Nephew “yet to be named” has a quilt!
July 12, 2011, 10:37 PM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees, craft, sewing, texaskillet

Well I did it and a good thing too seeing as my dad surprisingly surprised me with a worry free ticket to Austin for the baby shower… next weekend. J

Sometimes you have to wonder where people just keep coming up with new combinations of fabric and new ways of putting that fabric together.

For this one.. I am calling it “Riding the Rails of the Baby Train”. Why.. because I was inspired by a quilting magazine to create a rails pattern and then well.. because Ozzy said at one point that he was riding on the rails of the Crazy Train… babies are crazy… bada bing bada boom: Quilt name.

Here are a few snapshots of the process. Please email me if you want to know more even if it’s just some small detail.

Planning to do a little needlepoint to insert my name on the Handmade by tag… don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten. J


One week down, one week to go!
May 13, 2011, 9:00 PM
Filed under: inspiration, penny saver, texaskillet

Well today officially marks 7 days of no spending outside of my meager cash allowance for emergencies. I’ll post the rundown of what was considered an emergency at the end of the two weeks… I mean I do have a WHOLE other week to go. J

How has it been you might ask? Refreshing I would say.

It’s nice to have an out and it’s even nicer to save some cash stock piling. J

The count of times that I have been tempted has been plenty. The times when someone has said, hey let’s go grab a bite or a drink or a smoothie have been several.

Today, my preplanned Amazon Fresh order will show up on my door step between 6 and 9pm. Yay for that! I think it has been a focal point and saving grace to know that in the midst of my experiment I would receive a burst of fresh produce. I mean come on people; I am but a human with teeth that were meant to nosh on fresh things. J

During the summer if I do this again, which I think I will, it will be easier when my small spaces garden has come to life and is producing and then maybe I can sustain my desire for freshness off of what I’ve grown.

Another interesting thing to note is that I have been suffering with Vertigo induced by either allergies or hormones since Monday. Talk about taking some of the punch out of my bowl. Nothing says stay home and stop moving like when your whole world is spinning and you can’t make it stop unless you stop and sometimes not even then. It’s too bad really because I was hoping that by not spending and not “going out” I would make more time for my physical wellbeing and for my craft hobbies. Gee thanks Universe, you are my favorite. L

Anyway, onward and upward as some people say. I have been thinking this over and I have decided that my next maneuver will be to save double spend half. This will mean that a latte really costs me 6 bucks (let’s be honest, it’s more like 8), because I will have to save as much as I want to spend. Result: $4 to my savings and $4 to the coffee shop. I need to spend a little time thinking about whether or not this happens over a timed period or if I make it a regular habit. I guess if I ever want a house with chickens in the yard, I should just go ahead and make it a habit. Though, it may be deserving of a trial period. I don’t want to be one of those people that are sooo focused on signing up for a house that they stop living for a while. I mean what if now is all the time that I have. You just never know so you should always consider the possibility.

Anyone out there have any saving tricks? If so, would you be willing to share?

My dad once said that I should just freeze my credit card in a bowl of water and keep it in the freezer, and then I would have to think long and hard before I use it. I did that for a while. It was interesting. Might go back to it, but I am open to other things. J



May 9, 2011, 12:26 AM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees, kid friendly, project, texaskillet, work space

Project for the weekend; create a new home for the worms that Doris so generously left in my care.

I was reading a book called The Urban Homestead and project 2 right out of the blocks is to make a worm bin. Awesome. I love this book by the way; I get a ton of inspiration from it. You should check it out. I can only hope that our book will be as awesome. J

My worms were in a wooden toy box. Like the kind you pick up at Ikea and put together yourself for like $25.00. Since I cannot keep my worms in the garage, they have been up against the house trying to keep warm and subject to the wet Pacific Northwest winter… soooo time for a water proof home that will last a few years.

I needed to be able to keep them by the back door so that I would be better about bringing the kitchen scraps to them as well as the shredded junk mail and coffee grinds.

What you’ll need:

-Two Rubbermaid 8-10 gallon containers that nest or are stackable solid in color, not see through. Worms do not appreciate bright sunny days like we do.

-A drill with a ¼ inch bit and a 1/16 inch bit.

-The two lids for the Rubbermaid containers

-Two blocks of wood (I still have to salvage these)

-Shredded newspaper, like a whole Sunday paper

-WORMS: Red Worms (Eisenia Foetida)


Ready set go!

  1. Drill 1/16 inch holes an inch from the top and bottom all the way around BOTH Rubbermaid containers
  2. Drill 1/16 inch holes in ONE of the lids
  3. Drill ¼ inch holes in the bottoms of BOTH Rubbermaid containers
  4. Place the non-drilled lid on the bottom in the spot you have selected for your bin
  5. Put the two blocks down on top of the lid
  6. Stack one of the bins on top of the blocks
  7. Stack the second bin inside the first bin
  8. Put your soaked and then wrung out shredded newspaper in the bottom of the top bin. It would be great if you could get about four inches worth in there.
  9. Place your worms in there
  10. Place any dirt you already have in there for darkness and to start them off with digestive grit. This makes me think of Pigeons.
  11. Wait a few days for acclimatization, only put a handful of scraps in at first.

As it turns out, worms can be sensitive to a few different situations. Too wet. Too dry. Too much light. Too Hot. Too Cold.

If after night one you check your worms and find them trying to escape you’ll need to assess your worm home to see if one of the above is the situation.

Good luck with your worms. There are a few worm references out there and you may want to pick one up for good measure. Of course you could rely on the internet. J




It’s High Time We Committed
April 30, 2011, 10:32 PM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees, inspiration, penny saver, texaskillet

Okay, I am ready.

For what you may ask.

To not spend money is my response to this very sensible question.

About a year ago, I was reading this article about taking a 14 day excursion from spending the green.

Yes, there is preparation. It’s not like you are trying to torture yourself, but certainly it causes you to have to think, vs. throw money at an issue just because you can.

Starting May 7th and ending May 21st, I will not spend one darned cent.

I plan to do the following to get ready for this thought provoking and hopefully spend altering experiment.

Yes, even the kids are going to be subject to having to wait. Oh dear me no, say it ain’t so. Haha!

Preparation may look different for lots of folks given the gazillions of lifestyles out there as well as family structures and routines which are hard to interupt.

Mine will look like this:

  1. Fill up the car. Around here this is an opportunity for tears. L I sincerely dislike my petrol dependency and am trying hard to severely reduce the habit.
  2. Grocery shop, fresh items included (that may be the hardest part of this), double check the pets food stores, this goes triple for the coffee stash. J
  3. Schedule my bus days and don’t let people F with them just because THEY need something
  4. Pay all bills that would be due before the 22nd
  5. Grease up the bike chain for alternative transportation
  6. Plan my weekends around local hikes that I can get to on foot, bus or bike. Possibly invite some friends to my place for dinner.
  7. Load my lunch card at work and plan back up lunches to take when I get sick of their salad bar and protein options
  8. Do all my laundry by the evening of the 6th and try to not do laundry during the two weeks. If laundry must be done then let it be no more than two loads of essentials. Essentials being the underwear, socks and possibly some athletic wear. Yahoo!
  9. Make sure to check the calendar to see if there are events I am to attend that require coin for one thing or another. If possible pay for those ahead of time or see if I can reschedule.

Am I missing anything? Does anyone have any interest in doing this with me? It doesn’t have to be the exact days I am doing it but I think it would be fun to overlap.

If you do want to do it.. what would your list look like? Ya know, if you don’t mind sharing. J


Raw and Crispy but kind of Crazy
April 28, 2011, 1:54 AM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees, raw, texaskillet, vegan

You can make these and you won’t even hate them…or at least I don’t think that you will.

So, I got some Red Swiss Chard from the Ballard Farmers Market and I thought .. okay, here we go again with this stuff.

After trying a dudes Dorrito replacement plan which was dehydrated Kale, I decided to have a go.

I have the dehydrator and I guess I am a little nutso over it at the moment so it made perfect sense.

