Jun 29, 2014

Fairy Princess Halo

I have a little niece who wants to be a princess.  She is always asking me to buy her a princess dress or a dress that a Disney cartoon character is wearing in a film.  The other day I was looking on line to learn how to make a floral headdress and ran across a video for a fairy princess halo.  The directions were simple. Last night, I made the fairy princess halo and it turned out very nicely. 

I went to Walmart to buy the cable ties, they are more expensive in the smaller hardware stores. Also, I used 5 different pastel colored ribbon to give it lots of color. My niece loved this. If there is a little girl you know that longs to be a princess then watch the video below and make her feel very special.  

Jun 28, 2014

Raised flower beds, colored bottles, and fire pits

I have been doing a lot of work outside this spring and summer and have accomplished several projects.  Cooking in outdoor spaces really appeals to me.  The smokey flavor that permeates the food as it slowly cooks over an open fire is well worth the wait.  Last year while visiting my brother's family I noticed that he had made a small fire pit in his back yard.  It was simply made with bricks.  He told me that he burns leaves in it and also has a tripod and often cooks meals as well.  I went home and thought about how I wanted mine to look.  I dug a hold about a foot or two deep and surrounded the hole with bricks. Once I got the bricks the way that I wanted them, I glued them together with landscape adhesive. Then I cooked a tagine on it.  Oh how heavenly! More than this, I didn't need a man to help me.  

Then I decided to put a raised flower bed in front of the fire pit.  For years I have wanted to grow tomatoes, but didn't have the time or energy to do it.  I had a little extra money this summer and on a whim I decided to just do it.  I went to the store, bought the wood , about 20 bags of dirt, and commenced on this somewhat simple project.  After returning to the store a couple of times for more supplies the bed was done.  Then came the cats.  They thought that I had built them an extra large litter box.  I tried sprinkling cinnamon, which failed after it rained. Then I decided to use chicken wire and lay on the beds.  At this writing I am waiting to see what happens with the "poop" situation because I laid the chicken wire today. Again, I did this project by myself.  Afterwards, I felt like I was going to die, but instead I lived to put in two tomato plants the next day. 

Last but not least, I really like green and blue, especially cobalt blue.  I have been collecting a few bottles to make a bottle tree of sorts.  It is very popular here in the states. Initially I bought some dowels, cut them in half and placed the decorated bottles on top.  I wasn't really crazy about the look. Last year I bought four metal trellis' for moon plants that I had in my flower bed at the time.  This year I didn't plant them.  The trellis sat there bare.  I was laying in bed thinking about my garden and it struck me that I could hang them on the trellis'.  When I hung the first one, I quickly added the rest. I had to decorate them of course! They give the garden a bit of color and maybe a little break from the ordinary garden look.  


So, when people tell you that it is impossible to do something, I think you should accept the challenge and show them otherwise.  More projects coming up. 

Jun 26, 2014

Book of Kells: The worlds most beautiful book

The "Book of Kells" is also call the book of Columba, this book is considered one of the most beautiful books in the world. The four volume set contains the Four Gospels written in Latin during Medieval times.  Luckily, it now can be seen on line if you are not able to make the long journey to Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.  The text was written on calf skin, which I am sure was an arduous task.  

Portrait of John

After a Viking raid in the 9th century the book was moved to Kells, Ireland. Then in the 11th century it was stolen and the cover was torn off.  It was in possession by the Catholics in the mid 1500's and then returned to Ireland in the 17th century. The lavish beauty of the artwork is mesmerizing even though I cannot read the text. It is really worth looking at it.  I would surely enjoy seeing it in person. 

Here is the link to view the Book of Kells at Trinity College website. 

Jun 24, 2014

English Muffin Bread Loaf

I love bread. When I discovered English Muffin bread at my local grocer many years ago I was hooked.  I put a slice in the oven  and leave it there until it is very crispy.  Then I slather it with butter and strawberry jam. It is wonderful!  I found this recipe on Taste of Home website and just love this recipe.  It is not only simple but the taste is wonderful as well.


5 cups of all-purpose flour, divided
4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups of warm milk (120 to 130 degrees F)
1/2 cup warm water (120 to 130 degrees F)
Cornmeal for dusting

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda.  Add the warm milk and water, beat on low for about 30 seconds and then on high for 3 minutes. 

Stir in remaining flour, the batter will be stiff. No need to knead the dough.  Grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pans.  Then sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal. Divide the batter and spoon into the pans.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.  Slice and toast.  Enjoy!

Cooks note:  You can freeze the second loaf and have it at a different time.

Jun 13, 2014


Lester opened the door holding a shotgun underneath his arm. He saw that Charles and Steve were staring at him from the other side.  They were on a mission, especially Steve, the teenager.  The boy was mad and wanted to kill Lester.  “Steve wants to shoot you,” Charles said in a low voice as he stroked the handle of the gun he was holding.  “Yes, I do!” Steve shouted.  Lester just stood there, dumbfounded or maybe he was drunk.  They looked like two gunslingers at the O.K Corral with Billy the Kidd shouting from the sidelines. The two men stood in their place scrutinizing each other to see who was going to make the first move.

Steve lived with his mother in the apartment above Lester and his family.  Charles, my father, lived a block away on the same street.  Lester loved to tease people, especially his only daughter.  Often he would play tricks on her just to hear her scream and run for the comfort of her mother’s arms. Since Steve was nearly the same age as Lester’s daughter, he, too, received some of the same kind of teasing and lived within a few feet of Lester, which made it convenient for Lester when he was in one of those moods.

Steve frequently came down to our house to visit with my father, Charles; Steve, especially, wanted to see me, but if I wasn’t around he was content to chat with my parents. Over time he grew to love my parents and often confided in them.  My father spray painted cars on the side to make extra money.  Steve and my father worked out a deal to where Steve would work off his debt in exchange for a new paint job on his car.  Steve was always at our house for some reason or another.

