Monthly Archives: August 2013

End-of-Summer Supper

Rice-Stuffed Tomato

I know that the end of summer doesn’t come on the calendar until later in September.  But when school starts, and the days start getting shorter, that’s pretty much it for me.

Earlier in the week I fixed dinner for my mom, my boyfriend and I to enjoy at her house.  It was a little celebration of the end of summer with some of the produce that is so wonderful this time of year.  For me, corn and tomatoes top my list of what-tastes-like-summer, with stone fruit right behind.

I went to the Farmer’s Market on Sunday, got the fixin’s, and this was my menu:

White Corn on the Cob

Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes (from Smitten Kitchen)

Sweet Italian Sausage

Rosemary Focaccia

Almond-Crisped Nectarines (from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Almond-Crisped Peaches)

Unfortunately, due to my lack of skill and some poor lighting, I didn’t get all the pictures I would have liked to share with you.  Get on over to Smitten Kitchen – she’s got some beautiful pictures as well as the recipes for the Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes and Almond-Crisped Peaches – or nectarines.  As for the corn, sausage and focaccia – use your imagination!

I do have some shots of the Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes, and a little further down, some pictures of the nectarines.

Start with good tomatoes, cut off the tops and scoop out the insides.

Hollowed Out Tomatoes

Take all that nice juice and pulp…

Tomato Pulp & Juice

and puree it.

Pureed Tomato Pulp

You also need onion, garlic, olive oil, arborio rice, bread crumbs, salt, and some fresh herbs.  I had rosemary, so used that…basil would be delicious.

Ingredients for Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes

Arborio rice is short-grained, starchy rice, used for making risotto.

Arborio Rice

After cooking the onion and garlic in some olive oil, add the arborio rice and cook it a bit before adding the tomato puree.

Cooking rice & tomato puree

Simmer that on medium-low heat until the rice is partially cooked, stir in salt and herbs.

Par Cooked Rice

Now take the creamy-tomato-y rice and stuff it into the hollowed out tomatoes. Top with bread crumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

Stuffed, ready to bake

Bake for 30 minutes.  While the tomatoes bake, fix the rest of your supper (it doesn’t have to be corn on the cob and sausage).  How about a little butter lettuce salad?  The tomatoes are simple, seasonal, and delicious hot or cold.

Yellow Rice-Stuffed Tomato

I did the tomatoes the day before but you could have them in the oven at the same time as the Almond-Crisped Peaches.

One suggestion (that didn’t occur to me) is to find free-stone peaches or nectarines.  It was a little tricky cutting the pits out of the ones I bought, but they were still delicious.  The filling is a combination of almonds (I used almond meal), butter and sugar.

Filling in Nectarines

Spread the filling out to cover the cut fruit-halves.

Almond Topping

Now bake.  Mmmm. It smells so delicious while it’s cooking.

Serve warm with ice cream.

With Ice Cream

I hope you enjoy the Labor Day weekend and the last fruits of the season.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Baby Overalls Card

Baby Overalls Card

I decided that I needed a partner card for the Baby Dress Card I posted recently, so here are a pair of little baby overalls.  I think both cards are especially cute because of the details.

This card folds at the top, like the Baby Dress, with a t-shirt cut from another color of paper. Dark blue and orange markers added the seams and stitching details.  I used a silver pen for the snaps on the legs and a gold pen for the buttons and buckles.

The bib pocket, back pockets and belt loops are cut from a scrap of blue paper and glued on.

Bib Close Up

Back Pockets

For the inside of the card, I cut out a little white onesie.  A few details with blue and silver markers finish it off nicely.

Onesie

I’ve been working on a pattern for this card as well as the Baby Dress card but I’m down with a cold virus, so that will have to wait a little longer.  I will post a link when I have these patterns ready to go.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the template for the Baby Overalls Cards.

Here is a link to the post with another version of the card.

Standing Overalls

Thanks for the visit.

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Baby Dress Card

Baby Doll Dress

This sweet card is perfect for a baby shower or birthday card for a little girl.  I’ve been meaning to post it for awhile and I just made two last week so I got some new photos.

