Friday, February 27, 2015

Picture Dump: Wildflowers III

Picture Dump: Wildflowers I

Picture Dump: Wildflowers Ii

I have spotted the first wildflowers this season! Spring is coming! Hurray! In the meantime, here is one last picture dump of wildflowers from last year. Enjoy.

Indian Blanket; 4/24/2014

Sunflower; 4/24/2014

Wild Spiderwort; 4/24/2014

One of these days, I’m going to get the purplish color to shine through.

Unidentified.; 4/24/2014

I know what this is. For the life of me, I just cannot recall the name.

Sensitive Plant {Mimosa pudica}; 4/30/2014

Indian Blanket; 4/30/2014

Unidentified; Mexican Hat?; 5/1/2014

Unidentified; Mexican Hat? With False Dandelion; 5/1/2014

Bluebonnet gone to seed; 5/6/2014

Bluebonnet gone to seed; 5/6/2014

Most likely Coreopsis linifolia {Texas Tickseed}; 5/6/2014

Lazy Daisy; 5/6/2014

Coreopsis basalis {Golden Wave>}; 5/6/2015

I was thrilled to see this flower on our land in addition to the Texas Tickseed. I have memories of our first spring at our first house with the golden wave in our backyard. It was the first and only time we had them there. I do believe we mowed down the backyard too soon. I will need to dig up the picture of me standing among the flowers and post it soon.

{To see a larger image, go here.}

The above three pictures are all from the same plant. I have no clue to its identification. 5/6/2015

Horsemint; 5/23/2015

Horsemint; 5/23/2015

I believe this is a slight aberration in the coloring of this particular plant.

Coreopsis and Morning Glories; 8/6/2014

Rain Lilies; 9/23/2104

These only appear after a decent rain shower.

Morning Glories; 9/28/2014

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Strings

It's a String Thing #80
using Kozy, and Inaura

Completed 2/21/2015

Zendala Dare #97

I work on this when I want to doodle and have no other challenges to do/complete. I am using pencil as I am still learning to draw tangle patterns.

I do not know what the name of the center (border) pattern is. When I wanted something to fill in the center teardrop spaces, I glanced at my fabrics and noticed VeggieTales fabrics with Larry and Bob all over it. I attempted to draw Bob and fell short; but, I still think it is cute. I then picked up one of my Zentangle books and picked Purk to tangle the middle "teardrops". So far, I am liking my work...

Friday, February 20, 2015

Feathered Friday

Cardinal; 1/20/2015

House Finch; 1/21/2015

And yes, that platform feeder is hanging crooked.

A Pair of Loggerhead Shrikes; 1/25/2015

I was outside one day and noticed a bird that looked like a Mockingbird; but, something about the bird puzzled me. I looked through my binoculars and knew immediately that it most likely was not a Mockingbird. When I spied it again while Dan was home, I made him take a look and sure enough, after some research through his phone, Dan discovered it was a Loggerhead Shrike. When our nephew and niece-in-law, who are also birding enthusiasts, came to visit, they confirmed what we had concluded.

Nowadays, when I spy the elusive bird, I immediately know it for what it is. I am unable to explain it; they just have a different behavioral aspect or whatnot that distinguishes them from the Mockingbirds and it only takes a look through the binoculars to confirm my identification.

Meadowlark; 1/27/2015

Note: There are two species of Meadowlarks: Eastern and Western. We are unable to determine which species this (and the others) is. The only way is through their song and I am deaf.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wordy Wednesday {DIY Drawer Divider}

I am late with my post today; but, I was busy this morning. I thought I would go shopping since I do best in the mornings. Now, I am all tired and not quite feeling well. But, I wanted to post a picture of what I made.

It is funny remembering when I first went out to the "hangar" (detached garage) to use the power miter saw. I was determined to use the thing on my own. After all, Dan showed me how to use it and taught me all he could. I just needed to get over my fear of using power tools.

Anyway, I looked for a power switch all the while not touching the saw. I finally reached up and pushed the trigger switch on the handle and it immediate revved up scaring me to death. I was then telling myself, "Calm down. It's okay. There is no need to look for a power switch as it's already on".

I then proceeded to cut up a bunch of leftover yardsticks (from projects in the sewing room) and glued them together. The first step was gluing together a bunch forming the base or bottom of the divider. I let that dry over night and then I cut some more yardsticks to create the box and dividers. I glued those on and left it alone to dry.

It is not perfect. In fact, the OCD person inside of me screams because it is slightly crooked. But, I have to admit that I am quite proud of the result of this project. I did it all from start to finish -- measuring, cutting, gluing, etc., and etc. without help from Dan.

The next one should be better because I plan to use a square to make sure the corners are... well... squared. Yes, I plan to make a few more. Each one will be different fitting a specific need.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Macro Monday {Cute Daring Spider}

It is a gloomy rainy cold morning. The temperatures are dropping. In fact, it dropped 10 degrees in about an hour. The power was out for approximately 40 minutes causing this house to be extremely dark and I had to work by flashlight! Fun and games.

