Saturday, August 31, 2013

Felt Hearts and Hand Warmers

It's time again for a new post so I hope you will like what I have to share with you today.

I am sitting here at my laptop trying to stay cool.  As you know, I live in Southern California.  We usually have mild weather, but this week we have had a heat wave with high humidity that just doesn't want to go away!  The last couple of nights we have had to sleep with the air conditioner on and now I find my joints are hurting - especially my knees.  Does that mean I am getting old?

This past week I have been busy completing the craft projects for my Norwegian group which will be having a bazaar. I shared with you the pattern for the Nisseman and the crocheted roses.  Here's some felt hearts I also made for the bazaar:

I used the left over felt I had from the nisseman project.   Originally I wanted to decorate the hearts with a piece of woven ribbon.  But, I couldn't find my sewing basket!  I looked and looked, climbed up to the shelves in the garage and looked through numerous boxes to no avail.  Since I moved here three years ago, there are some items I have no idea where they are!

Anyway, I decided to use my fabric paint and paint the designs on the felt.  I let the paint dry and them I stitched them together with crochet thread.  They are filled inside with pillow filling.

This was suppose to be a wreath design with green dots making the wreath.  It didn't work so I was going to throw it away and after I had put the heart together, I opened it up and saw that it make a perfect wreath design!  

I had so much fun making these little hearts that I made a batch to sell on my etsy store:

This past week I have also had time to make a pair of hand warmers.  I  had the yarn in my stash and it worked out great.

The pattern can be found at mrsbrownmakes.  It's a Kat Goldin design.   If you have the time, please visit her lovely blog.  She has some wonderful ideas and patterns.   I am going to keep these for myself since I think they will be great when I travel to England this fall.

I would love to hear from you and share what project you are working on.   Please feel free to comment below.  And, don't forget to visit Handmade Harbour where you will find some great ideas for crafts.

Enjoy the long weekend and I will be back again next week!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vegetarian Mousakka Recipe

Hello everyone.  I had wanted to share this recipe with you last week but I ran out of time.  I enjoy vegetarian food and I also enjoy making up new recipes that are vegetarian.  With so many soy products out there today, it's really quite easy to be creative.

So, here is the recipe I promised to post for Vegetarian Mousakka.  You will need the following:
2 medium size eggplants
2 to 3 medium potatoes
1 16 ounce can kidney beans, or pinto beans, or beans of your choice, drained
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup sliced mushroms (you can use canned or fresh)
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
salt & pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon

For Bechamel sauce:
1/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup flour
2 cups + unsweetened soy milk
salt and pepper
dash nutmeg

shredded soy cheese for topping
First you will need to peel the eggplant, slice it approximately 1/4" thickness and place in a colander.  You can salt each layer of eggplant and let it sit in the colander for a couple of hours until you see liquid in the plate. 

Take a large baking sheet and line it with foil paper.  Pour a little oil in a plate and dip each side of the eggplant in the oil and place on foil.  (You can brush each eggplant slice if  you want to do that instead)  Fill tray with eggplant slices and broil under the broiler until eggplant becomes golden brown.  Turn each slice over and broil other side.

Here's a picture of the broiled eggplant.  Now it's time to make the filling.  Take the chopped onion and saute in a nonstick pan in a little oil.  Saute until golden brown.  Add in the can of beans (drained), mushrooms, 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste and cinnamon.  Add a little water (1/4 cup or so) if needed.  Bring to a boil and lower heat and simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes.  You can adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat and lastly, add in chopped parsley. 

Here's a picture of the cooked filling.  It shouldn't be dry but it shouldn't be watery either.  It should have a little bit of thick sauce.  Now it's time to layer the casserole together.  

Take a medium sized oven proof baking dish and grease it well and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.  

 Take the potatoes (you can keep the skins on them if you wish) and microwave them until they are tender.  I like to precook them this way so that they will be thoroughly cooked in the casserole.  After precooking them, slice them in thin slices.

Take the potato slices and layer the bottom of the casserole dish with them.  Only do one layer of the slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add a layer of the broiled eggplant slices on top of the potato slices.

