My Feelings on Felting


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....It's really neat!  I'm definitely doing this again.  :-)


In the shop it goes!

New Seats for Friends: How to Cover Bar Stools {Tutorial}


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Today I made a list of the unfinished things that need to be done around my home.  You know, things that you see but forget about until you see them again, but it's too late to do something about it right then.  There are lots of things on that list.  Tonight, I decided to cross one of the things off the list that didn't require money, just time - covering the bar stools.

Remember the wooden bar stools that my friends gave me the other week?  These stools don't have detachable legs, so I had to work around them.  Here's basically what I did, and I was finished in about an hour.

Voila!

Crocheting for a Cause


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Gloria, is asking her hooker friends if they would be willing to donate a square (plain or filet) with the IC awareness ribbon.  The deadline for having the squares to her is Feb. 15th, so there's plenty of time to make the square, she just needs your commitment.  Stop over by her blog to find out more on IC Awareness and to see the square pattern.

I've signed up, what about you? 

¡La Bufanda Está Terminado!


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I am in love.  Yes, you read it correctly.  In L-O-V-E.  With this thing called knitting.  The purple birthday scarf is now officially finished!!!  It was worth every stitch, every frog, every woven end.  I know that my friend will love this and I'm glad to have finished a knit project that wasn't smaller than my hand.  :-)

One skein sure does go a long ways in knitting.

Here are some views of the scarf:

 
 
 

Goodnight and I hope you have a great week ahead!

Knitted Scarf WIP


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So after doing much of the "to do" list, I was able to relax this evening and knit more of the purple scarf.  I have finished the body of the scarf and cut the 204 strands for fringing.  Now all that's left to be done is weave in the ends and fringe it.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and believe that this scarf will make the October 26th deadline.  :-D


This camera doesn't "understand" the yarn and yarn color too well.  When I get done I will try and get a more accurate viewing with my camera that I use for all of my Etsy listings.

Goodnight!



The Thing About Lists....


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Here's the unspoken truth.  Even when you make lists, you always, whether consciously or subconsciously, must make room for the unexpected.

I didn't expect an invite to pick fresh greens in my neighbor's garden, but it was a welcomed event despite the cold weather!  The greens look so healthy and tender.  Now I have to figure out what to do so I don't mess them up.  Maaaaa!!!!!


My neighbor helped my mom pick her two bags.  They helped me pick my one bag.  Then my neighbor and I helped another person pick her bags.  I guess it's safe to say what we'll all be doing in the next couple of days.  I'll wash these tonight and put them in my clean refrigerator.  :-)

This is What I Do:


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I am what I am.  A list maker.  This is what I do every single weekend, never fail.  I drink my tea and make my list.  Now, time to get going so things can be crossed off.  Every time something is crossed off at the top of the list I'm one step closer to the miscellaneous section which always includes crafting.  :-D

This is what I do.  How about you?

Thrifting


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After work yesterday, I went thrift shopping with a friend.  I was looking for wooden bar stools and she was just looking.  We stopped at a couple of nice consignment shops - it really does make a difference where they are located.  We were in the neighboring county that has a lot of upperclass people, so all the things in the consignment shops are usually really nice and name brands (if you're in to that).  Then we went to the Habitat store which is amazing.  It's a huge warehouse divided into "departments".  Three older sewing machines caught my eye because I'm always looking to find one that is unique and will sew those bags.  The last thrift shop we stopped at is really that - a thrift shop.  It's this house brimming with everything in every nook and crannie.  You have to dig, but the last time I found handkerchiefs and nice table napkins for my cousin and some fabrics for myself.  All together I maybe paid $5.  Yesterday, I ended up finding a cool skirt for $5 and two spoon racks for my mom.  She collects spoons from different states.  My friend found a few things she needed, although her husband will probably disagree.  :-)

Even the bag is cool!
Oh I can't wait to wear this with my tall brown boots!

So, no bar stools....until I took her back home and was explaining to her husband what I was looking for.  Then, voila!  He brought two wooden bar stools out of their apartment and gave them to me!!!  Why?  Because they bought them when they first came here but the stools were too high for their counters.  (They only paid $5 a piece for them at the flea market - I love thrifty friends.)  So now I have half of what I was looking for.  I'm excited to get ready to cover them to match the kitchen.  I have some leftover fabric from a seat I covered and I think it will be perfect for this space.

