Sunday, December 19, 2010


Christmas is nearly upon us, and I want to give you a couple of easy and quick ideas for your last minute preparations.

We draw names in my family and pull out the stops for that person. These gifts are usually opened on Christmas Eve, then, we all load up and go to church.

Afterwards, once the kids are snuggled down, Santa makes his visits; he never misses because the grand kids have Reindeer Dust .. it guides the Deer and then gives them a little snack while waiting for Santa. See my recipe on the CHRISTMAS page. I got this idea from a girl friend, then I Googled ® the idea and came up with my own mix.
No fireplace? Give Santa a key to the front door. Pick up some skeleton keys, new or used, and spray paint gold. Write a little note to Santa to leave outside for him to get in the front door.

Make some lanterns with large glass jars you would normally throw away; pickles, mayo etc. Paint a thin layer of Elmer’s Glue ® on the outside of the jar, then add torn strips and pieces of tissure paper in your favorite colors. Red and Green for the holidays. Add a layer of sand (or clay-style cat litter) and a votive candle. These are a modern version of luminarias that you can save and use year after year (multipurpose: if you have covered your “lanterns" in red, green and white, think red and white for Valentine’s Day romance, green and white for the wearin’ o’ the green in March, add a few blue ones, and you have red, white and blue for Independence Day, Memorial and Labor and Veteran’s Day – see where I’m going with these?).

Here’s another nice last minute (or planned) gift. With each candle you want to give, add a tag that says something like this: When you light this candle, red candleremember that when Jesus came into this world, He became the Light of the world. Then, add or note the Scripture John 8:12. Add some colorful and appropriate clipart if you’re making your tags on the computer, print in color on card stock. If you’re hand printing them, add some pretty stickers, stamps or for the artistic, draw a bright candle.

Cookies in the oven? And snacks are ready. Fudge, divinity and peanut brittle fixed? Find a website for the little ones to track Santa Claus - NORAD  is a good one or perhaps you have a favorite radio station that will be tracking Santa’s trip from the north pole. Christmas music playing and all is well.

May your life be full of His perfect Peace, Joy and Love. Merry Christmas, from the Country.

©2010 Cat Brennan

©2010 Aunt Cat’s Place

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Ornaments! If you read my bio, you know the story … I make ornaments every year for my family. There was one year I didn’t make them, for a reason I do NOT remember and I’ve not heard the end of it!

Most of the ornaments I've made have lasted for years, but a few haven’t. The ginger bread boys molded (yuck) and the crepe paper angels got squashed. One year I made tiny stockings from shiny gold lamé, stuffed them with cotton and then topped them off with “coal”; actually, I didn’t have any real coal, so I spray painted kitty litter black. (My mama was known for “make do” and “necessity is the mother of invention” and I got that gene).

This year, I’m making little puzzle piece wreaths for my co-workers. You can see those on the CAT’S CHRISTMAS, Country Style page. I’ve posted a new photograph of my lighted jeweled Christmas tree picture on that page because it’s a better shot.
 How do you spell yummy? Check out my recipe on the CAT FOOD page for Peanut Butter Cups.

 I’ve added a picture of the Raggedy Country Prints wreath I made for my front door; it’s on the CAT’S CHRISTMAS, Country Style page. Take a peek at the page CAT FUR to KITTEN BRITCHES where you’ll find a picture of the appliqued T Shirt I made for grand daughter, Joy; not a new creation, but I just found the photo.

Celebrate with your family and start some new traditions such as these: cut down your own tree! Read “Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve while sipping some of hot punch (you’ll find a simple, yet elegant and tasty recipe at my CAT FOOD page).
christmas nativity small
On Christmas morn, read the real story of Christmas out of the Message Bible® in Matthew 1:18 - 2:23. Some other nice traditions: line your paths, porch and sidewalks with luminarias .. (see below) .. these are those “little brown paper bags" in which you’ve placed 2 – 3 inches of sand and a votive candle (if you can’t find any dry sand in your yard, use clay-style cat litter).

If your family is a died-in-the-wool-we-don’t-open-presents-until-Christmas-morning, why not give a little. Let everyone open a single special gift on Christmas Eve (hint: make ornaments for this purpose) or make jammies and nighties for everyone in a warm, delicious RED flannel. Maybe everyone can have a pair of Christmas socks or a pretty mug or a special picture frame .. you get the idea. Make some new traditions this year, but don’t forget the old ones.

Have a warm, Country Christmas.

© 2010 Cat Brennan
© 2010 Aunt Cat's Place

I got  this picture at Wikipedia®. This is the FIRST time
I have EVER quoted that site source, but this particular 
photo is excellent. With the picture, Wikipedia® has a
good article regarding the use and legends of the
simple luminaria, or farolito as it is sometimes called.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


christmas winter scene 3
Advent: that wonderful and miraculous time of year when the Christian world counts down to the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Most of us know that it wasn’t snowing that night when Mary gave birth in a lowly stable. And, most of us know that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. To that, I say, “So what”?? We do know exactly when former presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were born and we don’t celebrate their births on those days.

Loving all things Christmas is strong in my family and among most of my friends. What joy we all get in giving gifts (and some of us will even admit to liking the receiving part too!).

 Many of the women in my family make our gifts for one another; it gives us so much joy and pleasure. Hopefully, the receiver of our labors of love share in that happiness.

Check out the CAT'S CHRISTMAS, Country Style page, please. I promised to show you the Advent calendar I designed and made for my gal pal in Colorado. I am taking orders for Advent calendars for next year; contact me here or by email for particulars. I’ve come up with some other designs that I think you’ll like.

Hope you enjoy the Lighted Jeweled Christmas Tree picture I’ve put on that page, also (come for a visit and you can see it lit). It hangs in my entry way every year and is made from old jewelry. If you have a stash of old costume jewelry you “just can’t throw out or give away”, make yourself one of these beauties! Or, contact me, and we’ll negotiate.

Soon, I’ll add some Christmas ornaments that I think you’ll like.

Nestle in with a good cup of hot chocolate and stay warm. It’s that time of year. Until next time, have a wonderful Country Christmas no matter where you call home.

© 2010 Cat Brennan

© 2010 Aunt Cat’s Place

Monday, November 22, 2010


There’s a slight chill in the air and these last few mornings have produced frost on the pumpkins.

Check out the wee pumpkins I made with a small amount of fabric, a bit of stuffing and some odds and ends; specifically, a few twigs and silk leaves, an upholstery needle and upholstery thread, crochet thread or dental floss; needless to say, a glue gun should a always be near by.

I constructed different sizes simply by making larger or smaller tubes of fabric, gathered, stuffed and closed.

I found a similar pumpkin with directions on a Martha Stewart web page. No need for me to “reinvent the wheel”. Unlike Martha, mine were made with twigs for the pumpkin stems. Some ting-ting will add realistic-like vine to your pumpkins.

