Thursday, April 21, 2016


CRAFTSY SPRING SPREE!!!!!! 

SUPER SAVINGS!!!!

Thursday (4/21/2016) - Saturday (4/23/2016)

Save 50% on Top Classes. Click here for Spring Savings!!!




Monday, April 18, 2016



                                                 Boundless Fabric- Ooh lala!

  Recently I was asked to sew one sample block out of a quilt kit for Craftsy, who now has their very own fabric line called Boundless. I sewed up one- 24” block out of a 80” x 108” quilt. It is all red and white fabrics and I have always wanted to make a red and white quilt. There were a few rules. The first one was no pre-washing- WTH? That one freaked me out as I am an avid pre-washer. The other was I was not allowed to put steam in the iron when pressing. I was not sure I could do this project after all. But, since I am my mother’s daughter (stubborn) I plugged away. Thank goodness I was allowed to use starch!

  I decided I would cut the whole fabric kit up and get the rest of the pieces ready to sew at a later date. I figured if I am cutting for one block I may as well cut everything. Well, after ten hours (not really but it seemed  like it)  of cutting and a new 60MM rotary blade I finally got it all cut and was ready to sew, but it was lunch time.  God forbid I sew when I am hungry. As I grabbed George the cat off of the ironing board to take her out of my sewing room so she didn’t screw around with my 100,000 tiny pieces of fabric while I was gone. However, instead of going willingly, she did this- accidentally. I almost cried-




   After a pitcher of margaritas at lunch I was ready to start sewing.  The block came out great, although once it was done and feedback was sent I do admit I hit it with a shit load of steam after the fact! I did enjoy working with the fabric, and I look forward to finishing the quilt- someday. Maybe in 2020.


  For my own sanity (the little I have left)  I did soak the red fabrics in hot water overnight, and the fabric did not bleed at all. I was impressed. I am very pleased to know that as I was a tad worried about the finished quilt bleeding. Whoo Hoo!

  Craftsy is having a nice Boundless sale on their website- if you would like to shop,  follow my link below so they know I sent you (I might even get a little credit).


Have fun!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


NEW FABRIC LINE FROM CRAFTSY
 
 
Do you want to use wonderful fabric in your next project? Then use Boundless fabric from Craftsy. I was lucky enough to use this on a test block for them- and I loved it! The block went together perfectly, there was no fraying and the red fabric did not run when I tested it. Use my link below so they know who sent you- and shop til you drop!

http://www.craftsy.com/ext/CourtenayHughes_Boundless








Thursday, February 18, 2016



 

                                           The Eagle Babies are Back!

   Last year I got turned on to this most wonderful website,


  It is a tad addicting, so beware! You can sit for hours watching one of the most beautiful creatures on this planet we call Earth. Last year the couple had 2 babies, and this year they have another 2! I must admit it can get a little brutal when the mother is ripping the trout apart to give it to the babies, but this is nature. It is not the Disney channel LOL.
 
   My bosses aren’t too happy with me when the eggs hatch- my attention is given to the baby eagles rather than with typing quotes and answering phones.
 
  I think it is so wonderful that the college made the webcam available to all of us, as this is something we could never see otherwise.
    Gotta run- I have to see what the babies are up to-
The Other Eagles!
 
 

Monday, February 1, 2016




                                                                SURPRISE!

   Hi all! One of these days I promise to have a quilting post, but this isn’t one of them. It does, however involve my quilting peeps.
 Last summer I decided I would like to go to Vegas for the big 5-0 birthday last month.  Cheap booze, Thunder Down Under, etc. Good times for all!  Then, life happened and I had to call off any plans for going anywhere.
 I decided I wanted to get together with my quilting buddies in January, so I sent out a notice in December  that I would like to  get together with everyone for shopping, lunch, painting,  or whatever. Well, Terry jumped all over it and said let’s all just do a pot luck at her house. I never mentioned it was my birthday that weekend. I just wanted to spend a day with my favorite girls.
The Gang!
Unbeknownst to me, a surprise party had been in the works for months. Emails were a flying, texts going back and forth, etc. Even my sneaky hubby was in on it. I had no freakin' clue. This is what makes being friends with me fun- I am a total dumbass. Just ask them- they will tell you!
This homemade red velvet cake was waiting for me- thank you Lexie and Bobby Flay

 


  Of course what good is party without presents!  There was plenty of wiener dog stuff, Walking Dead stuff, and plenty of other wonderful,  wonderful, thoughtful gifts.

 
 
 
 


 
  
 I had a most wonderful day, filled with love and surrounded with the girls who make me laugh and wipe my tears when needed.
  That night my beautiful birthday girl daughter (her birthday is the day before mine) took me out for dinner at my favorite restaurant The Bonefish Grill. It was a treat to be able to spend time with her, esp on her birthday.  She works so much that we don’t get to see her often. She is a sweetheart, and has big things ahead of her. I cannot believe she is 26.

Amber
 
  The next night, on my actual birthday, my son took us out to eat for dinner. That as well was very special as we don’t see him much, either. He was whining on his Facebook page he doesn’t have any pictures of us together more recent than 23 years old so we took this one-

Sean and his Mother
  It was the perfect weekend with some of the people I love most- what more can I ask for??
 

Friday, January 29, 2016



I’m a Fraud
but the dogs don’t care


 
      As some of you know, I am an instructor for Craftsy, an online learning community. This past weekend they had their first ever instructor summit, and fortunately for me it was here in Denver and Bob (my handsome marketing guy) and I were  able to attend. They put us up at a wonderful hotel ( the now-Super Bowl bound Broncos were sequestered there with us- I did see a few of them but did not get a chance to chat with any- damn those security guards) and fed us all weekend, plus they had several presentations on how to better market our businesses.  Craftsy is a really great company- due to the storm back east several instructors – approximately a dozen or so-had to delay their flights home until Monday, and on Saturday night Craftsy announced they would pay for the instructor’s extra night to stay at the same hotel. I thought that was fantastic.

The Hotel
 

Denver Broncos Wing



The Gazebo where I rendezvoused with Peyton!

   Due to the fact that quilting is one of their bigger class categories, quite a few of their sponsors were fabric companies and had booths set up. Whoo hoo!  I had great eye candy all weekend, and left very inspired.








 
   At one point during one presentation, one of the presenters asked for a show of hands of how many of us worked at a job other than our craft. 2 of us raised our hands- out of 190 people. 2. How can these people afford to work from home and sell their craft and their teaching skills? Surely they all didn’t win the Powerball.  It didn’t hit me then, but after I got home Sunday night and was snuggling with my pups it started to sink in. All weekend, everyone I chatted with had multiple books and/or patterns published, taught nationally, taught on cruises (my dream job, BTW), etc. What in the Hell was I doing at that instructor summit?  I was in awe of all of them, and they could not have been sweeter, more kind, or willing to share their knowledge.
   The realization set in that I was never going to be more than what I am at this moment- just a lover of quilting. I can sure follow someone else’s pattern, but make up my own? Heck no! It will never happen. I will never be a Sue Nickels, Alex Anderson, or Eleanor Burns. I should have known this before now, but for some reason I did not. Oh well- I don’t think I could train Chip and Dale to pick up my fabric remnants off of the floor anyway.

  I fell into getting to teach my Craftsy class. Someone had backed out of filming and someone I knew contacted me to see if I could do it. I did not have to submit a presentation, rely on my online presence, and be a “certified” quilter. Now, I am certifiable according to some people but that is another blog story. HAHA. I did not have to come up with a new pattern or technique, I just had to teach a quilt pattern that has been around since forever. I do feel like I taped a good class, and it has been successful according to Craftsy standards. Thank goodness. But I will never get to teach another Craftsy class. I have no merits to speak of, and the first one was just a fluke. I was just in the right place at the right time. And I need to be ok with it.
   We learned a lot this past weekend, and one of the exercises was telling your story. Well there you have it.  My name is Courtenay, and I am a fraud. And I still love Red Velvet Cake. I do so appreciate all of you for reading this. I am hoping to get more blogs out on a more timely basis- but this damn 70+ hour work week really cuts into my blog story time! But I will try to get better. The only reason I am getting this blog post done is our network went down at work and I can’t do any real work- I will fit it in where I can!

     Have a great day everyone!

Chip with his hot compress

Dale
 




 

 

 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015



        The Great Seafood Debacle
   Hello my dear readers. I hope this post finds you all well. I had a tad of a cooking/eating mishap on Christmas Eve and since I know you all love a good laugh I figured I would share the tale.
    After receiving a nice bonus at my one job, we decided to splurge for Christmas Eve dinner and visit the seafood counter at the grocery store where our son works. I have never bought seafood there as it is too freakin’ expensive, plus the fact that we are in a land-locked state in the middle of the country so God only knows how long that shit has been frozen. Yes, I am a prima donna when it comes to seafood. Anyhoo, my eyes were glazed and my husband could only watch while I told the kid behind the counter what I wanted- 6 little lobster tails, 2 pounds of scallops, I box of oysters and a shrimp cocktail ring. I am sure he was wondering how many people we were feeding- it was only the 2 of us LOL.
The Seafood Counter
 
  Recalling a trip to Seattle,  I asked if they could toss around the seafood like they do at the famous Pike's Market, but they said they better not since the manager was still there and there were several corporate type big shots prowling the store, otherwise they would.  So I had to settle for them just tossing the stuff into bags.

Fish tossing at Pike's Market
 
    Around 5 pm I decided we better start cooking. I placed an urgent call to my one brother as I have not broiled scallops or fried oysters before- he is a super cook and he loves his seafood. His ass is damn lucky he answered the phone! And as luck would have it, he was just taking oysters out of the hot oil on his end! Great minds think alike! So, after careful instructions and a one hour phone call I was ready to go.


Brooke making up stories about his dear sweet little sister!

  My brother and I did have a great time reminiscing about days gone by. Of course he had to bring up the great shrimp head story of 1982. I was standing at the sink at our house and taking the tails and veins out of some shrimp while visiting with my brother. I was talking to his dumb ass and not watching what I was doing, and the next thing I know I look down and I had a freakin' shrimp head in my hand! I threw the little bastard across the room and let out a scream I know the neighbors 4 doors down heard. Brooke was on the floor laughing, tears streaming down his face. To this day he cannot clean a shrimp and not think of me and laugh. I am glad I am the source of much amusement. It is a gift. I have never cleaned another shrimp. I will pay the extra to have those little bastards already cleaned for me.
 
 But for some reason, however, I take much amusement sucking the meat out of crawfish heads-though this may be directly associated with the amount of alcohol that is consumed prior to said sucking. I will need to do more research on that one. I will get back to you all on that. Maybe it is revenge thing of some sort.

 
Anyway, on to the great seafood cook off of 2015. I got my bowls ready for the oyster breading ceremony (I even sent a pic to Brooke to approve the layout-of course he places his bowls right to left as he is a lefty- we found that humorous), Bob started to boil the lobster tails and I gathered the ingredients for my scallop dish. As we snacked on the shrimp cocktail, we worked furiously, and by some miracle all of the food was ready at the same time. HERE WE GO!
   The scallops were good, the oysters came out perfectly and the tails were ok, too. I ate like I was never going to eat seafood again. And now I probably won’t. All was well, until about an hour later when my stomach began to gurgle, and gurgle some more. OMG- I never actually got sick but I sort wish I had. 40 Tums and 3 days later I was finally able to eat solid food. The only thing I ate that Bob did not was one crummy oyster. Then I started to remember that the last time I had fried oysters my stomach got a tad weird as well. Then I recalled a trip to New Orleans last year and I thought I got bad oysters in my po’ boy sandwich. Oh dear God- am I developing an allergy to shellfish? Or just to oysters? NOOOOO- say it ain’t so!
Oyster Po' Boy
 
  We had only cooked half of the scallops that first night, and with time running out as they were already thawed Bob decided to make the other half Sunday night for dinner. I was a tad leery, but damn it I was not wasting $14.99/pound scallops! I got out the bottle of Tums and proceeded to eat the scallops. I did have a bit of rumbling after that meal, but not near like before. Whew—but now I am really not sure of the problem. Can one damn oyster really do that to a person? They smelled good, tasted great and the expiration date was ok. So, now I am a bit sad. I will be leery to ever eat another oyster- one of my most favorite foods on this earth. Oh well- there is always red velvet cake! If I ever develop an allergy to that I will be really pissed.

     Rock on my dear friends- rock on.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015




                                                                        Happy December!

