30 April 2014

circle skirt

Two basic circle skirts (found here at MADE) attached to a shirt with a sash.  I do love how flouncy and twirly it is, but I have to say: hemming a circle sucks.  I can see now why she suggests knit (which doesn't need to be hemmed), or other sites suggest bias tape instead of hemming.  Lots of ironing and pinning, but still a bit lumpy.  Worth it though, because who notices a wrinkly hem when it's on an adorable toddler?

26 April 2014

flowers outside

In addition to the inside of the house, we've been working on the outside. We've started terracing the edge of the front yard where it's a little hill down onto the driveway, and put in almost 30 strawberry bushes in the terrace levels. We have 4 grow boxes for a garden in the backyard - where we're going to put all of our tomatoes and other vegetables. I haven't taken pictures of all of that yet because it's not done. We're moving some bushes around, and I forgot to take before-pictures of all of that. Oops. But I will take pictures when we're done!

We also have a flower bed in the middle of the front yard, surrounding a random boulder that's just there. That's been my project, and we've got it at a good point. And since taking these pictures last week, the bulbs have grown a good bit and the bed looks a lot more full, even without adding more flowers to it yet.


AFTER - we added the rock border around it (from rocks we gathered all over our yard - they just appear here), and cleared out all the random junk from last year. The boulder in the middle of it has been named Fairy Rock by the girls. We're adding more flowers - we have some started in soil blocks in the basement under grow lights, but nothing has come up yet.

Adam added the little path with flat rocks so the girls can walk to Fairy Rock without stepping on anything. And JK had to check things out - she LOVES to be outside.

From the other angle. The bulbs are coming up nicely - we have some daffodils at the far end and the rest are supposed to be irises but we haven't seen any blooms yet. We also have a bunch of black-eyed susan daisies (yellow petals, black centers - they're awesome) that will blossom in the late summer/early fall.

14 April 2014

KCW spring

At long last, the FIVE flannel nightgowns are DONE! Hooray! That was my accomplishment for the spring KCW - the last one of the five.

I sewed 4 of the 7 days. The other 3 - I had book group, I had to spend a late night doing various paperwork and bills items, and the 3rd was a really long day working on our yard and transplanting a bunch of things in the front flower bed. The yard is still all torn up with piles of dirt and rocks here and there, but it's going to look really good when it's done! But that's another post.

Anyway - I also spent over an hour at the fabric store getting the fabric for SM's birthday dress and the lining fabric for JE's birthday dress. That's all been washed and JE's pattern has been traced off. The other thing that needs to be done this week is finally taking care of the elastic in the waists of the Easter skirts Mindy made for us (and figuring out tops to go with them for next Sunday - time is getting away from me). So my sewing continues, and that's my April holiday project - birthdays! Two birthday dresses, and then in May, I'm going to do the USA skirts for Memorial Day to get them done. I'll need to think of something other holiday things to work on in June and July.

13 April 2014

KCW Spring

My two shirts for KCW.  I didn't follow the theme, but I did get my holiday challenge done - an Easter peasant shirt with puffy blue sleeves.  I got the directions for the teal ruffle shirt here.  It took a long time - tearing, ironing, hemming, stitching, ruffling, pinning, sewing - times NINE.  I would consider doing a ruffle skirt in the future, but not with so many ruffles.  But it was something I wanted to do, so I'm glad I did it.  It'll be perfect for the summer.

03 April 2014

basic bread recipe

By request, this is what I do to bake bread every 4 or 5 days.

In a really large bowl:
3 cups "hand-hot" hot water - put your hand under the faucet and when it gets hot to the point that you can still put your hand under it but it's getting close to getting too hot, that's where you want it.
4 tsp yeast - I have no idea how many individual packets that would be. We don't buy the packets, we buy it the little jars or the frozen bags.
3/4 cup sugar

Stir them together and put in your oven - turned off, light on - for 10 or 15 minutes until the yeast is foamy.

Add to the bowl:
1 egg
1/3 cup veg oil
3 cups flour
3 tsp salt

Stir it together, then add another 3 cups of flour. The dough will still be pretty runny.

This is when we put it in the mixer for the kneading - we have a food processor with a dough blade (we're still wishing for a Kitchenaid), and we put it in a third at a time and add more flour about a half-cup at a time until the dough gets to the consistency that we want. It's usually 3 or 4 more cups of flour. Adam likes it a bit more sticky than I do. I just watch for it pulling off the sides of the mixer. This can be done by hand - it will just take a bit longer to get everything kneaded in.

We use a mix of regular white flour (unbleached, if that matters to you) and whole wheat flour. I go with 3 or 4 cups of wheat flour and the rest is white. The more wheat flour you add, the lower it will rise and it will be a lot more compact. If you like big poofy loaves of bread, don't use very much wheat flour.

Another hint - sift every bit of flour through a sifter as it's added. We didn't at first but then read something online that suggested it. We tried it and sifting the flour has made a huge difference in how the bread turns out. It's a lot lighter through the loaf.

When all the dough is mixed and kneaded into the consistency that you want, let it rise in the oven, still with the oven turned off and the light on. I don't know why this works to create the appropriate warm temperature for rising bread, but it does. Do this twice - rise, punch down, rise, punch down. This will take a couple of hours.

After the second punch down, separate the dough into 3 loaves and put them in the pans to rise a 3rd time. When they get to the top of the bread pans, you're ready to bake - 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. And then you're done! Wrap it in plastic wrap to put in the freezer if you want it for later.

This can take 4 or 5 hours with all the rising, so don't expect to have this ready for dinner if you're starting at 4 pm. This is something to start in the morning for lunch or dinner.

01 April 2014

Mindy Creates

I'm not sure why this blog has so many visits, compared to the other blogs I contribute to.  Maybe it's because there are so many contributors, and many of us refer back to here for recipes or links to sewing projects.  Whatever the reason is, I need to put myself in places where I can be seen, so why not here too?

I think that sewing came relatively easy to me because I've always had an artsy/creative side to me.  I draw.  For as long as I've remembered I've liked to draw.  Over the last five or six years I've started to paint a little too.  When I was in middle school I realized that drawing faces was hard, so that's what I decided to focus on. 

This is what I do to help contribute financially to my family - commissioned portraits for every occasion.  New babies and first birthdays, engagements and wedding anniversaries, Mother's day and Father's day, family portraits, pet portraits, and lots of just because portraits.  I've designed cards and wedding announcements and baby announcements.  To see more of my work, visit my blog!