Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sewing Room or North Pole?

Oh boy.... Can you believe Christmas is only a week away? 

We are staying true to keeping it simple this year and I am LOVING it.  

All of my children are adults now and there are no grandchildren (yet).... so I was super excited when my oldest daughter suggested that we draw names for Christmas this year.  I am so proud that all of the kids were all for it too.....  It has been a long time dream of mine that our little family would not focus on the gifts and presents of Christmas.... but instead look to the true meaning of Christmas!  I think over the years we have really fulfilled my dreams and then some!  

So even though there are less presents to wrap, my sewing room looks like Santa's Workshop....  Christmas cards, little presents, wrapping paper, ribbons and bows everywhere....and on my cutting table sits the unfinished cutting portion of the BOM which is due this Thursday.... yes I will probably be paying $5.00 to get my final block pattern and fabric....  

This Saturday my daughters and I will be baking away in my little warm kitchen..... I AM THRILLED that this tradition has taken hold too.  

It is good that my sewing room is messy, filled with unusual to this room goodness....  it will be only for a week.... and it is so worth it!  


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Season - Chore or Celebration?

Over the last few years, for me, the Christmas season has become more of a chore than a celebration.  Really cannot pinpoint when this transition happened.... but it did.  

This girl was all about decking out the house in all its red and green glory.... even the bathrooms had Christmas cheer.  (I still love Christmas and all the decorations, just not in the mood to do it!) 

So......is it age that has quieted my Christmas enthusiasm? (Honestly, the thoughts of having to put all that stuff away kind of makes my stomach hurt.)   

Or is it because I want to simplify?  


It does seem that my idea of celebration has changed over the years.  Before....I had convinced myself that the only way everyone would feel like celebrating was if I had set the stage properly.....  the house had to look like North Pole exploded in every nook and cranny.....  

Now.... not so much.  

Instead of decorating my house with glitter bombs, I want to fill it with laughter, music and yummy smells.  

AND if everyone shows up in a glittery, shiny, red and green Christmas sweater...... that would be PERFECT!  


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

It is one of my favorites.... Thanksgiving.  

Such a great day.... family, friends, food and no stress.  I enjoy this day the most out of all the holidays.  

Thankful for this year?  

1.  God.
2.  My family. 
3.  My friends. 

There is more.... but those are my top three.  

Pull your family and friends close, give many thanks to God and enjoy the feast!  

(And get some sewing/crafting in this weekend!!!)  

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Table Runner Mania

Working on a table runner for Christmas. Took the wonky star block and reduced it down to a 6 1/2 square.... (math is not a strong point for me - so pretty happy!)  Took the Which Ways North flying geese paper piecing block... added a trunk and then made a Christmas tree out of it!  

Love these colors....  

Isn't the fabric for the trees awesome?  The tree looks like it has Christmas ornaments and/or lights on it!  Love!  I even like the chunky tree trunk.  So...... 

.......in cutting mode right now.  


I wrote down all the pieces to cut for each tree and star block.  I think I have figured out the design.... (thinking about changing a color combination....)  

The only problem is that I did not calculate how much fabric would be needed.... so even if I write a pattern - I cannot say how much fabric to have.... so lesson learned.....  take better notes!  

Or a even better lesson learned....  

A girl can never have too much fabric!  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another First......

So Excited!  

This little blog and pictures of my sewing room were shared on another blog And Sew We Craft!!!  

This is a great blog with eight contributors one of which is Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts who I met through a Blog Hop Party in March and I even won her giveaway....  Yes I am loving my mailman in friendly way...

Go and check out these blogs!  You will definitely be inspired, encouraged and will learn lots of new things.  

Thank you Alyce and And Sew We Craft for helping me with another "First." 





Sunday, November 10, 2013

Reflections on "imperfection"

Loving these wonky stars.  I am working on another table runner and using the wonky star pattern again.  It is sandwiched and ready for quilting... the simple meandering kind.... 
 

Why am I so drawn to these wonky stars.  Yes, they are fun and easy...  Boy, do I like easy, it allows me to work in other areas of this art.... work on quilting and binding.  

However, there is more.  There is something very lovely about these wonky stars.  At first glance, your mind's eye sees the traditional star.

In fact, they are constructed in the same way as a traditional star, use the same amount of squares and triangles.....but when you have a little closer look you can see the "imperfections."  The points are different lengths and widths.  The star can appear to be long or it can be considered thick...  but definitely not a traditional perfect star.  

