Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Random Yet Enchanting Discoveries

Alexander Henry Fabrics

Buddha's Hand

David Cross

Super Cute New Shoes

Mark Ronson

(Great remake, don'tcha think?)

That the benefits far outweigh the effort involved in Random Acts of Kindness

Random rocks.

Peace Out. XO

Friday, July 27, 2007


It has been quite a while since I posted much of anything crafty...and there is a very good reason for this. You see, my most recent projects have been of the super-secret variety. Not to be seen by people that look at the blog, ya know?

Now the coast is clear...and I can show off the Wee Wonderfuls doll that I made for my niece. She just turned one!

You can't really tell from this picture, but the fabric I used for the hair is brown and "wavy", like hers. This dollie has a very cute butt - a lot like the wee girl she now belongs to.

Auntie always signs with an "XO".

See the doll on the right? I made that girl months & months ago. I think it was last year, actually. She sits and waits for our daughter. As you can see, I have struggled with finishing her. I've also had trouble finishing the knitted bear, the Bai Jai Bei quilt, the jade green sweater and several other projects earmarked for our daughter. They are all piled together in a random adoption crafting kind of limbo.


If you click on the picture, you'll see that she is a little different from the BDay doll - especially the black hair. I wanted to make the two very similar but unique in their own ways.

I'd hoped that my niece and our daughter would be very close in age and envisioned them playing together with their dolls. We will just have to wait and see.

Our girls may end up preferring erector sets and double dutch to tea parties with dolls. Who knows? I just hope that there won't be too many more months (years?) between their ages.


However it unfolds - it will be sweet. No matter what.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Good to Go

In the spirit of enjoying life during the wait - we have decided to honor our promise to each other.

Yes, we will return to Isla Mujeres - because - we made a deal that we would if we were not back from China "by then".

Just pressed "accept" on the reservation page and are so incredibly excited to have done so.

So there.

What are you doing?

Sunday, July 22, 2007


A few people asked what we do with our chard from the garden. Usually we pull the leafy goodness from the stem, wash, spin, chop and saute with garlic. Yum! Very yum, actually! The way that it cooks down to next to nothing makes you feel as though you are ingesting loads of vitamins and minerals.


Today we decided to do something a little different. The recipe came from Epicurious.com - it is a Chard, Tomato and CHEESE cassarole..

So, here is the big ol' bunch of chard all de-stemmed, chopped and cleaned:

Chopping is a form of meditation for me. Here are the peppers that I got tooohtally on the cheap - on the overripe shelf - 4 for .79 cents! They were only the tiniest bit soft. The ones here were chopped along with the yellow onions.

Everything got all nice, sauteed and happy as I cooked up a bit of chicken sausage to go on top (not in the recipe). Yum!

Then add sliced tomatoes and cheese:

Final - Final......

Toasty cheesy yum. Nice unique way to deal with the abundance of chard in our garden!

Maybe you'll like it too?


Friday, July 20, 2007

Garden Updates

The weather has been beautiful around here. Not too hot - just the right amount of fog to cool us off. And, a couple of teeny miracle summer showers to nurture the garden.

The flowering quince is doing really well. I think that the key is lots of watering. Duh!

A far cry from last summer's pile of sticks:

This pic was taken in the midst of a really hot July 2006. The poor thing was doomed. Now, every time I visit the new plant, I revel in its vitality. I figure that if I can get it through the summer, it will have established itself well and give us some beautiful blooms in the Spring.

Aren't these sweet peas amazing?

Usually I have a lot of trouble with them - especially with powdery mildew. Again, it isn't as cold and foggy and I think that they are digging it!

Fiddleheads just make me smile.

So sincere & full of promise, they are.

Anticipation. These tomatoes would love a bit of a sun-kiss and some heat. Yum!

Echinacea in full bloom. I am amazed by this plant. Wow.

Weekend bounty. Lotsa chard and beanz!

In honor of our anniversary weekend...a wedding color bouquet. Red & Purple!

So we're off to celebrate a little with some beach, a little champagne and - most definitely - oysters!

I hope that you enjoy your weekend as much as we plan to! XO

Verrrrrry Interesting....

