Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Carol Lane-Saber is coming to Houston August 11

The Houston Chapter of the American Sewing Guild is hosting an all-day program with Carol Lane-Saber on Saturday, August 11 from 10AM-4PM. The morning session -- Japanese textiles and a trunk show of her Fairfield Fashion Show garments. After lunch (included in the ticket price!), the afternoon session will be overviews of origami and incorporating it into clothes and quilts, shibori, Nuno fabric and fabric collage. Plus shopping opportunities of fabric and notions!

Ticket price for ASG members is $25, $45 for non-members. Visit the Houston Chapter website or email events@asghouston.org, for more information and space availability. Registration deadline is August 7.

Defense against the chocolate snackfest

These aren't bad, just enough of a defense to prevent further afternoon snack attacks. There's even 1g of fiber, 1g protein...and only 6g of sugar, 14g carbohydrate. Yeah, that 3.5 sat fat isn't anything to write home about, but compare this damage to what a Snickers bar could do instead. Actually half a bag (what was hanging out on the kitchen counter) was enough for me.

Hello Sandwich!

New at Target's Dollar Spot -- Is this Hello Kitty sandwich container the cutest and safest way to protect your sandwich from lunchbox squishes and other mishaps? There's even a bonus smaller square container inside for tiny treats.

Yesterday's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Tom Petty, "Zombie Zoo" 2:57

Full Moon Fever

Yesterday's stats -- 36 minutes, 2.20 miles, 246 calories

Monday, July 30, 2007

Repeatable Winner - McCalls 2205

I'm trying to remember how many times I've made this shirt. It could be 7 or 8, or even more over the years... These shirts get worn and worn out. Here's the link to my review on Patternreview.com from a couple of years ago.

Aren't the JHB palm tree buttons perfect? Click the photo to enlarge and see them better.
L found them and approved the fabric choice at Hancock's a couple years ago. This was the fabric which surfaced during the Big Dig in my sewing room the other day.

Other fabric versions have included the famous Father-Daughter pink fish fabric (with silver fish buttons), chili peppers, hot sauce bottles, fern fronds, Hawaiian postcards and flame-torch holding surfers! T's comment about this one - "it's very green!"

A Houston Institution

I usually don't watch the local morning newscast with tears. Houston Channel 13's Marvin Zindler passed away last night from pancreatic cancer, he was 85 years old. One can't even begin to list all the good he has done for Houston and the world, actually. Check out KTRK's website linked above to remember and honor this remarkable man and his life. The Houston Chronicle also has some good stories to read. Did you know "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" was written about his "assistance" shutting down the Chicken Ranch? Dom DeLuise's character was based on Marvin Zindler. (ZZ Top's "La Grange" is about the Chicken Ranch, too.) We will miss you, Marvin!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mood Lifter

Grab a shovel! You can always tell when I haven't been sewing for awhile and the mood gets dark. Things start piling up on the cutting table, the ironing board, sewing chair, FLOOR!...until I've literally built a barricade. So this morning I started with little things - mending pants, a shirt button - not exactly fun, but it turned on the lights and my sewing machine. Then all the patterns scattered nilly-willy, finally filed away. A lot easier to find when they are where they belong instead of underneath 5 yards of sueded khaki twill (egads! That went on a hanger and in the closet). Finally I put back the bits of fabric used for previous projects in their Tuppermaid boxes. Tah-dah! A cleared room and sewing motivation. I found all kinds of projects I want to make-which for the forest and the trees, couldn't be inspiring me amongst it all.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Burger Bribery

I'm going to try a new recipe tonight...The Black Bean Burgers from the newest issue of Taste of Home (August/September). I prebribed L last night by making rice krispy bars, and this afternoon a tiny cake. Back-up is a ham pasta salad, another L fav, in case the burgers are truly horrible and I need something to eat. They looked and sounded good, though. Whenever TOH has a photo, that's a good sign. I made a turkey tenderloin dish which didn't, and it looked and tasted terrible. Something to keep in mind when you are flipping through the food 'zines.

Update: I liked them, L ended up with the "no thank you helping" (2 bites. Remember that from Girl Scout camp? "Would you like some broccoli?" "No, thank you" PLOP it goes on your plate). Very colorful, too. I used my Cuisinart Griddler and served topped with some salsa and a pinchful of shredded taco cheese. I'll freeze them along with the buns to nuke for a quick lunch. Unfortunately I probably undid all the good stuff by having a good-sized piece of tiny cake later on.

