Easy Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce


When your garden gives you loads of cherry tomatoes, make roasted tomato pasta sauce! I’ve made this twice in the past few days. It’s fabulous to just keep in the fridge or freeze for winter. Eat it warmed and tossed into pasta, as a topping for grilled meats, or room temp in a salad or on crusty bread. It’s delish and so easy.

Start with 3-4 cups of cherry tomatoes, Wash and remove stems.

Place on baking sheet, drizzle with 4-5 Tbsps of olive oil and 4 large cloves of garlic sliced thin. Toss all together so tomatoes are covered in oil.

Put pan under broiler turned to 450, or if you don’t have a broiler, roast at 450 for about 15 minutes. The skins will split pretty quickly and if under the broiler, they will char, so watch carefully. Shake the pan occasionally and turn with spatula at least once. You want them to start to caramelize, but not cook enough to loose their shape. Pull from oven and let cool.



When they are cool, toss with lots of sliced leaves of fresh basil, salt and pepper, and freshly grated Parmesan. Will keep in fridge 3-4 days or freeze flat in freezer bags


This was dinner last night. A grass fed hamburger topped with roasted tomato sauce. Sliced fresh tomatoes on the side.
I’m thinking now this would be really good with some chopped artichoke hearts, olives and maybe some fresh mozzarella. Oh yes, definitely fresh mozzarella. Yum. I love the food this time of year. How nice it will be to pull a freezer bag of this out when the snow is flying this winter. A little bit of summer saved for later.

Finished the bedroom project


I finished Sophia’s bedroom re-do a few weeks ago, but it’s taken me awhile to get the photos taken and this post written. This was the biggest redecorating project I’ve ever taken on, and it was so much fun! Always before I’ve made do with furniture we already had and just pulled things from other rooms. This was the only time I emptied the room completely and bought new when i needed something. I set myself a budget of $1500, and only went over $40!

You might remember what it looked like to start. Don’t you love the mauve carpet? What was I thinking 18 years ago when we built?



I started by ripping it the carpet and painting the walls Clark + Kensington “Rest and Relax”. It’s a perfect light Robyn’s egg blue and gives a nice backdrop to all the other colors.

Next was the big part, the floors. You can read all about them here
I purchased a vintage 1960’s bedroom set. It is a very well made set of furniture, just not quite e color I had in mind. Since I had no emotional attachment to it, it was easy to get out the airless sprayer and paint the chest of drawers and dresser coral! I am in love with this color! It’s Samarai Fusion Valspar paint from Ace hardware. The night stand and twin beds were treated to a complete makeover of silver (really aluminum) leaf. Egads that was fun! Messy, but I loved the transformation!






Curtains were found on clearance at Lowes. And the duvet covers on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond. They were a perfect match for the dresser paint. Score! The flokati rug I already had and same with the little chandelier. Leftovers props from photography studio days. All the wall items were Hobby Lobby. Except the two sunflowers canvases which I painted. The wing back chair a $20 yard sale score. The ruffle and smile pillows and mirror Marshall’s, and I sewed the floral pillowcases. We still have a few little touches to add, but those will come in time as she makes the room her own. We both love it! In fact if she moves out, I’m moving in!











Wood plank floors


I love the look of an attic bedroom with worn, uneven plank floors. I really dislike the look of 18 year old mauve carpet.

Did you know you can hire teenage boys to do jobs like rip out carpet and then pay them in spaghetti and chocolate chip cookies? You can, and that’s what I did. They made quick work of getting rid of the old carpet and pad. That saved me a ton of time and ibuprofen! The old carpet is now looking very stylish in a friends garden between her rows of raised beds!

I went to our local lumberyard and ordered 10 4×8 sheets of 1/2″ plywood. These were sheathing grade plywood and cost around $20 each. Her room is quite large, about 300 square feet including the carpet. There was very little waste and I actually had a few planks left over. The lumberyard charged me $20 to rip the boards into 8″ planks. Well worth the money. This is where I a.so made my first mistake. I told them 8″ planks, what I should have said was 6 planks of equal width, because what happened was I got five 8″wide boards, and one 7.5″. The saw blade eats up a fraction of an inch making the last one narrower. It worked out fine, I just used the narrow boards along the edges and in the closet. Next time I will know better.

