Tuesday, May 19, 2015

T Stands For 3 Degrees of Success

Hi Everyone!  It is a rainy, thundery day, so I am glad I remembered to run outside last night and take some photos of my flowers--the first degree of success!  The new soil is a success
and most of the flower seeds have already started to come up......
Not too bad for just a week! Don't these look like little green
dragonflies?  I never plan out or make a record of what seed I plant where, so I don't remember what these are. It seems more fun that way!
My peony is doing very well already this year after hardly growing at all last summer.  No, I did not change the dirt here, just some years it seems to do better than others. Speaking of flowers....
Here is the Hydrangea I showed you the parts of last week, all finished and stemmed. I'm working on the 2nd one in a slightly lighter shade of blue. They will join the 5 others I made previously, 3 others of which are shown in this post. My 2nd degree of success.
My 3rd degree of success is that having finished my Spring Cleaning (except for shampooing the carpets,which has to wait for warmer weather), I actually had time to work in my Altered Tea Journal.  While surfing the web hoping to be inspired, I came across some random facts about tea that I thought would make a good spread.
Originally, I wrote out all the facts, but then felt it looked too plain, so I cut out appropriate tea words from a catalog & fancied it up.
I'm not sure you can read any of the facts because I could not take the book outside to photograph, but I think you get the gist.  I'm sharing this with Altered Book Lover for T Stands For Tuesday. 

Perhaps, my biggest success, or at least the most important....

Tomorrow, DH & I will celebrate our DD's success...her Master's Degree in Publishing! (At 22!) I usually keep most of the private stuff private--can't think too many people are actually interested--but if I can brag for just a minute...She achieved straight A's and just heard last night that she got an "A" on her thesis also! We are out of adjectives to describe how proud we are of her! She told us the nicest thing the other day...several of her close friends were talking & they told her they want to "meet the people who made her" because she is just awesome. See why I feel this is my biggest success? Yes, tomorrow is going to be a great day!  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

T Stands For Busy Busy!

Hi everyone! The weeks just fly by and it has been hard to balance what I want to do with what I have to do. I really have not had anything interesting to share with Altered Book Lover's tea group since most of my time has been spent off the computer lately.  I wish I could say it was doing art.....

Some of my time has gone to cleaning up the yard with DH....last year we decided to replace all the dirt in our containers but erroneously bought "top soil" rather than garden soil. It wound up have an oily smell to it, but worse than that, when it got wet and then dried, it turned hard as cement.  Needless to say, the seeds I planted didn't have a chance of popping through that!
A lot of iced tea was consumed with the changing of the dirt and planting of seeds as this area gets full sun most of the day.  Have you every tried "cold brewed" tea?  For a quick glass, it was not bad, and I was pleased that it actually has a strong brewed flavor.
Some of my time has been spent working on two more Hydrangeas, one of which you can see the parts of above.  Each grouping has 10 florets, and 5 groups make up a head.  This is part of a big project that I have been working on with a customer--the details of which I will be able to share in a few months.
Alas, my poor basil plant has about had it....I did use most of the leaves in the huge pot of pasta sauce I made, but it just has not come back from its jump into the sink after the window broke. (Which has also now been replaced) I had already planted some basil seeds, so I should still have basil come summer.

The rest of my time is being spent Spring cleaning and getting ready for the return of DD for at least the summer.  Her graduation ceremony (Graduate School) is May 20 and with one more month left on the lease of the apartment she is staying in, she has decided to move home again until a friend she wants to room with is ready--probably in a few months. 

Thanks for coming by! I'll visit everyone throughout the day when window washing becomes a drag!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

T Stands For Walking the Plank

Hi everyone! Another Tuesday has rolled around, and it is time to post what I've been up to and share with Elizabeth from Altered Book Lover and my T friends. Today actually marks a special day for DH & me--we met and went on our first date today, 25 years ago. We have always "celebrated" both this day and our wedding anniversary later in August.  I woke up to a beautiful poem DH wrote me and he has plans that he is being secretive about for tomorrow. But on to the title of the post....

