Month: November 2013

(Really) Last Minute Fishnet Fingerless Gloves

  Holy cow folks, Halloween is Thursday…do you have a costume?

  Obviously, living in Michigan and planning on taking 2 wee-bits out trick or treating in the predicted rainy, 48-60 degree weather, I won’t be wearing that, but I did wear it for the indoor masquerade party we attended this past weekend.
  My costume was thrown together at the last minute, and while the skirt was finished in a decent amount of time, when I finally put it all together I realized I needed something on my arms to complete the look.
  I was already wearing fishnets on my legs, so I wanted to keep some continuity there and decided fishnet fingerless gloves would be the way to do it.
  I grabbed a second pair of fishnets, snipped the legs apart and pulled them up my arms.  I made the mistake, with the first one, of clipping a hole for my thumb before making holes for my other fingers to fit through.  Don’t do that.  You wind up with a hole way down on your wrist that your thumb has no chance of ever reaching.  It makes sense when you think about it, I know…let me be the dummy for you.  Anyhow, clip holes (usually one string is enough to open it up) to poke your fingers and THEN thumb through and pull the stocking up your arm.  Chances are it’s going to reach further up your arm than you’d like, so cut a slash where you’d like the top to be, remove both stockings from your arms and cut them off at the same height.
  Next, grab some matching 1/4″ elastic and weave it through the netting at the top of your glove.  Your elastic should be long enough to comfortably fit around the portion of your arm where the top of your glove should sit with a small excess for joining the two ends.  Once your elastic is woven through, sew the ends of the elastic together and you’re ready to go!
  Obviously these aren’t going to add a whole heck of a lot of warmth to a costume, but if you’ll be partying inside and your get-up needs just a little something more, these get you more bang for your buck than is really reasonable for a 5 minute project!

BAD blogger, no cookie.

  Oh I have too many projects going on at once.  I didn’t do any sewing this week.  I didn’t even trace the pattern I intended to.  Man I’m a slacker.

  So this is the pattern I’ll hopefully get traced in the next few days:
  I do not love the styling on the envelope.  Whoa purple reign…and I don’t know what the deal is with the leg-warmer bondage boots, but I’m going to go ahead and not add them to my Christmas list this year.  That being said, I found this version on Pinterest, and am in love with it.
  A much simpler, prettier version and now I have to have it.  Thing is, I did that thing where I bought myself fabulous fabric from Haberman’s and now I’m terrified to cut it.  I want to make a muslin of this before I use the wool I bought so I can be sure I’ve picked the right size and that I don’t need to adjust the waist length to accommodate my crazy long torso.
  Have to trace the pattern before I can do any of that though!
  Hopefully I’ll have some progress to show you guys by next week.  In the mean time, I’m working on putting together a set of holiday gift tags I can turn into a PDF freebie that, fingers crossed, I’ll be able to get up by Tuesday!

Artichoke Kalamata Chicken

  I suppose at this point it’s useless to try and deny my growing crush on artichokes.  It seems like the more we cook with them the more I want to cook with them.
1-2 lbs chicken thighs
1 jar artichoke hearts
onion, sliced
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c kalamata olives, pitted
Salt and Pepper
Oil for greasing dish
  Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, grease a baking dish with oil and then cover the bottom with half of your onion, artichoke and olives before layering the chicken on top.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with the remaining onions, artichokes and olives.  Drizzle oil on top of your vegetable and cook in the oven until the chicken reaches 165 degrees.  This will probably happen around 35-45 minutes in.

  We didn’t even try this with G.  He has a history of being anti-olive and had been pulling attitude all day, so my Mr. made him a “special” dinner and he went to bed early.  Not having to listen to/argue with constant howls of “this is YUCKY” made dinner even more enjoyable than this already delicious recipe would have been on its own.  The only complaint I have with this is that I’m not a huge fan of bone-in chicken.  So, basically, I’m painfully lazy and hate having to cut around things when I’m eating.  Obviously this recipe’s fault, right?

Curling Up With Winter Crafting

  It’s that time of year again…time to have 80 projects going at once, half of them gifts, all of them a quarter finished…

  Currently I have 2 main projects.  G has grown out of the scarf I made for him back when he was 1.5 and enjoying his first winter of being able to walk, so it’s time for me to knit up a new one.  I pointed him at my yarn stash and told him to pick a couple colors.

