01 September 2014

happy anniversary!

Today is the anniversary of Operation Domestic Goddess! Sept. 1, 2006 was my first day as stay-home mom, full-time domestic engineer, happy homemaker ...

We've been canning all weekend. That means that Adam has been canning, and I've been washing dishes and getting more jars out of the storage room and kinda/sorta keeping the kids out of the way. 18 quarts of peaches, a bunch of small jars of peach syrup, 8 pints of tomato sauce, 8 pints of red cabbage chow-chow (a type of relish to put on meat), pickled peppers, a bunch of corn scraped off the cob and put in the freezer, and we still have probably 10 or 12 quarts of cucumbers to make into pickles. We're at 24 gallons and counting of pickles.

Today, I cut Adam's hair, had school with the girls, and mowed the lawn for the first time. Adam did the front yard and I did the back (which is a lot bigger). Tonight, I need to sit down with RG and have her choose her pattern for her birthday dress - RG and TA's birthdays are only 3 days apart at the beginning of October, so I need to get going on their dresses now to have both of them done on time.

We decided that Labor Day weekend is going to be LABOR Day for our family - we get work done with the house. We have beach plans for next weekend, when the crowds have gone away to school and work and it will still be 90 degrees. Ha ha ha!

Sidenote: For August sewing, I was planning to make a denim picnic blanket cut from old jeans for a Labor Day holiday challenge item. Alas, it was not to be. I cut some squares but didn't get very far. For as long as the summer is, I got a lot LESS done with sewing and around my house in June/July/August than I'd been planning. I really don't know why but I have very little to show for this summer.

My girls have been watching the sewing instruction videos on the MADE blog and JE liked the pillow cover. So I experimented with the envelope pillow cover with my couch throw pillows - JE chose some "spring" fabric and it went together very quickly. The back does have a bit of a gap - I need to do an overlap of 3 or 4 inches when I do it again rather than 2 inches as instructed in the video. The pillow is really poofy so that's probably why. My plan is to make Christmas pillow covers for the couch throw pillows - the couch is white and the covers zip off the pillows anyway. Should look good! Now to find the time to do it ...

many muffins

I've been on a muffin kick lately.  Last month I tried three new recipes, and within the last week I've tried five more recipes.  I tend to fail with sweet breads, never getting them to cook all the way through, so I'll stick with muffins.  They freeze well - I can pull out one or two, nuke it for a minute, and I've got breakfast.

Blueberry Applesauce Muffins - Specifically suggested for toddlers, my toddler did actually enjoy them.  Not something to add to my recipe box, but not bad.  Won't make them for a while again because my little one suddenly has decided she dislikes all muffins.

Peanut Butter Muffins - I honestly can't remember if I used this recipe or a different one, but either way the muffins just came out okay.  As much as I love the idea of a peanut butter muffin, the final product was a lot more rich than I expected.

Orange Muffins - After reading the comments I altered this recipe - switching the proportions of the liquids (one cup of orange juice and half cup of milk instead of the other way) and used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  I added more zest - at least from two oranges if not more.  Lastly, I skipped the glaze - there is already plenty of sugar, I don't need to add more.  And they were delicious!  Very light and fluffy and orange awesomeness.  After the first batch I made a double batch a week later.  This recipe is a keeper.

Oatmeal Cookie Muffins - The first bite of every muffin throws me off, but really enjoy it by the time I'm finished.  Slightly different texture, but not as bad as straight oatmeal ones.  I added mini chocolate chips, raisins, and crushed pecans.  My husband won't eat them (he doesn't like chocolate, raisins, and there's banana in there too), but they are pretty tasty, and good for giving away (I think - I've only eaten them warm).  AND they can be made gluten free.

Peanut Butter Apple Muffins - The peanut buttery flavor was much better than the straight peanut butter muffins.  Maybe the apple balanced it out better.  Not sure how often I'd make these, but it's a good use for a couple leftover apples that no one is eating.  (And again, I didn't make the topping.)

Mini Coconut Orange/Lime Muffins - I really liked the texture that the coconut added - a slight crunch without being overwhelming.  Much faster than the straight orange muffins (no squeezing oranges), but yum!  I did make them semi-mini and find that size perfect.  And this morning I tried them with lime - it worked!

Spiced Carrot Muffins - Delicious.  Warm, spicy, carroty goodness.  I was very hesitant when I made the batter - half of it was the shredded carrot!  But it baked up beautifully.  Since I'm going to eat muffins anyway, the least I could do is include more vegetables sometimes.  I think I'll make these often during the fall and winter.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins -  Husband approved.  Following the baking instructions (425 for five minutes down to 375) made a nice crisp top with fluffy inside.  Light lemony flavor, that could be enhanced with the glaze, but tasty as is.

