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

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Stress Relief of Crafting

I don't know about you, but I really notice the difference in myself if I don't get enough time to make things in my craft room!  Last week, I really made the time and I could feel myself releasing tension.  The week before, I shot in there long enough to sew up a pouch that only took a couple of hours.  I felt myself losing patience with little things throughout that week and I couldn't put my finger on why.  I think I have figured it out now!
Here is another stress reliever for me: Mickey.  We have been having our windows open so, naturally, being nosy, she is always looking out the window.  I guess watching the birds and squirrels is tiring work because I found her sound asleep(and snoring) with her paws on the window sill like she couldn't hold herself up any more!  She is looking forward(I imagine) to the screened in porch being opened up.  She spends alot of time out there.  She  has never been outside in her life and I worry about her trying to sneak out when someone opens the door so we will have to be vigilant about that. 
Speaking about the screened in porch, I made this sunflower pillow cover yesterday.  I used fusible web for the applique and sewed over it for extra security.  I may get a bigger pillow form to fill it out better.  I measured the existing pillow form and allowed myself extra because I tend to take bigger seam allowances.  Apparently, this time I didn't so I have a little more room in the pillow form.  I also want to make one of those sprocket pillows I have seen in blogland.  Those are adorable.  That may be next on my list.
I also wanted to share with you an amazing dessert I made this past week: Cherry Cheese Cookie Bars.  I used some of a huge bag of sugar cookie mix I bought at Sam's Club.  It called for 2 1/2 cups of mix, 1 stick of softened butter and 1 egg.  You could probably use your own recipe or that refrigerated sugar cookie dough.  I mixed it per the instructions and patted it in an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.  Then I mixed a softened 8 oz cream cheese(I used fat free-gotta save where you can!) 1 Tablespoon flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg and a splash of vanilla.  Beat that with a hand mixer until smooth.  Spread over raw cookie dough and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Cool completely.  Top with 2 cans of cherry pie filling.  You can mix a little almond extract in with the cherries if you wish.  Really Really good.  These would be good to bring to a cook out or pot luck. 
I also was anxious to tell you that I went way outside my normal familiar crafting to make some jewelry.  I had purchased a necklace and bracelet that matched but there were no matching earrings.  I love matching sets of jewelry so I debated on what to do.  Then I realized that if I bought a different style of bracelet that matched, I could get it very inexpensively-this is costume jewelry at Kohls, not 14carat stuff! So I bought the second bracelet and some inexpensive findings at JoAnn.  I tentatively cut the cording on the bracelet and got going.  I ended up with a great pair of earrings and a bunch of extra beads if I ever need them.  I am officially patting myself on the back for trying something new.  It was fun and I got something I really wanted out of it that I couldn't have gotten any other way. 
I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day with family and friends and whatever else makes you happy.  Take care.  Nancy                                                                                                                                 

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Am Ready To...Garden

It has been a really wet and somewhat chilly Spring here in the Northeast.  I have a couple of cute little flower gardens that I am trying to maintain and I am surprised that I am anxious to get at them.  My older sister has the green thumb in the family.  She has a greenhouse and even has started a business from it.  I usually can't keep green things alive but, with the help of my mother in law and a friend, I am trying to maintain two little patches of flowers around my house.  I bought this Dianthus(I think that is the name of it) about a week ago and I am looking forward to planting it in one of the gardens.  I like the wildflower quality of it.  We also have to freshen the bark chips and put out the fountain and all the little accessories.  Everything looks so nice when it is done.  Hubs is in the process of making new shutters for our house.  He changed the deck to our pool so everything needs a fresh coat of paint.  Also, I have to wash all the pillow covers and dust my screened in back porch so we can start having dinner out there.  It makes me tired just thinking about it!

I managed to make a little pouch to put inside the knitting needle pouch I made last week.  It holds my needle tips, cable holders, stitch holders, stitch counter and other knitting gadgets.  I hate fishing in the bottom of a big bag for little items so this will prevent that.  I put three buttons on it for a closure.  I love me some organizational helpers!   

I also made a good and easy dinner in the crock pot this weekend.  It is chicken stroganoff.  It sounded more suited to cold weather but it was tasty just the same.  Just cut up a couple of packages of chicken tenders-I cut each tender in three pieces after I cut out that annoying tendon or whatever it is.  Chop one onion and drain a small can of mushrooms.  Stir these together in a crock pot.  In a bowl, stir together 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup with garlic(I couldn't find it so I added minced garlic to plain cream of mushroom), 1/3 cup of water and freshly cracked pepper.  Pour over chicken mixture in pot.  Cook on high 4-5 hours. Stir in 8 oz. sour cream right before serving.  I served it over mashed potatoes but if you are a stroganoff purist, go with the noodles.  It was very good-comfort food at its best.  

I hope everyone is able to get outside and blow the stink of winter off you!(I love that saying)  Have a great week and take care.   Nancy 


Monday, May 16, 2011

Good Eats and a Little Sewing

Happy Monday everyone!  Time is just a whippin' by.  I think that the older I get, the faster it goes!  This past weekend, my older son and his girlfriend went to her senior prom.  Being he graduated high school two years ago, he wasn't keen on attending this event, but he understood it meant alot to her.  She looked beautiful, he looked handsome and they had a good time.  It poured here all weekend and is predicted to rain pretty much all week.  We only had a few days off from the rain and it seemed nice.  Our river will swell again and, no doubt, more damage will happen. 

I wanted to share a couple of easy recipes with you.  On Saturday nights, we usually have a couple of homemade pizzas.  This past weekend, I made stuffed crust pizza and Cheeseburger Pie.  Both of these recipes are started with refrigerated biscuits/pizza dough products.  The pizza couldn't be easier.  You just take the tube of pizza dough and unroll it in a 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Push it a little up the sides and line up string cheese sticks along the edges.  Pull the crust down to fully cover the cheese "logs" so now your crust edges are officially stuffed!  Fix your pizza any way you wish with sauce, cheese, and toppings.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes or so.  It is pretty tasty!  
Now I can't comment personally on the cheeseburger pie because I don't care for hamburger(except at Ruby Tuesday-don't ask!) but it was a big hit with the guys.  This recipe starts with a 12 oz. can of refrigerated biscuits.  Pat 6 biscuits on the bottom and up the sides of a greased pie pan. Cut the remaining 4 biscuits in quarters and set aside.  Meanwhile, brown a pound of hamburger.  Drain if necessary.  Add some onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in 1/3 cup ketchup and a couple of squirts of mustard.  Stir and heat until bubbling.  Spoon beef mixture into pie plate.  Arrange 7 American cheese slices on top of beef.  Place biscuit quarters, point side down, around the edge.  Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes until biscuits are golden.  I thought next time I would put a little pile of pickle relish in the middle to serve.  Also, you could switch out the cheese for swiss and leave out the mustard and add mushrooms or bacon.  This is just a starting off point.  That is why I love to cook.  I try to make each recipe my own. 

Speaking of making things my own, I sewed a big pouch for my knitting needles.  A while back, I made a knitting needle holder out of a placemat.  It held them all in sling-style and they were constantly falling out.  So, I decided to measure up the size I would need for my needles and construct a pouch.  I don't think I always go at these projects the right way.  I start out with a project in a book and sometimes I end up with nothing like what I started to do!  This pouch has a zipper and is lined.  It is roomy enough that I am also constructing a smaller pouch to put inside that will hold knitting needle end tips, yarn needles, cable holders and all the little accessories you need when you knit.  Stay tuned for that one-I am thinking of using buttons to close that pouch. 

