Ongoing Care

As I was cleaning today, I ran across an envelope that I was about to toss. I opened it up (it was addressed to me) and the first page was The Caregiver Bill of Rights. Rights that I was supposed to hold to as best I could while caring for mom. While reading it over, I realized my caregiving isn’t over. I alluded to this in The Long Goodbye, but damn it! I am still taking care of mom at the cost of my own life. I leave Alaska in a bit over a month and, in a small way, I’m glad. I have a ton of crap to go thru once I get to the states, but at least it is crap I’ve already sorted once. Stuff I can decide to sell or keep or recycle into something else (like the sweatshirts made for mom and dad with handprints from the grandkids. Jake doesn’t want them and suggested garbage.). As much as I love and need to be here, I’m so sick of waiting for things to happen or opening up a closet and discovering I hadn’t emptied it yet. I am going to do that next week. Just empty closets and take stuff somewhere. I’ve been doing it slowly cuz there is such a clothing glut in the few stores we have. I have cookbooks I’m taking in and the most frustrating part is storing it to haul off! (I do not like clutter and piles for this and piles for that makes me want to just walk away! Note: That is an ELO song from ‘Xanadu’. Fun musical! Gene Kelly, ONJ, and some random dude that apparently roller skated in from somewhere.) I need to make some more cash before I leave in October. I am sure it will show up from somewhere. It is obviously NOT going to be made this fall from selling these things.

The lake is gorgeous this month. In between raindrops, it is frequently calm and often glassy. I haven’t seen the bulls lately. But, it is still moose season for a few more days. I wish the guys would just bed down in my yard and hide out! Others are scared of the critters, but if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. (Generally!) I had to laugh last week. The neighbor’s dogs ran to the lake edge barking like crazy. I figured there was a moose around and walked down with my camera. A cow was on my side, not very close, but I got her photo. The dogs continued barking and two of them were wagging their tails. I think they wanted to play! There are still loon, I hear them often and I just looked up to see a flotilla of mallards paddling past. Last night, I was out on the water and spied three golden eye. (Oh, I just noticed there is a single out there on the water! Poor baby. He doesn’t fit with the others, but there is probably safety in numbers. Picture is of golden eye diving-) 

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Bloop!

Speaking of mom and this incredible place, when her ashes were put in the lake after the sale, no one took photos and the single picture I thought I took, didn’t take. It is sunny at the moment, Jake isn’t due to be here til after one … I saw her briefly at a party we were both at, but otherwise I have not seen her since the sale. She called to say she needed her folding tables. Tables that when she left were covered in things that needed put away. Which I did. There is still a lot to tidy, but I’ll do it when the drive is getting dug up. (yes, it might really happen the end of this week!!!) BUT, the lake has been beautiful, so I am going to wait for someone to visit, do ashes again, and have the person take photos of the experience. (Hoping the whomever will visit when it is daylight, not raining, and the lake is calm!) I won’t do it when Jake is here, she’s too busy. (she has arrived and gone again. She’ll see me probably around the 24th when we take the rest of mum’s ashes down the inlet) I’d do the photos myself, but the swirl of ashes will look better from up high. Or at least, I was told it looked interesting when it was done the first time.

I keep wandering off into bunny trails in this post! And I completely forgot to mention my busy Sunday or that I made the scrumptious halibut! (I am sure you are all waiting on tenterhooks to find out what I did.—Tenterhooks sound extremely uncomfortable!) Sunday I did sell some rolling carts that were stashed in the rig. (They take up a lot of room, I needed to move the carts and so, and I put them in the vehicle!) After church, I dashed off to the store, met a gal and then TnT in the parking lot and chatted, high tailed it to my next engagement, realizing I was not going to have time to put gas in the Pacifica, and got to the church anniversary in time to miss most of the service. (yup, after church, another church had an anniversary party at 2pm.) I sat with some stellar older folks and the majority of us left around the same time to attend a retirement party at 5pm. Where I sat with some of the same people (Jake was at this one, she sat elsewhere)! I love the people in this area! I learned ‘Poor man’s lobster’ is a delicious old fashioned way to cook halibut (since I didn’t have any clean forks, I used chopsticks to dip it in a butter that definitely needed flavoring), the icing on the cake I sampled (I like tasting how different people bake!) was ridiculous, and the donuts had WAY too sweet toppings on heavy rings. The desserts were very pretty, though!

