Monday, December 20, 2010

Making Christmas

I try very hard to find something to make for everyone for Christmas every year.  I don't always succeed but I do try.  This year, I think I am doing a good job of making Christmas.  I have some socks that I knit for my Mom, my first pair ever; some pajamas for the kids, mine and friends of mine; a new apron for my Grandmother, this one even has a pocket; fingerless mittens for my sister in law, this was a requested pair because she loved last year's so much; and an embroidered winter scene for my Grandparents. 
These are the people on my list who are easy to make for, but it gets harder from here...

I have a hard time making things for people who's taste I don't witness very often.  My sister for example, she is a wonderful person and an exacting homemaker.  Because of the exactness of her homemaking skills and style, I have a rather hard time picking things to make her.  She has very good taste, but our taste is not the same, and I hate making things for people if they never use them.Now don't get me wrong, I have made gifts for her in the past, last year I made her a hooded scarf in an ivory yarn that I thought would match a coat she received the year before.  I have no idea if she has ever worn it or used it because I live so far away I only see her twice a year.  

I know it is the thought that counts but I want the time I put into gifts to mean something.  I don't want the gift to be put on a shelf or laughed about later.  So there is this little group of people I care about deeply, but just don't get enough to make for. 

Then there is a third group of people in my life, and these people are the baked goods people.  I know everyone breaks out the cookie cutters and candy canes this time of year and for certain groups of people, I do too.  These people are my husband's coworkers, my midwife, my landlady, ya know people like that.  And this year I am making them a treat!!!  A Christmas breakfast treat!  Cinnamon Rolls!!!!!  Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls to be exact.  I got the cookbook for my birthday this year and LOVE it.  I love it so much that I am giving a copy of it to my sister for Christmas this year, because she will love it too.  She is such a cowgirl at heart that this cookbook will just speak to her. 

Anyway, all this ramble aside, I need to get back to my making.  Because it isn't over until the Fat Man Ho's and I have a TON of stuff to get done.  Those jammies won't sew themselves, ya know. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Updates and stuff

  • The mittens are finished and the little man loves them.  He will bring them over to me and hold his hands out to have his mittens put on so he can go outside and play. 
  • We all had colds last week and while the boys seem to be over them I am still getting over the last of my cough.  
  • Christmas is coming!!! Scary!  Thankfully in my little family Christmas is spread over the next month, actually 2 if you could my husband's work Christmas Pot Luck in February.  So While I do have crafty deadlines getting closer, some are closer then others.  
  • Did I mention that I had a cold for a week and therefore lost a whole week of productive crafting time this close to Christmas....I have to get busy!  
  • This little kid I'm growing if flopping like a fish these days!  But I don't have to worry about that until after Christmas...his birth is still a long way off until after Christmas right!  
Bean just wanted to say Hi!  She has been my footwarmer throughout the whole secret Christmas Craft-a-thon. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Tonight I have big plans. Big comfortable, cozy plans. 
They include working on these mittens for my little man. 
This is my little man.
While I sit in front of this cozy fire.
And this is the man who built me my fire. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fall is almost gone!!!!

Oh my goodness where has the time gone! I cannot believe I haven't blogged in 6 weeks.  We thought we were over the crazy part of the pregnancy.  But now I am going for ultrasounds and all sorts of appointments and it is just a little nuts.  But totally worth it.  Anyone who says you can't have a healthy pregnancy if you are diabetic is wrong.  Because this is the second time I'm doing it.  Actually the first go round is sitting in my lap right now! 
We are having our quiet time, watching Cars and playing on the computer.  I know, I know TV is evil. 

But Fall!  I love Fall!  I love the pumpkins, the leaves, the possibility of snow, everything!!!!!  We had a crazy Halloween in this house, Fynn went Trick or Treating for the first time, and loved it!  He loved watching last year, loved all the other kids in costumes but this year...he got to walk around with them.  Because we live in the sticks we drove to the village we used to live in and walked to about 8 houses, it was cold.  Fynn still had a bit of a fit when we went back to the car. He loved knocking on everyone's door and talking to them.  I don't think he even realized there was candy involved.
Our little Thor all ready to wield his hammer!!! 
And after Halloween we have been even busier.  We took a trip to NY to see the Grandma for a long weekend. And this weekend we started getting ready for Thanksgiving.  I do not travel on Thanksgiving.  We are having it here this year.  Yesterday Fynn and I made Pumpkin Pies!!! 2 of them actually. One to eat now, because really, the second wouldn't make it to Wednesday otherwise.  We actually put the pie for Thanksgiving into the freezer so it would make it to the big day.  The cranberry sauce is also made!  I love cranberry sauce, real cranberry sauce, not out of a can so much.  And it is so easy to make a basic sauce, just cranberries, water and sugar, seriously!
I do get a little fancy though, I add some citrus zest. 

Cranberry Sauce
1 bag of cranberries usually about 12 oz.
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
The zest of 1 orange or clementine or whatever citrus you have hanging around (optional)
Ok so what you do is put everything into a sauce pan, and set it on medium.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the berries pop.  And when the berries have popped you are ready.  Turn off the heat and let it cool a bit before putting it in a container in the fridge.  Or freezer.  It will last about 2 weeks in the fridge or forever in the freezer.  If you don't eat it first.....

Friday, September 24, 2010


So we pulled more then 100 lbs of squash and pumpkins out of the garden tonight. It is crazy down there, we didn't even get through half the garden and there are tons more that aren't quite ready to be picked.  We will have squash this winter!  Please excuse the darkness of these pictures.  It was pretty dark out when we got back from the pumpkin patch.  But check that out, pumpkins, acorns, butternut, hubbards, pie pumpkins, scallop, spaghetti and one mystery squash.
Fynn really likes to help with all the little squash, he was great at putting them in the cart for us.  

This gardening thing is very exciting to me.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them all, but they keep well in the cellar and I'm currently on the lookout for good recipes, so if you know of any please send them my way.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

How my son is most often seen in our house.  He really likes to help and with you.  I think it is called being 2.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pumpkins For Sale!

What started as a whim has become a real whopper of a Pumpkin Patch.  We have Hubbards, Acorn Squash, Butternut Squash, Scallop Squash, Spaghetti Squash, and Pumpkins (LOTS OF PUMPKINS!!!!)

Like more pumpkins then we will ever use.  And we don't want to waste them, that would be sad.  So we decided we would set up a table next to the road and they could hang out there with a bucket for money.  So this weekend, that is what we have done.   We are asking $3 for the small ones and $5 for the BIG ones and we even have some of the other squash out there for various prices.
I figure the pumpkins in the store are starting at about $6 but who needs that, we are just selling our extra and if we sell one of the big ones that covers the cost of seeds for that garden.  Not trying to get rich or anything.
And what is the worse thing that could happen?  someone will come by and steal one.  Well, I guess that means they will need it more then I do.
I kind of like having a farm stand.  I like the fact that we were able to grow more then we needed.  Especially because my husband has even told me that he only helped me plant all those seeds to humor me, he never thought they would actually grow in that old manure patch.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Sewing Status Check

Hi!  It is time for a Sewing Status check.  I have been very busy working on a new quilt.  I'm not sure how it is gong to look when I finish because I am sort of making it up as I go along.  All I knew when I started was that I wanted it to use a beautiful stack of fat quarters I bought a while ago at a little quilt shop in Augusta.  I can't even tell you who made the fabric.....that is bad.  But they are beautiful variegated  tone on tone fabrics ranging in colors from white to dark purple and yellows to oranges. Very fall.  And I knew I wanted to applique circles on the quilt.  So I dug through the stash and found some Batik charm squares I bought at Mariner's Compass in Bath.  I love that store by the way.
Anyway, I have been working on this quilt off and on for a few weeks and I now have all the appliques done and some other blocks done, I think. I'm not sure if they need something else. 
And somehow, this will all go together to make a big ol' quilt. What do you think?  Do you think it needs something else?  How do you think I should put them all together?  That is what I'm working out right now.  I have a bit of thinking to do. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We love the fair!

We have been to 3 fairs this summer and I love each one.  I remember when I was a kid and we would spend the entire week at the fair, my mom babysat and she would get a week pass to the fair and kids under 14 got in for free.  So cheap entertainment for the entire car load.  She would pack a picnic lunch and buy a quart of chocolate milk at the dairy booth.  And we would walk around and look at all the animals, exhibits and the rides.  We were allowed to ride rides one day, thursday, kids day.  And you could ride all the rides for like $5 back then.  It was awesome. 
And I want to share that with Fynn.  He loved it, we pet all the animals, saw all the exhibits, ate all the food.  And we didn't go on any rides, he's too little and I'm too nauseous.  But he didn't see to mind not riding any rides.  He got a Maple Ice Cream Cone from the sugar house.  It was the size of his head, I'm pretty sure he's never even seen that much Ice Cream before. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hi again! I have missed you too.

