March 2013


I thought I would share a DIY placemat project. I picked up these vinyl tablecloths a couple of years ago on an “after Easter” sale.

Tablecloths

They were only 10¢! How could I refuse?! Yes, I bought many more than what you see here.

At least I had a plan for them! Hoooray! Miracles DO happen!

When I got married, my Mom made me these great placemats as a wedding shower gift. I think she got the fabric at Joann or somewhere like that.

Fruit Placemat

They don’t look 20 years old, do they. They have gotten a TON of use. Vinyl is the way to go with kids. Just sponge off the mess and you are good to go.

When my girls were little, I used these placemats to make a cardboard template. I then used that template on some leftover, new, vinyl kitchen flooring. I painted the back side with chalkboard paint.

Guess I was ahead of the trend. That was about 10 years ago. Who knew?

Chalkboard Placemat

My kids never used these much. They don’t like the feel or sound of chalk.

About 6 or 7 years ago, Walmart had some cute fabric-backed vinyl, so I made me some cute new placemats with my same template. That was back when Walmart carried fabric.

Striped placemat

So, here’s the “how-to”…

First make a template.

This was easy for me because I could just trace my existing placemat 1/4”-5/8′ wider to allow for the seam allowance.

Template Size

The long sides are 13 3/4 inches.

The short sides are 7 3/4 inches.

The corner pieces are 2 3/4 inches.

Now, let me just say, I don’t sew a lot. I have to give myself a refresher course every time I use the sewing machine. You may notice a mistake or two. Try to ignore them!

Placemat template

Ok, I’ll point out the first one for you. I should have ironed the fabric. I just placed my template down on a “smooth” part and hoped for the best.

So much for “the best”. I couldn’t stand it! So I had to do something.

Unironed

Yes, I ironed the vinyl–ON THE BACK! Use some common sense here. Hot iron+plastic=huge mess. IRON ON THE FABRIC SIDE!

ironedTa Da! Now, isn’t that better?

You may have noticed the green Sharpie a couple of pictures ago. I used that to do my tracing. It will be on the inside, so it won’t show. I didn’t use a black because I thought it might show through the white part of the vinyl.

Next, you get out your fabulous box of thread your Mother-in-Law brought you back from Germany. Oh, sorry. Guess that was just me.

thread box

thread candy

thread

Oooo! Ahhhh! I know you are jealous. I’ll quit.

Next, you get some average thread that will match your fabric. ; )

With right sides together, sew around your placemat. Use whatever seam allowance you like. I tend to go with a 1/4″.

See that space where there is no stitching? Be sure to leave an opening, unless you like the cheesy fabric side better.

sew edges together

leave an opening

Turn you placemat right-side out. That is why you left the opening. Sorry, no pictures of me wrestling placemats.

You do want to have nice crisp corners on you placemats. I used this little corner tool. I’m pretty sure you can find them at fabric shops. I have had mine forever. You don’t have to have one. You could use something like a chopstick to push out those corners.

Corner Tool

Now top stitch all the way around the mat. Remember to tuck in the seam allowance on the opening.

topstitch

I made two rows of stitching around my set. I think it looks a little fancier that way.

corner detail

finished product

Make them all the same or different colors. Give them as gifts or keep them for yourself. Be sure to look for vinyl tablecloths at those post-holiday sales. Maybe you can get a bargain like I did!

(Guess I didn’t get a picture of the place mats in use. I’ll remedy that on Sunday, maybe.)

I’m not sure if I have told y’all or not, but I’m in charge of a tea.

Okay, I’m not in charge of the whole thing, just the food. If you follow me on Pinterest you may have seen my Tea Party board.

The group I sing with, Top of the Rock Chorus, is having a fundraiser tea.

This morning I tested out two recipes–scones and clotted cream.

Oooo-la-la!

I wanted to eat the whole batch!

Today I only have pictures for you. I’ll have a GRAND post after the tea is over and done with.

Tea Time with Pork Chop Tuesday

Scones with clotted cream | Pork Chop Tuesday

tea on vintage linens | Pork Chop Tuesday

Scones | Pork Chop Tuesday

We recently had some of our good friends over for dinner. Since the last time they were at our house, Joanna has discovered that she needs to stay away from gluten.

