Saturday, June 30, 2007

Randomness For Rhonda

We've recently landscaped a teeny bit and this guy now guards my house. That stick behind him hopes to grow up to be a Redbud tree some day.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Sewing for Dummies

Spent Mon. & Tues. getting sewing lessons. I think it shows in my two latests efforts! My mother used to sew all the time. She's made clothing, costumes(I'll try to find a picture) bunnies, bears, and countless dolls! She also has nice, smooth sewing Singer that has just enough bells and whistles to be helpful without being confusing.Being able to sit down and have her show me what to do and give me shortcuts and ideas of when it's not totally necessary to follow the pattern, was so helpful. I'll be able to begin my next project with much more confidence. Thanks Mom!

My patterns this week were Simplicity 4282 (pictured). I made apron "F" which is a plain half apron with a giant panel of three pockets. The pattern shows eyelet all around, but I didn't want it. I had enough of eyelet on the Victory Apron! Anyhow, this was the easiest, least frustrating pattern yet. I knocked it out in a couple of hours and with Mom's help made a strip of bias from a coordinating fabric. Very Cute!

The next one was MUCH more difficult. Took all day to complete, but it's so adorable I can't stand it! :) Not bragging, mind you...just a bit in awe that I made it! Of course, were it not for Mom's help, it be in a heap in the trash right now. This one is surrounded by bias tape. When I bought the bias tape, I didn't realize there was a wider version available. This is the skinny stuff and I stabbed myself numerous times just trying to pin it on, never mind trying to sew with a thousand pins in my lap! This pattern is McCall's number 3979 "American Hostess" which has several vintage style aprons.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Strawberry Cake

This week's recipe is Strawberry cake.

1 pkg. White Cake Mix
3/4 Cups Wesson Oil
4 Eggs
1/2 cup Strawberries
1 pkg. Strawberry jello
Mix and bake cake ingredients at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

1 Box Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Strawberries
1 Stick Butter
Mix and ice cake.

A word to the wise... This icing is supposed to be more of a glaze, I think. DO NOT make the mistake I did of thinking "it looks too runny" and dump in more and more powdered sugar until it becomes more the consistency of "real" cake icing. Mine was SO sugary it'd make your eyeballs roll back in your head! Still, we managed to scrape most of the icing off the top and it was quite tasty! I will be making this again, but sticking to the recipe. Lesson Learned!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tales from the Scales Tuesday

I am so relieved that this week we were asked to focus on the non-numbers. The numbers weren't kind to me this week. However, I must remind myself that it took me a while to pack on the pounds...they ain't coming off in a week! :D

Though the scales weren't my friend this week, overall, I'm happy with what I've accomplished thus far. I exercise most every day and instead of killing myself with workouts that are too intense, I'm "Walking Away" the pounds using the Leslie Sansone DVDs. I highly recommend them! They are fairly easy to keep up with and I can't believe I'm going to say this...they're kinda fun! The exercise has me sleeping better and I've lost five inches in addition to my overall weight loss of 21 pounds (lately it's 21, then 23, back to 21, then to 22, etc. etc.). I've given up drinking regular sodas for the most part...this is down from 5-6 glasses PER DAY and I drink more water than I ever have. I've gone down one size in clothing! Yippeee!! Love that!

Friday, June 22, 2007

I want Ham to Eat! AND I'll wear my Victory Apron to eating the Ham.

Can't mention ham without doing a Brian Regan imitation...even IF no one can hear me.

Anyhow, This is another one of those slap in the forehead things. Why did I never do this before? Just used a 2.5 lb. pre-cooked & sliced Smithfield ham. Turned out delicious...I'm still eating this ham two days later! The package gave the directions to add a little water to the baking dish before cooking, I added a little cola instead.

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 TBS. pineapple juice
1/2 tsp. dry mustard

Combine sugar, fruit juice and dry mustard. Spoon over ham 2 or 3 times during the last 30 minutes of baking time.
I decided to continue sewing, even after the giant waistband fiasco. This time I chose an apron pattern with a smaller waistband, thinking smaller is easier(ha!). I also decided to add a ruffle, eyelet, and an eyelet trimmed pocket(which I had no pattern for...mine were either too small or too big). It was TOO MUCH! TOO MUCH! Too many things that I didn't know how to do going on at once! I have never BEEN so frustrated! I took the seam ripper to this one about six times, no kidding! But I have to admit, when I don't focus on all the mistakes, it's pretty darn cute.

