January 3, 2014

Plans for January

Wow, I didn’t realize how long it had been since I wrote a blog post.   It’s been a busy year.  We’ve added another baby to our family and with 2 under 2 life is hectic, full and rewarding all at once.

I’m so excited though to try the January Cure.    Yesterday’s assignment was to walk through the house and create a list of projects that needed to be done and then pick 3 to 5 from each room to work on this month.

So here’s my list:

Living Room:

  1. Change out photos (ie switch to  updated photos of my daughter and add some of my son)
  2. Sort/remove excess toys from the play area. – DONE
  3. Get baby toys from the attic and put out for my son.
  4. Take stuff to goodwill (I have a pile in the living room)
  5. Take down the Christmas Tree.


  1. Buy and install wood blinds over sink
  2. Organize the desk drawers and cabinets, remove clutter
  3. Organize pantry cupboards
  4. Clean off the table
  5. Better organize all the baby stuff
  6. Organize spices


  1. Put up the tree decal on the walls
  2. Remove all non baby items from the closet
  3. Add a second hanging rack to closet
  4. Organize the decorative shelves
  5. Organize the books (move tearable books to a safe but accessible location)

I looked ahead at the pdf schedule for the month and realized that there won’t be time to do every room in my house so I picked the most important tasks/rooms overall.  I’m also giving myself permission not to get everything done.   This is about making my home feel more like home and being happy with how things are not about setting unrealistic goals.  Who knows, if it goes well, maybe I’ll do something similiar in February with the rooms I didn’t do in January.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!


The 2nd assignment covers today and this weekend:  Buy Flowers,  restock any cleaners needed, and clean all the floors in the house.    I’ve got all the cleaners I need right now.  So later today, the kids and I will go pick out some flowers and this weekend we’ll tackle the floors.  Seems doable to me. :-)

January 14, 2013

My favorite waffles . . . .

The hubby is getting to take some paternity leave this week, so Monday morning seemed like a perfect time to pull out the waffle iron.   My waffles are just a very slight modification to Alton Brown’s waffles which the recipe treats like a dessert.    I’m not sure what possessed me to make a dessert waffle for breakfast but this is now my go-to waffle.   It would be great as a base for a scoop of ice cream as well.

I don’t taste the sour cream in these at all.   Instead, you end up with a nice light waffle, almost fluffy inside with a crisp outer shell.   I’m used to waffles being heavy and dense.  That is not the case with this recipe.   And although this is “from scratch,” the process is really not much different than using a mix.  It takes me less than 5 minutes to mix the batter.

There’s only 2 of us, so I took the recipe down.  We don’t need 8 waffles in the morning.   You can easily double this recipe for more waffles.

Sour Cream Pecan Waffles

Yield:  4 waffles

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

1 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted

1/2 tsp Vanilla

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4  cup pecans, chopped finely

1.  Mix wet ingredients and whisk well.  Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl and form a well in the center. Add the wet mixture to the well and fold in with the dry. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps.  Stir in pecans ( I use a food processer to chop mine so that they are really just specks in the batter.

2.  When waffle iron is hot, spray lightly with non-stick spray. Spoon 1/2  cup of batter onto the center of the iron and cook.  Mine are not done when the waffle iron thinks they are.  Once the light turns green, I cook for about 30 seconds more ( I just do a 1 and count to 30).  They should be nice and golden brown.  If they are light brown, they aren’t done.  You want a crust on these.




January 4, 2013

Thoughts for 2013

Usually in January, I post all kinds of plans for the quilting and crafting projects I’m sure I’m going to do that year.   I make all sorts of goals for blogging and accomplishing lots of things.   That is not happening this year.  I’m tired of the pressure and sense of failure that comes from overplanning.   I’m changing that right now, starting with my blog, including how it’s structured and how I use it.

In the past, this has been primarily a crafting blog.  Now,  I’m giving myself permission  to expand from that and make this blog more encompassing of my life.  I’m hoping that makes it easier to blog more frequently.   I still love quilting and papercrafting and will be continuing both those hobbies, but my life has definitely expanded in the last year.  I’ve added canning to my hobbies.  Recently, I added Mom to my list of jobs.

One project I’ve been working on for a year now is a personal cookbook.   I’m using Stampin’ Up!’s My Digital Studio software to create it. I’ve been gathering my favorite recipes and family recipes that have been handed down.  I’m trying to take pictures of each dish so it might take me a little longer to actually finish it.

Here’s what one of the pages looks like

December 22, 2012

Cheese Spaghetti – Dawnmarie Style

Growing up one of my husband’s favorite dishes was cheese spaghetti.   Being the wonderful wife that I am, I figured after much prodding that I needed to figure out how to make this dish.    After speaking with his mom, I realized it was basically a white sauce with cheddar cheese poured over cooked spaghetti and baked.  This was way too straight forward for me, so I began looking for a recipe to modify.  I found this recipe by Emeril for 4 cheese macaroni and cheese.  I started with it, made some adjustments and ended up with a multi-cheese recipe that I call 5 cheese for lack of a better term.   I use cheater cheese mixes for ease but you could easily just use Emeril’s blend.

