Sunday, February 27, 2011

February in Review

Another month is nearly over, I can't believe how fast the first two months of 2011 have gone!

February was not a very productive month in terms of creating or blogging.  This post is only my tenth in all of February.  Work has been insanely busy this month with my new added responsibilities.  It's fun but it's draining, and I've been coming home as Derek is leaving for work a few nights a week and I've just been too tired to do much of anything.

February started out with a trip to the Philadelphia Auto Show and a slice of Pumpple Cake:

Victoria made some pink rice krispie treats for daddy to celebrate Valentine's day and we enjoyed a lot of "pajama days" to avoid the frigid cold.

And since I feel as though I haven't had a lot of creative time, I thought I'd look back to my Crafting through 2011 list of goals, and show some updates on the minimal progress I've made. 

1. Finish Teddy's Star, hopefully by the end of January This was finish in January, as planned
2. Finish Derek's wool scarf that has been terribly neglected lately The poor scarf remained negelected, with the exception of getting moved to new bamboo needles! I <3 the bamboo needles so much more than aluminum needles.
3. Make 8 Tangled Happy's Granny Stripe Boutique Bags as party favors for the girls that I anticipate will be attending Benjamin's first birthday. I finished 10 Boutique Bags, sewn seems & all.  I'm just trying to make the final decision about embellishments.
4. Make a blanket for our good friends' new baby that is due in July. I hope to make it either as a Granny Stripe or Neat Ripple or a Mini Hexagon, but we will see when the time comes. They should know the gender of the baby by March, so I plan to decide once I know who I will be creating the blanket for. We found out that our friends are having a BOY! So, now I have to go pick out the yarn and I hope to have a good start on it in March.

I also made a purse for our cousin's daughter for her birthday, which you can check out here. I'm working on a much larger version of this bag for my aunt, which I hope to complete this coming week.  I'm almost ready to start working on the handles, so I think I'll get it done in time.

I've also signed up for an Etsy shop, which I hope to populate in the coming weeks to try to earn some extra money to save up for a flight to San Francisco for Derek, since I'm going out on a business trip and we hope that he can join for a mini-getaway.  I'll give more details about the shop as I get products in it!! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Impromptu Hiatus

I've been slacking on the blog front, with the exception of this week's Monday Mentions. 

Life has been busy, to say the least. Work has been crazy and full of meetings regarding the move to our new location slated for next year. When I get home, I don't feel like spending the time on the computer which means no new posts.

My crafting has definitely been lagging too. I haven't really gotten anything new done, but I did start a new large Tote for my aunt.  I hope to have the tote finished and post pictures soon, but I just haven't had time to pick it up.  I still have a pile of 10 boutique bags begging to have the seams sewed up and finished off too, but I haven't gotten to it.I really hope things will turn around and I'll find the time to relax and craft and enjoy myself!!  More posts to come soon... and hopefully with pictures so it won't be so boring.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Mentions

I missed this feature last week, so I wanted to make sure I shared something this week!
I'm still catching up on all my blogs that I normally read because last week was crazy and we were away this weekend, but I had one blogger that just really jumped out at me and I wanted to give it a great big Monday Mention. 

Please go check out Alison's blog, Journal from a Jane of All Trades.
Alison is amazing. She's a busy SAHM to three kiddos with another on the way - and where she finds the time and energy for cooking, cleaning, crafting and more - I have no idea. It's been said she's Martha Stewart's twin with all her creativity!  She just posted a great post about how to make all kinds of play dough, so I must find the time to try it out with Victoria! 

Check it out, I'm sure you'll find something that you're dying to try too!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Foodie Friday: Gertrude Hawk Apples

I do understand that I'm a day late to actually write a Foodie Friday post, but I have been forgetting to blog about the amazing apples at Gertrude Hawk!

I am a sucker for a caramel apple with nuts, something about that sweet & salty mix makes me so happy.  Well, my sister-in-law has been telling me about the apples she gets at Gertrude Hawk and last time we were at the mall with her, she had to stop and get more, so we tried some too.  At 2 for $10, I think it's a great price and they have all different varieties to choose from.  Our first try was a chocolate-caramel-peanut apple and a "Smidgen apple" which was a peanut butter-caramel-chocolate dipped apple.  DELICIOUS! Of course, it was really a family treat, though I'm sure I could easily eat the entire apple in one sitting.  We just had "slices" for an after dinner treat, which lasted a few days.

Once again, we went to the mall to get something and decided that we needed to stop for more apples.  Unfortunately, the "smidgen apple" was just a test-run so they didn't have any this time, so we went with the caramel-chocolate dipped and the caramel-chocolate-peanuts.  They are so good!!

If you have a Gertrude Hawk store in your area and you haven't tried their apples, I urge you to try one!  You won't regret it :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kitchen Kapers: Chicken Pot Pie

This one is long overdue! I made Chicken Pot Pie, based on a recipe from Farrah's Food Adventure.
The one big change I made was that I added potatoes to it, since chicken pot pie just isn't the same without potatoes, at least for me and my husband!

