Tuesday, January 31, 2017

cooking the books, sort of

I wanted to try new things in the kitchen this year.

I didn't exactly cook from books,
but we did try a few new-to-us foods
and even an actual recipe.

The kids and I went to the Asian market a few weeks ago,
and came home with
(among other normal-to-us veggies
like chayote and jicama)
guy goc 
(I am quite positive I've spelled that wrong, 
but that is how the gal pronounced it.
She said it translates to 'sweet vegetable'.
Guy goc (Sp!) is a leafy sort of vegetable,
that is cooked (often boiled) and served with meat.
I sauteed it with some other veggies
and topped them with fried eggs)
long squash
(that's what the box said)
fuzzy squash
(also what the box said)
and a huge daikon radish
that I used in the Pho.

We liked all of the new vegetables 
and I'll try to fit the Asian market in on at least a monthly basis,
if not bi-weekly.

The same day,
we also ran over to the produce place
on the north side of town,
whose name escapes me at the moment.

It's really not on our beaten path,
so I was somewhat relieved to discover
that the produce is neither less expensive,
nor of a better quality
than what I'm able to purchase from Aldi and Walmart,
so no need to try to add that to the shopping as well.

I also made mung bean sprouts
(which took for.ev.er to sprout and didn't seem to grow properly.
probably something to do with the veeery cold kitchen.
I finally called them done
and we ate them anyways.
I don't think the kids were big fans.)

Like I said,
I didn't exactly 'cook the books'
but I was a little more adventurous in the kitchen,
which is the whole point,
so I'm linking up with Julie's new cooking party :-)

(Oh. also worth noting -
I tried bone broth in the pressure cooker,
after my research didn't turn up anything
that suggested it wasn't as good for you
if it was made that way,
and it was so much tastier
than my usual broth made in the crockpot.)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

visit with an old friend

I seem to be in a season of having difficulty getting to sleep.

It's rather frustrating.

After 45 minutes of lying in bed last night,
growing more awake, instead of less,
I got up,
pulled on my 18 yr old burgundy terry cloth robe,
slipped out of our room,
careful not to wake Tyler,
and headed to the computer.

Too tired to actually quilt, 
I figured I'd spend an hour
looking at other people's quilting 
and hope for some form of osmosis.

But one can only hope for osmosis so much,
before one realizes - it isn't going to happen.

beautiful quilting
will come from more time at the sewing machine,
not the computer
(though it does have a part...)

So instead of looking 
- again - 
for inspiration and how-to's,
I quietly crept back into the bedroom
and grabbed a book off the shelf,
already knowing just exactly where

I was smiling in minutes.

I read until I could barely keep my eyes open
(page 64)
and promptly fell asleep when I crawled back in bed.

Ahhh, yes.
A visit with an old friend 
was just what the doctor ordered!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Lex' sews some more

One of the things Lexi wanted for Christmas 
was a pink sparring gear bag
(to share with Lily)

To be honest,
I was a little surprised.
I would have thought she'd want pink gear.
But no,
all she wanted was a pink bag
to carry the gear she already has.

Brandon was going to buy her one.

But a few weeks before Christmas,
I was shopping at Hobby Lobby,
and of course,
walked through the fabric section,
and saw this owl fabric
that I knew Lexi would love,
and a light-bulb went off.

What if, instead of Brandon giving her 
a bag,
he gave her a kit
to make her own bag??

He was on board with the idea,
so I ran with it.

One day while they were at TKD,
I prepped the kit,
adhering the fusible fleece
and cutting out the pocket,
and the corners,
and even putting snaps in  a tiny bag,
so that all she had to do,
was start sewing.

I packaged it in a clear zipper pouch 
that Craftsy uses for their fabric.
It was cute, but you'll have to trust me on that;
I forgot to take a picture of it.

She had the option of closing it with snaps,
or a zipper,
and true to form,
she choose the more difficult route.

She sewed it up a few days after Christmas,
in just one day.

her first zipper!! at 7 yrs old!

The only thing I sewed was the zipper tab,
and I attached the straps and did the topstitching.

I probably should have just made her do those things, too,
but she was getting tired,
and she really wanted it finished,
and she didn't want wobbly stitches.

And hey - she didn't exactly ask for a kit anyways......

Lexi - Momma is proud of you.
You are eager to learn the best way,
even when it's not the easiest.
That's a good attitude to carry through life.

linking up with AmandaJean
and Beth at Cooking up Quilts :-)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

things that make me smile

Knowing that tomorrow will be a tough day for me,
I thought I'd try to preempt some of the sadness,
and make a list 
of some of the things that have been making me smile lately.

In no particular order...

Matt and Marin (and adorable Milo) 
came down to spend the day with us Saturday.

