SAL #4 Crown of Thorns

It’s been three weeks since our last update and I have made some progress on this project.

Here is where I left off last time:

And here is where I am now:

I am starting the crown but I have to tell you the monochromatic pallet is starting to get to me. I am pushing forward though!

Please visit the other blogs in the SAL to see what they are up to. You won’t be dissapointed!

See you in three weeks 🙂

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Transplanting Seedlings

Today I started the transplant process for the tomato babies!

The key for seedlings in my experience is not to put them in direct light as soon as they emerge from the soil. Instead put them under a florescent light then they don’t get leggy. I just use a plain old florescent tube light but if you can afford the fancy grow lights go for it!

These tomato seedlings have been up for about 3 weeks and they are ready for transplant because their second set of leaves are forming. I am trying to do all of this on the cheap so I came up with using the cardboard boxes that I have access to instead of using expensive peat pots to transplant the seedlings into.

I cut the box so it is about 3 inches deep and for drainage, I cut holes in the bottom of the box. Make sure to wet the soil thoroughly ahead of time to prevent dry pockets. I used my kitchen sink sprayer to moisten the soil in a large bowl.

After spreading part of the soil in the bottom of the box I started to loosen the seedlings from their cramped container. Yes, I re-purposed sour cream and cool whip containers (don’t judge lol).

When separating the plants take care not to break their necks. Only lift the plants by the leaves and not the stem. If you break a leaf it’s not a big deal but if you break its neck, the plant is a goner. Loosen the soil at the base of each plant with a spoon or even your fingers and very gently guide the plant and root out by the leaf.

I placed the seedling in a pre-formed hole in the soil and then back filled the soil burying it right up to its neck. That’s right… bury the stem because it will create a stronger plant and along that buried stem roots will form. Be sure to pat the seedling in firmly so no air pockets form under the soil and there is good root to soil contact.

Water well. I use a squeeze bottle so I don’t hit the plants and knock them over with too much force. Now you can put them in a sunny window and water when the soil seems to need it, every 3 or 4 days.

Watch them grow super fast now. I always say a tomato plant has taken root and is growing strong when the stem starts to turn light purple. You’ll see.

These tomato plants are Cherokee Purple Tomatoes, an heirloom and there are 48 of them. I definitely don’t need 48 so when the time is right I’ll be giving some away.

See you in a few weeks for an update. 🙂 -MM

Not Impressed With Our Debt – Weeks 28-30 of 80- Home Equity Loan

Home Equity Loans can be wonderful things if you are doing a major project on your home, like renovating your kitchen. A new kitchen adds value to your home but unfortunately when you take out a home equity loan just to consolidate debt you don’t have a pretty new kitchen to show for it.

We took out a home equity in 2014 for $17,000. It is due to be paid off in August of this year. I don’t want to wait that long though. I want it gone, and I want it gone NOW. We owe just under $1900 on it. I am paying that sucker off next month. Seriously. I mean it. I don’t care if we have to eat peanut butter and macaroni all month, that home equity will be history by March 31st.

I have a plan. It may not be popular with my family or the financial experts but sometimes you just gotta take a leap of Faith. For me it’s all about cash flow. Paying this loan off now will not save us much on interest but that’s not the point. Paying it off will free up $328.00 a month and that burden that has kept our hearts and minds hostage for the past 5 years will be gone. Paying off the Old Navy freed up $300 a month and saved us thousands in interest a year.

I also realized after looking at our cell bill that we were paying $26 a month just for protection for two cell phones. Oh yeah…you bet I canceled that real quick! Scott’s cell phone was just paid off this month and it’s 2 years old so if he drops it in the toilet we’ll just get another one. The payment for that phone was $30 a month. Hey, now look at that, we just had our bill go from $297/mo to $239/mo. Every little bit helps!

I had a feeling all last year and I continue to have it this year, the feeling I should pay off any loans that are attached to our house asap. I don’t know if it is the political climate or what but I am listening to that feeling. I paid off the home equity line of credit with a no interest credit card and now I want the regular home equity gone too.

Say Geronimo my friends! I’ll check back in soon. Hope your debt is shrinking too! -MM

Eight Steps to a Beautiful White, Blueberry Filled, Cream Cheese Frosted, Drip Cake

A couple of months ago I popped an unfrosted cake into the freezer to use for later and forgot about it. I came across it while I was looking for something else in the freezer and thought I would bring it out to have it as dessert last night.

Cream cheese frosting sounded better than butter cream this time and I had blueberries in the freezer that I could thicken and use as a filling. Perfect!

With all the ingredients on hand I formed a plan in my mind and set to work making a blueberry filled, cream cheese frosted white cake. Yum right?

