Potential Projects

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Tasty Meal

So despite the lack of pictures, I have been eating some pretty tasty food lately.  Like this:

Tasty Chickpea Wrap

This chickpea wrap comes from Supernatural Everyday, a cookbook that I recently purchased and am IN LOVE WITH!  More on that later....

First, a recent dinner I made inspired by a whole host of blogs, that was super tasty!

First, I made us a tasty salad, inspired by a recent post on Dana Treat:

I took some ho-hum looking tomatoes:

And roasted them so they looked like this:

And then added them to a lovely greek salad:

I then got all inspired by Shutterbean's Killer Garlic Bread:
The little one liked it too!

And we rounded out the meal with Spaghetti Bolognese from Lucinda Scala Quinn's book, Mad Hungry, which I currently have checked out from the library:

Overall it was an awesome meal.  Highly recommended.  If you make any of these recipes, let me know what you think!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sewing Projects

Hi friends,

I'm glad you've stuck around.  Despite the lack of blog posts in the last few months.  I have been very busy.  In particular, I've rekindled my relationship with my sewing machine.


I started sewing as a kid when I was in the 4H sewing club.  Did you have 4H when you were growing up?  For me, it was what all the kids on the farm were doing.  I credit it with turning me into a feminist.  I watched my mom do all the hard stuff the guys were doing (driving tractor, birthing cows, staining the deck, etc) but she also knew how to do all kinds of other stuff (sew curtains, make really tasty food, make you feel better when you were sick, etc).   When I was little, 4H was just about sewing club, and cooking club.  As we got older, we got to raise and show animals.

I was kind of a miserable failure in the 4H sewing club.  I'm pretty sure I didn't finish my first project.  I was always much more interested in cooking.  It became my creative outlet at a pretty early age.  Then 2 years ago I had a kid, and it seems that my ability to get creative in the 20 minutes between when I get home from work and when a full-blown tantrum starts (!) is really limited.  So I started to sew.

Sewing has been a huge creative outlet for me.  I can do it after Elliott is asleep.  I get alone time, and a creative channel that has no time crunch.  Here's a peek at what I've been up to, and where you can find more inspiration if you're interested:

Travel Car Mat

I became re-interested in sewing when I discovered some crafty blogs that I really liked.  After a few projects from various blog posts, I decided to buy the book "Stitch by Stitch" by Deborah Moebes.  I can't say enough good things about this book.  I've been working through it project by project, and I love it.  I have learned A LOT.  One of the early projects she has is a make your own place mat.  I did that, and then decided to switch it up and make a travel car mat as a birthday present for Elliott's little BFF.  The mat has pockets for matchbox cars, and I bought fabric so Z could drive his cars up and down all the roads.  Rumor has it that he likes it.  I figure it's good for restaurants and airplane rides.  Or trips to the doctor's office.

Elliott's Birthday present

I made Elliott this beanbag chair for his birthday!  Seriously I am really proud.  It turned out great, and he loves it.  I think we play with it every day.  I bought the pattern from MADE (another all time favorite blog).  That pattern is great and worth every penny.  Dana has tons of pictures, and again, I learned so much from making this!    

Also, if you're curious, this fabric is called "Hello my Friend" and it's made by Push Pin for Kokka.  (A Japanese import fabric).  I bought it from SuperBuzzy, but it's now out of stock.  You may have luck on Etsy.  

Happy Birthday Tyler!

Next project was a sweet little monster bag for another one of Elliott's BFFs.  This little bag holds a coloring book or two, and has color crayons for teeth.  I found this inspiration during "Celebrate the Boy" month on two of my favorite blogs:  Made by Rae and MADE.  You can find a link to the tutorial for this bag here.

Happy Birthday Chris!

Here's my most recent project.  Also inspired by a blog post during Celebrate the Boy.  I've personally never played Angry Birds, but I hear it's addictive.  Our good friend Chris seemed to really like the game, so I whipped these little guys up for his birthday.  You can find a tutorial for them here.  If you like Angry Birds, she has tutorials for all the characters.  I just made two.  I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to throw these at Chris in order to give him his gift.  

That's what I've been up to.  Happy Crafting!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Patio Herb Garden

Hello again friends!  My apologies for a long absence.  First I lost the charger for my camera.  Which I stubbornly refused to replace for 2 months.  Then I found a badillion and one things to do besides blogging.  But I made this cute little herb pot, and took a few pictures, and thought you might like it.  That's right, dear reader, I missed you.

Growing herbs on your deck can be easy and fun.  I love being able to add fresh herbs to a recipe without paying $3 for a silly little box of herbs at the grocery store.  In fact these herb starts (which often have even more herbs than those silly boxes), cost anywhere from $1.50 to $3!  But they'll last all summer, and maybe into winter!  

I heard about growing herbs in a strawberry pot a while ago.  In fact, I first made an herb pot like this about 8 years ago.   This year I decided to dump out all of my soil and start fresh.  Some years I've been really lucky and had some of my herbs last all winter (during mild winters when I've kept my herb pot close to my house where I figure it's a bit warmer and more sheltered).

If you'd like to make yourself an herb pot (or make one as a gift!--that would be truly lovely!),  here's some basics:

Start with a basic strawberry pot.  I bought mine 8 years ago for about 20 bucks.  You may be able to find them for free on Craigslist, or ask around at the office or church.  Often times people like the idea of growing strawberries, but give up after the first year.  Just take that pot off their hands!
Empty Strawberry pot and some potting soil

Then you'll need to buy some herb starts.  For various reasons, in the course of a week I ended up at 2 local nurseries (Flower World, and Molbaks) and then also spotted some starts at my local fruit stand.  I love all 3 of these places, and I also recommend supporting your local plant sale.  Often times they're fundraisers for local non-profits.  And we know I love those.  

Once you have your pot and your starts, you'll need soil.  I dumped out the old dirt from my pot into a large empty pot (you could use a bucket) and mixed it with new potting soil, and some compost.  I also added some water to make the soil moist.  Once I'd mixed it up fairly well I added soil to the bottom of the strawberry pot to bring it up to the first level of openings.  
Hello Thyme

My herb starts were a lot bigger than the openings, so I gently pulled soil off from the root ball until the herb fit into the opening.  I then added a little soil around the herb from the front and the back.  I also added some slow-release fertilizer behind the root ball.

View from the top as I'm adding fertilizer

Keep adding plants!  Once you have the bottom layer all planted, add more soil until you reach the second layer.

I planted Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme, Sage, Dill, and Rosemary.  I'm going to plant (from seed) the entire top of the strawberry pot with Basil.  That still left me 3 openings.  In the past I've planted other herbs (mint, cilantro, lemon thyme, thai basil, etc).  This year I was tempted by all the varieties of strawberries that my local fruit market was selling, so I decided to buy 3 and give my strawberry pot a layer of tradition.  

There you go!  Easy and fun herb garden.  No need for a big garden space.  Have fun!