My friend Michelle has been helping me in the garden this year in exchange for a share of the bounty. It has been a boon!
We dug the garden, corralled chickens, planted all the plants and seeds (on time, even early) — which I’ve never managed to do before. She keeps me on top of things and inspires me to keep up with weeding, watering, and harvesting.
It’s lovely to have a partner.
I know all my plants, she knows all her plants, but I can’t seem to remember which is a mung bean and which ones are chickpeas. And she can’t remember which peas are for shelling and which ones are for stir-fry.
I don’t think either of us remembers what tomato plant is what because we have 12 of them out there now!
We wrote it all down as we planted, but when we are out weeding and poking around, it would be so nice to just look down and know.
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I love toast! I was freaking *de-light-ed* in Chicago and went into a japanese toy store and saw Kawaii Toast! So cute! Love them! But I didn’t really want a keychain. Or a coin purse. I just wanted a little toast to bring me joy and hang out on my shelf.
So, surprise surprise, I made it myself! And here’s how you can too!
The thing that keeps me from eating out more than anything else is an easy, delicious, fast meal. Jason and I will hit that 7:00PM wall where dinner really needs to be on the table like a half hour ago, we’re both hungry, we are both tired from working all day, and I don’t really want to spend an hour in the kitchen making a fill-in-the-blank-overly-ambitious-item-on-my-meal-plan. So we go out to eat. And by the time we’ve let Bob out, crated him, decided where to go, ordered, and gotten our food I realize “wow, that took (at least) a half hour and I could have made fill-in-the-blank-easy-item-on-my-meal-plan in just 20 minutes”. I’ve decided to start stacking the odds in my favor and I make sure to always have the ingredients on hand for the follow 5 meals.The staples of which can be used for other great things like salads or just hang out in the freezer until it’s time to make them.
One: While I try to eat healthy, I see these dinners as a boost to keep me on track to eating at home and cooking our own food, not Ideal dinners for healthy living. So using the microwave (which I try my best to avoid), and canned foods (another usual to avoid) comes into play.
Two:The fresh weekly items are a regular group of staples I tend to always have because they are pretty much salad ingredients and/or common for other recipes I make each week. So they are eaten often enough to always just keep them around.
I know, totally not the most “healthy” meal, but commme-onnnnn, who does really deep down love spaghetti from a jar. In the Pantry/Freezer:
All you have to go is boil some noodles, grab your meat/veg of choice, saute it up in a pan, add the sauce and boom, dinner! We round it with a salad (lettuce, tomatoes + whatever cheese is in the house) and toast (whatever bread item is in the house). It feels fancy and put together, and takes about 15 minutes.
This is another lovely meal that tastes great, tacos are my favorite, looks super put together, and takes just 15 minutes to make, maybe 20 depending on the rice. In the Pantry/Freezer:
Start up the spanish rice (I like zatteran’s the best), brown/hydrate your “meat”, add the seasoning and let simmer, chop up the veggies for the filling, and then warm up the refried beans. And that’s it!
This is probably the fastest and most nostalgic recipe on the list. Love this combo, it’s warm and tasty, and makes me think of sitting at the kitchen counter watching my mom make it when I was a kid. I’ve added the avocado and tomato since living on my own, but the memories are all the same. In the Pantry:
This is Jason’s go-to when I’m out of town, that’s how easy and delicious it is! In the Pantry/Freezer:
Thaw the chicken ahead of time if you think of it in the morning, place a chicken breast in a bowl of water if you think of it 2 hours before dinner, or use the (least preferred) microwave to thaw it out in a pinch (adds about 15 minutes to total time). I looked for a recipe for how I make it, and couldn’t find it. So what I do is: (1) chop up the chicken so it’s bite sized, (2) heat up a pan with about 1T olive oil in it, (3) toss in the walnuts, raisins, and any veggies, remove the walnuts and raisins still pretty firm, (4) cook the chicken and add about 1T curry powder (to taste), (5) cover it until the chicken is cooked, (6) toss the walnuts and such back in, then dump loads of honey into the mix. Add-ons:If it’s watery I’ll add a little corn starch or arrow root. If I have it, I’ll add a small (4 oz) can of coconut milk. Then I serve it over the rice with a salad in a bowl on the side. If you want (leave me a comment if you do), I can post a better step by step recipe post on it’s own.