23 August 2014

tally-ho

This week I made seven dishtowel-bibs.  I had already made four earlier this year for Cupcake, so this batch was easy.  Cut a circle in the dishtowel, attach ribbing.  Done!  And I made another simple baby blanket, bringing my total up to eight for the year.  Two layers, usually one printed cotton and the other flannel, stitch right sides together, turn out and then top-stitch a zig-zag around the edge.  Now, with all the babies coming, I've got a stash of gifts!

17 August 2014

t-shirt / birthday dress

I wanted another try at the birthday top, but I lengthened it to make it a dress.  I like this new one better, but the fit still isn't quite right.  Considering I put the whole thing together in a day I won't complain too much.  And it's a different sort of t-shirt dress - the bottom half is made from one of Aaron's old shirts.  Working with knit wasn't as intimidating as I thought.

31 July 2014

sewing tally for the year so far

Seven months down, five to go.

I didn't do KCW this time because it was the same week I was planning for a friend's baby shower on Saturday at my house. It was my first time hosting a baby shower - or any kind of party besides a birthday party for one of my kids - so that took up my time and attention for the week.

I've been keeping track on a list of everything I've sewn this year so far, and honestly, with the year only half over, I'm shocked at what I've accomplished. Before July 1, I had sewn the following:

- 5 flannel nightgowns, a variation of the Oliver + S playtime dress. It's a tunic pattern and I lengthened it to the floor.
- 4 heart pillows that spelled out L-O-V-E.
- I helped a friend make 2 simple skirts out of my leftover Minnie Mouse fabric for her girls to wear at Disney World.
- 4 tier skirts and an Oliver + S ice cream dress, all with Dr. Seuss fabric.
- JE's birthday dress: Oliver + S rollerskate dress.
- "sewing camp" for SM and 2 friends. They made dresses and square block quilts for their dolls.
- SM's birthday dress: Oliver + S music box jumper
- 9 (NINE) Independence Day skirts: all simple skirts, added pockets, ribbon trim. (That reminds me. I need to post a tutorial on the pockets. I'll make another one and take pictures as I go ... but that would mean I need to get a new camera. Mine has apparently died.)
- a t-shirt dress for TA. Attach fabric to the bottom of a t-shirt and ta da! A dress!
- jumper Sunday dress for JK. I actually started it last year from a random unknown pattern but never finished it, and I found it. I tried it on her and it still fit fine around her torso because I'd made it really big. I did have to add a wide ruffle around the bottom to make it long enough for her. It turned out awesome - I love it!
- SM's white baptism dress, from a McCall's pattern that quite frankly, I didn't really like. But the dress turned out nicely!
- 4 comfort blankets for JK, which started as a king-sized blanket on my bed that she co-opted as her "I can't sleep without this" blanket. I cut it into quarters so we would have travel sizes, and hemmed them.

That's 24 articles of clothing made for my own children, and various other items for other people and my home. AND I've fixed 14 things that are in my rather large mending pile. AND in July, I handstitched the edges of 2 flannel baby blankets to give as gifts to friends - one having her first baby, and the other having her first grandchild.

And here are pictures of the clothes I hadn't posted about yet:

SM's baptism dress. The pattern had no closures at all - it was a pullover dress. The fabric should apparently have some stretch to it but this did not so it's a little tricky getting on and off. I have to help her. The front hemline was rather odd - a weird slant to make it look like there's an overlap but it didn't really work. I added the sheer white overskirt just for fun because SM wanted it and bonus! It hid the screwy hemline.

JK's jumper. I need to get a shot with the ruffle - it totally makes the dress.

TA loves her t-shirt dress! And playing with bubbles. And her cousin Cupcake.

Like I said, I'm shocked at what I've accomplished. Here's to another 6 months and beyond of handmade clothing for my daughters (2 more birthdays still!) and just generally being creative with fabric!

29 July 2014

My KCW

Saturday - I got my game plan.  Picked patterns/tutorials and fabric for a birthday outfit, plus another pair of pajama pants (from an old receiving blanket).  Made my own bias tape, and a trial pair of bloomers (modifying the pattern I use for pajama pants). 

Monday - Created the pattern for the top.  Cut out all the pieces for shirt, bloomers and pj's.

Tuesday - Ironed in all the hems and casings.  Started making ruffles for the bloomers.

Wednesday - Worked on the shirt.

Thursday - Finished the shirt.  Finally got to try it on her, and was a little disappointed with the fit.  The bias tape is a bit overwhelming, and the shoulders are too narrow to properly show off the cap sleeves. Did a quick redraw of the pattern for next time.  Worked on the bloomers a bit and finished making the ruffles.