You'll find this recipe on page 41 in the Bonus Card section of the August/September 2007 Taste of Home magazine. Credit Clara Honeyager.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Mavis Staples, "This Little Light of Mine" 3:22
iTunes, We'll Never Turn Back
Today's stats -- 48 minutes, 2.77 miles, 301 calories

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rain Flower Break

In between our daily multiple thunderstorms -- our plumeria bloomed. Also one of the Costco hibiscus (purple!), but couldn't snap a photo because of the soggy backyard.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Head's Up Haute Houston!

Thanks to good blogging reading (a tip of the needle to Erica B), I'll be watching Houston's PBS station KUHT/Channel 8 tonight at 8 PM for the
Secret World of Haute Couture
Margy Kinmonth takes a journey from Paris to New York and California to meet both designers and customers in this much talked about but little explained pocket of the fashion industry. Haute couture's traditional American customers are getting old and dying off now and fewer wealthy young women are taking their place to ensure its survival. She discovers how much has changed and surprisingly how much has stayed the same in this story of decadent decline.
(Watch for Houston's own Becca Cason Thrash!)
7-26-07 Update -- First, no breaks. It's a straight-shot show. I didn't want to miss anything and towards the end was clicking the remote to check, "it is only an hour, right?" Right. Second, the program was great, but the stalker, er-reporter, will get on your last nerve towards the end.

Anniversary Make-Up

If you wore this circa 1977 (egads!), you'll appreciate and want to get Bobbi Brown's limited edition "Stardust Collection" for Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale going on right now. And you can order it online.

The colors are great and flattering, and you'll just look and feel pretty - not like an alien. Admit it, didn't you think Aziza's advertising campaigns of the late 70's were a little creepy? Those big heads and big eyes - definitely "Star Wars" influenced.

Premonition - Stinko!

We only watched about 30 minutes until we foresaw this was not going to get better and sent it back to Netflix.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Project Angel Wings

From today's Houston Chronicle - Needle, Thread and a Touch of Love
You may want to check with your local hospitals and see if they have a program or start one for them as these great ladies did!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Robert Plant, "Burning Down One Side" 3:57
iTunes, Nine Lives
Today's stats - 43 minutes, 2.53 miles, 268 calories

Sunday, July 22, 2007

New Marfy Catalog

I've heard a lot about Marfy patterns, especially the free ones which come with the catalog. I bought the Fall/Winter issue, and I'm glad I did!

The designs remind me a lot of the Neue Mode patterns (and the now defunct monthly Neue Mode magazine), very detailed and fresh.

I really like the skirt on the far right and the cool jacket on the far left. Unlike the ones you order (precut in one size only), the freebies are multisized. I'll dip my toes into the water and give them a try first.

In any case, the free patterns, the inspiration and trends from the 128 pages of colored illustrations will be a creative asset to my sewing room. I'm definitely ordering next year's Spring/Summer catalog!

Costco Find!

The Best of Cooking Light Everyday Favorites. I love this section of their magazine, the recipes are very do-able, for me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Senior-itis 1977

How skinny was I?! Those arms are concave! Six feet tall and 115 pounds. Not even the in-style "muscle" sleeve t-shirt could help.

Happiest days of senior year? Winning a scholarship, the R.T. French Award (yes, the mustard people) and the day I beat the crap out of "J" two months before high school graduation.

No surprise - this height and this weight resulted in teasing, unmercifully. The old advice "don't let them know it bothers you" or "just ignore them" hadn't worked for years of being called "Big Bird" whenever this one group of boys walked by. The ringleader was short (no surprise) and evidently had a Napoleon complex.

One day I walked past them and heard the "caw, caw, Big Bird" for the last time. I turned, raised my books over my head and SLAMMED them down on "J's" head, knocking him to the ground! Height-Momentum-Physics advantage: Me. The other guys took off, leaving their leader in a heap on the floor. I never got into trouble (only his pride was hurt) and they never made a peep to me again.

Latest Sandra Betzina Patterns

Hmmm, a little disappointing. While not drop everything and run to the store, I will add these two to the PDA the next time Jo-Ann's has a Vogue $3.99 sale.

I did giggle when Sharon Sews' blog commented that 2977 reminded her of an elf costume. I really wish I could see it made up in Sandra's fabrics and style, which I'm certain would look better and more inspiring than this photo. It looks a little goth to me in dark fabric and accessories.
I'm sure Vogue 2980 looks better in real life, too. ------->
Pass on the coat 2991. . .

Yesterday's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Electric Light Orchestra, "Don't Bring Me Down" 4:04
All Over The World: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra
Today's stats: 45 minutes, 2.75 miles, 294 calories

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Two Bite Rule

Austin has a Krispy-Kreme on Stassney near I-35! L has good eyes!

