Friday, November 15, 2013

Holidays are Upon US!

As the holidays approach it makes me think of the things I did as a child to prepare for the coming of the holiday season. First there was always the Christmas tree for the coming of my favorite holiday in the world! The decision was always whether we would use a "fake" tree to mine and my little sisters dismay or a fresh green one we had to go and pick out ourselves! Oh joy of joys! We loved getting to pick out our own tree! It was a family thing and we loved the day as much as the event and coming home with that beautiful tree and the smell in the house WOW there just aren't words to describe the feelings that it struck inside my heart!
  When I was really young I can remember going "way down in the country" which as a child seemed like such a far distance! Now we can travel the same road and I am amazed at what a short time it takes to get there and am sometimes not sure we have come the correct way because we arrived too soon!
   Anyway, there were times we would drive to the woods to harvest a cedar tree from our family "hunting" land for our Christmas tree. Of course I always wanted the biggest tree I could find and Mom and Dad would both tell me "We can't get that one it will be too tall to go in the house!" I would tell them "I can stand beside it and it is not bigger than me. That means it would be ok in the house!" I never won the argument and was very rarely happy with the tree we chopped down until we got home and I indeed saw how big it was once we got it in the house! Quite large and if we had picked the one I wanted it would have never gone in the door!
    One particular year I look back on now, I was a teenager and voiced my opinion very rudely about the tree we went to the pasture at Mamaws to get. It was the top from a pine tree and I told Mama how ugly I thought it was going to be and pouted all the way home and fussed and fussed. We got it in the house and it was just the right size and the lights were so beautiful the way they played off the long pine needles. I think it was probably one of the prettiest trees we ever had! I think the Lord had a lesson in that one for me! I told Mom I was sorry for being so mean and the tree was very pretty and I was glad that we had gotten that one and not some other tree. I am not sure if it made her feel any better but I knew it was my place to try and make her feel better after I had been so mean.
   There are things we never understand as children that we can look back on as adults and fully understand what they meant and feel such guilt at something we did or didn't do. Then other times we can gain a better understanding of something in our lives and do better by someone because of things we went through as a child and now see as an adult.
   Not sure if that makes any sense if you have never had something like that happen to you but they say with age comes wisdom and never has a truer statement been spoken when you realize something from childhood and it becomes crystal clear as an adult.
   Christmas memories, write them down before you forget them. One day they will be important to someone and be a part of history. Even if it is a history of you that history is no less important than the history recorded in books children learn from in school!

It's a good thing, I promise!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Out with the Old...

A new day....a new year!
As I am sure many did we had our green leaf veggie for wealth and our peas for health.
Or at least I think that is why you do those two things.

Not really much going on other than the things remaining undone that need to be DONE!
But I will leave you with a couple of pictures of things that I have done in the past.
No details just pictures. If you want to know more you will have to ask to find out!


Hot from the oven!


One slice cut!


A little closer look at the goodness inside! Yep mmmm again!


Enjoy!!!

Now, I am going to sit back and wait to see if anyone wants, needs, desires or cares to know what this is or how I did it!
Trust me though, it is good! I promise!




Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's Over Now We Rest!

I am sure I like many find it a bit of a comfort and at the same time a bit of a let down that Christmas is over.

What even some of my close friends and family do not know about me is that I love to write rhyming poetry.

I do write and have written ones that do not rhyme but my most favorite are the ones that make you think and ponder upon something said that is....
Oh, quite familiar something you might hear coming from that cat with a hat and funny feet, the one that has stories about every thing you can think!
Who is he?
What is his name?
Well if you don't know you might not like what I write.
 If you don't like! I'll make you a deal.
You can shut your eyes tight!
Oh, yes I am for real!
I would never make you read something you did not like.
But if you are ready, hold on tight for a rhyming we go to a place many know!

