Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Busy Busy Booking

I know I took a long sabbatical from posting, but it is wonder that this is my first post about busy booking, as that has been a big part of my crafting over the last couple years and my main source of Pattiwagon revenue (!). I've made eight in total, four for friends and family and four that I've sold. If you or someone you know is interested, hmu. 

Here are the top five reasons I enjoy making them: 
  1. They're just so cute. 
  2. I get to be creative in the designs. No book (or even page) looks the same. 
  3. Nothing is wasted. Tiniest bit of black felt left? That's an eye for a cow. 
  4. They take just enough concentration. I can easily watch tv or listen to podcast while I'm working, but I still feel productive with my time. 
  5. Getting to see them in action. See below for a video of the world's cutest nephew enjoying a "peek-a-boo" page. 

Here is a sampling of some of the finger puppet pages I've done. The Harry Potter puppets are my favorites. 

And finally, nephew pointing out "Pappi." <heart melts> video

Monday, October 16, 2017

Weekend Roundup

New motto in the kitchen: Eat for the weather you want, not the weather you have.

Taking that to heart, I did a lot of cooking this weekend. I broke out some cold weather favorites from the Pattiwagon archives.

1. Pot roast*

2. Which became Pattiwagon favorite vegetable soup the next day. Recipe here.

3. Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti Squash. Recipe here

4. Baked oatmeal. This recipe is for carrot cake baked oatmeal, but I subbed the carrots for frozen blueberries and omitted the ginger. 

*Recipe for pot roast consists of browning a chuck roast on the stove, putting said chuck roast in the oven with potatoes, onions, carrots, and a couple cans of spicy V8 and sitting back and relaxing for two hours until it's done. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Window Treatments a la Pattiwagon: Part II

(Note: So this is only four and half years since Part I of the post. For those without a storage unit memory, let me remind you that I made some curtains for my friend Jackie's nursery. You can refresh your memory here.)

I enjoy all of my craftings, but I do not consider myself anywhere close to an expert. My interior design consists of trying to cram as much stuff as possible into my house without looking like a hoarder, which I am not. Promise. I just have a lot of stuff. I love seeing my fingerprints (and those of my family and friends) on so many different pieces in my house. 

Window treatments had been at the bottom of the priority list since I moved in. My house had plain mini-blinds. Ugly and cheap, yes, but they did a fine job of shading and shielding. Last year, however, I got new windows, so I figured it was a fine time for some proper window treatments. 

I did what any good (and frugal) crafter would do; I set out to make my own. Starting off easy (and cheap), I bought some IKEA curtains, which I simply sewed in half and hemmed the bottom to fit two small living room windows. Once those were hung, I removed the mini-blinds and now regularly enjoy the open-curtain and open-window view out of my living room. 

Feeling content (yet not challenged) with my work there, I decided to up my game on my bedroom window treatments and try roman shades. I found this tutorial and armed myself with gray blackout fabric, blackout lining fabric, fabric glue, and cheap mini blinds. That's all you need to DIY! I won't repeat all the instructions, but here a couple photos of the process. Start to finish, the first one took about three hours and the second one about two. 

Sewing Sensei, be sure to check out my mitered corner. I learned from the best. Also, hi, foot. 

Here's the finished look: 

I'm really happy with how they turned out. I do wish that I had made them a little wider to block out more light, but alas, I'm an amateur. Now, I have one window left to treat. I'm thinking a DIY valance. Check back later for Part III, hopefully within three years. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 10

Tuesday (Day 27): 

Finally broke out the booties on this post-fall break Tuesday. And it felt good. I got these as a Christmas present in NC last year and have loved them since. (Photo does not do their cuteness justice.) I wore them with a belted army green dress from the Targe. I like this look. 

Wednesday (Day 28): 

Calvin Klein "snakeskin" print pants. I'm not sure why I felt compelled to buy these on an outlet mall trip last summer, as animal prints are not really in my fashion repertoire. But, they match well with this black Target top and red Tieks, so perhaps I should open myself up more to the wild side of prints. 

Thursday (Day 29): 

Had planned an outfit of a cute dress and black blazer for this Thursday, but alas, I woke up ten minutes before I had to leave the house. I quickly realized leg hair depilation wasn't going to happen, so I grabbed the first ensemble I could put my hands on. Wide leg (not my fav right now) Old Navy khakis, blue chambray Levis shirt, and a much beloved scarf from my friends Corrie and Michael. On my feet are dark brown Sperrys. Not bad for ten minutes. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 9

When I started this fashion challenge, I had a lot of confidence that I could find enough outfits because of the seasons changing. Namely, I don't have enough summer outfits to last a full year, but I do have enough to get me into fall. And just enough fall to last until winter, etc. However, I guess I forgot that I live in Memphis in 2017. And apparently we're not having fall this year. (It was 93 yesterday.) I was talking to some friends about this, and my wise (and very fashionable!) friend Erin said, "Dress for the weather you want, not the weather you have." So I took that advice this week and decided all fall despite the 90s on the thermometer. 

