Monday, July 31, 2006

Beat the Heat Budget BBQ

Well...Today metro Detroit is 97degrees or 100degrees dependent upon your choice of radio station. They all agree with the "heat index" we are at 105. We Midwesterners are people of the "wind chill" effect and hence don't cope well at 105.

My garden would have been "blog worthy" if it was not currently brown and wilty. It looks like I am purposefully growing the lettuce you forget about in your crisper.

So, unable to is time to BBQ. I am a party nut but also waaaay frugal. So as I save for new is my budget BBQ.

Sun Tea - Take a large glass sun tea pitcher or giant mason jar. Fill with water and tea bags. Leave in the sun all day. Cut with water and ice to serve. 6 tea bags = $1.
Lemonade - Kids of all ages love lemonade when it's hot. Mix up whatever's on sale...kool aid, country time etc. Enterprising adults can bring their own vodka flask. = $2
Red sangria - "Real Sangria" brand makes Sangria to die for in the bottle and in the box. Why yes, the box-o-wine has come along way! Generous service for 6 should be $30. Assuming one bottle per person. Or if you can find the box...two boxes will be a little more wine and $22-24. Same price as beer...but so so so glam. Buy frozen berries and peaches to use with the ice cubes and because they are cheaper than fresh. Cut up fresh orange slices....$6

Chicken legs and thighs. Easier to eat standing up, uses less of your forks, fast marinade, and $4 buys 20 pieces. I consider 3-4 pieces per person. Most of us are two legs but I guarantee one unknown guest will be a seven $8 to be safe...$2 for a pre-made marinade or BBQ or spice rub.
Rolls - get some basic dinner rolls...bread is good when plying guests with sangria. Skip anything requiring baking -- it just makes your house hotter. $4
Baked beans - I splurge on the vegetarian Busch's. The big can is $2.
Veggie - it's summer - something will be cheap and grillable. Asparagus in May, .....Zucchini June/ July, ............Summer Squash or Corn July/ August, .........Acorn Squash or potatoes in August/ September. $3.

Dessert -
Root Beer Floats - One scoop of ice cream in the bottom of a glass, fill to the top with RootBeer. You are pouring root beer on the ice cream so skip the expensive stuff...$5
S'mores - Use your grill or a fire pit or a table top smore's maker - $5

Total for 6 very full very drunk friends, without overheating your kitchen:
$68.00. Your savings are greater if you make the sides and dessert pot luck.

I'm free for dinner on Sunday!

Please be advised...

the knotty gnome rocks.

She had a contest on her blog in honor of her birthday. Somehow or other, I won.

I won. I won. I won. I won. I won. I won. I won. I won. I won. I won. I won. I won. (sorry, got carried away there for a minute)

Check out the great present she sent me.

A gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous skein of meilenweit colortweed sock yarn from lana grossa. Look closer. How pretty is that? I can't wait to see how it knits up.

And, as a super special added bonus, she sent me some wonderful organic chocolate. So so good. Needless to say, Saturday was a pretty good mail day.

Hope you all had a nice weekend too.

Friday, July 28, 2006

You talk the talk... walk the walk.

er, wear the t-shirt.

Official craftfetish merchandise is here!

When does it stop being a hobby and start being an obsession? We have no idea - we just know that we are way past that point.

T's, bags, aprons and more in 8 new crafty styles. Choose from craftfetish, knittingfetish, sewingfetish, crochetfetish, cookingfetish, bakingfetish, gardenfetish and scrapfetish.

How about a craftfetish top for your next craft fair?

Or a knittingfetish bag to take your projects on the road?

Try a bakingfetish apron the next time you're in the kitchen.

Don't see your passion - leave a comment and let us know what you're hooked on. Happy crafting!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Emergency Dessert

First of all, I am still working on my assorted incomplete knitting projects, but it seems silly to post more pictures of that. Check it out everyone, my blanket is six inches long. Now look - it's eight inches long! Yeah, not so much.