So have you ever turned around and found yourself looking at your blog.  And you realize the 3 months have gone by and you haven't written a word.........eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkkk.  But seriously it has been 3 months and what a crazy 3 months it has been.  I have been doing a lot of sweating, some quilting, some knitting, a lot of swimming, gardening....and the biggest thing, growing a new baby.   Yup, that's right we are expanding with a new tater tot to finish baking sometime mid February.  And with the baby growing comes the biggest thing I was doing this summer, the biggest time suck of them all....morning sickness.  It was so bad I couldn't even craft, or read, or do anything but watch Fynn and hope he didn't bring the house down before Patrick got home from work.  Lets just say he watched a lot of movies this summer. 
But I am feeling much better.  And the baby is growing nicely.  And crafting is back!  And so is canning!  And all sorts of fun stuff I can't wait to share with you.  And I have new tutorials to write up for you all.  So stick with  me and I promise I will make it worth your wild! 
So until tomorrow. Night all! 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hot! Hot! Hot!

It has been blistering hot warm up here in Maine this week.  And what is a girl to do, can't take the baby outside because I don't want him to sunburn too much and we were going crazy inside with nothing to do.....
So we went to the river.  And went in the water. And we soaked, and played and cooled off.....and now it is wonderful weather.......perfect weather.  Just in time for the temperature to cool down again for this weekend....but now we have a plan for the summer, we will be walking down to the river and wallowing like hippos...a lot. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Canning When it is Hot

Since we now live in the country we are working on getting gardens going so we can grow as much of our own food as possible.  And when all of this food is grown and ready to be picked some of will be canned one way or another. I have been looking through my cookbook and thinking about all of the different stuff I want to try to make this year. 

One problem...canning means heat, lots of heat.  And who wants all of that heat in their kitchen in the middle of summer?  So we decided we would try doing this over a fire outside in the fire pit.  We wanted to see if we could get the fire hot enough to sustain a boil.  And we did.  So Saturday Patrick built the fire and was in charge of the water and I bustled about and made Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Rhubarb in Syrup, Rhubarb Barbeque sauce, sour pickled fiddleheads, and lilac jelly.  And we processed it all outside, in the breeze, and the sun.  And even with having to cart everything outside to fill the jars, it was so nice to be able to walk into my kitchen and not fall over from the heat of a boiling canner. 
This is going to be so great come pickle season once the beans and cucumbers are ready.  I have so many plans to make. 
In other garden news, I have green things in my bathtub gardens!!!! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gardening is my Life

Well that is how it feels sometimes right now.  We are busy getting gardens ready...without a rototiller at this point.  And that means a LOT of labor for my husband and a bit of labor for me.  But we are getting there.  And hopefully the sun will come out tomorrow and I will be able to take some pictures for you all.  I even have some bathtub gardens! 
And I just got home from an awesome talk on Winter sustainable gardening.  I learned a ton and can't wait to go buy some bush beans because frankly we eat soooo many green beans and it is ridiculous to buy them when they are so easy to grow. So we will be adding some beans and potatoes to the garden and I leaned some other great stuff that I think I will be saving for next year.  Like how to defend your plants from bugs without chemicals.  Fabric is great for more then just quilts and clothes. 
And the guy talked about storing your veggies and all sorts of good things. Did you know that Kale is the easiest to store veggie ever, you just leave it there and when you want to eat it you move the snow off of it and pick what you want to eat.  It is crazy.  And you can just mulch your root veggies and leave them right in the ground all winter long and just dig up what you want to eat.  I am getting really excited about this. 
In other news, I have a new nephew!  Ezekiel was born on the 19th at 12:17 am and he is beautiful.  And a BOY, they were expecting a girl, and that means I need to hurry up and finish a boy quilt so when we go up to see them in a few weeks I will have it done. 
And now lets hope it doesn't take me another month to post again. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

