Monday, February 28, 2011

my latest undertaking

C's cousin is due in April and I decided I would make some gifts. 
This would be my first attempt at baby bibs, as most everything in the
sewing department is new to me.  In January, K and I had three-2 hour lessons
on how to use/care our machine from the Husqvarna-Viking lady and the rest
has been "self-taught" through these fabulous online tutorials.

Without them, I'd truly be lost.

I found this great tutorial over at Sew, Mama, Sew! courtesy of Made By Rae

~Note: this is my version based off of Rae's, so it varies from hers and I'll tell you the things I learned from altering it and how I'll do things differently on the next go round.
*Caution:  this is NOT a tutorial.  It's just a little bird's eye view into my world at the moment.
I'm really not qualified for any tutorials yet!

Here's my go at it...

First off, I didn't have any chenille, terrycloth, or minkee.  Anxious to start, I decided to go with some regular 'ol fabric on the front - brown polka dot, and back - bright green, sandwiched in between - a layer of leftover white felt I had lying around.  I know, I know.  It's not ideal but I had it on hand and well, I was gonna use it, dag on it!  And so I did.

I cut out the pattern and fabric using Rae's dimensions.

At this point, I decided to change things up a bit.
Instead of sewing snaps on, I decided to attach pearl snaps using a  
plier kit by Prym Creative.  I picked these up at Wal-Mart, see pricing below.

Since, I'm using these snaps, next, I made the decision to try some bias tape
along the edges.  Something else I've never tried but, I'm gonna give it my best.
With all that being said, I will be sewing these right sides out.

If the thought of snaps scares the pants off you,

Snaps are really easy once you try a few practice runs.
Here's the first little pearl snap installed.  Cute, isn't she?

Per C's suggestion, I also decided to move the snaps on the front (polka dot fabric)
in 1.75 inches, instead of one inch to create more of a puckering effect on the pocket.

Next time, on the pocket area, I will "bell out" the fabric to account
for the gap on the edges of the pocket shown above.  The snaps on the back
stayed the same as Rae's, being one inch from the bottom and each side.

Here's my almost finished project.  I'll be picking up some bias tape tomorrow,
so I'll post photos of the final project later this week.
If it doesn't turn out well, I'll cheat you with some of the next bib, sewed to perfection.
Nah, I'll show you anyway, just so you can see what lessons I've learned.

A breakdown of my spending...
brown polka dot fabric, remnant bin - $3.81
bright green fabric, remnant bin - $0.31
pliers kit - $9.97
2 pkgs. of 12 pearl snaps, totaling 24 - $2.97 each.
Total = $20.03

Sounds like a lot but, I have more fabric and supplies left over.
So, you know me, I'll be looking for more projects.
And, C has already requested bibs as a gift for a friend.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


This has been the scene for the last 12 days.
Friday, the medicine kicked in and he was on the mend.
Thank heavens.  it's been a looooooooong two weeks.

Sabbath (n.) sab-uh th
- meaning Sunday, first day of the week; time of worship and day of rest.

Showers.  Pancakes.  Sunday school.  Church.  Leftover chinese.

Newest addition.
Eight months old.
Sweet as pie.
Cute as a button.
Walker coonhound.

Time to train the hound.

Daisy likes chickens a little too much.
And our girls are curious birds.
Bad combination.

These.  I love.

Seventy degrees.  Kids playing outside.
The old maple.  Creek.  Bikes.  Sandbox.
~ A perfect Sunday ~

Thursday, February 17, 2011

just a regular day

In an effort to do more photographing.
I attempted to journal our day.

Nothing grand, just a regular day.

Despite being home with a fever,
he had some good times with Max.


Couldn't pass up the 68 degree weather!
Love to know what's manifesting all the smiles and giggles.

 Some of us could've used a nap.

It's a weakness, can't ever resist a chicken bum.
Makes me want to grab some fluffy feathers.

A warm spring-like day wouldn't be complete without tree climbin' .

Then, C made Upside Down Apple Pie.
He's the best!
(Although, his baking was motivated by his own hankering for apple pie,
all the love was pointed in my direction.)
Too bad it's going upside down.

