Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Some Goals for 2011...

You may have noticed that I haven't been blogging much lately. Life is crazy busy, which is not that unusual. But the constant state of disarray in my craft room is killing my creativity. I managed to scrape out a few Christmas presents, but it was tough.

Therefore my #1 goal for 2011 is to get my craft room in order! So I'm laying it all out here...maybe you guys can keep me in line :-)
1) Wash, iron and fold/hang all fabric
2) add shelving, starting with the closet (I think)
3) Organize thread, bobbins, ribbons, other embellishments
4) get floor picked up enough to vacuum
5) Organize sewing table
6) Remove all non-craft related items from craftroom
7) find a way to store the GIANT roll of butcher paper that's not behind the door
8) paint chairs and re-cover seats

Once the craft room is cleaned and organized (which will probably take me all year), I've got a list of projects that I'd like to work on. I've organized these into 3 categories - Make Now, Make Later and Make for Christmas 2011. So I'm going to go ahead and list these here too.

Make Now:
  • Dog collar
  • Patchy rug for back door
  • Pointer finger pin cushion
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Gift sacks
  • Grocery sacks
  • Ruffled key wristlets
  • Sewn Wrist warmers

Make Later:

  • Eye pillows
  • Slippers
  • Gathered clutches
  • Patchwork makeup bags
  • Best friend gift sets
  • Bed organizer
  • Quilt-y scarves
  • Wine glass charms
  • Covered clothes pins
  • Fingertip hot pads

Make for Christmas:

  • Tree Skirt
  • Table Runner
  • Table Cloth
  • Gift sacks

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Keep your pets Safe!

Check it out! Get your free Pet Safety Pack from the ASPCA. Safety Pack contains a window decal to alert rescue personnel that your pets are inside and an ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center magnet.

Thanks to frugalgals.com for the info!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gathered Clutch

One of the projects that I completed was this cute gathered clutch from Noodlehead. I just can't get over the cuteness of these gathered clutches - I feel that I need one for everyday of the week, or every outfit, or every everything!



It's got two pockets on the inside for cards and another divider pocket, stick your cash behind it, or your lipstick :-)


The instructions that Noodlehead gave we clear and easy to follow. This zipper went in quite slick following her instructions. I can't wait to make more!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Winnings!

I recently won two give-a-ways, here's what I won...

From Katie's Nesting Spot I won a BusyBodyBook Calendar. Check out Katie's post to see what she likes about the BusyBodyBook Calendar.


I chose the summer pattern, there are four cover patterns to choose from.

I like:
  • The pockets in the front and back covers for notes, mail, receipts, etc.
  • The laminated covers
  • Moveable bookmark to mark the week you are on
  • Space for to-do lists
  • Space for 5 different people or subjects, I am using one for personal stuff, one for each of my jobs (2) and one for the ministry team that I lead.
  • I also like the perpetual calendar for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and the month at a glance section.


From Fitness for the Rest of Us I won two 4 packs of SKOY Cloths. Pictures from the SKOY Cloths website. Skoy cloths are re-usable cloths, designed to replace paper towels and other cleaning, dishwashing cloths. We opened the package right away, and I really like these. We have been using some cheap (disposable) dishclothes. These are good for about a week and then we toss them. I like the SKOY cloths because they are thicker than the cheapies we've been using and I love that they can be washed in the washing machine, or you can wet them and put them in the microwave to kill the germs.

So many thanks to Katie and BusyBodyBooks and to LindseyLu and SKOY!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pattern Test...Diaper Bag

No, not for me. Sew4Home offers lots of great patterns, including this diaper bag. I thought this might make a good shower/baby gift, so I decided to try out the pattern. It was not terribly difficult, but I don't love the pattern. I'm not so sure it is the great gift I was hoping for. Oh well.

I do have a nice big tote bag...overnight bag...not sure what bag. I think it's quite large 15"x15"x7". Sew4Home says this is a small diaper bag! If I have to carry a diaper bag bigger than this when I have a kid, I don't think I'll be able to carry the bag and the kid!

I modified that patter slightly to fit my needs. I left off the front pocket and side gathered pocket, for 2 reasons. I didn't have enough fabric and I didn't think I needed them, although I think I would have liked the flat pocket on the front, but I couldn't leave off just the gathered pocket because of the design of the bag. I also left off the gathered pockets on the inside of the bag, again I didn't think I would need them and I didn't have enough fabric. I used 4 different fabrics to complete this bag, I wanted to use only fabrics that I had on hand, so I used a fabric with a light blue background with apples, pears, leaves and puppies on it for the outside of the bag and the front side of the strap. I used a plain black on the inside of the strap and the bottom of the bag (so the bottom wouldn't show the dirt and because I didn't have enough of the blue fabric), the facings are black with multicolored dots and finally the inside is a red nylon.

I think that it turned out nicely overall. I did break a needle sewing the final pieces together, but that was my fault, I thought that I had changed to a bigger needle, but I hadn't.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ladder ball

My husband really wanted a ladderball set for our backyard. After pricing them, we decided that we could make our own pretty easily and less expensively. I think we spend around $15. And ours looks something like this...(picture from Target.com)

We used 3/4" PVC and from the measurements off a ladderball package at the store, I figure out the lengths we needed to cut.

Here's what we purchased:
40 ft 3/4" PVC
4 3/4" elbows
12 3/4" T-joints
8 3/4" end caps
12 cheap golfballs
2 cans of spray paint (red & blue)
We had on hand: thin nylon rope, saw

Here's what we cut:
8 35" pieces (for the bottom)
12 18" pieces (to make the sides)
6 24" pieces for the cross bars

I don't have the length on the rope we cut, we just eyeballed it. Then we drilled one hole in each of the golf balls and used E600 glue to attach the rope. Each rope has 2 golf balls attached. We made 6 sets. We painted them after we had assembled them. 3 blue sets and 3 red sets.

Hubby also taped and spray painted designs on the cross bars of our ladderball set.

Once we had the set completed, Hubby wanted a bag to put the ladderball in. So we found some cheap outdoor fabric at Handcock Fabrics ($2.99/yard) and I whipped up a bag using a modified version of this yoga bag tutorial from Sew4Home. The only thing I changed was the length of the bag (mine is 37")and the length of the strap (mine is 44"), and I added a second pocket, but left off the flaps and just attached the velcro to the backside of the pocket and the bag. I also made my pockets pleated for a little extra room for the balls.

Here you can see the pockets on the front of the bag.
Here you can see the side of the bag and the strap. Sorry the pics are dark, I had to snap them quick while it was storming outside.

Friday, August 20, 2010

V-A-C-A-T-T-I-O-N, Spell it with me folks!

Yay! I'm so excited. I am leaving this morning for a whole week of vacation! Don't worry, I've got more posts scheduled for you, so you won't miss out on any bloggity fun while I'm gone :-)

We are headed on vacation to our annual timeshare destination. My parents have owned this timeshare since I was about 3, so I've only missed a few years in my whole life. My sister will be joining us for the weekend and my brother and sister-in-law will come early next week. It'll be great!

I'm a compulsive list maker, I LOVE to make lists. So I've been making vacation lists for a week now. I always write a packing list for myself to help me remember everything. My hubby is notorious for forgetting to pack things, so he requested that I also make him a list :-)

Sierra is going to stay with friends, so she got a list too. I have a list for my plant water-er/mail picker-upper. I have lists for everything :-) I'm only slightly embarrassed by this.

So later today, I'll be relaxing outside our cabin with a drink in my hand...maybe one of these...

These are top the list for favorite Root Beers at our house! They are so smooth and yummy and must be bought at the liquor store, as no one else carries them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gifts for Hubby!

I love to make stuff for everyone, so my hubby is on the top of my list to make stuff for (okay, maybe not the top top of the list, my cute new niece and my dog might have higher billing :-)

Any-who, I decided that in my frantic rush to make things before vacation, I needed to make him a new toiletry bag. He loves this fish fabric, which I've used for several other projects for him. But since he loves it so much, I decided to use it for the toiletry bag.


I used this tutorial from The Purl Bee. I had a little bit of trouble with it, but overall, I think it turned out nicely. Most of my trouble was that I needed to S-L-O-W down and R-E-A-D the directions. This was actually one of the easiest zippers I have attempted!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sew Busy!

I know that I've been neglecting ya'll, but I've been so busy sewing! Last weekend, I completed 4 projects, Monday evening I completed another. I have two more that I am really hoping to finish before I leave for vacation on Friday morning! YIKES! I intended to spend yesterday afternoon sewing, but I ended up at my mom's house packing boxes! And since I haven't been sleeping well, I was too tired to sew anything after that. I tried, I really did.

