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Monday, August 21, 2017

I Am...

I recently did a fun creative project.  An activity in one of my groups was to make something with personal affirmations... it could be a journal page, a letter to our self, a collage... whatever.

I made a mixed media piece.

The bubbles (circles) are watercolor backgrounds that I cut circles from.  From there, I considered for several days on who and what I really am.

What I know... not what other people think or judge.

It was a good exercise...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Flannel Plant

We have an opportunist growing in our upper driveway...

It has a beautiful flower and the leaves are soft and fuzzy.

There as SO many buds waiting to open.

The bees are really enjoying it too.

It's leaves are huge... up to 16 inches long!

Isn't it interesting how they are ruffled where they connect to the stem?

Did I mention it is BIG?  Himself is 6 feet tall.

It is a Common Mullein, also known at the Flannel Plant.

Here's what Wiki has to say about it:

"Verbascum thapsus (great mullein or common mullein) is a species of mullein native to Europe, northern Africa, and Asia, and introduced in the Americas and Australia.

It is a hairy biennial plant that can grow to 2 m tall or more. Its small, yellow flowers are densely grouped on a tall stem, which grows from a large rosette of leaves.

It grows in a wide variety of habitats, but prefers well-lit, disturbed soils, where it can appear soon after the ground receives light, from long-lived seeds that persist in the soil seed bank. It is a common weedy plant that spreads by prolifically producing seeds, but it rarely becomes aggressively invasive, since its seeds require open ground to germinate. It is a very minor problem for most agricultural crops, since it is not a very competitive species, being intolerant of shade from other plants and unable to survive tilling. It also hosts many insects, some of which can be harmful to other plants. Although individuals are easy to remove by hand, populations are difficult to eliminate permanently.

It is widely used for herbal remedies, with well-established emollient and astringent properties. Mullein remedies are especially recommended for coughs and related problems, but also used in topical applications against a variety of skin problems. The plant has also been used to make dyes and torches."

It's been fun watching it grow.  We noticed the other day that a neighbor has one in his yard and is letting it grow too.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cheesy Egg Bake

Here is a great recipe I tried from All Recipes dot com.

Cheesy Egg Bake
1 tablespoon butter, melted
12 eggs, beaten
1 pound shredded pepperjack cheese
1 (16 ounce) container cottage cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a 9x13 inch baking dish with the melted butter.

Whisk together the eggs, pepperjack cheese, cottage cheese, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until eggs are completely set, about 1 hour.

(NOTE:  I cut this recipe in half and baked in an 8x8 pan.  Delicious but in both of our opinions, it needs some texture.  I'm thinking some artichoke hearts next time... )

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer Wild Flowers

The wild flowers have been just lovely in Tennessee this summer.

Rose Mallow (in the hibiscus family)

Cone Flowers


OK... not a flower.  But isn't it pretty?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me!

One month ago I turned 55.

Himself made me chocolate cupcakes and surprised me with this that morning.

My present to me was being healthier for my 55th birthday than I was for my 50th.  Those are a pair of pants I wore back then...

GO me!!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Movie Date

Towns all over the US are revitalizing their vintage movie theaters and using them once again to show movies.

Some show vintage movies (like Casa Blanca or Gone With The Wind).  Some play foreign films (like The Music of Strangers or Our Little Sister).  Other have 'modern classics' (such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind or Saving Private Ryan).  And there are ones with family movies (such as National Velvet or Toy Story).

Many do a mix of genres.

The Roxy is doing a mix modern classics and family, alternating every other Sunday.

It's a great old theater and is also used for stage productions.

Team Red, White, & Blue took a block of tickets for one of the family showings.

Waiting for the show to start.  We were right at the end of our Whole30 program... so no refreshments for us.  Smelling that hot buttered popcorn was killer.  Box candy, popcorn, and sodas are all $1 each.

While I couldn't have any sweets... I had my Sweetie.  That was more than good enough!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Just a quick update on how "The Worm Guys" are doing...

