Thursday, February 28, 2013

I was feeling a little 'punchy' this morning.
So I pulled out this project that I have had on hand for a while.  The plan is to finish it up, put a little age on it with some walnut stain then frame it.  All with an eye to gift it to our trainer when Larkin finishes up puppy school next week.  I hope she will like it as much as we like a well-trained pooch.

Friday, February 22, 2013

I can't believe it's not butter!  Well more precisely, I can't believe I am living without butter!  Heart-healthy eating hasn't been too hard - in most respects.  Hubby and I have managed to keep our daily sodium and saturated fat intake below the recommended maximums suggested by AHA without much struggle or feeling as if we are missing out.  With the addition of plenty of fresh or dried spices and herbs, we really don't miss the sodium or fat in most cases.
But what to do about pancakes?  I just can't imagine a life without pancakes.
I don't care for syrup.  I have always only used butter and maybe sometimes a little jam to dress up my 'cakes.  A little too early in the season for fresh blueberry pancakes.  
Wait - what's that?
It even looks a little like a bowl full of butter  . . . but it's not.  It's what happens when you put frozen pineapple and bananas through a Yonanas.  It's like having a HUGE bowl of ice cream on the table.  At breakfast, no less!
So what to do with the sweet, creamy, frozen concoction?
Make a breakfast taco, of course!  Delicious, fun and heart-healthy. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A little quality time with friends and my sewing machine result in  . . . .
 . . . .toad toes (parts of the latest in the fat quarter project with the Quilt Pals)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Spring is in the air. Or at least a little hint of what is to come.  We have a cool down and some rain in the upcoming week's forecast, but for now we are enjoying all the warmth and wonder that Mother Nature has brought to the weekend.  While I was digging out weeds from the garden patch, Hubby was doing a little digging of his own.  Look what he unearthed while doing some spring cleaning in the garage.
If you have been a reader here for a l-o-n-g time, you will recall this quilt once made its home on the gate to the backyard.  One of my very first attempts at applique made for some fairly lumpy/bumpy motifs.  Still I love the quilt - the design, the fabrics, my naive attempt at hand quilting (before I had ever heard of 'big stitch')
While I may not be so proud of this work as to prominently display it in my home, there is MUCH joy in seeing at the portal of the backyard.  It is quite faded and I'm okay with that.  I just tea dye it every now and again to bring some color to it again.  I'm so glad that it is back in the spot where it belongs.  Just one more step in making this place seem like 'home'.
Then just because I can, a gratuitous picture of Larkin.
She's lovin' all of this outside time, too. 

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The question keeps being asked:  Aren't you glad you don't live in New England anymore?  I am happy to keep answering:  YES!  While it really has nothing to do with the blizzard that just went through the area, I can say that I am enjoying this day of sunshine over a day bundled up and digging my out of my house.
How did we enjoy the day of sunshine?  With a field trip to Mission San Luis Rey to test out some of the camera learnin' I did this week.  Indoor and outdoor photo opportunities are available, not to mention my overall love of spending time at any of the missions of California. 
No indoor photos to share.  I learned that I NEED a tripod to get beautiful, no-flash, indoor photos.  Here are a few of the things we saw outdoors. This is a gorgeous wisteria vine that arches over a side entrance to the church.
I must remember to go back and take a picture when winter is over and the vine is in full bloom and water is in the fountain. 
This modern fountain has been added at the front of the mission.
I love that it is in keeping with the structure rather than a modern spouter strategically placed to draw attention.
This speaks for itself -
And the tree - 
This is as close as you are allowed to get to the tree.  I bet that come spring time it will be abuzz with bees.
Can you see the one of the mission bells in the background?  They rang the bells at noon.  They sound so pretty.
And finally my favorite of the day.
 A little exposed adobe brick, some peeling white wash and gorgeous blue sky peeking through.  What's not to love about that?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Learning is fun!  And it can be so practical, too.  I had my first opportunity to use my Spanish skills today in the Costco parking lot.  To be fair English would have been fine and probably a better way to communicate.  The person to whom I wanted to talk surely had a native English tongue.  But I won't learn, if I don't practice.  So as I delivered my cart to the corral that was being emptied I said, "Uno mas."  I was met with a blank look and I'm okay with that.  At least I tried.
The second class I signed up for is a photography class.  This class is very (VERY) rudimentary which is exactly where I need to start.  I most always use the 'automatic' setting on my camera and then adjust, if I can, by editing on the computer.  Here are my first two examples of pictures where the only editing is to crop - it will be a couple more classes before we begin learning how to really compose a shot.
Thank goodness Larkin is a willing subject.  A pocket full of treats is all it takes to get her to do my bidding in almost any area.  She is surely destined to be my photographic muse.
Second up is my completed Envelope quilt top.
I stayed in my pj's extra long this morning to get those last borders stitched on.  Remember this is one of the seven quilts that our class will be making from fat quarters that we cut up at the start of the year.  Already have instructions for cutting on the next one  . . .  better get this one quilted up and bound.  I don't want to get behind.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Wow!  Where did January go?  Seems like it was just moments ago that we were ringing in the new year and now we are turning the calendar page to February.  How is it possible that time continues to move faster and faster and faster?
On the topic of things that happen quickly - my Spanish book arrived in the mailbox on Saturday (well ahead of the projected Tuesday delivery date)  I'm glad I have some extra time to get homework done before the next class.
Before that I was practicing the alphabet - over and over and over again.  To the point I thought Larkin might well recite along with me.  I also have my first two flash cards.
The first an exclamation the instructor suggested we try to work into a conversation.  The second a very useful phrase offered to me by Dixie, that I have been practicing and plan to pull out of my hat when things get too much in class.
On the quilting front, I put my envelope blocks together.  Now working on the pieces for the border.
In the lower right corner of the photo, you can see just a smidge of the heart quilt.   The top is complete, back pieced, and layered and basted.  I'm working on the quilting - some simple, straight lines.  Looks like it won't be ready for Hubby to deliver at his follow up appointment tomorrow.  It wasn't a hard deadline, just a goal so I am not fretting. 
In the garden, the volunteer lettuce continues to produce.  Larkin follows me out for each harvest.  I need to figure out a way that I can press her into service in the garden.  Wouldn't it be great if I could teach her how to weed?  That would most likely lead to unauthorized digging, so maybe not.  Instead she can keep the birds away from newly planted seed so that it can grow.  I'll keep my paws crossed that it works.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Today I add -Student- to my profile description.  I've signed up for two extension (non-credit) classes at the local community college.  First up - Spanish, to brush up on what I learned back in high school.
I have all of my supplies, except the text which isn't available anywhere in the county.  Hopefully my winning personality and the ability to count to 100, say the days of the week and months of the year, and order a carne asada burrito in Spanish will get me through this first class.  Then Amazon will wing the book to me in time for our second meeting.
Okay, gotta go.  The class is only ten miles down the road, but Hubby tells me that the 45 minutes I'm giving myself is not enough during commuter hours.