Week #4 ~ Stitch’n Style Handbag Blog Hop CAL

Today starts Week 4 of our Stitch’n Style Handbag CAL. This week is hosted by Janaya of Charmed by Ewe so head on over to her blog to get the instructions for the sides and handles of the bag. Let’s have fun! Next week is the final reveal! ~Maria~

If you haven’t joined the event yet, there’s still time, just head on over to the event page and join.




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Maria’s Shellfish Delight

My family loves seafood and living on an island we are privileged with an abundance of fresh shellfish year round. I made this tasty dish for my husband’s birthday dinner with the fresh seafood we picked up during our trip to the Hamptons on Saturday. Accuracy of quantities and measures are not really important for this recipe, it is more about the method and using ingredients you like and that you have fun making it and eating it. :)  ~Maria~



Maria’s Shellfish Delight

Serves 8

  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped (I like vidalia)
  • 4 – 8 garlic cloves minced (we like a lot of garlic, but if you don’t, use less or take it out all together)
  • 1 cup of chorizo cut into 1/4″ cubes – we like Portuguese chorizo but if you don’t or can’t find it you can substitute prosciutto, ham or even bacon – it’s about the salt and a little fat
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 red and 1 green bell pepper cut in half horizontally and then sliced into 1/2″ strips
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 lbs of mussels cleaned
  • 2 dozen little neck clams cleaned
  • 1/2 – 3/4 lb of shrimp shelled, cleaned and deveined
  • chopped italian parsley

Tip: To clean the clams and mussels, I take off any “beard” they may have and then scrub the shells with a hard brush. I then place them in a bowl with ice water and add a about a tablespoon of corn meal. The theory is they eat the cornmeal and spit out the sand they are holding inside the shells. I don’t know if it is true or not, but I do know that I never have a problem with crunching into grains of sand when I’m eating my shellfish! You should buy the shellfish as close to serving as possible and always keep it properly refrigerated until ready to cook.


  1. In a heavy pot (I like my cast iron dutch oven) sautee the onion in the olive oil till slightly translucent.
  2. Add the chorizo and render down, then add garlic and cook for a minute or two being careful not to burn the garlic
  3. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to season the and and cook them at medium heat until they break down and thicken slightly
  4. Turn up the heat to medium high, add the peppers and cook for about 1 minute
  5. Add the wine, and clams and mussels and cover for about 5 minutes or until the clams and muscles just start to open (do not over cook)
  6. Add the shrimp, cover and cook until they are pink (do not over cook)

Sprinkle the parsley over the top when ready to serve. I serve it right in the pot with a simple garden salad on the side and some crusty bread to dunk in the sauce created by the wine, tomatoes and shellfish juices.



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Sometimes, It’s NOT About Crochet

I love to crochet and most of the time that’s what I do to relax, but there are times when my other “loves” tug at me for a turn too. So, today’s post is NOT about crochet!  ~Maria~


I find that when I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed (as I have been lately) there is nothing that grounds and soothes me more than returning to the favorite places and activities of my youth.

I love to drive (a little too fast I’m told) with the music blasting my favorite rockers and pop musicians; I love the beach and water and, I love good food. Living on Long Island their is no shortage of windy roads to conquer, sandy beaches and beautiful marinas and certainly there is an abundance of fresh farm produce and fish to grace any table.

Today my husband and I decided to celebrate his birthday and give me a much needed break, with a trip to one of our favorite places — the Hamptons. Now I’m sure you’ve heard of the celebrity laden Hamptons, with their fancy parties and beachfront mansions, but that’s not the Hamptons I love. My Hamptons has a pedestrian filled Main Street lined with little shops,  casual and quaint restaurants along the water where you can get fresh, simply prepared local fare that tastes amazing, and the beautiful miles of farms, vineyards and beaches with spectacular sunsets.

IMG_4664First, we cranked up the tunes and headed toward the beaches. We chose the smaller, windy roads in lieu of the highways because they are more scenic (and secretly I like them because they are more fun to drive ). We spent the afternoon sitting quietly on the beach enjoying the crash of the waves on the shore and gazing at the beautiful cloud formations in the sky (well, I read, he napped, but you get the picture).


Later we strolled the shops in town, window shopping here and there (hand and hand -awww) and then headed to Montauk for some fresh shellfish for tomorrow’s dinner (more on that to follow). To finish the day we returned to East Hampton and ate dinner at the marina, perched at the edge of the second floor deck where we enjoyed our food while watching the boats sail in and out.  After dinner we sat on the boat deck to watch a spectacular sunset and the fireworks on the bay (an unexpected surprise). The ride home was quiet as we reflected on the peaceful day and listened to the music of our favorite Long Island Boy – Billy Joel <3.

A wonderful day spent with my husband – Happy Birthday honey :)IMG_1194IMG_1190




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New Crochet Pattern – Sea Breeze Slippers

I really love the look of houndstooth fabric AND I love the classic combination of black and white AND I love the summer Espadrilles of my youth…put them all together and you get the Sea Breeze Slipper! The pattern is written in women’s sizes US 5 -11, but it is easy to adjust if you need some modifications.  I worked them up in worsted cotton yarn, but they will look great in any fiber. ~Maria~

If you like these slippers, please add them to your favorites on Ravelry!

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Find the pattern in my Ravelry shop at the special release price through Saturday, July 19th (midnight eastern time).


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FAN-tastic Friday Review #21

Here are the fabulous projects shared in last week’s FAN-tastic Friday. Keep sharing your fabulous work!

Don’t forget to join us each Friday to share your own work! Send me your project pictures (and if you like, a little story) in email at ThePatternParadise@gmail.com or post to my Facebook page!

The top 3 viewed projects:


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The #1 viewed project this week were these super adorable hats by Carolina from One and Two Company. You can find the pattern here.

The #2  viewed project this week was this gorgeous baby jacket stitched up by Wendy from  The Hooked Haberdasher.  The pattern is designed by Thomasina Cummings and you can find the pattern here.

#3 is a houndstooth slipper stitched by Janaya from Charmed by Ewe. The pattern is by Pattern Paradise and will be released later this week.


Here are the other FAN-tastic projects shared, in no particular order:

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For all that participated, thank you for sharing and don’t forget to grab your link up button here:  FF Link Button See our FAN-tastic board on Pinterest too! ________________________________________________________________

Join us for FAN-tastic Friday every Friday and share your projects too, it’s easy, just….
Post your project or send me a private message on my Facebook page
Send me an email at: thepatternparadise@gmail.com
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Tips, Tricks and Techniques – Who Says You Can’t Take It With You?

If you are like me, you take your crochet everywhere, just in case there are a few minutes somewhere in your day where you can work just one more row in your project …. perhaps while waiting for an appointment, or watching a little league game, or……..


To organize crochet supplies for travel, I use a toothbrush holder and clear makeup case. Place your hooks in the toothbrush holder to keep them clean and safe. Add other essentials such as a ruler, scissors and other small supplies. I made a small crocheted pad where I keep pins, stitch markers, and my yarn needles too. Don’t forget hand lotion to keep your skin soft.

Place everything in the makeup case and GO!

~ Maria~

   Vacation tip #2


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