Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

What’s for supper?

If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you know that my hubby is the chef and the family. When it’s my turn to cook, it’s leftovers or something really simple (cereal anyone?) (Please note, I am a pretty good baker, but should be our main source of eating!) Anyway, Amy from Park City Girl is looking for new things to cook for dinner, so i thought I’d share a recipe for roast chicken that EVEN I can do and not screw up!

Awesome Roast Chicken

One 2 ½ – 3 lb whole chicken

salt & freshly ground black pepper

¼ c fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme), finely chopped

olive oil

1 lemon, halved

4 bay leaves

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

  1. Preheat the oven and a roasting tray to 425o. Wash the chicken inside and out and pat it as dry with paper towels. Rub the cavity with salt. Slide your fingers under the skin over the breast the breast meat. Stuff some of the chopped herbs under this skin. Rub the bird with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Make slashes (3 or 4 for each side) in the legs and thighs (cut to the bone.) Rub herbs into the slash, over the bird and in the cavity. Place the lemon, bay and rosemary in the cavity. Tie the legs together.
  2. Heat the roast pan (no rack) in the oven. Add some olive oil to the pan. My pan is non-stick so I only use a few tablespoons. Put the chicken, breast side down, in the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the bird on one side and cook for another 5 minutes. Repeat until all sides are browned and the bird is breast side up. Cook for 1 hour or until done..
  3. You can add parboiled small potatoes to the pan to roast in the juices.
  4. Allow the bird to rest before serving.

We’ll roast 3 or 4 at a time, and then have lots of chicken to do other things with (pot pie is one of my favorites). And of course, my hubby makes a stock with the bones,  one of the secrets to his awesome cooking!

I don’t have a picture of roast chicken, but I think this little birdie from my Branch & Bird series will do:


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Well, the end of the summer is fast approaching, and for me, school is rearing it’s ugly head. I’m definitely going to be slowing down on the blogging front, because work is really starting to pile up!

Although I’ve thanked you all individually, I’ll do it again right here: thanks so much for your advice on my font choices (and if you’d still like to chime in, the more the merrier!). I’m really working in a vacuum here most of the time, I love getting feedback! So thank you!

I won’t fret over how much I have to do right now…instead, I want to show you a new style of tote bag:


I LOVE my canvas bags – they’re pretty, tough as nails, and full of useful pockets. They’re also very labor intensive, which is why I’m going to a commission model on them, making them exactly for a particular user. One of the tough things about making bags is making sure no raw edges are exposed – and the more parts & pieces there are, the more seams to worry about.

What I’ve been thinking about is designing a very simple bag where the focus is on a spectacular piece of dyed fabric – my dyer’s weight fabric rather than the heavy canvas. The hope is I could create something beautiful and simple, with a pattern that easily adapts to differently sized pieces of fabric. Usually when I work on bags, I have a “pattern” that looks like this: Image1_0204 copy

This bag’s 1st & only draft pattern looked like this:


And it’s all that I needed!

Inside a simple divided patch pocket and key leash (ALWAYS gotta have a key leash!)Simple-Tote7

The dimensions of this one were so one of my big notetakers would fit inside, along with LOTS of other books:


I’m working on a commission tote with a special request for one long strap rather than the two handles, so here was a perfect opportunity to try this concept out:


I LOVE it – and now know it’ll work great on the commission!

I also love the little triangle-fold detail here: Simple Tote_0030

The one thing I was NOT prepared for was how much structure I got from just a single layer of fleece and med. weight fusible interfacing – this tote bag is completely empty, and look, it’s holding up my ruler! WooHoo!


So, my friends, I think this prototype works great, I’ll probably incorporate some sort of closure (magnetic snap I think) and I’m looking forward to whipping up a few more of these fun bags!


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Free Swatch day at Spoonflower!

