Monday, October 28, 2013

Riley Blake Boy Crazy Quilt pt. 1

Today I started working on a quilt that is to be a gift for a friend. I have wanted to make a quilt like this for some time but wasn't sure if I would be able to create the pattern myself. The idea for this quilt came from a blog and quilts that are being sold on etsy.
Working on the pattern was very much like piecing together a puzzle. Basically I created assorted sizes of squares and rectangles that will be connected together with sashing.
 The fabric I will be using on the quilt is called Boy Crazy by Riley Blake.
I purchased as many pieces in the Boy Crazy collection that I could find. 
There are 3 colors of this fabric print; orange, white and teal.
Three pieces of this print; teal, orange and red.
Two pieces of this print; orange and teal.
Three pieces in this print; teal and white. The third fabric is near the end.
Three pieces in this print; orange; yellow and teal.
Three pieces of this print; yellow on white, orange on white and teal on white. This fabric is cute but I prefer the fabric with a more defined print and only purchased this for added variety.
This is the third car pint and my favorite in grey. I will be using this print for the back of the quilt.
I seldom purchase fabric at regular price but decided to splurge since I want the baby quilt to be extra special. 
More to come as I make progress on this project.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Indian Girl

 This year for Halloween Elizabeth wanted to be an Indian Girl. I found a cute embroidered fabric at Jo Ann's for the dress. For the pattern I used a bible character costume and added a fringe to the top and bottom.
To hold her candy Elizabeth asked me to make a matching purse. It's a simple drawstring bag with a fringe on one side;
And a star on the other side.
 I even made some fabric shoes to go with the dress; the shoes were so simple to make I'm thinking about making some for me to use as house slippers.
 So glad Elizabeth still enjoys dressing up.
Today Elizabeth told me I was the best "sewer" :O)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sewing With Wool Fabric

For as long as I can remember I have loved sewing. However, the one thing that can freak me out with sewing is when I'm sewing for someone else.
Recently Pat's aunt asked me to help her finish up a few sewing projects; the last item being a pair of wool slacks.
I was somewhat stressed while sewing in the zipper.
 If the zipper doesn't go in properly it can make a big difference in how your garment looks. Thankfully it turned out very nice;
 Both the outside and the inside.
The slacks were fully lined; it had been years since I worked with a lining while sewing up a garment.
 The waistband had partial elastic which was new to me; but was actually very simple to add.
 The easiest part, aside from cutting out the fabric, were the pockets; I especially liked having the pockets made from the lining fabric.
Sewing for others forces me to leave my comfort level but always ends good because I tend to learn something new.
What did I learn this time?
Sewing with quality fabrics, such as wool, makes a huge difference in your finished garment.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Potato Heaven

Last week one of our local grocery stores had an amazing sale on potatoes; 98-cents for a 5-pound bag!
Being the bargain shopper I am my mind began thinking of creative ways to preserve the potatoes for future meals.
When I had some free time I began sorting the potatoes by size; the medium and large potatoes were baked in the toaster oven one rack full at a time.
Once baked I cut them in half and scooped out the inside.
 The cooked potato was placed in a bowl with salt and pepper and margarine. I then mixed it gently with a fork so the potatoes would hold their shape and not become mashed potatoes.
After the potato mixture was ready I added it back to the potato skins.
 And topped it with grated cheddar cheese.
 The final step was bagging the potatoes into groups of 4, dating them and putting in the freezer.
Twice baked potatoes are my favorite and so easy to warm up at a minutes notice. Simple defrost in the microwave and then place in a warm toaster oven until the cheese melts.
Along with twice baked potatoes I have made mashed potatoes, fried potatoes and potato soup. Last on my list will be a loaf or two of potato bread!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Thrifted Serving Bowl

Look what I found;
A 1950's Milk Glass Corningware serving bowl.
And I paid a whopping $2 plus tax.
Bargain shopping is so addicting!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This is Crazy

Yesterday, after canning my celery, I canned 7-quart jars of homemade chicken stock. When the jars came out of the canner this is what started happening.

I have never seen anything like this before. The broth will be put in the fridge to be used right away; I don't want to take a chance keeping it on the pantry shelf.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Canning Celery

 With little harvest from my garden this year I decided to focus on canning an assortment of convenience foods. First up, celery.
 I started with 4 extra large stalks that were 99-cents each.
 All the leaves and unsightly pieces were bagged and put in the freezer to be used in November when I make turkey broth.
 When I make soup I like to cut my celery in small bite size pieces; so for canning I did the same.
 Once all the pieces were cut and ready I dumped them into a pot of hot water which was then boiled for 3 minutes.
 My canning book states to pressure can celery at 10-pounds for 30 minutes.
4 extra large celery stalks produced 14 pints of celery. These will be used in soups this winter.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Walk

 Today was perfect for a walk;
Especially since Elizabeth had new thrifted boots to tryout.
 These boots made it possible for her to walk in every pool of water we got close to without worrying about her feet getting wet.
 This last pool of water did me in; my shoes got stuck and I ended up with muddy feet :O)
Today was a perfect fall day.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Homemade Andouille Sausage

 I've had homemade Andouille sausage on my mind lately.
My original plan was to make my sausage with a pork butt so I would have enough fat; after comparing prices I decided to go with pork chops and add extra fat.
In order to mix the fat/meat ratio evenly I cut the fat and meat into strips and layered them in a tall container.
Each time I layered the meat and fat I also sprinkled on the seasoning. You can find the recipe here when I first posted about making Andouille Sausage. This time I omitted the thyme at Jonathan's request and the sausage still came out perfect.
 So, here is my pork all ground together with the seasoning just waiting to be stuffed into a casing.
Last time when I made this sausage the butcher was out of casing; so I was so excited when I called and they said "yes" we have some!
 Here is how it looks; this small package is enough to make 25-pounds of sausage.
According to the package I was to soak the casing in warm water for 30-minutes. Next I ran water through the casing to rinse the inside; I loved how the casing filled up with water and looked a lot like a balloon.
Once the casing was ready I then oiled my sausage attachment and slid on a nice long section;
 Once I reached the end I tied a knot.
As the meat began filling the casing a lot of air was trapped; next time I'll wait to tie my knot until after the air pushes out.
 And here is how the very first sausage links looked. I used cotton string to tie each section.
And here is how all the links looked once I was finished stuffing; they started looking better as I went along.
Earlier that morning Pat started a nice hot fire in the grill and by the time I had the sausage ready the majority of the fire had burned down making it perfect to smoke the meat.
I had several links burst but thankfully the meat was already cooked so the links held their shape.
I made this sausage on the 3rd and today, just over a week later, it's already gone! I shared it with several people and Jonathan took it for lunch several days. 
Guess I better get busy and make some more; it's better than any store sausage I have ever had.

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