Back to Blogging in 2013

Over this past summer, I replaced the tile on both the kitchen and bathroom floors, repainted the bathroom, repainted the kitchen, repainted woodwork and also the kitchen cabinets. In browsing kitchen art on Pinterest, I pinned a couple of ideas that I really liked, and made my own art display for my newly refurbished kitchen. Being a person who has always preferred neutrals in color schemes, it was WAY out of my comfort zone to go with bright colors, but it has grown on me and I am happy to report that I can enter my kitchen every day without feeling startled.

It seems that WordPress has gone through some changes since I have been away, and I don’t quite have the hang of it yet, so please bear with me.

I am very happy to start a new year. The past year plus has been very difficult for me. Lots of stress, trauma, difficulty, sadness, and changes. It started in the spring of 2011 and I think most of the difficult times are over now. I am sure there will be ups and downs along the way, but I am hopeful.


Oh so happy it’s Friday

This has been a long week.  My boss has been in Cabo all week, and even though I have had work to do, it has been a long week!

Tomorrow is the birthday of a very good friend.  Several years ago I knitted him a long ribbed scarf with browns and blues.  A year ago I noticed it was looking a bit ratty, so I suggested he might like a new scarf, but he was very happy with the brown one.  He got a new black leather coat this year, so I knit him a new scarf as a surprise, and left it hanging on the door to his office last night (he works at my church and I was there for music practice).

B birthday scarf 2011

I hope he likes it.

The fashionista and I are planning our own little Oscar-watching party on Sunday evening.  I have a bottle of Prosecco that I have been saving for awhile, and I plan to make crab cakes with homemade basil mayo — a recipe I got from a cooking class we attended this past fall. I hope that the King’s Speech is best picture this year.  I absolutely loved that movie.


66 and falling soon

We are being teased with spring-like temps here in the middle of the US.  Up and down — from cold and snowy to warm and sunny — like a roller coaster.  Today is sunny and about 66.  Tomorrow will be rain, then freezing rain, and then snow.  Hmmmmm.

The fashionista got some great news last week.  She has been promoted to  counter manager for a particular skin care line made in France at the department store in which she works.  She moves from fragrances next week.  She will be going out of town a week after that for a two day school.  She is both excited and nervous about this new venture.  I am sure she will do well.

We went a little further south this past weekend to visit my father and his wife.  The fashionista wanted to go to a Saks store that had advertised a big cosmetic event — to purchase several items and also to see how their cosmetics department functions.  She was rather disappointed with their lack of customer service.  I pointed out to her that it is a good lesson on how to do things the right way.  And the gift with purchase was not quite what she expected.  We also wandered around Anthropologie and Pottery Barn and had a coffee at Starbucks.  The weather was gorgeous — people in shorts and flip flops and it seemed that everyone had a dog on a leash with them. Anthropologie had aprons similar to those that I have been sewing and a blanket stitched from wool sweater parts which is something I have been planning to make one of these days.  I think I may have to find some time to go wool sweater thrifting. After the shopping we returned to my father’s house for happy hour and then it was off to the new Wolfgang Puck Bistro.  The butternut squash soup was very good, the olive tapenade on toasts was very tasty.  My father ordered a greek salad which he said was very good.  His wife had a salmon cream cheese dill pizza which was served room temperature, as it should be, but she thought it should be hot. The fashionista ordered the roast chicken and garlic mashed potatoes which she said were very good.  I decided to try something I would not normally order — the viennese beef goulash.  The meat was very tender, the spices were just right, and the noodles cooked to a good consistency.  There was more meat than anything else — and since I tend to eat very little meat, it was too much for me. Everyone was pretty full after the meal and everyone except my father was taking food home.  The fashionista wanted to try a dessert and chose the butterscotch pudding.  Everyone had a spoonful, and it was incredibly good.  Butterscotch pudding is one of my favorites and I simply must find a good recipe for it after trying that one. Yum!!  Talk about diet sabotage!

The trip was short.  Drive down Saturday morning and head for home late Sunday morning. On our way out of town, we stopped in at Whole Foods (we need one in our fair city!!) and purchased a few items. A vegetable pot pie (which we shared for dinner with a salad and it was excellent), natural beef hot dogs, bulgarian yogurt, tiny containers of black truffle butter and white truffle butter, parmagiano reggiano butter (some of which we ate on peas — yum), and several other food items that we are unable to get in our town — we love to try new foods.

The city the fashionista is considering moving to in the fall has a Whole Foods and is getting a Trader Joes — I will be driving up monthly to buy groceries.  I will even go if she doesn’t move there.  It would be worth it.

An old man pug has joined our little family.  I know.  Three pugs now. I can’t believe it sometimes myself.  When the fashionista was young, she badly wanted a dog and I always said no.  We were way too busy to stay home with a dog, and I don’t believe in getting a dog and then not spending any time with the dog.  She got Lola Jane Fonda without asking me nearly three years ago and that has worked out well.  Then we got Coco Chanel a couple of months ago.  Now we have an old man pug.  His name was Chance and then Chang.  The fashionista refers to him as Old Man River and/or George Clooney.  The old man pug is what I refer to as a special circumstance.  He is 13.  He was adopted through the animal rescue organization for which my mother serves as a volunteer and foster person 10 years ago.  The people who adopted him and gave him a home for 10 years are getting a divorce and neither of them want the dog. It was not that neither of them could take the dog — neither of them want the dog. I was astounded when my mother told me about the situation.  10 years!!  Most people fight over who gets custody of the dog.  Not these people.  Instead, they return him to the rescue organization.  Who returns a dog after 10 years?  So, of course I said we would take him.  Who is going to adopt a 13 yr old pug?  And why should the 13 yr old pug be subjected to being passed around to various foster homes and being shown at the local PetsMart?  No, I think not.  So he is now living with us.  He is a sweet, well-mannered, fairly active dog with a very calm disposition.  I think he may be a good influence on the two girls.

Old Man Pug

I will be working at the church coffeehouse tonight.  Extreme Home Makeover is in our city this week building a home for a very deserving family.  One of my friends has been doing design work for the master bedroom which is Ty Pennington’s secret room.  He said he was filming with Ty this morning.  I can’t wait to hear all about it tonight at the coffeehouse.


Doings

Took a break from the blog due to busyness and blahness.  December whirled by — saw my Little Buddy before Christmas for an overnight visit, which was nice, and then again mid-January.  Making arrangements to have him visit a week in mid-June.

Had a nice low key Christmas holiday with the fashionista.  Christmas Eve was spent with family and then we have our own Christmas Day traditions.  A leisurely morning with coffee and rolls and opening gifts.  Choosing a movie for the afternoon.  Eating Chinese out and then off to the movies.  This year we went to see the new Narnia film.  It was a good choice.  We both enjoyed it.

A couple of Sunday afternoons ago we went to a matinee to see The King’s Speech and loved it.  This past Friday night we went to see Blue Valentine — depressing and too much graphic sex for my taste.  I am still trying to get some of those images out of my head.  Eh.

I finished knitting a very long man’s scarf for a birthday gift to be given the end of February.  It is sitting on the dining table to have the ends woven in.  It is four different colors — black, grey, navy, and a cream/blue/black tweedy yarn.  I hope the recipient likes it.

I am volunteering two Wednesday evenings a month in the coffeehouse at church — so far I am only taking orders, but I did have some training on making the different coffee drinks.  I made a caramel macchiato in training.  So now I have the potential of a second career as a barista!

I am still going to the pottery studio.  I am thinking of finishing up my wheel pottery this month and trying a handbuilding class next month.  Still thinking about it.

Cylinder 1-17-11

Latte mug 1-17-11

We have had bitterly cold weather and snow lately.  In fact since Monday night we got a new 8″ of snow.  I tried to shovel a path down the driveway this morning.  My coworker drove this morning as she has a van with automatic traction control, and I drive a small car.  I drove Monday and Tuesday — took us nearly an hour to get home yesterday.  I think our high today is 14.  But the wind makes it seem much colder.

The fashionista and I got a new pug in January.  I had been toying with the idea of getting another dog for quite some time.  I had thought she would take Lola with her when she moves and I have gotten used to having a dog around for companionship and to walk with — so I put an ad out for a black pug.  A woman answered my ad and we ended up with Coco Chanel.  The lady told me she was 3 but she is a little over a year old.  She was supposed to be housebroken, but she’s not — and the week we got her we had snow and high winds and bitter cold, which made working on potty training difficult to say the least.  She is very sweet and immediately took to the fashionista.  She was skittish and nervous about everything for awhile, but she is adjusting to everything and getting better.  So the fashionista has decided to take Coco Chanel with her when she moves out of town for school in the fall.  And the stubborn pug will remain with me.

Coco Chanel and Lola Jane Fonda

When the weather has been decent, I have been taking both to the park and they have done very well together.  Coco loves to go for walks and she just bounces/prances along.  Lola has ner nose to the ground and sort of snuffles along.

We had one great day in January where it got to 72 on a Friday.  I took the afternoon off and got my yard raked, walked the pugs, and washed and cleaned out my car.  I spent the entire afternoon outdoors.  It was so nice!  And we went ice skating that evening.  I had not been on ice skates in a number of years — since living in Minnesota.  It was a lot of fun — despite the fact that the rink is filled with middle schoolers on a Friday night.  I think if we go again it should be on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

I started knitting a new baby sweater with some red O-wool and I also have a pair of socks on the needles – a mulberry self-striping wool.


Back to Reality

Back to the reality of the work world after a glorious four days off. The weather here was pretty decent most of the weekend.  Thanksgiving Day was pretty cold, but no precipitation which was nice.  Managed to get the pug out to the park three out of the four days.  Yesterday was extremely windy, but we walked anyway.  Now that December is upon us, we have to make the most of the good days.

Wednesday afternoon the office closed early.  I went home for awhile and then off to get a haircut and deliver a Top Secret project. Here it is. A Christmas apron for BH, the young woman who cuts my hair — or used to until she up and moved to Seattle.

BH Christmas Apron

BH Christmas Apron

 

BH Christmas Apron

I just love this pattern.  I have made two aprons from it and have a third cut out to sew.

I also finished a toddler hat that was a request from one of the young mothers I know.  She saw a hat in a catalog that she wanted — I purchased the yarn on sale, so the material cost was $8.  A big savings from purchasing a similar hat for $35.

TW Ear Flap Hat with Braided Tassels

TW Ear Flap Hat with Braided Tassels

 

I am holding down the office fort alone today.  The boss’s young wife’s father died late last Wednesday — he had been ill with cancer for some months.  He lived out of state, so the boss has been gone over a week.  The funeral is today and he will be back in the office on Wednesday.  So I am busy with rescheduling and filing motions for extensions and trying to lighten his load as much as possible while he is gone.

The fashionista worked most of the weekend.  I did not do any Black Friday shopping.  I puttered around the house working on cleaning, doing some reorganizing, working on projects, doing some cooking and reading.  I got out all the Christmas decorations and we worked on some decorating.  We still need to finish it.  We meant to get it done last night, but we sat around talking most of the evening after dinner.


Doings

Last Thursday evening I spent the evening at a cooking class on Cajun food prepared by my boss.  His wife teaches cooking classes in their home, but she was his assistant.  He didn’t provide a lot of instruction, but it was entertaining and fun.  One of the attendees brought mardi gras beads for us all to wear.  There were about 8 of us in attendance.  He made a chicken andouille gumbo, a creole shrimp dish — both served over rice.  And his wife made a roasted pecan salad and bananas foster for dessert.  And the wine and conversation and laughter flowed.  It was a fun evening.

And I was finally able to give the memory apron I made — it was for his wife.  I was pleased with how well it turned out and she absolutely loved it.

