Chicken Water And Craft Fairs

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Colder weather has arrived here in Minnesota, and you know what that means.

Soup!

I made a batch of chicken soup from a grocery-store rotisserie chicken carcass. It was a two day process.

The first day, the chicken was stewed 8-10 hours in the crockpot with garlic, onions, and miscellaneous veg (I actually only had celery). That made the stock.

Day 2, I pulled out all the bones, skin, and old veggies. Then, after going shopping, I put fresh onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in the crock, along with the chicken meat, broth, and plenty of spices. I let that stew for another 8-10 hours.

And voila! After two days of cooking, I had a big batch of chicken water. I mean soup. The blandest soup ever made.

It was very audacious of me to think I could have any sort of culinary success without a tried-and-true recipe.

Anyway, if cold weather means soup, then soup means crackers, and crackers mean cheeses. I love cheeses. After making the grocery store veg run, I made a cheese run.

cheese and crackers

I LOVE CHEESES

The other thing cold weather means is Christmas craft fairs. My niece, S2, e-mailed and asked me if I’d like to participate in the craft fair her kids’ school is putting on.

At first I said no, since I’m retired and it kind of sounded like work. But then No.2 Sis (S2’s mother) pointed out that I have a whole room of my apartment stuffed with craft supplies, and I could possibly turn some of those supplies into cash.

Hmm, was that brilliant or what? I started thinking of the room of “The Vault” instead of “The Studio.”

So I signed up for the craft fair at Nativity of Mary School in Bloomington, Minnesota, which will be from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 9th. And yes, this is a shameless plug.

So far, I’ve made 90 Christmas cards, 40 pairs of earrings, and 3 necklaces. I’ve got almost 2 weeks left, so I’m sure I can get those numbers higher.

My goal is to run out of Christmas paper for card-making.

I’m sure I have too many craft supplies to run out of most of the other card and jewelry components. And remember, this is what I have left after a considerable amount of down-sizing! It’s a little embarrassing.

ENTIRE STOCK OF NECKLACES

ENTIRE STOCK OF NECKLACES

A MESS OF EARRINGS

A MESS OF EARRINGS

hand-made Christmas cards

A SMALL SAMPLING OF CARDS

Stay tuned…

 

 

Mass-produced Birthday Cards, May 2017

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Me and No.2 Sis, on the couch, watching TV and playing on our phones.

No.2 Sis: I’m tired.

Me: Me, too. I found this shade garden on Pinterest.

Sis: I think it’s nap time.

Me: I could grow ferns and hostas.

Sis:

Me: But, for color, I could add blue veronica.

Sis:

Me: Day lilies would add color, too.

Sis:

Me: I wonder if Tiger lilies grow in the shade.

Sis:

Me: OMG! You’re tired, and I’m still sitting on the couch, which is your bed!

Sis: {snore}

I guess once Sis chants the magic words, “nap time”, nothing else is required.

I had a lot of birthday cards to make in May, so I wanted something I could mass-produce. I used Freshly Made Sketches #207.

I found three coordinating designer papers in a feminine pack, and three in a more gender neutral pack. All supplies are from Stampin’ Up.

I cut a 2 inch strip from each piece of paper, then cut each strip into three lengths. I shuffled the papers so each card had a variety of patterns, then glued it all down.

MAY CARDS

MAY CARDS

Added the sentiment and, kapow! shazam! Six cards in less than half an hour.

WITH SENTIMENTS

WITH SENTIMENTS

I can’t wait to get into my own apartment, and I’m sure No.2 Sis feels the same (although she’s been a very generous hostess).

The furniture’s been delivered, so it’ll be as soon as I can get off the pain-killers. Yay!

Stay tuned…

 

 

Birthday Cards, April 2017

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Yesterday was a good day. I was conscious and pain-free, two of my favorite things. Well, in the top 10 at least.

No.2 Sis took me to the orthopedic clinic, where I got a cortisone shot in the right knee, and finally got surgery scheduled with Dr. Jack for the left knee. You know, the knee I’ve been trying to get replaced for the last 9 months, the one I damaged even further in Costa Rica by falling hard in the road.

Then I took a mega-dose of pain pills, as per the recommendation of my general practitioner, Dr. Kitty. She had promised (apologetically) to hurt me during a procedure scheduled for later yesterday. After she got started though, she found out she didn’t need to do the hurty procedure after all. Suh-weeeet.

I treated No.2 Sis to a celebratory dinner at Baker’s Square. (Pie.)

She started reciting a nursery rhyme while I drinking water, and I damn near drowned, laughing. I may have been a little loopy from the pain-killers. It still was a very good day. (Pie. Definitely in the top 10.)

I have a niece and two grand-nieces with birthdays in April. I wanted to get back to making cards. I missed it so much while I was in Costa Rica.

The challenge was to use as little as possible of No.2’s stash, because my stuff is still all packed up.

I bought a paper pad, Fashionably Chic, by Recollections, at Michael’s. I just used some of Sis’s black and white paper, black ink, adhesive, and one stamp. The stamp is the owl from the Stampin’ Up set, Punch Bunch.

Ugh. Her paper trimmer is very dull, so I had trouble making clean, square cuts. Oh yeah, I used Sis’s paper trimmer, too.

I used 3 sketches from Pinterest for the layouts.

The first sketch is from Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge #294.

The second is from Mojo Monday #396.

The third sketch is originally from Quintessentially Me. I couldn’t find this exact sketch, so this a link to all of her card sketches.

If you want to see my Pinterest board with the sketches I’ve collected, click here.

Stay tuned…

Fashionably Chic, Stampin' Up, Punch BunchFashionably Chic, Stampin' Up, Punch BunchFashionably Chic, Punch Bunch

Last Woman Standing

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No.2 Sis looked out at the rain, and the trees being whipped by 30 mile per hour winds and said, “I hear that Costa Rica is such a beautiful country. We must not have seen very much of it.”

TODAY'S VIEW OF LAKE ARENAL AND THE MOUNTAINS BEYOND

TODAY’S VIEW OF LAKE ARENAL AND THE MOUNTAINS BEYOND

This is true. We haven’t toured at all in the months that we’ve lived here.

NEIGHBORING CASITA IN STORM

NEIGHBORING CASITA IN STORM

Instead, we’ve taken turns being sick. This latest bug was delivered by No.3 Bro and his girlfriend just before Christmas.

Then No.1 Sis came down with it. She passed it to her son, Dude, who was visiting. No.2 Sis got it next.

I’m the last one standing. I haven’t gotten it, knock on wood.

We managed to get a grocery order delivered in spite of the lack of an address. The driver called several times to describe where he was, and we guided him to Casa Amarilla.

I’m thinking we should have asked how much the zucchinis weighed before we ordered two of them.

10 POUND ZUKE

10 POUND ZUKE

Know any good zucchini recipes?

Stay tuned…

Meet The Neighbor

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No.1 Sis and I walked down to the main road, merely yards from our houses, to wait for the bus into The Big City. There was already a man standing there. He was tall and scruffy and had no teeth.

MR. NO TEETH (ARTIST'S RENDERING)

MR. NO TEETH (ARTIST’S RENDERING)

We nodded politely to Mr. No Teeth and wished him a good morning. He realized he was among fellow Americans, and started to tell us his Costa Rica story.

Mr. No Teeth had arrived in C.R. about the same time we did, seven weeks ago. He spent the first week at motel on the Caribbean coast.

I felt some stinging sensations on my feet.

As he was leaving the motel to catch the bus to San Luis, he locked the keys in his room, as per the landlord’s instructions. Unfortunately, he realized too late that he had locked his only suitcase in the motel room, too.

The feet-stinging was getting more frequent. I looked down, and saw that my feet were swarming with fire ants. I shook and stamped my feet to try to dislodge the little buggers.

Mr. No Teeth continued his story without interruption. He narrated how, even though he had locked all his worldly possessions in his motel room, he didn’t want to miss the bus. He left the bag inside and got on the bus, which took him hundreds of miles away.

