Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Favorite Things

A list to remind me for those times "when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad..."

Have a very Happy Holidays and the Merriest of Christmas!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Ginger Winner

daisychain abc sampler

The winner of the Winter can be Crewel giveaway is motherof2miracles.  She stitched this lovely Daisychain Sampler you see above.  It was fun to know that motherof2miracles was stitching away on this in her home as I did the same in mine.  I'll snap a picture of my own just as soon as this PNW weather brings us a slightly brighter day. (In other words... don't hold your breath.  Reports are for snow this weekend!)

A gingerbread heart mobile kit is on its way to you motherof2miracles.  I'll think of you as I stitch mine up this December!  Who else will be joining us?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Winter can be Crewel

Hello fellow Embroidery Companion embroiderers! 

Here is the November's project, "Snowflake and Pine Tree Hot Water Bottle Covers".  A bit late due to some self inflicted power outages while my husband worked these past few day to replace our main service panel to the house. 

These lovely water bottle covers seem so cozy, yet decadent to curl up with on the cold winter nights. Working with the crewel wool yarn also seems perfect to be stitching in winter.  I love this photo below of little Clover curled up and peeking around.  Daisy's the same way but cuter in my opinion, no offence to Clover or anything!

If hot water bottles aren't your thing you might stitch up one of the motifs to make an ornament for the Christmas tree.

A sneak peak to December... the Gingerbread Heart Mobile.  Those who post new photos into the flickr group between now and November 15th will be entered to win materials to work up this cute holiday decoration.  The photographs can be any one of the many embroidery projects we've done over the course of the year, complete projects or incomplete, it doesn't matter. 

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bored (or Genius) Sheepherders

I was literally clapping and cheering out loud as I watch this in utter amazement.  WOW!

(A good 200th post celebration I think!)

Thursday's Lunch

Kale dusted popcorn made for a perfect light fall lunch.  Followed by a sunny stroll with Daisy.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Monday, October 10, 2011

The Morning After

The weekends lend themselves to playing around in the kitchen and trying something new.  Sunday evening it was "Squash Soup with Smoked Peppers and Pumpkin Seed Puree" from last fall's 3191 Quarterly.  We paired it with the homemade seed bread adapted slightly to include pumpkin and sesame seeds and the beautiful seed topping that Stephanie shares in the same quarterly. 

MAV's notes at the top of the soup recipe state, "This soup is so pleasing and very easy to make."  Pleasing? Yes, very much indeed!  Easy? ... Uh no.  By the time we finished making dinner I was too exhausted to even think about lifting a dish bush to clean something.  Needless to say this morning the kitchen has a pretty bad hangover. 

(I hesitated to share these photos with you, not because of the mess but because of that hideous outdated microwave.  Oh well if I'm going to be real in showing the mess, I gotta be real in showing the microwave too! )

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Breaking Free

Zenos Frudakis "Freedom"

The moment you can visualize yourself being free from the things that hold you back, you have indeed begun to set yourself free. ~ Unknown

Things for me seem to be unfolding in just this way.  It's very exciting, overwhelming at times, scary at others, and pure joy and bliss for the rest. 

Hoping that you are finding your freedom! 

(Image and quote found via a friend's facebook posting.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One of those magical evenings

Taken by our dear friend Rick

Eating dinner of steak, sauteed kale and apples, and homemade seed bread.  Resting on the couch embroidering and listening to some good old 45's on this lovely jukebox.  Receiving the warmth of a puppy curled up on my chest and occasional sweet kisses from my husband. 

Giving you a little magic from my evening to make one of yours special.

Homemade Seed Bread
Adapted from The River Cottage Family Cookbook

Dry Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose white flour
1 cup amaranth flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 handful of sunflower seeds (or any seeds you have on hand)

Wet Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
~1 1/4 cups warm (110F) water

butter or olive oil for greasing pan

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl until combined.  The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of salt and I'm considering reducing the salt even more.  In a glass measuring cup spoon in olive oil and sugar and then fill with warm water to just over the 1 1/4 cup mark.  Stir well.  Pour the wet ingredients a little at a time into the flour mixture stirring after each addition using either a spoon or your hands until it's a slightly sticky dough.  I found it easier to use my hands towards the end.  Flour a work surface and knead dough on surface until it's smooth and bouncy, about 10 minutes.  Shape the dough into a ball and place back in the bowl.  It is not necessary to wash the bowl.  I rubbed a little olive oil in the bowl and then turned the ball in the bowl to help prevent a crust from forming on the top of the dough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel.  Allow the dough to rise until doubled for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  After rising punch down dough. Place dough on floured work surface and kneed 10-15 times.  Shape dough into a fat sausage.  Place in greased bread pan.  Set oven temperature to 475F. and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 400F and bake for another 10 minutes.  Take the pan out of the oven and gently lift and turn the loaf upside down in the pan.  Put in oven again from another 5 to 10 minutes to brown the bottom.  Tap the base of the loaf, if it sounds hollow it's done!  I love this baking method.  It makes for a pretty loaf of bread.  I typically start checking for doneness after 5 minutes and then every 1-2 minutes after that if it's not done yet.  This bread tastes very earthy and rustic to me, great for fall!

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the bread, could not resist diving in and devouring it before a photo could be taken!

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's all a work in progress

 July/August's Strawberry Tablecloth:  Those long and short stitches are not my favorite.

September's Harvest Apron:  Doing three motifs on the bottom hem might be enough for me.

Happy weekend to you!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Daisy in the Sunshine

There's still a little pink in that cute Cavalier nose. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Sample of Samplers

Fellow Embroiderers,

October is Sampler Month for the Embroidery Companion Sew Along.  Won't you join in working up a beautiful sampler?

First up we have the Eyelet Sampler.  This sampler made it into my hoop nearly a year ago and at near finished I put it aside never to find my way back to complete it.  This sew along is just the kick in the pants I need! 

Next up we have the Black work Sampler.  Besomom has a beautiful take of this sampler on flickr.

Last but not least we have the Folk Sampler which I am hoping to get a start on this month.  Of course after I finish the Eyelet Sampler first. 

Now I realize a month may be a short length of time to complete these samplers for some, at least it will be for me.  So please don't hesitate to post up 'in progress' photographs in the flickr group.  That's what I'll be doing!  

If you don't have the Embroidery Companion and would still like to join us with a sampler we'd love to have you.  Alicia has another great one up in her shop as well. 

Happy Stitching!  

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Quick Note

Hi all A Simple Breath readers!

I apologize for my absence here of late.  Sitting at a computer for any stretch of time is somewhat difficult for me right now.  Low back and hip pain will do that to a person.  Please know I haven't forgotten this space and miss it a great deal.  Little stories pop into my head all the time that I want to share.  Believe me when I say I'll be here when I can.  Hope you have an enjoyable weekend!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Number 13: Paddle a Canoe

Back in July while visiting family for our annual mountain cabin trip I had a chance to paddle a canoe.  It's funny because when I put this on my list I envisioned that I'd be first paddling at the Washington Arboretum.  We've gone to the same cabin every summer for the last five or six years but this is the first year they had the canoe.  It was definitely a hit with my family.  Yes the pond was small but it's perfect for my little nephews have a solo ride.  And perfect for me to try out paddling!  My brother-in-law was kind of enough to help take me out.  He had three rules for riding in the canoe.  I can't remember for the first two now but the last one was:  Don't Panic!  You know how to swim so if you fall in just swim to the side.  "Don't Panic!" is a good life rule!

My nephew Tanner and Daisy watching me paddle the canoe.
I'm in the process of reworking my 30 things list.  There were a few I didn't get to during the course of the year and a few I'd like to add.  I'll be sure to share soon! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oh Daisy!

Oh Daisy!

Poor Daisy has had a rough couple of weeks first with really bad diarrhea and then she had to have a little surgery to remove her lady parts.  But she is hanging in there with the sweetest spirit.  Oh how much I love this little Cavalier!


Embroidery Companion Sew Along: Gingham

Gingham, don't you just love it?  It's classic, homely, and easy on the pocketbook.  As I was skimming through Embroidery Companion I noticed how many projects use this wonderful fabric.  From the beginning I knew I wanted to make the "Harvest Apron" for September.  But if that's not your cup of tea maybe one of the other gingham projects will be. 

The "Chicken Scratch Shelf Edging" would be a great way to brighten up a shelf in the kitchen or perhaps the fireplace mantle which is where I hope to put one.  Or you could adapt it to use on an apron.  If you're still trying to hold on to summer the "Farmstand Baby Bibs" would be a fun choice.  No babies around?  The pattern could easily become framed wall art for the kitchen or fun dish towels.  The "Plum Tree Tablecloth" is another gingham project in the book that could be quick way to freshen up the dining room for fall.  

Which ever gingham project you choose just be sure to have fun with it!

