Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
After searching for and finding the commercial, it did not disappoint. Humor me, take a peek. It still takes my breath away a little bit (refrain from commenting)...
Ah, little boys and the magic of childhood, horses, pirates n' ships...
And, yes, it's still a little humbling that my muse is a clorox commercial, but there it is.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I initially intended for these fabrics to be for a quilt for Beautiful Baby Girl, but as I worked with the fabrics, they just didn't "seem like her", if you know what I mean.
At any rate, with a family member's recent trip to Ireland (yes, we have "roots" there) serving as inspiration, I decided to applique some celtic knot designs on the blank white blocks of the quilt. Here is my modest start:
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Anyhow, the cape. I did not want a superhero cape. Or costume cape. As you can see here, what I ended up making for him could be called: "Lumberjack meets Robin Hood" or "Zoro Rides in Appalachia." Or something.
I really liked the cape pattern in a Japanese sewing pattern book, of all things, that I found online. The rest of the book hooked me in, as well, so I bought it.
The only problem is, that it's in Japanese. I don't even know the name of my pattern book. There is a small niche of enthusiastic fans of Japanese pattern books, and I'm afraid that I've joined the ranks.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Mema's Divinity Fudge
Monday, December 20, 2010
Meanwhile, the reason for this card-making session is because, while tightening down the belt on our budget, I became outraged at how fast one can blow $20 on cards, at one time, for merely 4 people for birthdays, special occasions, or whatever. And the cold, hard fact is that those witty, endearing cards are eventually going to be tossed. B/c who can save a lifetime of cards?
I have some truly great vintage wrapping paper, that my mother graciously shared with me; and this is what I chose to use for this particular card. Creative license is very freeing and in my case I did not mail this one, so dimensions did not matter; but if you wish to mail yours, keep in mind typical card sizes, so that you don't have to pay for extra postage.
Now, all you need is:
-your decorative paper of choice
-plain paper for the "liner", this what you will write or type your message on
-sewing machine or needle and thread
Cut two squares or rectangles; one from the plain paper, and one from the decorative paper. Line them up, right sides facing out, and sew. Yes, sew. Sew it up just like you would a straight seam on fabric with your sewing machine, with 1/4" seam allowance, all the way around the edges.
This must be done slowly and gently, and manually turn the dial to carefully backstitch or stitch in place to knot your threads at the starting and stopping places.
Also, you could sew by hand, with larger stitches for a more homespun look.
If you are lacking the witty or endearing comments which are the qualities that said-store-bought cards possess..."google" some online cards for ideas, which can be a great starting point to get the sentiments flowing.
And there it is for today.
Oh, and this really does not take any more time, (less actually, and less aggravation) than a trip to a store for cards. No standing in indecisive angst, squeezed into the card aisle with other impatient shoppers bumping you...
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Another descriptor that I tend to overuse is "charmed", but charmed I was, by this fabric. I ought to have taken a close-up picture so you could see better, but it's puffy, little red birdies with sprigs of pine and pinecones, and the clincher...it's flannel.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
We were deep in the throes of detailed decorating, when we noticed that one of our walls had fallen in. And one side of the roof was detaching and sliding off the structure. And the chimney refused to stay put.
It was at this time, that I determined that next year, once again I will opt for the pre-made gingerbread house kit, as this is more suiting for our skill level; and that making it from scratch could very well push me over the edge. :)
Doing the pre-made kit was a lot of fun to do with Strapping Young Lad and stress-free. Oh, and we eventually did manage to stabilize our structure.
The gingerbread man and lady were consumed shortly after this photo was taken; and I noticed today that the tree is now missing. :)) (We have a loose rule; it is acceptable to select one tasty tidbit when passing by where the gingerbread house is set..which equals into many tidbits partaken of in one day, but...we only live once. Might as well eat the gingerbread house and trimmings before it becomes rock hard.)
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
This time I rallied my spirits by taking the decoration-box to Strapping Young Lad's room. Which I might add, was well worth the effort.
It is ridiculously enjoyable doing something with someone who is so easily delighted.
Our first Christmas-touch for his room was this snowman light (a Friend made it for me! ...you know who you are...lol); which he heartily approved of.
