Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Just dropping in for a moment to share with you a few of the sights at my feet and on my horizon.  It is truly glorious to see new beauty, new life, springing up all around.  Whether in the studio, in the garden, in the kitchen, or any other creative space the realization of possibilities is a powerful and magnificent thing.  The understanding of the limitless nature of those possibilities is even more grand. 

This is spring.  And these are the sights.  The realization of miraculous possibilities held in secret for many long months, the breadth of which we have only begun to see.  Oh dear spring, how we welcome you!  

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Mexican Pizza


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Just wanted to drop in for a bit this morning and share a recent (successful) pizza experiment for “Pizza and a Movie Night”!

My husband’s father grew up in Colonia Dublan Mexico, and my husband lived in Brazil for 2 years before we met.  These wonderful men have brought some very delicious flavors to our meals.  Beans and rice in all their varieties, and the exciting flavors of latin cuisine influence my meal planning heavily.  They have not crossed over into our pizza making though…until now! 

Although to some it was an adjustment to let go of the “traditional” taste and flavor of “regular” pizza, it was met by the majority with rave reviews!  Enjoy!

Mexican Pizza

1 cup shredded taco cheese blend or Mexican cheese

3/4 cup taco sauce (recipe below)

Pizza Crust

2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro (preferably fresh…but dried works!)

1 1/4 cups corn

12 oz.  cooked fajita style chicken strips (recipe below)

chopped avocado

chopped fresh tomato

Prepare pizza crust and spread in greased or cornmealed pan.  Spread Taco Sauce.  Sprinkle cheese.  Spread corn.  Spread chicken.  Bake at 450 for ~15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle cilantro, tomaot, and avocado over pizza!  Enjoy! 

Fajita Seasoning Mix

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1 Tablespoon salt

1 Tablespoon paprika

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons crushed chicken bouillon cube

1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour into a small glass container, seal tightly and store in a cool, dry place.  Makes the equivalent of 3 packets of commercial or purchased Fajita Seasoning Mix. 

Pour cooked chicken into a sauce pan with its own juices.  (If chicken is dry add ~1/3 cup water).  Add 2-3 Tablespoons of Fajita Seasoning Mix to chicken (to taste) .  Cook on medium to low heat until chicken has completely absorbed the seasoning.  Remove from heat and add to pizza. 

Taco Sauce

1 (8oz.) can tomato sauce

1/3 cup water

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons minced onion

1 Tablespoon white vinegar

1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place in sauce pan and stir well, simmer at very low temperature for 15-20 minutes.  Remove and cool.  May be kept in the refrigerator for several days. 

Can I tell you how excited I am to try fresh veggie pizzas soon…very soon!


Sunday, April 25, 2010


To us it is called Ocean Lake.  To us it is a place of wonder.  To us it is an endless expanse of blue between our home and another land.  To us … on this day, it was peace, a time to reconnect, refresh, rest, … it was perfection. 

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Friday, April 23, 2010


Not so many years ago the morning of April 23rd began as one of the happiest and most perfect of my life.  That morning was full of excited preparations amidst wonderful family.  Everyone was happy.  This morning was full of the sweet kisses and well wishes by the little ones I love so dear.  It has been full of the happy results of happy preparations by little hands the night before.  With their Nana my little dears each planted us something…the man cub…Elephant Ears…our little girl…Cala Lilies.  Such fitting choices!!  Vases were filled with gleefully picked sunny daffodils and a wonderful spring table greeted us this morning.  April 146April 145

April 23rd is a day for very happy mornings! 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Things

Lined up in the attic on a brown sheet of recycled cardboard is 32 bars (and balls) of soap.  Handmade soap.  Made by my hands and others that I love.  For some of you dear readers this may seem like no big deal.  Something that happens in your own home on a regular basis.  For me however, the soap making process has been sitting up high on a shelf in my brain labeled…”too hard”, “unfamiliar”, “how in the world do I even begin”…!  Do you have shelves like that in your mind?  But it is there no longer and that is all that matters!  I still have oodles to learn and want to try so many different things.  And someday might even be able to do it on my own without someone guiding me each step!  But it was a start…a good start!  April 137April 136

What’s on your untouchable shelf?!?!  Whatever it is…it’s about time you brought it down!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

This Moment

At this moment my two kidlings (sometimes it feels like there must be more than just two!) are sitting on the couch looking at books quietly and calmly.  Every moment is not like this moment! 