Here are a couple links to get you excited about gingham:
Here's to happy September stitches!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Any Way the Cookie Crumbles

Cookie Crumbles

Gluten Free Masa Cookies
adapted from Good to The Grain

1 cup corn flour
1 cup Gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heave cream
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375.  Line two baking sheets with parchment. Sift dry ingredients into standing mixer.  Add butter cut into ~1/4 inch pieces and mix with paddle attachment on low for 1-2 minutes.  Increase speed to medium and mix for another 4-5 minutes or until butter is as course as cornmeal.  Add heavy cream and eggs and mix until combined.  Scoop dough about 1 tablespoon and place on baking sheets.  Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand.  Bake for 15-20 minutes rotating baking sheets half way through.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday Treasures (on Wednesday): Little finds

Tuesday slipped away from me real fast so now here are my little finds from the weekend's antique shopping.  Aren't they cute?  Antique shopping can become overwhelming for me sometimes.  There are just too many pretty things out there and I don't have the space to bring them all home.  For now I've decided that have ground rules with the sort of things that come home with me. 
  • Blue and White:  I'm in the process of decorating my home in these base colors.
  • Flowers:  Mostly roses and either on china or botanical prints.
  • Handwork: embroidery or lace work that is either functional or that I could use to turn into a quilt like this one here.
  • Something functional for my home.  For example Patrick and I have been scouting for a old fashioned milk shake machine.  We did happen to find a nice one on Saturday but the price tag was a little steep.
I'm sure there will be things I find to break these little rules but it's a good start.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Antique Shopping

antique shopping

Saturday was spent with my cutie in Snohomish.  We went to pick up some of that excellent fireweed honey and stopped for a short browse through the antique shops.  This lovely didn't make it home with but a few other goodies did.  I'll try and share tomorrow with a Tuesday Treasure!

Little Random Thought:  When faced with any sort of an incline hill while walking I often feel dread, like I'm never going to make it up that hill.  More and more on my walks I've been pushing my self to see those hills as a challenge and not a threat.  One thing that's helped is to focus on pushing down through my feet.  On my walk with Daisy today I had this thought or as my mom would say "a reflection from the path"...

Pushing down into the hills flattens them out.

Maybe that could apply to other areas of life, eh?  Hope you had a lovely weekend and enjoy the week ahead! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

August Break: At the Stormwater Pond

A stormwater pond might not sound that glamorous but it's amazing what hidden little treasures can be found!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August Break - Crochet

A beautiful few moments spent outside on a blanket with a bit of yarn and an adorable Cavalier.  I have to tell you though that this pure bliss moment was interrupted by an annoying squirrel who squawked at me and Daisy from our giant maple tree for a good ten minutes straight.  It sounded like he was trying to impersonate a crow only to come out sounding like a sick bird. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Strawberry Fields

Hi all~  I realize that I've been a terrible host of the Embroidery Companion Sew Along the last couple months.  Will you please forgive me?  Summers seem to do this to me.  Don't get me wrong though crafting has happened here just not much of the embroidery kind.

When last we met on the blog the Hipstamatic Hair Wear was the project and that was in June!  I left a little blurb on the flickr group last month announcing the July project as the Strawberry Tablecloth.  As you can see I got only so far as purchasing the materials.  Let's keep August simple as kids start back to school and the last summer vacations are enjoyed.  It's catch up month here on the Embroidery Companion Sew Along.  Have a crack at the Strawberry Tablecloth or perhaps like me you have a couple loose ends to finish up on other sew along projects of the past months.  

Would you ladies care if this sew along spilled over into 2012?  There are just so many wonderful projects in this book and it's hard to fit them all into 12 months.  Looking ahead there are some samplers in the book that may take a little longer than a month to complete.  I was thinking of doing a pick and choose on the samplers.  I can't tell you how excited I am about the folk sampler.  Of the projects left in the book which are you looking forward to doing most?

Until next time.... Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wanna go for a walk?

Those are magic words to a little Cavalier's ears.  Once said there is a five second delay while Daisy processes what those five magic words mean and then she bounces on your head like Tigger.  Soon you are covered in a mass of puppy kisses.  She is practically chomping at your heals to get out the door.  Wanna join us for our walk?

Where a bear will wave a little hello.

Wild roses are in bloom.

Blackberries are starting to grow.

There are old familiar smells.

Adventures that lie ahead.

Pink roses stand tall.

At the park you can take a little break in the grass.

And watch the kids swing and slide.

Enjoy the neighbors pretty gardens.

Back at home fresh blueberries wait.

I think she thought some rabbits or crows might stop by for a visit.
Tiny red strawberries can make an excellent snack.

Pink Azaleas bask in the sunlight after all the cloudy days of late.

And one little yellow quince waits for fall.  (But let's not rush into that just yet.)

Thanks for walking with us!