Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm late! I'm late! Fibers on Friday

I'm sorry! I've totally lost my mind! I actually had a totally carefree day today! I'm not apologizing about that, but it meant that I totally forgot about Fibers on Friday until I was driving home from the most fabulous Greek dinner you could ever imagine.

I had friends over last night for a knitting night. They stayed the night and we had pancakes for breakfast. Then, my little family went for a canoe ride in the pines. That was lovely. And now, I need to post Fibers on Friday, because I invited a few people to join us this week and I'd feel horrible if they checked in a didn't find it here. No pressure! But, welcome friends!! Please join us!

I've gotten the arm holes separated on my February Lady Sweater and I've done several rows of the lace pattern.

Link up your latest and greatest!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wandering Wednesdays

I only recently came upon Garden Mama's Wandering Wednesdays and I love it. Next week will be the last week, but I'm glad to have had the chance to show where my feet take me for a couple weeks.


Here I stand positioned amid pretty pedi's in polka dots.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pillowcases for Craft Hope



Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

I made pillowcases today for Craft Hope's Project #9 Conkerr Cancer. It makes me feel so good to contribute and hopefully make a bright spot in a sick child's day. Heart wrenching. It's one of those causes that I needed to take a deep breath to read about. It was nice, though, to talk to my kids about sick children and what we can do to hopefully cheer them up. It was nice to go to the fabric store for the sole purpose of picking fabric for this project. Nothing else! This was our mission!

****Please note: They are no longer accepting pillowcases for this cause, but I'm posting this tutorial just for anyone who wants to make easy pillowcases in general :-)****

I've turned this into a little tutorial, because I'd never made pillow cases before and frankly, the instructions were a little vague and maybe intimidating. So, I searched for a couple different methods and made this little compilation gathered mainly from the pattern on Craft Hope and this video. Click any image if you need a bigger view.


I find this cutting mat and rotary cutter useful in straight, precise cuts of fabric.


You'll need 3/4 yd of main fabric and 1/3 yd for the cuff

After you've washed and pressed your fabric, cut it to the correct measurements;

26 1/2 x 40 1/2 for the main fabric
10 1/2 x 40 1/2 for the decorative cuff

lay them out, right sides together with the cuff fabric on the bottom, and pin raw edges on the longest side:


Next, you're going to start rolling the other edge of the main fabric in towards the pinned edges. I pinned the left edge, so I'm rolling the right side edge over.

You'll start revealing the cuff fabric underneath and you'll then wrap that over the rolled fabric and pin along the raw edge.


A peek at it all rolled up and pinned along that left side edge.

Sew that long, raw edge with 1/4" seam. The rolled up main fabric is enclosed within.

Then, turn it right side out! It's magic, I say it! You'll end up with the pillow body with a beautiful, SEAMLESS, cuff!

Press for a nice crisp cuff.

Next, fold it back with right sides together again and pin. Starting at the cuff side, sew the remaining two sides. I used an over-lock stitch so the raw edge wouldn't fray. You could also surge it or do a zig zag stitch. Turn right side out and press.....you've got yourself a pillowcase!

And there you have it! Is it clear as mud? I hope that if you want to try your hand at pillowcases and you've never done one before, that this tutorial will help. It's really simple and lends itself to assembly line construction quite well....I made three more in a row right after I took all the pictures of the first one.

If you'd like to read more about the Conkerr Cancer cause, visit Craft Hope. Have your sewing machine at the ready....I know you'll want to do this!

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

I will spread the word by posting this to these parties:

Photobucket


BWS tips button

giveaways

HookingupwithHoH

Blue Cricket Design

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meatless Monday! Watermelon Feta Salad


This recipes is from Family Fun Magazine. It is divine!

Mix 8 cups of cubed watermelon with 2 to 4 oz. of crumbled feta. Toss with a dressing made from 1 Tbsp lime juice and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh basil or mint. (I like it with basil!)

This does NOT store well! Try to eat it right away or within a few hours. I tried to save leftovers over night and ummmmmm, it was gross!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This Moment

{this moment}
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by Soule Mama



Friday, August 20, 2010

Fibers on Friday: February Lady Progress


I worked as much as I could in order to have a picture showing progress for you guys! I'm just about to the point of separating for the arm holes. I just today took some time to get started on the gull lace pattern. I messed up the first few stitches, but luckily I found my error and had time to correct.


I completed three button holes!

I had to take the entire sweater off the needles to try it on for size. You'll see it wasn't quite meeting under my arms, so the instructions say to keep knitting. I did 2 more rows.

