September 30, 2009

Donny Osmond Rocks!

I was so thrilled to see that Donny Osmond is a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" this season. Maybe because I lived for a number of years in Utah, I have always been a big fan of the Osmonds. I was pulling for Marie on DWTS a couple of years ago and just about had a heart attack when she fainted and hit the floor. I watched the "Donny & Marie" show in the 70s and sang along to "Puppy Love" and "The Twelfth of Never." I watched him do a craft project with Martha Stewart on her show a few years ago.

And I am so glad that Donny is doing well on this show. At 51, he is the second oldest contestant this season and his "Secret Agent Man" routine was great. He was entertaining and looked light on his feet. In fact, I think he got cheated out of a few points by the judges. He did just as well as Aaron Carter, who at 21 is the youngest contestant this year.

 







Go, Donny! Show 'em how it's done!!!

September 28, 2009

Reading "The Last Time I Was Me"


I have been thoroughly taken by author Cathy Lamb. I read her first book, "Julia's Chocolates," a few months ago. The characters could not be quirkier, yet once I got into the rhythm of the story, I have to admit I was turning the pages just to see what strange thing they'd do next.
I liked it enough to go out and buy her second book, "The Last Time I Was Me." It's about a woman with several tragedies in her past that culminate in a major meltdown that not only blows her successful career out of the water, but puts her in court for revenge on a jerk boyfriend. (The court scene is simply delicious!) After hitting bottom so hard, she bounces back and builds a new life, making great new friends along the way. The bulk of the story is set in Oregon and Cathy Lamb really brings it all to life with a refreshing voice and perspective.
I would definitely recommend these books. Cathy Lamb is a master at creating weird, wonderful characters that I'd like to meet in person. Visit her website at www.cathylamb.net.
And it looks like I need to run to the book store and buy "Henry's Sisters" her latest book that came out at the end of July.

September 27, 2009

2010 Dishcloth Calendar

2010 Dishcloth CalendarI am very happy and very excited. Through the thoroughly entertaining Mason-Dixon Knitting blog, I found out that there is a calendar of dishcloth designs being sold for $16.00 and may I just say What a bargain! The 2010 Dishcloth Calendar is called Gifts from the Heart ... Back to Basics and it is chock full of the cutest things to make -- 38 projects by terrific designers. In fact, the fantabulous Per Orla dishcloth in the calendar was designed by Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon.

I downloaded my copy and immediately started the Purly Waffle Cloth; I intend to take it as a hostess gift for a friend's dinner next weekend. I also have a friend whose baby is due in January and I'm planning to make the Kennel Club Pup Bib for her expected baby boy. Also, my youngest daughter recently mentioned that she needs a bag holder for plastic shopping bags and there is just the thing in the calendar called the Aloha Sack Sock. So there are all kinds of great bonus designs in addition to the dishcloths. I love having these smaller projects to work on when I can't make myself pick up the larger ones already going. Sometimes you just gotta have a little instant gratification!

To purchase your own print or download copy of the 2010 Dishcloth Calendar, click here.

September 26, 2009

Ratty Ol' Mouse

According to one of my breed books, Yorkshire Terriers were "bred originally to sniff out and catch rats for Welsh miners." They are mousers. I watched my first Yorkie, Buddy, chase a mouse across our large back yard when we lived in a somewhat rural area. He didn't catch it because he was stopped at the chain link fence and the mouse kept going, but he was on its heels the entire time. It was pretty exciting!

Half-a-mouse
Half-a-mouse
So I guess it makes sense that our dogs love cat toys. When our youngest daughter lived at home with her two cats, some of their little toys were appropriated by the dogs. Skyler loved these little "mice" that seem to be a ping pong ball filled with something that rattles and is wrapped in a yarn covered fabric. They have pink ears, black eyes, a red nose, little whiskers and a tail. When Skyler passed away at the ripe old age of 15-1/2, he left his last mouse to Miles who absolutely adores it. As you can see, it is a ratty ol' half-assed mouse. All that is left is one eye, the nose and two whiskers.

When I'm reading or knitting, Miles will sashay -- I know, but sashay is the only way to describe it -- over and tease me with his mouse. He has this gleam in his eyes and he'll get just close enough for me to brush my fingers over his mouse and then he turns and runs like hell. He will play this game for the longest time, especially if I actually get up and chase him. Boy, is that fun!!!

Miles with his mouse
Miles with his mouse
Sadly, we can no longer find any of these mice to get replacements. So we will keep washing it and live with this ratty ol' mouse until it disintegrates.

September 25, 2009

From Hot Water Bottle Covers to ... CARS!

So yesterday's post was about these cute little hot water bottle covers to knit.

Today my baby sister sends me this ...







All I can say besides WOW is I sure hope this girl got an A!

September 24, 2009

Hot Water Bottles

I got my Fall 2009 Knit Picks catalog in the mail this week. Their tag line is "Passionately Committed to Affordable Luxury Knitting." Pictured on page 15 are these very cute Hot Water Bottle Covers and they are selling a book by designer Chrissie Day with knit patterns for 30 of them! And it occurs to me ... does anyone actually still use a hot water bottle?

hot-water bottle covers in knit picks catalog

While I imagine we had at least one around the house while I was growing up, I don't remember ever using anything but an electric heating pad. I've never even owned a hot water bottle and I'm in my 50s.

According to my Internet research, the hot water bottle was invented in 1903 by a Croatian, Slavoljub Eduard Penkala (Budapest, Patent No 29276). Electric heating pads were invented in 1912 by an American, S.I. Russell, to warm patients suffering from tuberculosis.

microwave heating pad

My personal favorite for at least 15 years has been this microwave heating pad that feels as though it is filled with sand. I am going to make these for gifts someday, but will have to open a seam on mine to inspect the contents. I bought it at a craft fair and it's long and skinny and wraps cozily around the neck. I am prone to back spasms and it is great for fitting into just the right sore muscle and stays warm for a good long time.

But, back to my original thought? Does anyone still use old-fashioned hot water bottles?

September 23, 2009

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie II

You know, if this pillow sham was black, they'd never go near it!

Miles is 2 feet tall on this pillow
Miles is 2 feet tall on this pillow

Wordless Wednesday - Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Wordless Wednesday

September 22, 2009

Reading the "Twilight" Series

I love nothing more than reading a series of books, one after another. It enhances my enjoyment and escapism so much longer. It's like taking a mini-vacation or having an extended visit with someone delightful.

Twilight series

In 2008, I finally read the original "Twilight" book by Stephenie Meyer. It came out in 2005, but I waited a few years to buy it for several reasons. The granddaughter just turned 12 last year and I knew she was *sigh* leaving her Junie B. Jones series behind for more grownup reading. She, of course, loves "Twilight" and loved the movie when it came out. And while I am pretty fond of the supernatural genre, vampires have never been at the top of my list. But we're talking about a beloved local author -- Ms. Meyer lives in Arizona -- and I'm all for supporting local talent. (Visit her website at www.stepheniemeyer.com.)

So the granddaughter asked me recently to buy her the second book, "New Moon," which will be out in theaters on November 20th. I think she's already standing in line to see it. :-)  Then all of a sudden, and very surprisingly because she hates anything supernatural, my youngest daughter decided she wanted to read the series. She sends me an urgent text about how she is nearing the end of the second book and will I run out and buy her the third -- "Eclipse" -- so she can just keep reading. Being the absolutely awesome mother that I am, of course I did. Then she decided to finish the series and bought the fourth book, "Breaking Dawn." She really enjoyed them all.

So here I am, with all of the books in my house, a total of 2,444 pages of reading bliss! I picked up "New Moon" and just got lost in it. I read in bed at night and a lot on the weekends (all knitting screeched to a halt). I managed to blast through "New Moon" and "Eclipse" in one week. My eyeballs were literally burning. Had to slow down some on the last one because of our house painting project, but finished "Breaking Dawn" in a week.

They were so great! I enjoyed every second. Escaping to their diverse world of humans and vampires and werewolves was like being on a supernatural vacation for several weeks. Even when I wasn't reading, I was thinking about the books and the characters and wondering what was going to happen next. I swear there were moments when I could smell the woods and hear the crunching of leaves underfoot in Forks, Washington.

So thank you, Stephenie Meyer, for the entertainment and for sharing your wonderful imagination with the world! And, please, keep on doing the amazing thing that you do ...

September 17, 2009

Color Our World

Spice Cake Paint Swatch



We are painting! Yay, our white walls are going to have some color -- double yay!!!

So we're starting with the living/dining room. We'll also do the kitchen/family room, down the hall and one bathroom. All the bedrooms and office were painted in the past.

The first color we've chosen for the living/dining/entry/hallway is called Spice Cake. Sounds delicious!

And I doubt if I'll be be blogging much until we're done ...

September 16, 2009

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

 Louie napping on our bed


Of all the dogs we've been lucky enough to live with and love, Louie is the champion napper. I walked into our bedroom and found him passed out on the bed, all snuggled up against a pillow and a white battenberg lace pillow sham.

One of our friends from out of town stayed with us for a few days when we had our last pair of Yorkies, Reggie and Skyler. He watched them move around the house all day long, napping , sleeping, snoozing. Then it was bedtime and off they went to sleep some more. He asked me the next morning, "How do your dogs sleep at night?" Every time I think of that, it makes me laugh. He's right -- how do they sleep at night?

So I was wondering where the phrase "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" comes from. Here are some links you might find informative and amusing:

http://www.quotations.me.uk/famous-idioms/131-let-sleeping-dogs-lie-idiom.htm

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=105x500428

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Let_sleeping_dogs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_Sleeping_Dogs_Lie

September 14, 2009

Salad Serving Set

Salad serving set, salad serving set, salad serving set -- say it real fast three times. Okay, that one is not as hard as Sally sells seashells by the seashore, but it is about something I treated myself to recently.

Beaded salad serving setA few months ago at the farmers' market I enjoy attending the most in our area, I talked to a woman whose booth was full of cute gifty items like imprinted napkins and beautiful serving pieces. She beads and decorates them and does the personalized napkin imprinting herself.

Blue is my favorite color. I have some antique cobalt blue glass items that I just love and when I saw this gorgeous salad spoon and fork beaded in cobalt blue beads, I was feeling that happy shopping place feeling. But I didn't get them the first time I saw them because we are, like everyone else we know, cutting back on the spending. Then after I got home, I decided I really wanted them. So, of course, the next few times I went to the farmers' market she wasn't there and I was really kicking myself for not getting them. But, happy day, she was there last Saturday and I am now the proud owner of this gorgeous salad serving set.

Each piece is about 10" long and the set was only $29. I do have another beautiful set given to me by a friend, but they are most definitely Christmas in design and, as much as I love Christmas, I can't bring myself to use them throughout the year.

Our salads may not be any more nutritious, but it sure is more fun serving them!

Happy Birthday, Our Tigger!

tiggerWhen our youngest daughter was starting school, she couldn't sit still to save her soul. It was an open classroom setting and she would just get up and wander out of the room. Most of the time, they'd find her talking to the lunch ladies or looking for her big sister. So her first grade teacher called her "Tigger."

Happy Birthday, Our Tigger!!!

With much love,

from Mom and Dad

A Little Bit of Downtown Phoenix

Phoenix Convention Center



We had tickets for the Arizona Home and Building Expo held at the Phoenix Convention Center this past weekend.

It was fun walking around talking to everyone. The redo of the Convention Center is amazing and gorgeous so I took a couple of photos as we were wandering back to the car.

Phoenix Convention Center 2

St. Mary's Basilica sits just north of the Convention Center at 3rd Street and Monroe. It was completed in 1914 and is the oldest Roman Catholic parish in Phoenix. And, yes, the sky really is that vibrant blue most of the time.

St. Mary's Basilica

At 2nd Street and Monroe, one of our favorite places for performing arts is the Herberger Theater. “Dance” is the title of the group of bronze sculptures located outside the Herberger. They were created in the 1970s by Arizona sculptor John Henry Waddell.

Herberger Theater

We took the granddaughter to see "Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business" about 4 years ago. She has an impressive collection of June B. Jones books and the play was so much fun. When our girls were growing up, we took them to "Eleemosynary," a 3-woman play that was just phenomenal.
Herberger Theater 2

We've also seen some wonderful ballets there.

Herberger Theater 3

The Steele Pavilion at Herberger Theater is an art gallery showcasing Arizona artists.

Steele Pavilion at Herberger Theater

This shot is the street in front of The Hyatt Regency. It's not in the picture, but this Hyatt is home to the Compass Room, Arizona's only revolving restaurant. You can see the round restaurant at the top of the photo on the Hyatt's website.  While you are eating, the restaurant very slowly revolves so the scenery outside your window is changing. The movement is barely noticeable but I will say I am notorious for motion sickness. I attended a luncheon meeting there once and sat "backwards" and by the end, I was so queasy. Just sayin' if you go and you don't have any dramamine, face forward!

