Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Sometimes I can relate to a sparrow, can't you?

I'm not remarkable, really, just a common, variety house-bird.  Sometimes it seems that we're so common and like one another that our chirpings are indistinguishable and our markings and coloring are quite average -- just like everyone else.  We're part of a big flock yet no one carries us -- we have to take to the air with our own wings, so to speak.

I've long wanted to embark on a project to help people see that although we humans are common to one another in so many ways, each one of us has equal value and a unique purpose. I believe that women and girls especially tend to dismiss our value so we don't seem prideful or arrogant, yet in the process of striving for humility, we clip our own wings and never go on the adventure that's before us. 

Perhaps it's a protective mechanism to diminish oneself before anyone else can inflict that upon us. But, I want to tell you, whomever you might be, wherever you might be -- YOU ARE VALUABLE. YOU ARE VITAL and you have a message to share with someone who needs to hear it.  Perhaps it's your babies or your neighbors or some random person in the aisle at Target. 

Perhaps it's yourself. 

Flap those wings, sing that song -- don't miss it.

Sometimes I express this in art, in addition to writing. It's not fine art, for I'm not trained whatsoever. But I've found that as I'm engaging in the art of expression, whether it be writing, collage, drawing, cooking love into dinner for my family or enjoying conversation over mugs of coffee, I am practicing the art of using what I've been given to sing out the message of hope -- I am flapping my wings, balancing on the thin stretch of twig between terra and air, I'm feeling the rush of air on my face. I am vital because I'm learning to not be afraid, I'm learning that the art of trusting is connected to the art of doing.
(in progress)

I found a poem by Victor Hugo that inspired the above picture but more importantly better communicates my message today:

"Let us be like the bird, for a moment perched
On a frail branch while he sings.
He feels it bend, but he sings his song,
For he knows that he has wings."

So fellow Sparrows, Let us be like the bird for a moment perched on a frail branch while we sing....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Roasted Tomato Caprese Soup -- Mid Week Wonder

     One of my favorite late-summer salads is the simple, yet amazing Caprese Salad - a combination of fresh mozzerella, garden-fresh basil and vine-ripened tomatoes with a splash of oil and balsamic vinegar.  Mmmmm.

      As summer gracefully bows to autumn, there's still an abundance of tomatoes and this easy roasted tomato soup is a perfect place for the toms to come into their sweet, full, fall flavor.

     Use any variety and a combination of tomatoes, if you like.  You'll also need:

1/2 cup olive oil
5-8 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 onion cut into eighths
salt and pepper
a bunch of fresh basil, chopped (if you really can't get some, dried will do)
2-4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 small jar roasted red peppers, drained, optional, but I like them!
Bay leaf
a bit of butter
splash of balsamic vinegar

Cut larger tomatoes and seed them, cherry tomatoes can be tossed into the roasting pan whole. place tomatoes, peel side up, onion, garlic into roasting pan or onto a large jellyroll pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat, salt and pepper a bit.

Roast in 450 degree over for 20-30 minutes or until the skins are soft and the onions look carmelized and garlic is soft. You may stir once or twice if you like during roasting.

Remove from oven and scrape everything from roasting pan into a dutch oven, large pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 15-20 minutes or however long you like.

If you have an immersion blender, remove pot from oven, and blend until smooth. If you don't, you'll need to allow the soup to cool a bit and blend in batches in the blender.

Serve with a chunk of fresh mozz and some basil and a handful of croutons. Tasty!

This soup makes a wonderful base for sauces, too. I added a couple cups to cooked, diced chicken breast meat, some asiago cheese and butter and tossed with cooked pasta and almost everyone in the family loved it -- I say almost because I have one kid who still thinks butter-noodles are the best!

Enjoy this easy, delicious, mid-week wonder as we welcome autumn!

(more pics to be added soon!!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Magie Belle Loves Grandma Pearl - even though she never, ever really rode a horse

Southern Lady Vintage hosts Vintage Love Saturday each week and the theme this week is vintage photographs -- here's my pic:

Grandma Pearl Never Really Rode a Horse...

... But she's been married 60 years, had seven kids, loves 21 grandkids and 2 great-grandkids, taught me how to read, introduced me to Jesus when I was four-years-old, watched countless old movies with me and made the best sugar cookies in the world.

