Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween ! little pretties ! You'd better have a happy Halloween, or I'll send the flying monkeys after you ..... and your little dog, too! Ahahahahahahahaha ......

It's time...... time for me to put on my orange and black striped socks, my witchy boots, and my best witchy hat -- and fire up my broom --- I have a Halloween Party to attend here in Blogland (you're invited too !) I'm bringing dead birds in that bird cage for the pot luck dinner, but you don't have to worry about bringing anything, dearie .... just bring yourself .......Ahahahahahahaha.......

Mary Anne (aka Mare, or The Wicked Witch of the West)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Witch's brew & a stitchery too !!!!

OK -- as I was yet again doodling and dawdling and finishing up this latest little drawing, I decided it should have a purpose , a job of some sort, instead of just lying there on a pile of other little drawings on my desk , soon to be covered by cat hair and dust (and the possible hair ball yakked up by one of the 4-legged kids.) Hmmmmm.....but what could it's purpose be???? OH!!! How about a stitchery?!?!?! OK!!! So, I took my little drawing to a copy machine, and enlarged it. Then, I cut out a piece of muslin slightly bigger than an 8 and a half by 11 sheet of paper , and , using my light box and a fine point pigma pen, I transferred the design onto the muslin. THEN, I remembered reading on Leanne's blog that she took a class where the instructor told them to try using colored pencils on fabric. COLORED PENCILS !!!! I LOVE using colored pencils !! That's right up my alley !!!! So, out came my trusty colored pencils and I colored to my heart's content !!! (I probably should have ironed a piece of freezer paper to the back to stabilize it while I colored , but I was having such a good time, I didn't want to stop ... ) If you don't have colored pencils, crayons also work .( check out Monica'scute pumpkin project done with crayons.)

After the coloring was finished, I heat set it with my iron (not sure how colored pencil on fabric would do in the wash, so I thought heat setting it might help keep it from fading away. -- or just don't wash this project ?) Anyhow, as suggested by Natalie of Cinderberry Stitches, I ironed on a piece of light weight fusible pellon interfacing on the back of the stitchery to stabilize it and help hide stray threads. (I just LOVE Natalie's stitcheries and quilts !! She also has a really good tutorial on doing stitcheries -- it's on the upper right corner of her blog page called "let's get started".) For the stitching, I'm using 2 strands of DMC embroidery floss and a backstitch. So, eventually, this stitchery may end up as a little quilted wall hanging of some sort. (and it finally has a job !)

I was hoping to be able to figure out how to post this pattern so any of you who would like to have it could just print it out --- BUT, being computer challenged, and "tech support" having too much homework tonight , plus the fact that I'm realizing I would need a scanner to do this (which I'm putting on my birthday wish list for the "Big Cheese" aka "the husband" ASAP, since there are only about 16 more shopping days until my birthday) -- anyhow, if anybody would like to have this stitchery pattern, just email me your address and I'll be happy to make a copy and send it to you. (I'm thinking it could be done as a stitchery like I'm doing , with or without coloring it in ; or it could be done as applique; or you could just give it to a kid to color as a coloring book page.) Anyway, have fun!

Oh! I almost forgot -- the real "Witch's Brew". I found a recipe for one on Martha's website. (If you scroll down to where it says Holiday recipes, click on Halloween. Keep going through the list, and you'll come to the "Witch's Brew" . -- sorry, I couldn't get that page to "copy and paste" -- maybe Martha put a spell on it ! -- that WITCH !! -- just kidding!)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Friday, October 26, 2007

It was a dark and stormy night ........

(pretend there's spooky music playing in the background...) It was a dark and stormy night. The wind was blowing, the rain was pelting the windows, and the lights were flickering on and off. There was a tree limb outside making a low moaning sound as the wind blew and it caused an eerie shadow on the wall. The kids were watching an unbelievably scary movie (much scarier than the stuff I watched at their age --- remember Dark Shadows? Barnabus was such a creepy wierdo !! but nothing compared to the movies that are out now.) Anyhow, I was thinking of some spooky places that might be fun to visit around Halloween. How about Salem, Mass.? or Sleepy Hollow, NY ? or our haunted little town of Jim Thorpe,Pa? Quite a few places around here claim to be haunted , including The Inn at Jim Thorpe, my husband, Dave's place of business. (He is the manager and one of the owners.) The Asa and Harry Packer Mansions also supposedly have ghostly happenings.

