Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!


Wishing you all a wonderful 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New furniture

We have been talking about getting a new sofa for a while now. We have a few good reasons for doing this:
  • We now have Kate's old futon in our TV room...not very comfortable for sitting on for any length of time. It does function as a double bed, but again, not very comfortable.
  • Our old sofa(bed) in the living room is still in pretty good shape despite being at least 15 years old, but the burgundy/navy/forest green plaid upholstery is very 90's. It is a Berne, well constructed and we did pay a good amount for it. We could just have it reupholstered (which we may well do), but we would like to put it in the TV room (which is really a bedroom) so when we have more guests than the guest room can accommodate (which does happen) they can have some privacy.
  • If we put it in the TV room, we will have a more comfortable place to watch our weekly one hour of TV and will be able to update our 90's looking living room.
I have seen several ads in the newspaper for The Amish Craftsman. I love craftsman style...I am always oohing and aahing over the latest edition of American Bungalow. If I could have any house I wanted, it would probably be a craftsman style bungalow. We have a few vintage craftsman pieces, and almost all of our other furniture is oak. And after almost 18 years of marriage I know Mike well enough to know that if I get him to go and look at something, we are probably going to buy something. This is what we bought.
It will be crafted by an Amish furniture builder from Indiana or Ohio and delivered to us in 2-4 months. And this is the leather upholstery.

We decided on leather and I think that this is the color we chose...not brown, not burgundy...something in between that will hopefully go with the rest of the room, although I do foresee a new rug in the future. It was rather costly, but I do feel good about supporting domestic craftsmen who use domestic products. Now all we have to do is get the old sofa bed into the TV room...hopefully it will fit!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A little bit of Christmas...

We got our second meat delivery last Sunday. I decided that it would be a good idea to date the packages, since some are duplicates from last month that we haven't used yet. I think there may be a meatloaf in our foreseeable future, what with ground beef and pork and all. We also have a package of veal liver. I don't remember the last time I cooked liver, but I think it involves bacon and onions. This is what we received:
NY strip 8 oz.
Pork shoulder roast 2#
Whole chicken 2#
Ground beef 2#
Pork cutlet 8 oz.
Bratwurst 1½ #
Pork sausage 1#
Ground pork 1#
Boneless pork chop 8 oz.
Hot dogs 8 oz.
Veal liver 1#

Mike and I opened our presents on Christmas Eve, because we left Christmas morning to drive up to Mansfield to spend the holiday with my family. My stepsons came as well, which was great, but I was really sad not to be with Kate and Kyle. I'm so glad I had last week with them, even if being gone the week before Christmas put me way behind schedule.

Purrkins wanted to help with the opening of gifts.

Although I should have known that he had an ulterior motive...

After Mike went to bed, I finished binding this quilt, which obviously did make it back from the quilter's. I gave it to my sister for Christmas. Mike had drawn her name, but we all know how that works! (I recommend clicking on the picture for a close-up :-)

Happy Christmas to all...

...and to all a good night!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I <3 the internet!

Well, of course, we all do, but I just wanted to share with you the most recent reason for my love affair with cyberspace. For the last 18 years we have sent out Christmas cards with a family photo taken during the previous year. It is fun to look back at them and see how the kids have changed over the years (Mike and I still look the same, of course :-). Last year we used this one from Kate and Kyle's wedding. This year, unfortunately, there was no picture to use. The only time during the year that we were all together was for my dad's memorial service, and somehow it never occurred to me to get a photo then. And yes, they are all grown and have lives of their own, so I guess I could have just used a photo of Mike and me and maybe the cats, but that just seems kind of weird. This was my solution. I uploaded some photos taken throughout the year to Flickr. Then when I got to Minneapolis earlier this week, we took a picture of Kate and Kyle and me (and their cats). Kate, a semi-professional photographer, Photoshopped them into a collage for me, which I then uploaded to Walgreen's. I am picking up prints tonight from my local Walgreen's in Bellaire, after I fly back to Houston this afternooon. The internet is truly a wonderous thing!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Vintage Christmas

Just wanted to share some vintage Christmas items we have. This Santa planter belonged to Mike's mother.
As did this kind of scary looking wind-up Santa.
This nativity scene is from my childhood, purchased at the "dime store" (remember those?) We were so poor we could only afford one wise man. I seem to recall a shepherd, but don't know what became of him.

