Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Newborn Composite Practice

I wasn't sure how to do this on the group, so I am doing a blog post on my personal blog. 


I use a baby doll for lots of things, including practicing on composite editing for those cute newborn sessions. I use her for setting up sessions - I lay her in the set up and check lighting, how it's going to look with a real baby, etc. Dangit, I can't get her in the froggy pose :(

I usually have my husband to hold her head, but he wasn't home today when I decided to do this. However, you can put anything in the photo and work on a composite to remove it. I used the envelope my newly ordered props just arrived in for this one. Hey, it was handy.

As a few on the group will tell you, I also use my 5 lb pomeranian, Meg, as my model sometimes. She hates my camera and usually looks like I'm torturing her, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right?!

First of all, links....these are the two photos I used to make a composite. They are Canon 6D RAW2 files. I have downloaded them to dropbox, so you can download them if you want a quick practice - or take your own and just put something in the photo that you want to remove.

***Since I was working on this photo alone today, and over Christmas, we are repainting my studio, so I used the side of the bed in my spare bedroom and an extra pillow to set the doll up. I didn't take my lights and all that in there, so you'll just have to work with that I've got on hand. LOL 

Step 1: Open image one in PS 

Step 2: Open image two in PS

Step 3: Go to image two, on the top of your screen, between "Type" and "Filter", you'll see "Select". Click on "Select" and then on "All". Go to image one and click "Edit" (at the top) and "paste". This places image two over image one. 
It will look like this.

Step 4: Add a layer to image two (not the background image) and lower the opacity to where you can see both images on your screen (will look like the above photo). I lowered to 43% because I could see fairly clearly where I needed to work.
Use your "move" tool to position and line up the faces on the two images.

Step 5: Use your brush at 100% opacity and on BLACK (to remove) ***white adds, black removes*** and brush over the area that you want to remove. Raise and lower the opacity to make sure you're getting it all. Basically, you're going to see image one with the envelope hidden by image 2 on top of it.

You're mask layer will be black where you erased. Like this: 

Step 6: Raise the opacity back up to 100% - zoom in and make sure you got everything removed that you want to remove.

Composite complete!
This will be a super easy composite since the baby doll can't move. A real baby can move just a smidge and you'll have your work cut out for you. Also, note, removing an assistant's hand will require quite a bit more fine tuning. BUT, if you are just learning how to do a composite or just wanting to practice....knock yourself out! 

Next....buy yourself a baby doll (or swipe one from your kid's toy box) and have somebody hold the head on top in one shot and underneath in another.
Have fun!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Downsizing: Cutting the Cable Cord

How to cut the cable cord? It's very easy. You just have to snip and bam! it's gone.

I received a message today from a friend asking me how we cut the cable cord. This is the third time I've been asked this in the last couple of weeks. So, I thought I would do a blog post with how we did it and how we get by without constant TV.

First of all, I've never been much of a TV watcher. If I'm home alone, the TV is almost never on. When we had the transport business, if Bossman went out on a run and I stayed home, the TV wouldn't get turned on for sometimes days at a time. I don't need the background noise. I love peace and quiet. I'm a great multi-tasker, so even if it's on, I'm very rarely actively watching it. It has to be a really super good movie or TV show for me to do nothing but sit and watch it. Now, I can kind of sort of watch it while playing a game on my iPad or something. I'm really good at that!

We had DirecTV up until about 6 months ago. We had it in four rooms in our house - so that's four boxes (living room, master bedroom, small bedroom and downstairs). Now, 90% of the time, it's just me and Bossman here, so that was a tad overdone. When we first signed up with DirecTV, we had a two year contract, so watch your contracts before you cut it off! We had it about four years, so we were good to go. P.S. when I called them to have it disconnected, they tried every way in the world to get us to keep it - so, if you're just wanting to lower your bill, they probably have a good deal for you. 

