December 30, 2010

Bacon Onion Beef Brisket

I never realized how incredibly off-schedule the holidays can make me.  What a week!  I have not had dinner on the table at a reasonable hour since Christmas Eve!  It's Crazy!

Speaking of Christmas Eve though... the last bi-weekly vote for dinner voted for Bacon Onion Beef Brisket.  I made it for dinner on Christmas Eve and it was FANTASTIC!  However, because of the hussle and bussle of the Christmas Eve day... I FORGOT to take a Picture!  Sorry.  *Edited: Picture has been inserted!  Lucky You!*

You'll just have to take my word for it.  It looked, smelled, and tasted like something from a gourmet kitchen!  The company we had that night said it was fantastic!

So here's the recipe.  You should seriously try this one.

Bacon Onion Beef Brisket

1 Tbsp Butter
1 Large Onion, sliced
3 cloves Garlic, sliced ( I actually used minced dried Garlic 3 tsp.)
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1/4Cup Beef Broth
3 1/2 lbs Beef Brisket
1/2 tsp. Pepper
4 Thick Slices Smoked Bacon, chopped

Line large baking pan with heavy foil.  In large skillet melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, cook and stir 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to med-low; stir in vinegar.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in broth. 
Season brisket with pepper and place in baking pan.  Top brisket with onion and bacon.  Bring edges of foil up and enclose the brisket.  Crimp to seal, leaving room for expansion.  Bake 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours at 350°(I cooked mine for 2 1/4 hour and it was perfect, but it depends on your stove and altitude.)  Slice or shread.

The next time I make this I will cook it slower and longer.  I might lower the temp to 250° and cook it for 3 1/2 hours.  Then it will be just a bit more tender.  All in all, excellent dish.

December 23, 2010


My mom introduced me to these and I immediately fell in love! If you love chocolate then these are definately something you should try!

You will need:
A cake (I use chocolate because it is the best, but you can use any kind)
A tub of frosting (Again, I used chocolate because it is just the best)
2-3 bags of milk chocolate chips
2 teaspoons of oil
wax paper

Have you ever wanted to purposely destroy a cake? Well I have and that is another reason I love this recipe :)
Bake your cake as directed. Then let it cool for 20 minutes. Then crumble the cake :)
Put all the cake crumbles into a bowl and scoop in the whole tube of frosting.
And stir it
Then you can either roll it into balls or I tried cookie cutters this time and it worked great too!
Put them on a pan and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes. They don't need to be frozen solid, but they need to be hard enough to hold there shape while being dipped. Melt all the chocolate in the mircowave or on the stove top. Once it is melted add in the oil. This will make the chocolate a little smoother. Then drop in a few of the cake pieces at a time and cover with chocolate. I have found that if you use a slotted scooper (like the one in the top of this next picture) to scoop out your chocolates you can shake of the extra chocolate easier.
Once they are covered place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and then put them in the refridgerator.
Once the chocolate dries, you have yummy chocolate treats! Enjoy!!!
You can decorate it with whatever you want too! I tried putting crushed candy canes on it and that was tasty too (I just forgot to take a picture)! :)

Felt Roses

My neighbor taught me how to make these cool felt roses the other day and she said I could share with all of you!

First you will need a hot glue gun, a piece of felt, a hair clip, a good scissors
First cut the felt into a circle. It does not have to be a perfect circle. Then cut it into a spiral like this. Make sure not to make your spiral to thin, but not to thick.
Then cut the outside edge all the way around the spiral a little wavy so it looks something like this.
Then start with the outermost part of the spiral and start rolling it. The wavy side should be towards the top.
Once you have rolled the whole thing, you will get to the end of the spiral. This part should fit nicely on the bottom. Then you just put some hot glue on the top of the end of the spiral and glue it to the bottom of the rolled part. This should hold the whole thing in place.
And ta-da! You have a super cute felt rose! You can put leaves on it if you want too. I have seen these done on headbands, hair clips, hats, and many other things! See what you can do with a felt rose!

