Friday, November 29, 2013

dining gluten free in NYC

 ok, first let's get this out of the way. On our trip to New York City, hubby and Ally (who do NOT have to eat gluten free) indulged in some extremely glutenous goodies. One night we went down to the hotel lobby (we stayed at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square, thanks to hubby's Marriott rewards points, what a treat!) On the menu were dessert sliders. Ally had strawberry shortcake sliders and hubby had the Boston cream pie sliders seen here...
 I had a glass of wine... no glutenous treats for me! Another day, they wandered off to the Cake Boss bakery and brought back treats.....
The very first night we were there, we took Ally to our favorite NYC restaurant, Serafinas. They will make just about any dish on the menu gluten free for you. I enjoyed Spaghettini Alle Zucchine made with gluten free pasta....

On our last night in NYC we decided to try a new place. Trattoria Trecolori was right around the corner from our hotel. It had received rave reviews on some of the gluten free apps I was using so off we went....
We may just have a new favorite NYC restaurant! Like Serafinas, they will prepare most of their dishes gluten free. I had Pasta Primavera made with gluten free penne and it was awesome! The atmosphere at Trattoria Trecolori is wonderful, the service was amazing and all of our meals were top notch. We'll be back!

These are the highlights of our NYC dining. We ate at several national chains. Had a surprisingly delicious meal at Ruby Tuesdays, a horrifically overpriced breakfast buffet at Hard Rock and a disappointing (and way too expensive) meal at Applebees. What are your favorite places to eat in New York City?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving and NYC

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my US readers! I'm so thankful for all of you here in blogland. Today I'm also thankful for sweatpants and a restful day recovering from vacation! Did you miss me? Hubby and I took miss Ally to New York City for a special senior trip.

The city was all decked out for Christmas which was fun to see. We met some festive friends on Times Square....
 Saw beautiful ornaments in the plaza across from Radio City Music Hall...
 Visited Rockefeller Plaza where the giant Christmas tree was not yet ready to be unveiled....
 Took a carriage ride through Central Park...

 Spent a good bit of time in FAO Schwartz...
 Enjoyed the decorations in all the windows and even painted on buildings! This one at Tiffanys was a favorite of mine...
We took Ally to her first Broadway show...
 And then we all went to see the Rockettes! That was Ally's original reason for requesting a trip to NYC. Check out the tree in the lobby of Radio City Music Hall. It's all made from Swarovski crystals!
Now we are home. It was fun to watch the parade on TV today, knowing we were just there yesterday! Turkey is in the oven and we're all happy to be home with such happy memories to keep forever.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Our church is creating a "family Christmas tree". They asked that each family provide an ornament for the tree that represents them, along with an explanation for a scrapbook. I knew immediately that I would make our ornament, and that it would be a house of some sort. I found this ornament on Pinterest and it spoke to me.

When Rick & I married 26+ years ago, and formed our little branch of the Z family, we had no idea where our journey would take us. We only knew that we wanted to take the journey together, for better or worse... you know the drill! We didn't know that God would provide us with three amazing kids. Nor did we know that our journey would place us in 5 (so far!) different homes in 3 (so far!) states. What we did know was that wherever we were, we would create a home for our family. A place where our children felt safe and loved, a place where our friends (and theirs!) could gather to laugh & cry, eat together, study, pray, play board games....


And whether it was a two bedroom apartment, with hand me down furniture and 80s mauve and blue country decor, a 1960s split level with a leaky roof and broken toilet, where kraft macaroni and cheese and applesauce were daily fare, a temporary apartment with rented furnishings (even silverware!), a freshly built colonial, with the Rocky Mountains as our backdrop, or a Texas sized brick house with quilts hanging on every empty wall, all have been home to us.

Now, as we celebrate our final Christmas before we become empty nesters, we watch our children begin to establish homes of their own. My prayer is that home will always be a place of comfort and happiness for them. And we will go back to where we began, just the two of us, with our arms and our home always open and waiting for their visits.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Japanese X & + quilt DONE!