After my son picked the boards up for me, I used my palm sander and medium grit sandpaper to smooth the tops of each one and chamfer the edges. I rounded the edges to give the look of a worn plank. I didn’t want a sharp cut edge butting up against another. I also used wood filler to fill in any large knot holes.

In this photo you can see in the board on the left where I filled a couple of knot holes. This grade of plywood has one side smoother than the other, but honestly, once they are cut and have been handled. It was hard to find the better side sometimes. Some boards needed much more sanding than the others. A few of the boards also had printing on them. I sanded off what I could.
Next was to paint each one with sanding sealer. This started a series of events, that could have bee disastrous, but actually worked out quite well. My daughter in law painted on the sealer and as they dried she sanded them lightly and handed them over to me to stain. Problem was I only bought one quart of sealer. We ran out of that, I found two more partial cans that we used. Each one was a different type. Make a note. That’s big if you want the stain to take the same on each board. As she was finishing I was painting on a stain I had bought called pickled oak. I had a lot of boards and only bought one quart of stain. About 15planks in I could see that I was going to need a couple more quarts! I also wasn’t happy with now they were looking. They had kind of an off tint. And I was wanting a white wash look. So I started over and painted each board with a washed down layer of white latex paint. I had to mix paint up several times, sometimes it was heavier, some more watered down. So, the combination of three different sealers, some boards stained and then whitewashed, and multiple batches of white wash, I have some very different looking boards!




First step after the board dried was to go I side and screw down the subfloor any place I had a squeak in the floor and make sure there weren’t any tacks left sticking up. I started by measuring off across the middle of the room and snapping a chalk line. This is where I would put down my first board. I made sure to make it a distance where on either side I would have about half a board to fill in on both sides of the room. I used Liquid Nails flooring adhesive (i used 6large tubes) to put a line on the back of each board, then my most favorite tool in the world, an air finish nailer to fasten down each board. Let me tell you, if you’ve never used an air nailer, you should! It is a great equalizer for girls! I can never put a nail in straight by hand and this thing just shoots them in like butter! So it goes like this: squirt a squiggly line of flooring adhesive, lay the board along the line, butting it up against the wall, squish the glue down and nail it down. I put my nails on both sides of the plank and did my best to use the builders pencil lines from where they nailed down the subfloor. I was using 2″nails and wanted to hit the floor joist not just nail into the subfloor. I also ran the planks across the joists, not parallel with them. Not sure if it matters, but it’s what I did. Once the first board was put on I used a 4″ board to start the next row, the row after that started with an even shorter board. I staggered each start, so that I didn’t have seams laying next to each other. Soon I had to go back and fill in along the opposite wall. I used a straight edge and a hand jig saw to do all my cuts. They weren’t perfect, but it was easier than carrying a chop saw upstairs. I already had an air compressor in the ext bedroom, that was enough!




Can you see the color difference in the boards? It drove me crazy at first, but by the time I was done it had grown on me and I loved it. It looked more like recycled boards.

I did not take up the floor boards as they were close to half an inch off the subfloor anyway. Is made it a little tricky finishing things up when I came to going around the door frames. I got as close as I could with the jig saw.

It took me two afternoons to lay the boards. Not bad and they looked great! I vacuumed really well, then used semigloss quick drying polyurethane for floors and a lambs wool pad to coat the floors three times, letting them dry 12-24hours between coats. I did not sand between coats! After those three coats were dry I still felt like it needed more and I had a couple spots that had been,issued by the lambs wool pad,so the fourth coat went on with a brush. This time I painted two or three boards completely across the room so I didn’t miss any spots. Altogether I used about a gallon and a half of poly.


Between the third and fourth coats I put stained shoe moulding down along the edges. This made everything look really nice except for around the door frames. The best I could figure out to do with that gap was to fill it with wood putty. It worked really well, and after the final coat of poly isn’t noticeable at all. Again the air nailer was my best friend!


Done! I love how they look, and I can’t wait to show you what else I’ve been doing for her room!

Another big project in the works


I’ve started another project in the past couple of weeks. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because I didn’t have anything going on, graduation was over and I was looking for a project. Not a camper this time, but my 14 year old daughters bedroom.

About 5 years ago she moved out of the room she had had since we brought her home from Ukraine, into her big sisters old room. The room hadn’t been redecorate since said big sister was about 14. It suddenly occurred to me that Sophia had never had a hand in decorating a room for herself. Oh the horror. So the room was quickly packed up, purged and she was moved furniture and all into an empty bedroom.



