Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fish for Friday, Part 2

Here's our second seafood dish for this Lenten season, this time courtesy of Nancy of NancyEllenStudios and DesignsStainedGlass. This easy dish is sure to please!


1- 10 oz. can Campbell’s condensed cream of celery soup
½ tsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. oregano
1- 10 oz pkg. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
½ cup chopped tomatoes
2- 7 oz. cans tuna in water, drained, and flaked
Jumbo macaroni shells, about 24 to 32, cooked and drained
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Combine soup, lemon juice, oregano, broccoli, tomatoes and tuna. Mix well. Stuff each shell. Arrange in a buttered baking dish, 9 x 13.
2. Bake at 400* F for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake about 5 more minutes until cheese is melted.

Call for Recipes!

We want your recipes for our blog! With Easter and the related spring holidays coming up, we'd love to know what your special holiday dish is! Email entries, with a picture of your dish if possible and any family or cultural story that goes with it, to with the title "Easter recipes".

From Robin's kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Friday, February 24, 2012



By Sewsouk


a small fastener securing two pieces of cloth. The button goes either through a cloth or thread loop or through a button hole in the fabric

Usually now made of plastic but also of metal, shell, fabric, yarn, wood and pottery.

There are three main types of attachment

shank- an attachment to the button which has a hole through which the thread is passed so it can be sewn onto the garment or object

sew through 2 or 4 holes in the button.

stud buttons which are usually metal pressed through the fabric and used particularly on jeans and denim jackets

Buttons can be a work of art and can be highly decorative.

Historically early buttons were used as ornaments or seals rather than as fasteners. Earliest examples are about 5000 years old and made of shell . Buttons from 2600BC have been found in China and ancient Rome.

Artisans make buttons and also they are factory manufactured.

owadays there are many forms of buttons:-

metal, embroidered, passementarie, lacquered,enamelled,woven, painted, ceramic, jewelry making, printed, fabric covered, knotted and crocheted.

Buttons are usually used on clothing but also on bags and containers.

Artisans not only make buttons they use them in interesting ways.

HHU Team Button Lovers

HHU team love using and making buttons in so many interesting and different ways. Here are just a few


Fabric uses buttons to add colour, 3 dimensions, texture . She uses buttons in interesting shapes on her beautiful fabric greetings cards and ACEOS. She even incorporates them into the subject of the picture to wonderful effect.

Jeanie Bean Handknits uses buttons on her hats, cowls,phone and ipad cases. I love the way she chooses the shapes, colours, patterns and materials of her buttons to offset the texture and colours of her chunky knits to perfection.

Sewsouk that's me!

I make knotted and crochet fibre buttons to traditional Moroccan designs and also soutache buttons. These can be used in textile jewelry but a few look wonderful on plain fabric as an unusual fastener. I use mother of pearl and shell buttons in textile jewelry to add texture and subtle sparkle.

Womanwithtools incorporates beautiful vintage buttons into her jewelry pieces- She cleverly manages to make her pieces so they don't look like a button appendage but an integral part of the jewelryLink

Nouveaux Retro . She is so knowledgeable about vintage buttons. She is a collector and sells amazing collections of vintage buttons in her vintage shop. Crafty corner are hoping she will write a feature for us soon about vintage buttons.

NancyEllenStudios uses interesting buttons on many of her fabric designs. I love the way she uses buttons on these cushion covers

Headchange makes beautiful wooden buttons. I love the grains on her larger buttons. These have so many uses and are a wonderful must have supply.

KarinSF. Karin uses buttons to perfection in such a subtle way highlighting the quality pieces she makes. I love her fabric covered buttons on this top ... and the buttons on this cowl.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fish for Friday

Whether it's cutting out meat on Fridays during lent, or just trying to eat a bit healthier, there are lots of reasons to add fish as seafood to your diet. This tilapia recipe is just the first installment of yummy fish and seafood recipes.

