Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hat surgery and random food

Yesterday I posted a red hat that I decided was too small or "not slouchy enough". So...I pulled it apart, added more, and now it sits weird. But I will not give up! I will win! Here it is pulled apart. I cut the double crochets and tied them individually so it would not unravel. I then added 2 more rows of double crochet to the circular part (left pic). I tied it off and single crocheted the two pieces together. However, it is tighter where I single crocheted it, so it sits funny on my head. I think I may pull it apart again and just continue where I left off at the circle and use the other piece as something else...a headband maybe? *sigh*

So it was a late dinner....didn't have much around the house because I didn't feel like grocery shopping today. I had a box of pasta and a bag of frozen broccoli....what do I do with that? After consulting both Betty Crocker and google, I found this recipe:

http://www.ivu.org/recipes/pasta/spaghetti-and.html

Since it said it was vegan/vegetarian, I took it as a sign that I should try it out. I made it my own by adding 3/4 of a green pepper, 1/2 an onion, and about 1/4 c. white wine to the oil and garlic. I also used frozen broccoli so I cooked the pasta al dente, added the broccoli, and then waited for it to boil again before I drained it. Top with Parmesan cheese, and it turned out really good...done in 20 or less!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lots of crafties and pictures!

I found my camera charger! What does this mean? A much happier Stephi and pictures for you :) Some of the crafts are much harder to describe without them. So...lets get down to business.

First of all, I just randomly threw together Hershey's Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, and it smells so yummy, I can't wait! This is a very easy recipe but a little tricky, so I highly suggest that you give the directions a once-over before you make it. It really turns out pudding-like, and who could go wrong with chocolate anyways?

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Hersheys--Hot-Fudge-Pudding-Cake/Detail.aspx

Ps. It amazing with vanilla ice cream fresh out of the oven!

I also made a hat today....seems weird in the middle of the summer, right? I would deem it one of those, throw-it-on-when-my-hair-looks-like-crap hats :) That and it's comfy too. I modified it a little since the main reason I don't like crocheting in the round is because when I single crochet, I always lose where I started even if I mark it with my trusty dusty bobby pin. That and I made it a little more "holey" so that I could where it even when it was hot. Here is the original pattern:

http://jessicasuzanne.com/craftypants/2007/09/13/pretty-puffs-slouchy-hat-with-pattern/

I used cotton yarn so that it wouldn't be hot. I skipped all the single crochets except for the end, and on rounds 6, 7, and 8, I double crochet, chain, double crochet, etc. However, since I skipped all the single crochets, I am going to go back to put in one or two more rows of double crochet so it is longer.

I finished the black diamond scarf with pockets. YEY! Sad to say I forgot to take a picture before I sent it out :( But I can assure you that it turned out very well. It was about 9" wide and almost 7' long, and it took two skeins of yarn.

Every year we make Xmas presents for our whole family. I originally found a pinecone pattern, but quickly found out that it was a little too difficult for my taste. I just so happened I found another pattern that turned out to be really easy so we can make pinecone ornaments. (I hope no one in my family is reading this so the surprise isn't spoiled :))

http://planetmfiles.com/2008/12/18/free-crochet-pine-cone-pattern/

I don't think it's decorated enough, if that makes sense. I was thinking of also adding smaller bells on top or something green. I was also toying with the idea of making it bigger by using a larger hook or making a longer chain at the beginning.

This past week, I reconstructed a green shirt I picked up for about .50 at a thrift store. I loved the color of it, but it had no style. So I pulled out my scissors and got down to business. I cut off the collar around the stitching and set it aside. I wanted to make the front of the shirt to scoop further down than the back, so I folded it sideways so that the sleeve was on top of the other sleeve. By folding it this way, there was a crease down the middle of the back as well as the middle of the front. I cut the front of the shirt, following the neckline's scoop so that it would maintain the same shape, but just be lower. I also zig-zag stitched around the neckline so that the shoulders would not come undone. In the middle of the shirt I made 6 holes, 3 on either side. Taking the collar, I cut the stitching off and pulled it taught. I laced it through the holes and tada! Way more interesting than it was before. I haven't decided whether I want to make more holes to lace it, use some ribbon instead of the color, or add something to the sleeves.


