Thursday, June 30, 2011

"When the Sun is out but its raining inside"

Looking up at the sky it is blue as blue can be.
The sun is shining, casting warmth and light,
yet inside it feels damp and dreary..
Reasons are illusive
Explanations are not readily apparent
it just is..
So it goes, and goes and goes..
Living life with "Major Depressive Disorder" a conundrum..
But living life is the important part...
"Forward Motion" as is "Julia Roberts" mantra, is what there is..
Look down, now one step first then another follows..
where those feet are headed, somedays planned and others not so much...
Don't be afraid, I have been here before and most likely will be again..
Paint a pretty picture, see the rain through new eyes...
Feel it cleanse, wash away the stuff, feed the flowers budding inside..
Open up the umbrella of my heart, of my faith, putting on my polka dot rain boots...
Thats it...SPLASH through the puddles, hum a little song..
Be me, with the sun, with the matter its ok!

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Been gone for a little while, but back with lots of Randomness"

Happy Sunshiney Monday morning!

Have been away from the computer for a couple of weeks busy as a little bee..
But back in the saddle again, well for the time being anyway..
Such a busy time of year..
Its finally decided to be summer here somewhat in good ole Spokane and I have to say I am lovin every second of it..

So here are a few things on my list for this week..

Cooking and trying some new recipes
Painting furniture
Brave Girls
Lots of painting on canvas for the upcoming "Perry Street Fair"
Journal pages
The "Joy Love Club" celebration
and your basic
reading, writing and arithmetic!!
Not to mention the laundry that never goes away and the cleaning which is always staring me in the face in at least 1 or 2 rooms if not more..

Whats on your list? 

So here are a couple of recipes to share that are on my menu for this week.

This first one is absolutely delicious and I am totally craving crab!!!

Crab Stuffed Portobellos and Citrus-Mustard Dressed Greens

These are absolutely so darn yummy...I have to really contain myself when I am making  them as the stuffing is just scrumptious and I keep wanting to dip while cooking..

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean with a damp cloth
Grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon cut into small dice
1 bay leaf
2 ribs celery from heart of stalk
1 small onion, chopped
1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
Salt and Pepper
2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay) or 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning plus 1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons hot sauce
6 ounces lump crabmeat, available in the fresh seafood section of market in 6 ounce tubs (or you can get a bigger tub at Costco, which is what I like to do)
3 slices white bread, toasted (potato bread is delightfully yummy for this recipe) cut into small cubes like stuffing
1 cup chicken stock
A handful of chopped parsley 
1 bag, 8 ounces, mixed baby greens, any brand or variety


1 rounded tablespoon lemon curd, available near jams and jellies
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, eyeball it
2 teaspoons Dijon style mustard
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Heat a grill pan or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Pour extra-virgin olive oil into a small dish.  Using a pastry brush, coat mushroom caps with oil.  Grill 10 minutes, until tender and season with the grill seasoning blend.

Meanwhile, preheat a medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Add remaining oil to pan..leftover from brushing mushroom skillet and combine with 2 tablespoons butter.  Melt butter into oil and add bay leaf and chopped veggies, season with salt, pepper and crab boil seasoning or, poultry seasoning and paprika.  Saute until veggies are tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Add hot sauce to veggies.  Run your fingers through the crab to make sure there are no pieces of shell in the meat.  Break up crabmeat with fingertips and mix into veggies.  Butter toasted bread with remaining 1 tablespoon of diced butter.  Add toast cubes to veggies and moisten, to your liking, with chicken stock.  Adjust seasonings if needed.  Top the grilled portobello caps with stuffing and garnish with chopped parsley.

Pour lettuce into a bowl.  In a smaller bowl, combine lemon curd with vinegar and mustard using a whisk.  Whisk in oil in a slow stream and season dressing with salt and paper to taste.

Serve salad alongside mushrooms...
Soooooo yummy!!!!

It sounds like allot of work, but it really isn't...the prep is only about 15 mins and cook time altogether is just about 10...

The next recipe is a delicious pasta recipe to use the remaining crab, that is if you bought the bigger container from Costco...which of course I would suggest because then you get to have crab 2 times in the same week...HEAVEN!!!  Well if you love crab as much as I do...

Spicy Crab and Pasta

Another goodie from Rachel Ray...

1 pound pasta of your choice (my fav is always linguini)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small bits
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, eyeball it, medium to spicy heat level
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry Sherry or Marsala (not cooking Sherry)
8 ounces, drained weight, lump crabmeat
1 (28 ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup half and half or cream
Shredded Romano or Parmigiano, your pick
10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, cut in ribbons


Place a large pot of water on to boil.  Add pasta and salt water.  Cook to al dente.

