Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Chicks Outside

Sometimes you make decisions because it is the right thing to do. Other times you make decisions because it’s better than Cornish game hen substitutes.

Okay, so I wouldn’t have culled and cooked the new chicks. Yes, I know they are only four weeks old and the weather is still a bit crummy. But it was time to put the new chicks outside with the rest of the hens. They’re just so messy! I’m sure I’d feel differently if they ever wanted to be held and cuddled, but these three are so skittish that we decided once they were big enough to reach the feeder in the coop’s run we’d put them out. Well, they’re close enough.

I’m thinking it might be best to go ahead and put their water and food in the henhouse in a corner for the weekend until they get used to it since I see this morning they haven’t exited down the ramp. That or they haven’t figured out how to do so yet. It happens. The last chicks we had our Dominique hen raise took a week to figure it out and they were raised inside the coop! I guess we’ll see how it goes over the weekend.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Oh, Pinterest!
That magical place
Where people do the craziest shit
With the craziest shit
Post a picture on the internet
And we all sit back
Slapping our heads and say,
“Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Too Busy to Sew

Lately I’ve been too busy to sew. That’s sad.

Okay, so maybe I should clarify my opening statement. It isn’t so much that I’ve been too busy, but more like had other things I was doing. Between cake making and The Pinterest Comment Wars, there hasn’t been much time in my schedule to sew. That and I felt like I needed a little break. However, with a planned five day trip ahead, I don’t know when I will be sewing again. Oh well, at least I am still hand quilting The Fall Quilt, which is about two-thirds done.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring is Springing

Spring has definitely arrived. My allergies are in full attack mode.

A couple weeks ago I noticed that out of nowhere my throat was itchy, eyes were watery and there was an excess of phlegm that had obviously been dripping down my sinus cavities overnight. Joy. It must be crocus season. However, it passed rather quickly so I thought I would only have a mild reaction to the rest of spring’s arrival. Wrong. It’s back with a vengeance and not even generic Claritan can alleviate all the symptoms. Oh, it quiets them down like lowering the volume on the radio, but you can still hear the chatter of snot bubbles and throat clearing.

Allergies be damned! It won’t stop me from planting flowers (only the lack of money will do that!) or mowing the lawn (okay, I usually don’t do that) or enjoying the outdoors when everything is in bloom, but it will remind me that I need to take some precautionary measures to enjoy it all, like take a pill every day. Curses. Perhaps infecting myself with hookworms to cure my allergies wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. Then again, the idea of being horribly sick for weeks afterwards doesn’t sound so pleasant either. Alas, for now, I’ll stick with a pill.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pinterest Comment Wars

Apparently leaving a comment on a pin that you Like can lead an entirely new adventure. This adventure will henceforth be known as The Pinterest Comment Wars.

Clicking through Pinterest ( the other day, an online pin board like one would use when trying to plan a party menu or decorate a home by tearing out recipes or ideas from magazines and putting them together, I clicked that I liked a certain pin I found humorous. I left a comment because the few other comments seemed a bit ignorant and didn’t think anything of it. Within a day, it was war.

Argument after counterargument over Biblical interpretation, Hebrew and Greek words that have been grossly mistranslated, and responses that didn’t actually respond to the previous comments ensued. It was exhilarating. I love debating and I’m glad I got to do it with a couple of people who write well so I didn’t have to translate their words. I don’t agree with their answers or their logic that it’s okay for them to pick and choose which parts of the Bible to continue to follow while at the same time proclaiming the whole works as the word of God, but in the end we all agreed that we would never change each others positions and thanked each other for the conversation. A few minutes later, the original pinner deleted the pin, which made me sad because I felt we had all opened up a subject well worth studying.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Finished Product

When you stop enjoying what you do it becomes quite apparent it might be time to quit. But when the end results are amazing people around you wonder why you’d even think such things.

After days of no sleep and stressing out over finances from this cake, it was finally finished yesterday morning. I am glad. This cake has been eating away at me for a week. I mean, in the end I did get paid what I was going to ask for it so that worked out at least, but I don’t know if I can do this again for a while. As much as I’d love to help my friends out who need a wedding cake (and these are the ones willing to pay for it, not the generalization of people I made an example of a few days ago) it isn’t worth the stress of finding time between my job and other obligations. However, I must say the cake turned out rather cute and was perfect for the occasion it was for.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Adventures in Babysitting

The other day I got to watch four-year-old twins. We had an amazing time together.

