Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My IKEA mission!!

I LOVE Mary Mulari's new Criss Cross Apron Pattern.

It reminds me of my Grandma Little's favorite apron style.

Mary NAILED IT when she designed this apron. During her recent visit, she showed us a version of her Criss-Cross apron, made out of IKEA fabric...
IKEA fabric is 54" wide, and it's a nice heavy, 100% cotton fabric.
PERFECT for aprons.

Right now, Mary is doing a tour of Minnesota libraries -- presenting her "Vintage Aprons" presentation. 
In this display, Mary has vintage aprons -- AND new Criss-Cross aprons made from IKEA fabrics.
Mary explained that the only way you can buy IKEA fabric is to go to a store IN PERSON. You cannot order it online...and they have a completely self-service system. You have to cut your fabric, and make out a proper ticket, with the right numbers, etc.

Obviously, I could hardly wait to GET TO AN IKEA STORE..!!

SO THIS IS MY MISSION....

Monday, February 19, 2018

Chicago Day Trip!!

I AM SUCH A LUCKY GIRL...!! Because of my job with Schmetz (the #1 most recognized brand in the sewing industry) -- I get to do three of my favorite things.

#1: I get to meet the MOST AMAZING PEOPLE in the sewing industry.
#2:  I  get to write about them, and tell their stories in "Inspired To Sew", the digital Schmetz magazine.
#3:  Often, I get to travel to exotic locations

Like -- last week -- C.H.I.C.A.G.O....

Rhonda Pierce, (the editor of Inspired To Sew)  put together a Designer Showcase, and I WAS SO EXCITED...!!

(Added bonus -- I get to spend a night in a beautiful brand new hotel..!).

But wait -- if I get into town early enough, I can GO SHOPPING AT IKEA..!!

For me, this is something I get to do about once every-other-year..!
This was the IKEA store in Bolingbrook, Illinois.
Chicago was recovering from a foot of snow, closed airports, typical winter blizzard conditions...
It was a 3 1/2 hour drive...and I was STARVING.  So I opted for the IKEA veggie balls and a piece of apple pie. My view out to the parking lot -- can you see the mountains of snow?  Good job, IKEA...
This was the inside view from my table.  I swear, IKEA has the BEST STUFF.
If I was starting over, my house would be FULL OF IKEA furniture. I love the look, and the vibe...it's all so clean and modern. I'd be all about bright pops of color, plastic furniture, and graphic rugs.

But, alas, my house is chock full of perfectly serviceable furniture...upholstered Lazyboy recliners, oak buffets and

And, who are we kidding?  I'll never get rid of the 60" round oak table I found with Kathy Keefer the week before we moved to Pennsylvania... or the "Mediterranean" bedroom set John and I bought when we moved into our first apartment in Virginia...

So, if I'm not going to buy furniture...what does IKEA have that I really, really want...

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Special Waffles

Lilly has recovered from the flu -- and went back to school this week!  (thanks for asking about her..)

My sister Deena is a BIG FAN of her vintage waffle maker. It makes a gigantic square 12" waffle that can be cut into four waffles...

Two years ago, she asked me to be on the lookout for this style of wafflemaker, because she would be LOST if hers ever quit working. (and it is almost 50 years old).

Since then, I found about six of them...I never pay more than $5.00.
I kept this one for myself...
Warren loves helping in the kitchen....
And making waffles is a NEW FAVORITE THING...!!
In the beginning, I wasn't sure how much batter to put in.
This thing makes PERFECT, crispy waffles!!...
The leftover waffles get frozen, and they make the PERFECT quick toaster breakfast.
As an experiment...before I poured the last batter into the wafflemaker -- I added some chopped apples and dried cranberries. I worried the fruit might make the waffles stick...
BUT THEY DIDN'T STICK AT ALL...and they were sooo delicious!!  I may have discovered an entire new food group...
This is Warren, giving waffles the official "thumbs up"...

Friday, February 16, 2018

Soup: Bowls and Spoons

It's just possible I've been a little too focused this winter on the SOUP. But, then again --
For me,a big part of the pleasure of soup comes from having the perfect bowls, the perfect spoons, and a nice cloth napkin.  I love all of that...and WHAT'S THE POINT IN HAVING ALL THAT, IF YOU DON'T USE IT??
My favorite soup bowls are heavy and flat, with a blue sponge background, and a winter log cabin scene.  (microwaveable, of course.)
I was  told there was flatware that matched my soup bowls -- so I am on the lookout!!  But, in the meantime, I found soup bowls, with the same wonderful shape -- but a different picture.  A snowman!!
The shape is identical -- so they stack beautifully...and I love these bowls.  The different scenes make it so much fun...and now I have about 20 of them...
And the spoons, of course, must be in an actual SPOONER..!!  This unusual spooner is  a totem face.
I have a beautiful little collection of  spooners.  This one (a favorite) has a crack in the bottom -- which just makes me love it all the more.
But I have so much flatware, I make spooners out of small vases, or crocks, or giant mugs...anything will do. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Warren's Army

I was taking care of the kids for a few days (parents in Florida)...and Lilly got sick. We're talking temperatures of 103.5, bloody nose, rushed to the Emergency Room at 4:00 AM SICK...
The E.R. swabbed her nose...yep....Influenza....there's nothing you can do for the flu...you just have to ride it out...
That was the bad news. The good news was that Warren was NOT sick...
Or...is that good news??
Warren was fine. And he is great at entertaining himself...
He loves to LINE THINGS UP....so he can play by himself for hours.
Before Warren was even born, I purchased a large box of hand-carved wooden soldiers...
Some of the soldiers are blue -- some are red...
There are flags, and cannons...and because these things are 30 or 40 years old...the glue is dry, and many little bits are falling apart...
So, I thought it would be a good project ot RE-GLUE some of these pieces...
Honestly, when you see the detail of this Army, it takes your breath away.  This horse has little chains for the bridle, and actual hair for a tail...the hand-painting is just painstaking and terrific...
All the red soldiers used to be holding these flags...that's how I knew they were painted in 1987...
Warren set up the various Armies in various ways...
Warren was entertained for HOURS by this activity...the fixing, the gluing, the setting-up...he had SUCH A GREAT TIME..!!
So, while Warren took care of his Army -- Sophie took care of Lilly...

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!!

I'm in Chicago today -- WORKING!!...

But I wanted to wish you a HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY....

Looking back at some earlier Valentine's posts...I especially loved our 2014 Impromptu Kiddo Party...
and, God knows -- the weather that year was similar!!

****************
(from 2014)
This year, February was about a whole lot more of a long hard winter. We'd been stuck in the house for weeks. This was the cold, gray view out our living room window...ugh...
We were all getting a little weary of the jigsaw-puzzle-a-thon...
There was always a new snow fall to deal with...
To get Lilly out of the house, one day I picked her up for a ride-a-long to the grocery store. HEY -- how exciting is it that Little Debbie makes heart shaped cupcakes for Valentine's Day??
Hummm...they would be good for a party, don't you think??  All we need is a few little kids...
AS RITALUCK WOULD HAVE IT -- it was a Wednesday, and I happen to know where there is a room full of beautiful friendly little kids...(here's the best part -- when I walk into the room -- they all run to give me a hug!  Yep -- this is the PERFECT crowd!)
My sister Deena has a "family supper" Wednesday night.  Lilly and I packed up our party bag, and put on our Valentine outfits....
We had gifts, snacks, and even a CRAFT activity!!  (Yes, I do have some Grandma game!)

Although, Grandma Deena and Mommy Brenda took the gluing of sparkle a little too seriously...
Lilly tried to line everybody up on the sofa -- so she could give them each a party gift...
A Valentine stuffed animal for everybody!
Parties can be a real pain. Sending invitations, cleaning, planning, cooking, shopping. Then, of course -- it can go up in smoke, depending on the weather or the road conditions. An impromptu party is NONE OF THAT. I had been collecting the various Valentine stuff for awhile...the heart shaped foam picture frames, some Valentine cards, many Valentine stuffed animals...it was a Party In A Bag just waiting to happen.

When I called Deena (at 4:00 PM) -- we decided the party would happen right after they they ate supper. The kids all had a GREAT TIME. The "Party" was over in about an hour. PERFECT for all of us!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mexican Turkey Soup

Another soup post....

I never have a recipe when I make soup...but I always have something in my mind...a reason, or an inspiration.

Lilly was sick. I made a turkey...there were leftovers....so there's my reason...


I had lunch at Chili's the other day with LP and Sandy -- and their Chicken Tortilla soup was DELICIOUS...so, there's my inspiration.

To begin:

I chopped a large onion, and five ribs of celery...then sauteed them in my soup pot with a little oil/butter.  When they were soft, I added some chicken soup base and water...then, I put in the turkey legs and wings into the pot to cook the meat off the bone.(simmered for about an hour).

I removed the bones, and added some cans from the pantry: corn, black beans, two cans of salsa...



I shredded the leftover turkey meat...and added it back into the soup.


I thought it was a little flat, so I added a packet of Taco seasoning...
PERFECT..!! It tastes exactly like I wanted it to taste...

After I ladled it into my soup bowl, I added a dollop of sour cream.
Oh, yes, this is some seriously good soup. Maybe my best effort yet...
Of course, you could add some shredded cheddar cheese at this point...or some corn chips...

but, then again, I'm trying to make better choices!!