Wednesday, March 31, 2010

chili on a warm day

Warmest day of the year so far, in fact! Honestly, how much sense does this make?!
I have several poor excuses for why I didn't post this three days ago, so let's just skip them.

yumm chili!

First, I have to credit my mom for this recipe, as it is almost entirely based on my foggy memory of "helping" her pour cans into a pot as a child. That, and several confused phone calls home from the canned vegetable aisle since I've moved away.
Second, this isn't really a recipe. I've never made chili the same way twice (not exactly on purpose). I would call this more of a 'guide on how to create your own chili recipe'. Yay! I don't know about you, but I hate being told exactly how to do something!

You will need:
two cans of beans of your choice, preferably one "in sauce" such as "chili hot beans", and I can't go without kidney beans!

one can tomatoes, I got "chili ready" diced tomatoes

one mini can tomato paste

half of an onion, chopped, red, yellow, or white--I prefer red--chopped to size of your liking

green pepper, chopped

catchup, unless you don't have any (what?!), then you can skip this, although it is the secret ingredient, you know!

small amount of oil, I use olive oil, whatever cooking oil you prefer is fine

salt, pepper, and sugar

garlic form of your choice we use the pre-chopped in a glass jar kind

if you want meat small package of the leanest ground beef you can afford
if you want to reduce the fat or go vegetarian a package of Morningstar "crumbles"
if you want vegetarian chili without fake meat a third can of beans, the other half of that onion, and perhaps a red pepper or other vegetable of your choice

Time to get creative...

In a large pot (I use the one from my set with the handles on either side) on medium heat add a tbsp or so of your oil. Once the oil has warmed up, add your green bell pepper and onion. I usually add as I chop, so start with the bell pepper as it takes longer to soften up. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and brown your veggies. You just need to cook them until they get dark on a couple edges and start to soften up. This gives them flavor!

If you are using beef, in another pan, brown it at the same time you are cooking your veggies. Drain excess oil and add to your large pot.

Now comes the easy part! Add your can of tomatoes (do not drain!) and your cans of beans (if it's an "in sauce" kind, don't drain at all; if it just has "bean juice" in it, I usually drain about half of that off before adding to the pot). Next add the small can of tomato paste, then fill the can with water and add it as well. Combine everything well. If you are using the faux-beef in place of the ground beef, add it at this time. This was my first time using it in chili, and we loved it! I added about half the package of 'crumbles'.

As far as seasoning...I wing everything, of course. I will guess for you on quantity. Add apx 1-2 tbsp catchup, and about a cloves worth of garlic. Salt, pepper, and sugar should all be added in small amounts to taste. I always end up using more than I think I will! But it's easier to add than it is to take out. Sugar is actually the secret ingredient! Sometimes I forget, and can't figure out why the chili tastes bland, flat, and just plain weird. But add in a tbsp of sugar (or more....) and it just blossoms.

Now just leave it on medium-low heat with a lid on and let it simmer, stirring every 5 or so minutes. For how long? Mmm, I don't know, til you're ready to eat I suppose. I use this time to make the cornbread! The ONLY choice for cornbread is Jiffy. And you have to obey the instructions when they suggest to let the batter sit for 5 minutes and then stir again.

Okay, I hope that made a tiny bit of sense! I'm definitely not a recipe writer, eep. That felt like homework! Let me know if you try it out and any variations you may come up with. I'm always willing to add new things to the pot.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

how to have the perfect saturday

Wake up at a reasonable hour, it's beautiful out. Have Just Berries! cereal (for a limited time only; remember how exciting that was when you were little?) for breakfast.

new hair

Check out the DIY haircut/dye you gave yourself the night before and still love it. This is my "Mark quit screwing around with the camera!" face.

i <3 charley's!

my boy

Alter your favorite new dress you bought the day before (accidental I had a bad week, I deserve it shopping) and put on an outfit you can be proud of. Go to Charley's with your q.t. boyfriend!

kitch prints

amazing vintage dress

amazing vintage dress

Find nothing you wanted but everything you need; three kitschy prints ($4 ea.) and the most amazing vintage silk pink floral nearly flawless dress. Once the bedroom is converted into my sewing room, it's getting a very special place on the wall.

spring weather
[right before the rain]

<3 my view
[right after it stopped; I love our view!]

