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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Finally-- The Great Giveaway!!

As usual, I don't seem to get things done as quickly as I promise would like to.  But, this giveaway is super, and sooo easy.....because let's face it, I just can't manage complicated!  

This time of year seems to bring with it not just holidays and decorating, but also lots of entertaining as well.  Here is the great part- if you would like a little help it is here for you!  There is a great site where you can upgrade your Dining Room with the help of our giveaway!  My friend Sean from Dining Rooms Direct has been nice enough to offer a $40 gift card to the winner of the giveaway!  Look at some of the cute things they offer:

You could get this runner for free!!
This retro table for next to nothin'

Or a cute Island:

Or adorable Baker's Rack:

Told you there was cute stuff!!  

Okay, so now that you are dreaming of what you can do before your overly-critical loving family arrives for Thanksgiving dinner, here are the terms of my Great Giveaway:

1. Be a Follower
2. Leave a comment on any post
from August 1, 2010 thru Sept. 30, 2010
I will put your name in a hat, and draw for the winner on October 1, 2010.
I will enter your name for each comment you leave.

That's it!

Good Luck!! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eat Your Veggies!! A Recipe To Help

I love vegetables!  Not all, but most (sorry Brussels Sprouts).  Every year I start a vegetable garden~ I imagine myself with a bushel basket in my arms, overflowing with the fruits (& veggies) of my labor...sharing with my neighbors.... "why, YES! I did grow these have plenty...please enjoy!"

In reality, this is what I get:

Yes, it's true.....I have yet to eat a single berry, bean or melon from my own garden!  Every year the same optimism~ every year I am dealt a crushing blow from Mother Nature.  I guess that is what comes from a Big City gal trying to be Fanny Farmer.  I am hoping that some of you out there can help me by telling me what it is I can do to fend off rodents sweet little bunnies, swarms of locusts, the stealthy possum and grow food in drought combined with searing heat.  One thing you do learn early on in Texas gardening is when the tag on the plant says 'full sun' it hardly ever means 'full Texas sun'.  Is it any wonder I rely on the local markets for my produce? 

I do love to cook.  I love my kitchen! I love chopping, kneading, baking, grilling and most of all- eating!  So what if this was not my reality:

I can still enjoy veggies!  Luckily, my kids love them as well, and my poor husband who was raised by someone who's cooking skills shall we say....were lacking?....has come around to crave them as well. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Every Leaf Speaks Bliss To Me, Fluttering From The Autumn Tree" Emily Bronte

I'm not sure if it is all of the 'back to school' ads, or if it has been the 16 straight days of temperatures over 100 degrees, but right now I am looking forward to fall.  I decided to make this fall leaf garland from some of the old books I have and post it as a tutorial for any other like-minded individuals out there.

Like most of my other projects it is fairly quick, inexpensive to make, and an  easy skill level.  After all, we are busy modern women with a lot to get done in a day :)

You will need just a few materials that you probably have on hand:

an old book
2 or 3 coordinating scrapbook paper or cardstock
light gauge wire (mine was 26 gauge floral wire)
white glue or modge podge
foam brush
sharp scissors
wire cutter
ink pad in a coordinating color
heavy twine
raffia or ribbon
large beads 
I also coated my finished leaves with matte clear acrylic spray

You can use your own, or print out my

I used the leaf patterns I marked 'A' - 'B' - 'C'
For leaf 'B' I printed out the image at 50%.

Once you have decided which leaves you want to use, stack 3 or 4 pages you have torn from your book, and use your template as a cutting guide.  You will need to flip them over and determine which side you like the look of best, given the cuts and the printed words.

Loosely cut the shape from your scrapbook paper.  Clip pieces of wire that will fit in your leaf size.

I used white glue thinned with a small amount of water, but modge podge will also work.  Just spread some with your foam brush on the back of the loosely shaped scrapbook paper piece you have cut.  Add the wire in the appropriate places and stick your book-leaf down smoothing the edges and making sure the paper is pushed tight against the wire pieces.  Don't freak if the wire sticks out a little bit- you can trim it with your wire cutter later.

Should look something like this:

I set my leaves in the sun to dry, which here literally took about 3 minutes.  It worked well to stick a leaf and put it in the sun to dry while I was prepping another.  The wire inside adds a nice stiffness and bendability to these.

For this garland I chose a fall color theme, but I plan to do one just for my Halloween decorations.  Here is a picture of each:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

God Loves Handmade!

Some days you just get a revelation, or as Oprah would say, "your ahh-ha moment".  I've had one that I would like to share with you. 

First let me say, I am not here to debate God's existence with anyone, talk about any particular religion, or sway anyone's beliefs.  I feel like we all have a personal spiritual journey, and I am just talking about mine.  I do welcome comments on your "ahh-ha moment"- in sharing we grow.

I was standing out on the beach of La Push on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.  Let me tell you, I have been on probably 50 different beaches in my life, but never on one so raw and wild.  The pounding of the surf is deafening.  The beauty is overwhelming.  Here is a glimpse:
(click on pics for close up)

Everything there is HUGE!  And that is saying a lot from someone that lives in Texas!!  We do *Big* here quite well, but *Huge* is not something I had encountered in any other place.  Look at the size of the 'driftwood' on the beach!  Really now.....

So- I was walking along, taking it all in.  Looking for shells, rocks, sea glass, treasure....just marveling each thing.  How each and every rock, tree branch, shell, person, name all different.  Even twins do not have the same fingerprints.  Then came the revelation: God loves handmade!!

He loves the imperfections, and sees beauty in it.  He could have easily copped out and carbon-copied or cloned things, but instead he chose to make each one different in some way.  A lot more work, but like what I do as well, a labor of love.  And that is when I realized that is how I am a child of God!

I have for years, looked at the Omni-presence of my God in awe.  How could I be a child of God, when we are not the same?  He is great, I am small.  He is all-powerful, I am always asking for help.  But in our creativity, we share a love, we have a bond.  

Take a look at this tree:

I can honestly say I have never seen a tree anything like that!  It was more like a cactus that had gone crazy!!  If you know what it is, please leave a sister and I are still wondering.

On our visit to the Olympic Peninsula we had the pleasure of staying in Sequim (pronounced *skwim* by locals) in a darling little cottage, in an area of town called 'Happy Valley'.  And it was  :)

This was the inside:

There are many lavender farms in the area, and the following weekend of our stay was the annual lavender festival.  It was so clean and fresh there, the air smelled like lavender and lemon verbena.  It energized me, and intoxicated me all at the same time.

Here are pics from the Port Williams Lavender Farm:

The man that owns the lavender farm was so nice, even though we had shown up right at closing time.  He was kind enough to tell us about all the different types of lavender, their uses, and I bought some lavender honey made from the happy bees they have there on the farm.  

I have a craft tutorial that came from the inspiration of this trip, which I hope to get up tomorrow or Tuesday.  

I will leave you today with a picture of one of the sunsets we saw, which when you think about it, are different each and every day as well.  The differences are what make it (and us) great, and as we embrace the differences in small things like a sunset, and ooh and ahh over it, I hope we can remember to do the same with our friends, our family, and our fellow man as well.  

All My Best

Telling People What I Think For 40+ Years!!

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