I think and I hope spring is finally on its way. But, it is going to get cold (down to the 30* F) again tonight and tomorrow. Hopefully, this will be the last extreme cold spell because I am anxious to start planting my spring garden.

In the meantime, I decided to look through some old unprocessed pictures (oldest to newest) and found this cute critter.

Daring Spider; 4/21/2014

I miss seeing spiders hereabouts. I am still watching out for Charlotte's babies. I do not know when they will emerge or already have emerged from their egg sac. I read that they overwinter in the sac and emerge in the springtime. So, I have been keeping an eye out for them.

I heard that winter is hitting hard in some areas of USA. Stay safe. And, stay warm.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Strings

It's a String Thing #79
using Buttercup, InaPod, Pozer, and Puf.

What did I learn? I learned that if you are unfocused, you will have spastic moments. I am not going to point out them out; but, there are three of them (mistakes). Oh well. live and learn! I also discovered that I am not a fan of Puf; but, I wanted to practice drawing the tangle.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Slapdash Saturday

  • Top 10 Tips to Transform Your Creative Space

    {Organization; this is actually one of the better articles I’ve read about creative spaces}

  • Hanging Towel Tutorial

    {Sewing; For the kitchen or Bathroom}

    I think I might make some of these up for the guest bathroom (to use in place of hand towels). What do you think of that idea?

  • DIY Budget Money Envelopes {a Tutorial}

    This is perfect for those who live on a cash system (no debt and no credit cards). I also think they are cute and may make a couple to hold coupons and the like in my purse.

  • 12 signs Cats Have Taken Over Your Home

    The #2 picture is hilarious!

    #1, #2, #5, #6, #7, #9, #11 all have true at one point or another throughout my life. Calvin was the sink sleeper. Gracie has destroyed blinds trying to see outside. She’s the reason why our blinds in the public areas are never fully lowered. Little One found the oddest places to sleep. Almost all of my cats were drawer kitties with the exception of our Maine Coons (Calvin and Chessie) and Abby Gail.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Feline Friday

It has been awhile since I posted recent pictures of my cats. I was out roaming trying to find wildflowers to shoot when I decided to see if I can get pictures of my cats exploring a compost pile left behind previous owners.

Gracie (with Abby in background); January 27, 2015

Abby Gail; January 27, 2015

Both of them love exploring and being on this pile. I think it is because it gives them a camouflage (hiding) spot along with a vantage point (higher ground). The grass/weeds are allowed to flourish there as we cannot mow the spot and we are lazy when it comes to using the weed eater.

The cats are not going to be happy with us when we level the pile. Yes, we are going to get rid of that pile soon as I do not like its presence on the land. We have a compost tumbler that serves its purpose and we will have a nice burn pit built soon to burn off brush and stuff. So, having this old pile mar the landscape is not really necessary and the dirt will fill up a low spot that was left behind by a greenhouse that was torn down by previous owners. We have a lot of work ahead of us. *sigh*

Thursday, February 12, 2015

On Meatloaf (and Making it Gluten Free)

I found a recipe for individual meat loaf that I absolutely love. It is much better than the one I made often in the past before I went gluten free. Making meatloaf, especially gluten free, should not be complicated.

This recipe makes two full meals for the two of us leaving me with two leftovers for lunches. I make eight individual loaves with 1/2 the sauce recipe and bake four with sauce freezing the other four (without sauce) for the future. I will make 1/2 the sauce when I thaw and bake them.

Note: I do NOT use special baking pans to make meatloaf and have not for years. Ever since I watched a Good Eats episode on meatloaf, I shape and place them onto a baking sheet or casserole dish. This makes life so much easier! For easy cleanup, I will use aluminum foil. The special pans, which were a pain-in-you-know-what, are long gone.

Here is a partial ingredient list with tips and details. (Please go to the original source for the complete list of ingredients and baking instructions}:

  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef

    I used ground chuck which was 25% off at HEB. I ended up buying another 2 pounds which I divided up and placed into freezer for future meals that calls for ground beef.

  • 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs

    I used 4 C Crumbs: Gluten Free: Plain instead. I found this at Walmart.

  • 1/4 ketchup

    I used Hunts 100% Natural brand. This is gluten free (with a chance of cross-contamination). A family I know (via a sister-in-law) with a child that must be gluten free uses this brand and apparently uses it often. This is also HFCS free which is critical for me too.

  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

    I used Lea and Perrins brand which I know is gluten free. I get a small bottle at HEB.

  • The sauce calls for 1/2 cup brown sugar. I do not use a full 1/2 cup as it can be very sweet. I use between 1/4 to 1/3 cup.

This is a versatile recipe. You can add grated carrots, minced or grated garlic among other ingredients (including spices) to the meat to make a healthier version.

