right now

right now

Feb 26, 2011

Better than a quilt show!

First thing this morning the boys started in fighting, arguing, talking back and just general mayhem, so I decided that going to the quilt show at the convention center with everyone was a bad idea, plus it would have cost $40 for the admission for us!  Instead, I went alone to the coffee shop and fabric store and spent the money on "enriching my stash"!  

One funny side note:  I can't believe that the quilt show actually made the news last night!  It seems there was a quilt on display of a woman sans clothing, showing a fetus in her womb, inside a cardboard box.  The designer was apparently using the art as a way of showing that so many are just a step away from poverty.  This is where it gets interesting - some of you may know we are not only a VERY conservative state (no reflection on me, but I'm not from here!), but our city is also home to Pat Robertson and The 700 Club... yeah, that guy!  Well, they are all over the news saying the quilt must be removed from display, it's "morally hurting" the population, yada, yada, yada...  

I personally think what took everyone by surprise is the medium for the art, being a quilt.  I think that if this same depiction was done in say, a painting, people might not have liked it and shook their heads, but would have just walked on.  We seem used to shrugging off things we don't like on canvas, but apparently the quilt has shaken the foundation of all things morally right and good (rolling eyes here).  What do you think?  I have seen it and I must say I don't like it, but not because of the depiction, but only because I think it's ugly LOL.  I don't want to copy any photos since it's a current news item, but you can see it here.

Moving on, here's what got added to my stash today.  The top fabric is destined to become a sundress or skirt, but the others I just liked and will work into a quilt or something, who knows?  It's nice to just be able to shop for fabric I like with no particular project in mind - "inspiration fabrics"!

The kids must have known I was more than a little upset with them, since when I arrived home after 3 blissful hours alone with coffee and fabric, they were very nice to mommy :)

I even had time to sew today, since it was too chilly for outside work again.  I have a kitchen cart that I wanted to use to store fabric since I can roll it right next to where I am working, but due to lack of space it has to be out in the open all the time - voila!  A "Cart Skirt"!  It stays in the living room area so I picked a fabric that matched the walls that I had on hand already, and chose to make flat panels instead of anything ruffles, since our house is very modern in decorating style.  We'll see how modern it looks in a year of me sewing LOL... any bets on when my house will officially turn "shabby chic"?!

Most of my fabric resides behind the curtain now instead of hidden away in a closet.  If I can see it, I'll use it - that's the idea anyway.

Hubby made sushi for dinner tonight.  His dinners always involve lots of prep work and long hours keeping the kids out of my hair.  I happily cleaned up his mess afterwards as a thank you for that!

This is only one of the platters, he made 3 and we ate all but half of one platter, yum!  Finn already eats sushi, but in hopes of getting our "meatarian" Loch excited we made these with strip steak, avocado, carrot, cuke, parsnip & scallions.  He kind of picked through the veggies, but at least he ate quietly with no complaints!

One last thing before I sign off...  my only niece and only little girl in the family is turning 2 today!

Happy Birthday, Nora!  

(I can never get her to look at the camera!)

Feb 25, 2011

Lots of little things...

This is one of those weeks where everything and nothing is going on!  No large projects, but lots of tying up loose ends on random things that have taken a backseat to daily life.

I spent the better part of 3 days cleaning my kitchen, and I mean really tossing stuff.  I threw away all my old spices and actually washed the spice jars out, who does that (freak!) LOL?  I got rid of quite a few dishes in the process, I like to entertain, but do I really need wine and martini glasses for 20?  I think not. My true friends will happily drink what is given to them in whatever vessel it's served up in - this is my new philosophy!  This is all a concerted effort to fit my kitchen table actually in the kitchen (BTW we have no dining room).  I have sacrificed my tiny eat in area for a freezer, homemade kegerator and stainless prep table instead - this was kind of a necessity since we are gardeners, canners, and homebrewers.  For years now we have had the table/chairs in the living room which looks just fine as the entire thing is open to the kitchen anyways, but in my quest to have a sewing space, I really need to fit that table back in the kitchen.

