Friday, January 30, 2015

Slip-Covered Ottoman

I'm not a skilled seamstress...I just play one on the Internet...

Do you remember those old  1980's commercials, with actors...selling things they really had no business selling... "I'm not a doctor...but I play one on TV..."  ...and then off they'd go... peddling medicine..

Well, truly, ...I'm no seamstress...

or tailor...

....or even remotely qualified to give sewing advice.
I am going to "share" my latest creation...which involved quite a lot of sewing...

My Jr. High home economics teacher would be so proud...

I don't even think they offer that class anymore... gone...just like good old typing class...

I was in the seventh grade when I made a shark pillow...all on my own, every stitch.

Our entire home economics class got to make a pillow, as our quarterly project.... and we got to pick the pattern...

I was so excited.. sometimes it's the little things --my 13 year-old-self loved getting to pick out the material at the fabric store....
I chose a raspberry colored cotton fabric and grey felt for the shark fins.... good times.

I couldn't believe this teacher was going to let me...and all the other 13 year-old kids operate the sewing machines... real machines...

Can you even imagine the waivers and legal agreements they might have us sign today...to use "dangerous equipment"??

It was like a power tool... it had the power to stab our little fingers... luckily we all survived...

My shark pillow was a huge success... (in the  Jr. High world)

...and now... having had no additional formal training....

I will be sewing a slip cover for an ottoman....

...with really great fabric.... that I got to pick out...

...all by myself....

...see, it's the little things...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lovebird Valentine Heart Wreath

They only come around once or twice a year....

I always want them to stay...

but...they never do....

 ...the bluebirds...

Are they not the cutest little birds ever??

The first time I saw one I couldn't believe my eyes....It was so blue....so gorgeous.

We don't live in a big meadow, or in a pasture or near a pond...all places I know they like...
but they were in our yard just the same...
The bluebirds were stunning...the brightest blue, with orange tummies...

I ran right out and got a special bluebird feeder...just for bluebirds...who knew there was such a thing??
I picked up dried mealworms...apparently a delicious treat for bluebirds...

I even bought four bluebird houses and had them put up on our backyard fence line...creating a bluebird trail...

It was the making of the finest bluebird sanctuary this side of the Mississippi....

And you'll never guess what happened...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Orange Marmalade Muffins

Did you ever read Paddington Bear books as a child??

I did and I've read them to my own kids too...

The new movie that just came out last Friday...is every bit as

good as I had hoped it would be...

...every bit.


It was sweet and kind and perfectly mannered...just as any movie set in England should be....

It was a fun movie... great for the youngest of movie watchers

(minus a scary-ish earthquake scene at the very start)

and otherwise perfect for children of all ages, even me...
Clever and cute ....a joy to watch.

As an added bonus, there wasn't one scene that made me squirm... no bad language...a plus...

...and nothing that required a long follow-up conversation... hooray!!

...Seriously, the older I get, the more surprised I am about song lyrics and even the regular TV

programming... It's enough to make a grown lady blush...

But anyway...Back to good ol' Paddington...  this super-cute movie and his marmalade...

My children were curious about the orange marmalade that Paddington loves so much...

How good could it be??
For Sunday breakfast I whipped up a batch of orange marmalade muffins...

and in our case...tangerine marmalade muffins.

They were light, sweet and with a hint of orange and almond...

...so perfectly warm and delicious on a chilly morning...

Why, even a bear from darkest Peru would want to gobble them up...

...and if I'm right, you will too...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

MUFFIN TIN Brownie Sundae

I thought ...this... 

....this, is a super fantastic idea.

How could I have never thought of this before??

Was it a stroke of creative genius...??

Or was is merely having the muffin tins on the counter

at the exact time that I was making a batch of brownies??

I don't think science will ever know for sure.... (ha)

But I was so pleased with what I made... and

....I didn't even need any as-seen-on-TV gadgets...to get the job done...

Amazing...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Prize-Winning Carrot Cake: Eating Your Vegetables.

This may not be the perfect time to introduce you... 

...but I'm going to do it anyway.


Please meet the most perfect, 

...best-ever, prize-winning...

Carrot Cake...


THE Best carrot cake ...in the history of world… 

(or at least in the history of my kitchen...which has quite a little history)
Somewhere in the midst of all the January resolutions, 

...the exercises, 

...and heart-smart, healthful promises...

…someone is in need of a very special,
...even better than from a fancy bakery...even... 

...rivaling the best dessert shops anywhere...

 --a from scratch, masterpiece. 

A cake baked with love --kind of cake…
Somewhere, someone must need a birthday cake…. Right??

Did I mention it was a prize-winning cake too??   It is. 

It won the “big one”…   --twice.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mapping It Out


I like old fashioned paper maps....



The big, fold-out sort of maps...



The ones that take up the whole front seat of the car kind of maps.


The "How do I re-fold this map?"   and " Why won't it close up?" kind of map....



Being able to pour over a map and study the forests and lakes... 

to touch the paper...

that's the good stuff...

Paper maps show details a Global Positioning System on a 4 inch screen really can't.... 

I love technology too...don't get me wrong...

Old fashioned paper maps show the relationship between places 

 in a way that smaller electronic maps have trouble depicting.
I want to see where everything is...  

...everything.  

Paper maps do that...they let me see the big picture.

I want to see places that I hadn't heard of before,

...mountain ranges, rivers and towns that my GPS wouldn't even know existed... 

....or might not catch...
I do love my GPS and my Google maps for driving....

but it doesn't always show me the bigger picture.  

It only shows me how to get from here to there; it's a point “A” to point “B” kind of map.  

Perfect for driving to the dentist, not so perfect for a traveler or an explorer.

