Monday, July 28, 2008

Christmas in July

July is the month that I start planning for Christmas. Usually what happens is I start planning but nothing gets accomplished until December. This year I am turning over a new leaf. I am starting my shopping now and I am also starting my crafting now. I hope to have no stress during the month of December. I have some great ideas for gifts this year so I have a good feeling it will be a breeze! My first Christmas present purchase arrived today. It is for my sister and I think she is going to love it!

This year I want to have a Christmas tree with ornaments that are all handmade. This is quite a challenge but I think I can do it. I just gotta think of some handmade ornaments to make. I think I will make a bit more of these, like last year. I liked how they turned out. I also will need to start working on my popcorn chain WAY ahead of time. Those things are time consuming and I ate half the bag while making it so, note to self-purchase extra popcorn.

I wish I could share my present ideas but then I would spoil things for a few people. Well, I can share something...since my niece cannot read and all, I am going to start working on more felt play food for her. Of course I will have to spoil her with more than just felt food. Oh, and this year I am going to make homemade marshmallows. I say I am going to do if every year and never do. They are so yummy and it will give me an excuse to pop a few in my hot cocoa. Oh, can you tell that I am hot and want the fall and winter weather to arrive ASAP!! It was 105 degrees today and will remain 100+ ALL week long. Why, oh why, do I remain in Texas? Jeff has decided that he wants to go to med school now so maybe once he is done with that, in like 20 years, we can move somewhere nice and cool!

I did notice that my to do list at the beginning of this year has shrunk just a bit. So, I am heading in the right direction and progress is being made!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chicken Good.

I still have not made the pizza on the grill like I said I would but, instead, tonight I took an easier route and made chicken and bell pepper grilled sandwiches. They turned out pretty yummy, however, next time I probably will not grill the bread as long. It is super simple.

Chicken and Bell Pepper Grilled Sandwich

Multigrain Bread or Focaccia Bread

Provolone Cheese (or any other fancy cheese, you can get creative here!)

Roasted Red Bell Peppers (either in a jar or roast them yourself)


Garlic Cloves (as much as you like)

Olive Oil

Italian Seasoning



Cut the bread into sandwich slices. Spread olive oil on both sides of the slices. Rub with a clove of garlic. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and lay about 3-4 garlic clove slices on top. Set aside.

Drizzle olive oil on chicken, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Throw on grill and cook until done.

Remove cooked chicken from grill and cut into strips.

Turn grill to lowest heat, place bread on top grill rack (if you have one) and grill both sides until almost toasty.

Keep bread on grill, place sliced chicken on top, following with roasted bell pepper, and then finish with provolone cheese. Grill until cheese is melted. Remove from grill when done and top with other slice of bread.

If you want to roast the pepper yourself cut the pepper into 4 pieces. Drizzle with olive oil, place on bottom grill rack and grill for about 10 minutes or so. Keep your eye on the pepper as to not burn it. Remove from grill and place in zip lock bag for 15 minutes. Remove from bag and peel off skin.

Cheers and happy cooking!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Past and Perfect

So, ever since I saw this hat (the picture in the top right hand corner), I have wanted one too. A few months back I went to my stylist and finally asked him to cut my hair cut short. I have wanted to do this style for years but never worked up enough nerve to try it. For some reason, I prefer my short hair opposed to my long hair, in a hat. I have not been able to find the perfect hat just yet. I have looked around and tried on a few but, was not able to find one to meet my fancy. When I saw the hat she had on in her picture, I new I had to have one, it was perfect! I figured she made it since she seems to be a crafty gal and I eventually found out that it was sewn from a Vintage 1960's Simplicity pattern. I love all things vintage so I thought immediatley that this hat was a winner. I hopped right over to ebay, did a little search, and made a bid. Unfortunately someone out bid me a few hours later so, I took my many years of ebay bidding smarts and waited to make a bit at the last second of the auction. Sure enough I won! Waiting to bid at the last minute is a bit underhanded but works every time :-) ! I can't wait to get sewing! First of all I am going to have to dig through my mounds of fabric to find the perfect combination to make the hat. I already have something in mind. This hat will be perfect for the upcoming ACL Festival in September (I hope it cools off a bit, I can't take this 104 degree weather). It will be my first time going and I am getting excited. Well, I will keep all posted on my hat sewing progress.

Until then, cheers!

P.S. I also bid on the Penelope dvd and won that too! Ah, life is good.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lazy Days Of Summer

Well, it is hot here. Hotness requires laying around and not moving much. I think the kitty's have it down pretty well. Laying around is pretty much all I did today. I spun a little yarn and grilled some chicken but....that is about all I did. Oh, wait, I did put some things on the curb for bulk trash day. I am working on cleaning out the garage. Well, I cannot take all the credit. I had some help from the boy. All I had to do was point and he did all the man work. We have had several people pillage through our junk but I guess the old saying is true, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

So, with these lazy days of summer, I often enjoy a refreshing meal. Today, my refreshing meal consists of a chicken Cesar salad. And boy, the chicken turned out quite tasty. The grill is fantastic!!! One of my best investments.