Tilapia with Mango Salsa and Brown Rice

2 c. brown rice
4 tilapia fillets
For salsa:
1 ripe mango, diced
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
1/4 c. onion, finely diced
3 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T cinnamon
2 t lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium bowl, combine mango, pepper, onion, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and spices. Taste and adjust amounts of seasonings is needed. Cover and refrigerate 1/2 hour to overnight.
2. Cook rice according to instructions, set aside.
3. Place fish in a shallow baking pan, folding thin edges under to avoid overcooking. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. (I like to add a sprinkling of lemon pepper or Caribbean citrus Mrs. Dash also, but it's not necessary.) Bake at 350* F 20 minutes (30 minutes for frozen fillets) or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
4. Serve fish on a bed of rice, top with salsa.

Yield: 4 servings

This salsa is also great with any white fish, with chicken, or omit the meat and add a can of rinsed black beans for a vegetarian meal.

From Robin's kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Call for Recipes!

We want your recipes for our blog! With Easter and the related spring holidays coming up, we'd love to know what your special holiday dish is! Email entries, with a picture of your dish if possible and any family or cultural story that goes with it, to with the title "Easter recipes".

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Origin of Jewels + Photos

jew·el·ry: jewels; especially : objects of precious metal often set with gems and worn for personal adornment

Man has been adorning itself with jewelry for centuries now. Currently we wear jewelry for aesthetic purposes, but the wearing of jewels did not quite start out that way. Jewelery initially was worn as symbols of wealth, power, authority, wards of evil, and victory in battle. Evidence of jewelry has been dated as far back as Cro-Magnon! The Cro-Magnon period was about 40,000 years ago! Jewels from that period weremade from items found from the earth such as shell, bones, animal tusks, and even pearls. (I wonder if this could be the reason I love pearls! They are timeless!!)

If you would like more information on the origin of jewelry and more pictures of period pieces, click the following blog and enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

CRAFTY CORNER- Crafty Facts and Quilting Survey

Crafty Facts

Did you know?………………………..

By Sewsouk

Most of us know knitting is making fabric from a strand of yarn and usually uses 2 needles. The word knitting derives from the word “knots” and to knit means to tie or join.The earliest fabric pieces which have the appearance of knitting still existing are socks and stockings made in the 300 AD in Egypt.

derives from the French wood “crochet "
meaning hook. There is no clear evidence to show that people did crochet work before the 1800s so it is a much more modern craft than knitting. The first crochet patterns were published in Europe in 1824. With the industrial revolution machine spun cotton became readily available replacing more expensive linen and so crochet became more popular. Early crochet hooks were nothing more than bent needles stuck into cork, richer ladies used decorated silver, steel, ivory and bone hooks though these were more to set off a rich lady’s fine hands rather than for serious work.

Quilting Survey

By FabricGreetings

Here are a few facts that came from a survey that is presented By “Quilters Newsletter” in cooperation with the International Quilt Market and Festival, a division of Quilts, Inc.

These results are from a survey conducted for 2010.

  • 14% of US households are home to one active quilter

  • total quilters in US exceeds 21 million

  • In 2010 – quilting households spent an average of $219 up 27% from 2006

Estimated total dollar value of quilting industry - $3.58 billion

Dedicated quilters are defined as households that spend more than $600 per year on quilting related purchases

Who is the dedicated quilter? (My profile)

  • Female (dedicated)

  • 62 years old ( over dedicated)

  • 72% attended college (dedicated)

  • Affluent - $91,602 HH income (very under dedicated)

  • Spend an average $2,442 per year on quilting (under dedicated)

  • Quilting for average of 16 years (over dedicated)

  • 44% prefer traditional quilts

  • 50% enjoy both traditional and contemporary styles (my choice)

  • Check out this web site for free quilting patterns:

Etsy shops featuring quilting items:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sweet ideas for Valentine's Day- or any other day

Valentine's day seems to be a day for sweets- heart shaped boxes of chocolates and candy hearts seem to be timeless ways that we celebrate this holiday. Personally, I'd prefer something homemade- nothing says "from the heart" than dessert fresh from the oven. And so, we have a few sweet recipes for you this Valentine's season.

The first recipe here is one of my family's favorites, both to make and to eat! My little helper was making these with me the other day, so he took some pictures to help you see how to make them.

Banana Cocoa Bars

1 1/2 c. mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. all purpose or whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 350* F. Grease a 9"x 13"x 2" pan.
2. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy, about 30 sec. Add egg and vanilla, beat until well combined. Stir in bananas.
3. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and soda and salt. Add banana mixture and stir just until combined.
4. Remove half of the batter to the banana bowl. Add cocoa to one half of the batter, mix well. Spread cocoa mixture into pan. Spoon banana mixture over the top and swirl with a knife to marble.
5. Bake 25-30 minutes, until top is golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

Yield: 24 bars

This next recipe is a unique cookie made with corn flakes, which gives them a wonderful crunch. This is a family favorite from Nancy of NancyEllenStudios and DesignsStainedGlass.

Cornflake Cookies

1/2 c. butter or margarine
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. baking soda
1 c. cornflakes

1. Preheat oven to 375* F.
2. In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until softened. Add sugars, beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, beat well.
3. In a different bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar and baking soda. Add gradually to butter mixture. Beat well.
4. Fold in cornflakes with a wooden spoon. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
5. Bake 8-10 minutes. Let cool 30 seconds before removing from sheets.

Yield: approx. 36 cookies

Maybe you're looking for something a bit fancier than just a cookie. The other day I tried my hand at flan, and discovered it's not as hard as you'd think! And with only four ingredients, you may not even have to run to the store in order to make it.

Classic Flan

2/3 c. sugar, separated
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk or half and half
1 t. vanilla

1. To caramelize sugar, in a heavy saucepan, cook 1/3 c. sugar over medium heat until it begins to melt, shaking pot occasionally but not stirring. Once it starts to melt, reduce heat to low and cook about 5 minutes until all of sugar is golden, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Immediately pour sugar into bottom of a 9" round baking pan and tilt to coat. (The sugar hardens quickly, so act fast!) Allow to cool 10 minutes.
2. In large bowl, beat eggs well. Add milk, vanilla, and remaining 1/3 c. sugar. Beat until well combined but not frothy. Pour into sugar-coated baking pan. Place pan into larger baking pan. Pour very hot to boiling water into larger pan to a depth of at least 1", or halfway up the flan pan.
3. Bake at 325* F. approx. 1 hour, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove pan from water bath. Cool at least 1 h.
4. To unmold, loosen edges with a sharp knife. Cover with serving platter and invert pans together. (This is the second tricky part!). Cover and chill overnight before serving for best flavor.

Yield: 8 slices

From Robin's kitchen to yours, have a sweet Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 5, 2012



By FabricGreetings

ACEO's stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals. They are also known as ATC's – Artist Trading Cards.

I first heard of artist trading cards in an article in “Quilting Arts” magazine in 2004. Pokey Bolton, who was the editor, had challenged readers to send in a ATC. In return, she would send everyone who participated a card she had made. I sent her a card and received one in return that September. Then in October when I was attending the International Quilt Market in Houston, Texas, I was thrilled to see my card displayed along with all the others she had received on a wall of her booth at the show. Since then, I have been making them. The challenge is to get your design into such a small space.

These little work of art are a specific size -2.5” x 3.5” or 64mm x89mm. They are the same size as sports trading cards. And they are traded by artists and collectors all over the world. Many groups are organized and plan weekly trades.

ACEO's are often designed using watercolors, pen and ink, screen printed, mixed media or fabric.

There is a team of ACEO artists on Etsy.

Two of our HHU Members also sell ACEO's. Both sellers use very different techniques.


By FabricGreetings

There are some places you hear about and just want to see – The Statue of Liberty,
The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore... the list can go on forever. Many years ago
was attending a sewing event and heard someone mention a fabric store in
North Carolina.
I immediately filed it away in my memory bank. Since my sister
moved to Georgia and we
drive to see her, I get to visit this “find”.
And a find it is.

Mary Jo's Cloth Store is located in Gastonia, NC. Right off of I-85.

Over the years, we have made Gastonia our overnight stop on our trip south.
It has been
said that if they do not have it, you do not want it. Located in this
32,000 sq foot store
is everything a sewist could want....fabric, trims,
buttons, notions, and on and on.
They are most helpful when you call and offer a mail order service that is
They now have a web site and a blog.

So I encourage you to read about this little bit of heaven in the following article.
I am heading there in a couple of weeks and am already making my list.