Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hands free baby bath towel!

I took these photos last year and totally forgot to post them! I only thought about it again because someone in our family is going to be needing one...soon!

I've been making these for YEARS  because they are the perfect way to get infants out of the tub and into your arms quickly without you getting soaked in the process. You just simply slip on the towel and lay the excess on the counter in front of the plastic baby tub.  When bath time is done, your 'towel' is already in place and you can settle your baby straight into your arms quickly.

The sweetest thing about these towels is how attached kids get to them.
Our kids used theirs until they were about 7 years old and then I turned them into dog towels....that did NOT go over well!


1 large white bath sheet.  (I was surprised at how popular these are with men....just be sure to use an extra large towel!)
1 large grommet* or matching square of grosgrain ribbon
1 large button
1 piece of matching scrap ribbon
2 inch wide grosgrain ribbon to embellish the edges. (Measure your towel before purchasing...or take it with you to the ribbon section.  I usually use a ribbon to match the bathroom decor or the baby's room.)

Take your bath sheet and sew the grosgrain ribbon along one short end (or both ends), tucking raw edges of the ribbon under at each edge:

You can embellish it more heavily with several types of ribbon or fabric if you'd like. Sometimes I embellish the little rows that are already in the towel. They are usually 1 inch wide. This particular towel didn't have one so I just put the ribbon on the very edge.

On the opposite short end do this:

In one corner, sew a large colorful button
In the other corner, attach a grommet and run a bit of ribbon through it to create a loop to catch the button with.


If you don't have a grommet, just anchor the loop of thin ribbon under a square of the same ribbon you use for embellishing.  Then zig zag stitch around the edges to be sure it will stay put.   It works just as well.  This is what it looks like:

The beauty of this gift is that it doesn't matter WHAT you have on hand when making these.   As long as you have towels, scraps of ribbon or fabric and a button, you can whip one up in about 10 minutes.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sewus Interupptus.....

Last week, after announcing the newest addition to our family, we found out little Suki was sick.
She had a respiratory infection and was going down hill FAST.

I took her in and got her some meds......she also had a major ear mite infestation! YUCK!
I also found out that she had indeed delivered 1 litter and was about a year and a half old.

Anyhoo, she has rebounded nicely and never once acted unladylike while taking her medicine.

See? She looks MUCH better.

She FEELS much better too. You can tell because she is playful again....

In fact, she was SO playful, that we couldn't get much work done!

Curly Girl and her friend were getting ready to make some cozies for our little summer project.

Suki would NOT stop playing in the batting!

She would ZOOM in and pounce on it and spin in the air and pounce again and then dash off.

then she would dash behind some blankets I need to block...ssshhh, we can't see her, right?

Then she would come out and start all over again! She loved the peaks and valleys of the batting.

Finally when she was done playing, we got back to work and finished 2 more cozies to donate.

And here they are! The girls did such a good job!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday, curry chicken salad

MMMmmmmmmm........curried chicken salad!

Last week I blogged about my chicken dumpling stew recipe. This is what I do with the rest of the chicken!
I use a really large chicken and then take half the meat for the stew and reserve half for this next recipe.

The trick to this recipe is to keep the flavors light when cooking the chicken.
If you choose to use a pre-cooked chicken from the store, make sure to get the traditional seasoning. Anything else competes with the curry and it won't taste right.

Val's curried chicken salad:

4 chicken breasts, poached or baked until tender and cubed.
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tsp ground curry powder (start with 1 tsp)
1 stalk celery, diced (I omit this b/c Dean is allergic but prefer it in)
1 small package broken walnut pieces (do NOT use BLACK walnuts)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I actually start with less b/c I hate may like more)
1 double handful of red or black seedless grapes, halved. Add these last.(we use more.)

Cook and cool the chicken, then cube or shred it.  (Or buy a precooked one.)
Add the seasonings and all other ingredients except the grapes.
Mix well and taste to adjust for seasonings.
Fold in grapes.

This can be served in pita bread but we love it on croissants.

I made this for a party by using 2 whole chickens and served it with crackers.
It was GONE in a flash.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Of birds and blooms...

We have had such luck with birds this year!
We have mockingbirds, woodpeckers, bluejays and hummers. We've had several broods too. A red tail hawk came to hunt on several occassions and caught a mockingbird right in front of me.

