Posted in Garden & Yard, Kitchen-Cooking & Misc

Nostalgia For Stories while Breaking Beans

In my youth, I considered breaking beans to be an enjoyable chore. I felt so grown up helping to break the beans for canning while spending time with my Mom. Now, I consider breaking beans an enjoyable nostalgic activity.
I watch documentaries while doing any sort of lengthy food prep like breaking beans. I some times wonder why it is that I prefer to watch a documentary instead of a regular movie.
Perhaps, it’s because when I was growing up and I’d help my Mom break beans, shuck corn, peel peaches or any one of many time consuming chores, she would tell stories that ran the gamut from silly to serious. The stories helped to pass the time and made the chore more enjoyable. I feel blessed and so very thankful to have these wonderful memories of my Mom.
A documentary is more personal than a movie, it’s like folks sitting around sharing stories of their experiences and thoughts. I suppose watching a documentary while breaking beans is my feeble way to relive a tiny bit of the special story telling moments from my youth.

Wishing you all many happy moments this week.

 

 


 

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Posted in Flashbacks & My Old Posts

Cheese Puffs, a Cautionary Tale – Flashback Friday

Sometime ago, I was cutting across our local department store trying to take the shortest route between the craft isle to the fishing isle where my husband was shopping. I was weaving in and out of isles I don’t usually frequent and as I darted through the party favor isle my eyes happened upon these wonderful little tongs.I had been searching for little tongs like this for years. It never occurred to me to check in the party stuff for them. There’s 6 of them for less than $2.00. I happily put them in my cart and bought them.These little tongs are perfect for cheese puffs, pickles, chips, marshmallows or most any little snacks.
I usually use a fork to eat cheese puffs with. I like the tongs much better.

As I was photographing the tongs to make a post about how handy they are, I remembered a fun post from my ex-blog about cheese puffs. I dug through my files, found the post and made a few edits. Since I don’t have that blog anymore and I have several New Blogging Buddies & Readers, I’m going to post it again.
It makes me smile to share this with you. I hope it gives you a bit of a smile too.
~*~

Cheese Puffs, a Cautionary Tale

When my grandson was a little boy, he’d asked me many times, “Grandma, Why do you eat Cheese puffs with a fork? You’re the only person I know that eats cheese puffs with a fork.”
I’d tell him, “I don’t like to get the cheese crumbs under my fingernails.”
But for some reason, my explanation would get lost and again, the next time he had cheese puffs, even if I didn’t eat a one, we’d have the same conversation.I was thinking about cheese puffs and my grandson asking me over and over again about why I eat them with a fork. I remembered a fond childhood memory about a funny conversation I had with a special Uncle about cheese puffs. For a few minutes I mused if maybe it has something to do with my odd quirk of character of eating cheese puffs with a fork.

When I was a child, we had a big family. Chili was an affordable hearty food to feed many hungry mouths. Unfortunately, I was the only member of the family that couldn’t eat chili. It just didn’t agree with me. So, When Mom would make chili, she’d have my Dad take me to the local grocery store and buy me a can of chicken noodle soup and a bag of cheese puffs.
Also whenever I had a cold or tummy ache or other childhood ailment, cheese puffs and chicken noodle soup was a couple of foodies that would pull me through.I had a wonderful Uncle who was big as a mountain with a heart as big as the sky. He loved to tease us young’uns. He and my Aunt happened to be visiting once when Mom made up a huge batch of chili. Mom and my Aunt took me to the store and bought me my chicken noodle soup and cheese puffs.

That evening when everyone had finished their chili, I was still munching on my cheese puffs, I had learned to make them last since they were a rare treat.
My Uncle asked me why I was eating chicken noodle soup and cheese puffs instead of chili.
I told him that I couldn’t eat chili. I then offered him a cheese puff.
He said he would never eat a cheese puff because he didn’t trust them.
Then he told me an amusing story that has stuck with me my whole life.

My Uncle said when he was a little boy, he loved eating cheese puffs. Unfortunately, his hands would get cheese crumbs all over them and he’d need to wipe them a lot. He didn’t have a napkin handy and didn’t want to ruin his shirt or pants, so he’d wipe his hands off in his hair. And oh what glorious locks of hair he bragged he had as boy.
Sadly, one morning after he had eaten a bunch of cheese puffs the night before, he woke up and his hair had turned curly and yellow like cheese puffs and then it all fell out.
This, he explained, was why he was bald-headed even as a grown man because his hair never grew back. He refused to ever eat cheese puffs again. He warned me to be careful because it could happen to me too. Then he gave a hearty laugh and patted me on the head.

