Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Saturday's snail mail (on Tuesday)...


No handmade cards this week, and the writing is a little behind schedule, but heartfelt thanks are winging their way to two wonderful people.  One who brings inspiration into my days, and one who for the last twenty years has made sure I have more days to be filled with inspiration.  They bless me, and I hope that they are blessed.

Accountability stats:  4 1/2 weeks / 8 letters

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering...















Giving thanks for all active-duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and guards on this Memorial Day. And for their families who are making their sacrifices at home.

And for those who are no longer serving actively, or who are now at rest from their labors...a grateful nation remembers and honors them today as well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I'm reading Wednesday...

I finished this one a few days ago.  Quick read, and pretty good.    More info on my Reading List.











 I started The Wife's Tale right after I finished Warped.  I am really enjoying it, and can't wait to get in my jammies and read myself to sleep with it.

















photo credit Amazon

And I'm reading this one on my Kindle.  This is the kind of book that I really prefer in hard copy, so I can highlight and underline and dog ear and flip back and forth...but it was Kindle or nothing, and the reviews sounded really interesting.


!!! And, GOOD GRAVY, how I DESPISE blogger's new way of loading photos in posts.  I cannot get the formatting to stay put, the text is all over the place, and I have to 'preview' about a million times.  And it just really frustrates me!!!  I'm too tired to worry about it anymore tonight.  But if anyone knows anything I don't, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Making this...Tuesday?...

What do you get when you cross a Naked Scone...














...with some scantilly clad strawberries?














A bedtime snack.  Mmmmm...













Sweet dreams!  :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Making this Monday...


All I made today was a paycheck.  I don't usually work on Mondays, but we've had another round of medical emergencies among the staff's families recently.








Last week alone:

One coworker's husband had a triple bypass.

Another's mother had congestive heart failure (after having broken a hip and having hip replacement surgery two weeks ago).

Another's dad, who is a diabetic, had emergency surgery on a leg injury.


And since business has been unusually quiet, I caught up on all my required training.  I triple checked that all materials were updated and in compliance.  I rearranged storage areas, and arranged to get mass shredding of old records accomplished. 
And after all that was done, I was a little bored and lonely...forced to entertain myself by taking artsy photos with my phone to add some color to my days.  All the while giving thanks that all of my family members are healthy at the moment. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday's snail mail...













I hope you're not getting bored with the cards I've shown lately.  But my 52-letters-in-52-weeks project has rekindled my card making.

I was browsing over at One Pretty Thing one morning this week and came across an idea that I love, love, love from Mel Designs.  Can you guess where the paper that the flowers are made from might be found?  Are you ready for this?  The recycle bin!  It's the interior side of security envelopes that come in your bills, etc.

I'm loving the cards I'm seeing lately that are embellished with a sewing machine.  And since my sewing machine is set up and at the ready in my living room at the moment, I am more than happy to experiment with a new card idea.  With these, I used a punch for the six-petaled flower shape.  The circle behind that, the little flower center, and the leaves, I just free handed with scissors.  Once I had sewn them down, I wrinkled them up a bit just for some added texture.

Accountability stats:  3 weeks/6 letters

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Trying a new recipe...














Awhile back I saw a recipe over at Berlin's Whimsy that intrigued me.  I loved the comment discussion of what the recipe name was...the consensus was Dutch Babies.  I like that...it reminds me of Kit and Kat the little Dutch twins...from a favorite antique book.  I'm expecting some overnight company in a couple of weeks, and I thought this might be a special (but sneakily easy) breakfast to have for them.  Tonight I did a test run.

Opinions were mixed.  I thought it was good.  Jared was not a fan.

I'm not sure if I should make it for company or not...at least not this company (one always eats oatmeal, the other has already requested breakfast tacos).  But I will make it again...I definitely want to try some of Berlin's other serving suggestions.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I'm reading Wednesday...

















Tales From the Yoga Studio by Rain Mitchell.

What can I say?  Those who can, do it.  Those who can't, read about it.  :) 

Actually, I bought this as a birthday gift in February for a friend who had just started a yoga class.  I didn't get it mailed.  I picked it up the other day, and thought I'd read it.  This particular friend is coming to visit in a couple of weeks, so I'll give it to her while she's here.  She wouldn't care if it's been read, but if I'm careful she may not even be able to tell.  :)  And she never reads my blog, so no worries there.

I'm only about twenty pages in, and so far it seems like easy escapism...I need that after last week's Lysbeth: A Tale of the Dutch by H. Rider Haggard which was about the Spanish Inquisition.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Making it Monday...














This week is all about hemming curtains...or to be more accurate, washing, drying, ironing, hemming and hanging curtains.  (I don't want a replay of the ugly surprise I had once after rehanging freshly laundered curtains...they had all shrunk about three inches.  So now, if they are washable, they all get washed and dried before hemming.)

