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31  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / Food Idea help for Sodastream/Sewing party on: November 12, 2013 04:24:13 PM

I'm hosting a SodaStream party this weekend through House Party and am super excited. Drinks will be taken care of, but I need some help with food. What are your go-to party snacks?

So far this is what I'm doing:
--Cauliflower Pizza Bites, some with pepperoni and some just cheese (I have one friend that doesn't eat pork, and I forgot to buy the turkey pepperoni)
--a Cheese board, 3 kinds of cheese, some kind of nut (candied almonds or walnuts?) and grape or berries or something? And various crackers, maybe some baguette. Anybody have some cheese board tips?
--some kind of dessert, but haven't decided yet. I want it to be easy to make. I might buy something like truffles as well (going to Trader Joe's for the cheese)

Any other ideas? I feel like I should have a veggie or something too and maybe something snacky--chip/popcorn something.
32  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Easy Spicy Zuppa Toscana on: November 06, 2013 01:36:36 PM
So, apparenlty Zuppa Toscana is served at the Olive Garden and is a big hit. I wouldn't know because I'm too busy eating the Pasta Fagioli and the Gnocchi soup. But I ran across a blog that raved about it, it was cold out and soup sounded good, and I had the ingredients needed (and a few changes, of course!)

Zuppa Toscana

12 ounce package bulk sausage, mild
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes
half bunch green onions, white and green parts, thinly chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
4 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups water + 4 teaspoons Better than Boullion, chicken flavor)
1 small potato*, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into very thin half moons
1 medium/small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into very thin half moons
1/2 package frozen spinach, or fresh spinach or kale, chopped

Cream and shredded parmesan cheese for serving, optional

To medium sized soup pan, add sausage and next six ingredients, through the pressed garlic. Brown sausage until no longer pink. No oil needed because it's freaking sausage. If, after browning it seems super oily, you can drain off some of the grease. I didn't feel the need. Add the sliced zucchini and potato along with the broth. If you are using kale, add that now too so it can break down. Simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes or so, until potato is cooked through. Add spinach at the end and heat until warmed through (frozen) or wilted (fresh). For serving, add a smidge of cream and/or Parmesan cheese to each bowl if you like.

*You can add more potatoes, as in a traditional Zuppa Toscana, but I am doing a low carb-ish thing and don't care for potatoes that much anyways.

Nutritional info, based on 4 servings, without cream or Parmesan:

Calories: 325
Carbs: 10 g
Protein: 19 g
Fat: 23 g
Fiber: 2 g

Use chicken sausage for less fat, and really any veggies that float your boat!

I know the picture isn't great, but I swear this is very tasty! Smiley

ETA: This is the original recipe that this blogger loosely followed and then I loosely followed what he did.

33  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Offset Arrows Baby Quilt on: November 06, 2013 12:38:31 PM
This is a baby quilt for my best friend's niece! She is due in January and will be the first grandbaby, so everyone is very excited. The baby shower was last weekend so I can finally show this! I designed it using the Threadbias Design tool and it was really fun to use (although a bit of a learning curve). I've seen lots of arrow quilts, but none of them were offset and that's what I really wanted. This is just made up of simple rectangles and half square triangles.

The baby's crib set is black and cream and the mom wanted to add in pink and green. As soon as I heard that, I thought of the Comma line of fabric by Zen Chic. I'd been wanting to use that, so this was a great excuse! The colors in the line were orange, yellow, and a brighter green, so I opted to just use the black and cream prints and add in some solid Kona cotton--Bubble Gum and Tarragon are the shades.

I pieced the back from leftovers from the front. I had already run to the store twice for fabric (which is what happens when you buy fabric before you nail down your design!) so I ran a little short and didn't want to make a third trip. I made due with a small strip of solid Kona black. You can see the quilting best here. I did quilting in the ditch down the length and width of the squares, and then did double diagonal lines in just one direction.

The cool thing about designing in Threadbias is that they have tons of actual fabric lines in their database, so in my digital mockup I could put the actual fabric, instead of just a solid color. This is what my mockup looked like:

And this is the original I designed with Allyssa Thomas' line of Critter Patch fabric. It's fun to see how different a pattern can be with different fabrics.

Here is the blank pattern if anyone wants to make their own, I found it easiest after filling it in, to name each color A, B, etc and then just make a chart of how many rectangles and half square triangles I need to make of each one. The rectangles were 7.5 x 4 (I believe) and the half square triangles started at 5 inches and were trimmed down to 4 inches after being made. I can double check my measurements if anyone is interested in making this pattern. With these measurements and amount of rows and columns it's a decent sized baby quilt, I want to say about 42 inches square?

34  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Mini Modern Bright Art Quilt on: October 29, 2013 01:32:03 PM
This Mini Modern Art Quilt was for round 7 of the Mini Art Quilt Swap. I organize this swap once or twice a year and love doing so! We each provide our partners with 5-10 themes and we go to work, making a quilt with dimensions anywhere between 12" x 12" and 24" x 24." This one is about 18" x 21", I think?

