Aug 20, 2015

5 Things I wish I had known before I started to can

So this year we have been super blessed with a great producing garden.  I am really excited to make some changes for next year to get even more harvest and maybe have a little more organization going on.  Right now, my sweet potato vines seem to have traveled the 50 feet around the garden to mingle with my squash.  The cucumbers are hanging out in the tomato trellises and my corn well...it just didnt do too great--but it couldnt considering I planted like 9000 seeds in a 4x4 box.  Oops, my bad.  :)

But there are a couple of things that the books and the professionals don't tell you when you ask about preserving your greatness to enjoy in the upcoming winter months.


1.  You dont have to have 2700 tomatoes to can.  You can preserve as you go.  You can do a few jars or fifty at a time.   Growing up I dont recall having a garden, but I know when my mom canned it was a weekend affair.  The kitchen was closed and there was a huge processing thing going on.  So I was always gun shy.  Did I really want to devote an entire weekend to making salsa?  So if you have 30 cucumbers that need to have a home...can them.  Sure you'll have just as many next week, but there is no reason to kill yourself trying to prepare enough for the army all at once.  During canning season I keep my supplies handy so it is not such a big deal to pull it out and do a few jars.

2.  Do not...I mean NOT touch the jars once you bring them out of the cooker/water bath.  I know it will be tough cause you want to touch and feel your handy work.  You want to see exactly if they sealed.  You want to ogle at the greatness.  DO NOT!  This can cause a false seal.  Where they look sealed, sound sealed but then weeks or even days down the road your pantry takes on a putrid smell and you realize that your jars of green beans are popping open and you have started to cultivate botulism.  You do not realize that it is indeed your precious jars until you notice the bread below is wet from something LEAKING all over it.  NOT that I know this first hand---Ive heard.  Hahahha--ok, yeah it was me.  So then you are faced with 3 bad things.  One, a huge mess in your storage area and two botulism is a serious bacteria.  I am sure you can clean it out of the jars with lots of disinfecting but I didnt want to chance it, so I had to throw away jars.  Three--your hard work and precious food is gone.  TRUST ME, learn from MY mistake.  Plus hearing the popping of the jars sealing in the next few hours is music!

3.  Do NOT reuse lids.  If you are the slightest bit uncertain if the lid you have has been used or not, don't chance it.  I am pretty sure this was a contributing factor to my above mentioned green bean fiasco.  Seriously you can buy lids, 12 for like $1.49.  It is worth it knowing that the seal will be tight.

4.  Pressure cookers are not as scary as they sound.  I guess I was a little nervous.  Afterall 2 men used pressure cookers in the Boston Marathon Massacre, I didnt want to be responsible for blowing up my home and my family.  So after 35 videos on YouTube I finally felt confident enough to try it.  It was so easy!!  No threat whatsoever!!

5.  Hoard jars.  You think you have enough.  But I am telling you, you do not.  Jars will become sacred and you will have a complete come apart if you catch someone even walking towards the trash can with one of the precious jewels.  If you see some at a garage sale, buy them.  I promise, if your garden is done right you will need them.  Besides, cucumbers multiply like bunnies.  No- really Im serious!  I have made pickles until I am blue.  Are we really going to be able to EAT this many?

Enjoy canning.  You can do it, I promise.



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Aug 19, 2015

Rooting for You

Look!  Here she is again!  I just LOVE her!  I love this simple little card.


I am so super excited that we are getting closer and closer to retreat.  Tennessee Stampers is a yahoo group that I have been a member of for like 10 years.  There is lots of new people involved, but most of the ladies and I have been friends for that long.  Anyways, they have a retreat once a year for a weekend.  We do nothing but stamp for 3 days.  It is at a cabin retreat not far from here with no tv, no internet and very poor phone service.  I am soooooo excited!!! I know this might be super shocking to most of you, but I have actually started preparing!! I know---CRAZY right??  I dont EVER prepare for ANYTHING this far in advance. 

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Aug 18, 2015

Birthday

I love these colors together.  I think black paired with a softer color always looks classy.  And everyone KNOWS I am a fan of pink.  This particular bike didnt have a basket so I drew one on it so I could fill it with flowers.

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Aug 17, 2015

Lemonade


I have learned something about myself very recently.  I am NOT a fan of colored inks in my work.  In this card I stamped the images in blue.  But then I had to fight myself from going back over them in black.  It just doesn't look finished to me.  I have seen other ladies do AMAZING work with colored inks, me---yeah not so much.




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Aug 16, 2015

Word Art

This is beautiful word art from my good friend DeeDeesDigis.  Isn't it pretty??  The feathers are from my girls.  No, no one was harmed in the making of this card.  This is from them molting and leaving half their body all over my yard.  A little soap and water, a few days to dry and we have beautiful feathers.  Yes, the same ones that the store charges you $4 for.  Mine are free.  :)  Go over and check out DeeDees...amazing stuff going on.


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Aug 15, 2015

Ruff Day?



Has this weather not been simply amazing??  I am sure that we will pay for it dearly soon, but having temps in the 80° in August with no humidity is simply heaven.

I should be taking more advantage of it and start getting things prepped for the winter ahead but I just can't do it.  Thatd be admitting that it was actually coming soon.  I prefer to live in denial.  Safer there.

This is just a simple card I did the other day.  I have so many friends that are battling tough times right now that I am finding that I am needing encouragement cards more and more.  The little dragonfly that is really hard to see is NailArt.  I found it in the sale bin at Claires.  Isnt it cute?  It was like 10 cents for a full container.  CUUUUTE.  I just found a bunch more at Walgreens.  They are so small and perfect size to add a little sumpin sumpin.


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Aug 14, 2015

Best Friends Grow

OK, first let me share with you this super sweet set I bought a little while ago.  I just love this little girl!





Isnt it fun??  She is so simple, but yet just right.

Now, I have to rant!!  I mean really have a fit.  I usually dont post stuff like this to the world, but seriously this is a problem!!

The world knows I am not a little thing.  I have a bit of girth to me.  Yes I am working on this but that is a whole other story.  So I go to the local box store, thinking that I will pick up something a little sexy to woo my husband.  I am NOT talking about lingerie or anything like that.  I am thinking, cute panties, cute bra...just a little something.  In this particular store there is isles and isles of cute and sexy panties.  Even bras to match.  BUT---not if you are my size.  No, for my size you get the ginormous granny panties, triple enforced bras that look anything BUT sexy and in an array of colors and patterns that resemble wallpaper from the eighties.  Oh wait, I must disclose I DID find one pair of panties in my size on the super cute isle.  Yeah, they were thongs.  WHAT???  When I was young and skinny---absolutely.  Now....not a chance am I risking a rope burn up the crack of my rear for the sake of sexiness.


OK...so then one goes to the specialty store that makes clothes (or at least tries to) for big people like me.  There they have the exact OPPOSITE problem.  Still not too many in my size and they get cuter as they get bigger.  WTH?  I guess my butt has either got to get bigger or smaller cause right now it is not working for me!! Maybe I should go commando?  Learn to sew my own?  LOL, yes folks THIS is why I am working with a personal trainer, THIS is why I am not indulging in cakes and cookies.  Yeah ok, maybe not.  But this is a SERIOUS problem!  Also, for the price of 1 pair here at this fancy store I can get 3 or 4 at the box store.  It is not fair I am telling you.  Now, let us talk about bras.  I mean seriously!!  Just cause I am a little bigger around I am only a C cup.  guess what...ya either get Big Bertha, the kind you can park two Volkswagons in or the cute "little" ones.  My size...???  Simply doesnt exist!  Everyone in my town must wear the same size as me and beat me to the stock of inventory.  Because ---nope not there.  No wait, I did find one.  It however was chartreuse green...meaning -- even if I were to wear it under a black shirt you'd still see the color blaring through.  Who wears those things??  I am pretty sure if my husband saw that he'd be too blind to notice I was trying to be sexy.  I didn't buy it.  So after literally looking through every single rack I did succumb and purchase one size smaller.  I am losing weight, right?  Maybe it will be incentive to not eat that cookie if my panties are cutting me in 2 and a constant reminder that my fat butt is going to be nekkid if I dont make drastic changes.

So for all you skinny minnies out there, you have no idea how great you have it.  To actually go shopping for something you love and not have to settle on something not as awful as that other one.  Or better yet, be so elated you actually found your size that you buy them both.  All the while hoping no one peeps into your unmentionables drawer to see the circus tents and question your taste.

Carry on friends...thanks for listening!


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Aug 13, 2015

It is your Birthday, wear it with style

Good Morning!  Can you believe we are already well into AUGUST!  Friends this year is gonna be gone before we know it!  I mean seriously!!??

The last couple of months have been crazy busy.  Heather is officially signed up for college and ready to start classes.  Well, as soon as she gets back to the states.  She is in London right now with my mom.  They are being tourists, seeing plays and the sites.  I am soooo envious of them.  I KNOW they are having a blast!  

Hannah started homeschool last week and so far it is all going really well.  I had no idea that teaching just one would be so much simpler.  Hannah's style of learning is so much different than Heather's that it is really cool to just focus on one thing.  

Ron and I are doing well.  We have had some growing experiences over the last few months.  It has been tough at times, overwhelmingly awesome at others and just a roller coaster of ups and downs.  We, however are hanging in there and making this marriage thing count.  Truth is, folks, marriage is hard work.  ANYONE who tries to tell you it is not is LYING!  Thankfully though were in it together and I couldnt dream of anyone else Id rather be with.  Even though some days Id prefer to be with him in another room, place, city, state...well you know what I mean.  Were almost to the 22nd mark, geesh can you believe it??