Here is my kitchen:



My parents cringed when they heard I was going to paint that knotty pine about two years ago,but now they love it.  The room facing it is still all brown but at least I can have these colors to brighten the day!

Here are the stools and the fabric I'm using for the seats:


After I got back in, I did take a few moments to knit 3 more inches to the scarf, so now I have 7" remaining before I can fringe.  :-)

Happy Saturday!

10" + A Giveaway!


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I haven't been crafting much lately, mostly due to a large workload, being utterly exhausted, and a touch of "I don't feel like crocheting" mood.  Thankfully after a good night's rest on yesterday, after I left work today, I felt the "craft bug" bite back.  And it's a good feeling.

After washing the dishes and having everything ready for work tomorrow, I picked up the knitting needles and sat down to watch Grey's Anatomy, my favorite show!, and Private Practice, which is back on my good list.  There was a little snippet of some show that I had on before Grey's but it was just on for noise and I don't even know what it was.  Anyways, I was able to finally get back to the knitted scarf and now I have only 10 more inches to go!!!  I was pumped because although I chose to frog about 3 rows because the yarn was doing something weird and unacceptable, I was able to reinsert the needles in the right direction and weave in the new end as I went.  Thanks, Chawne for that tip!

I won't post a picture until I'm done.

+++++++++++++++++++++++

About the giveaway - Ashley is having an amazing giveaway.  There are so many chances to win, so go over to her site and sign up.  :-D

More Soup!


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I ate the last of this one today for dinner.  You know the deal with the recipe.  :-)

Spicy Chicken Soup


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So this is the soup that was on my stove on Monday night.  Remember?  And this serving is the last of it.  This is one of those soups that has a little kick in the back of your throat, not just because of the ingredients, but also due to the jalapeño I threw in there for good measure.  Hey, I did seed most of it.  :-)

Another Taste of Home recipe:

Spicy Chicken Soup

4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (remember I only shred or let the meat fall to pieces)
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup uncooked long grain rice (I used little pieces of vermicelli)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 to 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
* and then that jalapeño for good measure, diced

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice and vegetables are tender.  Yield:  6 servings.

** My modifications:  I boiled my chicken in broth, then allowed it to stay in the pot, added the other ingredients, except the pasta.  Then when I was sure that it was almost ready, I added the pasta because the noodles were super small.  I love the Mexican section of this local grocery store because they have these small bags of "fideos" for 33 cents.  Why pay more when you can pay less?

Enjoy!

Still Not Really "Crafting"....


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Maybe I should reconsider naming this post because I think that cooking is a craft, it's just that my hooks and needles haven't been touched much lately (there seems to be no time).  I'm trying to make a soup 2 to three times a week.  (That's probably what happens when you buy a soup cookbook with over 500 recipes!)  I have a serving for dinner, save a serving for lunch the next day, give two portions to my friends, and freeze a portion.  So when I'm done soupin' I can have one kind of each soup in the freezer.

So tonight's "soup" was really a gumbo.  I sent this recipe to one of my Flickr friends and I thought I may as well try it out.  After rereading the recipe that I got from Taste of Home, I stumbled across it again in Allrecipes.com, realizing that "Hey, that looks like my picture up there!"  Duh, I made this gumbo last year....

So here's to gumbo.  It's not Sunday, but it is a "Sunday Gumbo." (and I sampled it and I was deeeelighted!!!)


As always, my version of the recipe is here.

In the words of my dear friend Kar, "Toodles Noodles!" :-D

Sunday Gumbo


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Ok, so this isn't what was on the stove last night.  I haven't taken a picture of that yet.  But, this is what was on the stove tonight.  My cast iron dutch oven is getting a workout!

Before I share this recipe, please note that although I do use a lot of recipes (I'm still learning this craft called "cooking"), when it comes to measuring spices, I don't.  I know what I like and although I use the recipes to help me figure out, if you will, the spices needed in a dish, I don't rely on them to tell me how much.

I realized after almost finishing making this, that I had made this before; however this time, it was much better.  A few more things about my quirky-cooking self:  1) I generally don't like cubed chicken in dishes like this; I prefer shredded.  2) The casings on sausages disgust me, so this time I took them off and added only the sausage meat.  3) Why put rice in the pot when you can pour the soup/stew over the rice?

I know what you're thinking, but at any rate, here's my "Sunday Gumbo."