You Are Austin

A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.

You're totally weird and very proud of it.

Artistic and freaky, you still seem to fit in... in your own strange way.

Famous Austin residents: Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Andy Roddick

...in a sophomoric kind of way. I love how this silly quiz thing calls me totally weird AND freaky. Is that because I said that I liked Mexican food and that I didn't like cities that are conservative? The interesting thing is that if I HAD to move (because at this point in time I have no desire to leave my current residence) the city that I would choose is, yes, Austin!

Man, these BlogQuizzy things are, like, so totally for reals.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

How Random Is This?

You Are a Red Velvet Cake

Rich, decadent, and sensual.

You have a deep appeal that transcends all trends.

You are the definition of passion: intense, adventurous, and seductive.

I'm thinking that this is some kind of sign from Betty Crocker. It may just be time to crack some eggs, dust off the beaters and make some buttercream frosting......

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Yum cha

We're at it again.

Yes, the ZFamily contines to seek new and improved ways to connect with China. To feel a closeness, embrace a specialness, and maybe just to "touch base" a little more intimately with the place that has become such an integral part of our lives as we wait to adopt our daughter. This time? Dim Sum. Not just for noshing - nope, this time we got our hands dirty!

I roped Jzboy into taking this adult school class with me in the name of an anniversary gift of sorts. July is a special month for us. He was game because not only does he love Dim Sum but because it afforded him a "get-out-of-painting-free" card this morning. C'mon now...really?....who doesn't enjoy eating yummy stuff on a Saturday morning?

Call time - 10:30am. Are you serious? Yes, we were late.

When the teacher asked for volunteers for the variety of dishes we were cooking, I raised my hand for the sesame seed balls. Jzboy decided to work at the station next to mine and tended to the Chinese Broccoli.

Here's a pic of some of the lovely ingredients. I can't wait to go to the Asian market next week. Supreme Oyster Sauce - top of the list!

Our teacher was EXCELLENT and really taught us how to get the sesame seed ball dough to the perfect consistency. This dough is like nothing I've worked with before - that was fun! I got to use a combination of rice flour and wheat starch - two ingredients that are unfamiliar to me. We all went around to each others stations to, of course, feel each others dough. (It was all very friendly and educational, I promise you). There were also Siu Mai (steamed pork/shrimp dumplings), Ha Gow (steamed shrimp dumplings) and Siu Bao (steamed BBQ pork buns) doughs to test out - each one very different. Our fingerprints ended up on every one of those little savory treats. Getting to know the texture - the feel of the little pastries - left us with such an appreciation for those that mass produce at the Dim Sum restaurants that we frequent.

Yes, a lot of work.

Here is the first wee batch of sesame balls taking shape. AND, Jzboy's Chinese Broccoli all steamed & shocked with ice!

The sesame balls are stuffed with red bean paste...in case you were wondering.

The gals across the counter from us worked together on "Crunchy Noodle Balls". I couldn't help calling them (to myself) Bird's Nests. Once fried? Damn, were they tasty!!

Here they are in oil:

Isn't it great frying stuff in someone elses kitchen??

Pretty little Sui Mai - the weensy piece of cilantro really made it for me.


Here's the Ha Gow station:

We all kinda shyed away from this one. It is HARD. Like, really hard. You have to roll the dough out super nice and thin. Then you've got to pinch it together in just this certain sort of way. Much easier to order up at the restaurant vs. create at home. We did our best, though.

Pork Buns a-steamin':

Here is Jzboy with his sesame seed balls in oil:

Nice legs, Jzboy!

I'll be the first to tell you - they were divine - the sesame seed ball treats, that is. One Chinese woman - well versed in Dim Sum - said that we made one of the best crusts that she'd EVER had. Yeah baby!

Fun morning that turned into afternoon.

New friends, new flours, and new China-based skills embraced.

Good times.

Yum Cha is the Chinese tradition of "taking tea". In Cantonese, it literally means "drinking tea" and refers to the custom of eating small servings of different foods while sipping Chinese tea in Cantonese speaking areas of southern China. It happens to be a weekend morning tradition both here and there. Sounds like Dim Sum, yes?????

