Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Millet Salad

Goodness me oh my, I have fallen rather behind! This was supposed to be posted on Friday, but then...

Anyway, today's offering is of the foodie variety. As we head into summer, I try to come up with yummy, make ahead salads to keep on hand. I throw together some veg, grain and protein for a well rounded, healthy nosh. I thought I'd share a recipe for a Millet and vegetable salad that makes a lovely side dish, or if you are like me, you might like to eat it as a meal for lunch, or a late afternoon snack when you could use a little boost.

Millet seems to be a grain that has fallen out of fashion a little here in the US; I recall it being a big deal in the late 70's health food circuit. I keep it on hand for breads and cereal mostly, but it makes a wonderful grain for salad as well.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Chickpea and Millet Salad with Tahini-Lemon Dressing

1 c millet
2 c water
1/2 head broccoli, broken into florets
1/2 head small cauliflower cut into florets
1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
3-4 scallions chopped
zest of 1 lemon

1 garlic clove, minced
3 T tahini
4 T olive oil
2 T hot water (more if necessary)
juice from 1 lemon
salt & pepper
*1-2 T almond butter or peanut butter (optional)

Begin by draining and rinsing the chickpeas, set aside.

Toast millet in a small saucepan on medium heat, stirring often, until it starts to crackle. Add water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until all of the water is absorbed.

Steam broccoli and cauliflower until just slightly tender or broccoli is bright green, drain and rinse under cold water. You could omit the cauliflower if you are not a fan, or use another combo of vegies altogether.

In a large bowl combine the Millet, steamed vegetables, chopped scallions, chickpeas lemon zest and toss.

Make the dressing by combining and whisking all of the ingredients together, add water as needed to get the right consistency. * Note: The brand of tahini I have on hand is a little bitter, so I added a couple of Tablespoons of almond butter to the dressing to smooth it out, adding peanut butter would have the same result. I suggest making the dressing without, and then having a taste to see how you like it. Oh, I also added a little over a teaspoon of honey to the dressing!

Add half of the dressing to the millet mixture and toss until incorporated.

You can add a base of baby greens with the salad and serve with a lemon wedge. Drizzle some of the remaining dressing over the top. I found it quite good with a dollop of plain yogurt on top too!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Rhymes with Mermaid?

Crafty Fail

I was all set to do a little crafty blog post on the small one's latest mermaid fixation. I wanted to whip up a half an hour mermaid doll named Bluebelle. However, enthusiasm and good intentions do not always produce top notch results. I have had to let it go, with lessons learned, and notes to self taken.

Notes To Self:

Note #1. You need more than a half an hour to make a mermaid doll.
Note #2. Draw arms in proportion to body (instead of teeny tiny stick arms that look ridiculous!).
Note #3. Bigger Fins!
Note #4. That really groovy vintage gold and blue shimmery fabric that frays like a *%^##@*!!!! is the worst fabric ever to use on a doll with teeny tiny seam allowances and will only cause misery and shame!
Note #5. The yarn you used for the hair is super cool, remember that for next time.
Note #6. Yes, it's worth a second try, but give it some time.

No one likes a crafty fail, but it happens and we learn. If I ever do get it right, I'll be sure to let you know.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hello Monday - In the Garden

Today it is raining, big sloppy drops of rain are coming down and watering the garden. I don't mind really. We had a stretch of the most beautiful and warm weather for a bit there and the garden thrived and rushed towards the sky. Like these Lupines, this has been their best year yet since I planted them a few years ago. We removed a large Holly tree that blocked the sun, and now look at those gorgeous flowers!

Lupines remind me of happy times, of adventures. They remind me of the mountains, meadows, and lakes where I used to camp long ago. There is a secret place, near a group of small mysterious crater lakes, and a meadow on the edge of a forest. If you can find it, and happen to get there on just the right day, you can watch the sun rise lighting up the sky and illuminate a giant swath of Lupine like a purpley-blue haze over the tall meadow grass... it is spectacular! The birds sing, the breeze blows; the peace and beauty bring abundant gratitude and happiness.

Is there a flower that sparks happy memories for you?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I was Hacked!

Dear friends,
If you have stopped by to visit me in the last couple of days you may have noticed I was gone. Poof! Just like that, no Lola Nova, no explanation, just gone! Oh it gives me the shudders just thinking about it!

I was HACKED!!!!

The result of my being hacked was that my Google account was deleted, my blog removed, all of the contacts in my email account were sent a scam phishing email saying that I was stuck in Madrid, had been attacked and needed money! I know many of you received this email, and for that I am truly sorry.

I simply woke up one morning and went to send an email and everything was gone! I'll tell you that I let out a scream, then I double checked everything, then I yelled NO! loud enough for the neighbors to hear. I will admit I had a full on freak out. Then I hid under the covers unable to move for the rest of the day.

I was able to send a recovery request to Google. I had to provide them with a whole lot of details to prove that I was hacked, that I am indeed the owner of my account and then the process took some time. This morning I was reinstated and my blog is back!

I am indeed grateful beyond words to have my shiny place back. The downside is that all of my emails were lost and there are significant repairs needed to my email account, but I'm working on it.

I can not tell you how devastating this whole thing has been. It has truly opened my eyes as to how vulnerable many of us are. My job today is to research my security options. I suggest to you my blog friends, to do the same. I also suggest saving important emails to a separate file on your computer - that is what I'm going to do. Yes, we all have good intentions on backing things up and making sure we are not victims of hackers and computer failures, but I know I get busy and my intentions don't always get the follow through they should.

If I come across any helpful sites or resources on how to protect ourselves, I will be sure to share them with you.

Lastly, I want to thank my readers - my friends, many of you turned into detectives and found me on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and let me know you had received bogus emails, asked if there was anything you could do, did research to find ways to help me, and were so very kind and supportive. Many of you sent kind notes and hugs! I'm getting misty eyed just thinking about this lovely community and family that have gone to such lengths to show me I am cared for.

Extra special thanks go to Sherri, Deb, and Tif for putting on super sleuth hats and sending lots of support.

I might need a couple of days to recover from the shock of it all, but I am so very grateful to be back!

Big love to you all!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Mollie!

On news stands tomorrow the 11th (at least in the UK) is Mollie Makes Birthday Issue! Wow, time flies! As a special treat they are bundling issue #14 with a free "Let's Get Hitched!" wedding magazine. How cool is that?

I feel especially honored to have been featured in the very first issue of Mollie Makes last year.

Which is available as a FREE digital download for Apple users until June 8th!

I am also excited to have my Pretty Patchy Paper Lanterns shown off in this birthday issue! If you want to know how to make your own, just click the link above to take you to the tutorial!

So happy, happy birthday Mollie Makes! I hope there is lots of cake!

Thanks for all the love!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Calico Prairie

Fist off, I want to thank you all for the very kind and encouraging comments you left on my last post. You are all so ace! You made me feel better and so grateful to have this lovely community.

I am on the up-swing for certain. We have had a few days of the most glorious weather, and really a little sunshine goes a long way in putting thing to rights. Long days spent in the garden, planting promise and meditating on beauty is most uplifting.

So today I thought it was long over due to talk a little stitching, share a wee bit of the creative mayhem that goes on around these parts. As I said before, there hasn't been a huge amount of craftiness going on here - what with the busy and a little green cottage in a certain amount of upheaval - makes for less making. I am currently working from my sewing machine on a little rolling cart that gets moved about to any (and there isn't really) clutter free corner I can find. Still, a moment here and there some stitchy business can be had.

Sometimes in my creative process I can become a tad fixated, or even obsessed as the case may be. I wake up one morning and there is a little voice in my head that whispers to me saying things like, "Octopus", or "Stripes". So then I get consumed and spend the day thinking about octopuses? - octopi? - octopodes?, or stripes. After thinking and pacing I begin to work and suddenly I have stenciled an octopus on a tea towel, a dress, and a backpack. You get my drift.

Some of these obsessions are short lived, I get my fix and then the next little whispers begin over my morning coffee. Some obsessions last longer. My latest obsession has lasted a couple of months now and it shows little signs of letting up. It is all about Prairie Dresses!

Not to be confused with Little House on the Prairie dresses, but a slightly more modern interpretation of an all purpose Prairie Dress. One that can be worn over pants, layered with T-shirts, or on their own. Made with Calico from my grandmother's fabric stash in funky combinations in various lengths and sleeve types.

It all started with a whisper, a certain Pony Girl, and some of my grandmother's fabrics that had been hanging around waiting for their chance. A bit of thinking and pacing led to a pattern drafting and then to the first of 5 so far.

There have been a couple of pattern tweaks along the way and there may be more to come. I am in love and I just can't stop! I do wonder when the passion for the calico prairie will wane and the next fixation will take over, but in the meantime I'll be picking out the fabric combo for the next one.

And what about you? Do you ever find yourself creatively obsessed? Do tell!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Always On the Sunny Side...sort of

This blog is my shiny place; my haven of happy where I get to reflect on the good life I have, to appreciate the beauty in the everyday, and where I occasionally ramble on about the goofy, amazing, and crafty things that happen in my real life. (Though I will admit there hasn't been a whole lot of crafty lately.)

I don't like to dwell on the hard times, the heavy days, the tedious, or the crappy in between stuff. However, the truth is it's just how real life goes sometimes, for everyone. And lately...well.

It's been a bit overwhelming these days at the little green cottage. I'm in a slump, a real humdinger of a crappy in between a rock and a hard place kinda time. My thoughts and deeds have been elsewhere.

You know, one of those times when you can't think of anything to blog about...

One of those times when you suddenly realize you haven't taken a shower in a couple of days and when you go to take that shower you realize there are no clean towels because the laundry is your nemesis...

One of those times that you are missing deadlines which isn't like you, but there are so many pressing concerns and sleepless nights and anxious mornings that you just can't seem to pull it together...

One of those times where you have to fight the big bad machine with all your strength and might just to make sure your child gets a fair shake in this world...

One of those times where really lame T.V. ads catch you tearing up...

One of those times that you remind yourself that if you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all, so you bite your tongue till it bleeds...

Do you have days, or weeks like that?

What do you do when that happens?

I'll tell you what I'm doing today. This morning when Pony Girl pretended to be a little sick in order not to go to school, I pretended to believe her. We went and ate do-nuts for breakfast and plan to spend the rest of this rainy day cuddled on the couch watching movies. When Pony Girl fessed up and said she wasn't really sick I told her, "That's O.K. We're taking a mental health day."

I'll see you soon, but right now the movie is about to start!