Friday, May 31, 2013

Pan-seared Chicken Spinach Salad... YUMMY!

Pan-seared Chicken Spinach Salad

I love to cook! Even more importantly I LOVE to eat too! LOL

I love it when the weather gets warmer and all of the fresh fruits & veggies are available, and a summer time salad is one of my absolute favorites! Either getting the vegetables fresh from the garden or the local farmer's market just makes it feel like Summer to me. :)

Anyway, today I thought I would share one of my favorite fast easy lunches (or dinners) with you all.

This one is a really simple salad recipe that is fast, healthy and delicious!

Pan-Seared Chicken Spinach Salad

Ingredients: (I did it for one person but you can modify it for more.)

1 Cup Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves (Washed)
1 4oz Thin Sliced Chicken Breast
1 Celery Stalk
1 Roma Tomato
1 Tsp Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese
McCormick's CA Garlic Salt
Spice Depot Jojo Potato Seasoning (I can usually find this at our local Big Lots.)
Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad dressing

Wash Spinach leaves & place in a bowl. Set aside for later.

Add olive oil to pan & heat oil on medium-high heat.

Once the pan is hot, add salt & pepper to Chicken breast & pan sear on one side for about 2 minutes or until you see the chicken starting to brown slightly in color.

Flip chicken over in pan & sear on other side. Sprinkle Garlic Salt & Jojo Seasoning over chicken & turn over, repeat for other side after cooking a couple minutes.

When chicken is cooked remove from pan & let rest 5-10 minutes so the juices all settle back into the chicken.

Dice your tomato & celery & add to your spinach leaves.

Once your chicken breast has rested, dice chicken into bite-sized pieces & add to the spinach mixture. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top of salad & add a drizzle of Balsamic Vinaigrette to finish off.

Tada! That's it! A quick, healthy & delicious salad that is perfect any time of year!


Michelle K
The Perfect Knot

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Beads, Strings and Other Things

I've always been into crafts for as long as I can remember. I think I got part of it from my grandmother who was always knitting, crocheting or making something else useful, cute or out of necessity.

I learned to crochet at about 6 years old but didn't really pick that up more seriously until I was out of college, but I always needed something to do and to keep my hands and my brain busy.

As a kid I did painting, drawing, sculpting, floral arranging, paper crafts, macrame, lanyards, clay, beading, loom weaving, sewing, cross stitch, jewlery making and more. I've carried many of these crafts into adulthood and still enjoy some of the things I did when I was a child.

Last year, I made a resolution to try something new as often as I could whether it was crochet stitches, craft project, re-learning knitting (Still working on that one), more types of jewelry making or whatever. I just wanted to learn & try something new as often as I could.

So in August sometime I believe it was, I was just browsing around the internet and I saw a picture of a beautifully woven bracelet with this really neat pattern and the photo said "Kumhimo bracelet" under it. I had never heard of it but I definitely thought it was cool! And it looked like something I DEFINITELY wanted to try!

So I began to investigate. I searched google, youtube, pinterest and more just trying to learn what it was & how do you do it. I found this video on youtube for the basic spiral braid & it didn't look too terribly difficult and the supplies were simple looking enough, just a little slotted disk and some strings. So I found the supplies I needed and set about learning how to do Kumihimo.

Sounds simple enough doesn't it? LOL Well the basic part was simple enough, but little did I know that this artform had been around for many many years in Asia & in other countries & there were literally THOUSANDS of patterns, tools, methods and more! This is literally one of those artforms that kind of reminds me of poker where as the basics take 5 minutes to learn, but the true "ART" aspect of it takes years to master! The worst and best part is... It's Addicting & FUN! LOL

I have barely scratched the surface of this artform and I am still learning lots of different aspects of it, but I am definitely having fun in the process!

My favorite part of it is the jewelry aspect of because it fits in with other jewelry items that I make and gives me a new spin on things there, but there are some really amazing pieces and patterns out there that can be made from it! My favorites are the Beaded Kumihimo pieces right now. The possibilities are endless and they all work with the same basic principals as explained in this video here.

I've joined a couple of Kumihimo groups online and some of the work, the patterns, the materials and tools used in making these Kumihimo pieces just astounds and amazes me!

Each braid is unique & beautiful in it's own right, but some of these patterns and creations just literally blow my mind! I just can't believe that they can make some of them! Don't believe me? Just do a google or other search for "Kumihimo" and you will be quite surprised at what you see. :)

Someday I might get into the more technical aspect of things and possibly invest in the other more elaborate equipment you can use to make Kumihimo pieces, but for now, I'm happy with my little $2 foam disk and with what I have learned and am still learning so far.

It's a fun craft and if you are looking to try something new, this one is a great one and it doesn't cost that much to get started!

If you would like to see some of my Kumhimo pieces, you can check out more here on my Facebook page.

Also, if you do Kumihimo and would like to share, I'm always happy to see what other's have made. You are welcome to share on my page or link in the comments here.

Have fun & happy braiding!

Michelle K
The Perfect Knot

Friday, May 17, 2013

Here's a Sneak Peek from this week

I've been on a little bit of a creative kick lately & just trying to get out some of the ideas I have in my head in either yarn, thread, string, beads or whatever.