These last two pictures are ones The Craftsman took. He went to a car show this weekend with over 600 cars and found a 56 T Bird to match the 56 Mercury. How cool is that? A turquoise T Bird!!!!

I have been thankful to thread many golden pearls on my string of memories the last couple of days. I’m going to need them to roll in my fingers when things are less bright.

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While out

I really have been able to get outside now and then. Mostly to drive from the house to town and back. However, I was texting Ms. Monster (she may be in her cookie jar, but my view is much better!) about getting out  more. Then, she felt I was being disparaging about a certain bull moose hanging around the house. So, I am posting a couple of photos of the horrible looking moose. (If it was at all possible, I’d take a brush to the creature and feed it up on grains!) So, since I took the photos with the camera and not the cell phone, I am sharing this way. He was across the road and since I’m a smart lady, I used my telephoto capabilities. (He definitely wasn’t impressed with my watching him, either!) So, my dear Ms. Monster, here is a frightfully sad Bullwinkle!!! (note: I love that lady and she’s a darn good wordsmith, too!)

 

I also was able to experience my first shaking since arriving back north early Memorial Day morning. I had turned over in bed and noticed it shaking. I wasn’t sure if it was vertigo or something else. I was sleeping with my bear and he is NOT one to make the bed shake!  Then, I heard the wind chimes in the living room. (Many Alaskans keep wind chimes inside as earthquake notifications.) It didn’t last very long and I went back to sleep to the sound of quieting chimes.

I’ve managed to find half of the paperwork I need, so I’m making progress of sorts. I was sad her church could only give me records from the last three years. (it appears the treasurer changed programs or computers or something and lost most of her records) I’m not even sure the work I’m doing will make a dent in her debt, but I’ll find out in a week. No matter, as I told Ms. Monster, at least I have great views from where I’m working on the living room floor!

I did realise, too, that Gaz was right. The chicken breast I purchased and cooked (I admit, I cooked it too long. I even forgot my tea and it was truly tepid!) had a too dry mouth feel. I should have gotten thighs. I’ll crumble it up for my salads.

My sister gave me some goat cheese the other day. It was very crumbly and tasted a little of lemons. (she made it) I don’t think I want any more, but I’m not going to post the photo I took on FB. She’ll interrogate me on how I ate it. (on salad with chopped ham pieces and a lot of regular cheese. I did add seasonings. I don’t put dressing on salads. Ever. Naked all the way!)  I think I’ll share that picture here!

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And I will leave you with another shot I took. This was later than the moose ones, it is after 1045 pm on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. (I needed some large envelopes to hold mom’s receipts, so went to town shopping. I should have gotten ice cream, but I was too stingy!)  There was a break in the rain clouds, letting the mountains peek through!

 

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Christmas?

I don’t make certain cookies just at Christmas. OK, as I’ve mentioned before, there are some cookies I make in the cooler months because they need to set up (I made some graham cracker crust bars today that did not set up properly, I think I needed more peanut butter.). However, there was a recipe a friend gave me that I’ve always wanted to make and could NOT find an ingredient for. They are called Nutmeg Logs.

These little things have Rum Extract in them and I had a dickens of a time finding that stuff anywhere! I finally tracked it down in a specialty store. The ingredients? Alcohol, water, rum, and natural flavorings! The cookie part has two tsp of Rum Extract and one of Vanilla and then the frosting also has two tsp of Rum Extract! The guys thought they tasted a bit different. I even added chocolate to the frosting to help it out! (The first photo is a bit blurry..I must not have been using the right part of my bifocals to shoot it!)

I took them to a church potluck and the lady who gave me the recipe took the rest home! She liked how I made them round instead of rolling them out into logs. (those flatten on the bottom and look more like sticks!) I most likely won’t make these very often, but they were interesting!

Buttons and Bowknots

Awhile back I wondered how many recipes I could find to make with cinnamon. While sorting through a cookbook box I found some little booklets from ages back and the recipes were often bizarre! (this one is a Bisquick cookbook, I think, from 1958) There was one meal plan for a TV dinner. (Literally, a dinner to sit and watch TV while eating. It included a meat pie from this recipe book, a salad, and sherbet. Innovative!)

