Happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009
I hope you're all having fun tonight! Go out gets lots of candy {save the chocolate for me, especially the Twix} have fun and be safe!!

These pumpkins were made using the wonderful tutorial from Living with Lindsay.

Pumkin Curly Q's

Friday, October 30, 2009
Remember the fabric pumpkins I made? I did eventually get around to adding some copper curly-q's. I didn't want to spend money, sooo I went to the shed and found some wire that we had lying around. I took it and stripped it and then formed them into curly-q's with some needle nose pliers. Easy and Free!

What's for Dinner? BBQ Chicken Pizza, Roast Beef, Sandwiches, Chiles Rellenos, Apple Pie

Thursday, October 29, 2009
I've been slackin' on my "What's for Dinner" posts. I've been cooking {honest!} and I've been pretty darned good about taking pictures, just not so good about posting about it! So here is a mash-up post of a few of our past dinners.

First up is homemade Pizza. Yum! {I love Pizza, who doesn't?} It's really super easy if you keep those little packets of pizza dough mix on hand (they're like $0.50 a packet and can be found near the spaghetti sauce, all you do is add water.) I like to use 2 packets for my smallest pizza pan (I think it's a 12-incher) otherwise it's really thin.

I hate to brag {ok not really, I like to brag... sometimes} but I make a good BBQ chicken pizza. Or so I've been told by a wonderful couple that used to own a restaurant {I'm talking about the Hawks, for my TN peeps.} Ok so you use some KC Masterpiece Original BBQ sauce {accept no substitutions!!!} then top with some cooked chicken, add some chopped onion (white or red, I'd say about a 1/4 cup) , and top with cheese (I like the Mexican blend) - Yum! Then bake as directed on the pizza crust package. I think I added mushrooms this time, just cause I had them lying around.

About cooked chicken
Anytime a recipe calls for cooked chicken I cook it this way: boil in a pot of water, add 1/4 to a 1/2 small onion (no need to chop it so you can easily scoop it out later) and add salt to taste. When your chicken is cooked remove the chicken and wither chop or gently pull apart with your fingers to use in your recipe. I like to use my fingers to pull it apart because you tend to get more volume this way and therefore need less chicken per recipe. Throw away the onion from the broth and store the broth in the fridge or you can even freeze it for use in your recipes.

Up next is Roast Beef Sandwiches with a spicy Horseradish sauce, oh and tomatoes too!
This is your typical roast beef sandwich but it is taken to the next level with a horseradish sauce and fresh tomatoes. My husband mixes it up but it is similar to this recipe here.

Next we go to Mexico for some awesome Chiles Rellenos. I make mine using Chiles Poblanos and stuff them with Queso Fresco.
I found these 2 recipes if you want to give it a try (recipe 1, recipe 2). I don't use a recipe I just make them the way my mami taught me! The sauce is processed in the blender and consist of tomatoes, garlic, onion, and seasoned with salt, cumin, oregano, and pepper.

An easy way to peel the peppers is to put them under the broiler and turn them every couple of minutes until the start popping and fizzing, then turn them every 30 seconds until they are uniformly blistered. Pull them out and peel the skin with your fingers. Then make a slit down one side and (using gloves) under running water pull out the seeds and veins so they aren't so spicy!

Lastly we have Apple Pie {no we didn't actually have Apple pie for dinner, very very tempting, and one day we might make Apple pie for dinner, we did have cake for dinner one night though!} So I know nothing about making pie, I think this was only the 2nd time I've ever made Apple pie. Honestly it wasn't that hard! I did use the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust to save some time and that made it a breeze.

I hit a roadblock before I even started making my pie! I was at the store and they had like 10 varieties of Apple on sale. Not knowing a thing about apple pie {I know better now} I chose Gala Apples! Once I came home and looked on the internet I learned that Gala apples aren't considered very good for apple pies. Doh! They tend to be too juicy once you cook them so your pie doesn't set up and the bottom crust doesn't hold up. Or so I read, but look at this beautiful Gala Apple Apple Pie!!!

The fix? {cause I was too lazy to go back to the store for 'better apples"} I used cornstarch instead of flour in the filling recipe and doubled the amount called for (I dissolved it in a tiny amount of water.) It came out perfect! And look at that flaky crust. The secret? Brush the crust with milk before baking, cover the edges of your pie with aluminum foil strips and remove the aluminum 15 minutes prior to the end of baking. this will keep your edges from burning to a crisp (or use one of those handy dandy pie crust shields.) This pie wasn't as sweet as other pies I've had which was a plus for me, not as sweet but still sweet though.