   Hello all! I hope you are all enjoying this time of year. Food, family, and more food are a big part of the celebrations and parties this month for some of us. All I keep doing is asking myself why in the Hell I thought re-joining Weight Watchers before the holidays was a good idea. All of our salesmen at work think bringing us chocolate covered pretzels and cookies is a good idea. Then my wonderful friend Jan shows up with her home-made fudge- this is the creamiest fudge on the planet! And bless my sister’s heart, here she is sending her yearly package of chocolate treats. God help me! So far I have not gained this week, but I still have 3 days to go before weigh in. We shall see!
     This time of year brings back many wonderful memories of Christmas seasons gone by. I remember the year I got my denim-looking 10 speed bike- best Christmas EVER! I also remember going to our little church for Christmas Eve services at midnight, the wonderful family dinners, and that round Santa light thing that my dad used to plug into the porch light. Wish I still had that little gem!

 
    The one thing about Christmas is that I do not remember ever believing in Santa- cue the violins now, please. According to the family legend, many years before I hit the scene, my one sister got up one morning on a Christmas Day before everyone else and opened all of the presents. After that all of the presents all got opened Christmas Eve. Explain the whole Santa down the chimney thing on Christmas Eve now, mom. That and the fact that our fire places had been closed off for many years.

 
    I  remember taking long walks in the snow at night- it was so quiet and beautiful (one of the perks of living in a tiny town- all I hear where I live now is car traffic and many sirens). If I was lucky my dad would have the day off of his construction job and he would let me go with him on the snow plow. Now that was kick ass! I felt so cool being so high above the cars on the road. There was this one time , at band camp however, he was trying to help a family that lived at the bottom of a very steep hill and we almost did not make it back out. But I never thought we wouldn’t- I trusted him completely and he got us back up that hill just fine.

 
     I so enjoyed Christmas when my kids were younger- the excitement, the fun, the surprises. Now that they are grown it has lost a lot of the magic. I rarely put a tree and/or lights up- I admit it I am a Grinch. Someday if I am lucky enough to be a grandparent I will get back into it again. But for now my heart is still 10 sizes too small.



   So my dear readers, if you celebrate any holidays or if you don’t, have a very wonderful rest of the year. I hope to be better at getting blog posts up next year. This thing called life sure gets in the way of my fun sometimes!




 


Wednesday, November 25, 2015



                                                I AM NO JULIA CHILD

 

  As turkey day approaches and I think about all of the wonderful food that goes with it, I have to admit something to you all. I cannot cook for shit- trust me. Ask my poor family. Now and then I have a bright moment but my failures far outweigh my successes.
  Let’s blame my mother- that is where everything starts, is it not?? She was the master- she could cook anything.  She set the bar too damn high. I remember one year my dad giving her crap about putting ice cream in the oven to make a baked Alaska- she showed him –it was terrific! We did not have a lot of money growing up but the food was always plentiful and fantastic. Except for her New England dinner- it had turnips in it. I still don’t like those bastards.
  I also was never home as a teen. My schedule was- band practice, volleyball practice,  archery practice, dating the band director practice, choir practice, play practice, parties in the boonies practice, etc. I WAS NEVER HOME. Then my mom had to go and get cancer when I was a junior in high school so all cooking training would have ended there anyway. Yeah, let’s keep blaming my poor mother.
  Fast forward a few years and to my move to Colorado. It was the week before the dude ranch opened to guests- thank God- and I was helping the cook with dinner for the staff. She was making spaghetti and I asked her if I should throw the meat into the sauce. She told me yes. What she failed to mention is that I was supposed to cook the meat first. Who knew? It sucked, the guys ate it anyway and I was banished from the kitchen the whole rest of the season. Well played, I think!
  After leaving the dude ranch, I wanted to make some of my grandmother’s bread pudding. This is a cold pudding that is not cooked- weird, I know as it has eggs in it. Well, I got done with the pudding and it was very runny- not at all like hers. So, I called her. She went over the recipe with me- Did you let the eggs get to room temperature? Yes. Did you add the bread- yes.  Did you whip the whipping cream? No. Then, in her sweetest, yet most disgusted voice she says- WHY DO YOU THINK THEY CALL IT WHIPPING CREAM? How in the hell should I know? I never attempted to make it again. I still have the recipe in her handwriting and will never get rid of it, but I will never attempt to do it again.
  A few years after that fiasco I attempted to bake my first turkey. Why would I think there would be body parts inside of the fucking thing that I had to take out? Who does this??? People are sick bastards. They kill them and then stick their parts back inside- is this some kind of ritual? I don’t think if affected the taste much- but who knows. And let’s not talk about the time I baked the ham with the plastic still on it- it kept the ham nice and moist- trust me.
 
