Friday, November 30, 2007

Baked French Toast with Raspberry Sauce

I ate myself stupid! This was so good! I used Earthgrain's Sliced French Bread San Francisco Style (at HEB), but then skipped over the instructions of brushing the baking sheet with melted butter. I thought I would use Smart Balance shortening instead. Mistake! The butter would probably have made removing the French toast a lot easier... This will be perfect for Christmas morning - all festive and tasty! You'll find the recipe and photo on page 54 and 56 of the December 2007 issue #48 of Everyday Food.

Or click here for the link!

Update December 2 -- the leftover raspberry sauce tastes wonderful warmed and served over Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Light Ice Cream!

Another update, June 1 -- Running low on milk and not wanting to run to the store, I also tried this with 1/4 cup 2% milk, 1 cup evaporated milk and 1/4 almond milk and added an extra splash of Almond Extract.  Toasted some sliced almonds to sprinkle on the top and made a blueberry sauce.

Everyday Food-a-pa-looza - Issue #48 - December, 2007

Plenty of recipes to mine in this issue! I got the groceries today to make the following:

Baked French Toast with Raspberry Sauce, page 56
Ham and Swiss sandwich with dill spread, page 52
Turkey cutlet with cauliflower saute', page 60
Vegetable Enchiladas, page 74

And so far the Mustard and Sesame chicken recipes (pages 18 and 38) have been hits. And I've only made it to page 74.

Objects in the photo may be smaller than they appear!

...In the case of the Westrim 3-piece jewelry-making mini tool set for $3. (Originally $5.99). They are only 3" long! I bought them least these will be much more versatile (and safer) than the old pair of tweezers I've been using.
In my take-home bag, there was a flyer for another sale next Friday/Sunday weekend - A 50% off coupon, 50% off notions, 50% off red tag fabrics, $1.99 McCall's and $3.99 Vogue patterns, amongst other savings goodies.

Netflix stars zip - In the Land of Women

Blah! We thought it would be better. There are few maybe funny scenes with Olympia Dukakis, but even then they were a reach at best. Again this is another movie with a misleading trailer. Dysfunctional situations, not recommended.

Yesterday's and Today's Favorite iPod Workout Songs

Bee Gees, "You Should be Dancing" 4:15
J. Geils Band, "Come Back" 3:36

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Left behind

We saw some bedraggled monarchs flitting about last week...and today surprised to find this --->
November in Texas!

PR4 Ep3

What a challenge! It was almost painful to watch the meltdowns. No wonder Jack took the easy way out with only 2 pieces - a shirt and pants. Blah. Shoot, I could do that and at least put belt loops on the pants! Carmen, Sweet P and Ricky were all train wrecks. Our auf vote was for Carmen because at least Sweet P attempted a shirt. But why was she so flummoxed about a shirt? If you can fit boobies, you should be able to fit pecs, right? I thought Kit should have won but at least she got more camera time this episode. Kevin's outfit was a close second here at the House of Kent.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Everyday Food #48 - Lighter Sesame Chicken

Last night we tried the Lighter Sesame Chicken on Page 37 in the current issue of Everyday Food (#48, December 2007). I loved it and the leftovers tasted great today, too. One package of Costco's new sealed boneless chicken breasts (2 large per) was just the right amount. I skipped the scallions, only used 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (low sodium) instead of 2, subbed green beans for the broccoli and used Minute Brand Brown Rice.

The verdict:
Me-Yum! Loved it.
T-Would consider it OK for rotation, maybe every 4-6 weeks
L-Had to bribe her with a Costco cheese danish (which FYI freeze nicely for a few weeks when wrapped with Saran Wrap Press and the freezer, out of temptation sight)

Here's the recipe!

Lighter Sesame Chicken from Everyday Food #48, December 2007

Saute’ed in a little oil instead of deep fried, the sauce is less-sweet and brown rice is more nutritious than white!

