KCWC: Sunday

I am looking forward to starting my first Kids Clothing Week Challenge over at Elsie Marley.  So today I am going to spend some time cleaning up the sewing room and organizing my fabric and patterns.

Hopefully, some of these projects will be completed:

Sewing for boys, Two-in-One Jacket

Handmade Beginnings, Baby-in-the-Hood Jacket

Baby Hats for Ryan

Several pairs of jammies!

What are you hoping to accomplish?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Handmade Birthday Gifts: First Birthday!

This year we started having enough friends with kids to be invited to a fair number of birthday parties.  Our own philosophy with toys is that less is more.  I don’t want my house to look like a child care center, and it seems that the more toys there are the less the kids actually play with them.  They just all get dumped on the floor and where is the imagination in that?  So I think really hard about what would be a good gift to give a friend’s child, because honestly, once that toddler opens up the package and sees what’s inside- it’s theirs.  Even if you absolutely hate it.  So here are my picks for handmade birthday gifts!

One years old: Finger paints, paper, and a handmade smock or apron.

Your one year old is finally sitting up at the table and interested in trying new things.  They already paint with their squash so why not let them make some art you want to keep around?  Plus, this totally satisfies the proud grandparents and their need for refrigerator love.

I have posted before some smock ideas, and some easy ways to draft your own pattern for a reversible smock.  I will post up a tutorial once I can find the time and sunshine to photograph it!  For this gift I used a pattern from Homespun Threads.  It is the Little Chef Pattern and it sews up like a charm in no time at all.  It really is the simplest of patterns, but when you choose a special fabric, or some embellishments like embroidery or trim it really becomes something so much nicer that you could ever pick up at Target.  The apron itself uses very little fabric so it’s great for using up those less than 1 yard pieces of fabric you have left over after you finally cut into one of those special fabrics in your stash.  I think that it would also be darling in patchwork- a great scrap buster for sure.  In fact, if I make another one, this will likely be the route I take.  Unless I complete it the morning of the birthday party.  Ahem.

Here is some apron link love for inspiration, tutorials, or patterns!  Enjoy!

Free Reversible Smock Pattern

Free Little Chef Pattern

Art Smock Tutorial

Newborn dress to toddler apron refashion

Child’s size chef apron

Ruffled child’s apron

Child’s Ruffled Art Smock

Oilcloth Art Smock

Vintage “Smocket”

Posted in Sewing for Kids, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The comeback.

Well, as you know, I have been away from the blog for about a year.  It was a pretty sudden departure, one made without too much thought.  I was pregnant and tired, and feeling overwhelmed.  I developed some complications during the pregnancy that ultimately prevented me from even engaging in activities of daily living.  Unfortunately, those complications persisted after delivery and things are still pretty difficult around here.

I have been thinking about the comeback since Ryan’s birth in May.  I have been going over the pros and the cons, the nitty gritty of why I want to blog and what I hope to accomplish if I come back.  Depending on the week, I could be convinced either way.  But a few weeks ago, I was catching up on some blog reading during naptime, and read Molly’s post over on Orangette about her writing process.  I agreed.  I need to write.  I need a place to fulfill that part of me.

So I am back.  For good this time.  No backsies.

I am looking forward to catching up with you, blogland.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You’re going to need an elastic waistband.

With the holidays fast approaching, I thought I would gift you with my most favorite holiday cookie recipe EVER.  Every year at the holidays, Aunt Millie makes about a gross of these cutout cookies and they are devoured long before we hit the thruway.  I would like to say I had more restraint than that, but lets be honest.  I don’t.  I asked her for the recipe last year but never got around to trying it out.  This year I bought Luke his own rolling pin so we can give it a try without me swearing about how he just ripped off the arms on the angel.  I’ll post some pictures up soon.  Until then, enjoy Aunt Millie’s cookies!

Aunt Millie’s Sugar Cookies:

1 c. butter

1 c. sugar

1 egg

2 T. milk

1 T. grated orange zest

1 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1 t. orange extract

1 t. vanilla extract

3 c. flour

Directions:  Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the egg and then the milk, orange zest and extracts.  Slowly add the dry ingredients.  Chill for 2 hours or overnight.  Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Watch them carefully, they tend to brown easily.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A question.

How do you find time to craft, or sew, or be creative with little ones around?  Because my most recent attempt didn’t work very well.  Having the sitter come and watch my toddler in the living room while I worked in the sewing room with a few yards of fabric taped to my sewing room door so he can’t see me was generally ineffective.  In case you were thinking of doing the same.  Just sayin’.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hello there, friends.

I haven’t been around the blog lately, though it hangs heavily on my mind.  I haven’t been crafting.  I haven’t been sewing.  I have barely even been cooking.  The horrors, I know.

But I have been doing a lot of making.  The count is currently 10 new fingers and 10 new chubby toes which will make their entrance into the world sometime in May.

We are surprised, thrilled, and happily recovering from the difficult first trimester.  I am hoping to be able to post some of my projects and tutorials up in this space again.  I hope that you stay and follow along too!  

Posted in pregnancy | 1 Comment

Soups on!

One of my recent additions to the list of why I love fall is soup.  I have never been a soup person.  I think it is because all I ever knew was Campbell’s or my mother’s chicken noodle soup.  Nothing against my mother, but I just can’t bear the smell of a boiling chicken.  I don’t know why, its probably not rational, but I can’t stay in the house if there is a poor chicken frothing away in a pot of water on the stove.  Ick!

My husband loves soups and my stay-at-home mother salary of $0.00 forced me to reconsider soup as a meal to serve my family.  Soup is forgiving, cost effective, allows you to use up produce of waning quality and fills your home with a wonderful aroma that will have the neighbors knocking on your door! (As long as you stay away from boiling a chicken, that is.)  Once you get the hang of it you can pretty much wing it, which is a huge plus to me.

I have learned many things as I ventured into the previously uncharted territory of homemade soup:

#1: Invest in a good soup pot.  I love my knock-off Le Creuset.  I would certainly love it more if it were real since mine isn’t wearing all that well.  There are some chips and dings where the enamel is coming off.  I have a glass top range.  I think that is flirting with disaster, but nevertheless, I flirt relentlessly with it because it is what I have for the time being.  The cast-iron pot holds heat well and distributes it evenly which makes it great for sautéing your aromatics and then simmering soup for an afternoon.

#2: Use a wooden spoon, and make it hefty.  Some soups are thick and many of mine contain lots of beans.  It is hard to stir a vat of soup on the stove with a toothpick, or gasp, something made out of recycled vinyl siding.

#3: Get an immersion blender.  Now.  You are limiting yourself if you don’t make any pureed soups.  Sure you can use your blender… if you don’t mind it exploding all over you and your kitchen, burning you in the process and leaving you with about 250 more pieces of extra kitchenware to clean.  Put the immersion blender in the soup on the stove.  Whirrrrrrr.  Done.  Don’t you want one?  Mine was a birthday present for making Luke pureed baby food when he was 6 months old and also came with attachments for a whisk and a mini food processor.  I love all three attachments and would highly recommend it!!

#4: Make soup in some quantity.  I always make big pots of soup.  It makes a great no effort lunch that will leave you feeling a lot more satisfied and is so much healthier than whatever handful of something you happen to pull out of the cabinet because you are so busy.  It also freezes well for those nights when you could use a wife to cook for you too.

#5: I learned this one the hard way- Pasta has a limitless ability to absorb any amount of stock you may have had in your soup.  It’s amazing.  Beautiful soup, delicious dinner, an hour later your ditalini have turned into ziti and there is no liquid left.  Horror?  Not unless you are serving it to guests or bringing it to neighbors.  Those will be the tastiest giant mushy pasta noodles around and I have learned to love them.  If, however, you want to avoid this, cook the pasta separately and then add the pasta to each bowl first and pour the soup over them.  Or avoid pasta.  Use rice which holds up a little better, but can still be a stock hog.

Check back for a list of some of our all time favorite soup recipes or sources this week!  (Even toddler approved!)

Posted in Cooking, Fall, Recipe | Tagged , | 2 Comments