Saturday, July 28

Sweet ‘n Tangy Chicken

First up, a new chicken recipe. This one is super quick, super easy, and super delicious—my three criteria. It’s diet friendly, too. Four for four.

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Please excuse the frozen veggies in the background. Tomorrow is market day and we are out of freshies.

The original recipe was for pork, but we did chicken. This is for ONE boneless, skinless chicken breast (we split one), for two people.

1/3 cup reduced-sugar apricot jam (I used Smucker’s Simply Fruit)
1-1/2 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 or 4 green onions, sliced

In a small bowl, combine the jam, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and water.

Pound the chicken breast to an even thickness. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a skillet very hot, add the oil, and the chicken breast. Brown on both sides. Turn down the heat to med-low. Add the sauce and cook for a few minutes until the sauce reduces and is thick and bubbly and the chicken is done. Bada bing! That’s it!

Slice the chicken and sprinkle with chopped green onions.

Next, something positively cute. At least *I* think so.

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I made this pillow to match Savanna’s fairy quilt. The green ruffle is the same fabric as the binding. I never made a ruffled anything before, and I pondered my approach. I remembered that my 63-year-old Featherweight had a ruffler attachment.

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I oiled up the contraption, which probably hadn’t been used since 1953, and straightened out the bent parts. While trying to figure out how it worked, it looked as if it might fit on my Janome, so I tried it, and wouldn’t you know it, it worked. I had troubles with the thread pulling, but if I went slow and pulled it taut, it worked. Who’da thought!

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Here’s the back. The Night Side. The sparkles are cool

I had to laugh when I went into the studio to take the pictures tonight. When I knocked off for the day, Ted was sitting upright on the pillow and smiling. Tonight he was flat out with his tongue hanging out.  Yes it’s hot in here, and I’m easily amused.

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Saturday, July 21

Faeries

I finished the fairy quilt top and back. I have pictures.

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This is the top. The flowers are “white-on.”

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This is the back. The two borders have sparklies.

It was super simple to piece, only took me a few hours.

It’s pretty slow around Planet Rian these days, and the only other thing that has been happening is this:

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We’ve been getting up at 5 AM to watch other people play golf. But it has been a great Open tournament.

In MY golf world, I’m done playing here until we go over to the coast in a couple weeks. There is a huge golf learning center in Carlsbad and I’m going to take some lessons while I’m there. Something fun to look forward to. I joined Palm Desert Country Club and now I belong to two clubs. One club has really fun people and they play 2x a week so I can play there on Tuesdays, and the other one is kind of stodgy but I love the course. I’m secretary for that club and I play there on Thursdays.

One last thought~~ Like everyone else, I am terribly saddened by what has happened in Aurora, Colorado. It is stunningly horrific. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims who had their lives cut short, and to the survivors who have a long road to healing. There is really little one can say; it is a terrible, terrible tragedy. How anyone in this country could buy an assault rifle and all that ammunition is beyond me. A hunting rifle, yes. A pistol for protection, to each his own. But an assault weapon?

Monday, July 16

Mid-July Musings

We had some storms come through, which brought clouds, which lowered the temperatures 20 degrees but also sent the humidity soaring, so it was like stepping out into a sauna over the weekend. Miserable.

But then it rained, and the humidity went away, and we have had two glorious days of spring-like weather. I took the opportunity to get in a round of golf with a friend, and we tied.

This is the Par-5 18th hole at Indian Springs, my “home” course. By “home,” I mean where I belong to the club and where my handicap index is kept. Which is 27 these days. 

DSCF1027-003I didn’t play well because I was tired and I had had one (or two) too many glasses of wine the night before. I usually drink cautiously if I’m going to play the next day but we had a neighbor over for dinner and we were all thirsty.

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The above photo was taken from my patio this morning, there is some kind of tournament going on; there has been a parade of players and their assistants—it’s odd when you see more than four people on the green and you notice it. These players look to be juniors (they’re the skinny ones) and, although I didn’t capture it in this shot, we are seeing lots of bright colors on the course—orange, purple, fuchsia, evidence that Rickie Fowler has become a role model for young players. This is great. Rickie has quite a gallery following with the younger set. Love to see it.

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…In case you don’t know who Rickie Fowler is.

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I’ve been quilting Raven, I should finish the quilting today. I couldn’t get a good shot of the quilt line because it’s dark in my studio and I had to use flash. But it’s coming along. I did show-n-tell with our dinner guest and my golf friend and neither one of them had ever seen anything like it before.

