Musings

Come On In and Set a Spell

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

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Musings

Odds & Ends

Time to catch up with film and TV.

Yikes!

I’ve been taking a look at my Roku channels and removing those I don’t watch. Oddly, there aren’t that many. I find I spend a lot of time on PlutoTV or YouTube. Yeah, surprised me, too.

I’m slowly getting back into series TV.

Over on AcornTV the return of Queens of Mystery (season 2) was such fun. The series is quirky. The mysteries interesting and I’m starting to see where the base “what happened?” mystery is being addressed.

Over on Paramount+ Star Trek Discovery has once again been pure joy. I’ve lauded the cinematic look and feel to the series since the beginning, but it is the writing that keeps raising the bar. To be clear, I’m not one of those nitpickers who would rather complain over the perceived error regarding [ fill in the blank ]. I’d rather sit back and enjoy a story that is well written, isn’t insipid, and treats the audience as thinking adults.

Yeah, I get a bit pissy about that. 🙂

Speaking of Paramount+, the ability to catch up with NCIS and Ghosts when I feel like it is great. I love watching these shows live, but when necessary to be able to not have to record them is great. If you’ve never set a recorder to capture a show that was pre-empted by a sports show and you ended up missing a chunk of what you wanted to watch… You don’t know what you’ve missed.

Ghosts has become such a wonderful success! Frankly not many UK shows can make the jump to the US audience and succeed. Ghosts is one of the very few and it is developing into Appointment TV.

Call Me Kat over on FOX is another of those ex-pat UK shows that moved to the US market. Season 2 just premiered and I am pleased to say that it looks like season 2 is going to be great.

I finally sat back to watch Being the Ricardos on Amazon the other day and was blown away. This Aaron Sorkin film looked at the relationship between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz not Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. It has the full support of the family, too. Lucie Arnaz even posted a video talking about the project before it was released and stated that she was impressed.

The film is exceptionally well cast and the writing sharp. For those who take the time to notice, there is a lot of information about how a series is produced. The main focus of the film is the relationship between Lucille and Desi. Behind all the glitz and glamour, beyond the masks of characters, the story of these two people is compelling.

Oh, and if you are interested, Lucie Arnaz did a documentary based on her family home movies and interviews with folks who knew her parents. You can find it, Lucy and Desi A Home Movie, on Amazon.

Love Those Reruns!

I’ve loved BritComs for years. A couple have found their way on my viewing list once again.

‘Allo, ‘Allo is one of those Croft and Lloyd series that I once watched on my local PBS station, then found on Pumpkin FM. A bit silly, a bit farce, a bit tongue in cheek. Always good for a laugh. Click here for more information about the show.

Thanks to both PlutoTV and Hulu, I’ve been able to watch the Mary Tyler Moore show again. It is amazing how well the show holds up.

These are a few of the movies and shows I’ve been watching. What have you been enjoying?

Card Making · Craftroom

From The Craft Room: What Can I Make?

Last year my focus in the craft room was to find tools that I wanted to use to create cards. I found several sets of edge dies that checked that box.

Step One: Play A Bit

As you can see, I started with the card stock base, folded into an easel, and added the edge die to allow for a border at the bottom. I then took my leaf punches to add interest. The matching leaf stamps were added inside the punches and then along the bottom edge of the card.

Step Two: Play with color and placement.

The great thing about edge dies is that you have complete control over where to place them. This particular one was used on a set of 6 cards and each card came out with a different amount of space at the bottom. I used the same papers, inks, punches, and stamps on all of the cards and envelopes.

I do have to say that the recipients of the cards were very impressed with the results. Something that made me smile.

If you are looking to try new things, I suggest you go back to your stash and see what you have in hand. Can you use them to make something different? What have you tucked back into a corner or a drawer and haven’t played with yet?

I’ll be doing more playing in the craft room this year so keep an eye out to see what I come up with.

Happy Crafting!

Around the House · Crafting · Musings · YouTube

Starting The New Year

Happy First Wednesday of 2022!

Among all the get fit, healthy, slim, organized, up to date, etc., etc., videos and blog posts out there, I’ve found a couple that actually speaks to me and are relevant to my crafting/crafter’s journey.
You might find them useful, too.

On YouTube:

Just Get It Done Quilts is doing a 21 day de-clutter challenge. Now before you panic, these are easy 30 minute things you can do each day – with a time limit – so you can reclaim your sewing space.
They are practical ways to get back to doing what you love: quilting. Check it out.

Sew Becca is embarking on her 2022 get healthier journey by incorporating a quilt that will journal her journey. She is building upon an idea she learned from Scrap Fabric Love. Check out Becca’s videos for the explanation.
The beauty of this process is that it can apply to pretty much everything. So, if you want to track your water intake, the number of steps you make, the weight loss or gain, this could apply to you. Also (and the thing I find most amazing) is that the process does not limit itself to quilting. If you are a knitter, crocheter, quilter, painter, paper crafter, or whatever your jam, this process can be accommodated to you.

