Thursday, May 31, 2012

Project Planning

When planning a new project, it’s best to start at the beginning. The beginning is definitely the best place to start.

For most quilting projects, I usually will buy fabric for the pattern. For my latest challenge, I’ve decided to use fabric I already have in my stash and make it work for the pattern. Currently I’m trying to make a quilt kit I got for my birthday of Kate Spain’s Good Fortune work for a pattern in the book Material Obsession called Fanciful Flowers. In the book they used Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy line, which has just been re-released, but I wanted to take the design and give it an Asian flair.

First and foremost I have to figure out just how much fabric I have, what else I have in my stash that coordinates, and exactly how much fabric I need to create this quilt. This requires math. Math is hard. Last night while I was in the planning stages I decided it was all just too much to wrap my head around so I opted instead to watch a couple episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Desperate Housewife’s Quilt: Block Nine

Curved piecing is difficult. Glue can help with that.

When I first saw block nine in the Desperate Housewife’s Quilt ( I was intrigued. Here Jane was going to show us how to make a block with curves without sewing any curved seams. Brilliant! Instead of sewing the seams together and risk distortion, the block is assembled with a little glue and topstitched into place. Well, I didn’t have any glue so I put this block off for a very long time until I just couldn’t hold off any longer and decided to just make due with materials I had on hand. Instead of interfacing I used freezer paper (seriously, amazing stuff for any quilter to have in their arsenal) and instead of glue I mixed up a little cornstarch in water and used my fingers to dab along the folded edges before ironing the pieces together. For the topstitching, I decided on a gradient Aurifil thread in blues to go with the blues in the block. My only regret was that I used a much smaller stitch than I intended to, which doesn’t show off the beautiful colors in the thread. Oh well, live and learn.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Desperate Housewife’s Quilt: Block Sixteen

I’m sorry if my random back-and-forth between blocks in this quilt is confusing. Who am I kidding, no I’m not!

Block sixteen in the Desperate Housewife’s Quilt hosted by Jane over at Want it, Need it, Quilt! ( is like a spider web, and for this particular web I needed a forty-five-degree kaleidoscope ruler, which I don’t have. Instead I made a template using cardstock, made my first cut, and then used my square ruler on the forty-five-degree mark to cut out the triangles. The cutting was a breeze, even without the proper equipment. Sewing the block went together pretty quickly too. I decided to embellish the block a bit with some wavy lines using the Aurifil thread I won in a giveaway and have to say, I really like this thread and already have plans to use it for quilting in upcoming projects.

After making this block and realizing just how easy it is to do, I can’t wait to make blocks using the Dresden plate and sixty-degree rulers I got for my birthday. I was nearly tempted to make the block using my sixty-degree ruler instead, but fought the urge. I wonder what it would have looked like had I not?

Monday, May 28, 2012


Sometimes it would be nice if my brain would shut off. I mean, not literally because then I would be dead.

Focusing on a particular subject at any given moment takes a lot of willpower. I wonder if it would help if my name was Will? Damn it! Take the title of this post, for instance. I originally had it titled “Brains” but in my head all I can hear is a zombie-like voice saying it which changes the R and S into a W and Z and I couldn’t get that out of my damn head until I actually changed the title to fit the image. I don’t think it is Attention Deficit Disorder or anything, just my overactive imagination at play telling me I need to write more fiction and watch less television.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

An Abundance of Eggs

The hens have been in overdrive laying eggs lately. I don’t think we’ve ever had this much of a surplus.

Okay, so we really have had this many eggs at one time. But seriously, twelve dozen eggs are currently in our refrigerators. I know part of the reason is that I haven’t been making cakes and this is usually the beginning of busy cake making season, but the other part is with us both working mornings, I don’t make eggs for breakfast as much as I used to when, say, I was unemployed for two years.

The other problem is that a majority of them are covered in poop. Not the easy to scrape off poop from eating chicken feed, mind you, but the difficult to remove stuff from eating nearly everything they get their beaks into while foraging in the yard. My fellow chicken owners know exactly what I’m talking about here. Sure, they could be washed, but then they’d have to be eaten within a couple days as it would also remove the outer protective layer that keeps bacteria away from the inside of the eggs. Think of this layer of film like a sponge; in the plastic wrapper it won’t absorb anything, but remove the wrapper and it soaks in everything. Any bacteria that could be on the outside of the egg will be absorbed and could make a person quite sick. Typically this is why you are more likely to get sick from a store bought egg than a backyard egg since they are all washed nice and pretty before packing. Now, in factory egg’s defense, that film is replaced with an artificial film, but if there was any bacteria on the egg to begin with, it would’ve already been absorbed and could kill you. Okay, so maybe that is a little dramatic. I mean, nobody has ever died from salmonella poisoning, right? Sorry, my tangent-prone mind is on a rampage against big agriculture today apparently.

So, I have options: Give them away, to which there would be many happy recipients at the church who would gladly accept poop covered ovas from our girls; make an excessive amount of egg focused meals for the next couple weeks; boil a bunch up for snacks and egg salad sandwiches; save them for a zombie apocalypse.

Perhaps I need to peruse my cookbooks for recipes like lemon meringue pie or cakes or breads that are heavy on the eggs. Perhaps I need to make a pound cake or an assload of lemon curd and Swiss meringue buttercream. Perhaps I should have thought of this before this morning since I plan on focusing on sewing today after church and exploring nature tomorrow. Oh well.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Contemplating Buns

Lately I’ve had buns on my mind; something with a slightly hard exterior yet soft when you squeeze them and taste amazing. I have yet to find a recipe that will do the trick.

I’m pretty famous for my slow-cooker pulled pork sandwiches, but usually buy hamburger buns from the store for convenience to make them. The coleslaw? Perfect. The pork? The addition of smoked paprika and thirty hours in a crock-pot yield a flavor similar to being smoked and is great not only for sandwiches but tacos and enchiladas too. The buns? Lacking. I usually will opt for the more expensive yet flavorful large onion buns, but I really think I want to try making them myself. A flip through all of my cookbooks reveals I must be the only one. Even the joy of cooking doesn’t have anything. The only recipe that looks like it might even be close is for Parker House rolls.

And so my search will continue. If I can’t find a recipe worth making, to the store I will go and buy inferior buns. Of course, I suppose I could always check the bakery section to see if they have anything worth trying.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Going Away Quilt

When all else fails, I stare at my fabric stash. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything productive will happen, but at least I’ll look at some pretty stuff for awhile.

I've got a coworker who will be leaving for college to become a veterinarian in a couple months and have been racking my brain over what to do. Then it hit me, a lap quilt was in order. Thinking I had already purchased the perfect fabric of cats doing various cat things, I realized I didn’t actually have this fabric but merely saw it in the store months ago. Turns out I got the birds instead, probably because it was in the clearance section for three dollars a yard. Hmmm… maybe I can work that to my advantage.

Anyway, it appears I have some pondering and/or other fabric to buy for said project. Hopefully she will appreciate the effort that will go into it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I sound like Gollum when I cough. This cannot be good.

The rain continues to pour, which means I don’t have to water the vegetable garden. However, it has been a few days since I collected eggs and there are probably dozens of them waiting to be brought in.

My husband took pity on me and made dinner last night. The dishes on the other hand are piling up around the kitchen.

Another long day at work today. Great for the paycheck, but bad for my sickness.

Coffee, please kick in and make all my troubles go away?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sick, Sore and Snotty

I’ve got the three ‘S’s of a cold; I’m sick, I’m sore and I’m snotty. Colds are stupid.

My brain isn’t working all that well today, which will definitely make work fun. Yesterday I was having trouble doing minor tasks and speaking half the time. Not good during a ten and a half hour shift. Not good at all. Today is worse. Joy.

Usually when I’m sick I have trouble sleeping but last night I slept really well… until about a quarter to six this morning when my brain decides it wants to wake up even though the alarm clock still has another half hour before it will go off. The last month and a half has been like this. My body doesn’t like Daylight Savings time either. Maybe this sickness is a revolt against it? Or maybe I caught it from one of my coworkers who was sick a couple weeks ago. Oh gawd, I’m getting all random and tangenty again.