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound Italian sausage links, sliced
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups frozen sliced okra

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a Dutch oven, brown sausage and chicken in oil. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. In the drippings, saute red pepper, onion and celery until tender. Stir in the seasonings; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, rice and sausage mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, shrimp and okra; cook for 10 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, stirring occasionally. 
 My modifications:  I didn't use marjoram.  Who has that on hand anyways?  I used a green bell pepper instead of red - cheaper.  My can of tomatoes was bigger than suggested and had some Italian herbs already - I used Furmano's.  Instead of brown rice, I just reused some of the rice from the black bean soup from before.  There really wasn't real measuring, just sample as you go.  I hope to have this at lunch tomorrow.    :-)

Original recipe found at Allrecipes.com

Enjoy!

 


Since I'm Not Really Crafting....


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Here's what I've been cooking:

Carib Black Bean Soup over Vegetable Rice with Mexican Cornbread (a really long title, huh?)


Recipe here.  And yes, it's good!  :-D

Oh, the Joy of Soup!


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When the weather changes, I believe it calls for warm, hearty dishes like soups. I think it is safe to say that as a kid I probably wasn't a fan of too many soups, but then again, I probably only had soup when I was sick with a cold. As timed moved on, my mom moved beyond chicken noodle soup into a wide variety. Now, as an adult, I am almost drawn to them, especially during the latter part of the year.

As I move beyond just broth-based soups, I've been enjoying discovering a variety of tastes and heat indexes!

What am I enjoying right now? A bowl of Carib Black Bean Soup over vegetable rice, along with a Mexican-inspired/Tex-Mex cornbread muffin. (And as always, a recipe follows.)


Carib Black Bean Soup
2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
4 cups of chicken broth
1 cup water

1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
chili powder


In a large stock pot, heat olive oil and add onion, garlic and chopped celery.  Saute until vegetables are softened.  Add bean, broth and water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer.  Add cayenne pepper, cumin, and chili powder.  Continue simmering until flavors are blended.  Puree some of soup in a blender and then return it to the pot to simmer.  Add vinegar, soy sauce, and pepper and simmer until done, which is basically until you are satisfied because everything is already "done" from the beginning. 


* I like my soups like this with a little kick, so I don't really measure the peppers.  If all else fails, I add hot sauce to my individual bowl, stir, and enjoy!



Mexican Cornbread
1 (8.5 oz.) box of Jiffy cornbread mix
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 (4 oz.) can of green chiles
1 (8 oz.) can of creamed corn
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a mix of Parmesan and Extra Sharp Cheddar)

Mix ingredients according to Jiffy package.  Add the remaining "extra" ingredients.  Bake in greased muffin pans in a 400 degree preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until done.
Vegetable Rice
1 1/2 cups of white rice (I used Basmati)
3 cups of water or broth

2 T minced onion
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
frozen peas
olive oil
salt

In a sauce pot, heat olive oil and saute onion, garlic, carrots and rice until the rice is translucent.  Add broth or water.  Add peas.  Add salt, if desired.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is done.

When serving, I place the rice in the bottom of the bowl and pour the soup over it.  Delicious!


And what am I cooking right now?  Another pot of soup, but you'll have to check back to see what kind!

The Life of Bean


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 * Thanks, Gloria, for an attempt to win this award.  
 

 HERE ARE THE RULES:

1. You can only use one word to answer each of the following questions.
2. Offer this to your fellow bloggers
3. Alert them that you have given them this award.
4. Have fun!!!

Okay, on to the fun part!

1. Where is your cell phone? bag
2. Your hair? natural
3. Your mother? home
4. Your father? chatting
5. Your favorite foods?  ethnic
6. Your dream last night? forgot
7. Your favorite drink?  flavored
8. Your dream/goal? peace
9. What room are you in? office
10. Your hobby? CROCHET
11. Your fear? lonliness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? content
13. Where were you last night? home
14. Something that you aren't? married
15. Muffins? chocolate
16. Wish List Item? traveling
17. Where did you grow up?country
18. Last thing you did? flickr
19. What are you wearing? clothes
20. Your t.v.? tiny
21. Your pets? nope
22. Friends? yes
23. Your life? blessed
24. Your mood? good
25. Missing someone? no
26. Vehicle? car
27. Something you're not wearing? makeup
28. Your favorite store? Craft
29. Your favorite color? changes
30. Last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? earlier
32. Best friend? no
33. One place I go to again and again? work
34. One person who emails you regularly? Alhana
35. Favorite place to eat? Home

I'm passing this opportunity to:  Alhana, CT, Ashley

¡Terminado! Finished!


