Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Common Thread - What I'm Working On This Week

This week for A Common Thread, I am working on a larger project, it is a variation on Dimensions Brand Chart #3649 Family of Dolls. The chart itself has four dolls and is much larger than I want, and I don't like the look of the other two dolls, but these two I LOVE! So I'm actually only working half of the chart and then I'll have to figure out what to add to the left side to balance it out, but I think I have an idea and so far I am loving the way it is coming along. Much better than last week, which I am just going to blame on multitasking! I've become pretty good at watching TV and cross stitching at the same time over the years, but every now and then I just have an off day when it seems that for the life of me I cannot follow a chart! This is yet another one that I purchased way back in 1988 and is now OOP, but I did see there are a few available on eBay and Etsy.  In addition to only stitching half of the original picture, I am also using a color scheme that matches my decor. If I had completed this back when I originally bought I'm sure I would have been happy with the country blues and pinks, but fast forward to today I'm all about black, reds, golden yellows and corals!  I'm sure I'll be working on this one a lot over the next week, so I'll post updates of my progress.

I'm still going to stick with making this a weekly post, but for now at least, I've decided not to make it a link up.  My blog is too new and I don't have enough of a regular following to be able to support that. Eventually I hope to make it a regular place where crafters can link up and showcase their creations.  But for now it will just be me!  

So I hope you've enjoyed taking a look at my latest work, and even though I'm not going to use Mr. Linky for now, if you do happen on to this post and you want to share your creations, just leave  comment with a link to your blog or FB page so that we can admire your creations!

Until then my friends,  I hope your week is going well! 

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Favorite Recipes - Beef Tamale Casserole

Last week I decided that rather than go to the grocery store and buy more food to fill our pantry and freezer, that I would take a quick inventory of what we already had and try plan our meals.  

I knew I had 3 pounds of ground beef, which I then defrosted and divided into 3 lb. portions and use that for at least 1-2 meals.

Then I set out to peruse the literally hundreds of recipes I've saved over time on Pinterest but honestly seldom refer to, because well, when you save hundreds of recipes scrolling them all at times can be a little daunting.  I have a recipe saved for hamburger queso that we absolutely love but do you know that every time we go to make it I can never remember if I saved it to my Mexican food board to my Ground Beef board?  I've been meaning for some time to filter through some of those boards and make them a bit more user-friendly, but in all honesty, I'm not sure when or if that will ever happen.  What does seem more logical however, would be to type of the recipes we use most often and make them easier to find!

In that however I found another recipe that I know we will be making again and adding to our regular rotation, Beef Tamale Casserole.  I'm linking to the original post which is over at Plain Chicken.  I have a number of recipes saved to my boards that link to this blog, so I took the time over the weekend to look through her recipe index and found a few others that I'm anxious to give a try, including Texas BBQ Beef Sandwiches, and she has an entire category devoted to recipes that you can make for your family for Halloween, so fun!

But this recipe for Beef Tamale Casserole is out of this world good, and what was even better was that I had everything I needed on hand to make it! I am sharing her recipe here, and if you like Mexican food with lots of flavor, you should definitely make it!

1 pkg (8-1/2 oz) corn muffin mix
1 can (14-3/4 oz) cream corn
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 lb ground beef
1 (1-oz) package taco seasoning
2/3 cup salsa
1 (10-oz) can enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees . Coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine muffin mix, corn, eggs, milk, and 1 cup of the cheese. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until no longer pink. Drain fat. Add taco seasoning packet and salsa. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Toss beef in enchilada sauce. Pour beef mixture over cornbread and top with remaining cup of cheese. Bake for and 20 additional minutes.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes and cut into 6 or 8 squares. Top with favorite taco toppings, if desired.



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Common Thread - Crafters Link-Up .01

Welcome to the first ever weekly link up for crafters!
 I so excited to begin this regular weekly post and I hope that over time I will
be able to grow this post and meet up with some fellow crafters!