I wonder if taking a Claritan last night after dinner helped with sleepy time or not? It could have been the delicious sun dried tomato Italian style macaroni and cheese I made for dinner too based off a recipe I found on Pinterest, a website that apparently does have more value than simply pinning pretty pictures! I’ve made two recipes and used at least three different craft and quilt ideas using Pinterest. Of course, I spend most of my time looking at inappropriate humor while on the website.


Being sick is stupid. I hope in the near future we can find a way to deal with this problem instead of spending gobs of money and research on products that mask and prolong the duration of something as common as a cold.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I love reading books and I love writing books. I do not love that I haven’t done either in quite some time.

Ever since I was a child I had a fascination with books that made me want to become an author (and author/illustrator for children’s books) when I grew up. Sadly I’ve been quite grown for awhile now, but my dreams for world domination in five or so book categories has yet to materialize. Should I simply give up at my ripened age? Or should I persevere that much more to attain the goals I set when I was a poor fat kid now that I am an even poorer skinny man?

Of course, this would mean becoming even more of a recluse than I was in middle and high school, spending nearly all of my free time writing stories and illustrating pictures for the ones meant for children, right? I’m not so sure I’m ready to make that kind of commitment, but at the same time, I’m not ready to simply give up on my dreams. Something has got to change, and that something is within my grasp.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fall Quilt: Finished

Some projects come together quickly and others take their time coming to fruition. The Fall Quilt is definitely in the latter category.

After church and a Bunco fundraiser for our youth group, I felt the urge to sew. Right away I knew I wanted to finish the Fall Quilt. I completed the simple hand quilting nearly a month ago and it has been sitting in a bag waiting to be bound. So I swept the kitchen floor, grabbed my rotary cutter and mat and started trimming off the excess batting. I had planned from the beginning to do a simple binding using the backing and wrapping it around the front. What I hadn’t decided on was whether to hand or machine stitch the binding in place. After thinking about it for about four seconds, I decided to machine stitch it.

Using safety pins about every ten inches, I double folded the backing over the top and pinned it in place. I then used a hot iron and pressed it flat to make it easier to sew. Starting with the bottom, I stitched the binding in place, pulling and tugging the quilt to keep the stitches straight. For the corners of each section, I mitered them and began stitching as normal, using a backstitch to start.

When all was said and done, I had a completed quilt, ready for this autumn. Okay, so really it is ready for whatever time I feel like using it, but honestly, I absolutely love everything about it… except for my hand quilting. I wish I had kept going and done more of it!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Clown Bag

As was evident during the St. John’s Parade, a bag of supplies comes in handy. But what about one the clown could carry himself?

Friday night I asked my husband if he’d want a clown bag and he said yes so I had him choose the fabrics and I went from there. I had hoped to complete the project before yesterday’s Hazel Dell Parade, but alas, poor planning and my insistence on reading the instructions before starting the project led me to the realization that it was not going to be done in time. Balls.

So my fussy cut flowers I ironed fusible webbing then fused to micro-suede brushed cotton needed reinforced.

So my progress was slow.

My pinning wasn’t precise.

But in the end, I had a super cute clown bag… or regular market bag. I’m thinking one made with primary colors would fit his character better. We’ll see how ambitious I am to make another one of these pretties. That’s a lie, I loved making this bag and it was super easy! I also added two smaller pockets to hold stickers or small trinkets and a water bottle pocket to the inside liner. Overall I am well pleased with my efforts.

You can make your own Jane Market Bag with the pattern for sale at

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Desperate Housewife’s Quilt: Block Seventeen

With my To Do List from yesterday completed (well mostly, I didn’t vacuum) I decided it was time to sew. And sew I did.

Perusing the list of yet-to-be-done quilt blocks in The Desperate Housewife’s Quilt being hosted by Jane over at Want it, Need it, Quilt! (, I decided on block seventeen also titled Swing Me Around on the Hills Hoist. This was another foundation pieced block and while I’m not that big of a fan of perfection, seeing those tight points and perfectly aligned corners did give me a thrill. Perhaps this foundation piecing technique is growing on me!

In case you are unfamiliar, foundation piecing is using a printed paper design to aid in creating the block. All of your lines and angles are on the paper and you simply place your fabric where you need to sew and sew along the lines. It’s pretty simple and straight forward. Also, it’s super easy because you don’t have any exact pieces to cut out, you just have to use a piece of fabric that will fit within the design and trim after it is stitched together.

For my block, I chose two colorful batiks and made the Hills hoist itself from black and white fabrics that I’ve been using in various other blocks in this series. I was going to try to make it with a variation on a color, but couldn’t decide which one would work, so to make it easy went with black and white. The result is a block that is super fun and was super easy to make.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Today's To Do List

With so much stuff needing to get done, I’ve decided to make a To Do List for stuff I need to get done and also want to do. It would only be fair.

I will drink coffee.

I will blog.

I will clean the litter boxes… but not take a picture of the litter boxes because that is just disgusting.

I will make something with fabric.

I will play with the dog.

I will vacuum the floors… but not take a picture of the floors because they are disgusting.

I will be productive.

Alas, this is only a fraction of what I actually want to get done, but I suppose if I keep it simple the possibility of actually accomplishing everything on the list has a greater chance of happening. That and I have stuff I didn’t list that I really need to get done but I’m afraid listing it will only make me want to put it off even longer. Ugh.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Where's My Motivation?

Excuse me, have you seen my motivation? I seemed to have lost it.

I’ve got nothing witty to write about and no social commentary to disparage and definitely no news on the sewing front and not much going on in my cooking world either. Alas, my unmotivation is really setting in as of late. Of course, I’m also putting in more hours than usual at work, multiple projects I’m way overdue on finishing for church, and there is also the prospect of maybe having to move here shortly that might be putting a damper on my creativity level. Might? Methinks those are definite factors.

Yesterday I got together with a couple church friends to scrapbook the next four pages to send to our sister church in Uganda, but I apparently wasn’t alone in being unmotivated. We all seemed to either have our minds elsewhere during the project or were completely uninspired to work on it. Perhaps there is a bug going around and the symptoms are not wanting to do or make anything. Okay, so maybe this is a little dramatic, but it isn’t outside the realm of possibility here. I mean, us creative folk do tend to get a bit excited and moved to create when something new strolls into town, but we also tend to all slump when the newness wears off. Same thing holds true in someone being passionately creative rubbing that passion off on everyone else, as well as when they are completely downtrodden about the project and that lack of enthusiasm spreads throughout the group.

So here is my plan; I have tomorrow off, so I will try to refocus some of that lack of creativity into reenergizing myself. Instead of watching two or three movies on Netflix or spending the entire day on Pinterest pinning things I will probably never make or do, I’m going to work on projects that need worked on. I will clean the house just enough to make it so we don’t look like slobs. I will make a large pot of coffee, which will make me have to pee every five minutes which in turn will make me much less productive and reenergized than I’d hope which in turn will lead me to the couch and Netflix. Crap! I’m already setting myself up for failure!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

1963 Singer Touch & Sew Deluxe Zig-Zag Model 600 Sewing Machine

Oh Singer, My Singer
Why have I neglected you so?
Yet when push comes to shove
You stumble through a project like a pro.

Dust collects on your outer case
Which somehow manages to find
Itself in every crevice and hole
Including the bobbin wind.

How I adore the fact you have
So many accessories from which to choose
From special feet to special stitch discs
All there for one to casually peruse.

Yes I need to hold down the bobbin
While winding and I regret when not doing so
And when I sometimes forget to do it
You never fail to let me know.

Catch and pull and loud you are
But in the end, you barely miss a stitch
And sometimes you over-sew the same spot
Which ripping is quite the little bitch.

Perhaps what you really need is oil
We all need lubed sometimes
I forget the last time I had you serviced
But long enough to be a crime.

Yet there you sit on your table of wood
Gleaming in oyster enameled metal
Awaiting the next time your needle
Will penetrate fabrics with petals.