In addition to all the haunted buildings in town, there is a unique (ummmmm..... REALLY different) kind of shop in town. The Mauch Chunk General Emporium (they don't have a website, sorry.) There are two sides to this shop. The one side has all sorts of vintage reproduction ornaments and decorations (that's where I got all of these neat reproduction Halloween cards and decorations .) ..... then, on the other side of the shop there are all sorts of items for sale if you happen to be into Wiccan Witchcraft ---- hmmmmm ---- whatever ......

Anyhow ....... BOO !! (and pretend the scary music is still playing ....)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Happy 15th Birthday Evan !!!

Today is my baby's 15th birthday !!! 15 ?!?!!!!!!! How did he get to be 15 so fast?????? I'm still 29 !!!
C'mon Evan, smile for Mommy ..... goofy face made by goofy kid (who is constantly embarrassed by his goofy mom!!!) (... and note goofy birthday hat -- made by brother Matt for their Gimma's birthday about 8 or 10 years ago -- that hat -- which has seen better days -- has become the traditional head wear for which ever family member is celebrating a birthday -- except we did break tradition this past July when my nieces, Maura and Erin made a new birthday crown for their Gimma.

Well, time for me to look in on my sleeping 15 year old baby, give him a kiss, and wonder where the time has gone.....

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lazy gal's chicken pot pie .......

I've been craving chicken potpie. I try not to buy the frozen variety (even though they're yummy) -- they have about a zillion calories and grams of fat in them -- RATS !! Anyhow, while at the grocery store, I spotted this "Cooking Light" magazine with the picture of -- gasp -- could it be? a "light" version of my latest comfort food craving? YES !!! (and I just happened to have a bunch of left over chicken already cooked!) So, I trotted up and down the aisles collecting all of the ingredients when I decided that whole scenario was gonna be WAY too much work! So, I thought to myself, how can I cheat on this recipe and it still be "light" and taste OK? Hmmmmmm....... I put back the flour and fat free chicken broth the recipe called for and picked up 2 cans of Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of chicken soup. Then, I put back the potato and sweet potato the recipe called for (didn't feel like peeling and slicing them). I did buy a bag of frozen peas and frozen pearl onions, and fresh carrots and celery (probably should have just gotten a bag of frozen sliced carrots instead of fresh -- oh well, next time!) Oh, and I did use the frozen puff pastry dough (I bought Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry I found in the freezer section next to frozen pie crusts . I never used this stuff before, so it was a learning experience -- I basically just used a rolling pin, then smooshed and pulled at the stuff until it was big enough to cover the top of the chicken mixture.) So, here's my version of "lazy gals' chicken pot pie".


2 cups (or more, if you like) cooked chicken breast , cut up in bite sized pieces.
2 cans reduced fat cream of chicken soup (I used Campbell's Healthy Request)
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry dough (comes 2 sheets in a box of Pepperidge Farm brand)
2 cups fresh or frozen carrots (sliced)
2 cups celery (sliced)
2 cups frozen pearl onions
2 cups frozen green peas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take one sheet of puff pastry dough out of box and defrost (let it sit out on counter -- may take about 20 - 30 minutes for it to defrost). Wash, peel and slice carrots (unless using frozen). Wash and slice celery .(slice into bite sized pieces). Steam carrots, celery, frozen peas and pearl onions in a pot (I use a steamer basket) until just tender. Put all steamed veggies and cut up chicken into an 11x7 inch baking dish. Add the 2 cans of reduced fat chicken soup and stir/combine with veggies and chicken . Place puff pastry on lightly floured surface and roll out to approx 13x9 inch rectangle. Place dough over chicken mixture, pressing to seal at edges of dish. Cut small slits into dough to let steam escape. Place dish on foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes (the original recipe said to bake for 16 minutes, but it took longer for my pastry to get brown.) Anyhow, bake until pastry is browned and filling is bubbly.

makes 8 servings
Wt watchers points = 4 points/serving

OK, the reviews are in -- my panel of distinguished food critics (Kid #1 and Kid #2) have determined that "it's about time we finally have something different for dinner , for a change" --- however, I noticed that they expertly ate AROUND the peas ..... hmmmm....... maybe the peas can be omitted ..... BUT, I like the peas , so the peas STAY !!!

