Sunday, November 30, 2008

Who are these people and why are they here?!

As you can obviously tell, I have a rather eclectic group of friends and fellow bloggers in the right alley. I thought each week on Sunday I would randomly showcase one from the list and why they are there. I love to discover new blogs, and I think you will enjoy the introduction for new places to visit in Bloggy Land.

This week - Everything and Nothing A fun blog to read. She finds the coolest things, interesting books to read, and the yummiest recipes to post. And Shawn made me an Honorary Mississippian! A very nice honor which I return with a Texas star trophy. . .

Grit (in) your teeth and bear it - Everyday Food #57 - Cornmeal Cookies

Looked pretty on the photo on the last page of the the November 2008 issue #57, albeit that 1 1/2 sticks of butter gave pause with the fat gram count (Maybe if I make them smaller?! Which I did.). Even the ladies on the Everyday Food show were talking about them on the Martha channel last week - "Delicious!" "Add chocolate chips!" "Try Craisins next time!" "Yummy!" I made a batch this afternoon, deciding to make some plain and adding chocolate chips to most of the others. The chocolate chip version just tasted and felt odd combined with the cornmeal grit. I should have kept them as is, they weren't that bad - different and interesting. Give them a try!

Cornmeal Cookies - Everyday Food #57 November 2008

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks room temperature butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients with a whisk in a medium bowl. Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth. With mixer on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients, mixing just until ingredients are combined. Drop dough about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden, 14-16 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies immediately to a wire rack, let cool completely.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Eastbay 20% off coupon code

AFEB8PP3 Just in time for some Cyber Monday shopping! While Eastbay has good prices, selection and customer service, sometimes their shipping costs can nip those savings. Recoup with this 20% coupon. It worked and helped us!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Leftovers - Turkey Spaghetti Casserole

Tonight we are trying Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking (October/November 2008 - page 64)
Turkey Spaghetti Casserole

The verdict: A solid B+ The Mexican cheese and touch of paprika kept it from being too bland. And with thin spaghetti, the oven time was reduced to one hour. A nice and different alternative to yesterday's reheated leftovers.

Free Shipping Coupon Code at Jo-Ann's Online

Here's a free shipping coupon code for Jo-Ann's online, no minimum purchase! PIC350 Valid November 26-December 15, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thanksgiving Proclamation

Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to gather together and express gratitude for all that we have been given, the freedoms we enjoy, and the loved ones who enrich our lives.

At Thanksgiving, we remember the story of the Pilgrims who came to America in search of religious freedom and a better life. Having arrived in the New World, these early settlers gave thanks to God for granting them safe passage to this abundant land and protecting them through a bitter winter. President Washington gave the nation’s first Thanksgiving proclamation and in the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln revived the tradition of proclaiming a day of thanksgiving, asking God to heal our wounds and restore our country.

As we look back on the beginnings of our republic, we recall that we live in a land of many blessings where every person has the right to live, work, and worship in freedom. As a nation we are especially thankful for the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who protect these rights while setting aside their own comfort and safety. Their courage keeps us free, their sacrifice makes us grateful, and their character makes us proud. Especially during the holidays, our whole country keeps them and their families in our thoughts and prayers.

As Americans and Texans, we are mindful of the need to share our gifts with others, which is especially appropriate in the wake of Hurricane Ike’s destruction. We join together to give thanks and pay tribute to all who gave a helping hand and serve a cause larger than themselves. So on tomorrow, Thanksgiving, we wish each of you and your families a most bountiful and restful Thanksgiving Day.

Netflix Stars - Hancock

3.5/5 stars You have to stick with it beyond the first 15 minutes, otherwise it is not what you think.

Peggy Makes a Pie (Crust)

Just as there are many ways to cook your turkey (and brussels sprouts - what's up with their popularity this year?!), so there are pie crust recipes. Instead of relying on frozen, Pillsbury or Costco this year, I decided to make my own. Not only to save money, but to try and make it a little bit healthier by using real ingredients instead of chemical additives. The November issue of Good Housekeeping seemed to have an understandable-to-me set of instructions, so I thought I would give it a try today. I'll keep you posted!

