Thursday, June 30, 2016

Cool Ride

It was way below 70 degrees when I walked the dogs at 6:30, so I decided to change clothes and ride my bike for a tour of downtown before breakfast. Wha?
Who is this woman?
Such comfortable weather must be acknowledged and taken head on. I am a scaredy-rider and stay on the sidewalks which are wide and mostly pedestrian free, except at morning rush. But then the streets are way busier and I don't trust 'em not to run right into me, as I wobble along.
There are interesting places along Market Street like the Tennessee Stillhouse, and The Hot Chocolatier 
Chattanooga Choo Choo - Chattanooga, TN, United States. Across the street
And on the other side of the street is the Terminal Brewhouse and the famous Choo Choo hotel with several new bars/restaurants and even a comedy club.
ImageChattanooga Choo Choo - Chattanooga, TN, United States. View from the street with the two signs
But my destination was the Chattanooga Public Library, which I have yet to visit, as parking is either non-existent, or pay lots. But on my bike it only took 12 minutes of casual riding from my home. Of course it was too early to visit the interior, but I will, I know it. Across the street is my branch bank, and Warehouse Row,
Image result for chattanooga libraryExterior.jpg Which houses gorgeous shops that carry nothing I could afford (don't need anyway, sour grapes) like Anthropologie, and J Crew.
O the shoes!

So I logged in 20 minutes or so of riding and that means I have completed my exercise for the day, not counting another two dog walks.
What is next? I have no agenda at all. In fact I can't remember a day recently where nothing was expected of me! My new driver's license arrived yesterday and I registered to vote, got my car test over, and had the house cleaned for the last time. I know I want to get back to being creative, but haven't had a second to imagine what to make, or even what medium is calling me. I'm way behind on dreaming over Pinterest, so maybe I need to slow down and do nothing while I refocus.
Or just sit on the front porch and watch the construction on the new houses across the street. Cup of coffee here I come!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Busy Morning

Nothing really exciting, just necessary stuff is happening here. I gotta take my car in for its emissions test, and the 'gascap' light is on my dashboard. The repair guy did everything he could think of to unlight it, with no success. So Dave disconnected the battery, which turns off that pesky light for a while, perhaps, long enough to pass the test. The PT Cruiser is notorious for this fault.
And I am returning to the old house for the second try at getting it clean. The cleaning crew disappointed us on round one, and so I will expect better results this time, grrrr.
After today, I will feel SO MUCH LESS pressure.
And good news! We finally got our mailbox (from the builder) installed in our parkway. Hurray. Junk mail surely must be piling up at the P.O. for us all this past month. Can you believe we have been in the new house for a month already. Wow.
Yesterday I had two (scam artist) customers asking to buy art from me. I kinda knew it, but one has to go along until one is sure. Everything seemed good until I said Paypal/or deposit check and wait ten days to ship the art. Suddenly the emails stopped. ha!
Sweet cherries are 100 calories for 5.5 ozs. What a treat. Have a lovely day, y'all!
Yay!! I passed the emissions test and the house cleaners did a great finished job. WONDERFUL feeling. Hurray!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Eating Well

Two eggs poached in the microwave, roasted red pepper, Kumato brown tomato and fresh from the garden basil. With coffee and fat free half and half, 250 calories.
I am not one to count calories, but does it for me, and gives me a daily calorie budget to reach my weight loss goals by a specific date. It's a no-brainer, which I really appreciate. I will have finished by February 28, 2017. Even that date will change as the weight comes off. Today I get to 'spend' 1398 calories, but I know I will only use less than 1000.

My friend Cindra is doing lots of smoothies and I like that too. My blender is staying on the counter, and fruit with unsweetened coconut-almond milk makes a great drink. Regular milk has disappeared from our shopping list.

I am cleaning out the refrigerator and have help from Dave and the dogs. I know if it's not there, I won't eat it. My big helper is the Cuisinart scale <strong>Cuisinart</strong> DigiPad™ Round Digital Kitchen Scale
which takes a tare and weighs in grams, ounces or pounds. It makes a big difference in figuring portion size.
OK enough diet talk.
Have a super day!

