Monday, December 28, 2015

Bacon Mac 'n Cheese

Good thing it's the holidays: I needed a nap after this delicious lunch.

Cook 3 cups dry macaroni according to package directions.  (Al dente.)

Melt 1/3 cup butter in sauce pan.  Whisk in 1/3 cup flour.

Add 2 cups of milk and seasonings (I used basil and black pepper) to the flour and butter mix.  Whisk continuously.  Once that has thickened, fold in 2-3 cups of grated cheddar and stir til smooth.

Pour sauce over drained noodles and mix.  Scoop into casserole dish.

Top with crumbled bacon, 1/2 cup grated cheese and breadcrumbs (or crunched up rice cereal, as I did here when I realized we didn't have breadcrumbs in the pantry).

Place in oven 5 350 until cheese is melted and bubbly (8-ish min).

Gifted: Play Doughnuts

This year my four-year-old niece got the handmade Christmas gift: doughnuts for dramatic play.  I used the pattern from Lion Brand's site and a variety of yarns from my stash.

They fit perfectly into this dollar-store baking box.

We added some paper coffee cups and empty coffee cans to make the play set complete.

Almost sweet enough to eat?

Simpsons homage. ;)

We paired the doughnuts with the picture book, Please, Mr. Panda.  (Synopsis: Mr. Panda offers all the animals doughnuts, but then keeps changing his mind.  Is there something the animals are forgetting to say?  The illustrations are awesome.)

(Photocred to my brother-in-law.  I forgot to take photos before I wrapped these up, but he was kind enough to send some shots.)

P.S: These are super fun to make.  I had a lot of fun playing with them as I went...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Great Week of Thrift Shopping!

My thrift shopping obsession comes and goes in waves.  This week on Sunday, we had time to waste while waiting for our photo order to be ready at Costco.  Costco was super busy.  There just happens to be a Value Village right across the street.  Perfecto!  I picked up two fall jackets and a blazer for myself, a grab bag of some random lego pieces, and a few other craft items that I'll share later.  But I had time to carefully scour the baby section and found these onesies at $1.49 each.

Carter's is my go-to brand for second-hand onesies.  They always fit and they don't lose their shape in the wash.

I also found this amazing piece of fabric.  Pig race fabric!  It's a Joe Boxer print, so it would have been quite pricey at the fabric store, I'm sure.  I picked it up for $3.99.  I'm not sure what I'm going to make with it yet.  A throw pillow? Some bibs?  Holding on to it for now.

One day at work this week was particularly draining.  I had a huge bag of thrift store donations in my car, so instead of just dropping it off and heading home to be productive, I spent some time unwinding in Goodwill.  Prices have gone up from $1.25 per baby item to $1.75, but that's still an amazing deal (and a great cause).  Check out my finds:

That fair-isle sweater is brand new from H&M and it's going to make for some very cute Christmas photos!  And the vest?  I can hardly take it.  So absolutely darling.  Maybe Orson can wear it for his 1st birthday party tomorrow. :)

Orson has been going through 2-3 changes of clothes per day at daycare, so I'm happy to have cute and comfy clothes that he can wear, play and get messy in without me stressing about "how much I spent on that!?!?"

More thrifties to come.  But for now, back to laundry....

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sweet Find!

We bought these at a thrift store in Leamington last week, all for $6.00. I knew they were good quality, but more importantly, they just looked so sweet! The brand is Arzberg--a German porcelain company.  Just looked them up and these pieces retail for 85 Euros total. That's about $120 Canadian! 

More importantly, who's coming over for coffee?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rust? What Rust?

Spring is here.  Our backyard and garden went from sweet, green and golden to overgrown and nightmarish in a matter of days.  Getting much done out there on weekdays has proven difficult, so I was grateful for a Saturday at home to get down to business.

After I weeded the garden, and relocated some rogue raspberry plants into the bare spots in our raspberry rows, along came Farmer Dan with the rototiller to tidy up the spaces between the raspberry bushes that we intend to devote to veggies, yet to be determined.

Having Dan at home made it a great opportunity to paint.  There would always be one pair of non-painty hands to tend to the baby.  (No blue finger prints on diapers or bottles, no half-painted projects, abandoned when teething became to troublesome to bear alone.)

A coat of thick, blue Tremclad and it was now you see me, now you don't in reverse.

A good start to a summer of beautification.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Soup love

Spicy Ham and Legume Soup
I want to eat this every day.

Into the pot goes:
- one litre of chicken stock
- one can of crushed tomatoes
- one + 1/2 diced onions
-a couple of stalks of celery, diced
-2 carrots, peeled and minced
-some combination of red lentils and green split peas equalling about 1 and 1/2 cups
-one can of black beans, drained and rinsed
-a few handfuls of ham, cubed
-1 or 2 chili peppers, minced

Simmer on the stove until the veggies and lentils are soft.  Imitate Bill Murray in What About Bob? while you eat it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Making Up Baking

There is a fine balance of chemistry that happens in baking.  I can respect that.  But sometimes it's fun to just go for it!  Recording my made-up muffin recipe here in case I can't remember it next time I need it.