This week I have been working on May This Home, which is a pattern from Hearts and Home by Debra Designs.  I apologize for the poor quality of the picture, but the lighting here in this little apartment is not that great! I bought this one way back in July of 1988, so it's another one I've had for years. As you can see, I only have the one little girl left on the left side, and then on each side are the words, "May this home and all therein be blessed with God's love!" So cute!  If you look closely you can see that I've made a few mistakes with this one, but since they aren't terribly noticeable, I decided to just roll with it rather than ripping it out. I also really had a time with their eyes, I didn't think they showed up very well just making french knots, so I made them larger. It may not be perfect, but it suits me perfectly! Once I am finished with the last little girl, I will finish the detailing and it will be ready to frame. I hope to finish this over the weekend and begin straight to work on a couple of other patterns that I may work on simultaneously as they are a little larger. I also have my eye on several smaller projects that should work up quickly, so I may actually have several going at once, and of course I'll be sure to share!

So what are you working on at the moment?  I'd love for you to share, and it's easy!  Just fill in your name and a link to your blog post below and join in the fun!  I'm always so inspired by seeing the wonderful things that people make and hosting this weekly link-up also encourages me to be intentional about making time for the things I love, like cross-stitching!  So I hope you'll join me every Wednesday for A Common Thread!

Until then . . .

ADDENDUM: After a closer look I made a LOT of mistakes on this one, which is too bad because that was a lot of work!  I started this awhile back, even before we moved to Virginia and I just now picked it up again.  I am not sure what happened but the dresses, the hands, the two hearts, nothing matches! I don't know what to blame it on, other than sometimes I like to watch TV while I cross stitch and I can usually get away with that without any errors, but this time, apparently not!  So, I'll try again with this one another time, but it is NOT going in a frame! :)


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Common Thread Begins Tomorrow!

This is just a little reminder that my new weekly round of up of crafters
begins right here at the blog tomorrow!
Look for the post in the morning, and then follow the easy instructions
to link and showcase your latest projects!
I hope you'll join in on the fun!

Until then . . .

Friday, September 8, 2017

That Day I Went to Goodwill, You Know, Just to Kill Some Time!

When I first began to envision this blog and my purpose for writing, I knew that I wanted to share all of the things that I love, like living seasonally, and my enduring quest to slow the speed of life and live intentionally and with purpose. Some of my favorite things are cooking, reading and watching classic movies and television shows, and crafting, and I wanted to chronicle how I am intentional about making time for the things that bring me joy. But perhaps of even greater importance was to share my spiritual journey, specifically the current path I am on, which is beginning my life anew at 55

That encompasses a lot, actually, because the Holy Spirit is and has been doing a very deep work in my life for several years now. More recently the work has become a little harder as He is digging deep into some of those places I've guarded for years. Don't you just love the way God loves us? I've known for a while now that this "stuff" was here. But I wasn't ready before and He knew that, and more importantly, He was willing to wait. Each time the Holy Spirit would bring it to mind I would feel that twinge of discomfort and then quickly bury it again, until the next time He presented it. Over time I found my heart more willing to linger upon it, until the day came recently, when it suddenly didn't feel as fearful.  That's not to say I'm thrilled to be here, but at the same time I am ready to take the next step to living in continued freedom. Salvation, I've learned, is as much about a decision as it is about a lifetime of continuing to say, yes, Jesus, come, redeem and fill these empty places in me!

One of the things that is hard for me is relationships. To say that I have trust issues would be an understatement. And while I won't go into all the hows and whys that brought me here,  just suffice it to say that community is and has always been a four letter word in my life. I've justified my choices for years by saying that even God had the good sense to only intimately engage with two other spiritual beings, and if I'm honest, even as I write this I'm not so sure there's not just a hint of truth there. I mean He also did say, "Where two or three are gathered"? :) What I do know is that I have recently begun to entertain the desire for community.  Still not on a large scale mind you, but I think in part because I have the space to do so now, I am feeling more comfortable with the idea of inviting others in. This is very much in the beginning phases, honestly just thought processing, mulling over the idea  until acting upon it feels right.  It is one of those ideas that the Holy Spirit has been serving up recently, waiting patiently for the day when I stop being that little girl who pushed peas around on her plate until she finally took a bite and realized just how good they tasted. Yeah, He's known me for a LONG time, He's educated on the ways that I operate!

That's why it is almost amusing, hysterical really, that I recently came across a couple of books at Goodwill. Not at all where I would have expected to find either of them, since they are both recent releases. My guess is that perhaps someone else may have found themselves right in the place where I am, but maybe they weren't ready? Could there really be someone else out there more stubborn than me? At any rate, that is how both of them came into my possession, because truth be told I was not keen enough on this idea of community to have paid full price for either of them.  I wasn't looking to dig that deep.