This is another oldie but goodie. My mom first got the recipe from our neighbor Deb. I got the recipe from my memory. I’m not sure how true it is to Deb’s version (step in here in the comments Deb if you see this!), but I still make it all the time and LOVE it. Jason’s always impressed. It takes about 20 minutes to make if the meat’s thawed, about 30 if I need to zap it in the microwave. In the Pantry/Freezer:
Here’s how I make it:Start up the rice first, cut the round steak into bite sized (about 1/2″ wide and 2″ long), saute the garlic, onions and peppers in a little olive oil. Remove from the pan. Cook the beef until it’s just about done, mix together 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup hot water, and 1 T corn starch and add to the beef. Let simmer until the sauce thickens, add the veggies back to the mix. Add either 1 Large diced tomato OR one can (drained) diced tomatoes. Serve over the rice.
Happy cooking! Kristin Roach
Way back in 2006 I wrote one of my very first sewing patterns, a little quilted pot holder. The idea was good, but even back then it didn’t turn out quite right. So, as I’ve been poking around in the archive, I came across it and decided to remake it how I had always pictured it in my mind. That and I need some new pot holders around the house!
1 – 9×9″ heat resistant fabric (silver fabric, thinner than you’d think sold in the utility fabric section).
Keep the tension loose when quilting all the layers together or it will pinch the fabric too much
An earlier version of this pattern was published in November of 2006 on the Craft Leftovers Blog. Here I’ve remade it, updated the pattern instructions, and added more photos of course!
Step One: If you are working from a pile of scraps, piece them all together so you have two 9×9″ squares. Now don’t be lazy and go ahead and press those seams as you go. You won’t be able to show off that pot holder with pride if it’s all lumpy.
Step Two: Layer all your pieces together like so: Contrasting fabric right side down, batting, heat resistant fabric right side up, main fabric right side up.
Step Three: Pin layers and stitch two intersecting lines. Sew two more sets of intersecting lines like so:
It’s helpful to do a basting stitch (long straight stitch) around all four sides to hold all the layers in place.
Mark out the second set of lines by measuring 3″ from the center line. I used a quilting ruler that just happened to be 6″ wide. Lucky me!
Step Four: Sew on the bias tape. Now you’ll do this just like the edging of the quilt:
A: Pin to one side, right sides together, and stitch.
Just make a little pleat to turn the corner.
Flip the bias tape right side out and it will naturally want to wrap around the edge.
B: Turn over the edge, pin in place, and stitch again. Done.
I opted to stitch this last step up by hand, but you can use a machine just as easily.
I made Molly a cat hoodie quite some time ago. Jason and I thought RapCat (checkers’ commercials) was just too ridiculous and therefore, pretty funny. We invented a scenario where RapCat was Molly’s secret lover and it was a long standing, pretty bizarre, joke. We even joked about Molly wearing RapCat’s hoodie, you know, the blue and blue one. We laughed so hard about it…. and then I made one for her and we laughed some more. And the really funny thing is she doesn’t mind wearing it at all!
Now I know that a lot of cats would have serious objections with any kind of hoodie being put on them, even if knit with the most love. So some other ideas for the hoodie – Big Panda Plushies, A willing stout puppy dog (a little pug maybe?), you get the idea.
CO 68 sts with CC; join in the round and place marker at beginning of round, being careful not to twist stitches.
Work 2X2 rib (k2, P2) for 5 rows.
Change to MC, St st until piece measures 6 inches from cast on edge.
