Friday, February 26, 2010

Hello, My Name is Janet and I Have Ziphobia (yeah,it's a real word)

Hello friends, thanks for stopping by and listening to my jibber jabber yet once again. I'm going to let you all in on a well hidden secret...Close the door, I don't want anyone else to hear this (she looks over her shoulder cautiously). I am scared to death of ........God this is hard to admit....ZIPPERS! Yes she who loves sewing, has an array of sewing machines at her disposal, a library full of sewing books and oodles of YouTube tutorials, is petrified of zippers. There..I said, I feel so liberated!
This is the kind of bag I want to master. This is an adorable pouch by Lireca, a wonderful shop on Etsy. She obviously mastered the zipper long ago. Until now that darn zipper closure has been my nemesis. I've tried many times and have never been happy with the results. I finally found a tutorial on YouTube and she actually numbered all her segments. It was so easy to follow..I love YouTube for tutorials. That's how I taught myself to!  So after a few episodes of Little House On the Prairie (Mary went blind..again!) I had myself a zippered pouch.
And here she is making her International blog debut....Miss. Bumble Bee Zippered Pouch!  I even lined her...Man , I'm so proud of myself ;-) I plan on whipping up lots of these babies. It is a great way for me to use up all my many remnant pieces of gorgeous fabric. Give me a little time and they will start popping up in my Etsy shop. I'm so excited that I conquered my on to bungee jumping.

I have also been working on developing a few patterns for some small folded pouches. I'm looking for ways to use all my lovely quilting cottons (I don't quilt...sorry Kelly Ann).  I think these are looking very pretty. They are the size of a eyeglass case and can be used in lots of ways.

I had a lot of fun adding my signature (that sounds so pompous) embellishments. My sewing machine will sew dozens of fancy stitches and I had fun trying some of them out.  Of course my vintage chenille and laces came out to play also.

Yo-Yo's and jumbo rikrak joined in the fun too. All my new pouches are lined with fabric as pretty as the outside. As soon as I get all my patterns finalized and zipper techniques mastered, I will list these in my shop.
Until next kind and stay creative. A special thank you to all of you who have embraced my Pieday blogs..your kind comments mean so much to me. Be sure to come by next Friday for a classic, lattice topped beauty!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Friday is Pieday!

Hello..Hello...are you ready to eat Pie? As I mentioned before, I have decided to do 3 dessert pies and one savory pie every month. So this week we are going to make a delicious savory pie. Raise your hand if you love Chicken Pot Pie! I love pot pies of any variety...the creamy sauce, the vegetables and that tender flaky crust...YUM! Talk about comfort food, it doesn't get any more comforting than that. When I  was with my sister Mary Sue, she always made sure she had a rotisserie chicken on hand so I could make this for her..she loved it.
First let me begin by saying that this is my timesaving recipe that I never really had any measurements for until now. Also this recipe is so changeable it's not funny...use whatever veggies your family loves or maybe add your favorite herb or spice. You really can't kill this Pot Pie ;-) No time to make your problem, use a ready made. I will add, that when I do that, I always use the frozen pie crusts and never the refrigerated ones. They have a sour, fake taste to me..never liked them. If you use the frozen crusts, just sit one in the bottom of your dish and the top crust is just broken in large pieces and laid on will look so rustic and homemade. Ok..for my pie you will need the following:
I am not doing those damned bullet things...I could not get rid of those little buggers!

