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Monday, October 24, 2011

I Apologize For....

....Not posting for a quite a bit of time. I got busy with work and my family's wireless router started having problems. It started blocking my computer and then my parent's Netflix device. I'm not going to promise that it won't happen again because it probably will. I will give you an update on projects. 

First, I have received wonderful thanks and compliments for all three bunnies and pairs of pacifier leashes. I made for the new bundles of joy. I will definitely keep that pattern to use for future gifts.

Right now I am working on making lots of scarves with random skeins of yarn that have been donated to my church knitting/crocheting group. They usually create prayer shawls and lapghans with the donated yarn but there is a lot of single skeins that don't match. So it works great to make scarves. These scarves are single stitched, double stitched or use various fancy stitches. Some have fringe and some don't. There are scarves for women, men and children. All of them will be given out by KARM (Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries). KARM is a wonderful local non-profit that provides meals, housing assistance and a program to help people learn to manage their finances. I am very glad to give the gift of my crocheting to a worthy organization. 

I am trying to find patterns to make Christmas presents and will have lots of projects to share after the Holidays. (I have family and friends that read my blog and I don't want them to find out what they are getting before I give it.) 

I think that is it for now.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Doctor Who and Mushroom Quesadilla

Tonight is the night that Doctor Who returns from it's summer break and I will be partaking in fish fingers and custard as well as sue-do jammy dodgers. But I decided to make something more substantial to get me to 9 o'clock. So I opened the fridge and saw some button mushrooms that needed to be used. I was craving something spicy and thought of a quesadilla. Yay for impromptu dinners for one!

Here's a list of ingredients I used but I'm sure they could be changed to whatever you have in your pantry or fridge.

  • Button Mushrooms (I used 2 good sized ones)
  • Olive Oil
  • Mild Cheddar Cheese
  • Pensy's Arizona Dream Spice (Taco spice would work too)
  • Garlic (I used powder but chopped would work too)
  • Tortillas 
I first chopped the mushrooms and then sauteed them with the Olive oil, garlic and Arizona Dream spice. I used a medium heat and it took about 5 minutes. Here is a picture of what they looked like.

It started to smell really good!

I put one tortilla on the griddle plate and shredded some of the cheddar on it and let it melt

 I then added the mushrooms when they were done.

I put the second tortilla on top and flipped it over and let it cook for about 1 minute more.

Here it is on the plate. I added some salsa and sour cream.

It was simple and quick to make. Like I said earlier it can be changed to fit whatever ingredients you have in your pantry or fridge. Corn tortillas would work just as well as flour ones and Monterrey Jack cheese would be good too. You could even add bell peppers and/or onions to the mushrooms. I hope you enjoy my short simple recipe. I have to go bake my fish fingers and enjoy Doctor Who. Let me know what you think of my recipe.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Read of the Month: The Help

Since the movie just came out starring Emma Stone and Viola Davis, I felt that I needed to read the book before I saw the movie. The books never fail to be better than the movie so I like to read them before they have a chance of being ruined as a movie. I must be in the same frame of mind as Hank Green  because he just posted a video on YouTube expressing the same thoughts. I wanted to read The Help, by Katherine Sockett, before I even knew they were making a movie.

This is a book written about writing a book. Which is something different in itself but it is also about segregation in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s. The two heroines of this book could be considered complete opposites. Skeeter is a fresh out of college journalist and comes from a well to do white family and Abileen is a 40 something black maid who is still dealing with her only child's death. And yet they become very close through all the trials of getting a book published. Skeeter also has to deal with the difficultly of coming home from college and realizing that it is different than before. Changed and not in a good way for her. Most of her high school friends got married and dropped out of college to make a home for their husbands. She ends up realizing that Jackson is no longer a place where she belongs. Abileen ends up becoming a hero for helping other maids find their own voice. She also realizes that she can start her own life over and over comes the grief of her lost son.

The other characters in the book are also very well developed but I'm going to let you read the book to learn about them. I love the way this book is more about trying to get two different but similar groups of women to start talking to each other. It's not just about race but respect for everyone. I definitely recommend this book to everyone. 

Let me know what you think of the book after you have read it!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Oh Baby! Take II

Yes, It's another post on baby items. A beautiful baby girl was born to a couple at my church and I couldn't believe that I forgot to make her a gift. So I decided to crochet another Linguine Bunny but this time I made it with solid colored yarn. I chose this beautiful purple because the little girl has bright red hair. I love purple on redheads. Since the bunny is in purple I embroidered the nose and mouth in pink and used white button eyes. Here is a picture.

I was browsing on Crochet Pattern Central and found some wonderful toy/pacifier leashes. I don't like the store made leashes with the clips because I feel like little fingers or soft skin is going to be pinched. This leash uses a loop and button to attach the pacifier/toy to the car seat/bib/clothes/stroller. I also learned a new stitch in the process. The Star Stitch is a handy stitch that makes a star pattern. The pattern for the leash can be found here Pacifier Leash.  Here is a picture of the leashes.

I hope to deliver these gifts to the beautiful little girl and her family today. Let me know what you think about these projects.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Read of the Month: The Hunger Games

I know I'm cutting it close this month but it's gone by so quickly. I was caught off guard. Trust me, this book will make up for the delay. I started reading it Thursday night and finished Saturday evening. I only stopped reading because I had to go to work.

I first heard of The Hunger Games from John Green (award winning writer) on the VlogBrothers YouTube channel and knew I had to read it. I had a chance to buy it in the Store Closing Sale for Borders. (When I heard that Borders was closing all of it's stores I literally cried.)

The Hunger Games is set in future North America where the government has divided the nation into different districts. Each district products a specific good that defines the district. There used to be 13 districts but when the people rebelled against the government district 13 was destroyed. So to make sure the citizens know their place once a year the Hunger Games are held. Two names are drawn in each district, one boy and one girl. There is only one winner and survivor because it is a fight to the death. When a child turns 12 they are entered in the drawing for the Hunger Games. Each year they are entered in the drawing an extra time until they reach the age of 18 but most children end up being entered more times because they can receive food rations for their family. This is the story of Katniss Everdeen who volunteers to participate so her 12 year old sister won't be forced to compete for her life.

This book is thrilling from page one. Like I said if I didn't have to go to work I would have read it all day and night. The twists and turns constantly surprised me. Collins does a wonderful job of character building and showing that not everything is as it appears. I would recommend this book to everyone. It is a great story about government control and human rights. I am looking forward to reading the final two books in this trilogy.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

The most amazing pizza I have ever had!

I am a huge carb fan (it comes from my Italian genetics) and pizza is one of my favorite forms. Homemade pizza is my favorite but time is in short supply. My family has been buying take and bake pizzas recently because of the time issue.

Since it is summer time we have been using the grill almost every weekend so my mom suggested trying pizza on the grill. It's something that could easily be made veggie or meat laden. So tonight we made two small grilled pizzas. My mom found some frozen pizza dough at the grocery store so we wouldn't have to make the dough from scratch.

We stretched out the dough and brushed it with olive oil. When the grill was hot we placed the dough directly on the grill to bake before topping it. When the crust started to brown on the bottom we removed it from the grill. I then topped the browned side of the crust with canned tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and fresh mushrooms. We have a mini herb garden on the deck and decided to use some basil from it. The pizzas were then placed on the grill to finish baking. They only took a few minutes for the pre-baking and the final baking.

I didn't get a chance to take pictures but next time I will. The pizza was so good that I ate entirely too much of it. The fresh basil was definitely my favorite part of it. I can't wait to make it again! Let me know if you decide to try it for yourself.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Read of the Month: Lady of the Forest

Look at me! I'm making my second book review and it's within the next month like I promised!

