Monday, February 28, 2011

Cupcakes without the Calories

Last night I made a batch of calorie-less cupcakes--really there are no calories in these cakes:

I was away all weekend. We picked up my parents and left Friday immediately after work and did not get home until mid-afternoon on Sunday.  We attended a dinner & Bee Gees tribute musical concert.  It's been awhile since we went to one of these and many of our weekend Canadian friends missed us--they kept coming over and asking where had been.  The dinner was not the greatest, the music was good (but I was disappointed that they had no disco ball over the dance floor).  Just seeing all the people that have become our weekend friends was worth the six-hour round trip. 

Today I got home from work about 1.5 hours later than usual. I had already planned to make chili for dinner and thanks to an earlier marathon hamburger cooking session, I had the burger cooked and ready to toss in with my other chili ingredients.  It did not take long before I was enjoying this luscious bowl of chili.

I think the garnish of raw red onions and the salad croutons make the dish!  Oh, there is also a good scoop of Mexican cheese melting under those ingredients. What's not to love? 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Answering Yesterday's Comments and I am Glad I Did NOT Hang These Quilts!

First of all, a big thank you to my latest follower "J".  I hope you find enough of interest to keep following me.

I am also answering the few comments from yesterday in this post because I really don't think anyone has time to go back and re-read comments and I want you all to know how appreciative I am of your comments.


Thank you! I am feeling 200% better today!


Welcome! What a delight to read your comment. I would have emailed you privately, but you were anonymous, so I had to answer here. I am so glad you found something worth spending hours at my blog! I know I am just thrilled when I come across a blog on the weekend that is so interesting, I spend half a day just reading old posts. I salute you back with the glass of Chardonnay that I am drinking right now---from the box, of course. :)

Betty and Dianne,

Thank you both for the well wishes. You are both such loyal readers and I double thank you for that!

So I just finished my third mini quilt from this weekend. I can admit when I am wrong -- and I was oh, so wrong to think these would have made quilt art that I wanted to look at for the rest of my life (since it's doubtful that DH will ever agree to change pics and fix the sixteen holes he drilled into the wall to hang the 8 lighthouse pictures). The colors ended up way  darker than I originally thought they would be anyway.

They do make pretty good trivets to protect my long counter when I am in a mega baking mood, or when I have a family potluck and everyone brings a hot dish. I have one more to finish and that should fill in most of  the slightly-over-8-foot counter. 

Did anyone notice my parsley plant down at the end of the counter?  I have kept it alive all winter (!) and have even used it a few times.  I actually still have three of the four herbs I tried to save.  I used some rosemary on Sunday when I made a very tasty pot roast.  I do love having fresh herbs during the winter months.

Take care, all, & I hope you are all having a wonderful Tuesday.

Monday, February 21, 2011

No Real Post Today

I had to leave work early today because I was not feeling well. I had a post all set to go over at my tablescaping blog, so if you want to, you can just click here to see what I did with these black/red Dresden plate quilt blocks I have been making for the past few weeks. 

Take care. I hope to be back tomorrow.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Where Did My Weekend Go?

I have not left the house since I got home from work and fabric shopping at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

Suddenly Sunday afternoon is almost over and I still have tons of projects that I wanted to finish. I need another day in my weekend--my nails need to be done, I wanted to wash and style my hair (it's always best if I wash it the day before I have to go to work), I should hem a pair of pants I  bought last week, and I have done no cleaning except for the Friday PM dusting with the new orange mitt... well, I guess I shoved the vacuum around each room, but that's about it.  I did minimal cooking.....I did change and wash the bedding....but where did the rest of the weekend go?

I guess I spent most of it sewing.  Remember my plan to sew quilts to frame for this empty hallway?

The hallway walls have been bare for the 23 years I have lived in this house.  As wonderful as my husband is, he has major quirks--like putting holes in walls.  I keep telling him that it is normal to hang a picture, then when you decide to change it, fill the holes and repaint--that's what most of America does.  He thinks once you hang a picture, it's for life.  . . drives me crazy... who hangs pictures for life???'s a good thing he has so many other wonderful qualities.

This weekend I finally got him to hang something in this hallway.  I must have caught him in a weak moment, because he hung 8 pictures down this hallway!  They are all lighthouses in black frames (I used to have them in my living room before the remodel).

I do really like these lighthouses.  I have visited many of them because they are all in Michigan.
After making quilts to frame all weekend, I decided that it was just too much hassle to get these in a frame and hung on a wall.  I was very disappointed to realize that the biggest quilt in the back was too thick to fit in the frame after I added batting and quilted it.

I did get the little one in the front in a frame, but that is only because I didn't quilt it.  I am removing it from the frame and turning it into a counter trivet for hot dishes. I will use all of these for trivets so my weekend's work was not in vain.

When I went down to the basement to wash the bed linen, I noticed the stack of lighthouses pics with black frames. I was already thinking the framed quilt idea was not going to happen, so I brought a couple of the lighthouses upstairs to see if they would look good down the hallway.  I decided they would work much better than quilts that I had to make and then fit into frames.

I think this is how I got DH to hang the lighthouses.  I showed him this quilt and I said, "It's either 8 quilts in this color scheme or the lighthouses.  I think the lighthouses will look better in the hallway."  I guess he agreed.  LOL.

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's a Sad Fact that This Excites Me

After work today I went to Staples and you will never guess what I picked up there.  One might think of something like copy paper, ink, etc. at an office store, but I found this:

Yup, it's a big orange micro fiber dusting mit.  Exciting, huh?  LOL.  I just finished dusting three rooms and this thing is fantastic!  The cuff is nice and tight so it does not fall off my hand. I just run my hand over flat surfaces, chandeliers, cabinets, etc. and all the dust sticks right to the mit.

I am probably the last person to discover these.  But in case I'm not and any of  you are wondering if they work, the answer is yes.  Now I can't vouch for how they work once you wash them.  I am assuming they will be good for a couple of washings and then you just toss them out and get a new one.  If anyone else knows, more, please leave a comment.

I do hope  my weekend consists of some activity a tad more exciting than dusting!

I also went to the fabric store to buy some solid color fabrics.  I have decided to make some wall art for my bare white hallway walls.  I am planning to make 4 or 5 mini quilts and frame them all in black frames.  They will all have black fabric and one polka dot fabric....those are the only rules.  Any other color is fair game.

I just whipped up a couple of 4-inch blocks to try out my first color choices. I like these colors, so this one will become my first piece of contemporary quilt art. It will be 2 feet high and 9 inches wide.  Right now it's only 4 inches high and 8 inches wide, so I have a bit more work to do.
I will show you the finished product once I get it done.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Books I ordered at 5:00 a.m.

I was up extra early this morning and I spent some time ordering books from my library.
I love being able to order books online. By early next week these books should begin arriving at my local library. They will call me and I will have three days to pick them up. You may have noticed that most of them are gardening books. It's that time of year.

The novel about Niagara Falls is one I read about when Heather reviewed it on her blog, Books and Quilts. It sounds like something I would enjoy, so I ordered it. There is no charge to use this service at my library.

The gardening books are what I call "skimmers". I mostly skim through and if a picture catches my eye, I will read more about it.   Skimming gardening books usually gets me in the mood for all the work I will have to do once the snow melts. It was in the 40' s again today, so maybe Punxsutawney Phil will be correct and we will have an early spring.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Middle-Age Maintenance Week

I just got home from over two hours at the hair salon getting my hair highlighted. I have not had it done since last June. She put two different blond colors over my own dark blond hair. Here is the top of my head (yes, I bent over under the hallway light so I could take a pic with no flash---anything to give my readers the true color!)

I am fairy happy, though not exactly giddy over it.  If it made me look 20  years younger, I would be giddy.   I know, even the best hairdresser is not a miracle worker!

Thursday I have to go to the dentist for my quarterly cleaning.