White Bean Chicken Chilli

When I was pregnant with our daughter I had this insane craving for white bean chicken chilli. The only problem was that I couldn't find a recipe that looked good to me. I asked my friend Nicole for her recipe and I fell in love with it! I altered it a little bit and think it is great stuff! I hope you enjoy it too!

White Bean Chicken Chilli

2-3 frozen chicken breasts
1 32oz. box of chicken stock
1 can drained pinto beans
1 can drained white beans
1 can of chilli beans with sauce
1 16oz jar of salsa*
1 8 oz. block of cheese (grated)**
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
optional-tortilla chips

Cook the chicken in a crock pot for 5-6 hours on low heat. Then remove the chicken and shred it. Pour our the liquid in crock pot and then all the remaining ingredients and then add back in the shredded chicken. Stir and then cook for 1 hour on high until cheese is melted.
*I don't like big chunks of peppers in my chilli so I run my salsa through my blender before I put it in.
**I found a trick to this, if you are using a block of cheese, freeze it and then thaw it in the mircowave for 30 sec. and then use you hands to crumbed the cheese. It should just fall apart in your hands.

We like to eat ours with tortilla chips! I hope you enjoy it!

December 22, 2010

Indiana Inspired Christmas Quilt

It's FINSIHED!  3 days ahead of schedule I might add ☺

This quilt was a lot of fun for me to make. It was small so it went realitively fast, it involved applique, which, in my opinion is a lot of fun, and I simply love the cardinals!


Without Further Adieu:

Each cardinal is 100% applique with a simple straight black stitch along the edges.
The other block is a very simple 9 Patch Square.
Each unfinished block is 10 1/2" and the border is 4".

I quilted along the outline of each bird using a beige thread.

I quilted the center of each 9 Patch Square with a poinsettia.  The center of the poinsettia is made up of several yellow french knots.

The Backing and Binding are a very vibriant red green and gold poinsettia fabric.

Anyway there you have it.  I love the way it turned out.

How To Bind A Quilt

I put A LOT of work into my quilts. 

I spend hours at the fabric store comparing fabrics and picking the perfect ones for my project.  Each quilt is carefully hand cut, machine pieced, unpicked several times and pieced again, I want it to be perfect. 

I hand quilt all (one exception) my quilts, which takes days to weeks to months depending on the size of the quilt and the pattern I choose to Quilt. 

The final touch on my quilt is the binding and after all my hard work the last thing I am going to do is slap a strip of fabric on the end pin it and machine stitch it on. 

So! I've taken the time to learn how to make a beautiful continuous binding with mitered corners.  Here's how I do it.  If you care to see.

Cut Your Binding Strips
2 1/2" by the width of the fabric ( usually 44-45")

Depending on the size of your quilt you'll need several strips. 
For the small 38"x38" quilt I am doing, I used 4 strips.

Lay one binding strip on top of the other at a 90° angle.  Layers should make a square. 

Stitch a diagonal line.  (I have a hard time describing how to stitch it to it's understandable...) Basically look at the picture (left).  When you unfold your strips they should make one continuous strip of binding and the sides should line up.

Trim your excess fabric leaving 1/4" seam allowance.

Repeat until all your binding strips have been connected and trimmed.

Fold your binding in half and press it with a hot iron.  The right side of the fabric should now be seen from front and back.

Take the side with the raw edges and line it up with the unfinished edge of your quilt.  Machine stitch your binding, top, batting and backing together along the edge of the quilt. 

Starting about 1/4 way down the quilt and leaving several inches of binding un-sewn.  (We'll come back to that in a minute.)  And stopping 1/4" from the nearest corner.

To make mitered corners: After you have stopped 1/4" from the corner and trimmed your threads.  Take the binding and fold it back at a 90° angle so it looks like it's heading in the opposite direction it should be. 

Put your finger on the fold to hold it in place.  ( You can use pins if you wish, I personally don't like pins)  While holding the fold, take the binding and fold it over so the raw edges of the binding are laying on the edge of the quilt.  Like shown in the picture.  Stitch from the corner all the way to the next corner.

If you did this correctly you should have a small triangle shaped fold that you can flip from side to side on your corner.
When your quilt is flipped right side up, you binding and mitered corner should look like this.

