Thursday, April 17, 2014

PERSPECTIVE ...

The title of this post will tell you, that this isn't one of my normal crafty/foodie posts. Every couple of years, I feel compelled to write something other than a crafty post. It's usually on a topic that sits heavy on my heart. I have drawn a lot of encouragement from the experiences and situations other bloggers have found themselves in, and have written about over the years .... Perhaps this post is one of those.

Yesterday Hubby and I celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary ... It was an emotional day for me. I am a lucky girl. On that day 20 years ago, under a beautiful African sky, surrounded by Family and friends, I married my best friend and Prince Charming, and to this day, he remains those. Our dream back then, for each 10 year mark Anniversary, was to return to the tropical island where we spent our honeymoon. At our 10 year mark, we did exactly as we'd dreamed ..... we left our 4 and 6 year old babies with my parents, and jetted off for a week of tropical island bliss - it was magical.

Fast forward 10 years to yesterday, and the picture couldn't be more different. The past 10 years have been hard !!! We moved our family to the USA in late 2004, full of hope and expectation, and one by one those expectations have been crushed. We've faced and continue to face, many difficult issues ... unemployment, mental illness, loneliness, isolation .... and so the list goes on.

This is where PERSPECTIVE comes in. I found myself drowning yesterday. We so badly wanted our 20 year milestone to be special. There was going to be no fancy gifts wrapped in shiny paper, no romantic dinner out at a lovely restaurant, and definately no tropical island getaway. But then I thought, that if I changed my perspective on what would make it special,  from what we'd always dreamed it would be, to what we could make it, it would still be special. So, that's exactly what we did ......


Hubby is a chocoholic .... but not a Hershey's kinda chocoholic !!! We grew up on Cadburys (so yummy). So I put together a little chocolate basket for him ...


I set the table for two, with candles and flowers ...


I fed the kids early, and I then made a special dinner (starter, main course, and dessert), just for the two of us.
It was awesome ..... It was special ...... It was romantic

It was a lesson learned ..... The situation we find ourselves in currently, is devastating (there's no sugar coating that), but at the same time we have much to be grateful for .... 20 happy years of marriage behind us and God willing many more years ahead of us ... 2 wonderful children ... loving, supportive families (although they're all REALLY far away).

Sometimes, it really is just a matter of changing your perspective.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

PINEAPPLE .... YES PLEASE !!!

This is cake perfection to me !!!
It looks pretty, and is dead easy to make. Imagine this gracing your Easter Lunch Table, or perhaps taking pride of place at your Mothers Day Tea ....it's just one of those cakes !!!
I made it today, using THIS RECIPE, for us to enjoy as dessert tonight, and I've had a tough time keeping Hubby away from it.
So let's see what you think ....


 Doesn't it look scrumptious .... The cake part has all that lovely sweet buttery goodness soaked into it. This is the first time I've made this recipe, or Pineapple Upside Down Cake ever, for that matter. My mouth waters just looking at it ..... it may just be worth skipping the Chicken Alfredo, and going straight to dessert !!!


Will we eat it with whipped cream ..... or perhaps custard ..... what about just as it is ? Hmmm, the choice will be theirs :-)

EDIT : This cake recipe is absolutely fantastic !!!! We've just had it for dessert, and it's sweet (but not too sweet), and moist. We tried it as is, and with custard, and both ways were a hit. This will be another recipe I'll be adding to my ever growing Tried and Tested Recipe File.
Give it a try yourself ...... I promise you wont regret it :-)

Monday, March 17, 2014

MARRIED MYRTLE ....

Today I have another creepy little lady to share with you ...... You guessed it - another zombie doll. This one was part of Val's swap package.  She's a little cutie .... well, as zombies go !!!


This is married Myrtle .... The Zombie Bride.
I crocheted her (and when I find the website for the free pattern, I'll post it). I particularly liked the way her body was crocheted, because it gave her shoulders, and thus dimension. I used really chunky black yarn for her hair, that I just threaded through her "skull".
She wears a strapless, white wedding gown, with sparkly trim :-) Just excuse the entrails and brains hanging out of her !!!

