Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Jam & some Churn Dash Blocks

When all of our guest had left we found that we had a lot of cherries left over from their visit. I like cherries but there was a lot of cherries left at the house so I decided to make some jam. I also had some strawberries so I added those to the mix. A friend had given me some funky scissors last summer that she was using to chop herbs. I was able to use these scissors to cut up the cherries for the jam. I used my FreshTech Jam Machine and came up with 4 half pints + of Cherry, Strawberry Vanilla Jam (I gave away one of the half pints before I was able to take a photo). I think it used a little  too much vanilla in the jam, I used 2 vanilla beans and really I should have used only one. Then luck struck again...my neighbor Jessie pointed out a Golden Raspberry batch in the community garden (I thought it was just a bush of unripe raspberries), it was FULL of ripe raspberries. I picked a lot to make jam, but ended up eating some so I did not get as much jam as I had hoped. The golden raspberries if you have never had them are wonderful. They have a very fresh raspberry taste and are oh so sweet. The only down side that I found in the golden raspberries is they seem to have more seeds then red raspberries. I strain about 1/2 of the raspberries when I make jam so I don't get a seed filled jam. I think I strained about 3/4 of the golden raspberries before I made the jam. I had to add about a pint of red's to this jam to get the 3 cups needed to make the jam in my FreshTech machine. I think the red's helped make the jam a lovely golden rose color. I also added 1/2 a vanilla bean, this gave the jam a lovely flavor.    
I have been working on the churn dash quilt block. I have seen the block in older quilts and it seems to be on a lot of quilting blogs lately. So I decided to take a stab at making a churn dash block. I messed with different ways to use the squares and I really like making a red cross on the center. I think I will make a few more and see what they look like mixed together. It's a fun block but a little fussy which is not my style of quilting. I'm a pretty messy quilter...I hate having to match up points. This block really needs the points to match....so I may only make this as a test to see if I can do it. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Trophy Wife and a Band

My what a busy week.  Once I got the trophy wife home I decided to fix it up a little. It needed a new coat of paint and the interior was in need of some love. I pulled the back seats out and recovered one of them with a marine vinyl. It had been covered with a painting I bought at a garage sale 10 years ago but that was deteriorating where the back and the seat meet. It was time for a face lift. Since there are a lot of things glued to my car I had to paint around several items, but once I was done the car looked so much better...nice and bright. The hardest part of fixing up the car was pulling the back seats. But once they were out everything went smoothly. The car was done in time for a bunch of my husbands friends to visit. Extra Action Marching Band they were playing at Dante's on Saturday night then went to play at Blowpony. They ended up back at our house at about 5am on sunday morning. The nice thing was I never heard them come in, I woke up in the morning and there was about 10 people sleeping in the house and yard. A friend brought over some donuts (not Voodoo as the line was waaaaay too long), then plans were made to BBQ later in the day....OH SHIT Our BBQ SUCKED, it have not heating up properly...taking 30 minutes or more to cook chicken wings. I had asked my sister about a month ago about BBQ's to get. The morning before we left for Bend she called me and said she saw one at Orchids Hardware for about $500 and she had a coupon. Aleson was great and went to pick it up and had it at her house. Now I had to go over to her house to get the new BBQ a Weber Genesis 300 series for my husband (his birthday is next week), get back to the house with the BBQ before the BBQ that evening. The BBQ came in a box...it had to be assembled. My husband and his friend Mutt started right in like little kids on Christmas morning with new toys. The BBQ was assembled and 8 beer can chickens were cooked that evening on the new BBQ. Everyone ate and had a wonderful time. On monday the band was still in the back yard and did not want to leave. The band practiced in the park on sunday evening bringing out several neighbors to watch. They used the box from the grill as a drum...it was a lot of fun. All the members that stayed at our house told us how much they loved the yard and how much they appreciated the peacefulness of the area...they didn't want to leave. They finally left Tuesday afternoon for Astoria for a few days,  they didn't have to be to Olympia till Thursday. 
YEA...we had the house to ourselves and cooked a couple hamburgers on the new grill, then went to bed early.  