So I'll talk about other people's knitting. Briana is a super-talented scrapbooker and photographer. Her mom is a super-talented knitter (must be genetic). Check out the gorgeous shawl she made. I hope I can knit like that one day.

And, I'll talk about my other favorite thing - dessert. Mmmmm...dessert.

This is a little pseudo-cobbler recipe that I threw together when I had unexpected dinner guests. If you are actually expecting guests, I might suggest substituting fresh seasonal fruit. Unexpected guests, just dust off the can of peaches that has been in the pantry forever.

Emergency Back-Up Pseudo-Cobbler (feel free to call it something else for your guests)

Puff pastry is a wonderful invention. I'm told you can actually make it yourself, but in my world, this is something found in the freezer section at the grocery store. Defrost enough of it to top your baking dish of choice. I used ramekins - I think ramekins inherently make food seem fancier.

Dust off and drain the can of peaches hiding in the back of your pantry. It is okay if the colander is in the dishwasher. Just use the vegetable steamer. While you are at it, take the half bag of frozen blackberries out of the freezer to thaw.

Layer some peaches in each of the ramekins.

Add a layer of blackberries. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar and some flour or cornstarch so that your pseudo-cobbler isn't too runny.

Top with a circle of puff pastry. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

My pastry didn't puff up quite as much as I would have hoped. Next time, I might cook the puff pastry on a cookie sheet and add it to the fruit afterwards. But who are we kidding - this is an emergency dessert - I don't have time to think of such things in an emergency. Better to just camouflage with a little ice cream.

I'm confident that you could have figured this recipe out without the photo illustrations, but that wouldn't be as much fun.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Little by little...

...we are updating the look and feel of this blog.

We're pretty new at this, but check out the slick new s&em button over there! Pretty exciting.

We've also added some new links for crafty places and crafty people who inspire us. More changes to come as we learn a bit more about html.

We're always looking for new ideas, so if you are out there creating cool stuff, drop us an email(craftfetish at yahoo dot com) or leave a comment.

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hello pretty

Are you sick of me boasting about my lace-making prowess yet? I can't help myself.

Check out the beginnings of my Branching Out scarf. Isn't she pretty?

It will need some serious blocking before it's done, but if you could only see the sad little stockinette mittens I was making three months ago, you'd be impressed too. Does it look like leaves? It's supposed to be leaves.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Follow-up: Living dangerously

I am back from my travels. DC was lovely, but too much time spent in the Convention Center and a nasty cold put a bit of a damper on my trip. But que sera...

Since I am sure you are all at the edge of your seats, I did decide to start on a Branching Out scarf to make the most of my quality airport time. TSA didn't bat an eye at my knitting needles, which was good because I didn't bother to buy bamboo needles. The big scary aluminum ones made it through security just fine.

So, back to knitting. I am using some Rowan Calmer yarn for it in a very pretty gray blue (#463 I think). Very soft and lovely to work with. I'm using size 7 needles. Your supposed to use 8's, but I couldn't find mine before I left town. So, my scarf will be a bit skinnier than planned. Oh well.

Conveniently, since this pattern has been available for a little while, I was able to benefit from the experience of others. Did you know there was an entire blog devoted to the trials and tribulations of this particular pattern? There is.

For the most part it looked like the yarn overs (YO) were the source of most of the confusion. Some instruction books make it sound like the YO includes wrapping the yarn and then knitting or purling. Nope, just the yarn bit. You could see how that would totally mess up your stitch count if you didn't know.

The best tip I was able to come up with for myself was using free conference post-it notes to mark which line of the pattern I am working on. For me anyway, this pattern is challenging and I need a little assistance to make sure I work the right row at the right time. Very helpful when people try to talk to you at the airport. Can't they see I'm knitting? Quit talking to me.

So far, I have completed 8 pattern repeats. I would probably have finished more, but a stop at Second Story Books while I was in DC meant I spent most of the trip home reading. (I can't help myself)

Anyway, I am quite impressed with me and my 8 pattern repeats. So far, I haven't had to do any major frogging and it is coming together quite nicely. As long as I pay attention to the pattern, I can totally do this. Lace, ladies and gentleman! Lace.