As Time Goes By

So another month has gone by, and where have I been? Well, we have moved! Goodbye Wiscasset, hello Whitefield! And I think it has been a good move for us. We are in a big white farmhouse on 30 acres in the middle of nowhere and it is so great. I can't believe how much I have missed living the the country. It is so great to peepers again. I didn't realize how much I missed them when I lived in the city and now that I can hear them at night, and fall asleep to them every night I just feel home again.
I have been working on unpacking and getting the gardens ready for new plants and flowers and all the wonderful things I want to grow this year. It has been interesting, some of the flower beds haven't had much done with them in a few years and they are really overgrown with grass so that is a bit of a workout.
And I got some of my seeds started this last weekend. I made paper pots out of newspaper and planted my seeds in them instead of peat we will see how they go, but the paper is completely biodegradable and will compost right in the garden when I plant my seedlings in about a month or so. So far we have Zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, and a bunch of herbs. And in about 2 weeks I'm going to add a few more things to that list, snow peas and the such.
So the Paper pots are really easy to make.
Start with a strip of newspaper 3 or 4 inches across the length of the newspaper. (I tore the folded newspaper section in about thirds and it worked out great)

Wrap your strip of paper around the end of something straight, rolling it all the way up. Make sure about half of the paper is hanging off the end. (I used a bug spray can, but you could use a straight sided drinking glass)

Fold the paper that is hanging off the end of your glass or can over so it is flat on the bottom, think wrapping a present, and press it down on a hard surface to help it keep it's shape.

Slide the paper off the end of the can carefully so you don't totally destroy the paper cup.

Fill the cup with soil and plant your seeds.

Repeat until you have enough paper seed cups for all of the plants you are going to start. It helps to have a tray or box to hold all of your seedlings to keep them contained. Put you seedlings in a sunny, warm place and water regularly until you see shoot and are ready to plant.
I put my in the greenhouse, yes folks this house has a greenhouse and it is awesome! Patrick spent an afternoon cleaning it out and it does need some repair, but it is a great spot to protect our plants from the frosty nights that we will get until mid-May.
And on one last craft-ish related note. This is my view from my sewing table.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just where have I been?

Really, I know, it has been a month already. But it has been a crazy month. One in which I got pregnant, and well am now losing the baby. And we are moving. And packing and well, it has been nuts around here.
So I promise, the crafty, artsy, crazy will be back soon. We will be moved in 2 weeks and we will be living on a farm so there will be many awesome adventures to be had very, very soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I'll be Back......Promise

I know it has been over a week since the last post. And I just want to let people know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I got a wicked cold last week and am just now starting to feel like a person instead of a hacking bag of snot. (I paint the prettiest word pictures, I know.) So I spent last week sitting on my couch, letting Fynn watch far too many cartoons, knitting and sucking on cough drops.
I am on the mend and once I make up for the fact that I neither cooked nor cleaned anything in that last week, I will be back in full. I can't wait to show you the sock that I finished and the awesomeness I'm working on for an anniversary gift for Patrick for our dating anniversary on Friday.
So I will be back in a day or two. Until then....

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Embroidered Felted Sweater Mittens

I have seen these great mittens everywhere these days that are made out of felted sweaters.  And they all look so cool, and I have all of these sweaters that I bought last summer at a church sale to make lots of felted goodness with. I decided I would make a pair for myself.

So to do this, I traced around my hand, with my fingers spread apart to make sure there is enough wiggle room after I add  a seam allowance, on a piece of computer paper.  You want to make sure the thumb has a wide margin as well or you will not be able to get your thumb in the thumb hole. (ask my how I figured that out)
 If you have not already felted your sweater, run it through the washing machine and dryer a few times until it is felted the way you want.  A sweater made of at least 50% animal fiber will work best.
After you have felted your sweater turn it inside out and lay it down on a table making sure the bottom edge of the sweater front and back match up. This will be the cuff of your mitten.
lay your pattern of the sweater just above the cuff and pin in place with a few straight pins.  Cut around your pattern.
Unpin your pattern from the mitten pieces you cut out and keep the mitten pieces together.  Flip your pattern over and place it on the sweater above the cuff to cut out the other mitten.
 Take 1 layer of each mitten half; using yarn and a yarn needle, embroider the design of your choice.Be careful to keep your stitches away from the edges so they don't get lost in the seam allowance.  I used lazy daisy stitches, backstiches and french knots to make floral designs on mine.

Once you are happy with the way your stitching looks match up your mitten halves with their mates so the right side of the embroidery is in the middle, or right sides together, and sew them together using a long and narrow zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.  Make sure you backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching to lock the stitches.

Flip your mitten right side out and away you go. 

