Monday, November 29, 2010

oh, how I love the crisp yet sunny winter mornings.There is about an inch of frost on the ground this morning and the sun is glowing through the gold and yellow leaves on the trees. Today I am setting up a borrowed artificial tree for the sale. It seems kinds silly to set an entire tree for just 1 evening but that is what I am doing, crazy or not. All of my house has been overrun with "Projects" and I love it. The typical backbiting indecision is beginning to take hold of me, already I am feeling like nobody will buy anything. Initially a friend was going to do the sale with me but she backed out due to lack of time. While I certainly understand her reasoning now I feel as though I need to have a lot more stuff! It seems like a lot of people are interested and I hope to have a decent turn out. Despite my best efforts to doubt myself I know there are at least a few people who are very excited, myself included. I will I'll be back later to post a few of my projects and to show you a few things.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mercury glass ornaments

While wandering through my new favorite thrift store I happened upon an entire bookshelf of glass christmas ornaments. there they sat, at least a hundred of them in their old and tattered boxes. The colorful paint on the glass balls had long ago started to chip and peel and clearly no one wanted them or they'd already be gone. Long ago these balls had glimmered and shone brightly on someones tree, and were certainly looked on with wonder by a child. So for less than $2 I purchased at least 60 of them, all different fading colors and sizes. I figured if nothing else I could cover them in paper or ribbon.

Well do you know what I learned...? I learned that if you take these old damaged ornaments and lightly wash them with acetone free nail polish remover you get these amazing silver and mercury glass ornaments. Some of them look brand new and some of them look like true antique mercury glass but together they all look stunning on a tree. I have wanted a large collection of all silver antique glass ball ornaments for ages but could never see paying so much for them. These once treasured ornaments were rescued form a certain landfill fate and I have a beautiful and vintage christmas tree.

Place ball in container

fill container 1/2 way with polish remover and lightly agitate with brush. I would recommended using a brush you can throw out afterward. Make sure you cover the hole at the top of the ornament or the polish remover will destroy the inside paint too. Once all the paint is loose and oozy rinse the ornament under warm water.

And you end up with beautiful mercury glass ornaments that have a slightly tattered and very antique look. I'll show you some Christmas tree action shots in a few days.

Peace and shiny objects!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A lot to be thankful for

Today above all else I am thankful for

A warm and cozy home,
A beautiful healthy family to share it with,
Kind honest friends,
That my children and I have never known the feeling of an empty stomach, 
For my hardworking and loving husband,
for the sun that shines peace down onto the earth,
and for most of all

this amazing pumpkin cheesecake that I am going to destroy later today

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wild Mushroom Strudels with balsamic reduction

One of the many benefits to having a husband who works in the woods all day is that he has become very educated to the local wild mushrooms that are abundant in our very moist climate. For three quarters of the year our plates are graced with many dishes featuring the delicious and FREE bounty.  Tonight's selection was an experiment of sorts which none the less, turned out beautifully.  Tonight I used some fresh Chantrelles, (thanks honey)  and some baby portabellas I had in the fridge. I'd say it was about 10 baby bellas and 5-7 good sized chantrelles, in all honesty ANY mushroom is delicious in this even the white button ones. So lets get started shall we?

Mushroom Strudel with balsamic reduction-
 1 package puff pastry (2 sheets)
 Fresh mushrooms
 1-2 shallots
 1 clove carlic chopped or a good amount of garlic salt
 1/4 c.Marsala wine to deglaze the pan ( I didn't have any so instead I added some chardonnay and brandy, and  I actually think it turned out better)
 salt and pepper to taste
 Swiss, or gryuere, or goat cheese (pick one. Tonight I had swiss so that's what I used)
 1/2 c. Balsamic Vinegar

pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Remove puff pastry and thaw according to the directions on the package. Clean and trim mushrooms and Sautee in large heavy bottomed pan with shallots. To avoid  over crowding the pan, and getting crappy soggy mushrooms I add just a little at a time with the butter and sautee, then push to one side of the pan. Continue to add, cook and push until all of the mushrooms have browned and look delicious. Add the chopped garlic and wine and cook until the wine has all cooked off. Remove from heat.
note the pile of mushrooms pushed to the side and the cooking ones in the center of the pan

