Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey-schmurkey and a Little Elf

I think that if I never see another bite of turkey again, it will be too soon. Although, my family is doing a splendid job of comsuming what appeared to be a mountain of it in the refrigerator. We've made turkey sandwiches, creamed it and put it on toast, cooked it up with eggs for breakfast and it will be going into soup tomorrow. Yikes! I know they are the little bird of thriftiness but, really, you can have too much. I think I'll freeze the soup.
To work off all that turkey, my sister, niece and I have been creating. This is what I've been working on:



Oh, dear. This is a terrible picture! But, it will have to do as this little elf is packed up and will be traveling home with my sister today. My niece's school has a silent auction on Friday and this little bit of impishness will be on the table. Gee, I hope she does well!
I will be making one more this week, for a gift. They are a little labor-intensive but I love making them. It's funny how all of my elves and fairies have that same wide smile. They all look like my grandmother!
I hope you all had a lovely weekend and have recovered from your Thanksgiving feasts! Please don't send me turkey recipes. I don' t think I could take it. :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Day After

First, my apologies for no pictures. My Thanksgiving day started at 7:30, when I began to prepare the kitchen for the Smith Family Heap-Big Thanksgiving Breakfast Bash. Say that five times fast! This breakfast has been a tradition since I was a little girl, actually, since my mother was a little girl and the menu never varies- fried dough with butter and maple syrup or molasses, bacon, sausage and a fruit of some sort. This year it was orange wedges. I set out ten loaves of frozen bread dough to rise overnight into pillows of puffiness. Now, we cannot eat that much on our own! I had 19 people at my house for breakfast, including seven missionaries with hefty appetites!
The movement in my kitchen was like a strange bird dance- dip, swoop, flip, duck, as my husband and I each did our part. I have charge of the iron skillet frying dough and he has charge of the bacon and sausage. He cooks the bacon in the oven, it's so much easier and quick! Two hours later we had a houseful of fat and happy campers!
Immediately after cleaning up from breakfast, I started to make two banana cream pies for my daughter to take to her friend's house. I owed him a pie for his birthday and I sent one for his family, in case he was not in the mood to share. I whipped up the pie dough in the food processor, chilled it, and started on the filling. I don't use boxed pudding, I make my own using the Fannie Farmer Vanilla Cream Pie 1 recipe. Yum. Only I doubled it and, because I was distracted by my daughter asking me how to roll pie crust, I think I only put in enough corn starch for one batch. She's not awake yet to tell me if her friend's family had banana cream pie or banana cream soup in a crust! Oh, well. It probably tasted okay.
After the pie adventure, I started on dinner- scallop casserole; green bean casserole; carrots in maple-ginger cream sauce; mashed potatoes; mashed sweet potatoes; stuffing with dried cranberries, onions and celery; stuffing with nothing for my brother because, as he said, I didn't want to suffer the after-effects of him eating the other; turkey roasted with rosemary and lemon; a spiral-sliced ham and homemade cheddar biscuits. Plus another banana cream pie for us, with enough cornstarch! Phew!
After the feast, everyone helped pack up leftovers, clean the dishes and I broke out the crafts! It isn't Thanksgiving if the girls don't get to craft. This year we made simple boxes, covered in paper and topped with the trees that I had bleached and dyed, along with copious amounts of glitter. Glitter makes me happy.
I finally stopped at 9:00 PM after spending the day running like a fast-moving train. I am still tired, but, it was a wonderful day. I had my family around me- my husband, my children (minus one), my parents, my brother, my sister and her family and my dad's distant cousin, who lives only an hour and a half away. Not so distant after all. And for all of that, I am very, very grateful. I hope your day was full of good food, good fun and wonderful family memories.
I'm going to eat a piece of pumpkin pie now- for breakfast.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

From our house to yours-


On this day of celebration of the bounty that has been given to us, may you each enjoy it surrounded by your family and friends.

Don't eat too much turkey!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Heart Thrive!