I use the Libby's Lighter Pumpkin Pie recipe, with 2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice instead of the individual spices. (Psst! Check out this Date Nut cookie recipe on the Penzeys website, which also uses the pumpkin pie spice...It is also featured in their Holiday catalog)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pineapple Pudding Cake

Pineapple Pudding Cake is from the August/September 2008 issue of Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking magazine, page 55. (click links for the recipes) I was cleaning out my pantry and found an 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple close to the best used by date and thought this might be a good use for it today. The original recipe called for a 20 ounce can to make 9" x 13" cake. I didn't want that much, so I used a 8 1/2" x 10" dish. The recipe also said to use a package of yellow cake mix. Instead I used my tiny cake recipe, but kept the original sizes of pudding mix and cream cheese the same. Who doesn't want more of that combo?! I also subbed Neufachel Light cream cheese instead of the fat free. The fat free cost almost three times as much and I'm not a big fan of fat free cheeses. Nor Cool Whip, so I left that off, too. And the cherries, and the walnuts -- I like them, but didn't have any on hand. It looks pretty with just the pudding and pineapple on top. And a few sprinkles. OK, what's left? Tiny cake recipe, fat free milk, sugar free instant vanilla pudding mix, Neufachel Light cream cheese, 8 ounce can of pineapple, sprinkles. Who knows what the calorie and nutrition stats are now? The results? It tasted pretty good. The pudding/cream cheese was a nice alternative to a sugary sweet frosting. The AWOL Cool Whip, cherries and nuts were not missed and probably would have just put it way over the top. I would definitely make it again, in the larger size for a party. When I make the smaller version again, I will substitute cherries, peaches, raspberries or another fruit as T and L do not really like pineapple.

Money Monday - Souper!

While Swanson is easy, it can get expensive and use valuable real estate in your pantry. Plus if your recipe doesn't need an entire can, there goes money down the drain. I got hooked on Penzeys soup bases a couple of years ago. (Shout out to JoAnn!) I have and use the Chicken, Beef and Vegetable bases - a lot! Once opened, I store them in the refrigerator and they keep quite well. Each jar flavors at least 45 eight ounces. I also like the fact they are lower in sodium and don't have any MSG. So you not only save money, but you eat and stay healthier.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Who are these people and why are they here?!

As you can obviously tell, I have a rather eclectic group of friends and fellow bloggers in the right alley. I thought each week on Sunday I would randomly showcase one from the list and why they are there. I love to discover new blogs, and I think you will enjoy the introduction for new places to visit in Bloggy Land.

Sharon and I seem to sew from a parallel sewing universe. So many of her patterns featured in her Flashback Friday postings were ones I had sewn, too! She was one of the first to link my blog to hers, and I appreciate that. Sharon just seems so overall nice, you'll see why so many of the other sewing bloggers out there link to her, too.

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Once again the Red Cross is helping to collect and mail holiday cards to our soldiers and veterans this year. Mailing deadline is December 10. Click here for the guidelines and details.

Let's Get Crocking - Brisket

This is another morphing over the years of different brisket recipes. I try to find the Flat Cut, between 3-6 pounds. I layer onions on the bottom, between pieces of meat if necessary, and on top; season both sides and place fat side up in the crockpot. Depending upon the size of your brisket and preferences, you can use whatever amount you like:
2-3 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1 sliced onion
Celery salt
Crock on High for 30-60 minutes and then Low for 6-8 hours, depending upon your crockpot. Makes your house smell wonderful!

Netflix Stars - Leatherheads

0/5! You know something is wrong when the opening takes forever to get the movie started. The best scene was with the bulldog dressed as a football player on the sidelines. That's sad. I couldn't believe George Clooney and Renee Zellweger signed on for this, and he even directed it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Everyday Food #57 - Cranberry Bread

This turned out great! The Cranberry Bread recipe on page 21 of Issue #57 - November 2008 - calls for a 12 ounce bag of cranberries, but I had the Costco 3-pounder bag in the freezer. Twelve ounces is about a generous 2-cup. Don't they look pretty? The recipe went together easily - the brown sugar gave it a pretty ginger color and the Turbinado (Sugar in the Raw) sugar is an option really worth adding. I also used three 2 1/2 cup loaf pans (the 5 3/4" x 3 1/2" size). Not only did it shorten the baking time (40 minutes), but enabled me to eat one, freeze one, gift one tomorrow. T is no big fan of the cranberry, but he liked this. Surprisingly it doesn't taste that cranberry-ish. It looks and tastes more like slightly-sour cherries. So holiday-festive looking, too -- it would make a great gift.

