Friday, December 30, 2011

Tamales Tonight

I just read Kim's blog (www.kimsbigquiltingadventure) and noticed that she posted every day this week--even though she was busy.  All I did was obsess about finishing  a quilt called  Sweet Days by the Acorn Quilt & Gift Company (see my post August 8, 2011).  I wanted to use up my scraps, so I cut a few of the
1-1/4" squares individually.  I did a couple trial runs for the ribbon border I used because I didn't like the border on the quilt pattern.  It can take a long time to cut 200 little squares.

I am thinking of my new year's resolutions.  Only one more day before I have to try to keep them.  I think I will finish my list tonight.....

So, here is a little story.  I stopped in at the Walmart in Roseville.  I was waiting patiently for a clerk to finish with a customer so I could ask where they sold string--the kind you use to tie tamales.  This woman walks by holding one of those little dogs.  The dog was wrapped up in a pink blanket and the woman was holding it like a baby.  I looked at her and rolled my eyes and then turned my back to her.  If there is anything that just gets me worked up in a hurry, it is this insistence on the part of some people to bring their dog with them, including the grocery store.  I don't care how nice or wonderful you think your dog is, it doesn't belong in a grocery store, unless it is a service dog.  People disregard the rule because the dogs are small.  I have a 100 pound yellow lab and I am sure people would object to my walking him around Walmart. 

There I am waiting and the woman (wearing slippers and desperately needing to comb her hair) waves someone over and stands there.  Her friend comes up with a cart and when I heard the noise, I turned and looked, saw the dog again and shook my head turning back toward the clerk.  The friend (also in need of a comb) tells the first woman, "she doesn't like the dog."  I turned around and said, "what you are doing is illegal. You shouldn't bring your dog in here."  The friend looks at me and says, "why not, you're here."
Oh my gosh.  I think she called me a dog.

Afterward I went home to make tamales.  I made pork tamales and sweet corn tamales.  My husband told me the first time I made them that I didn't use enough masa or filling.  This time I used more of each, but still not enough.  For me this is trial and error.  I don't have a traditional Mexican family that hands all the secrets down from generation to generation. 

Sweet Corn Tamales

corn husks soaked in water.
2 1/2 cups masa harina
1 cup sugar
1 14.75 ounce can cream style corn
1 stick of softened butter
1/2 cup hot water

Make the dough.  Combine the masa harina, sugar, cream corn and butter with 1/2 cup hot water.
Put 1/4 cup dough down the center of a husk.  Roll and tie the ends closed or fold into a packet and tie closed.  In a steamer pot, steam the tamales for one hour.  Let rest 10 minutes before eating.

Food Network Magazine, November 2011--page 78.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

Part of Christmas for us is putting a small Christmas tree on my parents grave.
  On December 15, 1996, my parents and my sister-in-law, Cindy
 were killed in an auto accident on Highway 88.
Really the defining moment of my life.
This year we went out to Calvary Cemetery in Citrus Heights and found
Now, in the past I have been known to politely call and inquire as to WHY the grass
in not green.  As a person who paid full price for that cemetery plot,
and knowing that my father would be VERY angry about the brown grass,
I am quick to call.  I have also been known to throw all niceness out the window
and make my great displeasure known.
Frank, the poor soul in charge of Catholic Cemeteries for the
Sacramento Dioceses, knows me by name.
Tomorrow, I will call and inquire as to why the only green can be found
around the maintenance shed and under one tree.
I will be nice until I get the run around.

On a happier note, we have a 4-year old yellow lab named Hunter.  He is such a good dog.
My daughter bought him a football for Christmas.  She wrapped it and gave it to Hunter first,
before anyone else had a present in hand.
Before any one of us had our first present unwrapped,
Hunter had torn off the wrapping and chewed up the football.
He spent an hour tearing that football into little tiny pieces.
It was the best $1.00 spent!

I got a spectacular gift this year from my children.  It is an I-Pod. 
I also got a Frank Sinatra CD with one of my favorite songs on it.

Strangers in the night exchanging glances
Wond'ring in the night what were the chances
We'd be sharing love before the night was through
Something in your eyes was so inviting
Something in your smile was so exciting
Something in my heart told me I must have you
Strangers in the night
Two lonely people
We were strangers in the night
Up to the moment when we said our first hello
Little did we know
Love was just a glance away
A warm embracing dance away
Ever since that night we've been together
Lovers at first sight
In love forever
It turned out so right for strangers in the night.

Sorry about the picture below being sideways.
A friend gave me this book.  I love reading cookbooks.
Perhaps I will learn to make jam!

I'm off to make pillow covers.  As I was taking pictures, I noticed that ours are pretty worn.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


All I hear is, "Are you ready for Christmas?"  If it happened tomorrow, we would have gifts and food.  I have one trip out tomorrow and some cookie deliveries, but otherwise we are done. 