Place all of the filling mixture on top of the eggplant layer and spread evenly.

Add another layer of potatoe slices on top of the filling.  Sprinkle potato slices with a little salt and pepper.

Add the last layer of eggplant slices on top of the potato slices.

Now it's time to make the bechamel sauce.  Classic bechamel sauce is made with milk and butter with beaten eggs added in last for richness.  This is a vegan style sauce but it is very tasty.  Be sure to use "unsweetened" soy milk.  

Take a medium sauce pan and melt the butter in it.  Add in flour and whisk flour into the melted better.  Gradually add in soy milk, stirring constantly so that you won't get any lumps.  Continue stirring and adding in a little milk as needed until mixture begins to bubble and mixture is medium thick.  Add in salt and pepper to taste along with a dash of nutmeg.

Remove sauce from heat and pour sauce over the top of the eggplant slices.  Spread sauce to edge of casserole dish.  Sprinkle top with grated soy cheese if desired.

Bake casserole in preheated 365 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes or until it starts to bubble around the edges.  Remove from oven and let cool 5 to 10 minutes and serve with plain rice if desired.

You can adjust this recipe to your liking.  You can use less potatoes and more eggplants or add your favorite item to the filling.  

I hope you will enjoy this recipe.  It's tasty and the bechamel sauce makes it creamy.

Be sure to stop by  Handmade Harbour where you will find some wonderful creative ideas!

Have a great week.

Pat :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Crocheted Roses

Hello everyone.  I hope each of you are doing well and enjoyed your weekend.  I want to thank everyone who visited this blog last week during the blog stop tour.  It was fun seeing the number of visitors who visited.  I hope you will continue to read Lilly My Cat.

I didn't know what to share this week.  I made a vegetarian mousakka a couple of days ago and was going to share the recipe but since I am so behind in writing this post, I thought it would be easier to write up this idea for crocheted roses.

My friend recently bought some crocheted roses that you can display in a vase.  I liked the concept but the actual roses looked a bit old fashioned for my taste (my daughter will tell me, "what taste"!)  Anyway, I found a fun little pattern that gives some depth to the rose so here's what I came up with:

I had so much fun making these, that I got carried away with the pattern and made 12 of them!

The colors may be a bit bright since I used leftover yarns that I had in my yarn basket.  I like the black/white or gray/white ones since they look a bit more modern.

I sewed a pin on the back of each rose so that you can pin it on a hat, or coat, etc.

If you would like to make some of these roses, here's the link to the pattern.  I hope you have as much fun making them as I did!

Have a wonderful week and please remember to stop by Handmade Monday and see some great ideas from other crafters.

Wishing you the best,
Pat :)
(Lilly's Mom)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Make an Elf on the Shelf or Scandinavian Nisseman

The holidays are fast approaching and there's still plenty of time to create something fun!  Here's a repost that I originally posted August of last year.  But, it's very Scandinavian and it's very Christmasy.  So, if you haven't seen it before, here's the instructions for making a Scandinavian Nisseman (or Elf on the Shelf!).

Here is what you will need to make one nisseman:

2 pieces of red felt (12" x 10")
1 small piece of blue felt (12" in length)
1 small piece of ivory felt
small amount of ivory or pale yellow yarn
small amount of ribbon
small amount of brown, white and red embroidery thread
small amount of quilt batting
red sewing thread and needle

The first thing you will need to do is to get the pattern.  Please right click on these two images and "save image as" to your computer.  Then you can go back and print the image from where you saved it on your computer. 

Take the pattern and cut out 1 back, 1 front and 1 hat using the red felt.  Cut 1 face using the ivory felt.  Also cut 1 back out of the quilt batting.  I only used half of the thickness of the batting and cut it a little smaller than the body since you don't want the edges of the batting to showing in the seams.

Draw the face pattern on the piece or ivory felt and embroidery the face.  Here's a close up of the face:

After you have embroidered the face, you will need to assemble the Nisseman to sew the seams together.  Place the back piece on a flat surface, place quilt batting on top, place front on top of batting, place face on front of batting, tucking the neck of the face under the front piece, and lastly, place hat on batting and over the forehead of the face.  Pin pieces together.