I finished my Japanese X & + quilt! I used this tutorial for most of the blocks (which are 7 1/2 inches finished) then I supersized the block to make one block 15 inches. Some days it pays to be good at math!)
 Of course, as soon as I went outside the wind kicked up!
 Finally got this shot... with the quilt turned sideways so you could see all of the blocks (I offset it with different sized borders and I really think that makes it interesting!
And just after I snapped the picture, the quilt fell off the fence. So there you have it! And yes, the sky really is that blue! I hear cold weather is coming soon.... glad I had this pretty, sunny day to go outside and take some pictures.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

shop update

In anticipation of the holidays (they're coming fast whether we like it or not!) I have stocked the ellyn's place etsy shop with fun bracelets made by me and my buddy Trae! 
 These fabric bangles with a bohemian flare are fun worn alone, or stacked in groups. We've used lots of repurposed materials and new and vintage beads and baubles to create one of a kind bracelets that would make great gifts for all of your girlfriends, the teens in your life, teachers, your mom (hi mom!). Well, you get the picture!

Here are some of my favorites....

 These two just look like a day at the beach to me....
 I hope you'll swing by the shop and check them all out! There are lots of different styles... something for everyone.
The holidays will be here before we know it!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

windy day photos

 well, I promised you a finish today. But, I didn't know it was going to be a blustery day! Not the best day for a photo shoot! I tried putting this quilt over the fence. FAIL! Lots of pictures of quilt in a heap on the ground. So I recruited Ally to hold for me....
It's her quilt, after all....
She chose the pattern, the fabrics and the quilting design (you can't really see it, but Diann even quilted Ally's name and graduation year into the corner!)

ok, almost a good shot.
 There we go!
 an upclose shot of the patchwork, all done in a variety of mirror ball dots in pinks, gray and black. The gray and black solids are Kona solids. Oh, and it's backed in a yummy pink flannel! College quilt for Ally, check that off the list!

Monday, November 11, 2013

a finish!

I'm finally able to share some finishes with you this week! I started this table runner way back in August. It's made with my charm squares from the Trader's Dice game at The Quilt Asylum....
I just love the way it turned out! My friend Diann quilted it for me with fall leaves, so pretty! Can't wait to use it on my table. Tune in tomorrow for another finish...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I have two crafty birthday stories to share with you today! First off, my bloggy friend, Maria, who lives down under has a birthday today (only it was really yesterday there, because it's already tomorrow.... got it?). Maria & I have been swapping crafty gifts for a couple of years now, and we decided this year we would make each other pillow covers for our birthdays. You can see the one she made me, months ago, here. I mailed hers off with some other goodies a month or so ago and realized I didn't take any pictures of it! So, while Maria is happily sleeping the Australian night away, I stole her picture off of her blog. I hope she doesn't mind!

I English paper pieced her pillow topper with elongated hexies. The little candle mat is made with wool felt. I always have so much fun gathering goodies for my crafty friends! I hope Maria has a wonderful year.

Speaking of crafty friends, Raquel threw herself a crafty birthday party today! Her birthday is on Saturday (Happy Birthday my friend!)
She got some fun gifts, cards and gift cards. I made this little strawberry pin cushion to put on top of her package. I kept seeing them all over blogland & thought they were so cute!

 Look how Trae used old sewing pattern tissues to stuff her gift bag! Cute!

We all made fat quarter aprons at Raquel's party. I love mine!
 These birthday parties are getting hard to top! I need to start thinking now of something fun to do with my crafty friends in February.

What are you making today?

Friday, November 1, 2013

November stitchalong

Can you believe we're almost done with our stitchalong? After today, there is only one more block! I've had a great time creating them for you. I hope you've had fun stitching. 

November's theme? Pumpkins of course! Here's our pumpkin stitchery....

And eleven blocks all stitched up for you! One more hole to be filled.....

You can find the free pattern here. When you're finished stitching, won't you add your pictures to our Flickr group? I love seeing what you have done!