If you did it correctly continue this process until you finish the last corner, then stop Several inches from the top of your starting point.  Your progress should look something like this.

Layer the Long un-sewn binding end on top of the short and trim so the overlay is about 2 1/2 inches.

This is where it gets a little bit tricky!

Open both ends of binding to reveal the wrong side of the fabric. 
1. Take your ending binding and simply open it and lay it flat.
2. Take your starting piece of binding, opened, and turn it upside down. 

3. Place the ends together just as you did when you started your binding, at a 90° angle with the right sides facing together.  Pin and stitch your diagonal line just as you did before.  

*BEFORE YOU TRIM THE EXCESS* Unfold your strip and Make Sure It Lays Right!*

Turn your quilt over and pull the un-sewn end of the binding over, just covering the seam (so you can't see the threads) and with a needle and thread simply slip stitch the binding on.  Using small stitches with a matching color of thread. 

Once this is completed tie off the end of the thread and pull a small  knot inside the backing layer so it doesn't come undone.  Trim your thread and your beautifully finished quilt is now ready for use... or display... whichever you prefer ☺

This technique obviously takes a bit more time than a simple binding but the end result is worth it.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.  I check them regularly and I'll get back with you as soon as I can.  For an easier response include your e-mail address.

December 20, 2010

My Quiet Book

I finally finished my daughter's quiet book. For this quiet book I looked through many patterns, pictures online, and already exisiting quiet books at stores, to find exactly what kinds of things I wanted in my book. Then I drew out what I wanted each page to look like on a piece of paper and started sewing.

If you want to make your own quiet book, you will need:
fabric (you will need to decide how big you want your pages to be and how many pages you want)
embriodery thread (lots of colors)
buttons, ribbon, odds and ends and
tons of velcro!

I used a 18in x 18in square of white fabric (I fold this in half and then folded it like a book) So I was making 4 pages on 1 piece of fabric.) I hand sewed alot of this and used the sewing machine for some parts as well. If you don't want to do as much hand sewing, you can always use hot glue and fabric paint. ***Please note that this project took me 50+ hours to make, so if you attempt to make one yourself make sure you give yourself plenty of time to finish it***

Here is what my quiet book looks like:

Front cover (R is the first letter of our last name) and the side is velcroed to hold it shut and it has a squishy handle to hold on to
Page 1- (all the letters are velcroed on and the yellow pocket has a magnetic closure on it so the letters can be stored in there.
Page 2- This is my fishing page. All the fish have a magnet in them and the string has a magnetic hook at the end. I used plastic on top of my blue felt so you can move the fish around in the plastic or you can take them out.
Page 3- This is the barn page. Inside the barn there are 3 finger puppets, a pig, a cow, and a horse.
Page 4 & 5- This is the colors page. All the crayons velcro on to a spot next to a picture in that color. The pocket has a button and can be used to store all the crayons.
Page 6 & 7- Teddy's Closet, the pocket has a zipper and all of teddy's clothes can be store in there. All the clothes velcro onto the bear.
Page 8- Shape page, all the shapes velcro off.
Page 9- Abacus page. Different amount of beads on each string
Page 10- Touch and Feel page, I used a little square of a bunch of fabric scraps that I had sitting around.
Page 11- Robot page, all his arms and legs are filled with elastic so they stretch!
Page 12- Because of copy right, I will not show you his face, but this is my favorite page, Peek-a-boo M-----. His hands are velrcoed together and open up so show his happy face!
Anyways, that is my version of a quiet book! Let me know what you think and if you try one yourself make sure to show me pictures! Happy Crafting!

December 18, 2010

Adult Size Shoulder Bag

Yesterday I posted about a little shoulder bag I made for my daughter.  Well I thought they were so darn cute and easy I made one for myself.

I followed the same pattern I used for the little purses (which you can find here!), but I changed a couple of things. 

