Friday, March 25, 2011

just the right flavor

Who does not love to BARBECUE? The smell of grilling meat and veggies, eating outdoors. After being married to a military man for almost 14 years and living in warm region for the majority of the time I had two options - #1 figure out how to use a gas grill or #2 live without barbecue for up to 15 months at a time. #2 was not an option. Still I have to admit, my husband is the better grill master.

In Germany at a BBQ you don't find the here typical bottle of BBQ sauce on table necessarily, but more often a roll of garlic butter to add a slice to melt on top of your steak. Delicious. Some fresh salad and freshly baked baguette and voila. My meal would be done even the kids still would ask for Bratwurst and Semmeln.

While we still lived in Germany we came across recipes to make our own flavored butter. We always made the garlic butter and of course had to try the dried tomato butter as much as I love tomatoes and basil and after more as ten years we are still using these recipes, especially since we are in the States and can't find it so easily in the grocery shelf. This year we finally made the chili butter, too, for once Leland is such a big pepper fan, and because is was more a misunderstanding over the phone while shopping for the ingredients. Luckily, other wise we might never have tried.

- from the left: chili butter, garlic, dried tomato butter -

Now we make a big batch, roll it up and slice it and keep it in the freezer to store and only get out the slices we need. It tastes great with fresh baked bread, grilled meat, .... and to flavor rice, while cooking, ...

Chili Butter

1 red pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1 cup (200 g) unsalted butter, softed
1 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 red or green chilies, seeded and very finely chopped

1. Puree the pepper in a blender or food processor. Drain (with cheesecloth-lined) strainer.
2. Place the butter in a bowl; add the drained pepper puree and the lemon juice and beat until light and fluffy, Mix in the chili and the cilantro, if using, and add salt to taste. Roll in waxpaper and chill.

Tomato Butter

3/4 cup (100 g) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, well drained
1 cup (200 g) unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp shredded fresh basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Puree the tomatoes, then add the butter and blend well. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper. Roll in waxpaper and chill.

Garlic Butter

1 cup (200 g) unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp lemon juice
4-6 garlic cloves, pureed
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper

Place the butter in a bowl and beat with lemon juice until light and fluffy. Add the garlic and parsley, season to taste and mix well. Roll in waxpaper and chill.

*** I use the fresh herbs I can find from parsley, basil and cilantro, not everything is always available year around in the stores here, but luckily our herb garden is offering more this year :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

my little pay it forward :: handmade - projects

A couple of weeks ago I joined in 'Pay It Forward : Handmade'. I posted about it here on my blog and two nice ladies filled 2 of the 3 spots on my part. Thank you.

I knew I didn't have to rush with my little projects, but I first just couldn't make up my mind what to make and then decided on pincushions. I wanted to try out this shape and these patterns, so there was the perfect chance to. Just days before my scrap basket got filled to the rim and I needed lots of time to chose just the right colors.

I hope Julia and Rhonda like finding their little pay it forward gifts in their mail box.

just for little boys

Those two blue onesies are part of my stash since a little while, but I never got to them. That was perhabs good, because I have to admit that even I planned on using them all the time it took even now a little while to get an idea what to add to them and no a tie was simply NOT an option. I saw a cute dino and it took me almsot two weeks to find the pattern in one of magazines again and in the end I didn't even use it. Don't ask me why, because I am still in love with that dino. However this robot is my favorite for right now when I came across a few different robot patterns. I only decided to used fabric for the eyes, too, instead of buttons, because it is for a baby, I didn't want to include a chocking hazard in the appareal.

After we are all little owl fans here, I couldn't say no to add this little fellow on the second onsie. Still it looks like he really needs feet. He is missing feet! What do you think?
The feet have to wait for another day, it is late and I need to come up with an idea for these, but the last night was short and I am tired now. So take care.

Monday, March 21, 2011

last day of spring break

Digging his feet and his hands in the sand. Running at the edge of the water to get it splashing. Seeing the waves rolling upon the beach of the lake. What else does a little boy need?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

one, two, ... four

After my little mishap at the first attempt of following the tutorial on how to make this clutch, I had to try it again - of course. And I just had to play with some more fabrics from my stash. I guess now I have a different little clutch to use for almost every day, if I get to keep them. I already have somebody eyeing them.

- #1 -

- #2 -

- #3 -

- #4 - it is a touch cricket - but I love how the fabric worked, even it was truly not my favorite. -

Garden Report

#1: All the trees, besides the one the dog chewed to the ground and the fig tree which is not showing a sign of life yet made it through winter and slowly but finally showing a sign of spring. Some just tiny yet, but we can't wait to see more growth.
#2: The dog attacked the bamboo shrub. Arrrrrrrrrg. Usually he leaves plants with leaves alone. So we built the next fence circle, we are almost pros now.
#3: Chiara probably drowned 1/3 of our cucumber seedlings with a quick swoop of water instead of a little. We only can hope for survivors.
#4: Our zucchinis seeds are out and growing awesome and soon ready to move outside, and the pepper ones are slowly sprouting, too.
#5; The next little strawberry is turning red.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

green garden :: green sewing

March 17, 2011 : first day of harvest of our garden - one strawberry

Our little seed are growing inside the house and even the zucchinis are finally popping out of the ground.  They are such  stalky little seedlings. We replanted the cucumber seedlings outside in the veggy plot and hopefully there is a chance of survival. The mint and the cilantro are already growing and it smells so good when we brush by  while getting  to the little garden. The basil is right on the other side and really important in our herb department.

