Sunday, July 30, 2017

Week 84, 7-30-2017

Thoughts and Quotes: A desire, a plan, a hope, an inspiration all molded into one big shining lump – that’s a dream.  It has been said that a persistent desire is God nudging a person to act in that direction.
                                                                      Marguerette Gilmore, Unity Minister

And that, Dear Friends, is why I can't concentrate on anything but finishing these three books. My house is a mess, my yard is a mess, my car is a mess, I'm a mess, but later I'll show you the July tea which finishes the month, and now I'm over the halfway mark. Thanks for coming along. It's a lonely journey, because I don't have people over, I'm not going to card classes, I've neglected calling friends in other states, and I rarely go out for lunch. I did, however, manage lunch out this week with Joey and Robert. Everyone else was out of town or busy. 

Tasting: We went to Ocean Zen, which sounds like only seafood or sushi, but they serve other things, too; they just have an Asian flair. When you walk through the moon door, the look is typical Asian restaurant -

with Koi

but the inside looks like a set for a 1940's movie scene atop a skyscraper in Manhattan -

with some Asian accents

and without the TV's, of course.

I love all the light fixtures.

The food is artfully presented. Robert had Macadamia Nut Chicken.

Joey had Mongolian Glazed Chicken.

And I had the Chicken Teriyaki Bento Box.

 Joey and Robert split a Creme Brulee, which was beautiful, but over-torched so that the sugar crackle didn't crackle - it came off in one piece and was chewy. Great photos on their website HERE.


Time for Others: Joey brought along her latest birthday and sympathy cards for show and tell.

Things that Grow: I was reading a Dr. Weil book on optimum health the other day, and he says to go buy yourself some flowers. I've discovered that Japanese Beetles don't eat zinnias, so I brought some in from the yard instead. Works for me. A couple of days later I discovered that Japanese Beetles DO like zinnias.

Tip: Eating the rainbow can be a challenge when you need blue or purple. Don't forget that beets are great on a salad. Add some right from the can or micro-plane a raw beet right onto your salad.

The Pepper Report: We were back to see Dr. Hardy again this week. Another eye ulceration. I think that misshapen eyelid from his accident is the problem, but who knows with kitties? He's very good to let me put his medicine in his eye. He even comes over to me when I say, "Let's fix your eye."  He still loves his version of a drive-in theater. He spends some time here every morning and every evening. That's BJ on the ledge, with a little time away from the kids.

And Stormy was asleep on the outdoor patio.

BJ has been bringing her babies to the Kitty-Cat Cafe. I took this photo to Dr. Hardy to see if they're old enough to trap the mommy for spaying. The answer was "yes", so trapping her is first on the agenda for Monday morning.

Her kittens are so cute, but very skittish, so I can only get photos through a screen or window.

 This is the neighbor cat I had neutered. Do you suppose he could be the father?

Teas: I used plain ivory dishes for this tea to show that you don't need fancy china for everyday teas. And candles before 5:00 p.m.? Hey, it's an everyday tea. We can do what we want. The sweet little bench was in my CARE package from blog-buddy Carrie. A perfect accent. 


Savories: Shrimp Salad Cups, Pimiento Pinwheels

Scone: Peach, Butter, Peach Jam (Purchased)

Sweets: Sugar Cookies, Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tea: Peach



1 cup finely chopped cooked shrimp
3 Tbs minced celery
3 Tbs minced onion
2 tsps fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning (optional)

Mix well and use for tea savories. You can use the frozen phyllo cups from the market, piecrust baked in little tart pans, bread cups baked in muffin tins, or crackers.

To make piecrust tart pans, cut rounds of pie crust 1” larger than the diameter of the pans. Spray tart pans with non-stick cooking spray. Fit pie crust in pan and prick the bottom a few times.  Bake at 375°F, checking to see if browned every 2-3 minutes.

For regular-size muffin tin bread cups, buy cheap white sandwich bread. Cut 3” rounds from each slice, flatten lightly, brush top with melted butter, and push into sprayed muffin tin cups. Bake at 375°F and check every 2-3 minutes.

You don’t need special circle cutters – you can use the rim of a jar or glass, or anything else, which is the right size.

Note: You can use cooked and frozen shrimp, cook your own, or canned.


Pimiento Cheese Spread
Cheap White Sandwich Bread

Cut crusts from bread slices.

Place one slice slightly overlapping the edge of a second slice.

