Saturday, March 25, 2017

End of Winter Visitor Season.....with a Recipe!

We have been wintering in a desert town. We came the beginning of November, and now at the end of March it is time to head back to our home in the east, since bad weather is nearly over, we think!

Maybe you would like to know a bit more background. The place we stay is an RV Park, but it is also a Mobile Home Park. It's a family owned place, 25 acres of mobile homes, motor homes, fifth wheels, little trailers and you get the idea. Some are permanent and some come and go every year. As for the people, some with permanent dwellings, still come and go. 

Towards the end of the season, like now, everyone is trying to empty their refrigerator and cabinet of foods that will not last through the summer. Most of us turn off the power and so the freezer and refrigerator are shut down. This means generous snacks at Happy Hours and frequently, full dinners.

We are sometimes called snowbirds. It's a pretty good name. The desert is also on the migratory path of hundreds of bird species; 
    must mean we're the homosapien snowbirds!

Why I cook something I've never cooked before or just dreamed up for a pot luck or for house guests I do not know. But, today I'm going to do it - again. We are having what we all call, Happy Hour, but our snacks begin to be real meals at this time of year. I thought you may enjoy taking the risk with me today.

The "dreamed up" recipe for Janet's Hashbrown Casserole

chop celery,
red and yellow bell peppers

sauteed together in margarine or butter
until the onions are translucent

break up a 2 lb. bag of frozen hash brown
potatoes before opening the bag

open the bag and further break up the hash
browns into a large mixing bowl

add the sauteed mixture to the potatoes
and mix together

open a 14.5 oz jar of Prego bacon flavored
alfredo sauce into a sauce pan, heat over
medium heat just until hot, do not boil

spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with olive oil
cooking spray

spoon or scoop potato mixture into
the baking pan

poor heated alfredo sauce over potatoes

cover with shredded cheeses (I used the
rest of two different types of cheese and
used an 8 oz. bag of shredded mozzarella

bake in 350 degree oven, set timer and
check after 20 minutes bake longer if needed

The goal is for the dish to be hot through
and the cheese to be melted and slightly
browned, I think the sauce will probably
be bubbly and it ought to smell nice!

Pictures of the food'n'folks at today's Happy Hour.

The "Birds" here all said it was good. I think it might have been better with a little more salt, could have added it to the sauteed veggies I think.
Other foods included someone's homemade sausage! Wonderful. Included lots of veggies, beet chips, asparagas and more. Yummy!

No pics of myself and my hubby but everyone else who was there today is pictured here.

Several of our group have already gone home, so we are down 
by about 8 folks!

Beautiful evening in the RV park.Happy Hour/Dinner finished. Hubby has had his evening walk. Tonight he walked to the store and bought his caramel corn. Retirement life doesn't get much better. Good friends, good food, great weather and peace in our little corner of the world. And I, for one, thank God for it all. May everyone of you enjoy similar times, often!

God's Blessings and
Good Evening from Hubby and Me.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Making Bears and More - Old Folks at their Winter Home

This year several of the ladies here in the RV park learned to make jointed Teddy Bears. I believe, every lady who made one bear, made at least one more. Not the easiest craft but the results were so fun, I'm hoping to continue making them, and may add other toys as well!
Some of us continued painting again this year, and a few made some very pretty jewelry and other crafts.
This post is to show our Art and Craft Show held this past Saturday, the 4th of March, 2016. 

First Our Bears, Relaxing and Watching Everyone

At the right of this photo are two of the hand bags crafters made.
(Please excuse the basket. It had a bear or two displayed in it, they must have climbed out!)

These four our best friends. The large fella on the left of this picture is my friend, Nell Mitchell's, second born and the pretty brown one with the red tie is her first born. Unfortunately Nell has not found names for them as yet. 
The two littler light brown fellas are my boys. Winston on the left and Webster on the right. Winston, although he is my youngest, already knows he's going to live with a good family in Tennessee. Webster, my first, will be staying with me. He's a not inclined to leave the nest.

More pictures from the show.

This was my table.
The two dogs are "Pet Portraits" and the doggies belong to my friend, Betsy. They will be going home to her soon.  As you may be able to see, I have some of my cards out and I have been making refrigerator magnets of recent pet portraits to go with the paintings.

My good assistant (and hubby of almost 50 years!).

My bears, friends' Mom! A good woman indeed.

Rocks Painted by Rose Siwicki

Art  by Andrea; she is teaching Rose.
She painted a self portrait; it's in the center.

The six images above are the artworks of one talented and busy man, I know only are Ross. He made himself a nice studio in his shed.

The above four images are of art by Jean.

Art by Dick.

Crafts by Barb, one of the craft teachers. Her lady giraffe was my personal favorite. She's such a girly girl giraffe, and made from a gourd, so I guess she is gourdgeous!

Really amazing word carved canes. 

Nice artwork, regrettably I do not know even her first name.

Art by Duffer.
His name is the name of the town he lives in!
Talented artist and nice fella.

Jewelry from several talented ladies! All so pretty!

It wasn't a wine and cheese event, but we all liked the monkey bread, variety of cookies, punch and coffee! I baked some cookies. I'll share what I learned. First everybody loves monkey bread, graciously made by Duffer's good wife.
And, you can get 5 dozen good sized chocolate chip cookies from the not quite two pound tub of Toll House cookie dough! The ones I baked earned compliments from folks who thought I had worked all night baking them! I have to admit, Nell is the best woman. She helped me bake cookies. 

I'm sorry to say I seem to have missed a few folks work. Not an intentional slight. There was a lady who has only been painting two years who had a very nice little painting on display and another who learned to crochet and knit who had pretty colored dishrags and holders for your water bottles that kept the water cold! and were made from colored plastic bags. Very cool and prettier than they sound.

So there you go. Old people still busy enjoying their lives and making art and crafty things for family and friends and to sell now and then. 

Never let go of your joy. There is beauty all around you, look for it!

Other Than Chalk Painted, Furniture!

Since last posting about my experiences in chalk painting, in the fall of 2016 I painted two large pieces of furniture.

This time around, I used "store bought" paint, similar to "chalk paint" but it's "brother from another mother" AKA a different brand. It did not require nearly as much work as my homemade painting. Minimal sanding before and after. Due in part to the fact that each piece had been painted with craft paints previously. And on one piece I simply painted it with craft paint.

This piece is a nice little space heater with a pretty fireplace look:

and, the other piece recently painted was Mom's white and black china cabinet, which upon her passing went to my sister and when she passed, to me. It has now begun, a new life:

both of the above shown pieces were finished with the wax coating used on the chalk painted pieces in the last post.

Here are two smaller pieces of furniture I simply painted with craft paints in the early spring of 2016:

this old stack of shelves was painted with gloss black craft paint, the kind that comes in the small bottles from the art and craft sections of many discount and craft/sewing stores. In expensive but easy, easy to do, and quite OK, at least to me, and maybe to you too! It may have cost me as much as $2.00 in paint, and an hour of my time.
(If you have seen any of the previous post about my art you may be wondering about the little painting above this shelf .... yes, I painted it years ago, and framed it, before the shelf. It seems I, and you no doubt do too, gravitate toward similar things most of the time. So, when it came time to decorate this small mobile, where the furniture I'm showing is "living" right now, all I needed to do was search thru my old paintings and etc. that I'd stashed here and there to find matched stuff!)

The other little piece of furniture is a small table a friend gave me, with the lamp, because they didn't suit her. She inherited them with a used mobile home she and her husband bought. The top of the table looked kind of ugly. It turned out that was because it had already been sanded! All I had to do was use a bit of poly on it and it came to life again. Next I painted the legs with my left over gloss black from the above piece.
See what you think of my hand me down?

The lamp only needed a little cleaning as it was already a dark dark brown.

I love, love, love making my home comfy and pretty. I'll never be convinced this requires great expensive furnishings. You may agree or not, but making the funds available cover what's needed and then making those things look interesing and fun, just makes me smile! Feel free to take any or all of my ideas and make them work for you!