Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Momma's Creamy Tomato Basil Soup {What I Worked on Wednesday}

My momma makes the best homemade soups.  They're all good but this one has got to be my fav!  Creamy Tomato Basil, aka, pure-happiness-in-a-bowl. I love chunks so that's probably part of the reason why I love this one so much. Set your eyes on this!  Are you drooling yet?

Its soup season in MN and I just so happen to have some organic tomatoes that I grew in my garden this year that are calling out to me from the freezer.  They want to be cooked up into something yummy.  So on with the recipe, right?!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Saute in butter:
1 onion, chopped
2 medium peppers, diced {green, red, yellow, orange}
2 julienned carrots
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms

Save out any of the above that you prefer less cooked and add later.

8-10 cups tomato juice or chunks
1 12 oz can tomato paste
2 cups cooked rice {brown basmati is good}
2 T or more of sweetener {real maple syrup is yummy}
2 T dried basil
Salt to taste-probably close to a tablespoon, more or less depending on the salt content of the other ingredients

After all this is heated through, add 1/4 c or more butter and 1 c cream {half and half works, if you must}. I try not to boil it after I add the cream. If soup is too thick, add water.

So what are you working on this fine Wednesday?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Modernizing A Family Heirloom {What I Worked on Wednesday}

This dresser has been in the family for years.  When I was little, it was my brother's dresser.  It arrived at our house several years ago and has been a nightstand for our boys in their bedroom.

I distinctly remember the paper that lines the inside of these drawers.  I remember refolding and straightening piles of clothes in these drawers, picking up toys and putting them in here and always thinking the paper lining them was so cute.  How vintage is this?!

I've had the itch to do a refinishing project and this was just the right timing as we bunked the boys' beds again so they can each have their own desk for Lego creations and there wasn't room for another piece of furniture in there anymore.  {Insert a YIPPEE here! Some furniture that needs a new home and function, that's right up my alley. }  

Here's what I did.

Start by applying a deglosser with a non-linty cloth.  I used Klean-Strip, pictured above. Apply in circular motions and keep surface wet by applying additional deglosser as needed for approximately 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes you should be able to see the glossy surface getting curly or bumpy.  At this point you can scrub the excess off with steel wool.

After all the deglosser has been removed, you can start painting.  YAY!  

I chose a soft white and applied it by spraying it on.  Here is what it looked like after the first coat. Are you starting to see the potential of this gorgeous piece? This view also shows off the sweet curves on the front.

After several more coats of paint, it was ready for some light "roughing up" to create a patina.  Insert some sand paper here + some seriously amazing hand glazed drawer pulls. 

Now for the reveal....what do you think?  I'm in love with the unique curves on the front of this piece, the updated drawer pulls and the memories behind it.  Yes the Coca-Cola bucket on the floor is hiding cords and power strips.  Fashion before function, right?!   But I always love it when I can have both!  ;)

What are you working on this fine Wednesday?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Freezing Corn {What I Worked on Wednesday}

Corn on the cob season is in full force in Minnesota!  Do you love this season with amazing fresh produce as much as I do?  Huz will vouch that I could make a meal out of corn on the cob or a pile of cucumbers or baby tomatoes fresh out of the garden. Yum!

Every year my grandma plants a patch of yummy sweet corn and generously shares it with us.  Every summer as far back as I can remember I've helped freeze it so we can eat its yumminess all year long.  Here's how we do it:

It starts with what Huz affectionately calls the "shuck and jive".  We sit on 5 gallon pails and shuck all the corn.  My momma says if its buggy that's good, that means no pesticides were used on it.  :) We like it organic!  Many times you have to break the end off cause a few bugs have nibbled on it.  Note little O always wants you to save the caterpillars for him, so we give him a holler when we find any. See our pile of corn husks and corn cob ends.  My uncle scoops these up and disposes of them, however if you have a compost pile this would make wonderful compost material. Play loud music if you can, this is the "jive" part.

