Friday, December 21, 2012

Torani syrup review

SheSpeaks and Torani Once again the wonderful people have given me something to review at Christmas time. This year it was two full size (750mL) bottles of Torani syrup. The flavors I received were Gingerbread, and Hazelnut. Both bottles were sugar free. I have always loved Torani syrups. In the past I have used them in Italian sodas, and as a coffee flavor. In addition to the bottles I received several coupons for a dollar off my next Torani purchase, and a recipe idea pamplet. First off, I was a little unsure of what I would think. I have never tried the sugar free. Secondly, I am not a big fan of hazelnut. I'm not going to lie, I was really hoping to get a bottle of bacon. Oh well, guess I will use a dollar off coupon for that one. Anyhow, back to the syrup...because I spend what seems like most all of my time at work anymore, I brought the bottles to work to share. What a treat! Everyone loved having something to add to the coffee. The first day we all tried the hazelnut. I was surprised that I really liked it. There is an ongoing joke in our office that I am a coffee snob because I won't drink the maxwell house brand we have. I actually liked the coffee. Most everyone else in the office did too. I did have one coworker say that it tasted a bit like fake frangelico and that she felt like she was missing out on something. The second day we all tried the gingerbread. At first I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the spicy scent. And the flavor in the coffee was interesting. I will say that the colder my coffee got though, the less I liked it. The more I drank, the more I felt as if there was an aspartame aftertaste that I did not like. This flavor was not as well received by the rest of the office. They also felt like there was more of an aftertaste. I did take both home and tried in my coffee house coffee and had the same results. I had hoped to bake with the syrup before the deadline, but that did not happen. If I get around to it, I will let you all know how it turns out. The coupons were given to the people at work, and some of my patients. Can't wait to buy my bottle of bacon syrup! TTFN, Miki

Friday, January 27, 2012

Christmas project revealed-(Spoiler alert)

Yes, I know I said Christmas and spoiler alert. Remember I didn't have money to ship by gifts to the west coast. Two house payments and one income is no fun! I finally had enough money to send the Christmas presents. They were VERY late, which makes me ill. Fortunately though, my friends and family understand. My mom and best friend have already opened theirs, and I don't know if anyone else reads my blog, so I feel ok about posting pictures and such.

If you do read my blog, and you received (or are waiting to get it from my mom) a gift and have not opened it yet...SPOILER ALERT...stop reading now.

Okay that being said, drum roll please...

For the main gift this year, I made these FABULOUS "green" blue jean grocery bags. They are made with recycled/repurposed jeans from my family, and from anyone who would share with me. I had been collected jeans for awhile for another project, but when I saw this pattern I decided this made better use of them. I will say, it takes a lot of denim. I had 1 1/2 large rubbermaid tubs full. Some of them were shorts, so that does factor in. That being said, I made 16 bags. Yep 16! This is quite an accomplishment for me as I usually do something once, and then never again. It's like the thrill of seeing how it will turn out is gone and after that it becomes tedious. However, I was ready to part with all this denim and I LOVE these bags. The pattern is from Islander Sewing Systems Re-construction Zone. It is called the Double Green Shopping Bag. I did not do the exact pattern they gave. Actually there are 3 different bags. I sort of did a meld of them all. But, I will give credit where credit is due. As I think I have said in previous posts, I LOVED everyone of them, and did not want to give any of them away. I did however, and now need to make some for myself. Several people have suggested that I sell them. Because of copyright laws, I will not be doing that. My daughters have ask me to make some more like purses. I may do that, I'm still trying to figure out a pattern that will work. I may take the concept and tweak it more, not sure yet.

Another funny, not so funny thing is I actually ran out of denim. Then it was a mad dash to find more. I looked at the fabric store, but I really prefer the worn look, and the blend of different colors. I made my kids go through their drawers again, that yielded a few pairs. Finally I went to Goodwill. I wanted ones that had been donated, that they couldnt sell because of rips or stains. I can use those and just cut out the bad parts. They told me they sent all that stuff to a recycler. Darn!! I ended up buying shorts, out of the bin for 49 cents each. I bought the biggest sizes I could find. I had HUGE pairs of shorts. One pair though wasn't huge, but so 80's I had to buy it. They were white with a pink and blue floral pattern on them. LOVE! I have also recent'y bought several more pair of crazy blue and black capris to make bags. Can't wait to see how they turn out. I also bought some very large jumper dresses.

