Friday, October 31, 2008

Cupcake Cloche



cloche (klōsh)

noun

1. a transparent covering used to protect or force delicate plants
2. a close fitting, bell-shaped hat for women

In table decorating circles, it has come to mean any glass covering for just about anything.

How about this crystal cupcake cloche?
You can buy it at Fredflare . . . It's a beauty and at$60.00 it should be.

If, like me, you are not inclined to part with 60 bucks to cover one cupcake, you can use a little creativity and come up with something that gives the same effect.

Remember these little cheese boards with the glass cover?
If you are over 40, you have probably had one or two of these in your life time. They were all the rage in the 70's.

You didn't sell yours at your garage sale for a quarter, did you? Tsk, tsk. You may be sorry you did.

If you still have one, take the top only and find a pretty plate that it will cover. Then find something like my pretty crystal glass that has a nice sized area for the plate to rest upon.

Then just stack them.


Same effect. Zero dollars spent.

Here's a very colorful version using a candlestick.

This one uses a pretty purple drinking glass turned upside down.

I am not really sure how useful these are. I guess they would be cute on a decorated dessert buffet table---maybe the prettiest cupcake in the cloche and the rest all around it.

Mostly, I think, they are just a fun novelty.

Well, I had better go check for trick or treaters. It's hard to hear them when I am in my computer room.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Warning -- This Post uses the "S" word.....

I saw my first snowflakes today.

They were wet and slushy, but nonetheless they were snowflakes.

After I got home from work, I made some nice hot vanilla-flavored coffee and sat right in front of the window reading, occasionally looking up to watch the snowflakes fall.

I spent a very pleasant half an hour reading my latest quilt mystery. I am sure that five months from now I will not be nearly as excited to watch the snow fall, but I always love the first flakes.

I am dining alone tonight, so I cooked a chicken breast and made a nice colorful salad. It's probably the last time I will enjoy fresh garden tomatoes until next August. To commemorate the event, I sat at the dining room table which is all decked out in Halloween black and orange.

While it was snowing I noticed the maple tree still had a few leaves, so I ran out in the wet snow/rain and cut down a few more branches to refill the pumpkin.

My blog post was just interrupted by some political poll. I must be in a good mood because I was very nice and even answered all her questions. I usually just hang up on any person who dares to interrupt my free time with their silly offers, polls, etc.

I haven't visited very many blogs during the past week. I was out of town for two days and since getting home, I haven't spent much time on the computer. I hope to catch up with all of you later in the week.

I leave you with a quote to ponder:

“The future lies before you, like paths of pure white snow. Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.” ~ Source Unknown ~

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am all Set for a Potluck

I had an hour to kill before an appointment after work yesterday.

With my latest Joanne flyer in hand, I headed for the Wilton aisle.

Who doesn't make cupcakes and then wonder how to store them without the frosting getting all messed up? Heaven forbid if you have to take them someplace.

Well, now I am the owner of a cupcake tote and best of all, it was 50% off.

The really cool thing about this one is if you turn it over,
you get a mini cupcake tote. It also totes a sheet cake, so it's a 3 in 1. What a deal for $10!

Then to make sure my cupcakes are potluck worthy, I bought this little cupcake decorating kit. Another 50% off, so it was only $4.

Now I can never go into a fabric store without buying fabric if it's marked down to an almost give away price. How about this?
I know. It's either butt ugly or gorgeous. It depends on the angle I look at it. :) I am just positive that I will find the perfect use for this. It was $9.99/yd, marked down to $1.50/yd.

I bought what was left on the bolt--about 5.5 yards. Here's a close up, which looks better. Don't you just love the manly plaid fabric with the floral overlay?

I always bought 3 yds. of another fabric.


And this apron pattern.


I got ALL of this stuff for $31!!!

It must be Christmas and nobody told me!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Little Pretties have been Put to Bed for the Winter

I am always telling you how I store my plants "under the house" for the winter.

I know many of you wonder what the heck I am talking about, so I thought I'd take a pic and show you exactly what I mean.

My family room and kitchen were an addition to my home. We did not put a basement under the addition. We have a basement under the original part of the house. The basement is too warm to overwinter the plants.

Under the addition we have what is referred to as a "crawl" space. This space is cooler than the basement, but does not freeze. It's a huge space. I only use the front third of it to store all of my gardening containers and to hold over the big containers for the winter.

DH and I put them all under there today. This is what it looks like now.



These plants will sit there until next June. They get no attention at all...no water, no nothing.

Today I cooked and worked a lot on my pinwheel quilt which I intend to use as a tree skirt. I won't repost it here, but if you are interested, you can read about my day on my quilting blog. Just go to zoeyquilts.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 16, 2008

TGI almost F

I have a lot of things I want to do this weekend so I am glad tomorrow is Friday.