As I perused, I found this one for buttons and bowknots. I loved the name, so I decided to try it. (I keep calling them bow ties!!) I did use Bisquick, I often have the stuff in the house, but in retrospect, I’ll use my own biscuit recipe if I make it again. It was fun and tasty and super messy (which is why I’ll use my own recipe!). Soft dough is one thing, sticky is totally not cool. At any rate, Little Bear loved them and reheated some for breakfast in the microwave. I’m pretty sure it is a keeper recipe.

More on The Range (late)

I’ve been doing quite a bit of cooking these last weeks. With the weather so freaking cold, I can make dipped cookies and not worry about how long they take to set up. I just pop them on a pan and move them to the addition. (The addition is a room we had added on in 2008. It was going to be a bathroom, library/computer room, closet, with a hall. It is still a large windowed place that holds my clothes in a metal closet, storage of many sorts, and is great to cool off things when the fridge is full) I don’t know if it will ever be finished, but meanwhile, it is handy as it is. I shouldn’t make more than one more batch of these ginger ones..they are so darn good!!! The backs I spread melted chocolate on..in warmer months, I just make the cookies sans the chocolate. (I like them either way, The Craftsman prefers them with the chocolate.)

I made a few odd things this month. I am going to not cook any stir fry til the end of March! (I’ve made 3 meals like that in Feb and we ate out twice at places that served Asian meals.) I particularly love the veggies (non spicy sorts), especially baby corn. These aren’t packaged in the states and so are a bit spendy. I don’t get them often. When I do, they are a treat and the kid and I halve the contents. Except for this can. These were adolescent corn! Usually, they are at least half this size and closer in diameter to the sharpie. I think there were 7 in the whole can!!!!

The fun thing I made, I’ll make again. I had this recipe for a pull apart pizza sitting in my recipe folder. I’ve wanted to make it for ages and never managed to get around to it. When I did, I went afoul at the start. My bread machine recipe book suggests a 12 in pizza is large enough. I ALWAYS double the recipe. This pull apart said to use two packaged pizza dough portions. (not ever purchasing the stuff, I was unsure of how much two might be and when I looked at the amount, I was still unsure.) I used the smaller recipe in the bread machine book. Next time I’ll use the larger one. I barely had enough to coat the bottom of a bread pan, much less fill a fluted cake one! I used the left over ingredients in a flat pizza sort of bread thing.

One of the directions in the pull apart recipe was to dip each bite sized dough ball in ‘dipping oil’. Being a kid from a small town in AK and growing up eating American cooked meals, I had no idea what ‘dipping oil’ was. (Outside of medieval stories) I looked it up and was pleasantly impressed. I didn’t use the fast recipe I found. It had a few ingredients and looked easy. Sort of. I read it would take 5 min to prepare and thought ‘no problem!’. The first step was to mix the herbs and set aside for six months! (I laughed) I just mixed some herbs from my cupboard and added olive oil. It was dubious alone, but in the pull apart and then, later, drizzled over the flat bread..OMGoodness!!! (note: I didn’t make pizza. I just used chopped ham and cheese and we ate it with tomato soup!)

The last cookies I made were also ones that needed chilled, but they are ones I usually make at Christmas, the mint ones. And since I didn’t get Andes mints at Valentine’s Day, I won’t be making these again. Or, at least not til after Halloween. I also used chocolate candy shot instead of the festive multi colored ones. The guys didn’t mind. (I should have bought the Unicorn mix…but it cost more for less sprinkle!)

I have decided I really like my mixer. Little Bear was a genius when he said I needed one. I love that kid!!!! (although, it does take less time to mix most of my cookie mixes by hand.)