Well, I'm off to clean up the mess in the kitchen (I thought if I let it sit there long enough somebody else might get the inclination to clean it up ------ well, that didn't work ......)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

This is absolutely my FAVORITE season !!!!

(Before you read this big, long winded post, scroll all the way down and click on my earlier post from this morning -- you don't want to miss that cute guy !)

I just LOVE autumn ! It is definately and absolutely my favorite season. I love everything about it. I love the colors, the textures, the crisp air, the fact that it's cool enough to need a jacket or sweater and not hot and humid (which makes me cranky), and it's not so cold that I need a heavy coat and my hands and toes are numb. Those first 2 pictures are the view from my front porch taken today (when, yes, I was supposed to be inside doing the dreaded left over paperwork .) .....and hydrangeas in the fall! don't you LOVE the way they turn from white to that pinkish, greenish around the edges! (I have to get out there and cut some off of the tree and dry them before they turn completely brown.)

OK -- so not doing what I'm supposed to be doing... as usual ... instead I'm piddling around taking pictures and drawing pictures .... again .... Anyhow, while standing on my porch admiring the fall foliage , I decided that the white chair sitting on the porch needed a splash of color, so I plopped that little pumpkin on the seat, and it's big sister on the floor next to it .... then I took a picture of it ....... then I drew a picture of it ..... (talk about piddling around !!!) (and talk about a deformed chair!!!the one I drew, that is ... not the real one).

OK, it gets worse! A few weeks ago while out taking a walk, I picked up some acorns. I just think they're so cute -- they look like a little head with a hat on. So,these acorns are sitting in a pile on my desk and when I'm sitting there attempting to concentrate on the dreaded paperwork, I end up looking at the cute acorns.... which reminded me of a craft book I bought about a year ago ..... which led me to look for it and look through it. The name of the book is "Felt Wee Folk" by Salley Mavor (check out her cute acorn people on her website !!). One of my favorite pages/scenes in her book is that one I took a picture of with the pumpkin houses --- don't you just want to live in that little world ?!? (.... and, yes, for cryin' out loud, I had to sit and try and draw a picture of it .....)

Well, since I spent the day not accomplishing anything I was supposed to do, I better now go and accomplish something! (sometimes I'm my own worst enemy!)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

This just CRACKS me up !!!!!!!!

I just LOVE this little guy! I don't know who he belongs to -- but he can come and live at my house anytime! (and I want his hair do !!)click here .

Enjoy !!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Doodle, Dawdle,Doodle, Dawdle . . . .

Did you ever get so overwhelmed (or maybe just bored) by what you're supposed to be doing that your brain just goes on "non function mode" and about all you can handle is to color ? or eat mass quantities of chocolate ? For me, both of these "coping mechanisms" (wow, I actually remember something from those psych classes I drudged my way through a zillion years ago ...)pretty much surfaced my freshman year at Temple University. Now, we all know that chocolate thing can/did get way out of hand (talk about your "freshman 10 " as in pounds !! lets go another 15 on that !!) Anyhow, as a joke, somebody, and I can't remember who, got me a "Pink Panther" coloring book and crayons for my birthday during my sophmore year -- by that time I hadn't colored in years -- but it was always one of my favorite things to do as a kid. I put the coloring book aside, being way too cool and sophisticated (HA!) and just looked at it as a gag gift. Well, one night while studying for midterms, and also having a couple of papers to write, etc, and the clock was ticking into the wee hours of the morning, and I was hitting major PANIC mode, I dragged that coloring book out and just started to color. It was unbelievably relaxing !! Just mindlessly coloring. After I finished coloring one page, I was calmed down enough get back to studying with a clear head.(and I didn't reach for the chocolate!) Believe it or not, the idea caught on. First, my room mate asked to color a picture, then a couple of the girls next door, then more girls down the hall, then a couple of the guys from the soccer team, etc. You should try it some time -- its' a great stress reliever ! (just like knitting, crocheting, quilting ,etc -- I guess it's the repetitiveness of it all .) So, the past couple of days, my patience with that mind numbing paperwork from the day job is at an all time low, so doodle and dawdle I do !!!!!! (that 2nd drawing of the birdies on the branch is my attempt to copy one of Susan Branch'sdrawings out of her "Autumn" book that I won from Sharon)

