Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Grey Felted Bracelet & Headband...

It was a day that Stephanie Oyler (Crown's & Pearls) & I had planned to get together & make a little mini book we had seen in a new scrap book store here in town. The store offered classes on Saturdays....& that just didn't fit our current 'mom' schedules & our new found FIJI &
ADPi schedules. We breezed right on through the book & moved on to plan 'B'. Making these cute felted & velvet bracelets with a matching headband. We made a total of 3 bracelets & one headband. We are giving the headband & one bracelet to our friend Julie for her birthday on's okay....our Bloomington friends think we are crazy for this blog Julie won't get a sneak peak before the big salad luncheon at Stephanie's.

Stephanie kind of just 'shopped' my craft room for things she thought she might want to do. I just started throwing out suggestions. I had wanted to show her my new Sizzix for months. I am in LOVE with it. That's what we used to cut out the flowers. So the project just evolved. We both had on grey I just reached for the pile of grey wool sweaters. My craft room was UBER organized which made it a breeze to pull supplies from. After she left, I started making a few others in some different shades. I am making one now for Lindsey's sorority benefit in early March. I think it will be cute. It always leaves me feeling so inspired after a day of creating with a friend. Your ideas just bounce off each other.

Of course....craft day wouldn't be craft day without sustenance. I had to provide a nice healthy lunch for us. I made this awesome soup that my sister snagged the recipe for and tweaked at her home. I will provide our improvised recipe below if you want to try it. We didn't exactly get the recipe....ummmm because you know real Chefs don't use recipes....they just cook.'s really too easy for a real recipe. I also made my now famous Aunt Hope sandwich. Made famous because my nieces request this sandwich on the first day of school every year. It is a bagel sandwich, toasted whole wheat with smoked turkey, cucumbers, dill, & cream cheese. I love it and every one else seems to love it too......and I served some Babba ganoosh and bake pita chips. I love Babba ganoosh.....which is roasted eggplant dip and I am fortunate to have a Kroger store that carries it fresh on one of their gourmet bars. I know that Pioneer Woman has a recipe for it. It is a healthier dip if a dip can be healthy. I for a dipper and this one is garlicky and yummy so just google Rae if you want a home made recipe. Here is the recipe for my soup if you are interested.
Roasted Sweet Poblamo & Sweet Potato Soup

2 medium sweet potatoes
3 poblamo peppers
2 large sweet onions
Drizzle Olive Oil
1 head garlic
1 T + 1 tsp. Cumin
2 boxes Organic Chicken Stock
Salt & Pepper

Wash & peel sweet potatoes. Slice & cut into thin pieces a little thinner that 1/4" slices. Cut onion the same way. Cut pepper in half and take out seeds. Take papers off the garlic. Put above vegetables in a large roasting pan and drizzle generously with olive oil. Toss well to coat. Salt & pepper the vegetables. Roast them for one hour at 450 degrees tossing well every 15 minutes. The vegetables will start to darken & caramelize. Transfer roasted vegetables to a large stock pot and add stock & cumin. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook vegetables about 20 minutes and then puree with a hand held wand. I like to serve the soup the next day to let the soups flavors blend.

See how simple the recipe is??? Stephanie said she loved the soup. I like to add some turkey sausage or some smoked chicken to it for a little heartier fare but with a sandwich this is nice. So all in all the day was fantastic. Just what I needed to get over the last bit of winter. A craft day is so inspiring & fun. I hope you are able to get together with a friend & create till your hearts content. If so....share your special day....I would love to hear about it. Blessings for an artfully uplifting day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Home Made Egg Noodles.....Heavenly

I have been on this comfort food kick lately. I can't even begin to tell you. When you dream of mashed potatoes is there something wrong with you? The great thing is....I joined Weight Watchers the end of September and I can eat this kind of food and still loose weight. It's a little tricky when you are making a conglomerate of food like say....home made egg noodles....but Weight Watchers is a tool about teaching you to use portion control & about making healthy food choices. I must say, I have consistently lost weight each week, through each major holiday (I do have that monthly gain that I can't seem to shake) and have not eaten 'diet food'. I eat a wide array of foods from all the food groups and that has been such a huge positive in my life. Let me mention these gorgeous eggs in the photo.....these are from my new hens. I have a brown egg in the picture to give you a contrast.....but the eggs are blue. Aren't they gorgeous, and I used them to make my famous home made egg noodles.