The twins were a little shy when they first arrived, so I decided to check if Sesame Street was on. It was. This also allowed me to finish up what I was doing on the computer, like checking my email and Facebook and Pinterest; you know, the important stuff. Anyway, it didn’t take long for them to warm up, even though our dog Lucy was constantly in their faces… literally. As soon as the credits started rolling, one of the girls grabbed The Muppets and said they wanted to watch that next. I certainly wasn’t going to argue about that! I love the Muppets! Before the day was over, we’d played Uno, ate macaroni and cheese with broccoli (which they LOVED), colored with both crayons and chalk, read The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (one of my all time favorite books) and danced to the YouTube video “I’m Elmo and I Know It.” We had so much fun and the day was filled with so much silliness that I can’t wait to do it again.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Baking a Cake

I can admit that when I make cake the kitchen gets a little messy. Trust me when I say all that mess is worth it.

After work last night I had to come home and clean the kitchen first and of course was starving and nothing sounded good so I made tater tots for dinner and now I feel like I’m going to throw up. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been dipping them in month-old homemade blue cheese dip, huh? Anyway, once the dishes were all done and the kitchen cleaned, it was time to dirty it once more and pull out way more bowls and tools than one would think necessary for a simple from scratch cake.

As much as I hate to make cake right now, I can safely say that an old fashioned buttermilk cake is still one of my all time favorites, even if some of it sticks to the pans because I was lazy and didn’t cut out parchment for the bottoms. I knew that I’d need to make more buttermilk and did so a couple nights ago, but figured I’d be out if I didn’t start another batch, so I poured a cup of buttermilk into a clean mason jar and filled it with about a quarter cup of cream and the rest with milk (we use nonfat and I like creamy buttermilk, hence, the cream), shook it up and will let it sit on the counter out of sunlight until tonight when it should be ready. So simple and so much cheaper than buying more buttermilk, but this only works with live-culture buttermilk.

Anyway, what I like most about a buttermilk cake is that it is dense and sturdy without being overly sweet. It pairs well with just about any frosting (especially chocolate for a classic layer cake) and keeps its shape when it needs to be trimmed or carved. It is also fantastic for shaped character pans, which I am using my Build-a-Bear cake pan to make a bear-likeness of the ninety-year-old dressed in a super hero costume as a nod to what our pastor calls him, Captain Dynamo. The red and blue color theme will definitely help with this.

I guess the only thing left to do is decorate it. Ugh. I suppose that means that my entire day (after work, of course) will be devoted to frosting and fondant. Good thing I cleaned the kitchen after baking last night so it will be ready to get its filth on this afternoon.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I used to love making cakes. Of course, that was when I didn’t have a job.

Working and running a side business are completely doable. I did it for years when working at Crapmart. However, working most Saturdays and later nights then I used to now at the vet clinic, I find it nearly impossible to do the kinds of cakes people want me to do without taking time off of work. This isn’t such a great idea. The last wedding cake I did I ended up barely breaking even on the cake itself (I only charged two-hundred-thirty dollars) but lost two days I could’ve worked to bake and decorate it. If they weren’t friends of ours, I would’ve charged more to make up the difference, but me being me, I didn’t.

I’ve already had two brides ask me to make their wedding cakes this summer and I had to be honest that I don’t feel comfortable making cakes anymore, especially for a wedding. I mean, I can do it, but for what most people are willing to spend on cake I can’t. It seems people have no problem spending almost a thousand dollars on flowers, but three hundred dollars for a wedding cake large enough to feed two hundred people? Hell no!

Now I have a ninetieth birthday cake to make for another friend at church and I am not taking time off work to make it, but also am having to strategically plan how to pay for the ingredients because, surprise! I didn’t ask for a down payment. I know I am a horrible business person, but c’mon, at some point common sense has got to kick in. After this, it might be time to hang up my pastry bags.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

That 70s Quilt: Chain Piecing

With ninety-nine blocks to piece, there is really only one efficient way to do it; chain piecing. Now when am I going to find the time to do this?

The foreseeable future is filled with projects and meetings and various activities that will keep me away from sewing. The nearly three inches of snow outside my window is telling me I should also head in to work a little early just in case the roads are a bit slushy. The other day, however, I was able to chain piece the first two rows in the first two columns in That 70s Quilt together. By that, I mean now two blocks are now joined as one.