Monday, June 27, 2016

City Living

Today I had to drop off my car at the repair shop down the street, actually .08 miles down the street. I walked home. On the way I stopped at Niedlov's  bakery for a freshly baked loaf of six seed bread. That's for Dave and his toast.
I passed several galleries, and restaurants, and the big fire station, not to mention my pal Mary's loft, but it was way too early for a visit. This proximity to things makes me so happy.
Recently I scoured the internet to find a nearby hardware store so I wouldn't have to drive 15 minutes to Lowe's and Home Depot. I found a very helpful Ace hardware, and not too far after that, a Rite Aid and then a very nice Food City which will become my go-to grocery store. I could ride my bike if it weren't so darn hot.
Late last night I got an email from our realtor that I hadn't signed a document, which conveniently was sent via email for me to fill in and sign. He said "an agent has specifically requested the info on this document as they have someone very interested in your home" which gives me hope.
On this diet topic, which I promised I wouldn't be bringing up again until all the weight was lost, apparently I hit a nerve with several of you readers. I feel as tho we are all in this together, so that's another reason to feel good today. Let's do it Ladies!

One more good thing: You may recall that I have listed a bunch of my quilts on Etsy, prior to the move (at affordable prices) and yesterday one more sold.
A Different Palette | by Melody Johnson Quilts:
A Different Palette
I find this sale so encouraging and I'll be sending it out as soon as I can walk to the post office!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A New Week and a New Start

 Getting back to my routine involves getting back to eating right. On Saturday I thought I would make a new dress and when it was done enough to try on, I was aghast at how awful I looked and how tight that dress was on my body. It was a size larger than my normal size...OK...two sizes larger than my best weight. Arrgghhh. I posted these pictures small to minimize the damage to your poor eyes. I knew then that this was the Day of Decision. Was I gonna do something or pretend this was just a fluke in the pattern? Yeah right.

I have no scale, since I gave mine to Brooke a while back, and really, who wants to know how much weight I had gained? Not me. But now I needed to have a baseline and went out in the blazing 90+ heat to find one down the road a bit. I came home and grit my teeth and weighed myself. Ghastly!

Once the shock had subsided, I logged on to my preferred weight loss helper and charted a new goal. I already feel better, weighed in this morning and overnight I lost 4.5 pounds of water weight. 

How did this happen? Stress eating, lots more wine than I oughta drink, which is all sugar, and ice cream, bread, rice, pasta and potatoes and CHEEESE.  Mostly not caring about myself. My knees ache, my feet and my hips ache, which they surely would if I am carrying around 40+ more pounds than I should. That's the equivalent of two huge bags of kitty litter. Imagine that.
Tidy Cats Long-Lasting Odor Control, 40 lbs.+Tidy Cats Long-Lasting Odor Control, 40 lbs.
So I will record everything that I put in my mouth and never speak of this again, until next April when it will have all been lost. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

The friends, the food, the fun

I don't really have a bucket list, but if I did, I think I would have checked off several items last night. 

1. Have wonderful friends to make a really loud party
2. Have a place where I can make and serve a lot of good food to my friends
3. Sharing my artwork in a space where it is shown to its best advantage

 So first party food pics, starting with hummus on cucumber slices. Then cream cheese and hard salami topped with kosher dill slices, coconut chicken salad on granny smith slices, fruit kabobs, kielbasa in jelly, spinach and artichoke dip, mini tacos, with guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, and finally individual frozen key lime pies. Not pictured: mushrooms with parmesan-onion-cream, and pesto+fresh mozzarella bruschetta.

 And then show and tell! Margo's leftover stars quilt (not the real name). This perfect little quilt was made from the fabrics leftover from the BIG quilt that Margo entered in the Chattanooga AQS show. Exquisite. And the back is a quilt too!
 Ann showed a gorgeous flimsie, which was a combo of a Parisian purchased Picasso panel and Marcia Derse fabrics which coordinated perfectly.

 And Joan shared her tiny strip pieced landscape. Such clever and talented gals!
I feel so blessed to be in this house, in this town, with friends so close that they could just drop by. My sister Brooke even brought her friend Darla to the party and we all sang Happy Birthday to Mary, accompanied by Dave on the guitar.
What a good time.

Today I woke to rain. RAIN!!! My prayers are answered. My poor garden at the old house was suffering, drooping and looking near death. Let's hope this rain revives it all, and buyers show up who love to garden, and need a house that already has one.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Um. . .this just in. . .

