Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What happens when you lose 3 yards of Fabric?

Blame your kids.

Scream.

Holler.

Think perhaps you only imagined you bought said fabric and are really losing it.

Mass chaos.

Tears.

Resignation that you will either not be able to use the fabric you lovingly chose in your current project, or buy it again and have to WAIT for it to be delivered.  Uggghhh!

And finally...

Clean EVERYTHING!

There is no before picture of what this room looked like as a mess, because I was crazed.  But it was a mess.  I had remnants of My Oldest's girl pirate quilt everywhere.  I had bits and pieces of several things I am currently working on strewn on every surface.  A good percentage of my fabric was not organized by color as I had just shoved it in one of the cubbies after I used it to get it out of the way.

As I searched for the missing fabric, I sorted through every piece of fabric I OWN.   Then I threw the fabric back on the shelf.  Then after everything, I went back and looked at each piece of fabric individually.  Just in case the fabric I was looking for had snuck in between the layers and was playing hide and seek.  I then refolded and arranged everything by color.

I rummaged through my yarn and put it away.  Neatly.  Because of course I would have put my pretty new fabric in the yarn pile.

I looked through all my WIPS and then placed them into individual baskets so I could first, get them out of the way as I knew the fabric wasn't in them after they were scoured, but secondly now I can know exactly what  I am working on at all times and have all the fabric easily sorted by project.

I threw all my notions everywhere and then carefully looked at each one, making sure there was no fabric.  Then put them away.

I looked through my patterns and books.  I stacked my bat and fluff all tidy and neat.  I raged to the ceiling, Oh cruel fate!

Any pile that was in my sewing room (and there were plenty), was torn through with the will of a madwoman.  Any secret corner was scoured.  Bedrooms were searched, closets torn through like a hurricane.

You see that garbage bag up there, it's all my scrap fabric that I deemed too small or ugly to be useful.  I went through every last scrap!  And discarded it like trash.   And I love to keep fabric. My kids play with it.  I use it when I applique.  It's very handy to have around....except when you are in a tizzy looking for fabric you just had in your hands just a day or two before.  I knew if I was going to find my fabric, I had to be ruthless.

After everything had been cleaned and tossed and folded and rearranged.  I gave up hope.  I figured I must have thrown it away.  Three yards of fabric, preposterous.   But they were nowhere to be found.

Until that night.  I was helping The Mister pack for a business trip and there in the closet, where I store birthday presents to be sneaky, was the damn fabric.  Sitting proud as you please on top of The Mister's birthday delivery from Amazon  from earlier that week.  Face smack.

Want to see the source of my trauma....

That's right.  Ponies.

The fabric I was really looking for is the coral on the left.  For this...

I am making a giant hexi quilt and needed it for half of my center hexagons.  Kick, Kick, Punch.  Deep breath.  Ommmmmmm.... I do like how my giant hexi quilt is coming along, so I will just be happy I now have the tidiest and most organized of sewing rooms.  And, The Mister says he now knows what to do when he feels my sewing room is too messy. He's just going to hide some of my fabric.

Thanks for reading!!

Heather

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sweet Little Bluebird's Sister's Crock Pot Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Phew.  How's that for a title?  Aside from the long title, I really only have two words for you...

Make these.

Okay, it's me we're talking about.  Of course I have way more words for you than that.  I mean, I am not exactly my mother who in the words of my Dad can, "Talk a stick to death."  And I am not my own children who inherited the talk a stick to death gene from my Mom, but I am close.

First of all, Click here for Mary's recipe.

You gotta do it because I am only putting the most meager instructions here.  So, click up there for all the details.

Now, go check your grocers.  For whatever reason, pork shoulder is on sale round these parts and so when I saw that, I knew exactly what we were having for The Mister's birthday feast!  It's not summer, I know, but these sandwiches are good year round.  Make sure to buy some sweet and spicy pickles and coleslaw, I just go with the bagged variety.  Also make sure to have some barbecue sauce on hand.  I like my sandwiches saucy.

This is where I am deviating a bit from Mary's sister's recipe.  I trim the majority of the fat cap off the meat and then generously salt all sides before it goes in the crock pot.  This is a big hunk of meat so you want to season accordingly.  I chose not to pepper it because of all the spices in the rub.

My local grocery store doesn't sell the particular rub that Mary's sister uses.  So, I go with this: Pork Rub. It has kind of a spicy, cinnamon-y thing going on.  It's really yummy! Drizzle a bit of oil in the bottom of your crock pot and sprinkle some of the rub mix on top of the oil.  Place meat in crock pot.

Per Mary's sister, I practically use the entire tub of seasoning.

Let it cook for hours and hours, and bask in the smell of your kitchen.  Anyone coming over for a surprise visit will ask to be invited to dinner.  Luckily, you're going to make a giant pot so you can have guests and send the husband off to work with leftovers the next day.


Devour.

Thanks for reading!!!

Heather

Friday, February 21, 2014

Seeds!

Seeds are here!!!  Can't wait to get them planted and growing and producing delicious, vine ripened goodness.  Tricky though, considering I now have a backyard full of chickens, I am going to have to figure out a way to keep the chickies out of my garden so my tomatoes can grow to their full potential!

Want to get a closer look at what's going in the garden this year?

Hericot Verts.  You should have seen me on my honeymoon asking the waiter on the cruise what a Hair-i-cott Vert was.  It's green bean in French.  But, not just any old green been, they're longer and thinner and crisper.  Yum!  Wanna know how to pronounce it?  Air-ee-ko-vair.  Getting all French on you there.

Tomatoes!!!  Two out of the four are my old standbys.  They're just so good.  I always plant Green Zebras and Black Cherry tomatoes.  My kids are voracious tomato nibblers and will just go outside and pick every tomato they can get their mitts on and devour them on sight, so I only plant smallish and cherry tomatoes.  They do this at my sister's house too.  She has wandered out, seen that her tomatoes were all gone and wondered what vicious tomato eating critter invaded her yard and ate all her tomatoes.   Ummm...that would be my children.

Peppers!  Poblano and Padron's.  I am thinking I might have to attempt homemade Chile Rellenos this year.  Tomatoes, peppers and herbs are my MUST HAVES every year.  They are what I grow the best and use the most.

Speaking of must haves, here are my herbs for this year.  I am branching out and trying a bunch of wild things like, catnip and lemon balm and sorrel!  I had to plant sorrel because Milly from 7 brides for 7 brothers says it makes "real nourishin' soup".  A lot of these are for the chickens and bees!  I'm going to have fun with them too, though.

Getting really wild and planting  brussels sprouts!!!  Hope they grow.

Oh yeah, I have one more that gets planted every year.  Beets.  Golden and red.  I love eating the beats and their greens!

I typically buy my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  I find their prices are really good and I know I am getting heirloom varieties, which I like.  Just because I feel a little old timey and special using seeds that I think my forebears may have used.  They also give you a sweet gift packet of seeds.  I am not sure if every order gets this or only if you order like, 30 packets of seeds like I did.

Can't wait to fire up my grow system downstairs in my sewing room!!

Thanks for reading!



Heather



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winter Salad and Zombies

My family enjoys a good salad for dinner.  They're light and tasty and the whole family gets to help in its preparation.  The girls love to help me tear the lettuce and...gulp...chop the veggies.

faint

Teaching proper cutting skills is not my favorite part of mothering.  I watch the knife as it clumsily slices a cucumber and lurches closer and closer to dainty thumbs.

Tuck those thumbs in!!!!  

Aaaarrggghh!

Cutting lesson over.  Give Mommy that knife.  We'll revisit this in a year or so.

I am a tomato snob.  So you will never see a tomato in my salads during the months of...oh, we'll say November through June.  I refuse to eat anything less than a perfectly vine ripened tomato.  Preferably straight off my own personal tomato plants.  As a result, I have to try different  things with my salads during the 2/3 of the year that I shun fresh tomatoes.

This salad was excellent!  The sweet  and savory oven roasted golden beets and Yukon Gold potatoes.  The tang of red onion and the succulent pan fried turkey tenderloin.  Here's how you do it!

Winter Salad
4 medium sized golden beets (you could use red just as easily)
6 smallish Yukon Gold potatoes (you could use another variety of potato)
1 head red leaf lettuce (you can use...okay, you get it.  This salad is versatile.  I won't hold you to anything!)
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 cucumber, chopped
Cheese, diced  (if you want)
1/2 to 3/4 lb turkey loin
Salad dressing of choice
salt and pepper
Cooking Oil (I used olive oil)
Bit of butter
Johnny's seasoning salt (optional, but I think it helps turkey's inherent blandness)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

As oven is heating up, chop the stems off your beets and run a vegetable peeler over them.  Chop into quarters.  Toss onto cookie sheet.

Wash potatoes.  Quarter these and toss alongside the beets.  Douse with a goodly amount of oil and salt and pepper.  Stir around and cook for 35 to 40 minutes until tender.  Toss occasionally to avoid sticking.

While your root veg's are cooking, take your turkey loin, I had two smallish ones that came to about 3/4 lb. and pound in a plastic baggie to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Season liberally with salt and pepper and seasoning salt if you are using.  A word about turkey, it's bland as heck!  So, make sure you season it well on both sides.

Place skillet over medium heat.  Pour in a few tablespoons oil and a dab of butter. Once this is nice and warm, cook your turkey loin until golden brown and delicious.  Make sure to cook completely!

Let the meat rest while your root veg's finish cooking.  Begin tearing up lettuce and chopping cucumber and any other items you want to put in your salad.

Slice the turkey and arrange everything artfully on plates.

Add a dash or two of salad dressing.  Tragic day, I thought I had a nice vinaigrette in the fridge, I did.  It had expired.  sigh  I figured I could whip up a quick dressing myself...I didn't have Dijon mustard.  sigh  I got to enjoy Ranch dressing on my salad along with the kiddoes.  It was yummy!


As a fun bonus, today I am reviewing a new product.

Oh my goodness, I didn't think I was going to like these.  Cookie Dough Oreo's though, are yummy!  They have a light brown sugar taste to the cream filling which gives it a nice complexity.  Dunked in some milk...oh baby.  After we had them last night, I asked my kids if we should give the rest to my sister Jullee over at The Grubery and it was unanimous NOOOOOs all around.

In fact, both girls turned into cookie zombies after I had put them away.  It was quite fun to watch them roam the house moaning: cookies.  cookies.  cookies!  And bump repeatedly into the pantry door pretending to try and get in, but not know how to turn the knob.

It was especially effective with this little zombie and her cookie crumble mouth.  Very zombie-esque.  This is the best shot I could get as she was too wiggly.  Just imagine blackened teeth and lips, foaming at the mouth and crashing into doors.  Too much fun on a Monday night.

Thanks for reading!

Heather


Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Cesspool Known as my Back Yard

Poor chickens.

It doesn't matter how many piles of wood chips we put in their run, it's a muddy disaster.

So aren't these lovely ladies glad for a dry day.  Free of snow!  Free of rain!

So they can kick up some dirt and have a nice little dust bath.  I've seen every single one out getting her bathing beauty on.  So sorry backyard landscaping.  You were nice while you lasted.

Excuse me woman, but do you mind?  A little privacy would be nice.

Speaking of birds...this is the shot out of my bathroom window yesterday morning...how many robin redbreasts can you count?  This wasn't even all, it was just all I could get in the frame.  And they were hanging out in every tree I could see.

Wait for it...

SPRING IS COMING!!!!!!

Thanks for reading!



Heather


Monday, February 10, 2014

I could only be just a SMIDGE more last minute...Valentines Pillows

If you are a giant fail at Valentine's decorating (like me), then join in for one tiny attempt at showing the love.

Fun and easy conversation heart pillows.

Raw edges.

Simple embroidery.

Quick, easy and fun!

1. Make a heart template out of paper

2.  Trace heart shape on fabric and cut out two hearts. 

3.  Mark lines so you can write your message straight and even.  Use an erasable pen.  I went straight down the middle and across where I wanted the words to be.

4.  Write your words

5.  Embroider words.  I used a back stitch and, wait for it...yarn!!!  I wanted my words to really stand out.  Had to use a giant needle.

6.  Pin both pieces of fabric together.  You'll rarely see these words on this blog, but Wrong Sides Together!   Raw edges, baby!

7.  Using a walking foot, stitch the two hearts together using a 1/2" seam allowance.

8.  Make sure to leave a space, about 2 inches wide for the fluff

9.  Pink the edges.

10.  sorry, no pic.  Stuff with fluff until you feel it is fluffy enough.

11.  Sew the gap so the fluff cannot escape.

Make a bunch because they're so cute and easy!  And fast!!  And easy.  Best kind of last minute craft.

My kids have been sleeping with them, so I haven't even been able to use them in my non-existent Valentine's decor.

Tell your kid to lay on the pillows like she does at night and this is what you'll get.

No, with your head, like you do at night...

Close enough.

Happy Valentine's.



Heather

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Winter Adventuring

The Great Salt Lake, which is often derided as being a nasty, smelly, inhospitable piece of work can also have snippets of beauty, if you look closely and go on a winter adventure with the family.

In late January/Early February the wetlands become a sanctuary for Bald Eagles.  So, gather up the crew, put on some warm clothes and boots and don't forget your binoculars. Winter adventuring can be lots of fun.  We saw several eagles in the distance and only one close up, it flew straight over us and it's wing span was HUGE! 

Tucked in, nice and cozy.

 We see you!!

Oh, hello there.  If you look closely, I know, my camera skills leave much to be desired, you can see this little fella's bright feathers.

Nice, drab feathers to keep the predators away.

Binoculars up!

Or...periscopes.  Whatever.

Happy wintering.

Heather
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