Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Linen Closet: Handkerchief for August 24, 2014

I cannot use the word "hanky" without automatically thinking "panky." Usually that idea stays in my head, but sometimes I have a leaky mouth valve. It doesn't help that I love work association games.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Magnet Monday: Wisconsin Cheese Mouse

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, August 25, 2014
"What a Cheesy Magnet", Wisconsin shaped cheese with mouse and slogan, circa 2005

The Tone-Setter. We purchased it at the Cheese Castle in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  
I don't know how to possibly extol the virtues of just how cheesy this magnet is. How do you expand on finding this at a castle that sells cheese? I mean, it really is a castle (with a turret and a drawbridge and everything!). 

Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Family Ride

When we bought our house several years ago, a selling point for us was its proximity to the Oak Leaf Trail. We love to get our bicycles out on the trail whenever we can. This section is one of our favorites. 

Milwaukee with a view. Magnifique - n'est-ce pas?!

Weekly Randomness 22 August 2014

News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims

What. Are you serious?? I have no time for frivolous shit!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tomatoes, Cheese Ball, and a Broiler: Refrigerator Roundup

Fresh, summer, dirt-grown tomatoes are a weakness. They are good for only a few weeks, and then it's another year until they are available again. I can eat them breakfast, lunch, and dinner when they are in season. 

We had some cheddar cheese ball leftovers (I know what you're thinking: how on Earth did you end up with leftover cheese ball?! It happens.). Hunks of cheese ball on thick slabs of fresh 'mater, heated under the broiler for some cheesy-tomatoey goodness. Now that, is a summer breakfast. 

These are admittedly darker than I was aiming for, but they were warm and gooey and gone in ten minutes. 

Refrigerator Roundup = Leftovers. Reinvented. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Magnet Monday: Lady Liberty

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, August 18, 2014
"New York", Statue of Liberty, circa 2000

This is the magnet that started it all. A gift from my dearest friend on the occasion of her wedding in 2000. One of the goodies in one of the best goodie gift bags ever.  XXOO KnM (You know who you are. At least I hope so.)

Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekly Randomness 15 August 2014

This Week's Randomness - 15 August 2014

News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mondrian-Style Blanket

I have a bad habit of starting a yarn project, getting partially done, deciding I don't care for it, and frogging* it. My husband is amazed at how many different things I can make with the same yarn... I tell him this way I never have to buy more yarn. But... it also means I rarely finish something. 

I don't like to admit it, but I can be a real stinker when it comes to finishing a project. Once I know how it will turn out, I find it less compelling, and if I don't like what it's shaping into, I'm even less interested. I have this trouble with books and movies too. It's one reason I dislike seeing movies of books I've read (unless it's been awhile), and I never read the last chapter first. 

I started this blanket the second winter in our current house, almost five years ago. It was a struggle. Mostly I fought with carrying the different colors. I admire color-work, but it's too fussy for me. I wanted the blanket to be viewable from both sides; carrying yarn along on one side was not possible. And the endlessly repetitive single crochet was, well, endlessly repetitive (but I repeat myself...). The yarn and partially crocheted portion sat in a large multi-colored lump in the corner for three years. I ignored it and made other things. Socks. Sweaters. I'm pretty sure the lump was mocking me. I ignored it some more. 

And then, I thought: I will not be brought to heel by the mocking lump. I decided not to allow myself to start any new project until I finished or disposed of this, or any other, existing WIPs. This blanket was first on the list (mostly because of the size of the lump. And the mocking). I devised a mostly acceptable, not too annoying, method for trailing along several separate balls of color (full disclosure: I confess to several bouts of whining). But: it is done. At last. And it is good. And the peasants rejoiced. 

I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease and adapted the colors to suit our living room. The Mondrian Blanket pattern is available free from Lion Brand, but you have to register/log-in to get it. I like how the colors interact, and I imagine you could substitute other color sets with equally good results.  

*rip-it, rip-it, rip-it (get it?)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Rescuing Rudyard

Can anyone tell me what this is? I'll give you a hint: it's not animal or mineral. 

About fifteen years ago, a dear friend decided I needed a plant. What she really meant was "my plant is too large so I will pass some of this growth burden onto you." 

She gave me Rudyard, a potted cutting from her philodendron Kipling. Lo and behold, Rudyard is still with us. But...

Rudyard had some, er, issues. My husband suggested several times to toss "it." I can't toss "it". "It" is Rudyard. How can you throw out a plant with a name and a pedigree?!

A trip to the barber is what Rudyard needed: let's give Rudyard a haircut. 

I don't know if Rudyard is the only Kipling scion still surviving, but having the same plant for ten-plus years is a good track record for me. For plants to survive in my hands, they need to enjoy - nay, thrive on neglect. Oddly enough, cacti and succulents work well for me (and even bloom!). 

