Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson


Let me introduce you to an artist who creates the most wonderful pieces. Her name is Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson and her medium is paper, and hand painted paper; torn bits of paper collage, that she calls Paper Paintings. Elizabeth has given me permission to post images of her wonderful works here to share with you. Each one is as beautiful as the next!

 I found Elizabeth and her work online when I was looking for ideas to do collage with the grandkids. I was so intrigued I became a follower of hers and I ordered a copy of her DVD  of Collage Process . 

I love it! I have viewed it many times and will someday try her process. I'll let you know how it turns out. Elizabeth’s work is in galleries, and she does workshops. She has an amazing inspirational story you should see. http://growingbolder.com/media/entertainment/arts/674404.html

I have always been intrigued by art that has a bit of mystery, and for me her pieces are just that. It’s the layers, the hidden and exposed, that pulls me in and keeps me there searching out its secrets. Her drawing skills, composition and colors are amazing.



I hope you will visit her web site to enjoy more of her pieces.
Sign up for her news letter, have a look at where you can view her works in person or enjoy a workshop.


 Aren't they fabulous?  Just so lovely............thanks Elizabeth!


*Join me link up party, Wow Us Wednesdays.*


*Disclosure:  I have not been compensated in any form for doing this article; I am a fan of Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson that wanted to share her and her work with you.

© Copyright  Family Home and Life -2011    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gussied up Craft Table


I have one of those plastic 6 ft tables with folding legs that I use for the grand kids crafting table. It works great with rolling chairs pushed up to it for the kids. The chairs are old office chairs; they swivel and don’t take up too much room. They can be raised or lowered if needed. A couple of the chairs have arms and they are perfect for the smaller ones who could fall off if the chair turns too quickly. I can easily put 6 at this table. Yup works great, but……it was so ugly!

I wanted to make it a little more ‘eye’ friendly but still be washable and I wanted it to look nice in the space that is also my home office.  I searched my fabric cache and found a yellow and white check/plaid with a green thread running through it, something I had purchased years ago to cover some chairs and then changed my mind. I spread it out on the table for a quick audition and decided it would be perfect.  Most fabrics are 44/45 inches wide with some being as narrow as 36 inches. My table is 30 inches wide. 

I cut the length I needed and took some off the width leaving enough to fold under the table edges.  Little fingers would find the edge if it were too short and work it loose.
Then I rummaged around in my studio and found a roll of plastic, it is 36 inches wide, and 4 mil thickness, thick enough to take a lot of abuse from my little ones craft projects.

I used clear wide packaging tape to secure the fabric on the table running it the length and width on the under side.  It helps to have an extra pair of hands for this step. Keep the fabric flat and tight.  I added a couple of staples from my office stapler into the fabric corners (not into the table) to help make it secure.  If the fabric isn’t tight and well attached the plastic won’t stay on well either.

I folded my corners like wrapping a gift. Then I did it all again with the plastic (not using staples this time).

It looks good, and works very well with my office, wipes clean, and if I change my decor I can change the fabric to suit.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First Sun Tea this Season


With the warm weather here bordering on hot already I decided it was time to make sun tea. What’s that?  It’s the best ice tea you’ll ever drink! I grew up on sun tea; it’s milder than brewed tea. You can sweeten it or not, or add different flavored teas along with a regular tea to make your own blend just how you like it.  Now I’m not one for a strong tea, and I don’t usually sweeten it.  I like it lightly sweetened, my waist line loves it in fact, and that’s why I don’t sweeten with sugar anymore. But you won’t catch me putting any artificial stuff in my drink either.  I like Stevia, a plant, or is it an herb, native to the western areas of North and South America that you can buy in convenient little packets just like that artificial stuff and you won’t know the difference from sugar. You can find it at heath food stores and now many super markets carry it too.  Sure ‘they’ say the artificial stuff won’t hurt you but I’m still not going to take a chance and put that into my body.
Alright, so how do I make my sun tea the best ice tea you will ever drink? First I get a 2 quart glass jar and lid, one that has gone through the dishwasher to make sure it’s very clean.

Then I take 5 Lipton tea bags and 1 Vanilla Chai tea bag and suspend them in my jar filled with room temperature filtered water.
I put the lid on with the paper ends of the tea bags dangling out.

                    (I had to answer the phone and my tea started brewing with out me!)