Back of Blue Dress

I used purple polka-dot paper for this one and part of a doily for decoration.  I also added some detail with a white gel pen.  This was for a co-worker who is expecting a baby girl in September.

Another colleague has two new-granddaughters this summer and for her I made one in pink with little heart trim on the pinafore.

Pink Pinafore

It is fun decorating both the front and back of these cute cards.

Front and Back

A white gel pen works well for stitching, lace and button details.  Don’t forget  to include your initials or signature on the back of your beautiful, handcrafted card.

Inside, I cut a piece of white card stock to look like a little petticoat.  Some trim and a nice greeting complete the card.

Inside Pink Dress Card

Inside Purple

Scallop scissors make a pretty hemline and dashes of pen look like ribbon trim.

I punched a heart out of the doily to decorate the back of the envelope.

Lace Heart

A few years ago, I made a yellow dress with a pinafore out of printed vellum.

Yellow Dress Card

White and yellow-orange ink trimmed the scalloped hem.  A little adhesive jewel embellished the collar.

Back of Yellow Dress

A piece of ribbon for a bow added a realistic touch.

I’ll put a link to a pattern for this card soon.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the Baby Dress Card Template.

Here is a link that shows another version of the card.

Pink and Blue Dress

Thank you for stopping by.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt

Scoop of Chocolate PB Yogurt

It turns out the reason I was feeling so draggy was because I was fighting an infection.  I had a cracked tooth that couldn’t be saved so it was pulled AND (there is a connection here) so I have to eat soft foods!

It hasn’t exactly been a fun week.  I’m not sleeping well.  I have what feels like a huge hole in my mouth.  But everyone has been kind and caring and done their very best to take good care of me.  I am really a huge dental coward and have had a few negative experiences at the dentist in the past.  Some of my teeth are just bad.  Like – they probably shop-lift and litter and I’m sure some of them smoke out behind the bleachers.

It took a real effort on my part to take myself to the office of the endodontist for a consult.  And to learn I would not be having a retreat of a root canal (that my own dentist had termed “really difficult, I wouldn’t touch it”) but instead would need to have the problem tooth extracted was both a relief and something else to be anxious about.  However, I was sent to an oral surgeon right away that afternoon.  I picked up Rem on the way for support and to drive home after, the deed was done in fairly short order, and I was asleep for the procedure.  That helped a LOT!

Anyway, the silver lining is that eating ice cream is expected and even encouraged after such an experience.  And this recipe uses Greek Yogurt and peanut butter so it is full of protein. So the day after the procedure, Rem went to the store to pick up the ingredients, and we made it together.

I found this recipe at Tasty Kitchen then followed the link back to Alaska From Scratch who adapted it from Martha Stewart.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt

Barely Adapted from Alaska From Scratch

Ingredients:

14 oz. sweetened, condensed milk

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups plain Greek  yogurt (I love Fage brand, and used the 2%)

1 cup milk (ours is 2%)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
Directions:
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) beat together the sweetened, condensed milk, peanut butter, vanilla and salt until smooth.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk and cocoa powder until well combined.   (I confess, I didn’t try this but my cocoa went in and made a bunch of lumps, so I ended up putting the mixture through a sieve – I hope this will save that step).
With mixer on low, add the cocoa mixture to the peanut butter mixture until combined.
Scrape the mixture into the bowl of your ice cream maker and process until frozen, about 20 minutes.
Out of the Ice Cream Maker
When it comes out of the ice cream maker, it will be a lovely soft-serve kind of soft.  On a warm evening, it will melt quickly.
Two Melty Dishes
It is also very dense and rich.  I might try this recipe without the cocoa powder.  I’ll let you know if I do.
It freezes up fairly hard so allow a few minutes to soften before scooping.
Scoop, Spoon, Go
Thanks for checking out this recipe.

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Wrapped Leather and Bead Bracelet

Coral and Green Wrap Bracelets

Last summer I got on a bit of a bracelet binge.  I made wrapped ones with leather and bead-ball-chain.  I made some macrame ones. And I made a bunch of beaded braided ones.  I even made a bracelet keyring.

Bunch O' Bracelets

But then I sputtered out.  I’d planned to give bead bracelets as Christmas gifts but I ran out of beading energy.