I remember giggling at his silly cheese puff story. Even though I knew he made the story up, I kept my hands washed and the cheese puff crumbs out of my hair just to be sure.

I wish my Uncle was still with us, I’m sure he would tell my Grandson the same amusing cautionary tale about eating cheese puffs. I’m so thankful that my Uncle took the time to make up a silly story to share a laugh with me.

~*~

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend filled with smiles and special moments.

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Posted in Miscellaneous

A Half Century of Garden Doll

Once upon a time circa the late 1800’s or the early 1900’s a family lived at a home-place snug in the southern countryside. Unfortunately, sometime in the early/mid part of the 1900’s, the homeplace burned and the family sold the land and moved away.

The ruins of the burned homeplace were cleared and the land went back to scrub and wilderness. After many years had passed, the new owner sold the land to my parents.

It was the mid-sixties. Our house didn’t set on the same spot where the original house had sat. The area where we think the house had burned was really flat. My folks cleared trees and underbrush and made a huge garden. There wasn’t any sign that a house had been there except for the bits of broken things that was unearthed from disking the soil and washed up by rains.

My Garden doll pieces collection started with my finding a little bisque doll leg. I was about 6 years old then and oh what a treasure it was. I’d never seen a bisque doll before.  I walked the garden as often as possible after that, especially after rains. Over the years, I found a couple of body pieces and I was sure that one day I’d find the head and rest of it.

I spent alot of time as a child walking the garden hoping to find any treasure that might have surfaced. Rocks mostly and broken bits of dinnerware was the usual, sometimes an old rusty piece of metal, but every now-and-then, something wonderful would surface. The coolest of the findings were the doll parts, a bottle, a coin and an old thimble. The doll parts have always been like my special little treasures. I never had the heart to throw them away. The funny thing is, that I kept the leg and body parts for decades. I even moved a half dozen times and I still hung on to the little box of broken dirt stained parts. Isn’t that strange?dpartsDuring the Summers of 2007 & 2008, my brother, who still lives at our family home place, found part of a doll face , a doll hand, 2 doll feet and miscellaneous other parts as well. My brother sent me the doll parts to add to the slowly growing doll parts collection. My brother became quite knowledgeable about the antique dolls after he found the doll face. He and I had many conversations about the doll parts and the antique methods of the body styles and makings of dolls. There were so many clever and creative ways that dolls were made and put together back then that there is no telling what any of the dolls originally looked like that our parts went too.

famdolI’ve wondered many times about the little girls that originally owned the dolls. I feel they must have been so sad and unhappy to lose their precious little playmates from the fire and moving away. At that time in the south, bought dolls were quite a special thing for country folks to have. I picture in my mind the little girls giving the dolls life, making them dance and sing; giggles and tea parties and sleeping snugly in their little arms. It must have been such good fun to share so many precious moments with the little bisque dolls.

The gardening days of our old home-place has passed for now. The doll parts collection ends with the ones I have. No more treasures will be found unless erosion uncovers them or a puppy-dog digs them up. I realize our garden doll will never hold any value for anyone except for the nostalgic and sentimental value I feel about it. It’s a fun heirloom and brings a bittersweet nostalgic smile to my heart. I’m happy to be the keeper of this treasure.

I occasionly search for info on any of the doll parts or the dolls they go to. I would love to hear any info that you may have and share with me about these parts or these old dolls?

Wishing you all happy treasure finds this week!

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Posted in Flashbacks & My Old Posts, Sewing

Farm Kids Quilt (2)

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Repost from –> August 31, 2011 (edited)
My Farm-Kids Quilt is finished
How I quilt a quilt on my regular sewing machine

August 31, 2011 –> I finished my farm-boy & sunbonnet sue quilt today. I’m pleased as peaches with it. Especially since it was the first queen size quilt I ever made. Originally I made the quilt top full-size to fit our bed. I decided to change it to a queen-size because someday we’re going to need a new bed and I figure we’ll buy a queen-size instead of getting another full-size. Because of the extra-added size, I ran into a few issues, but I managed to work them out okay.

