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Monday, September 23, 2013

Building a Sturdy Clothes Rack

Do any of you ever get in the spring cleaning mode in the fall?

I do.

I have been complaining about our bedroom closet for many, many years.
We do not have the luxury of a walk in closet.
A few years ago I put in a closet organizer - shelves down the middle and two hanging poles to the left (where my husband hangs his clothes) and one high hanging pole on the right (where I hang my clothes). That doesn't seem fair, does it? He gets two poles and I get one.

A closet pet peeve of mine is that the opening to the closet is a lot smaller than the actual closet. (I would like to know who designed these type of closets) So, a lot of my clothes hang back behind the wall - in the deep recesses of our little closet.
I have to stand on a small step stool (so I can reach the high pole where my clothes hang from) and peer and stretch to look at my hidden clothes. I was complaining a few weeks ago, so my husband brought me a flashlight. :o) That is all it took for me to finally go into action and do something about my problem.

I bought one of those two tiered garment racks at the store. I soon found out they were too dinky (for  lack of a better word). So, my son volunteered to build me a sturdy, steel clothes rack. I moved things around and found a spot large enough in my laundry/craft room to put it.

Here is a link to the site that inspired us. Of course, we made a few changes - we used 3/4" pipes, added the extra pole, made the poles 5 feet long and added the extension for my purses. My son demonstrated how sturdy it was by hanging from the top pole. I wouldn't advise doing this with one of those store bought racks.

To make it less costly to make, my son bought 3 - 10 foot steel poles at the store and had them cut down to size and threaded on the ends (They did this for free). He said is cost a lot less doing it this way. The pipes were black, but he scrubbed that off when he washed the finished rack.

You can paint it if you want.  I thought red would be nice. But we decided to leave ours as is.

I love it! (I think my husband is jealous.)

 I couldn't get back far enough to get a picture of the entire shelf in one pic

 this shows the extension on the left where I hang my purses

It doesn't bother me one bit that I have to go out there to get my clothes. Why?
I can see all my clothes at once. 
My blouses are on the top rack.
My jeans, sweaters, shawls and skirts are on the bottom rack.
They are not crowded and bunched up.

I found clothes that I didn't know I had when I dug them out from our 'cave' of a closet and hung them. Previously, my skirts, sweaters and shawls were stuffed in dresser drawers. I usually just picked one skirt from the top and wore it. And they were usually wrinkled. Now they are all hanging, nice and neat and wrinkle free, on my clothes rack. In fact, I wore a skirt on Sunday that I didn't even know I had until I hung it up on my new clothes rack.

The only garments I have left hanging in my closet are my dresses.

By doing this project, I emptied four drawers in our bedroom to store other items.


Do you have any closet pet peeves?

If you have somewhere to put one of these - do it! I think you'll like it.

Some ideas would be to make one for your out-of-season clothes or coats and jackets. If you have a nice and  neat garage (which we don't), laundry room, or extra room, you could put one there.

Posted by Janet Smart  on Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Apple Dumplings!

I confess that I have never made apple dumplings before tonight.
I do not know why I waited so long to make  them.
They are soooo delicious!

I will correct myself and say that my son and I made them.  It was his idea.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

I made the pie dough from scratch (which is something I don't usually do).

2 cups of self rising flour
3/4 cup of Crisco shortening
1/2 cup of milk.

Cut the shortening into the flour with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk and stir with a fork until dough leaves sides of bowl. Turn dough onto floured wax paper and knead gently just until smooth. Roll out to an 18x12 inch rectangle. (Or as close as possible - I'm not very good at rolling out rectangles)

In the meantime, combine 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of water, 1/2 stick of butter, 1/4 t cinnamon and 1/4 t nutmeg in a large saucepan. Stir and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted.

Pick 6 apples from your tree. We used a peeler - slicer - corer and pealed, sliced and cored the apple. It looked like a little round accordion when we were finished.

