Calling All Designers, Writers....


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So you like to design patterns?  Maybe your passion is writing stories?  Well, look at what I stumbled across today?  An up-and-coming magazine that is looking for just those things I mentioned.  I sent for an inquiry to get the details, but what I saw looks very interesting.  You should check it out:




My Traveling Scarf is Back


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At the beginning of the year I participated in a traveling scarf project with some members of a Flickr CAL group that I belong to.  Everybody crocheted or knitted about 6 inches of a scarf wrote a little in a journal and sent both to the next name on the list.  Each month (or so - things happen, you know) someone was writing in your journal and working on your scarf.  We had some bumps along the way, but we had a great time.  I'll admit that it got harder to match yarns and styles as you got further down the scarf, but I think everyone will be pleased at their final product.  I know I love mine to pieces!  I wore it to church tonight with my brown peacoat and got many compliments!  Thanks, gals.  :-)


Don't you just love this?

Opal Twist Memory Handbag


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I wanted to let you know that I finished the custom handbag tonight and had it delivered.  So, yes, I made the deadline!!!  Now I can take a few moments to relax before it's....Christmas Day!

This handbag is my own design.  On the front there is a place to hold 3 photos, as requested.  The inside of the handbag is lined with an Egyptian print material.  I hope the recipient enjoys this bag.


Messenger/Laptop Bag Giveway


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This is a very cool giveaway sponsored by Fox & Locket, IMO. 

Note: Fox & Locket has a "one for one" policy/mission - for every bag sold a book bag with a 2nd hand book is donated to an under privileged child in South Africa AND for every dress sold, a dress is donated to an underprivileged girl.

So how do you win this very cool bag?  Head over to Being Brazen's blog and enter there.  Best wishes! 

Deadline:  January 4, 2010

Tigerlily's Hosting a Giveaway


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Visit Tigerlily's blog for a chance to win your very own snackTaxis set (one sandwich sack and one snack sack).  These fabric sacks are the great alternative to the oh so familiar plastic sandwich bags.  So, go on over to Tigerlily's spot to get the guidelines and enter for your chance to win!

Deadline:  December 27, 2009.  The winner will be announced on December 28th!

2nd Handbag Update


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Today I've been busy cleaning out this junk storage room.  Thankfully I had the help of a master organizer/cleaner neighbor.  She literally went to town in there.  She shoed me away so that she could get busy and I worked in the kitchen.  Let me tell you this also - the antibiotic is really working!  I've had more energy and felt better today than I've felt in the past two weeks!  Also, my brother got home safely around 2 a.m. this morning.  Yay!

Because of the schedule, I couldn't get back to the handbag until tonight.  I've got a bit of the idea for the front but I didn't want to waste too much time contemplating over it, so I did what I knew I could do - starting the lining process.  I picked out this ethnic print I bought this summer - something Egyptian.  (When I take the official pictures I'll be sure to show the lining better.)  The lining is pinned on three sides, leaving the fourth side open so I can stitch the front part of the bag.  So far, I'm pleased at how the bag is coming together, and I hope to finish it tomorrow. 



Toodles!

Handbag Update


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I just finished the shell of the bag and tried a new stiffening method using water and spray starch.  It'll be interesting to see how that part turns out.  At any rate, I stuffed the bag with plastic bags and also placed a plastic canvas piece in the bottom of the handbag to help keep the shape.  The handles are already picked out.  Tomorrow I will start the lining process as well as the front design for her pictures.  The picture design is still twirling around in my head, but I know something will come.  I just feel good knowing that the crocheted part is basically over.


Good nite!

So Little Time...


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My doctor finally called in an antibiotic for me today!  Thank you!  My throat has been so sore  that everything, I mean everything is painful to swallow.  Water hurts.  Juice is quite painful.  Food feels like sandpaper.  Ouch!  But now that I have this antibiotic in hand, I hope to feel better soon.