A few weeks ago, a friend of ours convinced us to try cooking some salmon on a cedar plank.  We had one of those really warm, barbeque grilling-friendly days, so out we went to get the fish, plank, etc.
The cedar planks can be purchased right in our grocery store--they are food grade with no chemicals or other bad stuff touching them.  The first step is to soak the plank in water (or broth or wine if you are more adventurous) for up to 24 hours. This prevents the wood from just catching on fire and allows it to smoke.
 After patting the fish dry and adding some seasoning--we used cedar plank salmon seasoning we bought in our local warehouse store--we placed it on the board that had been coated with some oil. We kept the burners low and had a spray bottle of water handy for flare-ups which we never had to use. Close the cover, no need to turn it over and wait for the flavor to infuse in.
And here it is all done and ready to eat!

Have you every tried cooking on a plank? What did you think?

As I write this, I am drinking my English Breakfast morning tea, and then I am off for a day of shopping and lunch with some friends.  I can't wait to see what is up for tomorrow! Thanks for stopping by for a visit. I'll be around to visit everyone later today or tonight.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

T Stands For Tuesday-Tea Journal

Hi Everyone! I am happy to be joining Elizabeth again this week with another page in my tea journal.
I came across this airplane themed fabric in my stash and though of this banner idea.  Originally, I was going to make the banners
with the sewing machine on pieces of ribbon, but when I planned it out, they were going to be too long. I thought of using one quote and splitting them up,
but I really didn't like that idea either. So I mixed a blue I like for the sky, adding a little glaze to make it more spreadable, made some clouds by
rubbing a glue stick on the page and then patting it with a cotton ball before it dried. In the end, I was pretty happy with the result.
I had a chance to use my net-working skills last week.  No, not the kind for selling my art....the butterfly net kind.  Anyone who has been here with me awhile, knows about our past experiences with bats in the house, which is why we have butterfly nets.

Upon returning from food shopping, DH & I unload the car, carry everything in from the garage and put it all away. As we are standing in the dining room looking at the mail,  we hear a sound over by a big plant in the corner and think a bird is outside flying into the window.  Huh? What? A small bird (think chickadee size) starts flying around...inside! The best we can figure is that we left the living room to garage door open as we were carrying up the groceries and while I was upstairs on the second floor & DH was carrying things down to the basement....it must have flown in.  Of course, it didn't want to just fly into the net, LOL. We were able to keep it contained in the dining room and I opened a window & carefully coaxed it out. 

The next morning, we are greeted by the side of my basil plant (which was on the window sill) knocked down into dish drain.

 I look up and the outside window (they are double glass) over the sink is totally smashed! The bottle of water was what I shared with the basil to try to revive it.

Fortunately, it is the outer window that shattered.
We originally thought a bird (?) must have flown into the window, causing a concussive reaction that broke the window, knocked down the plant and also damaged one of my cacti.  We replaced these windows 20+ years ago with argon gas filled double windows which were supposed to provide added insulation.  My web search tells me that these windows slowly leak and can (on rare occasions) shatter.  Rare? This is the third window that has broken. Good thing we have a few more spares. We will wait until the weather is a little warmer to replace this bottom window.

Thanks for coming by. I really do appreciate your visits and comments.  I am also linking up with AJJ whose theme is favorite quotes and poems. Hopefully, I will be more artistic soon and have some projects to show.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

T stands for This and That

Hi everyone! I've been playing around with my newer sewing machine (I have two) which has a lot of built in fun stitches and thought today would be a perfect day to share my experiment:
This is a quote from "The Wind in the Willows". It is quite tedious since you have to program in each letter individually (by selecting a number) and add underlines for spaces that have to be later trimmed off....no deluxe sewing machine model for me, LOL....but I was beyond thrilled with how it came out, AND how it fits the spine of my altered tea quote book perfectly! Now I have even more incentive to work in this book so I can work on the cover.

