Monday, January 30, 2012

Organizing and a Field Trip

On The Stove:  Or beside it anyway.  I finally got my HUGE stack of recipes organized.  Hallelujah!  No more digging through a giant stack - having them crash to the floor - and never finding what I was looking for after all!

BEFORE:
AFTER:
Ahhh - nothing like a new 3-ring binder and dividers!  Have I ever said how much I LOVE school supplies?  It is almost an addiction!  Take a look inside my new recipe folder:

It is a mish-mosh of those free recipe cards you get in the mail, print-outs from online, and quick hand-written recipes of my Granny's.  After doing this - I found a ton of recipes I had forgotten about - I'm ready to try them out. 

On The Crafting Table:  I got it finished!  The Piggy Peasant Dress is Done!  And pretty darn cute, I might add.  What do you think?

The main fabric has the cutest little piggies on it - a dress for a friend whose daughter shows pigs.  And I think the fabric flower is too adorable too - it can work as a pin or in her hair - I love choices.  Similar dresses can be custom made for the girl in your life - email me at doodlebugkidz@centex.net or just comment on my Facebook page.

In the Field:  Well, sort of.  We took a trip to Waco this weekend for the Texas Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference (boy, that's a mouthful!).  It was a great time of learning and networking - got to meet some fun new friends that I'm sure I'll be seeing at all the TXFB events.

Did You Know?:  American Farmers are aging?  (Well, aren't we all?)  The average age of the American Farmer is 57 (my momma wouldn't think that's old!).  The majority of farmers are 45-64 years old with the fastest growing group 65+.  So who's going to grow all the food for the world population that is supposed to add 3 BILLION people in the next 40 years?  Makes you think, doesn't it?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sewing

On The Crafting Table:  Or off it, I suppose...another finished garment!  I picked up this totally cute pattern on Etsy a few days ago. 

I had this great fabric in stash, waiting for the perfect pattern.  Success!

This one is for Baby Girl, but I am also selling them on FB - check out my Doodle Bug Kidz page.  Available in sizes 3 mo to 12 years - $40 shipped.

A girlfriend of mine requested it in this fabric - SO totally cute!  Her daughter shows pigs - hence the love of this main fabric:

And I'm in process with this one, hoping to have it done today:

The first dress went together pretty quickly - this one is giving me more trouble.  Of course, it is probably because the first one was for Baby Girl and this one is actually for payment!  HA! 

In The Fields:  RAIN!  Praise the Lord!  A little over 1" last night.  The wheat is looking great - and this will help so much!  We went No-Till this year (meaning we don't plow our land, we leave the stubble of the prior year's crop and plant between the rows).  This keeps the topsoil from blowing (like it did on other fields around here this past Sunday - man, was it windy!)  The stubble also helps protect the new growth from the winds and harsh sun.  It also helps keep moisture in the ground - a plowed field will dry right up - a No-Till field has a crust of dirt and all the dried stubble helps keep the moisture in the ground. 

I'll try to get pics of our no-till soon!

Off to finish this dress, hopefully before Baby Girl wakes up from her morning nap...oh, and I should probably try to get breakfast in somewhere too...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sewing Inspiration

On The Crafting Table:  In one of my prior posts, I showed a picture of the cute knitted hat and flower pin. Well, I have finally finished the rest of the gift for my girlfriend - due any day now.  I've finally got it all packed up and will take to the post office on Monday!  I made a coordinating ruffled bubble romper and blanket - too cute, I think.  My first attempt at a double-sided blanket with ruffles - I love it!


On another related subject, I used to have this stand-up thread holder.  It would only hold 60 spools - but in reality it was WAY less than that.  I looked online and in "real" stores for a larger one, but they were super-expensive.  I saw a post on one of the blogs I follow (naptimecrafters) about how her husband used a peice of plywood and nails to make her a thread holder.  That seemed to be too much work, so I came up with my own version - total cost ($10).

I found a corkboard at Wally-World for $8 and then 2 sets of pushpins for about $1 each - $10!  This was so easy, plus, if I ever get a fancy thread holder I can use this for something else!  It is so nice to have all the colors on the wall - instant access to color-matching!

Do you remember the last post with all the cutest pics of the patterns I bought?  Well, I got my fabric for those patterns.  Total love!  Here's a preview of the fabrics.

I'll definitely post pics when the items are completed.  And of course, nearly everything I make can be made in a variety of sizes - check out my rather sad etsy shop - doodlebugkidz.etsy.com.  I guess it would help if I actually made things to sell instead of making them all for Baby Girl!

