Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Quilt: Her Graduation Quilt

Sorry for the not-great picture...2:00 a.m. in the hotel room doesn't have the best light.

But I had just finished binding the quilt...we were giving it to her after the graduation ceremonies.

Four years....

I figured I had plenty of time....

Especially since I had the top pieced together since her first semester at Purdue for years before.

All I needed to finish was the machine applique on the center medallion and to have it quilted...

Time catches up quickly with you, doesn't it?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Family: She's A Real Person Now

She's very petite...

She's very self- assured....

She believes all people deserve her help....

She's exceeded every goal possible that we could hope for...

She's our daughter.

This past week was spent at Purdue seeing her graduate, earning her BS in Nursing and minoring in Military Leadership. She was also commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.

As she puts it, she's a real person now....and I'm excited to see what the future holds for her.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sewing: Holiday Pillowcase Project

Fifteen minutes, almost a yard of fabric, and four seams....

That's what it takes make a pillowcase.

A pillowcase that will put a smile on any face...

And, in my case it's the people of the Momma's Senior Center.

Last year I did almost forty pillowcases for the Senior Center.
They used them for gifts for those in the Assisted Living Center who weren't going to have any visitors.
They used them for gifts during the Bingo game...and that is one competitive Bingo game!
They used them for gifts for the team at the Senior Center, who staffed and helped even during the Holidays.

I use this time to go through the stash and pull fabrics I haven't used in a while...a major destash, but with a good cause.

Time to get busy...they asked for fifty this year.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hook and Needles: Granny Squares

There are some days when my body wants to relax and just hang out on the couch.

For me this especially happens when it's cold and raining outside...and windy, can't forget that windy part of the equation.  The rain just seams to come down sideways.

Most times I don't listen to my body, as I've got a list a mile long of things to get done...just like most of you.

Just so happens that I went to the laundromat the day before to wash up those big rugs in the kitchen after Thanksgiving...and there is a yarn store in the same complex.

Color...glorious color...but it's yarn instead of fabric!

Many moons ago one of my Aunts taught me how to crochet, and I made a basic potholder....but nothing since.

The ladies at the yarn store were very helpful and encouraging. Did you know it now tells you what size of a crochet hook goes best with the yarn on the label?  Did you know the yarn shop also has a lot of free patterns and they gladly share?

Yeah...I bought some yarn and a needle to make one of their free patterns.

And last week when it was cold and raining outside, I took out the yarn bag with its yarn, needle and pattern...and made these!  

Two down...about 80 more to go!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Edgar: Almost Eleven Months

Edgar's almost eleven months official teenager in a dog's life!

True to form, he's sleeping most days until noon and eating us out of house and home....and causing trouble.

He loves to play WWF with Silas, body-slamming him outside in the afternoons...pure entertainment.

He's gotten taller and lanky...and is officially the tallest of the pups.  He can comfortably rest his head on the dining room table when standing, an action which I don't encourage!

He's very uncoordinated and can't seem to get into the car these days without a bit of help...or either he's so smart to know I'll help him in the car with just a glance from that "poor puppy" face.

He lost a few pounds this month...down to 77.8 pounds.  I'm told this is typical for golden retrievers during their teenage years, but I'm still worried a bit.

And I'm also wondering how big he will get?  With his father weighing in at a lanky 106 lbs, I'm wondering if he'll be in the same range....lots of dog food to buy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Recipe: Homemade Banana Pudding

You can serve it in a bowl very simply...

You can bake it in a pie....

Or you can layer it in a trifle bowl....

But you simply must have banana pudding on any holiday table in our family.

Oh yeah...and a word of warning...don't make the pudding to let it cool overnight in the refrigerator..when you get up the next morning, it might not be there...just saying!

Homemade Banana Pudding
2 1/2 cups Sugar
6 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 large cans Evaporated Milk (12 ounces)
4 Egg Yolks
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, cubed
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 box Vanilla Wafers, saving a few to crumble for garnishment
6 Bananas, sliced
Whipped Cream

  1. Whisk together Sugar, All-Purpose Flour, and Salt in a heavy saucepan over low heat.  Slowly pour in Evaporated Milk and stir constantly until thickened, approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Lightly beat together the egg yolks in a small bowl.  Add a ladle full of the thickened liquid to the eggs and whisk to temper the eggs. Slowly stream the egg mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly to combine, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract.  Place the pudding in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  4. In a large bowl or trifle dish, add a layer of Vanilla Wafers, a layer of sliced Bananas, a layer of pudding and a layer of whipped cream.  Repeat the layers.  Garnish with crumbled wafers on top and enjoy!

Recipe: Turkey in Under Three Hours

Oh my!

I'm apologizing...really, really apologizing.

I've been using my blog to post family recipes, sorta like a catch-all for everything instead of having this recipe here in this book and then going to another book for another favorite.

