Monday, March 30, 2009

You gotta LOVE a Giveaway...

Look at this wonderful little red and blue star patch quilt. Is this cute or what??? I wish I could say it was mine... hmm, maybe it will be. Millie over at Millie's Quilting made this really cute quilt and bunch of fabric carrots and she is giving it away! What a sweet idea. Head on over and sign up. Millie will pick a winner Friday, April 3rd at noon. Good luck!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sew, Sew Weekend...

I actually planned to have a sew, sew weekend, but then my dear friend Colleen enticed me away with a trip to the mall. I don't get to see Colleen nearly enough since she took a full-time job. We used to shop together quite a bit. Like my sister, she is a tiny size 4 - so it is fun to help her pick out stuff to try on. If I were her size... I would own all the clothes available in a 4 (Amen?)! She helps me shop as well. Today she facilitated in the acquisition of a red trench coat - I have dreamed of having one since last spring. I also landed a cute Fossil purse to match, of course, and... on sale. Oh happy day! I can and will sew tomorrow.

The Rockin' Bobbins are working on a 9-patch block swap. I'm a girl that LOVES a nine patch. Here are some of my blocks (per usual... my photo skills are lame... sorry). A couple months ago, Juna brought an awesome antique quilt for show & tell to quilt group. The Rockin' Bobbins all wanted to reproduce the quilt, so each month we are bringing 2 sets of 12 nine-patch blocks to swap. I have done a little sewing ahead. The original quilt had the 9-patch blocks set with snowball blocks made of double pinks and shirtings. With any luck I can feature this great project in the future with pictures of finished quilts.

Oh yeah... my friend Elaine gave me that little antique sewing machine in the picture. It is 1 of 3 she gave me. Am I lucky or what!!!

It just started to thunder, lightning, and rain here in central Indiana. My friend Nancy, from Iowa, let me know it is snowing there. We are supposed to get snow tomorrow. I have beautiful reminders that it is spring in my backyard.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Catching Up...

Okay, so I've been trying to catch up a little after visiting my Mom and sister Jeanne last week. First of all, I found it extremely hard to travel last week without making stops at Starbucks for a latte to go. So once, I substituted Micky D fries - not a smart choice! Needless to say I sheepishly avoided Weight Watchers last night.

I attended a WW meeting with my Mom and her pals a week ago Monday. They all go to a pizza joint after the meeting! Then, maybe because I was along and it was a special occasion, we went to Dairy Queen! Are you getting a clear picture of what happened to my diet last week? I have very little will power - and Jeanne is a size 4!

Since being home, I have experimented a little with the 6 Week Raisin Bran Muffin recipe. The recipe as given makes thick, sturdy, scone-like consistency muffins. My friend Nancy loves coconut, so she added 1 cup to the recipe and gave it the thumbs up. I mixed up a batch the other night and doubled everything - except the box of Raisin Bran. I also used wheat flour instead of white. These muffins are a little cakier. I plan to make the next recipe with plain Bran cereal and dried cranberries or blueberries. I also want to try subbing applesauce for oil. The original recipe counts as 2.5 pts on WW. If you try the recipe please comment and let me know.

I am back at being a super good WW today. I went to the gym this morning with Mary and Carolyn. OH the pain. I sweat my be-hind off (I wish!) and told my trainer Matt I am swearing off Mojitos (also subbed for lattes last week).

It is a gray day - although the sun seems to be trying to make an appearance. Perfect day for knitting and sewing and catching up on laundry. I hope to have project pics for you tomorrow.

Good day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I was lucky enough to see my cheery friend Sue this morning. She is busily painting and prepping for new carpet for 2 rooms in her house and I told her I’d help her move furniture. I went over, and moved a few books from one room to another, and then she fed me delish muffins. Who has time to whip up muffins when they are in the midst of remodeling???

Sweet Sue shared this little secret with me… for these muffins, you make a big batch of batter. Once made, the batter sits happily in your fridge for up to six weeks. All you need do is scoop out enough to make your muffins for the day. Only need one or two muffins for your breakfast? Perfect, just scoop out that much and cover the rest to have another day. Have company for a few days? Make warm muffins each morning. I can't think of any time that isn't perfect for one of these delicious and wholesome muffins… especially since they are just a preheated oven and a scoop away!

So here I am again, sharing a recipe, and a sweet tip from Sue.

Raisin Bran Muffins

6 cups raisin bran cereal (I use the entire box)
2 ½ c plain all purpose flour
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar
½ cup oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 ½ t baking soda
1 t salt

In large bowl, mix well, all ingredients. Refrigerate overnight. Next morning, stir well and bake as many as needed in greased muffin pan for fifteen minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean in a 400° oven. Store remaining batter tightly covered in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.

