Thursday, February 25, 2010

Little Notions 1

Yesterday I was reading through some mighty cute and inspiring blogs! It is very easy to get lost in these blog hops. It is like a series of rabbit trails that have the potential to never end. And, my how the time can get away from you!!

I came across one blog with a little journal entry. It was so sweet, and reminded me of the many nature and vacation journals that my daughters, (and sometimes me and my guy) have kept over the years. Good ol' Memory Lane, you can get lost there too!

A weekly journal entry sounds fun to me so I am going to give it a whirl!
Little Notions
Friday, Feb 26, 2010

I believe that our city council meetings are too long! Not that I attend these myself, mind you. But my guy does. And in order to accommodate these extremely long meetings, I have to serve dinner extra early and go to bed alone. That is too long, in my book.

I hope some cookies have magically appeared in my pantry!

I just love my guy. He is such a great husband and dad. And he works hard to take good care of his "three girls".

I am inspired by nature, for sure. To look on all that God has made, in all of it's diversity and endless size and color variations, and to know that He created it from nothing. Now that is inspirational.

I am creating a black and green basket quilt from the "Kiwi" line of fabrics.

I am learning to write a business plan. And, it is no fun.

I am grateful for good friends and dinner parties!

I am reading Jane Eyre, again.

I really need to find some more good egg recipes. My hens have gone crazy. They have laid 5 dozen eggs in the last 4 days, and there are only 14 of them. I think that they must just be walking along, shooting out eggs!

I really want to go to Italy....and France...and Spain...and Germany...

Outside I can see all of my hens in the street. They are drawn to that road like a kid to candy. I hope they don't lay any eggs while they are down there. Although...

In my kitchen is everything I need to serve 3 courses of fondue at my little dinner party tonight. YUM.

This week we put a new rug in our bedroom, and it looks fabulous!

A photo thought
about spring:


Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I really need to be working right now. But, I don't want to. Aargh!
Actually, anything at all sounds better than working. Well, maybe not brain surgery or cleaning up elephant poop at the zoo. But, short of that....

Isn't aargh a great word. If you look it up in the dictionary you'll get a terrific definition: to express dismay in the manner of a pirate. I am having an aargh kind of day.

And speaking of words, I almost never use the word terrific. I prefer fabulous. Why, you might ask. (I am sure you are dying to know). Well, when my girls or I hear the word terrific, we always have the same thought. We even speak it out loud. Every single time. And, because of this word-thought association, I am never really sure how to spell the word "terrific".
And I quote "T, double-E, double-R, double-I, double-F, double-I, double-CCC". In case the source of this quote did not immediately come to mind, it was spoken by the goose in Charolette's Web. And yes, I know she actually says double-R twice, but we remembered it with only one "double-R", so it is forever ingrained in our little pea brains the wrong way. C'est la vie.

C'est la vie, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. What a great song....
They had a teenage wedding and the old folks wished 'em well
You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madam have rung the chapel bell
C'est la vie say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

Aargh! Would you believe that SCORE just called me, in the middle of this silly post, to remind me of my appointment tomorrow at 1:50. Geez. I guess it is probably a sign that I need to stop goofing off and get back to work. Big brother sure does have a long arm......


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two Finished Projects

Hurray! Two finished projects, one for me and one to give away.
The first one is the Gail Pan BOM from 2009. I finished the embroidery last fall, but had not gotten around to turning it into a quilt. Until now, that is!

The second quilt is from my scrap basket. It is the first of many I hope to make from the scraps this year. My daughters were involved in a local ministry last Christmas that really touched our hearts, and we want to be able to donate several quilts to that same ministry this year. And, what better way to start a donation drive than with a sweet little quilt for a baby girl!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Viola Time

Well, it is viola season again! I so look forward to these little flowers every year. I love them so much that I have many many seed pack in all manner of colors. Every year I think I am going to start thousands of plants and fill up every pot and space in my yard with them. Then, somehow, the season is upon us, and I have done nothing about those seeds. And, no way am I going to wait around for those seeds to sprout and get any decent growth on them, when just down the street there are dozens of all ready blooming plants just waiting for me to come and get them! So, once again, it was off to the nursery for a little bit of happiness.

