Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Does it have to be so hard-boiled?

Me:  "I got Easter off this year and we want to see you guys!  I think its going to be too pricey to eat out for brunch but maybe we can all get together someplace else, or have it at one of our homes."
Sister#1:  "Hmmm.....well, we can do at my house, but its a hassle with all of the people in the kitchen and we can't afford to pay to feed everyone and clean up all of the mess it will make because all of my hubby's relatives have to come if you come, and why don't you just check in with me in a week to see if I can still tolerate the idea of all the noise and happiness and family at my house on Easter..."
Me:  "This doesn't have to be difficult for anyone; we can all pitch in and just bring things that are already cooked and easy to set out....but, ok, let me chat with hubby and Sister #2 and see what they would like to do..."
Sister #2:  Let's plan on having a nice dinner that day, together, and figuring out where and what and when -  we have almost a month ....Easter is an important holiday and should be shared by family....we can invite everyone we want and they can either come or don't come. And we will have some delish food - we could even BBQ!
Me:  Wow.  Imagine that.  Now that's an idea...

What is it with sisters, anyway?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mom's art gallery

This is one of my favorite places around the house - the pottery shelf.
Home to the most beautiful things, created by my four artists!
(Yes, I should probably decorate above it )
It houses some bee-yoo-ti-full art:
I love the "pinch pots" - Scout created this white one.  
Sometimes you can see their fingerprints forever fired into the clay...

  I have four of the "Story tellers" sculptures - 
they remind me of being a young mom reading to babies on my lap...
Animals abound, too.
These are just the pieces I have claimed as my own - some were actually wrapped and presented to me.  Some of the pieces they were not so ready to part with, so those live on shelves or memory boxes in their rooms.  Firstborn has a couple of large pieces I hope he will leave at home someday...
Some of the art actually hangs on the walls...
I am in love with this woven beauty, by The Girl!
 And this vase, with it's monster head of teeth and gorgeous combo of colors , 
graces the mantle and was created by Firstborn.
Bubbie created the flower petal dish that keeps my jewelry secure on the kitchen counter.
Do you treasure the art your kids bring home, too?

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Friday, March 25, 2011

From Stormy to Cloudy in a day

It had been years since I updated Firstborn's room
owing mostly to me not wanting to tackle the mess that was in there.
I have cleaned it before when I could not stand it any longer,
but this time it needed something more...
 To be fair, he pulled things out from the wall, and made me space to work  - see the stack of broken skate decks?  Under the bed is probably $1000 worth of Legos...and the closet is stuffed...
 Waaaay too much stuff on the shelves along with an inch or so of dust and lint. Yuck.  
It makes me want to cry just to look at it!
I absolutely hate that half curtain or valance; what is that, exactly?  And the art on the walls was arranged for the way the furniture used to be, so it looks silly now.  Gosh, I had my work cut out for me!
The old color is a dark and stormy blue - the new color is  cloudy grey.  I lost my paint swatches so I can't tell you the exact color names.  I used my pad painter to frame out the walls first.  I patched nail holes first, since I knew I would be hanging things up a little differently.
I used an empty lunch meat container and brush to tackle the corners, an old towel to catch drips, and a bucket of soapy water with a rag to clean baseboards as I went.
I also vacuumed thoroughly before I began.
Coming around the corner to the least favorite wall - all that stuff has to come off the shelves...I try to hang things back up as soon as the wall is dry to the touch, including the outlet and light switch covers.  Somehow that makes me feel like the project is moving along...
The furniture could use a touch up, too, but that can wait til summer.  Three hours to paint because I had to clean along the way...that tangle of cords he will have to address...I even hung up a collage using those small framed prints that were already in there, and adding some new ones of just Firstborn.  His new quilt looks nice next to the blue and grey, and a pop of red from the chair keeps the room from being too somber.
One of the things he least wanted:  a whole bunch of "family" pictures in his room.  So, most of the ones from the shelves went into a photo album instead.  I can understand that - he is a young man and craves a space that isn't invaded by three younger siblings...
I know it's hard to tell, but the new color is very different and makes the room much, much lighter.  
It all looks so clean.
$5 got me a navy sheet that matches the new bed skirt
and 30 minutes made it into a pair of curtains...
I replaced his old sparkly bulletin board with a fresh new one.
And now I am ready for a day off to recharge before the weekend...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cherry Chocolate Cake

Scout asked if his girlfriend could come over and I said yes, then I thought: What the heck will I cook for dinner?  OK - I admit  first I thought: What about dessert?  I remembered a recipe "teaser" from a Southern Living ad hawking their newest cookbook.  No, I do not want the cookbook, thank you, but I will take all the free recipes you throw at me!

And I'm a sucker for cake recipes!  So here is my version of their recipe:

Chocolate Cherry Fudge Cake

1 box devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
1 t. almond extract
1 can cherry pie filling

Pre-heat oven to 350. Throw all that together in your mixer and beat til smooth; grease a 13x9 pan and pour in batter.  Bake for 40 minutes. Note: if you have a deep 13x9, decrease the cooking time a little - mine is shallow and took 40 minutes - I do the touch test to see if the cake springs back so I know it's done!
While the cake is cooling, beat 1 stick softened butter with 1 box powdered sugar, another teaspoon of almond extract, and about 1/2 cup or so of powdered cocoa.  Frost while the cake is warm, not hot.  A little frosting goes a long way - you can always freeze the extra for another cake.  Serve with cherry vanilla ice cream - and be sure to eat a square of it to "taste test" like I do....
 So, I decided to make a Stouffer's lasagna after that, served with a loaf of Italian bread halved, and smeared with garlic butter.  And some corn and brussel sprouts....
but we all know the real star of the show was the cake...

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quilt show

A couple of weekends ago, my sister and I took my mother to a quilt show in La Grange.  The "Best Little Quilt Show in Texas" -  playing on the town's original fame having a famous whorehouse - 
we won't go into that...
My mother is something of a quilting pro - I have no idea how many of them she has made, but I bet in the dozens...which is no small thing considering she pieces, appliques, and hand quilts...a lot of work.  Truly an art.  I have several at my house:  Drunkard's path, Carolina Lily, Cats, Little Houses, Log Cabin, Butterflies, Sunbonnet Sue...and she has given many more away over the years as gifts. 
She recently sent "Checkers" to Firstborn.
 Only a few that we saw actually impressed me - they were almost too perfect - know what I mean?
Most of them had machine quilting, instead of by hand.
They are beautiful, yes, but I think some of the art is lost if all the patterns are color-coordinated.  My mother uses fabric from a closet, an entire closet, full of fabric she has accumulated over the years.  My sister and I like to point to various prints and say "I had a dress made of that!"
This one is just lovely - a Wedding Ring quilt.  My mother has one of these in her linen closet.  Hers is well-loved and worn with scalloped edges.  Quilts make you feel connected to a mother, grandmother, aunt...a womanly pastime with so much history sewed into each piece.
 She and my sister pose in from of another pretty one...
 After the quilt show we stopped in Round Top for lunch - the best burger I ever had! - and to the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center with even more quilts and other handmade crafts.
 I love this Yo-Yo quilt, it make such a fun, textured bed covering!
Just lovely and a nice way to spend an afternoon with my mother and sister.

 Well, and my silly niece, too!


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