March 19, 2014

Yarn Along

I just started working on my striped area rug, so there really isn't much of that to post. I came across this adorable pattern for a kiwi potholder on the Garnstudio website, so I decided to give it a try. It really turned out cute!

I was hoping I would use up some of my Sugar 'n Cream skeins, but I still have quite a bit left over. I guess I'll just have to make a few more. :)

I've started a new writing book, Writing Active Settings by Mary Buckham. This is book 1 in a three book series about writing settings. I downloaded it to my Kindle for just $2.99! It is really interesting. I am looking forward to ordering the other two books, as well.

Linking to Yarn Along.


March 17, 2014

Clean Eating Monday - Chicken and Barley Stew

Another soup/stew for me this week. I am so glad I have the opportunity to put together a list of go to soups and stews for the fall. 

This recipe from Clean Eating Magazine is a new favorite of mine. It is really simple to put together and is truly filling. The original recipe called for sour cream, but I don't like sour cream plus I'm not sure how "clean" it is, so I didn't add it.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Barley Stew


  • 32 oz low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic sea salt (I used regular sea salt)
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp basil
  • 1/2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/4 tbsp dill
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cubed
  • 20 oz potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 10 oz carrots (3 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices

  • Instructions

    1. Fill a slow cooker with broth, 8 oz water, garlic, herbs and pepper. Add chicken, black-eyed peas and barley, then layer onion, potatoes and carrots over top. Liquid should just cover vegetables. Do not stir.

    2. Allow to simmer, at least 4 to 6 hours. Remove bay leaves and stir before serving. Spoon 1 cup into each bowl. Makes 8 servings.


    March 12, 2014

    Yarn Along

    I have so many DIY and handmade projects to do this year that I figured I'd better get a jump on some of them. If you saw my living room style board post yesterday, you know that I am crocheting my own area rug. This is a HUGE task, but I think I am up for the challenge.

    Instead of doing a chevron rug, since my throw is grey and white chevron, I have decided to make yellow and white stripes. I found this rug somewhere on Pinterest and am using it as my inspiration.

    The good news is I have a ton of yellow/mustard/gold yarn that I got several years ago from a family friend. 

    I am so glad I can destash some of it. Yes, I have more than in this picture!

    The white is actually more of a snow white than a bright white. Since I have a canvas couch, I thought the bright white would be too white.

    I did a swatch last night to see how I liked the stripes.

    At the time I did, but now I think I'm going to make the gold stripes a little larger and the white stripe smaller. I'm thinking 10-12 rows of yellow to 6 rows of white. Or maybe 8 rows of each. I'm still not sure, so I'll be doing another swatch tonight to see which works better.

    As far as my reading, I picked up Writing the Fiction Series book at B&N. I've decided to make my book into a series, so I thought this book would really help me. While it offered some useful advice, it really wasn't that great. I am glad I used my B&N gift card on it and didn't waste my money.

    Linking to Yarn Along.


    March 11, 2014

    Living Room Style Board

    This spring I will be revamping my living room. I looked at a lot of different color combos and decided on yellow, teal, and grey.

    Teal, yellow, and grey living room

    Blue light / Drum shaped lamp shade / Laura ashley lamp, $270 / Jonathan Adler gray chevron throw blanket / Ceramic serving tray / Graham Brown home decor / Graham Brown home decor / New Growth Designs orchid flower arrangement / Better Homes and Gardens small item storage / Velvet throw pillow / Pier 1 Imports teal home decor / White pillar candle / Crate and Barrel yellow home decor / Pier 1 Imports ivory table / CB2 beanbag furniture / Weathered table, $595 / Lacquer side table / Nance Carpet and Rug 12 ft. x 15 ft. Beige Unbound Carpet Remnant / IKEA HOV├ůS Sofa cover, Gobo white / H&M Felted cushion cover, $6.71

    When I first made this style board a few weeks ago, I was planning on painting my living room. I just don't think that is going to be doable right now. So, I will be keeping my off white walls instead of the grey ones. I think this will still work.

    I have already begun to accumulate some of these items. 

    Some I already had:
    1. Canvas couch (Rooms to Go)
    2. Teal table (Target)
    3. Grey pouf (Target)
    4. Record Player (Mom)
    5. 2 Candlestick holders (Pottery Barn)
    6. Standing lamp (JC Penney)
    And some I have picked up over the last few weeks:
    1. Grey pillow (Tuesday Morning) 
    2. Set of 2 mustard pillows (Homegoods)
    3. Grey chevron throw (Tuesday Morning)
    4. 3 Chalkboard baskets (Walmart)
    5. Unfinished wood storage bench (AC Moore - will need to be painted white)
    6. Unfinished tray (AC Moore - needs to be painted teal)
    The items I still need:
    1. Teal pillow (will be either be crocheting or sewing)
    2. Side table (might be painting the one I have white)
    3. Yellow and white rug (will be crocheting)
    4. Cushion for bench (will be sewing)
    5. 2 large yellow candles
    6. Coffee table
    7. Table lamp
    8. Teal lampshade
    9. Yellow flowers and vase
    I am also going to need some wall art and to paint my TV stand, small cabinet, and wicker chair. It is going to be a very busy spring!

    March 10, 2014

    Clean Eating Monday - Tuscan Bean Soup

    When I started out with my clean eating diet, I originally wanted to learn some soup recipes. I used to always keep several cans of soup in my pantry for when I got sick, but canned soup, canned anything really, is a big no-no! So, I knew I needed to learn a few go to soup recipes that I could make and freeze for when I got sick or just wanted a bowl of soup.

    After searching Pinterest, which is a great source of clean eating recipes, I found a great recipe for Tuscan Bean soup. I changed the recipe a tad, by eliminating the ham, which I don't eat, and cutting the amount of garlic in half. 

    Since I got rid of all of my canned food, I decided this recipe would be a great time to learn how to cook dried beans. I had never cooked dried beans before, so I had no idea that they expanded. It was quite a shock in the morning when I looked in my pot of beans and they had almost doubled, meaning I had a TON of beans. It turned out great, though.

    This is a great, simple, crockpot soup recipe, and perfect for the beginner clean eater.