Finally, we've made it to the last project that I made. Pierogies! These are a little challenging to make and they take some time, but they are so good! I got this recipe off the internet years and years ago.

Pierogies

4-5 c. flour
2 t. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2-1 c. water
2 T. oil

Mix all ingredients. Knead 8-10 minutes and cover with plastic wrap for 30 minutes. Roll 1/8" on floured surface, and cur with large glass. Place filling in cener and wet edges with water and weal with a fork. Cook 5-7 minutes in boiling salted water.

Filling:

2 T. butter
1 onion, minced
Potatoes (4?)
2 T. sour cream
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper

Saute onions in margarine and boil potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain, mash, add onions, and then add other ingredients.

When I make this recipe, I never use the filling suggested. I use instant mashed potatoes, either already seasoned or I season them myself typically with garlic, parsley, or Italian seasoning. I sometimes put broccoli, onions, garlic, or cheddar cheese in them as well. There are many different recipes for filling online that have meat or sauerkraut in them as well. I have made them with veggies, Italian seasoning, and mozzarella cheese as a filling. I also don't knead it for 8-10 minutes...I knead it until I think it's done which is about 5 minutes, lol. I have a pierogie maker....very good investment. I have found out that the pierogies are done they float, so I don't pay attention to how long they have been boiling either. After I have made them, I serve them with pasta sauce, or fry them up with garlic, onions, and green peppers with a little bit of garlic pepper....yum!

This recipe is also a good basic recipe for dough. You can make turnover-type things by substituting the salt for cinnamon sugar or just cinnamon and using pie filling. If you make this, I would also omit the salt in the water when boiling it. This is the dumpling recipe I use as well. When I am making the pierogies, sometimes the filling gets mixed in with the dough, so I just throw it in the boiling water to cook separately. The pierogies and dumplings freeze really well (before they are fried) so you can make soup later with the dumplings, or if you have extra pierogies, freeze them so you don't have to make dinner after one of those really long days at work.

Oh, one more thing....doodled on myself today with more henna. I peeled the henna off early to see if it would still darken as much as the other ones did when I left them on longer. That and it feels weird with something on your skin like that.

See ya later, and Happy Crafting!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Soup Soup!

I haven't posted in a while because I cannot find the charger for my camera....it was there one minute and gone the next. I've reconstructed a shirt, finished the scarf (yey!), have come up with an present for xmas (yes, it's early) for my relatives, made soup, and probably more. With so many things done, hopefully I will find the charger so you guys can see what I'm doing!

I made chicken dumpling soup yesterday...I was told it was good...so here's the recipe

2 Chicken Breasts
8 c. water
7 Boullion Cubes
2-3 Carrots
2-3 Stalks of Celery
1 Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
3-4 T. Parsley
Dumplings

Boil the chicken until done...probably about 20-30 minutes. Cut up into pieces and put in pot. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 20 minutes. I don't have exact measurements because I just threw it together. As a rule of thumb, I use the same amount of both celery and carrots. I will include the recipe for dumplings, as I actually made them from leftover pierogie dough, next time I post.

For us veggies:

4 C. water
3 vegetarian vegetable boullion cubes
1/2 onion
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1 garlic clove
1-2 T. Parsley
1/4 c. broccoli
1/2 c. noodles
salt to taste

Combine all ingrediants and simmer for 20 minutes or so and done!

For either of these recipes, you can use fresh or frozen veggies, leftovers (that's what the broccoli was). Use different veggies...whatever you have lying around. Super good, super easy :) Happy Crafting!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Diamonds!

I haven't had a lot of time lately to do much crafting, but should have more time next week, YEY! I did get a chance to work on the diamond scarf I started last week (or was it earlier this week?). Anyways, I had a lot of time to work on it yesterday. In the picture, it is partially folded over, where the pocket on the end is going to be.