I'm going to feature each completed project in a separate post. I'll start with a simple project, one for my doggie :-) Our cute as can be female cocker spaniel is in heat. Her previous owners bred her :-( And we just haven't quite gotten it worked out to get her spade yet. So anyway, she's been wearing little boys underpants turned backward (so her tail can stick out) while she is in heat. But I decided that she needed something cuter, that was easier on her tail. So I whipped up a couple of pairs of B!tch pants. I didn't take any pictures of my process, but here's a pic of Sierra in her cute heart panties.


Can ya tell she just loves them?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fabulously Ugly

Now that I finally got my craft room painted, I headed out to some garage sales looking for a sewing chair to use at the fabulous table my dad made me for my birthday. So after a trip to the Farmer's Market, the Hubs and I headed out to a couple of garage sales. The first couple we a bust and we were thinking about going home, but I wanted to hit one more that had advertised craft supplies :-) I was actually thinking more about scoring some yarn or fabric or embellishments and less about finding a chair.



Right when we pulled up I saw these beauties...nice orange huh? They were marked at $7 each so I didn't look at them that closely. It was getting to be early afternoon and the sellers were getting anxious to get rid of some stuff, and told us to make an offer. I'm not usually big on wheelin' and dealin'. I usually just pay the asking price or don't buy it - I know, I know, it goes against the code of garage saling not to try to bargain. So, I put on my brave panties and asked her if she'd sell me both for $7. She offer to sell me both for $10, and if I'd had $10 on my I would have taken them for ten, but I only had $8. So I said, I only have $8. She paused...and then agreed to sell me both chairs for $8! SCORE!

So now I have a little work to do on the chairs before I can put them in the craft room, if only I could decide what color they want to be. Don't get me wrong, I like the orange - just not in my purple craft room. The seats of the chairs need to be replaced, down to the plywood. And they could be just a little cushier, so I'll be replacing the foam also. I think I'll put a fabric cover on the seat, instead of the faux-leather that's on there now.

So I'll take suggestions of what color you think I should paint these chairs. My mom is thinking that they should be green. With some funky green/purple combo fabric for the seat.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Homemade BBQ Sauce

I made this BBQ Sauce the week before Father's Day, it took a while, but it was well worth it! My hubby taste-tested it and thought it was good. It was even better after sitting in the fridge overnight. We made BBQ chicken, and it was awesome!

We used it on Pork Chops for Father's Day dinner. Yum!






Classic Barbecue Sauce (from Annie's Eats)

Ingredients:
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 cups yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. ground coriander (I omitted as I didn't have any)
¼ tsp. ground cumin
2-3 tbsp. honey
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed (I used light brown sugar because it was handy)
2 (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes (Annie suggests fire-roasted, but I couldn't find any)
¾ cup cider vinegar¼ cup white vinegar
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2-3 tsp. black pepper
½-2 cups water
Directions:
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Mix in 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, the chili powder, coriander and cumin. Stir in the honey, molasses and dark brown sugar. Mix well and boil for about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cider vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer on medium-low heat for 2-3 hours until the sauce has thickened and darkened. (I simmered mine for ~2.5 hours.)

Stir in the white vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste (up to about 1 tablespoon of each). Add the mixture to a blender or food processor. (I had to blend in two batches because it was so much) Add in about ½ cup water to start and process the mixture until smooth. Blend in more water if desired until the sauce has reached your desired thickness/consistency.

Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.


I had about 7 cups of BBQ Sauce when I was done. I divvied it up in to 1.5 cup containers and froze them.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Re-usable snack bags

I've been working on my husband on the whole "green" living idea. Last week I suggested that we reduce our consumables like plastic sandwich baggies and paper towels. He was a little puzzled about what we would used if we didn't buy paper towels or sandwich baggies, but I convinced him that regular cloths and rags would be just as good a substitute and we would not be doing more laundry than we already are. So I whipped up a couple of cute cloth baggies for packing in lunches. I used this tutorial from Angry Chicken. Her video is hilarious! And this was the easiest re-usable bag I found. Here's a couple of pictures of mine in action.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Skoy Cloths

Ever heard of these? Me either. Thanks to Lindsey over at Fitness for the Rest of Us, I've learned a ton about Skoy cloths. I would love to try them out. Lindsey is giving away TWO packages of 4 Skoy Cloths. Check it out!



