Wednesday, February 1, 2012

coconut mango chicken with black beans

First off, this is not a food blog. I am not a cook and definitely not a baker, but once in a while when you have a really good recipe, don't you just want to share it?

This recipe is adapted from rachel ray magazine, but I have made some alterations. It is one of my go to recipes if we are having company, you know, the no-fail kind of recipe that you know you can pull off. Hope you like it as much as my family.

Coconut Mango Chicken with Black Beans
Serves 4

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound boneless chicken cut into cubes
3 teaspoons ground coriander
1 can coconut milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 mango, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
Salt and pepper
2 15-ounce cans black beans
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until browned, about 3 minutes. Add the coriander and stir for about 30 seconds. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add the coconut milk to the skillet, increase the heat and boil to reduce by half. Add the sugar and stir for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the skillet, add the mango. Toss in coconut until chicken is warmed again. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium saucepan, simmer the black beans over low heat. Stir in the lime juice and keep on heat until ready to serve.

Serve over or alongside rice.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

felt storage boxes

Have an affinity with felt? Me too. I wanted a couple of new soft storage pieces for my little girls room. The most difficult part of this tutorial is finding thick enough felt yardage that isn't ridiculous expensive.
The measurements of my box is 10" width x 14" depth x 8 3/4" height. My felt is about 3mm thick. 5mm would be even more stable.

Cut out your pattern. I added a cut out oval handle on the ends for more simple carrying.

Pin your corners together and do a simple straight stitch 1/4" from the edge. Do all 4 corners.

A couple of sources the felt people. You will have to call for pricing and availability.
Filz felt. It is 100% wool which equals more expensive.
Polyester felt is less expensive, it is just hard to find. Another option is to get craft felt and use a spray adhesive to layer and make it however thick you want it to be.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

simple color block skirt

Making skirts for your little girl has to be about the easiest sewing jobs in the world, and I will prove it with this one. Only a couple measurements, some ironing and 4 stitches are required.

I used a corduroy. I bought 12" of a light gray and 6" of a purple-berry color. They were on clearance and cost me $1.21 all together.

First measure your little girls waist. (I will use my little girls measurements for as an example, she is 18 months old).
Her waist measured 17", I will add 1" for seam allowances. Double that and you have your width measurement. (you can go even bigger for more fullness) I needed 36" in width and I measured from her waist down for how long I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be 9" in total length. I decided to make the top panel or color 6" and the bottom panel/color 3".

Putting right sides of fabric together, I sewed my two pieces of fabric together before I cut anything. If you have a serger, serge the two fabrics. Next measure your width and cut the fabric to that width, again, mine was 36".
*note* if you need a wider width than the width your fabric came in, then do two pieces and your skirt will have 2 side seams instead of one back seam.

Next you will want to iron your bottom panel. I wanted mine to be 3" and I wanted a 1" stitch line along the bottom. Here is the math 3"+1" for stitch length and 1/2" for the turn=4 1/2". I ironed the fabric at 1/2" first and then ironed it again at 1" for where there would be the 1" stitch line.
(image above shows the ironing)

Sew the side seams.

Now that your side seam is sewn, you can fold the bottom panel back up with to where you already have it ironed and stitch it at your 1" mark.

You will basically do the same thing with the top panel to insert an elastic and finish the skirt.

Again, I wanted a 1" waist line. The math, 6"+1"+1/2"=7 1/2". Iron the 1/2", then 1".

Stitch almost all the way around leaving just enough room to insert the 18" elastic. (base your elastic length on your waist measurement +1") Attach your elastic to a safety pin and thread through your waistband. Stitch the two ends of the elastic together, pull the elastic taut through the waistband and sew up that little opening and viola! You have a new little skirt!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DIY makeup tool case

For Christmas, I told B that I would like a case for makeup brushes and tools. Of course he didn't want to pick one out for me, so I started a search for a case that would work for me. I didn't find anything that I really wanted, so I decided to make my own, and you can too! Here is how.

DIY makeup brush and tool case

I went to a thrift shop to find a hardback book that had a spine that was just over an inch and I took my longest brush to make sure that I got one that would
accommodate all my brushes. It cost me $3.

Once I got the book home, I removed the contents of the bound book with an exact-o knife.

I decided to use felt on the inside of the case. Since I didn't have to turn edges to finish them on the felt, I cut the felt to be 1/2" larger on all sides of the book. This extra fabric is needed for putting in zipper tape and stitching it in.
The exterior fabric was a heavy canvas, I cut it to be 1" bigger than the book on all sides so that I could turn the edges to have them be finished. The poly-canvas that I used also had a rubber backing making it much heavier and more difficult to turn, especially at the corners, but I was using fabrics that I already had in my house.
I mapped out where I wanted my elastics and used a clear plastic ruler along the steps of stitching the elastic on to make sure I was staying straight. Also, make sure that you leave plenty of elastic as a tail. You will want to pucker the elastic between stitches to hold the brushes. This will help make the most use of the real estate you have.

Next stitch your elastic 1/2" from the edge as your anchor.

Then lineup your brushes and map out how you want them.

