Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DH's birthday dinner, Blubster, Lunar Eclipse

Good morning Folks ~ I hope some of you were able to enjoy the lunar eclipse last night. DH and I did, sitting in our cushioned lawn chairs covered in blankets. A great ending to DH's birthday celebration. It was wonderful to sit out there in the cold enjoying God's beautiful creation and a rare event. We are thankful for the opportunity and clear skies to enjoy this.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was working on an embroidered piece for DH's bday, which was yesterday. Now I know, some of you are going to say 'what? An embroidered piece for your husband?' Yes, and it even has a bit of lace and 4 heart beads. I started on this the 8th of this month, after looking through stacks of old pictures. I was about to give up when I found just what I wanted, a picture that showed the sweetness of our late old Blue Tick hound dog named Blubster, who we called Blub for short. We got him from a local animal shelter when he was just about 9 months old. He was a real laid back dog who wanted to be friends with everyone.

Once I found the picture I could hardly wait to get started on it. I took a picture of the photo, enlarged it in my computer, cropped it, etc. then traced the drawing onto the fabric. Now what? Artist's know how hard it can be to put that first bit of color to the background. I was freaked, because I wanted this to come out nice. I outlined Blub, then thought I'll start with his eyes because eyes are hard, and if I can get them done, the piece will come to life and that's exactly what happened. I was thrilled to say the least.

It is another miniature.

Click on pictures for a closer view.

I was going to keep track of time spent, as I do when I work on pieces, but this one slipped away from me and I didn't. I did work on it in probably 4-5 sittings, this past Sunday morning being the longest and most stressful, as I had to get this done, since the next day was DH's bday.

This was a real joy to do because Blub meant so much to us, but most especially to DH. I could hardly wait to give it to him, and did so after we had had some pre-dinner snacks with a glass or two of white wine. The snacks were multi-grain crackers spread with cream cheese and topped with anchovie strips and capers. I had made up a page of birthday wishes from bloggers and printed it out and he read them first before he opened his gift. He said 'Thank you Ladies'.

As he was unwrapping, he said he had an idea of what he was getting, not because he had seen me working on it or anything, but because he knew it was a needlework, and figured it had to be a pet, but which one, and thought it had to be Blub. (I'd already done a watercolor of our little Pup, many years ago.) I smiled at him and he proceeded to unwrap. He absolutely loved it. It is so Blub. He would sit like this with his head resting on the top of this rocking footstool that DH used and we happened to get a picture one time.

For birthday dinner, I fixed

Ported Mushroom Beef.

1 lb. beef top round steak
2 tbs. butter
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms (or one small can of sliced mushrooms)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp. crushed marjoram leaves
3/4 c. Port
1/4 c. water
2 tsps. cornstarch

Cut beef into 1" cubes. Saute lightly in butter until browned. Push to one side of pan/ add mushrooms and brown lightly. Add all remaining ingredients except cornstarch. Stir to blend. Cover and simmer over low heat until beef is tender, about 1-2 hours. Remove cover, blend in cornstarch mixed with an additional tbs. of Port. Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens. Serve over noodles, rice or mashed potatoes. Serves 4.

Recipe taken from the book: Wine and Wine Cooking by Anne M. Logan

DH loved this and thanked me more than once as we enjoyed the meal. It is delicious and we have left overs too. :-) I served it over mashed potatoes with buttered green peas.

For dessert, I fixed

Butterscotch Fantastic.

1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 (8-oz.) ctn. frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
2 pkgs. (3 3/4 oz.) butterscotch instant pudding mix
3 c. milk

Combine first 3 ingredients, mixing well. Press flour mixture into a 13"x9"x2" baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes; let cool completely. Combine cream cheese and sugar, beating until fluffy; fold in 2 c. whipped topping. Spread over crust. Combine pudding mix and milk; beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer. Spread over cream cheese layer. Spread remaining whipped topping over pudding layer. Chill thoroughly. Yield: 15 servings.

Note: This is definitely fantastic. It is from the cookbook Southern Living 1983 Annual Recipes. I have over 300 cookbooks and enjoy trying new recipes.

So, there was our birthday celebration and a happy one it was.

Our lives are made up of many moments, and what we do with them is up to us. May we all live in each moment as fully and thankful as we possibly can, good or bad. There are lessons to be learned and joys that make our hearts soar.


I don't want to get to the end of my life

and find that I lived just the length of it.

I want to have lived the width of it as well.

Diane Ackerman


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL


the Goodwife said...

Happy Birthday and what a lovely gift! The detail in that is amazing FlowerLady! Once again, I love reading your blog because the love the two of you have for each other warms my soul.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

That piece is just absolutely adorable.

I want to thank you for the seeds. I'll sow them this winter to take with me when I go. You're still an inspiration.

My gardenias have suffered a bit in the cold. They'll be fine with some late winter pruning. I hope yours bloom this spring.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your partner.


Balisha said...

That piece is so wonderful.I can just picture your pup. You have such talent with a needle. Your dinner sounds amazing and then to sit out and wait for the eclipse...a birthday to remember. I wish you and your husband a blessed Christmas. Balisha

Sandy said...

Belated birthday wishes to your husband!
I'm sure he was well pleased with his
wonderfully made gift. You have such a
talent! I am enjoying my little piece
made by your precious hands.
Christmas Blessings!

Morning's Minion said...

Your dear dog's face is so sensitively done--I can imagine how he would have looked, gazing adoringly at his humans.
Cloudy here, so no view of the eclipse. I looked in vain from every window during the wee hours then scurried back to bed.

Floridagirl said...

Awwww, I can tell your Blub was a sweetie. I make that very dessert recipe, except with chocolate pudding. We call it "Something Else." Now I'm gonna have to try the butterscotch version. Thanks for sharing!

leavesnbloom said...

What a beautiful gift :) Flowerlady.

We watched the eclipse aswell and I took some nice photos of it aswell which I hope to share soon on my blog.

May you and your family have a Blessed Christmas and thankyou so much for visiting my blog over the past year.

Darcie said...

Happy Birthday to your husband, and what a absolutely lovely gift you made for him! Pretty special to share the eclipse with each other as well.

Rebecca said...

Belated birthday wishes to your husband and my "hat off" to you for such a thoughtful and beautiful piece of handiwork!

I got hungry just reading about the meal! What a special evening it must have been.

tina said...

It's a wonderful tribute to Blub. Happy belated birthday to your DH. And Happy Holidays to you both!

Anonymous said...

You are so talented! He must have been so touched by your tribute to Blub. You did a beautiful job. Happy belated birthday to your DH.

Bernie said...

It's a beautiful gift ... such lovely work! You really do have a talent for stitchwork. Fabulous birthday dinner too! Thanks for the recipes ... I'm definitely going to try both of them.

How lovely you were able to see the eclipse as well. We had thick, thick cloud cover here and couldn't see a thing!

Antique ART Garden said...

You are an amazing romantic woman ! beautiful embroidery , he is so lucky and blessed to have you , take care, Gina

Autumn Belle said...

Happy Birthday to your beloved DH! Your happiness and fondness for each other gives me lots of hope and confidence for my marriage for that's how I'd like it to be. So romantic and meaningful. It was a great idea how you traced the outline before you did the embroidery because it made Blub so life like in expression. I can see it in his eyes which says he loves the both of you! Flowerlady, I am really glad we met in cyberspace and I have enjoyed so much reading your posts. May you have a blessed Christmas and wonderful New Year 2011!

gld said...

I am amazed at how lifelike that is! You are right, the eyes are the focal point and so soulful looking.

You amaze me with your skills.

It sounds like a perfectly wonderful birthday.

Skeeter said...

Ahhh, the perfect birthday and gift!

Merry Christmas!!!

Noelle said...

What an incredibly thoughtful gift! A special dog continues to live on in our memories, but how wonderful to have a special 'picture' of him.

I wish for you and your family a wonderful Christmas!

p3chandan said...

A lovely piece of embrodery especially the mournful eyes, a beffitting little gift for your DH's birthday. You birthday celebration was so perfect with a good dinner and dessert and of course enjoying the rare lunar eclipse! Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!

Kit said...

Blub came out just perfect. Great job and your hubby must love it! So wonderful he had such a lovely birthday and an eclipse too! Merry Christmas. Hugs, Kit

sweetbay said...

Sounds like your husband had a wonderful birthday. The piece you made for him is amazing! It couldn't be any better. It's beautiful.

Merry Christmas to you and your DH!

Val said...

I think this piece is my favorite of all you've shared here. Just amazing work. :)

I'm glad you guys had a good Christmas, as well. :) Happy new year to you both!