Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Still Here

I've been catching up on my blog reading.  You have certainly been busy making all sorts of beautiful things that I need to add to my to-do list.  Eventually I finally figured out that I wasn't going to be able to get to that to-do list if I didn't get off the computer.  I've managed to get some sewing done, but I figure I should finish a block or a quilt before I show you progress.

Did you notice that the truck is hanging in mid air in this picture?  I'm not sure what that is all about, but it certainly interesting!

I found these pretty ribbons in a gift shop. They even sold some fabric in the shop.  They packaged everything up really prettily.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Melon Pan Part Two

The double work (sometimes triple and quadruple and whatever comes after that) continues to go on in my attempt to whittle down the to-do list. The pharmacy and the doctor still haven't figured out the last prescription, the oil change place had a computer glitch that doubled up all their appointments, etc.

Even the baking had to get done twice.  My daughter wanted to make melon pan.  It's a Japanese dish.  It is a bread with a cookie on top of it.  Since she hasn't cooked from scratch very much, and this is a complicated recipe with both bread and cookie, I told her that we needed to make it together.  She resented the implication that she couldn't follow a recipe, but in my experience, things always go wrong, and I thought it would be a good group activity.  For several days, she didn't make it at all.

Then finally she relented.  But she decided to use me as a helper to do things, but would not listen to any advice.  The recipe called for very precise measurements, 7/8 cup of water (I think they're converting from Japanese to American measurements) and then said ("you'll probably have to add some more flour").  I told her to add less water, but with a precise measurement, she wanted to follow the recipe.  The trouble was the "some more flour" wasn't a tablespoon here or there, it was almost the amount that was originally put in.  As a result, it tasted very flour-y.  I tasted it, and it was fine.  I would have eaten it as bread, with butter or jelly.  But the Teflon coating on our cookie sheet also decided to come off on these delicacies, so pretty much the (double) batch was ruined.  And the fact that I'm allergic to wheat, so I can't eat them with or without the Teflon coating.

She tried again yesterday, by herself, with a brand new cookie sheet, now that she knew to adjust the water instead of adjusting the flour.  She also used a little more sugar.  She also made them bigger, now that she knew that they don't rise very much.  They look great. She was going to share them with her friends, but now she might have to make another batch, because she says they taste great too.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Come Back

As I have told you before, I have a to-do list that has been piling up, and I finally am getting a chance to whittle it down.  I've been getting reminder notices about my failure to meet my deadlines.  This is not normal for me.  I like to get things done early, not just on time, or way past the deadline.

The problem is, everything I do is taking twice as long as I thought it would.  The plumber doesn't have a part and has to come back the next day, the dentist says I have a cavity so I need to come back, the pharmacy needs to consult with the doctor, so I need to come back.  Again and again, everything on the list has to be done at least twice.

But it is okay, the list is getting smaller, and eventually it is getting to be at a manageable level.  And on my to-do list is quilting. The Quilts for Kids are back out again, and I get to finish them.  I don't have to save quilting for after the list is done.  The picture is of the quilt I finished a while ago.  Just have to add to the pile and ship off.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Review: Same Kind of Different as Me

This is a true story about a homeless drifter, Denver Moore, who was a sharecropper, and a wealthy man, Ron Hall, who became an art dealer. They met through a woman named Debbie and wrote this book together. This one doesn't have the editing problems that the other book had. The book alternates talking about each of the two main characters, and goes through the history of their lives. There is a third main character - "the unlikely woman who bound them together", and although she was discussed in passing in the first fifteen chapters, she didn't seem all that unlikely.

The history is interesting enough, but it seems like there is only one suspense here, and that is, when do they meet and what they have in common? Maybe it is just my antsy mood this summer, but frankly, after fifteen chapters, I got tired of waiting, and decided that what they might have in common wasn't all that compelling. There are pictures in the back of the book, which told me the answer, and it is what I expected. This is a New York times bestseller, and supposed to be a really inspirational story, and maybe it is for some people. but I think it is one of those things that get so hyped up - a NYT bestseller and Barbara Bush even liked the book - that it can't live up to the hype, at least not for me.

