Sunday, September 30, 2007

Check back tomorrow!

Two more new family favorites from Everyday Food successfully debuted for Sunday linner (late lunch/early dinner)! Cookies so good that when I gave my manicurist a couple to sample, I got an extra cuticle treatment!

Netflix Stars - The Astronaut Farmer

"The Astronaut Farmer" Finally a pretty decent PG-rated movie all could watch. A good message film and fun. 3.75 out of 5 stars. Excellent casting -- I still think Billy Bob Thornton is a little creepy (be sure to watch the outtake special feature), but he is well-suited and does good with his character. The writers' daughters are the girls in the movie - they looked like they had a great time. And one of the writers is one of the FBI agents. Lots of subtle and not so subtle references in names and situations (the names of the characters, etc.). And the lighting is incredible...It should have won an Oscar, if it didn't.

Turn on your nightlight

Our Costco just got these in and they were flying out today -- $11.79 for three. The Santa face is clear versus the penguin's and snowman's frosty-ness, so it didn't really photograph that well. Individually boxed, these would also make great gifts. (The snowman is for my mom. She can put it up before Christmas and keep using it into February. That's why I like to make, use and give snowpeople, they don't shout "Christmas!," they can stay for the winter. Same with the penguin, he even has a heart on his scarf - Valentine Penguin?)

Christmas Magazine Porn

Tried to resist, but Costco had these packaged as a 2-fer, and 30% off. . .

Sew Somerset

Premier issue, just out at Barnes & Noble. Love it! (Sigh, just wish they weren't so darn expensive. But still cheaper than a book and packed with a wider spectrum of ideas.)

The Journey's End for Flower

Brave Flower, not only welcoming and adopting Axl (named after Axl Rose?) left behind by the Zappas hasty retreat, but valiantly giving her life defending her pups from the Cape snake. Who will become the new dominant female of the Whiskers? Maybelline or Daisy, both already in a family way? Or someone else?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

and reading material! Three days in a row, and enthusiasm wanes considerably. The proverbial carrot was being able to read The New York Times' Thursday Style and House & Home sections, and the latest issue of US Weekly (Costco, 30% off).

The Fray, "Over My Head", 3:56
How to Save a Life

Today's stats: 54 minutes, 3 miles, 312 calories

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Project Runway Season 4

Debuts November 14 - just in time for Fall Sweeps!

Well, DANG!

I was at Jo-Ann's yesterday and thought I would use my expiring 40% off coupon on the October/November issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion. What caught my eye -- "Sew Your Own Harvest-Hued Pincushions" tease on the cover. I flip to pages 100 and 102 and think, "these are cute!" and decide to purchase the magazine. Lo and behold when I get home, no directions, but a mention the fabrics and patterns are from Purl Patchwork. I was looking for a quick and easy project right then and there. The pattern is actually an Indygo Junction, click here for the details (currently sold out) The Purl website looks like it would be fun to poke around, though.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

The Guess Who, "American Woman" 3:53
Today's stats: 45 minutes, 2.58 miles, 306 calories

Yesterday's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Billy Strange, "Washington Square", 2:52
Yesterday's stats: 45 minutes, 3,500 calories (I wish!)
Halfway through I hit the Pause button and it erased the numbers!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What's baking in the oven today?

These! Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies from Everyday Food. Which is quickly becoming my favorite foodie magazine. I still like Cooking Light, but lately they've had rather odd recipes/ingredient combinations my family would look upon with suspicion. Light & Tasty, Taste of Home, Simple & Delicious have also only had a couple in each issue I'm willing to try.
Note to self: Take photo first before nibbling!
From Everyday Food, #45, September 2007, page 166

Yesterday's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Prince and The Revolution, "Let's Go Crazy" 7:35
Yesterday's stats: 45 minutes, 2.61 miles, 312 calories

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ginger Carrot Soup

From the January/February 2007 Everyday Food #39 - "Special Light Issue" Carrots, sweet potatoes and ginger warm you up with beta carotene. I flat freeze the leftovers in 1 quart size Zip-locs. You'll be glad to have a Cuisinart, unless you are a Food Network-worthy chopper. An immersion blender is also your best friend. I use a large onion and slightly smaller piece of ginger (1 1/2"), otherwise they can overpower. I also leave out the lemon juice and cream. Recipe says it serves 8, but I'm able to freeze 10 portions.


2 tablespoons olive oil...2 medium onions, chopped...2 pounds carrots, chopped...2 sweet potatoes (1 1/4 pounds total), peeled and chopped...1 2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (2 tablespoons)...2 cans 14.5 ounce each reduced sodium chicken broth...4 cups water...coarse salt and pepper...2-3 teaspoons sugar...2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice...1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

In a large 5 quart saucepan, heat oil over medium; add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, sweet pototatoes, ginger, broth and 4 cups water. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Use an immersion blender or puree mixture in batches in a blender until smooth. Add sugar and lemon juice to taste. Heat over medium and add cream if desired.

From Everyday Food, #39, January/February 2007

Costco find-Kashi Mountain Medley Granola

I have also seen this at Super Target and HEB, but the Costco-sized 40 ounces is a better deal. How they came up with "Mountain Medley" is beyond me. Cranberries, raisins, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds and 7 whole grains. Yummy, but what is mountain-y? This is one time when you eat the portion size (1/2 cup), it truly does fill you up. That 220 calorie 1/2 cup gives you 25% of your fiber and 300 mg of Omega 3 in addition to 6g protein and only 12g of sugar.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Chocolate Mint Cookies

From the "All New Cooking Light Complete Cookbook" 2006, page 157...these taste just like the GS Thin Mints, only chewy and low fat. This was in the "Slice & Bake" cookie section, but I'm not that good with making these that way. The dough is really gooey, just plop them by spoonfuls directly onto the baking sheet. You get to eat them faster! A couple of hints - it is 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract, the first time I misread and added 1/2 tsp, they were very minty! (But still edible!) Also, the recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of applesauce. Instead of buying a jar and having it go funky in the fridge, I buy the 1 cup unsweetened applesauces, in the 6 pack size. There's enough in there for this recipe and a little extra for a taste! The recipe does not specify unsweet or regular applesauce, but if you are trying to watch sugar and save a few calories, you can successfully go with the unsweetened.

Chocolate-Mint Cookies
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 if you are not doing the slice and bake. Combine flour, cocoa and baking soda in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine brown sugar and the next five ingredients in a medium bowl, beat with a mixer at high speed for 2 minutes. Beat in egg white. Add flour mixture, beat at low speed until well-blended. (For slice and bake-coat hands lightly with cooking spray. Shape dough into a 6 inch log. Wrap log in plastic wrap, freeze for 1 hour or until firm. Cut log into 24 1/4 inch slices). Place by rounded teaspoonfuls 1 inch apart on baking sheets lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove, let cool on wire rack.
Makes 24 cookies
Each - 76 calories (22% from fat), 1.8g fat (sat 1.1mg, mono 0.5g, poly 0.1g), protein 1.2g, carb 13.7g, fiber 0.2g, chol 4mg, iron 0.7mg, sodium 33mg, calcium 8mg.

Today'sFavorite iPod Workout Song

Full Blown Rose, "Somebody Help Me" (theme from "Tru Calling") 3:16
Today's stats: 41 minutes, 2.37 miles, 283 calories

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mommy Millionaire

Mommy Millionaire - How I turned my kitchen table idea into a million dollars and how you can, too! Kim Lavine, 2007. ISBN: 0-312-35457-6 Library Call No. 658.11

An educational and peek-behind-the-business-curtain read! Step-by-step, she goes into all the financial details and dilemmas involved with launching a business, with lots of excellent how-to advice. This isn't for craft shows, this is for hitting the big-time. You'll also realize why so many things are made in China. Very well-written, it will give you a new understanding and appreciation for those entrepreneurs who overcome the obstacles and succeed. Check out her websites, Green Daisy and Mommy Millionaire for more updates and inspiration.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Amii Stewart, "Knock on Wood" 3:43
Pure Disco
Today's stats: 45 minutes, 2.50 miles, 267 calories

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Men Without Hats, "The Safety Dance" 4:32
More Pure 80's
Today's stats: 40 minutes, 2.26 miles, 242 calories

No record breaking here-the ragweed and tree pollen counts are way off the charts. (What are trees doing pollinating this time of year anyways?! I bet it's the live oaks. Sneezing curses on your year-round greenability!) But while my head is fuzzy-congested, my legs still work!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Take a letter. . .

