Friday, February 24, 2012

Cajun Corner - Vol. 4, No. 7

Cajun Corner – Vol. 4, No. 7 – February 24, 2012

Bon Jour!  Welcome to Cajun Stitchery’s weekly email and welcome to our family.


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Mardi Gras 2012 festivities and parades are over.  Last weekend was full of fun and frivolity.  We partied with the krewe on Friday night but did not move ourselves to the beach until Saturday.  The float and costumes were simply gorgeous.  The whole krewe worked very hard on both float and costumes.  I’m so proud of each and every krewe member and all of our wonderful helpers.  Even our dance looked magnificent.  We did walk away with the Grand Marshall award.

For those of you who are not familiar with the specifics of Mardi Gras parades, the krewes are required to line up at a specified time prior to the parade.  That is when the krewes party together and look at each others’ floats and costumes.  It is a fun time.  Our parade began at 2 p.m. last Sunday.  Line up began at 10 a.m.  We had our float there by 10:30 and still were in the tail end of the parade. 

Parade day is always a hustle and bustle from the time we wake up.  Imagine 16 women (that was the count of Nereids riding our float) running around in the morning getting into costumes, make-up, wigs, etc.  Everyone is trying to get a bite of breakfast (provided by one of our sweet Mermaidens who happens to be a professional chef).  Everyone is present: our walkers, drivers, helpers and probably some on-lookers, too.  Krewe Den is packed with people bustling around.

Then we all get on the float where some of the helpers and krewe have made our beads magically appear at our assigned stations.  The truck starts pulling the float and there is simply magic in the air.  The truck tows the float to line-up and parks.  We begin the pleasant task of hanging our beads on bead racks and situating all of our throws.  You would be surprised how much time that takes.  Then we usually grab a drink and exit the float.  We walk down the line looking at floats and meeting people.  We exchange our krewe beads.  We have lunch, which is usually fried chicken and/or sandwiches, at our float.  We practice our dance.  The music is blaring from each float and everyone is in anticipation of the parade beginning.  Around 1:00-1:30 everyone starts gathering at their own floats and getting in their assigned stations.  Then at 2:00, we begin to roll.  Since we were towards the rear of the parade, it did take awhile for the floats in front of us to proceed to the point where we were moving.  We are not allowed to throw until we hit the barricades.  Instead, we wave to all of the people sitting in front of their homes or along the sidewalk.  The mass of people begins to thicken the closer we get to the barricades.  We place dozens of beads on our arms in preparation to throw.  Finally, we hit the barricades.  The noise level is deafening from all of the spectators.  The music is loud and rocking.  We begin throwing into the crowd.  As do most of the krewe, George and I bring more than just beads.  We have all sorts of throws from nerf balls with smiley faces, Mardi Gras panties, little mermaid dolls, hand puppets, and all sorts of stuff.  Since my vantage point is higher than George’s, I keep an eye out for the little children and we try to get them some special throws.  I’ll point to the child and George will walk over and hand the child the toy.

By the time the parade ends, we are all exhausted.  At the end of the parade we exit our float taking all of our remaining beads, purses, drinks, and stuff with us.  George usually has our car parked nearby and just puts our stuff in the car.  Then it is off to the Pavilion.  The krewes and spectators gather at the Pavilion.  We are all gleeful and talking about how wonderful the parade was.  Music is playing and many are on stage dancing.  Then, our announcer, Bonnie, clears the stage and the Mystic Krewe of Nereids gather on stage as our music begins.  We perform our dance for the audience.  The next item on the agenda is the awards.  We all listen intently to the various awards; then we hear, “The Grand Marshall award goes to … THE MYSTIC KREWE OF NEREIDS.”  In total exhilaration, we run onto the stage and accept the award.

After our acceptance and the photographs, we returned to the audience where our friends were congratulating us.  Some of us returned to our krewe den; others went to the local bars.  The Island was celebrating and having a wonderful time.

We partied at krewe den for a few hours and then George and I came home.  We were supposed to stay Sunday night on the beach but our dog, Evie, had an episode Saturday night and we needed to get home.  Saturday night Evie barked and howled and caused concern in the neighborhood.  The best we can figure is that she has never been left alone without Stinky before.  One of our neighbors came to the house and brought her to his home for the evening and she was fine.  Nevertheless, George and I felt that we should return home Sunday evening. 

We returned to the beach Monday morning for Red Beans and Rice.  This is an annual affair where the Elks Lodge and Women’s Club provide free red beans and rice to the public.  Boogie Inc. is there to supply the music.  This year the Mystic Krewe of Nereids performed our dance for the crowd.  George and I enjoyed the event and returned home after the dance.

Tuesday night (the actual Mardi Gras) is the Krewe of Coma pub crawl on the beach.  We missed it this year because we just couldn’t make that drive one more time.  We were exhausted and had to work all day Tuesday.  One of our lovely Mermaidens was crowned Queen of Coma.  Congratulations Becky.

For our krewe, that is not the end of Mardi Gras season.  Our season ends after we depart krewe den.  This week is filled with returning our float and items to storage and cleaning the house.  Sunday the keys are returned to the rental agency and Mardi Gras is completely over for us.