  He grabbed the navy and the (very) yellow green and I added the darker green, since I had a small ball of it and I thought it would tie the two together.  I’m doing it all in purl stitch to make it nice and nubby and warm and alternating the colors randomly to keep it from being too grown up looking.  Serious knitters, please ignore that I’m just winding the extra colors up through the side of my knitting.  I understand that it’s not the “right” way and that I ought to cut the tails and then weave them in and yadda yadda yadda…but this is a scarf for a not-yet 4 year old boy.  If I put too much effort into it, it just guarantees he’ll refuse to wear it.  His tiger costume pants for instance, have not gotten worn once since Halloween.  I’m doing my best to not throw a fit.
  My other project is the ongoing project that is my table cloth:

  We had our annual Friends’ Thanksgiving, and I can tell it was a success by the rumpled and food stained state of the table cloth alone.
  There were a few new additions, I updated G’s hand tracing (his big ol puppy mitts just keep growing!) and added R’s outline (just his hand…though an outline of the whole baby would be kind of hilarious…).  Keeping the table cloth up to date isn’t a huge time investment, but it isn’t one that gets done in a day either.
  I have a bunch of things I’m starting to do research on and work on that I’ll eventually share with you guys, but most of it is just in the planning stages right now.
  I have a recipe scheduled for Thursday, but I suspect most of you won’t be here since you’ll be enjoying Thanksgiving with your families.  The recipe will be waiting when you’re done.  In the meantime, here’s to a holiday season full of inspiration and plenty of time for creating!

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

  Oh Pinterest, you devourer of souls free-time… what would I do without you?
  I was browsing pins, probably far too late at night, and came across the idea for meatballs stuffed with cheese.  The link didn’t go anywhere, but the idea stuck.  Luckily, I have my mom’s meatball recipe and was able to improvise.

1 lb ground beef
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp parsley, minced
1 Tbsp basil, crumbled
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks*
  Combine all of your ingredients except for the oil and cheese into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  Heat your oil in a large skillet.  While it warms, shape your meat mixture into ball shape, poking a hole with your finger to place the mozzarella inside and then closing the meat around it.
  Place your meatballs into the oil, turning them to brown them lightly on all sides.
  These were pretty dang good, BUT, a big word of warning…I thought I’d be clever and cut up cheese sticks to do this, since they’d be easy to get to a good size.  Turns out, *cheese sticks don’t really melt.  I wouldn’t say this made them any less delicious, but I didn’t get the ooey gooey cheese centers I was hoping for.  I think next time I may shred mozzarella right into the mix instead of trying for the center.  These went over without a hitch with the little food critic and I expect will be being made again soon!

Festive Flamingos?

  Well, I haven’t done a whole heck of a lot of sewing this week.  Most of my time has been occupied by moving everything up onto shelves in the office, cleaning to prepare for our yearly pre-Thanksgiving get together and dealing with a bit of a grumpy preschooler thanks to a bug that cut him down to size for a day.

  That being said, I did stitch this little guy up:

  I joined Aunt Peaches’ Flamingo Ornament Exchange because, well, why not?  My tree is pretty well populated with birds, so a flamingo certainly wasn’t going to be an off-the-wall addition and it seemed like a quick, fun project.
  To get the basic shape, I did a google search for flamingos, cut the body out of a pink cotton I had some scraps of and tossed in some ribbon for legs and a hang tag when I sewed it up.  I stuffed the body (easier said than done with that long skinny neck!) and stitched it shut.  The beak got wrapped in black and white felt to really pin down that “flamingo” feel and then I went nuts with the beads and sequins.
  I’m terrible about getting to the post office, so hopefully I’ll remember to do it in the next few days so this critter can be sent off to his new home!

Nature’s Fireworks- Autumn in "Pure Michigan"

  So these pictures are a little late to be posted…I took them back at the start of the month right after dropping the boys off at my parents’ house for the weekend that K and I spent yoga and aerial-ing like we had something to prove.

  After all the storms we’ve had recently, the leaves are off of the trees now, but I thought I’d share the pictures for those of you who live further south and don’t get the fabulous color show we here in Michigan do every year.

  All this beauty, and all of it within 10 minutes of my house.  Can’t beat that.

Shelves with Hanging Patterns, Take 2

  Sooo, do you guys remember how my husband set up this shelf for me so I could hang all of my traced patterns?

  Do you see how I have a reasonable amount of stuff on there?  …that’s because it was right after he put it up.  When I have a shelf, I can’t help myself, I have to put everything I can possibly fit on it.  It’s just in my nature you guys.
  Long story short, I put way too much stuff on it and what should have been a perfectly stable shelf, uhm, may have ripped heavy duty anchors out of the wall taking large chunks of plaster with it.  May have.  Ahem.
  So, after some reassessing of what sort of load the shelf should be expected to take and talking about the uses we wanted for this room thanks to this book, my Mr. has made me a way better set of shelves.

