Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

2011 just flew by for me!  I "know" years took longer when I was a kid, but now it seems they just zip right past. 

I have projects that must be completed before the 14th of January (that aren't even started yet)!  I have, however, already started my Christmas stash for 2012 already though!  I can't share those though...someone who reads this might be getting one or two of them.  I will say I am very proud of how they turned out, mostly because I didn't use a pattern and was using a fabric that had a definite "right side up" to it.  All pieces ended up side right too!  What I can share is my list of things that must be done before our trip mid-January.  These are "all for me" projects, I don't do those very often, but I may do them more often if I succeed at these!

Project One/Two: 2 tops!  Mostly because I couldn't decide which I liked best and since they came together, why not, right?  I found these yes! it's easy See&Sew patterns at JoAnn's for under $3!  After picking out the pattern, I went a-wandering through the fabrics...mainly because this particular pattern calls for Georgette or Voile, I still have no clue what kind of fabric that is, but what I picked out was a cotton fabric that was on clearance ($5 a yard) and an interlock knit that was also on clearance ($6 a yard).  I really hope I like this top once it is made!  I can see a closet full of these made from cottons!
So, I googled Georgette and Voile fabrics...seems they are both semi-sheer, flowy fabrics with a bit of stretch to them!  The interlock knit should work very nice with this pattern, the cotton might be trickier to get it to work, but I am still starting with it to get some practice in!
 Project Three/Four: 2 dresses!  Again, I couldn't decide which I liked better...and to be honest, I have found that I really love this type of dress after purchasing one at Ross' a few months ago!  The one I bought is just a wee bit too short for me to feel comfortable just walking about in though, so I paired it with a pair of stretch pants and use it more like a long top.  The purchased one looks very close to the dress on the right, I bought material to make two dresses, but I may end up making two of the dress on the left to avoid having to make those 3/4-length sleeves!  This pattern makes the dresses a few inches longer than the one I already have (which has to be hand washed by the way...I am not fond of that part at all!), so that is nice!

These are "wrap dresses", meaning you put it on like a bath robe, and tie the two front sides closed!  I think this is great for a couple of reasons.  First, I don't have to get the measurements perfect for this to still fit!  Secondly, and quite possibly my favorite reason, they will "shrink" with me!  You put the opposite side strap through a tiny hole in the side, wrap the tie around and cinch the front closed!  I bought two different types of knit for these dresses...the first is a "classic knit", it was on sale for $4.99 a yard (with an added savings of 30% because all knits were on sale for 30% off) in black.  The second was a stretchier, smoother feeling knit, but I forget the actual name for it, I got that in dark Purple!  This should prove to be the easier of the two patterns to follow, since it is basically seaming in three spots, hemming, and making the ties.  But, since it is a stretch material, I am most nervous about making it work!

If interested in the patterns, here are the numbers!  B5480 for the top(s) and B5546 for the Wrap-dress(es)!  These are Butternick patterns (good to know)...there are a ton of patterns I would like to try on their website, here!
Then, of course, there are the "pricier" patterns I'd love to get and make!  Simplicity is one of my all time favorite pattern makers...I especially like them when they go on sale for $0.99 a piece!  Sadly, they are normally $16.95 a piece! (Online pricing from Simplicity has them for $10.15!)  This "set" makes a shrug, pants, top, and dress!  But, with length adjustments, there could be several more pieces made from it too!  Another one I would like to get in the near-ish future is this makes a tunic, two dress lengths, and a pair of pants as well.  I absolutely adore the "ensemble" sets!  I feel like I get "more bang for my buck" that way...There are patterns that include tops, bottoms, jackets, and dress patterns.  Then all you need to do is buy many, many yards of coordinating fabric (two fabrics that go well together) and get sewing for a whole new look!  I have actually decided that my gift to myself when I reach my next mini-goal is going to be a pattern set like that and maybe the fabric...that is the really spendy part!

Of course, any time I start looking at patterns, other nifty sewing tools pop up too...I'd like to get a Bias Tape Maker (a machine that does the folding and pressing for you).  Simplicity also makes a "deluxe" model that will also make piping too!  But, at $150 I don't see that happening ever.  The bias tape maker alone is $100 at JoAnn's ($60 at WalMart)!  There is even another little machine that winds your material onto a bobbin before you make your bias tape (possibly after too, but you'd need two machines), that one is $38, but without one of the other machines, seems a bit worthless to me.

