Woven Tortillas

Tags

, , , , ,

I don’t know what gave me the idea but I was eating a tortilla one day a couple weeks ago and thought it would be great to make a weaving of colored tortilla strips.  It took a week or so to hunt down colored tortillas. We found the green Spinach Wrap tortillas at Whole Foods and the spicy Habanero Lime tortillas at Trader Joes.

The first Woven Tortilla was made of strips of white and orange tortillas. I cut them with kitchen shears.

Strips of white Mission flour tortilla and orange Habanero Lime tortilla.

Strips of white Mission flour tortilla and orange Habanero Lime tortilla.


The Habanero Lime tortillas were a little smaller than the white Mission tortillas. I ended up using the center section of two Habanero tortillas to get enough strips that were long enough.
2 Woven Tortillas
It was almost as easy as weaving paper strips, but tortillas are more fragile. None broke but I treated them gently.
Spicy Habanero Lime tortillas are woven together with a white flour tortilla.

Spicy Habanero Lime tortillas are woven together with a white flour tortilla.


Brushing the woven tortilla mat with olive oil helped the pieces stick together.
The woven tortilla mat is brushed with olive oil.

The woven tortilla mat is brushed with olive oil.


They still weren’t very stable though so I had to slide the woven piece into the skillet using a big spatula. Once one side was browned on medium heat, I placed another hot skillet over top and flipped it over. That was tricky! The tortilla mat still folded in half and it was a bit of work straightening out the strips.
The woven tortilla mat is lightly toasted on both sides over medium heat in a skillet.

The woven tortilla mat is lightly toasted on both sides over medium heat in a skillet.


Once they were lightly browned, the tortillas were more crisp and held together better. I slid the finished tortilla mat out of the skillet and onto the plate.
Woven Tortillas

Woven Tortillas


Topped with black beans in a taco meat nest, scoops of guacamole and sour cream and a sprinkling of white cheddar, the Woven Tortillas looked and tasted wonderful!
Woven Tortillas, served with taco meat, black beans, guacamole, sour cream and cheddar cheese. Use knife and fork to eat.

Woven Tortillas, served with taco meat, black beans, guacamole, sour cream and cheddar cheese. Use knife and fork to eat.


I tried another method of weaving that stayed together easily. Instead of cutting the white tortilla into strips, I cut slits in it with a knife, then wove strips of colored tortilla through the slits.
Strips of Habanero tortilla are woven through slits in a white flour tortilla.

Strips of Habanero tortilla are woven through slits in a white flour tortilla.


This time, I brushed olive oil on the white flour tortilla before weaving so the oil would help hold the pieces together. That worked great.
Woven Tortillas

Woven Tortillas


Treating the tortillas gently so the one-piece white tortilla didn’t split at the ends, I carefully wove orange Habanero and green Spinach tortilla strips through the slits.
Green and orange tortilla strips are woven through the slits in a white flour tortilla.

Green and orange tortilla strips are woven through the slits in a white flour tortilla.


Woven Tortillas are so fun and festive! Tasty too!

Woven Tortillas are so fun and festive! Tasty too!


These take time so I recommend weaving them ahead of time, wrapping air tight and keeping the woven tortillas in the fridge. Brown them on medium heat right before serving.
Woven Tortillas - great way to add color and flavor to a Tex-Mex meal.

Woven Tortillas – great way to add color and flavor to a Tex-Mex meal.


Lunch was festive and delicious!

I long for the beach

Tags

, , ,

So looking forward to the stunning sunsets at Sunset Beach, NC this fall.

These photos were taken last year.

Sunset Beach NC, 2014

Sunset Beach NC, 2014

Sunset Beach, NC

Sunset Beach, NC

Sunset Beach NC

Sunset Beach NC

It’s a BFN Day! Yay!

Tags

, , , , , ,

You can read more about Baking for Neighbors Day on this post. Today was BFN for the 4th neighbor and I sure enjoyed it!

It has been a long time since I baked for neighbors. I got a bit derailed when we got an anonymous note in the mailbox over a year ago. An anonymous neighbor put a pretty blue envelope in our mailbox. Inside was a cute card with dogs on the front. And inside the card was written “Keep your #$%&* dog out of our yard. We’re tired of it dragging your recycled beer bottles into our yard too. You’ll be glad to know that we’re moving because of you. #*#%@ “… etc.

