Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pinterest Test- Remove Ink from Plastic

I save my plastic containers. I find they are much cheaper to send food in since I will probably never see them again. I never thought they would be of much use for anything else with 'Sour Cream' or 'Cottage Cheese' printed on them. Along with nutrition info and whatever else the manufacturer wants on them.

Wouldn't it be nice if that ink would just wash off? Then they would be more useful. They could be relabeled and used for storing all those little things that clutter up drawers.

Along comes this pin:


Of course I have to try it.

The key here is to have acetone nail polish remover. Read carefully because most of what you find is acetone free. I got my bottle at Sally's I believe. Or not. It was probably from Walmart. I've had it forever because I rarely wear nail polish anymore.

I grabbed a couple of cotton balls and doused one with the acetone. I started to rub the ink. Nothing was happening. Darn!
Just when I thought it wasn't going to work (which in reality was just seconds) a spot cleared.
Just like that. It must take the acetone a few seconds to absorb through the ink. Once it did the rest came off with no effort leaving me with an ink free plastic container.
I love it when pins work!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Rag Quilt with tips

Almost ten years ago Mom made a rag quilt. It was so soft and so warm. I always wanted to make one but just never got around to it. (Mainly because I know nothing about quilting and no matter how many times I would watch and she would show it just wouldn't stick in my brain.)

Then of course I move across the country so Mom isn't even there to help me fumble my way through making quilts.

Along comes Pinterest. How did I ever survive without it?

This pin rekindled my desire to make a rag quilt.
I looked for bolder colors but have very limited fabric stores near me. Oh, I have Walmart and Hobby Lobby. Both carry mainly pastels.

I had 11 colors, 1/2 yard each. I was able to get 21 6" blocks from each 1/2 yard. I cut them all up. I looked up charts to see how many blocks I would need to get different size quilts. The chart is for charms which are 5" and my blocks were 6".

I ended up with 11X15 blocks. But I didn't have enough for the back! I did some math and ran out and got white flannel for the back blocks.The tutorial says you don't need to be fussy cutting the material, that you can fold and cut. I suggest cutting a little more exact and use a walking foot on your machine. It makes a world of difference from having to go back and catch missed stitches when you are done. I cut out a couple hundred 5 inch squares of batting which were not perfectly cut. But they really didn't need to be.

To make the X on each of the blocks I went the same direction through one stack of 11 colors. I clipped them apart and then went the other direction. I tried making individual X's but it was very time consuming. 

I also pinned my layers of fabric and batting on two sides just to hold it in place. I started out using a regular 1/4" presser foot but it was bunching. I took the couple of minutes needed to switch to the walking foot and it was so much better and much more even.

After I laid out my design I picked it up by rows. I sewed the 11 blocks together from the first row and then the second. I attached those and started the third row of blocks, attaching each finished row as I went. (This made it less likely for me to screw up the design!)

Now, I have to tell you. This quilt is quaint and pretty but it is HARD WORK!!! I imagine it would be hard for a young healthy hand but throw in some age and some arthritis and it is painful! If that is you I suggest making this one slowly and not be rushed to have it finished like I did.

Here it is as I'm clipping, I did have quite a bit of help with all the little critters thinking it was their new bed. They sure got angry with me when I had to rotate it.
My sweeties 1 pound kitten, Emma. She's so sweet but still a trouble maker.

It took me about six hours to clip. I took a lot of breaks and rested my hand so it probably really didn't take that long. Did I mention flannel is 'dusty?' Yep, sneezed the entire time.

I took a deep breath after the clipping was done then tossed it in the washing machine. HOLY BALLS OF LINT!!! Go to a laundromat. You will have lint balls all over your house if you wash this at home. Seriously, I will be cleaning them for a week.(Now go back and look at the pinterest picture. Why didn't she have lint??!!)

And then...I really thought I was so careful to not clip through any seams but when I looked at it before the dryer there were places that had separated. So wet quilt in hand I fixed the few errors before the dryer. I didn't want to take a chance that the dryer would make it irreparable.

I shook it out some more to spare the lint trap in my dryer. I then checked the lint trap every 5-10 minutes to make sure it wasn't getting clogged. SO MUCH LINT!

All in all it was worth it. I still love the way it looks and the oh so soft and cuddly thickness. If you check my pinterest board for quilting you will see lots of ideas for rag quilts.

Yes, I will be making more. No, I won't rush myself next time. Whenever it's done, it's done. I am also going to make bigger blocks. 8-12" I haven't decided yet. I'm also going to get a smaller pair of Fiskars. I'm pretty sure I dulled the tips of mine too much to do another quilt without sharpening and they are the full size. I think it's the reason I hit the seams a couple times.

Here is a video that might help you out too.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Yes, this again.

Nope, it's not a recipe, remedy or some cutesy thing. But please continue to read.

The Fort Hood Shootings. Yep. I'm on that subject again. I am only one voice but each voice that speaks up might get this 'workplace violence' changed to what it really is. An act of terror. It was nothing less.

