Thursday, February 25, 2010

Young@Heart

I admit that I was initially drawn to this film after seeing the cover art on Netflix. Knitting and guitar all in one...yes, please!
 Young_at_heart_2

This was one of the most delightful, sweet and touching documentaries I have seen in a long time. I was laughing and crying throughout the entire film. I highly recommend this! I definitely want to make sure that I stay active and have a great support network like this when I'm older.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Toronto...

Jon and I are supposed to be planning a trip to Toronto, so I wanted to enlist your help....

Do you have any suggestions for places to stay, things to do, food to eat? I've never been before, but Jon has and he vaguely remembers visiting a flea market and Chinatown.

We're planning a weekend away for our 4th wedding anniversary and continuing the tradition of going to Canada to celebrate.

Thanks for any help or suggestions you might be able to offer!

Friday, February 19, 2010

putting idea books to use: giveaway winner!

Putting Idea Books to Use
Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing this week! Here are the projects that you all put together. I love seeing them here and knowing that we all are getting some value out of the books we've been collecting!
putting idea books to use projects
Because lots of you expressed disappointment in not getting projects complete in time, I'm thinking about making this an ongoing thing. One month didn't seem like enough time last month, so let's say that the next challenge "check in" will be on April 21.
 Picture 1
And, without further ado. the winner is Sam from sunnysidey!

Sam, please email me your address and I'll mail the Everything Tote and some other goodies out to you tomorrow. Thank you all for entering!

putting idea books to use: my projects

Putting Idea Books to Use
Because I didn't get around to posting the details of the projects that I made for the challenge earlier this week, here they are...

I focused on using the Weekend Sewing Book and made the Weekend Away Bag and the Everything Tote. (I'm just going to do you all a little favor and link to the errata for the book right away).
weekend away tote bag

weekend away tote bag
This is my first attempt at a lined zippered bag. I really like the fabric and zipper color that I used, but I was just not a big fan of the design of the pattern. All of the other projects online made with this pattern turned out great, so it's probably just a user error on my part (sewing from patterns has not been so good for me lately with everything else I have on my plate).

After being defeated by this pattern, I sought out a different zippered bag tutorial to follow and came across this genius tutorial at Flossie Teacakes.
zippered pouch
I managed to mess up this bag by not trimming the corners around the zipper. The corners aren't square on the final project and I didn't want to undo the bag and start over. (It was at this point that I swore off all sewing for good and took a nice long break from my machine!). At least the fabric is fun, right?

zippered pouch
So, after switching to knitting for a while to find comfort in a stress free and stress relieving hobby (for me at least), I finally made my way back to my sewing machine to make the Weekend Away Bag for the giveaway. The most glaring error on this pattern was that you need 1 yard each for the outside and lining (not 1/2 yard as the book states). Luckily, I had plenty of extra fabric on hand and I avoided a tragedy!
weekend tote
The instructions for this pattern were fairly thorough, but I relied on this tutorial for a bias tape tote to attach the handles and finish off the bag. Both bags are very similar, but the Everything Tote is just a million times bigger.

Basically, the Weekend Sewing book is total eye candy, especially because it uses so many of Heather Ross' fabrics in the projects, but the directions for the projects could stand to be a bit more clear and accurate.

Monday, February 15, 2010

putting idea books to use: your projects

Putting Idea Books to Use
It's been a month since I posted about the "putting idea books to use" challenge. Lots of you have joined in and posted some beautiful pictures of your projects to the flickr group. Thanks so much for participating with me! The group on flickr will continue to be open because there are lots more projects and lots more project books out there waiting to be used.

weekend tote
I'll be posting the projects that I made with my idea books later on this week, but in the meantime, go ahead an link up your projects in the widget below. Make sure that your flickr link or blog link includes the name of the book and project that you used.

I'll select a winner at random to win the above tote bag, made from Weekend Sewing, and I'll also include some yarn or fabric and other goodies based on the winner's crafting interests. I'll leave the drawing open until Friday at 3:00PM EST so that everyone gets a chance to enter (and finish up those last minute projects).