This month it is all about showing off one of my favorite authors. Jennifer Roberson is a wonderful fantasy author that brings new worlds alive for me. She has written mostly series so I was glad to find a singular book written by her.

Lady of the Forest is Roberson's version of Robin Hood and it is told from Lady Marion's side of the story. I have a love of the Crusades (I don't know why because it was a horrible bloody violent time in history that I am not proud of as a Christian) so Robin Hood is a classic tale for me. The detail she puts into her writing is amazing. Lady Marion discovers who she is and becomes a very strong woman in the process. Robin is shown as a man who hides himself because he was forced to when he was captured in the Crusades. Not only is he physically scared but he is mentally injured as well. He finally finds himself again through meeting and falling in love with Marion. The Sheriff of Nottingham is developed as a twisted conniving man who only wants to advance in the world at any cost. His daughter is a perfect copy of her father and wants Marion out of the picture. But in the end the Lionheart returns just in time to set everything right for a time.

The way Roberson writes, transports me into the story. I felt like I was Lady Marion making the same decisions that she did. This version was a good mixture of fact and fiction. I would recommend this book to someone who doesn't usually read fantasy books. It is a classic tale that everyone knows but with a twist.

I hope you have enjoyed my monthly book review!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Oh Baby!

There seems to me that a lot of babies are being born to couples I know this year. So here is one cute gift I have made for a new baby girl that is due in Oct. My manager at work and his wife are having their first child this fall and I am kind of tire of just making a blanket for the new bundles of joy coming into the world this year. I decided to make a stuffed animal that will be a keepsake as well. Bunnies are cute and great for little girls. I found a great pattern on Craftster by Wayuki. Here is the link to the Linguine Bunny pattern.

I used a cotton yarn because it would be durable, washable and soft. All of these attributes are very important for a baby toy. Although the pattern shows solid colored bunnies, I like to use lots of color and picked multicolored yarn from I Love This Cotton called Carousel.

Here is a lovely picture.

I am working on a toy/pacifier leash for another baby and will have pictures up soon. Let me know what you think of this cute little bunny. 


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Read of the Month: Water for Elephants

I am going to try to do a book review once a month. (We'll see how long it will last:)

For my very first Read of the Month, I have picked Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. The movie was recently released and I thought I would read the book before I saw the movie. The movies always seem to ruin the books for me so I like to read them before seeing the movie.

I thoroughly enjoyed every word of this wonderful novel. The story is about Jacob Jankowski and his experience with a circus in the 1930s. At the beginning of the book we find Jacob in his last semester of Vet School with a future at his father's small veterinary practice. His story takes a turn for the worse when his parents are killed in a car accident and everything they own has to go to the bank. He runs away during final exams and winds up on a circus train. He finds the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth to be both his salvation and a nightmare. It is found out that he is a veterinary student and he gets put in charge of the circus menagerie where he meets the beautiful equestrian star, Marlena, who is married to the twisted animal trainer, August.  In a race to claim assets of a circus that broke apart, Uncle Al , the ringmaster, buys an un-trainable elephant named Rosie. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio became their only hope for survival. 

This novel is written from Jacob's point of view and flips between young Jacob at the circus and old Jacob who is now in a nursing home. The format reminds me of The Notebook because the author never reveals key events until the very last moment. I was on the edge of my seat the whole book, which I couldn't put down at all. I finished reading it in only two days. Gruen's writing style kept me hooked until the last page. I always felt like I was part of the story and became completely emersed. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone!

Let me know what you think about the book or if you think you will read it.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Craft-it-Forward Projects and Mother's Day gift

I signed up in January to participate in Craft-it-Forward. About a month ago I completed two craft projects and sent them to their new owners. So now I will share them with you.

This first project is a triangle shawl for my wonderful friend Cathy Cooney. She is a huge Civil War buff and I came up with the idea of making her a shawl she could use if she got into re-enactments. I used a simple pattern by Caron and I used a pound skein of navy blue yarn. I chose this pattern because it looks like something a lady would have made for herself back in the Civil War Era. 

The second project that I made and sent out was for my friend Evan Schnabel. It took me awhile to figure out what I was going to make for him because I'm not very good at picking out things for guys. I finally thought of a practical throw. I used the moss stitch as a pattern and alternated colors every 15 rows. I used dark chocolate brown with sage green "I Love This Yarn." It's my favorite brand of yarn because it's super soft and has great give. 

This project isn't for Craft-it-Forward but for my Mommy for Mother's Day. Since she and Dad aren't here this weekend I thought I would make a post about my gift for her. My mom has problems with her wrists and legs (I kind of do too). We found that magnetic jewelry has helped with pain. Recently she told me that she would like a full set (2 bracelets and 2 anklets). I decided to make it for her for Mother's Day. I used round and helix shaped magnetic beads with brown and blue seed beads. The bracelets measure about 7 inches and the anklets measure about 10 inches. 

Well I hope you enjoy my projects. Let me know if you want more details. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Love of STAR!

I LOVE volunteering at Shangri-la Therapeutic Academy of Riding (STAR)! The riders are amazing. The horses/ponies/donkeys are amazing. The instructors are amazing and my fellow volunteers are amazing. Therapeutic riding is what it sounds like, riding horses for therapeutic exercise. But at STAR it is much more than just riding horses, it's about connecting to the riders and horses and other volunteers. Not only do the disabled riders learn how to use and strengthen muscles but they learn about caring for their horse. Some riding schools will groom and tack your horse for you but at STAR every rider helps with the pre-ride duties.  

I have only been volunteering at STAR for 8 months and have learned so much more than I ever thought I could. The riders have disabilities that range from Autism to Spina Bifida to ADD/ADHD. Some riders need more help than others but I love being there for the emotional support as well as physical help. I have also started learning a small amount of American Sign Language.

Helping out in the barn is also a great job I get to do. Cleaning out stalls, turning horses out and bringing them in are all enjoyable for me. It's a simple physical job that lets me forget about the every day worries I have. I have also learned more about caring for equines. Which brings me to the actual craft part of my blog.

The horses at STAR have tags for their halters so they can be kept neat. Not every halter fits every horse. Kandy, a percheron, has the biggest halter and Honey, a mini, has the smallest halter. The current halter tags that are being used at STAR are cardstock and fall apart easily. The environment of the barn is hard on paper materials so I decided that I would make some metal stamped tags that would stand up to the harsh treatment. Below is the finished product.

All of the halter tags together 

Honey's halter tag

I will be dropping them off today and can't wait to see the Equine Manager's reaction. 


Monday, March 7, 2011

Children are people too!!!

Since I am not working at the moment, I like to help my mom out. She is the adult ministries director for our church and I like to help her by typing attendance on Mondays. I have gotten quite fast and it allows her to work on other things. In typing attendance I get to learn who attends what service and I'm getting good at reading bad handwritting. But I have discovered something shocking. Some parents are listing their childern after their last name, as if they are a passing thought. I brought this to my mom's attention and she said that she has had to ask a lot of parents to list their children because they don't. It is absolutely shocking that parents would have to be told to list their children on the attendance pad/card. Children are the future and it is so very important to make them feel as part of the family of Christ. It makes me question if these parents think that their children are second class citizens or not human. Don't get me wrong I'm sure thsat they are being cared for properly and loved by their family. It just seems that they are being hidden from the wonderful church family that can provide so much more care and love. What do you make of this? I would like to know your opinions.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wonderful Bookshelf!!

If you didn't think I was nerdy enough, I asked for a bookshelf for Christmas/Birthday. I love my books and have out grown the poorly constructed bookshelves in my room. I got a wonderful bookshelf for my big Christmas present. It is a beautiful dark stained wood and it will fold flat. If I buy another one I can stack them so I will have a full size bookshelf. I will be setting it up in my room today and thought I would mention it.

