Friday, April 29, 2011

Vintage Recipe Friday - Celebrating Love

What food is made with more love than an Italian Meatball recipe passed down from an authentic Italian mother?

This is exactly how I want to make meatballs, and I can't wait to try it and serve it with some great bread, perfect pasta, and real parmesan cheese! 

After watching the royal wedding today, I was teary, but definitely in the mood to celebrate. I always loved Princess Diana, and she would have been beaming today at the site of her beautiful sons in uniform, and William's sweet, lovely bride. Ah. Big sigh!




ITALIAN MOTHER'S MEATBALLS

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/3 cup water (more or less)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, checking the mixture for moisture as you slowly add the water, making sure it is moist, but not so moist that it falls apart. Shape meatballs to the desired size and place on a broiler pan. (hint: wet your hands before shaping each meatball for more control) Broil in the oven until slightly brown on one side; turn and broil the other side. After meatballs are done, add to spaghetti sauce and simmer at least 20 minutes.

Well, it's no Westminster Abbey, but I have been cross-stitching some simple designs in DMC varigated floss (LOVE using varigated floss!) and here is my little church. Simple and sweet with one of those English trees. This stitched up rather quickly, so I think it would be cute to make three more all in different colors and panel them together for a wall hanging, or to frame.




I've been quite busy the last couple of weeks with many family activities, and my own things--such as a huge test I've been studying for--and I really want the weather to dry up, warm up, and let me plant my garden! Then I can get back to my writing and stitching.
Italian Roma Tomatoes - they are hearty!
Here are today's scenes from my greenhouse. I've been rearranging, cleaning up, and getting ready to move my starts outside again to get them weathered and ready to live in the garden all summer. 

 My romas, early girls, cherry tomatoes, and yellow pear tomatoes have done really well, starting from seed.


I did start the yellow pear a little late, but I'm going to plant them anyway and see how it goes!




 My potting bench is full of hanging baskets--I usually give my mom a fuschia for Mother's Day, but of course I had to have one for myself!



Fuschias, with their cascading romantic blooms, like to stay watered and growing in half-shade in order to keep their gorgeous blooms.
This is my aloe vera, living on the greenhouse and finally reviving itself from a long winter. I actually call it my "impatient aloe" because an impatiens plant, living next to it, in another pot, somehow grew some babies in the aloe vera pot! I think it's cute though.
I'm so glad I stitched up those felt love birds this past winter. They still flutter on my greenhouse, and I plan to stitch up more in summer colors and embroider on them!





Happy royal wedding day, and happy eating, writing, dreaming and stitching!







Monday, April 18, 2011

Friends - Magnolias - Every Inchie Monday

Hair...makeup...laughter...tears through laughter...the color pink...peaches and cream...love and caring. We all need our friends!

When I started working on my "Friends" Inchie, I immediately thought of this black and white photo taken of me and the girls I was privileged to perform with in the stage play, Steel Magnolias. Out of our character wigs, costumes, and makeup, we got to have this fun, glamorous photo session one day, with photographer Randy Bacon. (that's me, second from the left) I loved playing Truvy, loved the play, and especially loved bonding with these exceptional ladies during the run of the show, and long after.

I was inspired to whip up a "Magnolia" cross-stitch, which is framed and hangs over my sewing table.

[By the way, an "Inchie" is one-square-inch of art work--join the fun at www.everyinchiemonday.blogspot.com]

I scanned and printed the photo as tiny as possible, still had to crop it to fit on my one-square-inch black board, and then started decorating.

At that photo session, some six years ago, we were all crammed onto a little velvet sofa, and we were laughing so hard! I love it. This is why having friends makes life so good!  

 
"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you've forgotten the words."


I feel blessed, lately, to have seen and enjoyed a lot of my friends. Including at the Elton John concert! We had so much fun (I have loved Elton's music since my teen years) and couldn't help singing along to all the songs. Elton gives an exceptional concert--so glad I got to go! Happy Monday to you! Hug a friend today!
My own little photo of Sir Elton!


Had to get a t-shirt at the concert!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Busy, busy, busy...

