Puzzles – a way to relax

puzzle_01

Back in 2015 I was given a not so great health news. Part of the cause could be from extra stress. With my health problems, and those of my parents it’s been a rough couple of years.

I decided that I needed to expand my puzzle collection from 1 to a few more. I reached out to the good people of Freecycle and got a couple of responses. Two women had some puzzles they wanted to get off their hands. After collecting these I realized I needed to get a bit more organized. We happened to have 2 bookshelves that weren’t really getting used, so I re-purposed them for games and puzzles.

I have completed a few of the puzzles so far, which is why I have a the before/after style photo above. I have even added a few. My brother’s kids were over last summer (2016) and while looking for games found my puzzles and had their parents get me a couple more for my birthday. I have also picked up a couple at the store. Of course being a glass half empty person I feel like I’m almost out and keep contemplating if asking on Freecycle again is a good idea.

After I did some of the puzzles on a card table in our new cat’s room. (Yes she has a room, the cats don’t like each other, so Pumpkin has a safe place to go.) I decided to work on a really large puzzle that needed to be done on the kitchen table. After that it’s where I’ve been working on all my puzzles, and taking a photo of them upon completion. I use a super cheap clear table topper to keep everything protected when I’m not working on the puzzle, and since it’s clear I still see it and be reminded to work on it.

Here is my collection of completed puzzles that I have documented so far. Once I finish they are either donated or given to a co-worker who said they would be something fun for the winter. The latest one I did I think is a keeper though, so maybe I won’t be emptying my shelves after all.

What you can use old news (newspapers) for

This might be something that is ongoing.

Right now my uses of newspaper is a super list of 2 things I use old newspaper/ads for while crafting and gardening.

newspaper in garden1. You may have seen the use of it in my garden. I’m not sure how well the inks mix with dirt, but I’m hoping it’s not too bad and won’t cause more problems than the GMOs I inadvertently ingest.

2. Keeping old newspapers around for crafting is always good. With all intentions of not getting glues everywhere I’m just not successful. So I now coat everything with newspaper and spill away. I’m sure it would be great while painting and such as well, really any art project. Who am I kidding you probably have a stack higher than mine of papers ready to be spilled on.

3. Blocking a bee hive that is in an old swing set. As much as I don’t want to, they keep attacking my husband when he tries to mow.  If only there was a good way to communicate with bees that we don’t want to hurt them, just mow around their house.

Anyway, someday I may start adding photos and make this much more exciting to look at. I am trying to do more crafts. But I ran into a snag with my last project when I gave it as a gift before I took a photo. So I took the process of making it and then nothing at the end. :/

I’ll get a hang of this blogging thing someday.

The Vanishing Act

Since October I have been laying off a lot of things I used to do. I am now over a month behind on TV, tonight I am hoping to watch the sudden series finale of Leverage from Dec. 25th. Even cooking and crafting have taken a backseat recently.

I think I tried to take on a bit too much the last few months. Trying to build a photography business, an Etsy crafting shop, read my magazines (which I’m finally up to August issues), read a book (I’ve been reading Dracula since October), and blog about my doings, all while while working full time. This really hasn’t worked out as I had high hopes for last year.

And then there’s the cookbook. I have been typing up recipes from my Taste of Home and Healthy Cooking magazines. Even though it takes a while it really helps with typing skills.

So with the new year well on it’s way, I hope to be better about posting my goings ons. And hopefully get to cooking and crafting again!

Life just keeps happening!

As by the title I’m sure you know what’s coming. My ever present apologies for not posting anything. To my very few followers. I have given thought and remembered that a while back (June/Julyish) I was taking pictures like crazy of all the food I was making. Those photos were then put in a folder on a computer. Which one is something I will have to figure out, and what folder as well.

After I find those pictures I hope to get a couple of recipes up. One is for cheesecake! To go with the crust I put up a long time ago. The weather in this part of the country got super hot and dry. So for a couple months baking was a bit out of the question. Anyway posting more is on my ever expanding to do list.

On the photography front, it’s been going better. I’ve had a couple of sessions, which is partially why I’m so behind on here. Now I can only pray for a few referrals, I’ve already started my shopping list. First up is the next lens I want (Canon 24-70 f/2.8), the new one that’s not even out yet.

