Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pans, pedicure and such

Have you made them yet? This is the second batch. Can't you smell them? My normally dessert avoiding husband finished off the last pan. Check back to the last post for the recipe. The smaller 9x9" pan is definitely the way to go. I love my Goldtouch pans from Williams-Sonoma. I got them for Christmas a couple of years ago and since then I've thrown out some of the old rusty pans and added to my collection. My last purchase was the muffin tin, but I've also got a 9x13 cake pan, a bread pan and an awesome sculpted pumpkin bread pan. They bake very evenly, are extremely non-stick and don't scratch easily. A little pricey but worth the extra pennies. Here's the result of my sewing ventures for the week. I ordered this kit from Cozy Cottage Fabrics after seeing it on another blog that I've become addicted too, Red Geranium Cottage . I almost didn't post this photo because I don't think I did it justice. I'm not happy with the mistakes I made on the outer border but by the time I realized what I'd done, it was too late to fix. So I used this as a stipple stitch experiment (try saying that three times fast!) My machine has a pre-programmed small stipple so I tried that on the outside border. It's not really the look I was hoping but glad I tried it. Someday I'll try to free-motion quilt - when I get brave! In the meantime - I've got a new table topper:) My BOM quilt from 2007 went off to a quilter this week along with the first quilt for Grandbaby#1. I can't wait to get them back but I'll have to be patient for a few weeks. I'm not sure what the next project will be. E reports that the computer sleeve fit the MacBook nicely but suggested that a handle might be nice. So I might try making another-after I get back from vacation!

Yes I'm going on vacation! Just the girls- E, B and me. They had planned on doing something together then invited dear ol' mom to come along. Since we're going to do the beachy thing, the much needed pedicure was today. I love the polish color. It is Opi , Charmed by a Snake. Wouldn't that be a fun job, to come up with the names for new colors! It was pretty cold coming home in the flimsy little salon flip-flops. And of course there was sn*w! I'm sure I'll come back with lots of pictures, so stay tuned! I don't know if I can post to the blog from my iphone, but I may try. Sometimes it can be a little tempermental with emails and such.

But before I go on vacation, I'll be taking a trip to Kansas. Not a vacation, but a quick trip to attend Aunt Sylva's funeral. It will be a sad occasion, but nice to re-connect with aunts, uncles and several cousins. I just looked at the weather and the forecast is good. Just like many areas, Kansas has had a long winter. Temps in the 5o's and low 60's almost sound tropical.

(I wish someone would explain to me why Blogspot chooses to double space where I don't want to!)

Leaving you with Beamer as he enjoys a little nap. Why is it that any time I lay the clean laundry on the bed, he uses it for a pillow? Today he picked D's favorite Life is Good socks. So I guess, if you're a cat and there is warm from the dryer laundry to curl up on, life is good!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

More Than Just Pie

She was known for her pies. Cherry especially, but also lemon meringue and chocolate. But I'll never forget the butterscotch brownies. The brown sugar, buttery scent would fill the house when she baked these. It is one of those smells that instantly takes you back to another era, when women still wore aprons in the kitchen and set the table before all meals.
I grew up on a farm homesteaded by my father's ancestors. He was the only boy in a family of six. Aunt Sylva was the only one of his sisters who lived nearby when I was growing up. My parents were "blessed" with two daughters and our aunt and uncle were the parents of two boys. They often traded kids when extra farmhands were needed or there was a mother-daughter banquet to attend. She was our "other mother".

We lost her yesterday. A lady in all respects, she was always quick to offer her help to anyone who needed it, whether it was baking a pie, accompanying someone on a doctor appointment or just making a phone call to see make sure if a friend was "okay". She had her own sense of style and fashion and always had a kind word for everyone. She would probably be appalled to see that I've posted a photo of her in her housecoat ! But this is the last photo I took of her last fall when my sister and I visited. I love the expression and slight smile on her face as she listened to Karen. She was always interested in our families activities and was so proud of her own grandchildren.

I have the urge to go make some butterscotch brownies and go buy some Jergen's Hand Lotion (another scent I associate with Aunt Sylva!) I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I shared the brownie recipe with you.

