Fresh & Delicious....

My son Matthew has been telling me how delicious these marinated tomatoes are, so I thought I'd give them a try this evening. Delicious indeed & a nice change from A-1 sauce! This recipe will definately get a smiley face in my book!
2 garden fresh tomatoes (seeded & chopped)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh basil
1 minced shallot (I used onion)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix together and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Spoon over a grilled steak just before serving.


New M&M's...in electrifying colors

Aren't these cool? NEW electrifying colors of orange, lime green, purple & black! I will admit I am the biggest sucker for NEW items at the grocery story....gets me everytime!

We enjoyed another beautiful autumn day here in Iowa, a perfect day to have the windows open, decorate the house for Halloween, actually bake a meal in the oven (rather then grilling) and well of course bake Monster cookies!
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
12 oz. chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup margerine, softened
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
4 1/2 c. uncooked quick oatmeal
6 oz. milk chocolate & caramel swirled chocolate chips (Toll House)
1/4 pound M & M's
Cream together sugars, peanut butter and margarine. Add eggs, vanilla and baking soda. Mix well. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips and M&M's. Place on cookie sheet using an ice cream dipper. Flatten with a glass that has been dipped into sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 14 to 15 minutes. The trick to making perfect Monster Cookies is to not overbake! Yes, you read the recipe correctly...no flour in these cookies!
brenda gervais


A visit to the pumpkin farm!

Look at all these goodies in my car trunk! Once the frost takes my annual flowers I will replace them with hardy mums and place small vignettes of pumpkins & mums around the yard. My favorite one is the pale orange one with all of the bumps on it....wish I would have bought more of them....I can forsee another trip to the pumpkin farm!!!!

Freshly picked bittersweet....waiting to be placed on the mantle & any other little nook and cranny I can find in my house! One of my favorite items to decorate with!

Until next time,

Putting on a show...

After a couple of nice rainy days & cooler temperatures the flowers seem to be putting on their last show, before Jack Frost arrives! I always like to take pictures of my flowers this time of year, reminds me what flowers did good and which didn't do so good.

Impatients & a new type of begonia that I tried this year (sorry, can't remember the name). The begonia has bloomed and bloomed all summer. Plan on planting more of these next year!

The hanging baskets are a miniature impatients and a little hummingbird that is migrating through visits these. He busily sucks the nectar for some time and when his little wings become tired he sits on the railing and keeps an eye on the baskets...very fun to watch! These are amazing little creatures.These hostas were recovered from an area in our yard that was being re-landscaped a couple of years ago. The landscaper felt that they were very old plants, yet good cultivers. He suggested that we should try saving them. They were dug up and moved to a new area in our yard and they have never looked better...they have been beautiful all summer long. They are a beautiful shade of green and our now putting forth their pretty white blossoms.

Red & blue salvia...this is the first year that I planted this in this garden and they did quite well. I am one who likes to try new flowers in new beds each year. Below these flowers, the tulip and daffodil bulbs are resting and hopefully will put on a pretty show next spring. Last spring was not a good growing season for the bulbs, too cold with a late springtime snow.

More begonias.....
Red & white impatients....we have a very shaded lawn and impatients are always a good flower of choice for our yard.
Viburnum Bush
A couple of days ago I was looking out my kitchen window to see one of these bushes just a moving away and then I spotted a robin jumping up and down, plucking the berries from the bush. This is a Verburnum bush and has pretty white flowers in the spring and provides bright red berries for the birds in the colder months when seed and bugs become sparse.
Already looking forward to when the new seed catalogs arrive....it gets me through the long Iowa winters!


Sugar & Spice Sampler Cross Stitch Pattern

Coming soon! I've been working on this little guy for a few weeks now and ta-da he is finally done! When I stitch my mind tends to wander to other things....most often my next design, upcoming deadlines and well with this one....my Mother's gingerbread cookies! Mom's gingerbread cookies are a tradition at Christmas and Thanksgiving family gatherings. She makes turkey shaped cookies for Thanksgiving and Reindeer at Christmas.... simply decorated with just a tiny chocolate chip for the eyes. Thin & crispy and so yummy!!
Sugar & Spice Sampler is worked on 35 count hand-dyed linen with 1 strand over 1 thread. The little gingerbread boy measures just 6" tall. This little guy looks great in an old wooden dough bowl with fresh pine, rose hips, cinnamon sticks tucked around it.
Pattern will be ready for shipment late next week.
Happy stitching,


Making Snow Angels in August!!

Often times as I sit down with my pad of paper & pencil to design, my mind turns towards childhood memories! This must mean I am still young at heart, right??!! How many of you made snow angels as a child? For those of you who aren't so privileged to live in the snowy parts of the country, let me explain! After a fresh snow fall you lie down in the snow and move your arms and legs (somewhat like doing a jumping jack, lying down) and the movement in the snow makes a beautiful silhouette of an angel. The trick was standing up very carefully, not to disturb the angel. So goes the inspiration for the "WINTER WONDERLAND" cross stitch pattern. This pattern includes the 2 pictured snow angels (just a mere 4" tall) and a Merry Christmas winter scene picture. The angels have cross stitched little tummies & clay shaped head and wings. Their wings are gently dusted with mica flakes to resemble the fresh, sparkly snow that made the best snow angels.

This pattern & another Christmas themed cross stitch pattern will be released soon. Watch here for more details.

Until next time,