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

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let the Gift-Making Begin!

Hi everyone.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I don't know about you, but I have been busy getting a jump start on my homemade gifts.I love making something that I have thought out with a special person in mind.  I finished and mailed out my gift to my Craftaholics Anonymous gift swap partner.  I can't wait until she gets it.  It was alot of fun getting to know her a little and coming up with some things I hope she likes. 

This is the first of the gifts I want to share with you.  It is my second sprocket pillow that I have made.  I like the colors in this one.  It is a gift for my sister Suzie.  I hope she likes it.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  I liked the fabric so much together, I made a scalloped tote bag that I have seen all over blogland with the same combination of fabric. 
  I got the instructions at See Kate Sew and the directions were easy to follow and I am thrilled with the results.  These are addictive.  You can't make just one!  This bag is for my friend who moved to California.  I hope she will like it.  She makes beautiful tote bags so I will have to send her the web address so she can make some of these. 

  I wanted to end this post with something sweet so here is a slice of chocolate fudge pie that I got from Flour Me With Love.  I had an extra pie crust and this was an easy and delicious way to use it.  Try it and you will be happy you did.  It is like fudge and brownies together in a pie!  Yum-definitely a hit with the family. 

Did you guys notice I have over 100 followers?(101 to be exact!)  I think that definitely calls for a giveaway.  Be on the lookout for that soon.  I have to come up with some great prizes.  Thank you to everyone who reads this blog and leaves comments.  It means alot to me.
I hope you all are having a pleasant start to your Christmas season.  Hubs and my youngest got our outdoor decorations put up this weekend and we will work on the inside ones next weekend.  Take care and happy crafting.  Nancy

Monday, November 21, 2011

Beadboard Gobblers and Slow Cooker Dinner

Good Monday morning to everyone.  I wanted to share my fun bead board turkeys I made for Thanksgiving decorations this year.  These guys were fun and easy to make.  What's really nice is my husband was able to cut them out from scraps he had in his wood shop.  I got the idea from Leslie's Latest Creations.  She didn't give patterns, but they were pretty free form and easy to come up with.  I love the rich colors of Fall and have enjoyed decorating my home with them. 

I am starting to get really busy making all my Christmas gifts that I planned out.  I joined a gift swap on Craftaholics Anonymous and have really enjoyed getting to know my partner.  She seems really sweet and I have had a blast coming up with some handmade gifts for her.  I am almost done and will have them in the mail this week.  After she receives them, I will share them with you.  I was in my craft room Saturday night and all day yesterday and accomplished alot.  I may have a hard time parting with what I made!  After Christmas, I will have to make myself some of these things!

 Now that the weather is getting cooler, I am using my slow cooker more and more.  I made an easy delicious Swiss Steak in my crock pot and I want to share the recipe with you.  Put 2 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast or steak cut into chunks in your slow cooker.  Add 1/4 cup of steak sauce(I used our grocery store's own brand of A1).  Top with 1 sliced onion and 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes-undrained.  Cover and cook 9-10 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.  Thicken before serving with a flour/water slurry.  It was easy peasy and so good served over mashed potatoes.  The beef I used was inexpensive and usually tough but it was so tender in this dish.  Also, the steak sauce gave it a unique tangy flavor.  I will definitely be having this again. 

I hope everyone has a family-filled Thanksgiving with lots of turkey and the trimmings!  Take care.   Nancy

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fall Leaves and Yummy Food

Good evening everyone and I hope you all had a great weekend.  I had a pretty good three day weekend.  I got to do alot of crafting.  Sometimes I think if I had it my way, I wouldn't come out of my craft room!  At work, in the teacher's lounge, someone put a big turkey up and suggested we all fill out colored paper feathers with what we are thankful for.  People put multiple things on their feathers.  I put my husband and sons, my health, my craft room which brings me sanity and my cat Mickey.  You knew Mickey would be in there didn't you? 

Did you notice my leaf garland in the above picture strung along my mantle?  I think I am becoming garland obsessed!  I am thinking about what holiday comes next and what bunting/garland I will come up with.  I just bought some fall colored felt and found some leaf patterns online.  I cut quite a few out and tried to decide what looked good to me as I placed them along the brown double fold bias tape on my ironing board.  I decided to glue the smaller leaves onto the long leaves and hang them in twos.  I sewed them in place and voila, there you have it.  I really like how it turned out.  The colors are very fall-like and I like that it is different.  I am enjoying fall crafting.

On the food front, I have been in the kitchen.  Every year at this time, I get back into cooking and baking heartier dinners and desserts that are a little more substantial than the Summer fare.  I made this fantastic beer cheese bread with my bread maker.  That thing is really winning my respect!  I have really thrown some different ingredients in it, and it has been coming through with tasty bread for me.  I followed this recipe.  I used a shredded cheese blend and melted some with the beer and tossed the rest with the bread flour.  I am not a beer drinker and I am happy to report, the beer taste is not distinguishable.  It was very good.  I will be toasting some tomorrow.                                              

This, my friends, is an amazing frosted pumpkin blondie.  I got the recipe from The Stirring Place.  These are beyond good.  The only change I made in the recipe was to replace the 1 cup of oil with 1 cup of unsweetened plain applesauce.  They were still very moist but much healthier.  I love pumpkin recipes this time of the year and I am such a sucker for any dessert with cream cheese icing!  The family gobbled these up so this recipe is definitely a keeper.                                                      

Thank you Terry, for your recommendation of the Cricut.  I discovered that they are doing a demonstration of Cricuts at JoAnn Fabrics on the 26th.  I can't wait to see one in action! 

I hope everyone has a great week.  My anniversary is Friday-22 years.  Hubs and I will be doing something special.  I just don't know what but we both took the day off!  Take care.  Nancy            



Sunday, November 6, 2011

Turkey Pumpkin and Some Belly Warmin' Chili

Happy Sunday everyone.  The weather here in Upstate NY is chilly but sunny.  I kind of like that Fall weather.  It starts to gently nudge us indoors for movies on a Sunday afternoon, cooking heartier meals, baking yummy desserts, and of course, crafting!  I wanted to share this easy and very Thanksgiving project.  We usually purchase a bunch of pumpkins in October to decorate with.  They replace my potted flowers that edge my front steps to my porch.  We usually make sure we have an extra one to turn into a turkey come November.  My husband just came up with a basic feather shape and cut six of them out of wood.  He drilled a hole in the bottom of them so he could glue in a dowel he had sharpened on one end like a pencil to stick into a pumpkin.  They are pretty secure too!  I painted them very simply, each a different color and the head brown.  I painted eyes and he cut out a beak/waddle piece I sketched for him.  I painted that as you see in the picture.  I glued that on and coated all my painted pieces with outdoor poly so it could withstand the cold and rain of November(sometimes snow!).  Now we use them every year.  I know I have seen inserts for pumpkins in catalogs but I think it has so much more character when you make it yourself. 

Speaking of heartier meals, I made some creamy chicken chili this past week.  It had some kick to it but I believe that is something you could adjust to suit your family's tastes.  I start with a good-size package of chicken tenderloins.  I chop them into bite-sized pieces.  I saute the chicken with a chopped onion and a teaspoon or so of garlic powder in a small amount of canola oil.  When the chicken is cooked, add two 15 1/2 oz. cans of rinsed and drained great northern white beans.  Also add one can of chicken broth and one can of chopped green chilies(the 4 oz. can).  Then add one teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.  Simmer, uncovered, for half an hour.  Take off the heat and add one cup of sour cream and 1/2 cup whipping cream.  Serve with shredded cheese.  Normally I put sour cream on my chili but I felt that would be overkill with the sour cream already in the recipe but you do what you want-it's your chili!  I think I have mentioned that I am not a big fan of hamburger.  I fix it for my family because they all love meat loaf and meat balls, but this chili was something that I could enjoy too. 

    I just had to include a picture of my son in the Sasquatch costume he wore to school for Halloween.  He said it was a hit with everyone.  Now that you have seen it, can you picture it causing a stir in the hospital parking lot where my older son works? 

I have a favor to ask you.  My husband is asking for ideas for a gift for me for Christmas.  I am thinking about the Silhouette machine or the Cricut.  I think there may even be another one out there.  I love crafting and I do alot of wood crafts and I LOVE the vinyl lettering for signs.  I also sew alot and I love the shapes cut out so neatly and uniformly(is that a word?).  Please drop me a line and let me know if you think one is more user-friendly or versatile than the other.  I don't want to just get another piece of equipment that will collect dust.

I hope everyone has a great week and is enjoying the beautiful fall colors wherever you are.  Take care.        Nancy