I have also been searching for ornaments to crochet. I've looked at CPC but haven't found anything that I really liked that was semi-easy. Does anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A nice warm dinner

I'm obviously a craft nut, and have tons of things that I want to do, multiple things I've started, some which I have forgotten about. After finally giving in and reorganizing my yarns and fabrics, I found a scarf that I had made out of really soft, fuzzy yarn. However, it was a plain cream color...key word...was. I decided to add some really cute flowers on it. I got the idea for the pattern from the Pillow Trio with Flowers pattern on Lion Brand's website. I did 5 petals instead of 6 and I made the flowers all one color. I also place the flowers differently on either side to add interest.

My next project was dinner. Let me start out by saying, yes, I consider myself a vegetarian, although I do eat fish once in a blue moon and I don't particularly eating it that much because it was a living animal. I also eat it for the protein but will probably take it completely out of my diet, especially because it keeps grossing me out when I think about it.

Anyways, I found a recipe for flounder which turned out awesome! It was really quick to make. I made some rice, and threw together a salad. Dinner, done in 1/2 hour! Anyways, here's the link to the recipe: http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1817,144189-226194,00.html

Instead of using hot sauce, I used an 1/8 t. of hot pepper seasoning. I used more than 2 T. of lemon juice...I more or less doused it with lemon juice. I also substituted salad dressing instead of mayonnaise because I think it has better flavor.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wow, it's been a long time!

I've been really busy this past week....parents' anniversary, apartment inspection....busy, busy, busy! However I still have been crafting :)

I made a dozen red roses to complement their 'date basket'. The hardest thing about the roses was putting together the tops, but after that, it was easy! The 'date basket' consisted of

- wine
- bagette
- vegetable seasoning (http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1725,144173-250194,00.html)
- skillet lasagna in a jar (http://www.thatsmyhome.com/general/lasagna-mix.htm)
- a dozen red crochet roses
- a gift certificate from Blockbuster for a movie
- popcorn & other movie munchies (I got some ideas from this website as to what to include, but I thought of the idea before I found this: http://www.thatsmyhome.com/general/movie.htm)

You can probably make a basket for almost any occasion, just think outside the box...or the basket!

Another project I have been working on is a dress made from one of my shirts that doesn't fit anymore, and one of my boyfriend's shirts. Pardon the water on the top portion...I didn't feel like waiting for it to dry. I cut my shirt (purple) to about an inch under my bust line and set it aside. For my boyfriend's shirt, I cut off the sleeves, the collar, and the buttons off the front (it was a polo so it had about 3 or so buttons by the neckline). I then sewed the "hole" up that I had made by cutting out the buttons and continued to sew a line down the shirt, so it didn't look weird with a seam going halfway down. I lined up both sides and drew two diagonal lines on either side of the shirt, starting from the top going down to the bottom corners (it will be a trapizoid type shape). Sew down the sides, which left me with pretty much a skirt. I pinned the top to the bottom, sewed, and I was done! I would like it a little bigger, so I'm debating on whether to add 3 strips of wide ribbon to the back, let out the extra seam that I put in because of the buttons, or add some fabric to the sides in a diamond shape.

Altogether, there was a lot of seam ripping involved because I tried to sew up the sleeves first, which didn't work out as well. That and I accidently sewed the top portion inside out to the bottom.

I started a new project, my friend wanted a scarf, with pockets. He's always cold, so I started it now instead of waiting until closer to winter. It is going really well and I'm really excited because I found a cool diamond pattern (http://barney.gonzaga.edu/~aburton/diamonds.html). I just modified it and chained 36, instead of what was suggested in the pattern. I also started the pattern, but after the first "V" was finished, I double crocheted the same amount of rows that it took to make the "V", but in regular double crochet (16 rows). This way I could fold up the end of the scarf and the pattern would be on the front and not the back of the pocket. I started the pattern over again so that it would seem like the pattern was continuous. I will repeat this when I come to the end so he has a pocket on either end large enough so he can put his hands as well as store other things at his convenience. To make the actual pockets, I will single crochet up the sides and then turn it right-side-out.

