Monthly Archives: March 2010

Cooking with Jamie Oliver

Some of you might already know I’m a Jamie Oliver fan. I discovered him in college, while working at the library. Some of my friends from the College St. days might even remember the Baked Onions I made. (oh, they were soooo good!)

So needless to say this December while walking around B&N with by gift card, I had to pick up Jamie’s new book:
Go buy it! Fast! Quick! It’s one of the best cookbooks! Whether you’re new to cooking or feel comfortable reading recipes, this book will teach you things!
Basically it’s a compilation of recipes Jamie took to Rotherham, England to teach people how to cook, so they could improve their lives.
There are curries, roasts, and pan fried main dishes. There are sauces, salads, vegetables, desserts & breakfast. True to Jamie Oliver form, every dish is a winner.
As some of you know, I’m fortunate to be married to a foodie. So far we’ve made the Crispy Posh Ham & Oatmeal & Pork Chops.
I’m crazy about this Pork Chop recipe. You basically pan cook a pork chop & make a glaze. He gives you several options & we chose the Sage/Honey combo.
We’ve now had this 3 evenings in a row. With slight changes.
Saturday night we had the Pork Chops w/ a side of broccoli
Sunday night we had Shrimp w/ Jasmine rice
(Today’s lunch was leftover Pork Chops & rice)
Tonight we had Chicken Thighs w/ Jasmine rice.
The honey/sage reduction on each of these is amazing!! To DIE for!!! I want this at LEAST once a week now.
In true Jamie Oliver fashion, it’s a good simple recipe with fresh ingredients & great directions. Go buy this book. Trust me.
On another note, here’s a pic of Rizzo w/ my yarn (b/c of course this posting had to include SOMETHING related to a hobby of mine! šŸ™‚

A Weekend of Decoupage

I found a new hobby! Decoupage!

See what I made!

Baby Blocks:

These will be necklaces:


Way too much fun with the Mod Podge this weekend. I can’t believe I haven’t used this since I was a kid!
On a quilty note, I’m giving myself a personal challenge. Take some stamps, put them on fabric & design a wall hanging type thing with them.
Here is my stamped fabric:

Now off to design!

Sewing, Knitting & Quilting

It’s been another random week here at Casa de Craft.

I made another bag I’m really happy with:

(fancy pocket inside)
These bags are addictive. I want to make more!!! I’m getting all sorts of ideas. It doesn’t help that Saturday evening I got some great inspiration for bags as well.
Of course I’ve done some knitting. This is my Ravelympics sweater all blocked. I sorta didn’t do a gauge swatch. I sorta forgot I was working with alpaca which grows like a 2 year old. So it didn’t exactly turn out like I had imagined it would. Not incredibly in love with it, but I have to keep reminding myself it was just supposed to be a nice comfy cardigan to wear.
See that quilt in the background?
Here’s a close up:
Anything wrong?
Yeah, I’m missing one lousy lime green square. I really don’t want to go buy another fat quarter to fill this in, but I think I’ll break down & do it. Amazingly enough I don’t have any lime green batik scraps around the studio.
Maybe I’ll just buy some more pink as well as make it larger. That’s an idea……

TOWA Gauge

Disclaimer: Dear family & non-long arm quilting friends, you might find this post tedious & dull. I apologize, but don’t worry, there’s more non-serious stuff coming up soon.

There’s been discussion on a long arm list about tension. Well, actually there’s ALWAYS discussion around tension. It’s a bit of a pain. And a bit of a learning curve. Back in October, I had the chance to go to AQS Des Moines & take some long arm classes. (If you ever have the chance to go to an AQS show, go, Go, GO!!!! You will NOT regret it!)

I ended up taking all my classes from Renae Haddadin, a long arm goddess. She talked about tension & showed everyone the TOWA Gauge. After hearing her wonderful reviews, I went straight home & ordered it from the Calico Kitten. Best $70 I ever spent! Here’s mine:
Looks kinda crazy & if I wasn’t shown how to use it, I would still be in it’s box.
So let me back up some. What exactly IS a TOWA gauge? It’s a cool little gadget that ‘measures’ the tension in your bobbin. This way, once you know your ‘happy’ tension, every time you change bobbin threads, you can measure them & get them all in the same area.
So here’s my gauge with the bobbin case it. You need to wind the bobbin in the case like you would load it into the long arm. Then you wind it around the knobs & when you bring the thread to the far left, you can see that dial comes up with a measurement. I’ve found that my happy place it about 250.
If you need to make adjustments, put your bobbin case screwdriver like so on the side:
Turn Clockwise to make tighter & Counter Clockwise to make looser.
Now when should you do this? Personally, I do this every time I put a new bobbin in the case.
Why? Tension is very fickle. Especially on long arms. So I’ve found it best to think of every bobbin as a new bobbin. To me, it doesn’t matter if I’ve used that thread before, anything number of things could have happened to the bobbin to make things change.
Like what? You could have wound this bobbin looser than the previous one (and vice versa). You could have used an actual different bobbin (bobbins as I’ve discovered are NOT created equal & do in fact, go bad). There could be a microscopic piece of lint in your bobbin case. See where I’m going with this? Basically any teeny tiny variation is going to cause differences.
So in order to relieve one bit of pressure associated with long arm quilting, I measure every bobbin in the TOWA gauge.
I hoped this helped you! If you have more questions, e-mail me at

Spring Bag

I made a bag.

A nice, bright, spring bag.

I quite proud of this bag.

I actually Sewed it. Notice this is sewing with a capital S. This is not homemade, this is the good stuff.

I had to assemble a paper pattern. I even made a lining (from the 2 corresponding fabrics I bought!)

I researched french seams to make the bag more durable. I took my time ironing the bag, so it wouldn’t look wonky. I even very slowly stitched all around my seams to “set” everything & make it look even more professional.

This was a success. I will proudly carry this bag around in public. I think I’m going to make another bag.

Ravelympics 2010

I participated in this year’s Ravelympics! I missed the last summer Olympics & when it came down to it, I thought I wouldn’t be able to this time either. (I know, I know, me- not able to find time to knit??? Huh?)
But things are very busy over here & I’m focusing more on quilting so something has to give. And that would be knitting.
Towards the end of the Olympics however I felt really bad b/c I was on a team (Team Carry Around KAL) & we were even knitting a team project & I hadn’t done 1 purl stitch.
So I decided to put aside Feather Quilting Bootcamp (oh yes, I’m really doing that. Badly, but participating) & do some knitting.
Here’s the team project I made:
Robin’s Egg Blue Hat. Very cute. Very quick. Here’s my medal for competing in the Hat Half-Pipe:
Since I was on a roll knitting I decided to get out that cardigan I started in December that I stopped when I needed more yarn.
Here it is:
(Don’t judge a sweater by it’s pre-blocked pic please, I know it looks bad, trust me, it’s blocking now & I will take pics again & you will see how nice it is.)
Loosely based on Stefanie Japel’s Double-Breasted Cardigan Jacket. Very loosely based.
And here’s my medal for completing a WIP! (work in progress):

I have to say I’m pretty proud of myself. Now I must put knitting away & focus on other things.
Really, I need to put the knitting down.
Well, maybe just one more row on my socks…….