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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Forget those "Superbowl" ads which are coming up this Sunday!

This ad for the Jason Wu line at Target is the one I love!

Take a look here for a look at the short, creative, sewing-studio-with-a-cat, video! [You'll maybe need to scroll down just a little to find the video!]

Monday, January 30, 2012

The sunny weather finally drew me outdoors......

where I found early signs of spring (too early?)...Japonica or flowering quince (lovely to take the budding branches in the house for a vase--I didn't yet)....

.....daffodils emerging.....and below, crocus in their golden moment!

and yes, the Japonica buds are opening.....(out of focus, my camera was thinking that the little branch was the important thing here!)

It has been a beautiful sunshine filled weekend here in Northwest Arkansas!

Our window sill has a glass with a paperwhite narcissus (which broke off the main plant) and below, the sun shines through the large leaves of a "beefsteak" begonia.

Inspite of the sunshine, it was still chilly outside so I headed to my sewing/ art studio.

Mr. P came along with his camera and snapped this picture of me with the antique sewing machine. I am piecing a version of the "Fonthill Quilt" from Kaffe Fassett's "Passionate Patchwork" book. This quilt has several hundred small half-square triangles and so can be very scrappy, which I love. The floral print surrounding the patchwork sort of ties it all together and gives an overall effect of being softer and greener!

I still have lots more to add to the quilt, sawtooth and pinwheel stripped borders will make it grow!
Meanwhile, using that same antique sewing machine and some hand quilting (on the gold circles) I have finished my pink and red "Sakiori" quilt. (below) is the indigo again! This time from the cover of a Japanese sewing magazine.....

that wrap dress looks so comfortable!

I just finished my "boro bag" inspired by the cover of a book on Japanese tote bags....(Google that and you can find the original book, in Japanese). I love using this my current purse!

One more work in progress...the American flag pillow requested by Mr.P. My version uses white and indigo ikat weave for the backkground.....and dk red grosgrain ribbons for the stripes. I will use a glue stick before stitching them down! [pillow is about 13x18, as was my British flag pillow].

It's going to be warmer today, (where is our winter?) and I really will try to get out for a walk....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It is a cool, rainy day. Perfect for making a simple, comforting, meal. I reached for a cookbook from the author of one of my favorite series.....the Mitford series by Jan Karon.

I'm not disappointed....Jan shares lots of Southern recipes here. Her pot of beans is just what I am looking for....and a cornbread recipe (in an iron skillet, of course!).

She also has a good recipe for collard greens. However, I used this one, which I found on the Internet before opening her book. [I did add a T. of brown sugar and a dash of apple cider vinegar to the greens after reading some of the comments with this recipe!] This was my first time to try collard greens. Not bad! [I'm learning to like kale, also!]

Jan's Pot of Beans in Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook

1 pound mixed dried beans, picked over
3 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 T. minced garlic, heaping
1 T. dried rosemary
1 T. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 ham hock
1 T. paprika
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 t. coarse sea salt (added after beans are VERY soft)
Tabasco sauce to taste
Chopped Vidalia onions, for serving (topping each bowl)

Place beans in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil. Cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let the beans sit for 1 hour. Drain the beans. In the same stockpot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat and saute the onions and garlic for 8-10 minutes, or until softened. Add the beans and enough fresh water to cover. Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, paprika, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, checking the beans often and adding water as necessary. Once beans are soft, add the ham and sea salt....cook as long as you wish, the flavors just get better! Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Still baking......

apple cake with oatmeal struesel topping.

Wonderful with a cup of green Earl Grey tea! [ooops, need to scoot that saucer and cup off the cake plate! LOL!]

Low Fat Apple Cake (low sugar too!)

3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Bisquick (gluten free if desired)
1 -2 large green apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/4 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 2 T. cold butter, cut into small bits.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat an 10-inch spring form pan with cooking spray.
Beat eggs and 1/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in milk and vanilla extract.
Add Bisquick. Stir and pour into the pan.

Arrange apple slices on top of the cake batter.

Combine oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over apples. Dot the bits of butter on top of everything.

Bake 28-33 minutes....until done!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A 4-month-old cutie pie who lives in a cold climate......

...even though his grandmother prefers natural fibers, she just had to sew some fleece for him...sleep sacks!

[Fleece hoodie coming up for his little cousin soon and some pink fleece came home with me yesterday....for baby girl jackets, or something!]

This is a quilt which I pin basted yesterday.....lots of red and pink for the gray days of winter...and a piece of whimsical bird fabric as part of the backing! Now ready for machine and hand quilting....

When I get time for more meditative "sitting", I often knit a row or two on my
"Cornish Frock".....knitted in cotton indigo which is designed to shrink and to fade, just as blue jeans do.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It all started back in the spring of last year when I saw these
kits for these little pin cushions.

The idea stayed in my mind, I visited Google images several times and saw pillows from Shabby pastels and florals, still the British flag was recognizable!
Months later, I finally got started, inspired by the wonderful ribbons available where I work!
These pillows were the result! [I made some for giveaway, as the fabric and ribbons were in good supply].

Yesterday, I came across this photo in a magazine decorating article....

Apparently, this is a trend! Seeing this article, Mr. P announced that he wants an AMERICAN FLAG pillow. So today I tried Google images to find inspiration for making and American Flag pillow (I had made several a few years ago....but wanted new ideas.)

I found a lovely website of a kindred spirit, Natalie,"Hideaway Girl"! She had made an American flag pillow (very patchworky and clever) and there, also, in her sidebar was this.....

Natalie had made it last February and in July she had made the American cousin....

Now, I wonder, would Mr. P accept the floral fabrics in Natalie's flag pillow (below) were I to do something similar...???

Perhaps I need to make mine more "Stripey" and "Starry"???? I'll update you as this evolves.


Meanwhile, I did read a good book.....about a grieving young minister and his congregation. It was worth reading.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Though the Internet is loaded with recipes, sometimes a cookbook is nice to hold and use!
I think this in my current favorite!

Tonight's dinner, "Nouvelle Chicken Veronique"! It is easy, and delicious. It uses red seedless table grapes instead of the traditional green grapes. I substituted champagne vinegar for the balsamic vinegar (because I had no white wine in the house and didn't want to run out for some...I thought the "white" taste of the champagne would work. It did!)

Here is a link to the recipe....I know you will love it!

P.S.--Wini Maranville, the cookbook's author came by with a comment, recommending a salad with blue cheese to compliment the grapes. [coincidentally, I had served romaine with apples and blue cheese with this dinner!]

Monday, January 02, 2012

Just off the downtown square, after night fall on New Year's Eve, one can glimpse a wonderful celebration of larger than life characters....."wild things", muses, Janus ( looking both directions as the New Year comes in), queens, party girls, peace cranes, dragons......and even a unicorn!

Our town square decorated with Christmas lights was the setting for a family friendly New Year's Eve celebration, "Last Night". The weather was perfect for the giant puppet parade featuring creations of artist JoAnn Kaminsky (manned by volunteers). Wonderful for the child in each of us!

Here is a short video clip of the nighttime giant puppet parade from my husband's camera.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Grandkids and their Christmas gifts of Spirithoods . Keeping their heads and "paws" warm!

Above, "B3" as a "wolf"....... and below sister wearing her snow leopard Spirithood. Funds from the sale of these warm hoods go to help endangered species! [I saw several other children wearing these at our local "family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration downtown last night.]


Today, I have a busy New Year's Day as I am working this afternoon. I WILL make this dip (see photo) from Pioneer Woman using black-eyed peas to ensure good luck in the coming year! [We are in the South here! LOL!]

Happy New Year to all of you!

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