Sounds pretty darn good to me!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Semi Sordid?

Don't these pictures just take you back?

Be still my beating heart.

IMO, Chachi is still pretty hot. Even after all of these years.

You can imagine my excitement when I heard about his new reality show on VHI: Scott Baio is 45 - and Still Single. This link will take you to the show's website. Not only does it report that Scott Baio apparantly has a lengthy "roster" of "erotic ex's" that rivals Warren Beatty but it also refers to the former Tiger Beat Star as a bad-boy with a "semi-sordid" past (quoted language all lifted from website).




Is it me, or is this a little hard to accept? I guess I'd always imagined Scott marrying a nice Italian Catholic girl - and that he would fulfill my version of a Billy Joel fantasy. He and Ralph Macchio. After a little further research tonight, I've learned that not only did he sleep with Erin Moran (Joanie) back in the day but that he's been engaged to Pamela Anderson TWICE. Wow.

If you are as curious as me - set your Tivo ahead of time. The show starts Sunday.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Nice Weekend

Something trippy has happened.

It is hard to really explain, but it feels as though something has shifted.

Yes, the May LIDs have moved out of review. Yes, a lovely jade bangle found its way onto my wrist (full story later). Yes, we've got a few out-of-town vacations (did I really say vacation?) planned. Yes, we are having ourselves some FUN! Yes, something has shifted.

What is up with all of this?

I do not know.

Soooo, we decided to honor the passing-through-the-review-room marker with tasty and lovely treats.

The fern you see on the counter will make its way to the garden to commemorate the day! It is a Five Finger Maidenhair Fern...thankyouverymuch. How much luckier can you get than FIVE fingers? Maybe not in China, but around here? Five is a very, very lucky number!

The second bedroom/nursery/baby's room has been sitting for some time. This poor room has functioned as an extremely cluttered guest quarters for years. It has been a place to hang moth eaten trench coats from the 80's, store miles of audio-visual wires, throw krippity-crap when company is here for dinner - that sort of thing. I am very proud to say that this weekend - the lonely, purple room began its transformation.

The beginning....it always starts with cutting in.

I don't have anything against purple. It is a very nice color. But, the shade that the former owners chose for the room and the semi-gloss shine is what I didn't care for. Buh-bye Blackberry Sherbet.

I was excited to get the painting party started for the obvious reasons and because I had our cassette player to keep me company. It took a little extra time away from my task, but I pulled out my tape collection to choose my soundtrack for the job. Does anyone else still have their tape collection? I just can't seem to give mine up.

So many of these tapes are compilations that I made in the 80's and 90's. Loads of memories in these dusty boxes.

The one that I chose to accompany me was a recording from a college radio show that I did AGES ago. Peter Murphy, Midnight Oil, Erasure, the Dead Milkmen, Suicidal Tendencies and...does anyone remember the band Eat? Yep, I still sound like Minnie Mouse the DJ. No wonder I never graduated from AM to FM.

Unfortunately it was the last time I listened to that tape.

I have carefully rolled those tapes up after years of overuse. But this time...this weekend...it was time to let go.


So Jzboy got on the ladder and the rolling commenced.

Of course Iris had to get in on the fun...

By Sunday night, all the priming was complete. It took two coats to make that purple go away. And, that ugly spot on the right? That was some kind of crazy Frankenstein crack that Jzboy is oh-so carefully fixing. He is a master with plaster, that guy!

I'm thinking that we'll actually get to put color on the walls next weekend. Will wonders never cease?

The color is called Peach Organza. It is just the weensyiest bit of peach - mostly it looks pretty off-white. I think that it is going to be beautiful.

Yes, something shifted in our world and I'd say that it is kinda working for us. Whatever is going on, I sure hope that it continues.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


May is out of the REVIEW ROOM!
Now People Jump Around....are ya wit' me?

(It is the clean version, so you don't have to worry).

Yes, it feels a bit like forward motion. That? That is much needed around here.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth!

Kickin' back and enjoying the good life.

Hope that the same goes for you.