Small Embroidery Hoops

I made these little embroidery hoops for my swap partner.  I just love them, so cute.

They are pretty simple to make.  The background is a cream colored linen that I had in my stash, and the wooden embroidery hoops were purchased at Michael’s.  They are about 4″ in diameter.  I cut pieces big enough for the hoops, and used a pencil to lightly draw where the circle of the inside of the hoop would be on the fabric.  Then, I cut a bunch of tiny triangles from scrap fabric, and used my free motion quilting foot on my machine (it’s called a darning foot) to sew the little bunting flags onto the linen.  I used a chocolate brown thread which I think looks nicer than using black thread.

Then I put the linen into the hoop, and wrote a little phrase in cursive with a disappearing ink pen.  The embroidery is just a simple back-stitch.  I think the darker magenta embroidery floss turned out nicer than the lighter green color.  I’ll use darker colors in the future.  “Bailar mas” mean “Dance More” in Spanish.  The dot on the “i” is a french knot.

The Back


For the back, I first made the little labels to sign the piece.  It’s a scrap piece of linen, and I used a fabric pen to write my name and the date.  Then, I used a running stitch to attach the name tag to a piece of felt for the backing that I had trimmed to fit the back of the hoop.  Trim the linen from the back of the hoop so there’s about 3/4″ of linen going all the way around.  Put a bead of glue (I use Aleene’s Tacky Glue in the gold bottle) around the lip of the hoop and press the linen down to the hoop.  Then, run another bead of glue around the lip of the hoop (this time on top of the folded over linen), and place the felt circle down on top.  Press it down, straighten it up, etc., and let dry for an hour or so.

Simple, and super sweet!

Souper Sunday – Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of my favorite soups to make.  I usually couple the soup on my weekly menu plan with a roasted whole chicken.  So, make a roasted whole chicken one day, then make stock from the chicken and use it (as well as any leftover meat) to make the soup a few days later.  Great, low-cost dinners!

The corn tortillas cook into the soup and give it a nice, creamy texture.  The soup ends up somewhat halfway between a soup and a stew.  While you can make the soup using canned chicken broth and thighs/breasts that you roast (or pick the meat from a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store), the most cost-effective way to make the soup is to make a roasted whole chicken one night.  Then, pick through the meat to get a cup or two for the soup (assuming your family doesn’t eat the entire chicken), and turn the bones into stock.  You can use fresh jalapenos in the soup, but I find it easier to just buy a small can of fire roasted chiles (I buy Old El Paso brand).  I’ll admit it….I don’t like cutting up jalapenos ever since I didn’t wash my hands well enough after cutting one (I thought I did!), and got jalapeno juice in my eye.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: About one hour
Serves: 4-6

2 Tb. Olive oil
1 chopped medium onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
6 cloves of garlic, minced
8 corn tortillas, cut into one inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Small can of fire roasted chilies (1/2 to the whole can depending on your preference)
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. chili powder
3 bay leaves
14.5 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
28 oz. can chopped tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne powder (depending on your preference)
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups shredded chicken (good use for leftovers)

Serve with:
Sour Cream
Shredded cheese
Tortilla strips
Chopped fresh avocado

1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven on medium. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, corn tortillas, cilantro, and can of chilies. Saute 3-4 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes and drained black beans. Mix in and bring to a boil.

3. Add cumin, chili powder and bay leaves. Mix in.

4. Add chicken stock, and season with salt and cayenne.

5. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes.

6. Remove bay leaves.

7. Add shredded chicken and corn. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.

8. Serve with toppings of your choice.