Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sew Cherry Pre-Cuts

My friend Lori Holt (Bee In My Bonnet) has designed her first fabric line Sew Cherry that is due to be released in April.
The pre-cuts just arrived at her home!
Hi Nedra...
I just had to show you what I received from korea today...via Riley Blake.
I'm so excited ...I had to share with you:) They came 6 weeks early!

This is another one of those times that I wish we lived nearby because I would be on her doorstep in a heartbeat.
This is the cutest fabric line (!) and I can hardly wait to get my hands on a jelly roll and start playing.
Or maybe I want to start with charm squares.

The fat quarter bundles look so pretty all lined up in a row.
Maybe I will start with all 3 pre-cuts!
If you would like to see a more detailed view of the fabrics, Lori did a wonderful post where she revealed the Sew Cherry Line on her blog.
Color ways in red and yellow, blue and brown, pinks with green....
I feel a little like the old Mervyn's commercial while I wait for April to get here; my nose pressed against a glass door chanting Open! Open! Open!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hoover Dam Bypass

Mr. Cactus and I travel frequently between Southern Utah and Arizona.
We rather enjoy the relaxing drive and scenic desert along the way.
Previously, our number one frustration was the traffic jams and delays we experienced as we drove across Hoover Dam.
U.S. Highway 93 is the main route between the two heavily populated cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Since 9/11 each car was required to go through security checks, and the traffic stopped for every pedestrian walking across the road.
Popular tourist site= a lot of stopped cars=a lot of "dam traffic" jokes.
Now that the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is complete, it's clean sailin' between Nevada and Arizona.
I think it takes maybe a minute now to zip across the bridge.

There is a 1.3 mile sidewalk along the north side of the bridge we have been anxious to trek across.
We arrived late afternoon, just as the sun cast shadows of the spectacular arch across the dam.
Viewing the 900 foot drop to the Colorado river below made my heart go pitter patter, but at the same time I marveled at this man made wonder.
This is now the 7th highest bridge in the world.
The walkway has plaques with statistics to read along the way.
The bridge's construction employed 21,000 workers, and took 8 years to build at a cost of $240 million.
The arch is 1,060 feet across, making it the longest arch in the Western Hemisphere.
Imagine the amount of cement required to build 300 foot pillars.
As you travel across the bridge you not only move from state to state, but also change time zones.
Watching the various phases of construction over the years has been impressive.

Cars are still allowed across Hoover dam, but the road is blocked soon after you cross. If you want to travel to Arizona, you must use the bridge.
We figure we have cut off anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour in our previous commute.
No traffic jams= happy travelers.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Star Crazy Gallery

I wanted to share with you some of the finished Star Crazy quilts that have been posted recently over on Star Crazy Log.
After working together for the last 12 months, a finish requires a big celebration!
It's only January, and many more participants are still working away, but I wanted to acknowledge the accomplishments of these talented ladies.

The very first to finish Star Crazy was Felicity, from Utah. Would you believe she figured out Sue Garman's pattern way ahead of the release dates for each Block of The Month, and had her top completed in July?
I'm impressed.
Beautiful job Felicity!

Merete, from Norway added an International perspective in the making Star Crazy. One of the delights of hosting this group was getting to know so many people from all over the world.
Merete was so good about posting her progress, and was an important contributor to Star Crazy Log.
This is the largest quilt she has made so far, and in order to get a picture of the entire quilt, she had her sweet daughters help with the hanging out the windows. Great photo shoot idea!

Karen (Karenfae) from Arkansas gets the AWARD for persistence in overcoming obstacles to finish Star Crazy in a timely manner.
At Christmas time Karen was injured in a car accident when she was hit by an uninsured teenage driver.
Through the pain and recovery of healing, Karen found a way to continue work on Star Crazy. This is a great example of how therapeutic it is to quilt, and the wonderful support offered through fellow quilters.
Thank you Karen, for your giving nature and for sharing with us along the way.

Deanna from Utah named her quilt "Granny Went Crazy". I love the autumn colors Deanna chose from her scrap bags to make this quilt!
Look how wonderful Star Crazy turned out in oranges, browns and greens. Notice how she chose various backgrounds for each block, and then a consistent color for the Irish Chains. Deanna really mixed things up, and it turned out so well.
I love seeing how quilts turn out in different color ways, and Deanna led our group in visualizing a new approach to Star Crazy.
Great job ladies! Thank you, and congratulations again on a finish!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guilt Free Fries

Last night my daughter Amy and I made the most wonderful fries for dinner, and they were baked instead of fried.
We've done fries before out of sweet potatoes, which are at the top of my double-yum category, but these had a slightly different take.

These fries were made out of zucchini.
Before you turn up your nose, STOP.
(I know some have an aversion to anything squash)
Let me tell you, my 3 and 5 year old grandsons ate an entire plateful of these morsels, and in between bites Isaak said "Mommy you are the best cook ever!"

I found the recipe for BAKED ZUCCHINI FRIES over on one of my favorite blogs OUR BEST BITES where they give a wonderful step by step tutorial.
(you can also find them with a link on my sidebar)
First Amy sliced the zucchini into spears.

Next dip each individual spear in whisked eggs.

