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Knitting to Stories

I’m getting so close to finishing the cardigan I’ve been working on for about a month and a half now, so today has pretty much been dedicated to sitting in our comfy armchair, my project progressing stitch by stitch and inch by inch. I’m working on the last major piece, which is the front left side, and then it just needs to be blocked, sewn together, and some finishing touches added on. Eep, I’m so ready to wear this thing!!

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You can see my handy yarn bowl from this post being used in the first photo. It is seriously so handy, no more balls of yarn rolling all over the place! I’ve also been listening to “A Storm of Swords”, book three in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series, (more commonly known as Game of Thrones). We had a free trial for HBO a couple months back and we decided to watch the TV series, and I enjoyed them a lot, except for the few times I had to cover my eyes and hide behind Husband because I just did not want to see some of the super super gory scenes. But then, we finished the most recent season and I was left wanting to know how the series ends! So I went back to the beginning and got the Game of Thrones audiobook out from the library and started listening. I’m not quite sure how I am going to cope once I finish the most recent book, I just want to know what happens. I guess it will be just like when I waited for the next Harry Potter book to come out all over again!

Anyway, all that to say, I love that I can listen to books (or watch movies) while crafting, and when I look back at a finished project I can always associate whatever I might have been seeing or hearing at the time with the piece. I still associate the Lord of the Rings with a CD I had when I was younger because I listened to the CD every night while I read those books. What kinds of things do you listen to or do while you practice whatever hobby you might have? And also, I’ll need some book suggestions once I get through the rest of this series, anyone have any ideas?

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Weeknight Dinner Idea: Honey Baked Chicken

Hey folks! Ever since I moved out of my parents house in the winter of 2012, I’ve learned to appreciate the art of economical cooking, both time-wise and money-wise. Some weeks you just don’t want to spend money on a carload at the grocery store so you pick meals with a few simple ingredients, and other weeks you just don’t have the time to cook, so you choose meals that are quick to throw together. Well, here’s one that is easy on both your budget and your clock! I present: Honey Baked Chicken!

Honey Baked Chicken

OK, so it’s not really a new concept, you can find tons of recipes if you just put that phrase into any search engine. But now that you’re here and reading this, I’ll give you the recipe to save you the time of searching for it elsewhere! :)

It’s super easy, I promise. You lay out your chicken, mix together the other ingredients and pour it over top, bake, and voila! Roughly 30 minutes later you’ve got your meal ready to go. I served this chicken with rice and peas, so as soon as the chicken went into the oven I started the rice cooking in my rice cooker and made the peas just before the chicken was done, so everything was ready at the same time. I also highly recommend drizzling the resulting honey mustard sauce from the chicken over both the chicken and the rice. So yummy! Enjoy the easy meal everyone and let me know in the comments below what you think!

 

Honey Baked Chicken

Serves: 5-6

Ingredients:
6 chicken breast halves1/3 c. melted unsalted butter
1/3 c. honey
2 Tbsp. mustard
1 tsp. salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay out chicken in a greased 9×13 pan. Whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth and pour over chicken. Bake until chicken is no longer pink inside, 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts.

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Free “You Rocket” Card Printable

Oh hi everyone! Today I’ve got a fun printable for you, fo’ free! In honor of the Perseid Meteor Shower that’s happening right now (thanks for the info Google!) I made an outer space themed card with an illustration I found in a cool old environment textbook.

Free "You Rocket" printable card

You can download the file if you click here. This is for a standard piece of 8.5″ x 11″ card stock or paper. Once you download the file you can print 2 cards per piece, just make sure to take off the “shrink to the size of page” option and then you can just cut down the dotted line and fold the cards in half!

I’m sure you’ve got someone in your life to encourage, so get writing, and have fun!