But I've never posted how to cook the all-important Thanksgiving turkey...and in under three hours.

Probably about two-and-a-half hours would be more realistic.


Yeah, really...with the best results.

I used to be one of those who baked the turkey in the bag because that's the way the Momma always did it. It always produced a beautiful bird, but it was always dry...probably because I had no control...couldn't baste the turkey, couldn't turn the turkey, couldn't take the turkey's temp.

So I started searching...making my family eat a lot of turkey...until I found a great, fool-proof method to cook the turkey.

Trust me, you'll have to take a leap of faith with this one, but you'll have the best turkey...minimal effort and time do equal maximum results.

Turkey For A Crowd
 Or otherwise known as Turkey in Under Three Hours
 Courtesy of Cook's Illustrated, Inc.

Resist the temptation to tent the roasted turkey with foil while it rests on the carving board. Covering the bird will make the skin soggy.
  • 1 (18- to 22-pound) turkey, pre-brined or kosher
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 onions, chopped coarse
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped coarse
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped coarse
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, or 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; remove remaining racks.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Line your large V-rack with heavy-duty foil and poke holes in foil; set your V-rack in a 15- by 12-inch roasting pan.
  2. Toss onions, carrots, celery, lemon, and thyme in a medium bowl; set aside.  Brush turkey breast with 2 tablespoons butter, then sprinkle with half of the salt and half of the black pepper.  Set turkey breast-side down on the V-rack.  Brush with remaining two tablespoons butter and sprinkle with the remaining salt and black pepper.  Fill cavity with half of the onion mixture; scatter rest in roasting pan and pour 1 cup water into pan.
  3. Roast turkey 1 hour; remove roasting pan with turkey from oven.  lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Using clean dishtowels or potholders, turn the turkey breast-side up; return roasting pan with turkey to oven and continue to roast until legs move freely and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 180 degrees, about two hours longer.  Transfer turkey to carving board and lest rest, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes.  Carve and serve.
    Note: I recommend using a male species to do the lifting part...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sewing: My Weekender Bag is Finished!

My Weekender Bag is almost finished, just needing a few hand stitches on the inside at this point.

I still believe the binder clips are a necessity when doing those final seams, as there is no way a pin will hold together all those layers.

I only broke one needle...and that was due to my own stupidity, trying to sew through a pin.

And I definitely need to replace my pin supply at this point; after four Weekender bags, most of them are bent out of shape.

Was it worth it?  Absolutely, positively sure was...and I'd do it again if need be.  It's my bag...and there is no other one in the world like it.

But the best parts about it....RalphieParker fits snuggly in the side pocket, and it's Edgar approved!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sewing: Weekender Bag #3: Assembling the Parts

Now is where my past experience in assembling the bag comes in handy.

There are itty-bitty little things to create...the pattern has you do these as you assemble the bag; I like to do them before I assemble the bag to make it go quicker.

And a few tricks I've learned along the way...

There are no other words to say it...piping is not fun....and there is nothing you can say or do to make me change my mind.

The first bag I made with the store-bought was OK and got the job done.

The next bag I used a coordinating fabric to make was a severe pain-in-the-rear experience, but it definitely made the bag. 

Two things I learned:
 Use your zipper foot, unless you own a piping/cording foot (I don't).
 Wonder tape is your best friend...just go ahead, lay that cording down the center of the strip,
   and put it all together with Wonder Tape before your perfectly!

Something I might consider next time:
 Cutting the strips a bit bigger, maybe 2 inches...a little bit more fabric to grasp.

Two changes for me...and I will never handles for this bag any other way.

I cut the straps at 3 inches versus 2.5 inches...not a large difference, but makes a nicer product.

I put nylon belting inside the handles instead of wimpy handles here!


Yup, I put D-rings inside the outer pockets....because it's my bag, and sometimes I might want to carry it over-the-shoulder with a longer strap.

Not hard...two strips of fabric...1/4 inch turned under on the edges...fold lengthwise...and add in D-rings before stitching sides down.


Bag Bottom
Did you know that fabric is heavy? No, I mean really, really heavy....and at one time or another, this bag will need to carry fabric...lots and lots of fabric.

Thus, I didn't use the instructions for the Weekender Bag for this part. I wanted the bottom to be a bit more reinforced, plus I wanted to protect the bottom of the bag from dirt if all possible.

First thing...there is a pattern correction for the Weekender Bag bottom on Amy Butler's website...go it...change your pattern in red ink so you always have it.

My process:
  Peltex cut to the revised size, centered on your bottom fabric, and fused.
  Plastic grid cut to the revised sized, aligned with the Peltex, and held in place with tape.
  Bottom stands added at 1.5 inches squared on each corner and aligned in the center (6 total).

