December 11, 2011 § 1 Comment
It was my youngest child’s FIFTH birthday about a week ago (seriously, where did the time go?), so we did it up right with a very small party(ish) celebration just to suit her. Drawing has definitely been her thing, lately. She draws with pencils and crayons, and, sometimes, even markers that can barely squeak out their color. She draws almost constantly in the house, in the car, and even sitting in the grocery cart (if she can fit). I mean, I have to make her stop drawing in bed at night. Crazy. SO, what would be a more appropriate (and thrillingly festive) way to celebrate her birthday than a drawing party? That’s right, nothing.
We decided to go with a still-life, drawing class, style where I set up little groups of objects (dolls, squashes, etc) on a large table and they would just do their best. I changed the objects out every few minutes, for about twenty minutes, and then we ended with everyone drawing the birthday girl (who was embarrassed and loving it at the same time)! Then Vince took them all into another room where they sat, stadium style, around him, screaming out guesses as to who drew what picture. That may have been the best part.
The rest of the party went like this: we sang, had this cake, opened a few presents, and I sent all the kids (really, all cousins and siblings) home with little homemade “books” (ripped off from Angry Chicken) and a pack of crayons for their future drawing and writing needs. And, Done. It was one of the simplest, most pleasant parties we’ve had, with not too much screaming (always good) and just enough sugar and fresh packs of crayons to please everyone.
October 11, 2011 § 6 Comments
This is a shirt I sewed this summer and just now got around to posting it. I’m particularly fond of racer back tanks, and I was so proud of myself for sewing a knit (stretchy and woven) garment and having it be wearable in public (not just to sleep in).
This is a shirt I sewed three days ago…It’sn Lisette pattern number 2245, and I really like it. I just need a pair of slim cigarette pants or something to wear with it b/c it’s a boxy shirt (I love that about it, but it needs some slim accompaniment). Linen Fabric with a bit of metallic sheen. Vintage button. Photos by my 4-year-old and therefore a bit dark and fuzzy!
And these two skirts are the same pattern, Lisette number 2211, and came together really quickly. I really like the pattern and went on a bit of a sewing binge, sewing them back to back in a span of 24 hours. The first is a nice stretchy denim and the second a fine wale corduroy in a color that reminds me of butternut squash and nutmeg! Fall.
I have several more things I’m wanting to sew, but need to stop neglecting my house for a few days (toilets, laundry,clutter, hello!). I was sent a link to this project by my daughter’s awesome, first grade teacher (Hi Miss Lewis!!!) and I’m ready to take it on, but I want to find the perfect, cheap/free tank top before I experiment. But isn’t it cute? Definitely summer, but, who am I kidding? It’s still 85 degrees here and will be until some time in November or December. I can wear summer clothes nine or ten months out of the year. Soon!
Have you seen Downton Abbey ? It’s a PBS (and BBC) TV version of Gossford Park, but with much more endearing characters. It’s in its second season now. Great costumes, too.
I missed Springsteen in the eighties (elementary school), and I’m definitely a cheese ball, but I love this song! Like it or not, intense commitment is where great things begin. A great song.
September 3, 2011 § 2 Comments
I had an unfortunate immersion blender accident recently (what? it could happen to anyone!). I didn’t do any major damage, just enough to have a bulky, bandaged pointer finger on my left hand which means I’m typing with one hand. I’ll be brief:
~been making a really simple slaw (see above) that consists of shredded green cabbage, two shredded carrots, half of a red onion, a bunch of cilantro, chopped, cider vinegar (about 1/4 cup), a little honey, a squeeze of lime, and salt. You can improvise on all amounts and the liquids can be different, too: Honey and vinegar, lime and honey, lime and sesame oil (really good), etc. Cheap, light, and full of flavor. Make it for a barbecue (Labor Day?).
~sewed myself a new pillow cover that I’m not in love with, but thankfully, it’s not hard to make a new one when I get sick of it.
~made this potato “salad” recipe (love this site, by the way) and it was great. Tried making my own mayo instead of sprucing up a store-bought version (this was when I cut my finger). I’d try it their way next time. Seriously, so good. Try it.
~made a cauliflower-bacon gratin from Around My French Table that impressed me. It’s rich, so a little goes a long way. Basically, it’s this filling, no crust, and lots of cauliflower and bacon (those two things are cooked before they go into the filling). Keeper.
August 18, 2011 § 7 Comments
Today was the first day of school for my kids. Well, three of them. It was the first first for my son. After waiting an extra year b/c I was sure he wasn’t ready for all that, he finally got out of the car and waltzed (well, sort of raced his sisters so they wouldn’t be showing him where his classroom was. He KNEW!) into school. Kindergarten. I spent a lot of the day praying (truly) that there wouldn’t be a bathroom accident (otherwise known as peeing in his pants). There wasn’t (he didn’t). In fact, he came home jazzed to tell me about the class room signal for needing to go to the bathroom (crossing one’s fingers in the air). He was full of tales and excitement, loved his day, said he “think(s) it’s fun in kindergarten”, and at dinner, asked if he could say the prayer, then thanked God that he was able to go to kindergarten. Oh my goodness. I love him.
