Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Closest I Come to Resolutions

We survived Christmas! Thanks to all who helped make this holiday season a fabulous one for Gretchen's Creations! I will be posting new items again soon in my Etsy store so check in every once and awhile if you get a chance.
2010 is stacking up to be one amazing year for my family and I. I am not a big one for New Year's resolutions but I am looking forward to a lot of big changes and learning lots of new and exciting things. My son turns 5 this spring and heads to Kindergarten in the fall, I will be returning to the garden in just a couple of months (winter permitting) and I am starting to mull the idea around of playing my folk music live again. It has been over 4 years now since I have set foot on a stage with my guitar! Here is my myspace music page if you want to hear the 1 song I have floating around in the ether. I did find a picture of me playing at Adam's Mountain Cafe for your viewing pleasure. I was a new mommy when this was taken. You can see how big my little guy has gotten.

I will also be able to post more in the next couple of months on hikes and snowshoeing expeditions, gardening articles and information and overall fun. Thanks so much for a great year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There is Still Time!

Just an update: there is still time to buy items from my Etsy Shop and get them by Christmas! The shipping deadlines for USPS for both 1st class and Priority Mail are Dec 21st which is next Monday. And with that note I want to share my newest Acorn Bowl with you:

Thanks for Looking!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Extraordinary Ingredients!

I don't often have blog posts like this, but I am a huge proponent of supporting local businesses and I really want to get the word out about a fabulous new local shop here in Colorado Springs! Extraordinary Ingredients Gourmet Pantry is located at 612 N. Tejon Street (just North of Panino's). The store is warm and inviting and the selection of high quality spices, salts, chiles and dried herbs is fabulous. I was especially impressed by the wide selection of rices and beans to choose from. I bought some Green Bamboo rice (mostly for Seamus because his favorite color is green and he loves rice) and Chana Dal (on recommendation of the purveyor Kerri) and last night the Dal Bhat I made from them WAS truly extraordinary! The Chana Dal was incredibly buttery and had flavors that the Dal I usually make with red lentils has never had and I kept sneaking bites of the rice before the Dal was done.
What most amazes me is that for the high quality of her ingredients her prices are fabulous. I will be back there soon to stock up on herbs and spices now that I have gone through my kitchen and taken stock of what I need. So I highly recommend this great new local shop. Stop by and check it out. Have a chat with the knowledgeable Kerri purveyor of deliciousness: she obviously has a passion for cooking and is excited to share it. I can honestly say that I left Extraordinary Ingredients excited about the culinary possibilities open to me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Listings

I have not been posting about my listings in my Etsy store but believe you me I have been updating quite a bit and trying to make not only holiday styles available but also some of my favorites. There are still lots of wonderful items available and there is still a week left for custom orders to be made and delivered by Christmas (U.S. only). Here are a couple of new items but be sure and drop by often to see what is new and don't forget a free ring sized bowl comes with every purchase of $30 or more!

I also just found out that my Christmas Rose Bowl is included in a pretty Etsy treasury called Yes It Is stop by and check it out before it expires~ As Always, thanks for looking!

Hi and So Sorry For Not Being Around!

I had such big intentions. My Birthday was Saturday November 28th. It might have well been one of the best Birthdays I have had in awhile. Matt found a great hike off of Gold Camp Road we climbed Mt. Conejos and then dropped down into Jones Park and came out on the 7 Bridges trail (which was a skating rink) It was gorgeous and clear, a little breezy and cool but we didn't need our snowshoes for this one. We saw bear tracks - luckily at least a day old and I will try and get those pics from Matt to share. Afterward we went to Bristol Brewing for a couple of delicious local Birthday Pints. The icing on the cake was the Micah Schnabel ( of 2 Cow Garage fame) solo show at The Triple Nickel Tavern that evening. In all of the pictures I have seen of me from that night I am wearing a silly grin from ear to ear and although I cringe at how unattractive those pictures are, I remind myself that I had a wonderful time with wonderful friends and super music~ I was able to give myself a pat on the back as well for only drinking 2 beers and NOT waking up with a hang over. I also want to thank Jimmy again for being super rad and giving us the biggest birthday gift of all by driving~
I have hit the big 32 my hair is turning silver and I am starting to complain about "kids these days" :-) Life is good! Thanks to everyone for helping to make my 31st year a great one and I am looking forward to the one to come.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

First Snowshoeing Excursion of the Winter

So... my birthday is next weekend. No biggie except that I asked my hubby for some warm winter hiking boots that would cause me to be excited at the prospect of, well, Winter hiking. Last night he took me to REI and I found the most amazing and comfortable Keen boots. This means we HAD to go snowshoeing today. The Crags on the backside of Pikes Peak seemed a logical spot to still have snow and we were definitely not disappointed. We also got to help a nice couple dig out their jeep that had gotten stuck. We are both pretty tired and sore from it but it was a fabulous pay-it-forward moment and we sure weren't going to leave them there to dig out by themselves.
It was a good reminder to us though to make sure and be prepared when we head to the high country this winter! We are investing in a tow strap and packing the chains and a shovel next time.
Tomorrow I am back to posting about new items on Etsy. I hope everyone had a marvelous weekend!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Red Bowls Red Bowls

I learned to crochet finally! I won't agree quite yet that it is speedier than knitting since knitting is old hat for me but I do enjoy the different movement and the neat texture I seem to be getting from it. So here for your viewing enjoyment are the two newest additions to my Etsy store. The first is a crocheted tray with a group of needle-felted Anemone flowers in the bottom. This tray is incredibly sturdy and has a basket-like texture to it. The second is one of my signature Skeleton Key Pocket Bowls - I found a picture of this strange key with 2 small holes and couldn't resist replicating it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gardening Perspective and Gratitude

Here I sit looking out my window on a nice sunny day with some crusty snow still on the ground, Thanksgiving around the corner, my 31st year coming to a close, Christmas next in line. My garden has been put to bed for winter. I planted my garlic a week ago before the last snow storm rolled through. I have a few more bulbs to plant (thanks Barb!) but if the ground will allow me to do so remains to be seen. I already have started perusing seed catalogs and drooling over descriptions of buttery potatoes, sweet crisp snap peas and delicious young spinach. Why am I bringing all of this up? Partly because I have more time on my hands all of the sudden that I have the luxury to do so but mostly because I just got off the phone with my dear friend Erin. Erin has been gardening and working on small farms in the Durango, CO area for years bur she grew up in Corpus Cristi, TX and is currently there for the holidays. We got to talking about gardening and she told me all about the new garden she is putting in for her dad right now. She just planted a Plumeria and Christmas Palms! As a Colorado native it is so hard for me to imagine a climate that allows for such tropical goodness or how to even keep such things alive. I am pretty sure I had a Christmas palm as a houseplant at one time... needless to say I don't have it now.
These are different challenges beyond my comprehension. So right now I am contemplating these differences and trying to decide if I would like to work hard as a gardener all year long or if I am blessed to have the winter to work on knitting, resting my bones and dreaming about green beans eaten straight from the garden while sitting with good friends on the patio in the golden glow of the sunset. I am so grateful for these moments and for good friends like Erin that I get to share them with occasionally.

Cheers All!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Christmas Holiday Bowls

I listed both of these fun little bowls in my Etsy store today:

If anyone has an idea of holiday themes you would like to see me needle-felt, please drop me a line! I am always up for suggestions.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holly Bowl

I am working on some fun holiday themed bowls, trivets and trays that aren't so in-your-face Christmas. Don't get me wrong! I love kelly green and bright red...just in moderation. So here is the first installment: my Holly Bowl.

I have also re-listed my pinecone tray. This is one of my favorite designs and one I am quite proud of since it has so much detail and texture.