As soon as I left work today I ran to the library to pick up two of the 5 books I ordered a few days ago. I have not even opened the covers yet, but I am looking forward to spending a little time with them later this weekend.
Look what was waiting for me when I got home. My Oriental poppy collection arrived.
A lot of new gardeners wonder how different plants arrive when ordered. Poppies arrive packaged in clear bags as these bare roots.


I always try to plant these orders the same day I receive them. The roots have already spent quite a few days in this sealed box. The sooner they get planted, the better the chances are that they will survive and bloom next spring.

So I threw a quick load of laundry in and went out and planted the eight poppies. I took pictures of where each was planted. I always lay the bag with the name of the plant on the ground and take a close up so I will know exactly which plant is where next year.


I used nail polish on big Popsicle sticks to mark where I planted these. In June I marked these sticks with permanent ink Sharpies and within a few weeks the writing had worn off. I guess it's not really "permanent" after all. Hopefully the nail polish will work better.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Know Winter is Coming Because I'm Buying Kitchen Gadgets

And getting in the baking mood.

When did the Wilton Company start making nifty kitchen gadgets?

I found these measuring cups on my last Joanne Fabric store foray. I had a 40% off coupon to use and this set looked like a good candidate. I like their shape because they fit into my deep flour/sugar jars.
While on my organizing spree last week, I discovered that a couple of spatulas were loose around the ends allowing bacteria to get inside. They went in the garbage. So I really needed this new heat resistant set. Another Joanne's find. This time I had a 50% off coupon...usually I just buy a spool of thread to use up the coupon. Now that they carry this stuff, I predict more gadgets will find a home in my kitchen.
Behind the spatulas you see a great big metal cake lifter. How many times have you gingerly lifted a cake layer with both hands just hoping it does not break in half? Well, O.K., maybe not all that often. I guess I have only broken one or two in my entire baking life. But I am sure there are many other uses for this --like picking up a pie crust...I hardly ever make a pie crust....well, maybe I will make more of them now that I have this handy little gadget. Here's a better pic:

Who would think that these black frozen bananas and lemon half would turn into

this luscious banana/cranberry muffin?

After hardly baking all summer, so far this week I have baked pumpkin bread, a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and these muffins.

The oven of the stove I bought in July is finally getting used! Though I still have not used the convection part of it. I must look into that soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

World Class Service

On occasion I rant about poor customer service, so I when I get exceptional service, I feel I must shout company praise to the entire blogosphere.

I recently showed you the Hot Pants tulip bulbs that I received from BRECK's Company. They were pretty tiny, one shriveled up, and a couple blemished.

I sent Breck's an email last Thursday with a picture. I did not demand any money back or a reorder. I simply wrote this:

I received an order today. I am not very happy these Hotpants tulip bulbs. I do not believe they are top quality and top size as they were advertised. Please look at the attached pictures and see if you think a replacement order should be made.

Thank you,
This morning there was an email in my inbox:
Thank you for your email. While we try to make every effort to ensure that the items you order are of the highest quality, shipped to you in a timely manner, and with the best service, occasionally we stumble. Please accept our apology for any inconvenience we may have caused you, and we ask that you consider giving us one more opportunity to provide you with world class service. A reship has been issued for the item(s) requested.
Following the this email was another with a confirmation number for the shipment that went out yesterday.
Wow! That is truly Wold class service!


While leafing through their catalog, I came across a Helenium named 'Lollipop', that I just love.



Isn't this a unique flower? I would love to have it for bouquets next year. It reminds me of a tall eyeball (Spilanthes) plant.

I must remember this one for next year. It can be ordered as plants from Brecks, or if you prefer to plant seeds, they say it will flower the same year. It needs full sun and a lot of water.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Early Morning Golden Glow


Yesterday morning when I went out at 8:00 a.m. the light was casting a beautiful glow through the rockwall garden.

I just had to see if I could capture the moment and ran back inside to get my camera.

The light is hitting the yellow maple leaves just right and gives a golden glow behind the Burning Bush.




Here is the full shot of the picture to the left.




Doesn't it almost look like it's on fire back there?




Here is the view from the deck.

Just to the left of that arbor I have some asters blooming around the bird house with an old wheelbarrow that I left sitting there the last time I was working in that area.

This view is from my bedroom window. I thought the dying foliage looked pretty nice at that particular moment. Today I am working on cutting all this stuff down. I will never get it all, but every little bit is less that I will have to do next spring.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

All Refreshed after the Dud Evening

8:00 a.m.

10:00 a.m.

Noon

I feel very good having it all cut down and ready to be stored for the winter. I have to give DH most of the credit. He did a ton of work. I cut everything down and he hauled it away. I think he hauled 6 wheelbarrow loads.

It was very tough for me to dig out all of the hosta I used this year. The roots really grew and embedded themselves firmly into the containers. I don't think I will do that next year. I had to use a shovel and cut through (thus ruining) quite a few canna and dahlia tubers.

DH made this to dry my tubers, bulbs, etc. It's great because the air can circulate so well. I only remove the tubers from the whiskey barrels because they stay outside all winter.


