Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Best Way to Cheer Me? Cashmere Me!

Picking up my sticks again to knit some adorable baby booties for a friend's newborn. I love this yarn. It's a cashmere blend and comes in the most wonderful colors. I'll add a tiny black and white gingham ribbon to these and knit another pair in petal pink for a special welcome to the brand new baby girl.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Be A Doll

I don't remember being really interested in dolls as a little girl. Oh sure, I thought they were beautiful and I probably wanted them, but I don't really remember playing with them. I loved paper dolls, though. I remember looking forward to each issue of McCall's magazine to cut out the Betsy McCall feature of the month. I loved Betsy and her outfits designed to correspond with the holiday or event of the month. I loved her little weiner dog, Nosy and her cousin Barbara, too.

Here's a scanned page from a Web site. Its from March 1957. I loved the little games and puzzles on the page, too. And another shop on line called Tiny McSmall that has wonderful paper dolls and other neat crafts and gifts for kids.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sun Day

This was my view today from about 11am-2pm. Gloriously warm and sunny. I had one of those V-8 knock yourself on the head moments today. It had been so long since I had been to the beach and once I got there and started to relax and unwind, I did the V-8 thing..."geesh, I could have been coming to the beach every weekend instead of (insert any mundane activity here)." Sometimes I forget I live only 3 miles from a spot like this.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Not exactly unique but certainly a classic---and so easy!

From the Pantry

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 cup white sugar (plus some for rolling)

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Use a silicone mat on a cookie sheet or spray cookie sheet with Pam.

Note: Oven temp will be 375 but dough must chill for an hour before cooking- so dont preheat too early.

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter. Refrigerate batter for 1 hour (this step is important especially for nice criss cross patterns on top!)

Roll into 1 inch balls using hands. On a small plate, pour about 1/2 cup white sugar and roll balls in sugar, coating all over. Place balls on cookie sheet and press flat with tines of fork, making a criss cross pattern.

Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees or until just golden brown. Be careful not to burn. Refrigerate unrolled dough in between. Let baked cookies sit for just a few minutes and then transfer to wire racks for cooling.

Makes about 48 cookies.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Take a Card

Remember these? Library catalog cards? The Dewey decimal system? Make your own at this site. Make up a title of a book---the epic you never wrote but always wanted to. Then type in comments that will appear as scribbles on the card. I kept it clean. Its a new roses I have.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Toast to Good Health

Drinks and a nosh on the patio.

The Mr.'s : Ketel One and tonic with a splash of orange juice and a slice of backyard-grown Meyer lemon. This drink is a family special known as a "Parker". The nosh is fresh little mozzarella balls (called bocconcini) marinated in olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt and black pepper.

The Wudgie's : Mott's for Tots apple juice (full strength as it is already reduced sugar). This is known as a "joooosh". The nosh is baby goldfish.

The toast: Here's looking at you, kid.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Honey Bee Lost

I love Haagen-Dazs' new campaign to help the honey bee. Did you know that 25% of the Western honey bee population has disappeared over the past few winters? There are several reasons for this---mostly a mysterious condition called Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. No one knows why whole colonies of bees are just disappearing at a very alarming rate. Bees are so integral to our food supply as pollinators of many crops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that about one-third of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants and that the honey bee is responsible for 80 percent of this pollination.

Check out the Help the Honey Bees website that H-D has created just for this campaign. It explains the seriousness of CCD and what you can do to help--including planting such lovely things as lavender, violets, sunflowers and rosemary to attract and sustain bees. You can even download a great (and free) screensaver and wallpaper, create your own bee (you pick the hair style, eye color and body type!) and send bee mail. It bee good.

Monday, April 21, 2008


The other day during cocktails on the patio hour, we had a neighborly visit. Our patio is a very closed and intimate space with a wooden gate, privacy fence and lots of shrubbery to enclose it. The Mr. and I were sitting there enjoying the moment when in walks this big boy. We have seen him around the 'hood. He sauntered under the gate, walked leisurely over to the fountain just a few feet away from us, sniffed around and stood up for a drink. It was cocktail hour, after all.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The View from the Cheap Seat

When it came time to furnish our remodeled family room, I wanted clean lines with a mid-century contemporary look. I wanted this Harry Bertoia chair for the corner. I love the simplicity of the diamond mesh and the texture of the metal gridwork. It was a little (OK a lot) out of my price range. $856 here.

