Sunday, December 19, 2010

a little embellishing

I got this hat on sale at Gap a couple of weeks ago, and thought it needed a little something to spruce it up a bit. So I took some time yesterday and girly girl'ed it. A little cutting, a little zigzagging and it was done. Snap!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Farm Chicks Christmas

I was in the mood for a little Christmas mojo and stumbled upon the Farm Chicks Christmas book that just came out. It was exactly the spark I needed to get me into the Christmas spirit! I love everything about it. The only drawback I found is that I wanted more. More pages of inspiration, more pages of eye candy, more luscious Christmas goodness. The book is so good that it's sad when one comes to the end. But like all good things, it must end.

Spent the day cleaning and organizing my studio, then making some Christmas gifts, which I'm quite happy with. Now it's time for some lounging, and maybe watching "A Christmas Story". Hope you're enjoying a little Christmas cheer...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A Christmas gift for you - a fast and easy knitting pattern

So the pressure's on, Christmas is only 17 days away and you're looking for the perfect gift for your best friend, mom, Billy's teacher, and Aunt Tilly. Well, here's the ticket. A cute little wrap scarf I created that's a cinch to make. It's super easy and can be knitted up in about an hour. Here's the skinny:

Open Weave wrap scarf

I skein Lion's Brand Wool Ease (in any color you like - the scarf pictured above is in Butterscotch)
Size 13 needles (I've used size 15 before and it works just fine, too)
Darning Needle

Cast on 8 stitches.
Knit 8 rows.
On the 9th row, knit the first stitch then wrap yarn around needle from front to back twice. Knit the next stitch, then wrap the yarn around the needle twice. Do this to the end of the row, then knit the last stitch.
*Knit two rows. Repeat row 9.* Repeat the instructions between the astericks till you have a total of 7 open weave sections.
Knit 4 rows.
On the 5th row, make a buttonhole. The size of the buttonhole depends on the size of the button. For the scarf shown above, I bound off two stitches, but on other scarves I only needed to bind off 1 stitch.
Knit the next row, casting on however many stitches you bound off.
Knit 2 or 3 more rows, then bind off.
Weave in ends, then sew your button onto the scarf using your preferred method. I use regular needle and thread to sew mine on, but you can use yarn or embroidery thread, whatever you like.

Easy Peesy!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Turkey pasta soup

As it was a chilly weekend in Portland, I was craving some nice, hearty soup. I went to the grocery store, grabbed a few ingredients and got to work. It turned out quite yummy in the end, and was quick and super easy to make. So I feel good sharing the recipe with you.

Turkey Pasta Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 lb ground turkey
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
1-2 32 oz box chicken broth (I used about one and a half boxes of the organic Swanson)
1 tsp salt
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1/3 box pasta (I used whole wheat medium shells, but you can use any kind you like, and can increase the amount of pasta you cook)

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in the bottom of a soup pot. Add onions and cook for about 5 min, or until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add ground turkey and cook through. Pour in the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and salt, and bring to a boil. Throw in the mixed veggies and pasta, and cook for about 10 minutes. Serve.

A couple of notes: I cooked my pasta separately, because I knew I wouldn't finish the soup the night I made it. I made some cornbread to go with it, and voila, delicious dinner!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

before and after and a yummy recipe

This purse is one I got at a discount store about 4 years ago. Very plain, nothing fancy. I decided a couple of weeks ago to dress it up a bit. So, above is the before picture, BORING!

And here are the after pictures. The one thing I didn't consider was that the purse was already sewn together, so decorating the front pocket was a real trick. I had to do a lot of hand sewing, but that's ok. Hand work like that is very soothing and I enjoyed it. I love my "new old purse"!

Now, a yummy recipe that I threw together a couple of weekends back. It's super easy and cooks in the slow cooker. Here you go...


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
A 6 oz bag of dried apricots
About 1/2 of a container of dried plums
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
enough chicken broth to cover the chicken

Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add fruit. Add spices. Pour chicken broth over all just until chicken is covered (I used 1 and a half boxes of chicken broth). Let cook in slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours.

I cooked up some brown rice to go with the tagine. If you like, you can cook some onion and garlic in a little olive oil and put that in with the chicken before cooking in the slow cooker. This rich, flavorful recipe is a great fall/winter dish. Warm and comforting. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

How I spent my thanksgiving vacation

I spent this Thanksgiving in Arizona with my partner and her family. We drove up to Bagdad, AZ to spend a couple of days enjoying wonderful food, lots of card games, and general relaxation. I brought some crocheting with me; it was the first time I spent a good chunk of time working with yarn since my elbow tendinitis set in a few weeks ago. It was OK that weekend, which was good. Unfortunately, it's far from healed, so I still have to pace myself when it comes to crafting.
Bagdad is a VERY small mining town in the middle of the desert. It's sparsely populated, which means nature is all around. It was incredibly quiet. One doesn't realize how much ambient noise there is until one visits a place like Bagdad. The quiet fed my soul. And the stars at night! What a show! It got quite cold at night, going down into the 20's and the first day we were there it only went up to the mid 40's. The second day it got into the mid 60's with the sun blazing. A perfect day for a little walk, which M and I did. Here are some other views:
We headed back to Tempe on Saturday and enjoyed a lovely rest of the weekend together. Now I'm in full Christmas mode, getting ready to travel back east to Massachusetts to visit my family there.

Tomorrow I'll post a before and after project I finished, and give you the recipe for a yummy chicken tagine I threw together recently. Till then, enjoy your weekend!