Archive | March 2016

Printed Pattern Storage Solution

Downloadable patterns are all the rage.  While they are a pain to print and tape together, not to mention all the wrangling it feels like you have to do just to move it once taped (it literally flaps around), I’ll buy a downloadable pattern every time because my need for instantaneous gratification is fulfilled when I click the Download button.  That kind of trumps all the negatives.  However, they are also a pain to store.  For one, printer paper is bulky, cumbersome, and heavy.  And trying to store those cut pieces?  Ha!  What a mess.
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What I’ve started doing is laying tracing velum on top of the printed pattern so I cut the velum, pattern, and fabric all at once.  Fabric weights are great for this.  Then before I remove the velum, I use a pencil to transfer all the markings and manufacturer/pattern info onto the velum.   The velum is MUCH easier to work with because I can erase inevitable mistakes and it folds up lighter and tighter than the printer paper.  Once I’ve traced the pattern, I toss the printed version.  I’ve saved it to my laptop anyway so if I need to reprint, I can.
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There are always cheap plastic zip bags to keep pattern pieces in and I’ve done that for years, but I saw a YouTube video awhile back where a lady had used clear Mylar bags for pattern storage.  They were the kind with the reusable adhesive strip for the flap to cling to.  This lady actually put her store bought patterns in them too.  I’m a bit of an organization freak so I was all over this.  The lady recommended an online site (I can’t recall it now) and they seemed fairly reasonable for the price of the bags but the shipping was $15!  WHAT?  Ha…no.

So I went poking around the websites of local stores and hit pay dirt at Hobby Lobby.  Their website didn’t have the sizes I needed so I went to the store the next day.  I had to go searching in the Art Supply department vs. Crafts or Sewing to find the right kind of bags in the size needed for patterns.  I wouldn’t call them inexpensive – 25 bags for $4.49 for the smaller ones and $5.99 for the bigger ones.  But HL always has that 40% off coupon so strategic shopping can pay off.

These things are awesome!  The Mylar is very structured so nothing floppy here like zip bags.  I bought the store out on the smaller size for my regular patterns and only bought one package of the larger size.  They are absolutely perfect for the larger Vogue store-bought patterns and anything I might print.

I’ve found my pattern storage box all of a sudden became very neat and tidy.  The 8.5” x 11” printed patterns I haven’t put together yet are now protected from dog ears or being inadvertently scrunched or having single pages sliding under the others as I go pattern hunting.  The Mylar allows the patterns to slide smoothly against one another and as I go digging, the pattern envelope flaps don’t get that freshly-dug, half open/torn off look.

 

If a downloaded pattern doesn’t have a cover page with a color photo of the garment or project, I’ll grab a screen shot and copy/paste it to a Word document and print.  Then I cut it out and voila’!  Now my downloaded, printed, and cut pattern fits perfectly alongside its store-bought counterparts!

An Easy Dinner Recipe for Busy Folks

Ok, so this post isn’t about sewing.  It’s not for lack of sewing though.  I’m just so swamped busy, that I haven’t had time to blog.  I completed a bridal alteration I’ll blog about after the wedding in April.  I’m making custom baby gifts for a friend’s sister, I made a mug rug for a friend’s birthday, and I’m up to my neck sewing a navy blue floor-length formal to wear this coming Saturday night at the Texas State Daughters of the American Revolution State Conference in Houston – the bodice and sleeves are done but I’ve yet to cut the skirt.  I’m using Vogue 8766, View F (like the girl in the picture),using Sure Fit Designs for fit, elbow-length sleeves and again, floor length.  I’ve used a process to sew the satin underlay and lace as one.  It’s working out great!  The secret?  Quilt Basting Spray between the layers.


Even though I work outside the home every day, hubs and I hate to eat out so I make dinner at home and I usually make enough to take for lunches the next day.  No, I’m not Superwoman but I don’t have kids at home and I’ve gotten pretty good at planning ahead.  While I love my slow cooker, I was looking for a change.  Awhile back, a co-worker was peddling goodies for his kid’s school fundraiser ( I hate the way schools pimp kids to sell stuff…I digress) and I bought a little spiral bound cookbook called “101 Things to do With a Casserole“.  I love cookbooks like that.   It’s right up there with Dinner Doctor.  I perused the book and went shopping to stock up.
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I decided to do some experimenting with the recipes and discovered something pretty cool.  You can use pre-prepped foods in casseroles and they turn out really good with some tweaking by decreasing of the amounts of water or milk required.  I’ve started using frozen or boxed potatoes & rice mixes, pre-cooked meats, canned soups, and frozen veggies.  There’s a TON of pre-made healthy and yummy things out there to choose from.  And of course, never leaving well enough alone, I always add my own additional seasonings.

So I’ve begun putting a casserole together in the morning and leaving it covered in foil in the fridge.  Normally, hubs gets home before I do, so I leave a sticky note on the counter that says something like, “Casserole.  350 for 45 mins”.  He dutifully does his part and I come home to a hot meal!  Of course, he takes all the credit saying, “I cooked for you” and I roll my eyes and thank him.  One of the benefits of this dinner prep method is I can use frozen veggies without them turning to mush like they would in my Crock Pot.

So here’s what we had last night and it was DELICIOUS!  If I had made this ahead of time, I’d of left off the Crescent Rolls until they are called for in the recipe.

Semi-Homemade Beef Pot Pie Casserole

Prep time 20 mins.  Bake time 35 mins.

1 12-16 oz pkg frozen pre-cooked Beef Fajitas
1 Tbs olive oil
2  4 oz cans mushrooms, pieces & stems
1  16 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, green beans, etc.)
1  12 oz can French Onion Soup + 1/2 can water
2 Tbs Corn starch or Flour
*Seasonings to taste
1 c. shredded cheddar blend cheese
1 can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (use half; bake the rest and serve)

*For my seasonings, I used:
1 pkg Sauzon Goya con Cilantro y Tomate (I put this stuff in everything!)
1 Tbs Beef Bouillon (or 1 large cube)
2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Toney Chachere’s More Spice

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pan, heat oil and add fajitas and mushrooms stirring occasionally.  Once meat is hot, use kitchen scissors to cut the meat into bite-sized pieces in the pan.

While the meat is cooking, in a small saucepan, heat soup & half can of water until a near boil.  Using the soup can to measure another 1/4 can of water, add corn starch into the can and stir with a fork to smooth.  Mix into soup and whisk until thickened to gravy consistency.  Mix seasonings into soup gravy tasting along the way until you like it.

Add vegetables to meat and pour the gravy over all.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour mixture into a 9″x 13″ casserole pan. Top casserole with cheese and bake for 20 minutes uncovered.  Unroll crescent rolls and lay on top of casserole in a single layer.  Bake for 15 more minutes until top is golden brown.  Serve and bask in the hero worship you deserve for slaving over that hot stove all day.

NOTE:  You can make a Chicken Pot Pie using chicken fajitas and replace the French Onion soup with chicken broth seasoned with chicken bouillon.  Enjoy!