Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Baby Shower Gifts

We found out a while ago that Wolf's brother's wife was expecting a baby, and her baby shower was sometime in November 2016.  Well....of COURSE I had to sew my gift!!   I did some researching and reading online to see what most new mom's found they used most, etc....  Well, I came to the conclusion that bibs and blankets were the most useful, and they were most happy to have them.  I also decided to make a few hooded towels, since the moms I know personally always loved having hooded towels - then I ended up making facecloths to go with those hooded towels because why have towels and no facecloths!

Here is everything that I ended up making for the baby shower!


Here are the bibs - I used PUL fabric (waterproof fabric commonly used for diaper covers) for the back of them and flannel for the front.  I purchased and learned how to use a snap tool to put plastic snaps on the bibs too!   I made 5 because that's what I had enough fabric for.

Here are the two hooded towel and matching face cloths.  The towels are made from terry cloth, and the hooded portion is terry cloth and cotton printed fabric (LOVE the whales!).  The facecloths are just terry cloth.  I learned how to sew bias tape on while making these as well.  You can also see one of the bibs that snuck into the picture, hah!

I had the most fun and the most aggravation with the blankets.  They are double-sided flannel.  Ever try to make sure flannel is flat against another piece of flannel, and then sew them together???  It was quite frustrating, but I eventually ended up with flat blankets that didn't pucker anywhere (YAY!!!).  They were sewn inside out, then flipped and top stitched closed. 

The mom-to-be loved them all and was amazed that I had made all of them!    Wolf's nephew is now about 16 months old and he is so cute!


Do you enjoy making homemade gifts?

~ Chelle *o*

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Recent Sewing Creations

Among my many other talents, I enjoy sewing.

How did I get started sewing?   Like most people, I presume.....my mother taught me how to sew from patterns when I was growing up.  I'm sure I started out watching and helping her, and eventually it morphed into her teaching me.   She was a good seamstress (as least as far as I know).  She made me a bunch of Annie dresses and outfits in second grade, she made my high school prom dress as well as my high school graduation dress.  I made work outfits when I was a freshman in college.  We also successfully altered a sleeveless, lined dress when I graduated from grad school in 2004.  This was the first time we attempted something of that scale, and it was a great success!

Most of my sewing has been more recent (the last three or four years).  I've sewn on and off in the interim, but it wasn't anything regular.  I seem to have made quite a few things over the last few years.  I have pictures of most, but not all (and I'm sure I'll forget some things).  Most of what I've sewn has been for Christmas or Birthday gifts.  Wolf enjoys going to comic-con, so I have also sewn my own clothes/costumes for those, as well as some of Wolf's items.

I have also been sewing various things for around the house.   Here are some of the items I've sewn recently:


Cast Iron handle cover
I bought myself a cast iron skillet (LOVE it!!!!), but got tired of having to grab a potholder to move the pan, or hold it still.  So I looking online for some ideas, and created my own handle cover out of Mickey Mouse fabric (did you think there would be any other kind?) and Insul-brite (the insides of potholders).  There was a bit of trial and error, and it was actually Wolf that figured out how to sew the end of the bias tape!






Microwave Bowl Cozy



With the same Mickey fabric, and also with the Insul-bright (and the all-mighty wisdom of the internets), I made myself a bowl cozy for my lunch bowl at work!

Much less trial and error than the handle cover!

The bowl would always be hot after heating up my lunch, and I got tired of using paper towels to carry it back to my desk. 

Incidentally.....if you forget and microwave the bowl cozy, it *might* start smelling like something is going to burn soon..... don't ask how I know that, I just do!














Placemats and Napkins


Wolf loves the Patriots and I love Mickey Mouse - it is not always that easy to combine/harmonize the two, but I do my best!   It helps that Patriots colors are red, white and blue, and Mickey Mouse is red (and sometimes blue).  These are some of the placemats I have made.  I also made some Christmas ones, hopefully these will show up in a blog sometime! 



The placemats are double-sided: red Pats on one side, Blue on the other, same thing for Mickey Mouse.  Incidentally, Wolf bought all of this Mickey fabric for me for Christmas, all on his own!!!









