Wednesday, June 26, 2013

27 Pounds

Today, it was grey and rainy, but we didn't let that stop us.  We went to our favorite Organic Blueberry Farm in Burbank and we picked 27 pounds of blueberries.  I've been washing and drying and preparing them for the freezer ever since:


I package them in small ziplocs, a heaping 2 cups each and then put 3 small ziplocs to a gallon size bag.  Well they're not all here, nope, 4 cups are missing, they are here:


Ready for the blueberry pie I promised CR for all his hard work.  We have a friend who says he can't get more than 5 pounds in a bucket at the farm when he picks - he reads my blog so I'm picking on him, because I never pick less than 7 pounds when I pick.  CR usually can get about 6.5 pounds in his bucket.  I must be an over achiever, ha ha.

Before we picked the berries we went to my friend Mary's house.  She recently had back surgery and she's looking better and moving a bit better, but it's going to be a long recovery.  She's restricted in a lot of movement and I think I mentioned that before her surgery her one leg went numb because a nerve was being crushed, well she's still having the numb issue, although not as bad.  I told her that a nerve can take a year to heal, so she is going to have to be patient.  Anyhow, I took her a plate of yesterdays cookies to cheer her up.  And I think it did bring some cheer.  It's so hard to not be able to do much of anything and it gets old fast.

I wish I was telling you all I'd lost 27 pounds, but alas no, however I'm on my treadmill now 5 to 6 days a week for 30 to 40 minutes, not going as fast as I did, but I'm making progress a little at a time.  I had to take today off my shin was hurting and so I figured it might need a rest - tomorrow is another day.  I'll turn my weight gain around and it as well as the last 2 years of struggling will be a distant memory someday in my near future.

Sadly I didn't get into my sewing room today to start on that new quilt.  Maybe tomorrow.  The weather man says it's going to get hot and be in the 100's by the weekend.  But he also said today was going to be in the 80's and a very low chance of rain.  Hmmmm, those weather men certainly have trouble getting it right.  I so much prefer a slow build up of heat rather than cold, then instant hot, but apparently mother nature doesn't care about what I prefer.

Oh and something exciting.  One of our trips this summer will be to see our good friends Robyn and Gerald.  I'm also going to meet up with Carline a blog friend from that area as well.  I'm super excited.  And before I meet up with her she'll be going to the Sisters, OR quilt show - so hopefully she'll tell me all about it.  I've been once and it was so much fun. 

What are your plans for the summer and do they involve travel??

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chilled Cookie Dough

I've read several articles lately about the benefits of chilling your cookie dough before baking and also using cold butter, rather than room temp. butter.  Here is an excerpt from an article I read and copied to save for myself a few days ago:

{If you put a warm, melty dough into the oven, your cookies will spread before they begin to set up. Too often they'll run into one another, becoming a single crisp, crunchy mess on your cookie sheet. The cooler the dough when it goes into the oven, the less it will spread.  Another reason that cookie dough is refrigerated is that it gives the gluten time to relax. You don't want to mix a cookie dough containing wheat flour any more than absolutely necessary, as the more you mix it, the more gluten develops, and the more rubbery your cookies will be. Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour does wonders for relaxing the gluten and letting you produce cookies that are soft or crunchy (depending on your preference), but not tough and rubbery.  Finally, letting the dough rest in the refrigerator also gives the flour more time to absorb the liquid more fully. This allows the dough to become drier and firmer, which produces a better consistency in the finished cookie.}
So today, because we woke up to torrential rain, lightening and thunder, it seemed like a good day to bake and test this theory out.  Hands down my cookies came out chewy, but not flat and more uniform than they've ever been.  I was thrilled with the results and will use this method from now on.
No only did I make my Grandma's Chocolate Chip cookie's, I also made a recipe I saw on Pioneer Woman's show on the Food Network - Chocolate Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I used the chill method for these as well.  I have to tell you I thought it would be to much chocolate, but oh baby, they are really good.
I made all of these as we are going to be doing some traveling in the near future and so they'll go on our trips for something yummy in the evenings.  For now they are in the freezer and out of sight!!

