Saturday, May 26, 2012

Winner!


Thanks to everyone who stopped by for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway day! If you liked what you saw hopefully you'll stop back by sometime :-) I've been really enjoying looking around at all the blogs of people who commented, always fun to "meet" new people.

So without further delay the winner of this fun summer bag was comment 37 -

Kit Knitty May 21, 2012 9:21 PM
This is lovely! Thanks for the giveaway!

I'm emailing you now :-)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy BIrthday Quilt


Happy Birthday to my Mom! It was the last day of preschool too, which meant a program AND going out to lunch - busy day around here :-) So I'm rocking the 1600 quilts for sure. This one was made with half of a Moda Bella Warm Solids jelly roll that I bought locally from Whipstitch and the other half was strips I cut from my Sandi Henderson stash. The solids were all gorgeous but it seemed a little boring so I punched it up with the prints. I think my Mom really liked it (hope so anyway). This was alternating strips of print and pattern, 5 of each. I just laid them out and took one from each pile and when I'd taken one of each I just started at the beginning again until I'd used all 40 strips. It's interesting to me the pattern that emerges and it definitely has me thinking about other ways to lay out strips to see what happens.

I used a duvet that I bought from the "as is" section at IKEA several years ago. I just knew someday I'd find the perfect project for it and lo and behold, here it is. It was really nice to not have to piece the back at all and the green went really well with the greens on the front. Again, I can't sing the praises of this quilt enough - I started sewing on Monday and finished it up last night (and I mean out-of-the-dryer finished). If you need a quick sew, this is it! I already have plans for two or three more. I mean just THINK of how cool this would be done in Flea Market Fancy or some bright fun Amy Butler print? And it's a great size for a toddler bed or a picnic quilt or a read-on-the-couch quilt. It's also about as big as I want to do the actual quilting on - any bigger and I'd happily pay someone else to do it.
My helper, all enthusiastic to you know, help and all! I meaning getting in the picture and standing on the quilt IS helping, right mom? Mom? Mom? MOM! Teehee - hope you guys have had a good week and that you have a GREAT weekend ahead of you! Sew Mama Sew giveaway is open until tomorrow night and then I'll choose and announce a winner on Saturday.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My new bag LOVE


I will be the first to admit that I am a bag junkie (I actually prefer the term connoisseur, but you get the idea). I was lucky enough to meet Ali recently and she brought her version of this bag when we met for breakfast. I was instantly smitten. It's a great size with nice cleans lines and able to be played with and personalized a bit. The only problem? She was pattern testing for Michelle and I had to wait forever to get the actual pattern. Ok, forever was probably a few weeks but it felt like forever. So as soon as Michelle released her Pretty Pleats Tote pattern I knew exactly what I wanted to do - showcase some of my precious Flea Market Fancy. Kelly's My Precious Q-A-L really got me thinking about using my favorites instead of just letting them just sit. I knew this bag would be the an awesome way to put that FMF to use. And you know what? I AM IN LOVE!


I made a patchwork panel from some long 1 1/2" strips of FMF and cut the center strip from that pieced panel. The exterior body is Essex Linen. Then I used some of my favorite green medallion print for the interior. I added a pocket for my phone too. I love how this showcases the fabrics without being overwhelming. This pattern is SO well written and photographed even a beginning sewer could make it! It goes together so easily and quickly and there are so many cute variations that you'll be tempted to make more than one. I know I'm already planning several more ;-)


This was just to give you an idea of how I did my patchwork - you can customize yours however you like! Oh and not to brag but I was at one of my LQS and even the owner told me how much she loved this bag (and she's not a person who gushes). A win I tell you! Thanks Michelle for such an awesome pattern!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yummiest Breakfast Muffins (PB and CC)


I'm trying to add a little variety to our breakfast routines and I knew the instant I saw this recipe that I needed to try it. Peanut butter and chocolate chip muffins? Sign me up! And they are delicious, so delicious that my husband asked why they aren't just called cupcakes. My answer to that was "no frosting", naturally. These have such a tender crumb that if you added some chocolate frosting you actually could pass them off as cupcakes. I put chocolate sprinkles on some for fun and they were a hit around here! I found these originally via pinterest, the recipe comes from the awesome Annie's Eats website. Seriously so many yummy recipes over there, make sure you go poke around!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
Ingredients:
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
½ cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°.  Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth.  Add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin tins, filling each to the top.