Here's a few facts about Skoy Cloths:
~1 Skoy cloth saves 15 rolls of paper towels
~100% biodegradable and natural
~Reusable and machine washable
~Washing machine, dishwasher, and microwave safe
~Absorbs 14 times its own weight


Clif Bar Giveaway

Like Clif Bars? Check out Lindsey's Blog to enter to win a box of Clif Bars. I like the Chocolate Chip ones, but the Pumpkin Spice ones sound yummy too!



I am also a HUGE fan of Luna Bars, they are the best breakfast for grab-n-go. I love the Chocolate Peppermint!

Project Update

Remember about 2 months ago when I showed you this sneak peak at my current project?



That's about what it looks like now, just a little longer...oops. Instead I started another project the week that I was at camp. And got darn close to half done during that week. I'm feeling very accomplished because I'm proud to announce that I have completed my first knitted afghan! Baby Blanket, but still completed! I'm so excited to bring you this picture of one completed baby blanket for my niece who will be born in late August.



I apologize for the craptastic picture quality, I snapped one quick before work with my cell phone so that I could get this post out! I used a Bernat self striping yarn, that is unfortunately discontinued. I've been hoarding this yarn for about 4 years, it just never made it into anything. I also have some in blue/white. Someday I may finish a boy one, but only if I have a boy to make one for :-)

Monday, August 2, 2010

What I did at work today...

I think this picture says it all, but I'll give you a little background. My direct supervisor is on vacation, she and her family went to Hawaii for 10 days. Our office has a tradition of "decorating" co-workers cubes and offices while they are on vacation. My supervisor's boss decided that we (he and I) should decorate Mary's cube for her return tomorrow. So here's how I spent a good half hour this afternoon. Boss man made the sign and found me the decorations, and then asked for my "help". He hung the bird, I did everything else :-) Purdy isn't it?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Blind Hem Revealed!

After viewing this tutorial from Grosgain, I finally understand the Blind Hem. Thanks Grosgain!

Peach Wine Coolers


Don't these look YUMMY? I can't wait to try them! Who wants to come to my house for a party? Annie over at Annie's Eats, one of my favorite food blogs, posted these yummy looking (and sounding) peach wine coolers.

Sounds like a great excuse to have a party, I love new drink recipes!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Craft Hope



As you know from this post. I was working on some charity projects earlier this year. I missed the deadline to participate with the Etsy Quiltsy Team in the Pillowcases for Haiti :-( I was sad that I didn't get to send any pillowcases. But Craft Hope is teaming up with Conkerr Cancer to collect pillowcases for Children's Hospitals. Check out their post on this new project.

I picked out some cute fabrics when I was planning to make some pillowcases with the Etsy Quiltsy Team, so here are some of the pillowcases I'm planning on making.

Monday, July 19, 2010

That Girl! Summer Jacket Knit-Along


This pattern and knit-along have come across my blog reader twice now. And after admiring it, but know that I wouldn't wear it...I finally came up with the perfect recipient (actually I have two perfect recipients, I might have to make two!) I'm usually not much of a sweater knitter but there is something about this cute little jacket that just calls to me. So I'm going to give it a go. Some of the knitters in the knit along are nearly finished and the photos that they have been posting are amazing! I can only hope that mine will turn out as good!

Friday, July 16, 2010

CLICK Give-a-way!


Check out this neat give-a-way here. CLICK is espresso protein drink with 23 nutrients and minerals. I'm pretty excited about this...and hoping I win!

Thanks to Lindsey Lu for offering this great give-a-way!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day Dinner

I'm thinking that our menu is turning out to be fabulous!

Here's what on the agenda:

BBQ pork chops with homemade BBQ sauce (I'll post the recipe)
grilled veggies, whatever looks good at the farmer's market this weekend - Although my dad LOVES Asparagus, so we might go with that.  If we do then I'll be making another veggie, because I don't like Asparagus (Mom doesn't either.)
I'm considering making some Tabule, because I love it and I've been thinking obsessing about it ever since a co-worker made a big batch at brought it for lunch almost all week last week :-)
My mom is bringing some fruit, which will probably include some of the strawberries we are going to pick on Saturday.
I'll also do some bread, I've got a french loaf of take-n-bake bread in my freezer, which is easy to throw in the oven and bake.
I am making my mom Strawberry Tart, which is super yummy and topped with the fresh strawberries we are picking on Saturday.

