Eggs-actly !

Just what I’ve been waiting for…a partner in crime. Well, some people think it’s criminal to waste spend time doing projects, but surely not Saint not in my family no one I know!

Meet Elle. She’s the daughter of our son’s fiance, so she and her two beautiful sisters will soon be our bonus granddaughters. Elle came to spend some time with us, yesterday, and we enjoyed loved having her here. It was the perfect time to try out some old and new ideas for Easter.
DSC00152
I pulled the string egg project out of my old teacher bag, having made those with first graders for years, but I knew Elle wouldn’t be there long enough for the overnight drying time, so I wrapped them ahead of time and gave the glue time to dry. She popped the balloon and pulled it through the string and we put those aside in favor of dying and decorating eggs. In this picture, she is wrapping a turmeric dyed egg in rubber bands to submerge in another color. I read about using Kool-Aid to dye eggs here. Elle loved the smell, and I loved that it was less messy than traditional dyes (and way less smelly than the natural dyes of red cabbage and onion skins that I stunk up the school with used one year.) We loved the texture of the Kool-Aid dyed eggs.
DSC00154 Don’t you love how she concentrates? We take eggs very seriously.
Next, we tried a process I read about in several places on Pinterest. The directions suggested shaving crayons and rolling hot eggs around in the wax. Wow! Did we have fun with that. And that Elle…she’s a smart one. She decided that the tongs I used to remove the eggs would be perfect for rolling the eggs around. Just after we both burned our fingers a little bit.
DSC00155
These eggs turned out great, but I’m still scraping crayon shavings off the floor. I get a littlelot messy. I found that simply coloring on the hot eggs worked fairly well; not as pretty and random as the shavings, but after some thought, next year I will break up some crayons into a baggie, add a hot egg, and, using a kitchen towel to prevent burns, move the egg around to coat.

Some cooking had to be involved in our project night, so we tried this bhttp://taste-for-adventure.tablespoon.com/2012/04/01/creative-cooking-for-easter/?nicam1=CONTENT_PPC&nichn1=OUTBRAIN&nipkw1={ad_title}&niseg1=TBSP_TRAFFIClog’s idea to make cookie baskets.
DSC00164
We may or may not have eaten a piece a few pieces a bag of candy eggs during the process. And, did I tell you what multi-taskers we are? While we were waiting for the cookies to bake, we worked on our T shirt project…another Pinterest idea, but we put our own spin on it.
DSC00157
To do this project, all you need is a solid colored T shirt, bleach, a paint brush or Q tips, and a way to make a design. Since this was our first, we opted for a stencil. By sliding the T shirt over a styrofoam lid, we were able to secure the stencil, load the Q tip with bleach and “paint the bleach on the fabric. We got a couple of letters too close together, but hey, it was our first time, and we are about the process and not the product. We do kind of like the product, though, and we may try a different method later.
DSC00158

Saint was getting hungry, smelling those cookies baking, so we took a break for Frito Pies. This is a camping staple for us and, since we had planned to camp this weekend before the weather changed, I thought it would be perfect. Elle had eaten Frito Pie before, but never out of the bag. To my surprise, Saint had not had one from the bag, either. Where was he in the sixties??
DSC00156
And then onto the science projects. Elle had seen or heard of someone putting Peeps in the microwave with toothpicks and letting them “sword fight.”
DSC00160
They both lost!
Elle had seen this on a video or TV show, but had never done it, so we sucked the egg into the bottle…and even got it out again in one piece.
DSC00162 SUCCESS! We can’t say the same for the cut out sugar cookies on the pan, can we? The bunny, butterfly, and flowers are a little distorted unrecognizable. Oh, well, they still have the same amount of calories, right? And what’s one little failure in the grand scheme of the evening?
Elle treated Saint and me to several of her “routines,” which we thoroughly enjoyed.DSC00167
And, I don’t know about Elle, but I am looking forward to another project night really soon.
DSC00163

Advertisements

Wild and Wonderful Watercress

We have the best neighbors! They came to play cards last night…bearing gifts. This.DSC00141
Watercress grows wild in spring branches and streams, and its health benefits seem almost as prolific. Just this week I read that it is one of the best alkaline foods to help in leveling out the body’s acidity. For me, it’s the fresh, peppery taste and the childhood memories of accompanying my dad to the spring on our farm to pick an armload; one of the first signs of the spring season.