1. 1 can Campbells cream of celery soup
2. 1 can Campbells cream of chicken soup
3. 1 can good chicken broth
4. 1 cup fat free half&half -this product is a must have in my kitchen!!!! ( can sub milk..not as rich)
5. 1 cup sliced mushrooms
6. 1/2 cup chopped onions & celery
7. 2 cups frozen peas & carrots. Cooked fresh may be used 
8. 1 cup frozen lima beans
9. 2-3 Tbl cornstarch (click for cream sauce recipe if no soups available, UK see cornflour)
10. 4 cups cooked cubed chicken
11. 2 tsp poultry seasoning
12. salt & pepper to taste 
13. 1 Tbl parsley
14. 1/2 cup shredded chedder cheese for crust ( see my sidebar for basic pie crust recipe)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl combine your soups, broth and H&H and pour into a large sauce could skip the bowl and mix in the problem. It will be a little thin, that's ok as we will thicken it later.
In a large skillet, saute your onion & celery in a little olive oil and butter until tender.
I added about 1 Tbl more butter here and then add the cornstarch..kind of like making a roux. Cook for just a few minutes on med heat, mixing all the time. Add mushrooms and cook 2 more minutes.
Add this to your cream sauce and gently simmer while should see the sauce begin to thicken. I like a lot of creamy sauce. If your sauce is not thick enough for you, simply mix some cornstarch and cold water in a measuring cup and slowly stir into your cream sauce. Just a little at a time..don't over thicken. Add all your veggies and mix in. You can thicken with flour if you prefer..I think it tends to give my sauces too much of a floury taste..cornstarch does not impart any special taste of it's own.
I used 3 boneless chicken breast that I split to make them the same thickness to cook more evenly. Any chicken meat will work..light/dark does not matter. I season mine with salt, pepper and garlic powder...just my preference. Saute until no pink when cut . Cube the chicken in nice bitesize pieces.
                       Mix the chicken into your cream sauce.
Make your crust ( see my side bar ) and add the shredded cheese before the water. Roll out 1/3 of the crust and simply lay it in the bottom of your greased casserole dish. Don't worry about one will see it.
Roll out the other 2/3 of your dough in a circle large enough to cover your dish with extra for the edge. Pour your filling into your dish and roll the top crust onto your pie. Fold under and crimp your is where I can tell if you payed attention in pie crust class. 
Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and oh so bubbly and you just can't stand it any more!
I would suggest placing a piece of foil under to catch any delicious, bubbly overflow. In my mind, it is not real Pot Pie unless it overflows a rustic looking. To prevent over browning simply place a loose piece of foil over the top towards the end of baking. 

I cannot even begin to tell you how fabulous this pie really love this kind of meal. The very definition of comfort food in my book. Again..please feel free make whatever changes you think your family would like...this recipe is so adaptable. It is even better the next day and I have to admit ...I ate it cold for breakfast....a real keeper! I hope you give my Pot Pie a try and please come back next Friday for Pieday!
Until next kind and stay creative.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We're In To It!

This post is in response to my friend Jennifer over at her Hope Studios blog. She put a call out to all her followers to link up and tell everyone what they were into or what they are currently obsessed with. I go........

At this very moment (9:32pm) that I am typing, I would normally be consumed with American Idol...........However, I am so darn disappointed in every contestant I could cry.

 I think Adam Lambert spoiled me...I am comparing everyone to Adam and no one is pulling me in. So not that much 'into' AI right now.
My hubby and I are definitely into 'The Office' time and all the it!
Obsessively into the new hit show 'Glee'...we love it, what a talented group of entertaining.
Very into pie baking and the hubby is into pie eating ;-)   So much so that every Friday I post a pie baking tutorial on my blog. Feel free to come back Friday and join me. ********Bulletin...Bulletin*******........I just got interested in American Idol..............Who is this tall blond Casey James guy????????? He sounded like a young Bob Seeger...I'm 'Into' him!!!!!!  ok..back to pie..bring a fork on Friday ;-)
Absolutely into Netflix...the only way I get to see current movies as my hubby hates movie theaters. He always seems to get the cell phone talker sitting behind him. Last time it was the back of the seat kicker.  Once it was the corner of the theater drunk puker. No wonder he hates theaters!


My current(really for a while now) music obsession is the hauntingly beautiful Regina Spektor. I love her ! My son took me to see her perform live and she is enchanting and so sweet and just fall in love with her. She is so very refreshing
So that my 'Into it" list...let's see yours!

Do Whatever You Want!****UPDATE!!

