Sunday, February 28, 2010

No Name Chicken Soup

This pic and additional info were added Monday because of emails I received:
This is what it looks like and if you are shy of spicy.., you may want to add less salsa verde to start. I don't think it is "hot" but just in can always add more after tasting since you are basically just heating soup to temp anyway. I also did not include salt and pepper in the recipe, but you may wish to add either to taste. OK I think I covered everything.

I was just sitting down to a bowl of this soup and thought I should share. This one is so simple and so fast, I'm not even sure it should be called a recipe.
I got this from my sister in law Sarah, who got it from a friend, who got it from a beading magazine I think? Anyhoot...

1 deli roasting chicken - garlic herb style- remove meat from bones
2 cans rinsed and drained white beans ( I use cannellini style or small great northern)
2 cans chicken broth
1 can water
8 oz salsa verde ( I use La Victoria thick and chunky)
chopped cilantro to taste (optional for you but essential for me)

Add all ingredients into pot.
Heat for about 20 minutes.

If you need to stretch, buy the larger size chicken most stores offer, add more broth and water.

I keep all the ingredients in my pantry so that I can run by the store, grab salad fixings and a chicken and by the time I have the table set, dinner is ready: like right now. Enjoy!

Sally Jean

Most of you local gals know that I am a huge fan of Sally Jean; I even went to Portland 2 years back to take her Soldering for Virgins class; well, and see Ben of course. (Hope I'm allowed to paste this pretty logo here, because I wanted to get your attention!)

Last week, Tracy, of Tracy's Watermark, located at 1990 Village Center Circle emailed me with the great news that Sally Jean's wonderful charms will soon be available in her shop!

A lot of people started making charms since Sally Jean became a success, imitation ya know, and I have seen most of them, and many are nice, but nothing compares to these. When you realize that these are all hand made by Sally Jean herself and when you see up close and personal the quality of her soldering, well! I bet you can't have just one! I layer em, a square with a domino with a sphere, with a house shape... too cute! Every time I wear some of her charms, I am asked about them. I, and several other students of mine, even used a charm or two in our advent calendars.

Tracy has promised to let me know when the first shipment arrives, and then I'll let you know; or maybe just give her a call and get on her mailing list.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Desert Gal No More & Doggie Madness

A new phenomenon has begun at our house whenever Darling Daughter Skypes home. Justice immediately shoves me aside and jumps onto the desk to talk to her. It is freaky, funny, and frustrating. Justice begins to shake uncontrollably and whine, no cry, no HOWL at a fever pitch until Darling Daughter's image disappears. I have resorted to wearing headphones in order to talk to her. Other wise I am saying "what? what did you just say?" because pooch is howling. Howie hasn't a clue and just tilts his head from side to side at all the fuss.

Hannah finds it hilarious and calls Justice's name and says "here girl, here girl" until I swear the pooch will suffer apoplexy!
Darling daughter sent this to me this morning. She is loving the snow! Of course she does not have to drive in it, or shovel it, just enjoy it. This is the courtyard of her dorm. Oh, I wish I was there. I am thrilled that darling daughter will finally get to experience a winter the way I did while growing up. Her PapPap would be happy too.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

1,124,457 including me

I joined this little group yesterday by calling both my Senators and letting them know I would really like to be able to afford the medical tests that are recommended. I would like not to worry about another knee injury, which is not covered because my private health plan slapped a rider on them as a pre existing condition. Actually the wording is: No injury to either knee is covered unless it includes a broken bone. So, the next time I tear a ligament ( yes, I knocked three times) please stop by with a baseball bat and "batter up."Align Center

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reuse - Recycle & Make it WHITE

A friend who scavenges found this lovely which had been put out for the trash. I paid him $15.00 for it. One drawer says it is from the O'Neill photo company, O'Neill Nebraska. Two shallow drawers top and bottom, which have dividers and one large
(looks like 2) middle one.

It originally had a very stained and torn leather top. That took me hours to remove and scrape off all the glue, about 4 months ago. Guess I became distracted.