Well, this bumper lasted 13 months. . .

This is what happens when you hit flying twisted sheet metal at 65 mph! I had no choice, no time - the pick-up truck in my lane ran over and launched it and my car clipped it as it was going over into another lane. The bumper even popped away where it wraps over the wheel. And yes, that is a crack! Wow!
I consider myself lucky---

1) I wasn't in an accident with all the other vehicles on the Katy Freeway swerving to avoid this airborne missile...
2) I didn't get two flat tires...
3) It didn't hit the windshield or me

My insurance agency may not be so lucky with me - what with Hurricane Ike and now this. I'm going to get an estimate and may just pay out-of-pocket if it is close to my deductible.
Update: This is what $655.38 looks like. Ouch!

Here's another great deal

Right now Costco has a $10 off coupon for the electronic 6 quart Smart Pot CrockPot - Costco's price is $39.99. And it comes with a serving spoon, carrying strap, cookbook and a Little Dipper. (The cookbook has new recipes, too) There was another woman getting one, saying her future daughter-in-law registered for it at Dillards and their price was $50. She wasn't even sure if theirs came with all the goodies packed into Costco's. And if you purchase one before November 30, there's a $5 rebate -- click here for the PDF form. What a deal -- all this for $25!

Penzeys Coupon Code - Mulling Spices

In the new issue of Penzeys One (Volume 3, Issue 4) with the cute gingerbread man on the cover, there's a coupon for a free 1/4 cup jar of Mulling Spices (online code 13938C). Offer expires 1-31-09 And you'll find a recipe for mulled cider, too on Page 51. It smells so nice, you might just want to pour a little into a dish to scent your home. This subscription just about pays for itself with all the free coupons!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Out of sight, out of my mind

While rattling inside my house during roofing, I decided to continue playing around in the sewing room. Karen's thread rack already had some embroidery thread and I decided to fill it with what I had, making it colorful and accessible. I found my thread box in the closet and all these threads I had forgotten about. Beautiful metallics, variegated, Madeiras, Sulkys and rayon threads, even Kreniks. So pretty, so glittery! I even found some extra spools to send to a friend to inaugurate her new White ATS 2000 serger. I know some people wouldn't dare leave their spools out, but they certainly were not doing me any good boxed and forgotten. In the very least, it is textile art. (The purse is a recent gift from Beijing)

P-Raise the Roof!

Our new roof is on -- just in time, rain is forecast for the weekend. My roof is the No. 1 most popular roof in Houston now -- 30 year, GAF "Weathered Wood" stain-resist shingles...and it looks pretty. If you are in the Houston area and need a great roofer, I highly recommend Nick at Ochoa Roofing. Pricing, clean-up, quality of work -- And I never lost my Dish satellite signals! Wow! That saved us a $99 reconnect charge! (And their temporary roof repair held - no blue tarp on our roof.) That's "Big Bubba" in the foreground - he was in a "European Garden" (?!) plant basket 17 years ago and we stuck him outside. This is just part of him. He's now over 12 feet tall, trimmed at least ten times since. Keeps the stray cats from jumping over the fence - surprise! Well, what was the fence. He's guarding the backyard quite effectively now, to the point the meter readers won't try to go past him - those spikes are sharp!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sandra Betzina Today's Fit - Vogue 1071

