Sunday, December 9, 2012

Microwave Brown Rice Recipe

I'm not a big rice eater but do enjoy the taste of plain brown rice over white rice and the higher glycemic index is better for diabetics and probably most others as well.

There are lots of microwave brown rice recipes online. I found one and to make really fluffy, dry brown rice, I found modifying the recipe I chose worked really well. My 10 year old microwave may be the issue so if you've tried making brown rice in your microwave and experienced issues, try the recipe below with the modifications I've added.


  1. Wash the rice to remove the starchiness. 

  2. I use an old microwave rice cooker but any safe bowl with a tight fitting lid will do. Ratios of rice to water for brown rice are 1:4 rice to water. For example 1 cup rice | 4 cups water.

  3. Cover and microwave until water boils (10 - 15 minutes depending on microwave).

  4. CAREFULLY remove cover (steam does burn).

  5. Microwave uncovered 20-30 minutes or until most of water is absorbed.

  6. Leave rice, uncovered, in the microwave overnight (or at least 8 hours). The rest of the water will be absorbed by the rice.

  7. Fluff with fork and serve or use in other recipes.
 Let me know how this works for you and if you make modifications, please share by commenting. Have a terrific holiday season!

Monday, May 21, 2012

More on Using CSS3 Multiple Background Images with Blogger

Back in March, I wrote about CSS3 multiple background images and using them with Blogger. There were some issues with the background rendering in some browsers when I wrote in March. Now, a mere 2 months later, it seems that with updated browser programming on most of the popular browsers, the issue is resolved. Older browser versions will show only a white background which is not a bad thing since the priority for me is that people read my blog and find something of interest.

First, one needs the individual images for the background. I use 3 -- an image for the left side, an image for the right side, and an image for the center of my blog. When I first wrote and tried using CSS3 multiple image coding, I created and used transparent pngs. The pixelation around the edges showed through and I wasn't pleased with the result.

Since then, I've been playing around with editing images to solve this problem and what I discovered is that using the center background color (or texture if that is what your Blogger background includes) as the background color on the actual images for my left and right hand borders works better than transparency. I do think the background and borders now look just how I envisioned.

This is the coding I ended up using successfully:
body {
url("left-image.png") top left no-repeat,
url("right-image.png") top right no-repeat,
url("center-background-image.png") center top no-repeat;
  background-attachment: fixed;
  font: x-small Georgia Serif;
  font-size/* */:/**/small;
  font-size: /**/small;
  text-align: center;
I've copied the entire section from my Blogger html coding because this is where the changes need to be made.

With regard to my image sizing, my left image ended up being 216 pixels wide, the right image is 181 pixels wide, and the center background is 1415 pixels. I don't think the width of the background image is important as long as it is wide enough to fill the open space you have. Your images may need to be wider or narrower depending on the format of your blog. I played with sizing a bit before I found what worked for my blog. There may be a mathematical way to figure this and if you are a math whiz who resolves this, I invite you to share the information in the comments below.

W3Schools has an understandable tutorial regarding using CSS3 in this way. I also found this excellent YouTube video which explains the coding in a way even a novice can understand:

I hope this helps you. Enjoy and I would love to hear how you use this along with a link to your blog or website so I can see what you've done.

Have a wonderful week and blessed day,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spring Cleaning -- Naturally

I've been sick for what seems like months with 3 different bacterial infections and viruses -- none of them the flu or whooping cough -- thank goodness! So because I've barely been able to just do the basics to take care of myself, my home is in need of cleaning -- the dust bunnies are proliferating like the real thing!!

With the economy the way it is, most of us are trying to save and living more "green" is encouraged almost everywhere. What I've found though is like buying organic food, organic cleaners cost more than the old brands we've always used.

I'm continually trying to simplify life as well as costs as I near retirement and thought I would do a Google search for homemade cleaners. I found lots and lots of websites dedicated to organic, homemade and natural.

I'd like to use one cleaner for everything if possible and out of the several possibilities I found, this one recipe is terrific. I'm using this morning in between writing and sharing this and where I've used it, my glass sparkles and the plastics and wanna be wood of stereo and televisions is now dust free.

This multipurpose cleaner is from the Newlyweds Blog. The tutorial for the cleaner is here. It is complete with photos and instructions and very simple. Here is the recipe:

Homemade All-purpose Spray

1 Empty Spray Bottle
10 drops dish soap
10 drops essential Oil (Lavender, Lemon, Orange)
1/2 cup white vinegar

In an empty clean spray bottle, add 10 drops dish soap, 10 drops essential oil (optional), 1/2 cup white vinegar, and fill with water.  Screw top on bottle, shake and use to clean on any surface.
I didn't have any essential oils available so I have a brief vinegar smell and then it's gone. The cost was minimal. I didn't have a spray bottle so I bought one at Dollar Tree . The vinegar and dish soap were in my kitchen. The cost without the bottle was far less than a dollar. I wouldn't recommend using a spray bottle that previously contained some other type of cleaner or chemical. Once the plastic absorbs the smell, etc., I am not sure how it might affect the homemade cleaner.