  …I’m curious as to if he realizes that he’s basically teaching me that the way to get really nice things is to break the first one he makes me….
  Anyhow, this picture is from part way through the cleaning spree I did to relocate all my fabric and craft supplies up off of the floor based shelves and onto these, so it doesn’t even remotely reflect how awesome it looks in here right now…buuuuut, I live in Michigan and it currently gets dark at like, 4pm, so I take pictures in the 3 minutes per day that the light isn’t horrendous, whether the project is utterly perfect at that moment or not.
  As you can see in the picture, my Mr integrated puck lights into the shelf.  They have 3 different settings so I can either blast them at full strength or, I dunno, set the mood with my serger.  Speaking of lights and my serger… double awesome having the extra light from these shelves, because it definitely broke the light in my serger when the old shelf fell on it.  (This is why I can’t have nice things).
  So, you can see the lights, what you can’t really see is that that man of mine stained the wood to match the gorgeous old woodworking that’s already all over the room, and spray painted the brackets, hardware and the curtain rod for hanging my stuff off of to look like it had always been here too.  Everything went into studs that we double checked the location of this time, so I was given the go-ahead to load them up as much as I wanted.  I got rid of both the wire frame shelves I had all my craft stuff and fabric on, moved it all up above, consolidated everything else down and was able to get rid of an entire table.  My light box is currently jammed onto my sewing table, which isn’t going to work as a long term solution, so we’ll be making it its own little floating shelf, but! with this new set up, this room now functions as office, sewing/hobby room AND has enough open floor space to be used as a guest bedroom again.
  I’m really freaking proud of the results.  It makes the room far more functional, and it looks huge!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Gouda (Failed Experiment)

  Ok, so full disclosure, I sort of suspect that I didn’t like this recipe because, well, I kinda think maybe I don’t like gnocchi?  I’ve only made it a few times, and it always seems to turn out like funky little dough wads.  My Mr. swears I like it when he has made it though, so, I dunno.  Either way, this is what we’re making:

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Gouda Cheese Sauce
1 lb sweet potato
6 oz ricotta cheese
½ c parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
1-¾ c flour
2 c milk
¼ onion
2 cloves garlic
3 sage leaves
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 c gouda cheese, shredded
  Start by stabbing your sweet potato(es) a few times with a fork, placing them on a plate and microwaving them for around 5 or 6 minutes, until tender.  Cut in half and let cool enough that you won’t be working with potato-lava before scraping 1.5 cups of the flesh into a large-ish bowl.  Mash together with your ricotta before adding your parm, brown sugar, salt and nutmeg.  Mix together and then add flour, about a half cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.
  Spread some flour on your counter or a silpat mat and divide your dough into 3 pieces on it.  Roll the pieces into long skinny tubes around 20″ long and an inch in diameter.  Cut each tube into around 20 pieces.  Roll each piece across the back of a fork to indent it.  As far as I can tell, this is just for appearances, but it looks nice and is kind of fun to do.
  Start a large pot of water boiling and add a tablespoon of salt.  Working in batches, boil gnocchi pieces for around 5-6 minutes.  Transfer to a baking sheet to cool when done cooking.  Allow to cool completely, these can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time and left to stand at room temperature.
  For your sauce, combine your milk, onion and sage in a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat for around 5 minutes.  Small bubbles should gather around the pan edge, but your milk should not boil!  Take your pan off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes before removing your solids.  Cover it to keep warm.
  In a separate saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat and stir in 3 Tbsp flour until it’s well blended.  Slowly add the milk from your first sauce pan, stirring constantly.  Reduce everything to low heat and whisk until the sauce is smooth and thick (about 5 minutes).  Stir in the shredded Gouda and stir continuously until melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve over gnocchi.
  Well, I already told you guys this was a fail.  It’s just one of those recipes that is so rich you feel a little sick eating it.  The gnocchi seemed really sticky and heavy to me.  Maybe I’m doing it wrong?  There was a strange sweetness to it that played against the richness of the cheese in a really cloying way.  Both G and I liked the first bite, but by the 3rd bite kind of went “Uhm, I don’t want to eat any more of this”.  The Mr. was out of town when I made this, so he wasn’t subjected to it.
  …at least the baby enjoyed the tiny bits of gnocchi I fed to him without sauce on them right after they cooled.