Monday, October 29, 2012

VE is Done!

Viral Execution, book three in the Cantral Chronicles (Once known as CCB3)  is done.

Well, the first draft anyway.  There are still a billion things to do.

Like take the wristband away from character #3, name Noble programmer #2, and foreshadow the oxygen tank.


Anyway.  While the book is done, it's also really not done at all. The editing stage is quite long and often times, the hardest part of writing a book. Unfortunately, it's also the most crucial.  There will be about 8 stages of editing to VE before I send it to the publisher and it can get into your hands.

I have a cool idea for a cover image, though. :) 

So. Off to work I go! I plan on editing only one chapter today, because I need a little break after writing so much last week!  After I edit one chapter I'm going to work on my neck tie quilt.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Apple Chips and Writing My Fingers Off

You know how I said I would try to update more?

Kinda failed at that, didn't I?

But I have an excuse! Again.

I realized a couple of days ago that if I wanted to finish my book by my deadline, I need to write 3,500 words a day.

A day. 

As in. Every day.

So my fingers have been falling off by the end of the day when I get my quota in, and it really is rather difficult to write blog posts without fingers.

Last night I got my 3,500 words in and then made 8 pounds of apple chips. Well, they were 8 pounds before I dehydrated them. They weigh much less now.

I didn't take a  picture. I have no fingers, remember?

How am I typing this?  . . . Well. Have you ever seen Veggie Tales?

Yep. I'm cool like that.

Hope you all have a good day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cooking Pumpkin

We use quite a bit of pumpkin around here. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, you get the idea.

We mostly buy canned pumpkin, but  I wanted to try my hand at cooking and pureeing a 'real' pumpkin. Yes, pumpkin in the can is real, but I think you know what I mean.

First. Start out with a real pumpkin. Paper or plastic will not do.

You will need a pot, a steamer basket, a knife, and willingness to get pumpkin-y

First, lobotomize your pumpkin.

Slice it in half. Which is easier said than done.

Cut it into manageable size pieces.

Scoop out all the seeds. Save them or throw them away, it's up to you. I saved mine for planting next year. some people roast them to eat. Personally, I find roasted pumpkin seeds gross. But to each his own.

then cut out all the strings from every piece. Just cut out about 1/4 inch of the pumpkin to make sure you get every string, strings make for really nasty pumpkin puree.

While you're doing that you should put water in the bottom of a pot, put a steamer basket in it, and set the water to boil.

So once you're done destringing, the water will be boiling and you can set your pieces of pumpkin on the steamer basket.

Steam for 10 - 15 minutes. Or until it looks yellow and cooked.

Then once the pumpkin pieces are completely cool, peel (and throw out the peelings, they're gross, too)  and cube the pumpkin.

Now what a  lot of people do is put their cubed pumpkin in a giant pot and cook it until it's goopy, but I went a faster way.

Blend it!

Make sure your blender can handle this. An every day run of the mill kitchen blender probably can't. A blendtec, Vitamix, Ninja, and that sort of thing probably can.

Ta da

Once you have it all blended and in your pot . . .

Transfer it to a bigger pot, like I did, because I forgot that when pumpkin simmers, it splats all over the place, so you need a pot with high walls.

Cook on low on smallest burner for like . . . 8 hours. Or until there's little water on top and it looks orangish.   Stir every once in awhile so it doesn't burn. That'd be bad.

Then once it's cool scoop into containers and freeze puree. It's ready for another day. Haha. Rhymes.

You can't can pumpkin puree.  Well. You can can it, but you could get botulism if you do. So don't. :)   Pumpkin puree is too dense and too basic (low acidity) to can safely.  Commercial canners can do it because they have these immense pressure cookers that are 10ft tall and have all sorts of lovely gadgets. You probably don't.

So freeze your pumpkin, you won't get botulism, and you'll have pumpkin bread later on. Sound fun?  Good.

I got about 9 cups of pumpkin puree from this one pumpkin.  Now back to writing!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Today's Project

This is part of today's project

Changing the light bulbs in our yard light.

It'd difficult to do by oneself. Climbing up the ladder, light bulb and screw driver in hand. Tuck light bulb in pocket, stand at awkward angle to loosen the screws holding the globe, hold the globe under one arm, screw driver resting on ladder rest, unscrew light bulb, balance it on head, and screw in new light bulb, before repositioning globe and tightening screws with the wind trying to gust the globe off the post before you have it tightened down.

Climb down ladder without breaking ankle.


