Monday, September 9, 2013

'Make-It Mondays'...Canning Tomato Soup

Good Monday to everyone....I am so glad you're able to join me today! It's a bit gloomy here today...but, we're going to warm it up a bit. 

Some days, when it's cloudy outside, and the weather seems a bit drab...I love to find something comfortable to wear and hang out all day doing what I love to do!
How bout' you?!

Well, today...we're going to the kitchen! It's really one of my favorite places to be in most days! I love to's very comforting to me!
And for that very reason...we're going to learn how to make one of my favorite all time COMFORT FOODS...

Yep, you heard me correctly...we're going to be doing a little bit o' canning today!

Alot of people don't think it's something that they have time for, or that they can even do it! But, that's simply not true! You don't have to be a nutritionist, or have a phd...however, you do have to be able to read a recipe...and have a few supplies to can with. 
That sounds simple enough...RIGHT?!

Let's hop to it then!
 You're going to need a few fresh ingredients...TOMATOES, CELERY, ONIONS and GARLIC!
Clean it all well in your sink. TIP#1: soaking your onions in cold water before you go to chopping away at it, will make your job a much more pleasant experience, if ya know what I mean! 

After rinsing and'll want to add boiling hot water to your tomatoes in another container, so that you can easily peel the tomato skins off, before cutting them up to put into your cooking pot.
As you can see here, within a minute or two of dousing them with the boiling hot water...the skins start to lift all by themselves. Rid your tomatoes of any blemishes and of course...discard the cores! 
We only want the tomato to go into the pot here!
Next....With warm, clean water... you want to add a little bit in the bottom of your pot first, so your tomatoes don't stick to your pot...
then, begin adding all your other ingredients that you want to add in to give your soup FLAVOR!
You'll want to  finely chop up 1 lg. onion, 1 large hunk of celery, and about 3 lg. whole pieces of garlic. After it's all chopped up well, put it all in with the tomatoes...before you begin to cook it all down. I generally use about 8 quarts or so of tomatoes for this recipe.
Blend it all together, and continue to stir it the tomatoes don't stick to the bottom of your pot. Generally, this process takes about 20-30 minutes or so, to cook through....I like to simmer mine for another 10 minutes or so after it all begins to gently boil. 
 Hint....I make very large batches...but you can just make enough for just tonight's meal, if you prefer! It's all up to you...
Now, I put it through a hand-strainer (there's a few different devises out there in the might have a different model than I do). This is another kind I have, that I like to use as well...
Photo After straining the tomato blend all through the strainer, you only get the juice and some pulp from the tomatoes as you strain it down...
and you'll discard the rest of what's left inside...the chunks of onion, and celery...
 adding it to my skins from before, I put it all in my compost pile, out back of my barn...and I let 'mother nature' take its course!

Next, I proceed to put the juice into my quart size jars that I've already washed in hot water (I like to put mine into the dishwasher first....gets em' all sanitized and we're not worrying about any microorganism growth for the future of your soup's shelf life!)
PhotoGathering up the rest of the items you'll need to finish canning your soup...lids, rings, your water bath canner...and something to get the jars in and out of the canner is always helpful, too! 
Make sure you sanitize your lids before placing them on your jar tops, and then carefully seal them with your jar ring ( I always make sure they're nice and tight)'s all extremely instrumental in making sure to get a nice tight seal for processing your soup. 
Process them in the boiling water bath for 25-30 minutes, then...gently take them out, and place them on the counter for cooling. You'll want to place them on a support of towels for effective cooling, while protecting your counter from the extreme temperature of your jars as well. 

 Once they begin to cool, you will here some POPS...don't be alarmed...that's just your soup...curing for the long shelf life ahead!! Now, that wasn't hard...was it?!

Hope you enjoyed making homemade tomato soup with me today!'s time for GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES, and Tomato Soup!
Yummmmm....more comfort food!

See ya next Monday...for more "Make-It Mondays", with Get Hooked with Tammy!
I pray you'll be enjoying the rest of your week...til' then!

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Make-It Monday" Week 2

Happy Labor Day all! It's sort of sad to see summer on it's way out...but, my truly favorite time of year is here! So, how can I be sad about that?! 

FALLing into large leaf piles, carving pumpkins and drinking crisp apple cider...but, more than not...dressing the part! 
I love to layer...with jackets, scarves, leg warmers, long sweaters and MORE! 

Greens, golds, oranges and reds...all mixed up with a lovely scent of cinnamon and strudel! 

Hot cocoa, melting marshmallows and loads of freshly whipped cream...
How can you get more FALLish, than that?!

