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Hodgepodge from The Geranium Farm

Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Memories in Black and White

(4 generations-my great-grandmother,grandmother,mom,and me)

This summer my cousin showed me some pictures of my mother that I had never seen before. My mother was born in 1920 and she was just a baby in some and a very little girl in others. Yet it was still possible to easily distinguish each one of the four sisters in these old photos even as mere babes. (There were 4 girls and 4 boys.)
How well I remember my grandmother with her box camera taking pictures. Unusual it was because you had to hold it at your waist, look straight down into it, and if I remember correctly, your subject was upside down. I think it was pretty remarkable the way she took all those pictures considering times were hard. Still she photographed and kept scrapbooks, gluing in cards, announcements, and newspaper articles. All this long before it was the crafty thing to do.
Now you could probably take your digital camera and process your pictures as black and white but somehow I don't think it's the same. So since many of you I'm sure have abandoned your 35mm cameras for the digital age, pick it back up, put some black and white film in it and photograph without color, the ones you love. I think you'll be amazed.

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Iams Savory Sauce

About a year ago our little Westie, Maggie, had to have bladder stones removed. After this she had to be fed a special diet, food you get from the Vet, which only comes in one flavor. I felt bad for her having to eat the same thing night after night. Well, Iams Savory Sauces to the rescue. They come in Bacon, Chicken, and Beef. Now she can have a different flavor, or mixture of flavors, every night on her food.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Ceiling Fan Check

The next time you're up there dusting off the blades of your ceiling fan you might also want to check to see just how tight they are. The blades of the fan in our kitchen were all loose.

Friday, August 26, 2005

National Capital Poison Center

Everyone should have the number for the National Capital Poison Center near their phone. It is: 1-800-222-1222.
To visit their website go to:

There is an audio card you can email friends and family there to remind them to keep this number on hand.

I also want to stress that no home should be without a Carbon Monoxide Detector.Quite a number of years ago when we were living in a condo we put one in the kitchen near the laundry room where the furnace was located. It went off the very next morning due to a cracked heat exchange in furnace. We opened all the windows and turned off the furnace. We were all OK. Luckily, it was when we had just started to use the heat for the season. I shudder to think what may have happed had we not had a CO Alarm.
Depending on the size and the configuration of your home, you may need more than one.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Beloit College's Mindset List®

Each year the Beloit College publishes a Mindset List offering a world view of today's entering freshmen college students. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities, Tom McBride and Director of Public Affairs, Ron Nief. It's a fun read and you can see past lists there too!

To read more about it and see the List for the Class of 2009 go to:

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A-Pass-Along (Animal Poison Control Center)

This pass along comes from my friend Diane after her black Lab, Bella, got into a bottle of prescription medication. She placed a call to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. They are available 24 hours and 365 days a year. You may have a $50 consulation fee charged to your credit card. Bella turned out to be OK but gave Diane quite a scare. 

Our thanks for the following updates from Albert Blok, Clinical Research Coordinator at American Educational Research Association

Animal Poison Control (including a list of toxic plants for pets) 

Human Medications Poisonous to Pets - Meds Toxic to Dog and Cats
(with a hotline #800-213-6680 at $39 per incident)

Another link you may find of interest is the Humane Society of the United States at:

6 Everyday Household Dangers for Your Pet

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Covering Kids and Families (Health Care Coverage)

The following information appeared in the Dear Abby column yesterday but I thought it was worth repeating for anyone who may need the information and missed it.

There are programs in every state and the District of Columbia through Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program to cover doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions and more. Eligilibility varies from state to state but famlies four earning up to $38,000 a year or more may qualify.

The Covering Kids & Families Back-to-School Campaign to enroll eligible, uninsured children in low-cost and free health care coverage programs is throughout August and September. Thousands of outreach and enrollment events will take place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia promoting the 1(877) KIDS-NOW {(877) 543-7669} toll-free hotline that parents can call to find out if their uninsured children are eligible. To see what activities are taking place in your area, visit:

Monday, August 22, 2005

Neil Diamond

A few nights ago my friend Diane and I saw Neil Diamond in concert at Madison Square Garden. Most every seat was filled and he was to be there 3 nights in a row. I was expecting a great concert. I have to say the first four songs we didn't recognize and judging from the reaction of the audience, we weren't the only ones. He didn't make any announcement that they were from a new release. So that wasn't it. It wasn't until the 5th number that everyone heard a song they knew. Of course he did do his big hits, including America, with several standing ovations. He did other songs I didn't know and I lost interest. I've been to many concerts over the years with songs done that I didn't know, but still enjoyed them. This is the first time something like that ever happened where I found myself drifting off. From comments we heard from others they said he was better the last time they had seen him.
Go figure....

