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Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Got a hankerin' for something chocolate?  Then, these little babies will satisfy that craving.  Rich little cookies.  Very pretty and simple to make!

(makes two dozen)


1 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 tsp. vanilla
4 tbsp. powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting hands


In a bowl (preferably metal) stir together all of the dry ingredients.  Add butter and mix well, using an electric mixer.  Add egg and vanilla and mix until well blended.

Spread dough in a thin layer in bowl and freeze 10 minutes, or until firm.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place powdered sugar in a small bowl and dust hands with additional.  Roll each piece of dough into a small ball (approximately 1") and then into the sugar.  Arrange balls 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are just set.  Cool cookies on racks.

So good... with a brownie-like flavor and texture.    Grab yourself a glass of milk and enjoy!

Saturday, May 14, 2016


This is chair #2 that I've re-purposed for my sewing area.  I had such fun with the first one, I decided to add another.  It's also handy having two chairs, to avoid constantly moving the chair between the two machines that I use most frequently; the multi-stitch machine and my serger.   So once again, I scouted my local thrift stores, and landed on a bargain at the ARC thrift store.  It was a solid wood chair (with heinous tartan plaid upholstery, coated with pet hair). The seat pan cushioning was still in good shape, which meant I wouldn't have to replace it.  So I knew this project was going to go really well.

The first step was to remove the seat pan, and pull off the fabric, this took a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the seat pan.  And then a flat head screw driver and some pliers did the trick with the huge number of staples which were used to secure the fabric.

After sanding the chair to rough it up and prepare for painting, I used a combination of spray paint and craft paints that I already had in my collection,   After the turquoise base color was applied I sprayed on some antique white, then used a sponge brush to add some tan, pink and peach.

After the paint had dried for a full 24 hours, I distressed it a bit with the sander.   The final step was a coat of clear satin finish (spray paint).

In between the painting, I took care of the re-upholstery, using the matching fabric from the first chair.

So this project literally was the cost of the chair at $9.99, I had everything else already on hand; leftover paint, fabric and vinyl for the lettering on the back of the chair.
....and there they are side-by-side.  You can see my third machine there on the left; it's my old workhorse from the 80's that I still use!  It's awesome when I have multiple projects going at the same time.  The natural light that comes in right over my sewing table is awesome!

Friday, May 6, 2016


This is a really easy recipe to put together, and it packs a flavorful punch.  It's kind of like an upside down taco salad!
This recipe can easily feed 6 people...I made it for just my husband and myself and we had several leftover meals.  Tip:  If you are making it for fewer people and will have leftovers, I would suggest not starting with the chips in the bottom of the casserole, since they'll get soggy with refrigeration.  Instead, add them to the top of the casserole once it's finished cooking.


*1 lb. lean ground beef
1 16 oz. can Old El Paso refried beans
1 16 oz. jar Old El Paso Thick n' Chunky Salsa
1 1 oz. pkg. low sodium taco seasoning mix
2 ½ cups coarsely broken tortilla chips
½ medium green bell pepper, chopped
4 medium green onions, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped 
1 cup shredded cheddar, Monterey jack, or taco flavored cheese
¼ cup sliced ripe olives
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 large avocado


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a 12 inch skillet, cook beef (*I used venison) over medium high heat until thoroughly cooked; drain.  Stir in refried beans, salsa, and taco seasoning mix.  Reduce heat to medium.  Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.

In an ungreased 2 quart casserole, place 2 cups of the broken tortilla chips.  Top evenly with meat. Sprinkle with bell pepper, onions, 1 cup of the tomato, the cheese, and olives. 

Bake uncovered 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.  Top baked casserole with lettuce, remaining ½ cup tomato, and remaining tortilla chips.  Serve with sliced avocado.


Sunday, May 1, 2016


One of the things I wanted to do with my new studio was find a better solution for storing my fabric. I have a number of fabrics that I have rolled on cardboard cores and I didn't like the way they looked under my pattern table.   I knew there had to be a better option that was functional and eye appealing at the same time.........and here it is!
An old wine barrel.  It fits well with the decor and has a ton of room.  When I first started sourcing where I could purchase a barrel, what I found was really pricey.  Not what I had in mind.  With a little determination,  I found a local option  with some really great prices.

Now, I will tell you, I did have a couple of surprises that went along with my purchase.  First, all of the pictures on their website showed beautifully stained barrels.  However, when I picked mine up, that was not the case.
The picture to the left is what I picked up......secondly, the first thing my husband asked when we got it out of my car was "How do we get the top off?"  Huh, what top?  I didn't even realize when it was loaded for me that both ends of the barrel were sealed.

After a call back to the company for a little instruction, and a couple of You Tube videos, my husband was able to remove the top without the entire barrel falling apart.  (You really should watch a You Tube video on how these barrels are constructed.  It's fascinating)

Another surprise was in store once the lid was removed, inside the barrel are oak planks which are used for seasoning/aging.  My husband found out that many people purchase these and use them while barbecuing.  Needless to say, he has a whole box full now to have fun with this grilling season.

After we let the barrel air out for a while, (the garage smelled like a winery for a solid week.  The pungent odor of the wine was crazy!) and we found a pocket of spring days that was dry and warm, the finishing project could begin.

Although I was prepared to tackle the sanding, staining, and finishing, I have to give full credit to my husband for this project. What I've learned  over the years is when it comes to woodworking projects, he likes to take the lead.  I have to admit, he is really good at it.  So, I let him go for it.  

I absolutely love the way it looks......and, just as I had hoped, I was able to fill it chock-full of all of the large bolts of fabric that I've collected from my days in outer wear, as well as the items that I purchase large quantities of fairly regularly like various shades of tulle, and bridal satin.   So cool!!