The Hyatt

It's still over 100 degrees here during the day, but it was nice out Sunday.

September 11, 2009

We're Playing Doodle Dice

doodle dice gameWe have always played a lot of games in our family and still do.

When I was a kid, my favorites were scrabble, yahtzee and double solitaire and we always had a table set up in the family room with a jigsaw puzzle in progress, being assembled by everyone.

Hubby's family played lots of card games like rummy, tripoli and steal the pile as well as board games like parcheesi.

As our girls were growing up, we collected an entire cupboard full of games - everything from battleship, pigmania, operation, sorry, uno, checkers and mille bornes to mousetrap, pictionary and trivial pursuit. Granddaughter's favorite is horseopoly. Hubby and I like to break out the backgammon board and play 2 out of 3.

One of our new favorites is Doodle Dice. We had a group of adults over for a barbeque recently and played. I probably enjoyed it more than anyone else because I WON! Neener neener!!!

doodle dice cardsHere are the basics. It's for 2 to 6 players, ages 6 through adult. The object is to be the first player to collect a set of six cards - one of each color - by rolling the doodles shown on the cards. It comes with a deck of cards, 6 dice and a cup for rolling them.

This game is easy and so much fun. It's even fun to help each other strategize while playing. Seems like kids and adults all love it. If you're looking for a great gift for any age, this is a winner!

September 10, 2009

What's Cookin' - Honey Lime Marinade

We eat a lot of chicken and I love the flavor a nice marinade adds before sauteeing or grilling. One of our favorite marinades came about with a little experimentation and it's very tasty. Every time I whisk this mixture together, hubby walks by in the kitchen and comments on how good it smells.

Honey Lime Marinade

2 limes
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup honey
2 T. rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt

Zest and juice the limes into a bowl. Finely mince the garlic and add to lime juice along with with the olive oil, honey, rice vinegar and salt to taste. Put chicken breasts and marinade in a ziploc baggie and refrigerate for at least one hour, but a couple of hours is better.


This marinade would also be great for fish, like tuna steaks.

September 9, 2009

Things that make you go Aaawwwwww...

We have an antique oak hat rack with a copper base in which to stand up umbrellas. We really don't use umbrellas much in Arizona, so we store dog toys and balls and chew bones in it.

Louie climbing into the umbrella stand
Louie climbing into the umbrella stand
Louie, who is now two, was such a cute puppy. I had the camera in hand one day and caught him crawling into the umbrella stand to take a nap amongst the dog toys. He was about eight weeks old here. And doesn't he look like a little black bear? That was when he had that sweet puppy breath.

Miles making sure we see Louie doing this
Miles making sure we see Louie doing this
Of course, Miles, who is about nine months older than Louie, is a tattle-tale. About all he didn't do is point at Louie with his paw. "Maw, maw, come quick -- Louie's in the well, I mean the umbrella stand!"

Okay, that's a comfortable spot
Okay, that's a comfortable spot
Louie is not picky about where he naps. Just falls out hard and fast.

Down for the count
Down for the count
Nighty-night!

September 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Flowers

Flowers in our yard




Going Green with Laughter

So we're sitting out on the patio in the lovely cool breeze this morning and I'm reading the Opinions page in the local paper. An article entitled, "Penny-wise mothers were 1st to 'go green'" had me laughing out loud!

Petula Dvorak

 

Written by Petula Dvorak, a Metro Columnist with The Washington Post, this story is about cocktail party conversation involving women whose mothers are immigrants from around the world. How their mothers never throw anything away. They have bags of bags and serve meals on the styrofoam trays that raw meat comes on.

Here is the link to her original story at The Washington Post ("A Trendsetter On Recycling, If Not Shoes"), but following is my favorite excerpt from the article ...

          "I am living green for years. I use all my containers over and over. I wash all plastic bags. The bags you don't use for dog poop, you use for your lunch," she told the student journalists doing a documentary on green living.

Read it and weep with laughter!

