crochet, friends, grandchildren, grateful, haPPY, Uncategorized

spirit lifting yarn

20170306_133222-1_resized_1While in line, to buy forgotten yellow yarn for a chicken beak, I spoke to the lady behind me.  (Wow, never thought I would type that sentence.  To be clear, the yarn for a chicken beak, not talking to a lady.)

In her arms, she juggled several rose, pale & hot pink skeins of yarn.  Draped over her arm was the beginning of a pink crocheted afghan.  I asked her what she was making.  She said her Great, Granddaughter wanted a pink, pink, pink blanket. So, how could she say no?

Grinning ear to ear, I told her I had two granddaughters & one grandson.  Then I shyly said, I am learning to crochet.  I asked her how long she has been crocheting and she smiled and said, “forever”.  Next, I asked her, who taught you?  She couldn’t remember, however everyone crocheted around her so it was probably lots of people.

Then she asked me, who taught you?  I said, You Tube.  (I had to explain briefly about the computer site You-Tube and taking lessons.)  She said learning the computer is way harder than learning to crochet.  She says she gets messages from her grandchildren on the computer everyday, so it was worth learning to use the darn thing.  haha

She made me feel like I am tied to a really good group.  People who have grands.  People who make things for others.  People who like to keep learning.  She lifted my spirits & offered encouragement.crochet lesson

My daughter in law, asked me to make a couple of hats for her friends’ preemie babies. Wow!  Pretty nice of her to think I could do that.  Did she forget I am a beginner?  I gotta tell ya, having someone think you are capable is pretty spirit lifting & encouraging. Then when you get to see a picture of the little tiny babies actually WEARING the hats I made……..well, that just elevated my spirits into the stratosphere!

A friend shared a picture of a crocheted apron with several pockets.  He thought of me collecting eggs and learning to crochet.  Simultaneously, the gesture made me giggle & happy.  His thinking was, hey, I bet she would get a kick out of this? egg apron (even though I have only collected one egg in ages and I have no idea if I could even crochet an apron)  I adore that he already thinks I can.  Lifted my spirits & offered a pocket full of encouragement.  (get it?  the pockets on an apron )

Never once did You-Tube mention that if you learn to crochet your spirits will be lifted and you find all kinds of encouragement.

20170220_103259-1_resized_1Yesterday, while opening the mail, out fell a card addressed to me.  yippee!  I carefully opened the envelope and what did I find?  The sweetest, photo card.  I had made a crocheted hat for a darling little girl in Pennsylvania.  (Her parents) She sent me the most adorable thank you card with a picture of her wearing the hat I made!!!  Pretty as a shiny new penny!  Gosh, my spirit soared and well, I am still walking on cloud 9.

Who knew learning to tie some yarn into different patterns of knots would encourage my spirit so much?

I guess the folks at You-Tube knew.

In this together friends,

Chat soon.

crafts, cross stitch, friends, Uncategorized

a good luck poke

The pincushion tomato was most likely introduced during the Victorian Era.  Folklore tomato-pin-cushionteaches us, that by placing a tomato on the mantel of a new house guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits.  If tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust.  The good-luck symbol also served a practical purpose – a place to store pins.

20170102_213250-1_resizedI made this lavender pincushion in 1972.  I was 10 years old and this was my first project in my sewing 4H club. I am not sure the light purple blob has any good luck or not.  I can say, with certainly, it has kept all evil spirits away from my sewing basket for more than 40 years.

In theory it is a sweet idea, however, it doesn’t work. The pins don’t stay pushed in.   The material is double-knit, the filling feels like cotton batting, and it doesn’t have any weight to speak of. I made it using a canning jar lid and ring.

A pin cushion that doesn’t work, isn’t very useful.  However, I have kept it all these years because it makes me smile to remember the beginning.  It doesn’t work, but for some reason, it whet my appetite for more to come.

You all remember my 2017 goal of making a pin cushion for every sweet person I need a gift for?       https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/poke/

You thought I was kidding?  No, not kidding.  I am on a mission to make  at least 12 pincushions this year.  Let me be clear:  pincushions that are equally pretty & useful. While I do wish for them to be keepsakes (and full of good luck), I honestly don’t want them20170102_213305_resized stuck in the bottom of someone’s sewing basket never to see the light of day.  It is my hope that the cushions will be poked over and over and over again.  I hope they are loved and used and become worn with happy use.

First pin cushion of 2017 is finished!!!!  She also comes with her own designer pins.

I made several pins last night.  I wanted to include something unique or pretty or charming to poke into each cushion. Some look like dragonflies, some have hearts, a few have stars, while the rest are glass stacked beads.

