Monday, September 26, 2011

End of the Heat Potluck

Back in August, I decided I needed something to look forward to. It was tooooo dang hot. So I planned a potluck at a local park for the end of summer, planning that the heat would have abated enough that we could enjoy being outside in the evening. I had also been reading a lot lately about Super Foods. Foods that are supposed to be especially nutritionally dense. A little more bang for your buck, so to speak. So I gave folks a list of about 20 super foods and told them to bring a dish using one or more of the super food ingredients.
I invited people from church, work, friends. I didn't get a count, but I think there were easily 40 or so people there tonight. It was a lot of fun and I appreciate everyone going along with the super food theme. The photo above are the whole wheat sticky buns I made. They have whole grains, cinnamon, nuts and raisins. All of which are super foods! And they were delicious. I wasn't sure they were going to turn out, so I made regular cinnamon rolls too.

I also made some less fattening wraps. They had whole wheat tortillas, spinach, turkey, bell peppers, and either apples or cranberries in them. All super foods. They also had a little cream cheese, some havarti and the fruit was in chutney form, so some spices.
This photo had me rolling on the floor. If you make it bigger, you can see Lindsey giving me the laser beam, evil eye. She hated the last photo I posted of her and she was wary.

Helle, Steven and Bella.

Friends from work, Lynnora, Beth and Jet.

Cindy and Mamie.

Hailey, Craig, Roman and Melanie.

Tanner and Brother Harrison.
A good time was had by all. We had a passle of kids and playground handy, so it worked out great. It was one of the easiest get togethers I've organized! We'll have to do it again soon.

We had a whole array of foods. It worked out in the way that potlucks usually work out.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Brain Dead?

My friend Lezlee writes a very insightful and interesting blog. She spends a time thinking about it. My friend Cindy's blog is often funny and amusing. My blog? It's like a picture book.
When I was a kid, I was quite scornful of books that were just pictures. Those didn't take any smarts to "read" and I was proud of being smart. So what has happened to me? I have actually been thinking about the fact that I don't do a lot of heavy duty thinking. I wonder about the influence of having children. Does the fact that you have to explain things, teach, monitor and interact with them all the time keep your brain going? It is kind of opposite the traditional belief that the "career woman" is the one with the intellectual challenges.
I have an advanced college degree. But when I come home, I find what I want to do most is create. I want to craft, paint, crochet, cook and read. And my blog is a reflection of my nonending making things. It is refreshing to me to lose myself in a creative process. And I can't seem to be bothered with thinking about much entertaining to write to go along with the photos.
So I sometimes question what is going on upstairs, but not enough to do a whole lot about it. I'm having too much fun making baby blankets and muffins.

Sunday Projects

I am trying to use up things I have around the house. Besides the yarn, I had a few pieces of flannel I had bought to make baby blankets. Here is the first one. I love the print.

The second one is reversible, polka dots and stripes.

I am also trying to use some of my food storage. I have wheat that is 21 years old. I got out my grain mill and made whole wheat flour. Then I made these peanut butter, chocolate chip muffins. They were a little dry, but good! And they incorporated 3 super foods, whole grains, nuts and chocolate!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lindsey's gig

I went and heard my friend Lindsey sing this week. She is amazing. If you need a female vocalist for an event, let me know and I will hook you up!

Garden Goodies

I am just planting some of my seeds for fall/winter. I've got some summer squash setting fruit! I've got bees again! I shouldn't have to pollinate my squash myself. I'm very excited. Right now I'm getting little japanese eggplants. They are great steamed or in stir frys and the are just darn pretty.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Flowered Cloche

So here is another hat I whipped up tonight from my never ending pile of scrap yarn. I like it actually.

Willie Nelson Concert in Camp Verde

My friend, Sue, and I went to see Willie Nelson in Camp Verde tonight. It was an interesting experience. There were a lot of "characters" there. There was this guy who had obviously cultivated a look alike vibe. People were walking up to him and asking him if he was Willie. He just said, well wait and see if I sing.

This lady had on leather pants and a fur trimmed jacket. Quite the long grey hair do. Interesting.

I had not been to this place before. It is the Stargazer pavillion at Cliff Castle Casino. It was a beautiful evening. In the 70's. And I don't think any of the seats were really bad. We were in the front row of the bleacher seats.I think they were perfect!

And we had a nice sunset and beautiful moon rise.

Here was another really interesting ensemble. I'm not sure what her shirt was made of. I was too far away to get a really good picture. See the feathered hat? I'm glad I wasn't sitting behind her.

Look at the back of her top.

And this guy in the serape, bald head and full white beard. He looked like some old testament prophet or something. Except he was standing in the back smoking.

And here is Willie and band. No it's not the same guy that was in the parking lot.

The moon came up right behind the stage.

