Friday, June 29, 2012

Get in Shape Girl!

Do you remember Get In Shape Girl from the 80's? I was a chubby kid and my grandparents bought me several "toys" from this line. I remember loving the ribbon on a wand that you dance with. I should make Karlie one of those, she loves to dance. Perhaps it was a bit insensitive of them to suggest I needed to work out at age ten, or whatever I was, but I wasn't offended at the time.



I was never an athlete, and didn't start working out until I was in my mid twenties. Now I'm in my mid thirties and have gotten out of shape again. I really have the desire to be fit, but am lacking in the motivation department. I'm always pinning workout ideas on Pinterest and did this one today.  I don't really want a gym membership, though that is how I got fit before.  Do you use Pinterest for fitness motivation?  Do you workout at home?  How do you stay motivated?  I would love some advice!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back from Austin

I'm just back from Austin and had a great visit with my family and dear friend Christi and her family.

When mom and I got to Austin on Tuesday we picked K up from school early, waking her from a nap. I had to bribe her with a cookie to try on the new dress that I made her. Isn't it cute?! It was really easy and fast to make, probably under an hour of sewing. I love the design with the sporty racerback. I kind of want one for myself.  The free pattern and tutorial are here.  I'm loving sewing with knits and really wanting a serger to make it even easier.  I also finished a knit maxi skirt for myself the night before we left for Austin.
 Karlie in her racerback tank dress Karlie in her racerback tank dress

Even with a cookie bribe her patience wore thin for my picture taking. Karlie in her racerback tank dress Karlie in her racerback tank dress

It was hot, of course, but my brother and I took Karlie swimming in the San Marcos river yesterday and it was just perfect. I could have stayed in the river all day. I love to swim, especially in cold, clear water on a hot Texas day. San Marcos river San Marcos river


Also, today is another one of my oldest friends' birthday. The mom of a teenager and two more gorgeous children, she has grown up to be a wonderful lady and continues to be one of my best friends after twenty years. We had a lot of fun together as friends and roommates, and still have fun together these days. I love you Susy Q!

Here we are in Taos in the summer of 1996 on the bridge over the Rio Grande Gorge. This is one of my favorite pictures of us. Ashley and Susan in Taos 1996

Monday, June 25, 2012

Roberta thinks she owns this place

Roberta is quite at home here, Frank tells her too much so. She is a character and very sweet, but owning a cat is so different than a dog. She lays in funny places and has claimed the back of the couch as her spot.
 Roberta Roberta Roberta Roberta Roberta

 I have a million and five things to do today, and I have to work. I leave town tomorrow, hitching a ride to Austin with my mom. I get to see one of my best friends, Christi, and my favorite almost three year old, Karlie. What a nice mid-week treat! Better go accomplish some more of my list before work....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Where I Want to be

The garden continues to call me outdoors. I always dedicate myself to the garden in the Spring, but normally lose interest come Summer. With today being the second day of Summer, I feel like I have kept at it longer than most years. Granted, so far it has been mild. It looks like that is about to change. Monday I was in the yard til noon and it was not too hot. Today by 10 it was pretty steamy. Anyways, I hope I do keep at it because the garden is bringing me great pleasure these days. I feel content there.

In the garden

Even getting stung by a wasp while trimming the yucca didn't keep me away for long. Baking soda soothed the sting.
In the garden In the garden In the garden In the garden

I have Moonflower, Morning Glory and Black Eyed Susan vines sprouting. In the garden In the garden In the garden

I'm still planning to paint and make cushions for my patio furniture.
I'm thinking navy blue for these chairs.  With yellow and white chevron cushions.
In the garden In the garden
 
And more Yellow Chevrons for the sling chairs. In the garden In the garden

I have a palette in mind, and just need to order fabric, buy more spray paint and sit down at the sewing machine to make cushions. As if I don't have a million other projects to get done. Speaking of that, I'm off to accomplish my massive to do list. See you later....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sewing for Karlie

