Yes, I am one of those crazy people that LIKE green vegetables. In fact, I would rather eat broccoli, green beans, spinach, snap peas, all of it, rather than get fast food. One of my favorite vegetables (yes you can roll your eyes) is the tiny brussel sprout. I hate seeing this poor vegetable sit on the produce shelf and get over looked by other passing shoppers. I almost always get brussel sprouts, much to the dismay of my husband, at every grocery outing. (insert WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU here)
April’s Grilled Brussel Sprout Salad
10-14 fresh Brussel Sprouts halved/quartered depending on size
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 minced garlic clove or tsp garlic powder
season with Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
sprinkle of halved walnuts
sprinkle of dried cranberries
My favorite way to eat them is grilled and I’ll give you a very simple way to make them. I’ll steam them for a few minutes, then finish them off on my grill pan with a touch of extra virgin olive oil. Char them up with salt, pepper and minced garlic. Drop in some chopped walnuts and dried cranberries and you’re done. It’s a perfect warm “salad” for winter. Try it!
I’m in the process of learning how to bead the Cellini Spiral. It’s a woven bead stitch that makes wonderful gradations from large to small beads in a spiral. Starting it was the hardest part but once you get the pattern down it’s pretty simple. I’m stopping on this one since I’m going to change from bead wire to a more flexible fireline but it was a good sample run.
Check out more beautiful Cellini Spiral bracelets on Etsy to see the full effect:
I have always liked glassware, usually various colors and shapes and have taken to collecting odd vases and jars through the years. A few years ago, my grandparents gifted me a few of their old Mason Ball jars they had stored in the basement. One was a “Perfect Mason #11″ and one was an “Ideal”. Up until this point, I really didn’t know how old they were or too much of the history of the ball jar but I always knew they were quite old and many people like to collect them. They have been in my kitchen now for over a decade and who knows how long they were in my grandparents canning room so I thought today was the day that I scour the internets trying to find some backstory on this wonderful piece of history.
Jar 1: Ball Perfect Mason Mold #11 (1910-1923)
Jar 2: Ball Ideal Mold #7?? Defect? (1923-1933)
It’s pretty easy to see the difference between the two in the “Ball” script. Jar 1 has “ascender” on the letter “a” in Ball as well as a full underscore line under the whole word “Ball”. According to a few sites I’ve read that immediately dates it somewhere between 1910-1923. The second jar has an “open B” in the word “Ball” and no underscore. This dates the second jar between 1923-1933. These are averages but good enough for me.
The patent date is just that, it also doesn’t “date” when the jar was made. Also, the numbers on the bottom of the jars just mean the mold number and unfortunately don’t help date the jars any better but I thought it was interesting that the second jar’s bottom number doesn’t really look like a number. Is this a defect? Was this a 7 or 2 skewed in the process? Who knows! Either way, I dusted them off, cleaned them up and now they reside back on my kitchen shelf where they belong.
Do you have any “Ball” jars? My goal is to get one from every “era” based on their script style. Have a look at how to date them and the difference in the script style: Bob Clay – Dating Ball Jars
Recycling Mason Jars
While I’m going to leave mine as is, I couldn’t help but love these Recycled Mason Jar Lights from Lamp Goods on Etsy. Very country chic: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LampGoods?section_id=7357599
I have a ton of beads and usually I try to make bracelets or necklaces when I’m snowed in but this time I decided to play with earrings. Earrings are super easy and you can easily blow a half hour watching some of your favorite DVR’d shows. (which is exactly what I did!)
It’s pretty easy, you need some little beads (any colors your choose), two earring posts, beading wire (mine is a 26 gauge purple), some sewing thread (again mine is purple) and a scissor/wire cutters.
First double the length that you want your earrings, mine I wanted about two inches tall, so cut two wires about four inches each. Loop the one end and attach it to the earring post. Thread your small beads on the other end leaving a little space at the top to loop the other end onto the earring post. Basically make a circle.
Now you can leave your earrings just like this if you want, but I like the straight dangly ones.
Squeeze the sides together. Tie thread at the top of the first bead and start wrapping between the beads all the way down to the bottom. The bottom will have a little bulge because the beads will bunch together, but the thread will hold it all together. Once you get to the bottom, wrap back up a little bit and tie off.
Then take the top and bottom and twist about 5 or 6 times to tighten the beads together. You may not want to do the thread trick but I think it reinforces it a little bit more and makes a cool spiderweb like pattern. Enjoy!
If you could do anything, what would you do?
I posed the question to my husband just about every morning and his default reply is, “I’d rather be fishing.” So here is to a warmer day on Lake Poinsett when we took our “new to us” boat out on the lake.
