Category Archives: DIY

Create, Explore, Bring New into the World

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For what form of expression am I most grateful? Well, the answer to that interesting question would be Words. The written word and worlds that they create are my favorite form of expression.  I love to write … especially if I can keep the fierce critic in my head quiet. It’s always lurking, always judging, always comparing ready to offer its negativity to encourage me to stop trying.    I’ve named it Shrew and often yell at it as did Smeagol to his Gollum looking into his mirrored reflection … “Leave and Never come back”!

It does come back, but now that I’ve named it, and imagined its form as small and weak and powerless though it keeps trying to live by sucking life off of me … sort of like Voldemort’s weak succubus fed off of poor professor Quirrell … it is easier to dismiss, and make it be quiet.

Like any negative thought once exposed to the light the darkness flees.  So whatever or whoever your inner critic is,  kick it out of it power place, and let yourself go free to express your art, music, dance, design, cook, garden, or like me, write … Just let go, create, and send it out to the universe.  You know we are meant to create, to explore and to bring new into the world.

So, What’ll You Do with Your Poop in an Emergency?

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That's a '53 Chevy under that blanket of snow!

That’s a ’53 Chevy under that blanket of snow!

How are you holding up with the snow and rain and sleet and freezing slush blanketing the country? Here in southwest Idaho it’s been a bumper crop of snow … with a few breaks between storms to take advantage of the ski hills or nordic tracks.  We’ve been feeding the quail which are hunkered up under bush boughs  … the birds of prey are on the prowl (hawk and bald eagles). Their winter feed sources are under 3 feet of snow here in the out fields.

I went to the grocery the other day to pick up a some milk, eggs, and fresh greens … I have never seen the parking  lot spaceless before, nor the store so full of people with overflowing shopping carts. It felt like a run on a bank when the stock market collapsed. People were ‘preparing’ for the snow siege … the school district has called snow days 5 times this week and church was even cancelled last Sunday. Then I looked down at my little carrying basket with the 3 or 4 items in it and I realized that I wasn’t among the panic’d. While I was standing in line looking at the packed carts I said to myself, “Keri, you didn’t have to stop, you could have gone without these few things in this basket”. I’ll have to remember that and just be content at home where I have sufficient food, water, emergency lighting and heat to get through a snow storm or …

One thing I hadn’t thought of, but now I am … what about (stage whisper) if the toilet facilities fail. I don’t know about you, but I take that convenience for granted.  So what IF it failed? It could gross a person out thinking about it, but really? It’d be more gross when it happens, which it will when we least expect it to happen. Hopefully not today.

I went into Google and Pinterest search mode and found LOTS of ideas, plans, and pictures.  It seems a lot of people are worried about poop and are prepared to do something about it.

What did I find? If you have space and money you could buy a portapotty and put it on the shelf, but those need water … do you have enough water stored for just using the toilet?   For longer term waste management how about a composting toilet? Did you know you can purchase a toilet seat & lid combination that fits on a 5 or 6 gallon bucket? The lid locks down so it doesn’t slip at that awkward moment. Then there is the duct tape a Heavy-Duty garbage bag into your toilet bowl plan (after turning off the water pipes), just put a few cups of kitty litter in the bottom to help with smell & absorption. Or you could buy a case or two of Travel John bags … these I’ve used camping when I didn’t want to take a midnight streak to the outhouse and vouch they are maaaavelous!

So here’s my plan … buy Travel John Bags (a case I think), and that lock top toilet seat dohickey. I have everything else around the house. Wheww, that’s a weight off my mind.

Don’t laugh … well, at least not too much.  So, what’ll you do with your poop in an emergency?

Today's footwear ...

Today’s footwear …

It’s still snowing. Maybe I’ll go brew up some wicked hot chocolate, stoke the fire, and put together my annual January puzzle.

Life is Good folks!! Stay warm!!

 

 

 

 

Serendipity Builds a Faerie House

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Faerie House Plan … MK Taylor Architect

Yesterday, I took MK’s plan and wandered into a world of faerie and dreams.  A few weeks ago when some of my grands were visiting I asked them to design some fairy houses so we could build a village in the back aspen grove. Mostly I got rolled eyes, but MK took me up on my request … he left his plan for me on the desk in his room.

After several days and many thoughts on how to build his modern design I came upon a dead-end.  A major sticking point was  building a box … a box to become a home for spiders and bugs instead of faeries.  It needed to be solid. My last thought was that I might have to buy a large 10 x 10 post and cut it down to size and shape and then try to add some character to it … I wasn’t too excited by that thought … so I just put it out there, knowing the right bits and pieces would eventually come together to bring MK’s plan to life.

The perfect farie house

The Perfect Faerie House

Serendipity! Last week I was sauntering down the Weiser River Trail near our Council Idaho place and found this perfect piece of wood.

