Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bye Baby Bunting Quilt #2

Contrary to popular belief, I do things during the day here.  thankyouverymuch.  But, that's another post.  Back to the subject at hand...baby "quilt" number two is complete!  In perfect time!  While I don't have a doll or fox ready, there's a shower this weekend and hopefully the quilt should arrive on time.

It looks much better in person.

I love the colors in this quilt.  While you can't tell it from these photos, there's a hint of shiny silver in the pattern on each triangle.  (You may be able to see it here.)  What I love even more is the bias tape.  I found the fabric at Joann's for the specific purpose of binding this quilt.  I made a ton of it today!

It'll leave out bright and early tomorrow, headed east to some of our favorite cousins.  Shhh, don't tell!  Lately, it feels like I've been at the post office every day!  Three packages last Thursday, a package today, one tomorrow...can't wait til they get where they're goin'!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Thelma and Louise in Kentucky - Part Two

May Lodge in the Jenny Wiley State Park was quaint, cozy and tucked away in the hills of Prestonsburg, KY.  From our room was a lovely view of Dewey Lake and although the water was cloudy, it was a relaxing setting for our weekend getaway.  The staff were friendly and helpful, the food was good and our room was comfortable and clean.

There's a plethora of history in those hills.  Jenny Wiley, a real-life pioneer woman, was taken captive after her family (including her four children and brother) was mistaken for another family and brutally slaughtered at the hands of Native Americans.  While in captivity, she gave birth to her fifth child which was also murdered.  She lived 11 months with the Cherokee before she finally escaped and was reunited with her husband, Thomas Wiley.  Jenny and Thomas rebuilt their cabin which had been burned by the Indians and had six more children.
The Hatfield-McCoy Feud is quite a story.  I would suggest watching the History Channel's rendition.  I would not spend $20 on the driving tour CD from the Pikeville Tourism Commission.  The sites in Pikeville were easy to find because the lady in the tourism office gave us directions but, once you get into West Virginia, the sites are not marked and the CD doesn't give you any addresses to plug into your GPS.  It's somewhat of a wild goose chase.  Instead, I would recommend this tour.  Adam, the guy who heads this up, was out of town so we couldn't go but, given the opportunity, this was what we had planned to do.  I have to give the Pikeville Tourism Commission props though, they had some great t-shirts and a ton of books and little souvenirs.
Loretta Lynn's home was worth visiting due to her brother, Herman Webb. Sure, she was great and all but, Herman made that trip worth the time and money. He's a humble man of 78 years young and he was a joy to talk to. While Herman's music career wasn't as well known, he has lots of musical talent and tons to tell about his gifted family.   
Van Lear was a fascinating mining town on the way to Butcher Holler.  The historical museum had lots of interesting artifacts from that time period and we learned a bit about the coal mining business.  From 1910 to 1946 there were 5 mines open in Van Lear and it was quite the hoppin' place.
On our last day in Kentucky, we made the 2-hour trip northwest to Mt. Sterling where we visited the Ruth Hunt Candy Company.  Ruth Hunt Candy Company has quite the reputation as they provided candy for the Kentucky Derby up until a couple of years ago.  Unbeknownst to us, the factory only gives tours Monday through Wednesday.  So, we proceeded to sample and purchase candy since Easter's just around the corner.  Afterwards, we had lunch at Melini Cucina, an Italian restaurant not far away where we dined on breadsticks and chicken fettucini alfredo.  It was a great way to end our trip.
This was the perfect weekend getaway even if it was destroyed by the weather!  With lots of history, a love of the mountains, and adoring the Kentucky accent, this was a great trip.  It was just right for a few days, not sure you would find a whole, whole lot to do there if you were staying for longer than that.  Thanks for a fantastic weekend Thelma!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thelma and Louise in Kentucky

On Thursday, I made the almost 8-hour trip to the May Lodge here at Jenny Wiley State Park Resort in Prestonsburg.  Thelma came from the east, driving an almost equal distance.  Yes, we met in the middle and I was never happier to see her gleaming smile. 

Today, we visited Loretta Lynn's birthplace in Butcher Holler and despite our best efforts, it was hard impossible to get a decent photo without the tripod.  Using gravel to prop the camera on the hood of the car, we got this.  And yes, the rock sits just like you see it...tilted.