I changed it up for us by reducing the soy sauce to one tablespoon and substituting carrots or green beans for the broccoli.  I also use Trader Joe’s Organic Microwavable Brown Rice - easy! I skip the scallions and use a few shakes of garlic powder instead of garlic cloves.  The original recipe follows.

3/4 cup brown rice
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed with a garlic press
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch chunks
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into large florets, stems peeled and thinly sliced

Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, and fill with 1 inch water; set aside for broccoli. Cook rice according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, make sauce: In a small bowl, combine honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and garlic; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites and cornstarch. Add chicken; season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add half the chicken; cook, turning occasionally, until golden and opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and chicken. Return all the chicken to skillet; add reserved sauce and scallions, and toss to coat.

STEP 4 Meanwhile, place saucepan with steamer basket over high heat; bring water to a boil. Add broccoli, and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve sesame chicken with broccoli and rice.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Alicia Bridges, "I Love the Nightlife" 3:06
Today's stats: 49 minutes, 2.78 miles, 309 calories

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas Song I Can't Stand!

The Carol of the Bells! I don't know if it is because we had to sing various variations in choir, folk group or just overplaying. Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas....merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas just makes me want to cover my ears and throw myself against the walls -! (Perhaps if I try to visualize these chocolate bells, it may help)

Now anything by Mannheim Steamroller, especially his first two CD's, and "Pat a Pan" from Christmas Live. LOVE. And all-time favorite religious carol - "Oh Holy Night" Just put these on repeat/shuffle along with Sarah McLachlan's "Song for a Winter's Night" and I'm all set. No bruises from wall-impacting and sanity still intact.

Yesterday's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Molly Hatchet, "Flirtin' With Disaster" 4:59
Greatest Hits of the 80's, Vol. 1

Yesterday's stats: 40 minutes, 285 calories

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fa, la, la, la, la - Finale!

"All these Hello Kitties are starting to creep me out, Mom!" So here's the last one -- the snowflakes were Target clearanced table confetti from a few years ago (there were also tiny red and green pom poms in the package. Original price $2.99, I paid 29 cents), the wreath is an earring from the current Target Dollar Spot and the chiffon petticoat is a sheer pink ribbon gathered and tacked underneath her dress.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Marbled Chocolate Treats

From the Kraft Food & Family Holiday 2007 freebie magazine, page 22
They looked good...but kind of went over so-so with the family. First, a little pricey to make with the Baker's chocolate squares, especially when I scorched the vanilla ones (note they heat and melt faster than the chocolate squares) and ended up using that entire box. Ka-ching, there goes $2.19. And I think you can cut back 1 square of the semi-sweet chocolate, there was a lot of chocolate, almost too thick. The peanut butter combined with the chocolate wasn't that great either, it all just tasted "off".
But here's the recipe in case you'd like to fiddle with it or have better luck than we did.

8 1/2 Honey Maid graham crackers, broken in half (17 squares)
6 squares Baker's Chocolate - Semi-Sweet
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 squares Baker's Chocolate - Premium White

Line 13"x9" pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Arrange grahams on bottom of pan, cutting as needed to completely cover bottom of pan, set aside. Microwave semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter in medium microwaveable bowl on high 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted when stirred, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir until well-blended. Pour over grahams; spread with spatula to cover completely. Repeat microwave melting steps with the white chocolate. Drop spoonfuls of the white chocolate over chocolate-covered grahams. Immediately cut through the chocolate mixtures with knife several times for tiger-strip effect. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Use foil handles to remove from pan. Peel off foil, cut into bars. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen or 18 servings.

Netflix movies

First, "Georgia Rule" - STINKO! I had no idea from the trailer what the subject matter would be, otherwise I'd have never put it in my queue or DVD player. I couldn't believe Garry Marshall directed it, and the stars - were they just fulfilling a contract? Jane Fonda, Felicity Huffman, Dermot Mulroney?!

After that train wreck, we popped in "Hairspray". Much better compared to Georgia Rule, though John Travolta creeped us out. But oh so fun to watch Christopher Walken!

