Monday, January 27, 2014

Love Fabric

Last week at Joann Fabric I came across quilting fabrics that were 40% off.. I bought 3 different chicken themed fabrics. My favorite is the white background and I plan on making kitchen curtains with it. Sorry the lighting wasn't very good so the material  photo is shadowed. Upper left corner is what the material looks like..a very white background.

                                    The fabric with the big blocks I plan on making into pot holders.

I'm not sure what I will use the fabric pictured below for yet. 

My sister in law, Terry loves chickens and so does my son, Terry and Steven both have chickens so I will probably make something for them using this fabric.

I also recently ordered from and I was very happy with the service. Fast delivery, I had free shipping, and some of the fabrics were on sale.
I ordered all vintage sewing machine themed material from as I never see sewing machine fabric in the stores that I care for. What I've seen is always on the cute side and not realistic.

pink and gray

dark green background

I will probably make curtains, fabric post cards, pillow cases and coverings for my sewing machines with the fabrics. If I see fabric that I like..I buy it. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jo ann Fabric online..Laurel Burch

I never explored the Jo ann Fabric and Craft store online website. The other day I received an email for a 1 day online sale, 40% off all the Laurel Burch items. I love Laurel Burch. Unfortunately, I didn't read the email until after the sale was over. What a bummer!!! If you love LB check out the Jo ann online website as there are so many wonderful LB items and I love everything they have for sale on the web site.

Joann Fabrics online Laurel Burch items

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Making Maple Syrup snow candy taffy

As I looked out the window this morning and saw the beautiful carpet of freshly fallen snow, I thought back to my childhood. My mother would have my brothers and I go out after a snow storm to fill a turkey roasting pan with fresh snow, and mom would make snow taffy.

After thinking about maple syrup snow taffy...I decided to make a batch. I filled and packed the clean snow into a turkey pan, and then put the pan onto my picnic table on the back deck. I went inside and started making my taffy. 

I gathered my ingredients and thankfully, I had just enough maple syrup in the house to make a batch

 To make one batch....1/2 cup pure maple syrup, 2 tablespoons butter and a pinch of sea salt
Put the ingredients into a 2 quart pan and heat to melt the butter

syrup mixture is starting to boil

candy needs to reach the soft ball stage 235 degree's. Shut off heat under the pan when soft ball stage has been reached. 
I think it took a total of 5 minutes from the time the syrup went onto the stove until it reached the soft ball stage on the candy thermometer
I immediately brought the hot maple syrup mixture outside and poured in ribbons onto the packed, clean snow 

the syrup hardens almost immediately. You can use popsicle sticks to wrap the syrup around or not, but it makes for easier eating if you are playing outside and have mittens on.
I shook off as much snow as I could from the taffy and put the candy on an aluminum pie plate. Once the taffy was in the house...I dabbed off more snow and put the candy in the refrigerator to stay hard.
I forgot how good this easy to make winter candy treat was to make.

If you make more than one batch make sure you use a pan big enough that the syrup won't boil over. 


Snowstorm January 21-22...birds at the feeders

red bellied woodpecker...isn't he beautiful?

It started snowing around 11:30 yesterday morning and it was still snowing earlier this morning. We woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland.  Thankfully the snow from this storm is light and fluffy and isn't hard to shovel.  When I got up this morning and looked out the window there were many birds at the feeders eating. I took photos thru the window from inside the house.

 new bird bath and water heater that I bought over the weekend at Wild Birds Unlimited of Cape Cod, in Yarmouth. The ground was frozen so I put the pole of the bird bath into a flower pot with soil that I had in the basement. I also hung a feeder near it so the birds would find it. I noticed goldfinches sitting on the rim of the bird bath drinking yesterday. So I was happy that the bird bath had been found.

this photo of a robin was taken thru the blind slats in my Pella sliding door on a very grey early morning. For the past several years we have had large flocks of robins that stay the winter and don't migrate south 


downy woodpecker 

you can see snow falling in this photo

snow is falling while this male cardinal survey's the feeders in the mountain ash tree in the front yard

looking out the kitchen door to see how much snow had fallen..we got about 10 inches

When I ventured outside to fill the bird feeders and throw some fine, cracked corn and bird seed on the ground the wind is howling and snow is blowing all over and it is very cold.

It is hard to take pictures from in the kitchen looking out as the kitchen step railings block the view and the door faces the sun. The song sparrow photos below were taken by focusing the camera thru the railings, and the little birds are constantly moving. I think I will get a good shot and then the bird bends down to get some seed. 

The steps railings were in the way, so I could only get a photo of the wrens head. The wren was under my car trying to eat a large piece of peanut. It's mouth is open and you can see it's tongue

                                                             white throat sparrow

white breasted nuthatch

While the snow is still fresh..I should go out and scoop up a big turkey roasting pan to make snow taffy. My mom use to make snow taffy for my brothers and I when we were kids after a snowstorm. 

Enjoy your day!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Snowy owls visiting Cape Cod this winter

collage I had made at CVS pharmacy of a few of the owl photos I took on Saturday.

Saturday morning I went down to the Cape for the long holiday weekend and stayed at my cousins. I wanted to see if I could see the 3 juvenile snowy owls that had spotted at the West Dennis Beach. I almost didn't go on Saturday as it was raining hard. I decided to go because I really wanted to see the owls and I decided to chance it. The weather was horrid...frigid temperatures, high winds with downpouring rain. My clothes got soaked and I was totally frozen, but it didn't matter as I got to see the owls and take some pictures. 
Saturday the sky was so dark because of the rain. Sunday, when we went to the beach we
 spotted 2 owls near each other on a hummock in the dunes, but they were quite some distance from the parking area, and it was just too cold and windy to take the long walk up the sandy beach path to get a better look. What weather the birds endure with the strong wind coming off of the ocean and the cold and driving rain. 
I went to the beach again this morning (Monday)  before heading home...I had to face into the sun to get photos of the lone little owl sitting on a sand dune. I was told that 3 snowy's have been sighted at the West Dennis Beach. 

I don't know if itis from lack of food or there was just an abundance of owls that so many juvenile snowy owls migrated down from Canada to many of the beaches on Cape Cod this winter. It is very unusual to have so many snowys being spotted in Massachusetts.  
The owls are a big attraction at the beach and I couldn't believe how many people came to get a look at these beautiful birds that are so rare to our area. Even though I got soaking wet and was freezing, I am very glad that braved the bad weather, as I got to see the birds. 

The birds didn't seem fazed by all the people that came to see them and stayed right on the dunes hunkered down with it's eyes closed and only every now and then would open a eye to see what was going on or move it's head to take a good look. On good days the owls have been spotted sitting on life guard chairs, roof tops of the bath houses, sitting on life guard chairs and even in flight. I plan on going down again to look again, maybe next week. The birds have been around since the end of December.

you can see the water in the background

head turned looking over it's back

looking over it's shoulder

the wind was blowing so hard it was hard to hold my little camera still, just as the owl looked forward a wind gust made my hand move so I didn't get all of the owl in this photo..bummer!

Over the weekend while on the Cape I went to several thrift stores. I found only a few  things...vintage cookie cutters and a couple 10 inch aluminum pie plates. I also went to the Cook's store in Hyannis and bought a good candy thermometer. Another stop was the Birds Unlimited store..I bought a heater for a bird bath as more frigid weather is coming along with another snow storm.

Driving down the road at the beach on the bay side, I took a couple photos of men in the water shell fishing, probably for clams or oysters, because it wasn't low tide to dig for quahogs. The wind was howling, and it was very cold. 

On the bay side and also the ocean side there were many people in the water kite boarding. Brrr! Even with a wet suit...too cold for me to be in the water.

Late Saturday afternoon coming back from the cold beach after seeing the owl it was raining in Dennis. By the time we got to Yarmouth the sun came out and we spotted a rainbow. I took this photo through the windshield of the car.

By the time we were able to cross traffic and find a place to park near the cranberry bog the rainbow was fading.

Swans and ducks were swimming in the flooded cranberry bog where we saw the rainbow. Of course, I had to face into the sun taking the swan photos. You can see from the ripples on the flooded cranberry bog that there was a strong wind blowing. Why is it that so often when you want to take photos the lighting is never right?


 I hope you enjoyed my owl photos. I really need a better camera, but my little Cannon has a pretty good zoom or I wouldn't have been able to take the photos that I did. I should have set up my tripod so the wind didn't make the camera shake as I held it.

Elaine Tom and I celebrate our 46th. wedding anniversary. How time flies.