These are the before shots. It’s a huge room with an attached sitting room with large window. She’s a lucky girl, she has the biggest room in the house by far!

And here’s our color palette-
Medium grey blue walls, white for floors, a little silver, coral and some teal.


Done, Finished, complete!


I did it! I met my goal of finishing this trailer and camping in it for my annual April trip with Sophia. I’m sitting in a campground in the little trailer right now as i write this post.
It’s been quite the journey. In the beginning I truly wondered what I had gotten myself in for. I sweated, bled, and searched the Internet many times over this thing. My family was great. I think early on they were just humoring me, but they still lent a hand when I needed it. Then later my dear husband really did get behind the project and seemed to enjoy the process.

It really was a fun process!

Want to see some photos?











Well I did work all day Saturday on cushions and got both bottom cushions finished. Yeah me!! Bad news is I am such a math whiz, (not), I mis-figured how much cording I needed for the piping on the cushions. Wouldn’t you think 20 yards would be enough, no. Not even for two. Luckily I had some from another project so could finish the two bottom cushions.

So today no sewing, but lots of details finished. With Brett’s help we finished up the a screen door and hung it, fixed the screen and door latch. Screened all the windows and trimmed out three of them. Put all the emblems and reflectors on, shellacked the trim pieces the table rests on. Oh and scrubbed and re-polished the floor. We also pulled it out of the barn so we could work outside. It looks so cute and oh so different from when we backed it into the barn last July. We are getting so close!!










Finally, today, I am done procrastinating. I WILL get these cushions made for the camper this weekend. I very much dislike sewing cushions so I have put it off which makes it seem even worse.
I love the fabric though, an it’s outdoor fabric so should be easy to keep clean. Doesn’t this print just scream 1960?

Ok, back to it. 20 yards of piping has been made. Go cut the next piece. Be brave. I’ll post finished photos by Sunday. I promise!


Weaving Summer & Winter


I’m in Arrow Rock for three days this week attending a weaving workshop sponsored by the Arrow Rock Hand weaver’s guild. The teacher is Ann Maxvill. WeavingForFun.blogspot.com. She’s got some amazing samples and is really good at breaking down and explaining the whole weave structure.

The beginning of the day was pretty mind blowing, but I think finally I am beginning to get it. Summer and Winter is reversible. The light side (summer), the dark side (winter). The mind blowing part, aside from stepping on two treadles on every pattern pick is the many different looks you can get depending on how you do the tie down treadles. Someone said I wove really fast. No, it’s a very desperate attempt to not forget where I am in the 8 pick sequence. Yeah tomorrow I won’t get up for that drink of water. That took me half an hour to recover from today. Yikes. I guess I can look at it this way, I’m working my brain and keeping dementia away.
Here’s what I did today.


Spinning again


I haven’t spun for months, since before Christmas really. Since we sheared the sheep two weeks ago, I’ve had my hands on the fleeces almost daily. I’ve skirted and photographed them, kept samples and then listed them on the raw fleece forum on Ravelry.
Our fleeces this year we glorious and sold very quickly. All this time it has literally been killing me not to spin some of it up, even just a sample. So, this week I took the handful of Christina’s gorgeous curls that I saved back. Her fleece was lovely, silvery grey, 7″ locks with bleached out tips. The tips were pretty dirty, so I let them soak in cool water overnight.



The next day I gave them two quick soaks in hot soapy water to remove the lanolin, then two hot water rinses.
The locks were beautiful when dried. I pulled a couple out to test. The blonde tips were so pretty with no brittleness, and all the dirt was gone.




I teased the ends apart slightly and loaded them onto one of my wool combs, transferred them to the other comb, then to my hackle. They were pretty staticky, so I misted the wool with lavender essential oil and water.

After the locks were all loaded on the hackle, I used a button to diz the top off the hackle. Then to the spinning wheel. I spun up a fine single, then wound off to a center pull ball for plying.
I plied from both ends of the center pull ball into a two ply light worsted weight yarn. Remember I dropped everything to do this spinning, so don’t look at the mess behind my wheel. Ah, just never look past the focus of my photos. I always drop what I’m doing to try something else!




There it is done! 40 yards of heathery grey, lustrous, squishy BFL yarn. I feel much better now……