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Summer Cocktails

I had a few folks over for some fruity drinks and conversation on Friday.

All week I had been craving lemonade and so we drank Peonies, Cherry Mojitos and White Wine Punch. All of which have either lime or lemon in their recipes. See below.
(Jessica brought me a yummy tea cake for breakfast the next morning!)

I made the only party food I really know how to make: potato salad, (Uptown) chicken wildrice salad, ham-pickle pinwheels (with Grandma Albrecht's sweet-hots), turkey pinwheels, fruit, and baked brie. We had some refreshing raspberry sorbet for dessert.

Thursday and Friday I spent chopping, boiling and juicing. I went to Target three times (I don't have party plates! They didn't have bing cherries the first time), the liquor store twice (I forgot that they close at 8:00PM and they still didn't have the weird liquors I needed anyway) and Kortes grocery store twice. Anthony was a big help and put up with all my - "but I have to use fresh squeezed lime juice, I can't just buy it."

Melissa brought me flowers and chocolate milk in a glass bottle - so cute.

On the bar: pretty glasses, a bowl of Cherry Mojitos on the left, I used a metal pan to keep ice cold, Wine punch on the right and Andrew is pouring himself some Peony out of my Mom's vintage pitcher. A vintage embroidered table cloth protected the wood china hutch.

After all weekend trying to make a dent in my stash, I still have a huge pot of potato salad, just about every beverage you could imagine and lots of fruit left to eat.

The Peony
1 6.3oz bottle of Stirrings Bitter Lemon (I just used Lemon Sour)
2 oz Chambord
1 1/2 oz Aperol (I used Cointreau instead)
1 oz Maraschino Syrup
1 1/2 oz Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice

Stir ingredients, pour over ice and throw in a bunch of lemon and lime slices (cause they're pretty). Oh, and if you can, serve it in a pink glass. This recipe makes 2 if you feel like sharing.
via My Polaroid Blog
Cherry Lime Vodkas
Serves 12.
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lime juice, about 9 limes
3 pounds Bing cherries
18 ounces best-quality black cherry or plain vodka (I used Black Cherry Smirnoff)
1 bottle sparkling water (750 mL)

1. Bring sugar and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool completely. (Makes about 2 cups syrup.) Syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.
2. Put lime juice into a medium nonreactive bowl. Halve and pit cherries; add to lime juice. Stir in syrup. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to overnight).
3. Stir cherry mixture and vodka in a large serving bowl. Fill 12 glasses with ice. Spoon 1/2 cup cherry-vodka mixture into each glass. Top off with sparkling water. Serve immediately.
via Martha Stewart
Zingy Wine Punch
1 bottle New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
1 can frozen limeade concentrate
1 cup cranberry juice

Add fruit juice or fresh fruit, “blend until smooth, and freeze.” The alcohol will prevent the mixture from becoming solid ice. For a quicker result, blend the mixture in an electric ice-cream maker and process until slushy. Serve in a Margarita glass.
via my Mom


Have I ever mentioned how much I love clotheslines? Especially white sheets on clotheslines. It makes me think of summer and my Mom hanging clothes in her back yard in Bemidji. I once read about the "Zen" of the clothes line, the idea of house work done to create a happy home. This is my neighbor's yard. I lust after her clothesline every weekend. Romantic, isn't it?
Summer Saturday

Summer Weekend 035, originally uploaded by juliemaealbrecht.

Saturday started with homemade blueberry pancakes and sunshine.

Following breakfast we made a trip to Target for some Saturday project supplies: light bulbs and a new shower head, among other things. I then went to work on my favorite Saturday activities (laundry, cleaning and yard work) while Anthony replaced old light bulbs, old shower curtains and heads.

Head vase with Peonies!

Anthony's family celebrates his birthday on the 1/2 year, so we (his mom, dad, grandma and sisters) all went out to Como Park for a picnic. His current favorite game is Ladder Golf (or as I like to call it, Testicle Toss). He had planned to make one, but when the cost of supplies was double the cost of a pre-made one he chose wisely.

Andrea scored!

On the way home we spotted a side chair on the side of the road. I loved the shape and it was in good condition, so we loaded it in the trunk of the Sebring. Anthony's dad is an upholsterer, so I have visions that he'll be able to re-do it in Anna Maria Horner's new Drawing Room fabric.

Later that evening we went out to my favorite late night pastime - Dueling Pianos at Axel's on Grand.


Those are good buffalo chicken cream cheese wontons.

Can you believe he puts up with this and still wants to hang out with me for the rest of his life?

Happy Hour

Summer Weekend 013, originally uploaded by juliemaealbrecht.

The weekend started at 3:00pm last Friday with Happy Hour on the Patio at Billy's on Grand with Melissa and Anthony.


Summer Weekend 003, originally uploaded by juliemaealbrecht.

on my pillowcases for a wedded cousin. I'm using a pattern from our late Grandma Hutchinson.


We went and spent way too much money on groceries at Lund's last night. Yummy chicken fajitas, corn-on-the-cob, chips, salsa and sweet tea. My lovely man grilled it all up and I did the dishes.

