Friday, February 4, 2011

HOW TO SURVIVE A SNOW STORM....and life in general!

Those trees off in the distance is what I was shooting for. 
All I have to do is keep the truck on the road...but where is it?
This is a normal morning commute home from work in the winter.

It seems I always have a story to share with my family and friends and the following was an email I sent out to them in the wee hours of the night..  Apparently SOME (and you know who you are!) were rather entertained by this one and suggested I share here it is.  This happened to me on Wednesday night.

Well, it was quite the evening for me and I don't care to repeat it any time soon or if ever!
I did not travel safely tonight. We have 30 below wind chills and I got stuck about a 1/2 mile from home ( I thought it was a mile!). I called Hubby and told him I was stuck and would see how far I got shoveling. The worst part was a LARGE woman trying to put on coveralls in the front seat of a pickup. Not pretty at all! First I had to take my work boots off to get the coveralls on. Do you know how many laces are on work boots? Too damn many! I was huffin' and puffin' and almost too out of breath to go shovel snow. I then realized that my coat with the hood would not fit over the coveralls so I had a sweatshirt I tied over my head for warmth and three scarves wrapped around my neck. I looked like a human cocoon! Well, I got out and tried to shovel but the wind kept blowing the sweatshirt off my head and over my face. I was fighting with that and it was so cold and the wind was blowing so hard. It tried it for awhile but I am also doctoring with a bad shoulder and it was just not happening. I got back into the pickup and what do I see coming down the road...a flashlight! Hubby was coming to save me! LOL...and all I did was yell at him to get in and warm up. He was not supposed to come and shovel because I had told him to stay put. Oh, well, he never listens to me anyway! No one is supposed to walk in this kind of cold! Well, he shoveled and I got it to move about 30 feet total and we sat in the pickup and decided the only way to get out of this mess is to leave the truck! We should not have even thought about leaving the vehicle as we are always told not to do but we did. My allergy to cold was about to be the limits.

Anyway...I bundled up as best as I could and I left only a small spot in front of one eye to look out of.  Hubby told me to hang onto the handle of the shovel and he would guide me.  Do you know how dark it is out at night. Pitch black! I think I went about 10 feet and I got stuck in a snow bank and twisted my bad knee and went right down. Oh, I was covered in snow and couldn't get up right away. Hubby's biggest fear was that he might have to carry me back to the house! I finally rolled around like a garden slug and was able to get a footing and got up. It didn't hurt so bad that I couldn't walk so off we went again. I told him that I needed both hands for balance or I would fall again so I let go of the shovel. I felt the cold air coming in that little spot I left open so I just covered up my head completely with the jacket I was carrying for more warmth. He held the shovel in front of his face to deflect the wind because it was so bitterly cold.  He then proceeded to direct me to go to left or to the right and led me down the road. OH, it was quite the ordeal and I would have loved to have seen us on camera! I was definitely sucking wind the whole way!

I was never so glad in my life to get to our driveway. The truck will be in an even bigger snow bank tomorrow and we now have no vehicle until someone rescues us. I have to call someone early in the morning and make sure they do not send a snowplow down there or it might get hit. Probably smuck our truck and it will fly out in the field somewhere in a million pieces. Oh, I really hate winter! I am too old for this crap!
I took a nap after I got home because I was so exhausted and slept until 4 a.m. and to think I was planning on being at work all night!
One thing is for sure...if Hubby will walk a mile in a snow storm to rescue me...I better behave myself!


Well, I called a township board member and told him our situation and to be sure not to let the snowplow come down here because the truck was sitting smack dab in the middle of the road stuck.  He said he would get the message out. 

Hubby decided to walk back to the truck and see what he could do.  As he walking towards the in the distance he sees the snowplow coming!  He said he tried to shovel like crazy to get it out but nope...the plow came right up to the pickup.  I guess there had been a slight miscommunication!  The poor operator had to then back up about a 1/2 mile with the snowplow and that is no easy feat.  A neighbor had spotted Hubby out shoveling and called another neighbor and told him that he was out there shoveling like a mad man.  Apparently he had seen my Hubby the same time Hubby saw the snowplow!  That neighbor came down and then another neighbor came also.  I was curious as to what was going on and he does not know I was watching them all with the hunting field glasses all from the warmth of the living room window!  Amazing what you can see thru them!  They did quite a bit of "Shootin' the Bull".  Awhile later a Bobcat Skid Steer loader comes in the yard and snow is blowing everywhere.  The neighbor had not only cleaned out the road and got the truck to safety, but he blew out our yard also!  WOOHOO.
What a great place to call  home!  What a great bunch of people to have around!

