Tuesday, January 25, 2011

something new :: wip QAYG

I love to sew, patchwork, quilts, bags, .... whatever I come up with, but I don't like adding layers together. There always are wrinkles sneaking in as much as I try to prevent it. So I stck with smaller projects and have a collection of bigger quilttops still waiting. About a week ago I read QAYG. Just QAYG. I had no idea for what these for letters stand for. Quilt As You Go. Simple as that. I googled more and found a technique that made unfinished, but quilted blocks as result. It is fun to quilt small projects and single blocks - with no wrinkles incuded. Therefore I went ahead after cutting strips out of my stash and squares of batting last night. Today I sewed crazy wonky blocks onto the precut batting squares, enough for a small quilt to see how well this technique works. Step two will be quilting all of them and then to decide out how to connect them the best way.

This here is happening right now -

- Soren is already knocked out asleep with Antonio in tow. -

Sunday, January 23, 2011

rug mug parade

It is not a quiet Sunday morning. We already did our errands for the day and also collected Chiara from her friend's house ealy in the morning and the girls are busy on their sewing machines to manufacture little felt pillows for their barbie dolls and whatever else they come up with. Soren is something today. Grumpy and not in a good mood. He is messing with the girls nonstop.

However Soren did not mind helping me hanging all the mug rugs with clothespins on the tree outside for our mini photo session of mug rugs. The colors pop right out on this grey morning. The swap only asks for two mug rugs, but I haven't made up my mind which ones yet.  I just found out yesterday about my secret swap partner and to see if she would like them.

Friday, January 21, 2011

a new family favorite :: chicken strips in beer batter

Leland asked me for years if I want a deep fryer, but I didn't want one. About two years ago I thought a deep fryer would be neat due to a Thanksgiving dinner on which I got to try homemade sweet potatoe chips. I absolutely do NOT like sweet potatoes. Nobody here. However, these chips were really good. Deep frying is not the healtiest way to cook, so I still had no reason to purchase a deep fryer. Last week finally got me to say yes years after asking again and again - as with the bread maker, the freezer, ..... I said NO for years. So now I am trying to figure out how to use it.

Today I tried to make Chicken Strips in Beer Batter. After dipping the chicken strips into batter and adding one layer into the deep fryer, it look good. Until I got to the part to take it out, because it was stuck in the basket. So I only got it out in pieces, but it tasted really good.  The leftover are already gone, too, because Leland couldn't pass by without munching on them.

Well, the recipe is great, but how do NOT get it stuck in my frying basket and get the strips out in one piece?

Chicken Strips in Beer Batter
  • large egg
  • 3/4 cup beer
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 chicken breast halves; skinless, boneless
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
Beat the egg lightly with a whisk. Beat in the beer, then the dry ingredients, whisking until smooth. Cover and let stand for 25 to 30 minutes before using. Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over a medium-high heat until oil reaches desired temperature of 360 degrees (or use deep fryer). Using tongs to hold chicken strips, dip in batter; allow excess to drip off. Remove and carefully lower, one by one, into the hot oil. After about 1 minute, turn the strips. Continue to turn the strips occasionally until they are golden, cooking for a total of 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to to a paper towel lined tray. Pat more towels on top to absorb excess oil. Serve immediately with barbecue sauce or sweet and sour sauce.

Serves 3 to 4.

first attempt on rug mugs started

Somehow I could not resist to join this swap last minute and signed up in the middle of the night. It is a chance to try out a new pattern and turn it into a small mug rug. And even with everything going on I will take the time to sew a little or more again and again.

Mug Rug Swap 

In this house almost everything just has it spot and it is not able to move many things around to improve or get a change. We add some color on the first walls in the kids' rooms. Yesterday we moved the computer table out of the kitchen. Now there's a corner empty there and I a small table will get a home there, so the sewing machine can move from the kitchen table over there.

I don't recall myself sewing 1.5" squares before. They are tiny. However, the sizing fit perfectly for my first attempts of making  mug rugs. One of the patterns is already cut in a little bit bigger size, too, to keep and either way might end up as couch pillow or small wallhanging. Couch pillows are still on my to-do-list to exchange the plain beige ones the couch came with and bring some more color in and a little bit softer cushions to snuggle in, too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

just a touch of color

The day is a little gray outside and it is  pretty quiet in the house. Vincenzo is laying on the couch and little Antonio in snuggling next to me. He is all worn out after rowdying through the house and taggling himself up in my sewing machine and thread cone. He is literally obessed with the sewing machine, not just for sleeping.

But he slept in my lap for a while, when I work a some more on a WIP. It has gotten quite big already, but of couse, when I cut big pieces and add them. Figure. I planned on using yellow prints as a touch of color to the comtrast the black and white, but I just didn't find the right ones anywhere I looked, so I changed to red with a few of my most favorite pieces of fabric. I am back to a stop until I found the right fabric for the border, I know what I am looking for, but unfortunately can't dig one out of my blue schrank.

While shopping for xmas present in the Hobbylobby, I came across this book and could just not resist after browsing through it. The girls love the ideas in the book and have a hard time to make up their minds which one to start with. I like the part that I can adjust all the crafts  or just them as ideas to include all three of the kids and can include Soren as well. He is already happy when scissors or paint is included.

Soren is growing like crazy and finally started talking more. Sometimes it is a guesswork to understand what he wants, but he is trying really hard, even that does not stop his independency and curiosity. He is best friend with Antonio and always drags him around. The kitten doesn't mind at all and is all happy and cozy with him, besides the occasionally playfully scratching and biting.

A couple of days ago, Soren, now 3 1/2, came all upset in the kitchen and told me that all his pull-ups are gone. He only used them at bedtime. because nothing can get this kid awake if he doesn't want to. It was late and we do not live right around the corner of a pull-up supply store. He went to bed without and I expected him to be all soaking wet, but had my hopes up for not. I added an extra towel on his sheet and his mattress has a waterproof cover anyway, because often not even the pullup is enough. I talked with him and repeated again and again. Don't pee in your bed.  But in the middle of the night he started crying and woke up on his own to go pee. It worked. At least for one night. The next night he cried again to go pee, but made it through dry. And now after several days he is even sleeping through and no soaked pull-ups, pjs or bedding anymore. Finally. I am all proud of my big boy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

project 2011.#2 - cars beanbag

Soren is home the second day from school because he still had temperature last night. After sleeping in really long he just got up in time to see me zipping up his new beanbag slipcover. He inherited Chiara's Hannah Montana beanbag in all purple tones. It had stains on, so we emptied the beanbag of its filling and washed the cover. Meanwhile I of course had the crazy notion to decide that it just didn't fit in his blue painted room. I had some Cars fabric in my stash and leftover jeans fabric from Bella's cowgirl skirt. So with some more red and some improvisation we made all the fabric last cover the old beanbag. Soren is all smiles and already dragged it back in his room.

I loved that I got to use more fabric out of my stash and didn't need to go shopping neither for fabric nor zipper to get this project done.

- Fabric Stash Reduction -

Monday, January 17, 2011

project.2011.#1 - canvas clock

It was laying on our kitchen table. The top almost finished. Only the four corners had to be sewed together, but Antonio stopped any further progress when he took a nap in the middle of the sewing machine.

The next morning after finsihing the last stitches I got out the powertools, guerilla tape, and a sharp knife and went to work. And the first project for this year is all finished and not just started like all others ones. It took a little while to figure out the clock work and I have to admit Leland is right - rechargeable batteries are not working well in clocks.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

mugs, rugs, rats, cats, ...

Pictures, pictures, pictures, ...

One of those warm December afternoons we went the opposite directions after school pick up as usual and went out to the Citypark with the little and big friends. Even Brynne came along, we just sent Bella shopping with Dad that afternoon.

Now in January I get to enjoy my Christmas present from Karin. My cup and an adorable mugrug she made. Thank you.  Mugrugs were on my perhabs I will do them someday list, just because they are cute. But I already have one and a very special one, too.

While Chiara and her friend had a sleepover which happened at our house, even I didn't see the girls all evening long and they were asleep BEFORE everybody else in the house, Bella hung out with me - sketching all night long. This morning, too. Soren now, too, but he cut his paper up and his drawings out afterwards. lol

I finally started stitching on one of the smaller projects. Everything was already prepped and cut out since a little while and all we had to dig out was a variety of buttons out of my collection. Perhaps I even get to finish it today after doing laundry. We are not going anywhere it is pouring outside.

Somebody put a stop into my sewing last night after already having his paw all time in between and climbing and jumping all over the table, my lap and between my feet. I guess he had a good reason for it.

It didn't stop these two to join forces and occupy my whole pillow after their nightly dog and cat fight in our bed. They didn't move for anything.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

two started projects are truly not enough

The last week I did not really sew a stitch. I did not have the time nor neither was I really in the mood. It didn't stop me from started several more projects and having a few little ones just waiting to get fixed. But my biggest fixing project is in the works and my laptop is mailed of to repairs. Just because of two little keys not functioning. Perfect timing. Right on the last days before my original warrenty is running out. Now I switch between the old slow desktop PC to get my college work done and printed and Leland's notebook to be able to upload pictures.

- Luckily you don't get to see the stove top -

 Inbetween we did a fixing up job on the house and got a new stove. This old one here is I bet as old as the house. 20 years and counting. Already sparking. Burning everything in the oven in the back and from the bottom and not getting the front baked and it's plainly a mess. It's sitting in the garage now. Until we figure out what to do with it.

After having the new stove sitting in the middle of the kitchen it was still necessary to remove several pieces from the kitchen built-in to get the new one in. That did take some time.

While the previous installer's did a master's job on the 220 plug there is gaping hole in the kitchen wall. Of course curious Antonio has to stick his nose inside and if possible sneak all of himselfl inside if I did not catch him in the last second on his back paw. I had no intention on making a bigger hole just to get the kitten back out.

I let Leland use his carpentry skills to cut and saw and whatever else he had to do to make a dusty mess and to get the new stove fitting in PERFECTLY. We still have an old kitchen, but it is already looking up.

The saw dust and mess is gone again and the kitchen will be open for cooking and baking again as soon as I figure out all these buttons.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

more as one excuse

The kids went back to school this morning, but it seemd they had a much easier time getting up earlier again as me. I had a real hard time staying awake after dropping the kids off at school and it was just too cold in the house, so snuggling back under the covers just happened to be the best option. A little while later the cats and the puppy joined me in the living room and while Leland and I watched the last episodes off Torchwood from BBC, I got started with cutting the fabric for my first project of the year and even sewed the first strips together until I ran out of white fabric. With the football game going on the telly screen there was no way that I spent all evening on the couch with Leland. Soccer you might get me to watch, football is still a lost cause. Nevertheless I started on the second project of the year, cutting the fabric and piecing it as far as possible until it came to the one missing fabric. Obviously with two started projects needing fabric, does this not allow a trip to the fabric store? 

Now I just need to choose the one color and fabric that just makes these fabrics pop.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

times two

There is already a long list of I-would-love-to-do-projects for this year. One does include this jellyroll and was all ready to go until I noticed that it is not enough fabric and unfortunately that store is not just around the corner. So today all of us made a trip to stroll through Ikea and I added one of the shortest stops ever to
JoAnn to get a second jellyroll and resisted to look for more. Now I just need to find some energy to get started with this project or one of the many others.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


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