Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Potato Leek Soup!

Since I have time again to cook at home, and I really wanted soup, I made Potato Leek soup today!  I bought ingredients a couple of days ago when I went grocery shopping.  We are supposed to limit our grocery shopping as much as possible here in zona rossa.  It came out amazingly well and I will very much make this again.

My actual dinner!

  • 4 Large Potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • enough olive oil or any cooking oil to roast the leek and onions

 I just used a big ole stew pot for everything.  Once, I had everything cut up, I roasted the leek and green onions with the garlic in the stew pot with the olive oil.  Just simmer that over low heat until the leeks are soft.

Then, add the potatoes, thyme, bay leaf, broth, and some salt and pepper to taste.  That that boil until the potatoes are soft (about 5 to 10 minutes on my oven.  YMMV).

Here's the hard part.  Take all that off the heat.  You need to puree these veggies until it's a greenish mashed potato look to it. Take out the thyme and the bay leaf!  I put all the veggies into a mixing bowl and just slowly put some in the blender.  Once that set was pureed, I dumped it back into the stew pot and then did the next batch until all the veggies were gone.  

Then, add the butter and the milk to the stew pot.  I'm honestly not sure how much milk I added - it was about half a small carton.  Just add enough milk to make the soup...soup and not mashed potatoes.  Also, a bit more salt and pepper.

In the picture, I also added some red salt to the top and marjoram which added a bit more spice to the soup. 

That's it!   It was great to have today since it's cold again.  I do not like the cold and can't wait until it warms up! 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Latest in Italian Fashion....

The face mask! I designed my own using just some scraps and a bit of bias tape. I hope the pattern process that I'll try to explain below makes sense.

The lines represent where you should measure.


  1. The Red line is from the bridge of your nose to just under your chin, where you want the mask to cover.
  2. The Yellow line is from top of your cheekbone, under the nose, to the other side of your face.
  3. The Orange line is from the top of your cheekbone, under the chin, to the other side of your face.

These are the only measurements you'll really need.

The Pattern

I tried to do a video and well, I'll try again tomorrow to show how to really draw this pattern out. The red line is the same as the measurement above. Just draw that on your piece of paper, marking off about 1" below the top of that line. Now, draw the yellow horizontal line there using your undernose measurement. Using your measuring tape, as best you can, draw the underchin measurement - this will not be perfect and you'll notice it will not reach the bottom of the red line, that's okay.

Now for the slightly tricky part. Draw a curve from the end of the yellow line to the long end of the red line - this is the green line in the pattern picture above.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  I like using the Frixon markers for this because they are erasable!   Now, measure the difference between the end of the orange line to the bottom (chin) of the red line.  It's typically around 2", give or take an inch.  Whatever that measurement is, half it.  Now, from the red (Center) line find where that measurement hits the "green" line outer edge.  This is the start point for the bottom purple line.

Draw the curved purple line to just an inch or less above the orange line, hitting the red line.  Hopefully the picture makes that make a whole bunch more sense.

The blue line is nothing more than a very fat bell curve.  Again, it doesn't have to be perfect - you'll fix any issue with the mock up.  The top purple line starts along the blue line, about 1 cm or so from the red line and curves down towards the red line right where the undernose yellow line is.

If you want a decent curve, add the gray line - it's really a hand drawn very slight curve joining the two purple lines.  The inside of the two purple lines, the gray line, the green line and the top blue line becomes the outline for your mask.  (Shown in black above.)

The Materials

I used two layers of quilting cotton and one layer of wool. Wool is known to be antimicrobial, making it an excellent inner layer. You can absolutely use just three layers of cotton. I just prefer the wool.

  1. 1/4 of quilting cotton - you probably will not use all of this and can just use scraps from the scrap pile like I did
  2. Fat quarter of wool - again, scrap pile; I used an 8" strip of wool I had
  3. 2 yards of double folded wide bias tape
  4. Cotton thread
  5. Fabric scissors
  6. Sewing pins

Trace around the pattern on to the fabric.  You'll want to cut four piece of the quilting cotton and two pieces of the wool.  Mark, for your own sanity, what the inner seam is.

Once you cut out the fabric, using the wool - or whatever you have for the inner layer- sew up the center seam.  I used a small zigzag stitch but any will do.  Now, unfold it with the unfinished seam out, and hold it to your face.

Look in a mirror and see where you need to make adjustments.  Mark those, recut the wool, if necessary, and then make sure you also recut the cotton and, using paper scissors, recut your pattern as well to the "better" fit.

Once that is done, sew up the center seams, right sides together, of the cotton pieces as well.  You should have two quilting cotton layers and the one wool layer.  Sandwich them.  Have the "fashion fabric" or finished sides of the quilting cotton out (it doesn't really matter which way you have the wool).  Pin the edges, particularly at the chin, the bridge of the nose, and the "corners".  Stay stitch all around.

Now, the bias tape.  Start with a tail of the bais tape about 14"~16".  This will be one of the ties.  Sew the bias tape around the top edge of the mask.  Leave a similar tail on the other side.   For the bottom part of the mask, you'll need your seam ripper.

About 14"~16" into the bias tape, make a small hole with your seam ripper, right in the middle of the fold of the bias tape.  The hole only needs to be big enough to fit the upper tail through.  Once you've done that, sew the bias tape around the bottom edge until you are sure where to make the next hole to pull the other top edge tail/tie through.  Leave another 14"~16" tail.

That's it!  It sounds way more complicated than it really is.  I made this in about a half hour this morning and will make another one tomorrow.  These are 100% washable which is fabulous.  It also uses up some of  those scraps you have been hoarding in the corner.  :-)  Do NOT use silk, polyester, velvet, tapestry, a heavy twill, or any other materials other than quilting cotton, linen, and tropical weight wool.  You need to be able to breathe.