Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Scared of my scales

Yeah, ummm, so I've not been participating in the challenge for maybe three/four weeks now. I think I actually feel worse about not signing in and not checking up on the other participants than I do over not losing any weight myself. How crazy is that? Anyhow, I hope I can weigh in next week, because this week, I don't wanna. So, please forgive me for not weighing in, TFTS gals.

This week, I just don't want to know. What happened? Don't really know. I just sorta stopped, and when I was doing good too! I've eaten my way through family get togethers, birthdays, Saturday afternoon movies and weeknight binges in the past three weeks. I 've stopped exercise for no apparent reason. Have skipped WW for three weeks. I've not had a glass of water in weeks.

I could blame it on the stress of going back to work after nearly three months of Summer bliss, but I'm not sure that's it. In fact, I don't think there is any deep psychological reason behind my current slump. I just got lazy. This girl, like Cyndi Lauper and her pals, just wants to have fun. And, well, food is fun. I don't even hate exercise, but couch time & crafting are more fun, so I've been doing that instead.

But alas, I've noticed some of my new clothes(which I bragged about so loudly on this blog) are starting to hit the "they still button/zip but are no longer comfortable" point. And I hate that.

It probably wouldn't take much to get the weight loss going again. A trip to the grocery store for some decent food would help. Putting on my walking shoes after work would help and drinking some water would help too. NOT stopping at McDonald's every morning before heading into school would really help. Staying far away from the Dr. Pepper machine in the teacher's lounge would probably help most of all. Luckily I haven't fallen so far off the wagon that I can't pull myself back up.

Calories in vs. calories burned. I know the drill. I know what I need to do, guess I'll try and start doing it. Still not fun.

HOWEVER, shopping is fun. Maybe I should reward myself with every five pounds by going on a little shopping spree or by putting back 20 bucks per every 5 pounds till I have enough $$ for a shopping spree? I may have just discovered my new motivational strategy. Will think on it more...

I will sign in next week and I will weigh, good or bad...I don't want to be a quitter. The challenge ends in a few weeks, hopefully I can lose at least one more pound by the end. If I do, perhaps I'll be properly motivated to jump in if a new challenge is issued.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My First FQ Swap

I joined a FQ swap on Flickr. I was assigned a swap partner and we each were to send three FQ and a gift of some sort. Once received, you snap a photo and share your goodies in the flickr gallery. Sounded like fun to me!

The August swap was my first and my partner was Lori. After reading through her likes and dislikes, I settled on patriotic and cats for a theme. I found some cute red and blue FQ at Jo-Ann Fabrics to send along with a cat notepad. I also sent along a set of two dishtowels on which I had embroidered some WWII Victory patterns that just happened to have cats on them. The photo is posted here. It was fun trying to decide on what to send. Then of course I worried that she wouldn't like it...but she did! Yay! Except once I received her package, I kinda felt like I should go out and shop and send her more stuff!

I got THIS from Lori... Have you ever seen the like? It's fantastic! WAY more goodies than I ever expected! And the fat quarters? Gorgeous. Love the colors and patterns, especially the circle print! You've got to get a good look at it...click on the photo for a closer view! Can't wait to use them, but at the same time I'm going to hate to cut into these, they're so stinkin' cute! Along with the fun and happy FQ she sent:
  1. A set of critter tea lights! So cute!
  2. A pink patchwork handmade bag that is absolutely darling! Love, love, LOVE it!
  3. A fun mulit-colored ribbon trim.
  4. A pattern for making a bag from FQ.
  5. Some super cute fabric flowers w/tiny button centers in wonderful colors.
  6. A pack of heart shaped buttons which I didn't find till after I'd taken the photo(there was sooo much stuff in the box that I missed them!)
  7. A magnet w/ladies sewing that reads "Friendship"
  8. The most adorable button bouquet...never would have thought of that in a million years! I will be borrowing this idea for later gifting.
I love it all...the more I dug through the box the more shocked I was! What? There's MORE!? Woo Hoo! Everything was wrapped and packaged so nicely...it was a treat just opening the box and pulling stuff out! I can't gush enough! Now I've never met my swap partner Lori but she's mighty generous, thoughtful and she's obviously a lot of fun to pick out such a happy bundle of goodies. She really made my day!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

So many projects...so little time!

