Finished: The Zig Zag Blanket

Pattern: adapted version of Lily Sugar and Cream’s zig zag throw… Sorry, this pattern is not available online! I got it in a book that came with three large skeins of cotton yarn.

Yarn: 9 skeins Vanna’s Choice (Lion Brand Yarn) Olive, 9 Skeins Vanna’s Choice Dusty blue

Total Cost: Original price of yarn: $3.79/ Skien x 18 skeins = $68.22

My Cost: 50% off (with JoAnn’s coupons)- $34.11 without tax

Time took to complete: On and off for about three months, but the bulk of it took about three weeks.

The blanket is HUGE… it covers and entire queen-sized bed! This is the bed in our guest bedroom.

The yarn is perfect for this huge blanket… so soft.

It even looks good folded up!

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Pom poms!

My sweet boyfriend had finally heard enough of me talking about needing a pom pom maker, and took it upon himself to buy me one. Sweet guy! I really wanted one because I’ve been wanting to work on early Christmas gifts. He is so supportive of all my crafty hobbies.

So I opened it up, read the directions, and was left staring off into space with a “huh?” look on my face. This must happen a lot, because the manufacturers of the tool (Clover) have a youtube how-to account set up. Thank goodness, because I would have never been able to figure it out!

Agh, awkwardly colored cell phone photo.

Fast forward to about an hour and two practice pom poms later, I’m a pom pom making fiend. I made this lion brand pattern (the “ballpark hat“) in about an hour. What a nice basic hat. It’s really stretchy, it was quick, and it doesn’t use a lot of yarn.

I hesitantly used red heart super saver in my favorite super saver color, carrot, because I didn’t have any Vanna’s Choice on hand. I really like Vanna’s choice better for hats and things that are to be worn, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good the red heart looked. Since it was only a “rough draft” for a hat I was planning to give my friend Laura for Christmas, my expectations were low. The pattern is really well written, and I’m sure it’ll look even better in Vanna’s Choice. Woohoo! I just love the pom pom on the top!

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Picky Eater Chili

I have a lot of new material from this weekend, but perhaps one of the things I am most excited about sharing is my  chili recipe. It’s perfect for picky eaters (like me, unfortunately), because it doesn’t have any onions or peppers in it. It’s also really easy to make. It does take some time, but most of that time is spent stirring the pot every once in a while.

I began somewhere a while ago with a recipe I found on the internet and I’ve made this chili countless times since, each time making different additions and subtractions. I think I’ve finally achieved chili perfection.

Jessica’s Picky Eater Chili

Serves 8

Ingredients

-2 lbs. ground sirloin (or any ground beef)

- 1 can kidney beans

- 1 can pinto beans

- 1 28 oz. can tomato sauce

- 2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes

- 1/2 cup chili powder

- 2 teaspoons dried oregano

- 2 teaspoons ground cumin

- cayenne powder to taste/tolerance (I do about a tablespoon but I like my chili hot)

- 1/2 tsp sugar (or to taste)

- 1 tsp salt

- 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

In a large dutch oven over medium heat, brown the ground beef. Drain and rinse both kidney beans and pinto beans, add to the ground beef. Stir and add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Add in chili powder and the rest of the ingredients in order of recipe.

Once the chili is bubbling, turn down heat to low and let simmer, stirring frequently, for at least an hour or up to an hour and a half. Adjust ingredients to taste. Serve hot with cornbread and shredded  cheddar.

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Almost there…

Here’s a sneak peek of a project I recently finished. Just gotta weave the ends in! (uuugh, my least favorite part)

More pics once it’s done!

Breakfast Quesadillas

*This is actually a draft that I meant to publish on October 14, 2011.

So the last couple of weeks have been pretty hectic. I’ve been working on some things here and there and haven’t really had a lot of time to post. Plus, with so much schoolwork, I’m lucky to be able to write now. I got my first real migraine in three years yesterday, and it was a horrific experience. My poor boyfriend had to take care of me. I don’t like it when people see me like that, and I could tell he really felt helpless. My mother, who is usually the one who looks out for me when I have one, is out of town. He stayed with me and watched me to make sure I was okay. He’s the best.

I’ve been working on a few projects, including a blanket for him. It’s sort of like a granny square but it’s more like a rectangle, as it needs to be super long to suit him. He’s very, very tall. I’ll probably have to end up working on it until it reaches 7 feet by 6.5 feet. Crazy! I’ve never made a blanket that big, but I’m sure he’ll like having a blanket that’s actually big enough for him for once. Once it starts looking like it’s supposed to I’ll post a few photos. I love the colors, it looks like a beach on a stormy day.

But anywho, since my mom’s out of town and he’s been staying here, I’ve been getting up bright and early (5am… geesh) to make him breakfast before he heads to work. I saw this post on breakfast quesadillas on recipegirl.com last week and I knew it was something I wanted to try out. Honestly, it’s a genius idea- I almost always have these ingredients on hand! There’s even a video tutorial… Not that this is a difficult thing to do. I wouldn’t even call it a recipe, really.

I used a 7 inch nonstick skillet and two eggs, and fajita size small tortillas fit perfectly! Sometimes the tortillas vary in size, and the first quesadilla I made  actually lined up perfectly.

