Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sweet Summer Recipes (and a sweet giveaway for YOU!)

Summertime is more than just fun and sun -- it's also about enjoying some of our favorite summertime treats.  I'm sharing with you a couple of our all time most loved recipes (and at the end of this post there is a sweet treat giveaway for you!)

Summer Fruit Cobbler
4-5 cups of your favorite fruit (sweetened to taste)
(we like to use peaches, berries, and sometimes we even mix it up and make multi-fruit cobblers)
lightly grease pan with cooking spray
add fruit
make the batter--
1 stick margarine
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
**(if I use a large pan like the one pictured above - I always double the batter recipe.  But if you are using a 9 inch pan, a single batch is fine.)**
Pour batter over sweetened fruit mixture.
Mix one cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Heat in microwave until the sugar is dissolved. 
Lightly pour the syrup over the batter -- trust me on this!
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
**not all ovens are equal - so check at about an hour - you want your cobbler to be light brown and crusty.
as soon as I take the cobbler out of the oven, I dust the top with vanilla sugar, bourbon sugar, or raw granulated sugar. 
OF COURSE you will want to eat this with ice cream -- but our favorite is to buy vanilla yogurt from McDonald's and pile it on the cobbler while it is hot.  

"First Prize at the Fair"
Zucchini Bread
(you know this is a beloved recipe when it looks as worn as this!)
~(this recipe was taken from a 1990 Better Homes and Gardens magazine -- and I have added my own additions.)
(I really did win first prize at the county fair with this recipe -- but I can't find my ribbon to prove it to you -- LOL!) 
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
(honestly -- I do not measure this -- I just dump in a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chopped pears - I use a 16 oz can (drained) and put it in the food processor
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups finely shredded zucchini
1 cup cooking oil
3 eggs
1 T vanilla
1 cup raisins**
**(before you begin the recipe - soak the raisins in a strong tea mixture)** 
Spray 2 (8x4x2 inch) baking pans with non stick coating. 
Mix together the flours, spices, baking soda, baking powder,
 and salt. Set aside.
Mix the sugars, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  
Mix in the pears.
Add the flour mixture and mix well.
With a spoon mix in the zucchini and raisins (drained).
Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Remove from oven --
while the bread is still hot and BEFORE removing from the pans~~
I make a glaze of xxx sugar and almond flavoring
and pour this over the breads, allowing it to soak into the bread and down the sides of the pan. 
 Allow to cool completely before removing from pan.
**Accept all compliments graciously - your friends and family will think you are a rock star when they taste this bread!**

Do you remember these cookies from this post earlier this spring?
My Sweet Summer giveaway
A lucky winner will receive a miniature
version of these cookies.
Baked fresh and delivered to you!
(this time -- the winner will need to live in the US-- but don't worry, another giveaway will be here soon and that one will be open to everyone!)
To enter -- just leave a comment here. That's it.  Make sure that your contact info is connected with your comment.  If  you are registered as anonymous - then you will need to leave your email in the comment.
 The winner will be announced RIGHT HERE 
on August 15. 

UPDATE -- the winner of the cookie giveaway is 
Missio Terra Blog

A little news-- my world is a total explosion of PINK right now! If you visited my Sacred Yarn room in the "Where Blogger's Create" post-- well, it does not look like that now!  The Breast Cancer Awareness nests are well underway and this craft room is a total disaster!  I'm running around in PINK circles right now! Look for a tiny little preview of the nests on my community facebook page next week. 
Those of you who pre-ordered some of my knitted wraps will be very happy soon!! They are knitted and I will be adding the beads and fringe soon (as soon as the nests are done.)  You will most certainly have them before the first fall winds blow!  (Seriously -- I can't even think about fall yet!)
Coming up next -- a little something I knitted -- just wanted to share it with you all~

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Pink Scarf Project -- (Early Summer Edition)

This little project has a become a testament to the caring spirit of so many wonderful and generous people.  Most of you are perfect strangers and yet we are all connected, like family, in this single heartfelt cause. Your beautiful donations have continued to come, every week, sometimes every day~~

