Thursday, November 29, 2007

Newest Crafty Stuff

Two days ago, a link of a link of a friend sent me to this site. The site is full of neat stuff to do. I picked the advent calendar for this week. And finished it this morning.

I am so enjoying this crafty time I have gotten in the last couple days. You will be seeing lots of craft and shows from me in the next week. I am getting things done. Mainly because I moved my entire sewing operation out of my cold garage (never got above 40* yesterday) and into the middle of the living room. Between that, a baby who gets into everything, and a backed up pile of laundry, the house is THRASHED. But man... am I having fun.

Another thing I have been making is bibs. I don't have snaps on these yet, and this is an AWFUL picture, but still, you get the idea. Undone edges seem to be my "thing" right now.

I also have three quilts in the works. *glee*
(Yes, this means I am getting more sleep for all of you who have seen the drama on my journal.)

You see this boy? The one who wears the cute bibs? Yeah, he was totally impressed.

Like, so impressed, he nearly fell over. LOL!


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Inexpensive Decor

I love things that are free (or for the most part) that look like you spent money on them. That is one of my favorite ways to decorate. If you look on decor in my Tag line you will see many cheap, easy, crafty, but totally classy ways to decorate.

This is the reason I love Martha Stewart... although I usually can't afford her ideas, but she has such a great way of thinking of things. You want to celebrate? Well here are 25 different craft ideas for that celebration to make it look like just invested your whole life into this party, when you really didn't. I just love looking through her magazine (I picked up about 20 at a garage sale for $.50 a piece one time and continue to look through them for inspiration even today...) and getting ideas.

Being a simi-crafty person myself, I like to take ideas that out of budget and fit it to us and our family workings. This is one that worked out like that.

All this is, is 20# fishing line, with two punched paper stars glued together to create a 'floating' look. It was easy. I even used a glue stick. lol! But man, the effect, even from inside the house, is very charming, don't you think?

And here is my token picture of one of my babies. This is Cyan, with her new animal love from Ikea (Foxes are the "thing" right now)... the baby is in a sling.

Cyan's quote for that day:

"Come on Mama, every baby deserves a sling!"


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Recipes

Even though I lit the the ham on fire (long story) the dinner was a huge success. We ended up only having one dinner, but because I had bought both dinners worth of food we had an obscene amount of food. It was a literal feast... and we are still eating it today in the form of a turkey Shepard's pie and turkey soup, and of course, plates of leftovers went home with everyone last night. The menu ended up being cut just slightly to this:

Cranberry Chutney with cream cheese and crackers
Ham with orange brown sugar glaze
Mashed potatoes with sour cream and cracked pepper
Mashed sweet potatoes with caramelized shallots and heavy cream
Baked Delicata squash and cooking apples with hazelnuts and pecans
Pear and pork sausage cornbread stuffing
Green salad with reduced apple cider vinaigrette dressing and walnuts
Sweet potato rolls
(with butter from Cyan's cooking lesson on Wednesday)
Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin cheesecake
(from Cyan's cooking lesson on Wednesday)
English tea cookies
Dark chocolate

And for the recipes:

Baked Delicata Squash with Hazelnuts and pecans

3 Delicata squash
2 Granny smith or cooking apples
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
salt to taste

Peal squash and dice both it and the apples with out cores (I didn't peal the apples). Put in a large baking dish and add nuts. Mix remaining ingredients except salt. Toss with nuts and squash mix. Salt and toss again (I used about a teaspoon and it could have taken a little bit more salt)
Bake in a 350* oven for 45 minutes or until the squash is super tender and nuts are soft.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with heavy cream and caramelized Shallots

4 lg sweet potatoes (not the yams... actual sweet potatoes)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 bulbs of shallots, diced
5 Tbs butter
Fresh ground cracked pepper to taste

Peal potatoes. Cut up into large chunks. Cover with water in a large pot and bring to a boil.
While these are boiling, take 1 Tbs of the butter, and melt it in a small frying pan. Turn the heat down to med low... and add diced shallots.
When the sweet potatoes are soft and breaking apart, drain, and put in a large bowl. Use old fashioned potato masher to mash them, and add the remaining butter, heavy cream, pepper to taste, and the shallots. Mix well. Serve hot. SO GOOD!

Pork Sausage and Pear Stuffing

Two pears (diced)
1 lb pork sausage (not links)
1 large bag cornbread stuffing squares
2 stalks celery (diced)
1 lg onion (diced)
2 sticks + 1 Tbs butter
1 tea Thyme leaves (dried)
2 tea fresh Sage leaves (minced)
1/2 cup yellow raisins
2 cups of water
2 cups of chicken stock or giblet stock from turkey

Melt 1 Tbs of the butter in a large saute pan. Add sausage and break up until browned and crumbly. Take out of pan and set aside on paper towels to drain.

Melt the 2 sticks of butter in a large stock pot. Add the 2 cups of water. Toss the butter liquid with the cornbread stuffing until liquid and butter are gone.

To the sausage pan (without washing) add the celery, onion, thyme, and sage. When onion turns mostly clear add in the diced pear, and saute' for another 5 or 6 minutes. If it starts to stick to the bottom at all, add a 1/4 of water or stock to loosen it all up. You want the stuff on the bottom of the pan in the stuffing... it adds a lot of flavor. When that is done, add the sausage back onto the pan and mix. Add raisins and turn over a couple times to coat them with flavor.

In a very large baking dish (I used a 10X15 Pyrex) put the stuffing bread, and the veggie sausage mix and toss. Add 2 cups of the stock, pouring over the top to moisten. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 350*. Take the cover off and cook for another 15 minutes to brown the top. If a dry, add the last cup of stock.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

2 cups apple cider
Cinnamon stick
2 Tbs honey
1/3 cup really good Apple Cider Vinegar

Put apple cider into a sauce pan and reduce by boiling to 1 cup of liquid with cinnamon stick. Remove cinnamon stick and stir in honey and vinegar. Bring back to a boil for 3 minutes. Turn off and cool completely. Use over spinach salad with Feta cheese, sliced apple, and walnuts.

Recipes that were not written by me:
(With links... of course. :) )

Cranberry Chutney

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Sweet Potato Rolls


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sunflower Quilt

I have been working on this quilt since early summer and it is finally done! I love it too.. it is too loud for most people, but I just love the oranges and 'body' of the design. It was the most fun to play with. The hang ups with it were completely machanical. Sewing machine broke, couldn't find a fabric to use for the back of it (as you can see that was fixed with the loudest fabric yet... I love it!), sewing machine broke again, then Logan decided not to sleep for a few months. lol... so it took a long time, but man... it is beautiful all finished and ironed.

I am thrilled to be done with it.

There are fabrics in this quilt from long before I was born. One of my favorites is the yellow with orange flowers just above the leaf in the center right. (There is a second square, finishing off the peice, under the flower and the red checker square in the center.) I have no idea when it was made, but it has been in my mom's stash in a 11X5 inch square for my entire life memory, at least. I have always loved it. When she gave it to me I promised myself I would put it in something worthy of the cuteness and creativity of the design.

I think I did it justice.

I am really enjoying looking at this quilt all finished. :D

And look at this cute little baby butt! He hasn't really walked any more than he did the day he turned 9 months, three weeks ago. 2 steps here, 3 steps there. But man, he can stand forever now... and loves standing next to his favorite love... the vaccuum. He follows it around going "ummmm... ummmmm..." pushing a block or one of his little Chevron cars while I vaccuum the house to keep him from tasting all the wonderful floor crunchies.

It is pretty much the cutest thing ever.


Thanksgiving Menu

So this year, due to circumstance, I am making two full Thanksgiving dinners. It is working out alright so far... but I am still in the shopping stage... lol...

Here is the menu for Thanksgiving Day:

Cranberry and green apple chutney
with orange zest cream cheese and whole wheat crackers
Turkey stuffed with cooking apples, onions, and sage
Cornbread, apple and pork sausage stuffing
Mashed potatoes with cracked pepper
Green Beans with garlic and Pinenuts
Baked Delicata squash with hazelnuts and pecans
Sweet potato rolls (with homemade butter via Cyan's cooking lesson the day before)
Green Salad with reduced apple cider vinagrette dressing
Pumpkin Pie with homemade nutmeg whipping cream
Dark chocolate. Shamelessly bought.