Aren't you ever curious about all the other places on the map?  

What's out there?

What lies just beyond the little screen... 

....as the computer ticks away the miles of roadway...

I am.  

I am always curious.... 

Curious about the details, the great places I might be missing...

unwittingly...passing by.... 

All the amazing shops, eateries, parks and monuments that aren't listed in my "smart" phone...
There are a million,

--literally a million-- 

different ways to get to any destination....

...especially if time isn't a consideration...

That's the allure of the paper maps for me, 

I want to know where I'm going and at the same time 

I want to see everything that's out there...  

What's on the way?


I'm guilty of taking our family vacations off track ...


Really.


Way off track....



I love traveling to out-of-the-way hamlets along our vacation routes.  

I always try to squeeze in an extra place or two to visit.... 

Give me a map with lots of detail and look out!  ...I'm surely going to find 
somewhere we NEED to stop and explore...



...Just one stop more...."Ooh, Let's stop there!"

That's how we ended up in Texarkana last summer.... 

We were so close anyway, 

So, why not explore just a little further?
Already in Arkansas (top photo)

 and searching for diamonds...

(We didn't strike it rich, but had loads of fun mining/trying)

...So we explored a little further south...I mean really, 

....Who doesn't want to go to Texas in July?? 

How hot could it be??


(P.S. Could someone tell that lady in the top photo, 

"there's no need to wear lip gloss in Arkansas, --in July."   

...the 100 degree weather and 99% humidity 

will melt it off.

...besides, you're mining for diamonds 

in a vast field of rocks and dried up dirt... 

...lip gloss is not required)

And our reward? 



We enjoyed some of the best Tex-Mex cuisine ever; hands-down, the best-ever. 

...and we had the most decadent, delicious mac and cheese dish 

--ever in the history of the whole world.... 

It was that kind of great...  

Definitely, a little bit of a drive from our house to get there, but worth it
...the journey was so worth it. (Ironwood Grill, Texarkana, TX). 

In case you're in the neighborhood sometime...Visit the Ironwood Grill


So this whole map thing brings me to today.


It's January 9.... And today is my one year blogging anniversary.... 

A quiet, but meaningful milestone on my blogging adventure.



Looking back over the last 12 months makes me happy and content with what I have accomplished.... 

I have learned quite a bit...mostly gaining the knowledge that I have so much more to learn....(ha)  


I never knew how much I didn't know... 


Blue Ribbon Kitchen has been and is the perfect outlet for my creative endeavors; 
a way for me to share some of the bits and pieces of our life...

...a way to document and share some of my favorite things as I travel through life... 

Through celebrations, through making our house a home, and through creating 

....through all that really good stuff that fills up our days and nights...


I started blogging with no map...

...and believe me, if there was a beginner's blogging map available...

 I would have had that map folded all the way out...  

Scouring every inch of it...

Searching for the most exciting posts to write and 

seeking out the best routes along the way...



But, like life...




There is no map.



You get to make it up as you go....  

It's only later, when you reflect back on your journey that all of the terrain you covered, the relationships, the adventures

 --they suddenly come into focus.  

All of the getting from point “A” to point “B” has a deeper meaning and you can see how your experiences, choices, and decisions...

built a life...



I'm grateful for the life I'm building with my family; 
that it is full of pit stops, and out of the way places and people. 

It makes life considerably more interesting...

Taking the road less traveled is often a good thing.

Our family travel map was a project I just recently put together. Mapping out our family adventures in a grand visual sort of way, tells the story of "us" as explorers--all the great places we've been together and all the amazing places still out there...just waiting for us to discover them.  

I had the map dry-mounted onto foam board.  The foam board is the perfect backing to allow for pins to be placed as destination markers.
The frame, the very large frame with glass and hardware....set me back a whole five dollars.

Yes.  You read that right... Less than a combo meal...anywhere.  Score!



Thrift stores, they are the very best places to find "stuff", 

sometimes really, really good stuff. 

That is where I find some of the best projects just waiting to be created... 

Thrift stores are where "it's" at...

People throw out some of the best stuff....



Really, they do.



Be the one to think outside the box 
and re-purpose amazing thrift shop finds!

The old fashioned USA map came from a darling shop 
in Columbus, Ohio, On Paper

 The owner was gracious enough to let me snap a few photos of their store during the holidays... 

I fell in love with a window display of vintage envelopes made into a wreath... 

I mean, how cute is this....? 
And how great would this letter wreath be in a study or over a desk??  

On Paper, offers online shopping, so if you would like to make your own travel map...they have more!

...they offer a variety of other gorgeous maps too....

...not to mention a fabulous selection of paper goods, pens, 

handmade cards and fine stationery. Really --a fabulous shop.

 Please visit: On Paper

The stars are brads from Hobby Lobby, found in the scrap booking department.  

I trimmed them down with wire cutters so they were more like small push pins.


  The kids liked pinning all our vacation stops on the map.  

Use a toothpick or a pin to "pre-punch" the holes.  

It just helps the brads to go in a little easier.
If you are curious about how I will add to our travel map... I asked the framer who cut out the matte to leave the back open...no paper.  

It's not fancy...but no one sees the back and then I can easily gain access to the map to add our future pins!
Thanks for reading along....I'm always so happy to have visitors and blog followers....always.  I'm grateful for your feedback and comments...and patience....as you've read....I'm new at this....or at least I still feel new....



Am I still new?  Can I still say I'm a newbie blogger??



Either way, I don't have a map of where I'm going....so look out....  Who knows where we will go and where we might end up?

As this New Year gets underway I hope 2015 is everything you hope it will be and more.  I wish you safe travels on your own adventures wherever they may lead you.... and try to remember that life is all about the journey....not so much about the destination.