My first pin cushion this year,  is for a retirement gift.  The recipient is a crafter and does lovely work with beads.  I thought it might be the perfect small gift to offer up as a celebration.  I wanted to make something special.

I ask you, who among us wouldn’t want to receive a hand stitched cushion with our initial highlighted?

In addition to using buttons from my button jar, I stitched good karma, love, prayers, kindness and oodles of good luck into this piece.  I am sending it off into the world stuffed with pure goodness (also known in some circles as crushed walnut shells). I also included a loop for her scissors to be tied with a ribbon.

May this new year be a time of bathing others in small gifts of thoughtfulness.

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In this together, friends.

We could all use a little poke to remind us to be more thoughtful.

cooking, food review, friends, friendship, pure goodness, sewing, Uncategorized

Guest Author, Chef Natalie

It gives me much happiness to introduce to you,  my guest author, Chef Natalie.20161220_131129_resized_1

I wrote about our adventures in a previous post.   https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/5-star-soup-10-star-chef/

Housekeeping:  Because my guest is under 18 years of age, I have asked  and was granted permission of her parents to share some pictures.  

I am delighted to share this post with you my kind hearted & charming readers.

Please leave a positive, uplifting comment, send my guest Good Karma and by all means please share this post on your blog or on Social Media.  Thank you, kindly.  I appreciate your kind feedback and I know for sure, she will.

I have this funny feeling, we are all in on the ground floor of ……. something pretty special. 

Please welcome my friend, Chef Natalie!

Hi, my name is Natalie and I’m 10 years old and I love to cook. I started cooking with my mom when I was 3. I love helping my mom cook and I love seeing people like my food.

I spent the best day ever at Miss. Daleens house. We started the day by making a delicious 20161220_090844_resizedsmoothie. It was a banana, strawberry, spinach, lime juice, chia seeds and coconut smoothie. I got to crack open a coconut with a hammer and a coco jack. we used the meat scraper to get all of the meat. The tools that we used to open the coconut were so much safer than using a knife and a hammer which did not work out for me before. I had to get 3 stiches! Oww! Once we were not hangry any more we made palmiers. p.s hangry means your so hungry that your grumpy. The palmiers are like a light fluffy 20161220_105041-1_resized_1crossont covered in sugar. They were my favorite cookie of all because they were sweet but not too sweet. They were super easy but looked like you spent hours on them.

Next we made the dough for Daleens Famous molasses cookies. While that was chillin we tried facon!  Its coconut, tamari, liquid smoke and maple syrup. It tasted surprisingly like bacon. After that the dough was chilled so we scooped it into marble size balls. We baked them for 14 minutes. Once all those were finished we moved onto the pizelles which tasted wonderful.

20161220_124152_resizedPizelles are like a flat pretty waffle cone. But it was not a cone. They can be flat or you can wrap them around a wooden cone shaped mold but you have to wrap it around when it comes out of the burning hot pizzelle iron. It was really hot. I think I20161220_125817_resized_1 burnt of 3 layers of my skin! Even though it hurt, in the end it was all worth it. For my family I filled them with ice-cream and put whipped cream on top. We loved them. You can also fill with ricotta and powdered sugar mix. For a fancy vibe you can add whipped cream on top. They 20161220_131653-1_resizedwere delicious and beautiful.

 

Ok time for a break, Im getting hangry again. Lets have lunch. For lunch we made vegetable bisque and cheese crackers by putting parmesan on a baking tray with parchment paper and baked it at 350 for 15 minutes. The soup and the cheese crackers together were fenomenal. We laughed talked and had a good time. We

talked about presentation for our food and how important it is because people eat with their eyes first. Also you need to put some of the ingredients in your food on top so if 20161220_115822_resized_1people are allergic to something they can see it on top and know they cant eat it. You have to be careful of allergies when your cooking for other people. Ask them ahead of time if they have any allergies and stay away from those things. For example nuts are a very common allergy

Back to work.

First we did the dishes and cleaned up. Into the sewing room to make the last thing, pot holders. We made a practice one and then made my mom two. They were so 20161220_144736_resized_2easy to make. It was good for my first time using a real sewing 20161220_155827_resized_1machine. Its cool to see how it works. Miss Daleen taught me a little bit about the parts. Its important to iron so you have clean

 

sewing lines and it looks more professional. Later when my mom came home I gave the pot holders to her for an early Christmas present. She loved them so much

All in all it was a great day hangin out with my best pal Miss Daleen. Hope we can do it again soon.

 

chickens, friends, friendship, healing, health, Uncategorized

1,000 eggs

It was a dark and stormy night……………..