Blueberry picking has started, so yesterday we picked almost 14 pounds and I got those washed, dried and in the freezer.  More picking to follow so we have plenty in the freezer to last us for the next year.  CR eats them every morning in his oatmeal and I do some baking with them, so we have to put up a lot to have on hand.  These are organic berries and if you pick them it's $3.00 a pound, I don't think that is to bad for the quality of the berry.  This years berries are so sweet!!

Tomorrow should be much better weather, so back to berry picking we'll go.  I'm hoping to get back to my sewing room and do some cutting for a new quilt.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam
 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cat Grass and Blackberry Pie

My cats love cat grass and cat nip.  They crave it I think.  In fact my older cat craves it so much that if you bring in a plastic plant, he tries to eat it. We don't have any plants in the house because of his obsession with eating anything that looks like a plant.  So CR has been growing cat grass, he'll bring the pot in with the grass, the cats will mow it down, then it goes outside for sun and grows some more and the process is repeated.  After Chanceman, who is oldest goes after the grass, then Scotchie is allowed to go after it - their pecking order, not ours.  Yesterday I found Scotchie balanced on the scratching post going after the grass.  I thought it was so funny given that the pot was on the cedar chest and he could have just gotten on it to munch away.



Guess Cats like "salad" too.

We went to Farmers Market yesterday and I was thrilled to find blackberries, as well as strawberries, spinach, cherries, etc.  The market is in full swing and lots of yummy fruit and veggies.  When I spotted the blackberries I looked at CR and said - would you like a pie?  Of course he wanted one, so we came home and I made him this:


I must confess that I HATE to make pie crust, so I buy the Pillsbury type in the store.  It's pretty good and a whole lot easier than making my own.

I also went to my friend Kelly's house to show her our bed quilt.  She loved it and I was thrilled to finally show it to her.  She is the one who gave me the pattern idea so many years ago and kept encouraging me to finish it.  So glad she kept encouraging me, because now we have this gorgeous quilt on our bed.

I forgot in my last post to share with you the method that I used to make my pillowcases.  It's called the Burrito/Roll up method.  Only 3 seams go into making the pillow case and no raw edges - all French seams.  I love it and my pillow cases went together so quickly and easily.  The Crafty Gemini does the video and she does a great job of explaining it.


We have had the oddest weather lately.  Last week it was rainy and muggy and grey outside.  Then Friday it cleared up with sunshine and warmer temps, yesterday was beautiful and then today we woke up to grey skies again.  Where is summer?

So how's the weather where you are?  Are you having weird weather too??

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

S. E. W.

The other day I went to Hobby Lobby and found big letters on sale for 50% off - making them $1.50 a piece.  So I picked up 3 letters for my sewing room and CR put them up today:


I've been in my room a lot sewing pillow cases to go with, but not match our new quilt.  I don't like things to be to matchy-matchy - just blend.





Today I put clean sheets on the bed and put our new quilt on it as well.  What a sense of accomplishment I feel.  CR loves the quilt as much as I do.

I still need to do something with all those raspberries we picked.  Tomorrow I'm making muffins I can freeze.  Always nice to have things like that in the freezer to take on fishing trips - which by the way we've scheduled for August.  We're also going to the Portland, OR area and visit friends in July.  And I have my next cancer check up on August 15th at 11am.  A busy couple of months ahead, with lots of fun things in the works.

So what are your vacation plans for the summer??

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Big Reveal

Here it is - the moment I've been waiting for - a chance to show you the quilt for our bed.  It still needs binding, but I can't wait for that to show you how gorgeous it turned out.


Here it is in the lawn, by one of our flower beds.

CR thought about hanging it from our swing so you could see it better.
There is one big and one small mistake if you look closely.  I didn't see it
until it was done.  And I guess I don't care, I love it so much.