With a meeting or two (I can’t be sure of dates and schedules anymore) tonight at church and a ninetieth birthday cake to make for Sunday, my weekend is already taken. Alas, next week I might be able to work on it once again. Maybe.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fish Tacos

Do you ever feel like making something up for dinner and hoping it will turn out? I do this a lot.

Last night I was having a hell of a time trying to figure out dinner, especially given that we have a rather low amount of funds in the bank to last us until the end of the month. I had everything for fajitas, but honestly, we have fajitas a lot. I mean at least once a week I make that and then the accompanying black bean soup with the leftovers. I wanted to try something new. I wanted fish tacos.

Perusing my Mexican cookbook I found nothing like what I was in the mood for, and nothing that would take less than an hour and a half to prepare. I wanted it quick. So I decided to ignore the cookbooks and simply go off my intuition. It paid off. Utilizing ingredients I had on hand, I made the fish tacos I was wanting and will definitely be making them again. Yum.

Cory’s Crispy Fish Tacos
3 to 6 tilapia fillets, cut in half lengthwise
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup masa flour
1/3 cup corn meal
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 onion, finely diced
1 to 2 cups red cabbage, finely diced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
6 to 12 corn tortillas, cooked
cilantro (optional)

Mix the flour, masa, corn meal, salt, cayenne, paprika, chili powder and cumin together in a shallow dish. Coat the tilapia well with the flour mixture. In a nonstick fry pan, heat the oil over medium to medium high. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for ten seconds before adding the fish, careful not to overcrowd. It may take more than one batch depending on the size of the pan. Cook until golden and fish is done, about two to three minutes per side. Place on a paper towel lined cooling rack and lightly sprinkle with a little salt on one side. To cook the tortillas (unless you made them yourself to perfection) heat a large skillet or griddle on medium high and cook about forty-five seconds on each side or until they begin to color. This makes them soft, pliable and stronger so they won’t fall apart as you eat your delicious taco. Place one piece of fish in tortilla and top with onions, cabbage, a slice or two of avocado and sprinkle some lime juice and cilantro and enjoy. Serves 2 to 4 without side dishes, 3 to 6 with sides.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kitty Catnip Pillow

Years ago we bought our then two cats pillows stuffed with Poly-fil and catnip at Portland’s Saturday Market. I decided to go ahead and make one for our cat, Dexter.

For years I’ve had a plethora of upholstery fabric for various projects that either have already been completed or never even came to any sort of fruition. When I redid our bedroom and guest room, I used upholstery fabric for the bedspreads for a couple reasons, but the biggest being we have animals and they like to sleep in places we really shouldn’t allow them to. The other was because of the large-scale prints in easy to clean duck cloth. Anyway, lots of denims, canvas, duck cloth and jacquards all in heavy enough weights to withstand kitty claws and one-hundred and twenty-five pound dogs are now taking up space on my fabric case and not being utilized. So I decided to make a kitty catnip pillow with a small portion of one of them!

What You’ll Need:

6½ x 12 inch piece of heavy weight fabric

The first thing you will want to do is take your fabric and fold it in half like a hot dog bun with the right sides facing.

Starting with the short end, sew closed two sides, leaving you with one end open.

Now take your tube and carefully pull it inside out.

Next, take a handful of Poly-fil and stuff it into the tube. I use a chopstick to help ease it down to the bottom. Sprinkle a little catnip inside and alternate until it is nice and plush but not overly stuffed.

Fold the ends inside by about ¼ to ½ an inch and sew along the edge. For extra strength I sewed forward then reversed it to sew another line backwards. You can use any decorative stitch you’d like as well or even a simple zig-zag stitch. Clip the loose threads.

Give to cat and let him or her enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Planting Season

Despite the odd Northwest weather we’ve been having, it is indeed the season to plant early spring veggies. So I did.

Seeing a break in the rain, I decided to go ahead and plant some cold weather crops; Radishes, carrots, fennel, spinach and lettuces, along with some parsley and cilantro in the herb box. Of course, in the middle of planting I had to dodge another rain shower, hail and even a bit of snow, but alas, nothing was going to stop me from finishing what I started. Hopefully the fact that it is snowing right now won’t affect the seeds, but if they do, oh well. I guess that means I will just have to replant them.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

That 70s Quilt: Layout

With all blocks for That 70s Quilt cut to size, it was time to plan the layout. Hopefully it will all work together.

