Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings that you will enjoy and appreciate. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Sewing Finished!

Like everyone, these past 2 months have been a blur: responsibilities to civic groups, choir rehearsals and performances, cyber shopping for gifts, cooking.....but I finally got around to finishing a gift for my daughter-in-law. A tote bag. She works two different part time jobs and is a very busy lady. So I thought a tote would be nice to carry all her stuff in, not to mention stuff for the kids.

Now this isn't just any old tote. A friend gave me a huge stack of very large Interior Designer fabric samples. Most of them are from VERY exclusive fabric manufacturers...the kind you see advertised in fancy home magazines. They retail at over $200 per yard. I immediately thought of totes, purses, little bags....all sorts of goodies. I used home dec fabric from a fabric chain store that looks like brown suede for the bottom and top, then used some purchased faux leather handles. It's lined in brown satin with a little zippered pocket inside.  Here's a photo of the finished tote bag....
I made a cute little beaded zipper pull for the inside....It's a flower just like the floral tapestry on the front and back of the bag.
The pull has a little lobster claw clasp that I can easily hook onto the zipper pull. Easy to find inside the bag and quick to zip the pocket open or closed!


Friday, November 11, 2016

EGA National Seminar

This has been the year for continuing education for me. I just got back from the Embroiderers Guild of America (EGA) National Seminar which was held in Alexandria, Virginia this year. What a wonderful event attended by so many fellow needle enthusiasts. I was able to take two classes so I experimented outside my usual realm of preferred projects. The one-day class on Wednesday was what I call bead weaving....this was a beautiful beaded necklace using Nymo thread, needle and various seed beads and Czech fire polish beads.

It took a while for me to get my "sea legs" (or should I say "bead legs"). Getting started was the hardest, but once started correctly, it's the same stitch (herringbone in this case) going around and around. Repetition pretty much. Easy to do in front of TV as long as the cat doesn't want to be in my lap......

The teacher was Linda Chirby of Chirby Designs. Here she is working with a fellow student.

The class was called "Colors of Abalone Necklace". So pretty with colors of black, opalescent turquoise, green/turquoise...love the colors!

I've gotten this far on it with  more to go. I think I have the hang of it. Now all I have to do is find time to finish it!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fantastic, Easy "Keeper" Beef Stew Recipe

Every now and then I come across a "keeper" recipe. One that immediately gets marked up, cut out and added to my "keeper" file to be used over and over again. This recipe, originally titled "Continental Beef" is in from the cookbook Don't Panic...Dinner's in the Freezer, by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell and Bonnie Garcia, that I was introduced to on one of my teaching engagements. It, and other cookbooks that followed under the title, are cookbooks made for busy folks who use the cookbook to make really good food in quantity and freeze it for later use. Using the authors' many hints and suggestions you're basically making your own nutritious convenience foods but making them without chemicals, sodium, etc., found in grocery store convenience foods. I like that idea...a lot. It's so helpful on a really busy day when I have deadlines to just pull something from the freezer, defrost it and throw it in the oven or slow cooker!

I fiddle with recipes so I changed the Continental Beef one by adding some goodies and cutting back on others, so here is my rendition of the it, re-named Keeper Beef Stew. You can cook it in a cast iron Dutch oven, or, brown the meat, onions and mushrooms, then dump it all in the slow cooker and let it simmer for 8-10 hours. Or, if you're REALLY ambitious, prepare two of the dishes (brown the meat, etc.) and put the second recipe in a freezer bag and freeze. Bring the bag out and defrost in the frig, dump into the slow cooker on the day you want to have it and let it cook away.
But I guarantee your mouth will be watering all day as you smell the incredible aroma as it cooks!  So......good....over brown rice or noodles! The gravy is rich, and flavorful with the slow-cooked beef and vegetables. The onion melts into the juices and the beef just falls apart. Great on a cold winter evening with some rice or noodles, a salad and a glass of red wine!
Keeper Beef Stew

4-6 T butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 4-ounce cans mushrooms, drained (or 1 pound mushrooms, sliced)
4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" to 3/4" pieces
2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or, 2 cloves garlic, minced

Putting it all together:
1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven. Add mushrooms and onions; brown lightly and remove from pan and set aside.

2. Add 2 tablespoons more butter to same pot and add enough of the meat to just cover pan bottom; brown meat on all sides. Repeat with any remaining meat, adding more butter if necessary.
 
3. Dump meat, mushrooms and onions back into pan and add rest of ingredients; stir.
(At this point if you want to freeze it, cool first and then place into freezer bag and put into freezer.)

4. Cover and cook for about 2 1/2 hours in Dutch oven, or until the meat is very tender, stirring occasionally OR- dump it all into the crock pot and cook for 8-10 hours on low. Just make sure to get all of the good little browned bits out of the Dutch oven when you put it into the slow cooker! Doesn't this look yummy in the Dutch oven?

It tastes even better over rice with a glass of wine!