Ever since taking stock of all the garden veggies in the freezer, I've been more motivated to cook this week.  The kids are not excited about the volume of beans in there, we're eating them every night!

Below is one of my favorite make ahead meals because they freeze so darn well.  I have to credit Mom for this one, I never thought about it until she mentioned it a few years back.  I will make about 3 boxes of stuffed shells - yes, that's alot - then freeze on a cookie sheet for an hour then dump into gallon baggies - presto!  Nice, homecooked meal fast!  Just pull out however many you need, dump some of that lovely canned tomato sauce and some cheese on top and bake for about 20 minutes straight from a frozen state.  Don't forget the beans, LOL!

How can the kids not want these?  Heirloom Yellow Wax are my absolute favorite for flavor and freshness from frozen.  Finn actually peeled them apart and ate out the teeny seeds inside and told me he didn't like the rest... what?????

Yesterday was a lovely mail day - I received this book in the mail all the way from Oregon courtesy of Ruth at Hope, Joy & Faith Farm... thanks, Ruth!  I can't wait to have some quiet time to begin reading it.  If you haven't visited Ruth yet, head over - she is embracing all that goes with learning to live a simpler, homesteading life - learning the ways of animals, managing limited funds while creating a simple and fulfilling life for her family, something many of us are striving for and it's fun learning along with her.  You are also in for a treat if you head over now, since her farm is celebrating it's first lambs, pictures too good to miss :

I also can't let this "duh" moment go - I've been saying that I was so proud of myself for waiting to start my seeds this year - apparently I only thought I started my tomatoes and peppers Jan 19th last year.  Where do I get these dates stuck in my head, LOL?  I save my calendars for the past few years and as I was making notes yesterday I decided to look back.  Last year I did, indeed, start a flat on Jan 19th but it was flowers and herbs.  Look at the following photos from 2009, 2010, 2011 and keep in mind that I didn't plan my seed starting dates... apparently my mind works like an alarm clock every year, it was kind of strange!

 Tomatoes & Peppers  Feb 23, 2009

 Tomatoes & Peppers Feb 22, 2010

 February 22, 2011

So although I didn't "wait" like I thought, I'm still pretty impressed that I have this inner alarm clock!

Speaking of, after just about 48 hours on the heat, I have the first tomatoes up!

 4 Pink Brandywines peeking up

2 Hillbillies so far...

All 10 Amish Paste are up!

Still waiting on the other varieties, but I just love catching them at this stage.  All my tomato varieties were sourced from Baker Creek again this year.  Even though the company is growing quickly, they are obviously still vigilant about their seed viability and freshness. 

Still trying to clear the freezer out for the spring meat order from the local farm, tonight we had steak sandwiches, cream of potato & leek soup (this was courtesy of Rachael Ray, not mine) and our frozen peppers and onions.  

The green beans were absent tonight - but the kids hated the smell of the onions and peppers that replaced them caramelizing in the pan... what is wrong with them?!

Now I'm off to catch up on everyone's blogs, I am so behind.  There is also the annual quilt show at the convention center that I really want to go to tomorrow, but not sure if I will.  I don't know anyone who would enjoy going with me, yet I don't want to go all by myself!  Hubby agreed to go with me, just not sure if I want to pay the admission price - I'll have to decide by morning since tomorrow is the best day to go, more 45 mph winds and cold, good day to be inside!

Feb 22, 2011

starting the "main event" seeds!

I meant to clean the house today, but I realized that with repotting and starting seed flats and other tasks to do I was just going to make a huge mess again, so I put it off for another day.  I admit I have been neglecting lots of chores to get that quilt done, but today was the day to resume the spring de-cluttering.

Before I forget... yesterday was still windy but 68º, and what do you suppose we woke up to?  SNOW!  It only lasted about 15 minutes then turned to sleet, but Mother Nature had her last laugh, I expected as much.

