Friday, January 22, 2010

"Fiend" Sewing

As my Mom and I have termed it, I have been "fiend" sewing, or sewing like a fiend.  I think it is a way to try and use bursts of creative energy to ward off winter blues.  I tend to do short projects that can be completed as quickly as possible for maximum anti-depression remedy.  I also try to have some "green" aspect to my crafting by recycling/reusing/upcycling or using conscientious supplies or methods.What have I been working on?

I made removable pillow covers for 2 very sorry pillows I had.  I bought this fabric at a great garage sale last summer for a buck!!   Nice vintage-y texture and wonderful colors.  My Mom sent the fringe in a care package, I think she got it at a rummage sale.

My first knitting, a scarf!!  I received a number of great books on the subject from my Dad-in-love and despite my best attempt to sabotage myself, churned out a skinny scarf!   I found that a local craft shop, Pat Catan's, sells mill ends of yarn.  That is sort of green, no?  It IS cheap though and lets me tinker with the old needles without breaking the bank.
More Applique!!

With the help of Google image, my boys picked out what they wanted on their sweatshirts, happy storm clouds for my stormchasers! I used shirts they had and used up scraps for the applique.  They like the silver shiny lightning bolt!
Upcycled gift wrapping!

Shhhhhhhh... Don't tell Wendy!  Her birthday isn't until Wednesday!  I used a Yogi brand tea box, cut it open and glued it inside out --look how pretty their insides are, all henna-ish!  I made a muslin flower and name tag from a little scrap I had.   Dyed the flower and stamped her name on it.  The raffia was left from a Christmas project from years ago.  I ADORE it!  Hope she likes it, she is very special because she will soon be a Hoffman wife too!

     That's it in a nut shell!  I am working on some other projects too, we will see what wins out, the projects or cleaning the basement! :)

P.s.  To my friends and family getting this by an email subscription, you can always go to HERE to see the pics and blog

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Little Vladdie is awesome. So is Wolfie. Heck, we come from a long line of awesomeness.

Vlad, or as his big brother calls him, Little Vladdie, has been saying so many cute, hilarious things lately.  Of course, my atrophied brain can't recall what most of them are.  Therefore, I am taking time to jot these ones down here:
He told me he likes to "kiss and squish" which of course means kissin' and huggin'.

In the tradition of his brother, Wolfie, he likes to say very random things in his sleep, or in the wee hours when he is up and me, not so much.  Sometimes he just says things about kittens or tornadoes.  This morning he said in a rather surprised tone, in the darkness of pre-alarm clock land "My eyebrows, they're gone!"  (searches around his forehead)  "Where is them? Is they on the pillow still?"

He is still talking about Tornadic supercells.  He calls his yogurt a yogurtic supercell.  He loves to imitate stormchasers "Tornado on the ground east.  Tornado on the ground west!  Oh my God!"

Here's some big news...WOLFIE IS REALLY READING!!!  It is so exciting to watch him discover how powerful this super power is.  I am beyond proud!  I remember being so amazed by this process with Jassy too.  It is unbelievably exciting!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I finally conquered veggie (vegan) Hot Dogs!

After several batches, I came up with a recipe for veggie hot dogs that suits my family's palate.  The nice thing about this recipe is it is for a basic hot dog.  It will accommodate many tastes as is, but could be reworked by adding favorite spices, such as red pepper flakes to become a specialty dog.  There really aren't many recipes out there.  I first tried the recipe on this site, thrifty living, which was really good, but too tofu-ish and soft for my taste.  I also looked at vegan Dad's recipe, but did not try it.  I combined this with my experience working with seitan and finally came up with this recipe after several tries.  Here goes!

Veggie (Vegan) Hot Dogs
1/2  of a 15.5 oz. can of chickpeas (about 3/4 cup or so)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2/3 cup water
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 tsp paprika 
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 cup + 3 Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten 
1.  Combine in blender all ingredients EXCEPT Vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast.  Liquefy!!!!
2.  Combine this with the vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast in a bowl by hand or in a mixer with a bread hook.  If doing by hand, knead until it no longer sticks to the bowl and is well combined.
3.  Dump out and pat into pizza shape.  Cut into 8 equal slices, like cutting a pizza.

4.  Roll each slice into a hot dog shape and place each on their own piece of foil, close like a candy wrapper. 
If you like a very smooth lovely shape, first wrap with a small piece of parchment paper and then foil.

5.  Place in a steamer with seams facing down and steam for 45 minutes.

6.  You can now eat them or you can chill or freeze for later, dropping the unwrapped defrosted wieners (love that word ;p ) into boiling water for 2 minutes.  They can also be pan fried if you want  that sort of thing.  I imagine these would be nice on the grill, but it is winter, so I'll wait to try that out.
7. Enjoy!!!!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Things I am loving...

 1.  A laundry soap bar from the Asian market.  This little gem is basically like a fels-naptha type bar.  2 for $1, this is my laundry workhorse!  My littlest guy is basically Pigpen from Charlie Brown,and with a little rub of this soap, the stains all seem to come out.

2.Christmas card tradition.  I love to receive Christmas cards, especially with pictures in them and newsletters, yes, I like newsletters.  But then, I know &/or am related to cool talented people that are great writers.  I love to staple all the cards to long velvet ribbons attached to the dining room door jamb.  Then I admire them until the holidays end.  Finally, I get out my fun scissors (pinking shears) and stencils and turn them into next year's gift tags.  They make such beautiful tags and work well with all our fabric gift bags too.

3. Quiddler.  This is a great word game, I can't recommend it enough. You don't need to know big words to win, multiple age ranges can play.

4. On-line tutorials. Thank goodness so many people share their great ideas on the internet, and even take the time to write, photograph or record the way the do it.  I have learned so many things that way!

5. Glass food storage containers.  As I wear out my old plastic food containers, I am replacing with glass jars and containers.  Love how they wash up and last and last.

Happy 2010!

     Ah, the new year, a fresh slate.  I know most people hate resolutions, but I love them.  I like having personal and professional goals every year.  I like how it forces me to see what I like/ don't like about myself, what I'm afraid of, what I want to learn or cultivate.  So what's up for 2010?
    I am going to keep going with our financial plans (debt reduction, no new debt) from last year.  I am going to try to reduce the plastic in our kitchen as much as possible.  I am going to learn to knit/ relearn crocheting.  I will learn to juggle, damnit!  I am going to become stronger, more muscular.  And the big one---focusing on positive, not negative.  Since Grandma got sick and eventually passed away, I have been wallowing in negative junk.  Time to change that.
   So, now what to do about the 5+ pounds I put on over Christmas, hmmmmmm  :p  Oh well, Got resolutions?