Witness a gorgeous Spring storm. The kind where you can see the rain in the distance, and you can smell it on the pavement, and you feel like your heart has been hibernating since the last time you smelled it and now you're finally awake.

yumm chili!

Make chili and cornbread for a late lunch (thinking about posting my recipe tomorrow).

Round out the evening with a perfect two hour nap, a show with one of your favorite local bands, and bringing five friends back to your house a block away from the venue. Definitely the most people that have been over here at once, and so nice when your cool friends like your home.

Crafty stuff tomorrow! xoxoxo

Friday, March 26, 2010


After an exhausting week, I am excited to share a few more peeks at what I've been working on...

preview #1
I finished this quilt a year ago! Eeeep. It was basted right away and not quilted until about two months ago. Finally found the perfect binding (same as on the cinnamon sugar quilt!) and now it's waiting for a wash. Sadly it got a large yellowish mystery stain on it at my last home, and I'm hoping beyond hope it will come out.

preview #2
The 'quick and easy' project I started to learn my BSR better. Has turned out to be neither quick nor easy, but I have fallen in love with it and am definitely keeping it (thought it might be headed to the craft show previously).

preview #3
And this is a little something I'm not sure I'll be able to share more of. I've known for a long time that one of my dreams was to write a book, so instead of imagining it, I'm just going to do it. Whether it ever gets picked up or not, I'm making it! This is from the first chapter. Gotta start somewhere.

Monday, March 22, 2010

cinnamon and sugar stick quilt

the cinnamon and sugar stick quilt

It's finally finished.

the cinnamon and sugar stick quilt

I think I started purchasing cinnamon exchange sticks from The Quilt Sampler around December. I never thought I'd actually finish them. Then, when I finished them, turned them in, and got my set back, I never thought I'd make them into a quilt. I love proving myself wrong.

I challenged myself by taking on fabrics I would never normally choose. I decided to align them into stripes in order to emphasize the beautiful colors rather than the prints.


For the binding, I was looking for a light batik but ended up with this amazing stripe instead. Love it.

backing + binding

This was my first time completely machine stitching the binding on a quilt, and I'm so glad I did. I used this tutorial in conjunction with this foot that I mentioned in the previous post.


For the binding I had to go with this batik from JoAnn's. I've been lusting after it (and the rest of the colorway) for months and never had a use for it. It's less eye-crossing in person, and very nice up close.

And, yes....I did tape my quilt on the brick wall of my building with masking tape. Is that so wrong? Oh, well, I actually kind of like it, expect more pics like this in the future!

sunday stash #9

(on Monday, but bought Saturday/Sunday, oops)

sunday stash

After I finished my Mastery Class on Saturday, I saw the left fabric in a pillowcase kit and had to have it. Luckily they still had some left in the sale section.

When I went back on Sunday to buy additional binding fabric, I spotted the little goody on the right. Not even close to being in my general color family, but absolutely impossible to pass up.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

bernina master

Besides the rain/snow/ice, today was a good day.


I spent the majority of it at The Quilt Sampler taking my Bernina Mastery course. I have to confess, I expected to be bored to tears. I'm a terrible student when it comes to hands-on stuff, always working ahead, so on. But I learned several amazingly useful things (like using the foot control with my left foot! and how to clean and oil my machine!) and all the ladies were so so nice.

If you have a Bernina, get a #10 foot. Just trust me.

The binding is on my quilt, finally, so it's getting washed and photographed tomorrow! I'll be back then.

Friday, March 19, 2010

one last sneak peek


Finished quilting it last night, hoping to add the binding tomorrow, which is also National Quilting Day (yay!).
Then I can show you the whole shebang.

Sorry for my absence, I've been making myself ill with all the multi-tasking I've been attempting. Not good. Decided that blogging every day was a commitment that I could cut out (rather than showers, sleep, healthy eating, sewing, laundry, dishes!), for the time being.

