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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Product of the Day-- Applique must haves

I couldn't do appliques without a double sided fusible medium. These are the two I like and recommend. I use the Lite Steam a Seam 2 most often.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Product of the Day: Brother XL2600i Sewing Machine

You can get this machine for just $79 on Amazon. It's basic in price but a bit more than basic in features. I has a one step automatic buttonhole feature-- which I always recommend if you can get it. It has a threader and a fairly decent selection of stitches as well, including stretch stitches. There isn't a lot a home sewer, especially a beginner, isn't going to be able to do on this machine. If you want to try sewing but don't want to drop a lot of money, this will get you sewing right away for just a small investment. I have numerous students who have used this machine and they have made everything from children's clothes, to adult clothing, to jackets, Halloween costumes, window treatments, quilts, and more. It even hems jeans with ease, no hesitation getting through that thick denim. Definitely worth a look if you want a budget machine.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Product of the Day: Serger

Once you start using a serger, it becomes a sewing essential and you wonder how you ever sewed without it before. It make sewing so much easier and opens the door to do so many new things. I love my serger. This is the one I have. It's not the most high tech serger out there. I don't use the most high tech sewing machines, either. For the price and functionality, I can't say enough good things about this serger. I don't think you'll be disappointed if you want to get started with a serger.

Cleverly Disguised Spammers

I have never done this but it's time to fight back. There are people out there like one named Angela Jackson who leave comments all over the blogosphere and youtube, commenting on bibs in this case, so they can include a link to a product they are trying to push in their seemingly harmless comment. Am I the only one who thinks this is unscrupulous? Beware! I'm OK with people who happen to have a link to their page in their signatures but when you see someone spent the day trolling all over youtube and blogs, posting comments over and over again to deliberately get their link out there, well, I wouldn't do business with them if they paid ME. This is one of the reasons I screen comments on my blog to keep my readers from being exploited.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sign Up for Amazon Student

Join Amazon Student and you get all the benefits if Amazon Prime for FREE for six months!!!!That means free two day shipping. free streaming of endless programs and movies, free streaming of millions of songs, exclusive offers for Amazon Student members only. Yes, it's free! At the end of six months, you can upgrade you account to an Amazon Prime account for half price! I couldn't believe it when I found this deal. Take advantage and tell your friends.

Product of the day: Chalk Cartridge

If you've taken lessons with me, you know this is one of my favorite tools for marking fabric. Also, if you've taken lessons, you've used this and asked: "Where'd you get this?" The reason I love this chalk set is because it's convenient and easy to use and it also contains enough different colors so, no matter what color my fabric, I have a chalk color that will show up on it. If you buy only one fabric marking product, buy this one.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Product of the Day: Needles

If you need an assortment of needles you'll use the most, these fit the bill. They're universal and made to fit all machines.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Product of the Day: Bobbins

If you need bobbins (and you probably do), this is a great buy on these bobbins. Only 14 cents each and free shipping.

They fit in all machines (including Brother) that use Class 15 bobbins, which is most machines.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Back to Business

I had a great vacation. I came home and was sick the next day and stayed sick for the whole next week but I'm back to feeling great and busy as can be! I've delivered quite a few orders this week and the sewing schedule is back in full swing.

You know you put it off every year. You want to sew and make things for Christmas but you wait and then it's too late. Well, it's not too late. Schedule now and you'll be sewing in plenty of time for Christmas. Email me for an appointment. Click the tab at the top of the page for private lessons and get all the details.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Vacation time

I am taking a much needed vacation but will be back to work on 9/29. Lessons are filling up for the first two weeks of October but I will not be taking any more reservations until 9/29. No new orders can be accepted until 9/29.

If you are interested in lessons, email me and I will get back to you when I reopen or contact me at a later date.

I look forward to seeing everyone in a couple of weeks!

Monday, September 8, 2014

September Schedule for Lessons and Orders

A few scheduling announcements: I don't have openings for any more lessons until 9/29. Our sew along for the MD Anderson kids will be on 9/30 from 10 am to 12 am. If you plan to come, please message me for address and other information. The last orders I can take for the month of September will have to be in by Thursday, 9/11. Normal production will resume on 10/1.
For more information, please visit my Facebook page

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Busy Day in the Kitchen

I know I've been slacking on my posts, but I've especially been slacking on my food posts for quite some time. Today, was a busy day in the kitchen for some reason. It started about 8 AM with a salad I prepared for my lunch with Jessica. BJ's Brewery used to have this watermelon salad on their small bites menu and it was my favorite thing to get there. So, of course, they took it off the menu. I got a recipe in the mail from Kroger with this watermelon salad that had some of the components of the BJs salad so I proceeded to create a mash up of recipe ideas and came up with this fantastic Watermelon and cucumber salad with fresh mint and feta. Here it is.