As always, Thanks for Looking!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Custom Bronco Beer Cozies

The bottle cozy is a custom order for a die hard Bronco's Fan and fabulous musician. The can cozy is up for grabs. I will probably list it soon, but if you are interested please drop me a line Also if you would like to order one (or a set), they make a great gift! I can knit them up in almost any color combo and I do make them for tall boys which is the perfect candidate for beer clothes!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Moment

Today we hiked 8 miles. My dear husband took some pictures for me. That is Colorado Springs in the background~ Both of us at one point today said "I love where we live!"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Fun

I had to share this! This is not your average box of Frosted Flakes but a BIG recreation fit to wear for Halloween! Max, my friend Jimmy's 11 year old son, decided he wanted to be Frosted Flakes for Halloween so Jimmy found this terrific computer server box from work (measures about 3' x 2'), spray painted it blue, cut holes, reinforced it and padded the inside for Max's shoulders. He then spent hours tracing out the entire design with an overhead projector. It took us about 2 hours to paint with tempera (the boys did help a little bit) and then when it dried, Jimmy went back in and did all the black with a Sharpie. Isn't it amazing? Isn't he a super dad? Let's hope we have a dry Halloween!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blog Feature!

That's right I have been honored with a blog feature over at Autumn2May! Please go over and check it out and comment if you feel so inclined~

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall Freeze and Fall Listings~

I didn't get out this weekend to get pictures of everything coated in ice, but Amanda who runs 2 fabulous shops Eenie Beanie Threads and Botanic Beauty took these wonderful photos and has allowed me to share them with you!

And I have 2 new listings up today in my Etsy store~ Happy Autumn to all!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Green Chile

I was first turned onto the magic that is Green Chile when I lived in Durango, CO. Being so close to New Mexico it was hard not to be! I don't eat much pork though so I went looking for a recipe that I could either make sans meat or with Chicken. Over the years I have taken a few recipes and modified them into one that is flexible and can be made however you would like. A friend of ours used it to make traditional Pork Green Chile last week that was divine and I made it with chicken last night. At the request of Amy over at BeanPickleSprout I am posting my recipe. Think of it more as a guide though! Feel free to modify it to your tastes and heat tolerance. I used Big Jim Chile I bought at the farmer' s market last week grown and roasted at Hanagan Farms in La Junta, CO. I go back to them over and over again not only for their delicious produce but also because they are some of the nicest people you will ever meet!
Did I mention my sadness that the weather has turned to temperatures in the teens and everything being coated in ice around here? Usually we talk about it snowing by or more likely on Halloween, but not this year!
To bring this full circle, when the weather turns cold or people around me are sniffling I turn to making Green Chile: Full of vitamin C and depending on your tastes it can be full of garlic too!
It tastes fabulous with Buttermilk Cornbread and a dollop of sour cream~
Enjoy and let me know if you try it out!

Gretchen’s Green Chile

1 Onion chopped
3-4 Garlic cloves chopped ( I use more)
1 Tbs. oil
6 C. stock or bullion – I use Vegetable Better Than Bullion .
12 Roasted, peeled and chopped green chile (adjust according to heat of chiles this goes for seeds too!) Also use fresh chile when you can - It just tastes better!
2+1 Tbs. flour or cornstarch
Salt and Pepper to taste
2-3 potatoes peeled and diced
1-2 Tomatoes chopped OR 1 can diced tomatoes
herbs cilantro,cumin,oregano - whatever tickles your fancy OR whatever you have on hand
Chicken or Pork*

*If I add chicken I either bake it beforehand then shred or chop it when it has cooled. Or I sauté it up with the garlic and onion.

1. Sauté onion and garlic in oil over med low heat until onion is tender and translucent.
2. Add chile and stock. This is also when you will add any veggies or herbs of your choosing and also meat if you have precooked it separately.
3. Dissolve 2 Tbs. of the flour or cornstarch in a cup of hot water and add to the pot stirring to prevent lumps.
4. Simmer for 20 minutes then repeat the flour treatment except this time only 1 Tbs. flour
5. Simmer for another 30 minutes or so.

I like to make extra and freeze portions for later. You can either eat it as a soup with a dollop of sour cream and cornbread, use it in place of red sauce for enchiladas, smother burritos or eggs with it. It is so delicious and all the vitamin C in Green Chile will cure what ails you.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pumpkin Anyone

This is the first of my pumpkin seed bowls... or maybe I should say that I would love some opinions on this concept to help me decide if I should do a series of these or something else with the pile of orange bowls I just felted (see yesterday's post). My high school English teacher would shake her head if she saw that last sentence!
Anyway, PLEASE COMMENT: I might do a surprise giveaway if I hear from enough of you!
This one is a a small thank-you gift for a wonderful friend of mine.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Resolution, Bowls Before and After and New Listings

I am singing the praises of my credit union this evening as I marvel at the ease with which I was able to file my dispute and how quickly the money has been returned to our account! For once things went smoothly and easily.

Now on to blogging about my craft!! That is right, I know it has been a LONG TIME but I am finally getting back into my groove with my felted goods so I have a few things to share with you today! Here for your viewing pleasure are before and after pictures of the bowls and trays I felted (fulled) yesterday:

I am in love with all of them in their fall glory~

And I have listed several new items today as well:

It Was Only a Matter of Time

I feel the need to blog about this because for the longest time I have felt so lucky to not be affected. On Saturday I received a phone call from my credit union that fraudulent charges had been made on my debit card at a Walgreens in Lincoln, Nebraska. They called me because I had bought gas here in Colorado at darn near the same time and being the great credit union they are alerted me at once and froze my card and I thought those purchases. Unfortunately they have posted to our account so even though I know everything will be fine I have not slept much for the last 2 nights twiddling my thumbs until I can call this morning. Why do these things always happen when bills are due? I know times are tough, but... Thank you to all those out there who live honestly.

"Every act of dishonesty has at least two victims: the one we think of as the victim, and the perpetrator as well. Each little dishonesty makes another little rotten spot somewhere in the perpetrator's psyche."
Lesley Conger

Monday, September 21, 2009

What day is Today?

The last day of summer! and right now it is 40 degrees out and alternating between rain and SNOW!! That's right snow. This summer has been amazing for it's bizarrely cool weather and now here we are with snow before October even rolls around. It is supposed to dip down below freezing for the next 3 nights so I was out in the garden in a wool hat, jacket and gloves trying to harvest what I can of my tomatoes, green beans, kale, chard, broccoli, basil, dill... I know i am forgetting someone. I covered the 3 gorgeous volunteer tomatoes that are growing in my pumpkin patch in hopes that they can survive another week and ripen up the beautiful fruit they are producing. I also dragged pots into the garage... my neighbors once again probably think I am crazy... or maybe they are used to it now.
If anyone has any suggestions for delicious recipes involving kale or chard please let me know: I have a lot of it! If anyone local wants some kale I would love to share~drop me a line so I can go cut some more.

I do want to alert you: all my faithful or accidental readers, that i will be doing some Yeah it's Fall! Giveaways coming up soon. So please check back in.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Listings Today and a Treasury Feature!

First of all I have listed or re-listed a plethora of items in my Etsy Store today. Please drop on in to my Etsy store and see what it new~ Here are two new items. Just click on the pictures to take you to the listings.

My Pinecone Tray has also been featured in a pretty Treasury called Woodland Autumn that is worth looking at for sure.

The Wedding Bowl

One of my closest and dearest friends was married a couple of weeks back and I have just this last week finished her wedding gift. I needle-felted a free-form design on this wonderfully round and bright red bowl then re-wet it to dry it over a form once again to get the shape I desired for it. Congratulations Mariah and Noah~ I send you much love in your new life adventures!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day!

We went to the Balloon Festival this morning. After 2 days of not being able to launch because of high upper level winds this morning was perfect, sunny and gorgeous!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Happiest Apple

I cannot believe that in all my years here I have never been to the Happy Apple Farm! But last week, Amanda and I took the kiddos down there for some blackberries and apples. They drive you out to the fields on a wagon pulled by a tractor and encourage you to try what you are picking. Nothing tastes better than when it is picked right off the tree and eaten. Or in the case of out littlest adventurer: right off the ground~ In addition to the fruit I also purchased a jar of apple butter. We will be back again before the season is out for sure!

Friday, August 21, 2009


My Butterfly bush - Buddleia is a hub of activity these days. For the first time I have Hummingbirds who spend hours circling the bush. But the Butterfly bush holds true to it's name! I have seen at least one Monarch on it, painted ladies, hummingbird moths and both black and yellow swallowtails. It is gorgeous to look at and a veritable feast for all things seeking pollen and nectar. I even have to be careful when I choose to go weed lest I agitate the bees. Do you see the bee in the second picture? It is the sweet life for sure!