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Friday, June 25, 2010

Lentils and other yummy stuff

I saw this recipe on the LHC boards, I'm not sure what to call it yet, I'll get back to that.....

1 pound lentils
7 cups water
1/2 vidalia onion
5 raw cloves garlic
1 head roasted garlic
3 tbs (about) garam masala
1 ancient sweet pepper
3 carrots

Chop all ingredients up, bring to a boil, simmer for an hour or so. then dump the entire mixture in a blender and puree.

Keep in the refrigerator, serve over rice or on a pita.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

By Jove, I think she's got it!!

The thread for my Blue Girl rose motifs arrived, a day early!! WHOOT! 
I quick-worked one up last night, and I think I have the color combo I was after (or does she??) I see one more possibility...
The inspiration:

Now I can finish Sharon's Rose Parade doily!

We took a short drive up the road for a photo shoot, and learned more about some local long-horn cattle on Hwy A. There was a sign out front posted, and it told us of the Ankole-Watusi Cattle, of South Africa.

There were two new calves this time, which were immediately surrounded by the "auntie" cows, while a formidable bull herded another female away from the group. What was so amazing were the horns-they were massive, one fellow's rack spanning nearly 5 feet and thick as trees at the skull.

I also got some new photos of some local barns and silos. One tile silo gleamed in the fading sunlight, looking as brand new as the day it was erected.

All in all, it was a glorious day, and I'm having a good hair day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rose Among the Thorns

Just had to share a surprise I got today. The first bloom on a Prickly Pear cactus a friend gave us 7 years ago. After realizing the first location was not working out (mostly shady)I moved it to a sunny spot in the shed garden, 2 summers ago, and it obviously was the perfect spot.

The first cherry tomato of the season fell off the vine today, before any critters had a chance to take a nibble. I found some blackberry volunteers over by the Wall Garden. Tasty treats!

I'm knitting away at the Alaska Jacket,while my pink crochet thread sits in a sorting facility in New Berlin,  patiently awaiting transport to our local PO. It will likely be delivered either tomorrow or Friday.

Sharon's Rose Parade Doily (an Elizabeth Hiddleson design) waits for it's circle of roses...

I'm thinking I'm pretty happy with my new shorter hair style (for now), but so miss the long length....someday it will be back to TB, but for now, I will enjoy it and try not to think about it...

I definitely want to be THIS Sandra when my hair grows back out ....

ComforSleepnumberPedic Memory Foam Flotation Devices and Their Many Uses

Eagle, WI was hit by tornado night Monday night. The devastation was incredible. Old World Wisconsin looked like an H-bomb was dropped on it.


Waukesha County (WFRV) - Strong storms blasted across the state Monday evening producing a confirmed EF-2 tornado that touched down in southern Wisconsin, damaging homes in Waukesha County.

The National Weather Service survey crew in the area of the Town of Eagle has reported that the tornado was rated EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.  An EF- 2 tornado can have winds gusts over 130 mph.

This confirmed tornado's track was about four miles in length.  In it's path, one home was completely destroyed, while at least fifty houses were damaged, and two cars were flipped over. 

Multiple reports of tornadoes and damage were received Monday evening and the survey teams will continue to investigate if other damage is consistent with damage produced by tornadoes. 

At this point other areas where damage and possible tornadoes were reported include:

East-central Lafayette county from near Darlington to Wiota
West-central Dane County in the Town of Cross Plains
Southwest Waukesha County in the Town of Eagle - multiple reports of houses damaged
We will continue to provide updates on last night's storms as more information becomes available.


Chopper 4 Video: Storm Damages Old World Wisconsin | Today's TMJ4 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin News, Weather, Sports, WTMJ | Local News

The last batch of storms passed by us early this morning around 6am, thankfully, nothing happened. Just a lot of rain, from what DH tells me-I slept through it, thanks to our new firm Steinhafels Memory Foam Mattress.
Uses of a Memory Foam Mattress:
  • hide under during a tornado
  • flotation devise after roof blows off and bedroom fills up with water 
  • giant sponge for cleaning up rain-soaked carpet
  • sleep through storms like a baby
  • more cush for the Poodle (Note to self: shop fora Dog-pedic mattress for Igor)

Movie Reviews

Shutter Island was GOOD-it was a mind-bender, lots of twists and turns, well worth the extra day to keep and watch it. The first day was free, I had a Redbox coupon, so we didn't mind keeping it another day anyway. DH fell asleep half-way through it-he missed a good movie...owell.
SO interesting to hear about Sophie, she is such a cutie patootie! I have her book, I think you saw it on my blog page as a link to her website ~ DiCaprio didn't fit the bill as a US Marshall, in my humble opinion, but he still played a very compelling role. There were a few older actors I am sure you'll recognize-the names escape me right now, I'm not good with names anyway...but yep, see if it you are into twisty-turny movies-not bad, but a surprise ending, to be sure.