 It may be early, but I have just finished hanging some art in the studio and making a quickie curtain for that lonely window. The fabric is a two yard piece from IKEA and I had one tension rod left which I could squeeze into the window and voila! it's covered, for now. This quilt was all ready to hang in the living room, but I ran out of space, so it will live above my sewing machines, and bring some sunshine into the room.
 A bunch of related pieces went up instantly on the design wall and no doubt will stay there until I get back to art making, MAYBE next week. Ooooooh I am so wanting to make something.
In the meantime, there is this mess to clear up before the party and breakfast is calling me.
Party food pictures will have to wait, since the food is wrapped or in plastic containers until later today when all will be assembled. I did have a great day of fixing goodies, and my sister came over and we sampled and adjusted seasonings to make it all fabulous. Can't wait til tonight.
Eeekk! What'll I wear?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Party Menu

Instead of birthday cake I thought I would make Individual Key Lime PiesIndividual Frozen Key Lime Pies, no bake, easy, tart and sweet like the perfect key lime pie!:  
Frozen ahead of time, they will be the first thing I make today. Well, first thing is inaccurate. I have already been to the car repair place and the grocery store, as well as dog walking and feeding. Gotta get a jump on the day. My plan is lots of finger food, on the long counter, to be eaten with fingers, until dessert, anyway.
Here's the Menu:
Hummus on cucumber slices
Fruit Kabobs with strawberry, cantaloupe, grape, watermelon, pineapple and orange bits
Kielbasa chunks in jelly, which is way better than it sounds, and will be hot in the electric skillet
Mini tacos filled with frijoles refritos, homemade chorizo and cheese, served with salsa, sour cream and lots of my homemade guacamole
Spinach dip with parmesan croutons

Chicken Salad on Granny Smith slices
Salami cream cheese stacks with Kosher dill pickle
Roasted salted almonds
Some (or more) of these ideas came from Pinterest, but honestly when one goes to the link to find the recipe, these food bloggers make you wade through endless ads, more pictures than needed and lots of text, before you finally get to the recipe. Grrr. 
I'll take pictures as I cook today, to have something pretty to show tomorrow.  We'll see how many of these proposed dishes actually get made. #1 rule of blogging, Never predict what the day will bring.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Momentous Day

I have hired a cleaning crew to make my old house sparkling clean and while I feel a tinge guilty, it is our LAST MOVE EVER until they wheel us off to assisted living, and so worth the cost. They arrive at 8am and I have to let them in, so I mustn't tarry.
 Lucille Ball Funny | Groups :: Casper's Haunted House : The Living Room:

While I am out, I will drive by the Voting commission and register to vote. Hurray!
And I'll be doing some party food shopping.
Thursday evening, I am hosting a birthday party/housewarming for a dozen of my nearest and dearest. I can't wait to make some tasty munchies, and wicked sweets to share with my friends. I have been imagining this since I first saw my new white kitchen. My sister came over straight from work (she just got a $2 raise!!!!) and helped me narrow down the food ideas to a reasonable/doable number. It's great to cook for ladies, who prefer girly foods.

6 Unexpectedly Awesome Gluten-Free Appetizers:    These fresh Dilly Cucumber Bites make a great healthy appetizer. Cucumber slices are topped with a fresh dill cream cheese and yogurt mixture, and finished with a juicy cherry tomato.:  Party Fruit Kabobs! What a perfect appetizer or bridal party finger food!!:  Spinach Dip Bites - so delicious and perfect for any party or get together. { }:  Cranberry and Brie bites - a simple appetizer or party snack that always gets polished off in minutes!:  This rum punch recipe is the best punch for parties ever. It is the most popular recipe on our blog and has received a huge number of positive reviews and repins. #allshecooks:
I'll be shopping for skewers and balloons at the dollar store, and getting party ideas.

Monday, June 20, 2016


The Toast Corner, which was once the scourge of my existence. At our house toast is the go-to middle of the night nosh and come to think of it, breakfast and lunch and evening time too. No wonder we go through so many loaves of bread a week.

