Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chicken & Dumplings of two great meals!  Chicken in the crockpot and if you're lucky like me, you have a neighbor who has rosemary in their garden and she lets you come over and take snips of it, as much as you like!  I learned something new about crockpot cooking from Pinterest, but I lost the original pin.  Put 4 pieces of crumpled up aluminum foil underneath the meat... that simple!  I was skeptical that I would taste foil, but you don't.  I also did it with a pork tenderloin.  Now tis chicken is so juicy, its amazing! 
Okay, here we go, start with a whole fryer/roaster - get a large one, salt and pepper it, slice up some onion, throw on some garlic, slice a lemon and tear up some rosemary.  Put some of the onion/lemon/rosemary inside the bird.  And be sure and clean out the chicken really good, (shame on me - I don't save the neck and gizzards, I just toss 'em) cut off the big hunks of fat - there will be plenty enough for the stock.  Don't forget to throw the 4 balls of foil underneath.  Throw a few carrots and potatoes in there, if you're so inclined.  Cook it for 8/10 hours - 6 if you're in a hurry. 
Now that's a great meal, with some potatoes (baked or mashed) the carrots can be your veggie.  The chicken is super moist and juicy.  And frankly, I'm not a chicken fan but I like this kind.  For the second meal, pick all the meat off the bones and strain the juice - keep them separate and refrigerate overnight.  The only reason to do this is to let the fat gel and scrape it off. 
The new day - skim the fat off the top of the stock.  Melt 2 tbsp of butter and throw 1/4 cup flour on it, stir and let it brown up for a minute or so and then slowly add your stock.  Or you can cheat and use Wondra.  Add another box of chicken stock (32 oz), throw in the chicken meat.  Add 1-2 cups of water and 1-2 cups of half and half.  Slice up a couple of carrots and some celery if you have it.  With all those liquids, you'll need to salt and pepper it all.  Now I'm lazy about dumplings, I use canned biscuits, about 4-5 rolled out and slice in half, then in thirds.  Throw them in all that liquid and let it cook for at least 30- 45 minutes or longer.  Now, enjoy a bowl of it with maybe some cornbread.  I love crockpot cooking and Pinterest!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Sleep 'n Pancakes

While I'm on a roll, I'll share a bit some things.  Nothing too deep, don't worry!  I started about two weeks ago, going to bed at 10 pm and waking at 6 am - in order to get 8 hours of sleep.  I was tired of feeling tired when I woke up each morning and wasting about 2 hours, from 10 - midnight on the computer doing nothing important.  I'm here to tell ya - getting an 8 hour sleep each night is pretty wonderful!  And when I don't stick to the schedule, I definitely feel it in the morning.  I probably miss the mark once a week, but overall I'm proud of myself for taking care of myself.  Simple thing to do and worth it.
Second subject.  Well wait, do we need a photo here?  Just to break it up.  Okay, let me go get one.  Here are a bunch of quilts I have.  I need to sell some...  I had a friend say in an email the other day something about her "good intentions" of getting creative with all the things she's buying was getting old!  Do you ever feel that way.  Struck a chord with me.  That's what they should call Pinterest... the land of good intentions.
Second subject is breakfast for dinner.  My brother and I have been doing most every Tuesday night for the past couple of months.  At IHOP on Washington/I-10.   Its so fun to have breakfast for dinner - what a treat!

And last subject is... travel.  I'm going to London on Friday for work.  Well, I'm going a bit early so I can shop at Portobello Market and Spitalfields Market and a few other places.  At the end of the week I'm jumping on the Eurostar to Paris for two days and one night... Yikes!  I don't speak French and I'm going alone but hopefully I will immerse myself in France and enjoy every moment.  Its going to be a good week!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Oprah's LifeClass

If you haven't seen my FB posts, I was invited by my good friend, Theresa to attend a taping of the Oprah Lifeclass show in Houston at the Hobby Center yesterday. I had tried to win tickets in the lottery myself but to no avail. T was the lucky girl!  Finally, the big day arrived and I was ready! We had tickets for the afternoon taping and Pastor Rick Warren, of The Purpose-Driven Life was the guest. There was a 2 page list of instructions for attending which included wearing bright colors, eating a big lunch and don't be late! We had a nice lunch at the original Irma's on Chenevert. 
I bought a new green ombre shirt that has a hint of sparkle in it!