I got this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange of my review.

Book Review: An American Bride

I haven't been able to post positive reviews for the books I have received so far from Dorrance. The books are okay, but these are small authors who haven't been published before, and for the most part, the books haven't been edited very well. I chose this book because it was one of their more popular books, and because it seems like an interesting story. It is about a young Saudi who travels to America for his education, and attempts to escape the overbearing culturally and religiously strict father. He meets a Christian woman he wants to marry.

Just like the Amish story, it is written by someone who isn't a part of the culture. The author, Fidelia Moore Parker,  is a Christian who lived in a predominantly Moslem community in Nigeria, but writes about Saudi Arabia and America.

This book has a few grammatical and typographical errors, and the writing was very awkward. I didn't enjoy reading it, and I decided to not to finish it. It explained things more than showed it, especially the bad treatment of women. Here's a quote I found especially humorous.

"Well, that ain't what I've seen. Get your dirty tobacco foul breath and your loser buddies off my premises before I have y'all picked up for trespassing. Y'all aren't my customers here. For starters, y'all got no money, and second of all y'all are harassing my customers. So, y'all better be be gone before you wish y'all were never here. Be gone like bugs be gone, before I blink my eyes go on."

I got this book from Dorrance Publishing, Inc. in exchange for this review.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quilting Content!

This is an old picture.  The half blocks have been replaced by another row of checkerboard for a while.

I know, it's been a while since I've picked up needle or thread.  First, I stored it all away to make it look to our guest that we know how to clean.  Then I was afraid to open up the treasure box, because I still had lots of cleaning and fixing up around the house to do.  As long as that box stays closed, the to-do list stays smaller.  The quilts stay as one line item, instead of each quilt getting its own line.  It is like that expand button on the computer - better to not hit that triangle so it looks like a small list.

I've been trying to catch up on my blog reading, which always makes me dream of new projects, which always reminds me of unfinished projects.  I want to make the Strawberry Fields Lori made way back in May, and its already month two of the stay at home round robin Kate has going on.  When I thought about pulling fabric for those, I felt guilty about all the stuff that has already been started. 

So yesterday, I finally relented, and opened up the treasure box, and my first reaction was uggh, really these are the things I have to finish.  It didn't seem like a treasure at all.  I apparently have been itching to do some hand stitching, so I have picked up the Moldy Crackers quilt and am now working on doing the hand quilting.  It is a start, a very slow start at that, but the treasure box has been opened, and hopefully that means that there will be more quilty content on my blog in the future.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Door Knob

One of the pesky things that has been bugging me has been this old door knob. It was very hard to lock and unlock. I thought about adding this to the list of things and calling a handyman, but the first handyman I called said they charge $90 for the first hour and $75 for each hour after that.  And I recently read an old article written by a handyman while I was cleaning out old paper. It encouraged us to try to do things ourselves, and changing a door knob was one of the things he mentioned.

Not willing to pay $90 for something that I can do myself, I decided to take his advice, and watched a You Tube video to be sure I understood how to do it, and replaced it myself. The installation was very easy. Taking out the old rusted screws weren't as easy, especially in the heat, but I managed after a few tries. I'm sure it took me longer than it would have taken an experienced person, but now I can say I did it myself.

I'll use the money I saved to fix something else.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to School

One of the things that have been on the backburner during all the busyness of the year, has been catching the sales.  There are lots of back to school sales, and I have been letting them go for the most part.  After all, I have all the supplies I need, and even if they are ten or twenty-five or fifty cents, that is still "expensive."  If you remember from last year, my daughter is worried about her ability to use them all in her life time.  What happened to the penny sales?

