Fabulous Refreshing Iced Tea

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I was raised on Iced Tea in the summer.  Granted, it was a slightly different version than the one I make now, but the tradition was started and continues to this day.

As I’ve learned through the years, Iced Tea is not a staple in every household.  Some folks have no idea what Iced Tea is – they drink tea hot, something I’m not exactly a fan of.

To be clear, I’m a purist; give me a rich dark tea with sugar and lots of ice cubes and I’m a happy lady.  I don’t particularly care for the flavored types, but every once in a while I might give one a try.  Unsweetened?  Yeah, I can do that, but prefer the sugar.  Lemon is optional.

These days I make my iced tea with tea bags and boiling water.  I do have a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker that does the job easier and with less mess than by using boiling water over tea bags.  Each works just fine.

Keep in mind you want to brew your tea stronger than you might want to drink as you will be diluting it with ice.  Unless, of course, you make your ice cubes with left over tea.

The Basic Recipe

Pour four cups of boiling water over two teabags into a heat-proof pitcher and leave for three to five minutes. Remove the teabags, and sweeten to taste by adding a little sugar. Stir in six cups of ice cubes until melted, or use four cups of cold water. Add in freshly cut lemon slices for some citrus zing, and keep refrigerated.

Sun Tea

If you are interested, this method is a strictly no electricity version.  Fill a gallon jug with cold water, put in 6 regular sized tea bags (be sure to clip the strings together so they don’t fall into the water) set the jug outside in the sun and leave it alone.  Keep an eye on it – once the color gets to where you like your tea, bring it inside.  Sweeten and cool as you like.

For the record, I have tried the k-cups to make iced tea.  I’m not a real fan.  I don’t care for the sweetener used in the cup.  When I make my tea, using the Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker, I use Family Size bags.  Less mess, better brew.

There is nothing like a cold glass of iced tea on a hot day.  Refreshing, relaxing, satisfying.

Why not make a batch and see for yourself. 🙂

Categories: Musings

Bringing You Up To Date

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Pardon our dust – we are getting more organized around here, but you do have to watch where you put your feet.  🙂

I thought I would take a minute to bring everyone up to date with what has been going on.  If you were used to visiting the CraftyBarnCat.com or HomecookingWithTheCraftyBarnCat.com sites, this is our new home.  Please bookmark or add it to your favorites.  The old sites will probably head off to archive after a while.

HINT:  If you go to the bottom right side of the page, there is a link you can use to add it to your RSS feed.

Why the OrangePlaidCat?

Well, Annie-Cat isn’t plaid, but she is orange and she is the inspiration for the logo used on my sites and shops.  It just felt right to include her in this adventure.  And I’d never hear the end of it if I didn’t.  🙂

Why the Change?

To be honest, I felt the need to broaden what I wanted to talk about.  Don’t worry, there will be lots of food and crafting, but I felt the desire to add books, music, movies, TV to the mix as they are all parts of the whole.  I will still be discussing products and providing links you can use to access some great deals.  I will be sharing photographs of projects I’m working on and providing links where you can see (and purchase) the end result.

Behind the scenes, for a lot of reasons I have been contemplating making this move for a while.  Things came together recently and I began the work on the OrangePlaidCat.

What  Happened To?

You will note the Resources page is now the SHOP page.  A while back I went through my list of affiliates and trimmed down to those I really want to put focus on.  I won’t apply for affiliate status with just anyone, the products and companies I put on my site have to provide quality goods and services.  That being said, the ones that you will see on the Shop tab have quality offerings and reasonable prices that you can feel good about.  Check out the links and see what you think.

There is a separate tab for the CraftyBarnCat Etsy shop to provide a place to see items and get a link to visit the shop.  I provide information on how the cards are made and what to expect when you order.  The Gallery will update depending upon what is available or the latest projects.

What’s Still Here?

The Etsy shop (CraftyBarnCat) is still up and running.  The Facebook page is still there as is the Google+ page.  You can find links to those pages along with email access and more by clicking on the CONTACTS page.

