Saturday, June 30, 2012

Giant Cinnamon Rolls!

Looky at what I found at the Williams-Sonoma Outlet in San Marcos, TX

Original price $38, scored for $9.99!

I'm going to try my cinnamon roll recipe in these and see how they turn out.     I'll post pictures in the morning!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Flowers

Garden Update - The Birds and the Bees

Purple Basil 
 The bees LOVE the purple basil flowers!   Can you just imagine the honey?
Celeste Figs
Butterfly on car door

Crazy damn butterfly flew into my car!
Last year's drought didn't have much of impact on our fig tree.  It is now over 12 feet tall and almost as wide.     There's plenty to share with the birds.  And strangely, butterflies are around it this year.  They are orange-ish colored, wingspan of about 2-3 inch  and fly really quickly around.  If anyone knows what kind they are, please let me know.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Tea Time

This week -- Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Vanilla Herbal Tea
Cost:  $1.99 at Kroger
Number of teabags:  20
Caffeine:  No
Type of tea:  Herbal
Steeping time:  4 minutes
Add ins:  Drinkable for me without any sweetener - yay!  A little tap of Stevia brings out the fruitiness a bit more.
Teabag fragrance:  Spearmint
Ingredients:  Chamomile, spearmint, West Indian lemongrass, natural French vanilla flavor, tilia flowers, blackberry leaves, orange blossoms, hawthorn and rose buds.
Pretty color!
Opinion:  As I do with most herbal teas, I brewed this with two teabags, to really pack up the punch.  So this was a fun ride in a mug!  I could taste the vanilla, then spearmint, then the fruit, one right after the other over and over.  I really liked this!  It brewed to a pretty color, too.  At first I was a little leery of the orange blossoms, since citrus gives me migraines, but am happy to report - no headache.  You can't beat the price either - $1.99 ?!  And you can usually find coupons every so often, too.   Even though it is part of the Sleepytime series (adding on to their blend of chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass), I drink it during the day, too.  Feeling hyper?   Off center?   Sit down and relax and enjoy a break.  Soothed and recharged to either carry on or close out the day.
Rating:  4.5  

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

King Floyd - "Groove Me" - 3:04
Fun song for swimming, skating...and YOGA!  I took a class and they played this song during a vinyasa flow.  Perfect!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Work in Progress

This is a picture of my Kreinik #034C spool of thread!
"All of our dreams are laid out and measured,
Arrows and pins and a rainbow of threads,
Like hope on a string, sewn into the linings
For the courage to face the unknown ahead..."

The first verse of "Soul Companion" from Mary Chapin Carpenter's new CD, "Ashes and Roses"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Kathryn Kaye - "August Light" - 4:27
Such a pretty song!  Beautiful to skate to and perfect for cool downs swimming laps.
This is the second song I've downloaded from her "Dreaming Still" CD on Amazon.  I also got "A Calm Awakening."   I heard them on the New Age Dish Channel "Aura" 977.  

Favorite new iPad and Android app! - White Noise

White Noise by TMSoft
I had this app on my iPod Touch, and when I got my new iPad, I was able to load it on there, too.  (Nice to know all the apps I had purchased earlier for the iPod transferred right over to the iPad.) They also have a free version, but for a couple of dollars, why not get the upgrade and help support these guys?  I also willingly paid the $1.99 and put it on my Samsung Android phone, too. 
Not only do you get lots of different sounds, but you can update with new ones created by the company and by others -- FREE!   Bonus a beautiful picture appears on the screen, and you can use as a digital LED alarm clock when traveling.  Big numbers, too!   
On a recent trip with a noisy hotel room air conditioner cycling on and off, I remembered this app and programmed a playlist loop of Light Rain on Deck, Great Falls and Small Fountain on my iPad.  I slept great! 
Right now my favorites are:
Violet Noise
Bamboo Chimes
Great Falls
Hatteras Beach
Light Rain on Deck
Small Fountain
St. Lucia

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Father's Day Molasses Cookies

On my Cuisinart cookie sheets from Costco a few years ago.  Love!

I also LOVE my Williams-Sonoma cookie sheet (I only have one)
Which I bought on sale.  A big sale, as they are $30 regular price.  Apiece.  But they help make a dang good cookie!

These disappeared so fast, I made another batch right away!
Hubby loves molasses cookies, and I'm always on the lookout to find and try new recipes.  Father's Day and a Penzeys catalog made for a good opportunity to combine all forces.  I think sometimes molasses cookies can masquerade as ginger snaps, but these are a bit softer and chewier than the usual 'snaps.  These had a good flavor and spice blend.  They made the whole house smell good!  Looked pretty, too!  (Shhh!  This could definitely be a contender for this year's Christmas Cookie Exchange party.)

This recipe is from the Winter 2012 of the Penzeys Catalog on page 15, submitted by Angelina Liautaud.
I rolled the cookie dough balls in Wilton White Sparkling Sugar (found at Target) mixed with a little Penzeys Vanilla Sugar for added "Yum!" flavor.


3/4 cup shortening (a little less)
1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup molasses (overpoured a little on purpose)
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used Penzeys Vietnamese Cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt the shortening in a 4 quart saucepan over low heat (I just used a 2 cup glass measuring cup and the microwave as I was going to use my KitchenAid to mix the dough).  Let cool slightly.  Add the sugar and molasses, stir and then add egg.  Beat well.  In medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt.  Add to the molasses mixture.  Mix well and chill, covered for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375.  Form the dough into 1" balls.  Roll in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheeets.  Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes (10 my oven) until they have crackled.  Let cool slightly before removing to cooling racks.

Yield about 4 dozen cookies.
Nutrition information:  Serving size 2 cookies (41g) -- 180 calories, total fat 8g, cholesterol 10mg, sodium 200 mg, carbohydrate 26g, sugars 15g, protein 2g.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Teeccino Mayan Chocolate Herbal CoffeeTee-Bags
Cost:  $4.99 at HEB
Number of teabags: 10
Caffeine:  No
Type of tea:  Herbal, coffee
Steeping time:  5 minutes
Add ins:  First with a little Stevia, then some CBTL fat free, sugar free vanilla powder (made it taste like pumped up hot cocoa!)
Teabag fragrance:  Spicy chocolate
Ingredients:  Organic carob, organic barley, organic chicory, organic ramon nuts, natural chocolate flavor, organic cocoa, organic chile flakes.
Opinion:  The idea was bizarre enough for me to try, chocolate was the bonus.  It brewed nice and dark, like coffee. It also has 1% calcium and 1% iron.   It does have 390mg of inulin, which probably accounts for the 4g of carb.  And mostly likely from the chicory.  Some people are iffy about it.  This is the first time I've seen it listed in a beverage label.  It didn't bother me, since I only had one mug/one "teebag".  I would drink and get this again.  It is a nice change of pace, and kinda fun.
Rating:  4 - I liked this!  And I'm not a coffee drinker.  That says it right there.

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Sales

June 24/July 14 - 25% off Martha Stewart crafts paint.  (See my love affair with "Green Curry")

July 1 - 60% off Notions wall - lowest price of the year.  Watch for exclusions though.

Independence Day Sale - July 1/7
99c McCalls
$3.99 Vogue
50% off interfacing by the yard

July 5/7 - $1.99 Butterick (Based upon my luck with 5744, I'll be checking their pattern catalog again!)

July 12/14 - $1.99 Simplicity

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Read This!

The Repurposed Library - 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Books New Life
by Lisa Occhipinti
ISBN 978-1-58479-909-2 2011 Library Call No. 745.5

I have seen altered books in magazines such as  "Cloth, Paper, Scissors", but never anything like this.  

The book was not only a visual delight to page through (haha), but intelligently illustrated with step by step instructions, and cleverly written.  A bookmobile mobile (shown on the cover), writers blocks, a play book to hold your cards and a set of dice…Even book tatoos and a Kindle keeper! I also liked the kitchen tool holder (also on the cover)---made out of a cookbook, of course.  These projects go way beyond the Girl Scout folded Christmas trees and angels from phone books and Readers Digests spray painted gold, sprinkled with glitter and a styrofoam ball glued on top projects.