Oh Singer, My Singer
Forgive me of my neglectful ways
I promise to soon start using you again
To finish the Fall Quilt before rainy days.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Diabetics and Cake

Before work, I have to pick up a birthday cake for a coworker. But not just any cake, it has to be diabetic friendly. [sigh]

Cake is usually great on its own, but when you start fooling around with ingredients so people who shouldn’t be eating it can, a lot can go wrong. For instance, unrefined carbohydrates spike blood sugar and a cake is, well, ninety-two percent unrefined carbs. Okay, maybe not that high, but still, not all that great for someone with diabetes. Using legumes or whole grain flours instead alters the texture and flavor, and as far as sweeteners and frostings go, fake sugars taste just like that: fake. I suppose I could have made a cake for this person using my Honey Cake and Frosting recipes and added chocolate chips or something to make it a little more appealing, but alas, my last minute brain didn’t come up with that scenario until, uh, this morning. Honey doesn’t raise blood sugar and sweetens and flavors desserts beautifully, but does add its own flavor to the mix as well. Another option I know of (and have in the cupboard still unused) is agave nectar, which is made from the same plant as tequila. Mmm… tequila.

This all got me wondering, should we as a society cater to people with specific dietary needs? Do bakeries have a moral obligation to create breads for people who are gluten-intolerant or diabetic or allergic to wheat? I’m not going to answer these questions or anything, I just wanted to pose them out there for those of us who are not affected by these allergies or intolerances ourselves, but know people who have to make a conscious decision when not cooking for themselves. Now, if only they would stop making so many fruit bowls with pineapple, perhaps even I could enjoy some every now and then.

Alas, a purchase must be made, and it hopefully will be edible. I just hope it tastes good too.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekend Sewing

I felt the urge to sew this weekend despite the nearly ninety degree temperatures. I didn’t get very far.

Saturday after the parade and a late lunch I decided to work a little bit on That 70s Quilt. Seriously, just a little, as in chain stitched one section to another in what will become the rows of the quilt. I almost started the next section, but decided against it. Why? Because it was just too damn hot to sew and iron. Heat and I don’t get along… except in the shower.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Parades are fun to watch and fun to participate in. They are a bit of a challenge weaving through crowded sidewalks carrying a bag of extra clown supplies and a camera.

Yesterday I followed my husband and his clown friends around during the St. John’s Parade in North Portland. Slowly but surely, I will get over this fear. There were a couple clowns from the previous year and a whole new class of clowns on what was their first parade experience… at least after clown school. Yes, Portland has a clown school, it wasn’t just a random mention in the television show Portlandia to poke fun at the city. And yes, it’s a pretty serious job. Anyway, I only had to supply my husband, in character as Roosevelt (his clown name) once, but got a lot of really great pictures. Or so I thought. Apparently there is this thing called motion that ruins most pictures and there is a lot of it running rampant through the photos I took. It was also really bright outside and in the worst possible picture taking time of the day, noon. I’ll see what I can do in Photoshop to remedy a few of the shots worth fixing.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


We have an abundance of eggs as of late. Perhaps it’s time to start selling or hoarding them.

The girls have been extra busy laying lately, probably due to the excessive amount of sunshine we’ve been getting here in the Pacific Northwest. That is great for eating, but realistically, we’d have to each eat two to three eggs a day to keep up with them. Personally, I don’t think I could do that. I mean, if push came to shove and we had no money at all for groceries I know I would make them a staple at the dinner table, but fortunately it hasn’t gotten to that point… yet.

Of course, the reality must also set in that we may not be able to keep the girls for much longer if our living situation does get changed, as in our landlord decides to move back in. Alas, I suppose we will cross that bridge when we get there. So, should we share our hens’s delicious ovas or hoard them for later consumption? That is definitely something to ponder.

Friday, May 11, 2012


“I’m sorry, you can’t print that black and white document because I’m out of yellow ink,” says the printer. It never fails to annoy me.