Thanks to the creative jewish mom for this awesome opportunity to join your roundup!  I hope I followed all of your directions, it is my first after all!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Valentines With Fynn

I decided this year that Fynn is old enough to help make Valentines for people.  Now obviously at 18 months I'm not expecting him to do everything himself or anything. But I want to instill a "Handmade is Best" kind of feeling in him and I figure to keep up with all of the commercialism out there I had better start fun.  That and, frankly, this is the reason I had kids, so we could do stuff like this; make messes that after a certain age just aren't cool anymore.  So we made cut and paste Valentines. 
First find some envelopes you want to use to mail them, all the other measurements are based on the size of these envelopes so they do sort of have to come first.  I had some lying around that are 5.5" by 7.5" so that is what we used.
After you know how big your envelopes are you can figure out from there the size of your card.  You want it to be a bit smaller so it will easily go into your envelope without too much fuss.  And because the cardstock I am using measure 12" by 12" to begin with I decided it would work out great.

 For the card you cut a piece of cardstock almost as tall as the envelope or 5" in my example and a little less then twice as wide as your envelope.  I went with 12", the whole width of the cardstock, because it would fit nicely in my envelope. 
 After you have cut as many 12" by 5" pieces as you want for cards let your little one color away.  Fynn is a great scribble artist.  While he was coloring I printed some pictures of him to send to everyone with the valentine and a 4" by 6" photo fits beautifully in a card this size, but you could make your photo any size using some editing software to suit any size card you want. 
After the cardstock has been colored, painted, glittered, or decorated however your little artist desires; write a message on one of the corners to your valentine.  We went with the very simple and sweet "Love You".  And I wrote this in crayon to stick with the theme. 
When you are ready to fold the cards, after any decorations to the inside have had time to dry, take the two short sides and fold them so they meet in the middle of the long side.  Now you can get all precise with this and measure and stuff, but I actually think it looks neat if it is a little off kilter, so I didn't bother.

Next, out of card stock scraps (we had a 2" by 12" piece left over after cutting out cards from the original 12" by 12" piece that worked perfectly for this) cut out some free hand heart shapes. 
You can even cut hearts out of contrasting papers and glue the one on top of another for a cool overlapping look. 

Then glue, using some paper glue, the heart to one of the flaps that meet in the middle; positioning the heart so that it is centered over the center of the card.  Be careful not to glue the heart to both flaps or you won't be able to open the card. Let this glue dry for a few minutes while you address your envelopes. 

After you slide your cards, with any accompanying photos, into your addressed envelopes; seal the envelope and glue another free hand heart to the outside.  And you will have a Valentine ready to mail to relatives near and far.
A note about the hearts, feel free to use a paper punch, I know that they make some especially for scrapbooking in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  I have never purchased one and I do love the imperfect look of a freehand heart.  Also while we stuck to coloring our valentines, I'm sure older kids would get a kick out of painting, using glitter glue or even using magazine pages to make a collage on the inside of the card. 

This is my first tutorial so I hope you like it.  I really hope it was easy to follow and you can understand all of my jibberish.  Please, if you have any questions or think something should be better clarified, shoot me a message in the comments or send me an e-mail.  I would love your suggestions. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dadderday Fun

On Saturday's Patrick is really awesome and gets up with Fynn to watch cartoons and play so I can get another hour of shut eye.  And last Saturday, also known in this house as Dadderday, Patrick and Fynn did a project!  They made a Geodesic dome out of newspaper; a giant one that they covered with a sheet to make the coolest tent ever. 
And believe it or not, this is still standing.  I think they rolled like 7 layers of newspaper together for each of the bars.   This has been the spring of much fun for the last few days.  

Monday, January 25, 2010

Work in Progress

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it has been a week without an update.  It has been quite the week though.  Patrick was on call.  He only had to go into the hospital one night during all that snow we got.  And we got a lot of snow, there had to have been at least 16” out there.  Of course by tomorrow morning all bets are off the wind is howling and it is raining like stink out there.  Feels like January thaw to me.  Not to worry though, we are looking at 20F temperatures by the end of the week so we will soon be back to our regularly scheduled program. 

Fynn had his half birthday on Friday.  He is getting to be so big.  Here is a picture of him in his towel.  He wanted to wear one “just like daddy”.  So cute.

Last Saturday we went to a holiday party for the IT crowd at the hospital.  It was really nice, we all went out to dinner at Cody’s Roadhouse up in Rockport. It was really fun, the kids had a blast throwing peanut shells at everyone.  And Fynn loved all the kids.  The tables were set up in a big square so we just let him down so he could run around in the middle with all of the other kids.  He thought they were great!

