Friday, February 14, 2014

The Outlawz Alcohol Markers Photo Inspiration Challenge/Brynn's Valentine

Happy Friday to you. I am in a good mood, (oddly enough), in spite of my sore wrist. It continues to be a problem. So I have decided to amputate it. I am not certain how this will be accomplished, but I am hoping it will eliminate my pain. If you have any other ideas, feel free to let me know. But ASAP, please. Before I mutilate myself.

Have you got a minute or twenty? This is going to take a bit of your patience to read. We took a little trip. Last Friday. To Southern Arizona. Wine country. Yum. We spent two nights outside of Elgin at a B&B animal sanctuary. Kind of an odd combination. But then Gary and I are kind of an odd combination, so it worked for us.

We started our wine tasting on Friday at Dos Cabezas Wineworks in Sonoita. And, gee willikers, did we ever have some yummy wine there! Bought several bottles. Had to. Needed to bring them back to the Valley of the Sun to prove to people that Arizona produces some really good wines.

Then we ate dinner at Overland Trout, which is just down the road from Dos Cabezas. The chef at Overland Trout, (catchy name, huh? It means bacon, btw.), used to be at Quiessence Restaurant at The Farm at South Mountain in Phoenix. (The restaurant that our dinner club went to last month.) Anyway, Greg LaPrad left Quiessence last summer to open his own place in Sonoita last fall. The restaurant itself is a little rustic, but it has a beautiful view! (First photo is Rustic Gary in the rustic restaurant. Second photo is the beautiful view--just in case you were wondering.)

Well, let me tell you that the food is really worth the trip! We started with a shared flaming cheese dip, called Queso Flameado. (Of course, yours truly couldn't get her phone camera set up fast enough to get the flaming part of the dip.)  So here's what you get: asadero and queso fresco cheeses, flamed with brandy, promagranates, chorizo, and winter spices, served with tortilla chips, and pomagranate and apple salsa. 'K, there's not much healthful in this dish, but who gives a rip. It was scrumptious. So there! The dip was so luscious, the salsa refreshing, and the chips were nice and crunchy and salty. Mmmm, mmmm, good.

Then I was in the mood for salad. And I picked a sensational one, although I did have them leave out the shaved red onion, as I am not a fan of raw onion. So it had pine nuts, pecans, arugula, baby greens, a fabulous soft cheese, and the most wonderfully sweet watermelon. I know. In the winter? How cool is that? I don't remember what was in the dressing, but it perfectly complimented the salad. And when the dish arrived, I said to myself, 'Self, there is no way you can finish that.' And my snarky self said, 'Just watch me.' And, son of a gun, I ate every bit of it! I would have licked the dish, but they took it away before I could.

Oh, btw, perhaps you can see my Margarita in the above photo. It had Mount Alban Tequila, house-made sweet and sour, Cointreau, and quince. I thought it was fantastic, but Gary wasn't wild about his. I would have had a second one, but thought that I shouldn't after I had done the wine tasting, too. Probably a sound idea on my part, for a change.

Next up, I had Pastel de Azteca, which was slow-roasted chicken, eggs, poblano pepper, pomagranates, salsa verde, panela cheese, and corn tortilla. Again, nothing really good for you, but soooo delicious! The whole dish just melted in your mouth; it was so tender, juicy, and flavorful. So who cares if it was good for me or not? I certainly didn't. And what did Gary have? Again, who cares? (Alright, he ordered the grilled pork tenderloin, which he loved.)

Of course we also had dessert. And for some odd reason, I forgot to take a photo of it. (It's called old-age.) Well, picture a plate with sliced strawberries in a warm glaze, alongside a large portion of panna cotta, made with horchata, and tasting distinctly like, of all things, horchata. Wow! It not only looked pretty--all decked out with powdered sugar--it was smooth, creamy, and slid down my gullet really fast. And if you have never had horchata, you are missing out on a really good drink--it is made of rice, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, water, and sugar. Yeah, another really healthful item. On the plus side, I only gained a pound over the 4-day weekend. (Plus side--get it?) (Nevermind.)

So then we went to our B&B and pretty much crashed for the night. It was really out in the country, which is very pretty, btw. So it was very quiet both nights we were there. Almost too quiet, if you know what I mean. We had wi-fi, but it wasn't a very strong signal, so we couldn't stream a movie on my Samsung Note, darn it. Oh, well, we were able to on Sunday night in Bisbee.

