Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Bit by bit, stitch by stitch

Seems everything I am working on now involves LOTS of time. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the Autumnal Equinox design that I hope to finish by this fall. Goodness, it is a real marathon!

While I am working on that, I decided to try to finish one of the many kits in my stash. So I started this kit by Ann Benson, owner of Beads East. Ann had a moving business sale a couple years ago and I bought many kits that have been sitting dejectedly in my stash box.

And wouldn't you know, this is another BIG project. Here is my progress so far. But I get a little bored with all the back stitch and find myself taking many breaks.

So I thought I would change things up with a little crochet. A good friend is due to be a first-time grandmother in a few months and I wanted to gift her son and daughter-in-law with something hand-made. I am just about finished with this adorable baby blanket but it was pretty time-consuming too! This is a tutorial by one of my favorite crochet designers, Ira Rott. We don't know if the baby is a boy or girl so once we know, I will either add the bow or not.

Josefina and Jeffrey Elephant Blanket by Ira Rott
Now I need to look for something quick and easy.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Two more weeks until Easter bunny visits

I've been crocheting a bit more than beading these days, inspired by new granddaughter, Jane. I couldn't resist this pattern by IraRott Designs.

Ira Rott Bunny Rabbit Hat

And here's how the hat looks on sweet Jane.

She's a pretty cute little bunny!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Beads and recipes: Sweet and Sour Beans and Hamburger Soup

How's that for a random title? I mostly write about bead projects but occasionally take time out for other topics. Today I decided to write about a journey I have undertaken with my recent retirement from corporate life. First, let me just say I hate the word retirement but I certainly am enjoying the act. It's such an indulgence to face an entire day, knowing I can mold it anyway I want. And, like most freshly-retired folks, I have a list about a mile long of those tasks I promised I would do once I had more time to myself.

One of those activities is to build a family cookbook with my mother's recipes as the centerpiece but interspersed with family stories. Mom was a great cook. By my calculations, she cooked over 10,000 dinners, usually served at 5:00 pm sharp when up to eight of us would be starving, home after school and sports or band practice and before we started our evening routines of homework, music lessons and Dad grading papers. I didn’t think it was a big deal then but now it boggles my mind compared to my bouts of cooking, which are sporadic at best.

Mom was Martha before there was Martha (Stewart). She was always game to try something new and always had an appreciative audience. We all had large appetites and nary a picky eater in the group. The only disappointment for Mom must have been that it took us about 10 minutes to inhale dinner and jump up to whatever came next on our agenda that night, except for me as I was the clean-up assistant - a chore I enjoyed as it allowed me to munch on the rare leftovers, listen to music while doing the dishes and make a cup of instant coffee for Dad, served to him with a spoon in his thick white mug.

Me and sister Greta in the kitchen with our Mom
When my Mom passed away, my sister rescued two recipe boxes just bursting at the seams. We decided that compiling and publishing these recipes would be a great way to preserve and share our legacy with the many offspring, nieces and nephews who never had a chance to know our Mom. So I volunteered to do the heavy lifting and boy is it ever heavy. There are literally hundreds of recipes to review, scan, and catalogue. Then I want to add snippets of family history, which is a whole other project of researching family facts and collecting and organizing photos. I initially thought the project might take me a year but I think I need to at least double that estimate.

Mom's Recipe Jumble
So while I am working, I thought it would be fun to share a few excerpts on my blog along with a link to recipes. To start, I am sharing two recipes that made me smile. The first one is for Sweet and Sour Beans and it made me smile because it calls for one can of odd beans, among other things. Now what in the heck does that mean? I am guessing it is any type of bean your heart may desire. Unlike most of my Mom's recipes which were clipped from a newspaper or magazine or written on a recipe card, this one was written on an envelope that must have been laying by the phone when she was talking to whoever provided it.

Recipe: Sweet and Sour Beans

The second recipe, Hamburger Soup, makes me smile because there are absolutely no quantities listed for any of the ingredients. This more than anything reminds me of Mom for whom recipes were more of a suggestion and road map to which she would add spices, often chaotically along the way, until they tasted just the way she wanted.

Recipe: Hamburger Soup

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