Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'll have me some of these

Chocolate chip, oatmeal, coconut cookies

As much as I love to cook I have never been able to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. So I decided to adapt one today and make it my own. I actually squealed with delight when I took the first bite.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. hot water
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 - 1 cup of oatmeal
1/2 - 1 cup coconut

Cream butter and sugars until smooth
Beat eggs one at a time, stir in vanilla
Dissolve baking soda in the hot water
Add butter along with salt
Stir in flour until well mixed
Add chocolate chips, coconut, and oatmeal

Spoon batter onto oiled cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes on 350.

This made about 3 cookie sheets full for me.

The coconut and oatmeal measurements are approximations. This was the part I added but I don't measure when I cook my own stuff so I don't have an exact measurement.
Check out this amazing hutch makeover featured on Design*Sponge. I am so inspired.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New hat

I haven't crocheted anything in weeks. Last night I decided tonight is the night so I made a new hat with this gorgeous cinnamon brown wool/cotton blend yarn. I love the color. It is just what I needed to warm up my cold days. The first hat I made was a bit too long. I am very happy with how this one came out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Resuable bag #2

I just finished my second bag. This one is made from light denim material that I bought at a yard sale last summer. The handles are made from green recycled cotton fabric. This bag has a liner (although it came out inside out) and a roomy inside pocket. I have been loving the first one I made. It has replaced plastic bags as my library book bag when I take the kids each week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I did it!

I signed the family up for a gym membership yesterday and today I went for my first work out. I only lasted about 30 minutes but I feel AMAZING!

I have never been a gym person so this is going to be very challenging for me. I am committed to making the effort. I have to. I feel terrible.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm sick of it

I am sick of making up excuses
I am sick of feeling like a stuffed sausage everyday when I try to get dressed.
I am sick of wearing baggy clothes
I am sick of looking like I just had a baby even though it has almost been three years
I am sick of saying I don't have time to work out
I am sick of pretending I can eat how I want and get away with not exercising. That only happens in your 20's.

We have decided to get a family membership gym membership

No more excuses

This is it!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Studio Clean up

Thanks to Modern June for inspiring me to finally dig out my studio from the piles of mess. Between the holidays and being sick all winter my studio got out of control. I decided to start with my work bench today. Here are my before and after pictures of it. I will add more updates as I swim through the mess.

My work bench - Before

My work bench - After

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sew Sew

the first sample of my new recycled reusable shopping bag.

Before making jewelry I lived on my sewing machine. I started sewing in middle school and proceeded to take what was called Clothing class all through high school. I even thought about going to design school at one point. Instead I settled on making hippy dresses and selling them at Grateful Dead and Phish shows back in the early 90's. A few years ago before I got serious about jewelry I was really into making bags. I only made a few for myself at the time but the bug has hit me once again. After all the holiday shows I was in a funk with jewelry. I was sick for two months, my studio is a pit, and I have just felt unmotivated. My recent exploration into crotchet has reopened other crafting doors I thought were stuck shut.

See I grew up around a sewing machine. Not my mothers however, although she did sew too. I am referring to my father's industrial sized sewing machine he had in his shop. My father had his own business for 30+ years in the back of our house in a barn. It was called Souhegan Canvas Company and he made boat covers, convertible car tops, automobile seat covers etc. He was an auto interior decorator if you will. Cars were his main thing but he also made a tepee for someone once, our family tent that we used for two weeks of camping every year, bags, and other miscellaneous items over the years. He made me two of the best and well made reusable shopping bags I have ever seen about 10 years ago. I unfortunately lost them when I moved one time and I regret it to this day. Last year we sold our family home and with it his business closed.

It wasn't until recently when I realized how much his career has influenced my life. He was an entrepreneur. He built his business and worked by himself for himself for most of his life. I remember going into the shop as a young girl and working with left over canvas scraps to make things. I regret not having him make me more reusable shopping bags while he still had the business. I could have helped him market and sell them. I hope that I can at least use his knowledge to help me resurrect my love of sewing and my desire to start creating bags and accessories from recycled materials.

So I have decided to try my hand at making a reusable shopping bag made from recycled materials. I want to focus on a smaller version. I was shopping at Kmart the other day when I was checking out and realized I was buying a lot of small things and all they offer for bags are plastic. I have about 6 reusable shopping bags that I always bring into the grocery store with me but I have someone overlooked the need to use them while doing other kids of shopping. Whether it is at Kmart, the local craft store or anywhere else you are picking up a few things, the need to a bag will be there. So I am going to make a smaller, cuter version that you can easily stuff into your bag or purse or stick your wallet into while you just run in for a few things. Yesterday I made my first sample. I am going to use it to see how I like the size and handles and then go back to the drawing board.

Taking on this new project has stoked my lacking creativity. The holiday season drained me but I am feeling crafting bug once again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This is my third attempt at crocheting a hat. I am actually quite happy with how this one came out. I made it a bit longer than I wanted though. I am going to take a break from hats and move back to scarves for a while. Scarfs help me practice my stitches. And they are just so addictive to make.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I just finished updating the website for the Burlington Craft Mafia. I am excited about the new look. I am slowly building the new resource section so keep checking for updates.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Menu planning

Every week I kick myself because I end up spending more at the grocery store than I wanted too. One thing that has really helped me keep a cap on it though is by menu planning. Each week I actually plan out what meals I am going to make. I try to always have at least 6-7 days worth of meals. Now I know this sounds harder but it really does help. I found that once I broke the meals into types or categories it helped. For example I knew that once a week I made a pasta, pizza, soup meal etc. So I start my list knowing in my head the basic categories of foods I generally make in a week. Mine typically looks like this:

Veggie Burgers

Those are my basic categories. Then when I plan my menu for the week I make sure I have the basics to make a meal in that category. Sometimes I have specific recipes I am using so I will write down detailed ingredients that I need for each one. So my next step would look like this.

Pasta - Stuff to make sauce, pasta of choice, parm. cheese, bread, salad
Pizza - dough, sauce, cheese
Burrito - tortillas, salsa, refried beans
Soup - whatever ingrediants I need for the soup I have chosen
Veggie Burgers - veggie burgers, potatoes, frozen veggie
Other - I do try to make something new at least once a week. I save these meals for the weekends when I have more time.

So that becomes my basic list. At least by filling out this basic list I know I have enough stuff to make 6-7 meals that week. I have found by doing it this way I save money because I am buying exactly what i need to make the meals that week. It is also less stressful because I don't have to frett about what I am making each night. I keep the menu plan on my refridgerator so each day I can just pick from the list.

It has really helped me save money and time. Now if only I can get better about all the other stuff I end up buying.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Bring it on 2008

I am ready. I am ready for change. I am ready to slow down, smell the roses, drink tea, say no more, say yes to change, reduce the clutter in my life, buy handmade as much as possible, and decide wisely how to spend my money otherwise.

I look forward to practicing yoga and not just for the physical piece of it but also spiritually. I also look forward to a new business relationship I just formed. I am so excited I found a company to work with that has the same standards as I do, the same beliefs and dreams. I can't wait to share the details. More coming soon . . .