 That would be VERY well.  See what I'm pointing at?  That is a teeny baby worm.  There is a ton of them!  Supposedly if the worms are not happy, there won't be babies.

They must be ecstatic!

(Oh... there is plenty of 'worm dirt' too...)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Making "Junk" Journals

One of my new projects is learning how to make journals and bound books.  It is a lot of fun and something that you can keep increasing your skill level as you make different kinds.

This is my first.  It is the most simple binding, called 'twine binding".  You just loop twine around as many times as needed to hold your page signatures.

Obviously this one is a travel journal.

The 'junk' part comes in with what you use to make the page signatures.

Leftover scrapbook papers...

... paper bags and magazine pages...

...leftover embellishments and old letters.

Whatever you have at hand!

When I fill it, I'll show you how it turned out.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Taste of Scotland

  Getting back to doing my recipes from a different country each month.  Since July was 'my' month... the recipes are all Scottish!

For my meal I start with a appetizer of Scotch Eggs.

I'll have to work on getting a consistent and thin layer of sausage around the egg so it cooks evenly and quickly.

These were everywhere in Scotland.  You can even buy them pre-made.

This is the Scotch Egg I got at Smoo Cave Hotel in Durness, Scotland.  The egg is SOFT boiled.  Absolutely brilliant and I'm still trying to figure out how she did it.

Next course is Tomato and Basil Soup.

We've had an abundance of tomatoes AND basil.  This recipe is a perfect way to use them.

It is a thin soup, just right for sipping out of a cup.

It is delicious!

It is very much like the tomato soup we had at The Harbour, a restaurant on the southern part of Skye island.

Our entree is Finkadella...a beef meatball.  

Served as a main course soup.

Served as a meat selection with a gravy made from the broth.

The vegetable course has an even more fun name... Rumbledethumps!

Potatoes and cabbage with melted cheddar... Scottish comfort food, for sure!

And dessert was the light and delicious Cranachan.

Again from The Harbour restaurant on Skye, a raspberry cranachan.

Ahhhh.... wonderful memories....

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Hello!  I'm back from my summer 'stay-cation'.  It felt kind of weird not writing for 6 weeks, but kind of good too.  Having my computer in the shop for a month enforced the break.  

(Note... I was having issues with my laptop freezing up on me or just flat out shutting down.  Ended up being that is was "all clogged up" - ie filthy dusty inside.  Ugh.  And I surface clean it regularly!  I suggest you take your computer into the shop and have it cleaned professionally every year.  I could have lost everything because of that.)

I used my time to do things I wanted to do, like finally... finally getting my creative studio a KonMari purge.  Yes, that's right - it is completely sorted and organized.  ALL storage boxes have been gone thru.  It is amazing!!

With everything so well put away, I decided to finish the deal.  So this month I am decorating the room.  You don't get to see it until I'm done making it pretty!  😄

Other projects have been cooking up a lot of new recipes and doing creative projects both for myself and to swap.  And of course I'll be blogging all about it!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Look At The Sky: August

Of course the BIG story in August is the total solar eclipse across a portion of the US.  But there are other interesting things going on in the sky besides that!

The Planets for August:
Mercury - Mercury remains hidden by the sun for us, in daylight skies - in LEO

Venus - our brightest planet will not be easy to spot at any time in August, hovering nearly stationary against the eastern morning sky, getting neither higher or lower as the month progresses, but becoming more embedded in twilight toward late month.   - in GEMINI

Mars - Now rapidly increasing its distance from Earth, Mars continues to be hidden in solar glare and will not be viewable for the next couple of months - in CANCER

Jupiter - Now sinking closer to the western horizon each evening during twilight, you can cross Jupiter off of your observing lists until Fall when it will reappear in early morning dawn skies.  It is very low in evening twilight western skies and quite close to the bright star SPICA - in VIRGO