After seeing the rise in the cost of food, we've decided that we are going to only eat corn-on-the-cob for the rest of the summer because it only costs $.50 per ear and three ears makes a meal. This probably won't have a very good affect on our waistlines, considering that they feed it to pigs and cows to fatten them up, but it tastes good!


Embroidery & Peonies

Last night, Anthony was doing some plumbing work at his house, so I stayed home and made chocolate-chip cookies and prepped embroidery. I even used my new transfer paper to trace some line art that I printed off the internet on to some white cotton fabric to be framed later.

So, apparently, I already had a vintage, uncut Vogart embroidery transfer in my stash from Grandma Hutchinson. I quickly, cut it up and ironed it on to some pillowcases. But the transfer is old and the image didn't take very well. I ironed and ironed and it is still pretty faint. But it's good enough to get me started.

I also won some ebay auctions of embroidery transfers last week that I hope will come in the mail soon. I need to get started on my tablecloth!

The peonies are out in abundance, so I picked a bunch that were laying on the ground and brought them (and the ants) into the house. They smell amazing and are so pretty and ruffley. Now, if only I could grow renuculas.

I made a trek up to Arden Hills to visit the Ace Hardware where Jessica works just to buy some flowers. I planted them in my window box and a few other pots. They look okay, but I'm hoping that they will fill out a little more over the summer.
So, Sublime Stitching is the best company ever.
They saw my blog post from yesterday and emailed me today to offer me their transfer paper! I love, love, love them. Go check out how cool they are, it'll totally make you want to embroider everything in sight.
Julie's summer projects

This DIY post makes me want to make some God's Eyes and gets me nostalgic for vacation bible school (Kari!).

Last year's state fair.

I also need to get my butt in gear and prep some embroidery projects. I should do a few things for the weddings I'll be attending this summer and I keep dreaming about entering something for the state fair. I looked through the rules yesterday and the only embroidered items you can enter are table cloths (which they call lunch and dinner cloths - I had to double check to make sure I knew what they were talking about). No pillowcases or tea towels. However, I could do something framed, but I'm a little unsure about that (sizes? subjects?).

Last year's state fair.

I don't really have a good iron-on transfer that's large enough for a table cloth. I have a big peacock, but that's not really what I want to do. I want a pattern that has something big and intricate in the middle and other smaller motifs for the corners or borders. I looked around online a bit yesterday and there doesn't seem to be much out there. I'd love to get an old vintage Vogart pattern, but those can be hard to come by in complete form.

Last year's state fair.

Another option I have is creating something a little less traditional with Sublime Stitching transfers and other line images that I've found around the internet. To do that though, I need a hot-iron transfer pencil and the last time I went looking around town for those, no one had them. I might have to break down and order a $2.50 pencil from the internet and pay stupid shipping.
Tennessee Tennessee
Nashville, TN: Hello cowboy hat, boot wearing tourists. Tons of people, lots of free shows and lots of sun. The heat was overwhelming. 95° and humid. Good weather for wearing dresses!

All day long there were bands playing to packed bars along the strip. We stopped in here to escape the heat a sun because there was a good country cover band playing.

Downtown strip

Batman building and the downtown strip.

Printer's Alley, otherwise known as Nude Karoke Alley.

Early afternoon on Friday we stumbled upon Fiddle and Steel Guitar Bar in Printer's Alley. We talked with some lady waiting for the bar to open for a fan club party for another singer.

We were next to the stage at the free midnight Eric Church concert at the tiny Fiddle and Steel Guitar Bar. It had to be over 100° in there, but the beer was cold! I just happened to look at his website the day before we left to find the surprise concert posting. He played earlier in the evening at the Riverfront venue, we missed out on that, but this was better anyway.

Bass and rhythm guitar.

Lead guitar


The band did their own set up and stopped to take some pictures for ultra-fans in the audience. One fan even had Eric Church's autograph tattooed on his arm, jeez.

We caught the end of Jedd Hughes at the free stage on Saturday morning. He had opened for Eric Church in Minneapolis, but this time he had a band. Very fun show in the blazing sun. I thought he was English, but he's Australian. My bad.

Just walking around downtown and oh, hey: Lady Antebellum is playing a free acoustic show!

On Saturday night, after some quality time by the pool, our lovely hosts Josiah & Mel took us out to the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium in Nashville. It was an amazing beer bar with over 200 beers, most on tap.

Super cool beer bottle light fixtures at the Flying Saucer.

At the Flying Saucer.

Sunday we were on our flight back home, we had pulled away from the gate, the flight attendants had done the emergency schpeel and the plane was rerouted for weather so we needed to add more fuel. That made us 10 passengers overweight. Anthony and I were the first volunteers off the plane. We got a free ticket, free night stay and meal vouchers. They put us up in the fun, swank Hotel Preston. It was near the Grand Ole Opry so we took a cab over. Everything was closed, so it was kind of lame but it was better than sitting and watching TV.

Magnolia trees everywhere! Also there were really rank smelling trees around too. Ones that smell like moth balls and used latex.

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