Mustard Chicken

The mustard chicken with wild rice (minus the brussels sprouts-yuck) on page 18 of the current Everyday Food #48 December 2007 was a hit. I never thought of using Dijon mustard on chicken before. So simple, so tasty! And it really was dinner 1-2-3 all done in 30 minutes. Take that, Rachael Ray!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Jingle Belle"

Yes, those are itty-bitty jingle bells along the hem, alternating with gold the photo for a larger view.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sandra Betzina is back! Visit her new, spiffy website ---
Some parts are still under construction, but her past columns are accessible (and free!), along with her on-target fashion forecast.
(Thank you, Peggy L for the head's up!)


Chocolate Cream Cheese Bars

This is why I was buying the sweetened condensed milk! From the April/May 2007 Light and Tasty magazine, they call them "Makeover Cream Cheese Streusel Bars" but I call them yummy! Click to go to the recipe.

Thanksgiving is cheaper than Christmas

--grocery-wise! Someone told me that years ago and it's proven true. So while shopping for Thanksgiving dinner fixins, stock up on canned goods, baking items, etc. Today I found sweetened condensed milk for $1; it's usually $2.39!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tat the Cat

Hello Kitty gets tatoo'd! My first Christmas 2007 HK found a new home yesterday, so I went to Target to get another. I lucked out and found the bracelets in purple, only one. And then on the other side of the display

I found twinklies - a sparkly 16" crystal necklace, which may turn into ornaments, embellishment or even purse handles....and tatoos - the press-on rhinestone kind. In shades of purple and pink (they also have green). Why sew when you can press?

Here's the purple version -- I used one of the bracelets again as the hanging loop, cut apart the flower to embellish her bow and put the snowflake design on her dress.

I used the two bottom tatoos for the pink version, the flower on the dress center, and split the second floral design into a bow decoration and created her own arm (paw?) tatoo. I threaded the charm from the earlier pink bracelet onto pink and red ribbons, keeping with the pink/red tatoo combination. (I like pink and red together, though some think it's just so wrong. But then, this is a Hello Kitty with a tatoo, and an attitude!)

Make it Mine

Thank you to Sharon for the news of this new magazine! I found it yesterday at Barnes & Noble. This is the premier Winter issue; with another in the works for the end of February. What sold me on this? Well, Sharon is pretty cool and I like what she does. Then when I was flipping through I saw an article about the ArtGirlz, who I met at Quilt Festival last and this year. I like them, too. And aesthetic-wise, I like wide magazines, a la Threads. Looks like fun, lots to do. Their website is

Simplicity Project Runway Patterns

Simplicity has 6 new patterns, "inspired by Project Runway". While they don't look straight off the PR runway, one of them caught my eye - 3538. (It can't be any worse than the Sandra Betzina Today's Fit 2991 jacket flop. And I like that ruffled sleeve variation.) The others, including one girl's pattern, seemed like repackaged regular kind of MOR (middle-of-road) Simplicities -- with the exception of introducing "Sketch and Stitch - From concepts to design to reality" fashion croquis kit. Basically a pattern instruction sheet with the elements of the pattern pieces, a figure model illustration and ideas to make your own design. If this is what it takes to get people to sew, inspired by Project Runway - kudos to Simplicity. Of course, I'm sure I'll have to "make it work" with fit tweaking, but if Simplicity sees good sales from these patterns, they'll make more and better ones.

I got this $15.95 pattern for $1.99 at Hancock's Holiday Open House sale yesterday, and you know the other stores will be having deeply discounted (99c-$1.99 ish) pattern sales for the holidays. Just open the first Simplicity file drawer and look for the blue envelopes. They are all at the beginning of their numbering system.