The first book, Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are is written by Shauna Niequist.  And here, just for the humor of it all, is Amazon's take on the content.

"In this daily devotional, Shauna Niequist becomes a friend across the pages, sharing her heart with yours, keeping you company, and inviting you into the abundant life God offers.

And there are recipes, too, because spiritual living happens not just when we read and pray, but also when we gather with family and friends over dinners and breakfasts and late-night snacks. These recipes are Shauna’s staples, and each one should be enjoyed around a table with people you love.

So read and learn and pray and cook and share. Remember to savor each day, whatever it holds: work and play, coffee and kids, meals and prayers and the good stuff and the hard stuff. Life is all about relationships, and your daily relationship with God is worth savoring in every moment."

I had to laugh when I read that because I remember clearly the day when I wondered into Goodwill thinking I was just killing time, when in fact the Holy Spirit had specifically directed my steps to lead me in the first steps of what may very well impact the rest of my life. I also happen to currently be reading The Purpose Driven Life, so you would think I would have figured out by now that nothing is wasted?

And as if that were not enough just a few shelves over I found this little gem, Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real Life Engagement.  And I'll be honest, I picked it up, skimmed it, put it back, walked away, walked back, picked it up again and promptly put it back. I don't remember how many times this scene played over, but in the end I couldn't leave without it. I think it was something about that word, "challenge", which I quickly interpreted as a choice, "Just because it presents a challenge doesn't mean I have to accept it, right?". Somehow that made it a safe choice and into the cart it went. I'm not honestly sure I had any intention of every reading it, until today.

Today I began reading both, and just for grins since it's only the 7th of September I began with Savor on September 1. All I can say at the moment is that the Holy Spirit met me on those pages, and it has left me longing and excited and actually a bit frightened, because this involves trust, and as I said, that's a big one for me! I'll be sharing more over the days and weeks ahead, but for now  I would covet your prayers, as I continue reading, go deeper, and allowing Him to lead me on the next step on this part of my journey! And this is just one of the many things that He is at work in, which I'm sure I'll share more about as well!

So how about you? Do you experience similar fears when it comes to relationships?  Is trust hard for you? If so, then I pray that as I share my heart and my journey with you that you will be encouraged, and for today may I offer that you simply allow the Holy Spirit into that place? Trust Him first and allow Him to begin to stir and soften the hard and darkened places in your soul. He is gentle and patient in the process, I promise! If you'd like to leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you and be praying for you, as well!

Until then . . . 

September Days Are Here!

Today I'm sharing another favorite poem! I just love seasonal poems and quotes and I have amassed quite a collection over the years! I found this one today while perusing through an old journal and wanted to share it here with you! What are some of your favorite seasonal poems?

When the goldenrod is yellow
And the leaves are turning brown,
Reluctantly the summer goes
In a cloud of thistledown.

When the squirrels begin their harvesting,
And birds in flight appear,
By these autumn signs we know,
September days are here!

- Beverly Ashour

And, before I go I wanted to share this lovely little picture with you.  It's from a book that I used many years ago when Kate was in Kindergarten called the Goose Quill. I fell in love with these beautiful images then, and I love them still! In years past I've printed them out on card stock and set them about the house on little easels, just a sweet little seasonal touch! I especially love the squirrels and acorns in the border of this one! It might be fun to color them in with colored pencils as well!  Since it is from an old book this is as clear as I can get the image, but if you'd like to print it out just click on the image and then right click and save it to your computer! I think I'll print one out for myself!

Until then . . .

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Warm and Welcoming Project, and, an Announcement!

One of my absolute favorite things to do when I have the time is cross stitch!  I've been cross stitching for years, and I truly love the satisfaction it brings me to create beautiful decorations for my home and gifts for family and friends. 

I've completed a number of projects over the years, but it seems that each time my decorating style changes most of my creations are either handed off to friends and family or even donated to Goodwill!  When country pink and blue no longer mixed well with burgundy and green, and then my patriotic color scheme, well, you get the picture!

