Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday

Over at Stop Staring and Start Sewing, there is this great tutorial for a little drawstring pouch. It can be used for multiple uses but don't you love it as a sunglasses case? Follow the link at the bottom to the tutorial.

Sunglasses Pouch

Monday, June 29, 2009

Recipe Monday

My recipe this week is a delicious and very easy salsa. It is great served with Tortilla Chips, especially the lime ones, or corn chips. My friend, Brenda, served this to me a few years ago and it is now a go-to recipe for our family.

Black Eye Pea Salsa
1 can Bush's Best Black Eye Peas, drained (black beans can be used instead)

1 can white shoepeg corn, drained

1 can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano flavor

1 can Rotel tomatoes and chili's

8 ounces Zesty Italian Salad Dressing (can use fat-free)

Chopped onion to taste (I use a half of medium size onion)

Chopped jalapeno to taste

Mix all ingredients together and marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 1/2 hours. I think it is best if it marinates for longer, even overnight. This is great as an appetizer or as a side dish to any grilling menu.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Being a resident of the beautiful state of South Carolina, I am saddened by the personal choices of our governor, a man I have admired and voted for twice. My prayers are for his marriage to be reconciled, if possible, and for comfort and peace for his wife Jenny and their boys, and for Governor Sanford to have wisdom and integrity in his choices that affect the future of his family, political life and our state. It is in times like this, a marriage in turmoil, that makes me so very thankful for my marriage. It is not one that is perfect, no marriage is, but it is a marriage redeemed in Christ. When Stan and I began to live our marriage as committed (key word) believers together, our marriage became a 1 Corinthians 13 marriage. This did not happen over night nor are we finished growing. Each day brings new challenges, sometimes trials but if our foundation remains in the Lord so does our marriage.

This week has been a busy one around our house. We have VBS at our church in the evenings and I have also helped with my little niece during the day. I am thankful for the time I have had with her. Jordan is such a joy to our family and when she throws her tiny arms around my neck and proclaims, "Auntie Pam, I miss you and I love you sooooo much!", well my heart just completely melts.

I am looking forward to this weekend and am thankful my daughter and her friend, Kevin, is coming home for a very quick trip.

I am thankful for the sunshine! We have had a glorious and hot week. That is a special treat for me because I love Summer. :)

During the difficult economic times, I am so thankful for my husband's job. I know many are hurting and we have no guarantees for the future. I choose to be thankful today and not to worry about tomorrow.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Tutorial

Party Popper Tutorial - 4th of July fun!
a no-sew tutorial

Little Birdie Secrets has a fun tutorial today for these party poppers. Instead of confetti-filled purchased ones, avoid the mess and make your own with candy, toys, money, etc. These poppers would be fun for birthday parties, wedding receptions, or any holiday. Just change the tissue and paper colors to coordinate with your theme. Follow the link to the party popper tutorial, leave a comment and let them know you saw it on The Best Laid Plans.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Recipe Monday - Calling All Chocoholics!

I grew up in Mississippi and was raised having Chocolate Gravy for a special treat. We usually had it once a month or on a holiday or birthday. I now live in South Carolina and it is not a dish that is known here. I have met people from the Memphis, TN area and the state of Arkansas that also have had Chocolate Gravy but no where further north or east/west. I am assuming most of you do not know what Chocolate Gravy is and therefore, do not know how to eat it. It is a sweet chocolate mix that cooks to the consistency of regular gravy. You serve it with hot biscuits, butter and we love it with bacon. My son and husband eat it over the opened buttered biscuits. My daughter, sister and I eat it with a spoon in a bowl like soup with a side of hot biscuits. No matter how you eat it, it is always delicious. Try it out and then come back and tell me how you like it!

Chocolate Gravy

2 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 scant Tablespoons of cocoa

Combine all the dry ingredients and mix until well blended and lumps are minimal. Add milk slowly. Use a wisk for better mixing and to prevent lumping. Heat over medium-high heat and stir constantly to avoid sticking. Heat until gravy is smooth and bubbling slowly. Remove from heat and let it set until it is the consistency of gravy. Serve over warm biscuits with butter. Serves 4-6. May be doubled.