Friday, February 12, 2010

knitting projects & the Ravelympics

Saying that I fell off the wagon in the yarn buying department lately is a major understatement! But, I have been busy knitting up my purchases lately and making a dent in my stash.
hot water bottle cover with Plucky Knitter Scraps
I have been slightly obsessed with hot water bottles lately. They seem like a great alternative to heating pads because they are inexpensive and don't require electricity. I knit this up with a few leftover balls of The Plucky Knitter Worsted Merino Singly Ply and had fun playing around with stripes. Now I'm just waiting to get cramps or a muscle ache so I can try out its healing powers :). In the meantime, I'm using it to warm up my feet at night in bed. Here's a link to the pattern that I found via flickr: Green Olives Designs Hot Water Bottle Cover and my ravelry project link: craftr's Hot Water Bottle Cozy.
hot water bottle cover

--

My sister and I visited a local yarn shop (her second trip to a yarn store with me) and she was totally in love with all of the bright colors. I even caught her looking over her shoulder to see if anyone was watching her before she leaned down to smell the yarn. I think that she is slowly becoming a convert to knitting and yarn buying. She picked up two balls of yarn to make a scarf and I came away with these two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Worsted. I couldn't pick out my favorite color, so I bought both.
stash for ravelry
stash for ravelry

darkside cowl
I cast on immediately for the Darkside Cowl (rav link) and finished it up in two days because it was so much fun to knit with and the pattern was fun to follow. Here are the details on ravelry: craftr's Darkside Cowl.

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stash for ravelry
I bought this yarn, Plymouth Trabajos del Peru, after I saw a sample of these handwarmers knit up at
a local yarn shop (samples do help drive sales!). These were a quick knit and the yarn is so soft and great to knit. Here are the details on Ravelry: craftr's Ribbed Handwarmers
handwarmers

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new project from Knitscene

I've taken the plunge and joined the Manic Purl Podcast Ravelympic group on Ravelry for the 2010 Ravelympics. I'll be casting on tonight during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics for the Helleborous Yoke Cardigan from the new Knitscene Magazine. If everything goes according to plan, I'll have knitted a complete sweater once the Olympics are over on February 28. Wish me luck! It's not too late to join a Ravelympic team if you want to jump on the bandwagon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Congratulations!

The winner of the Vintage Sheet Fat Quarter Giveaway is:
 Picture 3
That's Angela of My Three Sons
 Picture 2
Please email me your mailing address and I'll mail your package out on Saturday!

Thanks to everyone who entered!
Putting Idea Books to Use
And, a reminder to you all that Monday is the last (official) day of the Putting Idea Books to Use Challenge. On Monday I'll have a post for you to link up the projects you've made from your idea books and I'll select another winner for a handmade prize! Check out this post for more information.
I've got a couple of projects from idea books that I'll be posting this weekend and I hope to continue using my idea book collection throughout the year.


 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vintage Sheet Fat Quarter Giveaway

I've had this stack of pretty vintage sheet fat quarters (and a few strips of cut fabric too) sitting in my stash for far too long.
vintage sheet fat quarter
I'm hoping they will go to a good home where they will be loved and used more than I have used them. Enter this giveaway by commenting and I'll pick a winner at random tomorrow at 4:00PM EST. Thanks for entering! (I'll ship internationally, too, for all of you outside the USA)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

pottery painting

Jon joined my mom, sister and I for Ladies night* at a paint your own pottery place in the area. Let's just say that Jon was a bit traumatized by the table of new moms painting next to us. They were celebrating their night of freedom from their kids and husbands with wine and very rowdy talk about all aspects of life after babies, poopy diapers, and potty training. Jon is very happy that he and his friends don't have similar conversations together and he is finally able empathize with me about my general disdain for potty talk at baby showers.

Rachel and I picked out cute little cupcakes to paint, my mom free handed her monogram on a flat tile and Jon picked out an adorable little cat bank to work on. We spent most of the night freaking out that we weren't going to be able to finish our painting before the store closed, but we all finished in time with minutes to spare.

We only had to wait a week until our projects were fired and ready...here's the after photos:
mini cupcake
my cupcake dish

cupcake
Rachel's cupcake plate (she didn't want her face in the picture)

Nuku's twin
Jon's kitty bank (modeled after our original kitty, Nuku Nuku, shown in the background). With Jon's new cat bank, we finally have come to the point where it's no longer acceptable for us to bring any new cat figurines into our house. The count right now is at 4 and any more would make us labeled as crazy cat figurine collectors.**

*we didn't realize it was ladies night before dropping into the place...thank goodness Jon is a good sport.
**the label crazy cat people is fine with us

Monday, February 8, 2010

on fire...literally

Jon was in a cooking mood on Saturday night, so he pulled out The Joy of Cooking and got to work preparing double-fried french fries (with potatoes and sweet potatoes). I heard him clanging around upstairs for quite a while and he yelled downstairs to say that the first batch of the fries came out great. Things were quiet for a while and then Jon yells "I need some help up here."

Next time I'll know that when Jon says "I need some help up here," he really means, "FIRE!" How sweet of him to spare my nerves by calmly asking for help.

