Archive | November 2009

Tea on Tuesday: November’s End


vintage tea cup

November's Chrysanthemums


This is the last tea for November, and I couldn’t let the month pass by without using my November cup. The set is actually composed of a vintage saucer and newer cup made by Royal Albert,  England. These are from the flowers of the month series. Such a pretty set… and it looks so pretty with the antique glass plate in the background.

Today I have a few guests, Lacey, my Angelic Angel with her very own rose shaped tea-cup, and a dear fairy that was handmade by a lady that I met in the doll club that I had belonged to many years ago. I also included three very cool glass bubble gum pink buttons, I have had these for so long, not sure if I will ever find a project that is perfect enough for them, so they just sit in a jar in the sewing room. The box in the background is covered with artistic paper, lace and lots of ribbon worked flowers, my favorite.

I am sure that all of you are preparing for the three F’s: Family, Friends and the Feast, so I will wish you all a lovely holiday and include a recipe that I make for this time of year. Enjoy, eat as much as you want, and take care my friends, Christen

Prairie Pumpkin Soup


  • 1 can 16 oz. canned pumpkin (without the cinnamon)
  • 16 oz. of chicken stock
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 cup wild rice (or Bony’s rice mixture)
  • 2 links Italian sausage (or how about some leftover turkey)
  • 1 small can of green chilli peppers
  • ¾ cup light cream

Other stuff

  • Butter, Olive oil
  • White flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste; essence of Emeral
  • Cooking Sherry
  • Shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack

Let’s get started:

  1. Put the rice in a pot to cook, (about 45 minutes).

While this is cooking:

  1. In a big pot, knead together 1-tablespoon butter, 1-teaspoon Season of Emeral and 1-tablespoon flour.
  2. Add to the pot: the pumpkin, the chicken stock,  and the chili peppers. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Place the pot on medium heat; do not bring to a boil.

While this is warming.

  1. Cut the onion into small pieces. Sauté the onion in sherry, butter and olive oil, season to taste. Add to the in pot.
  2. Cook the Italian sausage, drain, add to the pot: or add in chopped pieces of cooked turkey
  3. When the rice is done, add this to the pot.  Add ¾ cup of light cream to thicken the soup. Heat until all of the ingredients are warm.
  4. Serve the soup with a sprinkle of cheese on top.

This soup tastes great with spinach quesadillas or perhaps some warm homemade carrot/zucchini bread.

Eat and enjoy!

Friday’s Favorites: Silk Ribbon Embroidery with Ribbon Worked Flowers


scrumptious scraps

Scrumptious Scraps


Friday’s Favorites (and every day for me) are silk ribbon embroidery projects that include ribbon worked flowers and leaves. This type of work incorporates two different techniques, embroidery with silk ribbon and flower or leaves stitched from ribbon. If you are unfamiliar with these techniques it can be confusing to identify one technique over the other.

In the above image I have used both silk ribbon embroidery and ribbon worked flowers made from silk habotai and silk satin ribbons. The base of this particular piece is composed of precious bits and pieces of lace that are stitched to a base of silk fabric. This base was dyed along with a few of the ribbons. Additional ribbons that I used were the Hanah Silk Ribbons. The silk ribbon embroidery was stitched with 2mm, 4mm, 7mm silk ribbon from YLI.


silk ribbon embroidery

Marie's Boudoir Pillow


This is pillow is an example of silk ribbon embroidery. The technique is described by threading the ribbon into a needle (chenille) and stitching through the fabric to create the embroidered designs. All of the stitches were stitched with either silk ribbon from YLI which comes in a variety of sizes (here I used 2mm, 4mm, 7mm, and 13mm);  or silk threads which I used buttonhole twist and stranded floss.


ribbon worked flowers and leaves

Violet Gardens

This brooch is an example of flowers and leaves made from ribbon. These ribbon worked flowers are stitched from different widths of ribbon (1/4″ to 5/8″), in a variety of styles and fiber content. Ribbon work differs from embroidery in the fact that the individually stitched flowers are created by threading a needle with sewing thread, cutting the ribbon the exact length for each flower, then stitching the ribbon to form the flower. Each flower or leaf  then is stitched in place with a needle and thread. These flowers can also be glued onto a project such as a mixed media project like Green Gardens, or stitched onto a ribbon base and made into a necklace or bracelet as in Deco Plumeria and Violas and Peas.


silk ribbon embroidered brooch

Elizabeth's Garden


This is an example of a brooch that is primarily embroidered with silk ribbon, using traditional stitches such as Lazy Daisy, French Knot and Chain Stitch. Stitches that are primarily used in silk ribbon embroidery are the Japanese Ribbon Stitch and the Woven Rose (which are shown in the top center of the brooch along with a few ribbon work flowers). I have also incorporated a rococo trim around the outer edge of the brooch, and a few ribbon worked flowers and leaves at the top outside portion of the brooch.