Yet Again…

For anyone who has noticed or cares that I have not dropped off the face of the earth, I figured I should let you know that I am still on the earth. I have lots of pictures of food on my camera cards ready to start letting you know about more awesome food to make. But between the full time day job and the extras that come with it and as you know all of my ambitious plans for things I just haven’t sat down at a computer unless it’s for work.

If you don’t know in this area of the country we host a little thing called the College World Series, it’s more the biggest event of the year around here. Well I got roped into helping since the boss decided to create a new magazine about being a fan of the CWS. So I spent my weekend sifting through photos, some were pretty darn good (not mine) we had other photographers who have much more experience and equipment. Anyway that was just the last weekend.

Before that was just a little of everything. I’m really trying to do more photography, even if it’s just for practice. I’m still trying to hold out hope for some actual clients. Even one a month would be a great help.

Anyway a lot of the way up ahead and so far I haven’t actually finished much of anything. Just the wedding so far is now done. I know it’s only Wednesday, but so far most of my Saturday isn’t full. So there may be some time to catch up on a few things.

I hope in the next month or so to get my posts up and you’ll have some new recipes. As for crafts, well right now that’s being reserved for another magazine I work on.

BBQ Chicken Pizza from scratch

My lofty goals of the weekend weren’t all met, but I did get a couple of things accomplished. I got through the formals from the wedding. Now it should be pretty smooth sailing.I made pizza yesterday. Completely from scratch too. So if you’re brave and want to make pizza starting with the dough this recipe is for you! I also baked it on an off brand stone which is fun, just because it’s different.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

The Dough

There’s an awesome cookbook called ‘Dining on a Dime’ where I found a recipe for pizza dough. I might be a little odd, but I add spices to the dough instead of to the sauce. I find it adds a lot of flavor to pizza.

1 c warm water (120°)
1 pkg or 1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 ½-3 c flour
The Optional Spices
2 tsp
garlic (chopped fresh if you’re brave)
1 tsp basil, thyme, oregano, paprika, Jamaican jerk, parsley, fresh ground pepper, or whatever else you would like to add.

Dissolve yeast in a bowl with arm water. Add sugar, salt and oil and spices as desired. Mix well. Gradually add flour to form a stiff dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth. Place in greased bowl. Turn dough over so as to grease both sides in the bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Makes 2 medium pizzas or one large.

The Topping

The cheese is something you can choose whatever you have on hand or you think would taste good. For this round I used some Chipotle cheddar, mozzarella, and feta. I also shred the cheese myself because there are a few less ingredients added. Better for you and still tastes great.

1 small can tomato paste
500 g chicken (or about 2 breast halves)
1 Tbsp BBQ sauce (whatever’s your fav)
1-2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/3 c red onion
1 tsp chipotle cheddar
¼ c green onion
50 g chipotle cheddar
50 g mozzarella
¼ c feta crumbled

Once the dough has risen roll it out on your stone or pan, just make sure it’s oven safe (oh and I would put some olive oil down to help it spread. And I just learned that putting a little cornstarch down too to make a more crispy crust). Heat the oven to 400°. While the oven is heating put the crust in for 5 minutes. Once that’s done take it out and put the pan on a hot plate or wire rack. Now put on your tomato paste/sauce and BBQ sauce, make sure to spread it to the edges. Next place everything else on and cover the whole pizza. Once this is done put the pan back in the oven and bake for another 20 minute or until chicken is cooked and the cheese is melted.

There you have it…Some awesome BBQ Chicken pizza made from scratch!

Still Going

Well it’s taking me a while to get through the wedding photos. I’m taking my time trying to make sure each picture looks awesome, but I’m doing this while watching TV. Needless to say I am farther along on my TV watching than on the photos.

This weekend I have set myself some lofty goals. Most of these goals involve food! So hoping that means a few new recipes will be posted here so you can enjoy my food. Well it’s not completely mine, but I have trouble following recipes, so they are (sometimes heavily) altered versions of what I have found either on Pintrest (great source for quick dinner ideas), in Taste of Home or just around the blogging world.