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


The only changes I made were to up the chocolate chips to 1 cup. Oh and I got 16 muffins instead of 12, no one complained ;-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!







 Welcome to Sew Mama Sew's fantastically fun Giveaway Day. Isn't this fun? I love seeing all the great things people are giving away and I love to join in!

I have a wonderful bag to giveaway today, handmade by one of my favorite Etsy sellers - Retrofied. She has so many fantastic bags in her shop, go look if you dare - you might find several that you LOVE and NEED :-) That's always the case for me when I go look.
This is one of her six-pocket, fully reversible bags. She might even call it a diaper bag but I think it would work well as a purse, project bag or diaper bag (should you need one).
With a green damask on the front and red-orange leaves on the interior these colors are bright and fun! The strap is about 39", perfect for wearing cross-body like a messenger bag, leaving your hands free, which I love.

Want to enter? Just leave a comment and make sure I have an email to reach you at. Comments will be open until Friday at 9pm, then I close them and draw a random winner sometime on Saturday. Giveaway open to everyone :-) Thanks for stopping by! Oh and make sure you check out all the amazing giveaways over at Sew Mama Sew this week.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pretzel Buns (or WHEEEE!)


Umm, I don't mean to brag or anything but I MADE THESE! At home. In my own oven. Which pretty much made me giddy as soft pretzels, pretzel bread and pretzel rolls make me so ridiculously happy. They weren't hard at all. I found the recipe over on the King Arthur Flour blog. The recipe does call for a bit of poultry seasoning or onion powder but I left that out this time. I might add some Penzey's Toasted Onion Powder next time to try it out. But the one that already disappeared was awesome just the way it was.


We're putting BBQ on them tonight and I'm already planning burgers for the weekend. I think if you added a bit more sugar and made them into regular pretzel shapes they would be blissfully like those mall pretzels that I'm only moderately ashamed to admit that I LOVE. I see more pretzels in my near future - yuuummmm.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Almond Poundcake (or the only poundcake recipe I use. Ever.)

This has been our family favorite cake since I got the recipe from my boyfriend's mother when I was in high school. She and I didn't always see eye-to-eye but we agreed whole-heartedly about this cake - wonderful. Even my brother who is NOT a sweets person loves this cake. So it was only fitting that I made it for our brunch on Sunday. We love the almond flavor in this but you could cut it in half (or maybe even leave it out all together and switch to all vanilla). Just let me think you're going to make it with the almond.

Rose's Pound Cake (or Darcy's because it's been mine for a looooong time)
3 C. sugar
1 C. softened butter (2 sticks)

5 eggs
pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. baking powder

1 C. milk
3 C. flour

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add salt, baking powder and extracts. Now you can add the milk, beat, then the flour and mix until creamy ( a couple minutes on medium with electric mixer). Or you could get all fancy and add half the flour, mix, the milk, mix then the remaining flour and mix. I've done it both ways and both work fine. After you've mixed till creamy pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. I use Baker's Joy (spray and flour combo) and I highly recommend it for the fancy and regular bundt pans.

Original recipe called for baking 1 and a half hours at 300 BUT I always bake at 350 for 60 - 70 minutes. It gets a yummy crispy golden brown crust on the top that you'll want to cut off (AND EAT) to level when the cake is cooled. Done when a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. I then put the cool cake back in the pan to cut off the top (or bottom whichever way you see it) and level it. Then I sprinkle with powdered sugar and voila.

This may also be great lightly toasted with jam for breakfast. Maybe. You let me know ;-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

De-stash alert!

Hey there! Just a quick note to let you guys know I'm trying to de-stash (fabrics and bags) and I'll be adding things over the course of the week. Might be something you need ;-) Oh and check me out - I figured out etsy listing and even made an esty mini for the blog! I'm on fire! Hahaha, teeheehee (as Elmo says, unfortunately stuck in my brain and maybe now yours).

Real post later taters!

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Precious QAL Quilt


First let me say THANKS to Kelly over at Kelby Sews for dreaming up this wonderful quilt-a-long, it's a great concept and I think she's motivated so many people to make so many beautiful things, well done Kelly! Then let me introduce you to my newest quilt love: my Anna Maria Horner 1600 quilt. TA-DA! And oh boy is it LOVE!