 It was a nice day, I even got to stop at Mainely Quilts on the way. I had never been in there before.  The owner is so nice!  And she does beautiful work!  There are like 5 rooms in that house just filled with fabric and notions.  And the walls are just covered with all kinds of quilty goodness.  It is so inspirational just walking around in there.  I even got some fabric!  I am going to use it for my Robot Quilt pattern project I am working on.  Actually the robots are coming along nicely and I am going to have a tutorial up here for a bag or something with one of them as a freebie for anyone who wants it soon.  It is all aplique and I am really rather proud of it. 
I finished the hat I was knitting for a girl I took a class with last fall.  She was supposed to meet me at the Roadhouse to pick it up, but she never showed.  So I will email her again. It came out nice and I think she will like it, I just need to get it to her.  But now that I have all of my required knitting done for a while I thought it was time to start a new project!
It is a sweater for Fynn!  The pattern is Chaos, you can find it over at Knitty.  I am knitting it in the round instead of flat as the pattern directs.  I hate sewing up side seams!  And by subtracting 1 stitch for each edge I can get away with knitting in the round until I start the sleeve shaping.  And then I will just put the front on one set of needles and the back on the other.  I think it will work out well, I have read about it in the past but this is the first time trying it.  So we will see. 
I hope you all have a great week, and I plan to be back here before next Monday to update again.  

Monday, January 18, 2010

Zuppa Toscana

It is snow out here in Maine and I'm sure there are more then a few kids upset because it is already a holiday and therefore not a snow day.  But it is beautiful, I love looking out my windows and seeing the swirling snow around me.  It feels like living in a snow globe. 
And weather like this calls for soup!  So I thought I would share one of our favorite "recipe" soups.  Most of the time when I make soup it is a chance to clean out the refridgerator.  I just throw everything in a pot, add water or broth and let it decide what way it is going to go.  But there are a few soups that I will go out and buy ingredients for.  And Zuppa Toscana is one them. 
Zuppa Toscana

Smoosh 2 cloves of garlic and chop 2 onions and sweat in 1 Tbs of oil in a soup pot on medium low.  After about 2-3 minutes throw in 6 hot italian sausage links.  (a note about this, if the sausage is frozen throw them in in link form to thaw, if you have thawed it ahead of time then cut the casing off so you have bulk sausage meat, or if you are really luck you will be able to just buy bulk sausage meat at the store, but my grocery store never has it, life in a small town) 

You can just let this go while you chop your potatoes.  I used 6 medium, white, unpeeled potatoes.  Just rinse any dirt off of them before you chop them.  

Let that cook for a few minutes on medium low. Now is a good time to slice the sausages if you didn't remove the casings.

Then add about 4 cups of water and 2 bullion cubes.  Yes, you can use 4 cups of stock or even just water. The sausage will give you lots of flavor. 

Go ahead and let this cook until the potatoes are cooked through.  It will take about 25 to 30 minutes on medium or medium high. 
When the potatoes are cooked through, add your milk.  Now I usually use a combo of milk and evaporated milk.  You can use Half and Half or Cream for part of it but I find it is not necessary.  Actually evaporated mild is a great way to cut some calories if you get evaporated skim milk, it is very creamy and rich and does a great job.  And now throw in the Kale.  I can get big bags of chopped kale at the grocery store here.  Or you can just buy a head of kale and chop it up.  Use 1 whole head or 3/4 of a bag.  Yes, it looks like a lot but it will cook down and taste so yummy.  Put the lid on and let it cook aprox. 5 more minutes. 
Serve with grated parmigiana cheese and some crusty bread.  YUM! 

Oh and here is a picture giving me the look because I forgot to take a picture of a bowl of soup before digging in.  It is just that good!

