Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tutu and Taco Party!

One of my girlfriend’s birthday is coming up, and she likes to celebrate her birthday for a WHOLE WEEK. And she has a theme (this is her sixth year running). This year, the theme is tu-tu’s and top hats. A couple of us girls decided that we must make our own tu-tu’s. So I decided to host a taco and tu-tu party. That’s right, awesome homemade tacos followed by making our own tu-tu! 

We were having about ten people over to the house for dinner, so I decided to make my lentil tacos, as it seemed to be a good way to feed a lot of people for not too much money. I bought homemade corn tortillas from HEB, and for toppings I made some guacamole, bought a jar of salsa and sour cream, shredded some jicama, and crumbled queso fresco. Ended up being less than $15 total for a wholesome and very filling meal. Below is my recipe- it was enough for everyone to have 2-3 tacos with some leftover for dinner the next day:

Lentil Tacos:

1 bag of lentils
2 jalapenos, diced small
1 onion, diced small
1 packet of low sodium taco seasoning
4 crushed garlic gloves
2 cups of broth
4 cups of water
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour oil in a large stock pot. Fry the garlic, jalpenos and onion until soft. Mix in the broth, water, lentils, taco seasoning and salt and pepper. Cover and let cook for 30 minutes or until soft. Stir every five minutes or so. Warm the corn tortillas so they are soft and pliable (we used our griddle to heat lots up fast), top with yummy ingredients of your choice, and enjoy!

For our tu-tu’s, everyone bought about four yards of fabric and some elastic. Most of the girls used the technique listed here. I choose to take several different pieces and colors of tulle and ruffle them (this tutorial is pretty straight forward if you’ve never tried it) using straight stitches with my sewing machine. Since I was basically using scraps of tulle that I have been carrying around for at least four years, none of the ruffles were wide enough to wrap around my waist. So I pinned all the finished ruffles together to form one piece of ruffled fabric that would wrap around my waist. Once I finished sewing the ruffles together, I sewed a ribbon onto the waist on either side so I could tie it in a bow. The pieces were all a bit different in length, so I cut the completed tu-tu across the bottom in jagged triangles. Took me about 15 minutes to whip up, and I was pretty pleased with the result. Very fairy princess and I am happy to have de-stashed my fabric pile. Here is the finished result:

And all of us together:

After reading this, I hope you feel the need to invent reasons to wear a tu-tu and make one of your own! =)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hand-Sewn Mini Stuffed Kitty

I had yet another plane flight ahead of me this week, so I decided to tackle a project that I've been putting off for a while. On one of my favorite blogs, See Kate Sew, Kate made this totally cute little deer and elephant from a pattern that looked pretty simple. How adorable is this?

Check out Kate's post here.

The pattern for this little stuffed animal was posted here. I had some corduroy and leopard fabric that I thought would make a cute combo. I originally tried using my sewing machine as Kate suggested, but completely ruined the head on my first try. I let it sit for a few weeks so I wouldn't throw my sewing machine against the wall, re-cut the head fabric, and then packed up all the fabric and some needle, thread and stuffing, and brought it on the plane! Took me about three hours and was a little painstaking, but I got upgraded to first class and watched the Hangover 2 on Directv for most of the time, so it went by pretty fast.  

The body was definitely the easiest part. The head was a bit harder to get together, and when I was done and I set it on top of the body, it looked nothing like a little deer. But it did look a lot like....a cat! So I folded the ear pieces in half to make a triangle and assembled the tail a bit differently and decided to roll with it. My little kitty doesn't have a face yet as I am in a hotel now and don't have access to my craft bin, but here she is frolicking on my hotel carpet:

I do wish I had used a bit more of the leopard fabric in creating this, but it's a pretty sweet little stuffed animal. The thread did show through a bit on the seams, but luckily I used purple thread, so it just looks kind of shabby chic. If anyone of you who are more talented with their sewing machines at a small scale try this, do let me know!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Simple Zucchini Breakfast Quesadilla

I never thought to have a quesadilla for breakfast before. But this weekend, we had a bunch of fresh corn tortillas laying around, and I thought, why not? Put down a corn tortilla, so leftover stir fried zucchini, some queso fresco, and then cracked an egg right over it. A lot of the recipes I looked at online had you scramble the eggs (like this one, does look awesome BTW), but there was a certain laziness factor going on. 

Sprinkled some salt and pepper on top and put on a bit of salsa, and waited for the egg to cook most of the way through. Then I added another corn tortilla, flipped it, and waited for the other side to get crispy. When it was done, I just picked it up and ate it like a sandwich! Super quick, easy and yummy, and quite neat to eat as well. Definitely adding this one to the breakfast repertoire. Too bad hubby has decided he hates corn tortillas, because they are my favorite thing ever (when they are fresh anyways).

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Little Easter Peep Crochet Pattern

On the plane home yesterday, I had a little blue yarn left over from a baby blanket I am working on and my brand new Susan Bates plastic hooks, so I decided to try out this cute little pattern I found in my blogging forays at Hanni Craft. She called it a little Easter Peep, and it was such a little cutie I just couldn’t help myself. The pattern was quite easy, and it worked up quite fast.

