Thursday, October 30, 2014

Yarn Embroidery on Burlap

I enjoy doing a wide variety of hand crafts. Embroidery is one of them. I had an old stool that I wanted to fix up for our part-time condo living room. Here's what I did.

After the wood was stripped, sanded, stained and finished with urethane, I started on the seat cover. I chose burlap for the backing because it's easy to count the threads to keep a pattern uniform. One disadvantage of burlap is that it wears through fairly quickly. If your stool is going to get lots of use, a firmer material would be better.

I cut a piece of burlap large enough to cover my stool's top with enough extra to turn under during the upholstery process and a little extra in case the loosely woven material unraveled. You can always trim it to size later.

I drew my border design on the burlap lightly with pencil. Working from the outside in, I first created the frame for my picture. I then drew my central picture on newspaper and transferred it to the burlap, again using light pencil marks. I chose my float cabin and garden for my design.

If you are looking for a good resource on embroidery, go to Sharon b's Dictionary of Stitches for Hand Embroidery and Needlework. It's has both photographs and descriptions of numerous stitches.

Here's the pattern I used for my border. You can use it and then customize the central picture to match your life and interests, or just keep working in geometric shapes. Don't have a stool? The same method can be used for pillow covers.

Fortunately, the stool's padded plywood seat was still in useable condition. When the cover was done, I used upholstery tacks to secure it to the plywood bottom.

So, if you are looking for a simple way to create a unique focal point in your home, try yarn embroidery on burlap.

Head on over to A Peak into My Paradise for the Happiness is Homemade Link Party to see more recipes, crafts and DIY projects. -- Margy

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mommy's Magic Meatloaf

Here's another recipe from Mom's favourites file. She was an elementary school teacher and put in long hours both at school and at home preparing for class.

Mom would cook on weekends and freeze meals so that weekday dinners would be healthy but simple. One of her classic dishes I call Mommy's Magic Meatloaf. Here's Mom making a batch when she lived in Bellingham to be near me.

Mommy's Magic Meatloaf
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 1 cup crumbled bread
• 1/2 cup ketchup

Leave several slices of bread out to get dry. Crumble them into small pieces in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Finely chop a small onion and mix with the bread. Add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning and mix well. Beat one egg with 1/2 cup milk. Pour over the bread to moisten.

Add the hamburger to the bowl and mix well. This is the "magic" part. It's the loving touch of Mom's hands that makes it taste so good. Now my hands have to take on that important role.

Place the meatloaf mixture in a baking dish and form it into a loaf. Leave a small space between the side of the meatloaf and the edge of the dish for juices to collect during cooking.

Cover with a liberal amount of ketchup and bake at 350 degrees for about one hour. Let the meatloaf cool for about five minutes before cutting. Serve with mashed potatoes and peas and for a comfort meal just like mommy used to make.

What are some of the foods your Mom made that seemed like magic? -- Margy

Friday, October 17, 2014

Siletz Bay Airport, Gleneden Beach OR

Wayne and I fly our Piper Arrow 997 along the West Coast several times a year. In summer, the cooler weather reduces turbulence. When the Oregon coast isn't covered in fog, our favourite stop is the Siletz Bay Airport (S45 ) at Gleneden Beach, Oregon.

Even when we camp at the airport, we love to eat out. There are two excellent restaurants within walking distance.

One is at the Salishan resort. Our favorite, however, is the Side Door Café at Eden Hall. Take the airport access road and cross Highway 101 (carefully). You will find a partially hidden trail with steps leading to Gleneden Beach Loop Road. Turn left (south) and the restaurant is on the other side of the road. They are closed on Tuesdays and you may want to call before flying there for dinner during the winter months.

There are many interesting things within walking distance of the airport. You can take the Gleneden Beach Loop and walk past beautiful beachfront homes. Just north of the Salishan Resort is Siletz Bay. It's a bird-watcher’s paradise. For easy walking access to the beach, take Highway 101 south to Wesler Street and head west to the Gleneden Beach State Recreation Site.

If you fly or drive and prefer a hotel, the Salishan Spa and Golf Resort has excellent accommodations. The golf course and location make it a good travel destination any time of year. For fly-in guests, it's just a short walk north along Highway 101.

Whether you are looking for dinner or an overnight destination, try Siletz Bay State Airport at Gleneden Beach. can read more about our flying adventures at Siletz Bay and Gleneden Beach in two of Wayne's books. Up the Airway includes stories about flying along the West Coast and throughout Canada. Flying the Pacific Northwest features flying destinations in Oregon and Washing. Both books are written for pilots and non-pilots alike.  For more information go to

Friday, October 10, 2014

Butternut Squash with Arugula in Browned Butter

When we travel to Oregon State University in Corvallis, we like to stay across the street at the Hilton Garden Inn. For dinner one night, we had a very tasty vegetable side dish with squash and arugula. I found a similar recipe online at Simply Recipes but added a few items to make it more like what I had in Corvallis.

Butternut Squash with Arugula in Browned Butter
1 onion
5 cloves garlic
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 butternut squash
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
2 cups arugula
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
salt and pepper to taste
Go to the Simply Recipes site for excellent directions with pictures on how to brown butter.

Heat a large skillet on medium then add two tablespoons of butter. Whisk frequently as the milk solids in the butter turn to a light brown and get a nutty aroma. Do not burn! Remove from heat and add julienne strips of onion. Return to medium heat and cook until lightly caramelized. Remove the onions from the skillet leaving any residual butter to slowly cook the sliced garlic.

From here you can continue the cooking process or hold the onions and garlic until later like I did to make the final assembly for dinner easier. Remove the seeds, peel and dice the butternut squash into 1/2 inch pieces. Put the three remaining tablespoons of butter in a clean skillet to brown. Remove from heat and add thyme.

Return to medium heat and add the diced squash. Toss to coat with butter and thyme then spread out in a single layer. Cook without stirring until browned on one side. Stir and spread out again to brown on another side.

Return onions and garlic to the pan, cover and cook on low for 10 to 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Just before serving, add arugula and hazelnuts and season to taste with Worcester sauce, salt and pepper. Cook just long enough to wilt the arugula.

Serve and enjoy. It wasn't as saucy as the restaurant version, but was really tasty. -- Margy

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mom's Special Lime Jello Salad

For the last two and a half years of her life, I lived with Mom in Bellingham. That way she was able to stay in her own home, which was wonderful for her and me.

I did most of the cooking, but Mom helped with some of her favourite recipes. It gave her a chance to stay active, in her normal routine, and feel more independent.

Mom's been gone over a year now, but every time I fix her favourite foods I remember all the wonderful things she did for me. That makes them real comfort foods.

Mom liked to make a simple Lime Jello Salad that kept well in the refrigerator, and was a refreshing addition to her lunches and dinners. I especially liked it because it was quick and easy to prepare and serve.

Mom's Special Lime Jello Salad
1 small package of lime jello
1 cup hot water
1/2 of a 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple
1 large red apple
15-20 red seedless grapes
2 large stalks celery
Dissolve jello in hot water in an 8X13 glass baking dish. Stir in the half can of crushed pineapple (freeze the rest for another batch).

Let the jello cool while you prepare the other ingredients. Cut the grapes in half. Give the celery a fine chop.

When the jello is cool, add the grapes and celery.

Cut the apples into small pieces immediately before putting them in the jello and make sure they are coated with the mixture. This will prevent discolouration and help the salad last longer.

Cover with plastic wrap. Pat it down to touch the surface of the jello. This will also help it to keep longer in the refrigerator, usually up to a week.

If you are looking for a tasty salad to take to a holiday potluck, this one easily fits the bill. For a quick and easy side salad at supper, just shred some lettuce, place the jello on top, add a dollop of mayonnaise and shake a little paprika over the top. Yum!

Do you have any favourite jello recipes? I'd love to hear about them.

Hop on over to the Homestead Blog Hop at Idlewild Alaska and see some great ideas for homestead and simple living. more ideas? Try Nancy's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop. -- Margy

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Welcome to the new Powell River Books Blog spinoff. At Margy Meanders, you'll find posts about cooking, crafts, travel and more. You will still find posts about off-the-grid living at the main Powell River Books Blog and posts about backcountry exploration at Powell River Quad Rides. -- Margy