Thursday, March 17, 2011

Need a Little Help from Sewers & Crafters

I am in need of buying an iron that really works! Right now I am using  Black & Deck Steam Xpress.  It's OK but I want something better.  It doesn't really get wrinkles or creases out of my fabric without having the cloth pretty damp.  Since I'm sewing, I need an iron that can stay on all the time.  I asking you guys who use their irons for sewing or crafting to please help me out here!  Do you have an iron that you can recommend?  What is it that you love (and not love) about your iron?  How much did it cost you? Have you tried a professional iron?  I have gone to amazon and looked at several but when I look how people rated their irons & their experiences, I'm scared!  So any help is appreciated.  If there is an iron I should stay clear of, please let me know that too!

Here's what I want in a new iron:

  • Plenty (and I really mean A LOT) of steam with plenty of steam holes
  • An iron that doesn't spit back
  • the option of auto off but also leave it on all the time 
  • I want the iron to be able to get out wrinkles and creases (is there an iron that can really do this, I haven't bought one yet)
If you can think of other things I should consider, please let me know.

(Picture from Black & Decker's website.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First Hike of the Season: Superstition Mountain

Beginning of Gold Mine Trail

Beautiful Desert: Superstition Mountain

Zdenek waiting for me...I don't believe I'm that slow!
Phoenix in the distance: You can see the smog (:

The only wild flowers we saw today

Zdenek is always prepared!  We are trying our new water system out!
Which Direction?  Where's the trail?

He's not impressed with us!

I hope he brought me an apple too!

How many Cacti can there be??

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Couples Differences

All couples have similarities and differences.  We learn to live with both.  But sometimes our differences clash.  Still, we learn to cope!  Although I have many things that Zdenek and I like together (such as our style) I believe he wishes I would be more like him as far as a someone who was neat about their personal space.  We both have areas, which we believe are our personal domain; for example, I cook so the kitchen is part of mine.  We both have a room/office that is totally our own.  Here’s a glimpse into our areas:

His tool drawers:

My kitchen drawers:

Zdenek has his say with
this drawer to keep peace in
our house!

His office:

My sewing studio:

I know where everything is!
Now, I don’t usually post pictures about my messiness.  But I refuse to be fake so I’m doing so.  I can clean a house that my mom would be so proud of, just ask my sister!  But I can make a mess faster than most kids! I believe this drives my husband nuts somedays.  He gets so many bonus points for not pointing it out to me on most days.  But just like my messiness can (OK, does) drive him nuts, so does him being so neat drives me nuts.  For example, I can be cooking a recipe and have everything I need out on the countertop and the dryer buzzer goes off.  I’ll go to take care of the clothes and when I come back to cooking, all the food has been put away! My honey didn’t know what I was doing but thought I just left the stuff out and put it away!  IT DRIVES ME CRAZY!  But somehow we live with each other in harmony!  I just find it fascinating how couples manage life together when we have different ideas, backgrounds and standards.  It must be *l*o*v*e*! I wouldn't trade him for the world! I hope he feels the same way; I'm afraid to ask!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fabric that I Love

Sometimes you pick a piece of fabric that you love and when you go to show it to your friends they look at you funny.  Well, this is one of those pieces that may make you do a double take.  I bought it at a discount SAS warehouse in Tucson.  If you are my friend, I understand your puzzled look!  So, without writing more, here is one of my favorite fabrics:

It was not my intention to use a Halloween theme.  I am simply making myself a purse!  (The fabric serves as the lining in my purse).  I really can’t tell you why it tickles my fancy only that is does.  It might just be that I deal with bones for a living.  Or it might be the red & white fabric or the time period that it depicts (anybody remembers the skeleton period?). I’m not altogether clear why I like it; just that I do.  Have you ever picked up a piece of fabric or an article of clothing and just knew you liked it, no matter what others would say about it or what your choice says about you?  
The fabric is Alexander Henry “Midnight Pastoral” .  I find that a curious name for this fabric.  I wonder what his inspiration was?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sewing: Peek A Boo bags

I just finished making these cute bags:
Peek A Boo 

I found the tutorial for making these cute bags at Make it Perfect. I could think of a hundred uses for these type bags that I just started sewing.  A co-worker is having a baby boy next month and I thought these bags would make a great baby shower gift.