Have a wonderful and blessed Sunday,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012


To Make the Bag:

  1. Cut 7" by 11" strips of muslin cloth. Fold the 7" side and sew a 1/2" seam. This should leave you with a 3" wide, 11" long tube.
  2. Fill tube with between 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup of bath salts or other filler. Fold in half and shake the salts down.
  3. Fold the open ended side into envelope corners (forming a point) and then fold that section down to seal the open ends of your bag. A portion of the raw edge may show through and I've used my serger to finish these off after folding and filling the bag which also helps to seal the salts in. There are several ways to secure the top. I take a piece of jute string or twine about 2 feet long if I'm making a bath bag, shorter for hanging potpourri, and tie a knot in each end. I then use my sewing machine on the setting for attaching buttons and secure the twine to the bag and seal it up at the same time. I've been told you can use fabric glue as well, but I haven't tried it. I have stapled the bag to close it but wasn't happy with the results.
  4. If the bag is not going into water, glue small silk rosettes and/or bits of lace and/or trim. I don't add other embellishments if the bag is going to be used in water since I want to keep everything as pure as possible and I haven't investigated what types of glues and embellishments might work without adding impurities to the water.

Bath Salts Recipe

In a large bowl, mix well: 3 cups of Epsom Salts, 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of oatmeal. This is the basic recipe. To this, add the scent or essential oil of your choice and mix well again. If the salts are going to be given and used from a jar, instead of using regular oatmeal which will not dissolve in water, use colloidal oatmeal. Food coloring can also be used for salts to be presented in a bottle or jar. Glass should be used to store salts made with scent as the aroma will dissipate over time in plastic.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Newest Design -- Abstract Circles

Fun abstract circles made of dots in purple, green and white on a chocolate background created in faux cross-stitch, all on quality products provided by CafePress.

As pictured left -- Scribble important stuff - lyrics, recipes, addresses, and more. Our Wire-O bound, 160 page journal has your choice of papers and measures 5" x 8", a handy on-the-go size to fit in your backpack. Get creative and let the muse flow.
  • Back cover made of thin black flexible textured plastic, measures 16/1000" thick
  • Front cover made of 12pt glossy paper, laminated for durability
  • Filled with your choice of 60lb bookweight (24 lb bond) paper -- blank, dot grid, lined college-ruled, or a task journal.

Your feedback would be lovely and thank you for taking the time. By the way, if you like to cross-stitch and want the pattern to make a pillow cover for yourself, a pdf pattern is available for you in both my Etsy and eCrater shops.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Update Your Blogger Background Using Multiple Background Images & CSS

There are so many really well designed and cute Blogger templates available. Most are one graphic with a decorative border or borders and solid center where blog content and the sidebar are visible and are uploaded to a service like PhotoBucket or Picasa. These work well in some instances but I recently had to buy a newer computer which has a slightly different sized screen than my previous one.

When I looked at my blog, the only way the background worked was to reduce the size of the text so small that with my eyesight it became impossible to read comfortably.

Researching how to solve this problem and keep an attractive background led me to CSS (cascading style sheets) styling which allows placement of multiple background images. There are quite a few articles written about this on the web searchable through Google.

For the lay person (like me), I thought I would share how I broke down my blog background into three images and placed them within the xml coding. I use the minima 2-column template.

This was how my previous one-piece background coding looked:

body {
  font: x-small Georgia Serif;
  font-size/* */:/**/small;
  font-size: /**/small;
  text-align: center;

I broke my column graphics off into two separate images keeping them approximately 200 pixels or less wide and 685 pixels long. I created the center background from what was left though one could probably use a small seamless tile and add those directions to the CSS. I uploaded these three graphics to my free Comcast personal web page and then coded as follows:

body {
   background: url("") top left no-repeat, url("") top right no-repeat, url("") center top no-repeat;
  background-attachment: fixed;
  font: x-small Georgia Serif;
  font-size/* */:/**/small;
  font-size: /**/small;
  text-align: center;

The highlighted coding provides the border and background graphics on this page. It is important to remember the last image (url) is the one which will be at the bottom of the layers. If you look at my background here and compare it to the coding above, I think it will help to make sense of how this multiple background layering can work for a blog.

If you decide to play around with this, I encourage you to use a "test blog". In any event, please make sure you save the existing html template you are using so that if frustration sets in, you can copy and paste the original html coding back into your template. 

There is more information available at the w3Schools website as well as at

I am still working on the cross-browser issues this coding has with Internet Explorer but it works beautifully with Firefox. I did use BrowserShots which allows you to view screenshots of a page in many different browsers and those that won't translate the CSS merely have a white background so content can be read. 

More on this as I learn . . .

Friday, March 23, 2012

Newest CafePress Design -- Hot Pink & Black Damask

Newest CafePress Design! Hot Pink and Black Damask. Wild yet elegant.

If you prefer to create your own needlework, the pattern for this design is available at both Etsy and eCrater.