Monday, November 30, 2009

Things I made but forgot to photograph!

Okay, in the past couple of weeks, I have completed several projects, but forgot to photograph all of them!

Remember this jumper? I made one in Dallas Cowboy fabric (with a small starry print on the reverse) for a friend...and forgot to take a picture.

For my friend who is pregnant with her third baby, I made a little pampering kit, including the soft basket and therapeutic neck wrap from this spa set. Again, no picture of the components of the basket, and though I have a shot of Alyson opening the basket, it is more a picture of Alyson than the basket, and I won't publish that here:-)

So just know that I am still sewing, though I am not very good at showing off my work right now. And with Christmas right around the corner, you may not see many pictures for a little while...the elves have to keep some things secret, you know!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just in time for Cyber Monday

Before you start shopping online tomorrow, hitting all the sales you didn't make on Black Friday, make sure you check out Ebates.

Ebates is a website that offers you cash back for shopping online, and during the Christmas holidays, their cashback offers have greatly increased. For example, if you shop through Ebates at Old Navy, you will get 10% back on your purchases (compared to the usual 2%)--Kohls is 4%, Shutterfly is 15%, and I could go on and on. In addition to cashback for purchases, they also offer coupon codes and discounts to TONS of stores.

So how does it really work? Simply go to Ebates and sign up for an account. Then search for your favorite store and see what kind of offers Ebates can find for you. Click through to the store, which will open up a "ticket", do your online shopping, and you are done! Once a quarter, you get a 'Big Fat Check' from Ebates. Oh, and did I mention that you will get $5 simply for signing up and making a purchase? Not too shabby!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Baby gifts in Mirabelle fabric

You may remember this fabric from an apron I made for my best friend earlier this year. I love this fabric, and think it turned out beautifully as a nursing cover (and just for fun, a little burp cloth). The problem with finding a wonderful fabric is that it disappears eventually! Like this Alexander Henry Mirabelle fabric I used, or Amy Butler's Lotus Lacework, or Wonderland by MoMo. Thankfully, Etsy and Ebay can keep me stocked with my favorites :-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fun Christmas Stocking!

As I have mentioned, I love Sew, Mama, Sew's Homemade Holidays that they have through the month of November. Last week, I won a free pattern for a Mary Jane Christmas Stocking from Sew Lola's Etsy Shop. You should check out her items. Not only is the stocking ADORABLE, but her clutches and broaches are super cute too. Guess I know what I will be making this Christmas:-)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Target finds

I just had to share a couple of great Target finds with you this week.

1. Remember my Fall Wardrobe Staple? My Target has these long-sleeve Merona tee-shirts on sale for $6.00 this week. **clears throat** I bought three :-) White, teal, and orange. I already had lime and gray, so I feel like I have a good selection now. AND I won't feel bad if they get messed up and I only wear them one season!

2. The other steal of a deal I found at Target was a 4 lb. box of Honeycrisp apples for $2.99. That is $0.75/lb for Honeycrisp apples, which are usually very expensive. The gentleman stocking the boxes of apples told me that my Target store (Wake Forest, NC) was simply sent too many. Here's the amazing thing--you could buy a four pound box of Honeycrisp apples for $2.99, and yet, right behind these apples was the 'loose produce', where you could bag your own Honeycrisp apples for $2.49 a pound. I almost bought two boxes, but decided I would refrain for now (though I might go back later in the week). If you like apples, you might want to pick up a box!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Loose change for gift cards

I have a confession--I used to be a thief. My husband would come home every day, empty his pockets of his wallet, cell phone, keys and loose change, and I would steal his change. The next day he would look for it, wanting to use it in the snack machine, and it would be gone. This caused no end of small skirmishes in the Finn household. Why was I a thief, you ask? Well, I had this dream of saving all of my spare change and one day being able to take a dream vacation somewhere (I am sure I have heard of this happening!). Yet even though I hoarded the change, and robbed my husband of his mid-afternoon Skittles fix, I never seemed to collect more than thirty or forty dollars! That wouldn't get us far on the dream I was causing some marital strife :-)

Thankfully, my husband and I worked through our differences and I don't steal his change anymore (at least not all the time, and when I do, I ask). AND I have found a way to turn my change into something productive : Coinstar. I had never used a coin counting machine before this time last year, because I knew to get cash back for your coins, the machines would charge a fee. What I didn't know is that you can trade your loose change in for gift cards and e-certificates and Coinstar will not charge a fee. Your loose change can become a gift card to ITunes or Amazon! And, just to make it even better, right now Coinstar is offering an additional $10 gift card when you change $40 or more. I did this promotion last year, and received the extra gift card just as promised. You should definitely check this out--Coinstar and free gift cards Works for Me!

I'm sure you wonder if I still sew...

I promise that I do. But I came down with the flu this weekend (just the flu, not the Swine Flu), and have waited several days to work on projects to make sure that I am germ free! I hope to get back to sewing no later than this weekend. I have several projects in the works: nursing cover, little girl's jumper, skirt for my loyal babysitter, numerous baby gifts, and oh yeah CHRISTMAS gifts! I need to get cracking!

I know I have talked about this blog before, but you really need to check out the Sew, Mama, Sew blog this month. November is Handmade Holidays month for them, and every day they post multiple tutorials and ideas for homemade Christmas gifts. I am so inspired by all the if I only had an extra hour in the day:-)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Value of the Day

Have you seen this? WalMart has a Value of the Day website, where they offer one item at rock bottom prices for one day. Today the site has a Lexmark all in one printer for less than sixty dollars. I think that's a fabulous deal. I will be checking back often during the holiday season! The catch is, it is while supplies last, so the printer is already sold out. I'll check early tomorrow!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Perfect for the freezer baked ziti

One of the blogs I greatly enjoy, Money Saving Mom, recently had a baking day along with her friend, FishMama. I am amazed and inspired at what these ladies accomplished in two days of (NONSTOP!) cooking!, FishMama's website, has a recipe swap on Thursdays, and this Thursday she asked for make ahead or freezer friendly recipes. I thought I would share one of my favorites:

Baked Ziti
1 lb. ziti noodles (wheat)
2-3 cups spaghetti sauce of choice (large jar of sauce if using jarred sauce)
**add ground beef or leftover meatloaf if the sauce does not contain meat
1 cup ricotta
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
1 ball (approx. 8 oz) fresh mozzarella, cubed, divided

Line one 13x9 pan or two 8x8 pans with two layers of foil, leaving the sides long enough to wrap over the top. Very lightly spray the bottom with cooking spray.

Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat, adding salt if desired. When water boils, add pasta and cook until just short of al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Add half of the spaghetti sauce to the pasta. Stir in ricotta and 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, tossing to coat. Add one half of the cubed mozzarella ball and stir everything thoroughly. Turn the mixture out into the foil-lined pan(s). Top with remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmigiano. Make sure mixture is completely cool, pull up the sides of the foil and wrap tightly. Write instructions for baking* on foil with Sharpie. Place pans in the freezer overnight. The next morning, pop the foil 'dishes' out of the pans, make sure the foil is tightly wrapped, and put ziti back in the freezer until you want to eat it!

To bake: Remove ziti from freezer and place in appropriate sized pan. Allow to defrost overnight in the refrigerator. *Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until the cheese on top is melted and lightly browned, and sides are bubbly, approximately 20-25 minutes.

Notes: I originally saw this recipe on Rachael Ray, and I have adapted it for my family. She made her sauce from scratch (using meatloaf), and instead I use leftover homemade spaghetti sauce OR when in a rush, Ragu Robusto. I have substituted 'ordinary' shredded Mozzarella, and it just isn't as good. I don't buy Parmigiano Reggiano, but just use grated Parmesan :-) One batch makes a TON, so for my little family I split it into two 8x8 pans. It freezes like a dream!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fabric swatches for nursing covers

Here are a few fabrics that I have available for nursing covers. I have more fabric, including a pretty pink fabric, but I do not have a good "fabric swatch" picture of it. I will try to update this as I add fabric:-)

Alexander Henry "Mirabelle"

Amy Butler "Lotus Lacework in Olive"

"Lotus Lacework detail" (this is a large scale print)

Anna Maria Horner "Dancefloor in Teal"

Joel Dewberry "Damask in Espresso"