Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Funky Functional Flair for Our Feet

My friend, Laura, came over yesterday and she had on the CUTEST shoes. I had a very hard time not snatching them right off her sweet little feet. She must have sensed my struggle because she politely asked me if I would like to try them on. Yes! Oh, but only if you insist. "Hello, my adorable commodious friends ---I think I love you." If you don't already know about them then, please, let me introduce you to Sanuks. I went to their web site and discovered that "Sanuk" is the Thai word for fun and happiness. That pretty much sealed the deal. I like fun just as much as I like happiness. I ordered them on Zappos and was astonished when they arrived today! SO cute and comfy. Sanuk describes their sandals and loafers as "funky functional". I would like to add "funky functional with flair"! Perfect shoes to transition into fall. Look them up on the Sanuk website and see what you think. I love them and recommend them AND I'm not being paid by any one to say so!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Delicious Barbecue Brisket

 Summer is yawning and nudging Autumn to come wrap us up in her colorful cozy quilt. Can you sense it? Although my friends down south are still sweltering in the heat, the weather is beginning to cool here in Ohio. We are sleeping with the windows open more often. The high school band can be heard rehearsing in the distance. School buses make getting to town a sluggish affair. The last vegetables are in from the garden and their green stalks are weary and fading. The bag of charcoal on the porch is empty. I don't know about you, but I am ready to put the garden to bed for the season and I'm just about done grilling outside for awhile. I always love winding the summer down with a barbecue dinner. There is something so gratifying about piling up a plate with barbecue brisket, sweet corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes fresh from the garden (or from the grocery store is just fine), and buttermilk biscuits dripping with butter and honey. I usually top it off with the peach cobbler that I posted about previously. A splendid summer wrap-up.
My dad still makes the best barbecue brisket I have ever eaten. He spends hours smoking the meat on his charcoal grill---always keeping a watchful eye lest his masterpiece be less than spectacular. It is always spectacular. He then slices it, places the tender smokey succulence in a pan, bathes it in just enough barbecue sauce, covers the pan with tin foil and cooks it in the oven for a few more hours. I love his barbecue---I just do not have the skill or patience to replicate it. Long ago, my mother came to my rescue with a fabulous recipe that is just mouth watering. It could never be as good as dad's but it certainly does satisfy the taste buds just fine. The perks to this recipe are that it is simple to throw together and it does not require grilling or smoking the meat beforehand. Love it!
 So, as a "so long to summer", here is my tried and true recipe for barbecue brisket:

Blue Ribbon BBQ Brisket:
4-8lb brisket
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. celery seed
1TBSP onion powder
1 TBSP black pepper
1 TBSP liquid smoke
 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1-2 Cups of your favorite barbecue sauce
Place brisket in an oven safe pan
Mix all other ingredients--pour over brisket---cover and marinate 6-8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator
Cover with heavy foil and bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours.
Uncover foil for the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time to brown.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nifty Swifty

Was that bad to do? Sorry.
The fabulous gals from  Mason Dixon Knitting have done it again! In their second publication, Outside The Lines, a pattern is offered that I could not resist. Do you remember the darling ball-band dish rags that I mentioned in an earlier post? The ladies have figured out how to turn that rag into a cover for our Swiffers! It is my opinion that the "swifty" picks up hair, crumbs, dust, ect.... much better than the disposable covers you buy at the store. More importantly, they are TOO CUTE! Don't you think? No more buying box after box of paper covers for me! I knit up two: one that adorns my Swiffer and a second that is in the wash or linen closet---waiting to transform what was once an ordinary household tool into something fun and fabulously chic. The first Swifty knit up quickly. The second, well, as you can see, I had help so it took longer. I used Sugar and Cream 100% cotton yarn by Lily. The yarn can be found in craft stores or the craft section of Walmart for about $2.00 a ball. I used 4 colors (4 balls) and could have easily knit 3-4 swifties from the 4. The book is full of fun useful projects and the clever wit of Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne will keep you laughing! I love these ladies!!!  Here are Kay and Ann starring in a little video they created that perfectly captures the zany sense of humor the knitting books are so full of.

When I finally stopped laughing at the video, I decided it was time to make pickles!

 I chose cucumbers for my experimental veggie in the garden this year and discovered that, on any given day one may find 8-10 pounds of pickles gracing vines that one could have sworn were not there a few days ago. So, thanks to my daughter, Sarah and her friend, Hannah, we washed, sliced, boiled, spiced and canned 14 pints of Kosher Dill and Bread and Butter pickles. In my normal fashion, I did not read the recipe from the Ball recipe book all the way through before beginning the process and was a little deflated to find that we would have to wait 6 weeks to sample our efforts. Oh, well. In 6 weeks I will share recipes if they turn out!
In the mean time---I'm off to my craft room to create something pretty!
Don't forget that you can click on the highlighted words to be transported to the Mason-Dixon website
and Amazon for the book!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hex Nut Bracelet

My youngest daughter,Sarah, made me this very cool bracelet and I LOVE it! It is made from hex nuts and hemp.
So clever. So inexpensive. so hard-ware chicClick here to view the website with instructions for making your own bracelet. Thank you, Sarah, for keeping us all up to speed on hip adornments!
As you can see, I have been having fun in my craft room. However, I am having a difficult time finishing anything and this is why:
Meet Chloe.
She wandered into our next door neighbor's yard 3 weeks ago. She had recently had puppies as evidenced by certain sagging swinging lady parts and she was infested with fleas. She was so thin and very scared. Anytime someone would approach her, she would cower and crawl. Our wonderful Neighbors posted signs, advertised on several far-reaching web sites and posted in the local papers but no one seems to be looking for her. The vet said she is probably between 2-4 years old and puppies would have been about 8 weeks old and weaned. He felt she had been running free for at least a week and there was a strong possibility that she had been abused and was most likely "dropped off". She is such a tiny fragile looking little thing. He was amazed that she had survived the hawks, coyotes and foxes that frequent the woods in our neighborhoods. She certainly is brave and resourceful. The Neighbors kept her for a over a week and had her bathed for the fleas. The Humane Society would not take her because she was not injured or bleeding so, unfortunately, the next stop was going to be the pound. The Neighbors travel for months at a time and could not keep her. I don't know what happened but my heart just melted for this little gal and so I brought her home on a trial basis. She and Ky would have to be okay together and I wanted to make sure that she didn't have any severe personality issues. She is the sweetest thing and I just adore her. She follows me everywhere and is very cuddly! I still search the papers for lost adds but am secretly relieved when there are no postings for her. I am quite baffled---I thought I didn't like small dogs! Well, Chloe is rehabilitating nicely and I am reformed.
So, I have been spending a lot of time acclimating Chloe to her new home instead of being domestic but I am good with that.
Speaking of domestic, I have a cleaning tip from my friend, Vicki:

For those of us at a certain age who must rely on mega-magnification mirrors to apply our make-up, pluck brows or observe for undesirable growths----DO NOT clean the mirror. It is perfectly acceptable to leave that film of hairspray and random fingerprints as long as the rest of the bath room is clean and tidy. Removing this film might reveal realities that we just aren't quite ready to embrace yet. Vicki said that she made the mistake of cleaning her mirror not long ago and received quite a shock. So, thank you, Vicki for another encouraging and helpful hint.