Like snowflakes... no two wonky stars are alike.  

That is fantastic!  Unique and individual....  just as we have been created.  

To me, the wonky star looks like it is dancing.... celebrating.... happy.  There is movement in the wonky star. 

It is how I want to live.... dancing, loving and celebrating the "imperfections" of life....  

 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Table runners everywhere....

Finished another table runner....  (Is it one word or two??)  



This is my second attempt at quilting.... (I finished this one before First Ever Completed Quilt..... but I am happy with another finish.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Time.....

First Ever completed Quilt!  


This was inspired by Penelope's Star Quilt by Darci at  Stitches and Scissors who in turn was inspired by the Wonky Star tutorial at The Silly BooDilly.  

I love inspiration!  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Time Away.....

is a good thing.  

Let's us clear our minds and work with our hands.  

Let's us clear our minds and renew our spirit. 

Let's us clear our minds and see how we may take family, friends and life for granted. 

Let's us clear our minds and focus more on God. 

All is well...... after a little time away.   


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sewing burn out.......

Can it be? 

I finally finished the quilt top on Monday night - late Monday night.  It was all ready for the applique part of the class.  


I am pretty happy with the the whole top.... the colors, the placement, everything!  The pattern is Judy Niemeyer's  Which Way's North?  My first time trying paper piecing and I am hooked.....  

So on to applique 


Last night's class was a refresher on making bias for the vine, using fusible bond and just having fun with placement of flowers, choosing colors.... and of course a ton of laughter.  My friend used all black, gray, white and red fabrics for her top.  Her quilt told her to stop with just the inner border and not add another border of flying geese... she used a coordinating fabric instead and it is beautiful.  (I wish I had taken a picture!)  Her vine is solid black and her flowers are a beautiful red.....  I will remember to get a picture when she is done!  

I love how so many of us can have the same pattern but then come up with such different quilt tops!  

I needed to do this month's block for meeting tomorrow night, but I just do not have it in me.  Is it sewing burn out? I do not believe so....  

I think it is just having too much fun with ..... 

flying geese.....   

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Never be discouraged.....

Whew.... still working away on this quilt top.   


My cutting table is getting a lot of attention.  I mis-calculated the amount of blocks needed - so I had to cut another 24 sets....  


But these are just such beautiful colors.... so bright, cheerful... remind me of spring.  


With the "new to me" technique, the gorgeous colors, a little spare time and encouragement from family and friends........ Nope, I am not discouraged.  

Sounds like many things we have to overcome in our every day lives.... finding the beauty in it...  

No, not discouraged at all... it is all beautiful and so worth it.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A "new to me" technique.....

Yes, it has been awhile since I posted about anything.  Not that there has not been stuff on my mind and have wanted to say - it is just that it probably would not have been a very positive or encouraging post..... I am a middle-aged woman who is nearing her Year of Jubilation....  yes, 50 and that means none other than the big "M" word....  I will leave it at that.  

Other than to say..... My hubby is a patient man.

Okay - on to fun..... PAPER PIECING!  

I will be honest - at first I thought - there is a lot of cutting, LOTS of cutting and I could be sewing.  So I was a little discouraged...... then I made my first block.  It is a flying geese block..... and no points were cut off, the triangles are lined up and straight..... 

Oh my goodness this is just fantastic!  


Yes, it took me nearly an hour and a half to make this first block, but to my defense, my friends and I were talking, telling stories and laughing like crazy - so I really cannot tell you the actual amount of time of sewing.....  but I could not be more pleased with the outcome.  So I made another one......


....and it only took a few minutes - about fifteen to be exact.  Not too bad for a second try.  (Don't you love all the colors in the cut pieces? I sure do!)  

So there I am going to go and fold, cut, pin, check, sew and press.....  36 more..... 

Love this "new to me" technique!  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Finally!!!!!

Yay!  Finally, finally, finally finished a quilted project.  

Do I think it is the best..... No.
Should I give it has a present.... No.
Is it the first ever table runner.... Yes.
Is it the first ever project that was pieced, quilted and bound.... YES!!  
Were lots and lots of valuable lessons learned.... YES, YES AND YES! 

My quilting mentor told me I needed to quilt smaller projects to develop muscle memory and to get a good feel for quilting.  So I searched and searched the internet to find an easy table runner to make so I could quilt it.  I found Katie Hennagir Designs and loved the Simple Table Runner.  I thought... okay I can do this one!  