As I've said before, like my other zombie dolls, she was accompanied by a poem, that tells her story ....... Remember, I'm no poet :-)

MARRIED MYRTLE

It all began one day, back in high school
when Fred spotted Myrtle, at the neighborhood pool.
He hoped in her heart, for him she'd find room
he wanted so badly, one day, to be her groom.

As the years passed by, something sinister took place
Fred often had blood all over his face.
"Poor Fred has changed" many people said
and his eyes stare blankly, as though he were dead.

Myrtle dismissed the small town chatter
what strangers said, really didn't matter.
What Myrtle didn't know, about the man she was to wed
he had only one interest .... The poor girls head !!!

Many years have passed, since their wedding day
Fred and Myrtle marriage was done the zombie way.
The people of this small town, will tell you this
Fred and Myrtle are still the picture of wedded bliss. 

Thanks for spending some time visiting me today - I really do appreciate your visit.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

BEAUTY ....

Do you ever have those moments when the beauty of something, takes your breath away? Let's face it, thunderstorms and rain showers happen often. If living in Texas has taught me anything, it's that when weather events happen here, they never happen in half measures ...... This place has taught me what the word STORM means in no uncertain terms - both in the Winter and Summer (and Literal - but I'll save that for another time and place), sense of the word.

Yesterday's storm was a "take your breath away" kinda storm. The rain came down hard and fast, turning the sky very dark, roads into rivers and the streams in our greenbelt, into raging torrents for a short time. But as fast as it came with all of its ferocity, so it left. The receding storm was nothing short of magnificent ....


 Boy Child playing in the rain .... Boys will be boys :-) You can see how the rain was running down the road in a river.


 This is the greenbelt ... the ducks normally can't use it as their private pool !!!


 Then as quickly as the storm clouds gathered, so they moved out, and the sky was magnificent.


 This is our greenbelt .... you can normally step across that little stream !!! But, for me, the piece de resistance was that rainbow ... it was breathtaking, and it stretched right across the sky :-) For a very short time, it was a double rainbow. The light and colors of everything, not just the rainbow, were so brilliant !!!

And God said,
"This is a sign of the Covenant I am making
between me and you and every living creature with you,
a Covenant for generations to come.
Genesis 9:12


Wishing y'all a fantastic week - our kiddos are headed back to school tomorrow, after a very relaxing Spring Break week.
Thanks for stopping by and visiting :-)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW .....

I'm guessing another week, to be on the safe side, and then I can start planting my veggie garden .... fresh tomatoes off the vine, potatoes with dirt still on them, fresh basil (a Caprese sandwich never tasted so good!!!), a new batch of mint jelly (just as well, because we're down to the last jar), rosemary fresh from the bush to accompany that roasting leg of lamb ...... Can you tell, I'm a little excited !!!!

Now we all know, that when those little green shoots pop through the surface of the soil, they can all kinda look alike. I have a solution to that problem ...... even more exciting, is that it's an inexpensive, crafty solution.

 
You'll need spoons .... old, new, thrifted - it really doesn't matter, just grab yourself some dessert sized spoons. Mine were from Walmart (their basic 6 pack). Next up, you'll need some Outdoor Modge Podge, and some outdoor varnish/sealant - you don't want your cute little labels disappearing after the first rains. A sheet of paper (I used the stuff we use in our printer), a sharpie and some wax crayons ...... Drawing skills are not needed, just take a look at my labels :-)

I cut (more like eyeballed), an oval shape. Onto those I drew my veggie, and labeled it. I painted some modge podge onto the spoon and stuck my drawing on. Make sure you squeeze out all your air bubbles. I covered the labels with about 4 layers of modge podge, waiting for each layer to dry before I painted on the next layer. Once the modge podge layers were completely dry, I gave each marker (just where the label is), a coat of sealant.

