Monday, January 16, 2017

You're Kidding Right?

Another morning arrived and you hear the phone ring again. This time it is 4:30am. Once again it's your bother. That's twice this week he has interrupted your sleep. But then again you know it is probably important so you answer it.

He apologizes for calling in the middle of the night. You think get to the point I want to get over whatever it is he needs me to do.

It's mom, there's a problem where she is staying. She says they won't help her out and that she is sick. Can you go check on her?

You get up and get dressed. You head down the elevator outside. You walk in the parking lot, and you start sliding. Oh, yes, you think to yourself there was an ice storm warning tonight. You drive across town to the facility.

You go into the facility and go to your mother's room. She immediately tells you, "You have to get me out of here right now." You think to yourself You're kidding right?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tips To Preparing Great Fish

Everyone knows that fish is super healthy. But if it isn't prepared right it can be one of those foods you have to eat instead of enjoying. So here are some tips on preparing fish that tastes great.

You Nose Knows

If you go to the market to purchase fish, make sure you take a whiff of it. If it smells fishy, then pass it up. Fresh fish should smell like the ocean. The market should smell clean. If it smells like ammonia buyer beware

Fillet Please

If you don't know how to fillet the fish, ask the market to cut the fish up for you. It will just make life simpler. There is no shame in not knowing how to fillet the fish. Better to have it done right, than to spend money on good fish and have it go all wrong.

Cover Me

Before you store the fish you purchased, rinse it off. Then place it on a flat platter with the skin side up. Cover it with plastic wrap. And then place baggies full of ice on top of it. Make sure to use the fresh fish within 24 hours.

Fresh Vs. Frozen

Like most things in life, fresh fish is going to taste much better than frozen. But sometimes you just can't get fresh fish so it is perfectly acceptable to use frozen fish.

Is It Done Yet?

You can use a thin metal skewer and insert it into the fish in order to know when you fish is ready to serve. When you place the skewer into the fish there should be a slight resistance, and then it should be body temperature or slightly higher if you press the skewer to the back of your hand.

Tools of The Trade

Don't use tongs! You should use a flexible fish spatula if you are a more advanced cook. But inexperienced cooks should use a non-stick pan and a plastic spatula.

Do you have any other tips to preparing great fish?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

It's Five AM and The Phone Rings

It's five am and the phone rings. You think to yourself who is calling me at this time of day? And the phone announces that it is your brother. Your next thought is that can't be good, he never calls me. You probably shouldn't ignore the call.

You answer the phone, and your brother states "Sorry, to call you in the middle of the night." You think to yourself, will these people never figure out that I work in the middle of the night so I'm probably already awake at five am? You say it's okay, it's almost bedtime.

And then he announces why he has called. Mom had a heart attack. Now you know why he called. He states that he is going to go to her place after he takes a nap. It is an extremely long drive. And the weather isn't cooperating. It will be about 12 hours before he can get there. You tell him you will head over to her place. It will be about 8 hours before you can get there.

You start throwing items in a bag. And there is a second call. The doctor has just telephoned your brother and he says we need to come as soon as possible. You kick into gear. There are so many things you have to do before you get on the road.

And you wonder to yourself how will this day move forward? What changes will it bring about?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Magic Wand DIY

Little girls love to play with magic wands. And they are a fantastic compliment if you decide to put together a fairy costume. But you may not be able to find a wand that fits your costume or you personality at the local store. So of course I decided to make one. I knew I wanted a pink wand this time but how would I do it.

I remembered that pink scarf that I purchased at one of my thrifting trips. It was in my Thrifty Finds Week Three post. You can check out some of my other fabulous finds for that week by following the link. They are always pretty cool. That pink scarf I'm talking about is in that basket. I decided that it is was time to put that scarf to use in the magic wand project.

Here's What You Need

pink fabric
a stick
pink paint
a star pattern
hot glue gun

Here's What You Do

Take the stick and peel all the bark off of it. It can get a little messy so make sure you put some paper underneath it. Next take your star and pink it to the pink fabric.
I really liked the pink shiny material from that scarf. What I didn't think about was the elastic in the scarf. And that the scarf was a little feathery. It was a little messy to cut out. So keep this in mind if you get a scarf like this one. I originally planned to sew the star together and stuff it. But the elastic made it impossible for me to sew together and keep it looking like a star. I decided that I would need to glue it together.

