Monday, July 30, 2012

Do You Salsa?

No, I don't mean the Dancing With the Stars kind of salsa, but the kind you eat with tortilla chips, fish and chicken or a quesadilla. That's what I made yesterday using my garden tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. I found this easy recipe on Pinterest. I especially liked the simple, no mess grilling instructions. 

I made a few changes to the recipe. One was unintentional...I grilled the onions but that's because I did not read the recipe all the way through before starting. That is one of my cooking faults. But, I really don't think it changed the flavor, if anything it made it even better.

After grilling, you need to let the vegetables cool and let the liquid drain from them for a while.
Then you put it all in the food prcessor

add the cilantro ( I used more than the recipe calls for) and garlic

and then you pulse it until the desired consistency is achieved.
Add the salt and pepper. I tripled the recipe and I should have added the salt a little at a time. When I tripled the salt it made the salsa too salty, so I added a can of Mexican style stewed tomatoes to the food processor and pulsed a few more times. That was just what it needed to cut down the over salted flavor.

I ladled the salsa into clean canning jars and processed for 15 minutes after it came to a boil.

I now have 5 jars of salsa. I think I will be making more of this. It is really delicious and easy to make.
I had some with my quesadilla for lunch today.
After processing it is quite thick so when I make it again I might use some of the liquid that drains from the cooked vegetables to make a thinner consistency to the salsa.

Thanks for stopping by,


Sunday, July 29, 2012

This Week in 2012, Week 30

This week in 2012, the series continues.
My oldest granddaughter had her first sewing lesson with me.  She made a cute pair of shorts.
Next week she wants to make a skirt and she says a patchwork quilt is in her future. Thanks to all  my readers who sent in suggestions for things to make with her.

I enjoyed swimming laps in the beautiful community pool we have here in our neighborhood.

I made these sweet tarts using Bakerella's yummy and simple recipe. I am going to be so sad when fresh berries go out of season. For these I used a mix of strawberries and blueberries.

My sister discovered a new blog that is dedicated to using iPhone apps to enhance your iphone photos. I am obsessed with playing with these apps. For this photo I used autopainter, picfx and instaframe apps. I plan on spending some time reading through Karen's very interesting blog.


before, taken with Instagram (Sierra filter used)

How cool is it to be able to make your own art from a simple iPhone photo? I think I might be having some canvas prints made of our vacation photos.

I did do some sewing this week but it's one of those secret projects. This one is for Danny Mommy For Reals, who is in my Stitch Tease bee. Here is a sneaky peak of what I have been working on for Danny. She won't see it until next year when she will receive a finished quilt top put together by Helen.

 I've also been working on my Hexie MF quilt along. I now have 26 flowers finished, but still need to cut and baste a lot more hexies before I get even close to having enough to make the 68 flowers required for this quilt. I think once I get about 10 more flowers finished I will start thinking about the background fabric that it will all be sewn on to.

Since Katy is the queen of EPP, I asked her what needles she uses because I was not happy with the ones I have been using. She suggested these Black Gold needles by Clover. I ordered them from Amazon and had them the next day! They just glide through the fabric.

And last, but not least, I have been busy tending to my garden. There has been lots of tomato picking going on. Aren't they pretty? I think I am going to make some salsa today.

Have a great week!
Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Vacation Story, 1981

Do you follow Karen at Sew Many Ways? She blogs about a lot of interesting things and always has great do it yourself projects on her blog.
The other day she shared a vacation story from years ago when her girls were younger and it reminded me of our vacation challenges from 1981. I thought you might get a good laugh from this story.
My sister lived in the Cayman Islands from 1976-1997. During that time we visited the island several times. We would either stay at the Holiday Inn where her then husband, The Barefoot Man, was an entertainer. We got a great employee discount rate or we would visit when she and her family were off the island and stay in their home.This story is from the year we stayed in their home.
It was November and we arrived to beautiful, sunny weather and had 2 days of wonderful beach fun with the boys.

There's nothing better than floating on a raft on 7 Mile Beach. The warm water lapping at your feet.
But then the skies opened up and we had 2 days of non-stop rain. We decided we couldn't stay cooped up in my sister's house with these three rambunctious boys, so I called the airline and bought tickets to Orlando, where we found a cheap motel and stayed for three days enjoying Walt Disney World. So far this vacation is going well until it is time to return to Los Angeles.

Evan was afraid of every character

Originally we flew Los Angeles to Miami and on to Georgetown, Grand Cayman. When it came time to return home I called the airline and asked if we could use our tickets to fly from Orlando to Los Angeles, instead of having to go through Miami. Now remember, this is 1981 when the airlines were much more flexible and there were no change fees or anything. The ticket agent on the phone said there would be no problem and so we arrived for our flight back to LAX. "No', said the agent, as I held our sleeping 19 month old in my arms, "you have to buy a ticket to Miami and use your ticket from there to get back to LAX". As Paul tried to negotiate with the agent, Brent (age 6) and Michael (age 4) starting running and playing on the conveyor belts where you check in the luggage. They were having a grand time and they were yelling and giggling quite loudly, too. After 20 minutes of arguing with the agent and the boys driving him batty (and me crying) the agent said, "Take your bratty kids and get your asses on the plane, and don't say I said it was ok". He handed us our boarding passes and we boarded the plane and flew home. Can you imagine this whole scenario now? We would probably be behind bars for tampering with airport equipment, child endangerment and a number of other offenses.

Do you have a funny vacation story? I'd love to hear it.
Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tomatoes 101

There has not been a lot of sewing going on at Casa Random Thoughts but that does not mean there has not been a lot of activity. My blog is called Random for a reason.  I have been doing lots of random things, mostly doctor visits and gardening.
It seems I have been able to out fox that pesky rabbit when it comes to eating all my tomatoes. I used my aluminum foil trick and it keeps the evil bunny from eating the tomatoes. I wrap the tomatoes in aluminum foil. You don't even need to wrap all the tomatoes, just a good group on each plant and it seems to keep the bunny from tasting or devouring MY tomatoes.

