Friday, July 25, 2014

Taking a Break

I think it's time for a break from this blog. With my hand bandaged up it's difficult to type and with vacation time coming it will be difficult to stay in touch.

Have a great summer everyone!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Surgery Update and New Hoop Art

I had so much peace prior to my thyroid surgery and my knee surgery but this growth on my finger was no piece of cake for me. I am glad the procedure is behind me and I'm counting down the days when the bandages come off and the stitched are removed. I feel like I'm all thumbs but I'm making it work!

Several requests have come my way for custom stitched hoop art. It's fun to stitch up something that is intended to make someone's wedding day special or their birthday or anniversary more meaningful!! Here are a couple of things I just listed in Mama Bleu Designs!

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Own Farmer's Market

I was having flashbacks today of when I had knee surgery scheduled. Knowing it would be awhile before I could get down on my knees and dig in my garden, I spend the entire weekend prior to my surgery making sure that everything was planted and good-to-go for awhile.

This past weekend for me was the same. With hand surgery scheduled for today, I made dozens of floral details for my clutches and worked in my garden for hours. By Sunday evening I had a large harvest of tomatoes, potatoes and beets that we'll be enjoying this week. And....I picked our first ear of corn!!

It's been a lot of work keeping our garden going but it is so satisfying and enjoyable to walk out our back door and pick most of our meals right from our own "farmer's market"!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Seed Pods, Butterflies and Surgery

The jacaranda trees are dropping their purple blossoms this month. Once the purple trumpet shaped flowers leave the branches you can see all the oval shape pods that hold the seeds of purple promises. My grandson learned about the life cycle of a caterpillar during this past school year. When he looked up at the tree a few weeks ago he started a conversation.....

Micah: Grama.....look up in the tree with purple flowers. Do you see all the cocoons? 
Me: Those are seed pods Micah. Seeds will come out when they pop open.
Micah: No grama. They are cocoons. Butterflies are going to pop out of them!

Even though he was mistaken he was also right. Seeds pop out but they are transformed into something different when they are wrapped up in soil, and given some time.......they change. They turn from something dark and dried out into something green and full of life!

For some reason this conversation brings me joy in my current circumstances. I face another surgery this coming Monday. A growth on a finger on my right hand has to be removed. It's a capillary cluster that is growing daily. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with the fact that my right hand is going to be sore and partly out of commission for at least a week. 

I know this surgery is necessary and I know everything is going to be okay. I know that I'm seeing seed pods in my circumstances and I'm doing my best to see cocoons that will turn into butterflies with purple wings!!! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

My husband is a grill master! He loves to BBQ and loves to try new things all the time. And I am the lucky one who gets to taste all the delightful things that come off the grill!!

We have collected several BBQ cookbooks and find that Weber has a great selection of them. Another recipe book that we like to use is by Bobby Flay called "Grill It". We tried his Grilled Portobello Mushroom dish last weekend and boy is it yummy! My garden is thriving right now so I picked a bunch of basil leaves to add to the pesto for the recipe!!

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Hazelnut Pesto and Goat Cheese (serves 4)
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
3 tablespoons canola oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
hazelnut pesto (recipe follows)
6 oz fresh goat cheese, cut into small pieces
fresh italian parsley leaves for garnish
2 tsp grated lemon zest

1. Heat your grill on high
2. Brush the mushrooms on both sides with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place mushrooms on the grill, cap side down, and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 4-5 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over and continue grilling until just cooked through, 3-4 minutes.
3. Transfer the mushrooms to a platter, cap side down, and top with a few tablespoons of the hazelnut pesto and some of the goat cheese. Garnish with parsley leaves and lemon zest.

Hazelnut Pesto (makes about 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups fresh italian parsley leaves
8 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon hazelnut oil, optional
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the parsley, hazelnuts, garlic, olive and hazelnut oils, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor and process until smooth. The pesto can be made 2 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Friday, July 11, 2014

It's Been One of Those Weeks

More often than not, the busyness of my life is not something that I go out and get. It comes to me and I am learning how to deal with it. This week, with some obvious decay of our eaves and an aging roof that may not do well through an anticipated rainy season, we had a crew come and repair/replace our roof.

When the grandkids were dropped off on Tuesday morning, the day of our roof tear-off, I told them that we couldn't play outside and that they were going to hear lots of loud banging and crashing all day long. So we played inside all day long and found lots of ways to be creative!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Thanks to all the hard work my husband put into making the soil in our vegetable garden so rich and fertile, the harvest we are getting from the plants has been astounding!! Not only that, it looks amazing!!

We are having our roof replaced this week and I found some of the workman standing in our driveway checking it out. I felt like saying, "I's beautiful isn't it." Summer gardens are that way! They are green and leafy and bountiful.

One of my very favorite salads to make with all that summer produce is a grilled vegetable salad. It is so easy and delicious!

Right now I have 3 different kinds of summer squash ripening in my garden....zucchini, crookneck and patty pan. I cut them all in half lengthwise and place them cut-side-up on a BBQ grill grid. I add orange, yellow and red sweet peppers that have been sliced in half along with several ears of corn and some mushrooms. Before we place the filled grill grids on the BBQ I brush them with some olive oil.

As my husband is grilling the vegetables I cut up lots of romaine lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber. Once the veggies are cooked I cut them into bit size pieces and cut the corn off of the cob. Toss all the ingredients together and serve it with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Enjoy!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Our Teepee Tent

On the days that my grandchildren are here I do my best to develop their imagination with lots of "open ended" activities. A box of Legos can be built into any number of things. A stack of paper, some scissors, a handful of markers and a glue stick can turn into a rocket making party. My goal is to teach their young minds that there is more than one way to do things....and all those ways can be right.

Last week, I thought it would be fun to build a teepee for the kids to play in but I didn't have anything for a frame. So.....I did some creative thinking and came up with a teepee structure that hung from our ceiling fan!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day

We are celebrating our day with family....watching our hometown parade, eating good BBQ food and kicking back. Happy Independence Day to all my US friends!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Limited Edition Hand Painted Canvas Bags

I remember back in college when I was taking a tailoring class and was preparing to cut out my pattern from some very expensive navy blue pinstripe wool. I checked and doubled checked the placement of my pattern but I had the hardest time putting the scissors to the fabric. Once I started cutting I knew I was committed!

Well, I felt that way about the hand painted canvas I've been holding onto since I created it a few months ago. I knew I wanted to make some limited edition clutch bags with it but it took me weeks to finally make the first pattern cut.

Now that they are finished and available at Mama Bleu Designs, I am so glad I get to share my art with you in this way!! I created 6 bags in all but only listed 5 of them. I couldn't resist keeping one for myself. They are one-of-a-kind clutch bags and once they are gone...... they are gone!