What’s New?

Lots of stuff…and not so much.  Sorry, couldn’t resist.  🙂

Honestly, the basics are still here, they just might not be where they used to be.  I am working on getting some sharing buttons up and making the comments process better.  You will also note some new buttons, particularly one that might encourage you do support the site.  Every donation is appreciated.  The process runs thru PayPal, once you click on the button they will tell you what you need to do.  It is easy and pretty painless.

Speaking of buttons, if you read an article that you like, please let me know by clicking the “Like” button at the bottom of the article.  This helps me when I work on something new for your to read.

Comments are always appreciated.

A Word About Privacy

I will never sell your information.  Period.

When you place a comment on the site, there is information collected that will be used to verify that you are actually a live Human Being.

If you purchase thru my Etsy shop, I use your information to send your product to you.  Otherwise, I do not keep it.

I am currently developing a Privacy Policy that will be posted here, but truthfully, it is no different than the one that was on the CraftyBarnCat.com site.  A few tweaks will be added for GDPR, but essentially, the same.

Speaking of Facebook

Why didn’t I change the name of the page?  Basically, two reasons, laziness; it ties back to the Etsy shop and I did not want to confuse the regular readers of that page.

Still With Me?

Great!  I hope this essay has helped explain what has been going on around here and what you can expect.  If you have questions or comments, please let me know.  The links for Email, Google+ and Facebook are at the bottom of all pages, in that purple strip beyond the end of any articles.

My goal is to post at least once a week.  I look for interesting things to talk about and share.  If you like what you see, please share our address with your friends.  Thanks to some new tools, every article I post here, will be on both my Facebook CraftyBarnCat page and the Google+ page.

See you soon!

Categories: Musings

Quilting Thoughts

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My journey into quilting has been, at least as far as I can tell, pretty normal.  I’m not a seamstress; my claim to sewing fame is the ability to hem pants and sew buttons.  I’ve been around some really amazing seamstresses (my mom for one) and learned that garment making is not my cup of tea.

But I am fascinated by the process.  I know, it really makes little sense.  I’ve spent years watching Sewing with Nancy or Love of Quilting with Fons and Porter among other fabric oriented shows.  I’ve watched Quilt in A Day even though the amazing Eleanor drives me batty after a while.  It’s me, really. 🙂

It wasn’t until I found myself watching an episode of Sewing with Nancy that it occurred to me that (a) I could drive a straight line and (b) this quilting thing might be doable.

The drive a straight line bit may sound a bit odd, but the statement was made that if you were concerned about sewing a straight line, if you could drive a car in a straight line, you could sew a straight line.  As it turns out, I can.  Usually.


I’m fascinated by the tools of the trade.  The rotary cutters, rulers, guides, templates (well maybe not so much templates), threads and fabric make the quilting process interesting.

I enjoy the process of taking pieces of fabric and making them into other pieces of fabric.  It is an odd variation of high school geometry class in cotton.  While the sewing is enjoyable, however, the cutting is not.

I hate cutting fabric.

I have a bad back, which makes cutting large pieces of fabric into smaller pieces using ruler and cutting mat a bit of a trial.  And considering the cost of fabric, the idea of ruining a cut just adds stress.

I prefer to use pre-cuts; fabric lines cut into set sizes: 5 inch squares, 10 inch squares, 2 1/2 inch wide strips, to name but a few.  Pre-cuts make part of the cutting process easier because they reduce the amount of cutting needed.  In some patterns, you simply use the pre-cuts as they are.

While some folks love the idea of using old school methods, templates and I are not on the best of terms.  Using paper or plastic pieces to cut fabric is not my idea of fun.  Especially if I have to cut the paper or plastic to make the templates myself.  Now, this may confuse those who look at some of the cutting tools and think ‘template?’  You can purchase specialty shape rulers to make blocks; I have one to make a Dresden block that is a particular favorite.

Add to this the time it takes to actually cut fabric before you can sit down to create a block – not to mention a quilt – and you may start to feel like you are done before you start.