Our DirecTV bill was roughly 125.00 - 150.00 per month depending on if we rented any movies or not. And, you know how easy it is to click "buy" when it's only 5.99. Bossman is a tattoo artist, so we weren't even home Wednesday - Sunday evenings. So, we were paying that much money to watch it, basically, an hour or two at night and on Monday and Tuesday. How silly is that?! Just going with the lower amount of 125.00 per month, that's 1,500.00 per year. Fifteen Hundred Dollars Per Year. 

I did some research and this is our set up: we have an Xbox 360 and we run everything through there. With Xbox, you have to subscribe to Xbox Gold Live to get the television and video content ($60.00 per year). With the Gold Live membership, you can also play games online with your buddy in another state and a couple other "cool" things. 

We mainly use Netflix (7.99 per month) through the Xbox. However, once subscribed to Netflix, you can watch it on your tablet, phone, computer, etc. It will even let you stop watching on one device and pick up again on another device. Word of warning though, Netflix brings about binge watching. Don't say I didn't warn you! We also have the ability to rent or purchase movies through Xbox TV/Video. Rentals run about 5.99 per movie for HD and has basically the same things that are currently on pay-per-view.

We had Hulu Plus (7.99 per month) for a while. I've always watched Grey's Anatomy and didn't mind keeping up with it. The current season that is showing in prime time isn't available on Netflix, so I went to Hulu Plus. You can watch Hulu Plus through an app on the Xbox, too. However, I realized I was mostly watching it on my iPad. Then, I realized ABC has "an app for that" and it's totally FREE. With both Hulu Plus and the ABC app, you have to wait until the day after it airs on prime time to watch it. So, I was paying 7.99 per month to watch a show I could watch for free. There weren't really any other shows I watched on Hulu Plus, so I let my subscription go. (by the way, most television "stations" - ABC, NBC, CBS, etc., have an app to watch most of their current shows - just watch it the day after it airs on prime time)

There are also a couple of other apps, like Crackle, that allow for free television. We haven't messed with those much though. Do some research and you'll be surprised what you'll find.

Sons of Anarchy. Okay, well, this one, we had to figure out. We've watched SOA since day one and were entirely too caught up in it to not put a little extra effort into watching it and finishing this last season. Thankfully, Xbox already had it figured out. We bought the current season through the Xbox TV/Video. It was 34.99 for the current season - again, we have to wait until Wednesday morning, after it has aired on prime time, to watch it. But, it's so worth the NO COMMERCIALS! I thought it would drive me crazy not knowing what happened on SOA until the next morning, but as luck would have it, this is the last season and it hasn't been nearly as "sit on the edge of your seat and hold on for the ride" as the previous seasons. You can purchase almost any current television series this way - we consider it DVR without the commercials. Another way to do this is through Amazon Prime - I believe current (2014) price is 99.00 per year and you get a few other specials with it, like free two day shipping. You will have to purchase your television series - Sons of Anarchy is about the same as Xbox. You can purchase per episode or the entire season in either standard definition or high definition. 

Another thing.....sports. I will be honest, I haven't put too much time and effort into figuring this one out.  There are several sports apps on the Xbox ESPN, NFL, etc, but I haven't messed with them too much. Bossman loves (LOVES) his Nascar. However, since most races air on Sunday and he is at the tattoo shop on Sunday, he can just watch it/listen to it while there. And, he's got some stuff figured out on his iPad to keep up with it. 

So, we've got our Xbox Gold Live membership at 60.00 per year. Netflix at 7.99 per month and Sons of Anarchy (this year only) at 34.99. That's a grand total of 190.87. That saves us 1309.13 per year! 

As a side note, we also have a Google TV "box" that we kind of stumbled across. We have it set up with a smaller television just in case a grandkid or two wants to watch cartoons. We have the Netflix app on there - and you can set up five different "profiles" per individual account (2014). Each profile has access to their own shows and content and can be watched simultaneously. 

There you have it! How to cut the cord on your cable bill and still have television!

