Saturday, March 21, 2009

Delightful Site



*This site* was sooo much fun to see that I must share it. It all began with a Google search for swans. I never expected to find all these delights plus this swan. What an incredible doll maker!

By the way, Easter is on its way and last year I made bunny rabbits for the grands. If anyone sees something sweet and doable, please share. I'll thank you in advance.

Enjoy your weekend, Dear One!

*Pictures used by permission of the artist Tamar Mogendorff

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Proper Centerpiece and a Beautiful Gift



It's that season once again known as the dreaded tax season. My dining room table has been a fright show with papers piled here and there. Plus there was much shredding to be done. The only decoration was the tray of vitamins and salt and pepper shakers. Not a charming look. Fine for a kitchen table, but not so fine for the main table in the home.

After I visited LaTeaDah at Gracious Hospitality and read her post entitled Centerpieces ala Spring, I received fresh insight into why it's important to have a beautiful centerpiece on the dining table. I promised myself that once that chore of paper pushing was complete I'd be able to do my table right.

By late afternoon, most of the shredding was complete, most of the bills had been paid, and most of the paperwork had been properly filed. When I opened my mail, I found further reason to get it together because my gift from Karen Harvey Cox @ A Scrapbook of Inspiration had arrived.



This gift is very special to me because it was given at a difficult time for Karen and her girls. They were about to lose a precious family friend named Dapper. Karen was following a lesson her mother had taught her that in difficult times one gives a gift. Talk about an amazing life lesson. It's one that I won't forget. Thank you, Karen, for your generosity in a grieving season.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Potato Peeling 101

Last night found me trying this new method of peeling potatoes. I first saw it on a Japanese site a few years ago and promptly forgot about it until... Well first the photo showing me peeling a potato.



Yes, I test everything I present to you. The point is that it really does work! You can see Dawn Wells do it even better on the video clip from You Tube. It's less than two fascinating minutes long. (The other fascinating thing is that Miss Wells was born in 1938. Sigh.)



When it comes time to making potato salad, I hope that I remember this one. Oh wait! I don't peel my potatoes for potato salad. Hmmm, this may just work to amaze your friends the way the banana trick did.

Heading off to do a little dance of joy that winter is so nearly done... Perhaps you'll be doing a happy dance, too!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What in the World is Going On?



Things are happening in the oak grove next door just in case you don't think that anything ever happens around here. What would give you that idea anyway? Is it because I never have anything exciting to report? No matter, all of that has changed as of last Saturday when two people were discovered hugging a tree on my neighbor's back lawn. I could not imagine what they were up to. Let's take a closer look, shall we?



Hmmm, still not quite close enough...



Ahhh, I see a bucket! Huh? What?



This one's almost full...



So this oak grove that I've been living in for over 15 years is really a bunch of maples? Where did all those squirrels and acorns come from? What kind of maple syrup does oak sap make?

Guess that I've been laboring under some false impressions. I do that a lot it seems. How about you?

Have a fun Wednesday! I think I'll go call my neighbor...

ETA: Mystery solved...see my comment in the comment section.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Feel Irish

Wishing you all a Happy St. Patty's Day. I'm wearing a sign today that says "Kiss me, I think I'm Irish."

I wish that I were making Pat's Irish Stew, but instead I'm making Campbell's Creamy Potato Soup.

Creamy Irish Potato Soup

From: Campbell's Kitchen
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

Serves: 5
This rich and creamy potato soup is subtly flavored with celery and green onions. It's the kind of soup you'll want to savor slowly...even though it's ready in just 35 minutes.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. butter
4 medium green onions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 3/4 cups Swanson® Chicken Broth OR Natural Goodness™ or Certified Organic Chicken Broth
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
3 medium potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups milk

Directions:

HEAT butter in saucepan. Add onions and celery and cook until tender.
ADD broth, black pepper and potatoes. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 15 min. or until potatoes are tender.
PLACE half the broth mixture and half the milk in blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth. Repeat with remaining broth mixture and remaining milk. Return to saucepan. Heat through.

Source

Of course, I'll bake soda bread, too. I wish that I were baking Carol's. Mine will be a less tasty version I can tell already.

Just wanted to share a photo I took last night of a certain husband wearing a different shirt. One of my commenters, who'll remain unnamed, suggested that my hubby's wearing the same shirt in every photo was more the photographer's fault. Well I never!

In case you missed the wall hanging velcroed on the piano, I did pop it into yesterday's post at the end. My niece says that she'll give me four songs and I can do a poll and she'll practice and then I can take a video for my blog. What a fun offer! I'm going to take her up on it, too.

Well, I'm off to find a Swede who feels like being Irish for today so I can give him a big kiss. Have a great day!

Photo Source: Dover Publishing

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Gift for My Niece

Over the weekend I worked on the project for my niece's birthday. It's been one of those things that came together so slowly and was so vague that I feared whether it would come together at all. Flea market visits were always made with "the project" in mind and several purchases were made that were not used in the end...a daffodil plate, a small vintage bottle, some lace; they'll get used in other projects, I'm sure.

It began with the gathering of quotes using my niece's favorite singers and tossing in one that I especially loved.



I used Dawn's method and can't recommend the purchase of her tutorials enough...$10 is a bargain for all the information one receives. I'd have had to take a class to find all these tips.



I know that these sorts of images can be done on PhotoShop, but I don't know enough about PhotoShop to accomplish it. The photo above is a sheet of my music with cut images from other sources...both The Feathered Nest and The Vintage Moth, I believe. I literally copied them and printed them and cut them by hand and placed them on the sheet music and scanned them into the computer. It took forever! Good thing that my beloved was reading to me all the time. His voice is so soothing.



Then I played with the layout. At first, I thought that I'd be using painter's cloth for the background, but in a moment of serendipity when I was using placemats from the table for a size reference, I thought to purchase a placemat and alter it. This helped tremendously.



That vintage birthday card is the one that I also tucked into the pocket. Doesn't it look like a great March birthday card for my location? P.e.r.f.e.c.t. Even the quality of the light is the same and the level of snow and every little thing about it.





Yes, that's my favorite quote, which I stitched front and center. I also tucked a quote made into a bookmark into the pocket made from a crocheted doily or antimacassar. I created some tabs to hang the entire piece by and in the end this is how it turned out...



My niece is a very special gal who taught herself how to play the guitar and the piano. She had taken a few lessons as a child, but had hated them. Even though she sounded great, she really wanted to know how to play the piano properly so began taking lessons over a year ago. She found a teacher who respected her talent and ability to play along with her need to know the basics. It's been a great combination and I'm very proud of her. She says that she is going to hang this on the end of her piano and use it to hold some of her music notebooks. I'd love to see how she's planning that and if I ever get a photo of it, I'll add it to this post.

Thanks for visiting me today! Have a wonderful Monday...

Edited to Add:

Nothing that a little velcro can't handle!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Love of God

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

~Frederick M. Lehman



Some weeks ago, God and I were having a rough go of it. Strike that. I was having a rough go of it and took God along for the ride. I spent an entire morning speaking ill of the Father. (This is going to shock a few of you.) I said things like "God doesn't care. God doesn't come through when we need Him. He never has done a thing when I've asked him to. He always takes His own sweet time." And on and on I went. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't faith-filled.

Somewhere in the middle of my rant, I heard that still small voice. You'll be surprised at what it said, but first let me say why I think that a still small voice was heard in the first place. I don't often hear it; it never sounds like anything that I would say or think; and it redirects my racing, stinking thinking. It's always so quiet that it amazes me I can hear it at all given my whirling thoughts.

Okay, this is what the voice said: Say 'You.'

Me: Say what?

The Voice: Say 'You.'

Me: Okay, I don't get it.

The Voice: Say You. Talk directly to me.

Me: Ahhhh...

"You don't care. You don't come through when I need You. You never do anything when I need You to. You always take Your own sweet time."

Only thing is, I didn't get past "You don't care." My hard heart was melted like snow. He allowed me to know smack in the middle of my complaints that He did care. Has my situation changed? No. Do I think that it will? Yes, it must. Do I believe that God has my best interests at heart and is on the case? Absolutely.

Listen for that still small voice. You may be surprised by what He has to say to you today.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Veezie's Easy Peasy Swiss Cheese Chicken



Veezie's Easy-Peasy Swiss Cheese Chicken

Ingredients:

* 4 boneless chicken breasts
* 1 can cream of chicken soup
* ¼ cup water
* 1 package Stove Top chicken stuffing
* ½ cup melted butter
* Swiss cheese slices

Method:

* Arrange the chicken in a 13×9 pan sprayed with Pam.
* Place a slice of Swiss cheese on each chicken breast.
* Mix water and soup together and pour on top of chicken.
* Sprinkle dry stuffing mix on top of chicken.
* Drizzle butter evenly over the top.
* Bake at 350° for 40–45 minutes.

My notation for this recipe: This was just yummy!
It was a definite two thumbs up and very easy to modify for two. Try it; you'll like it!

Edited to Add:

Oh my! Manuela just mentioned in comments that Stove Top stuffing has a lot of sodium. I checked! Yes! TOO much.



