Extra! Extra! Read All About It: An Update and a Few Good Recipes

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read All About It!

That is used to get readers’ attention and believe me this post is so uneventful that I needed a headline to capture your attention.  Did it work?  If it did not work maybe these yummy recipes will……. 

Click on the photos for the recipes but continue on reading for an update on the latest happenings.

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I know I have had more post lately about food than monogramming.  That’s because I have been cooking more than monogramming, and sadly, I have been eating more than I have been cooking. (I will spare you those pictures!)  Someone duck tape my mouth closed with some of that designer duck tape!!!  BUT..with school almost closer than further, the monogramming rush is coming soon. 

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have read that I had been transferring my blog over to a new host.  It’s been quite the learning experience for someone who knows NOTHING about the computer programming language.  I may have been better at trying to read Greek for the past week and a half, but I did it!!! (Yay me!!)   During this transfer, I have missed several Show & Tell Fridays.  I was in the middle of a post when I started having server problems.  I hope to share that post with you Friday.  Then I may have to rethink this weekly version of Show & Tell Fridays to a monthly version….maybe to Show & Tell First Friday of the Month. 

Exciting news for ME….Mr. Miss Nola has purchased a tile cutting saw.  He said he needed it to do the finale in our kitchen….the marble subway tile backsplash.  We also went and priced the tile last Friday at some stone companies. (Insert several jumps and claps!!) Hopefully this will happen sooner than later. I am excited to share Operation Kitchen Cabinet Redoux with you.  Hopefully I can do it before the summer is over and gone. 

Thanks for reading!  And remember don’t throw out that left over rice. 

Behind the Scene of Embroidery: The Challenge of Monogramming an Over-Sized Tote

The challenged tote

In theory an over sized tote bag would be an embroiders easiest items to embroider next to a towel.  The fast frames would be used with sticky stabilizer.  The biggest challenge then would be centering the tote on the fast frame…… but not all over sized totes are created equal.  Some are lined with a liner that is sewn in the tote only along the top of the tote as shown in the picture below.  With a loose liner, only one layer can be secured to the sticky stabilizer, and unfortunately it’s the liner layer of the tote.  The layer that will have the monogram on it, will need to be pinned to secure it on the frame. (As shown in picture #5 below) 

Tote challenge 1

Then, as if the liner was not a big enough challenge in itself,  some over sized totes have pockets inside in the front of the bag and in the back of the bag as shown below.  

Tote Challenge

In some cases a tote like this could not be monogrammed with out embroidering the pocket closed, but this zipper pocket was large enough that the fast frame was able to fit inside of the pocket.

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The size of this monogrammed depended on what size fast frame was going to fit in the pocket.  I was able to use the fast frame with a 4.5 x 5.25 opening which allowed me to put a 3.5″ monogram on it nicely.  Since the monogram was of the larger size, the font was digitized using the fill stitch. This is stitch is great for totes because it’s a tighter stitch for something that will get a lot of wear and tear on it. This fill stitch does require more stitches which will cost a little more, but it creates a nicer quality of monogram as shown in the last picture.

  Tote challenge 5

Tote challenge 4

 

014654501b099eced3ff6cdb1072eb2dd111291af4Thank you for taking a minute to understand a little behind the scene of embroidery.      

Green Bean Italiano

 

I am convinced that if I sprinkled Italian bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and garlic on anything it would be delicious.  I love green beans, but my husband was never a fan of them until…..I introduced him to this version of Italian green beans.  I have to give credit to a cashier named Queen that worked at one of my local grocery stores.  As she was checking me out one day, she was talking about cooking her son green beans for his birthday.  {I’m not going to lie; I have never heard of anyone asking for green beans for their birthday.}  Of course I had to ask what she put in them.  She listed her ingredients, and when I was ready to cook green beans all I could remember was bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and garlic.  She could have named ten more items, but for us these few ingredients were all we needed for these green beans to be one of our favorite sides. I, NOW,  get why her son asked for them for his birthday…..THANKS QUEEN! :-) 

 

 

Green Beans Italiano

Serves 6
Green beans seasoned with Italian bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, and garlic.


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Cook Time
45 min

Cook Time
45 min

Ingredients
  1. 1 16 oz bag of frozen cut green beans
  2. 2 tablespoons of butter
  3. 1 tablespoon of Italian bread crumbs
  4. 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese
  5. 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  6. salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a sauce pan or pot, cover frozen bean with water.
  2. Boil beans in the water uncovered on med high heat until the water is gone or until beans are soft to your liking.*
  3. Turn the heat to a lower temp now, add the butter and mix until butter has melted.
  4. Add bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Mix well.
  5. Salt to taste.
Notes
  1. I sometimes have to add more water to get them soft to my liking. I like them soft not mushy. If they get soft and there is still a lot of water, drain the beans and return to the sauce pan to a low heat.
  2. Cooking time will depend on how soft you like your beans. For me it takes aproximately 45 minutes.
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Spinach & Artichoke Tortellini Salad

 

 

Spinach artichoke tortellini saladI love pasta salads. They have come a long way since the tri-colored spiral noodles drenched in italian dressing with chunks of pepperoni. This recipe evolved for me as I was browsing other pasta recipes. I came across several that I knew I loved all of the ingredients but they were missing a WOW factor. All of the ingredients were those of the bland version, so I did what I do to a lot of recipes that I come across…….I put my own spin to it. It’s the perfect side to any summer meal, or it’s a perfect light summer meal in itself. I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Spinach & Artichoke Tortellini Salad


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Ingredients
  1. •3 cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  2. •12-14oz Cheese Tortellini Pasta (Cooked; follow directions on package. This comes packaged several ways and by different oz.)
  3. •12 oz Jar Marinated Artichokes Hearts
  4. •14 oz Can Quartered Artichoke Hearts (Drained)
  5. •14 oz Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes (Drained)
  6. •1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder (May need to adjust to your taste on this measurement)
  7. •1/2 teaspoon Basil Seasoning (May need to adjust to your taste on this measurement)
  8. •Salt (To taste)
  9. •Ground Pepper (To taste)
  10. •Shaved Parmesan Cheese (To garnish)
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions and drain it.
  2. Coarsely chopped spinach and place in a large salad bowl.
  3. Spoon out marinated artichokes and add them to the bowl of chopped spinach. You want some of the marinate in the salad because it is full of flavor, but adding all of it will be too much. What is on the spoon with the artichoke piece will be enough. NOTE: I also will pick the hard part of the leaves off of the artichoke.
  4. Drain and rinse the can of quartered artichokes. Rinsing them will take away of some the tartness. I also will pick off the hard leaves and sometimes I will cut the leaf portion off depending on how tough the leaves are. Add them to the bowl.
  5. Drain the tomatoes. Add them to the bowl.
  6. Add the pasta to the bowl.
  7. Add the garlic powder, basil, salt and ground pepper.
  8. Gently toss and top with Parmesan Cheese. May serve immediately, or I like to chill it prior so that the flavors marinate together in the frig.
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Directions

Show & Tell Friday on Saturday…almost Sunday: My Paradise

 

Oops….I’m late! I know y’all were wondering what happen to me yesterday. {Insert a giggle and a wink!} Well, this happened to me…..I spent the day caught up in my own paradise.

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Last October one of my childhood dreams got one step closer to becoming a reality. I know that sounds corny, but it’s a fact. Ever since I was a child I dreamed of living on the coast. Not just any coast….this coast has to be close to home. When you’re born and raised in Southeast Louisiana, it becomes part of your soul. Transfer here and stay a while and it even becomes part of your soul. So the coast I have always dreamed of would have to be close to home and the Mississippi Gulf Coast is close to home.

After years of driving and searching the Mississippi Gulf Coast from the Louisiana state line to the Alabama state line, Kenny and I found and bought a small lot a block off of the beach in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The photo above is the view of my short walk to the beach.

I’ll be sharing more of our lot in the Bay with you in the future as our lot progresses into a beach house. Kenny had his truck, trailer and tractor on it yesterday so it wasn’t looking picture pretty. Pictures to come soon.

The picture below is of the beach yesterday with all of its perfect imperfections! It’s not the Caribbean, but it’s my perfect paradise.

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The kids, as much as they were against us getting a lot on the coast in fear that we’d move immediately and take them away from friends, seem to be warming up to the idea of  the “Salt Life”.  Skim boarding with the cousins may be a new found hobby.

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AND NOW………A little candy box music collection of “Paradise” for you to choose from. I’d love to hear which version of “Paradise”  is your favorite!! I  couldn’t choose.  I love them all!