This table runner has the blocks set on-point and I love that design!  I have made two quilt tops already on-point - so I felt comfy with that layout.  I did deviate from the actual cutting fabric instructions because I did not have enough to make three identical blocks - but other than that - I stuck to her pattern.  

I recommend this pattern - it is super easy to follow and it makes a great sized table runner!  I am using it again for Christmas presents....  

Now for quilting - oh I thought I would go all out and try echo quilting, feathers and so forth.  I immediately stopped with the echo and really fussed with the feathers (there are no close ups of the quilting and a bowl will be strategically placed over the feather attempts) and went to meandering.... 

Oh I love meandering.... my shoulders instantly began to relax and off I went. 

Then it was time to bind.  I decided to bind with the fabric I used in the center of the blocks because (a) it looked really nice and (b) I had enough of that fabric! 

Once that was all in place, I was able to relax more and sew the back of the binding down.  I like that part.  One of the lessons I learned was that I did not need to double the thread.  Once I figured that one out (about 3/4 of the way around) the hand sewing went really, really fast! 



Here was the homestretch..... (I am feeling a bit under the weather today so it was nice to sit at my table under the window and finish the binding).  And yes, this is some of the same fabric I unsuccessfully used to construct the Antique Basket block last night.  I do love this fabric.  I used the dark brown as the backing of this table runner.  


Meandering is good.....  can you guess that the icky feathering and echo attempts are NOT in this picture?  


Perfect fit on my table!  

Okay - for the lessons learned:  

1.  If you have cats, never, ever leave your thimble unattended. 
2.  If you do leave your thimble unattended, make sure you have a back up!  (I still cannot find my thimble) 
3.  Ease into quilting.... take your time, relax and start off with meandering. Start off with smaller projects.
4.  Tape down all FOUR sides of your backing fabric.... not just the ends!  (Yes there is some puckering on the back of the table runner - so again no close-ups!) 

Best lesson of all is enjoy the project, give credit where due and display it with abandon!  

Finally..... I am not afraid of quilting and am ready to take on more projects!  

Friday, August 2, 2013

Learning the Hard Way.... Contrast

Ahhhhh......contrast.  I would like to think that I know my colors.  I know contrast.  I was an Art major... 

But I did not finish my formal education so I must have missed something somewhere... and it was over 30 years ago..... right?  

No, it is more of "Oh I love these colors together, so I will make a block." 

Well, do love this block.... and I do love these colors....

First Antique Basket

I used the Marti Mitchell templates from the Block of the Month...... but did not have a pattern.  So I just looked at the picture from the booklet and remembered lessons learned in the many classes I have taken at my favorite quilt store!  

Yes, yes, yes.... I am bragging.  But bragging is not ladylike and there is a downside....  CONTRAST.  Not enough of it with these fabrics so the basket gets lost in the block.  

But do not fear.....  I have a plan 


more CONTRAST!  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back from Vacation......


Not only did we play in the ocean waves, my youngest gave me a birthday spree in a quilt shop in California...  

The fabric is already washed and on my ironing board (along with the last fabric I picked out for a new quilt top).... so after I get it all pressed and pretty - they will be the star of a little upcoming photo shoot.  

Hope everyone is relaxed and refreshed from their summer vacations..... 

I am already planning next year's getaway!  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Its a Party.... Where Bloggers Create Party 2013

It is the 5th Annual Where Bloggers Create Party!!!!  This is Karen's 5th time hosting....and it is A LOT of work!  Thank you Karen for hosting and helping all of us meet each other. This is my second time participating.  Last year was so much fun, inspiring and left me pretty awestruck.

Karen does an AWESOME job and here is where you can go to see, not only Karen's absolutely stunning studio - but all of the other beautiful places where some very creative bloggers create.  

My space is an upstairs spare bedroom....  I have spruced it up a bit since last year but my area is a far cry from all of the other gorgeous studios that you will see.  

But.......

I LOVE my little space and try to spend as much time in here as possible!  

Okay - on to the tour!  



Come on in.  (Love this door)  It is new.  Just finished it on the Fourth of July and really had a lot of fun.  Still have my yellow closet doors.  Made a new iron board cover since last year's party.... 



This is the desk area....Lots of great natural light.  Do you see the pink noodle on the floor???  I cut it down the center and am using it to hide all of the electrical cords...  $1.98.... pink.... who knew?  



