Thursday, December 30, 2010

10 in 2010 ~ Crochet

Well all righty!  In my last blog post I discussed my knitted projects over the last year.  Therefore, this post will be dedicated to crochet.

I had a desire to learn to crochet and simply could not master anything but chaining and that just would never do.  So I hit up the wonders of the You Tube and watched video after video and practiced.  So I'm happy to say that I figured out the chaining, the single crochet and the slip stitch.  I figured out the increase and the decrease and made some pretty neat things.

So with that in mind here goes (Again, pattern links are to Raverly).

10 in 2010 ~ Crochet



My very first crocheted project that saw the light of day was a scarf.  I figured it was the most straight forward design. Simple back and forth, but I wanted to use variety of color and thought the hot pink complemented the yellow nicely.  So score! I mastered two things at once, well actually three things - turning, single crochet (only I didn't realize until I was finished that I crocheted through the front loop only), and changing colors. 

I found this pattern on Raverly. The pattern is called Dot's Little Ditty Bag.  It is so flipping cute. It also helped me realize that knitting through one loop create the cute spiral, I learned to increase and how to crochet loops. This was also a quick project.

This is a variation on the Dot's Little Ditty Bag. I increased stitches and modified the pattern to create the handles.  In addition to learning that changing colors while working this pattern created an obvious running seam.  Hince the flowers.  A new things to learn and hey, they helped disguise the running seam nicely.


 This little angry bird is so ugly! The real pattern, Birds of a Feather, is super cute. But mine... Not so much.  Maybe one day I'll try my hand at this again.  My major learning experience with this one is to attached eyes and nose and mouth, etc, before stuffing and seaming.

This adorable hat is just that. Adorable! The pattern is simply called Pumpkin Hat and I'm surprised more people have not crocheted one. I learned decreases and joining and how to create a brim. A very fun to learn.  Plus, my daughter looked so cute in this hat this fall.  She wore it all the time.

This is just a non-hat rendition of the Pumpkin Hat.  I originally thought I wanted to make me and my daughter matching hats.  Then decided I did not.  So I stuffed this baby and seemed up the bottom, and viola, I have a fall decoration.

Dishclothes! What a great learning experience.  Adding the trim and borders and the texture. Just by alternating between the front and back loop creates a very cool texture.  These were super easy and fast.  I made three of these.

Last but not least, a personal design. I needed one more crocheted project to complete to reach my 10 in 2010 goal.  This started out as another dishcloth. But after pulling the project from my daughters clutches I noticed that it created a cool design and have a nice curve and a perfect wrist size. So I chained a loop and attached a button and have a cool bracelet.

So that's it.  That's my 10 in 2010 ~ Crocheted projects. Yay!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 in 2010 ~ Knitted

I know I haven't posted in like a super duper long time.  I can't believe how crazy busy I have been.  Seems like I have been on the go nonstop since September. But the holiday season is almost over.  Just waiting on that New Year to pop on in and then things might settle down for a few.  One can hope right?!

Anyways, I thought I would write up a few year end posts.  Since I signed up for the 10 in 2010 challange on Raverly I figured I'd start there.  First thing I wanted to do with this challenge is take my knitting to the next level, maybe even do some personal designing and just hone some skills.  Secondly, I wanted to learn to crochet.  I've tried to crochet in the past but never could get past the chaining stage. So with those two goals in mind, here goes my first 10 in 2010 post. (The pattern links are to Raverly.  If you're not a member sign on up.  It's a great community and membership is free.)

10 in 2010 ~ Knitted

First, I tried my hand at jewerly.  A very simple necklace worked up using the I-cord pattern and Needle Loft canvas yarn. I was inspired to try this after doing some Etsy searches and seeing some of the handmade jewerly.


Second, I worked myself up some very comfy and warm slipper socks using my Knifty Knitter Loom.  This was my first loom project. And, so far, my last.  I haven't used the loom again since making these.  Guess I should pull the loom back out and work something up on it.


One of my next projects is a bit of tricky project.  It started out as something completely different than what it ended up being.  Sadly, this is the only photo I currently have this project.  I need to take a new photo and when I finally get one taken I'll update the post.  But what this ended up being is a poncho.  I've worn it a few times and folks seem to like it.  Well, at least they tell me they do. This is one of those personal designs I mentioned earlier.  Since I completely changed direction with this project halfway into it, I made the second half up as I went along and VIOLA! a new design is born.  But it's not perfected by any means.  Needs a lot of tweeking.  But I have thought about working on that by making a second. Maybe in 2011.



Another personal design.  I call it Gray Day Shawlette.  It's very warm and I want to work out some of the kinks in this one as well.

The Wham Bam Thank You Lamb cowl. Sadly, I wasn't crazy about how this turned out.  Could have been the yarn or the fact that I used a larger size needle.  Regardless, I still think I like the pattern and will work this up again.  My goal with this one was bust some stash, and in that regard, I did acheive my objective.

Next up, another personal design.  This is a small satchel I knitted for my mom for Mother's Day.


I was asked by a super, sweet little boy to knit him a 'water blue' scarf.  So that's what I did.  This was knitted up just using the basic garter stitch and holding two strands of Knit Picks Shine Sport yarn together.  If I've never mentioned this before, I love Knit Picks!  They are awesomesauce.  Their yarn is very reasonably priced and goodness gracious but I've fallen in love with their Harmony Needles.


The Black Widow Headband.  This was totally not the right yarn choice for this headband.  Way to small.  But I like the design and hopefully will bust some stash up next year and try it again.

Another stash busting project - The Log Cabin Washcloth.  I plan to make many more of these.  Not only did it bust some stash, but helped me learn the skill of picking up stitches.  I highly recommend this pattern.

