Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Homemade Chicken Soup

My Mom was a terrible cook. But one of the few rare things she made that I loved was her chicken soup. You might wonder why I would make a post about making homemade chicken soup when there is a zillion recipes and how to on the Internet. I am writing this because I recently saw a post on Facebook where the gal was so proud that she was making "homemade chicken soup" and show a picture of Swanson's chicken broth and she added chopped celery and carrots. Cal me a snob, but you need a chicken to make chicken soup.
So here's mine.
Start with a large pot, filled with filtered or bottled water.

To it, add a ....what else ...chicken


Be sure to rinse off the chicken and remove that bag of yuk from the cavity.
Then add chopped celery, onions, garlic, carrots, tomatos and parsley.


I bring the whole mess to a boil and let it simmer for 2 - 4 hours (depending on what else I might be doing. And this is where I differ from Mom and everyone else. I strain all the liquid out and cool off the chicken (which is falling apart at this point) and let it all cool off. I put the cleaned off pieces of chicken and some of the vegetable in a blender. I try hard to make it a crumbly consistency but usually I go to far and it ends up a paste. Dump it all back in the broth and stir, smashing the clumps against the side of the pot.
I freeze it in Food Saver bags, just enough for 2 servings. (I usually get about 6 packages). Its easy enough to put the frozen broth in a pot while I make some small pasta, noodles or rice to add to it.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Boxtops

I have been collecting Boxtops for Education and Labels for Education since my grandchildren were in grammar school. One is now in middle school and the other is in high school but I still cut the labels out and save them. I need someone to give them to, is it you? The first person to send me an email requesting them is it.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

It was a good idea at the time

I've have been looking for a good set of numbers that I could use for a quilt, for a long time. I was so thrilled when I found these,  that I started making quilt blocks right away. My idea was to show a few numbers in various colors and fabric styles and let the buyers tell me what numbers they want, in what color and what style. They are 6 inch blocks and I would sell them for $1. each. They would be great for a baby's quilt, or an anniversary quilt, a graduation quilt or any special occasion you might be commemorating.  But then it occurred to me that I would have to pay 20 cents for each individual number. Oh no, no, no, that's not going to work.


I'm still trying to figure out how to promote/sell these numbers in Batiks, 1930's repro or conversational brights and in different colors. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

12

The 12th annual Disney family vacation at the Grand Floridian Resort, thank you Disney Vacation Club.




Friday, August 5, 2016

Party Dresses

I have made many of these in the past, I had called them Dolly Dresses. But I wasn't really happy with the pattern so I redesigned it, streamlined it, if you will and now call them Party Dresses.




I had an idea to make them using holiday prints, 9 all together in Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines, St. Patrick's, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween and rounding out the 9 with an autumn and summer print. I don't know if this I a good idea or bad, so I will await any comment on the topic.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Donations Quilts

It was quite a while ago that I was making quilts for Quilts for Kids. A great organization with a large following. When you sign up they will send you fabric and instructions to make a quilt for a child. You make the complete quilt, start to finish and send it to them. I have gotten to a point where I like to make the blocks and don't mind putting them together, but that's as far as I like to go. I dislike machine quilting and I am not very good at it.
I have discovered Stash Builder Box Heart Builders. They are currently making quilts for abused and neglected children entering crisis and foster care. They will send you some fabric and you can make whatever top you wish to create. You send them the top back and it goes on to a long arm quilter for completion. That's just the way I like it. Here is my first top.....


Friday, July 29, 2016

Have an online shop? Want some free promotion? No questionnaires to fill out, no price to pay. Add your link or make a submission.

http://sweetlittlegem.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My name is Barbara and I am a Scrapaholic

Yup, I love scrappy. You just cant go wrong. Everything goes with everything. You never have to worry about running out of a certain fabric. Even the smallest of pieces can be used. If you decide to use one color, you can use lots and lots of different pieces of that one color.
I finished my latest charity top. I used pink, orange and yellow. I'm thinking of calling it Ballerina because there are two fabrics with that theme. There are a few one of a kind pieces in it as that is all I had of that fabric. Quilters love to give me their scraps, almost as if to dare me to use it.

My only problem now is who to donate it to. I have 3 different charities and I cannot decide who to give it to.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

For a Little Girl

I'm working on another charity quilt top, this one for a little girl. My colors selection is pink, yellow and pale orange. I have 9 blocks completed and need a total of 20 to complete. It's a fairly simple pattern, so it shouldn't take much to finish it. I plan on making the same one, for a boy, in shades of pale blue, pale aqua, lime green and whatever else looks good.



As a bonus, I am sewing all the scraps together to make scrappy strips to add to my crumb blocks. I am still working on that one adding to the 6 inch blocks whenever I have a bunch of scraps. I hope to enlarge those blocks to 12 inches but it sure is slow going.





Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Phalaenopsis Orchid


My son gave me this orchid on Mothers Day 2015. It bloomed one additional time and then withered away. I was just about to throw it out, thinking it was completely dead, when...........