2-  4 1/2" x 12 1/2" light fabric
2-  8 1/2" x 12 1/2" dark fabric
2- 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" lining fabric
1 Pocket Cut Out, light fabric
6- 23"x2 1/4" strips (two dark, and 4 light)

I sewed 1 dark fabric strip and 2 light fabric strips together at the top and I braided them, then I sewed the bottoms together so they wouldn't come undone.  I repeated this so I had two straps.

After I had sewn the front of the purse together I sewed the pocket on.

The rest of the assembly is the same as the original pattern.

I love it.  It's just big enough for everything I need for myself and It's even big enough to stick a few diapers and snacks for the kids when we're gone for longer periods of time.  This way I don't have to take a bulky diaper bag.  It's Great!

I have an Inspiration

3 years ago my husband and I were living in Seattle Washington.  Seattle is beautiful in so many ways, and if not for the rain I think I really would have liked it.  Well lately, I've got this CRAZY idea, to make a quilt inspired by every place we live during my husbands Coast Guard career.  I've been thinking a lot about Seattle and what I liked most about it that I could turn into inspiration.  My thoughts were these:

Snoqualmie Falls

The Ocean and the Skyline

Mount Rainier

But the one I settled on is this:

The Lighthouse at Alki Point

The lighthouse at Alki Point sits on the property of the U.S. Coast Guard Admiral and tours are usually conducted in groups by the Admirals Wife.  I suppose one of the perks of having a husband in the Coast Guard was an association with the Admiral.  My husband served at the Admirals dinner a couple of times and got to know the Admiral and his wife.  He got permission to bring me for a private tour of the lighthouse.  It was beautiful!

In order to make this quilt I will have to do a technique I hate.  Paper Piecing.  I hate Paper Piecing!  But I'm determined that this quilt will be one of the most beautiful quilts I've ever made.  It will most likely take me several months if not a whole year to complete, but It Will Be Amazing!

December 17, 2010

My Daughter Wants a Purse

My daughter (she's 2 1/2) wants a purse.  She keeps stealing mine and losing all my "accessories."  So I searched the world over and I found the cutest little handbag design, and it's just her size!

I found it here. The site called them "treat totes" and they would be great for birthday party favors etc.  I simply extended the handles and turned them into little shoulder bags.  Now that I've figured out how to make these cute purses I might make the pattern bigger and make a new shoulder bag for myself.  To make these bags you can 1) see how I did it or 2) visit the site I found them on here.

This pattern makes 4 contrasting bags.  Two of each color.
To Make the Little Bags You'll Need:
2 Fat Quarters (Bag)
4 11" by 2 1/2" Strips (Straps)

Cut your fat quarters into 3 6 1/2" strips (6 total)

Cut these strips into:
4- 5 1/2" x 6 1/2"
4- 3 1/2" x 6 1/2"
4- 2 1/2" x 6 1/2"

Take your 11" x 2 1/2" strips to the ironing board.  Press 1/4" on each long end.
Fold strip in half so it's long and skinny, stitch down the long raw end, close to the edge of the fabric.  Set Aside.
Take a 3 1/2" of color 1 and a 2 1/2" of the color 2 and stitch them together along the long side.  For each purse you'll need to do this step twice.
Take one finished strap and pin it to the raw edge of color 1.  Center the straps so each end is about 2" from the edge.  Place a 5 1/2" lining piece of color 2 fabric on top of this piece (right sides together!)
Stitch along the top end where your pins are.
It should look like this when you're done.  (You'll need 2 pieces that look like this.)
 Place one piece on top of the other, right sides together.  Starting about 1/3 the way in from the edge on the lining piece and stitch (headed towards nearest edge) all around the fabric.  Stopping about a third the way in on the other side of the lining.

 You should have a 3" or so unsewn gap at the top of the lining.
Fold corners into a 45° angle as shown in the picture left. 
Sew a straight line about an inch down all the way across.  Do this on all 4 corners to make the bottom of the bag sit flat.
 Trim the corner to a 1/4" seam allowance.
Turn bag right side out using the gap in the top of the lining.  Once the bag is turned right side out hand stitch the gap in the lining closed.
Push lining inside the the bag and pull handles up.

Ta-Da!  You now have very cute little bags.