A close up view of the beautiful quilting

The backing fabric and you can see that the border was done in piano key stitching - just lovely!!
Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Claiming my blog for blog lovin

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The Heat is On

Dog gone it's hot out today.  Almost 90 degrees and the forecast is the same for tomorrow.  The good thing about it is the bounty that can be found at Farmers Market.

We went to Farmers Market this morning and scored asparagus, butter lettuce, spinach, Walla Walla sweet onions, rainier cherries and strawberries.

 
 
Look at those huge, gorgeous strawberries and those cherries.  Speaking of cherries, I only buy a pound, because out of that pound - this is all that is left and tomorrow I will pay dearly for eating them all.   They are so sweet and plump and delicious, it's hard to stop.  Thank goodness we don't farm the darn things or I'd be in trouble.  CR - the smart one, doesn't touch them.

Our friend Grover has 3 rows of Raspberries so after the market and grocery shopping, we went out to his place and picked raspberries - take a look at these delicious berries:


As we were leaving he said to be sure to come out in a couple of days for more, well okay, twist my arm!!

While we were out at his place I took a picture of two huge cactus plants that he has that are blooming and so beautiful:





And his beautiful roses - these are just a few:


Look at this gorgeous row of lavender - it was alive with bees just doing their thing and buzzing away. 


His house sits on a hill and he has one heck of a view, wish my cell phone could have captured it.  Maybe I better bring my big camera with me next time to get a pic of his view.


My quilt is done and home from the quilters.  I just have to say it is so beautiful it takes my breath away.  No pictures yet.  I need to trim it up, and start binding it.  I'll be posting pictures soon to share it with y'all.

Tomorrow we are having company over and bbq'ing baby back ribs - yummy.  But first, in honor of Fathers Day, I'll make CR a special brunch with fresh fruit and Migas (got the recipe from the Pioneer Woman website).

We started firming up our plans for summer and fishing and a trip to visit my friend Robyn.  The next couple of months will fly by and then it will be time for my next cancer check up on August 15th.  Until then we are gonna have some fun.

So what are your plans for Fathers Day and for the summer??

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Raspberries

We got a surprise bounty of fresh and delicious Raspberries today.  They were so fresh I was worried about how long they'd last, so I used most of them and made a Raspberry Yogurt Cake.  Lord the house smells divine!!


Tomorrow we are going to try a new place to eat called Wine O Clock Bistro in Prosser.  It's a newer bistro located in a winery.  I've heard a lot of good reviews.  So our friends Grover and Ken are joining us.  We are all doing what we can to get Grover out more and making sure he's okay.

Oh and if the recipe interests you, you can find it here.

One more thing, all presents arrived safely and were loved by their recipients, what a relief!!  I got a kick out of my Sister-In-Law's email this morning saying she just couldn't wait and opened her birthday present right away.  I told her that one should always seize the day and open the prezzie immediately - waiting is just to much to ask!!

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Sneak Peek

My friend Ginny is the process of quilting the quilt I made for our bed.  It should be done about the 15th of this month.  Today she posted a picture on face book to give me a little tease:

Photo: A sneak peak for Tammy!

Oh man I can't wait to see it all done and to get it on our bed.  I started it before I was diagnosed with cancer and I call it my Cancer Survival Quilt, since I recently finished it when I started to get my energy back.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

They're in the Mail

I had these 2 table toppers done before the painting began, then we tore apart my sewing room and then I kinda forgot about them, and then I panicked cuz my Sister-in-Law's birthday is this Friday and good grief I didn't want to be late.  So Sunday I got busy and quilted her table topper and a table topper for my other Sister-in-Law and they are happily shipped off now.  What a relief, I think the birthday present will be on time!!

Birthday present in front - I hadn't hand sewn the binding down in these pictures.


I also had a small wallet pattern and 2 fat quarters that I was going to put together for my grandson before the painting began and bad grandma, I still hadn't done a thing with it.  He needed a holder for gift cards and something small that would fit in Mom's purse.  Since I couldn't find anything manly to hold his gift cards I thought I'd make him one using sneaker and soccer ball fabric.  I think he'll like it, it's in the mail also.

