What I’m Lovin’ in March

Maybe you realized {or you didn’t? #NoHurtFeelings} I’m behind on my What I’m Lovin’ monthly posts. So, as a treat (to both of us 😉 ) I’ve combined January, February, and March for a big batch of all of the things I’ve been enjoying that I hope you will too!

1. QuiltCon

I bet you know this by now! I had such an amazing time at QuiltCon in February! You can read all about my experience in this post and go on a virtual quilt tour with me here and here.

2. Thug Kitchen Cookbook

My mother-in-law got me this cookbook for Christmas and it has not disappointed! The pages are filled with hilariously written recipes and tips embellished with some very flavorful language {the kind I often use when cooking – because let’s be honest – cooking is not a talent of mine}.

My favorite recipe so far is for the To-Go Breakfast Bars [in progress in the photo below] – they are surprisingly easy to make and quite tasty! For the past few months they have been my “go-to” for sharing {I took a batch to QuiltCon to share with my guild and took a batch to work after my grandfather passed away to thank my colleagues for being so supportive – the bars were a hit with both groups!}

We also made the cauliflower “wings” and root vegetable fries which were also delicious.

For the past few years I’ve been making their Hoppin’ John recipe on New Year’s Day so it was no surprise the recipes in the cookbook have been packed with flavor! If you aren’t sure about the cookbook, browse the recipes on the website and try a few. You won’t turn back!

3. Colette’s post about organizing sewing patterns {here}

I found this post so helpful! My current system involves 3-ring binders & plastic page-protectors to house the pattern & instructions. This works great for PDF patterns whose instructions print on regular size paper (I tuck the folded freezer-paper-traced pattern pieces behind the instructions in the sleeve), but doesn’t hold vintage or printed indie patterns very well (too much space around them causes them to slide out too easily). The comic-book-storage sounds like a much better fit for those!

Once I find the perfect organization solution, I’ll share it with you 😉

4. Shoreline Boatneck

If I could just get away with wearing my Shoreline Boatneck every day, I’d consider it. I hoped to have another one sewn up by now, but I’ve been distracted…

5. Paper Tigers

Earlier this month, the Nickelodeon Theater hosted a free screening of Paper Tigers with a panel discussion that included the Superintendent of the district in which I work. The documentary was enlightening. It is definitely a must-see for anyone working in education, serving youth, raising/loving children, etc. {anyone & everyone}. It has started a really interesting dialogue locally that I hope continues and grows.

You can view the trailer below and find where to watch Paper Tigers here.

Paper Tigers Trailer – KPJR Films from KPJR FILMS LLC on Vimeo.

6. My paper-pieced Bunny

I finally dusted off my homework from QuiltCon {see how the bunny started in this post} and finished my Bunny block! I have big plans for him so stay tuned 😉

The bunny is from Violet Craft‘s Forest Abstractions quilt.

7. New beginnings with the New Moon

This week I went to a New Moon Circle hosted by a dear friend.

It was so refreshing, rejuvenating, and inspiring. We gathered, we meditated, we journaled, we shared, and we laughed. It was beautiful.

I have looked back at my journal from that night and boiled my intentions for the next month into 3 over-simplified mantras.

I have felt very scatterbrained lately. I’ve found myself jumping from project-to-project [at home and at work] – becoming very easily distracted by easier/quicker/shinier projects.

This month I want to SLOW DOWN {less multitasking}, FOCUS on one project at a time {giving whatever it may be all of the effort it deserves}, and BE PRESENT in the moment {less scrolling, less distraction}.

*If you’re local {or not! Penny shares great resources}, follow Earthstar Radiance on Facebook – Penny’s meditation classes are the 2nd Wednesday of every month & the New Moon Circle is around the time of the New Moon 😉

8. Our nephew is here!

L to R: on his birth day! > from his first full #SliceSisters day > that time my sister let me wear him > with the Hubs on the day he was born 🙂

To say I’m a doting aunt is probably an understatement. I won’t bore you with all the details and I’m trying to restrain myself from flooding Instagram with baby pics {now I understand why parents post so many pictures of their littles} but it sure is tough! He, my sister and her husband are all adjusting to being a family of 3 beautifully. I’m so thrilled to watch that and treasure the moments I get to be part of it.

