Monday, August 27, 2012


I've been working on moving everything to the new website at and the blog will now have a new home on our own domain too. All exsisting posts have been moved, but all future posts will be going up there. Yay me! This is a good time to adjust your bookmarks, etc. I want you to come with me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How to Make Stitch Markers for Knitting

I have these stitch markers that I really like.

They fit on the needle or can be clipped to the stitch and left in the work until you need to remove them. They're flexible and pretty darn great. Plus they're colorful like unicorn farts. The only downfall is that the bean tends to find them and eat them and I pretty much refuse to go diaper excavating. If I witness a bit of shiny purple at change time I cringe a little. They weren't horribly spendy, but they did ship from Canada and I hate waste.

Several weeks ago I happen to find these at Joann's in the jewelry supplies:

Woohoo! It was a total light bulb moment. I could make a whole lotta stitch markers out of these little packs. And even better they were on sale, so for what I paid for a single set of stitch markers I'm going to have a ready supply on hand. If you've ever wondered, this is proof that even after you've found what you went in for you should continue to roam around because you will find something you didn't know you needed when you walked in the doors.

You'll have to find some wire clippers. I have some nice jewelry making ones somewhere, but I dug these out of the tool box.

Pull out one of the chains and clip of a few lengths. The smaller ones are 13 balls long and the bigger ones are 20. I mostly use the smaller sized ones, but occasionally you have a project with bigger needles. The bigger ones are good for clipping all the smaller ones to and sometimes you need a marker that's different, so multiple sizes come in handy.

Ignore the piece of paintbrush that got stuck in the finish of the cabinet top.

Once you've clipped your pieces of ball chain you just take your clasps and turn them into rounds. Viola simple functional stitch markers! Now you can have twice as many WIPs on the needles.

Happy crafting,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Manic Monday

It's been nearly a week since my last post and not that I haven't meant to blog I've just been busy. Thankfully it's the kind of busy I like; lots of custom orders and repairs and just good stuff. I'm slipping into a productive routine, which is nice since the bigs will be returned to school this week.

Be on the lookout for lots of changes, the blog is going to be getting an overhaul and I'm working on getting the official Turk and Bean website up and running. Yes, there will be a Woohoo me! I keep looking forward to positive growth in spite of the things that try to squash my spirit.

I need to go work on some real blog posts, but felt like I should say hi and let everyone know I haven't fallen off into the abyss.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Homemade Laundry Starch

I have to iron a lot. I never actually iron the clothes we have to wear, but sewing is so much easier with crisp, flat materials. Ignore my lack of ironing in this shirt restyle. Sometimes the lazy just gets the better of me; I can't help it!

I've been out of spray starch for a while and it's been obvious in my sewing. Maybe it's a good thing production was being held up waiting for a replacement snap press piece. Then I got to thinking that with all the random things I make anyway, like dish soap, I bet there is a do it yourself starch. And then I bet myself it involves corn starch. And guess what? I was right.

It's so crazy simple!

2 cups distilled water
1 TBS corn starch
several drops of lavender essential oil, or similar if you want something that smells pretty. Lavender is calming and I need all the help I can get.

See the small print? Lavender = calming.

Combine water and starch in a smallish sauce pan and boil together. You'll have to stir pretty good in the beginning. You can also mix the starch to a couple TBS of water and then add the mix starch to the pan. The point is you don't want clumps. After a couple minutes of boiling let it cool (this is where I added my EO), then put in your spray bottle, and have crisp clothes.

Things to remember:
- settling will occur, shake before each use.
-you have to use steam or it gets a little tacky when you first put you iron down

Easy peasy! I'm almost sad I no longer have Army uniforms to iron.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bad Things and Good People

With the Olympics in full swing the media has shifted from the events in Colorado to the global gathering. But if you're like me your heart still aches for the families of those involved. You've also probably been left explaining how bad things happen to people. I find myself lucky that we don't have live TV and it's a little easier to filter the things the boys are exposed to, but that doesn't stop the inquiries. The whys about the ills of the world; why are people divorced if it's a sin, why would he shoot those people at a movie, and a thousand other whys just because Turkey has hit that age where everything is why.

I have to answer to their sensitive hearts, but the reality is pretty simple. We live in a world of sin. I'm not saying we suffer for the wrongs we've done though in some cases that's part of it. They know all about cause and effect and consequences. But sometimes people suffer for the sins of others just by happenstance. People went to a movie and someone else committed an act of hate. Sad and horrible.

"But why doesn't God stop it?" The BIG question, everything they know is that God is loving regardless of what we do provided we turn to him. They don't always grasp that He loves us so much He's given us free will. It's like spoiled rich children; if they are given everything without work there is little appreciation for what they have. And who wants to be micromanaged anyway?

"It's God's plan." This is a statement I hate hearing from people especially "Christians". My response to this is generally "Do you know anything about God?" God doesn't not plan for crimes to be committed, He doesn't plan for men to walk out on their wives and children, He doesn't plan for bad things to happen. He would never plan for people to act against His desires for us. However, He knows when they're going to happen and yes, he allows it, and the hope for us is then that we will learn from it that we need more than what is on this earth and we can rise above and move forward.

There's a book series by Piers Anthony called the Incarnations of Immortality. If you like fantasy/sci-fi you've probably read it and if not you should. I read it for the first time my freshman year of high school. Yes, I reread books, often until the pages fall off. But one of the repeated ideas in the books is that long ago God and Satan came to an agreement that they wouldn't interfere in human lives in the "contest" to win the most souls. God honored the agreement and is pretty hands off. Satan on the other hand has billboards and ad campaigns. It's a pretty accurate illustration of the world we live in. God whispers while the sins of this world are in your face yelling at you. Whether you believe in God or not I think it still applies. No matter how good you live your life you'll probably be caught in the cross fire of the poor decisions made by someone else. On the other hand I like to believe that those same people are on the business end of the light we have to offer the world.

