Friday, April 29, 2011

so sorry!

I have been a neglectful blogger of late, please accept my apologies!

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, but things are settling in a bit and I should be back to 'normal' life.

So much to talk about!  In upcoming blog posts, I will talk about the show I took part in last week at the Carlson Towers, my family spending Easter weekend with us, my thoughts on the Royal wedding (I am watching it right now as I type, I recorded it on the BBC and the guests are entering Westminster Abbey.  LOVE THE HATS!), and garden plans.

David and Victoria Beckham have just arrived at the wedding, why is she wearing BLACK?  And her hat is perched on her head in a rather unusual fashion.  Has anyone ever seen her smile?

All those hats!  I imagine you would be quite perturbed if you ended up sitting behind someone wearing a giant one, and couldn't see the ceremony.

Look for lots of posts next week.  In the meantime, it was exactly one year ago today that I blogged about my walk I took that morning, the lilacs and crabapples were in full bloom!  Our spring is rather reluctant in arriving this year.  But this is what it looked like last year:

It's coming, I just know it....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

here is where I will be...

..on Wednesday and Thursday-come and visit, won't you!  (just put a bunch of snow in the picture, we are supposed to get a bunch...)

Carlson Towers Rotunda

Spring Boutique

10 am - 2 pm

Proceeds will benefit the Children's Cancer Research Fund.

here's a link with map and directions:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Minute

Dining room table is covered with completed goodies for my show.

Living room is holding all of the yet-to-be-completed items.

Winter storm watch starting Tuesday night (of course!)

Planning my Easter menu and hoping one day of spring cleaning on Friday will fill the bill.

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

a fun give away !

Head on over to my dear friend Tracy's blog today: to enter for a chance to win $30 to spend in my Etsy shop!

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

recipe box Wednesday

The weather is reminding us that it is, after all April.  And not really spring yet.  Whatever...I am going to go with the idea of being happy that the coming rain will wash all the winter grunge away.

Tomorrow I will be doing some baking for friends, there son becomes a Bar Mitzvah this weekend.  I am really looking forward to the service, as I have no experience with this.

While trying to figure out what to bake, I was stumped.  In looking at the list of what others are making, I realized there wasn't much chocolate to be found.  I had a brainstorm and remembered a recipe I made for nearly every bake sale when Charlie was in grade school, and they were always a hit.

Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes! 

I found this recipe on Sue Doeden's blog, she is a food writer in Bemidji and I have made several of her recipes.  Here is a link to her site if you want to peruse it.:

In the meantime, here is the recipe for the chocolate cakes:

3/4 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder - sifted
3 large eggs

Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375 degrees.  Line mini muffin pans with foil liners.

Heat chocolate and butter in a suacepan over low heat until melted.  Stir to combine and remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, mix sugar and cocoa.  Add eggs and whisk until combined.  Whisk in chocolate mixture.

Scoop batter into mini-muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop-easy peasy!)

Bake about 8-10 minutes, turning front to back halfway through.  Cool on rack and serve.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen mini cakes.

Optional:  After cakes have cooled thoroughly, top with a dollop of raspberry jam, a fresh raspberry and drizzle with white chocolate chips melted in a small baggie.

These little cakes are so versatile-I have topped them with a roasted almond or pecan and drizzled with fudgy frosting, or a fresh strawberry and drizzled with icing, or a dab of caramel sauce.  They are the perfect bite.

Along with the chocolate, I am baking some coconut macaroons and some apricot thumbprint cookies.  Now where is that apron....

Bon Appetit !

Friday, April 8, 2011

junk turned into...prettier junk

My mind is constantly spinning with things to make.

And one of my favorite things to do is take something old and make it useful again. 

I love finding lost keys, old watches, vintage hankerchiefs, and of course, glittering jars and rusty tins full of buttons.  I guess you would now call me an 'upcycler', although I have been playing around with stuff like this for years, before it became rather chic to embrace old things.

The hunt can be even more fun than actually working with what I find.  I am just itching for the first yard sale ads to appear in the classified section.  But now I also have to scout Craigslist, and of course there is an app for that (may need to borrow Charlie's Itouch now and then).

Last fall my dear friend Joanne and I hit up a great sale at the State Fairgrounds, and our treasures almost didn't quite fit in the car. The security guard stood watching us, looking dubious, but we proved him wrong.

I stumbled across an old wire cart, hidden amongst discarded foot baths and plant pots.  I had been wanting one for a while, ever since I had seen one rescued and put to use again.

Of course, it has sat in the basement since that warm September day, forgotten.

But while getting ready for all of my shows this month, I realized I needed something with wheels to help me haul my goodies around.

So I pulled it out, dusted it off, and made it a pretty new dress.

Now, useful!  I even sewed a handy pocket on the inside.  I used oilcloth (the real stuff-a Grand Avenue fabric shop has a huge selection, it was so hard to decide).

Five dollars well spent.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

month of shows

April has turned into my month of shows.  Right now I am in the 'lull' between shows, today feeling like I should clean and organize in my house rather than make stuff.

I hung out with my good friend Tracy at one of her Matilda Jane shows:  She always has fresh flowers and fun clothes to buy.