This is where I keep all the fabric for projects that are "works in progress."   Okay, okay.... I will admit that is a lot of fabric for just "works in progress"... just do not tell anyone else - especially my hubby.   



Love this little bright spot of the room.  The big flowers on the top shelf used to live in our kitchen - but I wanted more color in this space - especially since I now spend more time in here than in the kitchen!  The little pink and blue flowers on the second shelf are actually pens in a pretty disguise.


    

This is my cutting table and design wall.  I found the cute little green, yellow and pink quilt in a bunch of fabric that I brought home from my grandmother's.  (The scrappy Sue Bonnet on the other wall was another find in my grandmother's fabric boxes.)  I do not believe she made them though.  She was a miniature artist. 

The design wall is actually the backside of an inexpensive plastic tablecloth and some thumbtacks.  I was happy to find one that had a lot of fun colors on it so when it was hung up - we could fold it so some more color would show. A design wall for under $4.00! 

The purple drawers (under the cutting table) were a great find for $10.00!!  That is where all of the templates, rotary cutters, pattern books and my quilt journals are stored.  Found the risers at Big Lots.  And let me just tell you - they really help to keep my back from screaming at me when cutting a lot of fabric for a quilt project!  



This is my new sewing cabinet!  My dad and step-mom gave it to me as an early birthday present.  I LOVE it!  My dad did a great job putting this guy together!  My step mom researched and researched and she found the perfect one....  It is at the right height and has plenty of space to lay out the quilt when sewing up the larger parts - or as in the case of last night - actually machine quilting. 

Oh, ummmm... that will be another blog post at another time....  

The lamp is an old floor lamp - made of iron! Not only does it give great light - it is the perfect place to hang binding where it is nice and handy.... (the binding on the lamp stand right now is for the mug mats I have been working on).  The lampshade is new, but very blah. So.... I started gluing really bright buttons on it.  That little project requires has to be done in stages... so it is another  "work in progress" project.  

The two drawings on the wall were drawn by my youngest when she was a toddler..... they are family pictures... one is of me and one is of her dad. The embroidery piece above them was made by my oldest daughter when she about five or six years old.  I love those pieces!  The blue shadow box was a gift from a dear friend for my birthday last year. 

Before you leave - I must show you the closet....   



Pretty sure most people do not show off their closets.  But a few months ago, it got all cleaned out and organized... This is where all of the fabric inherited from my grandmother is now stored.  All card making supplies and yarn for crochet projects also have a space in this closet.  (I also make jewelry - but I keep all of the beads, wire, tools and so forth in the pie safe in the living room..... and all of my mosaic stuff is in a little room off the den....  so my creative space is spread out all over the place.  

But this room, this little colorful corner of the world, is my sewing room and I love it here...  

Well, Michael and I must get back to our new tablerunner.... 


  
....and there are many many parties to attend!  




Saturday, July 6, 2013

Early Finish

Must admit that I usually wait until the weekend before the block of the month is due to wash the fabric, then Monday and Tuesday I cut the pieces and then Wednesday night I am sewing the block together for the meeting on Thursday.  Not a very good plan I must admit.  I actually have no excuse either!  

But due to the unexpected four day weekend.... a little visit from a friend and getting deep cleaning done.....  

I cut my pieces on Friday and finished piecing it today.... right before I went to a baby shower....  



When the center of the block was finished - I really really liked it and am contemplating a whole quilt with these blocks.... what do you think?  

I also took some liberties with this block.  I had done it in the past with several others - but just one change.... this time I made a few changes.  I changed fabric out for others.... let me show you the finished block first.  


It is called "Hole in the Wall." And it is the first time I ever made a sawtooth border - I love this block....  I think I say this each month :)  

Okay - for the changes.  When I got the kit and saw the block in June - I knew I was going to make at least one change.... but when I was cutting - I decided on the second.  I was so happy that I had enough from scraps that I could do this.  Actually I did not use one of the fabric pieces from the kit at all!  

The fabric I swapped out is the brown firework print.  I used the beige for the cornerstones and the white on white print for the center.  I really like it better... hope you all agree!  

I am super happy to have the block done two weeks in advance!  Now I can concentrate on other projects...  

My plan/goal was to have the quilt tops I have made quilted into actual quilts..... I still have that in my mind, but I also have two other quilt tops I want to start!  

I love piecing tops..... not sure if I love quilting yet!  My mentor tells me I should make some table runners and quilt those - work on smaller projects so I will not have to fight the big quilts....  

