Love is in the air...

it's that time of year...
Time for the little ones to locate a shoebox,
round up some pink and red construction paper
Mom's roll of tinfoil,
and perhaps
  a paper heart doily or two... 
(loved those)
Valentines boxes...
I loved making these when I was young. 
Anyone else?
It was always such a contest
to see 
who had the best box.

So a little school days inspiration
we have a new pattern
"Be My Valentine".
Our box
is going to be a heart-shaped
chocolate sampler box
Whitman's chocolates...
We're going to
it into a fun little box
to keep
our scissors, thimbles
and any other 
stitching ditty you desire...
We aren't going to use construction paper,
old pages from books
sheet music
will be our
paper of choice...
Pattern includes charts for a
cross stitched heart-shape pincushion, 
an envelope-shaped needle keep
an embellished
needle threader.
All little projects fit nice and snug in the little sewing box... 
All 4 projects on the 
"Be My Valentine" chart
are quick stitches,
a fun weekend project!

And for those who can think outside of the box,
(no pun intended!)
this certainly doesn't have to be done in Valentine's colors...
can you visualize this in browns & blues?  
Paint the heart brown
switch out the red and ivory flosses
for blues and browns
you have a piece
to leave out 
enjoy year round.
since this is the season of Love,
I chose to do mine in reds.

 Speaking of Love...
for all you eagle lovers out there,
love is in the air at the Decorah, IA eagles nest!
they are courting 
they are busy 
with  house  nest
So go take a look, 
the infamous corn husk
(a new one)
is in the nest once again...
makes me laugh!

And lastly,
"March's Word Play"
is now ready!

Have a good week,


Have you bought your box of chocolates yet?

Have you eaten them all yet???

Be My Valentine 
pattern is releasing
along with
March's Word Play!

And on a more humorous note...
for all of us
chocolate pokers
pinchers out there!!
I feel so badly now,
I had no idea
they felt this way
about me...

Until tomorrow,


Life is like a box of chocolates...

you just never know what your gonna get...
to quote Forrest Gump. 

I've had this idea floating around in my head,
and I couldn't seem to think of anything else.
So it meant a trip to Wal-Mart to buy myself a box of chocolates.

I woke this morning to take a photo of my purchase for today's blog posting
and this is what I found...
Hmmm...the dh must have thought I bought these for him.
Sorry honey.
These are for me.
It appears he needs some practice on finding the carmel in the box.
{tee hee hee}
The carmel one you see, is really the only one that I care about...
I just know 
that that square one
on the right is the carmel.
Carmels are
I've now learned this 
after lots and lots of practice,
trust me!
When I see a box of chocolates
I always think of how mad my mother would get
when we were young kids.  
My parents would receive a box of chocolates
from their landlord
each Christmas.
  It was as big as the back 40.
  I. kid. you. not.  

Us kids would do this...
you know,
just give the piece of chocolate
the little finger test
on it's bottom side...
if it wasn't something we liked,
it was put back 
and the poking
would continue
until the carmels
were all gone...

So when Mom had the urge for a piece of chocolate,
particularly a carmel, 
there was nothing left 
but the yucky ones.
Yucky ones 
with holes in the bottom!!
She could be heard from the kitchen,
"looks like the kids have been into the box of chocolates"...

This post is a little heads up
for a fun Valentines pattern that is coming.
  I'm hoping for a weekend release...
stay tuned.  

I always always feel badly
about throwing the cute little heart shaped
boxes away,
so I've incorporated
a spent heart box
into a fun little cross stitch pattern.

So if this sounds like something
you will want to partake in...
run to your local 
and buy yourself one of these...

 It is the 3 oz sized Whitman's sampler heart.
  You will find it wrapped in red cellophane. 
And if you can't find one locally,
go here to order yourself one online.
You may want to order more then one,
this little project would 
make quick & easy
little gift
for giving.

