Cherish Yesterday...Dream Tomorrow...Live Today

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Christmas Presents and Yet Another Snowman

Happy Sunday everyone.  I wanted to share another snowman with you.  This came from the same snowman craft themed magazine last week's terracotta pot snowman came from.  This one was designed by Pat Olson, which I spotted immediately when I saw it in the magazine.  I have painted many of her designs.  They are fairly easy and are just adorable.  I had some spindles so I adapted it to the size and shape I had.  I thought the arms were too long at first, but then I kind of liked the awkward look.  I try not to go for cookie cutter perfection but I like to put my own sense of whimsy on the projects I do.  I am still working on a snowman garland.  Hopefully, I will have a breakthrough on that soon! 

I also wanted to tell you about some of my fun and useful Christmas gifts.  I got a new camera which I love.  It is a Nikon Coolpix.  I have found it easy to use right out of the gate.  I took the above picture with my old camera to show you the straps I made for my new camera.  My old camera still works but it is a Vivitar and takes AA batteries.  When I bought it, I had no idea that it would eat through batteries like a house afire and I would soon be battery poor!  Anyhow, my new Nikon has a rechargeable battery and I love it.  I decided to make a couple of straps to make it feel welcome!  I may just make a new case for it because the case it came with is kind of plain and boring. I am thinking of joining a Friday night sew-in sponsored by Crafty Vegas Mom, so that may be a good project for it. 

This is another favorite Christmas gift I received.  It is a Babycakes pie maker.  What a blast!  I have made blueberry pies with a homemade butter crust and raspberry pies with the Pillsbury pie crust from the refrigerated section of the grocery store.  Both were awesome.  I am making apple pies this week.  My husband has even gotten in on the act, helping roll out and cut the dough.  It really is fun. 
The homemade glaze I put on the pies brought them over the top to a-may-zing! 

You know how much I LOVE snowmen right?  Well, the teacher I work with and I have become very good friends and she knows me pretty well.  She gifted me with this beautiful lamp this Christmas.  I love it.  It sits on my front entry table so everyone can see it when they come in.  She took me to a craft shop that she visits several times a year over the summer.  They have so many wonderful things that I would love in my home, I found myself secretly glad it was over an hour away, otherwise, I might spend a small fortune there!  That is where she purchased this lamp on her next trip there after she took me.  It looks wonderful with my ever-growing snowman collection. 

We got a little dusting of snow here, but the weather continues to be baffling and completely unseasonal for this time of year.  I hope you all have a wonderful week and a healthy and crafty end to this January.  Take care.                    Nancy                                                                                 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Cute Snowman and Breakfast For Dinner

Happy Sunday evening everybody.  I had a busy but enjoyable weekend.  I made this cute snowman for my fireplace hearth out of terra cotta pots.  I found this in a magazine years ago and bought the pots, and as with many things, I didn't complete it.  By keeping this blog, I am spurred on to finish projects I have stuck in limbo.  Anyway, I had my husband spray paint the pots white over at his shop where there is ventilation, unlike my craft room.  Then I painted on a face and used homespun to fashion a scarf and hat.  I sewed cute whimsical snowflake buttons on the hat and glued on black buttons to look like coal lumps.  I really like it.  I can't believe originally, I planned on putting this on my front porch.  Somehow I don't think it would have survived the winter.

 In my continuing joy of having breakfast for dinner, I have to share this yummy recipe for peppers, onions and eggs.  It is rustic and filling and has been very well-received here at my house.  All you need to do is heat some olive oil in a big skillet and add 2 sliced and chopped red bell peppers and one chopped onion.  Cook them until very tender.  Add a 14 1/2 oz. can of diced tomatoes with the juice,  1 teaspoon smoked paprika, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer until the liquid has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Make 6 indentations with the back of a spoon and crack an egg into each.  Cover and cook over medium heat for about 3 minute until whites are set.  This will give you runny yolks, which was my desire.  However, I was quite leery of uncooked, jiggly whites and ended up overcooking the eggs and the yolks were solid the first time I made this dish.  Believe it or not, it was good anyway!  This last time I made it, I got lucky and the eggs were perfect.  I made homemade berry muffins and toasted up some bakery sourdough bread.  Add some fresh fruit and you have a great dinner. 