Since I was on a plane I didn’t have any cotton batting at hand to stuff my two little Peeps with. So I took some plastic and napkins from a pack of plastic silverware I had in my bag and stuffed them with that! A little unconventional, and my little Peep better not take any swims anytime soon, but it seemed to work fine and give it a nice shape. Unfortunatelu, Hanni did not provide the pattern for the little birdie beak. So I improvised on that a bit and added it to the pattern below. I used an H hook with some baby sport yarn. Here is my little birdie in the Easter tableau I made for our dining room table:

I’ll definitely be sending one of these to my Mom as well (sorry for the spoiler!) as this seems like a peepalicious way to wish someone a Happy Easter!

ch = chain
sc = single crochet stitch
st = stitch
sc"tog = single crochet stitch two stitches together (decreasing)
* repeat *

Peep's pattern
Make a magic ring.
1. row: 6 sc
2. row: 2 sc into each st (total: 12 st)
3. row: * 1 sc, 2 sc * (total: 18 st)
4-7. row: 1 sc into each st
8. row: sc, sc2tog in each 5th st (total: 15 st)
9-12. row: 1 sc into each st
13. row: sc, sc2tog in each 4th st (total: 10 st)
14. row: sc2tog in each (5 st)
Bind off.

For Beak:

Leave a long tail for fastening the beak to the head. Ch 4, sc in 2 chain and though end of row. 3 sc.
Sc3tog to make the pointy end of the beak. Fasten off, and weave end into the beak. Use a tapestry needle to sew the beak to the head.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blick Art Materials in Portland!

Just returned from my work trip to Portland today. Whoever said it was rainy in that part of the country wasn’t lying- it rained almost the entire time I was there! Ate dinner in the Pearl District at a place called Andina. The food was Peruvian, and it was simply amazing. I totally recommend it if you ever end up in the area! I attempted to window shop after dinner, but at only 7, most of the shops that weren’t bars were closed. There was one place that was open, called Blick Art Materials on Glisan St. The place was seriously crafting nirvana! I had to restrain myself from scooping up everything and taking it home with me. 

Matryoshka & Disco Ball Earbuds!

Mirrored birds. Totally basing a craft project off this one.
After wandering for about half an hour, I managed to hone my choices down to a few perfect things that would fit in my suitcase without any zipper explosions. They had Shrinky Dink plastic in several different colors, so I bought some in purple. Keep a look out for some cool jewelry coming up. I also found a pack of Susan Bates plastic crochet hooks. These are my favorite hooks ever, but I can’t find them in Texas and the ones in the sizes I use a lot had all broken since I use them so much. So major score there. And then there was the handmade paper.

The whole back wall of the store was racks and racks of beautiful handmade paper. They had some really big pieces that I wanted but didn’t think I could get home without damaging in my suitcase. But they had a small multi-pack of gorgeous paper for 99 cents (no idea what I’ll use it for, just couldn’t help myself), and a kit that only cost $6 to create three handmade Japanese style books. A little nervous about this last one, as the directions look very detailed. But I hope they turn out OK, seems like it would be a lovely handmade gift for someone special.

I am so excited to have acquired all this crafting inspiration. Now I just have to find the time to get it all done!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Fast Food" at Home: Speedy Cassoulet

I have had the worst travel schedule for work lately. Three weeks in a row I have been gone. Not exactly conducive to crafting, cooking, or writing for that matter. I have been actively working on a baby blanket on the plane, and some other small projects, but just haven't had time to get them together for a post!

Sometimes you just need to get dinner on the table fast. Thanks to my pal Betty (you know how much I love her, like in this post, and this one!) and a few cans from your pantry, now you can! The recipe tells you to do this on the stove, but I did mine in the crock pot because I had some sausage in the freezer that I didn't feel like de-frosting. Tossed them in about an hour before dinner, and sliced them up after they had been sitting awhile on high. Then I topped each bowl with some homemade bread crumbs. The recipe says you can have this done in 15 minutes, which really is some FAST food! =)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wine Cork Tray

I've seen a lot of cute decorations out there that are embellished with wine corks. I started collecting all the corks from the wine we drink three or so years ago and displaying them in this big hurricane jar. When I saw a cute tray at Hobby Lobby for eight bucks, I decided this was the perfect time to use up some of my corks! Although visitors might have thought I just drink too much wine (three years is a long time, people!) they totally came in handy for this project.

Haha, so true
I don't have a before picture, but the tray was just plain on the bottom. I lined up the different corks in seven rows and matched them up so they slotted in nicely. Then I proceeded to hot glue, and hot glue, and hot glue....Several burned fingers later, here is what I ended up with:

I put glue on the bottom and the side of each cork so that they would all stick together pretty seamlessly. Turned out pretty cute, although I have not used it yet except in the display of china and such above our kitchen cabinets. Here is a side view:

Have you tried this out yet? I have seen some cute projects for coasters and cork boards that look adorable!