And an excellent attitude!

Last weekend I spent a delightful day with my dear friend Helen, at Westonka High School in Mound. 

She was selling honey and seed kits and adorable knitted slippers, while I shared her table with my zipper pins, button bracelets, and assorted necklaces and Vintaj earrings.  What a fun day!

Helen is a Master Gardener, and was there speaking on "Container Gardening with Vegetables".  Can I tell you it is very nice to have a Master Gardener in your life? 

On top of that, she is a beekeeper and an incredible knitter.  We were high school buddies and have reconnected in the last two years, how great is that?

April has been a very good month.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

recipe box Wednesday

An oldie but a goodie for today. 

An hour ago I had no idea what to make for dinner-one of those days.

I opened my cupboard, and opened my fridge, and then I remembered a dish I had made for the first time when Heather was coming down for a visit, years ago.

She would be driving down from Bemidji after work, and I wanted a yummy,. comforting meal waiting for her.  A few nights before her arrival, I had sat with my cookbooks and searched for the perfect recipe.

And there it was, in a Cooking Light Annual:  Linguini with Two Sauces.

So that is what I made, and every time I make it, the memories make it taste even better than it is.

If you make it exactly as they state, it is even fairly light, and low in fat,  for a pasta dish.  Of course I have modified it for our tastes, and here is my version:  (the OR stands for the original version, if you so choose)

Whatever Noodles You Have in Your Cupboard with Two Sauces

2 tsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced (OR 2 cloves)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced Italian Style diced tomatoes, undrained (OR no salt)
1 lb pasta-tonight it is tagliatelle  (OR linguini)
4 c. sliced mushrooms (I use a combo of white and portabella)
6 oz. diced proscuitto (Not in OR, leave this out if you want it vegetarian)
1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. skim milk and 1/2 c. half & half (OR 2 c. 1% milk)
1 c. shredded Italian blend shredded cheese (OR mozzarella only)
1/2 c. dry white wine
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over med heat.  Add garlic and saute 30 seconds, add fresh basil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and tomatoes, cook over low heat 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, set aside.

Cook pasta, drain, keep warm.

Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and cook over med high heat.  Add mushrooms and cook 5 min, add proscuitto and cook 2 more min.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add flour to saucepan, gradually add milk and cream, stir with a whisk until blended.  Place flour mixture over med hi heat and cook until thick, about 3 min., stirring constantly.  Stir in shredded cheese, wine, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp salt.  Cook until cheese melts, about 1 min, stirrring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in mushrooms (and prosciutto, if using).

Combine pasta and mushroom sauce, spoon into prepared baking dish.  Spread tomato sauce over pasta , sprinkle with Parmesan.  Cover and bake for 20 min, uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes.

I plan to make a crunchy salad with cukes and cherry tomatoes and balsamic viniagrette, and a loaf of warm crusty bread will complete the meal.  With a nice glass or two of red wine...

Bon Appetit!

Monday, April 4, 2011

love letter

Dear little house-

Nineteen years ago last week you became our official address.

After five years of apartment living in Bloomington, we were more than ready to find a place to call home.  We searched far and wide, but once we drove through the neighborhoods of St. Paul we knew we had found our place to settle in.

And you, you were love at first sight.  Even though it was December, and snow was piled everywhere, and we had no clue what your yard would hold.  I of course fell for your picket fence, and your calm presence on the corner of Hamline and Hartford.  Mike was excited about your bigger than average garage.

Inside, the pictures of smiling people on the refrigerator drew me in.  People were happy in this home, I could feel it.  We loved the size of your just-right rooms, the carved trim along the ceiling in the living room, your warm wood floors.

But others had already placed an offer on you, and our hearts sank.  Determined to own you, we stopped by to visit the people who lived in you, just to say hi.  We wanted them to put a face to the offer we would craft, and they were so kind and welcoming.  They gladly told us what they didn't like about the current offer on the house, and we listened intently.  Although our realtor was none too happy when he heard what we had done, our offer was accepted.  I like to think it was because they could imagine us living in their home, though it probably wasn't.

You were to be our 'starter' home.  We would live in you for a few years, and then move on up to a home more befitting a successful young couple. 

We painted, repaired, and planted flowers. 

We mowed your lawn, and shoveled your walks in the winter.  Each spring and fall we washed your old windows, and cleaned your screens.  You sheltered us during rain and wind and hail.  Although not without a few leaks here and there....

You were our refuge during trying times, and a place to hold celebrations for friends and family.

We brought Charlie home to you, and his laughter soon echoed off your walls, and his tiny feet toddled down your hallway.  He played in the sandbox in your backyard, and rode his tricycle down your walk.

And even though we still dream of moving to a larger home someday, with a big kitchen, a finished basement, room for a studio, and more yard for flowers, I can also now imagine us staying right here.  Hosting Charlie's high school graduation party, a bridal shower, welcoming a grandchild and playing with him or her in our backyard.

We will own you in a few short years-and the idea of not having a mortgage sounds pretty darn good.

Thank you little house, you have sheltered us well.

Love, Mike and Kristi and Charlie and Claude


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