Tested Recipe Revisions: Double all ingredients, except the Raisin Bran cereal. Substitute wheat flour for the plain all purpose flour.

Approved by the Charlie Allen Taste Testing Foundation.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's a bit o' the Irish...

Hold the phone I have recipes to share! Every year when St. Paddy’s Day rolls around, my husband Brad likes to make Corned Beef and Cabbage. For several years he would throw it all in a pot and boil it. It tasted okay but it looked so pink and ugly! Then a couple years ago I found this recipe on-line for roasted corned beef – roasted in brown sugar and beer. Can you beat that??? He made it and it was delish…and it looked good too!

Guinness Corned Beef
(originally found on

4 pounds corned beef brisket
1 cup brown sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle Irish stout beer like Guinness®

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Rinse the beef completely, pat dry. Place the brisket on rack in a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef to coat entire beef, including the bottom. Pour the bottle of stout beer around, and gently over the beef to wet the sugar. Cover, and place in preheated oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

An Irish buddy of Brad’s suggested he make Colcannon as a side to his corned Beef. Colcannon is an Irish dish made of cabbage, kale, or other greens, and potatoes boiled and mashed together. Brad found the following recipe – again, a BIG hit.

(originally found on

2 pounds russet potatoes
4 slices bacon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 leek, rinsed and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1/3 cup butter
1 cup hot milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper

Peel potatoes and cube. Place in saucepan and cover with cold water. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in large saucepan until crisp and browned, turning often while cooking. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain; crumble. To drippings remaining in saucepan, add olive oil. Cook onion, garlic, and leeks until crisp tender, about 3-5 minutes. Then add cabbage, cover, and cook for 6-10 minutes until cabbage is tender.

When potatoes are cooked, drain and return potatoes to hot pot; shake over low heat for a few minutes to dry. Add butter and mash. Add milk and salt and pepper; beat until combined. Stir in bacon and cabbage mixture. Serve immediately, or place in serving dish and keep warm in 200 degrees F oven for 1 hour.

Every year Brad invites over friends for an Irish bash. When we lived near our friends the Callans it was the big Allen-Callan Irish Bash. Brad sets the table with beer glasses that have a drop of green food coloring in the bottom. Then when he pours the beer it magically turns green. He gets a kick out of that every year. So happy St. Paddy’s Day in advance! Slap on a shamrock and give these great recipes a try. The luck of the Irish be with you!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Finished Knitting projects...

Well, it is time to talk about one of things I REALLY intended to talk about on my blog... knitting. I have a few finished, but weakly photographed projects to share, finally.

Before Christmas, I took a hat class from Jane (the best teacher ever - I took the sock class from her too) at The Village Yarn Shop. I went hat crazy. I can be a little OCD when I learn a new trick. (Amen?) Almost every family member I have recieved a hat from me. Here is one of three hats I made for my brother Sean's sweet daughter, Emerson. She is my God-daughter and I plan to spoil her rotten. She just learned to walk and had a little mishap with a table, hence the boo-boo over her eye. Her Mom, Karen, worries she'll have to pencil in her eyebrow. Sean is a Bear's fan, so she is dressed like a little Bear's fan.

My good friend Ellen, has an obviously aggressive soccer player for a daughter - Julie. You go girl! Well she did go... down... and didn't come up with out a compound fracture and surgery. Ouch! She is now sporting a full arm cast on her right arm, and will have that replaced with a shorter cast. I tried to think what I could do for her... bake cookies, buy her toe socks or flannel sleep pants. I couldn't come up with anything different - her Mom has many thoughtful, loving friends. Then it came to me. I had just finished my socks, why couldn't I knit her a Cast Cozy. Afterall, I have a crafty reputation to uphold! I knew Julie would appreciate this fun and different accessory. So, I asked Julie for her favorite colors and had Ellen take a few measurements. I bought some delish Cascade Superwash in blues and greens and using a rib 2 x 2 pattern I knit the length of her forearm.

A while back, I fell in love with Brooklyntweed's
(Jared U R A Superstar!) Noro Striped Scarf. I had to whip one up so I made myself a Wisdom Poems Striped Scarf (on the right). I used 4 skeins of Wisdom Poems in 2 different colorways. I was so happy with that, I made a Gedifra Striped Scarf (on the left) using a blue version of their Fashion Trend Stripe. For this project I used 4 balls of the same collorway. The blue scarf is for my SIL Karen - she reminded me that she did NOT get a hat...sorry, I hope this makes up for it! Anywho, I am a little addicted to this pattern and plan to try other self striping yarns. Thank you Jared for the inspiration!

