Monday, January 30, 2012

My Button Collection

I don’t know why I’m doing this.  It’s not like I relish admitting my hoarder-like tendencies.  But, for some reason, I’m compelled to show you all my buttons. 
I have so many buttons I could open a button store.
It actually has taken some time for me to gather them all up from the many different corners of my house in which I stash them.   Because I’m lazy, I’ll probably leave them here on the table for weeks rather than put them away.  I’m not very good at cleaning up after myself. 

I have so many buttons that I can never find the right button when I need one.  I think about organizing them by color or size or both, but I never get around to it.  Man, can you imagine how long that would take?  Instead, I use random containers to store them.  I think I have buttons in every room of my house.  Yes, even the bathrooms! 
To be honest, I think there's one tin missing. . .  like I need more!
When my nephew was little, we would use buttons as the payload for his Tonka trucks.  That was an awesome use of buttons.  My brother always thought I was nuts to do this because it made such a mess.  I figure what’s a cool auntie for if not doing fun, messy stuff with?

Just a couple days ago, I wrote briefly about going to a Valentine making party (check that out here).  I pulled out a bunch of red, white and pink buttons to use for embellishment.  I even had some heart-shaped buttons.  Of course I did!  How could I have this many buttons and not have heart shaped ones?  The law of averages is against it.
Valentine buttons
A few months ago, I made this great necklace out of buttons.  There’s a tutorial for it here.
Button necklace
I know, deep in my heart, that one day, inspiration is going to strike and I’m going to have an idea for a project that is going to require hundreds of buttons.  Thank goodness, I’m ready.  When you’re a crafter, you have to plan for these things. 
That's a whole lot of buttons
How do you craft with buttons?
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lentil Soup, Anyone?

I’ve been bored with my lunches lately.  I feel like make the same things over and over.  Then I don’t want to eat what I pack for lunch so I end up going out.   That, of course, is expensive and not exactly healthy, because I am not buying salads.  So the other day, I spent some time online searching for something new.  I came across this soup recipe:  Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup.  I gave it a shot and I have to say, it was quite good.  Now, with that said, let’s talk about some of these ingredients.

First of all, what is “pink Himalayan salt?”  Salt is salt, people.  I’m on a budget here and I’m not going to go fork over $12 for some fancy-schmancy salt that tastes just like regular ol’ table salt.  I substituted kosher salt as I felt that was gourmet-ish enough.  Pink Himalayan salt, give me a break . . .

Next, let’s address the issue of the “red chili.”  This is a bit vague.  There are many types of chilies that are red, but none that I know of called a “red chili.”  As it happens, there was not a single chili that was red in color at my grocery store so I used a green jalapeno chili and it worked just fine.  If you use a jalapeno, I would recommend getting one that is on the larger side.  For the record, I did seed mine, though if you really like some heat, you could leave those puppies in there. 

Finally, my last substitution was for the coconut oil.  This is one of those things that I would never use for anything else so I didn’t see the point in buying it.  I went ahead and used olive oil and it tasted just fine to me—about 2-3 teaspoons.  I imagine canola oil or regular vegetable oil would work just as well.

Once cooked, I gave mine a going over with the immersion blender so it had a thick, potage-like consistency.  The coriander, cumin, paprika, garlic and ginger all work to give it a wonderful spicy tang which is followed up by a nice kick from the chili.  When I make it again—and I’m pretty darn sure I will—I think I might up the cumin a bit.  I loves me some cumin.

What makes this soup is the coconut milk.  It’s creamy and rich.  Unfortunately, that also makes this soup less that low-cal.  I thought about using lite coconut milk, but I think the texture would be too watery.  I’m sticking with the real stuff and cutting out those extra calories elsewhere.  This is a substantial soup that if you eat it at lunch, will keep you full through to dinnertime.  That’s good for something, right?

I’ve been looking for a good lentil soup recipe for years and I think I may have found it.  Does anyone else have some good lunch ideas?
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm Back!

It’s been over a month since you’ve seen a post from Sara or me.  We’ve been on a sabbatical—holidays and busy lives just got in the way.  But things are settling down for me so I’m stepping back into the ring.  For now, there will be no challenges, but I hope that I can keep up with the crafty posting.

With that said, I am digging deep to find some craftiness to put in this post.  Frankly, there’s not a lot I’ve done in the last month.  It’s shameful!  Does anyone else feel like the long winter days make them less inclined to want to do anything creative?  That’s where I’ve been.  I get home from work, park my butt on the sofa and watch mindless hours of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.  I love Dr. Quinn.  I own the complete series on DVD and watch the whole thing every winter around this time.  I’ve just learned to accept this and I hope you can accept it, too.

Back to crafting . . .  thank goodness, the days are slowly getting longer and my maker-mojo seems to be reemerging.

So here’s a brief recap of what I’ve been up to in the last month, working backwards.  Recently, I’ve made the acquaintance of Felicity of the Crafty Modern blog (you should check it out, if you haven’t already).  Well, Felicity invited me to join her and her friends for a Valentine making party.  Paper crafting isn’t my forte, but here’s what I came up with:

You can read more about it on Crafty Modern right here.

Check out my new-used fancy-pants quilting frame:

Nice, huh?  I assembled it the week after Christmas, which I had off from work which was awesome.  This set-up is sweet for quilting.  Here’s the first quilt I quilted on it: 

I finished the quilt top last summer.  Now, let’s see how long it takes me to bind it!  These things don’t happen quickly around here.

I knitted this pair of socks (I had to do something watching all those hours of Dr. Quinn):
I bought the skein of grey wool, but the colored stripes were leftovers from projects handed down to me from Denise, the very same Denise who is always giving me her scraps.  In other words, it only cost me about $6 to make these socks.  Excellent!  I love wearing my wooly socks in the winter even though I live in Arizona and it’s not cold.

When Sara and I left you hanging back in December, we were supposed to post our glitter crafts for our last challenge.  I did manage to finish mine. 

It was a Christmas-y project—again, obviously—in aqua and pink like all my Christmas stuff was this year.  It’s made on these mini-canvases that you can get on sale at the craft store for about a buck.  When I saw them, I had to buy them because they were so cute.  I had no idea at the time they would become this Christmas decoration.

In between all that, I managed to make some new flannel pajama pants and a shower curtain, neither of which I can adequately photograph.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.  The flannel jammie bottoms are what I wore while watching Dr. Quinn and knitting.  I think cozy pajamas are a requirement for watching bad TV.

It’s dawning on me that I really haven’t been resting on my laurels as much as I thought I have been.   

What have you guys been up to?
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