We arrived early and there were lots of preparations on the set.  A guy cleaned that desk top twice!
My friend, Theresa.  We were in Mezzanine, one floor up and no cameras. 

Here's Oprah when she first comes out.  Very gracious.  They taped two shows that will air in January.  They referred to Rick Warren's 10th anniversary edition of his book,which will be coming out in January. 

The conversation between Rick Warren and Oprah was very relaxed and fluid.  Both shows went very smoothly, no retakes.  I don't know if they rehearsed everything but it is exactly like what you see on TV.  During each break, she'd tell Dean (the stage director - in the bottom left photo below) - Let's keep going, Dean. 
During the class Oprah would take notes and they would show them on the screen above.  It was interesting to see her handwriting.  During the breaks, she would keep discussing the issues.  Only once did the makeup people come out.

At the end, Oprah thanked Houston for it's Southern Hospitality.  She explained she couldn't do pictures with one person, she did visit with the front row and particularly this one girl - she talked to her for probably a full 8 minutes.  I think it was a girl who told her story about feeling less than/hating her appearance.  It was pretty amazing because she spent a long time talking to her.  Someone else asked for her shoes and she said no - that they actually fit and felt good!  She still kicks them off when she's at the desk.

A full crowd.  If a seat was empty - they brought in a filler.  Comcast was given a whole slew of tickets, I guess they'll be promoting OWN.

And then a final good bye, leaving the stage with her security man, Rick Warren and Dean behind them.  See all the bright colors - everyone was dressed to the nines!
It was a fun experience, so glad I got to go.  While they had some rigid rules in the two page instructions, they were very relaxed at the theatre.  It was touching at times to be there - inspiration stuff.  The show runs so smoothly, which of course, after 25 years of doing it, but I was still surprised - it is just like you see it on TV.  Thank you, Theresa for inviting me!  It was a bucket list item for me.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Warrenton Finds

I owe you a few pictures of the goodies from Warrenton. It always takes me a while to do that because you have to get good light, set it up, take the pics, edit the pics and then yes, finally post the pics.
These are the linen tableclothes I found.  They will make good fabric for angels or pages.  Or maybe one day I'll get around to make a handkerchief pocket holder... one day.
Here's my bisque doll that was $25.  They had 3 for sale at Cole's for $320.

These are little insulator bulb things (Sandy said they're fuses)... I think  they will make good feet for a box.  And I love red and blue so I picked up the hankie.

Do you even know what this is?  First thing I thought was an angel doll body.  Of course.  Its also the agitator for a washer... With a coat of white paint you won't know the diff.

I saved 2 of the yardsticks for myself - nice thick ones.  And it said Dutch Boy, so I had to keep it.  Isn't the card catalog exquisite with the dove tails.  It was $32.  I know, right.

I've been cooking like a fool on the weekends.  Last weekend I made Cream of Cilantro soup on Saturday and Sunday I put another whole chicken in the crock pot with rosemary and lemon.  Then I picked it, threw in a little cream and dumplings and we had chicken and dumplings.  Really, really good and so flavorful.  I'm telling you - throw a chicken in the crockpot, ball up some foil and place it in the bottom, add some carrots, season up the chicken and add some rosemary inside and on top and lemon and you will thank me.  Promise.
EDITED TO ADD:  Yes, the foil keeps it out of the juices, so that it "steams".  Learned it from Pinterest here!  It is super moist.
It's a big week here.  Oprah is coming to town Friday and I get to be in the audience on Friday afternoon at Hobby Center.  She's taping her show, LifeClass.  I am beyond thrilled.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Warrenton in the Fall-ish

It's time for Round Top again.  I live about 1.5 hours away, so its an easy day trip.  I took the day off of work on Thursday and took along my camera; here are a few shots.
I loved these scuffy little red boots, but not at $85.

 Lots and lots of flower frogs - saw them everywhere.