Flatten with a rolling pin.

Spread with cheese spread, leaving 1/4” at top and bottom.

Starting at the bottom, roll firmly up to the top. Cheese spread will squish ahead to cover the last 1/4”.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours.

To finish pinwheels, cut a thin slice from each end of the roll and discard. Cut into 5 pinwheels.

For four rolls (5 pinwheels each), you need 8 slices of bread and a 5-oz jar of spread; a total of 20 pinwheels. They’re small, so allow several for each person.

Note: The pimiento cheese spread from the deli case that contains shredded cheese will not work. You need the smooth spread in a jar found near the Velveeta and other cheese products that do not require refrigeration until opened. 



2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg or 2 tsps cinnamon (optional)
3/4 stick cold butter (6 Tbs)
2 eggs
1/3 cup peach yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup finely diced canned peaches
Sugar (coarse or granulated) for sprinkling tops (optional)

Heat oven to 375°F.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients.

Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until thoroughly mixed.

Break the eggs into a smaller mixing bowl and whisk until whites and yolks are blended. Whisk in the yogurt and vanilla.

Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon.

Stir in well-drained peaches.

Scoop the dough onto lightly greased (or parchment paper lined) baking sheets with an ice cream scoop. If your scoop is about 1/4 cup, you’ll end up with a dozen scones. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.



1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup sugar for dipping

Heat oven to 350°F.

Cream shortening, sugars, egg, and vanilla.

Sift dry ingredient together and add.

Roll into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets (or line with parchment paper).

Flatten balls with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.

Bake 8-10 minutes.

Note: You can also top with colored decorator sugar, if desired.

(Lemon White Chocolate Chip)

1 18.25 oz cake mix
1 egg
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup chips (might need a rough chop)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix ingredients in order given with a spoon.

Drop by teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 6-7 minutes. 

Cool on cookie sheet at least ten minutes before removing; otherwise, they might break.

Note: The chips in this photo are not rough chopped. Wished I had, though, so I changed the recipe.

August will be a tough month. I have only two tablescapes finished, and I need five because it's the last month of Summer tables.

I have to redo one theme dinner (Sailing, Sailing....) and come up with another from start to finish (I'm thinking Blossoms).

The tea is just in the planning stages.  Wish me luck!

I was looking forward to our last National Days and then my a/c went out. End of story. Let's see how this week looks. Maybe I'll try again.

Monday:  Take your choice - avocados or raspberry cake.

Tuesday:  Another choice - raspberry-cream pie or spend time with your girlfriends. How about both?

Wednesday: Ice Cream Sandwiches or color in your coloring book.

Thursday:  Watermelon Day - I can do that.

Friday: Chocolate chip cookies. I can do that, too. It's also Coast Guard Day, so if you know someone who is serving or has served, call and thank them. And I happen to know one.

Saturday: It's oysters or mustard. I'm always up for a hot dog.

Sunday: Take your choice of root beer floats or wiggling your toes. It's also Friendship Day, Family Day, and Sisters Day. A good time to invite family, friends or both over for dinner. It's also my Lil' Bro' and Lil' Sis' anniversary, so I think they'll be having Date Night.

I'd love to hear from anyone who celebrated any of the National Days this week - let us know what you chose. Why not try them all? Life should be fun.









Sunday, July 23, 2017

Week 83, 7-23-2017

Thoughts and Quotes: I don't think much about the past. I think about the future. I think about what I want to be doing tomorrow.   Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly is the master of blown glass - not those little unicorns and birds you see at booths - he's big time. We were fortunate enough to have an installation (yes, it takes an installation) at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AR. Most of today's post will be the photos I took there. Crystal Bridges is the museum originated by the Wal-mart daughter, Alice Walton, who started with her personal art collection. Walmart is not connected to the museum; however, they gave a generous grant to sponsor free admission. Only the traveling exhibitions require an entrance fee. The artwork is all from American artists. I'll give you a sample of the permanent collection, but most we'll leave for another time. Even though you don't care for art, the building is worth the trip.

The original sketch

The finished museum

A few things, and then we'll get to the exhibit.

Thank You: To all who offered to have me come stay with them until the air conditioner was installed; for offers to have me over for dinner or bring my food so I didn't have to cook, and most of all to my Brother Jim, who lives an hour away, and offered to bring his travel trailer if I didn't want to drive down to stay with them. You touched my heart.

