Sunday, March 29, 2009

Herb and Veggie Garden. . . and so it begins

The more I research herbs and the health benefits, the more motivated I am to start a garden . . . again. Due to minor, but painful, physical limitations, I put off doing one until I saw the Backyard Botanical Garden at Sam's. After doing an Internet search, we bought one Saturday, March 28, our 29th wedding anniversary. :D It is not romantic; but, hey, we will be so much healthier after this thing gets going when I start using fresh herbs and veggie right off the plant.

Isn't it neat? It has 20" high, self-contained garden beds, made of cedar, has an automatic irrigation system, a trellis,and screens above the beds to keep out critters. However, we have deer which can jump over anything up to about 5 feet, and there is also Maggie, the adopted dog. Maggie jumps back and forth over the couch, so I'm not sure the plantings will be protected since she has determined all plants except for roses are intruders. We may have to get one of those 6 foot, chain-link fence dog runs from Tractor Supply to surround the garden. One step at a time, though.

Home, at last, and ready to unload the boxes.

Amazingly, the boxes were easy to unload even though each weighed 160 pounds. We maneuvered them off the truck and placed them next to where the garden is to be assembled. We hoped that we would not have to level the area; yet upon closer inspection, we decided to get some fill and level. Tuesday is D day to pick up the fill except for one small inconvenience .....a little red light appeared on the truck's dash telling us "check engine." :D The truck is with the mechanic. Hopefully, there is no major problem, and the truck will be back in working order to pick up the fill. If not, Thursday is the alternative D day.

Here is a link to the Backyard Botanical Blog which is most helpful. It has a shopping list as well as a planting guide. We are going to substitute the bagged garden soil listed with a garden soil from Geo Growers of Austin. They "make" dirt. :D I love to use organic products.

I'll keep you posted as we go along.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pizza Tonight, Veggie that is

If you like veggie pizza, give this one a try because I get compliments all the time when I bring it to pot luck gatherings. Hubby loves it too.

1 pizza crust,thick or thin, your preference

Pizza sauce

Shredded cheese, combo cheddar and mozzarella

I use the following order when adding ingredients. I do not measure the toppings but spread it around until the crust can hold no more. The toppings will cook down some.

chopped red onion
chopped green pepper
sliced zucchini squash
broccoli floret pieces

Spanish olives
ripe olives
sliced grape tomatoes
8 oz package of mushrooms, sliced
Top again with cheese

Just before adding the last cheese topping.

Place in the oven at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted; veggies stay a little crunchy. When the pizza comes out of the oven, run a pizza cutter over it.

Additional toppings:

red pepper flakes
grated Parmesan cheese
parsley sprigs- full of antioxidants and settles the stomach

Voila! Hot out of the oven, sliced and ready to eat! Enjoy.

Until next time, God bless.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Seven Somthings - Art Award

Daisy Soap Girl,, was kind enough to recommend me for this art award. It is my first award which makes it all the more exciting. I met Daisy online just a few weeks ago and find her to be delightful and a very talented soapmaker. I really enjoy reading her blog because she has an easy and inviting writing style. Although I haven't met her in person, I know that if we lived nearby, I'd love to meet her for lunch or over a coffee.

When you receive the award, you are to list seven things or people you are passionate about, give the award to seven bloggers you feel are worthy, list the person who gave you the award, and place the award logo on your blog.

I am passionate about:

1) Bible studies - I've searched for years to find Bible studies that I can really get excited about and finally it came together. The Bible studies I've attended the past two years have been wonderful.

2) My parents - My dad was my first hero. He passed away in 1995 and my mother passed away in 1997. However, both were wonderful, so giving, so understanding, and supportive. A day does not go by that I do not remember something they said or did or the funny things that happened.

3) My children - Both are grown men and are a delight to be around. They are smart and witty, and while I am not yet a grandmother, I still have hope.

4) Good movies - I love a good movie; one without foul language and a good heartwarming story or one with a good moral principal.

5) My dogs - I just love my dogs, although I am afraid I have a favorite, Luc, the Lab. He is smart, easy going except on certain occasions - like people coming to visit. He almost reads my mind. Maggie, the adopted, pound dog and Luc's lady friend, is sweet but a little needy. She is smart and has assigned herself sentry duties.