Yesterday Jeff and I went to the Mellow Mushroom, the best pizza place in town! We shared a bottle of wine, hummus and pita wedges, and a gourmet white pizza with feta, onions, garlic, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, provolone and mozzarella. Oh man, this is a good pizza. After our dinner, we came home and watched Love in the Time of Cholera. Much to my surprise, this love story is a favorite book of Jeff's. Now, Jeff is not your sentimental, lovie dovie, romantic type person. He is very intellectual and straight to the point, so you can only imagine how I felt when I found out he wanted to watch this movie. This movie is your ultimate love story and Jeff is telling me it is one of his favorites??? What is going on? Is the world coming to an end? I am going crazy? Nope...he actually likes a love story. WOW. Might I say, he has good taste in love stories because this movie was excellent, now if I could just get him to watch The Holiday, all would be swell.
I spent my Friday night watching the most wonderful fantasy fairy tale, Penelope. I loved it so much that I watched 3 times! It is a really cute movie and I just adore Christina Ricci. I am certainly going to add Penelope to my DVD collection very soon! Yes, I am very aware and fully embrace the fact that I am a big dork.

So, I guess I have had a very relaxing and uneventful weekend, but sometimes, that is just the way to do it!

Cheers and have a happy week!

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Was Right.... package arrived! Boy, did I order more roving than I realized! I am going to be spinning for months with all of this!

Something else that I am pretty happy about is that my 2 ply did not turn out half bad. Can you believe that this:

Turned into this????:

Ah, the power of the weight. All I use is a plastic sack with a rock in it, certainly not rocket science to get the yarn all straightened out but it is freaking genius!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yes, I Am Still Talking About Spinning

So I tried out spinning 2 ply. I think that currently I am experiencing the first time spinner issue, spinning too tight. When you spin too tight, it gets all curly. But, this is where the magnificence of washing your skein and hanging it to dry with a weight comes in to play so, we will see how it goes.

My curly little skein is all nice and cozy in it's bath.

This is a lovely magazine about spinning and much more. One of the things my mom picked up for me in Santa Fe (I do keep going on an on about Santa Fe too don't I?).

It is already fairly worn, I think I have read it maybe 5 times already!

I really would like to learn how to knit socks. I have wanted to learn this for a looooonnnnggg time too so, I think it is about time that I do. The other night I was surfing around for new yarn shops in my area and found this cute little shop. I checked out their schedule of classes and sure enough, they offer a sock class! It is a 2 part class. There is one that starts toward the end of August so, I think I am going to sign up for it. I can't wait.

When I was looking through the Spin-Off magazine I came across an article:

It is such a neat article to me because she starts with a patternfor spinning your yarn and then goes into the pattern for knitting the socks. If I can figure out this pattern I may not need to go to the class but, I think I will anyway just for the fun of it.

I also have been searching for a knitting/spinning group in my area. I came across the Fiber Therapy group. It is group that is in the historic area of a little town close to me. This could be lots of fun so I may go check it out in a few weeks. They meet at a local coffee shop on Wednesday evenings. A while ago some friends and I tried to start a knitting circle but it soon fizzled out due to schedule conflicts and whatnot so, I think I will give this a whirl. During my online research, Fiber Therapy brought me to a few interesting blogs. I think I will continue to stop by to read up on what they have been up to. The first, is the lady that put together the Fiber Therapy group. The second, is a link from the blog list of the first one I mentioned. I am anxiously awaiting some roving to arrive in the mail that I purchased over here. I think my package may arrive. Probably would have arrived today but, there is no post on Sunday. Some of the roving I purchased is not dyed so I will soon try out hand dying my own wool! I can't wait!


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Grillin' On The Patio

So, we have a new addition to our family, which I absolutely adore. It is a char-broil, 40000 BTU, 4 burner grill with a side burner. Fantastic! This grill makes grilling so easy! Before, with my little charcoal grill, I could hardly ever get it lit, and if I did manage to light it, it would take an eternity to cook anything. Now, It only takes 30 minutes tops! I can grill anything, oh the possibilities. I think I am even going to try to grill a pizza this week, the idea came from my secret boyfriend, Bobby Flay.

With this new grill, on my newly designed patio, my parents came over for my dad's birthday for a little cookout. We had raspberry chipotle chicken, which was excellent. We also had a strawberry-walnut salad with feta and strawberry balsamic vinaigrette. For the side dish, I grilled up some garlic-rosemary baby red potatoes.

Now, when you are grilling, you cannot forget to add a tasty beverage. I made up some sangria from a mix that was not half bad. I got the mix from World Market and then just added some red wine.

My mom brought over some birthday cobbler. It was fantastic and healthy, well as healthy as cobbler can was a Cooking Light recipe. We had ourselves a nice time. Somehow, after the night was rapping up, we managed to be sucked into a Rambo movie. Never saw a Rambo movie before. There are like 20 of them (and aren't there like 20 Rocky movies too? You gotta love that Rocky theme song though, makes me wanna get up and conquer something, not really sure what that is yet.)...not sure why I have never managed to take one in. I am actually, only slightly embarrassed to admit, it was not half bad.

I hope everyone enjoyed their nice long weekend! Tomorrow it is back to the old grindstone!


Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

So.....I had a nice quite night alone on the 4th. I can hear fireworks right now actually. At least my neighbor is not firing them off across the street like last year, but it is not 1 o'clock in the morning yet. I remember that last year the 4th was on a Thursday and I had to work the next day. Right around 1 o'clock I shot straight up out of bed because it sounded like I was under attack. I swear scud missiles were flying at my house. Then I realized it was my drunken neighbor and his friends. It had not rained in days and I thought for sure the house was going to catch on fire since we were in the middle of a drought.

Needless to say, I was not a happy camper and it kept me up until 3am, mostly because I was paranoid that he would catch the whole neighborhood on fire and...not to mention the screeching of the firecrackers. This is also the neighbor who's recycling bin fell over and all 3 trash bags of beer cans and bottles rolled into my yard and sat there for a few days and he never did anything with them. So, one morning, on my way to work, I picked them all up and put them in my recycling bin while beer leaked all over me. Hmmm....can you sense my animosity? Well, at least he is helping save mother earth by recycling, gotta give him props for that. Ha!!

Well, anyhoo, I stayed home and had a nice quite evening for the 4th. I updated my blog, had my favorite drink (rum, lime juice and Perrier), ate a skinny cow ice cream sandwich, watched Super Bad, and spun some more yarn. Meet Kate, Lazy Kate. She holds my yarn for me:

The yarn is called marigold. I am getting a bit better at this spinning thing, but I certainly am not perfect yet. I can't wait to knit with it! July is usually when I start making Christmas gifts, just because it takes from July until December to get everything ready. I have not quite figured out what I am going to do this year but I betcha it will have something to do with handspun yarn!

Cheers and Happy 4th!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Little Bo Peep....

...she lost her sheep but I found them!!!!

Here is the skein of my handspun 100% wool yarn hanging to dry.

Here is the skein all dry and ready to be knit into something sweet!

This folks, is going to be very very addicting. It is sooo much fun. I am off on Friday, Happy 4th to all. So, I may take advantage of this day off and take my wheel outside and spin a bit on my newly redecorated patio! My parents came over on Sunday to make over my patio so we can continue our party on the patio...even though we are no longer in Santa Fe.

My dad hung bamboo blinds, which add a ton more shade in this Texas heat (I am melting as we speak).

He also hung a few potted plants, Moss Rose and Petunias. The birds will love this, but....I need to get bird food stat!! (you can see my kitchen curtains from outside!)

My mom got these bright and colorful pillows that add a nice comfy touch.

I could not be happier. A shout out to my Exterior Decorator, Thanks Mama!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I Heart Ikea

So, I have this friend...who is quirky....and can do pretty much anything. As of right now, she is in the process of demolition, rewiring, plumbing, plastering, painting, and a number of other things that I am sure I would know nothing about doing. Anyhoo, she and I took a trip to Ikea. I was on the hunt for a sectional couch with a fold out bed and she was on the hunt for a center counter for her kitchen. Of course, my sectional was way bigger than her counter. She kept telling me "It is going to be fine Liz", "Stop worrying Liz", "It will fit in the truck Liz." Well, I always think of the worst case scenario, I am a social worker, I am programmed to do that. I thought for sure the two 9'x7' pieces, 2'x3' piece and the 4'x2' piece would not fit in the tiny Ford Ranger that we had borrowed from her neighbor. But, she kept reassuring me everything would be fine. See, Ikea is about an hour drive from where we live. I kept worrying about how on earth we would make it all the way home with these huge pieces that would soon be my sectional couch with fold out bed. Well, she just backed the truck up to the front of the store and Ikea employees helped us load it on the bed of the truck. They took the rope we brought with us and some extra twine and tied the sucker down. They were laughing at us the entire time and I am sure they were wondering how these 2 small women were going to make it all the way home. I mean, they LAUGHED the entire time they were roping my couch down.

My friend, her counter was flat, and way easy to transport but this couch was a pain. So, we get on the highway and start tooling down the road at 60 miles per hour and the big box on top starts to rock back and forth. Me being "Miss worst case scenario" had visions of the box falling off and not only breaking in to tiny bits but hitting the person behind us and causing a horrible accident. So, we stopped at a Wal-Mart, my friend bought more rope, and we roped the sucker down some more. Might I say she is awfully good with roping things down. She is from Arkansas so I imagine that is why. About 2 hours later, a drive that should have only taken us an hour, we finally arrive to my house.

Now I have this and I could not be happier! I LOVE Ikea!!! Looks like the kitties could not be happier either. :-)

Cheers, to Ikea!

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