Another day out and about trying to behave, another Target. This time I had to elbow my way into the bins of Dollar Spot scrapbooking items. People were going crazy. These tubes contain more flowers in red, pink and green...and red, purple and green flat-backed faceted sequins in squares and circles. The letter assortment looked promising to use in Somerset Studio-inspired crafts and embellishing. Or to just keep on hand for spur of the moment lettering needs. "Gimme an A!"

Monday, September 17, 2007

More Target Treasure

Another Target, another Dollar Spot, another "Scrapbooking"find -- These are two tubes (with screw-on caps - reusable!) of page embellshments of blue/silver/yellow flowers and mutli-colored faceted brads. I know I'll find good uses for fabric embellishing!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Paul McCartney & Wings, "Live and Let Die" 3:14
The Best of Bond...James Bond
Today's stats: 47 minutes, 2.78 miles, 330 calories

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Stinky Pinkies - plaid version

L has been running cross-country and lately with all the rain we've been getting, that means muddy, wet shoes. I was going to buy some Stinky Pinkies until my friend, Nan, said she uses charcoal in old socks for their odor control issues, and even offered some of her charcoal stash. A good friend! These were quick to make, the fabric piece size is 11" x 4-1/2" (any wider and the charcoal spreads and doesn't fit in nicely, any narrower, the charcoal spreads all over your fingers trying to push it in!). I then trimmed it with two rows of serger "lace".I got the trim idea from "Know Your White Superlock" by Naomi Baker & Tammy Young (1991, ISBN: 0-8019-8107-7). Which even if you don't/didn't have this particular brand, it was filled with useful ornamental serging techniques and projects applicable for any serger. And Chris Hansen did the illustrations. If you can find this book, grab it - it's a gem! It was part of a series for all the different brands in the late 80's/early 90's. I made the trim from memory before finding the book, which of course, was not their directions. I used four threads and went around it twice. The book says to use a 3 thread stitch and loosen the tension. Oops! Another case of sew first, then go back and read the directions. But what the heck, it worked for these! This morning's blogging sewing adventure not only brought back up to the surface a book I should obviously refer to more often, but also inspired new projects for the holidays just around the corner.

Yesterday's Favorite iPod Workout Song

B. W. Stevenson, "My Maria" 2:25
One Hit Wonders of the 70's
(I like Brooks & Dunn's version, too.)
Today's stats: 44 minutes, 2.62 miles, 318 calories

I need to go through your underwear drawer

Is this going to be Tim Gunn's Guide to Style show's catch phrase?! I watched the second episode repeat on Friday. (I don't even bother to stay up to see it new Thursday night.) I was hoping the emotional reaction of this episode's featured girl, Je-Anne would put a stop to it once and for all. But I think when she left the room in tears of embarrasment, the production assistants persuaded her to come back. We buy and wear what we can find and afford. Yes, I agree we could all use new underwear. Yes, I agree we are probably wearing the wrong stuff...but look what we have to select from in average American department stores. Yes, I would love to go to a specialty boutique and be fitted from well-stocked range of size merchandise. And yes, I would like the $$$ to afford it. Three figures for a figure! I truly don't know what is more cringe-worthy, watching Tim during the scene or watching the girl become totally mortified. Knowing this, why can't they just include a stop at the uw boutique on their shopping travels, as they do at the designer of the week, and edit out this part of the show?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

And the winner is. . .

This year's State Fair of Texas "Best Tasting Fried Food" -- Abel Gonzales with DEEP FRIED COOKIE DOUGH, served in a cardboard car!! (He was also last year's winner with Fried Coke). The Texas State Fair begins September 28 an runs through October 21 in Dallas.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Michelle Branch, "Everywhere" 3:35
The Spirit Room
Today's stats: 42 minutes, 2.55 miles, 311 calories

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Here's another babe

Yesterday's flag post was photographed from this outfit. Ten appliqued stars went around the hem. It won a blue ribbon at the county fair that year.
The pattern applique designs were from
K. P. Kid's & Co.'s "Flag Jumper and Overalls" by Kari Pearson. Such a fun and creative person! I got to know her and her family at the Houston Quilt Festivals in the early/mid 90's. I love her style of drawing, and her patterns were filled chock-a-block with applique designs. You may be able to still find some of her patterns, fabric and books at quilt shops and online.

Lace up your life

If you are looking for a great source of laces and elastics -- selection, quality, prices and service, check out Kathy aka "fr8rain" on eBay. This is my latest "haul" from her!

