29 August 2012

Nix the Sailboats?

Well, I tried the sailboat block and I'm thinking 
about moving on to something else.


But every other pattern I find is going to 
take longer and most likely end in a trip or two
 to the store for fabric.


I don't mind wasting a little fabric when piecing
but this tossed way more than I was comfortable with:

This entire piece cut away--almost 8".
Maybe I could use them in the border or something?

Still, my goal is to move fabric out so 
maybe I shouldn't worry about it?  
 It's going to be a small quilt so = small waste?


Thoughts anyone?
Going to mull this one over for a day...

Fyi, if you decide to make this one, note the comments.  
I ran into measurement issues but then noticed in the comments 
that they were simply posted wrong.  Cute block,
though, and I'm thankful to her for sharing!

28 August 2012

A Little More Coffee Talk / New Project

I shared something with my husband today.  
Something of which I wasn't sure I should be proud.
(You see how I avoided ending my sentence in a preposition there?  Nifty, huh?)
You tell me?
I have, to date, earned 32 free drinks from Starbucks.
(That's right--be jealous!)
Dear hubby says I should never share this with anyone.  
Ever.


I say
--and you passionate people out there will get this--
at least people know what to get me for Christmas!
(And that Howard Schultz should send me a personal Christmas card.
I'll be watching my mailbox closely this holiday season.  Ooh, maybe he'll 
even include a gift basket?  Of course, just a mug would be fine, Howie.
I know you are a busy man.)

Though I am of a very shy nature, 
I am still of a very decided nature.

Maybe it seems silly being so crazy about 
something like coffee or fabric or fall. 
But these are examples.  Fun ones.
I have a serious side--my Faith for instance.
It obviously comes before coffee and hobbies.
I do hope that by the way I live, 
people will know what I believe.
And what I like, what I love, what makes me smile.
That life makes me smile.
I do not want to be one of those people 
who always says, "Better not."
I want to be the one that says, "Heck yeah!  I'm in!"


How about you?  
Do you know what you love?
Do you love it so much that it spills over into your life?

On a side note:
I finally got my sewing room all in order 
for the fall sewing season.  
This afternoon I'm going to be trying out 
this cute little block:



Sailboat Block

I really should NOT be starting a new project 
when there are others half-finished but this is for 
a very special little boy and needs to be completed 
within a couple weeks.  
I plan on making it scrappy at least.
Gotta keep hitting the stash!

21 August 2012

CA Trip Part II and An Announcement

We drove up and down the Napa Valley 
several times during those few days, 
discovered cute towns, wonderful restaurants, 
wined, wined and wined and then dined, 
and then wined some more. 
(no, we are not lushes--just like to enjoy the finer things on occasion!
Truth be told, we actually got kind of tired of wine!)

Then?  Up north for my nephew's wedding.

Keeping the wedding details off the inter-webs, 
(as my daughter calls it)
I would just like to post a pic of the "get away" car:


We spent several days in the Redding/Shasta County
area celebrating and visiting family. 
(if the area sounds familiar, they've been making the national news with their fires)
The drive back to San Francisco took twice as long 
but we chose to go west and then down the coast
to just take it all in.

Me in front of some giant redwoods.

I don't know about you but it's not often 
that this chick gets to feel small.  
I think we should have redwoods here in Kansas...
of course, with our wind, they'd all be bent.

Now the dh and I aren't real big on spending our 
vacations taking pictures so our few pics, which are 
mostly cell phone quality, will have to suffice.
(was that a sigh of relief?)


Before we headed back to reality, we spent our
last morning in San Fran, on the patio of our hotel,
sipping hot Starbucks in the incredibly cool air
as we watched the planes come in over the Bay.
(I think we should have a "bay area" here in Kansas too...but, as my dh puts it, 
we'd have a million more people and all the tourism to boot so I think 
I'll just be content to visit these places!)


Who'd have thought that the craft ideas that I came 
across on vacation would come from the cheesy 
airport shops?


This is printed on a tea towel 
(which I bought of course--it had my name on it!)
but I'm going to try to get creative with that little phrase.


And this?  A wine and cheese tray, lined with corks
and topped with a heavy plastic.  How cool 
would it be to use only the corks from the wines 
obtained on trips to Napa?  
("Oh, Sweetie?  We're going to have to go back a few times!")


Okay, announcement time!
In my last post I mentioned that two weddings
have come up.
Gosh, I feel old but:
 our oldest daughter has recently gotten engaged 
and will be celebrating their wedding next summer! 
Let the planning begin...



17 August 2012

Amazing Trip to CA: Part 1

Last spring, I mentioned we'd been invited 
to a friend's/co-worker's wedding in the UK
 and that I was getting excited for a return trip.
(Incidentally, this bride was featured on Say Yes To the Dress a few weeks
ago.  I'm not a tv-watcher so I haven't seen it yet but maybe the episode can be
identified by the bride purchasing two dresses?  The "wedding" is actually about a
week long with celebrations occurring at various locations around the UK.)

But a family wedding closer to home came up.
(Well, two actually, but more on that second one in a bit!)
So we decided to vacation in Northern California instead.
Leaving 105' to 110' temps behind, San Francisco's
53' to 67' felt amazing!  While the locals were decked
in jackets and even coats, the dh and I soaked up the
"cool" in our short-sleeves well into the night.


