Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pictures from around the park

What a beautiful afternoon. Sunshine, not too cold, not windy.  The dogs have been cooped up in the house for a few days now and they were really wanting to get outside and stretch their legs and do some sniffing about. We took them to Phelps Grove Park and took a few pictures while we were there.

Someone was building this snowman while we were there.  If you look close you can see angel wings sticking out from behind.  It’s at the “Victim’s Memorial Garden” and they built the snowman over the statue of an angel.  Pretty creative huh?

I love big old trees like this….beautiful!

More snowmen….this one had glasses.

This one has marble eyes, but it’s nose has fallen off.

Finishing rugs on a snowy day


Yesterday we had a big snow that made the trees look like they were snuggled under big cozy blankets.

A perfect day to finish the binding on my rug that I started HERE

It still needs some prodding on the middle of the lilies as well as some beading on the coneflowers, but the binding is complete….it was a learning process.

Here are a few pictures of it from the front and the back….I used bias cut quilt binding tape sewn around a small diameter cotton cording…..I think it worked very well!


Today I’m hoping to start embellishing a few of the flowers.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Broad strokes

The last few nights I’ve been reading…..a lot.  I started reading “It’s Not About the Bike” by Lance Armstrong.  It’s one of those books that I find a hard time putting down.  This is the book in which he shares his journey through triumph, tragedy, transformation, and transcendence. It is the story of a world-famous cyclist and his fight against cancer.

If you know anyone battling cancer this is a must read.

On the hooking side…

I know I opened the can of worms when I talked about all the things that Dulcy and I discussed when I was at her house earlier in the week.  This idea is not earth shattering but it is one of my goals for the upcoming year.  Maybe goal is not the right term….perhaps something I’d like to explore.  I would like to emulate this style of painting that I love…..I am drawn to paintings with big chunky strokes and I’d like to find a technique to get a similar feel with my rug hooking.

“Golden Moment” by Vicki Shuck

Using wider strips?

“The Script” by Daniel Peci

Hooking in blocks of color?

“Dog, Book and Wine” by Kim Roberti

Or perhaps it’s in the drawing of the design and the use of color?

Time will tell.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dreaming of Possibilities

Today I hung out with Dulcy making tags for our rugs that will be on display at “The Moxie” in February. Sheri’s rugs will be there also.

We also talked about the future of rug hooking and dreamed up new ideas to put rug hooking on it’s ear.  Dreaming up ideas like this (of course I can’t spill all of the beans now….I want you guys to keep coming back to see what it is we are doing) makes me giddy and makes me want to hook even faster on the projects I have started so that I can start working on new ideas.

The new ideas will consist of several small test projects to see  if we can put our dreams into reality.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More cooking….not hooking

What can I say….I’ve been more inspired to cook recently.

Last night we had “Cream Cheese and Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken”.  A little labor intensive with the whole pounding out of the chicken breasts, but really not all that hard to put together….I think I can say that since I got off work, stopped by the store and then cooked it up.  Of course it would have been a lot easier to assemble the stuffed chicken the night before, but that was not the way it worked out for this meal.

Then I had an e-mail for “Chili-Spiced Asparagus” that I had been wanting to try as well….mmmm….flavorful!  Of course Kenny made his famous cheesy bread with herbs to top it all off.  Needless to say after that huge meal plus a piece of the “Old Fashioned Fudge Pie” that I made yesterday, I slept like an angel last night.

Here are the recipes if you are interested.

Cream Cheese and Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken

  • 1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • 8 leaves fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  1. Mix the cream cheese, red onion, garlic, and black pepper together in a small bowl; set aside. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of waxed paper on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound the chicken with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
  2. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the flattened chicken breasts, then place two slices of prosciutto and two leaves of basil over the cream cheese on each breast. Roll the chicken breasts over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Cover, and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts; cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, and set aside. Whisk the butter and flour into the skillet until the butter melts and the flour turns golden, about 1 minute. Stir in the white wine, and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the chicken broth, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for a few more minutes. Return the chicken breasts to the skillet, and cover; cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 25 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).


Chili-Spiced Asparagus


Earthy chili combines with the sour-power of sherry vinegar to create a fine dressing for the grassy-green asparagus. For a smoky twist, try substituting smoked paprika for the chili powder.

Makes 4 servings, about 3/4 cup each

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 bunches asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder or 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar


Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and water; cook, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chili powder (or paprika), garlic powder and salt; cook until the asparagus is tender-crisp, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add vinegar and stir to coat.


The bread recipe….you’ll have to drag that one out of Kenny :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

It cures everything!

Well, it does a pretty darn good job if it’s one of those “I’ve got to have chocolate and I’ve got to have it now” kind of days!

I read about this over at Kim’s blog.  Kim has not steered me wrong…..she’s the one who turned me on to mojito’s as well!
Now she’s turned me on to this “Old Fashion Fudge Pie”.  When she said you probably had what you needed in your pantry to make it…..she was RIGHT!
Here’s the recipe compliments of Paula Deen.


  • 2 squares (2-ounces) semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar, then the eggs; beat well. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 25 minutes or until just set. Serve warm or cold, with ice cream or whipped cream.

Just a little note....I didn't have semi-sweet chocolate so I used unsweetened chocolate....I figured there was enough sugar that I wouldn't be able to tell the was still DELISH!
Yeah, that’s really it….it’s that easy! Kenny loved it too….he thought it tasted like a “brownie pie”.
You’ve gotta try it!
More on the rug later…..pressed for blogging time this morning….had a hard time getting the internet to connect.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

God & the devil

Some say “The devil is in the details,” meaning solutions break down when you examine them closely enough. Some say “God is in the details,” meaning opportunities for discovery and creativity come from digging into the details. 

