Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sneak Peek at Jenny Bean #1

I put the last little stitches in Jenny Bean's Friendship Sampler last night. Oh, it is so pretty! My son Harrison said he loves the color palette, and my husband (as always) said: "Good work." Once a week I will reveal another quadrant of the sampler. This one you've already seen a little bit of, but next week, you'll get to see a little more.

I'm posting a threads list here, too, so you can check your stash and make sure you've got what you need. The Gentle Art will be selling thread packs at market to shops (NONE of these are limited edition colors.) I hope you enjoy this sampler -- it was really fun to stitch.
  • Parchment
  • Wood Trail
  • Toasted Barley
  • Moonlit Path
  • Cherry Bark
  • Espresso Bean
  • Old Brick
  • Forest Glade
  • Carmel Corn
  • Mustard Seed
  • Melon Patch
  • Dried Thyme
  • Aged Pewter
  • Maple Syrup
  • Grape Arbor
  • Endive
  • Oatmeal
  • Tomato
  • Raven
  • Piney Woods
A DMC conversion will be provided on the graph. The fabric is 40 ct. French Vanilla by R&R Reproductions. On 40 count, I used one thread, and you will only need one of each skein. If you're going to stitch on any other count, I recommend you get (2) of the Parchment (it's used to fill in all behind the verse.) I'm ordering an Eastside Mouldings Frame.

If you want to pre-order this from me, either just the graph, or the fibers/fabric and/or frame, just do so through my web site. Or have your shop make sure to stop by my booth at market to pick up graphs.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Delicious (and quick) dinner idea

OK, so Pasta Primavera means "Spring Pasta," (and it's the end of summer) but it's so good I could eat it year-round. I adapted a recipe I found online, and this is so good that when I made it last night, I didn't even think to take a picture for my blog. And then I ate it. And it was good. If you've got about a half an hour, a bunch of pantry "basics," and a hungry tummy, I highly recommend this recipe.

Bell Peppers sliced into strips (red/yellow/orange are good, but green will also do)
(1) Medium Yellow Onion sliced into strips (or circles, whatever!)
(3) Carrots cut into coins or strips
(1 or 2) Baby Zucchini cut into coins or strips
(1) Yellow Squash cut into coins or strips
(6) White Mushrooms (or whatever you've got) sliced

(You could leave off or add veggies you've also got around.)

Put all of the above on a cookie sheet with a lip. Drizzle with about
1/2 cup olive oil and add good salt and pepper. Sprinkle on 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning (you'll find this in the spice aisle at the grocery store.) You kind of have to have the Italian Seasoning, I think.

Roast @ 425 for 10 minutes. Stir/flip veggies around to help them cook more evenly, then roast for 10 more minutes.

In the meantime, boil 1 box of your favorite pasta (bow ties are good and what I use. My favorite brand is Barilla.) It'll be trickier to eat if you use spaghetti or other long/skinny pastas. But by all means, use what you've got.

When veggies are done, combine them with the drained pasta and add about a half a cup grated Parmesan and/or Romano cheese
. This is also good with cooked chicken breasts/strips, or you could also do shrimp. If you want to have delicious chicken breasts with it, here's what I do: take two good sized boneless/skinless chicken breasts and start them FIRST. Put them in a little non-stick pan with a drizzle of olive oil on medium-low heat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Let these little guys cook while you're doing everything else. Flip them over to cook the other side. Make sure they're cooked all the way through. I do NOT cut them into strips before cooking, because it keeps the breasts very tender and juicy. If you cut them into strips, they will cook faster, but not be as delicious. Slice cooked breasts into strips and just toss them into your pasta/veggies and mix, or arrange them artfully on top.

This is a really healthy, quick, and delicious meal that will impress your friends or keep you full and happy. Plus, most of this is stuff you're going to have around anyway. And since you have just eaten your veggies, you can treat yourself to a slice of chocolate cake.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jenny's working hard for market

Jenny B. is working hard for market, which is in just over six weeks. I've included a little picture of a corner of her "Jenny Bean's Friendship Sampler," which will kick off the new "Jenny Bean & Friends" group. A number of designers are joining me (er, Jenny) in designing samplers for the fall market season. I'm especially excited about everyone's participation and can't wait to see all of the samplers by Jenny's friends.

The designers participating are: Chessie & Me, Heartstring Samplery, Little House Needleworks, Lizzie Kate, The Primitive Needle, R&R Reproductions, Raise the Roof Designs (Sue!), SamSarah Design Studio, and Shepherd's Bush. Each designer will release her own pattern, under her own label. The fabrics, subject matter, fibers will all be different. I wanted everyone to just have fun designing without size, color or subject restrictions. Heartstring Samplery has already released Poppy Maye Russell's sampler (you can find it as the Kit of the Month on my web site.)

And another thing I'm excited about is my new picture of Miss Jenny Bean. I commissioned an artist from Australia to draw her, and what you see here is a small portion of the logo for this line of designs. It's always nice to put a face with a name.

People are already asking me (daily) what I'll have new at market. This much I know for sure: Jenny Bean's Friendship Sampler and the Spanish Mystery Sampler reproduction (these are both well under way). The rest is still to be created/designed. I basically design, stitch, design, stitch up until the last couple days before market. Since I do all of my printing in-house now, it's easy for me to print things quickly. I do have other ideas, but it's just a matter of executing them. Would you believe some of us designers are still assembling charts the night before market opens? (It's not just this one who pushes it until the last minute.) That's what you get with us creative types -- we're a little flakey!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This is Boo.And this is Ruby.

Both are cats we adopted from our local shelter in the last ten months. Boo was first. Boo was a wild thing. I mean, she was really, really nuts. She stole packages of floss and his them in a corner under the computer desk. She clawed at the carpet. She swiped at Kitty (our oldest cat). She would race around, leap onto an upholstered chair, dig her claws in, and roll her head and eyes around like a crazed lunatic. She jumped on everything, slept in my hair at night, made serious hunting noises at the birdies outside in the tree, and when the doorbell rang, she came running TOWARD the door like a dog (not away from it, like a cat.)

Then we found Ruby.

Ruby was little, and cuddly, and snuggly, and sweet. We brought her home, and Boo did NOT like that one bit. For three days, she hissed, and complained, and groaned, and ran away from that sweet little honey bun.

And on the fourth day, Boo relaxed. She started grooming Ruby and letting that fluffy little black ball snuggle up to her to sleep. When it was time to eat, Boo would stand back and let Ruby go first. And when Ruby tackled Boo to play, Boo kept her claws in like a good cat, and let Ruby win (most of the time.) She stopped stealing floss. She stopped swiping at Kitty. She sleeps at my feet (if she's not sleeping with Ruby). When I look at Boo now, there's nothing but peace behind those beautiful gold-green eyes.

It struck me one day that Boo's personality completely changed within a matter of a few days. We all loved the wild Boo, but we love the calm and almost Zen-like cat we now have. She is patient, and kind, and humble, and giving.

Anybody can make the decision to make changes in her life, and make them immediately. It was Shakespeare who said: "Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie." Every day is a new chance for change!

One of my favorite Christian prayers is from St. Francis of Assissi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness; joy.
O divine Master
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Have a peaceful and lovely day.