BO 12 sts – right armhole, k10 – front stitches, BO 12 sts – left armhole, k to marker – back stitches.
Back stitches only:
Row 1: Turn work, purl to BO sts – left armhole (34 sts). Row 2: Turn work, k1, k2tog, knit to last 3 sts, ssk, k1.
Repeat rows 1 & 2 three times total. Break yarn.
Front stitches only:
Rejoin yarn at the front section so you start with a knit row.
St st 8 rows. (there are more rows on the front than the back to accommodate the upturn of the neck on a feline.
Knit to end of front stitches; turn, cast on 8 using cable cast on, turn; k back stitches; turn, CO8 using cable cast on, turn; join in the round, k5. Turn, pm, purl 1 round to marker.
Row 1: Turn, k1, ssk, k to 3 sts before marker, k2tog, k1.
Row 2: Turn, purl to marker.
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 six times total — 12 sts decreased (42 sts remaining).
Change to CC, repeat rows 1&2 three times — six stitches decreased; 36 sts total.
K12, pm, k12, pm, k12, turn. — Place Markers used are the same as placed in the neck section.
Row 1: Purl to one stitch before marker, m1, p1, sl marker; purl to marker, sl marker, p1, m1, purl to end, turn.
Row 2: Knit all, turn.
Repeat rows 1&2 six times total (48 sts).
Purl all one row.
Knit to second marker, remove marker, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl1, purl to marker, remove marker, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 1: Sl1 purlwise, knit to stitch before gap, ssk (one stitch from each side of the gap), k1, turn.
Row 2: Sl1 purlwise, purl to stitch before gap, p2tog, p1, turn.
Repeat rows 1&2 until all stitches have been worked. The last row you work will not have a k1 or a p1 after the ssk or the p2tog.
(K2, p2) to end. Pick up and work stitches continuing 2×2 rib along neck line, down one side and up the other, end with a p2, pm and join in the round.
Repeat (k2, p2) to end of round for 2 rounds. BO in pattern. Cut yarn, weave in ends.
Switch to dpns if necessary and pick up and knit 34 in CC color around one leg hole, pm, join in the round.
Knit 13 rounds.
Decrease 10 sts evenly by k2tog.
Knit 6 rounds.
Change to MC, (k2, p2) to end of round, repeat for 4 more rounds, BO all stitches in pattern.
Repeat for second Leg. Weave in all ends and slip on your kitty.
I think Miss Molly will enjoy it this win- ter for running outside (we walk with her outside in the morning, it’s too cold in the winter and she gets all stir crazy). Maybe some kitty booties will be in the near future too!
Here are the filofax printables that I laid out in InDesign. You can download them by clicking here.
I like to plan out the main things that need to be done each week. I try to space them out so I don’t feel like I have to do everything on Monday or leave it all to Friday.
Usually, there are a bunch of little things I need to get done each day, so I start out my morning by making a list of all those. Things like packing orders, making kits, finishing a post, cleaning the cat box out, taking chicken out of the freezer to thaw by noon so it’s ready for dinner, returning library books, etc.
For each big project I have, I like to write down the main deadlines and then next steps I need to work on towards getting it done.
I tend to scribble meeting notes on whatever scrap of paper is around and promptly loose them. By giving them their own little sheet, I can fill out the main points and then file it under the project or in a folder in my filing cabinet with that project/organization information.
I actually have these filled out before hand because they stay the same each week. Each monday I clean the cat litter, do laundry; tuesday I clean the ferret cage and mop; and so on through the week. I check them off each week and it gives me an extreme sense of satisfaction. I use the fly lady system, so it’s based off her weekly routine plan.
Just like the weekly routine, these are the things I do each day. Do the dishes, drink loads of water, take Jak for a walk, feed and water all pets, let the chickens on the hen house, put the chickens into the hen house (they are still too young to know that’s where they should be at night).