All the rest stay right in their containers. We are waiting a while longer before putting everything in the crawl space because it's still too warm. We really have not had a good hard frost yet, but this is the only weekend I plan to stay home to take care of all this.
All of these containers will get stored just as they are, which makes for easy planting next spring. Around June 1, I will just pull them out and begin watering. In the meantime I will no absolutely nothing. They won't even be watered until June.


All of the furniture has been washed with bleach and is going to sit out to dry until tomorrow. It's supposed to be a nice day again tomorrow so we hope to get it all put away then.
I plan to putter around a bit more cutting down perennials. I will be so much happier next spring if I can get most of it cut down now.

We will toss a couple of steak on the grill as a little reward for all our hard work today. After dinner we are going to my MIL's for cake/ice cream (it's her birthday today).

All in all I am having a wonderful day. I hope you are, too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Dud Evening

I have been home from work for over 4 hours and have done nothing other than heat up leftovers for dinner.

Usually I would be sewing or maybe doing some fall decorating. For some reason I am energyless tonight. I have been on the sofa watching a Project Runaway marathon.

I had a busy day at work and spent a few hours on my feet atop some 2.75-inch heels. If I had known I would be standing so much, I would have brought other shoes. The kitchen needed some help plating the dessert for a luncheon of 170 people. So me and another person did the decorative plates. We first put a big squiggle of red syrup on the plate--like this: Then the cake was sliced and one piece was placed on top of each plate. A delicate dollop of whipped cream is piped to the side. A mint leaf is placed on the whipped cream and chocolate chips are scattered across the plate.

Did I mention that we did 170 of these? That's a lot of cake and it took way longer than I thought it would.

I am the person who sells these events, menus, etc. After plating all of these desserts, I can see why the cooks are not always happy when I bring back a function sheet with a ton of individually-plated desserts!

Then the group wanted us to release the tables individually to go to the buffet. So I did that which meant another hour standing on the heels, chatting with everyone as we waited... It took each table of 10 forever to go through the line. I guess they were just stunned by all that fabulous food! I went back to every table and asked if they enjoyed their lunch and every single person loved the meal. That was great and pretty unusual for 170 people. . . and don't think they would hesitate to tell me if they didn't like something.

Anyway that was my day. Hopefully I am more energetic tomorrow as I have a ton of work to do putting all the plants to bed for the winter.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Do You Use Your Public Library?



I used to be there so often (at least twice a week) that the librarians knew me by name. A couple of them still do, but since I my internet addiction disease has spread over the past decade, I have been going to the library much less often.

I still love to read, I just have little time to do so during the summer months.

Now that I am settling into the cold-weather months, I am ready to snuggle under one of my quilts and while away a Sunday afternoon with a fun, easy-to-get-lost-in book.

Today I went online and ordered a few books. If you have not been to the library lately, you must check this out. It’s so convenient. Just a few clicks of the mouse and I had five books on hold. As you can see in the picture above, I am #1 in the holding position for all five of them. None of these books are at my own library. That’s the beauty of this service. They order the books from other libraries that have them on their shelves. It usually takes less than a week to get the book.

There is no charge -- no postage--nada. At least at my library it costs nothing more than the tax dollars you already pay to support your library.

I had a Breck's tulip bulb order sitting on the porch when I got home today.

I am not very happy with these bulbs. They are tiny and this one looks all dried up and blemished.

There is a big old blemish on the one in the back, too.

Do you think these bulbs look like size 12+? Would you be disappointed with these?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hey, Big Boy....

It's been at least twenty years since I have eaten a Big Boy hamburger.

After our physically active day last Saturday we were driving around a small town looking for a place to eat. When I saw this burger on the Big Boy sign, I had a sudden urge to try one.

Since I am not a major burger lover, I was very surprised that I really enjoyed this one.

I have always loved their tomato spice salad dressing. I asked the waitress if they sold it and she said they did indeed. So I bought some.


Tonight we enjoyed it on our tossed salad.

My deck plants are almost finished. I am planning to stay home this weekend to get them all cut down and put away for the winter. Tonight I went out and cut down the last of the pink flowers and put them in the living room to live out their last few days.
I am really going to miss having fresh flower bouquests.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Put some of that Baked Pumpkin to Good Use

As soon as I got home from work yesterday, I baked some pumpkin bread.

On a whim I decided to add sugar and cinnamon to the top before baking.

It baked into this rather nice crunchy, oh-so-cinnamony topping.

It is very moist and good. I used my own revised recipe, but eliminated the chocolate chips.

Speaking of pumpkins....

Isn't this cute? I usually see pumpkin topiaries put together with a metal pole shoved through the middle of all the pumpkins. This would be so much easier and the display would last longer since the gourds were not cut into. Of course, this wooden holder is very nicely made (i.e. $$$), but you could just nail a couple of old boards together to get the same effect. I think the boards would actually lend an air of rustic charm.

I have been working now and then on the pinwheels. This is how many I have completed (36).
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