Next we wash the corn removing all the silks. We cut out any "yucky spots" as the kids call them.  Washing the corn is a great job for the kids where you can involve them and remind of them of how they helped when you eat it later.  They can also help with the shuck and jive.  ;) 

The next step is to cut the corn off the cob.  I highly advise a sharp knife and all your attention on the knife. I've finished this step with bandaids on my fingers many times, its not as fun this way so be careful!  We cut the corn into cake pans, roasters or any other large pots/pans available.  Insert lots of coffee cause this helps you cut fast. Grandma always has plenty of this available.  For this step, we have the kids refill our coffee cups.   Java, java, java!

We put all the empty corn cobs in the 5 gallon buckets.  My uncle disposes of these (thank you!), but the kids make sure we always have a bucket to throw them in so we can keep cutting.  You will likely be all sticky when you get done with this step.  

Next you cook the corn.  Measure a generous 2 quarts of corn and 1 tsp. salt and a little water just to keep it from sticking to the pan.  Bring it to a boil, stirring frequently.  When it's boiling, changes color, gets deeper yellow, consider it done. Pour it into a cake pan and spread it out to cool it.  We put cold water in the bath tub and float our corn "boats" on that to cool it faster.  We run a fan on the corn to help cool it too.  Stir frequently until cooled.

Once its cool you can bag it.  We have the kids open the ziploc bags up so we don't have to do that while we are trying to bag.  Once your hands get a little wet, they are slippery and this is hard to do without drying your hands in between.  Also write the date/year on the outside of the bag so next year you know which corn is fresh and which needs eating first. My family of 5 eats about 3 cups, you can make smaller bags if you eat less.  Flatten the bags as much as possible. Flat bags are really nice once they are in the freezer cause you can get a lot of them in a little space.  Make sure to get all air out to keep it fresh and make the bags as compact as you can.
Freeze promptly.  Voila'! you are done.  Enjoy this all year long.   Note the sweet vintage table cloth on grandma's table.  Do you freeze corn?  What's your process?  Have a fabulous Wednesday!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Gingham Style #Giveaway {Fabulous Fabric Friday}

Happy Friday everyone!  Today I'm featuring this Gingham Style fabric in my Fabulous Fabric Friday Giveaway.  I have it in six yummy colors. Gingham is one of those classic fabrics that never goes out of style. Chances are your grandma wore this in an apron.  But maybe not in orange, though I would!

I'm pretty sure my mom had some gingham on a prom dress she made.  Hers was red and had some printed fabrics with it but it had sleeves like this dress. So cute!  She actually wore it to a mother daughter tea we went to together in high school, how fun is that?!

And if you pick up any vintage quilt, you are likely to see some  patches of gingham in it. Love this non-traditional quilt with several colors of gingham in it.

Gingham was even on baking dishes at one point in time!  Look at this vintage loaf pan with little gingham flowers on it.  Yes it tastes better if it comes out of an adorable pan.

How would you use this fabric if you won a yard? Can't wait to hear your ideas!

To be eligible for this giveaway you must:
Follow me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter

For extra entries you can:
Share this giveaway on Facebook 
Share this giveaway on Twitter 
Share this giveaway on Google +
Follow my blog 
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Pin this giveaway or your fav fabric from my shop on Pinterest
Sign up for my newsletter (see sign up box on page footer) 

Please leave one post for each entry. Can't wait to hear all your ideas!   Entries accepted until Tuesday at midnight.  Winner drawn Wednesday. Open to US and Canada.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blast Away the Past {What I Worked on Wednesday}

So we have an awesome walk-out basement, but once you get inside, the entry way floor was only half-awesome.  You see I have this nice white tile, but has dusty rose grout.  I don't think so!
This is an extreme close up so you can see just how vibrant this grout was.  I'm doing my best to neutralize our existing color pallet and bring a beachy feel to our lake house.  This pink just wasn't cutting it.  I reached out to my Facebook friends for advice and voila', my friends did not let me down.  Thanks Nicole! :)

I made a trip to my local home improvement store and picked up a stunning shade of charcoal gray "Grout Refresh".  This amazing little grout-makeover-in-a-bottle was only $12!  And it said "apply with a toothbrush". I keep extras around for occasions such as this.

So you shake well, apply the stain with the toothbrush and let it sit for 30-60 minutes.  Mist with water and scrub to remove excess.  Here is a before and after picture.
And then you totally redeemed yourself! You gotta love great movie quotes. Do you have any floor makeover ideas you've tried? I'd love to hear about them, I have a few more floors that need some updating.  Leave your tips below. Have a fabulous Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

{Quit My Day Job}

So I wish this was a "I Quit My Day Job" post like I've been reading about on Etsy for the past 5 years, but instead, its really a "My Day Job Quit Me" post.  Yep I was laid off last week.  I've always wanted to be self employed someday....doing what I love, in the way I love to do it, but this wasn't my timing. My title at my day job is Remote Controller. Surprises don't always come easy to control freaks who crunch numbers for a living.  This wasn't part of my plan.

When you get a "I Quit My Day Job" post written up about you on Etsy, you are successful, handsome and happy.  Or was that a line from Evan Almighty???  Anyway, I've always found those posts inspiring and hoped I'd one day be able to write one myself, but never actually thought I'd do it until retirement or something equally as far off.  Fringe and Fettle, a swank little pottery shop out of Minneapolis, MN, is a quitter.
I love this oil and vinegar dipping dish, I'll go grab the bread and wine!
Lauren Alison  says, "Passion is just as much of a tool as our inks or fabric. It’s woven into each thing we make."  She says to put what you're passionate about before $ signs. Don't make what you think will sell, make what you're passionate about. Great advice, but hard for this number crunching fool to put into practice.  
She makes originally designed silk screened printed bags, pillows and towels. And she is a quitter.

Then there is Poor Pitiful Pearl who has turned upcyling an art in itself. And yes, I would absolutely wear any of her creations. I used to sew like this in junior high.  No boundaries! And you guessed it, she's a quitter too.

So I read the book Quitter: Closing The Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job,  by Jon Acuff. Not that I'm an expert or anything but it wasn't quitting time.  That doesn't mean I'm not still here, looking at all my obligations and wondering what I should do first. Clean the house?  Cause if I'm not working I should have plenty of time to do that, right?  Job search?  Schedule a play date for my kids?  Networking?  Finish that pile of clothes that needs a button, a hem or a patch?  Shop for groceries with lots of coupons? Get another certification?

Did I mention that we are in the middle of a HUMONGOUS remodeling project?  Yep my kitchen is ripped apart, not to mention other places in the house (all the flooring is getting replace by my #DIYguy, he's amazing by-the-way).  I have to wear shoes in half the house so I don't get slivers.  The other half has new flooring so its a "shoes off" zone.  It can be confusing sometimes.  If I end up wearing my shoes in the shower some morning, I'll just roll with it.

So, do the passionate thing?  Do what makes sense and scramble to find something else just to pay the bills?  Or apply my gifts and talents right where I am?  I attended church on Sunday only to get hit between the eyes with a message on faithfulness. Being Faithful in a Faithless World. The second half of the sermon really stuck out to me. Here are the points...

1. God uses little things to test my integrity. Luke 16:10
2. God uses my talents to test my unselfishness. 1 Peter 4:10
3. God uses tough times to test my persistence. 2 Cor 4:16-18
4. God uses shortages to test my generosity. Luke 16:9-14

Well that gives me a lot to think on this week.  God's got a plan and I'm all in.  Here's to being a quitter, whatever way you want to slice it.  The next book I'm reading is Start by Jon Acuff.  It tells me to punch fear in the face, escape average and do work that matters.   And that is just what it says on the cover.  Sounds like a good idea to me.  Are you with me?

Self Employed in Madison Lake

Friday, May 24, 2013

{Published!} Sew Special Book + Fabric Giveaway

I'm so excited to share this!  Last summer I was approached by an author of a sewing book publishing company, Annie's, to submit some pattern designs for their upcoming baby book.  Well one of my designs was accepted and TA-DA!  I got published and crossed a goal off my list.  The books is called Sew Special Baby Gifts.  My pattern is the Sleepy Giraffe Softie.  The book was designed to have patterns in it for beginners or for those who wanted to sew something up in an hour or less as gifts.  This definitely fits the specs.  You can make several of these sweet things in an hour!

There are some other very talented designers that are also in this book.  Check out this adorable diaper bag! I love the fabric choice, simple design and the sleek look.  I look forward to trying this one out myself for some upcoming gifts.

Here is an adorable fleece hat. Now seriously what baby wouldn't be adorable in this and I bet you can use your scraps up on something this small.  This needs to go on my pinboard for projects that use up scraps, cause my scrap pile is always a little {ahem!} untamed.
Last I want to show you this little handmade block. This toy is perfect for any diaper bag and you could put a rattle inside and add a layer of something crinkly for ultimate baby appeal. My favorite crinkly under-layment beneath one of these cute fabrics is a chip bag.  Wash it out and upcycle it, plus that was free!  As you can see there is also a cute little ribbon tag on this.  This is another scrap-buster and a quick instant gratification project that will sew up fast.

In honor of my first pattern being published I am offering a FREE copy of this book to one lucky reader along with a yard of fabric {your choice!} from my shop.  Take a look at the book and tell me which pattern you want to try!

To be eligible for this giveaway you must:
Follow me on Facebook
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For extra entries you can:
Share this giveaway on Facebook
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Follow my blog
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Pin this giveaway or your fav fabric from my shop on Pinterest
Sign up for my newsletter (see sign up box on page footer)

Please leave one post for each entry. Can't wait to hear from you! Entries accepted until Wednesday at midnight. Winner drawn Thursday. Open to US and Canada.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

{What I Worked on Wednesday} Pictures Galore

I just restocked the shop will all kinds of fabulous print chevrons and dots in flannels and cottons.  I just love these basic bright prints with a white contrast.  

In other news, I invested in some new photography equipment and have been experimenting with the best spot in the studio to set this up and take pictures from.  Here is a shot of one of my latest swaddlers with my new photography equipment. Controlling your source of light is so important, or so I am learning!  Just in case you are interested, here is the kit I got. Love having these lights especially in the winter when natural light can be hard to find!

  I won't go pro yet, but sure do love having some decent lighting to work with now.  It makes me look good, even though I'm just pointing and shooting.  ;) Having the right equipment to do the job, puts the fun back into taking pictures and making listings of all the new stuff for the shop.  How do you like these apples?  {a quote from a great movie} Well, that's it for now, hope you are having a great Wednesday doing something you love!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

{What I Worked on Wednesday} Quilts

Its been a typical January in the studio.  Lots of clean up and organizing after the holiday rush, and also lots of finishing projects.  I made this quilt as a wedding gift for my in-laws, now nobody bring up how long they've been married--I know, this is sooooo late! I made this snuggle quilt out of vintage prints and the red hearts are made out of velvet from the bridesmaids dresses that I made for this wedding.  

The velvet hearts are my favorite part of it, such great texture and a great memory to have it in this "quilt of love".  The royal blue print is a corduroy, and I'm tickled pink at how this all came together! Hopefully this brings out the romance in their lives by being taken to the beach for sunning, the fireworks for some sparks and in front of the fireplace for a movie night.  Its just the perfect size for being close, not too big and not too little.  

Next is a rag quilt out of Heather Bailey prints.  This was a custom order and I just love how it turned out.  These prints are so vibrant and pretty.  The fraying effect adds such a snuggly texture to it, I just want to hit the couch with a book when I see a quilt like this.  I'm sure this will be making a statement wherever it gets used, don't you think?!

I hope to take pictures of my clean studio to share with you soon.  If that ever happens. Secretly I kind of like my beautiful mess.  Shhhh!  Don't tell huz.  What are you working on this fine Wednesday?

Friday, January 18, 2013

{Fabulous Fabric Friday} Chevron #Giveaway

With the month of love L-U-V approaching I thought it fitting to put a red chevron in the mix for our Fabulous Fabric Friday.  This is a basic print from Riley Blake Designs. Chevrons are bouncy prints with a playful look, yet simple in design.

This fabric would make a great pillow cover, 

some soft blocks

or a piece in a yummy quilt.

How would you use this fabric if you won a yard? Can't wait to hear your ideas!

To be eligible for this giveaway you must:
Follow me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter

For extra entries you can:
Share this giveaway on Facebook 
Share this giveaway on Twitter 
Share this giveaway on Google +
Follow my blog 
Follow me on Pinterest
Pin this giveaway or your fav fabric from my shop on Pinterest
Sign up for my newsletter (see sign up box on page footer) 

Please leave one post for each entry. Can't wait to hear all your ideas!   Entries accepted until Tuesday at midnight.  Winner drawn Wednesday. Open to US and Canada.