I essentially washed the Chard, shook it dry, then used scissors to cut semi uniform strips. Then I used some Tom Douglas Tokyo Rub and sprinkled it over top.

Set the Dehydrator to 120 degrees and just let it run. They say that the food in the dehydrator stays about 10-20 degrees less than the temperature setting.

Anyway, what happened was most certainly Chard Chips, the only thing that I can say is that they definitely have distinct flavor, even when dried and seasoned.

If you like that, then awesome.

Here are some photos to get your juices flowin’. J

Fiddlehead Ferns: Fun with Foraging

There is this whole undercurrent of society that forages for fresh plants to eat. Of course we know that there are people who fish and hunt and kill stuff to eat, but what about the aforementioned grouping.

Last season my hunt for information started with my desire to eat Huckleberries. Of course you could say that I have been foraging for years, as I am sure many of you have. Whenever you went out with the family and your mom had you pick blackberries and put them in a bucket so that she could make her famous cobbler. Whenever you came across a crab apple tree and plucked a few, brought them home and cooked them up with cinnamon, sugar and sometimes a little nutmeg. Whenever you went on a hike and came across some salmonberries or thimbleberries and just couldn’t resist the temptation. The stories go on and on and the occasion to eat something growing wild does the same.

Over the last year as I have started to gather info but not yet the bounty of the wilds I have narrowed my search to a few things. Nettles, berries of all sorts, wild asparagus, apples that aren’t in someone’s orchard & FIDDLEHEAD FERNS. Fortunately for me I don’t like mushrooms so figuring out poisonous vs. nonpoisonous on those bad boys is not an issue.

You may be wondering what Fiddlehead Ferns are, as I was… how do you know when you can pick them or which ones are the right ones? I think I found the answers, but of course would be remiss if I did not encourage you to seek a local professional for guidance. It seems that ferns are non-poisonous in any land you happen to be in. There are preferences out there of course, but well… I am just not that seasoned. I checked the stream local to my house and there were fiddlehead ferns. The problem was, I didn’t yet have all the info. SO, when I got wind that someone was selling the crop they had harvested at the Ballard Farmers Market, I was all over it. Of course since then I know that you would clip right above the ground level and only take three from each plant so that the plant will continue to thrive. I mean you do want to harvest them next year don’t you? Also, I learned that these are only available for a few short weeks in the spring and really should be harvested before they unfurl. These are all good things to know. J I think that I will stay away from the extra hairy ones, that just doesn’t seem as palatable to me.

So how do you prepare a Fiddlehead Fern? Super easy.

-First take your stash and blanch them for 4 minutes.

-Remove them from the water

-Drain off excess and flip them over to a pan with butter, garlic, salt and pepper or really any kind of seasoning that you prefer.

-Sautee until they are the desired tenderness.

I hate hate hate soggy veggies so I go for no longer than 2 minutes. Wahlaaaa! Done and delicious!

I have no doubt that there are hundreds of other ways to use these. I tend to want to keep it simple so I can really enjoy the flavor and let my palate tell me how I will next use something. However, if you have something you have tried, please let me know about it. I need to plan. J







Sprouting, Episode 2: Lentils

I said I would come back with the next installment of the sprouting adventure and well… here I am.

The sprouting of the lentils went well, but they are a lot less “sprouty” than the Quinoa, which is just something of interest that I noted.

With the lentils I combined them with a chop salad that I picked up at a local Italian restaurant. I was going for the; add raw to some raw and some meat proteins.

Kind of my M.O. at this point.

So here’s a photo of the biznasssss about 10 hours into it, loooook how cute they are!


And then the finished product after 24 hours, momma mia these are hesitant.

Of course it is, soak for 8-12 hours and then sprout for 2 days!


And here is a photo of the partially homemade and partially restaurant bought salad.

It made a delicious and satisfying meal, but what I did figure out is that lentils make my stomach a little uncomfortable.


Next up: Sunflower seeds for that ever popular Vitamin D. I think I will make a spread out of that for cucumber dipping. J

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