Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Craft Blocked!

No, I haven't lost my crafty mojo due to a drying up of ideas, but because I've been super busy with other things (mainly, taking care of my nephews) and my sewing room being torn up. My brother needed my sewing room table back to fit in his new, smaller house, so I am currently needing to clean the room to fit in the large computer desk which he gave me. Meanwhile my sewing machine and current project(s) are living on my dining room table, but I haven't touched them for over a week.

I've also missed the last many, many quilt guild meetings, which bums me out, but by Thursdays I just feel exhausted, and if the weather is bad (per usual in Portland), I definitely don't want to do down and fight for parking in the Pearl. And, even though this is my third year with the guild, sometimes my social phobia rears its head and I freak out about going.

What am I "working" on? So many things! Most importantly, two baby quilts for my cousin and a crocheted ripple afghan. I'm also pattern testing a crochet pattern for a friend, and have a swap going on C-ster that I am making a dresden plate (my first dresden!) pillow cover for, and also maybe a mini quilt and mug rug. Ok, making my list has actually gotten me excited about my projects again, and make me want to get in and clean up my craft room so I can get back to making!

Here's one block from the second baby quilt. The first one just needs to be basted (my least favorite part of the quilting process), quilted (second least favorite part) and bound (my fave part, along with piecing!). I have two blocks done, and most of the Half Square Triangles completed. I may need to make some more as I get near the end, but I ran out of some fabric so am going to wait until I need it to see which ones I need to cut. Or I might decide to put some solid large squares in at that point. Or giant HST? Who knows!

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Novelty Fabric Swap!

I think I mentioned a couple posts back that I am running a Novelty Fabric FQ Swap over on Craftster. Our Gallery is here if you want to check it out. Click on "show images only" to filter out posts that don't show sweet fabric goodness.

The way this swap worked was that I partnered people in groups of four, and each person bought 1 yard cuts of 4 different fabrics, and cut them into Fat Quarters, and then sent one FQ to each of their partners, keeping the fourth set for themselves.

So far, I've received some awesome fabrics from two of my partners!

I love the deer fabric! It's awesome!

100_5086 by maremare312, on Flickr

100_5087 by maremare312, on Flickr

And the hand-dyed fabric!

100_5088 by maremare312, on Flickr

The penguins are too sweet, I will have to hide this from my youngest nephew or he will want to "go night night" with it.

100_5090 by maremare312, on Flickr

100_5089 by maremare312, on Flickr

We're already talking about another round of this swap, possibly with holiday fabric as the overall theme. If you might be interested, be sure to create a Craftster account now if you don't have one already, as you must be a member for a month before you can sign up for a swap.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cheesy Broccoli Veggie Soup

I made this soup the other day and it's pretty good. It's a tweak on the regular broccoli soup I make, which is just broccoli, but for this batch I added other veggies. To start off with I chopped up 4 big crowns of broccoli and their stems. Since everything is going to get pureed later anyways, it doesn't really matter the size. If you have a little helper who wants to attempt to further chop it up with his butter knife, he can have at it! Also, when I told him that broccoli isn't good to eat raw, but is much better cooked, he ate quite a few pieces and declared them "yummy" just to spite me. Joke's on him, he just ate a ton of raw broccoli!

Cheesy Broccoli Veggie Soup
This was a giant pot, feel free to halve the recipe for a normal sized pot.

2 T oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
5 medium carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
4-5 crowns broccoli, chopped
4-6 potatoes, peeled and chopped (optional, leave out for lower carb, I usually put these in but not this time)
1-2 Tablespoons bouillon powder or paste. I love Better than Bouillon and used Chicken flavor

black pepper
red pepper flakes
8 ounces shredded cheddar
4 ounces shredded gouda
1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream (optional, I'd probably leave it out next time)

In large pot, saute onion and celery in oil until fragrant. Add the rest of the vegetables and water to almost cover. Don't add too much water, I did this time and was disappointed in the runny-ness of my soup. Add bouillon paste and stir well to dissolve.

Bring to simmer, cover, and reduce heat. Cook for 20 minutes or so or until all vegetables are fork tender.

Take the soup off the heat and place on a stable surface. Using your stick blender, blend the soup until it is the consistency you like. I like mine very smooth! Add cheeses and return to heat. Add black and red pepper to taste. It shouldn't need any salt from the bouillon and cheese, but taste for salt too. Add cream just before serving if using it.

