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!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hibernation Pursuits

It seems our outside world has been wearing a white blanket for over a month now, though some rain came down yesterday, we are seeing a new fresh layer, and even lower temps.  The lack of sunlight and warmth cause me to spend an in-ordinate amount of time in the kitchen and sewing room, after work hours of course!  I did alot of cooking from scratch over the holiday break, and I will share with you a few of my favorite comfort recipes below.  My sewing projects have been more craft than skill lately, I showed how to redo simple totes last post.  Here is an idea to recycle those purse calendar holders.  I carry a sizeable purse/tote and always have on hand lfe's necessities, so check out my version.

 I took out the calendar, but left the little note pad and pen. I had this little cameo lace piece that fit the size perfectly.  I decided to use a piece of jade green flannel instead of the brown.
 I cut a piece wide enough to cover and double back on each side to create a sort of book cover.

Took the glue gun and laid down a few stripes.
Note I folded the two edges, just like a book cover, and no sewing was needed when glued down.

 Glue down outside first, then wrap the folded edges into the inside, glue.

Finishing touches included glueing my little cameo, a little loop and tiny vintage lace on the edges.  I hand sewed the button,   A quick recycling and satisfying project!

Winter Comfort Food, Cleveland Style!
Homemade Pierogies with Sour Cream (copied from About.com)
Sour cream in the dough is a favorite secret of many Pittsburgh pierogi makers, but I suspect they stole it from our polish community here in Cleveland! We made use of leftover mashed potatoes and sauerkraut from New Years Day.  Mmmmm good!

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes             Total Time: 60 minutes

•2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough

•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1 large egg

•1/2 cup sour cream, plus extra to serve with the pierogi

•1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces

•butter and onions for sauteing

•ingredients for filling of your choice (potato & cheese filling recipe below)


Pierogi Dough

To prepare the pierogi dough, mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then add all at once to the flour mixture. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and the softened butter pieces and work until the dough loses most of its stickiness (about 5-7 minutes). You can use a food processor with a dough hook for this, but be careful not to overbeat. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight; the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Each batch of dough makes about 12-15 pierogies, depending on size.

Prepare the Pierogies

Roll the pierogi dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8" thick. Cut circles of dough (2" for small pierogies and 3-3 1/2" for large pierogies) with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork.

Boil the pierogies a few at a time in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry.

Saute chopped onions in butter in a large pan until onions are soft. Then add pierogies and pan fry until lightly crispy. Serve with a side of sour cream for a true Cleveland style meal!
Homemade Pierogi Tips:

1.If you are having a hard time getting the edges to stick together, you may have too much flour in the dough. Add a little water to help get a good seal.

2.If you don't want to cook all of the pierogies right away, you can refrigerate them (uncooked) for several days or freeze them for up to several months.

3.You can fill pierogies with pretty much anything you want, though potato and cheese is the most common (recipe below). We had leftover mashed potatoes and sauerkraut from New Years Day.  We put them to good use!

Give it a try, way better than the frozen kind, and a fun project for kids to help with in the kitchen!
Next issue are my favorite homemade Cinnamon Yeast Rolls, and we revisit some of my craft fair favorites!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tote Redo and Renew Ideas

Hope you experienced true joy this Christmas season, I know we enjoyed some and a quieter celebration than others in the past.  But in the quiet comes awareness of how blessed we are and in a state of gratitude for the gift of our Savior and for each other.

My sewing room has been the dumping ground for many weeks, but I have finally cleared a path and begun creating from my thrift collection again.  One item I enjoy working with are the tote bags you come across at Good Will.  Usually there is nothing wrong with them, they might have writing on them, or just are too plain Jane for my taste.  For a Christmas gift for my sis, I jazzed up a plain blue and brown nylon tote, that had Curves written on the lining.  Probably was a free gift with purchase or something, but a nice size to carry books or small purchases.  I have a plethora of doilies, lace and buttons, so naturally I had to change it's look.  What do you think?

 I used a glue gun to adhere the trimmings, but hand sewed the button for security.  The nice thing is that the bag can be wiped clean with a cloth, the vintage trim, will only improve with age. 

Here are a few more Good Will bags with my 4Rs approach:

 This woven bag had nice features and shape, but it was blah. I added some vintage lace in a large flower motif.  Just hot glue, and minutes later, a bag that is stylin with interest.  I glued a few more flowers on the back side so it looked complete.

 This black brief case sized bag, was very black and blah.  I had this petite doily with embroidery and crocheted lace, that just needed to dress it up.  Hot glue again, and on the backside, I applied a battenburg lace trim to the zipper flap.  Call me crazy but I think it is an improvement.

 This springy off white woven bag was dull, but I had saved this embroidered piece from a pillowcase, I reinforced it with fusible pellon, then glued it down.

This last bag is typical what you find in thrift stores.  A useable tote bag with writing from a trade show.  I don't like providing advertisement for events, especially past ones, so I took a vintage quilt piece and made a pocket from it.  Turning the edges down, and then I sewed it around 3 sides.

 Sorry, the pic below is sideways; it wasn't easy to sew, as my machine is not good on heavy layers.  But I managed to get it done, and while it is slightly crooked,  it covers the writing, and makes a usable pocket. 

 For practically nothing, I jazzed up a few bags, and made use of my vintage linen stash.  A win-win, right?

What have you recycled lately?  Share, and link to my flickr group on side bar.  Sorry I have not posted regularly, my teaching job is done now, and I am back to subbing sporadically. I am taking a grad class online, but hopefully won't be overwhelmed like last semester.  Time will tell!  Post your comments, please!!!

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