Jon was beating down flames from a small grease fire with a kitchen towel. He had waited until he had doused the fire with corn starch and flour and smothered the big flames before he yelled for backup...yikes!

After vacuuming, scrubbing, mopping and airing out the kitchen and the stove, Jon still wasn't ready to give up on his fry cooking adventure. He finished deep frying the french fries and made these adorable little cones to serve the fries in (aww!).
home fries
Our little snack was a delicious treat and a great reward for mad firefighting skills.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nine Patch a Day Quilt

Nine Patch a Day Quilt Along Quilt...finally finished!
I joined Amanda's Nine Patch a Day quilt along last April and finished the first half of the blocks in May and the second half of the blocks in June. I finally got around to piecing the top of the quilt in November and basting it together in December. I spent last weekend quilting it and finally finished sewing the binding on last night. Phew...that was a long project! And to put things in perspective, Amanda made two of these identical quilts, along with a handful of other quilts, in the time that it took me to make one. She is amazing!
PICT3731
I used a flat sheet from IKEA for the backing and fabric from one of Amber's destash sale bundles (she's having another destash sale right now at her etsy shop). I used Julie's Perfect Binding tutorial for the first time and I was so impressed with how nice the binding join looks.
Nine Patch a Day Quilt Along Quilt...finally finished!
I was so excited to pull this out of the dryer last night in all of its crinkly goodness. The quilt is a twin size (68"x86") and used 70 different nine patch blocks. Each square in the nine patch was 2.5" before sewing.

Nine Patch a Day Quilt Along Quilt...finally finished!
It's on its way to a special someone later this year, so I have just a little while longer to stare at it before I give it away.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

best tomato soup ever

Before you read this post, go over to the Empty Bobbin to see her newest quilt...it's absolutely stunning!

• • •

This soup recipe is almost as delicious as that quilt, so prepare yourselves! :)

I got this recipe out of the book, Veganomicon, and made it for the first time a few weeks ago. This is seriously the best tomato soup I've ever had in my life (other people agree, too) and it will make your house smell so mouthwateringly delicious!




best tomato soup ever



Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Beans

Makes about 8-12 servings



Ingredients:



2 bulbs garlic



1 tablespoon olive oil



1 medium yellow onion (diced very small)

1 cup long-grain brown rice (I used jasmine)



2 bay leaves



2 teaspoons dried thyme



1 teaspoon dried marjoram



2 teaspoons salt



fresh ground pepper



2 (28 oz) cans crushed (or diced) tomatoes



1 (15 oz) can navy beans/cannelloni beans/pinto beans





Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the tops off both of the garlic heads. Place the garlic on two small sheets of tin foil and drizzle olive oil over the top of each bulb. Wrap the bulbs in the tin foil, place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.

Saute the oil and onions in a large soup pot over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until translucent.

Add the rice, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes. Fill each can up with water and pour into the soup mixture (56 oz of water total).

Bring to a boil and then lower heat to medium-low for about 45 minutes.

When the garlic from the oven and let cool until it is cool enough to handle. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin and then mash up the roasted garlic with a fork. Add the garlic to the soup when the rice is nearly tender.

When the rice is finished cooking, add the beans to the soup and heat through. Before serving, remove the bay leaves.





Monday, February 1, 2010

our exciting life...

new bread box



Jon and I have been going back and forth about purchasing a breadbox (I know, the exciting things we discuss...). Shinji likes to jump up on top of the fridge and chew through our plastic bread bags, so we normally have to put our bread in the fridge (ew) or in the cupboard. When I saw this breadbox at Target last week I *almost* bought it, and once Jon and I went back to the store together, he totally wanted it, too, so we picked it up.



new bread for box





In honor of our new bread box and lack of bread in the house, Jon made these two really cute loaves of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day bread. It was such a nice treat to come home freshly baked bread after spending the day working at my internship.



our first takeout vegan pizza



In other carb-loaded news, we found a local pizzeria that makes three different types of vegan pizza. Since switching our diet, I've really been missing the ability to order a takeout pizza (not the actual pizza itself...cheese and I are not good friends), but just the idea of calling up a restaurant and ordering a takeout pizza. This pizza was so tasty. It was topped with pesto, walnuts, garlic, tomatoes, broccoli and red sauce and was absolutely delicious! We will definitely be ordering this again.





super mario fiending

One other item that magically appeared in our Target cart on Friday was the Super Mario game for the Wii. While I was diligently working all weekend, my sister and Jon played Mario for hours on end. They made it to the halfway point of the game this weekend and now their seat outlines are permanently imprinted on the couch. :)