Vogue 1071 is one of the newest additions to the Today’s Fit line by Sandra Betzina. When I saw it on the website, I loved the View A hoodie from the start and couldn’t wait to get the pattern. I began with adding 6” to the length, but ultimately needed only 3 ½ inches. So this is running consistent to Sandra’s length sizing – short! I also wanted to add length to the sleeves and went with the “J” size cutting line. Something you should be aware of, especially if you are using a larger size and your knit is less than 60” wide – oops, your sleeve runneth over. Easily remedied, instead of cutting on the fold, I added ¼” to the fold line and cut out to seam together at the center front and center back. Actually I liked the addition of a quietly more flattering vertical line. If you want your sleeves longer, or wear a larger size and your fabric isn’t 60” wide, give yourself an extra yard so you can have enough to do this. Fortunately this was a Jo-Ann’s Red Tag 50% off sale knit fabric and I had purchased extra in case of shrinkage. Sandra also has you use fusible stay tape around the neckline. I didn’t have any, didn’t even know they had such a thing, so I used regular stay tape. I’m glad I did as I ultimately removed it. She even mentions in the instructions the hood may be larger than the neckline. It was. Also, the neckline comes up a little higher than you may be comfortable with. By removing the stay tape, not only did the hood go in perfectly, but it gave me a little more ease in the neckline, preventing the tugging during wearing. I loved how the hood collar drape looks in the front and back. And it is actually wearable size to wear on your head, if so inclined. There are two hood options, lined or unlined. I self-lined it, using the reverse side of the knit. Another fun idea would be to use a different fabric for the hood. If you have a heavier knit fabric, you may want to reconsider and make it unlined. The extra weight will pull it back. I was surprised even with my lightweight knit while wearing it today I’m still giving it a tug towards the front every once in a while. The dolman sleeves are dramatically dropped, so it doesn’t look like the top is too big as what can happen with this style. The upper and lower sleeve seams end up on the bias and I like the flare at the wrist/sleeve hem. However, you should note it does narrow right above the elbow, with about 1” of ease. It’s a different, unexpected look. That’s fine with a lightweight knit, but you may want to add a little extra to the seam allowances in case you use a thicker knit or are uncertain how it will fit.
I was so happy with how this turned out, I went right back into the stash to find more fabric to make it again. This would also be a cute top done a la the View B dress version without the hood. I’m not too sure yet about the dress. Maybe the dress done casually with a hood instead?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Money Monday - Hello Again

Go green and recycle your leftover Christmas cards. I found several boxes from previous years which contained a few or several - enough if combined would be plenty for my Christmas card mailing this year. I don't think people really keep track of the actual card itself from year to year. I hope not, that would be seriously pathetic and likely to be dropped from my list. If M.D. Anderson can do it, so can I. (Many of my cards were from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's Children's Art Project program). Or if you have the time and the inclination, use those extra envelopes from the freebies and make your own cards.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Who are these people and why are they here?!

As you can obviously tell, I have a rather eclectic group of friends and fellow bloggers in the right alley. I thought each week on Sunday I would randomly showcase one from the list and why they are there. I love to discover new blogs, and I think you will enjoy the introduction for new places to visit in Bloggy Land.

This week:

A Simple Girl With a Dream,

Brandi writes hysterical recaps of popular soap operas, reality shows and other television offerings. In particular, her postings about the "Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team" are spot-on and absolutely hilarious.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kroger Hustle

From this week's grocery shopping circulars, Kroger wins! I scored a 14+ pound turkey for $5.57 (39 cents/pound) and 10 Carnation Evaporated Milks for $5 (50 cents each instead of $1+) That should help with T's holiday fudge-making budget. The milk, not the turkey. I recant, the turkey savings purchased a 2 pound bag of gorgeous pecans. And yes, he is the arm behind the fudge. Not me, though everyone assumes so. I'll serge the fabric gift bags, doing a Christmas fabric stash reduction at the same time. Recipients are more likely to believe he made the bags (hey!!).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Check, please!

FINALLY! Two months after Hurricane Ike I receive our insurance check. Yet while I look longingly at the 5 figures, 6 if you included the "$" sign, it's still not mine. It's also made out to our mortgage company. Which thanks to Hurricane Katrina, once they receive it, distribution back to us will be parsed in thirds. I'll get a third within two weeks, another third after 50% of the repairs are done and the last when it's all finished. Please allow 5-7 working days for disbursement processing. Add $10 for overnight mail. Great, except the fence and roof jobs will only take one day, two days most. We're on schedule for the fence the end of this month and the roof early December. In the meantime, I'm trying to keep positive, enjoying the wide open expanse from my sewing room (estate living!) and the roof repair has held. And shopping for our new kitchen floor will be a pleasant diversion. (Yes, that was damaged, too. I'll spare you the rest of the 11 page insurance report.) But isn't it ironic how we have to be on time with our insurance and mortgage payments?!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Netflix Stars - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

4/5 stars -- The long-awaited 4th movie in the Indiana Jones series. Set almost 20 years later, looking not too none the worst for wear with plenty of action and creepy creatures. Easy for the new generation to follow having not seen the previous movies. Suspend plausibility and just enjoy.