I’ve jumped in and hooked a rug where many of the elements come off of the borders of the rug like this flower petal.  Sounded good at the time!

This has forced me to toss and turn at night trying to figure this out get creative and figure out exactly how I’m going to bind this rug.  I’ve asked questions on several rug hooking forums and have had many thoughtful answers.  One answer that stuck in my mind was that I needed to use cloth that was cut on the bias, so that it would ease around the odd shaped pieces.  Yeah, that will be easy!

I researched on how to do this and found a few helpful articles HERE and HERE.  Okay, so that is NOT going to happen! I’m good at advanced math, I mean, I got through nuclear physics, but this would make me pull out my hair, that’s taken me so long to grow out anyway….there’s got to be an easier way!  My next thought was to just go to Etsy and find some great pre-made bias binding.  There is a lot of it out there, and it’s cute! I mean just LOOK at all the pre-made bias binding there is on Etsy!  Pretty incredible really!

But, what if I get the color and it’s not quite right?  Or what if I need MORE and they don’t have any MORE?!  It’s things like this that make me crazier than a s**t-house rat!

So, I went with this…  Wrights double-fold bias tape quilt binding.My thought was that black is always a good binding color because your eye just places it in the background and it usually does not compete with your rug.  Plus it’s right up the street from my house at Hancock’s and I can always run up there and get more and I can get it now and get started.

I chose a really thin cotton cording… thin, I’m not sure, but it is REALLY thin.  My thinking is that it will be skinny enough to go around all the petals that stick off from the rug.

I also liked the double fold bias binding because it had these creases that were just perfect to sew the cording into. Choirs sing!

I did just that.

I’ve started hand-sewing the binding around the rug…..that is going okay, I love hand-sewing…..NOT!  but I’m starting to see the devil in some of the details to come….I’ll keep you posted as things progress.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Comfort on a cold, dreary night

Yesterday was one of those really gray, dreary days that then turned into a misty, cold night.  I came home from work to find Kenny in the kitchen with wonderful aromas lilting through the air.

What do you get when you combine all of the following:

This was soooo delicious!  Then of course there is the cheesy bread that he made with basil and dill underneath the cheese and a balsamic sauce to drag it through….yes, life is good!

The recipe is from Martha Stewart.

White Bean and Bacon Soup with Escarole


Makes about 10 Cups; Serves 8 to 10

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces applewood-smoked slab bacon, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions (about 6 ounces each), finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 quarts homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
  • 1 pound dried white beans, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
  • 3 large thyme sprigs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 head escarole, cut crosswise into strips


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add bacon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
  2. Add onions and shallot to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more.
  3. Return bacon to pan. Stir in stock, beans, thyme, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Uncover, and cook until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours more.
  4. Stir in escarole. Cook 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bloggy love

Thanks for all the bloggy love on the pictures I posted.  Lots of you were wondering what type of software I’m using.

It’s Photoshop Elements 7.0 and I think I used the “paint daubs” to get her picture from this:

To this:

My husband got me the software last year for my birthday or Christmas….I can’t remember which.  I’m trying to put it to good use.  I like it because it’s really forgiving and you can really play around with it a lot!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I’m still plodding along on the garden rugs……trying new things and trying to add dimension to my hooking.

On this flower I’ve tied knots in the center.

I’m thinking of using cotton cording for the the spiraled stem, but can’t figure out whether I should cover the cording with wool and then attach it to the piece or if I should attach the cording to the piece by couching it with a wool strip…..I’ll let you know what happens.

Also, here are a few pictures of my dogs that I have photo-shopped.  These are considerations for future rugs. You can click on the pics to see larger versions of them if you’d like.

Go forth and be creative,


Monday, January 18, 2010

Cool and curt

I feel like I’m coming down with something, so this will be short.  I’ve taken a few swigs of elderberry juice, which usually works….let’s hope so.

I saw this today when I was perusing the net and thought it would be a cool way to sort your wool….you could just write what color goes where!  Maybe I can find a local carpenter to make me something like this?!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


So yesterday, I spent part of my day cleaning out my linen closet. OMG I knew I had WAY too much crap stuff in there, but I had no idea of just how much too much there was.

Of course, projects like these take me forever, because then I obsess over the best way to fold the towels and fold the sheets…..I mean, if I’m going to take the time to do this I want to do it RIGHT!

Are you curious of the best way ( maybe not the best way, but I found this worked for me)  to fold towels…….go HERE.

How to fold a fitted sheet so it doesn’t end up looking like a big wad! Go HERE.

My favorite tip I picked up was on storing your sheet sets wrapped in a pillow case from that set.  I love that idea!

So what happened to the left-overs and cast-offs? 

Some we saved to cover plants with when spring hits and then we get a frost. 

We saved 2 for the dogs.

A friend took the rest….recycling at it’s best. 

Do you have cast-off linens or towels? 

If so you can also donate them to an animal shelter.

Here are a few pictures of the dogs playing with their toys while I was trying to organize and fold.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Color planning a rug…..

… my boy, Lonnie.
1. First sit around and think about what colors you like.

2.  Pull a few colors of wool out of your stash that call to you.

3.  Take a step back and make sure all of your colors “work” with each other.

4.  Now relax and ask for a belly rub, color planning is hard work!

I have a winner!

…’s my husband!

Kenny won $814 on his Missouri Lottery numbers!

He got 5 out of 6 numbers correct on one line for $804 and won $10 on another line, PLUS a free ticket!

Now that’s what you call a great day off work!