Sugaring times two

This is a reshare. I’m pretty sure I posted it a million years back, but I was looking for it and couldn’t find it. Piffle. Thus, I found it elsewhere, changed a couple of words, and am posting again. I’m also in a bit of a funk and not wanting to write, so amusing others at my expense is a grand idea! I do hope the links still exist…

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Around a year ago, I decided one of the ‘new’ things I wanted to do was go bare. It was silly, but I didn’t care, I thought it might be different and interesting. I approached the topic with intense research. I finally chose to try one of the many home methods. Sugaring.  I used this site because it had simple instructions for all the steps. Sugaring Hair Removal.  I also discovered sugaring or waxing pubic areas for a person with Diabetes is not suggested. The product is hot, can burn, and often persons with Diabetes don’t heal well. Some salons may turn you away! So, here is my story. Read and grow wise.
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Sugaring, or the longest 20 min of my life

Sugaring.  This is a ‘simple’ way to remove body hair and I believed it would be much less stressful than waxing (I had read many a calamity concerning home wax procedures) with easy to obtain ingredients.  Sugar, water, and lemon juice. (note: I hope you can breathe after clicking that link. It ALWAYS makes me laugh til I cry.)  I mixed the ingredients and discovered, after it cooled, I had actually made glass. A lovely amber hue of one inch scented glass candy. Thankfully, adding water softened it.  I put it in a plastic container and stored it against a day when I might have time to use it.
I had been sick, but this experience was on my agenda and being slightly agenda oriented, I decided to go for it. I had noticed the stuff I had made was still soft and I put everything I might need in the bathroom. (I am so glad I chose the bathroom and not my bedroom!) I was fortunate to have linoleum flooring and water just a step away. I stripped down and confidently sat on the edge of the tub.
Mentally going over each step, I decided this was going to be a very easy procedure.  I opened up the sugar mixture and scooped out a glob. It was once again candy. Sticky, not quite taffy, candy. It resembled melted mozzarella on a hot pizza, but I was committed. I couldn’t get it off my fingers. It was like trying to wash off oil based paint with water! (note: I have actually done that…)
I slapped it on my tender cringing flesh and hoped for the best. My project wasn’t even close to the best. The stuff dripped off my hand onto the floor in puddles of stiff January-like molasses. I pushed the bath mat away from the goo with a toe and proceeded to shove the open container out of the way.
Now, for the uninformed, there are two types of sugaring techniques. I was going for a less painful removal where you cook the sugar mixture to a soft taffy consistency resembling warm tootsie rolls. This is then molded to the skin and pulled away with unwanted hairs. My sugar paste, well, it was too thin and sticky. Wishing I had warm tootsie rolls, I remembered the second sugar technique used cloth strips, making it similar to waxing. The directions suggested old jean strips. I had those. Upstairs in my sewing room still attached to jeans.
I looked down at my liberally coated skin and decided I’d do that after I cleaned up a bit. (because why not tidy before making a bigger mess???)  Unfortunately, every move I made stuck my legs to each other. When I bent to get the chaos on the floor cleaned up, my body stuck firmly to my thighs. Was it really necessary for an aging person with a tummy to need to go bare? YES. I wanted to do this.
Soldiering on, it seemed to take forever to get the sweet debris cleaned up, since it grew with every step I made. Literally. As I was hopping around the bathroom floor stuck to myself, I accidentally pressed my foot firmly into the open container of mixture I’d left in an out of the way spot. In the tub, nekkid from the tummy down, I praised God for the best thing about using sugar as a hair removal technique.  Sugar melts in hot water!
Finally, the bathroom was presentable and my feet were clean. I hadn’t washed off the rest of me, I was on a do or die mission. I sneakily streaked upstairs to my craft room as fast as my glued body parts could move and looked for old jeans. I knew they were  there, I often used them! Tearing apart the place, I eventually found them exactly where they were supposed to be. Breathing hard, I cut out several sections to use as epilation tools.
In my frantic search, I glanced at the almost full length mirror on the wall. I had on a tank top, was gripping a pair of jeans in one hand and was brandishing sewing shears in the other, My nether region was covered in a veneer of hazel goo, my pony tail was coming undone, and my face was a frenzied contortion of freckles, lips, and cheeks. I wanted to fall over laughing, but was afraid I’d stick to the floor and someone would have heart failure when they found me amidst the dust bunnies.
Back in the bathroom (in the tub this time), I generously applied the cloth to my anatomy, hoping to see results of a smooth nature. It didn’t work. After several patches were used and I’d worn off much of the stuff (not hair), it was starting to hurt. The frantic pulling of cloth from candy coated skin was more painful than removing a band aid from a week long wound.
Disgusted with the whole thing, I turned on the faucet. In seconds I was relieved to be clean again, sporting only a few faint pink marks where I had gotten carried away with my mission. I knew I needed to start dinner soon, so I looked at the clock to see how many minutes I had sucked into this rabbit hole. I was shocked to discover very little actual time had passed during my sugaring debut. I was also convinced I need much more research into this project before another attempt.
In the end, being an older and wiser woman, I took to razors. Which was definitely the better idea.

