Friday, August 23, 2013

Something's Fishy

Little girls can wear smocked dresses until they are 6 years old, or there about. After that, they seem to outgrow the look. Therefore I feel the need to make at least one dress of this sort each year and this cute little sundress was my choice most recently.
I started and basically finished the smocking last fall, when I then set it aside for finishing in the spring. I didn't get it out until after our big wedding, and it just took me a few days to get it all wrapped up and finished.
 The pink and orange fishy has fun blue french knot dots to set it apart from all the other fish in the ocean.
 The purple fish should be a favorite of my little granddaughters too. I especially love their bright red smackers.

 The pocket on the front has the same orange piping surrounding it as the line that sets apart the top bodice from the smocked piece.
The back of the dress is drawn up with elastic to make it adapt to the small little backs that it must fit around. (I am watching a rendition of Mansfield Park right now, so I am perhaps sounding a little 19th century British as I write.)
I waited to enter these pictures for want of receiving a picture with the little Ellery wearing it, but I thought I'd now go ahead anyway. Maybe later.
(Update: When we went to SoCal for Thanksgiving, Cossette wore this cute little dress. Below are a couple pictures from that day.)
 Her from the back showing off the fancy hair bow I made to go with the dress.
Now the cute little 3 year old is telling quite a story, and we can see the front of the dress pretty well.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Not A Lot of Comfort Food Here

So ... I'm out in the garden gleaning this morning and I discover several things that I really need to address. I'll just talk about one of those things now.
The eggplants are a little bit out of control, and how many eggplants do we really need in any given year? We planted just one plant thinking we'd get a few for some Ratatouille, and other than that, I'm not sure what to do with them. In the back of my head I think, "Oh, (light going on) I wonder if it's easy to make Baba Ghanoush?"
Turns out - it is. I have all the ingredients right in my very own kitchen. (and garden I might add)
 I looked up, thanks to the internet, if I can use old Tahini. Turns out, it lives a long time so no worries.
The picture above, taken a few weeks ago, shows my pretty white and purple eggplant.
Todays crop featured some that were twice as big.
I grilled the eggplant on the BBQ because I was already using it to grill some other veggies. I just turned it to medium and put the eggplant on whole for about 40 minutes. Then I ran to my hair appointment which I was late for because I decided at the last minute to make Baba Ghanoush in addition to the White Gazpacho I was making for some friends tonight.
I fear this kind of activity is not being grown out of just because I don't have children at home anymore.
I wanted to miraculously become an on time person when I reached this stage in life. But .... I digress.
 Then after I came home several hours later, the eggplants were easily peeled and the ingredients blended together. I ate some of the wonderful spread with some of the grilled crook neck squash and it was wonderful.
I liked it anyway.
The people I'm taking dinner to tonight are probably not expecting weird food like I make, so I'm taking them a big variety. Hopefully we can hit on a few desirable tastes for them.
Wish me (them) luck.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Independence Day Quilt

 I started this quilt last year a month or so before the 4th of July. I quit working on it after I didn't get it finished, in leu (is that how I should spell it?) lieu (thanks to my niece Megan for helping me be a little more literate) of finishing the next projects on my so called table.

Then this year there was a big wedding in our lives, and life got in the way of getting back to the quilt in time to finish it for the celebration of our Country.

I bought the pattern at a cute quilt store in Livermore, CA and it is by Verna Mosquera at "The Vintage Spool." Called Faded Glory if you want to look at her things.
 The pattern calls for hand stitching all the appliqu├ęs on by hand, and I had completed a few of them last year, but I decided I didn't need to take the time and effort to do them this way now.  I used iron-on backing on each individual piece and then machine stitched each design with a blind hem stitch or a satin stitch when I thought it would look best. This quilt is not going to be going through wash even once per year, so it'll hold up just fine with the iron on. There are 12 main designs and I think they are so cute that I'll probably make a few pillows or table runners out of some of the patterns eventually.
 The design above is Uncle Sam's hat with a bouquet of flowers in it. A few of the flowers are just cut outs of fabric flowers in a particular piece of fabric. This method of piecing is called Broderie Perse and is basically just fussy cutting a section of fabric that you want to place onto another fabric for a pretty addition to the quilt. You can see the red/pink flowers above are not pieced with stamens and petals, but  cut all in one already printed flower. Apparently they used to do this with Persian or English chintz fabrics for a specific look.
 The firecracker above had bugle beads hand sewn on for the burst of fire on the end. Very cute, if I do say so.
 Same on this wagon full of firecrackers. The blue and red sparklers are beaded.
Another technique I've used on the quilt is my own idea of using my cool embroidery machine to make a couple of sectioned flowers, cutting them out and then sewing them together. Nice new type of embroidery I've never tried before.
The whole thing turned out very well, even if it is the middle of August.