Sometimes it is the little thing that help us get back to what the life we want. Whether de-cluttering or tracking is needed, these are easy things you can do to get you where you want to be.

Musings

Here’s What I’m Thinking

As we step into 2022 I’m thinking about projects I want to embark on. I’d bet you are also thinking along those lines.

First Up: I have an accumulation (aka: Stash) of quilting fabrics that need to be used. Really, there is no point to having it if you aren’t going to use it, right? And, while I can agree that there isn’t a huge time limit, ‘later’ basically means that you spent money on stuff you don’t really plan to do something with.

With that in mind, I have had a set of patterns for a Block of the Month quilt from AccuQuilt that dates back to, I think, 2012 or so. They are lovely, easy to piece and would be a beautiful wall hanging, table runner, or quilt.

If you go to the AccuQuilt website, click on the Patterns link and you will find a wide variety of options. Or, you could simply click on these links. 🙂

I don’t know if they are still available, but I do know that there are loads of free patterns available – and every die comes with free patterns – so there are loads of options.

Second Up: I also have an accumulation of card making supplies that I want to spend more time with. There are lots of techniques I want to try out, too. While I did focus on replacing old ink pads and gathering cardstocks in 2021, this year I want to make use of what I have rather than buy more. Space is limited and, like fabrics, there isn’t much use in not putting thing to use.

Third: I’m looking (once again) to expand my meal options. There’s nothing like getting stuck in the same rut with the same meal plans, right? It seems to me to be time to experiment a bit and try new things.

I also have quite a collection of cookbooks, so there are thousands of options I can choose from.

What do you think?

Are you feeling adventurous? Are you thinking that you might want to dip a toe into uncharted waters and try new things, use up old things and make room for some unexpected accomplishment? Not to mention possibly getting a head start on holiday gifting?

Let me know what you are contemplating. And, no matter what, take time to spend time with yourself. Enjoy!

Cooking · Food

Thinking About Bread?

I’m one of those folks who absolutely love bread. Well, most breads. 🙂 When I discovered how easy it is to make bread, cinnamon rolls and, yes, even pie crust, it was a multiple epiphany. Why multiple you ask? Well, I learned these things over several years.

If you are interested in learning how to bake breads, CONGRATULATIONS and WELCOME TO THE CLUB!

A little over the top? Let’s just say that if you are interested in dipping a finger into making one of the most basic foods there is, you are embarking on a wonderful journey.

One of the best resources I’ve found is the Fleischmann’s Yeast website. They have great recipes for all levels and loads of instructions, tips, and techniques to help you succeed.

As you embark on your journey, or continue with what you’ve learned, don’t forget to enjoy the process. 😀

Audiobooks · Books

From The Reading Table: The Ides of April

The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I recently started to re-listen to this series. I am constantly amazed at how much I discover when I go back to a previously read (listened to) book!

Having endured the angry teenager from the Falco series, the shift to focus on said no longer teenager has been quite enjoyable. That being said, in the first part of the book, we are dealing with a cynical, still angry adult who has become quite jaded in her opinions and behaviors. Yes, she’s been through a lot, but still.

It wasn’t until she actually met and started to work with “the Runner” that these behaviors started to temper. Much like his did. Knowing how this relationship evolves, it is an interesting experience to see how two people can affect each other so profoundly.

I’ve been listening to the entire series and am enjoying not only the new characters, but the occasional visits with those from the original series. This literally ties all the strings of a family together.

I still strongly recommend this series and am looking forward to the next installment. Can’t come soon enough!



View all my reviews

Musings

And Just Like That It Was Boxing Day!

Happy Boxing Day to those who celebrate even it if might just be a passing nod to the End Of the Christmas Festivities.

Not sure what Boxing Day is? Click HERE for an explanation.

In our house Boxing Day has become a day where we sit back, put our feet up, divvy up any leftovers and basically work to regain our sanity and composure after 4 to 6 weeks of Holiday Insanity. And we aren’t in that group who was up to their ears with shopping, wrapping, cooking, etc. They might need it more than we do. 🙂

Think of it as a type of recovery day, if you like.

Enjoy!

Cooking · Food

Are You A Cookbook Kind of Cook?

Or do you have a stash of books and recipes you fall back on?

Or, do you just keep a few tried and true recipes you depend on?

My mom enjoyed cooking but wasn’t the most adventurous cook. She did, however, have quite an interesting collection of both books and clipped recipes. I inherited her numerous recipe boxes that are stuffed to bursting with clipped recipes, recipe cards, and the hand written notes from family and friends.

