The Zoo Has Arrived!

You make one stuffed, fleece animal and next thing you know there are a bunch of them.  And the thing is that I can't really blame this on Lily because I enjoyed making  just as much as she enjoyed getting them. 

Meet Lemony Peanut, the Elephant.

Cornelia Mouse.

Hoots the Wise Owl

Penelope Pig

Patches Kitty

Pedro Pup

And Minnie Moose.

These were just so much fun to make and a great way to use up bits of fleece, ribbon and oddball buttons. I planned on making a bunch more of them for a craft fair in the spring but haven't gotten around to it yet.  We'll see if that happens it not.  

Crafts Tables and Freehand Bunnies

Last weekend was the local farmer's market and I had a table there.  I didn't sell a whole lot, but then again I wasn't really prepared for the whole thing since it has been almost two years since I last set up a table anywhere.  The fee was only $5 and I sold $27, so a $22 day.  Not bad.  Not great.  But not bad.  I do plan to set up my table every weekend until the farmer's market is over, so I have plenty of time to work on my table appearance and different items to sell.

I ranged from crocheted hats, scarves and mitts (which I didn't really expect to sell very well since it is summer), to beaded and fimo jewelry.  I had a few felt items out, like coin purses and magnets, as well.  I sold a pink fimo cupcake earring and necklace set, a felt coin purse, a pair of beaded earrings and a pair of fimo pumpkin earrings.  I was pleased.  A friend of mine stopped by and gave me some hints of what else I can do to liven up my table decor.  I stopped at Jo-Ann's and got an earring display.  It only holds one pair, but I want to go back and get the one that holds several pairs when it goes on sale.  I got some muslin to make a tablecloth and a banner to hang behind my table.  This weekend I may not have the banner made, but I have the better tablecloth and I am going to take my dress form to show off some of my hats and scarves.  I might even try to sell one of my costumes. Not sure about that just yet.

While there, Lily saw a cute little stuffed bunny at one of the tables.  It was very cute and only $9, but it was more of a shelf sitter as the bottom was weighted and it was very stiffly stuffed. And I think that I have the pattern around here somewhere.  So instead I sat down and started cutting out pieces of fleece and ended up with the orange bunny pictured here.  Her name is Bungee, which is a smash of Orange and Bunny.  The blue one pictured here I made afterward for my table.  I am very pleased at how well they came out.  And best part of all is that they are completely machine washable.

I started another project for my table, but I haven't quite finished it yet.  It's going to be a message board with little fabric flags and clothes pin painted to match the colors in the fabric scraps and held into an embroidery hoop.  I will take a picture of it later when I get it finished.  I want to work on a few more of these softies but in different varieties.  Lily and I decided on a kitty, a mouse, a bear, and a pig.  I think there was another one, but I can't remember what it was.

I have also been really wanting an embroidery machine but they are so expensive.  After talking with one of the other ladies at the farmer's market, I figured out how to do some small freehand embroidery on my sewing machine.  All I had to do was cover up the feed dogs with the little plastic cover and not drop the presser foot.  That gives me free range to move in what ever direction that I want.  I need to practice more to get my control right, but so far so good.  I can wait to practice more and maybe get something done with it.  I am thinking a tote bag.  Or maybe a coin purse.  I am not sure yet.

Have a good night!

How Do These People Stay in Business...?

Sometimes you wonder how certain companies  manage to stay in business for as long as they do.  Then there are other times that you wonder how it is that a certain business has closed up overnight when they always seemed to be so busy.

Well, I am wondering how it is that my cable company has managed to stay in business for as long as they have.  Now, I am not talking about Comcast or Warner or any of those.  No.  Instead we have a private company out here in the boonies that pipes "cable" to our homes via a contract with DirecTV.  I am not a fan of DirecTV in the first place.  It never seems to work right (i.e.  stations come and go, pixels appear on the screen, it freezes the picture, etc.).   But there isn't a lot of choice out here.  You can have this podunk cable company, DirecTV or Dish Network.

I haven't really worried a lot about it since we are usually at work and only really watch TV at night.  Mostly, I worry about the broadband internet connection that is part of our cable service.  We use the internet frequently.  That's how I pay bills and keep in touch with my dad, as well as a variety of other things that we use the internet for.  Unfortunately, about a month ago the cable and internet went out for over 24 hours.  Cable - no big deal, we have DVDs and video games.  Internet - AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!  Can't live without my internet!!!  

