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June 2010

Indigo Patch by Victorian Heart

We've received the Mid-year release for Victorian Heart's new lines a little early, and I've already started putting it online.  So far, I have all of the new Nancy's Nook tabletop collection in the Indigo Patch pattern up and ready to go.  It is lovely!  A mix of plaids and florals in dark and light blue, with soft white, cream, and warm red.

Indigo-Kitchen-Group-ShotL 

Kitchen photo shot.

IndigoSwatches2

IndigoSwatches1 

Swatches!

Indigo-Valance-Double-ScallopL

New style of valance, scalloped and layered!

IndigoRunnerPatchworkL

Runners and placemats, both in a Patchwork...

RL

...and an applique style.

Indigo-ApronL
a pretty cool apron...

Indigo-Applique-Table-Mat-20-inchL 

...more of those fantastic round tablemats...

Indigo-Shower-CurtainL

Shower curtain too!

See all of Indigo Patch here.  Enjoy!  More to come!


First Annual Tent Sale at The Weed Patch!

PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND CONTACTS ABOUT THIS! :)

Our first annual tent sale! For now it's ONLINE ONLY - not yet available in store (except for in-store pickup if purchased online... did all our local customers know we offer an in-store pickup?) Watch for more information about our "in store" tent sale coming up mid-July, but for now - check out our online version!


Fall and Christmas is coming, and we're simply running out of room to store everything, so we're having a sale! Its a win-win situation - our wonderful customers get a great deal on some great things, and we have space to move in all the new product coming in for the rest of the year! Save up to 40% on select seasonal and everyday goodies, for a limited time only! The Tent Sale is available on the web from Friday, June 25 through Friday, July 9th. Sale items are first come/first served, valid online only, and quantities are limited. Shipping remains based on actual shipping cost. Sorry, no returns accepted on sale items. Let us know if you have any other questions, and otherwise enjoy shopping!

KEEP CHECKING BACK - We're adding new products ALL the time, so don't forget to come back and see what else has been added!

Summer is FINALLY here!

What a BEAUTIFUL day here in Western Washington!  It's sunny, 70+, and it SMELLS like summer!  Finally, we can all say, YAY!

For a break from the computer I took a brief walk through our yard.  Along with all the unfinished work and projects (DOH!) are some definite signs of summer.  And laying out on the grass, enjoying the breeze and the smells of the warmer summer air, I realize that as much as I'm ADDICTED to Fall (and Christmas, but not necessarily winter) and the rain, I also love the summer - particularly when it's not hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, like it was last summer.

I hope you're all enjoying the wonderful day, regardless of where on the planet you are!  What are YOUR favorite summer sensations?  Leave a comment!


Janene's Chipotle Beef Stew

I don’t know if I mentioned before, but we have sort of adopted a…well, I don’t know what to call it, perhaps a philosophy, or way of living, or whatever.  Anyway, we call it Cleaning Out the Freezer.  We realized we have this tendency, like many people I think, to purchase bulk packages of food at reduced rates, use one portion of it, store the rest in the freezer, and sort of forget about it.  When it is time to figure out the next dinner, instead of rummaging in the freezer to see what we already have on hand, we purchase all new groceries at the store.  I decided to start planning dinner based upon what we already had in the freezer.  But then I got to thinking, and realized that honestly, we do this with most everything in our house, not just with cooking.  Our cleaning supplies, organizing, clothing, art and crafting – we so often think we can’t do what we want without going out and buying something, rather than taking a second look at what we already have.  We have a house and garage cram packed full of stuff, and yet when we need something, we go to the store to buy it.  Not that buying things is bad, but if I’m going to spend our hard-earned money, I’d rather not buy things I already own.  So, we’re trying to look at things differently.  I could go on and on explaining this, but I’ll leave it at that for now, because really this post was just supposed to be a recipe, not a soliloquy on what led to me using the beef out of my freezer.

