My husband and I were fans of the TV show “My Cat From Hell” with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy at the same time we adopted our two kittens, Cooper and Izzy. We noticed they were always looking up, even when they were so tiny they’d fit in our open hands. Then we saw the episode where Jackson explained that cats either love to be in trees (UP) or in bushes (DOWN). We had “tree” cats!
We built the catwalk around three sides of our front “great room” (8 feet high), with a purchased cat perch on one end. Then we built the Cat Tower from an upcycled chest of drawers (featured in the book) to bookend the catwalk with a way up and down on both ends.
We didn’t stop there. I joke that we have a preschool for cats, but really, when you live inside a very large cage (a house) you need something to do! We have to change it up too, so it’s all new all over again .
Now with this book, Catification, available NOW, we’ll have even more ideas to keep Cooper and Izzy engaged and hopefully, out of trouble!
Check out Jackson Galaxy at jacksongalaxy.com
Sandra Bruce came to Sunriver!
This is my Sandra Bruce polymer clay button!
Check out all things Sandra Bruce (lettering, illustrating, quilts, polymer and more) at sandrabruce.com
P.S. If you give a quilter a button, she’ll have to make something fabulous to go with it! (If you give a mouse a cookie…)
The Beasts get one 5.5oz can per cat per day. The giant cans give them a bonus 1.5oz to split.
They can tell time and don’t hesitate to remind me when the hour draws near.
Yesterday, when I ignored them, they threw themselves down behind the desk, knowing I would leap up and flail my arms.
Have you ever looked behind your desk to see a cat in a vertical Superman position, stuck between the desk and the wall?
Sadly, I have.
Happy Birthday To Me!
Last time, Colleen and I took 9 pounds of salt to encrust a whole chicken (filled with herbs and lemon) and BBQ’d it at a high heat. Served with a parsley garlic sauce (with fresh picked grown in the sun parsley), it was delicious.
But a whole chicken is a lot of chicken for just David and me. And 9 pounds of Kosher salt is expensive. I decided to try encrusting thighs instead. It was okay but not worth it.
And not as much fun as with Colleen. At the time, we all thought it was good as a Once-A-Year dish. So next summer Colleen, we’ll do it again!
While perseverating for weeks over whether I should get a black pair of Born Orlene boots in black this year (or not) or some other black lace up boots (or not), I stalked these Pikolinos online.
I never thought I’d see the Pikolinos in person but once in awhile, I get to shop out of town. I walked into Lithia Park Shoes in Ashland and there they were: both colorways, calling to me from the display.
I tried them on knowing I would walk away. And I did walk away. I went to Fabric of Vision and Sew Creative across the street and picked up some fabric.
And then I walked back, in a mesmerized state, knowing I could buy black lace up boots almost any old day. Of course, I had to go through my usual Buyer’s Doubt, but now, I’m waiting to shop for new clothes to go with them! (The Eileen Fisher Icon Coat would look GREAT with my Pikolinos.)
NOT. And NOT.
Just waiting to have some place to go here in RuralVille.
It all starts with the crust. This one is a whole wheat blend, with herbs, and just the right amount of salt, to make a good thick crust, crunchy on the bottom and cooked all the way through.
Maybe it starts with the ceramic pizza stone, preheated in the oven. Or possibly the ingredients: whole milk fresh mozzarella and a mix of grated parmigiano reggiano and Monterey Jack or Provolone. The precooked pepperoni is great too: julienne slice the pepperoni, sprinkle it on paper towels on a plate, and microwave to cook off the fat. Add other favorites: precooked Italian sausage, pineapple, bell pepper- don’t stop!
David’s mountain of a pizza did cook down as he promised. And it was really really really good!
First, I have to urge you to get your hands on the Planet Barbecue cookbook by Steven Raichlen. It boasts 309 recipes from 60 countries (an “Electrifying Journey Around The World’s Barbecue Trail”) plus “Techniques, Tips & 600 Photographs”).
Then, if you are like me, you will begin with the Salt-Roasted Chicken recipe, with Garlic Parsley sauce, from Garzon, Uraguay. It’s been a long wait to try this technique- since my Early Twenties. But now now that I’ve done it, I wish I had made it an annual event decades ago. Don’t you wait another day!
So Colleen and I prepared the chicken with lemon, garlic and herbs. Then we made our “salt snow” with a mere 9 pounds of Kosher salt and about 2 cups of water*. As instructed we packed the salt under and around the entire chicken…but we forgot to install the thermometer first. We remembered after it had been cooking, which is entirely too late to try to figure out where the thigh is to stab the thermometer. So we just cooked it the suggested 1 and 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, we started filling the dinner table with roasted Padron peppers, parsley garlic sauce for the chicken, Orzo Pasta (with feta, Kalamata olives, fresh summer vinaigrette packed with shallot, garlic, basil, parsley, chives, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and olive oil), fresh fruit, pickled cucumbers, roasted cauliflower** and possibly more. Whew!
