Sunday, December 16, 2007

How fun is this?

I was surfing through my various favorite bloggers and came across this....

Have fun!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Buzzy as a Bee!

I love the holidays. It gives me a little extra "umpf" to get going and get things done. I have been working on my Christmas ornaments. I only made ten of them but would like to make more.





I am STILL working on the popcorn chain. It is so darn cute but extremely time consuming, not to mention that Jeff ate the entire last batch of popcorn before I was able to string it. Geez.


I think I may end up making a bunch of these ornaments with various fabric throughout next year so I will have enough to decorate the entire tree with. Oh...and might I say...thank goodness for pre-lit Christmas trees. One of these days I will go to the tree farm and purchase a real tree. Depending on where I am living years from now I may even be able to walk into my back yard and cut a Pine tree down like my sister can but....for now...the pre-lit artificial tree will do!


The other night when I was cooking dinner, I realized that I had like 20 apples. I am not quite sure how I ended up with so many apples but I figured I may as well use them before they go bad so...I made little individual apple crisps.





They were yummy and took care of the winter dessert craving I have been feeling since the temperature has dropped. It was actually a little icy this morning. Who would have thought in Texas we would have ice this early? We are expected to have even more cold and wet weather. I can't wait!










Also around this time of year I feel like bringing out the bread machine. I love the way it fills the entire house with the sent of fresh baked bread. Oh how I love my bread machine! There are so many different things you can make with it. I have made pretzels, pizza dough, dinner rolls and all types of bread with my trusty bread machine. You can even make pasta with it! That is something that I have yet to try. But, this is my little whole wheat loaf I made the other day. You can't beat the taste of homemade bread!






I have also been working on a few Christmas projects for my mother. I am making a few criss cross coaster sets for her to give to her friends as gifts this year. They are so easy to make and are such a sweet gift for someone. I have a few sets of my own that I use at home.








For the past several years my mother and I have been getting together to make "cookie in a jar" gifts that we give away to co-workers and friends. This year my mom thought it would be fun to change things up a bit and make hot cocoa mix instead. We took piping bags, filled them with 2 packages of hot cocoa, about 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips, a handful of marshmallows and tied them up with a little candy cane. It is a really cute gift idea and makes about 20 or so.







They are all currently sitting under my Christmas tree waiting to be given to friends. It has been rather tempting to grab one for myself!













The candy cane can be crushed and added to the hot cocoa or can be used to mix up the cocoa. Mmmmm!!!!



Cheers!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wonderful Things

This time of year I can always think of wonderful things. Well, actually, throughout the year I can pretty much always think of wonderful things but there is just something about this time of year I love. I love the change in the weather and watching the leaves fall on the ground. I love to wear coats and my hand knitted scarfs. I love to watch Vickie Howell on Knitty Gritty to learn new things that I can make for gifts. I love to drink hot chocolate with marshmallows. I love to sit on the couch in my P.J's and knit. I love to lay in bed all warm under the covers on Saturday mornings and watch the Food Network...thank you Paula Deen for all your festive holiday cooking! I love receiving my fall and winter editions of Cottage Living and Cooking Light magazines in the mail.


I really could just keep going but I won't :-)






I think I am going to make homemade marshmallows on Saturday. I have always wanted to do this but just have never really gotten around to it. I love the marshmallows from Williams Sonoma...oops, there I go again with things I love. I better stop talking about Williams Sonoma because I am likely to never stop! However, there is something so fluffy and wonderful about those gigantic square marshmallows. They look like little clouds floating on a river of Chocolate. You just really cannot beat that!


Wouldn't the marshmallows make cute Christmas gifts? Maybe for the co-workers. We will see. I may just eat them all myself!



I lied, I am going to keep going. You know what else I love this time of year? Chili! Maybe it is the Texas in me but I do love Chili! So...on that note, all you non-Texans...I leave you with my Chili recipe!


1 small onion chopped
1/2 green bell pepper chopped
1-2lbs ground beef or turkey
1 can diced green chilies and tomato's
1 can black beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 8oz. can tomato paste
Cumin
Chili powder
fajita seasoning


In a large pot cook onion and bell pepper for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Add ground meat. Cook until meat is almost done. Add can of diced green chilies and tomato's, black beans, kidney beans, and tomato paste. Stir together. Cook on medium to high heat for about 5 minutes then reduce. Add cumin to taste and fajita seasoning to taste. Add a TON of chili powder. Stir and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Scoop in to bowls and top with monterrey jack cheese.


Serve with whole wheat tortilla chips.


To make the chips...too easy! Cut up about 4 or 5 whole wheat tortillas into small triangles. brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Broil until golden brown!
Cheers and Happy Wonderful Things!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Never Ending Popcorn Chain

First off all, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I had a great Thanksgiving. My sister, brother-in-law, and niece came into town this holiday. It is the first time they have joined us on Thanksgiving, it was very special.

Having them here has given my Christmas spirit a jump start! Last Sunday my mother, sister, niece and I did a little Christmas shopping in South Lake at the Town Square. I must say this is the mother of all shopping centers, a veritable one stop shop! Then, my sister and mother shopped Black Friday. To my extreme disappointment, I was not able to go because of work. Fortunately, I did a little Black Friday research, and gave my sister my shopping list. I am a sucker for good deals! Friday evening I started getting out all the Christmas decorations and watched The Holiday and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation while decorating. Yesterday, my sister and I did even more Christmas Shopping! It has been alot of fun!

So, this year I am trying out a few different decorating techniques. I am going to make some Christmas ornaments for the tree and also for the first time ever, construct a popcorn chain. I have always thought the popcorn chain was cute and provided a cozy " down home" Christmas feel. So, I am giving it a whirl. I had thought about putting gum drops on the chain too but, I think the kitty's may be too attracted to that. I don't know, they may also be a big fan of the popcorn too, we will just have to wait and see!
Here is the beginning of my popcorn chain:


I have about half the tree left to finish but I think it looks too cute so far!



My niece helped me put the ornaments on the tree. She adored this little Christmas tree ornament that plays Christmas music when you open it.


Keeping in the spirit of Christmas here are a few fun things to check out. This blog is just so festive year round...can't go wrong. I love the colors and that cute little dog. The blog certainly is a favorite of mine. Over at Sew Mama Sew, there are fantastic Christmas gift ideas. I happened upon this by reading one of my favorite blogs, Angry Chicken. She has an awfully cute Holiday Penny Rug on display at her site. Then, there is Jenn Maruska, who makes these adorable Christmas ornaments. Now, you can't go wrong with chocolate during the holiday season, at least I think so. Check out these delicious cupcakes that you may want to make for your next holiday party! Can you believe this!! Wreaths, real wreaths! My mom would always purchase a real wreath and when it arrived in the mail is smelled so wonderful! I love the smell of pine. I think I may have to get one of these wreaths for myself, you just can't beat that price!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Soup of The Day

I have been craving soup with the change of the weather. I also am feeling a bit under the weather. I crave soup more than ever when I have the sniffles. The cafeteria at work has been less than stellar in the soup department...the broccoli cheese looked at bit gross really, and I am not a big fan of chicken noodle. So, I came home from work, put on my P.J.'s, and made myself Chicken Enchilada Soup! It hit the spot! Now it is time to go watch Hero's!

Cheers!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

I have a pretty good idea it is my little bushy tailed friend who has been hanging around the house eating pecans from the pecan tree. He made the great pumpkin discovery last week and has been nibbling away ever since.



Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Little Hen

So, I have been bored with cooking. I have been making the same things over and over and over again and feel like I am in a bit of a rut. I wanted to change things up a bit so I grabbed my October issue of Cooking Light, thumbed through it, and came up with some great ideas! I have never eaten or even tried to cook a Cornish hen. They are so tiny and cute I thought I would give it a whirl. So, here is my go at it.


I stuffed it with rosemary, thyme, and sage sprigs. I also put the herbs under the skin of then hen along with salt and pepper. Then I drizzled the top of the hen with olive oil and red wine vinegar.


I made a side of creamed corn and a nice little salad to go along with it. It was mighty tasty if I do say so myself. My latest issue of Cooking light, November, has a recipe for an Apricot Glazed Cornish Hen, now that sounds yummy! Ah, the possibilities.
Cheers and Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!

This year we were invited to a costume party. It has been many years since I dressed up in a costume for Halloween. Jeff came up with the idea to be Jack and Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas. I searched the internet for costumes and all the Sally costumes were so generic looking and made of the most awful fabric, ugh! So I decided to make my costume. Here it is as a WIP:






And the final result!








All Dressed up and ready to go!


Happy Halloween!


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Got Time? You Will Need It For This One!

Well it has been several weeks since I returned from my vacation to Mountain View. I had a truly wonderful time. It has been a long while since my last post because I started a new job immediately upon my return! I had a bit of time to document my trip today so here it goes! We were able to participate in the Off The Beaten Path Studio Tour the Friday and Saturday we were there. It is where local artists participate in a tour where people can come to their houses and have a tour of their studio and learn more about what it is that they do. It was wonderful being able to be invited into their homes and get a first hand look inside their lives. It was inspiring and the creative bug hit me! The artists ranged from woodworkers, weavers, candle makers, paper makers, jewelry makers, painters, fabric artists, quilters, and the list goes on. Visit the link to learn more about each of the participating artists. But here, I will give you an inside look into the artists I enjoyed the most.


I really enjoyed the weaver. She is such a neat and talented lady. She gave me and my sister a one on one crash course session into weaving. She even sent my sister home with a loom to use!






The picture is of the weaver, Arlone. Here is one of her WIP's and finished products. She is very talented.






I also enjoyed the candle maker. She gave us a demonstration on how to make candles. She also let us in on some great tricks and tips on finishing techniques. Her studio was fabulous! Needless to say, I purchased many candles from her. As a matter of fact, I have a few lit right now! I think my favorite scent is Sauna. It is made with patchouli, sandalwood, and eucalyptus. She is usually a wholesaler but, since she was participating in the tour ,she allowed individual sales. Naturally that made me very very happy!





This is Leon and Dwight. They are fabulous woodworkers super friendly! They have a great woodworking studio and showed us the process of how they make thier wooden bowls. The bowls were all beautifully made.





Leon had the sweetest little dog, Digger, who wanted to play catch. Once you started he would not let you stop either! He would pick up any stick he could find and place it on the ground in front of you and expect you to pick it up and throw it.




video


He had a little tiny stick he wanted my niece Violet to throw to him. She did it once and thought that was enough!




This lady was really neat. Her name is Chere. She makes Jewelry out of polymer clay. The jewelry is fabulous. I don't know how she does it but, she can make the clay look like real stones! I was certainly impressed.







She also gave us a step by step demonstration on how to make paper. I have always wanted to make paper and can't wait to give it a try. It is so much easier than I thought. I took notes during the demo so I could remember how it is done. Maybe I will do that this weekend. She just uses junk mail to make her paper. What a great way to use all the junk mail that normally goes in the trash!

















Yes, that is polymer clay. Hard to believe!














There were so many other artists that we saw. It was a really well put together tour. They will be doing it again next year for those that may be interested!


We stayed in the cutest little cabin. It had a "Gone With The Wind" theme to it. It was a cozy little cabin, nestled around many trees. There was a great front porch with several rocking chairs. I spent many nights out there just sitting listening to nature and enjoying the nice cool weather. It was so peaceful.






The cabin had a great kitchen and on our last night there my sister made a blackberry pie. It was so yummy!! This is the pie in the mid pie making process.



The farmers market we went to was alot of fun. That was the first morning that it was cold. I believe it was about 50 degrees or maybe a bit warmer. But none the less, I loved it! In Texas it is still 90 degrees out so the cool weather was a nice break from all the heat. There was a man selling eggs there. He was the hot ticket and got most the business. He even gave us 12 dozen eggs out of the kindness of his heart. I love farm fresh eggs. They are such a pretty color of brown and light green!





Next to us was a lady named Stitch. Boy, was she ever a stitch! This lady was very eccentric. She was the life of the party! I walked with her across the square because she wanted company as she needed to go to the general store to get her morning chocolate milk. She told me all about the history of Mountain View during our walk and introduced me to the general store staff. You can see her here with her legs hanging out the back of her VW bus talking to my sister. She got her nick name because she stitches up clothing. She is a tailor.






There was also the cutest little man who was there selling his hand carved fish and ducks. Honestly, I have never seen more beautifully done work. His carvings were so intricate to detail. He and his wife were from out of town visiting. They were staying in Mountain View for about 2 weeks. They love Mountain View and this was their 4th trip there!








There was the cutest neighborhood kitty who came to check things out. He caught eye of those fish sitting in the back of the wood carvers truck and wanted to catch one for himself. He darted across the street with his little collar jingling to announce his arrival. When he got close he realized the fish were not real and came over to check out our stuff!





The market was alot of fun and I got to meet and talk to alot of really neat people. I think that was the best part of it all. At first we thought it was going to be a bust because when we first arrived no one was there. We were feeling a bit sad about it because we had looked so forward to it. We drove around a bit and decided to go back and check to see if anyone showed up and sure enough sellers had started to arrive. Hopefully we can do it again!

All in all the trip was a blast and fun was had by all. It is nice to take a vacation like that every now and again. Mountain View is really a beautiful place and everyone who loves the mountains should visit at least once in their life.


Oh my, how could I forget! My sister and I went to Marshal Dry Goods! The mecca of fabric stores! Oh my, the massive amounts of fabric in this place was unreal! The fabric was SUPER CHEAP! There was fabric at $1.00 a yard! There was designer fabric too, for next to nothing! Take a look at my loot! Get ready for alot of pictures of fabric. All you fabric lovers out there I am sure will not mind!

I love this one, it is very 70's. I have no idea just yet what I am going to do with it but I love it!











Well, I love this one too. I think I may make a few zipper pouches out of it. I love the dress forms and thread. Maybe even some coasters for my craft room! The possibilities are endless!












Then there is this. Adorable and I had to have it. It reminded me of 50's housewife. It was so cute and vintage looking. Unfortunately, I could not get my camera to take a good picture of it.













Who doesn't like the 3 little pigs? How cute is this fabric!!











Okay, hang in there, almost done. I really liked this one. I kept coming back to it and finally decided I needed it! I ended up getting much yardage because I have plans for this one!











Free Spirit. Need I say more? Love it.











This had a sweet English feel to it. I think I am going to make a tote out of it, among many other things. The fabric itself is actually slightly blurred. I thought it gave it some classic charm.









Okay, I am done. If you are still there, I cannot believe you made it! You have participated in reading my longest blog ever! Congrats! You deserve a reward! Hmm...maybe a recipe post soon? We will see!


Time to make dinner and watch Desperate Housewives!!


Cheers everyone!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Food

Last night I made one of my favorite sandwiches to eat. The weather has been a little cooler and it is just starting to feel like fall so...I pulled out this recipe that reminds me of fall for some reason.

Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Sandwiches with Red Onions and Goat Cheese and Sweet Potato Wedges:
















The recipe came from my November 2004 issue of Cooking Light. I love that magazine!! I just got one in the mail today. I am going to read on the drive to Arkansas tomorrow.



3/4c balsamic vinegar

1/2c dry red wine

1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 (6oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/12c thinly sliced red onion

1 (3oz.) pack of goat cheese

4 whole wheat/grain buns



1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook until reduces to 1/3c (about 12 minutes). Remove from heat. Cool slightly (**Warning this stuff is scalding hot! Be careful. I burned my hand very badly once from sloshing this on myself by accident**).

2. While vinegar mixture is cooking, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan, cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done (I usually cook them longer). Remove chicken from pan and thinly slice. Cover and keep warm.

3. Add oil to pan; reduce temp to medium-low. Add onion, cook for 5 minutes or until onion is soft and beginning to brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

4. Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons goat cheese evenly over bottom half of bun, divide sliced chicken and onion evenly over rolls. Drizzle each serving with about 1 tablespoon balsamic mixture and top with other half of bun. You can also add arugula if you like.

Yields 4 servings.



I also made some lemon drop cookies and Oatmeal muffins for the trip. The oatmeal muffins turned out great. I added extra Cinnamon and used almond extract instead of vanilla.






I may post these recipes a little later. Now I am off to the Herb n' Health to pick some stuff up for the trip.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Eeeeeee!

I just checked my Etsy and I sold another item. This time it was the Summer Jordy Bag. I am excited because I really like this one. Jordy's are my favorite bag to carry.


I am going to include a little something extra as a gift. Anyhoo, that is it. Have a good night!


Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm In Love...

....with this Anna Maria fabric that arrived in the mail today. It is absolutely gorgeous! I love the colors. It is so whimsical!




I am going to make something with it tomorrow. I want to make a bag to take with me on my upcoming trip. As I always say, a girl can never have too many bags!!
Also, I have been working on new shrinky dink pendants for the shop. This one had a bit of a bleeding issue when I sprayed on the fixative but...since then I have worked out the kinks







Also, I made a new market bag today. I will post pictures of it tomorrow. Tomorrow, aside from working on my own bag, I think I am going to make a few zipper bags for the Market. I am rockin' and rollin'!!

Have a good night!


Cheers!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday Afternoon Crafting

Well, my trip to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and niece is coming up. I am going with my parents and of course that means leaving at the crack of dawn on Thursday morning. Yep, 5am is apparently the time the ship is sailing, so I have decided to spend the night at my parents house on Wednesday.
I have been trying to get some items ready to go for the Stone County Farmer's Market. It is right on the Square, where all the action is. I am sure going to be in trouble if the booth I am sharing with my sister is facing the Stonebrook Fudge Factory. If that does happen, more than likely, I will be dreaming about their wonderful tiger butter fudge. I will probably go buy a pound of it and eat the whole thing in a matter of minutes, then feel remorseful (if I don't go into a sugar coma first) and will want to take a long walk through the mountains to burn off the calories :-).

When I woke up this morning I started sewing in preparation for the market. It seemed as though Ziggy was very intrigued in my sewing and maybe wanted to learn himself.


I sewed together several snap wallets. I had my own little sweat shop going on.



However, rather unfortunately, I ran out of snaps. Poo. I guess that is just another excuse to go to Jo Ann's tomorrow!


I have sew, uh...I mean so (yep I know bad, very bad) much work left to do. Good thing I am off next week, again! I am in the middle of changing jobs. My last day of hospice was yesterday. A co-worker and I went to a cute little restaurant in town called Lili's for lunch. We had that yummy looking chicken salad sandwich to the left. Great place to have lunch or dinner with fairly reasonable prices. Not to mention the atmosphere is fantastic!
Now, I am off to make dinner. I am going to make a little pizza like last time but this time I am going to use mozzarella and goat cheese with caramelized onions. LOVE the goat cheese!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Swapping Fun

I recently entered a swap on craftster a few weeks ago. Swaps are so much fun. I received my swap package from my partner today. Wow, she is absolutely fantastic. The bag she made for me is perfect. I am going on a trip to visit my sister next week and I will most certainly be using this bag to carry along a little road trip crafting supplies.



She used colors that I love together, red and turquoise. She also sewed little beads on the bag..such a nice touch to detail.

On each side of the bag she added little read heart buttons. I am telling you...such attention to detail! ;-)



I love the bamboo handles too. Every time I go in Jo Ann's I walk past the bamboo handles and admire them. Now, I have my own bag made with them.

Swaps are so much fun. I highly recommend them if you have not tried it. Just go right over here and sign up to be a member of craftster and then you are all set! I am still working on the bag for my partner. After she receives it I will post pictures but just in case she takes a look at my blog, I don't want to ruin the fun!

I have also been working on a few bags for myself well, because a girl just can't have too many bags. I went to this fantastic fabric store in town called Cabbage Rose and purchased Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner fabric. I first went with my sister when she was in town visiting. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Then a few days later, I went back with my friend and she showed me the most important part of the store that I completely missed the first time I went in, the sale room. I got a lot of Anna Maria fabric on sale for a steal!!! So exciting. I had my eye on the Joel Dewberry sparrows fabric the first time I was there with my sister. So, of course when I went in the next time I had to purchase it. I am saving it for something special because the fabric is beautiful.

This is what I made with the Amy Butler fabric using an Amy Karol pattern. I love the way it turned out.










I also used some of the Anna Maria fabric I had to make a pleated purse. I kinda like how it turned out but I am certainly going to re-vamp it and make it much better. First shot at it, not so bad.

I still have some other things in the works and will be posting again soon. For now, I need to go finish cooking up my chicken Cesar salad! Yum!
Cheers!

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