Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Green Drink - Frozen

One of my favorite breakfasts in the summer is a good smoothie.  One of the healthiest options is the green drink (you know the ones with spinach.)  The problem with these spinach drinks is that most mornings are so crazy for me that I don't take the time to clean and chop up all the fruit necessary to make one of these healthy concoctions. Then, one day, I saw the greatest idea on Pinterest. (I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest that I will go into another day) The idea is that you make a big batch of the green drink and then freeze it in muffin cups to be used on other days.  Genius!  So, I thought I would give it a try.  This is what I did.....
Day 1:

 Fill your blender about a third of the way full of baby spinach.  Then fill it the rest of the way with fruit.  I used apple, banana (a must!), strawberries, half an orange (my son just had to have the other half), and frozen raspberries (love them!!)  Then add water to the blender to just above the spinach line.

Turn on the blender and let it go for two to three minutes until completely smooth.

You will notice that my drink is not quite as bright green and lovely as some of the others you may have seen.  That is due to my addition of the red fruits.  If you want a brighter green drink, stick with the whiter fruits.  Personally, I don't mind the brownish green look, especially considering the health benefits of berries. (Plus, I really love how they taste)

Now carefully pour the mixture into standard size muffin cups and freeze.  Once frozen, remove from the cups and store in a freezer bag.  I suggest you use silicone muffin pans if you have them.  This would be much easier, since I had to dip the bottoms of my muffin pans in hot water to remove these babies, but I don't have silicone, so I did what I had to.

Day 2:

Take 2 of your frozen disks of spinach drink and throw them in the blender.  Add liquid and blend until smooth.  (I use juice or water with a little bit of honey.)  Enjoy a healthy breakfast drink in no time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

And They're Off!

I have had two quilt tops pieced for several months now - just sitting around waiting for me to baste, quilt, and bind them.  Finishing those two quilts are two of the projects on my 100 project list.  Today, I decided to send them both off to be quilted by a professional on a long arm quilter.  I really didn't want to face wrestling with the larger one on my machine.  I am also ready for something different than the straight line quilting I always do.  I have tried free motion quilting on my machine, but every time I do, my machine ends up in the shop.  (We finally found there is some sort of defect that causes the feed dogs to jam up and my machine loses its timing.  So, no free motion quilting for me - at least until I get a new machine.)  So, with all those reasons in mind, I prepared the quilt to be shipped off, then I decided if I am paying for postage on one, I might as well throw the baby quilt in with it.  It feels so good to have them both off and know that I only have to bind them when they get back next month.  I can't wait!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Simple Lined Zippered Pouch Tutorial

A lined zippered pouch is simple to make. This tutorial walks you through how to do it. Don't let zippers intimidate you.  Once you figure out how to use your zipper foot, it is smooth sailing.

 You can make your pouch in any size you would like/need.  You are only limited by your zipper size. 
First, cut two pieces of outer fabric and two pieces of lining fabric.  The width needs to be the same length as your zipper.  The length can be whatever you would like.  My pieces were about 7 inches by 4 inches. (My zipper is actually a 5 inch zipper, but you need to include the entire length of the zipper tape when measuring the width of your fabric for these pouches.)

Second, lay your lining fabric down, right side up.  Then lay your zipper down on the lining fabric, right side up, lining up the edges.

Next, lay your outer fabric down wrong side up.  Line up the edge with the edges of your zipper and lining fabric.  It would probably be a good idea to pin these together to prevent shifting when sewing.  I hate pinning and avoid it if I can, so I didn't pin these.  I just made sure that I held them together well, so if you are confident you can do this. skip the pinning, if not, put three of four pins along the edge.

Put your zipper foot on your machine and move the needle over to the furthest left position.  Stitch as close to the zipper teeth as possible, all along the edge.

