Saturday, June 27, 2009


Because I have been spending so much time here, I am getting a hankering for a new look for my blog. Any takers? Seriously, my blog is pretty ugly and boring looking. I've always known that, but never cared. Now I do.

Well, I suppose when I get into our house I probably won't care any more. So no pressure.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I'm not in the mood for going on vacation on Tuesday. I won't feel prepared. I can't find a lot of my stuff in the garage. My contacts are killing my eyes. I've never felt more bored and useless in my whole life. Please, TaylorMorrison. Please. Please let us at least know when we can move in to our house. We have money. We want to give it to you. The ball is in your court. (And I feel like I'm in the nosebleed section of the stadium.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Slightly Homeless

We thought we would be moving into our new house on Monday. We were wrong.

At least they let us move our stuff into the garage. I hope our stuff hasn't turned into lava or anything. It is pretty hot here.

Apparently the "powers that be" will be letting us know today when we can move into the house. We are hoping the date is set for tomorrow or Friday. In the mean time we are staying with Stephen and Rachel Hixon. They are wonderful hosts.

Might I just add that none of this is our fault. There was a ton of miscommunication between the Title Company, the Lender, our Realtor, etc. We should have been informed of the possibility of our current situation much earlier than we were. But what's Real Estate without a little drama?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Moving Tip

Since I totally hurt my back yesterday, I'm taking a small blog break. (Note to future self: Do not try to lift even semi-heavy boxes while pregnant. The results are no fun.)

To all of you who are moving, thinking about moving, or know someone who might move someday: I will share the most amazing tip ever. Go to Borders for your boxes. Seriously. The boxes are the perfect size for almost everything, including heavy objects like... books. They are all a uniform size, and therefore quite easy to stack and fit together. Last but not least, the boxes are free. I have hauled my cookies over to Borders four times and each time they give me a stack of boxes and smile. Not to mention the parting comment "Just come back if you need some more!" Now that's service.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Runners up

These are two more favorites from The Wizard of Oz that I really loved. I crocheted the lion's mane (which is a hood that he can put over his head) on my way to and from San Fransisco. You can't really see the beading on the witch's corset, but trust me, it took forever.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Top Ten

Because I am designing costumes for what may be my very last Stage Left production (Once Upon a Mattress), I figured I would create a "top ten" of my personal favorites. I realize that this is a little vain-- but the title of my blog is Narcissistic Echo after all. Plus I worked hard for these shows!

When I found this silver fabric I rejoiced.

#10-- The Beauty School Dropout girls. I didn't make most of these, but I did design them of course. The reason these made the list is that they have been reinvented and used in almost every SL show since. (Fish in Seussical, Mermaids in Peter Pan, etc.)

#9-- The Whos were totally cute. Their theme was polka dots, pinks and oranges, and circular shapes. We used wire and water bottles in their hair.

#8-- Cha-Cha. I chose the fabric not knowing there was going to be glitter shedding everywhere! I think I can still find pieces of purple glitter in my sewing machine. Sure Danny had to be brushed off after the dance, but the dress looked amazing onstage.

#7-- Ahh Kiss Me Kate. I love that show. I loved directing that show. I loved designing that show. I didn't sew this one, but when I found that fabric I knew exactly what I wanted. You can't really tell how awesome this outfit is from the pictures. It had a lot of texture and just the right amount of sparkle.

#6-- I want to play Gertrude McFuzz someday. I had closer pictures, but the bird girls were in this one and they are runners up in the costume department... if only because I sewed their crazy velvet gloves. You can't see Gertrude's little tulle puffs sticking out all over her dress very well, or the feather sticking out of her head, but she was darling.
#5-- Designing this show was a collaborative effort, but I actually made this costume out of a big 80's dress two nights before we opened. Elizabeth Bennet did not have a ball gown. She is kind of an important character in Pride and Prejudice. Who cares if I was directing, choreographing, writing, producing, and majorly pregnant? I'm just proud of my ability to whip up a dress in one night. It turned out really well, though I say so myself.
#4-- This Peter Pan was pretty original. The directors wanted the Lost Boys to look like post-apocalyptic skater dudes and the Indians to be fierce looking Amazons. They used blacklights and glowsticks and stuff. I really loved the way Tink turned out, and the bells all over her belt and gauntlets ensured that she made a lot of noise.

#3-- Love this dress, which is another one from Kiss Me Kate. It didn't get as much stage time as I would have liked, but it has been borrowed for other shows. We might use this for the queen in our current production.

#2-- I think my favorite part of this costume is that I made it in an hour. Everyone loved Tiger Lily's look. She was an amazing dancer, and that Sharpie-on-a-nude-colored-leotard thing was brilliant. She was supposed to look like a pretty savage.

#1-- Scarecrow. This is my favorite thing I've ever made or designed. It looked so cool on stage, and it was a departure from the movie. Plus, the girl who played the Scarecrow was brilliant.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Infinity Lasagna

I have about an hour to spare, so I thought I'd fill the requests for the recipe of what Dan calls "Five hour Lasagna." He is less prone to exaggeration than I.

