Sunday, January 25, 2015

Grow Your Blog...

There were 49 comment entries for the quilted hotpads I made to giveaway for the 2015 Grow Your Blog party.  I used RANDOM.ORG random number generator to pick the winner.  

And the winner is Chantal from At the corner of Scrap and Quilts!  Now I'm a little intimidated to send my quilted hotpads to a real quilter.  :)

Leave a comment to win a pair of quilted hot pads!

This year I am participating in the 3rd Annual Grow Your Blog party hosted by Vicki at 2 Bags Full.  If you are participating as well, and are visiting here for the first time, welcome!

My name is Kathleen.  I am a wife, mother, grandmother, knitter, quilter, cardmaker, and general crafter, part-time worker, and blogger.  I've been blogging since 2007.  My blog name, Four Miles North of Nowhere, is a description of where we lived at the time I started writing.  We have since moved, and now live about three miles north of Wal-Mart, but I don't think that has the same ring to it.  :)

I once heard the phrase "a magazine of me," and I think that describes my blogging; part journal, part captain's log, some crafting and recipes, and lately a lot of home renovation progress reports.

I love to give away things that I make.  Since I can't seem to write a blog post lately unless it has the word 'kitchen' mentioned somewhere in it, I think that I will give away A PAIR OF QUILTED HOT PADS LIKE THE ONE PICTURED ABOVE for your kitchen.  They are denim backed, and cotton filled, so they should be serviceable and wear well.  The one above does not have its binding sewn on it yet, but it and its mate will be bound before the giveaway ends...I promise.  (Giveaway does not include my little nesting doll measuring cups or wooden spoon...sorry)

GIVEAWAY IS OPEN TO ALL WHO LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST, and please include an email address or blog address so that I can contact you if you win.  Frequent visitor or first-time visitor, ALL ARE WELCOME TO ENTER.  I will mail prize anywhere, so international visitors, you are included.  

One entry per person, please.  If the first name I draw does not include contact information left in their comment, I will have to draw another.  The drawing will be on Sunday, February 15, and I will contact the winner at that time as well as post the winner's name here.

I hope you have fun at the party, and would love to have you come back soon!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Chicken á la King Pot Pie...

I was in Wal-Mart yesterday picking up some organizers for cabinets.  I figured I might as well pick up some groceries for an easy meal.  When I saw that rotisserie chickens were on sale for $2.50, I picked one up and went in search of something to go along with it.

Proceeding sans recipe, I combined frozen vegetables, sauce ingredients, and chicken.  I topped it with refrigerator biscuits, and had Jared bake it for me in his apartment oven.  It was surprisingly good, and garnered compliments from the men.

It vaguely reminded me of my days as a young mother, when I would keep a tube of refrigerator biscuits in the fridge and a can of Swanson Chicken á la King in the cupboard--the quickest, easiest meal to throw together that no one would complain about--for when a day went completely haywire.  So I'm calling this recipe Chicken á la King Pot Pie.  

Since it received two thumbs up from the men, I wrote down the ingredients and directions for future use, and it can be found at What's Cookin' 4 Miles North of Nowhere.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five things I won't miss...

Since it's Friday, I thought I'd list five things I won't miss from the old kitchen.

1.  I won't miss the pinkish-toned sink and counter top.  I think the sink was supposed to be maybe bisque?  The counter top was a very close match, and together they definitely read 'pink.'  Aaargh...that sink would only stay clean for a maximum of ten minutes...always looked dreadful.

Below is the new, shiny, WHITE, under-mount sink.  L. O. V. E.

2.  I won't miss the garbage being in open view.  And I won't miss having to reach down into the opening with wet hands to flip on the garbage disposal.  (What were they thinking?  We had it rewired to be on the backsplach.)

Replaced with slide out trash container

3.  I won't miss the two uselessly-narrow cabinets.  I know they were meant to be for trays or something, but they were so deep and so tall that they just seemed to waste a lot of space, and things always seemed to slide way back to the back.