No, wrong guess.

Picture this:  It was a beautiful, blue sky, warm, sunny June afternoon, 2013.

I was extremely sick.  It wasn’t pretty.  It took effort just to get dressed and put lipstick on. Not the “movie star” kind of sick.  The real life, not good kind of illness.

My wise friend was stopping by to visit and bring something. I was thinking a nice, pretty card or a cheerful bouquet of flowers.

No, wrong guess.

Out the kitchen window, I saw a huge truck pulling a horse trailer pull through our circular drive way.  Along with her, were 4 teenagers.

Next they unloaded a brand new chicken coop, 3 chickens, bedding, organic feed, treats, water & food containers.  They caried it and set it all up in the backyard.

In the same whirlwind that they arrived, they left just as quickly.  They were headed out to pick up a load of hay for their horses.

That left me and our Golden Retriever, peeking into their coop, looking at 3 very young chickens.  Alone.

How the heck is this going to work?  (She had made a side deal with Mr. Right, if it didn’t work out, she would graciously take them back to her ranch.)

Remember earlier, I called her my wise friend?

Somehow, she knew I would have to turn on the computer and read.  She guessed I would have to get dressed and have Mr. Right drive me to a book store, to buy a couple of books.  In her smarty, awesomesauce, cowgirl way, she knew, I would have to get up off the sofa a couple of times a day to feed, water, fluff straw, check on my new animals.

My wise, amazing girlfriend had a feeling, that I would need to clean the coop.  Carry water, lift bedding, fill the food container.  In the beginning,  I was not able to lift a 25 pound bag of bedding, so I took small buckets.

My wise, amazing, thoughtful, beautiful friend, Kristy, knew that I needed organic eggs to eat.  She knew that I needed to be around “farm dirt” and straw and outdoor good germs to build my immune system.  In her wisdom, she knew I needed to feel grateful and thankful every single day.

Surprise, surprise, Mr. Right, only helped when he absolutely needed to.

I took care of them myself.  I never skipped a day.  Some times, it took me a half hour just to change the bedding and straw and give them fresh water.

One day, my little grand girlie was helping me and she said, “egg”.  WHAT!  I couldn’t actually believe that we had gotten an egg!  I had to take a picture.

Then somehow, a week went by and another.  People asked me how many eggs I had collected.  I kept track on the calendar.  I started taking pictures to share.  I didn’t want the eggs to roll off the counter during the photo shoot, so…….. one thing led to another and ……..well.

I started setting the eggs in things.  A basket, a dish, a creamer shaped like a frog, I put them in a fruit basket, and a bowl that had coffee beans.  I used anything I could find. I even made a calendar showcasing 12 pictures.

Here’s the update:

I still have one of the original chickens.  Since then, a couple more chickens have joined the party.  I currently have four chickens.  Yes, I still keep track of how many eggs I collect.  (It’s the best part, sort of like an Easter Egg hunt everyday!)  I am healthy enough to lift the bag of bedding.  I can move the coop.  I can walk to the neighbor’s to share my bounty.  We donate 20 chicks a month, so others can flourish, just like me.

Today, Friday, November 18, 2016, I am celebrating my 1,000 egg!  20161118_123658-1_resized_2

I am grateful.

I am healing.

Thanks in a huge part to my friend.  She was the only friend who believed I could/would do it.  She knew that I would get out of bed, put on my boots and tend to other creatures that needed my help.  I felt needed.

DSCN3160

 

Those dang chickens need me in the beautiful, blue, sunny skies as well as the blustery, wild wind, cold, pouring rain, boot wearing, dark stormy days.

Oh, I get it!

My friend.  She was there for me in the dark, stormy days…and yes, today, on a clear, beautiful day, she is in my corner, celebrating 1,000 eggs.

Boy Howdy, I am one grateful chick!

Who knew chickens could help me heal?

She did. 

 

 

 

 

cooking, friends, friendship, garden, Uncategorized

5 star soup, 10 star chef

Ah, the soup. The flavors were spot on.  You could taste layer upon layer of flavor building.  It started with a well crafted vegetarian broth.  A sprig or two of rosemary, a couple stems of thyme and a few choice pieces of parsley, all freshly picked from the garden, added to the broth to simmer in the background for another hour or so.

Once the flavors developed in the broth & herbs removed, gorgeous chunks of zucchini, garlic and onion were added.  The heat was gently brought up to a simmer.  The vegetables were allowed to play together, absorb and share their glorious flavors.   As soon as the onion and zucchini were easy to pierce with a fork…. out came the immersion blender.  The chef did it on slow and took her time.  She made sure all the timber was blended well.  Next,  3 heaping spoonfuls of lush sour cream was added.  The immersion blender reappeared and was once again instrumental in producing a creamy soup, almost silky in texture.  You could see the steam rising. 20160802_122906-1_resized

The bowls were heated before the chef used a ladle to gently ease the subtle green colored liquid silk into each.

20160802_123013-1_resizedThe garnish was quickly, yet thoughtfully applied.  Grated Parmesan, freshly snipped chives, fresh, stunning green pea shoots,  a couple of garden fresh picked peas, a chive flower and a generous amount of fresh cracked pepper. 20160802_122833-1_resized

The offered bowl of soup was a feast for the eyes.

That first bite.  Eyes closed, the warm, creamy liquid did a slow dance in our mouths just a moment before it slid down our throats.  I just barely caught the slight salt of the cheese garnish and the bite of the fresh pepper.  The mingling of savory delights was a symphony of flavors any restaurateur would be more than proud to offer to their guests.

Well done.  5 star good.

Yes, that good.

A simple, elegant lunch, however I thought I could going on eating that delicious offering all afternoon. I knew I would remember that meal for some time.

Oh, did I mention the creator’s name?  I am proud to say my friend, Chef Natalie, age 10.

You read that correctly.  AGE 10.

Because of her parents, she is respectful, smart, thoughtful, curious and a hard worker. She is over the moon enthusiastic and eager to learn, as much as she can, as fast as she can.

20160802_094355-1_resizedI had the privilege of spending the day with her.  Somehow, just by working side by side, she elevates the game.  You bring your A game, because, well, quite honestly, she is watching your every move.

She is serious.  Oh sure, she has an infectious laugh, is quick-witted and asks purposeful questions.  Don’t for one moment, let your guard down and causally  think this is child’s play.  This is the real deal.  She listened to and wanted to learn how to use a Coco-Jack to open a young coconut.  She was listening to every single safety rule about how to use the immersion blender.  She was already comfortable with the Blend-Tec, food processor and Kitchen-Aid.

We tied our hair back, we put on fresh aprons, we wore closed toe shoes, we washed our hands again and again and again.  We tasted and then flipped the spoon around and used the handle to taste again.  We went through a drawer full of spoons and I folded 11 freshly laundered kitchen towels this morning.  We worked the day through. 20160802_121402-1_resized

She made a meal for her family. Eyes on the prize.  Serving her brother, Dad and Mom a meal she could be proud of.  She never once lost focus.  She is fierce and determined.  She served them an appetizer, a soup course, the main meal and a dessert to finish.

The day began for us with glorious smoothies using fresh young coconut and the water, strawberries, mango, spinach and lime.  Chefs need to be well nourished so they can concentrate on cooking well for others.

The days’ list unfolded like this:

Smoothies

Zucchini Soup

Chihuly Salad

Pot Stickers

Molasses Cookies

She picked & gathered green beans, tomatoes, radishes, herbs and a fresh egg. She learned about and started a batch of sprouts in the kitchen.

It was a full day of learning, giggling & oodles of fun.  It was the good kind of tired.  You know?  So tired from cooking all day, yet somehow re-energized with pure joy and enthusiasm to serve the meal to your family.

I was the sous chef.  I helped and washed dishes. I scrubbed carrots, beets and a pear.  I washed bok choy & spinach.   I sent pictures to mom and dad throughout the day. I got out fresh kitchen towels, different tools, appliances and kept things moving along our time line.

When she says “I made pot stickers”.  She really means, she chopped the ingredients, made the savory filling, learned to make dumplings and took 46 home to her family.  The chefs in the kitchen each got to cook and sample one.  Oh, be still my heart.  Lush, moist filling inside a plump, perfectly steamed dumpling wrapper. Oh yeah, she made pot stickers and a lovely sauce to serve alongside.

*Housekeeping note:  Because my friend is under 18, I asked for and received permission from her parents to share these pictures.

I wanted to write this post as sort of a thank you to my friend.  I loved spending the day together.  The day flew by and I can’t remember smiling as much as I did.    Then I got to thinking.  I wanted to share this because, it’s what many of us are looking for.

You know when we (grown up adults) all sigh and complain that we are not sure what our mission is, or what our calling is?

Maybe, just maybe our calling is to be the “sous chef”?  Maybe, our mission is to lift someone else up and help them stretch up on their tippy toes, while they stand on a kitchen stool to reach their potential?

May you be a “victim of Grace” as I was.  While washing dishes and gently reminding a young chef to keep their fingers curled under while using a mighty big knife…….may you be gobsmacked by the Grace and Goodness of a young person who is looking to you.

