Friday, August 30, 2013

Ruffled Apron Sew-A-Long Update

So, I posted a week or so ago that I was going to join up with See-Kate-Sew's ruffled apron sew-a-long.  So, where's my apron?  Still in process.  In all fairness to my procrastination though, I have been pretty busy lately.  My work schedule is not a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 kind of gig.  I work every other weekend and if it's my weekend to work, I usually get the a day off in the middle of the week before my weekend and a day off in the middle of the week, following the weekend.  And life gets busy- there's meetings, and laundry, and doctor appointments for the cat, and groceries to buy,  and just life.

But, there's still time!  The sew-a-long goes until September 5th, and I have printed the pattern and picked fabric.  I decided to use the same fabric for the lining as for the ruffles and pocket.  Ready to see?

Grey and orange floral and grey eggshell print.  Both from Joann's.
Sorry, for not ironing it first.  I promise, I will iron it before I cut into it.  The floral is really cool and is grey and orange.  That will be the body.  The lining and the ruffles will be the grey speckled.  It kind of reminds me of a bird's egg.  They're both quilter cottons.

So, I actually work Friday night, and then am off Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  But Saturday and Sunday are filling up fast.  I'm hoping to have the apron done before work on Tuesday.  That'd be the 3rd.  That's doable, right?  I think it'll come together pretty quick once I cut out my fabric.

Any projects you're excited to be working on?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Local Flavors Big Reveal!

Woo hoo!  My local swap partner's package arrived Monday just in time for me to open before work.  And let me tell you, it was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!  My swap partner was Beth from Living a Goddess Life.  She lives in Seattle.  Prior to the swap, I always thought Seattle would be a fun place to visit, but after seeing all the fabulous stuff from there, I want to go.

Honey Badger inspecting the package.
I opened it up and look at all the awesomeness!
Check it out!

Let's see if I can remember everything! 
  • Sons of Profits by William C. Spiedel- a sort of history book about Seattle in the 80s and 90s.
  • A set of pencils- one yarn bombed.  Here's a blog post about yarn bombing of trees.  Trees in Wisconsin could probably use these in the winter.
  • A reusable tote bag in turquoise with little polka dots.  No paper or plastic in Seattle.  It's bring your own bags.
  • Some Julep nail polish.  Julep is from Seattle
  • Some super awesome smelling perfume from Sweet Anthem.  I love it.  It smells kind of woodsy, like patchouli but still really girlie.
  • Mints from "Save the Earth".
  • A poncho and some local canned salmon.  Fish and rain are two things I automatically think of when I think of Seattle.  :)
  • Some Tazo tea!  Love me some Tazo.
  • A hazel crunch candy bar.  (Super yummy!)
  • Seattle author Elizabeth George's book, "In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner"
  • An adorable glass killer whale.
  • Some postcards from Seattle and swag from local businesses.  I love the "Legal Frostitution" sticker from Cupcake Royale (another Seattle business)
  • My very own University of Washington stein!
  • Some new coffee to try from Mazza coffee.
  • And some popcorn from Seattle company KuKuRuZa.  It was cheddar and caramel flavored and SO good.

    So, you can see, I got totally spoiled!  Beth made me want to visit Seattle and try all the local foods and visit all the cool businesses there.

And as you can see, my cat also appreciated the package.

 Anything cardboard and Honey Badger is all over it.  He wants Fat Joe (Beth's cat) to know that he really appreciates the cardboard box that smells like Seattle things.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Few Favorites 8.25

Here's what I'm currently really, really liking.

1. This Upcycled Computer Monitor Cat Bed is super cute!  I found it on Etsy, and while it's super cute, it's out of my price range.  It makes me want to keep my eyes out for an old iMac though and try for a DIY version.  I could see both my cats loving this.

