Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thrifting

This week when Karyn, Dianne and I went thrifting, we found some sheets. The good ones (above) came from a thrift store in Pennsylvania. Karyn (and Joe) thought I already had the one on the top left and made it into a dress. The colors are the same, but the diagonal pattern is not on the sheet. It's a good thing, because I love it and I think it needs to be a skirt.

The other three you will probably see on Karyn's blog soon. They were sets and we split them. The pink one is Shabby Chic. Karyn spotted that set. We had just been to Target and were looking at them there. I think I will save mine for matching Easter dresses next year.

And then we went to my thrift store. We didn't find much, well besides five of the tea cups and saucers sets. I went to find Bertha and she gave me a huge garbage bag of sheets ... for free. It was mostly yucky stuff in there. There were a few good pieces in the bag though (above). The check one on the left is Martha Stewart. (I'm thinking shorts for the boys for next summer or ties for them for Easter next year. We'll see.)

The other two are okay. It looks like the butterfly one has already been cut. I don't know what will become of what's left of it. The floral one I swear I thought I bought it before, but a quick browse of my blog didn't produce any evidence. (I thought it was one I purged a few months ago.)

The rest of the bag is going to be washed and donated to Purple Heart next month.

And while I was enjoying time with friends and thrifting away, poor Sawyer was at home and taking another tumble. This time an older brother was pushing him on the swing too fast. I'm guessing it wasn't his baby swing ...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tea Cups


I have been wanting to collect a few miscellaneous teacups and saucers for Spenser's upcoming birthday party this year (well, actually not until November, but I like to get a head start on these things). I decided that each time I go thrifting, I would look for a set. Somehow yesterday I managed to find six!

They are all so dainty and darling. Some made in Japan. Some in China. One in England. I think I'm off to a good start!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Turns Out, I *AM* a 14!

So, I went to a flea market last Saturday (a week ago) and stumbled upon a vintage linens booth. It was full of aprons, quilts, handkerchiefs, and clothes. I was in heaven. I spent most of my time (about five trips to that particular vendor) and most of my money there.

One of my finds at that booth was this vintage skirt. I held it up to see if it would fit and it looked about right. I tried it on when I returned home and it did fit. Surprisingly, it's a size 13/14. Remember my whole skirt dilemma when I declared I was never a 14? Well, it turns out I am a 14. In vintage clothes.

And here's the proof. (P.S. That's Joe's man-hand in the photo, not mine.)

Joe said the skirt looks like I should be carrying a flask of ale. I said it looks like I should be carrying some vintage Pyrex. What do you think?

Oh, and my company arrived yesterday from Canada. I am thrilled to meet her (and her mother, Dianne) in person. We're going thrifting today.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ahhhh ...


This kind of sums of my week. Running around. Keeping busy. And, hopefully, resting and refreshing ourselves this weekend. Airing out and getting ready for some company next week. I think it's going to be a good one.

Happy weekend to you all. What are your plans?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

One of the Best Days


Yesterday morning a friend called me about some green beans she was selling. She had just canned 79 quarts of them and was going to sell the rest. Of course I was interested. So, I dropped by to pick them up. There were ten pounds and she had already washed and snipped them! (How could I resist that?)

So I brought them home and Spenser sat and helped me break them in half and put them into jars.


And as we worked together, side by side, we talked. And we talked. And I don't think I've had such a good time lately.

I learned a lot about her. She wants to get married in the temple and have ten babies (it used to be four). She wants to learn about pigs and horses. And when she's a mom she wants to sew and play on the Play Station. (Just for the record, I never, ever play on the Play Station. I guess she sees the boys doing it and we keep telling her she needs to be older to play.)

And we sang together (all the while she is wearing a ballerina costume). I love singing with her. She's so much fun. It is so much fun to have a girl.


And when we were finished, we had eleven quarts and four pints of green beans. It wasn't how I had planned my day, but it was one of my best ones.

And then my boys begged me to make more jam. The blueberries needed to be crushed, so I gave a bowl to Jackson and Mason and told them to smash away. (I think Spenser and Carter joined in, too, at some point.) It was messy, but it kept them busy and they had fun. And I made them clean the floor when they were finished.


