Thursday, July 28, 2011

How Quickly A Week Goes By

Poof!  There goes a week since my last post.  Crazy how that happens.  I'll blame it on Pinterest.  Seriously, it is so incredibly addicting.  I still have lots of decorating to do in the house and many things to cross off my 30 in the year of 30 list so the blog will definitely pick up again.  I didn't buy any wine this week (I guess hell must have frozen over), but we did take a bottle to a friend's house last weekend that was one I will put on my "to buy again" list.  Clay and I have always been a fan of Becker Vineyards.  It is a Texas winery not too far from Austin.  In fact, once it cools down a bit, I'm going to see if I can talk him into a little day trip to check it out.  While perusing the wine aisle, I noticed that they had a Merlot Reserve 2008 that I have yet to try.  It was delish and a great buy for about $13/bottle.  It went perfectly with our steak and not too heavy or woody.  I didn't take a picture of the bottle before we left and all I could find on their site was this tiny picture:

Also new on the Ellis front, I joined Weight Watchers online this week.  I was killing myself with workouts and not seeing anything budge.  I knew my portions were out of whack and just needed a way of tracking that is easy to stick to.  Since I started it after I had done the weekly grocery shopping, I've had lots of meat and salad this week until I can sit down and plan it out.  What I like about it is that it tracks your points daily as well as weekly.  Basically, you can save your points for when you eat out and know you'll have more than a little 4oz shot of wine.  It also gives you extra points for your activity.  I'm a little skeptical since supposedly you can eat as many fruits and vegetables as you want.  Fruit has a ton of carbs so we shall see.  It is worth a shot and makes me more aware of how much I am eating.  I'll keep you posted. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Need to send flowers?

We've used 1-800-Flowers at work to send flowers occassionally.  You know how it goes, use them once, and then you're on the email list for eternity.  Usually I just delete them, but today they sent an email about the new A-Dog-Able collection.  I don't know about you, but one of these sure would brighten up my day.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wino Wednesday

Finally!  I found one that I like.  This week was 2008 Red Velvet from Cupcake Vineyards.  I've been on the hunt for a good blend that could work for big groups of people.  At about $10/bottle, this one fit the bill.  The blend of cabernet, merlot, and zinfandel creates a really smooth taste that would go well with just about any meal.  It is a little on the sweeter side, but I'm thinking that is just in  contrast to some of the drier, heavier reds that we've tried lately.  Perfect in a sangria.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bookshelf Redo

This wasn't really a redo, more like taking what I already have and rearranging it with the addition of some much needed green.  I love succulents and since all my beautiful flowers I planted this spring are barely making it through this extreme summer, I decided to bring a little green to the inside.  I've never planted succulents before so I hope they get enough direct sunlight in the afternoon.  Have any of you ever had them inside?   Do they last in the winter without the summer sun?  Regardless, I love them for now.  All I need to do to the breakfast area is find a rug and sew the roman shade.  I'm thinking a heavy braided jute rug would be nice to give it some texture.  Oh, and if I figure out how to fashion a wine bottle chandelier, I'd be in heaven (Grandpa, I may be calling you about this)!  I may need to either figure out how to move the top shelf down so that the middle space isn't so big or get bigger candles and holders.  The best part about this project is that all the pots are just cheapy terracotta pots that were only about $2/each.  I used Rustoleum spray paint in oil rubbed bronzed and voila...pots on a budget.

Before:
























After:



My little tabletop succulent garden:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I'm Built to Quilt

Spoiler Alert: Mom, if you are reading this, close the screen!  

I finally finished my mom's quilt.  This is the largest one I've done so far and since it is for my mom, I wanted to hand quilt the whole thing.  I did machine the top, but as far as quilting it together, that is all by hand.  After finishing this one, I realized I can figure out a lot of technique on my own.  I read  a few articles and got over the thought of hand stitching the binding.  For some reason, I thought it would take forever, but that was one of the quickest parts!  I also wanted to sign it somehow and have been meaning to figure out embroidery.  Guess what?  That isn't hard either!  It isn't perfect, but I'm happy with the way it turned out.  I also learned that before you start quilting, you need to use safety pins and get all the layers lined up right.  There is a part on the back that is a little wonky, but we'll just say that it adds character :).   So, it is on to the next one for my nephew Noah who will be one in September.  Now that I'm feeling more confident in my skills, hopefully this one will go much quicker than the others.  