2. I love this print, and it's kind of snarky, but true, People will kill you over time, and how they'll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases like "Be realistic".  Most people don't do this on purpose, but they unintentionally give you a look or ask questions about your reasons or goals for a project that make you start to doubt yourself.  I searched high and low for the source of this Dylan Moran (who is a comedian) quote, but couldn't track it to it's origins.  I think I would love a big print of this for in my office.

3.  The Civil Wars new album is awesome!  I have been listening to it for hours on end.  I wasn't a huge fan after their first release, but this one has bumped them way up on my like list.  If you have Spotify, go listen to it now.  I always say I don't like country, but there's a definite country vibe to their music.  There's a touch of  Avett Brothers, Ray LaMontagne, and Mindy Smith all rolled up into one here.  "The One that Got Away" and "Eavesdrop" are probably my two favorite tracks, but the whole album is great!

4.  Finally, zucchini season is in full swing, so of course that means zucchini bread!  This cinnamon zucchini bread recipe is yummy, moist, and makes two big loaves.  I tried it out and it's really good, so if you're being inundated with squash, you can use up some of them to make this tasty bread.  Put a little soft butter on it and you're good to go.

Have a good Sunday!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fugly Fabric Party Link Up

Guess what!  I'm linking up with Charm About You's "Fugly Fabric Party", and giving away some fabric.

 The goal of the party is to help people get rid of that fabric they just don't get warm fuzzies over anymore.  I'm giving away a one yard piece of fish fabric I got on Ebay a few years ago.  It's really cute fabric, but the background is so light that I never quite know how to incorporate it into things.    There's also four fat quarters I'm just not loving.  There's a blue piece with blue whales, a tan piece with little dogs and blocks on it, a green piece with clovers, and some psychedelic swirls in purples, blues, and greens. 

Fugly Fabric Giveaway!

How do you enter to get all this fabulous fabric for free?  Fill out the Rafflecopter Giveawy form below!  Leaving a comment is mandatory to enter, but you can get bonus entries by following on Bloglovin', Twitter, or Tweeting about it.  I will ship worldwide, so feel free to enter even if you aren't in the USA. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 23, 2013

Gratitude for What You Have

Here's something that's not new, but that we all need to hear.
"The earlier you learn that you should focus on what you have, and not obsess about you don't have, the happier you will be."
     -Amy Poehler
In this clip from Amy Poehler's You Tube Channel "Amy Poehler's Smart Girls" she's talking about self image and how you look physically.  It's meant for girls, but it something women need to hear to and it really applies to all areas of our lives.

We all have times when we feel chubby, talentless, or like we're wasting our lives, and we just go through the day waiting for it to end, hoping the next will be better.  But next time you start having bad thoughts about how you look, who you are, or how you aren't as talented as someone else, try to think about what you are good at and what things you love about yourself.

And if you still aren't feeling very charitable towards yourself, do something to make another soul's day better.  Call your mom and ask her how she is.  Bake cookies for your coworkers.  Make you family's favorite dinner.  Scroll through your Facebook friends and leave someone you haven't talked to in a while a thinking of you note on their wall.  A lot of times, I find the best way to get myself out of a funk, is to stop thinking of myself.

Have a great weekend everyone!  Be kind to yourself and those who cross your path!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Artisan Bread Making- Lesson 2

So I watached Lesson 2 of my Craftsy's Artisan Breadmaking Class (affiliate link).  We don't start actually preparing dough until the next lesson, but I've already learned a few things.  First here are some observations.

  • I really like Craftsy video set up.  There's written lesson materials you can refer to while you watch the video if you like. You can also make your own notes at any point in the video so you can refer back.  Plus, if there's something you have a question about, you can post your question and other students or the instructor will answer.
  •  I really like Peter Reinhart as a teacher.  He explains stuff, and goes into detail, but you never feel overwhelmed.  I feel like he really wants you to succeed and make awesome breads and he's happy to help you out if you have any questions.

Online Bread Making Class
(Affiliate Link)

So what have I learned so far?
  • Baking bread is more a science than a craft.  I mean, there's elements you can change up to put your own custom print on your bread, but there are still rules you have to follow if you want your bread to turn out.  
  • Yeast dies at 140 degrees.  I knew it died at a certain temp, but didn't realize it was so low.  The other day I made calzones and preheated my oven to 170 degrees, shut it off, and waited a few minutes to pop my bread dough in the warm oven to preheat.  Hmm, maybe that's why it didn't want to rise- my oven was too hot and I killed the yeast.  Temperature is very important to making good dough.  I actually bought a thermometer today so I can monitor this better.
  • The 240 Factor:  This is a formula that tells you how hot your liquid needs to be to make your dough a success.  You factor the temp of your room, the temp of your flour, and the friction factor.  Add these three numbers together and subtract the total from 240 and that's what temp your liquid needs to be heated to.  So say, your room is 72 degrees, your flour is the same temp as your room- 72 degrees, and you friction factor is 30.  So add 72+72+30=174.  240-174=66.  So, your liquid should be 66 degrees.  I had never heard of the 240 Factor, but googling it came up with lots of results.  Some recipes will tell you what your temp needs to be, but if it doesn't you can easily figure out what temp you should be going for.
I'm pretty excited to be starting dough making next week.  Check it out, if you're interested in learning about making bread.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sewing Grocery Bags and A Sew-A-Long

So remember the ugly See and Sew B5413 grocery bag? I had mentioned in that post that I had a different pattern that I liked a whole lot better.  It's the grocery bag pattern from Michelle's Patterns (affiliate link).  I have made a ton of these and use them for all my trips to Walmart or the grocery store.  I like the pattern because it's not bulky.  There's no bias tape, no interfacing, it's just two layers of fabric.  Sturdy enough to hold your groceries without adding unnecessary heft to your load.  The handles are great too, because they're strong, and they don't cut into your palms the way plastic handles can.  Plus they go together pretty fast and are a good project for beginners.

Anyway, so I had someone at work asking me for a bag, so I finally got around to making some more of them.  I love black and white seersucker.  It goes with everything.  So, I cut out two sets of handles and linings and then just went through my stash and cut into whatever looked appealing.  Here's the results:

I made two bags.  The cream with a floral pattern is some stuff that's been in my stash for almost a year and is from Benatrex, called "Magic Vine".  It features purple flowers and blue berries.  I got it at a little fabric shop out in the country.  Seriously, it's on a gravel road, kind of in the middle of no where.  The red fabric my mom got from her aunt- so my great aunt, who quit sewing.  It's a vintage V.I.P. piece and features a cute little floral pattern.  I think the red one is my favorite.  Just because it's probably more my style.

Secondly, I was going through my Bloglovin feed Monday night and found this sew-a-long that See Kate Sew posted from earlier in the day.  You can join, and try this super cute apron pattern for free.  The apron only takes a yard of fabric for the base, 1/2 yard for lining, and 1/3 yard for accents.  If you're interested, click the picture and it will take you to all the particulars.

see kate sew 

I signed up, so let me know if you decide to as well so I can keep an eye out for your finished project.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Greek Tomato Salad

So did everyone have a good weekend?  I did.  Saturday was busy!  I got up early, hit the Farmer's Market and ran some errands, and then swung by a work friend's housewarming party.  Very cool to see it in person after seeing pictures of it.  Then my husband surprised me by offering to take me to Duluth for dinner.  Duluth is in Minnesota.  It's also about two and half hours away, one way.  But Lake Superior is my most favorite place on earth, so after he convinced me he was serious, I said yes.  We had a good trip.  Supper at Pizza Luce which was delicious, and then a quick spin to Park Point which is a beach right on Lake Superior so I could go stand in the sand and get my feet wet.  Then home.  But, it was fun to do something spontaneous.

