Friday, January 23, 2015

Smoky Chicken Chili

Now that we are in place that actually experiences cold weather, I am happy to make soups, stews and chili.  We actually had a couple of pipes freeze one night a week or so ago.  I had been running the taps at night but I fell asleep in the family room and never made it to bed.  My husband didn't think about it when he went.  Oddly, I expected it that the frozen pipes would have been in the storage room but it was the pipes running above the ceiling in the downstairs kitchen.  Our house has 2 kitchens, but only 1 stove.  I use that kitchen as my stamping/sewing room.

I digress . . . I haven't made this chili in at least 5 years.  The last time I made it we lived in New Mexico and I came across the recipe in a Southern Living magazine.  I called my husband at work around lunch time and told him we were having this chili, salad and bread for dinner.  It worked, he made the effort to get home at a reasonable time. :)

Smoky Chicken Chili

2 poblano chile peppers, chopped
1 lg. red bell pepper, chopped
1 med. sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2T olive oil
2 (14.5 oz.) cans zesty diced tomatoes
3C shredded or chopped smoked chicken (1 lb.)
1 (16 oz.) can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1-1/2C low-sodium chicken broth
1 envelope white chicken chili seasoning mix

Saute the first 4 ingredients in hot oil in a large Dutch oven over med-high heat 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Stir in diced tomatoes and remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil over med.-high heat.  Reduce to low, simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.  Serve with desired toppings.  Yield: 9 cups

Toppings:  shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, lime wedges, sliced black olives, chopped red onion, tortilla chips.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt

Last spring I somehow came across Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, Celtic Solstice.  I saw that the instructions would soon come down and I downloaded them.  I ended up buying one of her books for the previous mystery quilt, which I also liked.  I made a mental note to do the mystery quilt this year.
In October she posted the paint chips to use a guide for the colors of the material.  I was at Lowe's that day getting the colors.  I started buying material that weekend.  It was really hard to find the blue/aqua color and I didn't buy all that I needed.  It wasn't until I was doing the first clue that I realized I still needed 1/2 a yd.  I wrote on the paint chips how much material I bought of each color at what store.  I took pictures with the fabric and the receipt (or something that tied it to that store) so I could easily know where to go to if I wanted more of a material.

Here's the thing, the first clue is posted the day after Thanksgiving.  A much better way to spend Black Friday than shopping in my opinion, but I didn't start then because we had company, I needed to decorate the house for Christmas and then there were those Christmas cards I had to finish and get in the mail.

I started 2 days after Christmas on a Saturday and worked like crazy to get all the clues done by the reveal, which came a day early.

 Clue 1 - 100 broken dish units and 80 half square triangles
 Clue 2 - 100 double diamond units
 Clue 3 - 120 units
 Clue 4 - 40 of each broken dish unit (note the pink/white are reversed)
Clue 5 - 4 of the pink blocks and 25 of the blue blocks
 Clue 6 - Putting together 25 of these squares (12-1/2")

Clue - (no picture) we had to sew 2 of the rectangles from clue 3 together (black in the center) and cut 36 squares from the aqua fabric.

This next picture is before the borders are sewn on.  I have to be honest, when I saw the reveal picture, I wasn't jazzed with it.  It looked like some sort of a pixelated image and I was disappointed.  Now that it is done, I'm quite happy with it.  It is bold and bright. 
I'm binding it with pink.  I am still hand-stitching it to the back but it is pieced and I quilted it Saturday.

If you want to download the instructions you can find them HERE.  I thought she took them down June 1st but in some post, it is mentioned that it will come off of the blog to be published sometime in the spring.  

I'm happy to be starting 2015 off with a completed queen-sized quilt. 
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Cards

Along with the other two cards I posted, I sent these out.  I think I mailed off 87 cards this year.  These can be found on Pinterest.

Cheerful Christmas
 Endless Wishes
 Festival of Trees
 Festival of Trees/Frosty
 Festival of Trees
 More Merry Messages
 Ornamental Pine
 Paper Pumpkin
 White Christmas
 White Christmas
 Wondrous Wreath
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Bauble

I liked this stamp because it reminded me of the vintage ornaments that hung on our tree when I was a kid.  Of all the ornaments that hung the ones I thought were prettiest had the circle in the center that indented and shined with gold and perhaps had some glitter for sparkle.

This picture doesn't show it, but I stamped the ornament twice, cutting out the center on the second.  I stamped an extra holly portion from the ornament as well.  The holly is in 3 layers and the ornament in 2.