The experiment came about because of an idea I have for a quilt that I am making, but I will leave that post for another day! Instead, I will leave you with a few new beaded flower arrangements.
Hot pink tulips in a triple vase

Pastel daisies in an aqua bottle vase
Purple violets in a green bottle vase
 Thanks for stopping by today! I'm linking with Bleubeard and Elizabeth for T Stands for Tuesday!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Second Look on the Second

 Since this year marks the 50th anniversary of the film, "The Sound of Music" and since it is one of our favorite family movies to watch together, I felt this post was perfect for Bleubeard and Elizabeth's Second Look on the Second.  It was first posted in 2007, when I was highlighting our European trip to 24 countries. Here is the original post....

The next beautiful journey took us to Salzburg, Austria, the birthplace of Mozart. We strolled through the beautiful gardens of Mirabel Palace, built in the 1600s and many spots were pointed out that were used in the filming of "The Sound of Music". I could just picture "Maria" dancing around this fountain and gardens! Of course, when we returned home, we had to watch the movie for the millionth time so we could ooh and ahh and say, "Look, we were standing right there!". Ah tourists!

We visited the Salzburg Cathedral, a Baroque style church that was also where little Mozart was baptized. This was a beautiful Cathedral-the Baroque style evokes a lot of movement which was evident in all the paintings. It also contained 4 huge pipe organs. The dome was hit by a bomb in WWII and was restored in 1959.

Browsing the town of Salzburg you see narrow cobbles streets filled with shops & restaurants. Many of the shops still had original iron signs hung outside that displayed pictures of what kind of service the shop offered. We saw where Mozart was born and a home that his family lived in later on.

Our drive took us next to Vienna where we were to spend the night. The evening's entertainment was a classical concert in the Vienna Palace featuring the music of Mozart, Strauss and Shubert. All three lived, work, and performed in this Palace. The music was, of course, amazing and was supplemented by ballet dancers and opera singers. Even if you don't like classical music, you could not help but be awed by this performance in this location.

Thanks for continuing the journey with me. I hope you enjoyed this look back as much as I did! Wishing everyone who celebrates a Happy Easter or Happy Passover!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

T Stands For Trying New Recipes

Hi Everyone! Quite a bit of snow has finally melted, but I think it is still going to be a white Easter this year.  As you may know, Easter is a holiday that floats around on the calendar--it can sometimes fall near the end of April, so this year it is an earlier date. Usually by Easter, I like to have at least the front yard raked up so it looks nice, but that won't be happening this year!

I found a very cool recipe book by accident while looking around our public library's website....
This is the neighborhood where my husband grew up! As well as having mouthwatering recipes (especially if you are Italian) from the different store owners, it is a very comprehensive look at the area. From the local church to the histories of many generations of families that have run the same stores....it is a gem to us. There is one store that we know the owner of very well--he was my FIL's best friend. My FIL used to take our DD when she was a toddler over to the store to watch him make the mozzarella cheese. Within 30 minutes of opening this book, I was scouring the internet and bought us our own copy! 

Here is the first thing I made...
Homemade gnocchi with a Mediterranean style sauce with olives and capers. My Mother used to make gnocchi (potato pillows) although she called them cavatelli which technically they weren't since she made them with potatoes.  Dennis & I were just talking about gnocchi since his mother made them too, and I was saying how I wanted to try making them.  After looking for recipes on the web, they seemed way too temperamental and complicated. I think some of the more well known chefs get carried away sometimes.  Anyway, these were very easy to make--yes, time consuming to roll and cut by hand--but that is some of the pleasure for me.  I can still see my Mom sitting at the table making these with love. The sauce was so good that I will be making it this Saturday night with manicotti (not homemade pasta) when our DD and her boyfriend come for Easter. Bleubeard and Elizabeth's T group will see my beverage that night was wine.

Do you ever read a book and love it so much you have to purchase your own copy?

Thanks for stopping by!