I wanted to participate in Tie One On. It's an online show and tell from crafter Angry Chicken. Each month or so she tosses out a theme you create an apron that in some way fits the theme. Past themes have included Pink Lemonade and Apron! the Musical. I think it's a wonderfully creative, fun idea and participating just might keep me motivated to continue sewing. When I read that this month's theme was pockets, I immediately thought of embroidery. Later, I was checking out vintage apron patterns on ebay and came across one for a Victory apron from the 40's. Voilà! There's my idea! I knew I had embroidered a set of Victory Tea Towels ....and the Fourth is right around the corner. I'd do my own Victory Apron! SO I had a good idea, even if the execution wasn't perfect.

Since I only have to submit a photo for Tie One On, and all my mistakes aren't evident in the photo....I'm going to go ahead and do it! I'll post a link to the June gallery in case you want to see what others do with the pocket theme. Here's my Victory Apron...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Barenaked Ladies - One Week (The Bathroom Sessions)

This weeks RANDOMNESS FOR RHONDA... My favorite band, Barenaked Ladies! Hope you enjoy it! Rhonda, feel better!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Scored Potatoes and a Weird Giant Waistband

First things first. I cooked this week! Tried a new recipe called Scored Potatoes. Quite Tasty and easy enough that I was able to cook them successfully! This one is going in the cookbook. And I'm going to use it as my first Tales from the Scales recipe swap!

Scored Potatoes
4 large baking potatoes
2 tbs. melted butter, divided
1/8 tsp. paprika
1 tbs. minced fresh parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Slice each half widthwise six time, but not all the way through. Fan potatoes slightly. Place in a shallow baking dish. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle with paprika, parsley, salt and pepper.

Bake uncovered at 350º for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drizzle with remaining butter.

My changes: The recipe said bake for 50min., but I only cooked one potato and it took a little over an hour until it was done enough for me. I don't have fresh parsley laying around the house so I rounded up all the shakers of green things from the pantry and settled on oregano instead and it was fine. And for the heck of it, I went a bit crazy on the scoring...more like ten times!

I figure these are pretty WW friendly since they aren't loaded down with butter. One half of a potato is a serving and I figured that right around two points with the amount of butter I used (1 tbs. total).

For those of you who are keeping up with my sewing.... Yesterday I tried a half apron. Good grief! It was SO hard. Well, parts of it were SO hard and it doesn't look the way I hoped it would. Yes, I want everything to be done right and look perfect and I get really cheesed off and frustrated when it doesn't and I'll spend hours stewing over things I did wrong rather than being pleased with what I did right. Shea knows 'zactly what I'm talking about.

Anyway, the apron I attempted to sew is the one on the upper right corner all cute with red cherries and gingham. I used fabric off the dollar table at WalMart, which may have contributed to some of my frustrations. But I don't want to buy a bunch of expensive fabric when I'm just learning! Getting the pocket made and put on nearly drove me insane and MY apron ended up having this giant flippy-flappy-flopping waistband. You have no idea how badly I wanted to rip it off and fix it, but I'm trying to remember that I'm learning.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tales from the Scales Tuesday

I came a cross the Tales from the Scales weight loss challenge this week and thought it might be one more thing to help keep me on track. However, I didn't start the challenge six weeks ago like everyone else, but decided to jump in anyway. I did start WW (again) eight weeks ago. I was doing good, no, great actually. But as I've already mentioned this week, I got a bit off track. For two weeks I have done nothing remotely Weight-Watchery! In fact from Thursday of last week till Sunday of this week, I ate everything not nailed down...and it was GOOOD! The giant cheese logs at Pattis, the junk food at home, regular Cokes, REAL full fat ice cream, a delicious chicken & rice dish at the Real Hacienda, just to name a few of my indulgences.

Here's the bad news...after two weeks off program, I gained weight. Here's the good news...I only gained .4 pounds! .4! Not EVEN a whole pound! And I have to was totally worth it! But I realize, of course, that those little numbers DO creep up until they are bigger numbers and it is time to reign it in. Now, normally I weigh in on Thursdays at WW, so for the challenge, I may post on Thursdays after weigh-in and just link back to it on Tuesdays for the other challenge gals. But wanted to post today since it's my first week to be in on the challenge. I have read a few of their entries this morning, and it nice to hear how other people deal with the whole weight loss/gain game. I am pleased (with myself) to report that yesterday I managed to write everything down, drink water and exercise! I felt great all day, so I plan to do it again today and tomorrow and so on and so forth, etc., etc.

On another note, I am trying out a recipe today! Imagine! It's the reason I started this blog in the first place! Had a plan & a goal so that I wouldn't ramble aimlessly, and I still managed to end up rambling aimlessly anyway!! :) Anyhow, the recipe I'm thinking of is an easy potato one, so check back again later and I'll tell you how it went!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Someone Give Me a Pat on the Back...

