Knitting and A Freebie!

I mentioned knitting ……it has been a blessing during this time of recuperation. It has literally kept me going when discouragement has taken over.

Right now I just finished a sweater using a wonderful yarn. It is actually my favorite so far. It is thick and thin as you can see and has great color to it.

The sweater pattern and yarn I picked up at a yarn shop in Decorah, IA when I visited my sister who lives there. A lovely shop which I will visit again and take pictures. They have an online presence as well. The pattern is for Intermediate knitters but I think any adventurous Beginner could handle it. I adjusted the sleeve and the neckline a little.

I attempted a sweater early on and it was a bit overwhelming. I was determined to get back to it once I had more knitting under my belt.

The first sweater that I completed is actually a summer shell. It is made up of a variety of lace stitches. It was a lot easier than I expected and seemed to go quickly due to changing stitches often. It’s made of 100% cotton yarn.

Designing a winter cowl was my first pattern making venture.

The next item was fingerless gloves using a favorite cable stitch.

And the most recent design is for the warmer months. It is called Airy Denim Scarf and is made from 100% recycled blue jean yarn. Upcycling!

These patterns are for sale in my Etsy shop etsy.com/shop/dcartwork on ravelry.com and craftsy.com. By the way, the patterns were tested and approved on Ravelry

FREEBIE:
If you choose to follow my blog you can choose any one of these patterns for free. They are in pdf format. You can email me at dorisdjrdc@aol.com

Knitting will undoubtably be mentioned here again.

Have a good week!
Doris

Advertisements

The Best Ever Chicken and Dumplings!

CAUTION! Maybe I should put a disclaimer here. This is by no means a dieting recipe. It is a good hearty meal that goes over well all year round.

Every time I have asked my son Chuck what he would like for his birthday he always says Chicken and Dumplings. And now it is passing down to my grandson.

This is a chicken meal I came up with years ago when trying to create a different (for me anyway) way to serve chicken. It remains to be one of the more economical meals to feed a family.

It’s funny, I didn’t realize how endearing this recipe is to me. I hesitated posting on it because I wasn’t sure I wanted to share it. But here we are!

Whereas in the beginning I would buy a whole chicken and cut it up myself, now I purchase breasts, legs, and a few thighs already cut up. These are the pieces that are the main favorites.

Now, unfortunately, the chicken needs to have the skin on. I have tried using skinless and boneless and it just isn’t the same. However, if you start out using boneless and skinless chicken your family may not notice the difference. The gravy will still get you in the calorie count though.

I trim off any excess fat that I can before frying the chicken. I fry it in a little vegetable oil until it is browned. Then I drain off any grease that I can.

The pan gets put back on the stove with medium heat and I add enough water until it reaches about a half inch from the top. I’m old fashioned in that I still use boullion cubes, adding 8-10 of them to the simmering chicken. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a good 20 minutes, checking it to make sure it isn’t sticking and that the cubes are dissolving.

Also, at this time I add dry mustard. Now I know that may sound a little odd and I don’t remember what possessed me years ago to add it, but it works. It just punches up the flavor. I use a heaping tablespoon for a 12-14 inch pan’s worth. Salt and pepper also get added to taste. I also tend to add a little garlic powder here.

After checking the chicken for doneness I remove it and place it in a bowl nearby. Using a whisk, I stir the gravy to loosen anything stuck to the pan getting it ready to thicken. I use cornstarch but you can use whatever you like to create a good thick gravy. About a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch with a little water added to it first should thicken it properly. If not, repeat.

When it is good and thick add the chicken back to the pan, letting it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

It can be served from the stove or put in a large dish for the table.

The dumplings? Well, the recipe I use is one handed down to me from my childrens’ grandmother. She played an important role in my life. I would need to ask her family if it would be okay to broadcast her recipe. Any good dumpling recipe will work. Or mashed potatoes. Also, something that I have begun to use for another dish is frozen egg noodles. When cooked they taste similar to dumplings and are very much like homemade noodles.

Enjoy!
D.

Fresh Ideas


For about the past nine months I have had a lot of time to think about projects, new ventures and the like. I have had this time due to the fact that I have been laid up for a good part of it recuperating from 2 surgeries. The first one was from a torn muscle in my knee. That began on Memorial Day of last year culminating in surgery to repair it in August. I was able to work sporadically during this time. After 6 weeks of recuperation I went back to work full time only to develop an even larger tear (tears) in a muscle in my hip. Surgery was 2 weeks later and I am finishing up a 3-6 month recuperation from that. Hopefully I will be back to full time in a few weeks.

The knee was a relatively easy fix but the hip has been quite an ordeal. It has given me time to re-evaluate some things.

I have missed coming here and sharing thoughts, ideas, projects and recipes. So I am adding that back into my life. I will continue my painting business, allowing it to naturally slow down. Thinking over the past 2 years with design elements changing course the main thrust of the business has been painted furniture and doing faux metallic ceilings. The ceilings, by the way, fit in quite well with the current design trend. There is always a call for murals now and again seeing as they are customized to the needs of a client. I say this knowing that I am in the beginning stages of a large project where creating a Tuscan look in a kitchen is one part of it. Hoping to post on that as the project progresses.

A couple of years ago I picked up knitting in order to keep my hands busy while quitting smoking. It helped tremendously! It will be 4 years this summer. It can be done! The thing with knitting is that for the most part you need to stay focused and there is a lot of counting involved so your mind isn’t dwelling on things.

I have come a long way with the knitting and feel like I am on a journey with it. I started off with the basics….hats, gloves, scarves. I also had some disasters trying projects that I just wasn’t ready for. But like I said, it is a journey. I now sell knitted items in my etsy shop (dcartwork.etsy.com). Also, something that I am a little proud of, I started creating my own patterns and have them for sale as well. They are also on ravelry.com and craftsy.com. The patterns are geared toward beginners for now but I look forward to when I am able to create some more elaborate pieces.

My goal here is to share ideas etc. I do mean share – I would love to see some of what you are up to. I have a few projects in mind to finish and showcase here. Like the velvet chair I started pulling apart in order to recover and update it. It felt daunting at the time when I pulled some fabric off only to find a gazillion (is that even a word) staples. I now have a plan in mind to deal with that.
Here is a before and after shot of dining room chairs that I painted for a client:

I also came up with new recipes to pass along as well. Well, one isn’t really new to us but I think you will love it.

I hope you all have stayed safe with the crazy weather that has been happening across the country. We have been lucky right here but there sure has been issues around us.

Have a good day!
Doris

Transferring A Favorite Photo

Hello there!

In my last post on transferring images I said that I would show how to do a standard photograph. Well, I decided to do one of a favorite photo that I have and wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to display it. This is a perfect opportunity to use the transfer process.
stephenchuckcharlie

Basically you need the same materials as for a painted image. That would be a photocopy of the photo that you want to transfer, gel medium, a preferred canvas, and a sponge.
elveschuckstephencharlie 005

Apply the gel evenly to the canvas and lay the copy over it with the image side down. I chose an 8×10 canvas and simply printed a copy of the image off my home printer. If you go to a printer do get your copy, do not use photo paper for this process, use regular photocopy paper. My printer had reassured me that their photo paper was used regularly when customers wanted to transfer images. So I went ahead and used their paper for an order. Wrong. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong so I googled it. What my printer was calling transferring is very different from what I was wanting to do. What they were saying was transferring was in reality attaching a photo, face side up and it is simply “glued” on. That is not what this is about. The reason I settled on their paper was because of the size of the image my customer wanted to use. It was 20×24 and the printer can’t make copies on regular photocopy paper on something that large. Just a heads up to you. If you ever have any questions about it don’t hesitate to ask.
elveschuckstephencharlie 006
I decided to crackle the sides instead of putting a standard frame on it. I based it with a medium brown (I used PPG Earthy Ochre, but any medium brown will work), used a crackle medium over this (I only needed a little so I used Martha Stewart’s Crackle Medium), and then painted it with an offwhite called French White, which is a BJM color.

elveschuckstephencharlie 007

By the way this makes for great Christmas gifts. A real personal touch to gift giving.

I’m, not sure if I mentioned this in the last post, but when you transfer an image in this manner it will be a reverse of what it shows in the original photo.

So have fun with it and maybe someone you know will receive that personalized gift this holiday season.
Have a great day!
Doris

Brrrrrr…….

Brrrrr…..seems that fall has arrived with a bang!

Thought I would show you all a few of the pieces I brought home with me from the market and the 4 I acquired on Thursday for upcoming shows. (getting inspired as we speak!)

This table is one of my favorite pieces, although I have to admit I say that alot.

washingtonmarketcornice 026

The little black chair will truly be difficult to part with. Hope it finds a good home.
washingtonmarketcornice 019

The rolling table can be considered shabby chic, but I tend to just think of it as pretty!
washingtonmarketcornice 014

The cornice boards are really special. Hand cut by a carpenter friend. I have a few painted in different colors but they can be made to your specifications easily. Not everyone has these exact measurements, I know, but wanted to show you somehting unique could be done.
washingtonmarketcornice 013

And here are 4 new pieces I picked up on Thursday.
newpieces1 001

newpieces1 002

And then yesterday I acquired 3 pieces that I haven’t even unloaded yet. Going to be a busy week!

Oh, I almost forgot, yesterday I went to the Three French Hens Market held in Morris the second Saturday of the month from April to Octocber. If you enjoy these kinds of things it is well worth the trip. Very similar to Washington Market. Next month’s looks to be quite festive and hopefully you will see me there! (Haven’t gotten final approval yet, keep your fingers crossed for me!)

Have a great day everyone!
Doris

Great Finds!

Good morning to all of you!

I am so behind here, please bear with me. I was just now able to restore my laptop. If this doesn’t work it is time to hire a techy.

As you will know by the dates listed here the market that I was in was this past weekend in Naperville. What a great experience! It is the first of its kind that I have taken part in many years. And a successful one! Some of the pieces here sold but the chair is still available as are other pieces that I worked on. I will bring the blog current within the next day or two. I have photos of the market itself as well as some of my creative neighbors participating.

So again I thank you for your patience and I hope you gain something from each post that I create.

Originally written on August 28th………Many of you already know I am going to be in a vintage market the weekend of September 6th and 7th. It is called Washington Market in downtown Naperville in the US Bank parking lot on the corner of Washington and Jefferson Streets. It is put on by the store Room 363 in Naperville. (And if you haven’t visited that store you are missing quite the treat!) I will be showcasing small pieces of vintage furniture all hand painted by moi. There will also be cornice boards to purchase and to special order. These are recently made by a carpenter friend.

So lately I have been spending a good amount of time at Goodwill. Oh, I have hit a flea market and an estate sale but I have gotten my best finds at Goodwill. Finds like this standing oval mirror. I painted it a soft distressed pink, perfect for that feminine room.
glasstablepinkmirror 014

And then there is this funky little chair. It is already in the works as well. I can’t wait to see the finished product myself! It will be hard to part with!
funkychairandmirror 004

My most recent piece I found yesterday. It is this little table. It is very well made by Ethan Allen. For the life of me I can’t figure out why it is made in this design. I’m thinking that being made by Ethan Allen there might be a story behind it. If anyone knows I would love to hear it. Not sure what I’ll be doing with this one yet. I usually let it gel for a day or two. Then again, sometimes I know instantly what I wanted to do, as with the chair.
blchairweirdtable 003

The best part? The mirror and the chair were $9.99 and the small table was $12.99. Now that’s a great base price! Oh, yes, there is some work involved, but if you love it as I do, it can be so worth it.

I will be keeping you posted on the transformation of the chair and table and give you a peek at some of the the other pieces I have acquired for the market.

And if you are looking for that special something, or just enjoy these kind of shows, please join us!

Have a great day!
Doris

Chalk Paint

Over the next few weeks I will be working with chalk paint alot. That is not the same as chalkboard paint although you can write on it with chalk. Chalk paint has been around a long time but has recently regained a popularity among decorative painters. It can be used on walls with some effort but it is mainly used on furniture. Why? You may ask. Well, it has excellent adhesion. So much so that you do not have to prime. It dries faster and sands more easily for sanding or making a chippy painted piece.

Now, you can go out and buy ready made chalk paint. And if you do so I highly recommend Anne Sloan products. It can be quite costly if you are doing a large piece or a number of pieces such as I am doing. Beside, I, of course, just want to make up my own.

There are a number of kinds of recipes for chalk paint. I am going to be working with two. The first one is made with Plaster of Paris which can be bought at Home Depot. It is quite economical and goes a long way. The other is Calcium Carbonate which is not that easy to come by. I ended up ordering it from Amazon.com. I have heard of people getting it through there health food store which I will be looking into and maybe will know that little tidbit by the time I get to that kind of recipe. Getting ahead of myself a bit here. The cal carbonate won’t be in until next week and seeing as I have a deadline and am just itchy to get started I am going forward with the Plaster of Paris recipe.
stripedtin 001

This recipe usually comes in second to calciumn carbonate one because it doesn’t always want to mix well supposedly and doesn’t keep its’ consistancy overnight at times. I will say, however, I had no problem getting it to mix to a smooth consistancy. I’m starting with the smaller piece just to get my hands dirty, so to speak. Remember the piece with the Christmas tree on it? It is perfect for a starting point and I know exactly what I want to do with it to transform it. The other pieces I am still playing with colors for them.
smtablesoatcake 003
stripedtin 003

The recipe for this one is::
Plaster of Paris Chalk Paint

3 parts latex paint, flat
1 part Plaster of Paris

Mix the PoP according to directions until it is a smooth contistancy.
Stir into the paint slowly. Combine until it is well mixed. You will know.
They say it should be the consistancy of pancake batter. Mine didn’t come out quite that soupy and tomorrow I will find out if that makes that much of a diffeerence.
Also, it is recommended not to use paint with a primer already in it. I didn’t know this tidbit until I had already purchased some of the paint. Again, supposedly it dries too fast using a paint with a primer in it. Personally I had no problem with it.
stripedtin 006

I put two coats on and am letting it dry overnight before moving on to the next step.
Doris