Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Excedrin headache #35 Your in-laws are coming for dinner

I am on my way up to MSP to visit my daughter and son-in-law and to see the progress they have made on their "new" 108 year old house. This is what it looked like when they first bought it and when I was up to see them in May. I hope to have some "after" pictures when I get back.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kreativ Blogger Award

Yesterday Andrea let me know she'd given me the Kreativ Blogger Award. Thank you! There are so many people out there who are way more creative than I am, but I am honored and will play along. Sort of an mutual admiration society I think :-)

Here are the rules:

1 The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2 Put a link to the person you got the award from.
3 Nominate 5 blogs.
4 Put links to the blogs.
5 Leave a message for your nominees.

My nominees are:
Amy Angry Chicken
Ayumi Pink Penguin
Jennifer Mama Urchin
Jenny Allsorts
Pam Pam Kitty Morning

Like I said, way more creative than me...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Yet another vintage pattern

I ran across this pattern from 1982 (is that vintage?) My mother made it for my daughter's first birthday. I have never done any smocking, but might be tempted if I ever have a granddaughter. My mother used to do lots of handwork (knitting, embroidery, smocking, etc.) which could be why I am drawn to such things. She never did teach me how to darn socks, though.

Here is a picture of Kate in the dress. She's still that cute :-)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's a cat's life

It's really hard work trying to find a pool of sunshine, especially when Mom keeps the blinds drawn to keep the house cool.

But that's okay...when I do find one, it's the perfect place for a catnap.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Houston, we have a problem

It's called the weather. We have been here 6 years this month, and for the most part we like everything about the city except the weather. This is the indoor/outdoor thermometer at 8:10 yesterday morning. I can't figure out why the little face is smiling. I guess because it's only outside that it's 81º and 80% humidity. What bothers me the most is that we are only two months into summer, with at least three months to go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Birthday goodies

I hinted, well more than hinted, that I wanted a new iPhone for my birthday, the day after it was released. I must give Mike credit for even trying to get me one. He went to the Apple Store in the Galleria, but said that the wait in line was 4 hours. The next day he went to an AT&T store where they had 16 phones for the 25+ people in line. I guess I will be buying my own when all the hype dies down. He did bring me these gorgeous star gazer lilies, one of my favorites.

And while he was at the Galleria he bought me some more of my new dishes, so I now have 8 dinner plates, 8 salad plates and 6 pasta/soup bowls. I thought it would be easier to take a picture of them on the floor. The cats were interested, wondering why there were empty dishes on the floor.

Marjorie, my dear friend of 40+ years, sent me these delights. Her very talented husband Peter made the ladybug house. It is just too cute! I told her that I can't actually use it, because the sun down here would fade the paint, but I am going to find a shady spot for it on my screen porch. And look at those cherry boots...I can't wait for it to rain!

She is very artistic and talented as well. She made these adorable earrings for me.

No iPhone, but lots of other treasures!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Birthday dinner and breakfast the next morning

My birthday was yesterday and we went for the first time to DaMarco. We had heard good things about it and our foodie daughter had told us that is was listed in Gourmet's America's Top 50 Restaurants (the only other two on the list we have eaten at are Zuni Cafe and Sanford). The food and service were both great. The menu has changed a bit from the one on their website. I had branzino carpaccio with pine nuts and seared foie gras, gnocchi with wild boar sausage and fava beans, the veal chop and a cheese course. Mike had a yellow beefsteak, arugula, goat cheese and salami salad, the papardelle with rabbit, roasted swordfish and panna cotta. I had thought about taking my camera, as Kate had requested pictures, but I decided that I would just enjoy my dinner. (I later regretted not having my camera when we were leaving and outside was parked a humongous Rolls-Royce with a baby carseat in the back...that I would have taken a picture of!) I did find this picture of the fabulous wine we had with dinner, though.

We were so full last night, even with bringing home half of our secondi, that I didn't think I would ever be hungry again. But around 10 this morning we were both ready for breakfast. I remember having seen this recipe in the new Bon Appetit.
We had all the ingredients (except the brioche bread, so I substituted some sourdough I had in the freezer), and it was delicious! I was actually going to take my own picture, but had inadvertently left my camera on and the battery was dead as a doornail, so I stole this one from the Bon Appetit website. Mine looked pretty much like this, except greener because I used all of the pistou. We will definitely make this again.

Mike is off to DC for a few days, so I am off to leftovers for dinner...his swordfish as a primi and my veal shank as a secondi.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I <3 Costco

I took my quilt top and back out to Quilt 'n Sew today to have it long-armed quilted. Diane did such a nice job on Kate and Kyle's wedding quilt and I wanted to get this one done by her as well. She said it should be done by the end of August. I will share pictures when I get it back.

I decided to stop at Costco on my way home. I rarely go there because it is in a really inconvenient location. They are building a new once about 3.5 miles from us...I can't wait till it opens in September! My cool find today was this great immersion blender with a detachable blade for $30! I have an old Braun one that works fine, but I never feel like I get it really clean. This one has a blade you can take of and throw in the dishwasher. It also has a little chopper bowl (like a mini food processor) the top of which you attach the motor to...very slick.