Using my handy dandy pattern I made as a guide, I grabbed my piles of wonky 9-patches and squares of Alexander Henry’s In the Kitchen and went to the only place large enough to lay out all the blocks: the kitchen floor. So with that, I wiped down the entire surface before I began carefully and painstakingly (okay, so mostly randomly) placing the blocks into the pattern I wanted them to be. It took about an hour until I felt that everything was where I thought it should be, but just to be certain I had my husband confirm that it was random and scrappy enough. Of course, I had to do this while also attempting to keep our cat, Dexter, off of the blocks and disrupting their order. He’s a little shit, I mean, er… helpful like that.

Once everything was where I wanted it to be, I started facing columns together to be strip pieced. I used numbered sticky notes to keep track of placement and direction of each stack and pinned them just in case the sticky didn’t want to stick very well, which, by the way, it doesn’t on fabric.

Now that all the blocks are in place and ready to sew together, I can’t help but think that maybe the scrappy approach isn’t the best one and I’m starting to second guess my decisions. Should I have used so many solid colors for the 9-patches? Should I have instead opted for four or five solids instead of twenty? Should I start all over again? I quickly had to gather all of my thoughts and throw them away and remember that the late 60s and 70s were a time of experimentation and wild color combinations. It will work. And if it doesn’t, I have enough of the In the Kitchen line to make another quilt.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day

It is St. Patrick’s Day and, if you observe Lent, have a day off to feast and consume alcohol. Of course, most people use it as an excuse to get shit-faced drunk and become public nuisances.

Growing up, I never really knew why we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. The only thing I did know was that it came about a month after St. Valentine’s Day only instead of giving out valentine cards you were allowed to pinch anyone not wearing green. I used to purposefully not wear green on St. Patrick’s Day as a child in protest of being forced to wear something green, even though it is my favorite color and probably was the most abundant in my wardrobe. What can I say, it’s the Irish rebel in me.

Anyway, I used to think that being a quarter Irish qualified me enough and due to that was not required to wear the official green. However, after my Irish grandmother passed away, I found out she indeed was only half Irish and that her sister and another sister’s husband were her real mother and father. So now I’m only twelve-and-a-half percent Irish. Eeek!

So today it looks like I will be wearing my Lucky Charms shirt (well, one of them anyway) and green scrubs to work. I suppose to help the day off I should also have a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal, especially since I’m not as Irish as I used to be.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wonky Block Trim-a-thon

With all wonky 9-patch blocks pieced, it was time to trim them. Ooh! Internet!

After work last night I wanted to see how long it would take to trim all fifty of the wonky 9-patch blocks down to eight-and-a-half inches. I was hoping to break a record, but what record is beyond me. Alas, a new Beer and Board Games episode ( distracted me toward the end. Oh well. I did manage to get them all cut and also found that somehow two of the blocks simply were too small so I had to figure out a way to make them just a smidgen larger.

My options for increasing the size of the two blocks would be to rip them apart and start over by sewing more accurately or adding an extra solid strip to the short edge. Go ahead and guess which option I chose. I’m thinking that if I use these as edge pieces around the quilt it won’t be as conspicuous as smack dab in the middle of the thing. That and the extra piece will hardly be noticeable once the blocks are pieced together.

Some time this weekend I plan on playing with layout, which means locking the cats and dog in a room while I fiddle with the blocks on the kitchen floor. Of course, that also means I should probably clean the floor too, so we will see just how ambitious I am to get this quilt top done since, you know, it is St. Patrick’s Day weekend and all.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

That 70s Quilt: Cutting

I finally cut into my Alexander Henry In the Kitchen fabric. That felt good… really good.

After months of not wanting to touch the In the Kitchen line, it was almost a relief to slice into it. I finally had finished all of my wonky blocks for the quilt and was ready to move on to the next step, cutting everything down to eight-and-a-half inches when I decided to go ahead and cut out the squares from the fabric I’ve been holding onto for oh so long. It felt fantastic!

So now I have to trim down my wonky 9-patches to the same eight-and-a-half inches as the Alexander Henry squares. On the ones where it is super obvious I used multiple fabrics to create the same wonky style it will be a chance to trim the up a little different. With fifty blocks to trim, it appears I already know what my night is going to look like after work.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Clowning Around

My husband is a clown. With that being said, he is ready to continue improving upon his wardrobe.