Here it is all closed up

Open - I used Velcro rather than a snap.

This is the pattern I used.
Yesterday was a busy day.  I went to the doctor about my MRI for my big toe.  Turns out the joint before the big toes sprouts up has the real issue.  There are 2 sesamoid bones with a tendon running down the middle and up into the big toe.  Well the outside sesamoid bone in my foot is in 2 pieces (it should just be one round bone) and causing the problem.  Finally an answer.  The toe is doing well right now so we are going to leave it be, however if it flares up again, the only real answer is to remove the 2 pieces of bone, which a person can live quite nicely without.  Although with out that bone a person can develop a bunion - yikes, I'd rather not have one of those.  Hopefully my toe will behave and we'll avoid surgery.   After my appointment, I met a friend for lunch and we were there 3 hours just a talking each others ears off.  It was a lot of fun.  Then I did some shopping, came home and baked CR a Rhubarb Pie and was done for the day.

Today the weather has cooled off and the wind is blowing and it's just a good day to stay home and do some cleaning.  Those bathrooms seem to be in constant need of a good scrubbing, and the kitchen too.  It never ends does it.  After that I'm going to go to my room and sew on something, don't know what yet, but maybe I'll have something to show you in a few days.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Sunday, June 9, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons.....

Well in this case, when you go to the store and buy lemons to make dessert for a dinner party you're going to, you come home and make Triple Lemon Bars:


Everyone enjoyed them and they certainly had the pucker factor!!  I love a good tart lemon dessert.

I had planned to do so much more than I actually did yesterday.  We did go out to breakfast as usual, then to Farmers Market.  We ran a few errands and I came home and got to baking.  Then I just decided I'd sit down for just a little bit, my back was aching and my ankle was bothering me and so I sat down and then took a long nap.  Guess I was tired.  Thankfully I was awake in plenty of time to go to Ken's house for dinner.  There were 6 of us and Ken grilled an amazing Copper River Salmon (my fav) and had a delicious pasta salad and multi-grain bread.  The conversation and company were delightful.  One of the couples there is off to Alaska - they'll be driving their motor home and don't plan to return till August.  Sounds like a fun trip, but a long drive even though they are taking their time.

I just want to go back to West Yellowstone, MT for a 4 to 6 week stay.  But right now with my treatments and everything we just haven't wanted to plan such a long time away.  Perhaps next year, for now we'll take a few short trips and be happy with that.

Now I must get in my sewing room and do some quilting work on those gifts I talked about - time is a ticking!!

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Friends In Need

The other day I went to visit a good friend who recently had back surgery.  Poor thing was hurting and it's been a rough road.  Her left leg went numb on her for a couple of weeks before the surgery.  All because a piece of her spine broke off and was pinching something and lord, it makes me grateful I only have a sore toe to deal with.  So because of her surgery and because everyone deserves to eat something delish when recuperating, I baked her a pound cake with cream cheese frosting:


You'd think I never baked for CR, he didn't want to cake to go and told me to tell Mary if she didn't want it, he'd eat it.  Funny man!!

Today I'm baking Triple Lemon Bars to take to a friends house for dinner tonight.  Tomorrow I've promised to bake CR a rhubarb pie.

I also have to finish up a birthday gift that needs to be quilted.  I've had it ready for a while, but then we painted my sewing room and I forgot about it and the birthday is this coming week and it has to be mailed.  Yikes, I feel behind and I thought I was so on top of things.

I'll post a picture of the lemon bars tomorrow.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Another Top Done

Quilt tops are starting to stack up on me - this makes the second one I need to get quilted.  I got the borders sewn on this morning.  Maybe my friend Kelly will let me come over one of these days and use her gammil. 

 


Since it's such a beautiful day I thought pictures of it in the lawn were in order.  I have a medium blue fabric to bind it and now I have to figure out what to back it in.  Maybe something light, hopefully I'll know the fabric when I see it.