Of course, I picked up a few of the classic Johnny-Jump-Ups.

Then, there are these little yellow ones that have become a favorite.

And then, there are my favorite favorites. I can never get too may of these!

After I got those all potted up, I picked a nice little bouquet of daffodils. Just the white ones today. Years ago, we planted hundreds of daffs all over our property. I had hoped they would naturalize and be prolific. But, like most things, it did not work out quite like I had envisioned it. We don't have the volume I had hoped for, but we do have plenty, and in time, they will number in the hundreds. And, honestly, we do have a couple hundreds blooms. But, I guess that since they are all spread out, it doesn't seem like so many. Thousands, that's what I really want. Thousands of daffodils! (and lilacs, and sweat peas, and roses and violas!!)
Sigh...I need a bigger yard, and a gardener and NO deer.

And then, I finished pruning my climbing roses. There is just something about pruning. It is like having a clean closet or an organized fabric stash, or a tidy junk drawer. It is just so wonderful! This rose is a Golden Showers and the arch it is climbing on was built for me by my sweet husband. It was a birthday gift from many years ago. When it is in bloom, it is stunning. And the smell.....
But, in the early spring it looks like this. Just waiting for a little warm weather.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What's on the design wall?

Today I am working on two projects. And, they are as different as can be. The first one is a beautiful hand applique block. It is quite large and made with all manner of Amy Butler-ish fabrics. Just looking at it makes me happy.

The second project is the string quilt I started last week. The blocks are 6" each and made in red and white. They are going together so easily, and are so fun to make, I might not be able to stop! Everyone I know may get a string quilt for their birthday and Christmas!!

Now tell me, what's on your design wall?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The World's Yummiest Cupcakes!

Yesterday I made the best cupcakes ever!

I have been dabbling in the art of cupcakes for several months, now. It all started with the purchase of Martha Stewart's Cupcake cookbook. There are some very yummy recipes in that little book! It has inspired me to 1) try all of her recipes, and 2) create a few of my own.

My first recipe was for Mexican Chocolate cupcakes. They were inspired by my girls' love of mexican hot chocolate, (our friend Ruby introduced them to Abuelita's Mexican chocolate many years ago, and they have loved it ever since). Needless to say, they were a huge hit.

But, yesterday's cupcakes were even better. Cream filled chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. YUM YUM YUM.

I have not ever known how to make a cream filling or how to fill a cupcake. But, I saw a little article in Taste of Home Magazine for Valentine treats, and they had a recipe and instructions. Unfortunately, their filling was a dressed up cool whip, and cool whip is one of those non-food foods that i just can't buy. But the how-to directions were perfectly simple.

So here is the deal (and my cool whip-free cream filling recipe):
Make your favorite chocolate cupcakes. Cool completely.

4oz cream cheese
1/2 c sugar
Mix until well incorporated and fluffy.
Add 1 c whipping cream and mix until it is whipped cream.
Put it into a decorator bag with a large-hole tip.
Make a little slit in the bottom of your cupcake paper.
Insert the tip into the slit and pipe the filling in.
The top of the cupcake will start to bulge when it is full enough.
If you put in too much, the top will crack open.
But don't worry, this is easily hidden with frosting.

Now, just frost them with your favorite chocolate frosting!

Note: You may try filling them from the top. It seems like that would work just fine too, and then there would not be a little hole in the bottom of the paper. And, any hole in the top would be easily hidden by the frosting.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Scraps Galore

I am going to make as many quilts as I can, in 2010, from these scraps. I think they will mostly be quilts for babies and children. Really cute quilts for babies and children. I want to donate them to a ministry that we learned about last Christmas. So, hopefully I will finish a lot!

Imagine the space that I can free up in my closet if these scraps all disappear!!

The reds, blues and greens.

The Yellows, pinks, purples and oranges.

The neutrals.

It May Be Contagiuos!