So what have I been doing?  Alternating between cleaning/decorating the house and crocheting.  Nothing else, or so it seems.  I finished up my last portion of the last traveling scarf and got that mailed off.  I actually received my own traveling scarf today, but I'll be a good girl and wait until Christmas to open the package.  :-)

I've also been working like mad on that custom handbag.  My co-worker friend has given me the deadline of Christmas Day, but I know I need to have it done before then so I can take it to her.  I think the hardest part isn't actually making the bag but it's that I don't have a pattern and I'm still trying to design and craft simultaneously.  Note to self:  Don't do this ever, ever again.  I have faith that it will turn out just fine, but I will admit I'm in a bit of a tailspin here.

My obligation to grandma's Christmas dinner is a sour cream pound cake.  I can't even think about cooking yet though, but it is one of my favorite cakes to bake.  (I'll be sure to post pictures, but here's an old picture with the recipe.)  Also, my brother's driving in from the cold and snowy Michigan today/tomorrow.  He left this morning, so I pray for his safe travels.  Will you do the same?  It's like a 14 hour drive without snow.

Well, gotta go finish off these mashed potatoes and then more crafting!

It's Finally Here!


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Y-E-S, the Christmas vacation is finally here!  When the announcement was made that we could go home early, I practically did a backflip out the door!  Who hoo!!!

Today was a fast-paced day.  One of the main highlights was the Winter Concert.  The 4th & 5th grade Chorus did a production of "Annie Jr." and the K-2 kids sang all kinds of wonderful Christmas tunes.  And I took lots of pictures.  The only ones ready now are (of course) the food pics from the ESL holiday party.

Well, I wanted to show you the Christmas surprises that were awaiting me today:


A few things from kids and/or their parents, teachers, you know.  Yes, a teacher gave me an actual knit top!  I think she heard me say how much I hate shopping for clothes.  lol  A parent decorated the tote bag.  Hey, maybe it will be my new yarn bag.  And another parent gave me that Stitchery book.  Fellow crafters always know.  It's such a cool book on different stitches for cross-stitch, embroidery, crochet, etc.

After I got home from work, my mom gave me a pre-Christmas present.  (We tend to do things a little differently around here...gift-giving whenever and not necessarily on the 25th.)  Anyways, she gave me a bag of decorations!  Why?  Because she knows I'm trying to get seasonal decor throughout the year on a dime-budget and my mom loves going in those thrift and consignment shops, especially in the nearby upscale places.  So she gave me this part of my gift earlier so I could enjoy it around the house.  (After Thanksgiving she gave me a house full of fall decor for less than $5.00 total.)


I know the real reason for this season is not about giving/getting gifts, decorating the house, or getting off of work, but it sure is fun.  :-)

Have a great weekend!

She Wanted a Hat to Match!


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So after I delivered the green and gold polka dotted scarf, she asked, "Could you make a hat to match?"  I must admit it's different making a hat specifically for someone you know than just making hats that someone, somewhere can fit.  I also had to get the polka dot placement right because it's on your head.  I know I frogged this hat many times, because although I took measurements, I wanted it to be just right.  The funniest thing about these past projects and the next one to come is that although I had no intentions of designing patterns any time soon, I'm being coerced right into it because of the customer demands.  It is intriguing and a test of my brain.  It's also the reason I've frogged these projects so many times!

So here's the Raider Pride Polka Dotted Hat.  Yes, the pom pom is detachable.  Now I'm sure she'll get some attention at the games.  :-)


This image is a truer depiction of the colors than the scarf image in the previous post. 

Tomorrow is the last day of work before the holidays begin.  My gifts are wrapped for my co-worker friends.  And more of my "Holiday To Do" items are crossed off my list.  I have my last traveling scarf that I want to finish and mail to the recipient A.S.A.P.  That means mine will come soon too!  Oh, joy!

Good night sweet friends!

Life


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How come when everything is okay, you don't always do what you know you should, but the moment you begin to feel a little bad, suddenly you remember all the things you said you were going to do differently this time last year?

Oh sinuses, why do you hate me so?



Thanks mom for being so creative!  I had an message on my cell phone stating that the hen and the succotash my Mom had cooked  earlier had been reinvented into a soup.  Right on time, Mom!  Right on time.

