Thursday, February 26, 2009

Light Turkey Meatballs


3 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
1/4 cup whole milk
1-1/2 lbs. ground turkey (93% lean, dark meat)
3 scallions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
salt & pepper

Place bread in a food processor; pulse until fine crumbs form. In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs with milk; set aside at least 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine turkey, scallions, garlic, parsley, egg, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and breadcrumb mixture. Mix gently with a fork.

I use a cookie scoop to form meatballs & then place on a parchment lined baking sheet. To freeze, place baking sheet with meatballs in the freezer & freeze for 1 hour to set their shape. Transfer meatballs to an air tight container or a ziploc bag & store in freezer for up to 3 months.


I doubled this recipe & it made enough for 4 meals of spaghetti & meatballs. Now I have a big batch of meatballs in the freezer just ready to be pulled out for an easy, quick dinner later.

To cook, heat meatballs in a skillet until browned, 5-7 minutes. Add a jar of spaghetti sauce & cook until heated through, 5 minutes. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Daily Affirmations


We've got some new prints in the shop. I'm so excited about these. Printed on a pretty neutral brown kraft paper & sized perfectly for framing at 8" x 10". I also imagine these looking really nice clipped to an inspiration line. The captions are taken from song lyrics & the buyer can choose which color they'd like each print in. I can't even decide which one is my favorite. I love them all. They make the most perfect gifts as well. A sweet sentiment handsomely framed for all the dear ones in your life? Sounds perfect to me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Work It!


I've been adding a sticker to the calendar for every day that I exercise. In fact just before sitting down to write this, I added another sticker for today. I haven't missed a day since starting my routine on the 9th & I must say that I'm pretty proud of myself. Although I do love how good I feel when I'm exercising on a normal basis, it's hard for me to find time to fit it in & quite frankly I'd rather spend my extra time doing something else...like sewing. I decided it was time to get my butt in gear. I want to feel better about myself & I want to look better.

Somebody said that you have to think of exercise like something you just have to do each day, like making dinner or giving the kids a bath...You just have to do it. I picked a time in my day when I could fit it in. Just after I drop Sadie off at preschool in the afternoon & I lay Claire down for her nap. I'm don't allow myself to look at the computer or do housework, I have to go straight to the DVD player & put on my workout disc. No getting sidetracked. I'm doing the Slim in 6 program. I struggled the first 2 days with super sore muscles & I just didn't have the stamina or strength to do the entire program without taking breaks. I could only do 3 push ups when starting...now I can do 20 or more.

I'm not seeing results on the scale yet, but I can definitely see that I'm getting stronger & tighter. My pants are a little loose around my waist & I'm seeing muscle definition. The program has 3 levels. You do each level for 2 weeks & then move up to the next. I just started the second level yesterday & it's kicking my butt big time, but I'm excited to keep going & gain the strength to master this one & be able to move up yet again.

I originally started out with the plan that I'd buy myself an iPod if I get through the whole 6 weeks. I thought I needed that motivation. But I'm not even thinking about that iPod anymore. All I'm thinking about is what I'll look like in the end.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cute Girl In New Glasses


Sadie got a new prescription on her glasses last week & we were able to get her some new frames. She got her last frames when she was 2 years old. We were happy to have so many more options this time around. She's pretty pleased with them & so are we.

(The dress she's wearing in this photo was made by her Aunt Lilia.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cutting Fabric, A Few Tips


A reader recently e-mailed me asking about how I cut fabric. When you first start sewing it sometimes seems difficult to get a nice polished look to your projects & most of them end up looking a bit wonky. This will go away the more that you practice, but here are a few tips that will help in achieving a great end product. Because you don't want to spend all that time working on something just to be disappointed in the end, right?

* Cutting - Invest in a great pair of scissors. I am in love with my Gingher dressmaker's shears (photo above). My mother-in-law gave these to me as a birthday gift when I was new to sewing. They are amazing. Nice & heavy & sharp. They're "like buttah". They are pretty expensive, but go on sale quite often at Joann's & there's always those 50% off coupons. I also like to use my rotary cutter when I'm cutting lots of straight lines, like quilt squares. Be as precise as you can. It will make a difference in the end.

