This is Bo. A bird made out of recycled rake, shovel, rebar and other found object. No, you silly, I did not weld this yard art - instead I found this at an estate sale last weekend for $38.00. My top price for this was $50.00, so $38.00 was a slight bargain. As I was waiting in line to pay for Bo, another lady came in and asked where this sculpture was. The estate sale organizer had posted pictures of things on the website. Somehow she realized that I had it and was about to pay for it. It looked like she really wanted it, so I offered to sell Bo to her for $125.00, she refused, rightfully so.
Bo was a bit rusty around it's eyes and back. Other than that, it was in great shape. I like the paint job that was done on Bo, but I knew I did not have the patience to cover all the parts individually to get the multi color look. I settled for red.
After a little bit of research, I figured out what I needed to clean Bo up. I went to Home Depot and purchased a three wire brush and Rust-oleum Primer and Rust-oleum oil base spray paint. I already had the larger wire brush and sand paper. I used 100 grit sand paper. I think out of pocket for the hard ware was just under $10.00.
With the wire brush, I took off the loose paint, and with the sand paper, sanded Bo.
After the sanding was done, I primed Bo with the Rust-Oleum rusty metal primer. As always, please read the directions on the can before starting. Also, cover your work surface before spray painting.
After three coats of red spray paint and four days later (drying time) - Bo is done. It now sits in the end of the driveway to greet visitor's into our driveway. Hopefully I did a decent job that it'll last for a few years.
More Progress... (I am having trouble piecing the red on the right side, so I decided to work on the left one for now. It'll eventually get unstuck).
Work area - as Lucy (the Buddha) sits in front of the fire place observing the mess. On the chair you can see the quilt top for the other quilt. I forgot to hide it before taking this picture, oh well.
I have been making an effort to walk twice a day around the neighborhood since the weather has been more pleasant (remember everything is relative). On two of my walks, I have been attacked by three dogs, two white looking Maltese dog, and a cocker spaniel corgi mix something dog (all from the same household).
On my first walk, it was at 6:30 AM. I could hear the dog barking a half a block away from where I was. As I passed the house, three small dogs raced out and ran towards me.
Let me give you a background. I grew up with dogs. Not one, not two, but 4 - 7 dogs at a time. My mother loves dogs. I know how dogs are, and I know what to do and what not to do. At first glance it may look like I don't like dogs because I'm distant with them. I don't approach dogs, I'll cross the street if I do not know the temper of the dog.
Back to the story.
So these three dogs were just let out in the front yard with no fence for their morning pee. The two white dogs came darting towards me and barked. The corgi mix barked and went on it's merry way to pee in the neighbor's front yard. One of the white dog was more aggressive and I could see it in it's eyes. I was much bigger than this thing was. I stared the dog down and started walking backwards. My stance was strong conveying to the dog that I was in charge and not it. I was not scared of it, I really wanted to kick it, but then the neighbor would sue me for "excessive force" and yad-di-dah. When I was comfortable that it was going to ignore me, I turned around and started walking away. Guess what it did? It nipped my ankle.
I turned right around and gave it a stare down and scolded it and walked away briskly.
Then on Thursday I went for a walk again, same time same route. The same thing happened again. This time, two dogs came after me. One white dog and the corgi looking dog. This time, the owner of the house came running after the dog.
I proceeded to let her know that her dog had nipped me on my ankle a few days earlier.
Her face expression was interesting as I was talking to her. I could feel what she was thinking. It felt like she was saying, "Who the hell are you, and what the fuck are you doing in my neighborhood." I may be wrong, but my sixth sense is usually on point.
She picked up the dog and said, "My dog doesn't bite, and it's not a Maltese." She walked away with the not-a-Maltese dog in her arms as I went on my merry way. WTF? I wanted to give her the finger, but that would be un-lady like of me. And yes, never once did she apologize for the rudeness of her dog. It wasn't her dog's fault, and mind you, it wasn't her fault, it was all my fault.
I have just finished the other quilt, it's a two sided quilt, and I had a long arm quilter in mind to do the custom quilting. I have never used her before, but love her work. I disclosed that the "back" of the quilt was all batiks - and the front was solid kona cotton. She politely rejected doing my quilt. I totally understand it from her point of view. She said that she would do it if the back was cotton and the front was batik, and that it was an edge-to-edge design. Bummer. I am now hunting for another long arm quilter who would be willing to do the quilting.
In the mean time, I am starting the sister quilt to the quilt I just finished. I loved how the orange and red blended on the other quilt, that I decided to do this one mostly orange with a sparkle of red. I have also decided not to make the pieces too small. Let's see where this one takes me.
Below is a the start of it. The block currently measures approximately 28" x 32".
Stay tuned for more progress.
If you know of a custom long arm quilter, and you are pleased with his or her work, please share.
This is one side of the quilt. The other side will be a surprise.
Overall today was a bad day. Got a speeding ticket this morning and somehow a Pilot G-2 pen got into the washer and dryer. Some clothes have ink marks on them and the dryer is a mess. I started cleaning the dryer with Mr. Clean, and got most of the marks off. What a day. I should just call it a day before more shitty things happen.
I think I got the art of entertaining down. I can now plan a party in a matter of days. It's really easy if you are organize.
Here are a few planning tips.
1. Invite List
If you have more than 10 people, keep a spreadsheet in excel with the following fields.