Other great buys...2# of organic hummus for $6, 1# of organic spring mix for $4, fresh wild-caught sockeye salmon for $9 a pound, 750 of ibuprofen for $6.45, 300 generic Zyrtec for $14.67 and premium gas for $4.14, and oh yeah, Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay 2006 for $8.69.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My latest project, and a few hints for Heloise

First a few tips from my own personal experience. When I was working on Kate's wedding quilt I talked about tilting your sewing machine so that you can look down on your work without leaning over it. There are some expensive devices out there that accomplish this, but a couple of rubber doorstops from Lowe's work just as well.

I did garment construction for close to 40 years before I started quilting. This is a little trick I have never seen anyone use in any of the quilting classes I have taken, but it works very well to get your seams to lay flat when pressing. In this block I have seams going both ways. (Don't forget to click on the photo to see the detail up close.)

So in the middle I clipped the seam allowance to the seam and was able to press half the seam one way and half the other way. It makes for a much sharper pressing.

This was such a fun pattern, and quick to do, especially using the jelly roll. These are my finished blocks.

And this is the finished quilt top! The weather was so nasty today...90º and rainy...that I just stayed inside and sewed.

Now I am anxious to get it quilted . I hope to take it out to the quilt shop tomorrow. I didn't buy fabric for the backing, but I think I will just use this older Mary Engelbreit fabric from my stash. It doesn't match exactly, but well enough for the backing, I think.
Graycie was comfy sleeping on this work-in-progress, another ME quilt that is all sandwiched and pinned. I am going to machine quilt this one myself, soon!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fun in Fort Worth

We went up to Mansfield for the 4th to visit my mom and brother and his girls. I have a birthday coming up and my mom insisted that I open my present. She says that I am hard to buy for and was so thrilled that she found something I really wanted. I guess my sister must have told her. Aren't they pretty?

On Saturday we went to the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth to see The Impressionsists from the Art Institute of Chicago...a fabulous exhibit! Afterwards, I took my mom down the street to Cabbage Rose Quilt Shop. It is a great shop in an old grocery store, with tin ceilings and wooden screen doors. They were having a sale, 10% off everything! I picked up the new Sandy Gervais Merry & Bright panel

and jelly roll. They are the same colors as her Holly Jolly from last year.
And of course I had to get the new Mary Engelbreit Isn't Christmas Jolly? panel

and the jelly roll too.

Now off to work on my latest project.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

200 days, but who's counting?

I AM!!! I haven't gotten political here for a while, but sometimes I just can't help myself. Let's see...we're in an unwinnable war in Iraq, things are heating up in Afghanistan (where we never finished what we started), the Dow in is a bear market, global warming (the existence of which the current occupant denied until about a year ago) is wreaking havoc on the weather, gas is over $4 a gallon, the dollar is at an all time low against the euro, the national debt is $9 TRILLION, there is a major drug war taking place just across our border. Could this country be in any worse shape? How can people continue to defend this man?

(Sorry about the run-on sentence...I tend to rant about this subject, just ask my husband.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My sister made me do it!

I had promised myself that I wouldn't start a new project until I finished something that I had already started. But last week when my sister was here for a short visit, she mentioned that she was hoping to learn how to quilt this summer. Well, I had this jelly roll...

And this pattern...

And I thought it would just be easier to show her, so I have yet another project started! Pics of work in progress soon!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My name is Pam and I am a dishaholic

I don't know why, but I LOVE dishes. I just do, always have, always will. And I don't want to stop, so forget about that 12 step thing. At present I have 6+ sets. This is the Fiestaware we use everyday,

as well as frequently for entertaining.

I have a complete set of Mary Engelbreit's Afternoon Tea that I have never used, but I hope to rectify that when all my ME pals come to visit this fall for the quilt festival.

My grandmother had this Johnson Brothers Apple Harvest in the 60s. I inherited the last remaining vegetable bowl she had, and have added enough pieces from eBay to serve 6-10.

Same story here...these were the dishes we had in the 50s, before my mother got Poppytrail Harvest Provincial (my brother has those). They are Buck's County by Royal of Sebring, Ohio. My mother gave me her last remaining piece, a chop plate, several years ago. I was good with that for a while, but then started looking on eBay. I now have more pieces of this than she ever had!

We also have Spode Christmas Tree. Mike had four plates and mugs and a tidbit tray from his mother, which we have added to over the years.

Our "good china" is Wedgwood Wild Strawberry. Back when the kids were still at home we used to use it fairly often for special occasions and holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving. Now we go to my brother's for Easter and Thanksgiving and I only use it occasionally. The last time was Valentine's Day.

When my sister was here last week (more about that later), we were at Macy's and I found this new Martha Stewart Wedgwood Conservatory Collection stoneware. It has mix and match blue and brown transferware patterns am absolutely in love with it! I tried to download a picture, but this was the best I could do. If you follow the link there are lots more pictures and you can see how gorgeous it is! It would be perfect for those times when the Fiesta is just too casual and the Wild Strawberry is too formal, don't you think?