If that neighbor knew us, they would have known that we’ve never owned a dog. They would know that we don’t drink and we do our own recycling so there are no bins of bottles. If our neighbor knew us, they would have known that I broke my back and was doing a great job of recovering. And they would have known how much I love to bake.

So instead of being discouraged and scared of meeting that anonymous neighbor that hates us, I decided to keep going with Baking for Neighbors. Today I handed the fourth neighbor a loaf of steaming hot, fresh from the oven, Sourdough Grain Bread.

Sourdough Grain Bread

Sourdough Grain Bread

When I handed her the foil-wrapped bundle, she was surprised and delighted. That made me so happy! I guess she’s not the neighbor who put that note in our mailbox.

All wrapped in napkins and foil, tied with string - a big loaf of Sourdough Grain Bread fresh from the oven for neighbor 4.

All wrapped in napkins and foil, tied with string – a big loaf of Sourdough Grain Bread fresh from the oven for neighbor 4.

I’m all encouraged now to keep going with BFN Day! Four neighbors down, 67 to go. ::big smile::

Latte Magnets

Tags

, , , , , ,

“Did you drink anything today?”
“Yes… I think I did… I had a cup of coffee… maybe two…”
“Any water?”
One of my sons is keen on proper water consumption and I really appreciate his healthy diligence.

I keep a Water Counter on the refrigerator. You can check out the tutorial here.

To help curb my coffee intake, I made two Latte Magnets. From now on, it’s two cups of coffee a day max. Coffee is no substitute for water. In fact, caffeine actually dehydrates you and flushes fluid. So for each cup of coffee you drink, drink one or more cups of water to stay hydrated.

The magnets were first coated with gold acrylic paint.

The magnets are painted with gold acrylic paint.

The magnets are painted with gold acrylic paint.


Here you can see the finished magnets, as well as my test painting right on the tray.

For the test, I made a puddle of gold acrylic paint on the paint tray. Immediately after that, while the paint was wet, I used the tip of a toothpick to lightly dab on blobs of white gesso. The gesso was carefully dabbed on top of the wet gold paint, not mixed in. Then I used a toothpick to draw through the gesso and gold paint to make the design. The test worked great so I did the same thing on the magnets and let them dry overnight.

To make the design, I dabbed on two small blobs of white right next to each other for the heart and long thin “smilies” under, for the leaves. It only took one sweep of the toothpick down through the center to make the design.

White gesso is dabbed on a puddle of gold acrylic paint. A toothpick dragged down through the center of the wet paint creates the cute Latte design.

White gesso is dabbed on a puddle of gold acrylic paint. A toothpick dragged down through the center of the wet paint creates the cute Latte design.


Little Latte Magnets.

Little Latte Magnets.


Now when the water counter on the refrigerator just has two cups of coffee in it… that means drink more water!
Plastic wine glass Water Counter on my refrigerator with water, juice/wine and Latte Magnets. Today it's one glass of juice, one cup of coffee and two glasses of water... need more water

Plastic wine glass Water Counter on my refrigerator with water, juice/wine and Latte Magnets. Today it’s one glass of juice, one cup of coffee and two glasses of water… need more water.

Do What is Beautiful

Tags

, , , , ,

Life is complicated and one day a couple months ago I became extra conflicted. I just didn’t know what to do and was almost paralyzed with insecurity and fear. What should I do? I had trouble figuring out what was good, what was right, and how to please everyone. Nothing seemed clear. Even when I found a task that seemed ok, I quit as soon as it seemed fun. Really? Now how dumb is that, to intentionally sabotage something good?

But then a new thought suddenly filled my mind. That day, instead of doing what seemed good or fun… a clear thought came to mind.
“Do what is beautiful.”

I posted it on my refrigerator and said it out loud. “Do what is beautiful.”
1 1 Do What is Beautiful

That day, as I looked through photos I took in Japan last year, I was struck how looking at a tree, really appreciating it, the leaves, the bark, is beautiful.
1 Japan tree Kyoto
2 Japan tree Kyoto
3 Japan tree Kyoto
4 Japan tree Kyoto
5 Japan tree Kyoto
6 Japan tree Tokyo
7 Japan tree Kyoto
8 Japan tree Tokyo

Enjoy the photos slow. Look close. Each pine needle, each curled leaf, each thirsty root.
Do what is beautiful.

I breathed in deep, remembering the smell of pine and forest.

And there, sitting at my computer looking at photos, breathing deep suddenly seemed beautiful.

Everything started to be beautiful!

Washing dishes is beautiful.

Strength is beautiful.

Resting is beautiful.

Sacrifice is beautiful.

Never giving up is beautiful.

The slate from my childhood hangs on my dining room wall. I had not written on it for over a year and it was time for a change. Writing new words on the slate is doing something beautiful.
I started with a pencil sketch.
2 Do What is Beautiful
I sketched out the words to make it all fit.
3 Do What is Beautiful
I erased and edited.

Do something beautiful.

Do something beautiful.


My sketch seemed off and I wasn’t happy with it. It took me a while to figure out that I wanted to do “what is beautiful” not just “something beautiful.” It was such a small change but it made a big difference to me. So I erased again and penciled in Do What is Beautiful.
Do What is Beautiful, the sketch for the chalkboard.

Do What is Beautiful, the sketch for the chalkboard.


The old organizer box still holds chalk bits that I used 45 years ago.

The old organizer box still holds chalk bits that I used 45 years ago.


I picked out a handful of chalk colors to make the drawing.
Colored bits of chalk

Colored bits of chalk


But I ended up using only neutral colors.
8 Do What is Beautiful
I’ve never minded the scritch and scratch of chalk on the board and even enjoy the dust on my fingertips.
Do What is Beautiful, written in chalk.

Do What is Beautiful, written in chalk.


Do you see the tally marks in the lower left corner. Count them… there are
37 tally marks. I made them as I worked on the chalk drawing. Each one of those tally marks is when I erased something on this chalkboard and had to do it over. 37 times I made mistakes or had to straighten a line, or erase or start over. I left the tally marks on the drawing because they represent what is beautiful.

The last part of the message is to Never, Never give up. Never giving up is beautiful.

If you’re at a loss of what to do, do what is beautiful. You will know. And never, never give up.

Do What is Beautiful and Never, Never give up.

Do What is Beautiful and Never, Never give up.

Her Princess doll dress

Tags

, , , ,

She sketched the princess in her sketchbook while I was busy in the kitchen. I didn’t even notice what she was drawing until it was all done.

A Princess, by my seven year old granddaughter.

A Princess, by my seven year old granddaughter.

A couple weeks came and went and she turned seven. For her birthday, my mom and I got her a sewing basket filled with notions. She was thrilled with them!
2a sewing basket
2b sewing basket
My mom also got her a stash of amazing fabric. Oh the color! Oh the sparkles and sheers! She wanted to look at the fabric right then but the other party goers were waiting so we had to move on.

Fat quarters and quarter yards of lovely fabrics.

Fat quarters and quarter yards of lovely fabrics.

She visited again and we got out the sketchbook. For the first time I really looked at her drawing. What a splendid imagination she has! I was amazed at how much her sketch looked like her doll so I told her we would make the princess dress for her doll.

I asked her to explain the picture to me.
“The aqua thing that goes around her back is flat and sticks up. You know, like the things that queens have.” I had no idea.
“The skirt goes like this,” she gestured in the air. I couldn’t understand. I scrunched up fabric and said “With gathers? Like this?”
“No…” she slowly said. “But that’s ok if that’s how you have to make it. It will still be ok,” she said with a tiny sigh of resignation. She had high hopes in my skill but I wasn’t as confident.

We spread out the fabrics that her Great Grandma got her for her 7th birthday. What a surprise to see that so many of the fabrics matched the sketch! It was important that the colors and sheerness match so we dug through my bins of fabric too to find all the pieces.

Matching fabrics to make the Princess doll dress in her sketch.

Matching fabrics to make the Princess doll dress in her sketch.

We discussed the components of the dress and drew preliminary patterns. We planned how the dress would be constructed so the doll could still get it on and off, where to put snaps, which sheer pieces would be sewn together. That was complicated! She didn’t want a skirt and top, it HAD to be a dress.
While I worked out the patterns, she played with her sewing basket.
4 a sewing basket4 b sewing basket
4 c pin cushion
She had to go home but I continued working on the dress. First I made the underskirt from a lovely ruffle fabric. I also drew out the pattern for the throne based on her sketch and Grandpa cut it out and nailed it together.

