Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A New Lease on Life

I feel so good today! I got home from work and immediately started making some pork soup. I just threw things together (no recipe) and it turned out very satisfying--light, fresh, yet filling.
Since I had such a light dinner, I felt energetic and started right in on the dishes, then to scrubbing the kitchen and bath floors. I know I said I'd wait until the weekend, but I just had the urge to do them today.

Now I am going to settle down with some hot herbal tea and watch the 6PM news.

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Monday, February 26, 2007

I wish I could start the weekend over

so that I could get something done! I am so far behind on everything now that I lost three whole days to illness. I am glad I don’t get sick very often. It puts a damper on my well honed routine. Thank you all for your sympathetic words below.

The house is in need of some deep cleaning. I worked 9.5 hours today, so when I got home I wasn’t in the mood to clean. Actually I am never in the mood to clean on a work night. In my routine, I do major cleaning only on the weekends. So I guess I’ll just forget about it until Saturday. I did do a quick cleaning of the bathroom (some things simply cannot be put off), then pulled up my 150+ emails on my yahoo account and began trudging through the emails from a quilting group I recently joined. “Trudging” is the operative word here. I decided I was not having any fun or learning anything from this group, so I deleted all the emails and promptly unsubscribed. I gained an extra hour of time right then and there!

Look at this.
It came in the mail today. It’s a free gift for subscribing to Garden Design magazine. It's cute, but what can I do with it? It's pretty small. Let's see...if you cut a magazine in half it would fit in this too small to be of any use that I can think of. It's not like I will ever be skipping through my garden with this little tool-filled tote dangling from my arm either. I can't quite bring myself to toss it yet. So I'll let it sit around for six months and then toss it. Isn't that how it usually happens? LOL.

I tried to sew a little tonight, but that didn't go so well. I tried 3 times (without success) to miter the corner of a 9-inch border I put on the cardinal quilt. I finally just sewed it on without the miter, which was fine, except, I then decided I hated the border. It's too wide.

I guess I will show it to you. I always show you each step after I'm satisfied, but I probably should show you the errors now and then, too. There are certainly plenty of them to show!
There will actually be three rows of stars on each side, which will help to balance it out. I still think it will look to wide, though.

I folded that up and decided to deal with it another day when I'm more in the mood. I may just cut it down smaller so I don't have to rip out thousands of tiny stitches. I need some sort of border, just not so wide. Only problem there is that if I don't make it 9 inches wide all those 9-inch star blocks I already made won't fit. Ah, the mathematical challenges....maybe I should just make two different quilts.

I just spent 55 minutes making this post. I hit publish and BLOGGER ATE IT!!! ARRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGG. If that happens this time, I am done blogging! I am sure the first post was way better than this one, but, hey, that's as good as it's getting tonight!

I Guess I didn't Kill All those Nasty Little Viruses

last week with my bleach treatment.

One of them got me!

I have never been so sick. It hit me Thursday at Midnight and I was totally down in bed (when I wasn't visiting the porcelain throne) until Saturday afternoon. Not a speck of food -- two bottles of water was all I could get down in all that time. It's a BAD one, that's all I can say.

I got a ton of magazines the past week or so, but I was too sick to even read.

I haven't even opened the cover of these gardening ones. It will give me something to look forward to later in the week.

I feel so out-of-touch with everyone! Hopefully I can get back to blog reading after work today.

Hope everyone has a great Monday. I am thrilled just to be able to go to work today!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Remember the Cardinal Block?

I guess it would be hard to forget since I've used it for my profile picture!

I've been trying to think of a way to incorporate the cardinal into my latest quilt--the autumn-colored star one I've been spending every free moment creating for the past few weeks. I really like the cardinal and I have been trying to think of a way to give him a starring role.

I needed to somehow incorporate him into a center medallion. This is much easier to say than to do! It took me a long time to figure out how to get a 9-patch unit to fit as a star. The whole unit had to be divisible by 9, but the cardinal block was only 7" square. Like I said, it was not that easy to do! :)

I am so very proud to be able to show you my 27-inch square with the cardinal in the center .........
Now that I've got him completed, I've decided I need more open space between him and all the stars. So now I must come up with another 9-inch border. I am tempted to just put a plain fabric 9-inch border all around. It would be so easy and maybe, just maybe, it would be exactly what is needed between the bird and all the other stars.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I Have Been Without Internet Service for the Past Two Days

because my modem died--AGAIN! Yes, I am screaming. This is the third time my modem has died in less than 1.5 years with this DSL service. I called my provider and they said I had to pay for the new modem. I explained my less-than-satisfactory record with their modems and indicated that if I had to shell out my own hard-earned cash for another inferior quality product, I would change providers. Precisely 23 hours later, the modem arrived at my doorstep--free.