I was lucky enough to discover a wonderful tool as I was beginning my quilting journey.  It is a cutting system that saves time, creates accurate cuts and provides easy to follow guides to create blocks. AccuQuilt provides a variety of dies and mats to cut your fabric stash into the pieces needed to create blocks to create that quilt you have been dreaming of making.  Even if you weren’t aware you were having such a dream.

I spent a lot of time researching this new system and I liked what I saw.  A variety of basic shapes along with some innovative and interesting new shapes to create pretty much any project I could imagine.  Over the years, they have continued to refine and enlarge the collection making it possible to make even more projects. And if I run out of ideas, they have over 700 Patterns – many free.

The machine I chose was the Go! machine and I picked up the 12 inch block Mix N Match collection dies even though there are other Mix N Match block sizes available.  These dies will create a 12 inch final sized block for my quilting project.  I’ve added a few specialty dies in addition to a smaller bow tie block and the log cabin block on board (BOB) die.

If you are looking to upgrade your quilting experience, or if you have been unable to quilt due to arthritis or back issues, why not check out the latest Accuquilt deals and current offers!

Accurate cuts, more time to quilt, less fabric loss.  Add a quarter inch sewing machine foot, some beautiful fabric and thread and you are on your way to a beautiful quilt or other project.

Check out the offerings at Accuquilt and let me know what you think.

Categories: Quilting Sewing

The Pleasures of Audiobooks

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Or, I love being read to.

I have loved stories for as long as I can remember.  From my early encounters with the funny pages in the Sunday paper, to learning to put sounds to letters to form words and then using words to tell stories, to listening to my dad and his brothers tell stories, to sitting down and actually reading book.  Stories have always been a part of my life.

A few years ago I discovered audiobooks on cassette, then CD, then audiostream and I was off!

My local library started carrying a few titles, then a few more and then expanded the shelving.  If memory serves, it took me about a year to work my way through mysteries, historical novels, humor, fantasy and whatever else was on those shelves.  By then, I had moved on to monthly rental on CD and then on to Audible.

During that time I had a subscription to Audiofile magazine – which is a fantastic publication dedicated to all things audio.  It is filled with informative reviews and interviews covering every level of audio book; adult, young adult, child, you name it.

Why I Love Audiobooks

Beside the vision issue – mine can’t handle nearly what it used to – there is the pleasure of listening to a good story told by a person who can create and carry multiple characters without leaving the listener behind.

I own the Harry Potter books in paper and audio, then picked up the cloud versions when they were first available on Audible.  I wore out the cassettes and my CD player gave up the ghost, but the cloud versions are available not only on my iPod, but through the Audible player that works pretty much everywhere.

The ability to listen to Jim Dale tell Harry’s tale is amazing.  I have no idea how many times I’ve listened to the series, but each and every time I learn something new.  I discover something that I hadn’t noticed before.

I have a similar situation with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and the side series and short stories.

Distracting or Focusing?

Some folks find audiobooks distracting.  They can be.  I learned early on that I couldn’t listen to one while doing detail work with data.  They can also be focusing.  When you listen very carefully, your attention is focused on one or two things only.

Come to think of it, that may be the different side to the same coin.  🙂

I like to listen when I go to bed at night.  Yes, I do drop off after a while and the story could continue on, but that gives me a place to rewind to and start again.  More layers, more detail.

Of course, there is the problem of starting a Brand New Book and being up half the night because the story is so good I don’t want to drop off to sleep.

I can do handwork, or housework, or drive my car, while listening to a book.  This version of multitasking is actually productive.  Most of the time.  🙂


Believe it or not, you don’t need a lot of equipment.  If you have pretty much any electronic device, you have the opportunity to listen to audiobooks.

I began using a cassette player, moved on to a CD player and then onto an iPod.  I currently listen on my Alexa device, but can use Audible’s players – which are free, by the way.

New Discoveries

I think that listening to audiobooks is similar to my experience with my first Kindle.  My reading world opened up and I began to discover new authors and more topics.