First thing I finally got done was organizing the freezer, although this could happen every day and it wouldn't be enough - I really want to make sure we are using everything, but it appears we have a huge surplus of beans in there.  Green beans every night this week now - the kids will be mortified :)  I also got my batch of laundry detergent made, I was down to my last cupful.

Today hubby got a bunch of his stuff thrown away or into the donate pile (it was all his stuff, I'm happy to say), and then we were able to consolidate much of it down into lidded containers to move up to the attic.  He did a bit of rearranging up there so hopefully it will be easier to see what I have and can repurpose up there later in the year.  We don't have all that much up there, since it's one of those attics that's "not really an attic" LOL.  He put down a few plywood pieces across the beams so there is a little area we can walk on and store things like seasonal stuff, but I usually just peek my head up there and shove stuff in, now I can actually go find stuff without tripping.

While he did that, I took the few hours I had left before the kids came home from school to repot my first set of seedlings and get started on the main event:  the peppers & tomatoes!  It's official now, they are on the heat and I will be drowning in seedlings soon and playing the shuffle & water game.  I'm proud of myself for waiting this year, in past years I had them going several weeks earlier but I have found the younger transplants grow quicker and are healthier once set outside than the older ones.   I was able to plant the sweet pea and spinach seedlings outside a few days ago so I didn't have too many transplants to worry about.  The artichokes went into larger containers even though they are still small since they will be hardening off soon outside while it is still cool and I didn't want them to be in tiny containers susceptible to water/temp swings.  I planted them way too late last year.  I also remembered to replace the bulbs in my shop lights, the ones in there are 3 years old and probably are not emitting the best spectrum anymore.

Know what's really cool?

Organizing and being left with empty bins!  We are lucky indeed!  Of course they will be filled soon with my stuff but within reach near my sewing setup.  A little bird sent me some of her fabric stash to get me started on my way to becoming a quilting diva and after the kids are in bed I am going to settle down with a glass of wine and sort through the fabrics and put them in my empty containers!

Who else has tomatoes & peppers going?

Feb 21, 2011

his and hers...

...weekends, that is!  Hubby just returned from a 4 day trip on the Appalachian Trail, I'm happy to report that he brought my camera back in one piece.  Here's some photos from his weekend:

hubby's on the left

 Below is the cabin they hiked in to, they hiked approximately 25 miles total.  Not exactly roughing it, but a nice perk - the members of the Appalachian Trail Club (ATC) that are responsible for trail maintenance are able to use these cabins owned by the ATC.  No running water or anything, but it has a cookstove and fireplace so it makes for a nice destination for a winter hike.  The house was built from materials scavenged around the area since there are no roads in - which means the heavy cookstove and cast iron cookware and primitive furniture was all hauled in over time by ATC members... pretty cool!

Fireplace inside cabin

the white blaze indicates the Appalachian Trail

Vista from Spy Rock, a little bleak this time of year!

Unshaven and unshowered, but he's all mine - I'm sure this beats the heck out of deployment to the Middle East any day.

he also came home with a few random video clips on my camera:
someone new to the cookstove thing...

feats of strength!

spring melt

What about me?  This was my weekend...

Friday started off great, my toes got to see the sun!

True to my word, I had a glass of wine outside with my new quilt/table topper, temps stayed very comfortable that night.

Saturday came and with it, the WIND!  I know lots of us are in the same boat with this, what - do we live on Neptune now?  Sustained winds at 45 mph meant the whole day was spent inside working on the quilt.  It almost looks like a real sewing diva lives here with all the tools strewn around-  looks are deceiving!  :)

Happy times with my new machine - spent all day Sunday too finishing the quilt.  Still windy...

 Finished quilt for my niece has been bagged up just in time and is on it's way to Minnesota right now.  With the big snowstorm they have had the past couple of days, I hope it brightens up her day with the spring colors.

And lest you think I am still running around in flip flops, don't worry - one last evening of grilling steaks outside and we are expecting snow/sleet tomorrow!  What is this crazy weather all about?  74º one day, 33º the next!