The side of the range!

Little Bear turned 25 on February 4. I wanted to do something amazing for his birthday. I’d made so many cakes over the years. The hamburger one (HUGE!), the kit kat one, I made a candy pizza, an ice cream cake, one that looked like a shark, Big Bird, Garfield (that one was actually not very easy!), and a lot of fun cupcakes.

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I had a vague idea of a cake with white frosting and a ganache sort of chocolate layer on top with snowflake cupcakes on top of that. (To be fair, the cupcake idea only happened after it started snowing on his birthday!) He wanted a poppyseed chocolate cake and I found several online recipes, but they were fiddly and time consuming. In retrospect, I took tons of time with what I did!!! The other would have been more fun. (maybe!) I found a butter cake mix in the cupboard and added a hint of chocolate powdered baking cocoa with poppy seeds and mini chocolate chips. The baked mixture was very good, but the silicone baking pan wasn’t made for add ins….

The darn things stuck, even after spraying and cooling. The three that were removed mostly intact had no real definition on the tops. I grumbled and decided I’d pipe on the white lines. (I just rolled my eyes at myself. It was not efficient!) After too much frosting of all kinds, the cake ended up with a marbled motif…and then so did the cupcakes. The main cake ended up being a basic triple chocolate mix.

I added the candle letters the guys got for a cookie cake they bought for ‘me’ last year while I was in AK. Even with the few undesired pink candles in the cupboard, I still didn’t have enough for 25, so I stayed with the letters. It was festive, none the less! The cupcakes I took to the warehouse where Little Bear works were also cheerful with a lot of sprinkles. (I love sprinkles! They are joyful little shots of sugar.)

All in all, it was definitely not one of my best birthday cakes, but it did taste good. Which really should be the entire point of cake!

Frantic Friday!

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What a Friday, but it really started on Thursday. Thursday I’d been invited out to lunch, but the eye dr office called and said there was a cancellation on Thursday morning and I grabbed it. Thus, cancelling the lunch plans! (the above picture was an early ‘gift’ from TnT!)

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you can’t see the blacks of my eyes, but they are HUGE! 

The eye doctor was a good/not too bad appointment. The good part was the ‘pallor’ she found in the nerves of one eye was not as pronounced after she dilated it (I’ll be jiggered, that is NOT how people pronounce that word. Or how I do-I thought it was dialation. There isn’t an ‘a’!) . Anyway, the pallor is most likely caused by an MS flareup. She’s going to check it again when I return on Feb 14. That day she’s going to put ‘plugs’ in my tear ducts. (How romantic!!!) However, I’m betting the pallor will be even more diminished. Today I’m walking better than I have in WEEKS!

I got home tired (I’m still pretty tired) and opted to wait a bit before putting the frozen lasagna in the oven. (I’m glaring at the screen in remembrance!) I didn’t realise how long the darn thing took to cook. During dinner, I was going to tell my family about my appointment, but Strider called. So, I decided to wait til later. The conversation ranged from books and vocabulary to aging and movies and more. (I laughed when he said some of his friends are annoyed cuz he texts entire words and full sentences.) By the time The Craftsman had time to talk to me, he was in his hat and coat and ready to go to his mom’s. My glucose was pretty low, but I rambled on quickly and hoped I made a smidge of sense!

While making dinner, I realised the element in the oven was starting to look like it might need replacing. I must have my oven (Little Bear is 25 on Monday and I am going to take cupcakes to where he works..so glad he doesn’t read this!) because without it…YIKES! I was thinking about making more cheese straws for my own birthday, but I decided to use the bread machine for cheesy bread instead. I’m also going to use the crock pot and slow cook a roast, too. Easy birthday dinner for me!