The rest of getting the elastic stitched is a little tedious, but I am so happy with the results that I encourage you to put in the time. Make sure that your brush fits without too much tension before you stitch each of them.

You can see that I added a place for my tweezers, little scissors and a sharpener. Since this is custom, do whatever works best for you. You could do them opposite of what I have with the brushes lined up on both sides horizontally as long as your book is deep enough.

Now take all of your tools out and put a glue on the back of your felt. I used Martha Stewart permanent glue (again I already had it). Place your felt inside the book cover and use the original pages that were removed from the cover to help set the interior. Having the original pages applies the pressure needed to set the interior piece. Set some heavy books on top and let sit for 8 or more hours.

Do the same thing with the exterior fabric. You can do both the interior and exterior at the same time to save time.

Next insert a zipper and between the interior and exterior fabrics. I used a zipper that had a 3/4" zipper tape, and used two zipper heads, but a single would work just great too.

Here is the final product. Perfect for storage and for travel.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Neon shoe pops

1. pierre hardy 2. ASOS found fluro sandal 3. Jessica Simpson Estas 4. ASOS Priscilla 5. J. Crew Sperry top-sider boat shoes 6. Kensie Girl Galia 7. Isola Stella

Even though winter has really yet to hit here at home and snow is most likely going to cover the ground for the next 4 months, I am already thinking springtime colors. I am trying to find the perfect pair of shoes that has a bright pop of color!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

new year, new ambitions

2012 has already been a year with changes. It is just the 11th, and I apologize I haven't been present to my readers. We have had some busy days. We had a good friend pass much too early and with his passing, came friends from out of town that stayed with us and we were able to spend a couple of days with them. We also had the arrival of a new baby boy in our family. Congratulations to my brother Mike and wife Brenda!

I have decided on what I feel is a manageable and achievable list of ambitions for this year, and am excited to be working towards some expectations. Here is my list of goals, resolutions or ambitions for this year!

1. Study finance and investing. More money savvy.
2. Re-upholster my rocking chairs bought from KSL
3. Find a project for the good of community or a family. Give back
4. Run a 1/2 marathon
5. Work with Bart on a 5, 10 and 20 year plan of where we want to
be and what we want to have accomplished

6. Plant a garden which included a flower garden this year
*learn to can 3-5 items this year from my parents and my

7. Add 8 pairs of shoes to my collection
8. Teach pilates classes
9. Plan a vacation
10. Keep up on blog!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012



Now that I am now working full-time, I have freedom to decide what I want to pursue and how. Trouble is, I have had so many ideas and dreams to chase that I am not quite sure where to go. I realize that I have to focus and hone in on a single concept direction, or they will all just remain ideas and dreams. That goes for this blog too. Bear with me as I am figuring out what my goals and ultimate ambitions are. I appreciate your visits and if there are posts that you have liked in the past and you would like to see more like them, please, please, please let me know!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years 2012!

(via confetti system)

Here we go again...

I can't believe how quickly time passes year to year. Reflecting on the passing year, like most of you, I had accomplishments and failures, goals met, goals unmet and a lot of memories that I always wish I was better at recording. As the new year rolls in, I have to admit that I love the feeling of a clean slate and though they are just more days coming at me, no matter what, I feel that clean slate with the dawn of the new year. Perhaps even more so this year. Just before the holiday, I finished up my last days working where I had been for 6+ years. Thanks to the support and encouragement of my husband, we decided that now was a good time for us to transition to me traveling less for work and spending my time at home raising our daughter. I miss all my friends at jjc, but am truly thrilled about the prospect of a new chapter and possibilities ahead.

I am working on my list of hopeful accomplishments for 2012, and am toying with the idea of posting them to help me be accountable!

I am interested though, do you make new years resolutions or goals and if so, what are they this year?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Costumes

I have been working on Halloween costumes for my clan the last two nights. I have two down and one to go.
However, if you are still looking for inspiration for any of yours, here are a couple of favorites I have seen from other bloggers.

(via smallable)

(via my poppet)

(via smallable)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween: Masks

Who doesn't love Halloween. Tricks, treats, candy and costumes! However, sometimes the costumes part can stress me out. Who or what to be? Do I buy or make the costumes? If I do make them, does my time for any other Halloween activities go out the door? The questions are endless.
I really like the idea of these masks and keeping costumes minimal. Some could be fun to create on your own or buy them and there is no costume hassle!

(sundries and plunder on etsy)
(zid zid kids here)

(Linus and the Feel Good Factory here)
(Kalon Studios here)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wood Toys for Boys

If I had a little boy, I would definitely pick up these wood toys.
I love the simplicity and style.

(airplane box set from here for $40)

(melissa and doug stacking vehicles on sale here for $16/set)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ABC Kids Expo 2011: Play


Here are some of the fun or just cute toys from the show.

Dwell Studio

(image via buy modern baby)

Folkmanis hand puppet


(images via buy modern baby)

Ulubulu bibs


Moulin Roty shadow puppets

Moulin Roty tea set

P'kolino shape puzzles. Muliple ways to do these puzzles with the basic shapes. So cool.

Jekca "lego-like" furniture that you build with your kids.