Watercress is not the least labor intensive veggie, for sure, because it must be plucked from the water, trimmed, washed, and examined carefully. The early, tenderest plants are best and easiest. Later in the season, you need to look carefully for the little critters water bugs and blood suckers, yes, city folk, leaches. Don’t look at me like that. You eat potatoes, don’t you? And just think of all those wiggly worms crawling around under ground with them. And the beetles.
DSC00142
I trim the thickest stems off, unless I’m going to chop it finely, and drain it in a colander or pat it dry with paper towels.
DSC00143

Today, I left the pieces mostly intact and added a bit of torn Romaine leaves. A few thin slices of red onion and some sliced strawberries complete this salad. I dressed it with a tablespoon of mayo mixed with a dash of balsamic vinegar, a teaspoon of honey, and some poppy seeds.
DSC00144
DSC00145
DSC00146
Pretty, fresh, healthy, and delicious.

Of course, this may not be is not necessarily my favorite way to eat watercress. No, think oil fat bacon grease. Yep, that may just negate all that alkalinity factor, but here is the recipe for my favorite watercress dish.
1 bunch- 8 to 10 cups- of watercress (washed, drained and chopped coarsely)
6 slices bacon, fried crisp drained and crumbled (reserve bacon grease)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch radishes, sliced thinly
Coarse salt

Chop and mix all veggies. Heat baking grease until the smoke alarm goes off very hot. Pour it over the greens and listen to it sizzle. It should be slightly wilted, but still keep some of its integrity. (I know, all the health nuts are thinking I just lost mine with the bacon grease.) Sprinkle in the crumbled bacon and indulge enjoy.

Watercress is wild and wonderful, healthy or not…the choice is yours.

Dam Site Camping

Finally! Weather fit for a trial run in our made-over camping trailer. Dam Site Campgrounds on Beaver Lake is one of our favorite camping spots. It’s a few miles out of Eureka Springs, Arkansas on a road from the hot place curvy enough to make you lose your lunch, but once you get there, you will be so glad you came…until it is time to leave and you have to repeat the Nascar experience. The Beaver Dam separates two camping areas; the lower one is the River Site and the upper is the Beaver Lake site. The campground by the river is open year round on the honor system. The Lake site doesn’t open until April first,and both are beautiful spots. We usually opt for the lake since we like to fish Beaver Lake and the boat launch is there. This time, we didn’t have the boat or a choice so we were thrilled to get a place by the river.DSC00135

Breezes whisper through the branches of majestic pine trees. Camping spots are spacious, the trout fishing is said to be good, (We aren’t trout fishermen, so don’t ask us how many we caught) and the flush toilets and shower points are clean.
Rates are only $14.00, and with a Golden Pass, you get half off. Seven bucks a night, can you beat that?

During the months of March and April, when the bass fishing is good on Beaver Lake, we store our trailer at a facility near the lake so that we only have to bring the boat down when we are ready to fish, and then pick up the trailer and move it to a camp spot when we get there. This, and a visit to our daughter and family in Fayetteville were our main purposes for going this week. It’s still a little early for white bass. I also wanted to see if I would love all the changes in the camper as much when actually staying in it. Success! We both really enjoyed the lightness added with the driftwood toned cabinets and, despite the fact that I wasn’t wild about the look of the bedroom curtains, the effect was a delightfully dark sleeping area. Wonderful!
It’s still a work in progress and this trip allowed me to see some other things I want to do. I added these two candle holders I adorned with shells and twine and changed out the chrome clock to the ship’s wheel one.
Candle holders

For Saint, and seemingly for all guys in the camp, it’s all about the fire. He could care less what we were going to eat, how hot or cold it was, or any of the other minute details. But guys from four or five campsites away came to admire his fire. The next day, it was bright, sunny, 76 degrees and he still built a blazing fire.
DSC00136

Here are pictures of the trail and the river.
Delano fishing
Trail to the river If you’re anywhere near the area, stop for a few days. I think you’ll love it. Oh, and as for the trailer, I think the thing I like best is part I was not sure of…when I slip-covered the sofa with a twin sized knit sheet, I wasn’t convinced I’d like the look or the feel. It is perfect. Since this was not an official camp out, meal prep was minimal. We stopped at a restaurant in Eureka Springs, and I brought a to go box home, set it on the sofa while I unloaded groceries. It leaked onto the slip cover. I blotted it off with a tea towel, and it was as good as new. The added thought that I can remove it and wash it as often as needed is a bonus. Brilliant idea.