Spoonflower is a design your own fabric and they’ll print it for you kind of company. I’ve not had time to even think about what I would do with this service until a tweet came through 2 hours ago telling me about free swatch day. Starting one hour ago, until Midnight Thursday (EST), you can print 2 swatches, for free, shipping too! Details here. I had so much fun playing around with the repeats using a file I’ve been working on for new business cards, I figured I HAD to give it a whirl. Of course, I chose to donate to the heifer project (an easy option they have built into their checkout), it was so fun. Here’s what I came up with:


spoonflower half brick spoonflower Simple Repeat

Why don’t you give it a try…what have you got to lose?

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Introducing Blueberry the Bear

Often times, when I’m ignoring my kids and sewing away, my 8 year old Logan wants to join in. He’s sewn some things in the past, but we’ve had the best luck to date with sewing a whipstich and using fleece. So, here is Logan’s 1st completely finished sewing project, done today start to finish. He drew the pattern, I cut it out and stitched the face details, but then the rest was him. Unfortunately, his Dad turned on the Cubs so he could cook dinner and now Logan is bored…again. Sigh…

DSC_0001_0016 DSC_0003_0018

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Return from Yellowstone

Hello little blog-o-sphere, I’ve missed you! We’ve returned from a very long vacation: Visits with family in Sandpoint , ID and Missoula, MT with family, then 8 nights of camping in Yellowstone National Park. 3500 miles of driving. 8 nights in a tent – luckily the air mattress didn’t pop, but it gets COLD at nighttime up there…which is fine, until you contemplate going to the bathroom.

I saw some amazing things and took 6.5 GB of pictures. I’ll be a long time processing the pix, and I’ll be sure to show you some of the best, but it’s going to be a slow process. It took me a couple of days to work my way through the mountain of laundry, and recover from sheer exhaustion, because although this vacation was fun, and FULL of awesome visual stimulation, it was in NO WAY restful for me. My hubby caught many fish, Liam was happy 95% of the time:


and Logan was happy 80% of the time,Mammoth_0506

so it was a great vacation.

Today I thought I’d share some of the pix of wild life I took. I’m lucky to have a decent zoom lens, so these close-up pix were taken from a safe distance away. I can’t believe how many people ignore the rules about staying far away from the animals…2 people have already been gored by bison this summer alone!

We had many chances to catch a glimpse of an elk from afar:

Elk-Sighting-#1-3 Elk03 Elk09

but on our last day, we came around the corner of a walking trail and who did we come upon but a young elk loving some big fat juicy leaves:

Liam Logan and the Elk Mud-Volcano-16 Mud-Volcano-19

This is as close as WE got to any large wildlife, and it made us a bit nervous, but not overly so, because of the fence and the age of the elk.

We did see one grizzly bear on this trip, and this one was well photographed…there were 50 cars backed up in both directions because this guy was digging for grubs on a hill right next to the road. There were 3 rangers there directing traffic, and doing there best to keep the people who had stopped their cars and walked back to see more (what are they THINKING!?!) I had plenty of time to snap 30-30 pix out the window, and move along! People, this is a GRIZZLY bear, not YOGI bear!



Most amazing of all is how cavalier some people are bison. You always know when there are some bison or elk around, because you’ll see the “bison-jam” – here’s a small one:


One the western park of the park, we mostly saw random single bison (probably 1-2/day)


However in the Hayden Valley on the Eastern side of the park, we came across a HUGE herd of them, this is just a portion of it:



We had a couple of experiences of Bison vs. civilization too. This group decided that the path from Old Faithful to Daisy was the perfect place to hang out. Here, there was a ranger keeping people back at a safe-ish distance, and answering questions.


The most bizarre was to come out of the Old Faithful area “general store” to see this guy at the tree next to the gas pumps:

Bison_0044 Bison_0048 Bison_0051

Remember, I’m using a TELEPHOTO lens…please note the idiot biker in the background, he was later joined by another friend, they stood within 5 feet of this guy. Although ultimately, adults are completely within their rights to be idiots, one park employee told me about 2 different instances of small kids being injured by bison because of their parent 1) making them stand close or 2) putting them ON TOP of the bison! One day we came around a curve in the road and were able to slow down for 2 kids crossing the road to meet their Dad who was beckoning them…as we finished the curve, we saw that there was a bison literally 5 feet away he wanted to take a picture of. Yes, there was a fence, but the fence is only a couple of pieces of wood, and if the bison charged, they all could have run from the bison into the road to be struck by a car. ARGH!

