Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Craftiness is Contagious

It's beginning to be a lot more fun creating things nowadays. With this "open schedule" of sorts, I can make whatever the hell I want. Yes, I still have some custom orders that are coming in, but I am not cramming for any specific event right now.

Plans for the Summer festival scene are creeping in on me very quickly! I just got notice of an annual festival that already has everything lined up! How's that for organization?! Other festivals are making announcements, looking for bands, performers, and vendors. Better get my ass in gear and figure out what the hell I'm going to do!

My friend Heather's been so inspired lately, I truly believe it's rubbed off on me! There is NO excuse for me not to get into my fabrics and get some shit done!

Yesterday was a fairly productive day for me. I listed another pair of panties on my Etsy shop:

This dragonfly bum has become the most popular design for my batik panties. I mean, who wouldn't want a dragonfly on their ass?? Another pair to come soon--just need to tweak a few photos.

Here's a top I made yesterday. I usually don't like to let the cat out of the bag, before I list it for sale. But ya'll are my crafty-peeps, and I don't mind showin' ya!

This one is made from all hemp jersey. I had originally planned on doing a series of large dots on the hip for the applique, but then I thought it looked kin of boring. Like, who's gonna "get" it when they see it?

I also started on a cotton calico dress yesterday. It's been a while since I'd worked with the cottons, but I was recently inspired to pick some up and get to work.

I plan on making it into one of my goddess style dresses. I won't tell you what it will end up looking like, but I will let you in on the color scheme and patchwork border I plan on sewing in.
Hopefully I'll get that dress done today and start on something else! Pin It

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Here's a great way to please your casual dinner guests. You know, the people who you tell to go get their own fucking drinks from your frig. Don't bother asking your friends what they want on their pizza--they're gonna get the pizza you make, and damnit! They're gonna LIKE it!

I just made a crust from a bread machine cookbook I have. If you want to slave over this and make the dough with your own two hands, be my guest. Believe me, no one is going to care or give a shit that you let a machine do the work for you.

Make up a super quick pizza sauce using:
  • a glug of olive oil
  • chopped fresh garlic
  • finely chopped onion
  • can of tomato sauce
Bring the olive oil garlic and onion up to a sizzle and let her rip for a few minutes, til the onions get soft. Add the tomato sauce and season with any or all of the following:
  • thyme
  • savory
  • basil
  • oregano
  • red pepper flakes
When the dough beeps in the machine, you should have all of your ingredients ready to make the pizza.

We used mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and asparagus. I probably should have sauteed the asparagus with some garlic beforehand, as I did with the mushrooms, cuz they did have a good bit of crunch to them after we baked the pizza.

Form the crusts into small circles beforehand, and let them sit on wax paper til you are ready for them.

Load em' up and bake them at 450 til golden brown.

We served these with some of the veggie patties that I made, this time using broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and cheddar. I made up a quick dipping sauce for it using sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Pin It

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Burnin my Lips on Potato Corn Chowder

Hope you guys dig the new blog layout. Lemme know what ya think.

But, yeah, I'm a frequent taster when it comes to my cooking. Usually I give it a blow or two and take a taste, but last night I burned my tongue and lips from tasting this kick-ass soup. Be careful you don't do the same. Thick soups and sauces are like volcanic lava, just so ya know. It's chowdah, baby, and it's sooooo good!!

Potato Corn Chowder
  • 1 Tbsp butter (or olive oil)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced fine
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, diced
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 can evaporated milk (or about 1 cup cream, milk, or broth), divided
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of Savory herb
  1. Saute the carrots and onion in a medium pot for about 5 minutes, or until softened and slightly golden. Add garlic and stir to cook, another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce and let cook for about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in frozen corn, and continue to cook for 10 minutes more.
  4. In a small bowl, combine flour with 1/3-1/2 cup of milk, whisking to combine until there are no more lumps. Add to the pot and stir to combine. Allow the soup to come to a boil and thicken for a few minutes.
  5. Add the remaining milk, season with salt and pepper and a pinch of Savory, Thyme, or any other fresh herb you like.
Makes about 4 very hearty servings. Pin It