There are SO many things I want to try and make. My head spins at the thought! I've acquired quite the nice little collection of books chock' full of lovely and fun sewing projects. If I didn't have to go to work to help pay for food, shelter, clothing and transportation, I might just get them all made. DANG JOB. DANG NECESSITIES OF LIFE.

Here they are...my project books and a few of the projects I'm itching to try out...
Of course there's Bend the Rules Sewing. I've gushed over this one enough, however, there really are more projects in this book I want to try. Same goes for this book. Oh! The creatures I could create!

I found these two on clearance for 7 bucks at Wal-Mart. Several cute ideas and the Learn to sew title has some good basic info. for beginners.

I also recently came into possession of this book and am anxious to try the sheep doll.It will be a while before I'm ready to use it, but when I bought Sock and Glove I also bought this one. Maybe I'll try it out Christmas break!

For my birthday a few weeks ago, Mark got me a cake & other treats cookbook and The Cute Book. Yes, I want to make things from both! Especially the little terrier from the Cute Book.

Shea got me an Amazon gift card for my birthday with which I purchased these two books that I have been wishing for! How I love Amazon.com!
This one has some extremely cool and hopefully simple (as the title implies)sewing projects.
This one is delightful and lovely and it makes me happy just thumbing through! I want to make each and every toy in it, but especially this one! Oh, how I wish there were some children in our family to make toys for! Brother? Sister? are you listening???

And finally...I've had this book for a while but it scares me. These projects are sooooo unbelievably wonderful and kooky! But they look decidedly complicated and I know it's just a sock, but I don't want to start, make a mess and give up entirely! Of course I would love to just commission a stupid sock creature from the artist, but I don't have the dough to do it! ANyhow, these are on my Someday list.So, you ask, what am I currently working on? I would love to make the Jolly Pirate, but instead I am making thebears in waistcoats from Toys to Sew. I saw some finished ones over on BBs blog and wanted to give these a try before moving on to any of the more complicated toys. I hope I don't regret it, but I started with fleece instead of the felt called for in the book. We all remember the horror of the last time I did that, but I think these little guys will turn out OK. My progress thus far... I'm on my way to the couch to park it for a while, watch Earl and the Office whilst I stitch faces on bears!

WHAT THE...???

I went to download some pictures from my digital camera and this popped up! They must've taken it while I was asleep or taking Mom to her Dr. appt. Those crazy kids! I do love 'em so!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Back to work

I realize summer isn't officially over yet, but I miss it! Since I've been back to work I feel like I haven't had time to stop and breathe, let alone do much cooking or crafting! Work is crazy. I'm pushing a shopping cart from classroom to classroom to provide library time to my students and it has made planning much harder. Doesn't make sense to teach library skills when you're not in a library so instead I've been putting on storytime "dog and pony shows" for the little ones, reading chapter books with the third grade, my fourth graders will be doing a fairy/folk tale unit starting this week and then there's the fifth grade drama classes(if you only knew). I thought I'd be doing more read alouds of chapter books while we under construction, but my voice can't take it. At least with a storytime session, I can stop to sing or chant or do something silly with a puppet that isn't as straining on the voice as constant reading. Though I do love to read aloud. Anyhow, coming up with all that stuff has been rough, but the nice shiny new media center that will be the end result makes it worthwhile and the kids seem to enjoy my storytime sessions, so I really shouldn't complain.

On the craft front...I've made an apron for Jackie and a purse for Mom. I also started on a new apron last night...this particular apron, I've decided, is the devil. Not done with it yet. I also have an array of projects that I'd love to start working on. Mostly toys, but I did buy some fabric and patterns to try out a blouse and some pants. We'll see how long it takes me to get brave enough to try them! Here's a look at Jack's apron and Mom's purse. Not entire sure I like the purse pattern...it turned out cute enough, but working with the interfacing was a pain in the neck.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fun with handbags!

I forget how absolutely crazy it is at the beginning of a new school year. Hence the lazy blogging. I've got several show and tells I'd like to post. So rather than put everyone to sleep with one enormous long post, I'll be putting you to sleep with several moderately long ones instead! Here's the first...