Anyway, opening up the freezer this morning to look for dinner, the first thing I pulled out was a package of meat containing three chunks of what was simply labeled as “beef for BBQ.”  Having no idea what this vague term meant, I figured when it doubt, slow and low cooking always does the trick.  This is one of those dinners in which I was very limited to what was on hand.  Had I the ingredients, I would have made this differently, such as adding some chopped onion or bell pepper, or squeezing on some lime juice and topping with chopped green onions.  However, this is what I had, and it turned out pretty tasty as is, which always makes me happy.  This means you can feel free to experiment yourself!  But here’s what I did:


Chipotle Beef Stew

  • 1 lb Steak or Stew Beef, cut to 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ cup flour
  • Salt & pepper 
  • 2 tsp ground cumin, divided 
  • 4-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced 
  • 1 (16 oz) can stewed tomatoes, with onions and peppers, undrained 
  • 1-2 tb red wine vinegar 
  • 1 (16 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 (4 oz) can mild chopped green chiles 
  • 1 can chipotle chiles with adobo sauce – remove one chile from can, seed it, and mince it up (reserve the rest for another use) 
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce from the chipotle chile can 
  • 1 cup beef broth 
  • Hot cooked rice


(Unfortunately, I used absolutely no measurements when preparing this dish, so I’ll do my best to guess).

1.      Prepare the meat:  If it isn’t already cut, slice the meat into ½ - 1 inch chunks.  Mix some salt and pepper into the flour, along with about a teaspoon of ground cumin.  Toss the meat in the flour mixture so that it is well coated.

2.      Brown the meat:  Heat about ½ to 1 T of Canola oil in a large Dutch oven type pot, over medium high heat.  Once the pan is hot enough, remove the beef from the flour using a slotted spoon, and brown it in the oil, occasionally turning pieces to brown on all sides.  If necessary, do in batches so you aren’t overcrowding the pan.  Remove beef and set aside.

3.      Add the tasty flavor:  add another tsp or two of oil to the pan, and reduce heat a little to prevent burning, and add all the minced garlic.  Stirring constantly, cook garlic until it start to smell very nice, about 30 seconds.  Add 1 tsp cumin, a dash or two of ground cardamom, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Stir for another 30 seconds or so, then add the red wine vinegar.  It should really bubble up nicely, and this is where you stir up all those tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the meat back to the pan, and stir in the tomatoes, chiles, chipotle pepper, and adobo sauce.  Bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low.  Cover and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4.      Take a little sip, and season as necessary with salt and pepper.  Stir in the beef broth (which really I only added because there just wasn’t as much liquid as I wanted – I supposed I could have added it with the meat, but whatever!) and the beans, cover and cook for about another half hour.

 

That’s it!  The meat should be absolutely falling apart and yummy.  I think you could definitely cook it for a shorter time period, but I think this gave it the best flavor and consistency.

 

Serve over rice to sop up all those juices, with some corn on the cob and slices of fresh mango as side dishes.  If I knew how, I would have made seasoned “Mexican rice,” but I didn’t know how, so we actually just used hot sticky rice, and it was just fine! 

 

Take care when adding the chipotle chile and sauce – it always adds more heat than I think it will.  You can always add more if it isn’t hot enough, but you can’t take it away!  I like to mince up the remainder of the can and sauce, and freeze it in ice cube trays for future use, as I never seem to need more than about 1 chile per recipe, and there’s like 8 or 10 per can.

 

It is especially good with some crumbled Queso Fresco cheese on top.  If you don’t know what that is, and you enjoy preparing Mexican or Spanish type dishes, I highly recommend it.  It’s pretty inexpensive and adds a great touch to these kinds of dishes.

 

In my imagination, I’d had some green onions, avocado, and cilantro on hand – I would have chopped all that up, stirred in some queso fresco, and garnished the stew with it.  Yum!  That was only in my head, though – if you have those ingredients, give it a try and tell me how it was!

 

Yield:  Looks like it would serve about 4 hungry people. (*updated - maybe three VERY hungry people...)



Happy Father's Day, dads...