Anyhoo, the past week hasn't been a total bust, quilting-wise --- I did stay up late a few nights ago sewin' in my pj's and actually FINISHED machine stitching on the last of the letters going around the borders of my Finish What You Have Project. Now all I have to do is piece the back, baste the layers together, and machine quilt it ... oh, and put the binding on !! Hopefully that won't take another 5 years !!!!!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fall Foliage Festival in Jim Thorpe

It was perfect fall weather for the annual Fall Foliage Festival here in Jim Thorpe, Pa. There were train rides to view the foliage (which is a bit behind schedule -- maybe due to the warm spell we had over the past couple of weeks -- there are some trees that have turned, especially up on the mountain, but here in town, it hasn't hit its' peak yet -- maybe by next weekend. Oh, wait ! There's one -- if you enlarge that first picture of the train station and look over to the right of the roof, you'll see a red tree -- everybody came to see that one red tree ! -- just kidding, there were other red trees, and yellow ones and orange ones, too). Anyway, it sure was feeling like fall -- you definately needed a sweater or a coat -- and some hot cider or hot chocolate to keep warm. There were craft vendors and food vendors in the park, a trolley available for tours of the town, and all of the shops were dressed for the occasion.

Well, gang, hope you all had a good "Fall-ish" weekend (hold that thought as the Monday morning, rude awakening blahs roll in .....)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Look at all this FUN STUFF from Sharon !!!

Sam and Shadow are VERY happy with the BOX that Sharon sent them !! (Look, there's Shadow hogging the box, and Sam saying "MOMMMMMM!!! Shadow won't let me have a turn sitting in the box !") I, on the other hand, am VERY happy with the stuff that came IN the box !!! That sweet , crazy gal Sharon from Red Geranium Cottage not only sent me the "Autumn" book by Susan Branch (which I LOVE !!!!), but she also sent along some fun surprises !!! (as in those nice autumn colored dish towels, that very cute Halloween writing paper, AND that sweet votive candle holder made out of Halloween fabrics (made by Sharon, I'm guessing. -- is that right, Sharon? Did you make that ? and is that what it is -- for a candle?? well, whether it is or not, I like it holding a pumpkin scented candle !!!) Everything she sent me is GREAT-- right down to that darling tissue paper with the black stars on it that she packed everything in !!! .... and, of course, the box/kitty toy !

Well, I think I'll go put a comfy pair of sweats on and my fluffy slippers, make a cup of tea (ignore that stack of paperwork that's hanging over my head --not to mention laundry -- ah yes, the Queen of Procrastination is alive and well !) and go look at my new book !! (I think I even saw a recipe for cinnamon ice cream in there -- like the kind we had the other day at The City Tavern . I never heard of cinnamon ice cream until a few days ago when I had it for dessert , and now I found a recipe for it !!!! YUMMO !!!)

OK -- I've got some procrastinating to do ....

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A perfect sewing day .......... EXCEPT .....

Today is a dreary, rainy, chilly day --- it's pouring on my pumpkins and it's the absolutely perfect kind of day to spend inside blissfully sewing and sipping on a lovely cup of tea ... and listening to some of my favorite "autumn" feeling music playing in the background. Bliss....... sigh ...... except for the fact that I have to finish getting my paperwork together and haul my butt out the door to drive around in the rain and fog to see my homecare patients .....RATS !! Well, if I hurry up and get off of this computer, I might have time to finish sewing on the letter "E" on my Finish What You Have Project before I have to leave... OK gotta zoom!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

George, Ben and Tom ate here ! (Martha and Betsey , too?)

Today we were back in Philadelphia for a follow up appt for Mom. Everything went well, and she was feeling fine, so we decided to go out for a late lunch at The City Tavern on south 2nd Street. When you walk through the door, and see the waiters and waitresses dressed in colonial costumes and hear the harpsichord music playing, you feel like George (as in Washington) is going to come strolling in with Ben ( as in Franklin) to have a beer with Tom (as in Jefferson). (I guess Martha was home whittling George another set of teeth, and Betsey was busy throwing a flag together for these guys.)

