Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pinterest Success {and Failure}

I finally joined the rest of the world and got on Pinterest.  
I know, I'm way behind the times...
It's not that I don't love Pinterest. I do.
My reason for holding out was that I *knew* I would get sucked in 
and it would become another distraction in my already busy life.  
 Well, I'm trying to prove myself wrong...

I decided from the beginning that I needed to exhibit some (or a LOT of) self control or I would become one of those crazy pinners that pins everything.  I can't be that girl.  So my thought process is that I can only pin things that I really like or that I will actually do.  If it doesn't pass that test then...I move on. 

  In the interest of *doing* here are some things I've tried and loved (and one fail) from my Pinterest Boards.  (Click on the pics to be taken to the link).

First off, I am finding a wealth of tips that are changing my world. Duh! :)
Like how to keep cilantro fresh longer (below) and how to make your own cleaner.  The thrifty-do-it-yourself-girl in me is pretty happy right now.   BTW, my cilantro is still fresh!  Yea!

From Vegetable Gardner
And much to the chagrin of my kids I'm trying new recipes. (Why do kids hate trying new foods?  Or is it just mine?  Frustrates me.)  The hubs and I thought this soup was yummy.  We added ham and green onion to the final product.  Delish.
From Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour
 So many cute crafty ideas that I'd never think up on my own.  For Thanksgiving we made these edible turkeys.  Of course ours turned out not-so-perfect as these, but everyone had fun making them, which for me is kinda the point.
From Our Best Bites
Last night the kids and I did a bit of chocolate dipping and candy cane breaking to make these hot chocolate marshmallows for neighbor gifts.  Ours are turned out almost as cute. :) 

 From Liv Life

 The kids are dying to try one of these out themselves.  I told them we'd have them as a special treat sometime during December.  Am I a mean mom, or what?!

Our one fail (so far) is that we tried to decorate dollar store plates with sharpies.  I found a pin that said to let your kids draw on a plate, bake it in the oven, and the drawing becomes permanent. Umm..It doesn't.  The kids were pretty disappointed when we figured this out (after eating on their plate and watching their drawing disappear with each bite) so if anyone has had success with this idea I'd love to know what I did wrong. 

And there you have it.  My life thru Pinterest. Ha!
Leave a link in the comments to your pinterest account if you want me to follow.  I'd love to see what you all are pinning as well.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

"I have found that, rather than dwelling on the negative, if we will take a step back and consider the blessings in our lives, including seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings, we can find greater happiness."

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sometimes inspiration is a pain

I know that generally we are all looking for inspiration in our lives, whether it be some creative stroke of genius or the perfect plan for a pile of lovely (or not-so-lovely) fabrics.  However, sometimes inspirationis a pain...if it comes at a time when you don't want or need it.  I.E. when you already have a ton of other projects on your plate that you are trying to get done and the holidays are right around the corner.  Arghhhh!

But the slight OCD in my life tends to take over when this happens and I usually just have to run with it.

My youngest is in first grade this year and on the wall outside their classroom for the past couple of weeks they've had self-portraits hanging of all his classmates along with a little blurb they each wrote of "Yo soy especial porque...."  "I am special because...."  (My kids attend a Spanish immersion school.)  Anyway, those cute pictures kept calling to me and finally I asked the teacher if I could bring them home to scan before she sent them all home because I was debating on making a quilt out of them.

She said to me, "Oh you're a true artist."
My response, "Or completely crazy!"

Anyway, I couldn't stand it because they were just too cute.  I've got them all scanned and will still try and figure out the quilt thing, but I also decided to put together a Shutterfly book for the teacher to have in her class.  We put each picture in the book with the caption of what they wrote about being special.  Mr. C helped me out and it turned out AWESOME!!  I can't wait to give it to her for Christmas.

Here are a few of the paintings from the kids.  They just kill me they are so adorable.

Notice the dangly peace earrings.

And my little guy.

(The funky background shading of each is what happens when you scan a white piece of paper that has been glued to a piece of construction paper. It doesn't lie flat and scans weird.  And since they weren't my pictures to take apart I had leave it.)
The second inspiration that took over my life was a quilt top. Maybe 18 mos. ago I won a giveaway I think from Amanda Jean and Margaret's Hope Chest.  Included were 2 charm packs among other things.  9 months or more ago I bought a coordinating piece of marbled green to use as sashing or backing or something.  It sat.  Then a couple months back I decided to do HST's and cut and sewed all those together. It sat some more.  Then I found this cute quilt browsing online and decided that would be the direction I would take for this quilt.

Then my brain took over and I couldn't stop until it was complete.  Here is the finished top.

I like to think of this pattern as broken chevrons.

Not sure who this may be heading to. Nor what I'll be doing on the back of it.  I'd really like to find a brown print of sorts. In the meantime I'm hoping some inspiration on the WIPs will occur.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming......

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Splash Quilt Pattern

After checking out Amanda Jean's book, Sunday Morning Quiltstwice from my local library I decided I just needed to buy it.  I was able to attend one of her book signing / chats at one of the local quilt shops earlier this summer and it was so fun.  Those quilts are gorgeous! and even more so up close and in person.

I originally started making the Checkerboard quilt in blues (which I am still working on will be doing for daughter #1 for Christmas) and then decided to make the Splash quilt pattern in greens and orange (kids voted no pink).  Thanks to Cheryl for the green scraps giveaway to add to my supply.

I am really happy with the end result.  I did add another row or two on the length because we need it here at our house.  It'll be a fun quilt to "fight" over and use.