Get ingredients ready: Bolognese Sauce (recipe to follow), lasagna noodles, bechamel (recipe to follow), and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. (Cook lasagna noodles until barely tender, then transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Lay noodles flat on baking sheets lined with kitchen towels, pat dry.)

1) Preheat oven to 425, with rack in top third. Butter a 9x13x2 inch ceramic or glass dish; cover bottom with a layer of noodles. They should fit snugly but not overlap. Trim to fit dish.
2) Spread 1 1/4 cups ragu over noodles.
3) Drop 2/3 cup bechamel in dollops over ragu.
4) Gently spread bechamel with a rubber spatula.
5) Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
6) Repeat these layers 3 times. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1/3 cup bechamel on top; sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Season with freshly ground pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the lasagna is golden brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting with a serrated knife.

RAGU BOLOGNESE (this is the part that takes forever.)

2 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion (about one large)
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1 1/4 pounds ground chuck*
10 ounces ground pork*
2 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cups dry white wine*
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 1/2 cups canned diced plum tomatoes, with juice
freshly ground pepper

(* Note: I use 2 lbs. of costco hamburger, and it works just fine. Also, I've tried making this with cooking wine and it turns out way too salty. Either pick up some "two buck chuck" from Trader Joes or find your own substitute. Just don't use cooking wine.)

1) Heat butter and oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom 6 quart pot over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onion, celery, and carrot; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and light brown, 8 to 11 minutes.

2) Add ground chuck and pork to pot; stir, breaking up meat with a fork. Add salt, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until meat is cooked through but not browned, about five minutes more.

3) Gradually add milk; bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Add nutmeg to taste, and gently simmer until milk has completely evaporated, about 20 minutes. (Any remaining liquid will be yellowish and clear.)

4) Add wine; simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Stir in stock; simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Add tomatoes and juice; simmer, stirring occasionally, until fat has risen to the top and sauce is think and meaty, 60 to 70 minutes. Season with pepper. Let sauce cool slightly.


7 Tbl. unsalted butter
6 Tbl. all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk, heated just until steaming
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. course salt
Freshly ground pepper

1) Melt butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes; do not let roux brown.

2) Whisking constantly, add about 2 Tbl. milk to saucepan.

3) Pour half of the remaining hot milk into the saucepan in small increments, whisking the mixture constantly, until a smooth paste forms.

4) Whisk remaining milk into pan; add nutmeg and salt. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape bottom and sides, until sauce is thick and creamy, about 15 minutes. If any lumps form, stir sauce rapidly with a whisk. Season with pepper, remove from heat. Let sauce stand until lukewarm, about 30 minutes, before assembling lasagna.

Told you it was a doosey.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pregnant thing

I always hear woman say "I can't do (fill in the blank with random food). It made me sick while I was pregnant." I don't remember experiencing this when I was pregnant with Asher.

I made some broccoli soup last night. I've had an aversion to veggies lately, but for some reason the picture with this recipe looked good to me. I didn't even get through half a bowl. I didn't get sick... but lets just say this is on my list of things I may not want to eat ever again.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


This is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

I made some lasagna tonight that was seriously to die for. My mom was over dropping boxes off for our impending move, but she didn't time it quite right. I hadn't put the lasagna in the oven yet, so she just tasted the separate parts. I did the same thing, and let me tell you, it is not even close to the same experience. The meat sauce, the creamy bechamel and the cheese taste almost bland on their own... but layer them a few times with noodles and bake them for 25 minutes at 425 degrees and the result is pure delight for the taste buds. My stomach is still having a party.

I would give you the recipe except that it took me an eternity to make this lasagna. I literally started making it before I was born and finished it sometime after my death. Nobody wants this kind of recipe.

The Price of Honesty

A few months ago, I bought some seed packets from OSH for an Enrichment Night Activity. They were much more expensive than I thought they would be. I was expecting about 50 cents a packet, but it was more like $1.89. That adds up. I got 40 assorted seed packets... or so I thought. I counted them later and it turns out I had five extras, but I only paid for 40.
Now this was a church activity. I knew I would go back to OSH and pay for the extra five, and/or return any that were left over. It wasn't the decision that was difficult, it was remembering to do it and fitting it into my schedule. Months passed by.
I finally took Asher to OSH yesterday while we were running errands in the neighborhood. I explained the problem to the clerk, and with a shocked look on her face she told me what to do. I went and got a $1.89 seed packet, rung it up five times, paid nearly $10 for it, and took nothing home.
Too bad Asher isn't old enough to learn anything from this. (Maybe that is a good thing... I don't want him to procrastinate like I do!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Funny Favorite

Asher is still plenty into cars, but his new obsession is the Disney movie The Little Mermaid. He demanded I put it in for him this morning and he has had a smile on his face since it started. He starts shaking in anticipation and shouts words of things that are coming up: "Birds!" "Shark!" "Mumay!" "Stuck!"
Too bad he didn't get to see any of these characters at Disneyland.