With all that in mind...I decided it was time to start getting ready for playing outside in the cooler weather, with some gorgeous gold yarn and a newly designed pattern for 
'Over the knee legwarmers'!

Ready?!...Let's "Make-IT Monday"!

Pick out your favorite color yarn...mine happens to be a bright, bold gold today! For me, it's a color I love to wear with almost everything I have...
especially blue jeans and cowgirl boots!
But then, I'm a little more than just a country girl at heart...I actually live it! Which, for me...makes Hand-Made more of a lifestyle choice than most. 

With your yarn in hand...let's get our new pattern underway...
Go ahead and get your hook ready...I'm using a US/K/10.5 or 6.5mm hook today, along with
#156-Sungold/'I Love This Yarn'/from Hobby Lobby...100% acrylic; med. wt. 4 ply yarn
You will definitely need 2 skeins (approx. 450-500yds.) to make the set of leggings.

These will fit an average adult leg...I tried them on my daughter can adjust them to fit, smaller or larger as you go!

Start with chaining 60 stitches, and add 1 more for a turning chain...
1.Now, turn your hook, and sc back into the second chain from your hook, and continue to sc across to the will have 60 sc stitches. Now, ch 1 and turn.
2. When you start this row, you'll want to sc in the front loop stitch ONLY and sc in each back st. across to the end of this row...60 sc sts., chain 1 and turn.

3. In the next row, sc in each of the back loop stitch ONLY, and across to the end...60 sc sts., ch 1 and turn. (This gives you your beginning foundation to your legging, which will give you somewhat of a ribbed appearance as you go.)

4. sc (single crochet) in the front loop ONLY in the next 20 sts; hdc (half double crochet) in the next 40 sts, in the front loop ONLY! ch 2, turn...
*If you've never done a hdc before, here's a quick little tutorial to help you out with that!

5. hdc in back loop stitches ONLY across the first 40 sts, and sc in the next 20 sts....(back loops only) to the end, ch 1 and turn.
6. repeat row 4
7. repeat row 5
8. - ? rows 
(as wide as you need to make it to fit your leg!) keep alternating your pattern as you go!
 You will begin to see your ribbing adding up as you alternate your every two rows, from your shorter (sc) sts. that are forming your ankle area, to your longer (hdc) sts. in the latter part of your legging pattern that's working up the leg and over the knee now.

And when you get your desired width that you need to stitch it together, to form the'll tie off your last st. on your final row...and leave a really long tail (about 3 times the length of your finish legging now, and cut to, you can sew it closed.)

Take your time and sew it up (INSIDE OUT! It should not be ribbed on the side you are sewing on now)...being careful to keep it even as you should have about 60 sts. when it's all sewed up. Tie off at the top, when you get it all sewed up and weave in your end, so it doesn't show or unravel.

Now, start with your yarn again (same color or change to a new color now!) We're creating the cuff of the over the knee legging here...
Slip stitch in your last chain made for this first row of sc sts. around...try to keep 1 sc st to each opening as you go around...don't turn the legging right side out yet...keep working from the flat side here, not the ribbed side. (It'll look nicer, when done!)
Sc around...and sl st to the first chain you made when you started that 1 and turn. 
Now, sc back around...same amount of sts. from previous row and sl st to first sc from that row. (HOWEVER, DON'T TURN NOW!) You will now be crocheting in the round, as you go up here. 
At the end of this round, you'll ch 2 before starting the next round. 
We are going to be adding a cabled ribbing now to our top edge...with FPDC and BPDC, by alternating every other st.
(Here's a good little tutorial to help you out with these fun little stitches, if you've never done it before!)

Each round you make, should be the same amount of stitches as you build up...and you will sl st to the first chain made from the previous round, and ch 2 before beginning again.
And...once you have about 5 rounds'll ch 1 and sc in each st. around to make the last round before tieing off. Once done...weave in your end tail, and your legging is complete!
As you can goes from your ankle, to over your knee! It's wonderfully you can see here...
Before I added the ribbed cuff on fit my 7 year old's leg perfectly! can stitch up another, you'll have a PRETTY PAIR of OVER-THE-KNEE-LEG WARMERS, to add to your FALL accessory collection this year!

Hope you enjoy making a pair for yourself, or as a gift of Handmade to someone you love!

I'd love to see yours...send me your pics! You're welcome to keep up to our day to day happenings on my facebook page...
please, come and join us...for even more fun with yarn...where yarn and color is fiber-licious!

Monday, August 26, 2013

All new..."MAKE-IT" Mondays!

