Thursday, September 27, 2007

I am Ready to Hit the Road Tomorrow Morning

My reading material is all packed.

I've been saving all the magazines that came during the week. On the way home from work I stopped at the library to pick up a book they ordered for me, "A Nantucket Christmas" and I have another novel to start. That should be enough to keep me entertained for the 6 hours of travel time (three hours in each direction).

Have you ever heard of L*uwak coffee? Until today I had not. It is considered by many to be the finest coffee in the world. At a cost of $300/lb. I guess it must be quite the delicacy.

I did a little investigating and, oh, my, you will never guess how it is made!

See this?

No, these are not candy bars.

They are the feces from this animal.

Yes, you guessed it.

The coffee is made fresh from the bowels of that creature! And I do mean, fresh. This little animal eats the fine red, ripe coffee cherries whole--shell and all. The coffee beans leave its digestive system intact. Evidently the droppings need to be harvested almost immediately after they are dropped on the forest floor to get the finest coffee.

Let us pause a moment to reflect upon that. Coffee beans dug out of animal droppings, then roasted and brewed....

All righty, then............I believe I will just stay with Folgers!

I Got a New Job

As a cereal box model. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Well, I Have Never...

had a oriental poppy bloom in the fall!

And there are a few more buds.

It's certainly been a strange year.

It's time to begin my fall cleanup of the deck. It's been warm here all week, but the plants are looking pretty shabby and I have lost interest in keeping them presentable.

I am just tired of watering and deadheading!

I won't have time to start it until next week. It's always a big job and I will be very happy to get it done.

It's been another quick week. I haven't been doing anything but work and sew. Tomorrow I have to make a quick run to the hunky dentist to have the stitches removed.

I am taking Friday off as a vacation day. I have a hair appointment at 6:30 a.m. (yes, we do make early appointments around here!). I am just getting a quick trim and some sort of updo (hopefully better than last week's which I did not like), then by 8:00 a.m. I should be heading north (up near Canada) for the weekend. I am hoping to see a lot of nice autumn color and perhaps I will drive an extra hour or two and go back to Tahquamenon Falls. I want to see them ablaze with fall color.

I think this will be the fourth weekend in a row that I have been traveling. No wonder I can't get anything done! Oh, well, I vowed long ago that I was never going to give up having fun to stay home and do chores! The chores will be there when I get back.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I got this in my email today.

The peanut butter cup substitutes for the frosting, which makes these little beauties very easy to make.

The recipe is from Taste of Home:


1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup peanut butter
1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
16 miniature peanut butter cups


In a mixing bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Press a peanut butter cup into the center of each until top edge is even with batter. Bake at 350° for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted on an angle toward the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 16 cupcakes.

Nutrition Facts: 1 cupcake equals 238 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 29 mg cholesterol, 260 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Thank You, Dianne

for sending me some of the seeds from your flowers.

Look how she cleverly made seed packets from Longwood Gardens literature! Dianne is lucky enough to live very near the gardens and goes there often.

She sent me some purple and green zinnias, some autumn-colored sunflowers and some dinner plate hibiscus.

I will try my best to give them the attention they need to grow big and beautiful. Thank you, Dianne.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Blogger Play

So have you all seen the new Blogger Play feature?

I just noticed it today. Here is the description from the Blogger page:

BloggerPlay will show you a never-ending stream of images that were just uploaded to public Blogger blogs. You can click the image to be taken directly to the blog post it was uploaded to, or click “show info” to see an overlay with the post title, a snippet of the body, and some profile information about the blogger who uploaded it.

Hmmmmmmmm…………..this is bothering me.

I am not sure exactly why. I am already posting my pics so they are available to be seen by anyone who finds my blog. Yet something about someone sitting there watching this stream of images and seeing mine is really bothering me! Sometimes I upload a picture and then reconsider and delete it. With this feature people will see the image I didn’t want seen.

You can opt out of this but if you do so, your blog is removed from all Blogger listings.

You could stop posting pictures, but if you do, you may as well stop blogging.

Interesting dilemma.

Is is just me or does this “feature” bother anyone else?

The Bride Looked Radiant!

It's too bad I can't show her beautiful face. I have never seen a bride look so truly radiant. She just glowed on her wedding day.

The bridesmaids were in red.

I think it was a very pretty color.

I am all about details. I loved the wedding favor. It was a box of hand made dark chocolate truffles.

I didn't get a good picture of me in the dress I showed you. I cropped myself out of this group pic and colored in the people on each side of me.

It gives you an idea of the dress and since I was squished in between two others, I look much thinner than in real life. That in and of itself makes it a blogworthy pic! LOL.

Here is the back of the dress.

I was disappointed that the cut out lace did not go further down.

Here are the shoes I wore. You all know I am a shoe addict and I like high heels.

Yes, they were just as uncomfortable as they look.

We all had a good time and it was worth the 12 hours (out of 36) that we spent driving. :)
Hope to get caught up on blog reading tonight.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Someone Please Stop the Clock!

I wish I could slow down time. Here it is Friday night, 7 p.m. and I just got home from work/hairdresser/shopping/dinner. At least I don't have to cook tonight! This whole week has zoomed by.
(well, now, what is wrong with this silly clock? The hands are supposed to spin wildly around)

Thank you all for your dental sympathies. I went to the dentist yesterday thinking I would be getting a root canal. After much discussion with my hunky dentist (yes, it's worth getting up early -- he's a cutie!) we decided it was best to extract the tooth.

I was pretty nervous as it's been 40 years since I've had a tooth pulled. As it turned out, it was not nearly as bad as I expected. I can't believe that there was almost zero pain yesterday. The worst part was having to walk around for 2 hours with a cigar of gauze sticking out my mouth.

Now Mr. Hunky Dentist wants me to consider an implant --- a $3,000 implant. Fat chance of selling me on that one!

Well, I have lots to do, so better get moving. See this little baby I am holding?
Tomorrow I am driving six hours to go to her wedding.

Like I said, time flies!

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Guess Where I Will at 6:30 a.m. Tomorrow...

You will never guess............

O.K. I know you can't control your suspense, so I will tell you.

In a dentist's chair! At 6:30 a.m.! Can you believe that?

Anybody want to trade places? LOL.

It seems I have an invisible fracture in a molar. It must be pretty serious if the dentist is willing to come in at 6:30 a.m. Did you know even ex-rays won't show a fracture? It has been hurting a lot for the past week. At the moment it's really bad. If I had a pain killer I'd take it and I rarely take any meds. I think the last medication I took was nearly two years ago for another dental crisis.

Life just isn't fair! Even when I ran away I took my toothbrush--that's how serious I have always been about caring for my teeth. It does not seem to have done me much good as I've had plenty of root canals/crowns. I think it's only going to get worse as I get older. Even after a root canal and crown, it may have to be extracted. There is no guarantee.

I also have a mammogram tomorrow. It just sounds like an all around fun day, doesn't it?

Yesterday I took a picture of the colchiums blooming in the rockwall garden. The lack of rain did not seem to hurt them.
I think they make quite a pretty picture in front of this large rock.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Interesting, Fun, or Just Plain Weird Facts about Me

Cindy at Rosehaven cottage tagged me to list some interesting, fun, or weird facts about myself. I've been trying to do this post for over a week. It's not as easy as you might think!
I am really just not good at these things, so don't set your expectations too high. Here goes:

1. I once rode the "shoe" at the county fair 35 times in five days. I used to LOVE going to the fair and riding all the things that turned me upside down.
The "Shoe" looked a lot like this Both "shoes" went around in opposite directions.

2. Twice I have landed in the water in an airplane. No, I didn't crash--it was an amphibian airplaine--one that can land on water or land. Once I landed in some remote Canadian waters and went to a fishing village like this one.

The other time I landed on frozen Lake Huron just to visit the pilot's father (the pilot was a friend of DH#1)

3. When I was about 12, I ran away and hid out in a culvert under a railroad track (very similar to this one). My mom worked and I thought I was old enough to stay home alone rather than go to a babysitter. So when she dropped us off at the sitters, I decided to run away. I made my way through the woods back to my house (1.5 miles), crawled through a bathroom window and packed a few essentials for my escape--a pillow, a tupperware container full of jello, toothbrush, hairbrush, and a change of clothes.

I took off down the railroad tracks and when I came to the culvert I decided to stop right there. The culvert was so close to my home that I could stick my head out and see everyone as they were called home from work to come looking for me.

After seeing all the commotion I had caused, I was afraid to come out and go back home. I sat in that culvert all day long. The thought of having to stay in the culvert in the dark of night finally gave me the courage to go back. You can imagine that they were not too happy with me and my little stunt. The next day I had to go right back to the sitter's house.

That was a rotten thing to do! Sorry, Mom!

#4. I went up in a hot air balloon over Las Vegas. It was great fun and I would love to do it again! I still have my souvenir T-shirt.

#5 I once wore red glasses. BIG red glasses. And I LOVED them! LOL
This picture was taken on a trip to Las Vegas in 1990. I had to take a pic of my scrapbook,hence the blurry pic.

I am not going to tag anyone, but if you want to do it, please do! It's a fun way to get to know each other.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Next Thing I Knew it was 2:30 PM

and I had not even showered!

All day today I was working on the next border for the rose quilt (I need to think of a name for it).

At first I auditioned the log cabin blocks again.

