Thursday, November 13, 2014


It seems that we have a lot more tumbleweeds around this year and they're extra big!  Some of them are as tall as me!  It's going to be interesting to see them tumbling around when the winds pick up!

I snapped a picture of some of them in a vacant field when hubby and I were out for a bike ride...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Homemade Tamales

We made tamales!  Homemade tamales!

I saw bags of masa at the grocery store last weekend and immediately thought about tamales and decided to go for it and try to make some.  So, I also bought a large package of chicken breasts that was on sale, a large can of green enchilada sauce, and a bag of corn husks.

I cooked the chicken in the crock pot all day today with the sauce, chopped onion, and garlic.  By mid afternoon, it was done and falling off the bones.  Hubby took all the meat off the bones, shredded it and mixed some of the green chili sauce and onions into it and set it aside.  I soaked the corn husks in hot water for about an hour.

I watched a couple of videos online that showed how to assemble the tamales.  It looked easy and it was!  It was also a lot of fun!  As we made the tamales, we set them inside the holey part of a pasta pot.  When we were finished, I set it into the main pot that had water in the bottom.  I got the water boiling and steamed them for 45 minutes and checked to see if they were done.  They ended up needing a little more cooking time.  Fifteen more minutes did the trick!

They turned out really good!  We had them with salsa on top.  Yum!  

When we started out assembling the tamales, I was making them kind of small.  Turned out that hubby was making them a lot bigger.  And, as we went along, they seemed to get bigger and bigger.  Funny, but it worked out just fine.  Next time, I'll use something to measure out the masa so they'll be more uniform in size.

We'll definitely be making tamales again!  They're so much fun and so good!
We'll try some different flavors too.  Turns out they can be made sweet or savory.  I had no idea!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Chest, Chair and Change

There's a little shop nearby that I love.  It's called, "Cottage Charm".  They sell antiques and vintage things.  Their prices are usually really good and they're constantly bringing in new things.  So, I try to go often to see if they have any thing I might "need".  I've found quite a few great things there over the past few years.  I stopped in a few weeks ago but didn't find anything.  A week later, on Halloween, I stopped in again to see if there was anything new.  As soon as I walked in the door, I saw a black chest of drawers and it was love at first sight! came home with me!

Here it is in my entry when I first brought it home.  It's painted black, distressed, and's all done and ready to be loved and used.  I thought it would be perfect to hold my fabric stash.

I love the wood knobs.  It's solid wood with dove tailed drawers.  And, the drawers are nice and clean and don't seem to have a weird smell like old chests often do.

I thought it would work well in the upstairs hall area.  It's just outside of my craft studio for easy access to the fabric inside.  It's a little hard to get a good photo in there though.  I have some decorating to do to the top of the chest.  And, I need to decide what to do with the art that was already in there and is now hanging above it.

It's a wonderful, very detailed cross stitch that my mom did years ago.  My dad made the frame for it.  All together, it's very special because it's been made by both of my parents.  Plus, the cross stitch is pretty spectacular.  The hall is a bit dark and will keep it from being faded.  I'm not in love with the color of the frame and mat though.  I've thought about changing it but feel that would take away from the creativity my parents put into it.  Maybe I can find some things for the top of the chest to tie it in and make it look better.  My mom made a little boy to match and gave it to my brother.

Here's a close up...

I've been on a cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of spree lately.  This chest of drawers took that to a higher level.  Even though I'd already gone through fabric bins, gotten rid of some stuff, and consolidated it to just four bins....buying the chest inspired me to go through again and this time I was ruthless!  I got rid of every piece of fabric that I wasn't in love with.  I only kept what I loved and had enough fabric to do something with.  That brought the amount of fabric down from four bins to one drawer and half of a second.  Wow!  That feels so good!

While I was going through the fabric, I ran across this scrap of fabric...again.  But, this time, I was about to get rid of it because I've had it for years, hadn't used it, and didn't know what to use it for.  I love it though.  It's beautiful!  And, I have a lot of red in my home. hit me...all of a sudden...something I'd never thought of before...

I could use it to recover this chair...

I had just enough and it looks so much better!
I think Salsa even likes it!

It sits in our kitchen at the built in desk.  The fabric looks great with the flowers in the tin tray and with the curtains on the other side of the room.  Yay!  I'm so happy to have found a great use for it!  I have one more piece that I'm planning to use to re-cover a sewing bench cushion.

Going through the fabric was such a success and I was feeling so great from it that I decided to go through my yarn stash again.  And, I was ruthless with that too!  I got rid of almost all the leftovers from finished projects and I have a bunch of full skeins that I don't love and hope to find homes for or donate.  I'm using some of the drawer space for my cotton yarn.

While I was going through the yarn, I decided to try using a ball winder my mom had gotten at her church rummage sale a few years back and given to me.  I'd never tried it because I have another one that she'd given to me that had also been found at one of the church rummage sales.  It has a bigger spool to wind more yarn.  But, I thought it was time I gave this one a whirl.

It's heavy duty and made out of wood and metal.  Pretty cool!  I didn't realize until I went to use it that it sets up and works a lot different than most.  It worked great though and made a little ball from leftover yarn.  That's as big as it can make though.

I won't use it much because of the small amount it can wind but I'll definitely keep it.  I like how it's metal, has a bolt shaped like a heart, and how often do you find anything that says, "made in Liechtenstein"?!  Very cool and very unique!

It's interesting how buying that chest has made my cleaning out and ridding of things so much more successful.  And, I'm not done yet!  I still have more things I want to go through or go through again!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Rummage Sale Bargains

There's a rummage sale at my parent's church the first weekend of every November.  I try to go to it every year.  There have been times that I've found some great stuff like a quilt rack to work on a quilt with (big), bobbin winders, an umbrella swift, iron skillets and what I posted about HERE.  There have been other times that I walked out with absolutely nothing.  I didn't find anything spectacular this year but I did find some useful and fun things.  And, I only spent $3.95!

I started out by finding some little bags of stuff and decided to grab this cute little basket to hold it all in.  It was only .25c.  Then, I outgrew my basket.

I found a set of weights to hold patterns down.  Supposedly, with these, pinning the pattern down is not necessary.  I've heard of something like this and I'm excited to try it.  The package has never been opened.  So, set is like new!  I also found a pair of scissors that say "WISS" (as far as I can's faint and they're a little worn and grungy).  They're heavy duty, feel like quality, and I think that's a good brand (?).  I'll take them to the knife sharpener guy at the farmers market and have them spiffed up.  I've been wanting another nice pair of scissors.

I got a bag full of zippers...15!

Snaps and hooks...

About five yards of beautiful, red, velvet ribbon...still on the cardboard spool from the store.

Three bags of trims, seam binding, blanket binding, lace, etc.
Most of the packages have never been opened.

I love finding stuff like that.  It comes in useful and has even prevented runs to the store in the middle of some projects.  However, I now have so much that my trim jar is full and won't hold any more.  

It was fun calling my daughter to tell her about all the stuff I'd gotten.  She couldn't believe that I spent less than $4 for all of it!  I can't either!  I love bargains!