Today is Father's Day, and due to the craziness of life I've really been taking some time to think about a lot of things. One of the things that has hit me while I'm writing this is just how many absolutely amazing dad's I have in my life, and how many dads - and papa's - Ben has in his. God has blessed us so much, it's just amazing. And so I'd like to dedicate this post to all the dads in MY life, and all those in Ben's life, as well. The pictures I have here are merely a representation, and don't even come close to doing justice to all those in my life who have had such a fantastic impact on me. I only hope and pray that I can live up to the billing that has been set before me, for Ben (and whatever other kids come down the road...and no, that's not an announcement of any kind!)



To start, a couple of pictures of tribute to Great Grandpa Ed and Great Grandpa Harry, both of who went to be with our Heavenly Father this past year (2010). We all miss you dearly, but we know that this Father's Day will be one of the greatest ever for you, and that makes us grin. :)



Another tribute, to my mentor and close friend Bobby Michaels, who passed away while on a missions trip. I miss you so much, and I wish you were here. I miss our talks, and your support and love - and absolute sillyness. But I know that you, too, are in Heaven having a party and worshiping your brains out, and while I still cry for you, too, I still grin every time I think of you.



Uncle Chris (Tootell), I know we never get to hook up, but know that I look up to you and value all your insight so much. I feel so privileged to be named after you, and to have you to look up to. You're an amazing man of God and I appreciate you so much.



Papa Steve, you have been so amazing to us all, and I'm so glad to call you friend, dad, and neighbor! We are all so fortunate to have you there to guide us and share with us!



Uncle (brother!) Jon, you're not a dad yet - but you're one heck of an uncle and brother! I love you so much, and I look forward to being an uncle to your brood! I love how Ben asks to see you all the time, and how much fun you guys have.



And finally, for this post, Papa - not only did God bless me with an absolutely amazing man as dad, but he blessed Ben with a papa that just won't quit! From loving on him to teaching him, to just snuggling and watching the sun set, you two make my heart smile every time I watch you together. I look forward to watching you and Ben grow up together... (*grin*)! I love you so much I don't even know how to express it, so just know that, and know that every time I talk to you and see you it makes my day. Not to mention Ben's...



To all the rest of you - my best friends and dad's to Ben - I haven't forgotten you, and I love each and every one of you dearly. It means the world to me to have you in my - and our - lives. I grow every time I'm around you, even if we're just eating pizza and chillin. I love your families, and count them as my own, as I know you do ours.

Happy Father's Day,

from me to you.


A Father's Day Out : Things To Do!

Father's Day 2010 is tomorrow, and if you're still looking for something to do for the day, we've got something that we KNOW dad'll love! Come to Country Village - yep, that's right - for DAD this time! Every Father's Day there is an absolutely wonderful Car Show that happens at Country Village. It's packed with GREAT music, tons of BEAUTIFUL cars, and everything that makes memories!

Bring dad to Country Village for the car show (officially starting at noon), then get some of the world's BEST BBQ at Carolina Smoke - or try the new Vivendo's which is getting FANTASTIC reviews. Of course, don't forget old favorites like the Cafe, Papa's Place, and the Tea Room, either. Looking for a cup of fantastic coffee? Take the kids to The Village Bean - it's perfect for some down time, and their coffee and food is wonderful!



Let dad and the kids make a new memory - or revive an old one - with a Train Ride around Country Village! It's tons of fun, and everybody will come out with a smile!



And of COURSE don't forget to stop in and say HI to the gals at The Weed Patch! Rain or shine, it should be a wonderful, beautiful day at Country Village for Father's Day!


Crochet Popcorn Striped Bag

Supplies:

  • Cascade 100% wool yarn, 1 skein (100g) each of 3 colors (or similar weight yarn) I used #4129 (the light pink), #8834 (the darker pink), and #8914 (the lime green)
  • Crochet needle size #8H (or needle required to achieve gauge)
  • ½ yd Cotton fabric to match yarn colors (for lining & handle)
  • Interfacing, iron-on, lightweight and medium
  • Misc tools & supplies: thread, sewing machine, large-eye yarn needle, scissors, iron, pins, measuring tape.

Instructions:

Make the crochet bag:
Foundation: With color #1, chain 50.

  • Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hk, and in each ch across. Ch 1, turn.
  • Row 2: sc in next 4 st, [(yo, pull up a loop) 3 times in next sc, yo and draw hook through all 7 loops (1 popcorn st made), 1 sc in next 3 st] repeat to end of row. You’ll end with three sc on this row. Ch 1 & turn.
  • Row 3: Switch to color #2. 1 sc in each st across to end of row. Ch 1 & turn.
  • Row 4: Sc in next 2 st, [popcorn st in 3rd st, 1 sc in next 3 st] repeat until end. You’ll end with 1 sc on this row. Ch 1 & turn.
  • Row 5 & 6: Switch to color #3. Repeat rows 2 & 3.
  • Row 7 & 8: Switch to color #1. Repeat rows 4 & 5.
  • Continue to repeat pattern, alternating the three colors, until work measures 11”.
  1. 1. This will make one side of the bag. Repeat process to make another side, making sure you follow the same order of stripes so that both sides match up. Final pieces were approximately 12” x 11”
  2. Lay the pieces right sides together, attach by crocheting together using a single crochet stitch starting at one side, along the bottom, then up the other side. Use the lightest of your three colors.
  3. Crochet a nice shell edge along the top: Turn bag right side out. Starting at one seam, make one sc. [Skip 1 sc, make a shell (make 5 dc in the same st), skip 1 sc, 1 sc], repeat all the way around. Try to place the shells so that they are centered above a popcorn stitch.
  4. Make the gusset: Turn bag inside out. Thread a large-eye yarn needle with your lightest colored yarn, and stitch across one corner, creating a triangle about 2 ½” from the point. Repeat for the other side. Now, when you turn your bag right side out again, it will have a flat rectangular bottom. Optional: tack the corners to the bottom or sides of the bag inside with some thread to make the corners lay smoothly.


Make the lining:

  1. Prepare fabric by washing, drying, and ironing, as appropriate for the fabric.
  2. Length: Measure the length of the crochet bag, then add approximately 2”, plus a ½” seam allowance. Cut the lining piece by folding the fabric over itself (right sides together) to the right length, then cut. This way you’ll only have to sew one side to create a tube.
  3. Height: Measure the height of the crochet bag, then add approximately 2,” plus a ¾” seam allowance. Trim the lining to this height, or better yet just leave it as is in case you need more length than you thought. Better to have too much that you can trim off than too little.
  4. Pin the raw edges together on the one open side, then machine stitch with a ½” seam allowance. This will create a fabric tube. Press seam open.
  5. Pin the raw edges together along bottom edge and machine stitch with ½” seam. Press seam open.
  6. Repeat previous step #4 above to create a gusset, as you did with the crochet bag, except use the sewing machine and thread. Press all edges and sides, then go ahead and pop the lining inside the crochet bag just to see how it fits. Note: The lining should be a bit bigger than the crochet bag, to accommodate the stretching and give of the crochet.
  7. Finish the edge of bag opening: with the lining still inside out (but removed from the crochet, of course), fold under ¼” of the opening all around the top, right side over to the wrong side. Press well. Fold an additional ¾” over, or whatever is needed to make the lining tuck up nicely under the shell edging of the crochet (If you had opted in step #3 to leave the lining as is, then just trip as necessary so that after you fold the ¼”, then the ¾”, the edge of the lining ends up in the desired spot). Pin it, then place inside crochet bag again to see how it fits, again making sure it has plenty of give. When satisfied, remove the lining again and press well. Machine stitch along the bottom folded edge, as close to the edge as possible.