Friday, June 19, 2015

A quick trip to Bend

A couple of weeks ago we took a quick trip down to Bend Oregon. My husband had not seen the beautiful drive along Highway 20 from Salem to Bend, I have not been down that road in over 30 years but I remember it as an idyllic drive.  My husband wanted to take the 78 Cadillac Fleetwood out on the road to see how she drives on long trips, this drive seemed like the perfect thing. We  also wanted to come around and over Mt Hood to pick up the Trophy Wife from my mothers place in Brightwood. I did not recognize Detroit Lake...it is painfully low, you can see all the docks laying in the dirt. Seeing the area where the HUGE B&B Complex fire was in 2003 was also a shock. A lot of the trees charred black but still standing, it was kind of depressing. We stopped in Sisters where we saw a wonderful exhibit of metal sculpture by Ken Scott. Just before getting to Bend we stopped to take a photo of the 3 Sisters. Those are beautiful mountains. In Bend we wandered around Bend trying the local beer and stopping at Mirror Pond in downtown Bend. We ate at a great restaurant called Pine Tavern looking over Mirror Pond. Leaving Bend we came home over Highway 26, picking up the Trophy Wife in Brightwood. I'm happy to have the Trophy Wife back, she needs some fresh paint and a little tender loving care from a mechanic.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

Movies in the Park

It was a warm spring evening last week when my friend Victor came over with his movie set up. To be honest I had been bugging Victor to have another movie night in the park for awhile. A couple of summers ago Victor started to bring over his found films and playing them in the park. Yes actual films on a real projector. It's work for him since that is what he does for a job, but he has such fun and wonderful old films that I really wanted him to do a movie night again. 
I forget the movie titles but there was a cartoon about the original 13 colonies, several educational cartoons like the ones you may have watched in school from about 1950-1970 and a longer film about a military plane crash in the desert. The military plane crash was about how to survive in hostile environments. How to gather water, ration food and how to provide medical attention to those that need it. I had bought a bunch of red & black vines because you always need licorice at the movies, a neighbor made some popcorn & I also made a couple batches of rice crispy treats. The ones left over at the end of the night were the ones that had tabasco sauce in them.  Sounds strange right...but they are good, just the right amount of sweet and hot. Try it next time you make rice crispy treats, just a few good shakes of hot sauce makes for an interesting dessert. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Some Recent Books I Read

I left my job last summer at a very large bookstore, now I finality have time to read. I do miss the opportunity to get the used books before they go out on the shelves but that has made me use the library more often. Though to be honest the bookstore had a larger selection than my local library, which is very sad. The good news is after 24 years at the bookstore I still get advanced readers. Sometimes the books are bad but every now and then I get some gems. Recently I received a couple of good books. 

The first one is "Eight Hundred Grapes" by Laura Dave. I had not heard of Laura Dave before, apparently she has a couple other books out that I had never seen or read. This book is set in wine country, in Sonoma to be exact, and eight hundred grapes refers to the amount of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine. This is the story of Georgia who is to be married in a week on her parents vineyard. While trying on her wedding dress a week before the wedding she sees her fiancĂ© Ben with a famous starlet and the starlets daughter. Georgia panics and runs...from LA back to her family in Sonoma...in her wedding dress. This is a story of family secrets, the type of secrets that you keep from others so you do not hurt their feelings. But the problem with these secrets is when they finally do come out they hurt more than ever. As Georgia spends the week before her wedding finding out family secrets,  she tries to come to terms with the impending approach of her marriage to Ben. This book has some great ups and downs, family coming together only to be pulled apart and put back together again. We all know that family relationships are not easy, they are very complicated even for the most loving family. But when all is said and done, family is what brings us together. I enjoyed reading this book, the characters are interesting and the writing was engaging enough to keep me interested (I often do not finish books because the writing doesn't hold my attention).

The second book I recently received is "The Art of Crash Landing" by Melissa DeCarlo. This is a debut novel and if it's any indication of future books keep your eyes out for Melissa. I loved this book so much I read it in less than a week (which is very fast for me). I could not put it down. It's the story of Mattie Wallace a true screw up. As the story starts Mattie is putting all her belongings in her Malibu, leaving Nick the asshole. She is broke, pregnant and has nowhere to go. She ends up at her step fathers only to learn of a possible inheritance from a grandmother she never knew in Oklahoma. To say Mattie's up bringing was messed up is an understatement. Living with an alcoholic mother is just one of Mattie's many issues. She is a smart ass with a chip on her shoulder and she makes poor choices on a regular basis. When she arrives in Gandy Oklahoma to receive her inheritance she meets people in the small town that knew her mother. She learns of her mothers past and tries to make sense of what happened, why her Mother left Gandy and never looked back. This is a well written book, very descriptive and compelling story. Again it's the story of family relations, mother daughter relationships and how they can be very frustrating. I know this because I have a very difficult relationship with my mother. That does not mean I do not love her, but it's complex.