The Smallest Pirate

Aarrgh, Matey!
It is the smallest pirate!
This is my niece Jordan wearing her pirate costume I ordered for her third birthday. Isn't she the cutest thing? The hat has the yarn hair attached and the eye patch has a see-through quality.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for:

1. My mom's generosity...she had a perfectly good, only a few years old, living room set and gave it to my daughter and her friends to use in their rental house in Charleston.
Isn't it great? She gave them a sofa, loveseat, recliner and two end tables.

2. One of our son's oldest friends, Tyler. He is 22 and will be working with Campus Outreach, a faith-based organization on college campuses. Tyler met with us this week to talk about his work and his commitment to grow relationships and share the gospel with college students. We are honored to lend our support in prayer and finances.

Our son, Cody, is on the left and Tyler is on the right.
This is Halloween, 5th grade. Aren't they adorable? They made their own alien costumes. Now they are grown up and have graduated college.

3. My husband's forgiveness. I became irritated with Stan over something very silly and responded inappropriately. Not only did he forgive me but it became a joking issue.
This was taken in Savannah, GA on the waterfront in February of this year.

4. My daughter's guy friends in Charleston. She works very late at a restaurant and one of three guys always meet her at work to get her home safely. There isn't any available parking so she rides her bike or walks. Doing either of those alone at 1:00 AM is just not a wise thing and thankfully she has such good friends to realize that and are willing to "take care" of her. Thanks Kevin, Cory and Dan! :) (from the left, Scottie, Kevin, Hanna (my daughter) Cory and Dan. The guys are also three of my daughter's housemates and best friends.)

5. My sweet little niece. Her 3rd birthday was Saturday and we were out of town. My sister had clued me in on a birthday wish of a pirate's costume! Jordan is a huge Backyardigan fan and especially loves the pirate show and wanted her own dress-up clothes. I found the cutest set online, with a one piece jumpsuit that looked like a vest, pirates shirt, pants and boots. It can with a pirate hat with pirate hair attached. I ordered a pirates sword and see-through eye patch and had it all delivered to her house. She called Monday afternoon and this is how the conversation went, "Auntie Pam?! Auntie Pam?! Arghhhhhhhhh Matey!" I cracked up. Of course, we had to dash over and check out the littlest pirate. She blesses my heart and makes me laugh every time we are together. :) I will try and get a picture to post of her in costume. Precious!!!

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You No Longer Need To Imagine!

Isn't this Michael Miller Christmas fabric terrific? I know it isn't traditional. I know it is uber modern and I know it does not appeal to everyone. The quilt store clerk made sure I knew all those things but I still love it. The clerk told me it definitely did not float her boat! I guess I could sail a ship, I like it so much. LOL. Tell me what you think? Will my Christmas in July swap partner think I am crazy?

These are the two Java Jackets I put together. I love the fabric print and colors. All four of the fabrics were in a fat quarter packet with two other choices. I am sure you will see those soon. I used a Velcro strip to fasten. I will tell you a secret. I did have a pocket on the outside of both. It was the contrasting lining fabric. It looked so cute until I realized I had sewn it upside down! Oh my...I had a brain freeze and was thinking the small side was the top but of course, I was wrong. I didn't realize until it was completely finished. I used my trusting sharp scissors and picked them right off. The next set I make will have the pocket in the correct placement. For me, it is always the mistakes I make that help me learn the best. Anyone else learn that way?

Imagine This

Okay, my camera chip is not working properly. In the camera I can view the photos I have taken. When I try to download on to my computer, they aren't there. I will have to wait until my hubby, a computer guru, is home to help me out.

Instead, imagine this...three pieces of Christmas fabric. All three fabrics are modern with a lime green, hot pink, red Christmas trees, snowflakes and dots. It is my fabric for the Christmas in July swap. I wanted to show you this fabric. It is definitely not your ordinary Christmas fabric but yet, when I saw it, it screamed, "Take a half yard each!". So, I did. :)

Imagine this...two Java Jackets or AKA cup cozy. I have made two, both lined with a contrasting fabric and in between the two fabrics is a thermal lining to keep your java hot.