Jo-Ann's Merry Moolah Sale

November 22/26 --
Coupons in store right now (and probably online) for $5/$10/$15 off your purchases ranging from $25-$75+

McCall's patterns $1.99 each
Noel mini prints Christmas flannel $2.50/yard

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In progress. . .

Vogue 1071, View A After threading the serger and sewing machine, winding bobbins and adding 6" to all the pieces except the hood, I just left it all in a heap until another day - tomorrow!

Today's Costco Find

Well, not actually today, this is a repeat purchase! OK, actually the third time. Costco's Kirkland Organic Salsa and Organic Tortilla Chips. The chips are a blend of yellow and white corn and very low in saturated fat - 0.5g; plus you get 2g of fiber! The salsa is so good and fresh tasting, you could pour it into a cup and drink it!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Billy Joel, "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me" 2:58
Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 (1978-1985

Monday, November 10, 2008

Money Monday - Cheap Cheep

Thanksgiving is cheaper than Christmas! I have found this to be true over the years. While there may be specials at the grocery stores after Thanksgiving, the savings won't be as great as what you'll be finding in the aisles the next two weeks. Stock up now on sugar, flour, eggs and butter; those prices will go up after Turkey Day, as the stores know you'll be baking more in December. Fill your freezer with turkey breasts and hams -- You can crock pot those year-round. And the Sunday papers have all those good coupons for pantry staples right now to fill your larder and save even more for the months and meals ahead.

Happy 233rd Birthday, US Marines!

Look what I got as a birthday gift today! -->

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Christina Aguilera, "Keeps Gettin' Better" 3:02

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Netflix Stars - Expelled

3/5 This was recommended by Netflix because I liked Miss Potter...Frequency...Signs...The Rookie...You've Got Mail...Night at the Museum...??!! One original thought visited and revisted, time after time. We understood the point about 3 minutes into the movie. The stock documentaries were appropriately used and made the movie more watchable. But overall, nice to see Ben Stein had a movie.

The Unlikely Lavender Queen

Whiny. Resentful. Reluctant. A toddler? No, Jeannie Ralston, "The Unlikely Lavender Queen" I'm sorry, I wanted and tried to like this book. It's set in small town Blanco in the Texas Hill Country. The behind the scenes beginnings of Texas Hill Country lavender. A woman finding herself on a new life journey. But the undercurrent of mocking Texas and complaining along the way didn't do it for me. Sheesh. I had this checked out from the library three weeks just trying to plow through it. Now I'll probably need to use an alias when I place my lavender order. . .

Saturday, November 08, 2008

My Bargain Find at the Chantal Outlet Sale!

A $42 Chantal "Jasmine" teapot for $8! L found it tucked away on a table with the red ("Alert! Bargain!") sticker. It was evidently a color prototype or catalog photo shoot prop, as it just had a handwritten sticker on the bottom with the words "New Chocolate" FYI - for $15 you can get the Jasmine teapot in their new "Pure" line in cream/linen color. Same thing as shown here. They've got several "Pure" items towards the front of the store to the right, second free standing aisle from the wall. There are also special $2, $3, $5 and $10 bargain tables towards the back. Definitely worth the trip in Friday afternoon traffic. Each weekend will offer different special deals, so repeat visits may be in store for you. Click here for more information about the outlet sale. Word to the wise coming in from Beltway 8 heading East, take the exit before Texas 249/Tomball Parkway and stay on the feeder road. (Sam Houston Racetrack--Fairbanks/North Houston Road)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Looking Good!

