Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Possible bags were/are used by black powder shooters to carry everything that might possibly be needed to use their guns well. I made these for my grandkiddos. In boyly boy's case, they were in wonderful materials that looked handwoven and personalized with green for one child and blue for the other. They were filled with fun things like compasses, small magnifying glasses, whistles, etc. It's fun to see they're still being used over a year later.
These were made from a pattern my daughter got on ETSY a couple years ago and asked me to make one for her eldest daughter's Nintendo DS. I decided since they were a lot of work, it would be pretty easy to just do a production line sort of thing to make one for everyone. Lots of padding, and honestly hard to do, especially with the material chosen. It would be much easier to do in a plain cotton. I couldn't find the pattern again, but did Google Nintendo DS Bag and there are lots of ideas.
The girly girls' were made of some Waverly outdoor fabric that had flip flops on one of the fabrics--an homage to my oldest girlie girl who loves shoes and whose auntie often got her new fun flip flops. Love them and love the dragonflies--also Waverly fabric. Girlies included fun girlie things!! Also, for our dear little Sabrina, hers was made extra long to hold a large magnifying glass she can use with her acuity problems.
They have twirly clips--surely that's not the name, but they can clip onto a belt hook or whatever and they twirl around!! At the end of the strap is a heart shaped key ring.
Anyway...to enter, you just need to leave a comment about wearing flip flops--a favorite memory of a time wearing them, a fun pair you had, anything about flip flops. Or, you can always talk about dragonflies--their beauty, getting dive-bombed by them, how you used a dragonfly in a project--whatever!! I want this to be easy. You just need to leave one message. You're welcome to sign up for my blog, but it's not a requirement! Deadline is February 8th, midnight pacific time.
Think I have to limit this to U.S. entries, but will update if figure out I could send it other places.


Randi at I have to say (http://ihavetosay.typepad.com/randi/) is sponsoring A Recipe Box Swap where you post your favorite soup. I have to say my all time favorite soup is Bean With Bacon. I found a wonderful recipe for it years and years ago in House Beautiful of all places, but lost it soon after. I keep trying to find it but haven't been successful yet. In lieu of that, Tuscan Bean Soup is my next favorite. First time we had it, my dear daughter in law, Jenny, made it for us. It is absolutely delicious and quite versitile. I have made a recipe combining her recipe and one found somewhere else, so here it is:

1 Tbl. olive oil 1 lb. Italian sausage, cut into ¼ in. thick slices or bulk sausage (or chicken) 1 ¼ c. chopped fennel bulb 1 ¼ c. chopped onion ½ c. chopped celery 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp. rosemary ¼ tsp. thyme ¼ tsp. pepper 4 cans chicken broth 1 can baby lima beans, drained 1 can garbanzo beans, drained 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1/3 c. pearl barley if wish 2 Tbl. Tomato paste 1 large russett potato in ½ in. pieces 1 c. sliced carrots 1 c. packed sliced spinach

In a large saucepan cook sausage, onion, fennel, celery and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in herbs and pepper; cook until onions are tender 2-3 min. longer. Add broth, beans, barley and tomato paste; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 20-25 min, adding potato, carrots and spinach during last 10 min. of cooking time. This is soooooooo good!!! And, of course, a hunk of good hearty bread is perfect with this. A perfect soup anytime.

I am the kind of cook who changes recipes around all the time. Often whatever is available is what gets thrown in. Not sure I ever make the same thing exactly ever unless it's with baking. My mother was the same kind and her soups, stews and casseroles were always an adventure. If you asked her what was in it she'd always say, "Taste it and find out." That wasn't what we wanted to hear and sometimes it would be "interesting" to say the least. Usually, it was also very, very spicy. We had two young men for dinner once when she made her chili half as spicy as usual. The poor guys turned bright red from the heat! My cooking is similar and poor hubby has learned to like most of it even though he thought ketchup was spicy when we got married!
Note on the fennel bulb--it's so much more delicious with the bulb, but if you cannot find it (my little town market usually doesn't have it, so have to go "into town" to get it) use fennel seed. I often go searching online to get ideas for changing up recipes, so try your favorite search engine!
Oh, try Artisan Bread in Five Minutes for some fantastic bread recipes that are super easy! http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=195 that's their master recipe. Highly reccommend their book!

Here's a place you can find a picture of Emeril's version of the soup: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/tuscan-bean-soup-recipe/index.html
I just can't seem to figure out how to format things well on here, so hope you can figure out the recipe--tried to put spaces between ingredients! Also, picture of potholders is only one that seemed to fit in any way with this. Oh, use a big pot!! Super enjoy this recipe.