More Babies!

I’m at the age where all of my friends are making BABIES!!!! I made another quilt and a second set of hats.

The design is unisex because it was still too early to know the sex, but I have too many project to wait. I’ve had these two color schemes sitting around for just the right project and I think it fits the couple’s style very well. I didn’t except to use the color schemes together but there is no clashing as each is on a different side of the quit.

To finish the quilts I used the tying method with matching colors on the plain pattern side.  I hid the stitches on the gold side that they wouldn’t clash.

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As always Blue was a good boy to model the hats. (He got a treat afterwards.) The first was orange/blue reverse and it was sent along with the quilt. I used the ‘S’ size so the baby will have to wait until next summer to use it. If he/she is anything like the parents the hat will be welcomed for sun protection.

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The second hat is below. I sent this to another friend whose child is under one just because I hadn’t sent her anything in a while. I love to do nice things for people unexpectantly.

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Please ignore my messy sewing room.

Reusable “Paper” Towels

Paper towels are wasteful. They’re made of paper, not entirely absorbent and you seem to always have them on your shopping list. In an effort to be more green I’ve made reusable “paper” towels from older towels that were past their prime. I’ve been using them in the kitchen for a week now and it makes me feel much better. The main concern from the boyfriend was that we could no longer use a paper towel to grease our cast iron pan and that the towels would leave lint. However, I’ve been using these towels to grease the pan and since they’re older they have virtually no fuzz to leave behind.

You may be thinking, what’s the difference between these and normal kitchen towels? Well these are on the counter and easy to grab just one, they are intended for messes and other things you would use a paper towel for instead of a kitchen towel, and they are smaller – intended to be used once.

Supplies:

  • two old towels
  • a few fabric squares or fabric left overs
  • typical sewing supplies

Step 1: Cut off the edges of the towel.

Step 2: Cut the towel into roughly 10-12 inch squares. They absolutely do not have to be uniform.

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Step 3: Using the scraps or fabric squares, cut 2-1/2 inch wide strips.

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Step 4: Iron the strips in half.

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Step 5: Fold in both edges of the strip so that you are folding each half in half, right sides out. Iron.

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You will need a lot of strips of fabric.

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Step 6: Sew the strips around the edge of the towels, folding corners when needed and adding new strips when you run out.

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Here is a nice pile of finished towels. I originally was going to attach snaps to each towel so that you can roll the towels onto a paper towel holder and pull off a single sheet as you need it. My super smart boyfriend pointed out that the snaps might scratch our pots. I was head strong and started to sew on a few snaps. I then realized how tedious snaps could be and how many I’d need to create a whole roll. So I then pretended like his concerns were valid so that I wouldn’t have to sew on snaps. To be fair, the snaps were metal and I’m sure would have messed up a few pans (if used on pans.)

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I then rolled up the towels and stuck them on our paper towel roll, the towels stay just fine.

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Another view of the roll.

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We pile the “paper” towels in the corner of the kitchen as we use them along with our hand towels and other kitchen fabric to be washed when we do laundry. The impact for using reusable towels is minimal on our lives. Having an easy to “tear off” paper towel substitute definitely makes the difference over using the typical kitchen towel for ease in the kitchen.

Bucket Hat

This pattern by oliver + s was wonderful and easy. I made two hats, one for my niece and one for my nephew all in about an hour and a half. Pinning takes the longest time. I picked up the fish fabric at a local quilt store and paired with fabric I already had for the reversible option. I used quilt squares in the set up shown below. Since these hats were made with an established pattern, I won’t be doing a DIY post this time.

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My dog Blue modeled the hats so that I could show the mothers what I made! I won’t see my niece for a few months, but hopefully the nephew likes his hat.

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Homemade Hummus

Everyone who has my hummus loves it and wants the recipe and I am happy to share!

The basic ingredients are below. You can mix and match a variety of ingredients on top of these 6 basics and you will be creating hummus. Another popular one I made is a 6 pepper hummus that adds crushed red pepper, bell pepper, banana pepper, jalapeno, black pepper and cayenne. In the past I’ve left the tahini out for a friend who wasn’t partial to it, the texture and taste are a bit off from traditional hummus, but it’s still delicious. Another time I left out chick peas and only used black beans, once again you aren’t making a traditional hummus base, but it is still very good.

Basic Hummus:

  • tahini
  • chick peas
  • garlic
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • salt and pepper

For my black bean hummus I use the following proportions:

  • 1/4 cup tahini (If you leave tahini out, you will need more olive oil.)
  • 1 can chick peas (You can leave out chick peas and double the black beans.)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/4 c minced garlic (Yes, that much!)
  • half of a bell pepper (Red is best, all I had this week was green.)
  • green onions (I’m eating this hummus as I write this, and I did not use enough green onions, use 5-6.)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • olive oil (not pictured)
  • salt and pepper to taste (Remember that your canned beans have a bit of salt already.)

Note: I added cayenne pepper because I love spicy and the wine pictured is for the cook.