The house is deliciously cool now, and you can read my review of the company who did my work if you Google "Knight Heating and Air Nixa Mo". Great job and great price.

Knight brought me two portable air condioners on Monday. They have to be vented to the outside, so I chose the family room and my bedroom. My family room opens to the living room, dining room, hall and entrance, kitchen, and breakfast area, so that area could only cool to about 82. I can close off the bedroom, so Pepper and I holed up there on the loveseat at mid-70's. He slept and I read, so -

Tales: I finished the final book from the library.

And one from my stash

I must say that neither of these would be on my "favorites" list.

Things That Grow: Somehow a few things have survived the heat. This is what I brought in yesterday - my first little yellow squash. Today I'm having spaghetti made with ground beef and onions in the sauce; zucchini and yellow squash medley, a salad with the cucumbers and tomatoes - toss in some ripe olives, and I have my red, white, blue or purple, green, yellow or orange, fruits or vegetables for the day. Eating the rainbow.

Trips: The museum qualifies as a day trip, and a wonderful day trip at that. I hope you can see a Chihuly exhibit in person some day. The photos don't really do it justice. The dates for Chihuly are in the link at the end.

 The museum is surrounded by hiking trails,

                                                and a part of the exhibit was outside.

Chihuly in the Forest

When the sun shone on these, it looked like a forest fire.

I'll show you a closeup, then just imagine assembling this, piece by piece.

Of course, this is a partially landscaped forest, so there were distractions.

This is a paw-paw tree. I remember as a child we had a little saying about the possum in the paw-paw patch; picking up paw-paws and putting them in his pants pocket. Sorry, I don't remember the entire thing. You can read about paw-paws HERE.

When the weather is agreeable, you can dine al fresco in the forest.

Chihuly in the Gallery

He uses the blankets for inspiration

He tried painting, but went back to glass.

The light is coming from above. There are no lights inside the sculptures and none is coming from the bottom.

Sadly the best part of the exhibit did not lend itself to photos with no flash. Claire de lune was playing in the background and the colors kept changing. The sculptures are white and without a colored light, they looked like a fairy winter wonderland.

The sculptures in this room were inspired by Native American baskets. My photos were a disappointment in this light.

The grand finale was in the middle of the room so you could view it from both sides. The scultures started part way up a short wall, went across the base, and part way up the opposite short wall.

Tip: I had my hand extended over the glass base of this last sculpture, and I dropped my camera. As it dangled from my arm by its wrist strap, I was mentally thanking my son for teaching me to ALWAYS use my strap when taking photos. Good lesson.

You can buy a sculpture of your very own. This one is $8,500.

And this one is $7,500. I was thinking, "Gee, if I'd known, I could have chosen between a new air conditioner and furnace or a sculpture". Guess what my choice would have been.

A great exhibit, and I hope you'll have the opportunity to see it. Chihuly is known around the world. I saw him first at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. At first I wasn't sure if I liked this or not - and then I loved it.

One of these "chandeliers" was hanging in Crystal Bridges away from the exhibit.

If you stand directly beneath it and look up, it looks like this.

If Dale Chihuly has captured your fancy, and you'd like to know more, click HERE. Just for fun, click on "Artwork", then choose a style. Once you choose a style, there are arrows at the top right on the photo where you can scan through lots of examples. My favorites are Seaforms and Persians, but I think the Venetian and Rotolo are great also. Check out Exhibitions for more more examples and the other drop downs for additional information.

Here are a few things from the permanent collection - only a sample. And what's on view at any one time is about 23% of the total collection. They rotate items about every six months.

I loved this sculpture

but I was really impressed by the sculptor's treatment of her big toe.

The famous Washington portrait

I was surprised that a painting could be owned jointly by two musuems.

And I thought that Lafayette had red hair.

My favorite painting of all. The lanterns seem to actually shine.

Your first impression of this is YUCK! Take another look and you'll figure it out.

This is truly amazing. Larger than lifesize, but to scale, done with a 3-D scanner. He used his own hair and his own whiskers to make the stubble and the glasses are ground to his prescription. He's computer aged, and actually only 57 at the time of the sculpture.

And thank you to my model who agreed to help us see the actual size of the sculpture.

And the most unusual piece - a rectangle of individually wrapped green apple candy in the middle of the floor. As you pass by, you take one, unwrap it, pop it in your mouth, throw the wrapper back on the pile.

And we'll end with some images of this weird and wonderful building.


And here's the LINK.