Dill Feta Scramble

"Who wants to try a Dill Feta Scramble this morning? "Uh, no thanks" "Can I have cinnamon rolls instead?" Which left me, not exactly following the directions, but keeping the spirit of the combination. 1 egg, 1 egg white, salt and pepper, a couple of tableware teaspoons of low fat feta cheese and enough sprinkles of dried dill to make it look pretty...scrambled in a teaspoon of olive oil and pushed into a whole wheat half pita. A tasty alternative to the Tex-Mex breakfast taco.
(Inspired by Everyday Food #45, September 2007, page 50)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

He ran the table!

My husband (!) picked Rami as the winner and Simone as "auf'd." (Maybe I should add him to the Tresemme Fantasy Runway game?!) I wish she kept the orange jacket she started with, it looked like it had real style potential.

Product name placement time - the Brother Sewing Machine clock in the workroom!

The numbers are in!

2007 Houston International Quilt Festival stats --
54,247 attendees (new record!)...537 exhibitors...1,084.5 booths
2008's Festival dates:
Chicago April 11-13...Long Beach (debut!) July 25-27...Houston October 30-November 2
Visit for more information.

Today's Favorite iPod Treadmill Song

Rush, "Subdivisions" 5:34
Today's stats: 47 minutes, 2.75 miles, 304 calories
5 (!) minutes on the arm pedaler

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Now this is cool - for hot stuff!

Glad Simple Cooking OvenWare - Bake, Serve, Store, Go! For $4.99; you get 2 red 9" x 12"and 1 green 8" x 8" pans, with lids! Perfect timing, perfect sizes. So much better - fun, sturdier and cheaper - than those disposable foil pans. I need to bring dessert for L's Thanksgiving school party on Tuesday and was fretting about the possibility of my good bakeware not finding its way back home.

Garden update

Lesson learned from earlier this year and I grabbed the bluebonnets when I saw them, along with the flowering kales. When we get our first frost (someday? It was 84 today!), they are supposed to become more colorful.

Yesterday's Costco Find

3.5 pounds of 60% equals wow! We are going to use this for fudge making and yummy chocolate chip cookies. (And snacking!) The differently shaped chips are more like rounded discs. Well worth $7.99.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Billy Idol, "Rebel Yell" 4:46
Today's stats: 46 minutes, 2.65 miles, 293 calories
And 3 minutes on that arm pedal machine!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Laughed so hard I cried

Who doesn't have fond memories of Swiss Colony, Fingerhut, Lillian Vernon, et al?

Is this illegal?!

Some Chik-Fil-A's have free wi-fi now, yay! But I always buy something -a drink, a little munchie, and I really like their side salad with the sunflower seeds. However, lettuce at 7:45 AM, uh-uh. This morning I tried their chicken, egg and cheddar cheese burrito, if only to take but a couple bites. But isn't it a crime against nature about combining eggs and chicken?! It's tasty, though I can't eat it all and I am picking off the chicken and eggs separately. The grilled onions are nice - I'm making a mess. I once heard that Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion" was about eating eggs and chicken. . .

Monday, November 12, 2007

Today's and Friday's Favorite iPod Workout Songs

Boys Like Girls, "The Great Escape" 3:26
Now, Vol. 25

Billy Joel, "You May Be Right" 4:14
Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 (1978-1985)

Friday's stats: 43 minutes, 2.50 miles, 273 calories
Today's stats: 45 minutes, 2.64 miles, 299 calories
2 1/2 minutes on arm pedal machine

Sunday, November 11, 2007

More Hello Kitty at Target's Dollar Spot

I had to go to three Targets to find the pink version! Only $1 for the 4" tall kitty, along with the two bracelet/necklace combos to be repurposed for embellishing.

I used one of the bracelets for the hanging loop, heart beads on the bow and scarf, the faceted and seed beads on the hem and little hoop earrings. 15 minutes to Hello, Kitty!

Altered Couture - Winter issue

Now at Jo-Ann's, use your 40% off coupon to take the hurt off of $14.99!

Apple Cinnamon Upside Down Cake

A nice alternative to apple crisps and pies this fall. They suggest using firm apples like Empire or Gala.

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 apples (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored and sliced into 8 wedges
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used Penzeys Ceylon)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350. Coat bottom and side of 9" round cake pan with 2 tablespoons butter; sprinkle bottom with brown sugar. In medium bowl, toss apples in lemon juice, arrange in prepared pan in two concentric circles (you may not use all of them). In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, set aside. With an electric mixer, beat remaining 8 tablespoons butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until incorporated. With mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture in three parts, and the milk in two, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Spoon batter over apples in pan; smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45-55 minutes. Cool in cake pan on wire rack, at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours. To serve, run a knife around edge of pan and invert cake onto a rimmed platter. Serves 8
Everyday Food, #45 September 2007, page 119

This is my new meatloaf recipe!

My old TNT recipe has been replaced by this one! Yum! I've never used ground pork before. It definitely reduced the grease and price. I also used dried parsley instead of fresh, enough to add the right look of green. And since the ground chuck and ground pork were in larger sizes, I made two, one to freeze, because while it is worth it, it is a little time intensive. I also made a 1 1/2 pound loaf of bread in the bread machine.


1 small yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup ketchup
1 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef chuck
salt and pepper
12 slices country white bread
lettuce and red onion for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, combine chopped onion, garlic, parsley, egg and 1/3 cup ketchup. Add breadcrumbs, beef and pork. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix until well combined. Place mixture in 6 cup capacity loaf pan (8" x 4"). Pat gently to form a rounded top. Do not pack. Bake meatloaf 50 minutes (check at 45 minutes) Brush with remaining 1/3 cup ketchup. Return to oven; bake until an instant read thermometer inserted in center of loaf registers 160, 10-20 minutes (check at 7 minutes). Cool meatloaf 10 minutes in pan before removing. Cut warm or cold meatloaf into 6 portions, place one on each of 6 slices of bread. Layer with lettuce and red onion, if using and top with another slice of bread. I added some shredded cheddar instead of L & O. Serve with additional ketchup if desired.

From Everyday Food, #32 May 2006, page 27

Everyday Food Weekend Update

OK, so yesterday we tried the Coffee Cake Muffins (previously posted and thumb's up!), Apple Upside Down Cake (#45), Meatloaf Sandwiches (#32) and Peas & Carrots Ribbons (#45).

And our new favorites to add to the list are: The meatloaf and the apple cake! The carrots from the peas and carrots - while an interesting attempt to get your veggies, seemed too much like the carrot peelings I throw away.

Hancock's Holiday Ideas Magazine

I forgot to mention, I also picked up the free Winter 2007 issue of Holiday Ideas magazine from Hancock's. Cute projects, but not all photos have corresponding instructions -- the cute doggie vest and comfy travel sack are Kwik Sew 3517, the pocket scarf Kwik Sew 3092, Zoozie Onsie is Kwik Sew 2995, McCalls 9638 robe. But if you plan to buy or already have the patterns, it's nice to see other versions. Perhaps these pattern companies helped sponsor the issue? However, it is still filled with lots of neat free ideas and patterns. What caught my eye was the Gingerbread Folk. The pipecleaners sandwiched between the layers help make them bendy to hold onto the tree, candy canes, etc. Clever!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Coffee Cake Muffins

Not that pretty, but sure are yummy -- Best to make and eat at home! The texture really is more like coffee cake and not thick/heavy like a muffin. They are very sweet and taste almost sugar cookie-y. I think I'll cut back just a little on the sugar. I also used cupcake liners and probably overfilled a little more than I should have, which could account for their deformity instead of magazine picture-perfect. Next go round I'll make 14 or 16, there was certainly enough batter and more still of the streusel topping. That will also reduce the calorie count, as each of us all ate 2 (or 3!). I also skipped the golden raisins. The box I had were a little suspicious looking but only 1 week from stamped box date.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
3/4 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350. In small bowl using your fingertips, combine 2 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup flour; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat remaining 4 tablespoons butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beat after each addition until combined. Add flour mixture and buttermilk in alternating batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beat until just combined. Fold in raisins.
Divide batter equally into cups, top with brown sugar mixture. Bake until browned and centers comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before lifing muffins onto cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 12.
Everyday Food, #32, May 2006, page 24

New Today's Fit Sandra Betzina Vogue Patterns!