We had 2 pair of hummers and their brood stay...they are still here.
I had to buy more feeders.......they are eating around the clock!
I counted 5 on one feeder with 2 fighting near another one.
The most I've seen at once is 9 hummers....makes me VERY happy!

here they are in the rain.......look at this little guy's "hair"...he reminds me of Woodstock!

the rain didn't slow any of them down one bit...

We've also had 2 pair of red headed woodpeckers stay with us...they come eat our little cherry tomatoes after chasing off other feasters!
We don't mind, they are pretty much spent anyway. We had a great harvest while it lasted!

Our morning glories have covered this ornamental birdhouse....these are the wild ones I got from the nature trail.

look how GORGEOUS! The blooms are quite large.

These morning glories jumped the trellis and are taking over the ardesia! I started them from seed last year.

thanks to the rain, our rain lilies bloomed!

and our zinnias are in full force....

I hope you've had beautiful birds and blooms in your area this summer!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Val's chicken n dumpling stew

Ripstick Boy loves to cook....on his own terms.
That means, he gets the urge to cook and go into the kitchen and cooks.
Sometimes, I am lucky and he gets the urge while I'm in the the other day.

He came in while I was making his favorite....Chicken and Dumpling Stew. (recipe below)  Don't know WHY it looks grey...must be the lighting.  Yuck.  Anyhoo, it tastes great.

 he steps up and asks if he can help so of course, I let him.

Be warned, I don't really measure ANYTHING in this....

Val's Chicken and Dumpling Stew:

*total of about 10 cups chicken stock
*4 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken
OR take a 3 pound chicken and make stock out of it. Reserve the stock, shred the chicken and add back into the pot. (This is how I actually do it)

1 small onion diced
4 stalks celery diced
4 carrots cubed
1 tsp minced garlic (from a jar) Or mince a fresh clove
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf

2 cups bisquick and enough milk to make dumplings.

Saute onions and celery til soft, add carrots and garlic and stir for a few minutes. Don't brown the garlic. Add the bay leaf and seasonings. Stir for about 5 minutes.

Then add to the stock and chicken and bring to a boil momentarily. Turn down, cover and simmer until carrots are just tender. Before going to the next step, taste and adjust seasonings.


Take 2 cups bisquik and enough milk to bind, stir together to make a dough.
Drop by large spoonfuls (I use a smallish cookie dough scoop.) Make enough to completely cover the top of the stew.
Cover and let cook on medium low about 10 minutes. DO NOT BOIL or the dumplings will break down. They will rise and get large. You can check by using a toothpick until you figure out what they 'look like' when done.

When you serve, dip down and get the soup and a dumpling. We rarely have leftovers, but when we do, its even better!

Then, the next morning, he decided to cook breakfast.

Look what he made......yum!

He insisted we all try it, of course!

Those little bits are BACON!

After a while, I VERY CAUTIOUSLY asked if he would like me to make him an apron. To my surprise, he said "sure."

Off to the fabric store we went.....looking for something cool. ( No offense, but cool is difficult to find in Hancocks.)

In the end, he managed to find some fabric by Robert Kaufmann and I made him this apron...which is reversible.

He promptly put it on, went downstairs and made everyone a milkshake!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Let's get ready to RUMBLE!

On Sunday, Suki (soo-key) had been in the family 2 whole days.
She has already knocked Ginger in the head a couple time for getting too personal.
The kids were asking how she was so FAST....I mean REALLY REALLY FAST.
I guess it is because she was a stray and had to hunt.

She is MUCH faster than Leo (sorry, baby, no offense.)

When we got Suki, they said to let the cats figure it out on their own, that the resident cat will be boss, etc and the new cat will hide for at least 3 days.
Since Leo outweighs Suki by 5 pounds, I decided to keep my eyes open (and my camera handy.)

Only.....Suki hasn't hidden yet.
In fact, she came in to visit me while I was sewing.
Leo ALWAYS comes in while I he was TICKED that someone beat him there.

He sat down and gave her the ugly eye.
He even growled at her and hissed a lot...she didn't even BLINK.

Then when I was done sewing, she moved under the little art table.
Leo followed her yeowling the whole time....oh, and hissing. Lots of hissing.
She didn't even blink.

Here he is going in for the "Siamese Smack down!"

Only he missed.

