Friday, July 31, 2015

Veggie Delight!

If you read yesterday's post, you know that I have been busy. This is what kept me busy yesterday afternoon. I went to a local farm about 20 minutes from my house and picked up a farm share that a very kind friend gave to me to use while she is on vacation. She will be gone for two weeks so I will go to pick up vegetables again next week and I cannot wait! Let me tell you why!

I LOVE VEGETABLES! It would be difficult to come up with a vegetable that I do not like. I guess eggplant would be my least favorite although I will eat it.... and it's a good thing because I have some in this pile of organic vegetables that took up 4 feet of counter space while I was washing them up. I could not believe how much stuff was packed into one box.

I immediately had my eye on that chard. I love greens and I knew that was destined for my dinner plate when I was done washing and scrubbing. Here you can also see pattypan squash, eggplant and peppers. there's more,......way more!

Yummy! Local, fresh carrots, leeks and more chard!

Red leaf lettuce, kale and parsley! Yes, there were some herbs!

As soon as the box was place in the car, I could smell basil and dill. It smelled so good driving home!

I haven't cooked kohlrabi before either but I have eaten it and it is very good!

All washed up and ready to use are  purple and yellow onion, tomatoes, cukes and peppers. I knew one of those tomatoes would be on my dinner plate too! There is nothing like a garden fresh tomato!

Leeks and potatoes, zucchini, patty pans, broccoli and green beans. I may be making some potato leek soup tonight! YUM!

My husband asked me what we were having for dinner. My suggestion was to have a completely vegetarian meal but that idea did not float his boat one little bit so we compromised and he cooked burgers on the grill and I cooked chad and cut up some veggies to go with my burger. I skipped the bun! Note the fresh basil on the fresh tomato! It was was the cuke and the chad was out of this world. I drizzled some apple cider vinegar on it. I ate the leftover chard for lunch today!


I don't have any experience cooking eggplants but I think I may make up a batch of eggplant lasagna and freeze it. I should research it first and make sure it's ok to freeze eggplant. Note the purple pepper at the top. I have never seen this variety of pepper before but my daughter assures me they are sweet and will turn green when cooked.

See that zucchini? there were 3 or 4 of them.....

...and since I have so many veggies to use up or store and very limited space, I decided at almost 8:00 pm last night to make a couple loaves of zucchini bread to use up some squash. It came out of the oven at 9:00 pm! I wrapped up a loaf and tossed it in the freezer and we cut into the other loaf! It was delicious! I had it with coffee this morning! YUM!

So yesterday was a rather long but productive day and it took two posts to tell you about it!

Are you a veggie lover? Do you purchase a farm share from a local farm? I am definitely purchasing a farm share from this organic farm next year! There is an option of purchasing a family share or half share. The box was all packed up for me when I arrived and a very nice young lady carried it out to the car for me. It was heavy!

So now I cannot wait to go again next Thursday! But until then, I have some food prep to do! I don't want to waste one little morsel of this veggie goodness!

PS Thank you Joanne!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

DIY Gift Boxes and a Sewing Project

Hello Friends! I haven't been avoiding you, really! This summer has been very busy! When I realized in the spring that we would be totally childless for the summer for the first time since 1983, I thought for sure that this would be the summer that I would get everything done. That really has not been the case. The next two to three weeks are even busier so if you don't see me here much, that is the reason why. BUSY!!!

Today was no exception! Busy again.....We ran out to buy chickens to roast for an event that my husband will be providing lunch for tomorrow. When I suggested that I would roast chickens for him to take, I was not anticipating that we would be in the middle of a heat wave with very high humidity. Today was not a great day for roasting chickens. I'm pretty sure my kitchen was 350 degrees. I turned the range hood fan on and it apparently sucked all the hot air out of my kitchen because thankfully it returned to a pretty comfortable temperature after a while.

While the chickens were roasting, I dug out some paper supplies including  a collection of card stock that I purchased from Michael's during the Christmas clearance. I needed some gift boxes and decided to make up a few from 12x12 cardstock. These are fun to make and can be custom designed to match party decor or a theme. Today, I had no theme....I used gold and white paper along with some black chevron and black and beige floral.

These papers, though a bit trendy, will coordinate nicely with twines, jutes and other gift wrapping supplies that I have on hand.

Here you can see the metallic gold dotted box. I like to mix and match prints.

This collection of paper even had some tags and other cute little things to attach to the gift boxes. I also pulled out a manila tag to use.

After completing three boxes, I begrudgingly returned to a nasty little project that I put on hold for a day. It is a kimono styled jacket that i made and it needed hemming. Actually, just the sleeves needed to be hemmed. I saved the hemming for today because yesterday I wasn't feeling well, the fabric was very difficult to work with and I just was not in the mood for a challenge.