Three new Sandra Betzina patterns! Hancock's is having a 75% off Vogue patterns Veteran's Day sale this weekend. At a regular price of $25 (!!!), this brings it down to $5.63 by the time you use your ASG discount. Yesterday, only 1017, the blouse, was still in stock (there is one more left). The coat, 1024, is featured in the December issue of Vogue Patterns magazine, which explains why that one is missing. The 1018 skirt I can see for fun holiday parties. Sandra does have a neat collection of skirts with such interesting details. So I bought the blouse, hoping in real life it will look better. I would love to see Sandra's versions.

Everyday Food Weekend

I am still mining issues #32 (May 2006) and #45 (September 2007). Here's what I bought the groceries for this weekend and runover early next week:

May 2006 - #32:
Coffee Cake Muffins ( page 24)
Mozzarella and Ham Panini and Cherry Tomato Salad ( page 89)
Mustard Crusted Turkey Breast (page 86)
Meatloaf Sandwiches (page 27)
Gingered Sugar Snaps (page 118)
Baby Spinach Salad with Tuna (page 44)

September 2007 - #45:
Peas & Carrots Ribbons (page 134)
Dill Feta Scramble (page 50)
Healthy Oatmeal Cookies (page 58)
Apple Cinnamon Upside Down Cake (page 119)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Kwik Sew 2811 - Diet Coke Version

I was able to eke this short sleeved/long pant version out of 4 1/4 yards by cutting the sleeves on the cross-grain. I've lost track of how many times I've used this pattern. I even noted on the instruction sheet to wind 1-1/2 bobbins! How much do I like it? I bought a back-up pattern for $1 when our Hancock's was closing.

Everyday Food Holiday Baking Issue!

The 2007 Special Collector's Edition - From Thanksgiving to Christmas, cakes...cookies...custards and puddings...pies, tarts and crisps...quick breads and more! (Chocolate shortbread - page 20 corner has already been dog-earred!) I don't think this is part of the subscription, as there isn't an issue number, but I also just subscribed and was told it would begin with the December issue.
By the by, if you too have recently subscribed, be sure to check your invoice. I sent in the postcard for the $12 subscription special with the "Bill me" box checked. Yesterday I get the invoice and the "Pay this amount" box said $18 Whoa! I called their 800 number and got it straightened out - thank goodness I had another insert with the box code and they adjusted the price. So either send the check with your request or be sure to check the invoice when it arrives.

Update on Laura Bennett from PR3!

Click here to read more about Laura's future plans on QVC in February!
(thank you, Karen and the Houston Chronicle!)

Update 1-25-08 -- Laura Bennett will be on QVC February 24/25!

Update 12-16-07 -- Her line will be called "Little Black Dress By Laura Bennett" It will be more expensive than their other clothing lines, but as she put it, as only LB could, "I don't do junk."

Also, check out her comic strip on iVillage, Case Clothed. It's illustrated by Robert Best, fellow PR alum.

Good Fabric Deal!

As if I need further incentive to buy fabric from Nancy Erickson's Fashion Sewing Group...
With a portion of proceeds from the sale of her patterns, Nancy has supported the Komen for the Cure, Family Violence Prevention Fund and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In her November/December issue's back page, she is offering a discount on any one fabric in the upcoming January or March issues. You can either contribute to one, two or all three and in return she will offer you a proportional discount ranging from 10% to 25%. And you can still use the contribution amount for your own 2007 tax return, because you are writing the check/s to the charity/ies, not to Nancy! She will forward the checks to them for you. Deadline is December 15.

