Saturday, July 31, 2010

In motion

We're off on an adventure! See you on the other side...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

9 Years of Us

Yesterday Greg and I celebrated our 9th anniversary.  In the past 9 years we've endured deployments in which we've learned to appreciate all of the time we can actually spend together, learned how to love each other the way we each want to be loved, learned how to make each other happy, learned how to upset each other...but no matter how much I learn about this man, and no matter how many years go by of experiencing life together, I find that there's always more to learn, more to see, more to love.


Flowers delivered to me yesterday


Calla Lillies were in my wedding bouquet (they were also in my paternal grandmothers, so they have special signifigance and beauty to me)


Sparky wrote "I <3 Mommy" and "I <3 Daddy" on balloons to decorate for our anniversary dinner


Hand-rolled linguini with bacon and littleneck clams


Vanilla bean panna cotta, served in the ruby colored wine glasses that we toasted with at our wedding

Greg, somehow each year I love you more.  For the good and for the bad, I'm a big fan of Us Together.  I love the family that we've made, and the life that we have.  Thanks for picking me.  It's great to be your wife.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hot Pot Holders

Please tell me: WHO GETS EXCITED ABOUT POT HOLDERS?  When they're pieced together out of adorable designer fabrics and made by hand?  Predictably...ME!


I mean, come on.  Please tell me you'd keep opening up your potholder drawer too, just to peek in at them.


I'm slowly changing out things in my household, item by item, to handmade-when-I-can-help-it.  And my friends, that makes the pot-holders VERY IMPORTANT.  Plus, I hate to have burned fingers.

Pattern from Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule: Aunt Millie's Hot Pads.

Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pin Cushion Caddy and a Gathered Clutch

Two more projects that have been in my OHMYGOSH MUSTMAKE! list for quite some time now:

Pin Cushion Sewing Caddy
Pin Cushion Sewing Caddy from Seams To Me by Anna Maria Horner (much of the fabric is from her Chocolate Lollipop line as well....I'm burning through my little stash of fat quarters at an alarming rate!)

Pin Cushion Sewing Caddy

I don't know about you, but I can NEVER find my stitch ripper or fabric marker when I need it.  Well not never, but it certainly wastes my time when I'm spending perfectly good creating time LOOKING FOR MY CRAP.  Now I don't need to.  And that is happy.

I'm not sure how well you can tell by these pictures, but, even though I used two layers of heavy-weight interfacing inside the "cup", it's still caving in on itself.  I even unstuffed it a little, and now, even though it's softer than any pin cushion has any business being, it's still caving in on the insides.

Pin Cushion Sewing Caddy

Ah well.  I love it anyway.

When I first saw the tutorial for this gathered clutch on Noodlehead a while ago, I thought I might nearly die of cute.
Gathered Clutch

Mine isn't quite as...polished as hers is (shouldn't have used fabric that I really like on my first try!  Agghh!!), but I'm still pretty pleased with the results.  And it's very useful as a wallet-sort-of-thing when I'm using my gigantic knitting bag.

Gathered Clutch

On the inside, there are two credit card slots, and a divider in the middle (all reinforced with medium weight interfacing).
The inside of the Gathered Clutch

This little bag has a nice weight to it, and feels good to hold.

Tomorrow, I've got something from Handmade Home to show you, but for now, I'm off to the studio to enjoy the last bits of our "quiet time" this afternoon while the children nap or read...or are just quiet.  :)  I hope each of you get a few quiet moments to yourself on this sweltering summer day!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back to being me

After my post the other day (thank you to those of you who wrote or commented with encouragement!), I scrubbed my house down, set to organizing my studio, and promptly felt much better.  I'm not going to say that cleaning and organizing is the answer to everything, but having clear, clean space in my living quarters certainly does help.  (Not to mention that I also FINALLY HAVE MY CAR BACK!  And of course now have nowhere that I need to go.  Of course.)

I'm not completely done with my studio yet -- still need to sell my floor loom and buy cubicle shelving, which I'm working on doing, but at least now I have more floor space, and it just feels...calmer, somehow.  I walk in there and breathe a sigh of relief as I sit down at the sewing machine, or bring a book to my desk for a few stolen moments of peace or quiet reflection.
The evening light through my studio window
The last of the evening light through my studio window

Even if you don't have a dedicated studio, I encourage you to claim a closet, chair, or even just a favorite window with the perfect sort of morning light to call "yours".  It's good to have your own space where you can gather yourself and get your bearings, to either begin your day or to catch your breath in the one quiet moment you might have to yourself.

Once I was done with my several-day organization project, I felt the overwhelming impulse to create things again...I hadn't really worked on any projects for most of the week, so I attacked my short-list of sewing with a vengeance.  Greg very lovingly gave me nearly the entirety of Sunday to myself, occupying the children and managing their snacks and meals so that I could lock myself away and sew like my life depended on it.  I emerged feeling relieved, peaceful, productive, and like I had gotten back to being myself again.  It's good to be back.

Par Avion Spring tablecloth (laminated cotton by Michael Miller)
Tablecloth using laminated cotton "Par Avion Spring" by Michael Miller.

Box bag (finally made one for myself)
Box bag, using fabric from Anna Maria Horner's "Chocolate Lollipop" line -- finally one for me!