Hopefully, I can now blog merrily along without further interruptions.

Today I thought I would share this meal I recently prepared with these simple ingredients and some mashed potatoes.

These humble ingredients turned into this very tasty Cheeseburger/Mashed Potato Pie.

My son used to love this when he was at home.

The first thing I do is put 1 pound of burger in a glass pie plate. Just quickly even it out. Don't pay much attention to how nice the sides look because they won't stay like that anyway. Season to your liking. I just used salt/pepper.

Bake on 350 degrees for 20 minutes. See how it shrinks down from the sides? That's why you don't want to fuss with it. Drain off all the fat. I then added some caramelized onions & celery and sprinkled assorted cheese crumbles on the bottom. Use any cheese your family likes.
Add a layer of mashed potatoes. Add more cheese. I used American cheese slices here because of its melting qualities. Cover this cheese with more mashed potatoes and sprinkle more cheese on top. I used sharp cheddar on top. Bake another 20 minutes or until heated through.

When it comes out of the oven, you can add a little green garnish. I used some of my own chives that I froze this fall as well as some celery tops.

Let it sit about 10 minutes before cutting.

MMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......Serve with a side of green beans for a very easy and tasty dinner.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I spent a lot of time sewing this weekend

and nursing poor DH, who was very sick with what appeared to be the "Winter Vomiting Virus". I had never heard of it before, but I did a net search and this virus fits his symptoms perfectly. Most people would call it the "flu", but it was not. People seem to call just about everything the "flu".

As the name suggests, the main symptom is violent vomiting.

It's highly contagious. I thought it would be. I wore rubber gloves and used bleach/water to clean everything in the bathroom -- floor, walls, commode, commode handle. I sprayed my bleach/water solution on every glass, spoon, etc. he used. I tried my best not to touch anything after he did.

I did not have to cook at all on Friday or Saturday, unless you consider heating up a can of chicken noodle soup cooking. Poor DH only ate a few spoonfuls on Saturday. He slept most of the time. So other than my continuous bouts of disinfecting activity, I spent my time in a different room sewing.
I must have filled this bobbin 3 times each day.
Look at this ironing board. It's so full of fabric I have no room to iron! (I iron every single little piece as it's sewn on)
Oops! I seem to be missing the garbage can as I snip the excess fabric off each block.
Carpet is not a good thing in a sewing room!

I have found that paper piecing is not very fast (I agree with Sandy, who mentioned this in one of her comments). It also wastes a lot of fabric. I cut (or more precisely, hack off) pieces of fabric that are much larger than I need. I have found it better to waste than to cut too small and have to tear out tiny little stitches.

The weekend went by pretty fast (they all do), I made about 12 star blocks, DH is better and it seems I have escaped the virus. . . at least so far...........

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I've been Hibernating

It's been so cold here. Most days in the single digits, often with negative wind chills. Luckily we haven't gotten all that much snow. Oh my goodness, I just watched the news and they are talking about a traffic jam in PA (I think) for 16 hours! People were stuck overnight in their cars.

I've been going to work, coming home and sewing. That's about it. I wouln't even leave the house if I did not have to go to work.

I haven't been in the mood to blog. I think it's time to take a blog break. Don't you find that if you miss a day or two of blogging it's so easy to keep missing days?

Here's a picture my Mom took while watching the birds from her window.

I just love cardinals, especially in the snow.

I hope everyone is surviving the big snowstorms.
Stay inside and keep warm!

Monday, February 12, 2007

A new Dining Experience

I dined alone tonight.
Just me and this Campbells Select Southwestern Corn Soup.
Lightly blended sweet corn, red peppers, and chipotle, with a hint of lime.

The package boasts "Deliciously Good!" and it was. I loved this soup, especially with a few Frito scoops.

Look at that Frito full of thick, creamy soup!

This is the first time I've tried those Campbell Select soups and I can't wait to try the other package I have in the pantry. This one truly was restaurant quality.

A few hours after dinner, I had a scoop of vanilla ice cream with the Chambord poured over the top--just like you all said, it was delish! I did not have chocolate sauce, but it was good all by itself. I have a feeling that bottle of Chambord will not last another year.


