Monday, November 30, 2009

So Long, November

You, with your long shadows and crisp mornings,
sodden mist and silver fog, Farewell.
Your extravagance of squashes,
lingering blooms and falling leaves,
are but a Memory now.

A Memory fondly added to Memories of other Novembers,
other silvery, foggy, extravagant Novembers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I was up early this morning, and didn't sleep well last night, due to a head cold, and related breathing problems.

But I am thankful.

I have been blessed in so many ways in my life.

I was raised in a loving, supportive family, with two parents and four siblings whom I am glad to have as friends for life (not to mention the four significant others and growing batch of niece and nephews).

I am married to my soulmate, a man who is truly a perfect match for me (and who brought with him a lovely family with whom I am glad to be an add-on).

I have two sweet children who give me hugs and kisses every day, and whom I love so deeply it hurts sometimes (even when they are being naughty!)

My home is sound, warm and dry, and is surrounded by trees and fields and sky, the next best thing to Heaven, as I imagine it.

My creative endeavors have been met with open arms by the crafting world, adding fuel to my artistic fires, and giving me joy daily (my dream job!).

But most of all, I am humbled and blessed to be counted a Daughter of God. Despite my own and often lack of faithfulness, I know to the depths of my soul that I have been saved by Grace. A girl could live without any of those other things and still be content in that knowledge.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm Having a Sale! 1 Day Only... 25% Off.

(click on the picture to see a larger version of my Birthday Sale banner!)

All patterns and finished goods are included in the sale.

Here's how it works...

contact me via email ( between 12:00am and 11:59pm Pacific Time November 25th with an order and mention my blog... I'll send you an invoice with your 25% off reflected in the total.


checkout but do not pay through etsy and mention my blog in the comment box... I'll send you an invoice with your 25% off reflected in the total.

I may not be online at all tomorrow or the next day, so do not expect a response until after Thanksgiving, and expect that my etsy shop will not be re-stocked after each sale. Don't let an empty shop deter you though, all of my patterns will still be available, and can be viewed here (along the sidebar). The finished goods are one of a kind... once they are gone, they are gone for good. I am always happy to consider custom requests, but the discount will not apply.

If I don't see my blog mentioned, then I will assume you are not aware of the sale, and you won't get the discount... my birthday sale is ONLY for you, my blog friends!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All for an Appil

The reason(s) I have been absent from blogging this week...

2 new Blessing Boxes now finished and listed in my etsy shop...

Each box takes about 4 days to complete...

But they are so VERY fun, that I might just add a special section to my shop...

If I can find some more thrift store bentwood boxes, that is... I am currently all out. Sad.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pumpkin Curry

After a little bit of trial and error, I got it right! I present to you, thee most perfect Rainy-Day supper. Spicy comfort food at its very best...

Pumpkin Curry with Brown Rice

You will need:
a pot of cooked brown rice (or your favorite variety)
2 tablespoons butter plus more if needed
1 medium sweet onion, sliced
2 or 3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon yellow curry
1 teaspoon garam masala (an Indian spice blend- available at most grocers, but I will include the recipe for homemade at the end- I make mine, and have a delicious chili recipe that gets a good dose... Mmm, might have to share that one too.)
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper if you like it spicy
2 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized cubes
2 medium red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
3/4 cup frozen peas

Heat butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in seasonings. Add pumpkin and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. You may need to add a little more butter to keep the vegetables from sticking to your pan.

Pour in broth; bring to a bubble. Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for 15 minutes or so, until potatoes are almost cooked and pumpkin has started to fall apart (the first time I made this, I pulled it off of the heat while the pumpkin was still in cubes- it was good, but I much preferred it this time, with the pumpkin all mushy, which made the sauce thick and creamy, rather than broth-y).

Add the peas and cook until they are heated through, just a minute or two. Stir in sour cream. Spoon over hot rice, and dig in!

Garam Masala:
3 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
8 cardamom pods
6 whole cloves

Combine all ingredients in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blame it on Sunshine in November... or PMS.

Yesterday the kids and I had a post-nap banana split party...

I was not in the mood for "healthy"...

Although Jack informed me that the addition of fruit made it healthy...

Do you think Thomas the Tank Engine would agree with that assessment?

Katie seemed to be of the opinion that the Sprinkles were what made it healthy...

When she was "all done" what was left in her dish? Bananas...

Sunshine + Egg Nog Banana Split in a lovely old dish + 2 adorable children = bliss.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You

I doubt that any veterans read this blog (correct me if I'm wrong!), but I will say thank you anyway. I appreciate the freedoms that we have in this country. And I know that our nation would be a very different place were it not for the role that you have played, the sacrifices you have made.

Monday, November 09, 2009

2 New Pattern Releases for November

The first, "EN 1815" is listed and available in my etsy shop right now. Distributor orders will be going out later this week.

“Wher’er I turn my ravished eyes,
New scenes of beauty round me rise.”

The quote used is one from an old sampler, which I have long admired. My original EN 1815 sampler was stitched and sold long ago, in the days before I started my pattern business, and when I did most of my stitching freehand, without the benefit of design software. In order to produce this pattern, I studied the photos of that original, and charted a new, and (I think) better version.

Someday, I would love to hang my little sampler in a lake-side mountain retreat that is all my own.

And available for a limited time (only through December 25), an exclusive pattern called, "Partrige, Pare & Turteldove".

I am not planning to list this one in my etsy shop, but it will be available directly through me. Simply send me an email or PayPal me using my address.

$5 for an emailed PDF file of the pattern.
$7 for a mailed copy, which includes a cover with color photo, and chart in my usual format.

Friday, November 06, 2009

New Pretties in my Etsy Shop!

I have been busy this week, finishing up a Blessing Box, which is now listed in my etsy shop.

What is a Blessing Box, you ask? It is a special place to visit on days when you are having a hard time thinking of anything positive. Days when everything seems to be going wrong. For the Blessing Box, when used properly, is filled with scraps of paper, some elegant, others scribbled upon, no matter the method, each inscription tells of a Blessing that has taken place in your life. A stranger giving you fifty cents so that you don't have to put something back at the grocery store... an unexpected card from a dear friend... a favorite Scripture verse that gives you strength... your teenager cleaning his/her room with no prompting... A simple few minutes reading through the rememberances should be enough to set one's perspective back in a more peaceful place.

A Blessing Box might look like a shabby old shoe box, or a pretty antique hat box. Or maybe, just maybe, it might look like this:

A little thrift-store bentwood box, which I have coated with layers of paint, pretty papers, and one of my papercuttings decoupaged to the top.

Also added to my shop is this whimsical little gathering:

Thursday, November 05, 2009

All Pumpkined Out

I'm trying. Really, I am. Trying to put the pumpkin bounty to good use. But I am running out of ideas.

I've pureed (30 cups worth. From one pumpkin.), chopped, sauteed, spiced, baked, simmered and stewed. And still, there is pumpkin flesh to be had. Plenty of it. A bumper crop. Any ideas? Anyone?

A few of my Pumpkin Successes...

Pumpkin Scones with Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Scones... Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 1 3/4 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Cut in 1/2 cup chilled butter until mixture resembles course meal. Add 1 cup pureed pumpkin, mixing until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Knead a few times, gently, adding a tiny bit more flour if necessary. Turn out onto a baking sheet, form into a thick round; about 2 inches thick. Cut, but don't separate dough into 6 or 8 wedges. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Pumpkin Butter... In a large pot or Dutch oven combine 4 cups pumpkin puree (2 15oz. cans if you buy it at the store), 1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup, 1/2 cup apple juice, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, 25 minutes, or until thickened. Store in jars or freezer containers in refrigerator up to one week, or in the freezer indefinitely!

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Sausage Lasagne (sorry, no photos... it disappeared too quickly!)
Preheat oven to 350. Saute 1 pound mild Italian turkey sausage until browned. Add 1 cup chopped celery and 1/2 of a large sweet onion, also chopped. Saute with the sausage until the vegetables start to soften.

Meanwhile, in a saucepot over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add 3 tablespoons flour and whisk together to form a roux. Slowly add 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups milk, whisking continually. Bring sauce to a bubble, then add 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree (or a 15oz. can), some ground pepper and a dash of ground nutmeg. Add salt, but only if the sauce tastes bland; the sausage and the chicken broth have enough seasoning that you may not need it.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread enough of the pumpkin sauce to thickly coat, but not puddle in the bottom. Layer three oven-ready, no-boil lasagne sheets side by side. Top them with half of the meat mixture and 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Repeat, pouring the final 1/3 of the sauce on the very top.

Cover your dish with foil (to keep all the moisture in and make those lasagne sheets nice and soft) and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil, top with thick slices of Mozzarella, and bake for another 10 or 15 minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbly.

Oh, so yummy!

See how many are still out there?

So, by all means, if you have a favorite pumpkin recipe, preferably a savory dish, rather than sweet, PLEASE share it with me!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Good Mail Day

Not only did my paycheck arrive in yesterday's mail, I also received the 35 count Straw linen from Weeks Dye Works that I needed to start a new sampler. I have never used this particular linen, and I must say that I am REALLY loving it! Just as soon as I got home and the kids were napping, I was digging into my supplies to pull together the colors needed. See how pretty?

This sampler will be my first release in 2010, and is titled, "The Parting Hour".