Waiting for Spring

DSC00129
Don’t you love it when these little jewels start making their appearances? Spring is gorgeous on Redbud Ridge; second only to fall. I can’t wait to show you all the budding trees as they paint the forlorn landscape with lovely lavender flowers. Right now, the path to the valley is getting ready to turn green.
DSC00130 I thought we might be having a summer wedding, here, but I think our son and his fiance have chosen another venue. That’s probably just as well, because it might be very difficult to ever sell the ridge and move to the lake with all those memories.I can’t wait to see what they have planned. I can’t wait to show you pictures of our first camping/fishing trip in our made-over camping trailer. I can’t wait to dig in the soil and uncover wiggly worms and shoots of young garlic chives. So, that’s what I’m doing. Waiting patiently. Waiting.

And, in the meantime, I have followed a suggestion from here and have done some winter sowing and prepared these mini greenhouses. They are simple to make, just follow the directions at that site.
DSC00131
Do they really work? Of course. Even for someone who might be is horticulturally challenged. See these little green plants? I only started this a couple of weeks ago.
DSC00132
These are radishes, and I will probably thin these and let them grow in the container, but I saw some cabbage plants coming up, and they can go directly in the garden in a few weeks.

And, I have Saint helping me on a project. This is the last well, maybe next to last project out of the antique bed that I purchased for seven bucks. I’ve already shown you several of the things made out of “parts and pieces” of that lovely old thing. This is what we are working on, now.
DSC00133
And I’ll bet you can’t wait to see what it’s going to be. We are WAITING for the glue to dry and waiting for spring. Don’t forget to “spring forward” tonight. I’ll miss that hour of sleep, but I love daylight savings time…one more hour of light on a beautiful, spring day! Can’t wait!

DIY-Faux Screen Print Pillow Tutorial

I saw an interesting DIY about screen printing onto a T-shirt here. It looked do-able, however as I read WAIT for the Mod Podge to dry completely, I questioned if this were the technique for me. Patience is not my best virtue Watching paint dry is not on my bucket list. So then I had another brilliant idea.
I told you I wanted other pillows for the camping trailer, but decorative pillows are over priced. At the flea market the other day, I picked up some cheap thrifty navy sailcloth (four yards for two bucks) that I thought would be perfect for nautical pillows. What do you think?
DSC00127
Here are the easy steps to follow if you want to make faux screen printed pillows.
First, I decided what size I wanted my pillows to be and cut four panels that size, two for each pillow.
Next, I googled free printable sea creatures and found a perfect starfish and an acceptable seahorse. I printed them and cut them out.DSC00117
Then, I gathered a foam brush, some white latex paint, Mod Podge, Gel Medium, and a paper plate. DSC00116
You see, I decided I could just paint the back side of the starfish shape and “stamp” the shape onto the fabric. I placed the fabric inside an embroidery hoop to hold it in place. It worked fine, but I omitted that step on the second print, and it worked just as well. I mixed a bit of Gel Medium and a bit of water to thin the paint so that it would not be stiff when it dried.
DSC00119
I filled in some of the lighter areas with my foam brush and left them to dry overnight.
The next morning, Satisfied with the way they looked, I put up my trusty old sewing machine that I “don’t sew” with, and wouldn’t you know it, I had to thread the bobbin because white thread stitches on navy would not be pretty glare at me. I did it! Yep, we non-sewers celebrate the little things! I placed the painted side of the fabric facing up and placed the unpainted back panel on top of it, right sides together.DSC00122
I sewed around three sides and just a little into the fourth side. I left it mostly open so that I could stuff it.
DSC00123
After sewing and stuffing both pillows, I came to the hardest part of this project; getting a wiggly piece of thread through a microscopic hole in a needle. Seriously, folks. Why?! There has to be an easier way. But since I needed to hand stitch the bottom after stuffing, I had to do it. I used a blind hem stitch to finish it who am I kidding? You would have to be blind not to see those stitches, but since it was the bottom of the pillow, who cares, right?
I couldn’t wait to see how they would look in the camping trailer, so I took them right down.
DSC00126DSC00128
I know some of you detail oriented people are dying to ask, “Are they washable with the paint on them?” Hmmm. I’d say probably not no. But, again, who cares? Do you really ever wash your pillows? Heck, no. That’s why they call them throw pillows. When they get dirty, you throw them away.

If you are really crafty, go ahead and try the screen print from the blog I mentioned earlier, but if you want the look without the work and the wait, just do this. I kind of like them.