Come On In and Set a Spell

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

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An Interesting Bathroom Update

More Home Renovation from DIY Danie

Danie Berger has spent the months since moving into her new home doing what I suspect most new owners do: making it her own.

This means reassessing the colors, style, changes, etc., that need to be done to make the home reflect the current owner/occupant, not the last. 🙂

One of the first projects she did was to change the upstairs bathroom from a lavender hodge podge into a farmhouse haven. I’m still loving the updated cabinet she did for her towels, etc. The one thing that wasn’t done in that bathroom was tackle the shower / tub area. Considering what she accomplished elsewhere in the room, that made a lot of sense, but the time has come and see what magic she spun:

I have to say there are some interesting inspiration pieces, er, updates here. And, I have to give kudos for the effort put into the area. Not sure I’d be the one to tackle such a project, but the end result is pretty awesome.

You might want to take the time to see what other projects she has been working on or completed in the house. The lady has a eye for style and color and I have to admire her efforts.

Are You In Your Own Way?

I’ve had a bit of an epiphany lately. Actually, possibly, more than one.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, as a result of several tried and true tools going bonkers and giving up the ghost, as it were, I ended up not only replacing them, but picking up some things that I’d put on my long term Thinking About It List.

As those items were delivered and I began to repair, replace and tidy up a bit, I realized that because I had stopped waiting for my opportune moment, and just got on with the job(s), things were actually getting done. I wasn’t waiting for me to get around to making that wall hanging, quilt, or put up mini blinds.

To put it bluntly: I just got on with it. And, you know what? It was worth it!

I realized that the mini blinds just were not going to be hung because, frankly, I really didn’t want them. Maybe another time, but not now. As for the sewing projects, I’m not ready to dive into any at the moment and waiting for me to get ready literally kept putting me on hold.

Sort of a version of what happens when you ‘want’ something. You keep staying in that state of ‘wanting’ and never actually ‘getting’.

Now there is an additional side to this epiphany. Some things actually do take time to happen. I’d been pondering a certain set of gallery wall frames but had nothing to go in them and they ended up being relegated to my “Later” list.

I’ve recently begun to clear out my craft room and I also picked up a couple of sets of designer series paper from Stampin Up. Now, I don’t make enough cards to accommodate a lot of stock on hand, but those papers are luscious!

And then I realized that they were the perfect size for those frames and would be beautiful home decor pieces. And they are!

Now I can feel myself relaxing to think about a wall hanging or two. The roadblocks I put up for myself by Waiting Until The Opportune Moment were gone and opened up a bit of possibility.

The Opportune Moment
The Moral of the Story

If you find yourself stuck and you don’t seem to be getting anywhere, take a moment to stop and look closely at the situation. Did you manage to put yourself in your own way? Are you stopping you from achieving what you want because you are waiting for the perfect situation or the opportune moment?

While everything might not be perfect to get the end results you want, perhaps you can find a solution for now with the idea of updating, upgrading or improving later? The longer you wait the longer you wait.

I hope this helps.

My Favorite Kitchen Tools: The Food Processor

I admit I don’t use mine nearly enough. I know some folks who have never used one and aren’t really sure if they need one. I know some folks only pull it out during the holidays.

It truly has become a work horse in the kitchen, tackling chores that used to be done by hand or maybe with other machines.

What is it? The food processor.

I bought my first one years ago after watching one of the PBS chefs use it to make biscuits and pie dough. I figured if she could do it, so could I. I’ll be honest, I have yet to try either one in my machine but knowing it can be done lends an air of possibility.

Not sure what you can do with one? Check this out:

Possibilities!

If you are looking for an excellent book filled with tips, tricks and recipes, check out The Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz. The 30th anniversary edition is available on Amazon, among other places.

America’s Test Kitchen has compiled a book of their tips, tricks, and recipes in addition to what to look for and consider when buying a food processor. You can find “Food Processor Perfection: 75 Amazing Ways to Use the Most Powerful Tool in Your Kitchen” on Amazon.