I actually go to Warrenton, through Bellville - such a peaceful drive and a good breakfast at Newman's Bakery.  First time ever, I stopped at Nothing Ordinary and didn't buy anything.  When I saw this pink Maytag, I thought of Lori Bunda Wilson in Calgary, who was kind enough to show me her shop.  And Cindy Vratil - I know they both would love this.  Wouldn't it be a fun drink cooler for parties.
I bought a bunch of yardsticks and promptly sold them to this girl.  Look at the legs - she needs plenty.  Loved her creativity.  She's from Granbury, TX. I want some piano keys.
This booth, Johnny and June was just setting up but I loved the antler dress form. 

I love old doors, maybe I'll take a ride over to ReStore tomorrow...

Plenty of linens and lace all over the place.  Click on it - I love how they're just up in your face!
It was blazing hot, 91 degrees, even though I arrived at 10, but 12:30 I decided it wasn't fun anymore so I headed inside to Cole's.  It was nice, not so crowded.  I scored two beautiful white tableclothes, I'll show pics tomorrow in a booth right outside of Cole's (to the left).  She sort of screamed at me when I asked for the price... first she said $50, then she corrected herself to $15.  ITS A FLAT PRICE FOR ANY ONE - she shouted.  It was sort of comical.  I decided I needed two. 
And I'll take a photo in the daylight of a gorgeous card catalog I snagged - $32. Gorgeous oak, one wide drawer and a beautiful Globe Wernicke label. I saw many spool cabinets and one special round oak spinner with fabulous handles on each draw - probably 80 drawers. $2750. But worth every penny. Why didn't I take a photo - maybe it was just too painful to walk away - no remembrances.

I have to share one more photo, okay maybe two.  Isn't this light fixture awesome - great green/yellow hues.
And my dogs just don't like their photos being taken.  Here's Grace, before she went to the beauty shop...If that ain't the evil eye!

Sorry, Junior was crying for equal time... so, there!

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Good morning.  It's my birthday weekend and I have some chickies coming over for crafting, so with the pressure on to get the house in order and no time to dawdle, I thought I would post a few pins I've tried and love... Wish me luck in getting the pins and pics posted properly... it will either be a boon or a bust!

Okay, but wait.  Heather pinned a bunch of chihuahua pups, so I have to look at them, look at my pic of my chihuahua and debate on whether I should post a pic of Junior because he's blond but his nose and all is liver, not black like all the others.  No posting.  Back to the task at hand.
Peach Smoothies... I fixed these for a brunch and we now have them every other Sunday (when I remember to pick up frozen peaches).  Very yummy.  And yes, ours look just like that.
(Summer) Peach Smoothie 2 cups fresh orange juice 1 cup peach greek yogurt 2 cups frozen sliced peaches 2 tablespoons raw honey or 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon nutmeg Blend all the ingredients until smooth.
I also made these Brie and Apple Tarts, several times.  Very yummy too.
Brie and Apple Tarts - also made this with swiss - delish!
Next, Strawberry upside down cake.  Good but wasn't crazy about it, for some reason.  You may think differently.
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Fig and Proscuitto Pizza from Pioneer Woman.  To.Die.For - this was my first foray into Pinterest Recipes, I believe.  I need to make this again.  It was so friggin awesome.
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Oh, and Crescent Rolls Chicken - really good (and no, not so good for you) but nice dinner.  I made it a second time with Harvest Tomato soup - not so yummy.
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I made this last night, simple and fabulous
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Julia has many good recipes on her board - good inspiration.  (is there bad inspiration?)  I'm running out of time ...
You will notice there are about 150 pins on my Craftiness board.  Dang, I'd better get busy.  Here are a few projects I've tried...
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Monopoly Box - I'm constantly on the lookout for games at my thrift store.
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And nows a good time to make these... think we'll do that today.  In looking at this board, man I've bought alot of supplies - I need to get crackalackin... for sure!
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Oh, wait - just one question.  Am I the only one that does this.  Do you see a blog post or a pin and then become obsessed with buying the supplies?  When I saw a gumball machine filled with white buttons, I was possessed.  Personality flaw I guess... Hope you enjoy your weekend.