And now, back to our regularly schedule programming-Knitting on the Alaska!

Those storms were too stressful, Igor needs his beauty sleep...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jane Fonda's Original Workout - Beginners 2

Jane Fonda's Original Workout - Beginners 2, week 2.

I am obviously in dire need of a walk, having missed 2 days in a row now. The Guilts have set in. It all depends on the weather. This morning, I as up at 7:00am and was about to get dressed and ready to go at 7:45 when the rains began...I could hear it pitter-patter on the skylight in the bathroom, as I was applying my mascara. Yes, I put my face on before I go out. Anywhere. No exceptions. It's that little shred of 50+ vanity I still cling to and I don't care what anyone thinks. If I'm going out in public in nothing more than a T-shirt,  sport bra that smashes my boobs to nothing, spandex shorts that show every bump, ankle socks and walking shoes, I may as well attract as much attention away from my flab-tastic boody and up toward the business end. :)

In other news:
DD19 is officially enrolled in college!
She got her registration in today, and has 2 classes in Graphics Illustration. She's all set and just needs to wait on her FAFSE which should be available end of August, so she can pick up the books on the list they gave her.  She's working over 78 hours every pay period, stashing every penny away to pay for her tuition so she won't have to borrow so much. That girl is determined and I am so proud of her. ♥♥♥

Storms moving in, I will have to close shortly, but will get a quick blurb in to update Sharon's Rose Parade Doily-the Orchid Pink is on the way, as we speak! YIPPY SKIPPY! It should be here either Wednesday or Thursday, and in the meantime, I can get my knit-fix in while plurking away at some rows of my ALASKA Jacket.
Here's the latest updated foteez of  Sharon's Rose Parade Doily; my rendition of the Blue Girl Roses will dance around the outside soon!

Have a beautiful day/evening, wherever you are. ♥♥♥

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Insalata Caprese Salad, Ideal for Your Fathers Day Gathering

This is one of my all-time favorite summer dishes. Once the basil is planted, Summer has officially begun. There's nothing like the earthy aroma you get from just rubbing the leaves as they grow.
I pinch the blossom heads  off (dead-heading) as they appear, to help draw the strength back into the leaves. As the days grow warmer, the leaves become more potent, and by July, are ready for harvest.

Insalata Caprese Salad - Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Plate

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup fresh basil leaves
Coarse salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons drained capers (optional)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a circular design around the side of a serving plate, alternate fresh mozzarella slices on a large platter (or on individual plates if you are doing individual portions) with sliced tomatoes, overlapping for effect.
Tear fresh basil leaves and sprinkle liberally over the slices. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle capers over the top.
Just before serving, drizzle on some top-quality extra-virgin olive oil. NOTE: Insalata Caprese should never be allowed to sit in oil for any length of time and become soggy, and no vinegar of any kind goes on Insalata Caprese!
Makes 4 servings.

Variation Ideas: Serve with sliced panini or French baquette

Insalata Caprese Salad, Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Plate, How To Make Insalata Caprese Salad, Caprese Salad, Tomato Recipes, Mozzarella Cheese Recipes

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sharon's Rose Parade Doily in Progress

Yippy Skippy! I've ordered the pink for Sharon's Rose Parade Doily, at last! I t should be here by the end of next week-Joanne's is pretty fast at shipping. The pattern I'm working on is from Elizabeth Hiddleson Collections, Volume 11. 

After making a trip to Ben Franklin Crafts, Delavan, only to discover they didn't have the color I needed,  I was out of sorts for a couple days as to where to go next. provided the solution to my dilema. They had a 50% off discount on one item, and you betchya I took advantage of it!

The new colors for my Blue Girl rose motifs are Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet #10,

Orchid Pink and Wood Violet

Here's the doily, so far:

  I have a couple rounds of the background worked, the cellphone picture is not the best quality.

 I've started a new group in Ravelry today. Finding none that fit the catagory, Fans of Elizabeth Hiddelson,  I took it on myself and created one. Look us up on Ravelry under Elizabeth Hiddelson Fan-Addicts. I'm anxious to see who-all else is interested as I am.

7 hours later: 4 new members already! WHOOT!