We arrived at the Mercantile.   Loretta Lynn's brother, Herman Webb gives tours of the homeplace.  So, the guy working at the Mercantile called Herman to tell him there were two ladies who wanted a tour. Herman was so cute, he asked if we knew there was no heat in the house and that it'd be cold. (It reached a high of 51 degrees today, but it was 9:30am and still quite chilly. Hence my red nose.)

Herman reminded me so much of my granddad.  We got his address and decided to adopt him.  We agreed if we lived here in Kentucky we'd surely bring him dinner and love on him.  He's a handsome fella, huh?

We pulled up at the house and Loretta Lynn's music was blasting. OK, so maybe it wasn't blasting, but it was definitely noticeable as we opened the door of the car. 
It was a beautiful country home in the middle of the mountains. We enjoyed standing with Herman by the fence and talking while the horses insisted that he hurry up and feed. He explained how he acquired the horses and we asked questions about the area. We thanked him for the tour and he stuck out his hand to tell us bye. I wanted so badly to grab him up and squeeze him tightly. I regret that I didn't. He was so cute and personable. 

We took this photo across from the Van Lear Historical Society's museum where we got a tour from the infamous Eli. He had a great handlebar mustache and was very knowledgeable.

Then, we made our way from Paintsville over to Pikeville where we did a driving tour of the Hatfield-McCoy feud.  We drove and drove and drove!  We stopped by Dils Cemetary where Randolph "Ranel" McCoy, his wife Sarah and daughter Roseanna were buried.

We ended our day with coffee in the dining room at Jenny Wiley.  Due to the incoming storm, we'll be heading out a day early.  We're sad to be departing prematurely but, it's better to be safe than sorry.  Stay tuned for more Thelma and Louise fun in Kentucky!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bye Baby Bunting Quilt #1 - update

Oh, hey!  Remember this?  (It looks really wrinkly because it's been folded up.)

It's finally done!

Ready to be shipped.  Well almost...I was thinking maybe I'll make one of these adorable little "Cookie the Fox" dolls to go with it. 

Especially with coordinating fabrics from the quilt.  I don't know why I always add more to my to do list.  Dag on you Pinterest!  Anyway, she's the cutest, isn't she?!

denim, denim and more denim

The sewing room was an organized mad house this morning while  I belted out project after project of alterations.  I don't think you can belt out work.  Songs, yes.  Work, no.  Maybe the phrase "git-r-done" is more suitable.  giggles.  I don't ever use that phrase, it sounds so gross and hillbilly.  There's a difference in being country and hillbilly.  If only but to me.  Although I do know plenty of people who still use the phrase "git-r-done" and that's alright too.  I still love 'em just the same.  I'm rambling...
In preparation for our upcoming road trip.  I wanted to check some things off my list.  Altering all things denim being one of them.  Here stands the leaning tower of denim...5 pairs of jeans, 2 skirts and a pair of jeans converted to skinnys.
I used this tutorial for the conversion and they were pretty simple to make.  I changed up a few things, but I still like to have something to go by so I don't mentally flip out because I've forgotten something or other.  My skinnys aren't skin-tight.  Close, but because I am over the age of 25 I don't even try to pull off those stunts!  I'm happy with the way they turned out.  They'll go perfectly with the new pairs of boots I've ordered. 
"Why", you ask, do I have so many jeans to alter?  Well, it goes a little something like this...I can buy jeans all day long that fit in the butt but, never fit in the waist or are long enough.  Flisa says I'm lucky like that because she inherited "the pancake butt".  I laugh and tell her she's crazy, ain't nothin wrong with her booty!  Anyway, I have a SUPER hard time finding jeans that fit right at all, but if they're long enough, I can work with 'em.  Guess I'm just a weird size, 5'9" and I'm not a 4 or a 6.  I'm in-between.  With that being said, I take in the waist and sometimes just a little bit through the leg and alls fine and dandy in the world again.
Here are a few examples, it's "seamingly" painless.  wink.
Taking in the leg isn't hard either.  With right sides facing out, find the two seams on the pant leg, figure out which one is less "decorative" and take in the other (which ended up being the seam facing outward on each leg.)
See this one?  Not so fancy...just a regular seam. 
Now, see this one?  That's a flat felled seam, friends, and I, for one, don't wanna will not touch that sucker with a ten foot pole.  It gives me the willies! 
Here's where you pick your stitch and stitch length...I chose a simple straight basting stitch.
Now, if you're impatient like me, you tend to ramp that sucker up and lengthen it out to get the most bang for your buck cuz time is precious baby!  See?  Now, it's at a stitch length of 4.5 instead of 2.5.  Ignore the rest, it's hogwash!  (OK, not really, just for this little project.)
***Now, before you start sewing ANYTHING, you want to try them on inside out and either pin or grab them up with your fingers and make a mental note of how much you need to take in.  Don't go crazy, you can always go back and take more without ripping out all the work you just did.  (It's actually easier that way, just stitch parallel to your previous go.)
I like to start just under the pocket (or below a grommet.)  (It's also possible to start up higher, I just didn't on this pair.)
Sew on down til you get maybe 6 inches or so from the bottom. 
Pardon me while I go lotion my crackly hands, thankyouverymuch.