For Valentine's day, my sister Jeanne sent me a fun kit from Wild Fiber Designs - the Get Looped Scarf. She saw this scarf while shopping at Wild Fiber, a lovely knit shop in Galena, IL. She wanted this scarf for herself. So while I was on my retreat a few weeks ago I whipped it up for her.

Jeanne also sent me some yummy chunky pink yarn. I knit her this scarf to go with her white winter coat.

In case you are wondering, Jeanne also sent me a really cute Moda Charm pack that I think she intended me to keep for myself. She included coordinating fabrics too :: SA-WEET!

I'll end this here, but I do want to give a shout out to Carolyn & Mary for the yummy dinner they brought over last night. And thank you Cheryl for the fun card and pretty candle. I am a girl blessed with fab friends! God bless you all!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Baby!!!

My baby, my little boy, my son and only child has a birthday today! I can not believe this, but he is 17 years old. I sat reflecting this morning as to where I was 17 years ago. I believe I was waiting on a gift from God that would forever change and enrich my life.


I remember the cowboy birthday party we had for you when you were 2 and we lived in Texas. Grandpa Dorance gave you cowboy boots and on a trip to San Antonio you cried "my booooots!" for 45 minutes straight. I remember knowing we needed to move back to the Midwest because the "hi-i " and "bye-i" you learned at Miss Beverly's A Place to Grow both seemed to have more than one syllable.

In kindergarten you wanted to get a pet so we got a cat and you named him Grey Cloud. It was thanksgiving, you had just studied native Americans, and wanted the cat to have an native American name. Grey Cloud is still with us today. Your first grade teacher called me on the second day of school to report that you were sticking pencils up your nose and making "farting noises" with your hands. Obviously she hadn't met your Dad yet!

Speaking of your Dad, he still talks about the night when you were in first grade and he took you to KFC. You asked your Dad what KFC stood for and he replied "Kentucky Fried Chicken". Then you innocently asked, "Are you sure it isn't Kentucky F**ky Chicken"? Your Dad had to say with a straight face that he was pretty sure it was Kentucky FRIED Chicken.

In elementary school you gave yourself a short haircut in the bathroom during the after school program. They didn't know where you got the scissors. You were nearly suspended on a "weapons charge" for bringing a very small squirt gun to school. Another time you asked me what that was in my purse that looked like a candy bar, but seemed more like toilet paper. So inquisitive!

Middle school brought trumpet playing and wrestling practice. And high school has brought new friends, the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, driving, buying your first car, running into a parked car with your car, and your first love. Where has the time gone?
Happy birthday Charlie. You are the light in my life and I love you!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fun Bling...

The other day I was blogging around and I found the cutest idea from Handmade Kate.

Way back in August of '07, Kate made a necklace using a memory Pendant Kit from Martha Stewart Crafts - available at Michaels. Instead of using a picture for the pendant, she used fabric scraps...SO CUTE.

I ran to Michael's as fast as I could to scope out these kits... Martha has charm bracelet kits as well! I was all over it! I sped home, ran to the basement where I have my cardmaking supplies strewn everywhere, grabbed my Designer Paper from K & Company and made bracelets with little charms of scrapbook paper - that look like fabric. The charms are double sided so twice the fun. I am sending this one off to my sister.

The photography isn't great, but you get the idea. I have more kits and plan to try the pendants as well. These would make cute gifts for my scrapbooking friends and quilting friends. The possibilities are endless! Thanks for the inspiration Kate!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Okay, so I've always been totally mad for Moda. As quilters, what did we ever do without it? Today I found this great little giveaway. Vanessa over at V and Co. is giving away 2 honeybuns! Check out her website to see how you can enter to win.

Don't they look yummy!!! And no calories!! Thanks Vanessa for this great opportunity!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Peachy Keen

I had a request for this recipe this morning and I thought I'd share it with everyone here. This recipe is great served with coffee in the morning, or as a dessert with a dollop of whipped cream at night. Enjoy!

Peaches and Cream Cheese Cake

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 oz. pkg. dry vanilla pudding mix (Cook & Serve, not Instant)
3 tablespoon oleo, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 (15-20 oz.) can sliced peaches, drain & reserve juice
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoon reserved juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine in large mixer bowl flour, baking powder, salt, dry pudding mix, oleo, egg, and milk.
Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour into greased 9" deep dish or 10" pie pan (batter will be runny). Place drained fruit over batter. Combine in small mixer bowl cream cheese, sugar, and reserved juice(3 tbsp.). Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Spoon to within 1" of edge of batter. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over cream cheese filling (I've been known to forget this step - and it is every bit as good). Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until crust is golden brown.
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