Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tired eyes

I finished the book! Boy was it a great book. I really had a hard time putting it down. Like I said before, this book really grabbed you. I feel that everything but one detail was explained. That one thing, maybe it is not important. For a while I was afraid that there was going to be a huge part left out. But it was solved on nearly the last page. I thought I was the only one to remember about it.(it's really hard to talk about something without giving anything away.)

Last night I did get that baby quilt pinned, finally. That is my weekend job. I'm also travelling to see my great-nephew, Parker. I've only seen picture and I am very excited to meet him. Of course that will just make it hard for me to leave him. I really wish he lived closer.

Also I wanted to show you an impromptu apron I made using an antique pillowcase. I used every bit and I cried a little cutting into it. But I would never use the pillowcase and I wanted to enjoy the linen. So I made it into something I would use.

It already had the eyelet at the bottom. I added the pleats and another linen as a pocket. I used this at the wedding shower. I keep my smaller camera in the pocket. I wore the big camera around my neck. I was so ready to catch any crazy candid moment. Were there any? No not really, that because I was ready for them. If I didn't have a camera, there would have been a moment and I would have missed it.

Have a great 3 day weekend!

Take care, Brandie

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chores and all

Well I did manage to complete some chores. I also completed a couple of Dresden bags.
3 bags and many more to make. Today I need to buy zippers, to finish up this project.
I think they are cute. But not cute enough to keep me from that book. Last night I read 16 chapters, 290 pages, before my eyes and head started aching so much. I had to stop and take some pills. So today will be the same pattern. Chapter = chores
I was so involved in my book, I forgot to wish a friend Happy B-Day. I feel terrible about that. Specially when I tell you that my school was so small, there were only us 4 girls. And I forgot her day when it is only 14 days after mine. What a terrible friend I am, and what a good book!
If you have read the other 2 books, this book is even better. Do not hesitate to read it. It's that good. Well I've got to go, chores and all...
Take care, Brandie

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An exciting day

Oh looky how far we've come on the opportunity quilt. We have basted all the stars onto the background and by next Tuesday we will have the 4 background units sewn together. My goal was to have it done by the end of May, I think we'll make it.

In the pic, we are still missing most of the last row of geese. These are also being finished as we speak. This has been a labor of love for all of us involved. We have all grown to love all the color and all those stars, even the littlest ones (just only a red one is on, at the top of the pic). If all goes well, I should be handing the quilt top to the quilter. Hurray!

In more exciting news, look what the UPS man brought me. I pre-ordered the last book in the trilogy. It was delivered on the day it was available in stores, no wait. Another Hurray! Now If I finish my chore, I can sit and read. It's good to motivate yourself, any way it works. Sometimes I break up my chore with a chapter. One load of laundry to fold, equals one chapter. Vacuuming equals another chapter. Cleaning a bathroom, that equals 2 chapters. Feel free to copy my system. This book is 563 pages. I hope I have enough chores to finish up the book. I'll have to add my sewing homework in there. Pin a quilt, one chapter. Stitch in the ditch, one chapter. I have the feeling this book will take forever the finish. Next month, when I finish, I'll let you know how it was.

Have a great day!
Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Muffin day

It's a Tuesday, must be another opportunity sew day. What am I bringing today? Pumpkin muffins. They are either going to love me or hate me.

I know it isn't doing my diet any good. But I love to bake! And I LOVE pumpkin anything! These muffins are the best. Moist, just sweet enough and full of pumpkin flavor. This is my favorite recipe from "The Hummingbird Bakery". If none of the other recipe had worked, this would be the reason to buy the book. YUMMY! I firmly believe that they will help in the healing on back pain.

Still haven't sat at the machine a sewn any. I sent yesterday mostly sitting on the couch. I did have to make a trip outside. That wasn't fun, But I came right back and sat on the couch. Just remind me not to be moving washers and dryers at my age. I believe that is how I got this way. I bought a set for my bio-mom. I was tried of washing clothing that smelled of cigarettes. It makes my appliances smell and then my clothes smell. So she needed a set, just to make my clothes smell better and to save me from wasting water and cleaning supplies. Just a little pet peeve of mine, I don't like stinking of cigarettes.

