Saturday, July 31, 2010

Christmas in July part 2 and 3

Okay- the canvas is not quite finished- still a little more thinking on this one or just may wrap the artist canvas with the fabric and attach to the back- but you get the concept.

I first saw Gail Pan's design for the above when a talented sewing forum member, Carol, made a precious wall hanging.  Here blog is click here.  I knew I wanted to stitch this design for my kitchen but was not quite sure what to make with it.  Gail also has more designs on her website that I will most likely stitch to hang with this one.  click here for more of Gail's work.

Part 3 - you ask- underneath the canvas- six, crimson, toile tablemats that can be used for more than just Christmas.  Took me awhile to determine the appropriate dimensions as I wanted to use them at both my round kitchen table and my rectangular dining table and had to factor in the chargers  and elbow room that would be the best fit.   The finished size ended up 13 x 17 and the reversible (same print) mats have thin fleece ( retired baby blanket)  in between them to act both as a moisture/heat barrier and to add some body to them. Added bones-just toss in the washer and dryer. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Hot is It??

Short story- decided to walk to the mailbox (about 1/8 of a mile) to mail of few items.  Opened the front door and my lungs immediately filled with the humid air-shut door and make a cold drink for the long walk.  Arrive at mailbox- no mail to be placed inside.  Yes- it is that hot!!!!  100 plus degrees in our fair city- I took very little comfort in that it is generally 5 degrees cooler where we live than in the center of the city.  Note to self- next time - drive the golf cart to the mailbox or send the mail with hubby.

To the right of the mailbox you can see where we have begun removing some undergrowth and making some progress on our slat fence- we stopped due to aforementioned heat and humidity.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Here a Tomato, There a Tomato

A sampling of what we have harvested from our tomato plants left to right- Brandwine, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Lemon Boy, Jubilee and Cherokee Purple.  Not sure why this CP's coloration was quite a bit different from our previous ones- they were much duskier pinky purple color- no matter- the taste is pure concentrated tomato.  The cherokee purples will make next years list to plant and possible box car willie- scratch all the other aboves- not enough flavor and thick skins rule them out.  We will still plant the better boys and a few varieties of cherry and grape tomatoes.  Still waiting on the late to be planted sun golds. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Running Man or How my Dad celebrated his 63rd birthday

My father decided to run the Peachtree Marathon in Georgia this year and signed on for an extensive 12 week training course to prepare.  Had had a set program to follow on most days with runs scheduled with a group of other runners on Saturday.  The picture above is from the training run just before the race on July 4th- my dad turned 63 on July 5th.  We are so proud of him for finishing the race and in good time as well.  He has aspirations of repeating the race next year and shaving some time off of his run-way to go!!!!

photo provided by a friend named Vicki-thanks so much

Friday, July 23, 2010

Coconut Pineapple Layer Cake- aka Pineapple Tall Cake

Saturday the 17th- we celebrated a combination of birthday's- Lauren's 6.5 (yes- a half b-day) and my grandmother's 88th birthday.

Cliff made Lauren little bug cakes and I made the cake above for my grandmother's cake. Will admit I am not great at getting layer cakes to look good- took several knife attempts to get these three layers leveled before spreading the pineapple filling between the layers and then frosting them. The cake did require a trip to fridge to set the frosting well- since I tweaked the recipe by adding cocount cream-yummy stuff.

After cake the ladies played hearts- Lauren even caught all the "tricks" in one hand. The children's version was quite a bit different than we usually play- no face cards and different rules too.

My grandmother left one little bite of cake on her plate- I froze it and saved it for her next year to celebrate 89!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Little Man's Wheelchair

Last Thursday, we were alarmed to see that Little Man had an injured right paw. He recuperated in our kitty cat hospital for a few days before returning to his family-yes we informed his mother and did allow visitation.

