Thursday, August 28, 2008

Other Plantlife

Here is the other mini-garden I'm attempting to maintain. My mother gave me this adorable little cactus garden for my birthday. Unfortunately one of the six plants died immediately, but the rest are still OK. I used to get irritated when the sun shone through the sliding door from our balcony, but now I wish it were even more sunny for the cacti.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chicken Cassoulet

Another crockpot dinner:
Chicken Cassoulet
I LOVE this dish. The recipe is from The Healthy Slow Cooker, like the soup. There are two main keys to this dish: fresh dill and cremini mushrooms. The dill, freshly chopped, gets added right at the end of the cooking time and adds a wonderful flavor. The mushrooms are like little treasures hidden throughout the dish. It makes a huge difference to use fresh mushrooms (where the gills aren't open yet), both in flavor and texture. The chicken thighs fall apart into a wonderful stewy consistency. So good! I always make the largest batch possible so I can have the leftovers for lunch all week.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's Alive!

We got an AeroGarden when it was a Gold Box special on Amazon. It came with the standard herb seed kit, in which we were quite pleased to discover that the cilantro had been replaced by thyme! Upgrade! We set it up last weekend, and the basil and thyme were our first sprouts.
Now, the purple basil, dill, and chives have sprouted as well.
More sprouts
We also bought the cherry tomato seed kit, so once the herbs run their course we'll try that too.
Despite having avid gardeners as parents, I'm not too skilled at keeping plants alive. So it's nice to have the Aerogarden, which I like to think of as a little robot that helps us keep them going. It's...THE GERMINATOR. "Come with me if you want [your plants] to live!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Make it Snappy

Now that I have stretched it out into a remarkable number of posts, the little silverware tote is finally finished.
Snaps re-do
I got my hands on some plain old sew-on snaps, pried out the less-than-happy hammered-on snaps, and sewed the new ones on. Success! It snaps and unsnaps as well as I could have hoped. It has plenty of imperfections but I did learn a lot from making it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Souped Up

Mushroom Lentil Soup
This is Mushroom Lentil Soup, made in our slow cooker, from The Healthy Slow Cooker. One of our very favorite recipes from a favorite book. The garnish is Greek yogurt and chives. This recipe is especially great, because it's even better when it's leftover and the flavors have melded even more.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Snapped

Setback on the silverware tote. Even through just a single layer of fabric, the snaps are just not staying together. I even enlisted the help of Mr. Mongie to hammer the bejeezus out of it, but it still pulled right out of the fabric after being snapped & unsnapped the first time. So, time to regroup and get my hands on some sew-on snaps. I've used those before but thought the hammer-on snaps would be sturdier. Alas, it is not so, in this instance!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Oh, Snap!

I bought some snaps this weekend and started applying them to the silverware case.
Top half of snaps
I got the tops parts in, but am having difficulty with the bottom parts. I think the fabric is a little too thick. Of course, it didn't help matters that I put them in upside down the first time. Hmm, maybe I need to cut a little hole in the brown vinyl part on the inside, so that the prongs only need to grip through one layer. I'll try that in a bit - I hit my thumb with the hammer trying to get the snaps applied, and need some recovery time!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Non-Ironic Cross Stitch

Here's a fluffy little cross-stitch kit I completed some time ago. As you can see, I did it with much smaller count fabric than suggested. I like to do this - I've always liked working on miniature scale for some reason.
Sorceress cross stitch
Now I don't know what to do with it. It might be neat to put it in the cover of a blank book, but then I would have to learn book-binding too. :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fabrics In Baby Quilt

Here's a photo of the fabrics I used for my nephew's quilt - a cute tadpole print, and a plain light green flannel.
Fabric for baby quilt

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The First Bed-size Quilt I Ever Completed

Baby Quilt
This is my adorable nephew, a week old, with the little quilt I made for him. It's crib-sized. It's whole-cloth, not pieced - the entire top is made from one rectangle of a cute print of tadpoles in jars. I just quilted in straight lines between the print - it was pretty easy, but still looks nice since I let the print do the heavy lifting. The backing & binding are super-soft green flannel (in fact, just cut out of a flannel sheet). I've heard that quilters don't like yellow quilts - not sure why, since it's so cheerful and sunny!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Silverware Tote Sewn Together

Whew, I pulled it off! Here is how it looks (along with the pattern pieces I created from tracing the original:
Sewn silverware tote with pattern pieces
I still need to buy some snaps to sew on for a closure. Maybe two snaps - I haven't decided yet. Here's what it looks like with the silverware inside (and flap tucked in for now):
Silverware tote in need of a snap
Mr. Mongie has declared it "very cute." If I were to do it again, I would make it taller so that the silverware fit entirely in the bottom of the case and the flap folded flush with the top of the opening.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I'm having some trouble with the silverware tote I started. First, I had to cut the inner part down a bit and then resew it, as it didn't fit inside the outer case. The fabrics are more difficult to work with than I thought. The vinyl-coated fabric is pretty difficult to sew through, even using a small, sharp needle. The printed fabric is actually pretty ravelly - the waffle weave is rather loose. And I'm blind-stitching these two fabrics together with a 1/8th inch seam allowance! Clearly I'm not being challenged enough at work if is this what I'm doing for FUN. (^_^)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Starting a Silverware Tote

I have a set of backpacking silverware (fork, knife, & spoon that all snap together) that I keep in my backpack at work. However, I still keep them in the same plastic case they came in years ago - which is now all torn up. So, I'm going to sew myself a little tote/case!
Prep for silverware case
I'm just going to trace the existing case to create the pattern. The brown polka-dot fabric is for the inside - it's vinyl-coated. The kitchen print, for the outside, has a waffle texture.