A quick and easy recipe that I came up with, good for a meal or a side dish:

1/2 c. rice
1 or 2 bouillon cubes (a good rule of thumb is to use one cube to 1 c. water)
veggies (you can use frozen or fresh)
about 2 c. water

Put all of the above into a pan on the stove and boil until rice is cooked except veggies. If your veggies are frozen, wait until your rice is cooked otherwise they will get mushy. If they are fresh, add along with all the other ingredients before you start cooking it. I used broccoli and onions along with some garlic powder. Whatever that you have laying around the house. Even if you have leftovers, just add them after the rice is cooked. If your rice is not cooked, add more water and boil until it's soft (I guesstimated measurements). You can also add cream of mushroom soup and it becomes rice pilaf. Yummy!

I have taken a short break from my skirt, but I will continue to work on it. The crickets in my lizard cage ate my plants and then I replaced the dirt with a washable bottom, so no more plants in the lizard cage, except for the ones that are already potted. I have completely given up on the running bamboo and am just waiting for the last bit to die that is sitting outside in a bucket full of water. I think I'm going to have to put my comforter on hold for a little while, but am planning on making pillows for my new sofa bed. I haven't decided whether or not they are going to be more of a flat pillow or if I should make them more 3-d. Happy crafting!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oops!

I forgot to post a blog yesterday. Our snuggle bag...which is a huge 5' in diameter bag filled with foam needed to be cleaning. It is a major project in itself :-/ Now...on to the good stuff!

I made some quick and dirty "stir fry" yesterday, and it was pretty good, but not really stir fry by definition.

3 Packs Ramen without the seasoning
1/2 bag of frozen veggies
3 oz. stir fry sauce

Boil ramen according to directions (3 min.) Throw in veggies until it boils again. Drain, and add stir fry sauce. This recipe only takes about 15 mins to make, the longest part is waiting for the water to boil.

I also found a henna kit I had purchased a couple months ago...so I went to work! I bought it at Michael's, but I'm not sure I would recommend getting the same one. The henna dyed my skin fairly well, but it did not make a lot. Not really worth the $15 they sell it for (I got mine half price because they had a special going on). You can probably get henna at a health food store. Anyways, I tried to be technical about it and copy the designs they suggested on the paper, but quickly gave up and made my own designs.

I found a cute pattern for roses too. These are so easy to make and they can go anywhere! You can put them on clothes, make a pin out of them, put them on a headband, just for home decor....the list goes on.

http://www.planetjune.com/blog/free-crochet-patterns/basic-rose/

This is a really bad picture and sad to say it was the best one out of 10. After that many, I figured it just wasn't meant to be. Believe it or not this is actually a red rose, not orange like it looks. Not sure what I'm going to do with it, but I may try to put a stem on it to see how it goes. Although I could make it into a pin so it could be more versatile.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's a short one today folks....

Been really busy all day today....and it's a scorcher (hot weather = not a whole lot of craftiness). I did make some awesome bean salad today, although I don't remember where I got the recipe on the internet:

3 cans beans, rinsed and drained
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1 T. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/3 c. vinegar
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. olive oil
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Mix vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper together until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients. Let sit so the beans soak up the flavoring.

This is a quick, easy recipe that's good for summer time :). Usually I don't wait to eat it, and I use either cilantro or dried parsley in place of the parsley (2 T. Fresh = 2 t. dried).

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hard Cake?....Nah!