Friday, November 28, 2014

I'm getting ready to do an overhaul of this blog. In the meantime, to view my photography, head on over to my website or my Facebook page!

Why We Moved Into the Basement...Small Spaces...Tiny House

We've been asked several times why we moved into the basement of our house. There are actually two reasons for this. First, I can't physically do "cold" anymore. Second, it's a test to see if we can downsize and live in a smaller space. We've been down here approximately three weeks.....and we love it!

First, I have Raynaud's Syndrome (or disease if you prefer). I was diagnosed about 14 years ago and it gets worse with every passing winter.  I "almost" totally forget I have it in the summer, but when winter hits, I am miserable! Raynaud's is an autoimmune disorder where in cold temperatures or extreme emotion (stress), my sympathetic nervous system hyper-activates. My blood vessels constrict too much (called vasoconstriction) and blood flow & oxygen are depleted to my extremities. Mainly my fingers, toes and nose. My right hand is worse than my left hand for some reason. This causes my fingers, toes and nose (for me, it's mostly my fingers and toes) to get extremely cold, turn white and if cold too long, turn blue...and hurt! Once cold and blue, it can take hours to get warmed back up to a reasonable degree. During the "warming up" process, they turn bright red and get swollen. I will have severe pain and "pins and needles" (like when your hand falls asleep), only it's in "hyper-drive" and excruciatingly painful. Too many attacks and I can suffer atrophy of my extremities and/or amputation. So, it's not just a "oh, go warm yourself up", thing. It's a disease with serious complications if I don't take care of myself. 

Due to reduced blood flow, my extremities, especially my hands, get extremely dry and they will crack and bleed. Sometimes I'll get a sore or ulcer if I've been cold too many times. In the past, I used to allow myself to get cold because people wanted to see how this works. Google it if you want to see - it's too painful to show people anymore. 

My magic temperature is about 50 degrees. If it's less than 50 degrees outside and it's a cloudy day, I'm in trouble. In the 40s with some good sunshine and I am okay for a little bit. Anything below 40, I'm inside with sweats, houseshoes, blanket and gloves. I change my socks 3-4 times a day. If I've had shoes on and my socks have gotten the slightest bit damp, I have to change them or my toes will go through the above process. 

It's kind of ridiculous! 

We have a huge house. Especially for me and the Bossman and Meg, the 5 lb pomeranian. In order to keep the entire house warm enough for me, we spend an enormous amount of money on propane. Plus, we run electric heaters even with the propane. The basement is small, partially underground and much MUCH easier to heat. We've been keeping our main heat (the propane) on about 55 degrees and then running an Eden Pure heater and one other electric "radiator" type heater in the basement. Still, this blanket and these gloves are on me most of the time. (these gloves are called AGloves and they have silver woven in them. This is how I operate my iPad when I'm having an attack). I also have battery operated gloves, hot hands, regular gloves, etc. for when I have to be outside for more than a minute. 

***If you are interested in AGloves (good for use of a touchscreen phone or tablet while outdoors), I bought mine at Amazon. Here's a link: Agloves M/L touch screen gloves, iPhone gloves, texting gloves, Agloves!

The other reason for moving into the basement is a test to see if we can downsize. We have dreams of living in an RV (preferably in a warm climate...at least half the year!). This is a test to see how we do in a small space. We love it! (and, it takes like 30 minutes to clean it...seriously!). 

Our whole living space right now is 16' x 35' that's 560 sq ft. Our master bedroom upstairs is 24' x 24' - that's 576 sq ft. Who needs a bedroom that size?! **even downstairs, our bathroom and closet that we are using are at the top of the stairs, so add a little bit for that. 

Whatever we are living without while down here, is outta here!

This is heading down the stairs....I admit, though, going to the bathroom in the middle of the night isn't my favorite thing to do. LOL

This is looking from the garage/TV area into our living space. We hang out on that reclining couch, just like we did when we had it upstairs. (that couch is one of the few things we insisted on moving downstairs) **notice my blanket, gloves and lotion?