I love those words...I can't tell you how excited I get when a customer orders an apron and gives me 'carte blanche' or do whatever I like.  A lovely friend of mine from my old Kingwood, Texas stomping grounds, e-mailed me just such a request. She saw the apron I created for Somerset Studios 'Apron*ology' magazine and wanted me to make something similar in a full length style. This is so much fun!
Luckily I happened to have some of the same fabric that she admired in the other apron. She is a petite lady, so I did not need very much. So far I have paired it with a beautiful blue and cream French toile designer fabric.
I searched through my fabric stash and I'm thinking of adding a soft feminine ruffle with this beautiful rose floral cotton. I adore the pale pink background and I think it will go nicely with the lovely pink toile bib. Maybe the ties and neck with that floral also. My friend loves vintage, so I think I will be embellishing her apron with some of these antique hankies, cotton eyelet or maybe part of this gorgeous table runner.
Ok...those are my creative thoughts for to the studio to bring this lady to life.
Until next time, be kind and stay creative.
PS...don't forget Friday is Pieday and this one is a wonderful savory pie your family will love!!

Well here she is all completed. I think I kept the same feel as the Apronology apron my friend admired. I hope she will enjoy her new couture apron for many years to come. Wow...this was so much fun ;-)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

***My First Point & Shoot Challenge***

              (Print by One Eye Open)

   Hello friends! Last Friday I was visiting a blog that I have just started to follow. The blog is called Fat Mum Slim and the lovely blogger is Chantelle who hails from Australia. Chantelle had issued a photo challenge to her readers and this is how it works. Over the weekend you are supposed to take a photo of something that maybe makes you happy, sad, joyous or maybe grateful....whatever you want really. I decided to take my camera and take a walk around my little world and look for something meaningful. I thought, how cool would it be to find a photo of something that would really make people think. So off I went and two hours later I had about 37 photos I had taken of all kinds of wonderful subjects. I loaded all of them to my iPhoto and stared editing and trying to decide which photo to post. As the hours went by, I started to feel very disappointed...none of them really spoke to me. They were all nice, but I wasn't looking for nice. I wanted special! I walked away from my computer and forgot about the challenge for a while. 
   Later that evening I was putting away some folded laundry, when I came upon my sister Mary Sue's journal that she had kept for a little while during her cancer treatments.  I opened the journal and flipped through a few pages and there it was! I found myself staring at what I had been looking for all day, something that made me sad, happy, loved and appreciated all at the same time.  I believe it is very common for people to think that they could have done more for the ones they lost to this horrible sickness. We say many..many what if's and if only's. I know I did after my sisters passing. But as I read this small entry, here she was telling me it was ok...we did do enough, at least all we could. For that I will always be grateful to her and I believe she meant for us to read help ease our minds. 
   So here is my photo for the weekend challenge.
She felt that I made her feel safe...could I ever have asked for more that that...I think not...Thank you Mary Sue.
  Until next kind and stay creative.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Friday is Pieday or Pecan Pie & Golden Gate Bridge...A Love Story