My other goal this weekend is to get those wedding photos done. The formals are just holding me up.. We weren’t able to have as much fun with them as I had hoped so I think that’s why I’m just not moving through them faster. Then there’s a photo book I want to make of my honeymoon from almost 3 years ago. We went to Jamaica and I never really went through all of the photos. That should be really exciting to see what I did get and finally have an album of sorts of it. (Those lovely coupons are the only time I can afford those darn books).

My other lofty goal is to get the calendar done for Julie, and get a journal/sketchbook made to list on Etsy. I’ve been falling behind on that kind of thing and need to try and get back to it.

Not sure if there is enough time this weekend to finish everything. I normally end up sleeping through most of my days off and get next to nothing accomplished. If all goes well though there should be some posts with photos again!

Flying Time

I’m sorry I haven’t really written much lately. I haven’t been doing much crafting or cooking. I’ve been doing a little photography and a lot of reading.

This weekend will be something exciting though. I will be the main photographer at my sister-in-laws wedding. We are really hoping for no rain Friday or Saturday. I will also be doing family photos for my husbands’ aunt and her family on Friday..As of today, expecting rain of course! I even bought a 32GB card just for this occasion of the wedding. I’m hoping between that and a 16GB I should have plenty of space to take photos all day.

After everything is done I hope to get back to crafts. I have a bracelet all laid out to be strung, I think that will be my next task. Maybe working on my cross stitch again (see previous post). That will be one of those 5 years in the making projects.

As for reading I am working on 3 books right now, I think that’s my limit of number of books at once. I’m working on The Frozen Pirate, it’s a classic, I think supposed to be a thriller, but 1800’s scary isn’t all that riveting. Then there’s Memnoch the Devil, the final Vampire Chronicle! Finally, I honestly just want to say I’ve read it, and then I seem to understand more references the more I read. Finally is Disclosure (Michael Crichton). This one is almost funny with how much technology has changed since the mid ’90s. I haven’t gotten too far, but it’s a Crichton book so I have no worries that it will be good. If you’re super curious on my progress check out my Good Reads.

I hope to get back to posting, with photos, soon. Maybe even try out a new recipe. I’ve been working on typing up a whole bunch of them, which actually takes a lot of time. And I got this crazy thought that I want to put all like recipes together i.e. all soups together in the main dishes. Only flaw in that is that I’m always going to be finding new recipes and so the pages will be changing all the time.

Anyway enough of my babbling. Just wanted to post yet another update on what’s going on.

Chairs

I can’t believe I am forgetting about something I’m about to embark on. It involves my new dining room chairs.

These chairs aren’t actually new. I have recently acquired my great-grandmother’s dining room table and chairs from a different table. These chairs will need to be stained a little darker to match and they surely need to be recovered. That’s when the fun starts. Picking a new fabric and color. They also need padding, BAD.

If anyone has reupholstered and put padding on an old wood chair a few tips of the trade would be appreciated! I will be documenting the results once I figure out how I will be going about this little venture.

Cross stitch-not just an old lady craft

Angel progressI’ve been doing counted cross stitch for years. In the last few years I’ve done a couple of pretty big cross stitches. I think that I got tired of doing them for a while. I have been working on this one for at least a year now since I have so many other projects I have started.

I find cross stitch to be fairly relaxing even though I am made fun of for doing an “old lady” craft. It may not be the most exciting thing, but I think people like the finished products. I hope this will be done eventually I think I have a Winnie the Pooh up next.

I will be balancing this with my other projects and cooking. I hope to be making some yummy bars either tomorrow or this weekend. If my camera decides to tag along I hope to have a new recipe up, as long as it tastes good.

10/1/12 update: This cross stitch, months later is still about the same amount completed. I have tried in the last week or so to do one line when I sit down. Eventually this will get done. I have a pile of kits just waiting to be worked on. I have this lofty goal of getting organized with all my crafting stuff. Right now I have 3 different brands/models of drawer systems going so nothing really fits well together. I am hoping once I figure out all the crafts and supplies I have I can get it all sorted and organized and maybe I will have more motivation to finish a project once in a while.

Maybe someday I’ll have to take a vacation day from the full time job and just work on crafts all day. That sounds like something fun don’t you think?