Have a beautiful Father's Day~

Friday, June 18, 2010

Arcade Fire - Wake Up

Saw this Indie group on Austin City Limits last night, they stopped us in our channel-surfing tracks!!!! AWESOME CA GROUP! * methinks DH is in love with the curly-haired girl ;)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Starting a New Regiment: Jane Fonda's Original Workout - Beginners 1

Today I mapped a new 3.44-mile route in our neighborhood; a perfect day at 69 and sunny, half of the walk along shady lanes with cooler temperatures. Only one hill gave us a light cardio workout.

I came back and was plurking my activities, when I ran upon this video. I couldn't believe I found them-I was Jane's biggest fan back in the 80's, and her workouts were phenomenal because they worked. I was also into Yoga at the time, but the body isn't quite as flexible these days.

So, I decided to start back on the Jane Fonda Workout, and will start with one video a week, and work my way through them. These will be an excellent alternative during the winter months too!

Now, get out there and work those buns!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Excuse me Waiter, there's a Hole in my Blog....

The Lilies are blooming. I so love these, but they hide behind mountains of Purple Echinacea and Monarda, that I have to walk around back of the garden to see them. That's ok, the deer missed them too and they will give me a few days of eye candy.

I haven't blogged in days, I'm a little behind, but we've been hitting the hay so early these past couple weeks-10:30 again last night. DH was feeling cranky, his foot is giving him more trouble again. I just WISH he'd go get it taken care of....he's sick of not feeling good, I'm sick of him not feeling good, it goes on, and on....................siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

Got back from a 3 mile walk a little while ago-was brisk and chilly at 63 and cloudy when we left, felt SO GOOD. Coming back 50 minutes later, it's feeling a bit smarmy, the wind had died down too.

 We've got some running around to do today; shower, then head out to Target for some new gym shoes for DH and look at a Radio Flyer wagon for my Cactus from Hell. I want the one with the wooden sides, to keep the top-heavy cactus from falling over. It's ginormous and must weigh 50 lbs at least.

I got another round done on the Doily-will post a picture in Rav. shortly, but here's where I 'm at. It's not done, only about 50% right now, there's a whole 'nother area of background, then the circle of rose motifs.

 It's not blocked yet, looks a mess. but I was able to flatten it out some on the scanner, enough to get the idea~
...the blue for the two-tone roses isn't floating my boat, what do you think about a soft pink instead?  Maybe the Wood Violet for the center, and a solf pink for the outter petals. Yep, that's the ticket!

 Hope you have a lovely day, some sunshine in between the clouds. Here's a little sunshine I found peeking out from under my hoya carnosa, a pleasant surprise!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I am the Chipmunk Whisperer, hear me squeek~

Another soul was saved from teh Jaws of Death. Miss Pepper was on a rampage today and I rescued and resuscitated this little guy from eminent death. He was twitching and gasping what I believed were his final breaths, but 20 minutes later, after a bout of shivers and uncontrollable spasms, his breathing settled down and he quieted in my hands.
I inspected him for visible signs, and discovered he suffered a superficial wound to his belly, the cat barely missed puncturing a vital organ while tossing him around. Cats make me sick, but it is their nature, I suppose.

I place CC (Convalescent Chipmunk) in a plastic bin with a window screen over the top, for ventilation. I hope to release him in another couple hours, after the mattress is delivered and the hub-bub dies down...

At the time of posting, he is alert, but still not moving very fast. I did observe him sitting up, grooming his tiny feet.

Later that day: 

CC is nestled in under the folds of his towel, resting. When I peeked in to place a small ramekin of water in the corner of the bin, I uncovered him and he perked up and let me pet him gently.

He will stay the night and recuperate; he would be in danger of being sniffed out by fox if I let him out after dark, and I just can't have that. DH will just have to deal with it; the little guy cannot escape with a window screen over the bin, and the lid and a carpet on top (letting air in) to weight it down. His injury is enough to prevent him from trying to jump and escape. I plan to release him early tomorrow before our 8am walk.
A friend from GA. sent me this beautiful photo of a wildflower in bloom, called the Maypop.

and finally, before I get back to work, a bouquet of pink Peonies I received from DD19's BF's Grandmother. The smell is so lovely~

I have a white peony bush and a dark pink variety out by the Shed Garden~

We look forward to our first restful night on our new Steinhafels' Dreams Memory Foam mattress, and will provide Convalescent Chipmunk status updates tomorrow.♥♥♥

Update Wednesday, June 9, 2010

CC passed away early this morning. I buried him behind the Purple Bee Balm and placed a rock over his spot. I did my best, and what small comfort I gained in knowing he went while inside out of harm's way.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rose Parade : an Elizabeth Hiddelson pattern

 I've put the Alaska Jacket on a back burner temporarily, so I can make a get-well gift for the neighbor next-door. She's having foot surgery next month and I want to make her something special.

