Welcome to my blog! I hope to make your visit worthwhile and reward you with some new inspirations, sewing and recycling, crafts tutorials and recipes. Please add yourself as a follower, so that you will automatically be updated when I post something new! Please comment, I appreciate sharing mutual interests, like sewing, crafting, cooking and of course eating well! I am a former Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, I sub in 3 school systems and moonlight at a retail ladies clothing store. which sometimes allows me to indulge my creative energies. A wife, a mom through adoption, Christian, boomer and a member of the sandwich generation I hope to share my unique perspectives and help you with some of yours!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fresh New Look

Ok, I was getting tired of my old brown and beigey blog template, and ventured into the world of Cutest Blog on the Block free templates. I am not sure whether the colors work with the newer blogger template I picked, but it will have to do, as I have to get back to chores. If you follow, leave me a comment about whether you like the look or not. Or better yet, give me suggestions, I could really use a tutorial or two on photo layout and design. The cute girls are my two nieces, the one in sunglasses is graduating from high school next weekend, see next post for what she will receive in the mail. My daughter is enjoying the attention; we visited them 3 years ago, on a business trip through South Carolina. All three girls pictured have gotten taller and so much more mature!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Graduation Gift Idea

**Memory Sham**
I created this Memory Pillow Sham for my my sister's middle daughter who is graduating next week from high school. I have so enjoyed the fun Christmas greetings with the 3 girls that she sent over the years, that I made a montage of the pics and stitched them into a velvet pillow sham she can take to college or decorate an apartment with. I would imagine she will have some separation pains as she will be attending a school in Charleston, some 4 hours from home. So I had to make a little something that she can bring to remind her of home. I hope she isn't reading this, it is supposed to be a surprise. I used laser printer iron on paper, from pictures scanned in. I fused to plain black cotton, trimmed like picture frames, and then stitched it down on the front panel before I constructed the sham. I made the back split with a velvet edge and added velcro so that the whole thing is easy off and on. The sham should fit a standard bed pillow, and I packaged it up to mail, minus the pillow, for her to use with one of her own. I had fun with printing them, and made a few more images to make into stuff for myself.

**Abby the Cat **
The extra cat we have been taking care of found a new home yesterday. This is a picture of her new mommy, who found her on a Save a Pet Website, and then met me at PetSmart. I am hopeful Abby will enjoy being the only pet; she had way too much competition with my other cats and dog. I will miss her rubbing my face and walking over my keyboard, and keeping my office chair warm and fuzzy. But it is for the best, for all concerned.

**My Kate**
And lastly, my daughter, pictured here all dressed up for an orchestra concert at school. It is a rare picture of her smiling and not hiding from the camera.
And on the soccer field, bottom row, second from the left.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We wait all year for this...

Ahhhh, spring! Walking the dog around the block adds another layer of awareness, the smells of lilac and fresh mown grass, the sights and colors, we wait all year for. And for a fleeting week or two, I get the azaleas and dogwood to show off for all to see! I wish I could keep it, but I know that it is there for us to appreciate all we went through this past winter, to get to the days where winter was a past memory.

I find myself thinking of things to share on my blog, and somehow my mind always turns to food. I tried a great recipe tonight that I want to share. And a great tip, if you haven't tried it yet, is to go to http://www.allrecipes.com/ click the Ingredients tab, and put in the blanks the food ingredients that you want to cook with, and hit return. Usually there is a nice list of recipes to choose from, with stars given from reviewers like yourself. I haven't had a bad recipe yet! Try it, you will enjoy the ease of use and speed of finding a recipe.

Loved the fresh tastes this meal brought to us tonight...I copied it with all the credits due, here.

Chicken and Pasta in a Mango Cream Sauce

Submitted By: SHAGGYDEE
Photo By: LynnInHK
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Ready In: 50 Minutes
Servings: 4
"This creamy, cheesy pasta dish is very rich and has a subtle, fruity flavour. It was an experiment that turned out to be delicious. Enjoy."
8 ounces uncooked rigatoni pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves -
1 onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 mango - peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
4 sprigs fresh parsley, for garnish
1.Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add rigatoni pasta, cook for 8 minutes, until almost done, and drain.
2.Heat 1/2 the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in the skillet, and cook 10 minutes, or until juices run clear. Remove from heat, and set aside.
3.Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet, and cook the onion and green pepper until tender. Mix in the garlic, ginger, and mango, and continue to cook and stir 5 minutes, or until mango is soft. Gradually mix the heavy cream into the skillet, and cook 5 minutes, until thickened.
4.Return the chicken to the skillet. Stir in the partially cooked pasta, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir 2 minutes, until ingredients are well blended and pasta is al dente. Mix in the cheese. Garnish with parsley to serve.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com
Printed from Allrecipes.com 5/13/2009

And here is a picture of my version, I left out the parmesan cheese, plenty of flavor in the sauce...