All the wine is cooked off and it's ready to go

Unfold puff pastry and lay out on cutting board. I cut each sheet in half so I have 2 long rectangles per sheet. lay on cheese on and then add mushrooms, place everything towards one of the ends instead of the very center so it will fold over nicely . fold the pastry over the mushrooms and cheese and pinch edges with a fork. brush with milk or egg wash and dash with salt and pepper.  take a sharp knife and make a few slashes on the tops so the steam can escape. Bake until golden brown.

all ready to jump in the oven

While the strudel is baking add the balsamic vinegar to the empty, but not washed out, pan you cooked the mushrooms in and cook until thickened and reduced by about half.
Plate the individual strudels with a little fresh baby spinach and drizzle the entire plate with the balsamic reduction. Serve with an smile and dazzle your guests! Enjoy!

looking lovely and ready to be devoured

This can also be made into 1 large strudel and then served as an equally impressive appetizer.

Peace-es of flaky puff pastry!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Did you know...

That Shutterfly is having a holiday promotion, well they are. They are offering all bloggers 50 free holiday photo cards just for helping them promote this years holiday card line.
I love photo cards, but I always have a hard time finding a folding photo card that I really like. Being as we live so far from our families I always send photo cards for the holidays, but between the price and the designs I often spend several weeks trying to decide who has the cutest designs or the most reasonable price. I was planning on purchasing our cards from Shutterfly this year anyway but had decided to wait just a few more weeks before I placed my order, and boy am I glad that I did.

Here are a few of my favorites 

But I still haven't narrowed it down to just one

but you can go here to look them all over yourself.

You can also go here and design you calendar for 2011
with the ability to put up to 9 photos on each page, and type in special events you are sure to love these whether you are giving them as a gift or keeping it for yourself. plus you get to have all the virtual scrap-booking fun of building the calendar which is always my favorite part.

well I'm off to surf the holiday cards a little longer and hope that I can decide on just 1 design.

Photographic Peace and Love!

Friday, November 19, 2010

My favorite things

Melissa at 320 sycamore is hosting a my favorite things link up party, so I thought I'd share a few of mine with you. I'm a pretty simple gal and most of my favorite things in life are more about the experience of it .

Greek Yogurt-
My favorite is the honey flavor, I seriously live on this and grilled PB&J's

Elmo in Grouchland:
This is Mason's favorite movie that he insists on watching it daily. Everybody in the house sings along with the songs, even jess, and it's just too cute!

My handy Man-
I simply tell him what I want and then 'poof' he builds it. Our home is rapidly filling up with beautiful furniture pieces that my handy husband built. Having a skilled wood worker is the best, especially when he doesn't mind the cat calls while he's working.
Feeds my manic music addiction. I have several ever growing playlists and the best part is that it is completely free with no commercials unlike Pandora.  see ---------------------------->

Baby kisses-
My absolute favorite thing in the whole giant universe, kisses from my boys : )

MY Jeep-
I love her, and she loves me and that's the way it will always be!

My bed-
whether it be just me sleeping in on a Saturday, talking with my husband in the dark for hours, or having the boys pile in with us on a lazy afternoon this is my favorite place in the house. It's my king sized down filled 800 thread count happy place.

What are your favorite things in life? 

{Snuggly warm peace from me to you}

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sneak peek

Here are just a few glimpses of whats going on around the sweat shop this week. 

A full wall of book page wreaths, all different

paper stars

and rosy little ornaments

Along with all the chalkboards, stockings and pillows, Oh my! I'm adding this to the link party at under the table and dreaming, so check out all the other wonderful things that everyone else is working on too.


