Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Wee Folk

My new obsession of late has been these cute little felt work dolls. I love the details in this craft. My friend Lisa turned me onto this book, Wee Folk by Salley Mavor, this past Christmas and I promptly ran out and bought the book. I have been longingly waiting to try my hand at these little cuties. So, about a week ago I gathered all my supplies and went to work. I was a little rusty with my embroidery work, but I think it came out well for my first try. I found an awesome website that gives you video tutorials on all the stitches. The name is Needle & Thread and it is very helpful. I think what I am drawn to most about this, is the timelessness of these cute hand embroidery dolls. I love crafts that have a history to them. In simpler times, women did this kind of craft all the time. There were no mass manufactured dolls with out of proportioned bodies. This just screams of quaintness and of a gentler time. I love handicrafts with history. I think that's why I have been drawn to old time crafts. I learned chain maille, needlework, felting, knitting and the like. They have substance and history. I love how they have endured over time and been reinvented and rediscovered in new and exciting ways.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Science Fair

Science fair projects have been consuming our time. I love it when kindergartners get these big projects that basically the parents need to do or seriously guide. I feel like I am the one back in school. Our school had a school wide science fair. Now for our older boys, its great to go through the scientific process, but for the little ones, it can be torture. Don't get me wrong, I love helping my kids and working with them on projects, but when you have it times three, it can be overwhelming. Fortunately and sometimes unfortunately, we live behind a creek. Most of the year its great fun for the boys and other neighborhood kids. They play and explore back there. A couple times a years however our backyard will flood, due to the amount of water rushing through the creek. But, most of the time the creek is a great source of fun for the kids. So, for our science project we did "What's in our Creeks". We found all sorts of neat stuff like clams, crawdads and ducks. We also found trash and the like. We spent Saturday taking pictures and collecting the good and bad of what we found in our creeks. His project turned out great!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sew Delightful!

Our dining room has this tile bench that is known as the "time out bench" in our house. I have wanted for some time to put a cushion on this bench and "warm" up the dining room. Our home is made of adobe brick and can be very cold feeling. Now, I am not a sewer. I am whatever comes before novice. I enlisted the help of my Auntie Kathi, who is the most creative person I know. She sews so beautiful! I was grateful that she came down and spent a few days with us to help me sew the cushions and the pillows.

As I said, I am a newbie when it comes to sewing, but I am eager to learn and my Auntie is a great teacher. She worked on the cushion and I tackled the pillows. I picked out a pretty quilted red and yellow check with a touch of blue for the cushion.

And the rooster fabric for the pillows. I sewed all the piping for the cushions and pillows in a blue that matched the blue in the check pattern. I am happy to say I did all the pillows and I think they came out quite cute. Here is the finished project:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Worktable Preview

I have been busy with some more jewelry designs. I really like the whole charm necklace idea right now. I tend to lean toward the religious, when I make these necklaces, but you could add any charm or combination of charms. I also tend to lean toward the french style of things. I love the fleur de lis symbol and try to incorprate it into my jewelry when I can.

The charms are fun and can be whimsical. I love the idea of the strawberry charm as well. It reminds me of spring. I also like the organic look of the pearls.

I also have been working on new rosary designs. I started my whole jewelry odyssey with making rosaries. I love the feel of the beads in my hand and the old world design of the crucifix's. These new ones are pretty.

The beads are glass melon beads in a pretty green with sea jasper as the paternoster beads. I love the center. It is an Ave Maria crown. It is big and substantial. The other rosaries are a blue crystal with mother of pearls and picture jasper with turquoise.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Magic Boxes

I was browsing some of my favorite blogs this morning, when I came across this adorable tutorial from Life as Lou, on making magic boxes. Her blog is filled with creative ideas. So, I decided to try my hand at making one of her boxes. Mine came out cute. I added a ribbon to help close the box. I punched holes and added eyelets and attached a coordinating ribbon. I like how it finishes off the box. I will play with it some more to try and get my measurements more accurate. I can't cut or measure a straight line. It's a curse! She also has a tutorial on making explosion boxes that look real interesting. This cute box will go to a sweetheart of a girl I know that loves to craft as much as I do. Thanks Cara for being such a great supporter of mine!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Soups On!

It' s hard to believe it's February already. Wasn't it just Christmas? Why does time goes so fast the older you get? Easter is so early this year! Lent started this week and with that comes the challenge of meatless Friday's. One meal we like to prepare is a vegetarian tortilla soup. I came across the original recipe from Epicurious. com. I have tweaked the recipe to my liking. It tastes like an enchilida soup. It's easy to prepare, its filling and its a light soup. All good things!

I also came across this lovely soup. Do you remember the Seinfield episode about the soup nazi? Well this is the guy the story was based on.

I read he is famous in New York and people line up for a long time to get his soups. I found this beauty at our local supermarket. We have tried the Seafood bisque and it is fantastic! They have other soups like clam chowder, Italian wedding soup and tomato basil. You don't get tons of soup, enough for 2 servings and the price is a little high, but O'my it's good. There are hunks of lobster, clam, mussels, shrimp, crab and scallops! I am a soup nut and this is fantastic for not being a homemade soup.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

4 cups canned vegetable broth

4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

4 6-inch diameter corn tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes( when not in season, used good quality canned tomatoes, I like Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes)

2/3 cup canned black beans, rinsed & drained

1 1/2 Tablespoons minced, seeded jalapeno

Add Olive oil into saucepan and heat on medium. Add onion and garlic; cook over medium-low heat until almost tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin and chili powder. Add broth and 2 Tablespoons cilantro; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until flavors blend, about 15 minutes.

Add tortillas, tomatoes, beans, jalapeno to soup. Cover, simmer about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tablespoon cilantro.

This soup would be great with any number of mixins: Add hominey or corn, use pinto beans instead of black. The combinations are endless. I do like to serve this with some shredded cheese and sour cream. YUM!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Home Improvements

I know I haven't posted in awhile. We have been working on painting all of our doors in our house. Our home was built in the 60's and all the doors, including this builit in above, are a dark walnut veneer. Very ugly and very dated. Hubbo and I decided to paint this built in, which is in our dining room, a lovely green. I think it turned out nice. We also painted the pantry door the same color. My cousin's husband is bending a sign for me out of wire that will read PANTRY. I want to hang it with a cute ribbon on the door. We now only have 10 more doors to paint. We plan on doing the rest in a pale almond color. Hopefully, this will help bring our home into the 21st century. Our plan is to tackle something each weekend. Now don't laugh! I said it was our plan, I didn't say we would actually do it. J's baseball schedule just came out, and it looks like all spare time will be running kiddo back and forth to practice. O' joy!
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