Sue and I.
And here is a video clip for you!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pirate hat

Latest project with scrap yarn. I think it's kind of fun.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy 50th Birthday Cindy!

Serious Chocolate Cake for an important birthday!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hogwarts Express Cake Final!

Way back in May, a friend asked me if I would make a Hogwarts Express Cake for her daughter's birthday. After discussion about the fact that I am a rank amateur, I agreed to take it on. I thought it would be good practice.
As I chronicled in an earlier post, I got a pan that looked like a train engine and I gave it a couple of trial runs. The party was postponed a couple of times and finally is occurring today. So I spent from 8am to 4pm yesterday working on the 3 cakes that made up the whole thing.
I had grand plans. But lack of knowledge, practice and practicality dictated the final product. I had thought I would cover the whole board in fondant, for a background. I have very little experience in fondant and it's VERY expensive. I also didn't think I could get it rolled out that big of piece and get it on whole by myself. So that got nixed.
I did use fondant for the surface of the platform cake. I had a brick impression that I used to make the surface. It was also the first time I "built"something out of cake. It is a little wavy. I molded a piece of white chocolate to make the platform sign. I initially used an edible food marker to write on the sign.

This was the second car of the train. I built this out of cake too. I had to make a run to ABC Cake decorating for some supplies. While there, I came across these Harry Potter rings. They had pictures of the three main characters. That was a lucky find. Now I could put them "on the train". The cookies weren't the best wheels, but again I am a rank amateur.

I am glad I had practiced with the engine. It made it easier to do. I molded chocolate for some of the details. The platform cake is a marble cake with chocolate pudding filling. The second car is also marble cake, but with cherry preserves as a filling. The engine is strawberry cake with strawberry filling. It I had time, it would have been nice to use a simple syrup on them to make sure they were moist, but I ran out of time. Hopefully they will be OK. I kept them in the fridge till this morning.
I thought I was going to have room on the board to put more decorative elements around the whole scene. But once I got the three cakes on the board, it was pretty full. So I ended up just piping some grass at the end of the platform.

I also had some plastic rings with the crests and names of the 4 houses at Hogwarts. I put them along the front of the platform. This was the first time I piped writing other than a brief practice in my class. I got brave enough to go over the writing on the Platform Sign too.

So there it is. More grand in my imagination. The Platform cake is about 21 inches long, 7 inches wide and 3 inches tall. So There is a substantial amount of cake here.
It was definitely a learning experience!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pink Cloche style hat

Made a hat to go with the scarf. It's actually pretty cute on.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Flower Scarf

I have a book that is just patterns for crocheted flowers. I hadn't made any so I decided to try one. Once I had made it, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. So I made up a scarf to put it on. The colors look a little funny in the photo, but they are pink and brown.  I think it's kind of fun.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Faire on the Square- Prescott

Penny and I went to the cooler area of Prescott to enjoy the day. We started with lunch at the Lynx Lake Cafe. A friend who lives in the area had recommended it for the view over the lake and the German food. There were hummingbird feeders in all the windows. We enjoyed the lake and watching the hummers!

We had our usual good parking ju ju and got a spot in our usual lot even though we arrived much later in the day. The craft faire was colorful and fun.

I especially liked this bracelet made out of two vintage forks.

The state flags were out in force. They were also some t shirts and things being sold to celebrate the centennial year of our state.

There was dancing in the square.

And pie at Berry's Pantry for fun.

Penny's Yard

A couple of years ago, my friend Penny decided she was tired of trying to maintain a lawn in the front. I had recently renewed a friendship with Chuck Giordano from grade school. He owns a landscape design, installation and maintence company. They do a lot of commercial work, but also do some residential.
They did such a good job for her. They built her a patio with a wall around in the front. They put in lighting and a dripper system. She went ahead and let them do the maintence too. Her yard looks fabulous. And this is in the middle of the blazing summer heat. She says there is always something blooming out there. She is very happy. He isn't cheap, but they do great work. If anyone wants their number, let me know!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sometimes I do this for work

Sometimes I man a booth for us at a conference.

Hike along the West Fork, Oak Creek Canyon

I have been a slug all summer. Don't like to hike in the heat. Don't make me. Won't do it. But I have been getting tired off being shut up inside all summer. I talked to Cindy. Surely it would be cooler up north? So we planned a hike in Sedona today. But as it got closer, it was still over 110 in Phoenix. Which would mean 100 in Sedona. Too hot for me.
But when we got to the ranger station, we were directed to the West Fork trail along Oak Creek Canyon. It was shady, 5500 ft in elevation and it was overcast. Win, win, win. And we crossed the beautiful creek 13 times. It was great to be outside again. And so fun to discover this trail, the most popular in the state according to the lady who took our 9$ parking fee.

Lots of nice water.

Beautiful scenery.

See this undercut cliff? There were people sitting on top right at the edge.

Lunch stop.

My feet enjoyed the cool water!