Sunday, September 30, 2012

Saturday, Sunday Work in Progress

Butterick 5744 Version II - I redrew and narrowed the neckline flounce.   Got ready to cut out this afternoon and discovered I had not prewashed the fabric and lining!  All those Wednesday Work in Progress pictures, showing said fabric nicely folded and it never dawned on me that it was folded just a little bit too nicely and unwashed?!   So, after this post, I will cut out and progress!

And then the day came. . .

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Tea Time

This week - The Republic of Tea - Silk Route Tea Blend -  "Ginger Chocolate Black Tea"

Cost:  $11.99 at World Market.  (It's a World Market Exclusive.)
Number of teabags:  50, so you feel better about the price
Caffeine:  Yes
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  5 minutes
Add ins:  Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Chocolate Unsweetened Almond Milk and a packet of Sugar in the Raw makes it even chocolate-y.  And my favorite option is with a splash of Coffee Mate Natural Bliss "Sweet Cream."  Very nice.  No other sweetener needed.  Whew!  Save a carb where I can.
Teabag fragrance:  Chocolate, with a bit of spice.
Brews to such a pretty, dark
chocolate-y color!
Ingredients:  Black tea, natural chocolate and ginger flavoring, sweet blackberry leaves and ginger bits.
Opinion:  This is worth the search!  Thank goodness there are 50 bags and you only need one to get that yummy chocolate color and flavor.  The ginger just gives it a bit of a kick and warms it up a notch.  
Rating:  4.75 Only because it is a Limited Edition and takes a bit of an effort to find at World Market (I found it in their Austin store).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hanging Around Fall

Remember the wreath and Fall decorating supplies I found at the Dollar Spot at Target from last week's Wednesday Work in Progress?  Here are the results of a little fun with a glue gun!
I attached (pinned) this to the kitchen curtain valance
A Fall touch to the tall lamps on the living room bookcases

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What I'm Liking...

Yoplait Light Pumpkin Pie Yogurt!  

YUM!  On sale at Target this week for $2.  This actually tastes good!  Nicely spiced, more like a pumpkin pudding and not artificially tasting.  You will find it in what I call the seasonal/limited edition case opposite the main dairy section.  It made a perfect dessert last night for me.
90 calories, fat free, 80mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 10g sugars, 5g protein (!), Vitamin A 15%, Calcium 20%, Vitamin D 20%, Phosphorus 10%.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Netflix Stars - The Hunger Games

4.5 stars!   Suspenseful.  Violent.  And even funny in parts.  An unrealized story, but with great potential for cinematic follow-up.   I haven't read the books, and so I didn't know how this would all play out in advance.  Loved the costuming and special effects.

Fall For Tulips

Fall is ablaze in color!
Aren't these tulips from Central Market gorgeous?!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fall Bliss

"Each leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree"
- Emily Bronte

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Fall!

Isn't this cranberry fairy pretty?!
From the Michael Miller Fabrics Fairy Collection a few years ago.
Cicely Mary Barker was an artist in England in the early 1900’s who created and published the beautiful Flower Fairies books for children.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Alabama Theater Trader Joe's Grand Opening in Houston Texas

Trader Joe's finally opened their second store in Houston in the old Alabama Theater.  They refurbished and kept many of the art deco architectural styles and the movie theater theme throughout.  Yay Trader Joes'!

They used the style of the marquee!

Movie screen and take on Texas flag - clever!

You can see the Texas stars, the movie chairs in the balcony and other film touches.  So glad they restored the ceiling medallion!

My bounty!

Lots of teas to review for Thursday Tea Time!

They gave away free recyclable grocery bags!

Here's the other side!

Friday Flowers!

Friday Flowers - Trader Joe's Grand Opening!

Today was the Grand Opening of Trader Joe's in Houston, Texas in the old Alabama movie theater!  I love how they kept the movie theater theme going throughout the store.  I think I found a new hangout!

What I'm Liking. . .By the Graham

Absolutely loving these Honey Maid Peanut Butter Grahamfuls!  I found them at Target at the checkout endcap for around $2.29.  120 calories, only 15g carbs and 3g protein, with 1g sat fat and 10% calcium.   I now keep a pack in my purse for when I start to get droopy -- and no crashing afterwards.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday Tea Time - Namastea!

