Friday, October 23, 2009

October 23. Welcome!

I made this banner a couple weeks ago. I finally took a picture of it. It's based on Alicia Paulson's birthday banner in her book "Stitched in Time." I made a welcome sign because I just wanted to do a practice banner before I made one for Abby's birthday. It's a quick, simple sew. The most time-consuming and tedious part was cutting out the letters. I blame that on the fact that I couldn't find the straight edge and had to use my rotary cutter.

The bias tape that I used was too narrow (that was a pain in the butt too), but I knew that going in. I just wanted to use up some of my stash and the colors worked well. Also, everything (except the thread and the fabric used for the letters "L" and "M") were thrift finds!

Last night I finished up a hand sewing (yes, I said hand sewing) project from this book. No pictures yet because I'm giving it to my husband for our 8th anniversary.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 22. Broccoli Soup.

I felt like making soup yesterday even though the weather was warmer than I'd like for this time of year.

I decided upon SouleMama's broccoli soup since Abby loves broccoli. We went to the local produce store and hooked ourselves up with broccoli, potatoes, red onion, and leeks. We stopped at the next store to buy bread.

We came home and got to chopping.

I found it odd that there weren't really any spices or seasoning. I figured (hoped) that the onion and leeks would take care of the flavor. Nope. It was so bland tasting to me. I added salt. And more salt. Then some sharp cheddar. Then I remembered that I had vegetable soup base and tossed in around 1/4c of that. Much better.

I used fat-free half and half instead of the heavy cream. I was expecting a thicker soup. It was very thin and brothy. Abby was unimpressed. Joe doesn't eat broccoli.

It may be better if velveeta was added to it. I don't know. What I do know is that I have what seems to be gallons of broccoli soup for myself. *sigh*

Monday, October 19, 2009

An Awesome Thrifty Find!

During work on Saturday, I hit up Impact!

No cool sewing notions. No nice fabric. Crappy, fugly patterns. Before leaving, I decided to check out the books. I've gotten cool books from there before including a like-new Sunbeam mixer manual from the 1950s.

I was so excited when I saw this book peeking out from underneath torn up craft magazines. I quickly grabbed it and dashed to the counter. I didn't want anyone to intercept my ninety-six cent purchase!

This book is just so beautiful. It's in great condition, the directions are clear, the artwork is perfectly late-forties. I'm in love with this book. I keep perusing it and touching it. I want a glass case for it. (Half-kidding.)

The copyright is 1949. I scanned a few pages.

Tips on refashioning:

Hats! I love these hats!

And I just love the sketches!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 13. Leaf Projects.

Since we (I) collected so many leaves the other day during our walk through the park, I was trying to think of crafts to do with them.

I came up with the idea for a place mat (using clear contact paper),

and that then inspired a window decoration.

I really don't know how long they'll last (probably just the season), but they're pretty.

If we do it again next year, I'll probably trim the stems from the leaves since that kind of prevents the clear contact paper from bonding together. Also, overlapping the leaves isn't a good idea for the same reason.

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12. Walk in the Woods.

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.
William Cullen Bryant

Friday, October 9, 2009

October 9. Pumpkin Buns.

I'm not a fan of those "woman's" magazines (with the exception of "Bust"). I prefer house, craft, or cooking magazines. BUT, when I'm in work and it's S L O W, I'll read anything. "Rod and Reel"? Why not?! "Men's Health"? Pass it my way!
That's how I came upon this recipe for pumpkin buns. A co-worker brings in her "Family Circle" and"Woman's Day" mags. I'm a sucker for any magazine with pumpkins or Halloween items on the cover.

I photocopied the recipe a few weeks ago and finally decided to make it yesterday. I didn't have to work and Abby didn't have school. There was time for this recipe... finally. Then I realized I finished up my butter on the snickerdoodles. I used Promise Light spread. Worked well and cut back fat. That's good. I added some cinnamon & nutmeg to the dough. Then I realized I was out of 10x sugar for the glaze. Boo! BUT, I did have cream cheese, so I blended that with about an 1/8c granulated sugar and a splash of milk. That worked well and probably canceled out the usage of the Promise Light.

The first rise took awhile, longer than the recipe-stated 75 minutes. I just left it for 2+ hours. It rose nicely. We rolled out the dough and added the filling (added a bit of nutmeg to this too). Rolled it and sliced it and let it rise again. They looked beautiful!

While they were baking my house smelled divine! When they cooled a bit, I smeared the cream cheese topping on them and served them to some of the neighborhood kids since one of them came in for a bit and smelled them and promptly asked for one! They were a delicious success. Time-consuming, but tasty. Admittedly, the pumpkin flavor was kind of lacking. The pumpkin gave the finished buns a nice orange hue, but left a very mild pumpkin flavor. The filling was good, but I guess I'm greedy because I wanted more filling!

Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of the finished product because my husband, ever vigilant about the potential for ants, put them in the fridge and now they look kind of gross. I'm sure their texture changed as well. Oh well. At least I had one yesterday.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October 8. Hair Decor.

I've been making barrettes lately. I found an awesome tutorial and have been really enjoying making these. I need to put some on my etsy shop.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

October 6. Snickerdoodles.

Well, that daily posting was shot to hell. Two reasons, I don't really have time to blog on the weekends and then my husband had to take the laptop to work. So, oh well. Here's a post.

Yesterday, in an attempt to stop my daughter from watching TV, I suggested making cookies. We decided on snickerdoodles. Instead of looking on the internet (no laptop, remember?) I looked in my cookbooks! The Joy of Cooking had a simple recipe. It's a basic butter cookie (with cream of tartar, which is *supposed* to help items rise) rolled in cinnamon-sugar.

The cookies are super flat, but good. I think they could use more cinnamon. Next time, I'll add cinnamon to the dry ingredients as well as rolling the cookie in it. Actually, I'd also decrease the amount of sugar that the cookie is rolled in. I wanted the cookie to be thicker and spicier.

Friday, October 2, 2009

October 2. Creamy Butternut Squash Soup.

I had no intention of making soup until my sister walked in my house with two butternut squash that she wasn't going to use.

I looking at my usual recipe site (Cooking Light) and I saw this soup. Seemed simple, but kind of bland. I read the reviews and saw that some one used evaporated milk. I just happened to have evaporated skim milk in my cabinet. I just decided to wing it and came up with my own recipe. It's delicious!

I wanted to top it with homemade croutons, but instead spent most of the afternoon outside and therefore didn't have time. I did, however, make parmesan crisps. All you have to do for that is sprinkle shredded parm cheese in a hot pan and let it brown. Lift it up off the pan before it burns and let it cool.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

2 medium butternut squash
1c 1% milk
1 can of evaporated skim milk
2 14oz cans of vegetable broth
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
dash of cinnamon
dash of paprika
dash of chile powder
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Cut butternut squash into 1" cubes. Toss with olive oil, sea salt, dried rosemary & cinnamon. Roast at 425 degrees for 50 minutes.
Let cool.

Combine milks, 1 can of vegetable broth.

Add roasted squash and milk mixture in the blender to thoroughly combine ( should be done in 3-4 batches. Or use an immersion blend if you're lucky enough to have one!)

When all is combined, pour into large pot and slowly add the second can of vegetable broth. If too thick for your liking, add more broth or water. Stir in ginger (don't skip this, it really adds a great depth of flavor!), paprika, chile powder, salt & pepper. Simmer and top with croutons and/or parmesan crisps. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 1. Orange & Yellow.

"Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow."
- Author Unknown