I found this instead. Similar butterfly type design and the wicker adds texture appropriate for a family room. I found it in the back sale corner of our local Pier 1. Sorry, but I can't seem to find it available on line anywhere to even tell you what the name of it is. The cost? $49.

Six months ago when I bought this chair, after coveting the Bertoia, I felt I compromised. Today, I LOVE this chair. It is comfortable and is perfect for the corner it graces. There's a great view from the cheap seat.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I usually post a recipe on Saturdays. Usually a recipe I have tried at home and claim to be "mine". Today I am celebrating OPR Day or Other People's Recipe Day. I love Pioneer Woman's cooking site and have tried quite a few of her recipes. I really like the Marlboro Man Sandwiches and the Apple Dumplings (made with Mt Dew soda!). Please let me know if you try any of her recipes and how they turned out. Thank you Ree!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Thank goodness it's .......

Spell it with photos here

Thursday, April 17, 2008

True or False?

The Wudgie has gorgeous eyes and fantastic eyelashes. She knows how to bat them and melt the Mr.'s heart (and mine). In fact, we've added a few lines to the "what does the ---- say?" song......the doggie says woof woof woof, the kitty says meow meow meow etc etc until we get to the grammie says mwha mwha mwha (make kissy sounds) and the grandad says anything you want you can have sweetie.

Need a little help with your lashes so you can get what you want, too? Here's a site that offers lots of choices. With same day shipping. Just think- you could have anything you wanted from the Mr. by Monday. Lucky you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pasta Pefect

When we were in Italy we had the best meal ever in this little ristorante up on the hill side in Positano. Our friend, Fabrizio, took us there. One of the many remarkable things about food in Italy is the color (and taste and texture) of the pasta. It is a brilliant yellow from the farm fresh eggs. Look at the difference in color of the yolks in this photo and you can see how it would influence the final product.

Here's a fun fact about pasta. According to this engineering site, pasta is technically a liquid. Pour on the pasta.

Did you know there are over 350 recognized pasta shapes and many of them named after body parts or inanimate objects? They are also quite a study in geometry and architecture.
Think you know a lot about pasta shapes? Try this fun quiz.

Monday, April 14, 2008

On The Cold Front

The last cold front of the season is supposed to pass through tonight. I am sad about that. I love the cold weather and hate to see the last of it come and go.

Of course, I now live in a part of the country that really doesn't get very c-o-l-d...just cold. This photo is of Hubbard Glacier in Alaska. I think the Hubbard should be the 8th wonder of the world. What an incredible sight. When facing the glacier you can actually feel a very cold blast of air coming off of it---just like the big guy opened the world's largest freezer door and there you were standing in front of it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ikea, Don't You?

Today we went to Sweden. We drove an hour and a half. Well, we went to Ikea. Same difference. I tried to explain to the Mr. what exactly a trip to Ikea would entail. The destination concept and all. Four hours later and I think he got it. Not sure if he was expecting to see these guys there or possibly these folks. I found all sorts of neat things and could have kept looking for another 4 hours. My take today: glass canisters, polypropylene tote bags, magazine holders and plastic food storage containers. And a new word for good bye.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Apple Pecan Bread

This is a family favorite. Lots of ingredients but still simple to make---most time consuming is the apple peeling and chopping. Make sure to add the cinnamon sugar as soon as the bread is turned out from the pan and is still hot---the sugar melts into the bread and forms a delicious crust. We like a nice thick slice for breakfast slathered with honey butter.

From the Pantry

1 cup canola oil

3 eggs

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 Tbsp vanilla

3 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

4 cups peeled, chopped apples

1 cup chopped pecans

3 Tbsp cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray 2 regular sized loaf pans. Combine oil, eggs, sugars and vanilla. Sift together flour, spices, soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet mix gradually. Add apples and nuts and mix- batter will be very thick!