Lester and my father were raised in the South. They spoke the same language and the two men understood each another.  Steve was a Yankee and a bit of a hyper one too. Lester and Steve had been arguing for several days.  I never knew what the argument was about but it must have been over something that Lester found to be entertaining. Steve was at the end of his rope.   

Steve and Lester had been arguing that morning. In heated anger, Steve marched to the corner looking for my father.  He found Charles in the garage.  “Can I borrow your gun?” Steve nearly shouted. “What for?” Charles asked.  “I want to shoot Lester,” he said speaking in a high pitched voice.  “So, can I borrow it?” He anxiously wanted to settle this feud with his neighbor and shooting him would be the only solution he could come up with in his young mind. It was all my father could do to keep from laughing at the boy. “I’ll walk down there with you and we’ll get this straightened out,” Charles said. “Just let me get my gun.”

Together they marched to Lester’s place. Bravely, my father walked down the street with his pistol at his side. It was a funny sight because Charles weighed 140 pounds wet and Steve was just as small. They looked like two Chihuahua’s barking at a German shepherd.  Neither of them was big enough to do much harm to anyone much less Lester. However, Steve was excited at the thought that he was going to finally get his justice.  They walked upon the porch and headed straight for the door.  Steve banged on the entry with all his might.  Slowly, Lester opened the door.  He stood there big and tall with a shotgun underneath his arm waiting for a response from his two visitors.

“Steve came down to the house and told me that he wants to shoot you,” Charles said to Lester. “He asked to borrow my gun.” Steve was anxious to get his hands on the pistol that Charles was holding.  Lester’s eyes went back and forth between their faces.  He had been drinking and had begun to feel the effects of it. After staring at them for what seemed like an eternity, Lester said, “I’m tired...I’m going to bed.” Then he turned around and closed the door behind him.  Bewildered, Charles and Steve looked at each other. Then they walked back down the street.  No one got killed that day, at least, not on Elm Street. 

Jun 7, 2014

The Drunken Makeover

He burst into the bar like a cowboy from a John Wayne movie. The man was furious and he had every reason to be. Unfortunately, his fury was directed at me. He came looking for the woman that he was talking to before he lost consciousness. Luckily, I was not there when he arrived. My brother snuck to the back of the bar and called me saying that it is best that I not ever return because the man was there looking for me. My brother was afraid that the man wanted to do me harm and Randall didn't want to fight him. 

I’m not a bar fly, actually, I am more like a church mouse because of all of the time I have spent at church.  I’ve taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, and worked on a church bus to name a few of the things that was of interest to me.  Yes, you can call me Miss Goody Two Shoes if you like, I’ll not deny it. So, why was I in a tavern you may ask?

My brother was a drummer in a country music band back then.  Often he would ask me to come to the place where the band was playing music so that I could witness his talent in action.  Oh, I “witnessed” it to a great extent when he lived at home. The house would vibrate from the drumming in the attic. As a sibling of a musician, one adjusts their noise tolerance in order to live peaceably.  Besides, Randall was the first to put his talent out in the public view so that others can enjoy it and I was very proud of him.  But I think my parents grew to regret buying him that first drum set when he would play the drums every weekend either in the house or in the garage.

I had no idea what to wear to a bar and I debated over donning a suit.  When I told my brother what I was thinking of wearing, he insisted that I put on a pair of jeans and a tee shirt.  “People don’t dress up to go to a bar,” he said. So, I decided to wear a low cut purple blouse along with my jeans, which was presentable enough. 

When I arrived, I looked around the dimly lit room for a familiar face. My brother was watching for me to arrive and then when I came through the door he showed me to the table where his girlfriend was sitting. We ordered drinks and chatted until the band began playing. I was too shy to dance and stayed firmly planted in my chair the entire evening.  The crowd was a bit rough acting for me and I felt safer sitting where my brother could keep me under his watchful eye. 

My brother, sorry for the poor quality photograph
About midway through the evening a man took notice of me. The man was tall, slender, with short brown hair and was nice looking.  He dragged a chair alongside of mine and sat down.  When the man started talking to me it was obvious that he was extremely drunk.  His speech was slurred and his arms and legs moved about in a sloppy like manner, as if he didn’t have much control of his extremities.  As he leaned over to speak to me his drink spilled over and ran down my leg and into my shoe. I jumped up and pushed my chair away from the drunkard and tried to wipe the beer off of my pants. I detest the smell of beer and bemoaned the fact that I will have to wash my clothes.  He apologized and began chatting again, although his chair stayed where he sat it in the beginning.  About 10 minutes later he passed out and his head fell backwards resting on the back of the chair.  My face was last one he saw that evening. 

A couple of women sitting behind me watched the whole ordeal. One of the women pulled out her makeup bag and began applying lipstick, blush and eye shadow to the man’s face. As I watched the women, I thought to myself that I would have never considered using my own personal products on someone who has been God knows where.  But that is the risk they wanted to take, not me. It grossed me out thinking about it. She told me that the man was a regular at the bar and was often inebriated before 9 o’clock. It was their intent to teach him a lesson.  The drunkard sat like a dead man as the women gave him a makeover.  I left shortly after because I didn't want him to wake up and I still be there. 

The drunkard sat in the chair until one of his friends threw him into the back of their pick-up truck and took him home.  When the man woke up the next morning and saw the makeup all over his face he was furious. Then he thought about me. He went back to the bar the next week looking for me.  My brother said that the man made a big commotion at the bar that night.  It was then that my brother decided that my bar hopping days were over, well, at least for that bar. I laughed. I really didn't like going there anyway.