Well this week, Staples has some really good sales. Things that are free (except for the tax) or a penny. The paper is on sale only through Wednesday - the rest of it lasts all week.  There is also a $5 coupon for a purchase of $50 or more, but I decided not to add to my purchase to get up to $50.    I got all of these things for $1.05, plus tax on the full price.  I also bought water and tissues which were also on sale.  They weren't extraordinary deals, but they were good sales prices and we needed them.  I am going to donate the paper for a back to school drive, but I think I will be able to use the rest.

Even if you don't have anyone going back to school, a lot of these supplies have good uses.  Ohio Quilter's Journey has some ideas on her blog.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I haven't been posting much lately, because I haven't had anything interesting happening.  Then I remembered that this blog just records my daily life, and I don't have to think of anything profound to say. (Or have any profound pictures to show).

I have been regrouping.  After all the overtime I did on the first part of the year, and with our visitor, there have been many things that have been left on the back burner.  And now they are all calling for attention.  What I would love to do, is to drag all of the things out of the house and onto the front lawn, fix up all the little nagging things and paint, and then move things back into places that fit the life the way I want to live it now.  I know you are wondering how I could possibly do all that before it starts raining, or before my neighbors cart all my stuff away.  Really, did you think I would be able to drag all the things out in the first place? I'm going to have to work on one section of each room one at a time.

I also have to figure out the wheat free, low salt, low cholesterol, vegan, no trans fat, diet combination, which we pretty much abandoned during our guest's stay.  We got the chips and dips from Whole Foods and I highly recommend them.  Read the label - can you find a more perfect product? Except  now I have to figure out what GMO is and add yet another thing we won't eat on our list.

There's the job hunting thing.  And of course, there is that treasure box of unfinished quilts - can they still be called WIPs? - that I would like to get to, before I can work on my real UFOs. Quilting is definitely on the list of things I want to do, but the other things are taking priority for now.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Homestay Farewell

We dropped our host daughter at the airport this morning, ending her three week stay.  She really enjoyed shopping, so we did lots of it.  Many of the students like to scope out the store and make a plan on the first visit, and return for a second visit to actually make their purchases.  It's not a good plan, especially when you are on vacation for a limited time, and especially if you are depending on people who are not aware of this plan. Since we did lots of shopping this time, hopefully she was able to get all the things she wanted.  Next time, hopefully we will remember to tell them up front to buy something if they want it.

The first Saturday, we went shopping, and went to a movie.  On Sunday, we had a family birthday party.  The second weekend, we did more shopping, at different stores, and went to my brother's house to do oil painting.  And the final weekend, we went shopping, of course, bowling, went to the park for a hike, and went to the Ohio Caverns.  We ate out a lot more than we have in the past, which was already a lot more than we do when we don't have a guest.  During the weekdays, she went to school, and they had English classes, as well as field trips to Hocking Hills, Kings Island, Anthony Thomas Chocolate Factory, and Adventure Camp. They also went to karaoke, and we played tennis. 

This student was the least shy of the three we have had, and she was more than willing to tell us what she liked and what she wanted to do. I think she understood more English than the other two as well.  There were a couple of times we had to say no to some events, but they just weren't feasible.  I had a really hard time saying no, but we did try to make sure she had something fun to do in its place. She said she especially liked the hiking and the caverns.

It is a lot of work for me to think of what to make for dinner - I am out of practice, since I haven't had to think about someone else's hunger for a long while.  My daughter is very choosy, and she has been fending for herself for the most part since she was much younger, and when she is in college, I don't have to think of anything for her at all.  I'm used to making a meal on the weekend, and eating it all week.  To think of something different to make everyday was difficult.  Our guest is very easy going and would eat whatever I served her, but I tried not to duplicate any meals, just in case she didn't like something and didn't want to tell me.  Thinking of entertaining things to do is also difficult.  My daughter said no to museums, which took away many of the options.

It is all worth it though, because we get a chance to see familiar things with new eyes, and get a chance to do the things we have been meaning to, but don't get around to.  I told my daughter we can still do things even when we don't have a guest, but she said, it wouldn't be as much fun.