Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Practical Place to Sew: My Sewing Storage

I dream of a craft room full of color, beautifully arranged fabrics, adorable vintage items repurposed into clever storage solutions, and oozing with inspiration. Don't we all? Well, at least all of the crafters/sewers/scrapbookers do. All the rest of you, maybe you dream of some other kinds of room. I wouldn't know.

I have a Pinterest board with lots of great eye candy, but the reality is, I don't currently have a craft room. The other reality is, I probably won't have a craft room in the near future. Or maybe ever. I highly doubt John would agree to transform our formal living room into a craft room for me like her husband did, but a girl can dream.

So, I make do with what I've got. Right now, I do most of my sewing at the dining room table and messier crafts at my kitchen counter. The good thing about this is that I'm right near all the action. My kids are often playing while I'm working and creating so they can be right by me if they want. I am free to step into the kitchen to get supper going or check on it. Part of me doesn't like the idea of crafting in an out-of-the-way corner of the house. I like being in the mix of things.

That being said, there are obvious downsides to my current set-up. First of all, most of my sewing supplies and fabric is stored in our second floor guest room/office. When I want to sew, I have to gather my materials and bring them down. Sometimes this means a little, but when I'm sewing for a craft sale or beefing up my inventory for my Etsy shop, this means I'm hauling down a lot. Second, it means that when I'm in the midst of sewing, we have a permanent mess in the dining room. This isn't always that big of a deal since we have an eat-in kitchen we use, but still, who likes a mess that never seems to end? And then there's the eventual clean-up. It's back to the first problem...just in reverse. After carrying all the stuff back up to the guest room/office, I often just let it sit on the floor or bed to be put away someday later. Not a good thing either.

I had previously read Callie's post about organizing for sewing at your kitchen table. More recently, I was inspired by Meg's craft cabinet in her dining room. See those sewing machines tucked inside her lovely green cabinet? I thought...why can't I do something like that?

Currently, I have a hulk of a buffet in my dining room which stores all the usual suspects. I decided to do some reorganizing to see if I could make space in there for my sewing machine, my sewing box, and thread. I knew I could easily tuck my cutting mats behind the buffet. That way, I would only have to bring down my fabric when it was time to sew. It would also make it easier when I wanted to do a quick alteration or fix to a piece of clothing.

Lo and behold, with not much effort, I accomplished just that! Don't you love it when organizing/reorganizing is quick and easy and oh-so-satisfying? Makes me want to keep going, finding new ways to organize things so our house functions in a way that works for how we live.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Eat Your Veggies...For Breakfast

Last May I wanted to lose a little extra weight so I decided to step it up with my workouts and put more effort into eating right. The first thing I had to do was just start eating LESS. Portion size definitely matters when you are trying to manage your weight. Then I started focusing on healthier breakfasts that would leave me fuller longer and getting in plenty of veggies during the day. Eggs became my new best friend for breakfast. I didn't do anything fancy, just cooked up two eggs each morning. I ate more salads for lunch and chose fruits and veggies as snacks over carbs. I will say, my taste buds are evolving and I am trying foods that I thought I didn't like only to find that they are very good.

In the fall, I did a few clean eating challenges. This made me search for even more healthy recipes for my daily meals. One recipe I tried during my challenge was for sausage egg cups. Basically, you just cook scrambled eggs in muffin tins, adding in turkey breakfast sausage, red peppers, and onion. They were great and got me thinking about adding vegetables to my eggs in the morning.

Throughout the process I have tracked my eating with the My Fitness Pal app. This recipe popped up on my feed and I had to try it. It is a winner! It will be in my regular rotation of breakfasts.

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Hash with Eggs

1 slice of bacon, chopped small
7-9 Brussels sprouts (trim off bottoms, discard), chopped small
1 Tbsp. chopped nuts, optional (I used pecans because I have them on hand)
1 to 2 eggs
Olive oil to coat pan
Salt/Pepper to taste

In a small pan, cook bacon. When edges begin to crisp and brown, add Brussels sprouts. Stir to mix and sauté until some of Brussels sprouts begin to brown. (This will leave you with a nice mix-some of them will be softer and others will still be a bit crunchy.) Stir in chopped nuts and then place "hash" on your plate. Coat your pan with olive oil, as needed and add egg(s). Cook to your liking. I prefer to cook it medium so the yolk is still a little runny. Place egg on top of "hash". Enjoy and give yourself a pat on the back for already getting in a serving of vegetables!