Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth of July

The Star-Spangled Banner
—Francis Scott Key, 1814

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Fly your flag today!

To listen to this, you'll probably have to go to the bottom and turn off the 'jukebox.'

Friday, July 3, 2009


Here's that too short scrub top Jonathan didn't want a 'skirt' sewn onto the bottom to make it longer. It doesn't look bad to me. I'll get it in the mail today or Monday with the matching shorts. I didn't have enough fabric for pants. He said he could wear the longer shorts to work.

I sat out on the front porch early one morning. A female cardinal was munching away at the feeder. I could hear her pop the seeds. I didn't move until she flew off. As soon as she was gone, I went in the house for the camera. She never returned.

So...I took the fern down. The baby birds had already flown the nest.

But the hummingbirds were fluttering around and fighting over the feeder. EVERY TIME they landed, they were on the back side. Can you see the flutter of a wing just to the left?...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Blah Day.

Yesterday. Blech. And I think it was due to reading James Patterson's new book, Swimsuit. Very well written of course, but gory. I would read part of it. Put it down. Pick it up later. Normally I can absorb a novel in a day or so. This one took almost three days to finish. I wanted to know how it ended. So. Anyway. I didn't do much of anything yesterday.

The day before I made yet another scrub top. Yesterday afternoon I did crank up the machine and made a pair of bottoms. Both out of camouflage fabrics. Jonathan brought some scrub tops that are just too short. I mentioned putting a coordinating band of fabric along the bottom. He didn't think it was a very good idea...thought it would look like a skirt. One of the tops is orange. I'm going to take some of the camo fabric and put that 1 1/2"-2" band along the bottom and sew some of it on top of the v-neck. If it weren't so much trouble, I'd take the pocket off and replace it with camo...but I'm not going to go to that trouble...just in case he still thinks the band on the bottom looks like a skirt. When I finish that...I'll get them in the mail in a couple of days.

OH! I didn't mention that Jonathan and his girlfriend came for a weekend visit. We had a short, but good visit. He took her around to visit some of the relatives. She didn't call the bus station for a quick ticket outta here either! ;o) They also went to the State Park and walked the nature trail around the this heat. Argghhh! I'm so glad I let them site-see without me.

If you camp, swim, canoe, etc., you've GOT to visit the Daingerfield State Park! This park of one of Texas' best kept secrets. Tell 'em "Sherry sent ya!" And be sure to let me know that you're there!

Late afternoon yesterday, Mama called me and asked if I wanted to raid the garden tomorrow (today now) or Saturday. I opted for today. Soooo glad that I was only 73 degrees when I got up at 6:15. While she had me on the phone, she told me what to bring - a couple of buckets. And to put the squash and cucumbers on the bottom. To be sure not to put the tomatoes on the bottom. THEN she called me back and told me to bring a pair of gloves. AH-HA! She forgot to tell me to bring a knife! Being the good daughter that I am, I didn't mention it.

Not a big garden, but it's got a good yield...squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers. They (Mama, brother and his wife Marilyn) have already harvested cabbages, onions and more onions, and turnip greens. Joey (baby brother) has been pumping water out of a pond and flooding the garden. Squash blooms are so pretty!

Baby squash in the making. My goodies... Yep. I know that I got some green tomatoes. Fried green tomatoes tonight for supper!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cannoli Pie

I told you that I was going to tie on my apron and make a Cannoli Pie. I did! Don't freak out about the lard. It makes the best flakiest pie crust ever! Scroll down and look on the right side for the Food tag. Click on it, scroll down and you'll find my pie crust recipe.

After you bake the crust and it has had a chance to cool, assemble your ingredients.

Beat 1 1/4 cups whipping cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat 2 cups ricotta, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Fold in whipped cream, 1 cup sliced toasted almonds, and a generous 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips.

Spoon into your cooled baked pie shell. Refrigerate. To serve, slice and serve on dessert plates.