Better luck on my Thanksgiving quilt?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What's for Breakfast?

I have been trying to eat more protein for my early morning meal these days. Eating an egg, protein infused green smoothy, or greek yogurt seems to keep my appetite in check when 3:00pm rolls around each day.
The Hubby has taken on the roll of fixing me a protein shake on Sunday mornings. While I'm getting ready for church he brings me a nice cold thick drink and I don't have to think about it at least one day a week. What a nice guy I married.
Saturday mornings are a little more up in the air and we often go to the Saratoga Farmers Market and decide what to eat from there.
But I digress. I just wanted to post some great looking/tasting yogurt parfait's here.
So a couple Saturdays ago, I brought the Hubby out some simple parfait for Saturday breakfast. Bu "out" I mean he was in the backyard cleaning up the pool and so we ate underneath the big arbor on the couch. What a great breakfast spot. REALLY great! Perfect!
 We had some fresh blueberries and strawberries in the fridge, and so I thought they would make a beautiful and tasty layer in my morning yogurt. I usually add a teaspoon of agave to my Fage 0% yogurt, but this week I had some cream cheese frosting in the fridge so I plopped a big tablespoon of that into twice as much yogurt ('cause I was making two today.)
 The first layer was crunchy granola and then yogurt blend, followed by berries.
 Good stuff, Maynard!
The outside couch also makes an excellent spot for answering a couple emails.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tahoe in August

The weather is perfect this week in the high Sierra. Seriously, the last time I was here it was 12 degree's for a high on that day, and I nearly froze my kajanka's off. Today it was 77. Did I say perfect? Exactly!

The Hubby rented a boat and we took it out on the lake with our son David and his cute family yesterday.  Lena took a turn at the helm.
 Lexy really wanted to ride on the inter tube. Lexy really did NOT want to ride. Yes, No, Yes, No????
Finally she was convinced and then had a great time.

 Lexy and I having a little bonding moment.
 Kara is ready to go! Woo Hoo!
 ...another turn with Lexy.
 David's turn. Hold on tight.
 Here's the whole family. We drove for several hours around the lake and totally enjoyed the scenery and company.
 GPa and GramVi.
We all had a shave ice when we got off the boat. They hadn't experienced one before. First time for a lot of things today.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Faux Fire Crackers

I "pinned" some crafty wood fire cracker decorations last year and after saving our old 4 x 4 posts from the backyard redo, I thought I should use them up. I like using things up because then I can clean out a cupboard or nook & cranny that they are holding up in.
I added my little touches without purchasing anything except a new jar of mod podge. Pretty good deal.
I sent some to my two girls for their homes and my DIL who lives close by helped by saving me some postage.
 When I'm in the middle of a craft project, my kitchen island tends to look like .... a huge mess. This time was no exception.
I used one power tool, and this cut a 1 1/2 inch circle in the top of the square crackers so I could insert a tea light candle in case some one really wants to "light" it up. I had our carpenter from the house project cut up my firecrackers last year when he was redoing the back yard so that saved me a few minutes.
Always thinking ahead.
 I had plenty of fancy papers to use for what ended up to be 6 sets of "firecrackers."  I made 4 inch square ones in 3 heights, and 2 inch circular crackers also in 3 different heights. One of my favorite additions was these cute old fashioned advertisements from the early 1900's. I just glued them right onto the sides of the crackers.
 I also had some little candles that look like pop bottle rockets that made a fun addition to some of the sets.
Hope everyones July was fine and Yankee Doodle Dandy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I found this great tutorial on a kids clothing blog last year and finally made up some capes for a few of the granddaughters. The tutorial includes an adorable pill box hat, and I was really tempted, but instead I decided to make thick headbands that keep a little ones ears warm.
I wanted a couple of lime ones to match little outfits the girls have and found some fleece on sale to accomplish that.
Then I had some left over royal blue fleece and got busy on one in that color. The polkadot lining went into both of these, and then I made another Lime one with a different lining. These are literally circles with a small circle in the center for the neck, and a straight cut up the center front. Then the lining cut the same size is sewn together around the edges and the piece tuned right side out. Easy peasy.
I think they turned out really cute, and the oldest of the girlies was totally confused because she said  she thought I was "making her a cape and this is kind of a weird one."  Her cute daddy had to explain to her that Superman and other hero's stole the article of clothing from the garment industry who has been making capes for warmth and cover for centuries.
I keep thinking I'll get a picture with the girls wearing them, but in the meantime - here they are.