Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 29, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The fact of the matter is, I am desperately out of touch these past few weeks...with blogs, with returning emails and comments, and being an all-around good blog buddy! You would think I've never worked a full time job in my life! As I mentioned in my last post, I have misplaced my garment sewing mojo, but I am happy to say I feel the tingle of it returning!

Lately, I've been obsessed with baby gifts...knitted and sewn. I think the fact that there is such instant gratification, no fit issues, and adorable cuteness has kept me pushing them out. AND that there have been so many babies lately! So, I'll share a few of the things that I've been up to.

Elijah One:

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Elijah Two:

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SUCH a fun pattern. You can find this free pattern here:http://ysolda.com/patterns/toys/elijah/

This sweet little stripey sweater...I sort of winged it, loosely based on Martin Storey's hooded stripey cardi:

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I knit this with KnitPicks Comfy Sport yarn , added vintage buttons and a cute little knitted flower, which I found at Little Cotton Rabbit's blog.

And just last night, a pair of baby slippers, made from McCall's 6342 Cozey Toes pattern.

Baby Fleece Slippers

I see so many possibilities with these...imagine all the ways you could be creative!

So, the good news is, My custom Etsy orders are done, and I have a pile of new projects on their way to the shop soon. AND I've selected some stash fabric and patterns to work up more basic tops for layering. I think I'm actually getting excited about that! And maybe even by the end of this week I'll have a new jacket made.

Today was a beautiful blue sky sunshine kind of day...if you don't mind the freezing temps, snow on the ground and bare trees! I'm off to go finish knitting a bunny...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thanks for the birthday wishes! It's been a great week, with a celebration that extended over the days, culminating with family yesterday. And, today, I can't seem to find my mojo for much of anything...knitting, sewing, menu-planning, getting out of bed this morning... I blame it on Meghan's shamefully sinful coconut cupcakes and equally shameful and sinful chocolate cupcakes.

Well, what do do do when you seem to loose your creative fervor? I have an office now, and one of the partners came by and mentioned that now that I've been here a few weeks, I could go ahead and bring in a plant or some pictures of something! That's pitiful, isn't it? In fact, I had the whole weekend to sew or knit, and I did little of anything. I managed to stitch up the underarm seams of my military jacket! Oh, and put on make-up. I guess that was creative...

So, last night, after the kids left, I indulged in a bath. Not just an ordinary bath, but the girls surprised me with the gift of LUSH.


Such an experience! I chose the Big Blue bath bomb, and created an ocean in my bathtub. Once the bomb was dropped in the water, it started to dissolve with bubbles and fizz...


And calmed down to a relaxing, tranquil, moisturizing bath, with floating seaweed!


Now, that's how to prepare a bath. My concern was that the water would cool off before I was ready to get out of the tub.

JR's concern was that the seaweed would clog the drain.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


One of my favorite birthday gifts ever was a flashing green shamrock Budweiser necklace that a dear old friend gave me when I worked at The Chapel. She was sort of a church curmudgeon, but I got to know and love Virginia in a way that not many people did...the more we talked, the more her defenses went down, and I was able to uncover some of the brokenness under all that crankiness. She made twice weekly visits to me a the front desk, and when she entered into the long goodbye of dementia, I missed her terribly.

The day she gave me that necklace, I wore it proudly on my birthday...flashing the Budweiser logo all through the day. Maybe it came as a shock to some, but it represented a greater gift than Virgina probably realized. She meant a lot to me, and when she passed on a few weeks ago, I was saddened by the loss of such an intimate relationship. Virginia was vulnerable with me.

So, today, on my birthday, I can tell you it feels nice to know I'm loved, and have been loved. I feels good to know that today is a good day, no matter what tomorrow brings, and today is infinitely better than any other day that has come before this...because I get to continue to grow up and grow wiser. I have many things to be thankful for, and while there have been times in my life I wondered why I was even alive, I can tell you with confidence that life is good, even when it's bad, and many blessings can come from even the most difficult times.


I told my Mom today that I really think the celebration should be hers! She carried me and gave birth! We had lots of laughs over the fact that I was "the mistake" and she loves me anyway!

Even though, once again, I longed for my Dad's phone call again this year...his was always the first birthday call in the morning, but I loved my sister's sweet reminder today of not being so quick, even at 52, to grow up....that I'm still Dad's little girl in many ways.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, and a double blessing if it happens to be your birthday, too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

With little else to talk about today, I think I'll talk about pies. Ten on Tuesday ( I have been woefully neglect in posting in this category) topic today is Favorite Pies. In my opinion, pie is the perfect dessert.

1. The Best Pie Standard for me will always be my mother's apple pie. When others are tried or tested or eaten, they must all compare to Mom's Apple Pie. Her crust recipe is "no fail" yet somehow, hers always seems to be flakier, tastier and crustier than mine. Her apples are perfectly textured when baked...just that right combination of slices to juice...no overcooked, not undercooked. Mom never uses nutmeg in her pie, just cinnamon. Ask anyone who's had her apple pie, and they will nominate it her favorite. The thought of eating another seems like treason to me.

2. I made Lemon Meringue Pie a few years ago for Easter dinner which we still talk about today. That pie makes my mouth water to think of it now. The recipe is from my recipe Bible..."Best Recipes." I will never think of lemon pie again without thinking about the deliciousness of this one. The perfect blend of tangy and sweet, all topped with a pile of meringue. What's not to love?