Meanwhile, the ants were stinging me like crazy. I bent over in half, a feat I can only accomplish in the most dire of emergencies, and started picking ants off my feet and crushing them, one at a time. My alarmed No.1 Sis dug through her backpack and found some bug spray.

Mr. No Teeth continued his story, oblivious to all the panicked gyrations occurring a few feet in front of him.

He indicated the outfit he was wearing. It was, he said, a thirty year old tee shirt given to him by his wife (now ex-wife) and warm-up pants loaned to him by his neighbor.

The ants coughed a little at the the bug spray, and then laughed, crawling deeper into my shoes. I took off my shoes and beat my own feet with them.

Mr. No Teeth called the motel after arriving here in San Luis. He asked the landlord to mail his suitcase to him. It’s been six weeks now, and he still hasn’t received his bag. Imagine that.

I wanted to go up to him, grab him by the thirty year old tee shirt and scream in his face, “You don’t knowingly drive hundreds of miles from everything you own, then ask for it to be mailed to you IN A COUNTRY WITHOUT MAIL SERVICE, YOU STUPID GIT!”

He was fortunate that I was still preoccupied with doing the roadside Hokey Pokey.

The Hokey Pokey. It really is what it’s all about.

MORE OF "DOWNTOWN" SAN LUIS

MORE OF “DOWNTOWN” SAN LUIS

Stay tuned…

No.1 Sis And The Broken Housekeeper

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Included in our crazy rent here in Costa Rica ($675 for me and $600 for No.1 Sis) is a housekeeper once a month.

We’ve been here a month, and Sis has already broken the housekeeper.

MI CASA & SAILORS ON LAKE ARENAL

MI CASA & SAILORS ON LAKE ARENAL

The housekeeper’s name is Mayra, and she came to my house on Wednesday. Even with my limited Spanish and her lack of English, I managed to communicate which bedrooms and bathrooms needed to be cleaned and where all the supplies were. I also said I was going out and I’d return before 3:00. I knew that’s when she had to catch the bus for home.

I went to lunch with No.1 Sis, and came home about 2:00. Mayra left about 3:00. All good.

On Friday, Mayra came to clean No.1 Sis’s house. Sis asked me if Mayra had brought herself a lunch on Wednesday. I told that I didn’t think so. As a matter of fact, when I returned from lunch that day, Mayra had said, “Yo faim”, and rubbed her stomach. Then she chuckled and went about her business.

The thing you have to know about Ticos (Costa Ricans) is that they’re very non-confrontational. They don’t want to embarrass you, or make you feel uncomfortable. So “I’m hungry” is a pretty broad hint.

The thing you probably already know about most Americans is that we’re pretty direct. Hell, I can be damn obtuse even when people are direct with me. I don’t do subtle.

So it took Mayra’s comment about being hungry put together with Sis’s question about lunch for me to realize it was my responsibility to provide lunch for Mayra. Epic fail.

On Friday, before Sis and I went to lunch, we asked Mayra if we could bring her back something from the restaurant (making her eat our cooking would have been cruel). A salad with chicken, perhaps? Perfecto. No.1 Sis for the win.

But then, No.1 Sis went above and beyond. She gave Mayra a tip. Insisted. Mayra did the Minnesota refusal (say no three times) and Sis finally had to tuck the money into her bag. Mayra responded with many thanks and hugs and kisses.

So you see my dilemma. I’m between a rock and a hard place, with a broken housekeeper. Of course, I’ll feed Mayra next time she’s here, but if I don’t give her a tip, I look very cheap. If I do give her a tip, I’ll get hugs and kisses, which will make me very uncomfortable.

What should I do?

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

 

Laurel’s Casita

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A lot has happened in the last six weeks!

I had a bon voyage party, I retired from my job at “The Company”, I had another bon voyage party…

I sold my car, Gypsy Blue, to No.5 Bro. Perhaps I should say I gave him Gypsy, because he hasn’t paid me yet. Perhaps I should check my bank account before I say he hasn’t paid me yet…

I got a new computer. Her name is Pinkie Tuscadero. Pinkie is the reason I haven’t been able to get into my blog for so long. Apparently, I didn’t transfer my passwords correctly.