silk fabric with silk ribbon embroidery

Summer Blossoms Purse


This purse is an example of silk ribbon embroidery on an embroidered silk fabric (in the middle) with silk dupioni fabric on the outer edges. One of the wonderful qualities of silk is that it takes the dye so beautifully, and is very vibrant, yet still feminine. The other lovely thing about silk ribbon is that it is so beautiful even the most basic stitches such as Lazy Daisy, Straight Stitch and French Knots.


silk ribbon worked flowers and leaves

Silk Gardens Purse


This purse appeared in the March/ April 2007 issue of PieceWork Magazine. I wrote an article on silk fabrics, and this piece was included as a project. Here I have used primarily ribbon worked flowers made from Hanah Silk Ribbons with a few silk ribbon embroidered stitches.

If you would like to view a few other projects see my website for Samples of Silk Ribbon Embroidery.

Enjoy what you do, Christen



Tea on Tuesday: Flowers and the Sea

lemon zinger tea

Lemon Zinger and Sunflowers


Good morning, to you I hope that you are enjoying your tea today! I am sipping ” Lemon Zinger”  from this lovely cup of daffodils! I have a real soft spot for the Celestial Seasonings teas, perhaps it is the creative packaging? Or is it that they are earth friendly and conscious of their products? Or perhaps it is that every tea I have tried I like?


Bougainvillea monster


This week we worked a little in the yard, as you can see it was time to cut down this bush a bit, because it was hard to walk around the yard. It is a lovely color though, and one of my favorites. We also have a two magenta and two apricot colored bushes.

yellow rose

last of the yellow roses

This is the last of the roses for this year I think. When we first moved in I wanted to have roses all along the fence, but after reading up on the maintenance we opted for two bushes. These pretty much have to fend for themselves because we are “occasional gardeners”, oh well they don’t seem to mind too much!


light house

Point Loma Light House


We took a drive over to the Point Loma Lighthouse on Sunday, very beautiful day, a little hazy but still lovely. This is actually the newer lighthouse, the older one was under repair and I didn’t want to take a picture of it with all of the scaffolding around it. If you are at all familiar with the movie “Top Gun” you will recognize the houses here as where Tom Skerrit lived. The movie was shot in and around San Diego.

ocean view

ocean view


I will leave you with this peaceful scene, and hope that this vast openness brings you the calm that it always gives me.

Happy Tea Today, join the others over at Kimmie’s!

Cameos and Lace: MMM challenge

cameos and lace

Cameos and Lace

The challenge this week at Mixed Media Monday was “I Am Woman” and to create something feminine.  I think that lace, cameos and Mother of Pearl buttons are very soft and feminine.

The vintage sleeve was found at an antique store, I don’t know who wore it, but she must have looked very lovely if the lace and embroidery on her sleeve are any indication.

I added in cameos because I always thought that they represented the best of a proper ladies jewelry. One set that was a brooch and a pair of earrings that had belonged to my husband’s grandmother; the other pieces are shell and resin that I gathered from here and there.

The lace around the picture was a gift from my husband’s brother’s wife’s mother’s husband (whew!), and there is a lot more where that came from and will be used in many projects to come.

The Mother of Pearl buttons are all vintage; the tiniest of them are whistle buttons, the larger have a pink and green shimmer. The glass flowers add just the right amount of color here picking up some of the rose color of the cameos. The velvet milliner’s leaves are from an old hat and the ribbon flower is of my own design.

Friday’s Favorites: Jewels from the Sea

small shells

Tiny Jewels from the Sea

Friday’s Favorites (a day late) is all about my favorite shells. Growing up in Southern California we visited the many miles and miles of sand, rocks and surf often. We also frequented the tides pools off of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Some of the earliest art and jewelry that I made was from shells.

The collection above are some of the tiniest shells that I have. Below I have added in the ruler with the millimeter edge up so you can see just how tiny they are.

tiny shells sized


When gathering the small shells I have no real favorites, just the size is what draws my attention. I do Love the colors and the variety of shapes.

abalone shells

abalone shells

button shells

button shells

I found all of the larger black abalone shells at the tide pools off the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  The smaller red shells were purchased in a bead store, and these are really tiny as you can see.

The button shells here were all found  on Catalina Island, which is the only place that I have found them except for the very center pinkish one, which I found in San Diego.

It is remarkable to think that these jewels make it safely to the shore intact!

sand dollars

sand dollars

sea urchins

sea urchins

abalone shells

abalone shells

cowrie and button shells

cowrie and button shells

With these photos I have tried to give you an idea of the variety of sizes the shells come in.

Most of the larger shells pictured I have found except for the large abalone shell which I purchased on Catalina Island and the different variety of  sand dollars. I did find the four that are similar in the center of the line-up.

metal leaf full of shells

metal leaf full of shells

This display sits on my dining room table most of the year. I love the subtle colors, and the shapes of the treasures that reside in here.

sea urchin's in a bowl

sea urchin's in a bowl

The sea urchin’s here are for the most part purchased, but the green ones I found here in Southern California.

