Sunday, July 29, 2012


More jam making. I had some larger zucchini given to me so I made Zucchini Jam.

And I found a container of peach pulp in the freezer and made it into jam. AND I found three packages of frozen peaches that I didn't know I had and I am so happy. I like those kind of surprises.

I didn't take pictures of Lovey's pigs. It was very hot that day--108. We're not sure if the heat was the cause or just what. But she has stepped/laid on most of the litter. She has two left. These things happen sometimes. We are just really glad we didn't lose her. She seemed lethargic and didn't eat for several days. July and August are tough pig farrowing weather for sure. We have two litters due in August.

The therapist worked Hog Man over pretty good on Friday. We always ice the knee as soon as we get home. It swelled some that afternoon. So we iced it again. Today it is looking better. One of these days real soon it is going to be so much better. He is not a happy camper yet. It's taking longer than what he had anticipated. He has a friend who had knee surgery last winter and got over it really quickly. Patience is not a virtue when it comes to waiting for Hog Man. He has tremendous patience to untie knots in string and even knots in my tiny necklace chains but not waiting. He hates sitting in waiting rooms. He's a pacer. It used to drive me crazy. After 37 years I've learned to be patient. He would laugh at that! How about somewhat patient?

Today Hog Man is getting picked up to help a fairly new hog breeder ear notch
his pigs. He will enjoy himself immensely. What is ear notching? Ear notching is a code for breeders to know which litter the pigs are from simply by where the notches are located in the ears. If pigs are pure bred and registered these notches are listed on their papers. Useful for identification.


Sunday, July 22, 2012


Yeah, I know it is too hot to bake but I still have the urge. Like using up those bananas that turn brown. I found this really good banana bread recipe that I like. It uses buttermilk--I think buttermilk makes baked products so good.  It adds a golden soft crust and texture that melts in the mouth. I saw on Pinterest a recipe for a coating for baking pans and tried and now I am singing it's glory!  I am telling you IT WORKS. And I also found Baking 911 and it is so interesting to know the REASON why we coat pans differently for different baked goods. Baking 911 also has the recipe for the coating and calls it Professional Baker's Grease.

Here's the Banana Bread recipe I like:
1/2 cup butter (I like to use 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 olive oil)
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 egg, beaten
2-3 ripe banana, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and combine. Add mashed bananas and vanilla and combine. In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt -- whisk together. Stir into wet mixture alternately with buttermilk.

Coat your loaf pan (9 X 5) or a combination of smaller loaf pans 7" and 5"  and one mini loaf pan -for giving away ; ) with Professional Baker's Grease (you will be SO glad you did).  Fill pans slightly less than 2/3s full and bake in preheated 350 degree oven. 9 X 5 = 60 minutes or more 7" = 45 minutes and 5" = 35 minutes and always check with toothpick a couple inches away from center (if you check center it might be slightly gooey but still done--weird I know). I think this is the case with tea breads.  Oh, and I don't own a pastry brush -- need to get one-- I used what God gave me-- my finger to dip into coating and "paint" my loaf pans.

Hog Man continues to recover. We had a Dr. appointment this last week. He might have scar tissue in his knee. : ( Aggressive physical therapy is the first approach and if that doesn't fix it then the doctor will need to manipulate under anesthesia -- hopefully this will not be necessary. Prayers, please!

It was 108 degrees here yesterday. It was HOT! And still no rain. Lovey had her piglets yesterday morning-- early. I will need to take my camera and take pictures. I have been blessed to have had help from two guys with the feeding and unloading of feed while Hog Man is recuperating. I feed the animals 3 or 4 days a week. I must admit-I think I'm getting good at it. Don't tell Hog Man, though. As soon as he can take over the job it is his job with my blessings.

We had guild meeting yesterday. A good meeting with a work day. We brought our sewing machines to work on our charitable projects-- Christmas stockings for C.A.S.A. and tote bags for Disabled American Veterans for the local auxiliary. It is always so much fun to get together and sew. Lots of talking and laughing. And eating. Of course. New recipes to try at home. : )

Then yesterday late we had a surprise visit from DGD Aimee and her friend while the parents ran some errands. We crafted! We made supper and ate. And they oohed and aahhed over the baby piggies. We broke out the Clover Flower Frill templates that I have been wanting to try.  We had a lot of fun. One thing that wasn't fun at all -- a scorpion dropped from the ceiling onto Aimee's leg while sitting on the sofa. She was great and sat still. I ran and got a fly swatter. It crawled off her leg and she exited the sofa. Splat = dead scorpion! I hate those things. She sat the rest of the time holding tightly to my hand and resting her head on my chest. Poor baby. I know I would've freaked out if it happened to me. Oh, for winter. Remind me I said that come January.


Monday, July 09, 2012

Feedsack Tote Tutorial

This tote measures 17 x 15 x 6 inches and is made from a Moorman's ShowTec swine feed sack. It is made of a waterproof material similar to a tarp but lighter weight.