Banana Coconut Walnut Muffins

-2 large ripe bananas
-1/2 c butter - Note: try with 1/4 c next time - the tins were very buttery afterwards!
-1 c sugar
-1 egg
-1tsp vanilla

-1 1/4c ap flour
-1/4 c crushed walnuts
-1/4 c shredded coconut
-1/4 tap salt
-3/4 tsp baking soda

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another.  Pour dry into wet.  Mix until just little as possible.  Spoon into lined muffin tins.

Bake at 350 for 30 min.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

5-minute craft: drool bib

We're going through a ridiculous amount of bibs per day around here...all thanks to the smallest member of our household.  I have a boxful of half-sewn bandana bibs, but when I came across two worn-out t-shirts in Dan's closet, I had the materials for 4 bibs that I could finish in a flash.

Cut out a square from the front or back of the shirt (each shirt has enough fabric for 2 bibs).

Fold it in half diagonally.

Punch the snaps through both layers on each side.


No sew and so cute!

Jersey doesn't fray like cotton.  No edge hemming required. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Funky Baby Hat

I finally branched out and made a project with wool!  Wool, in my mind, is what the hardcore yarn crafters use. My reasons for avoiding wool are:

1.  It's itchy.  I don't care if the label says "super soft." I will concede that some yarns are scratchier than others, but all wool has an itch factor.

2.  It's pricey. This 50 g ball that he needed to make this hat cost about seven dollars. For an adult hat that would be about $14 for hat materials.  To make a sweater or something larger you're looking at $56 before tax just for the materials! And that's not including button or other notions. (Okay, end pennypinching rant here.)

3.  It's harder to find. That means I can't mix-and-match it with stuff I already have in my stash at home. And what to do with the scraps? I don't have anything to use them with in my stash.

4.  It's harder to care for. Especially when it comes to baby stuff, I love telling people they can wash and dry my creations in their laundry machines.  None of this "hand wash and hang to dry" fussiness. (Edit: Whoops!  This particular wool I used is machine washable and dryer safe!)

However, one day just before Christmas will picking up a few last minute items at Len's Mill to finish a few last-minute gifts, I happened across this Schachenmeyer Merino extra fine color 120 wool. And I thought, it's about time Orrie gets a funky homemade hat. After all, he has a crocheting mother! And I'm pretty sure the last time I made him was a turkey just in time for Thanksgiving. (No seriously… Just in time. I'm pretty sure I was finishing it at Thanksgiving dinner!)

Orson has a really cute apple hat that one of his grandma's friends made for him. People are always asking: "Did you make that hat?" and I always have to say, "No… but I could have!?" So it was high time I got my hook out and made a project for my cutie.
What do you think, Orson?  You like it?

Yep, has the potential for a great hat.

I didn't follow a pattern. I just started with something that would roughly fit his head. Orson doesn't mind wearing the apple hat because it's loose fitting, so that was my goal here, too.  I think I pulled out my stitches about four times, but I'm so happy with the end result. Of course I finished it after he went to bed last night, so I had to wait until this morning to try it on him. So great! I used the entire ball of yarn, because I just kept making stitches until it was all done (thereby avoiding Issue #3 above).  It ended up working out better than I could have imagined, so I am going to record the pattern here, just in case I ever decide to do something similar again!

The verdict on the yarn?  It's super cute. I love the variegated patterns.  And I like the weight.  So I would use it again.  But I'm returning to acrylic for my next project.

Enough with the rambles.  On to the facts. ;)

-one 50g ball of Schachenmayer original "Merino Extrafine Color 120"
-G crochet hook
-Yarn needle and scissors for working in ends

Started: Saturday, January 17, 2014
Finished: Same day

Stitches required: ch, sc dc, hdc and seed stitch


Start with a loooong tail (to make the loopy top later).
Round 1: 10sc in magic ring - join with sl stitch in first stitch
Round 2: ch 1, 2sc in each sc around - join with sl stitch in first stitch
Round 3: ch 3, 1dc in each stitch around. - join with sl stitch in the top of the ch3
Round 4: ch 1, 2sc in each stitch around - join with sl stitch in first stitch
Round 5: ch 3, 1dc in each stitch around. - join with sl stitch in the top of the ch3
Round 6: ch 3, *2dc in first stitch, 1 dc in next stitch - repeat from * around the circle - join with sl stitch in the top of the ch3
Round 7: ch 3, *2dc in first stitch, 1 dc in each of the next 2 stitches - repeat from * around the circle - join with sl stitch in the top of the ch3
Round 8: ch 3, *2dc in first stitch, 1 dc in each of the next 7 stitches - repeat from * around the circle - join with sl stitch in the top of the ch3
Round 9: ch 2, 1 hdc in each stitch around - join with sl stitch in the top of the ch 2

For the next section, there are no clearly defined rounds/rows.  (That's how you get the bell shape)
Seed Stitch Section: ch 1, *sc in the next space, ch 1, skip next space.  Repeat from * approximately 11 times around the circle.

hdc stitch Section: (Back to joined rounds again!) End the seed stitch section on a sc.  Ch 2.  Hdc in the next space and in each remaining stitch around.  Join with a sl stitch in the top of the ch 2.

Continue with rounds of hdc until you run out of yarn.  I was just a little short to finish my final round of hdc, so I "cheated" with some sc and it totally didn't matter! The brim rolls.  You can't see it.

Use the long tail at the start to create a chain. Fasten the chain tail to the hat to make a cute little loop where a pom-pom might traditionally go. ;)

Fasten off tails and work in ends.

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