Also, I added some Jimmy Dean pre cooked sausage crumbles… awesome idea for adding a little meat to it! I added them in the step where you sprinkle the cheese, but only on one side. The cheese adheres the tortilla, egg, and sausage together to make something magical. Genius idea, and you can take it to go when you drive to work or school. I cut it with a pizza cutter, and it looked great (in my opinion)! Even a small one is very filling, so make sure you’re either a.) really hungry or b.) someone is there to share it with you!

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Crocheted Christmas Stockings!

Wow, it has been forever since I’ve been able to post on here. I’m happy to say that while I have been totally bombarded with schoolwork, I am totally graduating from college ONE MONTH from today with a bachelor’s of science in business administration- Corporate Finance! So let the official countdown begin: 30 Days til it’s official!

Make no mistake, I’ve still been crafting. Here are the projects I’m currently working on. I’m getting a head start on Christmas gifts already, but if you’re a crafter, you already know you have to start early if you want to get everything done.

Current projects:

1. The Christmas Stockings

 

Grr @ these tiny pictures!! Oh well. This is one of the crocheted Christmas stockings I’m working on. The body is obviously already completed, But I’m working on figuring out what I want to embellish it with. I’m thinking a Christmas tree applique for this one, maybe some christmas light appliques. I’d also like to bead the tree and embroider a name (or at the very least a letter) on the cuff. I’ll post pictures as I work on it! This one is for my boyfriend. I’m also planning on making one for myself in green. You can find the pattern for this christmas stocking here on Lion Brand Yarn’s website. The body took me two days to complete.

2. Giant Blanket for my Boo

My boyfriend is abnormally tall. Like, professional basketball player tall. So instead of making a regular granny square blanket and working forever and ever and ever, I was really excited to find a pattern that is worked as a regular granny square blanket but is rectangular. The length is about a foot and a half longer than the width, which will save me time, materials, and cut down on unused blanket. Right now the size is perfect for me, but I still have a long way to go. You can find the free pattern for the rectangular granny afghan here, from Patons/Bernat’s website. You might have to create an account to view it, but it’s worth it!

I’ll try to keep this thing updated more!

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Banana Pudding

The other day I was feeling particularly gipped in the school cafeteria and snatched three bananas. There wasn’t really anything I liked to eat in there that day, and I paid eight bucks for lunch. Seeing that bananas are a little over fifty cents a pound, I really don’t think anyone missed them. I thought, “Hey, maybe I could make some banana bread or something.” When I got home, my mother reminded me that I had two boxes of vanilla wafers that needed to be used soon and that perhaps banana pudding was a more worthy project for my stolen bananas.

Best. Idea. Ever.

Sorry the picture is a little blurry.

This much pudding feeds a LOT of people. I’m going to go ahead and estimate that there are about eighteen decent portions of pudding in this deep 9×13 baker. We were sending pudding all over the neighborhood, because if we didn’t share it, we’d eat it all and gain about fifteen pounds.

I was really set on making the pudding from scratch, and luckily I was able to find an amazing blog post on how to make your own banana pudding. There’s a nice step-by-step tutorial with an awesome basic recipe. Here are the changes I made:

  • Tripled the recipe for the pudding, made the triple batch all in one pot. It takes a bit longer to thicken, but that’s okay, it’s still less time than if you’d made the recipe three times.
  • Lined bottom of a big 9×13 baker (see photo) with nilla wafers. Pour half of the tripled pudding on top of these wafers. Add another layer of nillas, a layer of bananas (I used about three large, that was plenty for a light banana flavor), and pour the remaining pudding over the bananas.
  • At this point, I refrigerated the pudding overnight.
  • I made a whipped cream topping with two cups of heavy cream and one half cup of sugar, mix on medium high speed until soft peaks form, add 2 teaspoons of vanilla and continue to mix until the desired whipped cream consistency. I spread the whipped cream on top of the pudding, then added the leftover crushed vanilla wafers. Genius!
Even my boyfriend, who hates bananas, liked it. He scraped the bowl!
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This post is brought to you by the letter B!

Woohoo, new blog! A place where I can collect my thoughts, write narcissistic posts about myself, and keep track of my many crafts. Win, win, win. I’m always working on something, and I’m kind of curious as to how many things I can actually finish in a year. So the blog is born.

What am I working on right now, you ask?


Well, I’m almost done with it anyways. It’s a “dishcloth,” but in this case I think he’s going to use it for bodily applications, washing his face, etc. B is for boyfriend… not really, it just so happens that my boyfriend’s name starts with a B. It looks sort of purple in the picture, but in actuality it is a light shade of blue. Stupid cell phone camera! It looks like fancy personalization, but really any beginner knitter could pull it off, as it’s only worked in knit and purl. I got the pattern from KnittingKnonsense, an excellent source of basic dishcloth patterns.

I really should be studying, as I have a test in Financial Institutions tomorrow. I think I’ve reached a good stopping point with the cloth. I really enjoy working on dishcloths because they provide a great opportunity to practice stitches. I’m not the most wonderful knitter (I don’t even know how to use circular needles!), so I could definitely use some practice. Sometimes I wish I was better at knitting because it’s something different, but crochet is my strength and all in all I believe it to be more versatile. My goal is to learn how to work with circular needles and knit socks, I’ve been thinking about taking lessons!

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