Here endeth my lecture on keeping a distance from wildlife.

And, now, I’ve got some making to do!

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I have won ANOTHER giveaway! From a company that I find inspirational: Ecojot is a Canadian company makes 100% post-consumer recycled paper products. So, they are BEAUTIFUL as well as very Earth Friendly!

I was first drawn to their stuff by seeing Carolyn Gavin’s art somewhere on the internet. Her cartoony style, combined with awesome color combinations are right up my alley! Her blog is full of inspirational eye candy!

The contest was sponsored by “Ecojotter”, an “Eco-Enthusiast” who has a blog devoted to all things Ecojot.

What did I win? Feast your eyes on these:

Ecojot01 copy

A perpetual agenda, along with 2 sweet little notebooks. I’ve also been looking around my area to see if any local stores carry this line, and lo & behold, my local Barnes & Noble does, so I had to but that cute medium notebook to complete my collection!

One of the new things I’d like to make is a journal cover, very similar to my notetakers, but holding a spiral bound notebook instead of the tear off pad. One of the issues that I’ve been fussing over with this idea is what notebook to put inside…well, I think I’ve solved that problem:

These fit the bill perfectly…Eco-sound sketchbooks, with a nice stiff cover, begging to be part of a little Candied Fabrics Art. It’s a little scary contemplating ordering a bunch of these wholesale, without any idea if they would sell. What do you think?

Eco-jotter is hosting a little contest over on Flickr, asking folks to photograph their Ecojots in action, so as I’m using my new agenda to plan our Yellowstone vacation, I thought it would be a great shot:

Ecojot02 copy

The contest is decided by the number of stars and comments a particular photo gets, so if you’d like to go vote for mine…well that would be awesome!

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Tie Dye Day Rude 09 016

Mr. Rude's 1/2 combo class, Smiley Elementary, 2009

The kids were happy to see their shirts we all dyed together yesterday! They really did these mostly by themselves (after a short reminder about the color wheel and a demo by me on Mr. Rude’s shirt) – the  only help most of them had was a reminder to check the bottom of the milk jug to see if dye had soaked all the way through!

Tie Dye Day Rude 09 039

Logan & Mr. Rude

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A little fun

So, this is what I’ve been talking about on my blog (Generated by the fun folks at wordle):

May 09 wordle Looks like I spend a lot of time talking about when I can do things!

Lisa Call wrote a post the other day about “Getting Stuff Done”. And she is the best example I have of someone who gets stuff done! She’s a single mom, full time software engineer who makes a LOT of AMAZING art quilts. In this post, she talks about how timing herself helps her accomplish all sorts of tasks, be it creating art or updating a mailing list.

I can get mired down/distracted from just about anything I do, so I’m going to see if I can start timing myself more. The only time I’ve really done this is when I’m working on something I’d like to figure out how to price (like a new style of bag). Once I’ve got the pattern set, I do a little assembly line and make 5 at once, and write down every minute that I spend working on those bags. Because I’m actually recording WHEN I’m doing this, I’m less likely to get distracted by … this very machine I sit at right now … the laundry … you name it, I stay much more focussed.

I’m going to see if I can use this approach to say focused when I’m NOT trying to figure out how long it takes me to make something!

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Blogger’s Quilt Festival

I’ve always wanted to go to one of the really big quilt shows and I’ve never been able to…here’s our chance to have a virtual one!


Starting tomorrow, April 17, you will be able to attend the First Annual Bloggers Quilt Festival! Amy of  the Park City Girl blog has set this up; read all about it here.

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