Slice the crust into 6 pieces. Place an apple onto each section. Then shake a mixture of cinnamon/sugar onto the apples.  Lightly moisten the edges of the pastry with water and bring the corners up and over the apple. Pinch all  the edges together. My son made them look like big dough balls.

Place them into the baking dish and pour the prepared syrup mixture around the dumplings.

Bake for 45 minutes or until  golden brown.

If you don't have one of those apple peelers, you could just peel and core the apple . . . or peel and slice them. It will  still  taste the same - delicious!

 This is what they look like coming out of the oven.


Very yummy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

I was only going to eat half of one. But after the first bite, I couldn't. I ate the entire dumpling.

I like this better than apple pie and it is easier! I am thinking it would also be good using pears.

Try it. You'll like it!

Posted by  Janet Smart  on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pear Pickin' Time

Our pear tree out-did itself this year. 
It is tall and skinny and close to thirty years old.

Her limbs are hanging low. One limb has already broken off this year, 
I am afraid more will break.

A lot of the pears are still  small and most of the largest pears are out of reach, 
so we got  out our 12 foot ladder and climbed up, up, up after the big ones.

We worked as a team. 
The person on the ladder threw them  down and the one on the ground caught them in a fish net to keep them from bruising.

We picked quite a  bit. In addition to filling Mom's old pan, we filled two large baskets.

What will you be doing this week?
I guess we will be canning pears.

Posted by Janet Smart  on Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Recording our Past V

In 2009 I started posting articles about recording our past.
Today I am posting a long overdue part IV post.

Recording memories.

Senses play a large roll in our memory.

The sense of smell is perhaps the strongest. A whiff of perfume or aftershave, the smell of a certain soap, flowers or a special food can trigger a long forgotten memory.
When you encounter a familiar smell, it may spark an entire memory from your past.
When the memory returns, write it down.
I remember a scene from a Waltons show concerning the family of Grandpa's older brother. His wife was reminiscing about her husband and remembering the smell of Bay Rum on her wedding day. Her soon to be husband had went to the barber that morning and the barber had applied Bay Rum after giving him his haircut and shave. (Bay Rum aftershave has been around since 1838).
Honeysuckle grew on the path down to my Grandpa Woods' house. The scent of it brings back  memories of visiting him when I was a small child.

The sense of taste brings back memories. Foods from when you or your family were young, such as a certain medicine, candy, baked bread, stacked applesauce cake, etc. can spark memories from the past.

The sense of sight also brings back memories. Going back to where you used to live or attended school, looking at old pictures or home movies or watching old movies may bring in a flood of memories.

Why do we remember some things and forget others? We have selective memories. Our firsts, events that had a big impact on us or a very emotional event will  likely be something that we remember.

I have found that when I would ask an older  relative a general question such as, what was it like when you were younger - they won't remember a thing. So I ask specific questions.
Both of you will be surprised at the memories that flood back.

Laura of Little House fame had a memory book. We should all have a memory book to write down our memories in and to write down the memories of other family members, so our past will not be forgotten.

The next time you get a whiff of something and it brings back a memory - write it down.
The next time you taste a familiar food and it brings back a memory - write it down.
The next time you see a picture of days past and it brings back a memory - write it down.

Make a Memory Jar. Type a list of questions, run them off on your computer and cut them into strips. Fold them and put in a mason jar (I like to use a wide mouth one). Take one question out each week and glue or tape it onto a page in a notebook and write down your answers.

Make more than one and give them to other family memories, especially the older ones, and tell them to do the same. Soon you will have a collection of memories.


I have two word documents I would be glad to email to anyone who wants them. One tells you how to make and  label the memory jar and the other is a list of questions. All you have to do is print them off, cut into strips and put into your jar. You can add to or delete any of the questions to fit your family better. Either email me or leave your email in a comment if you want me to send those files to you.

We need to keep family stories alive!

Go here for my other posts about recording our past.

Posted byJanet Smart   on Writing in the Blackberry Patch.