Mac and Cheese Friday

I haven't had a mac and cheese Friday post is a really long time. I still make it from time to time, but haven't really tried a new recipe due to laziness. But a couple weeks ago I decided to try a new one. This one hails from Ina Garten.

Mac and Cheese
courtesy of Ina Garten and Foodnetwork.com


Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top

I left out the tomatoes, but it was still delicious. Plus it was pretty easy to make. I really do love mac and cheese.


I'm always looking for practical ways to go green. There are many things that I would love to do such as composting, but I can't due to living in an apartment. So I decided that a small thing that I can do is change from using paper napkins to cloth. I can easily toss them into the laundry that I already do and it saves some trees from being cut down to wipe my face. I have looked at several ideas and patterns online but found most of them to be to large. I don't have a very large table to set, so the large size ones just looked silly. And I think that they are more of a nicer thing, like for holiday dinners and such. But more so I really wanted to be able to store the napkins in a napkin holder on my table. This is what I came up with

I now have a set of 10 napkins that fit perfectly into my napkin holder. I really like them a lot. What made this project even better was that everything came from my existing stash of fabric! I think that what I would like to do is make a few sets of 10 or so that I can change out when I get tired of looking at the patterns or colors. Maybe I will make some bright colorful ones for summer.

One of the reasons why I wanted to do this project, other than the green factor, was to get some practice with sewing straight and doing hand seaming. Here is what I learned: don't sew while talking on the phone, don't decide to do all the hand finishing when you are half asleep, and ironing can do wonders!


I heart the Library

I hate to admit this but I haven't gone to the public library for anything other than school related things since I was a kid. Boy have I been missing out! A couple weeks ago I made a trip to the Tigard Public Library. First of all I was blown away on how nice the new library is. I was very pleased to see how my tax dollars were spent. Just browsing around I was amazed on how many people were using this public space. People reading books and magazines, using the computers, participating in a book group, kids story time and so on. It really warmed my heart to see all of these people gathering in this amazing space.

What drew me to the library in the first place was to look for some knitting books. I have found that the books cost quite a bit for only one or two patterns in it. So a friend suggested that I look at the library for them. I was so impressed on their selection of knitting books! They even had new releases. The librarian showed me how I could search for books at home, place a hold on them and have them sent to my library when they were available. Are you kidding me!! How awesome is that. When I was at the library on my first trip I just browsed around. They have an epic selection of cookbooks. I really don't see why I would ever need to buy one again.

Tonight I was browsing around on the library site and found that they even have a super selection of DVD's. Ryan and I watch a lot of TV on DVD. We have been contemplating the idea of getting Netflix for this reason, because it gets expensive fast buying them. But I found that the library has a ton of TV on DVD. I placed a request of Deadwood season 1. I also found a few exercise DVD's.

As I'm sure you can now tell I'm super excited about my library. I can't even begin to tell you how much money we will save with it. As long as I'm not in a hurry it is perfect!


I need this!!

I found this picture linked to a knitting blog that I read. As soon as I saw it I knew that I had to have it.

I already have a love for the traditional "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters from WWI. I have a couple t-shirts that have the phrase on them. It is something that I tell myself everyday. So as I'm sure you all know I seriously heart knitting. As soon as I saw this it was love at first sight! It will be perfect for my craft room. It turns out that the link is to an etsy site that carries some great stuff. I really want to order the knitting bag that has this logo on it.

After finding this I decided to do a google search and see what other creative ways that have changed the classic phrase. I found both of these

My plan after finding all of these is to print them and use them as an embroidery pattern and make a set of 4 (the forth being the original print) to hang on my wall in my craft room. I'm loving it already! Now lets just see how long it take me to make them.


Cloth High Chairs

On a recent trip that we took with Ryan's family Heidi and Chase struggled with feeding the twins. Since we flew they didn't have a ton of room to pack stuff. The hotel didn't have a highchair so they attempted to feed the twins in their stroller. It was not the easiest of things for them to do. This got me thinking about something that I saw online once. A cloth highchair. I decided to attempt to make Brooklyn and Carter each one.

They seem to work pretty well! On a side note look at Brooklyn's face, this is a new thing that she has started doing. It's pretty funny.

Here is Carter's a little closer up. They are fastened by Velcro and fold up pretty small. They will be perfect for the Lemon's upcoming trip to Arizona.

This was another great project for my beginning sewing skills. I really want to try to make another one because I figured out a few modifications that I want to make. So I need to find another baby to make one for. Also have I ever mentioned how incredibly satisfying sewing is! It's nice how fast you can make something.