So much ironing!  That entire wall is windows (some are not even showing in the photo), and the wall opposite has two more.  Oi vey!

I cannot settle on a furniture arrangement in this room.  I knew it would be difficult from the first time we saw it while house hunting.  Right now there is a chair just stuck in front of that armoire, which drives me right 'round the bend every time I look at it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday's snail mail...














This is week two of my endeavor to mail 52 letters in 52 weeks.  Today I made the card above.  It is written and addressed, and will be dropped in the mail posthaste ('post'haste...get it?...oh, you surely know by now how I love puns).

I also mailed a note to someone earlier in the week, but it was not handmade.

Accountability stats:  2 weeks/4 letters

Friday, May 13, 2011

Jeepers, creepers...







...take care of my peepers!

I had an appointment this afternoon with the ophthalmologist.  Drove to the city with a list of errands I wanted to run after my appointment.  What was I thinking? 

I got a really thorough exam, which took a little longer than I had allowed for.  I left the office at five o'clock with dilated eyes.  I couldn't even read street signs, not to mention that trying to watch out for rush-hour traffic with the sun at its lowered angle was torturous.

I saw a Sonic and pulled in.  I sat there for about an hour and a half waiting for my eyes and the traffic to clear up a bit.  So nice...covered parking...they brought me iced tea over magic ice whenever I asked...and my Kindle read aloud to me.

From thence I drove home by the most direct route possible...leaving errands for another time as any sane person would have planned to do in the first place.

I'm looking forward to my new glasses.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What I'm Reading Wednesday...















photo credit Amazon

I'm reading my first e book, Lysbeth: A Tale of the Dutch by H. Rider Haggard, on my new Kindle.  The text-to-voice feature is exactly what I'd hoped for.  It is a little robotic sounding, but it doesn't bother me.  It reads to me on the commute, and keeps track of exactly where it left off.  I actually like it better than audio books.  I hate it when the narrator of audio books tries to differentiate between characters by changing their accent or voice tone.  I don't do that in my head when I'm reading, so the text-to-voice is actually reading to me like I read to myself, if that makes sense. 

















I also read my new issue of Real Simple today, cover to cover.  This is the only magazine I subscribe to.  I love it a lot.














I have completely dog eared this month's issue...there was so much that I wanted to refer back to.  A recipe.  A cute planter.  An idea for a wedding gift.  A book I want to add to my to-read list. Yet another reason to exercise...specifically that middle-aged adults taking three 40-minute walks a week for a year actually showed a 2% average growth rate in the hippocampus, as opposed to the shrinkage that is typical after reaching the mid 50s...improves memory.

When I dog ear a page, I take the corner of the page all the way down till it points to exactly what I was interested in on the page.  Like the 'Chickpea and Raisin Salad' recipe shown in the third photo.  If I don't do that, sometimes I go back and forget what it was on the page that interested me in the first read through (obviously I need to start a walking regimen to improve MY memory).

I try to recycle them while they are still current.  My favorite way to recycle them is to take them with me to a doctor's office, and browse through it again while I'm waiting for my appointment.  Then when I'm called to see the doctor, I nonchalantly leave the magazine in the waiting room.  I've never exactly asked permission to do this, but could anyone really object?  I know I'd appreciate more current and varied reading material there.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I actually finished them...
















Before.  Kind of a sorry excuse for a before photo, but you get the idea.


And after.  This is the first time my kitchen window has been dressed in years.  You can get away with that when your nearest neighbor is a half mile away.  These days they're a little closer than that.

When we moved in there were top-to-bottom blinds on this window.  Really darkened the room.  This lets in the light, but still allows for privacy.


Carey hates a closed curtain, so I'll have to lose the daisies so that he can open them at dawn, and I can close them at dusk.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Making this Monday...













A couple of days ago, I found an old panel of sheeting.  Its former life (in a former house) had been as one of three balloon shades that I had made for large windows.  More than enough to whip up a curtain for our current kitchen window.  I quickly cut into it with some rough measurements, pressed under the edges, and straight stitched the edges and hem. 

I thought I'd get them hung this evening, but my stash of curtain rings is hiding from me.  I know I've seen them recently...doesn't that just drive you nuts?  I'll have to pick some up tomorrow.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Seven random thoughts on the 7th



















1.  I came across an interesting idea in the blogosphere today...52 letters in 52 weeks...snail mail that is.  Sending more snail mail is a perpetual item on my to-do list.  I think I will give this one an attempt.  Accountability and all that, you know.

2.  I am now the proud owner of a Kindle.  Since my left hand was injured, it seems to cramp easily...and then there's the beginnings of arthritis pain in both of my thumbs...so I've been thinking for awhile that a Kindle might be easier for me to hold than large heavy books.  The lower price had a lot to do with my acting on it now.  But what tipped the scale was the text-to-voice capability.  I eagerly awaited its arrival to hear how it sounded.  I was afraid it would be too automated, but playing with it yesterday I was pleasantly surprised with how good it sounded.  I may not have to set aside my current read for my two hours of commuting time each workday.  And a Kindle library lending program is in the works.  Yea!

...sigh...  I do feel a bit traitorous to my beloved paper and ink books.

3.  I managed to mark one chore off of my to-do list today...watering house plants.  Holy Toledo, Batman.  That's it...really?  I put the 'PRO' in procrastination.

4.  Yesterday Diego came and spent the evening with us.  He asked me to show him how to knit.  I did, and he gave it a try.  He cushioned his lack of interest in continuing the lesson by saying that it was really complicated to remember all the steps, and he complimented me for being really good at it.  I think I will smile remembering that for a long time.  Those boys are such charmers.  :)

5.  I know I say this every year, but this year is going by lightning fast!  This time last year we weren't even thinking about moving...so many changes since then.

6.  I'm having a difficult time with the healthier eating agenda the past week or so.  I truly believe they put crack...or at least something equally addictive...in ice cream.

7.  Saving the last thought for wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day!  Hope it's a good one.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Naked scones...


Back in the olden days, when I took my first Homemaking class in junior high (this was right on the cusp when it became more frequently called Home Economics...I think these days it's morphed into Life Skills) our first in-class cooking project was biscuits (the American, small quick bread kind).  I went straight home and made a batch on my own.  My biscuits came hot out of the oven about the time my mom and dad arrived home from work.  I think my mom was a little freaked that I had been cooking while no one was home, but my dad was appropriately complimentary which gave me a lot of kitchen confidence.

For some reason this memory popped into my head as I was driving home from work yesterday.  I was so hungry, but couldn't think of a thing that was available on the hour-long commute that I wanted.  So I kept driving while my carb craving grew.  And then I knew what it was that I had to have.  Naked Scones

Super easy.  Super quick.  Super comfort.


In a bowl stir together: 
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder

Add 1 cup heavy cream and stir just till it holds together.  You may need to add a bit more cream.





 Remove the dough onto a counter top, and knead so that it sticks together.  Do not overwork.  Pat or roll to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut with cookie cutters or slice to shape.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, and brush with a bit more cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar ( I didn't have any, so I used regular granulated sugar.)

Bake in a 450 degree (F) preheated oven for about ten minutes.






The ten minute baking time was the hardest part, as I could hardly bear the growling in my stomach.  (Get it?  Bear.  Growling.  Oh, come on!  You know that deserves at least a wry grin!)

To busy myself, I assembled whatever I could find to accompany my warm fresh scones...REAL butter, hazel nut and chocolate spread, honey, just fruit spread, and the last tiny hoarded remainder of my friend's homemade fig preserves.




Done!















The local Texas wildflower honey won in the best accompaniment category.

Thanks to Pamela at How to Run Your Life for her recipe and her humor.  Be sure to click the Naked Scones link above to see her recipe with its further details and suggestions for adding other ingredients.  I just posted the 'naked' recipe as I made it yesterday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Today's creative effort...













Oh my goodness...such a pathetic half-%$$ed result. 

I finally broke out the sewing machine today to work on the girls' dresses...yes, I have been seriously procrastinating...still.  And since I lubed the machine, I didn't want to sew directly onto the dress fabric first thing.  So I broke out the old paper stash and made one of these cards that I've been meaning to do for forever.  Ugh.  The tension is weird in the stitching.  I didn't ink up the stamp well enough either.  But too bad.  It is going in the mail.  I am planning to mail it to my friend Debbie who makes THE most beautiful cards in the whole world.  Oh lordy, she will think I have suffered some debilitating mental and or physical injury when she sees this!


**Edit**

I couldn't stand it.  After several hours, I dragged everything back out and made a second card.  Debbie will get the second one, shown below.












I also repaired the first one (somewhat).  The stitching is still crap, but slightly less obvious after adding a layered 'hello'.  I will send it to a friend who appreciates imperfection

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What I'm reading Wednesday 5/4/2011...



I just finished The Irish Cottage Murder by Dicey Deere...picked it off of the library shelf on a whim...it's the first book in a mystery series. 

Now I'm into A Separate Peace by John Knowles upon the recommendation of my boss.

As I finish, I put opinions on my Reading List page (which is linked here, and also under the blog banner).

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2...

I believe in justice, but I don't understand celebrations of violence and death.

I am so very thankful for men and women who are willing to risk their lives to protect ours, but I'm so sad that they have to.

the end
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