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!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A spring weekend, and a Gift for Mom Tutorial

 More slice of life stuff to report on.  Went to a wedding in Cincinnati last weekend.  Donna my highschool/college chum invited us.  I brought along my daughter, so we had a girls only trip of one overnight.  A mutual highschool/college friend Karen invited us to stay at her home in Oxford Ohio, the college town of Miami U.  I didn't want to waste the opportunity to see her and hubby and to take my 13 year old on her first college visit!  So in 24 hours time, we drove 4 hours down, made the afternoon wedding, shopped in between, made the reception then drove another 40 minutes north to sleep in Oxford.  Our tour the following day after breakfast took us all around the campus; (a little history here: I attended Miami between 1974-1977 finishing my last year of college in Akron so that I could plan a wedding, and a trip out of the country with hubby to work in the Peace Corps. El Salvador.  Student teaching closer to home that last year meant that I could be around to plan the wedding and pack our possessions to be stored till we returned. )
Bride Kristin and Dad Dave
I had one of these, but it kicked off 3 days of reflux!
We three in high school!

We three now!
Newlywed game
Well lots of years have elasped and yet while lots of things have changed, I still felt a tingle as we drove around seeing the places I lived and laughed, and learned.  I hope to continue to pass that love of learning on to my children and to see them succeed as I feel I have, even if I haven't accumulated lots of wealth or titles. To be happy in one's skin, that is not a class, but a gift. 
My last residence at Miami U., rooming house behind the St. Mary's
Shimmery Shawl Tutorial

I want to share a quickie tutorial, a simple cotton fabric shawl with a finishing option that would make a lovely gift for a mom, grandma, aunt or other lady in your life. And my version recycles too, which satisfies my need to be frugal and green!  Quick disclaimer, I made this and took a day or two to blog about it, and then saw Disney's crinkled scarf, at Ruffles and Stuff Blog; a tutorial for a mom's day gift!  We think alike, though the scarves are not.

Begin with a yard and a half of gauzy cotton fabric, this sparkly cotton dobby weave caught my eye, from JoAnn's.  It is fancy yet it can be casual too.

 I split mine in two so I can make one for myself too!
I have a huge stash of cotton lace and pieces from thrift stores and even my own collection.  This eyelet bedskirt had seen better days, in fact I made it for our own bed, with pieces from old curtains. 


 No longer needed, and in some disrepair, I have been keeping it for future projects. I measured 6 inches from each end of the gauzy fabric piece, cut across, then finished the longer piece's end by turning the edge over.








I took the eyelet, and sewed the unfinished side right sides together to the raw edge of the opposite cut edge. Then I laid the eyelet pretty edge over the finished edge and stitched along keeping it straight. I turned the edges of the sides under kind of like a rolled hem, to no frays stuck out. (Sorry, the pics are not the best, it is hard to show and shoot! Finish the two bottom edges the same and the finishing touch was this cute ball trim, I had left over from another project
 
 
Some pretty options or alternatives, would be to trim the bottoms with rows of lace, or ruffles.  Fringe would be a fun choice as well.  Use up whatever you have laying around, and you can make this shawl wider or narrower, depending on what you have. 

This shawl would be a comfortable option for spring events like weddings, or tied around the neck as a warmer option for cooler weather.  The scarf I saw that had some of the same features was over $30.00 at Coldwater Creek.  Of course they didn't have the jaunty recycled eyelet like I do.  Their loss!  The best part of this project is that it only cost around $2.00 with inexpensive yardage bought with a 40 percent coupon! Treat your mom or grandma to one for Mothers Day! And don't feel guilty when you indulge yourself too!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring Clean and Cook

Fresh flowers, fresh drawers
fresh air
Spring and clean!  Now that the sun shines down on all of the dirt and grime, one must tackle the areas of life that have been overlooked. 
My utensils and baking drawer were the worst, but only the beginning.  I won't want to post the before pics, I do have some pride...
While it is a cold weekend, I need to keep working on the forgotten corners and give the vacuum a trip around the house. 
I was perusing some clothing stores near my home today, looking for inspirations. Coldwater, Ann Taylor and H & M.  $58.00 dollars for simple tops embellished with ribbon and pearls, lots of ruffles out of chiffon, tank tops with a crepe edge. (I tried to grab some pic examples here, but all I could get was thumbnails.)
 I always leave the expensive stores with the thought in my head, "I could do that for less".  Famous last words, my next trip was to JoAnn Fabrics, where I met a fellow Etsian, amyben2.etsy.comlooking for bargain fabrics she turns into purses.  I picked up some bargain chiffony fabric to make some scarves, I saw at Coldwater Creek,  and a tank type pattern to try my hand on embellishment, ala Ann Taylor. I love the luxe fabrics I find, but most are sized for the waifish model type figure, which I no longer am!

Tonight, my son was able to pass his two online college classes, so to celebrate, he cooked the meal.  I know he likes spicy and stir fry, so a search on Allrecpes.com landed me on this recipe.

 Sweet and Spicy Pork and Napa Cabbage Stir-Fry with Spicy Noodles! 
 A mouthful! And very good, here are some pics of the steps with the recipe following:







Ingredients



12 ounces dry Chinese noodles


3 tablespoons soy sauce


3/4 cup sweet chili sauce


1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


3 tablespoons sesame oil


1/2 cup soy sauce


1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


1 (1 pound) pork loin, cut into 2-inch strips


2 tablespoons cooking oil


2 onions, cut into bite-size pieces


1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce


3 cups chopped napa cabbage


3/4 cup sliced celery


1 cup sliced carrots


3 red bell peppers, chopped


2 teaspoons cornstarch


1/4 cup cold water


Directions


1.Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the Chinese noodles, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.


2.Whisk together the 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3/4 cup sweet chili sauce, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, the ground ginger, and the sesame oil in a large bowl; add the drained Chinese noodles and toss to coat; set aside


3.Whisk together the 1/2 cup soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder in a large bowl; add the pork and stir to coat. Allow to marinate 5 minutes.


4.Heat the cooking oil in a wok or a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork, onions, and red pepper flakes to the oil; cook until the pork is browned completely. Stir in 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, the napa cabbage, celery, carrots, and bell peppers; cook and stir until vegetables are completely heated, about 5 minutes. Whisk together the cornstarch and water and add to the stir fry, stirring until the mixture thickens. Serve the stir-fry over the noodles.


Nutritional Information


Amount Per Serving Calories: 527
Total Fat: 19.3g
Cholesterol: 36mg

We left out the red pepper flakes, and didn't miss it, the chili sauce gave the dish a nice kick.


I had a job interview last week, for teaching Pre-K and part time child care. I have mixed feelings about giving up my dream to teach Home Ec again, but I was so grateful for the chance to have a paycheck again. I will make up my mind when I get the offer, so I have to keep up my spring cleaning before I have less time to finish it. Prayer requested!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Life is full of contrasts!

This picture is not detailed enough for you to see the snow showers, sprinkling all over our newly risen daffodils. (Apr 8th)  That is ok, you can get a visual when you picture breaking out the shorts just a day before for the 80 degrees and to wake up around the 30 degree mark. Shiver!  Just another spring day in Cleveland.  Contrasts are all around me this week, the freshness of new life against the celebration of a well-earned retirement.  My brother in law Terry, pictured here  on left with the Mary and Tim at a little dinner party held in his honor.  Brother Tom and wife Jackie are in right picture.  Terry is one of the lucky ones, working for one company most of his life, even if they changed hands a few times.  He gets to retire with his dignity and a nice pension.  5 out of 6 of my hubby's brothers work for themselves, so the golden parachute is just an expression of speech, not something we will experience. 

Hubby and I enjoying the party!

And for more contrasts, we have a Baby baptism and party to attend tomorrow.  My son's friend's dad is raising a second family, little Ben will be celebrating joining God's family with a little party afterwards.   Before I leave this post, here is what I made for the baby's gift, it only took an hour, but I have to say, while it looks simple, I really struggled with it. My goal was to make an inexpensive but appreciated gift for a 6 month old. 

Monkey Lovey
Here is a semi-recycled item, quick to make in a pinch!  This lovey is a square of ultra soft fleece with a stuffed beany baby inserted between them, right sides together, leaving a small opening to turn right side out. Simple, but tricky, to sew a cut open animal spilling pellets out as you try to stitch.  I have to make more of these for a friends silent auction soon, I may have to work on my technique.  Anyone make one of these out in blogland?  Comment on whether you left the beans inside the animal, or if you removed them.  I triple stitched the animal closed, before inserting it, but I am still a bit worried about it.  What do you think?  My tip for you is to stitch each half firmly, making sure the pellets don't escape, and then attempt to insert the body into the seams
Well, one last day of Easter vacation week.  For my daughter, it was one sleepover after another, we have had wild loud nights and silent ones, as she went to others homes.  We haven't had the amazing quality mother daughter times, just stolen moments, but I know we are blessed to be able to share our hurts and triumphs.  That is all a mom can ask, right? And this past week had my hubby and I repainting my daughters bold mutlticolor room in a neutral dove gray, so my son can move home soon. He is taking a few college classes and still looking for work, though we are praying for a miracle, he had another interview with a large computer company, that would be his dream job.  And he sold his beat up pick up truck, a prayer answered for now.