A Christmas Sigh:

We have put it behind us.
The holiday that started with one small babe
That for some has become a day they would trade.
Mary and Joseph traveled far and in GOD did trust.
To bring the greatest gift to all of us!
CHRISTmas what does it mean now?
It used to be something for which all bowed
Has it become something we dread?
Or does it come from a list in your head?
Is this what christmas has become?
We will no longer worry which gift is right for whom.
Or which one would like bottle of sweet perfume.
The tree stands bare, with no presents under there.
The time to finish it was close with not much to spare.
The holiday tables were gracious.
Gathering with family in places so spacious.
The children are happy.
Santa came and made it snappy.
They got what they wanted most
And now for the adults its time for a post
Very long Christmas nap!
No need to disturb with a tap.
Your toys you have to keep you busy
If I don't get a nap I shall become quite dizzy!
It's over,
It's done,
The clean up has begun,
Put things away for next years day
With hopes that we celebrate in a whole different way!

This year has really made me stop and think about some of the things we all rush around and do for Christmas. I have made a promise to myself that I will not do to myself what I did this year and run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to finish things at the last minute. Most of those being things I was making for people.
I have decided what I am making already for several people and I am going to do them, get them finished so when it comes that time of year I can sit back and enjoy putting up my tree and everything else I enjoy about Christmas!
I think for me it was stressful and hard because I didn't leave enough time to do something I love dearly, cooking! I have all the ingredients for several things I wanted to make and did not allow the time to do them. Some might not understand this but for me it is very important to be able to get my holiday cooking done. Without it I feel "my" Christmas was incomplete. Another thing that blocks what it really means? Maybe but it if is what makes me happy and it takes away my joy of Christmas, I view it not as something that takes the place of but adds to what Christmas means to me! I will change what I can change and what I can't GOD will help me through. I miss you Daddy! Christmas is not the same without you!
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Those Hours You Never Get Back!

Those hours you never get back!!! Ahhhh...if only we could list those with our days.

Woke up early this morning with the world full of good intentions.
HA you know the saying about those though!

I thought I would take a few moments to write a short blog since I didn't leave you anything yesterday.
I was wrapping presents all day. And no I am NOT done! I barely made a dent!

But anyway, I sat down, cup of coffee in hand and clicked on the Internet only to find that things had gone array! I could bring up one page but then not the second!

Well I am working on only barely a six month old computer! So whatever was wrong was a gonna be fixed toot sweet! Considering what I paid and how many pages I was used to having up at a time to do what I normally do.

Well after an eight page long chat (I know this because I printed it out) with HP I thought the problem was fixed! Well guess what, there the bugger goes again! Oh, I couldn't get that ID # typed into a new chat window fast enough! After about another hour, a new browser and what seemed like a person on the other end that had better things to do I can now pull up multiple pages at one time and not have them all appear in a different window instead of along the same tab!

So now that I have left you with that to ponder and have wasted 3 hours of my day I suppose I should get up and WOW it is 10:25 am more like time for lunch instead of time for breakfast!

Oh well, I am starving so I am going to find sustenance and get on with the tasks at hand.

Oh, and I have batteries for my camera again so I can take pictures of what I do today and show you all what I am making while I am working! Aren't you just so excited you could jump for joy? Don't answer that because I am not sure I can handle the honest answer after the morning I have had. lol

More later.....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blue Jean Jesus: A Jesus For Today's World

I have a picture of this quilt on a post I made a WHILE back but I never really told too much about it. I have more pictures of it now and thought I would give you all a better idea of what was going on and where it came from.
It came as a result of a gift that was given to me by my cousin Lacey while she was attending college. She was in a theatrical group at the time and a Jesus like my quilt was part of that "show".

She made a smaller version of that Jesus for my Grandmother for Christmas that year and everyone had a total fit over it and asked her to make them one. Including me!
So the next year to all of our surprise we got them for Christmas! I cried much as writing the story makes me do now. I am not sure if she will ever know how much that small gift meant to me and I keep it where I can see it daily and can think of her each time! She has married and moved to Tennessee now and it is all the more important to have something close to me to remind me of her. Now all I have to do is get at least one piece of Ashly's work!

The next year I had her name for Christmas and since she was still in college I thought I would make a blue jean version that she could hang on her wall. Imade it on a 16"x20" canvas. It was a lot of work but turned out better than I had hoped it would. I hope she really liked it.

From there I started thinking larger and decided I wanted to make that same design into an art quilt.

Hence Blue Jean Jesus: A Jesus For The World Today's World.