Well, that ruled out all the stand-by “company’s coming” recipes. This was going to be an adventure for sure.

You may have seen me begging for ideas on the Pork Chop Tuesday Facebook page. Thank you for your suggestions!

I really thought about a Mexican dish of some sort. I ended up going with Chicken Curry.

(I probably should have stuck with the Mexican food. My family loves Chicken Curry. I guess it was kinda risky to spring an exotic flavor like curry on guests.)

Chicken Curry

(This is my Mom’s recipe. I don’t know where she got it.)

2 Tbsp. butter

1 ½ cups apple, finely chopped

½ cup onion, chopped

½ cup celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. flour (use corn starch for gluten-free)

2 ½ tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1 small can tomato paste

2 cups chicken

Melt butter; add apple, onion, celery and garlic. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in flour (or corn starch), curry powder and salt. Slowly stir in chicken broth and tomato paste. Cook and stir until thick. Add chicken and heat thoroughly. Serve over rice.

Making Curry

Top with your choice of condiments:

Raisins

Shredded coconut

Chopped boiled egg

Crushed pineapple

Crumbled bacon

Chopped peanuts

Mango Chutney (Ok, I don’t ever use the chutney. Mom loves it. Since it is her recipe I felt like I had to put it in there.)

The condiments are really the best part. I remember when Mom would fix curry when I was a kid. I loved being in control of the “extras” that went on my plate.

Plus, they look pretty. I used a plastic tray I had saved that came with veggies and dip one time. I sat it on top of a gold charger on top of a Lazy Susan. The fake flower ended up in the middle rather than the chutney.

Curry Condiments | PorkChopTuesday

Condiments

The kids had their own set of condiments. They got to use this cute little set Mom got me for my birthday last year. I love the tiny spoons! The kids ate at the coffee table and sat on the couch cushions.

Color Serving cups

Here is the curry without any “extras”.

Chicken Curry from Pork Chop Tuesday

Whew! We made it through the main course gluten-free!

Dessert was a different animal altogether.

As I scoured the internet for GF recipes, everything called for specialty flours. I priced some at the health food store a while back. They are very expensive!

I didn’t have time or money to make a trip to the big city health food store. I had to find something that would work. By work I mean that I could buy ingredients in town they didn’t cost an arm and a leg!

I came across a recipe for Fudge Mountain Cake. Her cake was beautiful! Could it really taste good without flour?

Here is what mine looked like.

Flourless Chocolate Cake | Pork Chop Tuesday

Her recipe says that she actually made a double recipe and used milk chocolate in between the layers.

I opted for the single recipe with some of the ganache between layers. If I make this again, I will make a double recipe. The cakes rose up nice and tall in the oven. As they cooled, they shrank down and got compact.

Baking without flour is a little different from baking with flour.

My cakes fell apart. I had to “glue” them back together best I could.

messed up cake

The cake was very dense and rich.

The original post had fancy chocolate curls on top. I went with the whipped coconut milk. I had never had whipped coconut milk. I had pinned a recipe/how-to on Pinterest not too long ago.

That part was really easy. I just stuck a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. When I opened it up, I had whipped coconut milk. No shaking, stirring or mixing. You can add a little sweetener or even chocolate if you like. We went plain.

I was glad I added a strawberry along side of the cake. I really added it for looks. The strawberry actually helped to cut some of the richness of the cake.

Ok, the single piece of cake looks a little better than the whole thing. We will end with that.

Flourless Chocolate Cake | Pork Chop Tuesday

I didn’t have the Critics review the Chicken Curry. They have eaten that numerous times and love it every time.

Here’s what they had to say about the cake though.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Apparently flour just holds cake back. This was one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.

Megan: Moist, rich, and c’mon: it’s chocolate cake.

Katie: Chocolate cake is a splendid treat for all ages. This cake sky-rocketed to the top of my cake list!

Dr. Seuss Bday.indd

For a fun snack to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2nd, go here.