I know I am revealing alot of personal stuff on this post, but I feel the floodgates opening after coming through a difficult time. I won my unemployment case, against a former retail employer, so I get a cash influx in my bank account until I pay the lawyer who helped us win, meaning it is a wash, but a clearing of my name and honor.  I can only say, walking through the valley, one can really appreciate the sunshine.  Today was one of those days, as I started planting seeds, for my vegetable garden and for my next chapter.  Thank you God, and my reader for riding along, even without knowing many details. Just know, life's contrasts are what make the colors brighter...:)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Recycle your Easter Egg Dye

Here is a great way to use up your extra egg dye that is always left after you finish your Easter eggs. I think I saw a yarn dye technique somewhere on the internet, but I thought I'd try my own version to create some tie dye yarn to use in some of my small crochet projects.  You simply dip your neutral colored yarn in it, I additionally squeezed it and then repositioned the bundle to dip into other colors.  The effect when dry is beautiful.  We used Neon Dye colors, which made nice intense colors.Great way to recycle and reuse!
Just remember that you will be walking around with multicolored fingers for awhile.  Just smile and say HAPPY EASTER!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Breezes Welcome!

Welcome Link Partiers from TeaRose Home. Tutorial follows ...
All the cold, rain and mud are forgotten today as we welcome spring, and the temp zooms close to 80 degrees!  Rode my bike for the first time this year, so nice to smile and greet neighbors as you pass by!  So many daffodils ready to show off, can't wait to see them! Why do winters seem longer every year I get older?  Is there a correlation, I think so!  I so enjoyed gathering up the winter hats, gloves and snow pants littering the back hall to hide them till next October.  And we get to welcome Easter in our spring apparel so this will be a special weekend.  I have to find out if those shorts still fit, seems like there are no guarantees.  I promised a month ago, when I started Curves that I would be 10 pounds lighter.  I have had to settle for inches instead.  I go today for a measure, I am not sure what the verdict will be, I have been through Valentine candy and now Easter, so all the dieting in the world won't be an antidote to my cheating.  At least I wasn't winded riding today.  More on Curves below.

For Easter, it will be quiet, as it is just my 2 kids.  Both pictures above, were taken around the same age, but they are 10 years apart.  Last year I got them together to make Rice Krispie squares in the shape of eggs.  We will probably hide the small baskets of candy, and follow the clues.  It is tradition, no matter how old you are.  Try it with your kids this weekend.  I hid plastic eggs with the clues inside, and write down where I hide them.  I take an hour and make up little rhymes with suggestions of where they are.  Cut up the clues and insert them into the eggs,  keeping a master copy just in case.  Some years, I recycle the clues, no one seems to remember.  The baskets are usually hidden in the dryer, or under a table cloth.  Not too imaginative, but it is fun to make the kids work for their treats!  Well, I want to leave this springy post with a fresh idea.  My daughter needed a curtain, but not one that covers the window in a heavy way.  I came up with a recycled window panel that I sewed ribbons onto, so they flow in the breeze.  Of course they have to coordinate with her groovy decor.  So here goes:

Free Spirit Style Curtain - how to  Link Party at TeaRose Home
I picked up this polyester lacy panel for my daughters bedroom window, some time ago.  I added a few ribbons then, and then went crazy adding more.  All you do is cut lengths of ribbon to attach just below the rod pocket of a panel.  I stitched them on and voila! the curtain has a life of its own in the breeze.  Today, I could actually open the window to see the ribbons fly.  Try this with an ordinary panel, you'll enjoy the movement, kind of like a kite in the wind!

Aaaaaaaah


And now a few pics of the little project, ME.  I am demonstrating here a leg lift machine, and pics of our local Curves.  I am working out for free thanks to a program called Go Fit Cleveland!  For 3 months(I started in March) I am commited to working out 3 days a week, and monthly weigh ins and measurement.  It is hoped that with participating YMCAs and Curves that we can motivate a whole population to be healthier.  So nice for me was that the doors were thrown open and a wonderful breeze blew through.  The last pic is a happy sight, the words END when you complete your 2 go circuits on the equipment.  I can definately say that I feel tighter and my arms wobble less.  Stay tuned, for more results!

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