I had already made two blue jean quilts one Queen sized and the other a King. We weighed the King size and I was wrestling 10lbs worth of fabric under the sewing machine each time I sewed a new row of stitching. That project spanned two Christmases for my Sister and BROTHER-in-law and then the next Christmas they asked would I make one for his parents. So I had plenty of scraps to choose from to begin. Not only that but I had jeans donated to me as well from a lady my BROTHER-in-law had coming in his place of business that was a missionary to Mexico. They had gotten a bunch of blue jeans they couldn't use for whatever reason and she knew he was looking for more because of the project I was working on so she brought them to him! It was great because then I even had some different shades mixed in! And although I have not shared a lot of it on here those who are close to me know that I am a big recycler or anything I can make into anything else! So this kind of re-purposing was right up my alley!

Story aside now that I have rambled forever! I will tell you how I started the quilt.

I started with a HUGE piece of poster paper I acquired from somewhere and began to draw.
After that I started cutting away the parts I would not need to leave only the parts I would need in the darker part of the blue jean.

This is the image I drew and cut out from poster paper to transfer to my pieced blue jean that was darker in color. This is what layers over the lighter on the back.
Before I post another picture let me tell you how you need to construct your sheet or full piece of fabric from scraps. Selecg colors darker than what you will use for the background of the face, as close to the same tone as you can. It will make a difference in how it looks in the finished project.

Before you begin cutting these pieces from the blue jeans I recommend you buy a cheaper pair or scissors like the $1.99 pairs you can normally find at Hobby Lobby because when you get done with this project you will be lucky if they cut paper!
Another hint is get the heaviest needles you can. There are jean needles but for this you may find you will have to use what they call duct needles or leather needles. The heavier duty the better as long as your machine can handle them.
Also you need to get the orange/brown thread used in blue jean sewing. It will cost more and there is less on a spool but after sewing as much as I have on jean material I count this as a valuable hint that no one ever gave me!
Trust me you will be better off! I promise! You know this is what I always say so it must be true!

Sew them together to form a sheet of blue jean fabric. Follow the natural placement of how the fabric is wanting to go together, in other words do not force seams. You will have puckers and have to go back and take them out. If you have a ruler and a marker you can avoid this happening by drawing straight lines along the edges of all your pieces before sewing them together.
Another step but worth the hassle in the long run.
After everything is sewn make sure all seams are ironed flat on the back and then turn over on the front and press well with a heavy starch. You can follow this same method for constructing the sheet for the lighter colored jean material.

Now you are ready to get started with the drawing of the face onto the back side of your sheet of fabric. 
Whichever way you decide for you Jesus to go remember when you turn it over on the back to flip the image over to trace it or it will not face in the direction you had intended.
After the image is transferred you can begin cutting the image from the fabric.
This image will then be placed over the lighter sheet of jean.

By trial and error I can help you out a little. I tried to adhere the darker to the lighter with fusible web. This is too hard! It doesn't want to stick simply because you are dealing with too thick of materials for the heat to transfer either one together well.
I recommend you pin and pin GOOD! If you have enough pins in something it is not going anywhere.
I have so many friends that tell me "I don't even own pins!" I ask them how do they possibly ever sew anything straight?

Adopt the mantra "Pins are your friends!"

After you have amply pinned all your pieces together, take a deep breath, sit down at the sewing machine and conquer that monster of fear that says "You can't do this and I WIN!". I say, "Stomp that monster like it is under your foot between your pedal and your foot!" And in my case my bare foot. I can't stand to sew with shoes on! I joked and said I was going to call my business Barefoot Sewing: Curl Your Toes Around Some String!!! I thought it was funny anyway!

Now for another picture!!!!


Since I wasn't smart enough to take pictures of this project as I went and I am not about to make another one right now for blog purposes you will have to imagine each piece as it goes together.
This picture is at the stage where the back is sewn to the front and the crown has been cut, sewn and the beads have been glued on. Actually if you get right down to it, everything was done because this is the finished project.

