Friday, January 28, 2011

Awesome Workshop with Jenine Bressner

I was so fortunate to attend a Ruffled Accessories workshop last weekend with the artist, Jenine Bressner. Jenine is a fantastic glass, fiber and all other kinds of media artist. She's also a really cool, crafty chick. If you are in the Houston area, check out her exhibit at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. It is gorgeous!

The workshop was great! We learned how to make all these different forms with this cool, stretchy mesh fabric that I am currently on the hunt for.  

The pink and orange "poof" above is destined to become a hair accessory for me. I think we all need a little "poof" in our lives. The blue and green poof is looking like it needs to be attached to a hair elastic. I made another large poof with different shades of green that seems like it might work better as some sort of brooch or necklace adornment.

One of the other forms I made was turned into a hair poof that ended up on a hat/wig that I knitted for a neighbor.

Only Mickey, my fabulous neighbor, could rock this hat like a rockstar!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kustom Koozies

The Beer Koozie serving its purpose
A dear friend celebrated his 70th birthday last month.

And, yes, I have friends of all ages.

My friend's family wanted to do something fun, crazy and different and decided to have a Pedal Party. Since the family was footing the bill for the Pedal Party I wanted to contribute some kind of party favor. I decided to have custom beer can koozies printed up.

Well, I did some research and found several companies that would print up koozies for varying fees. I only wanted 16-20 so that narrowed down the selection of places that would accommodate small orders. I found a company that had decent prices and a design wizard on their site with a selection of clip art. Not terribly great but at least I could have whatever text I wanted.

Well, I waited just a tad too long to place the order and found out that a rush job with rush shipping (3 weeks is considered "rush") was going to cost me $75 for 16 koozies.!

I looked online and found that one can order blank koozies. I'm crafty, right? I can make my own darned koozies and they will be fabulous!

The koozie pictured above is what I came up with. The blanks were way cheaper than the printed versions and I was able to order a pack of 20 that were pre-sewn. Looking back I wish I would have ordered the unsewn version. They were cheaper plus I could have used my sewing machine to attach all of the patches and then sew up the sides.

Anywhoo.... I created a custom image using Photoshop. If you try this at home make sure you measure your koozie and plan out how large you want the patch to be. I was able to fit 9 of the images on a 8.5" x 11" piece of paper. I printed out the design on t-shirt transfer paper which you can pick up at your local craft store or office supply store.

The images were cut out and ironed onto patches made from an old flat sheet that my dog, Lola, decided to didn't need to be in one piece anymore.

I then hand stitched each patch onto a koozie using a thick needle and embroidery floss. The first 5 koozies weren't so bad but pushing and pulling a needle through that thick koozie material took a toll on my fingers.  This was the point where I realized the unsewn koozies would have been the better choice. I ended up using a pair of pliers to finish the hand sewing.

Some of the iron-ons had a few tears where the transfer wasn't heated up enough to be separated from the backing paper. To hide those flaws and add some bling I used my Hot-fix tool and applied some crystals. One of Mo's craft rules - Sparkles make it better.

The Beavis enjoying his koozie
The koozies were a hit and turned out to be pretty tough. The Beavis accidentally dropped his koozie on the street while the Pedal Party was in transit. He was able to recover and use it even after it was run over by several cars.

Oh, and if you are wondering, "...what the heck is a Pedal Party"? It is this awesome mobile bar that you pedal down the street like a bike. The "bike" can hold 16 people plus the driver and is pedaled by 10 people. Check out the link above.

That's me on the back bench. The minimum height for those that pedal this contraption is 5'4". I was no where near able to reach the pedals so I got to hang out on the back bench and enjoy the ride and my beer.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mo's Momma's Chicken Thing

I'm not a cook. I actually prefer to not cook but I do have a few dishes that I can make that don't gross people out.

Some people have referred to this tortilla casserole thing that I make as King Ranch Chicken but as far as I am concerned, this is my mom's chicken thing.

I can tell you how to make it but this isn't a real recipe. It is a "throw-a-bunch-of-stuff-together-and-cover-it-with-cheese" kind of thing.

Here is what you need (roughly):
1 casserole dish
1 package of boneless chicken thighs or breasts
2 cans of Cream of Celery soup
Tons of shredded cheese
At least one package of thin, corn tortillas
2 cans of Rotel
1 can of Black Beans

Cook your chicken (fry it, grill it, bake it, BBQ it, whatever...) and chop it/tear it into small, bite sized pieces. Set aside in a bowl. Throw the condensed soup along with 2 cans of water into a pot and turn on the heat. You can just heat the tortillas in a microwave but I prefer to toast them over the gas flame on my stove. I swear this dish tastes better when you burn the tortillas over an open flame just a little bit. After you toast a tortilla, dip it into the soup to soak it and then place it in the corner of the casserole dish. Continue toasting and dipping tortillas until you have lined the bottom of the dish. Then spread out a layer of chicken, the Rotel and black beans. Season to taste. I use Nature's Seasoning. Then spread out a layer of shredded cheese. I usually pour a little of the soup over this layer and then place another layer of toasted and souped tortillas over that. If you have a shallow pan one layer should do the trick but you can continue creating layers until you run out of ingredients. For the final layer I pour on more cheese.

Since everything is cooked you can eat this right away but I prefer to let this bake in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour.

I recommend that you let this dish cool slowly and then pop into the fridge to be re-heated and eaten the next day.  It tastes so much better after it has been refrigerated. Plus, I like having dinner waiting for me and The Beavis.

This is my "I need to bring a dish to a party" dish and it seems to be well liked. If I don't bring this over on Thanksgiving my father-in-law freaks out.