Friday, February 29, 2008

Sew Everything Workshop

S.E.W. - Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp 2007, ISBN 978-0-7611-3973-7, Library Call No. 646.2

What an enjoyable book and what a great book to recommend to beginning (and even experienced) sewists! This would be the first one I would give to a friend starting out - followed up by the traditional Vogue and Simplicity sewing books, of course. But this book is fun and will definitely whet their sewing appetite. Diana Rupp's introduction and her stories and tips interspersed throughout are an enjoyable read. While I haven't had a chance to try out the ten patterns -- It's due back at the library and someone else wants it. Always remember to give your local library a trial run for sewing and crafting books. Remember, they are one of the original renewable resources! Unless someone has it on reserve. hahaha, I'm punchy today -- they look appealing and do-able for a wide skill range. Next time I get a good coupon or need some padding for free shipping on a future Amazon order, I'm buying this book!

Go Texan Day!

Today is Go Texan Day and the beginning of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo/RodeoHouston. Click for more details and fun doings!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Simple Gifts to Stitch

"Simple Gifts to Stitch - 30 Elegant and Easy Projects" by Jocelyn Worrall. 2007 $19.95 ISBN: 978-0-307-34756-5 Library call No. 746 With comments of Martha Stewart and Todd Oldham on the back cover, you get an idea these projects might be worthy. Sections are divided into Gifts for Home, Gifts for Baby and Children, Gifts for Special Occasions. I think the book's strengths are particularly strong for cute and unusual projects for children and babies. The Tri Pocket Ticking Tote on the cover and the Magic Rain Poncho are clever. I liked the Modern Apron on page 77 and the Terrycloth Bunny on page 102. The bias apron calls for only 1 yard of 58" wide fabric. The bunnies will be easy and cute to make for Easter basket tuck-ins. There's a good variety of other projects for a range of sewing skills and needs.

Today's and Monday's Favorite iPod Workout Songs

Amy Adams, "Happy Working Song" 2:09
(though probably more suited for housecleaning than the treadmill, but it's bouncy and fun)

True Faith, "New Order" 5:49

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crockpot Challenge - Slow Cooker Spoon Peaches (Peach Cobbler)

This is modified from the Fix It and Forget It page-a-day calendar. . .January 18/19/20 (evidently a weekend!)

a little less than 1/3 cup sugar
a little less than 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup Bisquick Low Fat baking mix
1 egg
1 egg white*
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2 cups peach slices - fresh, frozen or if canned-drained
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (Penzeys Chinese Cassia)

Combine sugar, brown sugar and baking mix. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add butter and milk, mix well. Add peaches and cinnamon, mix well. Cover and cook on Low 4 hours. Serve warm with Bluebell Light Vanilla ice cream!
Overall, not bad. More sponge-y/cake-y than the usual cobbler biscuit/pie crust dough.
My Grade: B+/a nice alternative to heating up the kitchen in the summer when fresh Texas peaches are abundant!
I also kept the peaches as slices instead of mashed per the original recipe. It also cooked a lot faster than the recipe's 6-8 hours. It took 4 hours in my crockpot and then 1/2 hour on warm.
*The original recipe called for 2 eggs

What's on the (slightly sagging Sew/Fit) cutting table today?

Burda 7876 - View B - a cool vest/corset for L! We spotted and bought this pattern last week. And then last night while watching Laura Bennett's corseted jacket, I thought these details were spot-on with her design. I may have to Frankenstein them into a jacket or blouse for me. So Burda, look at how the back straps are slightly elasticized to stay in place and how the strap width is the same as the piece it joins to in the front. Details, details, details! Popular pattern, too - I had to go two stores to find it.

Laura Bennett was on

...and I was able to see her last night at 10 PM, CST. She looked fabulous! Loved her dress and hair - hope QVC may offer the dress someday. Anyways, she came across wonderfully for the 10-15 minutes she was there. The metallic wrap sweater sold out, with limited quantities and colors left on the jacket, pants and shirt. The shirt in blue, which looked pale green on my tv sold out, also. I loved the button details on the longer cuffs and front closure. Though I thought I heard her say they were elastic looped. That's no fun, especially for the front. The "architectural" structure details of jacket looked very similar to the Burda corset vest I'm making for L. The flat-front/darted pants were faced, no waistband with a side invisible zipper. Both came in khaki and black, but you really couldn't see the details on TV in the black. All in all, a good collection and a good start. I came this close to ordering the blouse, but thought I could use her eye for details instead with my own version. If it had still been available in the blue/green, those fingers would have been dialing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

zzzz... Laura Bennett! Huh? Where?

