Monday, June 29, 2009

Projects, Projects, Projects

I've been working on a thouand different quilting projects. I'll put pictures up here soon. I'll be putting this blog together over the next few weeks -- stay tuned!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Emergency Preparedness Class

I recently taught a class on being prepared for emergencies. In preparation, I put together a packet of information. The packet helps you to prepare you and your family for anything from a day at the beach to a major evacuation.

Please feel free to use the information, but please give me credit for putting it together for you:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Grandpa Gift #2

Here's another template for you to use if you have more children to put into the picture:

If you are new to elements and have not added pictures to existing items before, follow these simple steps:

1. Select the item you want to put the picture into with the pointer tool until it is highlighted and you can see the dots at the corners.
2. Click on the magic wand tool
3. Click on the box you had selected. Now the bounding box will 'sparkle' to show that it is selected in a unique way
4. Double click on the picture you plan to use
5. Choose 'select all' from the select menu
6. Choose 'copy' from the edit menu
7. Double click back onto the original item where you plan to paste your photo-- it should come back up in the big window
8. Select 'paste into selection' from the edit menu
9. Your picture will appear inside your box. It is probably not exactly how you want it to look, hit 'Control-T' to modify the photo within the selection. When you are finished, click the green arrow to accept your changes.
10. Choose 'Deselect' from the select menu to release all of the selected items so that you can choose another box.

If during this time, something goes wrong, you can always use Control-Z to undo.

Here's the background I used, click it to download:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Grandpa Gifts

I'd been wanting to make something for my father for Father's Day, but really, the man needs nothing. He's got everything. So, what could I do????? Thanks to Tip Junkie, I saw this great idea and decided to blatantly copy it.

Here is my version, with all nine of my father's grandchildren(did you follow that???):

If you'd like a copy of the template, you can download it here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Clam Chowder

I've been experimenting for a couple of months trying to find the best version of New England clam chowder. I figured since I live in New England, I should be able to make it, right?

Well, we love a restaurant in Salt Lake called Market Street Grill. In my mind, they make some of the best chowder out there. So, this recipe is based on theirs. I added more veggies to make it a bit more filling and removed the alcohol.

This is a big pot of soup -- 20 one cup servings. I make it about once a month and freeze the rest in portion sized bags. If I can actually freeze the soup before we eat most of it, I have ready made lunch for a month! I love cooking, but I love eating tasty food with minimal effort even more.

The Best Clam Chowder

3 cups of potatoes, diced less than1/2 inch
3 cups cup of celery, diced less than1/2 inch
3 cups of onions, diced less than1/2 inch
1 large green pepper, diced less than1/2 inch
5 cans diced clams(with juice)
3/4 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tablespoon whole thyme
6 bay leaves
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white grape juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cups water
1 1/2 cup butter, melted (3 sticks)
1 3/4 cup flour
2 quarts half and half

1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except butter, flour, and half and half. Simmer until potatoes are thoroughly cooked.
2. In the meantime, combine melted butter and flour in a baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, (to eliminate raw flour flavor and to stabilize chowder)
3. Stir the butter flour mixture, into the chowder and cook, stirring frequently until thick. The mixture should be nearly the consistency of cookie dough.
4. Remove chowder from heat. Stir in half and half and blend well. Heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally.
5. Serve!

The BEST Chocolate chip cookies

This cookie recipe is the best we've ever had. It's the perfect balance between salty, sweet and chocolatey. They come out having a slightly toffee taste. YUM!

The first trick to making these cookies perfect is to start with butter that's almost to room temperature. It should still be a little cold when you hold it. If it's too warm, the cookies will not raise as well.

The second trick is to combine the butter, white sugar and brown sugar forever. I mean it. It'll take about 7-8 minutes of mixing to get them to a light and fluffy texture. Be sure to scrape down the sides or it won't all get light and fluffy.
Don't skimp on this step, or you won't have the toffee taste. When you first put the ingredients in the mixer, the color is a dark tan. By the time it is finished, it should be almost the same color as the butter you started with, but a bit lighter.

Other than those two things, you just dump in the rest of the ingredients.

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
2. Mix butter, sugar and brown sugar until it is light and fluffy
3. Add eggs, vanilla and salt. Cream well, scraping down the sides to make sure it is all incorporated.

4. Add the flour and baking soda.
5. Add the chocolate chips
6. Scoop onto a baking sheet in balls slightly smaller than a golf ball.
7. Bake at 350 for 11 minutes.

In case you fall in love with this recipe and wonder what else could be in the best cookie cookbook ever, this recipe came from Martha Stewart's Cookies.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Quilt-A-Long Number Two

Since I'm getting back in the sewing grove, I thought I'd try another quilt-a-long at the same time as the nine-patch. I'm using up stash fabric and it feels wonderful! I'm shocked at how much fabric I have. I thought I knew what was there, but more and more keeps appearing!

I haven't bought a single piece of fabric for the two quilt-a-longs, it was all in bins in my 'dirty room.' I'm so proud of myself restraint!

I'm a week behind in this quilt-a-long, but I'm catching up quickly. I finally chose all my fabrics. Now I need to cut the 2.5 inch strips and sew them together. Many of my fabrics are fat quarters, but I think I'll make long strips out of them so that it works better for piecing.

My Squares

I've been slowly working on the quilt-a-long to make my nine patch squares. We're supposed to have about 40, I only have 8. But, I've got fabric cut to make about 50 more, so the rest should fly when I get a chance to sew them among all my other projects. At first I was really hesitant about the many colors included in the quilt, the more I sew the blocks together, the more I like it.