Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One Christmas Present Down

A few weeks ago, I posted about a table runner that I had seen in a magazine and wanted to make for my MIL for Christmas.  I even posted pics of the top that I had finished piecing together.  See the post HERE.

Well, I've finished it!! YAY!!
I finished it a couple of weeks ago and I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.  This is not the entire runner - I have it folded in this pic.  

I really enjoyed making it though, and I think it turned out great for my first quilting project (if you don't count the Christmas tree skirt that I made 20 years ago).  You can see in the pictures that I quilted each seam.  I did what's called "in the ditch" quilting.  At least, I think I did. 
(this is the back side.  I'm not loving the fabric I chose for the back as I think I should have gone with a darker color like a matching brown.  But hey, live and learn.)

The quilting part took the longest of any part of the project but it would probably have gone faster if I had known that I needed an even feed foot for my sewing machine before I got started.  I didn't figure that out until I was at least half way done quilting.  But now that I've used this foot, I LOVE it.  It is soo awesome.  I've even been using it when I sew up my aprons.  It makes all the fabric move so much smoother and it goes over seams well.

I've also started making quilted Christmas stockings which I'm going to list in my Etsy shop.  I'll post about those next time.  Stayed tuned for more great crafting :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Funny Dog Story

This is our dog Mac.
I had given him a Dentley's pig ear to chew.  Usually, I try to give him small ones because he's a small dog but this one was kind of big.  He chewed on it for most of the day and then that afternoon, I walked into the living room and saw him with it hanging out of his mouth.  He was carrying it around with him so that no one would get it. 

I was the only person home other than the cat.
Who did he think was going to steal it?  Plus, I'm the one who gave it to him.  I have a whole sack of them, why would I want a partially chewed one?

It's funny how a dogs mind works.
So, I started laughing hysterically at him because he looked so silly.  He was very offended by this - especially when I started trying to take his picture - and he took his ear chew and went to hide in his box.

He's giving me his "you are so mean and you hurt my feelings" look.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School Breakfast Recipe

Hello all!
Today was the first day back to school for the public schools in our area as well as a few others.  Not ours though.  My son started back last Monday, so we've already been at it for a week!

So, in honor of Back to School, I thought I'd share a yummy easy breakfast bake recipe.

This is from my Bisquick recipe book.  This recipe is called Do Ahead Breakfast Bake.

1 cup diced fully cooked ham (6 oz)

2 boxes Betty Crocker® Seasoned Skillets® hash brown potatoes
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 tablespoon dried chopped onion
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 eggs

Layer ham, potatoes, bell pepper, onion and 1 cup of the cheese in baking dish. In large bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, pepper and eggs until blended. Pour into baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours but no longer than 24 hours.

Heat oven to 375ºF. Bake uncovered 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown around edges and cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes.
I used sausage instead of ham and I used frozen hash brown potatoes.  I also used real onion and egg substitute.
I made this on the Sunday before my son's first day of school.  I was really hoping that he'd like it even though he doesn't seem to like egg dishes (loves hard boiled eggs on his salad though - go figure).
He liked it ok and tolerated it for about 3 days before he started asking if he could just have a pop tart for breakfast.  I loved it though.  If I could, I'd eat this kind of stuff every day.  It would be great with a bit of sour cream on top.  Or maybe some picante'.  Or both.
Anyhoo, I hope everyone had a great first day back to school.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fancy Chocolate

A few weeks ago, I found some Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Baking chips on clearance at Target.
They were a great clearance price so I HAD to buy them.  I mean, who can't always use chocolate chips?

So, this past Thursday, I decided I needed to make them up into some Best, Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  It was my little taste test to see if they are as good as good ol' Nestle.

Here is the recipe from the link above which really is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe that I have EVER tried.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
2.Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3.In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
4.Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

My conclusion is - they were good but not "buy at regular price" good.  They tasted a lot creamier than Nestle but didn't really have the semi sweet flavor that I like about Nestle.  Nestle's semi sweet flavor is much stronger which I think tastes great with the sweetness of the cookies.  That's why I don't care for milk chocolate chips in my cookies - although my son LOVES milk chocolate chips so I use them often even though I don't like them.  My what we do for the love of our children :) 

Friday, August 12, 2011

End of Summer

Hello Everybody!!!

I've been neglecting my blog lately.  I've also been neglecting my sewing and some other things.  But things are about to change.  I went to my Pain Management doc yesterday and got my meds adjusted - :) - YAY!  So now I'm hoping I'll be able to sit and sew as well as sit and blog!
**Explaination:  I have some problems with my back that makes it very painful to sit or lay down or stand in one place.

Anyhoo, I'm filled with hope and purpose today.  My son starts back to school on Monday, so we are busy this weekend getting uniforms washed and ironed, getting school supplies ready, cleaning out last years school clothes from his closet, etc.  I'm also planning to work on some of the many half finished projects laying around my sewing room.

And one other thing to share.  I had my shop on vacation mode for a few days earlier this week.  We took a mini "end of summer, last hurrah before school starts" vacation.  We went to Grand Prarie, Texas to the Great Wolf Lodge.  It's a really cool hotel that is totally geared to families and children.  It has a huge indoor waterpark as well as an outdoor pool with water slides - but it was 110 degrees outside while we were there, so forget about that.
This is a really cool pic of the outside of the hotel - it's also the view from our room. 
This hotel is a great concept and they did a really good job of following through with the concept.  A lot of hotels or restaurants that seem to come up with these grand concepts seem to have trouble following through.  But this hotel reminded me of Disney because they did a great job of following through.

Here is an outside view of one of the slides - the Howlin Tornado.  I didn't ride that one.  The funny red and yellow hat looking thing has a spiral slide inside that's part of the ride. 
Here is my son doing his favorite thing no matter where he is:

I wish I had taken more pics of the waterpark area because it was really cool, but I didn't.  My son really loved the wave pool.  I really liked the hot tub.  I don't know what my husband liked but he seemed to be having a good time.

Well, that's enough blogging for today.  I have to install my new even feed foot onto my sewing machine.
Have a great day!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Stolen Life

I've never reviewed a book on my blog before but I felt compelled to when I read this book.
A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard.

I don't usually read true story books, especially books about children being kidnapped, raped, abused, tortured, etc.  I just can't bring myself to read them. 
When I read a book, watch a TV show, or watch a movie, I want the movie to be entertaining, to make me laugh, to take me away from real life.  I don't want it to be about real life because I already live in real life.
I've never understood why sitcoms always try to have "serious" moments.  Like having a family member get cancer or be abused in some way.  What's that all about?  I already have family members that were abused, have cancer or other serious illnesses.  I don't want to watch it on TV or read it in a book. 

Anyway, this is her story, written by her, written how she remembers it.  It's not written by a ghost writer and it's not written by someone who combined all the news stories into book form just to make a buck.
She's not a professional writer, although, I think she does a great job of telling her story.  There was a Diane Sawyer interview with Jaycee recently, which I watched online.  She is a beautiful young woman who still seems like an 11 year old girl a lot of the time, in her interview.
Her story is horrible, sad, and terrifying all at the same time.  She is a strong, brave person who will no doubt find herself adjusting to life for a very long time.  I wish her and her daughters well.  They deserve all the happiness and joy that they can grab from life.

If you are interested in purchasing this book on the cheap, I have it listed on ebay.  Here is the link: