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, August 31, 2010

A Blog Anniversary, New Linky Party and a Sept 12th Giveaway, EXTENDED!

I am adding a link here to "Giveaway Scout" a website dedicated to alerting readers of giveaways and contests that are offered up on favorite blogs.  They automatically scan thousands of blogs to bring you the latest blog giveaways, sweepstakes and contests.

I missed celebrating my first Blogging milestone, so to make it up, I am holding a Linky Party Giveway.  Simply grab my Badge, add it to your gadgets on your blog, post your link in the "linky"  to your favorite tutorial or latest creation on your blog and comment to tell me you did both.  You will be entered into a contest to win a fab new book.  Indicate which one you'd prefer.  The Cool Girl's Guide to Crochet by Nicki Trench or Gifts from the Kitchen by Love Food.  (crazy, name for an author, not!)   I am extending this giveaway, and you don't have to put a badge on your blog, or even be a blogger to enter.  Simply comment on this post below, and tell me or submit a link to a creation or tutorial you liked.  I know I don't have many followers, but I was hoping to generate a few more with this opportunity.  Spread the word!

The Crochet Book is pretty hip, it covers crocheting through the decades, gives a nod to a couple of the ones I have lived through, with patterns from each one.  There are simple picture instructions and fun anectdotes, I hope I can read a bit before it is gone.  I love the beautiful pics of the Gifts book, and believe it or not, there are a lot of recipes in here I haven't tried or seen before.  Once you wipe up the drool, you are inspired to make a food gift for someone special next time.

 Got you excited?  Click Mister L and add yourself here... for name, either your own or the name of your creation...:)

Using random generators, I will choose 2 winners, hopefully they won't want the same book!   Each will receive a book, after I communicate to find out which and where.  I have enjoyed posting on linky parties; it is a great way to find blogs with your interests and to make new friends!  I hope you will visit here each week to see what I have to say, and to see what this community is busy doing! 

This has been a busy week for our family, busy in real estate, showing properties, and for getting back to school for my daughter and myself.  I have been subbing every day and I started 2 graduate classes in Ed. Technology, so I have been scrambling to try to simplify our lives and meal prep.  We have been experiencing another heat wave here in Cleveland, which has been hard for our students to bear. Unlike the south and west, most of our older school buildings are not air conditioned. So these first weeks of school can be pretty draining.  Topping it off tonight, daughter, friend and I are on are way to Jonas Bros. so we should have a pretty hard time getting up tomorrow.  Count on it!

A great hot weather meal, I made recently detailed in pics below; Fresh Shrimp Salad.   The following meal is a simple one, with few ingredients. Note the use of packaged romain, as my garden salad days are ending.

Fresh Shrimp Pasta Salad

No written recipe for this one, simply gather all the fresh veggies and herbs you have on hand, wash and chop them.  Using pre- cooked pasta, chilled if you have time to, and toss all together.   We added a little honey mustard for this one.  Next to a crusty loaf a bread, you have a meal with little time and heat.  In our house, we always make too much pasta, and it is chilling on hand for quick salads.  Try letting your kids pick what goes on the plate, and add ranch dressing for dipping.  No reason to use a fork,  if you don't want to!

And be watching for a  quick craft idea, next post; I am designing and putting together a use for those longer embroidered doilies, and dresser scarves so many of us have.  I recently acquired a bunch of them.  Part of my ongoing quest, "Living with Vintage".
I will be creating a tutorial for this, so stick around, and don't forget to participate in the linky party.  Watch for the next one.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A year older, wiser and slightly heavier, but not of heart! Thank you Chocolate!

7000 visitors as of this moment in time, Monday night!  Wow, I was so excited to see 100 visitors back when I started!  Thanks to all of my visiting friends and especially to my followers!  It is so rewarding to have the support!  THANK YOU!

Quick news bit, you might have noticed the "Reap What You Sew" Badge, on the right for a linky party I am hoping to start soon, that will end on Sundays.  I will be kicking this off in time for my blog anniversary on September 12th. (Can't believe it is 2 years that I have been toiling away at this, though loving every minute)!  I will be having a giveway and details are coming soon.  I am still trying to figure out this linky stuff, but shouldn't be too long before you can participate.  Feel free to leave comments with advice!