All my feathereds are doing really good.  My babies are all fully feathered out so they are free to mingle now with the other ladies and to free range during the days.  Even though to them that means they can go about 2 feet outside of their coop to get excited and dart back inside.  My big girls have been welcoming for the most part.  I have two broody girls (ready to lay on eggs for chicks) that are driving me insane.  They are moody and like to sit in the nest all day.  Which means they dont eat or drink.  So I go out, pull them off the nests which of course makes them mad.  Then they go and pick on the babies.  For those of you who are wondering why I dont just let them sit on the eggs....I have no roosters.  Without a rooster you cannot have chicks, no matter HOW wonderfully well they sit on those eggs and protect them, it just is not possible.  So the harm of letting them sit?  Well chickens are incredibly dedicated.  They will not get off the nests at all.  Depriving themselves of water and food.  If we were in the chick business I would take food and water to them and baby them more.  However, we are NOT and so I have two girls that face dehydration daily cause they wont come out of the 90° coop.  Frustrating.  But I still love my girls. 

Did you all see the meteor shower last night?  It was so awesome!!  Ron and I took a blanket out and laid on the front lawn.  It was like fireworks a million miles away.  It was so pretty and mesmerizing.

Anyways.  I am rambling.  

CUTIE PATOOTIE card right here!!  

The inside says IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY, WEAR IT IN STYLE!


Have ya all been getting inky??
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Jul 7, 2015

Guess What Day It Is??

It is TEAPOT TUESDAY!  The rules are really quite simple.  Go on line or to your own personal collection, take a photo and be inspired by it!  Use the shape or the color or the style and create your masterpiece!  Have fun with it.  In honor of our holiday this week I of course chose nothing less than our red, white and blue!  


I am not so in love with my coloring here.  I think my box looks too dingy and  it just doesnt look right to me.  But I decided I needed to quit messing with it or I was going to end up messing the entire thing up.  This is from one of my favoritest stampsets ever from Gina K.  I remembered when I placed my very first order with Gina K and added something to the remarks in my order form and she called me...personally...she, herself!!  It was like I had received a call from Channing Tatum er something.  OK, well she's no Channing, but I felt just as special.  She just called to say HI and thank me for my order.  How bout THAT for customer service?

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Jul 6, 2015

May the Season


I have been working really hard this year on preparing for Christmas all year long.  So when December gets here I wont be frantically trying to make something out of nothing and be too broke to even do that.  I don't know what it is about that time of the year but it always is crazy and I am bound and determined to NOT have that happen again.  I will be sharing soon how I am doing this and what my steps are.  I promise you can do it too even if you are not one of those people that go shopping the day after Christmas (cause I am SOOO not!).



This set is so pretty isn't it?  I got it last year from Stampin Up! and I just love the simple elegance it has.  This is just ink and paper.  You KNOW how hard that is for me.  But I truly think it is an image that stands alone and doesn't need a lot of layers and accents don't you think?  We have SEVERAL cardinals that live in the tree on the other side of our driveway.  We don't see them so much in the spring and summer months but in the cooler fall days and into winter it looks like God painted little red dots all over the branches.  
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Jul 3, 2015

Still Got It

I did this little card at one of the crops I went to last fall.  HA!  I am just NOW sharing it with you.  I am THAT good at blogging huh?  Anyways..this was my submission for a little challenge they had there to use these little word stickers. Kinda cute.  I remember that day I had forgotten my black outlining pen and NOTHING I did looked right.  Do you know, I now carry one with me in my PURSE! One CANNOT ever be unprepared like that again! I think the stickers are kinda a little much for the card, but it was fun anyways.


And of course the inside:















Doesn't the lady in this image look like she could be a busy body?  I bet she has a little something to say about everyone, all while blessing their little hearts.  I bet she'd be a whole lotta fun tho.




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Jul 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Sketch

So here is a fantastical little sketch posted this week on Sketch Saturday! DeeDee's Digis is the proud sponsor this week.  There is some amazing talent being submitted.  Need a little pick me up with the mojo today...head on over to Sketch Saturday and check out Sketch #367!
This set is a DeeDee's Digis and I looooove it!!  It is really fun to color and I can see it in so many different variations.  I think it is one I will use a whole lot.




So I have to share a musing from our outing yesterday.  My aunt and I were at Walmart.  We had split up so that we could both get the few items we needed and would then meet up at the front.  Well we both happened to end up in the restroom at the same time.  I noticed that she was in the stall next to me (no not cause I am a peeping tom, but because I recognized her shoes), so in my best disguised voice, I knocked on her stall and asked if she had any toilet paper.  She, being the nice person she is, starts scrambling for some.  I hear her unwrapping a good bit and then she hands me the whole roll.  Of course since I was in the handicap (no, I am not handicap, but theres nothing like trying to do yer business in a Pepsi can of a small stall, so I always go for the big ones) so she figured I probably couldnt reach it so she picked it up and threw it closer.  Mind you she still doesnt know that it is me.  Anyways, I finished and as I was leaving I flashed my neon pink shoes (that I am pretty sure no other human owns) under her stall to let her know it was me.  LOL--It was hilarious and shed been got!!  

I hope that you find somewhere that YOU can get someone and have a giggle!  Enjoy your day!
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