When do you get to call yourself an "intermediate" knitter? I'll post pictures soon. You can be the judge.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Clearance Floor Tile?? Or Art

OOH Bad Flash. But you get the concept.

In the far back corner of every Home Depot is clearance floor tiles. They sell all sorts of sizes. Here is one I made, 12inx12in. I will hang it from our wall with a plate hanger and more of the ribbon.

I bought scrapbooking paper to match my living room, matte ModPodge, ribbon, charms and a photo. ModPodge down the paper, then the photo. I used GlueLines and GlueDots to affix the ribbon and charms. The charms appear to be jaunty...but they are GlueDotted to survive a hurricane.

I can't take credit for the project...I took a tile class at I Luv Scrapbooking in Clawson, MI...but now I have run wild with the idea.

A wedding photo for an anniversary gift? A new baby photo for a baby gift? My girl friend is decorating her nursery so I bought papers that coordinate with the bedding and solid paper to print out the baby's name on 6x6 tiles. Fancy shower gift for $1.00 in tile and $5.00 in paper. Most independent scrapbooking stores will let you use their die-cutting machine for free to make the letters a snap.

Perhaps coordinate papers with invitations and make custom candle scapes as table centerpieces? Or trivets? 3x3 tiles are the size of coasters.

C'mon try it. We all love the ModPodge even if we are too old to be decorating our notebooks any more.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Living dangerously - airport knitting

Decisions, decisions...

I will be logging quite a few airport hours in the coming week. I'd like to pack some knitting to keep myself occupied, but airline security has me worried.

I am only traveling domestically, so it is only TSA regulations that I have to contend with. The only problem is that even though TSA says knitting is A-OK, the individual screeners are allowed to make up their own minds. So it is still a bit of a gamble.

Option 1: I could pack the basket weave afghan that I have been working on forever.
Pros: It is on size 11 circular needles - very blunt and innocent looking tips.
Cons: It takes up quite a bit of carry-on space and is heavier/hotter than our other project options.

Option 2: I could start another pair of baby booties.
Pros: I haven't even cast on yet, so I don't have to worry about losing my work. They require only a little bit of yarn so they are space/weight conscious. As I mentioned before, everyone I know just had a baby, is about to have a baby or wants a baby - they would come in handy.
Cons: They are knit on size 3 straight needles. Pretty sharp and pointy looking. Plus, since they are so small, I am more likely to need a needle or scissors or other high risk items to finish them while at the airport.

Option 3: I could start a Branching Out scarf.
Pros: I haven't bought yarn for this yet, so I would get to visit the nice ladies at Carma Needlecraft, and I could get some bamboo needles (or chance it with the 8's I already have - they aren't too pointy).
Cons: egad! lace = scary.

I think I'm leaning towards option 2 or 3. It will most likely come down to whether or not I get my house cleaned up and bags packed in time to go yarn shopping.

On the subject of new projects, have you seen the summer Knitty yet? This is the greatest thing I have ever seen. Maybe for my next trip...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Crafty home repair

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! My little dog and I went up to Michigan to visit family. I had a lovely time, but not much in the way of craftiness to show for it. Perhaps Emily will post the delicious fondue recipe she made for Saturday evening (hint, hint). I think I ate for about 4 hours straight. So good.

The only bit of craftiness I do have to report is a little home repair. I noticed a small tear in my window screen last week when I was washing windows. (Who knows how long it had been there - I don't wash windows much, but it certainly explains how that bee got in the other day)

Getting ready for my trip, I didn't have the time or inclination to go to the hardware store and see about the appropriate way to repair screens. A little black thread from the sewing kit and voila! we're back in business.

I think this may be the window equivalent of filling nail holes with toothpaste. My needlepoint skills are not the best, but once the screen was back in place, I don't think it looks bad. My house isn't getting a spread in Better Homes & Gardens anytime soon, so I'm not going to sweat it.