Then dip the spear into a spiced panko bread crumb mixture.
We discovered that one of the best suggestions in the recipe was to sprinkle a few teaspoons of the dry mixture at a time into a separate bowl before dipping. The dry mixture really does become quite soggy after 2-3 spears are dipped.

I am a big fan of Panko, a Japanese bread crumb. They are lower in calories than traditional American bread crumbs, and they they have a great crunchy texture. I use them all the time with chicken dishes.
For the fries we used the plain Panko crumbs and added our own spices, which worked out well.

Lay the spears out on a foil lined cookie sheet that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray.
Amy and I discussed how these steps were a little labor intensive, but when we tasted how good the fries turned out, we felt it was all worth it.

The delightful aroma in the room as the fries were baking kept us peeking into the oven.

You can now have your fries guilt free.
And, I felt it was a great way to encourage my grandbabies to eat more veggies.
Delicious and nutritious!

Our Best Bites suggests dipping in either a pizza sauce or ranch dressing.
Amy fixed a pot of homemade tomato soup as the main course, which we confess, was also used for a little dipping.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Star Crazy Finished!

In October 2009 I had the opportunity to go to International Quilt Festival/Houston and work in The Quilt Shoppe booth for The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.

For three days I stood by Star Crazy, TQS's pieced 2010 Block of The Month.
And fell in L.O.V.E.

Star Crazy was designed by the extremely talented Sue Garman.
It was a thrill to meet Sue and to talk to her about Star Crazy.

From there an idea was born. I knew I wanted to make Star Crazy, but I didn't want to make it alone.
I started Star Crazy Log, a blog devoted to 12 months of working together.
The response was more than I had hoped for.
We had 31 participants from all over the world. Spanning most the United States to Australia, Sweden,United Kingdom and Norway, we have spent a year getting to know each other through our love of quilting.
We have shared our cultures, our family activities, and become good friends.
To date, we have 119 followers,
with 15,635 visits,
and 28,716 page reviews.
What an adventure!

I chose to make Star Crazy from my scraps.
I tried to follow Sue's suggested color design as closely as possible.
Many of you worked with your own color pallet. I will share some of your pictures on a future post.

Now, it's time to get the finished top off to the quilter.

After having the blocks up on my design wall for the last year, the space will look a little lonely now.
I will have many fond memories of 2010 every time I look at Star Crazy.

Thank you to all who participated in Star Crazy Log! I have been inspired by your talent and creativity.
Your excitement prompted me each month to stay current with every BOM release.
And thank you to Sue Garman, and The Quilt Show for creating such a beautiful quilt, and inviting us to play along.

Even though I am now finished with Star Crazy, I will continue to manage Star Crazy Log where we will see postings of finished quilts continue to trickle in.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Congratulations Dano!

What a thrill it was to watch our son-in-law Dano run the Rock and Roll Arizona Marathon!

Congratulations Dano!
With 30,000 runners, he came in the top 200
Amazing considering this was his first Marathon.
With a finish time of 3:09:43 he now qualifies for the Boston Marathon.
It was also exciting to see Josh Cox, who holds the American title for the 50K.
His goal for this event was to beat the world record. Unfortunately he missed by a mere 7 seconds.
Josh set the American record at this same venue in 2009.
It's been an insightful year, watching Dano's dedication and training.
As a business owner who works long hours, and a father of 3 young children, most of his training came before the sun rose each morning.
His greatest support has been our daughter Amy.
The loud cheering and enthusiastic crowds create such positive energy for the athletes.
Mr. Cactus and I were just happy to be there, and to help with the grandbabies so they could see their dad run.
Tonight 5 year old Isaak said "This has been the best day of my life. I got to see my dad run a Marathon!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blog Nap

Even though I haven't posted in a few weeks, all is well.
I've been having myself a little BLOG NAP.

You know, one of those times in your life when you take a little break from the normal routine and head in a new direction.

I wish I could report that I've been on an exotic beach somewhere, catching some zzzzzzzz's....
But instead I've been up to my elbows in de-junking.
And I'm happy to report it's been quite therapeutic.
Out with the old, and in with the new.
Well actually, it's just been a lot of "out with the old."
I'm almost on a first names basis with our local thrift store, where I've delivered carloads of donations every day.

I haven't been quilting, but I have gotten a good start on measuring and organizing all my wools.
Soon I will be putting yardage up for sale.
Lots of nuetral colors perfect for hand dying.

Monday, January 3, 2011


We woke early this morning to snow!
So unusual for the desert here in St. George.
Still in my robe and slippers, out I headed with camera in hand to capture the magic of the landscape.
I love the quiet that comes in the early hours.
Our Ocotillo stands stalwart against the flakes of white falling against a still dark sky.

The red, red rocks glisten.
Because of recent cold temperatures Mr. Cactus opted to leave the Christmas lights on the cacti to keep them warm during the night.
Some Agave glow red...

Others green.
Our Argintine Suguaro appears almost unrecognizable, as if coated in frosting.

In comparison, it's hard to imagine that in a few short months these barrels will be blooming in bright white flowers.
Bunny Ears look shivery and cold

And the palm trees sag unusually low with the weight of the snow.

A winter wonderland.