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Next up is a fairy quilt for GD Savannah, age 4. It will have two sides—day and night. Kinda fun. And I got extra of the green fairy frost (binding) so I can make a matching ruffle on the pillow go-with.

Well my studio should be cooled down by now so I’d better get with it.

Wednesday, July 11

It’s Still Beautiful

Even though it’s 115 fricken degrees.

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I got a new lens for my camera—I broke the kit lens and its focusing ring stuck. I had taken it golfing and my leg got caught in the strap as I was getting out of the golf cart. Oops. Lesson learned.

Well, so I have been “taking a refresher course” as it were, watching the DVD that came with the camera that I never watched when I bought it…. when the sky went all pink and orange. Outside I went.

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I loved desert colors so much I decorated my house with them 25 years ago in Laguna Niguel. Southwest was very “in” in the 80s.

Here’s my lens. I took the photo with my pocket point ‘n shoot which takes crappy pictures—or maybe it’s me, I can’t see that screen. I got a hood lest I make the same mistake. The new lens is a lot larger and heavier then my old one. Now I want to go back to Africa and photograph lions and leopards again.

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We got new air conditioners yesterday. Yes, plural. Two. One for the living side of the house, one for the side where the bedrooms are. We turn one on by day, the other by night. It’s very efficient—you only have to cool the part of the house you’re in. And these run so much quieter—it doesn’t sound like a diesel engine, which is a plus.

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We have decided to sell our motorhome. We like it, but we don’t like to drive it, and it always seems more trouble than it’s worth to take it out. I had visions of heading out for an entire summer, visiting the national parks and such, but it costs a fortune to store, park, and fill with gas. Did I mention we hate to drive it. We are taking it to the coast in August, and then we’ll put it up for sale. The proceeds will go toward a little condo in the San Diego area. This will fit our lifestyle better, we can spend an entire summer there and pop over whenever.

Tuesday, July 10

Tuesday Thoughts

We’re here, nesting inside in a balmy 79 degrees. Air conditioning runs 24/7 now. Nights no longer cool down, which means the pool stays about 100 degrees…warmer than body temperature…so no help there. 

Did I tell you I played golf recently? And it wasn’t bad. We went out early and had a good time. I was encouraged, but still I canceled this Thursday’s play because now it’s in the teens and, well….it’s hot. 

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Speaking of air conditioning, ours went on the fritz for the second time on Independence Day. We have known for a while we need to replace it, it’s over ten years old and it’s builder-grade, which means bottom of the line. So we decided to replace it sooner rather than later, as the new one will be more energy efficient.

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Quilting has begun on Raven. The red tape is to remind me that I have the small-hole throat plate on and not to use the zigzag. 

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It’s crunch-time for planning our trip to Europe in September. We are making some last-minute changes as we have gotten smarter about our destinations. We are extending our cruise holiday by going to the Piedmont region of Italy for some wine and culinary education and experience.

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While I was marching around with my camera, I noticed this hole where we had a tree removed recently. (I don’t get outside much.) I was reminded that I need to plant something there. Looking back at me were these two little doves, perfectly camouflaged in the soil. Can you see them?

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Even cropped, enlarged, and enhanced, they’re still difficult to see. Of all the pigeons and doves in the world, have you ever seen a baby one? I haven’t.

Monday, July 2

Monday Musings

July already! Time flies faster and faster all the time. Scary.

Ever seen one of these? It’s a Caesalpinia pulcherrima, but we just call ‘em Mexican Bird of Paradise. They bloom (everywhere) in summer. The top will go increasingly yellow, although I’ve never seen one completely bloomed out.
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Here’s another thing that blooms every summer in the desert. It’s a cicada. They’re supposed to have a 17 year life cycle, but I’ve seen them every year. They come up out of the ground around July 1, shed their shell, and buzz all day and all night. It is about the size of a Brazil nut. I hate ‘em. Yuck. Sorry if you’re eating lunch.
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Okay, so I took this picture of a raven in Alaska, and it kept cawing (hee hee) me to make something of it.

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So I answered the caw, as it were. This is what I’ve been working on.
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Every time I do one of these crazy-pieced backgrounds I say never again, I’ll paint or dye my backgrounds from now on. It would be so much faster. But this time I thought it would be cool to have some classic pieced blocks hidden in plain sight. Kinda fun.
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Back to the studio. Break’s over.