Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wool Felt Flower Headband


My friend Jen (and for a while the only follower on this blog) had her 29th birthday again this week. I decided to make her a cute little headband (and ended up making two).

For the wool felt flower headband, I only needed a few things:

  • Few square inches of wool felt (I bought a 4" strip at Joann's fabric for $1)
  • Embroidery floss
  • Coordinating fabric for the bottom
  • Headband
  • Fabric Glue
Step One: I found a flower shape in clip art, and cut my flower around that.  
Step Two: Using two threads of some off-white embroidery floss, I did a saddle stitch around the edge,     as evenly as I could manage.  
Step Three: Cut out a small yellow circle for the center, and saddle stitch around that on top of the red flower.
Step Four: Glue a small circle on the bottom of your flower to cover up some of your threads
Step Five: Glue to the headband, and it's all done!  Wait until it's dry until you wear it!

Note the weird people sitting behind us... they didn't speak to each other.

For the big flower headband, I used the directions here.  It was very easy!!

I don't know if Jen knows how close she came to only getting one headband - or none!
Plant Dyed Wool Felt SquaresScunci Effortless Beauty Skinny Plastic Headbands, 4-Count

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Easy Huevos Rancheros

This is a protein packed breakfast!  It's easy to make, and actually pretty healthy.  Here's my version.  There's lots out there, but this one is simple; pre-made guacamole and canned black beans get this to your table quickly.

1 Can of black beans
1 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Guacamole (I used a 100 calorie pack)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour Cream (optional)

1. Empty contents of black bean can into a pan with the cumin, garlic powder, and a bit of salt and pepper.  Bring the liquid to a boil, and keep on high heat until most of the liquid is gone.  Keep on very low heat while you work on the other steps.
2. Char your tortillas by dragging over the stove top.
3. Cook your eggs like you prefer; I did sunnyside up with some butter-like spray.  2 per big person, 1 for the little person (her yolks get cooked through).  I've done scrambled before, and that's just as yummy.
4. While the eggs cook, spread your guac over the tortilla, followed by your black beans, and a spoonful of salsa.
5. Layer the eggs on top of all the other good stuff, and top with cheese & sour cream if you want (and I always do).

My husband always asks how it's supposed to be eaten.  I prefer fork and knife, but he ends up making a burrito.  My toddler loves beans, and enjoyed this dish.  She dropped some, and said, "Uh-oh beans!"

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Banana Split Waffle Sunday

I'm so exhausted after Father's Day!  No wonder Shawn took me out to breakfast instead for Mother's Day.  This year Shawn requested a waffle with ice cream and strawberries.  I decided to try it with a twist: mix bananas in the waffle and make it a Banana Split Waffle Sundae!

I started with a standard buttermilk waffle recipe, and added 2 mashed bananas.  I cooked per the waffle maker's instructions, about 3 - 3.5 minutes.  On top of the waffle I added a scoop of ice cream, strawberry sauce, whipped cream, and sprinkles.  It was such a decadent breakfast!

Presto 3510 FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker
This is the waffle maker we have, I love it!
After breakfast, Shawn requested to go to the flea market a few towns over.  We walked up and down the aisles, no big finds.  We did get Finding Nemo for $4, and I bought a couple of frames to practice my antiquing skills on.

We stopped at a favorite farm, and picked strawberries.  Fiona picked them off the ground, and we'd have to toss them back when she wasn't looking.  This was a great opportunity to show her where food comes from, and how we get it.  Not sure how much she got out of the experience, but we all enjoyed it.

While Shawn and Fiona watched Finding Nemo, I worked on dinner: Tempeh burgers with cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, and balsamic caramelized onions, corn on the cob, and roasted potatoes.  For dessert we had strawberry shortcake with our own strawberries.  What a day!   
Strawberries from farm to table

Here are some more great books on buying foods from local farms: The Farm to Table Cookbook: The Art of Eating LocallyEarth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm

Friday, June 17, 2011

Father's Day Memo Board

My Dad has always collected stamps.  He's got an entire room at the house devoted to stamps, and goes to stamp shows and the whole thing.  I don't see the appeal, but it makes for some easy gifts.  I had bought (many years ago) some stamp fabric, not knowing what I'd do with it.  I somehow got the idea to do a memo board, and was all set to start from scratch when I saw this one at Michael's for only $4.99!

Here's what you need:

  • Memo Board
  • 3/8 Ribbon
  • Fabric to cover
  • Glue Gun
  • Fabric Glue
  • Staple Gun
  • Pliers if necessary
  • Tape (optional)
I first decided to see what was under the black felt in the back.  I was in luck, because everything was glued on and easy to peel off!  I had to unscrew the hooks as well.  I pulled off the buttons and put them aside for later.  I also pulled off the ribbon.  I left the blue fabric as is, and just worked on top of it.