This week - Tazo - Lotus, Om and Zen

Cost:  Around $3.50-$4.00 at Target.
Starbucks also sells the Zen in tin box  of 15 sachets for $6.95 and also a box of 12 K-Cups.
Number of teabags:  20
Caffeine:  Lotus - No
Om - Yes
Zen - A little
Type of tea:   Lotus - Green
Om -   Green and black
Zen - Green
Steeping time:  3 minutes
Add ins:  Lotus - Plain, and with honey, perfect!
Om - Plain, honey, even CBTL Vanilla Powder couldn't salvage this.
Zen - Plain or honey, I even tried the CBTL powder
Ingredients:  Lotus - Naturally decaffeinated green tea, natural lotus flower flavor
Om - Organic darjeeling green and black teas and natural flavors of cucumber and peach
Zen - Green tea, lemon verbena, spearmint leaves, lemongrass and natural flavors
Opinion: Lotus - This had a very pleasant, flowery scent and brewed to a nice amber color.  Not a lot of zip to this, but if you are looking for a subtle tea to sip, try this.  Very light and clean, best to drink by itself.
Om - Cucumber?!  What was I thinking?  You couldn't even taste the peach.  It wasn't even a cucumber taste, just oddly grassy-mysterious vegetable flavor and scent.  And what an odd aftertaste!  No matter what I added.  I dumped it down the drain.
Zen - This is the green iced tea Starbucks sells.  I love this iced. I was curious to try it hot.  I was not that impressed.  It was, Okaaayyy.  I have so many other teas (understatement) which I like better hot than this.  Iced, it is still a winner!
Rating:  Lotus - 3
Om - 0
Zen - 4 - iced, 2 - hot

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Work In Progress - Fall In

Fall decorating via the Target Dollar Spot - $1 each (the mini wreaths are 2/$1).  I'll post the pictures later this afternoon!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Josh Johnson - "Peace (Nightsong 1) - 3:52
A very nicely paced slow song for swimming and skating.

Sew Purple!

Check out this computerized sewing machine available at Costco right now -- the Brother XR1300 - for only $169.99 (Item #654242).  Not a bad deal at all!  (No, I did not get it - tempted, yes.)   Pretty, too with the light purple accent color.   Look at all the stitches you get - 8 buttonholes, plus a bartacking.  Mirror-imagining ability, too.  Lots of quilting and decorative stitches, pretty cross stitching ones, too -- some I don't even have my Viking Husqvarna 1100.  This would be a great regular machine or a back-up/class/traveling machine.  (Hmmm...)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Consider the Lilies. . .

"Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."   Luke 12:27 (KJV)

I found these at Central Market.  I overheard the clerk call them "Casablanca" lilies.  That intrigued me --   Casablanca!  The label wrap, which I so carefully saved, but forgot which went with which, said one was Double Surprise and the other Roselily Belonica.   (I'm guessing the pink one is the Roselily)   They smell wonderful and look beautiful!

Friday, September 14, 2012

No Fry For Five

When I was walking out of the Rec Center after my morning swim, I saw a poster announcing the "No Fry For Five" Challenge for September.  You can visit the Shape Up Houston website to register for prizes if you pledge to not eat any fried foods for five days of the week.   Or just try and follow along on your own.
(Sounded A LOT better than signing up for  racquetball - yikes!)

That includes french fries and chips -- oh, oh.  That could be a toughie.  But you do get two days a week to enjoy and for good behavior.  It's all about balance and never saying never, right?

I'm going to do it - the Rec Center had these wrist bands at the front desk  if you promised to sign up online.  I know it sure helped me when I went grocery shopping afterwards - pausing and then walking right by the chip aisle!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Mighty Leaf Vanilla Bean

Cost:  $3.88 - On clearance at Target, you can also find this at Whole Foods and online for around $7.79-$9.99.  Whole Foods often puts this on sale for around $4.99-$5.99; and if you are lucky, you may find a coupon attached to the box.
Number of teabags:  15
Caffeine:  Yes
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  4 minutes
Add ins:  A little bit of honey, if even.  It tastes just fine without any sweetener.  A spoonful of CBTL's Fat Free Vanilla really raises the bar, though!  Wow!
Teabag fragrance:  A nice deep vanilla.  Ahh!  Let me whiff that again!
Ingredients:  Black tea, Madagascar vanilla bean bits
Opinion:  I seem black tea drinking lately.  Maybe because of the season changing and I want something a little more robust and flavorful now.  This does the trick with a nice vanilla bean kick, thanks to Madagascar vanilla.   Actually I was surprised to see the sell by date for this was May 2011, and it still tasted great! I found it, unopened when I was going through my pantry.  I'm sure the fact the pouches are individually sealed also helped keep that vanilla strong.  I also used two teabags, just in case.  I am definitely going to pick up a fresh box next time I'm in the store and find it on sale again.
Lately I've been getting Vanilla Bean lattes at Mod Coffee Shop in Galveston, and they put cinnamon in it.  Interesting combination!  So I tried adding a few taps of cinnamon - and voila!  A Vanilla Black Tea latte!   Try it!
Rating:  4

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday Work in Progress

Hmm, no progress on the dress - other than being pushed aside to gather materials and supplies for a watercolor class I am about to start!   I've always wanted to try it, and after two years finally it was offered again this semester.   I will post pictures of my efforts week by week.
Love the Pochacco pencil sharpener on top of my pencil case?!
You can also get a sneak peek at something else that caught my eye - the Zen Tangle and Zen Mandalas books!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Marc Enfroy - "Moonlit Dreams" - 3:31
Early morning swim, and I could still see and enjoy the crescent moon in that gorgeous pre-Fall azure sky while doing the backstroke.