Most of the work for the assembly of the front is I'll start piecing it together.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Family: 45 Days and Counting

45 days and counting....

45 days until graduation ceremonies at Purdue....

45 days until our daughter participates in the graduation ceremonies at Purdue, earning her B.S. in Nursing....

45 days until we're in Indiana watching our daughter participating in the graduation ceremonies at Purdue, earning her B.S. in Nursing...

Let the countdown begin!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sewing: Weekender Bag #2: Cutting It Up

There's a lot to cut for your Weekender Bag...interfacing, fabric, cording...yeah, a lot of stuff.

And there are two schools of thought to doing it....

Option A: Do It All
 Time: Two to four hours of cutting
 Benefits: It's all done at once
 Cons: If you change your mind mid-bag construction, you'll have to get more fabric
 Thoughts: Lots of Diet Dr. Pepper, some chocolate and a good movie will help

Option B: Cut Outside Fabric/Construct, Then Inside Fabric/Construct
 Time: One to two hours of cutting
 Benefits: Feeling like you're actually making progress sooner
 Cons: You'll be cutting fabric twice
 Thoughts: You'll still need Diet Dr. Pepper, some chocolate and a good movie

I work better if I can accomplish little pieces of a big project, so I prefer Option B....and that's how I'm going to approach this bag tonight...cutting out everything for the outside of the bag.

Things to remember before you get started:
- No multi-tasking...focus on getting your fabric cut!
- Directional/large prints: think about how you'll want it to look before your start cutting.

Now, take a deep breath and start cutting!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sewing: Official Support Team

Umm...I'm sorta obsessed with The Christmas Story movie...remember Ralphie Parker and the pink bunny suit Aunt Clara makes him?

I need to go to his house in Cleveland...really, truly NEED to go!

And I was planning on going in December, as I would be in Indiana for our daughter's's just a few hours to Cleveland, right?

And I could visit a few friends and a few quilt shops along the way, right?

But someone said the nasty word...December means SNOW in Indiana and Ohio...lots and lots of snow.

I live in Southern California.  We have rain, thunder, lightening, winds, maybe an occasional water spout over the ocean....but only have seen snow twice where I live.

I have never driven in the snow...I've passed through Chicago airport enough to know snow can mess up airplane schedules...and since my travel would be the week before Christmas, I've decided to postpone my visit until the Spring.

Until my visit, Ralphie Parker will remain my Official Sewing Support Team...but who knows? I might have to make him a pink bunny suit just for fun.....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sewing: Weekender Bag Part 1: Picking Your Fabrics

It's time I finally make Amy Butler's Weekender Travel Bag for me.

First and foremost, I wanted the bag to represent me.

Next, I wanted it to be something I'd want to use over and over again.

Next, I wanted the bag to be able to carry a bowling ball...literally be able to hold the weight of a bowling ball, as I know I will stuff it full of fabrics on my trips.

Lastly, I wanted it to wimpy fabric here!

I've had the best intentions of starting it sooner, fawning over fabrics and even ordering a few that I thought would work. I have lots of FiFi Lapin in the house, along with a bunch of Muffy...and coordinates...lots and lots of coordinates.

But they weren't know what I mean? No sense in making a bag unless it's right.

Finally I got the bright idea to go and play at Spoonflower, creating my own fabric....and I'm in love with it!

My bag will be:
 "The Lady" print will be the outside main panels and pockets.
 Black print will work as the bottom panel, handles, zipper panels, side pocket and pipping.
 Aqua dots will be the interior...both large panels and pockets (yup, I put pockets inside).

As I do somethings different than the actual pattern instructions, I'll keep my camera close to document...and possibly help you along if you're doing the bag.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Edgar at Nine Months

 Nine months?


Yes, Edgar is nine months old and weights just a few ounces shy of 80 pounds.

80 pounds...I just can't believe that one.

80 pounds...four more pounds and he'll be the heaviest dog in the house, but he already wins the title for tallest and longest dog hands down.

80 pounds...he's so skinny, though...the taller he gets, the skinnier he becomes...why? He's certainly not starving...four cups of dog food, two apples and other assorted goodies daily.

His biggest accomplishment this month? Fitting two balls in his mouth at the same time...

He's a big boy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sewing: Teenager Gifts

Teenagers are difficult to please...

And I need to give a thank-you gift...hopefully something they will enjoy.

I had picked up this skull and barbed wire print a few weeks back at Sew Modern not knowing what to do with it, but I think it works pretty well  for this purpose...just a small tote filled with a box or two of candy.

I mean what teenager doesn't like skulls and barbed wire? And if they don't like it, wouldn't they use it just to upset their parents that they have a bag with skulls and barbed wire on it?

Thinking I have this one covered...

Recipe: Garlic Parmesan PullAparts




And a red sauce for dipping!