I dozed off at the end of the Oscars and stirred enough to check out QVC around 11:30 PM. I didn't see Laura Bennett or her outfits - just some crazy yellow lamb leather jacket. If that didn't give me nightmares...! Anyways, from what I've been reading, she wasn't on last night/this morning. Perhaps maybe tonight. QVC right now is showing their Spring Fashion Gallery. No sign nor mention of Laura. But check out their website in the meantime, maybe you don't have to wait in vain. I found photos, order-ability and prices for four of her items --
  • A79578 Drape Metallic Sweater - $93.50
  • A79581 Seamed Corset Jacket - $138
  • A79582 Silk Blend Blouse - $52.56 Special Introductory Price (regular price $58)
  • A79583 Twill Pants - $93

I also saw some of Chloe Dao's outfits, which personally and honestly, looked a lot cuter and more affordable.

Luck of the Irish

  • Found at a clearance endcap - $24.99 bamboo wreath marked down to $4.99
  • Found at the Dollar Spot - two 39" shamrock necklaces
  • Idea - wrap the necklace strands around the wreath for an easy-peasy door decoration
  • Reality check #1 - string breaks and beads go everywhere
  • Reality check #2 - but I do have 12 shamrocks and a low melt glue gun!
  • Reality check #3 - randomly glue shamrocks and extra "pearls" on the leaves (which I was going to remove anyways later)
  • Unreality check - Now to go find that pot of gold!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Run to Costco for this one!

L and I went to Costco to get two of Spring wire-edged ribbon rolls (marked down to $6.47!/50 yards) for the Girl Scout goodie bags and right next to them were these --
"Tote-Ally Cool --on the go tote 2" Also marked down to $14.97. You get two sizes for the price - Large and Mini. I didn't even bother calling Hanne, I picked one up for her, too. If she doesn't want it, someone else will at my ASG meeting next week, for sure. L got one for her GS advisor. I had her go deep amongst the boxes to grab three black ones. Still lots of the pink and polka-dotted ones, as of yesterday. But everyone was eyeing our cart, including the receipt checker! You can use this for sewing, crafting, scrapbooking, knitting, make-up, even a tool kit...! There's even a magnetic attachment to make it spin.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

This is how you subsidize the cell phone deals...

My cute Motorola pink Razr has been fritzing out on me the past week or so, dying progressively more frequently each passing day, hour and minute even with a full charge. (Three calls in a row with T thinking I'm hanging up on him)! L and I wander on over to the "phone store" (cough A-T-T) to get a new phone. The salesperson ever so nicely offers to check if I'm eligible for an "upgrade" - Nope, not until July. OK, thinking upgrade=free as before when they were Cingular. I still need a phone and I like this Purple! LG for $99, I'll just pay the $99. Silly me. No, that's the UPGRADE price. Those in between phone/upgrade status people like me will pay $279, plus activation. Now what am I supposed to do? The nice honest salesperson who's last day was last night said to get a GO phone and use it until July! As long as it is the same carrier, otherwise if you stick your SIM card into another phone, terrible awful things will happen. So L and I go to Target and Best Buy (hoping BB might have other models-they don't) -- look at all the cool phones! Look at what AT&T has - uh. Evidently they spent all their money for the iPhone. I had a choice of 2 - a $39.99/$48.99 Samsung camera phone (Target was cheaper) or a Motorola C168i for $19.99 (same price at both stores). I chose the Motorola and it's actually a cute little phone. The sound quality is good, it has even more and louder ringtones than the now silenced Razr. The only things it doesn't have which I like are camera and speaker options. But overall, not a bad deal for less than $20 to carry me through to July...and to keep on hand afterwards if this happens again. Contract upgrade interim? - GO cheap!

