Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's for Dinner?

It's that time of year when a good bowl of something warm sounds good for dinner.  Last night I made such a dish.  I wanted to share this recipe that I got from a friend of mine in a recipe exchange a few years ago.  She said it was a crowd pleaser and she was right. 

Italian Tortellini Stew
Ingredients:
1 # Italian Sausage (I use the Bob Evans roll)
1 C chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic (I cheat and use a tablespoon of the jarred garlic)
1 can (14-17oz size) tomato sauce
1 C sliced carrots
8-9 C beef broth (I use 2 of the 32 oz boxes)
1 C water
1 tblsp basil
1 tblsp Parsley
1 tblsp oregano
4 fresh tomatoes chopped
2 C sliced zucchini
1 C chopped mushrooms
1 green pepper chopped
2 small 9oz packages fresh tortellini (I cheat and buy frozen)

Saute sausage with onion and garlic.  Add tomato sauce, carrots, beef broth, chopped tomatoes, basil, parsley, and oregano.  Simmer for 1 hour.  Then add zucchini, mushrooms, green pepper, and fresh tortellini and cook for an additional hour.  (Because I cheat and use frozen tortellini I don’t add them until the last 10-15 minutes because I don’t want to over cook them).

Enjoy!  Serve with warm cornbread or just a crusty loaf of bread- yum!


~Erica

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hooray for Homemade Gifts!

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Yesterday we celebrated my wonderful sister-in-law’s birthday and I made her a reversible tote bag.  Overall, I love how it turned out.  I reverse appliqu├ęd Arbonne to one of the pockets since I thought she could use it to carry her catalogues or product. But since it’s reversible she can also turn it so the other print is facing out and Arbonne will be inside.  The prints I used totally scream her name- so perfect for her!  I really like this pattern but it’s a little time consuming (only if you’re ADD like me and want your projects done in an hour or less!)  I am making a smaller version of this bag for my son using denim.   I will post pictures when I’m done. 
PS Less than 9 weeks until Christmas!  Scary!   I would love to hear what some of you are working on for Christmas (I know Halloween isn’t even over but 9 weeks will fly by!)
~Erica

Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween Booties

I guess I'm just on a roll with the Halloween sewing.  I had an orange sweatshirt from Goodwill that I thought would make some really cozy booties for my litttle one.  I have a confession: I finally got it right on the third one I made (yes I had some experimenting to do) but I ran out of material to make a matching one so bootie #2 & #3 are the set but they are a little different- oh well!  The picture doesn't show the differences (on purpose!).  At least I now have my pattern so when Thanksgiving or Christmas come I can whip some up and having a matching set!  What I love is these will literally take 20 min tops because there isn't a lining.  Well, I am off to finish Batman and Robin costumes for the boys... I can't wait to post pictures of those! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Organizational Bliss (it's better than chocolate!)


The stars somehow aligned yesterday and I was able to spend some much needed time in my craftroom (which is shared as an office...and I know drives my OCD husband crazy!).  Nothing fancy...I'm just so happy to have my own place to work. 
I LOVE these little buckets I found at Target in their dollar bin.  The pegboard I found at Michaels and it was 40% off.  I just painted them before putting them up.  I need to get some more hooks because in a package of 3 pegboard they only give you 4 hooks! 

Here's a little tip: so that the little buckets don't tip over weigh them down with some heavy magnets stuck to the bottom. 

I had 2 of these plastic drawer stands from when I was in the classroom.  They are perfect for storing fabric (if you have a modest collection like me).  Eventually I'll probably outgrow these but for now I love that I can see inside and can take a drawer out and take it into another room to work (infront of the TV...) then shove everything back in and return the drawer.
This is my whole work area.   Ta da the organization fairy has been here (don't blink because it's not going to look like this for long!).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hats Galore

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I love fall!  I love the crisp air and bundling up!  I love how cute kids look in fun little hats!  So, I had a lot of fun making these adorable, quick little hats.  For the owl hats I followed this tutorial - let me warn you this could lead to a new obsession!  I had so much fun mixing and matching the fabrics.  The grey hat I deviated and tried to "boyify" it with the stars instead of the flowers in the eye.  The pumpkin hat was supposed to fit my 3 month old but it's a little too snug for my liking so it will also probably be a gift for a new little baby.  Now if only I could make something my kids can wear...don't worry I'm not done.  I'll probably whip up a couple more today! 

PS- sorry some of the images are blurry- it's hard to take pictures with a squirmy baby!  You'll see I moved on to using the animal cracker bear container....hey I'm resourceful!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween Fun


It's probably about time that I post something Halloween related.  I had fun making this little outfit for my 3 month old son from an orange t-shirt I bought at Goodwill.  I used Dana's 90 minute shirt tutorial you can find here and then had some fun with  freezer paper stenciling .  At first glance I thought my little one would be swimming in this onsie...well as you can see in the picture there isn't much extra room!  A few things I want to tweak for next time: the arm length (they turned out more like 3/4 length rather than short sleeves) and the shoulders (a little too "puffy" looking). 



 




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Friday, October 8, 2010

D is for Dough (playdough that is !)


Ok, so this isn't something new and clever that I have whipped up but I thought it would be fun to post the recipe for playdough.  My little guy loves squishing and smashing it.  The best part is that it gives me at least 10 minutes of peace!  Let your little ones' imaginations go to town! 
For those of you who haven't made playdough before you will be amazed at how easy it is and will probably never buy it again.  This stuff last too!  Since it's October it's only right that your playdough be orange.  Here's the recipe that I used:
2 cups flower
2/3 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tblsps. oil
1 tsp food coloring
2 cups water

1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. 


2. The dough will start to leave the pan- keep stirring until it has completely left the sides of the pan.  Take it off the heat and let it cool enough to handle.


3. Remove from pan and knead for a few minutes (make sure your counter is clean you don't want crumbs in your dough!)

4. This makes a fairly large batch.  I like to add the food coloring after cooking because I can divide the batch into 3 or 4 parts and color each part differently.  Just make a little hole in the dough and put 4-5 drops of food coloring and carefully knead the color in.  I use disposable gloves to do this because your hands will get stained.  Once the color is absorbed it won't get on your hands.


5. Store in an airtight container.


I bet some of you crafty mommas can come up with a clever way to package this to give as a gift. Please share your ideas! 

Go have some fun with your little one!

~Erica


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

C is for canvas



I actually started this project to go with my applique post but am just now finishing it.  It was actually very simple.  I found a cute dump truck applique at  fatcatpatterns.com and thought it would look cute in my older son's room.  The canvas I had bought for around $5 at Walmart a few years ago for a project I never completed.  First I appliqued the truck onto a piece of background fabric then raided my husbands toolbox and used his staple gun to attach the fabric to the canvas.  I have one more canvas and I think I'll make a train to go along with the truck.  What I love best about this quick, easy project was that it cost me very little.  The canvas was cheap and the fabric was all out of my scrap pile!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Duck Hooded Towel Tutorial



Now that my toddler is two I'm finally getting around to a project I’ve had in the back of my mind since shortly after he was born.  I hate how thin and small those store bought baby towels are (with an exception for a couple really cute ones I found at Kohls- but unfortunately they are pretty pricey!  So I made my own.  I happened to have everything I needed including a new yellow bath towel (that we received for our wedding 4 years ago!) Here is how I turned it into a cute duck baby towel that will make a perfect baby gift for my friend!  Please be patient- this is my first tutorial and I don't know a lot of the proper sewing techniques. 

First I cut the sides off the towel so that I only had a flat piece of terry cloth to work with.


Then I folded one corner down- lining up edges.  Then cut off the excess fabric.  This will leave you with a square piece of fabric.

Using the "left over" that was just cut off in the previous step do the same thing. This will leave you with a small square that you will use to make the hood part.

Cut along the crease so that you have 2 triangles. 

I appliqued two eyes and a beak. 

Sew binding to the bottom of the "face"

Place the triangle piece with the "face" on top of the large square in one of its corners right sides together. 

I rounded the point using a roll of tape.

Sew around the 2 outside edges of the small triangle- make sure you sew around the curve you drew.  Trim the extra fabric.

Turn rightside out.  You can see the roll of tape I used to round the top.

I didn't like all the corners so I chose to round off the bottom corner.  As you can see I used the Bumbo seat- but you could use a medium sized trash can, bucket or leave it square.

I made a couple feet from some scraps of fabric.  I drew a template on freezer paper cut out 4 pieces (2 per foot) and sewed them together.  Then turn them rightside out.

Then I sewed the binding aroung the rest of the towel making sure to sew the feet into the binding.  I am not a pro at binding so I won't go into detail about how to do that since it won't be right. 


Then using the remaining remnant from the original towel and another scrap I bought the day before in the scrap bin at Joann's I made a burp cloth to go along with this towel. 


The finished gift



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