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

Flying Geese Pin Cushion

I’m really loving paper piecing! If you haven’t tried it out yet, you totally should. It’s much easier than you think (I was overthinking it until our quilt guild president de-mystified the process during a demo at a recent meeting. Here’s a tutorial with some great pictures).

After playing around with paper piecing with the basic diamond template Amber shared with us at the meeting, I started searching the internet for more templates to play with.

It didn’t take long to find a flying geese pattern that I loved! I followed these instructions and shrunk the pattern by 33% when I printed. It’s the perfect size for a pin cushion which is great because this month our quilt guild hosted a pin cushion swap!

pin cushion 2

My partner loves batik prints so it was a chance for me to work with a fabric that I don’t normally use. I found some fat quarters at JoAnn’s and used green for the geese and purple for the background pieces. I used a fun blue print for the bottom of the cushion.

I used some scrap batting to line against the goose block. Rather than quilt the geese (I really couldn’t figure out how to do that without ruining the design), I added a border and then stitched around the border with some fun blue thread I picked up at an estate sale.

I stitched the batting to the flying geese block then set it right-sides-facing on top of the bottom piece and then squared them up (cutting the edges) so they were the same size. Then I stitched all around the sandwich – leaving a few inches open at the bottom for flipping.

pin cushion 6

the underside of the pretty blue stitches against the batting

Then I clipped the corners so they would be pointy when flipped (watch out for your stitch line so you don’t accidentally cut into it!).

pin cushion 7

I flipped the cushion so that right sides were now facing out and hand stitched the closing using a blind stitch {here is a tutorial with great pictures}.

pin cushion 5

Some people hate sewing by hand, but I love the control it gives you. I certainly wouldn’t want to do an entire quilt by hand {I absolutely do not have that kind of patience}, but I will say that taking the time to blind stitch is totally worth it! It’s great for closing an infinity scarf or the interior of a bag and leads to a much cleaner finish.

pin cushion 4

I happen to have a giant bag of plain ol’ stuffing {I think I had visions of making throw pillows or maybe some fun softies/stuffed animals…} so I used that to fill the cushion. Lately I’ve noticed that my pins seem to be getting dull. Next time I may try stuffing a pin cushion with steel wool to keep my pins sharp {idea here}.

pin cushion 1

After some advice from my quilt guild buddies at our last sew-in, I pressed my seams to the side rather than open when I pieced the four little goose blocks together to make the full circle of geese. This really helped seal the center of the block and align the pieces perfectly {I’m quite proud of that center intersection!}. Here’s a good run-down of pressing your seams open vs. pressing them to the side if you’re interested 😉

pin cushion 2

I hope my partner likes her new pin cushion! 🙂

{PS: If you’re anywhere near Columbia, SC and enjoy sewing of any sort-and-kind, you should check out the Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild! You can follow the page on Facebook to see when the next meeting will be. The guild hosts monthly sew-ins which are super fun – I love being able to pick the brains of fellow [far more experienced] sewists!}

What I’m Lovin’ in March

As you read this, the Hubs and I are road-trippin’ to Boston to see his sister! We had contemplated flying and then remembered how much we love road trips {with lives that sometimes make us feel like ships passing in the night, being trapped in a car together felt like the perfect adventure!}.

I promise to bring back lots of pictures for the blog, but in the meantime you can follow our adventures on Instagram.

And so, here’s the short list of what I’ve been lovin’ in March!

what i'm lovin

1. Vegan Buffalo Wings

Proof that my husband loves me: he made this recipe for vegan buffalo wings totally from scratch!

wings

They were AMAZING. He found the Edgy Veg’s recipe for Vegan Buffalo Wings after a quick google and followed it to a T (although he used flax and water for the egg replacer).

It was the first time I’d had homemade seitan (we usually just buy it from the store #LazyCook) and I tell ya – there was a huge difference in taste!

I haven’t had buffalo wings since long before I gave up meat (about 4.5 years ago). I used to love boneless buffalo wings until they started giving me serious heartburn and I had to abandon them.

The recipe had just the right amount of heat [no heartburn!]. They were also perfectly crispy and chewy. Just delicious!

I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen during production, but he said the recipe was pretty easy and he’d be willing to make them again (YAY!).

2. Flying Geese and Paper Piecing

flying geese

I’m totally hooked on paper piecing!

