RECIPE: Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

by Dana on March 17, 2015

You know those cold months when you’re just aching for some yummy homemade soup….

THIS.  This is the answer my friends!
It’s quite possibly the easiest homemade soup to make.  And it tastes way better than anything from a can.

In fact, I should be making this twice a month.
You should too.
So let’s just declare it outloud—Chicken Noodle Soup every other Tuesday!

The thing I love about this recipe is that it comes together quickly and uses simple ingredients.  And everything is measured in single cups—because I love things that measure easily.  So it’s 4 cups of this, 2 cups of that….all in one pot of deliciousness.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
8 cups of Chicken Stock (Two 32 oz boxes)
4 cups of noodles (from a 16 oz bag)
3 cups of diced veggies (celery, carrots, onions)
2 cups of diced chicken
1 cup of water

• Start by peeling and dicing the veggies into bite size pieces.  You’ll need about 3-4 carrots, 3 celery stalks, and one onion—just dice them enough so that you have 3 cups total.  I say 3 cups because you can choose how much of each veggie you prefer.  I love carrots more than onions, so I do about 1 1/2 cups of carrots, 1 cup of celery, and a 1/2 cup of onions.  Do what sounds good to you.
• Prep and dice the chicken.  I typically buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store or Costco and dice (or shred) it into chunks.  You can also boil or bake a few chicken breasts and use that.  But this soup is great when you can use left-over chicken you have in the fridge.

Now let’s cook….

• In a large pot, melt 1-2 Tbl of butter and sautee the veggies for a few minutes, stirring periodically.
Now this step isn’t totally necessary—it mostly adds some extra flavor bits to the bottom of the pot.  So, you can always just throw the veggies into the pot in the next step instead.
But I will say….when you want to eat chicken noodle soup for dinner, you want that aroma to infuse your house as soon as possible, which is exactly what this step does.  Mmmmm.
• Add the 8 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of water to the pot and bring to a boil.  If you find that there’s too much liquid, you can always back off the amount of chicken stock.  I find that all 8 cups are necessary.
• Add the 2 cups of diced chicken and 4-5 cups of noodles to the pot (use 5 cups of noodles if you want the soup more thick and chunky).  Cook about 8-10 minutes until the noodles are done.  Most chicken soup recipes call for egg noodles, which are great here.  Or get creative and use whatever noodles catch your eye.
• When the noodles are done, salt and pepper the soup to taste.  Add any other seasonings you might like, such as fresh chopped parsley.  Or for an extra boost of flavor, throw in a vegetable soup pack mix?  My sister-in-law—who inspired me to make this soup—does that and it’s yummy as well!

Then ladle the soup into large bowls, serve with warm crusty bread,
And dinner is ready!


Enjoy!
….and if you have a favorite bread recipe, let me know!   I’m looking for a crusty sourdough to try out.  Thanks!

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How to sew a Lined Zipper Pouch

by Dana on March 10, 2015

Remember when I showed you how to sew a zipper, two ways?
Well now you get to put those skills to use!

We’re gonna sew zipper pouches!
Lots of them.
And give them to every person we know.  Because they’re just the cutest, fastest, most usefulest project.

So grab your favorite zipper color (I bought most of these here and here), grab your favorite fabric, and I’ll show you how to sew a little pouch with a lining.  Yep, a lining!  That might sound complicated, but it’s super easy.

Plus I’m using metallic linen fabric, with gold hearts inside.
Isn’t that beautiful??  I wish I’d bought 3 yards.

Just hit the play button below and enjoy!

MADE EVERYDAY with Dana is a fresh new sewing show, where we create everyday items  you will love and use.
To watch other episodes:
• Click the VIDEO tab at the top or….
• Subscribe to my Youtube channel so you’re updated as soon as the episode goes live.

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If you live almost anywhere in North America right now, it’s freakin cold.
Even here in Texas, we had a no-school snow day today!
Except that….it didn’t really snow…..and the clouds parted, and we saw blue skies for the first time in two weeks. Woohoo!  But hey, I’ll take a sleep-in-lazy-morning-jammies-till-noon-coloring-and-baking-and-playing-and-now-it’s-lunch-time-and-now-my-kids-are-stir-crazy-can’t-wait-for-them-to-go-back-to-school-tomorrow kind of day.  Ya know?

So.
What do you do in the winter-time, with a dress pattern that’s more of a Spring/Summer type of thing?


Fleece the twirl out of that thing!


Then throw a pair of tights underneath and you’ve got a warm, happy camper.

Oh my gosh, I love how this turned out (with a few tweaks needed on the sleeves).  It was one of those adventure projects that made me excited to cut and scheme and sew.

Whenever you guys email asking if a certain fabric will work on a certain pattern, my answer is always give it a try!  So when I found this gorgeous mustard fleece at Joann Fabrics, I thought it would be a fun experiment to use it on the First Day Dress pattern, making it warm and cozy for the winter months.


The First Day Dress is a pattern you can purchase here, or by clicking the button below:

First Day Dress Pattern – $10
Add to Cart

So let’s sew a dress with FLEECE!
Fleece fabric is fun and easy to use.
I posted a reversible + knit fabric version of the shirt this summer, using many of the same tips we’re going to use here…..because some people don’t realize that Fleece is a knit fabric and has a good deal of stretch.  You can buy fleece at most fabric stores and there’s a wide range of types, colors, stretch, etc.  This fleece is more light-weight (rather than the bulky kind you might use for a blanket) so it gives the dress a nice drape on the skirt area.

When using fleece you want to note the nap on each side of the fabric.  The nap is the fuzzy pile texture on top of the fabric.  And often it looks different on each side, as you can see in the photo above.  Now—in my opinion—I don’t think there’s a technical Wrong or Right side to fleece….because sometimes I like using the “wrong” side for my project because it’s looks good to me.  So just decide which side looks “right” to you, and remember to cut your pieces on that same Right side of the fabric each time.

When sewing with fleece, you want to use a stitch that will stretch with the fabric.  A zigzag stitch is great….but it’s also fun to experiment with the different stitches that might come on your machine.  So pull out your owner’s manual and see what it can do!  My BabyLock machine has tons of stitches and recently I’ve been using this “overcasting stitch” because it gives tons of stretch to my seams.

For this version of the dress, I made a few tweaks to the original pattern:

• I used two layers of fleece on the bodice of the dress, to make it extra warm.  But I only used a single layer of fabric on the skirt portion.


• Rather than cutting a slit in the back, I cut a circular “key hole” (I just eyeballed it and drew it on the fabric)
• I used knit ties in for the closure instead of a button (more info in this post)
• I cut the neckline down a little lower on the back (although I intended for this to be the front of the dress.  Lucy and I had differing opinions on that)

• I created “puff” sleeves by adding a couple inches to the sleeve pattern piece and cut the shape of the pattern a little different on the side (as shown in the photo below).  Then I gathered the fabric in the middle of the sleeve and bound the whole thing with bias tape.

Yep!  More homemade knit bias tape…made from the scraps from a summer project.  Yay!



With my sleeves sewn in place, I bound the bias tape around the raw edges with wonder clips and sewed them in place using a zigzag stitch (because I like how that stitch looks on the outside of the garment)

I sewed the edges of the seam down so they weren’t poking into the arm hole.

And I sewed the rest of the dress as outlined in the pattern, using that stretchy overcast stitch I showed you above.   I didn’t even hem the dress….because fleece won’t fray at the edges!  SCORE.

And……there you go!

A simple little dress for my just-turned-9-years-old Lucy girl.

Then comes the fun part….accessorizing the ensemble.
I thought a belt might be cute with the dress….and of course a sweater for the cooler months.
Sparkly shoes?
Check.

Kitty Cat tights?
Definite check.
Do these come in my size?


And the only thing I really need to tweak is the sleeve size.  I made the puff part too large, so the armhole looks big on her skinny arms.  But it’s a small thing.  Haah.

And it just leaves extra room for running and playing and twirling,


…and getting into mischief.


Oh Lucy.
She and I couldn’t decide which was the front of the dress and which was the back!
She thought the bow should go in the back.
Which does look cute.

But finally I convinced her to try it in the front as well.
And now we have two looks.

So go ahead and give your First Day Dress a twirl in fleece, corduroy, or something warm.
Have a great weekend friends!

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I am not a quilter.
Yet.
I know I will get into it one day….when kids are grown up….and I have more spare time….and…yada yada…..okay, that sounds like probably never.
BUT.
I still remember the first time I opened a Denyse Schmidt quilting book and felt this inner sigh of happiness, and realized—there are people out there making really cool quilts!  MODERN quilts!  The kind with negative space, simple colors, solid colors, and asymmetrical lines.
Even though I’d never sewn a quilt at that point, I felt like someone understood me.