Saturn - Now setting right about midnight local time, the ringed planet is still going to be an easy target and favorite for star parties and neighborhood outings.  This star party favorite will be directly overhead just as evening dusk disappears into darkness.   Note Saturn's yellow color, and the interesting aspect of it not lurking in one of the "Zodiacal Constellations", but far outside the original band of the 12 original Zodiac constellations - in OPHIUCHUS

Uranus - distant planet Uranus rises about 11 p.m. local time and is south of overhead by dawn's fist light.  It shines at magnitude 5.9, bright enough to spot in good binoculars if one knows where to look; use a good planetarium sky program or GO TO telescope to locate this distant world; by sunrise it is high in dark skies and will show a faint, blue disk in large telescopes - in PISCES

Neptune - look for faint Neptune in large telescopes at midmonth south of overhead about 3 a.m. local time.(mag. 7.6); it will be due north (higher) that bright Fomalhaut in southern skies all month, thereby making it a bit easier to spot this distant world. - in AQUARIUS

METEOR SHOWERS for August  2017:

Observe when the moon does not interfere and attempt to observe AFTER midnight for most meteors to be seen!  For August there is, of course, the famous PERSEID METEOR SHOWER, some of which provide for wonderful summer sky shows, provided that the light of the moon does not interfere.  

August 12 - This year's PERSEID meteor shower; what to expect!
Unfortunately this year's Perseid Meteor shower will find a rather large waxing gibbous moon in the sky pretty much all night long (the moon is full on August 7)  The radiant for the Perseids is in the very high northeastern sky and rises well into the night and pretty much opposite the light of the gibbous moon, so some observing might be rewarding; the moon will rise about 11 p.m. providing darker skies and fainter meteors to be seen ONLY in early evening skies.  Nonetheless, there are dozens of huge brilliant and spectacular fireballs that are typically seen from the Perseids, so these can be seen in spite of any lights in the sky.

And YES....there are other meteor showers in August as well:

July 31-Aug 1 - CAPRICORNID METEORS - Actually a two day peak, July 31 and August 1, this is a reliable meteor shower and with this month's NEW MOON falling only days away, this is a very favorable year to experience any meteors from this shower.  Remnants from Comet Honda-Mrkos-Padjusakova, this is an early evening meteor shower; you should prepare to begin observing about the time the sky is completely dark, at the end of twilight, some 2 hours after sunset.   There CAN be as many as 35 meteors per hour from this erratic meteor shower and you should plan to watch until well after midnight.

August 6 - Southern Aquarid Meteors - the moon will be full, so this also is a very poor meteor shower for this month.  Emanating from near the bright star Altair (see article, above!), this is a two-part meteor shower, with this being the first, and the "Northern Aquarid Meteors" being later in the month (August 20-22).  This is a sparse meteor shower but has been known to show off a bit during some years.  Normally expect to see a scant 7-8 meteors per hour during a dark and moonless night from this shower.  The radiant will be favorably placed south of overhead about 11 p.m. local time.  Observations of BOTH the northern and southern phases of this meteor shower are badly needed 

August 20 - Kappa Cygnid Meteors - this is an excellent year with no moon in the sky for this seemingly growing meteor shower; both this shower and the Andromedid meteors occur within days of one-another, and the radiant is best placed nearly overhead for northern observers by about 2 a.m.  Although there can be many Kappa Cygnid meteors flying about, they are many times confused with the Perseids which typically have ended by August 15.  The moon is nearly full for this meteor shower this year and will be in the sky all night, positioned unfortunately very near the radiants of both these showers.

August 31 - Andromedid Meteors - In 1885 observers recorded up to 13,000 Andromedid meteors from this radiant in a one hour period (!).  This quite unpredictable meteor shower originates from debris of Biela's Comet and there are years when the Earth appears to pass directly through dense portions of the old comet cloud and some years where no meteors will be seen.  This year, the moon a bit greater than quarter and will set after midnight so observations should take place early, concentrating overhead, but with feet toward the north east horizon.