What a fun and inspirational read of a unique craft book, about books!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Free Iced Tea at La Madeleine Tomorrow!

La Madeleine celebrates the Summer Solstice and first day of summer tomorrow with free iced tea - both mango flavor and regular.  No purchase necessary.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Daddy's Girl
(Big Time!)

Daddy's Girls!
(Big Time!)

The best two Dads I know and love with all my heart!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Netflix Stars - Cowboys & Aliens

5 stars!  We thought this was a fun combination of cowboys and Indians and Western/sci-fi/action movie with a humorous twist. A great storyline which keeps you guessing until the end.   Then add Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford...what's not to like?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Flowers

From The Arbor Gate in Tomball (Houston), Texas -- purple "Fragrant Delight" heliotrope and orange "Florida Sunset" crossandra infundibuliformis

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday Tea Time

Pretty caramel color!
This week - Himalania Sea Buckthorn Leaf Tea

Cost: $4.49 on sale at Whole Foods (regular price $6.99)
Number of teabags: 20 teabags, 10 per clear sealed plastic envelope inside box
Caffeine:  No
Type of tea:  Herbal
Steeping time:  2 minutes
Add ins:  A little bit of Stevia
Teabag fragrance:  Chocolate-y before steeping.  Like spinach leaves afterwards
Ingredients:  Organic Sea-Buckthorn leaves
Opinion:   The box had a good label, listing the benefits of flavonoids, polyphenols and other antioxidants.  And the weirdness factor, of course, grabbed my attention.   But first impressions (does this smell like chocolate?!) turned quickly bitter, figuratively and literally (does this smell like spinach to you? waving the teabags under my daughter's nose. Yuck agreed.)
Rating:  1, because 1) it's different.  2) it is good for you.  3) perhaps it will grow on you.  Popeye liked spinach.  Maybe there's another sailor cartoon character promoting Sea-Buckthorn?

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

U2 - "Trip Through Your Wires" - 3:31

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday (Monday!) Work (Done!) In Progress

View B top with View A skirt and tie belt
A breather!  (pant, pant)  (or should I say, "dress, dress"?!)  I knocked out Butterick 5744 on Monday in eight hours to wear to my Sewing Fashionistas meeting that night. (after doing the muslin on Sunday) from the previous Wednesday Work In Progress.
I literally finished at 5:15 and was out the door by 5:30.   Love, love, LOVE this dress!  In fact, I have two more versions awaiting on the cutting table.  A more detailed review is coming.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

kriss kross - "Jump" - 3:21
It gets me rev'd up for my ice skating jumping attempts...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Saturday, June 09, 2012

New Sandra Betzina Patterns

1297 Dress
1307 Pants

Especially the pants.
I would have to see the dress made in one of Sandra's fabrics or her take on it.

New Penzeys Summer 2012 Catalog and Coupon Code!

The new Penzeys Summer 2012 catalog has a coupon for a free 1/4 cup jar of their new Mitchell Street Steak Seasoning (29838C for telephone and online orders).  I love their Chicago Steak Seasoning (which you can also use to make a great BBQ sauce!).  Of course, lots of great recipes are included in their catalog (click here to order yours).   Cinnamon Graham Cracker ice cream (!), Naughty Bars (!!), even Vegan Chocolate Cake (!!!), and much more to make your cookouts and summer even more tasty.

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Firefly Frenzy - June 10/16

Simplicity $1.99
50% off interfacing by the yard
50% off all buttons

June 21/23
McCalls $1.99
Vogue $3.99

Judge a Book By Its Cover

Beautiful book cover!
(I even saved this and used as my Samsung lock screen picture)

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Bob Welch : (
(look for young Valerie Bertinelli in the video!)
Is this pure 1978 or what?  I had that hair, those dresses, the flower tucked behind my ear. . .
and fun that summer!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Aerosmith - "Rag Doll" - 4:24

Thursday Tea Time - Doctor!

