Cherish Yesterday...Dream Tomorrow...Live Today

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Long Time No Blog!

Hi and happy Sunday.  I am finally able to blog about some projects after a harrowing couple of weeks.  I won't go into the details but my youngest son(the 19 year old) ended up in the hospital in pretty serious condition and I had to head out of town for some medical tests.  Things are definitely looking up for my son-thank goodness-and hopefully I can get some test results and be on the road to feeling better myself.

On to some fun projects I have completed.

I don't know if you remember this or not, but my whole kitchen is done in a veggie theme-vegetables everywhere!  I have been wanting to make this eggplant paper towel holder forever and I finally was able to.  I had this paper towel holder for about the past 20 years or so.

It did the job but the knob on top had threads that had become stripped so if you moved it by the knob, it would come apart and sometimes go flying if you lifted it up by the knob.  Alot of the finish had worn off and it was time for a new one.  I found the eggplant themed towel holder years ago in a book.  I showed it to my husband and somehow, it never got cut out in his wood shop and I forgot about it.  I asked him about it recently and he looked at the book and went right over to his shop and cut it out for me.  I was thrilled.  I painted the eggplants which was really easy and together, we assembled it.  It looks so perfect in my kitchen.  I am really liking that the knob on top is not screwed in but has a little dowel that fits into the big dowel so it can never become stripped!  I love it.

I also used some of my nervous energy lately to make some jewelry.

I completed this abalone set from my monthly kits.  I thought it was really nice that it came with instructions for a ring.  The bracelet has five strands and was the first of its type I had made with that kind of clasp.  I am learning alot from my jewelry kit club.

Last, but not least, I made a blueberries and cream pie.

I got the recipe from Bakerlady.  I used a Pillsbury pie crust instead of making my own and I used frozen blueberries.  It was delicious with vanilla ice cream on top.

Well I hope you all have a great week ahead.  I could use some calm days myself with no excitement, yeah, I am in the mood for that!  I think we may be getting a little more snow here in the Northeast this week.  There is no telling how much we will get.  The weather people here are frequently wrong, so I just look at the radar and try to figure it out myself.  It may be Winter's last hurrah before Spring muscles in.  I actually like the snow so I don't mind.  Take care.  Nancy

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Magnificent Brownies and More Scarves

Hi friends and happy Sunday.  It is a happy Sunday because I have the next week off from school so I can spend glorious time in my craft room.  I am a happy camper!  I would love to experiment with my husband's Valentine gift to me but I don't know if I can but more on that later.  I know I will be making jewelry and doing a little sewing, maybe some knitting.

I know everyone is probably familiar with these ruffly scarves that are popular now.  I have made a few of them.  The one in the picture matches one I made my sister for her birthday a couple of weeks ago.  The Sashay yarn used to make them has another style that I really love.

I love these rope scarves made with the same yarn.  They couldn't be easier.  Just use an "N" crochet hook and chain the whole skein.  That's it.  I think they are really unusual.  The bottom one has metallic strands in it so it is a little dressier but I love the colors in the yellow,grey and green one.  I have a lot I can wear both scarves with.  I think I have gone scarf crazy!  I am going to try to create something that is not a scarf next week!

You may remember that I mentioned my oldest son turned 23 on February 8th.  I made him his favorite brownies as his birthday dessert and they went over BIG!

These rocky road brownies disappeared very fast and everyone loved them.  Just prepare a 20 oz.(give or take) brownie mix as the package directs.  Add 1 cup of chopped pecans and transfer batter to a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Bake in a 350 oven for 25 minutes.  As soon as you take the pan out of the oven, sprinkle 3 cups of miniature marshmallows on the brownies.  In a heavy saucepan over low heat, combine  2 oz unsweetened chocolate, 1/3 cup milk, and 1/2 cup butter.  Cook until everything is melted together and combined.  Take off the heat and add a 16 oz. package of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla.  Stir until it is of a loose frosting consistency.  Spread over the marshmallow layer and cool completely.  They are pretty easy for something that tastes so good.