Lauren's caretaking extended to her making him is very own wheelchair you see pictured above-courtesty of her barbie car and leftover fabric scraps. Love her creativity. Sorry I did not catch a pic of him waving in the parade and tossing out treats- he rode proudly.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Snowman in July-Christmas in July part 1

We are coming up on our one year arrival into our new home. Moving last year at the end of July - in Arkansas- hot and sweaty work indeed. One of the guest rooms was used to store unpacked boxes for a few months. Funny- I am not embarrassed about that- we were also starting our first year homeschooling last year as well - just shortly after moving in..... so getting to those non-essential boxes was not high on my list to do. Also-not a priority was decorating for the holidays.... this year I promise to be much better decorating - plus - I have a very eager helper in getting ready - how much longer will that last !!???!!!

Okay- enough with my ranmbling commentary. First up for project Christmas in July- adding some seasonal color to Lauren's yellow, lime, orange, yellow and pink bathroom. Got the idea from another friend on a sewing forum- Bridget- when she made the cutest santa's out of of her precious colors handprints-we will do that later as well. Instead of a Santa- we made a snowman- by painting an artist canvas with the selected colors and adding buttons for details. We will be on the lookout for a little metal or feather tree to add to the bathroom as well as a few more of these canvas' for fall and Christmas along with some embroidered towels. Lauren's patience was tested as she had to wait for the paint colors to dry with each application-she was way to anxious to get this completed.

Our snowman is embracing somewhat of a minimalist style- sans hat and scarf -both for fashion sense and necessity-Lauren reminded me that we lose a great deal of body heat through our heads and if he was sporting a hat and scarf he was in danger of becoming a slushman and we just cannot have that.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grandma Jean and Clint duet

My husband's family assembled together at his parent's farm in Northwest Arkansas. Over sixty of us attended. Some of the family brought their instruments to play- Grandma Jean played the accordion and Cliff's twin brother- Clint played the fiddle. Lots of fun and hand cranked ice cream rounded out the day and even the weather was very pleasant considering we are in Arkansas.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Easy Cherry Cake

I have a friend who does not cake much- she wanted to make a cake from scratch and was concerned about making a layered cake and did not wish to make a sheet cake either.

This is the recipe I sent her- a simple one layer cake with a cherry glaze on top- simple and rustic and soooo easy and good!!!

1 cup ap flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 TB butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 (14.5 oz) can tart cherries, drained and reserve juice


2 ½ TB cornstarch
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract

For the cake: place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350. Spray 9 inch cake pan with Pam. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a med bowl; whisk eggs and vanilla in a small bowl.

With a mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy; about 2 minutes. Reduce speed and add flour and egg mixture alternately in two batches, beating on low until combined. Gently fold in drained cherries and pour into pan-bake 30-35 minutes- toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan.

Combine reserved juice, cornstarch, sugar and almond extract in small saucepan and stir over medium heat until just bubble- about 4 minutes. pour over cooled cake.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cliff requested a fresh cherry pie with lattice cream cheese pie crust. I am not proficient at rolling out the dough- much less weaving the strips. You can see that I cheated making the lattice- just laid them across each other and did not weave them-next time I will chill the dough strips before picking them up to weave. It's nice to know my husband has confidence in my abilities.

The cherries had to be pitted by hand- Williams Sonoma- my best chance at finding a pitter- was sold out of them. So I pitted 3 pounds of cherries by hand. Took quite a few hand washings to get all the stains from our my cuticles. Good thing I love my husband.

The pie was delicious and the cream cheese was a nice addition to the crust- good flavor and very flaky. And- Hubby was most thankful and commented several times on how much better this pie was instead of using canned filling and the addition of cream cheese to the crust.

I have to add- we do not often eat such decadent desserts- but my husband had a cherry pie craving and it was father's day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Water Balloon Fight

The temperature was just a bit under 100 when the girls said they were sooooo hot. They spotted the helium tank and balloons in the garage and decided to have a balloon fight- I had to laugh when I realized how they interpreted an actual water balloon fight.

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