Random Photo Friday: Miss Annie

My rescued dog and partner in crime, Annie J. Dog

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Wipe the Dust off the Sewing Machine: Make Your Own Kitchen Chair Cushions

After sitting for a couple of hours on one of our old, wooden kitchen chairs (which I rarely do because I prefer the bench), I realized that they were very hard on the butt. So, me being the practical selectively cheap woman that I am, I decided to make a set of chair cushions.

Though I make the occasional pillow or set of bathroom curtains, for the most part, I do not like to sew. I think it has a lot to do with my lack of patience and lack of aptitude for anything that takes time and requires attention to small details (unless we’re talking about cooking).

However, I do own a sewing machine. And I dug it out of the closet to do this.

Cutting my pattern to fit the chair seat

Step 1: I used the ads from the Sunday paper to trace the outline of the chair seat. I only got distracted (and screwed up) two three times by the sale purses and amazing boots in the ad…next time I’ll use the sports section.

Tracing my pattern onto the foam

Step 2: After I made my pattern, I used a Sharpie to trace the outline on two pieces of 2” x 15” x 17” foam I bought at Hobby Lobby, and cut it to the pattern.

Foam cut into shape

The coolest (and easiest) way to do this is with an electric carving knife.

Step 3: I then used the newspaper pattern to cut my fabric (an adorable coffee-themed print I found on eBay.) I cut the fabric 1” wider than the pattern to allow for the seam width and for the thickness of the foam. I next marked out where the chair ties would go and where my seams needed to stop (so I could get the foam into the fabric).

Stitching the cushion covers

Step4: After making sure I had the fabric pieces facing the right direction (print side to the inside), I fired up the sewing machine to stitch the material. I started my seam just past where the first tie-cord would be and sewed around the fabric to the opposite cord location.

Since I was making two cushions, I did the same thing for the next one.

Stuffing the foam into the fabric

Step 5: To get the big, fat foam into the little opening that was left, I rolled it. This would have been much easier if I had used a straighter shaped form…but no, I wanted curves.

Step 6: From there, I cut four ties from the decorative cord I picked up at Hobby Lobby and pinned them inside the cushion.

Sewn cushion with chair ties attached

Step 7: Finally, I hand-stitched the cord ties in place and finished the edge seam. When that was done, I shortened the ties a bit more and knotted the ends so they wouldn’t unravel.

Voila! New cushions that make my butt feel better and my beat-up chairs look good!

The finished product

Cost Breakdown:

 $ 6.99  – (2) poly foam pieces

$ 0.99 – (1) spool of decorative cord

$ 8.00 – (1) yard of fabric

$ 0.00 – thread I had on hand (that actually matched)

$15.98  for (2) custom chair cushions

Far cheaper than if I had gone shopping!

Grandma’s Apple Squares

Annie dog & I went to the orchard on Saturday and came home with  bags of Cortland and Melrose apples, an acorn squash, and 3 pie pumpkins.

Today, my kitchen is a fragrant and wonderful place.

But today, I miss my grandma.

There are many things I do (and say) these days that remind me of my grandmother.

Every fall, Mom, Grandma and I would drive to the orchard (about 1/2 hr. from where I live now) to buy apples. Once our trunk was loaded, we headed back to Gram’s to make apple crisp for supper, apple pies for the freezer, and apple squares, just because they went so well with a cup of coffee.

Grandma’s been gone for a number of years, but every time I bring a bag of apples into the kitchen and get to work, I think of her.

I haven’t made any pies yet (and my apple pies aren’t nearly as good as hers were), but the apple crisp is cooling on the counter, and the apple squares have just come out of the oven.

My husband is a lucky (and getting chubbier with every year) man.

The apple squares just came out of the oven, but I couldn't wait to try them.

Grandma’s Apple Squares

  • 1 3/4 c. Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 c. Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 c. Oil (I used Canola Oil)
  • 1 c. Chopped Walnuts
  • 5 small Peeled, Diced Apples

In a mixer bowl, cream sugar and eggs until very foamy.

Add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oil.

Stir in chopped nuts and apples.

Bake in a greased and floured 9” x 13” pan for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cool. Cut into small squares and serve.

Random Photo Friday: Pea Island, NC

This one's a photograph I scanned. Taken a few years ago on the way back from family vacation at the Outer Banks

Government Investigates Rancher

The Montana Department of Employment, Division of Labor Standards claimed a small rancher was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to investigate him.

GOV’T AGENT:  “I need a list of all of your employees and how much you pay them.”

RANCHER:  ”Well, there’s only two here. There’s my hired hand, who’s been with me for 3 years.  I pay him $200 a week plus free room and board. Then there’s the mentally challenged guy.

The mentally challenged guy works about 18 hours every day and does 90% of all the work around here.  If he’s lucky, he makes about $10 per week. He also pays his own room and board, but I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night so he can cope with life.  Occasionally, he also gets to sleep with my wife.”

GOV’T AGENT: “That’s the guy I want to talk to – the mentally challenged one.”

RANCHER: “Sir, that would be ME.”

Though this is obviously a joke, I remember Farmer D telling me shortly after we got married, that “no one farms for the money.”

I thought he was kidding.

He wasn’t.

Random Photo Friday: After the Rain

Took this from the front porch while waiting for the rain to stop.

What’s Your Opinion on Deer Hunting?