At the end of the day we had made this much jam. And, out of 20 pounds of blueberries, this lonely colander is all that is left. Between two batches of jam and all of us eating them like crazy, that's all we have. I suspect by lunchtime it will be gone.

Now, someone please pass me the ibuprofen. My back hurts too much to stand up ...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Yes, I Can!

Dirty (but completely free jars) from the Swap Shop

+

20 pounds of blueberries

=

blueberry jam

Last evening we picked up our annual box of blueberries. Last year the last few pounds went bad before we ate them so I decided to make jam before we just gorge ourselves on blueberries over the next few days.

Carter (9 1/2) helped make the jam after the younger kids went to bed. He helped scoop them into the colander. And wash them. And stem them. And crush them. And stir them. And sample the jam for proper gelling. I made him stand back when it came time to pour the hot jam into jars and the canning process. He stood on a stool in the distance and peered into the canning pot. He's very proud of himself. As he bragged to his younger brothers this morning how he helped make jam with me, they were jealous. They want to help me next time. I guess I have a few pounds of blueberries to spare ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bandanna Pants

A few weeks ago I made a pair of bandanna pants for Jackson. I had seen a tutorial in an old Martha Stewart Kids magazine that I've had forever and have always wanted to make them. I even had the bandannas (some washed, some not with the $1.26 Walmart price tag still attached).

The first pair I made using a cotton drawstring (MS suggests cotton twill, but I couldn't find mine). They sure are cute, but harder than heck for a 7-almost-8-year-old to untie when he's rushing to the bathroom at the very last minute, as he usually does. I found myself biting at the drawstring with my teeth trying to help him, as he pranced about. Not practical.

And then this tutorial was published (as well as this one with photos). And I decided to make the next pair with elastic. Much more practical.

I didn't hem either pair. The bandannas themselves are hemmed and it really made them so much easier. And they will fit them forever. They are already requesting more. I figure for $2.50 a pair, we can afford more. (Oh and my bandannas were only like 24" not 27" that MS recommends.)

(Excuse the lack of a better photo for the bottom pair. I might have better photos on the camera, but this was a shot of Mason's geocache find from Saturday.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mama's Got a New Bag

First let me just say that I do not need a new bag. This was one of those, "Oh, I like that bag. I should make one" moments. I think the idea of trying something different appealed to me and the pressure got to me. It didn't help that the bag was on the front cover of Sew Pretty Homestyle and was begging to be made by me. (Maybe it was the polka dots calling my name. I'm not sure. Either way, I succumbed.)

I started this bag on the afternoon of July 4th, between two parties. I really wanted to sleep, but I am opposed to sleeping during the day, so I forced myself to stay awake by sewing. (I think everyone else in the house had crashed.) I spent the car ride to the second party picking the bag apart. It sat for a week or so until I even wanted to be near it again (it must have been the fabric, because it wasn't the bag I wanted to be near). I fixed the bag and when it came time to sew on the handles, it sat untouched for another few days. I don't mind hand sewing, although it's not my favorite. It's mostly because of time constraints (and eyesight). But the kids wanted to get in the pool and I had time to kill.


After I finished the bag and started to load it up with my gear, I quickly realized everything was falling into the deep abyss that is also known as the bottom of the bag. There weren't any pockets and I knew if it didn't have a pocket (for my cell phone and assortment of lip balms) I would never use it. So it sat again. I knew I was not about to tear that sucker apart again (remember, the handles were hand stitched on). The solution I came up with was to make a pocket (interfaced and lined) and use a fusible hem tape to attach it.

Ahhh. So much better and actually usable to my standards. At least for now.

Friday, July 18, 2008

For My Buddy

Lately I've been calling Sawyer "Buddy." I think it's because I'm about to call him Baby and I know he's not a baby anymore, but the "B-" sound has already started to form on my lips and I can't stop it, so I roll it into Bbbuddy.

So, I sewed for Buddy. He needed some more big boy summer clothes. He can still wear all of the shorts I made for him last year, but the matching onesies don't fit.

The above little number was sewn from the blue gingham sent to me by Julia. It's not like regular gingham. It feels a little stretchy and maybe Spandexy.


And this little outfit is from some fabric I picked up in the winter, knowing it would become shorts for Sawyer. I had forgotten about it and found it in my use-immediately pile (when I found the pillowcase for Spenser's dress). I only had a small piece and if I didn't make them this summer, there wouldn't be enough left to make anything useful with it. Use it or lose it.

(Note to self: Next time take a picture of the outfit before giving him a free Slurpee...)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lovin' Lemons

Brown sugar lemonade. (I cheated and used lemon juice and the lemonade recipe on the back, but added brown sugar instead of white sugar, to taste.)


A lively, lovely lemon dress for my little lovely lady.

Lemon squares.

Crust:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Mix flour, butter, and sugar together with mixer. Be careful not to let mixture get too soft. Press into ungreased 8 x 8" pan, bringing crust 1/2" up side of pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven.

Filling:

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Beat all ingredients together until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Pour filling over hot crust. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. When cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thrifted Chair

Before ... a $10 thrifted chair ...

After ... 1 1/2 cans of spray paint and a little cotton batting and fabric and a staple gun later ...



I used Alexander Henry's Sunny Side fabric for the seat. I love the contrast of the red, black and white. Can you say oh yeah??

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Beanbags

Beanbags are synonymous with kids. At least in our house. They are forever tossing them in the air. Trying to juggle. Trying to hit each other with them. Sometimes playfully. Sometimes not.

I had some leftover sleeves sitting around in my scrap basket from previous projects and decided it was time to either make them into something or ditch them. Then the idea came into my head to make them into beanbags. They were already sewn on two sides, so it was a quick sew.


And then the kids went into my novelty fabric stash and picked out some of their favorite fabrics and asked for more. Who am I to deny them?

Edited to add: I filled the beanbags with dried lentils and split peas. Sometimes beans can work their way out of beanbags between stitches so I serged the seams to prevent spilling the beans. Sorry. That was a lame joke. I couldn't resist it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Too-Big Outfit

It was this shirt that I saw and loved last week. I was thinking how I wanted to make some for Spenser. So, when I found this pillowcase in my use-immediately pile, I knew it was destined to become a dress for Spenser. (I ended up using the basics from this tutorial.)

And some yellow gingham ribbon from Julia. I think it turned out cute. Too bad it's about 3 sizes too large and she won't be able to wear it for a few more years ... I think I have a problem lately with making things too big.

After I made it, Amandajean posted a cute shirt for her little girl. I really like her style, better than the one I made. Maybe next try ...

And, I also made a new dishtowel apron (using Randi's tutorial) which was requested for a new step-niece. I have made several aprons from this tutorial for all of my "older" nieces (the 8 and older group). The younger set of girls is Spenser and a younger niece.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Making ...

spiced peaches;

the biggest bubble;


the most bubbles;

the best summer outfit (while singing the words "the strawberry girl" from Christine by Siouxsie and the Banshees);

homemade white-wheat bread and homemade butter.

Making summer memories ...

(See the pinch of dough missing? Spenser can't resist rising dough. That's my girl.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fun in the Sun Bag

Several summers ago, I bought some simple canvas bags and fabric paint for my boys to decorate. Well, that never happened. The bags have slowly been transformed over the years. One bag has been sporting this cool rocket applique for over a year which holds pencil rolls and notebooks for the children to take to church and on long car rides.

This wrinkly bag has been sitting around in my stash since I re-discovered it a few months ago. The morning of the 4th, I had an idea for it. I just didn't have time to do it then.


I decided it needed a sunshine. A let's-run-out-the-door-grab-a-frisbee-some-water-or-juice-boxes-a-few-snacks-sunscreen-whatever-and-head-out bag.

I appliqued a yellow gingham circle on the bag and then satin stitched around it. (Well, after attempting to iron out those darn wrinkles first.) Then, with a water soluble marker, I drew the lines I needed to stitch. Then I satin stitched the lines and sprayed it with water.