Can't think of anything better...except I should have added bacon...but then again the Cutie Patootie's brother said it would be good with pepperoni, bacon, turkey, or dinosaur chicken...huh?

Dinosaur chicken?

First thing that popped into my head was the dinosaur had enjoyed a dinner of chicken and then threw it up...I know, my head is severely warped.

Come to find out dinosaur chicken is like chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs...hmmm, I don't know if I'll be using that for this recipe, but the rest sounds awesome.

I will be definitely creating this again, as I can see it as a wonderful appetizer while watching those football/baseball games coming up on TV...but next time I will add bacon and double the seasoning.

Garlic Parmesan PullApart Bread
1 bag frozen rolls
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

1. Take the rolls from the freezer and let sit on the counter for 45 minutes or so.

2. Cut each of those rolls into two pieces and place into a large baggie.

3. Pour your butter into the baggie, letting all of those pieces have a warm butter bath.

4. Throw the dried parsley, Italian Seasoning, garlic and Parmesan Cheese into that baggie and shake to coat.

5. Spray your bundt pan with Pam so your bread won't stick...then put all that bread goodness into the bundt pan.

6. Cover and let stand for approximately two hours....until double in size.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quilting: Edgar Ate My Block!

Today is a bit of a quiet day...
  Because I have no car.  The rats got into the engine, ate some wires, and it's being repaired....

I thought I might work on my quilt again...
  The one I started a few months back...
  The one I've already pieced the blocks together three times...
  I'd really like to finish it....
  I only need to do the sashing on each block and square them up...
  I think it's gonna be warm and cuddly.

And you know what?

   I know it was him...
   He's having issues with eating things he shouldn't...
   Like four pillows, two waterhoses, and .... and.... and...
   He's just a puppy...
   Only nine months old...
   Hopefully he'll grow out of it soon!

Good thing I have some of that Kona Green left over to repair...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sewing: My Halloween Bags

I didn't have any Halloween bags to enjoy this month...and when I saw the tutorials over at Daisy Cottage Quilting, I knew I had to do these!

I was doing the happy dance last week when I received the kit for the big bag and the zipper pouch...and then was Snoopy dancing when I figured out I'd have enough fabric left to do the small bag!

Yes, you heard me right...I did a zipper pouch.  It only took me three attempts and two broken needles to get it in, but I did it!  I still need a bit more work on zippers, though.

I'm in love with the way they turned out...the fabrics are way cute, the rick-rack trim is just perfect, and those little Halloween buttons on the zipper pouch are just the perfect finishing touch! I used them today at the grocery store, and got a lot of compliments from the customers and the store clerks.

One thing I need to remember: add candy to the bag to share with the little ones!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Recipe: Baked Spaghetti in Garlic Bread

Too weird? That's so what I thought when I found this recipe on Pinterest the other day.
  Okay...I admit I have a Pinterest problem at the moment..especially when it comes to recipes.

Why would anyone in their right mind ever bake spaghetti in garlic bread?

It called to me...just like waffle sandwiches and milk-chocolate dipped potato chips...

I told the husband what we were having for diner...he just shook his head, almost as if he didn't believe what I said.

And I did it...made a big mess, but I did it...


Things you should know:
1. I have tweaked the original recipe a bit.
2. This is definitely not a recipe for those on a diet.
3. You will make a mess while assembling this recipe...but it is so worth it!

Baked Spaghetti in Garlic Bread
One (1) Loaf Frozen Bread Dough, thawed to room temperature
 or Twelve (12) Individual Frozen Dinner Rolls
Six (6) ounces Spaghetti, cooked and cooled to room temperature
One (1) cup thick Spaghetti Sauce
One-half (1/2) pound lean hamburger meat, cooked and cooled to room temperature
Note: I flavored the meat with 1/2 diced Onion and about 2 teaspoons minced Garlic while cooking.
Eight (8) ounces Mozzarella, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
Two (2) teaspoons Unsalted Butter, melted
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Parsley Flakes

1. Roll your bread dough into a 12X16 rectangle. Let your dough rest for 15 minutes.
2. Lay the cooled spaghetti  lengthwise in a 4-inch strip down the center of the dough.
3. Top the spaghetti with the meat, sauce, and mozzarella.
4. Make cuts approximately 1-1/2 inches along long side of dough within 1/2 inch of filling.
5. Braid strips of dough over filling..right over left, left over right.
6. Tuck ends of bread underneath so you won't loose any filling.
7. Very carefully lift bread with BOTH HANDS onto your prepared baking sheet.
8. Smoother that thing in all that butter goodness, making sure all cracks and crevices are covered.
9. Sprinkle on that shredded cheese and parsley so it looks pretty.
10. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
 This would be a good point to clean up that mess you made while rolling out the dough.
 Remember to breath deeply while it's baking...smells fabulous!
11. Let it rest for ten (10) long, long, long minutes...slice and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Recipe: Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak

It's still really hot outside...over 100 degrees today.

I'm gonna use my slow cooker again and try one of those recipes I found on Pinterest...I've been having a lot of luck with those recipes, so I'm hoping for success once again.

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak
2 lbs. Lean Ground Beef
1 envelope Dry Onion Soup Mix
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 cans Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1 envelope Dry Au Jus Mix
3/4 cup water
1 Onion, diced (optional)

1. In a large bowl, mix together the group beef, onion soup mix, bread crumbs and milk.  Shape into eight (8) patties.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Dredge the patties in the flour just to coat, and quickly brown in your skillet.  Place browned patties into the bottom of your slow cooker, stacking as needed.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream of chicken soup, au jus mix, and water.  Pour over your patties in the slow cooker.

3a. If your family loves onions like we do, throw one diced onion on the top of all that goodness.

4. Cook on the Low setting for four (4) to five (5) hours, just until your ground beef is done.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quilting: My Machine Applique Secret

Today I'm busy...

I have THE most important quilt top to finish...

The daughter's GRADUATION QUILT top...

Which has a lot of machine applique to finish...

Today, as tomorrow it must be delivered to the quilter to be finished in time for graduation.

Yes, I fully admit I've procrastinated on this quilt.  It was started four years ago, but somehow I kept on putting it off...thinking four years was a long time off...well, I only have one day before it needs to go to the quilter tomorrow.

The center of the quilt is the Nursing School's logo...all of which has been fused to the fabric, but still needs to be machine-appliqued down to the fabric.  I know I could just leave it and let it be quilted, but I'd always worry about those edges....for years and years to come.

The tools I will be using today are pretty standard...a new needle, lots of black thread (satin stitch), and handy-dandy box of Deli Wrap.

Yes, I said Deli Wrap...we're extremely budget conscious in this house, and I use Deli Wrap as my stabilizer for machine applique.  It works's totally inexpensive...and it rips off real easy.

Now to go hunt down a large diet Dr. Pepper and some's gonna be a long night!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Recipe: Crockpot Honey-Apple Pork Loin

Today is one of those days...

Woke up late...

Have lots of errands to do...

Need to clean the kitchen floors...

And need to work on my project.

Days like today make my crockpot one of my favorite friends.

I found the recipe a few weeks back on Pinterest (again) and knew I needed to try it.

Right now the house smells like Fall...enough said!

Crockpot Honey-Apple Pork Loin

One Pork Loin (2-3 pounds)
Four Apples (I'm using Granny Smith, but use whatever you like)
Four teaspoons Honey (more or your taste)
Two teaspoons Cinnamon (more or your taste)

1. Prep crockpot for cooking (make sure to line your crockpot for easy cleanup).
2. Core and slice your apples in eighths.
3. Lay two sliced apples in the bottom of your crockpot to form a base for your Pork Loin.
4. Sprinkle with some of the cinnamon.
5. Cut slices in your Pork Loin, approximately one inch apart (about eight total).
6. Flavor your Pork Loin with garlic, salt and pepper to taste (if you wish).
7. Drizzle honey into the slices of your Pork Loin.
8. Place a piece of apple into each slice of the Pork Loin.
9. Sprinkle with some of the cinnamon.
10. Cover Pork Loin in remaining apple slices and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon.
11. Place lid on crockpot, secure, and cook for seven hours on low

Recipe: Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

Quick and easy and fast...and good!

That about describes how I want to cook dinner every night after spending the day running errands, cleaning the house, and getting some time in the studio.

I'm always on the lookout for recipes fitting my requirements, and lately Pinterest has been helping.

Garlic/Brown Sugar Chicken
4 chicken breasts (bone-in)
4 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking pan with foil (for easy cleaning).

2. Place garlic salt, granulated garlic, and brown sugar in a large plastic baggie, and combine well.

3. Add chicken pieces to baggie and shake until well coated.

4. Place chicken pieces on baking pan, put into the oven, and close the oven door.

5. Bake approximately 30 minutes, until chicken is golden brown and no longer pink in the center.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Family: Pretty Pink Packages Tied Up with String

I have a confession...

It has to do with song lyrics in my head...

Just think of the movie The Sound of Music...

What song do you start singing?

My Favorite Things, of course...

But I simply must need to change the lyrics a bit....

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens 
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Pretty pink packages tied up with string
These are a few of my favorite things!

Pretty pink packages sounds so much better, doesn't it?

Well, doesn't it?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sewing: Favorite Hello Kitty Bag

I'm getting pretty good at this Hello Kitty bag....

I remember how to do them without consulting the original pattern....

I have developed a few tricks/shortcuts to make them easier....

And have found Hello Kitty canvas in several colorways...even in this black and red print!

Isn't it just too fab for words?

Thinking I might just have to keep this one for myself...but then again it will be loved in its new home, so I tell myself I must share.

Maybe I should actually make one for myself?  Nah...then I'd have to actually use it to pack a lunch...but then again I could use it to carry around my yo-yo fabric when I'm out and about.  Hmmm.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sewing: This Dork Owns a Zipper Foot

Ever feel like a complete dork?

Yup, that's me right now.

Since I've committed to making the Weekender Bag and it has a zipper to be put in, I figured I'd better get my patootie down to the LQS for some help on installing a zipper.

Let's just say my first attempt did not go well...involving numerous bad words, throwing things at walls, using my seam ripper, and finally just giving up and taking it to the alterations place for them to install.

I wasn't ever planning on doing a zipper again.

But I really want to do this bag...

I've scrounged the seven seas for the perfect fabric....

I've ordered the obsessively long zipper for this bag...

So I signed up for a class this Saturday....and the supply list for the class includes a "zipper" foot....duh!

And guess who found the zipper foot in her Bernina foot cubby....ME!

Dork! Dork! Dork!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Recipe: Slutty S'mores

It's really not my fault...

I just shared a recipe on Facebook...

The friends started talking...
  And the recipe just sorta morphed into something fast and easy.

Or maybe it's the heat, as it's 96 degrees outside today...
 And I'd really like some cooler weather with some rain.

So without further ado, may I present the recipe for Slutty S'mores!

Two squares Nestle Tollhouse Refrigerated Cookie Dough
One Graham cracker
Two Ghost Peeps
One-half Hershey's Chocolate Bar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam.
3. On your prepared cookie sheet layer:
    - One-half Graham Cracker
    - One-half Hershey's Chocolate Bar
    - Two Ghost Peeps (side-by-side)
    - One-half Graham Cracker
    - Two cookie squares (side-by-side)
4. Bake 11-13 minutes until your cookie is done.
5. Plate and enjoy while warm!

 Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tasting Halloween Treats

Yes, I had to go there and try the new Halloween goodies...

The "Limited Edition" Candy Corn Oreos....
  Tasted like cupcake frosting with no special flavor...definitely not worth the price!

The Candy Corn M&Ms....
 Tasted like white chocolate M&Ms with a bad candy corn aftertaste!

And the Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses.
 Almost made me vomit in my mouth!

If you have to go there just to try them, I understand...I did just that.  But your dollars would be better spent on a White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake if you ask me....

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sewing: The Manly Lunch Tote

After seeing all the mini lunch totes I did last week, the DH put in his request...

A "manly" tote...
  Meaning something I can carry around and use without being embarrassed.
  Meaning no Hello Kitty, no florals, and especially no PINK.

It had to have a zipper...
  Really now?
  Don't you remember the last time I attempted a zipper and ended up taking it to someone else?

It needed to be large enough to hold one soda can, one sandwich container, an apple and a package of cookies...

May I present the "manly" lunch tote...complete with a ZIPPER?
Yes, I did it all's not perfect, but it's in and it works!

And, more importantly, it is DH approved!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Edgar: Eight Month Update

Eight months...can you believe it?  I can't quite grasp how we got here!

Edgar now weights 71.6 lbs and is on the fast track to becoming the biggest dog in our home.  If his track record continues, he will win this title by next month.

He is the tallest dog in the house.

He sheds the most hair in the house.

He still loves his tennis balls.

And Pheobe still hates his guts...oh well! Life will go on!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sewing: Hello Kitty Stash

I picked up Delilah from the repair shop on Saturday and then took the really long way home....about an hour out of my add some more Hello Kitty canvas to my stash.

I think the detour was worth it...don't you?  Those prints are really cute!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quilt: Stitching Blocks

There are some days I wake up knowing I need to create...and today I'm wanting to stitch a few quilt blocks together.

Many different fabrics, many different colors...

Just a block or two will satisfy the craving and then I can move forward with my assigned tasks for today. But then again, I might just get lost in the world of creating blocks and not accomplish anything but a quilt that so bad?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Cake

Although fall hasn't officially begun yet, I'm ready for it to start....and since today we'll have a few friends over, I wanted a Pumpkin Spice Cake.

No one told me canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) would be hard to find this year.

No one told me cream pumpkin candies weren't out in the store yet.

But I managed to find all the ingredients to pull it off...and the house smells amazing as it bakes.

Pumpkin Spice Cake
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Powdered Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
2 cups Sugar
4 eggs
1 cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
1 15oz can Solid Packed Pumpkin (do not use Pumpkin Pie Mix)

Step #1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step #2: Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl and sift together.

Step #3: Add eggs, oil, and pumpkin to dry ingredients and stir well (about thirty strokes by hand)

Step #4: Pour into greased 9X13 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remember to insert a toothpick in the middle comes out clean...if not, bake a few minutes more.

Step #5: Let cool on a wire rack, frost with cream cheese frosting, and add creme pumpkin candies for decoration.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon Milk
4 cups Powdered Sugar

In your mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and milk.  Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, blending between additions.  Add more milk if necessary.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sewing: Hello Kitty Lunch Tote Revised

Finally using the Hello Kitty English and blue and white...and the hat!

I've been playing around a bit with the design of the bag...the height and bag handles were both increased by two inches. Trying to simplify the design, I used 1/3 yard canvas (main bag print), 1/3 yard oil cloth (interior print), 1/3 yard cotton (handles/bag border), and a fat eighth cotton for the bag top.

Now I'm I share the Hello Kitty pink or Hello Kitty English lunch tote with Ms. Cutie Patootie?

Or should I just tale a trip up to Sew Modern to get a few more cuts of Hello Kitty canvas to play with? I saw three more prints on their site yesterday.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sewing: The Lunch Bag

You need a new lunch bag when you start school each year...that's a fact.

I knew I had the cutest Hello Kitty canvas in my stash...I just needed yesterday's earthquake to dislodge it from the top of the shelf so I could find it and it's coordinates that I put in a safe place.

Isn't it just the cutest bag? Hello Kitty canvas...oilcloth interior for easy wipe cleaning during the week...and a cute cotton top with cord so you can close the whole bag up tight.  You can throw the whole thing in the washer on gentle cycle, lay flat for drying, and it'll be ready to go in no-time flat.

Oh, yeah...did I tell you that it closes up tight?  That's the best part!

The bag holds one plastic sandwich container, one yogurt container, one spoon/fork container, one reuseable snack bag, cold ice star (just to make sure everything stays cold), and a water bottle...and there was still a bit of space left for Hello Kitty stickers to decorate all those bright pink containers and a bag of Hello Kitty jelly beans.

I'm thinking you could also use this bag for a mini-baby bag (bottle, wipes, and a couple of diapers), a knitting bag (a few skeins of yarn and needles) or handsewing project bag (think hexies or yoyos).

The pattern you ask?  I used Pink Penguin's tutorial and was able to sew up two bags within an hour.  I have a few adjustments for the next set of bags I do, such as adding an inch or two to the height and maybe a set-in pocket for the cold pack...maybe I'll just have to write up a tutorial for you myself.

PS: Ms. Cutie Patootie loved the bag!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quilting: An Unexpected Manicure

Yesterday was not a good day (to put it mildly)....

I was cutting up fabric for the school wardrobe oh so carefully...

Had my ruler lined up properly for the three inch strips I needed for the oh-so-girly pink ruffles...

Spread my hand over the ruler to maintain consistent pressure on the ruler...

Opened the safety on the rotary cuter and proceeded to cut....

OUCH!!! OUCH!!! OUCH!!! (There were bad words said, but I'm being polite and listing only the nice ones)

The rotary cutter jumped the ruler landing on my finger...and not just nicking my finger, but landing smack dab in the center of the nail bed cracking the nail.

OUCH!!! OUCH!!! OUCH!!! (There were more bad words said, but I'm being polite, and once again listing only the nice ones)

But the worst of it happened last night once I went to change the bandaid...the top half of the nail got snagged in the bandaid and ripped off parts that weren't already hurting.

OUCH!!! OUCH!!! OUCH!!! (There were more bad words said, but I'm being polite, and once again listing only the nice ones)

So you see that pretty pink Hello Kitty bandaid?  It will be part of my life for the next three months, a little bit less if I'm lucky. I'm hoping I'm lucky...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sewing: School Wardrobe Pants/Top

Jumper and ruffled shorts are done...and looking totally awesome if I do say so myself.  I'll post some pictures once I get to see them on the Cutie Patootie.

Today's project is a simple pair of pants with a coordinating shirt...or in my case, it's the top with the coordinating pants.  How could you not use that hot pink shoe fabric for a girl who (a) loves all things bright pink, especially when combined with black, and (b) has a severe case of shoe love even at her young age!

Fabric use:
 - Shirt Main: pink shoe fabric
 - Shirt Tunic and cuffs: white floral print
 - Shirt Ruffles: green print
 - Pants Main: black floral
 - Pants Detail: pink print

Happy fabric...just loving this!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sewing: School Wardrobe

I never sewed school clothes for my was always easier and cheaper just to go to Target to pick up what she needed.  I did do the occasional Halloween costume, sew on buttons that needed resewing, or hem up jeans when needed....but that was about it.

But this week I'm lucky...I get to sew a few outfits for the BF's cutie patootie...and she is way cool!

I'm starting with a simple jumper and bloomers...animal print is the bodice, large floral is the skirt, directional print is a large border on the skirt, and the pink/white print will be the bloomers.

Should be pretty easy, right? Right?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cosmo Bag Take #2

Apologizing for the photo, but the computer is acting up and not reading my memory card...UGH!

The daughter's new school bag, Amy Butler's Cosmo Bag, is complete except for the covered button...and I need the DH to snap the button together for me. But I wanted to get a picture for you before I pack it up and ship later tonight....

Personal Opinion: If you ever need to make a bag, let me recommend Amy Butler's Style Stitches and Lisa Lam's The Bag Making Bible. The Cosmo Bag is in Style Stitches; however, I need a bit more visual and found The Bag Making Bible to have illustrations not covered in Style Stitches.

And I've decided...the next bag I make will be for me!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cosmo Bag

The daughter starts her fourth year at Purdue this month.

Have I told you before she'll be graduating in December with a B.S in Nursing?  Yeah, you've probably heard me say that before...I'm proud of her.

Thinking she might need a new book bag...and after conquering the Boyfriend Bag with success, I decided to make one for her.

Her favorite color...brown.


Yes, I said brown....and she doesn't like frosting on cupcakes. Try and understand that one if you can...

Anyway, back to the topic at hand...her school bag.  The brown-muted teal stripe will be the outside fabric, the raffia-toned letter print is the inside, and the chocolate solid is for the handles and accents. It's decorator-weight fabric, so it should be able to withstand anything that's thrown into it...but I'll definitely reinforce the bottom with plastic just to make sure.

My deadline for shipping is Monday...complete with a bag of oreos and a jar of peanut butter for dipping, several bags of turkey jerky for energy, and perhaps some candy.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Edgar: Seven Months Update

Can you believe it?

Edgar is seven months old.

He's a big boy...yes, a big boy....weighing in at 61.3 pounds.

And he still loves his blue monkey...and digging dirt...and chewing ice cubes...and eating watermelon rinds.

What a life he has!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Recipe: Chocolate-Chip Zucchini Cake

This year we finally had success....a zucchini actually grew in our garden, and boy was it huge.

Knowing I didn't want it to spoil, I had DH shred up the zucchini last night as he watched the Olympics and I pullled out my handy-dandy Pillsbury Joy of Baking cookbook for the Chocolate-Chip Zucchini Cake recipe.

As I go to pull together all the ingredients, I can't find the butter...none in the refrigerator, none in the freezer, and none downstairs in the storage freezer.


Once the Real Housewives of New Jersey finishes, I hop into the car and drive to Trader Joe's to get some butter...four pounds.

Thought maybe I should share this recipe with you, as it's definitely zucchini season now....and this recipe is truly the best!

Sheet cakes are perfect for any occasion and they're quick and easy to make.  This one is great baked as a loaf and left unfrosted, or can be frosted with your favorite chocolate frosting.  Choose small, firm zucchini to use in this recipe.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13x9-inch pan.  In a large bowl combine, sugar, butter, oil, vanilla and eggs; beat well. Add flour, cocoa, baking soda and buttermilk; blend well. Fold in zucchini, chocolate chips, and nuts. Spread in greased and floured pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely. Frost as desired.

Yield: 16 servings

High Altitude: Above 3,500 feet: Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes

Nutrition Information: Let's just say you really, really don't want to know.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Boyfriend Bag is Done!!!

The perfect gift for the teenager asking for a boyfriend:

  • Amy Butler Cosmo Bag in a bright obnoxious pink floral.
  • Two posters...Justin Bieber and Channing Tatum
  • Two girly magazines...Seventeen and Vogue
  • Drawing pad with gel pins and colored pencils
  • And, of course, lots and lots of candy!

The smiling face is worth it all.....

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Project: Boyfriend Bag

Project Label: ECC's Birthday Present

ECC, a teenage girl and family friend, has a birthday next week.  We've asked lots of questions as to what she cards...clothes? Did she make it easy...NO! She wants a boyfriend...yes, a BOYFRIEND!

Present Day Status:
I thought about this one for a do you give a teenage girl a boyfriend, making them happy with your choices and not making her parents mad?

I have an answer...hopefully it will make everyone happy.

But there is still one piece missing...the all-important wrapping of the gift...and I've decided to make a bag.  This bag must be (a) big enough to handle delivering the boyfriend and (b) be something that she'll want to use in the future (schoolbag, overnight bag)...which means it will need to have lots of PINK! Love that girl!

Amy Butler's Cosmo Bag seems to fit all the needs...a large pink/purple floral for the outside, a more-modest pink print for the interior, and a darker brown/pink print for the handles and trim.

Needless to say, I'm a bit intimidated...I've never created a bag before.

One week...keep your fingers and toes crossed for me!