My partner listed modern, modern/traditional, and funky and bright as a few of her themes. I decided to play with all solids and a few other techniques like string piecing and foundation piecing. I also bought a really cool tool to make the quarter circles, the Corner to Corner Curve Strip Ruler by Creative Grids. I picked this up at Fabric Depot and was really pleased with it. The quarter log cabin and the half square triangles are my nod to traditional quilt patterns.

The colors are all a little brighter in person and the coral/orange is a wonderful color, very bright but at the same time just a bit muted so it's not quite obnoxious. It's a Bella Solid.


My swap partner had this quilt pinned on her Pinterest and I started with that for some inspiration. From there I drew a sketch and refined it and fiddled with the measurements and colors until it was just how I wanted it. The actual quilt is fairly similar to my drawing, although some changes occurred due to measurement issues and my whims.

I quilted it with some parallel pairs of diagonal straight lines. I like the way this seemed to bring the quilt together and made the disparate sections of the quilt seem a little more cohesive.

I found this fabric in my stash and decided it was perfect for the back. It's a little heavier weight than regular quilting cottons, but not quite home dec weight. I'm not sure if it's a vintage fabric I got from The Knittn' Kitten or maybe it's an Ikea fabric? Either way I really like it. I finished the mini quilt off with my machine stitched binding technique, corner triangles to hang it, and my new label I got from etsy. They say "stitched with love by (my name)"

35  Category Challenges / Quilting: Challenge Entries / Time to Vote: Quilt Your Happiness on: October 23, 2013 05:50:56 PM
It's time to vote for our Quilting Challenge: Quilt Your Happiness!

Original Thread here:
36  Category Challenges / Bath and Beauty: Challenge Entries / Time to Vote: All About Nails on: October 23, 2013 05:23:10 PM
It's time to vote in the B&B Challenge: All About Nails!

Main Challenge Thread:

Thanks to Craftster user Tenlover for sponsoring this challenge with prizes from her etsy store, HardcoreCosmetics!
37  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Mini Art Quilt Swap 7 Gallery! on: October 18, 2013 06:33:25 PM
Our Gallery! Please post pics here.
Main thread:

Sending Late with Communication
Feedback Left

MareMare --> waggonswest
waggonswest --> Maremare

donniesgirl --> Abbeeroad
Abbeeroad --> donniesgirl

playswithneedles --> sloth003
sloth003 --> playswithneedles

Jen Sews --> Crying Goddess
Crying Goddess --> Jen Sews

Jen Sews --> Stickerchic87
StickerChic87 --> Jen Sews

38  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / A little bit of everything Holiday Swap on: October 02, 2013 01:18:49 PM
Hey all, I've been thinking of what kind of holiday swap I want to do and thought I would propose something like this:

1 medium item
1 ornament
1 mini stocking with 2 stocking stuffers
and 1 item to re-gift (could be something specific, or something general to have on hand for extra gift giving that we seem to forget, an extra teacher, mail carrier, hair stylist, hostess gift)

Any interest?

I think a proposed sendout date would be about December 10th? Maybe later, but for international swapping it's hard to judge.
39  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / B&B Challenge 4: All About Nails on: September 08, 2013 09:37:18 PM
Announcing a new B&B Challenge: All About Nails!

Enter Monday, October 14th through Monday, October 21st.

This challenge is being sponsored by Craftster user Tenlover with prizes from her etsy store, HardcoreCosmetics

For full details, go here:
40  Category Challenges / Bath and Beauty: Challenge Entries / B&B Challenge 4: All About Nails on: September 06, 2013 05:06:37 PM
Announcing a new B&B Challenge: All About Nails!

This challenge can be anything that has to do with nails:
a tutorial on a manicure, your favorite nail polish design, painting a landscape on fake nails, creating your own nail polish...whatever you can dream up!

For inspiration for this challenge, see the Nail Art tag on Craftster and check out our Awesome Manicure Thread.

1. Enter your project (one project per user) in this category as a new thread starting Monday, October 14th through Monday, October 21st.
2. Title your project "B&B Challenge 4: your title here."
3. There are no strict themes for this challenge, but your project must have to do with nails.
4. Include some progress pics if you can!
5. We always love to see tutorials!
6. This should be a new project that you've never posted before.
7. Voting will open Tuesday, October 21st and run through Tuesday, October 29th.

Now for the good part! Prizes!

This challenge is being sponsored by Craftster user Tenlover with prizes from her etsy store, HardcoreCosmetics

The U.S. winner of this challenge will receive 3 full sized polishes from HardcoreCosmetics, including custom orders!  Here are a few pictures of some of the polishes available.

Unfortunately, due to shipping hazardous material laws, only the U.S. winner of this challenge will win from HardcoreCosmetics. If someone outside the U.S. comes in first place, I will provide a prize for them, and this prize will still go to the U.S. entry with the most votes.

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