It's not me, it's Dave who is eating and making the toast. In the past the wrappers, twist-ties and/or plastic bag closers (what are they called?) were left out amongst the drifts of breadcrumbs, which were stuck to the jelly and peanut butter drips...O you know the story. And then I saw this idea on Pinterest (familiar?).
I was shopping for food at our local W store and had a loaf of bread at the ready. Off to the hardware dept. where I found this inexpensive small red plastic toolbox. The loaf fit precisely inside, and the toolbox came home with me. Now residing in the Toast Corner it is lined with a red dishtowel and keeps the unwrapped bread fresh and reduces the vast majority of the wrapper/closer/crumb mess. Somehow in all this 'retraining' I have also managed to convince Dave to put down a paper towel when he slathers his toast. Genius!
The wrapper is removed before the bread goes in, and of course the wrapper is recycled on our doggie walks. 
It's fixing the little things that keeps life's irritations at bay.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Keeping you in the loop

Now that the dust has settled, more or less, I long for my routine to begin again. I used to blog almost everyday, and that focused me in some ways, and so I will add that to the morning rituals of dog walking and feeding and my Pinterest addiction.
Today I had several good things happen, none of which has an associated photo. O well, here they are.

#1. I found my checkbook which I had put away in a drawer so I wouldn't lose it. Weeks went by and I couldn't remember where that was. But today I had to fire up my sewing machine and there was the checkbook in my top thread drawer.

#2. The reason I needed to sew was to make a blackout curtain for my bedroom window. I have a bolt of Roc-Lon Rain No Stain and it occurred to me that a curtain rod pocket could be sewn in a length and hidden behind my curtains, blocking out the street lights which keep my room far from dark enough. Ta da! It worked perfectly and now I have even better daytime napping. A necessary thing, see #4.

#3. While looking for my checkbook, I found the application for my car tags, which are due on the 30th. If I mail them in now, I won't have to stand in line for hours in person. Yay!

#4. My husband did not kill himself on his bicycle, even tho we did end up in the ER for hours on Saturday night. Against my expressed wishes (wasted breath) he had to go on a bike ride at 11pm and by 1:30 he hit a curb and went over the handle bars and onto the ground with a great thud, landing on his favorite-previously-broken right shoulder. He walked his bike home in great pain for about a mile and woke me up at 3am, asking to be taken to the hospital. We only live 5 minutes (good thing) away and luckily the waiting room was nearly empty. Two hours later we got him x-rayed and two hours later he was discharged. Nothing broken. (I tried to sleep in a chair, to no avail.)
You'd think I'd be used to shenanigans like this, but since he no longer drives a car, I falsely believed crashes were a thing of the past. Wrongo Bozo.

So that's the news, and Monday is a new day. Hurray!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

I believe this is IT!

 The penultimate act in decorating the living room was to hang the artwork. The very last thing to add  are the new sheers I got yesterday at our speed-shop trip to IKEA. I had a list and since it is almost a two hour drive, we left at 8, right after walking and feeding the dogs. The window to return was short, 1:30 pm, but we made it, and with a carload of stuff.

 I was determined to replace our cream leather Poang chair cushions with the grey tweed fabric. Luck was with us and they were in stock. Yay!
And I wanted another set of those white nesting tables, but now they only had black, so OKAY, that will work too.
To make the living room fit together better, we moved one of the white chairs to the tv room.
We hung the new curtains above the wood trim, keeping the sheers on the inside tension rod to cover the window at night. No holes were drilled into the walls for anything we hung in the living/dining room. Command hooks and picture hanging strips. Yay!
There's always a dog in the picture, and that is Chumley on the new plastic runner, which works best for us. I got red and white ones for the kitchen and the screened porch entrance.
Tony likes a cushy perch. All those duck feather pillow inserts were on clearance and covers will be a sewing project in the near future.
Speaking of sewing, my worktable has rubber wheels and marks up my floor when I move it, which I do often. My solution was to put it on a plastic rug, again, something necessary for spills and doggie hair.

I managed to mount my design wall in the studio a few days ago, so it begins to feel like my space again. We brought the ceiling light from the old house to make it dazzlingly bright in here. For some time in the plan this was going to be the tv room, but of course that changed.

Outside my studio window, just yesterday they have moved the earth in preparation for another two or three homes.  I look forward to the new neighbor moving here, and her house blocking that hot southern exposure.

One of the most wonderful things so far is that I live so close to my friend Mary, and my sister works about 7 minutes from here and has dropped in several times. I couldn't be  happier with the company.