Here they are all rolled out. They are just so easy to make I really can't even tell you. Seriously, almost as easy as driving to the store and buying a package and boiling. Plus, you get that added bonus of making something totally from scratch.....and don't forget....there is a workout involved. It is hard work rolling out the dough. Also, I used half whole wheat flour & half white flour. Next time I am going to use all whole wheat flour. This was the first time that I have used whole wheat flour because I was scared they wouldn't be light enough....let me just tell you the texture of these noodle was terrific....the best ever in my opinion. See my cool noodle cutter??? I got it in my brother-in-laws trash!!! You will hear about him later in this post. Can you believe he got rid of this cool tool? I haven't completely mastered it because I like my noodles thin....but I make a first pass....then I cut them again....and I can't do it straight....twice!!! I am getting there. I must add....I am not buying a pasta machine. That would take all the JOY of noodle making away from me.

Here are my UN-EVEN-LY cut noodles. But I think they are quite charming. They are heavenly I can surely attest to that. Here is the great thing. I made them into chicken-n-noodles for pennies on the dollar. I can't tell you how much celery, onions, & carrots I put in & my son Lincoln says ' could even add more next time!!!' More veggies from a 15 year old???? Wow. My husband Jeff said....'can you make some peas with this tomorrow?' What planet did he fall from? They are asking me for vegetables??? I served mine with a big can of salt free green beans & my daughter said 'oh that's a good idea!!!' So....we sure did get a lot of healthy mileage out of this batch of chicken-n-noodles. I saw a little road side sign the other day that read 'Noodles for sale' thing for sure....that sign will not be posted in my front yard when I am a little old lady.....if so I might be buying that pasta machine.

Remember I mentioned I would be talking about my brother-in-law? Well Andy is the greatest. I have known him most of my life. He is my best friends brother & he married my sister.....go figure. He is a chef & we are competitive. Each year for the past 3 years at Thanksgiving, we have been having noodle competition. My noodles vary with the changing of flavors of stocks....his noodles vary with I don't know what. I get my votes by consistency....he gets his votes by well ummmm his daughters. No one ever really wins.....we use the same noodle recipe. This year I used duck eggs from my flock....he said I was cheating because he didn't have any female ducks. We even have the same pan....because I had to have the same noodle pan. It's not even a 'noodle' pan....but all the kids call it the 'noodle' pan. It's those little traditions that keep families going. I hope you have enjoyed my home made noodles enough to want to roll out a few of your own. They really are easy...and you will feel so accomplished. Here's the recipe. Give it a try. Blessings.
Egg Noodles

1 1/2 Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 White Flour
1 1/2 baking powder
3 T. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
5 T. milk

Mix Flours, baking powder, butter, & salt in Cuisinart fitted with a blade until combined. Add eggs one at a time until mixed into a dough. Add in milk until combined. Take out dough ball and wrap in saran wrap. Let rest on counter for 30 minutes. Take out 1 cup sections and roll into rectangles 1/8" thick on floured counter. Cut into 1/4 " strips or those of desired width. Lay between waxed paper lined sections on baking sheet & sprinkle with flour. Can make night before or morning before. Rest in refrigerator or on counter. Boil in hot boiling broth 4-10 minutes until desired tenderness.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I earned major GOLD stars with these srumptuous muffins & boy were they a one bowl wonder. I love one bowl recipes! I hate the recipes when it says sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl & cream the liquid ingredients in a medium bowl & the outcome is the above....a banana chocolate chip muffin! That's what I love about Stephanie of Crowns & Pearls....sorry I have forgotten how to link....just right to the point.... ease.... of preparation....and she gets it done!!! These muffins are pretty healthy too....with just 1/2 cup of sugar! I can feel good about serving these to Lincoln. They are a nice dense muffin that keeps you full because I used whole wheat flour....shhhhhh!!!! Don't tell Lincoln he always says "Don't use that whole wheat flour mom!!" Well it isn't even discernable!! Let me let you in on a little secret too....I buy King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour. It is the best! So, let me share this fabulous little gem of a will want to try it today!

Stephanie's Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 really ripe bananas
1/3 Cup butter, melted
1/2 Cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 Cup King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 bag mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas, add vanilla, & melted butter. Mix in sugar, egg, & vanilla. Sprinkle in baking soda, salt, & add flour. Mix & stir. Add in mini chocolate chips. Pour into lined muffin tins & bake for 20-25 minutes until a wooden pick comes out crumb free. This batter will yield 12 muffins.
*Stephanie & I both agreed that we might additionally add a few peanut butter morsels to the next batch for an added taste sensation.

I hope you will try this great recipe! The texture is really remarkable, & really, if you have any left over, they were actually better the next day. Making a double batch might just be in your best interest! Let me know what you think....I'd love to know what you think.