I am hopeful that the camera chip issue will be corrected tonight and your imagination can experience reality.

On to other sewing:
I am cutting off two pair of jeans, one stained and the other shrunk, to make shorts for my son.

I am also cutting out more Java Jackets and hope to get those sewn and posted to my Artfire store.

I have a 5 luggage tags to make and a monogram applique for a laundry bag.

I need to complete my Christmas in July sewing.

I have multiple handbags and one messenger bag to cut out and sew.

In the process of all of this sewing, I need to glue the support leg on my old sewing desk and it needs a good coat of paint. I will hopefully do this tomorrow. We have been short on sunshine but tomorrow looks promising. Until then I will be sewing on the kitchen table.

What are you working on today? Do you have your own to-do list? Are you making progress or feel you are swimming upstream?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday

Adorable Little Coasters ~ DIY

Robin at All Things Heart and Home has graciously given her permission to share her coaster tutorial. Follow the link to make your own tile stamped coasters. With the coaster project, you can be as creative as you desire. You choose the colors, the design, etc. Robin gives you an easy tutorial to follow. Wouldn't it be fun to have holiday coasters? It would be an inexpensive decorating or gift-giving option. Head on over to All Things Heart and Home for this tutorial and browse around her blog. You will not be disappointed. It is one of my favorite blogs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Recipe Monday

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

3-4 chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I use the 98% fat-free)
1 can cream of chicken soup (low-fat again)
1 cup sour cream (I use low-fat but not fat free as it has a weird flavor)
1 can tomatoes and chili peppers (I use Ro-Tel brand)
Corn tortilla chips
2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican mix cheese

In a sprayed 9" x 13", crush chips in to the bottom of the dish until covered. This is the crust of the casserole. In a large mixing bowl, combine first five ingredients. Pour evenly over the crust. Sprinkle cheese over the entire casserole mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly. I serve with salsa or Pico de Gallo, Spanish Rice, chips and Mexican dip, fruit, etc. It is an easy dish and happens to be my son's favorite.

I don't have a completed picture of the casserole. I walked my son through making this last week and tried to take some pictures. He was not thrilled to be the pictorial subject of my blog so all the pictures were a bit blurry. Just envision a cheesy goodness!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Favorite

Every crafter I have ever known has particular tools that they just have to have with them to work in their craft. These little scissors are that tool for me. They are specifically made for machine embroidery. Notice the hump just below the handle and the flatness of the scissor blades. It is made so the blades lay flat and can slide under the needle area to clip stitches as you change thread colors. I have used it for that but I don't do much machine embroidery. But I love them for the very same reason. When sewing, this little pair of scissors is invaluable. I clip threads on a finished project, at the end of a seam or (gasp!) when I make a mistake. My scissors are much better than any seam ripper I have ever used. The points are extremely sharp and slide right under the offending threads. They were not cheap, close to 20.00 dollars for this little pair of clippers but well worth every cent. I have had them for years, never had to sharpen them and I keep them with me for any hand or machine sewing.
What is your craft and do you have a particular tool? Is it one of your Friday Favorites?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Do you ever get caught up in the day-to-day life and forget to stop and offer thanks for the good and, sometimes what we learn, in the bad? I do and that has prompted me to use Thursday's to record some of the things for which I am most thankful. Please leave a comment with what you are thankful for this week or maybe even just today. My goal each week is to share five different things. This week is my "typical" tributes but I will be trying each evening to think of something unique, large or tiny, that has happened and share on Thursdays.

1. I am thankful for my husband. Even when he is tired and has a too-full plate of commitments, he is still willing to work, volunteer, parent, be a friend and still always love me. I hope he always knows how appreciative I am of him.

2. I am thankful for my children. Both are busy with their lives but almost without fail, each day I get a call from my daughter who lives three hours away. Sometimes it is just to see what the day is bringing and sometimes to tell me a funny story and other times like today where she calls me from the grocery store to ask what type of potatoes go in a potato salad. (which she got the recipe from me yesterday. :) Since graduating college and moving back home, I have come to depend on my son so much. He has given me loads of help around the house and has now even started helping me in the kitchen in order to learn how to cook. He is working and has started his own business and yet still always seems glad to spend time with his momma.