It's not just mindless knitting at this point, so it's not really fun to be working on when my kids are awake and talking and needing and talking. So, I'm gonna stop for today so there's no grumpiness knit into it :-)

What have you been happily knitting? Do share!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Something New for Wednesdays


Here is something new for Wednesdays; instead of Wordless Wednesday, I may do Wandering Wednesday. Where do my feet take me? This week, it was on a hike with these other sets of small feet.

Here I stand, engaging all of our senses during this nature hike. We tasted and enjoyed a picnic lunch before setting out. We saw a lizard sun bathing on a tree stump immediately upon entering the trail. We heard branches cracking and leaves rustling as birds and squirrels chased one another. We smelled a skunk! And hoped we wouldn't run into the little cutie! We touched sphagnum moss and envisioned it being "the carpet of Mother Nature."

Credit goes to Grace at My Year in Haiku for not only inspiring attempts at my own haiku, but also leading me to these other wonderful blogs through her own. Wandering Wednesday is featured at Garden Mama, enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Heart Faces: Got to Wear Shades

It's been a while, but as soon as I saw this week's photography challenge, I knew the picture I'd post. I don't know what move my little one is trying make here, but it just makes me smile. Her movement, the tie dye, and the shades! Check out I heart Faces for more cool pictures!

Meatless Monday! Fresh Spaghetti Sauce



Fresh spaghetti sauce made from my own tomatoes! I'd venture to say it doesn't get any better than this. This is so easy to do! I don't blanch and peel the tomatoes and I don't seed them. I rather like the pop of a seed every now and then and I think the skins add nutrients. It makes it a much less daunting process when you don't have to take those steps.

Ingredients:
  • 28 oz. of Tomatoes (I have a scale, but you can wing it. Add what looks like a large can of tomatoes. I used such a hodge podge of tomatoes that it's hard to tell you how many I used; hence, the precise measurement)
  • garlic to taste (a couple cloves, chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Basil
Procedure:

  • Roughly cut up the tomatoes and add to blender with a handful of fresh basil. Blend until pretty smooth, or leave it chunky of you like more of a garden sauce
  • Pour into a saucepan with other ingredients and cook over medium heat (a good simmer) until it reduces by about half (or as thick as you'd like)
  • Add tomato paste if you need it thicker and if you need to speed up the process. I cooked mine down for about an hour. The house smelled soooooo good!
  • Eat it right away or freeze it or can it.
Visit Meatless Monday.com for more recipe ideas to help you go meatless at least one day a week!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gardening Frustrations

Maybe I shouldn't be a gardener? I don't know. I don't seem to have much luck. Last year was my first garden started from seed. It was organic and not fertilized beyond using my own compost. I got a few tomatoes, and one cucumber, before I lost it all to what I thought was blight. In retrospect, I think everything was malnourished. So, this year I realized my garden needs more nutrients, hence the Miracle Grow I applied a couple weeks ago.

It turned things around. It did. The foliage looked better and greener and started to grow more rapidly. But, I'm still battling pests! I am not kidding when I say every possible pest that will be drawn to a particular plant is in my garden! I've got tomato fruit worms (also known as corn ear worms) nibbling through the vines of my plants and also boring into the fruit as well. I've got what I think might be a fungus that KILLED...totally killed...my cucumbers over night. Gone. I've got vine boring worms in my zucchini plant. I've been treating with Diatomaceous Earth, to no avail. And I've got these........Tomato Horn Worms:

Now, this one is a MAC DADDY! It's huge. I've been picking these buggers off every morning, and it seems to work fine just picking and squashing. But here's the interesting thing:

I found one covered in this rice like stuff. Upon further investigation, I learned that these are cocoons of a predator wasp called the Braconid Wasp. These are GOOD! When you get these, it's best to leave the worm, because it's pretty paralized at this point and won't do further damage to your plant. The wasps will hatch and attack the other hornworms.


See the little wasps hatching (click image to enlarge)? I was so excited to see this!

And then.....

And then I was a dumbass and sprayed my garden with Neem Oil that night. I purposely avoided spraying that plant because of the wasps, but I guess it was affected anyway because the next morning there was no movement or signs of hatching from the wasps. ARGGG! The Neem Oil is an organic oil that I was using to treat for things I cannot see like aphids, but I went and killed a beneficial wasp in the process.

Gardening is hard!!! Trying to stay organic is a bear!!! Despite all my problems, though, I still have gotten a couple good harvests:

Last year my tomatoes tasted horrible! Like metal! I'm in NEW JERSEY, folks! We are supposed to have the BEST tomatoes in the world! This year, these are quite yummy, so I moved in the right direction in the taste department at least! These are mostly Romas (Royal Chico) and I did make a batch of sauce. My favorite so far is the Henderson Pink.

