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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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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yikes! They've Multiplied!

Caution: Making Tissue Cozies Can Be Highly Addictive!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Share the Love!

Here's something fun and easy to make.
Click on the link for the tutorial to make your own Travel-sized Tissue Cozy:

Here's one I made.

(I added a little hand-tacked stitch about half inch in from either end to bring the sides together a little more.)

Thanks Kim for sending this along!

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

GoodShop by GoodSearch

GoodShop has coupons and deals for more than 1,000 stores. Up to 30% of your purchase will go to your cause, like say - Episcopal Relief and Development!
You can also use GoodSearch as your search engine and it will donate to your charity.

Check it out here at:

or to do a search:

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wild Wacky Wedges Quilt

This work in progress is a design called Rosie's Charm, from the Fall 2009 Fons & Porter's easyQUILTS magazine. Directions are given to make it in Queen, Twin, Crib, or a Throw size.
As you can see, I've made it with some more of that "Funky Fabric".

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Helen's Journey Into Tibet

Dear HodgePodge readers,

Debbie is my dear friend and quilting partner. We both taught years ago on the same faculty.
I completed my tour as a public school teacher and then took a year off. You know to have time to enjoy life, (i.e. finally cleaning the attic), with my partner (also known as husband) of 35 years.

But now I am headed out to my next classroom. I will be teaching English and assisting in setting up a curriculum for the Pema Ts'al Sakya Institute in Pohkara, Nepal. I will be gone 3 months. It is give back time. The school is for nearly destitute children, ethic Tibetans, with little chance of education. The school is also a Buddhist monastery so the students reside there. So I open my invitation to you all:

To watch from afar,
to see through my lens-
to meet new faces and
celebrate more places
please come along...
with me


You can join the blog as a follower and post comments or ask questions. There is so much I have to learn and I love to share.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Some Quilting Projects

Go to this link to find some quilting projects for Fat Quarter Bundles, Charm Packs, Dessert Rolls, Honey Buns, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, Scrap Bag, Sweet Box and Turnovers:

Check out the easy to make overlapping fabric coasters:


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Uses for Vodka

1. To remove a bandage painlessly, saturate the bandage with vodka. The stuff dissolves adhesive.
2. To clean the caulking around the bathtubs and showers, fill a trigger-spray bottle with vodka, spray the caulking, let set five minutes and wash clean. The alcohol in the vodka kills mold and mildew.
3. To clean your eyeglasses, simply wipe the lenses with a soft, clean cloth dampened with vodka. The alcohol in the vodka cleans the glass and kills germs.
4. Prolong the life of razors by filling a cup with vodka and letting your safety razor blade soak in the alcohol after shaving. The vodka disinfects the blade and prevents rusting.
5. Spray vodka on wine stains scrub with a brush, and then let dry
6. Using a cotton ball, apply vodka to your face as an stringent to cleanse the skin and tighten pores.
7. Add a jigger of vodka to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo. The alcohol cleanses the scalp, removes toxins from hair, and stimulates the growth of healthy hair.
8. Fill a sixteen-ounce trigger spray bottle with vodka and spray bees or wasps to kill them.
9 Pour one-half cup vodka and one-half cup water into a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for a slushy, refreshing ice pack for aches pain or black eyes
10. Fill a clean, used mayonnaise jar with freshly packed lavender flowers, fill the jar with vodka, seal the lid tightly and set in the sun for three days. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter, then apply the tincture to aches and pains
11. To relieve a fever, use a washcloth to rub vodka on your chest and back as a liniment.
12. To cure foot odor, wash your feet with vodka.
13 Vodka will disinfect and alleviate a jellyfish sting
14. Pour vodka over an area affected with poison ivy to remove the urushiol oil from your skin.
15. Swish a shot of vodka over an aching tooth. Allow your gums to absorb some of the alcohol to numb the pain.

(Thanks to my brother, John, for this one.)


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Amazing Cucumber

Some creative and fanciful ways to solve common problems using cucumbers.

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area. (WOW)

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!! (DOUBLE WOW)

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber sliced rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!


Monday, November 09, 2009

55 Money-Saving Tips (your wallet will thank you)

by Quizzle, on Tuesday, Nov 3, 2009 from Shine on Yahoo - Go here to see the entire posting:

Have some of your own tips? Send them in and I'll add them to end of the posting.

1.Pay yourself first. Set up direct deposit into a savings account

2. Brew your coffee at home.

3. Unplug items when not in use.

4. Stay in with friends. Going out with almost always costs more.

5. Buy in bulk.

6. Brown bag it for lunch

7. Team up and involve kids in the saving for a item you all want as a family and agree to toss your spare change in a bottle in the kitchen

8. Cut the cable. Trim out what you don’t use.

9. Ditch the dry cleaner's and do your dry cleaning at home with the many available products.

10. Build a budget and look at each and every bill for opportunities to make cuts and make them.

11. Get your news online.

12. Turn off the tube, save energy, and keep yourself from ads that may tempt you to take out your wallet.

13. Quit a vice.

14. Download coupons.

15. Borrow instead of buy from your local library.

16. Create a "slush fund.

17. Opt for H2O when out at a restaurant. It's free and better for you.

18. Forget the meat and try veggies in place of a meat dish once a week.

19. Buy store brands.

20. Manage your credit. A good credit score will open up doors to the best interest rates and terms on credit cards and student, personal, auto and home loans. To manage your credit, first find out what your credit situation is with a free credit report and score. Then,improve it if it's bad and monitor it if it's good (to make sure it stays that way).

