Friday, February 25, 2011

Charlotte Dress

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This week I participated in a sew along hosted by Jess of Craftiness is not Optional.  The Charlotte dress is a pattern she designed for her daughter Charlotte.  I have to say, I think it's probably the cutest thing I have ever made!  I also tackled a few new techniques - zippers and sleeves.  Jess has divided the instructions for the dress up into five separate posts.  You can find the first part right here.
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Here are a few in-progress shots:
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Almost finished - just waiting for the zipper...
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I had to take a picture of the zipper so that I would remember how to do it next time!
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I can't tell you how excited I am to have finally sewn a zipper!
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The finished dress:
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I just love these two Amy Butler fabrics together.
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Here's the invisible zipper:
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Did I mention that I'm really proud of this zipper?
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I think it's safe to say that I've found a new favorite baby gift!
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If you are looking for a new sewing project, I highly recommend this one.  It was much easier than it looks and didn't take long.  I spent a 1/2 - 1 hour each night this week working on it.  Head on over to Craftiness is not Optional and check it out along with the other sew along's Jess has done.
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Happy weekend!
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tasty Tuesdays...Pot Roast with Roasted Vegetables

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Welcome to Tasty Tuesdays!
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Remember last week when I said I ate beef once a month at the most?  Well, here I am back with a pot roast recipe!  I can't take credit for cooking this though.  My sister was home this weekend and my Mom made this for us for dinner on Sunday.  Thanks Mom!  My Mom has made this several times and we always enjoy it.
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The recipe comes from Food Network and can be found here
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Ingredients
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For Pot Roast:
- 1 (4-pound) beef chuck roast
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
- 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 (15-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, in juice
- 2 cups beef broth, homemade, or low-sodium, low-fat
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, optional
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
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For Roasted Vegetables:
- 5 carrots, peeled, cut into thirds
- 3 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
- 2 medium red onions, peeled, cut into 6 wedges
- 2 medium parsnips, peeled, cut into thirds
- About 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
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Directions:
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1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
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2.  Heat a large Dutch oven, with a lid, over medium-high heat. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the pot, lay the meat in the pan and sear on both sides until brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate. Pour all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil from the pan.
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3.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pan, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and with a wooden spoon scrape up any browned bits that cling to the bottom of the pot Add wine and tomatoes and cook until liquid has thickened, about 5 minutes more. Add broth, thyme, and bay leaves, bring to a boil. Return the roast to the pot, nestle it in the liquid, cover, place in the oven and cook until the roast is just tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the lid and continue to cook, uncovered until tender about 1 hour more.
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4.  Meanwhile, put the carrots, turnips, onions, and parsnips on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Roast on a shelf under the pot roast for the last hour, stirring occasionally, until tender throughout.
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5.  Transfer the roast to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Skim the fat off the surface of the liquid and discard. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook until thickened. Stir in the parsley and vinegar, salt and pepper, to taste. Keep the roast warm in the sauce until ready to slice.
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6.  Slice the pot roast across the grain and lay on a platter, surround with the vegetables. Pour some of the sauce on top and serve the remaining in a sauceboat on the side.
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Serves 4-6
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What did you make this week?
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{ Please make sure and add a link in you post back to this post of the Tasty Tuesdays button which can be found on my sidebar.  Thanks! }
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Natural Elements Tablescape

