Tuesday, September 11, 2007

FO#8 - Amigurumi Bunny

Pattern: From Ana Paula's Amigurumi Patterns & Random Cuteness. Although I left off the tail. The eyes are done using all 6 strands of DMC embroidery floss. This makes it safe for a small child, as there are no eyes to gnaw off and possible choke on.

Yarn: The body is Caron's Simply Soft, and the legs and arms are leftover cotton from another project. I think it was a baby hat. I did the arms and legs first, but didn't have enough of the solid blue to make ears, so I made the ears with a variegated yarn of the same type (also from my stash). I think it turned out fine with the mismatched ears.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

FO#7 - Garden Macaroni and Cheese

This was tonight's dinner.

I can't even describe to you how yummy this is. The recipe can was originally posted on the blog Slowly She Turned, but she has moved to a new host, and I can't find it in her archives anymore. Luckily, she cross-posted it at Slow Food Piedmont Triangle. The recipe is as simple as it is delicious.

3-4 c. cooked macaroni

3 T. butter

1 T. flour

1 c. milk

1 c. extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 c grated Parmesan

1/2 t. paprika

1/2 t. salt

black pepper to taste

About 3 c. finely chopped vegetables - I used:

2 c. broccoli

1/4 c. green pepper

1/4 c. carrots

1/2 c. onion

4 large leaves of basil, chopped

a stalk's worth of parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt 2 T. butter. Mix in 1 T. flour until smooth, and cook for a minute. Mix in the milk until smooth, and bring it up to boiling slowly, stirring often. Add the cheese and seasonings, saving some cheese for the top. Take it off the heat.

In a skillet, saute the chopped veggies and herbs in the remaining 1 T. butter for about 5 minutes, until bright and crunchy. Mix in the macaroni. Put the combination macaroni and vegetables into a buttered casserole dish. Pour the cheese sauce over it and mix it all thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

The great thing is that there is so much built-in versatility. You can use any crunchy veggies you might have on hand. We used broccoli, yellow squash, red onion, and a little spinach. It is a great way to clean out the crisper!

FO#6 - New Potato Salad with Fennel

This was lunch on Saturday.

The potato salad is from a recipe in the July issue of Real Simple. It has new potatoes, fennel, creme fraiche, dill, and lemon juice. It is delicious! The new potatoes and fennel are from the farmer's market in Carrboro. They were both in the ground on Friday night. It is amazing what a difference fresh food makes! I think I may be reaching my limit on spaghetti, so I have been trying out new recipes.

The sandwich is an extra special grilled cheese, using the following:
Organic Whole-wheat sourdough
Havarti Cheese
Red Onion
I also smeared one of the slices of bread with a little creme-friache and fresh dill leftover from the potato salad.

I could get used to eating like this!

I am going to look into buying a panini-maker. It is hard to make grilled cheese in a skillet once you start adding a lot of other things, and an electric grill would not require so much butter on the bread. I think perhaps a regular George Foreman grill would make sandwiches as well, but I'm not sure about that. If anyone has any experience with these machines, I'd love to hear you thoughts.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

FO#5 - dyeing clothes in the kitchen sink

For this project I used Dylon Permanent Fabric Dye in color # 55 (Burnt Orange), and just followed the instructions on the package:
1) Weigh dry fabric (I skipped this step). Wash and leave damp. Here is my damp laundry in one side of my kitchen sink. There is a white cotton top, a tan linen top, an old beige bra, and 2 pairs of Jockey Brand "Granny Panties."
2) Dissolve contents of packet in 4 cups warm water, stirring thoroughly. I used a stainless steel spatula for the stirring, since I figured if the dye was safe stainless steel sinks, it'd be fine for spatulas too.
3) & 4) Fill stainless steel sink with enough warm water for fabric to move freely. Add 4 Tbs of salt and stir to dissolve.

5) Add the dissolved dye, stirring well.

6) Place damp, unfolded fabric into sink.

7) Dye for 1 hour. Stir constantly for the first 15 minutes, then regularly for the next 45 minutes. The goal is to keep the fabric submerged in the dye for as much as possible. At the end of the hour, drain the dye from the sink. (Note that the beige bra did not take up any dye at all. I think that's because it's all synthetic fibers.)

8) Rinse fabric in cold water until water becomes clear. I just kept filling the sink with cold water and swishing around the clothes till the water was orange. Then I'd drain and repeat. After this I machine washed the clothes in hot water with regular laundry detergent.

9) Dry away from heat and light. Here are the results! And yes, I am even posting my drawers on the internet. The elastic band in them also did not take up any dye. I like how the flowers still show through in the pair on the left. Much cooler than before, yes?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

FO#4 - Herbert the Bird

Herbert is my first attempt at crocheting a stuffie. It was so much fun! And such a good stash-busting thing to do!

I am not sure if he counts as amigurumi or not, but I love him. He was made for a friend who had a really hard week.

Pattern: Can be found here, on Bittersweet's blog
Yarn: Caron's Simply soft
Hook: size F
Eyes: buttons from a jar of old buttons I found at a thrift shop years ago. Don't they look like they were made to be bird eyes?
Beak: A bit of felt I whip-stitched on with orange thread.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

FO#3 - Drop-cloth Slipcover

Last year I slipcovered a very worn couch for just $75 (including zippers and thread). I liked the idea of a neutral colored sofa, but could not afford decorator fabric in the amount that I would need to do a whole couch. So I used cotton canvas painter's drop-cloths that I got from Home Depot (I can't find them on the website, but they have them in the stores). They come in a natural color in several sizes, but I would recommend getting the heaviest weight, thickest one, which comes in only one size. I used two drop cloths for this sofa, at about $30 each.

Wash each drop cloth separately and iron flat (this will take forever).

From there I followed the instructions as given in the book Simply Slipcovers, which I checked out from the library.

The slipcover consists of 5 pieces: 4 removable cushion covers (with zippers) and a large fitted base piece.

I have been very happy with it!

Friday, February 23, 2007

FO#2 - vintage wire shelf over the stove

I found this vintage wire shelf for $1.50 at a local thrift store. It's sort of a mustard yellow color. I hung it using these great drywall screws that don't require separate anchors. They are called Wall-Dog screws and I got them from Home Depot.

It's a nice place to hold my cooking oils and a couple of vintage (and one not-so-vintage) potholders. Don't you think?