Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Balsamic Tomato Slices

Last week on Pinterest I ran across this post. It was a photo of a pan of tomatoes and some sparse directions. There was not a link to take you to the original source. Apparently it was taken and added with a phone with no other reference. Well, the photo looked yummy and I decided to give it a try. Since there wasn't any amounts in the recipe listed, I came up with my own. After tasting it, I decided it was well worth sharing. 

We are so fortunate to just be down the road from a great farm stand where I was able to buy large delicious tomatoes.

Balsamic Tomato Slices

2 large beefy tomatoes
Balsamic Vinegar
1 bag of Spinach
2 Tablespoons fresh minced garlic
Dash or two of olive oil
1 2-cup bag of shredded Italian Cheese
Fresh ground salt and pepper

Slice two tomatoes in to thick slices and place on cookie sheets. Drizzle Balsamic Vinegar on each of the slices. Let marinate for 1 hour. Bake tomatoes on 350 degrees for 7 minutes.

Add olive oil to a large skillet. Warm on medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir until the garlic is mixed well with the oil.  Remove the long stems from the spinach and add the entire bag to the garlic oil. Saute until spinach is lightly cooked.

Remove tomatoes from oven. Evenly divide the spinach on to the top of the tomato slices. Grind salt and pepper on the tomatoes and spinach. Add cheese to the top. I used about 2/3 of the bag of cheese. 

Broil for about 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

This makes a great side dish to any meat. Enjoy!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stitchy Steps

I have recently been asked by friends who don't stitch, how do I get started with a project and then what are the steps. I am no expert but I am happy to share my process. 

Step 1: Choose a pattern. Sometimes I choose a printed pattern that I trace using my new handy-dandy light box, other times I might use a transfer pattern. I so want to be one of those artistic types that can design their own pattern from scratch but that is not me. I am hoping my artistic daughter will design some patterns. For this hoop monogram with tassel I chose it from a book of iron-on transfer patterns I purchased at Hobby Lobby. I am sure I help keep that store in business. ;)

Step 2: Choose your fabric. If you are tracing your pattern on to the fabric you can use almost any type but when using an iron-on transfer the fabric has to be heat tolerant.
I chose an Osnaberg linen type fabric that I had in my stash.
Step 3: Prepare the fabric by determining the amount you need and then pressing it with an iron to remove any wrinkles.

Step 4: Cut the transfer pattern and iron it on to the fabric following pattern package directions or trace your pattern on to the fabric.

Step 5: Hoop the fabric in to a working hoop. I like to use a plastic hoop for embroidering. There are those that do not use a hoop at all. I like the stabilization a hoop gives the fabric.

Step 6: Choose the thread color/colors you want to use in your project. This project is for one thread choice. Sometimes I may pull out 30 colors to choose when doing a multi-color project, like here

Step 7: Stitch! I would say this my favorite part but I also really enjoy choosing pattern, fabric, thread, etc. For wonderful instructions on embroidery stitches, I like to go shiny happy world blog and her wonderful free instructions.

Step 8: Decide how you will finish off your project. I painted a small wooden hoop. There are so many options from framing or adding it in to a sewn piece, etc. I am sending this hoop as part of the Happy Hour Christmas in July exchange. My recipient, Leslie Marquez Designs, asked for supplies for her jewelry designs and I wanted to add a little something extra. She had shared colors in her home and I decided a brown hoop with this M monogram would be a good addition to the supplies.

Step 9: After completing the stitching and allowing the hoop to dry, I placed the stitched piece in to the finishing hoop. Then I trimmed around the edges leaving enough to fold around to the back and stitch a running stitch to gather the fabric.

Step 10: Finishing the back. I chose to cut a piece of felt and stitch it to the back of the piece for a finished look. 

And there you have it. My little monogram embroidery stitched from beginning to the end. 

Bead supplies and monogram M for my Christmas in July package.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Ride To Remember & Celebrating Stan's Birthday

And no, the guys did not coordinate colors for each day. I asked. Seriously, doesn't it look that way?  And you know women would have!
Stan and his friend, co-worker and fellow bike rider undertook a huge ride this past weekend. On Friday morning they started a 3 day bike ride that would total 253 miles! The ride was a benefit ride for Alzheimer's Association. 50 riders participated and over $50,000.00 was raised for this worthy cause. In chronological order from left to right is the start of each days ride. 

This is the two guys at the finish in beautiful Charleston, SC. They are hot, sweaty, tired, sore and still excited to have finished such a great ride. I am so proud of these two. This was a personal journey, especially for our friend, Terry. His mother passed away with this disease earlier this year.  

Check out this snazzy lime green nail polish! I love it...Stan, not so much. He said it looked as if I need to order that fungus medicine advertised on TV! LOL. I guess I'll not be sporting that again. Those new Oakley sunglasses Stan is wearing. They were my birthday gift to him, a tad early. He picked them out at our REI a few weeks ago. Easy gift buying. And last, a photo of us taken by our sweet waitress on the night of Stan's birthday.
Stan celebrated his 47th birthday on Monday. We had a beach day for relaxing after such a tiring three days. He wanted steak for dinner and we found a great steak house that had a Bourbon marinade. Delicious.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Little Mermaid Hoop

I found this adorable pattern posted on Flickr's Needle-n-Me's photostream. I originally saw her post in Hoop Love Vintage Transfers group and knew I wanted to stitch it. The fabric is a very light blue cotton that I had in my stash. I used tiny backstitches on the fish and mermaid bodies. The fish lips and eyes are satin stitch. The water is stem stitch. I love how this stitching turned out. 