3. My husband used to say that his former mother-in-law made the best chocolate pie that he's every eaten. Until he had mine. Again, it's a family favorite, from "Best Recipes" which is always a crowd-pleaser. What I love about this recipe is that you don't have to mess with tempering the eggs and all that nonsense...eggs are cooked right along with everything else and guess what? It works! The trick to keeping the crust from getting soggy is to let your filling cool to room temp before adding to the crust. Works every time!


4. Once, when we were in Vermont a few years ago, we found a diner in Fairlee that was by far, our best diner breakfast EVER. And to top it off, just as we were finishing, the owner comes in with trays full of pies she had made that morning. I spotted the coconut cream, and new I was not leaving the Fairlee Diner without pie to finish off my breakfast. It was by far, the most delicious and perfect coconut cream pie that has ever passed my lips. A few months ago, we drove back to Fairlee so I could have a piece of that pie, and the diner was closed on Monday's!


5. Strawberry Pie.

An Easy Recipe:

1 3 ounce box of strawberry gelatin

1 cup sugar

2 T cornstarch

1 cup boiling water

  1. In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and corn starch; make sure to blend corn starch in completely. Add boiling water, and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mix, and stir until smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
  2. Place sliced berries in a baked pie shell. Pour cooled gel mixture over strawberries.
  3. Refrigerate until set. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

6. Chicken Pie. Made with a mom's no-fail pie crust recipe, and just chicken and gravy. I roast a chicken (stuffed with celery, garlic and onion) in the crock pot and then make a nice thick gravy.

7. When the kids were growing up, every now and then, on a late summer afternoon, they'd pick wild raspberries. Our house was surrounded by them, growing wild, just waiting to be picked before the birds could get to them. With a pot or bucket in hand, the kids would go off on their adventure,, eating as many berries as they plucked. Mission accomplished, they would come back, all proud , bramble scratched and stain-faced, with a pie's worth of berries in their bucket. Sometimes I would make a shortcake, other times, I'd make a pie...using the recipe from #5 above. I think that was my favorite pie because they tasted like my kids fingers and the fun they had.

8. For many years, I was a doll maker, and would go to retail shows all over the North East. One of the shows we did in Pennsylvania had a pie booth, sponsored by a local church. Our friend Jody, who went along to sell with us, ate so much pie on those weekends that Kate and I would marvel at his capacity. They were indeed delicious pies....worth going back for year after year.

9. Whoopie Pies...while not technically a pie, they are delicious...I love pumpkin whoopie pies instead of the traditional chocolate.

10. The Barefoot Contessa's Apple Crostada. I just don't know how you get that much butter in a pastry shell. Try it...it is incredible.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Oh, my goodness. Breathe.

Starting a new job, I have had a thousand and one things on my mind, which leaves me this past week just concentrating on getting up in the morning, getting dressed and putting on makeup, going to work and then coming home. Come to think of it, the "going to work" part of the day is where 996 of the things on my mind are!

It's never easy being the new girl in town, especially where you don't speak the office language! So much of this week has been getting a sense of the company and who does what, and trying not to suggest new ways of doing things quite yet! But it's all good, and I'm so happy to be back part of a team, doing something to make a business successful. Oh, and did I mention, it's all women?

Before Utah, I had finished a long put aside knit project. Put aside the past few years, actually. Lady Eleanor is a wrap from Pam Allen's Scarf Style ( remember that?) which many of us had fallen in love with . I think I started it in 2005! But it was a delight to wrap my fingers around the entrelac and that beautiful Noro Silk Garden yarn once again. So many times, I had wondered if I should rip it out, but then I couldn't imagine that yarn being used on any other thing than entrelac...inches and inches and feet and feet of entrelac.

Lady Eleanor

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I used ten skeins of Noro Silk Garden.

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Noro Silk Garden can feel a bit rough in texture, but I have to tell you that after a gentle wash and blocking, this is the softest wrap EVER!

In fact, it's the perfect thing for a snowy and blustery March weekend.

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I am really, really hoping that tomorrow I can work on a sewing project. It would be just the thing to help me unwind!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Last week, before vacation, I was working on a few things for my "back to work" wardrobe. I love tops that can be worn with lots of different bottoms and jackets, and I found myself drawn to a particular stash fabric and once again, the Hot Patterns Boho Deluxe Peasant Top. I've made this one a few different times with a woven fabric, so this time, I decided to try a rayon lycra knit from Joann's.

It's such a versatile pattern...let your imagination run wild! I had noticed a top that had tucks instead of gathers around the neckline, so I did just that...adjusting the tucking to fit the neck band.

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IMG_7055 ( the flower is a chiffon petal pin that I found at a craft store a few years ago)

My first version had a band at the bottom, but I took it off and did a straight hem instead so that I could also belt the top.

IMG_7083 The short sleeved version can be worn alone or under a jacket.

IMG_7084 This is a winner pattern...great fit, and versatile. I think I'll do a plain white version with the pleat treatment and low drawstring waist as well, as soon as I find the perfect knit.

Let's see...what else have I been dreaming up? oh yes...JR and I were mall walking a few weeks ago ( yes, we were mall walking) and of course, since we were WALKING and not SHOPPING, I had to shoot inspiration pictures with my phone camera as we passed by all of the lovely Spring window displays. One of my favorites was an eyelet dress from J Crew that, to me, was the perfect summer dress.

Jcrew dress

It seems like a simple enough style, yet I'm having the hardest time finding a pattern that I can adapt! Any ideas?

Today, I'm enjoying the bluebird skies of Utah...I can't get enough of these views.

Utah 3

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


In the beautiful mountains of Northern Utah this week. Resting, reading, cooking, knitting. It couldn't be more perfect way to relax.