This is a wreath I made of old glass ornaments, Shiny Brites and others. The rubber reindeer is from my first Christmas in 1951. The "elf on the shelf" figure was given to me by my friend belonged to her mother-in-law.


This crewel embroidery was done by Mike's mother...a lot of work for something that is just displayed for one month out of the year, but I do treasure it.


I love all these old things from Christmases past. The memories are what make this time of year so special.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Too busy to blog...again

Gosh, I don't even know what happened to November and here we are two weeks from Christmas. I'd like to say that I have lots in the works to give as gifts, but that's just not the case. I have a couple of small (machine) embroidery items in mind and I am holding out hope that my last quilt will come back from the quilter, but other than that, no Christmas projects. Today is my mother's birthday and I did make this jacket for her. It has been a long time in the making. A few years ago her cousin was taking a trip to China and asked her what she would like him to bring her. She, being a long time seamstess (remember the doll clothes she made?), said "Oh, maybe some silk." So he obliged and brought her this lovely silk brocade, which she then asked me to make into a jacket for her. I used to do a lot of garment construction, but hadn't done any for a long time. I told her that I wanted to make a muslin first before cutting into this gorgeous silk, just to make sure that it fit. Well, to make a long story short, after several illnesses, a huge weight loss, and two muslins, I finally felt confident that I could make a jacket that would fit her. And it does. I finished it Sunday night, she received it today and loves it...says it fits like it was made for her (it was!) This picture doesn't really do it justice...maybe at Christmas I will be able to take a picture of her wearing it and will share it then. I was just happy that I was still able to do a set-in sleeve.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Salty blog

It occurs to me that posting this here will actually reduce my chance of winning the $120 worth of salt,
but hey, it's the Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A little embroidery, a little sewing

Remember those fingertip towels I bought at the quilt festival? I was inspired by this one that All About Blanks had made up.


I had bought this Laurel Burch Christmas fabric thinking that I would use it in a table runner of some sort, maybe like the Susan Branch one I made for my friend Nancy's birthday last year.


But the towel idea seemed so much simpler, so I hooked up the embroidery module and started it up.


I made these two for my mom...


And while I was at it I made these two as well. I am giving them as Thanksgiving presents...if I wait till Christmas to give them away, it will be too late to use them!


Sunday, November 23, 2008


I have been fascinated by the concept of eating locally ever since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Obviously, living in city, we are not able to raise our own food. Heck, I can't even grow tomatoes successfully! We shop a lot at Whole Foods and at the Bayou City Farmers' Market when we can. After reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, I really started thinking twice about buying red meat. We don't eat much beef or pork, usually only a couple times a week, but after reading about CAFOs, I didn't want to eat any at all. Free range chickens are fairly easy to come by, and we do eat a lot of fish (the local version being gulf shrimp), but getting grass fed pastured beef and pork is a challenge. There are a few vendors at the farmers' market, but not a huge selection. And there is open season on wild pigs in Texas, but I don't think that I am ready to take up hunting quite yet. After a little web searching, I found Jolie Vue Farms and discovered that they have a monthly home delivery program, (and you all know how much I love having things delivered :-) We signed up for it, and look who came today.


Our monthly supply of meat arrived in this cooler...


Purrkins was interested to see if they included any kitty treats...


This is what was in our initial delivery:
Boneless pork chop 8 oz.
Pork porterhouse 14 oz.
Beef sirloin tip roast 2 #
Pork spare ribs 2#
Bacon 8 oz.
Ground pork 1#
Pork cutlets 1#
Ground beef 3#
Pork shoulder roast 2½ #
Whole chicken 3#
Italian sausage ¾ #
Smoked ham hocks 1#

A lot more pork than we normally eat, but it will be interesting to decide what to do with it all.


And they also included this cookbook, with recipes and tips on cooking grass fed meat.


I am excited to be able to make this change in our lifestyle...eating healthier food, supporting the people who produce it and reducing our carbon footprint in the process.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This and that

Here is mystery block I said, not fabrics I would have ever chosen. I guess they go with the others. It will be interesting to see what future months bring, and how they will all be tied together.

Mystery BOM #3

I FINALLY finished this scarf. I don't know why, but I just can't bring myself to knit in the summer, even with the A/C on. Now that it has cooled off a bit, I managed to get it done. I may get to wear it next month when I go up to MSP to visit my daughter, and then will just give it to her.

Soy yarn scarf

Mike bought me a new amaryllis bulb (and even planted it for me :-) It is called Red Lion and will be a solid red, unlike last year's. We still need to get some paperwhites.

This has already shot up several more inches.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bucky sighting

A week ago today we were in Milwaukee, having a wine flight at a new wine bar, Thief Wine, in the Milwaukee Public Market. We were pleased to find this place in a city more well known for its corner taverns.


Mike had Regions on the Rise


And I had Chardonnay Three Ways


When we left realized that if we had gone into the bar across the street we probably could have seen the Wisconsin-Indiana game. Just a hunch...


Amazing how a large inflatable animal can look so mean!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fall color

We were in Milwaukee last weekend for the dedication of the new Clinical Cancer Center at Froedtert Hospital, where Mike worked when he was at MCW. He was pleased to be invited to speak at the 32nd Annual Juan del Regato Gold Medal Lecture & Symposium. I was thrilled to be back in the midwest in time to see some fall color.

I received the latest fabrics for my mystery block of the month from Cabbage Rose Quilting. I must say, I like the colors better than the last two, but can't imagine how they will all look together.
I made this from the Hopscotch pattern from Beach Garden Quilts, and it has been sent off to the quilter (but with no guarantee that it will be done by Christmas). Just keeping my fingers crossed.

Speaking of the Christmas season, has any one else noticed that it keeps getting earlier every year? I was at the Galleria today, and there were kids getting their pictures taken with Santa Claus! I didn't think he showed up till after Thanksgiving...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quilt show goodies

As promised, here are some things I bought at the Quilt Festival. Actually, I didn't buy all of them there, some I had already and just bought coordinating charm packs, backing etc. These I bought at the Cabbage Rose Quilting booth. I love their shop in Fort Worth.

I hadn't seen this before, but fell in love with it.

This pillowcase kit uses the new ME line, Recipe for Friendship.

And Merry and Bright by Sandy Gervais uses the same colors as her Christmas fabric from last year. I love the kind of late 50s-early 60s retro feel they have.

And I bought this cute pattern, which uses one charm pack and one jelly roll, from the really nice ladies at Beach Garden Quilts. I am using the Isn't Christmas Jolly fabric to make it (which is what they have used in this picture, but I am using the black fabrics for the sashing and borders, so it will look considerably different).

These I bought from All About Blanks, one of my favorite booths at the Quilt Festival. (It's where I bought the shirts that I embroidered for my mom). I will use the lavender in some little organdy bags for sachets.

And I thought I would use the fingertip towels to make something like this, using Laurel Burch fabric and the LB embroidery card I recently purchased.

These are reproduction Texas state handkerchiefs from Tea Time Quilting, a local shop I've not been to yet.

And the freebie pattern for making them into a quilt...

Yes, I know, lots of I need to start spending more time at the sewing machine than at the computer!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

At least I live in a blue county

I remember looking at this map in 2004 and the only blue in Texas other than "the (Rio Grande) valley" was Travis County where Austin is located. I'm told that this is the first time Harris County has gone to the Democratic presidential candidate since LBJ (that was 1964, for those of you who are too young to remember). I see that Dallas County is blue, too. Hope springs eternal! I am also especially happy to see that Florida and Ohio went for Obama....little consolation for the debacles there in 2000 and 2004, but a moral victory knowing that all the votes were counted this time around.

precinct map

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Time flies, whether you're having fun or not!

Actually, I have been having fun, at least for the most part, aside from a couple of days from hell at work. But I won't bore you with the details of how I love what I do but hate my job because of the lack of effective management. I can't believe we are into November already. I guess I lived in Wisconsin so long that I need the seasonal weather cues. Somehow 80ยบ just doesn't say fall to me.

I had a great time at the International Quilt Festival. A few friends came into town to join me. Here is my friend Nancy with the Charm Party Tote she made using the new Mary Engelbreit Recipe for Friendship fabric from Moda. It really turned out cute!

After that I was really itching to sew. I did buy a few things at the show, which I'll show you later. What I decided to sew was the Cabbage Rose Quilting Kaffe Fassett & Friends Mystery BOM block kits I had. I hadn't really looked at them and was kind of put off by the fabrics...not anything I would have ever chosen (orange and purple?)

These remind me of some old slipcovers my grandmother had, and not in a good way.

But I decide to go ahead with them anyway since I have made the investment. It will be interesting to see what future months hold. Purrkins seemed to like the choices and decided that he needed to "help" me.

And he definitely approved of the finished blocks...