Our guest bath has evolved into a bit of a beachy feel. The walls are painted a light blue/gray and I use celery and white as the accent colors in the rug and shower curtain. I have a free-standing chest painted black. The top of the chest, shown here, holds a few beach type decorations. The framed print was a birthday card from a friend this year. The title, A Day At The Beach. The shell sitting in the front of it was found a few years ago during our yearly Hilton Head, SC vacation. In the center, the candle votive was a thank you gift from one of my daughter's high school teachers. I filled it with shells we have picked up, including the star fish. The angel holding the shell to her ear was a gift from my sister. The book, in a house by the sea, my daughter gave it to me while in Hilton Head a few years ago. I love how all the gifts and finds go together so beautifully to create a cohesive feel. I think my little mermaid hoop fits right in. 

The card says:

a day at the beach

It can make us feel like
all our cares are an ocean away.
Sun on our shoulders, feet in the sand, 
      cool beverage in hand...
the waves roll in, our thoughts roll out
 and all is right with the world again.

Doesn't that sound perfect? 


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Weekend At The Beach

Stan had to see a client in Goose Creek, SC on Monday morning. This worked beautifully for me. Since we were going to be only 25 minutes from the beach for this appointment, he decided we should go down on Saturday and enjoy the weekend at one of our favorite beaches, Isle of Palms in Mount Pleasant, just outside of Charleston. We had incredible weather both days and soaked up the sun.

This was taken just before Stan decided it was too hot, even under the umbrella, to sit in the sun while wearing a black tee shirt.

Sunday evening we were so glad to see our daughter's two best girlfriends from college. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Julia, Allan and Leah at Sullivan's restaurant on Sullivan's Island. It was a joy to spend time catching up.

We headed home Monday evening but we get to turn around and go back this coming weekend! Yes, two weekends in a row at the beach! Stan is riding in A Ride To Remember, which ends in Charleston. I will meet Stan each night at the end destinations. We will have Monday for a beach day before heading home on Tuesday evening. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hand Made Gift Exchange

I received this adorable knitted snowman as my gift in  the Craftaholics Hand Made Gift Exchange. Virginia did a wonderful job with such detail. There is a little bird attached to the top that the photo doesn't show well. The carrot nose is dimensional and I love the buttons down the front. I will proudly use this cutie during the holidays!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rolled Fabric Flower Hat Pin

I enjoy wearing hats, nothing fancy, just fun comfortable hats. I especially love a modified baseball hat. I found this little cutie at our local Charming Charlie store back in the Spring. I decided it would be nice to have a little color added to it and use the Antsi-Pants Rolled Fabric Flower Tutorial to make up a Rolled Flower with a pin attached to the back. It is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to give a hat or tee a new look.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Crafty Sheep June Challenge - A Double Hoop Embroidery

I am a few days late, okay, make that 6 days late in completing and posting my Crafty Sheep June Challenge. I found the Stitcher's Revolution packet Sew Crafty at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago. I am working on a hoop collection for a wall in my sewing room and thought this pattern packet would make some fun additions. I chose to make the embroidery hoop design. To be able to use all the June colors was a challenge. I managed to get a tiny bit of the deep red in the bolt for the hoop fastener. The silvery blue was used in the needle and and the top of the hoop brackets. The deeper gold was stitched for the screw. I love how it turned out. I used the following stitches: Satin stitch for the screw, bolt and hoop. Back stitch around the hoop and the needle. Stem stitch for thread attached to the needle. Running stitch for the embroidery design. Now I am to decide what to make for the Crafty Sheep July Challene. Why don't you join in the fun?

Found this pattern set at my local Hobby Lobby for $ 2.95.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Little Stitching & A Lot Of Traveling

The last two weeks I have spent more time in a car than anywhere. In the midst of our travels, I found time to stitch this Tea Time hoop and make these fabric button magnets for the fridge. I purchased the embroidery pattern from Urban Threads. My favorite part of this stitchery is the french knots I used for bubbling tea. These two items are being sent to my recipient in the Craftaholics Anonymous Gift Exchange

Fabric shopping and pool day.

The Bone Garden Cantina
Two weeks ago, I spent two days with my daughter in Atlanta. We shopped and ate the first day, visiting a great quilt store, Intown Quilters, a crafters boutique, The Beehive, and lastly went to an outdoor craft festival. The second day was pure relaxation at the pool. We had the entire pool to ourselves and then we headed to lunch at The Bone Garden Cantina, where we had wonderful food. The murals on the wall were so interesting I have included a few photos. The beautiful woman? Our daughter, Hanna. :)

Stan and I traveled to DC on Wednesday of last week. We visited our dear friend, David's, grave.  Our friend, LouCinda's father, passed early last year and was cremated. His funeral at Arlington was the Monday of last week. He was a wonderful man, a WWII Air Force Pilot veteran and hero. We found and visited his resting place while we were there.

On Friday, we drove over to Baltimore, MD. We have never been to the city and loved it. We didn't love the 105 degrees but the city was beautiful. 

Water Taxi Views
That evening, we had wonderful club seat tickets to see the Orioles play the Indians. We are huge baseball fans and getting to attend a game at Camden Yards was a highlight of the day. It is a beautiful stadium and we had a wonderful time.

We are home now. Road weary but so glad to have had the time together. This week is shaping up to be a productive week and I hope to have more crafty items to show as the week progresses.

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