Monday, December 19, 2016

Putting 2016 to Bed! Cowboy Campfire Coffee Break Challenge

Wow, I hadn't realized how long it had been since I posted. Won't bore you with the details, but family health issues were just around the corner, at the time of the last post in February. The Lord was good, friends prayed, and there was a best possible outcome. If you raised a prayer, thank you very much. If you wished I'd post again. Thank you very much.

I have been up to my ears in hope, and seeking to escape reality! :) If you are delighted about the change of power in January let's just leave that at I'm not. But life goes on...

One of my personal favorite escape hatches has been fantasizing (based on no sales at all) about success with my Cowboy Campfire Coffee Break pattern created and offered most of 2016. At this point I've given away about 10 patterns, of the 100 I printed(fantasizing - my old friend) So, even though I've had finished ones AND patterns up for sale, without a single sale of either, the best I could comfort myself with was they were undiscovered. So.... here is an opportunity for you. Plus WHO DOESN'T LOVE COWBOYS?

I will give away 10 patterns to the first 10 people to request to join the Challenge, and ship it to you for free. :)

There are some things that are required in return, although how I will enforce these requirements requires an over active conscience on your part. so... try to restrain yourself, if you don't sew or have more good intentions than finished projects. :)
  1. You have until  not quite July 4th to finish your contest entry. As soon as 2 people or hopefully more request a pattern I'll mail them out. After 10 people request a pattern, you can still buy a pattern over at my Etsy shop Cotton Eyed Jo. If you buy a pattern, you can participate in the Challenge, but until all 10 are requested, why not just sign up? and get one for free... Free or paid you will have what you finish!
  2. There will be prizes for all entries that I have an address for, so a request with out an address can't receive a pattern. A conversation through Etsy shop will be the best way to submit the address privately.
  3. For the first part of the Challenge, I urge you to upcycle some old jeans, a favorite shirt, skirt, or whatever. If you have to use all new items you can, but most all of us have something to donate or discard from the closet..... just look.
  4. I've sewn for a lot of my life, so while the pictures, patterns, and directions seem clear to me, they may be insufficient for others. If you have a question, I encourage you to contact me via my Etsy shop conversations.
  5. By June 30th I need to get a digital picture of the Cowboy Coffee Break Set ©Cotton Eyed Jo 2016
  6. Submission of a photograph grants me the right to post it on my blog. (I'll Probably do this 👀 close to when I receive them. To whip up competition)👀
  Around July 4th I'll post the winner, and tell who wins the grand prize, which will include some materials to make more of the sets, and my written permission to list finished sets online in any amount, provided that you credit me as the designer. If you do mass production of the Cowboy Coffee Break Set ©Cotton Eyed Jo 2016 We can discuss how profits will be divided. ;)

So free pattern  for first ten to request it, just for the asking, plenty of time to complete your entry/entries, and a decent chance to win probably a medium flat rate box with plenty of materials to create whatever you want, but helpful in creating additional Cowboy Coffee Break Set ©Cotton Eyed Jo 2016.  Check out my Etsy Shop for inspiration, upcycling of old jeans, etc encouraged, and lets make 2017 the year of the Cowboy! All submissions will be honored, are not secret, and may also receive a recognition prize for participation. Since this may be fewer than 10 or more than 2000 LOL! I'm deliberately being vague here.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Food Allergies and Egg Substitute ~ Aquafaba

Today, Leap Day 2016 is our Granddaughter's 2nd/8th Birthday! Her parents hosted a wonderful birthday party for her over the weekend, and are going to let me fix the Leapday dinner and birthday cake.

Egg sensitivity is not unusual in young children, and in fact her sensitivity to eggs by 2 years of age, was one of the first warning signs that food allergies were one of the important things to consider when making birthday cakes for her or other family members.

She's okay with egg inclusion in recipes now, but is definitely allergic to nuts of all kinds.
However her younger brother, almost 2 is sensitive to eggs. Luckily for me, during the last 8 years I've learned how to adapt some recipes and even found a few that were egg free with regard to cakes. Google recipes for Chocolate Pudding Cake as an example... great as if you are a grandma, probably your pantry will contain most or all of the ingredients. This one is a great reward for snow shovelers too, and takes not all that much time to prepare and bake.

Recently, I heard a reference to AquaFaba spelling may be incorrect, but google can set that straight too.  Meringue? Are you kidding me?

I'm making "you gotta be kidding me cake" for her birthday, normally easy peasy to do, but without the eggs? So I looked into aquafaba a bit via google, and found out (at least in my head, that the drained fluid from 1 can of garbanzo beans = approx 1 egg.

Since 3 eggs were needed, I decided to make a crunchy garbanzo bean snack for all of us to enjoy too.(not necessarily with the cake) I added the crunchy beans to an "Earth Day Salad" Livvie's naming of a green salad with carrots, celery, etc. and also just had some available for taste testing.

When I drained 3 cans of generic garbanzo beans I got about 1 quart of fluid. Having baked numerous birthday cakes in my 69 years, that looked like WAY TOO MUCH liquid! Turned out the straight substitution of aquafaba for eggs, was too much as this particular recipe also has a can of cherry pie filling.... oh, yeah, baby! Tried to link it, but somehow or other when I copied the URL something went missing. The information below was copied directly from that site, so I am including the link above for your further information(great photos and narration!) but also to *footnote or give credit to the person who conducted the actual investigation.

So, to summarize I needed egg substitute for 3 large eggs and egg volume in liquid measure for eggs- "Large: 3 1/2 tablespoons (1.75 liquid ounces)"  so times 3 eggs would be 10.5 tablespoons according to my head math, verified by a calculator. Will try to remember to add a photograph of cake to post.... 

 Results of the baking were good, but the cake was a little too damp. So will try again using only 2/3 of the aquafaba if adding pie filling to the recipe. Seriously, this cake is delicious, and so easy to make.  

The crunchy garbanzo recipe was a hit with all of us except the "baby" He didn't get to try them, as I thought and his mama agreed they might be a choking hazard. 

Will definitely be trying the meringue receipe  from above linkie using aquafaba.... probably for a lemon meringue pie! :)

Friday, January 29, 2016


 Cotton Eyed Jo has been sewing and working on a new pattern for release this weekend.

Just in time for the Houston Rodeo, I'll be listing some items at both my Etsy shop, and our Ebay store .  

Live auction on Ebay began a few minutes ago, and will end on Sunday, February 3, 2016.
This is the only time this particular set will be on Ebay.

If it doesn't sell, I'll move it over to my Etsy shop(linked above). Good luck if you decide to bid on it!

This first pattern will have patterns for the steak/bacon platter and plates as well as the "campfire". I will also be offering pattern kits which will be sold seperately from the basic pattern, but contain  a selection of fabrics to help create that campfire feel. Your littlest buckeroo's will probably just toss around the cups and plates unless someone honkers down with them, and serves up some milk and cookies. ;)

Imaginary play is a great way to increase vocabulary. If you live on a ranch, little ranch hand will start hearing the family stories... like the time the cow escaped... or whatever adventures you want to spin. Shoot you could even use these in a classroom, to introduce a Tall Tales literature unit...

There are variations that you could do with the basic platter and plates to make something special for a young camper, deer hunter, or pirate. In fact, the kits I'll offer will give you a chance to chose from many types of heroic adventurers!

My next pattern, which will include cups, a Coffeepot, and other campfire accessories will require a mother or grandmother's patience and care in construction. They will require some hand-sewing to achieve their special looks... and are quite honestly a bit time intensive. But I've machine washed and air dried my coffee pot! (truly just for imaginative play) It will not hold liquids! But will add fun and more vocabulary opportunities!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

What was old is new again :)

One of the benefits of living past middle age, is that all kinds of trendy things will be your second or perhaps even third exposure to the "paradigm", skills, and of course supplies.

