Monday, February 28, 2011

Little Girl's Pearl Necklace

To accompany yesterday's gift for Jack I wanted to give something to big sister Gwen so she didn't feel left out.  She's 2 1/2 and loves wearing necklaces these days.  Her Mom was given pearls for Christmas so now Gwen can wear her own set.

Both the bracelet and necklace have some pretty bling to make her extra sparkly and feel like the little lady she is.

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Food Friday - Slow Cooked Sweet & Sour Pork

This weeks new recipe was a real winner, made in the crockpot, yummy and super easy.  We'll be adding this to our rotation for sure.

Slow Cooked Sweet & Sour Pork
1 1/2 lb boneless pork loin, cut into cubes
1 (18 oz) can pineapple tidbits, in unsweetened juice, undrained
1 medium red or green bell pepper, cut into squares
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 cup vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp cornstarch

In 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker, combine pork, pineapple, bell pepper, brown sugar, ginger, vinegar and soy sauce; mix well.

Cover; cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours.

About 5 minutes before serving, in small bowl, combine 3 tbsp water and cornstarch; blend well.  Stir into pork mixture in slow cooker.  Cover; cook on high setting for an additional 5 minutes or until thickened, serve pork mixture over rice.

I really love slow cooked pork and this was no exception, super tender and delicious.  There's really only one change I would make to this recipe, my peppers were a little cooked to death.  Very, very tender and over cooked, next time I would add them later and wouldn't cook them for the full 7 hours.  Not sure how much later though, I'll have to experiment.  Also we served this over coconut rice because we had leftovers to use up and the flavour of the rice was a little overpowering, I would just use plain next time.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Appliquéd Onesies

Brad's sister gave birth to a cute little boy earlier this week.  We'll see him for the first time this weekend so in preparation I made some cute appliquéd onesies.  everyone agrees that the giraffe print is the cutest, too bad that's all the fabric I had.  He's going to be the most stylin baby around.  Eventually I'll make him some velcro ties but it just didn't happen yet.

Jack is also going to be the new owner of the faux chenille blanket that I hope is loved as much as it deserves (I loved this blanket so much I've already made a second one that you can see here. as a teaser I've already made a second one that you can see here).

Linking To
Monday - C.R.A.F.T., Making The World Cuter, Polly Want a Crafter, Simpsonized Crafts, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, The Girl Creative   Tuesday - All Things Related, Creative Itch, Ladybug Blessings, Sassy Sites, Today's Creative Blog, Topsy Turvy    Wednesday - Blue Cricket Design, Me and My Bucket   Thursday - House of Hepworth, It's Sew Stinkin Cute, The Train to Crazy, What Allie's Making Now   Friday - Creation Corner, Finding Fabulous, Tatertots & Jello

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Faux Chenille Blanket - Take Two

The entire time I was sewing the bassinet I couldn't stop thinking about how much I wanted to add a Faux Chenille Blanket.  I wanted it to be cozy and snugly and sweet and I thought it would add the perfect finishing touch.

I made my first one of these blankets about a week ago and I knew as soon as I was finished that I would be making another.  I made a few changes to this blanket though and I think they're good tips so I wanted to pass them on.  My first blanket looked like this, and you can find the tutorial to make your own over at Made.

For my new blanket I chose a fabric that matched the bassinet, it was the same pattern just a different colour.  The fabric is called Picadilly and it's by Pamela Mostek.  For the chenille I used 3 layers of chocolate brown flannel.  The biggest change I made was in the cutting, I felt like with my first blanket I wished I hadn't cut through all the layers, I wished I'd left one uncut.  By leaving one you wouldn't be able to see the back of the patterned fabric but you'd see the one colour left uncut.  For the layering I started with the Green/Gold Picadilly, then I layered some broadcloth and then 3 layers of flannel.  I used broadcloth because it's a lot cheaper.  The only downside to using the broadcloth layer is that it's really thin, I wasn't always careful enough and I ended up cutting through it in a couple places.  I'll still use it in my next blanket I'll just be more careful next time.

I love how this blanket looks with the flannel all the same colour and it's perfect for the bassinet.  I'm already starting to think about my next blanket.

One last thought... I walked through Fabricland the other day and I saw some real chenille, I had the though, "Why make faux chenille?  Real chenille really isn't all that expensive".

Linking To
Monday - C.R.A.F.T., Making The World Cuter, Polly Want a Crafter, Simpsonized Crafts, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, The Girl Creative   Tuesday - All Things Related, Creative Itch, Domestically Speaking, Ladybug BlessingsSassy Sites, Today's Creative Blog, This & That, Topsy Turvy    Wednesday - Blue Cricket Design, Me and My Bucket   Thursday - A Glimpse Inside House of Hepworth, It's Sew Stinkin Cute, Somewhat Simple, The Train to Crazy, What Allie's Making Now   Friday - Creation Corner, Finding Fabulous, Tatertots & Jello

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baby Bassinet

My friend Jody contacted me with a project, she has a new little girl on the way and a really ugly bassinet to put her in.  She wondered if I could do something about that.

It started like this, very navy, quilted and ruffled.  There was a ton of fabric and teddy bears everywhere.

I replaced the ruffles with clean, crisp pleats, got rid of the teddy bears and updated the colour.

I made a satin mattress cover, I've heard it helps with babies bald spots and it makes the entire thing look luxurious.

This also happens to be the project that was more frustrating than any other.  I took the original cover apart and used it as a pattern for the new pieces.  I got them all put back together and then tried to put it on the frame only to find that it was way too small.  My pieces were exactly the same size as the original, the original wasn't stretchy or cut on the bias but somehow mine still wouldn't fit.  I ended up having to replace some of my pieces and add about 5 inches.  I don't understand why the difference but in the end I made it work.

The change is huge, Jody is thrilled with it and it fits perfectly in the baby's room.

Linking To
Monday - C.R.A.F.T., Making The World Cuter, Polly Want a Crafter, Simpsonized Crafts, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, The Girl Creative   Tuesday - All Things Related, Creative Itch, Domestically Speaking, Ladybug BlessingsSassy Sites, Today's Creative Blog, This & That, Topsy Turvy    Wednesday - Blue Cricket Design, Me and My Bucket   Thursday - A Glimpse Inside House of Hepworth, It's Sew Stinkin Cute, Somewhat Simple, The Train to Crazy, What Allie's Making Now   Friday - Creation Corner, Finding Fabulous, Tatertots & Jello

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Twitter Time

It's finally finished!

Those were my thoughts tonight and I just wanted to share it on the blog but the photos aren't ready.  Or the time I was so frustrated with my project I wanted to yell, or how about when I wondered the difference between bias tape and hem tape.  I have these crafty thoughts that I want to share and 9 times out of 10 I share them with no one but my husband.  Facebook may seem like an obvious choice but most of my friends probably don't care that I just ran out of thread and can't finish this project, or that I had barely enough bias tape or I'm bleeding from yet another pin related accident.  You however take the time to read my blog and see what I'm creating, I think of you when I start a project, hoping you'll like what I've done, I want you to join me not just at the reveal of each project but the little moments through out.

I've started a Twitter account and I'd love if you'd follow me, let create something beautiful together.

Friday, February 18, 2011

New Food Friday - White Corn Chili

Well you can hardly call what I did as following the recipe I found here on Sumo's Sweet Stuff but the results were tasty anyway (it's also not the prettiest dish). 
I picked up the ingredients for this recipe but I hadn't actually looked at the amounts, 6 cans of of beans?  Really?  I was not prepared to make that much so I altered my amounts a lot.

This chili was good but I won't make it again, I feel like I make similar dishes but they're tastier.  I'll give the original recipe below with my alterations in brackets.White Corn Chili
6 15 oz. cans Great White Northern Beans (I used 1 can white kidney beans)
6 c cooked, diced/shredded chicken (I used what I had left of a roast chicken, maybe 3 cups)
2 t Cumin (I used 1 t instead)
5 c chicken broth (I made my own broth from the roast chicken and used all of it, no idea how much there was)
2 medium onions - diced (I used one small-ish one)
2 4 oz. cans chopped green chilis (I just used one)
1 1/2 t oregano (I'm out of oregano so I skipped it)
1/2 t red or Cayenne pepper (1/4 t)
1/2 t pepper (1/4 t)
24 oz. tub sour cream
1 can white corn (i couldn't white so I used peaches and cream)
Boil onions in broth for 15 minutes. (I don't really know why you boil the onions instead of a quick fry but since my broth was already in the pot I went with it.)Add all ingredients except sour cream.Simmer for one hour.
Fold in sour cream (I added the sour cream to our individual bowls).
Like I said, it was tasty but will not make it into our regular rotation.  I think some tortilla chips would have been yummy with it but we were all out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Necklace Update

Recently I've really been trying to make more of an effort when it comes to my appearance.  That includes taking more time on my makeup and wearing more accessories.  I picked up this necklace at Payless shoes, I love the combination of the beads and chains and at $12 the price was right.

I really felt like I wanted it to be just a little bit longer though.  This length was a little uncomfortable to wear so I added some satin ribbon to the back to give myself some extra inches.  Now it hangs like this

I know it looks like hardly any change at all but it feels much more comfortable now.

The necklace looks like this now (sorry, no before of it on it's own but it was just a standard chain and lobster clasp).

I realize the ends of the ribbon are unnecessarily long but I'm too nervous to cut them shorter.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines Day Food

Updates to my blog lately would have you believe I've done hardly anything lately and the little I have done has been food related.  This isn't true at all though.  I've been sewing like a mad woman, obsessively working on a project that I'm so proud of, I can easily call it my best work yet (it also happens to be the most frustrating project yet).  I've also sewn a second project though both of these are gifts so they can't be posted until I give them, which will be soon.

Since I can't post the awesomeness I'll just keep to what I've been posting lately, food.

For Valentines Day I did what so many other women have done and made my darling a heart shaped pizza, complete with heart pepperoni.  

I've seen this done so often it almost seemed mundane but I forgot the important thing, Brad doesn't read all the crafty blogs and he hasn't ever seen this done.  He was very impressed and it was extra delicious.  I also made some bread sticks that were a letdown

and the most incredible cheesecake pops.

I expected them to be delicious but wasn't quite prepared for just how much I'd love them.  I dipped them in chocolate and then in graham cracker crumbs, toasted pecans, skor bits or drizzled with white chocolate.  They knocked our socks off and I can't wait to eat more of them tomorrow.

My best best friend Brad bought me some lovely tulips and dark chocolate covered almonds.  We celebrated the day with hockey and sewing, something for both of us.

It was a delicious day and you can bet you'll see cheesecake pops again.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Food Friday - Chicken Tortilla Soup & Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

This week I used another recipe from Our Best Bites and made Chicken Tortilla Soup.

While I enjoyed the soup I'm pretty sure I won't make it again.  There was nothing particularly wrong with it I just didn't enjoy it the way I wanted to.  I wouldn't make any changes, just wouldn't make it again.

The real find of the night though was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie.  This pie was so easy and delicious I want to make another.  It's every bit as delicious as the picture makes it look and you should make one immediately.  I'm not going to give you the recipe because you should all go Our Best Bites and enjoy the lovely site..

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 recipe Taco Chicken
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 cans chicken broth
1 15-oz. can chopped or diced tomatoes
2 jalapeno peppers (if you're scared, try serrano peppers; they're milder)
1/4 c. fresh lime juice (3-4 limes). Don't even think of buying the stuff in a bottle.
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Store-bought tortilla chips, or 2-3 corn tortillas, plus oil for frying
Sliced avocado or guacamole
Grated or crumbled cotija cheese
1/4 c. cilantro

Early in the day, begin marinating the chicken. Right before you start preparing the soup, start grilling it.

In a large stockpot, heat some olive oil (I can tell you right now that you'll never hear the words EVOO from my mouth. Or my fingers.) over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and minced jalapeno and cook a few minutes more until pepper is softened and garlic is fragrant. Add chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer 15-20 minutes.

While soup is simmering, juice the limes and set aside. Start preparing the toppings: grate the cheese, chop the cilantro, cut up the avocado or prepare the guacamole, and fry the tortillas. Right before serving, add lime juice and chicken to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into the bowls and add desired toppings.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Faux Chenille Blanket

Barely February and already two new years resolutions done.  The first was to put in a zipper which I did here, the second was to make a faux chenille blanket.  I found the tutorial on MADE and was instantly certain I'd make one.  I won't give you any sort of tutorial because Dana's is so good, she tells you everything you need to know.

Here is the beautiful finished product that I just can't stop looking at.