This is if we were sitting on the couch watching TV. That door opens into a double garage (one of two double garages in our house - seriously, who needs TWO garages?!)

This is our "bedroom". Notice the Eden Pure heater in the fireplace. That is an actual working fireplace, but we don't use it.

There's my office area between the "living room" and the "bedroom". I've been working on VA paperwork this week. Ugh. I have a huge wrap around desk in my office upstairs - who knew I only needed this one little desk for most things?

The kitchen. I can cook 6' away from my couch! I will also admit that I do occasionally use my upstairs "big" kitchen. Like for Thanksgiving dishes, I totally went up there and used my Kitchen Aid and gas 5 burner cooktop! I'm having a tiny issue getting the hang of this electric stove, but I'll get it!

Full size refrigerator, microwave and Bunn coffeemaker. I'm pretty much all set!

Another shot of our bedroom area with my heat source. 

That's pretty much it!

And....we love it! We haven't "decorated" much, but we love how cozy it is. The bed is a queen size and is our "guest" bed. We are used to a king size sleep number, but this pillow top mattress is surprisingly very comfortable! (by the way, this bed actually goes with our bedroom suit, the rest of which is upstairs). 

We have 14 acres m/l, a house that's way too big for us....with "rooms with no purpose". Seriously, we have rooms with no purpose under the sun. None. 

Needless to say, as soon as we get the upstairs squared away, this place is for sale!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Two Weeks with George, the Newfie Puppy

Two weeks with George, the Newfie puppy. 
I'm exhausted.
But, looook at that face!

**apologies for the pics...it was raining and dreary..and my trackpad on my Macbook Pro decided not to work, so was difficult to edit.....like seriously difficult, so it didn't really happen. LOL

As puppies go, George is a dream. It takes so much energy just to be a growing Newf, that it doesn't take much to wear him out. But, he is still a puppy.
Albiet it, a large one!

He chews, he plays, he romps. He has accidents in the house - not often, but when he does, it's a river! He's into everything. If he's awake, he's in training. I will be the first to admit, there are times, when I think, "WHAT was I thinking?!?!?!" 

We brought him home on 6/14/14 at 7 1/2 weeks old. He went to the vet on 6/19/14, at 8 weeks and 1 day, for a wellness check. He weighted 12.4 lbs. He went again, exactly one week later, on 6/25/14, at 9 weeks and 1 day old, for shots. He weighed 15.5 lbs. So, he's right on track for the Newfie thing of roughly 3 lbs per week. We swear he grows overnight!
It's tough to gain 100 lbs in a year!

Okay, so what if he really does look like a bear when he walks through the yard?

George has taken very well to his crate for sleeping. It's right beside our bed. He generally sleeps from 10:30 pm till 6:30 am. Except when he's having a growth spurt and then it's up at 4:00 am and again at 6:30 am. He has a growth spurt every other night. 

He has taken to training like a champ! He knows sit and stay. He knows he has to sit to get his food bowl. So, he runs up to me and sits quite often. He knows he has to sit before going back in the house and does this now without being told. He responds almost every time to "George, Come!" - he gets cheese for that. He loves cheese!

He is a Newfoundland - a water rescue dog. So, he's of the "retriever" family....that means he's "mouthy". He tries to chew on eVeRyThInG. EVERYTHING! We've worked on bite inhibition from day one. He kinda sorta almost gets it with us - but, Meg, the 6 lb pomeranian is another story. He torments the tar out of her. I'm beginning to think he thinks she is one of his chew toys! Needless to say, Meg stays on the couch almost all the time. She gets to get down and relax when George is taking his afternoon nap (3 hours every afternoon in his crate....score!). He just doesn't understand his own size and plays too rough with her. He hurt her eye this morning when she fell asleep and stretched and had her head hanging over the edge of the couch. He watches for her to do this and pounces like a cat. I am convinced he does have some feline in him somewhere.  If Meg had Facebook, I'm sure he would be creeping on it obsessively to see when she let her guard down. 