I’m going to try to attach several of our parade pictures onto this e-newsletter, but the video of the dance is located at

During line-up for our parade, I was able to see several of the Bananimals’ jackets.  They really turned out beautiful.

Next week Cajun Corner will return to embroidery.

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George’s mother used to make paper beads.  It was fascinating to watch.  Thought I’d share the following with you.  Found the following at:

Make your own paper bead jewellery

March 18, 2010, 12:06 pmbetterhomesgardens

We show you how to make these simple but beautiful beads

Most of us have a little stash of leftover decorative papers from projects and parties. But before you put your scraps in the recycling bin, take a look at what you can do with them. These colourful beads can be made from any paper – junk mail, magazine pages, used giftwrap or leftover stationery papers – and they’re so easy, you and the kids can whip them up by the dozen.

Paper beads

Gather your supplies

Paper; ruler and pencil; scissors; wooden skewers; glue stick; disposable plates or plastic container; gloss spray varnish; leather cord, for stringing; necklace findings (2 silver leather clamps, 2 jump rings and a clasp per necklace); needle-nose pliers

Note: For a triple-string necklace, make sufficient beads for 3 strands of beads. Each strand can be a similar length or you can make different lengths.

Here’s how

Step 1 Use Bead templates to choose the shape of your paper strips. Vary the width according to desired bead size (2-4cm), the length is determined by the thickness of your paper. For thin magazine pages, a strip 2cm wide across the bottom and 20cm long is ideal; for thick paper, about 15cm long. Rule strips on the back of your paper and cut them out.

Step 2 When you have cut a number of strips, you can start to roll your beads. Begin by rolling the thick edge firmly around a skewer. Then run the glue stick along the remainder of the triangle and continue wrapping the paper around the skewer until you reach the end. Make sure the paper is wrapped tightly on itself and the end is glued down really well.

Step 3 Continue to roll beads this way until you have covered most of the skewer. Then rest skewer ends on the edges of a plastic plate or container with beads not touching plastic to allow glue to dry. Repeat.

Step 4 Spray an even coat of gloss varnish over the beads. Rotate the skewers so the beads are evenly covered.

Step 5 When beads are completely dry, slip them from skewer and string together as desired on 3 leather cords. Using pliers and a leather clamp, join the 3 strands together at one end; repeat for other end. Attach jump rings to each clamp and a clasp to one of the jump rings. If you prefer, you can knot the strand ends together instead of attaching necklace findings.


Here, the latest tips and tricks from Paul James, host of Gardening by the Yard:

1. To remove the salt deposits that form on clay pots, combine equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the pot and scrub with a plastic brush. Let the pot dry before you plant anything in it.

2. To prevent accumulating dirt under your fingernails while you work in the garden, draw your fingernails across a bar of soap and you'll effectively seal the undersides of your nails so dirt can't collect beneath them. Then, after you've finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.

3. To prevent the line on your string trimmer from jamming or breaking, treat with a spray vegetable oil before installing it in the trimmer.

4. Turn a long-handled tool into a measuring stick! Lay a long-handled garden tool on the ground, and next to it place a tape measure. Using a permanent marker, write inch and foot marks on the handle. When you need to space plants a certain distance apart (from just an inch to several feet) you'll already have a measuring device in your hand.

5. To have garden twine handy when you need it, just stick a ball of twine in a small clay pot, pull the end of the twine through the drainage hole, and set the pot upside down in the garden. Do that, and you'll never go looking for twine again.

6. Little clay pots make great cloches for protecting young plants from sudden, overnight frosts and freezes.

7. To turn a clay pot into a hose guide, just stab a roughly one-foot length of steel reinforcing bar into the ground at the corner of a bed and slip two clay pots over it: one facing down, the other facing up. The guides will prevent damage to your plants as you drag the hose along the bed.

8. To create perfectly natural markers, write the names of plants (using a permanent marker) on the flat faces of stones of various sizes and place them at or near the base of your plants.

9. Got aphids? You can control them with a strong blast of water from the hose or with insecticidal soap. But here's another suggestion, one that's a lot more fun; get some tape! Wrap a wide strip of tape around your hand, sticky side out, and pat the leaves of plants infested with aphids. Concentrate on the undersides of leaves, because that's where the little buggers like to hide.

10. The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don't pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you'll be amazed at how the plants respond to the "vegetable soup."

11. Use leftover tea and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side.

12. Use chamomile tea to control damping-off fungus, which often attacks young seedlings quite suddenly. Just add a spot of tea to the soil around the base of seedlings once a week or use it as a foliar spray.

13. If you need an instant table for tea service, look no farther than your collection of clay pots and saucers. Just flip a good-sized pot over, and top it off with a large saucer. And when you've had your share of tea, fill the saucer with water, and your "table" is now a birdbath.

14. The quickest way in the world to dry herbs: just lay a sheet of newspaper on the seat of your car, arrange the herbs in a single layer, then roll up the windows and close the doors. Your herbs will be quickly dried to perfection. What's more, your car will smell great.


C’est tout, mes amis

Peggy Henshall

Cajun Stitchery

(850) 261-2462

P.S.  You are always welcome to stop by and look at all of the catalogs and pass some time with me, cher.

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