Have you ever been to a concert that didn't live up to your expectations?
Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Friday, August 19, 2005

barely there-special offers

Back on 7/6/05 I wrote about barely there, very comfortable undergarments for women. Well, my friend Joan emailed me that they're having special offers. Go to this link:
Their items are on sale at Kohl's right now and offer forms are on some items. (Check the date.) It's a good time to buy!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Party Dolls

One of our favorite summer treats is seeing The Party Dolls. David always looks forward to it. I went to their website: just to see if they have any new CD's. David has all 3 of the ones shown there, but not the Christmas one. I'll have to get it for him. No matter it's not the season, with David you can hear Christmas music coming from his room all year round!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Laundry Chute

When we moved into this house we started to do a lot of renovations. One of the first was to take the 70's gold tile off the main bathroom wall. Since this bathroom is right over the laundry room it was the perfect time to install a laundry chute. It just so happened that in our February 2000 issue of The Family Handyman Magazine they had the directions on how to do-it-yourself.
For a door for the chute I found this unfinished magazine rack at a craft store. We painted it, put hinges on one side and a little latch on the other side. The chute is just duct work that is run down between the studs in the wall.
Down in the laundry room we put up a wire shelf above the dryer with a basket to catch the clothes. I decorated the metal chute with a sample swatch of some wallpaper border.

For the website for the magazine go to:

They have an article index that can help you find the information you need. Some back issues are still available or you can purchase a photocopy of the article you want. For the article index go to:

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Do You Have a Favorite Song?

With iPods as the latest craze. What do you, or would you, just have to have, to listen to on your iPod.
There's all kind of information here. Just poke around and you might just come across a song that evokes a memory that you had long forgotten. Funny isn't it, how in an instant, a song can carry you back in time?

Here are some fun lists to look at from the VH1 website. First is their list for the 100 Greatest Rock Songs at:

and for the VH1: 100 Greatest Dance Songs:

Top Albums of all time:

Monday, August 15, 2005

Museum Stuff

With these sweltering hot days of summer maybe it's a good time to get inside, cool off, and check out some museums.

Traveling and want to know what museums are in the area?
Want to find where the works of your favorite popular artist are housed?
Do you have a particular topic you're interested in?

All this and more can be found at:

and for the Museum Computer Network - Museum Sites Online go to:

Do you have a favorite museum you like? Tell us about it in the comments area.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Soft Paws and Soft Claws

There is an alternative to having you cat delawed and it is Soft Paws. They are vinyl nail caps that glue onto you cat's claws. They come in a variety of colors as well as clear. There are also kits for dogs called Soft Claws.
They are sold all over the internet so shop and compare prices, or maybe your vet, local pet store, or groomer carries them.

Here is one site:

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Positive Thinking

There's a new magazine out by the publisher's of Guideposts. It's called Positive Thinking - Attitude is Everything. A one year subscription is $10, 2 years for $18. You can go to their website to learn more about it:

Try the current issue quiz by Jennifer MacNeil and Alex Ferreyra
Are you a positive person?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Directions to Make a Neck Cooler

If you keep your neck cool, it'll help you feel cooler all over. So here are some instructions for you to make your very own reusable neck cooler.
Read over all the directions before you start. (See picture below.)
If you are going to make a quanity of them see the 10/12/05 post.

1. Start with a piece of prewashed cotton fabric that measures 4 1/2" wide by 44 1/2" long. The ends can be tapered and rounded off a bit.

2. Make a 1/4" seam along the length of both sides and ends, pressing it with an iron, then fold the whole thing in half meeting your seams and press it in place with the iron.

3. Starting at one of the tapered ends, sew down 13" to the middle, and then across the width twice. Do the same from the other end.

4. You will have created one long pocket in the center. Start sewing from where you ended off. Before you close it off, put a rounded 1/2 teaspoon of Schultz Moisture Plus Watering Crystals (or equivalent) found in the plant and garden section, into this center pocket you have created. Stitch back over the entire length of the "pocket" so it has been double stitched closed.