I often feel like maybe it would be easier to stoop to the level of other people and play their game. Living ethically is hard work! But no matter how tired and battered I may be at the end of the day I can still look at myself in the mirror and I think that's worth it. My hope is that my children learn to hush the world and listen to a whisper and recognize that there is a difference between the will of God and the choice of man.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Maternity Shirt to Fitted Tee Restyle

There are days when I'm sad that I'm done having babies, especially since the choice was made for me rather than really coming to it on my own. On the other hand I'm not horribly sad to be done with maternity clothes. Over the course I've my 5 pregnancies I've collected several tubs of maternity clothes and try as I might the past 18 months I haven't been able to sell them. Problem one is I have clothes I don't need.

Now I have found myself considerably thinner than when I got pregnant this last time, though not as skinny as I've been at previous points in my life, but this means most of the clothes in my closet do not fit. Enter problem two. Now I may have "99 problems", but a lack of ingenuity isn't one. This means we make like a hundred other pinterest users and turn to a t-shirt restyle. Heck, if they can turn a giant men's shirt into a cute top then I can do the same with a maternity tee. Right?

Obligatory before picture:
The goofier the before picture, the more impressive the after one.

I almost feel guilty adding to the t-shirt restyles out there. It's such a crazy simple process. Take in sides then embellished with scrap bits. Any craft monkey could do that. Yet, somehow seeing people actually go through the process is so interesting. Prepare to be impressed.

Layout shirt to be altered and lay a shirt that you like the cut of over it. 

Do as I say and not as I do; properly smooth everything out before cutting.

I hacked up both sides and continued along the arms even though my "pattern" shirt was cut a little differently in the sleeves.  Be sure to leave extra on the sides for a seam allowance. If you lay it down inside out you can cut and sew up the edges without having to flip it inside out to sew.

I took the scraps from the side and cut them with pinking shears to "ruffle" the edges. I cut the seam out and cut the hem and sleeve portion off and then sewed pairs of the strips together making two long strips. And then zigzagged one starting at the shoulder seam and running along the neckline.

See it really is a Large Old Navy maternity tee

I sewed a line up the middle of my "ruffle". When you hold the shirt up the ruffles fall forward so I did a second layer above it; repeating the process.

And tada:
See far more impressive after that before picture!
I love that it has such a nice length to it. I don't have to worry about the rear end flash when I stoop down. I'm now excited at the prospect of a "new" wardrobe and I'll be restyling a bunch more of my maternity clothes

Friday, July 27, 2012

Zucchini Alfredo

With summer garden season in full swing there has been an increase in zucchini recipes on pinterest. Anything you've ever dreamed of doing with a zucchini and dozens of things I'm sure you haven't. I recently saw some pins that turned the zucchini into noodles and used it in place of pasta noodles. I LOVE spaghetti squash and to me the idea of another squashy noodle option was too good to pass up. However, I had a pinterest fail, didn't repin, and later couldn't find the pin I was looking for.

This week found me with a pile of zucchini goodness and no pasta recipe, so we improvised. Midkid is always asking for Alfredo sauce. He doesn't really care what's with it so long as it's covered in Alfredo. Butter, cream, cheese; can ya blame him for his love of all things Alfredo? When we say Alfredo sauce this does not include anything that comes from the supermarket in a jar. I have tried them all over the years and have decided that there is just no such thing as good jarred Alfredo sauce. I decided that if I was using veggie noodles I could be a little bad and use a cream sauce.

We shredded the zucchini. I have this super cool peeler that makes julienne slices while you peel. Makes things so much faster! We had 5 medium zucchini and peeled them to the seeds. My kids don't mind green on their plates, so I didn't peel them first, but you may want to. I put the shreds into a pot with some water to steam them a bit while I made the sauce.

Homemade cream sauces are incredibly easy. When I first started dating man I married the first meal I made for him was Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp. That Alfredo in no way resembles the sauce I make now, but I followed the directions and served it up and he never realized that I had no clue what I was doing. Unfortunately, I then had to prepare more meals and had to quickly learn as I went. But those evenings spent in the kitchen together are some of my favorite memories and years later I would sometimes postpone my meal prep just to have him in the kitchen with me sharing the events of our day.

But I digress. Cream sauces all start pretty much the same way. Chunk of butter melting in your pan. 3 TBS is probably a good guess, but I tend to just throw in a bit and go with it. Once my butter is melted I add some minced garlic. We love garlic, so a clove or two and then another for good measure. Once lightly browned you make a roux by adding flour. I'm sure there is some butter to flour ratio, but I just scoop some in and whisk it together. Start small and add a little more you want it to be a thick paste.

I took the picture before turning my heat down. I really hate having an electric stove. Add your cream or half n half, or in our case whole milk. You need something with a higher fat content, but I use whatever happens t be on hand, about 3 cups worth and whisk it in. I like to add a little rosemary and thyme. While it's warming together I add a splash of white cooking wine, but if I'm out we pass. The sauce should be thickening. Then we add about a cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and we even added a half cup or so of colby jack. Once the cheese is melted in we added the zucchini and mixed it up. I didn't think to squeeze the fluid out after steaming and I should have. It thinned my sauce up more than I cared for.

I add tomatoes from the garden and some cheese to make it pretty; we like color. The turkey is not a tomato fan, so I thought I was avoiding a battle by just leaving them off of his, but of course he realized he didn't have any and when eldest child called them watermelon he demanded some on his plate and actually ate more tomatoes than zucchini. I'm sure I'll never get him figured out. I'm sure it would have been good with chicken were there any thawed out, but I'm okay with a just veggie meal from time to time.

Isn't it pretty?