Friday, January 9, 2009

4 Christmases

What a shame. 75% of this movie was crude.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Like Quilting Only Harder

When Sam and I purchased our new home, it was almost perfect. We had only to repaint the bedrooms and bathrooms to neutral shades instead of blue and yellow. I like a neutral palette...then spice it up with color that I am able to easily change: curtains, quilts, pillows, towels, etc. How was I going to decorate to MY tastes with this?!

Since the house was less than two years old...Sam saw no need in changing anything really. When I told him the powder blue walls in the master bedroom did not coordinate with the funky blue carpet, he pa-shawed me. Then, his best friend's wife, Pat a lover of blue, walked in and said, "I like blue, but this won't do." Thank you, Pat! And since the previous owner's teenage daughter had played rugby in the other two bedrooms (or tennis, or football or something!) I purchased enough paint to cover the yellow in those rooms.

The worst color culprit - next to the funky blue carpet which remains - was the Formica countertops. Had they been an acceptable color to me, it would've been no problem. I found out by researching on the internet that you can paint Formica. I showed Sam. 'No deal. Live with it.'

My ally, turned out to be Sam's son who also did not like the color. For Christmas 2006, he gave us new countertops. He looked at me and said, "Don't go pick out the most expensive thing." ...which turned out to be a beautiful piece of $80 a foot die for. I researched granite, quartz, and solid surface. I quickly realized that I did not want granite. Had I had researched longer, I probably would've chosen quartz (at a more conservative price). But with the research that I did at the time, I decided on solid surface. I am completely pleased with it. It is exactly as advertised. I don't treat it any differently than I have any other countertop I've ever had - which I guess has always been Formica.

Thinking that we would want dark, Sam and I started with black and brown samples. When we got them home, I scanned them, then copied and pasted to a document, printed a full page, and auditioned each in the kitchen folding the paper over the edge of the Formica and moving it from above the dishwasher, beside the stovetop, in front of the cabinets. Imagine how surprised we were when we realized that we did not like the dark.

On to medium tones. Sam thought a terra cotta would look good. Armed with several different hues, I went through the same process and auditioned the printed samples in the kitchen. That's when I realized how yellow the oak cabinets are. I was surprised. The whole kitchen looked sick in terra cotta! about light? Okay. How about white?! This has little crystal-like pieces in it.

Then, the backsplash. One little note here: the man/men who did the wiring...every single outlet and switch is at a different height. Gentlemen, every quilter knows, measure twice, cut once. What WERE YOU THINKING? I wanted the focal tile - the expensive stuff to go all the way across the backsplash and under the window. A total of five electrical outlets or switches would cut through the higher priced trim had I done that.

Armed with paper taped together the length of the backsplash, I cut out for the window and each electrical/phone service plates. Over the river and through the woods - okay - south on highway 259 to the do-it-yourself store we go. I unrolled my paper template in the aisle in front of boxes and boxes of tiles and trims and played puzzle until I got something that fit, that I liked, and that Sam could live with.

I settled on tumbled marble and two rows of accent. Sam and Elton installed the tile with Elton telling me that if I wanted the one row under the window that he could cut the accent pieces. For what they cost...okay, not THAT expensive, but no unnecessary cutting! Elton also wanted the top row of trim at the very top..."That's the way they do it on HGTV." Well...I am NOT on HGTV. This is MY kitchen. I do not want it to disappear under the upper cabinets. I want to see it when I am in the kitchen working!

Sam and Elton even did the grouting. The only thing I had to do was buff it to a shine and seal it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


In my last post...talking about learning a foreign remark didn't seem so funny when I went back and read it today. So, I deleted it. If you read it and it offended you, I am terribly sorry. It was meant in jest.

If for any legal reason I had to leave the USA and live some place else, Canada (English speaking for the obvious reason that I am woefully non-bilingual) would be one of the top to consider. Possibly on the west coast though...for some reason I don't think it is as cold as it is to the east. Is this a terribly incorrect supposition?

I've always wanted to visit Australia, but would I want the really horrid summers? Are the summer really as horrid as I think? And, would I want to live there?
If I have to leave for any illegal reason...

Changing gears...

I made the worst chili tonight that I've made in a long time! I generally make my own from start to finish adding seasonings to taste as I go. I have a basic recipe and it always tastes good. I found Wick Fowler's 2-Alarm Chili. He won the 1970 Annual World's Championship Chili Cook-off. I know that sometime in the past that I tried it but haven't used it any in recent memory. Years back I even sent a package of it to my penpal in England. Louise, if you remember, I am so sorry! To the rest of you, if you see this in your grocery store, my recommendation is to keep walking.

I didn't even like the way it smelled! "Oh, Sam. I don't like the way this smells." Then I dipped a spoon in it and tasted. "Ah-oh."

Sam made a remark that he'd have to be careful what he said if he liked it.
I dished him up a bowl full and me a half bowl. I couldn't put enough crackers in my bowl and seriously considered filling it up with ketchup/catsup just like I did when I was in school and you had to do something to make the food palatable. Sam didn't say a word, but ate it like it was good! Can you imagine that? The only thing that is saving the man from eating canned chili is that I don't like it!

GOOD Chili

1 - 2 pounds ground beef or chopped sirloin
1 chopped onion
2 cloves diced garlic
2 - 3 tablespoons flour
1 - 2 tablespoons chili powder to start
2 - 3 teaspoons cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 can chopped tomatoes and juice
1 - 2 cans water

Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin to taste. Stir in flour, tomatoes and water. Simmer for an hour stirring (and tasting) occasionally.

I know I have mentioned my favorite spice supplier, but just in case I haven't:

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cold and Wet

All day long. We woke to a wet day which rapidly turned wetter. I don't know that it is any colder. Stayed about 40ish all day long.

I was inside the school subbing for the Spanish teacher. LOL Como esta? Bien. Y tu? That's about the extent of what I remember. I've always wanted to learn Spanish...just don't want to have to do it for a grade. From what I understand, to truly learn a language, you need to go to the country where it is spoken and become saturated in it. Sigh. ***Oh, my! I came back and read this. Sorry if I offended anyone.***

I wore my new socks to school today. They were noticed too. ;o) One of the boys commented on them. Later someone else asked if I couldn't wear anything 'louder'. They look blue, but actually they are more purple.

Last Saturday, I went with Carol, Katy, and Maddie to the Daingerfield State Park. They contemplated the beautifully clear water.

Near the swimming area, before we knew it, Maddie climbed up on a tree stump. She showed Katy how to do it.

I put a few homemade peanut butter cookies in a baggie and passed them out before leaving the park. Alas. I am dieting and didn't eat a single one. I had to raid the freezer to take some to the park. On Sunday, I kept passing through the kitchen staring at the one lone cookie Sam left on the countertop. I couldn't stand it.

They are so good! This is a recipe from my childhood. Way back when I was a teenager at home, I decided to bake. I pulled the peanut butter cookie recipe out and gathered the ingredients. I called Mama, who at the time worked at the Bee (local newspaper), and asked her what "oleo" was.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream butter with peanut butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda over creamed mixture and blend thoroughly. Form into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press flat with a fork, crisscrossing pattern. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes.

Have you found the cookie scoops? I want one in every available size! Currently I have only two. I used the smallest that I have when I made the truffles. They make perfectly uniform size cookies. And for cleanup, just pop in the dishwasher. So much better than scooping with a teaspoon and scraping off on the cookie sheet or rolling round in your hands. No gooey, sticky hands. I had one with a plastic handle...don't buy that kind. Get the all metal scoops.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Quilting "Thimble"

I Play Outside The Box asked about the "thimble" I use while quilting. I found it at the International Quilt Show in Houston a few years ago...four, I think. It is the best thing I've found for quilting since the rotary cutter.
Since then, I've seen it in only one or two quilt related catalogs. I did find it online for $15 here: