Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A shout out for a friend

A friend of mine has some cute and cool stuff in her etsy store. If you're in the market for some valentine cards or need some custom invitations or something please look her up-she does amazing work and has been published in several papercrafting magazines and idea books. Click here for her etsy store.

New pan

I got my new 4 qt pan yesterday. I got a Tramontina from Wal-Mart and it is nice-shiny and heavy! I broke it in last night making No Bake cookies. They came out perfect even though I was 1/2 cup short of sugar. Tonight I made some mashed potatoes with it and they came out perfect too. It seems like it takes longer to cook stuff but maybe it's because it's so thick or maybe it's because I'm using a lower heat because the instructions on the pan said to do that. Anyway it's working out and it was cheap-that's what is important.

oh and I figured something out. My smooth cooktop is just weird to me and I couldn't figure out why. Well I know why. It looks just like a pretend stove. It looks like someone painted a shiny black square on my counter and drew circles for pretend burners. It reminds me of those wooden stoves they sell in the pottery barn or company kids catalogs (or whatever catalogs they're in-I get so many I can't keep track).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

How to tie a nice neat knot

I forgot that someone left a comment asking where the directions for tying a nice knot were (by the way I appreciate the comments!). Click HERE to see them (that is a thread at split coast stampers-the first post has the download for the tutorials). I printed that out and keep it at my stamping table.

There are also a few video tutorials about it. I was able to download this one and it helped a lot. There is also this one which I couldn't watch because of my slow connection.

There is also a neat way to do a cheater knot here. I think that would be perfect for wider ribbon. The thread that I originally posted, which had other hints and tips in it, is HERE.

A new cooktop and a new aggravation

Last week we got a new cooktop. Our old one, an electric coil cooktop, pretty much quit working. I had two working burners (both in the back) and one of those was touchy. It was 12 yrs old so it lasted a long time. I thought it would be best to get another coil (we can't run gas to the stove or else I'd have that) because it seems like the smooth ones have too many rules. You have to use pots with flat bottoms. Don't let stuff boil over and don't put wet cookware on it and on and on. It scared me. While we were looking Steve decided a smooth top would be better. He thought part of the problem with the coil top was that the coils move a little when you put a pan on them, so they don't last as long. With less moving parts, a smooth top is sure to be better. Yeah. So we got a smooth top. I really wanted the one with the dual burner, because the others, from what I could see, said to use 'similar size' pots and pans on the burners. Well they had a 9" and 6" burner and I have a 12" pan I like to use. That's not similar to 9 or 6 inches. I found the dual burner one online for less and Home Depot very grudgingly price matched it (even though their website says they match online stores). We got it installed and I proceeded to try to cook something. It turns out my most-used pan is NOT flat on the bottom, but very warped. Without that pan I have a much smaller range of recipes to choose from. It was the pan I used for boiling pasta, mashed potatoes, chili, NO BAKE COOKIES! A true tragedy. So I shopped online, shopped offline, and finally ordered a new pan. I think I might need all new pans now that I think of it-but those will have to wait. I checked my 10" skillet, which I also use a lot, and it's not perfectly flat either. But it doesn't rock like my 4 qt did so I think it'll be ok for now. Until my 4 qt gets here I am still limited in what I can make. Here's what I made tonight.

SOS (it's not as good as my mom used to make but since I have to make it myself now, it'll have to do. It's actually quite good. Oh and if your spouse is/was in the military you might want to check with them before you make this. He or she might be sick of it already.)

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk (add another 1/4 cup if you need to, depending on how thick you like it)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp beef bouillon granules
pinch pepper
1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce

Brown ground beef and drain. Add flour and stir well. Cook over medium heat until flour is all absorbed. Add remaining ingredients. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve over biscuits.

Here's an easy biscuit recipe. It's a bit heavy because of the whole wheat flour-if you use all white it's probably lighter.
1/2 cup white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup buttermik*

*if you don't have buttermilk (who really keeps that on hand??) put 1 tbs of vinegar into a measuring cup and add enough milk to equal 1 cup. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and apparently, this is just like buttermilk.

Heat oven to 350°. Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender. Add buttermilk and mix just until combined. Don't overmix! Drop onto a cookie sheet (I use the big cookie scoop from pampered chef-if you don't have that I think a big spoon should work) and bake for about 15 minutes. Serve under SOS.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRLFRIEND!!

Okay I'm a terrible, horrible, no good friend. Once again, I have forgotten to send someone a birthday card. Someone who never ever fails to send me one (almost always on time. hehe). So Krista, I am sorry that I am late AGAIN. So for now:


Oh and guess what-you're older than me.

I STAMPED!!

I know-it seems impossible but it's true! I cleared off a little bit of my messy stamping table and actually stamped something! Now these are thank you cards so if you're expecting a thank you from us, and don't want to see your card, just wait a week or two or three. I only have 2 to share right now. I'm experimenting with a new way of doing this so let me know if you hate it. I'm trying to make my blog dialup friendly considering that I'm on dialup and regularly complain about blogs taking too long to load. So the small pic is here and then if you want to see it bigger, click on it (hold the shift key while you click if you want it to open in a new window-apparently the practice of making things open in new windows automatically is annoying so I'll quit doing it).

This first one uses the Vases in Vogue set and I used my copics to color it. I'm not very skilled with copics yet but they're fun anyway-you know, because they cost so much. The ribbon is from Stampin' Up-it's pink velvety kind. Oh and the knot-I was tying some ugly knots before and I found a nice tuturial at splitcoast stampers (you can see the link in my links list) on how to tie a nice looking knot. Anyway, the scallop punch is from marvy and the scallop punch stamp is from Gina K. The cardstock and patterned paper are both from Stampin' Up.


The next one uses the new So Many Scallops set I just preordered from the Sale-a-bration catalog (I'm impatient, obviously). I stamped it with brilliance coral ink. The flower background is from Fun Fillers (I think) and the 'thank you' is from Vases in Vogue; both were stamped using Close to Cocoa classic ink (I sponged a little pigment ink on the edges of the brown square). The cardstock is all from Stampin' Up as is the patterned paper. I'm not exactly sure who made the ribbon. I sewed on the ends of the patterned paper using my little Hello Kitty sewing machine. The button is from Oriental Trading. I copied this sketch almost exactly from a Stampin' Up demo magazine. My mojo is temporarily gone right now so I just copy.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A Jelly Roll that you can't eat

In the quilting world, a jelly roll is a set of fabric strips, usually 2-1/2 inches wide by 44 inches. Moda makes jelly rolls but I'm not sure if other fabric companies do. I know some quilt shops make their own jelly rolls for sale. Anyway Moda's jelly rolls consist of all of the fabrics in a certain line. One strip of each. Usually there are 40 strips in a jelly roll and they look like this (this happens to be a picture of the jelly roll I'm about to post about).

OK blogger just lost my entire post after the picture. I am not happy. I'll try to remember what all I posted.

OK I was never planning to make anything from a jelly roll because I prewash all of my fabric. You cannot prewash strips-they'll fray too much. So if I was going to use a jelly roll, I would have to use all new unwashed fabric. Well I came across a sale and you know the rest. I bought a jelly roll (just like the picture above) at 40% off. I found a pattern in Quilt magazine that uses one jelly roll to make a lap quilt. It looked easy enough. Thursday night I sorted the colors (took maybe 20 minutes) and Friday I made the entire top-in one day. ONE DAY!! I've never made anything this big in one day! And it turned out very cute, if I do say so myself. The pattern calls for a border but I think this is big enough without one. It's about 50 x 60 inches. Plus I'm too cheap to buy fabric for the border. I have to buy for the backing and binding as it is. Anyway this is the pic of the top (if you look closely at the far right side, you might see a hand sticking out. That is the hand of Sammy's new American Girl doll, which is called Sarah. Sara. One of those.)

I'm going to order some fabric for the binding and backing and when it's all done, I'll post it again. I'm almost afraid to quilt it for fear of ruining it. And I really hope those red centers don't bleed when I wash it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!!

Well it's 2008, finally. One of my resolutions is to clean and organize my craft room. I need to paint my desk, sewing desk and chairs so I might try to get that done soon. I really want it to be nice and neat and for me to want to spend time in there. Right now I get in there and just look around frantically because it's such a mess I don't know what to do next. Coincidentally, The Scrapbook Site is having an organizing challenge. I'm hoping that it will motivate me to really get organized. For now I'm going to show a picture of my very messy space. Actually it has been messier but right now it isn't looking too great. Just one pic though-I don't want people to get scared. I do want to say, though, that no matter what I do my spot will always look cluttered because I have too much stuff. And I'm keeping it all. But I think it could look a LOT better.

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