Whole Foods had these Dr. Chao Vegan drinks as samples a few weeks ago.  They are really good!  A little pricey at $2.99; but convenient to stash in the fridge and still less than what you might pay at Starbucks with less calories and sugar. No dairy, no lactose, no soy, no cholesterol.  At only 100 calories and barely above one carb count, these aren't that bad and help keep me out of trouble jonesing for something else.  I've been knocking one back after yoga and swimming.  Surprisingly they are really filling and they don't taste cloyingly sweet at all.  The vegan part is just bonus.

My favorite is the Almond/Almond Milk tea, pretty equal with the Coconut Milk.  I thought the Vanilla flavored Almond Milk tasted a bit off.

Here's the list of numbers and ingredients:

Almond/Almond Milk tea:
Calories 100, total fat 3g, (0 saturated, 0 trans), sodium 150mg, potassium 240mg, total carbohydrate 19g, fiber 1g, sugar 17g, protein 1g.  Vitamin A 10%, Iron 6%, Vitamin E 50%, Vitamin D 25%, Calcium 30%
Ingredients:  Brewed organic green and black tea, organic almond, organic evaporated cane juice, pectin, xanthan gum.

Coconut Milk tea:
Same numbers (hmm?)
Ingredients:  Brewed organic green and black tea, organic coconut, organic evaporated cane juice, pectin, xanthan gum.

Vanilla/Almond Milk tea:
Same numbers (?!)
Ingredients:  Brewed organic green and black tea, organic almond, organic evaporated cane juice, organic vanilla, pectin, xanthan gum.

Mocha Almond Milk coffee:
Same numbers (really?!)
Ingredients:  Organic brewed coffee, organic almond, organic evaporated cane juice, organic dutch cocoa, pectin, xanthan gum.

I'm not a huge fan of coffee and never drink it straight.  But I like some mochas and thought I would give it a try.  And I really liked it, in fact went back to get a few more to keep in the fridge. For starters, it's chocolate!  : )   It's not bitter at all and has just the right coffee flavor (read:  not that much) and the bonus of a nice caffeine boost without the twitching.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Wednesday Work In Progress

Let's see - half finished robe still working on (understatement), my serger was fixed (muslin swatches from Harvey.  Seriously, my serger just purrs now!  If you live in the Houston area and need an excellent [and eclectic, I absolutely adore him] sewing machine and serger repair person, let me know!) and, what's that?  A Butterick pattern 5744 and fabric from High Fashion for a cute and fun summer dress?  Yes!  Must.Finish.Robe.First.
Besides, I don't need to have the dress done until next Monday. . .
all good.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Pimp My iPad

The room lighting distorted the screensaver wallpaper color.  

Oops!  Took the picture before I added the corner pieces
A very happy repeat customer -- I used DecalGirl to trick out my Nook a couple years ago.  It still gets oohs and aahs, especially when I'm downloading and reading at Barnes & Noble.  

This print is called "Vintage Scarlet" in the matte satin finish.  (It's also available in the high gloss finish)  The description is funny -- Pink, feathery leaf trellises curl their way across an aged brown paper background in this classic floral design that reminds us a bit of wallpaper from an old Wild West bordello … or maybe an old sofa.  In real life, it's a pinky red, and more like an olive green/brown.  Great color combination!

I love how the bonus free wallpaper/screensaver design lines up perfectly, and was very surprised to discover there were pieces so  I could also decorate my charger plug!   

Like their page on Facebook and Twitter follow these ladies for special deals and discounts.  I was able to score this for 30% off.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - "Should I Stay or Should I Go" - 2:58

Monday, June 04, 2012

Netflix Stars - My Week With Marilyn

4.5 stars - Michelle Williams was very convincing as Marilyn, albeit with a lot of padding.  An interesting side of her often overlooked.

Netflix Stars - The Iron Lady

4.5 stars - You can definitely see why Meryl won the Oscar for this.  I liked the love story flashbacks/flashforwards between her and Dennis.  However, we thought the filmmakers' portrayal of her elder persona was a bit cruel.