Saturday, February 21, 2015

It's a Gumbo Kind of Day!


Chicken Gumbo with Shrimp

It was cold today, although warmer than yesterday's below zero temperatures.  Since we were expecting a storm some time after noon, I decided to make one of my favorite soups for supper. 

Soup simmering on the stovetop is so comforting  especially when stormy weather is brewing!

I found the recipe many years ago in Woman's World Magazine and it was delicious! It remains a family favorite! I tweak it to my own personal taste adding slightly more vegetables and chicken broth then the recipe calls for. Because I add more broth, I add an extra tablespoon of oil and a bit more flour so that it thickens nicely.


Chicken/Shrimp Gumbo

3T oil
1/4 C flour

1 c green bell pepper, chopped
1 c onion, chopped
1 c celery chopped
2-3 cloves minced garlic

12 oz pkg frozen okra

3 C chicken broth
28 oz can whole tomatoes with juice
2 t hot sauce
1 bay leaf

2 C cooked chicken cut up in bite sized pieces
1 lb cooked shrimp

Salt, pepper to taste

Combine oil and flour in stockpot. Stir over medium heat until dark brown.



 Add green pepper, onion, celery and garlic. 


Cook vegetables until tender.



 Add chicken broth, tomatoes and bay leaf. Stir.


 Add okra and bring mixture to boil. Then reduce heat. Cook okra until tender.
 Add tabasco (hot sauce) cooked chicken and shrimp.



Remove bay leaf and serve over rice.

Smells so yummy!!!!!


While the rice was cooking my dog begged me to take her out.  It had started to snow while I was cutting up the chicken for my soup. She was standing (all fours) on the arm of her love seat in the living room, staring out the window, watching the snow fall. I took her out.


It was snowing at a good clip and she sure does love the snow.


She wanted to stay out, sit and watch the snow fly. I wanted to go in and watch the snow fly from the kitchen window.

She won! She gave me the look.....



and then....


stuck her head into the snow.


I went in, baked some dinner rolls and my husband and I enjoyed a hot bowl of gumbo on rice. 


Delicious!


How's the weather where you are? Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Monday, February 9, 2015

From Sew What to Snow What!


SNOW WHAT!


Another snowstorm in NH

You know that saying about being in a snow globe and someone keeps shaking it? That certainly applies to my world right now.It has snowed so much for so many days that I cannot keep the snow storms straight. We have had two storms in the last two days--one lasting all day today actually, it is still snowing tonight AND we have another one coming Thursday into Friday.....along with some bitter cold temperatures! One positive note about the snow--IT IS BEAUTIFUL TO LOOK AT!


The snow blower could not blow over the snow bank so my husband is 
shoveling. He also removed snow in places to make more room for more snow. Not that we need any more!

I was inside all day today so I finished 4 more little mauve colored cherubs for my ETSY shop. They were fun to work on. I added some vertical lace trim from my vintage stash and I also used little vintage inspired buttons on their halos.


I was determined to work on making some iron on labels for my angels today too. I have been wanting to put my shop name on them somewhere but didn't want to sign them and make a mess on the back. So I decided to use iron on labels. They were easy to make and look great on the back.


The flip side of my angel ornament

The four angels are identically made with the exception of the little vintage inspired buttons on the crowns. Two are tiny rosebud buttons, one is a daisy and the other is a plain button.


This cherub has a rosebud button on her halo.


I will be listing these little angels on ETSY tomorrow.

Anyways, I am itching to get to my favorite fabric store to look for some fun spring fabrics so I hope we have a break next week from all this snow. 

 I don't mind snow. I actually love the feeling of being stuck inside for a day. BUT now there's just no easy way to move it out of the driveway-- the banks are so high. So I am putting in my order for some unseasonably warm weather....and by warm I mean above 30 degrees. When the thermometer says 7, my body says hibernate! Or eat, then hibernate! When I roll out of my cave in the spring, it;s not going to be pretty!




Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Couple of New Cherubs and a Teacup/Mug Exchange



The Enchanting Rose

This will be the third time I have participated in Stephanie's Tea cup and mug exchange. Stephanie hosts this wonderful exchange and you can read about it at her blog The Enchanting Rose by clicking on the button above. She had nearly 60 participants the last time so you can imagine that a great deal of time was spent organizing, matching everyone up and sending out notifications to everyone.

Thank you Stephanie!

So if you are curious, eager to join in or just want to sit and watch this exchange unfold, please stop by to pay Stephanie a visit.

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Last night I completed two more angels for my etsy shop. These two are slightly different as I added a shabby bow and a little wooden star to the wire hanger. They also have vintage flowers in their hair.