The Process:

Although I'm not a fast sewer, they are easy to make.  I'll have to time myself to see how long it takes me.  Usually, if I'm making more than one item of the same design, I like to do all the cutting at one time.  So it's hard for me to judge how long one bag takes me.  I used a thinner clear vinyl than what Toni recommended because it's what I had on hand but when I run out of it I'll purchase thicker vinyl.  
Aren't they cute... I'm going to make some for my upcoming trip to Europe.  They might help me keep my life organized!  Truly, a wishful thought!  I also want to try making some with Velcro closure; I'll post my results when I make one.
 I want to say a big "Thank You" to Toni at Make it Perfect for sharing with her readers her sewing pattern/tutorial. This makes her an awesome lady!  She also has an etsy shop, go check it out and see if she's made something you can't live without!  All her items are so cute; I can't wait till I have a new little one in our family (my brother is having a baby soon) to shop in her etsy's shop.  
What would you use these bags for? 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Recipes made by Smart & Final Smarties using La Romanella Products

I am a member of Smart & Final's Smarties.  Right now,  there are 80 members in this group.  Recently, several of us were asked to share a recipe with our readers using La Romanella products from Smart & Final.  This is so easy for us to do because there are so many products in this line!  I posted my recipe last week along with a couple other Smarties.  I wanted to share with you their recipe.

My friend Sara Hawkins of SavingForSomeday made a delicious recipe: Spinach Stuffed Shells.  She also included a dessert recipe that sounds divine: Roasted Stone Fruit with Honey-Blood Orange Ricotta Creme.  Her pictures make you want to be invited for dinner.

My other friend is also named Sara!  You can imagine my husband's confusion when I'm talking about Sara!!  It's always, " Which Sara!"  Well, her blog is SuperSavingSense.  Her blog is all about saving MONEY!!!  So she created a dish that would taste great, be easy to make with kids and cost conscience.  She whipped up Grilled Chicken Pasta with Asparagus.  I just love Asparagus!

Please, check out their recipes; they are fantastic.  

Just as a reminder....

Smart & Final is giving away a fabulous trip for two to Sonoma Wine Country.  Have you checked it out yet?  Well, you still have a chance if you haven't.  The contest is open until March 8, 2011.  You have to be 21 in enter but I don't believe that's a problem for my readers!!  What a wonderful getaway!  You could go with your honey and have a very romantic time.  Another idea is to take a girl friend along.  Anyways, click here to enter and GOOD LUCK!!  I would be thrilled if one of my readers won!

Smart & Final's La Romanella Facebook Contest
Have a FABULOUS day and make it GREAT!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Smart & Final La Romanella Products, Giveway, and Recipe

Smart & Final has a wonderful product line:

Here are a few products from La Romanella:

Mediterranean Inspired Cooking
using La Romanella Products
sold at Smart & Final

Smart & Final is having a wonderful Giveaway!

They are promoting their La Romanella products by having an amazing contest/giveaway on Facebook.  Enter here for your chance to win a trip for two to Sonoma Wine Country!

