fine a point on it. Every step of the way means trotting up and down the steps.  I did get the kitchen done, and am well into the living room. I still have to find a picture to go over the mantle, put on one more piece of molding between the front door and the stairs, and hang the curtains, but the room is beginning to shape up. I’m still hoping to get it done before Austin graduates. Livingroom

The Adventures of Penny Brite

7 May

PB boxWhen my oldest daughter was little I made a carry-box for her Penny Brite doll, using one of my dad’s cigar boxes. I found the box, and the doll, in the attic about a year ago, and decided to refurbish the box and make some new clothes for the doll.

I’ve had a ball! I bought scrapbooking paper at A. C. Moore to line the box, made drawers and inserted a clothes rod. I even hung a mirror!  I downloaded some patterns from the internet, and set to work making the doll a wardrobe.  I bought Barbie® hangers and snipped off the arms so they would fit both the clothing and the box.

Recently, I found a huge book with photos of America’s National Parks, and Penny has gone on a tour.  We’ll keep you posted on her travels.

Me and Bartholomew Cubbins

2 May

I have been trying to clean and straighten my sewing room, and I swear Bartholomew Cubbins is living in there someplace, but it’s not hats he’s throwing around; it’s fabric. No matter how much I sift and sort, there is always just as much – nay, more! – than when I started.

I’ve collected all of my Fat Quarters, and got a little basket at the Dollar Store to corral them. Where I had two that matched, I’ve made a Bitty-Baby doll dress; my great-niece and our great granddaughter will have some very well-dressed babies. When I only had one piece, I made a dress for a Wellie-Wisher or a Penny Brite doll.

I’ve made masks for both The Squire and myself. I’ve even mended, for goodness sake! I’ve cut cards and wrapped up miles and miles of ribbon, bias binding, and lace.

I have made no dent in the mess at all.

I swear, it’s the Loaves and Fishes all over again.

Quote With Not Much Comment

27 Apr

I received this from a trump supporter.  Yeesh.

UV light (2)

A Game of Cat and Mouse

24 Apr

Back over on Arlo and Janis someone remarked that the snakes that seem to hang around here might at least keep the mouse population under control.

Probably just as well.

Our cats are pretty much useless when it comes to catching mice. For the most part, almost every cat we’ve ever had considers mice to be just another one of Mum’s pets. “Oh, look! A mouse.” “Are you gonna get it?” “Nah. Do you want it?” “I’d have to get up.”

And so it goes.

We did have one cat – Roxie, I think – who would catch a mouse and carry it around most of the day. When it was dinner time, she’d sit the mouse on the floor beside her, much the way a lady puts her purse on the table, and then look around in astonishment when the mouse was missing when she finished eating. Sugar – a big white blimp of a feline – would hold a mouse between her paws. Every once in a while she’d pick up one paw or the other, as if checking to see it the critter was still there. She never tried to eat it or paly with it. The Squire thought she might be trying to hatch it.

Eddie has been with us since around 2006, and to the best of my knowledge has only caught two mice.  One was in the house, and he left the rib cage in the middle of the living room floor.  I picked it up and marveled at how tiny the bones were, while The Squire had a fit. That’s the trouble with medical people – we are just fascinated by all of this.

We did have one cat who was a fabulous mouser – a little grey vixen we named Mosby. She was bound and determined to be an outdoor cat, only zipping inside long enough to eat and using the litter box, and then sitting by the door and yelling the house down. You have NO idea how loud a determined cat can be. But every day, when I came home she would have five or six little bodies laid in a row on the mat.  She was running across the yard to meet me one morning when a hawk swooped down and carried her off.

It was like watching – and hearing – a crucifixion.

Suddenly Spring

24 Apr

After a week of hide-and-seek temps, with the days being in the upper-50s or low-60s and nights with freeze warnings, it seems to be Spring.

It started to sprinkle Wednesday afternoon, and the rain just smelled differently from what we’ve been having. And we’ve been having a lot. It rained all Wednesday night and most of yesterday, but this morning is warmer and the rain has cleared. It is 56-F at 3:00, and the forecast is for mid-60s all next week, and 72 for next Sunday.

Of course, we all know how much faith to have in forecasts, but it certainly looks good! It would be nice if it stays dry long enough to mow the lawn.

A Loaf of Bread, and A Jug of Wine

21 Apr

Or, just the bread.

Two of the blogs I follow have been discussing homemade bread, and I thought I’d post the two recipes I make most often. The Squire is very fond of these – one is all-round excellent; the other makes wonderful sandwiches. I’m not going to bother telling you how to mix, knead, and punch down. All bread is made the same way. I will admit that I use my bread machine now instead of doing everything by hand. I turn out the dough after it has risen the first time, shape it, and put it into loaf pans to bake. At least it looks as if I’ve been working hard.

And now, on with the show!

Onion Dill Bread
2 1-pound loaves – use 8 x 4 pans
Warm in microwave:
•¾ cup cottage cheese, •¾ cup sour cream or full fat yogurt
•3 Tablespoons sugar •3 Tablespoons minced dried onion
•2 Tablespoons dried dill weed, •1-1/2 Tablespoons butter, •¼ cup water
Put warm mixture into bread machine or large mixing bowl. Add:
•3-1/2 cups flour, •¼ teaspoon baking soda
•1-1/2 teaspoons salt,  •1 unbeaten egg
•1 package yeast,  •1-2 Tablespoons vital gluten (optional)
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then until it registers 190-F internally.
The original recipe called for dill seeds, but The Squire doesn’t care for them, so I tried it with the dill weed and we really like it that way. Full fat yogurt gives the bread more of a tang, but that’s a matter of your choice. Don’t substitute “diet” yogurt. You need the fat content to make the bread work. The extra gluten makes the dough easier to work, but you don’t need it if you have bread flour.

Rich White Bread
2 1-1/2-pound loaves – use 9×5 pans
Warm in microwave:
•1-1/2 cup milk,  •¼ cup honey,  •¼ cup butter
(Pour the milk in a 2 cup measure, then add the honey, so you don’t have to dirty the ¼ cup measure.)
5 to 5-1/2 cups flour,  •2 eggs
•2 teaspoons salt,  •1 package yeast,  •2 tablespoons Gluten, if desired

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until it registers 190º-F internally. This is an excellent loaf for any purpose. Toasts nicely, and makes divine jelly bread