I try to, and sincerely enjoy, including my children on all sorts of creative adventures.  We make and do all sorts of things together and have a marvelous time.  But don’t get me wrong…sometimes we are in a much better groove than others.  Sometimes it’s magical…well…it’s always magical to do things with my children…but sometimes the magic is a bit chaotic…and sometimes a lot chaotic!  April 124

Starting seeds together in the kitchen…very chaotic!  Wow!  

Although I was a bit frazzled and out of breath by the end, they were so excited about their project that it was all worth it!  I just hope they grow!  Please grow!   April 127

We planted all sorts of lovely flowers, many with seeds saved from last season, for our childrens garden.  The vegetables we will plant will come from Johnny’s Seeds.

Moments of chaos.  Moments of joy.  Moments of peace. …  it’s all part of a handmade childhood!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Another Tree

We went exploring in the woods the other day and came out with the perfect tree for our garden gate.  There is a never ending supply of delights when walking with children in the woods.  (An added bonus at this time of year is that the poison ivy is still dormant so we can walk freely without fear of nastiness afterwards!!!) I highly recommend it!  Even the smallest traces of animal life sparked wonder and curiosity.  New life bursting from the sleeping trees and out of the dark earth welcomed discovery and exploration.  Forts and villages sprung out of everything ignited by powerful and fostered imaginations.  It is marvelous.  Go find some woods!  Go for an explore!  Just go!!!

The garden gate is in construction and I am so excited to get it up and working…and to show it to you!  April 106April 110

We are loving the teepee by the way…it’s almost sad to cover it up with pole beans.  Ah well…even the life of a teepee changes!  April 113     April 108

Happy weekending friends!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Remember these? Well they did their job well and gathered a lovely little group of ladies to a spring infused baby shower. The room was filled with happy visiting, cheerful good wishes, laughter, yummy yummy food, sunlight, the anticipation of a sweet baby, and lots and lots of forsythia. In the spirit of celebrating events with the natural beauty of all that is around the abundant joy of the forsythia blooms seemed perfect! In these parts these bright bushes are lighting up yards and hedges with the color and life of spring. It was lovely to surround ourselves with spring as we welcomed and celebrated a spring baby girl.

April 091 April 090April 092 April 093 Oh I do love to welcome!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Find

I’m always on the look out for certain things on my thrifting adventures.  Not necessarily current needs…but things I always can use and just love to surround myself with.  Wooden crates are a constant on that list!  I have several wooden apple crates that we love to use to store a rotating inventory of things.  A large box that once held a cheese round (and has been sufficiently aired out!!!) is one of my favorite finds.  Recently we happened upon a wooden crate…a shiny gold wooden crate!  April 052My daughter loved it gold…but it wasn’t quite the look I was going for and was sure a bit of sanding would bring back it’s original glory.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the gold sanded off (I used an orbital sander and 80 grit paper) and am thrilled with the result!  Now what to put in it…I already have so many perfect purposes for it…hmmm! 

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I do love a good find!  Had any lately?!?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Garden for the Children


Soil. Water. Sand. Rocks.

Creepy crawly wriggly things.

Green growing things.

Chubby hands. Just the right sized tools.

Oh we love to garden together. April 071

I am constantly reminded of Mary Lennoxes words in the classic story A Secret Garden, “Please sir, can I have a bit of earth.” Children have such joy and contentment in the free exploration of their own bit of earth. This year we are working to create a space truly theirs. And in so doing are creating a something that is bringing all of us such joy. Already they know that it is theirs…and there is truly something magical about that for them.

We’re not going for anything fancy. Just a space for free exploration and discovery of the marvelous world around them. April 068

Basically we are aiming to serve each of the five senses. There will be plants and features to hear, touch, smell, see, and of course, eat! Lots of textures, nothing poisonous, lots of colors, mammoth plants, and tiny blooms, nooks and crannies to be still in, things to climb on and slide down…! There really are not set guidelines…which is working well!

We chose our “bit of earth” near the existing slide and seesaw and swingset. The garden will actually incorporate the slide and seesaw. What we didn’t foresee in our plan was what awaited us under the grass. The land we live on used to be farm…and in our area the original farmers had to clear much of the land of trees and rocks to be able to farm. Did you catch that key word? Rocks. Well…we found exactly where the farmers piled there rocks to clear land for the orchard! So many rocks! Some days we pretended we were pirates digging for treasure and the rocks were the treasure…that was fun…but most days it was just plain rock digging! Truthfully all we did was remove the top layers of rocks and add soil and leaves and manure to enrich the soil. The rest of the rocks are still there…just buried 10” down…which is good enough for me! Now we have a nice rock wall around the garden….which I will have to admit is a nice addition. But boy oh boy what a lot of rocks!April 018

When I was growing up we built a lot of rock walls and patios as a family. Not the pile it up kind that I made around this garden. My dad made beautiful rock walls and patios and it seems that in each of the homes we have lived in we had a rock project. I remember working together as a family when I was about 4 or 5 years old choosing rocks from the pile for a wall “we” were building and my Dad patiently teaching me “Flat ones Hannah, only choose the flat ones”. My earliest memories are from that home and among them is the counsel on choosing rocks. There’s just something about rocks! No such instruction was given when building this wall! If it came out of the ground it went onto the wall! In fact…the few flat ones we found became stepping stones within the garden! April 072April 083April 084

I’m excited to share this garden space with you…and truly wish that I could invite you all for a pink lemonade tea party within it this summer…! We have a long way to go! But can you catch the potential…? (And miss all that grass that still needs to be done away with…and plants brought in…and and and!!!)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Making Things

April 066Someone asked me yesterday the classic question…one that we’ve all heard countless times, “what do you do?”! Well…I know what I am…I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. But what do I do? I studied a certain thing (with many tangents I’ll admit) in school, I have particular work experiences, but what do I do? As I thought more about this today while I was outside with the kidlings it came to me…I make things. I create. All sorts of things! And I love it. I am a mother. I make things. I think I’m going to hope on TurboTax right now and change my occupation…no more Homemaker…enter Mother. Maker of Things! (I realize I just admitted that those taxes (which are done) aren’t actually filed yet…I make things…but I’m not perfect!)

I am an artist. You might think that that is a simpler reply that “maker of things”….but then some of the things I make are, well,…just things…but oh do they bring me joy!April 062

This thing has been my latest project and is part of the children’s garden that we have been creating this spring. It is a very special project for me and we are having so much fun working on it together and have such dreams for it! April 058 April 061

Perhaps you have made a tipi for your pole beans to grow on. This is essentially the same thing. We (my husband and big strong nephews were a huge part of that we) cut saplings and put them into the ground (8-10” down) and tied them together tightly at the top. I tied smaller branches around the structure to create “walls” before the beans are climbing up. The little gardeners are very happy with it.

Yes…I make things and find so much fulfillment in doing so.

What do you do?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Friends!

Yesterday during our rambling errands adventure we passed two cyclists with bikes laden with packs.  Obviously on a great adventure!  We had quite a great time imagining where they might have come from…where they were going…and what kinds of things they had seen on their way.  Later that day on the very last errand of the day we saw them again.  This time in our own town, looking a bit water logged from the rain, and riding a bit slower than earlier that day.  We stopped and talked with them and they ended up coming home with us for the evening, a hot meal,  and a good nights sleep. 

