Monday, August 27, 2012

Room Planner

This last week I moved back to the University for another school year.  I moved to a new apartment complex, and my bedroom is so much smaller than my last one.  I am still in the middle of arranging my furniture just right.  My room came with a twin bed and chest of drawers.  I brought up a little table I inherited from my grandmother.  It is very similar to the one in the picture below, but a bit more ornate.

The one thing I'd really like is a desk.  My apartment came with one desk, but it's huge and not in very good condition.  We're keeping it in our living room for now.  There is one desk I want very much from Ikea: 

It would be a tight squeeze, but I think I could manage to fit it in my room.

My problem is I have a hard time figuring out where to place things where they'd fit.  Luckily, RC Willey has a room planner that comes in quite nicely.  You can put in your room dimensions and fit in furniture at will.  The nice thing is that, while they do have their furniture you can add in, they also have generic furniture outlines that can be personalized with your own furniture dimensions.

Here is the start window when configuring your room layout.  You can enter your room's measurements at the start, change it as you go, or use their layouts.

Then you can choose a category for furniture, structure, etc. and add furniture, rugs, lamps, or even add walls.

  And here is my diagram (minus the open closet and window) of my new room:

Good luck planning your room!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Back to School

Getting back to school has been on my mind lately.  School supplies, deciding on what to take to my new apartment, new roommates, classes.  The whole shebang.  

For my birthday last year my sister gave me a picture frame to put holiday subway art in throughout the year.  I couldn't find a school themed print I liked, so this is what I came up with on Microsoft Word.

Do you like Billy Madison?  It was one of my favorite movies when I was starting middle school.  My parents don't approve of Adam Sandler, so we never owned it on VHS.  Yes, VHS.  We recorded it when it was on TV instead.  Sadly, we never had the whole thing on the tape; it ended with the crowd cheering after the O'Doyles' car went off the cliff.  What a great, ridiculous way to end the movie prematurely.  Luckily, I now own it on DVD :)

Here's the link if you want to download the print for yourself.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Iggy's Chili Water Sauce

Today was quiet, since my sister took the kids and my Mom to Lagoon for the day.  I couldn't go because of my broken foot :(  So my Dad and I decided to have a little fun of our own and went to Iggy's.  A few years ago we had a tradition of going to the Iggy's in Logan and sharing a Popeye Pizza.  That Iggy's has since been sold and is now Aggy's in honor of the Utah State Aggies.  I'll be frank.  Aggy's looks like Iggy's.  Same sport's bar, same outdoor fire pit.  But it is definitely not Iggy's.  The food is not nearly as good.  So anyway, I decide to get a Popeye before we get there.  This time we made the mistake of getting our own pizzas.  Both of us could barely manage half a pizza, so be basically brought home a whole pizza.  

Unfortunately, there is one thing I cannot bring home from Iggy's is their chili water.  They have a bottle on the table for your food, but they bring out a small bowl of warmed-up chili water with a basket of bread for one of their appetizers.  This sauce is wonderfully delicious!  It's light, it's sweet, it's tangy, and it has a slightly spicy kick.  Everytime I go to Iggy's I say that I want the recipe.

Note: I found this picture via Google Image; I do not own this image

Well, tonight I actually acted on it, and I think I found a recipe for it.  I have not tried it yet, but I plan on doing so soon.  Here is the copycat version I found (you can exclude the mango if you want):

2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup diced mango
4 large red chili peppers
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
4 Tbs. water

In a blender, puree together all the ingredients, except the cornstarch and water. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens up a bit and the garlic & pepper bits begin to soften, 3-5 minutes.

Combine the cornstarch and water. Whisk this into the sauce and continue to simmer one more minute. The cornstarch will help the sauce to thicken slightly thereby causing nice suspension of the pepper bits. Otherwise you get a thin sauce with all the little pieces floating on the surface.

Let cool completely before storing in a glass jar and refrigerate. Makes about 2 1/3 cups sauce.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Child's Prayer

Yesterday, my family recieved word that my grandmother's time on this Earth was coming to a close.  It was not a shock, seeing as she was 98.  She passed away peacefully this afternoon with my family at her bedside.

I don't mean to offend anyone out there, but times like this make me turn to my spiritual background.  I was raised LDS, and there is one childrens' song that has brought me some comfort.  It is A Child's Prayer by Janice Kapp Perry.  If you get a chance, listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's rendition of it.  Beautiful.

I thought it would be nice to have the lyrics hanging up.  So, I found a picture of "A Child's Prayer" by Charlot Byj, and put the lyrics on top of it.  I thought I'd put it on here for anyone else who would like it.

Click Here to download a PDF file of "A Child's Prayer"

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer's Coming!

My favorite smell in the summer is from the barbecue.  I know summer's close when I catch a whiff of it when I'm walking home from class.  Now I'm home for the summer, and of course it's raining.  Welcome to Utah in late May.  I'm sitting on the couch listening to Barbecue University on KBYU TV.  Everything featured sounds so amazing, so I'm thinking of what to have for lunch and dinner for the next few days, since it's Memorial Day weekend.  I only wish I were better at the grill.

Here is a recipe that was featured on the show that really jumped out at me.  The chef used this with veal, but since I'm against veal (for those who may not know, veal is white meat from a calf who has never been exposed to the light of day, preventing the meat from the calf from reddening.  To my family, that is nothing short of barbaric).  I personally would use this with pork chops.