Now here's the thing: Last year my friend Melanie got me started on this idea of finishing 1 unfinished project per month for 1 year. Seems like a good idea, not too overwhelming and with plenty to show by the end of the year. So, I dug through all of my projects and decided that I had so many that I better do 2 a month so I could get most of them done. I stuck with it, even when I did not think I was going to be able to find the time, and by the end of the year there were 24 finished projects. 24! I was so happy. Then.........

I realized that there were still quite a few projects left. And as I rounded up the "stragglers" I kept coming across more and more and more. The final count for 2010 is 42, that's right 42. That means that a year ago there were 64 UFOs in my house. Sick. That is what this is, sick.

I have listed them in the sidebar, and hope to keep the 2 a month schedule going. Which means that in September of 2011 I should have all of them done. Does anyone out there feel my pain?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Road Trip

I have finally finished this story quilt that I started in 2006 at a quilt conference in Pacific Grove. Finally!

It highlights some of our favorite places like Canada, Montana and New York City, as well as favorite tours like the Lewis and Clark Trail and Civil War sites. Then there are the "must" stops, the places we look forward to going over and over again, places that make us feel like we are on vacation because we always go to them when we are on vacation, places that are no where near our home like the Cracker Barrel and Bass Pro Shop, and all different quilt shops.

Pulling our trailer across the country was a favorite family past time, and we looked forward to it every year! But alas, our girls are grown now, and we just don't seem to find the time to do it anymore. But if we ever get around to it again, I would go to Banff National Park, New England (again), NYC (of course), Alaska, Washington DC in cherry blossom season, Maine, Minnesota, Georgia in the spring.....
Oh yeah, and Italy, France, Sweden, Spain, Africa...............

The other quilt I finished this month was an Alaskan Grizzly wallhanging. A friend bought the kit for me when she was on vacation in Alaska last summer. It is a very nice little design. The applique is cut as a single piece and the borders are simple, so it went pretty quick.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weed Season

Today Lizzie and I took the TW walk. Nice and easy. The weeds have not only cropped up everywhere, but they are getting big. Like this "nest" made of thistle and vetch.

And some have started to color like this thing that reminds me of rhubarb.

And some are fern-ish, like these two.

And these two look suspiciously like chamomile and alyssum.

Too bad they are all just weeds! No doubt the city will be mailing out the infamous "eradicate your weeds, or else" letter very very soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Bread Disaster

Last week I was out walking my little dog, Lizzie, and we passed by a "secret" bakery. It was tucked away in a row of warehouses, with no sign on the door or anything to cause you to know that it was there. Except for the wonderful smell. And, as it happened, the back loading bay was open and we could see dozens of loaves of bread on cooling racks.

Well, that inspired me to come home and do a little bread making. I had the idea of making a chocolate, apricot swirl loaf. I didn't have a recipe, just an idea. And, I've been baking bread for over twenty years, so no problem, right. Wrong!

I dug out a recipe for a yummy oatmeal bread. After the first rise, I rolled it out, spread a cup of jam over it, sprinkled it with miniature chocolate chips, rolled it up and put it in a loaf pan to rise again. Then I baked it until it was golden brown and sounded hollow when thumped. When it finally cooled enough to cut into...Disaster! It had not actually cooked all the way through. The outside was perfect, but the entire middle was a slump of sticky, messy, gooey dough. It was such a huge disappointment! We picked at it a little, but ended up giving most of it to the chickens!

Monday, February 1, 2010


My sweet hubby has had a little time off the last couple of weeks, all part of the ebb and flow of construction work. Sometimes it works in my favor, and sometimes it is hugely distracting. Well, last week was a week of favor.

I had spent one afternoon sewing with a friend over in Morro Bay. When I left my house he was out toodling around in our yard. (He will tell you that he does NOT toodle, he is WORKING!) Well, when I got home, I had this FABULOUS surprise waiting for me!

I have wanted a pergola for a long time. And now, I actually have one! And the best part of all is that it did not cost a single penny!! He built it with salvaged wood for a recent remodel.

I will post a final photo after it is all painted and planted and moved into. Very exciting for me!!