I've been periodically talking about all the earrings I make. I have hundreds of beads, and a practically an unlimited supply of gadgets to take apart. What if you don't have any beads or gadgets you want to destroy? Fear not! Look no further than your boyfriend's, husband's, or even your own toolbox! Metal or rubber washers, nuts, wire, springs, resisters, etc. Anything goes, be creative, plus he'll probably never miss it :)


I found the easiest white cake recipe ever.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Simple-White-Cake/Detail.aspx

You can use different extracts instead of just vanilla to give it a different flavor. I added lemon zest to mine (about 1 1/2 t.) and it turned out very well. I also used soymilk instead of regular milk. This cake is extremely moist and I have even found that you don't even need frosting for it, just use a sprinkling of powdered sugar or sprinkle colored sugar on it before you put it in the oven. You could probably even add fruit either canned (there will be extra juice added which will make the batter thinner) or fresh, nuts, etc. Use your imagination.....even if it doesn't turn out the way you want, take it to work.....they'll eat it anyways (at least that's how it goes at my job) :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Decorating food and fish tanks :)

I was in charge of dinner tonight....what do I make with left over pasta? All I have to do is make sauce! I dug through my magic book for a recipe that I've had for at least 2 years and am not sure where I picked it up.

2 T. Butter
2 T. Flour
1 c. milk
1/4 t. salt

Heat butter and flour in a saucepan until butter is melted. Add milk and cook on medium heat until sauce thickens.

This is an awesome do-whatever-you-want-with-it basic sauce recipe. You can leave it plain, or you can add veggies, shrimp, chicken, boullion, or spices. It can be served over pasta, rice, etc. Tonight I doubled the recipe, added onions and let it cook for a while so the onions weren't crunchy anymore. I add garlic pepper (of course), and dumped in about 1/2 a bag of frozen veggies. I cooked it until it boiled (which meant the veggies are done) and ta-da! Dinner in a 1/2 hour with leftovers! I could have also used it as a filling to a vegetable pot pie...which I will probably do at a later point in time.

I stopped at the pet store today to pick up snails for my turtle. I don't particularly like feeding the turtle live animals, but I do have to say it's impressive to watch a turtle eat a snail and spit out the empty shell a mintue later. But anyways, last time I got the snails, they were gone within a day or so. I decided to put half in the turtle tank and the other half in a separate tank so they could lay eggs (the kind I got are asexual). I did not have anything to decorate the tank with. I climbed in the attic and found a box with vases in it. So now I have a tank with a clear glass vase...not very exciting...back to the drawing board. I searched online to see if there were anyways to decorate your own fish tank without spending a lot (they're only snails after all), but found nothing. I had previously decorated the turtle tank with a couple fish with a special kind of paint that when dry, you can peel off and restick what you painted (like window clings). Not wanting to get super fancy, I whipped out my 50 cent acrylic paints that I had gotten for a previous project and got to work. I got really carried away on the front to the point where I couldn't see anything in the tank anymore, so I turned it around and just decorated the back a little so I could see through. If I decide I don't like it anymore or want to change it, I can just scrape it off and start all over again :) Now it looks very festive and under-water like!

(Picture on the left was the front and picture to the right was the back)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Accessories for my tootsies and my ears!

I found a cute pattern for shoes on Craftster.org (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=35344.0) so I figured that I would give it a shot. I didn't get off to a good start though....I tried to follow the directions for the pattern, but when I blew up the image, it was still to small. Instead of fiddling with it and printing out a million copies (slight exaggeration, lol) I took a shoe I already had, traced it, and made it into a more rounded shape. I then used the long skinny piece as a guideline (I decided that it was a little over half of the width of the thickest part of the shoe) and just followed along the same curves. In the original directions, it says to pin at the very middle of the toe and sew down both sides toward the heel. I ended up pinning the whole thing as I was not very good at doing it the suggested way. Here's the end result:

I used brown corderoy and you can't see it, but I used this 60's powder blue vinyl that I have had for at least 5 years. They may sound funky, but I think they look cool together. I didn't have any piping so I zig-zag stitched over everything:) To make the bows, cut out a rectangle, and zig zag stitched around the outside. I folded them accordian style, put them sideways on my sewing machine and stitched over it so it would stay. I sewed them on and used fabric glue to secure them. I haven't decided if they are going to be indoor or outdoor shoes. They will probably just be my whatever-I-need-them-to-be shoes.

