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151  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Roasted Vegetables on: February 03, 2012 12:11:34 PM
We're going to visit friends for dinner tomorrow night and I was asked to bring a side dish.  I decided on roasted vegetables.  The carrots, beets and garlic are from our garden.  The rest of the veggies were from our fridge.  To make these - wash, peel, slice your vegetables as desired.  Lay each vegetable in a separate baking dish and splash with a flavored vinegar, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt.  For instance, I used champagne vinegar on the mushrooms, balsamic on the green beans, strawberry vinegar on the carrots, red wine vinegar on the red pepper, etc.  These go in the oven at 350 degrees.  Stir/toss them every 10 minutes, check them after 30 minutes for doneness.  These usually take between 30 and 50 minutes, depending on the vegetable.

When the red pepper is done, the skin will wrinkle.  When they are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin. 

Here they are arranged on a serving dish.  We like these served at room temperature.  I've also roasted butternut squash, eggplant, hot peppers, asparagus and pearl onions using this simple process.  It's always a crowd pleaser.

The beet and carrot tops go our hens.

The rest of the scraps go into our worm compost. 
152  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Tea Wallet Tutorial on: January 31, 2012 02:02:45 PM
Have you been wanting to make your own tea wallet?  Here's a tutorial for you.

You'll need 5 by 7 inch cuts of outside fabric, inside fabric and a piece of flannel which will help give your wallet some stability.  You'll also need a 2.5 by 7 inch cut of your inside fabric and a 3.5 by 7 inch cut of your outside fabric.  These will be the interior pockets.  Lastly, you'll need an elastic hair tie and a button to finish your wallet.

Fold over and iron a quarter inch of your pocket fabric.  Sew it down.  Repeat for your other pocket fabric.  If your fabric has an orientation to it, make sure you sew the correct edge. 

Line up and pin your two pockets to the bottom of your interior fabric.  Sew a 1/8 inch seam through all three layers at the bottom to secure them together. 

Now it's time to layer them all together.  Place your outside fabric on the table, right side up.  Then place your interior fabric (with the pockets already sewn on at the bottom) with the right side facing your outside fabric.  This means these right sides will be facing each other.  On top of that lay your piece of flannel.  Mine has animal prints on it.  It doesn't matter which side of your flannel is up, it will be hidden inside when you are done.  Pin it all together.   

Sew a 1/4 inch seam around the layered fabric 'sandwich', leaving about 1 1/2 inches open on one side so you can turn it.  Before you start sewing, decide where to leave the turn opening.  Have a good look at your fabric.  Leave the opening where you want your elastic tie inserted.

Before you turn everything right side out, clip the corners.  Rather than just doing a 45 degree angle, I do a rounded cut. 

Turn it right side out using a chopstick to help with your corners, iron it (very important) and place the hair elastic where you want it.  Pin it in place.

Sew a 1/4 inch seam around the entire edge, make sure you sew over the elastic twice to make it secure.

It's time to sew your button on, opposite your elastic.  The thread gets hidden inside a pocket. Sweet!

The last thing you should do is sew a seam right down the middle.  Load it with tea, sweetener, pepper flakes, whatever your heart desires.  Pop it in your purse and you're good to go. 
153  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Gardening in the Dead of Winter on: January 28, 2012 07:38:09 AM
Hey everyone, I thought I'd share what we've learned about greenhouse gardening over the past few years.  It's the end of January, 26 degrees out and this is today's harvest(!)  Hot peppers, baby carrots and golden beets, a huge radish.  At dinnertime tonight I'll also pick spinach, lettuce and mesclun for a salad.  The hot peppers are going in the dehydrator this afternoon.  The peppers are in pots that we moved from our back deck when the weather turned cold.  Everything else is growing in indoor raised beds. 

Two years ago we were trying to keep the indoor temp high enough to sustain potted summer vegetables, tropicals and herbs.  A power failure on a sub zero night killed everything, including my precious saffron.   Sad  Last year my husband put in an indoor raised bed and we didn't use the heater at all.  We enjoyed lettuce all Winter. This year, he added 3 more indoor raised beds and we have the heater set just at freezing.  It rarely comes on and we've got some beautiful things growing in there!

I'm hoping we'll have peas to harvest in a week or two.

Red and gold beets.

An entire bed of potatoes.  When they flower we'll know there are harvestable potatoes inside.

We've even got a few limes growing, despite the cool temps.  Our citrus lives in pots. 

We use a few black rain barrels to hold water, and water the beds by hand.  They also help keep the interior warm by acting as a thermal mass. 

Here's the exterior.  We keep the shadecloth on year round and close it up during the Summer.  It's too hot in there to be of any use.  My husband built it from a kit (he's a genius).  Any questions, just let me know.   Smiley

154  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Skirt Steak Tacos on: January 27, 2012 12:45:26 PM
One of our refrigerators cut out on us this week.  Since we stock our beef by the half cow, I found myself with a freezer full of defrosting meat.  Luckily, it was the one that holds our stew beef and such (not the ribeyes or filet).  I set out to make a huge batch of stew and a big pot of chili.  By the time I was done with pot pie filling I was pooped and still had a package of skirt steak staring at me.  What to do?  Marinate it for tacos the next night!  Skirt steak isn't known for its tenderness but I figured an overnight bath in a marinade would soften it up and I was right.  I used what I had on hand:

1/4 cup of olive oil
Juice of three limes
Splash of tequila
Splash of the juice from a jar of pickled jalapenos
4 cloves of crushed garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. of oregano
Salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes

The next evening we grilled the steaks, let them rest then sliced them against the grain.