For a while now my husband has been talking about needing a jacket for his clown outfit. So during a day off last week we went to Fabric Depot in Portland, Oregon to search for fabric to make said jacket. The look on his face was priceless as he was immediately overwhelmed with all of the choices and not knowing what types of fabric to use and so on and so forth. I told him we should start with the suiting fabrics and go from there. Needless to say, there wasn’t much in the way of suitable suiting fabric for a clown outfit, so we next traveled to the costume fabrics, upholstery and finally ended up in my neck of the woods, quilting.

It didn’t take long to find one that he liked, a simple Dr. Seuss fabric of red on red dots from Robert Kaufman, and also not long to think that a vest would probably work out better and be less material and easier to make. He didn’t want anything heavy, so the quilting fabric would probably be the best choice for that, but my main concern with using quilting weight cottons is its tendency to wrinkle easily, which while we were looking for buttons he ran into another clown making a new outfit as well and voiced the same concerns, even though she was also buying quilting cottons. Alas, after finding a vest pattern we might be able to use (which also has patterns for shirts and ties so, bonus! I get to make some ties too!) After picking out a satin to line and back the vest, we had everything needed to complete it.

So I suppose the biggest part now is the actual making of the clown vest. Ugh. Perhaps I should let my husband try to make the vest on his own. That could be fun, right? Hmm… perhaps we can do this together.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hand Quilting

Quilting by hand can be quite therapeutic. It can be therapeutic unless, of course, you’ve got cats and dogs vying for your attention.

After sandwiching The Fall Quilt, I decided to hand quilt it using simple squares in squares. To mark off the squares I’m using painter’s tape (the blue stuff) in one-inch width to make an eight-and-a-half-inch square and quilting outside and inside the tape lines. I’ll admit the idea came from the book Material Obsession by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke for both the quilt and quilting pattern, except instead of perle cotton I’m using doubled up 30wt cotton thread. Yes, it bunches every now and then, but after years of hand sewing using two strands instead of one, it isn’t so bad. However, part of me is regretting not using the perle cotton. Next time, Cory. Next time.

Anyway, I do most of my quilting at work during my two hour lunch break since, well, there isn’t much else to do. I’ve found this is the easiest way to work on the quilt since I can plop it onto the reception counter and quilt away, whereas at home I want to sit on the sofa or chair-and-a-half and there isn’t anything to rest it on but my lap, which doesn’t work so well. Sure I could probably do it at the kitchen table, and I’m sure one day I will do that, but for now this seems like the best solution to spend my lunch that doesn’t involve spending money. Except when the clinic cats want to plop their asses right smack in the middle of the part I’m quilting or an attention-starved boarding dog is in the reception area and demands either lap time or a long petting.

Me being me, here are a few suggestions. First of all, use a real quilting hoop because the difference is amazing. Find one that works for you by holding it in your arm and resting it either on your stomach or mimic however you would quilt that feels natural. Just because wood works for me doesn’t mean plastic won’t work for you. The more pins the better, especially for fine needle work, something I don’t think I’ll ever have the patience for but can’t help but admire people like Glenn ( who seem to do it effortlessly with amazing results. And finally, if using blue painter’s tape and you want it to be one-inch wide, by all means just go buy a roll of it rather than cutting down a two-inch roll because you happen to have it and are far to cheap and lazy to get the correct one.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wonky Blocked Out

Twelve more blocks down. That means only about nine more to go.

Okay, so as much as I love making these wonky 9-patch blocks for That 70s Quilt, I’m ready for them to be done. Perhaps my patience is wearing a little thin. Or perhaps I simply need to work on something else in between to avoid the monotonous droll of cutting and piecing the same type of block over and over and over…



It wouldn’t take much of an effort to finish making the blocks tonight after work. I still need to make the Brady Bunch surprise block, which I can either go all out on or make simple. I’m leaning towards simple to not detract from the overall look of the quilt.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Over Half Way

As tempting as it is, I’m really trying not to start another project until at least the top of That 70s Quilt is completed. Hopefully I can keep temptation away!

Dog bathed? Check. Toilets, sink and shower scrubbed and mirrors washed? Check. Laundry done? Check. Vacuuming and spot cleaning with the carpet cleaner done? Check. Excellent. As a reward, I decided to work on a few more blocks for That 70s Quilt yesterday afternoon.

With my pile now at over halfway sifted through, the color choices are getting more and more difficult. I finally incorporated some yellow into the mix, but honestly, I’m not a yellow person. Now oranges and greens, absolutely, but yellow? Not so much. With that being said, I’m thinking of limiting the amount of yellow I work into this quilt, even though I already cut out the ten inch squares from my rather limited stash. My favorite combination so far is orange and red.