Although the recipe says you have to really whack the baked salt crust, we didn’t expect it to be salt cement! It took brute force, a cleaver and a mallet to break up the crust. An instant read thermometer revealed temps showing the chicken overcooked, and indeed, the meat fell off the bone when we tried to carve it. However, it was still delicious, especially with the parsley garlic sauce, which really enhanced the flavors of the chicken. Oh yum yum yum!
And it was another fun cooking adventure with Colleen!!!
* If you wonder why the salt doesn’t just melt into a watery-salty-brew, remember that liquids reach a saturation point, where the thing melting into it can’t melt anymore. Two cups of water is not enough for 9 pounds of salt to melt entirely; in fact, 2 cups of water is enough to turn the 9 lbs of salt into the consistency of wet snow, which packs and molds around the chicken.
** A trip to the Farmers Market in Bend resulted in fresh picked herbs, cauliflower, Padron peppers, cucumbers, and a whole lot more. YUM. Just Picked really does taste good!
At this time of year, in Central Oregon, there is a definite buzz in the air as “Quilt Show Week” approaches. Of course, it’s more like “Quilt Show Month” these days. I’m speaking, of course, of the Around the Block Fiber Art Stroll (July 6), Quilters Affair (workshops July 7-11), the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (July 12), Save it for Sunday (July 13); Wish Upon a Card (fiber art postcard fundraiser for Wendy Huntley and her Wendy’s Wish Foundation) and special exhibits (month of July).
Thank you, Jean Wells, for starting this event with a small outdoor quilt show almost two decades ago. Of course, there are paid employees and tons of volunteers who make all this possible and are too numerous to name here. Check it out: http://sistersoutdoorquiltshow.org/
Pat and I can be found at the Sisters Library on July 6th with our special exhibit “A Natural Affinity…” (first shown at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in October 2013 in Santa Clara, California). We are teaching a two day workshop on July 10th and 11th. We’ll be at the largest outdoor quilt show in the world on Saturday, with some more time spent at our exhibit. But enough of shameless self-promotion…
Pat and I have made some commitments which we will have to keep under wraps for awhile. I hope to post some blogs on a more regular basis, but they will probably show desserts, dinners, excursions, cat antics, and that kind of stuff. Hang in there, all will be revealed soon enough.
Here is a trip through time: Pat and Wendy on the floor basting a monster quilt (Pat said “never again”); Pat and Wendy in Medford; Wendy at the Stitching Post; Norwegian ring-cookie cakes; Wendy accosting strange dog in Ashland; Cooper and Izzy the last time they were cute; my in-laws in Palo Alto in their backyard; an unfinished quilt that might stay that way; and that’s me (with a bad perm and hair cut) with my husband-to-be, David, in 1982.
In the early 1990′s, I encouraged a friend of mine to make a quilt. She had a great mind for geometry and the “engineering” of quilts. Of course, she fell in love with the log cabin block. If stranded on a dessert island, with only one kind of piecing, I think many quilters would choose working with strips. I know I would.
I stepped forward to finish her quilt 22 years after she started. In the box shipped to me, I found 64 partially finished blocks, lots of cut strips, yards of backing fabric, and a receipt from Hart’s Fabric Store dated 1992.
At first, I thought I’d make one quilt, as Holly intended, but who would it go to? I decided to make 2 quilts and a pillow, so her mother, son and daughter would each have something from these blocks.
I added another round of logs. Of course, the 64 blocks were all “scrappy” within this color scheme and placement.
Meanwhile, I went shopping for more fabric. I wanted to make the quilt Holly imagined while also making the blocks shine. Plus, to make 3 things from the blocks, I had to add fabrics to make the blocks “go farther”. My friend Pat found a red dotty fabric. I found the blue and tan fabrics.
For the daughter, I put the blocks on point, with the tan fabric for the half & quarter triangles, and the red dotty fabric for the sashing, border and binding. I made the quilt reversible, with a kid-print on the back, for the daughter’s new baby.
For the son, who is a tall kid, I added a round of the dark blue logs. I made big blocks by putting the Holly blocks on point, and added half-square triangles with the tan fabric. The red dotty fabric looks great for the sashing and border. I made his quilt reversible too, with the original Holly fabric and the green colorway of the dotty fabric. For the binding, I used the green dotty fabric.
With the leftover big blocks for the front and the original Holly fabric for the back, I made a 24″ pillow for Holly’s mother. She says it’s perfect for reading in bed!
When I went around to fabric stores looking for companions to the pinks and blues, people loved the Holly blocks. One young woman had a quilt on her bed, made by her grandmother in 1992, with the very same fabrics. This is a reminder about the power of quilts to transport us to another place or time through the colors, visual textures, and love that goes into quilts. If strangers reacted this way to the Holly blocks, we can only imagine the effect on Holly’s mother, daughter and son. It makes all the hours (and investment in fabrics) worth it.
Always remember the power of your creative energy! You may never know how much your quilts mean to your friends and family, but you must never under estimate your gift by making quilts.