Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pretty Food by Judi

My friend Judi (Live Well With Judi) is an amazing cook. She makes dishes that are not only healthy and nutritious, but what I like to call "Pretty Food".

Judi is my inspiration in learning to eat foods that are high in nutrition and also taste good.
She really encourages me to stay away from what she calls "pretend foods", or foods that have no value for our bodies.

While we were up at Rae Ann's cabin in Star Valley, Judi cooked several dishes that were in the Double Yum! category.

One night as a side dish, she made Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad. Rae Ann liked this dish so much, she requested it for her upcoming birthday dinner.

For desert we had Tofu Chocolate Mousse. I am not a big fan of tofu, but honestly if no one told you, you would never know that was the base. Rae Ann is on a gluten free diet, and this was a desert she could have.
We all licked our spoons and cups down to the very speck.
For Judi's recipes, visit her blog HERE.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our Silk Tie Easter Eggs

Last night for family night, I asked Mr. Cactus and our 18 year old son Paul to help dye Easter Eggs.
This is a family tradition we do every year, and I try and come up with a different technique to keep the activity interesting.

I was pretty excited to see this tutorial on Our Best Bites.

I went to our local thrift store and purchased a few 100% silk ties.
As part of the preparation, we removed the linings.
Mr. Cactus tried to be original and wrapped two different tie pieces around one egg. A piece of muslin was then wrapped on the outside.

The eggs boiled for about 25 minutes.

The eggs were then set on paper towels to cool.
We were excited for the "unwrapping" to see how they would turn out.

Hmmm...our eggs didn't take on much of the pattern of the tie. Instead they looked like the dye ran.
We aren't sure what we did wrong because the instructions were fairly simple.
We still liked how they look, though!

A little part of the tie pattern shows on several.

I purchased these cute little egg holders on a sale table at our local grocery store for around a dollar.

While waiting for the eggs to boil, and being a curious teenager, Paul tested something he wondered if was truth or fiction.
If you squeeze a raw egg as hard as you can with one hand, it still will not break.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays

My friend Lori Holt (Bee In My Bonnet) gave me a wonderful sampling of a new fabric line Rainy Days and Mondays. I love, love, love this line! Thank you again Lori.

I knew the minute I opened it, I would need to get more.

Quilt-n-Sew here in St. George just got most of the line in today, and I ran right over and made a purchase.
Rainy Days and Mondays is the debut line for Melimba and Beccasbury for Riley Blake.
You can read about the designers here.
Riley Blake is located in Draper, Utah (where we raised our family) and their first line of quilt fabric came out a little over a year ago. They are gathering some great designers on their team, and I predict huge success in the days ahead.

Rainy Days and Mondays comes in red, punch, lime, kiwi, grey, white, golden yellow and hot pink.
I could only afford to buy a few pieces, and it was so hard to decide which ones to pick. I wanted yards and yards of them all.

I'm normally not a grey person, but I love their grey.

Riley Blake is a wholesale company, and does not sell to the public. They have a store locator on their web site.
The Fat Quarter Shop has a great selection of Rainy Days and Mondays where you can view all the wonderful colors.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Easter Grass

I have been working on a little secret something that I can't show pictures on just yet.
Meanwhile, with Easter around the corner, I love seeing all the decorating ideas going on in blogland.
Rosina of Rosy-Posy has a great tutorial on growing Easter grass right in the egg.
As if the eggs aren't cute enough, look at the copper wire stands she designed.
I was curious about finding the right kind of seeds to use for this project. I found out you can use either rye or wheat grass seeds that can be found at most local stores. The seeds sprout very quickly, but the project needs to be started about a week before Easter.
Maybe everyone knew this but me: the wheat grass is the same kind used in nutritional specialty drinks.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Silk Dyed Easter Eggs

One of my favorite sites to follow on my side bar is Our Best Bites. Sara and Kate write "Tips, Tricks, Tastes from Two Real Life Kitchens".
I love their posts because they are practical, and showcase things I could actually make.
Recently, Sara did a tutorial on how to make Silk Dyed Easter Eggs.

We have a tradition of dying Easter Eggs every year, and I thought I had tried them all. But this was a new technique for me.

Sara collects old silk ties and uses them for the base of the dye.
How cool is that?
With my new found interest in hunting thrift shops, guess who is going to have silk ties on the list?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dear Jane Tour

My friend Bonnie Miles does a fabulous job organizing the Bryce Retreat every year.
Not only that, she offers wonderful quilt tours through her company American Heritage Tours.
Jane Stickle quilt at the Bennington, VT museum

Last fall she took a large group to see New England /Jane Stickle Quilt. I had several friends that attended and heard RAVE reviews.

Bonnie is offering the Dear Jane tour again this fall from September 13-18th, 2010.
Imagine New England in the fall. Breathtaking.
I've been on several of Bonnie's tours, and highly recommend joining her. She is a true quilter who loves to see and do all the things we love too!
Every detail is taken care of and she makes things fun. Bonnie works hard to keep the prices affordable, because she knows most of us are on tight budgets.

Look at all the fun things to do in 6 days!
Bonnie wrote of her excitement to host this tour again. "The more I think about it, the more excited I become. It was a great trip, and a wonderful area to visit. History is my 2nd weakness - after quilting.... so it's nice to be able to combine the two.
If you have any questions, you can e-mail Bonnie directly at
or call her at 801-756-7272

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thrift Store Hunting

There is always so much more than quilting, when I get together with my quilting friends.
I learn so many things I never knew before. Have you discovered that to be true? We gather and are exposed to new experiences we might not have picked had we not met a certain person.

My friend Rae Ann loves to hunt the thrift stores, and always comes up with a "find". Last week at our luncheon she brought each of us a teacup and saucer she had found at Deseret Industries near her home in Utah.

Each teacup was selected to match our homes and personalities.
My tea cup and saucer were in oranges, golds and blacks to match my decor, and Southern Utah.

When Rae Ann got on the computer to research my particular teacup, the little set she picked up for a few dollars at the thrift store ended up being worth $95!
Wow. Not that I will ever sell this piece. Every time I look at it, I am reminded of the kindness of my friend, and the memories are worth much, much more.

When I was in Star Valley, Wyoming at Rae Ann's cabin she took me downtown one afternoon, and suggested we run in to the little thrift store that had newly opened.
I found these little milk glass pieces in a set for $5.
My mother used a lot of milk glass in her decorating and it reminded me of her.
Milk glass is an opaque or translucent milky white or colored glass that was most popular between the 1930's-1950. It was originally intended to look like porcelain, but was not as expensive. There have been a lot of reproduction pieces made into vases, lamps and kitchen wares.
I know my pieces are not worth very much, but it still was a fun find. Maybe if I hang out with Rae Ann long enough I can learn a few tricks of the trade.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sunny Days

My friend Rae Ann knows me too well.
The little gift she gave me will now become a new life motto.

Judi has finished putting the borders on her Valentine quilt. She wins the prize this week for most quilts completed. She has finished 3 quilts AND the backs

Rae Ann finished all of her February and March Star Crazy BOM's.

I've got a start on "Sunny Days" by Geoff's Mom patterns
I've had a lot of fun picking out fabrics. I will need 30 colors in all.
The original design (above).
Joyce Weeks is the designer and she used Aunt Gracie's.

I'm using more bright and funky.
The fabrics need to read as a solid from a distance, but up close they can have a pattern. I love this toad stool fabric.

And you know I have a thing for pomegranates. (Farmers Market by Sandi Henderson)

Friday, March 19, 2010

An Afternoon in Afton, Wyoming

Near Star Valley is the small town of Afton, Wyoming (population around 2,000).
Yesterday we were ready to get out of the cabin, so we decided to go to lunch and do a little shopping.

Afton is home to the world's largest Elk Horn arch, which spans 75 feet over 4 lanes of traffic in the middle of town.
The arch consists of 3,011 Elk antlers and weighs 15 tons.

Rae Ann knows the good places to eat. She suggested Rocky Mountain Seafood.

Rae Ann, Judi, me, Susanne

Who would have guessed that in a small town in the middle of Wyoming, we would find fresh seafood that is flown in daily.

With some of the best Halibut Fish and Chips I've ever had.

And of course, we had to check out the local quilt shop. It was small, but it had fabric, and we were happy.

Judi, Rae Ann and Susanne.

We came back and spent the evening at our machines.
Rae Ann fixed us family favorite: peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches. I had never heard of such a thing. I didn't want to be left out, so I tried one. Not bad!

I finished putting together my 9-Patch block exchange.

One of the fun parts about this quilt is that not one section has a repeat of fabric. A true scrap quilt.
I think I have "Quilters ADD". I've worked on 4 different quilts while I've been here, and this is the only finish. But, I'm having so much fun I figure it doesn't really matter.