This is why I call her my mentor..... for the good advice she gives me.  

I am grateful for her and my early finish.  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tidying up on the Fourth.....

Happy Independence Day!  No fireworks or backyard barbecue at our house this year and that is okay.  We have a lot of backyard fun at our house during the summer - the kids love to come over and go swimming and we always have food!  So I really do not feel like I am missing too much.  

Plus, it is RARE.... I mean really RARE that we get a few days off from work that does not revolve around a holiday where festivities are a requirement..... so we took full advantage and we got a lot done.  Hubby mopped all the tile floors and cleaned the bathrooms..... I cleaned all the carpet.... of course, this did not go smooth - because our old carpet cleaner bit the dust so this meant we had to make a detour to the store.... which meant we had to actually put on clothes that were decent to leave the house.... okay - I digress....  sooooo carpets clean - check, tile floors clean - check, bathrooms clean - check, pool clean - check..... yes it was a pretty productive Fourth... the best part is that we have three more days off AND the house and yard are clean!!  And it is only 5:15 p.m. which means we still have some evening left too....  Nice!  

As you all might be aware - Karen Valentine at Desert Cottage is hosting her awesome blog hop called "Where Bloggers Create" on July 12th.  This will be her fifth year hosting!  I joined in the fun last year..... and had an absolute blast.  I met new friends, spread some crafty love and got a lot of encouragement and inspiration from all the other lovely bloggers!  Last year, my craft room was a work in progress and you can see it here.  I was not only new to blogging - I was still not sure where I was going to go in my creative life....  So a year later, I have taken several quilting classes, made several quilt tops and my craft room is NOW really a sewing room.

So you must come back on the 12th to join in the fun!  And I will have more pictures of my little sewing room with the changes from last year......but the door to the room.... well..... it was a little..... oh, how can I say this.... boring..... tired....  joyless.... NORMAL.....    


Well, I just could not have that anymore...  I had been thinking about either painting it a different color - something bright like the closet doors... but then (and I wish I could remember where so I could give her credit) I saw a craft room that had taken scrapbook paper and just modge-podged them onto the door - square by square.... like a nine-patch block.  Since we borrow our house and even though my landlords are the best (they did let me paint my closet doors yellow) I really thought modge podge would not be the best choice..... so I thought and thought about it for several months....  and of course inspiration hit my up side my head - double stick tape - PERFECT!  And I already had these awesome, bright colored 12x12 scrapbook papers (that I got on sale for $3.99!!!) 


So with double stick tape in hand, my handy-dandy paper cutter and about an hour of my time....  

I started.....  

 

I did not want make it is a pretty nine-patch block - I wanted to make the squares different width sizes....   Oh yes, I am loving all the colors and the door is not so joyless anymore.... no sir - it is has some life!


 Isn't that fun?!  

I broke up the different squares with some strips of paper - just to pep it up a bit.  I was going to use ribbons and buttons... but it got late and I really just love it right now the way it is....  The best part is that I had all the supplies in my yellow closet.  I did not need to get any more to do this!  



I seriously did not need any more reasons to love my sewing room - but let me tell you....  I love this door and it really sets the tone of the room and makes a statement - it says "There is fun to be had in this room and you are welcome to come on in!"




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Another First.....

First attempt at a mug mat..... 

The pattern is from The Teacher's Pet called "Coffee, Tea, or ?" from their Simple Pleasures line.  

I picked up some soft Fall color fabric at last year's shop hop and just was not sure what I was going to do with it.... When I saw this pattern - I knew this fabric would be PERFECT....  

Plus I really really wanted to work on binding... and again this is just perfect.  

So I need to work on "squaring up" and binding.... but I think these little guys are just the thing to help me build up those skills. 


So I am off to work on some of these mug mats.....  maybe they will be good enough for Christmas presents. 

If so - I will be ticking another goal off my summer list.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sew and sway.... Sway and sew

Still working - slowly - but working away at projects..... goals still include quilting all the tops have made to date, Christmas presents, and among all of them I am still working the Block of the Month - Secret Garden by Marti Michell  hosted by my favorite Quilt Shop.

Usually when I am sewing or working on any project, I listen to Pandora - either Billie Holiday or MercyMe station...  When I was piecing this month's block.... instead of listening to my normal stations - I decided to listen to my my iPod music...  (I think this had a lot to do with wanting to get my Swon Brothers fix.....  The Voice was over and I was missing their music.)  