Why Have One?

I love to cook, but there are some tasks that I simply do not like. For example: Grating anything. Every grater I’ve ever owned has rusted, taken more of my skin than is reasonably necessary and basically made the job more of a hassle than it is worth. Solution: The grating discs that come with the machine make grating everything easier. Cheese, vegetables, you name it. Simple.

The slicing blade makes prepping potatoes for fries easy, tomatoes might be a bit more difficult – depends upon the ripeness of the fruit and the sharpness of the blade.

Food for Thought

If you aren’t sure about spending a lot of cash on a machine you might not use a lot, do what I did. Once the first machine left the kitchen, I picked up a much less expensive model that I am quite happy with. I don’t use it a lot, but it has all the same features as the more expensive models and is the same size (11 cup) bowl so I have a lot of flexibility. Should I decide I need to move up once again to a higher end model, I can do that, but for now, I’m happy with what I’ve got.

While you might be tempted to go the less expensive route, I do suggest you consider what you might be using yours for. If you are thinking bread or cookie doughs check the reviews Very Carefully. Some machines simply can not handle them.

Also, I would caution to not go for a smaller machine. The standard 11 cup machine allows you a lot of flexibility where a smaller one just doesn’t have the capacity. You end up working harder, which defeats the purpose of the machine, right?

If you want to make meal prep easier and faster, the food processor is the machine to consider. You will be amazed at the range of foods you can prepare in the machine, too.

  • Slicing, chopping or shredding fruits or vegetables
  • Grinding meat
  • Making pie or biscuit dough
  • Making cakes
  • Pureeing fruits or vegetables
  • Making breads
  • Making sorbets or soups

I hope this has helped if you are considering a machine. If you are a user, I’d love to know what you use yours for.

Summer Viewing

Or, What Is There To Watch?

If you are like me, Summer isn’t all about being outside and spending loads of time away from home. Even when there isn’t a pandemic. I don’t do well in heat and my allergies just won’t accommodate all the outdoor flora and fauna.

All that being said, I like to find something I can dive into during the summer months. A few years ago I discovered Agents of S*H*I*E*L*D and it was a magical time! In past years, there was the possibility of catching up with reruns or finding new shows to capture my imagination. And the movies! Oh, my!

Now, we all know this past year has been not only chaotic for pretty much everything, it has kept many of us hanging when it came to series or films. I have no idea how much I’ve lost track of – and there was a time when I had 2 – yes 2 – VCRs fully programmed for each week. Sadly, I miss those days. It says a lot about the state of TV when that isn’t an option.

A Game Plan

Why am I thinking about this now, you ask? Simple. The other day I was browsing Disney+ and discovered, quite by accident, that a film I’d been looking forward to had already dropped on the platform and was waiting for me.

In what can only be described as a ‘head slap moment’, it occurred to me that if I’d overlooked my Watchlist there, what else have I been missing out on?

If you are like me, your Watchlist is probably tucked away, ignored or forgotten.

If you are a long time visitor here, you know I often talk about “Reset Days” – those times when we reset the modem, the Roku box(es) and revisit what we have lined up for channels or services. Well, here is an addendum to the Reset Days.

I’m going a bit old school and sitting down with pen and paper to collect my various Watchlists and combine them into one source where I can keep track of, and hopefully sit down to watch, what is on that master list.

One of the things that stands out about the various platforms is the variety of material they offer. Disney+ covers so much it is almost (?) overwhelming. Acorn and BritBox carry a lot of things most of us in the US are used to seeing on PBS, but they have more available in an easy to access format. PlutoTV has a wide variety of material including music videos and sports – and speaking of sports – Amazon has a lot of sports as well as Paramount+.

I mention this if you are contemplating cutting the cord but someone in your household is devoted to sports. There are a lot options available to help you curb that cable bill and you might not have to pick up a sports platform to do it.

There is also a bit of overlap. America’s Test Kitchen, for example, has its own Roku channel, but you can find episodes over on PlutoTV, Amazon, and PBS. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out there are more options out there, either.

Which brings me back to the free streaming platforms. There are several free options that provide a lot of material covering a wide variety of categories. I’m going to be sure to add them to my Master List as I contemplate summer viewing.

I fully realize that some will think this is a bit silly, and it might be, but I challenge you to take a look at what you’ve added to your own Watchlists and see what you’ve missed or forgotten or ignored. I do have one series (Murdoch Mysteries – AcornTV) that I’ve deliberately tucked aside. The entire season (14) is there, along with all the others, so if you are new to the show, you can watch all of the earlier seasons and dive into the movies, too.

With Summer upon us and everything up in the air, I can now schedule my viewing so I don’t miss things I’ve wanted to see while not getting stuck in that boredom rut where I have no idea what’s on.

Care to join me?

From The Reading Table: Twenty-One Days

Twenty-One Days by Anne Perry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I haven’t read anything from Anne Perry in a very long time. Thanks to a sale over on Audible, I discovered this book and decided to give it a try.

I’m glad I did!

I’m not a fan of cookie-cutter books; they seem a bit lacking when it comes to substance. Perry always provides interesting characters, settings, and situations that provide a lot of food for thought and a mystery that will keep you wondering.

Daniel is 25 and still wet behind the ears and a little unsure of his footing. This is both interesting and a tad annoying.

The client is a pompous [ fill in the blank ] and the first case is relatively straightforward. Or is it?

I found myself thinking I knew the solution, but by the time I got there, I knew I’d been brought along by a master storyteller.

I like Daniel. I like the time period. I like the masterful way Anne Perry asks the questions that make the story exceptional.




View all my reviews

Clean Up, Fix Up, Replace and Repair

Or, everything seems to be falling apart at the same time.

I recently underwent one of those phases where everything seemed to be self-destructing or falling apart all at once. Have you had one of those?

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that my 25+ year old shredder decided it had had quite enough, thank you. Add to it the appliance timer that had kept my small light in the window going for years decided that it, too, was ready for permanent retirement.

When I ventured online to see what was available, I discovered a few other bits and bobs that I decided to add to the order. <shrug> I was on a roll. 🙂

I’m a firm believer that many things fall into place when they are ready. Which is to say, not necessarily when I am ready.

I’ve spent a Very Long Time trying to decide on updates to my window treatment in the living room. I have had a set of ivory lace damask window panels waiting patiently for the new window curtains or drapes to go on the new two track window rods. (Do you get a sense of a theme here?) New as in ‘I haven’t found exactly what I wanted and am also debating about mini-blinds in addition to the curtains.’

Well, thanks to replacing jeans that had self destructed, I got a catalog from BryLane that included some items that I simply could not pass up. They had curtain panels in a color I rather liked (even though I did cross my fingers a bit) at a price I simply could not ignore. So, I ordered them.

Turns out the color was Exactly Right and the right size, etc. They also work beautifully with the damask panels.

Over at Amazon, I found the dual curtain rods I wanted – also at a price I couldn’t ignore – and I took the leap and ordered two. I finally gave way to leave the mini-blinds behind which allowed me to move forward and just get it done.

I have been contemplating a gallery wall for longer than I care to admit, and added the frames to the cart along with some picture hanging hooks. The frames came with all the necessary hanging materials, but I had decided I would rather use the hooks.

I’ve had some beautiful scrapbook/card making papers in my stash that I really wanted to use as part of the gallery wall. Both the frames and the papers are 12 x 12 inches, so the fit was perfect even with the 2 inch mats.

The frames and mats focus attention on the beautiful papers and allow the colors to shine. I can’t wait to use the guide to setting up the gallery wall and hanging these beauties!

As for the shredder and timer, I replaced both with updated models that work better, are easy to use and allow me to return to my regularly scheduled clear out, clean up, etc. LOL!

I won’t lie, it has taken a very long time to pull all of this together. I had thought I would like to make my own curtains, but that never gained any traction. I’m a quilter, not a sewer. Being able to use the papers in my stash to add color, pattern and texture to what is likely to be more than one room is exciting and very pleasing.

