Friday, March 16, 2018

Potato Soup for St. Pat's Day

I haven't made Potato Soup in years, but for St. Patrick's Day I thought that I would give it a try. It turned out amazingly good. When I was a kid my mom used to make potato soup and we would have it with lots of saltine crackers in it (crushed of course). Her soup was basic potato, milk, celery, onions, and a little butter. She never thickened it or mashed the potatoes and she used a lot of celery. I loved it! My taste is a little different now that I'm no longer seven so here is how I made my new version. I think the carrots make the soup extra good.

St. Pat's Day Potato Soup

2 T butter (use more if you like)
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
Sauté in large sauce pan until tender but not browned. Add in:
1 14.5 oz. can low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 chicken bullion cube
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed in bite size cubes
Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Use the back of a spoon to mash some of the potatoes, but not all.
1/2 cup Half and Half
3 T mashed potato flakes or granules
3 T Neufchatel Cheese or Cream Cheese
Stir until the cheese melts and the soup thickens
(Optional) Stir in: 
1 medium russet potato, baked and cut into small cubes, with or without skin
Serve while HOT! Don't burn your tongue :)
You can leave out the cheese and mashed potato flakes if you like a thin soup.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Adaptive Nightgowns for Mom

Sometimes it happens, someone you know is no longer able to dress themselves. And finding adaptive clothing is not that easy. Here is a tutorial on how to re-fashion an already made nightgown into a hospital type gown that opens in the back. Hopefully making it easier for the person or their caregiver to dress. I have been searching the internet for patterns or ready-made hospital gowns, but to put it nicely, they are either very expensive and/or not so attractive. And I did not find ONE with long sleeves!  
I headed off to Macy's and found two very cute night gowns for less than $15 each. Can't even buy the fabric for that price!  

This polar fleece purple one.
And a red and white flannel one, both were full length gowns. I'll show you what I did. First I cut off 7 inches on the Purple one and 8 inches red one. The purple one was a bit shorter and since it was polar fleece I knew that I would not have to hem the edge. I used this material to create the modesty panel in back. Just cut along one seam making a long strip of fabric.
Next, using my rotary cutter and ruler, I cut  the entire length of the gown on one side in back -just were the curve on the neck of the garment flattens out. Put a small hem on the side that lapped over the modesty panel to finish it. For the modesty panel on both gowns I hemmed the modesty panel for the neck - curving it slightly. For the red gown I put wrong sides together with a 1/4 inch seam. Folded back with right sides together, pressed then sewed another 1/4 inch plus a little more to seam (making a French seam), or you could just zigzag to keep from fraying. Shortened and hemmed the modesty panel to match the length of the gown. Added ribbons to the top neckline on both the gown and panel and added two at the waist to tie the gown shut.
For the purple gown I just zigzagged the modesty panel to the back and used buttons and buttonholes to close the neckline of the gown. I added ribbon at the waistline, too. Now mom has two nice gowns that are easy for her help to get on. So far the gowns are both holding up well!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Snack Time While Crafting

I love Cheetos, but hate the orange fingers after eating them! Just use Chopsticks! Not only do you not get orange fingers, but you tend to eat them more slowly. And I'm all for slowing down on the snacks. Other greasily snacks can be eaten this way, too! The best part is no damage to whatever you are working on.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tatted Snowflake

On my Christmas post I showed the tatted star snowflake that I made last year and mentioned I was making a different one for this year (2017). Now that all the Christmas gifts have been given I thought that I would show you the 2017 model. Ta Da!
And believe it or not - I think that I have found the one for 2018! Just started making a sample.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Hand Made Winter Quilt - My First Pieced Quilt

The idea for this quilt started several years ago while I was on a Christmas tour of houses in our local area. The thing is...I told someone from my garden club about what I wanted to make. And if you tell someone, then you need to do it!  I described a red and white quilt with red embroidered cardinals. Ta da,  that is what happened!  Not that I didn't consider other embroidery motifs before I made it. There is the cutest little reindeer embroidery pattern from Ann the Gran called "Rudolph Reindeer" and so many snowflake patterns, too. But in the end the "Winter Cardinal" won out. This way it is a winter quilt rather than just a Christmas quilt. 
I found the directions for this easy quilt in a Gooseberry Patch Christmas book I checked out from our very tiny local library. The next challenge was to choose the fabric. I needed to pick six fabrics (half a yard each) the ones making the final cut where: two plain fabrics, red and white; two dotted fabrics, white with white dots and red with white dots; red and white stripes;  and a small gingham check in red and the white polar fleece for the back (about 2 and a half yards). Finding reds that did not clash and whites that didn't look pink next to the red took awhile. There were several fabrics that just did not work as well as I had hoped, for instance the zigzag fabric shown above and a large gingham check not shown.  I was exhausted and hadn't even started to sew! Made several 7" square templates from my favorite freezer paper and cut out a total of eighty squares. I ended up using only 54 squares (six per row - 9 rows total) which made a perfect cuddle on the couch size.
The cardinals took awhile to embroider, some are complete in the picture above. And as you can see I had a lot of help for the layout. 
So much help that I ended up laying it out on the dining room table. Time to sew the blocks into rows, then the rows together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Finished squares are 6 inches. Sewing the squares together went much more smoothly than I originally anticipated! The block corners met where they were supposed to. Imagine!
I researched several quilting websites before this step. Time to make the quilt "sandwich" with the top, batting and the polar fleece backing. I used sew-able basting spray "Spray n Bond" between layers which I've used many times to hoop fabric for embroidery and had on hand. Then large safety pins to hold the layers in place.

Taking my time and using my walking foot for first time since I started sewing many years ago, I carefully stitched 5/8 inch stitch line from the seam on all sides of the blocks. I loosened the tension on the sewing machine and used a large stitch. Love the way it looks! Trimmed the batting to an inch and a half all the way around. Then pulled and pinned the polar fleece evenly around the quilt, mitering the corners and stitched in place. Fini.
Tilly loves it, too!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love this simple Valentine's Day craft - folded book heart. My brother- and sister-in-law gave me this little red memo book for Christmas and it was perfect to make this.
Click Here to find the tutorial to make your own folded book heart.

Hope you are having a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sweet Cinnamon Roll Hearts

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, one of my favorite holidays! I'm not sure why, but I love it. Each year I fix my honey sweet cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Just a little thing that is easy to do and kind of dorky...and I'm okay with that. I've only made sweet cinnamon rolls from scratch a couple of times, they were "oh so good" but made massive amounts! Let's face it, my family does not need the empty calories. So now I just make the kind in the tube. We like the orange ones from Pillsbury. And I don't feel so bad if I throw a few out. Like that's going to happen.
Open the tube and shape the rolls like above in the greased baking pan (a glass pie pan works great for me). Then bake per directions on the package. 
See how pretty they turn out? Then slather those hot rolls with the frosting included in the tube.