Friday - a busy evening, shopping for the birthday BBQ, so I didn't get as much time to work on stuff.  Got further on the bloomers - pinned the ruffles on.  Need to sew them on and put the elastic in the waistband.

Saturday - Outfit finished!  Time to show it off at our birthday party.

Sunday - rest and recovery from the party.

Monday - spent exactly an hour finishing the pajama pants.  After making so many they actually go pretty fast!

21 July 2014

June holiday sewing for July

My June sewing for our holiday challenge was nine Independence Day skirts - 5 for my girls, and 4 more for cousins for our family reunion. I was blasting through finishing the skirts at 10 pm the night before we left on the trip, and ended up inserting the waistband elastic at the reunion for 4 of them. 

These shots were indeed taken on July 4 - fun day! I got pictures of all but one of the skirts, and please excuse the black corners - my camera's automatic lens cap is getting funky on me. JK's skirt (middle picture on the left) turned out a lot shorter than I was going for - I need to add a super-wide ruffle to the bottom to lengthen it, so she can wear it again without her diaper hanging out. SM's skirt was way too big in the waist - not sure how that happened because I'm pretty sure I measured the elastic on her before I inserted it. It literally fell off her when she put it on the first time, so I just pinned it until we got home from the trip and now it's in my mending pile.

The pattern/tutorial for all of them was the Simple Skirt, and I got the idea for all the ribbons from the Fiesta Skirt. My secret addition was pockets on all but the 2 babies' skirts. Instead of only one seam up the back on the rectangle of fabric, I cut it in half so there were 2 side seams, and added pockets. I saw something somewhere about pockets but I couldn't find directions again so I figured it out on my own ... and did them backwards the first time so it wasn't a totally smooth process. But they are really easy - I'll put directions with photos up here ... later. And the pockets were all fun Independence Day prints, hidden away for a surprise (except SM, who wanted patch pockets on the front so that's what she got). It was really fun to have all the little cousins in sorta-matching clothes - all the same red fabric but the ribbons were all different.

Happy Independence Day!



13 July 2014

KCW July

I just updated the KCW button on the blog.  The 21st is only a week away!  Theme: Kid Art.  Instead of just working on whatever, I want to actually take the time to plan.  I'm an artist.  What can I do to incorporate more art (whether mine or Cupcake's) into my sewing?  This week I will make a plan.  How about you guys?  Anyone else joining in this month?

It will be hard not to include some sort of birthday something since the 25th is my birthday, the 30th is her birthday, and we're having a BBQ to celebrate on the 26th.

29 June 2014

June Cooking

After creating a dinner database (a big list of everything I like/would like to cook for dinner) planning meals has been less stressful.  And if I have a plan, dinner actually gets made.  The month of June has been quite successful.  Tried out some new recipes, some that will end up in the regular rotation.

Pizza Rolls - based off a cinnamon roll recipe, but instead of cinnamon and sugar in the middle, it's pizza sauce and meat, with cheese melted on top.  I had zero experience making cinnamon rolls, so they got a bit messy, but I'll get better when I make them again.

Zucchini Lasagna - Aaron doesn't like zucchini or lasagna, so I made this recipe while he was out of town.  A bit more time consuming than I'd usually like to spend on dinner, but it was delicious.  I didn't miss the lasagna noodles at all!  Next time I'd love to add spinach to the sauce.

Smashed Potatoes - Nice change from our usual potato wedges.  Good as a side.

Orange Muffins - Yummy! Yummy!  Made them one week and loved them so much that I made a double batch the next.  They freeze well.  Not at all healthy, since there is a full cup of melted butter in there, but light and fluffy and delicious.  I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and one cup of (freshly squeezed) orange juice instead of a half, so I cut the milk down to half cup.  And lots of zest.

Banana Peanut Butter Muffins - had to use the rest of the Greek yogurt before we leave town, so tried these.  Much heavier and rich than the orange ones, but still pretty good.  Not something I'd make super often, but they also freeze well.

Baked Broccoli - someone posted it on Facebook.  I'm not usually a fan of cooked broccoli, but I've made this multiple times throughout the month.  *Do not rinse the broccoli immediately before preparing.  Chop your broccoli and toss with minced garlic, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper.  Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees.  Easy and delicious!

And right now my husband is making a cherry cola BBQ sauce to go on some ribs for dinner tomorrow.  Should be interesting!

June Sewing Projects

Shortened the green dress so she can actually run and play in it.
 
Made another pair of pajama pants. 

A ruffle shirt for the 4th. 
A bit oversized so she can wear it for a few years.