Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Apron Action

Carpenters have carpenter aprons. Chefs have chef aprons. I needed some kind of apron to carry around my sewing supplies when I sew. I spend so much time running back and forth to where I left my snips or seam gauge. So I constructed this beauty from some vintage bark cloth that I found at a yard sale about 7 years ago.

My iphone fits in it too...

So far it has increased my holiday productivity.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another wintry day....

No school today, so Miss E is home and full of excitement. She has attended school twice this week.
It is snowing this morning with big flakes. I'm finishing sewing a Christmas gift that has to be in the mail TODAY. Here's a pic of my little owls and some Christmas sparkles.

You can kind of see the snow through the window.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Fairies

So my sister gave me a half dozen or so old-style clothes pins... the kind that make really darling little dolls... as seen here on Alicia's blog.

So Miss E and myself found some fitting inspiration for the season.

This is the conceptual art from Fantasia for the Nutcracker Suite re-envisioned as the seasons through the eyes of the Imagineers.

Armed with a vast amount of sparkly supplies...

we began the project. I have some old reflectors for Christmas lights. They do not fit our current light strands and have been kicking around since last Christmas. So we gave one of the clothespins a fitting....

Little fairies taking shape...

They have reflector tutus and delicate arms made of wrapped wire. Miss E sat with my jewelry pliers and made loop hands on them.

Finished fairies....

We still need to come up with some kind of stand. We want to display them separately along the mantel, but we need little stands for each clothespin. There is ice all over Portland, so there is no running off to the craft store today. I will need to fabricate something from materials on hand.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last Minute Sale at Mister Judy

My sister and I are celebrating the last minutes of Christmas with a Sale over at Mister Judy.

Come on over and browse the goods!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Small Magazine

Small Magazine has the most beautiful photography and imagery.

It is so inspiring...

Monday, December 08, 2008


I have been interviewed by the lovely Miranda at Creative Construction.
Creative Construction is a wonderful blog/think tank/support engine for the creative mother. There are all sorts of great interviews and inspirational things to peruse.
And they have a Weekly Creativity Contest with a $10 Amazon gift certificate as the prize! Nothing like dangling a carrot to get those creative juices focused.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Stocking completion!

Due to the curling of the previous numbers, I retransferred them onto heavier paper and pinked the edges. They still curl a bit but are vastly better than the others. By the second day the first ones had curled up into little rolls are were not readable.

Handsome stockings all in a row....

Mister e repeatedly checking the tensile strength of the supporting ribbon...

We need to get another cup hook in the middle before the whole thing comes down.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Little Holiday Creativity...

We had a lovely Thanksgiving at my parents farm. Even though the spouse and I were sick most of the time, we were able to get out and enjoy some of the fall color.

And we discovered a quince tree on the farm! Who knew!!! Apparently Dad did, but we never used the quince for anything while we were growing up. So my sister and I trekked down to the quince tree one morning and picked a bucket full... and then spent the rest of the day turning it into quince paste... YUM! Unfortunately we left the whole batch at the farm (and it's a large batch), so Mom is putting into freezer cartons and will bring it down in a few weeks. I'll have to post the paste in another post.

Last year (or maybe the year before) a blogger had posted her idea of an advent calendar made of 24 stockings... or was actually working on the stockings... I can't remember. So this idea has been kicking around in my head for awhile. I didn't get it made last year and have been thinking about what fabrics to use, combinations, colors and couldn't make up my mind. Meanwhile I have been compelled to collect wool plaid fabrics....

I have amassed quite a stack courtesy of my mother-in-law's cleaning out of her sewing room and various finds at flea markets, rummage sales and what have you. I have no idea why I bought all of these, but they look really cool all together.

And then it hit me Sunday night, that my little stocking advent calendar needs to be mis-matched wool stockings! Genius!! Sometimes things do come together...

So I have been stitching away in the basement and falling farther and farther behind. I am heat transferring the cool numbers onto cotton broadcloth. My sister found this awesome site for free clip art, fonts, etc. The timing couldn't have been better! Unfortunately my little labels are curling... I will have to figure that out later. The good news is you can hole punch through the heat transfer medium and the cloth!

I managed to get the first 3 up today, so Miss E and Mister e got to empty 3 stockings all at once.. Jackpot! I have got to get the rest up today. I can't have them emptying multiple stockings at once!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Better Late Than Never....

Here are the Halloween creations for this year!

It took until the third week of November before we had dry weather and some sun and both children awake or the oldest home from school during the daylight to get pictures. They were both extremely cooperative and were having fun. Mister Ewan would have preferred to continue digging for the rest of the day rather than post for pictures... I'll have to make it up to him. So as you can see, Miss Elsie is Snow White and Mister Ewan is her accessory, Dopey. We had to pick a beardless dwarf. I couldn't imagine getting a 2 year old to wear a fake beard. The hat was challenging enough.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cath Kidston has relaunched!

Cath Kidston has redone and relaunched their website!

I LOVE her things and her fabrics. I bought her book a few years ago and love looking at the pictures. Who knew you could get so excited over an ironing board cover!

Such pretty things from a talented lady.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Anthropologie opened a garden and home store earlier this year called Terrain.

