Monday, May 31, 2010

In a remodeling mood

We have been in our house for almost 9 years. There have been periods of remodeling and fixing up stuff, but I haven't tackled any projects this year. I am in the mood though, and started stripping the inside of our old wooden windows in the bedroom this weekend. It will be an ongoing project. The windows need to be resealed badly and the paint was chipping off and moldy, yuck. That is no fun, and though the end product will look nice, it won't be noticable. What I really want to do is paint and spruce up our dining room. I have been wanting a new light fixture above the dining table for ages and am really liking these two (and their budget friendly prices) from Ikea. Click on the image to go to the source. Not sure if Frank will go for either one of these, but I love their shapes and textures!

Etsy Front Page

My Oval Hoops made the etsy front page in a patriotic themed treasury!

I see a cobbler in my future

The dewberries are ripening at my parents house, and oh boy are they delicious! Mom has a fabulous and easy cobbler recipe, and I'm sure we will be whipping up at least one before long. I'll share the one dish dessert recipe when we make it. For now check out the size of those berries. These plants came from my Granny and Pawpaw's garden in Houston and I'm really going to miss the berries when my parents move to the Hill Country!

On an unrelated note, I saw another sunset over our street last week! These photos are making it seem like a common occurrence, but it is really very rare. This image makes me so happy.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hill Country Getaway

Frank and I went down to my parents' property in Wimberley last weekend for a little break. Frank finished his first semester of college with A's and B's (yay!) and was totally in need of some rest and relaxation. Our big plans included going to Luckenbach and Fredricksburg, and floating or swimming in a river. On Friday we, along with my parents and their friends, executed the first part of that plan.

We headed west from Wimberley towards Blanco along Devil's Backbone. This is an overlook spot. Try to ignore the fence and enjoy the view.
At Luckenbach, pop. 3, there is a US Post Office, gift shop, bar and outdoor seating under magnificent oak trees where you can have a beer and enjoy some live music. This is most definitely a Texas landmark and a spot that every Texan should visit. Frank had never been and requested that we go. I had been as a child and mostly remembered people playing washers and hanging out outside.

Frank at the bar ordering some Shiner Bach

There were roosters roaming around!

Frank and I walked across the creek to check out these enormous trees.
An Oak

And a Cypress

After a beer at Luckenbach we headed on down the road to Fredricksburg. We have a favorite little spot that serves up homemade ice cream. Whenever we are in the area I have to have a scoop of Amaretto Peach Pecan. Fredricksburg is famous for its peaches, and is a cute little touristy town. There were many new shops since I had been there last, unfortunately many were closing since we got there close to 5.

The Texas Hill Country is so beautiful, and these images really don't capture the beauty. I grew up vacationing and camping in this area and I am thrilled that we now have a place to stay down there. Frank and I have said that we need to get a map of the area, draw a circle around my parents' property and mark all the swimming holes. There are four rivers just minutes away, the Blanco, San Marcos, Guadalupe and Comal. Canyon lake is just up the road, and Wimberley has Cypress creek, along which lay Blue hole and Jacob's Well. Within an hours drive there are seemingly endless more swimming holes and places to visit, and just a bit further (2.5 hrs) my favorite spot in the entire state, Garner state park and the Frio river! They are also only 45 minutes from both Austin and San Antonio.

The dogs were with us this time and behaved really well. Malta is a trooper, and though she had trouble getting up and down the stairs in my folks RV, she loves being outside. Malta has done quite a bit of camping with me in her 14 years, and I hope to take Lucy on many more trips. I was a bit worried about letting them run loose for fear of snakes. Not sure what to do about that?
In Wimberley Frank and I visited this little vintage shop that has over 500 pair of cowboy boots. The woman that owns the shop is super friendly and goes by "The Boot Wisperer". She was able to tell what size to bring me just by looking at my feet. I didn't go home with any boots, but will keep an eye on her stock for a perfect pair. I have been wanting some cowboy boots for a while, though not sure where I would wear them as I'm more of a sandals and flats kind of girl!
As for the swimming, it really wasn't quite hot enough yet. Each morning there were threats of rain in the form of clouds and gray skies. Saturday afternoon it did warm up to 90 degrees and cleared off long enough for us to go to New Braunfels and jump in the Guadalupe. There were people out tubing, which is the main attraction of the area. We headed to a park in town that proved to be too shady to really enjoy the chilly water. Mom stayed in the longest, floating down river a bit, I got up to my neck, dad stood in the water and Frank stepped in and out along with the dogs. There will be plenty of swimming in the near future when the Texas heat cranks up, so I wasn't too disappointed.

I have been absent lately from the blog. If you are wondering why, it is because I am applying for jobs. Frank plans to go to school again in the fall, and I am hoping to find a job this summer. Fingers crossed please!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Crazy in the Kitchen

Last Wednesday evening we were getting ready to head out of town for a long weekend. Mom had requested that I make some bread and I got a little carried away with that task. I have used the basic recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day numerous times. I had borrowed the second book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and wanted to try out the whole wheat bread. I had previously tried adding whole wheat into the basic recipe but that was a big fat fail. I realized after looking at the book that you have to use Vital Wheat Gluten with whole wheat flour to help your dough rise. In addition to the plain dough and the wheat dough I found a recipe on the website for a Brioche dough for danishes and I wanted to make a pizza for dinner. So I got to mixing and had four bowls of dough rising at once.

After our pizza dinner I got to work on my loaves.

For the basic recipe I divided the dough in two and added monterey jack cheese and roasted pablano peppers to one. To the second loaf I added mozzarella and roasted tomatoes.
The cheese oozed out of the loaves a bit, but turned out delicous!

The danish recipe looked pretty complicated, but wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I did one with caramalized apples and almond frangipane and the second with cream cheese and strawberries (the hands down winner!).

I thought the Brioche dough looked yummy even before it was baked.

The frangipane sprung a leak, but didn't affect the danish too badly.

The final result. It is looking like a bakery around here!
Probably not great for the waistline, but it sure was yummy and I don't bake like this too often.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The light, oh the light

I noticed that the backyard had an odd orange glow the other evening. I had to go outside to investigate.We rarely get to see sunsets and in this case I was probably just seeing the very top of one. It was beautiful and a rare treat.

Malta and Lucy each had to make an appearance at the door to investigate what I was doing. I thought the house looked so charming and inviting from this vantage point.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Model shots

In preparation to start listing more of my one of a kind pieces on etsy I have been taking some modeled shots this morning. I'm pretty happy with the outcome and I think they really pop. I think showing the jewelry, especially a necklace, on the body really helps to understand the scale of a piece. What do you think of these shots?

New project....shhhh

Here is a sneak peek of something I am working on. I can't say too much about it right now because it is a surprise for someone special. If you figure it out or already know who it is for please don't tell. I am in love with this yarn! It is Crayon from Knit Picks and is super soft and squishy and soooo light weight. The Granny Ripple pattern is perfect for this yarn. I found that with the twistiness of the yarn I couldn't see my stitches, so I chose this granny stitch and it is saving me so much time and agony.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In Full Bloom

My clematis vine was in full bloom last week and it always makes me so happy when it blooms. I had heard that clematis was finicky but this one is a real trooper. I got this plant when I worked at Home to Garden and have probably had it planted for 6 years or more. It doesn't even die back in the winter, the leaves die off, but the vine stays in place. So when it is time for spring it seems to have a head start and just bursts into bloom. There may have been even more blooms shortly before I finally took a picture. I thought you would enjoy it as much as I did.