I planted 11 varieties, several of which are new to me this year. The * denotes an heirloom variety. There are all different shapes, colors and sizes of tomatoes. I think I will be making salsa this weekend because I also picked several jalapeno peppers.

With the eggplant and zucchini, I guess I will be making some ratatouille, too.
There has been a little bit of sewing going on, but it's for my Stitch Tease Bee and I can't share it just yet.

I decided to link up with Live a Colorful Life's Random Thursday.
Live A Colorful Life
Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Non Sewing Post

For the second time in less than a week I have had to have my eyes dilated. All is ok, thank you GOD! I cannot imagine losing my sight. I have seen what my mom goes through having had a retinal hemorrhage 11 years ago and I do not want that. But, dilated eyes cannot sew and dilated eyes cannot read blogs, nor can they be in bright sunlight, so I have been lying around for the last few hours thinking about all the sewing, reading and gardening I would like to be doing.
Our son, Kyle,made this video for me for my birthday with all the photos everyone had sent to him so I got it loaded up to YouTube.
My friends and family like to tease me about all the hairdos I have had over the years but I think Kyle is in the running for second place if you ask me.
I hope you will enjoy seeing my metamorphosis from a child to an adult...and to see how my family has grown! Or you can just skip this post.

Thanks for stopping by,


Monday, July 23, 2012

Sewing Lessons

Last week my son asked if I would give my granddaughter sewing lessons. He said she really seems interested and has started sewing with her friends. I think almost 10 is the perfect age to start learning how to use a real machine, not her toy machine any longer.
So we made a trip to JoAnn's where we bought some fabric and elastic and decided on a pair of comfy lounge pants.

She brought along a pair of sweat pants that fit and we traced a pattern. Now I must admit, all the mistakes that we made today were my fault! I did not buy enough fabric, so we had to make shorts instead of pants and I did not take into account that we were NOT using a knit, so I did not make the pattern roomy enough.
Makenzie picked up the rules quickly. She understands seam allowance and goes slow enough to make sure she's keeping a nice straight stitch. She understood needle up and down and the need to keep your fingers away from the machine needle.

She was so sweet. She said, that's ok if they don't fit me, we can give them to my little sister. But, I felt so bad, I was trying to think of ways we could "make it work" (a la TIM GUNN), but in the end, they fit her snugly, with a little bit of wiggle room.

She sewed every stitch and pressed every seam. She had a little struggle getting the rhythm of pushing the elastic through the top casing.

You can tell by that smile that she is so proud of herself. I am so proud of her, too.
We are already thinking up ideas for next week's lesson. Any help is greatly appreciated. 

Of course, she had to have her own label ironed onto the waistband. 

And to not be wasteful, she made her own pin cushion out of the fabrics she used to practice the proper seam allowance and zig zag stitch.

Thanks for stopping by,


Sunday, July 22, 2012

This Week in 2012, Week 29

Is anyone old enough to remember what Barbra Streisand said when she won the Best Actor Oscar for her role as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl in 1969? In her best New York accent, she said, "Hello Gorgeous". That is exactly what I said when I set up my Bernina on Monday. It was my first time to get back to sewing in 5 weeks. That was a long time. I nearly forget how she works. I was soon reminded, that she is temperamental and likes to break the thread a lot. Does anyone have a remedy for this problem?

It was so fun to get back to sewing. I started by getting caught up in Jeni's HST series. Jeni's instructions are so easy and I knew this would be a nice quick finish to get my groove back.

I then started on the projects for the blog hop I am participating in with Katey using these fun WinterKist fabrics by Lecien.

There and Back

The hop starts on August 6 and there are some great prizes sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop

and some talented sewists ready to inspire you . 

Aug 6  Katie at There & Back
Aug 7  Rachael at imagine gnats
Aug 8  Jennie at Clover & Violet
Aug 9  Courtney at mon petit lyons
Aug 10  Sara at Sew Sweetness

Aug 13  Bianca at Sweet Diesel Designs
Aug 14 Chelsea at Pins & Bobbins
Aug 15  Rebecca at Sew Festive Handmade
Aug 16  Diane at from blank pages
Aug 17  Allegory at {sew} Allegorical

Aug 20  Kim at My Go-Go Life
Aug 22 Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts
Aug 23 Jenelle at Echinops & Aster
Aug 24  Katie at There & Back

You'll have to wait until August 21 to see my finished projects, but here's a sneak peak. 

I received my July shipment from Pink Chalk fabrics for the Charming Solids Club. I love that they take all the guess work out of matching solid colors to prints.

I finally spent my winnings from the Retro Flowers QAL at Fat Quarter shop. I chose the layer cake of Sew Mama Sew

and all these 1/2 yard cuts of some really fun fabrics. $75 goes a long way! 

One thing I learned on vacation is that if you bring your laptop or smart phone you can still buy fabric in Europe from online shops. Shhh! Don't tell your husband (or mine for that matter)! I couldn't resist buying this stack of Cameo by Amy Butler

and I also joined the Stash Stack Club with Pink Castle Fabrics.  while I was away. And of course, the first month is P*I*N*K!

And finally, I use my birthday each year as a reminder to make all my doctors' appointments. It seems when turning 60, you get extra special doctor's addition to the normal routine Pap test,mammogram, skin check and blood work I get to have  eyes dilated, colonoscopy, EKG and treadmill stress test and a Shingles vaccine. Go ahead, bring it on, I can take it.  By the time I finish all these doctor visits it will be my birthday again!

Thanks for stopping by,