I have been missing for a while. Been busy quilting which I normally do not blog about, but will soon. I am trying to finish a Halloween quilt that I started 2 or 3 years ago. Or it could be 4 or 5 years ago.
I finished the piecing and now am quilting it. The big challenge is that I wanted to learn to do free motion, so part of my quilt was done with a walking foot and the other parts are free motion.
I basically suck at it, but it is a new skill so I just need to practice to get better. I actually do not mind doing this on an actual quilt versus a spare fat quarter. I am hoping it will be a reminder of where I started (that is if I get better).
On to Halloween!
I did my normal decorating, pumpkins that light up, spider webs, etc. I added a new bone spider, bone rat and and bone vulture.
I also like to get the big candy bars and be the cool house. But the last two years I have seen a trend where large groups of children come together. About 10-15 in a group. As you can image this wipes out the candy pretty fast and with that volume, I cannot even stop to see the costumes. I prefer the one or two children at a time deal. Of course the little boy next door showed up twice just like he did last year. I told him to stop doing that and I would run out of candy. LOL He could have least changed his costume or waited for a huge group and confuse me. Too funny!
Speaking of children, the last two children of the night wore this adorable NASA suits and you put the candy down the flexible silver tube (aka dryer exhaust hose) it drops into their air pack on their back. Sooooo cute.
This year I added two new items, an electric fence light that made “sparking” noises when you got near it.
I ended up putting it on the baby gate that I use in the doorway so the dogs do not get out when I answer the door.
The other goody I got was a short-circuit lab light bulb that fizzled in and out like one of those spooky haunted laboratories that mad scientists do human experiments! Eeekkk!!!!! This one is sold by Gemma in case you want one. I got mine at Wal-mart.
It has a little switch that you can either make it motion sensor or not. I liked it a lot. Made it real spooky.
I also dress up the dogs like a good dog mom. Doug resisted Eli getting dressed but I think he really thought he was cute.
He was a prisoner of Love.
It was a tad bit tight but he did just fine. The label on the back glows in the dark. I just love how it looked on his hind legs. So cute.
Olive was a dinosaur! A cute one I might add. Olive does real good with costumes.
You can see her costume better on the video below.
Penny on the other hand HATES costumes and sweaters. She is 100% dog and does not like that sort of thing.
She does make a cute little panda. Look at that panda tail on her back. So cute.
I live in Southern California and basically it is nothing but a dried up desert in the summertime. So wild fires are a reality for me. Being in California I get asked a lot about earthquakes, and to be honest fires scare me more. Do not get me wrong. I hate earthquakes. But it is a “less than a minute” shake of terror and then it is over. Kinda. But for me fires are this sense of dread and anticipation as it gets closer and closer to my house. Thoughts of evacuations and losing everything comes to mind.
What started out as a normal SAturday afternoon turned scary. I noticed the light outside seemed to have a yellow haze to it, but I did not see anything in the sky from the view in my kitchen.
Then I heard a siren. Then another.
I thought, oh geez, someone’s house is on fire.
Then another siren.
Then a helicopter. I knew when I heard the helicopter that it was something bigger.
I went to the front of the house and I could see that it was indeed a fire.
For those who do not know me, or where I live. My little neighborhood is butted up against the freeway. On the other side of the freeway is scrub brush covered hills. The type of scrub brush that will go up like tinder. There are also houses located on those hills.
I went back inside and then the helicopter kept going over my house. They were so loud I swear they were about to land on my roof.
The sky kept getting darker and darker and by now there were about 8 helicopters constantly moving around dropping off water.
My brother who worked for Aerospace said, well as long as the DC10 does not come, it means they got it under control. Those DC10’s cost a million dollar to use, so they have to be serious.
I asked him what it looked like, how would I recognize it.
He said, you will know. It is a huge huge plane. There is no mistaking it.
The smoke was thick. The smell was thick and smokey. The fires seems to be getting bigger and bigger.
Then the helicopters increased and I felt like it was a war zone. One after another going over the house to get to the fire.
Then I saw the BIG plane. I asked my brother “Is that the DC-10?” “Yes it is”
Sorry I don’t have a picture. It had dropped it load when I first spotted it. Since it is a one drop scenario, it then looped away and fly off.
Although this looks bad, it is really much better than it was earlier.
We took a car ride up onto the freeway and saw the flames on the hills. Even though it was close, I knew if they let us on the freeway, they felt it was safe.
That night I sat outside by my pool, still hearing the helicopters, still smelling the smoke and watching the fine ash floated around me.
I felt better, since it seemed to be under control.
But with fires you never know.
Here it is Monday and the helicopters are still coming but only once in awhile. I think they check for smothering hot spots to make sure it is out.
I truly admire firefighters. Such a dangerous job and they risk their lives to help save our homes. True heroes. Thank you for doing what you do for all of us!!!
Yesterday was my annual pool party. I use to do the annual Christmas party but it was getting so hard for everyone’s schedule. There were too many activities to do both on my schedule and my family members to pull of the Christmas party in December.
My brother in law was always kidding me, but seriously inviting himself over to swim in my pool. So I started this tradition. Dogs and all.