She couldn't part with her doll and took it home so I had to use my own doll for fittings.

She couldn’t part with her doll and took it home so I had to use my own doll for fittings.

She visited several times while I worked on the dress. It took a while to make because I was baffled by the construction. It would have been easy to stitch on the doll but I was making a garment that would withstand a little girl’s playing, complete with snaps. I wish I had taken photos of the construction. While I worked on the dress, she painted the throne and she told me more about the dress.

Painting the doll throne.

Painting the doll throne.

7 painting the doll throne

“The skirt is pointy on the sides,” she said. “That’s what makes it pretty!”

We finally used up the two old bottles of acrylic paint. That was the very last of the red paint!

We finally used up the two old bottles of acrylic paint. That was the very last of the red paint!

“I love the hearts on the purple part. But that’s ok that they aren’t on my sketch. But I can add them if I want to.”

Now we just have to add the tufted cushions.

Now we just have to add the tufted cushions.

We still have to upholster the throne and make the crown. She picked out the fabric for the throne but I have buy little black buttons so we can properly tuft it. Or perhaps we’ll paint brads black. In the meantime, I finished the dress.
She loves it!

The Princess doll dress is finished!  She loves it! The design and colors are all her own, inspired by the sketch in her sketchbook.

The Princess doll dress is finished! She loves it! The design and colors are all her own, inspired by the sketch in her sketchbook.

The Princess Dress turned out exactly like she envisioned!

There are three separate pieces: The lavender underskirt, the dress with all the sheer layers and stiff aqua collar sewn in the side seams, and the wide burgundy sash.

There are four separate pieces: The lavender underskirt, the dress with bodice and purple and green sheer layers and stiff aqua collar sewn in the side seams, the outer pink lace skirt that snaps in front, and the wide burgundy sash.

I decided to pleat the sheer purple layer instead of gathering. Unknown to me, the little lines she drew on her sketch were pleats! I didn’t understand her explanation of them so she’s thrilled that I figured it out. Yay!

The outer lace layer is fairly stiff and sticks out just like she hoped.

The outer lace layer is fairly stiff and sticks out just like she hoped. Click on the image to see it larger.

The back is just a little puffy, precisely the way she wanted it, and the aqua collar is one piece that is attached at the sides and loose across the back. I stitched wires and horsehair braid in the collar so it keeps shape. To get the dress on, the collar is slipped over the doll’s head. Then the back is closed with three snaps.

Princess doll dress back.

Princess doll dress back.

It was important to match the colors in the sketch. But even more important were the “points on the side, to make it pretty.” To make the “points” on the side, the outer pink lace layer is made of three pieces, seamed at the side. It is lined with netting, with horsehair braid at the hem to keep the edge stiff all the way around.
14 Princess doll dress skirt
After seeing how adorable this dress turned out, using colors and fabrics I never would have thought combine so splendidly, I can’t wait to see what else my granddaughter designs. I love her style!

Princess doll dress

Princess doll dress

Loving her dolly the Christmas I gave it to her.

Loving her dolly the Christmas I gave it to her.

Loving her dolly the Christmas I gave it to her.

And still loving her doll four years later.
17 still loving her doll

Still loving her dolly, four years later.

Still loving her dolly, four years later.

Sneak peek of her doll dress

Tags

, , ,

It’s her own design. She sketched it in her sketchbook one day while I was busy in the kitchen.

The dress is done and now we’re working on the throne and crown.

She drew the design in her sketchbook and I sewed it for her. Complete with the “flat collar piece that goes around the back” and “those lines in the fabric when it goes like this -WWW-” in the skirt, which I learned she intended as pleats.

I’ll post color photos soon.
 

Drink more water!

Tags

, , , ,

That’s what I’m trying to remember these hot summer days. I rarely get thirsty so drinking water is something I have to do intentionally. I’ll get to the end of a day and realize I didn’t drink enough of anything, especially H2O!

To help remember, I made a little drink counter for on my fridge.

Water Counter on my fridge - made from a plastic wine glass cut in half with marble water counters.

Water Counter on my fridge – made from a plastic wine glass cut in half with marble water counters.

I cut one of these plastic wine glasses in half.

I used a craft saw to carefully cut the cup top and base in half.

I used a craft saw to carefully cut the cup top and base in half.

Actually, I wanted a little less than half on my fridge so I cut just a smidge off center. It was easier than I thought using a craft saw. I didn’t rush the process and cut the top of the cup first, then the base to match.
3 Water Counter
Once the top and base were glued together, I used E6000 jewelry glue to attach a strong magnet to the back of the base.

The drink counters are half-marbles from the floral department at Michaels. I recycled old magnets from my fridge by painting them white, including painting over rickrack that was glued around each magnet. The half-marbles were glued on with E6000 jewelry glue.

Half a wine glass on my fridge!  It looks really cute with the marble counters in it.

Half a wine glass on my fridge! It looks really cute with the marble counters in it.

This is the first water counter I’ve ever made that actually works. It’s easy to see that I haven’t been drinking enough throughout the day. And the cup looks cute filling up with marbles.

Wine Glass Refrigerator Water Counter - to remind me to drink more water!

Wine Glass Refrigerator Water Counter – to remind me to drink more water!

What??? There is only one water drop in that cup? And I took all the photos and posted to my blog? Time to drink more water!

Roses peeking in the window!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

I can’t count the number of friends whose lives are really complicated right now. I’m included in that number. So many troubles are weighing heavy on our hearts. But through it all, God is still there and still in charge.

This year, he gave me a little surprise again. Several weeks ago, I noticed New Dawn rose buds in the window!

The New Dawn rose has grown all the way up to my second story kitchen window again.

The New Dawn rose has grown all the way up to my second story kitchen window again.

New Dawn rose buds peek in the kitchen window.

New Dawn rose buds peek in the kitchen window.

3 Rose New Dawn
My kitchen window is on the second floor and I don’t have planters in the windows. The patio isn’t finished, the paint is peeling, lots of things are falling apart.

The patio is still unfinished.

The patio is still unfinished.

Due to disability, I had to let a lot of things go, such as pruning and training the New Dawn rose bush. Just when it was getting to a good age to work with, my spine was collapsing so there were a half dozen years that disappeared.

The New Dawn rose bush is an untrained mess, tangled up with the honeysuckle bush.

The New Dawn rose bush is an untrained mess, tangled up with the honeysuckle bush.

Those were the thorn years. Lots of tangles and brambles.

We have to be careful walking down the stairs because the railing is lined with large, sharp thorns.

We have to be careful walking down the stairs because the railing is lined with large, sharp thorns.

Even then, good things keep growing. Never forget that… GOOD THINGS KEEP GROWING.

Look how far that rose has grown! All the way to the window!

Look how far that rose has grown! All the way to the window!

All the way up to my kitchen window, the rose bush reached.
8 Rose New Dawn
The roses didn’t care that the paint was peeling.
9 Rose New Dawn
10 Rose New Dawn

Does God know where we are? Does he know our dark space? Can he see our need for beauty and goodness?

Does God know where we are? Does he know our dark space? Can he see our need for beauty and goodness?

Yes, God is aware. He knows what we need. And all those little buds lined up in my window to say Good Things Keep Growing.
12 Rose New Dawn buds
The roses are blooming now. But the weight of them is pulling the vine over.
13 Rose New Dawn blooming
I put three nails and a loose wire up to hold the roses up so I can see them from the kitchen again.
14 Rose New Dawn blooming
Roses in the window!
15 Rose New Dawn blooming
And how fitting that the rose is called New Dawn. Even without a window box of nourishing dirt, 20 feet from the ground, never stopping, the roses are peeking in my window to remind me Good Things Keep Growing.

Good things keep growing.

Good things keep growing.

And the Lord shall guide thee continually and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. Is 58:11

There, in the sun

Tags

, , , , ,

“Don’t move!” I told her.

The sun shines through the west window for a short time each late afternoon, hitting a narrow sliver of wall half way between the dining room and living room. Sometimes I move the dining room chair and sit in that small sliver, if only for a short time and let the sun soak into my face, eyes closed.

She was walking from the living room to the dining room and paused just a moment and I happen to look over at that moment and I told her Don’t move because I wanted to capture the sun on her blue hair.  One moment more either way and I would have missed it.

How many moments like that have we missed because we’re too busy walking or talking or cleaning or doing?  The sun follows the same path every day. It isn’t the sun that changes, it is I. I don’t want to miss what the sun lights.

She stopped briefly in the sun, just long enough for me to capture the frame.

She stopped briefly in the sun, just long enough for me to capture the frame.