Friday, February 29, 2008

Marshmarrow Sling Pack

My friend Colin brought this bag back from Japan for me a few years ago. It was a good pool bag but I wanted it to have longer straps. It was also wearing thin. So I went to pick out something to line it with and as the fabric lady was cutting my first choice, I looked up and saw the ticking stripe across the store - which I love. Everything in my house might be ticking stripe before it's all said and done with. I had to have it. Oh well, I'll use first choice fabric for some pj's or something. After I lined it and made the strap, I made these little yo-yo rosebud thingies to add to it. (Does anyone know what they are actually called? I"ve heard both...) There's a rosebud with lace leaves on the strap too, which you can't see too clearly in the picture because of my poor photography skills.
Jenn: I'll make you a vest one day so all your dreams can come true.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Mom Calls 'em Bloomies

In keeping with my "old made new" motif, I turned some old boxers into these adorable bloomers! (for pj purposes only, of course) I just added a thin strip of elastic to the bottom of the green ones, and ruffled the edge with a basting stitch (doubled) for the plaid ones. I prefer the elastic ones...stretch = comfort.

*my mom doesn't actually call these bloomies...I had to get my F•R•I•E•N•D•S quote in there somewhere!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


More bibs?!? It's okay, they're not for Judah. The dotted one and burp cloth, (backed with pale yellow terry cloth) are for my mom-in-law to give at a baby shower in a few weeks. The other one is for my best friend Jenn to give to her brother and sister-in-law (Johnathan and Anna). They were calling their baby (girl) "Starbuck" until they picked a name. So I tapped into my resources and made this from an old Christmas Starbucks shirt. The striped fabric came from one of John Jay's old collared shirts. We really have him to thank for this one.

*I'm taking a chance that neither of the gift recipients read this blog...don't want to be a spoiler!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

She Told Me So

I have teased my mother-in-law several times in the past for ironing her sheets. What a waste of time! Especially to someone like me who doesn't even iron their clothes. Well, today I was putting my fresh clean sheets on the bed and the top edge was driving me crazy! It looked like an accordion laying up there by my pillow. I tried to straighten it by hand and mash it down. Didn't work. Then I remembered that I still had the iron set up from sewing. Oh! I'll just iron it real quick! As I smelled my fabric softener wafting up with the steam from the iron, I remembered what a hard time I gave her. I've been eating a steady diet of my own words lately.
Mrs. Gina: you were right. They are nice and crisp and lovely.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Laundry Day" Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice has been a staple in my family since we first moved to New Orleans. It took a few tries to convince John Jay that beans were not the devil, and now it's one of our favorites as well. John Jay is reading Why New Orleans Matters right now, and learned that the women used to always make this dish on Mondays, which was laundry day. They would just put a big pot of beans on the stove to simmer all day while they scrubbed away. This recipe is my mom's from our family cookbook. (I altered it a tiny bit)

As Ol' Louis would say: "Red Beans and Ricely Yours!" (click here for Louis Armstrong's recipe)

1 lb. bag dried Camellia brand red beans (or kidney beans) soaked overnight
2 lbs. smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices (we use turkey sausage)
3 T butter/margarine
1 chopped onion (don't forget the goggles!)
1/2 t ground celery seed
1 T minced garlic
3 whole bay leaves
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
2 pinched cayenne pepper

•Place all ingredients in crock pot (in order) and cover with water and cook for 8 hours on high or 12 hours on low.
•Remove bay leaves
•Take about 3/4 cup of beans and 1/2 cup broth and puree in blender or mash with fork. Add back to rest of beans.

We've also found that we like to cook our rice at least a few hours before and chill it in the fridge before serving. It's not as sticky this way.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I thought my hoodie makeover was complete, until I imagined it with a ruffle, and had to go for it. I mean, come on. What doesn't look good with a ruffle? Now I feel like a thug in a bonnet. Love it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Anti-Valentine Meat Pies

If we celebrated Valentine's Day, these would have made for a festive dinner. As it is, these will make a regular ol' boring dinner a bit more charming.
My friend Candice gave me this idea with her spinach meat pies, only hers were folded over and "forked" like a little peach pie. I meant to do that, but realized half way through that I only had one frozen pie crust, not two. So I improvised with my cutie little heart tins that I have for such a time as this. They were sooooo good (and simple). A healthier spin would be to spread on wheat melba toast and toasted for about 10-12 minutes. We did both. I'm hungry.
1 package frozen pie crust
1 lb. ground beef or turkey, cooked
2ish cups fresh chopped spinach
1/2? jar marinara
about 1 cup mozzarella

Follow baking instructions on pie crust box. Mix all together, fill pie crusts, and top with more mozzarella. Put back in for about 20 minutes.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

14 Subversive Valentines Ideas

This February 14th, instead of wasting money on overpriced cards, candy no one needs, and flowers that will die, try one of these things to do for (or with) your honey:

1. Make a cutie valentine like this one.
2. Buy him/her a plant.
3. Find a vintage locket and put your picture in it.
4. Get an autographed picture of their favorite celebrity (John Jay got me Julie Andrew's a few years ago!)
5. Adopt-a-couple and treat them to Valentines dinner (in no way am I advocating swinging).
6. Go write your names in some wet concrete (in no way am I advocation vandalism).
7. Rearrange the letters on your local church's sign to say something to your sweetheart.
8. Make friendship bracelets for each other (props to Derek and Denise).
9. Dress up in your favorite decade attire and have your picture made at your wal-mart photo center.
10. Mix it up and go camping together...even if it's just in the back yard (don't forget the sushi! - see previous post)
11. If you must buy, buy something from (product) red.
12. Bake him/her a cake. Everybody loves cake, right?
13. Nothing says "love" like a tattoo. Especially if you are over 40.
14. Make your own subversive list together.

Happy Day!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Who says $2 sushi can't be good?

Look! You can make sushi at home! I'm sure this is making sushi chefs around the world cringe this very moment...but it's so fun and yummy! I found this kit at walmart with 10 wraps (seaweed), sticky rice, and soy sauce. So with the help of Annie Chun, you too can be a sushi chef! I used avocado, cucumber, and asparagus. The back of the box suggested turkey, egg, and salmon too. I think I'll stick with the veggies. Although John Jay has requested crab for lunch...we'll see. The box also says that they're "great for camping!" Ha! That cracked me up.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Baby Food Cookies

They are actually "oatmeal apple baby food whole wheat breakfast cookies" but that's quite a mouthful (pun intended). I found a recipe at that used pureed prunes in oatmeal cookies, which gave me the idea for the baby food. Judah helped me make and eat these. They freeze well and are great with yogurt on top. Nothing starts your day out right better than a warm cookie!

2 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 cups oats
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 T baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup baby food prunes (I'll probably try carrots next batch)
2 T water
5 egg whites
4 T honey
2 t vanilla
1 large or 2 small apples, grated
1/4 cup walnuts - I left these out because of John Jay

•Preheat oven to 350˚
•Grease cookie sheet
•Stir dry ingredients together and make a well in center for liquid ingredients. Mix well, then stir in walnuts and apples.
•Roll into balls 2" apart and mash flat with a wet hand.
•Bake for 8 minutes.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Old [navy] Made New

I don't particularly care for logos - especially ugly ones. I found this aging hoodie from Old Navy in my closet with an unsightly logo (varsity numbers and some Hawaiian-looking flowers?) on the arm. So I used some of my favorite "Grannie's Sackcloth" fabric and covered it up. I also used some of the coordinating flowers to decorate the pocket. Oh, and the missing zipper pully-thing got a braided replacement as well. So fresh and agreeable after a make-over!...
...maybe I need a make-over.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Mother Knows Best

In "first time behind the needle" I mentioned a future elaboration on my mom. Well, here it is. It's only fair to give credit where it's due. I learned from the master. Now, she would never say that in a million years, but it's true. My mom, also known to some of you as Mrs. Ginger, or Gran, is crazy, resourceful, tidy, creative, hard-working, silly, beautiful, loving, supportive, clean, hilarious, quirky, spunky, stubborn, crafty, encouraging, caring, thoughtful, and name a few. She taught me how much fun (and cheaper) it is to imagine and create...making up scavenger hunts for us...drawing on the napkins in our lunch bags...teaching me how to draw the dancing hippos from my sheets...melting old broken crayons in muffin tins to make a giant rainbow one...turning my hideous splatter paint t-shirts into something I actually wanted to wear. Learning to sew has been a very nostalgic thing for me. The sound of the machine is part of the soundtrack to my childhood. When my beloved Heidi and Cindy dolls had to go in for "surgery," she even made them hospital bracelets!
She did all of this (for my brother and me) while working full-time. But finally, FINALLY, after 20-something years, she quit! As a result, this Christmas was garnished with the fruits of her spare time. Behold the grand-baby tree:

She made all our stockings too!

It was a Christmas for the books. And so good to see her relax. We don't miss work mom a bit!
Thanks for listening to me brag about my Momma. And Mom: thanks for being you! I love you!

Friday, February 1, 2008

My Favorite Lunch

Sorry, in advance, for my recipes. They tend to consist of "a bit of this, a dash of that...and some lemon." I'll do my best to give decent proportions.
For lunches lately I've been making a big pot of couscous, salad? Is salad the right description? Judge for yourself...

1 box couscous (about 5 servings)
1/2 - 1 cup chicken (if i have it)
1 can garbanzo beans
*chopped spinach
1 can chopped olives
3-4 T parmesan or feta cheese
a sprinkle of basil, salt, and pepper
lemon juice
1 T olive oil
*or any other veggies. I've used red pepper, cucumber, carrots, and zucchini. Any combination would probably be good.

This will make enough for me to eat for lunch several times in a week. I have to get my couscous while John Jay's at work since he thinks it's like eating sand.
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