Meet Karin and Fritz Witten.  A doctor and project manager from Germany taking a 7 month sabbatical to tour the USA on bikes.  We had a wonderful time visiting and learning about their story, and accounts of their adventures.  There maps of intended travel is amazing…from Detroit to NYC down to TN over to OK and up to Denver across to the west coast and down to San Diego…!  WOW!!!!

They arrived with semi assembled bicycles and a few bike packs…assembled everything right there in the airport and rode on out to experience the United States in a way that the majority of Americans haven’t!! 

It was a happy accident to meet with them at just the right moment and be able to meet such interesting new friends.  The kiddos had a wonderful time talking with them and looking at the atlas together.  It was a great opportunity to show our little ones kindness to strangers, spontaneous hospitality, and provide a bit of  a global perspective.  Bikes are ridden everyday in this home (hershis) , but now are shown an even greater interest and devotion as they “travel” to faraway lands and have breathtaking adventures as they make their way from living room to kitchen, through the hall, and back again! 

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There are simply so many adventures to choose from on this beautiful earth.  I wonder where our family will find itself as it searches for adventure and beauty through the years. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Bit of Batik

 When my daughter was born I received this beautiful Batik quilt from my sisters.  I instantly fell in love with the vibrant colors and stunning detail of the fabrics.  The simple pattern of the quilt showcased these features perfectly.  It still amazes me how perfectly this bright vibrant quilt matches my girl even though it was made before we knew her!  Ahh… the inspiration of Aunties! 


Along with the quilt they shared with me the bag of scraps left over from its making.  Perfect!  Such wonderful gifts for mama and babe!  I have used the scraps here and there for different projects and thoroughly enjoyed having them in my hands each time. 

These wonderful bits of fabric made their last major appearance (only very small bits are left now!) in the studio recently making the perfect binding for the perfect receiving blankets for the perfect wee babes about to brighten this world.  It was so fulfilling to stitch a bit of the love that was shared with my own little one into a blanket filled with love for another.  Somehow the babes can feel it…can know it…that they are connected to and loved by others through the stitches in the blankets that warm them.  Oh, it’s true…I do believe.April 040

To make these Batik bound, soft as cloud blankets, I started out with fabulous fleece from my favorite Amish store.  Perfect amount of stretch…nice and thick…soft and fluffy on both sides…just right for little loves.  (All fleece is not created equal…if in doubt take some swatches home before you buy any yardage and perform your own stress tests!  Definitely check out how it performs in the wash.)

This is how it’s done…or at least this is how I  did it!

I cut a square from my fleece by squaring off one edge and folding it down into a triangle. 

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And then into another triangle.  Then I cut it along the raw edges of my triangle.  And you have a square!February 353

I gathered my scraps and cut them into 2 1/4” strips.  Stitch them all together into one giant strip.  Iron it in half length-wise to make single fold binding. 

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Pin the binding to the edges of the fleece matching raw edges. 

Stitch with 1/4” seam allowance.  Use the following process for the corners.

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This is may favorite way to approach corners.  It’s quite simple and provides excellent results…that’s really all I ask!  I’ll break it down…!

Stitch toward your corner.February 355

Stop ~1/4 from the approaching edge.  Backstitch.  February 356

Lift foot and needle.

Fold bias so folded edge is perpendicular to your stitching and is creating a 45 degree angle towards your corner.  February 358

Your binding is heading off the fleece now so fold it back down over your angled fold (matching folded edge to raw edges) being careful not to shift it.  February 360

Insert your needle ~1/4” from the corner.  Lower your foot…backstitch…and stitch away toward the next corner.  February 361

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When you have completed the stitching trim your raw edges if needed. 

Fold the binding over to the other side of the fleece and pin in place.

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On a standard cotton three layer quilt I would sew the binding on by hand…but for this fleece blanket I machine stitched it in place carefully.  The end result is quite irresistible I do say!  Their cheerful fuzzy selves are waiting patiently for the moment that they may do their part to lovingly welcome and warm a pair of sweet babes.  Oh, it is lovely to create for new lives! 

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