Newfs respond to positive behavior. Rewarding for good behavior and ignoring bad behavior is a Newf specific training tool. It's hard to ignore his taunts at Meg though! 

One day, maybe Meg will have enough and put the little tyrant in his place.
Or maybe she's like us and takes one look at that sweet little Newfie face and falls in love :)

That face!

George also does a lot of this....I'm not sure if he's into landscaping or part cow. His next favorite thing is sticks. I woke him up and took him out last night around 10:30 pm for one last potty break and he did his business and plopped down in the yard. I called him, but he just looked at me (if you've ever had a Newf, you know the look). I didn't want to use the "George, Come!" command, because that is rewarded with a treat...and I didn't want him up in the middle of the night for a potty trip. (he was up at 4:00 am anyway...growth spurt!). I walked toward him and he jumped up and ran away. I told him to sit. He sat. I walked toward him. He ran away again. I told him to sit...again. He sat....again. Then, he started gagging. I ran to him and fished a 2" long piece of stick out of his mouth he was choking on. At times, I'm convinced that if he makes it through the puppy stage (roughly 2 1/2 years...sigh), it will be a miracle.

But, that face!

What a little love bug!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

How To: Container Gardening

Have you ever wondered how to container garden successfully? It's so nice to walk out onto your deck or patio (or wherever is convenient for you) and tend you plants. It's even nicer to pluck the fruits of your labor just a few steps from your door. There are a few tricks of the trade for a successful gardening season if you're going to use containers though. Most important: irrigation. Really important: size of pots.

Here's how I did my tomato plants in my container garden.

Aren't they pretty?

First thing you want to do is find some large pots. For tomato plants, the bigger, the better. These are mineral buckets for cows that a friend gave me (thank Kayla!). These are probably at least 21" pots. The bigger the pot is, the bigger your plant will grown.

First things first: drill holes in the bottom. Even store bought planters and pots usually need holes poked or drilled in them (check the bottom, there are instructions!). Water needs to be able to drain from the pot or your soil (and roots) will get water bound and stagnant. 

Here's a close up of the holes. They don't need to be huge, but they do need to be big enough to allow a good soaking rain or thunderstorm to drain.

There are all kinds of potting soils and mixes. I like Miracle Grow Potting MIX. It has Miracle Grow mixed in and will feed your plants for about 6 months. For the size pots I was using, I got the biggest bag I could find at Lowe's for EACH pot. Yes, a bag for each pot. I grabbed an extra smaller bag (pictured) just in case. Potting soil "keeps" so it won't go to waste. 

Here's a picture of one of my tomato plants before I started. It's in a "cage" in this pot. You will need to find some way to let your tomato plants climb. You can buy ready made cages specifically for tomatoes or tomato stakes to tie them to. My deck has some really tall posts - for what reason, I don't know - but they're perfect for tomato plants.

Note: I skipped a day of watering before I repotted my tomato plants. Dry dirt sticks to the roots and sticks together better than wet dirt and makes it easier to lift the plant out of the pot. Dry dirt is also lighter - and you're going to have to do a little lifting and tugging.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: IRRIGATE YOUR PLANTS! Throw an inch or two of rocks in the bottom of your pot. Get it out of your driveway or down by the river. Wherever you can find some rocks. Buy a bag of rocks if you have to, but make sure and have an irrigation system in there! **you can also use broken glass, crushed up soda cans, shells, etc.

Dump some of your potting mix in there. Fill your container about 2/3 full with dirt.

Make a "hole" in the center of your dirt in your container. This is where you will set your plant and it comes with some of it's own dirt.

Carefully squeeze around the pot your plant is already in to loosen the dirt around the sides. You can slit the container down the side if you want to. It makes it easier to remove the plant, but it ruins your pot. I like to save my pots as they are a bit of an investment every year. I just tilt my pots sideways and bear hug them with one arm while gently pulling on the plant with the other. When you get the plant loose, set it in the hole you made in your dirt.