I got a bag of teeny-tiny Liberty of London scraps from Mad for Fabric a while back. I followed these instructions and shrunk the pattern to 33%. The square pictured above is 6.5″ x 6.5″ with the border (about 5 inches without). I think I’m going to turn it into a zip pouch!

3. Fuller House on Netflix

fuller house

If you grew up watching Full House, you definitely want to check out Fuller House on Netflix! We’re addicted and have totally binged on Season 1 already.

4. Inside the Hem on YouTube

I have been following Sew Charleston for a while (I love her style!) so when she announced she and her gal pals were launching a sewing YouTube channel, I was pretty excited to check it out! I immediately subscribed and have been loving the videos.

It’s tough to pick a favorite, but I’m in a comfy-sewing-mood so I really loved Abbey’s Favorite Sweatshirts video:

After the video {and asking Abbey’s advice}, I ordered the Lola dress pattern from Victory Patterns. I think this may be the pattern I use for the Liberty of London French Terry I splurged on when the Hubs and I were in England last Christmas (yes, it’s been gathering dust for an embarrassing amount of time…).

You can browse all episodes from the channel – called Inside the Hemhere!

5. My cute new bags from Trish Stitched!

trish stitched 1

I’ve been following Trish Stitched for a while and love her blog. She’s super talented and she often sews patterns I’ve had my eye on so it’s nice to see how they look on a real person (it’s just icing on the cake that she’s also petite so I can follow her alterations!).

Last month her blog celebrated its first anniversary and she hosted a giveaway. Lucky me – I won!

love the adorable bags she sent me! The top bag is the perfect size to hold a checkbook or store a fancy pen collection [stuff it with colored pencils and pair it with a hip adult coloring book and you’ve got yourself the perfect birthday gift for your gal pal].

The bottom pouch is a great size for essential-oils-on-the-go!

trish stitched 2

The pouch easily fits 2-3 bottles or rollers. It also makes for a cute gift card holder or a fun place to store cards from all your favorite fabric shops.

Check out all of Trish’s beautiful handmade bags in her shop on Etsy and don’t forget to check out her blog!

6. Nerding out with organization videos on YouTube

Did you know there are videos on YouTube dedicated to home organization?! I know this puts me in a super nerd category, but to my defense: this video was sent to me by a friend {who shares a very nerdy desire for everything to be organized, labeled and tucked out of sight}.

One of my other favorites: Cheap Storage Ideas full of Dollar Tree finds. {Budget-friendly storage solutions?! #smitten}

I’ve basically fallen head-over-heels for Alejandra’s YouTube Channel and now I want to buy all the plastic containers in sight [label-maker is now on my Christmas wish list…]

7. Mindless Saving with Acorns

The Hubs and I recently opened an Acorns account after hearing about it from Afford Anything {love her blog..and her new podcast!}. As someone who is very, very far from being an expert investor, I appreciate how simple Acorns is. We linked up our bank accounts so that they send over change from purchases by rounding up to the next dollar and sending the excess to Acorns. You can also set up automatic (whole dollar if you wish 😉 ) deposits. Then Acorns does its magic to invest your money then – poof! – you have a savings account that’s growing while you spend zero time thinking about it {#MindlessSaving}.

If you are interested, you can use our referral link to sign up and receive $5! #winning {FYI: I also get $5 which is stellar, but just to be clear: the statements above are 100% mine. Acorns has no idea who I am other than a name in their list of users. You are in no way obligated to use my link if you sign up for Acorns. I just wanted to share my experience with you, my lovely reader!}

Also – when you sign up, you get weekly emails with savings tips [and they’re not those “UGH…yeah right!” kind of tips]. A recent email closed with the quote below which I felt was so appropriate given the fact that we are en route to gather some fabulous experiences in Boston as we speak…

acorns quote

And on that note, I bid you farewell! I hope your March was fabulous and you are off having experiences with people you love! ❤

Sending you sprinkles of joy and warm hugs til next time,

Jordan

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

What I’m Lovin’ in January

It’s finally gotten chilly in the south and feels like winter! (Confession: I love cold weather.) I hope you are all staying warm and toasty wherever you are. Snuggle up and share a few giggles with me as you read on through the short list of what I loved about January…
january

1. Cookies made with Chickpeas

Guys!! Before you go rolling your eyes and completely abandon this post, hear me out!

