Monday, November 17, 2014

Hi Honey!

honey bee : Illustration of Cute Bee eating honeyDo you have a little dab of jelly, jam or preserves in the cabinet that you're tempted to throw away? Or, how about that last 1/4 inch of honey that has crystallized and won't pour or squeeze out?  Don't toss!

Add these to muffins!  Check the 'liquid' called for in your recipe and add enough boiling water to the honey or jam pot and stir or shake well if the vessel has a tight lid. Let the boiling water mixture cool a bit then add to your mix. Great flavor is added and the condiment isn't wasted.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How and Where to Store Fruits and Vegetables

Here's some valuable information about how to store and keep fresh produce, whether home grown or purchased.  

Tomatoes get mushy if stored in the refrigerator - they do NOT like to be cold!  Did you know that you shouldn't store or keep apples with or near other produce?   So where to keep potatoes or avocados? Find out more below.  


Apples - Coldest Fridge Drawer*


Avocados - Room Temperature


Broccoli - Coldest Fridge Drawer


Celery - Coldest Fridge Drawer


Garlic - Fridge Shelf


Ginger - Fridge Shelf


Kale - Coldest Fridge Drawer


Onions – Cool Dry Place (away from potatoes)


Parsley - Coldest Fridge Drawer


Strawberries - Coldest Fridge Drawer


Tomatoes - Room Temperature

*NEVER-EVER store apples with or near other fruits and vegetables ‘at room temperature’ as the apples will hasten the ripening process of the other.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lint Roller

One of the neatest ideas yet in my sewing room is one I got from my daughter, Greta. I keep a lint roller near my sewing machine to pick up stay threads and, what my mom called, frizzlens!Cartoon Squirrel Lint (Black and White Line Art) I'm betting that word came from frizzy and I like it! It’s all those little threads that remain, for instance, when you rip out a seam (There is a real word, frizzling, but that refers to crispy cooking). The lint roller gets those, too. Right this minute, I’m working on some pants pockets, and although the pocket fabric is a very pretty green, it is fraying and flying like sawdust in a lumber mill.

Another of my favorite pass times is to crochet rag rugs; those can get very messy, so I've added a lint roller to my project bag.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cool, Cooler and Coolest

     Hot summer days scream for cool drinks.  Dress up your delicious lemonade, iced coffee and more with a few simple tricks.  
     Here are some really 'cool' ideas for your favorite beverages.

     Hope your summer is the coolest. If YOU have additional ''ice cube" ideas. send them along to me and I will share right here at Cat's Country.

     Have a great week whether you live in the country, or simply wish you did.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Here's to you, Rose!

     A few years ago, a dear friend of mine, Noelle, took her mom, Rose, shopping. I’m not sure where all they went, but I do know they found some really good bargains at some flea markets and yard sales. We all love our thrift shopping, don’t we? 
     Rose was really excited when she found a nice stash of Vera Bradley™ purses at one of the thrifty shopping places.  When Rose called out to Noelle, she couldn’t remember the famous name of these quilted and colorful purses (she was at least 80 at the time). So, Rose just told her to come and look at all the pretty “Sarah” purses.  I loved that story then, and I love it even more, now because Rose went home to be with her maker a couple of years ago. 
     When Noelle reported this delightful account, I told her that when I got rich and famous, I would design a purse and name it, “Sarah Rose” for her mama.

     Not surprisingly, I’m still waiting for the rich and famous part, but I did design and make a little purse I have named my “Sarah Rose” –  I’ve blended a little bit of country with a little bit of city bangle.  Blue denim dressed with pink beading around the edge.
     Here’s to you Rose! Here is your namesake, Sarah Rose.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday in the Country

        Swaddling Gauze Blankets have become more and more popular in the Western Civilization, but please, use with caution.  Do NOT wrap your babies too tightly as has been done for centuries in the middle east. Studies have shown that the overly-tight wrapping has caused babies organs to be displaced and even harmed from the too-tight-wrapping.

        Here's a good "rule of thumb" to use in your garden.  If you are growing a crop for its fruit or its root, it requires full sun.  If you are growing a crop for its leaves or its stems, partial shade is best.

        Ever wonder which glue or adhesive to use for this project or that repair? Here's a cool website with the answers:
           This is a simple, no-frills web site that is very useful.