Time to Target

Cheap storage thrills - their "College 07" dorm gear is in clearance. These will be put to good use in the sewing room!

Chance of rain. . .

Was the forecast this morning, and this afternoon -- well, Hello Humberto!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Mike Doughty, "Looking At the World from the Bottom of a Well" 3:58
iTunes, Haughty Melodic
Today's stats: 42 minutes, 2.52 miles, 280 calories (I was reading someone's left-behind People magazine)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Happy 100th Birthday, Neiman-Marcus!

<------ Click to see all the signatures! And click here to read yesterday's article in The Houston Chronicle.
All kinds of fun ways and special editions to celebrate. For what it's worth (about $1,735!), my daughter and I both wear a size 10, and I'll promise we'll share! Where else but Texas and Neiman-Marcus?

Score at Jo-Ann's!

Being able to use my 40% coupon to nab the $omer$et Holidays & Celebrations issue, which was just displayed today per the clerk. So if you like these, too, run to your Jo-Ann's - there were only three left.

This dark green suede with micro gold metallic dots scattered about in the markdown bin. I bought what was left, a little over 2 yards. It shouted, "Easy Christmas!" to me. And even if it doesn't all get sewn this Christmas, it or what's left will puddle about my tree this year. I'm still burnt out from the skirt I made for my sister two years ago.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Fleetwood Mac, "Tusk", 3:34
The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac
Today's stats: 42 minutes, 2.53 miles, 304 calories

Friday, September 07, 2007

A little disappointing

Tim Gunn's new show, Guide to Style. I thought it would be so much better. I just caught the repeat this morning as I had to miss the debut because of Parents' Night. Difficult to determine which was harder to deal with in retrospect. (I tell you, the bons mots from last night would make a really good reality TV show! DH had to go last year and I believe he is still recovering. Thank goodness only two more years of this...I'm sure my daughter thinks so, too.) But, back to Tim. That Veronica Webb scares me. So did the lifestyle coach. Totally unnecessary, both of them. More Tim, less show. A half hour would have been fine. Zip, zip, done! No underwear drawer rooting around. No shameless tear-jerking "platinum diamond ring" product placement promotion. Though I did like the PR Catherine Malodrino reunion, and that dress! What would have been better Bravo product placement? Seeing the people and clothes from former PR contestants who have gone on to success - Emmett, Chloe, Kara Janx... I'll watch the future episodes and cross my fingers they "made it work."

Yesterday's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Billy Joel, "Don't Ask Me Why" 2:59
Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 (1978-1985)
Today's stats: 40 minutes, 2.37 miles, 268 calories

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Linda Ronstadt, "Walk On" 2:58
Feels Like Home
Today's stats: 40 minutes, 2.39 miles, 263 calories

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tim Gunn interview

Here's a nice interview of Tim Gunn by the Houston Chronicle's Joy Sewing. He was here last Thursday at Macy's (formerly Foley's) downtown store. The ticket prices were too high for L & I ($150 for the meet/greet book signing party event, $30 fashion show only-each! Eek!) to justify and attend.

Target Find!

In Target's "See Spot Save" area -- one of the current themes is scrapbooking. I found this box of 3/8" wide satin woven ribbons for $1 . One yard each of the three spools, for a touch of embellishing fun. They have more colors, styles and widths, too. Be sure to also check out the 2/$1 gift bags - in shades of pink/red, green and blue designs, you could easily use them later for the holidays.

Carol Watson at Houston ASG Chapter Annual Meeting October 13

The Annual Meeting of the Houston American Sewing Guild Chapter will be October 13 from 10 AM to 2 PM, featuring award winning fiber artist, Carol Watson AND the Leandro Fabric Traveling Trunk Show! Carol will present a slide show of her trip to Paris and a trunk show of her garments. You'll be able to purchase Leandro Fabric's cashmere, silk, lightweight wool, linens and more in precut yardages and chose from a great selection of buttons, too. Registration deadline is October 9. For more information, email

Parmesan-Pine Nut Bread

Did you buy a bag of Costco's Kirkland Pine Nuts and now wonder what to do with it? Try this! I make the 1# version, I'll type the1.5# ingredients in (x). This is our new favorite to go with pasta and salads.

