life made by hand

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Turkey Bean Chowder December 14, 2009

Filed under: Food — lifemadebyhand @ 1:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Having recently eaten the best Turkey Rice Soup ever, made by a friend and delivered while i was sick, i wasn’t about to attempt to make a similar soup. I wanted a chowder, but i had a turkey carcass i needed to do something with.  And i’ve never heard of a turkey chowder. I was at home, with no internet, so i had to figure it out on my own. (apparently i was also too lazy to crack one of my many cookbooks open- tho increasingly rarely i ever find what i want in them).

First off, the broth. Put the carcass in the biggest pot you have, with a bunch of water- should just cover the carcass. Boil the water, turn to low, keep it simmering a couple of hours.

Pull the carcass out, a piece at a time, get the remaining bits of meat off (put on a separate plate), and then freeze about half the broth, and leave about half in it.

So you should be starting with about 8 cups of broth.

Add about 2 cups of white beans- i like a mix, i had 3 different kinds of white/nearly white beans that i used (note to self- do not substitute black eyed peas here).

Boil, turn to low, keep at a simmer for an hour or so, till the beans are getting close to done.

Peel and chop a couple of potatos- i’d use whatever you happen to have, mine were russet. I think i added 3 and a half (last of the bag, the one was going bad). Boil the potatos in with the beans until they are soft, and the beans are soft. ‘Bout a half hour, 45 min.

Get your potato masher, and just mash them in the pot (remove from the heat first!). I just mashed around until it looked about thick enough, but i like my soup chunky- if you like yours really smooth, break out the blender, and zip it around.

It was at this point i realized i hadn’t added any onion yet- so i chopped a yellow onion, cooked it in butter in a different skillet, and then added it to the pot of soup. Next time i’d just throw it in, i just wanted that little bit of butter flavor. After the onion cooked awhile, i added the corn- and i love corn, so i’m sure i was pretty close if not over 2 cups. But i am aware (tho i don’t understand) that others are not as fond of corn as i am, so put as much as you like in it. Now, you want to add your milk- but not a lot. I didn’t measure, but i think i added a cup- just enough to make it white-ish. (I only ever have skim milk)

Now look at the consistency. I added a bout a tablespoon of cornstarch to a bit of milk, and then put it in my soup, cuz it just didn’t look think enough to me.  Add the cheese last, if you have it (i added about a 1/2 cup- not even enough to taste, just the last of the bag).

Spices- all at the end (i frequently forget to add spices)- pepper, salt to taste(i did not, but i never salt anything), and a bit of spicy- a shake of the cayenne, a couple shakes of my cajun seasoning (just a little- i was serving to others, so i added more to my bowls, not to the pot).

Ingredients:

  1. 8 cups of broth- turkey
  2. 2 cups of white beans
  3. 3 potatos (or substitute rutabaga, turnip, etc)
  4. 1 onion
  5. 1-2 cups of corn
  6. 1-2 cups of milk (any kind, i use only skim)
  7. 1 cup of cheddar if you have it

Things to add next time- cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas

I feel this would be an easy recipe to turn vegetarian- and just call it bean chowder. Use a light vegetable broth in place of the turkey broth, use cauliflower in place of the meat, maybe add a mushroom or 2,  but i have no recommendations on a substitute for milk.

 

Needlebook- Detail part 3 October 13, 2009

Filed under: Needlebook — lifemadebyhand @ 11:58 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

These envelopes are, if I do say so myself, brilliant. These exact envelopes are, however, merely prototypes. So, I’ll get around to doing the nice, brilliant ones, but all I’ve got pictures of is the idea. First off, instead of buttoning in, these are velcroed. The flaps on the envelopes are also velcroed. And there are 6 little sections inside each envelope. These little sections fit your little packages of sewing machine needles! Yay!!

 These required more Velcro than I’d planned for, and the decorative stitching (also used to sew in the Velcro) isn’t straight, nor is the Velcro straight, so that’s why these are all prototypes. I have a stack of sewing machine needles somewhere, but I could only find a couple packages for use as display.

sewing machine needle cases

sewing machine needle cases

I have not decided whether i want the entire last section to be sewing machine needles, i might decide to do 2 or 3 of these cases, and maybe one in the same/similar shape, just a full envelope without sewn pockets.

sewing machine needlebook close up

sewing machine needlebook close up

sewing machine needle book close up 2

sewing machine needle book close up 2

 

Needle book- Detail part 2 October 12, 2009

Filed under: Handiwork,Needlebook — lifemadebyhand @ 10:51 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
2nd Section detail
2nd Section detail
2nd section front envelopes

2nd section front envelopes

top left envelope flap side

top left envelope flap side

top left envelope front side embroidery

top left envelope front side embroidery

The top 2 buttons on this envelope are mother of pearl, the middle heart i am not sure is real metal. I enjoyed the story with Winston and Clementine Churchill. Winston’s parents were also in my love letters book, and i really wanted an envelope with them too, but he died young, and she remarried, and later research showed she was unfaithful while married to him. Nobody, and no story is perfect, so i’m sure there’s more to all of the stories i’ve chosen. However, i have chosen people and stories that have meaning to me. And yes, these needles are cross stitch needles!
top left envelope contents

top left envelope contents

middle left envelope flap side

middle left envelope flap side

middle left envelope front side

middle left envelope front side

The top left button on this envelope is the same as the top section, top envelope right side button that didn’t come out in the picture- see the thistle? On the embroidery on the flap side, the red is supposed to be sealing wax, stamp, and sealed on the envelopes- the red is beads. On the candle, the yellow flame is beaded. Before y’all start critisizing my letters, i know. I know they look not so good, not the same size, etc. It was harder to do than i thought, perhaps a pattern would have helped. You can also see, especially on the whiter wool, where the transfer paper where i drew out my buttonholes, is left over. I am very disappointed about this, but i don’t know what else to do. I tested it lightly, but when i went to make the buttonhole, i couldn’t see it. So i ended up having to make more solid lines, and now they won’t come out. I guess it’ll wear off eventually, and you probly don’t even notice it unless i say something. But it does irk me.

bottom left envelope flap side

bottom left envelope flap side

bottom left envelope front side embroidery

bottom left envelope front side embroidery

The button on the top left is one that i’ve held onto for a long time. The bigger black one is another glass one. The beads as the “ink” in the inkwell are the same hematite-look seed beads as the pen in the top section envelope.
bottom left envelope needlebook opened

bottom left envelope needlebook opened

See how the corners on this one are kinda folded and not nice and neat lookin’? Yeah, that’s cuz of my DUH mistake- the envelope has to be big enough UNDER the buttonholes for your contents- whatever size they are- to go into. This one just squeezes in. I’ve got all my large needles, upholstry needles, etc. in this needlebook. Some of them i have sewn in.

 

right side envelope

right side envelope

Originally, i’d planned to put scissors, maybe pens/pencils in this envelope, so i made it long. But i’ve changed my mind, if i put a pair of scissors in this thing, it’d be all cut up. So i’ll use this envelope either for more beaded wooden needle cases for the bead needles, or something like that. I also found a square plastic case, that fits inside this envelope, that i’d like to use for something. I haven’t quite figured out what to use it for yet, or how to decorate it, but i’m working on it.
And here’s the detail on the rose button. I love it!
Metal rose button

Metal rose button

 

Needlebook- Detail part 1 October 9, 2009

Once i had my hand drawn designs, I started embroidering. Again, I’m pretty much a freehand kinda gal, and just picked needle and thread up. I didn’t even try to copy the (freehand) drawn design over onto the fabric. I just embroidered. Probably poorly, but I like it. I like my things to be a little folk arty, and for you to be able to see that it is not perfect, not machine, but done all by me/hand.

 First I embroidered the “back” (the flap side which is the front when inside the big needlebook) of the envelopes. Then, on the back side, or the address side, I wanted embroidered designs- stamps, postage marks, addresses, and names. I got to thinking about love letters, and thought that would be really neat, so I found my book of Famous Love Letters, and read the letters. The letters were very nice, but when I began to read the back stories, I grew concerned. Early death, deportment, mistresses, violent break ups, and boring break ups (disillusionment) were by far the common backstory. There weren’t very many true-love-that-lasted back stories. I wanted to fill the book not only with beautiful words, but beautiful stories as well. I chose couples’ names to embroider on the front of the envelope based not only on their letter, but their story as well.

 Mistake- Yes, a real live mistake, and not a design element. When embroidering, don’t forget to mark, or at least remember, where your button holes are going to be. I embroidered right where I needed buttonholes.