 

Show & Tell Friday: Monogrammed Straw Hats

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For over a year now, I have admired several posting in my “embroidery group” of monogrammed floppy straw hats. I bought one last summer, hung it on a hook and never monogrammed it until last week when I had a customer bringing me straw hats to monogram.

Knowing they were on their way with the straw hats, I thought it would be a good time to get my floppy straw hat out so I could use it as a “tester”.  Remember in the sentence above I said that I hung it on a hook?  I guess I forgot to mention that since then I caught Hallie “Audrey Hepburn” Parker using it one day back in January or February to play.

My floppy straw hat  was nowhere to be found by the time the customer arrived.  My only hope was to drill Hallie when she arrived home from her last day of school in hopes that she remember where she put it when she was finished playing.  You can imagine how that went with an excited eight year old on her last day of school.  She could not remember where she put the hat on that cold winter day when she pranced around as if she was “My Fair Lady”.

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I looked in all the places that I thought a little girl with lots of junk filled tote bags would have put a floppy straw hat.  I finally gave up on my search.  I  just figured that I would have to practice on one of Kenny’s (the husband… my husband) straw hats that he wears to cut the grass or get a new straw hat to practice on.  It was right about that time that the little girl had to practice her piano.  Like she always does, she wanted to make a deal with me…..she would practice her  piano IF  I got down the ukulele that was on the top shelf in her closet.  Really…a ukulele?  She wanted to play that ukulele that she had to have from one of our cruises to Cozumel. It’s been in her closet forever.  I forgot we had it.  I thought that was WEIRD, and I have been long over making  deals with her, BUT the top shelf of her closet was the one place I had not looked for the straw hat.  AND…………….

 

Right  next to  the little purple ukulele was the floppy straw hat.  Funny how God does that, huh? It’s also funny that it was so high and behind a pile of folded jeans that there was no way Hallie could have put it there.  It must have been Kenny because I WOULD HAVE REMEMBERED where it was if I put it there.  Hehe!

Audrey Hepburn was such a classic beauty.  She can be found photographed in many straw hats.  I would like to think that if monogramming was the craze back in the day of such a Hollywood Classic  that she too would have had her straw hats adorned with her set of initials.

Straw hat

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If you have a tightly woven straw hat and would like me to monogram it, please contact me.  I am monogramming one day a week.  If it is a rainy week, I may monogram twice that week.  LOL!

For tips and/or a step by step tutorial on “How to Monogram a Straw Hat” click here.

Show & Tell Friday: The PINspiration That Started it ALL

Pinterest is a woman’s best friend and a husband’s worse nightmare……or at least that is the way it is in my house.  Y’all know how I feel about Pinterest: LoVe, lOvE, LOVE!!   However, I must say that I only thought I pinned a lot, but I see some of the pinners that I follow have pins in the thousands and ten thousands.  I think I must be a picky pinner.  I have discovered that my pins must have links attached to them with detail about the pin.  I occasionally will pin a photo only, but I  usually like the pins that come attached to a working site.  There is nothing more disappointing than a great pin without the recipe, buying site, or DIY directions attached.  It’s through Pinterest that I have found some wonderful blogs to follow.  There are so many talented bloggers out there.

This particular pin below is from Amy who has a BEAUTIFUL blog, Playing Sublimely.  I must say that this wall is what put me on a mission of Operation Kitchen Cabinet Redoux.  It was my PINspiration.

 

PINspiration prayer wall from Playing Sublimely.

PINspiration prayer wall from Playing Sublimely.

I know you’re probably thinking that how did a chalkboard wall lead me to redoing my kitchen cabinets, getting new counter tops, an addition to my island, etc…..  Well, it was just one of those things that happens when you begin to think of one thing and it leads to something else and so on and so on.  I had pinned his pin because I thought it was a genius idea to have a chalkboard prayer wall.  It just so happened that I had a tall skinny wall that I thought would be perfect for this.  I am a big fan of writing prayers to Our Father via a prayer journals so this was going to be one way that I could get my children to write their prayers down.  I also thought it would be a great way for us to be reminded daily that He is always in control and that we should be grateful of each day regardless of what comes our way.