I had no intention of joining this quilt-a-long. I have way too many other WIP's making me feel guilty to start anything new. But a couple of things happened to change my mind. I started looking at the flickr group and seeing all the unbelievable beauty happening. I also happened by Whipstitch and saw Deborah's 1600 quilt hanging there. Then I actually researched how to make a 1600 quilt from one jelly roll and thought I can do THAT. Finally I had a puny kid for most of one week who only wanted to lay on the couch and watch TV, allowing me unusual time in the crafting/playroom. So I dug out my hoarded jelly roll of AMH fabric - Good Folks (!!) and the roll I'd bough of Innocent Crush fabrics and I got busy sewing. I wasn't nearly as fast as some of the stories I'd read but still, for me, I was like lightening. I finished this quilt (and I really meaning finished, like washed and dried and ready to snuggle) in less than a week people. LESS THAN A WEEK. Which for me is nothing short of a miracle.

I could not love it any more if I tried. I backed it with three different shot cottons. The front has so many warm colors that I decided to go with cools one on the back and the shot cottons are almost as soft as the AMH fabrics that make up the front. Oh and you-know-who's favorite color is blue so I had her complete and utter stamp of approval. I just quilted it very simply following the lines of the strips in the front - I want to get better at free motion quilting but not on such a precious quilt ;-)

The best part of all this? My precious kid loves that precious quilt as much as I do! I've been inspired by Kelly and everyone participating to get those "precious" fabrics off the shelf or out of the closet and USE them. And I can tell you that my heart is full of much more LOVE when I see my girl snuggling under that quilt than it ever was looking at those strips sitting on the closet shelf. It turns out there is no "right" project for your hoarded fabric, because they're ALL the right projects. Dive in, be brave and get cutting! You'll be shocked at how happy it might make you - I was :-)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mother's Day


What a lovely weekend it was - I hope yours was too. Yesterday we went to the Dunwoody Art Festival - a local festival that looked fun. We used to enjoy cruising the festivals and then we became parents and that activity got pushed to the back burner but I think it's coming back around. So the real reason I wanted to go and braved the rain, was the chance to meet Jenni Horne and buy one of her lovely paintings. This is the one I chose after MUCH consideration. It's encaustic and it looks fab in Harper's room. (Yup, that's right, her name is Harper. It feels weird not to just write it so there you go. I'll whine to you some other day about how we thought we were picking an unusual name. HA.) So great day walking around the festival with friends, painting that I love and just an unexpectedly wonderful day. 


Oh and I thought I was making the opening bid on this folk-art-style painted chair for the local elementary school art auction at the festival. We got a surprise call today that we won. Back to the festival we went to pick up our winning chair. My husband didn't even laugh at me. Since it has some blue on it (her favorite color) Harper took to it immediately. NO idea where to put it but hey, I'm a patron of the arts. Can't beat that!


Here's my mother's day slice of life: Harper's bouncy ball collection (as well as her kitchen, her shopping cart, our brunch preparations and well...just life). Our house frequently looks like a tornado has blown through and it has. A tiny tornado who rarely sits still, even when George is on.


I know everyone says these days pass so quickly and you'll miss them when they're gone but what I really miss is my coffee table. There are some days that pass minute-by-minute while others zoom by, the years though, the years seem to melt away. I already miss that sweet little baby neck and that small girl taking those tentative steps. But I love the spunk and spirit of this growing girl who never walks if she can run. I love her creativity and her sense of humor, I love her sweet tooth, I love that she's my mini-me.

Today I woke to the sound of rain on the roof and in the gutters. Lovely, quiet, refreshing rain. I opened the balcony doors and lay in bed for a few blissful, quiet minutes just listening to the rain and thinking about how much I love my life. Love. My. Life. I just don't want to take any of it for granted, don't want to miss any of it. I'm trying to just relax into this life and take it as it comes and I think I'm getting better at it day by day. Even the hard days, the frustrating moments, the insecurities of parenting all fit into the bigger picture beautifully when you let them - without the salt the sweet doesn't seem nearly as good. This weekend was sweet and I savored every minute.