Unexpected dinner guests on our property

As a city girl raised watching Bambi and countless other “animals are our friends” movies, I have always been dead set against those who killed animals for sport, but now that I live in Farmtown, I have to learn to look at things from a different perspective.

Let me be clear: I am not a fan of hunting, but am surrounded by family members that are. As a matter of fact, stepdaughter #4 is the most successful hunter in our extended family (which makes her male cousins very jealous).

So, in the interest of open-mindedness, I have recorded the following points as a way to look at both sides of the story:

  • Almost 3,700 deer were “harvested” from our county last year. That sounds like a lot to me, but many people say there are still too many deer.  (Source: Ohio Division of Natural Resources) Too many deer means things like deer/car crashes …or on occasion, deer/house crashes.
  • The deer are lovely to watch from the kitchen window as they graze near the woods, but they’re hanging out there because they think our soybeans are an all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • The fields feed the deer. The hunters feed their families.
  • Farmers expect a certain amount of crop loss/damage, but on average, one deer can consume seven pounds of food per day. (Source: whitetailhunting.info)
  • People should coexist with nature, but there should be a balance.
You can see my dilemma. Though I don’t like the idea of deer hunting, I can see the logic.
So, I’m asking your opinion:

What’s your take on deer hunting?

Leave a comment. I’d like to know.

I'd much rather see the deer in the fields, but this hunter will be able to fill his freezer.

Glad Someone Got a Break Around Here

Instead of referring to Farmer D as a “turkey,” as I am occasionally known to do, this week I have to share that my darling, never-take-a-vacation-because-travelling-is-not-fun husband is actually in Turkey.

Hubby can see the sea from the house in which he's staying

He went to Istanbul with a friend from his church, whose daughter and family are missionaries there. Farmer D and Dean are doing welding and construction work for another family that works with the ministry, Athletes in Action.

So while D’s off enjoying the sunshine, the view and the excellent cuisine (he’s already told me I need to get recipes from Sara), I’m home planning my midlife crisis and playing hooky in Ohio.

I started the day by dying parts of my hair purple.

The purple is more subtle than I expected...I'll most likely add more.

I then put on the new t-shirt I promised D I’d never wear when with him, and headed out on the motorcycle.

My answer to those "Bitch Fell Off" shirts

I headed north in search of peace, quiet and good scenery. I found all three of them at Pymatuning State Park. 

The trees are full of brilliant hues

It was calm outside - the lake was as smooth as glass

I sat on a picnic table for a while and soaked up some autumn sunshine, then got back on the bike and left the state.

I made it all the way to Pennsylvania.

(Which was the other side of the lake.)

In strange (for me) territory, I took a chance and stopped at a little diner to get something for lunch. The place was wonderful–the food was good, the coffee was hot, and the waitress greeted most of the customers by name.

And, the restaurant’s signature dish is a 1-lb. burger called the “Just Bite Me.”

I'd like my food with a side of sarcasm, please.

Lunch was good, though I didn’t order the burger. Afterward, I found a nice, hilly road to take me back toward my own neck of the woods, until I hit Ohio again and the ground instantly became flat.

Bet Farmer D misses seeing corn, corn and corn, with the occasional soybean field thrown in for fun.

Farmer D might be enjoying the sights and sounds of the Mediterranean, but I’m sure he’ll be jealous when I tell him about the great day I had without having to get on a plane.

Random Photo Friday: Trixie

Don't let the girly name and the lazy pose fool you--Trixie was a kick-ass mouser.

This Month, I’m Obsessed with Age

This month, I’m obsessed with age.

You see, I have a birthday at the end of the month. Though not what most people would consider a “milestone” birthday (for it doesn’t end in zero), but one that is significant for me for a few reasons:

  • This birthday forces me to move to a new age bracket on all those surveys I fill out.
  • This birthday serves as my annual reminder that I’ve only read 1/3 of the books this guy says I should have read by age 30.
  • This birthday will place me officially closer to the next decade of my life than the previous one.
  • This birthday reminds me that I’ve gone from maiden, skipped mother (because I’ve been told often as the “wicked stepmother” that “you’re not my ‘real’ mom.”), and am headed right to crone.
  • This birthday confirms that I will never again play the part of the ingenue…unless I hang out with some octogenarians.
  • This birthday leaves no doubt at all that I am middle-aged.
  • This birthday isn’t even here yet, and the damn eye doctor made me get bifocals.

No, these aren't my glasses...I'm happy to say mine are purple!

  • AND on top of everything else, my mother sent me and email today that says I have to learn a whole texting language:

Senior Texting Codes (STC)

ATD- At the Doctor’s
BFF – Best Friends Funeral
BTW – Bring the Wheelchair
BYOT – Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM – Covered by Medicare
DWI – Driving While Incontinent
FWIW – Forgot Where I Was
FYI – Found Your Insulin
GGPBL – Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low
GHA – Got Heartburn Again
HGBM – Had Good Bowel Movement
IMHO – Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO – Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL – Living on Lipitor
OMMR – On My Massage Recliner
OMSG – Oh My! Sorry. . . Gas
ROFL…CGU – Rolling on the Floor Laughing…Can’t Get Up!
TTYL – Talk to You Louder
WAITT – Who Am I Talking To?
WTFA – Wet the Furniture Again
WTP – Where Are the Prunes?
I’m asking for help from my Internet friends (because they’re all so incredibly cool)–what suggestions do you have for my soon-to-come midlife crisis?

Just a random lady with purple hair.

(Beside dying my hair purple…plans are already in the works.)