Good Monday all! Hope your day is going well! As with most Mondays...they have a way of being hectic and chaotic...first day back to work from the weekend, usually has most people frazzled!
However, I am trying to take a different approach to Mondays now...get you on the right track...with a new DIY Project! 
Something to unwind your day, MAKE-IT Mondays....a time to relax, reflect and redirect your energies to something BETTER...something HANDMADE...something LOVELY!

Are you ready?! Let's get started!

"The Oversized Cowl"!

First off...let's begin, by doing my favorite thing...picking the yarn colors! 
Now...this is what I call "STASH-BUSTING"!

Go through your current stash, and pick out a variety of colors that you love to wear...that's right, I said "LOVE TO WEAR"!

This is what I picked today...
 Some charcoal, linen, caramel, and a variagated yarn with all of these and some turquoise too! 
Next...just make sure that all your yarn choices that you're working with are the same weight, and washability! Then, it'll all go together very you a neat appearance when it's all said and done. I like to be able to throw mine in the wash if, I usually stick to polyesters and the wools here! 

If you're not sure about this...look here, on the back'll tell ya everything you need to know!
Different label companies here, but still 100% acrylic, medium weight yarn and both machine washable!, let's keep going, shall we?

I've chosen a size K hook for this Oversized Cowl can choose a bit bigger or smaller, depending on the size you're looking for this to be when all is said and done.

Then, you'll want to chain 144 stitches with the yarn you want to start with first and end with last...or any number stitches that divisable by 4.

After you're done chaining, you'll want to join the two ends to each other...carefully unravel the two sides, so you're chain isn't, carefully slip stitch you hook through your first stitch you made...and the two ends will now be connected; leaving you with a BIG CIRCLE. 
Then, Ch 1, and sc into the same stitch as your, continue to sc around til you get back to your join again...and sl st into the first sc you made in that first row. 
Once you've got your first row're going to be starting what this pattern calls ROUND following this wonderful little pattern here at's a lace mitt easy to can download the pattern and follow it from Round 1, to 2, to 3 and repeat...til' it's the size you'd like to end up with when it's all done!
***Remember, you're not making the're only following the first part of the pattern, so you don't have to go any further than round 3...just keep repeating the same pattern until you get your desired length.
When you change your yarn color on the second round, if you choose to change your yarn at all...remember, this project is about can MAKE-IT, anyway you LOVE IT!
Join the new color yarn, and turn...then, sl st into the next 3sc sts loosely...and ch 4, then dc in the same stitch as your ch4 (this is your 'V' stitch)....then, skip the next three sts and DC 5 times in the very next st...(that's your fan stitch)

Keep going throughout...each round, changing colors as you many different colors as you like, and keep repeating your pattern as you go.
It should start to look something like this as you build UP each consecutive round...and when it's all said and should look something like this...
 Of, course...I have to tie in all my ends yet, from all my color changes...but that's just a matter of getting my sewing needle out yet. No worries there...I could leave it and go with a 'fringe look' too, if I like...and you can too! Accessorize it any which way you's all about you darling!

See ya next Monday...for our next "Make-It Monday"!
Hope you had fun...send me your pics!
I'd love to see all your finished projects too!

Happy Monday all! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013


There isn't anything more fun than....CROCHETING! I swear! In fact...I know it in my bones!
I never thought you could become addicted to yarn...boy, was I wrong! hehehe!
Obviously, if you read my last post from yesterday'd see MY STASH! It's BIG and COLORFUL...and I couldn't be more happy...all wrapped up in it on a daily basis! I love to be silly in it, especially with my twins!

They're a big part of why I got started crocheting in the first place...just to make a baby blanket for my baby...of course, I didn't know at the time that we were about to have twins! What a shock...but, God gave me two, to sit me down and teach me to be PATIENT...and if anything, that's what CROCHETING has done for me!

It's all in the counting...don't ya think?! And I gotta say, it took me FOREVER to give in to the fact that I really did have to, whether I liked it or not! Now...I can't stop COUNTING! I love it! And now....I'm finally getting to teach my own daughter....Olivia! I'm so very proud of her! It just warms my heart to see her smile, and be proud of her "chaining accomplishments"! And now, her friends want to learn too! It never grows old...the teaching part, I mean...not the mess, that comes along with being creative!...hehehe!

Mess or no all starts with the chain, then a sc, dc or hdc and so on! I never get tired of learning...and challenging myself with a new stitch or pattern. So, today....I'm going to talk about utilizing MY STASH, and hopefully helping YOU with YOURS!'s LOVE at first sight! Don't you agree?! It's not all the same though...and a lot of times we're not sure what to use or how to use it...especially if you're a beginner of sorts. Most of us are familiar with the same old brands...Lion Brand, Red Heart, Caron, and if you're a Hobby Lobby fan like've probably used 'I love this Yarn'! Well, I do...LOVE IT, I mean! It's sooooo soft, and it works up well...I don't like that it's made in Turkey and not the USA; but it's what I have most available to me here in my local shopping area, and it's affordable! So,'s my yarn of choice for most of my projects that I make. Everyone has their favorites...hence, THE STASH! Because, when it's on sale, WE BUY...right ladies?!
 Since, we're going to be talking about a particular baby blanket I'm currently working on...thought we'd start with how I gathered up my yarn...out of MY STASH, and made it work for my current project at hand. As you can see, I've got two different brands of yarn here...both are the same weight (4-ply), 100% acrylic yarn, and call for the same hook size to be used to get the right gauge for your finished work. So, when you compare the labels...and it all matches're in great shape to mix and mingle...and make sure they're both washable! Don't ever mix a wool with an acrylic, unless it's a wool/blend with a wool/blend. Sport weights should be used with sport weights, and so on...get my drift?! Good...if not...see me in comments below, and we'll chat!
Once you've got your yarn figured've got to decide on a pattern and the hook! Everyone has a FAVORITE HOOK...I know I do! I love the Susan Bates with the bamboo handles...I can go like crazy with them! But, like I said...everyone likes to use what they're comfortable with.
Another rule of thumb...everyone holds the hook differently...and from right to left...NO TWO STITCHERS EVER HAVE THE SAME STITCH might hold the yarn and hook tighter or looser than the next person...and so making your item appear to look different when it's all done as well. This is important to remember, when you're sitting there comparing your finished work to someone elses....STOP! Don't hurt yourself here!'s not worth it! Yours will never be the same as mine and so forth!
 For this project...I chose an "I"'s normal for a baby blanket...or a J or K...whichever you prefer to work with...the larger the hook, the larger the finished piece...and vise versa...the smaller the hook, the smaller the finished piece.
Got it? GOOD!
So, now to the pattern! We're almost ready to begin crocheting now!
I can't wait to start teaching you this neat little wave pattern! It looks complicated, but IT'S NOT! Trust me, if I can do it...SO CAN YOU!
I like to line up my yarn...get my inspiration, and then choose a pattern...kind of like telling a story! Only you are the author of the finished piece now...the pattern is only the guide!
You can do anything you like with the pattern once you understand that it's okay to mix and mingle your colors, yarns and hook sizes!
The world is your oyster...make it sparkle and shine, just like you!
This isn't a complicated pattern...I think anyone can do this! You just need to decide how large or small you want your pattern to be...if it's a scarf or a blanket, you need to first determine how long you want your finished piece to be...that will determine how many chains you start with in your foundation chain.
Of course, if you're like might need more of a visual!
Here's a great little U Tube tutorial to help you out here!
And, when you get's easy! Just keep repeating your pattern until you get it to the length you want...and it'll look something like this:
Happy stitching all! Let me know how yours turns out!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's Been Forever, and A Day!

WOW! Can you believe it's been this long since last I posted?! Me neither!
In fact...a lot has happened, that's for sure!
Been upcycling and crocheting like a mad woman!
In fact, it got so bad...I had to enlist my dear sister from PA, to come out here and help me shovel through this mess!
It wasn't pretty!
The mess was not only taking over my office, it was taking over my house...which was 'LITERALLY' taking over my life!
I seriously needed a CRAFT INTERVENTION!
And so...after taking pictures of every single mess throughout my whole house...I became fixated on the fact, that I needed help!
I made up my mind...I wasn't going to live like this any more!
I was going to dig out of this mess if it killed me!
Obviously, I am still a live to talk about it!
We rolled up our sleeves...made several trips to Goodwill...and threw a lot of things away that we hadn't looked at in the 5 years we've lived here now!
But, I can honestly say...YES...I was tired...BUT OH", how I was RELIEVED!
It was finally over!
I could see the bare floors! It was time to put it all in the closet, nice and neat!
I made a simple pledge...
"I am not allowed to buy any more yarn, until I finish most of the projects I've already started!"
So...Now, I sit to not only write about it...but keeping up with my promise to myself and my awesome sister, Twyla...who came all the way out here from PA to help me get my LIFE back!
Just as TRANQUIL as my newly painted bedroom...
and as FRESH as the clean, uncluttered carpet that I can see underfoot now!
Now...we can start talkin' STASH!
And ' I have it!'
See you for the next episode of 'gathering the yarn'...for some great upcoming crochet episodes!
Stayed tuned...for more great fiber talk to come!
We'll be workin' 'FROM THE STASH', in search of some of the greatest 'WAVE' patterns to date!