Cell Phone or Email
Informed the person (filled with "yes" if you have informed the person)
Attending (Fill with "1" for yes and "No" for no's)
Food Allergies (Note, if you have a bunch of people who have food allergies, either respect it or don't invite the person). I have done a party where people had the following restrictions: vegetarian, gluten free (celiac disease), no seafood, no seeds. In cases like this, if you are doing a buffet style, list the name of the dish, and if it is vegetarian, gluten free, or contain seafood or seeds, mark it. Before hand, pull each person aside and make sure they are aware of what food they can eat and cannot it. And make sure when you are making the food, you are careful with your utensils and to not cross contaminate. If you are ordering food from a take out place, take the time to go through with the restaurant and express the allergies. Sometimes it's just not possible to make a gluten free crab Rangoon, but make sure the restaurant knows to handle the food separately and not to contaminate the other gluten free food. If they are not accommodating, find another take out place.
At the bottom of the "Attending" field, tally the number of people who are coming. Be flexible. Some people might not be able to tell you whether they are attending or not till a few days before or the day off. Just make them as a "maybe". If you want them to come, make sure they know that if they find themselves free, they should just pop on by and join the party. The last party, one of our neighbor's said that they weren't attending, but turns out that they had to cancel their trip last minute. I happened to see their 3 year old playing outside and I raced outside and told them if they had no plans, to come on by for dinner, and they did.
I've done an invitee list of 53 people this past Chinese New Year, with a final count of 26 people attending.
Make sure you keep the excel list so that you whom you invited in the past and for which party.
In the same excel list, make another worksheet and call it "Food".
If you have more than 12 people, think about doing half take-out and half your own cooking. If you don't feel like cooking, do all of it as take-out.
You'll have to play with portions here, you'll get better at it every year when you figure out what people ate and did not eat, and how many portions to order and to make. At the end of the party, make sure to revisit the "Food" worksheet and write down how many portions you bought and how many portions are left, and whether they were popular or not. This way, the next party you have, you will not have a lot of leftovers.
If you plan to cook, and you're the only cook, make sure you don't overwhelm yourself. Because I usually cook Asian dishes, most everything needs to be cooked the last 20 minutes. If you can, make one cold vegetable dish, like pickled cucumbers and daikon, make 1 steam dish, either fish or steamed dumplings, one or two stir fry dish. If you have help, you can even make three stir fry dishes. Remember, you only have a limited amount of burners, and hands. If you can make something in the oven, that would help.
After you've figured out food, in another worksheet, call it "Things To Buy". If you are cooking or need to purchase drinks, liquor, appetizers, etc. make a list of things you need to buy. If they require different stores, group it by stores. Don't forget to write down how much you need.
Thank God we have the second stove in the kitchen. The electric stove is so handy for boiling and steaming up things. Don't forget that you can use the oven to keep food warm by turning on the heaven to 200 degrees and putting food that you have cooked in there to keep warm.
3. How far in advance to you plan your party?
If it is a small get together, a week is plenty of time. If it is a big event, like 25+ people or a holiday party like Christmas, send out invitations a month ahead. These days, I send out invitations through texting or email. The earlier you send out the invitations, the more people will come because they have not planed anything for that day.
4. One or two days before the party
Buy the things you need for the party.
Put the white wine in the fridge to be chilled. Remember to put any other alcohol and drinks in the fridge.
Clean. Clean the area of the house that your guest will be going to. This means that you probably don't have to clean the bedrooms, but make it presentable just in case somebody wants a quick house tour. Put out extra toilet paper in the bathroom.
Print out the recipes and read through them to make sure you feel comfortable. Note: Never try a new recipe the day of the party, unless you either have a back up plan or are confident that it'll turn out fine.
5. Day of the party
Set the table.
If you have appetizers, set them out on the appetizer area and put out the dishes that you will be putting them in. You don't have to open the appetizers, just have them in the vicinity. Peanuts, fruits, banana chips, potato chips are a few things you could do. Fruits are always nice, because it is healthy and non-fattening.
Put out the glasses, wine glasses and the wines. If you need to breathe the red wine, remember to open it one hour before people show up (I always forget).
Wash fruits and vegetables.
Cut up meat and place in zip lock bag so that when you are ready to cook, you don't need to cut anything up, you just grab your zip lock bag and cook the meat.
Cut up things everything that you need, like ginger, onion, shallot garlic.
Prepare any sauces 1 hour before people start showing up.
Make sure you have enough pots and pans to make your food in.
Below is the gas stove where the main dishes are going to be cooked.
On the right side, I will be making a chicken dish. The sauce, the green onions, the peanuts and the recipe is all staged, including the wok that I will be using.
On the left hand of the stove, I have a noddle meat dish, the sauce and scallions, and behind that, baby bok choi along with the ingredients.
The second stove is my steaming basket. I will be making siu mai in this. It's a two layer bamboo steamer, so hopefully all the siu mai will fit in it.
To the left is a pot of water ready to be boiled for the noodle meat dish.
In the corner, I have the serving dishes and serving spoons ready with yellow stickies on it saying what food goes into it.
Don't forget to cook the rice (I have known to forget to do this).
6. The Party
Right before people start showing up, make yourself a drink and relax (I make myself an O.J. with vodka).
Cook, eat and enjoy
Don't worry about the clean up. Either somebody in your party will do it, or soak everything and leave it till tomorrow.
On the bigger parties, I always have a few people loading the dishwasher and washing the pots and pans. As the hostess, I can't really spend my time after dinner doing this, so if you don't have help, just pile everything and ran water through it so it doesn't get crusty.
Before long, you'll be an expert in planning a party.
Here is the list of things I'll be cooking for 8 people
Shu Mai (substituted chicken with shrimp and pork)
Dumpling Strike out at the last minute, because I realized I did not have enough burners, nor pots, nor hands (note to self, buy another frying pan).