And be tuned for clothes for Mama too!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Inspiration!


On The Crafting Table:  Finally!  Inspiration has struck!  I am making a gift set for a friend who is expecting her 2nd baby girl the first part of February.  Yes, I have been procrastinating!  I have been using my Knifty Knitter and love it!  So fast and so easy!  So I made this cute newborn hat and flower hairclip earlier today.

Ok, so maybe the flower is HUGE, but it will be so cute on her baby girl!  I'm also in the midst of making a ruffled romper that matches this hat too.  I guess it's been a while since I've been sewing. Baby Girl is crawling now and is NOT content in her bouncer.  I got the fabric cut before she got fussy, but that's it.  I don't think it is safe to have the iron on while she's crawling around pulling up on everything she can find.  I guess I'll get it done when Daddy gets home.

I am so excited about spring and summer.  How can you not when it's sunny and 76 outside?  So I was searching for some new inspiration on etsy - and found it!  Check out:  tenderfeetstitches.blogspot.com.  She has an Etsy store and you can purchase all her patterns!  Here's a few I couldn't resist!





Lovely, aren't they? I can hardly wait! 

On The Bookshelf: The Lacemakers of Glenmara I found this book at Sam's - less than 1/2 the original price.  I finally got around to reading it.  Really wonderful book!  A great story of the power of friendship.  If you enjoy Maeve Binchy, you'll love this one!


Friday, January 13, 2012

I love Axis meat!

In The Field & On The Stove : Axis.  The bane of our existence.  Yesterday My Love was at one of our leased places and counted - get this - 120 axis grazing on our wheat!  All that grazing is called depredation - they are essentially killing our wheat crop.  Since they do not require tagging, and are considered an exotic - they can be killed at any time, any place, as long as you have a license.   So My Love and his brother took off yesterday afternoon and shot 6 axis.  That really doesn't put much of a dent in the population - 5% actually.  We kept 1 of the axis (the others were donated).  So last night Nana watched Baby Girl for about an hour and a half while My Love and I skinned and quartered the axis.  Thankfully it was cool last night, so we were able to store the meat in our storage building until I could process it today. 


This is the meat "in process".  At this point I had already processed the backstrap, tenderloin, and 1 hindquarter.  What you see here is a shoulder.  About 5 hours later...


Supper!  Well, several meals anyway.  I totalled it all up:

14 pkg steaks - 17.5 lbs.
2 roasts - 5.5 lbs
1/2 full backstrap - 1.5 lbs.
tenderloins - 1 lb.
hamburger (not shown) - 12 lbs.

A total of 36 lbs of meat!  All for free - essentially anyway.  I think the bullet cost about $1.  This will feed My Love and I about 40 meals.

I decided to look up how much axis meat is sold for - between $20 and $30 per LB!  So at 36 lbs, I have about $900 worth of meat here!  But we will just use it in place of beef - which is a much more reasonable figure - $259. 

40 meals for $1...not bad!




Thursday, January 12, 2012

Knitting

On The Crafting Table:  I have always wanted to learn how to crochet or knit.  I tried it when I was younger (about 3rd grade), but I couldn't keep my stitches loose enough.  I haven't tried again.  Do you remember finger-knitting?  You wrap yarn around your fingers, making two layers, then taking the bottom layer and pulling it off your finger, over the top layer?  www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3LKAlDz9ig I used to do this all the time as a kid!  Loved it !  No tools required.  I've been playing around with it - the scarf created isn't very wide, so I made 4 of them and am now connecting them together.

Also, I found this great knitting set called a Knifty Knitter.  It is a set of 4 plastic circles with pegs which you use to create scarves, hats, etc - essentially the same concept as finger-knitting, but you can make much larger items.  It is SO easy!  I made a baby hat last night in about an hour (including time to figure out what the heck I was doing!) 



This was my first attempt, so it wasn't all that great, but hey, it worked!  I'm really excited to try something different - maybe a scarf for myself, or a larger hat to fit my baby girl - or maybe even myself! 

Designs by Deborah (downtown Brady) sells these kits, as well as the hugest selection of fun yarns.  I spent quite a bit of time there today - I love that place!  They also sell quilting fabric, which I use to make Baby Girl outfits.  I can hardly wait until summer so I can make her more fun outfits!

I will be using the Knifty Knitter at our next Melvin Extension Educators meeting (Melvin Ladies Group), of which I am President.  I'm interested to see what the ladies can create!

On The Stove:    Leftover chicken and dumplings from Christmas (no, I froze them!)  Perfect for such a cold, blustery day!