This was a fabulously fun and funky project.  It's called the Fabulous Funky Fringe Scarf.  I actually purchased this pattern (and yarn Karabella Vintage Cotton) through my LYS (Local Yarn Store). I spied one they'd knitted up and had on display and after seeing it a few times while attending knit night, I decided I needed one.  I wore this to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert and loved it. Well, loved the scarf and the show.  I actually love this pattern and yarn so much I purchased some in black and plan to do a black and pearl scarf next year.  While working this pattern was also the first time I usesd Hiya-Hiya Bamboo Needles.  These were a pleasure to work with. I do recommend this needle as well.

So that is a total of 10 knitted projects.  However, that is not all of my 2010 pojects.  So here a few more completed projects for the last year.

My first in-the-round project- The Honey Cowl.  This one took me awhile to figure out.  I kept twisting my stitches and basically ended up knitting this cowl twice. It was a big lesson learned. On to a mini-rant concerning this project, the yarn I used was an acrylic yarn, James C. Brett Marble Chunky.  I saw it at my LYS and loved the colors.  I thought it would make a very nice, cozy cowl for the autumn months.  And for the amount of yardage in one skein the price is actually very decent. Only, halfway through my skein of yarn the ply changed (It was a two-ply chunky yarn).  Instead of being plyed with the same color, it was now plyed to two different colors.  Now, had the entire skein been plyed this way and my cowl been knitted in this fashion it wouldn't have been an issue.  But since I was halfway through my project this change really stands out.  I wasn't happy with this.  However, I do LOVE this cowl and this pattern.  I used the mid-size cast on.  I will knit this again and use the large size and a solid color yarn.

Another personal design.  This one turned out so much lovelier than I thought it was going to.  I found some Cascade Pearls Yarn on sale at my LYS, and I loved the colors and the uniqueness of the yarn.  It is a blend of cotton and rayon. I knitted the body of the caplet with two strands of the Cascade yarn held together and it has such a lovely drape and springiness to it. The collar is Bergere de France Teddy yarn.  It really made the finished object what it is.  I just love it.  Too bad, my daughter didn't love it as much.  She gets mad at it when she wears it.


And yet another personal design.  I call this the Half-Way Wrong-Way Cowl.  Simply because I messed up half way through the cowl and started knitting backward.  but it worked out great because it gave the front of the cowl some extra bulk and makes the buttons stand out.

Can you guess?  Yep!  Another personal design.  Not only did I work this up in my little brain, but I also dyed the yarn.  I plan another blog post to detail that funness.  The purse is really cute, but I think it is a more spring time purse so it's waiting patiently for spring to arrive.

One final project that I knitted in 2010 is the Pandora Scarf from the One-Skein Wonders book.  I have not taken a photo of the finished project yet.  But I knitted this one up using Ella Rae Bamboo Silk yarn.  It is much smaller than the pattern calls for.  I wear it as decoration more than anything else.

Yikes!  I almost forgot the South Park hat I knitted up for a friend of mine's little 9 month old baby.  I didn't have a pattern so I had to wing it with the hat.  And as luck would have it... No time to take photos of it.  It got wrapped up and placed under the tree before I could even think photo.  So maybe one day I'll get a photo of him wearing it.

Wow.  I think that does it for finished knitting projects in 2010.  Maybe I'll start a post of unfinished projects one day soon.  But for now, I think this will wrap up this post.  It's already ubber long.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds ~ Oh So Nice

I have a new Oh So Nice for this week....  Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!  I think these little devils are addictive.  I can't stop eating them.  Here's how to make them if you didn't already know.

First: buy a pumpkin.
Second: gut your pumpkin taking out all the innards. Sounds gross huh?
Third: remove all the stringies and things.
Fourth: melt 2 TBS butter and poor over your seeds.
Fifth: lightly salt.
Sixth: bake 45 mins in a preheated 300 degree oven. Or until they are nice and toasted and crunchy.
Seventh: eat them!

That's it.  They are delish.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's The Great Pumpkin!

One thing that I set out to learn this year was crochet.  I think I've done a fair job of learning the basics.  For example: I can chain, I can do the slip stitch, I can join my work in the round, I can do the single crochet and I under the concept of working my stitches using the front loop vs. the back loop vs. both loops.  Not bad right?

As part of that journey into the world of crochet, I joined the Raverly group 10 in 2010.  My goal was/is to crochet 10 projects in 2010.  I have not done to bad with this.  With the completion of the project detailed in this post I've completed 8 projects.  At the end of the year, maybe, I'll post a full listing of my 10 in 2010 projects.

As for today's post,  it took me a while to finish this project because I was working on other projects in between, and I only worked on this here and there.

I at first thought I wanted to make another Pumpkin Hat because I thought the one I crocheted for my daughter was so gosh darn cute! Then one day me and my dh were talking about how we don't have any halloween or fall decorations and my mission changed.

 
I finished crocheting the side pieces as detailed in the pumpkin hat pattern (Only I made them slightly bigger). Once I had the pieces complete, I assembled them all with the exception of the last seam. I crocheted the stem, and then finished the final seam. Afterward, I turned my material so that I was now crocheting with the right side facing out and crocheted one round making a clean edge. After this I started a 4 to 1 decrease round, followed by a 3 to 1 decrease round and so on until my bottom was almost closed. I stuffed the pumpkin with fiberfil and the finished decreasing stitches until WALAH!

"IT's THE GREAT PUMPKIN!!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Half Way Wrong Way Cowl

Yesterday and into this morning, I knitted two cowls.  One I used a pattern I found on Raverly, and I'll talk about it in a later post.  The other pattern is a pattern I kind of sort of made up by accident. And I love, love, LOVE it!  I couldn't be happier with the way this cowl turned out, and I'm going to share the long, sorded details with you today. Don't you just love that?!

I know you can't wait, so let's get started.

 I call this pattern the Half Way Wrong Way Cowl because as I was working on it I realized at about half way through I switched the way I was knitting up the piece.  Instead of frogging the cowl, again for the 3rd time, I decided to go with it and see what I got.  The outcome was pretty darn cool.