If your plant is very big, it might be flopping everywhere. It's important to tie it up or stake it off before you go any further. You can't hardly tell, but there is maroon yarn tying up some of my plant as a temporary way to keep it put.

Now, get to scoopin'. Fill your pot almost to the top with more potting mix. I do this a large glass at a time. I'm always afraid if I try to lift the bag to pour, it's going to get away from me and I'll bury my plant and have a huge mess. These things are delicate, ya know.

Now, your plant is all filled in with dirt and tied up nice and sturdy. 

Now you water....and water and water and water. Try to get your dirt good and wet. Potting mix is pretty light - and therefore needs to get pretty saturated. I try to plan my transplants when it's supposed to rain within the first 24 hours. But, you still need to get some water in there (especially if you skipped a day to make it easier to handle). I think I put 4 gallons of water in each tomato plant....came back a couple hours later and put another 2 gallons...then repeated one more time. After the dirt is saturated the first time, it will be black - tomato plants need water daily. If it doesn't rain, I water mine every day and enough water to make some run out the drain holes. **other plants don't always need that much water, but tomato plants do!

One last thing....eggshells! Put a layer of crushed up eggshells on top of your dirt. Eggshells repel some insects and slugs because of their sharp edges. I have about 3 dozen eggshells in this plant alone. It takes quite a lot - if you start saving now, you can use this handy trick for next years container garden!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hello Spring! (And an update)...

This one is kind of long....grab some coffee!

As January 2014 began and the holidays were wrapped up, I sat down and started working on a business plan for my photography business and Bossman's tattoo business (Bossman's Needle - have you liked his page yet?) I was working on specials to get lined up, accounting system set up, blogs updated, etc. I included a revamp of this blog (it turned into just recipes and I have a little bit more on my mind than that!) that I was excited to get started on.

However, on the morning of January 14th, we received a phone call that not only shocked and saddened us, but left us unsure of quite a few things. Our former business partner and very close friend, somehow, someway made the decision to end his life that day. My cousin posted on Facebook this past week that we are never more than a phone call away from being on our knees. How so very true that statement is! And, I want to say right here, right now, that no matter how big the problem is, suicide is never ever the answer. Never. (please seek help!)

In the mix of shock, sadness and just downright disbelief, there were creeping thoughts of "what now?" We had not been in business with Rick for almost a year, but there were aspects of the business that we had to attend to. One of those was the Budget Rental business. He already had rental trucks when we came on board several years ago, but had added rental cars under me which was "my baby".  

Avis Budget Group approached me about taking the rental car and truck business back over. So, this is where I say that my lifelong aspiration was never to own a rental vehicle business; however, it was a great opportunity! Let's say that I was a little wishy-washy on the subject. We had all of these plans of things we *want* to do, but who, in their right mind, passes up an opportunity that was handed to you on a silver platter?! They offered me a deal I couldn't pass up, so I went through the whole process of applying to own a rental business and was approved. It would be long hours (Monday through Friday 7:30 am - 6:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am till noon. But, the work wasn't all consuming - I would have time to blog and do my group home work from my office there. I was even going to set up a photography studio in the building at some point. 

We were crunched for time trying to get our end of the business set up, training scheduled (they were paying me for "retraining") and personal obligations we had committed to. Suddenly, our time was very valuable and we had to do some scheduling magic to get it all in. We were shooting for an opening date of April 1st. 

Back to being wishy-washy. Like I said, I had plans and before January 14th, no desire to own a rental vehicle business. So, what do you do? Being raised the way I was, I know that the shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor. So, that's where I went and that's where I left it: at God's feet. When I was approved and negotiations went well, I thought that was God saying this is what you should be doing....

