Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy (not gloating)!

Oh my goodness... three words: Black Apple Update. If you know what the means, thank goodness I don't have to explain it! Yes, I sat through the update today. I was less nervous/shaky/excited as compared to the past, since I just decided to let the cards fall where they may.
I got a doll... hooray! I couldn't believe it!! Then I got back to the "shop" screen, and there was the Sleepy Sam I had hoped for, as well. I thought what the heck, the chances of getting checked out with him is slim to none.
But I ended up getting another doll!
Is it a coincidence that these dolls just happen to resemble my husband and myself?
Regardless, I am overjoyed, over-the-moon with happiness... but then I go over to her board and it hurts my heart to see how upset people are that didn't make it through check-out. I feel bad for them since I have been there at every other update... but I can only imagine it makes Emily feel horrid. The excitement and happiness of the frenzy gets bombed by the bad vibes afterwards. Nonetheless, even though I don't "know" her, I am quite proud of the Black Apple chick and her success. Makes me glad to be a 20-something crafty female!
ps... I won't be getting anything else for Christmas!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Roly-Poly Chicken

When I went to the "Taste of Home Cooking School", they did a type of recipe I haven't done for awhile...a chicken roll-up. They are really easy and good, and I am not sure why I had abandoned them.
Basically, you take a chicken breast and cut it in half down the middle (ie. butterfly it, but cut it all the way through into two pieces). Put it between some plastic wrap and pound each piece out pretty thin. Then put a couple of tablespoons of a filling inside, roll it up, and secure with toothpicks. At the TOH show, they filled with a combo of mozzarella/Italian herbs/diced tomatoes; last night, I did a cheesy-mashed potato filling. Experiment with what you like.

Once rolled, brush them with a bit of oil and roll in seasoned crumbs. At TOH, they used the new McCormick Crusting Blends, and they are phenomenal. These are made with seasoned panko crumbs. BUT... seasoned bread crumbs would work, also.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes on a sprayed baking pan, and there you go! I made garden-fresh lima beans and parmesan-ham dinner rolls to go with it. Quite tasty, if I say so myself ☺


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumn Amigurumi Give-Away!

On the car-ride this past weekend, I fiddled with some amigurumi projects to pass the time. As this little guy unfolded, I decided I wanted to share him with someone... hence, my "Autumn Amigurumi Give-Away"! I think it will be a fun way to hear from my visitors and meet more crafty-mommy-bloggers!

Here's wee little Bailey bear! I made him from this pattern. From ears to toes, he is about 5 inches tall. Bailey has embroidered nose/mouth, little shiny black eyes, and an orange wool-felt scarf. On his chest is a tiny, handmade polymer clay pumpkin. He will gladly keep you company through the Autumn/Halloween/Thanksgiving season! Who knows what else might accompany Bailey to the lucky winner's home ☺

To celebrate the beginning of Fall (my FAVORITE season), my blog visitors can earn entries for the random drawing. Through Oct. 22, you can earn entries in several ways:

♥Earn 1 entry for each comment you leave on my blog through Oct. 22!

♥Earn 2 entries for becoming a follower of my blog (under "Blog Friends" on the left side of screen)!

♥Earn 2 entries for linking to my blog from your blog or website (this could include adding my blog to your blogroll)! Please email me ( and let me know so I can give you proper entry-credit.

The more entries, the better your chance☺

Have fun! I can't wait to read your comments and meet more of you!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

(Sitting on Thomas, waiting for our ride to begin!)

The long weekend is officially over! We went up near Des Moines to see my husband's cousin/family and go to the Thomas thing I mentioned before. It was a good, relaxing time, but all of that driving (or, in my case, riding) really wears a body out! As we left our driveway to leave town on Friday morning, I thought to myself how we are always so eager to get started to a destination... but also so glad to pull back into that driveway again when it is over! Nothing like your own home and own BED! So true when we pulled back in yesterday afternoon.

