Monday, August 29, 2011

All Smiles

I was already feeling pretty good about today and the fact that I got all the blocks done for the Pips in a Basket quilt.  I laid them out on the living room floor this morning and played musical squares for a while.

Then I got the mail, and there was a squishy!  Gorgeous hand-dyed fabrics, giveaway winnings from Vicki at Dotty Jane Designs, along with a special mini-quilt or candle mat! 

Can a Monday get any better?  I think not!

Just look at that tiny pebble quilting, so pretty.  Thanks so much, Vicki!  I just love it!  The wheels are already turning on how best to showcase those lovely fabrics.

It had been a while since I'd been thrifting, but I had a a 25% off coupon from Goodwill burning a hole in my pocket and due to expire in a few days.  So we stopped there yesterday and I found this pretty little black and white damask print plate.  My coupon saved me all of 75 cents on it, ha. 

Dad's tomatoes are becoming ripe.  I picked a bunch yesterday and made fresh tomato chili last night with about eight of them.  Just rinse, core, and give them a spin in the food processor.  No need to peel at all.  

He grew several varieties this year.  This particular kind are on the small side and have interesting

I entertained my inner 12-year-old and gave them some "embellishments" in Picnik (online photo editing).  What do you think?

I just gotta be me...

Keep smiling!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 41

Just a quick one this evening.  We spent Saturday afternoon at an benefit block party, "Rally in the Alley," at a nearby campgrounds.  The money raised by this annual event goes to charity.  Last year it was the American Heart Association.  This year it was the cancer society.

There's always a good turnout.  Three bands provided entertainment, including my brothers' band, FuzzPuzzle.

The people-watching was pretty entertaining as well. All sorts of characters, regular campers and visitors alike. Here's my friend Karri, her husband Jim (center) and their friend D. on the left:

Norm and I am are not campers.  We just come and enjoy the day.

My brother Darrell, flanked by his friend Annie on the right and his daughter Samantha on the left (who gave a thumbs up in lieu of smiling):

This is one of the last songs they did, with members of a couple of the bands jamming together.  My brother Russ is singing this one, and Darrell is standing to the left playing electric guitar.  I was using my regular little camera to record this and didn't have the option to zoom in, so it is what it is.

A good time was had by all!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - Green, Eggs and Ham

First, let me tell you what is not my favorite thing this week:  Waking up at three-something a.m. and not being able to get back to sleep.

This happened not once but twice this week, and all I have to say is it better not be some kind of trend.  Both times I tossed.  I turned.  I readjusted and refluffed.  Covers off, covers on?  Hot or cold, make up your mind.  I went to the bathroom (the "wee" hours, indeed) and had a sip of water.

Finally, facing the fact that there were no more Zs to be had, I got up to make myself some breakfast.  And not half a banana and a piece of dry toast either.  We're talking P's House of (gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free) Pancakes.  Or, you know, P-HO(gfdfsf)P for short.

So I hauled out the big electric griddle and all the ingredients and made blueberry buckwheat pancakes from scratch.  That didn't seem like enough, so I made some eggs and ham besides.  And then I ate another pancake.  With almond butter.

Who did not give a rat's was not watching carbs or calories at four-something in the morning?  Other than watching them go down the hatch, that is.

As you might imagine, in a little while I was sleepy again, so Mama Bear settled in for a four-hour, mid-morning, REM-crazy, coma snooze.

Two days later, a similar scenario.  This time, however, I made a skillet frittata with broccoli, shredded zucchini, diced ham, and two eggs.  I'm calling it "Green, Eggs and Ham."  

It will be on the P-HO(gfdfsf)P menu, whenever the printer gets it right.

I've eaten this twice since (after a normal night's sleep), and it is my Favorite Thing this week.  Today I didn't have any ham, so I substituted leftover salmon.  Do not try this at home.  Okay, "Green Eggs and Sam" wasn't bad, but it won't be appearing on our regular menu, except maybe on Fridays during Lent.  Ham is definitely better.

Here's how it all goes together.

Yes, that IS a blob of bacon fat to grease the skillet.  

I know it's a nonstick pan, what's your point?

Looky there, a serving of vegetables and the sun is barely up!

Pretend this is ham.  Do as I say.  Or keep the cats away from the stove.

Put the cover on it for a couple minutes until the top sets.  Or if looking at it gives you the heebie-jeebies.

Slide it out of the pan (miracle of bacon grease!) and onto a plate.  If it still gives you the willies, look at the fruit.  

LOOK AT THE FRUIT!  Puppies!  Rainbows!  Pancakes!

