Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Dinner

So welcome back to the second installment of Sunday Dinner by the Southern Stitcher! Things didn't go exactly as planned today, but we still ended up with a good dinner and a few new recipes to add to the file. Hopefully you'll find one that you'd like to try for yourself!

So here's today's menu:
Tropical Island Chicken from Taste of Home
Shanghai Noodles from
Gooey Butter Cake from Extreme Personal Measures
Egg Bread made using my bread machine and fresh green beans from the garden. Yum!

First off, the chicken. I know I made chicken last week, but that's kind of my fall back in the summer. I'm not that into cooking heavy stews and casseroles when the heat index is in the triple digits, so I tend to do a lot of marinades for meat that can be grilled. (Apologies to DH who is the unfortunate recipient of the grilling chore.) Since there was already chicken in the fridge that was thawed and no one in the house feels all that great this weekend, (yippee for a summer cold) chicken it was. This week I did the Tropical Island Chicken from Taste of Home. I stumbled across this one by accident this morning and had all the ingredients on hand, so I decided to go for it. Boy am I glad I did!!! Both DH and myself LOVED this one, the kids ate it too so I'll call it a success.
Second, the part of the meal that didn't go as planned. With the Asian inspired chicken I thought it would be good to do a simple Asian noodle side dish. I found the one listed above and thought it sounded good. Unfortunately, nearly every fresh item listed was bad in my fridge, so it ended up being a pea/pasta/parm side instead. I'll try to get this one in for review in the near future though, since it still sounds good to me!
I finished up dinner with some homemade egg bread in the bread machine (which with my slow cooker and coffee pot make up my three must have extra appliances for the kitchen) and some fresh green beans from the garden. All around a great dinner!
Finally, the Gooey Butter Cake. To. Die. For. Seriously, SO good! The only problem is that I can only make it a couple times a year so we don't end up dead at 40 from heart attacks. Worth every extra minute of exercise though!
So there you have it, thanks for stopping by for Sunday Dinner and we'll see you next week!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stashbusting September Preview!

In honor of the be-here-before-we-know-it Stashbusting September, I decided to throw together a few projects today. In keeping with the rules that will be in effect for September, I didn't use anything that I didn't already have in my craft room, and made three cute little projects that were all quick and simple!

First off, you might remember the pillows I made for our front porch a while back? Well we have this little folding chair that used to be DH's dad's when he was little and what better place is there to put something as cute as this than on the front porch? I made a small pillow to go on the back of it, since even Mistress needs comfortable pillows!
See? She's right at home checking out all the fun stuff going on around the neighborhood! Only took about 30 minutes to make the pillow from start to finish using scraps left over from the pillows I made for the grown up chairs. As for the next project, see the skirt that she's wearing?
Yup, made that too! I had a little under a yard of this blue and white seersucker that I picked up a while back from the remnant bin. I paid somewhere around $3 for it when I got it, and it had just been sitting around collecting dust. I made a quick skirt for myself, and one for Mistress using Dana's Simple Skirt tutorial. Under 30 minutes per skirt and we had some summery skirts to pair with tanks to keep cool down here in the summer.

Peek a Boo!
See the detail I put on her skirt? I had fixed a Belle costume for Mistress this morning and when I went to make the skirt the yellow thread was still in the machine. I liked the contrast, so I went with it and used it to put her skirt together. Paired with a yellow tank and a messy ponytail she is ready to take on the southern heat in July!
So there you have it! Three cute and simple projects using things I already had on hand, an hour and a half of time, and cleaned out a little space in my craft room. I'm getting really excited for Stashbusting September, and am planning to take the idea a step further. Stay tuned to see how!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Dinner

I'm starting a new feature here at The Southern Stitcher today called simply "Sunday Dinner." I love finding new recipes and really do enjoy cooking for my family. In the past, Sunday Dinner was a family affair where the good china came out and Mom or Grandma spent the entire day in the kitchen cooking a fantastic spread for the whole family. Sometimes it was eaten at noon, sometimes later in the afternoon, but it was a great time for everyone to get together and enjoy each other's company.
We recently had an entire month where, because of either work or travel, we did not sit down to a family dinner even once. Pathetic. So to make up for it, I spent most of the day today cooking. I have gotten a ton of new recipes and wanted to try them and figured I'd share with all of you! Today I tried three new recipes, and based on the reviews of the entire family, am standing somewhere between second and third base. So, here you go!