Here in the mid-west it has been dreary and wet. Rainy...cold and kind of depressing really. I have really just wanted to curl up with a blanket actually. So comfort food has been my drug of choice. Today I am making home made chicken & noodles. I made our family egg noodle recipe. I will post the recipe be waiting for that shortly!!! I hope your day is filled with creativity! All my love!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

.....And The Winner Is????

Okay....Okay....we all know I am not techi! I don't know how to do those random number things. No....I am just the simple girl that writes all the names down. Folds the paper. Seals them. Mixes them up and draws out the name. Hanging chads are really reality to me. I can relate to them. It is normal to me. And hey....I like my grandmothers ironstone pedestal bowl a whole lot better than the random number thing on the computer.

The outcome is all the same. We still get a winner. I physically can do it. I don't sweat in a panic like what the heck do I do now?? It is just the way I am. But did I mention....I did come into the 21st Century today and actually got a Pinterest Account. Oh my goodness.....can I say I am drooling over the wonderful eye candy. Thanks dear friend Laurie Jackson for hooking me up so many times this week. I love you so much!!! So hear the little ballots are.....all mixed up all ready for honest old me to choose one from the pile.

Here it is.....the one that I chose.....drum roll please.....while we slice it open with my gorgeous & sweet letter opener that my dear son carved for me. He even embellished it with vintage sheet music and placed a vintage rhinestone on the end for some seriously needed bling, and trimmed it out with some gorgeous Parisian trim.....a totally thoughtful gift that I have cherished since the day he gave it to me.....just because!!! And the winner is.......

Kris!!! Thanks so much for all who played and commented for my 100th follower Giveaway. It touches me so much that I even have 100 followers. Having this blog has been so much fun....but truly the best part has been meeting so many great and talented women over the last 3 years. I have learned so much and my creativity has blossomed and I have challenged myself in so many new ways. So please stay in touch and visit often....I love hearing from you! Kris, please email me your address so that I can mail you your necklace....and remember....if a little birdie mentions a favorite can probably be arranged. Blessings.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A New Phase......& a 100 Follower Give Away!!!!

Okay....many of you have asked. I was scared. I didn't know how to do it to be honest. I don't know if I even know how to do it. But I am going to try. Lincoln & I made a banner today for my new Etsy shop. It is called Hope Ellington Designs. I am starting small with a few soldered pieces. These to be exact. It scares me only because I am not computer savvy. All this technology scares me. I sell my wares at Lisa's shop, Lola Rue, & I will always do that as long as she will have me but it is very local and some of you have started to ask if I have an Esty shop. So I am going out on a limb....I am going to see if I can get these loaded into the new Hope Ellington Design shop. Be patient with me dear readers.

So while you are all being patient with me....why don't we just have a little give away....because I am really good at that! In honor of my 100th follower & I find that really remarkable I really do let's just honor that. Why don't I just pick a winner on Valentine's Day. That sounds lovely. So, all comments must be received by February 14, 2012. New followers will receive 2 chances to win with a comment, just let me know that you followed me and leave a comment. Current followers will automatically get 2 chances to win just let me know you are a follower and leave a sweet comment....I love my comments. They are the best part of my day!

Want to know what you will win???? One of these sweet velvet & rhinestone soldered pendants. I will randomly choose the color.....but sweet little birdies usually get to choose!!!! So I hope you will leave a comment. I hope you are just as excited about my Esty shop and my giveaway as I am....thanks for always being such an inspiring & supportive group of friends! Blessings for an artfully creative day.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Few Butterfly's for Spring.....

It's really starting to feel spring-ey around here. I know we still have a lot of winter ahead....but warmer days get me thinking of spring & spring bulbs are popping up. So what better way to kick it off than with some pretty butterflies.

I really love butterflies. So whimsical & free. I tried to do just that here in my own way of course. Using small vintage bling....vintage ledger.....some old German paper that I LOVE & of course I had to put in a few vintage scraps of French papers. Really what ever I could find in the scrap box.
I can't get enough of this bubbled edge on the solder. I love it. You all know how much I just adore polka dots....well now we have it on the solder. It is fun to do too. I love how it looks....sorry the photo isn't too good but you get the idea I hope. So...I am happy as a lark on a wire or a butterfly on the breeze.....and guess what....I finally got my Christmas decorations put away! So now I can just create till my hearts desire until the weather really turns spring like....& then I will hit the gardens! I hope your day is artfully creative & joyful! Blessings!