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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Seasonal Decorating: Patriotic Celebrations

Patriot Decorations
4th of July is a big holiday for my family. It's Jeanine's second favorite holiday beat only by Thanksgiving. Even though she always hosts the 4th of July BBQ I still wanted to celebrate our Independence with our decorations.

Joann's has some beautiful patriotic fabric, so much in fact that we purchased enough to make some placemats to sell online. I first selected a the same Patchwork Americana fabric we used on this Historic Barbie Dress but I fell in love with the Inspirational Patriotic fabric with words in old font styles which lead to the fun vintage Pinwheel fabric. Because the Inspirational fabric has so many patriotic sentiments besides Independence day I think these decorations will be out from Memorial Day to 4th of July.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Spinachless Spinach Dip

Ever tried Knorr's Spinach Dip? It's delicious!  But I'm not a big fan of spinach, I used to spend 20 minutes defrosting the spinach and chopping it finer and finer, and then I'd only put in half of the spinach.  Then a couple times later I only used a quarter of the spinach. Then I realized, why even add spinach?  Since then I've never gone back!  And the amazing part is I get much more compliments with my adaptation.

My spinachless spinach dip is made from a double batch of Knorr's basic recipe with extra scallions (green onions) and water chestnuts. I also use less mayo mainly because I don't like mayonnaise.  If you like it you can double it following the ratios of Knorr's original recipe.

Makes about 6-7 cups.

2 packages Knorr Vegetable recipe mix
2 16oz sour cream
1 cup mayo
3 8oz cans water chestnuts, drained and chopped
3 bunches of scallions (green onions), chopped
1 large bread bowl, hollowed out
1 french bread loaf, cubed

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Place dip into bread bowl.
  3. Chill at least 2 hours.
  4. Serve with cubed bread or sour cream and onion chips (Lays with ridges taste great and are thick enough to handle this chunky dip).

Baba's Clam Dip

For all of our family BBQs we'd always ask my Baba (grandmother) if she was bringing her clam dip.  My mom never made it much, it was something special Baba did.  The problem was, she would only bring a batch or maybe 2.  With a family of 5 and parties of at least 10 people 2 batches were never enough. Finally my mom and I were able to get the recipe. While its one of our favorites, we don't always make this dip for our family gatherings, it still is a special item for special days, usually for Mother's Day, Father's Day or the Superbowl.

Makes about 1 cups. For parties, I recommend making 4 to 6 times the recipe.

1 8oz box of cream cheese at room temperature
1 can minced clams
2 T mayonnaise
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t Tabasco sauce

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Chill at least 2 hours.
  3. Serve with vegetables or sour cream and onion chips (Lays with ridges taste the best with the dip!).

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Design Studio for under $1,000 from Ikea

For the past year and a half I've been using our spare guest room as my craft room.  The room was a nice size with a queen bed and some chests of drawers, but things got very tight when I'd set up a 6 foot banquet table to cut and sew on. It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done.  Recently my sister asked if she could have the queen bed. A quick call to my in-laws, our usual guests, verified they'd be fine on a sofa bed or air mattress. Suddenly the possibilities were endless! I could have a real design studio!

It took a while to dream up what I think might work, then a day and a half of graph paper planning and online browsing to make my shopping lists. Besides for the items I had already, the entire room was made from Ikea products for under $1,000!  Really! Here is the Ikea shopping list if you want the same sewing or crafting workspace. 

Now for the tour...

I completely fell in love with this Hemnes hutch. It was supposed to go on a desk, which is sold out, but it worked out even better on the sofa table.  I especially love how I added an inspiration cork board to the middle of the hutch (using Command Strips) where a monitor would usually go.   It's also the perfect size to store my sewing machine when not in use or hold a laptop.