Friday, January 30, 2009

Fabric Binge

A few months ago (well, when the after Christmas sale emails started flooding in) I went on a bit of a fabric binge. I just couldn't resist the great prices!! I bought quite a bit at eQuilter and some oilcloth from Mendels. My apologies that some of them are wrinkly, I didn't feel like ironing until later. Yes, I pre-wash and iron all my fabric. I know that's kind of a sticky subject for some people (especially quilters) but it's years of home ec lessons I can't shake.These two are destined to become skirts for next fall. I just LOVE the veggie print, won't it make a fun skirt?!
Next we have some halloween fabric (Halloween apron, I'm thinking), some Katy Jump Rope prints I will work into my scrappy log cabin quilt and really cute Schol Day Fun which I think will make an adorable centers for quilt blocks, such lovely muted colors.
These are Christmas fabrics I bought to restore my holiday stash. I made a lot of reusable gift bags this year and nearly ran out of red and green! The ornament print is also going to be the back of my wall hanging made with the blocks from a swap I was in for ornament pieced blocks.
And here is my bargain of all bargains. I got this Pampered Pooch quilt kit on ebay for a song! It has everything you need to make the 64" x 64" quilt top, including two jelly rolls, fabric for all the borders and extra for placemats. I have always loved this fabric line, it combines two things I love: dogs and retro prints! And here is what I have completed so far. I know, not much but I'm working on it at my leisure!

And while I was taking pictures around the craft room, I thought I'd take a picture of the bulletin board with all of Sully's ribbons. Now that we are in more advanced classes in our shows, we don't get quite as many blue ribbons as we used to in the easier classes that we aced frequently, but Sully still manages once in a while to win himself a ribbon and a toy

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lovely knitting paraphernalia

This post is LONG overdue. Quite a while ago, I won an online giveaway at Darcy's Knotty Knitter. I won the most gorgeous Leslie Wind shawl pin which I use on my shawl at work when it gets unbearably cold in the library and the most amazing thing, a cable needle necklace! During our trip to Ohio, I was working on a cable item for the county fair. I was using whatever I had handy (the handle of a crochet hook) as a cable needle and as we were driving, it kept falling under my car seat! This was SO frustrating! I cannot tell you how many times I sighed and flailed my hand around searching for it under there. Even a regular cable needle could get lost easily but the cable needle necklace is amazing! If only I had known about them before our trip!
This is a picture of a recent project, a cable hat. I love that the with the cable needle around my neck, it's is always right where I need it. I don't have to carry around a bag of knitting accessories or sit in one place where my tools are. And when you work the stitches off of it, you can just let it fall where it wants, it will be ready and waiting the next time you need it! It is awesome! This would make a very sophisticated and useful gift for a knitter. She will even engrave a message on the back for you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bartering!

I did a private swap with Jessica of Patisserie Jolie Bath Products. I sent her a pillowcase pinnie in this super-fun colore scheme chosen by her.And she sent me four of the most lovely soaps! I love handmade soap, I just can't get enough! She was so kind, I had only chosen 3 "flavors" but she was extra generous and sent me not only a fourth soap but also a pressed penny for my collection!Thank you so much to Jessica for the lovely trade!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Soup Swap, the cooking

In preparation for the soup swap at work, I spent this afternoon cooking a HUGE pot of soup! I had never made this recipe before so I wanted to make it today so that I could try again if it was bad. Great news: it is terrific! I picked this recipe for My Favorite Carrot Soup particularly because it says it freezes well. I tripled the recipe and it went all the way to the top of my biggest stock pot so I transferred some of it to another pot for the initial cooking. After pureeing it, I mixed it all together and added the last ingredient, orange juice! This recipe also has peanut butter and ginger in it, a really unique taste but still savory from the onion, garlic and spices. (See what soups I got in return at my post Soup Swap, The Swapping.)
All pureed and lovely! Another great thing about making it today is that I can participate in Joyously Living Life's Blogger Soup Swap!
Here they are on my freezer, there are two more behind these.