* Ironing - Be sure to run an iron over your fabric before you get started on a project & keep a hot iron nearby while working. Do take the time to iron as you go. Again, makes a big difference in the end.


* Pinning - I know sometimes it seems that you don't need to pin your fabrics, but do it. Pins hold the fabric in place & keep it from shifting when you run it through the machine. This is a major step that will help your projects look great.

(My pin cushion was crocheted by my grandma a few years back. Cute, huh?)

I hope this helps a little. You may be a wild, creative type that wants to speed through your project, but slow down, do these steps & I promise your work will look better in the end.

Monday, February 16, 2009

You + Me = Forever


I hope you all had a nice valentine's weekend. We are pretty low key around here. Like last year, we ordered some yummy takeout food. This year we ordered from Beer Engine. It was really, really good. I really love my guy, but I'm not so sure how I feel about Valentine's Day. What is it about that holiday that annoys me?


The La La Love You print above is framed in a $6.99 Room Essentials frame from Target. It does need to be trimmed down just a bit to fit in an 8x10 frame. If framed in a larger frame w/ an 8x10 mat, no trimming of the print would be required.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Lover Boy!


No matter how much I worry or stress it all comes down to this...Everything will always be alright in the end because we've got you in our lives. Happy Birthday, Dylan! You know we love you like crazy.

Flag Garlands


I added some new flag garlands to the shop today. I've been feeling a big more bright & playful with these lately. More geared towards birthday parties & rockin' playrooms. Check the out here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

From The Archives: Sugar Cookies

I had a reader request my sugar cookie recipe so I'm posting it again this year. I am a bit of a sugar cookie snob & it's all my mom's fault because she made these incredible ones. I signed up to bring cookies to Sadie's school party so it looks like I'll be making these tomorrow night!


Now it just wouldn't be Valentine's Day without some of these.

Sugar Cookies

1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2-1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tarter

Mix powdered sugar, butter, egg, vanilla & almond extract. Mix in flour, baking soda and cream of tarter. Cover & refrigerate at east 2 hours. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Divide dough into halves. Roll each half 3/16 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into shapes. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake until edges are light brown 7 to 8 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen 2 inch cookies.

Buttercream Icing

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. milk

Cream butter & shortening. Add vinalla. Add sugar one cup at a time. Add milk.

Rice Pillows


I just had to make some rice pillows last week & I blame it all on these girls. But I am so happy to be clued into the wonderfulness of rice bags! I followed the tutorial over at Wisecraft. A couple minutes in the microwave & you have a nice warm pillow to set on your lap or wrap around your feet or shoulders. Sadie was really cute when I first gave one to her. She is our kid that likes to sit right in front of the heater vent. So a nice warm pillow to carry around put a huge smile on her face.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Collate

Last week I received my journal from Jessie's Collate project and it is so cool! I was happy to see my contribution (a yellow floral wallpaper) mixed in with all the other cool vintage paper.

Such a clever idea, Jessie. Thanks for all your hard work & attention to detail. The book covers, mailing labels & wrapping (tied up w/ red string & a pencil) made for some seriously happy mail!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Super Easy Removable Pillow Cover Tutorial


I love to make my pillows like this because they are quick & easy. Also the removable cover makes washing a breeze. It's nice to simply be able to slip the cover off & replace it with another when you're ready for a new look.

To make the pillow you will need a pillow form (these go on sale 50% off quite often at Joanns) and fabric for both the front & back of the pillow.

Cut your front fabric to the exact measurement of the pillow form. For this tutorial I covered a 14 x 14 inch pillow form, so I cut my patterned fabric to 14" x 14". This makes for a nice plump pillow in the end. Cut two pieces from your backing fabric that are the same length of the pillow, but 4 inches shorter on the width. My pieces were 14" x 10". (If you are using a larger pillow form, you'll want to come in more than 4 inches. Just eyeball it so that once you finish the hems, the back pillow pieces overlap by at least 2 inches. See below.)