And that’s that. Combined with some blank card stock, graph paper, and my blog planning pages, my little organizer is very well stocked.
Oh and I just started using the mayo clinic “healthy weight” food log, so I’m going to lay those out onto little pages too and fill my organizer with that as well. But I’ll respect their copyright and won’t be posting that here. You can, however, get loads of great info on their website. More on the health and fitness thing over on Kristinmroach if you are into that kind of thing.
Until Next Time!
Over the last 3 or so years, there have been a lot of emails about how to shorten up the Mosaic scarf. It’s long. Really long. So long that I must admit I only wore it a couple of times. I could literally wrap it 5 times around my neck. Now that is a little out of control.
So, the Mosaic’s Little Sister was born and she’s just a little more than half the length of the original–approximately 60″ give or take some tassels.
Here’s how to whip her up.
This stitch pattern can be found in The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches by Reader’s Digest
14sc = 4 inches
1 pattern repeat = 4 1/2”
(I find it funny that for the first 2 years of Craft Leftovers, maybe even longer, I consistently spelled gauge “guage”)
Row 1: Using MC, work 1 sc into 2nd ch from hook, 1sc into each ch to end. Turn.
Row 2: Using MC, 1ch, work 1sc into ech sc to end, turn.
Row 3: Using CC1, 3ch (counts as 1dc, skip 1st sc, 1dc into next sc, 1hdc into next sc, 1sc into next sc, *2ch, skip 2sc, 1sc into next sc, 1 hdc into next sc, 1 dc into each of next 2sc, 1tr into each of next 2sc, 1dc into each of next 2sc, 1hdc into next sc, 1sc into next sc; rep from * to last 6sc, 2ch, skip 2sc, 1sc into next sc, 1hdc into next sc, 1dc into each of last 2sc, turn.
Row 4: Using CC1, 3ch, skip 1st dc, work 1dc into next dc, 1hdc into next hdc, 1sc into next sc, *2ch, 1sc into next sc, 1hdc into next hdc, 1dc into each of next 2dc, 1tr into each of next 2tr, 1dc into each of next 2dc, 1hdc into next hdc, 1sc into next sc; rep from * to last 6 sts, 2ch, 1sc into next sc, 1hdc into next hdc, 1dc into next dec, 1dc into 3rd of 3ch at beg of previous row,
Row 5: Using MC, 1ch, work 1sc into each of 1st, (inserting hook from front of work, work 1sc into each of 2 free sc in CC1 3 rows below), *1sc into each of next 10 sts on previous row, work 2sc 3 rows below as before; rep from * to last 4 sts, 1sc into 3rd of 3ch at beg of previous row. Turn.
Row 6: Using MC, 1ch, work 1sc into each sc to end. Turn.
Row 7: Using CC2, 1ch *work 1sc into 1st sc, 1hdc into next sc, 1dc into each of next 2sc, 1tr into each of next 2sc (should line up with the 2spk sts), 1dc into each of next 2sc, 1hdc into next sc, 1sc into next sc, 2ch, skip 2sc; repeat from * to end omitting 2ch at end of last rep. Turn.
Row 8: Using CC2, 1 ch, *work 1sc into next sc, 1hdc into next hdc, 1dc into each of next 2dc, 1tr into each of next 2tr, 1dc into each of next 2dc, 1hdc into next hdc, 1sc into next sc, 2ch; rep from * to end omiting 2ch at end of last rep. Turn.
Row 9: Using MC, 1ch, *1sc into each of next 10 sts, inserting hook from front of work, work 1sc into each of 2 free sc in MC 3 rows below; repeat from * to end omitting 2sc at end of last repeat. Turn.
Repeat row 2.
Cut yarn, pull through loop, and weave in all ends.
On a side note, if left in a pile on any surface, this scarf becomes an insta-kitty-attractor cat bed.
