Ramblings...

Welcome to my blog! I hope to make your visit worthwhile and reward you with some new inspirations, sewing and recycling, crafts tutorials and recipes. Please add yourself as a follower, so that you will automatically be updated when I post something new! Please comment, I appreciate sharing mutual interests, like sewing, crafting, cooking and of course eating well! I am a former Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, I sub in 3 school systems and moonlight at a retail ladies clothing store. I also am a licensed realtor with my hubby's company, which sometimes allows me to indulge my creative energies. A wife, a mom through adoption, Christian, boomer and a member of the sandwich generation I hope to share my unique perspectives and help you with some of yours!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rainy days, useful crochet and comfort food

I really have a hard time with March and the cold and rainy stuff we have to endure in Cleveland.  That said, it is also an opportunity to craft and create, since we can't get into the garden yet.  You may have noticed that I like to make stuff that is useful, I think it is my thrifty Dutch upbringing.  If you have read the last months of postings, you have learned that my coveted skylighted sewing room was given to my 13 year old daughter, so she has more room for sleepovers and friends.  I crammed all of my equipment and unfinished projects into a corner of my bedroom, which means, I have not been motivated to sew at all.  I am hoping to clear a space today, since I sold a dress from my etsy shop.  Suddenly, I am getting the urge again.  Why am I mentioning crochet in my post title?  Well I have been carrying around the beginnings of a swiffer cover, that I finally finished as I substitute taught the other day. 
 
Not very glamorous, I know, but very green and environmentally friendly.  I loosely tried to follow directions
from a crochet pattern, the two ends were wider so they could be flipped back on to the ends, and I took the liberty of crocheting the outside edges to finish it off.  Crocheted in cotton yarns, it made up quick, using mainly half double crochet stitches.  This created a large ridge that is very good at picking up big dust bunnies!  The whole thing can be turned inside out to give you double the cleaning power, and then it can be machine washed for many years to come. Going green is also saving money, and this is an unbeatable combo as far as I am concerned. 
Here is my Tutorial for a Swiffer Cover
Materials: Choose your hook Size G, H, I (US 7,8,9) crochet hook ( I used H)


1 3/4 oz worsted weight cotton yarn, additional contrast yarn needed

Row 1, chain 18,  half double crochet (hdc) in 3rd chain from hook, hdc in each remaining chain across, turn


Rows 2-7, ch 2, hdc in each hdc across, turn (16 hdc)


Row 8 ch 2, 2 double crochet (dc) in first hdc, 1 dc in each hdc across until last hdc, 2 dc in last hdc, turn (18 dc)


Rows 9-32 ch 2, dc in first dc, make front post double crochet (fpdc) across until last dc, 1 dc in last dc, turn


Row 32, ch 2, hdc dec over first two dc, hdc across until last 2 dc, hdc dec over last 2 dc, turn (16 hdc)


Rows 33-38 ch 2, hdc in each hdc across, stop when you compare the size to your swiffer, making sure the smoother ends will fold over and create deep pockets to hold it securely. Turn and fasten off.


To make it fit on your swiffer, flip the two smoother ends over on each side. I then single crocheted all the way around joining the flaps to create a pocket that can be slid over the swiffer, one side at a time.

The following is a recipe I came up with to use what I had on hand, lots of potatoes!  This roasted potato side dish was yummy, though I confess, I didn't get a finished pic, due in part to leaving it in the oven too long, and it got half burned.   I present to you a comfort food for rainy days!

Roasted Rosemary Potato Chips

Idaho potatoes, at least 1 per person
1 T Dried Rosemary
3 T Olive Oil
Kosher salt and peper to taste


Peel and slice thinly the potatoes.  Spread the oil over a heavy jelly roll pan, (the kind with the sides).  Sprinkle the rosemary and salt and pepper liberally over the potatoes, and use a turner to flip them so that they are all coated with the oil and seasonings.  Bake at 400 degrees, I used a convection setting so they only took 20 minutes, but you have to adjust time and temp for your oven.  If serving with a meat, use the setting for that, and allow time for them to cook.  The smell and the texture, is heavenly.  A great side dish for any type of meal.  Add some parsley for color.  Enjoy!

It is a lazy (rainy and cold) Sunday afternoon, I told Kate she needs to get her reading done for school, and this is where I find her, with her favorite pet, Kitty the Kat, both asleep!  I guess my typing within feet of the couch, lulls her to sleep. 
Easter is next weekend, and I am standing in for our nursery supervisor at church. Giving up a little time on a holiday weekend, so my friend Mary and family can travel to see their family. We belong to a large church, and holidays can be especially busy! What a joy to see so many darling babies and toddlers, growing up in the Lord. What a privilege! Have a blessed Holy Week, till next time!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wearin o the green

My puppydog, Bella here is sporting a green stripe on her newly shaved head. (shaved because she had grown so matted and long, see before picture on the left. It was time)  No the dog didn't go to the parade,but my darling daughter and friends decided it was too important to miss, so they donned their green hair spray and lucky charms shorts to spend the day in the rare sunshine to be a part of the festivities.  Cleveland is one of the big parades in the country, we have alot of landed Irish, and each generation tries to top the last, with their celebrations.  The Catholic schools all had the day off.  And many of the public schools were battling the Irish Flu as well.  This day was not the usual for us, hubby's work kept him from downtown as did mine, subbing at the local high school.
Here is friend, Carson dodging the camera.  The green paint doesn't do much to disguise these truants, but they have worked hard in school and a day in 45 degree weather with sunshine is not to be missed!