This past week found us incredibly busy. The two year group home inspection (from the state of Missouri) was this past Monday. For those that don't know, I am the Qualified Developmental Disabilities Professional - otherwise known as "The Q" - at a local group home. On Monday morning, I was up at 5:30 and out the door by 6:30 to help handle the inspection. It's a big deal and we passed with flying colors and were "absolutely amazing". We were up at 5:30 Tuesday morning to take a friend to Springfield for surgery and stayed with him until released on Wednesday afternoon. We took him to his house and stayed there Wednesday night just to keep an eye on him and help him out. Bossman developed a severe toothache during all of this. He ended up having oral surgery Thursday morning - 3 hours in the dentist office and follow up care hadn't been figured in my "schedule" LOL. 

Late Thursday afternoon, I got a phone call from my rental vehicle TPM (Territory Performance Manager - also my point of contact). He was calling to tell me the building where we were going to put the rental business had been sold! At first, I was disappointed and scrambling my mind to come up with another location. However, after discussing with Bossman and calming down a little bit, I was surprised to find that we were RELIEVED! What?! 

Apparently, we were not looking forward to the long hours, early mornings and being "locked down" and having to be there, regardless of how busy we were on any given day. It was like a giant weight had been lifted off our shoulders...we could carry on with our original plans. 

Remember I put this at God's feet and just left it there, so why was I approved, through this huge corporate application process, for no reason? Sometimes we don't know the answers, we just know the outcome. BUT, I think that God was showing us what we truly had in our hearts and how valuable our time is. We, admittedly, got very lazy over the long cold winter. Like, seriously lazy. If we had put the time and effort into the tattoo and photography business that we had put in getting the rental business off the ground and juggling our prior commitments, we would be rockstars by now! 

SO, after all the above post.......LET'S DO THIS! I'm going to start with an April special for my photography business. You can find it here on my photography website.  I have updated my "Investment" page, too. So, check it out. Don't forget to "Like" my Facebook page as well. 

This blog will be getting some additional content, so keep an eye on it. Watch for a post later this week about Z Loft Bar and Grill (lunch date and photo session scheduled later this week!).

And, Bossman's Needle will be offering April specials, too, so keep up with our Facebook page!

Friday, January 10, 2014

World's Best Apple Pie

This really is the best apple pie on the planet.
Hands down.

I've made this apple pie for as long as I can remember and it's soooo good, I've never had a passing thought on trying to improve it. I found it in one of my mom's old cookbooks way back when and have loved it ever since.

Just look at it.
Isn't it beautiful?

Here's everything you need:
P.S. and don't freak out with the whole apples; they only take a minute or two.
About 8 Jonathan apples** 
2 - 9" deep dish pie shells (thawed)
Brown sugar

**I use Jonathan apples because they are slightly tart. If you use something like Fuji apples, you may want to lessen the amount of sugar in this recipe to offset the sweetness of the apples.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by peeling your apples....

Then quarter and core your apples...

Then slice all your apples up into basically bite size pieces...
Whew! Glad that's over with, right?
No, really, it only took like 7 minutes, right?

Use a fork to poke a whole lotta holes in your thawed pie shell to let the air escape and keep the pie shell from bubbling while baking.

In a bowl, use a fork to mix the following:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP flour
Dash of salt

Pour the sugar mixture over the apples and toss.
Be sure and sneak a few bites. You can eat this just like this and be perfectly fine with that.
Trust me, I've done it.

Use the same bowl that you used for the sugar mixture and combine the following:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Mix well.
It will look like this:

Dump your apples into your pie shell
Sprinkle your butter/brown sugar mixture over your apples
It will look like this:
*It's totally okay to bake just like this for an awesome dutch apple pie*

Place your other pie crust on top and press the edges together. It helps to dip your fingers in water to help seal the edges.

Then cut a couple holes in the top to let steam escape

Smear room temperature butter all over the top

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
I use a cookie sheet under the pie in case some yummy cinnamon and sugar bubble over the top.
I've got enough to do without having to clean my oven every time I bake a pie :)

The world's very best apple pie!

This is simply a food porn shot.