And Then There Were More...


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Polka dots, that is.  I finished the custom polka dotted scarf Sunday night.  This one is for a Richmond Raider fan. 

Cheerleaders:  "When I say green, you say gold.  Green!"
Fans:  "Gold!"
Cheerleaders:  "Green!"
Fans:  "Gold!"
Cheerleaders:  "When I say number, you say one.  Number!"
Fans:  "One!"
Cheerleaders:  "Number!"
Fans:  "One!"

Yeah, you know you remember those cheers, cheerleader or not!


Showing Raider Spirit!

I Looked, Touched, But Did Not Buy...


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After finishing Caroline's polka dot scarf, I received another custom order from a co-worker for a green and gold polka dotted scarf, like Caroline's but thinner.  Fortunately I had the perfect colors which had been purchased near the beginning of the high school football season.  Remember when I was going to make high school neckwarmers, but didn't?  Anyways, I worked on that scarf faithfully on Wednesday until almost all of the green yarn was gone and I needed to add one more foot!  I asked a friend to check the Michael's in her city.  No yarn.  Not even a label where it used to be.

So today, I attended a day-long conference in the capital city.  The hotel was not too far from a nice Michael's.  A big Michael's.  I called and YES, they had the yarn.  Can you believe that I purchased only that one skein and the yarn for a custom bag I need to begin?  The only other thing I bought was 2 chocolate individual candies.  That's also a ritual when I go into Michael's, Waldenbooks, or Hallmark.  To get one of those chocolate balls.

So folks, I do have some will power.  I am still adhering to the yarn diet, but I have to admit, I looked, touched, but [thankfully] did not buy!

Happy Saturday!

Yay! I've Been Treasurized.


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Thanks, Kaati for featuring my Sunrise, Sunset Bag in your Etsy Treasury!  You rock!  Go Team EAOC!!!


***ON SALE!!! ***


The images are linked to their respective Etsy pages.

Making a List, Checking it Twice (Pt. I)


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You know how I am about my lists, so I made a list of handmade items I would like to give throughout this holiday season and miscellaneous crafting tasks to be completed.  Then I put deadline dates beside them so I would know what the working order was, even though sometimes you feel more in the mood for one crafted item over another, but that's not new.

  • Before Thanksgiving I received three traveling scarves nearly at once!  After completing the polka dotted scarf, I was able to add my portion to both scarves last night and today.  Both of them were mailed off today.  I'm the last person for the 3rd scarf so I have a wee bit of time for that one.
  • I'm gifting some yarn to a teenager that assists me at work one day a week for a couple of hours.  I found out that she's quite handy with those knitting looms so I think yarn is appropriate.  Plus a McDonald's gift card -she loves that place!
  • I'm semi-designing a crocheted memory tote for a co-worker so I'll be working on that really soon.  
  • Got another order for a skinnier polka dotted scarf - this one in our high school team colors.  Can you believe I already had the perfect yarn?  But, I sent someone to pick up an extra skein because I know it won't be enough.  (Yes, it's within the diet guidelines.)
That's about it for now.  Less computer time = more crafting time, but I want you to know I'm still here.  I'll catch up when I can.  :-)

Image source:  http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/3714003/2/istockphoto_3714003-making-list.jpg

5 Feet of Polka Dots


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Yes, 5 whole feet and then some...  I finished Caroline's scarf this morning and I am pleased.  It was worth frogging the other attempt and I think she's going to love this.  A happy scarf for a happy person.  :-)



I'm thinking about writing a pattern/chart for this, what do you think?

It's Official. I'm Going On a Diet.


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Yes, you read it correctly.  I know you have doubts and you think that I have gone mad.  The truth is you only see the outside (or what I show you in my pictures), but I see the truth behind the closed doors and something has to give.  I've tried before and failed.  In fact now, even my drawers are starting to bulge.  At that, I know I must do something.  I didn't know what to do until I read a post on BrownBerry's blog and then I knew that I had to make a sacrifice in order to do what's best for me both mentally and physically.  The first step is admitting there is a problem.  So, I'm admitting it, "I have a problem."  Now that I'm no longer in denial, I can openly accept the help that is available to me.  So thank you BrownBerry.  Because of your influence, I'm going on a diet......A yarn diet!

