Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pasta Salad Heaven

Last night for dinner I fixed one of the fam's favorite salad. I'm not sure why I don't make this more often, especially since it's so quick and easy.

I don't have a real recipe for this...

just cook up a bag of bow tie pasta (make sure you don't over cook it), then add some of your favorite goodies. This salad has some:

  • shredded carrots

  • broccoli florets

  • pear tomatoes from my garden (you can dice a red tomato if that's what you have at your home)

  • candied slivered almonds (but I usually add pinenuts)

And here's the secret ingredient...

Yep, that's it. You just toss everything together with some Brianna's Poppy Seed dressing and you've got the perfect pasta salad.

If your family is like mine, they'll be arguing about who gets to take the leftovers to work the next day.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy Valley Bag Lady

I haven't been doing a lot of quilting lately. I guess I got a little sidetracked. Kim and I have been having some discussion about bags. I finished a tote a week or so ago, but haven't been able to post a picture because I'll be sending it as a secret gift to a special friend. It was a lot of fun to make and got me looking into other bag patterns.

Last night I came home after having dinner out with DH and put this bag together.....

I stumbled across this bag pattern at the U-handbag blog and it's called the Basket Style bag. I have to admit that I'm pretty proud of the finished results. It was my first attempt at a magnetic snap and everything went together pretty quickly.

I could hardly wait to get out of bed this morning so that I could start on my next bag.....

I bought this Michael Miller Halloween fabric with bag making in mind. For this bag I used the dimensions from the Country Tote by Indygo Junction, but used the same techinque as the Basket Style bag. I also made my own variation for the handles. Didn't this turn out cute? I'm all ready to go trick-or-treating!!! Have lots of chocolate handy for when I stop by!

Here is a little coin purse that I made for DD2.....

The instructions for this coin purse also came from the U-handbag blog. I think I need to work with zippers a little bit more to find a way of stitching that won't tweek the zipper.

I still have an Amy Butler pattern that I bought yesterday, so I may try and work on that this afternoon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Summer Favorite

I just love summer. I really do. After last years fridged winter, what's not to love? I'd much rather be hot than be cold.

Yesterday I slipped into Albertson's to pick up a few groceries for dinner. While there, I stopped by the freezer section hoping that those yummy Dryer's fruit bars would be on sale. No luck. At least that's what I thought.
To my delight, Albertson's had their brand of creamsicles (and fudgebars) on sale. A box of six for only a buck! Whoo hoo! Creamsicles are my favorite. The color is so cheery and, to me, the creamy-orangey flavor is a mouthful of summer.

I guess the bad news is that I can't eat just one at a time. Nope gotta have two. The good news is that there are only 90 calories and 1.5 fat grams per bar. Now ya can't beat that! I can eat two bars and it's only 180 calories. As if I'm counting. LOL!!!

And speaking of creamsicles...
Have you tried the Orange Cream lip shine by C. O. Bigelow? My DD bought some at Bath and Body Works a couple of weeks ago and it's delicious. Creamsicle for the lips! Please be warned though, you'll lick the stuff off your lips as quickly as you put it on. Yum yum!

Ya know what? I think I feel a creamsicle quilt comin' on.

So do you have a summer favorite? I'd love to know!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Sewing Room

When we moved into our current home four year ago (has it really been that long?) I was lucky enough to finally get a sewing room of my own. Sadly, for the the past year it's been more than a little cluttered...a victim of last year's remodel. During the remodel of our kitchen and three bathrooms we needed space to store things so that they wouldn't be in the way, so into the sewing room it went.

Over the past couple of weeks I've been doing a lot of sorting, tossing, and reorganizing, and I must say that I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Here's my sewing table. It's taken a couple of years, but now it's finally made. I bought the table at Big Lots and ordered the acrylic insert for my Designer I from Dream World, Inc. I tried to find the forum on which I got the instructions for making my table, but couldn't locate it. Sorry. Basically, I made a template, cut the hole, and made a box in which the sewing machine sits. I held my breath as I sat my machine in the box and installed the acrylic insert for the first time, hoping that the box was the right depth. I let out a huge sigh of relief when I realized the fit was nothing short of perfect.

FYI...the sewing machine needle is 11" from the edge of the table, which may seem far, but is really quite nice. I wish I would have left a little more room to the right of my machine for all of those things that need to be kept close at hand, but I'm happy to have lots of room to the left so that my quilt tops won't hang off the edge while I sew.
And here's my new cutting table that I put together this week. It's certainly made from a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I found the two cabinets on each end at Wal-Mart. They're 35" tall which is so wonderful when compared to the height of the folding banquet table on which I was cutting. No wonder I always had an aching back! They also have a lot of storage space!

The table top is the same one that I have on my sewing table. I was able to buy the table at clearance price last week at Big Lots, plus I got an additional 20% off my entire purchase. It kind of seems like a waste that I'm only using the table top and throwing away the rest of the parts, but realistically it's cheaper and better than anything I could have made myself. Trust me, I looked! One nice thing I figured out is that I didn't even have to screw the table top to the cabinets. I had a light come on in my brain (yes, big surprise!) and I realized that I could just use that tacky, foamy, self lining stuff that I had sitting in my top kitchen cabinet. I works wonderfully, I might add...and much less work!

Today I bought and assembled the little bookcase that sits between the two cabinets. Of course, once I got it put together I realized it was 1/4" too tall. 1/4" makes a huge difference when you want the table to lay flat. LOL!!! I walked downstairs to the garage to make an assessment of what DH had on hand. Ah ha! I found some shims that worked perfectly!!! The shelf lining is still holding everything in place.

Here are some of my Thimbleberries fabrics that are folded nice and neat. I used the folding technique that Lois L. Hallock recommends in her book "Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space". One problem that I did run into is that I couldn't find a 8.5" x 24" quilt ruler to use as a folding template. Once again, I put my genius mind to work! I went to Home Depot and bought a piece of acrylic glass and a cutting tool (yes, you need the tool...it works so much better than a utility knife) for less than $10.00. You sure can't buy a ruler for that price, not even on sale!!!

For those of you who don't own the above mentioned book, I recommend it. Not everything is practical, but there are a lot of really great suggestions. And just so you know...when Amazon.com recommends that you also buy "Dream Sewing Spaces" by Lynette Black, you can pass on that one. It's not worth your money...you'll get plenty of ideas from the first book.

I think that I'll probably be able to have everything completed by the end of the week. At least I certainly hope so! Stay tuned for more pictures!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Just a Few Photos

My version on Sadie's Quilt from Jo's Little Women Club #6.

Same cute girl, same birthday hat, 'nother party. The birthday girl finally gets a party with her friends. (Do you recognize that birthday cake, Kim?)

Mia, the clean up committee!

I grow a small garden every year. Nothing much...just a few things that we really like. It was overcast this afternoon when I went outside to take the quilt picture and I realized it was a perfect day to take a few pictures of my garden. Please pardon the weeds, it's just been too darn hot to work outside.

Every year I plant one zucchini.....

and one yellow straight neck squash.

Tomatoes are a must! These are a few of the little pear tomatoes that I planted this year. I also grow several Roma tomato plants, but they're not ripe yet. We actually harvested our first pear tomatoes last night, but they got washed in the garden hose and quickly eaten!

Some years I'll plant a pepper or chili. This year it was an Anaheim chili. Pretty mild stuff.

I typically saute' our zucchini and yellow squash together with some onion, salt and pepper OR I steam them in a pan. My friend, Susie, gave me a great suggestion for those zucchinis that get left on the plant a day or two longer than they should. You know...those GIANT ones? Just slice them about 1/2" thick, dip them in an egg wash, then in some seasoned flour and fry them in olive oil. This is how I made them yesterday as a late evening snack. I thought they tasted a little like eggplant, but my cynical children said they tasted like fried squash. Go figure.

That's the end of the show!

Let's Celebrate!

Happy birthday to you.

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday dear Kimmm,

Happy birthday to you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Best "Dam" Trip Ever

Last week we went to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area for my husband's family reunion. His great grandfather was one of thirteen children who grew up in the Uintah Basin of eastern Utah, so we were heading back to his roots.

During the 3.5 hour drive out our daughters were lamenting about what they would able to do that was fun. That's important, you know. Especially if it happens to be your 14th birthday and you're spending a large chunck of it in the car. I assured them that this would be the best dam trip that they had ever been on. Realizing that we'd be staying near Flaming Gorge dam, they offered up a few chuckles.

Here are a few pictures from our trip.....

The surprise birthday cake and the embarrassed 14 year old, as cousins that she has never met sing Happy Birthday to her. Do you love the birthday hat that I bought for her? Yes, it helped ease her pain. Notice that the candles aren't lit? It was too windy. Probably best though, since they could have been the cause of another wildfire in the state.

Here's the base of the dam where we started our 7 mile float trip.

Here's an interesting fact...belowe the dam there are roughly 15,000 fish per river mile. A fly fisherman's dream!

Check out this cool bridge that goes across an arm of the reservoir.

Before we went home we were able to take a tour of the dam. That was actually the girls' idea and we learned a lot of interesting facts. No cameras were allowed, though, so no pictures. :-(

The trip ended up being a success and the birthday girl even admitted that the midnight hike was the perfect was to end her birthday!

Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm Free! I'm Finally Free!!!

I'm sure you've all been wondering where I have been the past month. Honestly, it's been quite the ordeal. Would you believe that I was kidnapped and held for ransom? My family couldn't (or wouldn't) come up with the loot to free me, so all this time I have been locked in a 4'x4' cell, unable to get out. Well, after an amazing and, may I say daring escape, I'm now free and able to post to my blog.

What?! You don't believe me? Honest. That's what really happened! Really!!!

Okay...I'll confess. I've been busy and I've been a slacker. So now I'm going to try and get caught up.

During the past month I've:

--Been on a trip to Nashville with DH.

--Hosted my amazing sister and her four wonderful daughters for a couple of weeks, which included a shopping trip, of course.

--Attended three different family reunions.

--Taught a quilt class (and made the class sample).

--And all the every day types of things that had to be done.

I'll post some pictures along the way, but I really want to share my great find.

Last week my oldest daughter and I made a trip to the new IKEA in our area. The store opened in mid-May, but I've been strong and didn't venture into the store until last week. No, I wasn't one of those who stood in line for five days to be the first in the store. To me, that's crazy! Besides, I knew that there was nothing there that I really needed so I stayed away...until last week.

You see, I've been reorganizing my sewing room and I needed a new way to store my FQs. Now that definitely called for a trip to IKEA, since they are the king (queen) of storage items. Yippeeeeee!!! Look what I found...exactly what I needed...

At $6.99 each (a good deal if you ask me) I figured I'd start with four of these. I know where to get more if I need them. Now I'm off to my sewing room to get the rest of my FQs organized and ready to move into their new homes.