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Archive for January, 2011

Sometimes it is the little things in life that you just have to stop for a moment and appreciate. 

Hubby made chocolate sauce today.  This is a fairly normal occurence.  But take a look at the bottle he found to store it in.

 Chocolate syrup, or top-secret potion?   Perhaps when I think he is making chocolate sauce he is really brewing some kind of secret elixer….I know I will smile whenever he takes it out of the fridge. 

What little thing made you smile today?

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The Recipe Box

I have been meaning to make a page with links to recipes on the blog for a while, and today, thanks to another snow day, I took the time to do it.   If you click on the “Recipe Box” tab on the top of the blog you will now be able to see all of my recipes, categorized and in alphabetical order.  (I did not realize until today just how many recipes there were!)   

If you happen to be looking at some of the recipes and discover a link that doesn’t work (most likely taking you to the wrong recipe), please let me know and I will fix it.  I have also linked my recipe page to the Recipe Index Roundup at orgjunkie.com.  Check it out for lots of great recipe links!  Enjoy!

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Boho Bag, Take Two

I finished another Sew Fun Boho Bag.  I have to say again how much I enjoyed this pattern and I can’t wait to show off my new bag!

I am absolutely in love with this fabric.  The light is “Honey Bush Blue” and the dark is “Dream Right Navy” both from the Tea Garden line by Dena Designs.   The dark is home dec. weight, which gives some nice strength to the bag. 

The bag is slightly smaller than the original pattern, but perfect for the things I take to work with me each day.  Except that I haven’t used it yet.  Because I am afraid to get it dirty.  And I know it will, because it is a rare thing to take anything to school (including myself!) and not get a little spot of something somewhere.  (and when I taught preschool I didn’t always want to know what that “something” was….sometimes it is better just not knowing these things….) 

Perhaps tomorrow will be the day it makes its debut….

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   I have completed my first UFO of the year!  I had grand plans to finish one of the big quilts this month, but after opening the shop and then making the top and the dress, I found the month was quickly getting away from me! 

So I chose a small UFO to finish.  It was one I actually didn’t know I had until I opened a drawer looking for something else, and there it was.  This was another unfinished project of my grandmother’s (those UFO’s do like to travel) and I had obviously tucked it away because at the time I didn’t know how to finish it. 

This is what it looked like straight out of the drawer.

I can see why she abandoned it.  The final border is so stretched and crooked that it would definitely bunch up and wrinkle if you tried to quilt this and add binding.  The whole think looked like it was in need of a good iron.

I soon discovered why….

The quilt was made with the foundation technique (like paper piecing but using interfacing instead of paper).  My grandmother must have been low on supplies because she used fusible interfacing on this one – sticky side down.  Which meant that when I went to iron down the seams, all I got was a sticky mess on the bottom of my (brand new) iron.  I turned it over and did the best I could from the front.

Then I removed the border.  It was broadcloth, too thin and flimsy to help this quilt keep its shape.  Luckily I also inherited my grandmother’s fabric stash along with the UFOs and was able to find a matching fabric for the border. 

I quilted around the hat, quilt, and inside border, and used another matching fabric for the binding.

I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out.  I wish my grandmother could see her work and mine combined!  (Although she might give me a lecture on how quilting by machine isn’t really quilting at all so perhaps it’s just as well…. 🙂  )

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Thank you all so much for your encouraging comments about my shop.  I feel blessed to know you all, even if it is only through the words we type on our screens.  Yesterday I even made my first sale!! 🙂  The shop has already opened some creative doors for me and started some projects that I am really excited about.  I can’t wait to see what will happen next!

I have also been squeezing in some time to work on a few more clothing items for myself.  I got really brave and attempted another Ottobre pattern in a knit.  This is the Lana dress from the Autumn/Winter 2010 issue, paired with a store-bought shirt.

Once again I found the extra work in the Ottobre patterns to be worth the effort.  I did have to look up an online tutorial for pintucks, and had the extra hurdle that none of my marking pens would write on this dark, stretchy fabric (I used pins to mark the tucks) but I am really pleased with how this turned out. 

I have also fallen in love with cotton voile.  I have been eyeing Anna Maria Horner’s voile fabrics for a while, but found them to be cost prohibitive until Sew, Mama, Sew had a big sale before Christmas.  I bought 1/2 yard of “Maybe Sixpense” from Anna Maria’s Innocent Crush line and made a scarf by folding the fabric in half and stitching around the edges (easy peasy).  I love this  fabric!  It is so soft and silky, and I think it is the perfect complement to this dress. 

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Facing Fears – Etsy Shop

Thank you for all of your supportive comments on my post about facing my fear of driving.  I certainly felt encouraged by all of your comments, and was amazed at just how many of you also had to face a similar fear!  I look forward to the day that I can share with you all that I do indeed have my license!

This has been a month for facing fears and taking on new challenges.  I really love to sew and would love to somehow turn this passion into more than just a hobby.  Selling my items at a local store unfortunately didn’t work out (I actually lost money on that venture as some of my merchandise was stolen.  I do like to think, though, that somewhere a little child is playing with my handmade toys, whether they were paid for or not….)  So, putting aside the fear that perhaps no one will ever buy anything (isn’t it horrible the way we can beat ourselves up and put the brakes on a venture before even really trying?) I have re-opened my Etsy shop. 

You can find my shop here

I have come a long way since I first tried to open a store almost two years ago.  I am much more focused in the work I want to sell.  I am much more confident in who I am as a sewer/designer/artist.   I am already loving being a part of the Etsy community and have met some really wonderful shop owners (and my wish list grows longer and longer…)   🙂    After being featured in a few treasuries I even came up with one of my own

I hope you will take a look at my store.  And while you are there, be sure to check out some of the other beautiful artists and crafters as well.  You will be inspired. 

What about you? Are you facing fears and embarking on new challenges this year?

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Good Morning Waffles

I have been working at cooking smarter lately.  I still love cooking from healthy, local, ingredients.  I still avoid canned, prepared and packaged foods.  But I am trying to become a better meal planner.  To organize meals around common ingredients to make weekly preparation simpler and to do most of the prep. work on the week-end so that there is less to do (and less dishes to wash) on busy weekday evenings.

So far, it is working well.  I have discovered some great new recipes.  We are eating dinner at an earlier hour most nights.  And there is always leftovers to take to work for lunches.

My freezer is also full of hearty breakfast options.  I am the kind of person that is hungry the minute I wake up and I need to eat a good breakfast or my stomach starts to growl long before lunchtime (which my students think is funny but I don’t find so amusing!)

I have tried out a few waffle recipes but this is my favourite so far.  It is adapted from the recipe entitled “Mom’s Breakfast Waffles” from the book Don’t Panic, Dinner is in the Freezer

Good Morning Waffles

  • 3 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat, 1 cup spelt and 1 cup whole white wheat flour)
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2/3 cup melted butter

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl beat the eggs well, until light and bubbly (I love combining cooking with a workout and use a wire whisk for this job, but if you want to save your arm feel free to use an electric mixer).  Stir milk and vanilla into the eggs.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat again until well-blended.   Stir in the melted butter.

Add about 1/2 cup waffle mixture to your waffle iron (or whatever works for your iron) and cook until nicely browned.

I learned from this book that if you want to freeze your waffles, you should slightly undercook them to avoid drying them out when you reheat.

These waffles were great hot from the iron, and also nice reheated in the toaster oven from frozen.  I served mine with yogurt and peaches, but they would be wonderful with syrup as well. 

 

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