I hope everyone has a great week.  I am hoping to do some tole painting this week.  I have the perfect project to work on.  Hopefully, I can give you a peek next Monday.  Dancing with the Stars is getting down to the final contestants.  Kirstie Alley is still there!  I also like the football player Hines.  I am anxious to see who wins!  I will be tuning in tonight!  Take care everyone.  Nancy

Monday, May 9, 2011

Another One Yard Wonders Project

Happy Monday evening!  I have had a busy day off.  Usually, I post early in the morning before work, but today a fellow crafty friend came for a visit and we went over material and books and talked about all our projects.  It was fun and very relaxing.  I am glad I took today off after spending most of the weekend at a training class for work.
I first want to share another One Yard Wonders project.  I keep finding excellent projects in that book and the instructions are always clear and easy to follow too!  I made a set of veggie pot holders and a mitt.  I love it when a project forces me to try a new technique or sewing machine foot.  I purchased an inexpensive walking foot for my machine and quilted my own fabric for these projects.  It worked like a dream!  The fabric didn't bunch up at all.  That extra feed dog action from the top really keeps everything smooth.  It was fun and rewarding.  I will definitely do that again.  If I want to make another make up bag, I will make my own pre-quilted fabric instead of having to accept what they have in the fabric store.  The supply is always limited.  I used the insulated batting and they are all very professional in that they really keep the heat out. 

I continued on the path of learning more about working with my serger.  I made the plain banded pillowcase right off the bat.  I rethreaded the serger with white thread very easily.  Then all "you know what" broke loose when I tried to make the alternate, harder version.  It involved using the gathering foot and it would work on the sample I was practising on but when I switched to the real thing, not at all!  So I scrapped that for now-it was 1:30 in the morning so I gave up!  I quickly tried the rolled hem and kind of struck out on that.  So,  I decided to make the purple  and pink one a little more feminine with some pre-made lace.  Maybe I will get the hang of those other techniques when it is not so late-I was exhausted! 

I hope all you moms had a great Mother's Day.  I got to have dinner from one of my favorites-Red Lobster.  It was yummy!  As for my gift-feast your eyes on some awesome reading material.
   You know me-never too many books!  I get so much inspiration from them. 

I also want to thank so many of you for your kind comments on my epi pen cozy.  The dimensions of the fabric I used are: 2 pieces of fabric 24" x 5".  Put them face to face and stitch leaving a place to turn.  Then I folded up 8" to form a pouch.  I top-stitched along the sides attaching a ribbon to hold the flap down.  I tapered the flap a little and that's it.  My epi pen is 6 1/2" high and has a circumference of 3 1/2".  If you have any questions, please let me know. 

I hope everybody has a great week.  Happy creating and take care.  Nancy

Monday, May 2, 2011

I Actually Made a Clothing Item...

Good morning and I hope everyone is having a happy Monday.  Where I live, here in the Northeast, we are having serious flooding.  My husband and I like to drive our four wheelers to the river not far from my house and fish all summer.  My younger son and my husband took a walk yesterday to check it out and he took some pictures so I could see.  Where we usually stand is totally under water.  The water is particularly dangerous and fast moving right now.  It will be several weeks before we can consider fishing. 
In keeping with the idea of fishing and summer, I had to fill my prescription of epi pens for the season.  They come two to a box and I need to keep one in my purse and one in the four wheeler.  So I whipped up a fabric case for the one for my purse.  I lined it too.  It is nothing too elaborate but it is better than just putting it in my purse by itself.  I used fabric with bees on it.  I found out I was allergic to bees when I was 26.  I went into anaphylactic shock and I don't know what is worse-being afraid of using the epi pen or having that happen again.  My husband's cousin is also allergic to bees and has used an epi pen on himself many times.  He says it is not too bad but it is something I hope I never have to do.
One thing I am kind of excited about is that I made an article of clothing for myself.  I usually make accessories or things for the house.  But I have been eyeballing the nightgown in One Yard Wonders(love love love that book!).  So I made it. 
I shortened it and wear it to bed with satiny shorts.  Also, I made it out of a very light weight flannel.  It is so soft and very comfortable.  I just may make another one!  That book has so many wonderful, usable projects in it.  If they ever make a sequel to it, I will be the first customer! 
I wanted to pop in a picture of my sewing mascot.  Every time I get up from my sewing chair, she gets in it and wastes no time making herself right at home.  What a character! 
I have a particularly busy week at work ahead of me.  I have to take a course that runs Friday night and all day Saturday for my job.  Needless to say, I am not looking forward to losing a good chunk of my weekend, but I am thinking of starting a painting project so hopefully I will be able to show you that next week.   Take care.  Nancy