But, now back to normal.  So, I mentioned my pear tomato was going crazy producing sweet little yellow yumminess.  I love to pick them fresh off the plant and eat them when they're still warm from the sun, but there was so many, I had to do something with them.  So I was thumbing through my recipes when I found this recipe for Greek Tomato Salad that I had made a couple times last year, so I decided to mix it up.  Here's how it goes.

Pear Tomatoes (Equivalent in size to Cherry Tomatoes)

 Greek Tomato Salad
Serves 5
1/4 cup red wine vegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peper
4 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
6 whole olives, halved
3 tablespoons crumbled feta

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, oregano, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Add the onions and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Stir in the tomatoes, olives, and feta.  Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Serve with a slotted spoon.

Greek Tomato Salad

I did make changes to mine this time.  First off, using pear tomatoes.  I also used a raspberry wine vinegar because I didn't have any red.  I used sliced olives, and red peppers because that's what I had on hand.  You can add more or less of things to customize it to your liking.  Serving it with a slotted spoon is a good idea, because it does get juicier as it sits.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What I Got at Farmer's Market- August 17

So, Farmer's Market is pretty much in full swing now.  I worked day shift Wednesday and wasn't able to go, so I got up early today, even though I had worked last night, and headed out.  Here's what I found:

I found lots of fresh goodies this time.  Let me say, I love tomatoes.  My pear tomato plant has been going gang busters, but my Polish heirloom tomatoes have been struggling, so I wanted some fresh tomatoes.  There was beautiful heirlooms in purples, and reds, and yellows, huge tomatoes that looked super juicy, and then there were these tomatoes.  They look good, but not like the rest.  So why I'd buy them?   Because I am an absolute sucker for grandma ladies.  I got my tomatoes, beans, and raspberries from the same little lady that I bought the hen and chicks plant from last time.  Her prices are cheaper than a lot of the others, but I actually picked her because she's a little grandma lady trying to make some extra income.  But next time, I'm going to get some juicy looking heirlooms.

I got an eggplant that looked a hundred times better than the half mush ones I was eyeing at the grocery store last time I was shopping.  It was from a family run stand and there were two cute little boys offering bags and to help.  I had to get something from them and I actually wanted an eggplant so it worked well.

I found some fresh salad greens.  Now that it's gotten hot, my deck plants are pretty much giving up.  They're seeding out just not producing.

There was someone selling Wildtree, so I got some flatbread mix to try.  Between this and the Craftsy Artisan Bread Class I'm taking, I should be good on carbs for a while.

I got thirteen ears of sweet corn for less than I pay in the grocery store, a cup of yummy coffee to go on my way out, and a jar of delicious pickles.  Seriously, I think I'll have the whole jar gone before the weekend is through!  I love pickles and these are super good!

So, it was another good visit to Farmer's Market.  I love buying local, and I love knowing who I'm buying from.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Sale, a Win, and Making Progress

Wow!  This week has totally flown by!  First off, I want to tell you all that Zulily is having a special 72 hour web sale.  They're also giving blog readers an additional 10% off if you use coupon code SCRTSALE54.   There's lots of great brands on right now, like Clarks shoes,  Sistema containers for leftovers and food storage, Betsy Johnson sunglasses, a Pet Lover's collection, and a special kitchen section that's all priced less than $15.  Click the ad below to check it all out, and don't forget to use the coupon code for more savings!  The sale will end at 8am Sunday morning.

I got home from work last night and found an email from Simply Stacie notifying me that I had won the giveaway for month's supply of Seagram's ginger ale!  Super excited.  I don't drink much soda, but if I do, it's usually ginger ale.  Plus, a month's supply is six 12 packs!  72 cans?!  That will last me way longer than a month!

Lunch with my friend Lori was a great way to spend my day off.  I found some things for my Local Flavors swap partner, and also stopped at a store that sells bulk foods and got some bread flour and instant yeast for my bread making class.  We had a delicious lunch at this pop up restaurant we eat at a lot.   I got chicken Caesar salad tacos and they were so good!  Basically, just some grilled taco shells stuffed with Caesar salad fixings, but somehow they taste so much better than if I'd have made them.  We also went to the local libraries book sale and I found a lot of books that were like new for only $1 each.  And of course we had to hit up the thrift shop.  It was a good day. 

Then, it was my mom's birthday yesterday so we ran and did a little shopping before I had to be to work in the afternoon.  I bought some Christmas presents and found a few more things for my Local Flavors swap buddy.  It was fun, but I had to drink a lot of coffee to make it through a full day at work.

Finally, I have two six foot trellises on my deck with morning glories winding up them.  They haven't flowered or had a blossom or anything, so I was starting to think they didn't like the spot I had them in or something.  Then, Wednesday, I worked the day shift so I got home around 4pm and was watering my flowers and veggies on the deck, when I noticed my morning glories appeared to have flowered but they were already closed for the day.  Yesterday I got up early to go with my mom and I forgot to luck, so today I put my coffee on to brew and grabbed my camera and headed out.  And it finally happened!  One pot has four flowers on it.  So I snapped a pic.  Sorry for the brightness, but I'm not sure how long they'll stay open and I wanted to be sure to catch them.  So here's a picture of my beauties.

Three Flying Saucers and a white one- don't remember the name.

So anyway, I'm hoping to have a crafty weekend and get some more substantial things posted next week.  But, it was a very good week here, just busy!

Monday, August 12, 2013

What I'm Looking Forward To

I think it's good in life to have fun things to look forward to; whether it's a goal, a vacation, a project, or just a day with friends.  Here's what I'm looking forward to this week and beyond.
  1. Meeting one of my best friends for a visit tomorrow.  My friend Lori is very organized, very take charge, knows what she wants and then makes a list of how to make it happen.  I love it, because I'm not like that much at all. We meet up about once a month, have lunch, catch up and do a little shopping.  She lives about an hour away so it's a big deal to see each other.  She's also a chiropractor so she usually does her best to fix my horrible posture from being hunched over a computer a home and work, and chides me about needing to stretch more.  I love her!
  2. I finally ordered my photos to start my Project Life album.  I'm not big on scrapbooking in the traditional sense, but I've finally decided I should do better about documenting life events and actually printing off my pictures and all that.  I ordered my photos from York Photo.  If you sign up, they'll give you 60 free 4x6 photos.  So, I'm hoping to start on that this week.
  3. I signed up to be a Craftsy affiliate and they asked me if I'd like to take one of their classes.  Uhm, of course!  I have a ton of Craftsy classes I always want to take and it was hard narrowing it down to the one to start with.  I originally was thinking the Quilt-as-you-Go Patchwork Bag class but then remembered that I had seen they had cooking and baking classes too.  I always think of Craftsy for knitting, crocheting, quilting, and sewing, but forget about all the other good stuff.  I finally narrowed it down to the Artisan Bread Making class.  I can make yeast breads, but they're nothing special.  I never really had anyone show me how, I just read the recipe.  Breadmaking and piemaking are two skills I want to improve, so I thought this would be great.  I watched the first video today and I'm excited to see what else is in store.  If you want to give the class a try, check it out and we can take it together.  I 'm thinking I'll try to watch and do a video a week.
  4. One of the girls at work asked me if I'd make a messenger bag for her daughter.  I have three binders of PDF patterns I've bought off Etsy and downloaded from other websites, and I know they're a couple different messenger bags.  She said she doesn't care about color as long as it's dark and will hide school bus dirt and stuff.  So, I'm excited to get going on that.
If there's nothing you have to look forward to, find something.  Pick out a new recipe to try this weekend, go to Farmer's Market, order that book on Amazon, treat yourself to lunch out one day instead of packing one, buy a pint of fancy ice cream, or better yet, call a friend you haven't talked to in a while and catch up, send an email, or met for lunch.  You have to consciously make things for yourself to look forward to and make time for them.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pinterest Love