 
 
  Then, trying to be the sweet newlywed wife I attempted to make Bob my mother’s red velvet cake. I got  two 8” round pans all ready to go- I cut out the wax paper just as I had seen my mother do, greased and floured the pans, put the paper down in the pans then poured the batter into them. As they cooked, there was a problem arising-haha. All of a sudden there was batter pouring over the top of the pans and into the bottom of the oven. Then it hit me- this was a 3 layer cake- DUMBASS!  After the 2 layers cooked, I attempted to make my mothers’ homemade icing recipe. I did not remember there being huge ass lumps in it. Again, I never attempted to make this again. EVER. But it is still my favorite cake ever in the whole world.
 
 

  The one thing I could make that tasted good to me was my mothers’ potato stuffing. I always have loved it, but after making it for 10 years and realizing I was the only one who would eat it I stopped making it. Then my friend brings over her stuffing one year and my family scarfs it down. What could her magical concoction be made out of, I wondered?  Fucking  Stove Top and cooked sausage. Really people? It took me a good hour to make the home made crap and she walks in with this? Needless to say I have never made my mother’s stuffing again. And since she always cooked enough for the 7th Fleet   I have not figured out how to make just a little. Oh well.
 
 

  So, my peeps, as you are eating your goodies on turkey day, be grateful you are not at my house and have to politely struggle to eat my food.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all who all who celebrate!

Friday, November 20, 2015


 

THE GREAT BLACKOUT OF 2004


Okay, so it wasn’t really a great blackout. You probably wouldn’t even be able to call it a rolling brownout. But nonetheless, it was still a traumatic experience for me.

My husband and I arrived home from work at the same time. I thought that I would be the dutiful and ever loving wife and make dinner that evening. So I sauntered into the kitchen and flipped on the light switch – nothing. I called to my husband and told him the electricity was off. He shouted back that the lights in the bedroom were fine. Mystery.

Hubby headed to the electrical panel, figuring one of the circuit breakers had tripped. He came back into the kitchen and said everything was fine, but the kitchen lights still weren’t working. But, on testing, the lights in the living room came on. The mystery grows.

While hubby pondered the problem, I decided to proceed with making dinner, before total darkness settled in. About the time I turned on the oven, the lights in the kitchen came back on. ‘The lights are working,” I informed my husband. “Great job on whatever you did.”

To which he replied, “The lights just went out in here in the living room. What did you do?”

“Nothing, honest!” I proclaimed. So I turned the oven back off. The lights in the kitchen went out and the lights in the living room came back on.

We both agreed that this was totally weird. He thought we should call the power company. I thought we should call an exorcist. For some reason, there are no exorcists listed in the yellow pages of our phone book, so I ended up calling the power company. After pressing one for English, two for electrical problem, three to get set and four to go, the sweet automated voice on the other end took down our address, contact information, account number, heights and weights, hair and eye color, number of children, number and type of pets, what I intended to make for dinner, types of beer in the fridge and finally the nature of our problem. The voice then informed me that a service technician specialist and a SWAT team would be there sometime in the next one to forty-eight hours.



I gently slammed down the phone only to find my husband playing with the oven switch on our electric stove. He would turn the oven on, and the lights in the kitchen would come one. But the lights in the living room would go off. He would turn the oven off, and the lights in the kitchen would go off and the lights in the living room would come back  on. He was thoroughly enjoying himself watching this electrical phenomenon.

For some reason, this seemed to totally enchant my husband. Had I not made him quit, I am sure he would have stood there playing with the switch to our electric oven for the next one to forty-eight hours, until the service technician specialist and the swat team showed up.

Now totally freaked out, I decided to forgo cooking dinner and to instead order a pizza and some green pea soup for dinner. I would also comb through the phone book looking for that exorcist while waiting for out supper to arrive.