Kool Kat's tutu was a hit!
Karlie said she loved it and proceeded to "do ballet and gymnastics with Kool Kat".
 Karlie and Kook Kat Karlie and Kook Kat

While I'm on a roll of sewing for Karlie I thought I'd use this cute green knit that I got from Girl Charlee and make her a Racerback Tank Dress. The pattern is free and I've already got it cut out. I hope she likes it.
 Sewing for Karlie

I bought several costume patterns for her, including this Snow White one, not knowing that she would soon become obsessed with Snow White. She wants a Snow White birthday party and my mom said she wanted to draw "bad queens" last night. I guess I better get to work on that soon too.

Today was one of my days off this week. I worked in the front garden for a change. I'm really enjoying this Summer. So far she hasn't been hateful and horrid like she was to us last year.

I've got these Lemon Brownies in the oven right now.  Have you tried them yet?  They seem to be all over Pinterest.  This is my first try, so I will let you know how they turn out.  I think they should be called Lemon Blondies.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Something New

I have been working on a new piece of jewelry, which is quite exciting. It has been a long long time since I made anything truly new. Between working full time and keeping up with etsy sales I just sort of lost motivation. It always feels good when I get excited about a design and it all comes together. So far so good on this one. I will share the final result when it is all finished. Something new

The house is clean and we are just waiting on our guests to arrive. I'm not very good at waiting, hurry up guys!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kool Kat gets a tutu

Karlie said Kool Kat needed a tutu, so a tutu she got.
Kool Kat gets a tutu

I'm cleaning house today in preparation for Karlie's visit and I cannot wait for her to get here!
I'm also working on jewelry, baking some things for Father's day and generally checking off my to do list.  The big to do in Fort Worth today is Trader Joes' grand opening.  I saw a picture of the line out front and I think that and the traffic will keep me away for now.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Habanero Salsa

I don't know if I have ever told you before, but I am a chip and salsa addict. I have three recipes in heavy rotation and have just converted Frank into loving my Habanero salsa. I'm sure he will always be partial to his mom's recipe, but since adding fire roasted canned tomatoes he now also loving the Habanero version. I first made this salsa for my birthday taco and salsa bar, but never shared the recipe here. I thought it was about time. Original version Habanero salsa

New version with fire roasted tomatoes Habanero salsa

I was afraid of the heat of habaneros for a long time and never used them, even though I have a pretty high tolerance for hot and spicy salsa. Once I started I realized that the flavor is fruity and delicious, and you can really control the heat by how many peppers you use. One little pepper in a whole batch of salsa is not hot at all. In fact, this batch was doubled with a bigger pepper, and I would have liked it hotter.

Adapted from Saveur Magazine

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

INGREDIENTS

1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 habanero chile, stemmed
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 small white onion, minced

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oven to 500°. Place chile, peeled garlic clove and onion on a foil-lined baking sheet, and roast, without turning, until chile is browned in spots, about 10 minutes; transfer to a blender, add can of tomatoes and salt and puree until smooth.

*I like the original version just as well, and when I use fresh tomatoes I get the small Campari on the vine tomatoes because I think they have the best flavor.  Last night I used both fresh tomatoes, roasted with the pepper, onion and garlic, and a can of fire roasted.  I have also used plain canned tomatoes and liked that version as well.  You really can't go wrong with this salsa!

*If you are worried about this salsa being to hot for your liking start with a small pepper and double the rest of the recipe.  You can go from there determining how hot you want to make it. 

Frank was bragging about it to his co-workers and told them it was restaurant quality.  They didn't believe him, so he took it to work today.  One of them said that it tasted like it was out of a jar.  In my opinion its better than jarred salsa, which I never buy.  It's just too easy to make fresh.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Still Obsessed

It rained on Wednesday afternoon after I was done with my yard work. It was nice to have a Summer rain and it cooled things off for a bit. The backyard The backyard

Yesterday I was off work and Frank helped me in the yard. We got a late start and it was hot. I had a bit of a melt down, just wanting to quit but he convinced me to finish and I'm so glad we did. We mulched, mowed, cleaned, trimmed, planted and so on. We cleaned up the back porch and I potted my clearance plants that I found last week. It's really looking good! The backyard The backyard

The back patio is really coming together too. I finally painted the vintage metal chair. The backyard

I was obsessed with finding that specific color of spray paint, Lagoon from Rustoleum. Their website led me astray and no one seemed to have it. I finally found it at Joann and I think it was worth all the effort. I still want to paint the other metal chairs and swing, probably keeping them white and make or buy cushions for them. Why do outdoor cushions have to be so ugly and expensive? The backyard

Roberta disappeared for more than twenty four hours and I was worried but she reappeared yesterday.
The backyard

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lazy aka Smart Gardening

Working in the backyard this morning I was thinking of myself as a lazy gardener. I chose plants that will self seed, spread easily, require little care, or can be easily divided. Plants that can be set on or in the dirt and will root are particular favorites, like sedum and succulents. I am also a cheap gardener, so all of these things go hand in hand with spending very little money on the yard. Don't get me wrong, I love to buy plants, and may even go plant shopping later today, but that is rarely in our budget. Most of the plants in our backyard were transplanted from the front bed or from my parents house.

After a few hours of yard work and feeling hot and sweaty, I realized I'm not lazy at all but smart!
Gardening




























I have learned which plants thrive with little care and reward me despite being ignored.
Gardening

Fresh transplants, that do the work so I don't have to.
Gardening
Gardening
Gardening
Gardening

Garden

The front garden is pretty self sufficient, it just needs pruning now and then to keep it under control.
Gardening
Gardening

I have been giving my efforts to the back yard and though it is getting quite hot and humid already there is still so much more that I want to achieve. I figure if I make it look pretty at least I can admire the view from inside once it's truly too hot to go out there. The veggie garden does not fit with my cheapo gardener mentality and that is why it gets ignored some years, this being one of them.

I thought I would give you a list of plants that I have used and which thrive in my garden and fit my criteria.

Self Seeding:
Larkspur
Zinnia
Mexican Feather Grass
Sea Oats (can seed too much)
Cardoon
Mexican Bird of Paradise
Creeping Plumbago
Four O'Clocks
Morning Glory
Datura
Hollyhock
Euphorbia

Spread Easily:
Sedum
Golden Oregano

Require Little Care:
Sedum
Spineless Prickly Pear
Texas Sage
Spanish Lavender
Russian Sage
Echinacea
Agave
Yucca 
Desert Willow
Mexican Oregano
Guara

Easy to Divide or Root:
Flame Acanthus
Salvia Greggii
Wandering Jew
Succulents
Prickly Pear
Mexican Feather Grass
Canna
Jerusalem Sage
Agave

I'm sure I have forgotten some, but these are a few of my favorite plants for North Texas. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Goodbye Home, Hello Roberta

My parents close on their house this morning and take off with their final load of belongings to make a new home in the Hill Country. I'm happy for them, and love their new place.  I look forward to visiting and making new family traditions and memories there.  That doesn't make it easier to say goodbye to home.  This is the house that my parents built and we grew up in.  They have been there for twenty five years.  This house has hosted four weddings, including ours, twenty five years of Christmases, and numerous graduations, baby and bridal showers and on and on.  It was a great house for entertaining and my parents had lots of gatherings over the years.  We were comfortable there, it was home.  It feels strange that it is no longer.
Saying goodbye

In the moving process my parents were at a loss for what to do with their cat. Frank and I have never had a cat together but now we do. I was worried how Roberta would settle in but she has made herself right at home. She was on the roof of our patio last night just chilling out. She has been mostly an outdoor cat, and since Frank is allergic to some cats, she might remain that way.
Roberta on the roof

Though she is perfectly comfortable in our house as well. Roberta