Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Morning Writing Prompt, December 27

It's two days after Christmas and I've already cleaned out a closet. I usually wait until after the New Year to start my "resolution of organization," but I needed a place to put the Christmas wrapping, ribbons, gift bags, and party supplies that I purchased on clearance at yesterday's after-Christmas sale. There is something about purging and reorganizing that kicks my brain into gear (which usually leads to more purging and reorganization). The closet that has caused me to open its door with trepidation is now a functioning part of my house. The next room I plan to tackle is my office. It's overflowing with books, papers, unfinished projects, and clipped magazine and newspaper articles. For weeks I've been finding other places to take my laptop and work because my office seems to be taunting and strangling me with its clutter.

So here is today's writing prompt:

Describe a room in your home that makes you feel peaceful and creative. What is it about the room that inspires you? What are you creating within that room?

If you don't have a room like that, you should. So think about that for a New Year's resolution. Can you find a place in your home that you can make your own, and then use it to create something beautiful?

If you are looking for inspiration to clear the clutter out of your life, the Simple Mom blog is a great place to land for a while. There are many posts that are also applicable to those who don't have young children (or any children). Happy writing (and organizing)!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Morning Writing Prompt, December 20

My network is down, so I'm sending this blog post from my IPad. What a way to start a week, right? This time last year, I wouldn't have had this option (no birthday IPad yet), which causes me to think about the giant leaps forward our lives have been forced to take because of technology. Is it a good thing, or not so good? I'm heavily dependent on my Macbook, IPad, IPhone, IPod and Internet connection. In fact, as soon as I finish this post, I'm calling Cox to get my connection back up. Since I'm working from home today, it's vital that I have all my technology in working order.

Which leads me to today's writing prompt:
Go back in time before cell phones, laptops, and the other somewhat frivolous items (IPads, IPods, e-readers). Write about a day in the life of your technological "dark ages."

Now this, I would love to read! Even if you only have a cell phone, your life had to be different when you were reduced to depending on your land line. How did you keep up with teenagers before cell phones? What was an evening like without checking email and the Internet constantly on your laptop? Life without Facebook? I'd love to hear about it. Share your writing with us:

I hope you're keeping a notebook of your writing. I still love using a blank journal for jotting down ideas, thoughts, memories, moments. I discovered these journals several years ago (sometimes they carry them at Barnes and Noble). Check out Jill Bliss journals

Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Two Recipes for the Holidays

Okay, we all know that the holiday season is a tough time to attempt healthy eating. What we love about the season are the desserts and the snacks, right? So here are two recipes that are delicious and healthy, and won't make you feel like you're being cheated during the holidays. And, if you have any recipes to share back with us in your comments, please do! We'd love to collect more recipes that won't make us feel like we're carrying around a "Santa" look as we start the New Year.

This recipe is a variation of traditional hummus, and goes great with pita bread, pita chips, or if you're feeling really healthy, baby carrots.

Black Bean Hummus:
1 cup black beans
1 cup chickpeas
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. water
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 1/2 salt and pepper to taste
Place black beans, chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt, water, and garlic in food processor. Season with curry powder, salt, and pepper. Cover and blend until smooth.

This recipe calls for fresh blueberries but in some areas they may be hard to find, so you can use frozen blueberries. Thaw them out completely first.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Blueberry Cake
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 egg
1 cup Cool Whip
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In blender combine water, blueberries, and egg. Cover and blend until smooth. Add to flour mixture. Whisk until well combined. Pour into greased 8x8 pan. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack and then invert onto serving plate. In small mircrowave bowl, combine Cool Whip and chocolate pieces. Cook 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Let stand 5 minutes and then pour onto cooled cake, spreading evenly. Cut cake into squares to bake, and top with fresh blueberries.

If you love healthy but decadent recipes, you'll love Maebird's blog. We love the photography AND the recipes. Happy eating!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Morning Writing Prompt, December 13

Describe the oldest photograph you own (is it torn, yellowed, faded?). Now, step back in time and write about what was happening in the lives of the people in the photo at the time it was taken.

Happy Monday, and Happy Writing!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Morning Writing Prompt and Book Giveaway Winners

Congratulations Jennifer and Georgie, winners of the book "Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit" book!!! Thanks for commenting. It's no fun to have a one-sided conversation. We love it when you read the posts and then talk back to us, so keep it up!
We really like this giveaway thing and we're planning on doing it again. Stay tuned to the blog for more chances to win books and other fun stuff.

We loved reading the comments about your favorite piece of clothing, so we're incorporating that into today's Monday Morning Writing Prompt:

Describe and tell about one piece of clothing you remember from your high school years. Why was it your favorite? Would you wear it today?

We really would love to read these, so send us what you've written:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit!

I love this skirt!! Here is my problem: This skirt is a perfect fit, but I only have one. I would like to have about two or three more that fit me like this one. Do you have this problem? Do you love to sew your own clothes but find it difficult to make commercial patterns fit? Has your favorite blouse seen better days but is no longer available in stores? Would you like to update your most flattering skirt by remaking it in a new fabric or adding new details? If so, you can find the solutions in your own closet - by creating customized sewing patterns using garments you already own and love to wear. "Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit" shows you step-by-step how to do it.

Steffani Lincecum is a theater costume designer who has worked on television and move sets in Hollywood and used her skills and talents to create beautiful clothing. In the book, she demonstrates the rub-off, a method of pattern drafting used by fashion and costume industry professionals that traces an existing garment or accessory without deconstructing or damaging it. You will be able to refresh your favorite fashions and replenish your whole wardrobe with brand-new looks. Amazing! The book is beautiful, user-friendly, and accessible to anyone - even those of us who have a limited knowledge of basic sewing skills. She has a great story, too. We're giving away two copies of the book to two of our readers who post a comment.

My favorite skirt fits me great without puffing out around my hips. It's not too short or too long. And yes, I wish I had about three more made just like it. So I bought the book!!

So do you have a favorite piece of clothing? What is it and why is it special to you? Post a comment for a chance to win "Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit"!