Yesterday's and Today's Favorite iPod Workout Songs

George Harrison, "Got My Mind Set On You" 3:54
iTunes, Cloud Nine

John Cougar Mellencamp, "Crumblin' Down" 3:56
Uh Huh!

Today's stats: 46 minutes, 2.63 miles, 306 calories
Yesterday's stats: 40 minutes, 2.27 miles, 245 calories

Monday, November 05, 2007

Betty Bake Sale Cookies

Target's Halloween candies are now 75% off, including the new M&M Dark Chocolate Autumn Mix colors 14 oz bag for only 69 cents. One cup of these (with extra to snack later) for the chocolate chip substitute makes for a very pretty and yummy cookie for the class bake sale.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Mariah Carey, "Fantasy" 4:04
(I like the Tom Tom Club/Genius of Love backbeat)
Today's stats: 46 minutes, 2.67 miles, 295 calories
1 1/2 minutes on arm pedal machine

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Houston Quilt Festival - Part 4 - Bernina Diamond Odyssey Outfits

After the Bernina Fashion Show, different selected garments are on display each day. Here's a few of Friday's. . .

"With the Suns & Moons All Over the Place" by Starr Hagenbring won the 'Creme de la Creme' award and justifiably so! I only wish it could have been displayed so we could have seen the back better. I practically fell into the manniquins trying to see it. It was sublime!
"Starry Starry Night" by Linda S. Schmidt.

And part of "Zebra Rose IV" by Sharon Meaves Commins. Aren't those roses luscious?

Houston Quilt Festival - Part 3 - The Uncommon Quilter

I love to look at the art and journal quilts each year at Quilt Festival, and hope someday to create one. In fact, last week I even bought "The Uncommon Quilter" by Jeanne Williamson (ISBN: 978-0-307-38122-4) to finally nudge me along the way. On Friday Hanne and I are looking for the display and find them -and the book! -And the author!


My fairly new Black & Decker iron Model D2020 went out in an almost blaze of glory! I was sneaking in some sewing time to finish another pair of Kwik Sew 2811 PJ's yesterday. Plugged in the iron and started sewing. The iron usually beeps when it reaches the right temperature, only this time it beeped and then didn't stop beeping. It sounded more like a smoke alarm - which it turned into! The display screen went dark and what I thought was steam coming out of the point was smelly electrical smoke! I calmly unplugged it and took it outside out front, went back inside and told T, "Hey, guess what?!" Usually I knock irons off the board, but this one was less than six months old and hadn't fallen. I'm also slightly paranoid about electricity and fires (I unplug the toaster!), so the idea of an "auto-off" feature iron continuing to self-destruct further reinforced my unplugging obsession.

This was a first! And the last of Black & Deckers for me! I went to Target and bought a Sunbeam Steam Master 4223, in the new trendy red color.

Update 11-5-07: I love this iron! A super large water tank and a shot of steam so loud and powerful you can hear it in the hallway. And only $29.99!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Houston Quilt Festival - Part 2 - Grab the balls!

Two of my favorite booths this year were - Art Girlz (#1144/1244) and Southern Attitude (#1618). Love the names, love the booths, love the products, love the people.

The (wool) balls were flying out of the Art Girlz booth. I bought the wool felt snow people kit for $9.95. You get 30 assorted wool felt beads, and bits of black and orange felt. They let me take a photo of their samples. Don't you love the masked one on the left?!

And my deal of the day was the show special at Southern Attitude with the hot fix Swarovski rhinestone applicator, tray, compartment container, 144 crystals and non-meltable heart stencil for $39.95. I bought an extra package of "Topaz" gold. Good thing their booth was on a corner - the line was at least 5 people deep at any given time. (Thank you to the kind lady who offered to let me ahead of her, as tick-tock I had to leave to pick up my daughter from school.) The stencils are a neat concept especially for larger projects (jeans legs, jackets) and lots of designs. People were also buying the stencils and rhinestones separately to use with their BeDazzlers.