Laura Bennett on QVC - the latest scoop

The current buzz on the blogs and Internet, albeit nothing officially confirmed by QVC --
Laura Bennett is scheduled for QVC at Midnight, and depending what time zone you are or QVC is in, on February 24/25. (Does it not figure she would be awake and alert at Midnight? She probably gets by on 4 hours or less sleep!) I just checked the DISH guide and it said the "Spring Fashion Designer Gallery" will be on at 11 PM Sunday, February 24 to 1 AM Monday, February 25 in Houston/CST. I also heard her famous LBD (Little Black Dress) will be sold in April, but yet something similar seems to be on the list below. Perhaps the April show items are the numbers beginning with "8"? This show seems to focus on separates. No preview photos have surfaced yet.

Here's a partial list of what she will be selling:

A79572 Straight Skirt with Seam Detail
A79576 Silk Corset Detail Blouse
A79578 Metallic Wrap Sweater
A79579 Sequin Stretch Tunic
A79580 Satin Trench Coat
A79582 Silk Blend Blouse
A79583 Straight Leg Pant
A81159 Silk Cotton Pleated Skirt
A81160 Silk Cotton Short Sleeve Blouse
A81205 Stretch Double Breasted Crop Jacket
A81698 Matte Jersey Deep V-Neck (dress? top? tunic?)

I could watch this over an over!

Thank you to Project Rungay - I saw it there first!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Flashback Friday - 1976!

A great combo --- Bicentennial cake, a tiny waist and Betsey Johnson! (Butterick 4957). I made the green view in red wale-less corduroy and yellow/red/green flannel for the cuffs and pocket. I also lined the legs like Betsey's just in case I got a pair of tan Frye boots and I would be ready to roll. Well, at least I made the yearbook!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reunions are awkward --

whether they are high school, family or Project Runway. Someone is always:

  • in a snit
  • reverting/regressing back to old roles
  • finding romance
  • jealous
  • a peacemaker
  • having a chip on their shoulder
  • rising above it all
  • popular
  • excluded
  • behaving totally unexpectedly

Last night's show followed the script right along. . .

New on the Racks

Appearing now for $6.99 (Can you tell by the price it's from Taunton Press? Use your 50% off Jo-Ann's coupon!) - Quick Stuff to Sew They are trying a tie-in with Simplicity's 2968 (page 23) - but you could easily use the rather neat embellishment idea for other garments. Other noteworthy projects - a knockoff of the "Devil Wears Prada" bag. A few clunkers - another "quiz" where of course you want to be a "C" -- which reminds me of the old Highlights for Children's "Goofus and Gallant." Macrame belt?! Fabric covered frame? Embroidering towels? Those are a little too Sew News-y. But I liked the flip flops transformation, the mobius scarf, the wrap cardigan/shawl, turning a straight skirt pattern into more stylish versions, and a wardrobe of headbands which may be appearing on L in the future.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Flying off the Costco pallets!

These -- Back to Nature Organic Stoneground Wheats - Baked Wheat and Flaxseed Crackers

While I was pushing my cart towards the end of the snack aisle (honest, I was just cutting through and behaving myself quite well despite being almost Noon), these were on endcap display. I saw one lady put one in her cart. I read the label and it sounded good to me, so I got one. Someone else saw us and picked up a box, too. And then the elderly couple checking out ahead of me also had one. I had never heard of them nor this brand before, but if Costco carries it, you know it has to be good! The checker even asked if they were giving away samples of these. She said lots of people were buying them and they had just came in yesterday. They hopped into my cart because:

  • No trans fats, no hydrogenated oils
  • No artificial preservatives, flavors or colors
  • Baked
  • Organic
  • Has flaxseed
  • 5 cracker serving is only 70 calories, 2.5g fat (poly 0.5g, mono 1.5g), 135mg sodium, 1g sugar, 1g protein, total carb 11g
  • And after I got home - they taste great! Even sort of buttery, like a Ritz. But better for you!

$7.39 for a four carton box.

Did you get one of these with a recent Amazon order?

Inside our Amazon box was a prepaid envelope for "Cell Phones for Soldiers" It's a cell phone recycling program to help the soldiers call home. But not with your donated phones exactly -- The program sells the phones to raise money for phone cards to send to the troops. It is legit, though. And if you have a few abandoned cell phones taking up space in your junk drawer, it's a good way to get rid of them and do something nice. Recellular is a good site with specific directions for your brand and model on how to erase numbers and other personal information from your phone before sending to this or any other donation/recycling organization.