In The Nursery:  Baby Girl is crawling - well sort of anyway.  She can get anywhere she wants - including behind the recliner - which is where she is right now, as I type this, sitting in the same recliner.  It's amazing how, of all her fun toys, she wants to pull on the lamp wire and plug.  I did finally get a baby gate for her nursery door - no more finding her in the hallway... Now I just have to learn to keep everything off the floor and out of her reach!

Last night when I was giving her a bath, she grabbed the side of the tub and pulled herself to a standing position!  I was so proud! The tub has built-in bumps on the bottom to keep from slipping, but Baby Girl's balance isn't so great - and she stood for about 3 seconds before she started to fall over.  I grabbed her of course.  But that, my friends, is why you should NEVER leave a baby in a bathtub alone!   

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rain!

In The Field : Praise the Lord!  We received almost an inch of rain - soft, slow, steady rain - beautiful rain!  However, with temperatures not reaching much above 40 degrees today, the new baby lambs are having a tough time.  Tonight and the next few days will be a test of their endurance.  Lord, keep them warm and healthy!

On The Stove:  They're finally done!  The turtles are COMPLETE!  Since it was raining this morning, My Love stayed home and helped me get the caramel cut.  Little did I know, an 8x8 pan of caramels makes a LOT of caramel!  Over 100 pieces!  I was ill-prepared to make over 100 turtles, so we cut up some wax paper and wrapped about half of them.

I lined 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and placed the caramels about 1" or so apart.  I pre-heated the oven to 250 degrees and let the caramels melt for about 5 minutes.  I pulled the first pan (the one on the bottom shelf) out first, then sprinkled pecans on the caramels.  By the time I was done with that, I had left the other pan in WAY too long!  The caramels spread thin and melted together - the ones on the end were crusted over.  But it worked!

I then pulled each caramel off the paper and rolled it into a ball, mixed the pecans in well.  I flattened each ball, placed it back on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  When I was finished (54 caramels later), I placed the sheet in the fridge to cool. 
After a few hours, I melted Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips in my double-boiler and dipped the caramels in the chocolate.  Note:  You can buy a fancy dipping utensil, but I bought a cheap-o fork from Wal-Mart, bent the handle to a 90 degree angle - and VOILA! - fancy dipping utensil!  I put the turtles back on the baking sheet and back in the fridge to cool.  Quite tasty - and pretty to boot!  Hope you give this a try - definitely going to do this for Christmas gifts next year...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Still Sicky

It's been a few days since I've been on here, Sorry!  Baby Girl is feeling MUCH better - I however, am not.  I missed church this morning, something I never do.  The few hours of rest without a husband and baby to take care of sure helped.  I'm feeling much better now - I hope it continues.

The Fig Leaf:  About a year and a half ago, I thought it would be a great idea to have a thrift store in Eden, Texas, where we attend church.  Our church was not able to fund it, and I dropped the idea, but not after discussing it with Kathy Keane, Eden's economic director.  She followed through with the idea, and The Fig Leaf was born.  Half the profits of The Fig Leaf go to the Eden Public Library (great timing since 99% of library funding was cut by the State).  The other half go to scholarships for students who volunteer at The Fig Leaf.  Of course, adult supervision is always necessary.  This past Saturday was my first day to volunteer to work. And what a day it was!  I had so much fun - and worked pretty hard too.  To be perfectly honest, it was wonderful to be able to leave Baby Girl in capable hands and give Mommy a much-needed break.  If you are ever in Eden on a weekend, check out The Fig Leaf! 

In the Nursery:  Baby Girl is starting to crawl!  She doesn't have her coordination down yet - and she's not very consistent - but she's doing so great!  If Ceth would let me post pictures on here, I'd let you see her progress.  She's been getting very tired of her bouncer - after about 4 months with the same toy, I'd probably be bored too.  So we bought her a Jeep walker (from Amazon, of course!).  It arrived a few days ago and Ceth put it together.  It is hilarious watching her go.  She has reverse down like a champ - forward not so much!  She kept running into the Christmas tree (yes, I still had it up!).  Her first car wreck!  Anyway, I'm hoping to get another few months out of this toy - if it can just keep her occupied so Mommy can get the dishes done, it was worth it!

On The Stove:  Well, I finally got that caramel made.  It was a bit more work than I thought - took forever for the candy to get to the correct temperature.  However, it looks GREAT!  I only made it this afternoon, so I'm letting it set overnight, like the recipe suggested.  Ceth already got into it, so it isn't as pretty as I had hoped.  Tomorrow I cut it and I may attempt to make turtles from it.  The "plan" is to cut it into squares, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and slightly melt the caramel squares in the oven. Once melted, I'll coat the caramel in pecans, then chill them in the freezer for a few minutes.  Then I'll melt some chocolate and dip them.  We'll see how it turns out.  I may get some pics for you.

On the Crafting Table:  Speaking of pictures, I donated my old Canon 35 mm to The Fig Leaf - and sold it for $25, thank you very much!  I was very excited to use it, took it out when Tori and I went strolling - took some great pics, I think, anyway.  I headed to Wal-Mart the next day to get her prescription and thought I'd drop it off at the 1-hour photo.  Except the 1-hour photo is now only for digital prints.  They have to mail off the film, wait a week, then pick it back up.  And the cost is $10 for 1 roll, single prints!  CRAZY!  So I guess I'll probably never know if those pictures turned out great or not.  Aggravation.  So I took my little Canon Elph the next night, but it just wasn't the same.  I haven't checked those pictures out yet - maybe I'll post them on here and see what you guys think.

And yes, I finally got those Christmas decorations taken down.  This afternoon, actually.  The living room looks so empty now. It's so sad.  But at least Baby Girl has room to "drive" around without running into any more trees.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sicky

About a week ago, Ceth came home with a sore throat, which quickly escalated into nasty coughing and congestion.  Lots of Advil Cold & Sinus and Mucinex, and he was better.  However, not before sharing it with myself and Baby Girl.  The night before last, Baby Girl was feeling terrible.  She woke up coughing & congested. Not knowing what to do at midnight, we gave her Tylenol and some children's allergy medicine.  I held her for about 30 minutes (about like holding a 22 lb wriggling catfish!).  Finally, Ceth came in and held her (she loves for him to hold her until she falls asleep).  So I slept on the floor in her room and he slept holding her in the rocker-recliner.  Nobody was very comfortable.  Baby Girl woke up a little before 6 am and we gave her more meds.  She was like a totally different child - playing, laughing. What happened???

So yesterday we went to the "big city" for a doctor's appt for Baby Girl.  I didn't know what the problem was, so I wanted to nip it in the bud immediately.  No need for all of us to suffer.  Apparently she had croup.  We got a prescription for some steriod - since it is a virus, there's nothing else that can really help except time.  My Love went with us - rare, and wonderful!  We did some shopping (hit Hobby Lobby and got inspired again!).  My love finally bought me a dump trailer that you can attach to the back of your lawn mower or 4-wheeler, but you can also pull it by hand.  Our pecan trees are always losing limbs and I don't have anything to collect them in.  I'm very excited!

So we get home, get Baby Girl fed and bathed, ready for bed.  Then my love showers and I hold Baby Girl in the bathroom while it steams up. Then I shower and he holds her.  I put the humidifier on high and we all slept well - THANK GOD!  Baby Girl is raring to go again today - trying her hardest to learn to crawl.  She gets so frustrated!

I however, am not feeling so great.  My Love made me a glass of warm honey water - felt good on my throat.  Then the coughing commenced.  I couldn't breathe - through my nose or my mouth.  Scared me!  So I let him care for her while I got back into a steaming hot shower.  He was so thoughtful and brought me more Mucinex and Advil Cold and Sinus and some of that REALLY GOOD prescription cough medicine.  I'm finally feeling more normal.  I hate being sick.  At least maybe Baby Girl won't be so bad.  I'd definitely rather be sick than her...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I'm No Photographer & Amazon Love

So I originally wanted to talk about photography today.  Except I don't know much about it - only that I'm not that great at it - other than in those rare, wonderful, unpredictable instances.  So I'm going to do some learning - lynda.com has some free tutorials and then some not-so-free ones.  But it might be a good deal - $25 for a monthly membership and we'll see what I can learn.  Anyone out there have any suggestions for editing software?  I have a "vintage" Canon Rebel 35 mm (the nicer, film version) and a newer, point-and-shoot Canon Elph.  I don't have the $ for an SLR - though maybe for my birthday if I'm a good girl...I'm going to read up on the guides that came with  the cameras.  Maybe I'll be posting pics for you to compare and judge (not too harshly, please!). 

I made another purchase from Amazon today - batteries for my vintage Canon.  Amazon, have I told you lately that I love you??? 

The low-down on my life is that I used to live near Dallas.  I could get anything I wanted within 15 minutes.  Then I met my love and moved to BFE.  How BFE?  About 20 miles from the closest (and smallest) Wal-Mart Supercenter - seriously, it is the smallest one in Texas. Or 65 miles from the closest "real" shopping.  And "real" in this instance, is relative.   There's a mall (sort of) and a Ross.  So I can get by.  I can hardly wait until Baby Girl is old enough for more trips to Big D for some REAL shopping!!!