Personal Tips:

  • Do not over mix. That is a tip I learned a long time ago watching Good Eats and trust me, it is much better to not over mix the meat.
  • Do not overcook. Use a meat thermometer to keep track of the internal temperature. If you overcook, you will end up with a dry meatloaf which is not very appetizing. At least, It is not appetizing for us.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wordy Wednesday (String Thing #77)

Tickled to Tangle blog issued a It’s a String Thing Challenge #77 which I decided to attempt. This was my first time using pens instead of pencils. Here is my result that I completed just a day late.

Here are some results of tangles created by others and my goodness, they are awesome!

It’s a String Thing #77 Tiles

It’s a String Thing #77 Continued

Tickled to Tangle blog issued a a new string #79 yesterday that I may attempt. I skipped #78 as it just did not appealed to me. I guess you could say that I was sick of hearts! Ha!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Macro Monday {Still Longing for Spring}

Closeup of a Sunflower; April 24, 2014

Spring is definitely on its way here; but, it seems to be taking an awfully long time! I am mighty impatient!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

January 2015 Recap

My monthly recaps are going to change. The only thing that will remain the same will be books I have read. The savings challenge I was doing is now static with $110 a week (every Monday). Projects will still be highlighted if any was worked on and/or completed; but, not as important. I am just going to highlight certain things I think were important and or memorable to me. I may also may make "announcements" for family and friends.
  • Books Finishes
    • #29: The Travelers: Present in the Past by Emily Schmidt.

      This book was on an extreme sale (75%) with free shipping and the story line, which used a couple of old quilts, intrigued me. So, I purchased it for dirt cheap. This is geared towards young readers; but, it is also a quick enjoyable read for older readers and adults.

      A young girl, Nona, is the ninth generation of travelers – those that can travel in time. She came into her abilities at a critical time and had to flee and hide in the past. A boy, who was held hostage to his abilities, crashed landed in the past where Nona was hiding. Nona manages to help anchor Henry and teach him what limited knowledge she about traveling. Winnie, a relative in the past she was staying (hiding out) with, is coming into her own traveling abilities. Nona ended up having to flee from some bad Travelers and both Henry and Emily hung onto and traveled with her.

      The one thing I really liked, besides the time traveling aspect, is the historical perspective of the times Nona got “stuck” in the past. Emily Schmidt was able to blend everything extremely well. I am biased towards fantasy books anyway. :-)

      The one thing I disliked is the abrupt ending forcing you to wait for a second book if (and that is a big IF), one gets published. I have my doubts.

  • Company

    Two of my nephews and a niece-in-law used our house as a hotel to attend the first ever PAX held in San Antonio called PAX South. By all appearances, they seemed to have enjoyed themselves. And, I am not going to lie; they were the best guests anybody could expect! They were my kind of guests – they were too busy attending and having fun at the convention to visit much. They are more than welcome to use our house again as a hotel to attend the next convention or just go sightseeing.

    I honestly do not mind family and close friends crash landing at the house just to go sightseeing nearby areas including San Antonio or attend events and/or conventions. (In fact, these kinds of guests are less stressful for me – just do what you want to do and let me do my own thing.) I don't even mind them coming to escape their own places and visit with us. I am more than happy to provide beds and a bathroom along with eats and drinks as long as they let me know ahead of time what they prefer as my household is mostly gluten free and mighty boring to most folks. If they need breakfast, lunch and dinner, they need to let us know that to as we tend to wing ours on the weekends.

    These kids (yes, they are kids to me even though they are adults) did not seem to want eats and drinks from our house. Even though I was worried about them going hungry, they seemed to do just fine on their own. By the way, they never put in a request for eats and drinks when I asked them to when they first asked to stay here. I should not have worried about being good hosts; but, I did worry. I have to much of my Mother in me concerning this fact. I want people to be happy and content staying here in spite of my inability to socialize sometimes due to deafness. Dan more than filled in this part of being a host for me which relieved me immensely.

  • Announcement (to Family and Close Friends)

    It is my hope to have Murphy beds (a queen and a twin) installed in the official guest room by the end of February along with my room be mostly finished. When those beds are installed, I will send word to family and friends that our “hotel” is officially open even though the guest room and bath will be a work in progress! We will have the Murphy beds along with a queen size camp cot (a stable air mattress and very comfortable) and a twin sized (slightly smaller than a twin) sleeper sofa bed for people to crash on.

    Like most hotels, a fridge, freezer and microwave are available. Unlike most hotels, we also have a stovetop, an oven and a Keurig. And, we have cookware and dishes. However, the location is not exactly ideal as it is approximately forty minutes from downtown San Antonio. But, if any of my family and close friends needs cheap, this place is a cheap (free) hotel. Just don't expect this place to be like a hotel though -- decorated and pristine. It is a house that is lived in with constant work being done to it.

    Also, be aware that we have cats if you are allergic to them. My nephews are allergic and yet, they seemed to have done just fine with their allergy meds. I do try to keep allergens down on account of Dan being allergic too. Just grab and run. Maybe that is what we should call our place, "Just grab and run". Ha! :-)

    As long as one does not have high expectations of me as a host and puts in their requests ahead of time, I think we all will get along just fine.