Perhaps my annoyance with inkjet printers is based on the fact that while we do not print all that much, or, well, I don’t anyway, it always seems to run out of ink when I actually need something printed off. My husband is a teacher and prints stuff off all the time. After finding out our printer cartridges are no longer available at Costco and that buying the color ink cartridges separately is no longer an option, we’ve decided to start looking into getting a new printer. Of course, I had to buy the color cartridges so we could print, but still, it will happen in the near future.

Options we’re looking into include replacing our inkjet with a laser printer. We’ve talked about getting a color laser printer for years, but cost is a pretty prohibitive factor. The downfalls of having a laser printer instead of an inkjet would mostly be on my end, as printing on fabric or iron-on transfers or photo paper all have to be done on an inkjet printer. However, the upside would be crisper text and a cleaner looking document overall. Of course, another option would be to have both printers.

Alas, new ink has been purchased and at least I can print off the documents I need printed. Of course, my needs are to print off the paper-piecing patterns for some more Desperate Housewife’s Quilt blocks. Still, they are needs nonetheless.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


The thing about saying I’m going to be productive means the probability of me actually being productive drops by a factor of ten. It’s sad, really.

So productivity and I aren’t friends. However, I did manage to sew on the buttons for my husband’s clown vest! I even, if you can believe it, managed to also sew the button holes too! Of course, most of my day was spent watching movies on Netflix. I’m not sure why, but my motivation as of late has been a little, well, absent. Whether it is the prospect of having to move again or that mid-spring-you-should-be-doing-something-outside I’m not certain.

Perhaps what I need to do is make a plan with rewards; if I do this then I can do that. Of course, I’m a spontaneous person in that manner. I can’t spring on creativity. It’s the same with writing. I don’t plan what I’m going to write about, I just sit down, come up with a topic and start typing… as if that wasn’t obvious by this blog.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Saying I’m going to be productive is the same as saying there is only a ten percent chance of rain here in the Northwest. It’s going to be jinxed.

Having goals is one thing, but stating, “This is what I’m going to accomplish today!” is another. When I have a goal, I usually have a goal date or time to complete it by and am usually pretty generous. Of course, I usually procrastinate until the last minute before starting the project and it turns into a horrendous nightmare and I vow never to make another cake for as long as I live! Okay, so perhaps I can be a little overdramatic when it comes to things like cake.

I’m hoping, however, that today will at least be productive. By that, I mean I have plans to clean the house, go grocery shopping, and work on a few sewing projects. Maybe I’ll throw in a load of laundry or two. If not, oh well. I tried. Okay, so knowing me I will end up not cleaning the house, watching a couple movies then throwing a load in the washer and trying to figure out a last minute meal for dinner.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spring... Finally

The sun is shining; the birds are singing; the flowers and vegetables are beginning to sprout. It finally must be spring!

With the dahlias we got last year and planted in a couple of our large terra cotta pots making another appearance this year, it is indeed proof that spring is upon us. Of course, soon after will be summer when a majority of our flowers will be in bloom and vegetables will be in full production mode here in the Pacific Northwest. While the lilac is beginning to show signs it will soon fade its fragrant and beautiful purple blossoms for more luscious greenery, the butterfly bush is just now getting ready to put on its much longer and just as showy display.

However, there might be a snag. We have no idea how long we will be living at this particular house, and with that uncertainty comes the reality I probably shouldn’t plant anything we wouldn’t be able to take with us. So for the immediate future anyway, it looks as though whatever we’ve got in the ground will probably be it. My hope is that we will be able to stay here until October or November, but with everything depending on our landlord’s mother’s health, that might not be an option.

I will try to focus on the positives instead of the negatives. For now, we have full vegetable garden boxes and some perennials getting ready to bloom for the remainder of the year until the first frost. For now we have happy hens giddily pecking at the ground for weeds and bugs. For now we have a deck and a yard to enjoy the outdoors. For now. Hey, I said I would try, I didn’t say I’d be any good at it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rotisserie Chicken

Round and round and round she goes. Well, after a bit of nudging and a good whack, anyway.

Our grill also has a rotisserie function. Simply slide the bird on to the stick thingie and shove it into the doohickey and turn in on and magically it starts to spin. Technical terms for these particular devices are foreign to me. The grill is a hand-me-down and surprisingly still works even though it looks like it is falling apart. I don’t know if it could take another move.