All five light bulbs were burned out, but I replaced only two, because who needs five glowing at once, right?

Notice our redneck fix for the broken globe? Duct tape. Yep.

A hailstorm knocked some holes into some of the globes. The globes cost $20 a piece, if you're lucky enough to find one for sale, so it's a quick fix for that, and it's really not that noticeable, 'cause who looks up anyway?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sewing Project 1 - Pillowcases

Here's one of the sewing projects I was working on.

A pillowcase!

A Star Wars pillowcase!

And an Owl one, but more on that later.

A friend showed me some of these pillowcases and I figured out how to make them.

I plan on selling them online on my etsy shop (The star wars one is listed here)  So far I have only one listed, but I hope to list more every day.

Basically, other than writing, I've been sewing.  I was fortunate to score some nice deals at Joann fabrics. ^^

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And There Goes the Blog

Seems like it's always difficult to get back into routine when coming home from a trip, don't you agree?

I've been writing away. Yesterday  I was in Memphis most of the day, taking my grandfather to various appointments, but I also managed to write 800 words and get some embroidery done!   I also purchased some fabric for a sewing project. :) 

I hope you all are well, thanks for sticking with me despite my lack of updates.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Third to Next Sewing Project

I think this cool serger cover will be my third to next sewing project.

Click to Enlarge
Isn't it nifty? 

My sewing machine needs a cover, too, and I might use this pattern

Now I say the serger cover will be my third to next sewing project, because I already have a few in the works!  I just didn't want to forget about this one, so I figured I'd blog about it. That'll help, right?  One can hope.

My current sewing projects are a quilt and pillow cases.   The quilt is being made out of old neckties.  Old. Ugly. Neckties.

from the 70's. They're not even silk. Some of them are brocade, taffeta, and one even feels like burlap. All extremely ugly. I'll post photos when I can get a chance.

So I'm cutting them into 1 1/2 inch strips and then I'll cut those strips into 1 1/2 inch squares and sew them all together again. If it works out. I might get bored along the way.  I have about 16 of these ugly ties. I don't know how big of a quilt they will make, but I'm willing to experiment!

The pillow cases haven't been started yet, nor do I have the fabric, for them, but I'm going to Joann's tomorrow armed with 12 coupons for 40 - 50% off!

Once those projects are done, I can start on the serger and sewing machine cases.

The only problem - writing is getting in the way. I'm not allowing myself to work on the necktie quilt until I write at least 1,000 words in a day. *sigh*

It happened yesterday, but today there is clogging class, so I don't know. Here's hoping.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Various Projects

Right now I've been pretty busy getting back into the swing of things, as we say around here. Settling back into being home and doing home type things.

I wrote nothing yesterday, thanks to being at Ames, but I wrote some today.  I normally don't write on Sundays, but I feel it's necessary with my deadline fast approaching.

Maybe rainbow smiley socks will help me write faster.

When taking breaks from writing I've been cooking and cleaning and organizing. Went through my fabric stash this evening.

I hope to start a quilt, too. I started cutting out the pieces for it this evening.  My parents leave in 1 week for the upcoming tour!

Back to writing. Aric and Monica are in peril.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ames Plantation Festival

Today a nearby historical plantation was putting on a festival of sorts.

The Ames Plantation has 18,400 acres of land and is owned by a historical foundation and the university of Tennessee, I believe.

They use the land for agricultural research, but part of it is used for civil war events and reenactments.  This festival is a heritage celebration, of sorts.  There's lots of old timey type events going on and crafters and food vendors have booths with things for sale.

There's a tractor pulled wagon going up and down the plantation street that gives rides for free. It was nifty.

There were acres of things to see, and the tractor didn't go many places, so we did a ton of walking.

Dulcimer band - pretty music

Grist mill making corn meal (We bought some)

Logging with horses -this was amazing.

After watching the logging for awhile, we walked around some more and saw these horses giving wagon rides

And this lady shoeing a horse

And this lady doing pottery

Lots of pottery for sale

Spinning wheel

Cooking in a cabin

Picking cotton



Goat milking

And a random grave marker

There were also quilters, bee keepers, wood carvers, knitters, story telling, native american dancers, and 200 or so booths to visit with things to buy. Pretty amazing.

This was our first year going and we spent 4 hours there just walking and looking and I'm sure we didn't see everything there was to see.

It was great fun. :)  I'd like to go again next year, though  I might just be participating!  We'll see. They might have me volunteer as a spinner. I think I'd enjoy that.