Melt one 6 oz. package of Nestle's Butterscotch chips over hot water (or in microwave)
Add 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Remove from heat.
Stir in 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
Cool 5 minutes
Blend in 2 eggs, 1/2 teas. vanilla.
Stir together and blend in 1 cup flour, 1 teas. baking powder. 1/2 teas. salt.
Add 1/2 cup chpped walnuts.
Spread in greased and lightly floured pan (13 x 9 for thin brownies, 9 x 9 for thicker)
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Cool. Enjoy.

We'll miss you Aunt Sylva.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wishful Thinking?

Does everyone else need a little spring? Enough of this ice! At least my front door can look a little brighter. I can't think of anything to write about tonight but just wanted to let you know I'm doing a little "wishful thinking" for everyone out there dealing with the snow and ice.

You probably noticed I've done a little re-decorating of this site. I wish I knew how to do a lot more. I'd like to learn how to put a photo in the title and change the margins of the entire blog - but my attempts at that have not been successful. Sometimes it seems like the help links are written in a different language! Maybe someday I'll figure it out! I've gotten this far by myself so eventually I'll figure it out.

See you later!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mechanic on Duty

Okay, I'm totally out of my element here. But for lack of anything very exciting to blog about today, it was suggested that I document the Harley makeover project.

In order for the new Harley Davidson motorcycles to comply with the governmental emission guidlines, the exhaust systems run extremely hot. This isn't too much of a problem if you live in a year round cold climate, but the average biker often makes the decision to "remodel" (for lack of a better description) the pipes and make the temperature more comfortable. This was Dennis' project for the day. The kitchen project was put on hold for the weekend. The carpenter disappeared and the mechanic came on duty!

We have had the honor of the UPS man dropping off several packages this past week. Just like a kid, D has to open them and spread them out on the livingroom floor to admire before assembling. This is what you see here. Vance and Hines dresser duals, Vance and Hines fuel pack, and an Arlen Ness Big Sucker air breather. (I type as he dictates - because I really have no idea what they are!)

First was disassembly. The saddle bags, seats and mufflers came off. Now our Harley is a big motorcycle, but for some reason the angle that I took this photo at makes it look REALLY big and Dennis looks itty bitty!
At this point I was asking if he knew what he was doing and if he could get it back together again. I should have known better, because as some of you know, D usually knows what he's doing before he does it! But I don't recall him doing a lot of auto mechanics in the past so I believe I had cause for concern. But here it is! Re-assembled in all it's copper-top glory! But without some of the factory pipes. Now you can admire the engine much easier.

And it even runs just fine. It has a little different sound to it, but still sounds like a Harley! Why would I ever doubt his mechanical abilities!

Don't think that I just stood around watching and photographing the mechanic all afternoon. I did have a small project of my own in progress. A couple of weeks ago daughter E asked if I could make some type of sleeve for her new MacBook. Yesterday was BOM at Among Friends Quilt Shop and I found some fabric that I thought she might like. Of course I found other fabric to add to my stash. The Strawberry Lemonade pattern from Moda looks bright, pretty and fun so I couldn'tpass it up. The design I chose for the laptop sleeve is Chez Moi from Moda also. The colors don't show well here but better in the next photo. There are SO many pretty fabrics out right now that is so hard to make choices.

Sorry if this isn't so much of a surprise now E! I hope it fits the new laptop, but if it doesn't I'll try again. There are several changes I would make on a second one anyway, but overall I think it's not too bad. I may make one for myself too. Maybe J, B, J and N will want one now!

It was kind of fun to use some of the decorative stitches that I have on my sewing machine. I haven't really taken the time to experiment with alot of the features that my Designer II has.

I experimented first by making a little bag to hold my little Kodak.

Here's the finished product! It was a fun - just hope it fits. I'll be getting this off to her in the mail on Tuesday (President's Day tomorrow, right?) For the rest of you, I'll let you know if it works for the MacBook.

On a totally different note. We've been following a story in the local news lately about the son of some friends of ours. You can read the story here. Eric is a Iraqi War veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and has been missing for about two weeks now. I spoke to his mother today. They still have few clues to his location but searching continues in Florida where he was last seen. As parents, our hearts go out to his family. There is little that we can do but send our prayers their way. Maybe you can add yours tonight as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Valentine For You

Up, Up and Away to Valentine's Day!
It is so much easier to to snap a photo of these gigantic ballons at the grocery store than to actually bring one home !
We finally got some winter weather - but in the form of a thin layer of ice which was almost too much for this poor tree in our backyard. But it popped backup this afternoon when the sun came out. Talk about popping up - look at grandpuppy Leo's ears! He's losing his puppy ears and getting grown up German Shepherd features. I spent some time in the kitchen this afternoon so I could leave you with a valentine. So for those of you that I didn't get a card off to - this is it. But the only catch is you have to come help me eat them. Probably not the best choice for the healthy eating plan so what I don't give away will go in the freezer, maybe:)
Happy Valentine's Day !

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Music and Flowers

I found them! More white tulips - thanks to Whole Foods! I thought I might have to settle for pink ones, but there they were, the last white ones in the flower bucket. They have such pretty flowers there. I wish there was a Whole Foods closer to us but its probably better on the check book to be a half hour away. We always seem to come home with something interesting from the deli, meat or cheese counter. The fresh produce is always so pretty too. Saturday was a pretty nice day with temps in the low 50's so Dennis drove the Harley over for it's first service appointment. It won't be ready until later this week so hope he won't have too much separation anxiety! I followed him in the car and snapped this photo with my iphone. Now you can say you've been on the road(again) with Janet! I'm pretty sure there's not a law against photography while driving but it's probably up there with texting while driving!
I've been working on the 07 BOM quilt. I've made pretty good progress on the final assembly of the blocks. I just need to add the border strips then cut the backing and decide how to quilt it. I'm considering taking it to the same longarm quilter that finished the Christmas package quilt for me (see the post on December 16). The fabric at the bottom of the photo is what the borders will be cut from. It will end up being a full size quilt, I hope! I had intended on starting on the new Bunny wallhanging/table topper today, but all of these pieces spread out on the floor needed some attention first. I already have too many UFO's (unfinished objects) laying around, best at least try to get this one out of the way.

While sewing I've been watching the Grammy awards. I'm ready to go to itunes now and buy some new music. I think they did a nice job of showcasing many different kinds of music tonight. It's great to hear some classical, jazz and gospel music mixed in with the rap, rock and country. You can see the list of nominees and winners here. Valentine's Day this week - don't forget! I need to get some cards tomorrrow and get them in the mail. There' a forecast of snow and ice for Monday and Tuesday morning. But it shouldn't be bad enough to keep me from driving over to aerobics in the morning.

I'll leave you tonight with an early Valentine! These beautiful chocolate covered strawberries were in the bakery counter at Whole Foods. I couldn't resist pulling out my iphone to capture a photo to share with you all. This is the least fattening kind of Valentine!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Go Back to Bed! (the flower bed that is!)

Don't you just want to yell, "NO, NO it's too early. Go back to bed!" I didn't really think that it had been warm enough to get these red tulips to burst through the dirt, but I guess even though it has been so dreary and wet, they just think it's time. I hope they survive the inevitable hard freeze that we'll surely have before spring arrives.

Remember my white tulips from last week? I'm in search for more, but no luck yet. I'm sure I got them at Kroger but today when I checked, they said they wouldn't be getting tulips for a couple weeks yet. Go figure. I'd even settle for nice quality silk white tulips, but no luck with that either. Oh well. I bet Whole Foods would have them. Maybe I can stop there tomorrow when I pick up D after he drops off the Harley for an oil change and service.

The mail lady brought good stuff today! I ordered this cute quilted wallhanging after I saw it on Red Geranium Cottage. It actually came from a shop called Cozy Cottage Fabrics. (M in California, this may actually be close to you) They've got some cute patterns and kits and ship super fast. Sorry my photo didn't turn out very good but if you hit the link above you can see what it's supposed to look like when I get it done. I'm working on the block of the month quilt right now, but I may have to put it on hold for a bit while I get busy on this. Easter will be here before we know it. Suppose that's why the tulips are early?