Peace and glitter all over my house

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You're Invited

Hummus Lahme

Hummus Lahme (pronounced la-meh) has to be one of my absolute favorite ways to enjoy hummus. Basically it means hummus with meat. Years ago I worked at an Arabic restaurant where one of the owners was from Jordan the other owner was Lebanese and the head cook was Egyptian so the recipes I learned are a strange melange of all the very different regional preparations. I fell in love with this very simple dish, and this is the non traditional way I learned to make it. You can buy premade hummus or you can make your own. I prefer to make my own as you can make it just how you like it, and it is infinitely cheaper. Traditionally this dish is made with lamb but I  almost always use an organic lean ground beef because most lamb tastes a little too funky for me. I have made hummus with both canned and dried garbanzos but for ease I typically use canned.

the cast of characters

For the Hummus-
2-3 cans of drained garbanzo beans notice I substituted 1 can of cannellini beans to make a silkier product
3-5 large cloves of garlic
2 medium lemons juiced
1/4 c. Tahini paste
1 tbsp.toasted sesame oil
1 1/2  tsp. cumin powder (my spice obsession)
a few dashes of Sumac or smoked paprika
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp.olive oil (only if hummus is dry)
water as needed

So without further adieu...
everybody in the pool!

The delicious whippy result, notice the large missing spoonful

mix everything in food processor until well blended and hummusy (very technical, I know!). If the hummus seems dry then drizzle in olive oil or water while the food processor is running. I do not like a lot of olive oil in hummus so I usually only add about 1 tbsp oil, and then I use water to moisten it if I need to.  I like a lot of garlic and lemon but adjust it as you wish. Hummus is ALWAYS better if it gets to sit and meld the flavors for a while so typically I will make it in advance, but you do not have to. You will only use about half of the prepared hummus for the Lahme so you 'll have a little extra for dipping later in the week.

For the Lahme-
1/2 or1 lb. lean ground meat I prefer to make it less meaty
1/2 onion
 handful of pine nuts (they are currently ridiculously expensive but vital to a good lahme)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp.chopped cilantro or mint (I prefer cilantro but the mint is traditional if you are using lamb)

 Spread a thick layer of prepared hummus on large plate. Toast pine nuts in dry pan, remove from heat and set pine nuts aside. cook ground meat throughly, if the meat looks greasy pour off fat.Add onions and cook until translucent. Mix in pine nuts and cilantro and remove from heat.

The hummus all spread out


Place mixture on top of the plated hummus. Serve with warm pita wedges and sliced cucumber and tomato and devour : ) this serves about 4 as a family style dinner or many more as an appetizer. enjoy!

Oh, and Masie wanted to show you how to make a megablock hammer

step one:
 build your hammer, any color blocks will do

Step two:
wave it around and yell like a crazy person, because 
you are really excited that you built it, I guess.

Step 3:
 bang it on everything in the house while mommy is cooking
and make sure you sigh and groan a lot so mommy knows that you are really working hard

Peace and adorable kids gobbling hummus with a homemade hammer in the other hand!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hot glue is a many splendor thing!

One of the best parts about having Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis is that it messes with all the other regular functions of my body. Any slight adjustment in my hormones results in a major flare up, so that certain time of the month leaves me in agony. while I could spend the week on a "Vicodin Vacation" I am trying to live a non medicated life, so I needed something to cheer me up.  I have seen a few really adorable burlap wreaths around the blog world and I thought I'd give one a try. here's what I came up with...

 I was short on time, and cranky, and too lazy to take any pictures, but I'm thinking about making another for a friend so I'll post a tutorial after I do that one. 
It did cheer me up, but having to go to work after I finished making it did not.

Peace and patience for my sassy uterus!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

getting started

 Before I head off to work the brunch shift this morning I thought I'd give you a preview of my Christmas collection I started this week. IF all goes smoothly, I will be hosting a holiday open house the first week of December. I have invited a few other artists and am excited to see if I can not only create but also gainfully sell my wares.

Here a torn sweater has been upcycled into several shabby chic stockings

Complete with handmade silk flowers

 and vintage buttons

For now I'm off to wait on impatient diners but I'll show you my additional creations in a few days.