The yellow doesn't stand out very much against the off-white canvas, but it still makes me smile.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Skirt I Hate

Two years ago, when I was quite pregnant with Sawyer, I bought the Favorite Things Cute Skirt pattern. After all, it is very cute. It has taken two years for me to actually make it.

I like skirts. But, this skirt, I do not. It's huge. And, while it's not the fault of the pattern itself but probably the skirt-maker, I just don't like it. Allow me to explain.

First I should preface this by saying: Never (ever!) take your measurements after having a pit ham breakfast and then hitting the Chinese buffet for lunch. Big mistake. Because when you measure yourself after such feasts, assuredly, you will tend to be much larger than in actuality. Just believe me here. It's a valuable lesson.

So, I measure myself (over my clothes, too, another dumb mistake) and my waist was about 31" inches or so (hips 37" or so, over clothes), which would make me fall into the size 14 category according to my waist measurements. I have never been a 14 in my life. I usually wear 6's or 8's and an occasional 4. But, this is a new pattern and I don't know if this particular pattern runs large or small, so I cut out the 12, thinking I could squeeze into it, if I needed to.

It. Is. Huge. It makes me look huge.

I made it in time for the 4th of July because the fabric looks like fireworks or sparklers and it's red, white, and blue.

I couldn't get myself to wear it to an afternoon barbecue. I knew it would drive me nuts if I attempted. I had meant to wear it to watch the fireworks that night, but conveniently forgot. I did wear it to church on Sunday and I don't think I will ever wear it again. I look huge in that thing. And it's too bad because I really loved that fabric, too. I bought it a year ago and have not seen it anywhere since.

Other sewing notes: I lengthened the skirt by about 2 inches. Oh, and don't think you are taking a shortcut by folding over the fabric before you cut it. The pattern pieces are not symmetrical and you will end up with funky pieces that don't match up. Instead, take the time to cut out each of the eight panels individually. You will thank yourself later...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Re-Enactment

On Thursday morning I took the children to see our first civil war re-enactment. This was a small, surprise re-enactment. The Confederate Calvary thought they were just passing through my sister's neighbor's 180+ acre farm, but little did they know, Union snipers were awaiting them.

Up on the hill behind the brush, snipers waited for the Confederate soldiers.

And then a surprise mini-attack ensued. It lasted maybe 10-15 minutes, until all 175 men on horses came down the hill and "fought."

It was fun (and free) and historically accurate. Usually civil war re-enactments charge money, but this was on private property with a private party. Including a free pit ham breakfast at 8:00 a.m.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Summer Salads


In the summer, I'm all about fresh fruits and vegetables. More than usual. This summer I've been into cucumbers. A lot. And this is a first for me. If I had to pick my least favorite vegetables, I'd say radish, followed by celery and cucumber. I like all veggies, those are just my least favorite.

One salad that I've enjoyed a lot is just a simple tomato-cucumber salad. It just has tomatoes cut into chunks, chunks of cucumber (seedless in this photo, so you can keep the peel on), onion (I used vidalia, but red would be good, too) and some of my latest, favorite salad dressing: Maple Grove Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette. Can you say yum? If you have some day-old bread hanging around, cut it into chunks and add that, too. Ooh, and maybe diced avocado. Mmm.

Another favorite is cucumber salad. I like the vinegary kind and the creamy kind. It looks a little boring, but with salt and pepper, it is a masterpiece.

Creamy Cucumber Salad:

1 pint sour cream (or maybe a teensy bit less, start with 3/4 of a pint)
1/3 mayonnaise
3 T. sugar
2 T. cider vinegar
3 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced (or 2 seedless, sliced)
2 T. chopped onion
salt & pepper to taste

Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar until well blended. Add cucumbers and onion and thoroughly coat. (You may need to add more sugar or vinegar to suit your taste, but test it before you add the cukes and onions.)

I usually don't measure when I make this, so it's really a trial and error. All the flavors should blend together and it shouldn't be too vinegary or sugary.

Happy 4th of July to you and your family! Catch up with ya next week!