One side of the blanket is the daisy fabric, the back is 4 layers of cotton/flannel sewed into rows of diagonal lines and then cut and washed to create faux chenille.  A little pricey and definitely time consuming but the end result is so worth the effort.  Making one with a friend definitely helped with the tedium.

Here are my fabrics before I started.  The white and yellow are flannel and the others are all 100% cotton.

I enjoyed this blanket so much that I already have an awesome corduroy picked out for my next.  Now I just need to find a cute baby to give this one too.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Project Frustraion

I've just had one of the most frustrating project experiences I've ever had.  It's a problem that defies all logic and no matter how many times I try it won't work.  The fix is going to require a ton of work, lots of adjustments and more supplies; I'm mad.  Until this point this was a project that I was super pleased with.  Lots of little individual parts that get put together to make an awesome finished product.  Not only am I re-covering something truly ugly but I'm completely re-designing the style at the same time, that is if I can ever make it fit like it should.  Mad! Mad! Mad!

I needed to vent, I needed it off my chest, I needed to share with you.  Tomorrow I'll start with renewed stamina and things will be great but tonight I'm just upset.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Food Friday - Taquitos

In case you're new around here, New Food Friday is where I try a new meal and then report back on the success or failure.  I'd love if you'd join me but since there were no entries and linky tools isn't free anymore I'm dropping the linky.  Feel free to leave me a comment and tell me about your new recipe, I'd love to come back to your blog and check it out.

Since I've started making a new recipe a week we've eaten a lot of meals that were very blah, hardly worth mentioning but since I started recording them I've had some great successes.  I generally have low expectations of the new meals but for some reason I expected greatness of this meal and I definitely got it.  So yummy that we're going to eat them again tomorrow.

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic, or garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken (for extra yumminess, use grilled taco chicken!)
1 C grated pepperjack cheese

small corn tortillas (I used flour)
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.

Then roll it up as tight as you can.

Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

I wouldn't change anything about this meal except perhaps to follow her directions.  We used large tortillas, not small ones and you can see the edges were pretty brown but the middle wasn't.  The filling was very hot all the way through but the browning was uneven, I really should have used the small tortillas like she says too.  I also thought when I wrapped them up that the ends looked really empty so I stuffed some extra filling in only to have it bubble out while cooking so don't worry if you have empty ends, they'll fill up.

I got this recipe from a site called Our Best Bites and you can find the original with photos and a tutorial here.  This site is my new favorite and you'll probably see a couple recipes from here in the next little bit, everything looks delicious.  They recommend serving the taquitos with a Creamy-Lime Cilantro Dressing that sounds yummy and I would have made but I didn't have all the ingredients on hand.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Microphone Stand Case

Brad has a pretty big family (6 kids and they're all married with kids).  We get together for everyone's birthday which means there are lots of celebration.  Being on a strict school budget we generally only give birthday presents if I can think of something really cheap to make.  This means that usually the men in the family don't get a gift (have you ever seen a project on here for men?).  I always try to think of an idea but come up empty handed... lucky Byron is going to be the first to change that.

Him and my husband share a talent/hobby of music.  They're both very musical but the aspect I'm talking about is recording.  They've recorded choirs and plays and bands and all sorts of events meaning they have a ton of equipment that has to be hauled out every time.

My husband had mentioned once that I should make him a case for his microphone stands.  I'd said you bet and filed it away in the back of my mind since it wasn't a project I was excited about.  This is a perfect gift for Byron though since he has two of his own stands.  I think they're the worst to carry places.

We have some camp chairs that fit in bags and the size of the bag was almost the perfect size and shape for the stands, just a little short.  So I added some length and copied the design.

For the fabric I wanted something pretty stiff so it would hold the shape.  Canvas was the best I could find and it really doesn't hold it's shape well, the finished bag sort of looks like a pile of fabric but it's functional so I'm looking the other way this time.  You can read my post yesterday about the fabric, I had to dye some canvas to get black.

This bag easily holds two stands with room for probably two more.

I think my favorite part of this bag is the zipper though.  I made a new years resolution to put in a zipper this year and I was pretty intimidated.  I thought it was tricky but in the end I think it took 10 minutes and one try.  It was super easy and looks really good.

I can already check off one resolution and it's not even February.

(The fabric doesn't look quite as bad as this photo would lead you to believe.  Darn that flash and night time pictures).

Now I just need to make one for Brad too (he's quite jealous that Byron got one before he did)