After trying several of the projects from Bend the Rules Sewing, I finally worked up the courage to try out the Charming Handbag. It is one of the more adorable projects in the book that I really wanted to try, but it appeared difficult so I didn't bother for a few weeks(why put undo stress on myself?). However, after whipping up some monsters, a couple other bags, a few words of encouragement from a crafty blogger, and seeing a zillion inspiring versions on the flickr pool, I decided to give it a go. Here is the result. And it is, indeed, charming! SOOOOO much easier than I thought! Took just a couple of hours and I don't recall pulling any hair out in the process!

I'm feeling pretty confident after this one, so I decide to revisit the simple tote bag. I used one of the dish towels I came across on a KMart spree. Got funky with this one and added a lemon appliqué--first time attempting this. It took me 45 minutes to figure out how to do the blanket stitch, but I did it! Well, even after this addition it wasn't quite gaudy enough for me, so I embroidered "Make Lemonade" to the front as well. I added two long straps and it is a bit bigger than the pattern in the book. Looking at it now, there are some things I'd have done differently, but I'm pretty happy with it! I've been carrying it and have had several compliments...which is kinda nice!

This towel fabric is so fun that I had to do something else with it. I thought it might make a cute market bag and asked Jackie if that was something she might use. She was all over the idea so we tried it using the orange print towel. All I did was sew up the two edges, flatten the bottom and add the straps on the outside. Here's Jack with her bag.I have two more of these fruity towels...I think my own grocery runs to Kroger may be a bit more fashionable & fun in the very near future!

If you are wondering, and I'm just certain you are...I have not abandoned my apron obsession! Am currently in the process of making an apron for Jack from this fun fabric.Also planning to make aprons for a couple other family members, as well as a super-cute Halloween apron using these:

That's it for me, for now! I've got some birthday goodies, cookbook news and a fabric shopping spree I'll be sharing a bit later!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Weekend Brunch & Hash Brown Casseroles

I have been cooking! Thought I'd share two recipes since I've actually managed to try two in the last two weeks. As you know(or not), among my Summer hobbies has been putting together a cookbook over at Heritage Cookbook. A friend asked and No, they won't be for sale. Just a personal project and something to help me improve in my cooking. Anyhow, there are a few recipes in the cookbook that I did try out before I put them in(all posted here) but most are new to me. These two are both new and I am so pleased that I decided to include them. Both were easy, I was successful in preparing them AND they were pretty darn good to boot! WooHoo! I guess I'm getting better at this cooking thing!

Weekend Brunch Casserole
1 pound sausage
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (8 ounce) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Crumble and cook sausage in medium skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain.

Line bottom of greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish with crescent roll dough, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Sprinkle with sausage and cheese. Combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl until blended; pour over sausage. Bake 15-25 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into squares; serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers.

I tried this recipe for breakfast last week while at the folks house. Jackie & Scott had spent the night, so I knew it wouldn't go to waste and I really wanted to try out something from the cookbook. I chose this recipe because Mom had all of the ingredients on hand! It was easy to prepare and really good. I used the hot variety of sausage (all we had), but everyone agreed the spicy/hot sausage "made" it.

That was last week. This week I tried a recipe I found on the Loveless Cafe (my favorite restaurant) website. This was for a hashbrown casserole, similar to or perhaps the very one they serve at the Loveless. Jackie & Scott were spending the night at our house so I was excited to get to try something new! Oh! It. Was. Delicious. We had it for lunch and again the next morning with breakfast and I've had it again today. It's one of those things that gets better the next day or two and it was easy easy easy! This may be my favorite recipe yet. Went well with the baked BBQ chicken recipe that also made it into the cookbook.

Loveless Hashbrown Casserole
1lb. bag of frozen shredded potatoes
2/3 cup finely diced onion
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup
16oz. sour cream
salt & pepper to taste.

Mix it all together and bake in a covered casserole dish for 30min. Remove cover and bake another 30min. or until good and brown!

The only thing I did differently here was I used onion flakes from a shaker(not as much as called for) and I didn't have shredded cheddar so I used shredded Cheddar/Jack instead.

I guess Hashbrown Casserole is a popular dish 'round here...I received three different recipes for my cookbook. I ended up with a version from my friend Rhonda and this one from the Loveless. I've seen it on the menu of several restaurants, and someone always seems to bring one to potlucks. I'd just never thought to try making it myself before. Glad I did!

In case you are curious, the Loveless Cafe has several other recipes available for free on their site and I believe there is a cookbook available as well. Check out the free recipes here. Heading to Nashville on Friday...I really hope we make it there for lunch!