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans and smooth tops. Bake in 300 degree oven for 90 minutes. As soon as pans come out of oven, turn bread on to wire racks and sprinkle tops liberally with cinnamon sugar. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

If It Walks Like A Duck....

and splashes like a duck...it's probably Wudgie practicing for Riverdance....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hall Monitor

When we remodeled last fall I looked for large pieces of artwork that were contemporary, had some texture and were inexpensive. I found a great site that specializes in Finnish imports, including Marimekko fabrics. I ordered a 2 yard piece of fabric and 4 large stretcher bars that snap together to make a frame. I then stapled the fabric around the frame nice and taught and hung on the wall of the gallery style hallway that connects the living area to the guest bedrooms, bath and study. Instant art at an affordable price.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Skipping Monday

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

That's No Lady---That's My Sofa!

I love my two small scale sofas in our front room. They are from Room & Board and I ordered them off their website after receiving just a small fabric swatch in the mail. I could not have been happier with my selections. These 2 pieces are armless and have very deep and wide seats. They remind me of big-hipped ladies. Graceful and feminine yet with a substantial presence.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Greek Salad

I love Greek salad. Salty feta and olives with crisp cukes and sweet red onion....mmmm. My secret to a great Greek salad is Good Seasons salad dressing doctored up just a bit. Enjoy this EASY salad and just add chicken or left over steak for a great dinner salad. From the Pantry

1 bag pre-washed salad mix- preferably without iceberg

1 large seedless (English) cucumber

3-4 plum tomatoes

1 medium red onion

8 oz fresh feta

1 cup black olives or green olives

1 package Good Seasons Italian dressing- mixed (see below)

Empty bagged lettuce into large bowl. Peel cucumber and slice into bite-sized chunks. Seed tomatoes and cut into chunks. French slice red onions and then cut off root end. Cut feta into large chunks. Drain olives and add to salad. Add dressing and toss- serve immediately.

Good Seasons dressing: Follow package instructions using extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add 2-3 packets of Splenda before shaking.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Photoshopping Around

I just learned how to use open Photoshop. I created this photo of Wudgie in her Easter dress by using 2 layers. The bottom layer is the SOOC (straight out of camera) layer and is in color. The top layer was adjusted to be monochrome/gray scale. Then I used the little eraser tool and erased through the top gray layer to reveal the color layer below- but only on Wudgie and her dress. It was fun doing this and when I zoomed in on her face and details to erase more accurately, it really was a special feeling of seeing her little facial structure- her cheek bones and little button nose way up close- and then to reveal the pink of her skin tone was really special and made me smile.

Pioneer Woman has a few good tutorials on using Photoshop and she promises to keep adding more. Her photos of her family and ranch are beautiful and she started taking photos just a few years ago.

I love silly photos and Photoshop is the tool to create your own.

Like this one.

This one even appeared in some tabloids claiming this was the world's largest house cat. Come on.

Photoshop Disasters is a great blog that loves to find and point out Photoshop mistakes in advertising graphics (some BIG names, too) that got past editors. Like this lovely three handed maiden.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Let The Good Times Roll!

As you know, Thursday night is Wudgie night around here. We're on a pretty tight schedule on Thursday nights. Let's see, there's cookie time, juice time, play time, outside time, book time, dinner time, bath time, jammie time, some more book time, warm milk time, big bed with the little pillow time and sweet dreams time. Good times.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Not So Cardbored

I was running early for my class last night (remember, I am this) so I stopped in the bookstore for a few minutes. I was fascinated by these recycled cardboard vases/pencil holders/"things". They were very Slinky-ish and I couldn't put one down. Until I saw the price. $26. Called "liquid cardboard" and made of that honeycomb packing type stuff, they were really neat. Did I mention they cost $26?

The company that makes them, Cardboard Design, also sells cardboard furniture- tables and shelves- but at a much more reasonable cost of about $150 for a large desk.

Check out this crazy cardboard chandelier made by Anneke Jakobs of the Netherlands...out of Chiquita banana boxes.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Site Meter