When we got Jak last month, I thought I was being oh so smart by getting a dog bed with a removable cover. The theory was that I could just take off the cover, give it a wash, and be good to go again. Well, that’s true except in the case of accidents where the whole thing gets soaked through. Next time I’ll make sure to get a cover that’s water proof as well as removable. Ah well. Hopefully we have dealt with the last of the pee issues.
We’ve found that Jak has some separation anxiety issues starting about a week and a half ago and consistently messes in his crate every time we leave or go to sleep for the night. Usually within 15 minutes of us leaving too. Gross.
I had to toss the whole inside filler because there was no way to clean it, it was soaked through. I did actually try, but it just shredded the “fabric” that the stuffing was contained in. Bah.
It was surprisingly easy, so I thought I would share this with you, just in case you have a pet with a bed that needs a new inside.
First: Measure your dog bed cover. Mine is 36″ x 60″. (Jak is a huge dog.) Add 8″ to the length and width to allow for the stuffing. I honestly skipped the width part because I didn’t want to sew on a panel of fabric. My fabric was exactly 36″ wide.
Second: Cut two pieces of fabric that size. The seam allowances will make it slightly smaller so it fits well. Prewash and dry them so they don’t shrink if you have to ever wash the inside. (I used muslin because I have a bolt of it and it’s cheap.)
Third: Round up a pile of polyfil. I have a whole box that I had purchased wholesale years ago. I was on a knit plush kick and was going through bags of the stuff. Of course as soon as I got the 5 lb box, (just think about how much polyfil it takes to measure 5 lbs!) I stopped. Ha. Anyway, it took about 2 pounds to fill Jak’s bed. But it’s pretty huge.
Forth: Sew it. It’s a big rectangle, so just stitch around the entire thing, leaving one side open. I used 1/2″ seam allowances and did a straight stitch and then a zig zag stitch over that. Extra sturdy was the idea. Turn the whole thing right sides out and stuff with chunks of polyfil. You only need to fill it loosely, don’t pack it.
Last: Tuck the open edges under and sew shut. Make sure to lock the stitches at the beginning and end so it doesn’t unravel. Shove into the freshly washed cover, zip it shut, and give back to your pup.
Oh and happily, after figuring out that it’s not a house training issue, we’ve been able to work on it. We’ve figured it’s a combo of three things – schedule change, irritable bowel syndrome (I kid you not), and separation anxiety. Poor guy. But hey we are on day 2 of no messes, whew! Yeah Jak! That’s a good dog!
One of the things I wanted to work on this year was reading. And I have. In fact, I’ve worked on it a lot. It seemed only right to make a new bookmark to mark my place. I’ve already read more books this year than I did in all of last year! It started when I got sick and didn’t have anything to do but read. It’s like I caught the reading bug.
And that’s it, all finished. These are so easy to whip together too. I’m sure you will like making it just as much as you enjoy tucking yourself in with your favorite read.
What have I been reading? Well, I tend to read a lot of non-fiction, usually pertaining to whatever I’m currently interested in. Right now I’m reading a book on dog training. Before that, I read about having an The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series)and getting my finances in order with The Simple Dollar. And, of course, just about any book on herbalism I can get my hands on because I’m taking a year long course: The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook, Healing Wise, The Herbalist’s Way and a few others I can’t remember off the top of my head.
How do I find time to read? Well, have you ever read Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham? That’s pretty much my approach to reading–in a house, with a mouse, on a train, in the rain, here and there and on the roof. Seriously, I find I get the most reading done right in the morning while eating breakfast, on my lunch break, and any other odd chance I get–while cycling at the gym, while waiting for a train to go by in the car, I just make sure to have a book on hand so I’m ready to go.
Happy crafting and bookishness!
Winter is always the season of weaving for me. With my overly large floor room, it’s the only time of year that I’m okay being tucked into my basement studio for hours shuttling back and forth. I turn on the space heater, bring down a pot of tea and put it on my candle warmer. [...]