Cheese Spaghetti

4 tablespoons butter, plus 2 tablespoons

4 tablespoons flour

2 cups half and half (I sometimes do 1 can evap milk with 2% milk to 2 cups)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/4 teaspoon Hot Sauce (I use tabasco   – just a couple of shakes, I don’t measure)

8 1/2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or other good-quality parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)

1 pound spaghetti

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning

2 cups Mild Cheddar Cheese

1 ½ cups Mexican 4 cheese blend

½ cup Italian 5 cheese blend

1.  Mix together 2 cups mild cheddar cheese, 1 ½ cups Mexican 4 cheese blend, ½ cup Italian 5 cheese blend, ½ cup parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning, and a sprinkling of pepper .

2.  Cook spaghetti as directed til Al dente.   Drain and return to pan.  Add 2 tbsp butter and ½ tsp minced garlic.   Stir until butter is melted.

3.  In a heavy, medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the half and half little by little. Cook until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, season with the salt, pepper and hot sauce and 4 ounces of the grated parmesan. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.

4.  Add cheese mixture to white sauce and stir over heat until all cheese is melted.   Pour over cooked spaghetti and stir until well mixed.  Pour into a greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.  Bake at 400 for 20 to 30 minutes.

**My husband prefers it baked until golden brown and crunchy on top.  I prefer it a bit more moist.


November 25, 2012

What’s going on. . . .

It’s been quite a year for us.       In January, we were matched with a soon to be born little boy.   We were so excited but when he was born, his mom decided she was going to find a way to make it work.   So we went back to waiting.   It was just a month or so later when we were matched again with a mom who was due in August.   We talked regularly throughout her pregnancy but for some reason the little one would not cooperate with the ultrasound.  So on August 30,  we all got to be surprised when a beautiful little girl was born.   On Sept 1 she was officially placed with us and we took her home from the hospital.  Life has been a whirlwind since then.

She was so little, just 6 lbs 4 oz.


She’s grown so much already.  It amazes me that 3 months have already passed and Christmas is already here.    She’s already had her first Halloween and Thanksgiving.   Her she is in her first Halloween costume.

She's getting so big!

There hasn’t been much time for sewing or quilting yet.   But I did finally get to finish a quilt top this weekend.

Here’s a close up of the applique in the center.


I’m hoping to get it quilted this week.   I’m also hoping to start on Bonnie Hunter’s latest Mystery  - Easy Street.

I probably won’t be posting really regularly, but I’m going to start sharing more than just crafting.  I’m hoping to share some of my freezer meals, canning and gardening next year as well.

October 22, 2012

It’s really Ghastlie. . . .

I finished my first purse!  I’m so excited about it.  Last week I got everything but the handles done because I didn’t want to add fabric handles.   But after a quick trip to JoAnn’s,   I had some handles and now, my new purse is completely done.   I took it to the beauty shop this week and everyone loved it.

The back


The front


I’m so excited about how this purse turned out.   I will absolutely use another pattern by Lazy Girl Designs. It was so easy to follow this pattern.  I didn’t get confused at all and the best thing is that this purse looks amazing.

Sorry to be so over the top gushy but I’ve been so intimidated to try a purse that I’m just doubly excited at how it turned out!  Thanks for stopping by.


Reshared at the Ghastly Gathering

June 10, 2012

Enjoying the garden

I’m taking a break from sewing again as they put me back in a wrist brace to help it heal better.   In the meantime, the herbs in my garden are going absolutely nuts.  After looking at my garden this morning, it was clear I needed to take the mint and basil in hand.

Last weekend I picked up some peaches at the farmer’s market.  It was definitely time to use them, so I decided to try my hand at a peach liqueur.  I added in some fresh mint from the garden, chopped the peaches, covered them with a simple syrup, then some bourbon and vodka.   Now it just needs to sit for 4 to 6 weeks.

Next up, I tried my hand at some vodka infusions.

On the left is a spicy basil vodka, with spicy globe basil and jalapenos from my garden.    It needs to sit for 3 to 5 days.   On the right is just a basil vodka, also using the spicy global basil from my garden.  It will also sit for about 5 days.  And in the middle is a strawberry basil vodka.  The basil is from my garden but the strawberries are local.  It needs to sit for a week.     I didn’t get a picture of it yet, but I also am working on a mint oil extraction using vodka.   It needs to sit for 4 weeks.    I’m so excited to use my herbs.   I think I’ll start freezing some of the overflow so that I can have herbs from my garden all year.