I had originally planned on making these for the twin's birthday in May. But when Heidi told me that they were planning a trip to Arizona in April I thought that these might come in handy. Which leads me to my next idea. I really want to try to make everyone on my Christmas list a homemade gift this year. I will get them something else as well, but I think that making something for everyone would be really neat. So far I have ideas for my parents, Ryan, and Julie. If anyone has some good crafty gift ideas please share!!


As I mentioned in a previous post Ryan's cousin is having a baby. I was planning on knitting a couple of bibs to give to her, but chickened out because I didn't think that they looked that great.

I made 2 and got both patterns off of Raverly. This is the first one I made
It is just a garter stitch and was really easy and fast to make. But once again I didn't trust the pattern and decided that I needed to cast on extra stitches. So it came out kind of big. I think that the size would be ok for an older baby (like 9months or older). This pattern was my first attempt at a button hole. Let me tell you that got the best of me. There is a hole there for the button to go in to, but I know that I didn't do it right. I really need to practice on making the button holes for future projects. I need to block this as well as almost everything else I've made. Ryan said that I should have given it to her, but I just didn't think it looked so great.

Here is the second one I made
Now this bib was so tiny! It was like sized for a doll. I followed the pattern exactly, except for the strap (which is obviously to long). So I guess that I need to start making swatches before I start a project. I liked the self striping yarn I used on this bib. It was fun. I was reading that if I block this I might be able to make it a little bigger. So that is on my list of things to do.


pattern - bib 1- Simple Bib
yarn - Lily Sugar n' Cream in Hot Pink
pattern- bib 2- easy peasy baby bib
yarn- Lily Sugar n' Cream in Violet Stripes
also detailed on my raverly page

Dirty Girl Washcloths

Back in November I took a knitting class and fell completely in love with it. My first real project was this and although I was so proud of it, it was kind of a mess. I really needed practice on pretty much everything. A few friends of mine who knit recommended that I make washcloths as a practice. They are fairly quick to make allow you to practice casting on, making stitches, and binding off. So after Christmas I made these
I made all 3 washcloths in just a couple of days. Sadly I am just now getting around to posting them. The purple one is a simple garter stitch. The pink one is a stockinette stitch with a garter edge. The blue one is a basket weave. I love the blue one but here is the funny thing, I had to frog it so many times because I started this project right after I first hurt my back and couldn't hardly move and was strung out on pain meds. Because I had trouble focusing I couldn't keep the pattern going. So I had to finally grab a piece of paper and keep a tally of my stitches. I will have to try the pattern again with a clear mind.

I think that this project really allowed me to improve my skills. Look at how much straighter my edges are! This yarn is also pretty easy to work with, plus is super cheap! I still need to learn how to block my projects. I've just been to lazy to do it.


pattern - Dirty Girl Washcloths from Chicks With Sticks
yarn - Lily Sugar n' Cream in Cornflower, Strawberry and Hot Purple

also detailed on my raverly page

Baby Shower Crafts

Ryan's cousin Lisa is having a baby girl named Kendal. Kathy (Ryan's mom) threw her a baby shower this last weekend and I decided to make her some burp cloths.

I made two sets of two. I really loved each of the fabrics, they are both made with flannel and are super soft. This was a great project for me being a new sewer. To tell you the truth I decided to make her the burp cloths mainly because I wanted to sew something :-) But these seemed to be a practical gift for a new baby. I gave here these and some onesises.

Spring Break!

So after 3 months of an insane schedule from school leaving me really no time to do anything I was looking forward to spring break. I had my finals on Monday so that left me with almost 2 weeks off of school. Ryan and I left Monday night after he got off work and headed for Bend. We were really lucky with our drive over and didn't have any snow or ice in the pass. The weather there was beautiful and it was such a nice and relaxing time. We really had a pretty low key week there not doing to much of anything. I did alot of knitting and movie watching. We ate some amazing food and just enjoyed each others company.

This picture is taken at the park a couple blocks away from our house. I know that every time I go to Bend I say the same thing, but I am always blown away by how amazingly beautiful Bend is. I really wish that the economy there would turn around so we could move there for a few years.

We came home from Bend on Thursday and I spent most of that evening and Friday crafting (I will post those pictures in another blog post). I worked Saturday and Sunday. Ryan's mom threw a baby shower for her nice Lisa who is having a baby girl. I stopped by after work to see everyone and give Lisa my gift. This last week wasn't quite as great. I'm still having alot of issues with my back which have left me on the couch alot. I really can not wait to be better. The worst part is that I will feel like I'm making progress and am on my way to being healthy again and BAM! My back is all flaired up again. I'm really hoping that the procedure that I had done this week really will help and start allowing me get better. But on the bright side I did get some more knitting in. I just have to find time to make it up to Julie for not getting to hang out this week.