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Friday, August 30, 2013

Mmm, Mmm, Good!

Remember the old soup jingle? Dating myself,  I know.  Last night's soup ~ Peach-and-Tomato Gazpacho with Cucumber Yogurt ~ fit the bill, but one I never would have found in a Campbell's can.  It came from having a basket of  peaches and kitchen shelf full of garden tomatoes and running out of ideas -- ah, love the internet!

First, dealing with those peaches and 'maters - and making a big mess on the counter....and confessing that I dropped a peach on the floor in the process (slippery little suckers...) - 3 second rule and a rinse.

Next, a quick trip through the food processor, along with a little apple cider vinegar and sweet onion - a dash of salt and pepper.  So quick and easy.  Time to chill a while.

After a little clean-up, throwing together the cucumber yogurt was even easier - and again, time to chill (did anyone say wine time?)

After about an hour or so, it's dinner - a dollop of the yogurt on top of the gazpacho with a side of some pita crackers.  Delish - served two of us with generous servings and seconds (and a little bit left over).  Of course, it was all we had for supper -- c'mon, you thought I would fix something else, too?  It would probably serve more as an appetizer or side....or if you were more willing to share. ;)


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kambaba for Fall

As I mentioned in my last post about this season's fall colors, the palette includes "Deep Lichen Green," "Linden Green," and "Turbulence," all of which are shades that can be found in kambaba jasper, a beautiful stone which is associated with protection, wholeness, and serenity.

A few years ago, I made a kamababa set (necklace above), but have not done anything recently with the stone until this week.  Working with the new fall colors as my inspiration, I returned to this variegated beauty and let the simplicity of hammered sterling silver ovals be the backdrop for the shades of green, gray, and black.

Still don't have these listed yet - will probably see them in the Artfire shop soon :)  Excited to do some more work with kambaba this season - maybe it's time for another set!  Of course, the carnelian is also calling to as much to do - loving these fall colors!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fall Runway

I am SOOO ready for fall -- I know I shouldn't complain about the weather as we've had a pretty lenient summer in terms of heat, but I am really over this latest heat wave.  When it gets to be Labor Day weekend and I see the kids are all back to school, I am ready for fall - not 90 degree temps.  Bring on the 60's, football, McIntosh apples, changing leaves, apple cider, soccer games (oops, that should have been listed a little earlier...), sweater get the idea.

Since the weather isn't cooperating, I turned to Pantone's 2013 Fall Color Palette to give me some fall inspiration this week, and I wasn't disappointed.  These colors are cool, inviting, and ready to tailgate!

Some of  my favorites "pop" out right away, and of course, when I see colors, I "see" stones and/or crystal colors.  I am loving "Samba" as red is my color, so I am thrilled to see it in the line up this fall.  For me that would be red coral or perhaps siam or crystal red magma Swarovski (can't help but think scarlet and gray here - especially with "Turbulence" - GO BUCKS! -  or red and black - "GO OWU!" - it's my last season as a soccer mom - pass the tissue box :/).

Played yesterday with some Kambaba jasper which came to mind when I saw the "Deep Lichen Green," "Linden Green," and "Turbulence."  Great combination.

Our little "Miss Abby" would be very happy to see her two favorite colors here - pink and purple - "Vivacious" and "Acai."  I'm excited to work with a few of my favorite stones - amethyst, rose quartz, crazy lace agate, lavender agate, cherry jade.

"Koi" is the perfect autumn color and would be wonderful for carnelian or if working with "Carafe" as well, numerous beautiful jaspers.

My other favorite color is blue, especially the brilliant tint of "Mykonos Blue."  I'm thinking sodalite, lapis lazuli, so many brilliant Swarovski colors.

I'm also glad to see a carry-over from spring in "Emerald" (for some reason I look pretty good in this color, if I do say so myself, lol).  No, unfortunately, I don't have any lose emeralds about to work with for this, but the "aqua" shade for fall brings to mind the green that can be found in some chrysocolla - have to look for these special pieces, but they are so pretty and worth the look.  And I like the idea that chrysocolla is associated with bringing serenity, clarity, and peace.

So, warm me up some cider, bring me my soccer game blanket and bead board, and let's get this fall moving!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Morning Glory & Help, Please!

I've been away from the garden for a few days - exciting family moments (goalie girl returning from her summer abroad, celebrating her 21st birthday with us, and heading back to school for her senior year - where did these years go? And yes, that means another - the final - soccer season is upon us; our little granddaughter's baptism - again, it seems just a blink when we celebrated that with our oldest granddaughter four years ago).  So, when I headed out this morning there were quite a few changes waiting for me.  This sunshiny beauty was the first I noticed and certainly made me smile, actually, laugh.  There are a row of them along the back of the garden, and this is the first to burst forth.

Beans, beans, beans - yes, there are more beans.  I had to go hunting (this is our first garden, and it really is more like a jungle than a neatly kept garden bed) as the three bean bushes have been over run by summer squash and several tomato plants, but there were more than enough for another round of our favorite beans, cherry tomatoes (oh, yes, those are ready), and feta cheese salad.  And more beans are still on the way.

A few summer squash are working away, and more zucchini are on the way (naturally).  But the big news is the tomatoes are finally turning -- and yes, we did overplant (did I really think otherwise??).  Goodness!  I brought in plenty of cherry tomatoes for the salad mentioned above -- and to add to another quinoa veggie salad for tonight.  Also picked about four giant red 'maters (to add to several ones already in the house that hubby had picked a couple of days ago).  We're doing BLT's for lunch with the remaining lettuce that I picked.

So, with a garden FULL of tomatoes about to turn at the same time, the question is -- what are your favorite tomato recipes -- and please keep in mind, I will NOT be canning or freezing.  We will use what we can (love fresh salsa -- would consider freezing some of that in small batches, if possible -- and fresh pasta sauce) and be giving away lots, I think, but would love to try some new recipes with our bounty!  We do have access to LOTS of fresh herbs (overplanted on the basil as well) :)

Feel free to leave recipe links in your comments and keep them coming!  Thanks :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Mail!

I promised to explain why (well, at least one reason) I had been AWOL and there she is!  Our sweet, oldest granddaughter came to her very first "Grandparents' Summer Camp" - a whole week away from Mommy, Daddy, and her little brother and little sister and a whole week of fun with Mimi and Seanathair (Irish for "grandfather").  Abby is a very grown-up 4-years-old now, but we were all still a little tentative as to how the week would go as this was the longest she had ever been away from home - some overnights, of course, with her Grandma and Papa who live a few blocks away, but not a whole week - and "so far" away!  But, Miss Abby, except perhaps for this one "Kodak moment," was like the Energizer Bunny and kept us all going, going, going so we don't think she had time for any homesickness - that, and the wonder of Skype, of course!

And, I was so excited when the mail arrived today as I had made photo books of our camp week (one that I'll be taking down to Miss Abby this week!).  I think you can see how much fun we had :)

Build your own high-quality photo books at

According to her Mommy, our camper is already planning her next summer!

Friday, August 9, 2013

When the Garden Talks...

I've been AWOL again - good reason (more on that in another post next week, promise - it was our first "Grandparents' Summer Camp") :)  But, it also meant, aside from some quick trips to check on whether my plethora of green tomatoes have decided to turn, I had also pretty much been AWOL from the garden.  Not good.  If you are a gardener, you know what I mean.  When you ignore gardens, they start talking to you...
Our Vegetable Garden
(Note - ok, really, an excuse - first time veggie gardeners...)

Our Herb Garden

One of Our Flower Beds
(Note - Hubby Takes Care of These REALLY Well)

Guess I better start listening - or at least get working!  Happy gardening!