Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup - A bit different than what you may be used to...


This is a family recipe that has been passed down for generations.  It's not the typical 'Italian Wedding' Soup that you may used to but that's what my family calls it.  It actually contains Soup Pizza that is similar to croutons instead of noodles.

4 lbs split chicken breasts
2 T chicken base
1 chopped onion
1 T minced garlic
chopped veggies to your liking
salt and pepper to taste

Soup Pizza - This recipe makes a lot more than needed for the soup (but freezes well)
1 loaf bread
12 eggs
1 cup romano cheese
2 T baking powder
2 T chicken base
a few shakes of parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper

To Prepare
1.  Place chicken breasts in stock pot and cover with 12 cups of water.  Bring to boil.

2.  Once soup comes to a boil, let boil for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and place lid on stock pot and let chicken poach for 45 minutes.

3.  After the poaching, simmer until chicken falls off the bone.  Skim off the fat as needed.

4.  Turn off heat and remove split chicken breasts with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.  (Can start soup pizza here.)

5.  Add remaining ingredients to the soup.

6.  Once chicken has cooled enough to touch, de-bone, thred and return to soup.

7.  Re-heat soup and simmer until soup pizza is ready!

8.  Prepare Soup Pizza:
a.  Break apart loaf of bread and put in a mixing bowl.

b.  Slowly add small amounts of water to soak the bread and knead it with your hands, further breaking the bread pieces up with your fingers.  Be careful not too add too much water that there will be water remaining in the bowl.

c.  Add eggs and continue to knead with your hands until mixture is evenly mixed.

d.  Add dry ingredients and continue to mix.

e.  Pour mixture onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 375°F for 35-40 minutes.

f.  Let cool.

g.  Use kitchen food shears to cut soup pizza into crouton sized pieces.

To Serve
Add handful of soup pizza croutons to bowl of soup and enjoy!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Toilet Paper Roll to Keep Rolls of Stuff from Unrolling!

I wish I would have seen this sooner!  What a great idea!
I found this idea at:

Used toilet paper roll to keep rolls of wrapping paper, vinyl rolls, contact paper, and much more all tidy!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Using a Twist Tie to Hang Wreath

I was hanging up my St. Pat's decorations and I realized that I previously used twist ties to make little loops for hanging.  Then, I thought, I should post a blog about it and share my fun tip.  So, here you go...  Another great idea to save those Twist Ties.  Things are starting to come together... my mother and grandmother saved all of them and I could never figure out why as a kid.  =)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Using Command Hook to Hang Decorations on Kitchen Cabinets

Fun Tip!
Hang Command Hook upside down on inside top of cupboard door...

Hang decor...

Enjoy your decor...

Friday, February 24, 2012

St. Pat's Cookie Cutter Decor

I could not resist these cookie cutters and thought they would be so festive hanging in our kitchen.

3 cookie cutters
Jute roping
Metal hole punch, optional

How I Did It
1.  I punched holes in the top of each of the cookie cutters.  Due to the shamrock design, I alternated which side of the top shamrock leaf to punch a hole in.  This part is optional, you can simply just tie the jute around each cookie cutter.

2.  Thread varying lengths of jute roping through the holes and knot.  I made sure that each length of rope were the correct length to have each cookie cutter at different cascading levels.  I then knotted the three lengths of jute rope together.

3.  I, then, knotted the top as a 'hanger' loop.

4.  I attached the bow over top on the jute rope above the cookie cutters.

5.  I displayed on one of our kitchen cabinets for us all to enjoy.  =)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Steel's Chore Chart

Steel, age 6, asks me "How much money do you need to be rich?".

I reply "I don't know...maybe 1 million you think you can save 1 million dollars?"

"Nooooo!" says the kid.  (...a thoughtful pause...)  "How can I make money?"

Thus this idea was born!

I found the perfect place, it's our heat duct next to the furnace in our utility room:

Wooden circles and stars
Foam Brushes
Paper Plates for paint
Craft Magnets
Label Maker
Vinyl lettering - Letters for the days of the week
Vinyl strips to separate the days of the week

How I Did It
1.  I decided on what chores / how many times a week each can be performed and a dollar (or cents) amount for each.

2.  I painted wooden shapes in different colors for each chore.
7 Dishes (Lt. Blue)- Rinsing and putting dishes into dishwasher daily
7 Table (Red) - Wiping down table daily
7 Room (Yellow stars) - Picking up room daily
7 Shoes (Dk. Blue)- Straightening shoes in foyer daily
4 Puppy Poop (Orange) - Cleaning up Puppy Poop 4xs per week
2 Garbage (Green)- Emptying smaller trash cans twice a week
1 Vacuum (White)- Vacuuming the stairs once a week

3.  I made labels and affixed them to the wooden shapes as determined.

4.  I attached the craft magnets with glue to the back side of the wooden shapes.

5.  I made letters using my Silhouette and evenly spaced them on the heating duct and cut vinyl strips to use as dividing lines.

In action:

Inspiration: MorethanaMemoryAK Etsy Shop

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quick Small Item Gift Wrap

This may seem a little silly but I'm posting it anyway for when you are in a pinch for a quick gift wrap for a small item.  

How I Did It
1.  I took a piece of scrapbook paper and trimmed it down because the large 12x12 piece was too big.  

2.  I flipped it over and placed the item in the center.

3.  I folded up the bottom corner keeping in mind that I wanted to make a rectangle.  You can draw a rectangle in the center if you would like to make it easier.

4.  I unfolded that and then folded each side inward so that they overlapped slightly.

5.  I refolded the bottom upward.

6.  I folded the top down and placed a seal sticker on top.

7.  I turned it over and wrote the intended recipients name on the front.  In this case it was for the Mommy to be.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Steel's Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Steel wanted to make a cake.  I bought cake and chocolate frosting.  Steel wanted white frosting, of course!  So we whipped up some cream cheese frosting!