September 5, 2009

What's Cookin' - Pico de Gallo

A long-time (I won’t say “old” because it sounds so awful) friend came to stay for a few days and made this absolutely amazing pico de gallo. It’s simple and wonderful and tastes so fresh …

Pico de Gallo
1 large tomato
1 small onion
1 avocado
1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
*optional* jalapeƱo chili peppers – fresh, seeded and chopped; or canned, diced
*optional* cilantro, fresh chopped
Cut the tomato, onion and avocado into small dice. Zest the lime over them, then juice the lime over them and mix well, adding salt and pepper to taste. If you’re looking for a little heat or spiciness, add chilis ’til you’re happy. Although we’re not fans of cilantro, add it now if you like it. Chill. This is delicious on burgers or scooped with tortilla chips.
There are a couple of Pampered Chef tools I bought at a party a few years ago that I love for the zesting and juicing. For zesting, their Microplane Adjustable Grater is wonderful. I zest a lot of oranges, lemons and limes for recipes and we are fortunate enough to have a few citrus trees in our yard. For juicing one or two pieces of fruit, I like their Citrus Press. Works like a dream and easily gets every last drop of juice.
What a great way to eat your fruits and vegetables!

September 4, 2009

But it's not ...

This is really juvenile, but I just can't help myself.

Mark PeelWhile watching Top Chef this week, the guest judge (Mark Peel, owner of Campanile restaurant in Los Angeles) was tasting potato dishes created by the contestants. He says to one of them, "This could be very gluey, but it's not." BUT IT'S SNOT!

This is one of the goofy, hilarious things I grew up with. My dad would say things like, "You think it's a grilled cheese sandwich, but it's snot," and we would roll on the floor. And it seems it still cracks me up today, all these years later. We had to pause the Top Chef recording so I could just laugh for a few minutes. Thanks, dad!

What's Cookin' - Hawaiian Salad


Mom, apparently you should have published a cookbook because it seems so many of my favorite recipes that we make over and over are from your kitchen.

We are having a few people over for a barbeque on Sunday. We'll be doing burgers, brats, pasta salad, pico de gallo, chips. As I'm running through this with hubby he asks, "Aren't you going to make Hawaiian Salad?" This is another one of his all-time favorites and I usually have to make two bowls -- one for company and one to hide away just for him. I have seen him eat right out of the serving bowl with a large serving spoon. Sorry, honey, but it's so cute!

This salad could not be easier to make and it's fast. This is the kind of thing you can put together quickly if company is on the way over. You just need these ingredients:

 Hawaiian Salad

2 - 20 oz. cans Dole Pineapple Tidbits (drained)
4 - 11 oz. cans mandarin oranges (drained)
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup unsweetened flake coconut
8 oz. fat free sour cream

Mix it all together in a big serving bowl and chill. You can certainly adjust the amounts if you like more coconut, etc.

This salad is especially refreshing when it's hot outside, but we eat it all year long.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

September 3, 2009

What's Cookin' - Eva's Dill Sauce

About 10 years ago, on a Lake Powell houseboat vacation with four other couples, hubby and I were fortunate enough to spend five days sharing a houseboat with Eva and her hubby. We definitely had the best houseboat because Eva is an amazing cook and baker and, oh, the hungarian pastries we consumed!

Eva's Dill Sauce is what I never knew I always wanted! I have, in the past few years, fallen in love with salmon, especially poached salmon, usually with a little lemon juice squeezed over it. Oh, yum! But I have recently been introduced to something that is so indescribably good - Dill Sauce - specifically, Eva's Dill Sauce.

A woman who is - no kidding - one of the best cooks I've ever met, treated us to Dill Sauce over chilled, steamed salmon the last time we were invited over for dinner. Hubby and I both looked like slobbering idiots, drooling, rolling our eyes, groaning with pleasure over this Dill Sauce. Since then, I have made it and it is so easy and so amazingly delicious. In fact, I had some left over from making salmon and used it the following night as marinade on sauteed chicken breasts. It was great!

Juice of 1 lemon (approx. 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 T. fresh chopped dill
2 T. dijon mustard
2 large garlic cloves, pressed

Whisk together the lemon, oil, dill, mustard and garlic, along with a little salt and pepper.

Whoa, I believe I just gained weight thinking about all the yummy food. Anyway, Eva has a wonderful recipe website that you are sure to enjoy, http://www.eva-recipes.com/main.asp. The Dill Sauce is included in her recipe for Dilly Salmon.

September 1, 2009