So I hit the shuffle button and first up was Bruno Mars, then Harry Connick, Jr., Jamie Cullum, Robin Thicke.....  I thought to myself, "Wow, there is some fun, sexy music playing right now and all at once.... but I like it."  So I would sew and sway, sway and sew......

My mind got to whirling, thinking about as many things as stitches that were being sewn.  This time it so happened that I was thinking (a) haven't posted anything in my blog in a long time, (b) need to get a picture of this block when I am done for the blog, and (c) what fun little tidbit can I write to go with the block.....  So, of course, I needed to know the name of the block... so while Robin Thicke was singing "Dreamworld" and I was swaying back and forth (as much as my sewing machine would let me) I discovered that the name of this block is.........



Ladies Sashay.......  

How appropriate.....  sew and sway.... sway and sew....  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Slow and Steady......

Slowly the Urban Cowgirl Quilt top is getting finished.....  Just a couple more borders (and ripping out the one I put on backwards) and this one will be ready to sandwich and quilt.....  My goal for this summer is to finish all the quilt tops so they become bona fide quilts!  


I am happy so far - but it had a lot of little extra steps - but so worth it.  I have been working on the back too.... little different for me - not just one big piece....  wanted to use up some of the extra triangles.  

Slow and steady.  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Gone in a flash......

Well May was a bust where blogging was concerned.  

I so wanted to participate in May for Me - but I was attending to so many other things that "me" got lost somewhere.  But that is alright.  We are here to serve and that is probably what I do best.... serve.  

I want to quilt though. I want to sew. I want to quit my job....  hahahahaha.... probably a good thing that May was a bust or I just might have quit that day job....  

Hope all is well with you and yours.  I promise to be a better blogger in the future!  

Keep creating!  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

So much to do..... sew little time.....


Block of the Month - number 4.....  Waring Square.....  (on new sewing table by the way)..... more to come about that!  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy mat...........


Happy Saturday..... Happy mat.... 

Monday, May 6, 2013

May for Me..........


So excited to join "May for Me!" over at Marcia's Crafty Sewing......  

BUT just as this month was getting under way.... I got sick.

Today was the first day that I actually went to work for a half day and when I got home I did not immediately go and climb under the covers.  Whew.... so nice.  

So I guess I can say for the month of May for Me!  I have emptied my first spool and made little piles!  I have been sleeping, sleeping, sneezing, sleeping, snuffling, sleeping, coughing and, ahem.... sleeping.

I will do more - most certainly I will do more!  

Sleep was good though..... and it was for......  

me.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

No animals were hurt......

in the making of this dinner.  

Over the years I have struggled with my weight.... I have been larger most of my adult life, had my gall bladder removed and lately blood pressure issues (though I have gotten this a little bit under control by changing my diet... now if I would just enjoy exercising). 

When I had been smaller, I was eating a veggie diet.  Actually I have always loved veggies over meat.... oh a good steak once in awhile .....  but my body would pay a huge price for it.  

While, I would never try to tell anyone that they should stop eating meat - it is a no-brainer for me.  My body just does not digest meat well....  it goes into shock and then... well, enough said about that. 

But a girl can only eat so many salads, steamed veggies and fruit smoothies!  Right?  Right.

So in my quest to find alternatives to meat, my youngest came this really fun youtube channel - The Sweetest Vegan.  (She also has a great blog)  She is fun to watch and eats like I do - animated with dance moves!  Not that I want to go vegan.... I still want to eat fish once in awhile so I cannot even call myself a vegetarian.... maybe a partial vegetarian... but certainly not a full-blown one.  

I have not watched all of her video recipes yet.... but one did look really good.  So I made it today.....  Dirty Rice  Let me just tell you...... it was delicious! (I did not make mine totally vegan because I have to add a little butter or margarine to my rice.) I had found Mel's Kitchen before Christmas last year when I was looking for brown rice recipes.........and I feel this technique is the best way to get perfect brown rice. 

This was a great dish. Even if you do not want to go vegan or vegetarian - this is a really tasty side-dish.... crunchy, smokey and a little bit of spice....  

mmmmmmm.......  and all the animals are safe. 

An update!!!  No one in my house liked this dish very much but I LOVED it.  So...... I sauteed some mushrooms (because I am the only one who likes them) with onions and garlic in olive oil..... added it to the dirty rice...... 

Oh heaven!