To make these, my dining room felt like a sweat shop. I had 2 sewing machines set up. Each with different color threads. Mine had the blue denim thread, and Gwen's had the gold top stitching thread. I tried a bag without top stitching trying to save a step. It looks so much better with it. I also had my cutting mat out and denim EVERYWHERE. About half way through completion I needed to change the thread in Gwen's machine. With the new thread, the tension was WAY off and I could never get it to sew right. My mom suggested it was a timing issue, either way it will need to be repaired. Bummer! So the last several bags, I had to keep switching the thread in my machine. This makes for a much slower process. If you make these and have access to 2 machines, use them.

Now for the photos. I took pictures of each side. I will group them together so you can get and idea of what each bag looked like. I like some more than others, but don't have a favorite. Just when I think I do, I see another one and rethink it.

Okay...I have messed with the photos for too long now. For me in preview they don't show together. I have tried several different things and they never move in preview. UGH! Sorry. Tomorrow, I will try to post the knit projects I worked on. TTFN

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Okay let me start by apoligizing for not writing the last few weeks. It has been rough! I will say that since moving away from all my family and friends, November through the first of the year has been hard. I miss sharing my birthday and the holidays with my family. This year has been one of the hardest. Being in a new city, with few friends, and no money has been emotionally draining. It doesn't help that I haven't found a job, and the weeks before Christmas my friends who had just graduated were all getting jobs, and I was getting rejection letters. Then I busted my ass to get all of my Christmas presents finished only to find out that I had no money to ship them. Are you kidding me? I am not writing this for sympathy, just to vent. There have been lots of tears. Oh, and did I mention I had yet to buy anything for my kids. Merry Christmas!Needless to say, gifts to our kids were creative. There were a few I.O.U.S.(for their big gifts, and some custom knitting of their choice), and some scavenging. We gave Jacque a ring that I received when I was 13. She loved it. The other kids gifts were similar. BTW, the custom knitting was also a big hit. Gwen first thought that she wanted some socks, but she now thinks she wants an infinity scarf. The funny thing is, I was going to make her one, and the big project I was working on took too much time. Unfortunately I still haven't sent the packages. Boo! I had hoped to get them in the mail today, I may have to wait till payday on Friday. Middle of last week our best friends from Richmond came to visit. We had so much fun. I was able to give them their gifts and they loved them! Yea!!! I knew they would. I can't wait to share them with you.Yesterday was the Rose Bowl. The game was so exciting! No, that is an understatement. There were records broken and long runs, and lots of scoring, and the coach jumping up and down for joy on the sidelines. I wish there had been some better defense, but wow it was fun. The Ducks won, and for a little while I thought it was the start to a great year. Then today I went to the DMV. Before I left I checked the website just to make sure I had what I needed. We still need to license the cars. I hate to say this, but Craig's tags expired in August, and we still haven't done it. So, I got my paperwork together, made copies of his drivers license, and went to the bank (they don't take debit or out of state checks). Fortunately my wait wasn't long. The person who helped me after a few minutes of filling out paperwork told me that we couldn't complete it as I needed to have the title application notarized and that would require my husbands signature. What? Are you kidding me? So, after this, I decided to head to the police station to have my finger printing done for my RN background check so I could complete my licensing application. The form I received from the nursing board told me to go to the local courthouse or police station. When I got there, the lovely lady ( and I am not being sarcastic, she was lovely) told me they no longer did them "locally" and that they only did them in downtown Raleigh. Yea me...what a wasted day! So, tomorrow I am hoping to drive into Raleigh and get my finger printing done. Maybe tomorrow will be better. That is all I have for now.