Where Did You Get That Field Verification Belt?

A what?  So, this creation probably does not mean a whole lot for those outside the architectural and design industry….but I have finally created a belt for field verification!  I was at a job site the other day fumbling around and switching back and forth between the measuring tape, camera, red/black pens….well, it’s time to get organized architects and designers, and keep everything at your fingertips.  I think I’m borderline nerdy/handy, but who cares when your audience is the contractor (no offense, contractors….not that you would be reading a sewing blog anyway).  I kept it simple, using a low key canvas fabric.  I created pouches for pens & small scale, slim-line camera or smart phone, and of course a 25’ measuring tape.  Grab your clip board and you’re set to go verify in the field! 




Sew Sweet

A new diaper bag leaves the shop for it’s new mommy-to-be.  The exterior fabric is from Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern Maze line, and a coordinating solid for the interior.  I thought the interior was a bit too “solid” so I trimmed it with the beautiful exterior fabric to give it some depth.  All parts and pieces are lined to give additional weight and stability for the new mom to pack in her necessities.  I truly love this “sling” design, it’s just sew sweet:




A Shout Out to Shiner

Now I am not steering this blog into a beer critic site, but while the temperatures rise, and the outdoor projects are in full swing, I thought that I would tip my gardening hat to the frosty drink that I turn to, to top off my summer days…..Shiner Bock.  Since moving out of Texas, and up to Colorado, beer has stiff competition against the local microbrews.  I actually did not care for the stuff until moving to the mountains, but with beers that taste like coffee, malty caramels and even hot chili….I just had to jump on the bandwagon.  I am quite a supporter of Colorado beers now, but all the while I still hold that little Texas town high on my list as well for a basic good beer, Shiner.shiner city limit

I have family just 20 miles from the little town, in fact my rehearsal dinner was just down the street from the brewery (in true Texas style).  The area is a diverse make up of German and Czech immigrants, which can be seen throughout the stern work ethic of the town inhabitants, German fare at local markets, and old tongue which can still be heard to this day if you listen closely.   The Germans in this area stem back to the ‘Verein’ campaign in the early 1840’s, and were promised beautiful Texas soil in efforts to colonize in America.  What they did not plan on at the time, where the battles between the United States and Mexico, in which left many of the immigrants stranded and the Verein perished.  Many settled in the areas of Texas referred to as the “German Belt” which includes (to name a few); Fredericksburg, Pflugerville, New Braunfels, Schulenburg, Weimar, and the little town of Shiner.  Fast forward a few decades to 1909 when the Shiner Brewing Association was started and later hired their brew master, Kosmos Spoetzl, who brought the ‘Old World Bavarian’ beer to the great state. 

spoetzle breweryEntertaining stories of Kosmos are told within Shine On: 100 Years of Shiner Beer from leaving beers on the fence posts for local farmers in the heat of the day, to keeping his beloved Belgium recipe in the brim of his hat.  The brewery has branched out to light, wheat and even dark brews but I still have to claim that the bock is a constant favorite amongst our house hold.  

shiner My husband and I discovered in the April issue of Texas Monthly there is a mouth-watering recipe of chicken fried steak using Shiner.  This is a must try, and of course, don’t count the calories on this one:

Chicken Fried Steak – by Grady Spears

  • 1-1/2 cups flourcover
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tbsp. paprika (or to preference –ek)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup Shiner bock
  • Peanut oil (enough to cover meat halfway)
  • 4 tenderized round steaks (about ½ lb. each)
  • 2 cups cracked-pepper gravy

Mix first 4 ingredients and set aside on a plate or wax paper. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then add buttermilk and beer and whisk to blend. Set aside. In a deep, heavy skillet, heat oil to 350 degrees. While oil is heating, prepare the steaks by dredging them in flour mixture, coating evenly. Shake off any excess. Dip in egg batter, and then again in flour, evenly coating the batter so it is dry on the outside. When oil temperature reaches 350 gently slide one steak into the oil. Cook about 3 minutes, then turn it, taking care not to break the crust, and cook 3 more minutes, or until nicely browned. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the other steaks. Hold cooked steaks in a 225 degree oven until all are done. Serve with Cracked-Pepper Gravy.


As they say in Shiner, TX “Prost!”


A Few Hand May-de Creations

I have been trying to find the perfect pattern for a particular fabric that I have that justifies being shown off.  Finally I was able to craft a purse…..actually for myself (eeek….finally something for me!) to sport this summer.  Of course to match with 90% of my black & gray wardrobe it suites me just fine with the colorway (black and cream).  I am very excited to try it out and see if the interior pockets need adjusting.  I used plastic, black rings for flexibility on the straps and I just love using canvas materials so I can skip the steps of lining it.


Order up!  I have summer orders in for some KitchStitch Travel Totes, here’s a couple of sneak peaks of the bags prior to shipping out:


For Mother’s Day I stayed with the same theme of this cheery fabric and whipped out a couple of craft aprons for my lovely mother and mother-in-law.  Great for cooking, gardening, crafting and also, as my mom is already using it, in the classroom.  I’ve decided to label them as ‘Kit-Roos’, derived from the Kangaroo and their handy pouches.



Modern Couture for the….Gadgets!

I was so fortunate to receive a snazzy Apple iPad for Christmas, and I’m afraid to say I’ve been toting it around in my hideous black laptop case.  After perusing many sites for the perfect style, I decided to just start piecing together my favorite fabrics….from IKEA of course.  I made the interior with coordinating fleece, and attached an elastic hair band for the closer.  My next step is to sew the buttons on the front and these little sleeves will be complete.  I went ahead and made a few for the kindle/nook as well, same design but smaller scale, as these little guys need covering up as well.  Here are the progress shots:



Since mother’s day is around the corner, I thought I would dedicate this recipe to my wonderful Mom.  Even though I still cannot make this bread as delicious as she can, I thought I would pass along one of my favorite sweet recipes to you folks: Monkey Bread.  She never made it for a special occasion or holiday, this was one of those treats that she would make on a summer afternoon “just because”.  I came across this recipe when looking for something new to try with the bread maker and it’s instantly made the recipe box.  Of course you can make the dough by hand or substitute for ready-made buttermilk biscuit dough from the can (but that takes out all the fun).

Monkey Bread (courtesy of http://www.bread-machine-recipes.com)

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine -- softened
1 cup water
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins and/or 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Place yeast, flour, ground cinnamon, salt, white sugar, 2 tablespoons butter and water into the bread pan in the order that is recommended for
the bread maker. Make sure that no liquid comes in contact with the yeast. Select dough cycle and press start.  When dough is complete, place dough on floured surface and knead 10 to 12 times. 

In a medium saucepan on low heat, melt one cup of butter, stir in brown sugar and raisins (1/4 cup of chopped nuts is good too). Stir until smooth. Remove from heat.  Cut dough into 1-inch chunks. Drop one chunk at a time into the butter sugar mixture. Thoroughly coat dough pieces, then layer them loosely in a greased Bundt or tube pan, staggering layers so you're plopping each dough chunk over a space between two below. Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until dough is just over the top of the pan, 15 to 20 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, place a plate face down in top of the pan and, using oven mitts to hold plate on pan, turn over both until bread slides out onto plate. Serve warm.

This recipe yields 1 loaf.