I display my pumpkins from mid-October through the long Thanksgiving weekend. Nestled outside my front door, the brightly colored pumpkins tumble out of a bushel basket, accompanied by a little yarn “Navajo” girl. A mini scarecrow stands guard nearby.

You’ll find my pumpkins pictured on my CAT FUR TO KITTEN BRITCHES page above. Just click on the link and enjoy!

As far as the “real” pumpkin fruit is concerned, I did freeze approximately 10 cups of pumpkin puree. I froze it in 8 ounce portions so it’s ready for a variety of recipes.

After roasting, the pumpkin seeds make tasty, healthy snacks. Thoroughly rinse the seeds, being careful to remove all the membrane. Let them air dry for 2 or 3 days by placing them in a single layer on a clean dish towel (no need to waste paper towels). Next, toss the raw seeds with a small amount of olive oil, garlic and onion powder, and some seasoning salt. Roast on a shallow pan (jelly roll style or a cookie sheet with sides) at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes. Choose your own seasoning or roast them bare-naked.

May your life be as fully stuffed with blessings this season of Thanksgiving as my pumpkins are stuffed with cotton.

© 2010 Cat Brennan

Friday, November 5, 2010


Regarding this blog, COUNTRY POTIONS, NO, I’m not into brewing something for the broom pilots; rather, some good old fashioned ideas to ease your life.

Credit the idea for this particular blog to my oldest daughter, ALisa. She considers baking soda and vinegar to be her magic powers. She uses vinegar in the washing machine to remove odors, especially from towels. Just add it to the water, soak for 30 minutes and then wash with detergent. “Also, every so often”, she continues, “pour baking soda and then vinegar down the sink drains to clean out the gunk. I use baking soda to clean and shine my ceramic stove top.”

More from the Country Cat:

My mom was a devoted coffee drinker, with real sugar and half and half, thank you very much. At the end of the week, she set her thermos jug to soak, filled with baking soda and water. Not only did it eliminate the stale odors, it removed the stains.

Sometimes I carry a little Playmate® cooler for my lunch and it does get grungy! I put some hot water in the cooler with ¼ cup baking soda and let it soak for a little while. Then, I use that same water to scrub the inside and outside; and it almost sparkles.

Vinegar is a good cat repellent... if you can put up with the odor for a little while, you may be able to train the cat. Place a little bowl of vinegar where you don’t want your cat to take up residence. Do you have a large favorite house plant that snowball has made her favorite sand box spot? Place a small bowl of vinegar on the plant surface, and you shouldn’t have anymore problems with Fluffy relieving himself in the ficus.

Here are some responses from YOU.. With regard to how YOU use SALT and/or VINEGAR … and a few other items, easily found around the house:

Maria in New Mexico wrote that she uses vinegar to polish copper. She uses a vinegar/water solution to spray her kitchen counters and dining tables to clean them; it disinfects and doesn’t leave a poisonous residue like some commercial cleaners. Maria further writes that, “I use salt to wash my hands if I’ve handled onions or a mildew sponge.”

From Noelle in Virginia, “We used salt water to rinse out Windy’s mouth after her 4 teeth extraction (her daughter). She continued, “I used vinegar to clean out my used water dispenser when I first got it. It had some sort of cleaner taste to it – after a few rinses with the vinegar, it rinsed out”. Noelle added that regular and especially kosher salt makes a great abrasive to clean off tough spots on the counter. “My mother used to have us dust the furniture with a mixture of vinegar and warm water”.

Susan, in Colorado, uses salt and vinegar to clean copper, and she does it frequently. Susan further writes, “This is the method used by French chefs at the Cordon Bleu.”

Pam, also in Colorado, says that lemon and salt clean a copper bottom pan and that distilled vinegar is the best drain deodorizer.

Susan S., RN, BSN in Goochland writes that she uses vinegar for cleaning purposes. “If I have spots in the tub or sink I spray them with vinegar or let it soak for a while, then the stain comes right out.

Marti uses salt to clean her cast iron skillet. “Just rub it around and it will soak up the grease and scrub off the food. Helps to keep it seasoned as well.” Marti continues with this: “To whiten those –once-white tennis shoes, soak them in salt water and them leave them out in the sun to dry.” She gets rid of odors with a mixture or vinegar and water.

Christina writes that she uses a vinegar water solution to clean all her wood floors and tables. She also keeps a spray bottle of water/vinegar to clean produce, using a 3:1 ratio.

Laurel uses vinegar to clean her coffee maker (I also do this, following the vinegar wash with at least 2 full pots of water).

Gwen wrote that she uses diluted vinegar on the spots that have been marked by either a cat or a dog; again using a 3:1 ratio. She just pours it on the spot and then absorb with an old towel. Gwen said, “The lady who shared the with me said she never had any spots when they got a new puppy because she used this solution; same with other friends with sofas and kitties”. Gwen’s MiL used vinegar to clean windows etc.

Lisa gargles with salt water when she has mouth sores. Her mum used to pour a bowl of diluted vinegar over her rinsed hair to make it shiny, but it tasted gross.  Lisa added another trick, “When my hands or feet are very dry, I mix salt with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and rub in on, then wash if off; you get lovely soft, smooth hands and feet.” (ed. note: Who knew that R.R’s. EVOO could be so handy out of the kitchen?).

Finally, Noelle found an interesting paragraph on the ‘net regarding her kitty, Althea, and fleas. “Home Remedy for Flea Control” … the are a number of home remedies to kill fleas, but to make them lasting, it’s most essential to disinfect your home, so that these fleas don’t find a suitable environment to exist in. The favorite flea haunt in your home are your pet’s furnishings, so wash the dog bedding regularly by adding eucalyptus essential oil to the final rinse, this oil is so effective that it kills 99% of he house dust mites too! Also, by vacuuming the home thoroughly and sprinkling a fine layer of ordinary table salt over the upholstery and carpets, you can evict these unwelcome guests safely.

© Cat Brennan 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School in the Country or in the City

Didn't summer just begin?  Didn't the swimming pools just open?  Wasn't it only yesterday that we lamented the snow and the cold? And, hasn't the Musical Ice Cream Truck just arrived in the neighborhood?
"IT" certainly seems so!  However, the start of the new school year is just around the corner, in fact, some started this week.

School supplies and new clothing must be purchased! Those shopping expeditions were always wonderful treats when I was in school.  New clothes and those hideous, but good-for-your-feet Saddle Oxfords were on The List. I really wanted to wear "Mary Jane's" or "flats" or "penny loafers", but until I was twelve the only choice I had in the shoes-for-school department was black and white or brown and white Saddle Oxfords.

How times do change.  When my oldest daughter was in school, the LAST thing I even considered buying for her was the hated pair of Saddle Oxfords; that is until I realized that she wanted them!