So what do I do when I need, for instance: camera batteries, a baby walker, and a candy thermometer - like - yesterday?  Amazon, baby!  I learned a few years ago that you can get pretty much anything on Amazon and get it shipped free, received in 2 days.  2 days?   There are months that go by before I make a trip to "the big city".  So why bother if I can get it shipped to me?  I don't have to leave the house, I don't have to wear makeup - and the UPS guy is so nice!  He knows I have a bambino so he just discreetly knocks instead of ringing the doorbell. 

And the prices - I have saved over 50% on some items!  Everything is usually at least 15%-20% off regular retail prices.  No, Amazon is NOT paying me to tout their services.  I just love it and couldn't live without it.  So Amazon, thank you!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The New Year Begins

Day 2 of 2012.  Baby girl is finally down for her morning nap and I have a chance to get this blog started. 

I have several different ideas flying around in my head constantly - this will be a chance to get them all written down - and hopefully keep me on track.

On The Bookshelf:  Left Behind series - started it way back when and never got the rest of the books.  Now that I am an Amazon Prime Member - I bought all the ones I needed.  I finished all 12 or 13 of the original series, and am now on the 3 "prequel-sequel" books.  Since I just finished Glorious Appearing, I opted to read the last book - Kingdom Come before I read the prequels.  I do have to say, the series is getting a bit old...I think they stretched it out too much. Glorious Appearing seemed to be a rehash of the Bible - not that I don't love it and it was interesting to see how many different books had verses relating to the end times, but there wasn't much story there.  The authors don't have as much biblical reference in Kingdom Come, so I'm hoping for more of the characters.

 On The Stove:  Turtles - and no, I'm not talking about real ones.  I've had a recent addiction to turtles - you know, the chocolate-covered pecan caramels.  Millionaires are great, but $8 for about 12 of them is ridiculous.  I found some cheater recipes that call for using pre-made caramels, but I'd like to do something more "real" than that.  So I found a caramel recipe http://candy.about.com/od/caramelrecipes/r/soft_caramels.htm that I want to try out.  Unfortunately, my last candy thermometer was glass and it shattered.  Ugh.  So on to Amazon to find one.

In The Garden:  Heirloom Tomatoes - In prior years we have stuck with hybrids - like Celebrity.  They produce and the flavor is nice, but somewhere I heard about heirloom tomatoes.  Thought I'd give them a try.  So last year I purchased a Cherokee Purple plant.  And we fell in love.  Unfortunately, so did the birds.  The drought caused massive bird depredation of our garden - at the last count, I lost a total of over 60 tomatoes to the birds.  We did get 3 tomatoes off our Cherokee Purple before it got so hot that all our vines stopped putting on.  About October, when things finally started cooling down and the vines were full again, it froze.  Ugh.  So it is about time to start my seedlings again and I'm trying to figure out what to plant this year.  Cherokee Purple again, definitely.  And tomatillos - want to make my own green sauce this year.  Gotta make my mind up soon...

In The Field:  Deer - or lack of THANK GOODNESS!  Deer love wheat.  It's the only green thing growing right now, and I can't say I blame them.  However, when I look out the window and see 30+ of them grazing down my profit, it just really gets to me.  Enter stage left:  Robbie & friends.  We met Robbie a few years ago when my father-in-law's cousin came to hunt.  Well, Robbie loves to hunt - and I mean hunt!  We are overrun with Axis deer (the best-tasting meat!) and he cleans house for us.  Over the last year or two, he's probably taken over 200 deer.  He has been cleaning and processing them and taking them back to his hometown where he donates the meat to needy families.  This year he found a processor that will take up to 600 of them, he will process them, then give the meat to the Food Bank.  Can't think of a better way to utilize the awesome meat and help us keep their numbers in check. Robbie was here over the holidays.  Now I look out the window and see maybe 1 or 2.  My bank account is content.

On The Craft Table:  Junk Mail - HA!  I went into crafting and sewing overdrive this past Christmas and burned out, I think. Or maybe I just haven't been inspired. I want to make baby girl a cute outfit for Valentine's Day, but that will require a trip to Hobby Lobby and who knows when that will happen.  I usually find inspiration from the other blogs I follow, but everyone has been doing the same thing I have - spending time with family and friends.  I need to check my Pinterest boards - maybe there's something on there that will inspire me...