And here is just a tiny little peak
at what we're going to do 
with the heart-shaped box.
Think cross stitch...
Think little place to keep scissors 
other stitching ditties...
Think tiny little pinkeep...
And just think 
how good
that carmel 
on the right side of the box
is going to taste!

Have a good one,



Live auction of a huge collection of American schoolgirl samplers now going on here...


It's Saturday

it's Saturday AM
2:30 AM
and I'm awake. 
Wide awake.
My mind is full of all the things
that I want need to get accomplished over my weekend...

Like finish stitching March's Word Play, 
and complete it's patterns instructions,
pattern cover graphics need to be generated...
there's no time for a breather between March and April's word play,
no week off this time around...

I need to get Aprils finished 
so it can be released
at the upcoming TNNA show.

I need to get some punch needle patterns
for spring
sketched & punched.

I need to get my W-2's done
sales tax paid
before the end of the month.

I need to get my 2011 taxes
 to the accountant
before April 1
this year,
in case grand baby #2 decides to come early,
like her brother did...
so I can go help!
I need to order some items we are sold
out of
at Country Stitches.

I roll over and look at the clock 
I think it now says something
like 2:33 AM.
I'm pretty sure 
by now 
the clock might not be moving...

I continue to toss and turn
with my mind
full of stuff 
I've got to get done.
It's now 4:00 AM.
I saw 3:00 AM,
I decided my
cluttered mind wins,
and I get up.
  Up for the day.
No one in the neighborhood is up with me...
we are the only house
with lights on...

The coffee pot is on.
It's 4:00 AM
my day of stitching has begun.

Coffee pot is empty by 6:00 AM.
 you know you are in for a long day
when this happens...

While stitching
drinking coffee
like a maniac,
I must add,
my mind turns to
"what's for lunch",
"what's for dinner"???
I decided it
was going to be 
just a
does anyone else do this??

what makes really really good leftovers? 

This is a new recipe that I tried on my family over the holiday,
with some adjustments made to it, 
by yours truly...
  It was to be made in a crock-pot,
but I needed to speed things up a tad
and it works in an oven too.

  I don't like cottage cheese, 
makes me gag,
{looks like baby barf, sorry}

So it is something 
that I always omit
from any lasagna recipe. 

What caught my eye 
with this recipe
is there is no cottage cheese,
but calls for Alfredo sauce instead, yummers... 
It also calls for the
no-boil lasagna noodles. 
one less messy step
that I don't enjoy doing..
.my noodles always rip

So folks, today's recipe share is

Let's start, shall we?  
Brown one pound of ground beef, with 1/2 chopped onion, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked.
And while the hamburger is browning, gather up these necessary ingredients...
After hamburger is browned; drain.
  Return hamburger to pan and stir in 8 oz of tomato sauce, 26 oz of your favorite pasta sauce
(our family favorite is Bertolli).  Add 2 tsps. of Italian seasoning mix.
Stir; mixing well.
Grease a glass cake pan.  Spread 3/4 cup of the meat mixture into the bottom of the pan.
Layer 3 no-boil noodles over the sauce.
Spread evenly with 1/3 of the Alfredo sauce.
Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Spread evenly with 1/3 of the beef mixture.  Repeat layers two more times, ending with the beef mixture.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese over the top.  Cover with tin foil and bake at 325 degrees for one hour.  Remove tin foil and bake for an additional 20 - 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.
Let set at room temp for 15 minutes to set-up.  Cut into servings, using a pizza cutter for easy cutting!
Serve with a fresh green salad and toasted garlic french baguette bread.

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I think
on this 
cold & snowy
Iowa morning...
I'll let
needle & thread
take me
to a warmer place...
a place where
daffodils are blooming
the bees are just 
beginning to awaken...
Where Peter Cottontails
are nibbling 
(and maybe my daffodils, too)

Would you like to join me?
Bundle up & stay warm folks,


What inspires me...