For about three weeks the connection was intermittent at best.  We would have to power cycle the modem then unplug the router and plug it back in.  Usually that worked.  Until this past Sunday.  When it died completely.  No amount of power cycling or restarting would fix it.  It was dead.  Much to my dismay.  And that of the Duke Energy.  I had to wait until the next day to pay the bill from work.  It was late, but they didn't say anything thankfully.

I tried calling Podunk cable over and over again on Monday.  No one answered.  I did find out that they were working on the receiver issue with the cable so all of the stations would be back in order soon, but that didn't help the internet issue.  We tried calling the internet company that we knew the connection came from originally.  That phone number re-routed us to Cincinnati Bell.  They didn't know anything about us or the company that we used to have.  They did try to help us as best they could but there was nothing that they could do.  The next day I called Podunk cable again and finally got through to someone.  This is how the conversation went:

Me:  "Hi, we have cable and internet with you and our internet has been out since Sunday."
Podunk guy: "I'm working on it."
Me:  "Oh, Ok, well can you tell me what's wrong with it?"
Podunk guy:  "I don't know.  I'm working on it. Bye."  *click*

Well, after that call, I got fed up, said some choice words to the telephone and called the phone company.  They recently (within the last 6 months or so) came out and installed fiber optics in the neighborhood and I knew that the service was available.  I was just waiting until they were going offer TV, phone and internet as a whole package.  But after that phone call with Podunk cable, I called the phone company and talked to them.  It was a great experience all together.  The lady I spoke with was super nice and apologized to me for the other company's inaction.  She set a technician up for this afternoon.  She told me all about the pricing, explained the bill to me, AND gave me a $29.95 credit on my August bill for trying the internet service.  AND if I don't want the service or am not happy with it - they turn it off for only a $5 charge.  No contracts, nothing. 

The technician was supposed to call between 1pm and 5pm to come out an hour later.  He called at 1:20pm.  I told him that I would be home in about 45 mins.  He was here at 2pm and was SUPER NICE!  He made sure that our connection was good.  And that I didn't have any trouble getting the computer and my table to connect.  Then he shook my hand, told me to have a nice day and left.  It was one of those experiences that you just don't have often.  I am very happy.  I can not wait until they take over the TV service and we can get rid of Podunk cable all together.

Have an great day!

Sunshine and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

It has been too long since I last posted anything and I apologize to anyone who actually pays attention to my blog. Life had been difficult and stressful and I needed a major break.

But now, there is CAKE!

It's a beautiful sunny day outside and Hubby is away at his game at the FLGS.  For those of you who don't know what that means, FLGS is short for Friendly Local Game Store, of which we have two in town now.  Lily and I are enjoying a relaxing day at home.  Laundry is going in the washer and in the dryer.  Cupcake has found herself a comfy spot in the kitty house near the back patio door.  Wookie has claimed the patio door itself for his own.  And Ronin is laying in a heap on the living room floor.

 It's amazing how comfortable cats can get.  

We have decided that since tomorrow is Father's Day, a nice, yummy cake is needed for the picnic that we are planning.  I didn't have enough ingredients for some of the cakes that I wanted to make so we settled on a Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake.  And when it's cooled it will have a nice Peanut Butter Crunch Frosting.  YUM!

For the cake, I have this recipe:
1 C softened butter
1 3/4 C white sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C milk
2 1/2 C AP flour
6 tbsp baking cocoa powder (I used Nestle)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate baking chips (either semi-sweet or milk )
2 tbsps flour for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your 13x9 inch baking pan with a non-stick cooking spray.  Sift together in a large mixing bowl flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time, making sure they are nicely incorporated, then stir in the vanilla.  Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with milk, mixing until just incorporated.  

In a small mixing bowl, mix together the chocolate chips and flour just until the chips are completely dusted with flour.  This keeps them from settling to the bottom of the baking dish when in the oven.  Fold the chips into the batter making sure they get completely mixed through.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, depending on the oven.  Once toothpick comes out clean, pull out and sit on a baking sheet to cool.  

For the frosting:
1/2 C softened butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use honey roasted peanut butter)
3 tsps milk
2 cups powdered sugar
chopped peanuts (peanut topping for ice cream is perfect for this)
Put peanut butter and butter in a bowl and cream together.  Gradually mix in powdered sugar.  Add a little milk if the mixture gets to be too thick.  Beat for 3 minutes until it is nice and smooth.  Frost your cooled cake and top with chopped peanuts to taste.  

 Can't wait to dig in!

Let me know if you make it and what you think!

Have a nice evening.

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