It should be yummy!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mom's Strawberry Tart

Here's the promised recipe for my Mom's Strawberry Tart.



Crust:
1/2 c Butter
1 c Flour
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 oz almonds (I like slivered or sliced)

Filling:
2 Eggs, beaten
1 tsp Almond Extract
8 oz Cream Cheese
1 c Sugar

Mix crust and pat into 10" pie plate or spring form pan.
Mix filling in food processor or with mixer. Pour over crust.
Bake 15-20 min at 350.

Refridgerate before serving.

Top with whole fresh strawberries and glaze lightly.

For glaze you can use pre-made strawberry glaze, a light frosting glaze or melted chocolate (above I used both white and dark chocolate to glaze)

Enjoy!

Sweet Find!

While we were in the process of buying our house, we stored somethings in my parents garage. Ok we stored ourselves in the house too :-) But, when we were moving some of our stuff out of the garage...I found this!


I'm not digging the black color, but that's fixable. I am digging the distressed-ness of this little table. And I love love love the tiny drawer with vintage-y drawer pulls.

And I can't figure out where to put it, it's too deep for our entry way, which is where we really need something like this, so I just keep moving it around the living room and dining room trying to find a great place for it, so far nothing. But I'm sensing a total re-arrange of the living room furniture :-)

I'm also trying to decide on paint colors, what color do I really want this to be? Brown to match/coordinate with our other wood furniture? A fun color, because we need some fun color? What do you think?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What's for Dinner Wednesday

Here's a tasty little recipe that's quick and easy, I've no one has ever told me they hate it ;-)

My mom used to make these when we were kids...Oven Pancakes.  Ever since my brother brought it up a couple of weeks ago at a family dinner, I've been just waiting for the perfect time to make one.  I used a Betty Crocker Recipe that I don't think was quite as good, or filling as the recipe that my mom uses.  I'll have to get hers and post it for you all.  My hubby had never had an Oven Pancake before and he liked it so much that we made two that night for supper.  I made a few changes to the recipe based on what I had on-hand, but it turned out well over all.  So here's what I did....

Puffy Oven Pancake
2 Tbs Butter or Margarine (I used spray)
2 large eggs
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. milk (I used plain soy milk)
1/4 tsp salt
Lemon juice and powdered sugar or cut up fruit

1) Heat Oven to 400.  Melt butter/Margarine and brush on to bottom and sides of 9" pie plate, I cheated and used a canola spray, because I'm lazy
2) Beat eggs slightly in a medium bowl with a wire whisk.  Beat in flour, milk (I used plain soy milk, because it's what I had on hand, we don't keep real milk in the house as hubby is lactose intolerant) and salt.  Beat just until mixed.  Don't beat it too long or the pancake won't puff up. Pour into pie plate.
3) Bake 25-30 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Serve immediately, sprinkled with lemon juice and powdered sugar or topped with fruit.  (I serve mine with cut up fruit).

So thanks to Betty Crocker for the recipe and this picture of what it should look like when finished from BettyCrocker.com.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Father's Day Gifts

Father's Day is right around the corner...just a couple of weeks away!  I'm already starting to pick out gifts for my dad, cuz he is tough to shop for!  He's the kinda guy who when ever he see something that he likes, he just buys it - which makes gift giving occasions VERY difficult!  But I've got a few tricks up my sleeve this year.

My hubby is big into grilling and recently we purchase one of these grill trays:
He was telling my mom about it, who waited until Dad left the room and whispered, "Dad would like one of those for Father's Day." Ok Mom - DONE!

Then Hubby was telling Mom about some kabob baskets he saw and was thinking about getting.  Mom says, "Get your dad some of those too."  Got it Bossy!

And because I'm fond of a surprise or two, I've got a couple of DIY projects up my sleeve too...starting with...the..Pocket Protector!  My dad is a huge nerd and we love him for it, and as much as I hate to encourage it, the man needs a pocket protector.  So, I've ordered some fabric and vinyl and I'm going to make some :-)  It's kinda a joke and I don't really expect him to use them, but I did order some cool fabric :-)
Tools and Bicycles - perfect for my dad.  I also found some Iowa State fabric and some awesome recycle print fabric at Hancock Fabrics.  I can't wait to whip up the Pocket Protectors and some other cool stuff!