"By associating with the cat, one only risks becoming rich."
--Colette

My life has been very rich lately...rich and a little hectic. I was very excited to get a contract in the mail from my publisher on Saturday--they are going to publish a script collection I wrote last summer, called "Simply God." This will be the second collection of mine they have published, and I couldn't be happier! It really motivates me to get on with some other writing projects I have hanging around!

We went to an amazing wedding this past weekend. The beautiful couple are both in their sixties. I have to post my photo of this gorgeous cake, which was on the side of their beautiful towering tall wedding cake. The side cakes were carrot cakes--the BEST carrot cake I've ever had! I got to see many of my dear, long-time theatre friends at the wedding and reception party...so fun! I love theatre weddings. My husband and I were married on the same stage almost 22 years ago!




It seems like I haven't had much time at home lately--and I am a home body! But I've been faithful to my baby garden, watering seedlings, and beginning the hardening-off process to get them ready to go outside next month!


 I have French doors in our master bedroom that open onto our long greenhouse sunporch, so right now, I can open those doors and check on my garden so easily! But next month, I'll spend at least two whole days outside planting everything--including all my starts, and some seeds--and after that, I'll be spending a lot more time outside.

All this makes me think of summer mornings, walking around the garden, sipping coffee, relaxing, and checking on everything.

This weekend's going to be busy again with a concert, rehearsals and performances...I am looking forward to some down time after this! And what do I do in my down time? Stitch! I guess that would make it my Up time, because it makes me happy.


Find your happy place and live there!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Inchie Monday - Live in PEACE

Well for someone who has not been home much this weekend...notice I'm just now posting my Every Inchie Monday creation...when I thought of the theme, "Peace," I thought of home.



I stitched a little white peaceful house, added the sun, and there you have it. Live in Peace!

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beach Picnic Salad

Vintage Recipe Friday has an old-fashioned corn salad, fit to pack up and take to the beach with some cold chicken, fresh rolls and ice tea. Yum!

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FRESH CORN SALAD
Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS
5 ears corn, shucked
1/2 cup diced red onion
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

DIRECTIONS
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cooked, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob. 

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.
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I hope to make it to the flea market this weekend--I'm always looking for vintage home economic text books, old chintz tea cups and quilts to cut up. 




I don't need yarn, but I still love to shop for it! 
We have a favorite yarn shop that has all the really unique stuff, and it is soothing just to walk around and look at it, pet it, and dream.

Oh my goodness...we also have a wedding this weekend (I love weddings) and rehearsals and singing in the choir...when will I get to stitch? I'm sure I will, at least a little. Sleep would be nice too. Happy weekend dreams!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's On My Messy Desk Wednesday!

I love seeing what's on everyone's work tables on WOYWW--wish mine was fit for company!  

My worktable is strewn with DMC flosses, patterns, aida cloth, and new projects! It looks messy...but right now, I know where everything is. I am stitching an owl for my daughter, among other projects, and I'm using 18-count aida cloth--small! So I prefer stitching this cute owl under a bright lamp, also with daylight streaming in, and complete concentration. I think I'll be done with it this week. Yay! 

Then I can move on to something new and exciting--four McCalls patterns! I got an email from my Hobby Lobby yesterday that McCalls patterns will be on sale for the next four days for 99 cents. I couldn't be happier, because I had already been on the website and picked out a few patterns for dresses, pants, shorts and jackets. (very ambitious, I know) I sailed right in there, found every pattern I wanted and was out in ten minutes--glad I didn't have to sit at the table and go through catalogs, that's when you gotta love the internet! I am going to train on my serger and learn how to use it this summer with my new patterns. I am not an expert at dressmaking, but I think I got this. Even better that I didn't have to spend a fortune on patterns--in case it doesn't work out!


Making progress on the owl!
When I got back from my Hobby Lobby trip, the kitties wanted some fresh air and rolls around the driveway--thought I'd share this quick video of them and the lovely bird symphony in the background.
video

Happy What's-On-Your-Workdesk Wednesday!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Note to Self: It's Musical "Every Inchie Monday!"