2 - 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

To Prepare
1.  Pour all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2.  Mix well!  

Steel's finished product:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Corkboard Inside Cabinet Doors

Love this idea that I saw (sorry, yet again I did not save the link!).  Corkboard inside kitchen cabinets!  Great for recipes and take out menus!  

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Sewing First for Me - A Tote Bag!

I did not use a pattern.  I made my own.  So when I say this was a first for me, it was a blind first.  =)

I found these great fabrics and decided to tackle a tote bag.  It is hard to tell in the pics but the polka dots are white, silver glitter and pink.  The Paris fabric has the Eiffel towers in both pink and silver glitter.  

1 yard outer shell fabric
1 yard lining fabric
1/2 yard accent fabric
Accent button
Accent ribbon
1 yard interfacing
Sewing Machine

How I Did It...
1.  I cut all my fabric:
Outer Shell Fabric (Black and White) -
2 - 15x20" for front and back
2 - 5x23" for straps
1 - 5x15' for bottom

Top Accent Fabric (Polka Dot) - 6x40" (or 2 - 6x20, sewed together, this works better when you only purchase a 1/2 yard of accent fabric)

Lining Fabric (Paris) -
2 - 18x19" for lining
1 - 1.5x6" & 1 - 6x6" for pocket #1
1 - 1.5x8" & 1 - 6x8" for pocket #2

2.  I cut the interfacing:
2 - 15x20" for outer shell
2  - 3x23" for straps
1 - 5x15 for bottom

3.  I ironed the interfacing to outer shell fabric:
a.  I used parchment paper to protect the ironing board.

b.  I laid down the interfacing (shiny side up, I did use double sided interface but either will work)

c.  I laid the outer shell fabric on top of each fabric and iron, following the directions that come with interfacing.  (Using the highest dry setting on the iron, iron for 5 seconds in all locations to form a nice bond between the fabric and interfacing.)

d.  For the straps, I placed the interfacing down on the ironing board and placed the fabric on top with the interfacing in the center of the fabric.  (Note that your interfacing is cut smaller than the fabric.)  I flipped it over once I was done and ironed the access fabric to the underside on the interfacing.  This worked well since I used double sided interfacing although, it is not necessary.

e.  Continuing with the straps, I folded the strap down the center (lengthwise) and ironed to make a crease in the strap.  

 4.  I sewed the straps and set aside:
I took the 2 straps and sewed a line down the edge approximately 1/4" from edge.  Having the double interfacing and the pre-creased fold down the middle, pinning was not necessary.

5.  I sewed together the outer shell:
a.  I placed the bottom, upside down on top of one of the outer shell pieces.  I made sure it was in the center so that when the access was folded over to make the sides, there would be plenty of fabric to stitch the two shell pieces together.  I stitched them together on the machine.

b.  I opened my two newly joined pieces and flipped them over on top of the second outer shell piece.  I made sure to line it up as I did the first one and stitched that together as well.

c.  I, then, folded over my outer shells and pinned them to the bottom piece.  The picture shows the shells pinned to the bottom.  

d.  Once the shells were pinned to the bottom, I pinned the sides.

e.  I stitched the sides first and then the bottom.  Note from the picture below that I folded the access over from the sides and stitched that with the bottom.

f.  I turned my outer shell right side out.

g.  I folded the top 3 inches down into the bag and stitched around the bag.

6.  I added my accent fabric:
a.  I pinned and stitched the accent fabric, approximately 3 1/2 inched from the top (upside down).  I made sure to fold the fabric under and stitch where the fabric ends met on the side of the bag.

b.  I flipped the accent fabric upward (right side up) and stitched around the bag.  This left a nice, fresh line of stitching.

7.  I attached the straps:
a.  I folded the accent fabric back down and attached the straps with extra reinforcement, see picture.  I paid close attention to make sure both straps lined up across from each other and were separated approximately 4 inches.  I also made sure that the stitching on the straps pointed inward at the top on the strap and out to the sides of the bag where attached to the bag.

8.  I flipped the accent fabric back over and folded the top inward and pinned it around the outside of the bag.

9.  I attached the accent ribbon:
I pinned the ribbon in place and stitched at the top and bottom of the ribbon.  I made sure to fold under and stitch where the ends of the ribbon met on the side of the bag.

10.  I attached the accent button using needle and thread.  I used approximately 36 inches of thread, doubled (so it was approx. 18 inches).  I wanted to make sure the button would be nice and secure.  Nothing is worse than losing a button!  =)

11.  I made the inside pockets and attached them to the lining.  
a.  I took each zipper and it's corresponding 'small piece'.  I placed the zipper upside down on top of the lining fabric and stitched across, attaching the two.

b.  I opened up the newly attached pieces and stitched again, leaving a nice line of stitching.

c.  I took this piece and placed it upside down on the bottom (larger) piece and stitched the zipper side to it.  

d. I flipped it back over and stitched again for that nice 'look'.

Pocket #2
Pocket #1

e.  I folded the edges of my pockets under, approximately 1/4-1/2 inches and pinned them to the lining.  I pinned one on each lining panel, 4 inches down from the top and in the center width-wise.

f.  I stitched all around the pockets, securing them to the lining.

12.  I stitched the two lining panels together by placing each piece, good side facing each other and stitching each side and bottom.  The top must not be stitched.

13.  I inserted the lining inside the bag and folded the top two inches over so that the folded fabric was in
between the inside of the outer shell and the inside of the bag.  Please note picture below.  The outer shell is pinned and the lining is pinned.  

14.  I stitched around the bag attaching the accent fabric, the outer shell and the lining all together.  

Viola!  Wow, I'm soooo proud!  lol.