The year I was in the fifth grade, "all the girls" were wearing petal pushers and flip-flops (back then, we called them thongs but that has taken on a whole different meaning now). I mean everyone had this dress code: how many times did our parents hear the line, "But Everybody Is..."? So, my mother, ever the peace maker, told me that when Mrs. Pollack wore petal pushers and flip flops to school, then I could as well.  Everyone has had a "Mrs. Pollack" in school at one time or another. Now, don't get me wrong, Genevieve Pollack was a wonderful teacher, and I truly loved her, but I knew I was doomed, never to wear petal pushers and flip flops to school!  Seeing Mrs. Pollack wearing these in-style wardrobe items had about as much chance of happening as a Baptist being the next Pope. In today's vernacular, NOT!!!

My grand children range in age from school teacher to 3 months old. Many will be returning to school, some are just starting and some are left behind. Those little one who don't "get" to go to school yet may not be real happy with mama.  Why not buy your little "left-behinder" an inexpensive back pack (can double as a suitcase for going to gramma's?). Add a few crayons, a pencil, a tablet and even a coloring book or two and that wee one will show you some happy.

My first experience in school was at the tender age of 3!  When my mother went back to college to get her certificate to teach in New Mexico, I stayed with family friends who taught school on the Santo Domingo Indian Reservation. I was in the fifth grade that year since one of these friends taught that grade.  We lived at the reservation during the week and I attended classes every day. Then on Friday, we headed back to town and home for the weekend. I'm sure my sisters can testify about their precocious little sister. Nonetheless, I could read and write and count when I officially started first grade three years later; we didn't have kindergarten or pre-K in those days so these abilities were a rarity.

My mom started her teaching career in West Virginia in one room school houses. How I wish I could remember some of her stories.  She told one story about the little boy whose name was 'Gooey', but 'Gooey' didn't know how to spell the name, so his mama came in one day. When my mom asked her about the little boy's name, she told her that she had read it in a book. She spelled it out: G-U-Y ... Gooey!!!

Whether your youngin's are in the country or city; whether they will go to public or private schools or be home schooled, learning can be a wonderful experience for them. Show them how to: Grow beans in a jar!  Make salt crystals! Make paper cup and string telephones! Show them the "magic" of sand and a simple magnet. Discover wonderful words in the dictionary! Measure everything in the house with a yard stick! Just lead them to learn, and love them while you're at it. 

You don't have to live in the country to learn the ways of country living! 

© 2010 Cat Brennan

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Country Yarn

Yarn is one of those items in your Craft Cache that has so many uses; remember REDUCE - REUSE - RECYCLE, and I love the word RE-PURPOSE. Be sure to save any yarn have left from a project; it doesn't take up a lot of space and  you'll find so many things to do with it; for instance ...
In my yarn stash, I have baby, sport weight and white fuzzy angora yarns for making my Ojo Christmas Angel Ornaments. I do use yarn for 'regular' crochet work, and so much more.
Head on over to my CAT FUR to KITTEN BRITCHES PAGE where you'll see a receiving blanket I made.. it's double thickness flannel with a crocheted edge; Hot Pink Yarn, worsted weight, no less.

"A Good Yarn"© is the second book in a series by Debbie Macomber, whom you may recognize as one one of my most favorite authors.  The set is called the Blossom Street Series. Debbie is known for  her knitting, to say the least, and she KNOWS YARN. . . I digress...

Leftover colors of like-weight yarn will make up into granny squares for a beautiful afghan (contrary to some youngsters with whom I'm familiar, that word is NOT aff-a gan and it's also NOT aff-ri-can).  Work the granny squares together with some nice black yarn; black just seems to be THE COLOR for granny square coverlets.

Consider crocheting solid squares from different colors of yarn, again using like-weight, for some down-home coasters.

Quickly ID your luggage at the airport carousel with yarn!  Make LARGE pom poms of your favorite color, multi colors or whatever you actually have in the yarn leftover bag.  Attach to your luggage with strong string, a tie-wrap or garden strength twist tie wire.

Replace ribbon on gifts and packages with YARN! Red, green or the two together takes care of all your Christmas presents, pastels  are sweet for baby gifts, white for weddings or baby dedications, green for March birthdays, red for February and tie up the July occasions with Red, White and Blue.

Do you have any really neat ideas for re-using or re-purposing yarn?  Email me with your ideas and I'll share the best with everyone.

May your life be blessed with good reading and good crafting in the country.

© 2010 Cat Brennan

Friday, August 6, 2010

Country Sunshine

What a beautiful sight to behold!  The sun is streaming in through my living room window at 6:30 in the evening. What makes this particular solar show even more beautiful is the heavy downpour of rain.  I remember seeing sunshine through the rain when I lived in New Mexico, but this is new to me out here on the east coast. Usually, if there's a downpour, the sun is hiding behind some dark clouds, but not so today!

I am working on a myriad of gifts this weekend as the next few months have a lot of family birthdays; I just counted 7 close friends and family members just in August. More on those items I'm making at a later time as most of the people for whom I would make gifts are readers of this blog. 

That leads me to thinking about Christmas .... how I do love Christmas.  ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS. OK .. so I went from a summer sun show with rain to Christmas. That's a natural progression as the Maker of the sun is the same one Whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas.

Do you realize that there are only 141 days until Christmas?   Start making your lists and be sure to check them twice.

Hope your weekend is full of Country Sunshine dazzled with Country Rain.

© 2010 Cat Brennan

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Favorite Country Things

Remember the lovely Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music and the song, "My Favorite Things"?
We all have our faves!  This movie is one of mine. 
When I was a little girl, I was a "scardy cat" ... or "fradey cat" ... everything and anything frightened me; noises or movement ... especially at night ... when the lights had been turned off ... and Mother had said goodnight for the 'umpteenth' time.  One night when I was anxious about something, my sister Eleanor suggested that I think about things I liked. I don't know if her suggestion came before, after or because of Julie Andrews' song, but it worked. That simple suggestion has carried me through many "nightmares" over the years. I've outgrown being frightened by "things that go bump in the night", but I still  love this kind wisdom my sister passed on to me.

Think on these things: "Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Php 4:8) (cab version).

Another favorite: M-A-G-A-Z-I-N-E-S!!! 

And then there are P-E-A-C-H-E-S!!!
Fresh, frozen, canned, dried, pickled, jammed, jellied, preserved, sugared, chilled, room temperature, sliced, diced or chopped.
Peaches are, well, 'just peachy'. 

Just look as some ways the word PEACH is used in our everyday world ..
Peaches and Cream Complexion
Georgia Peach
She's a peach
Peach fuzz
Peachy keen
Peaches and Herb
Peachy king

The August 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens® magazine has a super-peachy article on page 135 ... 50 WAYS TO EAT A PEACH.  

Check out the CAT FOOD page for my "Simply Delicious Peach Tea" recipe.

If that doesn't put the fuzz on your peach, I don't know what will.

Here's to your Country Favorites!

