Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Homemade Sweater Kitten

I'm making an effort to do homemade Christmas presents for all my family members this year in addition to a store bought gift. I can't post about most of them yet but this one is for Echo and she doesn't read my blog so it's ok :-)

I keep seeing these really cute stuffed animals on etsy made from recycled sweaters and thinking, hey, I could make that. So I went to the thrift store and got the softest, most cuddly sweater I could find to make this little guy. It was really very easy, I just cut out the pieces and embroidered on the face, then I hand stitched the whole thing together. I stuffed him with poly fill and added a little rice at the bottom for stability. I finished him off with a polkadot ribbon for his neck.

I plan on giving it to Echo for Christmas as her homemade gift. It will be a great baby toy because it has no small pieces that can fall off and it's so soft and huggable!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pumpkin Black Bean Tostadas

So in the wake of my post Thanksgiving food coma I am trying to eat healthier and watch what I'm putting in my body a bit more. While I was pregnant I got in the habit of eating exactly what I wanted and not worrying about gaining weight. Now that Echo has turned two months I feel like it's time to get back on track.

Today I came up with a creative recipe using ingredients I already had on hand and it turned out to be really tasty (healthy too)! You might think pumpkin is a weird ingredient to use on tostadas but pumpkin is actually used a lot in Mexican cooking and works surprisingly well. Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup queso fresco
1/2 canned black beans
4 corn tortillas
hot sauce to taste
a spritz of olive oil

Spritz tortillas with a little olive oil and broil in the oven until slightly browned and crispy. Top with canned pumpkin, black beans and queso fresco and pop back in the oven until cheese is slightly melted and ingredients are heated through. Remove from oven and top with hot sauce. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I opted not to host Thanksgiving this year since I knew I would have a newborn. Instead We let our parents take the lead and had a mini Thanksgiving in Knoxville with Eric's folks last weekend and spent actual Thanksgiving at my parent's house so Logan would get to spend some time with his new niece Echo! It was fab as usual and everyone stuffed themselves, here are some pictures from the day.

Echo sleeps through the preparations 

There were games of course

Mom's Pfaltzgraff dishes and leftover wedding napkins (which we will be using until we die)

We found the best recipe for turkey ever this year, it's basted in bacon grease!

This blend ov herbs, bacon and butter gets rubbed under the skin of the turkey. I thought it was WAY better than the brined turkey we made last year, we will be making this one again.

Logan's vintage recipe for Bishops Punch

Gravy and cranberry relish

Pass the turkey!

After lunch we went to the park for family photos. Here's a picture of Eric and I with the thing we are most Thankful for :-)
It was a great weekend of food, family and fun! What a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

No Knead Bread

I was turned on to no knead bread by a friend of mine and it has changed my life!

You see I'm kind of a bread snob, I've gotten to the point where I just don't like the bagged bread you buy at the store, it has to come from the bakery. Of course it's even better if it's home made. I was baking quite a bit this Summer before Echo was born but now that she's here I have very little time for baking. I've thought about getting a bread machine but somehow bread machine bread just doesn't do it for me. It doesn't taste the same as the real from scratch stuff.

Enter no knead bread! It's just as easy as bread machine bread, all you have to do is whip it up the night before, let it sit for 12 to 18 hours and bake in the morning. Yum! Hot, fresh bread for breakfast!

Plus I get to cook it in my enameled cast iron dutch oven, possibly the best piece of cook ware known to man.

Here is the recipe I used, enjoy!

3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)

In a big bowl mix flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula mix it until it's all incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Add your cast iron pot to the oven and heat it as well until it's at 450 F degrees.
Remove pot from oven and remove the lid from it.
Flour your work surface really well and make sure you flour your hands really well. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Stocking For Echo

As some of you know, Christmas is my absolute favorite Holiday. I look forward to it all year and start planning gifts and decorations ridiculously early. The Christmas season brings me true delight, there's nothing quite like it. This will be my first Christmas with my daughter and even though she is too young to really get much out of it I still plan to make the most of having a kid at Christmas.

It's kind of tradition in my family that you have to have a homemade stocking, it's just what we do. So even though Eric and I still have store bought stockings at our house (we have homemade ones at my parent's place) I wanted Echo to have something special for her first Christmas.

So with my newfound sewing skills I whipped up this little number. I'm pretty proud of it even though it came out smaller than what I really wanted, it will at least be fine for a baby stocking though.

I used the little logo I designed for Echo before she was born and screen printed her name on to the stocking

I added extra stars and used a metallic raspberry color for the designs

I used a piece of scrap ribbon and some white embroidery thread for the loop to hang the stocking

More stars and dots on the top of the stocking

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cloth Baby Wipes

And we're back to baby stuff, for now anyway ;-)

One of the things Eric and have found since we started making a concerted effort to save money is that it's nice how often being frugal overlaps with being environmentally conscious. I've already mentioned how much we love our cloth diapers and after using those we decided to try cloth wipes as well. Initially I just ordered some online to try them out. It cost about $11 for a pack of 15 flannel wipes. I liked how soft and durable they were but we go through 15 wipes in nothing flat so we definitely needed more. They are just little squares of flannel so instead of buying more I decided to make them out of scraps of flannel from (you guessed it) the remnant bin at Joanne's! For $3 I got enough to make about 20 wipes.

At first I triend just cutting the edges with pinking shears but they didn't stand up to multiple washings.
So I had to hem them

Here they are with my home made wipe solution
 They get softer with every wash and I bet they feel great on the little one's bum :-)

Now when you use cloth wipes you have to use them with a wipe solution to help get the bum area clean and not irritate the skin. My recipe for wipe solution is 2 cups water, 2 tbs baby oil and 2 tbs baby wash. I like Burts Bees brand because it smells so great but any will do. Just mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and spray some on the wipe before each use. I plan to make a bunch more of these wipes once all my Christmas projects are done :-)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Layered Infinity Scarf

Finally! A non baby related post! Of course I could talk all day about my little one (I think she's the greatest) but I will give you all a break and write about something else for a change. So here is another sewing post. I've really been enjoying my sewing machine so far, I try to make a little time every week to sew and I'm even attempting some hand made gifts for Christmas (I can't blog about those, they're a secret). My skills are still very limited but I have moved on from making scarves to making infinity scarves. Here is my first attempt, I hope to make more soon.

Close up of the pretty fabrics

wrapped once

wrapped twice
This infinity scarf has two layers, one for the backing and then a pretty lace to go over it, it's more of a fancy scarf and would go great with a little black dress. Once again I got my fabric from the remnant bin (really the only way I buy fabric) so it cost me next to nothing to make. The only problem with this is that my selection was limited so the only lace I could find was covered in glitter. I would normally be ok with this since I kind of love glitter but as soon as I started handling the fabric the glitter got all over me and soon all over everything I touched including my daughter. Sigh, oh well, a little sparkle never hurt anyone. That being said I would recommend non glittery lace to anyone who wants to try this project.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Baby Legs DIY

Time has really gotten away from me ever since I had this baby. I feel like the long sleepless nights have kind of messed with my time line and I literally can't believe it's November already. Echo was just born in September, how did a whole month go by without me noticing?

Anyway, I haven't been blogging much due to the obvious reason that I have my hands full with the adorable baby pictured above. I have, however been trying to make time to practice with my sewing machine and I have a few basic projects I wanted to share. 

Baby leg warmers are an awesome idea, I don't know who came up with them but they are great because they keep baby's legs warm but make diaper changes super easy. I know I always think twice before dressing Echo in pants because all I can think about is what a pain it will be to take them off a million times a day to change her. Most baby leg warmers cost about 12 to 15 bucks but I did this nifty DIY for $1 by using some socks from the dollar bin at Michaels.

All you have to do is cut the heel out of the socks and cut the toe off, creating two tubes of fabric. Then sew the two tubes together and hem the remaining edge. Easy peasy! They were pretty huge on Echo when she was first born but they are starting to fit her better now (she's getting to be quite a hefty little gal!). I'm pretty pleased with the results and you can't beat the dollar price tag.