The next time I make this recipe, I'll be trying the following recipe for the stuffing mix. Way less sodium!


Home Made Instant Stuffing

Ingredients:
6 cups cubed bread
3 tsp. vegetable, chicken or beef bouillon granules or 3 cubes
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/2 cup dried minced celery
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350*F. Bake bread cubes for 8 to 10 minutes or until dry. In a large bowl, toss bread with remaining ingredients until evenly coated. Store in airtight container. It will keep for 1 to 4 months or 12 months frozen.
To prepare, combine 2 cups stuffing mix with 1/2 cup water and 2 Tbls. melted butter.

Yields about 7 cups

Source

Thanks, Manuela! I appreciated the head's up.

And now, just because I have a better pic of my beloved...



Disclaimer: This man has gazillion shirts! Why he always settles on this one... Must be a comfort thing.

Edited to Add Again:

Thanks to Miss Sandy's offering this dish for supper tonight at the Quill, I have photos to share.




Yummmmmmm, makes me want to make it all over again. Thanks so much, Miss Sandy!

Friday, March 13, 2009

What? No Chickadees?



Wonder what's in this wonderful package?! Huh? Huh? You know you do, but I'm not tellin' until you read the back story! I'll talk fast.

You may remember this post when I shared my grands' Thomas the Train bedroom decals and wished that I could find some decals of that quality for my project.

Gotta love serendipity or God breezes or whatever.you.wish.to.call.it, but Linda at Restyled Home featured Paul Wilson a decal artist in a post called Stuck on Wall Art. Linda provided her readers with a link to Paul's site. Naturally, I zipped right over and I really liked what I saw. Just one problem — no chickadees!

I casually, humorously (I hope) mentioned it in Linda's comments' section that day. Very soon thereafter, I received a sweet email from Paul Wilson himself offering me free chickadee decals. True it was that he had none, but he'd make them up and send them to me. All that I had to do was tell him what I was looking for. Now I ask you, how can a gal turn down an offer like that?!

So here are the contents of the package...





Yes! Chickadees in several sizes and poses. I love the comical upward glance that one chickadee has. My favorites are the tiny actual life-sized ones.

Just so I could try the process from start to finish, I did place one of the larger ones on my cabinet. The directions were thorough and thus it was an easy application. Now I am putting these away for my real project, which will involve kitchen cabinets at my beloved's.



Paul's Etsy site is right →here← where you can see his amazing work. He has much to see and enjoy. You can also visit his web site at Wilson Graphics. I hope that you'll do both!

Paul, thank you so much.

And a happy chick-a-dee-dee day to you all...



ETA: And you can have some, too, right here... My Little Chickadees Decal

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March Dreams

March is a month of considerable frustration — it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away. ~Thalassa Cruso



Yup, that's a picture taken just moments ago. Still plenty of the white stuff with no bare ground showing. Last night, I had the most wonderful dream...after a day of rain and fog (just as we really had), all the snow had melted overnight. The grass was green and there were purple and white flowers growing all over my neighbor's lawn. It was so beautiful that I rushed right out to gather a bouquet, though I did stop long enough to rap on the window to let John know that things were brightening.

Sometimes dreams are just so lovely...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And So It Goes

The projects continue...



My mother gave me my grandmother's vintage chenille bedspread some months ago and it had been sitting in the sewing room since. At first, I thought that I would cut it up into pillows because it had a fair amount of damage, but because of the center pattern, I just couldn't. Instead, I removed the damaged upper edge leaving about two-thirds of the spread. I used a zig-zag stitch to hem it and, hopefully, I've disguised it well enough to use on my bed by folding down the comforter over the top.





(Sorry about the photo quality...another dreary, wintry day here.)

The project that I am puttering with for my niece (the one who thinks this blog is all "Martha Stewart and dull") is coming along slowly. It will include these quotes about music already printed up on fabric and, hopefully, I'll have something more to show soon.



After all that work on streamlining my blog to get it to load faster and somehow I was tempted yet again to slow it down. A Woman Who Is IS responsible for this! =>

You would not believe how much I blog hopped right here in my own blog after that widget was installed. Very tempting! Anyway, if the page is loading too slowly for you, please let me know. I've never had the option to have similar subject material listed at the end of each post because I edit so much. This seemed a good alternative. I do wish that it would stick with the first three it selects for a post without continually rotating.

Thanks for visiting...I promise to slow down long enough for a cup of coffee and a muffin soon!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trust Hope Love







Today is for making big messes...