Set against a landscape portrait
 so magnificent 
that only 
Mother Nature could paint it~
Your beautiful gifts of love
were photographed 
at the seashore.

donated by Marrianna Daughtery
"Red Dancer Studio"

 donated by Alicia Hignite

donated by Rhona Norrie

donated by Marrianna Daughtery
"Red Dancer Studio"

donated by Cory Moore
"Pink Dogwood Blossoms" 

donated by Francis Young

donated by Denise Perkins

donated by Beverly Waltman

donated by Sue Greengard

donated by Dawn Kaufman

donated by Michelle Ferullo
"Petite Michelle Louise" 

donated by Gabrielle Gaudet

donated by Elaine Dale
"A Scattering" 

donated by Judy Lagaman

donated by Jackie Degeauvera
"One Creative Cat" 


We are winding down to the last few weeks of this incredible project.  Who would have ever thought that so many people would give so much to support this little cause? Your hearts are deeper and more generous than the depths of the oceans~~
The photos shown here will be added to my
Pink Scarf Project  Pinterest board in just a few days.  Watch for them there, along with all of the other beautiful donations to date.
 Some last minute info~
Your scarves need to be here by September 15 in order for me to photograph them-- I am saving a very special location for those last groupings of scarves-- the Fall edition. 
Your most recent collection of donations (late Summer edition) are traveling with me in just a few days, to another wonderful location -- stay tuned.  More beautiful photos to come in a few weeks.  If you wish to read about the Pink Scarf Project -- you can find the info here.  

Now -- for the rest of the story~
You probably already know this -- but it is a LOT of trouble to take all of these photos!  The staging, editing, even the gathering of supplies ,... takes hours.  (and I love doing it!!) But~~

~So the pink scarves travel with us on our recent trip to Florida -- along with ALL the props that I used in the photos. On the perfect day -- at the perfect appointed time in the late afternoon -- I gather up all the "stuff" and walk up the beach to the perfect location.

~I am carrying a large black garbage bag that contains all of the scarves to be photographed, my beautiful shabby chair, 2 wire baskets, a large bag of seashells, I'm wearing the beach hat, have the beach basket tote on my shoulder, and also have my camera supplies in tow.  If there is such a thing as a "beach gypsy" -- I am surely it!  Just try to imagine that picture if you will~~ LOL!!

~Do you see that beautiful dark cloud in the photo? Isn't it lovely? Did it not just make for the most gorgeous background?  I thought so too. 

~I'm happily just taking all of my photos -- attracting quite a crowd at the beach (I always seem to do to that!!)  All is just going so well - until the first raindrop falls --before I can even say "what the??" -- the downpour begins.  Everyone scatters, no one offers to help me --- I gather up everything as best I can -- ALL THAT STUFF-- and run back up the beach.  Just try to picture that -- now I am a drowned "beach gypsy." 

~I get back to our condo -- dry off -- dry off all of the stuff -- and look out the sliding door towards the beach---the sun is shining. (#!%*&#!!)!!
NOT to be outdone -- I gather everything back up AGAIN and head up the beach AGAIN to finish taking the photos.

~While I am doing all of this, my husband is out and about running errands.(we are going out to dinner afterwards)
He has no idea that I have been caught in the rain.  When I return to the condo - the second time --- he is sitting in the living room with a nice cold drink.
Him --- "Hi Honey, how did it go?  Did you finish taking all of your pictures?  I bet they will be beautiful." 
ME-- "Sure, I'm done.  No problems."  
He has no idea. He will read this post and learn the "rest of the story" just as you are!
The things I do to take a great photo~~!!

ps -- Coming up next~
Some of our favorite summertime recipes--and a little something special for you. My sweet summer giveaway~~  
and one more thing~~ for those of you who follow my "2 Bags Full" community facebook page- you can watch for a sneak peek preview of the long awaited Breast Cancer Awareness nests. I'm spending lots of long days and nights here in the Sacred Yarn room -- these nests - omgosh -- just you wait! (If you want to follow my Facebook page -- the link is at the top of my sidebar:)   

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Hope Blooms"--(MY contribution to the Pink Scarf Project)

Pretty little balls of the most exquisite pink and pale green mohair have stared at me for the last several months. 
"Knit me"-- they seemed to say every time I looked their way. 
Between cataloging and photographing all of your beautiful and generous donations -- I have scarcely had the time to dedicate to my own contribution. Finally on our recent trip to the beach -- I gave in to temptations and cast on the fragile little stitches~~

"Hope Blooms"

Every journey of 10,000 stitches
begins with only a few~

and over time,
with patience and trust~

it grows~

and grows~

until finally, 
the hope of what could be
is there for all to see.

