Thursday, May 31, 2018

Happy Birthday, Deb!!

A terrible thing happened. While I was off GALLIVANTING in Portland, Oregon -- my sister Deborah had a birthday!! AND I MISSED IT..!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, your honor, I'm posting a re-run about one of the FABULOUS SEW EXPO JACKETS you embroidered for me.


When I was working for Sew Expo in Puyallup, Washington -- I planned a different outfit for EVERY SINGLE DAY. With the help of my embroidering sister, Deborah, that is...

On Day One -- this was my outfit. Deb embroidered the show logo on the bottom front of the jacket.

And I LOVE the pants I wore! Do you remember when I blogged about them? I bought a pair of pants at the Goodwill store just because it had this great embroidery on the bottom of the legs.

The right leg is way different than the left leg. The hardest part of this re-styling project was finding a BIG ENOUGH PAIR OF PANTS THAT Then, I had to cut the fancy legs off and reattach them to my plain pair of pants...

Yes, you're right. Deborah also embroidered the show logo on the butt-cheek of my black linen J.Jill jacket.

GREAT JOB, are the BEST.
The reason I chose this blog post to RERUN is that -- get this -- THOSE PANTS FIT ME AGAIN..!!

Too bad I gave the jacket away.  That year, I gave away FOUR EMBROIDERED JACKETS -- hoping they would be restyled by some lucky winner...

If you restyled one of my SEw Expo jackets -- SEND A PHOTO..!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Portland Quilt Market: End of Day One

After our wonderful tour of the Japanese Gardens in Washington Park -- Rhonda and I hopped back on the train and headed to downtown Portland. By this time -- WE WERE REALLY, REALLY HUNGRY...

We didn't have a specific destination in mind...but, hey -- Portland seems like a place that would have a lot of nice restaurants, right?
I mean, they have great public transportation, and some very interesting murals...
Yippee!!  THIS place could be good!!
AND IT WAS..!! I loved that there was a decorative crawfish on my plate of delicious, sweet dungeness crab cakes!!
Our first real meal in Portland was AWESOME...and now we must find our way to the NUMBER ONE PLACE I REALLY MUST VISIT.

Once Market starts -- we won't have a minute to spare -- so WE NEED TO GO NOW...TO ARGUABLY, THE MOST FAMOUS PLACE IN PORTLAND, OREGON..!!

YES TO POWELL'S BOOKS. The largest independent bookstore in America...!!
But -- wait. My thrift store radar is picking up on something across the street? Buffalo Exchange? Is that about resale? Consignment?

There's no harm in checking it out -- right?
 Did I already mention the fact that I came to Portland with ONLY A CARRY-ON SUITCASE?? And it was jam-packed tight when I left Iowa. I don't even have room in that bag for a silk scarf...
There were RACKS AND RACKS of clothes...but, hey, I've been packing up bags and bags to take BACK to the Goodwill store.  Remembering that made it easy for me to resist.
And God knows I don't have room for SHOES or a NEW PURSE. IT'S SIMPLY OUT OF THE QUESTION....I HAVE NO SPACE...NO SPACE...!!
AND THEN -- THIS HAPPENED...a Carol Little boiled wool COAT.
Only $18. I'm sunk...
So, carrying the bag with my NEW DESIGNER WINTER COAT...we finally got to Powell's Books...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Portland Japanese Garden


Being able to visit a fantastic place like the Japanese Gardens, in stunning Washington Park, Portland, Oregon?? I mean -- WHO GETS TO DO THAT??
Rhonda and I hiked all the way up to the Japanese Gardens.
The buildings, gift shop, Cafe...are just a small part of the Gardens
Altho, as it happens -- WE WERE BOTH STARVING by the time we got to the top of this particular mountain.
So, we decided to eat lunch. Hummm...
Our choices were -- fried rice. Or chicken fried rice. Hey -- it does come with an artistic little pot of tea. AND A TEA TIMER...!! That's worth something, eh?
So -- okay -- the truth is -- it was a very small bowl of rice. We'd been traveling all morning, and we were both still hungry. So, we'll order some dessert. Three "Chocolate Macaroons" cost $6. We'll split them...that ought to hold us over until supper.


Wrong. The macaroons were actually "Micro-Minis"
But, hey -- it's not about the food. This Japanese Garden is impressive. And our guide (Kate) was interesting and knowledgeable.
We learned about the three elements of a Japanese Garden. Water, stone and plants. (wait -- FIRE is an element, too, isn't it? Maybe I got the number wrong...)
We learned that every single element of a Japanese Garden is intentional...
And the train is also A.M.A.Z.I.N.G...

Monday, May 28, 2018

Spring Quilt Market -- PORTLAND..!!

