Monday, December 11, 2017

The Return of the Ripper

It was a dark and foggy night...

Actually, it was a bright, sunny day, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it. But the dreaded ripper returned nevertheless.

What happened is I that dug out a quilting box so I could make a quick quilt for a little boy who loves the Pixar Cars movies. I found out about his birthday Friday and rushed out to buy some Cars fabric and then began work Saturday morning. It was a frustrating project in the beginning, mainly because I only found two rulers (and I don't like one of them) and I am sewing in the attic. Yes, the attic. Low light, sewing machine and iron plugged into an extension cord, and no heat. Or there wasn't heat until I brought up a space heater. THEN, I had to unplug the iron to use it. Not ideal sewing conditions, but I thought I could stand it long enough to get this quilt put together and then wait until a room was finished down below before sewing again.

By Saturday evening, I had also brought up a light bar, reworked my plan twice, and had the center four Cars blocks sewn together with a border of black and white checkerboard. But the checkerboard didn't line up at the corners and looked pretty bad. So Sunday afternoon necessitated the return of the ripper. I replaced the corners with the same red fabric I used between the four cars. After replacing the corners, I pieced on the "road" border around the center and between the side background pieces. And then I had to find Mr. Ripper again to take the red pieces off so add a white strip.

This is where the Electric Quilt software would have really come in handy. Instead of drawing a pattern on a notepad,

I could have had it to scale and with the seam measurements included. But since I forgot to add a half inch when I cut the reds, I had to improvise and add a white stripe to the side of the road.  I actually like it better this way.

Now here is where I have a problem. I hadn't intended to use that red as the background and am now short one 9x11 piece. So a trip to JoAnn's on on the schedule today. The red I had intended to use was a Cars fabric and looked fine under the fluorescent lights at the store, but looked decidedly reddish orange in natural light. Next to it is a fabric with a collage of cars. I was going to use a strip of that at top and bottom of the quilt, but now I am rethinking that also.

Now that I have the quilt center together, I think the style of the collage clashes with it. What do you think?

While at JoAnn's, I think I'll look for some other fabrics to complete the end borders. I have enough scraps from all the fabric I've used so far to piece in something too. Or I could make a strip and applique his name on it.  Or I could find something else that fits the bill.  A trip to the fabric store is always an adventure.

Linking up to:
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Main Crush Monday at Cooking up Quilts

Friday, December 8, 2017

Small Town Autoimmune Paleo, Is it Possible?

I love living in this small town, I really do. I have never lived anywhere with such friendly people, especially a small town. But shopping in a small town can be limited, especially a specialized diet like Paleo. I spent October getting off caffeine, and worked on collecting recipes in November. I would say I collected Everyday or Practical Paleo recipes, but I have looked through those recipes and they aren't quite practical enough or everyday enough for me. Maybe I should write a book called Small Town Paleo. lol The problem is that most paleo recipes try, in some way, to replicate favorite known recipes using hard to find and fairly expensive ingredients.

This is my local grocery store. Produce and meat on the right, dairy at the back.

And this is the rest of the store, all eight aisles of it.

There is no almond flour, no coconut flour (not that I would use it), no coconut aminos, no soup bones or bones with marrow of any kind, no organic anything, very limited vegetables, and, well, you get the picture. They do have natural almond milk, and coconut milk. I buy the almond milk but I still can't stand the smell of coconut, much less the taste. I don't know if that is something one can get over or not but I'm going to try. I can't drive into the city to get to a Whole Foods even if I could afford to shop there. I can go to neighboring towns, all about twenty miles away, but their selection isn't a whole lot better. And I certainly can't drive to one of those towns for a spur of the moment grocery run. I need to have shelf stable staples on hand, and cook with ordinary food, more along the line of foods that early man really did eat.

I also take exception to the term paleo, and think of it more as the Noah diet. But I won't go into that. Someone named it Paleo and the name stuck. So that's that.

I am going to spend the rest of December compiling recipes until I have a few breakfast recipes, a few quick lunch options, some premade single meals, and at least 14 dinner meal recipes. Because I know myself, and if I don't have an easy option when I walk in the door at 5:30, I'll revert back to my old habits and eat a sandwich or open a can of soup. Both of those are easily available at the local market, along with an entire aisle of soda and chips.

Healthy is hard, and Christmas is harder, but getting used to the recipes now and cutting back on my sugar will make it easier in January than just going cold turkey on bread, dairy and sweets plus trying to come up with an edible recipe every day.

If you have a favorite paleo recipe, that is also accepted on the autoimmune protocol, please share it with me. Did I mention that Hubby, who is going to continue eating anything he wants, will also need to like these recipes?

My favorites so far are:
Chicken and Apple Sausage - Guest post at Paleomg. I shred the apples and don't precook them. Also, beware, there are a lot of popups at this website.
Turkey Hash - This was a suggestion from a friend. Cooked and crumbled ground turkey with a little seasoning. Because that is a little dry, after frying the turkey, I deglaze the pan with chicken broth, and then thicken with arrowroot powder and a little almond milk.

Roast Chicken in the instant pot using salt, pepper, garlic salt, dried oregano, and basil.
One Pan Balsamic Chicken Veggie Bake from The Real Food Dietitians
Everyday Paleo Salisbury Steak from Sarah Fragoso - Everyday Paleo

Monday, December 4, 2017

Even in a Small Town

When I pulled into the parking lot at the local grocery store, I saw this little car. Only it wasn't a car, it was a bicycle. I walked over to the man driving it and he told me he had just gotten it and was driving from Dallas to Austin. He had stopped over it to charge it and get some sleep. It's an ELF from Organic Transit. It's really cute, but pricey. I never thought I'd see one in our little town.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Organizing the New Garage

After months of working on the house end of the barndominium with our tools in boxes, the workbench, and *gasp* on the floor, I began organizing the garage side. I first had to have Hubby's help hanging plywood on the walls. In our metal building, the vertical posts are fifteen feet apart, and the horizontal girders are four feet apart. So we needed something to hang stuff on. We put two rows of plywood bolted to the iron, and bolted a 2x4 to the girder eight feet off the floor. Just the right height for a two foot platform that can hold several hundred pounds, and three shelves above that for lighter items.

I have begun building the lower cabinets as we decide where we want things.  So far, a regular height cabinet and a lower one for the miter saw/scroll saw.  Above those cabinets, I hung a cleat across the wall.  That gives us the flexibility to move things around until we have them in the most convenient place.  Point of use is my mantra in this workshop.  Hopefully, that will save some steps when it is finished.

If you haven't seen a cleat system used for tools, it is simply a board cut in two with a 45° angle.  One half of the board is nailed to the wall and the other half is used on tool caddies.  The two wedged pieces fit together snugly but it is still easy to remove the tool caddy when needed.  If it's a long board, the other half can be used on quite a few caddies.  I made some of the cleats out of hardwood and some out of plywood.  I made all the cleats and caddies out of scrap wood.

I made clamp holders, ear protection muff holders, measuring tape holders, jig holders, and more.  One thing I saw on pinterest that I thought looked pretty neat was a tape roll dispenser, so I made a few.   I even made slots on each side to make it easier to lift them off the cleat.

They look nice, but weren't very practical.  A full roll of tape fills the dispenser nicely, but a roll that is close to the end sits low in the dispense and the tape has be pulled upward which sometimes made it pop out of the dispenser even though I curved the dowel slot to try to prevent that.  They take up extra space on the wall, they are a little fiddly to make, and sometimes we just want to grab a roll and not mess with a dispenser.  But more than anything, when they are on the cleat, it's hard to see which roll of tape is in the dispenser.  So after working on them over the course of several hours, I marked them a fail.

What worked better for us was to make a box that would hold all sizes of tape and have them visible no matter what size they are.

After staring at the underside of the platform one day, I decided to make use of that space too.  In this one I put caulk guns and caulking.  That odd stuff that doesn't sit well on shelves and tangles in drawers works well in a drop down drawer.  I put hinges on the back and some simple wood pieces that turn to let the drawer down.

The next thing I want to do is put a rail on the front of the platform and attach a ladder to it that will tuck in when not in use.