This Rose Parade Doily is from Elizabeth Hiddelson's Crochet Originals, Vol. 11, page 12-13. I was inspired by a particular rose bush I spied one day at her place, and instantly recognized it as a Blue Girl variety, only my most FAVORITE color rose of all times.

Each rose motif takes about an hour to accomplish, and the green leaf sections are about as involved. I'm intrigued by E. Hiddelson's pattern-writing technique; it's very plain and to the point, not traditionally written. Some of her directions are so cute in how she conveys her instructions. For example, for Row 13: "Follow directions for this rnd very careful, it is right---.....".

I find that by not thinking too hard, the pattern makes a great deal of sense in it's simplicity. The patterns themselves are far from simple designs; it is immediately apparent, a great deal of thought went into creating the intricate patterns she has become well-known for.

On another note
I'm experiencing a very annoying eye anomaly today. I've noted nearly all day, my vision is greatly compromised by a million tiny circles with tiny dots at their centers, floating around in one eye. I've taken out my contacts, cleaned them thoroughly , and have repeatedly flushed my eye out with contact solution. To no avail, the circles persisted throughout the day.
Tonight, as I type, I am noticing a large spiderwebby floater offside my peripheral vision. It seems to bounce around as I blink, almost mimicking the pattern page that is in front of me now, at my desk. I thought for a moment, somehow my eyeball was reflecting the image on the page, only in reverse; the "thing" is black and webby, but is definitely moving about in tandem with my eye movements. I've also noticed flashes of light in my peripheral vision, as I walked into the bathroom earlier tonight, (it was dark and the flashes were like little bolts of lightning...)

Something is afoot, and my recall is telling me I've heard of this before-now I must do some research to find out what is going on, tonight. I am hoping it will turn out to be merely a coincidence since using an overnight soak last night, and may have somehow compromised the contact lens. I'm not sure this is the case....

I found a couple articles on Floaters and Flashes here and here:  I'm not sure how this can have occurred in just one day, but sounds very similar to what I'm experiencing-but why now, all of a sudden..that is my main concern.

Mattress Stitch: A Knitter's Best Friend - Knitting Daily - Knitting Daily

I got this newsletter email today and thought I'd share this, in celebration of our getting our new mattress set tomorrow :)

Mattress Stitch: A Knitter's Best Friend - Knitting Daily Newsletter

Mattress Stitch Made Easy

One of my favorite knitters, Kathy Veeza ( a.k.a "Grumperina"), wrote a wonderful article in the spring 2008 Knitscene (which you can get on CD now!), all about seaming. This is just the mattress stitch portion, so check out the entire article on the Knitscene 2007-2009 Collection CD.

... a good example of how mattress stitch works as well on ribbing and moss stitch as it does on stockinette stitch (and garter stitch, and seed stitch, and whatever stitch you're working with!).

Step 1
Step 2

With the right side of the knitting facing you, use a threaded needle to pick up 1 bar between the first 2 stitches on one piece, then the corresponding bar plus the bar above it on the other piece (Step 1). *Pick up the next 2 bars on the first piece, then the next 2 bars on the other (Step 2). Repeat from * to the end of the seam, finishing by picking up the last bar (or pair of bars) at the top of the first piece.

Finished seam. To bring the seam together, simply pull gently on the yarn and the seam will tighten up and disappear.
The secret to streamlined seams is always working mattress stitch from the same vertical column. Never veer to the right or left of the seaming line—the stitch adjacent to the seam should be fully visible from base to top along the whole seam. If you veer into that stitch or farther away from it as you seam, your seam will zigzag in a distracting way. When seaming a sleeve into an armhole, make sure to follow this rule on the body pieces.

Spookeh Kitteh

DD34's cat is haunted. Every picture they take, this happens. Scary.

DH is cleaning the bedroom carpets in preparation for the new bed to arrive tomorrow afternoon. It's been a long wait, but we're almost there! Finally, we can look forward to a good night's sleep, again.

I'm cranking away at the Rose Parade Doily, an Elizabeth Hiddelson design. She's definitely got a style about her, it's fun trying something new. The Rose Parade is pictured in the center and will have a finished diameter of 18", a nice centerpiece size.

The first rose motif:

Comments on the color combination welcome-the jury is still out as to if this will be it. We're going for the Blue Girl "look". I am thinking I may have to dispense with the Bridal Blue and get a soft pink instead, and still use the lilac.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Recipes: Banana Cream Pie and Honey Nut Cheerio Macaroons

I got up early, a list of to-do's and a spatula in hand.