Me? I have a carefully (yeah, right) curated collection of cookbooks that focus on particular products or chefs in addition to some general use books. That means I have an inordinately large collection of Bisquick books (I’m not sure but I think there are 8.) I have at least 2 versions of the Betty Crocker book. One Taste of Home. A couple of Jacques Pepin … make that 3 or 4. Several Julia Child books including the entire two-volume set of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I have one copy of the Joy of Cooking that goes back several years and another, electronic version that is relatively new.

My collection of what I call the Aisle End Cap Mini Cookbook Extravaganza books is, to be honest, astonishing. These are the small books that focus on either a product, brand, or theme. Think holiday or chocolate or freezer meals.

Speaking of cooking magazines, I’ve managed to acquire quite a few Taste of Home editions with a few Better Homes and Garden publications.

Do I cook from these? Some more than others. Some not at all. Why do I have them? Quite simply I enjoy reading them and discovering new ideas. Pretty much the same reason I love cookery shows.

Food is not only an art form but a great way to spend time with folks. A good meal eaten with friends and family can be a wonderful experience. A bad meal can also be quite an experience – especially when you be sure to add in a touch of humor.

I’m focusing on cooking from what I already have in my library. While I occasionally waver and pick up a new book I’m finding a treasure trove of recipes and ideas that have been patiently waiting my attention.

One thing that caught me by surprise was discovering that reading cookbooks for the pleasure of reading them is actually quite fun. Mastering the Art of French Cooking is amazing on several levels – the very least of which is the way many of those techniques that were carefully documented and explained are very common today. Check them out – you might be surprised! On the other hand some books are very dated and don’t wear well. Decades ago I bought a copy of a popular magazine cookbook that relied mostly on prepackaged foods. Total waste of money.

Check out this latest entry from Voracious at the Washington Post. Maybe you’ll find a book or two that piques your interest:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/food/2021/12/10/best-cookbooks-2021/

Crafting

Craft Room Adventures

I’ve been playing a bit in the craft room lately. Some to make cards. Some to clear out items that are no longer usable or I simply don’t want anymore. Why? To make room for more craft supplies, of course!

This year has been devoted to updating core supplies. I replaced all my Stampin Up stamp pads and added a full array of colors using the sampler pack collections. I’ve added a few stamp sets and dies while discovering that I needed new ones for certain times of the year. That was a surprise!

Having spent a lot of time watching Call Me Crafty Al over on YouTube, I’ve collected a lot of sheetload card templates. Some I’ve tried, some not yet. They are printed and put into my Idea Book.

Speaking of my Idea Book, I’ve added card recipes and ideas from Jackie Bolhuis, Lisa Curcio, and Connie Stewart. All of these Stampin Up demonstrators have some great ideas that I want to try. Connie is great for tips and tricks, too.

I’ve also spent a lot of time with Cathy Zielske over on YouTube and have learned a lot, chuckled a bit, and gained the courage to try some new techniques. Which sort of explains why I needed to clear out part of my craft room. 🙂

To up the ante, so to speak, I managed to pick up a few items from Missouri Star Quilt Company, too. In addition to a mini iron that I can use with my piecing, I’ve collected some beautiful batik prints that will eventually become a wall sampler for my bedroom and a June Taylor kit to make a sewing machine cover.

I’m planning on devoting time to these projects and to bring you along with me, or at least share the end results.

Wish me luck!

Around the House · Musings

Taking A Breather

Or, It’s Been A Long, Long Year

I started thinking about this month’s posts in November. Not unusual except that I was up to my ears with catalogs, online browsing, holiday card making, and the not so comfortable feeling that things were getting out of hand. Sound familiar?

Well, the shopping and the cards are done and out in the mail. The catalogs have been browsed so often there are fingerprints in places that are … odd. I’ve managed to corral them, shred the parts that need to be and toss the rest.

Enough already!

It almost feels as if the holidays have already been celebrated and we are at that point where clean up makes us wonder if we missed anything important. Like, maybe, the celebration?

When you look at the December calendar it is astounding how many different holidays there are. The mind boggles.

Like many folks I know, we started the actual shopping early. Why? Well, considering backlogs, out of orders, delays, and such, it just seemed like a good idea. An added bonus was the ability-come-requirement to think outside the box. That little extra that advised us to look beyond the normal, or usual, gift items and find things that were still a good fit but a bit more on target with the recipient in mind.

I do admit that at least one recipient on my list received a gift card because I found a literal plethora of items that would fit the bill. So many, in fact, I simply could not make up my mind. Part of me feels a touch guilty but part is curious to find out what the recipient chooses.

At this point, however, December is becoming a time when I want to put my feet up, have something tasty cooking in the kitchen, and something interesting and fun to watch or listen to.

Sort of a combination of sticker shock and jet lag, right?

Here’s to an interesting December!