This one is called "A Touch of Spring"  


She's pretty cute!


...and she has little vintage flowers in her hair.


Meet "A Bit o' Sunshine."



She's very sweet too!


I like the addition of the muslin bow and the wooden star.


Well that's all for now. I am working on another post to tell you about my "Together Tuesday" Adventure with my friend Debbie!  Episode 1--Making Chocolate Macarons
OH MY GOODNESS......We had a ball and they are delicious! More about that later!

STAY WARM!
.....and have a great day!

ps if you have been following Jemma's Passion, Purpose and Productivity Project, the latest guest writer is:

NANCY

She is a wonderfully talented writer, photographer, etc and her knitting is exquisite! Please stop by to meet her!



Linking this post up with:

The Enchanting Rose

Monday, February 2, 2015

Valentine's Day Inspiration--A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That



Okay, the Superbowl is over so now I can start thinking about Valentine's Day! I don't like to gloat but can I just say YEAH PATRIOTS!  That's all I promise!

I have been punching hearts with my 3" heart punch! You can never have too many hearts with Valentine's Day just around the corner.


I stitched some vertically so I can hang them from the light fixture in my dining room.


I will put up one more string of hearts but I wanted to get photos while there was still good light. We are in the middle of another snow storm. We must have over a foot by now.


I like these simple heart decorations because they are..... simple! I also like them because they are never still. They twirl constantly and it's rather cute and charming I think!
I will also string some horizontally to hang at the top of my curtains. It's just an easy, peasy way to add a touch of festivity to the room.

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I am decorating cookies for some little favors to give away. I found these snack sacks at a grocery store and I love them for small favor bags. They can easily be decorated for any holiday. I used some for small Christmas gifts too!

I used my edge punch and punched a pretty lacy edge on the bag and folded it over. I stamped a trio of hearts at the bottom
 and tied it up with twine and ribbon.


After that, I realized that one of my little 3" hearts would make a very cute gift tag so I untied it and added a heart.



You can write a little Valentine's Day greeting on the back to your recipient.


I love the edge and I could never be without my edge punches. They add such a nice touch.

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The other day I stitched up a pair of slippers (a practice pair) and decided to stitch up another pair today. Since they are pink, I will include them in this very pink, Valentine's Day post.


With this pair I left out the batting and lined it with pink fleece. They are still remarkably sturdy even without the third layer. I also figured out where I was misunderstanding the pattern instructions so my next pair should go together in a breeze. Practice makes perfect!


This pair came out cute! 


These would make a most welcome, warm and cozy Valentine's Day gift too!

Well, that's all for today! I am heading back to my sewing machine! Hope everyone is warm! I am freezing and my husband just told me we have about 14 new inches of snow on the ground. It is still coming down! I am not complaining......

My word for the week is OPTIMISTIC. I will remain positive. Afterall, I decided on my word yesterday and the PATRIOTS won the superbowl! Did I mention that?


Linking to:

The Charm of Home's Home Sweet Home #205 Linky Party  Click Here




The Enchanting Rose

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lady Slippers



Ladie's Slippers

Today I finished up a pair of slippers that I started a couple of days ago.  Just last week I ran into Joanne Fabrics to pick up some thread and saw that McCall's patterns were on sale for $1.99. I always grab a bunch of patterns to try whenever they go on sale. 

This cute pair of slippers was McCall's Pattern M6715. I did not love the instructions that came with the pattern. I completed the first slipper by misunderstanding the instructions and it came out just fine. I completed the second slipper correctly following the instructions and it did not come out as easily or as well. There were many" grrrrrrrrrr" moments!


....in pieces....


This was a trial pair because I have some really pretty fabrics that I would like to try but I did not want to risk wasting the fabric. I read the pattern all the way through before I started which was a very good thing.


This was the first slipper I made. It was almost the last--but I took a couple of deep breaths and finished the second one.

I am glad I did a trial first. The pattern does not call for top stitching around the front. I did not like the way it looked without it so I top stitched it. 

Next time I will make sure that the bobbin thread matches the lining exactly. There were a couple of spots where there was just a bit too much bulk in the side seams (even when I reduced some by cutting out some interfacing in the seam) and it caused some messy stitching.


When I tried it on, it looked like a ballet slipper......very cute!


Here's the pair.....


The pattern is made up of 3 pattern pieces. The front which I cut out of a peach moire taffeta, the lining and sole which is made of an apricot colored 100 % cotton (I will use a sturdier material when I make my next pair, the pattern called for lightweight suede) and the heel piece which is cut out of a pale peach brocade.