The crown of thorns was cut from random cuttings of a small piece of very light jean I had. All I did to achieve this was take a pair of scissors to it and start hacking away in a wavy pattern. Then I laid them where I wanted them in a haphazardly manner and then ran them back and forth under the sewing machine doing forward and backwards stitches to keep from having to take it in and out. I made long rows of stitches where I could as it made it easier to get more of the strips sewn down so there were less to worry about holding down or getting tangled in directions I didn't want them going in. After I cut all my strings where I had picked up the presser foot and moved to another area and assessed where I needed to stitch more. You can tell there are areas that have no stitching except for where they intersected another piece. You want this so it looks more natural like the actual crown of thorns would have looked. It was rough and jagged. That is how Jesus got all the cuts on his head and why we see him with blood trailing down his face in pictures.

I chose to use glass beads for my blood. I had every intention of sewing them on by hand so they would never come off. But as luck would have it by the time I got to that part of things there were too many layers of jean to put a needle through to sew them on. So I went and found a good fabric glue and used it VERY generously and so far I have had no problem with it staying put! I have taken this to several shows and it has hung on exhibit. So if you do it right with glue I think it should be pretty durable. This is only if it is to be used as a show or art quilt. I can't vouch for it as a usable quilt.









These are all close up looks at how I did the bead work and the crown of thorns.




I faced out the sides with pillow ticking in a red color and around the patch with the actual Jesus on it I have some very dark jean material that it was placed on to stabilize the entire piece of work.


For the backing fabric that I cut big enough to be my binding for the front I chose Augsburg. I stitched from the front to the back around the facial features to give the face more dimension. This is not something you have to do but you do need to find a way to adhere the front to the back since this will not be quilted.

This is the picture you saw in the other blog I included it in. This is how the face looked when it was done.

I hope you have gotten something out of this today and if you have any questions about how any part of this was done please ask and I will be happy to answer your questions!
Also be sure to look for me on Pinterest. @ http://pinterest.com/candielous/
Something was wrong with the HTML so I wasn't able to place a button. Hopefully the link will work instead! If not you can find me by candielous!
Happy Crafting!

Pinterest and Me

There is a wonderful relatively new site for posting great things and saving pictures called Pinterest!

If you are not on Pinterest you need to get there!

That is if you care anything about saving things you find on the Internet you think are cool and would like to go back to again.

Want to know another cool thing?
Well I am going to tell you anyway!

Because Pinterest is so VERY cool they fixed to where you can have people follow what you post!

So if other people are finding cool things you are not you can find what they find!

While I haven't fished around on there enough to post my own pics (to come soon) I use it at least two or three times a week and I am sure as I get used to it being there it will be even more!

If you are a crafty person like me you can get a lot of great ideas for things to make that you haven't thought of yet or many times I see something that will spark me to think of something completely different that I go to work on!

So if you want to look for me on Pinterest you can find me at http://pinterest.com/candielous/ I have a few things on there so far and plan to have many many more.

It is a work in progress. So you can set up an account now and add me and come back to see what new I have added.

I am actually going to go back and try to pin some of the pictures I have already posted so people can pin those to their accounts!

The one thing you need to know about Pinterest is that you have to either know someone on the site already or you have to request an invite from Pinterest. I hear there is a waiting list but I am sure that process doesn't take that long.

It's something you are sure to like! You'll see I promise!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I will take that as a compliment!

For those of you who know me well you know it is a dream of mine to write my own cookbook.

A little history some of who do know me might not know about me.

I won my first and only ribbons in 4-H for two recipes at the age of I believe 10 for coconut macaroons and deviled eggs. The ironic thing about that is my mother won with the same recipe for macaroons at about the same age in 4-H and we never thought about it until years later. The funny thing is neither of us can remember ever using that recipe again after winning each of those awards! I don't even know where it is. However, even though I do not use a recipe for my deviled eggs they are a request when I am going to be bringing food at any of my social gatherings!

That was just a little background on how long I have been cooking. My Mother is a very patient person in the kitchen when it comes to learning! Every question I had she answered, every mistake I made she could tell me why, every time I needed to know how to do something I had never done before I could go to her and she was my answer.

While I still rely on my Mother when I get in a bind or need a question answered I have gotten a more adventurous side in my later years! I will now try something without a recipe just because I know those flavors will compliment each other and will work together.

So many people are so afraid to go out on a limb like this! It constantly amazes me how people ask me, "Well how did you come up with that?" or "How did you know that was going to taste good together?" to which my answer normally is "I didn't know it was going to taste good?" or "I came up with it because I wasn't afraid to try something different?"