Inspired by all
 that so many of you have given to
this incredible project --
I knitted fervently for almost 
10 days.
And when the project was completed,
I returned to the beach
to photograph this creation
in the place that it was

"Hope Blooms" 

The very essence of
the "Pink Scarf Project"
has been to encourage
 hope and support
for women facing a personal battle
with Breast Cancer.

by donating a scarf
a gift from both heart and hands~
we share support and encouragement
with those who need it most.

a simple gesture 
that says
"I care".

To date, 
your generosity has bloomed
to over 200 scarves. 
(I still can't believe it!)

proving all the while~
that in the depths of despair,
 when we think that we cannot win,
when we are so very frightened
so weak, 
and so frail~~

against all odds~
"Hope Blooms"

~Pattern details~
  Rowan "Kidsilk Haze"
Louisa Harding "Simonetta"
you can find the pattern here on Ravelry

this scarf was photographed
at Canaveral National Seashore
in Titusville, Florida.
A Reminder~
To those wishing to contribute a scarf 
to this project--
the deadline for me to receive your scarf 
and still have time to photograph it 
is September 15.  

Up next -- 
the latest edition of your amazing contributions to the Pink Scarf Project. They traveled to the beach with me and the photographs are amazing! I can't wait for you to see them photographed in this beautiful setting. My heart is so full of appreciation and gratitude for all that you have given~

On my very first day to walk the beach, this beautiful shell tumbled up out of the waves and landed right at my feet.  It's a little worn,  not perfect by any means~~ but then neither am I.  To me it is a treasure, a gift from the ocean. (and I needed a really great photo prop!!)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Welcome to my Sacred Yarn Room~ (Where Bloggers Create Event)

Early mornings are my favorite,
   soft sunlight in the window
         reflecting through the leaves on the trees.
With my window open,
      I can listen to the birds as they sing their 
                 morning songs~ 

In the early hours here,
 sometimes I just sit~
a place to reflect
to make plans for my day-

say a prayer,
~feed my soul

Surrounded by all the things 
that make me happy~

fulfilling my dreams,
my passions,
to create~

~Welcome to my Sacred Yarn room~
I'm so excited to share my special place
with you!

I wanted you to see this room as I do, 
starting in the early morning hours -
my most favorite time 
to be here~

I love the way the light filters in through 
the window~

Now that the morning  glow has filled the room,
let's take a walk
 around this place where I create.
I want to share with you
all the things that make this room so special
to me.

This antique button bowl belonged to my Mother.
Over time, I've added buttons and used many. 
I like to think it is filled with memories.
Sometimes I like to just let the buttons sift through my hands.
There are treasures in this bowl --
some that I have not even found 

I'm a knitter of nests
(but you probably already know that).
My collection of vintage books is 
ever growing.
(another obsession)
I use the books when I take photos
of my nests.

This vintage seashell dish is one of my favorites~
sometimes I use it to display buttons
for my projects.

 vintage white bliss

some of my favorite colored buttons
Czechoslovakian glass
tortoise shell
vintage Bakelite

my arrangement of glass beaded stems
(another obsession)

one of my knitted nests
(this one is waiting for a giveaway later this year!)

 from the morning sunlight

this wire dome
 was one of my flea market finds earlier this spring

Vintage pink laces and trims
(these are ready for use in my Breast Cancer Awareness nest)
(I'm working on that nest now!)

my most favorite flea market find ever!
this collection of vintage jars
is used to hold my "shabby" torn fabric strips

this vintage sidebar once belonged to my
(having it here in my Sacred Yarn room is very special to me)