On our way, we stopped in Coralville to shop a bit. We also stopped at the Tanger outlet mall in Williamsburg. I bought a new amigurumi book at Barnes & Noble and a few things at Target. I just wasn't in the mood to sift through racks of clothing for some reason. That night, Hubby's cousin took us to a place called Fuji Steakhouse. I had my first REAL, authentic sushi, and the rest had food off of the hibachi grill. That was entertaining, and the cook hit me in the head and hair with chunks of fried egg THREE times! LOL

The Thomas event was much less stressful than when we went up to the one near Chicago. However, Bella was a crab! We were able to get our pictures taken by Thomas and Sir Toppemhat before we ABSOLUTELY had to get her our of there. However, we were able to buy some time with the petting zoo area. She LOVED it!

Today, on the other hand, has been a mess! Hubby took another day of vacation to work on the horrible "bathroom in progress" mess. I am without shower or toilets (I had to go to the Y just to use the restroom! LOL), but hopefully it will be worth it in the long run. Right? Please??!!
Nighty night!
ps... Check back tomorrow because I am going to start a little contest! WOOT!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Later, ya'll

We will be leaving in the a.m. to start an early, long weekend! We are taking the girls to see 'A Day Out with Thomas' again, which we did last year as well. It is fun, and I bought some Thomas scrapbook paper on clearance today at Walmart to make pages ☺ We will be staying with family and hopefully having a great time.
So, a long trip lies ahead... but I have a bag packed with new magazines and amigurumi patterns and yarn. What more do I need??
Have a great weekend and see ya next week

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Copy-Cat Tomato Post

Everyone, it seems, has been blogging about tomatoes lately. Who can blame them... they are delicious! Sally has been making gorgeous homemade sauces and 58 Cherries has been frying them up green. Well, yesterday I took one of my earliest favorite tomatoey dishes and gave it a bit of a new-fangled twist.

When I was a little kid and went to visit my grandparents (the far-away ones), my aunt would often make 'macaroni & tomatoes.' This consisted of cooked elbow macaroni, home-canned tomatoes, with tons of butter and salt. Mmmmm! I always looked forward to this simple, yummy food. I make mac'n'tom frequently for lunch, but with a pint of grape tomatoes in hand, I decided to give a "Rachael Ray" spin to an old fav.

I dumped the grape tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzled with olive oil. Then, I sprinkled with kosher salt and a wee bit of pepper, shaking the baking sheet to get them all evenly coated. Then I baked them in a 350 oven until they burst, approx 10-15 minutes or so.

In the meantime, I cooked some whole-grain penne al dente. A simple drain, a quick dump of the roasted tomatoes, and a bit of butter (and a touch of garlic salt)... a really tasty lunch! The tomatoes really do get sweeter ☺
Happy Hump Day to All... better go get out your Fall decor!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Everything's Coming Up... Mushrooms?

Ah, 'shrooms! After all of this recent rain, the shady spot in our front yard is like a mushroom pasture. Now that it is drying up a bit, I really should mow the lawn... then only the small ones, close to the ground, will miss the guillotine.
Yesterday, I was mightily cheesed-off at my MIL (whom I have diagnosed with untreated bipolar disorder, but that is another story....) so I decided to whip off a fast amigurumi for some instant gratification and a good measure of happy. Possibly influenced by the carpet of fungi visible from my favorite chair, I chose this easy pattern from Kat Crochet. In no time, I had a finished Morel mushroom ☺ Our area is big on mushroom-hunting, and the effect of the holes in the crochet really look like the grooves in a Morel mushroom. I need to add a cute kawaii-ish face to him yet. [Does anyone know of a free, small GNOME amigurumi pattern, or have a pattern they would be willing to share?? I really want to make some small gnomes to perch on/under the mushroom(s) ]

Then I started thinking...a lot of these cute, vintage finds I keep promising to post about have a central theme: mushrooms! Check out this framed picture I bought for 25 cents. I actually intended to toss the picture and only use the frame, but the whole thing is starting to grow on me now. The frame is a neat vintage plastic faux bois:

Check out these old napkins. I bought the set of 4 for $1, and I think they are really cute. With two little ones, we stick to paper napkins... but maybe I might sew something out of them.