 Mistake-this is totally a DUH! I should have known, but didn’t realize until I was assembling.  After I’d marked and made the buttonholes, I realized that my envelopes didn’t open up all the way- of course, they’re sewn down by the buttonholes! This was somewhat problematic, and forced me to cut the envelopes top edge down some, so that I would be able to get stuff into the envelope, but at the same time, it couldn’t be cut very far, or it wouldn’t hold the stuff in either (for example, wooden needlecases to come in phase 2 of the needlebook). So make sure your envelope is oversized to take this into account- you could also do small buttonholes that run horizontal to help this problem.

 So, without further ado, here are the envelopes, and their contents. We’ll start at the top of the opened out needlebook, with the largest envelope. It is 100% wool.

 Mistake- don’t use 100% wool. Not only does it cost something like $18/yard, IT DOES NOT EMBROIDER WELL. It seems like it was very thin (not thin, it was thick, but it was loosely woven, if you can call that woven), you could pull your knot all the way thru the fabric, it was hard to get the needle to stick in the right place, etc. 

Top Section showing 1st 3 envelopes

Top Section showing 1st 3 envelopes

This top envelope is my favorite, but again, I don’t recommend that 100% wool. The pen is beaded, with hematite-look seed beads, and the buttons are all different. The black one is a vintage glass faceted button, and my favorite. They’re making this same style again, but in plastic. Found ‘em at Walmart. I had a whole handful of ‘em, until I looked close, and saw the seam where the mold was for the plastic. Talk about disappointing- they looked really good, except for that. The top left button is a vintage design, new made by La Mode, the one on the left is some years old- I don’t know if its vintage, if the picture weren’t so bad you could tell that the design on it is a thistle. I have several of these, and I love them. Both it and the one by La Mode are real metal- not plastic! I believe the package on the thistle one stated it was made in Italy- somewhere in Europe, and Italy sticks in my mind.

I’ll have y’all know too, that I re-started that pen at least 4 or 5 times, trying to get the beads to lay in straight lines. I don’t know why I could not get them to line up straight, but I had the exact same problem on the cover as well- Needles is embroidered in size 15 beads, and the lines were straight when I sewed them, but as soon as you fold the fabric, they go all funky. Wish I knew why that was happening, so I could take steps next time to avoid that. 

Top envelop flap side

Top envelop flap side

And here’s what’s inside this envelope:

Top envelope contents

Top envelope contents

 (more on these later)

Wooden needle case beaded with Delicas- 1st one

Wooden needle case beaded with Delicas- 1st one

I did not have this beaded case done when this was due in the group. Actually, I didn’t have my needles in the entire needlebook yet, because I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to organize them. I’ve thought long and hard about this, and what I’m going to do is put all my beading needles into wooden cases like this. I’m sure I’ll get them all in there, and then worry about beading all the little cases later. I think what I want to do is do all of these in native American designs. I will be severely limited in what I can put on a inch-around wooden needlecase, so I won’t be able to do much other than geometric zig zags, stripes, etc., but I really think that will be good. It’s a puzzle to try to figure out. I beaded the cap on this case, and I was going to bead the bottom too- but I need to write the needle size on these cases, because I do actually need to know the size of beading needles- so the bottoms will not be beaded on purpose. Note to self- also need to figure out how you’re REALLY supposed to do peyote decrease (on the top section). I just winged it, and i’m not overly happy with the results.

 Yes, I will be going the easy-as-possible route- I’m using Delicas only for this. Probably. I have a bunch of them, but I will not be buying a lot more just for this project, but I want all the beads to lie nice and flat and up against each other, without a lot of undue texture, so I’m going to try to stick with the Delicas. This particular case uses DB7 (Iris Khaki) and DB157 (Opaque rainbow cream).

This next envelope is my second favorite, i LOVE these buttons. I found these at a 2nd hand sewing shop in Kerrville i’ll do a write up on one of these days, but until then, i don’t really want anyone else to know about that place. I find great stuff there. The mailbox is embroidered, the green grass is beaded. Size 15’s.

Adams Envelope Flap Side

Adams Envelope Flap Side

Adams Envelope Address Side

Adams Envelope Address Side

Here’s the third envelope, and the last one in this top section. I’ll go into details on the seperate needlebooks from the 1st envelope too.

3rd Envelope Flap Side

3rd Envelope Flap Side

3rd Envelope postage side

3rd Envelope postage side

needlebook inside 3rd envelope 1

needlebook inside 3rd envelope 1

needlebook inside 3rd envelope 2

needlebook inside 3rd envelope 2

needlebook inside 3rd envelope 3

needlebook inside 3rd envelope 3

needlebook inside 3rd envelope 4

needlebook inside 3rd envelope 4

needlebook inside 3rd envelope 5

needlebook inside 3rd envelope 5

On these little needlebooks inside the envelopes- i made a pattern with a piece of paper, and then cut out the fabric. The little cuts in the corners are very important- your fabric will not lie flat with out those.