Source of Inspiration

Monday, March 9, 2009

Flea Market Finds

O brother! Am I ever late! It's my habit to do a post the day before or several days before and then, using post options, to have it post for the following day at 5:30 am. I don't know where I lost my habit, but I hope to find it again.

Just wanted to share two flea market finds this morning. One thing that I have noticed in this economy is that the flea markets are filled with browsing shoppers. We had birthday gift certificates to spend. I say "we" lightly. He had birthday gift certificates to spend, but he has a candy heart and so gladly shared. The swan, we collect them, has a little chip on the back wing and now I've learned from Penny and Manuela that that just doesn't count. Before that, I would've left it sit right where I found it, but it's so lovely and graceful and holds my birthday carnations from nearly three weeks ago beautifully.



This cheese cover, only $1, perfectly rests on this plate so I am using it as a small cloche. It's just large enough for the wee nest in a teacup. I really like it a lot.



Have a happy Monday and a great start to this new week!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lord, Help Me to See Them as You Do

photo reprinted from here

When I think about God's Creation, my mind goes immediately to the splendor of a mountain range, the calm waters of a serene lake where the cry of a loon can be heard or the mighty ocean waves crashing on the rockbound coast. I do not so much consider humanity.

That's why reading the following quote by C.S. Lewis gave me pause:

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and
goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting
person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you
saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship or else a
horror and corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in
a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each
other to one or other of these destinations.


It may be easy to see the glory in a singer as she reaches that amazing note crystal clear and pure, but that person who walks around town collecting bottles as a livelihood and who is often caught bathrooming behind public buildings? Yes.

Lord, help me to see him as you do.

That nimwitted one who nearly caused an accident by pulling out in front of traffic? Yes.

Lord, help me to see her as you do.

That insolent teenager? Yes.

Lord, help me to see him as you do.

The tattooed mess of a girl with her jeans so low that it reveals a snake twisted about her spine? Yes.

Lord, help me to see her as you do.

I could go on and on... Lord, help me to see them as you do!

Whom might you include in a list of your own?

On the other hand, how easy is it to look upon a baby's face and feel the reverence for that life. And does it not strike you as horrific that so many babies are tossed aside?

"We can think about ourselves too much: who we are, what we aren't, how great, how horrible, how full of potential. But we can never think too often and too deeply about the welfare and potential and well-being of those around us — about the wonder they are. The value that's placed on human life is the litmus test of character and soul for an individual, a society, or a nation."
~ Janet Chester Bly

(emphasis my own)

"With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image." James 3:9

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Letters, Packages, Ribbons, and Bows



Just sharing my pretty envelope from a certain Auntie whom I love around here. I have been shaking faerie dust off everything for a while now. ;>



And in the same day's post a package from Robin with extras tucked in. Shop with Etsy or with Ebay or from some of our wonderful blogging buddies and you'll know the joy of finding a unique, one-of-a-kind item.

Oddly enough, it was Aunt Amelia's where I first saw this darling picture and thought to myself that it would look sweet in my sewing room. Fine. Fast forward just a few short days and there it was at Robin's The Punkin Peddler.



Look at the other treasures that Robin tucked in...I so love the decorated clothespins, which I have already put to work.





See how prettily everything was wrapped and just look at the ribbon, which is a gift, too. I couldn't resist doing this with it...



That idea was borrowed directly from something Melissa shared at The Inspired Room yesterday.

Thanks to both Aunt Amelia and Robin! You gals know how to make a day brighter.

Have a happy, restful weekend.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kitty Cat

Do you all have a little stash of ideas or photos for use on your blogs? Quite a number of them exist here. Ninety-nine per cent never get used. I was planning to go in quite a different direction this morning until...

This morning while my beloved ran to the store for the morning paper and some milk, I busied myself in the kitchen getting breakfast ready — oatmeal, orange juice, our vitamins measured out, the coffee perking — the usual. When I sat down at my place, there was a cute little fuzzball perched by my bowl looking at me. My beloved obviously extended his shopping list.



Tiny little kitty cat has been placed on a high shelf out of harm's way. If Miss Fioré ever finds her, she'll not know that it's a kitten, she'll think mouse.

Another wintry mix here today, but that does not prevent me from wishing you a warm almost-spring day!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Perhaps Today Is The Day?

...that we shall see how this looks on the gal and not on the hook?

Don't you love it when all the loose ends get tied up into one neat tidy package? I do! That's why I'm so happy to send you right over to see Lovella wearing the new apron that she won on my recent giveaway. She wears it beautifully! (And do look for the added bonus in wearing one of these aprons.)

Have a happy day, Dear Ones...