This week I sent off 3 new patterns to my Testers to play with & with any luck I should have them all in my shop very soon!

Here's a sneak peek of what is coming! I hope you all enjoy. I will let you know when everything is available. ;)

Froggy Lovey

This cute little Froggy needs some love! Hopefully you can make him your new friend soon!

Criss-Crossed Mesh Beach or Market Tote

I need a day (or a week) at the Beach! This fun & colorful textured mesh bag is perfect for all your beach day goodies.

Camel Back Coin Purse

I'm always having to dig for change at the bottom of my purse, so I figured I'd make a cute little coin purse to store all my change in. I love this one! It's got a great woven crochet stitch that looks like it was knitted! No holes, so nothing falls out!

I hope you all enjoyed the Sneak Peek from this week! I'll keep you posted as to when everything is available!
Have a great day everyone!
Michelle K
The Perfect Knot

Friday, May 10, 2013

Life gets in the way of Crochet...

Some days definitely do not go as planned!

Some days start out with WAY too early text messages at 5:45am that wake me up because my East Coast friends forget about the 3 hour earlier time difference since I moved to the West Coast 2.5 years ago.

Some days start out with mom up way too early at 6:30am in a bad mood and not letting me do what needs to be done.

Some days involve a whole day of trying to unsuccessfully get one load of towels in the washer.

Some days involve spilled Cheerios all over mom, the table, the floor & the cat.

Some days involve the neighbor locking himself out of the house and asking to borrow the ladder to get back in through the attic window.

Some days involve me being the fixer for everyone else's issues and ignoring my own needs.

Some days it all just comes at you hard and fast and all you really just want to run away and go some place to hide and Crochet!

Yes, some days are all of those things all in one.

Some days we have the best of intentions to be productive only to be side-lined by the realities of Life. Nothing can be done to stop it or help it, so we must learn to swim with the flow or be drowned by the waves of chaos.

There are many days like this and we all must learn to just be understanding, go with the flow, accept what cannot be changed, step back, and say "Tomorrow is another day".

Don't worry about what you have no control over. Don't be upset over things you cannot change. Understand that sometimes Life just happens. Don't be too hard on yourself. Know that you are going to make mistakes. Learn to Forgive yourself and know that you are doing the best you can with what you have to work with.

The important thing is to "Just Keep Swimming" and to Hope for tomorrow.

Michelle K
The Perfect Knot

Friday, May 3, 2013

Getting it all Connected!

Friday's at The Perfect Knot are what I call "TGIF" days. TGIF stands for "Thank Goodness I FINISHED!" It's a fun little day where my wonderfully Tangled friends are welcome to show off their Finally Finished projects on the page. I love seeing all of their fun & creative projects that everyone has made!

Well today it's my turn to share with all of you!

Recently I shared with you the Sunflower blanket I was working on. (You can see the work in progress or WIP Here.)

80 Squares completed before joining

Well now it's made it to it's new home & I can share the joining & the final project with you!

It took me a little while to decide on a joining process. I tried a couple of different things & they didn't quite give me the look I was wanting. So I hit up google & Pinterest & eventually found something I liked that could work.

I decided on a slightly modifed version of this join from DROPS Design

Close-up of joining

Close-up of joining on vertical rows

80 Squares joined vertically

Close-up of sqaures joined both vertically & horizontally

Well, it took me about 3 days to get everything connected vertically & horizontally, but I finally got it all connected & done!

Here's the picture of all the squares connected before the border.

80 Squares joined both vertically and horizontally

Ahh the border or "hug" as my friend Pam calls it. I like that idea of calling it a Hug! It makes it feel like it has this great warm embracing feel to it & it just makes you want to wrap in the blanket & snuggle! It makes me smile to thing of that. :)

Again I tried a couple of different things that didn't work before I finally decided on something I liked.

I love texture & I love things that bring out the characteristics of the elements already in the design. So I finally decided to incorporate a similar pattern from one of my other patterns for the border.

I decided to brighten up the blanket a little bit so that it really popped but I wasn't sure what color. I eventually decided on the same yellow color as the Sunflowers with a little help from Pam.

Close-up of the Border detail
Well the math finally worked itself out and the texture was right and it looked like a great mimic of the joining. So I plugged along for 2 more days & finally got the rounds of the border completed! (YAY!)

The closer I got to finishing it, the more I realized I was both sad & happy to get it finished & have this project Finally completed.

Border detail
It's been a long journey to get it there, but it was finally finished & ready to go to her new home!

Finally DONE!
So here she is all completed right before I sent her out to her new home.
I completed her on April 30th, 2013.
She made it to her new home in TN on May 2nd.

You can see the pictures of her in her new home here at my friend Angie's.

It's been a fun ride in creating this blanket. I admit at times it was both fun & frustrating when my imagination didn't play out the way I thought it would or should, but the final product ended up being one that I am really proud to say I created!

I hope you've enjoyed watching the process of it all come together.
Thanks for sharing in my journey of creating!

Have a great day & God Bless!

Michelle K
The Perfect Knot Crochet and More