For 6 months I will not purchase any new yarn.  So mark this date on your calendar:  June 5, 2010.  I will be content with whatever I can create out of the abundance that I have.  Therefore I will shop from my PYS (Personal Yarn Store).  I will not solicit any new yarn, but I will receive yarn that is gifted to me without solicitation.

Now here are the few exceptions.  I will purchase yarn:
  1. For custom orders for my Etsy shop or face-to-face customers.
  2. If I'm making something for someone out of my stash and I'm close to finishing, but run out of a specific yarn.  I will allow myself to purchase the one skein to finish the project.

I appreciate your encouragement so that I don't fall off the wagon!  Now, let the creativity begin! 



Image credit:  Peggytoes

I'm Covered!


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In what, you ask?  YARN!  I've been taking it a bit easy tonight.  Snuggled in and covered with yarn.  I'm at the halfway mark on Caroline's scarf, but I took a mini break and fringed one end.  Now I'll work a little more on it and call it quits for tonight.  Hopefully I'll finish this soon so I can begin working on a custom order bag/purse.  I'm still thinking about what I'll do on that, but for now, I'm basking in the joy of this Vanna yarn!  Oh, this is going to be such a happy scarf.  :-)


I Don't Know What's Come Over Me, But


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I'm just loving R-E-D.  This time, brick red.  It's just so classy.  A while back I ordered a Ziploc bag full of upcycled buttons on eBay.  Now, I see that they are coming in handy.  Don't you just love that button?  :-)


Of course you know this is in the shop

I'm still working on Caroline's scarf.  Actually, remember I showed you a sneak peak?  Well, I frogged it, started over and now I'm loving it more.  I hope she really loves polka dots as much as she thinks she does because it's like a polka dot explosion!  :-)

One For the Road


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So yesterday I posted the scarlet red beret.  Today I present the dark gray heather beret.  Same pattern.  Different color.  Different size.  This one has way  more slouch factor!

In the shop!

More to come...

Be Bold. Wear Red.


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I finally got the chance to photograph one of the berets I made.  This one is scarlet red and is in the shop.  Ooh la la!

Hope you enjoyed your weekend!

"Caught, Brown-Handed!"


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exclaimed one of my students today!  For you see, today was the last day before the Thanksgiving holidays, and my class was assigned a Social Studies project where they had to dress in Colonial attire.  The catch was that they couldn't purchase anything and they still had to wear their school uniform.  "Modify it," I told them.

So today, we all came decked out in our very interesting versions of what the Colonial people wore.  Not Pilgrims, mind you, but more along the lines of the middling class of people.  I could tell who'd been in my class fabric stash.  I saw hand stitched aprons, bonnets of sorts, long socks, actual stockings on some, vests, suspenders galore!

Students made different craft projects throughout the day, one of which was pomander balls.  I spread out newspaper, explained the craft and let them have at it.  Basically, they taped off a cross area of their fruit, pressed cloves into the untaped areas, pricked extra holes around the fruit and then had fun rolling the fruit into ground cinnamon.  "Can we eat it?" I heard what seemed to be a thousand times.  And a thousand times more I said, "No!"  But I still caught kids sniffing the cinnamon.  And I must admit, I did too.  I love that smell.  :-)

After the fruit was adorned with all those prickly spices, the tape was removed and a ribbon tied around it.  This is a traditional Colonial craft and was very popular during Christmas time.  As the fruit dries, the smell will continue to linger.  Place these balls in your closet, in your drawer, or in bowls on your table.  Your house is sure to smell something good!  Maybe you'll even be caught brown-handed!


Ummm, Cider!