Then of course, Strapping Young Lad needed some lights strung and a few ornaments.
And last, but certainly not least..the whole reason for the Season: A Nativity Scene
This was mine, as a child, and it's time to pass it on to Strapping Young Lad.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The three of us meandered down to the horse pasture while Baby Girl slept; to pick out a choice Christmas tree. We did have a small falling-out in the pasture, while Strapping Young Lad and I debated which tree and how many ( I was lobbying for an additional one for the porch, as well as one for Strapping Young Lad's room; which Hubby was strongly opposed to). We (Strapping Young Lad and I) did come to an agreement on a tall, slender specimen for our Christmas tree; while Hubby obligingly sawed it down. Strapping Young Lad and Hubby proceeded to dicker over who was to drag the tree (though we all know who can, and who cannot drag the tree, at this point...Strapping Young Lad was then appeased by the privilege of carrying the saw...)
And here is this year's Beauty...
It was regal and graceful in a scrappy way, until we had to cut off 3 foot of it, because where we put it is the lowest point on our ceiling.
Nevertheless, we are bound by this tree's charms. And fittingly, it is evident that Strapping Young Lad had a strong hand in ornament-placement (some branches have 3-5 ornaments; other branches are batting zero :) )...
My entire life, we have always had "Charlie Brown" (home-grown)trees. And I love them. Love, love, love. I prefer things that are "interesting" to look at, rather than "perfect."
The "Charlie Brown" tree evokes feelings for me beyond it's inherent charms..Back in the day, my beloved Dad planted hundreds of Christmas trees, with the intent of using them to help save towards his children's college funds..until the deer "nailed" them.
Those trees did not quite cut the mustard for college funding, but they sure did contribute to making every Christmas merry.
Monday, December 6, 2010
I have kept the recipe with her endearing comments intact. Let's begin, shall we...
- 1 C grapes (or one half jar)
- 2 C vodka (or brandy)(or filled to the shoulders of the jar)
- honey syrup (directions to follow): for pint jar about 1/3 c, for quart jar 3/4 cup
(in place of honey syrup) sugar syrup 3/4- 1-1/4 c (2x as much needed as the honey syrup)
Place grapes and alcohol in a tightly closed jar. Steep for 1-2 weeks; shaking jar occasionally.
After the 1-2 weeks, strain. Place grape pulp in a large piece of cheesecloth and twist to get out all the juice. Add that juice to cordial, then filter. Now, add the honey syrup/sugar syrup, to taste. Mature for two weeks (or the deep of winter). Drink. Be happy.
This last picture just about says it all (yes, you want to spend an evening at Sister J's house, don't you...), but in her words:
"The cordial, finished, smells like wild concord grapes, and is sweet...the grapes and honey came from my little piece of land, the closest thing to heaven that I've got."
How about a toast to a bit of self-sufficiency and homemade goodness. (I know what we're doing with our grapes next year...how 'bout you? :) )
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
I gave the Mennonite cookbook a rest for one round of pancake-labratory-day, and tried this recipe for Dutch Babies from AmericanProfile.com. And it was fabulous! So fabulous that I took pictures of it to blog about. (And may I add "easy". SO easy. Faster than pancakes)
Here it is, because I must share something this good and easy:
You can see how puffy it gets while baking. And you saw how flat it is in the first picture; it's perfectly normal for it to rise and then deflate quickly when it's taken out of the oven.
Also, you'll notice a great amount of butter is used. I have, thus far, successfully cut the butter amount in half and not noticed any adverse results. And don't forget the garnishes; they make it really special. I just use lemon juice out of the bottle and powdered sugar, if I don't have acceptable fruit on hand.
This is so good, it's almost more like dessert, than breakfast!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Strapping Young Lad decides we need to make a cat, just like in the book. Shortly after this announcement, he amended his decision that it is a bear (not a cat) that we "need" to make.
The last time I made a stuffed animal of any kind, I was somewhere between the ages of 5 and 10, and my mother did most of the work while I impatiently waited for my bear. This is a picture of said bear, which, amazingly, I still have. (Cool fabric, huh. Good call, Mom. But I digress...)