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Warmin the House Up

We got our new couch delivered last week and we are in love with it. On the furniture store website, they had a sale with a certain brand that included 2 free throw pillows with each couch purchase. That turned me on. So after we picked out the couch, I went over and picked up a throw pillow, asking the guy if these were the ones we got for free with the couch. He told me the brand we had picked was not included in the sale. Figures! So I thought, eh, maybe we'll just pick a couple up anyways. Then I looked at the price tag. $50 for ONE freaking pillow???? Forget it! It's just a simple upholstery pillow--no frills, and obviously NOT handmade. So I got to thinking, like do about a LOT of stuff--I can make that! We also picked out an ottoman that didn't really match the couch and recliner that we'd picked out. But it was so awesome cuz you could lift up the top and store like ALL kinds of shit!

I decided to make a couple of pillows that would match all the pieces, and even more color, if we decide to incorporate another color. Ha! Like we have color themes going on in this house! It's a little bit of this and a little bit of that. We've NEVER bought any furniture before. We've had lots of good hand-me-downs, stuff that's been around for a while.

Anways, here's the two pillows I made, and little glimpse of what the couch looks like.

I used a mix of scrap hemp fabrics for the fronts of them. The back of one has another piece of hand-dyed hemp canvas, and the other piece is some cotton canvas I got at Joann's a while back in the remnant section. I like to make the pillows with an opening in the back in case ya wanna wash them or replace the insert. I ended up re-using an insert from a pillow I'd gotten back in the 90's. It was time to put that baby to rest--the old cover, and re-fluff the insert. I might go back and fill in some more batting on it, since it's flattened quite a bit.

After sewing one up, I decided they would have buttons too. Not only to add to the cute-ness factor of them, but to help keep it from bulging in the back. On one I used some antler buttons I'd gotten from a trade back in '07 at Floyd Fest and the other has some cowry shells. I added the dragonfly--my favorite applique to the fronts, using a quick and simple raw edge strait-stitch. I figure if they fray a bit, it will look cool, and if it frays too much, I'll just sew it again!

On Sunday night we ran out of propane. Sure does get cold here pretty quickly! I'm not sure why the people that run Blue Flame are such assholes in the office. When I called to see when the delivery was for our road, she kind of sighed, and said "What's the account name", all in that same sigh. Sor-ry for makin' ya have to punch those letters into that computer, missy! It is SO annoying when people act like they are doing you a favor by doing their fucking jobs!!!

So a new delivery guy came up yesterday morning, and was nice as can be. After a quick febreeze spray in the house, we let him in to check on the furnaces, light them, and check for leaks. Last time they charged us for "maintainance", since we'd run completely out, they didn't check for ANYthing. Now we know what' they are supposed to do, and they won't be yankin' our chain around next time!!

Back to the Sewing
I'm finally beginning to feel the sewing mojo coming back around here. I'd been super stressed from the holidays, and my clothing kind of went on the back burner. One of the factors has been this broken (but very important!) part on my serger.
It cracked a while back, and starting catching the fabric as it fed into the machine. It took me a while to figure out what it was, but I finally took some pieces off to see what was going on. The part isn't easy to find. The first time I bought one (right after it happened) in the summer, I was charged for the part ($50 for the damn thing!), but never received it. I looked around for another, but kind of gave up.

My back-up serger (My ORIGINAL Janome MyLock 134) needs to be serviced, as the timing is off, and has been skipping stitches. I'd been using that, and decided to go take a look at the broken one again. I brought it up to my landlord who is a welder, and asked if he could look at it. After about 6 weeks of it sitting on his desk, I came up to retrieve it, hearing that his tools would probably melt it. Back to square one. So I figured, what the hell do I have to lose, I'll super-glue it. And it worked! For about 6 months more. Then the glue wasn't holding anymore. I found the part on eBay and ordered it. Well, I got a part, but it didn't fit. Figuring I was on my way to a major chew-out to the seller, that this did NOT fit my serger, I soon realized when I checked the auction, that I bought the WRONG part. FUCK!

While trying to install it, what do I do? Scratch the fucking plate with my screwdriver! Now I can't even return it to him! So I go back on and find one that looks JUST like mine, but it is for a different model number. I order it, telling him that I need it ASAP, for my model machine. He writes back and tells me that the one I just bought won't fit my serger either, but that he did have one that will fit it. Yay! So the (hopefully) right part will be here very soon and I'll be stitchin away back to normal.

I have a wrap skirt I'm working on, but need to get to the store for a few new supplies. Can't wait to share that with you all! Pin It

Thursday, January 8, 2009

From my Abuela's Oven

My mother was born and raised in Uruguay, South America. She later came to the US to marry my father and continue on to raise our family. My grandparents soon followed, then returned to Montevideo to live out the last years of their lives.

I remember my grandmother would always have pizza waiting for us when we would go visit her in Dearborn, MI from our home in MD. No matter what time of day it was when we arrived, she had several rectangle pies ready for us to chow down on. She'd put finely chopped onions in the sauce, uncooked, and even though I hated it as a child (and still don't like 'em raw), I crave for those savory slices, dotted with her chunky tomato sauce and sprinkle of cheese. Easy does it, was the way for her pizzas; not overloaded with sauce and ridiculous amounts of cheese like we do here in the US. It's no wonder we are such a fat fucking country.

Anyways, so another dish Abuela would make was her Uruguayan specialty, Pasqualina. Pronounced "Pah-kwa-lee-nah". She would make every bit of it from scratch, because that's how they roll in Uruguay--none of that processed crap. Nowadays, my mother has found a good source of pre-made Pasqualina pastry from a local Latino market down in MD.

I made the dough for this dish from scratch, cuz, well, ya ain't gettin' the pre-made dough way the fuck out here! A pie crust would work, too, I guess.

There were also some additions and modifications. Grandma never added any other kind of cheese except Parmesan (or some other hard cheese), and she didn't use Artichokes, either. She also hard-boiled the eggs and sliced them in half, letting the dough drape over the eggs, making beautiful mounds that we all fought for.

If you put your knife into flour, it will make chopping the butter wayyyy easier.

Rolling out the dough. Had to combine some of the balls cuz it was getting really thin, and the dough was easily tearing. Haha--my balls are thin!

Getting started on the filling: onions and garlic.

All filled up and ready to bake. I admit, it was fun "digging" holes for the eggs. . .

Sprinkle the top with sugar--cuz that's how Abuela did it. . .

Yum! All baked and ready to eat! Had a little extra filling so the little guy was my "test" sample.


Dough Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour (could use half whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp chilled butter
  • 4 Tbsp shortening
  • 4 Tbsp ice cold water
  1. Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening, and cut in, using a pastry cutter or two butter knives until it resembles coarse crumbles.
  2. Stir in enough cold water to make a dough and form into a ball.
  3. Knead a few times on a lightly floured surface and form into a log. Cut into 8-10 portions and roll into balls.
  4. Set aside under a damp towel to rest for at least 1 hour.
Prepare the filling:
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp each Oregano and Thyme (use fresh if ya got it)
  • pinch of nugmeg
  • 1 1/2 packages frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup (about 8 pieces) quartered artichoke hearts, thawed (or drained, if using jarred)
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice (could reduce this to 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives with Pimentos (didn't have these so I used garlic stuffed)
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk (reserve white for later)
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Aged Gouda
  • salt and pepper
  1. Saute onions in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  2. Add the spinach and artichokes, stirring in the herbs to combine. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients and set aside.
Get 4 more eggs out of the frig and set aside. Next, prepare the Dough:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk the reserved egg white in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Brush a pie dish with oil or melted butter and set aside.
  4. Remove half of the balls and keep the rest covered while you work. Roll each ball into a circle large enough to cover your pie dish, then brush each layer with olive oil. Repeat with the other balls.
  5. Place the layered dough circles in pie dish and prick a few times with a fork.
  6. Fill the pie shell with the spinach filling, making 4 indentations for the eggs.
  7. Carefully drop eggs into the reserved "holes", pressing the filling around as necessary to maintain a nice round shape.
  8. Repeat the procedure above for the remaining dough balls.
  9. Place the final layers of dough over the filling , trimming and patching as necessary. Use a fork and crimp around the edges.
  10. Brush with a beaten egg white and sprinkle with 1/2 to 1 tsp sugar
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for at least 40 minutes. Bake until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.
This is delicious cold, too! Pin It

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Gettin' Some Veggies in the Boy. . .

Here was my chance to get some veggies in my husband that he normally wouldn't touch. I even put some onion in there. But sshhhh! Don't tell him that!

These are SOOOOOO freaking good!

Mix all ingredients until combined, but do not over-mix or they won't be as tender. Add fresh herbs if you'd like!

Pan fry over medium-high heat in a bit of olive oil. Many recipes will have you put an inch or more of oil in the pan and fry them that way. I find my method of just a drizzle of olive oil at the bottom of the pan works just as well and is a LOT less greasy. Place these in a very low oven to keep warm. You can bake these for an additional 5-10 minutes after pan-frying to get the extra crispy.

Re-heat on a baking sheet briefly to retain crispness.

You really gotta squeeze the shredded veggies out so they get crisp. Grab a glass and squeeze those carrots into it--you'll have a lovely shot of Carrot juice!

I bet they would be delicious made in a bigger size and thrown on a bun or wrap! We ate them with ketchup, and ranch dressing, along with some twice baked potatoes.

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Scores on Etsy

Be sure n check out the poll featured on the right. Vote now!

The holidays had me so freaking stressed this year. My friend and I vowed to get the hell out of town next xmas. Drinking Bahama Mamas on the beach sounds WAYYYY better. I'm not sure why it hit me so hard this year. But Etsy sure did help a lot. Nothin easier than cruisin online, picking some stuff out, then have it mailed to ya.

I got this Chore Chart from Children's Woodland for my nephew.
I was pretty certain he would just throw this gift on the floor and move on to the battery-operated made in China crap that was scattered all thru-out the living room. Kids seem to be attracted to this shit so much more, but I'm NOT buying into it. He was actually quite eager to get into the gift. Even though he told me he hated the person who made it for him, I'm pretty sure my sister-in-law loves it and it will come in handy in their home. Got kids? Put 'em to work!

I got one of my neices this kick-ass handmade cloth book from PB J&J
The pages are filled with touchy-feely things that babies love so much. The best page is the very last one--makes ya wanna go make one of those sammies yerself!
My other neice (my twin sister's daughter) got this stocking I made for this years inventory.
When I saw my sister admiring it at my mom's open house, I insisted that Mya have it. Although I didn't photograph it, I did end up putting her name along the top of it. Inside, I put a cozy pair of striped socks, and a Peacock t-shirt I'd made that I was certain was JUST for her during the batik process. Check her babydoll crib sillyness out during NYE:

Throwing in something for yourself makes this process a hell of a lot easier.
These earrings from Lavender Cottage are one of my favorite purchases recently.
I've had my eye on these birds jewelers have been incorporating in their pieces for a while now. And then I saw them. They are beautifully hammered and the perfect weight. I've been having my french hook earrings come out of my ears lately, but the weight on these keeps them snug in my lobes. Wouldn't YOU like to be snug in a lobe!

Finally, here's a few pics of the treats I made for loved ones during the holidays. Almost 4 lbs of butter later, I'm just not sure I'll do all this again. I think all the packaging sorta added to the stress of it all. There are just so many sweets going around during the holidays, I just wonder if people actually give a shit about them. And I sure as hell didn't need the extra 6-10 pounds of EATING CRAP during the holidays!!

My favorite: Molasses Sandwich Cookies

A Classic:
Peanut Butter Blossoms

Buttery Rosemary Crackers with Aged Gouda
Adapted from a recipe similar to THIS ONE.

Butter Toffee Crunch
(A staple in my holiday cooking spree)

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