Now, taper on over until you've met the original seam. (My machine ties knots, so I just hit the STOP & FIX buttons and I'm good to go.)
Once you've turned your pants right sides out, it may look a little wonky.  Don't worry, you're trusty ol' iron will do the trick.  You'll have to press the seam flat.  Now, try on your pants!  Woohoo!  You should be in business!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

breafas luvin muffins & breafas dating

The Saturday after my handsome husband arrived home, I made him a big breakfast of pancakes, homemade syrup, strawberries, bananas, grapes, blueberries, orange slices and these "muffins".  I didn't follow the recipe, the photo was enough to see what kinda lovin was happenin in that muffin pan.

Photo and originial recipe courtesy of
Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body
(where you'll find tons more incredible recipes!)

Breakfas Luvin Muffins
1 lb. bacon
7 eggs
1/4 - 1/3 cup milk (cuz in the south we like our scrambled eggs fluffy, least that's what I was always told)
a handful (or two) of cheese (whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely diced
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Spray muffin pan with cooking spray and wrap a slice of bacon up the sides of each muffin cup (ressembling a cupcake liner of sorts).  Whip remaining ingredients together and evenly distribute amongst each muffin cup.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 min.
Now.  Handsome husband can be a tad on the picky side - he's a man, so obviously he likes meat and potatoes.  Period.  Oh yeahand rolls and biscuits.  So, I'm never quite sure what his reaction'll be.  I must say, these were a hit!  We'll definitely be making these again and again.  In fact, I made them again yesterday.  This would be good for a breakfast date, Betty.  wink. wink.

Betty is my grand friend, known for her many, many, many talents.  Child rearing, fashion, decorating, scheduling, etc., etc., etc.  The list just goes on and on.  Cooking being one of her gifts.  Recently, she was telling me of the breakfast date she had with her husband over a snatched up recipe for Blueberry French Toast Casserole that our mutual friend, Martha has tweaked to perfection.

Along with Betty's many gifts, Betty is ingenious!  I mean, who ever thought of breakfast dates anyway?  What a perfect way to start the day, but with a quiet, cozy breakfast for two?  I'm gonna have to try this breakfast dating thing!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

cornbread salad, restautant style steak and bbq potatoes

Dare, I say it?  I found love again.

I'd had this dish a summer or two ago for the very first time.  Never got the recipe or even its name, but I never forgot it.  Finally, I ran across it again on Pinterest.  (It's been my board cover ever since.)  And so, last night it debutted and despite the audience's lack of enthusiasm, I was taken by its color, its appearance, its taste.  Yes, it was true love.

I used this recipe.  And I admit there was one thing I would change...it called for 2 to 3 cups of cornbread.  Now, it's a known fact that this girl loves her some cornbread...bread...rolls.  Who's counting?!  Don't judge!  So, for me, it personally wasn't enough.  I used one package of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix baked in an 8x8 inch dish and only had 3 pieces (or a third of the pan) left.  Next time, they're all takin' the plunge.

Today, I sat in bed with my cornbread salad - yes, I said "in bed" - and ate it straight out of the trifle bowl.  It's a sin but look at it this way, no one else will eat it and I was doing some internet research.  Don't judge!

I think we had the best dinner eva last night.  I'd bought filet mignon for the Mister's homecoming.  I cooked it "restaurant style" and it was near perfection. (We weren't fans of the butta.  Next time, I'd do butta, garlic and parsley.  And leave out the thyme, it was a little overpowering.  I'm undecided on the lemon zest, I didn't think it did much.)  One thing I do agree on...there's no room for steak on the grill any more.  At least not for this sister.  I am restaurant-style all the way baby!