Apparently macramé is becoming trendy again, especially catching my magpie eye is the type called micro macramé loved this pattern, and although it has been years since I knotted up plant hangers, bags, and belts ~ a little practice should have me up to speed. An alternate tutorial for a simpler bracelet project is

However, just now, I'm having a reunion with Rughooking. Summer has traditionally been my quilting time. And several projects are cut and ready for when school starts. :) yes, grandmother's look forward to that too. But last weekend, after a 4 day workshop with Diane Stoffel, my Rughooking jets got ready for ignition and lift off.

Ugh, I had hoped to post a pic directly from my iPad, but it will require an app when trying to do that from this end. I'll end for the moment, as I go do a workaround I'm able to do. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tropical Storm Bill and a great Rainy day sewing project

Did you ever have an idea of something you wanted to make, that didn't turn out quite like you'd hoped, but in trying to figure out something to rescue it you came up with something you like even better? Voila! This block I'm calling 10th Anniversary Basket, and it won't be a quilt, just a mini quilt. I haven't seen it done anywhere else, so think perhaps the idea is my own intellectual property wise.

 Our Daughter and Son~in~Law will celebrate their 10th in almost exactly a month.  So I'm ahead of the game at this point.  I used a left over block from their wedding quilt for the handle, and created the basket, from two parts of receiving blocks. In each arc of the basket sides, I included a small piece of baby clothes. and the fabric which were representative of the two of them. His, although he is not a morning person is the dark green and purple morning glory piece. Hers is a pale periwinkle and most easily spotted on the left side of the basket. Nestled between the two pieces you'll spot a pink, brown, and white striped knit sleeper on the right, and a pale blue portion of his Baptismal coverall on the left. Don't gasp, most of it is going to be securely sewn into a memory quilt, so I cut the tiny piece from the back. I generally make memory quilts from baby and toddler clothes into an actual quilt design. But lately I've seen a newer style, where most of the actual piece of clothing is sewn to a backing. So this is more my own style. It was supposed to be a heart, and does have somewhat that shape, but I like the idea of a basket so much better. 10 years holds lots of memories, and their two kids! :)

Another thing I plan to do is use some of the scraps for a mat for some of their babies pictures. When I finally get something together, will share that too.

The feeder bands are finally starting to bring in heavier rain, so I'm off the computer and back to work at the sewing machine... while we still have electricity. :) I know the picture is terrible,  but I may try to create a pattern for it.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Supernatural Update - Hellatous

Hellatous is the time period between the end of the season finale, and the premiere of season ELEVEN! That's right, the series has been reuped, early announcement all the way back to January or so. Pretty cool, not sure how many seasons Bonanza ran, another story about a  dad and in that case his 3 sons, but impressive for a post millennium series. For a quick parody recap of the season(sort of) and definitely the central theme of Dean and the mark of Cain, MOC, enjoy this clip! More below! If you are into behind the scenes info, click the link at the end of the parody for an additional hour or so of content.

DH and I are in negotiations about how much costuming I will be able to talk him into for next year's Con here in Houston, Valentine's Day Weekend, and "our"(my) idea for Photo Op. :) Seriously, how did I ever get so lucky to have him for a spouse?

The very end of the finale showed a release of  The Darkness! I personally hope that they will come up with a musical theme for the words "The Darkness" One of my favorite episodes of Sesame Street had a parody of Indiana Jones called I think "Oklahoma Smith" they were looking for the U(yew) sound or possible the golden triangle. It's been years since Livvie and I watched Sesame Street. But to get back to the point, every.time someone said "Oklahoma Smith" a brief version of the Indiana Jones music played. Totally fun! Now while that might get too campy for the whole season, done right, it could really add to an episode. Variations on that musical theme might be playful, creepy, or even downright scary...  Premiere of Season 11 is scheduled for October 7(Wednesday) 8pm Central, do the math for your timezone. CW is channel 39 for us on Direct TV, but is probably something else for you. Google is a great way to find it in your city!