Lastly (for now at least), I made some chair pads/cushions for our chairs to make the wrought iron a bit more comfy to sit on!!!


I chose Patriots, in red, to somewhat go with the Mickey color scheme.   I used the fabric, a couple layers of quilt batting, 2" high density foam (squares cut into circles), and non-skid pajama feet material for the bottoms (as opposed to making chair ties).   I didn't want the hassle of a zipper, so I overlapped the bottom pieces so that covers fit over the cushions like a pillow sham!  How brilliant of me!!!












Until next time....happy sewing!

~Chelle *o*

Monday, April 30, 2018

Hello!

Yet again, I am trying to revive this blog, ha!   Last time I lasted a month....let's see what happens this time!

SOOOO much has happened in the last year and a half or so.

I ended up getting my own place in Feb 2017, and Wolf moved in the beginning of March 2018!   It's great having him there, I don't miss him nearly as much as I did. We have also "inherited" Wolf's mother's Shih-Tzu, Max.  He's a love bug but has quite the attitude for an 19lb dog!!

I am still doing cakes for friends/relatives, etc..... No more competitions - been there, done that.  I'm glad I did, but have no desire to compete again.

Took Muffin's kids (if you can call 20&18 kids, hah) camping to Maine this past summer (2017).  Clydesdale graduated high school in 2017 and he was given the choice of where to go.  He chose Bar Harbor, ME (hopefully a post about that will be forthcoming).  We had a great time, again rented a uhaul trailer (without incident - yay!).  The highlight of the trip was probably Clydesdale 'diving' into ice cold Maine ocean water (it wasn't even hot outside at that point) and a total stranger asking him "Did you lose a bet?" as he walked out of the water, lol!

Sticky Mickey graduates this year (2018) and has chosen somewhere closer to home (Bar Harbor was a good 7hr trip).  Probably somewhere near the Cape or something like that.  Both are working, so no idea how long of a trip it will be, or if Clydesdale will be able to go with us.  We'll figure it out - we always do!

Wolf and I are planning some more camping this summer (with Max - yay!).  There is some storage space at the apartment, but not too much.  Muffin and her husband were gracious enough to give me a storage room in their basement for all of my camping stuff and anything else that I could fit.  Oh - MUFFIN and HUSBAND bought a HOUSE in Oct 2016!!!!!!  It's awesome!!!  It is 5 min away from where I used to live, and now I live 45min away from them. - we are just not destined to live near each other, hah!  Anyway, back to the camping.....   Wolf and I want to try doing some weekend camping trips (with much less stuff than a full week's worth).  So, we are going to swap the Christmas stuff stored at the apartment for a weekend's worth of camping stuff from Muffin's basement - hopefully we can pull this off, hah!   I do/will bring less stuff for a weekend, but I'm suspecting it's not as much less as I am anticipating.

I got a new job!!!!!!!!!!   I was not happy where I was working (health insurance company in Providence), and hadn't been for a very long time.   While I was still there, I studied for and earned my Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) designation (Sept 2017).  I waited an appropriate amount of time to start my job search in earnest, and in March 2018 I was hired by a well-known orchestra in Boston!!   I have been here for just about 5 weeks and I could not be happier!  I share an office with a gentleman that started the same day as I did, and we get along great!  I take the train into work, and am lucky enough that Wolf drops me off and picks me up.

Wolf works next door to where we live (it's a 5min walk through an adjacent parking lot).  His start/end times coincide with the train schedule that he is able to drop me off and pick me up (yay - no parking!)  Max usually comes along for his "business trip to pick up/drop off an important client", lol.  He loves the car and enjoys the ride.

I'm sure there is much, much more to tell, but that's about it for now.  I now have access to my blog at work, so hopefully blog posts will become more frequent!


~Chelle *o*

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Yummy Food

It doesn't feel like the food that I've been making lately really deserve their own posts, so here is a mashup of the foods I've been making lately!