We had an amazing dinner at Alioto's,
enjoying a view of the sun setting over the Bay
behind the Golden Gate Bridge.
Romantic, huh?
(Kicking myself for not even getting a cell phone pic!)

On Day Two, I quickly raided Lush, 
(we don't have these where I live so I got to stock up!)
dropped back by Fisherman's Wharf for some crab 
chowder for lunch and then headed over the
G G Bridge and on up to Napa Valley.


The Arbor Guest House in Napa is exceptional-- 
definitely the prettiest bed and breakfast 
we've stayed at so far.  
I have to admit the exterior of this one seemed
a little simple to me when I perused the website
but fate led us to this one and we couldn't have
been happier!  It's gorgeous!  

(cel phone pic)

The intense colors of the roses and other flowers
that lined the entire front yard caught my attention-- 
and my gardener's heart--immediately.  
 Below, a pic of the back yard.
Note the grapes along the fence.


  I know a lot of people like to travel to the tropics
to get away but my ideal vacation includes
fine dining, R&R and...education!  Yep.
Insert the vineyard visits and wine tastings here.
How to taste wines, why some grapes are more
intense in flavor (and price!), how to match a
wine to a meal--I couldn't get enough.  
And I can't wait to read up on it to learn more.  
For a return-trip, of course!


Napa is the ideal country for wine.  
(I'll try to summarize!   And if you're an expert, please excuse my
very basic, novice explanation!)
In a valley just 30 miles long and 5 miles wide, 
there exist 33 types of soil--half of the types that
 exist on the entire planet.  When driving through,
you really can see the color of the soil change 
almost from one vineyard to the next.
(farm girl/gardener here notices weird stuff like dirt)
Grapes planted on hills have had to struggle, 
giving them a more intense, and rare, flavor.


The warm days and cool nights also add flavor.
With so many types of soil, and thus grapes, 
Napa is a winemaker's playground for blends!
(side note:  The 2008 movie Bottle Shock--Alan Rickman--depicts the true
story of how Napa earned it's reputation as a serious wine country.  It's currently
on Instant Netflix if your interested; we really like it, and so visited that vineyard.)


Some of the vineyards we visited:

Rutherford Hill 
(dh's fav)
Conn
Alpha Omega 

(their Chardonnay is now my all-time fav!  Can't wait to make meals for this!)

Chateau Montelena
(From the movie Bottle Shock--and we loved the Chardonnay!)


We kept our purchases to what is sold
only in Napa, or at least just has very limited
availability, and made notes on our other favorites.
I am just a novice but I admit it will be nice to know
a little more when making our purchases here at home!


I also picked up 3 bottles of olive oils fresh from
 Sonoma Valley.  If you're an olive oil fan like me,
you might want to give The Olive Press  a look.  
I talked with these people quite a bit 
and was very impressed.
(get it? pressed? sorry...)
I think I'll be using them a lot in the future.  
I made sure to sample as many of their products 
for this very reason.

Enough for now....Part II coming soon.








16 August 2012

Follow-Up on Peaches & Cream French Toast Bake

To follow-up on the recipe I posted a few days ago:
It's very rich and, of course, very yummy.
My only critique would be that, at least in my oven,
50 minutes would be the max baking time,
maybe even a little less.
(recipe notes "50 to 60 minutes")
And my oven is usually right on with recipes so,
just a heads-up if you're going to try it out.

I think it's best for a larger crowd as the 
flavor is at a peak hot out of the oven.

10 August 2012

Peaches and Cream French Toast Bake

My sis insists this is to-die-for.

Recipe Image

I'm afraid I might die after I eat it!

The extreme heat has made our peaches a little bitter
so I thought this might be the best use for them.

Our breakfast (dessert??) is
currently in the "sit overnight in the fridge" phase.
We won't be eating this till AFTER our yard work is done
but I'll let you know how it turns out.

09 August 2012

Where Have I Been?

Just where have I been these last couple months?

Running my boys (and their friends!) to:
Golf camp
Basketball camp
Conditioning camp
Football camp
Soccer camp
Baseball games


Lots of gardening & cooking with the harvest

 Preserving the following:
Tomatoes (diced, juice, sauce)
Carrots
Beans
Grape jelly
Apricot jelly
Blackberry sauce
Blackberries (whole)
Onions
Spinach
Dill seed, lavender & other herbs
Swiss Chard
Potatoes
Peppers 
(red, green, jalapeno, green chili)


Travelling
KS City 

CA:  San Francisco, the entire Napa Valley, Redding
(I'll share more on this later!)


Reading
The Zookeeper's Wife
We Two
The Pianist
Dear & Glorious Physician
My Life In France
The Heart Mender


Crafting/Sewing

[crickets]
That's right--not one single thing!  
But I'm pretty excited now that my crafting season
 is just around the corner!  School starts 
next week, we're headed to Colorado soon 
for one last vacation and then IT IS ON!


Though I did try to check in occasionally,
I've really missed following all my favorite blogs.
Just glancing today, I realized I don't even know 
what all the latest fabrics are, the latest trends....
and autumn decorating is my favorite!  
  I can't wait to see what you all have been busy with! 
(yes, I did just end my sentence with a preposition)
I have so much catching up to do!
But first, I'll be giving my sewing room a thorough
cleaning--not because it is gloriously messy, 
but because it's so pathetically DUSTY!!!



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