Sunday Dinner Recipes:
Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken, from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
My Variation of Garden Rice Pilaf, from Pinkapotamus
Cucumber Bread, (yes, you read that right) from Chronicles of a Frugal Gardener
and for dessert (because you can't possibly have a Sunday Dinner without dessert)
Cup-O-Cobbler, from Martha Stewart
First off, the Lemon and Garlic Chicken was TO DIE FOR!!! The Professor wasn't overly thrilled with it, and Mistress Monstress didn't eat it, (I'm fairly certain that she will end up as a vegetarian someday, plus she's got a summer cold right now) but DH, Buggy, and I all loved it. I will seriously make this again soon!
Second, the Garden and Rice Pilaf. Other than the idea, I kind of did my own thing based on the original recipe just because I didn't have all the ingredients on hand. I used garlic infused olive oil to start, changed the water to chicken stock for more flavor, and used only mushrooms and peas as the veggies. It came out really yummy and was a perfect compliment to the chicken.
Third, the Cucumber Bread. My friend gave me a bunch of cucumbers and since I am the only one who likes them in our family, I decided to branch out so they weren't wasted. I stumbled across this recipe and decided to throw caution to the wind and try it. It is kind of like a zucchini bread, but you can definitely taste the cucumber in it. DH, Buggy, Mistress, and I all liked it, The Professor did not. I suppose 4 out of 5 ain't bad though.
Finally, The Cup-O-Cobbler. This is the only recipe I made that wasn't a new one. This is my FAVORITE cobbler recipe, it takes about 15 minutes to make up and is really delicious with vanilla ice cream. The only change that I make is that I just do all of it in a casserole dish rather than individual cups. I almost always make it with peaches, but it is easy to substitute other soft fruits like berries, nectarines, or even plums. I will say though that it is best on the day you make it, so it's best to eat it up right away. (As if you need an excuse, right?)
So there you go! The first Sunday Dinner post. Bon Appetit and check back next week for more recipes!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Stashbusting September

In honor of my previous post on procrastination, I have happily signed on to 'Stashbusting September' at the T-shirt Diaries! Click on over to read the rules, but basically you agree not to purchase any crafting supplies for the entire month of September, using only what you already have in your stash. I am very excited to use up some of the things that I have sitting around in my craft room, and even more excited to show you what I end up coming up with. (I will admit, however, that I will probably go buy some elastic before it begins though, since I am currently down to my last 1/2 yard! Shhh, don't tell...) If you'd like to participate, click on the link above and head on over to sign up!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Simple Project and A Cautionary Tale...

Buggy and his best friend Sir H had a sleepover last weekend. I have to begin by telling you that these two are absolutely hysterical together. They are completely and totally interchangeable, having the same personalities and mannerisms, and his mom and I often laugh about their antics. The two of them are absolutely fascinated by sewing, a fact that I still find sweet and endearing at the same time. Several months ago they made their little sisters matching dolls, (using Bit of Whimsy Doll's Butterbean pattern) complete with embroidered names and immediately asked if they could do more sewing. I agreed, and decided that a pillowcase was a good project to start with. We first headed off to the fabric store and had a quick lesson on why polar fleece wasn't a good material for a pillowcase, despite having an 'awesome' design on it followed by a "Coordinating prints, they are our friends" lesson, and came home with some really cool choices for their first project. Using a Sew Baby pattern that is a free download, we cut all the pieces and got to work. I handled all the ironing and closely supervised while they used one of my machines, and they set to work creating their first project.