I found that, in order for my labels to stick down neatly, I had to hammer my spoon a little flatter. You may wish to do this if your spoon has a deep "cup", but every spoon is different.

These were part of Val's swap package, but I'll be making my own set in the coming week ... just in time for them to do their job. Oh I can hardly wait for growing season to begin !!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

PIGGY POUCHES .....

We have a new family member ...... he's patchy, furry, and so darn cute !!! His name is Hercules, and he is Girl Childs new best friend ..... He is a guinea pig !!!

 
 He is still a baby, but just look at that face .... how could anyone resist it ... Yes, he's spoilt - VERY spoilt :-)

 
 I absolutely LOVE this picture of Girl Child and Hercules ....... this picture sums up her personality. No words needed.
We've had guinea pigs before. They were older when we got them, and had only ever slept in their pigloos. We had seen little fleece Piggy Pouches on Etsy, and they looked so snuggly and warm. I have tons of fleece scraps. so I made a pouch for him, just to see whether he'd like it or not. Like it ..... rather he LOVES it !!!
He snuggles right down into it .... so cute !!!
They really are a 10 minute job to make. Two pieces of fabric, sewn together along three  sides. Two pouches made this way. Stuff them into each other, turn the top over double, sew it down, and there you have it.
I decided to use a cotton fabric for the outside pouch - that way, the bedding doesn't stick to it. Fleece on the inside for warmth and snuggability.


Peek a boo !!!


 
Now that we know he like his piggy pouch, I ran him up, another one this morning, while my family were still sleeping. That way we can wash one, and wear one, and he need never be without his pouch :-)

Monday, March 10, 2014

LET'S TALK FUNGI ......

Little red and white polka dotted fungi, to be precise !!!
For me they conjure up images of fairy rings, gnome homes, all things fantasy. They feature strongly in the fairy gardens I replant each Spring too.
My partner and special friend, from the most recent swap I took part in, Val, loves them too. They were on her "Happy List", so I was happy to oblige with a few toadstooly items.

 
 There is an extremely talented lady, who makes lots of these toadstool terrariums, her work is all over Pinterest. I love them, and thought I'd see if I could come up with my own version. I like how it turned out. I bought the basic, el cheapo, salt and pepper shaker set from Target.  I had the little toadstools left over from a project I did last Summer. Getting the Spanish moss and toadstools in there without creating a gluey mess, was a little tricky, but with a little patience it was fine. I used felt to make the toadstool cap. I embedded the lid of the salt shaker into the stuffing of the cap, and glued it in place., so it's all nice and secure. I guess I'll have to make myself on now ..... there's a spare shaker going begging !!!!

 
 A craft tote .... who doesn't need something pretty to carry your latest crafty make around in. Perfect for those spare moments, when you can quickly get a couple of rows done, or a few stitches in. I used my basic tote pattern that I use for all the totes I make. This time, before constructing the tote, I appliqued the toadstool scene onto the front of the bag. I really do love the black stitching around them ...... really makes them pop !!!
Instead of fabric handles this time, I used these bamboo ones. I had them in my stash, from way back when ..... when Walmart closed their fabric department (now it's back again, which makes me quite smiley). These handles were attached with simple fabric loops. I like that they make the tote a little more "fancy".
I lined the tote with that polka dot fabric, you see at the top.



Now any crafter will know, that you need to have your "tools" handy !!! Scissors, tape measures, stitch markers .... you get the picture :-)
Val crochets beautifully so when I found THIS ZIPPERED POUCH on Pinterest, I knew it was the one. Look at that fantastic popper pouch in the front, perfect for holding her crochet hooks !!!
This pattern is a sweet pattern, and the tutorial is very clear and precise. This was a real fun to sew project.

Hope all this toadstool goodness has given you Spring Fever ......we're on Spring Break this week, the weather looks like it's going to be quite idyllic, so once I've completed the indoor Spring Cleaning (not to much more to go), I'll be headed outdoors, to prepare my veggie patch. Get it ready for planting :-)