I have been complaining for some time now that I don't feel safe wearing either of my expensive charm bracelets because I am afraid of losing the charms.  Several people have advised me to get the charms soldered on at a jewelers to make the bracelet safe to wear.  I asked at a couple of jewelers and the prices were ridiculously high.  I kept thinking that soldering would be a useful skill to learn.  Now that I make jewelry, I occasionally run into a jump ring that won't stay closed so it would be nice to solder those types of things.  Well my husband knows the way to my heart is through my craft room!  He gave me this for Valentine's Day:

I love it!  I have been watching tutorials on soldering on YouTube and I realize I need a couple of things before I try it out:  a heat-proof mat, a holder would be nice and some flux.  I may not get everything to try it out this week but I will do it soon.  I can't wait.  They sell 14 karat gold soldering wire and even though it is naturally expensive, it will save me a ton compared to the jeweler's quotes.

I hope you all have a great week ahead.  Our temperatures are supposed to be going up this week so I plan on trying to get outside and take in some fresh air when that happens.  Take care.  Nancy

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Look What I Got From a T-shirt!!

Hi and happy Sunday.  It was a very busy week for me.  We had three early dismissals at school because of severe Wintery weather and on Thursday I had two doctor appointments, my son and his fiance's graduation from LPN school and dinner with her parents.  Friday brought a doctor appointment that I had to reschedule due to the horrible weather Tuesday.  I was exhausted this weekend and I was lazy all day yesterday.  I figured I had it coming!

On to the fun stuff!  I am very proud of the mileage I got from a plain grey t-shirt.

First I made another t-shirt scarf like the black one I made.  I wear alot of grey so I am sure it will get alot of use.  Then I have been eyeballing all the cute fabric flowers that are so popular right now.  They remind me of something Carrie would wear on Sex in the City.  Anyway, I found an easy tutorial from Emily at Emily's Little World  and I was very pleased with the results.  I sewed a pin on the back so I can wear it with or without the scarf.  I had some shirt left and I thought of another little garment I would like from the grey knit.

  I made a modesty panel.  I bought some modesty panels a while back and the pack came with white, cream, black and navy.  I wear them alot so I thought it would be great to have a grey one.  I followed a tutorial on YouTube and it worked out pretty well.  I had to piece it a little more than it showed because I was working with limited material but it all came out ok.  I put the buttons and elastic on it that it called for but I will probably just safety pin it to my bra straps like I do the other ones!  I find it slides down too low and kind of defeats the purpose if I use the closures like this.  It will get lots of use though and I love that I used the whole shirt.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead.  I have my oldest son's 23rd birthday next weekend and I am thrilled to have a less busy schedule ahead this week! I have so many projects I want to make.  I need to lock myself in my craft room and get going!  Take care.  Nancy

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Different Kind Of Scarf and Yummy Garlic Bread

Hi everyone.  Happy Sunday night.  I am up a little later getting things done tonight because I have tomorrow off-yeah!!  It has snowed here all day.  I love snow.  I was unhappy to see the rain wash most of it away last weekend, so I am thrilled to see some of it return.

I want to share an awesome scarf with you.

It is a t-shirt scarf and it was really easy to make.  I watched several you tube videos about them and took a few tips from each and went off on my own.  I love it.  I bought a plain black t-shirt and pre-washed it.  I laid it out on my cutting table and snipped real close to the hem.  I discarded that piece.  Then I cut straight across armpit to armpit.  I was left with a wide tube from the shirt.  I eyeballed strips and cut as neatly as I could.  The strips weren't too skinny but not too wide either. When I was done cutting, I stretched each ring of fabric.  I even put them, one at a time, on a cabinet knob so I could really get a good stretch.  Try to get them in even stretched lengths because you are going to bundle them together.   When you are happy with their length, bundle them and use a strip from the leftover part of the shirt.  Just tie the bundle together tightly and cover your fastened part with another strip.  Wrap it around several times and tie it as neatly as possible.   I have seen these with beads added and big fabric flower pins on the bundled part.  I love a project that is versatile. I have since bought many bright colored shirts on sale.  I think the weight of these lends itself to summer shirts.  It isn't a heavy warm, Wintery scarf.  I also am on the lookout for a floral print t-shirt. I think that will be cute.  I will keep you posted.

For dinner tonight, with homemade French onion soup, I made this yummy Caprese garlic bread.  I had pinned the recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod .  I just used half a crusty loaf of Italian bread and sliced it down the middle.  I slathered it with softened butter mixed with 3 cloves of finely minced garlic.  I sliced up some fresh mozzarella and put that on top.  I baked the two hunks of bread at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  When they came out of the oven, I topped them with thinly sliced heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper and chiffonades of fresh basil.  I then topped it with my fave-balsamic glaze.  It was delicious.  I am loving this whole Pinterest thing.  Why do I resist some new things so vigorously?  I need to stop that!

To give you an update on Jiggs, he is doing quite well here.  He is looking more and more handsome each day as he has a regular food supply and a family who looks out for him.  We are planning on taking him to the vet soon to be neutered.  I kind of want to wait until the below zero weather is past.  He will spend one night at the vet clinic, but I don't want him coming home in pain to a freezing garage, even though we do plug in the heating pad on his favorite cushion when he needs it!  I hope everyone has a great week ahead.  Take care.  Nancy

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cool New Sneaks and a Very Special Salad

Hi all and happy Sunday.  First I wanted to say, thanks for all the heartwarming comments and stories you shared after reading my post about Jiggs.  We keep finding out more endearing qualities he has and he has definitely become a member of our family. 

I don't know if you know this, but I live in the Northeast and we got pummeled with snow Tuesday and Wednesday of last week.  Yeah for two snow days from school but it was a scary time for people who got stranded as the roads were impossible to navigate with zero visibility.    My husband put in extra hours at work and was anxious to get away yesterday.  It was raining(go figure) and the temperature was in the 40's so, we lost a lot of our snow.  I took advantage of this so I could wear these beauties:

I started out with $5 Walmart white sneakers and followed the instructions on yesterdayontuesday blog .  She did an extra step by painting the stripe along the rubber bottom.  Also, she painted hers pink like the Kate Spade sneakers that were her inspiration.  These were easy, just a little time consuming with the drying time and all.  I got compliments on these sneakers from complete strangers where we went yesterday!  Malia also has some cute polka dot sneakers on her blog and I am definitely making those!

I don't know if you do this, but when I go to a restaurant and have something unique and delicious, I am compelled to recreate it at home.  I went to a local privately-owned Italian restaurant and had a pear salad that was to die for.  It seemed fairly simple so I made it at home.

It was just as good!  I toasted some chopped walnuts in a small dry frying pan.  Your nose will know when they are done-be careful not to walk away-they will burn.  Transfer them to a small bowl and put some butter in the pan.  Over medium high heat, cook some pear slices(I used well-drained canned pears) until they are caramelized.  I bought a bag of baby Spring greens and put some in a bowl.  I sprinkled Gorgonzola crumbles and the walnuts on the greens.  I tossed these lightly in the bowl and put the warm pears on top.  I dressed the salad with a balsamic vinaigrette I had purchased.  It was wonderful.  My husband opted for a garden salad so I made one just for me!

I hope everyone has a great week ahead.  I feel like I am coming down with a cold so I am hoping if I baby myself, it won't go full-blown on me!  I used the two snow days to straighten up my craft room.  To reward myself, I bought the cutest dress form lamp at Cracker Barrel.  I am trying to decide where to put it.  I will include a picture next post when it finds its perfect spot.  Take care.  Nancy

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Tale of Two Kitties

Happy New Year!  I have a good feeling about 2014 don't you?  I probably have most of the same resolutions I usually have but I have added a few more and this may be the year I push myself to actually conquer a few of them!

Meet Jiggs.  He was dropped off near our house right after Thanksgiving.  It has been a roller coaster ride with Jiggs, to say the least.  He was absolutely starving when we noticed him, rummaging through our garbage until he got at our turkey carcass.  He has the loudest, most obnoxious meow and the wildest front feet I have ever seen.  He looks like he has opposable thumbs.  We didn't know what to do with him.  We aren't really equipped to have an outdoor cat.  We only have a garage and it is closed up at night.  We live next door to the most animal-dangerous highway around.  I have a house cat Mickey who never goes outside and, at 6 years old, is very set in her ways and doesn't seem to care for other animals at all.   We started feeding Jiggs until we could set up alternate arrangements, looking for a home for him or, last resort, the ASPCA.  My 19 year old son, who volunteers at the local vet clinic and wants to be a groomer, took over the care of Jiggs in the garage.  My son was carrying the new bag of food we had just purchased at the grocery store and Jiggs bit him.  I have no idea where this cat has been and whether the lovely previous owners he had kept him up to date on his shots so I had to report it to my local vet clinic who had me call my local public health department.  I had two choices:  have him picked up by the dog warden where he would be quarantined for 10 days and then destroyed even if he was healthy or quarantine him myself for ten days.  A friend had a nice big cage we could borrow, so we quarantined him ourselves for 10 days.  At the end of the 10 days, we took him to our vet and had him get his shots and a check up.  We are thinking of getting him neutered, when we can save up the money, so hopefully he won't end up in the road by our house. So far he seems content to stay in the garage.  He took very well to the litter box when we had him in the cage, so we lock him in the garage at night.  He is very affectionate.  We realize that he bit Jake because he was starving and probably is used to fighting for whatever food he can get.  Jake made this observation right away and was devastated that we might decide to have Jiggs put down for his basic fear of starvation.
My husband named him Jiggs, by the way.  I have told him all the pets friends and family had when I was growing up by treating them like real people, giving the first and last names.  My godmother had a daschound when I was little named Jiggs.  He thought that was a riot so this stray cat was the first animal my husband was able to name in our family.  The ladies at the vet clinic had a few chuckles over it!

We are getting attached to Jiggs so I made him a collar.  I also hope you can see his front "mitten" foot in this picture.  Oh and I made my Mickey a couple of collars too!  So you can see I have a city cat and a country cat.

These collars are super easy to sew.  I got the idea from a wonderful animal lover who always seems to have room for one more- Susan at FlossieBlossoms  .

I have been on vacation these last 2 weeks.  We started the vacation with an ice storm and then we went right into Christmas so I haven't been as productive in my craft room as I would have liked but I got a few things done.  I made another watchband.

This is the fifth one I have made.  They are so easy and I love how much fun I can have with the fabrics.

I can also share the necklace I made for a good friend across the country from me.  

It matched the bracelet and earrings I sent her for her birthday.  I plan on winding down my vacation today by working on a few jewelry pieces.  It really relaxes me.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week.  I have lots to do and I am excited to begin some different projects that will bring some new challenges with new skills to learn.  Stay warm and take care.  Nancy

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Something to Celebrate

Hi all and happy Sunday night.  I have had a busy week and it only promises to get busier as Christmas gets even closer.  My oldest son is officially engaged to his girlfriend.  He gave her a ring on her birthday this past week.  They are close to graduating nursing school and will be taking their boards and getting jobs in the field they have prepared for.  I am happy for them.

On the Christmas cookie front, I welcomed a yummy newcomer to my cookie bunch.  These sugared date squares are different from the usual cookies I make this time of year.  A coworker and good friend made me a batch of these for my birthday this year and everyone that had one asked for the recipe.  They are that good!  In a large saucepan, combine 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 3/4 cup butter, and 8 oz. package chopped dates.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until almost smooth-about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 cups rice krispies and 1 cup chopped walnuts.  Spread in a buttered 9 inch square pan.  Cool and cut into squares.  Dredge each cut square in powdered sugar.  They make a wonderful addition to any cookie tray.

I also wanted to share an easy scarf I made to go with a green coat with an unusual hue of green.  It may not look like it matches in this picture, but one of the greens in the variegated yarn matches exactly.  I used Deborah Norville's serenity chunky yarn in Forest.  I used size 17 needles and cast on 8 stitches using 2 strands of yarn.  I knit the first 6 rows.  For the next row, I knit 1 and then wrapped the yarn around twice and knit another one. I continued like that all the way across the row.  On the next row, I knit 1 and then dropped the extra wraps from the previous row and then knit one.  I continued that on that row and then knit the next 3 rows.  It was an easy pattern and with only 8 stitches in each row, it went quickly.  

I hope you all have a great week ahead.  I have several gatherings with friends to exchange gifts which means several dinners and lunches out this week.  We are also doing our secret Santa swap at school this week.  It will all be hectic but fun.  Take care.  Nancy