I like the rabbit and mushroom details most.

Lastly, I just found these kitchen towls in a bag I had forgotten about. Although they don't really go with the color scheme, etc. in my kitchen, they are really thick and soft. They will make great drying towels!

Wow, that's a lot of mushrooms! And as much as I like a cute fungi knick-knack, picture, fabric, etc., my favorite thing to do with them is eat them. LOL

Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful Autumn-like weather!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rainy Days & New Friends

It sure has been raining here a LOT this last couple of weeks! I really am not one to complain... as long as rain isn't accompanied by wind or hail (or leaky basements, for that matter), I quite enjoy it. There is nothing more soothing to me than the pitter-patter of a light rain, or the roar of a heavy down-pour. Rain, in and of itself, makes me quite a happy, motivated person ♥

Overflowing bird baths and huge puddles... I love it all ♥

I finally got around to taking a little something over to my new next-door neighbor. She is about my age and is the dietician at the nearby grocery store. She assisted on stage the other night at the Taste of Home cooking school I attended, but I knew she was quite busy and didn't want to introduce myself to her there. So, I baked up a batch of my famous zucchini bread to take over. I found a cute little Halloween plate at the Dollar Tree to put it on, and an adorable "Welcome to the Neighborhood" paper house printout from the new Martha Stewart Living. So cute! Brianna and I got out the raingear and went next door... and she is sooo nice! Her husband was making their supper (lucky her) and we talked for a little while. I am quite happy to have a potential new "age-appropriate" friend nearby ☺
After we returned home and I was preparing supper, we noticed that the mother-deer that frequents our neighborhood was across the street in the neighbor's yard. Brianna and I watched her through the window, and then were amazed at what she proceeded to do!

She jumped up on her hind legs, "grabbed" the tree and started eating out of the birdfeeder. It was sooo funny! I feel sorry for her because I think her front leg is/has been broken, because she walks funny. But she sure gave me and Bri and good chuckle.
Our Dish Network receiver is on the fritz, so this will likely be a tv-free/DVD-only weekend as we wait for the arrival of a replacement. Last night, I finished up the head of an amigurumi frog I am making Bella for Christmas. I have been inspired to make the girls some handmade gifts by the Spoonflower blog, Sally's Polliwog's Cakewalk blog, and many others. I am really liking the patterns that Sally linked to for the take-along dollhouse and the Molly Monkey. You know, by the time you buy the materials and take the time to make the stuff, it can cost as much as a store-bought thing. BUT it means sooo much more, and could be a future heirloom!
Hope you all have a nice, restful weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Lot of Pujols

I am finally getting around to posting pics from our great (child-free) weekend. Most of Saturday was spent shopping in O'Fallon, St. Peters, and Hazelwood (at the wonderful Mills Mall!). We ate too much for supper at good ol' Longhorn, then crashed in our hotel room. It has actually been "jeans" weather, and rainy much of the time, so swimming in the outdoor pool did not seem like such a good thing.

Sunday we ate breakfast and headed to the stadium. It was "Pujols Bobblehead Day", and we knew the lines would be long. We got there about 1 1/2 hours before the gates opened and were pretty close to the front of the line. People were saying the bobbleheads were pre-selling on ebay for $80 each, but we will be keeping ours! LOL Matt loves them too much.

The Cards won, 3-1... not a lot of scoring, so not an incredibly exciting game. We had good tickets (10 rows behind home-plate), so I got decent pics of Pujols.

There was a special even that day for kids with Down syndrome in the STL area. This is a pic of Pujols standing with a little boy (with Downs) on 1st base, during the National Anthem. The little boy is decked out in a mini-Pujols uniform. I thought it was so sweet! Albert signed his jersey and ball for him ☺

Thank God these seats have backs on them! Last game I went to, it was in the old Busch Stadium on the bleachers. I was 7 or 8 months pregnant, no back rest, and tortured the whole game!