Here are four things I love that I found on Pinterest this week

1.  Great quote!  I wish I could find this in a print.  Adventure may hurt you, but monotony will kill you,
2.  I've made these twice, and they were delicious both times. Blueberry Cream Cheese Bars
3. Being from Wisconsin, you have to have Great Lake Pride.  Midwest Coast Sweatshirt from Spreadshirt
4. I just love this! Lynn Langmade's "Fireflies" photograph from Etsy

Hope you all have a great weekend!  Take at least a little time to do something you love.  And don't feel the least bit guilty about it!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

DIY: Vanilla Extract

I've had the last five days off from work and it has been great.  I haven't gone very far from home, but I have gotten together with friends and managed to get some of those to dos for the house crossed off- like shampooing the carpets and washing down the whole inside of the refrigerator.  (You'd be surprised what can hide out in the crisper drawers.)  Anyhow, I was rearranging my cupboards and noticed I was running low on vanilla  extract.  Vanilla extract is super easy to make.  All you need is vanilla beans, a cutting board, and knife, and a bottle of vodka.

Vanilla beans from the grocery store are pretty pricey, so I buy mine online.  The last batch I bought were Tahitian vanilla beans that came from Tiny Homestead on Etsy, but I see her shop is currently on vacation.  There are other sellers though.  So check out their feedback and pick one you trust.  My beans arrived fast and well packed and with storage and usage instructions.  The key is to keep them securely wrapped up to keep them dry and away from moisture.

So, you just gather your supplies.  First step is to slice open you vanilla bean long ways.  You should see a ton of black vanilla bean seeds.  This is what flavors your base.  Then chop up your bean into smaller pieces.

Throw your beans in a jar or a measuring cup and add vodka.  I usually use a ratio of one bean per cup of vodka.

Give it a stir and pour into your storage container.  I've found that a pint canning jar works well.  I label it with a piece of washi tape so I know when I made it.  Then you just store it in the back of your cupboard for a few months.  The longer it sits, the stronger the vanilla flavor will be.  Also, give it a shake every so often.

I usually like to let it sit six months, just because that's how long it takes me to use up the previous match.  When my little bottle in my baking cupboard is low, I refill it and am good to go.  After sitting for that long, the extract usually has a caramel color to.  You should be able to start using it within two months.  It just gets a stronger taste the long it ages. 

You can also use rum instead of vodka.  I haven't tried that, but I hear it's good.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hexi Pieced Card Tutorial

Hexi quilting is super big right now.  I love the look of hexis but I have no where near enough skill to attempt a quilt with them yet.  I do have a pattern for a pouch featuring hexis but I'm too nervous to even try that yet.  But, I did find a way to add more hexagons to one of my other hobbies- card making!

Stampin' Up had a new set up hexigon shaped stamps in the newest catalog and a hexigon punch to go with it.  I bought both, but so far I've been using the punch much more than the stamps.  To make these cards you'll need: some blank cards and envelopes, scraps of scrapbooking or bright colored paper, glue, and a hexigon shaped punch (square or triangle punches would work too).  I also stamped a little sentiment on the card, you can if you want to our just skip it if you don't.

So you punch out a bunch of hexis.  And then just start gluing. 

I've found that doing two rows work best because all that added paper adds a little weight to your card.  Place your first hexi so one of the edges is flush with the left sided edge of your card.  Then, place the next hexi below it, so it's half on, half off your card and one sided it butted right up to the bottom left side of your card.

Then just continue doing this across the front of your card until you have two rows.  You'll have some hexis hanging over on the right side of your card too.

Then just stamp your sentiment, if you want one, and trim the edges.  Voila, easy as that.