I tried my had at canning for the first time a few weeks ago.  I made a strawberry vanilla jam.  SOOOO yummy.  Today I made another attempt at canning and made mint apple jelly.   The recipe used a store bought apple juice for a starter, so I used Simply Apple which doesn’t have any  preservatives and isn’t made from concentrate.   It’s also a cloudier juice, so my jelly isn’t as translucent as you would normally expect, but I’m still really pleased with it.  I can’t wait for it to cool so I can try it out!


I’m really enjoying the garden this year.   I definitely am going to have to get some more strawberries and make some more jam.   And next year, we’re planting strawberries.

May 27, 2012

Black and White Postage Stamp Quilt – Top Finished!

I haven’t been able to sew for a while after straining the ligaments in my hand golfing back in March.  But this weekend, I finally got to sit down at the sewing machine.

I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to work, but in the end, I decided to pull out this UFO/WIP that had been calling my name.   I started this quilt along in January of 2011.  I stopped before I even got the blocks together. I was unhappy with how my seams were lining up.  Then last fall, I decided to pick it up again because after all, I was doing this as an exercise to build my skill.   I knew when I started it wouldn’t be perfect.   So after convincing myself that it was okay to proceed without ripping out a bunch of seams, I finished over half the blocks.   Then life got in the way, and it has sat, in progress since then.

Yesterday, I picked it up again, finished all the blocks and tried to pick a layout.   I posted before here and here on my theories and dilemma’s with using 2 different solids (black and white) in this process.   So yesterday I auditioned a couple of layouts.

Option 1:

B/W Quilt Layout Option 1

I like option 1 but I just wasn’t sure, so I pulled out some sketches I’d made for how to layout this quilt , and tried a different layout.  It was perfect.   So here’s the completed top

B/W Postage Stamp Quilt Top

Here’s another view, not as easy to see because the sun’s coming in the window behind the quilt.

I’m pleased with how it turned out.  I don’t think that it’s overly obvious that my seams aren’t as accurate as I wanted.   I learned so much over the course of this project and my seam skills are so much better now.   Mostly I’m proud that I picked this back up and finished  the top.   Now I just need to pick a backing material and quilt it.  I’m hoping I can quilt it on my machine and not have to send it to the LA.

The good news is that sewing didn’t hurt my hand. Yeah!!    I’m hoping that I don’t have to go back in a brace next week when I go in for a follow up.  At least for now, I can sew!


March 5, 2012

Heirloom Cut Chenille Baby Blanket

I spent last week working on a gift for a very dear friend who is having a baby boy in April.    I saw this tutotial for a chenille blanket and thought it would be absolutely perfect.    It took me a bit longer than  I thought it would, but the effort was worth it.   It was a huge hit at the baby shower.

Here’s a close up of the Chenille on the back.

I layered my flannel this way – chocolate brown on top, blue in the middle, and beige/light tan on bottom.   So if you do this blanket and one of your layers is a lot darker than the others, you’ll want to think about how much impact you want it to have.   If I had wanted the back less brown, I would have wanted to put the brown on the bottom or in the middle.    The brown seemed to overpower the blue for this blanket.  In person you can see more of the blue, but not a lot.

The tutorial calls for  topstitching to attach the binding.  I didn’t like how the topstitching was looking on my binding, so I pulled it out and attached the binding my normal way (sew the front, handstitch the back).   It was really  difficult to hand stitch the binding onto the chenille side.  I should have treated it like the front.   Then,  I restitched in the ditch on the front(which was through the binding on the back) with invisible thread.   I liked that look much better, it’s still not a straight seem on the back but it’s much less noticeable and it gives the binding  more security.

I also made a few burp cloths using this tutorial to go with it.  These were so fast.  I think I had 3 done in a half hour or so.  It’s a wonderfully easy, cute little pattern.   For the back of these I used some Minky I had in my stash.

I’m really happy with how it turned out and I think I would make this blanket again.  Next time, however, I’ll buy the chenille cutter.


February 22, 2012

Simply Silly Baby Quilt and Play Mat

I started this quilt over a year ago using the Simply Silly pattern on Moda Bake Shop.  I had thought I might give it to a friend having a baby, but I never got around to quilting it.   I was a little hesitant to do FMQ.   Since I joined the FMQ challenge this year, I thought I’d put this quilt on the list of ones to practice on.

Of course, now that I decided I need this quilt done ASAP that meant it would be straight line quilting instead of Free-Motion.  I just didn’t have the time to practice, pull out stitches and quilt it multiple times.   I’m really pleased with how it turned out anyway.   I think this is a great little gender neutral quilt.

Here’s a close up.  The circles were left raw edge to give them that fun fuzzy raggy feel.   I quilted some of the blocks with diagonal lines and some with nested squares.


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