Here is a picture of Strapping Young Lad's and my bear-to-be...nice pattern, eh? It really was more for me to keep in mind what shape he was to be, as I started hacking fabric. Please note the careful editing done by Strapping Young Lad...Hubby had contributed an aerial view of the bear-to-be for my design purposes; but Strapping Young Lad cut that off because "it really doesn't look like a bear.", he said. (Ah, the wisdom of the Very Young.)
I wisely gave us the luxury of two-days time to complete this important project, and all involved-parties were informed that there would not be a finished bear today. So at the end of Day 1, after much cutting, pinning, and stuffing, this is what we had to show for our efforts.
Lest you be quick to judge, this is only the bear's body. Though it was at this point, I thought this evolving creature would make a very nice turtle. Nevertheless, it is a bear, not a turtle, that we set out to make; so onward we march.
Stay tuned for Part 2.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thanks for the rockin' bunny bib, Mom! (Am I the only one who frequently uses "rockin'" as a descriptor...)
Sunday, November 21, 2010
There are a bunch of free tutorials out there for making baby booties or shoes. Just "google" it.
Meanwhile, Strapping Young Lad has also been busy and informed us the other day that he's headed to Texas in his dump truck. (That's my boy...)
Hubby laughed and told him he'd fit right in with the Texans, because they like to do things "big" too.
So, if you see a sturdy, young fella in a bright yellow, slightly-beaten-up Tonka dump trunk heading south at a slow-but-steady pace..honk...he's ours... ;)
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The above picture you are looking at is Baby Girl's socks placed with precision and care somewhere interesting to Strapping Young Lad. This is part of the scenes of my everyday life that make me break out in a grin, when I happen upon them. At the time, I folded these socks and absentmind-edly set them aside to put away later.
Later never came, because I could not find them (again), until I happened upon them another day; this time they were two bright spots of turquoise in a sea of white socks in Strapping Young Lad's dresser.
That's one of my favorite things about my Lad. I frequently find little things ferreted away, tucked carefully into something he thought would be a good holder. (Hubby and I check our rubber boots before putting them on; it's not uncommon to find a tractor, sticks, or other miscellaneous stuffed into them.)
Everyday I find mini-scenes staged around the house, like the one below. Anything he touches gets "arranged."
Strapping Young Lad also enjoys being in the middle of projects (doesn't matter what: construction, cooking, sewing...any will do). I'm learning to involve him, rather than try to work around him. He is the same fellow that it's like I'm pulling his teeth to get him to color a nice picture, and yet he comes up with some very creative things, when I let him loose with something that interests him.
For example, I felt that this scrap and pin number (he made it, while I was pinning pattern pieces) was fairly creative, as well as precise. Now, you may be thinking that I should receive the "Bad Mother of the Month" award for allowing my four-year-old to play with pins, but...well, he is so exacting, and interested in tools/implements of any kind (he also retrieves tools in the garage for us, when neither Hubby nor I, know where the needed-tool is).
So I can barely get my kiddo to color, but he sure can pin-up some abstract art. :)
And there it is for today.
Monday, November 15, 2010
And I love the fabric. Turned out very nice for a dressy-dress.
I made a recent trip to Joann Fabric, and was pine-ing after a blush-pink satin for Baby Girl (which is not what I went shopping for). Now you need to understand that I have a basement full of mostly decor-weight fabric (bought from a going-out-of-business factory), that I sell on Ebay. After a brisk mental regrouping, I left Joann's without the pink satin, having decided to make something work for her dress from my basement store.
The sash, a small compromise, is made from an on-sale fabric from Joann's... "tropical linen" has metallic gold stripes. If I had it to do it over, I would gather the over-lay of tulle for a bit more pizzazz, but I'm still pleased with the creation. I didn't want the dress to be "fussy" (this time :) ), and I don't believe it is.
Also, I forced myself to try sewing with elastic thread for the first time (note the sleeves), AND it really IS as easy as the say it is. Much simpler than making a casing for the elastic and feeding it through. (Google "sewing with elastic thread" and you'll find out everything you need to know. Okay, basically, I'll just tell you...merely wind the bobbin with the elastic thread, by hand. Proceed to sew as normal; you can also use a zig zag stitch, or variation thereof, for different effects.)