Yes, I made more earrings. I love earrings and already have a least 100 of them (over half of them I made) and I keep making more. It's like an addiction. But anyways, I pulled apart a phone cord that was part of a package deal from Cinncinati Bell that my boyfriend has had for at least 2 years. I just used the wire and twisted it...it's probably one of the easiest pairs of earrings I've made, but they look cool (at least I think they do). They even look Halloweeny....which is coming up very soon (my favorite holiday). I'm excited!!!!

On a side note, all of my running bamboo has died except for one stalk that is sitting in a bucket outside which I'm kind of sad about. However, I have planted some things in the lizard tank and they are sprouting!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Half pizza and half glove

I made calzones tonight...super yummy! I got the idea off of this website:

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=253417.0

However, I use my own pizza crust recipe instead of store bought dough. Experiment with what you would like in your calzone....tonight was broccoli, cheese, onions.

I also make my own marinara sauce because I almost always have canned tomato sauce or diced tomatoes. Add Italian seasoning, salt, sugar, and most importantly garlic powder (I say that because I LOVE garlic :)) I don't have measurements for these since it depends on how much sauce I make. You will need more Italian seasoning and garlic powder than salt and sugar. If you don't have Italian seasoning use a mix of oregano, basil, rosemary, etc.

I also made fingerless gloves....seems slightly out of season, but winter will be here before you know it! I used the same 2 1/2" loom and made 4 strips of 15 stitches each. Single crochet the 4 strips side by side (you will have a rectangle). When you are crocheting the last seam (to join both sides) single crochet 5 stitches, then tie off. Start again on the next stitch down(6th stitch) and single crochet to the end. By stopping in the midst of your single crochets, you leave space for your thumb to fit through :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thailand...good thing it's on the coast!

I made this awesome Thai food that I got off PETA's (People for ethical treatment of animals) website. I highly suggest this website not only for the information it provides, but for it's great recipes too!

http://www.vegcooking.com/recipeshow.asp?RequestID=816&Search=spiral

It sounds really funky but tastes really good, and it made of ingredients most people have around the house....nice and simple :) Although when I make it I always add about a 1/2 t. more of both ginger and cumin, but make sure you try it before you add these. It also says to put everything in a blender.....cleaning a blender sounded like too much work for me. So I put it all in a sauce pan and heat it, I think it mixes the ingredients together better(because it melts the peanut butter) that and it cooks the onions a bit (Do I ever follow directions? I think not....even ask my mother, lol). It also tends to spoon over the noodles better.....speaking of, I didn't use spirals either....just whatever type of pasta you have around the house. Same with the peas....whatever veggie you have.....green beans, mixed vegetables, etc.

I also made these cool earrings:
My boyfriend took apart an old hard drive that didn't work anymore and I scored these awesome hoop things and then just put a shell in the middle. It also makes a cool sound when they clink together :) There were also some left over silver disks (the ones that actually store the data) that I will be looking to make into ornaments. They are extremely reflective, so they will look cool in amongst the Xmas lights. I will probably make this project closer to Christmas, as I want to get some Christmas ribbon. Happy crafting!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Skirt update and some munchies!


I've continued to work on the skirt that I mentioned a couple days ago, and here is my progress so far:

It doesn't look like much because I haven't tucked in my ends. I figured that I would just do it all at once. I am probably a little over a quarter of the way done. The pattern I am using is the short strips are 49 stitches, and the long ones are 63. I just did it at random and what looked good. I am not sure on the number of strips I am going to have to make either. I will just try it on to see what works.

I also made some snack food. I am not sure what they are called, but they are basically ranch oyster crackers. Here's the recipe:

1 bag of oyster crackers
1 packet of Ranch dressing seasoning
1/2 c. oil
2 T. Dill

Mix oil, dill, and Ranch packet. Add to oyster crackers. Mix until crackers are covered. There will still be oil in the bottom of the bowl so you will have to mix it every 10 minutes or so until when you mix it, the crackers aren't shiny. Enjoy!

In my house, the crackers are half gone by the time they are not shiny anymore :)