Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween

Hope your Halloween is spooktacular, filled with lots of treats and only the sweetest of tricks! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Creativity in Action

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
Oscar Wilde

A morning spent creating journal pages for my writing journal.  Bliss.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Changing Seasons

I took this picture the other morning.  It was so pretty out.  We've had the most gorgeous Indian summer here in the Pacific Northwest.  I've been driving topless in sunny warm weather.  This weekend we've had cooler temperatures and a sprinkle or two of rain.  I thought I would resent it, but I surprised myself by making a pretty simple transition.  So thankful for that.  There's sunshine in the long range forecast, so that helps make the changeover into autumn a little easier to take.  

Right now, it's shortly after noon.  I've showered and gotten right back into my jammies.  It's sort of a lazy Sunday around here, which I sort of dig every now and again.  Especially when the day is a little grey.  And drippy.

I find the best way for me to combat the blues as the days grow shorter and darker is to spend an afternoon in the kitchen cooking comfort food.  And I love to try new recipes.  My Beloved surprised me with a lovely new 3-1/2 quart Le Creuset casserole.  I'm in love.  With the casserole...however, My Beloved ain't too shabby either.  Haha.  Anyway, I've had the Silver Palate New Basics Cookbook forever.  And I have a few favorites that I go to over and over again.  But I decided to do something different.  Break in the new casserole and all.  So I did the Polenta, Sausage, and Tomato Sauce casserole.  Oh. My. NERVES!  Comfort in a Casserole, that is for sure!  Try it.  You won't be sorry.  Super easy to put together, and delish with a simple green salad and a slice of rustic bread to sop up the saucy goodness.  Yummers.

 It's also a good time for cozying in with a little bit of handstitchery.  But, then, you know me...when isn't a good time for a little cozy handstitching?  I do love it.  This is a piece I created as a sample for my Boho Art Quilt online class at Joggles.  We just finished up the class, but if you missed it, don't despair, I'll be offering it again right here, after the holidays.  The foundation for this piece is a vintage cutter quilt, which is super fun to work with.  The trick is to make the first cut into the quilt.  It always breaks my heart a little bit, especially when the quilt is entirely handstitched, as this one was.  But, it was so worn and full of holes, beyond repair.  So, I look at it as giving an old quilt new life.  This piece is a series of three, soon to be four, appliqued and embroidered wallhangings.  Making treasures out of treasures.  Always a good thing.

Tell me, sweet friend, how are you spending your Sunday?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Falling for Pumpkin Bread

I was so not ready for fall to arrive when it did a few weeks ago.  But now I find myself making the adjustment.  I'm lighting candles and turning lamps on in corners of my home to achieve "sunlight".  I've traded my flipflops for ballet flats.  And I'm baking.  Oh yes.  Fall has definitely settled in around here.

It was my mama's birthday on Monday.  She would have been 74 this year.  I was missing her more than usual, so I baked her pumpkin bread (and promptly ate several slices!  But, that's what workouts are for, right?)  Anyway, I bake pumpkin bread several times during the fall, because this recipe is just so dog gone yummy.  I though you might need a loaf (this recipe makes two, so share a loaf with a friend).

Meredith's Pumpkin Bread

2 c sugar
1 c canola oil
3 eggs
1 can pumpkin (my fave comes from Trader Joe's)
2 t vanilla
2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1 t each: ground cloves, nutmeg
2 t cinnamon
Raw sugar crystals

Grease two bread loaf pans and set aside.

Blend sugar and oil with an electric mixer.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until light and fluffy.  Add pumpkin.

Mix dry ingredients together, then add to sugar mixture and blend at low speed just until moist.

Split batter between two greased loaf pans. Sprinkle raw sugar crystals on the top of each loaf.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each loaf comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove carefully from pans, and cool on rack.

Slice and serve with a bit of sliced pear or apple and a cup of tea.  Relax.  Enjoy.

Bon appetit.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Autumn Afternoon

The sunflower children
nod to the sun.
Summer is over,
Fall has begun.

I spent some time in the garden yesterday afternoon.  Did a bit of end of summer clean-up, fall garden prep.  Then treated myself to a little libation.

How does your garden grow?