You can top this with sweetened whipped cream...
Beat 1 1/2 cups whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add 3 tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well. Spoon or pipe a generous serving on top of your pie slice. Dust with powdered sugar.

That being said. I don't top with the whipped cream. A light dusting of powdered sugar is decadent enough.

What do YOU do with your leftover pie pastry dough? I blob it all together and reroll it into something resembling a rectangle. Spread it good with some softened butter - the real stuff please! I mean, if we're gonna die from it, why die from hydrogenated fake stuff?! Then I sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll it up lengthwise like a jelly roll and slice into 1" slices. Bake at about 450 degrees for 8 minutes or so. Yummy!

I probably tell you how to do this every time I bake a pie. ;o)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Designer" Apron Tutorial

So, you want to make your very own, one of a kind, "designer" apron? This is a great stash buster pattern! First, you need a pattern. I have a one-piece apron that I just placed on top of my fabric. Carefully cut around it. By 'carefully,' I mean, don't cut your apron by mistake! If you don't already have an apron like this, you can find several free patterns on the internet like this one:

Go through your stash and pull out one piece of fabric large enough for the apron body. Gather some coordinating, complimentary, or surprise fabrics. Cut the apron out, but ignore the rest of their instructions and follow mine now. ;o) Just remember, this ain't rocket science. The width of the ruffle doesn't have to be exact. I suggest not making it too a little 'cheap' with it.

Cut 1 Bib ruffle = 4" deep x 1 1/2 times the width of the bib. (For the apron pattern in the above link, the bib ruffle will be about 13" wide.) Don't get it too wide or you'll have too much ruffle.

Cut 3 Bottom ruffles out of different fabrics = 4" deep x 1 1/2 times the width of the apron.

Cut 2 Ties = 3" x 42"

Cut 1 Neck band = 3" x 22"

Don't get bogged down with the width of the apron. If you have the full 42-44" of fabric, and you need the width, cut your apron that large. If you are working with a remant, go narrower. Adjust the width of the ruffles according. Just remember, the more ruffling, the more work you have to do!

Now that you have everything cut, if you have a serger, serge all edges on the apron and the ruffles (not the ties or neck band). With all ruffle edges serged, guess what? You don't have to hem the ruffles! Yeah! (Sorry. If you don't have a serger, start hemming ALL those edges - except the ties and neck band.) After serging the ruffle edges, pick one long edge as the top and run a row of basting stitches. Be sure to leave thread tails so that you can gather them.

Turn under the serged edge at the bib top only and sew 1/4 - 3/8" from the folded edge.
Fold the bib top in half and put a pin there. Fold the bib ruffle in half and pin it to the top center front of the bib.

Pull your gathering threads. Pin both ends of the ruffle on top of the bib. Sew the ruffle to the bib.

Match the edge of the bib with the edge of the ruffle.
Fold as one and turn the serged edge to the back and stitch it down. (If you had to hem everything, just lay the ruffle end even with the edge of the apron and stitch down.)
Continue stitching the entire 'arm' area.
Find the center front of the bottom of your apron and the center of a long ruffle. Pin and sew the same as for the bib. Pick up your second ruffle, find centers, slightly overlap to top edge of the first ruffle, gather and sew it down. Follow the same procedure with the third ruffle.

Line up the ruffle edges with the side of the apron.
Turn under 1/4 - 3/8" and sew through all the layers. (If it's all hemmed, just line up the edges of the ruffles with the apron edge and sew them together.)

Ties and neck band - Fold each in half lengthwise. With 1/4" seams, sew across one short section then down the long raw edges making a tube. Using a skewer or your favorite turning trick, turn the ties and band. Sew each to the apron in its appropriate place. Leave one end of the neck band free.
Cut 1" piece of velcro. Sew one side to the back of the apron. (Yeah, go ahead and sew through the ruffle - it won't be noticeable.) Adjust the neck band to suit you and sew the other piece of velcro to the band.Try your new designer apron on for size and GO COOK SOMETHING GOOD!

I am going to make a Cannoli Pie. Photos to follow...