I love to collect little bird dishes

Don't laugh~
but these tiny little jars of glitter  came from the Dollar Tree
(and I love them!)

my yarn scraps
 every knot, every tangle, every little piece
for use in my nests
this vintage porcelain bowl also belonged
 to my Grandmother

every nook and cranny of this room 
is filled with my crafting supplies
it may look disorganized to you
but believe me~
I know where everything is!
(but it might take me a week to find it!)

a beautiful collection of supplies
(vintage and hand embroidered)
just waiting their turn for use
in my 
Vintage Spring nest
(due out next spring)

~a collection of my Mother's vintage laces and trims~
her legacy lives on
as I use these to make my
Shabby Chic nests

a collection of treasures
for use in a project that is just now
beginning in my sketch book
from first sketch to finished plans-
it will be 2 years before I begin to share this with you!
(but already I am collecting treasures !)

~just one of my beautiful yarn stashes~

My Mother's vintage suitcase
holds another of my yarn scrap collections
(she used it on her honeymoon-
it still has the train ticket stubs hanging on the top)
some of my button collections are kept in
whiskey bottles
(our Kentucky heritage is linked to whiskey production)
I love these bottles.

a little bit of bling~

a little cast iron bird
nesting here among my "shabby" torn
fabric strips

~just pretty~

this little hutch belonged to my parents
(I can still see it sitting in the hallway in my childhood home)
the yellow bird vase
was another of my recent flea market finds
my Mother painted everything
this light blue color--
way before it ever became a popular shabby color!
this little bucket is from her collection
and houses some of my
knitting needles. 

~work on the
Breast Cancer Awareness nests
has begun!
(I have 3 more baskets of pink yarn that I have not even shown you here!)
(before I cleaned it up for these photos --- 
the Sacred Yarn room looked like a giant pink bomb
 had exploded here!!)

there is NO hiding my obsession
for knitting books.
(especially baby knitting patterns).
and yes--
this yarn IS organized
and I know exactly what I have here in this shelf.  
(not counting the 12 other bins of  yarn that are stacked in my bedroom!)
the person who dies with the biggest yarn stash wins~
it might be me!

I'm collecting vintage lace doilies
to use in a little project--
I've been collecting for almost 2 years
and I think I am getting close to having enough~

a collection of beautiful vintage books
that I use in the photography
of my nests.
(one of my favorite flea market vendors
saves some of his best vintage books for me)

another great flea market purchase earlier this spring~
this vintage pink transfer ware bowl
holds more of my Mother's
vintage lace collections

~just a small collection of the yarns
that I use in the making of my
Woodland and Shabby Chic 

ahh - another another "nesting" stash

My collection of glass jars with bird lids
is one of my favorite ways
to house my collections. 
(that little nest is the first one I ever made)
they have changed a lost since then!

the little porcelain bird box 
once belonged to my Grandmother
It's so very fragile~

~more of my tabletop display~

there is actually organization to this chaos~
yarns and embellishments in these storage jars
are destined for future projects 

the china bluebird platter
once belonged to my great-Grandmother

more treasures
and~~ another little stash of yarn in the back

~another view~
(my parents started housekeeping with that lamp)
as you can see I spend a lot of money on my decorations - lol
I walked out in the yard - grabbed a tree branch - stuck it in a jar
(I won't win any prizes here!!)

beaded garland and ribbon
 for use in my nests

it's rare to find a vintage embroidered handkerchief
 with the "V" initial~
I treasure this one.

sometimes this display 
changes with the

I love this little berry basket from
(it's just perfect storage for my business cards)

and this~~
is where I sit to write my blog

Thank you all for visiting me here today. 
It may take me the rest of the summer--
but I will visit each of you who
leave your comments here :)
Thank you to Karen
for once again hosting this
great blogging event!
We all love and appreciate you so much!
(Please click on her name above to be directed to 
Karen's blog and the listing of everyone
who is participating in this amazing

Some updates for those of you who visit here regularly ~

Coming up next -- MY own contribution to the Pink Scarf Project -- and then all of YOUR latest contributions -- photographed at the seashore!