Spring Cleaning, Tablet Tote, Israeli Salad & Bonito Soup

Making a padded tote for my ASUS Transformer Book

Making a padded tote for my ASUS Transformer Book

Today I woke up with energy to burn.  I washed our bedroom windows, the mirrored closet doors, put a pretty tablecloth with lace over that on my dresser, put my jewelry box, tiny crystal hurricane lamps and a couple of favorite old collectibles on it, then put a doily, silk flower arrangement and a larger hurricane lamp on Ron’s chest.  I still need to put my framed tatting on the wall over my dresser.

It gave the room such a sweet, old fashioned air.

We got the big limbs that were blown down by the storm picked up.  I still have thousands of little broken branches and pine cones to go.  But it was a little cool out today, so I decided to play inside instead.  🙂

Israeli salad over avocado

Israeli salad over avocado

I made a curry tonight, but it didn’t made a pretty photo, so I’m posting a picture of an Israeli salad I made a couple of nights ago.  An Israeli girlfriend taught me how to make it back in the early ’80’s.  I think all she used was very finely minced cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, splashed with lemon juice and olive oil.

I like mine with added peppers and radishes if I have them.  Sometimes I’ll put finely shredded lettuce in it, too.  The secret for making the taste superb is to allow the flavors to blend for a couple of hours.  It’s even better the next day.

I used to make it only to stuff with falafel in pitas, where it really shines.  But now that I’m doing low carb, the bread is off limits.  But I discovered it is also out of this world served in an avocado half.

I discovered another wonderful cooking secret.  You know how anchovies give Caesar Salad Dressing that special taste?  I was browsing through Amazon’s Oriental foods a few weeks ago and saw comments that said bonito fish stock gives a very special touch to chicken soups.  You can’t taste the fish, and you can’t really tell what is doing it, but something is extra special about the dish.

Bonito fish soup crystals

Bonito fish soup crystals

So I ordered some and have started adding 1/8 teaspoon whenever I do boiled chicken dishes.  It does make a huge difference.  I didn’t tell Ron what I was adding, but he has said that the last two chicken soups and stews I have made were the best ever.  Might be something to try if you are brave.  😀

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Doily — Progress?

I’ve picked up my long-abandoned doily… and it’s not going smoothly!

The outer flower motifs are the same as the center ones.  But I have a bit of a spatial perception problem, and working the motifs upside down and backwards so I can attach them to the outside row of the doily is very frustrating.  I’ve either cut out or opened and retatted 6 rings in these three motifs due to my attaching them to the wrong picots.

I think I finally have a feel for how they are supposed to go together, though.  Hope it goes smoothly from here on out!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, and thanks to you readers who made 2011 such a rewarding blogging year!

We had planned to go to a music jam last night to play and sing in the new year, but neither Ron nor I felt up to it.  So we stayed home.  Ron did crosswords and I picked up my long neglected doily (even though I said I wasn’t going to) and started tatting the final round.

Today I didn’t feel up to par, so that explains why I felt too tired to go anywhere last night.  Oh well…it’s nice to stay home and just BE sometimes!

I had planned to winterize the Casita yesterday, but went out to turn on the water heater bypass and discovered ours didn’t have one!  That meant I had to go back to Walmart and buy more RV antifreeze, because the water heater has to be full before you can pump the antifreeze into the water lines.  I might could have gotten away with 8 gallons, but bought 9 just to be safe.

Anyway, now our water system is protected down to 40 below!  Since tomorrow night is supposed to get down to 18 F, that ought to take care of it!

Next year we will definitely have a hot water bypass installed!

The people who originally bought our Casita obviously had never owned an RV before.  They ordered it without a roof vent or water heater bypass!

Since the RV place I used to take our Aliner to was largely responsible for its demise due to shoddy and incomplete work, I’m planning to wait until we go to Texas next winter and have Little House Customs put in a roof fan and the water heater bypass.   They are former Casita fulltimers and know these little units inside and out and have a superb reputation for quality work.  My Casita is worth waiting for them!

No More Pointy Wings

Angel with modified wings

I did manage to modify Monica Hahn’s beautiful angel pattern with wings more to my liking — although the next time I do them I might make them a bit shorter.

I’m still a fairly new tatter and had a lot of problems understanding the skirt part of the directions.  Anyone who has tatted this angel will see a couple of mistakes.

Gina (The Tatting Goddess) did a beautiful beaded version in blue.  Click here and scroll down to the Sunday, April 26 post to see it.

Ron and I are both having serious camping withdrawals.  We should have the money together to look for another camper in October.  Hope we survive the wait.  🙂

Tatting Cards, Hummingbirds & Clouds

Tatted Christmas tree card

I got another Christmas card tatted.  This is the same tree I used on a card last year.  I looked and looked for a pattern I liked better, but couldn’t find one.  It’s a freebie from Be-stitched.com.