 

The Needlebook to End All Needlebooks October 8, 2009

Filed under: Needlebook — lifemadebyhand @ 6:28 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Needlebook Cover

Opened Needlebook

Opened Needlebook

 

I swear I don’t start out to always do the gaudy, big, can’t-top-me projects, but mine always seem to develop into such Projects. I start with this small, little idea, and it morphs into this Time Consuming, Bigger than Big, Most Awesome (If I Can Ever Get Done) Capitalized Project.

 The Idea-also known as In The Beginning

And so it is with the needlebook. It all started last December, when the bead group decided on this years’ challenges. The last project of the year, a needle case, or needle book. Anything you put needles in. I was extremely enthusiastic about it, as I’ve always wanted a chatelaine’s belt, with thimble, scissors, needle case, etc. But I soon gave up that idea, after checking my inventory of needles, and finding an entire container full of the little packets of needles ranging in size from 1” to 5.” So, I determined a series of needle books would be much more practical, all with the same theme. I wanted something thematic- all quilt squares, all crewel-work type flowers, all similar colors, I wasn’t sure. I played with those ideas for some time, until I went shopping for wool felt. I purchased felt in neutral colors that all worked together (grey, dk grey, beige, off white). I so wanted bold bright colors, but couldn’t find nice felt in the shades of the colors i wanted (they had red, but orange red, not blue red, etc.). I wanted nice felt, not the cheapy little squares, tho I know those would work fine, and be fine, I wanted it to feel just a little bit nicer than adequate. There was a large selection of colors in the squares, but not quite what i wanted.

Yes, i bought the felt BEFORE i had the final idea. This could have turned into a mistake, but it worked out this time. I don’t recommend it, but i needed the fabric to play with before i could finish my ideas. Also, i had too many options/ideas- see!

 Some of the ideas I had for needlebooks:

  • Individual quilt blocks (each its own needlebook) that converges into one quilt.
  • Scientific set, with test tubes (needle cases), bunson burners, ass’t bottles, etc (each its own little case or book).
  • Plate of food, or a menu, or a table.
  • Good idea but not for this project- Wedding book needlebooks for emergencies on the big day- shaped like a wedding gown, bits of lace on it, tiny pearl necklace- safety pins in ass’t sizes, extra buttons, needles w/ thread (white, ecru, black), tiny pair of scissors, tube of super glue, etc.
  • Star Trek (or Wars, or gate, or whomever). Shape of the ship, opens up and each person? Console? Etc. is its own needlebook.
  • A house that opens up, curtain, sofa, etc. are each individual needle books.
  • Texas shaped book that opens up with regional books.
  • Envelopes/letters/love letters/mail/postage- opens up with individual books

 I decided with the last idea- envelopes, love letters theme.  I did a simple google picture search, and came up with more ideas, and practicality issues- I not only want it to be cute, I want it to actually work. So this is what is going to work for me.

 

     The Inspirations

 

Here are the links that inspired the needlebook.

 

http://ribbonwoodcottage.blogspot.com/2008/06/pink-gingham-needlebook.html

 

I loved the envelopes, the buttons, and the pages on hers.

 

http://craftstylish.com/item/10227/how-to-stitch-up-a-felt-needlebook

 

I loved her flowers, and the pages.

 

http://www.elegantstitch.com/indigorose/folding%20cross%20needlebook.jpg

 

I loved this, but there was no way i had time to cross stitch all that. I just made a paper pattern, cut it out of the felt, and did some embroidery of my own on it. It is not necessary to have the button in the middle. I had planned on the button in the middle, until i folded up my felt to do it, and knew there was no way i’d ever get all the buttonholes in the right place, plus the felt was very thick. So i just pretended like i didn’t see that!

 

 http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=704237&imageID=818596&total=1&num=0&word=818596&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=0&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&imgs=20&pos=1&e=w

I loved this one, until i just searched images again for american indian needle book, and found some other really nice example. This one tho, was the greatest influence on my needlebook- the fold up quality, the added beadwork (well, i knew i had to add beadwork to mine).