Anyway, we had gorgeous I-don’t-want-to-cook-inside weather yesterday and I took advantage of that by thawing out a whole chicken I bought weeks ago and put in the freezer just for a day like this. After patting the chicken dry with a paper towel, I rubbed some herbed butter (with some fresh sage, rosemary, oregano and thyme from the garden, along with salt and pepper) under the skin and inside the cavity. After carefully inserting the rotisserie spit and claw things and tightening the clamps, I put it on the preheated grill, plugged in the spinner thing and watched as it did nothing. I detached the chicken, whacked the device against the edge of the grill and the turning mechanism started moving again. I placed a broiler pan directly underneath to not only prevent flare-ups, but also to fill with beer. We had a bottle of an IPA that neither of us planned on drinking, so we poured it into the pan along with a glass of water and kept filling it with more water for the hour and ten minutes we had it on the grill.

While the chicken was resting, I microwaved some potatoes and put a salad together using leftover salad from the church potluck earlier in the day that was looking for a home other than the trash. There were so many flavors in the salad, I figured nothing more than a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar would be needed. So after twenty minutes of letting the chicken rest, it was time to cut into it and find out if she was still moist or if I had overcooked the bird. You see, I am notorious for undercooking whole birds. I just bad at it. So for this one, I let it cook for probably a good fifteen minutes longer than it needed to. Hopefully the beer and water sauna it was cooking in made its way into the meat. It did. And it was amazing. Now I have a use for an India Pale Ale next time one randomly ends up in our fridge!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Locally Inspired Potluck

Potlucks are fun. Making a dish where everything is local is a challenge.

After church we are watching Food, Inc. as an adult education lesson and discussion. But before the movie, we will eat. The theme of the potluck is local foods, and for our dish I went no further than my backyard. I made deviled eggs.

A few weeks ago I decided that I was indeed going to make deviled eggs, so I began saving eggs from one particular hen, our Dominique, Kendra. Why, you may ask, would I only use the eggs of one hen instead of from all of them? Because her eggs boil up and peel perfectly every time. A couple of the girls have nearly impenetrable membranes that attach to the cooked egg whites and cause a super pock-marked egg, which is perfect for traction on a slippery surface, but not so fun to peel. So after boiling eighteen of her delicious ovas, I went to work adding the various ingredients, thirteen in all, to create my version of the deviled egg. I never measure, so each batch is a little different, but I may have added just a bit too much cayenne pepper. At least they still taste delicious!

Now, while I was able to source my eggs rather local, the herbs and spices are from around the world, ranging from California to India. This can happen when you use a lot of spices. However, the point is to think about and make a conscious decision about the food we eat. I figure eating the eggs of a happy backyard hen is better than a battery cage hen any day, even if she happens to have stopped laying and started going broody!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Soda fountains and candy shops are a thing of nostalgia. At Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop, they are keeping the nostalgia alive.

Last night we went to Fizz in Portland, Oregon to see some of our friend Sarah’s incredible photography up on display and for sale. Now I’ve heard of Fizz before, where they have hundreds of sodas and hard to find and retro candies, but hadn’t made it down yet. What a perfect excuse! In conjunction with their large bottled sodas for sale, they also hand stir quite a variety of pop too. I tried the Virgin Island Ginger Beer and it was amazing.

The store is located in a residential area and is mostly surrounded by large older homes and seems like the perfect after school place for kids to get a little candy and a pop before walking home. Whether or not this happens is beyond me, but I did notice quite a few people looked like they just walked from their homes to the shop, and about half of them with kids in tow. The other half were about my age and actually looked like a kid in a candy store when they started perusing the selection.

Another fun thing about the store is their tribute to local legend and television host Ramblin Rod. Their shrine not only includes a sweater with buttons, which you can add to with your own buttons, but also his microphone he used on the daily morning cartoon show he hosted. While my one and only time I was on the show my smile turned disastrous with a case of the hiccups that made an unfortunate appearance when the camera was on my face during the Smile Contest, the memories I have as a kid watching this show are all still great.