Budget looking kind of tight for Christmas? Put your stash fabric and scraps to a good use and make these cute eyeglass cases featured in the August/September issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine - page 94. Linda Schneewind of Digs suggests the more varied the fabrics, the better the outcome. Try using wool, corduroy or velvet scraps for texture and interest. For eyecatching holders for eyecatching glasses, use fabrics which coordinate with your frames or choose bright colors to easily spot inside your purse. Give cases as gifts to avid readers with a favorite book or magazine subscription.

Click here for the instructions from Shop Digs (PDF file)

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

KT Tunstall, "Suddenly I See" 3:18

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Vogue 8462 - View A and View C

To paraphrase Tim Gunn, "That's just too much look" as I tried on Vogue 8462 View A and View C together. Separately, I loved them. I used the micro stripe knit, stripe side out for the jacket and gray side for the top. You'd think it would work, but no. Just too-too something. . .

For starters -- the View A jacket is HUGE! Forget about closing demurely with a little button as shown in the drawing. You can wrap the fronts to the side easily. Go down at least one size from what you usually use. It doesn't help it is sized by letters each covering two sizes instead of single sizes. I could have gone down two sizes/letters, but that would have been another pattern purchase - There are only three sizes per pattern. The sleeves are really long, too - I didn't need to lengthen them. I also skipped the self-lining of the front pieces and just turned under 5/8" with some Steam-A-Seam and topstitching, saving time and yardage. I shudder to think what the extra weight would have done to the draping. I did not add a button, figuring I would hold it closed with a brooch or let hang open.

Now the View C top runs closer to size and fit great. Sews quickly, too. The only time I veered away from those directions was to not self-face the neckline, instead scrunching and tucking down like Vogue 7799 View A

I had fun with the topstitching, though -- 3.0 straight stitch followed closely with a 3.0 x 3.0 zigzag to pop out against the stripe.

Would I make this again? Not the View A jacket, but definitely the View C top. I like the idea it is sleeveless so I can wear it under other sweaters and pullovers and not get hot with all the layers. And it doesn't have the center seam like 7799 so I could have some fun with a print or stripe knit.

Argh! eBay!

I can see why eBay is going down for the count. I've bought and sold on eBay for over 10 years, earning my 100% positive red star with over 1,000 feedbacks. But I haven't lately and what a surprise when I tried to list a few of the culled books. Now the only payment option is PayPal. I've always used money orders, quite successfully both ways, avoiding that PayPal fee and those PayPal horror stories. Not anymore. Now eBay gets their cut and PayPal's cut. Something's not right here. Trying to list accurate postage comes up with a limit based upon their database - $4. That doesn't even cover a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope! And for some reason when I try to use the shipping wizard instead, all of my auctions weigh 8-9 pounds and I can't change it. Which makes for a very expensive Priority Mail rate. No wonder I don't have any bids! I struggled to list three items and it took me over two days of trying to set up a PayPal account and giving myself time-outs to maintain sanity. It's just not worth it for a few dollars, I'd be better off (and so would the library and Goodwill) if I just hauled the rest to them. EBay now seems skewed towards the buyers, and the sellers who are businesses. Someone like me is left behind. And we were the ones who built eBay's success. Think I'll start using Craig's List instead. Buh Bye eBay.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Cherry Poppin' Daddies, "Zoot Suit Riot" 3:52

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Culling the sewing room herd

All six (so far!) Whole Foods bagsful of books bound for the library did not fit into the photo! These were sewing, fashion, craft and holiday books. So many of them dashed and stashed into the sewing room bookshelves, and sadly forgotten over the years as children grew up and interests changed. Do yourself and others a favor and "cull the herd" once a year. You'd be surprised to see old favorites surface and feel good about releasing others to those who can use the ideas and information. Your local library is a good place to start. If they can't put the books on the shelves, they will sell them to fund their programs and to buy new ones. Donating to churches and thrift stores helps them raise money and gets these into the hands of moms, Girl Scouts, Vacation Bible Schools, etc. It took a Hurricane Ike and an afternoon going through the shelves and roomfuls of books, sewing notions, knitting supplies of a dear friend for a reality check. Would have I have grabbed these to evacuate or become upset if they were destroyed by Mother Nature? Nope, unless thinking - "Dang, someone would have loved and used this." That was my defining reasoning of keeping or waving goodbye.