 

Once I’d decided on some of the forms, and made a paper template for that folding one, I broke out the fabric. I decided on placement, etc., and broke out the scissors. I’m very much a freehand kinda gal, if I have to get a ruler out and measure, it stops becoming fun, and starts becoming work. I prefer things to be able to flow, and rulers and straight lines interrupt the flow. As it was tho, it wasn’t difficult to work out envelopes, and cut fairly straight envelopes. I also picked out numerous fun buttons to use. The next step was to go thru some of my old Victoria magazines, looking for pictures of inkwells, feather and steel pens, envelopes, sealing wax, all things desk and letter related. After finding some, I drew out some samples to use.

 

 

Build a Better Slipcover September 28, 2009

Filed under: Handiwork — lifemadebyhand @ 7:14 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 weeks ago I spent hours searching (online and in person) for a slipcover. My requirements- slip on/off easily, without moving the couch if possible (I always have crap piled in front of it, and besides, I reserve moving furniture for my once-every-5-years-if-i-have-actually-not-moved-in-the-last-can-you-believe-five-years cleaning, done without fail, every five years. Damn, damn, ok, I’ll own up. I’ve never had to resort to such a cleaning. I’ve managed to move before that cleaning project came up.). Oh, yeah, so, easy on/off slipcover. That let out all the stretch, tailored looking, pin on (do they even make those anymore?) ones.  My 2nd requirement involved cost- I’m cheap. I didn’t realize I had a third requirement, until I was at store after store, wrinkling my nose. I wanted the fabric to feel nice.

 Did you note I wasn’t even going to be picky about the LOOK of the fabric?? That’s a big thing, but I figured as long as it was neutral-ish, and/or solid colored, it’d be fine. I thought, well, not white, but I doubt they make white slipcovers anyways- or at least they don’t sell that many of ‘em.

 When I could find slipcovers in the stores, they invariably felt cheap, scratchy, itchy, nasty, unsoft, uncuddly, horrible fabrics. Most stores seem like they’ve stopped carrying them- maybe they still have ‘em online, but I did want to feel and see the fabrics.

 I came home after spending the day fruitlessly searching for slipcovers in stores, and pulled the white (I know!) matelasse bedspread off the bed, and threw it over the couch. I had previously vowed NOT to be this cheap, in throwing a blanket on the couch, as I grew up with a set of grandparents who did EXACTLY this. I hated the look of their couches. The spread I threw over top of it is a queen size. It’s not long enough to reach the floor on the sides of the couch, so I harumped, humphed, brooded, frowned for awhile, and remembered the 2 twin size yellow matelasse spreads I bought at a garage sale for $3 each (one is ripped- and I only got them for that price after pointing that out, on a Sunday afternoon, while I was buying other stuff). So I got to thinking, if I used the yellow to make a couple sides for it, and maybe cut the white to fit a little better (so it doesn’t LOOK like I’m using the yellow cuz the white isn’t long enough), and then what if I cut “pillowcases” for the 3 seat cushions out of the yellow. And put a yellow ribbon along the bottom edge of the white? And cut off the extra white in the back? Originally I wanted to leave the white alone, so I could still use it as a bedspread, but who am I kidding? If I’m pulling it off my couch and washing it every week or 2 (cuz the dog likes the soft fabric as much as i do), do I expect it to still be usable in a few years? How long has it been since I’ve used it as a bedspread (3+ years, except that the day before I’d put it on the bed to use it as a bedspread). So, I decided I’d go ahead and cut the white one a little, to fit the couch better, use the yellow as cushions, and on the sides. If I have white or yellow left over, I’ll make pillows, but I’m also planning on using white and yellow sweaters to make cushions- I have the white ones STILL from last winter, when I never got around to actually getting them sewn.

 So, I have learned this lesson- always buy matelasse spreads, if they’re affordable, at any GS or TS you may find them, no matter the size. You will find a use for them. One cannot have too many blankets stored away. Love that fabric.

 So, you’re asking me, let’s see some pics! Let’s have some destructions! Yeah, I’m saying the same shit. When I get to it, I’ll post ‘em. In the meantime, here’s a little drawing.

 

Very Poor Drawing of the Couch

Very Poor Drawing of the Couch

I’m still theorizing on the yellow and white (I remain skeptical, I’m afraid it’ll still look pieced together, instead of looking finished). And  I’m trying to figure out the best way to do all of this.

 

And finish that damn shower curtain that is years old.

 

Sewing machine, watch out. When I get it all organized, I’m gonna break you outta yo jail. Be ready.