I want to share the method I used to quilt it. I’m lousy at taking quilt photos because I can’t get a really good angle, but hopefully, you all can figure out the gist of what I did.

q11) Lay backing on the floor wrong-side up

q22) Lay batting on top of backing

q33) Lay quilt top right-side up on top of batting.

q44) Starting from the outer edge, Use safety-pins to join the top, batting & backing together.
Put safety-pins every so many inches all across the quilt.
q4aI roll the quilt up as I go because it makes it easier to handle.
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q65) After it’s pinned all the way across,
unroll quilt and spread it out flat.

q76) Starting at outer edge, roll each side to the middle

q87) Carefully slide the quilt under the pressure foot.

q98) Starting in the middle, Sew in the seam (ditch) or near the seam.
Be careful and remove the safety pins as you go and don’t sew over them.
Unroll the quilt as you go.

After you finish the first half, flip the unrolled half around and place the quilt back under the pressure foot and continue until you reach the outer edge.
*The main idea is to start at the center of the quilt and work your way to the outer edges.

q109) Here’s the finish quilted quilt
It’s 90″x93″ inches

q1110) Above photo is the middle after it’s quilted.

q1211) Here’s what the back of the finished quilt looks like

q1312) Here’s a close up of the back of the finished quilt.

All-in-all I think it turned out quite well.
It’s soft and snugly and will be warm this winter.

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Today, January 24, 2015

q00After I finished the quilt I didn’t like the squared corners, so I rounded them off.
Also, originally, when I made this quilt we didn’t have a queen size bed. I guessed at the dimensions.
We got a queen size bed this past fall and I was surprised delighted to see my quilt fit perfectly.

Wishing you all happy crafting.
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spgrnbgln

Posted in Flashbacks & My Old Posts, Sewing

Farm Kids Quilt (1)

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Repost from –> July 11, 2011 (edited)
Weekly Photo Challenge: Old Fashioned

The topic for July 11, 2011 week’s photo challenge hit right in sync with what I’ve been up to lately. I get nostalgic from time-to-time and try to find or make something from the past to reconnect with my memories. Gardening season is particularly nostalgic for me because my parents planted a big garden every year. My Mom loved it and spent as much time as possible tending it and harvesting the scrumptious veggies. I’m thankful I live where I can have a garden because gardening makes a special connection of so many treasured memories for me.

This year along with my thoughts of Mom’s joy of gardening came the memories of her joys of sewing and quilting. These thoughts put me into the quilt making mood. I wanted to make one like a sampler quilt of the ‘old fashioned’ designs that were Mom’s and my favorites.  Mom made many beautiful quilts. In the early years all her quilts were to keep our large family warm and snug at night. In later years after we young’uns were grown and in our own homes, she’d make quilts and donate most of them to charities, but a few she gave to family. I have a couple that she made me and I truly treasure them.

I’m having to make the patterns from scratch and it’s not been an easy thing to do. I look online for the closest design and then I take paper, pencil and ruler and make them like I remember Mom’s to have been. I’ve a great admiration for my Mom and the way she would whip through making a pattern by grabbing a piece of paper and scissors and just cut it out freehand with no measuring. After she finished a quilt top, she would either quilt it on her sewing machine or do the tacking method. Mom was a talented seamstress and could sew up most any design of quilt or clothing or anything else without a store bought pattern. She was truly an artist with fabric.

When I started making my quilt blocks I wanted a couple of them to be farm kids. My Mom had a farm-boy quilt top that she made when she was a teenager. She also had an incomplete unfinished farm-girl quilt top. I always loved the quilt tops and wish she had of finished them into full quilts. Every so often, she would take the farm-boy quilt top and lay it out on the bed and speak about it in such loving nostalgic tones. It was just wonderful. Mom hand sewed each applique into place. It must have taken her months of dedicated work to get them all together. I recall that some of the fabric pieces had their own story of where she got them. I wish I could recall everything she’d said about it. The farm-boy squares were pieced together with red fabric borders (that’s the color I remember it to be.) It was such a fun and cheerful quilt top.