First, the yarn is a 100% Wool super bulky thick to thin, hand spun, hand dyed yarn that I found on Etsy.  The seller's shops is Absolute Knits, and as soon as I saw it I fell in love with the wild colors.

I noticed she doesn't have the yarn listed anymore so I obviously wasn't the only person who fell in love.


So I knew I wanted to knit a cowl with this yarn as soon as I saw it, and I at first thought I wanted to knit the other cowl I mentioned earlier with it.  I soon realized that wouldn't work.  So I tried to figure out how exactly I wanted the cowl to look.

As luck would have it, a while back I'd bought some fun, bright colored buttons and an idea started to wiedle it's way in.  I was pretty certain those buttons would match the yarn.  And if that was the case then the cowl didn't have to be a closed cowl.  I could attach the buttons and wear it in many different styles.

So that's what I did.

 I know, I know.  It seems like I've jumpped ahead of myself.  So here goes the pattern.

Half Way Wrong Way Cowl

Use a super chunky/bulky yarn of your choice.
Size 17 US or 12.75MM Needles

Cast On 11 stitches

Repeat these rows until your peice measures 10 inches.

Odd Row - Knit(K) 1 Purl (P) 1 to end of row
Even Row - P1, K1 to end of row

Once your piece measures 10 inches switch the order of your knitting.

Odd Row - P1, K1 to end
Even Row - K1, P1 to end

Once your cowl measures 20 inches Bind Off using a K1 Purl 1 bind off.

Next, using a piece of your left over material, sew on your buttons.

By doing this switch halfway through the piece, it creates a ridge. See the second photo up top there.  But if you look at the third photo, the switch gives the front of the piece a very nice cushy appearance.  Also by doing this, you don't have to worry about button holes.  The ribbed valleys gives the buttons a nice place to rest so that they pop! And you can just slip through the stitches. Viola! No button holes required.

I can see me wearing this a lot this winter.  And I can't wait!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Oh So Nice

So, I'm thinking of starting a regular feature here on the blog.  I'm not sure how it will go or if it will be a weekly feature or a whenever I have something new feature.  We'll just have to play that one by ear.  But the feature itself is going to be called something brilliant.  Well, maybe not that brilliant. Maybe something as simply as Weekly Favorite, or perhaps Oh So Nice.

Anyway, enough of that chatter, I'm getting on it.

As you might can guess from the Weekly Favorite, the topic will be something that has enraptured me for the given time frame (or during the given time frame).  I alway enough hearing about new things that I might fall in love with, or perhaps just fall into a big lust with. So that's where this new idea has steamed from.

And now to get on with it.

This week's Oh So Nice is Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice Coffee.

Oh my goodness!  It is wonderful.  I've been having some trouble with my morning coffee for about a month or longer.  First I my coffee pot went kaput, then my replace maker was just awful.  It did heat the water so my cup of coffee was like drinking mud. Not nice.  Finally I splurged and bought much nicer coffee maker and made some fair coffee.  Not the maker's fault this time.  This time it was the coffee.

Then I stumbled on the Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice in Target the other day and thought, Why not?!

I'm glad I did!  It is wonderful.  A very nice blend of pumpkin and spices blended with a smooth coffee flavor.  If you like pumpkin, I highly recommend you give this a try.

Disclaimer: I tried to find a link to the actual coffee but could not.  If I can I will update the link.  But for now it's pointed to Dunkin Donuts.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coaster Woasters

Hello there!  Well, it's been awhile yet again since I've been out to post, but you have to admit, it hasn't been as long since the previous time.  I thought a good topic for today would be about getting ready for the holidays.  And by the holidays, I really am only talking about Christmas.  Because you see, I am up to my arm pits (Yes, arm pits!) in Christmas knitting.  However, I am proud of myself.  I started mucho earlier this year than last and I'm knitting up from existing patterns and not making a new pattern up as I knit along.  This is making the process much easier.  Well so far at least.

Perhaps in another post I'll talk about some of my current projects.  But for today, I thought I'd share the projects I knitted up last year and the pattern I used.

It all started when I tried to think up a 'family' gift for my three brothers and their family.  You see, we used to draw names but then a few years back my sister in law thought it would be a better idea and cheaper to do one family gift for each family.  So that is what we have done for the past few years.  The trouble is how to keep from being boring and repeating the same gift over and over.  I thought up a remedy.  I'd knit something.

So that's what I did.  I set out to knit up some coasters to go in a basket full of coffees, teas, ciders, hot chocolate mixes etc.  Sounds cool huh?  Well, it did to me so I went with it.

So in honor of starting the homemade Christmas gift process all over again I thought I'd share with you the pattern I used last year to create these coasters that went into my families Christmas gift basket.


Coaster Woasters

1 Skein Lion Brand Thick 'N Quick Grass
1 Skein Lion Brand Thick 'N Quick Cranberry
1 Skein Lion Brand Thick 'N Quick Natural Cream

(These are the colors I used.  You can choose any contrasting colors of your liking.)

Size US 8 - 5.0 mm needles

Stitches used in this pattern are:
Garter Stitch
Yarn Over (YO)
Knit 2 Together (K2tog)

Gauge isn't really important.  You just want to make sure that your stitches are nice and tight. Which using the size 8 needles really does help with that.

CO 2 stitches



Row 1 K1, YO, K1
Row 2 K1, YO, Knit to end of row
Repeat Row 2 until you have 22 stitches on your needle.




Row 21 K1, YO, K2tog, Knit until 3 stitches remain on needle, K2tog, K1
Report row 21 until you have 2 stitches left on your needle.
Bind off





The increases and decreases with using the YO leaves the nice little openings along the sides.  Using one of your contrasting colors, weave the yarn through the holes and then tie off at the starting / ending corner to make a nice decorative bow.

I made these in sets of 4 and tied them together with a festive card that said Handmade Coasters by my name.

And there you have it.  The pattern I used this time last year to knit up nice, quick and easy Christmas gifts.  In a later post I'll show off some of my current Christmas knitting.  But for now, I think it's safe to call this blog post done.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wow, Been A While!

My oh my, but it has been a while since I posted anything on the old blog.  All I can say for myself is life has been keeping me busy.  I've been raising a baby, who is a full fledged toddler now, knitting like crazy, learning to crochet, cooking up a storm and well... just being.

But I do promise to do better.

I'm still working on finalizing that pattern I mentioned in a previous post.  Once I have it tweaked to my liking, I'll post it.  I also have a few recipes to share.  And hopefully, one day soon, I'll have some other good news to share as well.

Only for now, I'm going to go ahead and end this post.  I know it's a small one, but I'll be back soon with a better one.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crockpot Ribs

The other day as I was doing some grocery shopping I noticed that boneless ribs were on sale and suddenly had a hankering.  So I bought some up, went home and cooked them for dinner that night.

Here's what I did:

BBQ Ribs: A Crockpot Recipe

Ingredients
1 to 1.5 lb of boneless ribs
Seasonings to taste:
Lawry's Seasoning Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Paprika
1 Bottle of BBQ Sauce of choice.  I used Sweet Baby Rays' Honey BBQ Sauce

Directions
Season ribs and place them in crockpot. Cook on low for 2 hours. Cover with BBQ Sauce and cook on low for another 2-3 more hours or until done.

They were fantastic!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A New Knitting Project

I'm working on a new project.  A new personal design.  It's coming along pretty nicely and as soon as I am finished I'll post it.  But here are some stats and a sneak peek.

I'm using Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe yarn.  It's a blend of 55% Bamboo and 45% Wool.  It's very soft and has a nice, natural stretch to it that is working nicely for this design.  Plus, it was incredibly reasonable.  So much so that I would have expected it have some acrylic in it, but it doesn't.

And now for the quick peek.


This photo was taken from my iPhone of the piece in process.

I know.  I know.  It doesn't look like much here.  But I'm loving the way it's coming together and hopefully you will too.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Love Affair

My last few posts have all been about food.  So today I'm going to veer the conversation onto another topic.

Shoes!

Seriously, I've never really been the type of person to go gah-gah over shoes.  For me, comfort is king.  I don't buy shoes based on their look.  In fact, I am in desperate need of new shoes.  Mine are so worn that they are no longer comfortable, but I can't find any that are as comfortable as the shoes I have once were.  If that makes any sense at all.

So I continue my search.

But what I never expected to happen, yet did, was for me to develope a love affair with a shoe.  Or rather a brand of shoes.  And that brand my friends is Crocs.

Crocs have come a long way since the release of the clog.

While I was on vacation back in June, Hubby and I stumbled into a tourist shop and I saw the rack of shoes in the back.  I thought "Why not?!" So I started trying them on and bought a pair.

I purchased the Patricia (pictured left).  They were so comfortable and cute! I loved them instantly.  And proceeded to wear them for pretty much the rest of our vacation.  Don't you just love the colors?

But this wasn't the end of my adventures.  We went back to that same shop looking for a stuffed animal for my daughter. (We did find her both a dolphin and sea turtle in this one shop.)  While we were there, I tried on yet more Crocs.  And ended up purcasing another pair of shoes!

This time I bought a pair of Madeira.  I get more comments about these shoes than any other shoes I've ever owned.  Seriously.  Everyone wants to know where I got them and what brand they are.  They are that stinkin' cute!

And the best part... They are as comfortable as they are cute!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Quick and Easy Pizza

Last friday night I needed to cook up some ground beef, and I knew two things for certain.  I did not want burgers and I did not want a pasta dish.  So I choose pizza instead!  And it turned out so yummy.

Here's the recipe.

Quick and Easy Pizza

Ingredients:
1 LB Ground Beef
1 Can Pillsbury Pizza Dough
1 Jar Pizza Sauce
2 Cups Mozarella Cheese
1/2 Small Onion Diced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper Diced
1/2 can Basil, Garlic and Orgeno Seasoned Diced Tomatoes (Drained)
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Brown the ground beef with the diced onion.  While cooking, season the beef with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Once the beef is done, drain if necessary, and then add your diced (or sliced if you choose) bell pepper, diced tomatoes and about 1/4 cup of the pizza sauce.  While the meat mixture is simmering on low, roll out your dough and press into pan.  Bake for 6 minutes.  Pull the dough out of the oven and spread the remaining pizza sauce over dough, sprinkle all but about 1/2 cup of cheese over the sauce, spoon meat mixture over your dough and then sprinkle the remaining cheese over top.  Place back in oven and bake for another 6-7 minutes or until dough is done.

All in all it took about 30 minutes to cook and used up ingredients that I tend to keep on  hand.  I love pizza and lately homemade pizza is the best!  The taste is so much fresher and healthier.  You can use whatever ingredients you like.  I was going to toss on some mushrooms, but in the end it seemed like overkill so I left them off.  But let your imagination and taste buds run wild.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Poor Man's Stroganoff