We Remember. . .

Monday, September 10, 2012

Netflix Stars - Bernie

5 stars - Dark humor, but funny!  And it's a true story!  All characters were played to perfection by Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey (look for his mom in a cameo role!).  Plus it was filmed in Central Texas - Bastrop and Texas State University.  I loved the townspeople weighing in throughout the movie - mockumentary style, especially the one in the restaurant explaining the State of Texas in the beginning.   Definitely different.  Definitely good.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

September 9/29 --
25% off all knitting needles and crochet hooks

September 13/15 --
McCall's - $1.99
Vogue - $3.99

September 16/22 --
Coupon Commotion - Lots of 50% off coupons for regular-priced items
Butterick - 99 cents

September 23/29 -- 
BIGIF buttons

Netflix Stars - Just Friends

3 - Not a bad indie rom-com.  I was surprised to see it was from 1996.  Netflix suggested it for me.  Other than Hal Linden, the actors are pretty much unknown, but vaguely familiar-looking.  A nice movie to pop in for an afternoon respite.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Fall for the Free Raspberry Enlightenment and shipping at Penzeys!

Penzey's new Fall 2012 catalog is out, and if you are on their mailing list, you found a coupon for a free jar of  Raspberry Enlightenment on the cover.  Since this is such a value - $8.55, it is free with a $5 purchase.  Still a great deal! (Online orders, the coupon code is 97185C)  The coupon is not available in the stores, so all the more reason to call (800/741-7787) or visit their website.  (Which is also offering free shipping until October 14 for all orders of $30!)  Of course this catalog and website features "Enlightened" recipes, but also many other  Fall temptations like Slow Cooker Carnitas, Tomato Juice Cake, Pumpkin Pancakes, and a great story about Laurie and her Chicken, Sweet Potato and Apple Skillet.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Thursday Tea Time - Mango Tango

This week - Trader Joe's Specialty Teas - Mango Black Tea
Cost:  $1.99 at Trader Joe's in Tuscon, Arizona
I am eagerly awaiting the opening of Trader Joe's in the old Alabama Theater at Shepherd/W. Alabama.  Open, open, open!
Don't have a Trader Joe's or are impatient, too?  It is also available on
Number of teabags:  20
Caffeine:  Yes
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  4-5 minutes
Add ins:  As is with honey - very good.  Add a teaspoonful of CBTL's Fat Free Vanilla Powder - Perfect!! (see picture below)
Teabag fragrance:  Mango
Ingredients:  Black tea, natural mango and other natural flavors, blackberry leaves, hibiscus and calendula petals.
Opinion:  Wow!!  This is good GREAT!  I haven't even tried it iced yet -- I've been drinking it hot and for a tropical-y fruit tea, that says much right there.  I also like the fact that it is a fruit and black tea combo.  I'm all for drinking green tea, but the black tea really tangoes with the mango.  And you can't beat the price!  I am hoping Trader Joe's opens soon before I run out, I've been drinking this almost every day!  I've also been using two teabags, for extra mango fruit punch.    I can't wait to check out their other teas, if this is indicative of their quality, flavor and cost!
Picture pretty and yummy!
Rating:  5+

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

The Paper Raincoat - "The Right Angle" - 3:51

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Wednesday Work in Progress

Progress indeed!   The cutting table has finally been cleared!  Getting ready to make another Butterick 5744 - this time transitioning to welcome Fall in a gray and cream dotted cotton version.  I'm going to narrow the flounce to make it a little bit more tailored and easier to fit underneath a sweater or jacket.

Netflix Stars - Jeff, Who Lives At Home

3.99 - Not quite a 4, but almost.  Definitely defining a quirky and heartfelt film.  Funny, too.  Stick with it to the end, there's a nice message to it.  Added plus, it also has one of my favorite character actresses, Judy Greer.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Neon Trees - "Everybody Talks" - 2:57

One of each please!

What a great deal on Tuesday, September 4 at Dunn Brothers!  I'm going to try the Pumpkin Maple Latte for sure!  And the Sea Salt Caramel Latte.  Two dollars, two hands -- works for me!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Greetings from Tuscon!

My husband traveled to Tuscon...and all I got was this cool "Fearless" totebag from Trader Joe's! And Trader Joe's Mango tea instead of a tee-shirt.    A perfect fit!
Houston already has one Trader Joe's in The Woodlands, with a new one opening very soon (I hope!) in the old Alabama movie theater on Shepherd near West Alabama.  Yay!  I go by that one all the time - can't wait!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Today's Costco Find

Ready, set, create!
Found at the Houston Galleria Costco this afternoon.  Priced to fly at only $4.97!  Score!