I don’t know where Mom’s quilt tops are now and I didn’t have them to go by. I had to create the farm-boy from memory. I couldn’t find anything online that resembled him. There’s a Sunbonnet-Sam but he isn’t like Mom’s farm-boy. It took me a few days, but I finally managed to design what I think is a close rendition of him. The farm-girl was a bit easier, she’s known as Sunbonnet-Sue. She has many variations. I wish I had better memories of her but Mom didn’t get her quilt top out but just a couple of times. I’m lucky I even recall her at all. I think my farm-kids look okay. I cheated and used the sewing machine to applique them on. I’m too lazy and impatient to hand-sew them on.

Anyway, at this moment I have all my blocks made and will make a post on the quilt top when I get it all sewn together. I think Mom would be proud of my efforts. I remember how much she enjoyed when I made quilts for my son and grandson. I sure wish I had her talents for the ease of design and making the quilts. Mom was truly a wonderful homemaker: sewing, cooking, canning, gardening, yardening and so many other things.

Do you ever get in nostalgic moods and try to find or recreate a something from scattered bits of memory? How did it go? Are you like me and fairly satisfied with the results of your efforts?

Wishing you all good old fashioned down-home fun times of making memories and carrying on traditions.

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July 25, 2011

I’m happy to report that
I found time today to finish my quilt top.
I think it turned out pretty well.
quilt-2011
My husband looked at it and told me, “That’s pretty. I feel warmer already.” lol
I hope I get it quilted before winter so we both can feel it’s warmth. :p

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Today, January 23, 2015
Check back soon for the last post of the
quilting and finishing of my Farm Kids Quilt.

Wishing you all a happy weekend.
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spgrnbgln

Posted in Flashbacks & My Old Posts, Kitchen-Cooking & Misc

Using a Mason Jar with a blender For a Single Smoothie

 

My sister has one of those handy dandy single smoothie blender thingies. Like a good little sister still following in her big sister’s footsteps, I wanted one too. I use my blender for smoothies. It’s a bit off-putting to have to wash the many parts for one little old smoothie. So, as I said, I wanted a single smoothie maker.

I went shopping around the internet and was quite dismayed by the prices of the better rated single smoothie makers. I was sad and thought that I’d just stick with my blender… ~sigh of dismay~ and then my little old gears began to turn in my mind and brought forth a memory…

Back in 2001, after a stroke, my Mom couldn’t eat solid foods anymore. My Brother was her primary caretaker and he figured out a way to puree several different foods and keep them on hand without having to clean a complete blender every time: he used mason jars instead of the blender’s pitcher container.
It’s such a clever idea, I asked him how he thought of it.
He told me that back in his younger days, he and his friends made daiquiris in mason jars.
I think it was wonderful he remembered it. I believe that God teaches us things to use later on in life, even when we’re not aware of it. I think the lesson of the mason jar and blender was meant to help during the time of his caring for our Mother.
Mom was certainly grateful for his knowledge and tender care in helping her to try and get better. I wish Mom was still with us. I think she would enjoy the smoothie craze. She loved making milkshakes for us young’uns and our Dad. Mom loved making new recipes, especially dessert type foods.

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After remembering about the mason jar and blender idea, I got a pint mason jar,  put some ingredients in it and happily made a single smoothie.
Goodness it was tasty and clean up was so much easier.

Unfortunately, not all blenders are mason jar friendly. However, if your blender is one that can be used with a mason jar and if you decide to use this idea, some of my following suggestion might be helpful:
-follow blender manufacturers recommendation about ice or frozen ingredients.
-fill the jar only about 3/4 or less of-the-way full,
-make sure the blender collar fits the neck of the jar securely

-use quick ‘pulses’ until you’ve chopped up the crushed ice or/and frozen fruit and/or large chunks of foods. After it’s fairly well chopped up, blend it normally.
-now and then you may need to take the jar off the blender base, leave the blender collar/blades on the jar, shake the food down and then put the jar back on the base to blend some more.
-you can pour your smoothie in a glass or do like I do and drink it from the jar.

I’m glad I remembered the mason jar/blender idea. I use it for more than smoothies. It’s easy to chop nuts, bread crumbs, crackers or other things, put a ring/lid on the jar and save them for later.

Do you have a favorite blender recipe or helpful hint?
Wishing you a smooth rest of the week.

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