Now I need to get busy and dust and move furniture and vacuum the last room of my deep cleaning.  I'm excited to have it behind me.  Later today I plan to bake a cake and take it over tomorrow to my friend Mary who had back surgery about a week ago.  She's been really hurting, I'm hoping that the cake will taste good to her.

This morning I went to filter my iced coffee into another jar - you can see the process here:  http://www.theyummylife.com/Iced_Coffee  It's a cold brewing process for Iced coffee that really takes the bitterness out of the coffee and the acidity as well.  So you soak the ground coffee in filtered water using a mason jar then strain it after 12 hours.  Well I went to do the straining part and wasn't fully awake yet and dumped wet coffee grounds and coffee water all over the cupboard and the floor.  I did this all before I'd have my first cup of coffee and what a mess it was.  I'm still wiping up a few stray coffee grounds here and there.  Time for a good floor moping!!  So needless to say I ordered a different filter set up from Amazon so that I could just lift the grounds out of the mason jar, rather than pour and spill again.  What a way to start the day. 

Well it's off to the dusting and vacuuming world I go.  It's another 90 degree day here, glad the house is cool.  What are you doing today - hopefully it's far more exciting than my day.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pedicures

I finally went and got a pedicure.  My feet were awful looking, but since the one foot was in a air cast for the month of May and since we were painting and doing home improvements, it just made sense not to rush out and get one.  I love a good pedicure.  I have always gone to one place in particular, but since the couple that ran it left to return to Vietnam, well it's gone down hill, or at least that is how it appeared to me yesterday.  The gals working there did an good job and seemed nice enough when they spoke English to you, but the chair controls to heat up and vibrate the chairs were gone.  To me that was part of the fun of getting the pedicure, soak a bit, let the chair vibrate you into a zen like state.  The salon has just gotten tacky.  So now I must go on a quest to find a place I like as much as I used to like my old place, ugh, painted toes might not be worth the search.  And no - I won't paint my own toes, cuz I have trouble keeping the paint just on the toenail, ha ha.


I took a picture of my right foot because that is becoming a very expensive foot.  I have had arthritis in my big toe for several years, it's getting worse in the toe joint and the base of the toe.  As I mentioned I was in an air cast for a month to fix the foot as the doc thought it was the tendon that runs along the inside of your ankle and under the foot and into the big toe.  Well perhaps it was as that area isn't as tender as it was when he checked it, but the darn big toe still hurts.  So yesterday we did an MRI to see what is going on.  Part of me thinks it's overkill and it's the arthritis, but then again if it is really that tendon, then using ultrasound the doctor can inject cortisone and make it all better, no surgery involved.  So there you have it, it better really be that stupid tendon cuz I've wasted a lot of time on it and I need to be able to fish this summer.  I'm being an impatient patient.  I'll find out next Monday.  The doc wanted me to keep wearing the boot - I am not, it didn't fix the toe, it's made my back ache from being uneven and it's just to hot.  The boot is not the answer in my opinion!!

It went from chilly and windy and rainy the last few weeks, with highs maybe in the mid-60's to all of a sudden 90 degrees.  Mother nature is bi-polar and the huge temp. swings are killing me.  Thank goodness for air conditioning.  So glad the home improvements and painting are done till fall.  I've got one more room to deep clean, move furniture, vacuum every square inch and then we're back to normal.  Which means I won't clean for another 6 months, haha - just kidding!!

I don't know if I mentioned that our friend Grover (he recently lost his wife) asked me to take her fabric and so we went out there a few days ago and brought home a whole lot of boxes.  I was able to use some of it and then I'm donating the rest to the quilt guild for project linus quilts, it was just to much for one person and we already know I'm a fabric hoarder.  There was also upholstery fabrics and such that I can donate as well to other organizations as I don't use that type of material.  We have to go back out there - probably tomorrow, to get the rest of it, so I'll have more to go through.  I felt that if it helped him and took one thing off of his mind then it was a good thing to do.

I just need to sew my border on my current creation and I'll be ready to snap another picture for you to see.  In the meantime I'm excited about this month because the quilt I made for our bed should be ready around the 15th, then I can bind it and put it on the bed - I can't wait.  The design that my friend Ginny is doing for the quilting is just going to be gorgeous and I can't wait to show it to you.