Working with solids is nice, but I can’t wait to dive into the prints. Even though they will simply be cut into eight-and-a-half-inch squares, I think that is when it is going to hit me that I can start the real design process. So to break up the solids conundrum, I felt the need to add a red, white and blue with stars block to the mix to commemorate the United States of America’s bicentennial that happened in the seventies. Using fabric from a long since abandoned quilt project that never even got started, I cut out the distressed red and blue with stars fabric and added a white square from the pile. I knew I needed the three colors, but I’m pretty sure I’m only going to add one of these three blocks to the quilt. The problem is I just don’t know which one.

So I suppose today will be more of the same until I have at least fifty wonky 9-patches. Unless, of course, I start another project…

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Oh, how I despise ants! Well, I despise pretty much any unwanted creature who finds themselves in our house, but mostly ants.

The weather is beginning to warm and with it come the ants. It seems like we just got rid of them last fall when the weather began to cool? Oh wait, we did. Grrr… I guess there are really only a couple things to do about them: complain or take action. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if they would confine themselves to one area of the house, but I see them in practically every room. Okay, so it is kind of a big deal, having to put everything they’d want to get their grubby little hands on into Ziploc bags; but still, I don’t like using harsh chemicals with pets in the house. The same goes for the mice we randomly find evidence of every now and then in the garage. I don’t want to put out a poison because one of our cats likes to go out there, probably in search of said mice for a tasty snack.

Anyway, years ago I was on the internet and discovered a nifty little ant trap that would be relatively cheap and the pets would (or should, at least) stay out of. Okay, so really I’ve made a few different kinds because, depending on the ants, which the last house we lived in we had many different kinds, depends on what will attract and kill them. My favorites for the ants I knew where the colony was located was using equal parts molasses, sugar and yeast. The ants will go up to the mound and think, “Nom, nom, nom! Delicious sugary sweetness for us to devour!” But then they swallow the yeast and since they can’t fart, they explode. Another one is using equal parts jelly and borax. Same concept as the molasses, but the borax is like glass in their intestinal tract and they die a horrible and painful death. Okay, so I don’t know if it is or not, but it sounds like it would be. Equal parts Dawn dish soap (original) and water left out where they are already congregating will attract them and drown them. While it is true that ants can live two weeks under water, they can’t survive soap. It does have to be Dawn original dish soap, however, as there is something in it that attracts the ants in the first place. I’m sure adding a bit of sugar in the mixture will work if using another soap, but haven’t tried it… yet. I’ve also used baby powder and cayenne pepper around the molding in places I knew the ants had been using to come into the house with great success, both of which deter them from entering in the first place. This option is great for people morally opposed to the death of the sugar-stealing menaces.

We’ll see how successful I am in this house. Of course, before we moved in I’d simply been using ant and roach killer because, well, there were millions of them all over the kitchen and bathroom. I went through two cans of Lysol and three cans of ant spray cleaning every nook and cranny in this house before moving in, so I can only imagine how the population looks now almost a year later. Hopefully I can keep it at bay early before it reaches the stage I went through while taking the electrical plate covers off to paint a week before moving in.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Quilt or Clean

My options this weekend are leaning toward doing something productive. But productive doesn’t always have to be a chore.

The house needs cleaned. I mean like vacuumed, mopped, scrubbed up, down and sideways and litter boxes emptied and filled with new litter kind of cleaning. The outside area needs a little sprucing up as well, including the “pond” in our front yard and all the grass growing in the rocks, ivy growing again on the light pole, and general weeding. I should probably also clean out the chicken coop. Ugh.

However, I also want to quilt and sew. I want to finish up the wonky 9-patch blocks for That 70s Quilt and maybe even start cutting out the feature squares from the Alexander Henry In the Kitchen line for it, or [gasp] start a new project. Of course, I also need to get working on my husband’s vest for his clown outfit.

So perhaps, just perhaps, what I really need to do is make another list and order it in importance while adding some fun stuff in between. Then again, it might be more beneficial to simply get all the chores done so I can spend the rest of the time relaxing. Oh, who am I kidding? We’ll probably spend the weekend watching Netflix and accomplishing nothing.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Writing Geek

To feed into my writing geekness, I decided to post this lovely explanatory bit about proper grammar I found on Pinterest from The Copyblogger ( This gives me hope that I am obviously not alone in my efforts.

Now this isn’t to say that I follow these rules all the time, because if it is required to break the rules for comedic effect, I will; so long as it makes sense to do so. However, be that as it may, it’s nice to know there is a super simple explanation poster out there to easily explain when and how to be grammatically correct. Of course, now that I’ve gotten back into this kick, I’m wondering if it is finally time to start writing fiction again. I know some old friends (a.k.a. novels and children’s books) who would like seeing me again and vice versa. Perhaps I should try to spend some time tonight revisiting them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Motivation Found

Yesterday I finally found my motivation after grocery shopping. Frustration over not finding what I’m looking for.

Nothing angers me more than having a coupon for Lucky Charms at a dollar ninety nine for up to four boxes and they’re out of the size the coupon is good for. Figures. Of course, it didn’t help that I went on the last day the coupon was good for at this particular grocery store, so I suppose I will have to take some of the blame. Still, it makes me wonder if once they sell out of a certain amount they simply hoard the rest in the stockroom so as to not lose too much money on this incredible deal.

With all that aggravated energy running through me, I decided to mow the lawn. Of course, being the first time to start the mower in five months, it took nearly all that energy out of me just to get it going. Seriously, I spent like a half an hour trying to start the damn thing. Fortunately we have such a small patch of lawn that it only took about ten minutes to mow the whole thing, even with it getting stuck in the incredibly soft and squishy ground… and getting caught on a tennis ball. Whoops. I’d call it grass, but lawn is more accurate as more than fifty percent of it is, well, not so much.

Somehow I managed to find my motivation renewed as I started hacking away at the climbing rose in the front yard by the porch. After trimming off all the wild growing branches, it made me think about getting some other climbing pants for the rest of the front porch since there are three unused trellises attached to it. However, the thought was only fleeting as I wanted to clean out the garden boxes and flower pots. Hopefully the Dahlia tubers will show some signs that they are planning on blooming again this year before we plant anything else in the pots, or perhaps I just need to leave the center open. Then again, they are summer blooming so I might not see any green until the next month or two when the weather is more consistently warm. I suppose I just need a little patience because I also want to start planting seeds for vegetables and lettuces, but the frosty mornings are saying otherwise.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

So Much to Do

I have so much to do. I also have so little motivation to do any of it.

Insert whiney voice here. Please. Because while I know all that I either have to get done today or want to do, the overriding factor is that I have almost no enthusiasm to do anything. Seriously, I’d rather just stay in my pajamas and watch movies or have a series marathon on Netflix. Alas, the sunshine is calling my name, saying, “Cory, get your ass out here and mow the lawn and clean out the containers for spring!”

Monday, March 5, 2012


Yesterday we did a very bad, bad thing; we got chicks. Oh well!

Raising chicks is not a very complicated matter. However, it does take a little work to make sure the chicks turn into well socialized hens. After our last round of chicks that we decided to let a broody hen raise, we figured it would be best for all involved to raise them ourselves for the first month and a half before putting them in with the rest of the flock. Not that there is anything wrong with letting a hen do her motherly duty, but, well, those two hens she raised are quite wild and timid around us, unlike the rest of the flock who will all let us pet and hold them. The advantage of having us raise the chicks and handling them everyday (okay, whenever we go into the garage to look in on them) is they should, in theory, be easy to handle by us.

So the big question is, what in the hell were we thinking?! I’ll be honest, we weren’t. We went to the feed store to get chicken food and left with three new chicks to add to the flock. But aren’t they just so cute?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New Fabric

Do you ever intend to do one thing and end up doing the exact opposite of what you said you were going to do? That’d be me yesterday.

I specifically told myself when I went shopping for fabric yesterday for my birthday present from my husband, “No Kate Spain and no Sandy Gervais.” Well, the quilt shop I went to, Fiddlesticks (, didn’t have any Sandy Gervais, but I did end up buying a bundle of Kate Spain’s new line, Good Fortune. Shoot. I tried. Honestly, I tried to look at some of the more muted and subtle tones of French General or 3 Sisters, but I was immediately drawn to Kate’s modern take on Asian influenced design. Maybe to torture myself I’ll wait until after I work on the Flying Geese Quilt using Central Park before digging into this pile of luscious cotton.

Another surprise came from our good friends Rob and Sarah: Lorax fabric! I share my birthday with Dr. Seuss and love all things Seussical and can’t wait to make something with them. I don’t know if it will be a quilt because I’m thinking they would make absolutely adorable market bags, which would totally fit the theme of The Lorax. We’ll see!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blinking Cursor

Staring at my computer monitor for the last few minutes made me realize two things: one, I have no idea what I want to write about today and two, I’m really spaced out. I must have slept in too long.

And the cursor blinks.

Then something hit me, and that is the use of proper grammar and punctuation. In school we were taught about the colon and semicolon and dashes and dots and so forth and it was rather vague and seemed more like an afterthought; more like, “Here are these punctuations blah blah blah… we never use them.” Something was amiss here. Were these forms of punctuation not worthy of our attention? Is their proper placement and use out of fashion, so to speak? I decided to investigate.

A majority of the books I read as a kid failed to use colons, semicolons and dashes, but some used the ellipses (also known as ‘dot dot dot’ and ‘three dots’), which probably explains my overuse and abuse of the punctuation. What can I say… I like me some triple dots. I can blame R.L. Stine, writer of the Fear Street series I was ever so fond of in my youth, for my reasoning behind not being indoctrinated into proper English grammar; however, I must also accept that these forms of punctuation were rarely used or explained in my language arts classes.

Reasoning aside, here is my thought on the matter: the semicolon is seen as a high and mighty college-educated comma. Be that as it may, I’ve found myself using it more and more instead of either starting a new sentence. Trust me, I know my run-on sentences can get a little carried away, especially when I am on a rather heated rant about something I am quite passionate about; but that doesn’t mean I need to force the reader to swallow an entire sentence all at once because of my unwavering thought process instead of splitting it into two or three smaller and more manageable sentences.

With all this being said, I don’t expect any blog I read to have proper grammar and punctuation because they are just that: blogs. However, I do expect our published books, literature, magazines and newspapers to at least have a slight understanding of the language. It irks me to no end when I read something that looks so sloppily put together a third grader can tell you what is wrong with the sentence and how to fix it. I must say that a majority of this is our accepted use of numbers and shorthand in our everyday correspondences through text messages, emails and chatting is probably the biggest downfall of language in general. Maybe I’m being too judgmental, but I know that when I see a message with misspelled words and no punctuation in all lower case, I have to mentally fix the message before my brain can process it. Okay, so I admit that I’m a little quirky like that, but the fact still remains that we as a society are at risk of losing proper communication skills in order to focus on trade skills in our schools. I am all for kids learning math and science, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of language and culture. I don’t expect every kid to know how to spell, but allowing them to use numbers or letters in place of the full and correct word is only exasperating the problem.

I suppose the real issue lies in our ever-changing language uses. It is only natural for a language to evolve over time to reflect cultural norms of the day, but taking out all structure and etiquette away will only dumb us down as a society. Please, take the time to use the full word. Take the time to add proper punctuation. And please, by all means, don’t use the dash (--) unless you absolutely mean it because I really hate reading a document that is full of dashes that only make it look choppy and unprofessional.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Thirty Five

What do Dr. Seuss, Jon Bon Jovi and myself have in common? That’s right, today is our birthday!

Why bring up famous people? Because it seems that is what we as a society do. Instead of comparing ourselves to our peers, we compare ourselves to celebrities. I don’t know why because it doesn’t make us any more significant by aligning ourselves with people so many other people know, even if, like myself, you share the day and year with Chris Martin, lead singer of the band Coldplay, nor does it make us any less trivial for not having celebrity status. There are others, like Desi Arnaz, Karen Carpenter, Bryce Dallas Howard and Daniel Craig, but really when I think about my childhood, Dr. Seuss and Jon Bon Jovi are what come to mind. And really, as kids, we looked for any reason to be both different and to find a way to fit in.

It doesn’t matter how old I get, every birthday I think back to my childhood and making my birthday cake, Rainbow Chip. Yes, I realized the irony of a queer closeted kid making rainbow chip cake with rainbow chip frosting. Still, something about a simple cake with sprinkles in the mix and frosting is quite nostalgic, even to this day. Whatever life brings you for your birthday, may it be full of laughter, friends, family and sprinkles. Oh, and chocolate.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


March snow is much more prevalent in the Northwest than December or January. Still, it’s not very helpful on a workday.

Don’t get me wrong, I like snow. However, I do not like how so many people drive in the snow and try to kill me. I don’t know if the drivers are doing it on purpose or if it is indeed just a gravitational pull toward a red Hyundai Elantra, but I do know that whenever I have to drive in the snow, people around me drive like maniacs. Of course, there is a little bit of satisfaction in seeing them down the road a bit stuck in a ditch.