The definition of terrorism: "Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective." I can tell you that that day I personally felt terror. It was chaos until all the details were in. You could hear the big voice telling you to close all your windows, lock your doors, shut off the air, this is not a drill. Yes, terror is what was felt that day. I cannot even begin to imagine what it was like at the SRP site. I was 1 1/2 miles away. My heart still hurts for all those killed and injured. 

If I had to define workplace violence it would be about an employee that was not happy about his job for one reason or another, or perhaps that he got fired. Not about taking out a bunch of people in the name of Jihad.

The ruling on the Fort Hood shootings is to leave it as workplace violence so the trial won't be influenced if it's named terrorism. SAY WHAT???!!! (Pardon me....WTH???) WHY do they keep catering to this creep? 

Okay, I have to stop. It all makes me just sick. So, watch the video, sign the petition if you feel moved to do so.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Flawed System-Army Suicide

I copied this from my Facebook. I really believe that everyone needs to be aware of this problem.
"Okay, you know what. Public awareness. I am sick of being quiet. Here it is. Hubby has been having some issues. Issues that he has actively sought help for. Issues that rather than helping find a solution his command would rather punish. After taking two months to get a referral to see a psychiatrist, the one he was referred to is backed up until January 10th. I called TriCare to get them change it to another doctor. I know I can do that when I have too long of a wait. Nope, not the soldier. He has to get back into his primary care manager and wait for another referral to another backed up doctor. I won't give all the details of the last several days, some of you know. Let's just say it is bad. I was told tonight to brace myself. From a high ranking person that said they don't know anything but were just warning me.

Army says screw the soldier. We would rather have you commit suicide than to help
you and if you don't succeed then we will thoroughly destroy your life. Hubby is not alone. I have spent the day researching the issue. It is common. His immediate chain of command sees the problem. My civilian eye doctor told me horror stories today about the problem. I am so sick I cannot sleep. Not physically sick. Sick for all the soldiers that needed and sought help but could not and cannot get it.

Yes, the Army has 'Suicide Awareness' but it is FLAWED!! It does not work and I have been saying that long before this last week. I just never thought it would come knocking on my door. There is no way to sort out users and those who need help. I think if a soldier is begging for help and not just waiting for their appointment that's 3 months away probably needs the help the most.

So easy to throw them all away. So many gone for so many stupid reasons. I understand downsizing, but US Army, is suicide REALLY the way you want to get rid of them? Oh and it's not just suicide. It's so much more. So many flaws that they need someone outside of the confines of command to look at and give an objective view on. They just don't see it from the inside looking out. Or from the top looking down."
These soldiers are real people. See, here is the face of one soldier they are doing this to. He is quite real, I assure you. I know the soldier is a real person. I am the other one in the picture. Pretty sure I am real.
Some statistics to make you wonder what's going on.
The 2012 active-duty suicide total of 154 through June 3 compares to 130 in the same period last year, an 18 percent increase. And it’s more than the 136.2 suicides that the Pentagon had projected for this period based on the trend from 2001-2011. This year’s January-May total is up 25 percent from two years ago, and it is 16 percent ahead of the pace for 2009, which ended with the highest yearly total thus far. Reference here

If any of you have faced this problem with your spouse or for yourself I would love to have your feedback.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kitchen cheat sheet

The measurements are for the UK, but there is still some really good info on this cheat sheet.
Click the picture to enlarge or go to Everest kitchens page.

If you'd like to find a printable version of this cheat sheet, visit the Everest kitchens page.

Embed Kitchen Cheat Sheet on Your Site: Copy and Paste the Code Below

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What does that cord go to?

If I ever had to live without electricity I would be miserable! I could do it. I know how. I just wouldn't want to. So many of my kitchen conveniences require electricity.

Electricity generally requires a cord to move the energy from one place to another. Outlets. Something that whomever designed my kitchen must have felt were overrated and didn't put enough in. Toaster, coffee maker, microwave, ice maker, deep fryer, can opener, Aerogarden, Food Saver, oil warmer, stereo, mixer, blender, juicer, rice cooker, slow cooker and on and on. I don't keep all that on my counter. Hmm, okay. I keep a good deal of that on my counter because it gets used daily. Or multiple times a day.

I can't remember the guys name, I wasn't really watching the show but I remember it was on Rachel Ray. I never watch her show, I guess I was immersed in something else and just didn't change the channel. He was talking about tips for organizing. The one that caught my attention was about cords.

Use the little bag tags that come of certain items from the store. Mine came from potatoes and quilt batting. I still plan on collecting more to tag all my cords. I used the first three I found on my problem outlet that I leave my Aerogarden plugged into, but rotate the other outlet with all my small appliances.

With a permanent marker, label what each cord goes to and snap onto the cord. Now I won't accidentally unplug the Aerogarden. Have a little patience and let the ink dry before you snap them on or they smear like mine did.

Now I have to patiently wait for more (many more) of these little tags to find their way into my home. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Glazed Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

If there is coffee cake in heaven this would be it. Really.

This recipe was created because my husband wanted something with fruit in it. At first he said peach cobbler. But I'm kinda getting tired of peach cobbler. As great as it is, I need variety. I searched around looking for inspiration. Apple coffee cake sounded really good. But plain apple cake seemed a little boring too. More discussion with hubby. I asked him if he would rather have streusel on top or glaze. He said, "Why not both?" I stared at him for a moment and then decided it couldn't hurt to try. And if it's what he wanted then I'd give it a shot. 

I also didn't want to spend a great deal of time in the kitchen since I knew I would be making fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits for dinner. So although this recipe is ingredient heavy, it does go together quite fast because I used a cake mix as a base. I was going to use a spice mix but I wanted to apple flavor to stand out more than the flavor of the cake.

Not all of my experimenting works out. This one was, as my husband described it, "A grand slam!" 

Glazed Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 can apple pie filling (I used my preserved apple pie filling.)

1/4 cup butter, soft
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Glaze: (I was never a fan of glaze until I tried this recipe!)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk


Preheat oven to 350F.

In mixing bowl combine cake mix, cinnamon, sour cream, eggs and water.

Mix on low until combined then continue to mix on medium for 3 minutes.

Spread batter into greased 9x13" pan.
I almost forgot to take a picture of this step before I started the next.
 Drop spoonfuls of the apple pie filling over the top of the batter. I am SO pleased that I made mine apple dices instead of slices. I think if I were to use a store bought version I would chop the apples up smaller before I spooned them on.

Sprinkle streusel over top.
Details on streusel click here.

Bake at 350F for 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Squeeze glaze on top. If you glaze the cake while it is warm all the glaze will soak in. That is fine if you like it that way but I wanted the glaze to stand out.
Details on glaze click here.
I put it on thick!
Linking up to:
Freedom Fridays

Streusel Topping


This streusel topping will work on anything you need this type of topping for. Cakes, breads, muffins or whatever you like. I actually doubled the recipe and froze what I didn't use.

1/4 cup butter, soft
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a small bowl combine all ingredients using fork or pastry knife until it mixes and the crumbles are about the size of a small pea.

Used on Glazed Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

Amazing Glaze

I have glazed a few desserts in my time. Cinnamon rolls, quick breads, cakes...

I never liked the taste of the glaze. It was always just a sugary extra.

But I like the glaze that is on bakery foods. I could never duplicate it. Until now. This glaze was so good that after I glazed my coffee cake I used a spoon to eat the little bit that was left. It was THAT good! It will also be the only glaze I use from now on.

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

Put sifted powdered sugar in a bowl and pour melted butter, vanilla and milk in.
Sifting keeps all the little annoying lumps out of your glaze.

Isn't that whisk adorable? It was a gift from my sister almost ten years ago. It is also my favorite mini whisk.

Whisk until smooth. Add drops of milk to get the right consistency.
To make it easier to glaze your dessert put it in a small plastic bag and snip a tiny bit off the corner.

To get it into the bag without making a mess, find a bowl that will hold your bag. Fold the top of the bag down over the bowl.

Pour in your glaze. Lift up the turned over edges and seal the bag. No mess! Not to mention your bowl did not get dirty either so you can just put it away.

Snip a corner and squeeze.

Used on Glazed Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Spice - DIY

I was going to be lazy and just buy a container of pumpkin pie spice yesterday. Mine is getting low and I use it often during the fall cooking season. I scanned the rows of spices until I spotted it, then scanned down to the price. $4.28 for one of the tiny containers!! It was only 1.12 ounces.

That seemed like a crazy price to me so I walked away without the spice. I also walked away knowing that when I got home I would just mix up my own.

I use pumpkin pie spice in just about any recipe that calls for the ingredients in it. It does tell you on the container what is in there so it's kind of a no-brainer. (I don't use the McCormick brand which does not contain cloves, but does contain sulfiting agents, whatever that is. Another reason to make your own I think.)

The hardest part is to determine the amount of each spice.  I do know that the first ingredient has the highest ratio and the last has the least ratio. Using recipes that call for all the ingredients (rather than pumpkin pie spice) I figured out the proportions.

That being said, this recipe will make a tall spice container almost full. Cut it in half if you don't use it that often or even into a quarter of the batch. (I included those measurements at the bottom.)

 DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
*Note: all spices are in ground form

6 Tablespoons Cinnamon
4 teaspoons Ginger
4 teaspoons Nutmeg
3 teaspoons Allspice
3 teaspoons Clove

*Another note: You can omit the clove if you don't want that strong of a flavor.
Toss it all in a bowl.

and Ginger

And Nutmeg

and Allspice
 Did you know Allspice is the dried unripe berry of the pimento plant?
and Clove
Mix it all up. And you are done. Yields about 1/2 cup of spice.

In the next picture, I poured in what I had left in my container. It's the little hill in the bowl. Hard to tell from the shadows in the picture, but the color is nearly identical.

Funnel it into an airtight container. I just used my old one, but in case you are starting without a spice container make sure it's airtight.

Now I'm comforted knowing I have plenty on hand.

Half recipe:
3 Tablespoons Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Ginger
2 teaspoons Nutmeg
2 teaspoons Allspice
2 teaspoons Clove

Quarter recipe:
4 1/2  teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoons Ginger
1 teaspoons Nutmeg
3/4 teaspoons Allspice
3/4 teaspoons Clove