I had to get up at 3:00 AM to get to the airport for my 6:00 flight. But it was worth it -- because, with the assist of the TIME ZONES -- that meant I had almost a full day in Portland!!
I am so glad I grabbed this crappy photo of the Portland airport.  Do you see why I'm taking this picture?  IT'S A GUY PLAYING A GRAND PIANO..
Portland has a great system of trains..!!
Hey -- I was in New York City last month -- I CAN DO THIS..!!
Rhonda and I met at the airport -- dropped our bags at the hotel -- then WE GOT ON THE TRAIN...
We took it all across town to Washington Park.
A man at our train stop told us we'd go through a very long, deep tunnel.
Washington Park has a lot of things.  The zoo, the Arboretum...the Japanese Gardens, the Rose Gardens.
But we were very interested in this tunnel thing.
The tunnel goes under the Tualatin Mountains.
It is over 2 miles long and -- 700 feet deep.  The deepest subway station in the United States!!
When you take the elevator to get above ground -- THERE IT IS..!!
Beautiful, stunning Washington Park.
Good job, Portland!!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Mother's Day Pain-free Menu

I'm deliberately posting this today -- because it's Memorial DAY weekend -- and this is the perfect, PAIN FREE way to feed a bunch of people.  Because one of the menus I HATE -- but everybody acts like it's so simple -- is hamburgers and hotdogs "on the grill".  For me, that meal is always a luke-warm disappointment. You have to have a station for all the stuff that goes with it -- catsup, mustard, pickles, chopped the time everybody gets their stuff prepared, the meat is cold...or the buns are. 

So -- if you have a grillmaster in your home -- send him out to MAKE RIBS...(I don't have a recipe for this -- it was totally John's job.  Remember -- that's the beauty!)

Once I had established IN MY OWN HEAD what the real Mother's Day mission was -- (Me, not standing in my kitchen for two days, feeling unappreciated)...

The menu was:

  1. Smoked ribs (which I never touched)
  2. Baked Potatoes (regular and sweet potatoes)
  3. Coleslaw (two bags of coleslaw mix)
  4. Cowboy Beans (mostly, you open cans)
  5. THE Green salad (Jeanne brought this -- again, NO WORK FOR ME)
  6. Pineapple Dream Cake (Lilly did it all, I was only the was fun)
Most of that is self-explanatory...and it was all delicious. And SIMPLE. The secret to delicious Cowboy Beans is Bush's Southern Pit Barbeque beans

This can of beans is seriously needs no real fixin'
But, since it was Mother's Day -- I wanted the beans to be extra-special. I fried up half a pound of bacon and a large onion...then, I threw in some leftover frozen taco meat...three other cans of beans (kidney beans, lima beans and black beans). I put all of it in my large crock pot in the morning...and set it on low. At 3:00, the beans were PERFECT.

I'm telling you -- the beans were A BIG HIT..!!

For dessert,Lilly and I made one of Mom's favorite things -- a Pineapple Dream Cake.
We baked the yellow cake mix in a half-sheet pan so it would be thin...then, the pudding/cool whip/pineapple layer is as thick as the cake. My Mom loved this cake...Hey -- it was the 60's!! I think Cool Whip was new.
So, Mother's Day was really good for me this year. I simplified all of it...remember the KISS rule...

 Keep It Simple, Stupid..!!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Mother's Day

Before the month of May becomes a distant memory....I want to say a few words about Mother's Day. For me, that day has generally sucked....and I have struggled with how to make it not suck.

So -- here are just a few of the things I've tried in the past...

Plan #1: For years, Mother's Day was the kick-off porch/picnic event of the summer. I invited my people, planned the meal, did the shopping, cleaning and cooking.
  • FLAW: I spent the better part of two days getting ready for the big inaugural summer event...and my people didn't show up on time...
Plan #2: I decided to make Mother's Day an "Open House" kind of event.  Make food that could be eaten whenever anybody showed up...
  • FLAW: Turns out, I spent all of Saturday in the kitchen, making Mufalletta sandwiches, potato salad, deviled eggs and a cake. STILL WAY TOO MUCH WORK...and people coming in shifts meant it went on a.l.l....d.a.y...l.o.n.g...
Plan #3: Ignore Mother's Day. I only tried this once...
  • FLAW: My people did EXACTLY what I asked them to do. Nothing. But, as the day wore on, I got more pissed off and 6:00 PM, I threw myself on the bed, sobbing.

The good news is -- NOW I'VE GOT IT..!! My family loves me. They WANT me to enjoy Mother's Day.  I really need to TELL THEM WHAT I WANT....

And, as simple as this sounds -- I need to decide WHAT THAT IS...

Okay.  I want everybody to come here.  I want to remember and honor my own mother.  I want the meal to be simple....but I want to eat on the good china and use Aunt Rozella's silver...

Lilly and Warren set the table with Aunt Rozella's silver...
They picked out the new napkins Carrie gave me...
The special china comes out five or six times a year...
John spent all day out in the garage -- smoking a whole bunch of ribs.
Lilly and I made a Pinneapple Dream Cake -- One of my Mom's favorites.  I got to tell stories about my mother...and her sister, my Aunt Rozella...
We shared this day with my brother Cal, his wife Jeanne and their daughter Kelly.  Also, our friend Jack,
The ribs were spectacular.  And I didn't lift a finger...
I made a big crock pot of Cowboy Beans...which were terrific...
Tomorrow I'm going to post my complete Mother's Day Master Menu. BECAUSE IT'S THAT GOOD. And it's taken me years to perfect this simple, yet delicious plan.