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The was posted earlier this month as a guest post for Remodelaholic. 
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Almost everything I used for this tablescape was something that I already had - there were only a few new things I purchased.  Don't you love when you come up with something new out of things you already have?  I first decided on a theme - green, silver, and natural elements, and then started pulling things together.
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The first thing I started with was a burlap table runner.  I won this runner from the lovely Rene of Cottage and Vine - lucky me!  If you would like to make your own, take a look at Rene's tutorial.  Or, if you are lucky, she might have one for you in her Etsy shop.  I think burlap is just the perfect base for so many looks - it looks great with everything and was a perfect start for the natural elements I wanted to incorporate.
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Glass hurricanes are a versatile accent piece to have on hand.  They are inexpensive, come in many sizes, and will work with any decor.  I use mine all the time for so many different things.  You can usually find these at Marshall's or TJ Maxx between $6 - $12.
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To fill the vases, I used a bag of moss from the craft store, mini grapevine wreaths, and candles.  I soaked the grapevine wreaths in water overnight.  The next day I was able to pull them apart and shape them how I wanted to fit in the vases.
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Decorating with succulent plants is easy and inexpensive.  Succulents are low maintenance and will be around long after you are finished with your tablescape.  I put these in little metal containers and filled the top with moss.
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I really like how this tablescape would work in any season.
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Adding votive candles around your centerpieces will add a little sparkle to your entire table.  Everyone likes a little candle light at a dinner party, right?
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A photo from my tablescape is featured on HGTV.com!  It is included in a gallery called "15 Easy Centerpieces For Any Dinner Party".  You can see it right here.  Thank you HGTV.com!
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I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  My sister is coming into town and we are heading up to East Lansing on Saturday to see our Spartans take on Illinois.  GO GREEN!  We are also having a belated birthday celebration - I turned 34 last Friday.  Not sure how I feel about 34....It doesn't quite have the same ring as 33.  And it sounds so much older somehow!
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I'm sharing this post at:
Finding Fabulous
A Stroll Thru Life
Funky Junk Interiors

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tasty Tuesdays...Beef, Cheddar and Potato Pie

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Welcome to Tasty Tuesdays!
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This week I made Beef, Cheddar, and Potato Pie.  Sort of an unusual recipe for me.  I hardly ever cook with beef - in fact I only eat it maybe once a month.  But, I am really glad I tried this - it was delicious!  Definitely a keeper and I know I'll be making it again.
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{ This recipe comes from the November 2009 issue of Rachel Ray Magazine }
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Ingredients:
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup dark beer
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Salt and pepper
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed but cold {I made a pie crust following my favorite recipe from Smitten Kitchen; try it, you'll love it!}
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
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{ I cut the recipe in half for myself but have listed the amounts for the full recipe above.  Also, the original recipe calls for baking this in a round, ceramic pie dish.  Because I cut the recipe in half I baked it in a smaller rectangular baking dish }
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1.  If you are going to make your own pie crust, make it first and place it in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the other ingredients for the pie.
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2.  Prep ingredients.
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3.  Preheat the oven to 375°. In a skillet, combine the beef, carrots, onion, celery, garlic and potato and cook, breaking up the meat, over medium-high heat until the beef is cooked through and some liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add the beer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.  Add the cheese, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Let cool.
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4.  On a floured surface, roll 1 puff pastry sheet into a 12-inch round. Place in a 10-inch skillet or deep pie dish. Roll the remaining puff pastry sheet into an 11-inch round. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat mixture to the skillet. Lightly brush the edge of the crust with some of the egg wash, then place the second sheet on top. Press the edges to seal, then trim to a 1/2-inch edge.

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5.  Place the pie on a baking sheet. Brush the top with more of the egg wash and cut an "X" into the pastry. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, tenting with foil if the crust darkens too quickly. Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes.
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Fresh out of the oven:
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What have you cooked up this week?
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{ Please remember to add a link to your post or the Tasty Tuesdays button which you can find on my sidebar.  Thanks! }
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I shared this recipe over @ This Week's Craving at Mom's Crazy Cooking.

 










Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Wreath

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I've had the directions for this wreath bookmarked for a year.  Yes, a whole year!  I even bought the fabric and styrofoam wreath form last year but never got around to making it.  I found the tutorial for this project on Sew Much Ado
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I won't post a full tutorial here because Abby has a wonderful tutorial already posted @ Sew Much Ado, but the project involves cutting 2" strips of fabric in varying lengths, folding the strips in half and ironing,
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sewing a basting stitch along the edge, gathering and forming pleats,
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and forming each strip into a rosette.
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I used two shades of red for my wreath.  Originally I planned on using only one, but ran out of fabric and had to buy more.  Of course, I couldn't find a perfect match so I choose a different one.  I'm glad I did because I love how the two reds look together.  I think the wreath actually looks like real carnations or roses.
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I'm already thinking about making a few of these on a round wreath form in white or red for Christmas.  Wouldn't that be beautiful?
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Last year I made this for Valentine's day:
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You can see my original post about it right here.
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Also, I wanted to let you know that Becky, who has a new blog called Liberate Creativity, featured my wrapping paper and wall rack project this week.  Thanks Becky!    Becky will be featuring lots of different project ideas from bloggers.   Check out Liberate Creativity right here.
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