Finished product:















The signature and an excuse to use my craft room tags:
















Another lesson learned, if you leave a very cozy quilt laying around, a certain Boston Terrier will very quickly and quietly make a home in it:





Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Newest Obsession

After talking with a few ladies at Bunco the other night about Pinterest and hearing lots of "what is that" and "ooh, send me the link," I came to the conclusion that not everyone has found this gem of a website.  I know it has already blown up in the blog world, but it seems like most people outside of it have no idea what they are missing.  I don't know about you, but I used to have tons of links saved in my favorites and would have to go through them to find something.   Now, I can use Pinterest to organize my links, share them with others, and have almost a binder of sorts for my sites.  You can organize them by category and share them with those that follow you.  You can also find your friends through Facebook to follow as well as others with the same interests as yours.  Beware, it is extremely addicting!

I just started, but if you want to follow me and see all the boards that I've created so far, click HERE.
Happy Pinning!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wino Wednesday

Today's pick is 24/7 Pinot Noir.  I usually trust the wine lady at H-E-B grocery and this one was her pick.  I normally love pinot noirs, but this one was a little on the grassy side.  I kind of felt like there was a clump of lawn clippings in there somewhere.   It was all in the nose, not the taste.  If I held my nose, it didn't taste like grass.  Definitely not my favorite.  I really need to try to find one next week that knocks my socks off!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Keen on the Bean

Need a little chocolate fix but don't want the guilt?  Try out this trick.  All you need is a sugar free brownie mix and a can of black beans.  I've read in some recipes to just dump them together in a blender and bake.  However, you can eliminate the salt and preservatives by rinsing the black beans and adding half a can of water to the mix.  Blend in a blender and bake.  They are super dense and pretty tasty with some berries.  This took more than one time to get right.  A whole can of water made it way too runny and wouldn't bake.  These are really heavy, but pretty good when warm.  You cannot taste the beans at all and you don't use any eggs or oil.  Plus, you get the fiber benefit from the beans.  And no, there are no bean after effects (if you know what I mean).  Maybe adding some walnuts would help give them a little texture next time.

Side note: any leftover brownies do have a weird texture if they are cold or at room temperature.  They are best served warm so give them a quick spin in the microwave.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Loco for the Coco

As you remember, I recently cut off 10 inches of hair.  I've had cutters remorse and can't wait for my hair to grow again.  I'll try anything.  I've been diligent on taking my vitamins and fish oil everyday and have spaced my haircuts out to every ten weeks instead of six.  I was reading the latest Glamour mag on the elliptical the other day and came across an article that said that massaging coconut milk into your hair and letting it set for an hour will speed up growth and make it stronger.  You can also use olive oil.  Just massage it into your scalp for five minutes and then wait for an hour and wash it out.  I have to admit, my hair smells like a tropical vacation!  Whether or not it helps for real, only time will tell.



Follow up: I wrote this post right after I had doused my hair with the coconut milk last night.  I was working on the quilt for my mom and kind of forgot how long it had been on there.  Well, FYI, it gets hard like gel if you let it dry.  However, it washed right out and my hair was already shinier this morning and not flat.  This is definitely a winner in my book.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sunday Sip

The winos have spoken (a.k.a my mom and aunts).  Wino Wednesday was apparently very missed this past week.  So, I'm making up for it.  I have recommendation tonight and will have another on Wednesday.  This week, we tried a new boxed wine. Again, I hate to be swayed by the package, but this one was pretty stinking cute.  We tried Pinot Evil.  It was great.  The thing I've noticed about boxed wine is that it already tastes like it has been aerated.  There is no bite to it, just smooth (sometimes a little too smooth).  I really like the lightness of a pinot noir when its 105 degrees outside.  I believe it was about $19.  For 4 bottles worth of wine, that is quite the steal!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Why It Takes So Long

Ever wonder why it takes me so long to finish a project.  I have two reasons...Bruiser and Ruby.  Just the other day I was trying to sit down and get to some of my projects on the list and was overrun by these two...
It's usually Ruby first.  She feels the need to stretch on whatever it is I'm working on like it is her personal yoga mat.
















Then enters Bruiser, usually with a toy.  The so called yoga mat (a.k.a my project) then transforms into their wrestling mat.


I try again later, quietly sneaking into my sewing room hoping that they don't find me.  No such luck.  It took all of about five minutes for Bruiser to pancake himself on it and Ruby to follow after with her toy.  Maybe I just need to lock them out!