         And, just so you know about the "rule of thumb".  Back 'in the day' when men were allowed to beat their wives into submission, the law stated that they could not use a stick bigger than a thumb - thus, the rule of thumb. (yeah, don't get me started).

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wednesday Words: Wacky or Wise

Happy Pig clip art
Do you sometimes wonder how your tax dollars are spent? How about this one: Several years ago, a united states government funded study discovered that pigs can become alcoholics. Wow - how about pork intervention???

Friday, April 25, 2014


Don't use liquid fabric softener on towels and cloths for bath or kitchen.  The liquid renders the linens non –absorbent.  There are a couple of ways to soften your clothing: Add 1/2 - 1 cup vinegar to the rinse water in the washer. Another way to soften clothing is to purchase some "dryer balls" to bounce around in the dryer while your clothing or linens are drying. 

Don't forget to keep on hand some inexpensive nylon tulle/net (the cheap kind, NOT the soft stuff one would use for wedding items).  If you've left a tissue in your pocket and it "snowed' all over your clothing, just put a length of tulle in the dryer with your clothing. I don't know why it works, but it does (friction, perhaps?). I keep a light/white length and a dark/black length on hand for the respective load - 1 1/2 - 2 yards each is a good length. This tulle will last through several loads. When it becomes too soft for this use, give it to the little girls to play dress-up or cut into narrower strips for 'ribbon' on a package.

If you've run out of buttermilk for your baked goods don't fret, make your own.  Pour 1 - 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice into a measuring cup. Add regular milk to make the amount of butter milk needed. Vinegar also works. Stir a little; after a few seconds, your milk with 'thicken' into 'buttermilk'.

Just-a--Pinch of instant coffee granules takes the “bright white” glare out of cream gravy; the flavor can't be noticed (unless you added too much).  

Low on fresh milk?  Add water for liquid – sprinkle dry milk into other dry ingredients…works great with pancakes, waffles, cakes etc. ( add the dry milk to flour and other dry ingredients, first - then add the water when your recipe calls for the 'milk'). 

If you're out of Self Rising flour, you can make your own: For each cup of flour, mix in 1 ¼ tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp salt

Finally, for today, if you're out of BAKING POWDER, again, make your own: For each tsp. Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar and ¼ tsp. baking soda.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday in the Country

Parking lots are collection spots for oil leaks – avoid walking through so that you don’t track into your home.

Store all of your brooms upside down to keep from ruining the bristles.

If your iron is sticking, run it over both sides of a piece of wax paper.

No time to polish your dark dress shoes?  Spray quickly and lightly with aerosol hair spray (keep a trial size on had just for this use).

As soon as you get home from your dry cleaners, remove clothing from the protector plastic as it tends to ‘set in’ wrinkles.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Friday, April 11, 2014


From my friend in Colorado: As a house cleaner for years I believe that the best ‘glass’ cleaner is 50% alcohol plus a hint more, and 50% water in a spray bottle.  No vinegar, nothing else.  Cheap!  (Commercial glass cleaners are so toxic).

remix,unchecked,blue,stamp,air mail,airplane,postage,clip art,media,public domain,image,svg,pngPurchase greeting cards in advance.  Get them ready at the end of the month prior to the dates you are honoring with cards.  Once you have written in your sentiment, place in envelope and add the addressee and your return address. Do NOT STAMP (yet).  In the stamp area, write the date TO MAIL THE CARD.  Then, don't forget to stamp and mail.

When you purchase greeting cards, turn the cards over and obliterate the price. I even draw a smiley face next by the obliteration.

The gutters along the curb collect all kinds of traffic trash, including sharp object that will harm your tires. Stay out of them.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday in the Country

Collecting acorns, pine cones and gum balls is fun, but be cautious when bringing them into the house as they may be home to creep, crawly vermin.  Put the pine cones in the top rack of the dishwasher and run though a regular cycle with your regular dirty dishes.  Bake the acorns and gumballs in a low oven for 30 to 40 minutes.  Both of these methods should serve as safe ways to debug your prizes. 

Pink Dress Hanger Clip ArtI have designated a space at the end of one of my clothes-rods as the 'home' for empty hangers. When removing a piece of clothing from the closet, I take the hanger off the rod and put it with the other 'empties'.  It will be easy to find later when returning the clothing to the closet.  Here's another plus, the empty hangers are easy to locate when doing the laundry.

