Saturday, May 29, 2010

School's out for summer

That's all for now. 

Enjoying the first few days of a nice long summer. Finished a book, bought a few more. Have quilts galore to work on. 

This summer has promise.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Better than this place

Nowhere better than this place...

Anywhere better than this place...

My sister had these 2 sayings as posters in her room growing up. They were from an AIDS exhibit at a museum, I think. They were plain, just white background with black text.

Anyways, that's how I feel about Albuquerque. 

Some days I can't get out of here fast enough. I daydream about how much better it is elsewhere. About all the cool people that live in Portland (if you live in or around Portland, you are one of those cool people). 
Columbia River Gorge

Or anywhere on the East Coast. I dream about having a bungalow cottage and decorating it all country beachy. 
Pottery Barn, of course

And then there are days like today. 

Outside my door right now

My classroom is mostly packed up and cleaned. 4 hours of school left. I went to Happy Hour with some of the girls from work and had a blast. I LOVE my school. I can't imagine ever working at a school that's as all around awesome. I can't imagine leaving there. It's breezy and cloudy with little drops of rain.

Today I am happy right where I am. Those days are few and far between, so I'm going to go soak up as much as I can. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Baby Farm

Unless you know the background, and baby farm sounds disturbing, I know. I'm not a creeper though, so here's the story. 

A few years ago I told the boy that I wanted a farm. I wanted chicks, and lambs, and PUPPIES. Lots of cute little baby animals. Of course he had to rain on my parade and mention that all of these baby animals would grow up and not be cute and little anymore. Still, any time I see a baby animal, I'm reminded of my desire for a baby farm.

My dilemma isn't that I don't have a house, or a yard, or any baby animals. The real dilemma is that I'm into too many things. I like to travel. I like to sew. I like to cook. Where would I find the time to manage these baby animals?!

On a somewhat related topic. This weekend we went to the zoo. There were lots of babies (of the human kind). Chubby little babies. I told the boy that I wanted one. His response: "You're not feeling well. Let's go home." It's going to take me a few years to warm him up to the idea...

Zoo pictures for putting up with all this text!

Baby Hippo!

not a baby!

in case you were wondering what I look like

flowering cacti

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I made this little pouch for a friend using my quilt scraps.

I have made PLENTY of zipper pouches. I have always found them to be easy. So I don't know what possessed me to try a new pattern. The Oh, Fransson! Bag pattern. I will not link to it because I don't want you to suffer. I love her quilts, but I think this pattern and I could not make friends. This is the tutorial I first used years ago. It's awesome. 

(Also, my point & shoot pictures are kinda fuzzy. Any suggestions? It used to take really awesome pictures...Dirty lens?)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pink Orange Quilts

Here's the finished quilt top for my Pink Orange Grey quilt. Measure about 60" square

Josh suggested backing it with a creamy orange. Maybe a grey corner. I'll have to play around this weekend.

I had so many 2.5" strips cut from my original design and the border, that I decided to cut them into 2.5" squares. I used my rotary PAPER cutter with a new blade. It was awesome.

So here's my design for Pink Orange V2.0 (because each square will the 2" finished!). Josh says the middle should be a cream color, so I'm thinking a natural muslin (I already have some). I've already made some changes in my mind (the cream should creep up like the colors fall down). I estimate that I'll need about 250 colored blocks, 125 pinks, 125 oranges. I'm just going to cut a few cream squares (maybe 15?), and leave the rest in strips and cut them once I figure out exactly where the pieces will go. I wish I had a design wall (no room :(  ). Planned size is 40" x 42"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Process

I had a BRILLIANT idea for a quilt last Thursday night. 

Friday I cut all the fabrics together and got to work. 

Saturday it was going well. 

Sunday I decided that I hated where it was going and I stuffed it in a box.

Wednesday is when I had an epiphany and things started coming together. I cut apart what I had already made and turned it into a border. Then I did what I should have done first: I drew a picture. I figured out what I needed, in which colors, and selected a few different fabrics. 

Now things are coming together nicely. I have made a few more modifications as I sew, but I like it. It has the right amount of planned irregularity. Not wonky though.

Hopefully I'll finish the quilt top this weekend.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wedding Food

If there is one thing that I could do over, it would be the food. 

I would go back for seconds and thirds and gorge myself. I might even ask for a to go box. I should get those recipes. Or maybe just hire the cook to be my personal chef.