Ok..I know it's only 7pm on Thursday...but it's Friday in Australia!!! 
Hello friends...guess what day it is???? You all are so darn smart, you make a blog mama proud! Yes friends it is Pieday and today I have a southern sweet treat for you. We are going to bake a rich, satisfying and nutty Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie with Honey Glazed Pecan topping.... now say that ten times fast ;-)
I have a little story to go along with this recipe.."of course she does" you say. Back in the 90's when I lived in Houston, I worked for Continental Airlines. Our Reservations office was home to what seemed like millions of women.. talk about raging hormones! At any given time you could identify at least 78 women PMS-ing and making plans to do away with their husbands and runaway with the pool boy. I also.. left many, many wonderful friends behind when I moved to Virginia (hello Steph, Judy, Veronica...). Ok, back to the pie... we were always having contest in the office and the typical prizes were things like: trips to Mexico, Europe, California and pretty much anywhere Continental flew. Yes we had many travel perks ;-)  Well one 4th of July, they announced a pie baking contest. Of course I had to enter.. that is my kind of challenge. I looked through my many cookbooks and found three pies I liked and could not decide between. I ended up taking the best part of each one and creating a whole new pie. I only baked the one pie and never even got to taste it. Well guess what?............ there you go being smart again! I Won first place! My prize was a trip to San Fransisco w/ accommodations at the beautiful St. Regis Hotel. It was a fabulous trip. Enough talking... let's bake!
                                                  ******click on pic's to enlarge******
For the filling of this pie you will need:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 Tbl melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla(real..don't you dare use imitation!)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pecan chopped
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used minis, but any will work)
  • Prepare pie crust according to Feb. 4th 2010 posting. I thought I would do something a little special with this pie. After I placed my dough into my pie pan, I used a small circle cutter to make little round discs. I moistened the crust edge with beaten egg white and gently pressed them into place all around the pie edge. Brushed again with the egg white and sprinkled with sugar. Now doesn't that look so very Martha Stewart?
  • Next I beat the eggs in a large bowl at low speed until they were blended. With a spoon, stir in your sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla and salt, until blended.
  • Stir in chips and chopped nuts
  • At this point you can embellish the pie with 1 Tbl of good Bourbon or just embellish yourself with the Bourbon... whatever!
  • For your nut topping you will need
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbl butter.. please use real butter... don't make me come over there!
  • 3 Tbl honey
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • In a medium saucepan, combine b. sugar, butter and honey.
  • Cook about 2 minutes or until the sugar dissolves, then add the pecans and stir until coated
  • Pour your egg mixture into you pie crust  and bake at 350 degree for 35 min. Cover edge with foil if needed to prevent over browning.
  • Now remove the pie from the oven and carefully spoon the pecan topping over the pie. You can arrange the nut halves to look pretty if you like. 
  • Back in the oven she goes for about 10- 20 minutes or until bubbly and crust is golden
  • See how pretty and professional your crust looks. It makes you look like you know what your doing..they don't need to know the truth ;-)
  • <<<<< does any one know how to get rid of these stupid bullets once you no longer need them!!!
  • Oh Darn..they are following me... go away!
  • <<< Just ignore him like a pesky little brother. I'll put the kettle on, you get out the vanilla bean ice cream and we'll enjoy our pie. Warning: This is a very rich dessert, so little slices are recommended .... do as I say, not as I do!
  • Until next time.. be kind and stay creative and I'll see you back here next week for Pieday! Next week I will be baking a wonderful savory pie, so do come back.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame...Ok, Maybe Ten Minutes

Hello friends..I was looking through a few boxes down in Never..Neverland (my basement and that's a whole other post) and stumbled onto these photos.  It seems at one time I might, and that's a big might, have been considered kind of a hottie as the kids say now a days. Without appearing to be too narcissistic I would like to present the following photos as evidence to my case..he..he..I sound so educated.
                                                     *****click to enlarge*****
Goodness..I cannot believe that was some 21 years ago. I was a sprightly 34 year old young mom. In case you have not guessed, that's me in the middle. This is the cover of a decorative painting book and the lovely lady in the Lady Liberty shirt is my very first painting teacher, Nancy Tribolet. Nancy was the artist/author of the book and a fabulously talented lady. Ok...stop laughing at my 80's big was all the rage back then. This was my red hair period..Picasso has his 'Blue 'period and I had my 'Red' period.

This photo brought back painful you say? Well you cannot see it and my face does not betray my false composure, but my right foot is right smack dab in the middle of a giant Texas fireant mount.....YIKES! Let me tell you those little bastards (please excuse my French) were biting the heck out of dainty slippered and manicured foot.  All that misery aside, I just loved those painted roses that I got to model. Great memories of long ago days of playing with my paints, enjoying good times with friends and basically living the good life.....oh yeah, that was yesterday!
           ****your close enough..don't you dare click on this photo!*****
 I guess not much has changed..besides my hair color that is, some additional poundage and a few well placed laugh lines ;-) I do believe someone larger than myself is watching out for me. Of course he could have spared me the fireant mount adventure...just saying! 
****Don't forget to pop over for Friday is Pieday****
Until next time be kind and stay creative.