Monday, December 19, 2011

Musings from the Junque Pile - Loofah update

Yeaaaahhhhhh....another posting that didn't get posted when I wrote it ages ago.  Ah well...I did update it with how the loofah is doing now...

How’s it going? you?

Some of my faithful readers will remember that I had a loofah plant that was started too late in the season and it didn’t start producing baby loofah blossoms until early fall. So daHubster bless his heart, lugged in the 50 gallon container it was planted in, trellis and all.

It sits in front of the one south facing windows in the house. It needs a lot of water. It puts out a blossom or two a week. I’ve had 2 or 3 fruits set since. However, once the fruit grows to about 2-3 inches it withers and dies. Not sure why.  It could not be getting enough water. I’ve stepped up my water to every other day. The weather hasn’t been too sunny lately, so it might not be getting enough sun. I honestly didn’t think it would pollinate itself, but that doesn’t seem to be problem, since it has set a few in the time it has been inside.

I’m about ready to concede failure of The Great Loofah Experiment. But I won’t, ‘cause I’m stubborn like that.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Musings from the Junque Pile, or...

Comforter Redux, Part Deux.

I actually wrote this several weeks ago and thought I posted it, but apparently didn't. Oh well, better late than never...

You might think I’m being redundant (redundant) in the title, but I’m not (I’m not).  See, last spring I wrote a blog about my comforter, waxing poetic about how I loved the colors of the fabric, the reversible-ness of it, etc, etc.  Unfortunately it was very cheaply made (as only a $50 comforter from can be), and the quilt batting inside was disintegrating, making for a very chilly and uncomfortable comforter.

But I love my blankey. I really wanted to save it. I got the wild-hair-up-my-butt-brainstorm to re-stuff it. The problem is is that I am not a quilter. I am not even much of a sewer, truth be told.  I’d dabbled in my 20's with making pillows for my grandmother's couch, and once sewed a pair of M.C. Hammer pants (don’t ask). I used to be able to run a sorta straight seam on a sewing machine.  But I’ve since developed an unreasonable fear of my sewing machines. It is probably from carting them all over the country with me as I moved hither and yon, always thinking about using them, but never doing it. They taunted me when we were in the same room alone. No really, they did. I even took videos of them taunting me, but it got lost it in the last move.

(You’re still stuck on those Hammer Pants, aren’t you?)

Anyway, I thought I could maybe just slit a hole in the side of my comforter, shove some poly-fill in there, sew it up and be done. And that’s pretty much what I did.  Then shoved some more poly-fill, and then some more, and more…

(I will just stop here for a moment and answer that *other* question burning in your head.  I didn’t use quilt batting for one reason – I’ve never quilted anything before, I’d never made a blanket before, but I *had* made pillows before.  And that’s why I used poly-fill. It makes sense if you think about it. Stupid sense, but whatever.)

You would not believe how much poly-fill a comforter with very little quilt-stitching to begin with can eat up. 6 bags later there was a very pretty mountain of poly-fill in the MIDDLE of my comforter. There was a veritable moat of under-stuffed fabric around this mountain of poly-fill. And as much as I would shake it,  pat it, and move it around to the edges of the fabric, all the poly-fill would gravitate to the middle again, sitting there looking like a recently fed troll in the middle of my bed.  It made it, for instance, impossible to watch TV in bed at night. Not to mention how cold it would get at the outer edges of the comforter, with no poly-fill there to keep me warm.

However, summer was coming, and I could ignore the problem for a few months by stuffing my comforter into a garbage bag and throwing it into the back of my closet. Unfortunately, all summers come to an end, and autumn was upon us.  I was recovering from hand surgery, not working, and had very little money. But I had time to mull the problem, and 2 very sullen sewing machines sitting around my house, sneering at me.  It was time to teach them a lesson.

I needed to figure out how to quilt an extremely puffy king sized comforter without breaking a needle or jamming the machine.  My wonderful hubster, being engineering-ly inclined, suggested the term “baffles.” Basically, sewing the comforter into tubes and stuffing the individual tubes after sewing.


I set about un-stuffing the beast filling four 13 gallon-sized garbage bags, in case you were wondering, or probably enough to fill one set of Hammer pants (not that I would know this).  After washing and ironing the fabric of the comforter (oh yeah: another reason I don’t sew is that I don’t iron, and you really need to iron things when you are sewing…you really, really do. Trust me on this), I set about dissecting the fabric so that the “baffles” were even along the length of the comforter.  I folded it in half, ironed a crease, folded it in half again, and ironed another crease.  This gave me 4 even quarters after sewing 3 lines.  “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this…” this chant was going through my head often during this project.

(Let me just interject that if you coming back to sewing after taking a decade or two off, you might want to sew on some scrap fabric, just for the heck of it.  You need to check the tension of you stitches, make sure the bottom thread isn’t bunching up in the machine or at the bottom of your fabric, etc.  Yeah, take it from me. You really REALLY want to do that.)

So, I eventually got the 3 seams sewn. I started stuffing the first baffle with poly-fill.  Wow, it’s still too large of an area. The Poly-fill sinks to the bottom of the comforter and lays there like a flopping fish, growing ever more bloated and unwieldy.  I almost cried.  But I bravely pushed on.  My sewing machine is apparently a wee bit out of shape, and the sewing I did made it realize that maybe it didn’t have the chops to consider sneering at me anymore. Take that, sewing machine!

I divided the existing quarters in half, ironed more creases, and sewed those. I have to say that it wasn’t a bad sewing job, running a king-sized comforter through the machine while maintaining a semi-straight line. Even un-stuffed, all that material is heavy!

But it worked! Making the baffles smaller did the trick. With less fabric to move around in, the poly-fill has less place to go, and therefore went where I wanted it to.  The only problem was…

I ran out of poly-fill, and needed to pick up another bag of it to finish the job.  Can you believe it? I’m calling myself the poly-fill queen from now on.

I didn’t take any pictures of me sewing the comforter for the blog, but I will put up an end-product pic.  Just don’t look at the rest of my bedroom…it’s bad. Someday I will repaint the walls, sew up some curtains….QUIT SNICKERING at me. I swear, you all are as bad as my sewing machine…

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Musings at the Junque Pile - Do I know how to multi-task or what?

This morning I got up early to "get some things done." Sha. Right.

I have no problem getting up early on the weekends. I have several furry alarm clocks who decide that breakfast comes earlier on Saturdays and Sundays than it does during the week when I need to get up for work.Monday thru Friday, I am routinely up by 6:00am.  Weekends, the yowling horde generally starts in around 4:30am.

This is good, right?

Anyway, after throwing a pillow or two at an offending cat, I managed to slug-a-bed until 5-ish this morning. Score me for an extra half-hour! Whoo hoo! The jokes on them, though, because I still don't feed them until after 6:00am.  One needs meds, and I don't deviate from the schedule (much).  I'm just ambulatory enough to squirt them with a water bottle until it's mealtime.

So, up I get, coffee I make. Yoda, I am not.

This morning's schedule is to dye hair (yes, I admit to it, who am I kidding?), do a major facial with steam, baking soda scrub, with a witch hazel chaser, and a pedicure.  I also need to do my Christmas cards.

The amazing thing is, once the dye is on, I can plaster my face, soak my feet AND write out cards while all that beauty stuff does their individual things.

I hope I don't drip on the cards, though.  That would be tacky.  *nods*

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Junque Food & Junque Pile

Greetings from the Micro Mini Ranch...or, as we wont to call it lately, Kitty Thunderdome. We have one cat that is beating up on another one, and the one that's getting his tail kicked (or bitten as the case may be), is too nice to beat back. He's not a wimp. I prefer to think of him as a gentleman.  I currently have 5 cats, four males and a female. We've determined that female is biting the tail of one of the guys. We aren't sure if he's provoking it, or if she's just being a drama princess. Anyway, things came to a head (or a tail, what have you) this past Friday night during dinner.  The poor guy's tail was bitten pretty bad. We've been watching him like a hawk. Cleaning it, trying to keep the puncture wounds open so they don't fester under the skin. I also have some left over antibiotics from another cat that I'm giving to him as a preventative measure.  He seems to be rebounding fast.

Can't we all just get along???

Anywhoo...My mother and I are working on a beef stroganoff recipe for the crockpot.  We'll see how this first version comes out, and if we like it, I'll be sharing it here.

In the meantime, Holiday decorations continue to be put up here and there. The tree is up in the living room, but I don't have any lights in the window's yet.  Today, I dug out my Christmas themed potholders and oven mitts, and some kitchen towels and put them up in the kitchen.  It's slowly but surely looking a little like Christmas around here  :)

I'm also getting the week's worth of breakfasts ready.  Crust-less mini quiches from the South Beach Diet Boo

k are on the menu this time.  Basically, it's eggs (or egg whites), a little bit of cheese, as much veggies as you have or want, spices, etc, and pour into muffin tins and bake for 30 mins until they are puffy and cooked through. this week's quiches will have broccoli, red pepper, green onion, and mozzarella cheese.  I generally eat 2 for breakfast, and I always throw some Louisiana Hot Sauce or Srichacha sauce on them! MMMmmm!

I love this stuff!