©2010 Cat Brennan

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cool Country Crafting

As summer dances onto the calendar we are all looking for ways to stay cool. Watermelon fests, water fights, ice cubes down the britches or playing in the pool.
When I was a little girl, we played with the hose on full tilt. We had our own well; no city water bill with which to struggle. We pushed the hose in the sand and it would "dig" it's way in; actually several feet. I imagined that it was going to Carlsbad Caverns (in New Mexico). I just knew it was going there!  The closest I was to the caverns that hot summer afternoon was getting the hose stuck. I just knew the devil had grabbed it to cool off hades and brother, was I scared! Mama saved the hose and me from utter devastation, but she wouldn't let me tunnel the hose anymore.
Here's a cute item I recently stumbled upon:  Freeze pop holders.  Little fleece 'jackets' for the kids treats .. those ice pop things in long thin plastic tubes. These cute little freeze pop holders are just the right size to keep little fingers from getting too cold.  They're easy to make, fun to use and completely washable. 

Paste the following link into your browser for complete directions.

Hope your Country Summer is cool and fun!
© 2010 Cat Brennan

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Country Crafting

Hi Country Cats and Kittens!
Now that we've "had a wedding", I get to tell you about a few more things that I enjoyed crafting for this wonderful event.
The lovely bride outdid herself in "doing for others" .. so many gifts for the guests, for the bridal party .. no one was left out.
One of the most challenging gifts that Crystal asked me to craft was a gift for each lady in the bridal party; "pretty hangers" .. we looked at zillions of web sites and I perused the many craft books that I own.
I finally settled on a padded style.  She and I purchased the satin last fall:  yellow for the two moms, lightly glittered blue for the younger sisters, black for the brides maids and sparkly white for the star of the show.
I removed the "slacks" wooden dowel from each hanger, saving for another day", then wrapped each hanger with polyester stuffing. I then had to cover the padding with clear plastic wrap so the satin sleeves would slide over the works.  The four bridesmaids' hangers were nearly identical to one another, but each of the rest were different.  Crystal's was my favorite.  Starting out with the white, glittery satin, I glued on white lace that had a sparkle thread in it and gave it a 'finished' look with very narrow white sating ribbon (1/16th inch wide). I then added a bow and hanging ribbon to the hook, and the final touch was a beautiful, round chandelier crystal (3/4" with a point at one end where the hanger hole is located). This particular crystal holds sentimental significance because it belonged to her mama some thirty years ago.
I've posted pictures of these gift hangers at the page CAT LITTER.
Hope your life is full of Country Blessings!
© 2010 Cat Brennan

Friday, July 9, 2010

Country Sneeze

This isn't new, but worthy of repetition ... I copied it from a recently received email .. enjoy


"They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-two students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With their rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt.

Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and Moms freely brushed away tears.

This class would NOT pray during the commencements, not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it.

The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.

The speeches were nice, but they were routine until the final speech received a standing ovation.

A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and was silent for just a moment, and then, it happened.

All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED!!!!

The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said,


And he walked off the stage...

The audience exploded into applause. This graduating class had found a unique way to invoke God's blessing on their future with or without the court's approval.

Isn't this a wonderful story? Pass it on to all your friends.........and


This is a true story; it happened at the University of Maryland".

I honestly don't know if this a true story, or not. I did not check it out on Snopes ® .. to my way of thinking, if it isn't true, it should be. And whether it is true or not, it's still a good story!
Point taken ... game ... set ... match!
© 20010 Cat Brennan

Friday, July 2, 2010

THE WEDDING AND A New Country Look

How do you like this new look?  We'll try this one for a while..
THE FAMILY came together in Southern Maryland and we had a wedding. My first grand daughter, Crystal, began her wedded bliss on June 19th with Will . He made such a handsome groom. 
She was an absolutely gorgeous and beautiful bride in a magnificent white gown and a simply elegant veil.
Family of the bride from New Mexico, Illinois and Virginia joined this sweet celebration. The groom's family came from far and wide, as well.
In the next few blogs, I'll share more with you regarding wedding fun, frolics and fixings, but for now, please enjoy the wedding photos I've posted at the CATS and CAT'S KITTENS page (and yes, I made the bouquets).
©2010 Cat Brennan

Friday, May 28, 2010

Country Summers Manners and Peaches

Do you remember the ad jingle "way back when" for one of the big automobile dealers that starts out with "Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and....."?  I have inserted SWEET TEA at the end of that jingle. Here in the south good manners, a clean handkerchief and sweet tea are for every day living, not just for company and Sundays.
Never ever tell some they're ignorant or stupid or dumb or lacking in intelligence (or all of these)! Not good etiquette .. just glance up, with eyes that are dappled with question, then simply state, "Well bless yo' heart" .. with voice full of concern. That goes with what Mama taught me early on, "Be pretty if you can, witty if you must, but, be pleasant if it kills you" (author unknown).
I digress ...
Sweet tea is as southern as it comes. Sometime ago when I lived in the Land of Enchantment, my young grand daughter came for a visit.  We went out for a meal and she ordered Sweet Tea. The not-so-kind waitress informed her, "We have tea and we have sugar and you can make  your own."  Bless that waitresses little ole heart!!!
I have some simple add-to's for Sweet Tea that will make even the Southern-est Southerner come calling.
My all time fave is Peach Tea. You'll find my delicious recipe for that at the CAT FOOD page.
I never met a peach that I didn't like.
If YOU have a favorite go-to or add-to for serving Sweet Tea, send it to me. I just might add it to CAT FOOD.
Have a happy Country summer, no matter where you are.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Country Capers and Brides and Babies ♥

What a couple of very busy weeks! I've missed our visits. However, you'll find no complaints from this barn cat!
Come on in and join me for some iced tea.  Another time you WILL be introduced to my very delicious Peach Tea; tastes like peaches fresh-picked from the orchard.
A new grand daughter made her debut on May 11th and she's no slacker! 9 pounds, five and a half ounces with a beautiful full head of dark hair. You've already seen the her blankets.
A few days later, a bridal shower was held for my oldest grand daughter; wedding is in June. This country gramma put together a large white basket of treasures which she loved.  
Just grab a nice large basket, some appropriate ribbon (wired wide ribbon for the handle and narrow for the packages) and your gifts. The size of the gifts will determine the size of the basket. I did spray paint this one white for the bride, but any color or natural is also nice. Baskets make such wonderful gift holders and aren't tossed out. If you give napkins or other linens, you could use these to wrap the smaller gifts. I used gold paper exclusively.
Some of the things included were two purchased mugs and cookies.
The fun began when I painted and sponged stamped a Tea For Two tin for her teas; Aunt Cat's Russian Spiced Tea Mix, Aunt June's Hot Cocoa Mix and English Breakfast Tea Bags; I mixed up the first two and labeled them in plastic zipper bags. See the tin at CAT LITTER page.
Next came a stack of eight little coasters, black and white with tiny stars.
Then, one of my favorite sewing projects, two paper-pieced mug rugs.These are large enough for any mug. 
You can see pictures of the coaster and mug rugs at CAT FUR to MAKE KITTEN BRITCHES page.
Paper piecing can be challenging; it is best described as backward sewing; reminds me of Ginger Rogers dancing in high heels BACKWARD.
Paper piecing is somewhat difficult, does require good concentration, but to me is very rewarding. It truly strokes your creative edge and allows for repetitive accuracy.
Should the seamstress desire to create several squares for a larger piece such as a table runner or wall hanging, paper pieced items will come together very nicely.
Until next time, keep your capers in the Country and be happy.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fun Country Frustration

