Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snowing and Sewing!

Hi everyone! Being snowed in isn't a bad thing at all...lots of time to catch up on many projects that were unfinished, and begin some new ones.

I've been working on Woolies...with hearts.  My good friend Camille gave me the idea to make iPod cases, and I finally got started.  I finished up three of them, along with a drawstring bag that I started a couple of weeks ago.  Heidi and I have been taking breaks to go out in the snow, and I realized that the white backdrop with the natural light might make great pictures for my new items!  So call me crazy (my neighbors probably did), but I put my new items on the snow and shot away!

I really love them.  I'm naming them things like:  Hearts on Fire; Music in my Heart,  There's a Spot in My Heart for You

....hoping to make several more tomorrow...because it looks like I won't be going anywhere..Schools have already been canceled for tomorrow!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Privileged Place

Man with Red Ear - Paul Hartley

Yesterday I had the honor of attending an amazing gallery exhibit of which my sister was one of the artists.  This exhibit was put together after the death of Paul Hartley, a greatly esteemed art professor from East Carolina University.  Paul died on Thanksgiving Day.  His legacy lives on in unbelievable art being produced by his former students, many of which were featured in this show.  Prior to the opening reception, my sister Jane and I went to meet three of her best ECU Art School friends for lunch.  We had an extra seat at our table for six, which was quickly assigned to Paul and his memory.  As I sat and listened to all of these artists talk of their mentor, their teacher and most importantly their cherished friend, I realized that I was the observer of another memorial celebration for Paul.  Tears and laughter interspersed our time together and I felt truly privileged to peek into this space of time in which all of these friends comforted each other through their grief. The show is huge...over 100 former students' work displayed in two galleries which are only a block apart on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh.  I'm so thankful that I was a part of this beautiful day of remembering Paul Hartley.

If you're interested in this exhibit, please go back to the calendar section of this website and look at paintings from Paul's "Looking Back" Show posted there under past exhibits.  If you can go to Raleigh before February 27 and see this Legacy show, you will be so glad that you did.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dog Days of Winter

Not much is happening around my house these days but enjoying the new dog!  Not felting, not sewing, not cooking, not cleaning...especially not cleaning. Christmas decorations are slllllooooowly but surely getting put away in between all the walks with the dog, playing out in the 20 something degrees with the squeak toys and of course, snuggling on the couch all the other times.

You should see my girl RUN..she looks like a gazelle...she prances and jumps in the happy to be outside expending all that energy.  She runs like the wind..grabs her toy, runs back at lightning speed...and along the way shakes the living daylights out of the toy and even flips around in mid-air some!  It's the cutest thing I've ever witnessed!  (Well...besides everything my daughter ever did when she was a baby, a toddler, an elementary school student, a middle school student...well..maybe not the middle school student....)

Heidi is just plain CUTE. This morning I moved her crate to my bedroom.  I have a door off my bedroom that leads onto this balcony on the upper level of the house.  I decided that since Heidi LOVES to watch squirrels, that she might enjoy seeing the squirrels outside in the trees while in her crate.  I'm pretty sure she loved it.  Looking outside has got to be better than looking at a wall.

I just need this honeymoon period with her.  Hope noone expects a whole bunch of crafty ideas, recipes, or  cool travel postings.  I'm just home with my dog.  And LOVING IT.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Soup's On! is COLD.  We're talkin' 32, 33, 34 degrees for a HIGH for days on end.  I could easily eat soup for lunch and dinner on days like this. (And today I did.)  For the past 2 weeks, while on vacation, I made several pots of soup.  I had friends over for lunch one day and we had soup and grilled pimento cheese sandwiches.  Then I went to my sister's for the weekend and made soup while there.  Tonight I came home from the first day back to work after two wonderful weeks off...and what did I do?  Made soup.  So I thought sharing some soup recipes might be blog-worthy...especially if there are folks like me out there wanting to make something hot and comforting...
I haven't even written down the potato soup I'll try to reconstruct in as orderly a fashion as possible:

 Exceptional Tater Soup

2 cans chicken stock
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup mix
About 10 baby carrots sliced in 1/2 inch chunks
Center stalks of celery with leaves chopped
Salt and Pepper

Bring to boil and cook until carrots are slightly tender.

Add one package of Simply Potatoes Diced Potatoes with Onion.  Simmer for another 20 minutes.

Add about 1/3 teaspoon of coriander, about 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 small can evaporated milk.  Add about 1/3 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

  I wanted it to be thicker like potato soup is supposed to be...and some of the recipes that I scanned in my "Fix It and Forget It " cookbook used flour as a thickener for the potato soups.  So I used about 2 Tablespoons of flour and whisked it well with a small amount of water to avoid any lumps and added it to the mixture.  It thickened perfectly.  After adding the milk, it's important to only heat the soup through and then eat, and not let it cook or it will curdle.

I think that I've not forgotten anything that I turned out really really yummy.

My other favorite soup recipe that I've made several times lately is from my All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (2006 Oxmoor House).  It's easy and delicious and I usually have most of the ingredients handy.

Tomato-Basil Bisque

2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans tomato soup
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Cook first 5 ingredients in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 6-8 minutes, or until thoroughly  heated.  Yield: 7 cups

If you are like me and never buy buttermilk unless you need it for a recipe, you can make a substitution with regular milk with either white vinegar or lemon juice added...1 tablespoon per cup of milk...let stand 5 minutes.  I've made this recipe both ways - with real buttermilk and with my "homemade" buttermilk.  It tasted great both times.

So..there you have it...two of my best soups from the past few weeks....enjoy and stay warm!