3. I am thankful for all these days of rain we are getting in South Carolina. I find myself wishing for more sunshine but having been in a drought for several years, the rain is a blessed event. I hope to be appreciative.

4. I am thankful for friends and family. Ones I see often and others I see or talk with occasionally. Each bring a different gift to our family.

5. I am thankful for the gift of creativity. My mind is always in overdrive thinking of projects of sewing and crafts and it gives me a wonderful outlet and fills my days with a sense of accomplishment.

What are you thankful for today?

My personal daily reminder:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1Thess. 5:16-18

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recipe Monday on Wednesday

Since I missed Recipe Monday, I thought I would make it up today. Enjoy.

Pico de Gallo

I love Mexican food and especially love the fresh flavor of cilantro. Pico de Gallo goes great with my Chicken Enchilada Casserole, which is what I made last night.

Pico de Gallo

4 ripe plum tomatoes (the store didn't have plum yesterday so I used Campari - delicious)- seeded and chopped

1 small white onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro leaf, chopped

2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped or 1 - 2 Serrano peppers (I like Serrano) seeded and finely chopped

1 Tablespoon lime juice

garlic salt- a pinch or good shake, to taste

Combine all ingredients, cover and store in refrigerator for at least an hour or so. Serve as an accompaniment to Mexican casserole or even tacos, etc. I love it with tortillas.

Chicken Enchilado Casserole recipe coming Monday.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Short Vacation

On Thursday, my husband and I went to Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, SC to camp and of course, go to the beach. It is a beautiful pristine beach that is very uncrowded. The weather on Sunday was the perfect beach day. it was warm without being too hot, a little wind without sand blowing, and the water was a great temperature with waves enough to play but not be afraid.

Huntington Beach is famous for it's wildlife. We had close and personal sightings of raccoons, squirrels, many kinds of birds, and alligators.

Here is a picture of the dunes and beach. Isn't it beautiful?

The Atlantic Ocean.

On Monday, after leaving Huntington Beach, we dropped by our daughter's house in Charleston to take her to lunch and let Stan see her new rental. Here they are getting caught up in the hammock on her second floor balcony.
Can you tell she is a Daddy's girl? :)

I am home now for a few day and will be getting back to sewing/crafting. Well, that is after all the laundry is caught up and the house is cleaned!
Real life intrudes.

SEWN Giveaway Winner

Sue from Suebees World blog is my winner of the SEWN giveaway! Thanks everyone for participating!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

SewMamaSew Giveaway Winners

Thank you so much for your patience. As my hubby mentioned in my 100th blog, yes, that is right, he wrote my 100th blog, I had to go out of town unexpectedly. That held my giveaway up by a few days. I used Random.org for getting my numbers and the winners are: A Joyful Chaos won the Flip Flop Button giveaway and Michelle of Michelle Chappell Photography won the jewelry. Congratulations to both!

The giveaway was so much fun for me. I have been able to find some new blogs and bloggers have found me. :) I was so excited to have new followers!

My craft and recipe posting will resume next week, once I am home. I was able to do some sewing last week before heading out of town. I finished my daughter's bag before my self-made deadline and she loves it! I used the Downtown Bag pattern by Amy Butler and the fabric is Farmer's Market by Sandi Henderson. I love how it turned out and more importantly, my daughter loves it! Hanna filled it and began carrying it the day I gave it to her. We had several people comment on it while out and about in Charleston and even one of her guy friends asked about it! How funny is that?

Don't you just love that big button? The pattern called for a fabric flower or a plain front. Hanna is not a flower person and I think the button gives it just the right punch! I added two pockets on the inside and instead of Velcro, which it called for, I used a magnet snap.

The pictures were taken at my daughter's house in Charleston. I wish you could see outside the windows. There are two huge palm trees just out the door. I just love the coast and especially this city.