Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Red, blue, yellow and fluffy!

After a hard winter of drab, it's good to see color around the yard today.

Ever since this incident there have been no cardinals in our little courtyard. Today was the first time. Welcome back, brave one!

These bursts of blue pop up everywhere... in the grass, through the leaves. I discovered several clumps of tiny little bulbs while trying to dig out weeds a few years ago. I'm really into free plants, so I carefully pulled the clumps apart and replanted the bulbs, wondering what I would get. Hundreds! That's what I got! Hundreds of lovely little grape hyacinths that are as determined to multiply as they are to live. I love 'em!

Like butter and sunshine rolled into one... the forsythia. (Also makes the perfect switch for sassy little girls. We have a lo-o-o-ng history. Yes, yes we do.)

And just before the sun went down, while the stones were still wet from the rain, the clouds! How I do love the clouds. Dark and dreary, or beautiful like these...

they are the promise of a trumpet sound, a soon meeting in the air.

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. I Thessalonians 4:17-18

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recycled drop cloth

Yesterday, I realized that my work table had moved from creative chaos to deplorable mess. After tools, paints, brushes, etc. were hanging, stacked and standing where they belong, I could see that the 5' paper drop cloth had to be replaced!

I recently read about an artist who cut her drop cloth into smaller background pieces for use in her other artwork. With that in mind, I looked for anything that might be re-usable in my freshly exposed mess. That's when I discovered little moments of wonder all over that paper.

Autographs from granddaughters...

A love note to gramma...

Arty people and moments of brilliant color combos...

What started as paper to pitch, became a stack of color-filled future additives, and sweet little memory pieces that I'll treasure forever.

And, since it's unreasonable to expect a person to clean and organize the whole time, I also carved 3 new stamps. (What!?! I had to make a decision whether to "throw-or-keep" the inspiration piece..)

Finally, in order to prove to myself that this was not a waste of time, I used some of the recycled paper bits and two of the new stamps to make a note card.

Fun way to spend an evening.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might... Ecclesiastes 9:10

Monday, April 18, 2011

April showers bring May flowers

If this is the 2011 version of April showers...

Yes! That is snow!!
I can't wait to see the May flowers!

Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. Ephesians 2:9

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What is it?

While shopping at a little fresh market last week, I came face to face with a big bin of fresh poblano peppers. They were absolutely the most beautiful poblanos I have seen at any store in Michigan!

Since "Chiles Rellenos" is a favorite menu item for my dearly beloved, I bought 4 (they were so big that's all I could fit in the bag!), positive I could find a way around the deep frying part of the recipe.

I love the internet. Any recipe you could ever want is there. But I was having a bit of trouble finding a recipe that included ingredients that I already had in the house. And... this frying in inches of hot oil was in nearly every recipe. Finally, the perfect combo of ingredients and no oil fell into place and I was off on my poblano adventure.

Chiles Rellenos Pie
6 fresh poblano chiles uh-oh I only have 4. I guess I will make 2/3's of the recipe
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese and 2 cups mild cheddar Oh boy. I have percorino romano, and mozzarella, and a little bit of cheddar. That will have to do.
1-1/2 cups cooked chicken!! I never saw that in the list! Well, let's see. I have some leftover seasoned steak strips. Ok. Next?
1 cup evap milk - Check. Oh wait, there's not much here. Guess I'll just add water.
1 cup sour cream Ugh. I know that sour cream is in here somewhere. Why don't they make refrigerators with revolving shelves? Hmmm. I think if I beat this cottage cheese it will be about the same. Good!
3 eggs But I only have 2! Wait... I'm only doing 2/3's of a recipe. Whew!
2 cups salsa YES!!! I have it!!!
Step 1: The roasting part went well. It is satisfying to zip the skins from the peppers with such ease.

Step 2: Well, I don't have an 11" square baking dish. (Do you? Have you ever seen one?) I do have an 11"x7"... could that be 2/3's? Lined my substitute pan with the roasted, seeded chiles and covered them with my trio of wrong cheeses. Topped that with the spicy beef strips - not chicken - and poured the mixture of diluted evap milk, flour, smashed cottage cheese, and 2 eggs over the layers in the pan.

Sounding good yet?

Step 3: Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees. When the center of the casserole was firm, I spread salsa over the top and baked it for another 10-15 minutes.

Well... it probably should have had some standing time before I cut into it, but we were hungry. There is a phrase that I hear occasionally at my dinner table. (Whatever hackles are, it raises mine when I hear it.) My sweetie will look at me and say, "I wouldn't serve this to company..."

On Chiles Rellenos Pie night? He said, "I would serve this to company! This is sooo good!" I was shocked.

Here's my dilemma - what shall I call my new concoction? It isn't Chiles Rellenos. It isn't Chiles Rellenos Pie. I'll have to call it Manna (i.e. what-is-it?).

Yep... I'm thinking Manna is a good name for it.

And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing... and when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. Exodus 16:14-15

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The birthday party

The date was set weeks ago. April 9th. In between soccer, softball and social calendars, we managed to find an afternoon for a double birthday celebration.

Since this was happening at my house, and I like schedule (it can be loose, but there needs to be a plan!), I made a short mental list - food/cakes, presents, crafty project.

At precisely almost 3:30, we began the festivities by taking pictures,

Sorry Em, but this was too funny!
(perhaps too many?)

and went on to inhale food, sing loudly while candle covered cakes were delivered to the table, and watch the enthusiastic unwrapping of presents.

While mommies washed everything from great-great-great gramma's crystal goblets to great gramma's dessert forks, 5 eager crafter's raced me to the workroom to start decorating bobby pins.

I thought there would be a need for finished samples and hands-on help. Silly me. I had only enough time to say "Here are the bobby pins..." before they were hard at work.

A heart-warming thing for me was their immediate attraction to my bounty of old buttons. Those precious party girls may not look much like their Gramma B, but we share the gene that produces a deep love for old buttons.

I'm embarrassed to admit that in all the busy-ness, I forgot to take pictures of finished projects. They were beautiful. The girls used black velvet center buttons, and shaped buttons that were spritzed, painted and/or rubbed with colors.

Looking back, it was a day of changes - youth puts on age, old becomes new, anticipation becomes memory. Sweet... wa-a-a-y beyond cake!

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Projects - old and new

My worktable has been busy with a variety of projects lately.

Some projects have been a long time coming, as in this idea for a way to use Christmas cards from past years. Two years of Christmas cards are finally scrapped, and I'm happy with the finished pages.

My prayer album is finished and on the job. The freshly decorated pages are invigorating - like icy lemonade on a sizzling summer day. In my world... eye candy, for sure.

The delight of rescuing ugly paper is still fresh on my mind. Never again will I struggle with the question of throwing vs. keeping any papers. Now, it's simply a question of "what color shall I paint it?"

But today... today was haircut day... and that meant I had to have some guerrilla art ready for the surreptitious drop at the perfect moment. I left the house this morning with one finished piece.

Don't take pictures on a rainy day!
When you create a carrier for precious words, it's easy to doubt the quality. But the words are soooo good, that I squashed the negative thoughts and accomplished my mission.

It's feels good to be back in the saddle again.

Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Psalm 143:8