Stamps:  Christmas Bauble, Ornamental Pine
CS:  Crumb Cake, Old Olive
Ink:  Tuxedo Black, Old Olive
Blendabilities:  Old Olive, Coastal Cabana, Rich Razzleberry, Daffodil Delight, Cherry Cobbler
Markers:  Old Olive, Soft Suede
Misc.:  Filigree Frame EF, Dazzling Diamonds, dimensionals, white pen, sponge

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Friday, December 12, 2014

VC Rocks Blog Hop

This weekend is the first time VC Rocks has held a blog hop in December!  So happy to have a chance to share one of the cards I've made for Christmas. I'll share another card later but this is my favorite of the two I plan to put on my blog.  I've made 80 cards out of 14 designs.  The card above is the 1 and only I'm making of this style.

Stamps:  Wondrous Wreath
Framelit:  Wonderful Wreath
Embossing Folder:  Stylish Stripes
CS:  Pool Party, WW, Island Indigo, Crumb Cake, Silver Foil, Silver Fancy Foil Vellum, All is Calm DP, Quatrefancy DP
Ink:  Crumb Cake, Pool Party, Island Indigo
Misc.:  Multipurpose Adhesive Sheets (for "Noel"), banner punch

I stamped off the Crumb Cake before stamping on the CS for a lighter shade.  I did the same thing for the bow using Island Indigo.  I put a piece of Pool Party CS under the vellum banner strip.

Now to clean up my stamp room and start addressing envelopes. :)

This isn't a formal hop.  When people want to link up, they can.  You can check HERE throughout the weekend to see what has been shared.
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

White Christmas Ornament

This ornament is one of the things I made to give the Young Women at church an idea.  I had a lot of these ornament halves and offered that they could make ornaments along with the cards and the baby hats they were knitting.  The cards and ornaments are going to go to an assisted living facility when they go caroling next month.  The baby hats are going to be an ongoing project to donated to a hospital later.

I used Crystal Effects to attach the ornament to the background.

Stamps:  Holiday Home, White Christmas
CS:  Soft Sky, WW
Ink:  Tuxedo Black
Misc.:  Markers, 2-way glue pen, dazzling diamonds, crystal effects, dimensionals, snowflakes (from craft store)

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Christmas Tree

This seems to be the year for me to re-create crafts that I did with my mom or that she made.  In the early 80's, a friend of my mother's had us over and we sat at her kitchen table each making a tree like this.  I always liked that tree and decided this would be the year I would make it again.

All you need to make it is 30 feet of plush garland.  6 wire hangers.  Zip ties or twist ties.  A strand of lights.  I think we used a strand of 100 mini lights so many years ago.  I've been debating this in my mind though.  50 seemed like it would be enough and 100 perhaps too much.  I was at the hardware store today and saw a box of 70 lights and figured it was middle of the road . . . perfect.  The bulbs were a little bigger than the typical strand of lights, this could work too.  Having made the tree I have mixed thoughts on the lights.  I would opt for the 100 bulb strand to have more lights, but then, I like lights.  I like the bulbs of what I used today because they stand out more when the tree isn't lit.  You decide which is better if you choose to make it.
It is so worth it to buy quality garland instead of the flat cheap stuff.  You can use the flat garland, but you will need more of it.  I used 2 - 15 foot strands for this tree.
First off, you need to make 3 sets of the hangers.  You can see I used zip ties at the top and on the sides.  It doesn't matter if the hook part of the hanger is up or down, it's all the same in the end.
I didn't take pictures of the part where I put them together, just the end result.  Simply put the leg of one set through the middle of the other, matching the top point at the center.  Repeat the step with the third set of hangers.  Secure them together with zip ties.  Do your best to have the base of the tree evenly spaced between hangers. Trim the zip ties.
Put the flat plug down the center of the hanger and start attaching the lights with the zip ties.
It is important to keep the wire tight toward the bottom.  At the top, you are able to tuck the wire in toward the center because the hangers are so close together.  I had to re-attach a couple of rows on the bottom because it was too loose.  If it is too loose, you use more garland to cover up the wires and it will look off with bulk and lights being hidden.   BE SURE THE PLUG IS AT THE BOTTOM SO YOU CAN PLUG IT IN WHEN YOU ARE DONE.
Start the garland the same way you did the lights with the end down the center.
Wrap it tightly around the wire frame.  No need to secure with glue, etc.  It will be fine.
When you finish the strand, you can wrap it around a wire from the frame or the center, leaving a little loop so you can feed the end through the center and pull it tight.  This will keep it from unraveling.
My tree with the 30 feet of garland and 70 lights.
Lit up.  I still need to make a star for the top but I'm happy to have it made.

It took less than 2 hours to make this.  I walked the dog during that time and had to rewrap the bottom part of my lights.  Overall, a quick easy craft that is nice for Christmas in your home, office, a gift, for a child away from home to snazz up their space.  

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