It's usually color that inspires me.
Old & worn colors
old ditties 
that I collect...
Look at the color of the roof on this little house.
A little cardboard Putz house
(circa 1900 - 1920's).
Little houses I get out each Christmas and set in my window sills
and on cupboard shelves.
 This old rusty red is my favorite color.
Old hand painted composition nativity sheep...
look at that color of  the grass
An old shutter green.
Just take in the lovely shade of white
these old stick leg Putz sheep
have turned with time...
a dirty shaker white,
my favorite shade of white.
So these little collectibles,
in their old & worn colors,
that I get out each  December 
was my inspiration
for the soon to be released 
March Word Play pattern...

Silly isn't it though? 

When I think of March,
the first thought that comes to mind
is the saying,
"In like a lion, out like a lamb"...  
or vice versa. 
Living in Iowa we always hoped for the out like a lamb.  

When I think of March,
I think of St Patricks Day 
a country I would love to visit some day...

.  My husbands mother was born in Ireland. 
She would later meet her military husband,
an become a war bride.
  I think of the beautiful green emerald jewelry 
she would wear in the month of March, 
jewelry that was gifted to her
by her jeweler husband.
Emeralds very similar in color 
to the old chippy paint on my composition sheep...

  It's fun to try and visualize
what the countryside of Ireland
must look like...
  What comes to mind
is very lush green countryside,
with gently rolling hills.. 
Little white bungalow houses
with perhaps red tile roofs 
 a  maybe even a little old man
out herding his flock...

When I think of March, I think of the four leaf clover,
or a shamrock 
and the little story 
that goes with it
about bringing one good luck. 
  I couldn't design
March's Word Play chart without adding this motif....
I spent many of summer days
of my childhood days on the farm,
looking for four leaf clovers. 
  When one was found
we would tuck it
between the pages our old black bible 
to dry and safekeepings...

isn't it
how patterns come to be...

Have a good day,


estos son deliciosos!

"these are delicious"!

 {Fajita Pulled-Pork Wraps with Avocado-Onion Slaw}

Today's recipe share is a new recipe try for me,
and it earned itself a smiley face :0)
The recipe was located while perusing through my stacks and stacks of cookbook magazines. I have a real weakness for these...  I stand and glance at them, while waiting in the check-out lane of the grocery store and I have a real hard time resisting the temptation to buy...
anyone else have a "cookbook magazine weakness"???  

It's a crock pot recipe and would make a wonderful item to serve if you're hosting a super-bowl gathering.   The recipe comes from a magazine by Pillsbury, titled Slow Cooker - 325 hearty recipes  

Let's begin, shall we...
In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.   Brown all sides of a 3 pound pork shoulder/butt roast until nicely browned.  Season with freshly ground salt and pepper.  It is this step that will seal in the meat juices.
After meat is browned, place in a low temp crock pot; cook for 7 - 8 hours or until the meat starts to fall apart.

When the meat is done, shred with two forks...
the meat will easily fall apart,
Go ahead, snitch a taste...
season with salt and pepper to your liking.
Add 2 tsp chili powder, 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin and one 16 oz jar of mild, thick and chunky salsa;mix well.
Now it's time to make the Avocado-Onion Slaw...
don't skip this part folks,
it is what really makes these fajitas good.  The slaw adds a nice and creamy crunch. 

Finely chop 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Using one medium onion, halved and thinly sliced

Pit and peel two medium sized avocados.
Cut into 1/2" cubes.
In a medium bowl, mix 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 1/2 tsp salt.  Stir in onions and cilantro.
Gently stir in avocado chunks.
 Warm tortillas (6 inch size) according to package directions.  Spoon pork mixture on tortillas; top with avocado-onion slaw.

And for an added kick,
if you wish,
season with freshly ground pepper and a dash of lemon/lime salt...
adds just the right about of lemon-lime kick!

Spanish Rice makes a quick and easy side dish to these fajitas.

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