Mmmmmmm, still looks just as lovely.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

feeling a bit lackluster

I was reading Kelle Hampton's post today and couldn't help but feel like I was in the same boat.  Lately, I've felt uninspired, unproductive and anti-photographic.  I have been baking and cooking up a storm, which I love, but at times, honestly is exhausting.  I've done absolutely no sewing and hardly any photographing.

I.  am.  tired. 

To top it off,  weather's messing with my head, giving me serious headaches. 

Sewing...when it comes to making things, I am not so much about originals but, duplication.  I am inspired by the things that other people make - their tutorials, especially.  Then, I reproduce and alter according to my own liking and judgment.

Photograhy.  Plainly put, I really haven't picked up my camera much at all.  A few clicks here and there, but nothing to brag about.

Sent this to L the other day, did a portrait of her husband (minus the big ears, red nose, and unkempt hair)...

L:  "OMG, you need to join a garden club, or something!!!"

Ah, cooking.  In light of C's request - STOP - he wanted to make it but, it would've taken too long to prepare after he'd gotten in from work and I felt he was anxious to try it.  So, last night, I made the recipe below from America's Test Kitchen per his craving.  I promise, you can make it on the weekend next time.  It was simple, just takes a while in the oven.

*a couple of quick notes - first, absolutely do NOT use chops that are less than 1 inch thick and secondly, a fat separator makes quick work of defatting the sauce(Their words not mine.  defatting.  hee hee.  sounds funny, huh?)  Also, I used apple juice since apple cider season is over.
photo from America's Test Kitchen

Cider-Braised Pork Chops
6 bone-in blade-cut pork chops, about 1 inch thick
salt & pepper
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup apple butter
1 cup apple cider
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 300 degrees.  Pat chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in dutch oven (I used a braiser) over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Brown chops in two batches, about 4 minutes per side, transfer to plate.

Pour off all but 1 tbsp. fat from pot and cook onion over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic, flour and 2 tbsp. apple butter.  Cook until onions are coated and mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in cider and thyme, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, bring to a boil.  Add browned chops and any accumulated juices to pot, cover and transfer to over.  Braise until chops are completely tender, about 1.5 hours.  Transfer chops to serving platter.  Strain juice, then use a shallow spoon (or fat separator) to skim off fat.  Whisk in vinegar, parsley, and remaining apple butter.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve, passing sauce at table (I chose to douse the chops with it.  Come on, do it!  Passing sauce is for weenies!)

Mmm, homemade mashed potatoes with lots of butter and cream, some salt, pepper, and fresh parsley made a great accomplice.  Yum, quite lovely to look at too. 

Kudos to C for selecting this!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

3.14159265 + es

Doing this before I forget -
which cookbook I used.
which recipe I used. 
to post this at all.

My apologies, I do not have pictures of these pies.
You know I like pictures.
Was frantically baking on Friday morning
and just didn't take the time to photograph.

First, a little 'splainin'...
this recipe is the one my 95-year old grandfather uses.
And yes, he still cooks and bakes.  Amazing, isn't he?
It is the one my grandma used
and so my loyalty is to it until I dare to try another.

(*Note: he says to use "not quite" a 1/2 cup of cocoa, you can do as you choose.)
As for me, I trust his advice.
He's the sweets man in our family and after 95 years,
why shouldn't I trust him?
With this exception, everything else is typed word for word.

Chocolate Pie
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
(not quite) 1/2 cup cocoa
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
a pinch of salt
1 pie shell

Have ingredients at room temperature.  Cream butter and sugar and salt with cornstarch.  Add cocoa and eggs and beat.  Blend in milk and vanilla.  Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes and reduce temperature to 350 and bake an additional 25 minutes or until done but, still soft in center of top.  Note: The secret to this delicious pie is in mixing the ingredients well.
Recipe by:  Mrs. Eugene Estes (Laura Smith)

This next recipe, I used on a whim.
Do you know how hard it is to find a recipe for pecan pie?
I think in the south they expect you to be born and bred
with this recipe ingrained in your genes.
It is literally one of two recipes for pecan pie
that I could find in my collection of 25+ cookbooks!
Sorry, getting off subject, as usual.

