Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

What a nice day yesterday, I was spending it at home working on finishing up some patterns I am trying to get into print.  I got to talk with my friends and family, open presents, admire a bouquet of flowers, and enjoy a dinner in the company of my wonderful husband!  Who could ask for anything more?
Now it's back to the patterns!  I have them mostly done, waiting on the finished cover files to come my way from CA pretty soon.  I took the items into the shop today and got so much positive feedback, it was a good feeling.  Here are some pictures, what do you think?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

of golf and good friends

Just returned home from an unexpected fun evening over at Hidden Haven, the site of Bob's great golf game yesterday and Dana's nemesis.  So sorry, just goes to prove that bad things happen to good people all the time! 

Out on our patio I am fascinated by the unusual designs from nature in the grape vines growing on the pergola.  Bob transplanted the vines from elsewhere on our property and has nursed them along for 2 years.  This year they are lush and full and extending clear across the structure.  They are wild, so don't really bear grapes of any use.  Otherwise, we could have a harvest festival with grape-stomping a la Lucy!
On a more serious note, the Star Tribune has a special web feature about the 35W bridge collapse nearly one year ago.  Their overhead picture of the bridge identifies the vehicles and links to stories about the people in those vehicles.  The woman I knew, Christina Sacorafas, is #41.  Please take a look.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oh Yummo!

Thank goodness for Marilee, she keeps me inspired in the culinary department.  She had a few friends over last night (well, it was the Posse) for what I thought would be a few nibbles and beverages.  Not one to cook cautiously, Marilee had  prepared appetizers, main course, 3 salads, and 3 desserts!  When she said to come hungry she wasn't kidding!  Truth be told, she confessed that we really were providing her with some therapy, so it was win-win all around.  Thanks for a fun evening, Marilee!  And thanks to Snow for keeping an eye on us!

Wrap Up

There were a few more pictures that I wanted to show you from our wonderful Girl Gang road trip last week.  You could call them highlights--
Outside the Woolen Needle in Williamsburg, IA, stood this very quaint birdhouse/lawn art/sculpture/artifact thingie that would look just wonderful on my front porch.  Actually, it maybe is primitive enough that even I could make something somewhat resembling this!  Also pictured is a beautiful planter garden on a street corner in Grinnell, IA.  You have to know that this was a very picturesque little downtown, there were some great architectural landmarks there on the main street, plus these great big planters.  It really was a pretty spot.  And a bit of information for all you quilters out there:  it is the home of Judy Martin and at the Grinnell Fiberworks store you can find most any of the books by her.

No architectural quality about this shot--no, it is simply the "after" shot from our dinner at the Mandarin restaurant in Des Moines, recommended by the hotel clerk and really a good find for our Chinese dinner.  Well, off to work for the day!  Really fun at the shop today because our big summer sale starts tomorrow and that means a lot of red marker usage on merchandise that needs to move out of there!  Something about gripping that red sharpie that gives me a feeling of power!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hydrox Heaven!

On our recent family fishing trip, one of my meal duties included making a childhood favorite dessert.  The Hydrox Dessert recipe from Mom Hansen follows:

Crush 1 - 12 oz. package Hydrox cookies, mix with 3 Tbsp. melted butter/marg.  Press 2/3 of mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Mix together 1 (3 oz.) pkg. lime jello, 3/4 c. boiling water 3 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1/2 c. sugar.  Stir until dissolved, then place in freezer to thicken.  Stir a couple times to keep from settling into layers.  Remove before firm.  Beat 1 cup evaporated milk or 1 c. whipping cream until firm.  Add the thickened jello and mix.  Add a little green food coloring if desired.  Pour on top of crushed cookie crust and top with remaining cookie crumbs.  Refrigerate until firm.

I did have to substitute Oreos, but if you are a die-hard Hydrox fan, you can soon get the real thing again!  Even Katie Couric is talking about it!  There was nary a crumb left from the double batch I made.  Of course, this was the same crowd that gobbled up the side pork appetizers, too!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Home again

This is the "after" shot of the back of our vehicle when we got back home--Nearly ran out of room, had to open the door very carefully so nothing would come tumbling out!  Made me wish for our trailer, but we managed anyway.  And you see a photo of our traveling posse--from the top is Nancy, Leisl, Maggie and finally me.  We are on the steps of the Adel Quilting and Dry Goods store in Adel, IA.  What a great setting and friendly owners.  It was a beautiful morning but we only had time for 2 shops before we had to point ourselves north on I35 for about 5 hours of driving.  We were doing OK until we got to the far south side of Minneapolis where we ran into construction, heavy traffic, rude drivers, and torrential rain.  However, it cleared up for us to unload and head to our respective homes, ready to bask in the joy of new fabrics and patterns.  We did have one very excellent adventure, as always.  What a pleasure to have good friends!  Even though I often feel that I don't have enough time at home to do what's needed, I needed this little trip with the girls badly.  I highly recommend it!  Thanks to 3 very special women for brightening my life!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Trixie Treat