Here is the fabric that gave me such trouble over the last couple of days. It is a very lightweight, flimsy, scarf-like material in shades of cream, taupe, beige, black, brown and light periwinkle blue. I am not completely sure of the fiber content other than the fact that it was 100 percent pain in my neck! It was so light that the overhead fan was blowing it around while I was sewing and pins would not hold the edges together! GRRRR! I could not turn the fan or the air conditioner off because it was so hot and humid on the porch where I was sewing. I was not feeling great to boot. Shouldn't have been sewing at all but wanted to finish this jacket. So I did it in baby steps because I got so frustrated with it!

Most of this kimono was completed on my serger. That part was easy! Today I finished it by hemming the sleeves. It was worse than any other part of the project except perhaps the cutting out the very slippery pieces. It is nothing short of a miracle that it is even wearable! On a positive note, it fits perfectly and is a perfect, lightweight layer to wear with a sleeveless dress!

Here it is hanging from my porch door with a black dress of mine. The jacket had not been ironed yet in this photo. The drape on the front black pieces is very nice. I used  Simplicity Pattern # 1588. I will use the pattern again since there are several options including a ruffled layer which I love. BUT I will definitely be a bit more selective with the type of fabric I use.

Here is the back. Again it hasn't been ironed. It was much too hot. I will iron it in the morning when it is still cool.

That was my morning. My afternoon was busy as well with errands and an appointment.  I wish it did not seem as though summer is flying by at warp speed.  In about two weeks we will be moving my daughter out of her summer dorm and in to her dorm for her junior year. I cannot believe she is going to be a junior! Though she stayed at school for the summer to work, she will be able to come home for about two weeks so I am looking forward to spending some time with her. She will arrive Sunday evening.

Well friends, that's all for now. I hope you are keeping cool and keeping your cool wherever you are!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Favors for a Friend

I have been busy and guilty of not staying up-to-date with my blogging activities. But I will attempt to fill you in with what has been keeping me busy.

I love playing with paper almost as much as I love playing with cloth so I had fun making this confetti as well as the invitations and other coordinating goodies for bridal shower favors with a "PAMPER THE BRIDE" theme. I offered to make some for a friend of mine who was planning a shower for our friend.

 This is the second batch of shower confetti I have made from my new favorite hydrangea paper punch. A little dab of silver glitter paint in the center adds a little sparkle!

It all started with these shower invitations. I cut these out with my Cricut Explore. Though not difficult to cut, they did take a good amount of time. The party information was printed on an insert that slides out of the lace folder so the tulle bow stays intact upon opening. They were very pretty!

The invitations are a standard size so I had no trouble finding envelopes to fit. I purchased these at Michael's.

Then I began to make the items for the gift baskets to be handed out to all of the guests at the shower.

For favors I made little gift boxes. They will hold hand stitched fabric bags filled with lavender scented bath salts, a handmade lavender glycerin soap, a votive candle and some lavender tea.

These soaps are slightly tinted lavender but it is difficult to see the color here. I also added lavender essential oil for a mild scent and I have to say it is very, very nice! I purchased the lavender essential oil from a local health food store because I did not care for scent of the oil that I purchased at the craft store.

Each bar of soap is wrapped in cellophane paper and then in a pretty printed paper to add a splash of color to the mostly blue gift box.

Notice those little boxes at the right? I hand cut them from regular large shirt boxes because I couldn't find anything sturdy enough to use as a base. I originally used cardstock but it wasn't heavy enough to support the contents.

Once they were cut, the ends had to be glued together.

Then I added some pretty borders to cover the outside of the box. I cut these with a eyelet lace paper punch.

This step took a few minutes but I like the way they turned out, so it was well worth the time.

Then I started to fill them with goodies....

This really is fun.....

I crossed out the bride's name but you get the idea.

Last, but not least  I made some little favors to place on the tables. These were plastic pillow envelopes that I purchased at Michael's. We added chocolate kisses and tied them up with ribbons and a hydrangea blossom.

A little tulle and ribbon makes everything look pretty!

The shower went off without a hitch and the bride-to-be was surprised! It was a lovely party!


I've also been busy sewing but I will save that for another post.
I'm feeling a little wilted today. It's very hot and humid and I am presently in a room that is not air conditioned.
Have a good week!

Linking up with:

The Enchanting Rose

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Some Sun and Ocean Therapy

A week and a half ago we packed up and headed to Rhode Island to visit my daughter. We explored Newport, Jamestown and Middletown, Rhode Island. It was a very full three days of walking, hiking, shopping, dining out and just taking in the scenery.