Smart & Final sent me a box full of their La Romanella products and asked me if I would like to share a Mediterranean inspired recipe with my friends & followers.  Well, of course, I said "yes."   It's really wonderful  when a company is asking you to try out their products and cook a nice meal for the ones you love!  Smart & Final also gave me a $25 gift certificate to buy any additional items for my dinner.  Right now they are having a fabulous deal:  Buy a bottle of Turning Leaf Wine for $5.99 and get a package of selective varieties (16 ounces) La Romanella Pasta Free!  I sure did take advantage of this promotion! (Promotion good through 2/22)

First, I had to investigate what would make a recipe Mediterranean.  I checked out this website to get my answers.  I was surprised by the wide range of countries that actually made up the Mediterranean area.  Mediterranean cuisine is defined by the preparation of food in three regions: North African (particularly Morocco), eastern Mediterranean (Egypt, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey), and southern Europe (Italy, France, and Spain).  As you can see, I could go in many different directions with the recipes!  
I browsed the internet to find the perfect recipe that was considered Mediterranean that my husband would enjoy.  There are so many to choose from so go and explore!  I picked a few recipes that I felt would be easy to prepare with the wonderful ingredients from the La Romanella line.  I asked my husband to pick from them.  His choice:
Penne Pasta with Blue Cheese and Mushrooms (I modified this recipe to our liking)

  1 package of La Romanella Penne Pasta
    1 Medium onion - finely chopped
    2 Clove of garlic - finely chopped
    1 Teaspoon of dried tarragon
    1lb. Of mushrooms - sliced
    1 Cup of vegetable or chicken stock
    8ozs. Of good blue cheese - Gorgonzola       
    1 Bunch of flat leaf parsley
    La Romanella  extra virgin olive oil
    La Romanella Parmesan to sprinkle
    Salt and black pepper to taste
    10 Cherry tomatoes: cut lengthwise
    1 sweet red pepper


First fry the onions, mushrooms, red pepper and tomatoes in some of the olive oil in a non stick fry pan - on a good heat - making sure they are well browned. This takes about 10 minutes.  

Turn down the heat and add the garlic - cook for five minutes stirring as you go.
Now add the stock and tarragon and reduce until sticky. About 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile you can cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water for about 8-9 minutes.
Crumble the blue cheese into the sauce - add half the parsley and salt and pepper to taste, giving it a good stir.
Drain the pasta, return to the pan and add the sauce - mix well.
Spoon onto 4 dinner plates. 
Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and the rest of the parsley.

This was an easy recipe to make.  Although, I really did make a big mess in the kitchen while making it! 

P.S. My husband loved it!  Worth the mess I made in the kitchen.

Don't look in the kitchen

Please, go check out Smart & Final's La Romanella line; they have so many great products.

Disclaimer:  I was compensated for my time from Collective Bias.  All of my opinions are truly mine.  I will always share my honest opinions.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Creating a Pseudonym for Your Creativity

I love that the author is unknown.  She was just creating,  not worried that her name would not be associated with the quote.

I'm trying not to find myself  but relax enough to let whatever creativity flows within me and out to whatever I am doing.

Would I be more relaxed if I didn't place my name on everything  I created?  Would I take more risk?  Would it be easier to create?  Would I be more daring?

Sometimes when I make something I find all the reasons I shouldn't give my gift or sell my items. Finding everything that is wrong with an item, I feel I want to remain anonymous.

I love the idea of being unknown at times.  I'm going to have to invent myself a pseudonym and see if creating is easier when there is less pressure on me.  It may be more liberating and allow me to be more creative and be less critical.

Do you believe you would be more creative if no one knew it was you who created it?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Recent Sewing Projects

It has been forever since I shared with you what I've been sewing.  When I first started this blog, it was supposed to be about sewing and I feel a bit of guilt that I haven't even really talked about sewing.  So here are a few things that I've sewn lately...

I loved playing with Paper Dolls when I was little.

I guess I really never outgrew this stage!

I saw a lot of Red & White Flower Prints in Hawaii
and this reminded me of my trip.

I made this when it was really cold outside and I needed
to make something that reminded me that Sunny Days
are ahead.

I have made several of these bags and love them.  It's a book
bag that can be used for everything.  I use it for traveling
all the time...

... and it's reversible!

I'm thinking of adding these items to my Steer Crazee Etsy Shop.  What do you think?