Yes, it was that good. EVERYONE would agree with me. Josh wishes he had eaten more too. 

I wanted it to be Southern, so I tried to pick classic Southern dishes for dinner and dessert (with a few personal favorites thrown in there too). 

The menu:
* Fried Catfish. The outside was crispy, the inside was moist. It wasn't overly greasy. Best ever.
* Grilled Chicken. What was the sauce? Pure heaven. It was grilled, that's all I know. And that it was amazing.
* Fried Green Tomatoes. These were hard to come by, but they got them for us. It was a delightful cornmeal breading. Again fried to perfection. Oh, I wish I had eaten more...
* Shrimp 'n Grits. Hello wonderful. At our tasting they were a bit spicy. For the wedding they were perfect. Creamy, cheesy, comfort food. 
* Mashed Potatoes. All I remember is that they were delicious. And I want more.
* Green Beans. The "healthy" vegetable. Covered in buttery goodness.
* Fruit. There was fruit. And it looked beautiful. But how could anyone eat fruit with foods like those around?!

The signs Diane made were so CUTE!

You should get the guy on the left to cook for you if you have the chance

The Desserts:
* Chocolate Flan. A Cuban classic. We had some technical difficulties with the baking, but it turned out divine. Creamy, custardy, yumminess. 
* Red Velvet Cake. It doesn't get any more Southern, IMO. This is the cake we ended up cutting. Oh how I love cream cheese frosting.
* Orange Amaretto Cake. A favorite among many. How could you not like a cake soaked in Amaretto?
* Chocolate Cake. A classic. We had troubles with this cake in our test rounds, but it came through for us on baking day.
* Apple Pie. Josh's favorite. His mom made this. And luckily we had leftovers (that weren't left over for very long)
* Banana Pudding. Again, a Southern tradition.
* Bread Pudding. Josh's grandmother made it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bad timing

Don't you hate it when, you're lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, and an idea so good comes to you that you have to get up and do something about it?

Me too.

But now I have 2 awesome quilt ideas that I will be hard at work on this weekend.

And yes, I am completely failing at the Spring to Finish challenge. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wedding Table Decor

Let's compare the drawings with the real thing. 

Cake Table:

The pennant with "Dessert" was the only thing that I ended up not doing. The stained glass at the venue matched out colors perfectly. The florist chose forsythia to get the height I wanted in the back. Mom wrote the desserts on the chalk boards with a cute little picture. Fairly perfect I think. And fairly delicious!! 

Dining Tables:

Pretty much to a T. There were fewer vases (8 instead of 10) and the vases were all either clear or blue mason jars (no yellow vases, I didn't like how they looked). Also, you can see the middle planter box turned into a basket (coconut plant holder with the bottom cut off) with a candle & the table number. The venue also had tealight holders in the PERFECT shade of aqua that we were able to use. 

Escort Cards:

We used the same wood from the cake stands for our escort cards. These were not as level (as you can see from table 2). The actual escort cards were small gold pots that were $0.20 each. I put some styrofoam in, topped with moss cloth cut to a circle, jam in a popsicle stick with a paper flower on it. The names were held in with a mini-clothespin. Total cost for escort cards: $18

Simple DIYs:
* I bought 10 yards of burlap. I cut it into 2 5 yard pieces (so 15 feet each). Then I cut that in 4 lengthwise (so that I had 4 pieces that were 15' x about 12"). My kitchen floor was a disaster after that! Total cost: $15 for all of the burlap (I had a 50% off coupon).
* Coconut plant baskets were $1 each at the dollar store. I cut off the bottom (leaving about 4" at the top). Fill with moss, place a pillar candle in the middle! Total cost: $5 per table
* Flags above table: Cut or tear strips of fabric between 1" and 2" wide. They should be about 10" long. Fat Quarters would work well for this project. Tie onto twine. Done. Total cost: $5. I already had most of the fabric for other projects. 

Not so simple DIYs:
* We bought slices of wood in New Mexico. But they were too fat (like 4 - 5" wide). So the boy bought a saw and cut each slice in half to a more reasonable size. Then, once in Atlanta, he and his father took fire wood & cut in down in height to about 4" or 8" tall. Attach top slice with glue & nails. Total the project cost about $50 because we had to buy the wood (we are not lumberjacks who go into the forest and cut down our own trees)

Friday, May 7, 2010


I'm in love with my wedding. It was exactly what I wanted. In fact, if I could get married every day, I would, and I wouldn't change a thing. It was completely perfect. Oh, how I miss my wedding. The month has gone by so quickly! 