My constant companions, getting into everything, including the paint.

Deer in the headlights again....

Howie investigating- whoops his treat fell in there! Can you see it?

I find it impossible to paint without getting it everywhere!

and left

You would think I had not used one of these at all.

Almost there - drawers are next.

I rushed putting the drawers in so I could take the pic but it is still out in the garage drying completely. Now, I have to decide if I want to grunge it up or not. I'm leaning toward not. I get the feeling "she" is happy with her fresh coat of paint and fresh, clean WHITE look.

Please take a few minutes to visit this earlier post below if you have not already.
Please visit all the other WW"s over there

A wee bit of Soap Boxing

***oldgreymare design and organizing services will be on sale for the month of March. All work must begin, but not necessarily be completed, in the month of March. Please call or email. Great time for Spring Cleaning and cheap! cheap! OK- HORRIBLE pun!
Something disturbing has occurred twice in the past two days and I am driven to discuss it regardless of opinion.

Yesterday I was warned by another blogger that I should not discuss the health care issue on my blog or "you could get trashed on here. Just wanted you to be careful." I addressed privately back to this blogger and it shall remain private. Because we both participate in a blog party, I suppose she believed that determined what the content of my blog should be, though I am confidant our host holds no such criteria.

Then, this morning I read on Tongue in Cheek, that Corey has been told to "lighten up" and not talk about depressing things on her blog. Her friend, who was very recently widowed, is visiting, and of course sadness and sorrow are surrounding them.

A reader chooses to visit a blog and can just as easily choose not to visit.

A blog, at it's very core, is personal. Although out there in the public, it is not a giant billboard unable to avoid. We all hold fast to our own beliefs and core values and shouldn't we as travelers down this super highway, have the decency to respect that? We have the right to comment or not, hopefully in a respectful manner, but no one should EVER feel they have the right to dictate to someone else what content they should have on their blog. Your only right is to click delete and visit no more!

I have tremendous faith in the women that I share blog parties with and whose blogs I visit. I believe we came together with a shared love of design, gardens, food and family. I do not believe we are simple window dressings who have limits to the extent our minds and hearts can expand; or that we are not intelligent enough to consider the ramifications of politics, religious issues, racism, bigotry, and our environment, to name but a few.

You may be a great gardener and also an animal rights activist. You may be a beader and a militant liberal. MY point is SO WHAT?

I refuse to be placed into a virtual blog box that dictates what format I may use, and I am confidant that most of the really bright, intelligent women I have had the occasion to meet here in blogdom agree with me. They may choose to limit their content, but that is exactly my point, and let me drive it on home.
It is p e r s o n a l and their choice.

I am not one of these gals whose goal it is to get as many followers as possible. I have real connections with most of my followers outside blogdom. Real friendships made right here, real connections to the most wonderful women. I care about them, and they have shown such love and kindness to me. That is the goodness and the miracle of blogs between women.

I will not apologize for this detour from my routine posts, it is far too important to me. I hope you all agree. If not, exercise your right.

Now, I am heading out to the garage to paint a lovely chest white, because .....
I choose to!

See you tomorrow for WW, well, if I get it finished :-)


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Health Reform

So I will detour away from my vow to stay politically neutral here, well, this will still be politically neutral because health care is not about politics or shouldn't be. No one wants another lecture here. Either you get it or you don't.

For my local followers here are the numbers you need for Nevada
Senator Reid 202-224-3542
Senator Ensign 202-224-6244

I'm calling them both this Wednesday, the 24th, the day before the summit. Please consider doing the same.
If you are not a NV resident it will take you one click to get the numbers for your state.

Please, please consider calling. It is one- two minutes of one day. We can all make a difference. We have to make the difference because they are not willing to do it for us, are they?

We now return to our previously scheduled blog posts.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cubbie Stories and White

Some of you may remember my PB cubbies I placed above my computer table a few weeks back. I have slowly been adding things as I come across them. They meet certain criteria. First they have to fit in the square, (duh) and secondly, they have to hold some kind of memory for me.

My paternal Grandfather (the original PapPap) Rennie in his softball uniform.

Another one of DJR'S favorite quotes in it's original frame. It was always hung above his desk at home as long as I can remember.

Some string/twine from my Dad's workbench.

Right below the cubbies: Two gifts from two different friends given years apart but they match exactly. Yes, that is a Z on the box lid. An amazing find from Kathy. The timer is a 30 minute timer, very hard to find. Heather gave it to me this past Christmas in honor of my "30 minute timer cleanup theory." How special is that?

This special piece arrived by surprise one afternoon from my longest time friend in the world. She carved it from driftwood she picked up along the shore where she used to live.We became friends when I was a Junior in HS and she was a Senior. While I was flirting with a boy in the doorway of the Spanish Lab, she subtly tied my elastic belt from my red Villager pin-tucked dress to the door. The boy asked to walk me to my next class, and as I walked away I rebounded "slam" back into the door. The boy turned out to be a horrible person, but the girl, my Macky, turned out to be the treasure of a lifetime. We have only seen each other twice in the last 35 years, but it never seems to matter. It was Macky who gave me the "Suzan with a z not an s" that resulted in everyone calling me Z . This little bird is placed in the cubbie directly in my line of sight above the monitor, and it is priceless to me.

Directly to the right of the cubbies is my newest obsession in front of an old obsession; a few of my Robert B Parker books. I hope to collect a lot more timers, but I have finicky criteria for them too. There is a small pink one at Anthropologie I am coveting but the price! Yowza!

A place to contemplate the next WW.

A favorite heart box with mementos inside.

Please visit all the other WW by linking over there to the left. Kathleen at Faded Charm is our wonderful host each week.

Aren't we all in love with this magazine? Here is a great place to get it and it is worth every penny! Only two pages of ads. More like a book, than magazine. You will refer back to them ( I want them all) again and again. Look for Carole's link on her right sidebar, and be sure to visit not just the latest post, but older posts also. You'll soon see why I adore Maynard Greenhouse!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Now what? *** What now?

So...the sale is over, the Give Away has been given, the garage is finally in perfect order, the house is clean, the garden tended, the dishes are done, the laundry washed and folded and put away. The pups are asleep, the candles are burning down. Now what?

Have you had those days when all seems to be completed and you have that sense of what do I do with myself now?

Well, right now I'm enjoying a nice glass of Pinot and watching The Holiday for the umpteenth time. Not so productive but nice all the same. Paula was by earlier trying out some clothes that Darling Daughter no longer wore. Paula is one of those classic ladies who can wear just about anything and look adorable. If I didn't love her, I'd hate her for that.

Going to visit a new friend's boutique tomorrow and go out for lunch with pal Sue.

so, all is right with the world right now. tomorrow may bring...what now?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Give Away POST# 199 3/4

The winner has been selected and I'll announce who she is as soon as I'm sure she has received notification first. I am going to go ahead and show what she has won after all, because I sent her the photos already. I just couldn't resist.

This was so much fun I hope to do it again soon.


And the winner is...... Post #200

All the names went into my urn and I pulled out one slip.... and drum roll....

Kathleen at Faded Charm was the winner! Congratulations and thank you to all the Followers. I will be doing another Give Away as soon as possible because it was fun making up a surprise box. Kathleen is the wonderful host of White Wednesday and because of her I have met some wonderful new friends, so thank you Kathleen!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

White Wednesday Stories #199

Most of my treasures have stories. Most of my treasures are white. I will share a few tales with you because as fellow WW collectors you know it is not just about the white that we adore, but the treasure hunt itself or the people behind the find.

This little chest belonged to a friend who had painted it a lovely shade of blue and I coveted it big time because it had.....

these drawers! Like a mini chiffirobe. Many years ago she phoned and asked if I wanted it because she was re-arranging! Within minutes, I was standing at her front door with $40. I painted it white and since then it has been in almost every room of my home.

Most recently it is the object of much humor because it is my candle chest. Huh? Yep, every drawer filled with candles, most of them these COOKIE CRUNCH from Walgreens. (Patriot brand) My absolute favorites. Twice a year they have a buy one get two free sale. I burn candles almost every day, so I go through them quickly. These used to be $5.99 each, now they are $8.99 each but with the sale they become $3 each. This past Christmas, knowing how I love these, my friend Sue bought me 9! These will last all the way through 2010.

When we got our puppy Liberty there was major training to be done, and I have white carpet we needed a solution, fast. I had found these shutters years earlier and they were being stored in the garage until they found a home. The light bulb above my head lit up and we had a puppy re-strainment area. The shutters fit perfectly across the opening, with the addition of my homemade post, and fold out of the way when not in use. The door you see is to the garage and the curtains hide the laundry area. This gave puppy the powder room to the right and about a 4' x 10' area ON TILE to hang out at night without having to be in a cage, and her nose peeking out under the bottom was so cute! I no longer need it but just never took it never know.

Howie checking out the other side

I was at a horrible flea market. Just overpriced junk and I was in a shopping mood and so disappointed, when there under a table I saw the back of this brown cupboard and when I flipped it over it had a mirror on the front. The snarly guy told me it came out of his boat and it was made of mahogany, and "it was $35.00 and that was his final price." I gladly paid, painted it white and it is now

one of my spice cabinets!

and finally, are you tired of this yet?

My prize piece

A friend had this piece for years and when she was ready to sell it, I could not afford it. It sat for sale in her garage for months, and even though she said she would take payments I don't like to do that. Eventually it went to someone else and I knew I had passed on something very special. A few months later the friend called to say the woman who had bought it had changed her mind and wanted to sell it. That week I happened to have some extra cash and I grabbed it, knowing this was my last chance.

Good things come to those who wait. You have waited through this lengthy post and your reward is:
The next post is the Give Away! #200 Whoo Hoo! If you are a Follower by my 200th post you are automatically entered. Good Luck to everyone. Photos of the prize will be shown once the winner receives her box of goodies. I want her to be surprised!


Post #199 1/2

The tulips looked so pretty for the class, but this morning I woke up to find them dancing like this: I thought they were hilarious, so perky and straining to break free and dance. Spring is coming, Spring is coming.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

16 years later #198

A few of the gals in the thick of it. The coffees are out, chocolates have been opened....No one even paused to look up! Remember how pretty the table looked at the start?
My creative history began at age 12 with my first embroidery, first knitting, first hooked rug, and my first quilting lesson from Grandma Rennie. (I couldn't decide which I preferred) I started teaching quilting classes in my home when Darling Daughter was 3. Some years I taught many classes, some years as I was working outside the home, I taught few. I made good solid friendships through shows, teaching in shops and my home, and I was able to help the family finances so that I could stay home with the kids.

I had classes that spotlighted paper, wool, pillows, wall hangings, and full size quilts. We made soap, made paper, made jewelry, stuffed dolls, stuffed animals, sewed aprons, cut wood, hammered and nailed. Themes around Holidays were popular and I think I covered everything but St Patricks Day and Presidents Day. We painted, glittered, sewed, hooked, felted, punched, cross stitched, primitive stitched, embroidered, stenciled, paper mached and planted.

16 years. I had a few students who took a class and disappeared. I have many more who took one and came back every year, and a few who came to nearly every one. Women who came to learn, to share, to get out of the house, to relax, to form friendships, to connect with other like minded women. We shared tales of marriage, problem offspring, financial woes, divorce, anger, sorrow, births, grand-parenting, illness, even death. We were shocked, dismayed, worried, humored, joyful and tearful.

We are women. Strong women. We walked in a door, strangers to each other, and within minutes we shared our most heartfelt thoughts about anything and everything.
We are women. Strong women. We tackle a new technique or project, trusting that the woman sitting next to us, will help and guide us as we do the same in return, and we laugh together at shared mistakes. We are women. Strong women.

I couldn't have done this all these years if the benefits did not tip the scales. Because I taught classes, I had to be creative, not just want to be. Because I taught classes I had to plan and co-ordinate. Because I taught classes I made wonderful friends, who created beautiful things for the people that they love. Because I taught classes, I started a blog, where I made new friends who inspire me to be creative. The circle is unbroken.

Although this is the end of my planned Gatherings, there will still be the opportunity for custom Gatherings in the future. Even so, this is an ending.

I am grateful to every one of you who have supported me through all my ventures and I hope you'll come along on some of my new ones.

With heartfelt thanks and gratitude,


Thursday, February 4, 2010

PINK PINK and more PINK #197

The living room transforms into classroom

Table set for Lunch Break

Menu includes, Tomato Basil Soup, Quiche, Parisienne Salad and Dessert. Wine included.

This will be the last Planned Gathering I will be doing. New ventures coming my way. However: I am exploring a different kind of Gathering. Custom Gatherings. At least 6 students are required for a custom Gathering. Here is the GREAT part-Your group decides the theme, date and types of projects YOU want to work on! Here is the BEST part: I am working out the details to do weekend retreats, in addition to the day long classes, which will also be open to those of you out of state! Whoo-hoo! How fun is that! That means if you want a Christmas Gathering in April, it can be done! It is all in the preliminary stages, but please feel free to email me with any questions.

The universe is changing for the kids and me and wonderful new surprises seem to be coming almost daily. My Father enclosed this quote in the letter he wrote to me upon High School Graduation. Many of you are familiar with it, those that are not, it is worth remembering.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

I wish all of you Peace and Happiness


Only 3 posts remain until give-away! After the winner receives her package I will post photos. I want every bit of it to be a surprise!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sneaky Peekey Slinky Pinky WW #196

OK you've got me. Not exactly a WW, but hear me out. I've spent the day putting together all the fun kits for A Blushing Valentine, the Gathering I'm teaching this weekend. The dining table is covered with kits and chocolate. Such surprises await my students. This way they get a peek. It's getting late, and well, these PINK AND WHITE goodie bags will just have to suffice. Besides it is so close to Valentine's Day, you cannot ignore the pink, it's everywhere.

Don't forget about my 200th post give-away- It's a great box of Old Grey Mare, all for you if you are the winner. See the rules here. 4 more posts until the winner is announced.

Stop by all the other White Wednesdays, (they have lots of white) hosted by Kathleen of Faded Charm, by linking over there to the left. MckLinkey makes it super easy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Amish Chicken Casserole Post # 195

Well, I am 7 for 7! Seven people have told me they tried the Spicy Wine Pot Roast and they loved it! So, let's try another family favorite. I suppose I should say this is THE family favorite. Requested every time they need comfort food.

When I was younger, I had to cook a lot for the family when my Mom was ill, and I cut this recipe out of some woman's magazine and copied it onto a Holly Hobby recipe card. It is crumpled and stained, but I still keep it behind the nicely typewritten one. This casserole reheats beautifully- just slap some on a plate and nuke. I noticed while retyping this it says 30 minutes on top and 20 minutes on the bottom of the card. OK! I was at most maybe 12, cut me some slack.

Here it is legible:

Amish Chicken Casserole

12 oz noodles( I prefer wide)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 tsps salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups cut up cooked chicken ( we only use breast meat) Yes, you can use a deli chicken, just get plain though.
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat 350

Cook noodles- drain

Meanwhile in skillet, melt butter and cook mushrooms until soft, do not brown. Blend in flour, then gradually add broth, milk, salt and pepper, stirring constantly until thickened. In greased 2 1/2 quart casserole, combine noodles, chicken and pour sauce over top, and gently mix in. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 20- 30 minutes or how about 25? Serves 6-8.

Let me know how this one works for you.