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!

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!


Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Best Needles

Every now and then I run across a really fantastic stitching notion. I found Tulip Needles when I was taking the Royal School of Needlework classes this past spring in Williamsburg, VA. I had never seen them before and just the packaging alone is beautiful and fascinating.
Look at the little red cord on the end...it holds a little paper seal with a red tulip printed on it. The shape of the package is unusual. And best of all, inside is a little plastic tube with a tiny cork that holds the needles. It's like opening a jewelry box and finding an incredible surprise inside!
The needles are made in Hiroshima, Japan. Each needle goes through 30 processes to make sure they are safe, glide through the fabric effortlessly and are of the highest quality available.
These are perfect for delicate needlework, beading, needle weaving, smocking...anywhere a fine needle is required. They come in several types: Tapestry, Milliners, Quilting Embroidery, Applique and more. I've been able to stock a few on my website at the bottom of the Notions page. Please check them out!