So what wonderous tiny jewels have you found beach combing? Perhaps you should take a walk along the shore today and enjoy! Christen

Dream What May Come: The Three Muses Challenge


color pencil and ink drawing

Dream What May Come

The Three Muses challenge this week was all about dreams. We all have them, we all have nightmares and we all have trouble at some time or other getting to, staying, and returning to sleep. This is how a night may look in my head.


Enjoy- Christen

Tea on Tuesday Sighs and Spiced Chai

tea on tuesday

Sighs and Chai

Sighs of contentment and lovely Twinings Indian Spiced Chai Tea (Judy’s gift), ahhhhhh. The fall weather (when we have it, it is about 54 degrees out at 7:00 this morning and I wish I had put my slippers on!) always brings on a quiet sigh for me, glad that it is cooler, glad that we had no big fires here, glad that the year is coming to an end with relative ease.


Antiques and Not Antiques

Two weeks ago my DH played hooky from work and we drove up to Julian for the day. We went up during the Apple Days  festival and had a lovely time walking around to our favorite stores and antique malls.

I picked up these items in the antique mall. The silver grinder thingy was cool as was the old jar. They are sitting on my kitchen table.

The old oil lamp is actually new (bummer) I thought it was so antique and old looking.  But then I looked at the wick when I brought it home and noticed that it was new, then I read the top of the lamp and it said “Made in China”. Well….. oh well it is cool anyways.

We did a little yard work this weekend actually that was the “royal we”, I did housework while my guy was mowing and cutting down bushes. He found this really large paper wasp nest that was vacant and took it down for me. I added it to my collection.

paper wasp nest

Paper Wasp Nest

After he was done in the yard, we had a little lunch then drove over to the San Diego Zoo. We just strolled around the park, looking at the exhibits that we like the most.

For me it is the BIG CATS! I love the black panther, the leopard and the fishing cats. He likes the silver back apes, the orangoutangs, and all of those guys. We stopped by the snakes, yuck, but had fun trying to find them hiding in the bushes and rocks of their enclosure. We even stopped by the Komodo Dragon, very cool colors in his armor-like skin. I think that I would like to try and bead an image of him, perhaps when I get some free time….

On our way out we stopped by the gift shop and picked up a few goodies, the little clay pot from Peru was my choice for the day.

Well I hope that you enjoy your day, make it special, it is one of a kind just like you! Join the rest of the ladies over at Kimmies place for a spot of tea and a good chat! Christen

Aubrianna in Fall Fashion: MMM challenge

cloth doll

Aubrianna in Fall Fashion

The challenge this week at Mixed Media Monday was Fashion. I decided to create a doll sporting “Fall Fashion” with pumpkins and acorns adorning her skirt. I added a few of the pumpkins that I made last week, along with other fall items such as the pine cones, pheasant feather and leaves.

Enjoy- Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Tagua Nut Buttons

tagua nut buttons, Bakelite roses

Woodland Roses

Friday’s Favorites is all about “tagua nut buttons”. The vintage buttons on the necklace and bracelet are made almost entirely from tagua nut (the necklace has a few celluloid buttons). I have used mostly natural colored buttons, but a few have a darker brown dye added to the carved ones, some even have a cross-hatch pattern which is quite pretty. I used a variety of buttons on the necklace, two hole, four hole and shank; in designs such as “fish eye” and whistle; where as on the bracelet just shank buttons. The vintage roses on the necklace are carved Bakelite, and the round discs on the bracelet are wood. The necklace is a variation of my “Vintage Bling Bling” pattern, and the bracelet is the “Bohemian Button Bracelet” pattern.

Vegetable Ivory- or Tagua Nut from the Corozo Palm (except from Button Identification and Cleaning)

This nut comes from the Corozo Palm that grows in South America. It is a hard, versatile nut that can be carved and dyed. It has been used since the late 19th century s an alternative to ivory because the striations of the nut resemble those in ivory. It is softer than bone. The dye only absorbs on the surface layer, so the carving is left as the natural color of the nut. The tagua nut was popular from 1890- 1920, but has found resurgence since 1990.

vintage tagua nut buttons

Tagua Nut Buttons

All of these buttons here except for the red button are vintage.

What is amazing about tagua nut buttons is that each vintage one is made, one at a time, hand carved, hand dyed. Pretty remarkable.

The colors are so pretty close-up, rich natural browns; when dyed the colors tended to be greens both dark and light; black (which I ask what is the point because it is hard to see the beauty of the nut); browns from light to dark; and red as seen in the group that is tied together, notice the carving and how it shows the nut underneath. Some tagua nut buttons were inlaid with shell, or metal, some were dyed, carved and another color rubbed into the carving.

For further reading may I suggest “Button Button Identification & Price Guide”.

Enjoy your day, play in the button box if you have time! Christen