But SHE didn't! She whacked him SO FAST I couldn't even snap a photo of it.
And... she did it while laying there.
She just pulled out her little pistol of a paw and POW! Right between the eyes.

Okay, I know its bad but it was awfully funny...and I had my backup plan in case it got ugly...which it didn't.

Leo moves back a little and pretends he doesn't care that he just got schooled by an 8 pound GIRL.

Then he moves back a little more. Pretending to be asleep, except that he keeps opening one eye!

The phone rang and he WATCHED ME LEAVE THE ROOM.
Luckily, the kids answered it so I turned back to see if I could catch anything 'good' on film.

Yeah.......SHAMEFUL...........just look for yourselves what he was doing.

Oh and then he realized he was caught...who me?

Oh, and Suki?
Here is the way she looked for the ENTIRE ordeal.


yeah, rrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiigggggggggghhhhhhhhhtttt.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July's Toy Society drop and Mama Mia!

Yesterday we ran out and dropped off this cutie of a hootie!

We dropped him at the Ochsner pediatric clinic in Slidell. The clinic is in full 'shot' mode due to new requirements in the state of Louisiana. The kids suggested we drop him there in hopes that someone coming out from getting a shot might take him home!

The waiting room was busy so we left him outside in front of the entryway....tied up to a column.

I hope someone takes him home soon!

When we got home, look what was in the mailbox for me! My MAMA MIA apron from Micki! I adore this 70's fabric with the peace signs! She also included some lollis and napkins and a handmade recipe booklet.

Thanks Micki! I can't wait to use it!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A very Happy Birthday.....

Friday evening we brought home a new family Suki, a sweet Burmese.

I didn't anticipate this....we were just returning something!

But when Dean brought her to my attention, I couldn't resist.
She has had a hard start to her young life but will be most loved with us.
She had a respiratory infection when they rescued her (still has it), then was spayed, then had a hernia from the spay surgery!
She still has some stitches but they don't seem to bother her.

They say she is about 2 years old but she is SO small...and still VERY playful. She weighs 8 pounds right now...about the size Leo was when he was 9-12 months old.

The dogs ignore her for the most part. They are mostly interested in her booty! Just like a dog! ha!

Leo seems to hate her right now but I don't think that will last. He will puff up and make those funny cat fight sounds. She just lays there looking at him. Leo can't stand all that starring so he high tails it outta there!
Being an indoor cat, he hasn't seen another cat since he was 7 weeks old!
I think his curiosity will win him over though.

See how blue her eyes are!
Sorry for the awful photo and the reflection but its the ONLY one that shows how blue her eyes are.

I don't know how to take a photo of her without getting those stupid red eyes!

The rest of my birthday was just as fun.
We went out to dinner so I could have a REAL margarita!
Then we came home for cake and ice cream and some fun gifts.

I couldn't resist smashing Rip stick Boy's face into my cake when he went to sniff it...

The cake was a little worse for it, but still tasted great!

After wards, a quick thunderstorm came up.
The rain was coming down so hard it was actually forced under the front door.
Now that is difficult since we have an 8 foot deep covered front porch!
It was actually hitting the fairy lights I have entwined into some grape vine around our front door!

A perfect ending to a perfect day!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mama Mia!!!!!!! It's my birthday!

Okay, so it IS my birthday but its ALSO our last day to ship out those AMAZING aprons inspired by the movie!

So ladies, please get those aprons out TODAY! Be sure to email me when you do...THANKS!

And just for a little's another lil flashback! Stay tuned afterward, because you can see more and more and.....

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Last week I finished some little receiving blankets for Crafthope.
I made 11 of them... enough to fill up a flat rate box.

I also finished and mailed off my partner's Mama Mia apron swap package!
Micki was my partner but she requested I make the apron and package for her mom, Sue!

I had such fun coming up with this one. Sue likes blue and enjoys the music from the movie. I wanted the apron to take on an older soft look (like the ones in the movie) so when I sewed on the scroll of notes, I didn't finish the edges. With use and washings, it should soften right up.

here is a little dish scrubbie I made her to go with everything....I used THIS pattern and just made it bigger. I actually goofed up midway but was too lazy to ribbit.
Soooooo, this is how it turned out, no one will be the wiser!

and here is the rest of the stuff I came up with.....Micki told me she likes romance novels and chocolate so I had to add a bit of that for her......

I hope she likes everything!
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