6) My hobbies - I fabricate jewelry from silver stock but currently doing some fused glass projects. Glass fusing is fun and interesting, and I want to take some in-depth classes in order to do more complex glass projects. I sew a little when I really want something for the house and cannot find what I want when shopping. And, I scrapbook when the mood strikes.

7) Blogging - This could be called a hobby; however, it is the newest passion. I find it challenging to write on a regular basis along with working with my camera. The camera stayed in the closet for at least two years until I started blogging. I carry the camera with me everywhere just in case I run across something interesting to photograph and then write about it for the blog.

The seven bloggers I think are worthy of this award are:

Astro Galaxy Travel,
GAJLS Beads 'n Such,
Thoughts on Jane Austen and Other Cultural Icons,
Healthy Harvest,
The Tiny Homestead,
Home Sweet Home Inspirations,

plus one more...I maybe cheating but thoroughly enjoy Organized Chaos,

I verified all the links. I hope you enjoy these delightful blogs.

Until next time, God bless.

Manic Monday #160

Ok, people, leave me some answers. Puleeeze.

Do you screen your phone calls?

Lynn: Rarely do I screen my phone calls. When we are in an election cycle, I many times allow the answering machine to pick up.

When was the last time you lost your temper?

Lynn: The last time hubby had the news blaring. :D Hmmm, yesterday?

When lost do you ask for directions?

Lynn: Yes, no sense in driving around for 30-45 minutes when a quick stop at a convenience store to ask a direction question takes about three minutes.

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Scrap Glass. . . Throw Nothing Away

I wanted to do some small desk top trays, but with a 14 inch kiln I could not find a tray slump mold small enough to fit on 12 inch, round kiln shelf which is the largest shelf size that will fit in the kiln. I decided to make a slump mold to fit in the kiln. I used a 1/2 inch thick fiber board, cut a 12 inch x 6 inch piece, cut out the inside leaving 1 inch on each side, soaked it in liquid mold hardener, dried, then fired in the kiln to burn out the impurities.

I cut enough 1/4 inch glass strips for two layers, alternated colors to make a pattern, then fused. After the glass was fused, it went back into the klin to be slumped in the mold I made.

I had some scrap glass left and decided that since the above mold had performed so well, I would make two more molds, but this time I would do a bowl.

A saucer was used for the first circle. After the circle was drawn, I cut it out with a craft knife, soaked the form in mold hardener, dried, sanded the inside to smooth the sides, then popped into the kiln for burn out of impurities.

A top from a spaghetti sauce bottle was used for the second cut.

The scraps are layered with some medium size frit in the first circle

The glass is completely fused. The second circle is used to slump the glass into the shape desired.
This is the first bowl which sold at the Christmas fair. However, I liked it so well that I did three more at different heights.
These blend well with both trays and can be used as votives, a small flower vase, or a container for paper clips.

Until next time, God bless.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Manic Monday #159

Are you a saver or spender?

Lynn: I am a saver and more so in these trouble economic times. If I can do without, I do.

Do you prefer to walk around barefoot in your home? Socks? Shoes?

Lynn: I walk around barefoot in the summer and with socks when it is cold.

Do you talk to yourself?

Lynn: Yes, but I don't answer. lol

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pendant Project No. 2

Here is another project that I am working on for a friend. She liked the blue dichro pendant that is featured in the Plum Wild Glassworks+ slide show -- upper right corner of this blog. That pendant sold a couple of months ago. It is hard to duplicate a pendant made several months ago, but I happened to have another one that was made the same day. I did not like the look of the pendant after doing a wire bail. At last, there was a good reason to rework the entire pendant.

Since I drilled a hole in the glass, I had to come up with a new idea to use the same pendant for my friend while at the same time satisfying myself.

I decided to break it up. One problem, though, it was so thick that it was next to impossible to break along the score line. As you can see, out of desperation, I put the glass in a workshop vice, tightened until I thought the pliers would break, held my breath, kept tightening, and the glass finally broke as shown in the photo below.

My friend not only wanted a pendant but also wanted earrings, and if possible, a ring. I used the grinder to shape all the pieces; you'll notice the dull edges. One of the nice things about glass is you can do what is called a fire polish at a temperature lower than a full fuse and the grinding marks go away.
Viola! This is what you get after doing a fire polish. The sides are rounded, smooth and "glassy." :D Pay no attention to the dark spots in the pendant; it is just the way the light hits some of the dichro. I tried editing the dark spots, but it looked weird. The spots are not there when looking directly at the pendant. It is quite a challenge photographing pendants, and I haven't yet gotten it down nor have I become accomplished on my photo editing software.