For controlling myself today! I tend to get a little wacky when I go browsing on I never really know what I'll end up with. Sometimes it's crazy books about crime fighting cats that talk, sometimes old musicals, sometimes (like last week) it's books about aprons...yes they make those...and sometimes it's music.

Today its was this and this and this.
BUT I did NOT buy any of the three! I decided I've been way to free & easy with the credit card lately and then I went to balance my checkbook and decided that couldn't take the strain either. SO, I will wait. At least until after the POLICE condert and then I will even try to wait until I can go to a decent book/music store and pay cash. If we only had a Barnes and Noble in town!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Exhausted from the fun and off the WW Wagon again!

After two whole days of fun and adventure, I'm worn out! Thursday I tagged along with my friends Kelly, Stacy and Stacey to Holiday World. We had a really great time! SO much fun. However, I have learned that I may be too old for riding Roller Coasters. As much fun as it was, it nearly beat me to death! Especially this one, the Voyage, which was terrifying besides being a rough ride! Take a ride here!

Friday I set off for a trip to Patti's at Grand Rivers with pals Sheila and Cara. The only thing I did that was harmful to my health there was overeat! AND OVEREAT I DID! We had mozeralla sticks that would more appropriately be named GIANT CRUNCHY LOGS of FRIED CHEESE, there was delicious flower pot bread slathered in strawberry butter, I ordered a KY Hot Brown that was covered in homemade potato chips followed by something very near Derby Pie. OH, but it was good! After our hearty meal, we wandered around some shops there in Grand Rivers and headed for home...but of course we stopped for ice cream on the way. Was another good day....wish I would have taken some pictures of both days to post. shoot.

SO I was rolling right along on WW. And then for some reason, I just sorta stopped. Stopped writing things down, stopped drinking water and stared drinking regular cokes, stopped exercising and started gaining weight! Imagine that! Eat more and stop exercising and the weight comes back? That's just not fair ;)

I don't know why I stopped...I could come up with a thousand excuses, but they'd be just that, excuses. I guess it's time to get back on though. Maybe someone who reads this can call me on it. Shame me into "doing right!" I've said it a thousand times, WW works for me, WHEN I FOLLOW THE PROGRAM.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI did find a weight loss challenge called "Tales from the Scales" that I'm going to try and join. Maybe that'll help. I need the accountability factor! And I need to lose those dadgum 40 pounds!!! The challenge actually started in May, but it looks like they'll allow you to jump in at anytime...and the weigh-ins are posted on Tuesday, so I guess that gives me a Tuesday topic.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Randomness for Rhonda

My friend Rhonda is one of the people that I know reads this drivel...or is it my case it could be either. SO in order to keep her (and yes, myself) entertained, I present "Randomness for Rhonda!" I will post SOMETHING totally random once a week. Not sure what day I'll do it AND I don't know what the post will be. Randomness, get it? ....maybe a picture I've taken or pulled off the web, maybe a website or if I can ever get all techie like Shea I can post you tube videos and music.

Without further ado, here's this week's Randomness for you Rhonda.

From around the house...anthro pear S&P...aren't they cute?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

SLOW going with the cookbook

Yesterday I had lunch with Mom and Debbie Newman(my brother-in-law's mom). I asked Debbie for her Poppy Seed chicken recipe and Mom mentioned to her that I was making a cookbook. Debbie laughed and said "YOU'RE doing a cookbook...and you don't even cook?" I thought it was funny and of course, true. Anyway, told her I was collecting and compiling recipes more so than "writing" a cookbook. And that cookbook is taking a bit longer than I anticipated. Much of that is due to my recent bout of ADHD. I've been jumping from project to project and running here and there a lot lately. Have done no cooking to speak of lately and I hate to lose that momentum, so next week I will be trying out a recipe and posting the results. As for the cookbook, I've had to start paying to finish it, so I'll be submitting it, finished or not, around the 8th of July.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Some fun now

TA DA! I actually managed to sew an apron. This is the result of my first try. Now when I say my first try, I mean my first try at sewing an apron. My actual first try at sewing was back in middle school home ec. class. I made a pair of shorts from a peach chintzy-type fabric. The result was about what you'd expect from your average eighth grade doofus. Wacky-off seams, twisted elastic and they unraveled after the first washing. Did I mention they were peach chintz? eeeww.

My second sewing attempt came years later when Mark got me a sewing machine for Christmas. Maybe five/six years ago. I tried pajama bottoms. They turned out much like the eighth grade shorts. Then I got creative, laminated some vintage magazine adds and made myself a purse. That was actually pretty cute, but the grommets I used for holding the ball chain handles pulled apart and the purse was no longer usable. I may try that again sometime. I also hemmed two ends of some cute retro-housewife fabric to make a half curtain.