How many calories in a bite? Of a hot glazed, a chocolate cream filled (I only ate the center) and the new 7 grain crunch (I ate a couple extra bites - fiber good?).

Tough day, comfort food, a free pass. No one could fault me on this one.

Dear Barnes & Noble

I wish you wouldn't allow unpurchased merchandise into your *Bucks area. Particularly magazines (but also for the record I'm not too wild with the high-priced books lately being pre-read and dogearred either). There were only two issues remaining of a special-issue magazine my daughter wanted to buy. Both copies were in various states of decay - one cover was torn and the corners curled, the other had something spilled on the cover and who knows what lurked inside the pages. Ick. I went to the clerk at checkout and told/showed him, saying I made a special trip here to buy this magazine, but not in this condition. He just said, "OK." No apologies.
I'll let you know if/when/how the poo-bahs at BN corporate respond.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Dixie Chicks, "Lubbock or Leave It" 3:54
iTunes, Taking the Long Way
Today's stats - 42 minutes, 2.54 miles, 268 calories

Monday, July 16, 2007

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Suggested in the July 2007 issue of SHAPE magazine, it does have a good beat, but a little repetitious towards the end --
Liz Phair, "Whip-Smart" 4:17
iTunes, Whip-Smart
Today's stats - 41 minutes, 2.40 miles, 247 calories

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fashions from the Cotton Patch

Fashion Show and Luncheon...
Co-sponsored by the American Sewing Guild and the Texas Cooperative Extension.
Isn't this a cute, cute table arrangement?! The container is an antique dairy can. (No, we didn't get to take them home!)

Here's what was in our goody bag - That little container at the top right is cottonseed oil. One of the door prizes was a gallon of it! Fun cotton fact: One bale of cotton will produce enough oil to cook nearly 6,000 snack-size bags of potato chips.
Our county has over 35,000 acres of Upland cotton, producing 50,000-100,000 bales. It is the #1 crop in Texas!
There was a fashion show, lunch, presentation by the Extension Agent and lots of door prizes, all for $10. For the fashion show, all the entered garments had to be made from cotton. While there were six adults competing in their division, it was really wonderful to see 10 outstanding entries in the 10-13 Youth division. Each received a green participation ribbon, and red, blue and white rosettes were awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. And with all the great prizes--even a grand prize sewing machine for the 10-13's--I bet there will be even more next year! Sewing and cotton are growing in Texas!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Check your local library

I checked out these books from my local library and ended up buying them (on Overstock.com). So much for my resolve to keep my bookcase shelves from crashing with additional book poundage. But my purchasing is also guided by if I Post-It more than 5 pages, I need/must/should have it.

Designer Bead Embroidery - 150 patterns and complete techniques by Kenneth D. King. 2006. The library call number is 746.6 KIN, the ISBN is 1-58923-272-0 I love the stylized alphabet and basic designs which look nothing like. Includes borders, backgrounds, motifs, edging and fringes. There are also beautiful ornate designs, I feel even I can utilize different sections to add my own embellishing touch.

Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Two (for small slow cookers) by Beth Hensberger. 2007. Dewey Decimal System call number 641.561 HEN, ISBN 1-55832-341-4. I already had and loved her other cookbook. I even went to Target to get a 4 quart crockpot (red was on sale) to make the Italian Meat Sauce on page 90, that's how tempting it seemed. Even though it says 3 quart cooker, it pretty well filled the new 4 quart. It made enough for dinner and I froze the remaining to have plenty to defrost and make a lasagna two weeks later! I'm now a two crock girl - Red is now on the counter and Big Guy is stored in the cabinet, awaiting future Taco Soups.

I am surprised with all the good sewing, craft and cookbooks our library is getting, and probably yours, too. Check them out before you buy! Some books I thought I had to have, turned out I didn't. I saved money and another bookcase.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Surprise Secret Ann Taylor Loft 15% off coupon!

Did you know -- If you go to the Ann Taylor Loft.com/giveway Great Escape InStyle Magazine vacation contest, you'll get a 15% off coupon on $75 or more (which also includes free shipping if you are shopping online) when you vote. A fun surprise, nothing is mentioned about it on the flyer or website. But a word of caution, when it says "Vote Now" on the same page it will also say "Print Coupon". Wait! Don't vote yet and go to the next page, print the coupon then and there. Because it is a pop-up page, you can't go back.

And as an added bonus, you can "vote" every 24 hours and earn another 15% off coupon each time! ATL will even send you an email to remind you.

This afternoon I was able to combine their 'take an additional 40% off sale prices' items to a total of $75.19 - ka-ching! I kept $11.28 in my wallet from that total just for dreaming of winning a vacation in Alaska or Hawaii or Europe!