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dust

I live in a very tiny house built in 1956. It measures about 60' x 80' and has no attic, no basement, no garage and very little closet space. There is however, and abundance of dust. I vacuum and vacuum and still there is dust everywhere and always has been.
I have had a parade of vacuums over the years, name a brand and I probably had one. I have resisted getting a Dyson, have you seen the price? Are they crazy? But I just cannot stand the dust anymore. We broke down and got one. OMG, that thing will suck the paint off the walls if you are not careful. I went once around the house and this is what I got.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Crumb Blocks

I made these crumb blocks several months ago. You know, where you take all the little bitty pieces you hate to throw away and sew them all together. There are 16 of them and they measure 6 1/2" square. I have no idea what to do with them now.
I would like to make a quilt top for charity and I am in need of some ideas. I know I could always sash them but that is so boring and predictable. I would love to something different, scrappy and not too complicated. I am open to suggestions.




Friday, July 8, 2016

Crying Uncle

I have had it, I give up. I am sad and disappointed. My other blog Sweet Little Gems was a complete bust. In the beginning I was going to post the stupid, the ridiculous and the just plain ugly stuff I kept seeing for sale at Etsy. But there was this little voice that I have heard all my life "Be kind" "Do unto others", "Don't say anything you wouldn't want said about you", blah, blah, blah. Instead I went in the other direction, promoting cute, sweet, interesting and unique items I found. To my dismay, many of the sellers never bothered to promote themselves in fact they didn't even bother to say thank you. I Tweeted and Googled my posts all of which got me nowhere. Less and less views daily and forget about anyone submitting an item for consideration. Hours wasted on other peoples shops. I am in the process of removing posts of shops that did not bother to reply to my convos.
I will leave the blog up and running but I will only post my own items. I will consider any submissions but frankly, based on the last 8 months, I doubt anyone will bother.
Maybe I should have ignored that little voice and go back to my original idea.

Monday, June 27, 2016

It's Going Around Again

Several years ago I started a Pinterest account in an effort to promote my Etsy shop. Everything I had read at that time said that you should post something of interest and not just what you have for sale. In addition to all my Etsy shop posts I created a Disney memories pin board. I pinned this picture of my granddaughter and an explanation of what was happening.


The pin got repined over and over. It got Facebooked, Tweeted, Tumbled and blogged over and over and ended up going around the world several times.
I realize that I have probably posted this here before but I am bringing it up again because it was just posted on Tim McGraw's Facebook page. As before there are tons of comments about how wonderful these acts of kindness are, and what a wonderful man this is. But it also brought out the sickos who think this is the act of a pedofile. HE IS NOT!!! This one post led us to find out who the security guard was. His name is Freddie and we met with him and his wonderful wife a few years later. This one post has led to many other employees of the Disney Corporation adopting Freddy's actions making little girls and boys feel super special. I assure you, this is not something that the Disney Corporations trains their employees to do, but it is a suggestion.

Friday, June 24, 2016

#Hashtags

Do you Tweet? Do you tweet for fun or to promote? I find it fun but use it mostly to promote my Etsy shop. I am forever on a search to find new hashtags that will get my tweets retweeted. Not so long ago I especially liked #SSPS (shameless self promotion Sunday). Obviously, this tag was supposed to only be used on Sundays, although some gals would use it daily. On Sundays my Twitter would blow up and I would get over 600 views in my shop. I don't know why, but that tag isn't used much anymore, and doesn't get but a handful of retweets.
Nowadays, some that I use often are #craftbuzz, #etsymntt, and #etsyretwt. There are others that are only good at certain times of the day and on certain days #crafthour, #etsychaching, #handmadehourUSA.
What works for you?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Done

After much procrastination, it was raining, I had a toothache, we were binge watching a Netflix series, I had to go grocery shopping, I can finally say it's done. I twisted the blocks this way and that trying to determine which way looked best, I could have spent another whole week deciding. But I've got some new fabric in some exciting colors I want to cut up. I was never fond of the chocolate and teal combo, even when it was the craze.




Friday, June 17, 2016


I totally ripped this off Facebook, but it is exactly how I feel about so many posts on Facebook.





Thursday, June 16, 2016

Blog Stats Update

As I mentioned back in January, I started another blog, Sweet Little Gems, a blog to promote Etsy sellers, (although I am not opposed to other selling venues). To date, there has been 229 posts of some interesting, some seriously cute items. There has been 18, 829 views, but only 41 comments. Despite promoting the heck out of it I only have 5 Google followers. Submissions remain rare, and thank yous happen only part of the time. It may have something to do with a language barrier or perhaps the time difference....but I am grasping at straws.
I am not ready to give up just yet, but I am thinking of going in another direction. As my mother used to say, We shall see.






Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Well, Duh!

I had planned to write extensive instructions on how to make a Block Party block. I thought about it, wrote instructions, deleted them then re-wrote it. I admit I am not that great at writing anything especially what's rattling around in my head. And then I saw a blog (wish I could remember who's blog it was) where she said nothing, just pictures. I have been reminded several times in the past few weeks to "SHUT UP BARBARA". I will take the hint and just show pictures.









1 down 19 to go.







Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Two Cents Worth

You could say you'll donate blood for the victims. You could say you'll donate money for medical bills and funeral costs. You could say you'll pray and start a prayer chain for the victims. You can say you'll bake cookies for the police. There are so many things you could say and do.
So why do so many celebrities say "I dedicate this next song to the victims" or "I stand with Orlando"? Exactly what do those empty words mean?

Next.....

I have a computer quilt design program, but frankly it's quicker to draw this out by hand than on my computer. So here is the quilt block pattern, as it was given to me so many years ago.



Yes, it is pretty simplistic and straightforward. As I mentioned previously, 4 blocks across by 5 blocks down is a good size for a child's quilt. Having already cut 80 of A, B and C pieces, the next step is to sew all the A pieces to the C pieces for a total of 80 A-C units.




I'm sure you can figure this out for yourself, but I'll be back again soon with the next step.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Beginning All Over Again.


It's been a while since I've made any quilts/quilt tops for charity and I have been feeling kind of guilty about it. I have found a new charity to make tops for and I am very excited about joining this online group. I'll tell you all about them at a later date.
In the meantime, I'll tell you about the pattern. Somewhere around 2001, someone on a message board I was a member of, posted a pattern for a block she called Block Party. I could not make heads or tails out of her pattern (the pieces just did not fit) so my then dear friend Anne, drew it out (with several corrections) and sent it to me.
This pattern is a great way to use up scraps and can be made in any size quilt you wish. The block measures 10 inches finished and I like to set the blocks 4 across by 5 down. It's a perfect child size quilt. If you wish to use 3 colors here is the fabric requirements, you will need to cut 80 of each size piece:

Piece A ... 3 1/2"x3 1/2" ...7/8 yard
Piece B ... 2 1/2"x5 1/2" ...1 yard
Piece C ... 2 1/2"x3 1/2" ...5/8 yard

Come back again for the block layout and progress (if any) on my quilt top.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Etsy Promo Forum Rant

Everyone is always looking for a free and easy way to promote their Etsy Shop, me included. I hadn't posted in the Etsy Promo Forums in a while but thought it might be a productive way to kill some time. A good percentage of the topics are pretty general, with an anything goes attitude. Promote Here, Ready to Ship or Ships to anywhere are rather comment subjects. Because they are so general, I don't post in them, in fact I never even look at them. I tend to post and look at threads with a more specific topics. I couldn't find many that fit anything I wanted to promote, so I created some of my own. Surprise, surprise, no one posted on them. When I did find a rare few that I could post on I found:

1.   If the topic is Pink, some people will post anything even if its blue.
2.   Jewelry topics will get a lot of scarves posted.
3.   Scarf topics will get a lot of jewelry posted.
4.   Jewelry, in fact gets posted on every thread regardless of the topic.
5.   No one knows what Rustic means.
6.   For that matter no one knows what Wedding, Winter, Snow, Sun, Summer, Easter, St Patricks
      Day, Shamrocks or Birds are.
7.   For heavens sake, if you start a topic, how about sticking to your own subject.

I can also tell you that I am sick and tired of seeing the same items from the same sellers over and over and over and over again on every post. I do not want to see any more hula hoops, home made jelly, mens dashiki shirts, hoodies with wooden propellers on top or light fixtures made of copper pipes.

Rant over, thank you.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Blog Stats

As I have mentioned previously, I started a new blog Sweet Little Gems, back on November 18, 2015. To date I have had 3979 views of the 92 posts (one post was one of my items so I really cant count that one.) Of the remaining 91 items posted only one person never thanked me for the free promo. There have only been 6 comments total and those were to say thank you for the free promo. Only one of all those sellers posted a tweet about her posted item and not a one ever tweeted, tumbled, or promoted in any way the blog in general.
In the beginning, I was going to post the really weird, unusual and "it shouldn't be on the Internet" stuff but I thought about how I'm always being told that I should be nice....you catch more flies with honey, blah, blah, blah. So I'll continue with this endeavor for awhile (and probably will add more of my own shop promotion).

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Disney Boardwalk Resort Year 11

I think I forgot to post this picture from last September.

Have you noticed how tall Nicholas has gotten?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Take a hint

I don't understand why, after all these years, my family cannot take a hint.  Every year they ask me what I want for Christmas. I am expected to reply with I want a pink sweater, you can find it in Joe's Department Store, on the fourth floor, in the ladies department, Sku#1234, ask for Joan she knows what I want. If I have to give that much detail I might as well just go buy it myself.

But if, just before Christmas, I were to say, Gee I wish I had a pink sweater to go with this skirt, that would just go right over every one's head.

Needless to say I did not get a pink sweater, or some quilting fabric, or a Joanns gift card, or an Amopay Pedi Perfect, or a new cover for my Mini Ipad.