Now, today! I have been very busy this Friday birthday. I have so darn much to do and I’m running out of time! (I’m also a bit concerned about the bread machine. I use it for dough all the time, but I’ve had the ingredients in the thing for almost 20 min and there hasn’t been any mixing going on. I checked and the mixer thing works, I just hope I didn’t just waste 4 cups of flour and a cup of cheese! –Huzzah! It is now mixing! However, it won’t be done by dinner, I started it a bit too late. Rolling eyes at self.) My aunt and Strider called and that threw me off a bit. So did a visitor I have been trying to avoid. I myself need to call some people, I’m not going to get to the fun email KK sent me, and I probably won’t get the email to my financial person sent off.  (I also had to call The Craftsman after I got done grocery shopping. The place he was hoping to get the element didn’t  have that one, so he wanted me to google a different place and call him with the number…) I did meet someone from Alaska in the parking lot of the grocery store, we chatted for a bit. Then, I got a very late lunch from Dairy Queen before I drove back to the house.  That was funny. It held a ‘Becky’ moment. I wanted a mini salted caramel truffle blizzard. They are made with vanilla ice cream, a bit of chocolate sauce, and candies. I asked for a vanilla salted caramel truffle blizzard and when it arrived, it was chocolate. I realised I should have asked for a salted caramel truffle blizzard with no chocolate sauce. Thankfully, no cups were thrown and no eyebrows twitched! The nicest part was I ordered a chicken strip meal with 4 strips. They put in two extra~I decided it was a birthday present!

I bought an apron for myself on Thursday (Bed, Bath, and Beyond) and I don’t know if my book is in yet. I also decided to wear clothes for ME this Friday. I have on the French lingerie I bought last summer and leggings with a long sleeved top and an oversized sweater.  (In the photo, I’m wearing the bra part of my lingerie..I did put on the rest of the clothing to leave the house!) The Craftsman gave me my favorite flowers and a 50$ Amazon gift card (now I can get him something and he won’t see it come thru the emails!) and a super cute singing birthday card..no signatures, so maybe I can regift it?  (Just kidding…probably!)

In closing, may you all have a splendid weekend from the old lady. (NOTE: I am positive most men age better than most of us of the female gender.)

Sew, Sew-

I used to sew. When the boys were little, I’d make their Halloween costumes. Mum sewed EVERYTHING. Quilts, blankets, clothes, and more. I wasn’t going to compete or even try to do what she did, so I didn’t. She’d send patterns for costumes and sometimes fabric and I’d make them. The pumpkin one Little Bear has on (he’s 4, maybe) was supposed to have stuffing, but he objected. Strider got so mad when people asked him if he was Batman. He was a BAT! (then there was the year he was about 12. He wore a black cloak and carried a staff. Few people realised he was Allanon from Terry Brooks’s stories.)

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As Strider grew up, he was in theatre. From the age of 13 to 18 he was in 13 different productions. Many were plays needing costumes not found in closets or thrift stores. So, I sewed and created.

I didn’t know when he was in ‘HONK!‘ that I’d learn to love making hats.

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Music Man was a great deal of fun! We adapted modern dresses to fit the period and sewed a few and I made some amazing Titanic hats. The blue one at the bottom and the pink one are the only two I have left. The flamboyant blue feathered one was for Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (the Mayor’s wife). It was given to the girl who played that wonderful character after the play was over. (she said it fell apart..my two are still in VERY good shape!) I wear mine every now and again. Getting into a modern car with one  is not very easy. And if you happen to have one of those automatic seat belts you can almost decapitate yourself quite easily!

I made tails for a comic murder mystery.  Little Bear later wore it to recite The Gettysburg Address. (I also made the vest for this one…that was more work than I thought!)

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Then, Strider was in a number of plays that really needed something outside the norm.