Unfortunately it is in Pennsylvania. I would love to go and see it sometime... or maybe they will open more in other locations. The images are beautiful! and make me want to try some indoor gardening this winter.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Native seeds and plants

While I'm waiting for my children to cooperate for some late Halloween costume pictures, I thought I would show you some pictures from Jacie Jensen's Thorn Creek Native Seed Farm site. Jacie and her husband live in Genesee, ID, which is where I grew up. This beautiful website is full of pictures from that area and wonderful pictures of all the native plants.
A sampling of the seeds...

There is a database that lists the native plants and their descriptions with gorgeous photos...

I remember picking these as a little girl....

... they do not last long as a cut flower... about 10 minutes.
So if you have some time, take a look and learn about native plants and all the things Jacie and Wayne do.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Creativity derailed....

by the FLU!!!! x 4!!! We have all had the stomach flu in it's various forms starting last Saturday. The spouse is still getting through the aches, and I break a sweat folding laundry... let alone carrying it upstairs. So consequently there is a LOT of clean laundry in the basement right now. My apologies to anyone who is knocking on the front door and sees a partially dressed person streaking toward the basement in search of clean clothes.
Fortunately I had to get the Halloween costumes completed for Miss E's harvest festival last week... otherwise we would have to get creative with toilet paper and duct tape. I've been wanting to do a photo session with the offspring but in between the vomiting and other bodily fluids, I didn't want to risk permanently staining the costumes... so tomorrow I'll snap some shots of the little hobgoblins and post them.
For now, I'm holding down the couch and working ahead on some Christmas projects. We have several little dancers this year... (not telling exactly what is on these double points... but you knitters can probably figure it out)...

When I start to loose focus, I can always go to Second Life... there's a great pumpkin hunt going on in there right now with lots of free clothes and other goodies for your avatar... or maybe I'll just take a nap.
This is sleeping next to me right now...

for some reason I start to get sleepy when I watch her for too long.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baking Extravaganza

Mister e and I were at the farm all last week. My plan was to pick and process some fruit, but all I managed to get was a bucket of Italian prunes- half of which I dried...

I had two sheets like this and it only made one zip-lock back of prunes. They are very, very good and much sweeter than the dried prunes you get in the store.

I was having a discussion with a British friend of mine as to what, exactly, is a crumpet. I was told that it is not a scone, not an English muffin, sort of like a fat pancake but savory... and, oh yeah, it has dimples on top. So that led to making crumpets two of the mornings that I was there. You have to cook them in these rings so they keep their shape.


Then Mom was going through some really old cooking magazines from the early 70's and found a recipe for Fairy Cakes that was so unusual we had to try it. Like we needed any more baked goods after the crumpets. This recipe had you mix up the dough/batter, put it on the cookie sheet, and put it in the fridge overnight.

.. and then bake it the next morning. Mom sent most of these home with us, since Mister e was consuming them at an alarming rate. He has eaten most of them.

I think I will need to add this recipe to my recipe drawer.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

That time of year again....

Halloween is approaching and I'm getting a head start on costumes. I made it perfectly clear back in August that our princess/witch/Minnie Mouse had to choose a costume on Oct 1 and could not change her mind after that date. She thought long and hard and decided upon Snow White.... so last Thursday we trekked to JoAnn fabrics for assorted inexpensive taffetas to complete this costume transformation. Miss E is working on the background on another sewing project. Again with the attention span of a dust mite. She could hardly make it through the cutting of the 4 pieces. We only have one seam sewn.

Mister e will be Dopey since that is the only dwarf that does not wear a beard. I can't imagine getting a 2-year-old to wear a fake beard. So far so good... just the zipper and the cape to go.

Since I was sewing up a storm today, I tackled the pile of clothing repairs as well. I was fixing the frogs on this Asian dress when I noticed a copper wire poking out. The wire gives the frogs their elaborate shape, but there are no tips protecting the ends of the wires and they eventually work their way through. I wound up removing the wire and stitching the whole frog in place... which is the way they are traditionally attached, but it requires much more labor and is therefore more expensive.

So my point is... if the dress is less than $20 there is probably wire in the frogs... you get what you pay for... just be careful. I washed this in a net bag on gentle and hung it to dry, and the wire still poked through. We will not be purchasing these types of dresses as super cheap prices points anymore. I would rather pay the extra money and have the beautiful dress sans wire.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Both the kid's birthdays are at the end of summer... one on Aug 30 and the other on Sept 21. So there was a lot of cake baking and frosting licking happening in the last month. Some highlights from this time honored tradition that has been passed from generation to generation....

always made better by the addition of chocolate.

My tomato plants produced a fair amount this year.

I was so mad at the tomato prices during the early summer after the salmonella scare, that I went out and bought 4 more plants. Then we had a cool summer, so I still have tons of green tomatoes. This pile is now resting comfortably in pint jars in the cellar... courtesy of my handy spouse's canning abilities.

We finally moved our 5 year old apples trees out of their too small pots and into the ground. We did this while they were blooming. They managed to hold onto enough blossom to produce a good amount of apples...

which are destined for pie over the weekend...

They are a really pretty apple with the green and red. They are fairly sweet with a crisp crunch so they should be good for a lot of things. Maybe next year we will have enough for pies and butter! Maybe I should water them more next year.