Dianthus Gigantus

After pulling up dead and overgrown plants from the front garden over the weekend, we had the space to fill with some allysum (Easter Basket and Ice Crystals), and dianthus -- Merlot Mix and Dynasty Mix. I was also able to grab the last Amazon Neon Duo. Apparently well-named - it grows to two feet tall and spreads up to three feet! It's just a greenling now, albeit with huge leaves (!) but I'll definitely post photos later. I also picked up two new square candle scents - "Raisin Berry" and "Marmalade," along with another "Good Earth." I had a coupon for $5 off $20...and I just squeeked in with my pre-coupon total of $20.39! (Sign up for monthly coupons at Another Place in Time's website. Recently voted Best Small Nursery in Houston!)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Everyday Food #40 - Sage Pork Chops with Parmesan Rice

Sage Pork Chops with Parmesan Rice --From Everyday Food - Issue 40, March 2007 - Page 30 -- YUM!

Everyone loved the sauce flavor and loved the taste (and the money/sodium savings) of the Parmesan Rice. Why buy those boxes and packages when this is so much better! Though I'm still trying to get the knack of making regular rice instead of Minute Rice - it tends to overboil on me just about everytime.
Of course, I didn't follow the recipe exactly -- I used dried parsley instead of fresh in the rice. And I didn't have any shallots nor any wine, so I subbed a little onion powder and chicken broth. Turned out great despite myself!

Touch of Gray

Hard to believe, I haven't a spool of gray thread around here?! Must take advantage of Jo-Ann's Presidents' Sale and grab a spool at 50% off so I can mend a pair of slacks. Ha, ha - any excuse will do, even mending. I hate to mend. Seriously, other than for T and L, my "rate" is $100/hour. Yes, I tell people that! So far, no takers, but you never know. . .! I remember years ago, a mom of one of L's classmates asked if I could sew a Highland dance recital blouse for her darling daughter. She would even give me $10! I told her she couldn't afford me. (And the last thing I wanted to do was sew anything for her bitch spawn. That girl was mean!) She tossed her highlighted hair, laughed and said, "Oh, I know I can!" Me: "No, I don't think so - it will be $400. Plus materials." With a straight face, truly I missed my stage calling. (And the money - not the $10, the $400! Would have been sweet...might have missed a few pins, too)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jo-Ann Fabric's 3-Day Pattern Sales

Now through Monday, February 18: Butterick - $1.99
February 21/23: McCall's - $1.99 Vogue - $3.99
Limit 10. Have fun!

Friday, February 15, 2008

New 2008 Marfy Catalog!

154 pages of combined 2008 Spring/Summer and 2008-09 Fall/Winter collections. This is the only volume for this year. I love flipping through the pages with all the gorgeous drawings and details, details, details!
Here's a peek at all the free patterns included! Multi-sized, too!
Mini dress with waistband inset! Empire waistline top with double layers!
Capri pants with center slit!

Tunic with drawstring detail at cuffs and pocket!
Tank top with gathered round neckline!

Chanel-trimmed like jacket with a shirt collar! Matching flared skirt with side slits! Ring-collared blouse with drawstring bottom!

Bitten Back!

Update: April 11 -- The Spring/Summer 2008 Bitten is still not in the stores, at least the one I checked. Word is until the new line won't be out until the $8.98 sale is over. Hopefully soon! Though if I were a betting person, I think June, about the same time last year's appeared.

Here's the response I received from Steve and Barry's about the return of Sarah Jessica Parker's Bitten line for Spring 2008:

Items from the Bitten spring line will be available in all the Steve & Barry's stores across the nation by mid march. Please stay tuned to our websites and for more updates.

Well, yay! I've read the mixed reviews of her clothing line, but I truly believe your own mileage will vary. I love my purple cords, which didn't shrink at all, the pin-striped vest, and my Project Runway top. But yes, I too tried on other items with varying results. Hopefully the feedback received will improve and make this upcoming collection even better.

The Steve and Barry's stores are getting ready already - both the Bitten and Dear items have all been clearanced priced down to $8.98 and less - but it's pretty picked over. Still, give it a shot, you may luck out and get an even better bargain.