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Last night I attended a housewarming event with a friend.  There, I met this wonderful cook from Guyana who shared her recipe for apple cider with me.  Have I ever put bay leaves in cider?  No!  Was it good?  Y-E-S!!!  Simple recipe found here.  My mom approved.  Now it can go on the Thanksgiving menu.

Hot Apple Cider


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Last night I attended a Housewarming Event with a friend from work.  There, I met a cooking woman from Guyana.  When I say cooking, I mean, she prepared almost every dish, including the drinks, and it wasn't even her housewarming.  Outstanding!

While sampling some of the food, after taking a series of photographs for the honored guests, this woman told me her recipe for hot apple cider, so I decided to give it a try today.  That way I would know if I could pull it off for the real cooks in my family at Thanksgiving.  My mom tried it, gave her nod of approval, so I guess that's a go-ahead.

Hot Apple Cider
Ingredients:
1 gallon apple juice (any cheap brand will do)
4 or 5 bay leaves (What?)
handful of cloves
a few sticks of cinnamon
brown sugar

Directions:

Boil about 2 cups of water with the seasonings until the water is infused with the flavor of the bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon.  (She told me to remove them at this point, but I kept them in.)

Add the apple juice to the spiced water.


Simmer forever.


Add brown sugar to taste.

Yes, I'm going to strain the drink.  I'll make a new batch of this on Thanksgiving Day, but I'll keep it warm in the crock pot and then I'll get out of everyone's way because I'm not old enough to be in the kitchen with them, even if they are using my kitchen.


Saturday Update


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Last week I had a few moments to craft.  I was excited about that Vanna yarn that I was able to get on sale and couldn't wait to feel it across my fingers and hook.  I made 3 hats:  a wavy bucket hat with freeform crocheted pin and 2 berets (one small one in red, one large one in a dark, heathered gray).  I also started on the polka dotted scarf, which I haven't been able to get back to, but I will in due time.  I'll post the real deal pics when I'm finished with them and/or ready to list them in the shop

Yesterday, I was finally able to go to a Wal-Mart that hadn't gotten rid of their sewing/craft section.  Finally, I was able to get my hands on the fleece I've been longing for for weeks now.  You know I don't like multiple WIPs so it's important to me to finish them and move on.  Now with the fleece in hand, I can try the idea I've had in my head for a while and see if it'll work.  Then that project will be complete too. * Don't you love how I'm non-specific? *

Oooh, fleece!

I'm steadily getting ready for Thanksgiving Holidays too.  The A/C folks came by this morning to service the heating and cooling system.  I'm waiting on a man with a ladder to replace the bulbs on my flood lights.  I'm also waiting on the guy that's cutting the grass to come.  I love how he edges up the place.  He's very neat like that.  A friend is coming over to help me further prepare the house for the holidays - mopping, cleaning walls, vacuuming...  I think we'll even make pomander balls.  They smell soooo good!  My mom gave me some of her fall foliage for decorations.  I haven't put them out yet, but here's some of what is done on the dining room table.  The pine cones in the center smell like cinnamon.  Ummmm....

The table runner is really more red than this pic shows.   
Mom sent a place setting by also to see how it would look.  We're doing paper/plastic this year.  The setting is on a gold charger.

Well, that's about it for now.  I've got lots of work to do in so little time.

Until then,
Libby :-)

"He Never Sleeps"


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Every now and again, I get in the mood to hear MUSIC without all the instruments drowning out the vocals.  Today was one of those days.  "He Never Sleeps".  It's very soothing.  I remember my brother and I jamming to this album back in the day.  When Columbia House offered it on cd, I had to have it.  It wasn't like my brother would let that record out of his possession.

Can you believe You Tube doesn't even have Take 6's song?  So, I give you a group performing their rendition of Take 6's "He Never Sleeps".  Not perfect, but who can really touch Take 6?:


Salmon on Saturday


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Baked Salmon
Score salmon.  Rub a little olive oil on top.  Season it with Spike No-Salt Seasoning, chopped garlic, and lemon juice.  Lightly grease a pan with a little olive oil.  Place salmon in pan, skin-side down and bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

I served my salmon with some steamed baby spinach and the coconut rice from earlier today.