Yesterday's Costco Find

Lightweight single jersey knit, crochet trim and fashionably gathered appropriately so no one will be tempted to ask "when are you due?"! By Calvin Klein - $16.99 In addition to this Brown 2007 shade I'm seeing everywhere this summer and probably fall, it also comes in pink, purple, white and black. Buy it while you can, the table had shoppers digging for their size.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Pet Shop Boys, "Always On My Mind" 3:55

iTunes, Discography: The Complete Singles Collection

Today's stats -43 minutes, 2.51 miles, 262 calories

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The State of Texas - 878.2 miles - Outlet edition

I-35 is outlet drive, albeit also an interstate highway. Usually we go to San Marcos Prime Outlets, when we get our Kreuz BBQ fix. This time, we hit the other end after Wacky Waco and went to the Round Rock Premium Outlets, just north of Austin.

Smaller than San Marcos, but an interesting layout. Instead of parking in the center and shops on the perimeter, it is just the opposite in RR. Mostly the same stores, Coach is at both if your teen or yourself needs their trendy fix. SM has really, really grown (with a gondola!) and you need a car to move around if your desired stores are scattered about. Both have mall-ized store/theme locations, so you aren't going zappy-crazy between your starred stores on your fold-out map.

But lately, L and I have noticed the deals are still there, but best with combo-type sales (For instance, take an additional 20% all red items, coupon postcards, etc. Sigh, Coach back in the day. I still use that totebag.) You have to stumble upon them by happenstance. And when the temperature is 95+, going between stores and hot-hot UAV will make you melt.

Our advice -- Check the websites, sign up for special offers emails, shop in the morning, and wear comfy shoes! (We still think the Gilroy Outlet is #1...And it has an In-n-Out Burger!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The State of Texas - 878.2 Miles - Waco Edition

Waco was definitely the oddest place and probably the reason why Baylor is last in college desireability.

1) Is it a motel, hotel, mohotel, moohtel?!

2) Need an ATM? Good luck. We went to our bank building in downtown Waco, and no ATM machines. Plenty of tellers standing around with nothing to do, though. We ended up going to a Walgreens in Beverly Hills (TX).

3) Dr Pepper Museum - $7 each admission with audio. We were Waco-weary by opening time. Pass, we'll take the photo and go. It is a pretty building, though!

But on the positive side --

The Hampton Inn in Bellmead (just northeast of Waco, along I-35), was the nicest we've ever stayed in. Indoor and outdoor pool, flat panel TV, wet bar, micro, fridge. Business center with 3 computers was accessible by front desk card only -- for security and keeping out kids. Free water bottles in the workout room. Much, much nicer than the Hampton in Plano.

A nice Luby's and Shipley donuts - our hometown/homesick touch, again in Bellmead. The Shipley "Bull's Eye" donut there had an extra dollup of chocolate and sprinkles on top. (No, I did not eat one, it was L's)

Very friendly Walgreen's in Beverly Hills - southwest of Waco, alongI-35. The clerk tried to talk us into the limited edition Elvis Reese Peanut Butter cups, with banana! Sounded too gaggy to me, even she said she hadn't tried them yet.

The State of Texas - 878.2 miles - Collegiate edition

One of the main reasons for the trip was to check out universities in northern Texas. Here's some of the ones we visited (and the range of prices for the pennants)
Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas ($11.98 before discount, because they co-op with Barnes & Noble)
University of Dallas ($12)
Texas Woman's University in Denton ($10.98)
University of North Texas in Denton ($13.99)
Baylor in Waco ($12)
Southwestern University in Georgetown ($8.95)
Isn't that weird about the price differences?! And no way does it correlate to tuition! (sigh)
Without intentionally trying to dis any alumna, these were Mom and Dad's favorites:
SMU, Southwestern, and tied for last place -- UDallas, TWU, UNT, Baylor (dead last)
Her favorites: SMU, UNT, UDallas, Southwestern, TWU, Baylor
Of course, scholarships and the highest bidder will definitely change perspective!

The State of Texas - 878.2 miles - The Simpsons edition

Despite 7-11/Southland Corporation's headquarters in the Dallas area, Houston does not have any! In fact, the closest to us is in Smithville, a little over an hour to the West. I'm not a real coffee drinker, but I like their machine made fat-free French Vanilla cappuccino's and seasonal flavors (Pumpkin latte in the fall!). I discovered Green Tea Latte in the location near SMU, figures only in that one.
They have a commercial tie-in with the upcoming Simpsons Movie -- check out the fun!

The State of Texas - 878.2 miles - Food edition

878.2 miles, 6 universities, 3 days, 2 barbeque places!