On one of the long sides of the backing pieces create a hem by folding the fabric over towards the back 1/2 inch & iron.

Then fold over another half inch, iron & pin. Sew along the fold with a straight stitch. Repeat on the other backing piece.

The photo below shows how this will look on the back side of the fabric (piece at the top of the photo) and on the front side (piece at the bottom of the photo).

Next, lay your front fabric piece face up. Lay one of the backing pieces on top, facing down, so right sides are together. Position the raw edge of the backing piece on the left edge of the front piece. The hemmed edge will be in the middle. Pin in place.

Lay the other backing piece on top with the raw edge aligned with the right edge of the front fabric piece. The hemmed sides will overlap in the middle. Pin in place.

Sew around all four edges using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Remove your pins & trim the corners.

Turn the pillow case right side out. Using the eraser end of a pencil, push your corners out. The pillow case is done! Put your pillow form into the case.

The back pieces will overlap nicely in the back.

And you've got a snazzy new pillow! It's really that easy.


So go on and add some new life to every sofa, chair & bed in your house!

Friday, February 06, 2009

500 Is Good & Introducing Tuff


Around our house this week, we were really excited to see the Sparkle Power esty shop hit 500 sales. I remember starting out on etsy, I'd watch the shops of other stay at home moms like Kelly & Jennifer. I really admired their sales totals. 350 & 500 sales seemed incredible to me & I never though I'd reach those marks. And I really thought that 500 would take me a while to get to, that's why I put it on my bucket list. Feels good today to know that I should have set that mark a bit higher.

I really couldn't have reached this point without Dylan's wonderful posters. Getting here has really been a team effort. Go Team Sparkle Power!

Now Dylan's got his very own etsy shop called Tuff Industries. He's listed some new posters which are a little more "him" & not so sparkle powerish. Just like Dylan himself, these designs are a bit silly & goofy & a little irreverent, but very cool & sure to make you laugh. Here are a few of my favorites:



Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Longing For Warmer Days


February is here & I am itching for spring to come. Something inside me has changed I've decided that I can't take winter any longer. It's not fun anymore. Yet we still have a long time before it warms up & we can spend more time outside in the sunshine. It probably doesn't help that both my girls have been sick.


I'm trying to fight off these February blues though. I started by pulling out some strawberry freezer jam that I made over the summer with those berries we picked ourselves. That was definitely a good pick me up. And I found myself smiling today as I stood in the kitchen making potato soup for the little sick people around me. I love the steamed up windows in the kitchen during the winter. They make me feel like a good momma. Cooking for my family always makes me feel like a good momma.

You must try this potato soup recipe that I got from Andrea. It's really, really good & it's what caused the steamy kitchen windows tonight. A few notes on this recipe: I don't think it really makes 6 servings. Our small family never has leftovers, so if you have a larger family I would for sure double this. Also, I use half the cheese & most of the time I leave out the bacon & croutons & it's still delicious.

Vermont Potato Soup

1 cup onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 T butter
4 cups chicken broth
4 lg potatoes, cubed
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
Garnish: 4 bacon slices, crisply cooked and
crumbled and 3/4 cups croutons, crushed

Combine onions, garlic and butter in a Dutch oven and cook for 5 minutes. Blend in chicken broth, potatoes, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered for 20 minutes then remove from heat. Spoon mixture in a food processor (or blender) and puree small amounts at a time. Place soup back in Dutch oven and stir in cheddar cheese; heat through. Combine bacon and croutons; sprinkle over soup before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Giveaway Winner & 15% Off Code


Congratulations, Cherine!!

By the way, it just so happens to be Cherine's birthday today. What are the odds? She has Random.org to thank for choosing her number. Happy Birthday to you, Cherine!

Thanks so much for playing along and thank you for your suggestions. I have some great new ideas for blog content. :)

If you didn't win & have your heart set on something in the shop, don't be discouraged. From now until February 7th, ff you enter the code SUPER SECRET CODE in the "notes to seller" section & then wait to pay, I'll send you a revised invoice for 15% off your order.
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