It must have been the Irish in the day, because I had no specific preference on what fabric or what color I wanted to use, but I ended up going for green. What a coincidence! I tried a tutorial I actually have seen just a few days ago while searching for more ideas for drawstring backpacks and have seen these clutches today again at Jenny's. Just one exception - I made a mistake and the cute taps are not showing as supposed to and ended up in triangles. It works, but I actually want to get it right, it would looks so much nicer. Here you can find the tutorial @ Noodlehead if you want to try one yourself.

late night update - yeah - I figured it out! I got it right!

Soren really wanted to get his picture taken as my project holder first. It's always 'Me, me, me." The picture with this profesional project holder shows off the ruffles a little bit better.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

mosaic blocks set in stone

The mosaic blocks were a little bit lonely this morning and I was still debating about what color to use as background, but I stuck with my first idea of grey and I do like it. The quilting part is a different story. One step that still needs to be tackled after I am done through working the next chapter in my college book.

fabric stash :: clean up

Our garage is a mess. It always gets cleaned up and within weeks it looks like a bomb explosion in there. In the company of my new little supervisor for outdoor activities - Antonio is  coming outside with us since last weekend while being babysitted by Vincenzo - I finally made a way through the garage again. More stuff got stored out of the way in the attic, the trash can filled and I am reorganizing all my fabric. All the fabric actually moved in the house step by step got folded nicely in stacks AGAIN and sorted by color and even by size.
Now I am actually able to find  the specific piece of fabric when I search for it. Yes, I am still using this old blue wardrobe for storing my fabric.There is no space for it in the house, but I am happy that my sewing machine has a spot that is not the kitchen table.

My scrap basket is full and I even started my own FQ sized collection. My toolbox is filled to the brim, but works great for having these little treasures handy. I finally found the perfect use for it and it fits right next the sewing machine.

How do you store your fabric? Do you keep it neat or need to reorganize them periodically, too?

This is how it look at 9 pm. By now the table is cover in red, orange and yellow scraps for tonights project. I used the Mod Mosaic technique from Oh!Fransson in a small scale. I am planning on using these blocks for a pillow cover, but still need to decide on which background fabric I want use with this combination. I would like more colord pieces in my blocks, but the finished blocks are just 6 1/2" x 7 1/2" and the white strips measure 1/2". I did not necessarily want to make the white strips even thinner to work with.

Monday, March 7, 2011

sewing :: planting :: grilling

Sunday was a relatively simple day. All activities that required leaving house or yard were cancelled and we just stayed home. After a crazy week and don't repeat Saturday it was necessary.

While Soren luckily hogged the back DVD-player to watch Dora and Diego and finally started working on the substitute xmas present that got not delivered at xmas. Somehow I always forget to remind myself that mini quilts need alsmost as much prep time as big ones, just less ironing. Eventually I got to sew most of the pieces together ib the morning, changed colors in between and even handquilted it inthe evening. I think with the binding it will come together nicely.

On the other side I am unsure if we really needed to plant the first seedlings in our vegetable plot yesterday. The kids loved helping doing it and are already pampering the little plants and can't wait for the seeds in the kitchen to sprout, but Chiara and Soren definately had a blast just digging inthe dirt and hoeing away. Perhaps we should have skipped the plants?

The kids are very selective which veggies to plant, but their first request was strawberries. We had no luck last year in the pot, neither with the seeds nor with the little plants. No berries. The plants survived, so they got first in the new garden plot, but I added one new strawberry plant and picked one that has already green strawberries hanging. Just to make sure.

I never was a big fan of yo-yos, but suddenly I like them, especially with buttons. For right now their getting added to headwraps, but I am sure I find something else to use them for. One idea is already in my head, but psst. Can't tell.

Of course after all that working outside yesterday, we had to clean the BBQ and hook it up again to grill for dinner. BBQ chicken strips are just the best and the kids love them. It got just a little too chilly to eat outside by the time we were ready. Next time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

pay it forward :: handmade

There is one spot left  for joining in. It is going to be fun. And doesn't need to be big or complicated. Just handmade. You don't even need to sew, you can be crafty or artsy.

You find all the info right here pay it forward :: handmade.

I contact both that signed up with me via email. If you didn't hear from me, please get back to me because I do need your snail mail to make the UPS extra work.

Don't forget to check out their crafty blogs or join one of these great ladies. Rhonda, the Quilter in the Gap & Julia @ the Blue-J Cottage.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

time for headwraps

No, I didn't plan on decorating headwraps. However it is fun, relaxing and made the girls happy when they came home. My hatbox filled with felt was still sitting on the sewing table and also leftover straps from the last stash project, too. Everything right on hand and who does not love to run her hands through buttons?

These are the first attempts. One made out of felt, the other with fabric flowers, swirls and all buttons.

I chose thin and wide headbands and we noticed the thin ones are also quite a bit smaller. Perfectly little girl sized. Believe me soren tried them with his big head before I could stop him, but no way, even Chiara needs the wider size. Still she loves the grey one. Unfortunately I have a lot of unique buttons in my tin box and this sparkly one was one of these. We will get more ideas and I am sure we also will find a home for the smaller headbands.


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