It was the tail-end of a rotted rail road tie buried beneath a bush. When I spied it hidden in the shadows my mind shouted, PERFECT! Bulky and awkward I carried it baby style over my hip hauling it about 1/2 mile before tossing it in the back of the Escape.

Yesterday, the weather was perfect, nothing was demanding my thoughts nor my time … so I gathered all of the bits and bobbles I had been collecting, tuned into a Pandora station and 2 hours later … voila!! The perfect faerie house! I think it’s perfect. I haven’t heard from the architect yet.

I love bits and pieces kind of days when everything I’ve sent into the universe comes together, perfectly.

 

 

 

Redrocks to Reality

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Island in the Clouds Hike ... Canyonlands National Park

Island in the Sky Hike … Canyonlands National Park

From redrocks to reality. Sigh. My list is waiting, haunting the corners of my psyche, upsetting the balance restored from days in the sun and red rocks of southern Utah.  I had actually forgotten I had a list for a few days … So before we hit the road last week I had a killer long to-do list … I’m sure it mimic’d ones you all made (since it was a Monday morning). Well, of the 27 items on my list … I actually finished one.  The rest of the day I ended up checking items off of my Sweetie’s list.  (Yes, I’m a push-over). However, I must admit, they could/should have been on my list (but then it would have been so long I would have ignored it and marathoned Dr Who) … so, at the end of the day I added them to my list so I could check them off. I admit I love the feeling looking through shining windows and non-dog-foot-printed floors. Check! Check!

Check! Check! 2 more off MY  list before we escaped …  they weren’t onerous ‘chores’, but joyful artistic endeavors. I gave myself a new present … like first quarter Christmas … I setup and turned on my brand-new embroidery sewing machine and pieced a quilt top (for one of my beautiful granddaughters (that would be you BayLa)) while dove-tail tasking … applying oil to these solid maple dough boards Sweetie and I made for his sisters.  (The oil the final touch).

Dough boards? What the heck is a dough board? Well, if you didn’t have a grandma who made bread or rolled pasta,  you mightn’t  know it’s ‘THE’ place to knead bread dough, roll out noodles, make pierogi, or pour creamy polenta to cool (or eat hot).

First set of Dough Boards Finished!

First set of Dough Boards Finished!

Lots of Dough Boards!

Lots of Dough Boards!

How do you use a dough board? Pull it out of the closet, lay it on your counter-top, tip the dough out of the mixing bowl onto the lightly floured board and knead away.  Beside keeping the flour corralled the dough doesn’t stick  like it does on your counter-top.  Love, love ’em.

Guess it’s time to move … the sky is lightening and my mint tea is cold … time to tackle the Boise ‘list’ as compared to the Council ‘list’ …. Yikes! I realized I have two (2) lists!!

Dr Who anyone?

 

Winter Nights & Stormy Days

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It’s an early morning rising today … dark as the inside of a cow (daylight savings time? yeck). I’m planning a XC ski day a bit later…and until the sun brightens the sky I decided to join the thousands of Etsy storefront owners and open my own… Check it out.  What is it  called? … (what else) … Wanderingkeri on Etsy**

Handcrafted Black Walnut Spoons Fit & Balanced Deep bowls, One of a kind. It'll last a lifetime

Handcrafted Black Walnut Spoons Fit & Balanced
Deep bowls, One of a kind.
It’ll last a lifetime

There are two ‘products’ …  Killer Cool Urban Shopping Bags and Handcrafted, Rustic, Black Walnut Wood Spoons.  I get nervous just sitting and wasting my time on my computer, or watching a movie at night … remembering my Grandma Penrod, I took up my crochet needle and during long winter nights or soggy spring days I crocheted.  Then, I ‘saw this article on Pinterest’, and thought, “I can do that” … the results of my nervous hands and learning a new skill these ‘products’ are  … Killer Cool Urban Shopping Bags and handcrafted black walnut cooking spoons.

Killer Cool Urban Shopping Bag Handmade. 100 % Cotton. Machine Washable. Each bag is unique/one-of-a-kind

Killer Cool Urban Shopping Bag
Handmade. 100 % Cotton. Machine Washable. Each bag is unique/one-of-a-kind

A few years ago Sweetie and Leonard bought an old, living, black walnut tree from a farmer somewhere south to make gun stocks. They cut the beautiful thing down; Sweetie fell off the trailer while wielding the chainsaw and knocked himself a good one, then the guy they hired to slab the wood took a heart attack and … well, all’s well that ends well (so they say) and the gun stocks are aging and (here is the point) I now have lots of  ‘scrap’ wood to ‘create stuff’ with when an idea noodles my mind.

Well, the sun is almost up and it looks like it’ll be a good day on the XC track at the Ponderosa State Park in McCall Idaho, it’s about an hour from the ranch. Y’all should come up some time and bring your skis or snowshoes.

 

**The profits from Wanderingkeri on Etsy will be donated to the Council Idaho Food Pantry. 

 

 

Hot Scones Anyone?