Maybe summer and short-sleeves makes me want to craft and wear bracelets, because once again, I’m beading.

3 Bracelets

This time, I’m trying the Chan Luu style wrapped bracelet. I’ve been seeing variations of these bracelets all over with plenty of how-to videos and DIY blogs. I read and watched enough to feel like I could give it a try.  Now that I’ve made two, I’m no expert, by any means, but I feel like I might be able to walk you through making one with enough detail so you aren’t lost and not so much as to confuse the matter.

There are different ways to create the bracelet, including a double-needle method  that just looked too complicated to me. You can make a bracelet that wraps just once around your wrist or one that wraps multiple times.  I’m going to show you a bracelet that wraps twice but you can use the same technique to make a longer bracelet.

Coral Wrap Bracelet

Here is what you will need for one bracelet.

Wrapped Leather and Bead Bracelet

Supplies:

Supplies

5 feet of 1.5 MM leather cord (you can also use faux leather or cotton cord)

4 mm beads – I used 14 inches (I found them on strands and got enough to go around my wrist twice – this is a little tricky because it depends on the size and shape of the bead*, the size of your wrist and how many times you are going to wrap the bracelet)
Nymo bead thread – (I used size D) in a color that matches your leather cord
1 button
A flexible beading needle
glue – I used E6000
scissors
tape (not shown)
Optional: two smaller beads for the start and end of the bracelet
Bead ShapeIf the beads you choose are round, it won’t make a difference, but if you buy a strand of oval beads, they would be strung the long way, or end-to-end.  In this project the beads get strung between the two leather cords side-to-side.  Allow a little extra for oval beads.
What You Need
Directions:
From what I can tell, the classic Chan Luu bracelet ends with a series of knots and loops in the leather to allow for some size variation. I prefer to start my bracelet with a single loop and knot.  If you want your bracelet to be more like a real Chan Luu bracelet, you will start with your button and end with the knots and loops.
This is the Chan Luu style (the part to the left of the button would be the beaded bracelet, so you’ll have to use your imagination:
Knots and loops
This is what I did:
Single Loop & Knot
Fold the length of leather cord in half and tie an overhand knot, leaving a loop just large enough for your button to go through.
Thread the beading needle with a length of Nymo, doubled with a knot at the end.  I make it about arms length and than double that.
Push the needle through the knot in the leather, than bring the thread down under the knot in the cord and tie another knot in the Nymo.
Nymo Knot
Don’t trim the end of the thread just yet.
Weave the Nymo in a figure-8 pattern a few times over and under the leather cord, keeping it snug up to the knot at the end of the cord.
Figure 8 on Cord
Over Under Over Under
String on your first bead.  If using the smaller beads for the start and the finish, now is the time to use one of those beads.
Tape the leather cord to the table to keep it in place while you work.
Do the same figure-8 pattern, only now the bead will be between the two leather cords.  The Nymo cord will go under on the right, through the bead in the center, over the leather on the left.
Little Bead
Now back under the leather on the left, through the bead in the center again and back over the leather on the right.
Now continue with the 4mm beads.
Diagram over under
Cut Away Bead Over Under
Each Bead Twice
Continue adding beads, keeping the thread snug and the beads aligned.
Once you have a few beads in place, you can go back up to where you knotted the thread and put a little dot of glue on it.  Let the glue dry and trim the ends.
Glue the knot
Eventually, your thread will get shorter and you will need to end it and start another.
Leave Enough Nymo
After completing a figure-8 pattern in a bead, tie a knot in the thread on the back of the leather cord.
Knotting off thread
Now push the needle back through that same bead and tie a second knot on the left side of the bead.
Run thread back through
Put a little glue on each of the knots and let them dry before trimming off the ends of the thread.
E-6000
Glue those knots
Thread your bead needle again with a length of doubled Nymo thread, and knot the end.
Go back to the previous bead, the one before the one with the knots you just tied.  Pull your thread through the thread that is on the back of the leather cord and knot it on that side, than go back through that same bead and knot it on the other side, again, making the knots in the thread on the back of your leather cord.
Put a tiny dab of glue on the knots and when the glue has dried, trim the end of the thread.
To start a new thread
Now put the threaded needle under the knot of the next bead, and continue with a new bead after that, once again using the figure-8 pattern over and under the leather cord, going through the bead each way.
Put needle under thread
I like to always start my pattern on the right side, so to get back to the right, I go back through that bead one extra time, continue the over/under pattern.
If bead hole allows
Now just continue adding beads until you reach the length you desire.
Little Baby Bowl of Beads
Long Strand
Check the length around your wrist, allowing for the button.
Finish with the last bead, using a smaller one if you choose.  Wrap your thread snugly a few times in a figure-8 around the leather cord.

