Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bring green!

I can't say I was thrilled to have an extra day of February.  I am ready for GREEN.  I found this adorable green trench at Old Navy recently and I've been waiting until March 1st to break it out.  Shall I wear this coat in Paris in May?  

I pulled the above photo off of the Internet, the photo below is of my coat, to explain the difference in shades of green.  It truly is a kelly green even if it doesn't look like it is in my photo.  I'll accent with my scarf and vintage (but original to me) porcelain floral pin by Avon.
It was a balmy day today, 67 degrees at the end of the work day.  I wore an oxford blouse and Pendleton wool blazer and about burned up.  Tomorrow I'll wear Khakis and a lime twin set. 
I'll go after work tomorrow for a pedi.  I don't often go for a pedi, but after neglecting my little piggies all winter, it is time.
How will you welcome March? 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Proud (old) Indiana Girl Scout

Indiana has been getting some bad press, recently, some of it well deserved.  Republican State  Representative, Bob Morris, of Fort Wayne, Indiana made national news, when he recently trash talked the Girl Scouts of America and refused to sign a resolution honoring the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout organization.
I grew up in Girl Scouts.  From second grade through my junior year in high school, I was a Girl Scout.  I was a First Class Girl Scout, which in my day was something akin to being an Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts.  My mother was my leader for about the first five years and everyone thought she was easy on me, but she made everything I did twice as hard for me because she figured everyone would think she was easy on me. 

This was our pledge:
 These were our pins:
I earned so many badges that at some point we gave up trying to sew them all on my badge sash.  And I probably would have needed two badge sashes. 
This is the bag you carry the mess kit in:
 The mess kit:
I still carry/use my Girl Scout mess kit when I go camping.  My name is etched in child-like scrawl.  I probably used my pocket knife to etch it.  I nearly cut off a finger or two with that pocket knife. 
I went to Camp Wonderland, a day camp in my home town.  We would sometimes have over-night camp outs.  In the fifth grade, I started going to established camp at Camp Windigo, in Upland, Indiana.  Each summer I would go to Camp Windigo for two weeks.  The summer after my freshman year in college, I served as a counselor at Camp Windigo.  It wasn't necessarily cool to be a Girl Scout, but I was never one to let other's opinions dictate my actions.  We were a small group, and in many ways, that afforded us more trips and opportunities. 
Much of who I am today was instilled in me by being a Girl Scout.  Knowing how to build a camp fire is a skill I still exercise, today.  I still love camping and hiking.
Our local county Girl Scouts celebrated the 100th birthday of Girl Scouts by doing community service.  In 614 hours they created 121 hand tied fleece blankets for children.  They colored 510 lunch bags to be used for aging seniors nutrition program.  They created 543 braided puppy toys and 188 cat nip toys for our local Animal Shelter and knitted three caps which were donated. 
Sounds like an awful group of girls, doesn't it?  Representative Morris, I know you've apologized, but you made our state look bad and showed your ignorance by your statements.  You'll be remembered for this- your claim to fame. 
This (old) Indiana Girl Scout is proud.  I'm thankful for my years in Girl Scouts and the lasting impression that the organization left upon my life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Artist interview: Journey with Cat Kerr

First of all, let me say that I am always happy to meet someone who is "famous," only to find that despite said fame, they are kind and down-to-earth and just regular folk.  This is artist Cat Kerr.
  I can't remember when I first happened upon Cat, but I have always admired her and her art work.  I read her blog and commented, we've corresponded and became facebook friends.  On January 6, Cat celebrated a lot of things all at once:  her blog anniversary, her two hundredth post and five hundred followers!  Wow.  To celebrate, she had a give-away.  All you had to do was comment.  Well, if you know me at all, you know that I always have something to say, so I commented. 
And I won! 
I started a new job on January 23rd and Cat picked the winner on January 31st.  I have been playing catch-up a lot with blogs that I read and I totally missed it!  She wrote me an email that said "Sweet Cheryl, you won my give-away."  I was so excited and couldn't wait for the necklace to arrive.  The necklace is a "Journey" necklace featured in the current issue of  Sew Somerset.  (I told you she was famous.)  Not a photo, an entire article.  Wow, wow, wow.  When the package arrived and I opened it, this is the first thing that I saw:

I was absolutely awe struck at her attention to detail.  Stitching everywhere, wire wrapping, sewing.  Amazing.
Cat's blog, In the light of the moon, and other photos found here.  If you like what you see, her etsy shop is found here.  And, that isn't all.  I won a class with her at  Artful Gathering.  If you go to the Artful Gathering link you'll find a video of Cat, sharing her studio and talking about the class she will be teaching. 
I asked Cat if she would answer a few questions and tell us a little about herself.  My questions are in bold.  All of the responses are in Cat's words.  I got cold chills as I read her responses.   When she talks about how Mary Oliver's poem, The Journey, spoke to her.   I love Mary Oliver and had this poem posted in my cube at one of my jobs for three years. 

Sit back and relax with artist Cat Kerr:

How long have you been doing art?
I have always loved creating in one way or another.  I started with a love for Fashion Design.  I still stop in my tracks when I see a beautiful work of art coming down the Runway.  Today, I create in other mediums and my Art fills my heart with Joy.  I am so thankful that I get to create with wonderful products.  That I get to play while I work.That I get to write about techniques that make my mind wild with excitement.  I am thankful for each and every moment.

How did you get started?
I hesitated for years.  One question kept circling around in my little head..."Will anyone want to buy something I make?"...I was afraid to find out.  But then one night,as I sat outside and gazed at the Moon, I started recalling a poem that I read a while back.  The poem,"The Journey" by Mary Oliver.  When I first read the poem,I thought it was lovely,and that's it.  But this night,this poem wanted me to listen, it wanted to me to understand, it wanted me to move and go and jump and play and Begin.  The first line reads..."One day you finally knew what you had to do,and began"...and that night I knew, what I had already known deep in my heart...and the time had come for me to get up...and Go.  The next day I set up my Ebay account and even though it took months for me to make my first sale, I knew that I was doing EXACTLY what I was supposed to be doing.

Has your art evolved along the way?
When I think of the progression of my art, I think of the Mediums that I have used along the years that have inspired me.  These mediums continue to find their way into my art and I am so thankful for journey.  My first medium was paper,...then wood, then fabric, and metal, and resin and today I use them all. Today when someone asks me..What is it I do?..Phew ,that could be a long answer so I just say ..I am Mixed Media Artist.  Period.

When did you start blogging?
I just celebrated my 2 year blog-aversary.  I started blogging with the sole intention of promoting my art.  But I had no idea that creating a blog would also give me the opportunity to make friends with people all over the world.  I am so thankful to each and every person I meet thru the blog.  In 2011 I had the opportunity to meet some of my bloggy friends and I am still giddy thinking about it.  A true blessing.
 So what do you already know?  Yes, You?  Whats waiting for you around the bend? What ever it is, its waiting,  patiently, but sometimes it is not enough to know...we have to begin.

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,

branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

See what I mean?  You can just tell how Cat opens her heart and how kind and down-to-earth she is. 
Go visit her blog. 
Go to her Etsy site and buy something from her. 
Go sign up for her class.
And if you are an artist who is waiting, Go.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Have a heart!

Last night we took advantage of Papa Murphy's heart pizza special- for $6.00- it was yummy.
This morning we woke to a couple of inches of snow.  The roads were nasty out our way- to the point that I was a bit fearful and I am not usually fearful on snowy roads.  But I got to work just fine and then after work the roads were clear.
Despite making for some scary road conditions, it was beautiful.
Returned from work this afternoon to find candles lit and a man in my house, freshly showered, shaved and dressed nicely.  I shared a bottle of champagne with him by the fire and then we made salads, tenderloin and sweet potato fries for dinner.  
How was your heart day?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chili for when it is chilly and a new cornbread recipe

It has been very cold here in southern Indiana, down to the lowest of the double digits, (TEN degrees) so yesterday I made chili and tried out a new cornbread recipe.  If you are a long-time reader, I believe I have posted this chili recipe in the past, but for those of you who haven't seen it before I will post it again.
Do you have one of these chopper tools from Pampered Chef?  If not, run out and get one.  It is one of my new favorite toys for the kitchen.  No more messing with a fork and squishing the meat, just chop and it is broken up in no time. 
 When I make chili, I make a big pot because it is always better warmed up.  We had it for lunch today and it was indeed better after being in the refrigerator over night.
 Chuck wagon Chili
1 pound lean ground beef
1 package Jimmy Dean sausage (my modification to this recipe)
1 large onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic
1 can tomatoes (I use Rotel original diced tomatoes & green chilies) (10 ounces)
1 can Brooks mild Chili bean mix (10 ounces)
1 can Brooks spicy Chili bean mix (10 ounces)
(Brooks brand is a local to Indiana brand that I am partial to.)
1 red, 1 green bell pepper (I didn't have green this time so I used yellow and red)
Brown beef, remove from pan, leave grease- chop onion and cook in grease from the meat.
Drain off excess oil, add meat to pan, spices, garlic, tomatoes and bell peppers. 
Simmer for half an hour.  Add beans, cook an additional 20 minutes. 
(For those of you who know me, I can no longer have the onion and garlic, so I leave those out.  And, if you have cornbread or crackers with this, it cuts the hot.) 
The spices are what make this chili recipe stand out from others. 
 I've made this chili when I've gone camping.
  I  measured out the spices before leaving home and took with us in a baggie. 
Yesterday I made a new cornbread magazine that I got out of American Profile that comes with our newspaper.  For those of you who are linky lovers the link for this recipe is here.
Browned Butter and Sour Cream Cornbread
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups stone ground corn meal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat
swirling often until lightly browned and nutty- about four minutes.
Pour into medium bowl and set aside to cool. 
 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
 Rub eight inch cast iron skillet with the oil, place in oven to heat. 
 (I used my Calphalon and forgot to preheat the skillet and it worked out just fine.) 
 In large bowl combine cornbread, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda.
  Add eggs and sour cream to cooked butter.  Whisk well. 
 Pour dry ingredients and stir just to combine.  Do not over-mix.  Pour batter into skillet.  Bake twenty minutes and test with toothpick until it comes out clean. 
 Cool for five minutes and flip onto cooling rack. 
(I left in the skillet with lid to keep warm-
until Doug forgot and left the lid off, and then it cooled off.)

Just for the record, this cornbread is great on the second morning, heated in the microwave and topped with Brommel and Brown yogurt spread and cherry preserves with a nice cup of tea with honey.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Sunday

I bought this stuff to have to bake when it snowed.  We haven't had much snow, yet.  There is still a chance.  But, I thougth I would bake these to take as our offering at a Super Bowl party.  The Ghiradelli Turtle brownies are from a box mix.  All you add is one egg, water and oil.  I bought it at Aldi's, so I know it didn't cost much.  They are really good.  You mix up the brownies, then squeeze the butterscotch from a packet and then drag a knife back and forth. 
Ghiradelli Turtle Brownie Mix

Made from scratch blondies

The Blondies are a move over, Paula, recipe.  Lots of butter!  But these blondies are to die for!
3 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 lb unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 T vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Butter & flour a 9x13 baking pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder & salt until well combined; set aside.  In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, & brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed- continue beating until light brown & thick, about 7 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each to be thoroughly incorporated before adding the next.  After beating in the fourth egg for one minute, beat in the vanilla.  Stir in the chocolate chips, then the flour mixture just until incorporated.  Do not beat, although the batter will be very thick.  Spoon the batter in to the prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the top is light brown & a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Set the pan on a wire rack to coll for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Serves  24. 
 (Unless everyone eats two or three!)

I watch the Super Bowl for the half-time show and the commercials!  Enjoy!  Have a SUPER Sunday!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday night confessional

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
In high school, I went with a guy for two and a half years, whose family was Catholic.  I loved his family.  More often than not, I was at his house for dinner.  Before eating, the four of them would make the sign of the cross.  I grew up in the Foursquare Pentecostal Church.  Quite a difference from Catholicism.  My boyfriend's parents would attend service on Saturday evenings.  Afterwards, they would play cards with friends.  David and I would be at his parent's house, listening to our favorite radio program, The King Biscuit Flour Hour.  This was in the late 70's.  To avoid going to church on Saturday evening with his family, David would go to confession on his own.  This seemed to appease his parents.  This troubled me greatly.  What did he tell the Priest?  Did he tell him we were parked at Baker Park and got caught by the police?  (We did.)  Did he tell him we were at David's house when his family was gone?  (Something both of our families would have frowned upon.)  Did he tell him that David peer pressured me into sipping my first liquor?  (Grape Vodka- it was hideous.)  I worried and worried about what David told his Priest.
Well, it is Saturday night and I have a confession of my own.
My name is Cheryl and I like nice clothes.
Some might even say that I am a clothes horse.
In years past, I wore some right fancy dudes.  I would shop and shop and lay that plastic down.  Lordy, I nearly wore out some of that plastic.  Back in the day they would lay the card down and sweep, sweep back and forth over it.  Do some of you remember what I'm talking about?  I shopped and charged.  Well, it is quite likely that I am still working to pay off some of said charges.  Now a days I get just as much of a thrill from saving money as I used to get from spending money.  