Friday, January 15, 2010

We have had a rather strange week here in the potatocraft household.  It started on Sunday, actually Sunday night at about 6pm.  I went to go make dinner and we had no hot water. And as our hot water comes directly from the heater, that means we had no heat.  So I called the landlord and we had a repair guy come out and fix it.  No problem, at least not really for me, except that some repair guy had to come to my house at 8pm on a Sunday. 
Fast forward to yesterday morning when I wake up to Patrick standing over me letting me know that we don't have any water coming out all together.  Great, so I get up and we figure out that we have a frozen pipe.  Another call to the landlord and the handiman comes to visit me with his little heat gun thing.  And after a trip down cellar he is standing in my kitchen letting me know that the pipe actually runs up in the ceiling and that we would have to remove part of it to thaw the pipe. Now all this time we've had a trickle of water coming out of the shower to try and get it to thaw on it's own.  And thankfully it decided that moment to finally let loose.  So frozen pipe, thawed.  Great! 
Now where is my phone?  Hadn't really seen is since yesterday, where could it have gone.  Well the last time it went missing we called the number and the trash started to ring.  We'll try that, luckily Patrick was still home with his phone.  So we probably called my number with his phone 2 dozen times trying to locate it.  We even took the trash apart and re bagged it trying to find this phone.  No luck.  So Patrick called US Cellular and had my old cell phone activated with my number. And the cool part is that they were able to talk him through doing that over the phone.  I feel I should point out that we do not have a land line, so without a cell phone I have no way to get a hold of anyone in case of an emergency.  Anyway, so I now have a cell phone and Patrick takes a shower and heads off to the hospital to finish his workday. (up until then he had gone and fixed a computer at an office right here in town, but hadn't yet gone into the hospital)  Just as he gets to the hospital he got a call from the Sheriff's office, someone turned in my cell phone.  They had found it next to the main road right in town.  Awesome! 
So after Fynn woke up from his nap and had some lunch we went to go get my cell phone.  What an adventure!  The police station has been temporarily moved to the old superintendent building by the high school. Okay no problem, so I drive to the high school thinking I would see a sign or something, no sign.  So I asked someone in the parking lot and they showed me to this cute little white house.  Okay, so I drive into the driveway and around the back of the house and there are some police cars.  No sign or anything, just a little white house.   A very nice woman named Betty looked around and discovered that no, my phone had not been turned in there, but at the sheriff's office in the courthouse.  So I went to the courthouse, and asked at the first office I found where the sheriff's office would be.  And found out that it was actually 2 buildings over down some stairs and then on the second floor.  I found it, they had my phone.  Or the hunk of metal that used to be my phone.  Someone even peeled the buttons off the face of it.  Believe it or not it still turns of.  And most importantly, it still had the 4 gig memory card that I had put into it.  So I still have all of my information and pictures. 
Now on to this morning.  I get up and go to take a shower.  Get in there and whoooeeee, it was cold. So I come out and try turning up the heat to see if the furnace is broken or if it is something else all together.  And wait, and wait, and no furnace.  So I call the landlord again......and after yet another repair guy we not at 2 pm have hot water again.  So I'm going to and wash my hair, while I can. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dog Bed

While it is a know fact that in our house the dogs are people.  And they do have pretty much full privileges when it comes to the furniture, they do have their own bed as well.   Actually it is a pillow that sits next to the pie cupboard in the kitchen.  And the pillow case, one that Patrick had made a while back, was seriously hurting.  it had somehow acquired a t shaped rip in it.  Well, not somehow, we know Bean ripped it. She has a habit of scratching and pawing where she is going to sleep, she likes to have things a certain way. 
Anyway, I mentioned to that the cover would need to be replaced and Monday Patrick make up this little ditty.
Yeah, I know, he is being a goof.  He made the blocks a while ago, but decided that they were too scratchy for a quilt because they are upholstery material.   But I think they make a great dog bed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chicken Stew

One of my favorite things about winter in Maine is the food.  Okay, honestly one of my favorite things period is the food. And I have notice that my taste in food is actually very seasonal.  But winter food, YUM!  I just love a cozy soup or stew or casserole or any of those wonderfully warm comfort foods that make you slow down just a little bit.
Yesterday Patrick took the day off from work for an extended weekend so we had a slow down kind of day around here.  Fynn never got out of his pajamas and just did some chore around the house.  Oh, and I went and mailed those book I was talking about yesterday.  But most of the day was spent hanging out here.
And for dinner last night I made this...

Chicken Stew!
And it was so good!
Chicken Stew
I used leftover chicken and the broth it had cooked in for this, there was the meat from about 6 chicken thighs here.  I just took the meat off the bones and saved it in the broth.

Sweat: 1 onion, chopped and 2 cloves of garlic minced in 1 T butter over medium low heat.
After about 3 minutes add 1/2 to 1 cup chopped celery and let that sweat while you chop 2 potatoes into 1" pieces.
Add the potatoes to the pot and stir.
Sprinkle the whole mixture with about 1 T flour and stir to mix.
Add the leftover chicken and liquid and if you need to add a little water so it is just covered.
Pop the cover on and put the whole thing into the oven at 350 F for 45 minute to 1 hour.