That's it for sewing projects in the near future!

Did you go out the day after Christmas?  I did!  Macy's had the Bella Cucina "mini machines" on sale for $9.99!  I picked up a Mini Donut Maker and (the last in the store) mini Cupcake Maker!  I was so excited to finally get my hands on these too!  I don't have a "donut pan" for my oven and so I have been forever drooling over all the low-carb donut recipes that I seem to find all the time (Lisa Marshall over at 24/7 Low Carb Diner has awesome recipes)!  In fact, the first recipe that went into my new donut maker was one of Lisa's from the Low Carbing Among Friends cookbook!  The cupcake maker has not been used yet, but I do plan on making some Cranberry Orange Muffins in it this week or next!

I also went on a "re-stocking spree" for my wrapping paper stash!  I ran out of all my wrapping paper this year!  I actually went out and bought a two-pack before Christmas, but my other half decided to wrap gifts in the plain (bright) blue gift wrap we use for Birthdays instead of using the Christmas stuff!  Knowing that those two rolls would not cut it for next year, and also having a Rubbermaid gift wrap tote (a gift from my Mom), I went a little "nuts" on the paper buying (at least one roll from every store I went to)!  Sadly, they make two sizes of gift wrap rolls and only one size of tote...I got the wrong size paper for the tote!  In my defense though, all the rolls I saw after Christmas were the same (giant) size!  Yup, no lid for my new (garbage can-shaped) tote!  The rolls are about 18 inches too tall for the lid!  The gigantic wreath holder next to it though fot perfectly on my pretty wreath that gets to hang over the fireplace when it gets to go up though.  The wreath tote looked like it was going to be way too big, but it actually was the perfect size!  I am so happy I can put the lampshade I have been using to keep the wreath safe back on the lamp now!  After I recover's looking a bit like a fur-covered piece of yuck currently thanks to us having the lamp downstairs where all the cat/dog hair floats down from the stairs onto the lamp.

Dinner plans for us tonight!  It has been a few weeks since we actually "planned" dinner.  With a three year old around, meals were mostly on the fly, but I did manage to pre-plan about half our dinners while our nephew was here! Then, while on vacation, we let others do the dinner planning (wasn't that nice of them?).  We have now been home for a week and we really haven't gotten back into the swing of life just yet...dinners have been mostly "out" for burgers (no buns, thanks!) or something thrown together at home (scrambled eggs with "meat").  I managed to plan enough in advance one day to get a batch of Slow Cooker Tomato Soup made...which we ate with grilled cheese sandwiches!  I made them with low-carb Sourdough Bread, butter (for the bread to grill), and per-sliced Tillamook Colby Cheese.  They were yummy, but had 4g net carbs per sandwich (5g if you count the cheese) and the soup is fairly carby on it's own (I believe it is 8g).

Tonight though...I started planning yesterday!  A client of my Mom's gave her a bunch of bone-in hams right before Christmas.  They are from last year's pig and are a tad freezer burnt, but there is enough that we can just eat around that!  She sent us home with four or five of the hams!  I chose the smallest of what we were given, a 4.5 pound ham, and it fit perfectly into the bottom of my slow cooker.  Then, using my Slow-Cooker Cookbook (by Dana Carpender), I followed the recipe for her "Honey" Mustard Ham!  Super simple with only about five ingredients, nothing I didn't already have in the cupboard or fridge (brown mustard-mine is spicy brown, blackstrap molassees-I use a full-flavor dark as I cannot find Blackstrap anywhere, Splenda, water, and Apple Cider Vinegar)!  The ham smelled so good coming out of the butcher paper, I cannot wait to taste it tonight!

To go with the Ham tonight, I am going to attempt to recreate a dish that my other half's brother made while we were there; Turnip and Carrot Mash!  I have three very pretty Turnips and two large Carrots awaiting me in the fridge as I type.  I'm not going to use all of it though!  My plan is one turnip and maybe half to two-thirds of a carrot, we don't need a huge side dish for all that ham!  To shorten cook time, I may just grate the carrot and steam it with a little water in the microwave while the Turnips steam/boil, but I'll see what I do later today.