Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Dollar Dance Bag

I helped my cousin-in-law's fiance make some bridesmaids gifts a few weeks ago and she mentioned she couldn't find a suitable dollar dance I offered up my services and put this one together for her.

It is the same bag I made for the recent Halloween Swap I was in. It turned out so cute! If you don't have a copy of Pretty Little Patchwork you should get one! There are so many cute ideas in there, and they are fairly easy projects too!

I think as a wedding gift I am going to make them some potholders using Bean's tutorial on SewMamaSew and some cute little coordinating placemats and such. Of course, considering my procrastination problem, they probably won't see them till Christmas...hehe.

It Is Apple Pickin' Time

I took the kids to Grafton on Sunday for a little apple pickin'...I LOVE the Fall!

We drove down to Eckert Orchard for the Apple Fest.

They load everyone up on trailers pulled by tractors and take the scenic route to the apple trees. This particular weekend they were picking yellow/red delicious and Jonathan apples. I gave each of the kids a bag and they got to the pickin'. It only took them about 5 minutes to fill up their bags...they would have kept going, but I thought we had plenty. We lined back up to catch the tractor back to the main part of the orchard. I am pretty sure we butted in line, but I had to get those kids away from the apple trees...they were still trying to pick more apples! LOL!

So we take the bumpy scenic ride to the place where you weigh and pay. The whole time I was kind of nervous because we had a lot of apples-I know because I was carrying both of the HEAVY bags-and at $1.49 per pound I knew I wasn't getting out of there on the cheap. So I heave my 2 bursting bags of apples up onto the scale...26LBS!!! Yup, I was afraid of that...

So after a peruse of the bakery/gift shop we loaded up our 26# of apples ($40 worth) and headed home. The whole time I was thinking, "What the crap am I going to do with 26lbs of apples!" Then my son said, "Mom, that was so much more fun than just staying home and playing with friends all day!" I felt much better...I am finding that as my kids get older it is harder to find family activites that they enjoy more than spending time with friends. So that made the whole trip worth it right there:)

Well I am off to make apple pies and apple cake and apple tart and apple crisp and probably some applesauce...haha

Friday, September 19, 2008

Arrrrr Matey!

I can't believe it has been a year already!

Shiver me timbers...arrr!

For all of you who aren't current on all of the "international holidays" I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that today is INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!!!

So don your fave eye patch and hook hand and celebrate the day!
(...and don't forget to mark your calendar so you are better prepared for next year!!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kickin' it in the Windy (more like RAINY) City

My trip to Chicago, in a nutshell:

Got on the train to Chicago 833am.
After a 50 minute detour arrive in Chicago 115pm (the train ran out of food)-it is raining
Walk to the hotel to check in-in the rain
Hotel room is ready early-Yay!
Back out into the rain to find somewhere to eat.
Eat and drink some wine
Back out into the rain
Try to figure out the Subway so we can get to the Craft Fair
Finally get on the subway-a little scary, but pretty awesome too-by the end of the trip it was totally not scary anymore
Get off the subway-make two wrong turns-finally get to the craft fair
Craft fair was pretty neat, but too many people with umbrellas, and too much rain
Bail on the craft fair (didn't buy anything) get back on the subway.
Figure out how to take the subway to the Magnificent Mile (map out and all...looked like such the tourist!)
Get to the shops-still raining-shoes are wet, socks are wet, pretty much everything is soaked-I LOVE rain!
Spend most of the evening window shopping and people watching
Back to the hotel-still raining-to eat some dinner
After dinner and 3 $6 beers for me (2 $13.50 martinis for Shannon) go to bed
Up on Sunday-still raining
Spend and hour trying to dry my shoes with a hairdryer
Effort wasted, 5 minutes outside shoes are SOAKED again
Eat breakfast
More shopping-still raining
Go to a couple fabric stores-got some really CUTE owl trim-OMGosh...stopped raining
Make our way back to the train station-still not raining
Train CANCELLED!-too much rain, no alternate transportation

Trek to the Greyhound station (with two Chinese lady friends in our same predicament-can't get home)-no buses til the following morning-didn't really want to ride a bus anyway:)
Call some rental car places-all closed
Get a hold of Shannon's husband-he offers to come pick us up-YAY!-it will be 5 hours til he can get there-BOO!
Me, Shannon, and our 2 new Chinese lady friends go to dinner-it was fun
Back to the train station to wait for our ride....still not raining
Waiting at the train station
Ride comes-we get home...FINALLY! @ 230am (a big "thank you" to Matt for coming to get us!!)

I know it sounds like a nightmare, but it really wasn't bad...and we got a LOT of exercise. It was still fun to get away for the weekend and hang out in the BIG city!

Our wet, tired feet:)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Swap Alert!!!

A fellow blogger, yarnigras, is hosting a new fun swap. I can't join since I am a little busy right now and we are coming up on Halloween costume season (and I have a problem with being a prompt mailer...shhh!), but if anyone else is interested I know you will have super fun! Check it out by clicking here.

Today is Recipe Day!

At least that is what I just decided...