 Now, flip the  fabric to the other side of the zipper and you will see that you have attached your lining and outer fabric to the zipper in a nice finished way.  Repeat with your other piece of lining fabric and outer fabric on the other side of the zipper. (Lining fabric right side up, then zipper right side up, the outer fabric right side down and stitch as close to the zipper teeth as possible.)  Now some people would tell you to press the pouch at this point and top stitch along the edge of the fabric, next to the zipper.  I skip this step, but feel free to do it, if you would like.

Next, open the zipper at least part way.  This is important if you ever want to be able to turn your pouch right side out again after stitching it all together.

Now, flip the fabrics so the outer fabrics are right sides together and the lining fabrics are right sides together.  Pin your fabrics in place, paying special attention to where they meet up at the zipper. Replace your zipper foot with your standard foot.  Begin stitiching an inch or two in from the corner of the bottom of your lining fabric.  I backstitch as I am beginning this seam.  Use a 5/8 inch seam.  Zippers are designed for clothing, and clothing is constructed with 5/8 inch seams, so you need to use this size seam in order for this pouch to work out properly around the zipper.   Now stitch all the way around the square of fabrics.  Make sure you stop stitching about 3 inches before meeting where you began stitching at the bottom of the lining fabric and backstitch.  This will give you an opening for turning.  Clip your corners and turn the lining right side out.  Work your corners out and then press the bottom or the lining fabrics, so that the opening is pressed in and looks finished.

Then stitch the opening closed as close to the edge as you can.

Finish turning the pouch right side out, working out the corners.  Then push the lining back inside.  Press nicely and Voila!  A cute zippered pouch in no time!!!

This one is going to be used as a gift bag for my sisters birthday present!

A few different zippered pouches are available in the shop.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cleaning the Dishwasher

I have been seeing a lot of pins on pinterest lately about cleaning your dishwasher.  I am almost embarrassed to admit, that I have never done this.  Of course, I have wiped down the outside, but it never occurred to me to clean the inside.  It was always washing dishes, so therefore, wasn't it just self cleaning?  Apparently, I was not alone in my misconception.  Today, I decided to give my dishwasher its first good cleaning - inside and out.

This is my embarrassing before picture.  We have really hard water here, and apparently the drying agent I have been adding to my dishwasher isn't doing that great of a job.  Anyway, I cleaned out the filters on the dishwasher.  Luckily nothing too gross here, but I did find a couple of shards of glass from a drinking glass that had broken in there awhile ago.

Then I gave all the areas that are closed up during the washing process a good scrub.  (i.e. the spaces the door covers when it closes, but the water doesn't get to while it is washing dishes.)  I had to use a toothpick to get some of the gunk out of the corners on the bottom ledge.

I then scrubbed the inside ledges on the door.

I read quite a few different methods for cleaning the inside of the dishwasher, and finally decided to combine two of the ones that I liked best.  First, I added two tablespoons of citric acid to the detergent cup.  (I get citric acid at a health food store, but if you can't find it, some tutorials on pinterest were saying you can use tang or lemon Kool Aid powder because they contain citric acid.)
I then filled a heavy old mug with white vinegar and put it in the middle of the top rack of the dishwasher.  I closed up the empty dishwasher and ran a full cycle with the hottest water I could.

While it was running, I gave the outside of the dishwasher a good cleaning.

These are my results.  Still a few hard water marks, but sooooo much better.  I think those will clear up with regular cleaning.  Seriously, not bad for cleaning up a few years of accumulation.

And remember that old crusty detergent cup?  Much better!!
I will now be adding "clean the dishwasher - inside and out" to my quarterly cleaning list.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bouquet of Shamrocks

I saw this adorable idea for a bouquet of shamrocks at simple as that.  I have absolutely no St. Patricks day decor, so I decided that I had to make these.  Quick, easy, cute and I had everything on hand.  They add some seasonal fun to our hook shelf in the entry.  (Now if I can just finish up the rest of it.)  Click here for the simple instructions on how to make these at simple as that.
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