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I'm finished!  Basically.  The bag is assembled and I'm pleased.  The only thing I want to do is serge the edge of the bucket bottom.  Zizagging is what I can do on my machine, but I love the professional edging that sergers can give, especially since this is a seam that you can see on the inside of the bag.  Since I don't have a serger, I'm going to see if I can go over to my neighbor's house and use theirs just for this part.  Once I finish those "loose ends" then I'll list this bag in my shop.  Maybe now that the apron and bag are finished, I can finish crocheting this hat I've been working on and knitting that scarf.  :-)

Aha!!!


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YES!  I went to Wal-Mart after work today and they still had some of the jean thread.  So I got not one, but two spools - just in case I make something else out of the jean material that I have left over.  Y-E-S!!!

Who Knew?


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Who knew that there was a "jean needle"?  So, apparently I'm a little hard-headed, but maybe this time it's okay.  The sewing machine shop lady told me not to use this jean thread in my machine.  Apparently I needed, according to her, a heavy duty sewing machine to make these bags out of heavy material like jean.  The thing is, I've sewn on jean material before with this same machine, so I started asking real seamstresses for their opinions.  My summation of all that I heard was, "make sure you use the correct needle for the type of fabric and thread."

With that being said, I was directed to some "jean needles".  Surprisingly enough, Wal-Mart had them!  And so far (I'm crossing my fingers and knocking on wood) I haven't had any problems.  Except for now I've run out of thread and am crossing my fingers that Wal-Mart still has this thread.  Push come to shove, I can finish the rest of the bag without it, but I won't be able to topstitch the bottom edging and sides of the bag.  So, I hope that I can find this thread again because the color is authentic.  I've never run out of thread on one project before.  Maybe this spool was smaller because the thread was so thick. 

So this is my sewing WIP.  I have been assembling it tonight.  All that's left is sewing the sides and bottom of the bag, adding the pocket closure and topstitching.  I love this pattern!


Here is the basic part to the bag.


Here is the lining.  It's a check pattern.














Alessandra, these are the pins I mentioned a while back.  I guess they are quilting pins, but they look like flowers and they're super long so I really like them.  :-)

Preparing the Birthday Surprise


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I've been wanting to use my sewing machine for so long, but have been distracted by crocheting and wanting to practice knitting so of course, the machine stayed in its case.  Finally I pulled it out to begin working on that bag and then the bobbin timing went out and I had to put the machine in the shop.  Now, after days of having it home, I was finally able to make something tonight.

My friend that gave me all the fabulous yarn from Peru is having a birthday at the end of this month.  The knitted scarf that I'm still working on will be hers as well as this apron.  She mentioned some time ago about wanting an apron.  These pictures don't do it justice so I will try and take better ones later, but I'm excited about this finished project!  Of course, I still have to finish that scarf....


and now I  have to go clean up my mess before saying goodnite.  :-)

p.s.  I made a delicious and easy potato leek soup tonight too.  Um..yummy. 

They're Ready


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If you're interested in seeing some pictures from the field trip to the local camp, then click here.

Happy Sunday!

Camp Millstone


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Recently, I took a trip to a local campsite sponsored by the 4-H Club.  It was a time for learning about ecology.  This is one of my favorite local trips not only because I get to learn a little more about nature, but also because I can take my camera along.  Here are a few  highlights from that day:

Saturday Tidbits


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Happy Saturday, everyone!

Here, the weather is a bit chilly.  It's time for me to find some warmer apparel.  I like being warm.

Here are the tiny tidbits of what's happening or has happened:
  • The field trip was great!  And only one person in my group managed to be stung by a yellow jacket - and she was my volunteer.  I'll let you know when pics are ready for viewing.
  • Thursday I got another sale and I put that package in the mail on yesterday.  That makes me have 4 sales.  :-)
  • I finished the ribbed scarf and have now posted it in my shop

  • My sewing machine was ready for pick up on yesterday and so it's now happily in my home.  I missed her.
Well, that's about it.  I'm happily sipping on a cup of hazelnut creme coffee.  Yes, it's decaf and it's soooo good!

Have a great day!