Optional: crumbled bacon, chopped ham, chopped parsley and/or sour cream for serving

Mini Corndog Muffins

For some reason I have trouble getting my nephews to eat protein while they're with me. Usually they just want bread, or toaster waffles. The other day I had an idea to make homemade corn dogs, but I don't love to fry things at home (what do you do with the oil when you're done with it?) so I started thinking about baking them. Then I decided to get super lazy and just stick chunks of hot dog into mini corn muffins. Luckily it turned out to be a great projec to do with a 4 year old who likes to play with butter knives. I mixed up the packaged corn bread mix and sprayed a mini muffin tin while I put the kid to work.

Next time I would put the muffin mix in first, then stick in a bit of hot dog and some shredded cheese, but this time we put the hot dogs in first. Cutting them in quarters is perfect to fit into mini muffin tins

After baking for the recommended time on the box, I had a fun snack or lunch for the kids! I was eating carbs that day and had quite a few too!

My First Omelet

I'm 30. And yesterday I made my first omelet. I've attempted before but usually get irritated and it turns into scrambled eggs. But I like scrambled eggs. I don't think an omelet really has anything on scrambled eggs, as far as taste goes, but I think it's a prettier presentation, and now I can say I did it. I filled it with lots of mushrooms and more reasonable amounts of bacon and cheese.There may have been a ton of Cholula poured on after this picture was taken.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mini Sampler Quilt

I made this mini quilt for the Mini Art Quilt Swap 5 on (gallery here). One of my partner's themes was "Whimsical Sampler/Album Quilt." While I loved the idea of a sampler quilt, I had a bit of trouble with the whimsical part. I finally decided that I would go through all my novelty fabrics and pick out some fun ones to include for the "whimsical" part of it. I found clouds, birds, hedgehogs, love bugs, butterflies, cherries, snails, turtles and more!

I found an awesome pattern for the Sew Small Sampler Quilt on the blog Wedding Dress Blue. I decided to not set the blocks on point, and to use white sashing instead of the settings squares.
Each tiny square was 3 1/2 inches after I made it, 3 inches in the finished quilt! I do love tiny piecing!

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Because I think it's fun to look at the seams (I generally iron my seams to one side, but a little ways into this project I realized for something so small it would behoove me to iron my seams open).

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A close-up on the quilting. I stitched in the sashing using natural colored thread, and then decided there was just too much white space, so I did some in lavender and blue,created by my friend Cherri and my go-to quilting pattern.

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Aaaand my two favorite blocks! Shown with a bobbin to demonstrate the tinyness.

5_21_2012 007
5_21_2012 008

This project gave me the idea to do a Novelty Fabric swap on Craftster, if you'd like to see all the fun fabric coming in, our gallery link is here

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Low Carb Fried Chicken and Gravy

Cooking is crafty, right? I've been doing some low carbing lately, it really helps to get rid of my sugar cravings and binges. Since I started getting a Farm Share from Zenger Farms I'm even more excited about being able to eat low carb with all my yummy veggies!

Tonight I made the yummiest dinner! Breaded, fried chicken with "gravy" for 3 net carbs!


2 butterflied chicken breasts, lightly pounded just so they were the same thickness
seasoned salt and garlic powder
1/4 cup almond meal
2 T coconut flour
1 T unsweetened coconut (I don't think this added anything, it wasn't coconut tasting, so will omit it next time)
2 T oil for frying

1/4 cup half and half
2 T chopped Italian parsley
red pepper flakes to taste

Heat oil on large pan until a bit of almond flour tossed in sizzles. Mix almond meal and flour in shallow dish, add any other seasonings you like. Season one side of chicken breasts with seasoned salt and garlic powder, then dip both sides in almond mixture. Fry on each side 3-5 minutes, or until browned nicely and cooked through. Remove chicken from pan, and into pan drippings (should be oil left + some of the almond meal mixture that fell off and browned) add half and half and chopped parsley. Cook and stir for a minute for the parsley to wilt, and add red pepper flakes and salt/pepper to taste.

ETA: The 3 net carbs were for eating 3/4 of this recipe, there is half a piece of chicken and some gravy left over.

Next up: Some Kale Chips I am going to attempt to make in my dehydrator! I got the most beautiful Red Russian Kale from the farm yesterday!