Hubby was just thrilled to be there, and I think he had a very happy 31st b-day. He kept thanking me all day long for doing this.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Amigurumi & Kawaii Madness!

Yah! I finished my FIRST amigurumi project!! I am so happy that I am proficient at beginner crochet ☺ I found that I much prefer doing the larger pieces (head, body) as opposed to the smaller ears/arms/legs. I started over on those sooo many times until I sat down and forced myself to learn the "magic ring" technique. I think my bear is pretty cute ♥

Here is Barry grilling up some kebobs for the veggie pals that were my prize for winning mushroommeadows August Monthly Makings contest! Thanks Mushy and Bunzi!! You guys have the cutest stuff and the AWESOMELY cutest packaging, as always ☺

Check out these cute kawaii-ish notebooks and matching folders I found at Target. I am tempted to frame them and put them in the playroom. Go check them out... they are in the school-supply stuff, and on clearance ♥

I am super-excited because I am going to the Taste of Home Cooking School tonight ☺ I went to it once about 7 years ago, and it is fun. It should be a nice retreat with my friends.
♥Happy Tuesday to All♥

Friday, September 5, 2008

Shop is UPDATED! ☺☺☺

Whew x 2!! My eyes are about ready to fall out from all of this picture editing. I finally got all of my finished stuff in my etsy shop. The one (okay, two) exception is the other set of kittens... I just didn't have time this week to get their clothes made. SO, I guess I will just wait and see what happens with the stuff I did get listed, and go from there ☺

Here is my entry into Bunzi's "Monthly Makings" contest for August (and she can now be found in my shop). Lucky me, I even won the random drawing!! I never win stuff like that. I hope I get some time to enter the September contest. For now, I am a bit sick of sewing. I am actually working on my first amigurumi, and I am sooo excited! Thanks to the little bunny who emailed me the link to a WONDERFUL crochet tutorial. I am really getting the hang of it.

I am going to have to close for now, since I have been sitting here for over 2 hours working on my updating. I will be on a weekend vacation to St. Louis (sans kids!) for my hubby's birthday. He wants to see his Cardinals play. Next week, I hope to share with you all some of the cool vintage stuff I found at garage sales this week! And maybe I will have my first sale under my belt when I return home ☺

Happy Friday to ALL

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Working on ♥ UPDATE ♥!!

Wowee! I have been working very hard trying to revamp my etsy shop. I made a new banner, which I think is pretty cute and simple. And I am following the wonderful advice I received from the etsy community forum by taking better pictures! I think with my new camera (along with a few props), I am doing a decent job... what do you think? I took/posted all new pictures of the 3 items I currently have in my shop. I also decided to give them a sale price, in celebration of the new additions that are coming ☺ I hope to get everything up and posted by the end of the week. I would appriciate comments about the shop changes so far ♥
Here are a few things that I have been working on that I thought I would share. These things will all be in the shop in this update.

Remember the prototype-hedgie I showed you a while back? Well, here he is! He is a funny, furry little polymer clay pin/brooch. I am tickled to death with the way they turned out!

A hedgie pin riding on my daughter's jean jacket. CUTE!

I am also in love with this felt blue bird that I made over the weekend. I call him "Blue bird with a black eye". Why, you ask?

Apparently, he must have gotten a little too close to the crow's birdseed pile! (Or else, he is related to Popeye). This birdie is a shelf-sitting decoration of a toy, and I like how he can be turned in one direction to be either wide eyed or another direction to be squinty/sleepy. I am sooo tempted to keep him for my kitchen shelf...but I won't ☺
Well, my crafty time for today is up... must go pick up while nappin' is still happenin'. Last thing on my list is to finish the gray kittens' clothes and get their pictures taken for the shop.
Hope everyone had a great LOOONG weekend!