Paczki are Polish doughnuts, usually eaten on Fat Tuesday. (The true Polish custom is to eat them the Thursday before lent, but due to Mardi Gras, it has become common to eat them on Fat Tuesday). There are different pronounciations, but we pronounce them "punch-key".

Lent used to have very strict fasting regulations and was truly a time of sacrifice . During the time when no faithful Catholic would think of eating eggs, fat, sugar, or meat during lent, frugal cooks began making Paczki to use up these ingredients so they would not spoil during the season of penitence and fasting.

This particular Paczki is filled with lemon and topped with powdered sugar.

Notice that there is no hole in a Paczki.

This past weekend we attended a Mardi Gras event. After draping my neck in a pair of battery-powered light up beads, I partook of this wickedly delicious indulgence. The custom is to satiate one's desire for sweets prior to the 40-day fast. To make very certain that my desire was sated, I thought it only appropriate to indulge in a second Paczki (the second was apple filled, and topped with cinnamon).

That did the trick. :)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Remember those 3-inch blocks

that I was making last Sunday? Well, I made a few different 3" inch blocks after work each night last week. This morning I had quite a sizable stack and decided to see what I could make from them. It's like a jigsaw puzzle fitting these pieces into a larger block. You never know just what it will look like until you get done.

This is what most of that stack morphed into:

Isn't it just amazing how tiny little blocks of fabric turn into larger designs? Do you see how the little bits of blue make another star when their centers join? I've been doing this for years and yet I am still amazed when I see the outcome.

Unfortunately I am running out of the light green background fabric. I will have to decide whether to continue with the stars with a different background or just make 9 stars for the center and something else for the rest.

I am leaning toward changing the background fabric to a slightly darker green and maybe even a third green, so that it will look as though I planned for the color to gradually get darker from the center outward.

So far I am liking this one enough to spend time to make a king sized quilt for my bed. I don't have a star quilt yet.

Friday, February 9, 2007

I had to go out of town for work on Thursday

It was a three hour trip and it looked like this most of the way:

Thank goodness, the boss was driving!
I can't tell you how much I HATE having to go to these meetings. I get nervous on roads like these, even as only a passenger. I feel sorry for the driver because I am always grabbing the side handle, gasping in white-knuckled fright because I think we are too close to the car ahead. Sometimes I slam on the invisible brake on the floor ahead of me. I keep apologizing, "Sorry, I know you're a good driver. I just get a little excited."

I am surpirsed the man continues to insist I go on these excursions.

Once we arrive safely, I usually enjoy the meeting.

I always like going out to lunch after the meeting.

This time I had the daily special: 1/2 a dogwood sandwich and a cup of basil ham soup.

I had never heard of basil ham soup, but it was quite good.

The boss has a real sweeth tooth and wanted to try this Maple Pear Brulee Cheesecake.
It had a nut crust with a bottom layer of poached pears smothered in maple cheesecake, then topped with a very thin layer of torched caramel sugar.

We split this piece.

Yum-o! (Oh, help me! I just used a Racheal Ray-ism).

Thanks for all the ideas to use the Chambord. I think over vanilla ice cream sounds like something I would like. I will have to remember that the next time I get ice cream.

Also, thanks to those of you commenting about the labels. I have found them pretty handy myself. I couldn't remember how I had cooked a particular dish, so I just clicked the "cooking" label and found the entry in no time.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The English language has always fascinated me

Today I heard a chef use the word “schmear”.

I’ve been hearing that word a lot lately and every time I hear someone say it, I think they mean to say “smear”. I did not think “schmear” was a real word.

I did a little investigating and Ifound out I am so wrong.

It seems schmear is a multi-faceted expression denoting everything from bagel toppings, to a tiny amount (just a schmear), to a big bunch of stuff (as in the whole schmear).

The Encarta World English Dictionary defines a “schmear” as “something such as cream cheese spread on a roll or bagel,” while Miriam-Webster has this entry:

Main Entry: schmear
Variant(s): or schmeer /'shmir/
Function: noun
Etymology: Yiddish shmir smear
: an aggregate of related things

Who knew?
Well, probably everybody, but me!

Speaking of knowing, who knows anything about this liqueur?

I've had it for years (it was a gift) and I haven't the vaguest idea what to do with it! It's certainly a pretty bottle, isn't it? It's probably something I am supposed to sit and sip, but I'm not much into liqueur sipping. Can I use it for some type of cooking? Does it last forever?