Hopefully I will still be around on the weekends. :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

vintage sheets up

Mark somehow persuaded me to fall asleep at 9:30 last night, so I finally got those sheets up this morning!

Find them here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

oh my aching prototype

You'll have to forgive him for being rude. He's really not feeling very well.



He's made from lots of fun things I had around the house, including a vintage heavy wale corduroy that is definitely one of my favorite items in my stash.

Trying to figure out how I can cut down my construction time, because as-is I would have to charge way more than he's worth.


When I was little I would have so much I wanted to do, I would pretend I wasn't sleepy so my mom would let me stay up. I remember thinking I was really, really good at hiding my yawns. I wasn't.

I'm starting to feel like that little girl again, all full of potential and sleepy.

Stay up and quilt, edit photos, so on?
Go to bed and not be a complete zombie tomorrow?

Anyway, text only again tonight, bummer. I should be back tomorrow (TGIF!) with pics of a soooo super cute prototype I finished tonight, plus some vintage sheets up on etsy.

PS the dresses Elsie and I collaborated on are up on RVA now, check 'em out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

things i don't need

I know I said I would hold back on the doll-talk, but this is different....


I wish two things:
that they weren't $75 each,
and that I had a glass case to put them in.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

tiny update

Finally had a few spare moments to get some items loaded up, yay!




Go here to check it out.

a little destashing


Out of both desire and necessity, I'm working on a special little project for you.

Can you guess what it is?

I know it's a bit predictable, but if I don't cut down my stash now, then I can't buy any more. And that can't happen! ;)

on a personal note

via ffffound

I am so exhausted, a bit sickly (had my first nose bleed in probably ten years while I was taking those pics this morning!), and my half hour nap this evening somehow turned into a three hour nap.

I have a couple great things to add to my etsy but life is telling me it's going to have to wait a few days.

Shhh, it's a secret, but I sort of kind of have a job-interview-type-meeting-thing tomorrow after work....and the nerves are driving me crazy! Hopefully looking at better pay, better hours, more time to spend working at home. I know I'm dreaming, but it's a thought... :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

mr and ms mess

Just a quick note before I leave for work...


Proof I am not the only one around here leaving clutter about! So no more complaints about the little threads left all over the floor, okay?

PS but really most of the clutter is mine.

PPS hiiii honey! hope your dentist visit went well!

Monday, March 8, 2010

new product!

I'm so proud of these little lovelies.

little miss zipper pouch
Great for cell phones, iPods, tampons, makeup, sewing kits, etc! Thinking of making a second batch with loops for clutching.



mini terrycloth-backed burp cloths
The last time we went to see my favorite baby in the world, Mark's nephew, I was on drool patrol. And I noticed the regular shoulder-size burp rags were just too big and inconvenient (and kind of ugly!). So I wanted to make some cute ones for wiping up little faces. Yes?

prettiest weekend of the year

Saturday, Mark and I went to this new sushi place for lunch. It used to be a Taco Bueno (yumm) that my ex-best-friend and I went to all the time. We were really excited about a low-key sushi place opening up, and this was their first weekend! I would say we expected it to be a bit cheaper, possibly self-serve/mall-kiosk type sushi with a casual feel. What we got was mall-sushi at fancy-sushi prices, a really obnoxious waiter/host, and an atmosphere of "this used to be a Taco Bueno but we painted the ceiling tiles black, boarded up the windows, and built creepy little elevated booths so we could justify our prices."

Anyway, where was this going? Oh, right. So we joked about how long it would take to get food poisoning from the funky looking salmon. And guess how I felt when I woke up this morning? Mmmm. Cold sweat says it all. I was able to eventually fight it off with a long hot shower and a little bit of food, but you know what I was thinking the whole time I felt ill? "I can't be sick today! I have so much work to do!" Which is odd, because my job is strictly M-F. I've actually started to think of my indie business as a (fun!) job that I need to devote time to & take seriously. So so excited! Even if it is incredibly stressful.

Let me show you what I accomplished after I conquered the sushi bug...

Basting a quilt using the tape method. One of the top 5 reasons I was excited about having hard wood floors!