It seems more and more, during the week, I do not have a whole lot of time to cook dinner.  As in virtually none.  So I end up cooking a lot of meals that are quick and easy and I'm always searching for the 30 minutes or less and 5 ingredients or less menus for the week days.  I also do a lot of cooking on the weekend and saving up those lefts and reinventing them into something else through the week. (See yesterday's post where I talk about the fajitas.)
Well, last night was no different from any other night.  I had little time, and I'd searched all day long for a quick easy recipe and just couldn't find anything that suited my taste buds.  I knew I needed to cook up the ground beef that was in the fridge though. So that was my main ingredient.  After much thought I decided that Poor Man's Stroganoff would do the job quite nicely.
I knew the ingredients I had on hand, and some of those needed cooking up as well. So bonus.
There are several recipes out there on the net for a Poor Man's Stroganoff.  And now, here I am about to add one more.  This is my version of Poor Man's Stroganoff.
Poor Man's Stroganoff
Ingredients:
1.5 Pd Ground Beef
1 Pd Mushrooms
½ Small Onion (I’m not a big onion eater so I use just enough as flavoring but not so much that it’s overwhelming. If you like onions by all means pour them on.)
1 tsp - minced garlic
¼ cup - butter
1 can - Cream of Mushroom
1 tbs - cream cheese
1 8oz container - low fat sour cream
Salt , Pepper, Paprika - All to taste
Egg Noodles

Saute the onion and garlic in a little bit of butter added ground beef, salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. In separate pan saute mushrooms with butter. Once done, add Cream of Mushroom soup, cream cheese, and sour cream. Cook until heated through and well combined. Pour mushroom mixture over the beef mixture and simmer on low for ten to fifteen minutes.

While beef is cooking, cook your noodles. Serve beef mixture over noodles with side of bread.

Another ingredient for me would have been to add a little bit of a hearty red wine to the mushrooms while they were sauteing. But since I did not have any, I left it out.  If you like a runnier sauce you might want to add a little milk or more butter.  Careful with adding more sour cream though; you can make the dish very bland that way.

If you try it let me know how it goes for you.

I took the picture using my iPhone camera so it's not the greatest. Oh and that's slices of loaf bread you see on the plate also.  Hey, I was honest and told you it was Poor Man's Stroganoff...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Faults or No, I Like It!

Before I dive right into what I was going to blog about today, I wanted to mention that the other night we grilled steaks for dinner. They were so good. But we had two huge steaks left over. I told C$ that we should make steak fajitas. So that's what we did. And oh my... what a great way to jazz up them there leftovers. They were soo yummy!

Anywho, that's not really what I was going to post about today, but I had to just go ahead and toss it out there.

What I'd planned to talk about today was one of my latest projects. See, I bought a sewing machine awhile back, when I found out I was pregnant. I had this crazy notion that I would make my own maternity clothes. Maternity clothes wasn't the only thing I was going to make, naturally. I was going to sew baby clothes andlearn to quilt and just do all kinds of super cool things.

And believe it or not, over the last year I have made a few things that have been kind of cool. But there is always a learning curve. And I am pretty much teaching myself to sew on a trail by error basis. That's why when something turns out pretty cool, I'm pretty darn pleased.

So today, I'm going to share with you one of those pretty darn pleased moments. Even with all it's faults, it pleases me.
To give some background, my adventure started out with the purchasing of a pattern for a cute summer outfit that I am in the process of working up. My goal with this outfit was to try and create something that could be used both for home and work. While I was out shopping for the materials needed to make the new outfit, I stumbled on some scrape cloth on clearance. I loved the color and so I bought it too. It wasn't that much and I thought, surely there is something I can make with this.

It's a very light green, with swirls of white throughout. After thinking about it, I decided that it would make a really cool contrast to the cranberry material I picked out for the outfit. So the idea to make a scarf was born.


I didn't have a pattern pattern, but I remembered seeing one I liked by Amy Butler that I thought was really cute. I had to make a few modifications from the original pattern. First I didn't have beads. So I just did a straight angled finish on the ends.

Also my cloth was not long enough to make the sash/scarf in one long solid piece. To remedy this, I measured out enough of the material to make two strips the same length, then halved each. Combining one half of one strip to the middle of the halved primary strip gave me just enough length to make the sash.

My thought, even with the now three pieces sewn together, it will still be cool.

So on with my sewing I went.
This is where my story starts to show just how newbie I am when it comes to sewing. First, I didn't seem to match up the sides just so. As you can see by the pictures below. The seems were off when I attached that middle strip of fabric (First photo). This caused a pucker on one side of the sash (Second photo). (Yes, I used pink thread to sew the seams. I loved the look against the green fabric).



Still, even with the faults, the sash is super cute and I think it will work and the pucker will be easily disguised. I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Now I'm thinking about making another one. One with a beaded fringe.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Shutter Island

Sorry it's taken me a little while to jump back out here on the blog with an update. But getting the family settled back into the daily routine has kept me busy. Especially with my husband going out of town for business. It's tough to get it all done and by the end of the day I'm pooped. But hopefully things are going to start settling back into place and I'll be able to post more regularly.

But for today's post, I thought I'd give a movie review. We Netflixed Shutter Island the other day (weeks ago) and just got around to watching it. I remembered the previews for this one and thought it looked interesting. I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed.

First, here is Netflix's run down on the movie.


Shutter Island (Ashecliffe)

2010 : Rated R : 138 Minutes

World War II soldier turned U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) investigates the disappearance of a patient from a hospital for the criminally insane, but his efforts are compromised by his own troubling visions and by Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley). Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer and Max von Sydow co-star in Martin Scorsese's plot twist-filled psychological thriller set in Massachusetts island in 1954.


The movie sucks you in from the start with U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule (played by Mark Ruffalo) on a boat crossing to Shutter Island. The first five minutes draws in with it's ominious, forebodding feel and the soundtrack (a little anticlimatic at times) really drives home the fact that something big is about to happen. The movie progresses from there leading the viewer through a maze of plot twists and turns.

I admit, I figured out the big plot twist early on, but Scorsese did a good job making me second guess myself.

And I loved loved loved the cinematograpy in this movie. Some of the shoots were out this world wicked cool.

Leonardo DiCaprio has really impressed of late with his choice of roles. He's turned into an amazing actor over the course of years and roles. Part of that is the roles he's choosen and the other is his ability to become that character. Very impressed with him. And he doesn't disappoint in this one.

