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Taking it easy

I made some comfort food today, homemade potato salad, and I’m just taking things slow around here. The potato salad is improvised, using my mom’s directions. Boil about six red potatoes for about forty-five minutes, or until a fork goes into them easily, but before they get mushy. Then stab each one with a fork, and while holding it under cool running water, take a knife and peel away the skins, being careful not to burn yourself. Slice them into a bowl, and mix them with some oil and vinegar. I used extra virgin olive oil. Put them in the fridge to cool.

In another bowl, mix up some diced celery, chopped up green olives and dill pickles, two chopped up hard boiled eggs, and a little salt and pepper. Mix some mayonnaise with a little of the dill pickle juice, until it is the consistency of heavy cream. Pour this over the celery, olives, pickles, and eggs, and mix them together.

Once the potatoes are cool, pour the celery/mayo mixture over the potatoes, and mix everything together. Leave the potato salad in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow the potatoes to absorb the other flavors. Season with salt to taste.

My mom seems to be a little better today, but still tired. Doctor’s orders are for me to stick around, just in case. So, I’m home bound for now. I’ve been reading The Cider House Rules by John Irving, which is very nicely written and interesting to read. I admit, I’ve also been napping a bit, as I’m tired from this past week. I need some rest and relaxation, and then I’ll be photographing dolls and getting them up on our website as soon as I can. I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead.

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Hug Me! Kitty

Meet Darla, my new black and white, tuxedo “Hug Me! Kitty”. I took a little sewing detour to play around with my pattern designs and came up with a kitty. That doesn’t seem too surprising, huh? Lots of cats.

I like her curly appliquéd tail.

She’ll be ready to give someone a hug over in my Etsy shop soon.

I’m still sewing doll clothes. I stopped to make some blueberry apple muffins though. They were about to be blueberry muffins until I discovered I didn’t have a whole cup of blueberries. A happy short-coming though. The combination worked out nicely. I made them from the same buttermilk muffin recipe I usually use, and added a teaspoon of freshly grated orange zest. I also substituted some plain yogurt plus some milk for buttermilk, since I was also out of buttermilk, trying to get it to about the same consistency. That worked out fine too, but it must be time to go food shopping again!

I hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

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Butterfly bushes and baked goods

I took these photos of Painted Lady Butterflies on our butterfly bush a couple of years ago. The butterfly bushes aren’t in bloom quite yet, but…I finally planted the one I have had sitting in a pot by our chimney for as long as I’ve had these photos. I can’t believe it has survived this long in a pot, and I’m hopeful that it will continue to persevere.

We’ve had an overcast day, which is good for transplanting. Here’s hoping it takes off like the one in these photos. This one is enormous, and the butterflies, moths, and bees visit it all summer long.

I have some more gardening to tend to, that I have been putting off doing. I used to garden with a passion, but the hard clay in the North Carolina soil has put me off a bit. I’d love to get my iris beds divided too.

I’m trying to do the things I have been putting off, one at a time, including making progress on all things doll related.

I also made both banana oat muffins and soft pretzels today. Mm…salty pretzel goodness. I had a craving for soft pretzels while at the mall recently. I almost stopped for one, but I kept thinking, “I could just make those!” So, that became one more thing on my to-do list. It was well worth the effort.

While I was out, I also picked up a copy of Quilting Arts new special issue, Stitch, Creating with Fabric & Thread. The pretty pillow on the cover is “Tuesday Pillow” by Malka Dubrawsky. The instructions are included in the magazine.

What really made me purchase the issue though, were the cute stuffed toys, “Pretty Cat, Baby Bear and Mini-Mouse”, by Heidi Boyd. The patterns are in the foldout in the center of the magazine, and the instructions are in the back. They’d make adorable gifts.

I’ve got my own pile of toys to sew and doll dresses to make. So, I probably won’t be trying these out right away. I’m sure I’m more likely to get some new idea before then, to add to my list of things to do, but I thought perhaps some of you would enjoy making them! Enjoy your weekend!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

I thought I’d share my pretty Valentine’s flowers with you.

Please have a cookie and some tea too.

Yesterday, I made Linzer Hearts from the All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking. I used the recipe for Drei Augen and used raspberry preserves, boiled for two minutes and then cooled to lukewarm, for the filling. They are dusted with confectioner’s sugar. I would think many shortbread cookie recipes would work nicely as well.

The Drei Augen dough required ground almonds. I didn’t have a food processor, but I “discovered” that I do have a food mill. It was in the kitchen closet just waiting for the day I would realize how useful it is. I used the large-holed grater plate and then worked my way down to the medium-holed one. Or, that was what I planned to do. The novelty of the food mill attracted a helper.

My dad wanted to “see how it works” and he ended up grinding all my almonds for me. This food mill thing worked out pretty well! I wonder what other gadgets I might have in that closet and what they might encourage others to do for me. Hm.

Enjoy your day!