(Modern X quilt by Christa Quilts)

And if modern quilting speaks to you too….did you know there’s a whole conference dedicated to Modern Quilting!  It’s called Quilt Con.  And this year I decided to check it out!
Because it’s held annually in Austin!
Can life get any better??
Yes!
It can…(keep reading)….


So.  As I seem to do with every conference I attend, I frantically whipped up a new business card a few days before the event.  And printed enough copies to be used as drink coasters in every Chilis across America.
Oy.

But my publisher had asked if I’d do a book signing of Fabrics A to Z at the conference along with other sewing authors.  Yay!  And since I love meeting people and chatting nerdy sewing stuff together, the whole day just fell into place.

So I grabbed my new cards and a roll of oilcloth.
Cause you never know when you’ll need cabana stripes.

Then I decorated with Dove chocolates.
Cause you always know you’ll need chocolate.

And then….the moment I’ve been waiting for, for years…
Guess who walked up??

Rae!
Yes friends!
Rae and I finally met in real life!!

I know that probably seems crazy.
Or maybe it doesn’t.
But Rae and I have been online friends for about 6 years now.  We’ve hosted multiple Celebrate the BOY series together.  And we’ve even talked on the phone a few times.
But we’d never chatted face to face, until this weekend!
And she was just as adorable and down-to-earth, and fun, and all that jazz, as she always been.


Oh what a joy to finally meet someone I consider a very good friend!  It’s like this weird virtual-reality B-list movie come to life.

You know, blogging has been quite the adventure.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve been sharing on this little space for 7 years….because it seems like I just started….like I just posted about that stinkin Shirt Dress, and watched the lightbulb turn on in my husband’s head as he started charting blog traffic and growth potential (he’s a statistician; he can’t help it).

And then other times it feels like I’ve been blogging forever.
And I wonder if I’ll still be blogging in 5 more years?

My brother once asked if I’m going to run out of ideas to blog about.
And like most of you….it’s not an ideas issue….it’s a scarcity of time problem!

There’s never enough time to really make, share, and do all the things we want to in life.  And to do them well….which is why I really hope there’s a course on furniture building and wood working in the next life.
Totally signing up for that.
(and probably quilting).

But if I had to pinpoint the single most amazing thing I’ve gained from blogging, it would have to be a network of friends and peers, and other moms who have similar interests….all around the world.


(above quilts:  Optical Illusion by Christa Quilts and Piecing by Emily Cier)

It’s so amazing!
…like all these pretty quilts.
I mean, right?  Gorgeous stuff.  You need to come to Quilt Con.
Things will just jump out at you….

Over the years I’ve met inspiring women….

Like Nathalie who wrote this amazing post about learning to quilt (and happens to have the most adorable baby girl.  Ah!  So happy I got to see you Nathalie!)

….and like the talented Melody from Cotton + Steel who’s changing the face of modern fabric.

Women who motivate me to dream big and reach the unreachable….and who also remind me to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life.

Because success is not measured by how many followers or books or business ventures or whatever we’ve attained.  What matters is how you treat the people around you….and if your kids like being with you and want to share their stories and troubles with you.  It’s about being present in the moment, and saying no to a blog post so you can go out to lunch with friends.  Life is about those blasted cake pops….and your husband feeling appreciated.

And it’s also about this moment at Quilt Con when Rae and I then met up with Deborah from Whipstitch! Oh Deborah!  I love this lady!…and I’ve known her just about as long as I’ve know Rae.  She’s such a fun, smart, clever writer and can talk about as fast as I do (which is probably why we’re compatible) And she wrote this fantastic post about blogging and why people don’t comment like they used to, and why that might be?–such an interesting read.

These ladies are like the first blogging friends I ever had.

And to sit and have lunch with them for 2 hours and exchange ideas was like a dream come
true….and social media overload, as Deborah took a pic of me, taking a pic of Rae, taking a pic of our sushi.
Typical.
And totally fun.

Phew.
You made it to the end!
That was one long rambling post, which was going to say “Here’s a cool quilt.  It’s gray and white”.

But instead I got all mushy.

So let me close by saying thanks for being you.

We’re all just yarn-ties in the grand scheme of life.
But when you put us together, it looks like the sky is raining polka dots.
And that sounds fantastic to me.

Have a great weekend!

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