Does that look amazing, or what? It's pretty simple to make: diced seedless watermelon and a seeded cucumber, finely minced red onion, minced fresh mint, crumbled feta, lime juice, salt. That's it. The flavors are so fresh and summery and delicious. The melding of the cucumber and mint and feta gives it a bit of a Mediterranean taste. Very good. I'll definitely make it again.

So, that's how my cooking day started. Next came happy hour. I have been planning to make a white sangria for the past few weeks and finally got around to it. Last week I made an amazing fruit salad with an extraordinary array of fresh fruits that took me forever to cut up: oranges, pineapple, apples, grapes, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, peaches, nectarines. I made a huge bowl of it-- far more than I knew we could eat. But, I had a plan. Freeze the leftovers to use for sangria.

After eating all we could for a couple of days, I put the rest into zip lock bags and froze them. I freeze everything. There are few things that don't freeze well so, when in doubt, freeze it and see what happens. I'm also famous for reincarnating leftovers--add something new and then make a new dish out of it. So was the case when my fruit salad met my sangria this afternoon.

I took one of my zip lock bags of fruit salad from the freezer and put it in a pitcher. I peeled and cut up a couple of fresh peaches-- I am talking really good, fresh off the tree, juicy, sweet peaches! I added a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, 1/2 cup of triple sec, about a cup or a cup and half of 7-Up, and about 1/4 cup or so of chopped fresh mint. (I'm so glad my mint is growing like crazy!). OK, I really love red sangria and love to order it every time we go to Pappasitos. I make it at home and it's amazing. Y'know what? I never, ever, ever tasted a sangria as fantastic as this white sangria I made today. You have to try it! It's just perfection. A great summer drink, but great any time. I'll make it again even thought I'm not always going to have a complex fruit salad on hand, but I'll just cut up whatever fruit I do have. I think the peaches are important.

So, while I was drinking that fantastic concoction, I decided to whip up an old standby for dinner that I hadn't made in a long time: beef stroganoff. To me, this is just one of those great comfort food meals that I don't make enough but I love it every time I do. When Jackie and Jessica were younger I made it more but as they become teens, they started complaining they didn't like it so I never made it much. I love it, though, so it's back in the rotation. 

I know. Beef Stroganoff with rotini? I didn't have noodles, I had rotini. Same thing. I usually use sirloin or round steak cut into thin 2 inch strips but today I used a chuck roast cut the same way. (It's no secret to anyone who knows my eating and cooking, I absolutely can not stand fat on my meat. Yuck! Please, no lectures about how much better it makes the meat taste. I hate it. That's it.  So, trim the meat well because no one wants a big mouthful of fat. Ugh.) Brown the meat-- about 2 or 3 lbs-- in a large skilled coated with a bit of oil-- your choice. I use an electric skillet because I have a big one and it works well for this. As meat nears full browning, add a thinly sliced onion. Add 3 or 4 TBS of finely minced garlic and cook til slightly browned and until onions begin to soften. Add about 1 lb of sliced mushrooms, stirring to brown slightly. Add 2 beef bouillon cubes and about 2-3 cups of water (enough to cover all the ingredients in the skillet). Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup red wine (optional-- sometimes I add it, sometimes I don't), stirring to loosen bits that may be in bottom of pan. Add 3/4 cup ketchup. Stir, cover, simmer for about an hour or an hour and a half until meat is tender and can be cut with a fork. Thicken sauce with slurry of 2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in water, using more or less as may be needed to make a thick sauce, like stew. Serve over noodles or pasta of your choice and add a dollop of sour cream on top of individual servings.

So, that's what I whipped up in my kitchen today. I hope you'll give these recipes a try. If you do, let me know what you think. Do you want me to write the recipes in a more formal way? If so, let me know. I'm more of a "a little of this, a little of that" kind of cook but I can do the recipe thing if you need it. Enjoy!


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