I took that stick and painted it pink. It was super easy to do. Next I got out that glue gun. I glued one of the starts to the stick. I looked fine. I glued the second one to the stick. Then I glued the edges of the star together.
I like the way it turned out. The fluffiness of the fabric didn't need stuffing for it to look full. And gluing the edges of the star made it more sturdy. Let me know what you think of the project. But I do believe that is a super simple and inexpensive craft project for those girls of all ages who want to play fairy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Oil Boom

Did you know that the first major oil strike was made in 1901, on this day near Beaumont, Texas. It is the beginning of a love affair between America and petroleum. Over the past few years the use of petroleum based fuels has become a huge discussion. What are the pros and cons of this fuel source? And will it run out?

Well, pretty much everybody agrees that it will run out. It could be as soon as forty years. That's not really that long if you ask me. So if I could have my way, I would love to see a few things change.

And the one place that I would love to see a change is the auto industry. I would absolutely love to see a move toward more electric cars. I've heard individuals complain that they would have to plug the car in. When I hear this, I always think about when I was growing up in northern Minnesota. It gets really cold in Minnesota in the winter. And we all know cold weather can be hard on a vehicle. A lot of individuals plug their car in in order to keep it warm through those cold nights. Nobody thinks that is strange or inconvenient. It's just much more practical than having a vehicle that won't start in the cold.

So why would plugging your vehicle in be a hassle in other places? Wouldn't it just become accepted? Wouldn't it just become part of our daily routine?

We all know that one thing will not change the dependence on fossil fuels, but doesn't have to start happening?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Thrifty Finds Week 4

It's time to see what I picked up this week when I went out thrifting. This week I tried a new thrift store. I was not really sure before I entered, and it is not my favorite store in town. But I did find something a little weird at the store. So here are the items I've found this week.
Did I mention all of this for less than $4.

My first picture has loads of fabric. The left is all for some nice little fabric that I really liked. The middle is a shirt to wear to work. Believe it or not, I go through two or three shirts each month at my job. They either wind up with holes in them or so stained that I don't want to go into public with them on. And on the right I really loved the Strawberry Shortcake that was appliqued on the dressed.

Once again more clothes. The jeans at the bottom of the left pile are for work. The stack on left are for me. A girl always needs some new clothes doesn't she? Three dollars on new clothes is a pretty good deal though. I also got a blank and top made out of a fleece fabric that will show up again in the future.

This bunch contains some children's books. I just can't get enough of them. I got a Chinese lantern. Chinese New Year is coming up you know. I think that cookbook may be the most fun find of the day. It's a cook book with all of the recipes focused on a blender from the 70's? Can't wait to dig through that one. And the shoes are a score for a buck! I won't feel guilty about painting them. And if I screw up, I will have lost a buck big deal. And I have been looking for a bat. This one isn't a mini bat, but I still think it will be good for what I have planned.
Now the last picture has a bowl that I couldn't decide whether I loved or hated. Sometimes I look at it and think I love it. And then the next moment I turn around and think no it's just not right. Since there were moments I loved it I plunked down the five bucks for it. And the little goose cross stitch is actually the item that I have been searching for. Actually the two little hangers that came inside the cross stitch packet is what I have been looking for. I will not be making the kit. I need those mini hangers for something else. I also got more book and a cool pad of paper.

I guarantee a few of these items will make it back into future posts. And let me know if there are any special items that you have been looking for?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

You Are Here Notebook

A couple of weeks ago, I found a three ring binder at a thrift store. And one of my goals for the month is to organize my clippings. I decided to personalize it just a little. You can check it out on my Thrifty Finds Week Three post.

I decided that I would coat the notebook with gesso. I thought that would give me a good background to start out with. It's always good to prep your items. Then I covered the notebook in pink paint. I really wanted a pink notebook. And I wasn't sure how paint would work on vinyl.

Then I decided that I have a silk screen print saying You Are Here. I decided that this would be really appropriate for this binder. So I attached the template to the notebook.
I used the squeegee and spread the ink on the notebook. It is difficult to see in the picture, but the ink has glitter in it. I loved it.

Then I removed the stencil.
I had a craft fail on my hands. What do you do now? Start from scratch or repair or toss it out? It's a big question. I decided that I would try to repair it. I decided to pull out the silver paint pen.
I thought to myself that I could try to add more pink paint, but I decided against it. While I looked at the finished product, I thought to myself. The binder didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, but it reminds me that right now I am here. That isn't where I will be in the future. I will use the screen printing process again. But I'll have to learn more about how to paint on vinyl successfully.

Have you had any craft fails recently?