My "Inchie" sings!  

Visit www.everyinchiemonday.blogspot.com and click on those who have commented to see all of this Monday's "Sing" Inchies.

Last week I also created my Inchie on one-square-inch of black aida with beads and stitching, and I've decided to make as many as I can in this format to get a nice continuity going. Someday, all of my Inchies will join together in one piece of artwork. That is going to be so much fun to create.

In the meantime, as I got out the black aida cloth and tiny aqua beads again, I sort of free-handed a musical note--all stitching, no glue. I decided to add some letters from a stash of alphabet beads and silver sequins which look like symbols clashing together!

This all stitched together quickly, and I finished it with a brown felt backing with all the edges loop-stitched tightly to the felt.



This could easily be turned into a pin. I could wear it to choir rehearsal this week!




Minnie had something to say about it!
I hope everything is sunny and happy at your house. Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring Stitching Fling

DMC Embroidery Floss Packs Variegated 36/pkg
We've had a weekend filled with sunshine--and I've had my own spring fling of colorful stitching on this and that in-between the grocery shopping, errands, and house chores.

I've been cross-stitching hearts with pretty variegated DMC floss--these hearts will be part of another cross-stitch quilt I am planning. I have been doing a lot more cross-stitch lately, and playing around with some designing; but I think I could stitch these hearts in my sleep! The trick to bringing out the gorgeous color variations in this kind of floss is to go ahead and completely cross all of your x's as you stitch. Normally you would stitch across on a row going right, and then come back and make the "x" going left. With variegated floss, the color changes quickly enough that you would miss out on the natural striping if you did this. I love the variegated flosses and I have one sampler pattern that uses the same color, yet it's amazing how it naturally changes all the way through. And, you can pick any color for the sampler, so you can make this one sampler several times, and even if you made it twice with the same variegated skein, it would look different! Love it!



 














I have to give a quick garden update. My onion and garlic chives are already filled out in the middle raised bed of my garden! Once again we have fresh chives for our omelets and baked potatoes, because they have thrived in the cool weather. Radish seeds love the cool March weather too and they are popping up all over the other raised bed. I am almost surprised, because it was snowing last week! But they look very hearty now in the sunshine.

Today, after singing in choir in two services, running home for a quick bite and starting the cross-stitch owl for my daughter, the owl lover, we ran over to Michaels because my favorite sugar and cream yarns were on sale for $1! I guess I am patch happy with a lot of projects, but I continue to knit these colorful cotton patches for a knit quilt I am making and finding sugar and cream yarn on sale makes me happy! I stocked up on the pretty blues and purples.




 


I also picked up the package of "popular" DMC flosses. I love these colors, and am thinking of using this palate for a bunch of new designs.

I have to mention, DMC floss is now 35-cents a skein at my local Michael's craft store. Alright, that does not sound like much until you need about 50 colors for a project. For many years it was 25-cents a skein, and would go on sale for 20-cents a skein sometimes--my best friend and I would load up whenever that would happen. I ended up with a big, clear plastic box of over 350 colors, filed in the bags and labeled. 


For over a decade, I have been mostly able to "shop" my own stash when I start a new project, and I still have my stash going strong. So now I am realizing that its value has actually gone up! Very cool. Thrifty, as I am, I bought this $16.74 package of this gorgeous color collection with a 40% off coupon. That was a great value. Yay me!
Aren't they pretty?

Floss to me is like paint to an artist--I never get tired of it, and always get excited about new colors and forms, such as the variegated and the satin flosses. I get as excited about the floss as I do the actual projects. I want to work on the many patterns I have, and I want to design new patterns. Am I weird? I'm definitely a life-long cross-stitch-aholic. I guess I could be worse things! I do, however, enjoy how my love of cross-stitch has morphed into mixed-media art--it all fits right in.

This was Minnie today, helping on the greenhouse. She's so busy. ;)

I heart spring.
The bad news: thunderstorms and 40 degrees are hitting the Ozarks tomorrow! The good news: spring is still here, it's just hiding for a day. I'm glad my hubby grilled out for dinner tonight!  EWDS!