The earrings are done with only the ring to be finished. I'll use the single piece of glass as a cabochon. I have the plan. It has been three or four years since I've done any silversmithing, so the ring is taking a little longer to finish. I just hope the plan works as I see it in my brain!

My friend is quite pleased with the pendant and earrings which is what matters. :D She is patiently waiting for the ring.

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Pendant Project

Some friends helped me out with a problem; and as a thank you for their time and suggestions, I made geometric pendants based on the dominate colors in their wardrobe.

I cut, glue, stack the glass, and place in a kiln to fuse the pieces together.

Using a six segment program, the kiln is ramped up to 1425 degrees and then cooled down to 100 degrees. When programing the kiln, particular attention is given to sufficiently cooling down or annealing the glass so stress fractures will not appear months or even years later.

Each pendant is capped with a piece of clear glass in a second firing, following the same type of six segment, ramp up and cool down schedule. The cap glass is slightly larger than the piece to be capped -- appears bigger in the photo than it actually is. While the second firing is in progress, I start on the bails.

I begin with a flat piece of 24 gauge silver, a ruler to set the width, and a scribe to mark a line for me to use when sawing then divide the strip into three bails.

After sanding the strips to get a straight edge, I wrap each strip around something that will give me an opening large enough for a jump ring and chain to go through. Next, the bails go into a tumbler filled with water, a few drops of Dawn liquid soap and stainless steel shot. After four or five hours in the tumbler, the bails come out smooth and shiny.

When the pendants come out of the kiln after the second firing, I use sandpaper to scruff up the silver bail so the epoxy will have something to adhere to and stick the bail on the pendant.

And that, dear people, is how I make fused glass pendants. :D

Until next time, God bless.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spring Forward

Just wondering if you have adjusted to the new hours? It takes me a couple of weeks to adjust to springing forward and the same applies to when we fall back. What about you? How long does it take for you to adjust? Are you in favor of Daylight Savings Time?

While I know we'll have a couple more cold snaps, it will not be too cold, but then winters in Central Texas are not much to write about. We think it is cold if the temperature dips below 30, or maybe 28. Anyway, here are the Central Texas signs that spring is just a few weeks away.

The bright fuchsia of the red bud trees in bloom.

The mountain laurel graces the landscape with its magnificent purple blooms.

The pink blooms on peach trees show up. The peach trees get confused when the weather warms up and begin to bloom while there are a few more cold spells yet to come. With luck it does not freeze and the peach crop is abundant.

Pay no attention in the peach tree photo to that gray, cloudy sky. In your part of the country a gray sky probably means rain or snow is soon to fall, but we've had three gray days in a row and nary a drop of rain. Weathermen and the satellite have predicted a 60 percent chance of rain. Over the past few months we've had a 20 percent chance, a 30 percent chance, a 40 percent chance and no rain. So, I decided quit listening to the Weather Channel and go to the most accurate predictor of rain in this part of Texas: the Texas Sage. If it blooms, we will have rain; if it does not, no rain. Below are the pictures I took this afternoon.
It doesn't look good: no blooms, arrows point to four buds. And to prove it actually has four buds, here is a close-up.
If it ever rains again in our part of Texas and I am still doing a blog, lol, I promise to get a picture of a blooming Texas Sage.

Oh, don't forget. Tell me what you think about the time change. :D

Until next time, God bless.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Manic Monday #158

What would you do with an extra hour each day?

Lynn: What extra hour? lol If I could move the hour around day to day, I might sleep one day, read a couple of extra chapters in a book on another, extend a lunch date on another day, or do something more constructive than blogging. :D

Do you wear a watch? If so, tell us about it. If not, how do you keep track of time?

Lynn: I wear a watch sometimes when the watch band is not broken which it is now. If in the car, I check its clock; when home, I check the wall clocks or the computer; when out of the car or the house, I ask. Then again, I remember I have a cell and check it for time.

If it was possible, would you want to know how many days you had left to live?

Lynn: No, because as much as I would not want to do so, I'd probably start fretting about it.

Ok, y'all, leave some answers, please.