Monday (Day 23): 

Military-inspired button-down with a canvas belt, J. Crew pants, and Target mocs. I'm not sure where this shirt came from, but it's been an occasional favorite in my closet for the past several years. 

Tuesday (Day 24): 

Plain gray button-down from Gap, fleece vest from Limited (haven't shopped there since high least it's not Limited Too, my middle school store of choice), and corduroy capris from J. Crew. Paired with Sperry's and a new hair color (!). 

Wednesday (Day 25): 

Bargain Barn alert! This dress is originally from Old Navy, but I didn't have to pay those *exorbitant* prices. No, I found this dress in the Goodwill castoff bins for twenty-five...cents. I discovered this gem a few years ago, and it has been in the rotation every since. I am probably down to less than one cent per wear at this point. It amazes me that no one snatched it up at Goodwill for a whole two dollars, but I'm not complaining. Finds like this keep me going back to the Barn to sift through the dregs. I'm wearing it with black leggings, black Target cardigan, and black Nine West flats. 

Thursday (Day 26): 

Another fall look that would be even cuter with booties. Saving that for the next weekend fall activity. This shirt is from Target (circa 2003) and has a lot going on with it: plaid, pleats, ombre, buttons, and tie back. Somehow I think it all works. (I guess that's why I'm not a professional fashion designer.) I'm wearing it with black skinny jeans and Nine West sandals. 

Sorry for the tardiness of this post, Pattiwagoneers. I was sipping Bourbon in Kentucky with this cool cat. You understand the delay. He's a keeper. 

(To be honest, I did more spitting than sipping. Sorry, Kentucky, please don't disown me. Andy, on the other hand, became an honorary Kentuckian for the weekend: Keeneland, Commonwealth, and Bourbon. Check. Check. Check.)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 8

After a couple back to back whirlwind weekends, life aboard the Pattiwagon calmed down a bit this week, as evidenced by the four work-attire outfits I had this week. No special days, no days off, just L-I-V-I-N and W-O-R-K-I-N. 

Monday (Day 19): 

Pink sweater from the Gap, purchased perhaps in college (?) with a beloved brown Old Navy skirt, purchased definitely in college. Nude Nine West flats purchased much more recently. Fairly nondescript but added some color to a muted week. 

Tuesday (Day 20): 

This is a very special dress that I bought when I was in middle school and very into vintage clothing. I got it, along with several other items, in Atlanta at a store called Psycho Sisters. Based on the zipper and construction, I'm pretty sure it's from the 1940s. Except for using it in a school project on 20th century fashion, I never wore it until I started working. And now I love it. It's definitely not the most glamorous look or the most beautiful dress, but it has a story. What that story is, exactly, I have to make up in my head, but maybe that's even more fun. 

Wednesday (Day 21): 

Another special outfit, made for my by dear sister Laurel. The skirt is linen with a giraffe embroidered at the bottom. Every time I wear it, I get tons of compliments on the uniqueness of the design. Wearing it with a black t-shirt, sweater, and mocs from Target. 

Thursday (Day 22): 

Blouse was a gift from dear sister Laurel and skirt is ancient Old Navy. Shoes are peep-toe Nine West and belt is Target, maybe. This wraps up my super teacher-y looks for the week. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Last Gasp of Tomatoes

Despite the lack of fashion pics last week, don't think you loyal Pattiwagoneers were forgotten. I have an end-of-season tomato recipe just for you. I’ve made this recipe twice now, slightly differently each time, and I think the variations are limitless.

I had three very large and very delicious looking tomatoes with no purpose after the possibility of a tomato pie went unfulfilled L. Like the tomato pie, this recipe is by-the-seat-of-my-pants (my favorite kind of recipe), and unlike the tomato pie, this recipe is healthy. (See Training, Marathon.) The tomatoes are the star of the dish, so it is probably best to save it for some super ripe, super fresh tomatoes, but I think you could do a mini version with the Campari vine-ripened tomatoes while you wait until next summer. Just bookmark this page 'til then. I’ll try to remind you.

Stuffed tomatoes, here we come: 

Slice the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the inside membranes, seeds, and flesh. Then, sprinkle some salt on the inside of the tomatoes and place them upside down on a paper towel. This will suck some of the moisture of out of the tomatoes so they don’t get too soggy.

While the tomatoes are hanging out upside down, cook about a half cup of quinoa in chicken broth according to the package instructions. While that is cooking, sauté a couple of chopped garlic cloves in olive oil and then wilt a few cups of fresh spinach. (Variation: use frozen spinach that has been thawed and thoroughly wrung out.)

Once the quinoa is done, mix in the spinach. Add in some mozzarella and parmesan cheese at this point. To give it some level of creaminess, add either a spoonful of sour cream or ricotta cheese. (I have made it both ways and liked both. In order to really judge the difference, I’d need to do a side-by-side taste test. And this blog is free. And Pattiwagon has been busy lately.)

Season that mixture with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice or rice vinegar. (It will need some acidic pep.)

Fill the tomatoes with the quinoa, spinach, and cheese and then top with panko bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!