I pan fried a half of a red pepper and a handful of jalapeno slices in a little bit of olive oil.

They were served with warm flour soft flour tacos, sliced avocado, fresh tomatoes and some of my homemade salsa.  There are scores of other things you could serve these with, like cheese, sour cream, lettuce, onion, guacamole, etc.  We (of course) have leftovers.  Beef.  It's what's for dinner.

155  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / Fish Platter and Friends on: January 20, 2012 03:44:04 AM
My adventures in pottery continue...  I made a few serving pieces in class last month.  I'm having fun learning different techniques and playing with glazes.  First up is a platter that I'm giving my Mom for her birthday.  They live on a river and eat lots of fish that my Dad catches. 

I'm planning to use this to serve veggies and dip tonight when friends come for drinks and appetizers.

I really like how the glazes mixed together on this bowl.

156  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Valentine's Day / Matchbox Valentines on: January 17, 2012 10:02:28 AM
I was inspired by something I saw on Martha Stewart's website.  It was a kid's craft for altering matchbooks and filling them with candy.  I kind of got carried away...  The heart on the top is made of stamped polymer clay with a sparkly doo dad.  Inside of each there's a tiny traditional valentine's day image.  And M&Ms! 

157  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Star Wars Magnets on: December 24, 2011 08:22:58 AM
As a last minute Christmas gift for my Star Wars loving daughter, I crafted some magnets for her out of poly clay.  I used a round cutter for the base of each one so they are a standard size.  There are so many options to further expand her collection, I'm planning to add to it next year.

158  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Meet Our 4Q2011 Home Sweet Home Featured Member - Jenxx! on: December 19, 2011 04:17:57 PM
We've enjoyed her giant cheeseburger pillow and carousel horse constructed from a child's toy posts.  We're pleased to announce the 4Q2011 Home Sweet Home featured member is Jenxx!

Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a retired snowbird who spends the summers in Illinois & winters in Florida.  I've always had a passion for creating & spend more time at it than is good for me.   I'm willing to use just about any medium available...my latest is clay classes.  I'm loving those altho they're limited to summer.  I've learned that I'm something of a maverick who doesn't follow directions well &, while I love hunting the internet for inspiration,  prefer to create my own patterns.

Your 28" cheeseburger seemed to be well received!  Do you have any plans for additional giant food pillows?
My cheeseburger began as an entry in a contest to "Create a Pillow".  I spent several weeks in the thinking stage before doing anything tangible....this is my usual approach to a project.  It actually took me only a day or two to complete it.  It's quite simply made with mostly circles.  People have suggested I follow it up with a hot dog, fries & a coke.  I've figured out how I would proceed but haven't found the time yet.

Your carousel horse is stunning.  What was your inspiration and what was the hardest thing about the project?
My carousel horse is one of my favorite creations.  I had seen them several times & hunted flea markets for a child's toy to buy at a reasonable price.  When I finally found it for $10, I enlisted Hubby to strip it from the frame & mount it on a closet rod.  That was easy for him but would have stymied me.  I guess he really IS worth keeping around.  The rest was time consuming but not difficult.  I had to repaint part of the saddle because the paint didn't match but it went pretty smoothly otherwise.   

On what other Craftster boards will people find projects you've posted?
I've posted a number of crafts on other topics---all listed in my photo gallery.  My most industrious is probably my life size old world Santas.

What's your favorite item on Craftster created by someone else?
I've found so many fantastic art & craft projects on this site that it would be difficult to choose a favorite.  I've found tho, that I tend to love the ones that go beyond patterns & instructions to explore a new direction.  These are the most inspiring & I really appreciate that the Craftster community provides a venue where everyone can showcase their creations so they will inspire others.

159  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Home Sweet Home Featured Projects 4th Quarter 2011 on: December 19, 2011 06:34:09 AM
Home Sweet Home Featured Projects 4th Quarter 2011

Crafty Housewares: General

Bead Curtain of Craftster Love *pic heavy* by Abbeeroad

Whopper Cheeseburger---28" in diameter! by Jenxx

New side table! by K3lly

Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed

Jean Couch by Autodidact

Headboard Made of Pallets by mcmakeit

Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects

Extreme Bird Mansion ! by cranbrook2

160  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / My First Attempt at Pottery on: December 07, 2011 10:30:35 AM
My husband recently decided he hates all of his hobbies so wanted to try something fun and different and picked pottery.  How cool is that?  We found an art studio about a 90 minute drive from here and have been going every week.  I'm pretty happy that I'm able to produce pots but they are all pretty small (my largest is about 5 inches across).  Baby steps, right?  We're both really enjoying it and he's been making some noise about having our own studio some day.  Is there anyone out there with a home studio I could PM for some advice if/when the time comes?  Here are a few examples of my first pots.

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