I aged  another year since my last post.  I am having trouble remembering what age I am each year.  But now I have Facebook to remind me and others!  What did we do before this?  Well hubby made me a lucious surf and turf meal and bought me, (gasp) a chocolate torte from the big grocery nearby.  I requested a fudge on fudge confection, but even I couldn't finish it, it was just too much chocolate! It sure was pretty with a buttercream rose in the middle!

To help me celebrate, the day before my day, I called my gal friend up, and we drove across town to the mall that has my favorite store, J. Jill.  I had picked out the comfy sweater and was told by hubby that rather than order it, why not go and try it on, and buy it!  The pic doesn't show how comfy it is, but it is very shear and has a nice hand to it, especially made for menopausal chics like myself!  My actual bday had my friend and I working on a kitchen shelf piece that we sanded, white washed and repainted the tiles on top. Barely had it cleaned up and my dad, surprised me by stopping by with a brightly colored flower bouquet.

My besty friend, Max, shown here changing the tile color from blue to black to match her newly painted bistro style kitchen!

Well here goes a treat to try, it is semi-healthy, but nice and yummy and easy! 

Chocolate Oatmeal Squares Mrs. D. Tietsma, “Eet Smakelijk” cookbook

 The ingredients for this bar cookie, wholesome and straightforward, try making some today!

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

½ cup butter

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups flour

1 ½ cups oatmeal


1 (6 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (14 oz) can sweetned condensed milk

1 T. butter

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Use an ungreased 9”x13” pan. Combine brown sugar, egg, margarine, salt, vanilla, flour and oatmeal. Reserving ¼ of mixture for topping, pat remainder into pan. Combine chocolate chips, milk, butter, salt and vanilla and cook over low heat until chocolate is melted. Pour chocolate mixture over crust. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake for 25 minutes.

I neglected to take a final pic, but please refer to the pic at the top of the recipe.  These bars travel well, and freeze well too!  Choose a chocolate that you like, I also use semi-sweet Hersheys or Nestles, but I have been on a Ghiradelli kick!

School for my daughter and myself begins next week.  It is a bittersweet weekend and a rainy one, that is causing us to begin organizing for the hectic days ahead.  I have been boning up with my sewing books, in case I am called in to cover as a long term sub for the Home Ec teacher at one of my schools.  Along with my prep, I borrowed a book, from the library and then liked what I saw so much that I wrote the author, (and a fav blogger) for a signed copy.  I have it here as of yesterday, and already have cut out the pattern for the cute little a-line skirt.  I am making it in a collage format with leftover calicos from other projects.  I will blog my results as soon as I get sewing on it, perhaps tonight!  Here is the book pic, Sew Serendipity check out Kay's blog and order yourself one.  Stay tuned to see what I do with her patterns!

Thank you Kay, hope I do it justice! 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Heart Roses and Linen and a Mediterranean Garden Pasta Dish

The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns,
 oblivious of the rose....Kahil Gibran
Todays post covers my latest obsession, working with roses and linen.  Also includes gardening, birthdays and a great recipe I came up with!  Stick with me here, I want to make sure I cover recent events and provide a how to on the rose!

As to my latest obsession and my continuing quest for recycling and repurposing, I frequent my local Good Will, mainly looking for linen fabric or garments needing a new life to satisfy my need to create with this medium, specifically linen, gently worn, or very soft from years of laundering.   I came upon a large man's pink linen shirt and a newer column linen womens' dress, the latter I hoped to adjust to my size. I was able to save the top, and I intend to finish the hem and wear it some day.   (Another linen dress with tags still on, went straight to my closet after I discovered it fit and it still sported a price tag indicating it was from a fancy store! ) The good parts of the pink shirt and green dress inspired me to make a little feminine pillow combo. I hurried and made them to sell at the Historical Society Fair, and almost sold them. Instead I get to enjoy them a little longer. Pictured below, these two looked good together, but I will show you a short tut to make a simple crochet pillow cover a little more fab!