Well, at least the piecing is finished.

It still needs to be sandwiched and quilted. The snowmen all need buttons added, but they will get in the way of the quilting, so I will add them last.

I added the corner star units last night.

For now I will just fold it up and tuck it away--never to see the light of day again. No, no, just kidding. I need to finish the one I am quilting now before I start this one.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Hmmm.....the Battery is Still Working

I wonder if I just did not have the photo program opened and that is why it would not download? How embarrassing would that be for me?

I was in the mood for some mindless sewing today.
I made a bunch of these little 3-inch blocks to use up some of the scraps I've been accumulating.
I have a vague idea of using them as centers for log cabin blocks in fall colors.

I made all of these while watching Father of the Bride I and II.
I've always enjoyed Steve Martin movies and Diane Keation is my favorite actress.

Remember Franck ?
He was the decorator who talked like this: "Hello! Who you? Get 'avay'! I don't like 'vat' you say!" He was so funny.

I made a big pot of chili earlier today and now I am going to put some garic/cheese bread in the oven.

I bet 50% of the nation is having chili today while watching the big game.

Very Weird

Today the battery was not dead.
I added the latest border to the top of Let It Snow (which I have named this quilt) and I really wanted a picture of this stage. So I put the battery back in the camera and gave it a try. Voila!

So here is where I am with the quilt:

I worked all last week during the evenings on the three bottom snowmen.

Now I just need to add a bit more - maybe a foot all around and it will be big enough for a good blankie to wrap up in to watch TV. I like them big enough to really snuggle into so no part of my body is exposed to the cold winter indoor temperatures when I lie down to watch TV. I have no idea yet what that last border pattern will end up as. I can see I really need the blue/white stripe on the bottom. I hope I have some of that left!

My poor Persian Shield plant. It and the four hibiscus trees live in a litte room in the basement during the winter. The basement is warm enough and there is a large window in this room so they get just enough light to survive. Barely survive.
Look at this poor thing. I forgot to water it last week.

I think there is still hope.
The same thing happened last year and look how it came back. It's amazing how tough these plants are.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

My Camera Battery Died

I went to Staples today to buy a new one and THEY HAVE TO ORDER IT!
This is Day Two without taking a picture.
I am in deep withdrawal and probably won't be posting until it comes in. What's a post without a picture?

I found a tin of fudge in the freezer (forgotten from Christmas). It's helping the withdrawal symptoms to subside just a bit. :) I actually found it last night and it is, in fact, how I found out the battery was dead. I took a picture of it to show you and I couldn't get the camera to load it to the computer even after I charged the battery. So I trotted off to Staples first thing this morning. What kind of office store does not keep stuff like that in stock?

I also cleaned the remote control for the TV. Have you been hearing all the reports about how filthy remote controls are? Supposedly the remote has the most bacteria of anything in a hotel room.

I must admit, mine was dirty. I used two q-tips, 2 toothpicks, a toothbrush and some Murphy's Oil Soap because it felt greasy. The little crevices were full of gunk (that's what the toothpicks were for). Now it's very clean and no longer feels greasy. Who would notice? NOBODY. That's why I'm telling all of you!<*grin> That's what happens when your beloved digital camera is on the blink. You start to go nutty and clean remotes with a toothpick!

Sissy, I must respond to your comment that my house must be immaculate. I can see how one might think that by my recent postings. But that is far from the correct assumption! I do clean a lot, but it never seems to stay that way!

Hope you all have a fun superbowl weekend.

What's wrong with the Blogger spell check? Geez, does anything work correctly anymore? I hope I don't have a ton of misspelled words.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

I Hope this Doesn't Count for 7 Years of Bad Luck

It doesn't.

Did you ever wonder about why breaking a mirror is said to be unlucky?

Well, I just wondered.

Here is what I found (taken verbatium from

Centuries ago many believed that a person's image in a mirror was a reflection of that person's soul. That is why the
legendary vampire, who had no soul, casts no reflection in a mirror. To the people who held this belief, breaking a mirror
meant preventing a part of the soul from reuniting with its body. The absence of a portion of the soul, it was believed, would certainly lead to ill fortune.

But why seven years? This goes back to a Roman belief that a person's health and
fortune changed every seven years.

I thought that was an interesting little tidbit for a Thursday morning.
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