While water comes to a boil, heat a deep skillet over medium heat.
Add olive oil and butter.  To warm oil and butter add crushed red pepper flakes, garlic and shallots, saute 3 minutes, add crimini mushrooms and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes more.  Deglaze the pan with Sherry or Marsala wine, scatter in crabmeat feeling for shell bits as you go.  Warm the ingredients through, a minute or so, stir in tomatoes and heat through 2-3 minutes.  Stir in half and half and reduce heat to lowest setting.

Drain pasta when cooked to al dente and toss with sauce and crab.  Top with cheese and basil.


I am totally in a cooking mood today so these are what I am cooking today...
As I have stated before my husband is a vegetarian although he does allow himself to have fish and seafood from time to time.  Anyway he absolutely loves these homemade veggie burgers, so I am doing up several to put into the freezer for him. Doing them homemade is not only fun, but a huge savings, as 4 of the "Garden Burgers" are now running almost $5.00. I can make 10 homemade patties for the price of 1 cup of brown rice, 2 cans of black beans 1 small onion, 1/2 of a red pepper, 1/2 of a green pepper, a little frozen corn-thawed, 1 egg and some bread crumbs. I use leftover bits of bread that I put in the freezer to make bread crumbs.  So all in all the total cost for 10 comes out to about $4.00 so quite a savings. And they are much bigger, thicker patties.

I serve them with onion, tomato, lettuce, cheese, pickles, sprouts if you like and you have to have a really good bun...potato, whole wheat or onion buns are all delicious.  He actually likes them on regular whole grain bread as well.

I basically just smash the black beans a bit, add the cooked rice, onions, peppers, corn, egg, bread crumbs and salt and pepper.  Then form patties and fry up in olive oil.  When they are cool I package them up individually for my hubby.

And for the boys to munch on whenever..

Oh my gosh I love her..everything about her!
Be sure to visit her site, if you haven't already..she is such a joy and always makes this girl smile!!!

Well thats about it for cooking today...
Now on to other things..

Next thing on my list for this week is painting my Grandma and Grandpa's picnic table.
That story and pictures coming soon!

Ta Dah...Me

Monday, June 13, 2011

"One Project Complete"

Wanted to take a quick moment to share..
Finished the front of my Art Journal for Soul Restoration II class..
I have to say I love it, its adorable and soooo ME!!

I made the heart out of little pieces of scrunched up tissue paper and then used Mod Podge to adhere

It is kind of hard to see, but I started by totally covering the whole front of the book with red paint..
lightly gessoed over it,  Mod Podged an old fashioned black and white kind of english garden scene paper over it, then gessoed again and started adding paint with bubble wrap and a checkerboard stencil.
Finished off by doodling, doodling and more doodling..

a couple of cutie pie rub-ons

A few hearts in various sizes, papers and stamps

And then of course some writing and stamped words...

That's it..
On to the next project


"Its Raining Again...Are You Kidding Me?"

Enough already, this is not Seattle...
If you happened to read my blog yesterday, I was talking about making a trip to my favorite garden store for some lovelies today..
Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and how dumb of me to make the assumption that today was going to be the same...but alas...woke up to this...!!!

Well I will not be detoured...rain or no rain I am going to have my little outing and even if I have to get soaked planting those said little lovelies, I'm going to do it..
For heavens sake, its June 13th..what in the world is up with all this rain and cooler temps..?

Well enough negative blathering on my part...

Yesterday I took some photos of our front and backyard gardens...the Mr. had just made everything so pretty...!!!  And boy were there lots of weeds to tend..
I love, love, love my yard...our retreat of sorts..
It will look so much prettier with some color..not that I don't love green!!!


Just imagine all sorts of flowers nestled in and along the walkway...
Stupid weather!!!

I love this Rhododendron..its hard to see but it is such a beautiful, subtle, soft yellow...soooo pretty!

Its difficult to tell in this picture, but these leaves are really big and if the poopey weather ever minds it manners they will grow to be huge...the only bummer is the slugs love these leaves...oh well, so be it..we don't believe in using pest controls or weed killers or anything...nature is nature...and who am I to deprive those little pesky slugs of their veggies..

This is the little arbor that my husband and son's built for my daughter's wedding in our backyard in September of 08!!

It was so perfect at the wedding!!! Obviously now though it needs a new coat of that clear sealer stuff to brighten it up..

A couple more pictures of the yard from the wedding

It was so beautiful and the perfect lovely day...and if you look real close, on the left halfway down the aisle is our pup just laying in the sun during the wedding...soooo cute..

This was photographed from husband patiently strung silk orchids on fishing line to hang as if they were floating...this picture doesn't really do it justice but it was stunning...they would move slightly with the breeze.

Just one more of the back yard at the was quite lovely...

And a couple more from yesterday...

There's are pup Maddie...she is almost 13 now and such an incredible canine soul..
She typically hates her picture taken, but I snuck this one in on her...