I find the sunniest spot I can, one that will receive 3-4 hours of unblocked sun, and place my jar there. The sun heats the water and slowly brews the tea.  Then I fill a glass or pitcher with ice and serve, or if I’m not using it immediately, I put it in the fridge to chill.
If you like a stronger tea or will be serving it immediately over ice, you may want to add another couple of tea bags.  As long as the tea is outside in the sun it will continue to brew but so will bacteria! Some say you should never make sun tea because it can make you sick. I have never become sick from drinking sun tea, nor has anyone else I know.  If you would like to take every precaution before making sun tea, boil your water first, let it cool before putting it in your glass jar with the teabags. Keep it out in the sun for as short of a time as you can and still get a strong enough brew, say an hour or so. Perhaps by adding more tea bags you can get a strong enough brew with out so much time outside.  Also the caffeine in the tea will slow down the bacteria so if you use herbal teas or decaf, beware of the bacteria dangers! DO NOT add sugar or any other sweetener while it is brewing; sweeteners are food for the bacteria and you may have a problem on your hands.  Add sweeteners just before drinking.
I call this the 'green' way to make tea, using heat energy already available from the sun.  Since I didn't use my stove, I didn't add heat to my already warm house  requiring yet more electricity to cool it down again.  Nor did I have to throw out a batch of stove top brewed tea beause I forgot to watch the brewing time, a bad habit of mine. Nothing wasted.


If you'll excuse me….I’m about due for a tall glass of sun tea on the back patio before I start supper. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Oh no! What did I say?


I  needed to get a new phone the other day so I started looking through my current phone to see what all I wanted to keep and what I didn’t need or want any longer.  In my voice notes I knew I had at least 1 recording of my grand daughter telling me a story as I drove her to school.  So I opened the voice note app to find it…… and low and behold it was filled with recordings! Since I had no memory of attempting recording anything other than the one conversation (I have a hard time figuring out electronics :) I was puzzled.  Looking more closely I realized that the recordings were in 10 min increments over a 24 hr period of time. Oh my gosh!? Some how I must have turned it on and it recorded 24 hours of …… what? Voices? Conversations? …..Private conversations? My life?!
My imagination was running wild and a little scared of what might be on there. That gave me pause to think, I have really been convicted lately about my mouth.  I know I need to be more careful of what and how I talk. Would I hear myself being critical, negative, or speaking love and kindness about the things I talked about that day? I was glad I was home alone, spared the embarrassment and shame because of what might be recorded in my voice notes.
One by one I started listening to them. I keep my phone on my night stand while sleeping, and this is where the recording started.  Now you are not going to get anything steamy here so don’t worry!  Mostly silence all night, a little snoring and rustling covers.  Morning sounds while I had breakfast and dressed to leave; so far so good! Car starting, driving, arriving at my son’s house.
Finally something to listening to! My grand daughter welcoming me, a song she sang as she looked through a toy box, conversation with my daughter in law, and NOTHING to be embarrassed by or ashamed of.  Whew, ok now for the rest of my day.
Sounds from work, muffled voices; phone in my purse. On to evening, phone still in purse.  Getting it out of purse. Looking for the grocery list, talking to husband. 
Are you as bored as I am? Ya, well here’s a list of 9 things I learned from this little happening.
1.       I don’t snore nearly as loud as my husband claims
2.       My life is a lot more boring if you are only listening to sounds from and around me, than I thought it should be
3.       My granddaughters voice always makes me smile
4.       I laugh a lot when I am with her
5.       I say ‘cool’ waaay more often than any gramma should, I am gonna work on that
6.       I sneeze really loud
7.       My husband and I really should work on having more meaningful conversation
8.       I’m really good at convincing him he should be the one to go to the grocery store this time
9.       Its best to live as if some one will be listening in at all hours, because someone is, and maybe your phone too

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread



I just love this recipe for soda bread. Everyone who trys it says it's the best! So delicious and good for you.  It’s easy to make, no kneading or waiting for it to rise, and this is a recipe even the smallest child can help with. My ‘assistant baker’  my grand daughter Anne, first helped me with this recipe when she was 2 years old.  This bread makes a quick and easy gift from your kitchen too, a gift everyone will love.  Wrap and tie a loaf in a vintage style dish cloth for a fun presentation.
In a large bowl mix together well;
         2 cups of all purpose flour
         2 cups of whole wheat flour
         1 ½ cups oatmeal ( I like Old Fashion style rolled oats)
         1 tsp of soda
         1 tsp of salt  
         2-4 tbs of sugar, depending on your preference, we add 4 tbs.
                                                                                                                                                       
After mixing dry ingredients add      
 1 cup of buttermilk

Stir; the dough will still be very dry at this point.  Gradually add more buttermilk until you have a soft wet dough that starts pulling a way from the sides of the bowl as you stir. Sometimes I need to add up to another whole cup of buttermilk.


 
Butter the sides and bottom of a loaf pan; then using whole wheat flour, liberally flour the pan leaving a generous amount on the bottom. 

Dump the dough into the floured pan, level the top with your spoon. 
                                                                                  
 Wet your fingers with water and smooth out the top a little. Don’t over wet the dough!



 Now sprinkle a spoonful of whole wheat flour and a spoonful of oatmeal over the top. Make a cut down the center of the wet dough with a serrated knife.  In my picture I forgot this step, (my assistant didn’t remind me either :) and it still turns out fine.


Bake in a preheated oven at 400°  for 60 minutes.  Cool 5-10 minutes in the pan then remove the loaf and put it on a cooling rack.



If you would like a more rustic style loaf, then use a cast iron skillet or baking stone instead of the loaf pan.  Don’t butter, but liberally flour and then dump the dough on top of floured surface.  Keep the dough in a mound, do not flatten it out, while rounding and smoothing with wet fingers. 

Now wasn’t that simple? Give it a try.



Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread


In a large bowl mix together well;
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups oatmeal 
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
2-4 tbs of sugar, depending on your preference, we add 4 tbs.
1-2 cups of buttermilk


After mixing dry ingredients add 1 cup of buttermilk. Stir; the dough will still be very dry at this point. Gradually add more buttermilk until you have a soft wet dough that starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl as you stir. Sometimes I need to add up to another whole cup of buttermilk.

Butter the sides and bottom of a loaf pan; then using whole wheat flour, liberally flour the pan leaving a generous amount on the bottom. Dump the dough into the floured pan, level the top with your spoon. Wet your fingers with water and smooth out the top a little. Don’t over wet the dough!

Now sprinkle a spoonful of whole wheat flour and a spoonful of oatmeal over the top. Make a cut down the center of the wet dough with a serrated knife. In my picture I forgot this step, (my assistant didn’t remind me either :) and it still turned out fine.

If you would like a more rustic style loaf, then use a cast iron skillet or baking stone instead of the loaf pan. Don’t butter, but liberally flour and then dump the dough on top of floured surface. Keep the dough in a mound (do not flatten it out) while rounding and smoothing with wet fingers.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400° for 50-60 minutes.



Allow bread to sit in pan 5-10 minutes then remove and place it on a cooling rack. Slice when completely cool. After you have baked this bread you may decide to increase or decrease your baking time by 5 minutes or so for the next time. I'm sure you will get it just right.





© Copyright  Family Home and Life -2011    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED




Monday, March 14, 2011

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Flower hair accessories, my Birthday Gift to Reese.


Fabric Flower headbands make great gifts.


Isn't this cute? Oh, and yes the flower head band is too! There are tutorials all over the craft blogger world for these sweet hair accessories. A couple of them are twisted fabric, and two have the edges melted by holding each petal edge near a flame. That makes the fabric curl and pucker slightly adding dimension.


The other two I made are simply felt cut outs layered and sewn together.  Most tutorials have you using a hot glue gun to assemble the flowers but I found my fingers burned and it looked messy. Also the flowers then had a stiff hard feel to them I didn't care for; so, stitching for me, no hot glue!

A couple of tips if you want to make these;
  • Look up a couple tutorials to decide which one will work best for you.
  • For the twisted fabric flowers, I used a cotton fabric, cut my strips about 1 1/2 inches wide.  How long your strips are will be determined by how big you want your finished flower to be. A wider strip will result in a fuller flower.  Experiment a little before you get started.
  • Use a good base. I used a circle of felt and stitched the fabric twist to the base every 1/4 inch or so. The leaves are squares of fabric with the center edges turned under, added when the flower was finished.
  • The flowers with the melted edges took a little time to get just right. You will have to use a synthetic fabric that will melt, most tutorials suggest an organza type fabric. PLEASE NOTE: The fabric can and probably will at some point catch fire.  Please have a bowl of water near to douse your fabric into if needed. You should place the petals close to but not in the flame, slowly turning them to get the effect you desire. I used a clothes pin to hold the smaller petals.  A candle in a jar is not the best to use because it puts your hand over not next to the flame.
  • For the felt flowers, again I drew a template with each layer smaller, and stitched the layers together in the middle adding the leaves last.  On the purple flower I put a yellow circle for a center and did a blanket stitch around it.
  • I used head bands and hair clips I purchased at Wal-mart to attach the flowers to.  The head bands I used had a woven fabric covering making it easy to sew the flower directly onto it. The clips I opened and then neatly stitched the flowers to the back side of it.
So there you have it. I had fun making these and I'm sure to make many more.  What do you think? Pretty cute?


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Linky Parties

Every day I link up my post at these wonder host blogs. I hope you will check out some of these link ups yourself for more great ideas or to link up too. 


Monday Grandma's Briefs GRAND Social, Skip to my Lou,  The Graphics Fairy,    The Dedicated House, Naptime Review, My Favorite Finds, Boogieboard Cottage, PinkapotamusSide Tracked Sarah (healthy recipes)

Monday Night   Mamal Diane , Sugar Bee CraftsCornerstone ConfessionsLadybug Blessings, Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Cozy Little House , Today's Creative Blog, Cherished Bliss, The Kurtz Corner, The Rustic Pig, Natures Nurture, Kathe With an E

Tuesday    Love Bakes Good CakesHim and Her, Funky Pokadot Giraffe, Vintage Wanna Bee, Not Just A Housewife, Creative Itch (sewing projects only), Reasons To Skip The Housework, Homework, Shwin & Shwin, The Winthrop Chronicles, Mercy Ink,   Mod Vintage Life, Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk, House on the Way (home decor & design),  
Romance on a Dime,

Tuesday Night Sew Much Ado, The D.I.Y. Dreamer, My Girlish Whims,  JAQS Studio, White Lights on Wednesday, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Sheltering Tree, The Life of Jennifer DawnDragonfly Designs, The Chicken Chick

Wednesday  Handy Man Crafty Woman,  Someday Crafts, Wow Us Wednesday, Free Pretty ThingsPractically FunctionalSouthern Lovely, Polkadots on Parade,  


Wednesday Night   Bear Rabbit Bear,   The Brambleberry Cottage,   Bloom DesignsMichelle's Tasty Creations, Mom On Timeout, Hubby Made Me,  Have a Cup of Mrs. Olsen, Live Laugh Rowe, The Shabby Creek Cottage, Delightful Order , House of Hepworths, Seven Alive, 52 Mantels, Fireflies and Jellybeans, Yesterday on Tuesday, Christinas Adventures, No Minimalist Here, The Crafty Blog Stalker
Joyful Homemaking, Hungry Little Girl

Thursday    A Glimpse InsideSweet Bella Roos, , Made in a Day, Saving For Six

Thursday Night   It's A Hodgepodge Life,  Craft Junkie Too,  While He Was NappingMy TurnLadybird Ln,   Stuff and Nonsense, Days of Chalk and Chocolate , Fresh Eggs DailyThe Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage Western WarmthPetites PassionsMy Romantic Home, Twinkle in the Eye, Love and Laundry

Friday  ,  Sun Scholars (kid items only), Thirty Handmade DaysSimply Sweet Home,  Nap Time Crafters, At The Pickett Fence, Craft EnvyWhat About, Shaken Together Life


Friday Night     Funky Junk Interiors , Too Much Time on my Hands,  Tater Tots and Jello Cheerios and LattesLiving Life Intentionally, The Gingerbread Blog, Six Sisters Stuff, Serenity Now Something Swanky,

Saturday  Grandparent's Say It Saturday, Bowdabra Blog, Crafty Moms Share, It's Overflowing, Mindy Mae's 

Saturday Night    I Heart Nap Time , Serenity You

Sunday   Nifty Thrifty Things, Petite Hermine
Sew Many Ways,

Sunday Night     The Girl Creative,  Etcetorize, Craft-O-Maniac, Flour Me With LoveUnder the Table and Dreaming, Sew Can Do, Serendipity and Spice , Keeping It Simple, Lines Across, Homemaker on a Dime, Impatiently Crafty, Sew Chatty, A Pinch of Joy, Alderberry Hill

Polish The Stars

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