Oh and as for the pot, I use this

My Awesome Blue Dutch Oven
A dutch oven is perfect for stuff like this, they can be used on the stove top to sweat the veggies and then put right into the oven to finish the oven. We had this stew with homemade garlic biscuits and big tossed salads.

Monday, January 11, 2010

We had decided to get rid of some of our old books that have been cluttering the house.  So to do this we looked around online to find out where we could sell them and have settled on  It is working out pretty well for us.  We have 3 big boxes of books waiting for people to buy them and ship.

So after listing all of these books on Friday night. (clearly we have no life)  We have actually sold a few.  So I had to get them in the mail today.  Fynn and I went to Family Dollar to get some mailers and in the car we were listening to craftypod, an awesome podcast put out by Sister Diane.  And, because I have a hard time staying up to date with these things, I was listening to the podcast she did in December with her Mom.  And she has the greatest idea ever!  Especailly for people like me, who are getting into this blogging thing and are looking for ideas for their blog, and coming up with them mostly when they are away from their computer.  Anyway, she mentioned that she has a whole year of posts all planned out already!  That is some major planning.  But what she said is, she has a notebook that she keeps one page labeled for each month and when she gets an idea, she just puts in under whatever month would be most appropriate.  And then she can fill in pages behind that with ideas for individual posts. 
Building on this idea, I was cruising around craftzine and came across a great blog called futuregirl.  And she had the greatest post on how to make the pages in a ring notebook removable!  So you can be totally organized and not have to rip pages out and staple them to other pages, and, and, OCD tendancies are totally happy with this.  So now I am off to find a notebook that would work.  I know I have one somewhere in that craft-room that will work! 
See, between the notebook and the idea I found at reesedixon for putting all of my goals and projects up on the side of my blog for a little accountability, I think I am off to a good start. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Resolutions and Stuff

I love a new year, a fresh start and with the foot of snow we got last weekend, a clean slate.  I have always like the idea of resolutions, the execution I often find a bit harder to work with.  So I got to thinking.  And usually my resolutions are long term goals that have no real end or measurable scale of completion, or they are repetitive tasks that in my crazy mind seem to get lost in the shuffle.
Things like, I'm going to write a letter to someone every day are dead before they even get started.  It isn't that I don't want to write letters to people, or that I couldn't write one every day.  It is more like, the days gets away from me, and before I know it I have a sentence or 2 written on a note card and dinner needs to be made or the baby needs changing, or it is time for bed and the letter gets set aside for a few minutes and then forgotten.  So before I know it, I have this stack of 1 sentence letters that will never get finished and well, there goes the resolution.  So this year I thought, since I love to craft anyway, that I would make all of resolutions project based.  Things that I could accomplish and then show off on here. I figure this will do two things, one it will give me things to blog about.  I love to write here and share what I am doing and what is going on, but I don't like to just blather on about nothing.  And it will give me ideas of what to work on when my creative cycle hits a low period.  Yes, I get crafter's block! And what a block that can be. 
I get all kinds of ideas and things that I want to do, but I either don't know how I'm going to accomplish it or I'm afraid of ruining something.  And well, I resolve to just go for it.  From now on, I'm going to try to remember the worst thing that could happen.  I have gobs of fabric, but I get so afraid of cutting into it.  I finally cut into a piece and put the rest into scrap bags or piles of smaller fabric and it gets used for everything.  But when the fabric is beautiful and new from the store or has been sitting on my shelf for a while, well I have this fear that I'm going to ruin it. 
And well now that we have gone on that little tangent back to the main.  My resolutions, I am going to do a list in my sidebar so that I can keep track of what I have planned, when I am doing it and how it is coming. 
I do have a few big project this year, with new babies entering the extended family and birthdays and Christmas, and I have promised myself I will not be caught the last week before Christmas again. 

I also want to do better with pictures in this blog.  I know the blogs with pictures are way better and well, I take enough pictures that this really shouldn't be a problem at all, ya know.  Speaking of pictures, here is one of Fynn, clearly enjoying himself. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy Holidays!

We are still breathing.  We made it though the holidays.  And while I have some resolutions to report on, they well come at a later time.  Mostly because I am exhausted tonight and headed to bed.  See you in the morning.  Actually that is one of my resolutions, to keep up with this blog a little better. 
Night all!