Houston Quilt Festival Adventures - Part 1 - Arrival

My friend and I went to Quilt Festival yesterday. It was a repeat for her, as she had gone the day before. But she had the program so we could plot our course of adventure in the aisles before they opened the doors. Lots of new and favorite returning vendors this year, but some missing and missed - like The Sewing Workshop.

The community booths have been moved off the main floor and are now in the quilt display section. All the way back towards the American flag above the doors, take a right. There you'll find the learn to quilt and sew areas, along with the American Sewing Guild, Girl Scouts, cancer and children's heart associations... It's nice they are all grouped together, but sort of forgotten and not publicized. So make a stop after looking at the quilts and see quilting and sewing love in action.

Parking info -- The big space across the GRB is being turned into a park, eliminating a lot of parking spaces. We were able to find a $7 lot, but were one of the last (2!) spaces. But valet parking is a relatively affordable $11. Compared to the lot kitty-corner charging $20!

While you want to get there early to secure a good parking space, inside and outside the Convention Center is nuts! No matter if you wait outside or upstairs inside, funneling all those people through two doors is not for the faint-hearted. They really need to post ticket takers at more than one entry, if only for the first 30-60 minutes of opening. The booth vendors in aisles 1000-2000 would appreciate it, too, as everyone automatically goes and starts spending to the right. And then if you try to outsmart the herd and go to the left, that's not fun either.

And if I can work in a little rant here about some of the booths -- here's a thought: All those black and white signs you plaster around your booth -- "No pictures" "No photographs allowed" "This means you!" -- are really offensive to me, very unfriendly and unwelcoming. When I see those booths, my money and I just walk on by. If I want to take a picture, I always ask first and usually buy the product. The photo helps me remember why I wanted and bought it. Common courtesy and manners work both ways. I'm a potential customer, not a potential thief.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Here in Houston for Quilt Festival and looking for more fabric?!

As long as you are downtown at the George R. Brown Convention Center, be sure to check out High Fashion Fabrics (and if you are into home dec, High Fashion Home right across the street).

High Fashion Fabrics is at 3101 Louisiana Street at Elgin (telephone 713/528-7299). Hours are Monday-Saturday 10-7 PM, Sunday 12 Noon-6PM. The address of the GRB is 1001 Avenida de las Americas if you want to Mapquest and see where exactly they are. However, I do not recommend walking it. Take a cab! Or if you have a car, there's free parking. Watch out for the one-way streets.

In today's Houston Chronicle Star (features section), on page E5 middle right side there is an ad with a 10% off coupon. If you are an American Sewing Guild member, they also give you a 10% discount, just in case you can't find a copy of the Chronicle.

High Fashion Fabrics has gorgeous, $$$ fabrics when you step inside the main area, but after taking a few moments to drool, fantasize and compose yourself, take a right and you'll find a roomful of more affordable fabrics - cottons, rayons, knits, and more.

In this day and age of independent fabric stores going by the wayside, HFF is well worth visiting and keeping in business!

Oh, and if you are looking for a fun quilt shop, and you have a car, take a drive down the Southwest Freeway (U.S. 59) about 17 miles to Quilter's Emporium. (Telephone: 281/491-0016 -- not long distance, Houston has several area codes!) 11925 Southwest Freeway, in Stafford, just inside the Ft. Bend County line. They are on the South (left) side of the feeder road coming from downtown, so you will have to exit and U-turn at West Airport. Stay on the feeder, you'll pass Wal-Mart and an auto dealership. The next business area is Brighton Lanes, look for the Yamaha sign. Quilter's Emporium is at the far left facing the freeway, the store has lace curtains in the window. Their new location just opened a few weeks ago and is filled with fabric and other goodies. Hours are Monday-Saturday 10-5 (Thursdays till 6), Sunday 12-4.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Gerry Rafferty, "Home and Dry" 4:52
City to City
Today's stats: 43 minutes, 2.50 miles, 266 calories