My next card project will be a Monica Hahn angel.  I just have to figure out how to modify the pattern so it has large rounded wings instead of the pointy wings Monica uses.  I have an idea of what I want to do, so will see if it works.  Here’s a photo of what her original patterns look like.

Monica Hahn's Christmas Angels tatting pattern book

The hummingbird aerial fights around our feeder are a sight to behold!  There are five who are much more interested in keeping each other away from the feeder than they are in actually sipping the nectar!  They beak slam, body slam, and dive bomb each other and are ferocious little fighters!

I could put up more feeders and that would cut down the fighting.  But my guilty little secret is that my primary motive in hanging the feeder is not to keep the little critters from going hungry.  It’s mainly for our entertainment in watching the amazing defensive and offensive shenanigans of these exquisite little aerial warriors!

River of mackerel clouds

The other day as I sat on the back deck, I was intrigued by a narrow river of very high mackerel clouds moving rapidly above (seemingly between) the normal cumulus clouds.  They were rushing so fast that it looked like a stream racing along within its sky banks.  My photo doesn’t capture the movement and the river illusion.

Tatted Christmas Candle

Christmas card with tatted candle motif

I finally got the tatted candle done.  It’s one of Nancy Tracy’s free patterns.

I made a few changes on it.  The original pattern had a smaller flame.  I also had a few problems following the pattern, but am not sure if it was me or the pattern.  I ripped out errors a couple of times… and those little white ribbons are covering a couple more that I didn’t feel like redoing.  🙂

This motif took me a lot longer to do than the wreath motif in an earlier post.  So I’ll probably not use it on any more of my Christmas cards.  At least, not this year.

Today was the last of our +100 degree days for the year, I hope.  Tropical Storm Lee is supposed to bring us significantly cooler temperatures and around 5″ of much needed rain.

Today I went outside and reassured our heat-stressed trees that rain is on the way!

Tatting Christmas Cards

A tatted Christmas card

I’ve been working on various tatted motifs and trim that would look Christmassy done in red, green and white.

This evening I went to Hobby Lobby looking for shiny little sequins, bells, beads and ribbons to make the cards look more festive.  But when I got home and started arranging the motifs and edging on cards, I realized that, at least to my eyes, the plain tatting is more beautiful.  Adding shiny things to it seems to detract from rather than enhance it.

Pictured is one motif and edging that I especially like.  I’ve done others that I’m not as pleased with.  So I will probably do more of this design, then do some Christmas tree patterns.

It was 100 degrees again today.  Summer isn’t giving up easily.  Making Christmas cards in an air conditioned house helps put me in a delicious crisp weather frame of mind!  🙂

 

Marmalade and a Tatted Wreath

Orange-lemon-fig marmalade

The orange/lemon/fig marmalade I made the other day turned out GREAT.   It’s sweet with a delicious tang.  I made 9 jars plus a small bowl for immediate use.  It has such an unexpected piquant zing that it would also be a good complement to Indian or oriental foods.  Usually a batch of jam or jelly will last me a couple of years.  This marmalade will probably not last 6 months!

I started tatting again on my doily the other day, but got so bored at the repetition and the seemingly endless outer row that I put it away until the long winter nights get here.  Instead I did a simple little Christmas motif that will go on a Christmas card.  I plan to concentrate on projects that work up quickly and give me instant gratification for a while!  🙂

Simple tatted motif for a Christmas card

98.2 Degrees Today

Our high today was predicted to be 90, but it actually got up to 98.2   I hibernated inside until the sun went behind the trees, then got the bed covers on the camper beds and cleaned it up for the trip.

Tomorrow I’ll pack the sheets, blankets, towels and start packing clothes.  I’ll wait to pack the food until Monday.  We plan to leave Tuesday or Wednesday.

This is what my Flowerpiece by Mary Konior doily is supposed to end up looking like.

I took a break for a couple of days working on my doily.  Will get back onto it this evening.  The picture on the left is from the book Visual Patterns by Mary Konior, and shows what it is supposed to end up looking like.  The pink and aqua photo is what mine actually looks like at this point.

I lightly steamed it to get the ruffles out, but some of the chains are out of whack now.  I sure hope that adding the flower border will pull them all back into shape.

My doily in progress.

And the ukulele is FUN now.  The lessons have moved onto different rhythmic strums.  It’s a challenge, but it is sheer pleasure.

I hope Ron’s patience at listening to me practice holds out.  So far he’s being a great sport about it.

Another Disappointing Tatted Project

These colors didn't combine as well as I had hoped.

I tatted several crosses for Christmas gifts, but had never made one for myself.

I was disappointed in the way the color combination worked out.  It looked like it would be a decent match when I compared the balls of thread.   Also, I did this pattern so many times for gifts that I think I am just tired of the pattern.

Maybe it will look better to me a few weeks from now.

Sometimes things do.  🙂

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