Step 1, I used a 6″ baked cake, excess cake sliced off to create a flat surface. I created a frosting “dam” to prevent the filling from oozing out.

Step 2 fill it! I thicken 1 cup of frozen blueberries with about 2 Tablespoons of flour and about 3 Tablespoons of sugar (or to taste). Microwaved it for about 2 minutes then stirred, then another 2 minutes until it thickened. Then I cooled it before using it on top of the cake reserving about half of the thickened blueberries for the blueberry drip.

Step 3 place the second layer on top with the bottom of the cake facing up.

Step 4 crumb coat. It really helps to do a crumb coat to seal in all the crumbs. After frosting with the crumb coat pop it in the fridge to harden up for about 15 minutes (go stick a load of laundry in while you are waiting 😉 ).

Step 5 final coat of frosting.

Step 6 Blueberry drip. Using the leftover blueberry mixture dump it all right in the middle of the frosted top layer then carefully spread the blueberries towards the edges being careful not to just slop it over the sides. It should delicately drip down the sides.

Step 7 using a large star tip gently pipe pretty peaks onto the blueberries. (You can never have too much frosting right?)

Step 8 slice and enjoy!!

I hope you enjoyed this fun little step by step on decorating. Hopefully this gives you some ideas! Happy decorating 🙂 -MM

SAL #3 Crown of Thorns

Good morning from windy New York! We are expecting a high wind storm the next 2 days with winds reaching 75-80 mph. I didn’t get a lot stitched these last three weeks. I have been catching up on my reading instead of crafting but if the weather reports are right I will be getting a lot more stitching done if the power goes off.

We have a new member to add to the group this time. Welcome Sharon!

Here is where I left off with Crown of Thorns:

And here he is as of last night:

I worked on the bottom of his beard which was mostly whites.

If you have a chance, please visit the other members of the group by clicking on the links below. We are all working on fantastic projects.

See you in three weeks! -MM

Not Impressed With Our Debt – Weeks 24-27 – Up to Date Results

Hi all! I looked back to see the last time I posted a monthly result and I haven’t posted results since October! Yikes! Sorry about that.

Between Christmas shopping bills and property tax bills that came due in January I am a little behind in paying off debt but I do have some progress to post about!

In October I posted that at the end of the month we were down to owing $30,531 in debt.

As of now our debt owed is $27,011. That’s down $3520.00. Remember I talked about owing for medical bills for a night in the emergency room that added up to at least $3500? Well I haven’t gotten the bill for it yet so as of right now that $27,011 is still a solid number.

Now that, the Old Navy balance is gone I need another bill to focus my energy on so this time I am picking a bill that has a smaller amount owed, our home equity loan. Right now the balance due on that loan is $2,207.46. Seems a much smaller goal to pay off than that $6500 Old Navy balance right?

If I can get this bill paid off quickly it will free up that payment of $328.00/month which will give us a much greater cash flow.

I told my husband every time we pay a large bill off we will add another $10 to his 401k retirement a week. Doesn’t sound like a lot but when his employer matches that amount it will definitely add up. So far we have increased his 401k contribution $20/week since December.

How are you doing on your debt? Do you use a budget? See you next week! -MM

 

SAL #2 Crown of Thorns

It’s been three weeks since our last update and we have had multiple snow storms even blizzards in that time so boy did I get a lot done on my current project!

Here is where I left off last time which was my first post on this WIP:

And here is Jesus’s haunting face which is coming through beautifully:

It’s been an interesting experience working on this project. I had some trouble with knotting and misplaced stitches which led to some rip outs but once I started on His eyes is was like I was building him from bone structure to finally flesh. I should have taken a photo of that in-between process to show you.

I have never stitched a human face like this before.

Hopefully we won’t have any more blizzards for a while but I didn’t mind get stuck in the house stitching!

In our Stitch-a-long group we blog our progress every three weeks. If you are interested in joining our group please contact Avis, the first name in the contacts below. And don’t forget to check out the other member’s blogs and the projects they are working on by clicking their links. You’ll be amazed at the talent. Welcome to new members Jocelyn and Carmela!

See you again in three weeks! -MM
Avis,
Claire,
Gun,
Carole,
LucyAnn,
Kate,
Jess,
Sue,
Constanze,
Debbierose,
Christina,
Kathy,
Margaret,
Cindy,
Helen,
Steph,
Linda,
Heidi,
Jackie,
Sunny,
Hayley,
Megan,
Catherine,
Deborah,
Connie,
Clare,
Mary
Margaret,
Renee,
Jenny,
Carmela,
Jocelyn