Sunday, July 01, 2012

I've had a recipe for gazpacho for over 20 years. The original came from a former co-worker of my husband. I only fix it during the summer, as the key is garden-fresh tomatoes. This and Salad Caprese are my most favorite summer treats. I love it when we have fresh tomatoes from the garden. I'm so spoiled that if I don't have fresh tomatoes from the garden, I just won't buy or eat tomatoes. What you buy in the store just does not compare. Back to the gazpacho - the original recipe is what I now refer to as basic. I always add cilantro for a Mexican version. After all, I am from Texas. Last week I was going to make a batch, but the store did not have cilantro (unfortunately I can't grow it - cilantro bolts on me horribly). I do, however, have tons of basil,l so I decided to make an Italian version. YES! a new winner! Here is the recipe and the variations. I prefer to serve this room temperature, but chilled works as well.
8 - 10 course chopped tomatoes
1 peeled & seeded cucumber, chopped
1 chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup water
5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
1 Teaspon Course Ground Pepper
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro (Mexican version) optional
1/4 cup chopped Basil (Italian version) optional
Add tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, garlic and herb (cilantro or basil, if desired) to food processor and blend until course chopped. Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
Perfect summer dish - Gazpacho
Feta Dip
I had an open house art play day for some of the people from work a few weeks ago. One of the ladies brought a delicious dip. Unfortunately it wasn't from a place that is convenient for me to shop. It only had three ingredients, so I thought I could make it on my own - score! It was very easy and good. Here is my version:
Feta Dip
8 oz Neufchatel Cheese
2 oz Athenos Feta Cheese (I used garlic & herb and am going to try tomato & basil next)
1 clove fresh garlic minced
Mix all ingredients well. Serve room temperature with pita chips, vegetables or crackers.
Not the best picture, but you get the idea - the recipe is the thing
It's no secret - I LOVE Pinterest! I've found fabulous project ideas, great household cleaning and organization tips and scrumptious recipes, not to mention some beneficial workout and fitness tips. I've even started a new board PinThere - Done That to show the projects I've made from the Pinspirations I've gotten, including these.
Decoupaged pattern on necklace from Michaels.
I took it one step further & crackled & antiqued

Cucumber Lemonade with Basil - a winner!

Captured Fairy Jar

Fairy Crown
Glass Mushrooms (one of my favorites)
Bead & Button Show
For two such avid beaders as Vicki & I, the Bead & Button Show was the perfect trip! We shopped and shopped, found great beads, I got to meet my idol, Sherry Serafini (and she is so very, very nice!) and had an overall great time.
Opening night, first aisle

Sherry Serafini & I at Meet the Teacher Night

With my friend, Susan Lenart Kazmer

Love Susan's fabulous dress!

Tiliapia skins - most unusual find
My stash from the show

Vicki & I got to go to the Bead & Button show in June this year. Since we didn't take any classes, we had time to enjoy the city a little bit and also see my good friend, Patti, who lives there. Patti is such a doll, she went to the grocery store, bought us a ton of goodies and delivered them to our room to make our stay more enjoyable. She also came on Friday and took us to a pub for drinks & dinner and to Comedy Sportz, an improv comedy club. We had a blast. Vicki & I went to The Domes, a Milwaukee landmark, three horticultural domes, one desert, one tropical and a show dome one morning. We walked along the riverwalk and had lunch over looking the river at a nice restaurant. We caught the trolley and explored the Third Ward, too.
Milwaukee River Walk
Fabulous lunch at Cool Molly's Restaurant

The Domes, Milwaukee

Desert Dome

Just love the design on this plant

Me in the desert dome

Vicki in the tropical dome
Fiddleleaf Fig in tropical dome - this was
my favorite dome
Patti at Mo's Irish Pub with necklace I made for
her as a token of our thanks

Having a great time at Comedy Sportz
ADAA World of Make Believe Opening Night
Opening night at this month's ADAA conference is Welcome to the World of Make Believe. My friend, Tricia Dewey made the fabulous invitation for the event. All attendees are invited to come dressed as a make-believe character. I made my costume out of old clothes that I had on hand. I'm going as Mother Nature.

Machine gathered along hem
of silk crinkle skirt

Took apart & sewed on "silk" flowers
from Michaels. Embellished with
beads and fibers

Used sleeveless t-shirt as base
added silk sleeves from old shirt.
Added lace & trim

Completed costume (sorry don't have a good place to photograph)

How Does My Garden Grow?
After last year's 100 degree temperatures in March, it is refreshing to have near normal temperatures this year. My vegetable and herbs have flourished.
Herb Bed

First cantelope growing

Green beans & carrots

First radishes

First lemon cucumber

Lemon cucumber vines

New lavender bed

Design Process
I've had people ask me about my design process when creating jewelry. It is usually a matter of having the focal or basic beads and building from there. I'll place those beads in a box and as I run into other beads that I think will go with them, I'll toss them in the box as well. When I'm ready to begin, I spread the beads out on my surface and see what works. Sometimes beads won't go with some of the other beads or they turn out to be the wrong shade, size or shape and they are eliminated. Once I have it narrowed down, I start working the actual design. This portion is always very fluid for me with nothing rigid, just what works best. The beads used on the brown and aqua set were dictated by the main focal beads. The beads for the necklace for Vicki were a match for a shirt she bought.
Bead choice process

Finished Necklace

Finished Necklace & Bracelet

Beads for Vicki's Necklace

Vicki's Necklace Finished
All Dolls Are Art Conference
It's July and that means the All Dolls are Art Conference is this month. I've been spending quite a bit of time getting ready, making centerpieces, pin dolls, stuff for goodie bags, etc. The theme this year is World of Make Believe and it is going to be so much fun!

Close up fairy
I finished my centerpiece doll, a fairy on a mushroom. She will be auctioned off as one of the fund raisers. The base is a wooden mushroom smoker from Zims that I've had for years - the perfect perch for a fairy.

Mushroom base painted

Fairy on Mushroom Centerpiece

Dyed cheesecloth

Pin Dolls Wrapped & Ready
Start of pin dolls