Look I even made little cute-sie hearts!

So, you hungry yet? What have you been cookin' up lately?

P.I.F (Pay it forward)

Monday, October 26, 2009
I've seen this going around several times on blogs that I frequent often. I have been hesitant to join because I've felt to busy. I finally decided that with a whole year to complete the task it really shouldn't be that tough. Besides, 99% of the projects I actually complete are those meant for others!

{hmm... I think that means I should make something for me, myself, and I this year!}

So the other day I popped on over to Allison's blog "Strandz" and saw that she had posted a PIF and she still had room for one more player so I bit the bullet and joined the PIF movement. {You've got to pay her a visit and see all her lovely quilts.}

It pretty much works like this: the first three people to comment on this post and say they want to play along will get something handmade by me. I then have 365 days to make good. {I promise hope not to take that long.}

Anyone with a blog can join, it doesn't need to be something quilty, just something handmade for the next person.

To receive something from me, you need to play along too. You will need to post about it with the logo just as I have as soon as you sign up!

Please leave a comment if you would like to receive a little something from me! {Be sure to have an email address for me to contact you.}

Food Safe Paint?

Thursday, October 22, 2009
I recently got a question from a reader {hi Val!}

She said:

"Oh, one quick question... when you are going to use something for food, do you use a different paint on it? Thanks!"

The truth is I have yet to paint something that I was going to be using for food. Her question was referring to the Cloche's I had found and repainted from the thrift store. I guess the pictures make them seem larger than they are because Val thought they were cake stands. If I were going to be using these for displaying food {maybe a pretty cupcake?} I would either line the bottom with paper doilies, parchment paper or something similar so that the food would not come in contact with the paint. The other thing you could do is to apply a protective finish to the piece that would be "food safe." Here is a good article from "Popular Woodworking" that describes the FDA's regulations/definitions for "food safe" so you can make up your own mind whether to use these products or not.

I know that there are paints out there marketed as "food safe," a google search might bring those up. Good Luck Val!

Fabric Pumpkins and a Gourd

Saturday, October 17, 2009
My sister in law {who happens to be one of my BFF's... I wish we lived closer *sigh*} pointed me toward a super cute tutorial on how to make the easiest pumpkin pillows e-vah! Click on over to Sunshine in my Soul for the easy peasy tute.

Here is my version:

I made 5 of these little guys in one sitting in about an hour. I filled mine with scraps of quilt batting, and a cut up practice quilt sandwich. I didn't bother to weigh mine down, and I actually still have to sew them shut {don't look to close.} I found all of my fabrics at Hancock's fabric during their "Columbus Day" Sale. They were all 50% off their clearance price. I only bought 1/4 yard of 5 different fall colored fabrics plus one for the stem. The cost came out to be about $1.50 per fabric, and about $9 for the whole project (remember I didn't buy stuffing, ribbons, or raffia.) There is plenty of leftover fabric for about 10 more pumpkins!!! {That's about $0.60 per pumpkin.}

Please ignore my unpainted "e" I haven't decided what color to paint it yet

For the gourd/squash I just drew a pear shaped outline on my fabric and added the tucks like the pumpkins. I'm going to swap out some of the ribbon and I would like to add the curly cues without spending any more moo-lah.

DIY Sewing Machine Table

Friday, October 16, 2009
On a recent visit to the STS (Super Thrift Store) I made a furniture purchase. Remember I told you that they over price their furniture? Well this was no exception. They wanted $20 for this table {pre-hole, sorry I forgot to take a picture before I got started!}

As you can see, she's definitely not a looker and made of pretty cheap materials (plywood top, standard off the rack lumber.) I was only able to talk the guy down to $15, still more than I would have liked to pay. So why in the world did I buy it?

One little reason: it's short {like me!}

It's a bit shorter than a regular desk and when I sat down at it, it was the perfect height for me! I happen to be a perfect 5' tall. When I sit at a regular desk to do regular mundane things {like pay the bills} it's no big deal. But when I sit down to sew and set my sewing machine on top of the desk the extra height really adds up. I feel like I'm sewing with my hands at arm pit level {ok, so that's a slight exaggeration} rather than at the more comfortable level closer to your natural waist. The other plus that sealed the deal was that the front of the table is open, nothing to get in my way!

So I brought it home and Mr. PD and I got busy turning it into my new sewing table.

We cut out a hole for the sewing machine using a jig-saw. I made a template by placing my sewing machine on a big piece of paper and tracing around it, then we taped it on to the table and cut through both the table and the paper. Mr PD then set to work making a shelf at the perfect height for the machine. I then primed and painted the table. I used the most perfect blue, La Fonda Mirage #5003-5B by Valspar (available at Lowes.) I still want to paint something on the table so it's not sealed yet {and yes, I've been using it as is, I couldn't wait!}

So for about $45 I got the perfect sewing machine table at the perfect height! I had thought about buying one of those clear extension tables ($150-ish) but that wouldn't have solved the whole sewing-at-the-armpit-level dilemma.

This does make my office pretty crowded now with 2 desks in there. I'll have to play around with the furniture arrangement soon. Good thing I won't have any guests any time soon!

Super Thirft Store Finds

Thursday, October 15, 2009
The one good thing about moving to Oxford, AL {ok ok, so there might be more good things, I can already hear Heidi snickering!} is the hugest thrift store I have ever been to.

Meet my BFF: STS (Super Thrift Store)

I kid you not, this thing is like Super-Walmart huge. They have a ton of different things and I never leave empty handed {not necessarily a good thing!} My one pet peeve about the place is that they way over price their furniture. So while I like to look at the furniture it hardly ever gets to come home with me.

  • Here are some recent thrifty finds:
  • cloche top ($0.75)
  • pedestal base ($1.75) (I found these in different places within the store. The top doesn't quite fit into the base but that's fine with me)
  • a little foam house ($0.25) (for terrarium decor)
  • vintage pillowcase ($0.25)
  • picture stand ($0.25)
  • purse, Liz Claibourne ($1.75) (mine is falling apart)
  • bag of craft goodies ($1.00)
  • large picture frame with glass ($4.00) (more than I really wanted to pay but I had been searching for a while for the perfect size)

The only reason I bought the craft bag was this:
I have fond memories of playing, sifting, looking, and sorting through my mom's button box. So I'm starting my own collection for my kids to play with, and for crafts of course! There were a few other goodies in the bag including orange acrylic craft paint (perfect for Halloween) and tons of ribbon.

That very same day I transformed the cloche (and one I had previously found for $3.50) I gave them a coat of spray on primer then finished them off with 2 coats of Heirloom White Spray paint. I also took the little house off it's base but it's too big for any of my current moss terrariums.
Have you found any recent thrifty treasures?

Happy Thrifting!

Rose of Sharon Block 2 & 3

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
These 2 blocks are pretty similar. In fact the only difference (besides the coloring) is the placement of the middle petal of the flowers.

What's for Dinner? Butternut Squash Bisque

Photo courtesy BHG

I saw this recipe in the October BHG issue and I just had to try it. I have never cooked anything with Butternut Squash and have always wanted to try it. This recipe sounded so delicious that I gave it a try. You can find the recipe at the BHG website.

This recipe made a giant pot full of soup. For a family of four I would make half and you would still have small amount of leftovers. I served this with fresh made garlic bread and a salad. I only added one Chipotle pepper so my kids would eat it. Mr. PD and I added more of the Chipotle sauce to our individual bowls. I loved this soup and will definitely be making it again. As for my kids, let's just say they were more interested in the garlic bread.

EQ6 Contest

Sunday, October 11, 2009
Lass than a month ago I received my EQ6 program and I promised to write reviews about it.Well I'm happy to report that I have been using it extensively and have even started working on my very first quilt pattern {...coming soon! I'm so excited - in fact the design is done and now I'm working on the instructions and on the sample.} I'll save the review/report for another post though. I just had to share a super easy contest going on at EQ6. If you have EQ6 then you will definitely want to check this out.

EQ6 is sponsoring a "Rose of Sharon" Block design challenge. Basically EQ6 is providing you with a project "template" with all of the pieces included that you are allowed to use. You cannot re-size or re-shape any of the given pieces. You may not add any other shapes to the blocks with the exception of vines (those must be 1/4" wide.) That means that you can go hog wild with vines {if that floats your boat!} So the gist of it is that you are rearranging shapes into a pleasing block! It doesn't get any easier than that {ok, maybe it's just me but that seems pretty easy to me.}

Entries are due by November 15th,2009. That's a little over a month from now. And guess what? You can enter as many blocks as you like! I think I'm going to make it a goal to design at least 1 block per day. That gives you many, many chances to win some amazing prizes including Bernina embroidery software {although I suppose you need a Bernina for it to be useful. I really wish they were giving a Bernina away!} I'd really like to win that "Accuquilt Go!" But I think the coolest thing is that up to 100 blocks will make it into a book and the top 12 blocks will be made into a quilt that will grace the cover! {How cool is that?!}

Here is my very first "Rose of Sharon" Block:

Rose of Sharon Block 1

PS. Leave me a comment if you will participating in the contest. I would love to see what everyone comes up with.