My sack already had the string and paper closure removed on the top. I cut the sack bottom off with craft scissors then I took the bag to the bathtub and gave the sack a bath with warm water and  liquid dishwashing detergent. Hang to dry. 

After the sack is dry I used my rotary cutter and ruler to straighten the bottom. Then I measured three inches and made another cut. Repeat. These will be the straps.  

I cut these open with my craft scissors. Then I measured and cut them 24 inches. 

Then I finger pressed about 3/8" under on both long ends of each strap (do not use an iron-it will melt). Then fold in half. I used my binding clips and it worked great. Paper clips or paper holders would work. Take it to the sewing machine. I have already inserted a size 16 needle or you could use a jean (denim) needle. I set my stitch length to a large stitch.  I topstitched both straps beginning with the folded edges first. Then I turned and topstitched the other side on both straps.  Your straps are ready to be sewn in the tote.

I smoothed the sack out aligning the crease lines front and back. Then I sewed the bottom of the tote right sides out using a 1/4" seam. You will be sewing another seam on the bottom shortly and that will create a french seam.  
My sack had a line where the string had perforated the top. I folded the top down on that line and then folded it again 1".  I used my binding clips again to hold it in place. I measured from the fold lines of the front of the sack--15 inches and decided I would space my straps 5 inches from the side. I slipped each end inside the folded area.

I topstitched because my stitches on the top looked nicer than the ones on the bobbin side I was careful to keep the straps pointed toward the bottom of the bag and to sew the ends into the fold. I removed the binding clips as I came to them. I stitched again making sure I caught the folded edge that was on the underside (about 5/8").
I pulled the straps out and then topstitched and backstitched.
I turned the bag wrong side out. Then I smoothed it out. Then I sewed the bottom seam with a 1/2"to 5/8" seam. When the tote is turned out this will make the French seam.  Now it is time to box the corners. With the top of the tote on my cutting table and the bottom of the tote facing me I finger pressed the seam I just sewed in one direction. Then I folded it like this.

Then I flipped it to the other side and using the crease lines in the original sack I measured from the point to the crease line on each side.  I marked it at four inches and drew a line.

 I sewed on the line making sure the seam stayed turned the same direction on the back side. I did the same to the other corner to box it.  Then I cut off the corner leaving a good sized seam allowance. I then turned the seam allowance under and stitched it down turning it toward the side of the tote. Repeat to the other corner.  The tote is finished. Turn it right side out smoothing and straightening. 

The smaller tote is the first one I made.  I have a Pedigree dog food sack to make another. These will make nice grocery bags. They will come in real handy when we shop at Sam's Club.

Let me know if you have questions or if anything isn't clear.


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Hellooo Summer

Wowzers it's been HOT! We haven't had the long run of 100+ that many across the state of Texas have had or like many across the country for that matter but we have had days of 100 or more.  Thank God for air conditioning.

Hog Man continues to improve. A therapist is coming every day M-F and working with him. He is almost to where he can use his cane. The walker is still more reliable at the moment, though. His recovery has been slow. He didn't have much range of motion with his old knee so his muscles are having to be built back up.  It is happening. I can see a difference in him. It is not happening as fast as he would like. He is bored.  But all in all he has totally been less grouchy with this surgery. And I like that! I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I am so looking forward to it. It is going to be so much better.

What have I been doing? Cleaning, canning, and sewing--my sister and her husband were in Texas for a visit and spent a night with us. So that meant a major straightening in the guest bedroom. This is where I do my sewing. This is where I DID have a table stacked two feet deep with STUFF.  All that stuff had to find another home. So I crammed organized it in every drawer or shelf I could find room. LOL  My DD Amanda and family came for the 4th and brought us hot dogs and fixings. I took her to show her the clean room and she almost fainted. I know I've done good when she reacts. LOL

Oh, and I found the embroidery patterns I was looking for while cramming putting things away.  I am so happy to know these patterns are not lost forever. And I put them in a drawer this time with my embroidery floss. ; )  But the pincushion that is lost remains lost. Weird. It could've fallen into my trash basket. And got thrown away. Maybe I will still find it somewhere.

Aren't these tomatoes gorgeous? This bowl was full before I canned some today.  The big one there with a little green--I picked it before the grasshoppers decided they wanted to eat it.  I got 5 pints. And I decided to dice them this time. Why not?  I like diced tomatoes so much better when I'm cooking.
I love canned tomatoes! I will continue to can as many as the grasshoppers decide to share with us. LOL

I also made Hellish Sweet Relish that I love on pinto beans and hot dogs. There were more jars. I've already shared. : )

I have seen some of these tote bags made from feed sacks around the internet and decided to try my hand at it. It was easy. I found another sack wadded up in the back of Hog Man's pickup. Yippee. And I discovered the dog food sack is made out of the same material -- a waterproof poly vinyl type something. 

I am taking photos while making the next bag and will post a tutorial next post.