Might as well start with breakfast!   I've been reading and seeing a lot online about avocado on toast.  I am not a HUGE fan of avocado, but I do like it!  So....I tried a little experiment.  I LOVE runny eggs, however I'm not that great at frying them and not overcooking them.  I also suck at poaching them (I don't seem to be patient enough to cook them).   I somehow came across soft boiled eggs online - it was a revelation!!!  I tried making some and ended up figuring out how long to boil them in order to get runny yoke and cooked white (I do NOT like slimy egg whites!!)!   I let the eggs sit out on the counter overnight and then boil them between 5min and 5min15sec. 

So...I toast my bread (Dave's Killer Bread 21 Seed), mash up 1/4 of an avocado and mix it with some salsa.  When the eggs are done, peel and slice them into 4 pieces and put them on the toast.  I then slice the toast in half so it's easier to pick up and eat.  OH MY......is it GOOD!!!!!  I absolutely LOVE it!!!!    You are not crazy...this pic does not match the description I just gave...this was one of the first times I made it.  I have since perfected it!

A simple, yet yummy snack!  I love apple pie (who doesn't?!?!), but am too lazy to make them, lol.  Plus, they have way more calories than I really want to eat most of the time.  My compromise is what I call 'apple pie apples'....basically apple pie filling, lol.  I peeled and cut up an apple, mixed it with cinnamon and microwaved it a minute at a time until it was the softness that I wanted.  Yum!!!

Despite the look of these, these were NOT for breakfast - they were for dinner!  I LOVE breakfast food for dinner!   These are apple cinnamon pancakes - and they were simple to make!  I like Bisquick Heart Smart and use it for my pancakes and waffles.  I simple added two grated apples and a bunch of cinnamon to the pancake recipe on the Bisquick box.  They were phenomenal!!!!  They were also quite filling - I only had 3 for dinner!

These may not look like much, but they were my birthday cakes!   I may be a cake decorator, but don't usually feel like decorating my own birthday cakes (though I LOVE baking them)!  This year I wanted cake and brownies and couldn't decide on one.  Soooooooooooo I made both!!   I mixed up half a recipe of King Arthur's chocolate cake and half a recipe of one of King Arthur's brownie recipes.  It turns out that I let them bake a little too long in the oven....5 or 10 minutes less would have been much better.  Once they cooled, I heated up some leftover ganache, and caramel sauce, and then mixed those together!!  Oh my....that sauce was GOOD!!!!!!!!!   I let the sauce cool and set up a little and then drizzled the sauce over my cakes!!



If someone had ever told me I would like coffee of any kind, I would have told them they were crazy!!!!   I found over the summer that I like iced coffee...if it is heavily sugared......in all honesty it was more like sweet milk than coffee, lol.  It was a lot of calories and too many WW SmartPoints and I stopped drinking it.  Well....I happened to read about Premier Protein shakes (2 SP for the whole 11oz container), and learned that they come in caramel flavor!   I managed to find them in the store and read the ingredients list....not so bad as far as I am concerned.  So, I tried mixing have a caramel shake with iced coffee....it was pretty good!  I could taste the coffee more than I used to, but it actually tasted kind of good!  The shakes are about $2 ea (sold in a pack of 4).....that would get expensive pretty quick.  So, I tried the iced coffee with skim milk (rather than whole milk which is yummy but lots of calories/SmartPoints).  I mixed 1/2-3/4 cup of skim milk with iced coffee and it wasn't too bad!  Here are both of them!


~Chelle *o*

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Blueberry Pancake Bake

This is a genius idea that I thought up two years ago (wow...it's really been that long?) when taking Muffin's kids (Clydesdale and Sticky Mickey) and Wolf camping and trying to figure out how to feed all of us pancakes at the same time.  Here is the original post on that: Baked Pancakes

The original version is with bacon and chocolate chips, but I came up with another version that is equally as good (even though it doesn't have bacon lol) in it's own way.... Blueberry!!!!

Since I was in my kitchen, and not camping, I did not use my dutch oven to cook it.  I mixed up the pancake batter (added some extra oil to compensate for no bacon grease) and let it sit while the oven heated up to 375 or so.  I also heated a straight-sided frying pan and heated some canola oil in it (so the pancake wouldn't stick to the pan).  Once the oil was hot, I poured in the pancake batter.  Then sprinkled a pint of fresh blueberries on top and put it in the oven.  It normally takes about 10-15min, but since I didn't wait for the oven to heat up completely it ended up being closer to 20-25 minutes.