Happy barbecuing!

Lemon Oregano Jam
Yield: Makes about 3/4 cup

2 large lemons (preferably with thin rinds)
1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves

  1. Scrub the lemons under cold running water, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut each lemon into 8 pieces and remove and discard the seeds.
  2. Place the lemon pieces and the sugar, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process to a coarse puree.
  3. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream; the mixture should emulsify, becoming honeylike in consistency.
  4. Add the oregano, pulsing to mix. The jam can be prepared up to this stage and kept, refrigerated, for several weeks.
  5. Transfer it to a clean glass jar, placing a piece of plastic wrap between the top of the jar and the lid to keep the lid from corroding. Bring to room temperature before serving, stir to recombine, and taste for seasoning, adding more sugar, salt, and/or pepper as necessary.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Sewing Tips

I am 7 weeks into the semester, and am already learning so much, and it's not even midterms!  I am taking a textile science class and clothing productions class, and a couple others.  In my textile class we have learned how to spin yarn from wool, figure out thread counts in a fabric, and learned how to test fabrics with chemicals and flames.

So far in my clothing productions class we have practiced how to hand-sew hems, machine-sew hems, and do zippers, darts, and use the serger.  When we were practicing hand stitches, I learned some things I never would have thought of:

1)  Beeswax:  How many of us have  tried to hem pants, finish a quilt, or fixed a seam with a needle and thread, only to have the thread snap?  I don't want to know how many times that has happened to me.  That's where beeswax comes in.  After you thread your needle, and before you tie a knot, run the thread from the eye of the needle to the end of the thread through your beeswax. If you get beeswax in a plastic container with slots, run the thread through one of the slots and use a little pressure to get it to go into the beeswax. The beeswax will fill in the tiny grooves in the thread, which not only makes it smoother, but reduces friction when the thread is moving through fabric.  It also strengthens the thread so it doesn't snap so easily by stabilizing the twist ability of the thread. (Another thing I've learned: Staple fibers, or fibers that are less than 3 inches long, make a stronger yarn when they are twisted harder.)

2) Having the right pins:  I never put much thought into what pins I had.  To be honest, most of mine were my Mom's old ones, so they were a bit dull.  There are a lot of different types of pins, including dressmakers and quilting pins.  Pins come in a variety of lengths.  If you are making clothes, size 16 to 20 are best.  When quilting, generally the longer the better, especially when it comes to basting and tying or quilting by machine or hand.  You want to get thin, sharp pins to make sure they can go through multiple layers of fabric, especially heavier fabrics like fleece or denim.  Also, try to avoid pressing with pins in the fabric.  The heads will most likely leave a little dent in your fabric, especially if it resists temperature like polyester does (Proper terminology: thermoplasticity).  The types of heads on pins are important too.  If you don't care about looks, then plain rounded heads are fine.  If you want to be able to grab them easily, think twice about getting plastic head pins--they melt easily!  Glass head pins are better because glass is not affected by heat from irons.  A bit of caution: glass head pins can shatter if dropped.

3) Type of thread: Have you ever read the labels on thread and wondered what the words mean?  Here's one word I had no idea what it meant: mercerized.  This means that the thread was treated with an alkali before it was spun to improve its twist ability and strength.  Sewing thread has a much higher tpi (twist per inch) than threads in a fabric because they need to be stronger because of all the pulling and friction it will undergo.  A cotton-poly blend is best because polyester has higher abrasion resistance than cotton, thus it lends this ability to the cotton.  Natural fiber threads like cotton can break easily.

4)  Scissors vs. Shears:  Do you know the difference?  A good simple way of knowing is the size.  Shears have longer blades.  Your basic 8" sewing scissors are really shears.  Scissors are smaller, like the ones we all used in elementary school.  They are usually up to 6" long.  Shears are used for cutting bigger items, such as quilt squares or pattern pieces with straight edges.  Scissors are for cutting threads, cutting curves, trimming seam allowances, etc.  A good way to remember?  Big job, big blades; small job, small blades.  Easy, no?

Do you have any tricks, tips, or favorite tools you've come up with while sewing?  Please share!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I am a self-proclaimed fabric snob.  My favorite designer of printed fabric is Riley Blake, which is awesome because the company is based in Sandy.  Who doesn't love supporting local companies?  Their designs are oh so adorable.  They have perfect designs for children, and have a lot of designs with retro colors and designs.  Love!  Currently my favorite line of theirs is Delighted! by The Quilted Fish.

I was playing around on Pinterest and Etsy, and found a listing of a Delighted! fabric bundle in reds and yellows. I knew I had to have it.  I found this pattern, which kind of reminds me of a basket weave design, and thought it would be different than what I usually do for quilts, yet is still simple enough to make without working with curves or triangles.  So, that is my current project I'm working on during weekends I'm at school.  My roommates love the colors, and I honestly can't say I blame them!  I'm hoping to get the top sewn together by my next break, take it to a quilter, and have it back by Spring Break.  I'll try to remember to post a picture or two when it's completed.

After that, I'll be starting another quilt.  My sister is expecting her first child.  I made a Halloween quilt a couple years ago for her birthday, because that is her favorite holiday.  I told her the next quilt I made her would be for her child someday.  I have an idea for what I will do, and I will start looking for deals on the fabric as soon as she finds out what she's having.  I'm excited!