I thought I had best get out the plates, silverware and pizza condiments before I did anything else, before total darkness settled into our kitchen. I turned on the oven, which also turned on the kitchen lights, and it was then that I caught a whiff of gas. Alarmed, I called out to my husband. “Dear, I smell gas out here in the kitchen.”

He told me it was just my imagination and to grab him a beer out of the fridge before they got too warm. Now the smell of gas was getting stronger and I was getting scared, concerned and pissed off at my husband. I told him the smell was getting stronger.

His laughter really pissed my off. It is a good thing he has quick reflexes, because the beer bottle might have hit him in the head otherwise. He laughed even harder and I got even angrier.

“Dammit,” I yelled. “I am sure the pilot light on the stove is out and it is spewing gas into our kitchen. The damn house is going to explode and all you can do is laugh.” By now he was literally rolling on the floor, howling with laughter and tears streaming down his cheeks.


“The pilot light is out,” I screamed. “The house is going to explode at any minute and all you can do is roll on the floor and laugh like an idiot?” I was sure the gas had gotten to his head. Maybe I should call 911!!!

Finally he calmed down enough and told me to settle down.

Settle down! Our damn house was going to explode. Maybe I should just kill him now and wait for the explosion to cover up the crime.

I was getting light headed and somewhat nauseated from the gas smell. I didn’t think that a little old unlit pilot light could spew that much gas.

My husband staggered into the kitchen weak from laughter but unconcerned about the gas smell. “Think about what you are saying,” he told me.

“I smell gas,” I insisted. “The pilot light must have gone out on the stove and it is leaking gas into the house!”

“Think about it,” he said again.

“Gas!” I insisted.

In looking back on it, I guess I can understand his reaction. And I can forgive him for laughing so hard. But in my defense, how was I to know that electric stoves do not have pilot lights.

For you who are curious, it had been an exceptionally dry summer. The ground around the house had settled so much that it had pulled one of the electrical lead wires out of the electric meter. This was causing only one phase of the electrical current to flow into the house. I don’t really understand the whole electric thing, but it seemed that when the oven was on, half of the house would get electricity and the other half wouldn’t. When the oven was switched off, the flow was reversed and the other half of the house would get the power. Who knew??

Saturday, October 10, 2015


CHIP'S SURGERY UPDATE
 

            As many of you know, Chip, one of the founders of Chip and Dale Designs, recently had to undergo emergency spinal surgery. The surgery was performed at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. We are pleased to report that the surgery was a complete success and our little buddy is well on the road to recovery.

Chip with hot compress on his incision
 
            Due to the location and complexity of the surgery, the incision was made in the front of his neck, rather than in the back. This was done to limit muscle damage and to provide a more direct access to the areas of the herniated discs.

Chip the day after surgery
 
            Chip was confined to his kennel for the first six weeks following his surgery. During this time we searched and researched various harnesses that he could wear that would not put pressure on his neck and back, and at the same time could be positioned so as not to irritate the site of his incision. Most of the commercially available harnesses would simply not work.
            One day I happened to learn of a website for custom made doggie harnesses. I immediately found this wonderful company called Weenie in the Window. It is a small, mother-daughter business that custom designs and creates dog harnesses for dachshunds and other small (and sometimes large) dogs.

 
 

            I precisely followed the measuring instructions on the website and measured Chip taking into account the location of his incision. I received an email shortly after placing my order that I would get my harnesses shortly. Whoo hoo!
            You know how sometimes when you meet someone, either in person or through social media, and something just clicks? You know almost immediately that this is a cool person and is someone that you would like to know better. That was how I felt after the first email I received from Dana. Something just clicked.
            Our experiences with Dana and Weenie in the Window has been nothing but marvelous. We highly recommend them if you are in need of a harness for your critter. Their website is:


There is also a link to their web site located on the right side of this page. Simply scroll down to the link and click on the picture. You can also like them on Facebook.

LAST MINUTE UPDATE: We received Chip’s harness in the mail today. We also ordered one for Dale so she wouldn’t feel left out. Here are Chip and Dale in their new Weenie in the Window harnesses. (I have Dale's harness a tad low on her neck in this pic- new operator error LOL). Please ignore the potatoes in the bottom picture- do you know how hard it is to get a good picture of 2 wiener dogs at the same time? Bob was bribing them with pepperoni in the kitchen.