One night after the Christmas excitement, Kenny and I found ourselves in Lowes or Home Depot.  Bored out of my mind in there, I wondered into the paint department and  just so happened to be asked if I needed any help.  To my amazement I heard the words come out of my mouth, “Yes, I am looking for chalkboard paint.”  It just came out like a cuckoo bird coming out of the clock on the top of the hour.  So, there I was with chalkboard paint in hand.  I figured how hard could this be……I have painted a few walls in my time!

Once I got home and read the can, I discovered that there were directions on how to prep the wall because for the best results for a chalkboard wall, the walls should be SMOOTH!  Smooth as in no texture on the wall.  This could NOT be correct.  So I hit the best invention since sliced bread for more information on it; Pinterest.  Surely, I would find other chalkboard DIY directions there.  So I searched: CHALK PAINT ……..not chaldboard paint; just chalk paint.  And from my ignorance a new project was born as well as a future blog post.  I had NO idea there was such a beautiful creature as chalk paint that did not require sanding or stripping the old paint off of the surface.  Finally there was a way for me to redo my old white cabinets, and it seemed like one project that  I could handle doing solo. (Solo as in no help from my husband.  I also needed to use doing it solo as my leverage to get those long-awaited for marble counter tops.)  Also thanks to my ignorance, I discovered that there was no other better way to paint a “chalkboard” wall without prepping the wall and making it smooth.  It’s at this part of my story that leads me to… Pinterest is a husband’s worst nightmare.

Above is the wall prior to the chalkboard paint.  Notice that it even has a wall phone on it.  Yes, we may be the only family that still has a wall phone.  We lived through Katrina and had phone  service before we had electricity and had both long before we had Internet and cable.  It’s important to me to have land line communication even if the wall phone is a decorating faux pas.  Please don’t judge….ha!! I NEED MY COMMUNICATION!!!!

Kenny had to patch the wall.  He rerouted the phone to the other side of the wall which WAS our butler’s pantry between our dining room and kitchen.  It since has received a make over which I will share in a future post with the kitchen.  As you can kind of tell, we have an open floor plan in our house.

photo 4He had to sand the texture off of the wall.  Then he applied something he called joint compound to make it a smoother texter. I called it spackle.  I would believe him and not me on this one….LOL!!!  The compound made the wall smoother than it was but it is not totally smooth.

photo 1He then had to sand the joint compound and prime the wall.  Can you say “dust”!!! The dust from the sanding step was almost unbelievable.  I’m not sure you can see the BLACK grand piano that is the neighbor to the wall under construction.  Thank goodness that half of the piano was covered with one of our Christmas trees and a tree skirt.  Yes, I started this project right after Christmas and before I had taken down the decorations.  I thought that was brilliant on my part. Don’t you? As if the Christmas aftermath isn’t enough of a mess in a home.   In my defense, Kenny was on vacation and most of my projects become his projects so he was a must.  photo 3This is the wall painted with two coats of chalkboard paint and  with one stripe painted around the outer edges. photo 4Two stripes around the wall.  I was actually out-of-town in Foley, Alabama shopping with my mom and sisters when this step was underway.  I do love my husband….sweatpants and all!! (above picture..LOL!!) Notice the brown buffet in the background to the left.  It was getting ready for its big make over.  photo 2The wall with two stripes and dots.  I did not trust myself with my handwriting nor my balance on a tall ladder to do the actual writing of verses on the chalkboard wall with actual chalk.  I cheated and used wall vinyl and my Cricut.  Kenny also helped me put that up due to my fear of being that high on a ladder.                                                                                                           photo 1 The bottom of the wall would not have been so bad since I could have done it with both feet on the ground,  but Kenny did the applying of that verse too. I think he had a fear of me putting it on the wall on an angle.  I had the same fear to be honest.  photo 3Here is the wall with both verses waiting for each child’s prayer frame.  Take a look at the buffet to the left.  It is now Emperor’s Silk Red (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint).  The Christmas decorations are down too.  walls 4And the wall today……painted, striped, dotted, vinyled, framed and chalked.  Kenny made the frames with pieces of molding so they would lay flat on the wall.  They came out a little smaller than I had envisioned but that left me with a little room for my yearly photo calendar and important numbers and dates.  It may not be as pretty and perfect as my PINspiration, but I love it just the same.  And most of all,  I love that it was the project from a PINspiration that started it all………..