Last evening, I made 'Christy's Chocolate Sheet Cake for a birthday celebration.  I wanted to use my near-antique cake stand to present the cake, but how to do this, was the question.  First, I froze the cake overnight then, I cut 3 or 4 pieces of parchment paper. (I had intended to cut rounds of parchment, then scallop the edges, but ran out of time). Using a pizza cutter, I cut the cake into serving size pieces, then I laid a piece of parchment paper on the cake stand.  I covered that with pieces of cake, then continued with paper then cake, paper then cake, ending with cake on top.  A few cake crumbs did stick to the parchment, but NOT the frosting. That was what I hoped would happen.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday in the Country

Keep fresh flowers longer by adding a wee pinch of sugar and an aspirin to the water.  Change every few days.

Treat both sides of your snow shovel with a generous spray of WD-40™. Hopefully, there won't be any more snow this year, but file this idea for next winter. It makes shoveling snow so much easier. Secondarily, the spray will aid against rust.

Bay leaves for weevils. I put bay leaves in everything and every container that holds a food stuff that attracts weevils: corn meal, flour, cereals, grains and mixes. Additionally, I scatter bay leaves on the shelves in the cabinets where I store these foods. It works!

Some of your favorite pinks fading?  Revive by washing them with your reds. (Just think of this as the reverse procedure for the day you turned your husbands tidy whities into blushing pinkies).

Get rid of odors, including fish AND burned popcorn with this neat trick.  Whole cloves are best, but ground cloves will work in a pinch. Place 6-9 whole cloves or sprinkle 1/4 tsp. ground cloves into a small, DRY skillet.  Heat to lightly smoking (I use my 6" cast iron skillet). "Wave" the skillet around the house, passing through all the rooms, especially in kitchen and entry ways.  Sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, I get the whole or powdered cloves lightly smoking and 'wave' near the intake for my heat pump (of course make sure the fan in blowing to spread). This gets the pleasant fragrance throughout your home.

Keep a book or box of matches in your bathrooms; the sulfur smell of a lit, burnt and blown-out match does wonders to mask the special "fragrances" in that room (wooden matches work best, but a book of matches in a pinch is better than nothing).

And a word of caution: NEVER-EVER toss a hot match stick into your waste basket unless you're prepared to call the fire department.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday in the Country

Wrap sets of flatware in pretty napkins and tie with ribbon ready for a buffet meal.

To keep nylon or satin ribbon from fraying, carefully singe the ends with a flame.  Be sure that you have already cut on an angle.

Suffer short term memory loss?  Keep a pen and sticky notes in every room in your home and write down things when you think of them.

Save printer ink with a couple of simple things.  
A). Print in draft mode unless printing formal documents or letters.

B). Calibri and Times New Roman fonts use less ink than others.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Rubbing alcohol will cut through hairspray residue in your bathroom.

Easy border instead of wallpaper:  bring the outdoors in. Using double sided tape, stick various leaves high up along the ceiling on the wall.. spray paint the wall around the leaves .. you can reuse the leaves by moving around .. Large fallen fall leaves and airy fern leaves really pop.

Tie a home sewn gift with self fabric – a strip you've cut or torn away. The selvage makes a nice “ribbon”. Or make a fabric bag to hold your gift, from tiny to very large.

A quick napkin ring, any time of year: ribbon tied in a bow, silk flowers wrapped in a circle or brightly colored pipe cleaners.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday in the Country

paint brush pennello mauro olivo 01Make make your own watercolor paint with equal parts of water, clear or white liquid dish detergent and food coloring; start with 1 teaspoon each.

Fill 1 or 2, 2 liter or 2 quart plastic milk or soda containers with water and keep in the freezer. You’ll have fresh water in case of a natural disaster.  If your chest or upright freezer isn’t well stocked, fill in the empty space with additional containers of water to freeze. A well filled freezer operates more efficiently than an empty one. Remove as the space is needed for food.  THEN, after the ice has completely melted, water indoor or outdoor plants with that water instead of just dumping it down the drain. If you have a power outage, the containers of ice might keep your food safe. Do not open freezer during a power outage.

Yes, Cola beverages really do clean off the corrosion on battery posts on your car battery (buy .

Old drawers make great storage spaces under the bed. If handles are missing, drill sets of ¼” holes in the front of each drawer, thread clothesline rope through holes and knot on the inside. This is also a neat way to add “beach” décor to a room.