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) water
2 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) olive oil
2 cups (3 cups) bread flour
3 tablespoons (1/4 cup) grated Parmesan cheese --I used the Kraft in the green container. Maybe you are supposed to use the other, but Kraft works great!
1 tablespoon (2 tablespoons) dry milk
1 tablespoon (2 tablespoons) sugar
1 teaspoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) salt
1 1/4 teaspoons (2 teaspoons) bread machine yeast
2 tablespoons (3 tablespoons) pine nuts
Measure all ingredients except pine nuts and place in bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Add the pine nuts at the Raisin/Nut signal or 5-10 minutes before the last kneading cycle ends. (I put mine in the last 5 minutes). Use Basic/White cycle, medium/light crust color.

This recipe is from Betty Crocker's Bread Machine Cookbook, 1995. ISBN: 0-02-860367-2

I have made this recipe, the pizza dough, the cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip banana bread, I'm flipping through it right now to see what else has been dog-earred, cinnamon-raisin will have you clawing at the machine while it's baking, oh! Almond-Honey Whole Wheat, Oatmeal-Pecan... Suffice to say, if you don't have this book, get it!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Joe Walsh, "A Life of Illusion" 3:31
Billboard #1's: The 80's
Today's stats: 37 minutes, 2.25 miles, 263 calories

A dead-ringer for Ben Affleck started riding the bike ahead of me towards the end of my workout. I nearly fell off my treadmill!

Monday, September 03, 2007

How to Make Whips

I was only looking at some sewing books - in particular the "Plush-O-Rama"/softie type I've been reading about on the blogs...and I scrolled down to see "Customers who bought this book also bought/you may also like" --- "How to Make Whips" and "The Complete Guide to Sharpening". A rather odd suggestion, at least for me. The whips weren't the kind you drink nor cook with, either. Thanks, but no thanks!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Netflix Stars - Miss Potter

5 stars! Magical and whimsical! Renee Zellweger is Beatrix Potter. If the "Tale of Peter Rabbit" and all her books are part of your fondest childhood memories, you'll love the backstory today. Be sure to check out the making of the movie in the special features section.

Netflix Stars - Blades of Glory

3.5 - You'll laugh at many scenes just as easily as you'll cringe at others. Watch for the fun cameos of past figure skating stars.

Customizing Cool Clothes

Customizing Cool Clothes - From Dull to Divine in 30 Projects by Kate Haxell 2006 ISBN: 1-59668-015-6 (paperback), Library Call No. 746.

Great book for embellishing RTW or your own sewn clothes -- Jeans, jacket, pants, skirt, sweaters, shirts. Gorgeous photography and close ups of steps along the way. Even if you don't use the entire presentation, there's enough to use in small doses. I especially liked the idea of replacing buttons with wooden toggle buttons and leather string. Great designs for beading and ribbon (even tearing and raveling silk duppioni into strips for the bohemian skirt) embellishment.

Buy or Borrow? As I was going through it again for the review, it seemed familiar and I thought I had bought this already. After double-checking my bookcase, and my mind, I realized it was actually the second time I checked it out from the Library. Perhaps a sign to put it on the To Buy list.

Creating Romantic Purses

Creating Romantic Purses - Patterns & Instructions for unique handbags by Marilyn Green & Carole Cree. 2006, $24.95 ISBN: 1-4027-2517-5 Library Call No. 646.48
Need ideas and inspiration? This is a great book for a flip-through, filled with romantic and heavily embellished purses. The color photographs are of the finished purse only. No close-ups of steps along the way. It does include the 20 (!) patterns in the back section, however they are enlargeable kind. And if you have an older printer with limited enlargement capabilities, you may have difficulty enlarging them 167%, 200%, 250%, 285%, 300%, 335%. 400% without having to make a trip and spending the money at Kinko's. Unique combinations (green pom-poms with leapord print?!) will serve as a catalyst to your own creativity.
Buy or Borrow? For me, Borrow. If you are purse-y, a Buy.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Library sale

I love the continuous library book sales. They are constantly adding new old books. And such a deal - Houston Public Library sells theirs for 50 cents apiece. The Barbara Olson Journey of an Art Quilter's original price was $27. The 2 clip art books from the 20's-50's including the "Mostly Happy Clip Art" book (Mostly happy?!) were fun finds. Erica Wilson's Needlework to Wear circa 1982 still has ideas for today. Check out the dogwood blossom necklace on the cover. While I wouldn't make a necklace, I'd certainly try to incorporate a few flowers into other projects.