Monday, June 25, 2012


I'll beat you to the punch, before you even say it.  I can't help myself... really.  I hit two great estate sales Friday - one in River Oaks (wealthy) and my neighborhood (not wealthy).  I am so fortunate that we work our 40 hours in 4.5 days so that I am free to roam on Friday afternoon.  I found a bag of jello molds for $2 and spray painted a few the baby pink and glossy turquoise.  I set the doll heads on top to give you an idea of where we'll start - there will be alot more gussying up to do, for sure.  I'm sharing them, so if you want one/some, let me know.  I scored pretty well at the RO house, handled by Roger Howard - he's fair.  I love the graphics on the Our Home book and the tiny prayer books have incredible color pictures.  I also picked up what I thought was a flat sheet to cut up for a slip cover pattern for $1 - only to unfold it and realize it is a gorgeous all-white duvet cover with a beautiful cut-out pattern (what do you call that?).  So, I can't cut it!  I wish I had picked up more as there were several.  Also found more Setwell wooden hangers, a large wooden chopping block.  I don't know what my affinity to wood chopping blocks but this one is 2" thick and I just want to use it for the foundation of an art piece.  It sure won't be easy to hang.  It was $3.  I also found a friendship book, which will provide many lovely cut outs for art projects.  And then a formal dress for $15 with YARDS of lace and ecru rose and flower appliques.  It is gorgeous. 
At the 'hood sale, I scored on a cheaper scale - I've been wanting an oil can but they're so darn expensive at Round Top - this came out of a 50 year old garage for $1.  See the red folding ruler - isn't it amazing!  And a STACK of maps from all over the world!  A large roll of vintage flowery purple and green wallpaper.  Another setwell hanger and we called it done. 
I showed the 50s wooden play pen I found in tomball on Facebook - I just couldn't help myself.  It is in pristine condition with a little bit of cleaning.  I know. what can I do with it?  I imagine taking it apart at some point.  The colorful little beads are so darling. 
I am working on a plan to sell stuff.  Really, I am.  In the meantime, I'll be searching on Fri morning to see where I need to go. 

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Country Living Fair

Finally... here's a rundown of my long weekend in Austin.  I left Thursday morning and did the usual.  Stop in Bellville at Newman's Bakery for a country breakfast (eggs, bacon and biscuit) and then my favorite antique store down the street, Nothing Ordinary.  Don't get spooked by the front room, go down the hallway to the back, where all the good stuff is!  I don't think I've ever walked out of there empty handed - I found a silver sugar bowl, baby shoes and milk white lid.

Then I went on the search for Travis County Exposition, which is on the east side of Austin for the Country Living Fair.  Only problem was, I was a day early.  Yes, I didn't check the date and it started tomorrow.  No worries, I headed to South Congress for uncommon OBJECTS, the thrift store down the street and also found a great eatery, Hopdoddy Burger Bar.  It was yummy, by the way and I was the only person in the place without a tattoo. Ran into Jenni and Jared Bowlin on the street.  Also saw actor, Aziz Ansari.  I know I didn't know who he was either - he plays on Parks and Recreation.  I mentioned the thrift store, its across the street and down the way from UO - nothing this time but I've found great stuff there in the past.  I found tiny wooden baby shoe molds at UO - SIX of them!  Yeah.  These are the smallest I've found but they didn't have any needle marks in them so perhaps they were samples?  Must be.
So on Friday, I made my way to the Country Living Fair, you know, when it was open.  Part of it was in a barn (the affordable stuff) and the other part in the arena (way over priced, but fun to look at).  There was one particular shop that was my favorite - great stuff at good prices.  I found a 14" St. Theresa statue for $48.  I think she's chalkware.  I also found some stitched ribbon in red there with ABCs and FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS.  I also found the two silver heart ornaments - they're a bit heavy and unique.  I also found a bit of white trim, two yards of fabric in 30s kitchen style and these two cigarette silks for Australia and Egypt.  At work those are two of my territories so I thought they would be fun to have.  I'm not sure what a cigarette silk is though... I had all the stuff piled up but the picture was awkward.  I really need a class on styling for photographs. 
My overall view of the CL Fair is that it was nice but not fabulous.  The CL Fair, (like so many other events) have vendors who are looking for the designers, who will pay $48 for a pair of blue felt baby cowboy boots, even though Jenni Bowlin had them for $18.  I think thats what we'll start calling them, Designer events.  Urban Market is pretty much a designer event.  You can pick off a few good bits but overall you walk away shaking your head. Probably the best junk event I've been to is Junk Bonanza in St. Paul, MN last September.  It had TONS of junk that I love at super reasonable prices.  You know, a yardstick for $2 instead of $10.
One cool thing that happened at the Fair was that I met Susie Harris, a Louisiana blogger and sign painter and her fabulous sister, Missy.  I had a great time visiting with them, talking about all that we love, comparing notes.  Bloggers are cool and girls from Louisiana are the best.  Susie has great pictures from CLF and also some great recommendations for their 50 states article.  We went to the Red Onion last weekend, on my way back from Destin.  Very cool place.
I thought I would share two recent finds on line:  a child's Singer sewing machine and a child's sewing machine from the USSR/Russia.  Cute, huh. 
And now to a bit of a confession.  I'm trying to organize and sell, and stay out of the estate sales and thrift stores.  Well, let me restate that.  I can still go but I can't buy.  I am tired of the Room of Shame and want to use what I have and sell what I don't love.  We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