The pattern has several floral embellishments which I will use on the next pair. It also has options for single or double elastic bands across the foot which are also very cute. 


I love fancy slippers! 

I have some leftover costume fabrics which would work very well with this pattern. I may cut out another pair tonight!




Sunday, January 25, 2015

On Living Life With Passion



When Jemma who blogs  at At Home With Jemma asked for participants in her Passion, Purpose, Productivity Project I decided to join in. I saw that several others were also participating and I was interested to see what they had to say  about living life with passion and aging with grace. I found everyone's  experiences very inspiring. For additional information regarding this project, please visit Jemma's blog at the link provided above. I will also be adding add some additional links to this page.)


Here is my experience:


Everyone defines passion differently but I define passion as an energy or very strong feeling of wanting to do something so well because you love it so much that it keeps you up at night wondering how you can do it better.


 I have personally gone through periods of time when I have been extremely passionate about something and have thrown my whole heart into whatever that happened to be. I have also gone through times when I have felt almost without passion but it was not a great place to be so I hope that remains a thing of the past. At any rate, the objects of my passions  have changed over the years as circumstances in my life have changed and it may well be that what I am passionate about today will not be what I am passionate about tomorrow.

For me, the primary focus of passion for many years has been my family; my husband of almost 33 years, my 3 daughters  and of course our furry companions (dogs--see sidebar) that we have loved over the years! 


 
My oldest daugter with me

My husband with youngest daughter (left), middle daughter (right)

At a very young age, I daydreamed about having a family. When I was in seventh grade one of my best friends sat behind me in science class and her mom was expecting. I was intrigued, excited for her and a little envious as she awaited the birth of her newest sibling. The very day she told me I sat in class and wrote a list of possible names for my own “someday” daughter. I remember it like it was yesterday.

 My science teacher was talking about our next project which was distilling dirty water in an aquarium. We were instructed to bring in something disgusting to add to the aquarium and by the end of the project he said we would all be able to drink the distilled water. I mentally bowed out of that project, not remotely interested in ever drinking water that had once contained mud, a shoe, dirty old bottles,  grass clippings, chocolate milk, vinegar and whatever else my classmates dreamed up to throw in there.  Instead I was dreaming up baby names. At the age of twelve I had already decided that I wanted three daughters and my first one would be named Jennifer, and she was. I was twenty three and my husband was thirty three when she was born. 


3 mos

From that moment on, motherhood became my passion.  As I look back at the start, it wasn't terribly romantic at first.  I was a stay at home mom, my husband worked nights, and at least one weekend a month he was working out of state, we had our share of sleepless nights; 2 years in a row of sleepless nights to be exact, overfeeding at first and projectile vomiting as a result, nightly colic that would cause my baby to scream for an hour or so, the dirty diapers (understatement of the year) whose contents seemed to obliterate the diaper and the onesie,  requiring an entire package of wet wipes to clean up after and a separate hefty trash bag to dispose of it, onesie and all ....……but then over time it all seemed to settle right down and life  turned into such utter bliss and contentment that I started to imagine a baby #2. 


rough housing


watching dad build the back lawn


When I was 27, Baby #2, Emily was born, and she fell asleep in her crib the first time we placed her in it. We were dumbfounded. We had heard that babies sometimes fall asleep in their cribs on their own but we had no prior experience with this phenomenon. Life with a 4 year old and a newborn was not as difficult as I had imagined.….


mighty proud big sister

Playing in snow tunnels my husband built all over the yard

I enjoyed sewing Halloween costumes. Here a Pierot (left) and pink Unicorn (right)


My husband and I were loving it. We were a happy little family doing happy little family things. We celebrated Christmases and other holidays, attended church and Sunday school, took vacations, planned birthday parties, went to dance, gymnastics, skating and soccer games. I helped in the classroom and became room mother. That’s when I started baking cupcakes. Little did I know that I would be baking cupcakes for nearly two decades! I sewed Halloween costumes, and costumes for other events. I loved it! I was a Brownie leader and PTA secretary and president. I baked more cupcakes.  Our PTA started a school carnival and every year I would help my husband build a very large game for it --one year a mini golf course, another year a cowboy sponge throw game and in the last year he build a giant labyrinth. The carnival also included a cupcake walk and you guessed it! I baked more cupcakes!



One of many soccer games


We were much invested in our little family and were both pleased and surprised when baby #3, Lindsay came along. We were not surprised in the sense that we did not know where babies come from but surprised because when I suggested to my doctor that I might want a third child at age 35, she told me in so many words that my biological clock had stopped ticking. She assured me that there would be no more babies without some sort of medical intervention. We were not interested in procedures. The news was devastating to me but only for a short time.  Not even four weeks after the discussion with my doctor, I found out I was expecting.