Or just oogle this mouth-watering photo of proof I’m not crazy…

chickpea cookie

{I borrowed this delightful picture from Texanerin Baking. If your mouth is watering (mine is!), click the picture to jump over to the recipe.}

I have a very serious sweet tooth. I am a firm believer that dessert is essential – not optional. I also try purdy hard to stay healthy. So…I seek out “healthy” treats. {Chocolate Covered Katie is one of my favorite resources}

And y’all – these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites are a winner!

The recipe is super easy and fairly guilt-free. {Lazy Cook Tip: If you don’t have roasted peanuts on hand to make your own PB (see #2 below!), Trader Joe’s Creamy, Salted Peanut Butter works great – and the ingredient list is desirable with just peanuts and salt.}

Hubs loves them. And we even made these when my Mom came over for dinner and she was quite delighted and announced that they tasted just like peanut butter balls (which they kind of are, but I’ll let her have that connection!).

PS: If you also enjoy “healthy” [aka: less guilty] desserts, these flourless chocolate muffins are the perfect go-to if you need something easy to take to a party that your vegan and gluten-free friends can enjoy. I wouldn’t recommend the chickpea cookies for parties because 1) they are best served warm and 2) the first batch I made was a bit messy to eat.

2. Making my own Peanut Butter

As I said to my Mom earlier this month: “your generation would probably refer to my lifestyle as ‘crunchy granola’.” I’ll own it. I’m not offended (and yes, I once had a granola-supplier who recently went out of business and I teared up a bit…before ordering 5 bags as stock).

I was destined to be this way: I have a Public Health degree (aka: I was trained to be overly cautious about my health) and I’m a Researcher by trade.

Confession: The context of the statement above was when I was [being very Millennial and calling my Mom to debrief about my doctor’s appointment] after I explained that I told the doctor I had started making my own lip balm because I discovered what I had thought was just petroleum jelly in fact had dyes in it for reasons unknown (I’ve been having some lip issues [and I’ve already told you I’m a) a Public Health nerd and b) a Researcher] and was subsequently eliminating everything funky – including switching my toothpaste to Tom’s without fluoride – in an effort to eliminate triggers. Yep, crunchy granola).

Oh – and if you’re wondering: YES I’m going to share my lip balm recipe with you. I’m still perfecting it so stay tuned!

Anyways, back to the peanut butter!

When I discovered the chickpea cookies above, Texaserin recommended making your own peanut butter for the cookie recipe. She even has a recipe for the peanut butter, but I’ll spoil it for you: throw some [lightly] salted roasted peanuts in your food processor for 4 minutes. THAT’S IT! 

peanut butter

I know what you’re thinking: “but does it taste good?!” Yes, folks – it does! So delicious. I kept my batch in the fridge and it lasted about a day before I ate it all (while I seriously considered taking a spoon to the jar, I did not. I used most of it in the cookie recipe and the leftover was used in smoothies).

Next time your grocery store runs nuts on sale, grab a container of roasted peanuts and give them a whirl in the food processor – just for shiggles!

3. Homemade Vegan Korean Barbecue

korean bbq

{Picture borrowed from Brewing Happiness because my food never turns out this pretty. Click the image to get the recipe!}

DELISH!

The flavor is ahhh-mazing. This is one of the Hubs’ favorite new dinners. {Confession: The first time I tried this recipe, I got so frustrated because I was burning the tofu that *somehow* I pulled our junk drawer off it’s hinges and the contents flew all over the kitchen… Thankfully the Hubs was home and willing to talk me off the ledge – and clean up the mess [I’m a lucky gal!]. As a tip: Pre-measure the ingredients that you can and when you start cooking the tofu: stir often/constantly if you can.}

Since I try to keep my time in the kitchen minimal for everyone’s safety, I can’t speak about the taste of the aioli {I hit my ingredients-to-buy/time-I-was-willing-to-spend-cooking limit with the homemade barbecue sauce}. If you try the aioli, let me know if it’s worth the effort!

PS: Another favorite recipe from Brewing Happiness: Baked Veggie Dogs {they were on my September list}.

4. Tea Time

I got a batch of Lady Grey Loose Leaf Tea for Christmas from my step-sister. I’m trying to balance my sweet tooth with hot tea {otherwise I’d probably eat an entire batch of the Chickpea Cookies in one day which would make them far less “guilt free”}.

tea

Loose leaf tea is gorgeous. And I kind of want to learn to make my own blends, but I’m not sure where to start – if you know any good recipes, let me know!