We were being considered for Southern Weddings Magazine, but ended up on the blog only. :( I couldn't publicize any pictures until they did. So now that they're all out there in the open, look for more infos about the wedding. 


Here are the sketches I sent the florist & venue. And anyone who would listen. Click to see each image larger.

How I envisioned the dining tables. I wanted 12' tables, but I planned for 6' tables too just in case there wasn't space for the 12'. I didn't want ANY round tables. Something about them was just too...traditional. I have planned for 3 plants, candles, blue mason jar vases, clear vases (used mason jars), little critter, etc. You can read the key on the second image. Yes, I am that person. Just wait til you see how the tables turned out. I'll give you a hint, only ONE thing was different.

How I envisioned the cake/dessert table. 7 cakes, 2 levels, with cute little chalkboard signs and decorations like on the dining tables. Again, ONE thing ended up different. I must say that this project was a labor or love for Josh. His love for me, not for the project. 

Stay tuned for the after!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Rolled Oat Muffins

This recipe was adapted (Americanized?) from Sonia. She's awesome. You should check out her blog. It makes me want to move back to France. (Had I told you that I spent a year in France? Well, I did!)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin tin. Sonia says it makes 17, but I like a healthy sized muffin, so I crammed this recipe into 12. 

 - 1 cup flour plus 1 tbsp*
 - 1.5 tsp baking soda
 - 1/4 cup brown sugar
 - 1/2 cup chocolate chips
 - generous 1/2 pound strawberries (about 2 cups diced)
 - 3/4 cup rolled oats

Sift the flour, baking soda, brown sugar. Stir in the chocolate chips (you can be generous if you want a really chocolaty muffin) and the strawberries. What's nice about doing it this way is that the strawberries get coated in flour and then don't sink in the muffin! You can coat anything in flour that you want suspended in you cake/muffin/bread/etc.

 - 3/4 cup milk
 - 1 egg
 - 1 tsp vanilla
 - 5 tbsp butter (1/3 cup melted)

Mix the wet ingredients, then pour onto the dry ingredients. Stir, but not too well! Sonia says "The dough must be irregular & full of lumps! The success of making muffins resides in making the dough very irregular & not kneading it much!" So we should trust her and take it easy on our arms. 

Fill muffin compartments 3/4 full (or to just below the rim if you're like me and only want to bake 1 batch!). Sprinkle the tops with sugar (I used about 1 tbsp of white sugar) so that they get a nice crunch.

Bake 20 minutes, until golden on top and toothpick comes out clean (beware of hitting a chocolate chip!). 

This part is important!! Let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. They'll be easier to release AND you won't burn your mouth on a VERY HOT muffin. Chocolate and strawberries get VERY HOT in the oven. Just so you know.
(see how hot and gooey this is? be warned.)

Sit back, enjoy with a glass of milk, and watch the husband do the dishes. :)

* I am generous with flour because I live at high altitude. Which means that baked good sink if you don't make accommodations, like a little extra flour & liquid. I ended up using 1 cup plus 2 heaping tbsp. flour. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

awesome deal

So I wanted this Nikon 18-200 lens. Old version, new version, I didn't care. One small fix to the lens, but same quality pictures. You can fix the old lens with a rubber band. The boy (husband!) offered to buy it for me. Still, $709 is a lot to swallow. So he went to Best Buy to see what their price is. $849 for the VR II! Yeah right! 

My boy is thorough. He looked in the back and found this baby. $499.99. Open box, old style. I have 14 days to give it a whirl and see if there is anything wrong with it. Keeping my fingers crossed that we just got lucky! 

Here are some pictures I took with the lens. I set the aperture to f/5, so there is a decent amount of bokeh in some of them. Yay! These are straight from the camera, no editing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Some things I have been up to:



Snow (hail)


My fancy DSLR (Nikon D80) is out of service. My 18-55 lens is broken (I think...), so I have taken all of these photos with my Canon SD780 IS. It can be fussy at times about focusing on close objects (even in macro mode), but once you get the feel for it, it takes pretty decent pictures. That picture of the poppy is straight from the camera. I can't wait to get a new lens for my D80, hopefully (fingers crossed) the 18-200 lens that I have been coveting for a couple years now.