The bottomline: I give it a 4 out of 5, two thumbs up!! I highly recommend this movie is you like dark, emotional thrillers.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Simple Moments


Do you ever have to remind yourself to just slow down?
To enjoy the simple moments?
Like a simple walk on the beach.
Aaah, I wish I was back there.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And There Was Light

Anyone who knows me, knows I love lighthouses. So I was very excited to learn that the St. George Lighthouse had been restored and moved from it's at one time home on Little St. George Island to St. George Island.

It's not one of the tallest lighthouses, but it is quite charming with it's wooden steps that lead up to the light.

Here's a little bit from St. George Light.Org.

Cape St. George Light

The Cape St. George Light was reconstructed at the center of St. George Island after its tragic collapse on October 21, 2005. Remnants of the historic structure were salvaged and volunteers cleaned old mortar off more than 22,000 original bricks which were used in the reconstruction. With extensive community support and public and private funding, the lighthouse was completed in November of 2008. The lighthouse was originally built at the west end of what is now Little St. George Island in 1833, and was rebuilt on Cape St. George in 1848 and 1852.

The little muesum displays photos of the lighthouse just before and after it's collapse. Very sad that it'd fallen into such disrepair. The locals made attempts to save the lighthouse, but without actually moving it, (which is a huge engineering undertaking, just take a look at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.) they couldn't prevent it from falling into the ocean.

However, I must say, they did an amazing job restoring this beauty.

This lighthouse was decommissioned some years ago, but it is still open for visitors. The Keepers house is still in the process of being refurbished so it isn't open yet. But it should be opened soon. If you are in the area, you really can't miss the lighthouse. It's the first thing you see as you arrive on the island.

Itty Bitty Learning Experience


I'll post some more vacation photos tomorrow. But for today I wanted to discuss something else.

I've talked a little bit about my teaching myself how to crochet. This has been an ongoing thing for some time. I would get so far as to chain some but then that was it. I had no idea where to take it from there. And reading a pattern... Forget about it!


But not too long ago that Determination Bug jumpped up and bit me. I pulled out the hook and yarn and decided I was going to learn to crochet dog gone it!

That is when I sat down and worked up my "I Did It My Way Crochet Scarf". Just in time for the weather to turn hot. And I do mean hot. Mother Nature totally skipped Spring, and I don't think that was very nice of her.

But I digress.

After I completed my scarf, I decided I needed to jump right into another project. One that was a little more challenging, yet not too challenging. Hey, I'm still a beginner and not crazy!

So I searched Ravelry for a pattern. This time I decided I needed a pattern because, Hey, I'm still a beginner and not crazy! :) That's how I found the pattern for the Dot's Little Ditty Bag. After reading the pattern and looking at the helpful notes on Raverly, I decided to try the bag out. So I went for it.

It was after I'd been crocheting for a while that I realized that I was only crocheting through the top lop and that was probably not the correct way to be crocheting the bag. But by doing this, the bag was coming together with a little bit of flare. A raised spiral all the way up the bag. Only it was on the inside of the bag. So I just flipped the little ditty inside out and viola!

I like this personal touch.

One other thing I encountered was difficulty in marking my beginning stitch. So I ended up having to count the stitches. I think this was me being a dork though.

Once I finished this bag, I decided to try my hand at this pattern again. Yet this time I did quite a few alterations to the pattern. Hey, I might be a beginner, but I guess I really am that crazy. :P

One day soon, I'll post those pictures. That bag was quite the learning experience as well.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Liesurely Time

This is a photo taken from the top deck of the beach house we stayed in on vacation. I took this photo one morning, after we'd been there for a few days. I like the relaxed feel of the shot. Unfortunately, I was way too lazy to actually get up early enough to make it for a 'great' sunrise photo. But this one didn't turn out all that terrible.

I'm not sure if I mentioned where we actually went on vacation so I'll rectify that now. We left Sunday June 6th and heading down south to St. George Island near Apalachicola Bay Florida; what has become known as Florida's 'Forgotten Coast'. It is a very nice, quiet, non touristy trapy, location along Florida's Gulf coast. Let me just say that while we were there the beaches were beautiful. No would guess that the experts were predicting that in a few short weeks they would have to close down the beaches because of the BP oil spill. Or that when we left we could see the boats along the bay placing the booms in the water in attempts to protect their shoreline. It is very sad and makes me very angry. But I will not go into that right now. It's not the time.

But the sea turtles were starting their nesting season, which is always awesome, and the dolphins were frolicking in the surf. What a sheer delight. One was so close you could see it doing flips in the surf as a wave would break.

Me and C$ don't usually take trips where we are not on the move constantly. From sun up till sun down moving. So it was nice to spend this week in one location where we could just kick back and not have to be anywhere. And Baby Girl loved it! She had such a fun time playing in the water and the sand. All in all, we had an absolutely wonderful time.

I'll post some more photos soon. But for now, I'm going to call it and wrap this post up.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

I am working on a back from vacation post, with a series of vacation photos (I hope), that'll be posting soon. But for now I have to jump in and say Happy Father's Day to my wonderfully hubby, my dad and all the other father's out there.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Back from Vacation

I'm back from vacation and it was heavenly. No deadlines. Didn't have to be anywhere or do anything for a whole week! Ahhh.... Just relaxation at it's finest.

As soon as I have a chance I'll go through some photos and post them.

But for now, I must get things back in order and ready to start a new work week tomorrow.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ambrosia Food aka Cream Cheese

Can you tell I'm going to talk about food today? :)

More specifically, cream cheese. This is ambrosia. Food of the Gods! Did you know that you can combine cream cheese with just about anything and have an absolutely scrumpious snack? It's true! Try it.

I mean we all know that cream cheese just completes a bagel, right?

Well, have you ever tried cream cheese on some seven (or nine, whose counting anyway!) grain bread? This is heavenly.

Or, cream cheese on a trisket? Cream cheese on some pumpernichel bread with some dill and cucumber? Fabulousness!