First thing on my agenda: Banana Cream Pie. The recipe is from my favorite cookbook of all time, "The Settlement Cook Book". I love this book and have relied on it since I first got it back in '76.

Banana Cream Pie

1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk, scalded
3 egg yokes (set egg whites aside for meringue or Macaroons, recipe to follow)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4teaspoon salt* optional
3 sliced bananas
1 baked 9-inch pie shell

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. Add milk slowly, stirring constantly. Cook in double boiler until cornstarch is clear and begins to thicken. Beat egg yokes slightly. Add gradually to mixture. Cook about 2 minutes. Add vanilla. Cool.
To assemble pie:
Slice bananas into baked pie shell, alternating layers of custard and bananas. Cover with meringue or whipped cream (*I use Cool Whip) and top with 3 banana slices for garnish. Serve chilled.

*To scald milk, place milk in a double boiler and heat just until bubbles form around edge. DO NOT bring to a boil. Remove from heat immediately.

What you you can make with the egg whites you saved from this recipe:

Honey Nut Cheerio Macaroons

This is my recipe, based on another I found which used cornflakes. *I omitted the salt, justified in knowing there was probably enough salt already in the cereal to make up for it.

3 cups Honey Nut Cheerios
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300.
Beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually beat in sugar and continue beating until stiff. Add remaining ingredients. Butter a 9 x 13 cake pan, and pour mixture into pan, spread to edges. Bake in a slow oven, 300° for 30 minutes. Cut into bars and remove from pan while warm.

I had a 1 lb bag of Folgers coffee beans, but didn't have a coffee grinder, so I used my mini food processor to coarse chop the beans and made a pot of coffee while the macaroons were in the oven. The coffee came out good, not too bitter or strong, and was waiting for me when I was finished in the kitchen.

Retro Rose waits patiently for the macaroons.

Igor was too pooped from a busy day in the fresh air Saturday.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Barn Storming into Summer

Today couldn't have been a more perfect day, except for the rain in the early morning. I had to postpone our daily walk, but needed a bit more time getting going, another restless night spent switching off positions in the bed around Igor. He had a good night, I'm happy to report.

Later in the morning, DH and the next-door neighbor (my walking buddy) went on a road trip to Home Depot to get another gallon of Behr exterior deck stain. The first coat on our upper deck dried to a wonderful warm glow, and after the rain overnight, beaded up nicely. Consequently, I had to sweep the puddles off or they would never have evaporated by day's end. We moved the furniture up yesterday and spent our first evening of the summer enjoying the view from above. DH had not spent much time up there before, but after about an hour, he commented he now understands why I love it up there so much. The view overlooking our back yard and woods is about as close to Heaven as it gets.

This is a copy of the original realtor's pictures, much too small to appreciate the actual view from above; Note to Self: Get new pix of our back yard~

Later in the afternoon, we took a ride out past the lake, and drove down some country roads. A Photoshop cafe buddy of M's suggested we make a photo collage of barns, after seeing a photo of one we took last week. We drove around the area and must have captured over a dozen farms with vintage barns, all in wonderful condition. It is amazing how many farms are still in existence still and thriving these days.

This one caught my eye, with it's lovely picket fence. 

This old weathered barn is still quite a showpiece, without a single layer of paint.

We must've taken over 4 dozen pictures of  various barns;  many were shot simply by shooting out the window during a slow drive-by, or while pulled over. We were taken unawares by a cop once, and thought for sure he would pull us over and ask what we were up to. He turned off a side road, and was gone before we had a chance to recover from our initial shock at finding he had been following us.

For dinner, I made Stuffed Grape Leaves, one of our absolute favorite summer dishes. They are great hot out of the pot, and even better cold the next day, as an hors d'oeurvre.  After we ate, we languished in our lawn chairs out front and watched the neighborhood settle down for a quiet Friday evening.

Tomorrow promises more of the same, with a cold front moving in later. For now, the humidity is tolerable.

I'm working on a new project for the neighbor lady, as a gift following her up-coming foot surgery July 21. I've picked a pattern from Elizabeth Hiddelson's books, Vol. 11, page 17, "Rose Parade".  I'm naming it "Roses for Sharon", and am attempting to mimic the colors of one of her rose bushes, Blue Girl. It happens to be my favorite rose of all, as well.

The first rose motif; not sure if the colors are talking to me, but will work on the doily until something clicks.

We finally got our new mattress on order~ we can't WAIT for it to arrive next Tuesday!! In the meantime, we're going to take the old set out of the bedroom and clean the carpet. After 10 years, we may just have restful nights again.

Off to bed~ tomorrow comes early and if no rain, may get in another early morning 5-mile walk. Crosses fingers.