My eleven year old was not overjoyed with my unexpected pregnancy and did not want me to get out of the car when I picked her up at middle school.  My 7 yr old was ecstatic and could not wait to have a baby brother.  These were the makings for certain disaster but when they both saw their new baby sister for the first time they fought over who was going to hold her. Phew! Thankfully we headed back into a period of relative family bliss.






I was thrilled with my chance to go through another infancy.  With maturity and the hindsight of how quickly my first two were growing up, I knew I wanted to savor each and every moment. She was born in the summer and I didn’t have to return to work for a while. I enjoyed several months of staying home with my new baby. I would hold her and look at her precious little face, inhale her smell and try to commit it all to memory.




This was probably the most mindful, purposeful, “living in the moment” thing I had ever done at least at that point in my life.



a Sunday morning

Some family time at our favorite vacation place with a 5 wk old baby--what was I thinking?

Road trip!

Same vacation spot when baby was almost 2


Then life became hectic again, and a blur. One day turned into the next, and life was reduced to crossing events and commitments off on the calendar. When it all just seemed like it was spiraling out of control I would mindfully try to rein it in. But it didn’t last for long. Time flew by……and then one-by-one they were gone.

Last year my youngest daughter went off to college.  At first it was emotional. The house was too quiet and dinner time felt very uncomfortable to me. Would I always feel this way? The answer is no!  I began to really appreciate a slower pace and time alone, warm evenings at home instead of the ice rink AND I began to actually thaw out......


Human Zamboni! One moment of many spent in an ice arena.

 She is now halfway through her sophomore year, all is going very well and I have found my way back to the things that I loved to do all those years ago. I did go through a bit of an adjustment period but I am very content with my new normal. 


checking out her college campus with an ocean view


 I am no less passionate about my family but I do have more time to pursue all the things I love. Now my husband and I are able to spend more time together, take a week or a weekend away, visit our kids whenever we please, take a hike or a walk with our dog that we absolutely adore, or enjoy a nice evening dining out. Sometimes we just sit and talk over coffee for a couple of hours in the morning, just because we can.


a favorite spot.....


I am sewing and crafting regularly these days and it is a crafter’s smorgasbord out there! The vast array of choices we have in crafting and sewing today versus years ago is mind boggling.  I find it very exciting and I am constantly finding some new craft or medium to try. I often lie awake at night in bed planning my next sewing or craft project.


I used to love playing the piano for hours on end! I am going to get my piano tuned so I can start playing again. It's been years! I am thinking about taking violin lessons too! I love music!!!!



My piano


A friend and I are starting what we call, "Together Tuesdays." She came up with the name. Every week we will get together to try a new recipe or craft project. There will definitely be coffee too! Our first Tuesday together, (this week) we will attempt to make macarons. Both of us love to cook and we have long talked about making these sweet little confections from scratch. It should be a lot of fun! We may even blog about our Tuesday adventures! "Together Tuesdays' sounds like a great blog name, doesn't it?

I began My Sew What Blog about three years ago and it has been an a very rewarding experience. The friendship, support and inspiration I receive from people I have not “yet” met face-to-face is amazing!  Notice I said yet.  I think we should plan a retreat.....some place warm!



My Blog--love all my blogging friends!

I also started an ETSY shop....looking forward to working on it!


I love where I am in my life, I am grateful for all that I have experienced and I appreciate all of the little things in my life that make me excited to start a new day! 


Thank you to Jemma for initiating this discussion on living  life with passion and aging with grace. The posts from other participants and comments have been genuine and heartfelt. I found them all to be very inspiring. (Links to other project posts and Jemma's blog below)


 

 I don’t think living life with passion has to be anything particularly grand. It can be as simple as having your afternoon tea in a beautiful antique china teacup, complete with a vintage linen napkin and a sterling silver spoon. It’s all about doing the small things that you love in a grand way, being present in the moment and enjoying it so much that you can’t wait to do it again. I have learned to recognize that the sum of all the small things in my life adds up to something quite grand!
Linda

What are you passionate about? Join us in the discussion!!
      

Jemma's Blog- Click here
Jemma's most recent Post with additional project links - Click here

Dewena's Blog- Click here

Honora's Blog- Click here

Nancy's Blog - Click here


My Journal Word for the week is Passion! 
For those visiting my blog for the first time, I have been choosing a word a week to help me focus on some 2015 goals.




Have a lovely week!