Yes, and that is my life on the farm....amazing how I manage to keep living and telling about it! 

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Microwave Potato Bag

I know there are a lot of tutorials out there on how to make one of these but I thought one more wouldn't hurt. I think I do mine just a bit different as far as finishing the ends. Let's see if I can get this information out there in an easy and informative way and without leaving out too much. This pattern makes 4 of them from a yard of fabric. I know you are going to want to give some away so why not just cut them out and do them? Here we go!

Equipment needed:
Sewing Machine
Rotary Cutter
Cutting Mat
I want to stop here and tell you, if you do not have a rotary cutter and mat by now you really need to get one. I use mine not only for my sewing and quilting but also for my paper crafts. You will also see in my photos that I occasionally use it too much and ended up with paint and stain on it. Oops! Don’t do that! OK…back to list…….
One yard of COTTON fabric, No need to prewash…that comes later
One yard of COTTON muslin or any other fabric you want for a liner
1 1/3 yards of COTTON batting, it is called Warm Tator
COTTON thread in your choice of color

I found all my fabrics HERE.

By now you have gotten the feeling you need to buy COTTON for this. Yes, you do. You do NOT want anything that is not COTTON. Right down to the thread. It is because anything that has something else like polyester in it should not to be used in the microwave. It may melt or start fire or be embedded right into your food or God knows what kind of mutation might happen to you.  I have never had it happen YET and I just don’t have time to clean up any smoke damage right now or I would try it just to see.

The first thing is to press the fabric nice and flat. Fold it lining up the selvages together. (Selvages are the thick sides to the fabric) You may need to slide it back and forth to get it to hang straight and you might also end up with edges that don’t match but do it just get those selvages matched nicely and that the fabric hangs nice and straight.

I tried to make the following graphics to scale as much as possible. They are supposed to represent a 24 x 24 mat.  OK...use your imagination!

Now you lay your fabric on the cutting mat lining up the folded edge on a line at the bottom of the mat and the selvages to the top. You are going to straighten one side of this fabric. Lay the ruler along one edge using the mat as a guide for making it straight. I don’t care if it is the left or the right, whatever is comfortable for you, just make sure one edge is straight.

Cut off the excess sticking out from ruler.
Now that you have one edge straight cut a piece of fabric from that edge at 23 inches.  You will have about a 13 inch piece left over. Keep that for later. 

  We will now turn the fabric on the mat and cut off those selvages.  Your fold will now be to the right.

Once you have the selvage cut you will make your first cut at 11 inches.Your fabric is doubled, you will get two pieces from it at this first cut.

Set those two pieces aside and open up the folded piece that is left. Now you have one single layer on the mat.
Cut another 11 inch piece from the one straight edge. You should now have three - 11 x 23 pieces of fabric

With the piece that is left on the mat cut out three strips that are 2 1/2 inches wide and 23 inches long. These are going to be the bindings on the edges of the bag. Don’t get your panties in a bunch, binding is very very easy…really it is!

Now fold those skinny long pieces in half the long way and iron them. They should look like this.

Now for that left over 13 inch piece. You will open that up and cut off the selvage and cut a 23 inch piece from that end and from that cut an 11 inch piece. There will be enough left to cut one 2 1/2 inch piece that is 23 inches long for the binding for that same piece.  Press it as you did with the others. You will now have one more 11 x 23 piece for a total of 4 pieces.  You should also have 4 skinny pieces for binding. 

Cut out your muslin backing the same way only you will not need the binding pieces. 
Now we have to cut the batting in the same way. Your Warm Tator batting actually comes 23 inches wide so all you really need to do is straighten it and then cut it into 11 inch pieces just like you did the fabric. You should end up with Four – 11 x 23 pieces.