First we said goodbye to Houston (and 67 foot tall Sam Houston along I-45 in Huntsville)

Our mini-getaway began and ended with BBQ -- Woody's Smokehouse in Centerville (which must be midpoint between Houston and Dallas), and Kreutz in Lockhart.

Woody's - great ribs, BBQ with sauce, pretty good sausage, free beans and ice tea (sweet and unsweet), white butcher paper, plastic knives, forks and spoons. Be sure to check out all the canned goodies, including peach cobbler! I figured with Club Fig in the backyard, I'll have to buy my fig preserves.

Kreutz' - BBQ (brisket or clod) NO SAUCE!, excellent sausage (regular or jalapeno), your order is presented on layers of red butcher paper, free ButterKrust bread and crackers; you want beans? Buy them, but definitely-they are great, plastic knife only, use your fingers. They will give you a plastic spoon for your beans.

Other noteworthy places we stopped as we ate our way across Texas -- Tex/Mex Luna De Noche in Plano - I got both the sour cream chicken enchiladas and the spinach and mushroom enchiladas! I'd drive back to Plano for seconds!

Luby's in Bellmead north of Waco. Luby's has really improved - They are back on my list again. No more steam tables and soggy trout almondine. And interesting salads - I enjoyed the spring greens with pecans and feta cheese. Pretty and tasty!

And of course we had to make a stop at the North Austin Costco for a slice of pizza to refuel and then turn back around towards Round Rock for outlet shopping. L scored a $23 deal on an $80 pair of Adidas's.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Birthday Candles

We all were lucky they went ahead with the fireworks last night, and even luckier we could see them from our patio! I braved the mosquitos and shot these outside, while T & L enjoyed in air conditioned comfort.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Sew Red, White, and Blue

I'm glad I had a little extra (OK, I bought an additional 1/2 yard at the time, so it was a planned-over) of the Father's Day robe fabric. The colors were just so summery and beachy, I knew I could find additional uses. This is just the first.

Everyone expects towels to be embellished, but the washcloth? Why not? Quick and small, but big result. Plus at Costco you can buy them by the double dozen for about $10. With the trusty Clover bias tape maker (25 and 12 size), a 2.0 x 3.0 zigzag, and 15 minutes - voila! A washcloth celebration!

Celebrating Freedom

The freedom of humor -- the latest Will Ferrell and Pearl episode, Good Cop, Baby Cop
The freedom of wackiness -- newest guilty pleasure, "Hey Paula"
The freedom of creativity -- an all-day marathon of Project Runway Season 3
The freedom of whichever category "The Twilight Zone" marathon today on SciFi falls under!?

The freedom to do whatever you want on a rainy, soggy 4th of July or any day!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Funny Money

Another catnip toy...my mom's cat loves every single one I've made. He will arrange them all in a row in front of him. Clever (buzzed) kitty!

Monday, July 02, 2007


Comes in unexpected places. The launchpoint for my potholder was actually a back pocket design from the children's section of the April 2007 Burda. I kept the flower, but decided against the heart quilting in favor of somewhat straight lines.

On Saturday I bought the July/August issues of Cloth.Paper.Scissors and Belle Armoire. Some issues are better than others, and their pricey-ness ($7.99 and $6.95 respectively) makes for a mindful purchase, even with discounts. A quick flip-through made them a buy this time. Somerset Life is new, and one of their $$ ones ($14.95). While I'm not into scrapbooking nor stamping (gasp!) and therefore their other Somerset publications, this reminded me of the way Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion used to be. Filled with lots of creativity, this page sealed the deal -- It was just pleasing to me and I thought easily replicable to use as a free-form embroidery design on something, somewhere, sometime.


My husband may even eat these! I love Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine. Small enough to fit into a purse, yet packed with great recipes. I had a doctor's appointment this morning (before lunch), and by the time they called me back, I had dog-earred several pages, including this one. Good thing Randall's grocery store was right across the street so I could make these this afternoon --

Raisin Bran Muffins (page 18 from the January/February 2007 issue)

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups raisin bran cereal
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400. In medium bowl, combine cereal and milk; let stand about 5 minutes until softened. In a small bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir oil, egg, and sugar into cereal mixture. Fold in flour mixture. Divide batter among paper cups or oiled muffin tin. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes*. Cool in tin 5 minutes, then turn out into a wire rack; let cool completely or serve warm (I vote for warm-2 disappeared immediately). Store up to 5 days at room temperature in a resealable plastic bag.

*The recipe says it makes 6 baked at 20-25 minutes, but I was able to fill 10 cups baked at 12-14 minutes.