A few weeks ago I won a giveaway over at the Shelf Reliance blog. The prize was three cans of their Thrive fruit and they arrived yesterday! Oh, my! I was thrilled when I opened the box to find a can each of freeze-dried peaches, bananas and a can of dehydrated apple chips. I opened the bananas right away to munch on and they were delicious!



I can picture banana smoothies made with the banana chips rehydrated in orange juice, or peach cobbler or apple pie! The website has a wonderful recipe section where you can get all sorts of ideas to use your fruits or vegetables.
There are some very cool things on the website for eating and storing a food supply for your family. It makes food storage very, very simple. Go on over and take a gander. And then go to their blog and enter the amazingly huge giveaway they are holding for their 5th birthday! Really, go!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

Last week I drove out to Conyers to go to Hobby Lobby with my mom and a friend. After shopping, we decided that we needed a bit of lunch. We chose Roly Poly Sandwiches as our destination. The sandwiches looked delicious but when I saw mushroom soup on the menu, I knew that was what I would have. Oh, yum.



Of course, you know I came home wanting to make that soup! Last night, I did. Oh, it is wonderful if I do say so myself. Smooth and silky with just the right balance of caramelized onion and mushrooms. Lots of mushrooms.
If you like mushroom soup, you may want to try my version. Warning- it is not low cal! But then, what decent mushroom soup would be?
Karin's Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 lb. pre-sliced crimini (baby portabello) mushrooms
1 lb. pre-sliced button mushrooms
1-2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin
1 quart beef stock or broth
1 pint cream or half & half
butter
flour
salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of fresh thyme (optional- but it is delicious!)
Dash of Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven add 1 T butter. Add thinly sliced onions and slowly caramelize them over medium heat. Add mushrooms about 10 minutes before onions are done and saute until just soft. Remove onions and mushrooms.
Add 2 T butter back to pan and melt. Add 2 T flour to make a roux and cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Slowly add beef stock to roux and blend well. Add back mushrooms and onions and season with salt and pepper. Add thyme, if using. Heat through.
Pour in cream and heat through until soup thickens slightly and mushrooms become soft, being careful not to allow it to boil. Add Kitchen Bouquet to bring up color if desired. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Serves 6.
I had some for breakfast this morning (so I could take the above photo) and I can tell you it is superb the second day! Yum, yum. There's nothing like a bowl of hot soup on a cold day.
I promise, you'll never eat canned again!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Small Gifts

While we were creating the other day, I mentioned that the newest quilt I was working on was made from reproduction feedsack fabric. I love feedsack more than anything. Imagine making something so utilitarian so cute- buy feed for your chickens, etc. and you get fabric to make things with. My mother and her four sisters had skirts, tops and dresses that my grandmother made from feedsacks. I wish they still had them. ;)
Well, Dawn did have one- with sweet blue flowers and red polka dots and she gave it to me as a gift. You could have knocked me over with a feather! I adore it and it will one day be included in a quilt with a place of honor in a special block. I could not thank her enough for such a treasured piece of the past.



She also gave me the other two pieces- one a floral with a mauve background and a mauve velvet. We both decided that the velvet was not very pretty and needed some help. Saturday morning I took out the bleach and filled my kitchen sink with water. Adding a cup of bleach to about 2 gallons of water, I added the velvet and voila! It changed! Only not how I expected it to, it turned bright pink! See?


A quick swish in a bucket of water with a little bit of cocoa brown dye took care of that. It knocked back the color quite a bit. It worked, Dawn! One piece of dirty pink velvet perfect for creating things that need that vintage look you love. :)


The other project I have been working on is a birthday gift for my sister. I started with a 12x12-inch canvas that I covered with a piece of embossed scrapbook paper. I tore and layered on another contrasting piece and then began playing. I had made Dawn a little nest on a branch and why I didn't think to attach it to something I'll never know. But, hindsight is a good thing and I dug through all the stuff in my craft room and made two little assemblages- one for me and one for my sis. The first one is Gayle's:



I found the wire thingy in the parking lot at the Wal Mart, which just goes to show you can find treasures anywhere! The branches are from my parent's front yard and the base is a few shredded dictionary pages. I love how they cushion the nest.



I just added and subtracted until I was happy. It did not take long.
This one is mine:


I think being with Dawn unlocked that place in me that had been ignored far too long.
It's nice to see it again. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lovely Day

I had the pleasure of spending a few hours yesterday with this girl.



Going to Dawn's house is always a treat. You never know what changes she has made or what new treasure she has aquired. Her home is beautiful, just like she is, and a place where you feel all of your troubles melt away.



We played in her studio. The last time I was there the studio was housed in a small bedroom. Seeing her new, glorious space makes me wonder how she fit all of her supplies in the old one!
It has been far too long since I have sat at a craft table and made something from other than fabric. Quilting has been my focus lately and the paper arts that used to consume me have fallen by the wayside. It was nice to sit with paper and scissors and alter a composition book. We used Dawn's favorite gel medium to glue things down and I am hooked! So much smoother than the other popular decoupage medium and it doesn't smell bad. I know what my next 40% off coupon from Michael's is going towards!



The beginnings of our books. I'm not showing my almost finished top because it shows how rusty I really am. I'll be tweaking it a bit more here at home. Dawn's is much prettier and more thoughtful. Just look at this lovely lady:



Dawn's husband, Dennis, made the most delicious secret sauce for the chicken salad she served on croissants for lunch. She also made spinach dip served with crackers and a luscious cheesecake for dessert. A sweet, simple fare interspersed with happy conversation. Oh, and little Miss Ellie, who waited patiently for someone to drop a tiny morsel just for her. She is the cutest pup on earth.
I left with a lighter heart, a full tummy and a desire to make my home a place where friends can come and play. We don't do that nearly enough.
Thank you so very much, Dawn, for a sweet, peaceful afternoon. It was exactly what I needed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm Off!

To visit Dawn for a day of conversation, munching, laughter and, oh yeah, crafting!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Carnage

Something tells me I had better get cleaning up this mess!



I mean really, how can you get anything done in a place like this?



Well, maybe you can.



Everything is done in chocolate brown, blood red, robin's egg blue and, um, peach. Peach was not our choice. It was the choice of the client and, since she had been stung by a bee the afternoon we met and was in pain, we did not argue. We just glittered the peach roses to bits with MS antique glitter and stuck them in here and there. Not my favorite, but she will like them.
We have everything done for the living room, dining room and hallway. Only the family room left and we can install it all next week! Maybe then I can get my house clean. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What Is To Become Of All Of This?


My friend, Cilla, and I are getting ready to decorate someone's house for Christmas. This is the cleanest my craft tables are going to look for the next few days. Aaaaahhh!
Stay tuned.........

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Create

Sometimes I just need to be reminded.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Up.

It has been a beautiful day here in Ga.
Especially when you look up.















Sunday, November 1, 2009

Faded Forest and a Little Peek

A little while ago I was reading Karla's blog and swooned over her bleached and dyed Christmas trees. I had to try this myself so yesterday my daughter and I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a few packages of cheap-o bottle brush trees. I could not wait to get home!




I mixed up a batch of bleach and water (1 part bleach to 2 parts water) in an old milk jug. I cut the top off, leaving the handle for support, so I could dip the trees in. It was fascinating to watch as the very green trees turned color. Some of them I only left in a tiny little bit, just to fade the green and others I left in until all of their color had been stripped. A quick bath under the tap and they were done. I mixed up a batch of teal dye and dipped a few of the trees. The green trees were left as is and the others I dipped into a cocoa brown dye. They turned out beautifully, as you can see.



On Thanksgiving Day all of the women will gather in my craft room to create a something using these trees. They may be glittered, adorned or left plain but, whatever happens to them, the trees will be much prettier than they were originally. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures to show you the end result!
Now for the sneak peek! Tina from the Garden Goose and I are swap partners for the Small Town Living garland swap. I can't wait to see what she made for me! She is one very clever girl! Here is a portion of the garland that I made for Tina:



That's all you get because I don't want to totally spoil the surprise.