Until next time, God bless.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Which Herbs Go With Which Foods?

I was browsing through some of my cookbooks when I ran across The Con-
gressional Club Cookbook, copyrighted 1961. The book is from my mother's cookbook collection. The foreword is from Jacqueline Kennedy -- kind of neat, isn't it?

It is fun to read old cookbooks which offer all kinds of advice from cookery terms, to protocols, to herb usage, to recipes for removing stains and for making ink and for making lye soap. One old cookbook -- not the Congressional Club Cookbook, of course -- has a section entitled "Sum Old Cures."

The more we learn about herbs the more we realize their health benefits. I use a few herbs on my own and when listed in recipes but am quite hesitant to branch out without specific directions. It is time to change that. So, here is a chart from the The Congressional Club Cookbook, and even though this is a 1961 edition, the information is still good:

Basil with: tomato, fish and egg dishes, in ground meats, with calves' liver and fricassees of poultry, in salad dressing, spaghetti, eggplant, peas, beans, turnips and onions.

Caraway with: cottage cheese, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, sauerkraut, turnips, in vegetable stock, breads, appetizers with or without cheese.

Chives with: all onion-seasoned recipes, as a substitute. Add just before serving. (I sauteed chives like chopped onions and always wondered why my dish looked so crummy.)

Dill with: shrimp, fish sauces, potato salad, beans or cucumbers with sour cream, pickles. Use either green or seed.

Oregano with: lamb, all fowl, stuffings, lentils, broccoli, spaghetti, and hot Mexican dishes.

Rosemary with: soups, spinach souffle, roast beef, pork, veal and chicken stews, peas.

Sage with: salt fish, pork dishes, stuffings for goose, poultry, or duck, in cream or cottage cheese. Use sparingly in all instances.

Sweet Marjoram with:
omelets, eggs and cream cheese, chopped meats and sausages, roast chicken, lamb, pork, spinach, squash, tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, cabbage, slaw, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green salads.

Tarragon with:
fish, chicken, egg and tomato dishes, cream or butter sauces, salad dressings, ham, boiled meats, mushrooms, peas, pot greens, cabbage, celery root, in green salads and aspics.

Thyme with:
cheeses, aspics, onions, clam chowders, sparingly with chopped meats, stews, fricassees, stuffings, peas, carrots, and onions.

Make a copy of this chart for quick reference when cooking. Who knows, we might become world-class cooks after a little more experience cooking with herbs . . . hmmm, at least our families might think so. lol

Until next time, God bless.

Esther and Today's Purim Meaning

For those of us doing Beth Moore's study, Esther, It's Tough Being A Woman, I found the following article by Rabbi Eckstein, The Meaning of Purim, to be a great followup and extremely interesting.

Until next time, God bless.

Monday, March 2, 2009

It's Official: Severe Drought Conditions

I know I've been going on about the drought and the top soil blowing away. We are in severe drought conditions and it is official: see the Palmer Drought Severity Monitor at the NOAA. As of this

date, March 2, 2009, we here in Central Texas have the worst drought conditions in the U. S.

The photo on on the above left was taken on my back porch at 9 AM on Saturday morning, February 28, 2009. The photo on the right was taken four hours later at 1 PM.

I go out my back door several times a day, but when I went out yesterday, Sunday, March 1, I thought the dogs had found a pillow and torn it up because I saw hundreds of little, cream- colored pieces near the back of the yard fence. I walked out to examine closer and realized it was hundreds of little rocks that had been buried for years. I mow the yard and haven't had to concern myself with flying rocks when hit by the mower for over 20 years. That is no longer the case. As you can see, a good bit of the top soil was on my porch. I sweep just about every day, and while I've never had to sweep away as much as shown in the photos taken Saturday, I've swept a lot of top soil off the porches over the past few months. Saturday morning's accumulation is the worst I've seen.

Pray that we get rain. We are in desperate need as you can see.

Until next time, God bless.

Manic Monday #157

In view of these past couple of weeks concerning the economy, thank goodness these questions for Manic Monday are super easy:

If I was a car, I'd be:

Lynn: A Ferrari

If I was a drink, I'd be:

Lynn: A glass of lemonade

If I was emotion, I'd be:

Lynn: Happy, joyous and free. :D

Join in the fun and leave me your answers. Have a happy Monday and a happy rest of the week.

Until next time, God bless.