Friday, April 16, 2010

Vote for me!

Kroger has a contest to design a reusable shopping bag. Click the link below to vote for my design. You can vote once a day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Coming Soon!

The following projects may well be appearing on this blog in the near future:

slipcovering a fainting couch for $10
home made granola
Building a spice rack, and other kitchen projects
Make your own potholders
Antique daybed
Desk refinishing project
Built in Magazine rack/toilet paper holder
Fixing the Telephone nook
Outdoor fire pit
Record jalapeno harvest
Planting trees and shrubs
Growing chard

...and much, much more!
...or nothing at all, it kind of depends.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hello again!

Well, dear internet, you are not as fickle as you sometimes seem. After not having published a word in over three months, I find I still have readers.
So, I feel obligated to bring you up to speed. I have bought a house.

So, while there will be no end to the new realms of making stuff I am about to uncover, we will see what kind of time there is to blog about it.

There is no photo with this post, as it is about making a shower curtain. Shower curtains, no matter how amazing, don't photograph all that well.

You see, the house I bought was built in 1951, and as such the bathroom is done entirely in "fifties" green tile, walls and floor. I have decided to embrace this as "retro fun" instead of viewing it, as a always viewed the tile in an elderly relatives house, as "hideously unacceptable".

However, my current shower curtain, which was carefully selected for its quality and durability (its real cotton, and soft enough to use as a blanket) is unfortunately a blue and yellow plaid. It was nice in my white apartment bathroom, but, it clearly would not get along well with the green.

So, I found a white sheet I was not using, turned it so the top edge was down, and left that as a finished edge. I then put my current shower curtain down on top of it, to get the size. (Don't ask what size that is, I didn't bother to check). I hemmed up the unfinished edge I had cut, and left the other edge of the sheet alone as it was a selvage edge.

I then cut a strip about 4 inches wide from the original bottom edge of the sheet.... well, that isn't true, I took the bottom edge of the sheet and pressed its finished edge over, then folded and pressed that twice more so that I had a strip a little more than an inch deep to put the button holes in for the curtain rings.

I think button holes work fine for shower curtains, sure they are not as sturdy as a grommet, but, in my thinking, a shower curtain really shouldn't be taking a lot of wear and tear or abuse.

I wanted it a little dressier, since the curtain was all white, and originally I was going to put in box pleats, but then I remembered that I had some crocheted lace that my great grandmother had made to edge pillowcases with. As it turns out, two pillowcases worth of crocheted lace is just enough to run along a shower curtain.

I sewed the lace to the top edge of the curtain first, then attached the piece that would have the button holes (I want to call that a placket, does anyone know if that is right?). Again, to space the buttonholes I simply put my shower curtain over the new one, and used tailors chalk to mark the correct placement.

If you come visit, please don't examine my buttonholes too closely, my machine does them with the three step method, and I have not really mastered getting them even.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stuffed Jalepenos, and Christmas baking

“Where have you been?” I am sure you are asking. Well, I have been too busy making stuff to write about making stuff.

Sunday was the baby shower for a friend, and also the gift exchange between some of my good friends. I did the food for the shower, and also food gifts for friends. So, for the shower I made:

Spinach artichoke dip (I was originally going to make pitas with this, but then I realized I was crazy, and no one cared that much, and brought tortilla chips instead)

Bacon wrapped jalapeños with cream cheese filling

Winter vegetable kabobs (sweet potatoes, tiny red potatoes, blue potatos, tiny onions, yellow peppers and brussel sprouts)

Cranberry orange bread

Pumpkin muffins

Chocolate covered graham crackers

Walnut clusters

For friend gifts I made:

White chocolate peppermint fudge

Oatmeal butterscotch cookies

Rosemary Parmesan crisps

Pumpkin pie fudge

Oatmeal bread

Glazed almonds

And I think I am leaving something out…

Needless to say, I had a cooking schedule for the past week.

The bacon wrapped jalapeños disappeared almost instantly, so, here is how to make them:

Buy a package of nitrate free bacon, and twice as many jalapeños as you have bacon slices. You will probably need just over one package of cream cheese, depending on the size of the peppers.

You really want to wear gloves (I found them in the candy and cake decor section of the craft store) when you remove the ribs and seeds of the peppers. You can leave the stem on, and eviscerate them though a slit in the side if you prefer, however, I find that too time consuming, and just cut off the whole top of the pepper.

Next, stuff the peppers with cream cheese, don’t get them too full, you want them to still close (more or less). It helps if you sort of squeeze the pepper open, holding it at the top and bottom, then just scoop the cheese in with a knife.

Once the peppers are filled with cream cheesy goodness, cut all of the bacon in half, and wrap a piece around the middle of each pepper, and secure with a toothpick.

I baked mine on a wire rack over a roasting pan, at 350, and I think I left them in for a half hour or so, you just want to keep an eye on them, and when the bacon looks crisp.

In my experience, people will eat an astonishing number of these, so, make lots!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Winter Centerpiece

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Bit by bit I am getting out the Christmas decorations. For the last couple of years I have been very into blue and white for Christmas, and this year, I feel drawn to very pastel and silver colors for Christmas. I found the robins egg blue bowl at the Canton First Monday market, and filled it with some red and white ornaments. The succulent and the papaya plant have been placed in pastel enamel and porcelain bowls, respectively. I love the look of the bright cherry red against the pale blues, greens and pewter.

The key to a good centerpiece is grouping of similar objects. My mom has difficulty with this sometimes. When I visited at Thanksgiving, she had arranged her collection of rabbits in one of the bedrooms. The rabbits were all spaced more or less equidistantly around the room. Bless her heart, she prepares income tax for a living, and just can’t help that sort of thing. I rearranged the rabbits for her, and they look much better now. I should have taken pictures.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Onion Deliciousness

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I just got back into town, and since the weather has been less than charming, I have not been to the store. So, tonight when I opened the fridge, I found: a piece of colby cheese, half an onion and two eggs.
Really, other than the standard condiments, these were the only food items in the fridge. I did have some roasted red pepper and tomato bisque in the pantry. The boxed soups from Campbells are much better than one would expect.
So, I decided to melt the cheese on top of the soup and make some onion rings.
I don't know about you, but whenever I eat onion rings, the onion invariably all pulls out of the breading on the first bite, leaving me with three quarters of a sad, onionless breading circle. So, I decided to make onion petals instead, and I also decided on that name for them.... makes sense I think, based on the famed onion blossom of casual American dining fame.
So, I set out to make some onion breading batter.
I didn't know what goes in that, exactly, not having made this before, but here is what I put in mine:
one egg
some flour
some water
a little salt
a little sugar
pinch baking powder
hmmmm.... some more flour
a little corn meal
opps, too thick, a little more water

This process continued until the volume and ingredient mix looked right. I use peanut oil as my frying oil of choice, and I put some in a saucepan to heat. You know your oil is ready when a chopstick dipped into the oil creates little bubbles all around it. If you don't have a chopstick, you should save one the next time you pick up Chinese.
I dipped a test onion in batter, and tossed it in. I discovered that the batter adheres to the onions better if you dredge them in flour, then in the batter. I also discovered I needed to add a little more sugar. This time I added powdered sugar instead of granulated.

They turned out quite well, and all together made a good meal for a cold rainy night.
I have some leftovers, which I think will be fine heated up in the toaster oven. But, now I'm out of soup. I guess that means tomorrow I'll have to go to the store.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Public Service Annoucement, or something...

For crafters:
I love making stuff, and I'll admit, I can get awfully worked up over a fabric store or row upon row of beautiful scrapbooking paper. But, now and then, and a lot more, recently, I start thinking about how much "stuff" we all consume. Do we really need all that stuff?
So, in addition to the "Handmade Pledge" which some of you may have noticed in the sidebar, I'd like you all to consider reusing and recycling materials. Don't buy new fabric when you could reuse old fabric, make or print your own paper rather than going nuts at the scrapbook store, and go through you crafting closet, drawer, room, whatever, and see what is already in there that you can use this year.
I don't want to give anyone a guilt trip... just something I have been thinking about for myself lately. I think the key to throwing away less stuff, is having less stuff to throw away.

Send me your comments. What is your best crafting "recycle or reuse" idea?

Happy belated Thanksgiving, enjoy the weekend with family and friends.