Thank goodness I got rid of the acrylic nails or I would have had to get those done this week, too.  I did like the acrylics, but I did not like the time it took to maintain them.

I know some women love to go to salons to get all these treatments. Personally, I HATE to go. I would much rather leave work and come straight home than spend two hours getting my hair/nails done.  I much prefer doing my own pedicures and manicures.  I guess I am kinda weird.

Sunday I went to  JC Penney. I had a $10 off anything that cost at least $10 coupon. Who can resist that? I did not take me long to find something to spend it on.  They already had handbags marked down, I know I don't need another one, but when I saw a burnt ORANGE leather handbag, I just had to have it.  I mean, really, how often do you see an orange leather purse?  This one was originally $45, marked down to $21.99 and I got another $10 off --final cost was just under $13 for this beauty...

I just happen to have quite a few items of clothing with this color of orange in it. This picture is the true color.

This is a picture I took of a few of my clothing items that I could use it with. Unfortunately I had to use a flash and the bag turned out way too orange.  Just imagine it the color of the above pic......
It is the purrrfect color for my newest animal (cats) print jacket. I think I will wear it to work tomorrow.

After 12 hours of work and middle-aged maintenance, my newly coiffed self  spent twenty minutes cooking chicken breasts so that I could  enjoy this spinach/chicken/strawberry/pecan salad with poppy seed dressing for dinner. I am dining alone as I write this post.

This salad is so delicious that I groan after every bite!

Oh, and the brownies taste much better today. I have to force myself to stop at two.

I hope you are all having a wonderful Tuesday evening.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Sweets for My Sweetie

Happy Valentine's Day!

I  spent a lot of  my weekend  in the kitchen. Strawberries looked good when DH was shopping, so I made spinach/strawberry salad for Sunday lunch and then decorated these four berries  with
some leftover melting chocolate.  I just love the look of jumbo berries dipped in chocolate and nuts.  I guess you can tell that since I used them in my new header.  Each one got its own heart-shaped plate and was slowly devoured with every bite  enjoyed to the fullest.

I bought a new Wilton heart cutter--one of those big thick ones-- and decided to make boxed brownies to try it out.
I am not too thrilled with it, but I think it's because the brownies were under cooked and did not cut cleanly.  I threw away about half of them because they were too gooey in the center.

I also did a lot of sewing this weekend.  One of the items I made was a Dresden plate (name of the old quilt patten) placemat to go with my black and red dishes.  I do love designing table items to match my many sets of dishes.
 But instead of the black/red dishes,  I decided to use them with glass dishes so I could put one of my Vintage valentines under each plate.
That marshmallow stick on the top of the plate is cute, but it tasted awful! So bad it was inedible. So don't buy them if you see them marked down after the holiday. Well, buy them if you want to, I don't mean to tell you what to do, but I can't imagine that anybody could eat one of those--it was like chewing on a rubber tire.

Hope you all have a great Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

February Blog Funk

I have had nothing to write about for the past week as I haven't done much but sew in my spare time.  I did a lot of sewing the first week of February.
 I have posted all my projects on my quilting blog,, or just click on the link on my sidebar if you want to know more about the projects. They are all made from free patterns that I got on the Internet and I have posted links to the free patterns, if you are interested in making any of them.

Today I pulled these lovely bananas from the freezer.

and turned them into 2 loaves of a glazed banana bread.I have not yet tasted the bread, but it looks a lot prettier than those frozen bananas, don't you agree?

I hope it's good as I intend to take a loaf to my MIL tomorrow. We are going there for dinner for my father-in-law's birthday.

Did you notice those roses behind the banana bread? It's my Valentine's Day flower from my sweet husband.

If I can keep it alive until June, I can plant it in the garden. 

I hope you are all having a good February. It's been very, very cold here. A couple of days last week were below zero.  I am enjoying the cold weather. I don't have to worry about spending too much time on my sewing projects because there is nothing else I need to do outside.  Spring will be here soon enough.
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