Beef and Noodles

Ingredients (Part 1):

1 3lb chuck roast
1/2 c flour
2 tbsp olive oil
3 c chianti wine
3 c beef broth
1 med onion sliced
2 14oz cans diced tomatoes

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place flour in a shallow dish and coat both sides of the chuck roast. Sprinkle both sides with pepper and place in skillet. Brown on each side. Place browned chuck roast in crock pot. Add wine, broth, tomatoes and onion. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Note: If the crockpot is not and option you can also braise the meat on the stove top. Place all ingredients in a large pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours. This should achieve the same result-at least it did for me...I have tried it both ways.

Noodles (Part 2): I use the basic noodle recipe ingredients from my BHG cookbook-but follow my mother's instructions

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup
1 teaspoon cooking oil or olive oil

Mix dry ingredients together in mixing bowl and make a well in the center. In small bowl combine wet ingredients. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry mixture and combine. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until mixture becomes elastic. Roll out to desired thickness (I like about 1/8 inch) and allow to "dry" for 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove cooked roast from crock pot and shred, discarding fat. Strain broth from crockpot into large soup pan. Place shredded beef in the pan with the broth and bring to simmer over medium heat. (I usually add a little salt and pepper and a bay leaf as well, but this is optional.)

When noodles are done drying roll up and slice at 1/4 inch thickness. Toss noodles with a bit of flour so they do not stick together. Add to pan (with broth and beef) and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

I serve these with mashed potatoes and green beans. Perfect comfort food for the coming winter.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Am Off to the Craft Fair!!

I am going to Chicago today to shop at the Renegade Craft Fair! I am so excited! I am hoping to take lots of pictures to share. See ya all on Monday:)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

If I Only Had 98 Smackaroos (and a little apron love too)

I absolutely LOVE Anthropologie and their website is one of my guilty pleasures. It has been awhile since I visited so I thought today would be a perfect time.

While there I found that I must have this...

I have a THING for handbags, especially those that are roomy and have a neat print in the fabric. As you can see, this meets those criteria. Too bad I can't bring myself to fork over the dough (who could when there is fabric to buy? keep my priorities in order...jeesh) and treat myself. Hmm, isn't it about Christmas List season? Might have to pencil it in right under dressform;)

Anyway, enough rambling about the handbag...while I was there I was checking out their apron offerings. Let me tell ya they have some DARLING aprons! Check out this little number...

Now, at $32 I would consider it a little pricey...especially since I know I am perfectly capable of making an apron for myself, but if for nothing else than a little inspiration or a little therapeutic window shopping why not check it out?


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Spooky Booky

Here is the apron I completed for my partner in the SpoOky~BoO~ScaRy swap over at Booming Aprons.

The requirements were for 1 apron, 1 potholder, and 1 treat bag. Apparently the apron was supposed to be a full, but I deviated a little (no, not me!) and made a half. I used the pattern for the "Spotless" apron in A is for Apron-my new favorite book that is full of nifty apron ideas.

I used the Chic-or-Treat fabric by Moda...I LOVE it! I seriously had a hard time parting with this one! I mailed it late, not because I didn't have it done (which is usually the case), but because I seriously wanted to keep it (and I wanted to get the batteries in the camera so I could snap the photos).

Here is how it all turned out:

A close up of the hauted house fabric I used for the pockets...

A close up of the cute Halloween buttons I found at JoAnn's...

The treat bag and potholder...

I used the "In the Bag" pattern from Pretty Little Patchwork (another useful book to have around) to make the bag. The potholder I just made up myself.

I have one more swap to go(Recycle Swap) and then I am taking some time off so I can get some merchandise sewn up to put in my Etsy shop.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Batteries are ALWAYS dead!

I don't know about all of you, but it seems like the batteries are always dead around our house...and when I go to the battery drawer (a.k.a. JUNK drawer) I never can find enough of the right size! I think I need to invest in the rechargeables, but they would always be dead because I forgot to put them on the! So it is a lose-lose I guess. Anyway, I finally got some batteries for my camera (yeah after they have been dead for about 2 weeks) so I am catching up on my thank you's and showing off some of my recent-recent basically encompasses all of summer-swap received items.

First: Apron w/ Profile Surprise Swap-Partner NanaDeb (also hosted by NanaDeb)

You can tell she read my profile because the fabric she constructed this apron from has me written all over it! I wore it just the other day in the kitchen when my daughter and I were making pancakes and it has a great fit.

Second: Hittin' the Trail Swap-Partner Bean (hosted by yarnigras)

A cute and girly cowgirl apron! I love the big pockets and sturdy material and I can't wait to bust it out next time we go camping! She also included a fun book called "Backcountry Betty"~it has some very entertaining/useful information

Third: Booming Aprons Spooky~Boo~Scary Swap-Partner Kirsten (Preppy Pink Crocodile)

I just got my items Saturday and they are awesome. 1 apron, 1 potholder, and 1 trick-or-treat bag. She also threw in some pumpink Peeps and some cute pumpkin straws which Graham Cracker and Lyddiebug promptly claimed for themselves. We all say "thank you"!

Same deal...forgot pic, but I grabbed a couple off of her blog...Hope you don't mind PPC;)

Thanks again to everyone!