Now I’m living here in Costa Rica. Maybe I should change my blog name to Laurel’s Casita? Would I have to go through the whole password debacle again? No, thanks.

When I moved to Costa Rica on September 1st, I was accompanied by No.1 Sis, two of her adult children, and No.2 Sis.

NO.2 SIS AND NO.1 SIS IN FRONT OF TREE WITH BIG-ASS LEAVES

NO.2 SIS AND NO.1 SIS IN FRONT OF TREE WITH BIG-ASS LEAVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saw some local fauna…

MONKEY, TOUCAN, SPIDER, CHICKENS

MONKEY, TOUCAN, SPIDER, CHICKENS

…and some amazing flora, even beyond the tree with the big-ass leaves.

SOME KIND OF FLOWER, NOT PETUNIAS, ANOTHER KIND OF FLOWER

SOME KIND OF FLOWER, NOT PETUNIAS, ANOTHER KIND OF FLOWER

Now everyone else has gone home, and it’s just me and No.1 Sis.

We’re awakened each morning by the gentle sounds of howling monkeys, barking dogs, and whacking weed whackers.

We’re taking on-line Spanish lessons. We walk to Our Little Town (San Luis) most every day, and bus into The Big City (Tilaran) about once a week to practice on the unsuspecting locals (called Ticos). My most often used phrase is “No entiendo” (I don’t understand).

No.1 Sis writes every day, and I paint. At some point, when I produce something that I like, I’ll share it here. I can’t share anything of No.1 Sis’s, because that would be wrong.

I miss my home-girls (can I say that?) and my Bros and Sis’s. I miss my house, my cat, my car. I miss cable t.v.

But I have the internet, I don’t have to work, and I live in a tropical paradise where the most common phrase heard is “Pura vida!” or “good life!”

Pure vida, it certainly is.

Stay tuned…

 

Whatever Happened To Baby Bella?

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For those of you not familiar with the Twin Cities area, let me clue you in. It’s big.

Although St. Paul is hemmed in by the Mississippi River to the east and Minneapolis to the west, Minneapolis is free to spread unchecked to the north, west and south, and has done so.

No.2 Sis and I live in Cottage Grove, a far southeastern suburb of St. Paul.  Yesterday No.2 had a massage appointment in Woodbury, an eastern suburb, and I booked us for a mani-pedi soon afterward in Brooklyn Park, a far northeastern Minneapolis suburb.

That was a mistake. I thought I was booking the salon in Bloomington, a southern suburb of Minneapolis, because we needed to go to a lamp store there. Oops.

So I met Sis in Woodbury, dropped my car at the massage place, we drove up to the mani-pedi, then down to the lamp store, bought lamp shades, had lunch at a nearby restaurant, and drove home, all before rush hour. We put over 80 miles on the car, and spent about an hour-and-a-half on the road.

Around 8:30 p.m., Sis asked me, “Where’s your car?” Shit. We left Gypsy Blue at the massage place in Woodbury. Sigh. Getting old and forgetful is no picnic.

But that’s not what this post is about. I realized that in all the hubbub of selling the house and preparing to Costa Rica, I didn’t tell you whatever happened to Bella, my crazy cat.

I’m convinced that Bella has post traumatic syndrome disorder. She’s been very, very slow to warm up to anyone, including me. She’s jumpy as hell. She’s hyper-vigilant. What can I say? She’s a mess but I love her.

When I decided to go to Costa Rica, I knew Bella couldn’t come along. Although it’s legal and relatively easy to bring your pets to C.R., I knew it would traumatize my baby too much.

I called Feline Rescue, the organization I had adopted Bella from, and they agreed to put an ad for her on their website. They suggested that I write a bio for her, and send pictures if I had them.

baby bella-1 baby bella-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did I have pictures? I snort in your general direction.

I’d recently read on Sarah Petruno‘s blog how to release things/people when you’re torn about doing so. She suggested writing a letter to the thing/person, thanking them for all the good things they brought to your life and wishing them the best in the future.