Save the landfills and help others - sort through and donate from your sewing and craft room at least once a year. Not just books, but notions, craft supplies and fabric, too. How quickly it all becomes so dated as it just sits there, waiting. You'll feel better sharing and being able to see and enjoy what you have now.

Texas Mennonite quilt and craft sale and auction

Finally I'll get to go to the Texas Mennonite sale for world relief this Saturday, November 8 from 9-4! It's at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Wirt Road and Westview. Free admission and parking, too. Click here for their website link to get directions and information. I heard their baked goods are incredible, and the crafting and quilting skills impeccable.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Linda Ronstadt, "The Waiting" 3:59
Feels Like Home

Monday, November 03, 2008

Chantal Outlet Sale Weekends

For the next three weekends, beginning this Friday, Chantal is having their annual outlet store sale. Click here for more information, including map, hours and a sample of the incredible deals you will find! (How many TV shows and movies have you seen this teakettle in the kitchen?)
Click here for my bargain find on Friday.

Money Monday - Mix It Up

Let's mix it up!
Just in time for Thanksgiving, this is my favorite "recipe" for Poultry Seasoning --
1 teaspoon each of dried: rosemary...sage...thyme...marjoram...celery salt; 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Shake and store in a leftover spice container. Sprinkle on turkey or chicken and bake in oven or cook in the crockpot. Use in your favorite stuffing recipe. Especially if you use fresh spices, this will smell and taste so much better than the generic container of "Poultry Seasoning" being sold in grocery stores right now.

I love the Make-A-Mix cookbook co-authored by Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward and Madeline Westover. Their recipes and mixes will save you time and money...and help you eat healthier by reducing sugar, salt and other additives. Be sure you get the updated and expanded 1995 edition.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Houston Quilt Festival 2008 Report

In no particular order of randomness. . .

The clothing --

First a shout-out to our hometown girl Janelle Archer's entry in the Bernina Rendezvous Fashion Show with "Meet Me At the Oscars - I'll be Wearing Red" Not only was it featured on the cover of Bernina's "Though the Needle" and in the Houston Chronicle Star section on Thursday, it was also a finalist for Viewer's Choice award. Gorgeous work, Janelle! You did good! There is a rotating display of the other fashion show garments in the quilt hall. Another favorite of mine was Virgie Fisher's "Lookin' Fur Bigfoot." Young and trendy, the details were wonderful close-up. There was even a racoon family nestled on the front of her jacket.

The Hobbs fiberfill outfits were an interesting assortment. Summerset's Midnight Garden outfit won third place. Easily she could have switched for second. The first place winner blew everyone away and deserved that win. Fortunately the Midnight Garden mannikin was displayed at the right end corner, so you could, with a little effort, see the lovely jacket back detail. I knew about it from reading her blog and practically knocked over the line post and squeezed into the fire hose pillar space to get a better look. Then everyone started to stop and look (at the rest of her outfit, not me).
The shopping --

I got Quilting Arts newest magazine, "Stitch - Creating with Fabric & Thread" The skirt detail on the front cover caught my eye. And it includes 5 skirt patterns along with 25 "contemporary sewing projects" Haven't had a chance to really delve into the pages, but it looks promising.

Christmas came early for me with a new cutting board from Salem Manufacturing. (Booth 1600). The Special Quilt Show price and saving the shipping costs, enabled me to also get their Folding Square Ruler. Very cool! If you get a chance to stop by their booth for a demo, you'll end up with one also. Out of the three of us in our shopping posse, two went home with one.

I also bought a box of Lickety Grip. (Lolly Corp Booth 1803) Again, the try-it demonstration sold me. I usually keep a tube of the Neutrogena cream on my cutting table because my fingers get so dry. This seems much nicer and less sticky. $7.50 is a good price point.

At Artistic Artifacts (Booth 1257) the magpie in me found these cool sequins in black and red. Click to see the dotted detail.

Got the two cool knit fabrics at C&C Fabrics (Booth 1357). I plan to make more Sandra Betzina tops. Great prices, these were only $7/yard.
And finally - I touched a $12,000 !!! sewing machine, the new Bernina 830. It's huge - in both price and size.