Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Baby Shoe Pincushions

  Submitted by Linda
Do you remember these vintage doll shoes repurposed into pincushions? I feel like I shared this photo before, from the amazing crafter Lisa Super. Click here to see her blog.
Well, ever since I saw this pic, I've been looking for old dollie shoes, to no avail.  But at Christmas time, my mom and I both found a pair of tiny, vintage baby shoes at Treasures and Junk in Ontario. Mine were a whopping $3.00.

I lined them with a pretty muslin, with a white on white pattern. My mom used a pink with some silver flecks. And voila! A cell phone pic!
Here's a better shot with my Rebel camera. So sweet, little leather boy shoes!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happiest Birthday "Fishes"!

Submitted by Linda 
Buying stamps is sometimes like buying shoes. You never know at the time of purchase if you're really going to love them, if they're going to feel good on your feet, and so on. Stamps are like that, too. Sometimes the cutest stamps on my shelves go for months without being used. Sometimes they make a comeback, and sometimes they bless somebody else. This "fishing around" stamp had been calling my name, even though it's not my usual style. I had just gotten it, when I was invited to a twins' first birthday party. 

I had pinned a card similar to this one, and I loved the idea of adding the party hats on the fishes. I used my fun new watercolor printed papers, and here it is!
And here we are at the party with the two little ladies!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Wishes 2014


 Submitted by Linda
Here's hoping everyone had a happy Easter filled with hope and fun with family and friends! 
Before my Easter stuff gets tucked safely back in the box, I thought I'd share my cloche all decked out for Spring.
I love the 'chocolate' bunny! He was an inexpensive find at Tuesday Morning.
 Here's the treat I made for the secretaries at my school...a giant matchbook filled with Jelly Bellys. And what could be cuter than a bunny's behind?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Stitching Update: April 2014

 Submitted by Linda
Hello out there in the blogosphere! I'm embarrassed to see that my last post was in February! Time just marches on, doesn't it?

I've had a super busy march, getting ready for a big trip which I recently took (more on that later), but in the meantime, I've still been stitching away with my mom.

First up is a set of pillowcases that I intended to make and give away as a wedding gift to some lucky couple. But they're so cute, I think they may go on my own bed! The pattern is called Sweet Dreams and is from Crabapple Hill.
For Christmas I was gifted with the pattern and the set of 8 perle cotton flosses to make these darling Easter towels from Bird Brain Designs. You will see below that I've been a veritable dishtowel factory!


They're all so cute (if I do say so myself), but my favorite is this bewildered bunny.
Last year I had three nieces who had 4 babies (one set of twins), and I thought we were temporarily at the end of the baby wave. So I was thinking that I would take a break from embroidering this oh-so-sweet Mary Englebreit bunny for baby blankets. But alas, four more babies are coming this spring and summer (to three different nieces-another set of twins!) A pink blankie was delivered last week, but this weekend I'm attending a shower for a baby, and we don't know if it's a boy or a girl! This baby's parents love all things rustic, so I chose this 'latte' colored minky and added a neutral green bow on the bunny. I hope they love it! 
I'm not a big sewer, but growing up in a 'fair' family, I want to make sure every new baby in our family has a special soft flannel/minky blanket made with love. So I keep stitching bunnies. As for this luscious latte colored minky, I found it at fabric.com, when I was dissatisfied with the choices at my local fabric stores. Technology is a wonderful thing! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Valentine's Cards 2014


 Submitted by Linda
 Helloooooo out there! Yes, I am alive and well. And finally posting.

I don't mean to get all serious with ya'll, but I have been continuing to adopt a philosophy of slowing down and taking good care of me. I recently read an article on Facebook about turning 45, and the author talked about how in our 30s, we young moms do it all: working, parenting, volunteering, throwing birthday parties and the like. Over the past several years, I've found myself wanting and needing to slow down, and take the rushing out of my life.

I think too, having lost a dear friend in 2013, and having Craig recover from two surgeries, I'm even more convinced that we need to slow down, savor the moments, and be good to ourselves and our loved ones. Carpe Diem. Which, for me,  also means saying 'no' to things sometimes. Even good things like blogging.

Nevertheless, I'm happy to be typing away today, to share my valentine projects. All of these can be found on my pinterest board if you want to see my inspiration.

I made this tag to attach to cookies for my teacher friends, and then never used them (the cookies were so pretty in the cello bags, they didn't even need the tags!)  So they are in my stash for next year. I layered several newsprint hearts together to give it a thicker texture, before I glittered it up.
For this one, I loved the unique 'not so valentine-ish' vibe. And the green is a fun addition to the usual red and pink.
This is my CASE'd version of a card on pinterest. And because, after the fact, I realized that I copied it from one of our fave stampers, Heather Klump at Downstairsdesigns, I'm sharing her original.  I didn't copy it exactly, but I did follow her lead and do some paper piercing, both on the blue heart and along the border.
This cute valentine-y paper is also on clearance at Stampinup.com right now, FYI!
And here is Heather's card:
So that's all for today. Hoping to be back before too long. In the meantime, be good to yourself!






Sunday, January 26, 2014

Out with the old....In with the....old?

 Submitted by Linda
Stamping is kind of like fashion, in that styles and looks go in and out all the time. So occasionally, one must go weed through her stamps, trying to decide if they stay or go. I even ask myself the same questions as when I'm in my closet: "Have I used it lately?" "Is it still appealing?"

So I try to keep stamp sets which are timeless, and still functional. This oldie but goodie is from 2006, and was the Ronald McDonald House set at the time. As a kindergarten teacher, I feel strongly that the crayon vibe is always in style, at least for me.  So I pulled this out because I needed a housewarming tag for "Michelle's friend Carrie who is now my friend Carrie", who recently moved from the desert to within my 2-mile radius!!!!

I used ink and blender pens, and added some puffy heart contraband (non SU) stickers.
The gift was a hand stitched flour sack towel for Carrie's new kitchen. The design was so big, that I wasn't able to cinch up the cellophane with a cute ribbon, so I just attached the tag with some washi tape.
If you have a good memory, you may remember that this is one of the towels I stitched while Craig was in the hospital last February.  Boy, are we thankful to have that experience behind us. And what could be better than having a stamping buddy who lives in my neighborhood?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Brown Rice Casserole


Submitted by Michelle
I started teaching in the early 1990's and at that time my cousin Kathy was in college.  She did her undergraduate course work at Ithaca College in New York.  I visited her there once, and found Ithaca to be one of those towns that my LA friends would label as "crunchy granola." You know, the kind of place where people recycle, eat organic foods, have long hair, wear tye-die t-shirts and are referred to as tree huggers.  This was long before recycling and eating organic was in vogue.  Gluten allergies hadn't yet been discovered, and vegetarian eating habits such as Mario Batali's Meatless Mondays and Mark Bittman's vb6 (eat vegan before 6pm) were unheard of.  Kathy always has been a sort of trail blazer in our family, and during her Ithaca years she became interested in eating and cooking vegetarian.  Kathy passed on her love of vegetarian cooking to me by giving me several cookbooks, including the one pictured above.  

Now that the holidays are over, I've been attempting to eat more healthfully and trying to incorporate more meals centered around vegetables.  (Neither Kathy or I could ever be full blown vegetarians -- we love a good hamburger or steak just like the rest of the carnivores in the world. ) In my quest to eat vegetarian 3-4 days a week, I dug into Deborah Madison's Greens Cookbook and tired a few new recipes, including a brown rice casserole.
Clockwise from top:
Italian parsley, cilantro, tofu, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, red bell pepper, celery, carrots, and onions.
The recipe was intriguing because it had so many vegetables in it, as well as tofu.  I've not been very successful with cooking tofu but a casserole seemed like a good place to give it a try again.  
I began by sautéing the onions in olive oil and butter until they were brown.  
I then added the cumin, garlic, celery, carrot and red bell pepper, along with some vegetable stock.  I covered the pan so the vegetables would braise and soften.
The mushrooms and zucchini went in next.  
I had some left over brown rice that I had cooked a few days prior, though you could use freshly cooked rice.  I added cheddar cheese to it.
Finally, I mixed the cooked veggies in with rice and then folded in the tofu.  The entire thing baked for about 45 minutes, and though not the most glamorous of dishes, it was quite tasty. You could definitely substitute in other vegetables like butternut squash, yams, eggplant or cauliflower, and if you had to have meat, chicken would be a nice alternative to the tofu.
Though it doesn't look much different than the previous picture, this is a photo of the casserole after it is baked.  Both David and I enjoyed it as a main course for dinner, and I took the left overs for my lunch several days in a row.  David came up with the bright idea of sprinkling some feta cheese on top as a garnish.  The recipe calls for cilantro or parsley as a garnish, but I think the cheese was pretty good too.

Brown Rice Casserole from The Greens Cookbook

4 cups cooked brown rice 
1/2 block of tofu (8-9 ounces)
1 large onion
2 medium carrots

2 celery stalks
1 green pepper
2 medium zucchini or 
other summer squash 
6 oz mushrooms (I used crimini)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
3 minced garlic cloves 

1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional) {I opted out.}
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 cup mushroom broth 
or vegetable stock or water
6 ounces grated cheese (jack, muenster, cheddar, Gouda, etc.)
Fresh herbs: parsley or cilantro, thyme, majoram, for garnish

If you don't have left over rice, cook some brown rice. Set the tofu on a slanted board or pan to drain, and prepare the vegetables. Chop the onion, carrots, celery, pepper, and zucchini into pieces about 1/2-inch square. Quarter mushrooms if they are small, and cut them into sixths or eighths if they are large. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. 

Heat the olive oil and the butter and fry the onion over medium heat until it is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, nutritional yeast (if using), cumin and salt. Stir until blended and cook for 1 minute. Add the carrots, celery, green pepper and 1/2 cup of the liquid, cover pan, and braise the vegetables until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook 7 to 10 minutes. The vegetables should be nearly, but not completely, cooked. If the pan gets dry while they cook, add a little more liquid. 

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the vegetables with rice and cheese. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Gently mix in the tofu, and put mixture into lightly oiled casserole. Add a little more liquid to moisten. Cover with foil and bake 1/2 hour. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs.