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. 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, January 31, 2010

Giving Vintage New Life - Contest extended!

Hi friends, I posted a little contest last week for you to show and tell about how you renew vintage items.  I didn't do much promotion and had the contest end tonight, but sadly there have only been a few takers.  I would like to add another week, with the deadline a week from now, as Sunday the 7th at 8:00 pm.  Thank you to Jessica at OhSoHappyTogether Blog for promoting my little contest for me.  I know not all crafters do stuff with vintage, but I know you are out there dear readers.  Pass the word; the most postings wins my little prize, pictured on the flickr group.  Pictured here is the little vintage potholder dress, just in time for Valentines Day.  Leave a comment, become a follower, post on my flickr group, I love to be in community with such talented people!
Here is Hubby holding a yummy chicken dish I made the other night, so easy and with few ingredients, it will definately be something I hope to make again.  Here is the recipe taken from Better Homes and Gardens Mag, Sept 2009.  Under the headline, Supper Satisfaction. 

Lemon Chicken with Olives & Ricotta

8 No-boil (oven ready) lasagna noodles
1 lemon
4 small skinless, boneless chicken breast halve or tenderloins
1 cup garlic stuffed or pitted green olives
1 cup ricotta cheese
olive oil
fresh rosemary


1. In Dutch oven bring 3 inches water to boiling. Add noodles and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Cover. Cook 6 minutes or until tender; drain. Lay noodles in single layer on waxed paper. Cover; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, shred peel from lemon; halve lemon. Juice 1 half, cut remaining into wedges. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and 1/2 of lemon peel. In skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Cook 10 minutes or until no pink remains, turning once. Add olives; heat through. Remove from heat.
3. In microwave-safe bowl combine ricotta, the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Microcook on 100 percent power (high) for 30 seconds stirring once.
4. Spoon ricotta mixture into bowls. Top with noodles, chicken, and olive mixture, remaining lemon peel, and the fresh rosemary. Pass lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 443, Total Fat (g) 19
Haven't felt much like sewing this past week, the winter doldrums have certainly taken hold.  Walking the dog has been such a chore with 17 degree temps and wind chills below zero.  Cooking and lots of eating seem to be a way to cope.  Tomorrow I am faced with my demons, to begin a fitness and weight management program, being promoted by Cleveland Clinic.  A program called Go Fit Cleveland Challenge.  This program is open to anyone not currently a member of a fitness club.  It is an opportunity for people to begin a health and fitness routine for free at either a YMCA or a Curves.  I chose to go to a Curves, and plan to try to put my exercise in my week, and maybe healthier eating.  Middle age definately brings with it the chance to put on a spare tire.  I will share my trials over the next 3 months, praying for the strength to persist! 

I hope you all are staying warm and healthy, till next time!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter Crafting Contest and Musings

Some fav pics from the past week. My light colored dog does not look so pretty today, the last of the snow is melting away to make room for next weeks snow. Warm for January, it is in the 40's and unusual but not unwelcome. Wearing layers and wool are getting boring, hubby got to bask in Florida sunshine last week for business. Thankfully he didn't rub it in too much, as we slog through the mud of day to day. Daughter wrote a welcome home message on every one of our reachable windows, in neon marker. It was cute, but not much fun washing off! She is seen here playing rock band, she is getting pretty good. I took a turn today on drums, but my carpel tunnel is acting up on my good hand. Last year I had surgery on my right, that to date has been a big improvement. Got to baby the left, since I don't want to go through the long weeks of recovery and therapy.
Crafting a few items for my etsy shop, still enjoying crochet, I made a matching set and embellished both with crochet flowers. I sold a few of my "Powels" I thought I should make a few more. Below you see my crocheted dish cloth paired with a Powel in pastels. I embellished both with crochet flowers. The little red number is a vintage potholder, typical of the 30's and 40's, probably kept in someones linen drawer, it was in pristine condition. I bought a number of these to make into stuff. They look cute attached to terry cloth, and they get to live a new life working hard in the kitchen or bath. I have also made pin cushions out of these little cuties. Pic below is of my favorite pink dress, it sits proudly next to my sewing supplies. The little yellow one is for sale in my etsy shop.

You can see how to recycle a tuna can, simply pack with batting, hot glue your crochet potholder, I embellished with a little vintage lace and silk roses.
So unique and fun, holds pins well, I use the sash to stick my hand sewing needles.