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Step 1: Cut fresh green onions from your garden. Oh, you don’t have any? Well if you do buy onions for this recipe, use my method here and you will have your own fresh onions for next time.

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Step 2: Get out your food processor, because you totally have one. In the past I have made hummus in a blender, it requires a lot of stirring to get the hummus off the sides of the container as you blend. I imagine a nutria-bullet would do a good job as well.  I use the small bowl to make the hummus, in hind site I should have used the large one.

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Step 3: Drain and rinse your beans. You don’t need all that canned bean mess in your hummus.

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Step 4: Add the beans and tahini to the processor and start it up!

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Step 5: Add olive oil as needed through out the process to get a smooth mixture. You probably won’t need more than a 1/4 cup, water helps too but doesn’t give the same texture or taste.

Step 6: Add in all the other ingredients, as the food processor is running, until everything is mixed and at the consistency you desire.

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All done! Now package your hummus.

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Since I LOVE spicy food  I packed my hummus adding crushed red pepper and cayenne on top for my daily snack.  I left the bulk of the hummus without spice so I can share when guests come over. If you are plating this for a potluck, I recommend a cilantro and parsley garnish. I highly recommend eating this hummus with pretzel chips or carrots.

Indoor Plant Makeover

This shelf offends me. It’s my succulent shelf. Until yesterday it looked like a clutter shelf where I just put things that didn’t match. In reality it was a great window to place a shelf under so that my indoor plants could see the sun. It was about time I did something about this shelf so that I don’t look like a crazy hoarder lady with knick knacks everywhere. Also, why is there a broken bulb in that pot? (Sorry for the poor quality photo, the sun didn’t want to cooperate with my lighting choices.)

An aside: Indoor plants not only make the room more green and vibrant but provide oxygen. Succulents are great because if you forget about them for a while, they will still be ok.

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The supplies:

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The basic idea was to cover the outside of the pots with leftover burlap that I had lying around from another project and a strip of ribbon. I choose natural colored ribbons to keep a low key look. Super glue was the adhesive of choice and worked really well with the burlap.  I was going for a uniform minimalist look and I think I got it. The white pot was left alone to provide a little contrast.

The finished product is below. I replanted the other pot with some flowers. Will update once they grow.

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Some crafting tips for on-the-fly projects:

  • Always keep hot glue around, you should have a variety of adhesives on hand. I have Elmer’s glue, gorilla wood glue, super glue, glue stick, hot glue and goop.
  • Never ever throw away ribbons unless they’re beyond repair. Remember that basket of soaps you got? Save the ribbon. Those flowers he bought you last week? Usually good quality ribbon. I keep mine in the stein you see and it looks like a decoration accent for my sewing room.
  • While we’re on the subject, never throw out anything. Jeans can provide backing to fabrics, plus you can reuse the zipper. Metal hangers also can provide stiffening and are easy to bend. Old frames can be repainted and reused. Cardboard is always handy: I used it above to place the hot glue gun down, my craft table was currently occupied with another project.
  • Stay organized! Keep like items together so when you’re ready to create you don’t have to go far for inspiration.
  • Buy on sale. What is hot right now? Burlap and mason jars, old spoons, unique paper, small trinkets. When you see something on sale that you know you will use in the future, but it. My typical sale buys are yarn, ribbons, fabric remnants and unique items.

And don’t worry about the gnomes, it was about time they went back outside! They’re shown here in my beet pots.

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Cabbage Harvest and Cabbage Rolls

Time to harvest the winter cabbage and make room for spring vegetables.

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I first pulled the cabbage out from the root. Then I cut off the bottom half (the stem portion without leaves and roots) to place it in the compost. It’s a good idea to give the cabbage a squirt with a hose while outside to get some of the critters off safely, no need to kill all the bugs while in the kitchen.

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Cabbage Rolls:

  • 2 heads of cabbage
  • 1-1/2 cups of rice
  • 1/2 lb meat (Your choice, I used some smoked corned beef leftovers)
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 6 average tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • spices: salt, pepper, paprika

(Makes approximately two casserole dishes)

Step 1. Put the rice on to cook and a pot of water on to boil. Later you will be blanching your vegetables.

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Step 2. Prep the cabbage. Cut the cabbage leaves from the stem, give it a quick wash and then put it through a salad spinner. You will have bugs crawling out of the cabbage as you go, so keep a paper towel nearby to squish them.

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Cabbage in spinner and clean cabbage on a plate:

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Step 3. Blanch the cabbage. Put the cabbage in the pot laying flat for about a minute. The desired result is to have bendable cabbage that is not cooked through. The cabbage will turn a more vibrant shade of green, it makes for great photos.

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Step 4. Blanch the tomatoes. I left the tomatoes in for 2-3 minutes or until you see the skin split. No need to change the water in between. If you’re trying for low waste or live in California you can blanche the vegetables first then use the same water to cook your rice. Once the water is cooled it can also be used to water your garden.

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Step 5. Tomato sauce prep. Peel the skin from the tomatoes, cut in half, and place in a blending apparatus. I used the magic bullet. Add the sugar, salt, pepper and paprika. The sugar is used to balance the tart tomatoes. It is completely optional based on your tastes and tomato variety used. Blend and set aside.

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Tomato sauce will look like this:

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Step 6. Make the filling. Cut meat into small chunks or shred. Chop onions to your liking. Mix onions and meat with rice, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic (we used jar garlic so no prep needed). Below the mix is shown before the rice is added.

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Step 7. Grease two casserole dishes. Olive oil is a great choice and if you’re not worried about calories try bacon grease.

Step 8. Stuff those cabbages! Put about 1/4 cup of the mix or less into each leaf depending on it’s size, roll the cabbage together like a burrito, and place it into the first dish.  Not all cabbage leaves will be big enough to roll, this is especially true if it’s garden cabbage. I set aside all of the small cabbage leaves for the second casserole where I made a lasagna type dish: there is a layer of cabbage, layer of filling and then another layer of cabbage.

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Step 9. Spread the tomato sauce on top. The rolled cabbage is pictured left and lasagna cabbage is on the right.

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Step 10. Bake covered at 350F for 1-1/2 hours or cover and freeze. I froze the second dish for later this month when I’m too busy to cook.

Step 11. Serve and eat! The cabbage rolls turned out so well that I ate until I was stuffed. Please don’t mind the Styrofoam, plastic, and terrible photo quality, we ate the dish at a friend’s house.

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Kubb Set: A Fun New Lawn Game DIY

Kubb is a fun game we just learned from a friend. After watching a Youtube rules overview and constructing a very basic set for ourselves we were hooked. Kubb is similar to horseshoes, corn hole, ladder golf and many other popular lawn games. It involves throwing wood at other wood with the intention to knock the larger wood down. Kubb is described on Wikipedia and a great explanation is on Youtube.

My boyfriend’s Dad and Uncle had birthdays this past weekend and we wanted to share our new love of Kubb with them by making two full sets. Both sets were delivered on Sunday and his Uncle is already hooked. The set we made ourselves was made with 12 inch Kubbs, 12 inch throwing batons and a firewood log as our king. Hereafter I will refer to them as kubbs/skulls, femurs and the king. After many rounds playing the game we determined that our skulls/kubbs were likely too tall. In addition the original set was made with a camp saw because the 4by4 would not fit under the smaller circular saw we had.

Kubb Supplies

  • 10 kubbs, five on each side
  • 6 femurs
  • 1 king

Craft Supplies

  • 2 lengths of 4 by 4
  • 2 lengths of 1- 1/4 inch circular dowels
  • saw
  • thin cardboard
  • acrylic paint
  • sponge paint brushes (various sizes)
  • clear poly finish

Step 1. Cut the 4by4s into ten 10-inch lengths using a hand saw or circular saw. Cut the 12 inch long king from the 4by4. Cut six 18-inch lengths of the dowel. We were able to achieve the desired flatness with our new hand saw.

Step 2. Sand the wood. My boyfriend used an electric sander, but regular sand paper and elbow grease will do fine. Make sure to wipe the wood down after sanding, so the saw dust doesn’t mix in with the paint.

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3. Make your stencils. I used the cardboard rectangle that is placed into quilt squares at jo-anns. Remember never throw anything away! I cut into the stencil from the outside, so I used masking tape to cover any unwanted cuts in the stencil.

4. Paint. I used a 3-hole puncher to keep the wood at an angle. This way I could paint the top of all 4 sides of the 4by4 without smudging any paint.

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For the first set I did the five kubbs of the Tapped logo on the front and back, which is a bar he owns. Then five Virginia Tech kubbs, which is his alma matter. The logos are on front and back only.

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On the two remaining sides of the kubbs I alternated randomly between three skull shapes I made. I’ve named them metal skull, punk skull, and voodoo skull.

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Here are the kubbs with a finished paint job.

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For the second set I did five George Mason kubbs, his alma matter.

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The other five kubbs had a blue single blade battle ax on the front and a double blade battle ax on the back. Blue is his favorite color. I learned that with small lines in my stencils it was better to sponge on the paint instead of typical brush strokes which I had been doing for the other stencils. The paint still bleeds a bit, but I think it adds to the roughness of the Viking look.

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For the King pieces I used 4 different colors and 4 different style crowns. Purple and red in the left image and you can see the blue and green in the upper portion of the right image.

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Step 5. Using a larger sponge brush apply the poly finish. We only used poly over the painted images. The kubb sets will get banged up quickly so I didn’t really see the need in a full poly job. If we made kubb sets for sale, we would definitely poly the whole thing. Full disclosure, we were in a rush to have these finished.

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Below are all the kubbs drying in the utility room. The poly we used is in front. Side note – The femurs do not need additional work after they’re cut. We briefly considered painting an actual femur bone on the femur pieces, but if you look at our original set you can see how dirty and banged up those pieces can get in a matter of only four  weeks. The paint would likely have come off very quickly even with a poly coat.

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The guys love their sets. This was a really great gift idea.