Thursday, February 28, 2008

This is SO cool!

On Amy's blog she posted a link to the Fontifier where for $9 you can get your handwriting made into a font for your computer. I have wanted to do this forever...I remember seeing an ad years ago in an airline magazine for a place that did this, but it was like $150. This is only NINE dollars and only takes couple minutes. You print out a template and fill it out like this:

Then you scan it into your computer and upload like you would any picture, and presto they make you a cool is that? I am such a nerd....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Okay, so it's not really knitted...

...but it's still CUTE! If you missed the Martha Stewart segment on knitted marzipan yesterday, Lauren Ulm has it on her blog. Jackie, Amber will like's vegan!

Mystery project

I decided a bit late in the game that I wanted to make a quilt to give to my brother for his 5oth birthday, which is today. (So if you do read this, Happy Birthday, Jeff!) My initial thought was to make this one I saw at the Quilt Festival. It is made from April Cornell charm packs, which I had conveniently bought at the Quilt Festival.

But I thought that it might be too girly and decided to make a Texas themed quilt. He's not a native Texan, but has been here for almost 40 years, and I thought it would go well with his decor...who else do you know that has had a longhorn skull hanging over their mantel? I used the Yellow Brick Road pattern, which conveniently I also had...imagine that! With the help of the friendly ladies at Quilt 'n Sew in Katy, I picked out these fabrics. The ones on the left I used for the blocks, the ones on the right for the border and backing.

Graycie helped me with the sandwiching.

And while Purrkins normally wouldn't THINK of getting on the dining room table, he couldn't resist a nap on a folded up quilt, even though it didn't have a binding yet.

Time constraints what they were, I just did a simple diagonal machine quilting stitch.

This is what the back looks like.

And the heartfelt sentiment...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Spring cleaning...

...takes on a whole new meaning when you live on the gulf coast. When we moved down here, no one told us that every few years you have to have your house washed! The heat and high humidity result in a blackish-green moldy mildew growing on everything. I know it sounds is! So last week we had the house washed. It was a good opportunity to clean and rearrange the screen porch. When we bought this house, this was just a cement patio. Here is what it looked like then (and what the yard looked like before the fence and landscaping).

One of the best things we have done was to screen it in and have the floor tiled.

I took everything out and when the pressure washing was done, I washed and sealed the floor, vacuumed down the wicker furniture, ran the crockery through the dishwasher, washed the rugs and cushions.
This is what it looks like is one of my favorite spaces right now, in early spring when the weather pleasant enough to be outside.

The kitties like it, too :-)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Knitted marzipan?

Apparently Monday on The Martha Stewart Show is going to be "homemade knitwear day." The audience will be full of knitters. And she is going to make this cake that is decorated with knitted marzipan...a little over the top even for Martha, but I'm not going to miss it! Look at those cute cupcakes with little marzipan scarves...

Valentine's dinner redux

I took these pictures of our Valentine's Day dinner, intending to share them much sooner than this, but just now got around to uploading them. I made lamb shanks from Central Market using a recipe from Marcella Says...

Garlic and sundried tomatoes mis en place...

Brussels sprouts using our favorite recipe from our favorite Milwaukee restaurant...this will win over even the most confirmed brussels sprouts haters.

Ristorante Bartolotta Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

1 ½ pounds brussels sprouts
¼ cup (2 ounces) extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
Generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400ยบ.

Trim bottom stems of brussels sprouts, then cut in half. Heat large oven-proof saute' pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and butter to pan. When butter starts bubbling, add brussels sprouts; season with salt and pepper. Saute' until cut sides turn golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes, tossing frequently. Do not overcook or brussels sprouts will burn.

Transfer to oven. Bake 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Makes 4 servings.

Here are the final products, served with saffron risotto.

Brownie hearts with fresh raspberries and truffles for dessert.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Purrkins' 15 minutes of fame

On Fridays the Houston Chronicle has a Pets Page in the Star section, along with the comics, Dear Abby, Sudoku, etc. A week ago last Friday there was some lame picture of a dog sleeping in a cat bed. Remembering this photo of Purrkins, I thought "I can do better than that" and emailed it to them. We were getting ready to leave for work on Friday morning when Mike says, "I can't believe this!" and shows me this:
He said something about me having too much time on hands. I said something about at least I wasn't on eBay. BTW, my latest quilt project is coming along nicely and should be off to its recipient by the end of the week. Then I promise to post pictures.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentime's Day

That's what Mike calls it (which drives Kate and me both crazy!) He came home with these last night. I said, "Valentine's Day isn't until tomorrow." He said, "Then don't look at them until tomorrow." I said, "There are more than a dozen. There are a dozen and a half, eighteen, one for each year we have been together. How sweet!" He said, "Uh, right!" It was very sweet of him to bring them home last night so I can enjoy them all day today, since I am working tomorrow and Saturday.

I went to the thrift shop yesterday (I only go on Wednesdays, when their clothes are 50% off :-) I found a few cute things. I have posted some on Thrift Thursday, but here are a couple more:
An April Cornell throw pillow sham for for $2!
And these two crocheted cuties for $1.25.
I thought that they were both pot holders like the ones I have hanging my laundry/sewing/craft(crap) room.

But the one on the right is actually a jar lid cute is that?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More chocolate, and some citrus

These are to die for! They are just like the ones from Whole, made in France, melt in you mouth delicious. And yes, I did take this picture. The sweet little heart shaped table was made by my dad, probably 20 years ago. It sits next to my front door, usually with a basket full of mail on it, just waiting for Valentine's Day to roll around and be noticed.
Curiosity finally got the best of me and I picked one of my dwarf calamondins. You can see that I wasn't kidding about their diminutive size.
Then I peeled it...
And I shared it with Mike :-) They initially have a very tart flavor, but also have a lingering sweetness. What surprised me is that two of the six segments contained full sized seeds! Wouldn't these be a cute garnish on a cupcake or a little custard filled tart?

The weekend before last we transplanted my Meyer lemon tree from its pot (where it had done nothing) into the ground next to the dwarf calamondin. I am very is already covered with blooms. Hopefully this time next year it will be covered with lemons!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Chocolate anyone?

I went to Central Market today, where they are having a big chocolate festival in preparation for Valentine's Day. They had chocolate to sample all over the was heaven! This selection from Brown Paper Chocolates here in Houston was definitely the most unusual.

It is white chocolate described as"Fragrant with Lavender, Pimm's® No.1 and Chervil with a cracked pepper and lavender fleur de sel afterthought." I just described it as delicious!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My apron, again

You may remember seeing the apron I made for an exchange I was in last fall. Well, I had sent the picture to Amy for her Tie One On blog and she included it in the latest group, Polka Dotted Lovelies. I'm so excited! (It's the second one from the left, fifth row down :-)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Garden color

I'm afraid there's not much of it right now, except for green. We haven't had a frost yet, so lots of things are still green, but not much in the way of flowers. My dwarf calamondin orange has several fruit on it, which do give the garden some color. Supposedly they are edible, but mind you, they are only about 1.5" in diameter, so I hardly think it would be worth the effort.
Here is a sad little yellow rose, trying its best before pruning, which in Houston, is traditionally done on Valentine's Day, when the risk of frost is over.
And my cyclamen are doing well...they remind me of little Valetine hearts.
I am working on a new quilting project, but can't show you just yet as it is for someone who might read my blog, though that is doubtful. I will share it with you after I give it to that person. My, aren't I sounding vague and mysterious?