Peace be nice to your waitress, she'd rather be home sewing!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pottery barn can bite my DIY

Okay so We, erm...I have wanted some shelves for our living room wall for a while now. I am a bit manic when it comes to decorating and I need wall art that is easily changeable without punching dozens of holes into my vintage plaster walls. I had been eyeing these at Pottery Barn for a while...

Aren't they cute, and a steal at $330 for 2! HA!

Then one day while looking at Ana White's fantastic site I saw she had hacked the exact shelves I was thinking about. the best part is that I could build them to the size I wanted and customize them to the depth I needed.
About $40 and a busy husband later I had these!

Aren't they marvelous?! I love them!!!!
I'm still adjusting my trinkets so bear with me

Just look how fancy my junk looks. 
Those sweet little oval frames will soon hold silhouettes of the boys that I am making

And I had to make a few book page birdies to go with my wreath

behold the wreath, I'm just a little obsessed, I know : )

Now I can switch my junk out when ever I feel like it, which is often, just ask my husband.

Isn't that plate amazing? I'm keeping an eye on Ebay to see if I can find an entire set, but it is an antique, we'll see.

All I have to say is that I'll take a man that can build me something pretty over a rich man anyday!
If you want to get to know Ana and her Beautiful FREE furniture plans click HERE

Now it's back to sewing machine, I'll explain tomorrow...

Peace and pretty junk!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cheap November

October was an expensive month for us, several big ticket purchases and a few road trips really start to add up when all done in one month. With the holidays looming just around the corner it looks like December will be kinda spendy too. So, Jess and I have agreed that we will make November our cheap month. Mostly this just means minding our budget a little with the idea that we will come out of it with a little more leeway for December.
 We truly are not big holiday consumers, we buy toys and junk for the kids but we always make gifts for each other and our friends and families.
For my Christmas decorations and such I am hoping to use what I have and up-cycle the rest. I'm feeling a very natural/rustic theme this year anyways. I have plies of acorns, pine cones and other things just waiting to be gilded and glitzed for ornaments.

So here's my plan:
 1. I have promised not to buy anything "NEW" for the month, only used. But obviously not in the way of necessities like food and T.P.
2. keep my food budget low, by making loads of soups, oh how I love soup season!
3. avoid shopping for Christmas until December when everything is on sale anyway
4. to enjoy the freebies of life like hikes in the woods and candle lit date nights at home

Speaking of cheap here is a very low cost/high reward tutorial for the book page wreaths that I so adore. Most of my Christmas decorations are inspired by this 1 simple technique. 
Plus Emily is a genius who has an amazing blog with loads of super fun/ cheap/easy tutorials so have fun poking around the rest of her blog too!

Peace don't burn yourself with the glue gun

Monday, November 1, 2010

How happy was your Halloween?

I hope everyone had a grand Halloween.
Ours was a little slow going but it all worked out in the end. 
On Friday we were supposed to have the boys 3rd annual Halloween bash, but then I got a touch of icky food poisoning, and it all went down the drain.I was much more disappointed than the boys were I am sure! But after missing a few shifts at work and sleeping for about 30 hours straight I was much better and at least able to take the boys trick or treating. 
Knowing how bummed I was, Jessie stepped in and made all the spooky dinners I had planned, carved pumpkins, did some ghoulish crafts with the boys and even had a silly string fight with them on the front lawn. So while I may have missed most of the Halloween fun,  at least my boys did not, and that's what really matters!

At our home even the photos get into the spirit

I guess I was sick for longer than I thought the spider webs got really out of control

See the house mouse?

Mason waiting "patiently" to go trick or treating

Ironman explaining how to trick or treat to Masie

I made mason a costume to look like his baby. It is his best friend who has to go everywhere with him

I went as the Webster's Diction-fairy

with a glue gun and an old worn out dictionary from the thrift store I made a wand, hair barrette, top and tutu! I used the book cover as wings, it was the funnest and cheapest costume I've ever made .

Here we are lighting our pumpkins before heading out

Remember that book page wreath I posted a few weeks ago? well, that is where I got my inspiration for this. I'll post a few links to some really great tutorials soon.

Peace and candy crazed kiddos!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...