Also – along with the tea, my step-sister gave me the most adorable ManaTEA tea infuser!

manatea

I named her Minnie the Manatee

Minnie motivates me to drink more tea and eat less sweets. Like a boss.

PS: I found Minnie’s twin Manny [well, they call him “Fred”] on Amazon if you’re interested in your own ManaTEA.

5. Family Recipes

Some friends invited us over for chili a few weekends ago and I knew immediately that I wanted to dust off Jeremy’s grandfather’s cornbread recipe! It’s always a big hit and we’d just eaten some his PawPaw made at Thanksgiving which reminded me how delicious they are (and that we hadn’t made them in forever).

cornbread

I know you’re shocked: Yes, I own an apron. And yes, the reason it looks well-worn is not because of yours truly – it’s vintage 😛

I weaseled the recipe out of Jeremy’s grandpa several years ago. We used to make them all the time, but it’s been years since we’ve made a batch.

The recipe is more of a Mexican-style cornbread with jalapenos and cheddar cheese. I’m not authorized to spill the family secrets, but here’s a similar recipe you could try 🙂

6. Our new knit sweaters

Speaking of grandparents, the Hubs has the best! Last week we received two packages from England!

Since we’d just chatted with his grandma, we had an idea of what they were. She has been working on sweaters for both of us since we visited last Christmas. {In fact, she had my sweater nearly done, but when I arrived and she measured me she realized the bodice was going to be too small and unraveled the whole thing! She laughed at my reaction because I almost cried!}

It felt like we’d won the lottery! 😉

sweaters

We were overwhelmed with excitement [obviously], but I promise to attempt a better picture of the sweaters later…

And with the recent cold weather arriving in South Carolina, we’re both pretty grateful for these snuggly new garments!

Isn’t Jeremy’s grandmother SO talented?! She’s been knitting for…forever. This is my third sweater from her. I wear the other two quite frequently when it gets cold and I know this one will be well-loved too!

PS: Did you know that “knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol“?! You can read all about the health benefits of knitting and real stories about how knitting has helped people get through tough times {like having a baby in the NICU and quitting smoking} in this article from the NY Times. Fascinating research!

7. Snow

Speaking of cold weather, last weekend we got snow!

snow

If you look REALLY close you can see the light dusting on the roof {and a fur baby peaking out the front door}

Anyone not from the south is probably laughing hysterically at my claim of snow based on the above picture. I was starting to worry we wouldn’t get any snow this year so I’ll take what I can get!

I did watch some tiny flurries come down from the window in front of my sewing machine and it was lovely (even if they melted as soon as they hit the ground).

Now I’m not wishing bad weather on anyone, but I do wish we’d get a little more snow this winter!!

8. My new accessories for sewing

earrings

Because who doesn’t need to look glamorous while sewing?!

My sweet friend Caroline surprised me with these the day before our first quilt guild meeting this year {so I was accessorized quite festively for the meeting}.

love them! And I love my sweet friend for being so thoughtful. She’s the best.

PS: My new earrings coordinate perfectly with my new planner from Sugar and Type {it looks like the planners are all sold out which is a shame because it is so useful!}.

9. Paper Piecing

At our Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild meeting this month, our president did a paper-piecing demo.

I’ve been really wanting to try paper-piecing, but was too scared. Amber demystified the process and I went home and gave it a try with the simple diamond blocks she shared with us.

paper pieces

I’m hooked!

What are some of your favorite paper pieced patterns? I’m looking to try more so I’d love it if you left me your favorite in the comments.

PS: If you’re local to Columbia, SC – follow the Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild on Facebook and consider joining us! We meet every third Thursday of the month and have a sew-in once a month (so fun).

10. My Double Zip Wallet

doublezip2

I won’t bore you with all the details [because you can read those here], but I’m still lovin’ it.

I think my favorite part are the two zipper pouches. I love zippers because they make your goodies feel so secure {and help you to avoid embarrassing moments when change starts flying out of your clutch like a slot machine}.

This also reminds me that I need to finish that Veronika skirt the corduroy was intended for…

Since I haven’t blogged as much this month, I had a lot to share! Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom – you’re such a trooper!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}