Today we got a phone call from an old friend we haven't talked to in a while.  Chris used to work with my husband.  We socialized with him and his wife Kris ( really it is Chris and Kris).  Then life happened and Chris had to close his shop and he went to work for Raley's and they live in South Sacramento, so we haven't spoken for a while--maybe a year.  It was so nice to hear from Chris.  It may inspire me to call someone I haven't seen for a while and remind them that I am still around.  'Tis the season.

Merry Christmas....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Got Caught Up

I have been busy.  My husband is making a baby doll crib and I made the matress, sheet, pillow and blanket.  We have a neighbor, Adrianna, who has a little girl, Jael.  She is the sweetest thing.  This is all for Jael because Christmas is for kids.  I don't have grandchildren or small nieces and nephews close by.  We are all older now.  It has been so much fun doing this for Jael.  We plan to sneak it in and put it under the tree from Santa.  Adrianna doesn't know anything about it and I know it will be such a surprise!  My helpful elf is Anna (Nana to Jael).  Only three more days!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Precious Gift

I received the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders as a gift.  A very precious gift.  I have never made jam, but this really makes me want to make it and have biscuits and jam.  The pictures are so beautiful.  Lemons, blueberries, apples.....spoons dripping with jam.  Jam poured into pie crusts.  Yummmm.
I feel so special now.  I love cookbooks.  I love to cook out of them and I love to read them.  All of my best Christmas' involve cookbooks.  The Way to Cook by Julia Child.  The Breakfast Book and the Supper Book by Marion Cunningham.  I love them all.  So thank you to my friend for this very precious gift.

Have a lovely evening......

Friday, December 16, 2011

24 or 48

I finished this quilt last night. 
I began it as a block of the month at Bearpaws and Hollyhocks (now closed).
It was called 24 because each month we pieced two blocks each month
ending up with 24 piece blocks. 
 Then I had to make 24 more four patch blocks.  That makes 48 blocks. 
The colors appealed to me as I saw the original hanging at the store. 
 The blocks were made in 2010. 
The blocks sat for a while as I debated about which fabrics to use for the borders. 
I put it together last month.
Then I learned that my friend Jane was retiring, today. 
There was a gift card that people contributed to for her "work" gift.
I made arrangements to have this quilt top quilted.  That was Dec 11th.
I spent the rest of the time binding the darn thing.  
I finished it, put it in a cute bag from JoAnn's.
Today I gave it to Jane. 

Jane said she wasn't at all emotional about leaving, but the quilt did it to her.
She did actually think I might give her a quilt.  After all, we had worked together for 16 years.
We are friends.  That should get you a quilt, right?
Okay, she didn't say all that.  Except that she didn't think it was going to happen
because there was no quilt at her good-bye reception.  I just hadn't finished it yet
and it was just from me, not from work.

Good-bye Jane! 
I will miss you more than you know.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time Got Away From Me....

Darn.  I wanted to post the picture of my embroidery piece, but time got away from me.  I remembered (thank God) that just finishing the tree wasn't enough.  I still had to make the pillow, the gift I am bringing to my Thimbleberrries meeting tonight.  I decided to bring pistachio instant salad for the potluck.  My daughter says it is an old lady food.  The kind of food old ladies bring to potlucks....ha,ha,ha.

As it got to be 10pm (the witching hour for me), I did get a picture, but will have to post tonight or tomorrow if time gets the better of me again.  I confess, this is Wednesday--the night I go next door and drink wine with my friend, Anna.  My daughter is making lil' smokies in pastry dough--pigs in a blanket--for the snack.  I am thinking I won't need a snack.

I am in mourning since my friend has gotten on a plane to Florida for 3 weeks.  :(   My daughter says I will live!

Off to work again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So much has been going on

I have been a busy little beaver.  So busy, that I didn't realize that I hadn't talked to my sister in days!  My niece called to ask about figurative language for her book report.  I will have to ask her what her metaphor was.  I can't believe I forgot it!  While we were talking, Juliana told me she was reading at an eleventh grade level.  That is amazing.  I am so darn proud of her.

Friday I went over to Imelda's home for an open house.  Imelda has that decorating gene--as does my friend Kim.  I have no decorating gene.  Imelda's home is decorated from top to bottom.  Her tree is so beautiful I had to sit on her couch and just look at it.  There were Christmas quilts on the walls and lights all over.  The company and the food was good too.

Saturday I went to my guild brunch.  We always change our December meeting because the 4th Thursday lands too close to Christmas.  The food was fantastic.  Gina made these spinach and philo dough appetisers.  She confessed they came from Costco.  Yummmm.  We have secret sisters at my guild.  Mine was Wilma.  I told the students in an English class a funny story about Wilma.  We are supposed to give gifts every other month to our secret sister.  I forgot in August to bring my gift.  I had a gift, but when I arrived at the guild meeting, it was still sitting at home.  I could have driven back home as I am only 10 minutes away, but I couldn't think of a reasonable excuse and a way to not look obvious.  It is supposed to be a secret.  Since Wilma lives close to me, I thought I would jut leave it on her doorstep.  At 9:30pm on a Saturday night, my daughter and I went over and cruised by Wilma's house.  The whole place, which turns out to be a mansion in the midst of a bunch of little houses, was lit up.  Dogs, people.  Wilma is 80+ years old.  Why isn't she in bed like other people her age????  Since I couldn't get close enough to leave my gift without detection, we left.  I tried again on Sunday morning at 6:30am.  The neighbors were up.  What is it with these people?  No one in my neighborhood is up except me!!  I tried two more times.  I drive by there all the time taking my daughter to work, so going by wasn't that difficult.  I eventually just gave up and left her August gift with the one I gave in October.  I began this as Wilma's secret sister and ended up being Wilma's secret stalker!

Later on Saturday I went over to visit with my friend Sandy and we surfed on the internet.  We found the cutest block of the month--Merry Merry Snowmen.  To see it, go to Bunny Hill Designs and click on the name of the pattern.

Sunday I was over at my in-laws quilting a quilt for a retirement gift on the big machine.  I will take a picture and post it later this week.  I am not able to post pictures from here and the binding isn't done yet.

Tonight is pillow making time.  I have a darling little pattern of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree and the words joy, hope and peace.  I am bringing it to a gift exchange for tomorrow night.  I want to show it off, so I will take a picture tonight and post a second time.  Look for that.

There was a reason I began this post at work and I have totally lost that ttrain of thought,  We shall see if it comes back to me!  Happens to me all the time.......

Have a great evening.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hurrah, It's Wednesday

Because I shared that there would be no wine for me last Wednesday, today my sweet girl, Anna, Adrianna and I will be getting together to drink our wine and enjoy appetisers while we watch Criminal Minds. Hurrah!

I was thinking of Joann's Craft Store today.  On Friday, I get to purchase with a 30% discount courtesy of my sweet girl who works there.  I have a list of items I will be wanting.  A while back I went to the Folsom Joann's for their grand opening.  I used a coupon that I had purchased and the clerk did not give my the amount off.  It was a 50% coupon and I was very unhappy since I had paid for the coupon and the item I bought was going towards a charitable item.  I didn't notice this until I was home and the Folsom store is quite a ways away.   When I called, the manager was less than helpful and I ended up demanding my coupon back.  Lena took my name and address and then nothing.  That was 2 months ago.  I have given up on that coupon, but I will not shop there.

I'm back to work now.  Must go read to the children.......

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hometown Christmas Cookies

Last week I was sewing with my friends Jayma, Valerie, Gina and Jill.  Jill was saying that she needed to make cookies for some event and I told her about the Hometown Christmas Cookies I make.  I found the recipe in a pattern for a Thimbleberries quilt called (really!) Hometown Christmas.  Imagine that!  The cookies sounded so good to Jill (and they are really, really good) that she asked for the recipe.  I am supposed to drop it off to her today.  I looked everywhere, but haven't found it.  The only other alternative was to call Sandy and get her to look in her pattern for the recipe, but she is off traveling.  Those retired people.  So, what to do???

I finally put the Thimbleberries web site up and checked in the recipes tab.  No recipe for Hometown Christmas Cookies.  Darn!  Then it occurred to me that I could call,  Sure enough there was a toll free number.  I called and spoke to a very nice woman named Shari.  I told her my problem and she went to the archives and found the pattern I was speaking of and then looked through them to find the cookie recipe.  What a sweetheart.  I told her I only needed the ingredients.  After all, I have made the cookies before.  I had all the ingredients listed on my paper before I called even.  So she gives me the information and asks if she should read how to put them together,  Oh, no!  I am sure I can figure it out.  I had to call back.  I couldn't remember how long to cook them.

I can't completely blame Jill.  I also wanted to bring the cookies to my Thimbleberries Christmas party next Wednesday.  Just so I don't lose it again, here is the recipe.....

Hometown Christmas Cookies

Cream together the following ingredients:
     1 cup sugar
     1 egg
     3/4 cup shortening
     1/4 cup molasses
To the creamed mixture, add:
     2 cups flour
     2 teaspoons baking soda
     1 teaspoon cinnamon
     1 teaspoon cloves
     1 teaspoon ground ginger
     1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all together and scoop into 1-inch balls.  Roll in sugar and place on a greased baking sheet 2" apart.  Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.  Do not over bake.

These cookies are the best!
Happy baking!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What Am I Going to Do?

Almost done with the embroidered baskets.  What will I do then?  I was looking around and saw the blocks already to go for the farm stand quilt.  Then I want to do the birdie stitches blocks at  I need to finish my Thimbleberries blocks for my secret sister on the 10th.  Oh, my God!  I have so much to do!!!

Tonight it is a bath and finishing up some presents.  I can tell you about that later.  Have a great Saturday.  I know I will.......