At this point you can base the pieces together if it's easier for you.  Otherwise, if the pins don't bother you, then you are ready to stitch the Nisseman together using a needle with red sewing thread.

Here's a closeup of how the pieces are placed together prior to sewing the seams.  As you can see, the bottom of the face piece is tucked under the front neck edge.

Here's another picture showing the different layers of the felt, batting, and face.  Stitch around the outside of the piece using the red thread.

Please do not stitch across the neck area or across the bottom of the hat.  We need to attached the braids.  Take the yarn and make a 3 yarn braid.  Take the braid and place it across the top of the face.  Tuck a little bit of the braid on each side of the hat.  Here's a close up of what I mean:

With  your red thread,  start at the lower side of of the face and attach the back of the braid to the body.  Continue to stitch across the top of the hat, making sure you pick up a little bit of the braid in each stitch and finish attaching the braid on the other side of the face.  Lastly, stitch across the neck area.  You may have some red stitches showing on either side of the face on the back side - that's OK.  But, please do not have stitches showing through to the other side when you stitch across the top of the face and neck.

Here's another close up of the face and stitching:

You can tie some colored ribbon on each ends of the braid.  And tie the blue felt scarf around the neck.

And, you now have a lovely little Nisseman to decorate your holiday decor.  If you wish, you can tie a ribbon on top of his hat so that you can hang it from your tree.

I hope you have enjoyed this little tutorial.  And, I hope you have enjoyed visiting Lilly My Cat.  If you like,  you can sign up to receive future posts and visit again.

With my best wishes,
Pat :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Huntington Library in San Marino - Art, Tea and Gardens

Hello my friends.  It's been a fun week here at Lilly My Cat.  This week my daughter took me to visit  The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California.  It was less than an hour's drive from our home here in South Orange County.  The first of each month they offer free tickets to the grounds and exhibits.  So, off we went on Thursday for a wonderful day of sightseeing.

We started our tour with the Huntington Art Gallery which features European art.  It has one of the most distinguished collections of 18th and 19th century British paintings outside of London.  We were able to view Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence and The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough.  (I was familiar with these paintings because I used to have two china plates displaying their images) The art collection is housed in the home Henry Huntington had built as his residence in 1911.  He lived in this home until his death in 1927 and it became a museum for his collection in 1930.

This is a photo of Mr. Huntington's personal library.  It has numerous books along with fine, French antique furniture.  There was an exhibit of portrait miniatures and also of fine snuff boxes.  I felt like I was watching the Antique Road Show!

Henry Huntington made his money in the railroad.  He bought the San Marino Ranch in 1903.  It now comprises 207 acres of which there are numerous buildings and many gardens.

We were fortunate to have tea reservations at the tea room at the gardens.  They served a lovely tea buffet along with hot scones.

 After enjoying tea, we made out way through the rose garden to the Japanese garden.

After touring the Japanese gardens, we made out way over to the lilly pond which was truly amazing.

My little grandson, really thought it was fun going through all the garden paths and discovering lots of exciting sites.

There is so much to see that we could have spent the whole day there exploring the different exhibits and gardens.  There are numerous gardens along with various art galleries.  

At the European Art exhibit, we saw a Guttenberg Bible from 1450-1455.  Mr. Huntington bought this copy in 1911 for $50,000 and it is one of seven surviving copies printed on vellum.

It was such a fun day and to know that this little taste of Europe's finest is so near to where I reside. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend a visit to The Huntington.  

As a footnote, we saw some wonderful antique botanical pen and ink drawings in an exhibit there at the library's west hall.  I told my daughter that I have some drawings like this that my great grandfather did.  Here are the photos of my antique botanical drawings:

And, here's a photo of my great grandfather, Daniel Wyatt Gibbons who was the artist:

My great grandfather was born in 1860 in Chillicothe, Missouri and died in 1919.  He was an attorney and a botanist.  

That's about all I have to share for today.  I hope each of you have a wonderful week and please remember to stop by Handmade Monday and see lots of wonderful creative ideas.

Pat :)