Make the handles:

  1. Decide how long you’d like your handles to be, then cut a 2 ½” wide piece of fabric to that length. Be sure to include an extra 1 ½ to 2” for overlapping and attaching to the lining. Cut another piece for the other handle. Be sure to cut parallel to the bias edge so that the fabric is sturdy and won’t stretch. My pieces measured 2 ½” by 19”.
  2. Cut a piece of lightweight interfacing 2” wide by the length of the piece. Position on the wrong side of one handle piece so that there is a ¼” of extra fabric on each side, then press following manufacturer’s instructions on interfacing package. Repeat with the other handle.
  3. Fold the ¼” edge over onto the interfacing and press. Fold the whole piece in half lengthwise, pin and pres well. Machine stitch together, as close to the edge as possible. Repeat with other handle piece.
  4. Attach to the lining: With the lining still inside out, position the handle where you’d like it best on the bag. Pin in place to the wrong side of the lining fabric, and stitch – sew along all edges of handle overlapping onto the lining, like in a box shape, then sew an “X” in the box. This will make the handle nice and sturdy, less likely to come apart from the bag.


Assemble the bag:

  1. Reinforce the bottom: Cut 1 piece of heavyweight interfacing in a rectangle the size of the bottom inside of your bag. Cut one piece of lining fabric of the same size. Sandwich the interfacing between the wrong side of the fabric piece, and the wrong side of the bottom of the lining. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to fuse together. You now have a nice sturdy bottom for the bag to sit on!
  2. Turn lining right side out and place inside the crochet bag. Tack the lining to the bag with a needle and thread, using small, neat stitches all around the edge. Your bag is now complete! You have a few options for further embellishment, if you so desire:
    1. Sew a yoyo out of your lining fabric. Attach a favorite vintage button to the center, and a small circle of felt to the back for stability. Sew on a pin back and attach to your bag. This can be a fun embellishment to tie all the colors together, plus you can remove it to attach to your jacket, if you’d like!
    2. Use leftover pieces of yarn to crochet a few matching flowers or rosettes. Michaels.com has some easy patterns if you’ve never made them before. Attach to the side of the bag, or make removable by sewing a pin back as above.

Resources:

  • Cascade (or other nice) yarns: Ben Franklin in Monroe, Main Street Yarn in Mill Creek Towne Center. You can get crochet hooks at any of these places too.
  • Interfacing, and other sewing supplies: Any fabric/ craft store, like Joann’s
  • Nice fabrics: mine came from Keepsake Cottage Fabrics in Country Village. They have tons of new
    springy fabrics in, it was hard to choose.

Copyright 2006 by Janene Tindall. Pattern and instructions for personal use only. You may not reproduce, make project for sale, submission to publications, or anything else other than personal use without written permission of Janene Tindall.


Graduation Time..!

This was just posted on Facebook by one of our closest friends, Holly Moe - seeing as how it's Graduation Season, we just had to share it!

"Universities should not be facilities merely for employee training with the aim of generating a qualified labor pool for corporations and top-drawer firms. The purpose of higher education should be to prepare students to perpetually teach themselves, cultivate their interests, talents and skills, and ultimately use them to serve their communities in a meaningful way." - Shannon Hayes

If you have someone that's graduating, congratulations to them on such a momentous milestone!




Janene's Red Velvet Cake

This cake TASTES fantastic - it's moist and packed with flavor.  It also LOOKS wonderful - its rich color just BEGS to be enjoyed!  Drop this cake onto your table and make a statement!

Cake Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. butter extract
2 ½ cups flour
2 tbsp. cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. vinegar
2 oz. red food coloring

Icing Ingredients:

1 cup milk
3 tbsp. flour
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cake Directions:
  • Cream butter and sugar;
  • add eggs, one at a time.
  • Beat in extract;
  • add flour, cocoa and milk alternately.
  • Stir in soda, vinegar and coloring.
  • Place in 3 layer pans.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Icing Directions:

  • Cook milk and flour until thick; cool.
  • Beat sugar until fluffy; add cooked mixture.
  • Beat until very light; stir in vanilla.


Vivendo Fundraiser TONIGHT!

I just found a flyer on the counter at the store for a fundraiser that Vivendo Restaurant and Bar is putting on TONIGHT for Girls Giving Back (http://www.girlsgivingback.org) - in addition to opportunities to win some great prizes, Vivendo's is donating a portion of all sales between 5pm and 9pm!

Check out Vivendo online at http://www.vivendorestaurant.com and then come for a night of GREAT food and support for a local charity!