source: John Kannenberg
When my kids were teens, the only craft I did was needlepoint. Later, after my sister introduced me to scrapbooking, working with photos was my obsession. Nowadays, my craft of choice is graphic design.
I’ve enjoyed three completely different crafts over the last 10 years, two of which I rarely work on now. What has happened to all those years of knowledge and experience? Are they now worthless?
The answer is a definite NO. While it’s true I might never go back to enjoying needlepoint or scrapbooking, the remnants of my past interest show up on frequent occasions.
There may be several subtle answers to that question, like influence on style (scrapbooking) or willingness to progress slowly on a project (needlepoint). But I like a less subtle answer. More often than not, when I work on graphic designs, they are usually printable for scrapbooks or patterns for needlepoint project. Those old hobbies haven’t disappeared from my life, they just manifest themselves differently now.
Another example. When I was younger I used to eat only margarine or butter. Later, for health reasons I switched to olive oil. Now I use a mix of olive oil and yogurt as a fat on potatoes, pasta, rice and vegetables. It’s delicious, but I would never have started this new practice, if I didn’t already have a love of creamy (from the butter) and olive oil (from my low-fat days).
Here are my questions to you:
How have your interests changed over the years? And, how have you current interests been improved by the remnants of your past?
To merge your new interests with your old, consider the following questions…
…Can you use the skills learned from a previous hobby in a new endeavor? A lover of sewing and cross stitching can combine previously mastered skills to create handsewn baby outfits with cross stitched collars.
…Can you use the subject matter from an old interest as the motif for a new? A sewing and golfing enthusiast can use golf themed fabric to make sofa pillows and awning for a porch swing.
…Can you combine two or more interests to make a third completely new interest? A hardcore fabric dyer and rubber stamper can experiment with using fabric dyes to stamp on cotton.
I’d love to hear your answers to these questions. Please write a comment to let me know what new and exciting projects you came up with!
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Ready to shake things up a little? Take your next project to a whole new level by experimenting with fun alternatives to store bought yarn. Each of the fibers I list can be used for both knit and crochet projects, and as an accent or for the entire piece.
Here are some of my favorites
1. Plarn – Popular for the last few years, Plarn is an acronym for plastic yarn. Grocery bags and trash bags are recycled into placemats, tote bags and wash clothes.
2. Pet Hair Yarn – Spin yarn from cat hair, dog hair and even rabbit fur. The resulting fiber makes sweaters and hats with a novel story to tell.
3. Recycled Newspaper Yarn – At 20 yards of yarn from a single sheet, newspaper yarn enables you to do a lot, with little. Turn recycled newspapers into floor mats, wall hangings and other decorative objects.
4. T-Shirt Yarn – Since t-shirt yarn is both durable and bulky, it makes great trivets, rugs, washcloths. If “country” is not your style you may want to dye the t-shirts before using them.
5. Wire – Working with wire is not too different than working with yarn….just a bit harder on your hands. Combine the wire with beads for some seriously wonderful jewelry designs.
6. Raffia – These fibers will all be a lot more difficult to use than yarn, but the interesting texture will make the extra effort worthwhile.
7. Denim – Denim is extremely hardy, so it’s perfect for rug making, shopping bags, trivets and pot holders.
8. VCR VHF Tapes – When I first heard about crafters using VCR VHF tapes for knitting and crocheting, I thought the results would appear juvenile and unattractive. Not any more. You’ll be surprised at how nice tape projects turn out.
9. Polymer Clay – Create amazingly beautiful jewelry using an easy- to- master faux knitting technique…Not real knitting, but so wonderful, it was impossible to resist!
10. Repurposed Sweaters – With today’s emphasis on economy and reuse, it’s not surprising if we look back to our frugal ancestors for some “new” ways of recycling. Unravel your own out-of-style garments or thrift store garments when your yarn collection gets low.
How about string, thread, ribbon, discarded silk clothes, sheets, narrow rope, curtains and pantyhose. Virtually anything goes.
Just remember the saying…. If you can think it, you can do it!
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Amazing 2-Ingredient Carrot Soup is as delicious as any recipe in a complicated cookbook. Plus, it’s low-fat AND low-calorie. Try it…. you’ll love it!
vegan chicken bouillon powder (enough to make 4 cups)
1 heaping cup frozen carrots
In a very large pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add bouillon and carrots and allow to return to boil. Turn down flame and simmer for 20 minutes.
Allow soup time to cool, then, using a hand blender, blend soup.
Add salt to taste.
Note: The recipe purposely calls for five cups of water to be added to the bouillon, because one cup will boil out.
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Fancy dinner parties are dying out. Due to women working, the economy, and a ton of other factors, people have found other, easier ways of entertaining. It seems like there is never enough time or money to make big, elaborate meals anymore.
Stop! Wrong! Party meals can actually be quite easy, as long as they are done systematically.
I have made and served two fancy, company meals a week, for 31 years.
Please keep in mind that my husband and I work over 80 hours a week combined, don’t have a car, have very limited cooking facilities and a moderate income. In addition, we live in Israel, where most fresh foods (including grains) need to be soaked, checked, and cleaned carefully before using. So if we can do this, anyone can.
The two meals are made and served to celebrate the Sabbath so the foods are mostly traditional Jewish dishes. In addition, the menu rarely varies since over the years these are the dishes we have grown to love.
If some of these dishes don’t appeal to you, Eggs and Onions can be substituted for the Deviled Eggs and Sweet Challah Kugel can be cooked instead of the Apple-Raisin Kugel. Coleslaw, Quick And Healthy Tomato Salad, and corn salad ( 1 can drained corn, Italian dressing to taste, 2 heaping tbsp. diced red onion, 2 heaping tbsp. green pepper) are all easy sides, if you don’t care for the green salad or the Israeli salad.
Vegetable Salad: Made with prepackaged greens. I add cut up cucumbers, sliced carrots and cherry tomatoes. Served with a wide selection of dressings.
Hummos and Crackers: Purchased
Deviled Eggs: Boil one egg per person. Cool and slice lengthwise. Remove the yolks and combine with mayonnaise, mustard and black pepper to taste. Scoop the mixture back into the whites using a watermelon scoop. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.
Vegan Tastes Just Like Chicken Soup: Recipe will be added later this week.
Low-Fat Matzoh Balls: Recipe will be added later this week.
Chicken And Soy Cutlets: Delicious but very inexpensive to purchase
Beef or Vegetarian Cholent (on special occasions)
Potato Kugel: Purchased
Low-Fat Apple Raisin Kugel: Recipe will be posted in a few weeks.
Annette’s Classic Pasta Salad
Jerusalem Pesto And Pasta Salad
All-Year-Long Passover Rolls
Cake or Cookies: Purchased or gifted from guests
Coffee Flavored Hard Candies: Purchased
After Dinner Snacking
Annette’s Almost Fat-Free Popcorn or purchased popcorn: I hate our hot-air popcorn maker so lately I’ve been buying an enormous bag of popcorn
Bag of Pretzels
Time and Money Saving Tips For Entertaining
Save work wherever you can. Notice we used prepackaged greens to avoid having to soak and check our lettuce.
Combine cheap foods with expensive foods. We added lots of inexpensive carrots and cucumbers to the expensive, prepackaged salad to make it go a lot further.
Serve small only amounts of expensive foods. American crackers are pricey in Israel, so we only serve a handful.
Share the work. My husband does the shopping, makes the soup, the bread and the muffins. My son helps with the serving and cleaning up.
Double up on the food. Since we usually have different company on Friday night and Saturday lunch, I can serve the same dishes twice.
Don’t wait till the last minute to prepare. By early Friday afternoon, my house is clean, the food is purchased and easy prep work is well underway.
If someone offers to bring a dish, always say yes. We frequently skip purchasing a dessert because a guest tells us they will bring a cake or a plate of cookies. However, as plans sometimes change at the last minute, we always have the ingredients to make a fruit salad as a backup.
Buy pre made when necessary. I have lived in Israel for nine years, and I still have been unable to master dessert making with the local ingredients. Therefore, all my cookies and cakes all have to be purchased. I also buy potato kugel, since I don’t own a food processor, and hand grating depresses me.
Don’t schedule any other big projects for the day. Dinner parties are quite doable, but they do take time to prepare. Save your errands, home repairs, etc, for another day.
Keep the dishes super simple. Almost every dish I serve, can be prepared in 10 minutes or less (minus cooking time).
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Prepackaged rice mixes are delicious and convenient, but expensive. Here are 15 suggestions to help you make your own quick and easy rice side dishes. Be sure to adjust seasonings to suit your own taste.
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in butter and shredded cheese or Parmesan
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in fresh basil, lightly sauteed chopped tomatoes and cooked corn
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in cooked broccoli, sesame oil and toasted peanuts or cashews
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in sesame seeds, sesame oil and thinly sliced green onions
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in garlic sauteed in butter, cooked peas and Parmesan
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in cooked beans, salsa and shredded cheese
- Prepare rice, in imitation chicken broth, according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir add onions, garlic, feta cheese and chopped parsley
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in sauteed garlic, sauteed onions and toasted walnuts
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in diced and sauteed tomatoes, sliced green onions, shredded cheese and chopped cilantro
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in cooked mixed vegetables, your favorite herb or spice, butter and Parmesan cheese
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in imitation bacon and peas
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in salsa and fried egg. Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander, crumbled feta and sliced jalapeno peppers
- Cook rice, in beef broth, according to package directions. Add sauteed onions, cashews, and raisins. Top with green onions.
- Prepare rice according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in sauteed garlic and toasted pine nuts
- Cook rice, in chicken stock, according to package directions. When completely cooked, stir in add sauteed onions, sauteed green pepper, and toasted pine nuts.
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