All in all, it has been a busy few days and gives me room for thought about more changes and updates.

Can’t beat that, right?

Interesting People: Morgan Donner

I would like to say I was introduced to Morgan Donner via the YouTube Costume Community and their holiday Secret Santa Videos. This would be back in 2019, I think. Either that or via Bernadette Banner and one of her videos.

What I would like for you to know about her is that she is an interesting person who has lots of unusual knowledge used for out of the ordinary tasks, tools, and things.

She is, in many ways, a lot of fun to keep up with.

Check out her latest video:

What I find most interesting about this particular video venture is the way Morgan weaves coffee, pottery and history into something interesting, informative and, potentially, enjoyable. That coffee thing is quite interesting… and if you have Rakuten, you get a further discount. Just sayin’

I enjoy people who are not cookie cutter versions of other folks and Morgan certainly fits that bill. While she does delve into things that don’t always particularly grab my interest, she often provides a view at topics or projects that capture my attention.

Don’t take my word for it – check out her YouTube channel. Let me know what you think!

What’s Am I Missing?

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June’s Magic Pantry, however, is a collection of tips and tricks for the kitchen.

The newsletter is sent out to your email In Box on the first of every month. If you want to be on the list for June, click on the Newsletter tab and follow the instructions. Don’t wait too long! In order to get on the list, sign up on or before the 29th of the month.

Questions? Email me at craftybarncat@gmail.com.

Streaming Options: How to Pick A Device

For many people streaming has become a way of life. I, for one, have had some version of a Roku device for years. Why? I wanted flexibility and options in my viewing and didn’t want to be locked into a contract with a cable/satellite provider that set a price (that usually kept increasing) included channels I never watched, and routinely had carrier arguments with major networks that kept me from getting access to local news and weather.

Where I live, it is Essential to have access to the latest weather. Having my access tied to a cable system that might, or might not, be working just isn’t feasible. And, to be clear, I live in the middle of a metro area where such access shouldn’t be an issue. Some would say, just use your cell phone. Well, if that service isn’t working, either, then what?

I still use an over the air antenna for a lot of my viewing. Why? For many years it was an easy way to get local feeds – not to mention those extra digital channels – that hadn’t yet made the upgrade to a streaming feed. That being said, I spent decades having access to local PBS feeds only to lose it years ago when, for some inexplicable reason, all the PBS signals evaporated. At least my local PBS affiliate had no clue. I found my best access was either via streaming the PBS apps or subscribing to channels through Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon, their channel offerings are astounding. And the prices are usually quite competitive, too. Keep in mind, some think they are providing super luxury high end programming when really all they are doing is increasing price to keep the illusion of luxury. It works only if the consumer wants to pay for it. I don’t.

For some folks, however, cord cutting (getting rid of cable) and diving into streaming can be confusing and a bit scary. I’ve got articles on the blog about this, so be sure to check them out for more information.

As for finding a new Streaming Device, check out this article from TV Insider: How To Pick a Streaming Device. Good information with a tip or two that us long time users can find handy.

Things To Think About

As you consider making the change, take a few minutes to think about the following:

  • What network (ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.) do you primarily watch?
  • What types of programming do you prefer? Sports, cooking shows, documentaries, etc.
  • What networks from cable do you want to continue to use? Do they have their own streaming channel? Do they require a cable subscription?
  • Are you a binge watcher? If so, you might consider subscribing to a channel/network only long enough to catch all the episodes of a series that are currently available and then resubscribing when the next batch is available.
  • Are you a major fan of a franchise? Check out their home bases. Disney+, for example, has tons of material including Marvel, Star Wars, Muppets, in addition to the regular Disney fare. That service alone will keep many people happy for months just catching up, revisiting or exploring.

I’d suggest browsing the channel stores at Roku, Amazon, Google, and Apple+ to see what they offer and what is required. You will be surprised.