'Bout Time

The last weekend in February I went down to Lake Jackson with four girlies for a weekend retreat of crafting.  Normally we have a room of 20 girls, this time it was an intimate group - all the same age and gosh, we had a blast.  We almost literally had a blast once we looked underneath the structure at the wiring which was a mess of extension chords - yes!... and I worked on a few projects:  a banner I started in Charlotte's class at The Creative Connection.  That is a picture of me with my Dad and TWIRL has a story here, which makes the picture significant.  I surrounded the frame with blue butterfly trim from a tattered hankie and a photo album frame.  I also started a fabric book of quotes and a birthday book from Pinterest.  It's about 1/3 finished - I'll work on it next weekend during National Scrapbook Day at H's house.  I used a damaged tablecloth and printed the quotes on special fabric called Printed Treasures that I purchased in NC at a fabric store.  There's a bit of ribbon, lace and stitching on the pages - I'll add some buttons too and some batting between the two pages and stitch them together into a book.

After the weekend away, I headed on a two week work trip that started in Cairo, Egypt for six days with a posse of 10, on to London and then finishing up in Aberdeen with a visit to our North Sea operations.  I was quite nervous about visiting Cairo because the anti-American sentiments were prevalent but it was totally unfounded.  Such an eye opener, such an amazing visit to see another part of the world, and the Muslim culture.  I feel so fortunate to have these opportunities.  See in the background the Giza pyramids?  This is a typical scene in Cairo - THOUSANDS of buildings half finished, half-occupied, laundry on a line in the dirty air.  The people were extremely kind.  We spent the first day sightseeing at the Citadel (1st photo), Sakara pyramids and Giza pyramids with a stop Friday night at Khan el Khalili (an outdoor shopping mall) where I smoked apple-flavored shisha tobacco & purchased a few perfume bottles.  I didn't like Giza because the hawkers were in your space since tourism is down 70%.  We spent one day going to our local operations and another in meetings with the Minister of Finance, Minister of Petroleum and EGPC.  The Minister of Finance was all pomp and circumstance and pretty impressive - we were treated like royalty.  That doesn't happen to insurance folks.  So much about Cairo, I don't want to forget.  We left Houston on Wednesday and left Cairo on Tuesday, heading for London.  It was the usual business meetings but several nice dinners, including one at The Goring Hotel, where Kate stayed the night before she became Princess.  I spent the weekend at Portobello market where I found a few more printers blocks and tons of nice lace.  On Sunday I headed over to Aberdeen for meetings on Monday and then back to London on Tuesday.  I walked along Cromwell, had a fabulous lunch at Paul's, then a visit to Victoria & Albert museum.  It was a long two weeks but I loved every minute of it. 

I have one other photo to show you from a few weeks ago... around 10 pm we heard a crazy sound - a crunching sound but not from a car wreck and metal... it ended up being this tree releasing its roots and tippng perilously close to my neighbors house. Crazy, huh! Click on it to see how it crushed the iron fence. Its been taken out and replaced by two new trees but kind of sad to see such an 80+ year beauty go.

I'll blog this week about my trip to Austin, attending Country Living Fair and meeting and having a nice visit with Susie Harris and her sweet sister, Melissa but I call her Missy.