Over the past few years my tastes changed once again, but **hopefully**, this time, I think I may stick with this one for a long while.  It's hard to say. At this point it would be hard for me to imagine ever wanting to decorate differently, but decorative fads come and go, so who knows?  But for now I'm completely in love with what is known as the Primitive style of decorating. And as such, I'm working on projects using deep blacks, lovely shades of grey, bright golden yellows, ruby reds and even a splash of coral here and there for contrast.  I am in love with this style and colors, and I have a lot of plans for projects I want to work on.  But this little pattern you see in the picture at the top left is one of the first projects I began working on after moving back to Virginia.  It's a chart that I've actually owned for YEARS, and I'm guessing it is most likely out of print!  It was in a little booklet called Say It With Hearts which was produced by a company called Cross My Heart. I just realized that the price is still on it and I bought it at Michaels in July of 1988! That means I've had this particular chart for 29 years, so that shows you how long I've been at this! This particular graph is called We Welcome You. 

And here's a picture of the finished project, framed and ready to hang! I actually have it in my kitchen but no matter how many times I tried, I couldn't get the lighting to work! Don't you just love it? I actually took the glass out of the frame because I didn't like the glare it produced and I liked it so much I went back and removed the glass from a few other pieces I have! I'm so pleased with the way this turned out, and it's really inspired me to set straight to work on some other projects! I'll be sure to post pictures of them soon! And while I'm on the subject of future projects!

I've decided to host a weekly gathering here at An Intentional Life called, A Common Thread!

Since I love crafting so much, I know I can't possibly be the only one!  So, I thought it might be fun to create a place where crafters could gather each week and share the projects we are currently working on! With that, the first gathering will be next Wednesday, September 13! In the mean time I'll figure out how to navigate Mr. Linky, and get to work on my own entry! I can't wait for you to join in on the fun, and to see what you've been working on! Oh, and by the way, even though it's called A Common Thread, it can be any time of craft, it isn't restricted to cross-stitching! :) I'll be writing another post soon with specifics about exactly how it will work, at least how I envision it will, and hopefully there won't be any glitches!

Until then . . .


Monday, September 4, 2017

In Peak this Season - September Produce List

If you're like me and look forward to the rotation of the seasons, then you might enjoy cooking seasonally, as well. That being said, I'm always especially excited to add soups and stews to my menu plans when Autumn and Winter roll around!

In developing my menu plan, I like to check to see what produce is in season! Buying fruits and vegetables in season is a wonderful way to help to save on your grocery budget, and a trip to the local Farmer's Market is always a delightful treat!

When determining what produce is in season in your area, here are a wealth of resources available on Pinterest and other places on the internet where it can easily be found. But of course, what is in season in your area might be different than what I can find on my shelves locally. But thankfully websites like Field to Plate and Web Restaurant Store have simplified the process a bit by providing us with State by State and Regional guides.

I live in Virginia, which some still consider the South, but having grown up in Texas I personally consider us a little too North and East to be considered Southern, but at any rate this is what's in season in September in my neck of the woods!

- Broccoli
- Cucumbers
- Green Beans
- Peppers
- Squash
- Tomatoes

- Apples
- Grapes
- Raspberries

Reading through this list reminded me of a wonderful recipe I've made in years past, Chicken Salad with Honeycrisp Apples and Candied Walnuts!  You can find the recipe over at The Cozy Apron, and while you're there be sure to peruse some of her other recipes, as well, like her Creamy White Bean Stew with Smoky Bacon, it's another recipe I always look forward to this time of year! I have also saved a number of wonderful recipes for savory stews, warming soups, chill chasing chilis and some seasonal sweets on my Autumn Pinterest Board, as well, so feel free to visit me there!

If you enjoy cooking seasonally, I'd love for you to share some of your favorite Autumn and Winter recipes, too!  And be sure to tell me where you're from as well, it's always fun to learn where my friends are from!

Until then . . .

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Need for Grace - .02

I own that I am disposed to say grace upon twenty other occasions in the course of the day besides my dinner. I want a form for setting out upon a pleasant walk, for a moonlight ramble, for a friendly meeting, or a solved problem....

~ Charles Lamb ( 1775- 1834)

- for slow, rainy days with a hint of Autumn in the air.
- for September!
- for the return of soups and stews and chili to the menu plan!
- for my sweet Bandit, who loves to cuddle!

Bandit (front) and Neci, on a rainy, lazy afternoon earlier this week,
oh and that's Kate's arm in the foreground! They were all peacefully napping!