What vintage stuff are you proud of making into something new and unique? Brag about it, leave me a comment and pics. I am creating a new flickr group for you to post your pics. I am having a contest, for the most postings in my new group, you will win one of my cutie little vintage crochet dresses. Look for the pic in my flickr group. Enter as many pics as you want! This is the first time I am running a group, I will mention the highlights here on my blog. Contest ends next Sunday, January 31 at 8:00 pm eastern standard time. Can't wait to see what you are making!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Crafting with Crochet - A Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

Crocheting for me is a satisfying way to keep hands busy. I choose to make projects that are easy and finish quick. I made a dishcloth for the first time, following a simple pattern to simulate plaid. I might pair this with a "powell" a dishtowel married to a potholder that I sell in my etsy shop. Well with just a collection of cotton yarn leftovers I decided to make a water bottle cozy, to keep my frozen water bottles from soaking my papers and books in my substitute teacher bag. It only took a few hours, and ta da, my quirky bottle cozy was finished. Lots of kids observing me wanted me to make them one too, so I decided to write a short tutorial here on my blog, and I can direct them here if they want to learn more.

Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

First, I am assuming the reader has rudimentary knowledge of how to make a chain, single and double crochet and slip stitches. I would look at the many tutorials on You Tube for good explanations. I used cotton sport yarn, and a size 5mm or US size 8 crochet hook.
Begin by making 6 chain stitches, and join into a circle with a slip stitch. Work on the same side for all of your rows. Make 10 double crochet stitches into the circle. Join with a slip stitch. Chain 3 and double crochet in the same stitch as the chain. Then Double crochet twice in each of the next double crochets.

This doubling effect expands the circle. Slip stitch at the end of the round, chain 3 and double crochet in the same chain again. On this next round, you will make 2 double crochet, then 1 double crochet alternating, ending with a slip stitch to finish the round. At this point, the circle you have created should be the diameter of an average water bottle.

The next row you will start to tighten the shape a little, and this is where I chain 3, skip a double crochet, and double crochet in the next space, skipping one and creating one all the way around. You will see the shape curling up, but this helps to tighten the tube shape that you will continue in all around till you finish.

You will slip stitch at the end of each round, chain 3 and then double crochet in the next double crochet all the way around for as many rows as you want to make the height of the cozy.

I change colors to create a design, and variegated yarns make the most interest. To finish, I added a round of single crochet, and then chained two colors together to make the handle. You decide how long to make it, mine is short here just to carry, but a long shoulder strap would be nice if you take the bottle on walks.

Hope you enjoy designing your own cozy, I don't enjoy following directions to the letter, I like to experiment and come up with my own ideas. Try varying the stitches, single and double crochet, different colors and different size hooks and yarn.

And with a nod to our upcoming Valentines Day, I made two Needle Books, to be posted on my etsy site. They are simply made form little ladies luncheon napkins, and I layered fabrics inside and stitched them in for storing different needles. I created a little pocket at the back of each to store a sewing kit or embroidery thread and thimbles. I hope to make more, cause even if I don't sell them, I enjoy giving them as gifts to my gal friends. Hope my busy fingers have inspired you to embrace the winter weather, with lots of indoor amusements! Till next time!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wishes Fulfilled

Happy New Year everyone. I looked over my top 10 wish list (from my last post) for the season, and I believe I got all of my wishes. I especially enjoyed traveling to see my brother and sister and families. Something we don't often do, because of weather and schedules. My hubby's family is large and we always get together once a year a week before Christmas. We have swelled to nearly 40 people when all 6 boys families, and their children's children are assembled. I got to host this gathering last year, if you check back to my postings, you will see some of the featured recipes.This year was at the youngest boys house, and with its' big basement, plenty of room for all ages.

So when my brother called me to invite us to his holiday in NC, I was excited to see his beautiful home on Lake Norman, to take a tour of the lake in his boat, and to exchange gifts with my family.

A beautiful sunny but cold day on Christmas Eve, but what a treat! Our dog Bella enjoyed being with us, even though it meant cramming her into a too small jeep with both of my kids, hubby and stuff. The 8 hour car ride was challenging but a small price to pay!

I brought my crocheting along, and finished the edging on the hat, gloves and scarf for my younger sister. She is modeling them for you in this pic. I made jammies for my daughter and myself,. I hand stitched pics of our dog Bella onto my hubby's slippers, since the slippers often get taken by her anyway; this way they are personalized for them both. I made funny potholders for my sis in law, that featured pics of her and brother, with the words 2 hot to handle. Both of them get overheated, and I thought it appropriate to place this on potholders. Sorry no pic, but you get the picture!

One gift from my hubby I particularly love is a new chef's knife. After 31 years of marriage, our knives have really seen better days, so it was a thoughtful and much appreciated gift! So sharp, that in cleaning off the blade, I cut myself, as I prepared to slice strawberries, yes that is real blood. My finger has healed enough to type this, but it was a surprise.

Daughter Kate and Bella cuddle on the way home. Happy but tired, we had a great time, and return to our gray and snowy Cleveland home. New Year's Resolutions, include making the time to connect with family, and to be in awe of the bonds that tie us all together.

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