I love these little plants and the little pink flowers, but let me tell you they are soooo incredibly invasive and will choke out everything in their path...and on top of that, when you pull them out they stink to high heaven...a sickly sweet smell....!!!

One more..

The ferns are quite incredible this year...but then again they multiply like crazy...we are going to have to dig a bunch up and move them to my daughter's house....they are trying to take over!!!

Well thats it for my little garden tour...hope to take more pictures after the addition of flowering lovelies..

Hope you enjoyed..


Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Sunday And The Livin Is Easy, With Some Major Randomness Thrown In"

Awakened this morning to sunshine and birdsong..
The Mr off golfing
The son off to work
My faithful pup curled on the blanket beside my bed..
I open my eyes, stretch these old bones of mine, glance down as my pup looks up at me delighted with my waking, stretching herself with a big yawn..

We climb out of our resting spots, the both of us meander our way down the hall towards the coffee...hmm...I look down and inquire of her, "well girl, should it be regular pot this morning or the delightful treat of the French press?"
As she sits waiting beside me she looks up with that adoring look only a most faithful devoted canine friend can decision on her part...
Deciding myself upon the regular pot, much quicker, and admittedly I am feeling a bit lazy this morning..
We wait her and I...I think the coffee pot is quite like the pot of boiling water...just sits there if you stare at it..
Off we go for moments of morning necessities..
Ahhh..the smell of a brewed pot of loveliness..
Mug in hand, pup traipsing behind, out we go for a bit of patio pondering on such a lovely day...

New projects to ponder...
Starting with this...

Now that the sun has come out, tomorrow shall bring a trip to my favorite garden store "Judy's Enchanted Garden" for a bit of flowery color and on to the hardware store for a few pots to paint and fill..

And then I dream of, as I swing peacefully, this beautiful patio..
I think I must dream of something like this...

including those incredible doors...I do however worry about the rain..will have to continue to ponder that a bit..maybe a large patio umbrella like a red one..such a lovely daydream to start ones morning time!

I so however have a great umbrella now but its that ugly hunter green color..I wonder if you can paint them successfully...? A red or brown background with lots of flowers or something would be this maybe..

So cute...I think I would paint the outside Brown and the underside like this..that way it could be seen..ok now I'm totally lovin this daydream..


What to do, what to do..
reading...most certainly
a bit of painting...YES, my gosh that's it..

One mug consumed and I toddle off to my brushes and paint..

a few pics of the things I have been working on today..

 A new canvas I am working on for my Angel Daughter...

Of course I really need to get this poor little angel girl some hair and a face would be nice too...a work in progress..

A work in progress for the "Perry Street Fair" I will be a part of in July..

This first week of the new
Soul Restoration II Class

One of our assignments was to decorate a recipe box...its nots quite done yet...but I think its pretty darn cute..

And lastly I started painting my new Art Journal for the class as well..
far from done..just started..

Well that is about it for today's randomness..
What an absolutely wonderful Sunday!

Blessings Always

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Whew I've Been Busy, But Lovin It"

Wow...where have I been?
Well, to be honest, I have been inhabiting an incredible parallel universe!  Has she finally gone over the edge you might be asking yourself..?
In a way yes...over the edge into the bliss of Christy Tomlinson's

I have been completely immersed in this incredible class..
So many incredible teaching videos..
So many amazing techniques..
Sooooooo many ideas floating around in this little red head of mine..
I have been in heaven, feeling strong and productive, peaceful and  content...

And here are a few recent creations that landed on the paper of my ART JOURNAL..!!

The beginning...

Still have some more journaling to put on this one...but I absolutely adore it!!

Love, Love, Love this cutie pie!!! Makes me so happy just looking at it!!

And this one too!!!  The day I did both of these was such a fun day..

What a crappy picture...oh Val you silly girl, didn't you see that awful glare..
anyway..this was a really cool class..Christy taught us how to mix texture medium with paint and then use stencils or pretty much anything you like, adding incredible texture to your what I actually did was mix gel medium with Liquitex Ink...I then obviously filled butterfly stencils..and embedded the buttons into it..when dry they are all shiny and bumpy and so cool!!!

I love this page...
The day I created this page I had the luxury of laying down for a rest mid afternoon...outside the sounds of lawns being mowed and sweet little birds happily singing from the tree outside my bedroom window lulled me to such a wonderful, peaceful sleep.

There is that darn glare again..!!
My husband absolutely loves this page..I created it by using a darling bird stencil I bought from Christy's store 

The stencil is from "Crafter's Workshop"
I used two small paintbrushes and brown and green chalk ink from "Color Box" to fill in the birds, branches and leaves to create the background...I think it turned about quite pretty...

So much fun for me...
I have loved every lesson, loved every new idea and
Absolutely loved this class with all my HEARTS!!!
Thank you Christy for teaching me more than you will ever know...