The tweets about the finale, as always were varied. But if you've never watched Supernatural, this summer would be a good time to give it a try. TNT plays 3 episodes a day M-F, which kind of explains why I could seriously become a fan girl only after retirement. Some of my favorite episodes, which of course, doesn't mean they'll appeal to you are.... Mystery Spot, Changing Channels, Supernatural Christmas, SwanSong, Lazarus Rising, and as my dh would tell you pretty much all of them. He finally sat down and started watching them with me, as he kept asking me, "is this one you haven't seen before? and getting the reply, "No, but it is a really good episode!" Go figure, :)

Fair warning, my tweets @cottoneyedjo are mostly about Supernatural, the natural world, or  political. I'm more independent than Democrat, and really loving Bernie Sanders, this time around. I personally oppose Secession, although I wouldn't personally miss the folks that do support it.  I don't support the new Texas Law that allows open carry of handguns, but hey this sort of thing happens when you live in the Lone Star State. No offense intended to hunters. Come on, SuperNatural is a show about hunters, and I do have an interior warrior princess.

But in the real world, guns are not my thing, and shouldn't be so common place to little one's eyes at CVS, church, wherever folks will be carrying them. You are welcome to disagree with me... I'm proud our grandkids are Native Texans, I'm only and ever will be a first generation, Texan! But growing up in the midwest, my views often vary radically from the frontier ethic that still hangs around. Houston, thank the Lord is a civilized town! But we have lots of crime. My weapon of choice would be the frying pan!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Puzzle Time

One of my happiest memories of childhood was putting together jigsaw puzzles. Don't feel sorry for me, and I won't feel sorry for you if you don't enjoy them. It may be generational, remember we didn't have as many ways to entertain ourselves. Books and Puzzles were fun not chores, and our family generally worked on a 1000 piece puzzle on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. After church on those two days, there was still lots of time to devote to finishing a puzzle.

While my sister was here in February, we put together most of a puzzle(1000 pieces) from a painting by Charles Wysocki. He called it, "Maggie, the mess maker" and the puzzle looks like my sewing room on a good day.
  •  First turn over all pieces
  • find the edges and assemble them
  • sort by colors or items you can see in the puzzle picture
  • fill in the blanks, :)

 We didn't have time to finish the puzzle, but had a great time working on it while she was here. In the hours while she was traveling, the puzzle gave me something to do so I wouldn't worry about her while she was flying home. The last time we were together was at our daughter's wedding. So another 10 year anniversary and a lot of long overdue hugs. We'll hopefully see each other again this fall or next year. I owe her a return visit. Fall seems like a great time for that. We've lived in TX for 30+ years, and fall days here are often not that thrilling, and occur in December. One of the funny things was that I'm wearing the same shirt in 2 pics taken over 10 years apart. I do love that shirt, it has wonderful colors and holographic film dots all over it!

No longer will I have a feline assistant, biting the thread as it rolls off the spool, or pushing pieces of cut fabric at me as I chain piece... KirbyKat truly did that while I was working on the Double Wedding ring quilt I made for our daughter and her husband. That quilt, and they will have their 10th anniversary this summer. :) Buddy another furbaby we have lost to the Rainbow Bridge. Liked to sit and watch and occasionally bat the chain piecing coming out on his side. BobKat is not my kat, his heart belongs to my husband. Plain and simple.

We have two wonderful grandchildren who have slept on and under that quilt. And it is currently "home base" for grandson who is just about to switch over to full fledged walking. A year passes quickly as you watch a baby growing and changing. I looked on this drive and that, trying to find a picture of their quilt, or one of the baby on the quilt... Maybe on some future post.
This picture was taken of me, the year I made the quilt. I'm cheesing it up in front of my 60 red carnation bouquet that my husband sent. I love the smell and longevity of carnations. He sends me a birthday bouquet every 10 years. It is a wonderful bouquet and of course, gets bigger each time. When I was 50, my principal at that time, delivered the bouquet  to me, and was clearly impressed. Because less than a month later she received a bouquet of 50 red roses. I wouldn't have swapped mine for roses, carnations last and so has our marriage! We are coming up on 50 years of marriage.