Complete concentration was a must!
And sewing books can serve dual purposes in a pinch!
When all was said and done, they both turned out these pillowcases! Not too shabby for a couple of five year olds, huh?
And now for our cautionary tale...
You might think, given that this post is about children and sewing that the cautionary tale would have to do with them. Sadly, (or gladly, depending on how you look at it) this is not the case. The boys did a fantastic job following directions and are already looking forward to their next project. My cautionary tale is about procrastination...

Several months ago, I picked up some really cute princess fabric to make Mistress a pillowcase for her room. For the most part I try to stick with basic sheets and then I make extra pillowcases to mix and match. It's inexpensive, simple, and the kids get all their favorite characters and theme pillows without having to own a million different sheet sets. (Plus is there anything better in life than going to bed on a fresh pillowcase?) I got this adorable princess fabric:
to coordinate with the pink sheets that we already own, stuck it on my fabric shelf, and didn't get around to this 30 minute project for several months. When I went to make it, I realized that I didn't have enough of the main print. Since this was a directional print, the print on the pillowcase would have run sideways if I cut it the way the pattern calls for, and I didn't have enough to cut a front and a back to make it run top to bottom. Sigh. Of course since it had been several months, I could also no longer get more of said fabric. Double sigh. I ended up fudging it a bit and ended up with a finished project that was only one inch shorter than it was supposed to be and it worked just fine, but it took me longer than it should have and I was just kicking myself anyway for putting it off for so long. Moral of the story? Don't procrastinate unless you know you can get more fabric. Second moral? Where there's a will, there's a way!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Little Facelift!

I spent a while this morning reworking the blog, hope everyone likes it!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Trash to Treasure

A couple of months ago, I was in spring cleaning mode. This particular spring cleaning mode extended to the outdoors as well, and one sunny afternoon my neighbor and I were pulling weeds when I noticed that some things had been dumped at the beginning of the walking trail through the woods next to our home. Since we live in a new development it's not completely uncommon to find random construction leftovers here and there, so I went over to pick up the discarded wood scraps and put them in the trash. One of the pieces of board that I picked up was this:
It didn't look like much at first, but then I turned it over and my mind started whirling. I immediately thought of what I could do with it! I cleaned it up,
Painted it in 'gilded endive,' which is from Mistress's furniture, the family plaque, and a whole host of other things that I wanted to turn whiteish. (I am beginning to think that I will never actually run out of this paint, but I digress...) Three coats did the trick because I don't actually own primer.
Then I sanded it to rough it up a bit,
Distressed it with a hammer and some nails,
Used a bit of stamping ink to bring out the bare wood, (stain would also work)
And added tealights! I also put some felt pads on the bottom to protect the table. I can already see this at Christmas surrounded by fresh greens!
Total cost? $0!!! For the record, I think this is the top part of a railing. I like it better as a candleholder, what do you think?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Home. Again.

While I won't promise that I won't leave again, I will promise that all scheduled traveling is complete for this summer. We just pulled in from two weeks up north visiting friends and family, and since I took the kids by myself, I am ready for some R&R. (Preferably in the form of pedicures and drinks with a girlfriend while DH watches the kiddos!) We had a great time and loved seeing everyone, but are VERY glad to be back in our own beds. I am especially glad to be back in my own bed, since hopefully it will be without Mistress Monstress. Her feet in my face at 2 am got old after about two days, and there were several times I woke up perched on the edge of the bed while my not-quite-three year old hogged the entire full sized bed for herself. That being said though, it was wonderful to wake up to her sweet face every morning for two weeks, and there were several mornings when I had to wake her up when she slept too late. (How many parents can say that?) Seriously, I woke her one morning at 11:35. Can that even be called morning? I'll take that to mean that she had so much fun we wore her out. So we are back, I have plenty of projects lined up and as soon as I sort out my house and go to the grocery, I will be right back at it!