My theme this year was Nautical or more ocean themed, Tropical and Patriotic. LOL
I had bought new chair cushions that were a blue and green coral because the other cushions were getting a bit flat and out of shape. Hence the ocean theme, Since my outdoor tableware was a tropical pattern and it was the 4th of July weekend my theme automatically became the Naut/Trop/Pat theme.
To start with Eli (my brothers dog) had to wear his new patriotic bandana. Little does this dog know that he is going to be exhausted by the end of the evening. Eli has a fear of the water and thinks it is his personal responsibility to try to save everyone out of the pool. Get ready Eli, it will be a crazy day.
Penny can smell the ribs cooking and is really looking forward to a bone or two. But she is being very patient.
Penny is a sweet natured Terrier Mix that has a bad habit of nipping at people when the other dog gets excited. More about the other dog later.
Penny’s DNA is a complete surprise to me.
She is a terrier mix, but I guess she is more of a Chihuahua/Australian Shepherd mix. Her fur, when long, does look like a Australian Shepherd, and maybe her legs do look like a Chi’s, but I thought she would have more terrier in there.
Oh well, I digress.
The other pooch at the party is the “Head of Security”, my Maltese Olive. She barks her head off at any potential stranger. Which can be very annoying. This in turn gets the other dogs worked up. Penny then nips, Eli growls. All this because a little white fluff ball says “This is NOT a DRILL, I repeat, This is NOT a DRILL” Barkity barkity bark bark BARK BBBBAAAARRRRRKKKKKKKKK.
Do not be fooled by her cute dirty little face. She means all business.
Here she is with her Uncle Doug who is trying to get her to behave. LOL, good luck Doug.
Crazy, fat bellied, dirty face Maltese. God I love you!
The night before the party I made some cute Ocean themed framed pictures of my appetizers and drink menus.
I think they are real cute. I designed the background using Photoshop Elements and used mostly Lorie Davidson images. I don’t remember the font name but it looked like a Pirate font to me.
We put cut flowers into mason jars and added some American Flags.
So how do you add a patriotic theme to a tropical dinnerware set? Just add some star stirrers. LOL. Yup it creates the theme just right.
Please note the appetizer plates match the fabric of the chairs. I just loved this octopus I found at Joann Fabrics. He really made the ocean theme complete.
Appetizers made and put out. Please notice the dog nose on the lower left corner of the picture. Eli must check everything out. Especially if he can smell it.
Wide shot view. Notice the large movie screen. I bought that at Amazon and it is amazing. It is portable and can easily be put up in 30 minutes or less. Depending if the helper will let you read the instructions.
You can get it from Amazon HERE.
Guests have arrived, my sister kicking back with a Sangria. You can kinda see the cushions that match the plates.
My grand niece Kenzie playing in the pool with Eli. Eli loved the shooting water. He was completely drenched by the time the day was over.
Here is a video of Eli playing with Kenzie as she shoots water in the air.
Eli trying to save Kenzie. This poor dog ran around the pool all day long trying to save us. He did manage to save a few pool toys.
My beautiful niece took a selfie at the party!
By this time I stopped taking pictures as I was in the pool, eating, talking and enjoying myself.
By nightfall we watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” on the big screen. We had popcorn and theatre boxed candy.
When it was over it was around 11pm, so everyone went home, tired and happy.
“In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” ~ Carl Sagan
In the month of October Craftsy had a great deal where you could watch any class for the entire month for 9.99. I grabbed the deal and watched video after video. Two of the classes I watched were Pie Making.
The Perfecting the Pie Crust was very detailed and went into great detail. Makes you a little nervous thinking “Can I do this….sounds like surgery”
The Classic Pies Made Easy course was more reassuring. I felt like it could actually make a pie
But it is now November. Those classes are gone off my Craftsy platform. And I remember nothing. Oh how I would love to have that free access again.
Why oh why did I say I would make a pie for Thanksgiving.
But I did buy The Hoosier Mama’s pie book. Wow! This book has detailed pictures every step along the way.
I decided to make a Apple, Pear and Cranberry Pie with Pecan Crumble Topping.
Am I insane.
I kept thinking I should be able to do this, I am a decent cook, I have made Jam, I have made chinese food, I learned how to make dim sum and Thai Food. I am woman, I am strong.
I am also kinda bad at this pie thing. I really hope it turns out, because it is for Thanksgiving.
I did tell my sister to have a back up dessert in case it sucks big time.
So it started with 4 cups of Apples and 4 cups of Pears cut up. So exactly how many pears and apples would that be, and what kind of pears and Apples…wait! Why am I doing this again.
So I bought Granny Smith apples and the only pears they had there. Were they suppose to be firm or really ripe. Again I have no clue what I am doing.
I decided to make the crust and the filling the night before.
I am so funny. I actually thought I could do that.
I could only make the pie dough.
I kept thinking about the woman saying “Make sure you do not add too much water”. I was paralyzed by that thought. I was confident. I knew I could do this.
Then I made the mistake of watching a youtube video.
This sweet Grandmother made a comment about people should be horsewhipped for telling people to not add water.
I am so confused. Water….no water….
So I followed the book. My gut tells me it was a little dry.
Oh by the way if you have the Pampered Chef pastry cutter please throw it away. I used it and it hurt so much. It should have been called the Pampered Chef Pastry and Hand Cutter. Maybe my hands are too big (I think not) but that stainless steel kept cutting into my hands. It hurt. It hurt a lot. And yes I was holding it the right way…. I can imagine you thinking I am holding it by the multiple blades side. LOL But there were sharp edges on the handle and my hands still hurt this morning. Don’t get me wrong I like The Pampered Chef, maybe I got the discontinued model. I think I need one with more of a comfortable handle.
All I can say is thank God I have a marble countertop (or is granite), it made rolling out the dough so much easier.
I think the cracked edges mean that it is too dry…am I paranoid or what?
OK, I will move past this issue (not really)
I finally got the crust into the pie plate and did my crimping. LOL, what a lousy job. But I did watch the video from the Hoosier Mama owner and she said “Don’t worry, it took me a month to get it down right”
So following the instructions I froze the pie for a while to get it nice and chilled and then added the pinto beans into the pie to bake
PINTO BEAN PIE ANYONE!!!
Ok the shell is baked…it does not look too bad. My crimping sucks. But then again the nice Hoosier Mama woman said it takes time and practice. Yup it sure does.
So now onto the filling
The Pie Filling
Like I said earlier I bought Granny Smith apples and some sort of green pears.
Now anyone who knows me, know I buy crap off of QVC I don’t need. Those nice people at QVC talk in a soothing voice that makes me believe I MUST have what ever they are selling. I admit I have bought stuff that really I should have passed over. We are all like that. But one item I bought was an apple peeler. It was not expensive and I was thinking “One day I will make a pie” Well that day has arrived.
This cheap little beauty cuts off those peels in a less than a minute. The long spiral peel is fun to play with and yes, the dog got a peel to eat (only one, don’t want potty issues) You can see the peel on the right side of the picture. However it does not do pears very well.
So in comes my brother Doug.
He is going to use his knifes skills to slice and dice those pears and apples.
Chop, chop chop
Although it looks like he is about to cut his fingers off, I promise you no fingers were injured in the making of this pie (except the pain from the pastry cutter).
Ok, as a side note, this Hoosier Mama cook book is great except it uses a light brown font. Although it creates an ambience that is fitting for the book, it does make people with old tired eyes make mistakes.
I put the apples/pear combo into the oven without putting on spices.
Oh how I am reminded of the time when my grandmother made an pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and she forgot to add the spices. She ended up sprinkling them on top of the pie.
Yes, it will happen to you when you get older. It will. I promise.
I quickly pulled out the apple/pears from the oven and then tossed them in the spice sugar mix. Hot apples are much harder to toss in a spice sugar mix than room temperature. Just sayin’
Finally after baking for 40 minutes, I added the cranberries.
The mixture is finally cooked. The book said to wait until it cools. However I did notice on blind baking pie crusts it did not tell me if I had to wait until the crust cooled before baking again. I looked everywhere. I googled. I watched videos. Anyone? Anyone? So I filled the hot crust with the cool apple mixture.
Now I was smart enough to read the cookbook to make the crumble ahead of schedule. Thank goodness I did. It requires cooling in the fridge. Darn butter. Everything about this pie is a pain. Cook. cool. wait. cook. cool. wait. I am renaming this the 14 hour pie. Dang.
Ok, it is going in the oven for the last time. Home stretch.
The turkey was good. The stuffing too. Lots and lots of good food to eat and good stuff to drink. Time for dessert.
By now there was such a buildup of the long awaited pie.
“It is Sweet and Tart at the same time”
“WOW, this is good”
“Not too bad”
“We need whip cream”
“I think the crust is too dry” (that one was from me)
At least the entire pie was eaten, no complaints and from what I hear from the family, no one got sick! A SUCCESS!!!
And the crust was too dry……oh well, more water next time.
So part of the papertrey ink post today, besides making the happy birthday card is to a post a picture of ourself holding our card. You are very mean Papertrey Ink!!!!! Meanie BUTT!!! I hate all pictures of me… All I can see is my crooked smile from the dog attack that happened to me when I was 5 years old. But that is a story for another time.
Here is my photo you meanie butts!!!!! (Just kidding, but I still hate the photos especially because on the weekend I dont dress up and wear my glasses….and my hair is pulled back….and and and and (insert complaint here)
OK, had to watch the superbowl to see all the modern day warriors do their thing! But what really impacted me was the commercial about the Clydesdale and the relationship with the farmer…. cried my eyes out.
So I was checking out Pioneer Woman Blog and she challenged us to write up resolutions using the word resolutions.
Here is mine
Realize that I cannot do what I use to do before
Engage more with others and listen to their ideas
Spend less time on the computer and more time doing crafts
Organize drawer by drawer and get rid of clutter
Learn how to use WordPress
Understand my purpose thru God
Trim back my expenses
Invite friends over more, be a good hostess
Open my mind to new possibilities
Never let them get me down!