Monday, August 24, 2009

Our "new" couch

My parents gave Chris and I an old couch of theirs. It was well loved, especially by my dog Missy, and the rabbit Bambi. Time to get it cleaned!

I bought some Saddle Soap from the hardware store and it worked out great. You can really see the difference between the right cushion and the middle section. Saddle soap is easy on my lungs. I didn't have to take several breaks to get fresh air.

I'm afraid the seat cushions are beyond redemption. The grain leather has started to flake off from 7 years of use. I just hide it with a quilt and all is well. :)

My parents also gave me the stonework coffee table. It's great for stacking my books and drinks as I relax on the couch to read.

I suppose it'll also be good for watching movies too, but I don't think I've turned on the TV once since I got home! :)


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Kitchen Keeps Me Busy!

When I'm not quilting, burying my nose in a novel or softening my butt at the computer... I'm usually in the kitchen! I figured I would give you a real-life peek at how my kitchen usually looks. Yes, it's a mess because I seem to have something going on all the time. :)

First stop is the pantry. I don't have too much room in here for food, just mostly our cooking dishes. And believe it or not, this is our downsized version, I donated several boxes of kitchen stuff during our move a couple months ago.

We do have a bit of a "redneck" setup in the pantry. The shelves that the toaster sits on is set up by cement blocks, because the only plug socket in the pantry is near the ceiling, where the light is. If I'm organized enough, I can squeeze the trash can in there too, but that day I was making bread and need to access my wheat buckets.

Our kitchen is 8x11, and half of that is eaten up by counter space. There's only one plug socket on the right wall (to my utmost PAIN!) and I had to jerry-rig it a bit so we could hook up the stove, fridge and microwave all at the same time. Haven't blow a fuse, yet! ;) I've been storing the food dehydrator on top of the microwave. Next to that is the custom recipe box that my mother-in-law and her 2 youngest children made for me.

You can see the end of a loaf of bread I made the other week, a pot soaking, fresh picked basil from my garden - for the pizza we had last night, another pot used for the night before's dinner (chicken potato chowder), and on the far right is some chocolate cookies I made on Friday. What you can't see is our magnetic knife rack on the right wall.

After doing some dishes that morning, I started making whole wheat bread. First I had to set up the grinder for the flour, then the Bosch mixer my mom generously gave me for kneading the bread. I used the mixer again later that day to knead the pizza dough. You can see a bit of the bread in it's first rising.

I'm out of room to safely stack more dishes on the drying rack, so I just let them pile up in the sink while the others air dry. I read that it's better for them to air dry instead of towel drying, due to bacteria. Plus, it's my husband's chore to empty the drying rack. :D Oh yeah, the strainer next to the rack is full of just-washed blueberries that I snacked on throughout the day.

You can also see how I've made use of the space above the cabinets. Great spot for cereal, munchies, crackers; and as you can see, honey and oil. Then there's the spice rack (one of my best investments!!!) that holds most of the stuff I need for all my cooking. It's off centered because we wouldn't be able to open the freezer door otherwise.

This was sitting in my living room, simply because I don't have room. Onions get diced up and frozen in the chest freezer. Same for the carrots. They didn't have celery at Costco the last time I was there, but I like to make soup and stew "starters" by freezing pre-sliced carrots, onions and celery in a baggie.

The potatoes will be left out (because I've heard over and over that it's not good for them to be in the fridge) and used over the next few weeks. Soups, diced, cheesy potatoes... there's just so many ways they can be gobbled up.

I've also been venturing into learn how to make my own food items from scratch. I've got chicken broth down pat, next up was making yogurt in the crockpot. It's in the dish on the left. I love knowing that I can have a yogurt without any of the "extras" that tend to get slipped in. I blended some blueberries, yogurt and honey the other day, and ate it with pride. ;)

I also read how you can make your own cream cheese from plain yogurt, so I had to try! That was a success too, and I saved the whey because I can use it for soaking grains like recommended in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. All this from a half gallon of milk at 77 cents. :)

Since we've gone this far, let's take a peek in my fridge too. Lotsa milk. Toldja it was on sale. ;) I saw goat milk at Costco, and had to try it. Ohhh, it's so creamy. Mmm. There's also some goat cheese in the bottom drawer... I'm really liking that stuff.

A lot of cheese is in there too, because I hadn't taken the time to portion them up and freeze it. I do have a weakness for dairy. :P The red bowl holds my yeast. There's an onion, yellow squash and some mushrooms behind the bell peppers on the water pitcher. And way in the back in some sun tea in a pitcher. My husband really likes that stuff, but it's so hard to find decaffienated green tea. :(

By the way, something that some of you know, but most of you probably don't... my husband's name is Chris. I've always referred him as "my husband" on my blog, but now that he's put his name out on his blog, I'm not worried about privacy anymore. :)


Monday, August 17, 2009

Ann's Summer 2009 Quilt

The top is all done! And on the mystery day to boot. ;)

My fabric choices don't photograph that well, but looks fantastic in person. It'll make a terrific baby boy blanket at 48x48 inches. No hearts, flowers or girly princesses in this one.

I don't know of any baby boys right now, but my sister-in-law is expecting a baby early 2010. She's the bride at the end of this post.

I better have a make a girl quilt, just in case! :)


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fabric love

I picked up a copy of the lastest Quiltmaker magazine issue today. I was really drawn to the Winding Road pattern on page 20.

Upon closer inspection, I realized they were using an assortment of Connecting Thread's Country fabric lines - which have been my favorites. :) I'm working on another Pineapple Blossom quilt, just like the one I made for my 25th birthday. It'll be much bigger - queen sized. And it most certainly won't be done in 5 days like my other one!! :P

Perhaps I'll "rediscover" this pattern in a couple of months and make it after all.


Monday, August 03, 2009

A little hiccup in life

Two weeks ago on Monday, we were enjoying a hike in Juneau, Alaska. We saw lots of green, eagles and even snow.

This Monday my energy is sapped with nursing a case of bronchitis. A visit to the urgent care place on Sunday morning loaded me up with antibiotics and other drugs. Thankfully I'm improving, or else one of us would have to start getting real friendly with the couch my parents gave us so my husband can get enough sleep. School has started!

I have found that I cough less when I'm warm, so there's been a lot of baking and ironing going on. :)