I wrote the letter to Bella and used it for her bio on the Feline Rescue website. Even though I included all of Bella’s personality quirks (PTSD) in the letter and adult cats don’t usually get much interest, three people called about Bella the very first day.

The first to call Feline Rescue were Bill and Mary, a retired couple who had experience with Siamese cats. They came to meet Bella, and they fell in love. I thought it was a great success because, even though B. hissed at them, she actually let Bill and Mary pet her!

I had to get Bella’s teeth fixed and give her some recovery time, so her new parents picked her up a couple of weeks later. I gave them her tower, her brand new litter box, and a box of toys and food. They packed it into their car and waited outside for me to bring Bella Luna out.

I picked up the cat, and carried her to her kennel, which was hidden around a corner. As soon as she saw the kennel she started screeching and fighting to get away from me.

I grabbed her by the scruff of her neck, but my grip wasn’t close enough to her skull. She turned and sunk her teeth deep into my hand. I stuffed her into the kennel and pried her jaws off of my hand.

No.2 Sis was there for moral support, so she took Bella out to the car. I stayed inside and tried to staunch the flow of blood.

It was traumatic for both of us, but I’m sure she’s settled happily into her new home by now.

Baby Bella, Bella Luna, Bubba. I miss you sweet, fuzzy girl.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

 

 

SOLD!

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The last month has been crazy busy with getting the house (Laurel’s Cottage) ready to sell.

It went on the market Friday about noon. By Saturday at 4:00 I was whining, “Why is it taking so long to sell?” By Saturday at 6:00, it was sold.

I got my full asking price after 30 hours on the market.

Thanks to my nephews, Jamie and Jake, for moving furniture and hauling away junk.

Thanks to my nephew, Steve, for drilling all the holes for cabinet and drawer hardware (35 knobs).

Thanks to No.3 Bro, for being my realtor (and for apologizing that the house was on the market so long).

Thanks to No.1 Sis, No.2 Sis and No.8 Sis for helping me paint.

No.1 showed up to paint in nice clothes, so I gave her a shirt that fit her like a dress. She took her shirt and pants off and set them aside. No.3 Bro came by to check on our progress so No.1 put her pants back on before I let him in. She and No.3 Bro chatted so long, that No.8 yelled at No.1, “Take your pants off and get back to work”! Bro took that as his cue to leave.

Special big hugs to No.2 for spending every free moment in the last month helping me declutter, and to No.8 Sis for staging the house so beautifully!

My next adventure is a secret to be revealed soon.

Here are some before and after photos highlighting No.8 Sis’ fantastic staging.

QUEEN BEDROOM FINAL "BEFORE"

QUEEN BEDROOM FINAL “BEFORE”

QUEEN BEDROOM FINAL "AFTER"

 

 

 

QUEEN BEDROOM FINAL “AFTER”

queen bath-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUEEN BATH FINAL “BEFORE”

QUEEN BATH FINAL "AFTER"

QUEEN BATH FINAL “AFTER”

More pictures and final bag count coming soon!

Stay tuned…

On My Own, or 362*

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I suddenly realized that my left stride was much shorter than my right stride when I found myself walking down the hall nearly sideways. Must be all the physical labor I’m putting into prepping the house for sale.

A visit to Dr. Bob, the chiropractor, fixed me up. Thank Goddess. If it had gotten any worse, I’d have only been able to walk in circles.

No.2 Sis wasn’t able to help me this weekend, so I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be motivated to continue my great progress in clearing the Art Studio. I did quite well on my own, though!

I packed 5 more boxes for Half Price Books, 1 box for the thrift store, and delivered 2 boxes of stamping supplies to No.2 Sis, including all of my stamples (stamps + samples = stamples). That’s what she gets for not being there; she has to take some of my junk.

I also dumped 2 bags of recycling and 2 bags of garbage into their respective bins.

That means my total boxes, bags and small pieces of furniture cleared out of the house since January, 2014, equals 362*. Not bad!

Stay tuned…

*I also killed a hideous, hairy spider. I didn’t count it as a bag, even though it was quite large.