All kidding aside, it really does taste good (use ham).

In summary:  

Waking up at the wrong time:  Completely Annoying.

Breakfast (anytime):  Awesome.

Favorite thing:  Green, Eggs and Ham.

P.S. - HAM.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Pyramid Supper Club

I caught the tail end of a documentary on PBS last weekend about Wisconsin Supper Clubs.  What's a supper club, you ask?  I think the folks in the trailer for the film (below) probably explain it best, but according to Wikipedia:

A supper club, in general, refers to a dining establishment that also functions as a social club...Supper club in United States is an American dining establishment generally found in the Upper Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.  These establishments typically are located on the edge of town in rural areas.  They were traditionally thought of as a "destination" where patrons would go to spend the whole evening, from cocktail hour to enjoying night club style entertainment after dinner.  They feature a casual and relaxed atmosphere.

So it's a restaurant, but more.

Here in this area, we had the Pyramid Supper Club.  Established in the early 1960s, it featured an Egyptian theme, right down to its pyramid-shaped architecture and interior decorations in Egyptian motifs.

The above postcard is from our family collection.  The woman at the front table is my mother (the man next to her, according to my dad, was a salesman recruited for the shot).

(Image Source)
Americans were becoming fascinated with all things Egyptian at that time, in part due to the Tutankhamun Treasures exhibit that had begun touring museums and galleries across the country in 1961.  The 1963 movie, Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, undoubtedly added to the fervor.

So a pyramid-themed supper club in the middle of a cornfield in Wisconsin?  Hey, why not.  It was indeed a very successful establishment while under its original ownership and management for several decades.  

My mother worked at the Pyramid from its early days, first as a waitress and later a bartender and hostess.  (I also worked there briefly in the late '70s as a coat check).  Here are some of the uniforms my mom wore through the years.  

Hemlines were going up (as were the hairdos) during this period in history, and these uniforms tell the tale!

My mom helped design and sew several of the uniforms for herself and other waitresses.  I particularly remember the unique fitted number with the pleated skirt and shoulder scarf.  She had to order several bolts of white polyester double-knit and yards upon yards of teal and gold ribbon trim.  We had quite the flurry of activity at our house for several weeks that year, waitresses coming and going through her sewing room door to be measured and fitted.  It was all quite entertaining!

And here is one of the first miniature menus.  This one is dated 1962.  Check out those prices!

I hope to watch the Wisconsin Supper Clubs movie in its entirety at some point.  Since the Pyramid had already closed, it wasn't part of the film but is mentioned on the film's website.  I am happy to have fond memories of the place and its fine people, and an appreciation for the role it played in both the local economy and our family's.

I'll be linking to Vintage Thingie Thursday at Colorado Lady. Click to visit for more fun and fascination from time gone by!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 40

Friends, I have some sad news.  Me and the Greek (yogurt) broke up.  I know, I know.  Many of you probably figured it was inevitable but were too polite to warn me, and I truly had high hopes.  What makes a girl forget her own history and play with the same fire all over again?  I wish I knew.  I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say it involved a gut-wrenching betrayal.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.

You can't always get what you want.

But if you try sometimes, you get what you need.  I needed some foam covers for my earphones.  I lost one the other night on a walk. Aren't these cute and colorful?  Dollar Store!  I'm going to recover mine at work too.

I had started working on more Pips in a Basket blocks earlier today, but things got interrupted.  But let me interrupt that story by asking, do you trim your jelly roll strips?  This is the first jelly roll I've worked with and I am trimming because, well, look:

Houston, we have a discrepancy.  Maybe not a big deal, depending on how your quilt goes together, but that's a good 1/8 inch difference between those two strips, and that's enough to mess me up.  Granted, it doesn't take much.

Anyway, I was in the middle of chain piecing when the phone rang.  A guy was supposedly on his way to my house to buy a bass guitar I had for sale, except instead of being 3 miles away like he thought, he was more like 30 miles away and headed in the wrong direction.  So we agreed to meet in the middle to do the deal.

I'm glad it sold, finally.  It had been on craigslist for over a month with hardly a nibble, even though I had dropped the price.  Bob the Bass Buyer got himself a sweet deal, and the cash goes to my daughter's boyfriend on whose behalf I was selling it.  I'm hoping, in return, he can help me figure out my printer issue.

Know anyone who wants to buy an electric guitar?

Well, I've got to run.  I have a date with these guys in the sewing room this evening.  

Hey, anybody who wears a t-shirt with a typewriter on it and makes me want to dance next to my ironing board is a friend of mine.  And the bass player looks a little like Robert Pattinson.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - Berries and Dairy, Oh My!

