Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Got Tomatoes?

Three tomato plants (Better Boy; German Queen Heirloom; Rutgers) and the tomatoes are finally ripe enough to use . . . all of them at once it seems!  So, I've pinned a few recipes on Pinterest (tell me you're as addicted to Pinterest as I am) that use tomatoes.  Today I decided to make "Aunt Della's Tomato Preserves"  with the abundance of Better Boy tomatoes.  You can find the recipe here:  

Like a lot of recipes, it gives you the time it takes . . . or so I thought that's what the "Ready in:  30-60 minutes" meant (are you sensing another time management problem here?).  It really means that that would be the time you will simmer the preserves to thicken the batch.  It does not take into consideration the time it takes to gather the tomatoes . . . peel and seed the tomatoes . . . or the time it takes to run to the grocery store because you only have 4 cups of sugar and it takes 5 . . . or how long it takes to clean-up because your shoes are sticking to the seeds/juice that have splattered all over the kitchen, your shirt, your shoes and is dripping down the front of the stove and pooling on the floor.  I am a messy cook . . . and this was an all day affair!

In addition to the canning jars I purchased at Walmart yesterday, I also picked up a few half-pint jar caddies that will make a nice little gift for the holidays . . . didn't notice that I should have gotten the little squat jars instead of the taller ones . . . oh well . . . maybe for the next batch . . . that will add another half hour to an hour to make the trip to Walmart for squat jars . . .  might as well pick-up some more sugar while I'm at it!

Happy Harvest  ~*

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Following Instructions . . . what a concept!

I have a hidden talent of figuring out how things go together . . . like jigsaw puzzles and putting things together without the instructions.  I'm always amazed by this.  It must mean something . . . apply to some career I've missed my calling for. 

I got a bargain on a quilting table at JoAnn's for my "Studio" . . . it was on sale AND I had a coupon that was good on sale and regular priced items . . . SCORE!  So, what kind of bargain is it if you have a gazillion pieces to put together?

Even for me . . . there was no way this item could have been put together without the instructions.  I'm not sure many people could even understand the instructions! 

Okay . . . only need a Phillips Head screwdriver and approximately an hour and a half to put it together . . . really?  Here's what I had after an hour:

This isn't looking like I'm going to be finished in a half hour does it?  My knees need a break.

On it goes . . .  "connect board D, E with J, twist in clockwise the part 13 on board D, E to insert board W into the groove of board J, E" . . . sure thing . . . piece of cake.  I've lost track of time . . . well into the second hour now.  My knees can't take much more!

Somehow I have to upright this hulk of a table . . . by myself . . . the hubs isn't home!
 So . . . it's all put together . . . somewhere over 3 hours of work . . . I don't want to know . . . my knees don't want to know. 

This isn't quite looking right . . . guess you can't leave the little side table up and get the cabinet door closed.  Here you go:
SCORE ? . . . table 100 . . . my knees 0.

Let the quilting begin!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Girlfriend Getaway

There is nothing like a girlfriend getaway!  This group of ladies were part of the expat group that lived in Belgrade, Serbia while we were there in 2003-4.  Our hubs all worked together and we played together . . . talked together . . . drank together . . . cried together . . .  we were each others support team.

We now range in age from 37 to 62 . . . not a group of women you might ordinarily think would befriend each other, but in the unique situation of  living in a different country, you become family.

We are now scattered all over the US . . . Colorado, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee.  Some I have seen fairly often, others not often enough.  It was a great reunion!

We went to Put-In-Bay, OH on Lake Erie.  We stayed in a B&B that was an easy walk into town.  Town . . . one bar/restaurant after another.  We did a lot of eating and drinking . . . talking and laughing . . . dancing and singing . . . talking and drinking . . . drinking and laughing.

We caught each other up on our lives, our families . . . we reminisced . . . we shared . . . we counseled . . .  we're still a support team.  We talked about where we'd get together next year . . . it's a must!

I love my Belgrade Babes . . . nothing like a girlfriend getaway!        ~*

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Do Your Own Thing

I've never been a person who thinks "it's my way or the highway".   Things should work for you.  When I'm looking at charts, something has to appeal to me . . . the content, the colors, a verse, etc.  Some charts I work exactly as the designer intended it to be . . . love it all.  Other charts I might tweak a bit to suit me . . . it might be the colors . . . it might be the placement of something.  Don't be afraid to make something your own.  Yes, I have ripped stitches out where it didn't work, but sometimes it does!

I did this one from The Sampler Girl for my father (this is a  reduced color copy I kept for myself).  I changed the colors and replaced the house with the house my father grew up in.  I liked Tanya's design very much, but the colors wouldn't work in my parents' house.

This is a Blackbird Designs piece I absolutely loved!  I loved the color pallet which I didn't change much.  It just wasn't big enough!  I wanted more!  So, I added to it to make it a bigger piece and thought the little piece of vintage lace went so well with the design.

 This Shepherd's Bush design was an R&R Retreat piece from a few years ago.  Again loved the piece but something didn't feel right with the color placement for me.  It's a perfectly lovely piece as designed, but it worked better for me when I changed the color placement . . . don't know why.  I also attached the autographed design cover to the back of the piece . . . for posterity . . . you know, when the piece winds up in a museum of 21st Century needlework some day . . . LOL !!!!!

So go do your own thing!  If you have a piece you've changed . . .  be it one of mine or someone else . . . send it to me and I may share "your own thing"!   (my email address is over there on the right)