January 29, 2011

"dissing" the TERRIBLE towel

I live with some football addicts. I married into a family of Broncos. I drive a Crusader  to practice. We live near the Cardinals' stadium.  And we watch football.year.round. (Thank you, NFL Channel -- even in July we can see Super Bowls from ten, even twenty years ago -- W.H.O.  C.A.R.E.S.?!?)

Our neighbor grew up in Wisconsin. I must say, even by our standards she is an extreme PACKER fan(atic)! I made her a little pillow yesterday.
The cute design comes from one of my long-time favorite designers, Stephanie Potts of Thread Sketches.  I really stitching her designs! She digitizes so well that there are rarely any jump-stitches to laboriously trim.

(waiting for the trim...)
This little fellow is so adorable! Don't you love the detail in his fur?  Check out his delightful tooth!
(sweet detail!)
Anyhow, I couldn't resist doing this little project for Penny.  I even pieced & quilted a simple 9-patch for the back.
Fortunately, if any of my Steeler friends are offended by this, Stephanie also created a corresponding design:

Also this week

I found time to "slave away" on a quick project.

While digging through the rubble that is my sewing room, I came across an ancient heart wire form. (I bought it in the mid-80s... It came as a kit that you threaded it with lace then added ribbons & dried flowers.  I think I had ummm --a little bit extreme French country decor back then...)
Didn't have to rummage too far in my stash to find the perfect fabric:

I tore strips.
I folded them in half.
I stitched a casing down the fold.
(I re-shaped the wire form to a better-looking heart...)
I strung the strips onto the form.
I fluffed. and fluffed. and fluffed.
I tied my pretty sheer ribbon.
I re-fluffed.
I hung it on the door.
You want to know my sophisticated method for door-hanging?

(shhhhh! don't tell!)

Everything old is new again. I see so many of these ruffle-y things all over, & I agree with Solomon that there is nothing new under the sun.


I did manage to stitch one delft design this week. I made a kitchen towel for my Auntie M who is not feeling well this week. Maybe this will perk her up...
(I must say, I would prefer this design on a smooth-woven towel. That's why I'm giving this one away! ;p)

January 25, 2011

just why i've GOT to win that Silhouette!

Ok, all you lucky Silhouette owners out there! (Do I sound jealous a tad bit envious? Because I am!)  You all are making such gorgeous stuff & I n.e.e.d. would like one so very badly! I've got all kinds of glasses to be etched, walls to be vinyl-ed, subway art to be created, and boys' bare arms to be tattooed!

For Christmas, my Daddy wood-worked a sign for my spa outhouse toilet bathroom.  (I'm really not a DIVA!)

The wonder-hubs hung it over my closet door. (His reasoning: you wouldn't be able to see the sign as you enter the bathroom, because the commode door is off to the side...) And since that is a pocket door, my darling plaque would get swiped off every time one attempted to open the door to the potty.

Design * Dazzle, here is where you enter the picture.  If you pick me to be the Silhouette winner, I will be able to right this travesty make this sign so that no one goes into my closet to pee!

Thank you!

January 24, 2011

This week I'm gonna

embroider a couple of new designs I got from Embroidery Library.  They introduced some new Delft pieces last week. So, I'm going to gather my threads and stitch out:
(I'm very excited that there are only 3 thread colors in all the designs, & just 3 - 4 color changes!) 

I also bought

so I think he's gonna go in someone's kitchen...

Now, I got this tile, as well

but I think I'd like to go back and get at least three more of the other tiles with coordinating fruit & flowers...

January 22, 2011

Self-confessed Carbo-holic

My secret's out.
"My name is Melody, and I'm a carboholic."
Croissants are my "crack," & I simply crave a good crusty sourdough boule!


So, in an effort to make the scales stop screaming when I step on them, I'm living very low carb the past couple weeks.  This is very difficult for me given my addiction, my love for baking & the need to feed my growing boys & the hubs. Also, unfortunately, when I do find something 0-carb & palatable, the guys scarf it down. (With the exception of tuna dishes, I've found...)

God bless the creator of the Chocolate Black Bean Torte recipe! It's a guilt-free brownie kinda treat. I'm working at perfecting my recipe -- and I'm getting close to what I want.
We had slow-cooker black beans last night (I fix them about once a week & if there are left-overs, they make up chili a couple days later...) and I grabbed what I needed before I "savoried" them up for the table.

This morning I got up early & gathered my remaining ingredients:

 (Yes, Costcos our family! -- We buy most everything in bulk: 5 dozen eggs, 5#s of cocoa, large box of kosher salt...)
REALLY! good cocoa!

Processed the beans:

Added remaining ingredients & whirled them up:

Scraped batter into the waiting pan:

Baked it:

Cooled it:

Sliced it:

Ate it:

And shared it with some disbelieving, low-carb needing friends.

Now I share with you this recipe with my modifications:

Chocolate Black Bean Torte

1 – 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed 2 cups cooked black beans
8 oz Egg Beaters 4 eggs
¾ cup Splenda  6 packets Splenda®
¾ cup sugar  ⅓ cup blue agave syrup
½ tsp baking powder
1 t. vanilla
¾ cup cocoa
¼ t. salt

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 inch cake pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Place beans in a food processor; purée until smooth. Add egg beaters while beans are puréeing. Turn food processor off and add remaining ingredients. Process until well blended and pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes then remove cake from pan. Serve torte at room temperature.

(I can't provide you with accurate nutritional information, because the original recipe uses white sugar as well as having a sauce made with raspberry sorbet!)

Last time I baked this I used Splenda® & stevia which made it super "sicky" sweet but seemed one-dimensional. The blue agave (which I've never cooked with until today) really seems to "round out" the flavor. Even the batter was fight-to-lick-the-bowl good!

January 17, 2011

A "Little" Project

Can you tell the boys weren't online schooling today? Three posts in one day! (Pretty sure that equals the total posts of a couple months...)

Sooooooooo...  Wanted to show my Christmas project for my dear friend Ceekay @ Thinkin' of Home & her ovarian cancer blog My Journey With Teal.

It started with this:

(Yes, I covered the shoe with vintage teal velvet, made it into a pincushion & made the hat pin.
The sequined flower is from some vintage sheer fabric which I also used for the ruffle on the tag & scavenged the beads for various aspects of the project.)

In November I embroidered the tag for Eileen's Blog for a Designs in Machine Embroidery give-away.
Tree of Life with antique beads

( says "To Carolyn With Love"...)

While rummaging browsing through the Graphics Fairy's incredible images, I found so many with teal tones to use on the "shoe box".

the lid

(more of the sheer teal...)

All the shoes, of course, are symbolic of her journey. 

The dress forms hark back several years to a church dinner theatre production of "Four Tickets to Christmas" when I helped costume her for the starring role of a 1905 diva!

 She's an incredible woman & a great friend.

Well then, I guess I'm going to link this up to Karen ~ the incredible Graphics Fairy...

hummus (sorta)

I hummus!
I it on flat bread
I it as a dip for veggies
I even this one with corn chips!
It's healthy & inexpensive to make -- what's not to ?

This one I made with a two pound bag of dried garbanzo beans.

Cooked them several hours (low) in my slow cooker.

Cooked them with 2 chipotle cubes.

(You've got to try this stuff! It's wonderful!)

Whirled them in the food processor with garlic (lots of garlic) cumin, olive oil & lemon juice. The hubs is not a fan of sesame, so I left out the tahini -- which is probably why it's not as smooth as I like...

But it sure was delish!

Decisions, Decisions...

Emily @ Decor Chick! is having a link party to the tune of "Real Homes, Real Messes... Real Life"
The hard part was determining which mess I'm willing to post for the world to see! Should I show my boys' bedrooms? My husband's garage? The monster laundry pile which ate half my bedroom?  hmmmmmm... What about the stack of junk mail/food ads/coupons/homeschool books that occupy more than half the surface of my desk? Certainly not the tangled mass of fabric that is my sewing room!

Our office/guitar & piano studio truly needs some help! It is visible from the living room as well as the first visual to your right as you enter our home. (When our Life Group from church comes over every Wednesday evening, I turn off the monitor on my PC so the room is illuminated as little as possible...)

My pantry could use a touch of organization, as well. Son Z (leaning against the door) does a good job of cleaning it out (have you ever tried to fill up a 6'6" lineman?) and son H will frequently re-arrange my spices. (He likes them alphabetical, I like them according to usage -- which resulted in near disaster @ Christmas when I nearly dumped CUMIN into my gingerbread biscotti...)

Son A loves to read! I truly how he is oblivious to the total cataclismic devastation surrounding him. This pic is from a few years back.  I don't try to decorate their walls any more, for they love displaying their own artwork. (I just hope the hubs doesn't see the holes left by the indescriminate staple gunning...) Although son H turned 11, he still loves his stuffed animals. We gathered a huge black yard garbage bag full of animals to store, but before I could get them up to the attic, I've noticed they're trickled back to the bedroom from the garage. <>

We had one "hail" of a storm in October -- I even have some God-created messes to clean up...