Take care and have a great day.
Brandie

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday showers

Unfortunately, this weekend I pulled a back muscle. So this will be a very short post. I just waited to say "Hi" before I return to my ice bag.
Yesterday we had a big party for cousin Nikki. She will be getting married in the next couple of weeks. There was so much food! We had 2 tables of food. One for the desserts.

And one for the hors dourves. And everything was too delicious. Cucumber bowls filled with chicken salad. Mushrooms stuffed with sausage and spinach. Quiche with artichokes. Smoked salmon wraps.
It's making me hungry just to talk about it. It was a great party. We all wish Nikki the best.

I'm going now, to find a more relaxed position.
Take care, Brandie

Friday, May 21, 2010

Small projects

Yesterday I finished up a couple of small projects that have been in the back of my mind. First I pulled out some fabric for a baby quilt. I had this yellow with rose buds and I thought it would look great with that yellow and green bag. So after cutting into it, I made up some simple blocks. Hopefully today I might get it sandwiched.
Do you remember the Dresden bags? I wasn't happy with the points being cut off. So I reworked it and came up with a solution. Gussets around the zipper and the zipper on the hump. Now I'm happy.
I also finished up my BFF's bag. She wanted one that was smaller than the others. After consulting my first Guinea pig, cousin Nikki, we decided that there should be an outside pocket. So I added that to this bag, sorry it's on the other side. There are a couple of inner pockets and another zippered pouch. Nikki says that her bag is functional and that she uses it everyday. I'll have to see what Kittefish says. I think that we each have a certain thing that we like in a bag that others might not. This will be a work in progress to find the perfect bag, By the time I'm through, it'll look like Homer Simpson's car. Big and ugly!
Here is the finished quilt top. I'm hoping that this weekend I'll get to it.
div> Yesterday I showed you my secret ingredient. I was asked where I buy it. I buy it when ever I see it, but mostly I buy it at Williams-Sonoma. If you have a gourmet shop, you might try to see if they carry it with their spices.
Have a great day!
Take care, Brandie

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What can't you live without?

What is one thing I can't live without? My secret ingredient. This vanilla bean paste. I use this instead of vanilla extract. If I knew I was going to be shipwrecked. I would take this.
It even looks great in the bottle and just wait till you use it. Yummy!
Do you see the little flecks in the frosting. If not click the picture to enlarge it.
More cupcakes from "The Hummingbird Bakery". These are "Peaches and Cream". Boy are they tasty!
Last night was our small group meeting. Everyone was working on their own projects, while we tried to come up a pattern for another community service quilt. Every June, our guild has a sew night just to make community service quilts.
This is Gail's antique Dresden. She has been quilting this in her spare time, which she doesn't have much of.
Nancy made this cute bag out of clothes line. She was trying to figure out which way to put the handles.
Sue made this quilt using all scraps. She also made a very cute quilt for her 1st grandchild. Which I'm sorry I didn't take a pic of.

Frances made this top out of some fat quarters.
It was a good night. I myself sewed a couple of seams, ripped out a few and started a new baby quilt. More on that tomorrow.
Take care, Brandie

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Update

The Opp. quilt is showing it's geese. I so happy with the look. These are the first set of geese. We have another larger set that goes around the stars that you see on the left. Next week we should be laying down all the stars to the background and start appliqueing them.
I have been lucky to have many experienced ladies help with this project. To do this on my own, would be almost impossible. Now I will just cross my fingers that this quilt will make some money.
Just an update on those cupcakes. They tasted like alfalfa! There was too much Maccha powder. I really do believe that the recipe should have said teaspoons not tablespoons. So if you go out and buy the book, remember to change your recipe.
My poor ladies. They ate them anyway. One said that it reminded her of another green leafy ingredient that is often put in brownies. We all laughed about that. Wouldn't that be counter productive? If I had laced my cupcakes, wouldn't they all be sleepy and then want more snacks? We really wouldn't have accomplished must of anything.
Otherwise, the cupcake were very moist and not overly sweet, after you removed the green frosting.
Have a great day!
Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bags

So today is another Opp.quilt work day. I really appreciate all the ladies helping with this project, so I like to reward them. For today's reward, I made "Green Tea Cupcakes".