Oh and look who showed up just in time to celebrate Mother's Day in person - little baby J! He got here last Monday so we all took brunch over celebrate our newest mom. The brand-new, first time parents were an appropriate mix of exhaustion and adoration. Pretty awesome to see my little brother as a dad. He's going to be a great one! And check out that crazy full head of hair - love it.  I hope you all had a great weekend, whatever you did :-)

See you back here tomorrow for My Precious Quilt-A-Long quilt - I don't mean to brag or anything but it's pretty awesome ;-) Come check it out!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

sickness, sewing and summer


Some how all three of us caught the same nasty cold last week. In MAY. I'm not sure how it happened but we spent the week puny and at home, as in my child did not go to school EITHER day. Which made for a rather long week. So I consoled myself with sewing while she lay on her sick bed (couch). Being the excellent mom that I am I let her watch pretty much as much PBS Kids as she wanted. I figure it'll be the drinking she does in college that rots her brain way more than Curious George, right? I'm going with that theory because it let me actually sew while she watched TV and we were in the same room and both happy. Well, as happy as we could be with scratchy throats and runny noses.


I whipped up this table runner to go with my fancy new serged napkins. It's even reversible! I put a double layer of muslin between the two fabrics to give it some weight, which I like. It's slightly wonky in that even after being washed I can't get it to lay flat. Maybe I should have pre-washed those guys :-) Oh well, too late now. Plus I've decided I can live with wonky. I love the fabrics and it's bound to be covered in ketchup and mac'n cheese anyway. I also made cah-RAZY progress on a quilt for My Precious QAL. Posting next week but you'll be stunned. I was stunned. It's worthy of a post all it's own.


Then last night when I was finally feeling better I treated myself to these yummy delights: salt potatoes! I'm from upstate NY and these are a regional treat (Syracuse Salt Potatoes) that I just saw a recipe for on Cook's Country from America's Test Kitchen (you know, the PBS one). This immediately brought me right back to summer cook-outs at my grandmother and aunt's houses, full of delicious food, fun and good company. Hot summer days spent in the pool and then cool nights by a fire toasting marshmallows. After a "real" dinner of course, that if we were lucky included these...


You boil new potatoes in SUPER salty water and when they cool/dry they have this salt crust on them that is (in my opinion) heaven! It's some chemistry thing where the salt allows the water to get hotter and the potatoes get super creamy on the inside and then have that salty exterior, all you need is a little butter and some elastic waist pants and you're SET!


Then I made some blue cheese coleslaw - not sure where this idea first came from - food tv? restaurant? oh well, matters not. Angel hair coleslaw mix, blue cheese dressing and some extra blue cheese crumbles. This is all just to taste but as you can see I am a fan of the blue stuff!


Then (and I know this is a southern thing that you may not be down with but trust me) you but the cold, creamy, tangy slaw on top of some slightly spicy BBQ (I used shredded chicken done in the crockpot, Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce and a splash of Frank's Red Hot sauce) and you have a summery meal of delight. This made me so ridiculously happy! Isn't it funny how a good meal can fill you up with happy memories as well as nourish you? I'm looking forward to many more cook-outs this summer with any family that shows up, feet in the kiddie pool, husband at the grill and these YUMMY potatoes...

Recipe from Cook's Country:

Syracuse Salt Potatoes


Syracuse Salt Potatoes
Some Syracuse Salt Potatoes recipes call for three cups of salt, but we found that to be excessive. We reduced the salt content dramatically to create a potato recipe with a well-seasoned (not too salty) crust and ultra-creamy interior. Both kosher and non-iodized salt worked equally well. And small white or red potatoes, left whole and unpeeled, worked best in our Syracuse Salt Potatoes—if cut or peeled, the potatoes absorb too much salt. Adding chives and black pepper brought this dish to a new level.
Serves 6 to 8
You will need 1 1/4 cups of non-iodized table salt, 11/2 cups of Morton kosher salt, or 2 1/2 cups of Diamond Crystal kosher salt to equal 14 ounces.
Ingredients
  • 8 cups water
  • 14 ounces salt (see note)
  • 3 pounds small red potatoes or small white potoates, scrubbed
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  • 1. Bring water to boil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and potatoes and cook until potatoes are just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to wire rack set over baking sheet. Let dry until salty crust forms, about 1 minute.
  • 2. Meanwhile, microwave butter, chives, and pepper in medium bowl until melted, about 1 minute. Transfer potatoes to serving bowl and serve, passing butter at table.


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