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Back to Sewing

April 1, 2014

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me how much I miss my Dad. Although I think I have accepted his illness and his death last June 2013, I still have huge sob sessions with myself over it and I miss & think of him every day.
Anyway…

Both he and my mom were both huge supporters of my interest in sewing when I was a kid. I became an awesome seamstress and during high school and into college I made most of my clothes including and eventually my overcoats, down jackets and tailored interviewing suits. Somewhere and unfortunately along the road I quit sewing.

About six or seven years ago I got the urge to pull out my sewing machine and see if I still could stitch a straight line. Well I never got that far because my vision had gotten so bad, I honestly couldn’t see to thread the needle. Crap! At that time I was only using readers and it was such a pain in the butt, I never finished my project and gave up.

Fast forward to 2014. I have discovered the awesomeness of progressive bifocals. Due to some health issues, I am not allowed to wear contacts but have totally embraced these glasses! Oh my gosh what I can see now!! I decided to get back out my sewing machine and see about sewing something.

The machine I am sewing on is a Bernina that my parents gave me sometime in the 1980′s. One of my father’s clients at the time was Bernina and my dad’s design company was working on a redesign of one of the Bernina machines. I was the lucky recipient of the overhauled model that Bernina had given them to work with.

This morning I just finished my first project. It’s not perfect … the plaid doesn’t match and the whole thing is a little unsymmetrical, but for my first try back at it, I am totally thrilled with the outcome! I decided it would be a thoughtful little gift for my mom to recycle one of my Dad’s old flannel shirts and make a little stuffed animal for her. I had not made a stuffed animal before and in my opinion it is NOT a beginner’s project. I found the pattern FREE online which might explain the lack of details in the sewing instructions. It is definitely doable, but took some patience and forethought

He is pretty cute and definitely huggable. If you want to make your own, you can find the directions and pattern pieces here:http://www.howjoyful.com/2010/05/howjoyful-bear-tutorial-and-pattern/. If you want to see a picture of him you can go to my Facebook page –>https://www.facebook.com/theurbanhomeplace

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Oh my God, this soup is so good! I followed the recipe exactly EXCEPT I made my own 6 cups of broth from both raw and cooked chicken remnants that I had frozen. Into the broth I also added onion and carrot discards as well as rinds from various cheeses. I keep all the stuff frozen until I have enough to cook it up for broth.

Ingredients:

Servings: 6

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
6 large yellow onions, halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 4 pounds)
table salt
2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
1 bay leaf
ground black pepper
1 small baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)

Directions:

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Generously spray inside of heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray. Place butter in pot and add onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, 1 hour (onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove pot from oven and stir onions, scraping bottom and sides of pot. Return pot to oven with lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.

2. Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until liquid evaporates and onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reducing heat to medium if onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until pot bottom is coated with dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.) Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until onions are very dark brown. Stir in sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in broths, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper.

4. While soup simmers, arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in 400-degree oven until bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

5. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving

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Workout Buddies?

March 1, 2014

After “checking in” to LA Fitness on Facebook earlier this week, a friend of mine contacted me about needing a “workout buddy”. Uh … no! Don’t get me wrong, I love working out with friends and would welcome a buddy anytime. But for me to be dependent on another to get me over to the […]

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Whiskey Mustard Meat Marinade

February 28, 2014

This has been my go-to favorite marinade for any kind of meat for several years. I use it mostly on flank steak and pork and haven’t tried it on poultry. I can’t remember where I first found the recipe and I know I’ve changed it a little since then. I think the original recipe called […]

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Roasted Potato Fries (for Maureen)

February 27, 2014

Potatoes Olive oil Salt & Pepper Preheat oven to 425-450 degrees Slice potatoes lengthwise into approximately ½’ square slices. Place in a roasting pan. Sprinkle oil, salt and pepper on the potatoes. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes, remove from oven and use a spatula to mix and release any potatoes that are stuck on […]

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Onion Tart

January 1, 2014

I found this recipe in the Food & Wine Magazine awhile ago. I made it for the first time last Fall. Jeff loves this stuff ~ I think almost better than chocolate cheesecake. Ingredients Dough 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled 5 tablespoons ice […]

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Facebook YAY or NAY?

December 27, 2013

Although my personal Facebook post stated on December 21st, that I was staying off social media through the Holidays, I realize now that yes I am addicted. I’ve decided now that five plus days was enough, and this morning I found myself checking Facebook on my iPhone underneath my covers at 4:30am. Within minutes, I […]

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Mourning Cloak

December 10, 2013

A Mourning Cloak has visited our yard twice since my dad died on June 27, 2013 The first time we saw it was the day after he died. Most recently and the second time we saw it was the day after Thanksgiving. FACTS: My dad was a butterfly collector as a child and also collected […]

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Hello again

December 9, 2013

Soon it will be two years since I last posted in my blog. Since my last post, my father has passed, I’ve quit my job, and I’m working to get my health and my sanity back in check. My father’s illness and subsequent death really threw me for a loop. Thanks to my husband who […]

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shame on me …

May 1, 2012

Well shame on me, having a blog and it has been over a month since I last wrote a post. Long story short. I’ve gone back to work full-time in an office. So although things carry on at the Urban homeplace, I have to learn how to fit it all into my week. Honestly it […]

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