That is all I have for today.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Wonderful Recipe!!

For Christmas I received a magnificent Good Housekeeping vegetarian cookbook from a good friend. As I looked through it for the first time I found a healthy recipe for Tomato soup with black rice. I didn't have enough time to search for black rice the first time I made the soup so I was hoping to find some wild rice. Sadly the grocery store was out of wild rice because of all the ice in Atlanta so I went with a long grain white rice. The soup starts out with carrots, onion and celery with a bit of butter. Then the spices, thyme, a bay leaf and garlic are added. Vegetable stock and canned tomatoes are the saucy part of the soup. It is blended until smooth and the cooked rice is added at the end. It looks like it could come from a fancy restaurant and tastes just as good. I hope to make it to the Asian grocery store to see if they might carry black rice for the next time I make this soup. I might try using different spices to make it Mexican or Indian flavored as well. I wish I had taken some pictures but I will try to get some the next time I make it.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Plan B

Have you ever had your plans go wrong? Sure, everyone has. Well my plans for life after college have been turned upside down. I was hoping to have a full time job at a company that I completely love but that didn't happen. I was happy when I could find a temp job in September but right before Christmas bad news came my way. I was told that my hours were going to be cut but little did I know that I would be working much less than half of the 40 hours I had been working. As you would expect this has made me worried (because I have student loans, car loans and insurance that needs to be paid), angry, and sad but strangely I am happy as well. I have gained some experience in the short months I have been working and this will help me in finding a permanent job. I have learned that it is important for me to find a company that focuses on helping others more than promoting themselves. Some of the employees where I work now only want to ensure their trip up the company ladder is quick and smooth. They treat the temporary employees as if they are second class citizens. I was even toddled on for improper Internet usage when I was using the Internet for writing a document for the company.
So for now I will work on filling out applications and researching possible employers.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Recent Projects

So I thought I would let you peeps know what projects I've been working on recently.

I've been making a lot of cute cloche hats lately. The patten I use requires using two strands of yarn at the same time so I mixed it up a bit and combined different colors. All of them have turned out wonderfully. The color combinations I have used are as follows:
  • Black and White
  • Dark Red and Cream
  • Light Blue and Cream
  • Dark Purple and White
  • Light Blue and Brown
I made three of them for Christmas gifts for three of my aunts. My grandma saw me finishing them and now she would like one too. I'm thinking of making that one with a dark purple and a light purple. What do you think?

I'm also working on a baby blanket for a co-worker that is due in March. I have some white baby yarn that has one strand of variegated rainbow colors. I'm combining it with a soft white yarn and it is turning out chunky. It's very plush and is turning out very good. I'm only working a double stitch but I really like it.

At the moment I think that is all for now.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1st Blog of the Challange!

Here it is like I said. The First!!

I would like to pose a question to you. How would you feel reading a fantasy story that is from the point of view of the enemy?

I'm reading The Godspeaker Trilogy right now and the first book was completely from the perspective of the enemy nation. This nation is a warrior nation that is harsh and brutal. The story starts with the very beginning of the main conflict. Starts with Hekat and her brutal accent to empress of Mijak and her drive to appease her evil god. In the process she produces and grooms her eldest son to be the weapon of her smiting force.

I really enjoy that it is different to learn, in depth, about the reasoning behind the brutality and attacks.

I wouldn't recommend this trilogy if you don't like to read about death and blood and gore. There is rape and murder as well. But it is truly a unique take on the traditional fantasy story.

I enjoy how it makes me think about what will happen. The characters are wonderfully developed and unpredictable at times. If you have a chance to read it, do it.

Well that's about it for my first official blog of the year.


Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year Challange!

I'm not usually one for making New Years Resolutions but I think I have come up with one that is doable. This year I am going to blog twice a week. I have set an event on my phone calandar that should remind me to blog on Tuesdays and Fridays. So tomorrow will be my first offical blog for my challange.
Wish me luck!!

May peace be with you until we meet again!