We have a Vintage Vogue in our town.  If you are a regular reader, I've written about this store before.  It is by Goodwill.  But this is upscale Goodwill.  They carry brand new shoes.  They carry high end purses.  You never know what you will find.  But I have become a Goodwill Vintage Vogue snob.  You see, on the first Saturday of the month, everything is HALF off. 

I started dragging Doug in there with me.  We found a pair of Cole Haan shoes for him in there.  Again, brand new.  Doug wears a size thirteen shoe.  These were a moccasin style with a tassel.  He was quite taken with the tassel.  "I've never had a pair of shoes with a tassel, before."  They have a soft sole- perfect for dancing.  Ever so often we go out dancing.  They can be worn for dress with socks or casual without socks with bluejeans.  He loves them.
Last month on the first Saturday we went to Vintage Vogue and I spent $30.00.  Today we went back and I spent something like $54.00.  This is all half-price.  And Doug spent $24.00.  He found a dress shirt, two pair of pants and a brand new pair of Levis.  I found grey lounge pants for $4.50.  Crisp, beautiful paisley Talbot's capris for $7.00.  (I'm thinking Paris.) I found a sunflowers shirt for $4.50.  You know, the kind they sell at Cracker Barrel that normally run $20 or $30?  I found a wonderful blue flowered three quarter length sleeve t-top by Take Two with butterflies on it.  At first Doug wrinkled his nose and I said "you don't like it."  He said "if you like it, I like it."  (He is good to say that because he knows if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.) I found another pair of Talbot's capris for $6.50 and lots of other items.

For Christmas, I bought Doug a soft blue flannel shirt.  Then I started stealing it to wear with my pajamas when I was chilly in the evening or early morning.  I found a soft flannel man's shirt for $4.50.  (I paid $15.00 for the one I bought for him at TJ Maxx.) I found an adorable pink and green Lilly Pulitzer looking bag for $4.00 that I will carry in the spring/summer.

We have two other Goodwill stores in our town.  We were in the vicinity of another as we did our errands today.  I had a trash bag of clothes to donate and I wanted to take them through the drive-through donation.  After we dropped it off, Doug said "do you want to go in?"  I said "we may as well."  I found a pair of pajama pants for $1.50.  And Doug found a pair of Eddie Bauer hiking shorts for $4.00, Adidas work out shorts, NBA warm-up pants, another pair of warm up pants and a pair of LL Bean zip off hiking pants.  (He turned to me and said "do you know how much those would have cost, new?") I've turned him into a bargain hunter, too! (At this Goodwill location, our purchases totaled $14.00.)  When we left the house this afternoon he said to me "do you think I could find some pants for work, there?"  He found the pants for work, too. 

I love the Vintage Vogue, and so does the fashinista, Jessica Quirk, author of What I Wore.  Hope over to her blog to see her photos and what she has to say.

This is my confession.  I feel so much better, now.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rolling over in goodness

 Life is just good right now. 
It has been insanely busy, but good. 
I started a new job last Monday. 
In my previous job, I worked for a person who is very well known.
  An expert in his field.  Someone who is respected and revered by all. 
 It was a good move to go to work for him. 
This new position, is an excellent opportunity, too. 
Another good move.
 All part of the journey.

My new job is busy, busy, busy.
  That is how I like it. 
 The day flies by, you look up and all of the sudden think
how can it be time to go home?
In my new job one of the things I do is go to the mail room once a day.
I like going to the mail room.
Even my new boss said "oh good!"
(Different administrative people have different duties,
so my new boss didn't assign the mail room to me.)
But, it gets me out of our suite.
It is in the next building
and down in the basement.
I get to greet others in the halls.
I get to be in the midst of the students as they hustle and bustle between classes.
Some university employees complain about students-
but not me.
I love them.
Heck, I was a student not so long ago and they were wonderful to me.
(Just earned my B.S. in 2007.)
My children were students.
Those students are the reason we are there.
The reason we have jobs and get a pay check.
I get to walk on the bridge hallway
that crosses over the road
to the other building
and see the cars and people, down below.
And, I get to see the free stuff on the shelves outside of the mail room.
I just scored a new, never used rolodex.
I am over-joyed!
Have you ever seen an altered rolodex?
Some people call them altered "rolos." 
This won't be something that I sit down and complete all at once.
But something that will be a work in progress.
Already I'm dreaming of papers with apples listed under A
Or a piece of purple under P
Kisses under K
Oh the fun
part of the journey
just like my life.

I am feeling

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