And the second meal on Saturday:

Pineapple/Jalapeno Chutney with cream cheese and multigrain crackers
All natural Ham (no sodium nitrate or MSG) with a orange juice and brown sugar glaze
Sweet potatoes mashed with heavy cream, shallots, and cracker pepper
Green salad with cranberries, walnuts, and feta cheese
Baked Delicata squash with hazelnuts and pecans
Rolls (my brother Jay is providing)
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Cookies, shamelessly bought

To both dinners, my little brother is sweetly bringing apple cider and egg nog for drinks. My dad will bring hard cider. So drinks are not on me... thank goodness.

I am going to be a busy bee! It will be easy on Thanksgiving day because the husband currently has T/W/Th off, but between Thanksgiving day and the weekend? Wish me luck!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chanterelle Kale Linguine

1 Pkg linguine noodles
1 bunch kale
1/3 lb Chanterelle mushrooms
5 cloves garlic
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs olive oil
1 tea salt
2 tea balsamic vinegar

Cook pasta per package directions... toss with warm water to stop cooking and prevent sticking.

Melt butter and add olive oil. This brings up the flash rate of the butter and makes it harder to burn. Add the garlic, minced. Add mushrooms and toss with garlic butter until they start to get soft. Cut up the kale in small pieces, and add after the garlic has started to clear along with the vinegar (sprinkle over the greens to spread it evenly). Add a splash of water if it starts to scald at all while cooking. Salt to taste and saute' until kale is done.

Toss with pasta and a bit more olive oil.

Top with some fresh grated Parmesan and fresh ground pepper.

It was so yummy! And a really good way to get my kids to eat dark leafy greens. ;)

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Well Trained Mind

This book was wonderful to read. I only got about halfway through the Pert Age (11 - 14) when I stopped because with Cyan only being in 1st grade, it didn't really apply to me.

They bring up many ideas. Things I agree with and things I don't. They have a strong emphasis on early education and how vital it is for the love to learn that most children loose through public schooling. Early reading is very crucial to her method.

She follows the classical education model, and provides TONS of resources, ideas and even schedules which have worked for her, her daughter, and her daughters children. It is a wonderful homeschooling resource and I recomend it to everyone... not just homeschoolers, but anyone who wants to know more about education in general.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Finished... well, sort of.

There are a lot of improvements I want to make to this design every time I make it. I would love to find a way to make the hat stay in place and still be the Disney's Robin Hood Maid Marion style Cyan wanted.

I would love to be able to find cool vintage wood buttons for the apron on the bodice... I would love to find a way to make the lace not look so ornate and at the same time be "pretty" as required. But all in all, I am happy with the way this worked out.

Very sweet outift.

And this picture...

all I can say is; I love my girl. :)


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sewing Again!

I have been sewing up a storm again... it isn't that often I actually get my sewing machine dusted off lately. It is hard to find the time with Logan, and especially since my machine is in the garage, and it is COLD out there... but this week, I have found the time. And I made this beauty for Cyan for her Pilgrim/Native American Thanksgiving Homeschool Party. I will get a better picture of it soon... I haven't hemmed the apron, the top of the apron still needs to be finished and she took off her cap, but man... she looks so cute!
We also made sillouettes of our kids. I think I am going to minuturize these and put them in nice frames for the grandparents for Christmas. It will be hard to get Logan, but what a sweet gift it would make! (I am surely going to do this for my own home...)

And here is my sweet girl, in her pilgrim outfit, with her Native American trading beads that she just made in a repeating pattern, and a big grin. :)


Friday, November 2, 2007

A Good Trade

I traded some of my work for a half share of my organic CSA. My friend, Heidi, and the owner of the CSA, asked for a quilt with a veggie theme and 'greens' for her new baby girl and 'some extras'... so this is what I worked out.

A quilt that is themed with Sweet Peas, a pillow case to match, and a knotted doll. The quilt is all cotton, backed with organic cotton sherpa (it is like the inside of a sweatshirt) and tied with coordinating embroidery threads in greens and pinks.

The knotted doll is all organic cotton, with a hardwood ring... perfect for hanging on the carseat for little hands to grab and little mouths to play with. I am really happy with the way this all turned out.

I hope she loves it! It was a great trade!
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