Doesn't it look good?!?!?!?!

 I normally eat this with some syrup or just plain.  HOWEVER, a minor miracle (or cosmic disruption?) happened today.....  I managed to FORGET to eat lunch.  Yeah.  I know.  This doesn't happen to me.  EVER.  My only excuse is I must have really been into my work today.  Or I ate way more than I thought yesterday and this is my body's way of dealing with it.  I was hungry for breakfast however, so.... who knows!

By the time I got home I was starving (but surprisingly not yelling at drivers on the road)!   I decided I was having syrup and Reddi Whip on my pancake bake tonight, lol.

~Chelle *o*




Chicken Fried Rice


I love chinese/japanese/thai food a lot.  I love getting takeout, but end up feeling icky afterwards most of the time (msg?  or I just ate way to much, lol).

Anyway....I've been trying to make some recipes at home lately and been moderately successful with them.  I made a kick-a$$ beef and broccoli a while ago (might have to make it again soon), that was BETTER than takeout!!!  Last night I made a Chicken Fried Rice recipe that I found on Pinterest.

I made it to portion out for my lunches for today and part of next week (possibly all of next week, lol).  I divided the resulting recipe into 6 servings of approximately 1 cup each.  I added a few additional vegetables (shredded carrots) and some leftover canned pineapple that I had in the fridge that was going to go bad.

I tried it a small bite before portioning it out to make sure I like it.....IT WAS AWESOME!!!!

Here is the recipe I mostly followed:    Easy Chicken Fried Rice
  • I used 4 cups of brown rice (I cooked a bunch of it in my rice cooker the night before)
  • I used only red peppers
  • I didn't have ginger root, so sprinkled dried ginger spice on the chicken and veg as they were cooking
  • I cut my chicken at an angle rather than in strips
  • I didn't have sesame oil so I omitted it

Here's the best part.....my lunches all portioned out!!!


14 Piece Kids' Value Chilled Container Set

If you're wondering what the containers are, they are kids containers from Fit & Fresh.  I found them years ago as a set in a grocery store and loved all the cool colors!  I bought the kit (shown below) and then bought more sets online, hah!  I love them!  There are 1/2cup, 1 cup and 2 cup sized containers and lot of fun colors!!!














I also have this bento-type container that I found at Stop & Shop when I was bringing small bites of a variety of foods for lunch, also from Fit & Fresh












~Chelle *o*

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Personal NSV

You're probably wondering what an NSV is... it stands for Non Scale Victory.  It is a common phrase heard among Weight Watcher members.  It's a personal victory or goal that has nothing to do with the number on the scale.

I achieved a HUGE NSV for me this week, and am very proud of myself. 

One of the fundamental parts of Weight Watchers is tracking the food that you eat so that you know how many SmartPoints (SP) you've eaten and how many you have left for the day.  Without tracking your food, you're not really following the plan.

I have a 'big' problem continuing to track my food.....like I haven't managed to do it consistently in over a year 'big'.  As you can imagine, this hasn't made for much success in losing weight.  Amazingly in the last 10 months that I have been attending an At Work meeting, I have only gained a few pounds.  There is no doubt in my mind that it would have been A LOT more had I not been going!  I wasn't tracking food, but was being some-what mindful of what I was eating.

Well, my At Work meeting ended a few weeks ago and I started attending a regular meeting last week (same leader).  Something in my head clicked during last week's meeting and I set a goal of tracking everything I ate for the week: Good, Bad and Ugly.  I wasn't concerned with keeping within my SP just yet...the bigger hurdle in front of me was tracking consistently for the week. 

I am excited and proud to say......I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!   

Once I started doing it, it was fairly easy to keep doing it (why haven't I realized this before?!?!?!).  It was somewhat eye-opening how many SP the foods added up to each day.  Some of it was excessive and out of the ordinary, but I was still surprised.   I found it was easier when I pre-tracked my day the night before so I knew where there is wiggle room to add a snack and such.

I am going to put more effort into staying within my SP for the day/week, however, continuing to track is my main goal again this week.

~Chelle *o*