Italian Potato Kale Soup

Italian Potato Kale SoupItalian Potato Kale Soup in one pot is quick and easy to make.  The soup is one of my favorite things to make on a cold winter day.  My kids love soup of any sort and the love it even more when it is paired with a salad and fresh bread.  The table is set a little quicker when soup, salad and fresh bread are on the menu.   The Italian Potato Kale Soup can be pretty healthy if you go easy on the cream.

Yields:  about 6 servings

  • 1 pound Italian sausage or spicy Italian sausage
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 small russet potatoes cubed
  • 2 cups kale,  chopped
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add the Italian sausage to a large pot over medium heat.  Use a spatula to chop the meat up into bite size pieces.  Brown the sausage until no longer pink. While the sausage is cooking add the red pepper flakes (not needed if you use Spicey Italian Sausage), garlicand onion.  Let cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 4 -6 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, potatoes, beans and kale. Bring the broth to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the cream, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into soup bowls and serve.

The first few times I made the soup I used the whole cup of cream.  I have found that my family still devours it if I only use half of the amount.  In a pinch you can use whole milk but it is no where near as good.  Occasionally I will toss in a hand full of dried pasta when I add the potatoes.  The addition of the  pasta lessens the broth amount.

Join me and my fellow bloggers for an Italian Feast!
italian feast

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Needle felted bunny jars

Spring jars needle felt bunny

If you are looking for a simple craft to do while watching tv give needle felting a try.  It is a simple craft that gives great results in not a lot of time. Yes, you do have to pay attention to where you are punching the needle… trust me on that one.

Materials for Needle felted bunny jars:

  • Ball Smooth Quart Jar (Jarden Home Brands)
  • Wild Saffron patterned papers (K&Co.)
  • Off-white cardstock
  • Wool Felt (National Nonwovens): Off-white
  • Americana Acrylic Paints (DecoArt): Light Mocha
  • Wool roving (Clover): Off-white; Moss; Orange
  • Trims: brown velvet ribbon with white stitching, 7/8″, 1 yd.; white/blue dot fabric scrap
  • Black pebble bead
  • Sewing needle and black thread
  • Jar mix ingredients (see recipe)
  • Wool Felt (National Nonwovens): Copper; Olive; Light Brown
  • Americana Acrylic Paints (DecoArt): Espresso
  • Wool roving (Clover): Moss; Orange
  • White/blue dot fabric scrap
  • Jar mix ingredients (see recipe)


  • Brown chalk ink pad
  • Needle felting tool and large needle mat (Clover)
  • Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue (Duncan)
  • Zip Dry Paper Glue (Beacon Adhesives)
  • Super sticky or red-line tape, 1/4″
  • Scallop-edge scissors
  • Paintbrushes
  • Computer and printer

Directions for Needle felted bunny jars:

1. Print and cut out patterns. Transfer patterns to wool felt and cut out.

2. For bunny jar, use felting tool and pad to cover bunny in off-white roving. Pull small piece from orange and felt carrot shape in bunny center. Use moss for three leaves at top of carrot. Sew pebble bead to eye dot and backstitch carrot lines. For carrot jar, needle felt carrot with orange roving. Pull small pieces from moss roving for carrot details in center, top and bottom of carrot. Cut leaf from olive felt. Trace 4″ oval onto brown felt; cut out with scallop-edge scissors.

3. Paint jar lid. Let dry and apply varnish. Use sanding block to lightly distress lids, letting metal show through. Apply varnish.

4. Cut 4″x12″ rectangle from patterned paper. Apply stick tape to edges and adhere to jar. Glue motif and ovals to jar. Cut 13″ ribbon lengths; glue to top and bottom edges of patterned paper strip.

5. Print recipe on off-white cardstock; trim to tag shape. Punch hole in tag. Ink edges brown and tie to jar with fabric or rickrack. (see photos)

by Melony Bradley

Pattern – Spring Food Gift Jars

hub cap flowers

hub cap flowers
Make urban-style garden art on the cheap. Add color to your garden even in the winter. Use found objects like abandoned roadside hub caps. The found pieces are given a makeover with spray paints and simple wooden shapes. Give your garden color all year round. Create a batch of forever flowers to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd and all year long.

Materials & Basic supplies for hub cap flowers:

  • Recycled automobile hub cap
  • Wooden shapes, 1”: circles, rings
  • Recycled wire clothing hangers
  • Green duct tape
  • Cable zip ties
  • Bubble wrap
  • Acrylic crystals, 14mm
  • Hanger of choice
  • Heavy-duty wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Krylon Indoor/Outdoor Spray Paint: Pumpkin Orange, Blue Ocean Breeze, Gum Drop
  • Beacon Adhesives Gem-Tac Permanent Adhesive
  • Brown alchohol ink
  • newspaper (to cover work surface)

Directions for hub cap flowers:

    1. Thoroughly clean and dry hub cap. Position hub cap flat on covered work surface. Adhere wooden shapes on center of hub cap. Attach cable ties around outside edges of hub cap.
    2. In well-ventilated area, spray center of hub cap Pumpkin Orange or Blue Ocean Breeze. Spray outer portion of hub cap Gum Drop or Pumpkin Orange. Apply several coats as desired, letting paint dry between coats.
    3. With pliers, un-twist tops of two wire hangers; straighten hangers. Use wire cutters to cut 14” lengths from hanger (for leaves). Use pliers to shape wire lengths into ovals for leaves. Position other long wire length on work surface (for stem).
    4. Cut bubble wrap into long 2”-wide strips. Starting 3” from top of stem, wrap strips around wire hanger and wire leaves. Beginning at top of stem, wrap green duct tape around bubble wrap. Wrap green duct tape around leaves, permanently attaching leaves to stem.
    5. Adhere crystals on flower center using glue. Let dry.
    6. Use pliers to bend 3” of top of stem around base of hub cap, attaching stem to flower. Attach hanger of choice on back of flower.

scrap fabric bags

scrap fabric bags Make mini scrap fabric bags with button handles.  This fabric scrap stash busting idea is fun and easy to recreate.  Instead of throwing fabric scraps away, tear them into small strips and sew them together to create adorable little mini totes. Raid your button stash for an authentic handle, too.  Have fun with your stitches for even more variety.

Materials for Mini scrap fabric bags with button handles:

  • Colorful fabric strips, 1-1/2”x12”, 12
  • Wire, 18-gauge, 10” length
  • Buttons Galore & MoreSunshine Yellow Hand-Dyed Buttons; Color Blend Buttons: Blue, White, Natural
  • Buttons Galore & MoreMedium Squares Blank Craft Shapes
  • Natural hemp twine, 6” length

Tools for Mini scrap fabric bags with button handles

  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • Rubber stamps of choice
  • Heat tool
  • Wire cutters
  • Heavy-duty hole punch
  • Pigment inks: orange, black
  • Beacon Adhesives Gem-Tac Permanent Adhesive
  • rotary cutter and mat, iron and pressing surface, scissors, straight pins

Directions for Mini scrap fabric bags with button handles

1.Layer two strips of fabric together slightly overlapping long edges; pin. Machine-sew strips together. Continue in same manner until 11 or 12 strips are joined. (Note: Designer used various stitches available on sewing machine and free form stitches on plain strips. Designer used a knife-pleated strip of fabric for top strip.

2.Once strips are joined, use black ink and stamps to stamp across plain strips. Heat set ink with iron.


3.Use rotary cutter and mat to cut two 6”x7-1/2” pieces from sewn strips for front and back pieces of tote. Place right sides together and machine-sew left, bottom, and right sides using 1/2” seam allowance. Steam seams open and turn tote inside out. Press gently with iron.


4.Embellish font of tote with buttons using glue. Let dry.


5.For handle, cut 10” wire length using wire cutters. Thread buttons on wire. Bend one end of wire to keep buttons from slipping off. Punch holes in sides of tote, through fabric layers, using heavy-duty hole punch. Insert one end of wire into hole; curl ends to secure. Repeat for opposite end of handle.


6.Ink square craft shape orange; heat set. Repeat on back side. Stamp motif with black ink. Let dry. Tie square onto handle using hemp twine.<

mixed media pendant

mixed media pendant
Making jewelry can be extra fun when you use the unexpected.  Making a mixed media pendant does not have to cost a lot of money either.  A die cut is used to make an adorable heart pendant from fabric. Embellish as desired and add a large link chain for a great gift for Grandma.

Materials and supplies for a mixed media pendant:

  • Cotton fabric, scraps: light pink, hot pink print, white, turquoise
  • Fairfield Poly-fil Fiberfill Stuffing, Stick Fusible Webbing
  • Black embroidery floss
  • Silver chain, 16” length
  • Silver findings: jump rings, 12mm, three; lobster claw clasp
  • Toner Plastics Icy Silver Fun Wire, 18-gauge
  • Buttons Galore and More Orange Fabric Brad
  • Gold vintage button
  • Silver pebble beads, 6/0, four
  • Sizzix Big Shot Die-Cutting Machine and Bigz Primitive Hearts Die
  • Sewing machine and black thread
  • Needles: sewing, embroidery
  • Tiny alphabet rubber stamps
  • Round-nose pliers, chain-nose pliers, wire cutters
  • Gold glitter
  • Black pigment ink
  • Beacon AdhesivesFabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive
  • Misc.: scissors, iron and pressing surface, straight pins


1. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to fuse webbing to light pink, hot pink print, and white fabric scraps. Die cut one medium heart from fused hot pink fabric. Die cut one large heart from hot pink print and one from light pink fabric. Peel paper backing away; fuse smaller heart on center of light pink larger heart. Cut white fused-fabric to 1/2”x1-1/2” and fuse across center of hearts.

2.  Machine-sew edges of fused rectangle to heart. Use alphabet stamps and pigment ink to stamp sentiment on strip; heat set with iron.


3. Hand-sew knife pleat in center of turquoise fabric scrap. Hand-sew to secure to front of hearts using photo as guide for placement.


4. Use round-nose pliers to bend 5” wire into coil. Thread embroidery needle with three strands embroidery floss and couch wire to heart. Pull embroidery floss from back of hearts to front; slip one bead on needle and pull to back. Continue until all beads have been sewn to heart. Knot ends.


5. Place small amount of glue on center of fabric-covered brad. Sprinkle glitter on brad. Cut tiny hole in hearts and insert brad. Sew gold button to heart. Knot ends.


6. Pin large hearts together with straight pin in center. Starting on right center edge of hearts, use backstitch to hand-sew together using needle and thread, sewing around edges of heart on center. Hand-sew edges of larger hearts together, leaving small opening on edge for stuffing. Lightly stuff heart with polyfill. Sew opening closed.


7. Open one jump ring with chain-nose pliers and attach through fabric at top of heart. Open second jump ring and loop one end through jump ring on heart and then on center of chain. Open third jump ring and attach onto end of chain. Attach lobster claw clasp to remaining end.

Friendship Brownies in a jar

friendship brownies in a jar

Share the love with this fun and tasty treat in a jar!  Make friendship brownies in a jar mix.  Recycle a spaghetti sauce jar or a pickle jar and use pattern paper from your stash.  You don’t have to be elaborate on the packaging because we all know that it is what is on the inside that matters most.

Materials for Friendship Brownies in a jar:

  • Ball Quart Jar (Jarden Home Brands)
  • Americana Acrylic Paint (DecoArt): Soft Blue.
  • Patterned papers: brown/white Swiss dot; red/white polka dot
  • Off-white cardstock
  • Red wool felt scrap
  • Wool roving: brick red; white
  • Blue Tiny Alphas Alphabet Stickers (Making Memories)
  • Acrylic gems: blue, 32; clear
  • Silver clip
  • Jute twine
  • Brownie mix ingredients (see recipe)

Basic Supplies for Friendship Brownies in a jar:



  • Duraclear Varnish (DecoArt)
  • Scallop-edge scissors
  • Adhesives (Beacon Adhesives): Fabri-Tac; Zip Dry Paper Glue
  • Needle felting tool and pad

Directions for Friendship Brownies in a jar:

1. Paint jar lid. Let dry. Apply varnish.

2. Cut 4″x12″ rectangle from paper to fit around jar. Adhere to jar. (Note: Wrap rubber bands around paper to secure while glue dries.) Use scallop-edge scissors to cut two 1″x12″ strips from cardstock. Glue to top and bottom edge of rectangle.

3. Print and cut out pattern.

4. Needle felt heart red. Draw flower center and needle felt white. Glue flower to jar as shown.

5. For label, cut a 1″x2-1/2″ from paper. Adhere stickers. Cut 8” length from jute, thread through clip and clip to label. Tie label around jar.

6. Adhere blue gems to scallop edges and crystal to center of heart.

7. Write or print jar mix instructions on remaining cardstock; cut out and glue to back of jar. recipe instructions


  • 1 2/3 cups  granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
  • 1 1/3 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4 cup  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • chopped nuts

    PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Pour brownie mix into large mixer bowl; stir. Add 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) melted butter or margarine, 2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons water and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; stir well. Spread into prepared baking pan. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar. Makes 2 dozen brownies.

by Melony Bradley

Easy handmade cards

Create easy handmade cards with the  Home + Made paper decor line called Cottage Living.  The stunningly simple card trio looks great and is very easy to make.  Use the extra little strips on the back side of the pattern paper to make a woven card.  It is nice to have a stash of cards for the unexpected.

country cottage card trio horizontal

Supplies for Easy handmade cards:

  • Home + Made – Chalkboard stickers, Gold Stickers and Country Living Paper collection, Clear Acrylic Stamps #732792
  • Cardstock
  • Paper trimmer or scissors
  • White ink
  • Acrylic Block
  • Tape Runner
  • Jute Cording
  • Button

Instructions for Easy handmade cards:

Card one – Do what you love

Do what you love card

  1. Cut card stock to 8×8 and fold in half to form a card base of 4×8.
  2. Cut pattern paper to 3.5×7.5 and adhere to front
  3. Use a contrasting pattern and cut a piece to 2×4 and adhere to the front.
  4. Stamp sentiment on card stock label.
  5. Tie jute around label and add a button to the knot.
  6. Adhere to the card front

Card Two – HI card

hi card vertical

  1. Cut card stock to 6×12 and fold in half to form a card base of 6×6.
  2. Cut pattern paper to 5.5 x 5.5 and adhere to front
  3. Cut the letters H and I from the pattern paper.  Adhere to a piece of card stock.  Trim off excess and adhere to front.
  4. Tie jute around front Panel

Card Three- I adore you

I adore you card horizontal

  1. Cut card stock to 8×6 and fold in half to form a card base of 4×6.
  2. Cut strips off back side of pattern paper sheets.
  3. Weave the strips and adhere to front
  4. Stamp sentiment onto card stock on bottom right.




See it is easy to make your own cards with a few supplies that don’t break the bank. If you like this style be sure to follow on:

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