Keep a glass squeegee in your car to remove new-fallen snow from your windows – no scratching - clean swipe!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday in the Country

thread and needle

1.Sewing: don’t have a good thread match?  Try light gray!  

2. Save slivers of bar soap: they‘re great for pattern marking on fabric. 

3. Use bar soap to make drawers slide easily – just rub it over the sliders.  This also works well on sticking sliding glass and closet door tracks.

4. Clean out an empty, large spice container and fill with flour.  Great for flouring cake pans.

green olive on a toothpick5. These are fun: For a cocktail party, or, if the little ones are stuck in the house for yet another snow storm, make some of these for a "party" atmosphere:.  Mini Shish Kebabs.  Soak toothpicks in water for 10 - 15 minutes.  Thread onto the picks, cooked, cubed ham and pineapple or chicken and dried fruit, ham and maraschino cherries and grill ..  add cubes of cheese when ready to serve. Use your imagination! You might marinate chicken bites in a mixture of teriyaki and garlic pepper, then grill with pineapple or peach bites.  Serve while still warm.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday in the Country

Here is the first 'Friday in the Country' post.  There is no rhyme or reason for these posts; just pulling from an array of "Good Ideas" that I've used and saved over my many years of home keeping.  If you would like to share your own with me, you may get published here another Friday.

1.  To sharpen dull scissors, cut through fine sand paper a couple of times .. good as new. 

2.  It’s a good idea to wash and dry your scissors periodically. Very often, your scissors aren't really dull, and just need this simple attention. 

3.  For loose wooden knobs on drawers, dip the screw into clear fingernail polish.  This also works for loose screws in your eyeglasses. Be careful not to get the lacquer on your lenses. 

4.  Do you remember ‘Energine’ Lighter Fluid? The stuff is great for removing label and tape goo from glass jars. It’s really great for getting black marks off your linoleum. Because this method can leave a surface slippery, be very sure to wash thoroughly with soap and water.  FYI, WD-40™ will also do this type of cleaning, IF you can stand the odor.  

Hope you have a great day, whether you live in the country or simply wish you did.

©2014 Cat Brennan

Saturday, February 15, 2014

FRIDAY in the Country

Friday is coming!!
cat hunting in grassStarting Friday, February 21st, I'll post a new fact just for fun every Friday .. there may be more than one on any given Friday .. They may be fun, could be fact, could be foolish.  Just "tune in" every Friday to see what kind of frolicking I'm up to.  Since my blog is now 4 years old, I thought I would change things a bit.
© 2014 Cat Brennan

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Country Produce: Fresh or Frozen

Most of us like fresh fruit and veggies; because of faster and more efficient shipping methods than even 20 years ago, out-of-season produce is often available, but at what cost? Taste is a big issue for me, especially tomatoes. Blehk!!  Hot-house-grown tomatoes leave a lot to be desired. You really don’t have to have tomatoes to make a good salad.

One of my favorite supper salads includes diced apples, chopped nuts, diced cucumbers, finely chopped sweet onion, diced bell pepper and shredded carrots.  Add an Asian Sesame Dressing, or a simple oil and vinegar and dinner is ready.

Frozen fruit and vegetables are a good alternative to over-priced and hot-house “plastic” varieties.  These cold winter months are a great time to purchase frozen produce.  Generally speaking, fruits and veggies are packed at their peak, so the selection will be good.

Be very careful to rotate and exchange foods in your refrigerator-freezer on a regular basis.  The ‘frost free’ feature in your appliance will play havoc with food left for any length of time.  Don’t purchase an abundance of any frozen food product unless you have an upright or chest-style freezer in which to store your cache as you are risking losing some food.  If you just have to purchase a huge amount because you just can’t pass up a good bargain and have no extra freezer, plan on using that food within 2 to 3 weeks.

Check with your local County Extension office to find out what is fresh during these cold months, and year-round.  A county agent can be your best friend.  That agent can identify bugs and other vermin, wild varmints, soil condition, water safety and much more.

“White sales” used to be very popular ‘back in the day’’ and linens usually are on sale at this time of the year. Other good buys in this off-season include carpeting, motorcycles, cell phones, furniture and luggage.  You probably should wait until mid February to purchase new televisions and home theaters.

I hope your week is filled with Country blessings.
© 2014 Cat Brennan