He was younger in the first photo, but I enjoyed that one! His cape is attached at the shoulders and he wore underarmor-like tights and shoes from a Shakespearean play. The other photo shows Strider as a Sultan. His headdress has a mirror in the center. When kids in the audience were not paying attention, Strider would bend his head so the mirror flashed on them. He also had a GIANT wooden sword in this play. (The Craftsman created all the weaponry for the High School plays. Swords, daggers, tommy guns, and a rather clever blunderbuss, using a funnel) The Sultan’s cloak was used in a couple plays. So flamboyant and grand. Except for the glitter. It was a huge piece of black fabric reaching the floor, with gold swirls all over it. Strider could make it flow when he walked or pull it close, it was as magnificent a prop as his beard for this play (frisked up, it was an angry beard. Smooth, it was a calmer Sultan). 

Then, he was in two classics. First is a very low budget version of Lumiere and a super fun version of the Lion from Oz. (The Craftsman did arrange it so the hat’s candle would light up. There was a battery switch in Strider’s vest pocket) The gold leggings Strider has on were a huge hit. The gold sequin tails were a pain in the butt to sew, but I also made him a nicer silver version for his Senior prom because he asked(See below). I was pleased when the director wanted the Lion’s outfit to be more like something from CATS!. Strider was worried til I made the pajama pants similar to the Sultan ones. Being a bean pole, he didn’t want to prance around in skin tight stuff..although, he did when he was in ‘The Clumsy Custard‘ (the turquoise outfit with the cape).

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this was VERY bright and shiny!

One of the things I have learned is that I can sew simple costumes. Real things are much harder. Costumes don’t need more than dark sturdy threaded seams and small discrepancies can be overlooked. I have made quite a few pillow cases for graduations and weddings, a couple of skirts for myself, but for the most part, my machine sits idle now. I don’t mind. Maybe I can get the glitter out of it!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sticks or Straws On the Range

Freddie was a tiny woman from England. (I wish I could find a picture of her!!) She and her husband, Roy, would often visit their daughter on the Oregon coast. I was blessed to have purchased their former home near by.  (Actually, our  houses were so close we were neighbors separated by a rickety pole fence and only seconds from each other!) She was shorter than my 5’2″, with an iron grey bun on the top of her head. When she let it down, her hair went past  her English buns. Roy was a few years younger and a million miles taller, she called him her ‘boy toy’. During WW2, Freddie was an air raid warden no one messed with.  When her daughter moved to the US, Freddie and Roy did, too. Then they left again only to be frequent visitors. When we met her much later, one of the things we remember best was her baking. Freddie’s scones and cheese straws (also known as twists or sticks) were only surpassed as favorite treats by her tasty fingers dipped in chocolate. (shortbread cookies, I think) I’ve always tried to recreate the cheese straws and my searches online seemed fruitless. Probably because I stopped searching after a few years!

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After posting my last attempt on here, I had more recipes shared. However, I used the old cookbook version instead of the pastry puff one.  (I’m pretty sure Freddie never used anything refrigerated in her straws, except cheese!) Using Colette’s 1950’s find, I mixed and rolled and baked happily. The straws didn’t turn out the way Freddie’s did. (Perhaps she did use milk and baking soda…I imagine the old baking hand she was tweaked recipes to suit her tastes!) I didn’t quite get 50 straws, my cutting wasn’t entirely exact! But, what I ended up with were addicting and are almost gone in less than 24 hours. (I think I made 40ish of varying sizes) The bent straw in the photo above is because it twisted off the pan and was baking down against the side of the oven. (YIKES!)

I did need to find cup and temp equivalents to match the given recipe (silly Americans to not use the metric system~) and I ended up using a LOT of water to get the dough to stick, instead of the 4 TB. I was surprised at how little cheese was needed to make a cup of shredded product and it took a bit of time to cut the hard butter into the flour properly. I didn’t put in seasonings and that made the first pans of straws rather boring in taste. (I have powdered mustard on my list for next time, the other is in the cupboard!) However, as stated above, it was a win win experience when complete. Everyone I gave a straw to, liked them. The straws didn’t appear to mess up my glucose. Even the next day people snacked on them sans reheating. I will make them again with the proper seasonings inside the mix instead of  putting Mrs. Dash on the outside and try to recreate Freddie’s straws with this recipe…..and a few ideas I have. (I recall hers as being more substantial, not so skinny and fragile)

This recipe is why I love blogging. Connecting people to each other in words…and in flavors! Thank you to everyone who chimed in with their ideas and especially to Colette. Happy Baking Sigh!