Tie an overhand knot in the two pieces of cord together.

Knot at the End before the Button
Measure bracelt on wrist
Add your button. (If you started with a button, this is where you would leave a space of cord sufficient for the button to fit through and tie another knot and even a second space and third knot if you want).
For this bracelet, I used a button with a shank, so I could pull one piece of the leather through the shank.
For this button I didn’t need the beading thread, so I knotted it after the last figure-8’s and glued the knot, let it dry and trimmed the ends of the thread.
Leather through shank
You can use a button with two or four holes if you prefer and use the bead needle and Nymo thread to stitch the button onto the cord.
Knot the thread and, as before glue the knot, let dry, and trim thread ends.
Once you have attached your button, tie a second overhand knot.  Trim the ends.
Trim that knot
That is it!
Done!
Worn by itself it is simple and pretty.
One Bracelet
You can turn the button so it is more on top too.
Button on top
It also looks great layered with more bracelets.
Layered with silver band
I love how it looks with this gorgeous, old silver and turquoise bracelet that I got from my grandparents for my 18th birthday.
Turquoise
My dad’s dad made it and gave it to my dad’s mom, so it is not only a lovely piece, it has a history.  My dad was a rock-hound and amateur jeweler, like his dad.  I have crafting genes on both sides of my family!
The other wrap bracelet I made, of green glass beads, was made using a different type of beading cord that comes with a needle already attached.
Two coiled bracelets
I liked the idea of the green thread being a part of the design, but after struggling with that one and comparing the two finished bracelets, I prefer the look of the coral bracelet, where the thread matches the leather.  If you like the look of the colored thread, Nymo comes in different colors, though it is thinner than the green cord pictured here.
Needle Attached
One of the biggest challenges was the length of it.  I finally cut it shorter but than had to find another needle.  I’m not happy with how visible the knots are with this cord and it was much slower going because it got twisted and tangled easily.
I don’t recommend using this cord for this project.  Get Nymo!  It was so much easier to work with.  The right supplies really make a big difference.
Beautiful Bracelets
Thank you for the visit.

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Dragging

Just a quick hello.  I’ve been fighting a bug this week and haven’t had energy for much of anything.  I stayed home from work today to rest but (true confession) ended up laying in bed watching hair and makeup videos on YouTube!  It was my version of watching daytime TV.

This afternoon I had a little more energy and juiced some fruits and veggies.  I’d used up my oranges earlier in the week but this stuff was still loaded with kale, tomatoes, apples; including the tart and lovely Pink Pearl, celery, cucumbers, a piece of yellow bell pepper, half a beet, half a lime and some basil.  It tasted pretty good (and healthy).

Fruit & Veg for Juice

I also roasted a bunch of carrots with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.  Delicious.

Roast Carrots

After this burst of energy I lay on the coach and read the new People magazine.

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10 Good Things (Art Journal)

10 Things I Believe

I saw this with the mailing tags and started an Art Journal page before I even knew what I was going to put on the tags.

Two Pages 10 Things

It just kind of evolved.  I started layering on paint, some paper, some gesso, washi tape…

Bluebird

I know I don’t have the neatest writing, so this is my list:

10 Things I Believe Are Good

  1. Kindness
  2. Marriage Equality
  3. Chocolate
  4. Volunteering
  5. Learning from Mistakes
  6. Naps
  7. Reading to Kids
  8. Pancakes for Dinner
  9. Adopting Pets
  10. Singing with Others

6-10

Back side of tags

I would like to take naps more often but usually choose to do something else with my time.

Naps

Seal of Approval

Thank you for checking out my post today!

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