They are just too visually heavy and it's not likely they will end up in this quilt. Since I have only made six of them, it's no big deal. I may turn them into a table runner (my current favorite thing to use up quilt blocks gone bad).

Almost immediately after I rejected them, I though of using the same border I put around the original rose block.
Bingo! It was just what I needed to do.

However I had a few problems and had to do some tearing out.
It is 1000% more painful to tear out when you are doing foundation piecing with tiny little stitches. Unfortunately I did not lay out the top and bottom border before I sewed all the blocks together. I should know by now that it never pays to take shortcuts! It ended up that I had made 2 extra blocks. ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGG...there was nothing to do but rip it out.

Anyway I finally finished and I am very, very pleased.

Now I have a problem. The quilt is 56" x 42". Only a baby size. I don't have enough of the same fabrics left. I am in BIG trouble now! I will have to think this over for awhile.

It's almost 4:00 pm so I have to go find something to make for dinner.

Last night we had frost. The neighbor's roof was a lovely glittery white color when I got up. I've been too busy to even go out and check my plants.

I also have not checked the pupae since yesterday morning. I am assuming they are going to hang around all winter since it's been over three weeks since they went into the chrysalis stage.

Well, I must go. I do hope I have time to read some blogs later this evening!

7:30pm update:

I went out and checked my plants on the deck. Except for the coleus, they are all fine. I did pick the few sunflowers that bloomed and brought them inside to enjoy. Combined with a few dahlias they made a nice bouquet. That orange dahlia in the front is the one I blogged about a few days ago. I am still not sure which dahlia it is.

I also picked most of the little tomatoes. I have enough for salad for the next few days.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Scrap that Idea

I spent most of last evening working on six log cabin blocks for the rose quilt border. I got up at 5:30 a.m. and immediately started working on them again. By 6:30 a.m. I had decided they just didn't work.

Better to scrap the idea after only a few hours work than to continue and not be happy with the finished product. While I was making these, I watched Paula Dean's talk show. If my hands weren't continously busy under the sewing machine, I would have clicked the remote to another channel. That woman has become totally obnoxious, loud and downright vulgar. I counted at least four blatant sexual references. Now I am no prude--when the time is right I can talk a pretty good line of trash myself--
but a cooking show is just not the place! What a change her show has made since she got such an elevated sense of self worth.

Well, enough of that. Let's get back to qultin'!

After only a few minutes considering what to do in place of the rejected log cabin border, the ideal solution appeared. It would take no work at all because I already had all the blocks sewn. Hmmmmmm, would they really work? I grabbed them and started putting them all around the center.

Voila! I can't believe how perfect it is! I am one happy camper this morning.

Friday, September 14, 2007

9-Patch Rose Block

I only made 4 more rose blocks this week. In the beginning of a new quilt it's easy to go like crazy, but very soon the excitement fades if you are doing repetitious blocks. I need to renew my enthusiasm so whenever I had a free moment today, I was thinking about how I could incorporate the rose into a center block.

I couldn't wait to get home from work so I could try out my idea. What do you think of this 9-patch block? It's fairly large - 24 inches x 18 inches.

My idea is to start with this as a center block and then do something with courthouse steps log cabin blocks radiating from the center and the 100 roses for the border. That could be a problem since the block is not square. I could just make a bunch more of these blocks, but I don't really like qults made from a bunch of blocks in a row. I like the blocks to form a secondary all over design. I'm sorry, I realize many of you don't have a clue what I am talking about, so just disregard this part. I need it here so that I remember what my thoughts were!

At the moment, I think this 9-patch block is workable. I will let it sit for a day or so and then look at it later to see if it's still something I want to pursue.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Heaven on a Pyrex Plate

I finally used the tablecloth I bought about a year ago. I bought it to go with my 1950's Pyrex turquoise-banded dinnerware. I thought a brown and turquoise tablescape would be fun to do.

I don't use the vintage Hazel Atlas Capri Dot glasses very often, but I always love them when I do. They are such a beautiful color of blue.

I didn't spend much time thinking of a centerpiece. I grabbed this oversized Margarita glass which was already full of clear marbles. I wiped a little dust off the rim, tossed in a few blue marbles, then filled it with water and floated a single dahlia. The bird candle holders were used just because I think they are probably from the 1950's and I saw them first when I opened the candle drawer.

All day at work I was craving spaghetti with fresh tomatoes, onions and basil. When I got home I immediately put a big pot of water on to boil. I skinned the tomatoes, chopped the onions, sauteed them in a bit of oil and butter, tossed in a handful of chopped basil..............
Ah, who would have thought I'd find heaven on a Pyrex plate?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Remember When the Customer was Always Right?

I bought a new dress for an upcoming wedding.

I loved the description in the catalog:

Steeped in color as a frost-touched plum.............the description writer should get a raise for coming up with that analogy!

....Twirled in a gentle jacquard, not "a jacquard fabric", no, it's "twirled" in a gentle jacquard....I love it!

The cute part is the back which is cut out to allow skin to show through.

Why, what's that big white blemish on my skin?

Ah, it's the big ugly label! Now why would they stick the label here? It's totally crazy because it must come out. So I had to carefully cut it out and pray that I didn't cut the lace with it. Couldn't they have stuck it in a hidden side seam? No, that would be too logical and customer friendly.

Why is it that companies today go all out to make their product inconvenient for the consumer?

I have already written to Campbell's soup to complain about opening those pop top cans of tomato soup. It's impossible to open them without breaking a nail. I now use a spoon to stick under the tab, but the tomato soup never fails to splatter all over the counter when the top pops. It's also a pain to get all the soup out of the can with that lip in the way. But since the supermarket shelves are still all pop tops, my complaint did not inspire Campbell's to change the can design. :) They did at least send me a letter along with some coupons for their other products. It was a canned letter, but it was better than no response.

Since I am on a rant, here are two more things I hate:

#1 Hand blow dryers in rest rooms.

EVERYONE knows that consumers HATE these. Why do businesses insist on using them? I always get a kick out of the engraved signs on the blowers that say something like, "For the Convenience of our Customers we Have Installed.....". The only reason it was installed was less cost for the business - they save labor for towel installation/cleaning and replacement paper towels. Who cares if it's inconvenient for the customer? How many times have you dried your hands on your pant leg?

#2 Recordings instead of real people answering the phone.

I don't know of one single person who prefers recordings. Yet companies just keep using them. How frustrating is it when your question does not match the numbers you can push? At many places, it is impossible to get to a human to ask a question. THey need a "If this is the last time you will do business with us, push 9" button.

Remember gas stations pumping your gas AND washing your windows? The gas stations make way more profit today than they did then. Why could they afford to do it when they made small profits, but can't now that they make mega-billions? Once the Goober-owned "filling" stations disappeared, so did the service.

I hope I live to see the day they bring back customer service!

Monday, September 10, 2007

I May Have Made the Wrong Decision

Remember this spring when I spent days removing all of the fall asters from the deck side garden. When I had them all removed, I planted 6 packages of sunflower seeds. I imagined 6 varieties of beautiful sunflowers--different sizes,colors, and heights. Oh, it would be spectacular!

Well, they are finally blooming and here's what I got:
The few scrawy blooms are way down at the end. It was a bad gardening year--no rain--everything died out early. But geez, I never imagined it would look this bad.
This is what it used to look like with the asters. I thought they looked scruffy.

What was I thinking???

I've Been Eyeballing This New Growth for the Past Few Weeks

I didn't plant anything in this container, yet the growth looked like a flower, so I've been carefully watching it.

Yesterday as I was watering I looked down and was thrilled to see a bloom. It's the "eyeball" plant!

I had grown Spilanthes last year and must have tossed some of its seed heads in this container which I overwinter in the crawl space under the house. It's a very interesting plant, but hard to find in my area so I was very happy to see it pop up here.

I had another discovery this weekend--a dahlia about to open that I don't recognize. I thought I had planted little red pompoms in the container, but this does not look to be a red pompom. I am thinking (hoping) that it's that new bright orange/yellow one I planted with the callas, but got pink instead. Maybe I planted a second one here and forgot.
So I will be anxiously awaiting my deck tour after work to see what it turns out to be.

I did not spend much time outside this weekend. On Sunday I spent about 1/2 hour tidying up the plants. I enjoyed seeing the stripe in this 'Picasso' canna going right up to the bloom. I love how the stripe is replayed in the bloom. Little things like that really make a flower interesting to me. Here's a creepy old stinkbug on the hibiscus. He has interesting stripes, too.
On Sunday I made a double batch of Cheeseburger soup. We had it for dinner and I froze a few meals for later. I just love this soup! (I think the recipe is in my 'Soup Recipe' section on the right side. If you make this, you simply must garnish it with sweet relish, onions and tomatoes as I have. It makes ALL the difference in the world (at least to me. DH won't do the garnish. He has no sense of adventure when it comes to food!)

For the first time in months I used up a whole quart of milk before it went sour! The soup used milk and then I made some pudding parfaits for dessert--just pudding layered with pumpkin bread crumbs.

I served it in these fancy coffee liqueur cups. It's an easy way to make plain old instant pudding seem special.

My weekend went by so fast. I was busy every minute with shopping, cleaning, cooking, sewing, plant maintenance, etc. I wanted to read, but didn't have any time to just sit and do that. I need another day off!

DH, on the other hand, had no problem finding relaxation time each day.

It really is still a man's world!
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