Fun Country Frustration.  No this is not an oxymoron! This is a fun way to rend your frustrations in a "politically correct" manner (I have it on good authority that these little dollies reap a LOT of attention in an office atmosphere). Dammit Dollies! ! !
This is fun project that involves a plethora of interests and a solution or two for the everyday life of occasional aggravation.
Before I continue, let me give credit where credit is due; you'll find the link at the end of this article.
I found these delightful dollies at that web site, embellished on her ideas and made a dozen for the GFs.  I drew my own pattern, but she has one you can use; or draw your own.
I also made "fabric gift bags" to hold the dollies and appliqued hearts on each (remember the heart stamped napkins a week or two ago?  Same heart pattern). 
You'll find 'my' dollies and the fabric gift bags at the page CAT FUR to KITTEN BRITCHES, along with the little poem. Don't get offended .. these little Dammit Dollies are intended for fun. In fact, the original "delightful dozen" that I made have evolved into several more. One of my GF's wanted one for her mother for Mother's Day, so I  whipped it up right quick and handed it to her in time for Mother's Day.
Check out the page CAT FUR to KITTEN BRITCHES to see the dollies and the appliqued gift bags.  You'll also find the poem that goes with the dollies on the same page.
Have fun, make a Dammit Dollie and get on with your life.  Lose the anxiety and enjoy the day!  CARPE DIEM ! !           © 2010 Cat Brennan

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Country Cocktail Picks

At a recent ladies event at my apartment, I served ripe olives and sharp cheddar cheese bites along with other goodies.  Sure, I could have purchased some cocktail picks, but why would I buy something I could make with "stuff on hand"? 
Among the many things in my closet of crafting supplies, there is a shoe box full of sea shells including star fish, sand dollars, and ordinary sea shells. Some were collected at Myrtle Beach, some at Sanibel Island, some at craft stores and some came from a broken necklace.
Using some tiny star fish and other small sea shells, I crafted some nice little picks.
Since I grew up in cowboy country, I love my glue GUN (did you get it?), but chose to use a different medium this time to make sure the shells didn't come loose in the food. E6000® is an excellent multi-purpose adhesive and it held.
Check out the Cat Litter page to see some of the naked picks, front and back, as well as in the cheese bites. These really dressed up the little hors d'oeuvres and were a hit with my gal pals.
A little of the beach made it to my Country world of entertaining.
Beach or desert, sand or sea, it's all Country!  ­© 2010 Cat Brennan

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Have a Heart Country Napkins ♥

Remember those easy-to-make cloth napkins I mentioned in a recent Sewing and Stitching blog? The ones I blogged about snitching the idea from my sister?
Just the other day, I made some; actually a dozen and a half for a special occasion and wanted to share them with you. Check out my Cat Fur to Kitten Britches page.
These are luncheon size and garnered lots of comments from my girl friends. Just for the record, big sister, June, told me I could use her idea.
If you want free, how-to instructions, just send an email to me.
Have a Heart ♥ filled Country Week! © 2010 Cat Brennan

Friday, April 16, 2010

Family Friendly Television TONIGHT April 16

The Country Cat did NOT write the following; rather I cut and pasted from an email I got from "Angel Food" ... it is worthy!

Family TV is Back!

If you’ve been asking for the return of great television programming that the entire family can enjoy together – control is now in your hands. FRIDAY, APRIL 16th, NBC will air a two-hour action/adventure movie entitled Secrets of the Mountain, an edge-of-the-seat thriller that reminds us that when times are tough, families don’t run away from their problems - they run back to each other.
As the story unfolds, the characters display positive traits such as honesty and perseverance - things that moms are trying to pass on to their children. And best of all, it’s a story both kids and parents will enjoy.
To show that this type of entertainment is wanted and appreciated, we need 10 million families to tune in on Friday April 16th at 8/7C.
Please help spread the word! Email your friends and family about this exciting family-friendly movie airing on TV Friday, April 16th, on NBC!

Sewing and Stitching

My sewing machine and creative juices were very busy this last week+. This country mama cat got an invitation to a SURPRISE baby shower for my youngest daughter; got word five days before the event. Whew ! !

Fortunately, I had the flannel and fleece fabric on hand (that’s a whole different story). Got busy and stitched the two, 2 yard pieces of flannel together to create 2 separate double thickness receiving blankets. These were turned, stitched closed, ready to finish. My favorite finish for this kind of little blanket is a single crochet stitch all the way around the edge in a contrasting yarn. At one time, I used “baby” weight yarn, but the colors are limited to pastels. This yarn color is “water melon”; a lovely 4 ply, worsted weight acrylic by CARON®.

The other blanket is fleece, finished with green “satin” blanket binding; an easy, but impressive make. My daughter actually purchased the fleece and one of the lengths of flannel, but she had no idea that her mama would make it up so quickly; for that matter, neither did her mama!

(You can see pictures of all three (the fleece one is folded) on the “Cat Fur to Kitten Britches” page).

Just a few thoughts for old or new, experienced or aspiring seamstresses:

 Do NOT use liquid fabric softener EVER when laundering fleece. It WILL pill the fleece.

 Always purchase and use good scissors. They are worth their weight in gold. My favorite pair is more than thirty years old .. Gingher® both dressmaker and appliqué scissors. I also like Wiss® sewing scissors; that was my mom’s favorite brand and I’m very sad to say that I have lost the pair she gave me for Christmas as a child.

 When in doubt, change that needle in your sewing machine; Do NOT get stingy here. A blunt needle will cause all kinds of mayhem from broken and/or dropped stitches to torn and nicked fabric. Use the appropriate size and type. I prefer Schmetz® sewing needles over all the others and in particular their Universal TM needle as this little pointed sticker will stitch all kinds of fabric. If you don’t have the Universal, use a ball point for all knits and “standard” for woven fabrics. I was told that a ball point can be used for all fabric; this by an employee in a fabric store. I have not tried this, however.

 Do NOT attempt to mend a pair of jeans with a size 9/10 needle and don’t even think of using that size 16 for sewing fine silks or satins. You can purchase “denim specific” needles.

 Match your thread color carefully. Pull a tiny length out of a spool before purchase and lay it on your fabric. If you cannot get an “exact” match, go a shade lighter, NOT darker.