Now we will layer them all together. The muslin backing is on the bottom. If you have chosen a print fabric for the lining, make sure that it is RIGHT side DOWN. Next lay the batting on top of that and then the outside fabric with RIGHT side UP. See Photo below.

Now we are going to stitch all the layers together. This is called quilting. It is best to pin or baste the layers together just to hold them while you are quilting it. That is up to you but I highly recommend it.   I do because it keeps it from wandering around while you sew.
I like to quilt it together with just a simple meandering stitch. If that is not for you, you can just do some straight lines down the middle both ways. It is just to hold it all together when you wash it. You don’t want your batting getting all bunched up! 
This is what my meandering looked like. that you have that comes the binding!  All you have to do is match the raw edges of the skinny piece to the short side of the quilted piece.  I start out at the top edge with it hanging past about 1/8 of an inch.  I will cut that flush with the long edge when I am done.  I put a white piece of paper so you cold see where the skinny piece was.  It was hard to tell with those spuds all over the place!  Sew it together using a 1/4 inch seam.

 I like to keep sewing along the edge so when I get to the edge of the first side I grab the other end and butt it up against the side I just sewed and keep sewing. It looks kind of funny but then you just cut it apart. You only have a 23 inch piece to work with so you want to be frugal with it. Maybe these photos will help.

When you have it all sewn on, cut it apart between the gap. You will have a binding now on the top and bottom of the quilted piece. All done at once! WOOHOO

Now that you have them cut apart it is time to iron them. Press the binding piece away from the quilted piece and then up and over to the inside.  Folding it over the edge and press it well so it stays folded over.

 You can pin it in place if you wish. Now just stitch in the ditch. That means to stitch right in the seam. Be sure you are catching the folded over edge. See below.

THERE! You just put on binding and didn’t even know it. Now wasn’t that simple? This is what the other side should look like. Oh, it is lovely!

You are now on the home stretch. It is just a matter of sewing up the sides and turning it right side out.
I set my piece down, right side up. I fold the left side over 6 inches and then the right side over the top of it about and inch or so past the other edge.  It should measure about 10 1/2 inches overall. That is about what I come up with.

Pin this all in place and sew up the sides. I used about 3/8 inch seam. You can maybe do that or even 1/2 inch seam. I like to trim the seam with a pinking shears but that is up to you. You might want to trim the corners before turning right side out to reduce the bulk.

The worst part of this whole thing is that you now have to wash it to remove any of the sizing that is in the fabrics before you use it. That is easy to do, just swish it around in some cool water and a bit of soap and then stick in the dryer or just let it hang to dry. I know you can’t wait to try it so if you really want to and need to…you can use a dry iron and iron it until it is almost dry. A little moisture won’t hurt and it will just keep the spud moist while you cook it.

Here are the instructions per the Warm Tator Wrapper
It's not just for potatoes anymore!

Potatoes - 2 Large - 8 minutes
Red Potatoes - 2 Large - 8 Minutes
Sweet Potatoes - 2 Medium - 10 Minutes 
Corn on the Cob - 2 Large - 6 minutes
Rolls - 3 medium - 20 seconds

Estimates based on an 1100 watt microwave oven with a turntable. If you do not have a turntable, you will need to turn your bag over at the midpoint of the suggested cook time to prevent scorching.  Wash raw vegetables prior to cooking.  Drying is not necessary as the extra moisture aids in cooking.
Do not leave microwave unattended while cooking in case flames shoot out the door and up the ceiling and engulf your entire kitchen. 
Just kidding but you might want to keep an eye on it the first few times you use it so you know how long to cook something.

Happy Tator Bakin’!!!


I thought being I was putting out a tutorial on making something for potatoes I would make a SVG to go with it. Glasses? Well, yes, of course, you know how many eyes a potato has!

CLICK HERE to download SVG
for your Cricut

I think it would be fun to add to a picture in a scrapbook or maybe a card.

For instance:

I just can't see my life without you in it

We might not see eye to eye but....

Seeing is not believing

The eyes are the windows of the soul

I only have eyes for you.......

I can see clearly now

I hope you can see it my way

Oh, I see where you are coming from....


Everyone can use a mixing bowl.  Here is my rendition of an old fashioned one.  You can add your own shadow or fill it with something!
CLICK HERE to download SVG for your cutting machine.