Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gifts For a Few Friends

My husband is going hometeaching and needed a few goodies to take along.  I made these yummy cookies and packaged them in cute little baggies.  The cookies are Chewy Cherry Chunk!  They have a lot going on but are soooooo good. 

This little tea towel will look sweet in one of our friend's kitchen.  And I am loving the whole pink and black theme.

Chewy Cherry Chunk Cookies

1 cup dried cherries
1 cup boiling water
8 tbs butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped white chocolate
1/2 cup chopped milk chocolate
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.  Place dried cherries in a small bowl and cover with boiling water to plumb cherries.  Let stand 5 minutes, drain and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment,  combine butter and both sugars.  Beat on med. speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add egg and vanilla and beat to combine.  Beat in flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix in cherries, both chocolates and pecans.  Batter should be stiff.  Use large or small ice cream scoop to form balls of dough.  Place balls of dough about 4 inches apart on baking sheets.  Bake until golden brown and just set.  Watch carefully, rotating the sheets to ensure even browning.  Bake about 15 minutes for large cookies and 12 minutes for small.  Transfer sheets to wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to rack.  Store in airtight container for up to one week.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


We use to get these in Fresno at a little shop.  I have never seen them anywhere else but I did learn to make them myself.  They are so good.  Even my kids use to like them.  I don't think they knew they had cabbage in them!  These little gems are a great grab and go lunch or snack.
 This recipe makes about 18 rocks so I freeze the ones we don't eat right away. 
Prepare a batch of bread dough (homemade or frozen) that will make 2 loaves.  Allow to rise until double.  Set aside.
1 lb ground beef
1 small head of shredded cabbage
1 medium onion chopped
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp celery seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
Simmer all of the above ingredients (except dough) in a saucepan for 2o minutes.  Remove from heat and  drain in a colander, pressing gently to remove as much moisture as possible.  Allow to cool.
Pinch off a ball of dough about the size of a golf ball.  Roll out until it is about a six inch circle.  Take  1/3 cup of filling and place in the center of the circle.  Close by folding and crimping edges to seal.  They should look like a roll now.  Place seam side down on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake in a 359 oven for 20 minutes.  Serve with mustard!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stained Ties? Tutorial: Turning them into a boy's tie.

My husband has this little (BIG) problem with staining his ties. I am not sure how he does it, but most of them end up with dry erase marker slashes or who knows what else all over them. I think I have come up with a way to salvage these ties. 
 My 8 yr old loves to wear his dad's ties, but they are always WAY to long and we end up having to tuck the tail into his shirt.  He will be thrilled when he sees what I came up with.
 Cut off the bottom portion (or stained portion).  It was approx. 7 inches in this case.  Unpick the back seem about 6" up the back of the tie. 
 Turn this bottom area inside out and pin together along the bottom.  Make sure to measure and mark the center.  This will become the new point of the tie.
 Sew up at a 45 degree angle from the center point.  Do the same thing on both sides.  Trim really carefully. This will ensure crisp corners when you turn it right side out.
 Turn right side out through the slit up the back.  I ironed at the point.  I placed a towel over the tie and made sure the fabric would iron OK by testing on the scrap I cut off.  Whip stitch the back seam closed making sure that you are catching the lining of the tie with each stitch. 

Just think of the possibilities.  If you find a tie you love, buy two-one for Dad and one for Son.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Not Case

I always have a ton of "things" around me on the TV room couch.  Nail file, tablet of paper, pencil.  You know, all the stuff you need as you watch TV or browse the net.  And it looks terrible most of the time!  I needed something cute to store it all in.  This is what I came up with. 
Check out the adorable fabric.  Just love it.  And since I quilted my own fabric, I was not limited to the few (and mostly ugly) pre-quilted ones that are at the fabric store. 
I lined it with a pretty coordinating fabric.  If you want to make this, I found a great tutorial at The crafty Gemini
Now my "nest" looks much better and I have all my necessities right where I need them.  Diana

Teachers Need New Lunch Boxes Too!

The children have been in school for 4 hours this year, and so far I haven't left my sewing machine.  One of the projects I have been working on is a new lunch bag for teacher (bribery) gifts.  This is a really inexpensive quick project. 

All you need is 1/4 yard of oilcloth and some scrap fabrics. 
First, cut 2: 5"x10" and 1:7"x25" pieces of oilcloth
Take the longer piece and form it into a 'U' shape.  Insert one short piece into the end of the 'U' and sew around with wrong sides facing.  I made 1/4" seams.  When you get to the corner make sure that your needle is down.  Lift the foot and rotate 90 degrees.  Straighten out the cloth, this takes some maneuvering, lower foot and continue stitching.

Once the bag is completed trim the top edge evenly.  Made a casing using a piece of cotton fabric 26"x3".  Create a single fold bias tape using the fabric to sew around the top of the bag.
I love top stitching so I added a few around the trim. I also added some ties so the bag can be closed.   I just need to pick up a few cute Tupperware containers to tuck inside.  Oh, and I love this cute sewing kit to go with it!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just Saying........

"Someone", who will remain nameless, asked me to make them a dinner bib. Seems they are having a hard time keeping their dinner off their shirt! This person has had YEARS of practice eating but apparently, their mouth has moved from it's original position recently......or something.Couldn't pass on the opportunity to add a little something, just to make it fun.

The bib (and I will continue to call it a bib, not a napkin) is made from linen but it has a absorbent towel backing. The strap is attached with a button on one side. Can't wait to see this on "someone". And I hope karma isn't planning revenge. Diana

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Serene Sheep Scene Apron

Say that three times fast..... This is the same pattern apron as the one I posted a few days ago. This time I went serene instead of scary. Both images came from The Graphics Fairy.

I used flat lace on this apron rather than rick rack, and both were made from 100 percent linen. Can a girl have too many aprons? I think not. Diana

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Haunting We Will Go

Let me begin by saying I am not an artist! I have never painted a picture in my life, no tole painting, no oil painting and no classes ever (except for a water color class I took in Korea, but believe me when I say that did not count!) So it was a huge leap of faith when I decided to paint a picture of my own casa...... and haunt it! Grandma Moses style! 16x20 seemed like a good size to get in enough detail. I then went on line to several companies that will take a photo of your home and add ghosties and pumpkins. Just the inspiration I needed.

None of my lines are straight and the perspective is all wrong but I didn't care! It is the overall impression (I kept telling myself) that was important.

A witch in the dining room window, a scaredy cat having a fit and several ghosts flitting around the yard......just a few of the otherworldly visitors haunting my little cottage.

Do you see the spider? I think the ghost is a little scared of it! I used acrylic paint and art pens (for details I couldn't get with a brush). So much fun to make! And if I can do it there is nothing to stop you from doing your own haunted house! Seriously. Diana

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chill Down Your Spine Apron

Is is weird to want to cook wearing an arsenic apron? Should it make guests a wee bit nervous? I whipped this little beauty up in a few hours. It mainly took so long cuz I was photographing each step and made a few ERRORS that I had to fix.

Here is the first one (error, that is). Be sure and print your image in reverse (mirror image)!!!! I didn't figure out what I had done wrong until I went to iron it on!!! It took about 10 minutes to reprint on a new iron-on transfer sheet.

I used linen for the apron. I cut one panel 25x21 on the fold ( becomes 25x42) and 2 strips 25x3 1/4. The fold will become the apron's bottom hem. Fold strips in half lengthwise and press.

Stitch along the long edge and one short edge.

Turn inside out. I used these cool tubes that really make it easy!


With the apron main piece folded in half, (the fold is the bottom hem) stitch along the waist. This will leave you with a tube.

Now tuck apron ties right up along the top seam on each side and pin.

Stitch both sides closed leaving a small 3 inch opening on one side unstitched. Turn apron right side out and close the opening with a whip stitch or iron in tape. Press well.

Now cut 4 strips of black linen 4x48 inches.

Mark two lines at both 2 and 5 inches from the bottom hem on apron.

Fold black strips in half length wise and stitch along long edge and one short edge. Turn right side out, press and turn in and close remaining short edge with slip stitch or iron in tape. Then attach each long finished strip along marked lines to bottom of the apron. I pinned and casually bunched it along so it looked totally imperfect.

Now you are ready to apply your image. Follow manufacturer's instruction. It took about 3 minutes of ironing to get it on well. This is when you will understand why your image must be "mirror"!!! Don't overdue the heat or your image will yellow. Allow to cool completely before removing backing. To camouflage the edge of the iron on, I sewed on black rick rack!

This apron is worn slightly below your waistline, much like those super cool chef ones!

Won't this be great for serving refreshments at a Halloween party, or maybe just to make your sweet hubby a bit nervous as you putter around the kitchen....... Diana

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DIY Spooky Sugar Cubes

Is it too early to be excited about Halloween? I am holding off on the decorating until September is over but that doesn't mean I can't start getting ready. Forget that the temps are hovering around the 90's, these sugar cubes will be great come cooler herbal tea weather. I am showing the white skull first cuz it photographs better than the black.

Use candy or ice cube molds. Take about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and add a few drops of food coloring if desired. Work the coloring in until it is well distributed. Now add water, a few drops at a time, working in well, until sugar becomes a paste. Don't add too much water at a time or the sugar will "melt". Now press firmly into molds and let sit for at least 4 hours or until harden. carefully remove from mold.

The detail is hard to see with the black but these are fantastic in person.

These are little scaredy cats!

Can't you picture serving these on a cold, blustery night?

Can you say "SPOOKY"!!!!! Diana