 Prepare your fabric as you would care for the final garment. Pre-wash all washable fabrics and dry according to the bolt directions before proceeding with your project. New fabrics are spun, woven, wound and generally made with finishes that can be unkind to your skin, some will shrink and some just need washing!

Sewing is not a lost art! Atlantis was lost! Football games are lost (just ask the Steelers)! Perhaps sewing is no longer viewed as a necessary skill; but it is an art form that deserves attention and respect. Whether you want to create fully lined floor to ceiling draperies or a simple T-shirt, don’t be put off and don’t put it off; just “get her done”.

Get out, dig out or uncover that sewing machine you have buried somewhere and get into a project this weekend. Maybe your patio furniture needs new cushion covers or the patio table wants some bright color. You are only limited by your imagination.

How about some simple, yet pretty fabric napkins? Functional, fully washable and pretty too; the best part is you’re not adding paper to the land fill. Remember to reduce, reuse and recycle.

If you would like my easy, no fail directions, just send me a stamped self addressed … JUST KIDDING! Just email me and I’ll get them right out. (FYI, I snitched the idea from my oldest sister). Thanks, June.

Here’s to you stitching yourself some Country happiness.

© 2010 Cat Brennan

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Country Happy Easter

Please wander over to my Cat Scratching page for a new entry.
It's my take on Easter and the Resurrection.
I'm working on a new blog entry.  Never fear, it will be "in print" very soon! Tips and quips for all my Country Friends including one of my mom's favorites, "A pint's a pound the world around." 

The Cat loves all your comments and "editorializing" behind the scenes, so don't stop now. "We" have to get into real print. Become a follower too!

©2010 Cat Brennan

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This Little Piggy . . .

Have you seen the price of bacon these days? Certainly gives pause when hearing the expression that “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” .. In my not-so-humble opinion, the sow’s ear IS the silk purse.

At the supermarket, these days, most of the time, you don’t even buy a pound (16 oz) of bacon anymore. No sir-ree! Most of the cured and sliced pig is packaged into 12 ounce portions. This last trip to the market, the least expensive selection was priced at two for six dollars. And that was the “I-never-heard-of-that-brand-before brand” – not a lot of lean meat showing on the few and strangely irregular slices peeking through the little lift-up-the-flap window. Look at it this way .. calculator out and in hand: that 12 ounce package at three dollars would make it four dollars a pound. Not bad. But wait! When the bacon is cooked, you are left with something like 20% food and 80% cooked-off grease. Unless you use and consume all of that grease, you have just paid four dollars for three point two ounces of meat, making that 12 ounce package of bacon actually cost ten dollars or thirteen dollars and thirty three cents pound. Filet mignon, yes! Lobster, definitely. But bacon??? I don’t think so. On the other hand, what are you actually paying if you choose The Brand bacon at $11 or $12 a package (still 12 oz)???

Back in the 1900’s, I’m guessing in the thirties or forties, my dad had a farm where he raised hogs, among other things. He told me one time that when he got a nickel (5¢) a pound, he felt rich.

So the little ‘ditty’ has changed and goes something like this:

(Old: This little piggy went to market)
   This little piggy went shopping at the exclusive organic food boutique,(Old: This little piggy stayed at home)
   This little piggy stayed at his castle lounging by the pool,(Old: This little had roast beef)
   This little piggy had Sushi,
(Old: And this little piggy had none)
   This little piggy is on a diet of Perrier and black Russian caviar.
(Old: And this little piggy went wee-wee-wee all the way home).
   And this little piggy went oui oui oui all the way to his maison in Paris.

This country gal loves to cook with her bacon, and for those few times when “ya just gotta have it” .. and can’t bring yourself to use the already-cooked-and-chopped-up-in-a-package variety, try this sweet little trick.

Purchase the bacon, bring it home and freeze it solid – no cheating! When you’re ready to use it, remove from the freezer. Unwrap and discard the outer cardboard packaging (if it comes that way). Cut a small slit in the plastic wrapping and microwave on high for ONE minute. Remove from the plastic and cut into small pieces going across the bacon. The easiest way to cut it is with a pair of kitchen scissors, but a good, sharp knife will work with the nearly frozen bacon. Continue with regular cooking method from here.

If you only need a half a package, after the one minute in the microwave, cut the entire package in half, wrap the unused portion in freezer-safe wrap, label and freeze (no, it won’t harm it as the bacon has not been completely thawed). Or, you can cook the entire package and freeze what you don’t need at this time.

Since my dad is mentioned earlier, I thought you might enjoy a little bit more of his wonderful, cantankerous, generous and always fun personality. This man was and still is my hero. Since my folks were adults during the GREAT DEPRESSION, they learned how to live on less than . . . and they passed so much wisdom on to their three daughters.

Daddy often bought bent, dented, and no-more-label canned goods; no, not exclusively, but if something was a bargain, he bought it! We always had an excess of canned goods and never did without.

He always bought what was on sale and we were blessed to be raised with a variety of foods … I still refuse to eat Scrambled Beef Brains and Rocky Mountain Oysters, but I do have a broad range of food tastes.

Once, my mom had to explain that just because Daddy kept a lot of postage stamps in his desk, he did NOT get them on sale at the post office….big surprise to me as I thought he got everything at a bargain!

One time, Daddy bought a batch of small cans that had no labels. They turned out to be “people food” but my mom was concerned that they could have been cat food, but she dutifully opened them. She was relieved to discover edible food for her family instead of cat food.

I admit to shopping the same way. If the can does not have any sign of liquid on the outside and is not “bulging” it’s safe. Why not save forty or fifty cents on a bent can?

Easter with all its Promises is just around the corner. Have a Blessed time in your House of Worship and please remember why we celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Christ.

Have a wonderful Country Week as we watch and hope for Spring-like weather.        © 2010 Cat Brennan

Friday, March 12, 2010

Country Spring Days

March is full of Country Spring Living days. We’ve already been blessed with some deliciously warm days. Just a couple of weeks ago, we all were wearing heavy coats with our necks toasty; scarves wrapped or knotted in place. Today, here in Central Virginia, all of God’s creatures were out in short sleeved shirts and I saw a lot of shorts while trying not to be blinded by the neon-white legs.

Don’t forget to set your clocks forward this Saturday night, March 14th before you go to bed. Day Light Savings Time kicks in and you don’t want to be an hour late for church.

Saint Patrick’s Day and all its green glory is this coming Wednesday on the 17th, and of course the first day of Spring is Saturday, March 20th.

Open up the doors and windows in your home for a good airing-out. Even if it rains, the warmer temperatures will allow this; time to do wash or dry clean curtains and draperies. Don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke alarms. Check them at least twice a year. Can’t remember? Put it on your calendar along with the doctor and dental appointments. Speaking of changing … turn your mattress every three months. Perhaps not a life-saving issue like the smoke alarm, but definitely a comfort issue so put it on the calendar; turn it to “the other side” and "end to end" for true rotation.

While exorcizing the winter blahs from your home think about “stuff” that has collected. Do you hang on to lone socks (this is where my adult children would truly groan because I was once famous for my “sock basket”. Please note the PAST TENSE form!). If you just can’t throw out a loner, give it a time limit .. three strikes (3 laundry days) and it’s out. Or, at least turn it into a mitten style dust rag. Just don’t expect the mate to show up; it’s gone like a kid’s allowance at a candy store.

When lists were invented, your's truly chaired and masterminded the committee! Keeping a “master” packing list in your computer to print on demand will save time and worry about what to pack when traveling. This works well for business and leisure travel. You should also have a “don’t forget to do” list for those extended times away including items such as: turn down the heat or a/c, unplug small appliances, shut down computer, check locks on all doors and windows.

Make some green drinks for the kids, add a few drops of green food coloring to water or soda or cookies and frosted cup cakes. This makes the wearin’ o’ the green more fun for all. Let’s face it, on March 17th, everyone is Irish.

Have a green Country spring.                                                                                            © Cat Brennan

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Country Gardening and Car Care

      The weekend is off to a great start with plans to clean up the patio and get ready for spring plants.  A friend has promised me some heirloom tomato plants and I have five new clean and empty plastic containers ready for good soil and container gardening.  Add these white former kitty litter buckets to the containers from last year and we're set for good veggies and plenty of space for them. 
      In addition to the tomatoes, there will be carrots for Miss InjaPig, Rosemary, Basil,Chives, Geraniums and Marigolds (remember to grow lots of basil to chase off those pesky fruit flies).  Is my tiny patio ready for some green beans? We'll soon find out! 
      Car care! There is nothing this Country Gal likes less than car care.  My mantra is this: put in gas and go!
      My first experience pumping gas was probably in the mid to late seventies.  A brand new self serve gas station had opened.  It was the only one of its kind in the small community and that made it a natural for an all day remote broadcast for our radio station.  There I was, in a dress, stockings and sling-back high heels, pumping gas and doing live "play by play" on the air.
      Did you know that gas hoses did not always come with an automatic shut off? I made the mistake of looking away while pumping gas and talking and pumped gas into my brand new high heels! 
      From then on, instead of being 'Cathy D' on the air, I became 98 Octane Cathy.
      Now an expert at pumping gas, this Cat can check the oil, A/T fluid, brake fluid, coolant, tire pressure and change her own air filter.  I do draw the line at oil changes, but who knows since independence and self sufficiency are my goal.
      Please note!  You can save a few bucks by buying your air filter at the auto parts store and put it in yourself. It's EASY.  Depending on the make and model of your ride, you can save some bucks. The appropriate timing for changing the air filter seems to be every other oil change .  Put on some rubber gloves and go to it.
      Here's wishing you a wonderful Country Weekend full of fun.                                        © Cat Brennan

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Lord's Prayer: Andrea Bocelli with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir ♫

If you've read my profile, you know that my absolute favorite tenor on the planet is Andrea Bocelli; all others pale by comparison. Some of you may have seen him as a professional tutor on one of television's "music reality" shows a few years ago. You may also know this talented man is blind.  I will even go so far as to say that Bocelli is to his genre of music as Ray Charles was to his.  Please, click on this link and listen to the clip. I believe you will be blessed; while you're at it, check out that organ!  Country + music blessings your way!  ©Cat Brennan

The Lord's Prayer

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Country Aroma

My very easy supper is cooking while writing this. Raspberry Pork Chops are in the Slow Cooker and the spinach for Creamed Cheesy Spinach is thawing. Check out 'Cat Food' for the Pork Chop Recipe .. more later on the Spinach; still working on the fine points.

Wipe out stale or cooking odors with an easy Country Remedy.  This one is environmentally friendly and rather inexpensive with no candle residue on the ceiling.  Any cook pot or skillet will work, but I prefer to use my 6½" cast iron skillet.  Put about a teaspoon of whole cloves* in the pan (DRY! no water or oil).  Place on stove on high heat and KEEP AN EYE ON IT.   When the first sign of a little smoke appears grasp the pan with a pot holder and shake lightly .. walking through your space(s), distributing the pleasant scent of cloves.  You can repeat these steps once or twice more before the cloves are rendered gray and no longer 'viable'.  (Pour down your sink disposal or cool and place in the trash).  This REALLY works and it doesn't harm the ozone; an old friend told me she tried this after preparing fish and the cloves  worked.  This is especially useful in the winter months when it's too cold to "air out" with all the doors and windows open.  To conjure up a little more 'holiday feel', add a dash of ground cinnamon to the pan. (Whole cinnamon sticks do NOT work with this method).
* You can use ½ to 1 teaspoon of ground cloves but I prefer the whole cloves.

See you over at 'Cat Food' for some fine pork chops .
The Creamy Cheesy Spinach recipe is now also available at 'Cat Food'.

Have a wonderful Country Week.
© Cat Brennan

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Home-made is Heaven-made ©

In this instant-everything, I-want-it-now world we live in, some things tend to come out tasting like fast food .. you know the kind .. the drive through where you receive a glass of chemicals and a quadruple bi-pass in a paper bag to go.

With a little care and a dash of tasty adds, your food will pass the "home-made is heaven-made"© test.
Three of my most favorite small kitchen appliances are: micro wave oven, pressure cooker and slow cooker/crock pot. (read that hurry, hurry, slow down). These three appliances are invaluable in my kitchen.

While living in the great southwest, the pressure cooker was the unchallenged champ in the kitchen. You see, at high altitude, most things take longer to cook than at sea level, a LOT longer!

A family story fondly told about my mama when we moved to New Mexico from West Virginia is that she planned to cook pinto beans for a meal to serve in just a couple of hours. Mama told the family that the beans weren't ready for that meal and she boiled those 'durn' beans forever. Truth be told, I expect the next time she probably soaked the pintos overnight. There's a little magic formula for pressure cooking beans in high altitude: Check out the Cat Food page for that bit of gold.

Try these delicious mashed potatoes: begin as usual. After thoroughly scrubbing the potatoes, to maintain vitamins, minerals and downright good flavor, do NOT peel the potatoes. While cooking the potatoes as usual, (always cover your pan to conserve energy and shorten cooking time), place butter and milk in a microwave-save 2-cup measuring cup and this "tasty add", cream cheese - one ounce for every 2 or3 medium potatoes, plus the salt and any other seasonings you prefer. Nuke these ingredients until melted and warm; mix well. Add the butter mix as usual when mashing the potatoes.