Strange Days Indeed

Cold/Hot...Wet/Dry - and out pops a butterfly!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Turn on your heart light

Nothing says love like a good light to prevent eye-strain. And a lot cheaper than glasses! L really needed a new desk light, after resurfacing from hours of studying last night all bleary-eyed. I found this swiveling adjustable Ott-Light at Costco today for only $24.99! Shoot, my first generation Ott is still going strong but I paid over double this price.
Update 2-16-08: L loves it and I went back to Costco today and got one for my sewing room. As a reward for its annual hoe-down. And a heck of a lot cheaper than a new cutting table. I'll just shimmy my cardboard Sew/Fit to take out the dips and make it work longer. Sigh, how depressed was I that they no longer make them? I bought it years ago from Nancy's Notions because it had the 36" height option.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What the heck is she doing today?

With my Badtz Maru pen, finishing up the taxes - a Valentine for my CPA tomorrow... and trying Southern Living February issue's "Lightened King Ranch Chicken Casserole" on page 130 for dinner tonight.
Update: It turned out pretty good, but pretty spicy...despite using Rotel Mild and Penzeys Chili Con Carne instead of regular chili powder - Just be forewarned. Smelled great while it was baking, though!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Crockpot Challenge - Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Yet another from the 2000 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes book; here's the link to the recipe on the Taste of Home website.

It's crocking right now and smells wonderful. Looks just like pumpkin pie, too, albeit in the crockpot and no crust. I like the idea of no crust, who doesn't just eat the pie filling and leave behind the crust? Admit it!

Tah-dah! It actually cooked/baked faster than the 6-7 hours per the recipe. When we got home from school, it had been in there for 4 hours and it was done, with a slightly darker top and edge. Perhaps in a smaller crock than four quarts it may take a little longer. It tasted pretty good - not custard-y like real pumpkin pie, but thicker. Probably from the 1/2 cup of Bisquick (I used the Low Fat version). But again, I was the only one game for it. L and T wanted no part, no scoop. Grade: B/I liked it, but without any other takers, probably won't make it again anytime soon.

Update 2-13-08: Tastes better warm. I tried some of the leftovers today and straight out of the fridge is pretty nasty. Nuke it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Winner!

Crockpot Challenge: Gone All Day Casserole

I've renamed it "Gone For Good" casserole!

This is another crockpot recipe from the 2000 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes book. Link to the recipe on the Taste of Home site.

What did I do differently? 1) Skipped the rice. If indeed I was "gone all day," I would have tried it. But I find that cooking the rice separately insures the rice is soft and not hard. 2) Reduced the water to 2 cups instead of 3. If I was crocking the rice, perhaps I would keep the water the same, maybe. I find sometimes all the veggies and meat add to the liquid volume and the crockpot basically "boils" the meat. 3) Skipped all that salt (2 1/2 teaspoons!) and just used a sprinkle, along with a bit of pepper. 4) Used a rounded teaspoon of Penzeys Beef Soup Base and mixed with the 2 cups of water instead of 3 beef boullion cubes. 5) Tried just a small handful of sliced almonds...not sure how it would go over with the others and this way, not as much to pick out. 6) Used only one can of sliced mushrooms instead of two. It looked like enough with one and L doesn't like mushrooms.

Grade: D-/Won't make this mistake again!

What happened? Way too watery! Maybe with the rice it would have been thicker and looked better. I served it with mashed potatoes instead, thinking I would get a nice gravy - not! The meat turned out very tender, though. Hopefully I can recycle the meat and veggies into something else!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Twisted Sister, "We're Not Going to Take It" 3:39
Big Hits and Nasty Cuts: The Best of Twisted Sister

Low-Sew Boutique

Low-Sew Boutique - 25+ Quick & Clever Projects Using Ready-Mades, by Cheryl Weiderspahn, 2007. ISBN 978-0-89689-434-1, Library Call No. 646.48. Emphasis on clever! A very enjoyable and inspirational read. I especially liked The Gallery section and seeing fellow bloggers' work (Sharon Sews). With more and more independent and national fabric stores closing, it's nice to be able to sew items with fabrics from unusual sources - home dec, etc. After reading this book, I think I'm more attuned than ever to look at everything with a different sewing eye.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hello Kitty Sewing Pencil

A retractable pencil with Hello Kitty holding a smaller Hello Kitty doll. "Hello Kitty" on the side has stitched lines and a button for the "o". There's a squirrel holding Hello Kitty's red bow in one paw and stuffing in the other. Scattered about are more buttons, spools of thread, pincushions and thread nippers. $3.95 at Sanrio.