I'll be putting some orange polka-dot on the back and probably some green scrappy binding.
Now just need to decide how I'm going to quilt it--me and some straight lines or send it to Lynn for something "fancier"?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The start of something new...

I've had this stack of fabrics on my cutting table for quite some time now.  
They've been patiently waiting while I've finished up all my WIP's.  
Now that my list is completed I've finally given myself permission to cut loose on something totally new!

This will be a remake of a vintage quilt that my husband's grandma made many years ago from her old house dresses. It's a challenge project to myself.  Not because it's a hard project, but because it's a meaningful project.  Can I create the "feel" of her old quilt with these "new" fabrics?  
Only time will tell...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Canning Chicken Legs

Over the weekend I went to one of our local grocery stores to take advantage of a pork deal.  Took hubby with me so we could buy more as there was a limit on your purchase.  Well, the cashier must've been flirting with hubby (his words) because she told him that after 10 p.m. (It was around 11:00 p.m. at the time) the butchers put out their meat markdowns for the day.  Or maybe it was the fact that the only thing he was purchasing was a 10 lb. pack of pork and she thought since he's obviously a meat man he could use a little variety in his life.

Either way we went back to check it out and besides the pork deal ($1.29/lb. packs) we bought 5 - 3.5 lb. packages of drumsticks for $1.99/pkg.  Yep, $9.95 for 17.5 lbs. of chicken. Love it!  It was too bad there weren't any thigh packs.  We would've bought all of them too.  Canning chicken thighs is even easier than canning legs.

Yesterday I decided I would go ahead and can all those legs so that we'd have some chicken ready to go down the road for chicken noodle soup, enchiladas, chicken salad sandwiches or whatever we felt like.  And our upright freezer is starting to get a little crowded.   Hubby is still hoping to bag another deer before the season is over, so really I should make some room.

Happy day all seven quarts sealed!

Used 4 - 3.5 lb. pkgs of chicken legs for 7 qts.
Directions in the Ball Blue Book pg. 61.
  • Raw packed legs--I only removed the skin.
  • 1 tsp. salt per quart jar.
  • Hot water in jar leaving 1" head space.
  • Remove air bubbles and adjust lid.
  • Pressure can 1 hr. 15 10# pressure for bone-in chicken in qts. or 1 hr. 5 min. for pints.  Adjust pressure for altitude as needed.  Boneless chicken is 1 hr. 30 min. for qts. or 1 hr. 15 min. for pints.
NOTE: If you need more detailed directions you can check out the Ball Blue Book or google "canning chicken."  I found a couple blog posts with step by step pics.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Orange Pleated Pillow

I really need to be getting serious about the slip covers for the remaining loveseat and chairs in my living room.  Unfortunately I'm just not feeling it right now.  So instead I made one of the pillows for them.  Yeah, a little backwards in the process, but at least I feel like I got something done.

Found this yard piece of fabric at the thrift store for $2 or less.  It was the right color I was looking for but I didn't especially love the print.  It was just too big for the size pillow I was making.  I bought it anyway and figured I'd come up with something.

What I decided was to pleat the front of the pillow so that the print wasn't as obvious.

It works for me.
I like it so much better now.

13" pillow form.
1/2" pleats
Hidden zipper closure in back.

Note:  Also made another one, using up the remaining fabric, that is for sale at my Etsy shop.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Make Your Own Slime

Well we all survived Halloween.  I was asked, last minute, by my daughter's 4th grade teacher if I could help out with their party as apparently no one wants to be the lead parent/room parent.  Lately I find that to be the typical attitude: "I'll help, but I don't want to be in charge."  Kinda tired of that actually.

Anyway, enough of that little rant.
Although this is a little after the fact, and mostly I'm posting about this so I can easily find the recipe again, here are 2 of  the "hits" of the class party.

#1 Homemade Slime/Goo/Gak
There are plenty of recipes online.  And to be quite honest I couldn't find this one online again, but this is what I've used a number of times.  The kids LOVE to play with this stuff and yesterday was no different.

Homemade Slime Recipe

In one bowl combine:
1 c. water
1 c. Elmer's glue
Food coloring optional (Wilton color Juniper Green makes a great looking puke color slime--just saying)

Mix thoroughly--should be very soupy.

In another bowl combine:
1 c. warm water
1 tsp. Borax (found in laundry section)

Once that dissolves add this mixture slowly to the first mixture--stirring as best you can.

It will gel up rather quickly.
I usually finish it off by kneading it a bit with my hands.
Let sit for a minute or so and then put the concoction in a sealed bag.
There may be some water mixture leftover in the bowl which is fine.  Just toss it.

Keep it sealed when not using and it will last 2 weeks or so.

  • I made 3 recipes of this to take to a class of 26 kids so that they could each take a little baggy worth of it home with them.  We still ended up with some to bring back home too.
  • Be prepared to give out the recipe 'cuz a good portion of them will want it so they can make it at home.
  • I usually don't make it at the school, but bring it already put together.  It works up quickly, and you certainly can mix it at school, but the real fun is playing with it, unless you're doing a science experiment.
  • Pulling the slime quickly it will break apart, but pulling it slowly it will stretch and slime....
#2 Don't Eat Pete Game

The kids were all talking about this one--and even the mom helper was raving.
It makes me feel like all those kids are deprived not ever knowing this fun game.
Great game to play with mixed ages.  Even my teen kids love this game.

All we used was the laminated game card above and a bag of plain M&M's.


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