Monthly Archives: February 2012

73 Reasons to Celebrate (and Cheesy Bread)

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We had the family over to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday on Sunday.  Although we don’t get to see either side of our family as often as we’d like, it is occasions like this that make me so thankful both our immediate families are nearby.  Every birthday is a blessing no matter your age and we are so grateful for the time we have with our loved ones.

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One of my goals is to take lots of pictures at family events.  I failed miserably here.  I didn’t even get a good shot of the birthday boy!  Every time we have people over, whether it’s our annual Christmas party or just a casual birthday get together, I get the camera out, ready to go.  Then I get too caught up in chatting or preparing the food and end up with a handful of random, bad shots.  I didn’t remember to take any pictures until after dinner.  Oh well.  The point is to enjoy yourself, right?  IMG_7056_edited-1

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I made a couple lasagnas which were good but not worth taking pictures (plus the thought didn’t occur to me).  I used the recipe on the back of the Barilla box and made one with sausage and one with beef and spicy sauce.  I’m so gourmet and fancy.  Though they weren’t anything out of the ordinary, they were homemade and homemade lasagna is always delicious (provided you add extra cheese).

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I always try at least one new recipe when I get the chance to cook for a crowd.  This one was super simple and so good: Cheesy Garlic Bread.  I found the recipe on Tasty Kitchen.  It tasted so much better than the kind you buy at the store pre-buttered.

I completely forgot to take pictures of the process but you can probably picture softened butter mixed with minced garlic and parsley in a bowl.  You can?  Good.  Now here it is spread on the bread (double recipe):

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Ok, I forgot to take a picture after it was out of the oven too.  I told you I get distracted!  I’m not used to taking pictures with every cooking step!

The only change I made to the recipe was with the cheese.  When at the store, I found this mix of shredded cheeses and used it instead of the mozzarella and parmesan.  Basically the same thing but easier.  I made two critical mistakes: 1. I skimped on the cheese.  Load it on! and 2. I made one loaf with just garlic butter.  It was delicious but everything is better with cheese!

Until next time…

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Sadie Saturday–2/25/12

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This is what happens when you eat fries in the front seat and don’t give me any.  But come on – Newfies are known to be big droolers.  This is as bad as I get and it’s nothing. I could look like this!

Schoolhouse Tunic

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I did it!  I finally completed a sewing project I can wear!  For those that don’t have any interest in sewing, it probably doesn’t seem like a big deal.  For those who know how to sew, think back to the first real piece of clothing you made.  What a thrill to put it on after all that work!  I was so dorky when I finished that I had to text my husband at a hockey game and two friends even though it was a Friday night.  No comment on my social life, please.

I found this pattern through blog posts and when it was suggested as an easy pattern by a local sewing shop, I decided to give it a try.  I start a sewing class next week at the same shop and the pattern we are making is definitely ambitious for me.  I wanted to make sure I had at least one piece of clothing under my belt before starting.  As it is, I will probably be the most inexperienced student there. 

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I’m wearing it right now and am super comfy. Still, I have mixed feelings about it.  I purposely used inexpensive quilting cotton in case it didn’t work out. Cute print but not the softest fabric and it bunches up on denim or leggings.

The whole thing is too big but the skirt portion is HUGE.  I feel like I’m wearing a muumuu.  I read reviews that mentioned the size but since this is the first thing I’ve made, I didn’t think I was in any position to alter a pattern.  I planned to wear with skinny jeans but that’s not gonna happen.  Even that looks too sloppy.  Maybe if I was stick thin.  Then again, the website says it can be a dress so I shouldn’t have been surprised.

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I really like the bodice and the idea of the tunic. If I make it again, I’ll have to figure out a way to make the everything smaller.  I can’t cut a smaller size because the shoulders fit perfectly. Maybe eliminate the pleats in the front and back and cut the fabric down by that amount?  

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The back pleat, especially, isn’t doing me any favors. Yikes.

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As a side note, the post made it apparent that I need a tripod!  Without someone around to take pictures, I had to resort to some odd positions and hope the focus was ok.  Oops.

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I was surprised at how easily it went together.  I traced the pattern since I wasn’t sure of my size and didn’t want to cut into the pattern in case I needed it bigger. Guess I didn’t need to worry about that!  This pattern was very well written with lots of hand-holding (which I needed).  I got to try out techniques I’m sure to use over and over.  I learned how to:

  • trace a pattern
  • use my 3 step zig-zag stitch to finish the edges
  • set in a sleeve (yay!)
  • pleats
  • gathers (part of the sleeve instructions)
  • facing

I can’t wait to make something else!

Feline Friday

I didn’t get a good picture this week so thought I’d share one of my favorites from last year.

I’m getting good at using this tool!

What I spent hours doing last night.  I’m choosing to look at it as learning something with every picked seam…

Fleece Dog Coat

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You might ask why a Newfoundland, a dog that is bred to swim in frigid water and has long double-coated fur, needs a coat.  Well, she doesn’t really.  But I needed another project to practice on and hey, it could keep her dry on short walks.

I decided to make it double layer fleece (again, why? Sadie always tries to find the coolest spot in the house, not the warmest) to give me more practice and make it cuter.IMG_6949_edited-1

 

Walkin’ the catwalk.

It ended up taking forever to make only because  I got partly done and got bored of it.  Maybe because I knew she didn’t really need it.  I also had a couple weeks of travel that got in the way.

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Fleece is easy to cut and doesn’t require edge finishing which is part of the reason I picked it.  What I didn’t anticipate was that there is no way to make the needed pattern marks on the fabric which came into play in positioning the velcro and belt.  Not a big deal; I just eyeballed it.

It would have been easy to construct had I chosen different fabric.  Because it was two layers of thick fleece, areas requiring top stitching and attaching the belt were tough.  Not in design, but with the actual sewing. My machine didn’t like it at all and I found myself pulling the fabric through from the back.  There were areas of the collar that didn’t even fit under my presser foot!  Parts of the collar and belt had eight to ten layers of fleece to topstitch because you sew over all the seam allowances.  IMG_6935_edited-1

I couldn’t even get parts of the collar through the machine.

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Sadie sewed this part.

I learned I have NO idea what I’m doing when hand sewing.  I had to whipstitch the body of the coat closed after turning it right side out.  It looks ridiculous.  Luckily this is for a dog!  I should have taken the thread out and started over but the thread disappears into the fleece.  I just sewed over it again and made it worse.  I decided I wasn’t going to spend time correcting it – again, it’s for a dog.

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All in all, it was a great project for practice.  And I think Sadie looks cute in anything anyway.

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Sadie Saturday–Ice Cubes!

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I’m excited here.  Really.

My favorite time of the day is Ice Cube Time!!  It’s true I get ice whenever someone uses the ice maker.  That sound sends me trotting in from wherever I am. But every couple of days, I get a whole bowl full and that’s when I go crazy. 

YAAAAYY!!  ICE CUBES!!!

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I know this looks like a mess but don’t worry, I get all the pieces – I wouldn’t let those go to waste!

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‘Till next Saturday….