To use your neck cooler: Soak just the center section in cool water for 5 minutes or so. This will turn the crystals into a gel. Gently blot off the excess water. You can squish the gel evenly over this center section. Place the gel part around the back of your neck and loosely tie the dry ends. (or a snap or velcro could be placed where you want them to meet)
If you're going to reuse it again soon and want it cold you can put it in the refrigerator. DO NOT FREEZE. Allow it to air dry and the crystals will reform. Use it over and over again!

To clean: Wash by hand in slightly soapy water, rinse, blot, and allow to air dry.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

It's Disco Time!

Here I was on my computer Saturday night shortly after getting home from my dad's birthday party, checking and sending out emails, and up pops an email from my friend Diane whom I had just seen that very afternoon.
"What are you doing tonight?"
"You want to go to a concert?"
"Who?", I ask.
"Donna Summer."
"Sure, why not," I reply.
It seeems that her friend, another Debbie, (We're everywhere you know.) couldn't go and Doug (Diane's husband), just wasn't going to want to boogie down. LOL Anyway, you see Diane and I are up for anything. On the way to the concert we were laughing about how back in the day, going to a concert, would take planing. That is, just what were you going to wear. It having to be just the perfect outfit.
This night, I made some sandwiches from the party leftovers, we wore what we had on, was over to her house within a half hour, and ate we in the parking lot before we went into the concert.

The place was PACKED!
The crowd LOVED every minute of it!
We had a BLAST!
Hey, you can make fun of those "diso days" but those were during my college years, 70-74 and we knew how to have fun! it ended....

*So let's dance, the last dance
let's dance, the last dance
let's dance, this last dance tonight

*Last Dance

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Monday, August 08, 2005

Happy 90th Birthday Dad!

Saturday, August 6th was my dad's 90th birthday. The picture above is his senior High School picture and we used it for the front of his invitation. Inside it said, "Guess Who's Going To Be 90?" It was a surprise party with 30+ family, friends, and neighbors.
In order for guests to get to know my dad a little bit better we had photos displayed all over the room, I made a poster of events of 1915, including a price index, other famous people born that month and year, songs, books, and the number one toy for the year, Raggedy Ann. There was even a group of old school photo's where people could try to pick out my dad. Also during a long road trip, Johnny and I compiled a little quiz about my dad. The quiz ended with something I said to my brother we just had to include:

John is known in his family for which of the following sayings:
A. What’s for Dinner? LAMB – It’s not B-A-A---D.
B. Eat your roughage, it’ good for your bowels.
C. A place for everything and everything in it’s place.
D. Nothings a bargain if you don’t need it.
E. All of the above
F. None of the above

The answer, you only have to know my father, I think everyone got it right, it is: E. All of the Above!

(See picture below. Pretty good for 90, I'd say!)

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Friday, August 05, 2005

"Baking" on the Gas Grill

Have you ever "baked" on your gas grill? Pictured above are stuffed shells. I defrosted them in the microwave in the sauce for about 3 minutes while I preheated the grill, all 3 burners turned to the lowest. I topped it off with shredded mozerella cheese and drizzled a little olive oil on the cheese to keep it from browning before the shells were done. I put a piece of foil under the oven proof dish. It took around 25 minutes (uncovered) with the grill lid closed. The last 5 - 7 mintues or so I put the partially defrosted garlic sticks on the top rack.
I've also done meatloaf and baked ziti this way using a Corningware rectangular dish.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

...and for you country music fans...

...there was Billy Ray Cyrus. He was also at the same venue the night Kelly Clarkson appeared.

For more on Billy Ray go to:

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Kelly Clarkson

This concert was sold out! It was outdoors and the crowd around the fenced in area was deep to see and hear Kelly. I got David up close to the stage and took the pictures you see here and some others. He said he liked Clay better but I think it was because he knew the songs that Clay sang. The crowd was certainly crazy for Kelly and sang right along with her. The black shirt was given to her by a fan near the end of the concert and she put it right on. She got a big kick out of it. It says, "It's not a bad thing to have a Big Booty!"

For her website go to:

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A-Pass-Along (Two Cabaret Style Singers)

Deacon Joanna recommends these two cabaret style singers for those of you who liked the previously recommended, Eva Cassidy.
(Post on Eva Casidy was Monday, May 16, 2005)

Tierney Sutton -
Nancy Lamott -

And to hear either one of them go to:

Monday, August 01, 2005

Progress on the Quilt

See 6/6/05 posting for original article on Paper Piece Quilting

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