Anyhow, look at that yummy bread -- all home made and served on a pewter plate (at least it looks like pewter.)Those little biscuit looking things on the bread plate were Thomas Jefferson's recipe -- they're made with mashed sweet potatoes and also have cinnamon and nuts in them. The water was served in pewter goblets ( my "colonial" diet coke, however, was served in a regular glass ....). OH !!! and look at that dessert !!! Apple Strudel (served warm) topped with cinnamon ice cream !!! VERY YUMMY !!! And there they are, those crazy kids, George(NOT Washington) and Nancy (aka Dad and Mom) posing in front of the harpsichord (I guess back in colonial days, this was considered the piano bar section of the Tavern.) So, now it can be said that in addition to George (Washington) , Ben and Tom (and I think, John and Sam Adams -- who, I guess brought his own beer) , George and Nancy can now be added to the list of distinguished patrons who have eaten at The City Tavern !

Well, I must go powder my wig ....

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I won !!!! AGAIN !!!!

I can't believe it !! I won the Susan Branch "Autumn" book from that crazy, fun loving gal Sharon at Red Geranium Cottage. THANKS !!!! I LOVE Susan Branch's style of drawing !! I TRY to copy her style when I attempt to do my feeble little drawings -- so her "Autumn" book (and I also LOVE autumn!!) is the absolute PERFECT prize (unless of course we're talking lottery and big bucks ) ANYWAY -- THANKS SHARON !!!!!

Mary Anne

Friday, October 5, 2007

Mom Update - - she's baaaaack !!!

I'm happy to report that my Mom is home and doing very well. (thank you everyone for your well wishes and nice comments!) She came through her surgery without any problems on Wednesday and they gave her the boot on Thursday morning. (wish I could say the same for that new "Hurry Up and Wait "needle turn applique project I started during our 8 hour waiting room stint on Wednesday --- it came out OK but was a bit awkward for me to do -- I guess I should give it another chance -- but I'm thinking maybe doing prep work first on the seam allowances using the starch method or glue stick method would be less frustrating? )

ANYHOW, back to the Mom Update - - - she called us at the hotel Thursday morning and said she could go anytime -- so we revved up the get - away car , zoomed to the hospital and kept the motor running while the RN sprung her with her stack of instructions. We decided NOT to take the Schuylkill Expressway (it was a Phillies play off game day -- meaning way more traffic than I felt like dealing with) -- so we headed up Broad Street instead and guess what -- there was road construction -- although not too bad. Then we decided to take Rt 309 North instead of the Pa Turnpike since we ran into alot of road construction on that on the way down -- and guess what --- there was ...... ROAD CONSTRUCTION on Rt 309 too !!!! (Big Surprise!!!) Soooo, by the time we got outside of Philly , to Montgomeryville, it was lunch time --- and bathroom break time ..... soooooo, I just happened to make a right turn onto Stump Rd and pulled into a little strip mall/shopping center that just happened to have a deli and just happened to have a ........ QUILT SHOP !!!!!! A coincidence?!???? I think NOT !!!! HA ! ( a couple of years ago, I had been to this same quilt shop and I kind of thought the area looked familiar -- amazing how that quilt shop radar works !! ) Anyhow, after we had a hoagie at the deli and hit the bathroom, Mom was up for a little quilt shop visit (what a trooper!!!) -- however it isn't really high on the list of fun stuff to do for George (aka Dad) ..... so, we locked him in the car with the air conditioner on and some Big Band era music on and a Pa highway map to plot out our route home, and he was a happy camper. Mom and I spent a lovely 45 minutes wandering blissfully through Country Quiltworks looking at books, fabrics galore, finished quilts, notions and doo dads. --- and be still my heart! --- look at the fun goodies I got !!!! Fig Tree Quilts new book "Houses"; "Fall Back in Time" fabric by Sandy Gervais; "Chelsea Boutique" fabric by Blackbird Designs; and wool -- pretty colors of wool !!!! OH !! I just want to take a bath in that wool it's so gorgeous !!!!

Anyhow, back to Mom --- when we got home I thought Mom should go put her feet up and rest -- she ,as usual, did not -- she had to unpack her things, go through the mail, make out a grocery list for me , write out a check or 2, call her sister , call her friend, etc, etc, etc, ---- SHEESH !!! Then I was dismissed --- I was told to go home, she and Dad would be fine and I didn't have to stay over night !! WOW !!!! She may be little, but she's definately one tough cookie !!!

Thanks again for all of your well wishes !

Mary Anne (aka Mare)