We arrived on Sunday. When we left NH, it was a stormy day, windy and rainy with reports of trees down in area towns. By the time we arrived in Rhode Island, the stormy weather was over and it was beginning to clear. As you can see in the photos above, the sky was still gray and the sea was still a little angry but it was a beautiful sight. The sound of the waves crashing into the rocks and seawall was deafening but exhilarating!

The next morning we picked up our daughter at 8 am and accompanied her to an ice rink so she wouldn't miss her ice time. I have not watched her skate in a long while so it was a nice treat for me. 

After skating, we went to Fort Wetherhill and walked the trails and side trails that led us to some beautiful overlooks of the ocean. The photo of the sailboat (above) is one of my favorites. 

Fort Wetherhill has some very interesting history and if you are a history buff you can read some more about it here. It was a coastal defense battery and dates back to the Revolutionary War. I did not realize this while we were there. I had only known that it was used during World War II.

The fort itself is not in very good shape and sadly it is covered in grafitti but it was interesting to walk around this sprawling fortification. 

In the same park, we found another lovely spot/beach that we spent some time exploring. We found a horseshoe crab on its back with legs flailing but unable to turn over. My daughter picked it up and moved it to a safer spot in some shallow water over by a large rock. 

As if the scenery was not absolutely perfect already for snapping photos, sailboats passed by and it was absolutely breathtaking. We were alone except for a handful of scuba divers in the water.  I felt as though I was standing in my own personal, private lagoon..... or or the other!

After leaving this spot (and I really never wanted to leave) we drove into Jamestown for lunch. We sat outside and enjoyed the view of more water, boats and all the happy activity one would find in a small town situated on an island.  We thoroughly enjoyed our taragon chicken wraps and gobbled them up after our morning of hiking and exploring.

Next on the agenda, was a visit to Beavertail Lighthouse and Museum.  This lighthouse is the third oldest lighthouse in the country. (click here to visit website
I am so glad we fit this into our trip, it was stunningly beautiful and I think I took over a hundred photos here. You can see me in the bottom photo clicking away on my cell phone camera.

The history of the lighthouse is very interesting which you can read about at their website if you are so inclined. There is also an aerial video of the lighthouse taken by a drone on their sidebar.

Such beauty!

After our lighthouse visit we headed to Newport and did a little shopping and walked around downtown. Later we headed to some beaches thinking we would find them crowded. They were fairly empty which was surprising because it was still warm and sunny on the beach.

I wasn't kidding when I said that the beaches were fairly empty. We ran into one couple walking their dogs and another family playing frisbee on the beach.

The next morning, after a large, delicious breakfast in Middletown, RI, we headed over to Sachuset Point National Wildlife Refuge. Click here to visit their website. 

We hiked a 3.1 mile trail along the shoreline in perfect summer weather. It was early enough that it wasn't too warm, you could see the ocean and hear the waves, there was a lovely floral scent as we walked and birds were singing such happy songs. Seriously, these were some of the happiest birds I have ever seen or heard! The trees and bushes were a frenzy of activity!

I could walk here every day!!!!! It really was a paradise! No wonder the birds were so happy!

After our hike, we were dying of thirst so we went back to Newport, grabbed ourselves some cold water and did a little shopping. Then we headed downtown for lunch. We sat on the restaurant's porch which had a very nice view of the water and docks. We enjoyed a nice, leisurely lunch 

The last thing on our to do list was visit one of the mansions. We did the Elms last December. It was magnificent, decorated so beautifully for Christmas. It was a self guided tour and we saw a lot of the house. Link to the mansions website. It was simply elegant inside!

This time we decided to see Rosecliff. It was a guided tour but overall I was a bit disappointed that we didn't seem to see as much with this tour. The outside of Rosecliff is beautiful. The grounds were absolutely amazing and it's backyard had a huge oceanfront view. The Great Gatsby as well as some other movies were filmed here. 

My favorite room inside was the ballroom. I think the tour guide said that it measured 40' x 80'. It opened to a beautiful veranda, lush grounds, a fountain and of course the ocean view. Can you imagine the extravagant social events that went on here during the late 1800's and early 1900's?

Well that pretty much wraps up our visit to Rhode Island. It took us nearly four hours to get home because traffic was bumper to bumper for almost the first hour on the road. I had trouble keeping my eyes open on the ride home so I snooozed here and there. The combination of sun, walking, hiking and very early rising knocked me right out! We enjoyed our visit with our daughter and look forward to the next trip!

Enjoy the rest of the week friends!