So, how's the temps in your neck of the woods, and what are you busy doing??

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Monday, June 3, 2013

Where's Scotchie?

Yesterday CR was looking all around the house for Scotchie.  He wasn't in his usual haunts, so where was he.  Then CR went into the back bedroom/disaster area and there he was, he finally figured out how to get up on the shelf like his big brother does.  Scotchie is not the jumper that Chanceman is and oh how he'd like to be.  Apparently he figured out a shortcut to get to his goal and once there, was exhausted and took a nap!!


He was awfully proud of his accomplishment. 

Now that all the painting is done, I took yesterday and vacuumed every square inch, moving furniture, etc and dusted our family room where we just painted the ceiling.  I still have more dusting to do, but I took the day off to have an MRI of my foot and arthritic toe, do some shopping and I got a pedicure (boy was it time - someone had very ugly feet). 

Summer has finally arrived, we seem to have skipped a pleasant spring by having crappy, chilly weather and now we are diving right into summer and the heat is on.  Where is the happy medium I ask you.  At least we don't have the severe weather that the middle portion of the country has - and I am thankful for that.

I'm going to start sewing the rows of my quilt together, cuz tomorrow there is more dusting and furniture moving and vacuuming in the other living room to do.  I should probably mop too.  Trying to get everything cleaned up after all we've been doing is a huge job, once it's done I can go back to normal cleaning and/or ignoring the mess, ha-ha.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Home Improvements Are Done Until Fall

Yep, the home improving is done till we tackle the last room this fall.  The last thing that had to be finished was the ceiling in our family room.  While it sounds easy enough, the ceiling has these swirled texture groves in it from the 1940's when the house was built that are a pain in the you know what to get painted and covered well.  Especially when your goal is to only do one coat of paint.  I did the trim against the wall so that CR could roll the rest of it.  Then he'd do a section and I'd check it for any place lacking paint or enough paint.  What a job - someone is going to be sore tomorrow.  And someone else has a lot of dusting and cleaning to do now that all this painting and tearing the house apart is done.  There are times when I wish I could hire a maid service - ever feel that way??

Can't really tell much, but it's a beautiful Linen color - just a tad off from white.
In between checking the ceiling as CR was painting I completed sewing all my blocks together for the lap quilt I've been making.  I laid it out on the bed so I could show you how it's going to look - I still need to sew all those rows together, perhaps tomorrow if I have time after cleaning - okay maybe next weekend, I have a lot of cleaning to do!!



Also while CR was painting I made a pasta salad recipe I saw on the internet.  I can't tell you where I found it, but it looked so good:


And let me assure you CR has taste tested and approved it.

Here is the recipe if you're interested:

Easy Italian Pasta and Veggie Salad Recipe

- 8 oz pasta
- 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 can black olives
- 1 can marinated artichoke hearts (I chopped them up for the salad)
- 1/3 cup mayo
- 1/8 cup garlic olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly chopped
- salt and pepper to taste

Step 1:  cook pasta according to directions on the box.  When cooked rinse with cold water and let cool

Step 2:  While pasta is cooling, chop tomatoes and artichokes and basil

Step 3:  Combine all ingredients into a large bowl

Step 4:  Mix the mayo, oil, Italian seasoning, dill, salt and pepper for the dressing and mix with the rest of the salad.  Refrigerate until it's time to serve. 

I'll be serving the salad with come Copper River Salmon.  The best salmon out there if you ask me and only available for a short time.  We neither one are fond of frozen salmon, so you get it fresh and eat all you can while it lasts.

We went to Farmers Market this morning and I got fresh spinach, Walla Walla sweet salad onions, fresh strawberries and asparagus.  Oh how I love this time of year and going to farmers market.  Pretty soon it will be blueberry picking time and I can't wait for that, but I don't want to wish my summer away, so one thing at a time.

How's your weekend and do you go to a local farmers market??

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam