Behind My Red Door

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Family, Soldiers and Values

Yup, that's my grand baby to be. Angela had an ultra sound and saw the Dr. today and all is well. She is only 6 weeks along with a tentative due date of June 26, 2009, which surprised all of us. We thought for sure she was several weeks further along. She is a bit disappointed that it potentially means another 6 weeks of morning into afternoon nausea. Poor thing is feeling pretty green these days! I pray that it doesn't last that long.


Heather over at Summerstead is helping to bring back an old project. This is from her blog:

Veterans Day is less than two weeks away. In honor of our veterans, I have decided to host a “Knit your Bit” event. Knit your Bit is a program the Red Cross started in WWI and brought back again in WWII. Then, the American men and women (and even children) at home were asked to knit items that could be sent overseas to help keep our soldiers warm. Recently, Knit your Bit has come back through various organizations, asking people to knit or crochet items that can be given to our veterans.It breaks my heart to know that there are many men and women who are now living in nursing homes around the country, whose families rarely (and sometimes) never visit. I am asking for your help to bring a little joy into the lives of our veterans. There are a few ways you can help, whether you're a knitter or not:

1- Knit or crochet an item such as a scarf, hat, or an afghan

2- Quilted items (lap blankets, and I’ve also seen quilted scarves) are welcome

3- If you’re not a knitter, crocheter, or quilter, but would still like to help, I am also accepting monetary donations to help with the cost of postage

4- If none of the above options appeal to you, a simple note of thanks to our veterans would also be very much appreciated

I have already chatted with Heather and I am going to make a card or tag to go with each item donated so that is already taken care of. If you can help in one of the other ways, please click on the name of her blog. Thanks so much!


Speaking of cards, Kelli over at There's No Place Like Home is hosting a Paper Crafting Thursday. She always has the prettiest paper creations so go on over and check it out!

I have been making all my own cards for several years now for birthdays, holidays, special events and for cancer patients and other worthy causes. It is a creative outlet for me and we always need cards! Here are just a few of my creations. If you click on the Halloween card, it will take you to slide show of some of my other card creations.
I had a ChemoAngel buddy who LOVED chickens.


Brettinsky over at The Hostess with the Mostess has awarded me with this Kreative Blogger award. She is a fairly new blogger and she has some wonderful and creative ideas for keeping a home and being a wonderful hostess!! It's worth a trip over there. Thanks so much Brettinsky, I really appreciate the award.

The rules of the "Kreativ Blogger" Award are as follows:
Acknowledge the person who sent it to you.
Pick 6 people who deserve this award to tag. I think all my blogging friends are creative, so please feel free to grab this award if you so choose!
List 6 things that you do value and 6 that you don't value!

So here we go:

6 Things I Value:
1. My Faith - I know I don't mention it much because it's very personal to me, but it's #1
2. My Family - Especially my DH who works tirelessly for us
3. My Friends - The older I get, the more I value my friendships
4. This country
5. Freedom
6. The Internet

6 Things I Don't Value:
1. Liars
2. Cheats
3. Lazy people
4. Self righteous people
5. Close minded people
6. Violence


A big thanks to Jeanette who gave me another source for the Valdani thread and it is less expensive than where I got it and they ship it free to US and Canada! We like free! Jeanette, If you have any questions you want answered, please include your email address or blog address with them. If you have a blog, I can't get to it by clicking on your name. Thanks!

Wow that was a long post - just when yesterday I said I might not post as often too. I don't think I'll be posting again until next week, so Happy Halloween and have a great weekend everyone. We will be raking some of the leaves putting more of the yard to rest for the winter. Enjoy that extra hour of sleep when get we turn our clocks back Saturday into Sunday.

Until next time - hugs, Linda

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I've been Boo-ed on Whatcha Working on Wednesday

Happy Wednesday peeps! I want to thank everyone for being so excited with me and so supportive of our news that we are going to be grandparents next year. I don't think my feet have really touched the floor yet! I had a great chat with Angela's mom Laurie. We are so blessed that Jay's in-laws are such nice people. We will be thrilled to share this baby with them. Laurie and I will be talking often about who buys what when! I think we will be figuring out a system - she gets this month, I get the next or something like that. This baby will not be spoiled TOO much! LOL

I've been Boo-ed! My sweet friend Linnea Over at Neabear, Stephanie over at The Hearts of Hartmann and LisaJanelle over Warm Heart, Cozy Home have all Boo-ed me! Thanks ladies! I see that many folks have already been boo-ed but if you haven't please feel free to grab this and boo your friends too!!

I have kept myself very busy Behind My Red Door. Cooking and freezing meals for my folks and us, making some things for Christmas in the kitchen and lots of creating in the craft room too. I can't show it all because some of them are swaps and gifts. But I can show you the sweet little pin keep I made to keep handy when I am doing handwork as I watch TV in the evenings. I wanted something small. I can't remember where I saw the tutorial for this one, but it is made with a canning jar cover as the base. If anyone knows where that tutorial is, please let me know!

See that glimpse of the bowl on the left? That's my little bowl of lusciousness.

Here's another glimpse. My sweet friend Karen gave me 3 rolls of Valdani floss with my first order from her FarmHouse Woolens online shop. It is 3 strands of floss so once you load the punch needle tool, you don't have to stop and separate floss and keep reloading. I love it so I ordered some more from this online shop. (Karen doesn't carry it) Colonial Crafts used to have the cutest store in Sturbridge, MA (back when I didn't work with wool of course!) but now it is strictly an online shop. I have been pleased with their speedy service. Aren't these sweet? I love the variegated colors especially. I just like how these look in my little bowl! Here is the pillow I made out of my first NP project. I wish I had left a bigger border of fabric but it is not bad for my first NP project. Now that I know better, I will do better! (that's how I try to live anyway). And this is what I will tackle next. Please don't hold your breath waiting to see this one done as I have many irons in the fire!

And three cheers for me! I finally finished my Father Christmas Wool Wall hanging. This is about 15 inches wide and 2 feet long. It was a LOT of blanket stitching. I made a rod pocket across the top and I will insert a dowel to hang it. It almost makes me want to decorate for Christmas now. LOL I said ALMOST. We have a Fall Harvest party here on the 8 th and I am hosting Thanksgiving, so fall will stay out until everyone leaves that night. But once the door closes behind the last person, the fall stuff gets piled on the dining room table and the next morning the Christmas boxes come out of the attic and I will be be decorating top to bottom!

Thanks to my wonderful friend Colleen over at And Baby Makes Five for saving me this weekend. I had spent quite some time last week searching through my old set of Leisure Arts Christmas books and I finally found the recipe for ornamental gingerbread dough I had used years ago. I then loaned the books to a friend. Then through a fluke, as I was getting ready to make the dough, my copy went flying and landed under and behind my stove. My GAS stove. DH was not wanting to shut off the gas and disconnect the stove just for that recipe, and he asked me to pretty please find one online. When I came online to look for a recipe, of course I stopped at my blog first and I found that Colleen had posted her recipe here. Thank you!! In her next post, she posted some great pics of her daughter Michaela helping her make mini cinnabuns. She is just adorable and the buns don't look too bad either!

Here is a portion of the dough as I am rolling it out. I have the neatest dough board that I got many years ago from QVC. It is plastic and came with 2 cloth covers. I flour the cover well and it is great for rolling out sticky dough like this. If you make biscuits, this is wonderful for those and I love it for rolling out my pie dough too. I don't think they carry it anymore so if you see it at a yard sale or thrift store with it's covers, grab it! Here are the results. I actually had 2 more but they met an unfortunate and untimely end. They slipped off the parchment paper and cookie sheet right into the opening in the bottom of the oven right into the flame! Burn baby burn! And did they make smoke. LOL Good thing it was warm enough to open the windows! These guys still need to be dipped in wax. I am letting them dry for several days first. They are much sturdier than regular cookies. They puffed up and spread a bit more than I expected so if you make this recipe, do leave plenty of space in between. I found this dough great to work with. Here's a money saving tip - I used peppercorns for the eyes and buttons instead of cloves. MUCH cheaper and since no one is eating them - who cares! You'll have to wait for my Christmas decorating to see what I do with these.

Once again I received a goody in the mail from a sweet gal in my RAK group. This cute little Angel ornie. Isn't she adorable? Thanks Teresa!

So what have you been working on this week? Go on over to Leslie's My Country Home to see what everyone else has been doing. Thanks for hosting this each week Leslie. It inspires me to finish things in time to post them. It's worth a stop over there just to see the gorgeous photo on her header. It is breath taking!

Like many of you, I have a lot of things I want and need to do before the Holidays and so I might not be posting quite as often. Because I do some online volunteer work, sometimes I am sitting here TOO long. It so tempting to sit here all day with all the wonderful blogs, and forums and prim sites. I want to be more disciplined in finishing my projects and balancing my computer time. Isn't life always a balancing act anyway? Mine seems to be!

Until next time - hugs, Linda

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm Seeing Stars!!

Yes, I am seeing stars and no, I didn’t hit my head, and no, I didn't shake up my brain jumping up and down when I found out I am going to be a Grammy. And yes, to those who asked, I will go by Grammy. And it isn't because our beloved Red Sox aren't in the World Series this year. They did get much farther the Yankees so my brother Allan9aka traitor - the name given to any MA native who dares to be a Yankee fan) is having a harder time finding ways to rib me about the Sox . I usually just ignore his taunting emails - why bother since the past few years since they have had a better record than his Yankees including AHEM - some World Series wins if I remember correctly! (does this count as a blog mention to you bro? hehehehe)

No, you see as I was dusting this weekend, my Swiffer duster (I love that thing!) kept getting stuck on some of the pointy edges of the stars around the house. Then I started looking around the house and then at all my photos on file and realized I am indeed seeing stars. Here are just some of my favorites 5 point or more stars, inside and out.

I am off to do lunch and see a movie with a dear friend. I hope you too are having a great start to your week!! I'll be back on Wednesday so until then, hugs - Linda

Friday, October 24, 2008


Awhile back in the beginning of October, when I said I had some great news, some of my peeps thought maybe I was going to announce that I was going to become a Grammy when they saw the headline. I felt really bad that it might have misled them so I promised myself, I would never use a misleading headline like that ever again. And I haven't - because I now DO have the best news ever! I am going to be a GRAMMY! Our son Jay and his wife Angela are going to be parents. This will be our first grandchild and I am so excited I can't stand myself!! We don't have a due date, just three positive tests and lots of appropriate symptoms.
When Jay called earlier this evening and asked me if I was ready to be a Grammy, I think I screamed so loud they heard me on Mars!! Am I ready? Hello!! I am just so excited and feel so blessed to be able to share this news with so many wonderful friends. And so now start the long waiting game. I hope you will pray with me that Angela has a healthy pregnancy and that in several months, I can show off a healthy grand child. And please do keep me in mind. I don't think I will be able to calm down and sleep for days!

I'm gonna be a Grammy! I'm gonna be a Grammy! I'm gonna be a Grammy! I'm gonna be a Grammy! I'm gonna be a Grammy! I'm gonna be a Grammy!Yippee!

Until next (I'm gonna be a Grammy! I'm gonna be a Grammy!) hugs, (I'm gonna be a Grammy! I'm gonna be a Grammy!) Linda aka Grammy!!

It's All About the Girls!

Remember back here when I went to a baby shower for DD's friend Lani? Well I am so excited to introduce you to 10 day old Linnea! Isn't she the sweetest thing you ever saw? (I don't have grand kids of my own yet so I get to say that!!) I had the pleasure of holding her and cuddling her this afternoon. Here's Jen, Lani and Linnea

Lani and Linnea
And sweet little Linnea with her head of thick black hair!!
It was so much fun! I brought the new mom and her dear hubby some dinner so they will have full bellies tonight - just like little Linnea.

Last night I had another one of my gatherings with my former school teachers and moms. And we had a great time. I had fun using my fall design disposable plates, cups and napkins that I bought on clearance at Target a few years ago. I think I paid 25 cents a package. They have the cutest pumpkin and crow design. The ice bucket is ready. I use this covered crock for that.

The pumpkin soup (recipe to follow) and chili are hot!

The buffet table is ready for the rest of the food to come....
And the candles are lit and just waiting for the party to begin.
In addition to my pumpkin soup, chili, and hot mulled cider, we dined on spinach dip in a hollowed bread bowl, broccoli salad, corn bread, almond cake and pumpkin walnut bread. It was delicious!!

Many years ago, I helped a friend cater the ordination for the associate minister at her church. We decorated the church hall with pumpkins, gourds, mums and cornstalks and that set the mood for the menu. When Deb told me the main course was to be pumpkin soup, I thought she was nuts! I knew I would love it but I figured half the guests wouldn't even try it. Boy was I wrong! We made gallons and gallons of it that day, and come that evening, we were scrapping the last bits out of the bottom of those huge pots. It was a huge success! And whenever I serve it now, it is almost always the favorite thing on the menu. The trick is that is has a chicken, apple and onion base and cream is added at the end so it does not resemble pumpkin as most people know it. And it is the prettiest color too.

It is easy to make and can be made up until just before you add the cream and then frozen. You will need:

2 cups of cooked mashed pumpkin or one can of pumpkin (you can use butternut squash instead if you want)
1 medium onion minced
2 apples peeled and diced small
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp frozen apple juice concentrate
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup light cream
salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

Saute onion and apple in butter until very soft - but don't brown. Add the pumpkin and stock, juice, and simmer for 30 minutes or so. At this point, I use my immersion blender and puree it in the pot. You can skip this all together or you can puree some or all of it in batches in a blender or food processor. BE VERY CAREFUL doing that to hot soup - let it cool a bit. When it is the consistency you like, add the cream and salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste and carefully reheat to serving temperature (the cream will have cooled it down). Enjoy!! I always do!

Until next time - hugs, Linda

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An Autumn Glow

Happy Tuesday everyone! This is a short post because Blogger has been giving me trouble for a few days. I couldn't upload pics, and sometimes I couldn't leave messages before Blogger timed out. But all seems to be working well again, so here I am.

We have had more perfect fall weather here in Central Ma and I have been soaking it all in. Today my dear friend Chris and I went back to Pickity Place for the October menu and it was just delightful. It was sunny all the way up and the maples are just giving us a fantastic show this fall. They are glowing with every shade of red, orange and yellow. The wet weather this summer is partly the reason the local horticulturalists are telling us. We are so blessed to have so many weeks of glowing color with so many different varieties of maple that turn at different times. Chris feels the same way about the crisp fall weather and foliage as I do, so she is the perfect companion to take a drive with. I don't know who said "Ooooh and aaaaaw" more as we took the leisurely drive north and spotted one bright maple after another - her or me!! Sometimes in unison!

We had one the best meals ever at Pickity Place. There was a slight chill to air despite some bright sun, so we were eager to get inside the centuries old house and warm up with a mug of spicy mulled cider. And if we weren't warmed up yet, next came a steamy hot cup of roasted yellow pepper soup with a slight kick to it. Next came a warm and yeasty pumpkin cranberry bread with pumpkin spice butter and an apple cheddar slaw with a caraway vinegretter, and then 1/2 Roasted Game hen over Pancetta Wild Rice with Maple Glazed Baby Carrots, and followed up by warm Apple Crisp with a teeny scoop of Cinammon Spice ice cream for dessert - and more hot mulled cider to ward off the chill before we headed back outside. It was a most delicious fall meal through and through. We sat next to one of the fireplaces which had a huge cornucopia on the mantel, overflowing with pumpkins and gourds. For pics of Pickity from our last trip, click here.

We decided to skip the side trip to Frye's as we both are keeping the economy in mind, so we headed home and enjoyed more of the foliage on the drive. When I got home, I walked down the hall into our bedroom. The room just seemed to be glowing because outside the corner windows, was this view.

I can't even begin to explain how gorgeous it is in our back yard. I quickly took several photos as it is getting dark and about to rain, but none of them do justice to the masses of color. It is just a sight to behold!! And right outside my window!! It doesn't get any better than that!

While I was in our bedroom, I realized that I haven't shown you where I put my whale tail shelf and hanger from my new prim friend Jill. I put an autumn candle and ring on the shelf, and both made their new home in our bedroom.
I hung my Christening dress on the hanger and it is perfect. And the whale tail shelf is perfect on the same wall. Thanks again Jill! I will treasure them always.

During our ride to Pickity, I had the opportunity to share with Chris about some of the wonderful gals I have met on the Internet through blogging, forums and Webshots. I told her about the outright gifts, swaps, RAK's, Pay It Forwards, fund raisers and other kind things I have seen and am blessed to be a part of. I have to say, as I was talking about all of you, I got such a warm feeling and I felt like I was puffing up with pride for all my wonderful online friends. With so much sadness and tragedy making the headlines in the paper and on TV every day, I am so glad I get to come online and read the headlines and see all the pictures from all of you instead! It is a daily reminder of all the good, all the wonderful, kind, caring and generous people in the world. Just like the fiery colors from the maples in my back yard, you add a warm glow to my autumn days, and I thank each and everyone of you!!
Until next time - hugs, Linda