Replaced one with slide out rack.  I think it's supposed to be for spices, but I'm not sure the warmth from the dishwasher would be good for keeping spices fresh, and I'm also not sure I could read the spice labels from that angle.  The shelves are adjustable, so I'm considering spacing the shelves so that foil, plastic wrap, parchment, etc. can be on them and accessible.  

4.  I won't miss the two flimsy lower-corner turntables.  If anything heavy was stored on them, it made the whole thing rub on the bottom making opening and closing difficult.  Things often fell off the back into the corner and jammed the whole works.  

The new ones are much sturdier...wooden turntable atop a wooden shelf top and bottom.  The back of the cabinet is now rounded off, so things won't be able to fall off and get stuck in the corner-angle dead space. 

5.  And most of all...I won't miss the clutter-magnet desk area which was really just a waste of good space.

In its place is now a full length 'pantry' cabinet.  Sliding shelves in the lower section make it easy to reach everything in the back.

Before we can finish up, the backsplash has to be put in, then have the electrician back to finish up, THEN stove and microwave can go in.  I can't wait to be all done and settled in.  :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kitchen reload...

No blogging for a whole week.  Also no reading, no sewing, not much of anything.

Except putting the kitchen back together.  Slow going.  The shelves are mostly covered with shelf liner now.  I'm trying to put a lot of thought into reloading kitchen gear to maximize storage and user friendliness.

I did do one thing last night that tickled me pink.  I was looking online for some dividers to organize baking pans which I want near the oven.  The lower storage in that area are all deep drawers; and I didn't want to pile the baking pans in one of those, where I would have to lift up the whole contents (with a lot of clanging and banging) to reach the one thing I wanted from the bottom.  So that leaves the upper cabinets.  But the shelf dividers that I was interested in were too large for an upper cabinet.

Then I had a brain storm.  I had purchased about four (packages of two) of the Inreda book ends from Ikea awhile back to use in my closet to keep stacks of tee shirts neat.  I ended up only using a couple of them.  So last night I retrieved the unused ones and slid them in place on an upper kitchen cabinet shelf.

Yea!  They work perfectly to support and separate (sounds like an old bra ad, doesn't it?) the baking pans.  And since they don't have to be permanently attached, I can easily move them to another spot if I want to rearrange.  Added bonus is they have a place for a label so now hubs will have no excuse for putting something in the wrong place.  Oh, he will still do it...he just won't have an excuse any longer.  :)  I'm thinking of labeling EVERY drawer and cabinet!

Sadly I couldn't find them on the Ikea website to link to.  Perhaps they have been discontinued?  Which just goes to show that my tendency to buy multiples of something when I find know, just in case I need a bunch...actually works in my favor occasionally.

I will have photos of the kitchen up eventually.  I'm waiting till we get the hardware on the cabinet doors and drawers.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Day 15: Timeline of my day...

  4:00 a.m. went to bed
  8:30 a.m. up and dressed waiting for counter top guy
11:00 a.m. counter top arrives
  2:00 p.m. Carey went to work
  3:00 p.m. counter top installation complete (YIPPEE!!!)
  3:15 p.m. yard stick, tape measure, pencil/paper,
                  calculator...figuring amount of shelf liner
                  needed for cabinets and drawers
  4:00 p.m. on road to Container Store
  5:00 p.m. checking out with 15% discount
  5:15 p.m. Trader Joe's  
  6:00 p.m. picking up dinner out
  7:00 p.m. Doc Martin
  8:00 p.m. computer
  9:00 p.m. bath
10:00 p.m. early bedtime

One more cabinet installation tomorrow morning...then I am putting in shelf liner...and starting kitchen reload at long last (2 1/2 months after emptying it).  Monday the plumber comes to hook up sink, dishwasher, and refrigerator water connection.  Still need to purchase stove and microwave, raise table/island to counter height, put up back splash, caulk, build open shelving...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Day 14: What is in my handbag...

Let me just say that this is a 48 inch table.  The purse is huge. Clockwise (sort of) starting from left it contains:

  • 3 triangular-folded plastic bags for quick car clean outs
  • pink fabric folded shopping bag (never used, always forget I have it)
  • telescoping back scratcher
  • WetOnes hand wipes
  • under WetOnes are outdated business cards in case
  • collapsible umbrella
  • clear makeup bag w/ first aid items, nail kit, lipstick, etc
  • navy zip clutch/wallet, matches purse
  • Kindle in its red cover
  • a toy camera key chain w/ actual flash still on display card (recent purchase)
  • spare phone charger
  • keys
  • 3 peppermint lip balm (only flavor I like, so I stocked up)
  • paint chip and auction bidder card
  • still inside purse are pens, mascara,lipstick, hand cream, more keys...

I think I may know how I injured my arm after all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Day 13: Favorite Quote...

I did an Internet search for my favorite quote to make sure that I attributed it here correctly.  But when I found it, I was confused.  I was sure I had seen it attributed to someone else.   I continued searching, and I found it tons of places with no attribution at all.  It kind of made it not my favorite quote least I didn't feel like sharing it at the moment.

And that reminded me that I have a quote on my email signature that fits this situation exactly.

photo credit: Google Images

The thing about quotes on the Internet is, you cannot confirm their validity.
                                          Abraham Lincoln

photo credit: Google Images

And I can no longer see an image of Abraham Lincoln these days without it calling to mind the 'five dollar Bill Murray.'  Nothing and no one are what they seem anymore.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Making it Monday...

Do you have a box or drawer of loose recipes?  Ones you've cut out of magazines, newspapers, off of labels, or printed off of the Internet?  I sure do.

I've been meaning to corral them in a organized way for forever.  When the kitchen was demolished, they kind of just got all stacked up in a chair in the living room (until my husband got sick of looking at them and moved them to the guest room).

Last year while I was in Kentucky, Rachael (who is the sweet daughter of my friend Kathleen, and blogs about her adorable boys and their hilarious antics at Little Boys and So Much Noise) inspired me.  She brought with her to her mother's house a binder of her favorite recipes.

Those loose recipes didn't need to be perfectly retyped so they were all a uniform type and size.  All I had to do was stick each one in a page protector!  Done is better than perfect!

So tonight I dug out a binder and some page protectors.  I got on the computer and found some clip art I liked and a title for a cover and spine.

The page protectors are too wide to add tabbed dividers and have them be visible.  Luckily I had some of these Post-It tabs in the desk drawer.

 I put them across the top instead of the open edge since the protectors were so wide.

I already have quite a few of my loose recipes loaded into it, and will continue to work on it.  I think I may need more than one binder before I'm done.

This is another thing I've had on the to-do list forever.  Action!  Progress!  YES!

Day 12...If I won the lottery...

photo credit: Bing clip art

If I won the lottery (disclaimer: it would have to be the mega bucks, not a scratch off) I would let my husband retire.

If I tell him that, he may actually start buying tickets.  :)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Did it, Do it...

This week I had some really good progress, and I had a really painful setback.  I somehow injured my right arm.  The next day it got worse...much worse...the pain was making me very unhappy as I'm not supposed to take anti-inflammatory meds.  Then yesterday it was a tiny bit better, and today it is a great deal better...much less painful, and my range of motion is much improved.  

Anyway, my progress on the list for the week was not stellar, but I am happy with having three long-procrastinated jobs done!
I got the borders on the quilt.  I got the carpet stains out.  And I removed water marks from the coffee table.  I also did some of those never ending chores that don't stay done for long, like laundry, dishes, changing bed linens, etc.

This week I hope to get more done on the quilt, and I have another sewing project to knock out.  I also have to get some things done before they install the kitchen counter tops this week.  THEY'RE INSTALLING THE KITCHEN COUNTER TOPS THIS WEEK!!!  YIPPEE!

I got my list for the week started today.  I'm sure it will look completely different by the end of the week, as I will be adding things as the needs come up.  Hopefully it will have a lot of items scratched off as well.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 10...

Day 10:  First celebrity crush...
Batman?  Well, maybe not.

 But his alter ego, Bruce Wayne?  Oh, yeah.  The chiseled jaw, the ascot, the cool digs...

When we played Barbies, my Ken was always named Bruce Wayne.  :)


Friday, January 9, 2015

31 Day Blog Challenge...

The other day I had a new visitor (Pamela) leave a nice comment.  I had to go check out her blog (and started following).  She is participating in a 31 Day Blog Challenge which I found appealing, so I decided to jump in and play without trying to catch up.

Day 9: Piercings or tattoos?
No tattoos.  Ears are pierced just the once.  The most interesting thing about them is that I had them pierced in Mexico when I was ten.  My mother and sister were having theirs done as well, but they made me go first, figuring that if I didn't go first I'd back out.  

The jewelry shop owner sat me down on a stool.  She rubbed my earlobes with alcohol for maybe 30 seconds or a minute.  Then she manually shoved a stud post right through my earlobe.  The first time was okay, I wasn't expecting it.  The second time I jumped, and it went in a little crooked, so it's always a little difficult to get an earring in to this day.  

The piercing was done.  I got up and began looking at jewelry in the display case.  My sister sat down for her turn.  And I keeled over in a faint.

Next thing I know the women in the shop were buzzing around, sitting me down, telling me to put my head between my knees, take a deep breath.  The shop owner's husband quite generously asked my mother if they should give me "a leetle tequila" to which my mother looks at him and says, "She's TEN!"  LOL  

We used to have some interesting trips to Mexico.  Sadly it's not exactly a safe day trip over the border any longer.  sigh 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...

1.  Quite chilly out today...I have chili in the slow cooker...only mild chile added, as the husband doesn't do spicy.  Just being silly with chilly/chili/chile.  :)

2.  I wish they would call about our countertops tomorrow.

3.  Action for today:  My coffee table sees a lot of hard use: lots of coloring, stamping, game playing, and quite often usually meal eating.  Since we are still without kitchen (!) we are using paper plates and bowls as much as possible.  Some of my family members, who shall remain nameless, have been bad about setting bowls of soup or plates of hot food on the table.  It has been accumulating cloudy marks in the finish from the moist heat through the paper plate, but today I took care of that. 

Took less than five minutes by doing this with a damp cloth and an iron.  I tried a dry cloth first, but had no effect till I slightly sprayed the cloth with water.  Table could still use a good polishing, but I can't wait for Carey to notice I got the marks out.

4.  New calendars for purse and wall.  I love a blank slate.

5.  Hot chocolate.

6.  Hot bath.

7.  Clean super-chunky flannel sheets on the bed tonight with a down blanket.  Aaahhhh.

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney

As I was on my way to the airport recently to pick up my sister, I realized that I had forgotten to put my Kindle in my purse.  I was due to arrive early and would have time on my hands, so I quickly pulled in to Half-Price Books which was on my route.  I chose this book purely based on the cover.

Stopping for reading material was a wise decision as there was a missed connecting flight, and I had a long wait.  I never mind long waits as long as I have something to read.

I am enjoying it, but it is taking me forever.  I haven't had a lot of reading time lately, and this one is over five hundred pages.  Five sisters in Tasmania band together to raise the illegitimate baby of the youngest sister.

Great writing.  Likable characters.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Making it Monday...

In November of 2000 (!), a dear friend handed me a quilt top that was pieced by her grandmother, and she asked me to quilt it.  I bought the fabric for the borders, and then put them with the quilt top in a drawer where they have since resided.  (I took the precaution of placing them in a pillow case, with a note pinned to the case saying whom to return it know, just in case I died or something before I got around to it!)  About five years ago she came to visit, and I profusely apologized for not having it quilted, and practically begged her to take it back and find someone who would actually get it done for her.  She was me or nobody.

Today was quilting day at the library.  And look!  The borders are on it!  I cannot tell you how many times this has been on my to-do list.  But being that this is my Year of Action, there has been real progress made.  I was hoping to get it basted today as well, but I talked too much and sewed too slow.  

Here are my marching orders to myself...Jan Monthly Goal, 3 Major Weekly Goals, and General To-Do's.  It felt SOOOOOOO good to scratch through 'borders on quilt' at long last.
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