Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday night veggie delights

If you are anything like me, you are enjoying the last few weeks of Saturday morning farmers' markets as summer slips into fall. Here are a few meatless Friday entrees to to make sure your produce drawer is ready to receive this new bounty:
1. Stirfry
2. Pasta primavera (Lasagne, if you have ricotta and feel ambitious)
3. Veggie pizza
4. Vegetable soup
5. Veggie enchiladas or quesadillas
6. Roasted vegetables over slow cooker polenta
7. Veggie omelette or quiche
8. Gardener's pie 
9. A vegetarian curry, such as coconut braised chickpeas

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Make it: Mini Saint-of-the-Day Shrine

I'm slowly becoming resigned to the fact that I'm probably never going to be the mom who has the perfect dessert for every big feast day. (Plenty of people are, including some of my co-bloggers, and more power to them.) I still wanted this to be the year that I upped my liturgical game, though. So, having been inspired by this Facebook photo of unknown origin, I set out to create a shrine for our home altar that could be a home for our saint of the day.

  • dollhouse room box (I'm having trouble finding anything similar online, but these are from the dollhouse furniture section at Michael's)
  • gold acrylic paint
  • fancy scrapbook paper
  • miniature egg-and-dart trim (found in the craft wood section of Michael's)
  • small crucifix, about 1½" or less (ours are from broken rosaries)
  • medium-sized wooden bead, or gold polymer clay (to hold the crucifix)
  • paintbrush
  • small hand saw, sandpaper, and wood glue (for trim. The wood is soft, so I imagine a utility or craft knife could be made to work in a pinch)
  • spray glue or rubber cement
Michael's sells the dollhouse boxes in two sizes. On the left is the small size with, from left-to-right, a saint block from AlmondRod Toys, a standard craft store peg doll*, and a larger peg doll (3 5/8"). The same dolls are shown in the larger-sized box on the right.

Cut the trim to just a hair longer than the width of the box (to allow for sanding), and sand the ends smooth. Attach with wood glue so that the top of the trim is even with the top of the shelf, and let dry.

Paint the box and trim with the gold paint, leaving the back surface white. This took more coats than I'd expected (5-6), but the paint dries quickly, so you really only need to give it five minutes or so between coats.

Cut the scrapbooking paper to fit (centering the motif, if necessary). The boxes weren't quite square, so we cut them just a tad big, and shaved off little bits until they fit. Glue to the back with rubber cement or spray glue.
We used wooden beads with holes large enough to accommodate the crucifix, painting them gold to match the shrine. (Something like this might also work, but I haven't tried it myself.) If you can't find something similar, you can mold a base out of polymer clay, using the crucifix to make the hole in it before baking.** Whichever you use, use a tiny bit of hot glue to secure the crucifix if necessary, then use hot glue or wood glue to place it on the top shelf of the shrine.

The glue is dry, you are ready to display your saint of the day! If you don't have figurines, I've found that the larger-size box is just right for propping up a standard holy card.

Other ideas:
  • A paper banner, reading "Saint of the Day," or "Ora pro nobis," instead of the trim.
  • Tiny silk flowers in a vase made from a large fancy bead or a wooden candle cup.
  • Tiny votive candles (just for decoration, of course!)

*Sorry, I don't have the dimensions. Maybe when Margaret Mary is back from Philly, she can help me out.
**I was really hoping these would work, but sadly, they're just a tiny bit too big!)