Click to enlarge the detail on this photo. That’s one sweet bass!!
Maybe not scissors but in the case I’ll make an exception…
Now I have nothing against coloring books. I loved them as a kid and I was pretty careful to color in the lines. My daughter on the other hand is a little more “freeform” and has virtually no interest in staying in the lines, coloring anything the “right” color or even taking care of her crayons. Yes I know, she’s three.
She scribbles, she colors where ever (table included), she pokes holes, pours glitter, markers up her face, sticks stickers and so on, eventually her “homework” looks more like a sculptured spit wad then anything that could be handed in for a grade and I need to throw her into the tub since she tattooed herself with Sharpies. Embrace it April!
What made me not lose ALL hope is when she had a BLANK sheet of paper, creativity just poured out. She would draw little people and stars and swirls and tell a little story to me. I was flabbergasted! No wonder she hated coloring books! She wanted to make them herself. Imagination DUH!
So a huge roll of paper is the best thing for this little creative and imaginative mind! This was the best Christmas gift in my opinion and the one that we use the most. (Take that Squinkies! #hate)
The other wonderful thing about this is when we are done, we just roll the thing back up for another day. She keeps adding to it, or cuts into it, or rolls out more. It’s a never ending piece of artwork and I love it.
Here are some of her masterpieces:
This huge roll of paper is another good thing for my carpet when we are painting:
Although the floor is nice, I’m eventually hoping to find a really old table with wooden legs that I can cut off at the right height for her to stand. Then I plan on screwing the roll of paper to the end of the table and adding some mesh bags for markers, colors and the like. If you have an old table like this let me know!
I was kidding myself when I thought I could start a new painting with two young daughters in tow. I thought they would just play nicely with their toys in the background as I whip up a masterpiece. I was SADLY mistaken. Since my eldest helped me with “organizing” the oils yesterday, she immediately thought she could start painting today. And the begging began before breakfast.
Now any artist loves to hear their children say “Mom? Can I paint?” so I had to cave in. Also this gave me a good warm up for myself since I may be tutoring a teenager this summer. Do I have the patience? Why not practice with my daughter? Keeping her attention for longer than 10 minutes will be a miracle.
So we started easy, I had two small square canvases that I had covered with a flat pink and flat blue months ago when my daughter first started asking to paint. They were practice canvases that I let her paint on while I was doing my sister-in-law’s behemoth of a painting, basically to keep her occupied and off MY canvas! So I dug them out of the closet along with some old Bob Ross mixed paints that I don’t like using. (They are premixed pinks and blues and greens, perfect for a young artist to play with but I like mixing my own)
Now, I wasn’t going to let her go gun ho crazy. I’d have oils all over the carpet, walls, everywhere. So this little tutorial was supervised. We took turns making circles. That was the only direction I gave her. She could dip her brush in the paint, I would mix the colors for her and then she could make as many circles on the canvas as possible. Then I would take my brush and I would make a circle. Back and forth until we filled the canvas. She stayed with it and when she said we were done, we were done. She did a much better job on the pink one than the blue, she was more focused and excited. I started losing her to Dora and Team Umizoomi but we got them both done!
Overall I thought she did very well. She learned to take turns, she learned her colors and she learned how to draw circles! Good enough for me! She was a little harsh on the brush, so teaching her to have a lighter touch was essential, there were a few times she would overload the brush and she knew it. She’d look at me and laugh, “Whoops! Waaay too much paint mom, clean it off!” And she also got her fill of painting, she moved onto glitter glue and scissors and now she is back to playing makeup-overs. Oh to be three again.
You can see our progress below, both were done in about 40 minutes:
And the final drying on the wall:
Kids are smarter than you think.
Time for a new painting, but much like taxes, it’s time for an audit of my oils. Some may need to be retired since they didn’t survive the move and some will need to be replaced. I had taken a hiatus last year (except for my sister-in-laws painting in October) since I was pregnant. I had enough going on and we were renting a TINY house with zero ventilation. Now that we are settled and my eldest can finally listen to some reason (like “don’t touch, wet paint”) I’ve decided it’s safe to break out my oils. Here, my daughter helps me organize them into a haphazard array of colors and manufacturers. My blues are the most depleted but my browns are representing.
So I asked her what I should paint and she said she wanted a painting of her little sister. Portraits??? ME??? Are you crazy!? I didn’t have the heart to tell her I only do landscapes. But I would be lying if I didn’t take out my Portrait books just to see if I would venture to do it. Maybe I need a challenge. Then again, maybe I just need a laugh.