A simple tutorial follows for my version of a linen rose. I will demonstrate with a crochet pillow cover, already made up, but was kind of plain and we can't have that can we?

Before I begin, I have a little show and tell from the past few very hot weeks!  Along with very hot and very wild weather, we had lots of showy garden and vegetable displays.  The scary sky was a result of strong storms, with rainbows.  Twice in a period of weeks we had a sky wide rainbow that hung out for 10 minutes!

Here is my veggie garden, and my first fruits below!

Another fun event in the past weeks was a benefit  called Christmas in July that my good friend Paula did on behalf of finding a cure for her daughter Jordan and the IDEA League, an organization that helps families dealing with the difficulties with seizure disorders. She is leading the auction below.  The whole party center was decorated for Christmas, even Santa visited!  Lots of special kids were in attendance, and we left with a winning bid for the Jonas Brothers upcoming concert, August 31!  I get to take my daughter and a friend, I am so excited!

My besty friend Max and her daughter Meg, below and I am standing next to my happy daughter who hates photos as you know! Notice the linen dress,(ala Good Will)  hard to see it, it is ankle length and is an overskirt to a cream linen skirt.  I added my obligatory eyelet lace along the bottom, to give it some pizazz.
And two boys in our family celebrated birthdays, my son, not shown turned 24 and my daddy 80.  Below are some pics from his bash at a park by Lake Erie.  (My hubby and I met at this beach 37 years ago, so we love attending functions here, the water line and width of beach are constantly changing, kind of like our waistlines!   LOL
 And daughter and friend are enjoying "THE BIRDS".!
 Niece Megan and Aunty Helen enjoying their brief rest.  Megan got up and read a beautiful tribute to her grandpa, written by her older sis in college.  I video taped it, and I am hoping her voice can be heard above the playing children on the beach when I try to upload it to YouTube

A very nice night, and sunset, it was nice to see my dad's old friends and neighbors one more time.
Living with Vintage, Tutorial on Linen Rose Pillows
Switching gears, 2 more of my favorite people, picked up boxes full of vintage linens and doilies for me, Crystal and Paula, a big THANKS I need more to do!!! You are both sweet to think of me and to provide me with more raw materials for my follies!
 Which leads me to this stack of crochet pillow covers above;  from one of my friends elderly neighbors.
 Well I took some snips from my thrifted shirt and dress and cut longer strips from the pink shirt sleeves that were already hemmed to gather on one edge, using a long machine stitch.  This will become my rose...

 A square from an interfaced collar provides a base to stitch the rose to.

 Using a needle and thread I gathered up the fabric strip into a rose, anchoring  as I went. 

 A few more snips from the green linen provided the leaves. 
 The beauty of this rose pillow is it only took 20 minutes to embellish, the pillow cover was already made and while the crochet square was beautiful, I just had to add my Rosy touch.

 Don't they make a beautiful threesome? Watch for them to appear in my etsy shop soon!

Now for some FRESH Recipe ideas from your garden!

                                Greek Oregano
Fresh Salad

Simple and Fresh!  Gather your fresh veggies and herbs, rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
 Boil water for pasta, make in the usual way.  While  pasta is going, put flour, sea salt and pepper into a shallow bowl.  Take your chicken breasts  and thoroughly coat them with the flour mixture.  Put olive oil in a skillet on high, lightly fry the chicken, till golden brown.  Add to the pot, fresh herbs, for me the Oregano has such a mediterranean flavor, I diced up a handful, as well as some french tarragon

 Added in this batch, olives, red pepper, a splash of white wine, some cherry tomatoes.  When the veggies are nice and soft, add the pasta, a little butter for taste, and then season with salt to taste.  Add your fresh salad and you have a wholesome, colorful, and flavorful meal  I make some variation of this dish frequently especially when I have fresh herbs and vegetables right out of the garden!

 Not shown is my salad, but I was in a hurry to capture before I gobbled it up!  Look around your garden or local fresh grocer, a tasty meal awaits!

Whew!  This long post is what happens when I don't keep up with posting...Happy August!

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