I have a question for the bloggers in the audience, I tried to upload a Blog Hop with Mr. Linky, but somehow, I picked one that ended, so I removed the blog post.  I will try again soon, it seemed like an intriquing idea. 

Contest closed:  Do you like blog hops, and why would you want one on your blog? Comment to get your name in a contest.  Prize is $5.00 credit on anything in my etsy shop
Winner is Sofia, from Sofia's World.  Hop on over to see her cute blog!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lenten Fish Recipe to try - Crumb Topped Scallops

My protestant upbringing and my husbands catholic childhood clash predictably this time of year.  I try to do something better for 40 days and he is trained to give up meat on Fridays. So I try to include a fish meal most Fridays that allow him to honor his traditions while giving me a lower fat meal to make so I can continue to honor my weight loss commitment. This recipe was yummy, I posted a pic for the Allrecipes web site, since there wasn't one.  It is hard to see the colors, but the giant creamy white scallops with the wine sauce and crumbs cooked together in a microwave make this dish suprisingly good.  Just be sure to check for doneness, the scallops should be firm, not opaque.
Crumb Topped Scallops
Original Recipe Yield 4 servings, recipe from Allrecipes.com

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1 pound sea scallops

6 fresh mushrooms, quartered

1 tablespoon white wine or chicken broth

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Lemon wedges

Directions

1.In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, butter and parsley; set aside. Place scallops and mushrooms in a 9-in. microwave-safe pie plate. Combine wine or broth, lemon juice and seasonings; pour over scallop mixture.

2.Cover and microwave at 50% power for 2 minutes; drain. Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Cover and microwave at 50% power 4-1/2 minutes longer or until scallops are opaque, stirring once. Serve with lemon if desired.
I added some Capers to the recipe for a litle kick.  If you have read my other recipes, it is a common theme.  You can thank Bucca de Beppo for turning me on to those little tasty morsels!  Well the scallops are pictured here served up with fresh asparagus and a side of Couscous, dusted with parsley; this is fresh eatin, and the scallops only cost $6.99 at the old Giant Eagle. 
My last post talked about cold and cooking, and I am happy to say the last few days we have had a break.  Sun and warmth, even though we are still looking at our large snow drifts, we see patches of earth and now mud!  Our dog Bella is scheduled for her spring shearing, as she looks like an overgrown lamb.  Spring and the last of the snow, both are going to be here for a while.  Glad for the chance to go without a coat and to soak up the sun.
I am looking for a guest recipe, in a week, any takers?  Something that relates to the season and/or lent.  Would you, dear reader post a reply and take the challenge?  I'll email you a date.  You get to showcase your talents, and your blog if you have one.  If not, talents are good, right?  Till next time

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's Cold Outside, make my Fancy Hot Mitts for your kitchen!

Kate and friend Madi modeling my Mitts!
A snowy past week, and a lot of changes.  I sewed for the last time in my lovely sewing room, (aka sons' old bedroom)  Below the sewists dream space, to the teens fav place, complete with stick on polka dots.

We are making room for son to move back home, he gets to have daughter's old room, complete with turquoise, green and purple walls, a much smaller room, but not the hallway my daughters is, since she now has 2 doors.  He reminds me he can have no peace with so many access points.  And  this lovely room above has 2 skylights with no covers, so sleeping in is not an option.  My daughter spent last weeken feathering her new space, and I have been weeding out her childhood, one Barbie at a time.  And Craigs list is getting alot of entries from me as furniture and stuff just is overwhelming.  And here is the kicker, my new sewing space, as it is today:  Yikes!!!!!  This is picked up, I have squirreled away my etsy shop in a hall closet, my clothes closet had to be weeded out to make room for all the sewing and craft projects waiting for me to find the time.  And yes, that Gazelle is sitting prominently in the room, calling me each day to get busy.  I am getting to Curves 3 times a week but I am dragging each week as I find some new muscles to hurt.  Needless to say, getting moving and literally moving, have had me reaching for the pain meds, a little too often. 


This past week and half of total snow, translates into hot kitchen accessories!  My old potholders were calling me to take it up a notch, so using one of my remaining mitt style ones, I thought I'd craft some new ones, using this ugly brown one as a pattern, and recycling two small embellished fingertip towels that were sitting in a drawer unused.  What follows here is a short tutorial,
To begin, gather a tea towel, and some Insulbrite heat resistant fabric or some Soft and Natural batting, and lay your mitt style potholder on top of it, to use it as a pattern.
Cut a layer of batting for the rounded side and for the side with the two part thumb.  Begin by sewing the batting wrong sides together for both thumb parts, upper and lower.  Then take the thumb unit and with right sides together, pin and sew to the rounded u shaped side leaving the bottom open. 
  You can see the fringed bottom of the tea towel showing here, with the insulbrite extending below.  Trim seams and clip curves but not too close to stitching.  Turn right side out, and trim any excess lining away from the bottom.  I liked the fringe showing as it kind of finishes the edges off.  I then stitched the batting  all the way around the bottom, keeping the space open where your hand goes.
Voila!  You have yourself some fancy mitt style potholders that makes use of your vintage fingertip towels and makes you look stylish while you expertly heave heavy pots out of the oven. 

Prayers are being answered quietly in the background, an anonymous friend sent me a lovely note and a grocery store gift card.  Since I don't have that many friends, I already have my suspicions about who the kind soul was, but I will investigate and try to do something nice in return.  I have been successfully decluttering my house, and making some cash, thanks to Craigs List!  And the sun was shining today, that can only be a good sign for the future!

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