I have not a "new found" respect for organic gardeners, but definitely an intensified respect after gaining this firsthand knowledge of how hard it is to keep crops healthy. Recently reading the book, The Organic Manifesto, also helps me keep going. Highly recommend this book.

Funny side note: Last year I started several tomato plants from seed and gave them away to my sister and a neighbor up the street. My sister LOVED them. My neighbor had tomatoes coming out of his ears. Mine? They were metallic tasting or dead! So, I'm talking to my neighbor this year and asking if he treats for pests. "Oh yes....I do...sure....I just sprayed last night....I just spray with anything that says it kills spiders....anything for spiders...it won't kill ya." I just have to laugh.....just go out and buy anything that says it kills spiders and spray it all over your veggies.....it won't kill ya!

Note to self: don't eat Richard's tomatoes!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fibers on Friday

Hi there, happy knitters and crocheters! You guys totally made my day(s) last week with three submissions! Before you know it, we'll have our own little carnival to share and encourage one another with our projects! Spread the word if you have friends who might like to share, too.

I worked on my sweater for a couple hours this week, but the visible progress is not very evident, so I'm not posting another picture. It looks the same as last week despite the time I've put into it. Once I get down to dividing for the arm holes, it'll get exciting....whhoooooohoooooo!

I'm trying a new linky. Hopefully this one will be a little more appealing and user friendly. I like to see thumbnails right away. Show us what ya got!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rain collection haiku


Obsessions are born
When you start collecting rain
It's never enough

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Meatless Monday! Edamame Grilled Cheese


This is from my friend, Andrea. I don't know where she found it. It was good and a great way to put some homegrown 'maters into yet another sandwich :-) And those are my Delikatessa Cucumbers.

Garlic (calls for 3 cloves of roasted garlic, but I just use the jarred minced garlic)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 12 oz. pkg. frozen shelled edamame
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/3 cup snipped parsley (optional)
Whole grain bread
1 tomato
Mont. Jack cheese or Mozz.

Cook soybeans according to pkg. Drain, rinse. Combine edamame, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 tsp. salt, cumin and garlic in blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer to bowl and stir in parsley if desired.
Assemble each sandwich with edamame spread, cheese and tomato slices. Cook as you would a regular grilled cheese.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fibers on Friday: February Lady

Ahhhhh, a project for ME! It's Mine! All mine!! I'm doing the February Lady sweater for myself. I cast on a couple of weeks ago, but I had to frog when I messed up my first button hole. Yes, this is my first time doing button holes. Didn't I say I love to LEARN something with every project? It's true. I guess our whole life should be one big learning experience, I know it's true for everyone, but lately I'm just really reveling in all that I am learning and yet NEED to learn. Mostly from gardening, knitting, and nurturing my kids' interest and intrigue about Mother Nature.

So, here it is so far; the collar, the start of the yoke, and the first button hole.

So, let's share and inspire one another. No matter what you have in the works, show us! It could be your very first wash cloth that you just made when you were visiting last weekend and I taught you to knit {hint hint}{wink wink}, or something that's been finished but you've yet to share, or maybe a picture of something you'd like to start. Whatever it is, let's do it!

ETA: Click on the Mr. Linky button to see who has posted projects. There are three as of right now. Not sure why they're not showing up right away.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

When he leaves....

Duty calls for Dad
Parting is such sweet sorrow
Sad girls choke back tears

*******************

When we have to live without Daddy for a few weeks, it's hard on me, but it's easy for me to recognize a remember those who sacrifice much more time (and then some) away from their families; military or otherwise. My girls, on the other hand, are finding it harder and harder. Of course I don't compare their sacrifice or sadness to that of others. Their sadness is their own at this point. I let them have it, I encourage them to let it out, he'll be home soon, but it sucks in the meantime.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Meatless Monday! Grilled Corn and Potato Chowder


Ingredients

  • 1 pound small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter, divided
  • 4 ears shucked corn
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. Place a grill basket on grill.

3. Place potatoes and 2 teaspoons salt in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let potatoes stand in hot water 5 minutes. Drain; cut into 1/4-inch cubes.

4. Melt 1 tablespoon butter; brush evenly over corn. Place corn on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Place potatoes in grill basket coated with cooking spray. Grill corn and potatoes 15 minutes or until slightly charred, turning occasionally. Cool corn slightly; cut kernels from cobs. Place 1 cup corn kernels in a food processor; process until smooth.

5. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 1 teaspoon salt and red pepper; cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Stir in potatoes, remaining corn kernels, pureed corn, milk, half-and-half, and thyme sprigs; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard thyme sprigs. Stir in chives and remaining ingredients.

**********

This was really good! The grilled veggies really come through in the taste of the chowder. It has a little hot bite from the red pepper flakes.