21. Check coupon codes before checking out from sites like RetailMeNot first.

22. Bike it. If your destination is nearby, jump on your bike to get there instead of wasting
expensive gas. (It's a great workout too!)

23. Auto-pay your student loans as some offer a discounted rate if you opt to have your
monthly payment automatically withdrawn from your bank account

24. Carpool.

25. Grow your own veggies. Produce is expensive! Save some green by indulging your green thumb.

26. Give your windows some TLC – Cold Edition - Winterize your windows with plastic and shrink-wrap them by using a hairdryer to heat the plastic at its edges.

27. Give your windows some TLC - Hot edition. Skip the air conditioner, open your windows and use a box fan to suck warm air out.

28. Attack your closet. Give the clothes you don't wear to charity. Make sure to document everything and claim a generous deduction on your tax return next year.

29. Get the Entertainment book.

30. Refinance your home loan.

31. Follow up on rebates.

32. Opt out of escrow. It may be a smart choice to opt out of having an escrow account on your home loan because it's non-interest-bearing. Instead, make the same payment via payroll deductions into a money market or high-yield savings account. In this market, your money may not earn much, but even 1% is better than 0%.

33. Reduce your rate. Ask credit card company for a lower interest rate on your card. If you carry balances, an interest rate reduction can save you big time.

34. Buy food for multiple meals.

35. Never grocery shop hungry.

36. Take advantage of points. Find out if you can earn points with your debit card or credit card

37. Love your leftovers.

38. Go for single ply toilet paper. We're talking cents here in terms of savings, but if you really need to tighten the budget, you need to consider everything.

39. Print online. Things like business cards are a fraction of the cost online compared to the local printer.

40. Be prepared for a rainy day by saving 4 to 6 months worth of expenses in case of emergency.

41. Make gifts with your own two hands

42. Go grocery store, not corner store.

43. Split the babysitting duties with your neighbors and close friends.

44. Split the babysitting costs by coordinate nights out with your neighbors and close friends and go halfsies on the babysitter bill.

45. Bar hop with a brain by opting for happy hour or eat before you go.

46. Nix the car lease and buy used or "new used" and drive the car as long as you can.

47. Wait for the deal on big ticket items.

48. Do your own simple home repairs.

49. Help yourself to the highest yield savings by moving your money from your checking account to a high-yield savings account.

50. Comparison shop [dot] com. with websites like Shopzilla doing the work for you.

51. Host a clothes swap.

52. Reel in a roommate and split housing costs.

53. Buy used.

54. Plan before you shop

55. Stick to the 10% rule of saving 10% of everything you make or are gifted. And start 'em young! If you have children, open up a savings account for each of them and have them follow this rule as well.

And . . .for one of my old postings to go along with this see:
Monday, January 07, 2008
Budgeting, Money Management, & Getting the Most Out of Credit Cards


Friday, November 06, 2009

Free, Legal Music: A User's Guide

The following is information gleemed from an article from the 6/25/09 issue of Rolling Stone magazine (pg. 16)
"Major labels are letting more and more online services stream music for free. These sites have the most action."

GROOVESHARK - 23 million songs, all submitted by users.
Pros & Cons - this is like an audio version of You Tube so you can find anything but it isn't always easy finding what you want and songs can be ocassionally mistitled.
It says it is the best service for now because of its great selection but because it operates in a gray area, enjoy it while it lasts.

MYSPACE MUSIC - More that 5 million artist pages, most with many songs.
Pros & Cons - On the upside lots of exclusive streams, on the downside the ad-heavy design makes it hard to find specific songs.
Lots of free legal music but frustrating because of the difficulty navigating through the lousy interface.

QTRAX - This service is to launch in the next few months promising 25 million songs.
Pros & Cons - Offers free legal downloads rather than just streaming but it only works with Windows Media Player files.
The advantage over the others is you can download the music but you can't play files on your iPod.

LALA - More that 6 million songs.
Pro & Cons - Most well organized free-music site currently to American fans but not entirely free. Any song can be played once for free, then unlimited streaming is 10 cents a track.
Good for casual use but if you want to hear songs more than once you'll have to pay.

SPOTIFY - Close to 5 million songs with 10,000 being added a day.
Pros & Cons - Downloadable program with great iTunes-quality interface but only available in Europe for now. Also an audio ad plays every 20 minutes unless you pay for the premium service.
It could be the best if it makes it to the U.S. with its catalog intact.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Upside-Down Pizza

I saw this recipe in a magazine. Above is the way I made it. Below is the link for the actual recipe from the Ragu website. (I used a can of Don Pepino Pizza Sauce.)

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Powers of Observation

Just a little something fun.
How are your "Powers of Observation"?
A quiz about things you see everyday.
Try it out here:

(Thanks J.R. for sending it along.)


Monday, November 02, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

This is gift packed into a shoebox by you for Samaritan's Purse International Relief for a child. You can even track your gift to see where it goes. The collection week is November 16 - 23.
What a great way for your child to give to another in need!

Go here to learn all about it:

(I'd suggest you'd check to see the times and drop-off locations by you first before you get started.)

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