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A date night creation

Mmm, summer is such a lovely season, especially here in the city! I am currently typing this at a cute little cafe downtown, after having just enjoyed a delicious iced latte. On my way here (walking of course) I just couldn’t help thinking how lucky I am to call this little city home. It’s so nice to be able to walk anywhere and everywhere here. Even though we live on the western edge of town it’s only a 15 minute walk to get downtown. My husband and I take advantage of that fact a lot, we often find ourselves walking the streets to various activities and restaurants. The weekend before this past weekend we decided to take advantage of the “date night special” at the Pottery Works where we got half off our studio fees for painting some pottery. I love getting to be creative, my husband liked the idea of getting another flower pot, and we both loved saving some cash, so it was pretty perfect.

I probably should have taken some photos of Husband’s flower pot but I kind of forgot. Oops. But it’s now the new home for our little jade plant so maybe it’ll show up in a future post! I made this fun little yarn bowl though!

Yarn bowlThis isn’t something that I really needed but I thought it might come in handy. I’m a huge fan of all of the designs made by Rifle Paper Co., ever since someone gave us a set of coasters by them for our wedding. I mean, just go and look at everything, it’s so gorgeous and will probably make you want to put wallpaper all over your entire house. Anyway, because of this I decided to do my own little floral design. What do you think? I wish I’d chosen a blue a few shades lighter than the one I went with, but I’m still really happy with the finished product!

3 viewsI know it works well because I’ve been using it as I work on this cardigan (which I think I mentioned in a previous post!). I’m so excited to get this finished! Here’s a peak at my progress.

Cardigan back

Thanks for reading, I’m going to finish up for today and go enjoy some more of that lovely summer sunshine, I hope you get a chance to do that too!

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How to upcycle a bed sheet

The other weekend we took a day trip to the beach, but the day before we left I realized we didn’t have any blankets that I wanted to take with me to lay out on the sand. I wanted something light-weight with a fun pattern, but most of all, cheap. So where else would I go to find such a thing but Salvation Army! As I looked through the rack of bedsheets I found quite a few that I liked just for the print on the fabric and started to get very inspired. Once I had an armload (of which only one was destined to head down to Deleware with us) I took them up to the register and paid for them. A happy coincidence was that they were all half price, so I scored all of my sheets for around $5 total! A combination of saving money and recycling always makes me a happy person!

The one sheet I bought just screamed over-the-shoulder tote to me, so I found a nice tutorial here and I just love how it turned out!

1This tutorial includes a printable pattern and easy, clear instructions. Even someone with only the most basic knowledge of sewing could make this bag!

2Technically, this bag is also reversible, but I used plain white cotton on the inside so I don’t think I’ll be doing that. But there are so many possibilities with this pattern, I’m already thinking of adding some pockets and other custom touches to make this easy, effortless, boho bag even more functional.

3 Thanks to my husband for helping me snap some shots of the bag in use! He’s just the greatest. :)

Let me know what you think of this upcycled bed sheet project. I’ve also got plenty left of this fabric, I wonder what else I could make it into? I’ve also got ideas for future projects in the works, so stay tuned for big things to come!

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A Domestic Day

Alright. I realize that pretty much everything I post about is domestic-related, but today I’m really feeling like a housewife. One of the reasons could be because we took my car to the shop this morning to get inspected, leaving me home alone with no wheels. One of the other reasons could be my brilliant plan to can some dill pickles and some sweet relish today, on top of the normal activities of tidying and laundry. So here I am with dreams of pickle jars lining my counters to use as image for my blog, but as with most dreams, it didn’t exactly come true.

After I finished washing all of my jars out I realized I was missing some pretty key ingredients for both my pickle relish and the dill pickles. I needed garlic, white vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed, 2 red bell peppers, and 2 yellow bell peppers. I was going to use today to go to the grocery store, but I forgot I wouldn’t have a car to use! Not my most brilliant moment. But everything turned out OK when I realized that our lovely farmers market was open today so I took a stroll downtown and bought most of what I needed. I’m still missing the white vinegar for the dill pickles, so I’ll have to make them another day, but I found everything else and now have a giant bowl of ground cucumbers, onions, and peppers sitting, soon ready to be made into yummy relish without that dreaded high-fructose corn syrup that’s in every variety at the grocery store. Yay!