I snapped up the only pint of raspberries I could find at the farmer's market this week.  "That's the last of them," Farmer Brown said.  I have no idea what his real name is, but that's what he said. Such sad news, conveyed with typical Midwestern matter-of-factness.  To everything there is a season, and the jig is up on raspberries.

Anyway, as you know from my last FTF post (and has it been that long?),  I do love berries.  Blue-, black-, straw-, lingon-, they're all fabulous.

You may also know that I avoid dairy products.  It hasn't always been that way, but about four or so years ago I gave up dairy and gluten due to tummy issues after testing confirmed that I was reacting to both.

Then in May, I stopped eating refined sugar, and now I'm working on removing other processed carbs and grains.  Tummy feels even better.  Maybe it's had some time to heal?

So when the stars aligned this week, i.e., I was having a powerful craving for thick Greek yogurt and Piggly Wiggly was having a sale, I decided to risk it.  Besides, I had nowhere to be but home, should there be an unfortunate aftermath.

There was none.  It was GOOD!  So good, I've had two more servings just like this one, today's with the last of the fresh raspberries.  And by servings, I'm talking only half a small carton at a time.

So, will I be sprinting to the nearest Kwik-Trip for a jug of chocolate moo-juice?  Not on your life (besides, me run?).  But if you slip me a piece of cheddar cheese...

Pips in a Basket

This week's progress on the Basket Case quilt:  About a dozen blocks.  

I'm using a jelly roll of Sherbet Pips, giveaway goodies from Sarah's H2H kickoff some months ago.

And there are some adorable little pipsqueaks in this fabric!

Using an ash solid from Connecting Threads.  I really like it.  Their solids have a smooth, well-made feeling.

Wish I had more to show for the week, but being able to sew together a block or two each day, between work and other stuff, seems whoop-worthy enough.

Thanks for popping by!  Click over to Sarah's and see what others have accomplished this week, and link up if you're sew inclined!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 39

Summer is flying by fast, isn't it?  This past week found me slowing down a bit to savor the season, taking time to enjoy the simple things.

Being that it was my birthday week, I got to hear from and visit with some of my favorite people, and enjoy a great steak, a birthday cupcake (!), and a couple glasses of wine, among other things.

I potted some mums for a little color on the front porch.  Took turns with Mother Nature keeping the new plantings and grass seed watered.  Spent some time lounging and reading, including the latest issue of Men's Journal (what? there are some good articles in that mag).  I made another batch of fresh pesto and some tasty butternut squash soup.  And I went for a decent walk just about every day.

I also cut out another kaleidoscope quilt, version 2.0.  These fabrics, as I have mentioned before, were a kit of FQs that I thrifted.

I love the bright, saturated colors.  The retro mod look is what I'm shooting for in v.2.0, along with brighter halos (don't we all kinda wish for brighter halos)?

Tangent:  When I was in high school, our time periods during the day were called "mods."  Mods were 20-minute blocks, and a class was typically two or three mods long.  We also had open mods, where we could congregate in the cafeteria and yak it up with friends or go to the library and pretend to study or finish homework, etc.  

A lot of crazy things happened in the '70s.

I loved the mod system, and it seemed to work well while it lasted (about six years) before the school reverted to hour-long class periods and more regimentation.  Thankfully, I had graduated by then.

Anyway, after laying out a few blocks of kaleido 2.0 on the floor, it was okay, but I was not particularly loving it.

So I emailed a photo to Rita, who helped me envision some alternatives using her Photoshop skills.  At the same time, I consulted my Flickr favorites, and the whole process led to a second attempt using white in the alternate blocks as well as the corner triangles.  I like this better.

But I'll probably still play around with it, mixing up the pieces and experimenting with a scrappy/random look before I decide to sew anything together.  Besides, I have to get more white fabric.

Check out the small dot print in the center, above.  It reminds me of candy buttons!  I always managed to eat some of the paper they were stuck to.  Sugar + fiber!

I also started cutting out a quilt using the Sherbet Pips jelly roll from Sarah's giveaway at the start of the H2H quilt challenge.  Instead of a white background like on the pattern here, I'm going to try an ash solid from Connecting Threads.  I think it'll work well against the lighter colored strips in the jelly roll.

And I got a little squishy in the mail this week, a giveaway by Sarcastic Quilter from this spring's Paper-Pieced Quilt Along.  What a cute FQ bundle!  Thanks, Becky!

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  Hope you enjoy yours and the rest of these "dog days" of summer!