If you live in the Portland metro area or happen to be visiting, I highly recommend checking this cute shop out. Also, our friend Sarah’s photography will be on display through the rest of the month so that will give you another incentive to go and maybe buy one or all of her pieces she has up for sale.

Visit Fizz on the web at:

or on Facebook at:

And check out Sarah Costa Photography at:

Friday, May 4, 2012


When life gives you that certain little, “Oh, you look mighty comfortable, why don’t I go ahead and kick you in the balls!” May the fourth be with you.

We may be moving. Again. Like, real soon. If there is anything I despise, it is moving. Oh, the packing is easy enough, but the actual moving of stuff is just, well, annoying. I have a feeling we’ll be getting rid of even more stuff than we did last time not because we don’t want it anymore but because we just don’t want to have to move it.

May the fourth be with you.

When paying rent, our landlord informed me that circumstances might be changing really soon and he would need to move back in to his house. Which is where we live. Which means we would have to move out. Which means maybe our next living arrangement will have to be [gasp] an apartment.

May the fourth be with you.

Can we find something that takes both dogs and cats and still be affordable? What about the chickens? What if we have to eat eggs bought from the store?

May the fourth be with you.

But then I tell myself there is no use worrying about the future. If you do, you’ll forget to live in the now. Tomorrow will come, but today will disappear into yesterday. So May the fourth be with you.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I feel it on my fingertips, see it on the windowpane. It must be rain.

Rain has its purpose, I just don’t know why that purpose has to be so constant. It seems that once the rainy season here in the Pacific Northwest starts, we don’t see the sun for at least three months. Sad, really. There are benefits, I suppose. I don’t have to water the vegetable garden. There are downfalls as well, in that our Great Dane, Lucy, comes in after going potty pretty much with mud all over her feet.

And so it is, halfway through another rainy spring. I wonder if that means I will be motivated to do some sewing tonight? Magic Eight Ball says, “Doubtful. Outlook is grim.” And now I can't get the Madonna song of the same name out of my head either.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It Came!

After waiting patiently, it came. It finally came!

When I got home yesterday, a package was waiting for me. That’d be my fabric I ordered with my gift certificate for winning the international prize for the Dress Up Your Roll contest! Opening the box revealed the fat quarter bundle of The Lorax in the Earth color-way and a layer cake of Stitch by Betz White.

Oh, the things I will do!
Oh, the things I will make!
With that fat quarter bundle
And cheerful layer cake!

Sorry, I went a little Seussical there. But seriously, I don’t know what it is about the Lorax fabric that, while being quite childish, makes me want to make a grown-up quilt with it. Probably the kid in me, as I still eat Lucky Charms for breakfast most mornings (they’re magically delicious, you know!) Or it could be that I unwittingly bought two products which are certified organic fabrics. You know what that means? I need to make sure my batting and backing and threads are all the same too, right? We’ll see about that.

With so many fabrics to choose
So many choices from which
I can turn a mere quilt top
Into a stunning quilt sandwich!

Alas, the time to contemplate is upon me, and the time to finish up some of my works in projects is indeed in the near future. I can’t explain why I can’t just work on one thing at a time, unless it is a baby’s quilt which I seem to have no problem starting and finishing in a day. Perhaps it is just another example of how I stay interested in the work. Hmmm… maybe I need to try this with the five or so novels I’ve got in various stages of completion? Another post for another day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Crafter's Dilemma

With so many projects
And so much to dos
It’s hard to decide
And difficult to choose.

Should I work on This?
Should I work on That?
Should I make catnip pillows
For a catnip-addict cat?

My brains are all Jell-O
My mind is all mush
My thoughts are a big
Jumbled up slush!

Unfinished Objects!
Works in Progress!
Start something new
And add to the mess!

Or simply do nothing
And nothing will be
I will simply do nothing
Nothing! You will see!

A day filled with nothingness
No accomplishments or goals
A day of needed rest
For our overworked souls.

Alas, today can’t be
That day of rest required
For today I must work
Until I’m good and tired.