Learning to use the fancy walking foot.

Getting a bit of quilting done in the process. Look how tight those stitches are! Love this machine.

I also made a bunch of stuff for Wholly Craft, but it's bed time, so I'll have to post about those tomorrow!

It's almost a shame that the weekend I broke out my new machine was also the warmest weekend so far this year. But, even if I didn't spend much time outside, I did enjoy the weather (open windows! happy kitties! sunlight!), and I really enjoyed all the work I got done.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

sunday stash #8

"Accidentally" stopped by the FM store on the way home yesterday...all of this (plus two zippers) for $13! Some of that lace is definitely going to need to go up on etsy, because I can't imagine ever using it all. Unless I cover a full length gown with it. Which I kind of want to do.

And this is totally unrelated, but can I just mention how much I love my sleepy kitty?
He loves the wonky lattice quilt now that it's all washed and crinkly. Actually, some of the fabrics bled (ugh!) and it's a bit TOO crinkly for my tastes, but it's grown on me. I'm glad I made it.

indie biz

You may have noticed on the sidebar that I'm an "Indie Biz 2.0" student. Our first assignment was to decorate the binder that houses our workbook. I have so many scrapbooking supplies that I've never used, so it was way fun to have an excuse to break them out.

Here's a little tour of what I ended up with!

[martha stewart glitter & pennants; sharpie]

[picked up some of Elsie's scrapbooking papers at the RVA party on Friday (where btw I met some of the cutest most amazing girls!)]


[more Elsie, and a baby turtle illustration out of a book I picked up at the thrift store]

[love this adhesive paper lace! and of course had to end on my tool of choice]

Love love love. I'm hoping the class will continue to be as inspiring as it has been so far!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

release the hounds!

Spent sufficient time driving myself crazy, so when I got home from running errands today, out came the Bernina.


It's so incredibly...heavy! And complicated. I'm having fun learning on my own (it's so similar to what we use at work that I have a leg up), and next weekend she&I will return to the quilt store to take a "mastery class." Yay!

And I would like to present...


the first ever thing I sewed on my new machine! Impressive, right? Hah! This is actually a part of a larger project, but I love the way the solid stripes look, so I may be revisiting this idea later.

I finished the quilt top this is a part of tonight, so pictures tomorrow! Plus, a peak at one of the first items for Wholly Craft!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Some women choose to follow men. Some women choose to follow dreams. Your career will never wake up one day and decide it doesn't love you any more.
-Lady Gaga, final sentence of her interview in this month's Cosmo

[I was just reading this in the grocery store earlier, and, love her or hate her, I adore this quote. Unfortunately it's not a direct quote because I don't have the mag in front of if you do, please correct me in the comments, thanks!]

wholly craft! it IS spring!

Okay, so, it's probably safe now to mention that for the past couple weeks I have been working on a super special secret project that I loved....RVA's Spring clothing line! (ps if you're visiting from Elsie's blog, hiiii! come on in!)

I was thrilled to be working on such cute stuff. I more or less just consider myself the girl behind the sewing machine, but working with Elsie is so so fun, she really let me experiment and incorporate my ideas in to several of the pieces. I'm so anxious to see the collection released on RVA next week, I hope you are too!

So, what's next?

Oh only Springfield's first ever (that I know of) indie craft show, being put on by two of my favorite ladies, and being hosted by my favorite indie theater!

It's a ways off, but I'm known to let time catch up with me. Work starts tomorrow (once I get the Bernina set up!) for the show. It's going to be gooooood!

updated layout!

Hurrah, new colors, new header!

I need to tweak the colors and work on the font a bit, but I am sooo late for ("real") work.

Going to the RVA Art Walk Party tonight, then coming home for ("fun") work work work, yay! It's going to be such a great weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

is it spring yet?

[found here]

[found here]

Floral inspiration for more of these.

Although I doubt I'll be getting much hand-sewing done this weekend.......

swiss made

Two years from now this will be paid off (*whew*). But I am so so happy and excited and hopeful for my sewing future. Not opening until the house is clean, or the house will never get cleaned. I'm going to go fall asleep reading the manual, now!