I made 2 batches of my infamous yeast rolls.  They turned out to be the best eva as agreed upon by us all.  (I usually criticize my food pretty heavily, so that was something to note!)  We also tried this new recipe for "BBQ Potatoes".  Mmm, they were so good and so easy.  We all ended up being stuffed.  I think it was all the butta.  Yep, I blame it on the butta.

Photo courtesy of Kayotic Kitchen

I mentioned that I'd baked cookies for the Mister's homecoming but I didn't mention the cake we made, with inspiration from hereCan you tell we love it when he comes home?  I love the gold sugar crystal sprinkles we used for the heart. That cake was gone in days.


middle of the roads rendezvous

So, Thelma and I've been talking lately about how we need a getaway.  Seriously y'all.  

The talks started Monday.  Today, being Wednesday and it is so a done deal!  Being the nerd, I went straight to work on where we'd stay and what we'd do.  I conferred with Thelma regarding my findings and she agrees.  She's a history buff and there's lots of history and country legend stuff to explore in Kentucky.  We're gonna stay in the lodge of a state park because they're inexpensive and tucked away.  Being moms on a budget, we like pocketbook-friendly accommodations.  I don't mind dated (as most state park facilities are since the nation's collapse) but I do require clean. 

I've read reviews up one side and down the other and this place passes.  It has rooms with a lake view and all of our tourist destinations are within a short drive.  Emergency fast food chains are only a few miles away and they have WIFI (not that we'll spend much time in our room, but still, a girl can't live without it these days.)  I'm not a huge fan of chain hotels.  I like places off the beaten path.  Somewhere, quiet, nestled and cozy.  A place where you ask the locals what their favorite haunts are.  A place where you see the same faces day in and day out.  And those faces are happy to see you return at night.  They ask about your day and feel like family.

Our plans include visiting some museums and of course, walking the streets of these little towns to find their best kept secrets...stores, eateries, coffee shops, bakeries.  We have to fit dining into this plan and I can't wait to eat some Kentucky grub.  On my list are Derby Pie, a real Kentucky mint julep and last but certainly not least, my favorite barbecue!  Oh goodness, I'm hungry just thinking about it!

So while everyone goes on about their regular ol' day, Thelma and I have blacktop roads and Bluegrass Country on the mind.  May the days pass quickly and the miles fly by.  Woohoo!Bring on Kentucky!

Note: Thelma is most always and only called Thelma when I speak of road trippin'. One, because of road trips. Two, because she shot her ornery rooster with a shotgun right after he attacked one of her littles and scratched him just under the eye. I still like to laugh about that. Not about her boy being attack, but the thought of her stompin' off with a big shotgun and blowin' his feathery guts to smithereens. Otherwise, she is kindly known as Mother Teresa for all her efforts in volunteering and the greater good she does for humanity. And no, Louise was the one who shot the guy on their road trip but, Thelma's real name starts with a T and it's just easier to keep straight that way.

Friday, March 1, 2013

cookies and home

I have a myriad of things I could be doing.  Should be doing.  Yet, I'm baking cookies.  Do you know how much I hate to bake cookies?  They're so tedious.  Y'all know how I hate tedious...
Put some cookies in the oven.
Wait 11 minutes.  (Just enough time to get started doing something productive and then...)
Pull them out.
Let them cool.
Throw more in.
Take some out.
Multiply by 10 and you get the picture.
Ohhh, they drive me nuts!  But they are dearly loved by my handsome husband.  Did I mention he'll be arriving in, oh, 9 hours?!  And so, I bake cookies.
Can I be real here?  'Course I can, this is my blog.  So, if I'm excited, you hear about it.  If I'm grumpy, you hear about it.  You don't like it?  Don't read it.  I'm sorry, that's just how it works. 