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IMG_2186Beside the Hi Spot’s  fry sauce, there is another absolutely unique Utah food … Scones. Hot, crispy outside soft inside eaten dripping with honey & butter. My mother used to make us Scones after bread baking … she would save some dough, pull out the frying pan and set out mouths watering in anticipation.  I saw an article the other day talking about Scones … which reminded me that I hadn’t made Scones forever so today I’m going to make a loaf of bread and SCONES!

I don’t bake often anymore because I love homemade bread and can eat a whole loaf standing up in the kitchen before it can cool down.  Then, after I clear the counters and hide the bread, I make SCONES!

Where the name scones came from, I have no idea. That’s just what they’re called. They do look like Indian Fry Bread, but larger and more airy.  I have made Navajo Tacos with day old scone dough and have never been disappointed. In fact, Sweetie, who grew up in Pennsylvania and is a food snob (I say that with love because I grew up in Utah and am a snow snob) often quirks an eye at my, as he calls it, ‘pioneer cooking’, loves scones and Navajo Tacos.

I use my Grandma Penrod’s bread recipe (which she taught me when I was first married, but it is not written down anywhere … oh, I guess some day I should write it down).  Anyway, the recipe is simple, has no oil in it, can be sized from a single loaf to 10 or more, and is almost fool-proof.  Scone making techniques vary depending on who is cooking … some are as large as platters and need to be cut into pieces to eat … mine are medium sized, fried in Crisco (or coconut oil) in my trusty cast iron skillet, which gives it a dark golden amber color.

Check out the pics and see if your mouth doesn’t water … I wish you could smell it!

IMG_2183If you’d like to give making a scone a try, here is my Grandma Flora Eudora Chipman Penrod’s bread recipe. (See I’m writing it down, sort of). If you’re anticipating a follow me to the dot recipe … this ain’t it.  My Grandma told me, that her job in the family, starting when she was 5 years old was to bake the bread each week.  Her bread was heavenly … only once in 40 years has mine reached that level of perfection and I am certain she was coaching me from heaven.

Grandma Flora Eudora Chipman Penrod’s Bread Recipe

(this will yield 1 loaf of bread & 4 scones) size accordingly

About 3 cups unsifted flour (I use unbleached white)

1.5 T dry Yeast (older yeast add a little more … new yeast a little less)

1 to 2 T Sugar

1 T or so of Salt (to taste)

About 2 cups lukewarm water

Sprinkle yeast & sugar onto water, place on top of warm oven until yeast is bubbly

Mix salt & flour

Gently mix yeast & sugar into water once it’s bubbled

SLOWLY Pour water into flour while mixing (by hand or by machine) if it is shaggy add a bit more warm water but not so much to make it gooey

Blend and Knead until dough is smooth but not rubbery (Grandma’s words)

Cover with damp cloth and let rise in a warm spot near the oven until it’s about doubled in size (more or less)

Punch the dough down, knead slightly … cut in 1/2

1/2 for the bread loaf … the rest for scones

Loaf the bread and let rise until it tops the bread pan

Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes until the top is golden.

Fry up a Scone

Quarter the remaining dough and flour the outside (just a bit so it won’t stick to your hand)

Stretch the dough until it is uniformly (sort of) pulled out to the size you want

Heat oil until it almost smokes

Lay the dough into the hot oil … flip once when golden brown

Drain on paper towel then

Slather it with butter and honey and inhale it while it’s hot!

Note: Scone dough can be refrigerated for several days

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Jill of All Trades …

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It’s like this … every once in a while I wish I could watercolor like Georgia O’Keefe, I wish I could ski like Picabo Street, reach the top of world class peaks like Edmund Hillary, create a world of words so real it comes to life forever like J.K. Rowling , or grow a garden like my Grandparents …  then I realize that I could never focus on just one thing to reach their levels of expertise.  It’s not my nature.  I am just a jill of all trades.

I’m a lover of attempting. I’m a “give it a go” girl. I’m a “why not” questioner. I’m an “I think I could do that” DIY not afraid to fail kinda gal. Oh I’ve had my share of epic failures and some pretty good  executions … I love to “do” things.

Miss Megan Lovin' her Gma Keri made quilt!

Miss Megan Lovin’ her Gma Keri made quilt!

This morning I watched a pink sunrise, in a couple of hours Sweetie & I are hitting the slopes for a few turns.  I am excited … we’re hauling our fishing gear inside getting ready for a possible late winter fishing trip and I’m also getting myself prepared for a new project … Over the years I’ve made small quilts for my grandkids … fleece and giant quilt squares…. and saved pieces of fabric from most of them.  So I am attempting my first, full size, pieced quilt top using all of those pieces of cloth.  It’s going to be killer-cool … maybe when I die the grand-kids will have a fight over it.  LOL.

The Fabric ...

The Fabric …

This jill is loving the sun coming up and the day starting … Life is good and I am blessed.