I think I told the story in one of my previous blog entries about how it came about that I made this.

Over the weekend I had a burst of project enthusiasm.  I sorted through yarn and fabric and made a project list.  I moved a desktop computer that we no longer use and set up my sewing machine and accessories on the computer desk downstairs in the family room.  I made a trip to Hobby Lobby for Christmas fabric to sew an apron — need to get it done before 11/24.  I started knitting a rib knit scarf, a toddler ear flap hat.  I found a baby sweater pattern that I want to use in knitting up the O-Wool that I bought over a year ago.  I have enough to knit three little sweaters — I love the O-Wool colors — they are kind of muted and heathery.  I have a red, a green, and a cream.  I want to make just plain sweaters and then either use some fancy buttons or do some embroidery and/or applique.  I found a cute pirate sweater pattern that I want to use to make the pug a sweater.  I dug out some light grey yarn and bright pink for that.  And I found some lovely blue and black Trekking to knit a pair of socks as a Christmas gift for a good friend.

I spent some time in the kitchen also — I used up the last of the garden basil in a pesto with parsley, lemon juice, pecorino, garlic, olive oil and walnuts.  It has a lovely light flavor.  I cleaned out the fridge and used up some leftovers for various things.  Made tostadas on Saturday night and last night we had butternut squash ravioli with sage butter sauce and pecorino and a spinach salad with a garlicky tomato vinaigrette.

Saturday afternoon it was in the 50s and sunny here, and the fashionista was working all day, so the pug and I went for a nice walk at the park. Yesterday it was cloudy and grey, so I stayed in all afternoon puttering and drinking hot tea.


Blustery November

November has been rather blustery so far.  It has been up and down as far as temps. 

The fashionista’s costume did not work out.  I think I had better stick to sewing aprons and the like. 

But I liked the costume she ended up putting together.  She was a Day of the Dead girl — pink party dress, glittery silver shoes, and she did face makeup like a sugar skull.  We hung little skeletons from her belt.  She really did look great.

This evening is the last cooking class I have to do this year — yay!  It has been fun, but it is a lot of work!  I am glad this is the last class.  My partner was ill last week, so I did pizza night by myself.  I was a bit apprehensive, but it went well.  We made pizza melanzane, potato pizza with rosemary and thyme, and pizza margherita.  I got many skeptical looks as I was making the dough by hand, but the dough turned out great and they were all surprised.  I use a Jamie Oliver recipe for pizza dough — it doesn’t have to rise — that you only let rest in plastic for about 15 minutes.  I also use a pizza sauce recipe from his Italy cookbook.  Since my partner was not coming, we didn’t have his recipes and I only had two pizza recipes, and I decided at the last minute to make the pizza margherita.  Turned out it was the class favorite.  I had nine people so we divided them up into groups of three, and each person made one of the pizzas and then the group shared all three.  It worked out great.

This evening is creative uses for Thanksgiving leftovers.  I cooked a small turkey over the weekend and took it all off the bone for class.  I used the carcass to make turkey noodle soup for me and the fashionista.  I am providing the recipe as a bonus for the class.  My contribution to class this evening is a turkey pot pie that uses leftover stuffing as the crust and I am using puff pastry instead of pie pastry for the top crust; and some easy peasy turkey enchiladas from a recipe I found years ago that used cream cheese, salsa, and shredded cheddar.

I am finally getting the hang of wheel pottery.  I trimmed a bowl last night.  I have another two bowls to trim.  I threw a third altered pot.  And I have two vases that I hope to trim next Monday.  I think I will stop by the studio on Friday after work and loosen the covers on the pots so that they are drier by Monday evening.  I think I want to make some batter bowls.  That might be a good project to try.  My glazing still sucks, but my throwing is getting better.

Last week I read The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg.  About a group of people getting ready and attending their last high school reunion.  It was sad and fun and interesting.

The Little Buddy is having his tonsils removed today and I am waiting to hear how that went.  The fashionista made him a really cute memory book of his visit here last month, and I put it in the mail to him yesterday.


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