Crockpot Challenge: Hearty Black Bean Soup

Whilst reorganizing the sewing room, I found the Taste of Home's 2000 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes book. On Page 270, there was a recipe for Hearty Black Bean Soup using the crockpot. I gave it a try today with my 4 quart-sized crockpot and it turned out great! The original ingredients are in ( ). I used Penzeys Chicken Soup Base to cut down on the sodium further. (I love all their bases - I also have and use the Vegetable and Beef Bases - store them in the refrigerator after opening) One additional thing that improved it was using an immersion blender to make it a little thicker. Here are the before and after photos: The recipe says to serve over rice, but it was mighty tasty with a handful thin Milagro tortilla chips! I'll flat freeze it in bowl sized portions in quart sized Zip-Locs for future lunches.

3 medium carrots, halved and thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped (1)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans 15 ounce black beans, rinsed and drained
32 ounces water mixed with one rounded teaspoonful of Penzeys Chicken Soup Base (2 cans 14.5 ounce chicken broth)
1 can, 15 ounce crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Penzeys Chile Con Carne (chili powder)
dash of cayenne pepper (1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce)
Combine ingredients, cover, cook on low for 6 (9-10) hours or until vegetables are tender.
Grade: A-/Definitely a repeater

Today's Costco Find

It must be tax time...and time for my annual procrastination sewing room re-organization! All made a little easier by these containers. $14.99 and $16.99 respectively. Tomorrow, the taxes!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Netflix Stars - The Jane Austen Book Club

What would Jane do? Watch this movie and see her writings filtered through modern life? An interesting ensemble cast - I thought Emily Blunt and Hugh Dancy ran away with the movie, along with the albeit too short appearance of Lynn Redgrave. The others played their parts well. L has been such a fan of all the Jane Austen movies and adaptations, I thought she would like this. ANCK! Despite a rating of PG-13, I don't think it is interesting or appealing to teens. If you are looking for a chick flick and more in the mood to watch a movie instead of reading a (Jane Austen) book, you may want to consider it. I did enjoy the special featurette on Jane Austen's life. My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Coming up next on the sewing room radar - Burda 7814

In my continuing quest for a cute cropped jacket, I found 7814 in the new Burda catalog. I plan to make View C and may or may not keep the elastic in the sleeve hem. I love the topstitching and shoulder seaming.

Vanilla Wafer Cookies

This is one of our family's favorite go-to recipes...for any season, any need. I found it in the August 1997 Taste of Home magazine, and it is on their website. You can easily reduce the butter by one tablespoon (every little bit helps!) without any noticeable effect. While quite tasty (it has 1 tablespoon of vanilla!) and pretty as made per the recipe, I also use Wilton's food color gels and/or sprinkle colored sugar or jimmies on top before baking for an easy, colorful "decorated" seasonal cookie.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

New license plates for Texas!

If you're a Texan, click here to vote or just want to see the proposed new license plates. My favorite is "Natural Texas" with the field of bluebonnets and wildflowers. Currently second in the voting, behind "Lone Star Texas." I also like this specialty license plate with the bluebonnet supporting Texas Parks and Wildlife for an extra $30 per year -- on top of the regular registration fee.

Banana Oat Breakfast Cookies

This morning I tried the Better Homes and Gardens' Heart Healthy magazine recipe for Banana Oat Breakfast Cookies. Here's the link if you want to, too.
While an admirable attempt to make a healthy treat - no eggs, no butter! - and a breakfast on the run - I thought there were too many flavors competing -- Bananas, crunchy peanut butter, honey, oatmeal, craisins/raisins/other dried fruit, cinnamon (2 teaspoonfuls! That probably did it right there)... They looked good, but tasted awful - warm and cold. I had to brush my teeth afterwards, my mouth felt funky. I'll leave them out on the kitchen table today and see if anyone else bites. My grade: F/I threw the recipe away.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Green Tee - Turn a T-shirt into a shopping bag

From the January 2008 isssue of Martha Stewart Living, page 91. And it was also on the Martha Stewart Show, here's the link. This was fast and easy! Turn t-shirt inside out and stitch the bottom closed. I boxed the side seams so the bag could hold bulkier items a little easier. Turn right side out and cut off neckline ribbing, making the curve of the back and front necklines even. Cut off sleeves at seam. Voila! No need to even finish the neckline or sleeve edges. Plus it will be washable, too!

Bad to the Bone - It's Puppy Bowl IV!