There was a time when I waited for one of my favorite authors to publish – and then waited until the next book came out.  I had a few authors that I looked forward to reading in my yearly rotation.  I didn’t have time or resources to look for new material.  Now, I have the ability to test out books and authors that pique my interest.  I find new folks and add new books to my list of potential reading/listening material.

I’ve found readers that handle various author’s works and I enjoying not only listening to the book, but listening to the reader.  There are some that are iconic (Jim Dale?) and beloved (DaVina Porter).  They are as much a part of the author’s story as the author him/herself.

As Summer revs up and we think about vacation traveling, picnics, car trips, beaches, and pretty much any other time to relax, why not consider a trip to the library to see what they offer in recorded books.  You might be surprised.

You won’t be alone!

Categories: Audiobooks

Little By Little

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If this is your first visit, welcome!  And, please pardon our dust.  🙂

Annie (that’s her in the window) and I have been taking our time developing the Orange Plaid Cat.  Some folks would say that we’ve been taking too long.  Our goal is to create a place that is comfortable, interesting, and fun.  Not something that can be done with a click of a button or a drag and drop in a hurry.

I’ve added a page to our CraftyBarnCat Etsy shop along with a gallery of some of our current cards.  Please take a look, and don’t forget to visit the shop.  You’ll find a like to it on both the CraftyBarnCat and Contact pages.

As luck would have it, Etsy is also undergoing some updates.  I’d be interested in your thoughts on that as well.

Speaking of comments, you are welcome to comment on any of our posts, but at this point I believe you will need to register with WordPress to do so.  It is a simple, free process that will allow your feedback on various WordPress sites.  If you have already signed in, you should have no problem.  If for some reason you can’t log in, or have issues, you can email me at craftybarncat@gmail.com.  (Also on our Contacts Page.)

Don’t forget to bookmark the site and make note to visit often.  🙂

Categories: Musings

Quilted Tote Bag Challenge!

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If you haven’t already heard, the Crafty Gemini and Angela from the Midnight Quilt Show have partnered to create two easy to make tote bag projects.  Both projects are on YouTube ready for viewing – and downloading free patterns.

Each project is a different take on a useful item that is also a great learning opportunity for beginning sewers and potential gift items for your stash.  How’s that for checking off a few boxes on your To Do List?

The Crafty Gemini link is HERE

The Midnight Quilt Show link is HERE

Categories: Gifting Sewing

Four Footed Furries

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As you might be able to tell, I love cats.  Actually, I love pretty much anything that barks, meows, moos and so on.  🙂

One thing I have discovered that gives me so much joy – and not a few chuckles – is Kitten Lady and her various kittens in residence.

Hannah Shaw (aka: Kitten Lady) started out rescuing neonatal kittens and has evolved to become an advocate, teacher, mentor, guide, pet parent, and a whole lot more.

I found Hannah on YouTube and since checked out her website and her Facebook page.

Check out her various platforms, watch the videos and enjoy the kittens.  Each one is unique.  Each one is precious.  And each one is pretty much guaranteed to make you smile.


Categories: Musings Pets

WordPress Resources at SiteGround

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WordPress is an award-winning web software, used by millions of webmasters worldwide for building their website or blog. SiteGround is proud to host this particular WordPress installation and provide users with multiple resources to facilitate the management of their WP websites:

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WordPress tutorial and knowledgebase articles

WordPress is considered an easy to work with software. Yet, if you are a beginner you might need some help, or you might be looking for tweaks that do not come naturally even to more advanced users. SiteGround WordPress tutorial includes installation and theme change instructions, management of WordPress plugins, manual upgrade and backup creation, and more. If you are looking for a more rare setup or modification, you may visit SiteGround Knowledgebase.

Free WordPress themes

SiteGround experts not only develop various solutions for WordPress sites, but also create unique designs that you could download for free. SiteGround WordPress themes are easy to customize for the particular use of the webmaster.

Categories: Uncategorized

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