Monday, August 29, 2011

A Pinch of Inspiration

I absolutely love mornings--especially, like this weekend, when I can enjoy my coffee in the fresh, clean morning air. Ahhh. It's like being on vacation. And it would all be so perfect, except for the pinched nerve in my back. Not fun. It all started with a pulled hamstring (going too fast and apparently not warmed up enough for the treadmill) and when the exercises from the physical therapist didn't work, the pain traveled up!

Doctors can't seem to do much, and I don't like pain pills, so I stretch, use ice and heat, and take the occasional Aleve. 
But then I found an intriguing website: and I love the user-friendly language and getting some education about what's really going on with my back, so I thought I'd share in case anyone has had similar problems. Plus, if you share this link on your blog, you can download one of their books free! Who knows how many writers, stitchers and crafters out there suffer from pinched nerves and back pain. We need all the helpful information we can get.

I exercise and stretch every day, so this is an unexpected issue--but, I'm getting on with my daily activities the best I can! I can still get up and go, so I do!

And besides my pinched nerve, I got another pinch recently, and it was a little pinch of inspiration. I love those! In a very bohemian-style store at the mall I found Russian doll coin purses. Precious! I love Russian dolls, but the embroidery, fabrics and trim on the little coin purse is gorgeous and has inspired me to do my own design. I can't believe this little coin purse was only $5! So I'm going to buy a few more to stow away as gifts.

Sweet little loop at the top and purple zipper
I'm thinking about creating a little Russian doll pillow, and little squares for a wall hanging too. We'll see how the pinched nerve holds up!

A box of flowers in my front yard--makes me happy and I forget all about back troubles! 
Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Salsa Here a Stitch There...

I hope you are savoring every last moment and taste of summer. 
It has really gotten quite pleasant, after we (here in the Ozarks) weathered an extremely rainy May, then a few nice days, and then a complete plunge into days and days of 100-plus degree madness! I have to say, the tomato plants still did fairly well, but many of my squash varieties just didn't make it. For one, they didn't go in the ground early enough, and then the extreme early heat just did them in.
So, to make the best of it, I am savoring these last gorgeous days, and trying to make the goodness last by canning my salsa.

I especially love to preserve batches of my garden tomato salsa in these little fat specialty Ball jars--they are not only just too cute, but they are very pretty to serve the salsa in, and the wide mouth has plenty of room for chip dipping. If you'd like to try my recipe, you can find it here from last year's post.

My baby basils grew up!
There is still plenty to do in the garden. Along with the tomatoes, I have a few surviving cucumber and spaghetti squash plants, and a huge patch-o-basil for bruschettas, pasta dishes and plenty of pesto making. I feel quite spoiled right now, having all the fresh basil I could possibly want. Hmmm...I think that makes me the richest girl on the block! Love it, love it, love it!

My cutting flower garden is not as big as last year, but it is still providing me with a few fresh bouquets for the house every week--I couldn't ask for more.

Bouquet of the Day
I have been busy stitching, and was happy to come up with an embroidery design on a patch of fabric to frame some big cross-stitched hearts. Here are the hearts I stitched first.

And then I appliqued them onto a piece of soft white denim, and stitched up a whole new design to go around them.

This is going to be the centerpiece of the little cross-stitch quilt I am dreaming up as I go.
And sew it goes!

In the meantime, Minnie is waiting for her 6-o-clock kiss-on-the-lips!  
Who wouldn't want to kiss those lion lips!

Happy summer dreaming and stitching!

LOVE these jars!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Shopping Downtown

You can't be blue when you've had the perfect Saturday morning downtown. 

White mocha frappes at Bocha the most unique little stores with well-loved and handmade goodies...and then lunch at a quaint little place called Saint Michaels. I had the perfect burger. Perfect. No blueness here! All happiness. Especially when my daughter found a gorgeous satin cross-body made by a French lady. It will be her bag of choice for months!

"You can buy happiness...for a little while."

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, and Shop a Little.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Butterfly Love

"Love is like a butterfly, it goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes."

You feel truly blessed when you are able to be up close and personal, every day, with a tribe of the most gorgeous butterflies. They float around my mailbox garden in the front, constantly, and flutter their way to my vegetable and cutting garden in the back yard. It has been so hot here, I must water every day, and I think they are starting to know me--they don't seem to mind my camera at all. In fact, this yellow angel gave me different poses!

I may decide to fry an egg on the sidewalk today, it is so Al Gorish hot! It is 106 degrees right now! But that doesn't mean I'm any less in love with summer--in spite of the heat, my late-to-ripen tomatoes, and suddenly busy schedule, I love it all. And, I've found some shortcuts.
When the pasta salad kits went on sale, AND I had coupons, I really stocked up, getting them for less than a dollar a box. Now usually, I make my own homemade pasta salad, but these are fun too once you doctor them up. For example, I took the classic mix, and instead of using oil, I used only half of the spice packet, lowfat ranch dressing (about half a cup), a few squirts of Kraft Green Goddess dressing (I adore that stuff) and added one big cucumber and baby carrots, sliced up, fresh tomatoes, tons of fresh snipped basil and fresh broccoli. It was very fast to make and delish! I would say there are more veggies in this than pasta, but that's the way I like it! Crumble some turkey bacon on top, and it's a lovely, lowfat meal.

Well, here I go, getting ready to stitch another heart panel for the cross-stitch-quilt-in-the-making. And of course, I'm sidetracked by a lovely idea for some hand-stitched tufted flat linen seat cushions. I wish I had a couple of more hands to stitch! Oh well, like my butterflies, I'll take it one flower at a time.

My garden bouquet--courtesy of the butterflies.