Have a country-filled life no matter where you live.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Country Laundry Lore

Do you remember this old song? "Today is Monday, Today is Monday, Monday wash day, Everybody happy? Well, I should say so!"  I don't remember the rest of the lyrics, but anyone in the South knows that Monday is washday.  All your clothes clean and sparkling out on the clothesline.  The sheets are all together, next come the pillow cases (and they WILL be ironed later), shirts hung upside down from the side seams, towels and other linens by both corners, nice and smooth, and on and on. Of course the lady's unmentionables were NEVER hung on the line outsde.  Many of you reading this may not even know what is the purpose of a clothesline or seen one, much less clothes pins.  These days, I use clothes pins for keeping potato chips and other bags closed.
Did YOU ever use a wringer washer? They were highly entertaining when mama wasn't looking; especially when the socks got mangled into both rollers.  Many years ago, while visiting dear friends on one of the Indian Reservations out west, I had to do some washing.  These friends were school teachers, so they lived right on the rez. The wringer washer they had was vintage; I'm thinking it arrived on one of the wagon trains.  The dang thing had a mind of it's own and delighted in grabbing my hair. You haven't been in a real fight until a lumbering hunk of iron and water decides to scalp you on Monday.  I came away with all my hair, but I was sorely tempted to toss that Maytag TM into the lake of fire! I'm sure it was possessed!
Laundry is one of those things that will never go away.  The "hunk of iron and water" may be shiny new, fancy and computerized, but it still has to be "fed" .. Experience has taught me that when using a wringer washer one must always wash the whites BEFORE the reds and not the other way around. Husbands and brothers just don't enjoy pink underwear. A similar laundry law applies when washing the whites .. don't allow that lone red sock to join the water dance or the hubby will have pink shorts.
As for me, when some of my "pink things" get wimpy looking, I just wash the pinks and reds together. 
Grease spots and stains can be a permanent problem.  It's not necessary to buy those overpriced prior-to-washing sprays. Keep a bottle of Dawn TM Liquid Dish Detergent in your laundry room. Dab on the grease spots, rub the article 'together' and toss in with the load being washed. This is an easy and inexpensive 'fix' that works, compliments of my youngest daughter.
Watch your dryer closely and don't over dry anything. That appliance is an electricity guzzler so why feed your local power company? Need I remind you to keep that lint filter clear and clean?  Remove all of the lint after every load you dry, and scrub it well at least once a month with soap and warm water and a soft brush.
If you don't have a clothesline and, let's face it, most of us don't, you can still "air" dry the rugs, tennis shoes and other items of this nature. Remember REDUCE your USE ..
Have a country filled weekend!  © 2010 Cat Brennan

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kudos to Lowes & More Country Lore

Kudos and grateful thanks to Lowe's ® on West Broad in Richmond Virginia. This crazy Country Gal lost her check book recently. In all honesty, I thought I had accidently thrown it away when I was paying bills. The return address on my checks was an old post office box number. With that and no telephone number printed on them, I wasn't worried about someone using the checks. Apparently the check book fell out of my purse, was found and handed over to some honest soul at the big store.  Lowe's sent the check book to the post office box that I had had closed over a year ago. The package was returned to Lowe's with the standard YELLOW post office label as the forwarding time had expired. Again, Lowe's mailed it to me, this time using the address that was listed on the yellow label. That, dear friends, is CUSTOMER SERVICE ... the kind we used to find in an old Country store or mercantile.

Moving on to more good Country Lore. Don't toss out that dried out bread, or even the heels. They can be salvaged. Dry them to crisp in a medium oven, then make bread crumbs in your food processor. Add a few dry herbs of your choice, such as: basil, oregano, parsley, ground pepper, garlic powder, onion power, rosemary, or sage. Use any combination that pleases your palate.

If life gives you dry French bread, make tasty French toast. Whip up an egg with rich whole cream adding a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg and voila! Ready to cook and serve with butter and honey or maple syrup. For a real country touch, serve with molasses.

Kids fussy at the table? Be a party smarty with your kids. Instead of serving a ho-hum lunch, have a party. De-crust the bread and make their favorite sandwiches; PBand J, bologna, cheese or egg salad - what ever. Cut into triangles or fingers or rounds and call them party sandwiches. For even more fun, decrust the bread, and make sandwiches either 3 or 4 slices thick. Then slice into either fingers or triangles. An electric knife makes slicing easier, but is an option. However you slice it, you're the hero!  ©2010 Cat Brennan

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Country Lore: Basil and Bay Leaves

The snow is dissipating slowly but surely. The general consensus is: ENOUGH ALREADY, balance in all things .. moderation is good! Just because there is a snow shovel in my little shed doesn't mean it needs to be used more than once a year. I did that, and am ready to put it away.

Miss InjaPig is ready for some fresh salad greens and home grown carrots. She will eat the store-bought variety, but she really loved those skinny little carrots that I grew last year (think Twiggy). Every time I opened the patio door her squeaker went into high gear. She equated that
door-opening-sound with CARROTS!

Soon it will be time to prepare my containers for Miss InjaPig's carrots. Several large empty kitty litter buckets will be garden containers for tomatoes, carrots, chives, opal and regular basil, scallions and probably some marigolds, Gerber daisies and geraniums. Last year was my first attempt at container gardening beyond a few small decorative pots of flowers. The tomatoes were hybrids for patio growing. Not only were they small, but too few. We're going for the larger varieties this year.

Last year, the carrots went into a large green, plastic "tub" - the kind used for storage. The tomato vine went into a 5 gallon painter's bucket. It was UGLY orange, but a can of forest green "paint-on-plastic" spray paint made it easier on the eyes. All that was left was to drill drain holes in the bottom of both containers.

More Country Girl Lore ..

FRESH BASIL seems to chase away fruit flies in the kitchen; actually in all areas of your home (the daughter of a friend has hermit crabs. The crab house was inundated with fruit flies. When she tried the fresh basil, the pesky critters took a hike). Those nasty little critters will drive an angel to drink so keep it on hand for this as well as for savory cooking.

Dried BAY LEAVES keep weevils out of your cereal, corn meal and grain products. Place two or three dry bay leaves in the containers that you store all of these food products. It is better to repackage these dry ingredients into sealed containers if at all possible. Also, sprinkle a few loose bay leaves on the shelves where your dry food stuffs are kept. © Cat Brennan

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow, A Snow Shovel & WD-40®

Snow, anyone?  If you've read my profile, you know that one of the places I have lived is Colorado; left there in '03.  The final winter I lived there, we had 42 inches of snow in our back yard.  The nearby Rockies had 80 to 100 inches.  I never expected to witness the kind of snow here that has fallen since mid-December....not in Virginia!  The last 2 weekends ushered in snow well exceeding 24 inches.  Today, the snow is not so bad, but the day began with heavy winds and icey, treacherous road conditions. Alas! A snow day for this country gal. When I got my divorce, and moved to a different location in this metro area, I gave away my snow shovel and gardening shovel; this is Central Virginia ... it doesn't snow THAT much.. yeah right !! A friend took pity and gave me a snow shovel. (real compassion would have been to come and USE the shovel, and KEEP it).  ;-) So, I have a snow shovel that works!  I did spray both sides of the "business end" with WD-40 ®  before using it. That is one slick trick!  Happy Day, friends  ©2010 Cat Brennan