And a picture showing "ride your bike to school and work" week, with just about every bike owned by our middle schoolers in town. What a sight, every morning, no bike racks can contain them all, rain or shine. I have been enjoying my bike as well, using it for all the mundane tasks without spending a dime on gas. We have the luxury of living in a town where everything you need except clothing stores is right here. A mile or so away is a luxury mall, but no underwear sold there, so you still have to get into a car for the ride to Walmart or Target. Guess I like living in the "bubble" as we villagers affectionately call it.
Off to bed for now, enjoy...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers' Day Contest Winner and Thoughts

Some Mothers Day Poems to celebrate the day, I keep tucked in my kids' baby books.

First, from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, whom I first learned of in college and whose words have such resonance...
"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you,and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls,for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday."

Once there were two women
Who hardly knew each other
One you do not remember
The other you call mother
Two different lives shaped to make yours one
One becoming your guiding star
The other became your sun
The first gave you life
And the second taught you to live in it
The first gave you a need for love
And the second was there to give it
One gave you nationality
The other gave you a name
One gave you the seed of talent
The other gave you an aim

One gave you emotions
The other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile
The other dried your tears
The age old questions through the years;
Heredity or environment - which are you the product of ?
Neither my darling - neither
Just two different kinds of love!

Bittersweet, yes, but love is the underlying emotion, deep love that is hard to define. I still remember every moment as if it were yesterday, the first moments of seeing my son and later my daughter. Joy and the awe of the strength of the birth parents to choose us to parent their precious children. Through it all, hard and easy times, I am grateful for the opportunity. (We are grateful, I speak for my hubby too as I see it in his eyes as he remembers the special moments in our lives as a family).
Well, I chose a winner randomly with the random generator web site, and the winner of the Vintage Needlebook is: Jessica at HappyTogether...I am so glad, she has been a loyal follower, and a real friend! Watch for it in the mail, Jessica, God bless you on Mothers' Day!

I know my contests are only seen by a few, but I love the idea of making more blogger friends and sharing ideas, I think it is cool to give back to a few here and there.

One more gift to share, my mothers' Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe, the birthday cake that is asked for more than any others. It is rich and chocolatey of course. I made cupcakes to celebrate Mom's Day, and had to top with the special fudge frosting. Yum!

Here it is, print and keep near the Baking Cabinet!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

3 sq. unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
2 1/4 c sifted cake flour
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 t baking soda
1 c sour cream
1/2 t salt
1 c boiling water
1/2 c butter
2 1/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
Melt chocolate. Cool. Grease and flour 3 cake pans. Sift flour, baking soda and salt onto wax paper. Beat butter till soft in a large bowl. Add brown sugar and eggs; beat with mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and cooled melted chocolate.
Stir in dry ingredients alternately with sour cream, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition, until batter is smooth. Stir in boiling water. Batter will be thin. Pour at once in to prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 35 minutees.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

4 squares unsweetened chocolate 1/2 c milk
1/2 c butter 2 t vanilla
1 lbs confectioners sugar

Melt chocolate. Cream butter and add melted chocolate. Gradually add confectioners sugar and beat till smooth. Add milk till nice and creamy. Add vanilla.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Win a Vintage Needle Book Contest

Post your favorite sewing memory of your mom, in honor of Mother's Day, and win your mom or yourself one of my Vintage Needle Books. Go to my etsy shop to view the 5 needlebooks featured in my shop. Come back to my site, and post your memory and which one you would pick for yourself or for a gift. I will mail it to whomever you choose. If the color you picked is no longer available, I will make a custom one. Contest is being extended to May 10th, 6:00pm. Eastern Standard time. I will randomly pick a number and announce the winner on Mother's Day. Please pass this along to others bloggers out there, it is a small prize, but I know the comments are heartfelt. Mother's Day has always been harder for me since my mom passed away, and before that, it was bittersweet, as my hubby and I were infertile. Even later when I adopted my two kids, I felt there was another mother out there perhaps thinking of the child she couldn't raise, so for most of my married life, it has been a day I pause and think about, and thank God for, the unselfish act of the two young mothers choosing us to parent their children. What a privilege and a sacrifice.

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