I have to mention that we went to several other wineries on Saturday. And had some more delicious Arizona wines. Whaaaaat? Yup, mostly blends, but really good ones. Loved them. And we ended up buying two cases total in the Sonoita area. From previously-mentioned Dos Cabezas, and Flying Leap, Wilhelm, Callaghan, Rancho Rossa, and Kief-Joshua. We made the mistake of going to Village of Elgin Winery--don't bother. IMHO, the wines there are just not in the same class as the other wines we tasted. Not even close.

On Sunday morning we walked around the animal sanctuary and met horses, donkeys, goats, and geese. Well, perhaps met isn't quite the right word for the geese. They were extremely agitated by us. Why I don't know. But, man, were they LOUD. Deafeningly so. Once we had the tour we were off to see Bisbee. 

We drove through Fort Huachuca to get to Sierra Vista. That reminded me of Fort Benning days. Back when we were first married and Gary was still in the Army. Fort Huachuca is pretty big. And has a decent-sized town right next to it. Though I wouldn't really want to live there.

After Sierra Vista we went east and south and reached Bisbee about noon. Too early to check in to our downtown hotel. But there was an honest-to-goodness coffee shop, which was such a relief. I needed my cappuccino fix. It tasted so good after two days without having one. Certainly got spoiled with my machine, even if I did wreck my wrist using it.

A few photos of Bisbee:

We walked around town, which is really quaint. It was a mining town at one time, and according to gossip, will be again. Right now, it's a tourist trap. You know, they have lots of stuff to sell, souvenirs and the like. Which we didn't buy. 'Cuz this was a wine trip. And we even managed to buy a couple of Willcox area wines in Bisbee at the Cafe Akor. Lo and behold, they were having a wine tasting Sunday afternoon. With hors d'oeuvres. Wonderful dips, cheeses, pistachios, olives, crackers, breads! Right up our alley. 

We were told that 80% of the wine grapes in AZ come from Willcox. So that will be our next trip in the state. Have to check that out, too, doncha know. Anyway, we had some really delicious wines that afternoon, and just had to buy a couple of them.  

We checked into our hotel, the Letson Loft, which is exactly that. A loft--the second floor of an old downtown building. We had a room at the back of the hotel, so it was pretty quiet. Really comfy king-sized bed, lovely shower, big room. I would stay there again, if we ever get back to Bisbee.  

We did try the Screaming Banshee Pizza Sunday night, which was OK as pizza goes. And we watched a movie on my Samsung Note that night--what a fabulous display! Everything was so crystal-clear. Then we had a yummy breakfast at the Bisbee Breakfast Club on Monday morning. I had fabulous Eggs Benedict with mushrooms and wonderful ham. If you like ham. Which I definitely do. Gary opted for the eggs, hash browns, sausage, and toast. He liked his breakfast, too. 

Then it was check-out time, and also time to go home. We drove through Tombstone on our way back. We stopped for a bit and walked through the old-town souvenir-trap area. We didn't stay long. I really wasn't interested in a re-enactment of the gunfight at the OK Corral. We also stopped at Boot Hill and went through the graveyard. There were some funny headstones there. But there were some sad ones, too--like the ones for the three-month old girl and the 11-month old boy. The graveyard is from the 1880's, so it is pretty old for out West.

And then we drove on home, and got back about 2:00 on Monday afternoon. I was so exhausted, from getting up early all weekend, that I took a nap before we drove up to get Donovan from my sister's. I am a night-owl. 'Nuf said.

OK, if you got this far, you are probably wondering if I am ever going to describe my card. No, I'm not. 

Oh, I am just kidding. This month our sponsor is Sami Stamps. And one lucky, randomly-selected participant will receive a $12 GC to purchase stamps from her shop. She has really darling digis, and I will be using one next week.

But this week I chose Make It Crafty Jessica's Teddy, so that I could make a Valentine for my younger granddaughter, Brynn, who is enamored with Build-a-Bear right now. I thought this would be a perfect image for her.

And my design is much the same as last week's Valentine for my other granddaughter. I thought that would make both girls happy. (There is usually method in my madness, though occasionally it is madness in my method.) Here is the Photo Inspiration for this week:

I printed Jessica on MICBC and colored her with my Copics:

Skin: E000, E00, E21, E11, E04, R20
Eyes: B32, B34
Hair: YR20, E31, E33, E35
Bear: R22, R24, R27, R29
Clothes: C00, C0, C1, C2
Spica Lipstick for the Bear's Eyes

My die cuts were made with the following dies:

SCACD Alice's Clock Statement Corner
Cheery Lynn Happy
Cheery Lynn Valentine's
Cheery Lynn XOXOXO
Cheery Lynn Sealed with a Kiss

That's it. Now, please do check out the fab designs by my talented teamies, Carla, Dawn, and Linda. And please join us this week! Just remember to use any brand of alcohol markers on your images.