In this together friends, all covered and splattered with grace.

Bon Appetit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

balance, friends, friendship, Uncategorized

kindness matters

Today, a friend sent me an email. It was short and sweet (like her, ha).

“I am hoping you like this. (I love it) Let me know your thoughts.”
Wow, good golly!  I learned a HUGE lesson in a mere 14 words. Doesn’t seem like much does it? To me it smacked me right in the forehead.  A huge, glorious, sparkly chandelier lit up and awakened my being. Yes, very illuminating.
She was sharing a personal accomplishment and wanted to honor me with sharing.  She was letting me in on a secret of hers. As well as asking for my opinion.  A prized privilege of friendship.
However, before she opened the flood gates and allowed me or anyone else to rain on her parade, she lets me the reader know (I love it).
A very wise woman indeed.  Before you allow anyone to pop your balloon or turn off the wind machine for your kite….she lets people know she loves it. Beginning the conversation by setting the record straight.
About seven years ago, we saved & researched until I just didn’t want to read one more word about cars. We purchased a brand new car.  Perfect for us.  With my leg issues, I could easily get in and out.  It was safe and large enough for our needs.  Good gas mileage and all the extras we wanted.   We were so happy and proud.  We made a wise choice.
The very first time an acquaintance saw our new car…. the sappy words were uttered “oh, how cute, you bought a………”
Now, I know better.  I learned today.  When we purchase a new car (or anything for that matter), I am announcing to the universe, we bought a new car and WE LOVE IT.  (I will be putting the vibe out there……please don’t rain on our parade.)
Why?  Because it hurts feelings.  It is rude.  It is shameful.
Instead of being genuinely happy and uplifting for your friend…..it is judgement.
Yuck, no one wants or needs that. kindness matters
The good news, I REALLY LOVED the picture she showed me.  Not one word of fibbing occurred.
Oh yes, for a friend, I would tell a fib.  Yep, call it what you want.  In no way would I hurt my friend’s feelings.  Honesty was easy this time around, because I fell head over heels in love.
Loving that I learned a lesson today.   Admiration for her that she had the strength and courage to share …under her terms.
Yes, Virginia you can still learn something new everyday.
Sharing is wonderful.  I like letting the person know right away……………..we are happy, we love it, it is perfect for us…………please talk about us or our purchase behind our backs when we are not there to hear it.
Please, Please don’t make me sorry that I chose to share with you.
friends, friendship, recipe, recipe comfort food, Uncategorized

home alone, cooking

One of the trickiest things about owning your own business and working from home…. being alone.  No one to chat with, share a recipe with, waste 4 minutes by the coffee center at work. It just gets weird sometimes.  Oh, I like my alone time, just gets a little quiet now and then.

Now, don’t get me wrong, a certain sweet hairy Golden Retriever is excellent company.  No really.  She listens when I complain and she watches with interest while I do paperwork.  She is always up for “let’s go out and get some fresh air”.  She waits patiently while I cook up a new recipe.  She is the world’s greatest taste tester.  Makes me feel wonderful.  99.9% of the time she is impressed and finishes the sample.

I never thought I would ever embrace technology.  I find that I use it more and more. It keeps me connected and I don’t feel so alone.

I read about, buy and print patterns.  I belong to a couple of on line craft groups.   I receive pictures of our grands on a daily basis. I Christmas shop. I study and learn on a daily basis. Yes, technology pushes my swing.

Here is an idea that I jumped all over.  Two friends from different states wanted to cook together.   What? Fire up the internet and count me in!  I may have scared them with how anxious and excited I was to be included. oopsie.

One chose a recipe, new to each of us.  Then we dug in.  We procured the ingredients, fired up the stove and tied on the aprons.20151202_104345

Then we share thoughts and pictures (of course) on how it all came out in the wash.20151202_114045-1

I like having homework.  I like working towards a goal & having a delicious outcome is a charming bonus.  Sharing with a couple of girlfriends?  Complete and wonderful WIN!

This challenge was Black Bean Burgers and Salsa Verde.

Here’s is a bit of what I wrote about mine:20151202_104516-1

The aroma of roasting jalapenos and tomatillos makes your house smell like you know how to cook. .Making your own Salsa Verde takes your ordinary dinner up a notch.  The colors are bright and smart,  just as I would describe the taste……..flavorful, a touch of tang and heat and messy enough to use paper napkins.  5 star….

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Next recipe to share and talk about?  As I type this, I can smell the Tuscan Baked Beans cooking away.

Maybe home alone, cooking isn’t so lonely. Maybe one needs alone time to create amazing food?