She's 81 years old. She's what she'd call an antique. She's my mom.  I love this photo of her because although she's never actually sat on a real, live horse, she's looking quite the pro right here! 

This picture was taken in the early 1950s. Ain't she cute?

Taken at a celebration of the birthday of her Indiana town, she was whooping it up with Lew, the love of her life, who always a clean-shaven swede, grew a red beard just for the midwest celebration.

Mom's having hip surgery in a couple of weeks, and my dear husband is taking a week off of work to handle all of my responsibilities so that I can help mom and dad. Can't wait to see them again (they live very far away....)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall. Art. Friends.

I am trying to be consistent on my little blogspot -- mostly because as a creative and crazy busy mom of four the only thing I'm consistent about is falling into bed sometime after midnight. I have my little mid-week wonder feature, which will be ROASTED CAPRESE TOMATO SOUP, next week, though. This mid-week, I was sick and so was the kindergartner in my house. So, we'll have to wait for mid-week wonderment until next week.



1) Fall

Fall is an odd time because although it signals the waning of the year, the dying season, so to speak, it is energizing and beautiful and inspiring. Everyone gets cozy and into cooking stew. We get reorganized from the craziness of summer and reassert ourselves into something that looks like a schedule -- a back-to-school mentality.  So, our assignment.  Let's go breathe in fall -- take a walk and some photos. And bring back leaves.

2) Art

Then, do this exercise --it's fun. Courtesy of Blacksburg Belle.

How to draw a fall leaf

Never-you-mind that you can't draw. That's not the point. The point is that when you attempt art, regardless of the outcome, you are participating in the CREATIVE PROCESS which is in every person's DNA -- embrace it  -- it's like taking vitamins or a big walk -- it's good for you.

3) Friends.

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the grace and commitment of a good friend? It seems that during this time of ingathering, coming home and taking stock of all that's important to us, our friends seems golden and special, like the brief hours of autumn sunshine that compel us to stand still and soak up because sunshine-time is fleeting. Make something with your little leaf drawing and give it away to someone you particularly appreciate.

Every year, autumn makes me think a bit on this famous poem by Robert Frost. It means more to me as I get older. It causes me to appreciate the green-gold of spring as well as the inspiring beauty of Autumn.

Nature's first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf's a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vintage Pink Sewing Machine - What's not to love?

I love my local Teen Challenge Thrift Store. I really like the program it supports as well as the treasures I can find there. 

Recently I brought home this *PINK* Atlas Sewing Machine.

I bought it simply because it was pink and old!

Of course they gave me a deal because we didn't know if it worked.

I cleaned it up, figured out how to thread the machine... and Voila! It works beautifully.

It looks lovely too.

For more sewing fun, visit

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mid-Week Wonder: Becoming

         Magie Belle is all about beautiful magic and magical beauty.  What that means to me is that we choose to seek out and hold to the beautiful things, the things that have value -- often these aren't "things" at all, but people and memories and experiences. 

         The objects we choose to treasure should have significant meaning to our unique experiences. Vintage typewriters aren't just cool to me (although they are pretty awesome machines) but personally, I can recall the school papers and "books" my mom typed for me on her old, manual Brother typewriter. There's an experiential connection.

fearless creativity

           My younger little beauty was an artist born. Self-expression has always been important to her, but as she's getting older, I'm realizing that art is an integral part of how she develops her understanding of the world, how she communicates fear, happiness, truth, how faith in her creator will grow.  She is taking a workshop at Spokane's Tin Man Too , an art gallery and bookstore for little people, and is making an Altered Book.

           Of course, as her mama, I think she's super-gifted :)! But, what intrigued me is how she responded to the actual process of the project.  She's sort of shy and acts a little funny sometimes, if not under-confident.  But she is utterly fearless with paint and tape and glue and the wide-open opportunity to have 90 minutes make her imagination become something tangible. She's doing what she was made to do. 

In her creative element, she is becoming someone else entirely.  Herself. And I am in awe of that.

the front and back cover of her altered book in progress

          Without even planning on it, I stumbled upon a mid-week wonder. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010