I slightly altered this recipe and typed it accordingly.

Pecan Pie
1 unbaked pie crust
4 large eggs
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
a pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup pecan halves, optional

Beat eggs and next 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Stir in chopped pecans; pour into crust.  Arrange pecan halves on top, optional.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
Source:  Southern Living - 30 Years of Our Best Recipes (copyright 2000)

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

my culinary protege assists

Spent the morning baking cakes and pies for church.

One Superfudge cake.
Two pecan pies.
Two chocolate pies.

~ Man on the scene ~
Can I help?
Yes, you may.

So, he alternates flour and milk.
Then, pours in the extracts.
Batter goes into the pan.
The untidy face afterwards is

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

the sickly and the sleeping

At home today.
Feeling a bit under the weather. 
Hoping to rest up and recoup before
the big class field trip tomorrow to the Post Office. 
He doesn't want to miss it and
I always love their unique little walking trips.

So, it's a day of movies and quiet time...

For everyone...

Can I just say that Kolby cat is my favorite to photograph?
Rarely does he move or even blink.
And he's so darn cute with his raccoon-ringed face
and little white streak on his forehead.

On the other hand, we were so excited to mail this out yesterday to Miss J in NY.

I altered the design by Roots and Wings Co.
and put a couple of buttons on the storage flap in the back,
just because it's fun and I can!


I also worked on the summer scarf tutorial by Dana Willard yesterday.
I must say, I was a little disappointed with my work.
Being the rebel that I am, I decided I would use regular-weight cotton fabric,
instead of the recommended seersucker or linen.
bad idea.
The fabric didn't gather enough to look like anything impressive.
So, now I have this extremely long ruffle
that I have yet to decide what to do with.

Lesson learned - follow the directions!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

recent past and run of the mill

I took these photos back in December, when C was servicing his cousin's kids' four wheelers but, somehow, they never managed to make it here.  I wanted to share them anyway, now's as good a time as any.

So, now, before you gasp because these children have no helmets, let me do a little splainin', Lucy...I glanced this through the window and then went out, hoping to catch a few photos.  I didn't agree with the situation but, the man's machine had the governor turned as low as it would go.  So, I thought, OK, maybe a short ride.  He managed, afterall, to fall off after going over a little bump in the yard.  Lesson learned - Evil Knievel is the one who needs the safety equipment at all times.  Yes, this then, scared the pants off of me and my heart rose to my lips and sank to my stomach, all at the same time.  I was mad as a hornet  because I hadn't put a stop to these shenanigans sooner.  Needless to say, the four-wheeders, as he calls them, were put away until the cousins came to pick them up.

Same day, different subject. 

This is a man with a fan club here, folks.   He is the most loved dog in the world.  Yet, feared the most by the ones who do not know him.  They should be fearful of the small one, seriously.

Fierce looking, isn't he?  Or sleepy?

Don't be fooled, this big lush of an American Bulldog is THE biggest baby in the world!  He is our 75-lb. wanna be lap dog.  Known as "K's dog", he and the man grew up together as babies - their birthdays being a month apart, and still enjoy their excursions together.  He endured the man's biting phase and lived to tell about it.  No joke.  He was bitten on the ear. the tail.  and his paws.  and never so much as winced.  He is everyone's best friend.

He even lets the rat terrier boss him around sometimes. 

So, there you have it. 

An uneventful weekend. 

No photos. 

I spent most of it cleaning, cooking, sewing the Valentine tic-tac-toe games, and relaxing.  Last night, C streamed ARN - The Knight Templar through the Wii.  And, despite it being a foreign film, I'm not a fan of most foreign films, it was rated 4 out of 5 stars and was surprisingly good!

Have a fantastic week!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Completed, ongoing, and projected endeavors

I told you I'd be back, with pics...

K and I were so excited about these...can you ever really have too many pjs?! 


Flannel fabric from the remnant bin = $1.50
Elastic = $1.47
Twill Tape (drawstring) = $1.27
Total = $4.24!

Then, you know who had to have some too - Thomas the Train, they had to be, he said.  And so we made them...

(I love the patience of our subjects and this photo says it all - on the move!)

I used a combination of two online tutorials to make these jammies.  This one.  And - OK, the other one, I cannot find.  I will add, that this lady is a little long winded and difficult for me to understand, completely my opinion - you, on the other hand, might find nothing wrong with her tutorial.  I need simple instructions with pictures, so you can definitely find easier tutorials if you're looking but, I had to give her credit.  Thanks lady!

Next, the man and I decided to make these felt envelopes for his classmates from this tutorial from Roots and Wings Co....

They turned out well...and yes, one day, I will get down and serious about taking those photography classes so I don't end up with wonky photos like this one.  I'm obviously doing something wrong because I adjusted my settings per Beth and I still got this.  (OK, so, I remembered SOME of what she said, not all of it.  Guess I need to read that email again, huh?  I'm feeling a little disarrayed today.  You can tell, huh?)  I told her my sewing area is very well lit but, I don't know, dag on it.  I'll go back and read the email, she probably left more instructions than I can remember.

I made the stripe-y one a week ago and this morning at Jo-Ann's, I found this fabulous "hen house" pattern that I absolutely couldn't put down.  I wasn't too excited that the latter was a little more mustard-y than I had expected but, I am partial to chickens.  So, it's a keeper!

The pillow tutorial is SUPERB! and extremely easy, courtesy of Raechel Myers.  So, easy that, newly 10 year old, K made her own pillow with a little help from moi.

We are getting ready to start this...

...courtesy of these ladies again.

And this tutorial by Dana Willard...

So, that's about it.  I made a cover with a pocket for the FoodSaver but, no pics for that.  I might get around to showing it one day.  And we're making a couple more of these as gifts.  To be honest, I'm kinda sick of 'em.  They're cute as all get-out but, we've made a few and I just need a break from 'em!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I have been so busy in the last two weeks.
I will not recap, it'd be way too long - you and I both know it.

I have been sewing away.
I will try to post some pics tomorrow but, I'm not promising.

On that note, I must tell you about this place.
I was overwhelmed with all of the gorgeous fabric there.
For me, it's definitely a place where you already have to have in mind
what you're going for and they re-upholster furniture. 
We saw some of their work, ready to be picked up, nice!

I will tell you that as I was driving over some homemade lasagna, salad, and blackberry wine cake to my grandparents, I saw a beautiful winter sunset and couldn't help but thank God for the gorgeous day (with 64 as the high!  Can you even believe it?!  Wow!)
The sky was blue and purple with fluffy cotton candy pink clouds.
There were well-defined pink trails where jets had flown threw, breaking up the blueish-purple sky and it was absolutely stunning!

Also, another high for the day.
While I was waiting to pick up Caleb, I sat in my car reading.
It's one of those frugal movement things - saves gas if I stay in town.
At the 2.5 hour mark, I couldn't hack it anymore, I had to do something.
I'd already run errands and gotten groceries the day before.
So, I ran over to Target where I scored an entire outfit, completely on clearance!
Cute trousers = $17.50 (not exactly a bargain but, hey!)
Cute Sweater = $5.00
Cute Slip-ons = $4.98

I absolutely hate clothes shopping, with a passion!
So for me, this was outstanding!
You see, nothing ever fits right,
I have obscenely long legs and arms.  
Nothing ever fits in the waist that is long enough for the legs.
SO, if you buy a smaller size, the smaller the appendages are.
I'm in no way bragging but, I wear an XS or S in shirts,
and pants just depend on the brand but, they have to be LONG.
Neither set of limbs can find a good length of fabric.
All in all, it makes for an extremely frustrating shopping trip.
And my mom doesn't understand this at all.

Tomorrow, I will start a new book, as I finished another today.
My mom secretly got this as a gift and had it autographed at the 2010 3-Day.
She surprised me with it at Christmas and I can't wait to get into it.

Then, I have a laser appointment.  Oh joy.
I tell myself  it will be worth it soon!
I can handle 5 minutes or so of zaps.

See you tomorrow. or Friday. or the weekend?
Thanks for stickin' around, I'll try not to be gone for so long this time.