We just returned from dinner out with friends at one of our favorite restaurants. It's always fun to share a new place with someone. It was Havana Rumba tonight. I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did. Dennis had the Masas de Puerco (a pork dish) and I had a special that was basically just a seafood skewer with saffron rice and fried plantains. Both were wonderful as everything we've every had there has been. We finished up with cafe con leche and G and I shared a dessert of flourless chocolate cake with a macaroon topping and coconut ice cream. Yum! Of course I forgot to take pictures until we were almost done with dessert. Maybe this photo doesn't look as appetizing as it actually tasted. Yes, we left the whole plan of eating healthy at home tonight!

That's all for tonight! Check back again soon.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Weekend at the Homestead

I treated myself to flowers this week. I think white tulips are going to be my new favorite flower for this spring.
It has been a pretty nice weekend here in our neck of the woods. Although temps have been in the low fifties yesterday and today, we've barely been outside of the house. D has been working on the kitchen project, in between he's been online "researching" possible modifications to the motorcycle. We did actually get out and take a short bike ride (no photos) today. I needed a few things from the grocery, so we expanded a two mile trip into a twenty mile trip. We came home with what I needed for homemade pizza. It turned out pretty good in spite of the whole wheat pizza crust.

We are sitting here in front of the television watching the Superbowl. (Don't you just love HD!)Though we don't really have a favorite this year, it might be nice to see Peyton's little brother end Tom Brady's winning streak. Doubt that will happen but in the meantime I've been trying to determine my favorite commercial this year. So far, I like the Sobe Life Water ad with the lizards dancing to Thriller. There was another water ad too, at least I think it was for a vitamin water, with Shaq riding a race horse that was pretty funny. Sometimes the commercials are entertaining, but then you can't even remember what the ad was for. Maybe the water ads are the new beer ads this year.

While D has been in the workshop, I've been at the sewing machine. I've about got the rag quilt done. Just need to snip the exposed seams and fluff it in the dryer for a few minutes. I'm sure that's going to make quite a mess. When B made hers, she said it really made a lot of fuzzies. Beamer was in a curious mood today as I was trying to get a shot of it.

Avoiding the procrastination fever, I also completed my Block of the Month. I'm not sure what the name of this pattern is. I wish they would put the names on them for us junior quilters. I suppose I could look it up on one of the many quilt blogs I've started reading. By the way, did you know that February is Quilting Month? I found the quilt month widget(?) on Sew Mama Sew blog. There is lots of information and links to tutorials on her site.
Here's some of what D worked on today. As usual, Beamer had to check it out too. Can you guess what these objects are?
(They are faceframes)

Sort of an uneventful weekend here at the homestead. But we (or at least D) did accomplish a few things toward the progress of the "project". The football game is over and congratulations to the Giants! I bet Mr. and Mrs. Manning are darn proud of their boys!

Tomorrow I'm going to drag myself back to the new cardio class that I tried last week at Total Fitness followed by my Pilates reformer class with Kyla. That will probably be about all I'll accomplish as I'll be wiped out after that. I'm in the mood for a shopping trip across the river to my favorite quilt shop and Macy's. E saw a quilted sleeve for a laptop that she'd like for me to try to replicate. Guess her new Mac is getting cold up north! I'll save that trip for another day I suppose. Book club was moved to this Thursday so I have that to look forward to. Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles was our book for last month. Right now I'm reading a book that sister K loaned to me. It is The Pulpwood Queen's Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life by Kathy L. Patrick. The link actually for the Pulpwood Queen's Book Club website. The author attended the same university that I did in Kansas, tho I don't think our paths ever crossed. She tells about her beauty shop/book store and the outrageous book club that she founded. It could be a good reference for our little book club because she has lists and lists of interesting book selections. I think they'd would enjoy reading it too.

That's all for tonight folks! Have a good week.