 I wanted to include a picture of my sweet pooch who will be 13 years old this summer.  As you can see, she is really gray but she is doing pretty well, all things considered.  Our vet told us at her last check-up that her life expectancy is around 12 but because she is in such great condition, she could live to be 14.  I hope so.  I don't ever want to see her suffer and stick around for us, but we will be devastated when her time comes.  My youngest son is her major caretaker and he is so good and patient with her.  He is graduating this June and we got her as a 6 week old pup right before he started kindergarten. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week.  I am working on knitting a scarf to go with a coat I just got so it gives me something to do when I sit down to watch tv.  I hope you are able to fit in a project that you enjoy.  Take care.  Nancy     

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snow, Snowmen and Taco Soup

You know how I was complaining that I wanted snow?  Well, we got it with a vengeance Friday!  It wasn't so much a blizzard with foot after foot of snow, it was zero visibility, layer of ice under the snow, freezing rain turning to snow weather.  What you see is a picture taken from my front porch.  I know-not so much quantity-just quick as a flash "here it is with all the trimmings" !  My husband and two sons were out snow blowing and shovelling Friday afternoon and cleaning up decks and shovelling a walkway for our poor dog to relieve herself throughout the weekend.  Me-I baked and crafted. 

This is a fun snowman I painted for my collection.  I love the primitive style.  I got the idea from a painting book I have by Karen Lamp.  It is "Simple Gatherings and Glad Tidings".  If you are a tole painter, you should take a look at this book.  There are quite a few ideas for several seasons.  She put a hat and stick arms on her snowman.  I just went with the scarf.  I am thinking it needs a stand, though.  It has to lean against the wall because it is quite heavy and tips easily.  I will probably just glue a little block of wood behind it to steady it.  I am sure hubs has some scraps in his wood shop.  I have several other snowman craft ideas in the works.  This time of year is all about the snowmen for me!  I am looking for a cute snowman garland idea for my mantle.  Let me know if you have one or have seen one.

I made a really good taco soup recipe.  The flavor is really unique because of the addition of a second seasoning packet.  Brown 2 lbs. ground beef in a soup pot.  Put the browned beef in a big bowl and drain most of the fat.  Add a little olive oil to the fat and sweat out a large onion, a couple of ribs of celery and a couple of peeled carrots-all chopped.   Return meat to the pot when the veggies are almost tender.  Add a 15oz can of kidney beans, a 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes, 1 packet taco seasoning mix, 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing mix and 3 cups water.  Simmer for about an hour. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream.  The ranch really adds a unique tang to it. 

I notified the winner of my scalloped bag giveaway.  Thanks to all of you new followers.   I hope you all are staying warm and cozy wherever you are.  Happy crafting, cooking, and creating!  Take care.   Nancy 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Health-altering Muffin and a Giveaway

Happy New Year!  I have taken a little break from blogging but I missed you guys.  I want to start out by giving you a recipe that has really worked for me.  It is a muffin recipe that lowers cholesterol.  Mine went down 20 points just by having one of these for breakfast most mornings!  I am not a doctor so I can't make any promises but ask your doctor if it is ok to give this a try if you are battling high cholesterol.  I wanted to avoid medicine if possible.  I found this recipe in a magazine and made a few changes based on the research I had done.  This makes a dozen muffins and I freeze them and take them out day to day as I need them.  Combine in one bowl: 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup old-fashioned oats, 1/3 cup sliced almonds, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and salt.  In another bowl beat: 2 eggs, 1 cup light vanilla soy milk, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup melted Benecol margarine.  Add to dry mixture and fold in 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries.  Mix together and divide among 12 paper-lined cupcake cups.  Sprinkle with some oats and almonds.  Bake 17 minutes at 400 degrees.    I couldn't find the sticks of Benecol where I live so I melt 1/2 cup of the tub kind.  It works well.  The oats, blueberries, soy milk and Benecol are all great weapons in the fight against cholesterol.  Let me know if you try them and how they work for you.

  You aren't going to believe this, but this picture was taken today of one of my gardens.  Yes, everything is sleeping as it should be in January, but do you notice what is missing?  I live close to the Canadian border and I can't believe we have no snow.  We had a green Christmas which was devastating to me.  I lived in Florida for a while when I was a teenager and I hated Christmas without snow.  Also, if you remember, I am huge fan of snow days at the school I work at.  Well-I am waiting!  Many people around me are actually thrilled with the weather, but not me.  I look out my kitchen window and it looks like Easter is right around the corner.  We are still leaving our windows open a crack at night.  I keep thinking we will get hit hard when it does come.  I will keep you posted but in the mean time, I have decorated all over my house as I do every January with my huge snowman collection.  I usually leave them up until Easter decorations go up.  I have some snowmen I want to make.  It helps with the let-down that comes after Christmas decorations are packed away. 

 Last, but definitely not least, I have a giveaway for you.  I was so excited that I hit 100 followers.  When I started this blog, I had no idea I would meet so many great people.  I have enjoyed it so much.  So, I made one of those bags I have enjoyed making so much to give to one of you.  I also made a snowman pin(can you see him with his earmuffs on?) and I found this adorable sock monkey kit in a clearance bin at a local craft store.  I love his bee costume!  In order to win these three things, just be a follower and leave a comment saying so.  I will keep this giveaway open until next Sunday night. 

I hope you all have a great week.  I have made a resolution to try to answer more of your comments to my blog because I want you to know I appreciate each and every one!  Take care.   Nancy