Can you see the green dust on the cakes? This is Maccha. Which I believe is a ground up green tea powder. It does taste just like green tea. I thought that the frosting would turn out a lighter color, being made from it. Not sure I like the color. Definitely a strong and vibrant color. Wondering if maybe the recipe was wrong and there is too much Maccha powder. I'll have to ask the ladies what they think.

Yesterday I was reading Julia's blog. She was showing us how to make a little zippered bag. I remember that I had a couple of leftover Dresden plates, and thought they would work perfectly.

So I took them apart in the middle and tried to make a gusset to show off the points.
I wasn't successful. So I took it apart again and tried it just like Julia said.
Here it is. Kind of plain. I'm still thinking about those points. Maybe if I put the zipper down the gusset... I'll have to try that next.

I also finished a couple more bags, but I can only show you one now. This is another diaper bag.
Mainly in greens and yellow. I don't have any more pinks, so this will have to do.
Now I just need to make the quilt to go with it. Just not sure what to do yet. I'm still thinking on it.
Well I must dash. Off to an appointment.
Take care, Brandie

Monday, May 17, 2010

Movie review

I did to go see the movie "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". I enjoy it. Now for those of you who don't know, this was made in Sweden and is in subtitles. You won't recognize any of the actors and will have to read the film. I found that it followed the book very closely. There were a few things that they changed, some to speed up the film and maybe there was one improvement. This is a long movie, over 2 hours. If you read the book and you want to see the book, by all means go see it if it come to your town. I watched it in a very Bohemian theatre, that runs older film, foreign films and cult films. So check it out if you get a change, or just wait a couple of month till it comes out on DVD.
Did you also know that "Hollywood" is looking into remaking this movie? There are rumors of Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and George Clooney playing Mikael Blomkist. I'm not sure how I feel about any of them. I just hope they don't turn it into something it's not. Sometimes the "Stars" out shine the plot.
Have any of you seen the movie? Did you envision Mikael's character being younger? What were your thoughts on the over all movie?

Sorry, I have no pictures today. My computer is being upgrade. Hurray! I needed another terabyte. After it is installed, I should be set for years.
Tomorrow I promise you more pics of useless, silly stuff.
Take care, Brandie

Friday, May 14, 2010

Leopard bananas?

So what do you do when your bananas look like leopards? You make banana bread of course. Then you eat banana bread for every meal.

They are just too good! This is the same recipe I always use. After I find perfection, I don't mess with anything thing else. I do the same thing at restaurants. I find a meal I like, and never deviate. Hmm, what does that say about me?

Anyway, I'm so excited. Tonight the Hubby and I are going to see "The girl with the dragon tattoo". I can't wait to see how it compares with the book. And speaking of the book, the last in the trilogy comes out on the 25th. Can't wait!

Have a great weekend!

Take care, Brandie

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cupcakes

One of my favorite birthday gifts, was this great cookbook. I have already used it to make some goodies.

Click here to buy this book
One of the things I like about it is that the recipes are set up to make 12 cupcakes and not 24. Sometimes a smaller batch is all you need. Some far the recipes have been spot on.

Here are "Coconut and Pineapple Cupcakes". They were moist and delicious. Not over sweet. As I get older, I don't want something so sweet that it makes my mouth sweat or my teeth hurt. These cupcake are just right.
These are "Ham and Mushroom Muffin". But the funny thing is that I didn't have any ham or mushrooms. I went to bake these muffins and when I pulled the mushrooms out of the drawer, they were all slimy looking. So I throw them out. I knew I didn't have ham, but I thought I could substitute bacon. So I did and it worked out just fine.

They were very yummy. Next week I plan on making "Green Tea Cupcakes" for all my sewing girls. Those cupcakes use the same ingredients that my green tea truffles do. So I'm set, and can't wait to make them.
Have a great day!
Take care, Brandie

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday

Remember how I told you that some of the girls were not very happy with the little stars I was having them make?
This is them grumbling to each other about me being a slave driver. Not happy campers! Just wait till they find out I took their pic and am now teasing them.
This is Goldie. She has been the best teacher and has many students out there, myself included. She has been the biggest help and is such a lovely lady. Her sweater matches her personality. We all love Goldie!

This is Phoebe, She was working on her own project. And ain't it a beaut! Anyone who knows me, knows I don't like orange, but this quilt is gorgeous. Maybe those polka-dots make it even better, I don't know but I love it.

I 'll leave you with a question. Does this pic make me look old?
Ha Ha Now can you see the fish-eye? Silly looking aren't I?
Have a great day, I now I will, cause it's my birthday.
Take care, Brandie



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday

Today has been a very long day. I had to be in court as a witness at 8am. I was told to call the night before to see if I had to be there. Of course, the message that they played was a day off. So I woke up with even more anxiety and not much sleep. I called all morning, even as I drove to the court house. As luck would have it, I did have to be there and only had to waste about 2 hours of my life waiting. The "bad man" finally accepted his sentence and I got to leave, without getting up on the stand and spilling my guts about drunk drivers.
Then I ran in the other direction and showed up to boss my girls around, on the opp. quilt. Good day after all the drama this morning, at least for me. Some of my girls were not to happy with our 4 1/2 stars. I brought some home to work on, to ease my guilt. Home work tonight.

So this is my new camera. It may not be a great camera, but it's small enough to fit in my purse and then I always have it with me.
I saw it covered in a tech show and I was instantly thrilled. It has a fish eye lens and a miniature lens effect. Two of my favorite lens types and I don't have to carry them with me or change them out. Hurray!
So here is an extreme fish eye of Victoria. Her beak isn't normally this wide.

Here is a fish eye of PugsLee's eye. Again, her eye isn't this big. Really, it's not.


This is a pic in the miniature mode. It looks better from a distance. So click on it and it will get bigger.
Well, it has been a long day and I need to make dinner.
So take care, Brandie



Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday

Have mentioned that I don't like Monday mornings? I always wake up with this huge list of things to do and not enough time to do them before I run out the door. Today is no different. I have a sense of urgency to have everything thing put back to rights, right now! If I only had magical power, maybe a nose twitch. One more thing I was born without.
I had a very interesting weekend, but I need time to work up it "the story". You all have to eat your veggies before we get to dessert.
So I got a new camera. Hurray! I always like to have it with me and my Husbands camera is too big to fit in my purse. And I don't want to break it, that would be very bad, but I can be clumsy at times. And accident happen when you least expect them to.

So while playing with my new camera, while sitting in the car waiting, I was programing the time into it. I noticed that I was reflected in my cell phone screen. So here is my self-portrait. And my first photo on my new toy.

Now Sunday did not start out on a good note. Saturday, the "Cousins" and I all got spray tanned. We were all excited to try it out. I thought, how great it would be to have some color without any side effects. I choose to just do my legs (all tree trunks are some color of brown). They convinced me to do my chest and arms, but I was adamant about No Face! Thank the Heavens!

This is just one foot. Can you see the orange strips and look at those toe pits. ARGggg! Even my toe nails look like smokers toes. I feel like I was nicotine stained. And this was with a lighter number. What have I learned? I was made to be pasty white and not to F... with Mother Nature! I don't understand how anyone does this. It was messy. I was afraid of getting into bed. The dye keep wiping off. I washed my face and started melted the tan right off my chest. You should have seen my bath water the next morning. I was actually crying in the tub. My Husband had to come help scrub me clean. I left brown water everywhere. How do other people do it? Was mine a botched job? Is it possible that my skin wont accept a fake tan, like my hair wont accept a perm? So if you all don't like me pasty white, you should start reading now. I make a vow, "I will always stay my original color", which isn't much. Even in High-School, I was nick-named "abominably snowman" by a person who was lucky enough to have color to his skin.
I'm not the only one to be spray tanned recently. We went to see Iron Man 2 on Sunday. One of the actors, not Mickey Rourke, had such orange hands. Sam Rockwell looked as if he took hand fulls of spray tan and juggled them. Very distracting.

I finished another bag. This one I gave to cousin Nikki for her B-day. I added a zipper pouch and smaller pockets to the inside, for smaller things such as cell phones.
We all agreed that an invisible zipper pocket should also be added to the outside to make it perfect. I love the handles, I think they make it look store bought. Tooting my own horn again.
Well have a great Monday.
Take care, Brandie


Thursday, May 6, 2010

A full shelf

I'm so happy! My quilts are all home. I was a little worried that I wouldn't see them again, but they came home safe and sound. The library called and said that another group brought in their quilts. Hurray, my quilts are home.

Now look at them. They are just going to sit up there on their shelf for another seasons and I'll forget what they look like again. In retrospect, they did look good hanging in the library. Makes me wish I had several bare walls to hang them on. But alas, I don't, too many bookshelves.

Speaking of, I just started the 2nd book of Stieg Larrson's trilogy. Can't wait for the 25th of this month, when the last of the series hits the stores. I'll be there at Barnes and Noble impatiently waiting in line to buy it. I heard that there was a movie made in 2009. I guess it was in Sweden. I also heard that Hollywood is remaking one here abouts. The books hit on some not-so-pretty topics. I wonder how they are going to be portrayed in the movie?

Read anything good lately? Let me know, I'm making a list of "to be read".

Take care, Brandie



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Look at all the color!

Yesterday was another sew day for our Opportunity quilt. We are getting there. We only have about 20 more stars and lots of flying geese to complete the look. After that we need to get all these stars sewn down.

The ladies that I've been working with are doing great! And very patient. They sometimes have to wait for a change or rework an ugly color combo. It has been fun and I hope that they have enjoyed being part of this quilt as much as I have. I look at this picture and I am impressed. I thought maybe there was going to be too much color, but after the touch of black, I love it.

Have a wonderful Wednesday,

Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Name that "A"

Not only did I cook this weekend, I also got some quilting done. I started and finished my cousins baby quilt. She knows that they are having a girl, but they are undecided about her name. The one thing they do know, is that her name will begin with "A", as does the rest of the family.
So here is my A quilt. I seem to be on a kick of names and personalizing my quilts.
You can't really see it, but I embroidered some swirls around the "A" in a light green thread. So to make that stand out, I swirl quilted in the background, which you can see.

Here is the diaper bag, all completed with the handles and everything.


And the inside pockets.
My niece received her package yesterday. She called and said how much they loved their diaper bag. I was surprised it had already arrived. I only mailed it Friday. That was fast. They liked the quilts too, but I think the bigger hit was the bag. Who knew? Someone should have given me decorator books years ago. Who knows what I'll use them for next.
Have a great Tuesday,
Take care, Brandie



Monday, May 3, 2010

Don't read this if you're hungry

This weekend I invented the most amazing sandwich! I'm not kidding. It was so good that I surprised that none of you called to see what I was moaning for. You had to of heard me, it was that good!
First you need to fry up some bacon. So go get your cast iron pan and throw in some smoked, thick sliced bacon. I believe that only thick sliced bacon will work ( it tastes the best too). I always pepper my bacon. This time I added a little garlic as well. Can you smell it? Mm mm!

Then you go grill some of those mammoth portobellos. I rub them with a drop of oil and salt them. After the grill reduces them and they look like flat brown disks, put a slice of horseradish cheese on top. Let it melt in, till it looks like this. (cheese doesn't like me, but I'll make exceptions for horseradish slices. Haven't tried it? I recommend it. 4 thumbs up!)
Then you take that bacon and in my case, break it in half, smoosh it into the cheesy mushroom.
Mouth watering yet?
Slap another piece of bread on to, I just happened to have a Safeway loaf. Now try to put it all in your mouth. That's the hard part. Maybe next time I will use a little sweet hot mustard on the bread. This time I just used mayo and yellow. More gourmet next time.

So to top it all off, how about chocolate cupcakes? If Frances is reading, wipe the drool off your chin. I'll bring you peanut butter brownies tomorrow.
With the chocolate sprinkles, you don't have to make them look perfect. Pour the sprinkles into a bowl and roll the tops of the cakes around. Easier than actually sprinkling them on.

I had a great weekend, fully of calories. How was yours?

Take care, Brandie