On top of that,
they brought generous gifts for the kids,
and it always makes me smile
when people love on my kids.

Speaking of loving on my kids -
Tony and Kacy surprised them this week
with a case of hubba bubba bubble tape.
They've been happily chewing gum
and blowing bubbles for days.


Listening to Brandon play his guitar and sing in the LEM
while I work in the kitchen.
Especially Lion and the Lamb
 (ah - should have guessed that was a Big Daddy Weave song) 


a fridge full of fresh raw milk


A video birthday message for Lex'
from Canadian penpals


text messages from my daughter in law,
just because she misses me.
Though, admittedly,
those make me cry, too.


phone calls or texts from my big boys.


(don't judge)

oh, and also, date nut bread, with tons of butter.
(the recipe actually came from my mother in law,
though my mom has made it as a Christmas gift for so long,
I'd forgotten that.
the really funny thing is - 
I'm the one who gave the recipe to my mom!)
Lexi requested it as her birthday breakfast.
She was so excited when she realized we could all have more than one piece.


When Tyler or Brandon leave a fresh coffee pod in the Keurig for me.
Not because it's so hard to go get one myself,
but because they chose to love me that way.


kids playing without fighting




beautiful sunsets


knowing that soon, 
I'll be running upstairs {in the new house} to look out the widow
at the sunset
every time a kids says, 
"Mom - sky!"


date night


the string of LED lights in the bathroom
and the Christmas lights in the doorway
between the living and dining rooms.

I like twinkle lights, what can I say?


Tyler and the kids playing games.


My man


flowers in the window sill,
and in the bathroom


FB messages from a dear friend
who gets me.


a good night's sleep

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

my lazy day

I had the laziest, most laid back day
I've had 
in a very long time.

I spent the bulk of the day 
lounging in bed,
with a heating pad wrapped around my stupid elbow,
visiting all but about a dozen or so
 finish-it-Friday links.

I did make a quilt back,
but that merely consisted of sewing a single seam
along perfectly matched up and Elmer's glued fabric,
then pressing the whole thing
before folding it in half, then thirds,
and hanging it on the hanger with the top.

I did 3 loads of laundry.

I made buffalo chicken dip for a snack
so nobody would die from hunger
3/4 of the way through the day.

I printed off an 8.5 x 11 picture of the quilt,
along with a couple of single blocks,
which the girls laminated for me,
so I could draw / doodle quilting ideas.

I also made dinner,
crispy thighs, pan roasted broccoli & spiraled chayote, and rice
and helped Tyler with the dinner dishes.

Besides that - I did nothing!

It was so nice 😊

Friday, January 13, 2017

swoony stars for a Star

Can I just say - I love this quilt (top)!!

Love it!!

It turned out even better than I imagined,
due, of course,

Even though there were no new skills in this quilt,
I feel like I really mastered a consistent 1/4 in seam
on this baby
(though there are still a few not *quite* pointy points...)
 I cut fabric in eighths of an inch
which is something I never thought I'd do.

Of course,
I never really thought I'd sew 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch flying geese either...

Most fabrics were chosen primarily for color,
(as a reminder, 
my 'color story' fabric for this quilt was 
Budquette in Nightfall from Art Gallery's Emmy Grace collection)

though some were chosen especially for Jordan.
and here are a few more:

Jordan loves to read,
so I used lots of text prints.
Normally I love Lecien fabrics,
but I'm not as crazy about their text prints.
The looser weave makes the letters not line up real nicely
even with tons of starch.

She also likes to camp

and travel

and she loves animals

big cities

this is the fabric that Sally gave me

and music.

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I actually bought that fabric for the treble clef,
but ended up sprinkling other bits here and there,
because they were so perfect

 I added because Jordan is a really great friend,
so the girls playing together
made me think of her.

Jordan got engaged
during the making of the quilt,
so it seemed fitting to give that momentous occasion
 a little nod,
so I made a little teardrop diamond.

I'm not totally crazy about it,
so instead of using it as the center of a star,
I stuck it in a filler spot.

A friend had suggested I replace the surrounding fabric
with something with more contrast.
I'm sure that would have looked nicer,
but I stuck with my original plan,
because I thought the fabric I chose was opal-ish,
and she got engaged in October....
(opal is October's stone) 
Silly; I know. 

These fabrics don't look like much,
but they're actually pretty special.

I needed something to fill a 2x10 space,
and I didn't want to use just a strip of fabric.
I also didn't want to make 5 2" stars ;-)
but I really couldn't think of another option,
so as I worked on filling all the other holes,
I prayed that I'd come up with the perfect solution for that one.

I remembered that I had a pile of pre-sewn 
red and white HSTs
that I didn't end up using in Any Which Way.

My 'reds' ranged from pink to orange,
so I thought I just *might* find something that'd work.

And wouldn't you know it - I did!

But then I heard my husband's voice,
reminding me to give the quilt what it deserved;
not to skimp or compromise.
I wondered briefly if I was.

But I knew that I wasn't.

You see,
Jordan was here with her dad that day.

Jordan was excited about
and interested in my current project that day, too.

That project - was Any Which Way.

So it was absolutely perfect
that I use a piece that was originally intended for that quilt,
in Jordan's.

This one makes me smile.

I'd ordered the ballerina girls when I found it on sale last Spring,
not knowing if Jordan had ever done ballet or not.
I figured I could use it for another quilt if she hadn't...

When I started pulling fabric for the quilt,
I texted her mom and asked.
She told me that when Jordan was little
she'd signed her up,
but when she took her to class
Jordan would just stand there (or cry).
Then she told her momma that she didn't 
need to learn how to dance;
she already knew how!

So I had to add some,
for the little girl who has always known how to dance,
and the beautiful young woman she became
who has more charm and grace
than just about anybody I know.

I wish I could send this one off to Carole to quilt.
I'm a little afraid I'm going to ruin it...
I'll just have to take it super slow.
Good thing I'm ahead of schedule :-)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

what's up, Pussycat?

How on earth are we over 1/3 of the way through January?!


I am *this* close to a quilt top!!

Last Wednesday, 
I took over the dining room for a day
(that was the plan. I am such a jokester)

I pulled the table out
(at an angle, so we could still get in and out of the room)
so I could hang batting on the wall
and sent kids to bring in the scaffold bench things
from the house.
(so much handier than chairs!)

I got all of my stars and swoons arranged

And added in strips and chunks of fabric,
and decided I needed another 31 stars
(6  4 inch stars, and 25 3 inchers)

that 'stained glass' was sure pretty to wake up to :-)
I immediately ordered a 3/4 x 1 1/2 in flying geese Bloc Loc ruler.
No way 
was I going to try for geese that small without one!
And while I waited for it to arrive,
I sewed 
and sewed.
And sewed. 
(still taking over the entire dining room.)

I spent as much time choosing fabrics
as I did cutting and sewing up the stars.

after all that deciding what fabric should go where,
I figured I best label them,
so I didn't have to re-figure out where each should go

I did my share of seam ripping, too.
it's just part of sewing for me,
and I rarely beat myself up over it anymore.

upside down. oops!

This quilt has been such a joy to work on

but even I am getting sick of the mess.
And my very patient husband noted Tuesday
that he was glad I'd have my own sewing space
in the new house,
and that I had sort of ruined the family meal table
(we've been having -  umm - 'dinner theater' every night for a week now)

what you cannot see in this picture
it the perpetual fabric mess just to the right...
The good news is,
I will return the dining room to its rightful state today!!


A few weeks ago,
my good tweezers disappeared.

After having a few 
"I'm 48 years old! 
I should be able to have my own pair of tweezers"
"A middle aged woman 
needs immediate access to tweezers at all times"
this little box showed up in the mail.
Thanks, Love.

They work just as well as my absconded with pair.
The only thing that would make them better,
was if they looked like they do on the box.
(instead they are black with polka dots.
Still very cute!)


My sister gave everyone fermented veggies for Christmas
and it was just the push I needed to make my own again.
Thanks, Ter!


The girls both got their first professional haircut yesterday.

I was hoping to learn something new 
to help me cut their hair more 'professionally'
it turns out,
I actually do a pretty good job.
Plus - at home,
they get to sit.
(Mrs. Pam isn't set up for kids,
so they stood 
while she sat as she cut, so she could be eye level.
It wasn't exactly the pampering experience I'd hoped for them.
Lexi, bless her heart, poor baby,
passed out
after having her chin tucked to her chest 
with hair in her face for 5+ minutes
while Mrs Pam cut.)
But - Mrs Pam fixed their hair after cutting,
which Momma never does....

pretty girls! Momma loves you!

Our appointments were actually scheduled for last week,
but Brandon was gone for the Passion conference,
so I had to reschedule.
Rescheduled for Friday,
and we cancelled due to SNOW.
(so yes, 
while I've had my quilting crap all over the dining room,
there was snow stuff all over the living room
and bathroom.
We had extremely low temps over the weekend,
and yesterday,
as we sat outside waiting for our appointment
it was sixty-some degrees!!

Crazy Arkansas weather!!
(But I am very happy for the reprieve from winter!)


My elbow.
Still bad,
I think I've found a treatment that is working!
I was able to pick up an empty coffee cup without pain this morning.
More to come on that in a few days.

I've got to get back to the sewing dining room
and get those blocks put together.


One more thing!!

I joined instagram.
I'm in the 21st century now!

You can find me here.
(but you'll have to forgive any newbie faux pas)