On Animal Planet right now until 2 AM! (The "game" is actually 3 hours long and repeats). Our favorite is "Bruin," already 44 pounds at 14 weeks! And don't miss the half-time show with kittens!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I (Heart) Hearts Times 23!

1) Use fabric swap fabric from ASG party in December - Check
2) Use what I already had floating around the sewing room - Check
3) Use something red/pink/hot for Project Spectrum - Check
4) February is Sew Mama Sew Quilting Month - Check
5) Make something Valentine-y to go with potholder - Check
6) Make something memorable for 23rd wedding anniversary - Check

1) The background batik fabric is from the fabric swap. The circles (which can also represent hugs) reminded me of those dot candies on paper rolls.
2) The swatches of fabric which match the dots are from previous Quilt Market fabric booths and almost look like those Necco conversation heart candies. Bernartex even called the giveaway packet "Quilter's Candy"
3) The purple edging and backing fabric is also from Market stash

4) Play with placing the squares and rectangles randomly, just like the "Flicka" pattern by Hillary Lang from Simple Contempory Quilts: Bold new designs for the first-time quilter by Valeria Van Ardale Shrader (2007, Library Call No. 746.46 - ISBN: 978-1-57990-875-1).
5) Suddenly think Valentine's/Love/etc., and inspired, immediately start cutting out hearts.
6) Think "uh-oh" - now the pieces are too tiny and too late to Wonder-Under to make attaching easier.
7) Brainstorm! Cross stitch "X's" to attach the bits and be the "kisses" to go with the circle hugs.
8) Make sure I have 23 hearts - out of 11 pieces of fabric? Find a swatch of pink Ultrasuede and put in the center!
9) Can't decide what color thread, spy a free sample spool of variegated metallic in all the colors on the thread rack - luck!
10) Free-motion stitch around and over pieces. Being very, very careful to keep fingers out of the way. A timely reminder to tell the blogosphere the story of how my thumb got in the way free-motioning and the needle not only went into it, but the tip broke off at the eye inside my thumb. But I didn't know it and thought the piece just flew off. But the little worry voice in my head started getting louder when I couldn't find it. Three days later go to doctor because thumb still hurts and he takes an X-ray and tah-dah - we find the needle tip! Go to surgeon next day and I now have a very identifiable thumbprint scar. Resolve not to enter a life of crime. The day after surgery, go to my daughter's school for her Kindergarten interview, do not take pain meds that morning as I don't want appear like a druggie mom, thereby ruining her chances of acceptance into a very uptight/Christian school. Testing and interview takes almost 2 hours - She passes, I almost pass out, I pop the pain meds as soon as I leave the office (DH was driving).
11) Finished size ends up to be 10 3/4" x 12 1/4" Hubby loves it and me!

The Popeyes

Popeye #1 - Purchased by pre-DH as a young Marine lieutenant in Okinawa, Japan at a street fair for 1,000 Yen (about $4 in the early 80's). He holds our pennies - usually about $4 worth in fact.

Popeye #2 - Lots of Popeyes scattered all over this fleece old reliable Burda 5223 robe! The fleece was from Jo-Ann's and was actually very nice and easy to work with.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I (Heart) Hearts!

This is the pattern I used to make the heart you see on the right sidebar. It's called "Ragged Hearts" by Homespun Quilts (HQ-105). I saw it as a wall hanging in a quilt shop and it was gorgeous. The heart was supposed to be divided into 4's and then stitched together. When I tried that the hearts were off and it looked a little wonky instead of whimsical, as the designer Anna Laura Reidt kindly said in the description. So I redid and made two halves, which seems more meaningful to me. My little potholder/mini quilt goes on display in February and lives the rest of the year perched on the bulletin board above my sewing machine. The other day I did find the rest of the cut out hearts and may try again with a double or four-square. Plus I have those cute fabrics from Moda I just bought!

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week ad in The New York Times

Here's a photo of the back page of yesterday's New York Times' Thursday Styles section. Malan Breton and Project Runway are listed...along with "Na-Be by Victorya Hong" in italics indicating her show will be off-site.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Tokio Hotel, "Ready, Set, Go!" (AFI/Blaqk Audio Remix), 3:10
Scream America!

This is a pretty cool song with a good beat, my daughter discovered it on iTunes. You get two songs for the price of one.