These are pictures of the messenger bags I made them. I know it’s hard to see detail, but it was all I was able to snap in our rush out the door this morning. Henry: stripes. June: horses (oh my, that fabric. But she loves horses, so…). And Aiden: floral. I’m pretty happy with them, but probably happiest that I made them using only materials I already had. Oh, the satisfaction. I figure I probably only have a couple more years, if that, where they want me to make their bags for school, so I’m reveling in it.
I modified the pattern found here.
- I find this very inspiring.
- My sister-in-law, Elena, turned me on to soaking oatmeal and I’m into it. I can do it at night, warm it in the morning, serve my kids something warming and healthy for breakfast, and still be on time for school. Excellent.
- I found a “squirrel lady” to rehab Scotty (yes, that’s our pet squirrel). Apparently she will raise him to squirrel adulthood and then let him go. I’m for it. I’m pretty sure the best time to keep a wild animal is in its infancy.
- Read this book and really liked it. Currently reading this one and I’m intrigued, but not sure yet.
August 8, 2011 § 6 Comments
…I’ve been enjoying this recipe over and over again. Our orange tomatoes from the garden make an even more colorful dish. I officially need a tart pan.
…looking forward to seeing Josh Ritter (in November. Long term goals, people). I can’t get enough of this version of “Thin Blue Flame”.
…cooking out of Kim Boyce’s book Good To the Grain. Amazing whole wheat chocolate chip cookies! I’m going to post the recipe soon if I can get a picture of them before they are gobbled up! They’re shocking…really.
…working on making three little messenger bag/backpacks for my back to school kids. This may stretch into next week too! I need to get working…
What about you? What are you up to in the last few weeks of summer?
June 19, 2011 § 4 Comments
I made this recently as a gift for some friends that are having their first baby, and I’m kind of in love with the pattern. It’s called the Itty Bittty Baby Dress and you can download it for free here. It’s a pattern for newborns, so it’s super small. But it’s so cute (!) and takes about half a yard of material (minus the piping). It might be my new “standard” baby girl present.
(Thanks to Aiden’s hand for holding it up in the photo)
Also, it didn’t come with a pattern for a diaper cover, but I like it when baby dresses have those with them, so I downloaded this pattern and made it in the same material to match the dress. Both of these sites are FULL of help for beginning sewers as well as good, clear tutorials. Highly recommended.
May 31, 2011 § 4 Comments
Summer has come. The heat has set in (90′s on a regular basis), we’re swimming pretty much every day, and the winter-ish clothes have been boxed up and put away (a HUGE deal for me)! I’m happy to see summer come, but it always comes with the revelation that there’s a lack of clean, crisp, new clothing. Everything in my closet looks and feels heavy once that heat gets here. Shorts are even a bit hot.
So, for the last week or so I’ve been working on sewing some clothes for myself that feel neither hot nor skimpy (another dilemma as I get a bit older). I used to think I couldn’t sew clothes more inexpensively than I could buy them from Target, but I’ve found that as long as the material is on sale and I only buy patterns on sale (99 cents a piece!), sewing is tough to beat on the money front. Aside from the money, I really enjoy the challenge of learning to sew with a little more skill. It’s fun to become proficient in a skill. Plus, I enjoy watching something flat become something 3 dimensional. It almost feels like sculpture.
So, here’s the beginnings of a summer wardrobe on a budget:
- Chambray linen skirt, seen above (using this pattern). I love this material and want to make a shirt out of it soon. Hancock Fabrics.
- Skirt made from an old dress (same pattern as the first skirt). My dress was a maxi dress and had tons of material in the skirt. It was ripe for a re-fashion.
- T-shirt dress from Butterick pattern#5211. Fabric from Hancock (I think this one is out of print, but I’m sure you could find something almost identical in another of the big pattern brands: Vogue, Simplicity, or McCall’s). This dress is my first knit wear attempt and knits are definitely a different beast. It’s wearable, but has some issues (waffling hemlines, anyone?). Still, I’m glad I ventured into knits. No comments on my man hands!
- And, finally, a little bias cut shirt that is so comfortable and easy that I think I’m making about five more as soon as I can. I know it’s pretty mom-ish, but I love it for some reason! Maybe for THAT reason. It’s so apple pie and baseball. Oh. And the darts are actually in the right place when I have a proper undergarment on and not a swimsuit (we were on our way to the lake!). It’s Burda Style #7509 and I found both the material and pattern at Hancock Fabrics.
How about you guys? Are you doing any sewing these days? I’d love to hear!