Yum-O!

Another "In-Between" Meal


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Tonight I plan to eat baked salmon, but I needed something in between that simple brunch and then, so I dug out what I could find and started throwing things together.  This is what I came up with:

Vegetable Stir Fry over Coconut Rice



So I just basically grabbed just about every firm vegetable I could find, except for those parsnips, and added some baby corn and cabbage.  It's seasoned with a little sesame oil, some chopped fresh ginger, an Asian spice mix I have, and a squirt of this Thai Chili Pepper Sauce.  The rice is pretty basic:  basmati rice cooked in coconut milk instead of water.

Until then...

It Was Good


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I read and watched all kinds of crazy You Tube videos on how to eat a pomegranate.  In the end I just picked them out by hand.  It was good.  A bit sweet and tart at the same time.  Sort of put me in the mind of cranberries.  I read somewhere that pomegranates were good for your heart, so all the better, right?

I wonder if anyone ever held a pomegrante eating contest?  Hum...

Time for Brunch


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So this is today's brunch:


  • Pancakes with cinnamon & nutmeg
  • A fried egg
  • Half a pomegranate.  (I had to google how to eat this; only had the juice, but not the fruit.  lol)
  • Orange juice
Happy Saturday!

Tying Up Loose Ends


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Some time ago I started a pom pom hat to match the espresso brown fleck scarf I made.  I don't like to have outstanding WIPs, so this week I finished the hat.  It has a detachable pom pom!


 
 

Remember the traveling scarf project?  Well, it's nearing the end and as of this week, I have two scarves in my possession.  It's getting really hard to think of ways to add to the scarves when you get closer to the end, but I think everyone will enjoy theirs.  :-D

Broiled Citrus Tuna with Rice and Steamed Spinach


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I was off work today in celebration of Veteran's Day.  After getting some Vanna Yarn on sale at Michael's for a custom order - that polka dotted scarf, I came home and made this dish.



You can always find out more on my other blog.  I thought I would do some serious crafting today but in the end I did some serious napping.  lol  Looks like after I wash my hair, I'll just have time to attach the pom pom onto a hat I finished yesterday.  I'll take pics when I can.  :-)

Broiled Citrus Tuna with Rice and Spinach


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I'll admit it.  Before tonight, the only tuna I ever ate came from a can.  Time to try something new, right?  Well today I went to the nearest Harris Teeter store and decided to purchase some tuna medallions since they were on sale.  I figured I figure out how to cook them when I got home.  Let me just say that I'm enjoying this fish.

Let me also add that ever since I bought this bag of peeled wheat, I've been trying new ways to eat it.  The peeled wheat and rice dish is a winner!


Tonight I was in my "I'm not really going to measure because I don't feel like doing many dishes" mood so you'll have to bear with me.  :-)

Broiled Citrus Tuna

Marinade:
  • olive oil
  • juice from half of a lime
  • juice from half of a lemon
  • a little orange juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • dash of soy sauce
  • a little rice vinegar
  • a little honey
Place tuna in a Ziploc bag along with the marinade.  Place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.  (I didn't wait that long because I was "hongry!")

Broil for 6-8 minutes on each side.  There should still be a little pink in the inside.  You don't want the tuna tough.

Rice and Wheat Dish
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 package of Herbox Sodium-Free Chicken Bouillion
  • about 3/4 cups of peeled wheat
  • about 1/2 cup of rice
Bring water and bouillon to a boil.  Add peeled wheat and cook until wheat begins to soften some but isn't done.  Stir in rice and cook until both are done.

I served this with steamed baby spinach.  Water, a dash of salt and that was it.


Bon Appetit!

Caroline's Coin Purse


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This evening, I finally made Caroline's coin purse.  She had asked me to make one a bit ago, but I couldn't decide what I wanted to do.  The body of this purse is the same as I have made in the past, but I added crab stitching to the edge and a colorful button.





Now I have to think of the scarf she requested.  Polka dots, here we come.  :-)

Good Night!