Getting back to Rudyard. Immediately after the haircut and replanting, looking much renewed. If you haven't already guessed it, that mess in the first picture was what I trimmed from Rudyard. 

Rudyard. Rescued. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Weekly Randomness 8 August 2014

This Week's Randomness - 8 August 2014

News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

  • Biomedical science industry is highly competitive, but generally forgiving of honest mistakes owned up to and corrected. Sad sad times.
  • It's about time
  • Milwaukee is "biophilic" - who knew?!  ( I do rather like living in a "world-class laboratory of hope")

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Flock of Blue-cans on My Table

We inherited many strange and wondrous objects when my parents downsized their home last year. I recognized most. The arcane chemistry pieces: my maternal grandfather. The lacy aprons: my maternal grandmother. The wooden policeman whirligig: no idea. The original vibrating hand massager: I don't even want to think about it. 

I remember canning a lot of tomatoes when I was a kid, 40 years ago now. Late summer in my grandmother's kitchen, the one my mom & aunt grew up in, I would watch them can quarts and quarts of stewed tomatoes. I wasn't actually a fan, but it was family girl bonding. And afterward there would be ice cream. 

I don't recall them ever using any of these jars. Stored in the root cellar at my parents' house, now in mine. I'm totally hooked by the different shades of blue. My husband found dating schemes for the Ball jars online (some apparently dating back 100+ years), a few older Kerrs. 

Some other brands I'd never heard of: 

Can you see the bubbles in the glass of these Atlas jars? I am completely geeked out by that. 



Another style of Atlas, possibly not as old as the blue ones, and a Presto. 

Jumbo Peanut Butter. Not a canning jar, and not as old, but still fun. My mom's family are the thrifty type, saving anything that could possibly be used (did you see the set of jelly jar drinking glasses on the right side in first photo?). 

I don't really know that much about them other than they are old, I like them, they are old, I want to continue using them in some way, and they are old. I don't trust any of them to withstand the heat of a water canner. Too pretty to risk. Possibly for decoration or lighting, or fridge pickles, or dry goods, or... ideas?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Savory Clafoutis

I don't know if there is such a thing as a savory tooth. There should be. Even as a child I preferred cheese to pie, didn't much care for chocolate, and never ate all the candy I got at holidays. That was before I knew cheese was a perfectly acceptable "dessert", before I met dark chocolate, and the reason why I never got cavities. 

This recipe is a take on the Cherry Tomato Clafoutis by Marc Matsumoto (Fresh Tastes blog on I totally understand his curiosity in transforming a sweet into a savory. I'm still working on savory meringues, but that's a toughie since it's the sugar that provides so much of the structure. Anyhoo, being summertime in Wisconsin, tomatoes are in season. The cherry mater plants on our patio are really producing now, and his recipe seemed just the thing. 

Savory Clafoutis 
Adapted from Cherry Tomato Clafoutis, Marc Matsumoto, Fresh Tastes blog on

4 eggs
3/4 cup half and half
1 oz flour (I used my own gluten-free flour blend)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tblsp minced basil (we're growing Boxwood Basil this year; kinda lemon/spicey)
2 cups-ish vegetables (cherry tomatoes from the patio)
1 1/2 oz grated cheese (mixed cheddar/jack, because that's what I have)
1/2 oz parmesan, grated
Butter/grease for the pan (we often save bacon or goose grease to cook with)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Grease an 8-9 in pie or cake pan. 
  2. Whisk eggs and half and half. Whisk in flour, making sure there are no lumps. Whisk in thyme, salt, and pesto. 
  3. Pour egg mixture into greased pan. Drop in the vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes (don't overbake or it will be dry; like a roast, pull it out just before it's done, and it will continue cooking while it rests). 
  4. Rest the clafoutis for 10 minutes before slicing. 

We had ours for brunch. It shared plates with a Stone Fruit Crisp. But that's another story. 

And afterward...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pretty Porch Plantings Provide Pleasing Picture



We dress up our part-shade front porch with several container gardens each year. I spend weeks thinking about the right color combinations. And then... we go to the candy store (a.k.a. nursery)... and my plans get abandoned like last week's weeds. So many plants and colors and possibilities and too many ideas, it overwhelms my senses and we come home with something completely different. 

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The goods. Small but beautiful and so, so healthy. 

We've used the matched pair of blue ceramic pots for a few years and recently inherited the three others from downsizing family. The colors coordinate well, and being glazed ceramic, they don't dry out too quickly. 

Just planted. And apparently just watered. 

Two months later, and all growed' up. Couldn't be happier! 

What luck with your container gardens?