That gets me to this week. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I'm on a vintage apron kick as of late and I thought aprons would be an OK place to once again try and learn to sew. Pillows or placemats would have been easier, but that's boring. Aprons have no buttonholes, no extra parts to confuse me...and they're pretty! So I began with a basic chef's apron. Not too bad, but I won't show close up pictures where the seams & trim are obviously wobbly and one pocket is higher than the other. I realize these are my first tries, but I tend to be a bit on the perfectionist side and I want stuff to be right. But I guess what I need to remember (whether it be sewing, cooking or anything) is that when learning something new it's not going to be perfect and even when I know what I'm doing, it won't always be perfect.If I can learn that lesson, it'll be good for me. Ok, enough of that. On to aprons number two and three.
Number two is actually pretty nice. It's a bit fancier; I used "girly" fabric and even tried out a RUFFLE!!!Number three is another chefs apron. This time I thought I'd try grosgrain ribbon for the ties. Won't do that again, I thought it'd be easy to work with, but I had a hard time with it. The fabric on this one is soooo cute. It reminds me of a Shag print.
This is the pattern I used for the chef's aprons
I used this for the pink ruffly apron.
I have lots more fun apron patterns and plenty of cheap fabric to play with, so I plan to keep going till I get good at it!

Friday, June 8, 2007

...another hobby...

I forgot to mention this hobby in my last post. I really enjoy doing embroidery and have been at it off and on for about three years now. Nothing terribly elaborate or complicated. My favorite thing to embroider are dish towels, although I have a table runner, a pillow case and a couple tablecloths waiting to be embroidered. My favorite subject for embroidery are anthropomorphic dishes, fruits, veggies and whatnot. Call me a nutjob, but there's something about a smiling face on a dancing stalk of celery that just makes me giddy! I think once I get the sewing thing down, it might be nice to incorporate the two somehow. Here's a look at some of my towels.
I made this set of anthro dishes DOW towels for Trish as a Christmas gift.

Made a set of Chef DOW towels for Mom for Mother's Day a while back.

These were just for fun!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Newest Obsessions

I've had a few hobbies...

There are the "collecting things" hobbies...I collect PEZ, I've collected ENID COLLINS and other vintage purses. Currently, only Enid wooden box purses interest me...I can't afford the flashy lucite ones, so I don't bother. Vintage tablecloths are one of my favorite things. When I was a little girl and through my teens I collected miniature cups and saucers from different states. And then there was that embarrassing period in the 90's when I went hog wild over beenie babies.

Then we have the "doing things" hobbies. Painting. Mostly on clothing...made lots of $$$ doing that one. Selling vintage clothing on ebay was also a paying hobby and fun...good excuse to hit up the thrift stores on a weekly basis. Let's see I tole painted for while (right before the shirt thing). I make jewelry and do some scrapbooking (neither recently, however).

And of course, more recently, the cooking thing. Which probably shouldn't be considered a hobby, should it? But my most MOST recent obsession has become aprons. Weird, I know. I don't know where I get it... Anyway, I've picked up a few vintage aprons at flea market/antique malls and the more I get, the more I want! And now to add yet another hobby, I've decided to learn to sew. And I'm learning by sewing aprons of course! I have no fewer than FIVE apron patterns and a walmart bag full of fabric and I really don't know what I'm doing. Like cooking, I have to call Mom half way through a project (all one of 'em) and ask for help over the phone! ANd like any good hobbyist, I've found websites related to aprons, flickr galleries on aprons and have even ordered two books on the subject. Is ordering books on Amazon a hobby? Cause I do that A LOT!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Chicken Crescent

My good friend Pam sent me this recipe. It is exactly the kind of recipe I need, easy with few ingredients. ...and it is SO yummy. Not sure what to serve with it,however. Don't know what happened to the picture...but while yummy, it's ugly food, so we may be better off without the photo! Now, I didn't want to make eight of these puppies so I used the leftover crescents and made some Veggie Dogs in a Blanket for Mark. I know many of you wonder if I ever cook for him...I have to admit, he does fend for himself most of the time but this time I did at least roll up some veggie dogs in a crescent roll and he was very appreciative. I should make the effort more often...

Pam's Crescent Chicken
1 can crescent rolls
1 can chunk chicken breasts
1 large can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Unroll the crescent rolls into 8 rectangles. Drain the chicken. Put small amount of chicken onto one rectangle, roll it up and place in baking dish. Continue until all are in pan. Pour soup over this and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 350, uncovered, for about 25-30 minutes.