And for dessert! Actually, this is a cake we made last weekend so....there's none left but it was darn tasty! It's a chocolate blackout cake, the recipe is from Cook's Country. It is a homemade chocolate layer cake with scratch pudding filling and frosting and cake crumbles on the outside.

Carrot Soup
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
* 2 garlic cloves, pressed
* 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
* 1 teaspoon cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 lbs carrots, peeled and chunked
* 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chunked
* 5 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
* 1/2 cup orange juice
* 3 tablespoons peanut butter
* toasted pumpkin seeds (optional) or chopped cilantro, garnish (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
2. Saute onions with ginger, cumin, and cayenne until onions are soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic when you think there is about 45 secs to 1 minute left to achieve the soft onions [Do not let the garlic burn].
3. Add salt, carrots, potatoes, and broth and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
5. Add the peanut butter.
6. Puree the soup. This is most easily done with a hand-blender right in the pot.
7. Stir in orange juice.
8. Ladle in bowls and garnish if desired.
9. This soup freezes very well in tupperware. I'm sure it will freeze well for many months, however I don't know for sure because mine has never stayed frozen for longer than a month due to being eaten!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Book Cover Postcards


Old Reader's Digest Compilations have some wonderful, subdued colors and lovely wallpaper-looking patterns. I used some to create some postcards and thought I'd share it since it's so simple.

Remove the book's cover at the spine with an exact-o knife.

I created a simple document with corner decorations and a line down the center. Use images of old postcard backs for inspiration. Print these out and cut them to fit the book covers.
*UPDATE*
Here it is, the .png fle of the back for your use in creating postcards. It's pretty simple but I hope you enjoy! (Don't forget to click on the image for a larger version.)

A great place to find some lovely, vintage-looking goodies to add to your back is Briar Press, which I found via Design Freebies.

Adhere your printed backs to the inside surface of the cover with gluestick or scrapbook adhesive.

I didn't mind the raw edge (it gives it a bit of a vintage book shop/estate sale feel) but if you'd rather have a finished look, glue a length of coordinating ribbon along the edge.

Grab a cup of tea and you're ready for a little sit and sip. Write a little note to a friend, the perfect evening activity this winter!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winner, winner, tofu dinner!

MySpace Congratulations Comments

I got a record amount of comments, 90 in all! Thanks so much everyone for commenting and entering the contest! Drawn the old-fashioned way, using real paper ballots, the winner is:

5acre Designs

Here is her comment:
"I would love the Pillowcase Pinnie pattern. I like the retro apron look and would love to make one for myself. Very cute! Have a Blessed and Happy New Year!"

A lot of commenters mentioned that the Pillowcase Pinnie has a retro vibe or that it reminds them of their mom/grandma. Which is wonderful and definitely an inspiration I drew from as I remember my mom wearing lovely cobbler style aprons during noodle-making season! See her noodle recipe here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oven Trouble

Went home for lunch today, popped in a pizza and the element in our ancient wall oven burned out! It was quite a fireworks show! So now we can't bake our celebratory cake. :( We were going to make the Cook's Country Chocolate Blackout Cake. What are we celebrating? We hit 50 sales over at the Make-Do Mercantile! Whoopee! But now we have to settle for ice cream novelties. Everyone cross your fingers that the fridge doesn't go out too!

I have in the works some great tutorials for this year! I am working on one all about tofu and how to make it edible! And I've got one almost done that will make anyone who likes to send out unique mail! Any suggestions for things you might like to learn? Things that I might know. Oh, I'm also working on a Dog Shows 101 for those who don't know the first thing about the different events at a dog show and how they are run. I thought since I mention it so often, I should probably explain for those who aren't dog show people.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Valentine Card Swap

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Do you still like those little Valentine's that you used to get in grade school? I love them! So I am hosting a swap for them on Swap-Bot. Come join me, we'll be sending out Valentines to 10 "classmates" and getting that many back!
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