I recently just heard of cream cheese and Doritos. Oh. My. Goodness. Must try this as soon as possible!

What about you? Got a favorite?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chicken Casserole

I was thinking the other day about how I wanted to make a chicken casserole for dinner. The thought popped into my mind and I thought, "How yummy!" So I started thinking about exactly what kind of chicken casserole I wanted. I did some online searches and found a few recipes but in the end I made one up as I went along. So today, I'm going to share it.

Ingriedents:
3 chicken breasts
1 small can of peas and carrots (drained)
1 small can of carrots (drained)
1 small can of corn (drained)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (low sodium variety)
1/4 cup sour cream
8 oz of chicken broth
1 jar mushrooms
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
2 package Stove Top Stuffing mix (I used chicken flavor but any flavor will
do.)

Additional Ingriedents (to your own personal taste preferences):
Lawry's Seasoning Salt
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Paprika
Cayenne Pepper

Directions:
Boil the chicken breasts. Into the water with the chicken breasts I added some of the Lawry's Seasoning Salt, Onion Powder and Garlic Powder. Not too much just enough to season the chicken. Once the chicken was done, I cut it up into bite size pieces. While working on this, I cooked the Stove Top Stuffing mix. (In all honesty, I used 1 package, but I'm listing out 2 packages of stuffing mix. The 1 package just didn't seem to be enough of crusty goodness on top of the dish once it was finished baking.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Once the chicken is diced and the casserole is ready to be assembled, drain the veggies and add them all to the chicken, along with the mushrooms, soup, chicken broth (I used canned broth not reserves from the chicken.) and sour cream. Then add the seasonings. I added roughly, 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry's Seasoning Salt ( I didn't want to add too much because remember, I seasoned my chicken while it was boiling and I knew I could add more later if it wasn't enough.) 1/4 teaspoon of both the garlic and onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I mixed everything together.

After everything is mixed together, I poured it into a baking dish, covered with the cheese and then spread the prepared stuffing mix on top. Popped it into a preheated oven and let it bake for 30 minutes.
It was totally scrumpous!

Now, one day soon I'll share with you my Paprika Chicken recipe. It is totally awesomesauce as well. Until then, Enjoy!

Be sure to let me know if you try the recipe and how it turned out.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Quick Update

It's been awhile since I posted so I thought I'd jump right out here and do that. I don't have much time to spare so today will be a quick post and then I'll follow up it up with a longer post later.

First is an update on the eBay auctions. I won two and lost one.

Pity really on the one I lost. It was a steal of deal on that yarn - 10 skeins of Suss Yarn 100% cotton. I could have gotten into a bidding war over it, but I'd decided that I wouldn't. I told myself when I placed my bid, if the price went above that then I wasn't meant to have that yarn and of course it did like I knew it would. Guess I knew when I placed the bid that I didn't really need it, or I would have upped my bid. Because, seriously, that was a steal for that yarn.

The second auction however, I set my price fair and again knew that I would not go over that price. Of course that was the auction someone came in and started bidding against me on. Fortunately, they realized that the price was a fair price once it hit my max bid and did not go any higher. So even though I did not get a steal, I got a gorgeous yarn for a very fair price. Plus the shipping on this auction wasn't crazy high like most auctions are on eBay these days.

Speaking of eBay, is it me, or have sellers gone totally crazy on eBay?!

I mean, honestly, some of the items and prices I see make me stop and think. I've come up with only two solutions. Either these people have gone crazy. Or they really love their junk! It's a very rare thing these days to actually find a bargain.

All right. I have to go folks. Duty calls. Talk to ya!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's Just A Phase, Really!

The other day I told my hubby, C$, that I was going to buy some yarn for a project. It's going to be a simply 2x2 ribbed scarf for my friend's little boy. So he said to "Go for it". So that's what I did. I went out in search of the perfect, water blue yarn. And how I did that was Google Water Blue Yarn. I couldn't find a yarn that was exactly labeled as Water Blue, but I did find several yarns that were in the same water family. I finally ended up ordering Knit Picks' Shine Sport River Blue yarn. Which arrived the other day and is absolutely gorgeous. So soft and light weight, I believe it will be a treat to work with.

But because I loved the yarn so much and Knit Picks' prices are so reasonable, I told C$ that I really wished I'd ordered more yarn. He told me to go out and get what I needed. Well, need is a realative term. Because do I really need more yarn... Well, yes I did, but did I need it right then... maybe not. But that didn't stop me. I hightailed it right back out there and ordered more more more yarn. To my defense, the bulk of what I ordered is for another promised scarf. But I did order me up a little something special though.

When this new shipment of yarn arrived I was in heaven. It is so gorgeous! Even more so than the images on the website. I'm ultra excited about using this yarn.

Now, I have to stop here and go back a little ways in time. See, this wasn't the first yarn I've bought. I'd gone on another yarn shopping spree very recently where I bought yarn to coordinate to some fabric I'd bought to knit/sew a few sundresses for my daughter. So that was a total of 3 other skiens of yarn.

In total, in the last month, I've purchased 15 skiens of yarn. Yikes! I know, I know. Right?! I'm crazy. I have so many projects all bubbling up in my head that I want to work on them all right now! But I can't. I only have so many hours- Ha! Did I just say hours? I mean minutes in the day that I can actually sit down and work on a project.

So what in the blue blazes was I thinking this morning when I went to eBay? To look at yarn? And then actually bid? On not one but three (3!) different auctions for yarn?

Holy hell! What am I going to do with that yarn?!

I've already won one auction this morning. The other two are up in a couple of days. My bids on those two are not that high, so we'll see if I win. But I want to win. The colors are so awesome!