I cut up about 2-3 medium potatoes into small cubes and cooked them in the butter (without onions) at the beginning to make sure they were tender enough.  Then I followed the rest of Farrah's recipe, but added about an extra 1/2 c of milk and 1/2 c chicken broth.

The Verdict: Pretty good! Derek kept saying it was good, but he likes my other pot pie more... but honestly, you can't compare the two. The "Other" that he speaks of is a layered casserole that is made with homemade dough, slices potatoes and carrots and chicken breast in gravy. The homemade dough is just the best!  BUT, this chicken pot pie, in pie form, was delicious and even heated up well for leftovers the next day.  Something that I will definitely make again, thank you Farrah!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A new venture

I've finally made the decision to go ahead and open an Etsy shop!  I hope that I'm not crazy in doing so because who knows whether anything will sell or not!! I'd also love to have a table at local craft fairs, but I'll need to find out more about how to do that when the time comes... oh, and this craziness is in the midst of me starting my MBA program (hopefully) March 21.

My plan, because there is always a plan for me, is to make some of those awesome boutique bags that I've been loving lately... you know, the bags I'm making as favors for Ben's birthday bash, the Boutique Bags from Tangled Happy.  (Don't worry, I contacted Sara and got the OK to sell the bags made from her pattern!)

Something else I want to experiment with is Market Totes or Green & Go Bags or whatever I'll end up calling them.  Pretty much a larger version of Ella's purse, meant to hold lots of good... which reminds me of something you could use on a trip to the Farmers' Market.  This one is still in the idea phase, and I'll be *hopefully* testing the pattern soon to see how my idea is working out.

I don't want to get into hats or anything that requires a specific size for people to use it, just because I don't like to worry about gauge and I fear that I'd sell something and it doesn't fit the person who bought it!  Maybe I'll add in some dishclothes or pretty scarves, but to get started I'm going to focus on the bags.  WISH ME LUCK!!!

Oh... but one major thing is missing... a name for my shop.  I'm not good at being creative with stuff like that!  Any ideas?  I was thinking of using "Simply Hooked" because I thought it was catchy and a cute play on crocheted items, but I googled it and Simply Hooked is the name of a fishing type venue....  back to the drawing board!

Ta-Da: Ella's Purse

I am finally able to do the final reveal of Ella's purse! I was saving it since it was a birthday present, and her mom sometimes reads my blog. 

I really loved this purse, it's a new spin on the boutique bags I've been making and I just loved the color.  I made it a little smaller than the other purses I've made, but I thought it would be just right for Little Miss Ella. The color is off a bit in these photos, I'm still playing with my camera settings for these dreary days that I'm stuck inside.

I only have good photos of the whole bag itself before I decided to embellish it with a tiny heart.  I do have a photo of the heart on the bag, but I took it on the way to the party...since this was taken in the car, the colors are more true to the actual purse.

I think I'm going to modify this pattern to make a larger scale tote, or market bag.  I'm still toying with the idea of starting up an Etsy shop for purses and totes as a way to keep up with the things I'm making and also to make some extra money to put towards fun trips and things.  I'll have more pictures and details to follow in the coming weeks.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Mentions

For today's mention, I urge you all to hop on over to visit Lucy at Attic24

This is not my first mention of Lucy's wonderful blog and I'm sure it will not be the last!  In fact, Lucy made my list of Best of 2010!!

I just love reading Lucy's cheeful, colourful posts, they are sure to brighten any dreary day!!  Even though it's also winter in the UK, you'd never know it by reading Lucy's wonderful blog entries. She writes with such enthusiasm and cheer that I keep going back for more.

Thank you Lucy for my daily pick-me-up!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Hello there reader!!

Crafting has been a bit slow lately as I'm getting back to normal routines after getting home from my conference... but I am getting things done!

Over the weekend, I finished a purse for our cousin's daughter's birthday, though I'm still thinking about adding some sort of embellishment. Here's a glimpse, but the final Ta-Da is on hold until the present is given.

I've started making a new hat for cousin Joey...

And I'm on Boutique bag #4 for Ben's party favors

I love making these boutique bags, they are so cute and work up quickly. Want to make one yourself? Check out the pattern from Tangled Happy

Kitchen Kapers: Baked Potato Soup

I'm lagging a bit behind in posting my newly tested recipes! I'm getting quite a build-up waiting to be talked about!

Earlier this week, we tried Baked Potato Soup from Smitten Kitchen
I'm not sure that I would call it "baked potato" but more of a "Potato Leek" but what's in a name, eh?  The soup was great!!! I love potato soup, whether it be a loaded baked potato or more of a potato leek.  You just can't go wrong with a bowl of potato-ey goodness!  Using chicken broth instead of loading it with heavy cream made it seem a little healthier, which is always good.

The recipe was easy to make, and I did it in less time than the recipe recommended. I only simmered the garlic for about 20-25 minutes.  Well, maybe I didn't quite simmer it, but had it on a bit of a boil.  Then I didn't really watch the time when I added the potatoes, I just coked them until they were good and tender.

Next time, I think I'd add in the crumbled bacon during the cooking of the soup to get a more bacon-infused soup. 

The verdict: Great soup!!  Definitely a keeper that I will make again and again.