Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Upcycled dinner?

If you have been a reader for any length of time you know I am fond of repurposing and saving money...and yes, that principal can even be applied to your food!!

This past Easter I stocked our freezer with a number of hams while they were on markdown.

Yesterday I put one of the smaller picnic hams in the crockpot* and had it with mashed potatoes and gravy.


Today I am using the left overs along with some other pantry staples for a casserole.

I'm just kind of winging it, sometimes it works and becomes a recipe I repeat, sometimes it doesn't.

So, Ingredients:
3 cans cream of mushroom soup
1.5 cans full of milk
1 bag frozen hash-browns
1 bag frozen peas
4-6 cups chopped ham
2 cps shredded cheese

Basically I preheated the over to 350, and browned up the hash-browns
a little..not cooked through, just enough for some color.
In the same skillet I mixed in the ham, peas, milk and soup. I then transferred the mixture to a lightly sprayed baking dish, topped with the cheese and slid it into the oven.

Bake for 15 mins or until cheese is melted. serve.

This made 1 large pan full for dinner and tomorrow's lunch, PLUS a smaller foil pan full I put in the freezer for lunch another day.

Now to go test it out!

***SIDE NOTE*** While the ham did fall off the bone cooking it in the crock pot, we much prefer the flavor from baking and will not fix it that way again)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A walk down memory lane..

Yesterday I reconnected with some family on my father's side. It was a good visit, and I probably stayed far too late into the evening,  but it was long overdue.

Whilst there, my Aunt Terri gave me this afghan Mom had crocheted for her mom over 40 years ago. This would have been when she first began crocheting, she'd started learning while pregnant with me.

I'm told it was always on the back of my Grandma's couch..even after Mom and Dad's divorce and subsequent family rift, and the knowledge that Grandma liked it that much, would have tickled Mom pink.

I wish I were able to tell her about it.

I am so very grateful to have this piece of family history, and the fact that Mom never kept any of the afghans she made makes this even more special. Mom loved to crochet, I can't ever remember a time when she wasn't a crocheter, and she always had several projects on the go.

Thank you Grandma for preserving this piece of art from my mom, and thank you Aunt Terri who saved it for me from Grandma's estate.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Behind the scenes..

I am often asked what pattern I use for my various creations, so I thought I'd share with you all my dirty little secret..

I don't.

Like, Never.

OK, more like hardly ever.


I think the last time I used a pattern was at least a year ago..and honestly, I haven't even finished it.

When I am getting ready to make something that I am planning to make more than one of, I make one, taking notes as I go.

When it's finished I notate what I feel needs to be changed or adjusted, or not, depending on how the project went.

If a pattern piece is needed, I make a rough sketch and play with it until I get the result I'm looking for.

Once all adjustments have been made, a final draft is put into my master sketchbook, signed and dated for copyright reasons. The added bonus to doing this is that I can then trace each pattern piece onto plastic (Shelf lining plastic for wire shelves is perfect for this)

Take, for example, the shoppers I have been working on this weekend.

This first one had some issues, mainly pertaining to the interfacing choice, that made the finishing problematic.
Note the upper edge..
Due to the stiffness of the pellon 70 I used and the smaller seam allowance, turning the edges under for top stitching the opening closed was a bit of an issue. So, for the next round I have switched to Pellon 926, along with Pellon Decor Bond and increased the seam allowance to 1/2" which will fix that issue.

The other change that needed to be made was on the pen channel. This pen fits just fine, but I felt it needed to be wide enough to fit a marker or highlighter so I made a note to adjust my sewing lines to allow for a wider channel.

So, now that I know what did and didn't work, I cut a small run.

I limited the run to 6 in all, nixed the ric rack for expediency's sake, and changed out the original magnetic snap for velcro (due to availability..I've only 4 more sets of snaps!)

Here are my cut pieces prepped and lined up..

And the finished products..

Now that this run is finished, I am mentally kicking myself because I'm still not 100% satisfied. I think I want to make it more narrow, it feels too wide..but that is for another time, as right now I have a living room full of hungry guys waiting patiently for their dinner ;)

In Stitches,