My apologies in advance cuz today I'm gon let it out.
I'm tired of the cornfields.  The monotony of riding on paved, straight, flat, gridded roads.  I want to jump in my car with a way too hastily packed suitcase, leaving behind underwear and toothbrush and socks and drive, just drive.  Drive fourteen hours straight through. Til I hit the mountains.  Back to the place from which I came.  I want to stand outside where the wind is near nonexistent.  I want to spin gravel on curvy, dirt roads.  Feel mud splatter my back as I fly through the fields on a four-wheeler, hitting every mud hole there is and drowning in the smell of gasoline.  I want to hold my chickens.  And smell the earthy scent of kitty fur.  I want to put Carhartts and muck boots on and sit in the dog pen with George, the leaning dog and pet him until my hands are black with dirt.  I want to see my mom and her shining bright eyes.  I want to hug my grandma and hear her say a million times, "Well, I don't really know anything." And I want to watch her roll her eyes and say, "Shut up Homer!  Nobody thinks that's funny" when my grandaddy spouts out fake foreign language or says he just wants another 'poonful or that he can't eat that because it "gets in his mouth too much."  I want to have lunch and drink coffee in upscale little places with Mother Teresa, just for the experience.  (Or Thelma, whichever one you remember her as.)  I want to sit in her country kitchen while she talks about how tiny her farmhouse is.  I want to sit around the table, shoulder to shoulder with my brother and the Morgans as we drink coffee until the wee hours of the morning.  I want to take a peach pie from Yoder's to Granny June and Paw Paw Ralph.  To make sure they're happy, havin' their home to themselves once again.  I want to make dinner at Flisa's house while she complains that she can do it!  To enjoy a glass of wine (or two) and embrace Lilith when she tries to make me feel uncomfortable by hugging me long and hard because she knows I like my space.  I want to play with their goats and see their tiny banty chicks.  I want to go camping while I listen to Flisa fuss about how she and Fredrico are too old to sleep on an air mattress and everything else under the sun.  I want to groan about how I hate the smell of campfire in my hair yet I'll move in closer to stay toasty warm.  Then, I'll wake up only to feel dirty and gross from the dew and stinky from the campfire.  Knowing full and well that no matter how much I fuss, it really is grand.  I want to ride horses down the mountain from the camp to the truck.  I want to head over to Watermelon Park and camp for a few nights while we tube down the river, moving as slow turtles on a hundred degree day.  I want to waltz over to my friend, Martha's and have lunch.  I know she'll make something super exciting and special.  Better yet, maybe we should meet at El Agave's!  No cooking required!  It's one of our favorites!  I want to spend the evening at the Myers' farm soaking up the wealth of good company amongst the AWANA group and make s'mores.  I want to pop in and sit for a long, uplifting evening with the Vineyard Keepers.  To linger in one of Miss D's sweet, long embraces.  To attend church and spend all afternoon catchin' up in the foyer until they begin to lock up.  I want to meet up with all the soccer girls at Giovanna's and watch the people sitting near us talk and give dirty looks because we're enjoying ourselves way too much and the noise level has risen to that in which you would find in a stadium.

There are just too many "I wants" to list.  Law, we'd be here til tomorrow.  Yep, I'd give just 'bout anything to be in the big V-A.  I'm painfully aware of how needed a retreat, a reprieve, a getaway is.  Something to refresh this east coast girl dukin' it out in the Midwest.  There's just no place like home and it feels like it's been way too long since I've been back.

Welp, cookies are all done.  So, it's on to the next thing

Wait, one more thing.  Completely switchin' subjects on ya....I am totally growing this short mop out.  I'm sick of it and I miss my long hair.  And I want to wear baseball caps during the summer.  Just sayin.

I was going through photos and found that Mother Teresa ever so kindly took photos of me while I was folding clothes last time she was here.  She's so kind, isn't she?  Love her.

fast forward

One more day.  I'm counting down the hours.  There's an excellent plan in order, I'm just not sure how to execute it since we'll have extras here for the weekend.  Oh stop!  We're talkin' food here, mister.  Mmm, I have an amazing menu planned, a grocery list and part of it was prepared today.  You'll like it.  It's man-friendly and could accommodate a few adult friends of your choice.

I imagine everyone being asleep when you arrive.  I'll wait impatiently for you to pull in the drive.  I'll stand at the door waiting to greet you.  You'll walk in and all the littles will be asleep, I pray.  No distractions, no interruptions.  No Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!  Just us and the opportunity for me to lay my head on your chest and fall asleep to the scent of Old Spice and freshly washed linens.  You'll grimace at the cold, wet snow but then sweat under the flannel sheets 'cause you're just hot-natured like that.  All the while, you'll tell me how happy you are to be home.

That's the way this always plays out.  It's a fantastic sketch.  The only problem is, it ends sadly.  You're here for a while, gone again.  That's OK, we'll make the most of our time together with date nights, calling in the favors we're owed.

Here's to tomorrow and your safe journey home!