Special hi to Trixie!  We are working on our names--so far we have Kitty and Pepper, can you guess who is who?!  The other names aren't worthy of print yet, but we have a few more hours in the car tomorrow so something decent should surface!

Day 2

Several more miles and several more shopping bags!  A questionable hotel stay last night so we were up and out of there without any dilly-dallying around.  We were guided by Tom-Tom out into the countryside to Kingsville, SE of Kansas City along a very pretty route to Liberty Homestead.  We LOVE it!  We were greeted by Glenda and Chris on their very scenic property and given a tour of their store and retreat center.  Now we must plan a return trip for some overnight time!  They also have a great antique collection of kitchen and sewing items--more Singer Featherweights than I have seen in one spot before!  From there to Quilter's Station in Lee's Summit and we thought it just couldn't get any better, but it did!  They have a very large and well-stocked store, we are jealous of all the well-known teachers/designers they have for classes there.  Lunch at Johny Ray's Drive In across the parking lot from the quilt shop, it was a great little burger joint and we got to sit at the counter eating our burgers made from freshly ground steak.  Later made our way into downtown KC towards Urban Arts and Crafts, a couple wrong turns on the way but it was worth it.  It is a very trendy craft/scrapbooking/papercraft/knitting/bead/quilting shop in a very upscale area of the city.  I would definitely go there again.  The picture showing the cat sleeping on the ironing board is from their front window.  Then we decided to leave Missouri behind and headed up I35 to our Des Moines hotel for the night.  An excursion to Hobby Lobby followed by dinner at Mandarin, an especially good Chinese restaurant, has us all worn out.  We have had a little show and tell and now the girls are nodding off, if you know what I mean!   

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Posse Rides Again!

We are off on another boondoggle and I am worried because the back of the vehicle is already crowded!  This is the "before" shot.  We'll see how it looks after 3 days of quilt shop hopping!  Today took us to Amana, Williamsburg, and Grinnell, all in Iowa.  Found very nice shops, we really liked the Woolen Needle in Williamsburg a lot, it was hard dragging Nancy out of there!  It's so embarrassing when she goes kicking and screaming!  The Amana colonies deserve a whole day to look around, too bad we had to keep on moving.  There was a shop there called the Painted Cupboard that also had Nancy drooling.  That seems to be a theme developing here!  Anyway, after an amazing dinner at Subway (this trip is not about the food!) we are in Liberty, MO for the night.  Just outside Kansas City, across the interstate from Worlds of Fun.  Will update you tomorrow!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cooking delights

One of the highlights of our visit with Debbie and Bob was the delicious food at every meal.  We tried out several new recipes and liked them all.  I had just recently purchased the Cooks Illustrated Summer Grilling and Entertaining issue which is just chock full of good recipes.  We made pasta salad with chicken and pesto, teriyaki sauce from scratch for chicken, grilled pork tenderloin with spice rub, grilled salmon, summer pudding, strawberry shortcake, blueberry pie, orzo salad, sangria and more.  Can you tell we were groaning all the way home?   We had daily rides on the pontoon boat with a little fishing along the way.  
Mostly catching little crappies but Bob did get the one nice bass pictured here.  Today I finished up a quilt, a very simple and quick one, so I plan to go put binding on that if it's not too hot upstairs.  And then post a picture to share with you!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fun on Potato Lake

Well, we are home again recuperating from a few days of fun and food with friends, Debbie and Bob, at their lake cabin in WI.  They are wonderful hosts, making it so nice to visit there.  I think I look pretty relaxed in this photo, which isn't very flattering but hey, it's the real thing!  We were cruising on the pontoon, taking a break between hauling in many little fishies.  Debbie and I also had time to do some sewing, I made a blankie for a future baby, an apron for the store, and some scarfletts from Figtree Quilts pattern.  And helped out Debbie who was in a time crunch to get a quilt top pieced and to the quilter tomorrow.  You will be able to see it in August at the store.  Now I am home, catching up on mail, laundry, phone calls, etc., and preparing to load up a new quilt top on my frame.