Fall Blogger's Quilt Festival

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Click on the image to visit other great quilts!

I'm not 100% sure on the rules for the quilt festival but I assume Park City Girl wants a showcase of a finished quilts!

This is one of my favorite finished quilts to date:

I made this quilt for the Spring 2009 Flickr Doll Quilt Swap. It measures 19" square. I used raw edge applique for this little quilt. All of the quilting and applique was done free motion. It was kind of scary at first, but I love the finished result!
I wasn't too crazy about the binding I chose but my swap partner was thrilled with the quilt, so I guess it was a success!

PS. The Pattern is "Bandana Beauty" from the Fall 2008 "Easy Quilts" issue


Thursday, October 8, 2009
I spent most of last weekend enjoying General Conference from the comfort of my sewing room/office/guestroom {trust me it gets cozy!} Well it was comfortable until I decided to finally clean the room. So while I was being spiritually fed for 2 days I cleaned, organized and finally unpacked the last 2 Rubbermaid containers that I had put off unpacking! Believe me it took both full days to get organized!

The results are so worth it! Now I know where everything is because "I" put it away! I bought a bunch of school boxes ($0.50 on clearance) pencil boxes ($0.25 on clearance) and a pack of 12 quart sized Ball jars ($8) to help me get organized. I also labeled every box so now I have no excuses for not having a clean room. Being organized will also save me $$! Now that I have put everything away I have a mental inventory of what I have. Having everything labeled and in a proper place will help me do a quick search before I head out to the store and end up buying something I already own!

My favorite organizing tool ended up being the Ball Jars. I love walking in and seeing the pretty colors of the items inside. Being made of clear glass, I can see exactly what is in each jar without having to open it. Now I just need to make some cute labels for them.

So here is a 360 tour of my crafty room:
(click on any picture to enlarge and see the captions, use your browser's back button to come back here)

Now if only I could convince my landlord to do something about that paneling. Apparently she thinks it's a "good" thing!

New Loot

Sunday, October 4, 2009
I recently got an order from one of my favorite online stores, Hancocks of Paducah (HOP). They have a humongous retail store in, you guessed it, Paducah Kentucky. I love their selection and friendly helpful service, but more importantly I love their Clearance! Especially their pre-cut clearance.

I love quilting but there is no way I can afford to pay $8-10/yard for every quilt I want to make. Shopping the clearance sections of online shops lets me afford my little hobby. I may limited by the fabric choices that are on sale but it's a good compromise for me!

A recent shipment I got from HOP made me giddy with excitement. First I got 6 charm packs (2 of each kind) for about $4 per pack! I LOVE charm packs and the variety of fabrics you get in that little bundle of JOY. This particular order included "Nostalgia", "Patisserie", and "Glace" charm packs.

These charm packs, in all of their cuteness, is not what made me giddy with excitement. This is what made me my day:

This is a Kona Cotton Color Card. It contains swatches of all 221 {swoon} Kona Cotton fabrics made by Robert Kaufman Fabrics. I'm a color geek and love to just look at all the beautiful color choices. In fact my other guilty pleasure are those paint swatch decks. Mr. PD gave me 2 of those a couple of months ago and I just love browsing all the purty colors. Yes, I am very easily pleased! {Which reminds me Veronica you still have one of my decks!}

I love using Kona Cottons as sashing and bindings for my quilts. The plus side is that it's available at Hobby Lobby {my closest and very limited fabric source.} I happen to know it's also available at Hancock Fabrics stores. Both of these places usually offer sales or 40% off coupons! It is also available at many online retailers, including HOP.

So now I can sit down and figure out the exact color I want before heading out to Hob Lob. {Look at the subtle differences between Charcoal and Pepper.} If I can't find it there then I can order the exact shade online without having to worry if my screen color is off. This color card set me back $15 which sounded really pricey to me which resulted in a battle of adding and removing from my shopping cart about 5 times. Obviously the shopping cart won! Once I received the color card I was convinced I had made a great purchase.

I also order the Clover yo yo makers in 2 sizes, but they were back ordered. I got one in the mail yesterday and I'm waiting on the other one. I'll be posting my little yo yo's and a review shortly.

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