My latest project

January 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm (family, pictures, random)

My blogging hiatus is getting out of control! But that picture above is part of the reason why. Our first child, affectionately nicknamed “Pudge” for now, is due July 30th.

Some day, hopefully soon, this will mean lots of baby project posts. But for now, this means I need to sleep more!! :)

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It’s the little things

January 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm (crafting, pictures, random)

I have this grey pea coat with silver buttons that I bought in 2008, before I left to study abroad in England. The buttons are a constant annoyance – the shanks are too sharp, so they cut through thread and fall off all the time.

Today I finally bought new buttons instead of sewing the old ones on again, like I’d been talking about for years, and since they didn’t have any black buttons I liked, I opted for a deep blue. They make me smile.

20120101-200531.jpg

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Best of Pinterest: August 14

August 14, 2011 at 8:40 pm (links, pictures, random)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve become quite a fan of Pinterest – you can see my boards here. I thought that maybe once every week or so, I’d share some of the things I’ve found. I always enjoy seeing pictures that other people have found inspiring.

So, here’s what I’ve loved this week:

Source: twojunkchix.blogspot.com via Stacey on Pinterest



I’m obsessed with the idea of a lovely wreath for our door for Christmas this year. Perhaps this one will do?

Source: whiskandaprayer.blogspot.com via Stacey on Pinterest



Crock pot mac and cheese. I’m about to jump into a crazy commute, and I’m gonna need to rely on some crock pot recipes to make sure I’m eating dinner before 9 PM!

Source: emiliehandmade.com via Stacey on Pinterest



Minion cupcakes!! I definitely want a Despicable Me party for my birthday now.

Source: sunset.com via Stacey on Pinterest



We’re moving to an apartment with a PATIO(!) in a few weeks, and I’m dying to try a version of this.

Source: maurices.com via Stacey on Pinterest



Loving this dress. With a cardigan it’s great for teaching, without a cardigan it’s great for dinners out or warm days. Hope to try sewing this sometime soon! Thinking I’ll leave off the bow though – makes it easier to fit under cardigans!

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Socialite Skirt, and a funk

June 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm (crafting, pictures)

I’m in a funk this week. Just feeling out of sorts about life and careers and my perspective on it all, which is making me ponder pursuing some new things. I’ve been feeling like I need to think, and walking dogs or sewing are the best “thinking activities” for me. Sadly, I have no dogs to walk, so sewing it was. :)

I finished most of my Socialite Skirt from Elle Apparel, except for the hem. I LOVE the inverted box pleats, which are supposed to be the back of the skirt: (ignore my bathroom towels, sorry)
box pleats

But the front is supposed to have a box pleat and knife pleats, and it just looks weird. See what I mean:
skirt front

Too bubbly on the back? Too poofy? Not sure. It just doesn’t lie right on me. It looks lovely on the original website, but on me? Meh. I’m debating tearing it out, and doing both sides like the back, with inverted box pleats. In general, I LOVE sewing with elastic thread. So glad I tried that, and now I want to make dozens of knit skirts, once I narrow down this bubbly butt problem.

As an aside, a danger of sewing while thinking through your funk:
selvedge oops
That would be the selvedge edge, that I was supposed to sew into the side seam. Whoops.

Before I forget, here’s a picture of my finished fruit leather:
fruit leather
If you attempt, make sure that you can poke it and not leave finger marks. Don’t let your fruit leather be mushy!!

So today, while still thinking through my funk, I decided to quilt instead. A long time ago, my mom and I joined a block of the month club through Meissner Sewing Center. I have no idea if they still do this, but you used to be able to pay $5 and get the fabric plus directions for your first block, and you could watch them make the block and give hints/tips at a monthly class. Then if you brought your block back completed to the next class, you got another set of fabric and directions for a new block. We did this for two years, and because I was a busy high school student at the time, sometimes my blocks didn’t get finished. It’s been six years since I graduated high school, seven since I started attending these quilt block classes, and I still have unfinished blocks.

I pulled one out today, and finished it:
quilt block
It’s not perfect, (my points don’t match) but it certainly turned out better than the skirt… :)

I’m not through my funk yet, we’ll see how the weekend goes, but for now I am feeling at least a little more productive. And, a little closer to a finished quilt!

What’s your favorite pondering activity?

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Sour Cream Dutch Apple Pie

April 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm (family, pictures, recipes)

I don’t make pretty pies, as evidenced by this picture:
Sour Cream Dutch Apple
But, it was tasty! My theory is pie gets all mixed up when you try to slice it, especially fruit pies. So as long as it tastes good, your mission is accomplished. (Also, I’m not very good at crusts, so that’s probably the problem.)

I got this recipe from Taste of Home, and it’s by far my favorite apple pie recipe.
Ingredients
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* Pinch salt
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup sour cream
* 2 cups chopped peeled tart apples
* 1 unbaked pie shell (9 inches)

STREUSEL TOPPING:
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons cold butter

Directions
* In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Stir in the egg, vanilla and sour cream; stir until smooth. Add apples; mix well. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325° and bake for 30 minutes more.
* For topping, combine flour and sugar in a small bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over pie; bake 20 minutes longer or until filling is bubbly and topping is browned. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or chilled. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 8 servings.

—-

I brought this pie to our Easter dinner yesterday with my husband’s family. We cleaned up nice, I think!
Us on Easter

Happy Easter – He is risen!

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And now, Rosita

April 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm (crafting, pictures, random)

Another Friends connection: I killed my beloved couch!
See picture here: I killed the couch
I took this with my phone, so it’s not the greatest.

I can’t say enough how much I love this couch… when I am curled up, I fit perfectly on the cushions, with my head propped on the arm. People, I am tall. This doesn’t happen often. So when my then-boyfriend inherited it from his mom, I told him we’re never getting rid of this couch. And now, after five years of being together, the couch is still with us. (It had at least ten years of life at my in-laws too… so it’s well loved.) A few months ago, my husband was ironing on the living room floor when the iron fell over and melted a bit of the bottom. I mourned but moved on. Then today, I did an even more horrible thing to the couch… I was trying to vacuum the heating vent behind the entertainment center (it was gross, take my word for it) so I set the vacuum on top of the couch arm so I could reach the vent with the hose. When I finished and put the vacuum away, there was my couch arm… scalped. I’m pretty sure the fuzz was melted off?

So today, I am feeling like Joey and his beloved chair Rosita. And, hoping my couch heals itself overnight.

Really, I think I’ll be slipcovering the couch this summer. I’ve been wanting to for a while, after getting a good tutorial from the wonderful Marisa at Parenthetical Me in October, and now I just need to do it. Covering my vacuum mistake… totally worth the ordeal of making a slipcover.

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A week of food

March 12, 2011 at 6:13 pm (pictures, random)

A few blogs I read have done posts lately showing what they buy in a week as far as groceries, usually because they’re trying to lose weight or cut spending. I’m not doing either at the moment, although thanks to student teaching we are keeping track of every penny. But either way, for some strange reason, I find these posts incredibly interesting!

I did our weekly shopping yesterday/today, so I thought I’d share what we buy in a typical week and how much we spend. I also find geographical cost differences very interesting. I’m spoiled by how cheap produce is here in California, and I also think I’m a pretty savvy shopper, so I think we get a good amount for our money. (But who knows, maybe I’m wrong?? Enlighten me, please!)

So yesterday I went to a local chain that specializes in organic/locally grown food, where I get most of our produce. Their normal prices are average, but every week certain fruits and vegetables are on sale for a CRAZY price. I try to buy the sale foods, and then we get a nice variety of fruits/veges throughout the year, and we save money. :)

Here’s what I bought:
Fruits and veges
I got 1 lb of dried cranberries (their bulk dry goods section is AMAZING),
2 artichokes,
just over 1 lb of broccoli,
1/2 lb of green beans,
2 1/4 pounds of Fuji apples,
and 2 lbs of bananas.
Plus, a bottle of wine that was on clearance for $3. I’m a sucker for clearance.
All this cost $15.14.