My motto is if it doesn't work the way you tried it don't do it that way again! Nine times out of ten even if I don't like the way it turns out everyone else does and it gets eaten but I still change the way I do it the next time! That is all about learning to be a "good cook"

Something else some of you might not know about me was I was able to cook full meals from scratch by the age of 13. When I say from scratch I mean fried chicken, homemade cornbread, peas from freezer to table, buttermilk cakes that would make your hurt yourself or someone else trying to get to another piece, the whole nine yards. This is just a short list.

 I had supper ready every day by the time Mom and Dad came home from work and keep the clothes clean and the house as kept as I could. I was never asked to do this I just did. I also kept my homework done and my grades at  more than a passing level sometimes higher, I wasn't that huge a fan of some aspects of school. The appreciation of school came with later years.

Why did I learn to do this at such a young age other than having a willing teacher? Because I loved to cook and still do! I hope and pray this is a love that never goes away! It is a very strong passion of mine and I hold being known as a "good cook" in very high esteem! While I still have not realized my dream of producing a cookbook Mother started me on my way a couple of years ago for Christmas she made me a binder with pages in it to divide my recipes up and cards for me to record new recipes. So it is still a work in progress and still a dream.

Today however I received what I consider to be a very important compliment!

While I am not professionally trained as a chef and most likely never will be my cousin Justin is. We had our family Christmas today on my Father's side of the family and I chose to carry macaroni and cheese, a cheesecake pecan pie, and brownies (my uncle Lenard's favorite).

Justin's wife Misty is the one who issued the compliment. I didn't hear it but I heard about what she said from two different family members!

She wanted to know who made the mac-n-cheese and asked for whomever it was to give the recipe to Justin so he could make it in the restaurant!

This friends took me a little aback!

I told my aunt Martha that I would have to tell him what I used because there was no way I could tell the amounts with as much as I had made for today. All I could do was tell him how to make it for a crowd!

See I do a great deal of my cooking by taste and memory so when it comes to giving someone a recipe I have to really pay attention the next time I make it and measure things out so I can tell them how to make it properly. This can be really hard for a cook that is a cook by taste or memory. This is also what I run into for recipes to but in the cookbook.

But having her say she thought her husband needed to serve mac-n-cheese just like mine in a restaurant made my day!

Let me see if I can give you a list of ingredients if you need to make mac-n-cheese for about 25 people I guess is what this would serve, maybe less if there isn't as much food as we had today to surround it. lol

Three packages store brand mac-n-cheese with the pouch cheese not powder
I jar of processed cheese
I stick of butter
3" chunk of Velveeta cheese cubed
2 cups sour cream
1 lrg can evaporated milk
little salt
little pepper
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheese for topping
I put in Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic JUST A DASH
Disposable 4" deep metal pan with lid

Cook the macaroni until it is a little over done

(if it needs to be drained you can or you can turn it off before it is actually done and let it absorb some of that liquid. This is my preferred method.)
Sauce:
Start by melting a stick of butter in a sauce pan that is big enough to hold about 4 cups of liquid or more for stirring room. Once the butter has started to melt you can start adding the Velveeta cheese. Let that start to melt as you begin adding in the pouches of cheese from the mac-n-cheese. Add some of the milk to make it a little more smooth and then add in the cheese from the jar. You may not need the entire jar, I used about half the jar. Let that get well mixed and then add in the seasonings and more milk. If everything is well combined add the sour cream and rest of the milk and stir until all are blended and everything is warm.
Place pasta in a metal pan and evenly distribute over the length of the pan. When the sauce is ready you can poor it over the pasta. Use a fair amount at first, mix and then asses as to whether you will require the entire cheese mixture. I had a little left over. This is good in Mexican casseroles too or Chicken Cheese Spaghetti!
Sprinkle top with grated cheese and cook in a 350 degree oven until the cheese on top has started to melt and the pasta has heated through. About 30 minutes. Do NOT let the edges start to brown because that is cooking too long and the pasta will no longer be as cheesy as you want. Serve hot!

I don't have a picture to go along with this but when all was said and done and there were two different dishes of macaroni present my pan was half empty!

If you happen to have questions about this recipe just post a comment and I will try and answer everything I can. It's Good! and as I always say "You'll See I Promise!"