If you are looking for a slightly bawdy, but really hysterical read, check out Kate Langdon's Famous. I laughed until I cried at several spots. But, then, I do have a strange sense of humor, so beware. Have a great weekend!


  1. Happy Valentines! I think you should do a book. I want to come by you where it is warm since it is so fricken cold here and I'm so sick with a sinus infection and bronchitis I still haven't shoveled my snow. Your card is just adorable! How love the glittery slippers and bear and those die cuts!!!

  2. Oh sweetie, I fully empathize with the wrist pain and also have contemplated cutting my full arm off, including the elbow. :( Rest up, go between hot and cold and I totally suggest some Icy Hot (I bought mine from Walmart I think).
    In the mean time, I'm totally drooling over the food! :D

  3. This is gorgeous Penny, I love the sweet image and your design is fabulous. As always, your colouring is perfect.
    Sorry to hear your wrist is still causing pain, I hope it eases soon but please don't amputate it, I am sure you'd regret it!!
    hugs Sue xx

  4. fab card Penny, love the image

  5. Hey... Happy Valentines day my friend. Your card is just adorable. I love those colors and that picture is wonderful. Spent the day with my granddaughter and we where doing some crafts so it was special. Have not eaten yet and everything looks fantastic..
    Hugs, Pat

  6. Penny, sounds like you had an awesome trip. I think the food sounded delicious. I love wine, but I like sweet wine. I know most like dry wines. This is a beautiful image, beautifully colored and designed. Love all the dies, love your design. Great job as always.

  7. when I visit here I swear I gain ten pounds and I just figure out how the heck you and Gary aren't the stars of My 600 Pound Life. How the heck do you eat and drink all this stuff?
    Oh and there was a card, that's right a card, that's what got me here but I forgot about that because I'm so hungry after reading all this and what's in my fridge? Yogurt, yogurt and more yogurt. Oh I'm digressing again...
    Cute card, your coloring 's great and I LOVE the die cuts.

  8. Looks a super fun trip and that food looks delicious. Especially the dip and surprisingly the salad. You are always having such a wonderful trip, perhaps Gary should stay home and I should go with you! LOL
    I love little touristy towns. I just love all old towns too. Beautiful card! I always forget theres a card, you always tell such a good story. Hope your wrist feels better soon. Have a wonderful Sunday. Hugs, Kim

  9. I read it all and enjoyed it so much..i always get to have my travel adventure through you, Penny..thanks..and the card was so cute! I love your style!

  10. The scenery on your latest trip is just so beautiful. Its funny how desert country has its own charm. Now my mouth is really watering with all the pics of delish food, just got back from a spinning session at the gym and now I am even more hungry. So sorry to hear about that wrist of your - hope its not because of all the utensil hurdling during your food tasting excursions. You need to have it looked it.
    Love your gorgeous card and the girl has been coloured beautifully.
    {Would love you to visit my blog and join my 800 Follower Give-Away. Thank you so much, if you have already entered, and good luck.}
    {Doing Life – my personal blog}

  11. Sounds like you had an amazing weekend getaway!

    Thank you so much for leaving a lovely comment on my blog

    Have a Great day!


    Bridie@BGPayne Crafts

  12. Wonderful photos Penny (that food looks delicous!) & the card is pretty fab too :o)

  13. Hi Penny, please don't amputate hun, just drink all the wine you bought and hopefully it will dull the pain till it repairs lol!. I nearly forgot about your card too as I was reading of your visits. Sounded ace, good food and drinks, right up my street.
    Sweet image and super dies. I'm sure she loved it.
    Hugs Sue W.

  14. Looks like a wonderful trip away- and no Snow! Hahaha Love your card! Glad you did not decide to amputate- wrists are always painful!

  15. Hi Penny,
    Your photos are, as always, wonderful! The food looks very tasty;)
    And your card is fantastic!
    Lots of love

  16. Sounds as if you had a very jolly trip :) I'm envious of the food and obviously the weather - I've swapped the freezing snow and ice of NJ for the rain and floods of England - whoop, whoop!!
    Anyway, ignoring your climate and going straight to the card - love the white space making that beautifully coloured image really pop and the subtle tones of those fancy die cuts and sentiment - fabulous!

  17. I think I need to go on a trip with you - wine tasting and delicious food. My idea of heaven. Really enjoyed your story and pictures.
    Your card is gorgeous Peeny. I love the image and the CAS design.
    Nearly the weekend - have and enjoyable one.
    Hugs Sharon. x


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Hugs, Penny