Monday, December 9, 2013

DIY No-Fuss Christmas Wreath

I have never been much of a Christmas decorator. I usually just wanted to own ornaments and wrapping paper, nothing more. This year, I have really been getting into the Christmas spirit.
I don't have a lot of money to spend on nice Christmas decor, but I ran across an idea on Pinterest where you can make a wreath out of fabric and a coat hanger. So here is my instructional.

What you will need:
a metal wire coat hanger (I used a small one)
Scrap fabrics

Here is my method:

First, take your coat hanger and work it into a circle. You can see that mine is a little lopsided. This doesn't really matter, because you are going to tie fabric strips to it, leaving the brain to think that it is a circular wreath.

 Second, decide whether you want reds or greens and then snip and strip the fabric into several two inch wide strips. This is just to make it even more no-fuss, you can rotary cut the pieces if you want. I didn't even bother with ironing out the wrinkles. Maybe I am just lazy. Meh, whatever.

Third, take your long strips and cut them into smaller strips about five to six inch long. Grab them up at random and tie them onto your coat hanger. I put a little bit of red on my wreath, but it was just to add festiveness to it.

Next, hang it on your door, over your fireplace, above your favorite couch, or wherever it most suits you! I loved the way my green wreath looks on my red front door.

Lastly, enjoy!
Bonus: with the leftover fabrics, you can put them in a mason jar, tie a red ribbon around the jar and you get a second Christmas decoration to place anywhere you please! I can't decide if mine belongs on a shelf with my husband's model ships or beside the lamp on my DVD/Bluray shelf.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

You can bake it!!

A co-worker of mine asked me a simple question that got me to thinking, "Are you going to bake it or fry it?" This was a question about not just any food, but the all time favorite American staple: bacon!
"We are talking about the same type of bacon right? The one that comes from pigs?"
She wasn't lying. "Sure! Just pop it into the oven at 400*F for about ten to twenty minutes. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place a cooling rack on it and place your bacon on the cooling rack."

Now why didn't I think of that before? No flipping the bacon either! And if you spray the cooling rack before putting the bacon on it, it will slide off easy when finished baking.

Now who is up for baked bacon? I've tried and tested this two times now with success on both occasions.


and after! 

And here is a shot of Nathan's cat wanting attention. It was the only empty chair in the kitchen. 

As you can see, Nathan was reaching over to get a piece of bacon off my plate while I snapped this one.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

How to Make Chicken Soup when You Are Sick

And your husband does not cook and you know you would rather eat soup all week than something that comes out of a fast food restaurant when your leftovers are all gone.

This morning I slept in (8:00). Nathan made me coffee and called the library to tell them I was in bed and very sick. What a sweetie. He told me he wanted to go to Fatz and buy me enough soup to last me a week. I had made him a huge stockpot full of soup two weeks ago when he was sick and miserable. He told me it had been a lifesaver for his poor and swollen throat. So now I am the one sick and I would rather not spend money on Fatz soup even though I know it would be a big help. This is my method of making soup while I am still miserable and it helps every now and then to get up out of the recliner; at least it reduces the amounts of aching I feel than when I am inactive for too long.

*A package each of boneless skinless chicken thighs and breasts
*Two pots
*2 boxes of Chicken broth
*2 garlic cloves
*Salt & Pepper to flavor
*Olive Oil

First, start with a huge stockpot and fill it halfway with water. Get this pot ready to boil and in another smaller pot, boil your chicken.

Go rest. Yes, that is right. It will take a while for both pots to boil, so take a timer and set it for 15  to 20 minutes and go rest! When it dings, go check the pots. For the chicken pot you will want to lower the temperature so that it does not boil over.

Second, while you are in the kitchen, cut up just two or three carrots, because you will not have the energy to do any more.

Now go rest again for 20 minutes more.

Third, when the timer is done, go chop some chicken.

Now rest again.

Chop some more chicken and a carrot if you are nearly done with the chicken. Hopefully the chicken will be so tender that you can just slice each piece against the grain in two or three slices each and then pull apart shreds with the grain. This is how I usually chop BL/SL chicken breasts and thighs anyway.

When you have had all you can handle at this point, go rest some more. The timer is only to help you not fall asleep, creating a disaster in the kitchen (like having the pots boils down and then burn everything in the pot and ruin dinner).

You are almost done! Chop the rest of the chicken, if there are any left, or the rest of the carrots, and pour in a package of noodles, the boxes of chicken broth, and bash two garlic cloves with the flat of your carrot chopping knife (I use a chef's knife). Just plop those cloves into the pot. You can extract them when you see them later or eat them whole because you know they are really good for the flu/cold.

Last step, I promise! Stir in a splash of olive oil. It helps keep the bottom sinkers from sticking to the pot and burning. This seems to work well for my stainless steel pots.

Now cover the pot, reduce to lowest heat setting, and go rest as long as you want. When you have finished eating your dinner portions, simply put the entire pot in your fridge (if it is a large enough fridge) and scoop out portions from this pot all week until you get the volume down to the size of your largest storage container.


Monday, January 28, 2013

They Say That Dryers Eat Socks. What Eats Bookmarks?

   We are always concerned with socks and the missing pair being kidnapped or eaten by the household dryer. What about bookmarks? Since moving across town back in November, my shoebox of bookmarks was declared missing and instead of using a regular bookmark, I have had to resort to using random household objects among anything that is flat, small, and basically declared trash or useless.
   In the past two months I have gone from using a square of

to a piece like this
an unused one of these

a piece of

A friend once suggested that the next was his favorite
(it is a PCI slot cover which goes on a computer case and can be found randomly strewn in my husband's office). I put it to the test and now heartily disagree with him on that one. I found it heavy and bulky when reading a paperback or thin book. Oh, and I lost that one too!

The next image is my latest bookmark

A twist tie!!
I wonder how long that will last.

I have never grown attached to any particular bookmark. I don't have time to. By the time I have finished a book, I may have used four to five different random bookmarks. 
You may say to me, "But you work in a library where bookmarks basically grow off trees!!" Yeah, I know. That just shows how lame and pathetic I am. If I take one home, it will only survive a few minutes even if it comes home in a book. It is destined to go missing, just like all the others.

So my question for you is this:
What is the most random household item you have used for a bookmark?