Save any leftover hexis for future cards or scrapbooking.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Local Flavors Swap

I have always been a fan of swaps.  In high school, I'd swap friendship books and slams, tea, stationary, stickers, pens, used postage stamps, you name it.  They're fun because you get to put together something special for someone, which I always love, and you get present back.  The joy of giving and receiving, all in one.

So, when I saw Ruth's post on My Devotional Thoughts for the "Local Flavors" swap being hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps, I didn't have any doubts, I just thought, "I have to get in on this!"

What you do is, make a package filled with local goodies and treats for your city, area, or state.  (Being a Wisconsin girl, my first thought was cheese, but I don't think I want to be sending cheese across the country in August so I'm going to have to get creative.)  Then you mail it off to your swap mate. 

Here's the official rules:

Local Flavor Swap Rules
  • Packages must contain items related to your location.
  • Packages must cost a minimum of $20 and maximum of $30 BEFORE shipping.
  • Send a package that you, yourself, would like to receive- it should be personalized to fit your partner’s preferences and style.
  • You must respond to emails from the swap hosts within a timely fashion.
  • You MUST post and link up your swap reveal post after receiving your package. This is non-negotiable.
Are you interested in signing up?  Click here, but be sure to sign up for it before August 9!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Around the Web August 2, 2013

So here's some links of cool things I've found on the internet this week:

Fund The Everyday Maxi Dress from a-thread apparel on Kickstarter.  They're trying to raise $10,000 to use in production of a great quality, thick fabric, maxi dress in two different styles, made in the USA.  The best part about it is they will send you one of these high quality maxi dresses if you just fund $25 towards their campaign.  I'm sure people pay more than that for a chintzy maxi dress.  I'm not getting any sort of kickback out of this, I just think it's a great deal for something that isn't going to wear out after three wearings like most off the rack clothing.  Check it out:

Want to try your hand at sewing, but not sure where to start?  Here's a tutorial for a super cute pillowcase from Sew Mama Sew.  It's an easy starter proect, great for new sewers or kids and it takes a yard of fabric.

Finally, The Art of Non-Conformity has a great article on their site from June called The One Year Alternative Graduate School Program that is filled with things to help you become a more well rounded person, intellectually.  Some of the recommendations are start a blog, acquire three new skills, and read 30 nonfiction books and 20 classic.I would love to eventually do all of these. Great for those who always want to be learning something

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Zucchini Fritters

So, I saw my patio zucchini plant had a zucchini.  I was going to pick it about three days ago, but forgot, or only thought about it when I was walking by it on my way to the car to go to work, or had my hands full with groceries.  So I finally picked it.  It seemed bigger than I recalled.

My three pound squash.
Then I had to decide what to do with it.  Growing up, we pretty much only used zucchini for bread, cupcakes, or muffins.  But as I've gotten older, I've found I use it more for cooking than baking.

I found a recipe for Smitten Kitten's zucchini fritters and thought I'd give it a shot.  I like potato pancakes and they sounded similar.  You can check out the recipe at Smitten Kitten for the particulars, but I'll give you the gist. I only needed a pound of zucchini, so I whacked mine in half and pulled out the seeds and grated it with a box grater.

I left the peel on because I thought it looked prettier.
Then you salt it and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Notice kitty lurking in the shadows?
Then, press out all the water you can using paper towels or cheese cloth, throw it back in the bowl, and add egg, pepper, shallots (or some garlic in my case).


Next add a little flour and baking powder. And mix.

Then fry in oil on the stove top over medium heat till golden on bottom, flip and cook a few more, and then your finished.  Serve with yogurt or sour cream and some fresh lemon juice.


I thought these were pretty good, they fry up crispy on the outside, but soft and tender inside.  They were pretty fast to make too and no fussy ingredients.  I love that!  Next time I think I'll skip the sour cream and just put a little butter on top.  Which, I'm in luck, because there's leftovers! The recipe makes about 10 fritters.  Yum!  And now you have an idea for zucchini besides more zucchini bread.