Seriously though. This is not an addiction. I swear that it is not. It's a phase. I seem to go through them ever so often where I have to buy yarn. I just have to. The more the better. Someone mentioned on Facebook the other day in realation to a friend's comment that you can never have too much stash. And that's my story today. You can never have too much in your stash!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Goings On

Not sure what to title this post so I'm just going to type it up and then see if a title jumps out and grabs me before I hit go.

It was a busy weekend around the old homestead for me with a lot of goings on. Saturday it rained pretty much all day long and on into the evening. We had a very brief time in the AM when it wasn't raining and my daughter and I ran out to run an errand. By the time we got back home, about an hour later, it was starting to rain again. So with that small exception, we stayed inside all day.

Which was ok with me. We starting trying to wean her off the bottle this weekend. She did ok for the first day but by mid day Sunday, she wasn't doing so well. She wanted her bottle and refused the sippy. She drinks ok out of the sippy if it's water or juicy. She simply will not drink her milk out of the sippy though. So I'm not sure what to do. It may be that we're trying to rush her. We'll have to wait and see I guess. But in the mean time keep offering that sippy cup!

The rain cleared on out making it possible for us to go to my nieces tee-ball game on Sunday. That was a lot of fun. Those little guys were absolutely too cute hitting that ball and running those bases.

And during the inbetweens I frogged one of my Knitted finished objects (FO). I decided I could use that yarn for a better purpose. And actually set out to do so. That better purpose is a new design I'm trying to work up. I'll be sure to let you guys know how it goes. :)

And on that note, I'll sign off for today. And chat at ya later.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gulp! I Did It!

Yes, that's right. I did it!

Now you might be asking yourself what exactly it is that I did. Well, I just uploaded my scarf pattern to the Raverly database. I'm officially listed as a designer. YIKES!

That makes me kind of nervous. But at the same time it makes me kind of excited since knitting and crocheting and even designing has become a recent passion of mine. I've been thinking about writing down my Ode To South Park knitted hat design and posting it as well. But first I must remember exactly how I made it, which means pulling out the hat and reviewing it. It also means taking more photos because the only photo I have of this hat is very old and not very good.

So, this isn't exactly the post I was going to post today but it certainly took precendce over everything else when I took the plunge. So tomorrow I'll post about what I was going to post today. Now, I'm going back over to Raverly to look at my designer page again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Did It My Way Crochet Scarf

As I mentioned the other day, I created this scarf in my attempt at teaching myself how to crochet. It started out with me just wanting to learn the basic crochet stitch, or stitches since there were two basic stitches involved, the chain and the single crochet.



I call this scarf "I Did My Way Crochet Scarf" because well, I did it my way, without a clue as to what I was doing. And now I'm going to share that way with you all. I've never written up a crochet pattern before, so bear with me as I try to get this right.



I Did It My Way Crochet Scarf

Hook :
9.0 mm (M/N)

Yarn :
YA - 1 skein Lion Brand Hometown USA Pittsburgh Yellow
YB - 1 skein Lion Brand Hometown USA Honolulu Pink

Additional Materials:
Yarn needle to weave in ends

Gauge: I didn’t really check gauge on this project since I was just going with the flow.

Instructions:

With YA Ch 9

Row 1: YA starting with second st from hook sc 8 through top loop only ch 1
Repeat row 1 6 times.

**Row 7: YB sc 8 through top loop only ch 1
Repeat row 7 2 times

Row 9: YA sc 8 through top loop only ch 1
Repeat row 9 2 times

Row 11: YB sc 8 through top loop only ch 1
Repeat row 11 4 times

Row 15: YA sc 8 through top loop only ch 1
Repeat row 15 2 times

Row 17: YB sc 8 through top loop only ch 1
Repeat row 17 2 times

Row 19: YA sc 8 through top loop only ch 1
Repeat row 19 4 times**

**Repeat this alternating pattern until scarf reaches desired length

Then using YB sc 8 through top loop only ch 1
Repeat closing rows 6 times

Weave in ends.

All done!

So how’d I do in writing and relaying my first written pattern? Let me know. Also, if you happen to try the pattern out, I’d love to hear back from you.

Or if you'd rather I email you the pattern, I have it saved as PDF complete with a graphic display. I can forward. Just leave me a comment.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Continuous Law of Learning

Or could it possibly be the Law of Continuous Learning?

Or the Continuous Learning Law?

Either way, I think the point of it is that we are all continuously learning something. I know as a new mom, I think I can still say that even though my daughter recently turned one, I am constantly learning something new. Life is never dull, and it seems like time moves much too fast these days.

Even though, that learning is perhaps the most important learning I'm doing these days, it's not the learning in which I'm going to talk about today. I was thinking the other day about all the things I want to learn that are personal things. Things for me, to help me grow as an individual. All the things I'm interested in and how I can improve and possibly put that knowledge to a better use for me.

Well, I am interested in crafts, and I do know how to knit. I've knitted several projects and even designed few of them myself. Which I'm kind of proud of. So my next step was learning to crochet. I wanted to learn for the longest time. And every time I picked up the hook and yarn, I couldn't make it happen. The only thing I would have at the end of the day to show for my efforts was a long chain of yarn. And even though the chain stitch is important, it doesn't really get you anywhere. You know what I mean? Not unless you know what to do with it after you have. That was the part I couldn't make happen.

I read instructional materials, books, etc. Nothing seemed to get the process through my thick skull. So finally one day I decided I was going to see if video would do the trick. YouTube here I come.

I found this very helpful video from the Knit Witch on how to do a single crochet. So I practiced. And I practiced. And I practiced some more, until I thought I might have it right.

Since I wasn't really sure what I was doing, or how to read a crochet pattern, I decided a simple scarf might be the thing for me to do to practice my newly learned skill. So that's what I did.

And the result is this scarf.

I'll attempt to type up the actual pattern I created in my head as I worked along the stitch process and post it soon. But in the meantime, I am extremely proud of my "I Did It My Way Crochet" scarf. I finally tackled the dreaded crochet and improved my skills.