Then today I went to Fresh and Easy, which is by far my favorite grocery store, and bought this:
Fresh and Easy
That includes a pepperoni pizza,
lemonade,
feta cheese,
triscuits and wheat thins,
sour cream,
3 frozen meals for my husband’s lunches,
1 lb of ground turkey,
hot dogs,
3 boxes of granola bars,
2 lbs of baby carrots,
2 cans of beans and a can of tomato paste,
2 blocks of cheese,
a box of margarine,
and a 6 pack of beer.
All this cost $59.57, but I had a $5 coupon so I paid $54.57. That’s one thing I love about Fresh and Easy – they send us coupons in the mail for $3-10 off, depending on the week. I like being able to buy whatever I want, and not worry about what I have coupons for.

So… is this normal? Tell me what you buy! Write a post about it and link it below, ok? :)

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Look what I finished!! (FINALLY.)

January 29, 2011 at 11:24 pm (crafting, pictures)

Advent Calendar
Finally finished the advent calendar I started back in December! Was hoping to finish in time to actually count down to Christmas… but ah well. It’s not completely finished… I have to make the star for the top of the tree… but it’s finished enough. I am SO happy with how it turned out, although now that I look at it I notice the magnets are extremely unevenly spaced. Officially don’t care though – it is what it is. And it’s made even better because my mom/grandma helped me make it. :)

Close up of magnetThis is based off of an advent calendar my other grandma made for us when I was little, only her version has velcro to connect the ornaments. I didn’t love how that looked, so I decided to use magnets, using a running stitch to enclose each magnet between the layers of felt and batting.

Close up of presentClose up of the presents cause I love them so much. :)

One more shot
I teased my mom/grandma that the three of us could open an etsy shop just to sell these advent calendars… but considering how long it took me to finish, I don’t think we’d be very profitable!!

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Dec 18, and a recipe!

December 18, 2010 at 6:08 pm (december photo project, pictures, recipes)

December Photo Project

Chili

A friend is coming over tonight for some board games/Christmas movies/general hanging out, so I volunteered to make dinner – chili in the crockpot. This recipe is from a coworker, and now my entire office all makes a slightly different version of this same chili! I have about a 3 qt crockpot, and this makes enough for about 6 people.

Michelle’s Chili
~1 lb of ground meat (I like Jennie-O taco seasoned ground turkey)
1 can of chili beans
2 cans of beans (black, pinto, kidney… mix and match, whatever you like)
1 cube or 1 Tb beef bullion
1 can tomato paste (the little can)
1 bottle beer (I like Dutch Republic from Fresh and Easy, but anything works)
1 Tb hot sauce (to taste)

For us, that’s usually it, since we usually like it over baked potatoes. You can add diced tomatoes, green chiles, corn, etc. This is a good base to get you started, and it freezes really well!

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Dec 17

December 18, 2010 at 6:01 pm (december photo project, pictures)

December Photo Project

Taurus

I have a huge love affair with my car… a Ford Taurus Wagon, affectionately named Chuck. (chuck wagon, get it?) Spent a lot of time in him in the last week, as our other car is mysteriously bucking, so until she’s fixed (her name is Lilo and she’s a red Miata) we’re sharing Chuck. That meant picking up Tyler after class instead of heading home, etc. Then last night, we headed to North Hollywood to see a friend’s improv show. It was hilarious, and worth the drive to see a college friend doing what she loves, but ohh, the traffic. From 5 pm last night, 12/17, until 9 AM this morning, there were 264 traffic accidents in Los Angeles. Last week during this same time period, there were 48!! Glad we were safe… and I still love my car. :)

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