Me & "Burnsie" the Glue Gun
To start, I covered my board with my (ironed) fabric.  I taped it as I went until I was satisfied - then glued it down with the glue gun.  Next was the ribbon...  I had tried to mark where the ribbon originally went, but inadvertently covered my marks with the fabric.  Where the buttons had been were divots, so I was able to use those as my guide.  I taped those down as I went, then stapled where the button would go.  I glued the ends of the ribbon on the back with the glue gun as well.

The buttons came next, and they are the hardest.  I was able to disassemble them into three pieces - fabric covering, metal button top, and plastic bottom.  Cut out a small circle of your co-ordinating fabric and cover the button.  This is where I used a bit of fabric glue and just worked it until it was smooth.  They do sell button cover kits, and that might have made it easier:
 Dritz Aluminum Cover Button Kits-Size 30 3/4 Inch 5/Pkg

After I had my buttons covered, I glued those on with the hot glue gun as well.  I screwed the hardware back on the back and glued down the felt.  Voila!  This project only cost me $5.49!

**Update - I gave this to my Dad today when we saw him, and he told me the stamps on the fabric are real stamps, and not just a design!  Very neat!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fourth of July Rag Wreath

What could be easier than a rag wreath?

All you need is a coat hanger, scraps of fabric, and a ribbon to hang it.  I also used pliers to shape my coat hanger.  My only cost was the ribbon at $2.50, since I already had a pile of fabric to work with.

Here's a quick tutorial on how to put this together.  When I do this myself, I actually skip around with the steps.  I get really bored of doing the same thing over and over and over.  

Step One:

For a patriotic look, pick reds, whites, and blues.  I really like to play around with colors and textures here.  I especially love pairing whites and ivories.  When you step back and look at your finished product, you won't be able to tell the individual fabric patterns, but a whole wreath.  It's a great place to use up scraps, and a great place to hide that fabric that you brought home and then realized it was really, really ugly.

Step Two:

Use some pliers that you can form your hanger into a wreath shape.  If you want, you can add a little masking tape if the edges are sharp.

Step Three:

Cut your fabric into strips.  The strips can really be any size - play around with it and see what length looks good!  Mine were generally 1" to 1.5" wide and around 10" to 12" long.  You end up trimming anyway, so don't worry about the length too much.  This is a project I try not to fuss too much with - I just guesstimate and see what looks good to my eye.  Knot them on one by one.

Step Four:

To make it look very patriotic, I made red and white stripes, and then a blue and white section.  When you think you've got enough on, squish the fabric together and add more.  I like a fuller look to my rag wreaths, so I added as much as I could.  When you're satisfied with the amount of strips on there, trim it up.

Use a coordinating ribbon and hang yours up.  I decided  it looked simpler and cleaner without a big bow, and just letting the ribbon drape.

This is a fun project that you can really do anytime.  I did mine mostly while watching TV, but I contemplated also doing it in the car.  

Have a happy and safe fourth of July!  

Now That's What I Call The U.S.A. (The Patriotic Country Collection)Fiskars Softouch Scissors, Left/Right Hand, 8 Inches, 3.25-Inch Cut (99117097)Neiko Mechanic's 6-piece Cushion Soft Grip Pliers Set, Retail with Pouch

Four Steps to Perfect Green Beans

I always thought I hated green beans.  Growing up we had them only one way: straight from the microwave into the freezer.  As an adult, and as a vegetarian, I've tried to find more vegetables that I like and that means trying the really weird looking or sounding ones, weird smelling ones, and ones I hated as a kid.

Last summer I discovered that I really do like green beans!  I had just not cooked them right before!  Sorry, Mom...

There are FOUR easy steps to the perfect green beans:

1. Rinse and trim your beans
2. Boil for 3-4 minutes
3. Plunge them in an ice bath 
4. Saute with enough olive oil and garlic (a little or a lot, your choice), season with salt & pepper 
    *Optional, add red pepper flakes in step 4 to kick it up a little.

When you blanch a vegetable, you are just halting the cooking process by boiling for a brief time and placing the veggies in ice.  You can keep them in their ice bath for a little while if you've got other things cooking.

This is the best way I've found to cook green beans.  Now I've got to step up the other parts of my dinner!

Calypso Basics 5 Quart powder coated Colander, LimeRachael Ray Stoneware EVOO Oil Bottle with Funnel, OrangeRachael Ray Hard Anodized Nonstick 5-Quart Oval Saute Pan with Glass Lid, Orange