But I feel ashamed to write a post with no pictures though, and since the relish isn’t even close to pretty right now, I decided I’d also share a recipe I created today! Another reason for the domestic feelings. I’m calling this one Confetti Pasta Salad and it was born from having a whole lot of fresh salsa in our fridge. Having too much fresh salsa is never a problem. Especially when it results in this!

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Last night I made fresh salsa for our small group because, again, I failed to plan things out well and totally forgot I needed to serve a snack! I spent most of the day cleaning out my old bedroom at my parents house but on my way back home I stopped at a farm and got some fresh tomatoes and a green pepper. I also had to stop at the grocery store to find a red onion, cilantro, and tortilla chips.

I got home to find my husband frantically cleaning the house, getting it ready for the guests. I’m so glad he was so willing to help because I never would have gotten it all done on my own! So after the house was clean I got to work on my salsa. All my ingredients went into my food processor and soon after I had so much fresh salsa I needed two bowls to hold it all! I heard a few people say later that it was the best salsa they had ever tasted! That definitely made me a happy girl!

But I’m getting pretty longwinded here. We had tons of salsa leftover, so for lunch today I decided this salsa is the type of thing that tastes good on foods other than just tortilla chips, so I boiled up some Ditalini pasta and mixed some of the salsa into it and then let it chill in the fridge for an hour or so. I chose the Ditalini because I thought it was a good size ratio to the salsa, but macaroni would probably work just as well! My oh my, it was so good and fresh and summery tasting! The tomatoes were sweet and juicy, the onions added a nice punch, fresh cilantro and basil added their own unique flavors, and the best part is the longer this sits in the refrigerator, the more time the flavors have to really mingle and come together. This is also one of those recipes that you can grow almost all of the ingredients yourself, and if you do it makes creating it just that much more satisfying.

OK. Enough rambling on and on. You want the recipe, I know. Well here ya go, and if you decide to make this please tell me what you think!

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Confetti Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1/2 cup fresh summer salsa
2 cups cooked Ditalini pasta

Salsa Ingredients:
3 medium tomatoes (cut into chunks)
1/2 medium red onion (cut into chunks)
1/2 large green pepper (cut into chunks)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh basil
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

Instructions: Make the fresh summer salsa by combining the salsa ingredients in a food processor (or just chopping everything up finely if you don’t have one!) and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of the salsa to your cooked pasta and mix well. (Note: This recipe will give you extra salsa to enjoy with chips or anything else as well. Be creative!) Allow the pasta salad to chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with a spring of basil and enjoy!

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My mustard yellow impulse buy

We have never had enough dishcloths around the apartment. It hasn’t been a huge issue, rather something that’s been nagging at the back of my thoughts ever since we moved in. I figured next time I’m at Target I’d just pick up some extra dishcloths, but the problem is I never remembered. So the other week I went out to buy some yarn for a light cardigan I wanted to start knitting (yes, in preparation for fall. Or maybe the next fall considering how long it takes me to finish knitting a garment for myself) and I saw this mustard yellow cotton yarn sitting on the shelf, calling out to me. There was even a dishcloth pattern right on the label. So I picked it up. I managed to restrain myself from getting one skein in every color, (there was also coral and a light teal…I mean, come on. Swoon!) but then I brought it home and started working on the cardigan and nearly forgot about the dishcloth.

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That is until today. I picked it up and just a little while later I was sitting pretty with a fun new sunny yellow dishcloth to brighten up my kitchen. And who knows, maybe it will even make doing the dishes more enjoyable. Doubtful, but a girl can hope.

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This dishcloth crocheted, using a single crochet chain 1 pattern. It was super fast, super easy, and the finished product will be super useful. Win win win, my favorite kind of crochet projects.

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I like it so much, I’m definitely going back for the other colors someday soon!