Monday, February 27, 2017

Christmas Gifts - Quilts and Sewing

I love to quilt but with a new baby this year, it's been hard to find the time. That said, I decided to make quilts for my nephews on my husband's side this year for Christmas. I also wanted to make quilts for two special little friends of ours in Florida. I also wanted to make quilts for my nieces and nephews on my side but I knew I would run out of time (ahem, and money) to make them for Christmas. Instead, it was hinted by my sister that they would enjoy my "toy poufs". I'll explain further on...

My husband was heading to Florida for a "Guys Trip" in early December so I knew I had to get those ones done first and quick! I was running out of time to plan for shipping for the Florida girls so I went to Mook Fabrics in Medicine Hat and picked up some Tinkerbell flannel and some matching pinks, yellows, and greens. Due to time and fabric miscalculations, I make strip rag time quilts for them. I had the dark purple from some pajama pants I made for my niece so I used that in there too. Here's how they turned out:

Quilt 1

Quilt 2

THEN came the boys' projects. For them, I started shopping on my favourite website: fabric.com. I found the perfect flannel for all the boys. I had a lot of fun sewing the Rag Time Quilts for the boys. There are three boys (plus my son and daughter) in the family. I still have to do my son's quilt but I got the other boys' done in time for our family gathering. Here they are below:

All the squares cut up (lots of cutting!)

X's Quilt
 

N's Quilt
 

S's Quilt
 

What do you think??

So after those were all finished, it was time for the next group of projects: Toy Poufs. Years ago, I made my son a cube out of canvas fabric and added a handle and a zipper to stuff in soft teddy bears and other stuffed animals. It helps with clutter and you end up getting a comfy cushion/seat out of it! This time, I decided on a smaller, hexagon version. I shopped - again - at fabric.com and got fabrics that match their rooms/favourite colours. The results are kind of hard to see in the photos but they work awesome. The best example would be in the purple one. You can see it a little more stuffed.

My son's cube

Niece #1

Nephews #1 & #2

Niece #2

Nephew #3

I have been told I should make a sell them. What do you think? I'd love to hear your feedback on the Rag Time Quilts and the Toy Poufs!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Happy Birthday Hubby!

Today is my husband's birthday. He has been struggling at work lately so I just wanted to make tonight special. Last night, I was in town for our quilt guild meeting so I did some shopping. I got him a couple new movies, popcorn, Fudgee-Os and a card from our kids. I also picked up stuff to make an ice cream cake! I've never done it before but figured that it couldn't be too hard. I wasn't going crazy with a big fancy one. I just filled a Pyrex glass loaf pan.

Here was my process:

Gather the ingredients (vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, Smuckers hot fudge sauce, Oreo cookies, and icing - I didn't end up using the icing)

Layer chocolate ice cream in the bottom. My ice cream was soft enough to get a good layer but it was a little tricky making it stay in the bottom of the container.

Then I microwaved the fudge and put probably half the bottle on top of the chocolate. Dairy Queen cakes never seem to have enough fudge so I wanted a lot. That's the best part anyway, right? I didn't take a picture for some reason but it just kind of looked like gooey chocolate-y goodness ha ha.

I put 10 Oreos in a Zip-loc back and smashed them with a (very clean) meat hammer. Depending on how big your cake is, you can choose to use more or less. I could have used less but this made a healthy cookie layer.


I added the cookie layer on top of the fudge by spooning it out of the bag and sprinkling it where needed. I then tried to pack it down with the back of my spoon.


After the cookie layer, I actually put everything into the freezer so it would harden up. After about an hour, I took it out and added the vanilla. Doesn't this tub of vanilla ice cream look so perfect?


I covered the pan with the lid and popped it back in the freezer until after supper. More on this later!

For supper, I made Sweet and Sour Meatballs for the first time. Actually, I made meatballs for the first time. It was not as intimidating as I thought it would be. Meat always freaks me out but this wasn't too bad. Here's the recipe I followed: http://www.thekitchenmagpie.com/sweet-and-sour-meatballs/. It's easy to follow using the photo description below the recipe. I made a double batch and it does make a lot of sauce so I put only half the sauce in the pan with the meatballs and the other half, I saved in the pot which I reduced down to a nice sauce for extra. I made rice to go with it and I really enjoyed it. Hubby loved it too.

Here's the recipe: (my notes are in brackets and italicized)
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 6
Author: Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (I used crushed focaccia croutons - from Costco)
  • 1 in onion diced (I used about 1/2 a medium onion)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or cornstarch (I used flour because I didn't have cornstarch)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar (I used pure vinegar, I don't know the difference)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup


Instructions:
  1. Mix the brown sugar, soy,vinegar, water and ketchup in a pot.
  2. Combine the breadcrumbs, egg and ground beef together in a bowl.
  3. Roll the meat mixture into meatballs, whichever size you want. I prefer slightly larger ones, they don’t dry out as quickly.
  4. Pop them into the 375 degrees oven and start them cooking.
  5. Mix your flour or cornstarch in cold water then whisk it into the sauce.
  6. After about 20 minutes, take the meatballs out for a second, and drain the fat out of them. (I baked them first on a cookie sheet on parchment paper and then transferred them to my Tupperware Ultrapro Lasagna Pan)
  7. Now you can cover those meatballs up with sauce.
  8. Finish cooking them until done, and they look oh-so saucy and delish like this!
  9. When cooking meatballs I like to insert a thermometer in them and make sure they have reached a temp of at least 165 degrees.



I missed the in-between pictures because my daughter hasn't been feeling well so it wasn't really my priority at the time.



Then it was finally time for dessert! Here's how it turned out...



The vanilla was a bit soft so I think if I did this a day in advance, it would have been much better. Still, it tasted so good and the fudge and cookie layer was so yummy! J said after we had the ice cream cake that it was good, but that my supper was better. Win-win for me! I hope I was able to brighten up his day a bit!

Happy birthday J!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Switching Gears

Hey everyone, I know it's been a while. I just wanted to let you know that instead of etsy, I've decided to sell my patterns on Craftsy! Here's a link to my "shop".

https://www.craftsy.com/profile/cotton-cooties