Sparky's embroidered tote bag
Sparky's embroidered tote bag.  (Embroidery applequed on striped canvas.)

I've got a few more projects in the works that are almost ready to show you...
Setting up to make Aunt Millie's Hot Pads

Oh yes, my friends. I am back.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Choosing peace

Anxious.  Every so often, I wake up in the morning with that feeling.  The sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach that nothing will be accomplished today...that it can never all be accomplished...that I have too many things that I want to get done...that I have children who need me.


My kitchen blackboard holds an important reminder for me...

It doesn't help that, for most of the summer, we've been a one-car family, with multiple long-range problems with my husband's car.  It has lived in-and-out of the mechanic's shop for months, and sometimes the frustration of it all makes me feel stuck, furious, and kind of sick.  I hate feeling helpless, waiting for him to get home with "my" vehicle to be able to run any errands, and just not being able to accomplish much outside the house.  On the upside, it has made me appreciate the fact that we DO have a second car that WILL eventually be fixed (hopefully this week!)


Nothing in this pile of works in progress is moving along quickly enough for this sort of a day.  I've promised the children that we will go swimming today, which is a good thing, because all that I want to do is shut myself into my studio today and sew like my life depended on it.  That doesn't tend to make the children's day all that happy.  I must focus on them, and shut off the stress that I feel so that they don't suffer from it.

Reading together...
Piano lessons...
Hot gluing buttons to handmade books...

In spite of myself, this might actually be a lovely day.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Embroidered work of (child) art

Last week, I finished embroidering Sparky's embroidery design:


I blurred out most of it, but in the actual work, his handwriting is also preserved alongside his artwork in his name down the side.

I've been thinking about doing this ever since I saw the idea in Handmade Home (or was it Amanda's other book, Creative Family?  Can't remember now.  Both are totally inspiring.)  I am so glad that I finally just did it.  Sparky would check in daily on the progress of the work, and marveled at how fast it was going (only the child of a spinner/knitter would remark at how quickly a project goes when it *only* takes a week).

I asked for his creative input once or twice (what colors for the pattern on the snake?  Should your hat be the same color as the grass -- um, I mean bushes?  Yes, of COURSE I knew those were bushes!)  But for the most part I chose what I felt would be the obvious color choices from the plethora of Sparky Artwork I have all about the house, and he was pleased with it.

I loved stitching over each line his little hand had drawn, especially the points that he might consider imperfections.  A true representation of where he is as an artist right now, at 6-years-old.

In the next few days, this will be turned into a shopping bag for him.  At the moment, I'm working on the second Noro sock, and  I have the third Aimee Ray design in my hoop:

Happy Garden embroidery design by Aimee Ray

I have another idea pertaining to child artwork transformed into embroidery, but it's still just a whisper of a thought in my mind...more on that to come.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Watermelon Chiffon Pie

To my friends in the United States -- Happy (belated) Independence Day!  To the rest of you -- happy weekend!

I have a cool, refreshing recipe for you.   You MIGHT just have the ingredients on hand already, and if that's so, you can whip this together right now and have it ready to eat by the time your friends arrive for your 4th of July weekend cookout.


I'm not sure if it's the sort-of translucent, gentle sweetness of the watermelon, or if it's the creamy lightness of the egg whites and whipped cream folded throughout, or the crumbly-rich buttery graham cracker crust, but overall, this is the sort of pie that, once you've eaten through one slice, it's hard not to eat the rest of the pie straight out of the piepan.

Watermelon Chiffon Pie
Slightly adapted from

Yield: 10 servings
  • 2 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups pureed seedless watermelon (I used my food processor, but you could also use a blender)
  • 1/2 cup powdered confectioners' sugar (plus 1/4 cup more if you want this to taste "sweet")
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 egg whites, stiffly-beaten
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • One 10-inch prepared graham cracker crust (or two 8-inch) -- recipe below
  • Watermelon balls and sprigs of fresh mint to garnish, if desired
Pour cold water into a large bowl and sprinkle with unflavored gelatin. Let sit for 5 minutes to soften. Stir in boiling water until combined. Add watermelon, confectioners' sugar, and lemon juice, stirring to combine. Let come to room temperature, then refrigerate until the mixture begins to thicken.

Fold stiff egg whites and whipped cream into the thickened watermelon gelatin until combined. Smooth into prepared graham cracker crust and refrigerate pie until firm (at least two hours). Garnish each serving with balls of watermelon and a sprig of mint.

Graham Cracker Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 28 crackers, crushed)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cinnamon

Combine all in a 10-inch pie pan (or two 8-inch pans), using a fork and/or fingers to thoroughly mix until all is moistened.  Press firmly into the bottom of pan(s).  Bake at 350 deg oven for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Allow crust to cool completely before pouring watermelon filling into it.


I cut into this pie about an hour after refrigerating, and you can see that it's not quite set, but it was still perfect.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Button bracelets

Daisy and Billy and I took another idea from Homemade Fun and made button bracelets tonight.


I love these sweet, simple projects that can be accomplished in just a few moments with minimal mess.


Sometimes a few sweet moments together is exactly what everyone needs.





(Bracelet made with hemp string and vintage buttons from my stash.)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...