Monday, September 29, 2008

and the winner is...

Congrats to this week's winner:

and the winner is....

Send me your address, Leslie! And everyone else, come back Friday for another giveaway -- I have 3 more Feliz/Anna packs to give away! And please...pass it on!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

this off time!

What am I proud of? Besides the obvious (Emily, Emily, Emily), I think I already do show off the things I do that I'm proud of. But something I don't think I've mentioned is this:

this is...

I'm proud of the fact that we have not bought bread in a store for nearly three years! At the end of 2005, after much deliberation, we cashed in several Amazon gift certificates and splurged on this. Yes, you can certainly make bread just fine without a machine, but there is no way I have time to make nearly daily loaves of sandwich bread without it! In fact, I streamlined the process even further -- I make up 6 loaves' worth of dry mix, and then the next week or two of bread is simple as can be. I also use it to mix dough for other kinds of bread, pizza dough, you name it. We originally looked into making all our own bread when Emily started eating solid foods and we realized how much garbage was in practically everything at the store, but as it turns out, it has saved tons of money -- and fresh bread is never more than 2 hours away! And warm, fresh bread....usually half the loaf is gone within 15 minutes of it coming out. Mmm!

This week's This Is... theme brought to you by Katie of May The Cloth Be With You.

Friday, September 26, 2008

fantastic freebie friday: farbenmix + fledge!!

To celebrate the beginning of the farbenwiki and encourage you all to try these patterns, I'm going to have a pattern giveway! For the next four weeks (ooh, four, another "f" I could have worked in there), every weekend I'm going to give away a pair of patterns (courtesy of Nancy Langdon of StudioTantrum/Fledge) -- an Anna and a Feliz, which could pretty much take care of all a girl's dress needs between them. These are 'scratch and dent" patterns that had folding issues; so they come without the usual ribbon tags and have their titles crossed out to prevent their sale, just so you know. But they are perfectly usable and will make fabulous dresses! All you have to do is comment on this entry or email me by Monday morning -- and if you don't win, try again next weekend!! And please spread the word so we can spread the love!

And Leslie is the winner! Come back Friday Oct 3rd for another chance!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

wiki wiki wiki wiki!

Just a quick note to let all you sewists out there know -- I've started a wiki at wikia for farbenmix and studioTantrum/Fledge patterns, and if you have made even one, please come by and add some info! Take a few minutes to fill in an entry, or add links to your blog or even your sewing notes! If enough people help fill it all in, we'll have a great resource for everyone who loves these patterns!!

And now, because Nancy went and put it into my head, the original "wiki" song:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

autumn cookie baking

molasses crinkles

In honor of the beginning of Autumn (yay! at last!), here are two cookie recipes that I love this time of year -- the Crinkles especially. It's a basic molasses cookie recipe I have seen in a ton of places, it's probably been around forever. The sprinkling step is actually very important -- it's what makes the crinkles!! So don't skip it!! the Walnut Nuggets are also very tasty -- and both cookies ship really well, if you've someone far off you'd like to bake for!

2-1/4 c sifted flour
1 t salt
2 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cloves
1 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
3/4 c softened butter
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c molasses
At least 1 hour ahead: Sift together flour, salt, soda, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. In mixer, cream butter, brown sugar and egg together until "very creamy". Add molasses, then add flour. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
to bake: Preheat oven to 375°. Shape dough into walnut-sized balls and dip one side of each ball into sugar. Place balls 3" apart on greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly (with palm of hand, glass, whatever). Sprinkle each cookie with 2-3 drops of water. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until done.

1/2 c softened butter
1/4 c sugar
1 egg (unbeaten)
1/2 t vanilla
2 T orange juice
2 T grated orange zest
1-1/4 c sifted flour
1/4 t cinnamon
3/4 c chopped walnuts
At least 8 hours ahead: In mixer, cream butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, juice and zest together until fluffy. Turn to low speed and add flour and cinnamon. Refrigerate dough until ready to use.
To bake: Preheat oven to 325°. Shape dough into walnut-sized balls, place on greased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a heavy glass dipped into sugar (press the glass into the dough first to get the sugar sticking), flatten balls to 1/8". Sprinkle with nuts and bake 20 minutes.

Updated: found! see a photo of the walnut nuggets here.

Okay, this is a pretty brief entry, but it's been sitting in draft mode so long (a whole year!) I don't even remember what I was going to say about them! I decided it was time to post or delete, and they're good recipes, so I thought someone else might like to try them!!

Monday, September 22, 2008





All taken this weekend at our local Greenmarket, at the main produce stand. We actually buy first from a smaller farm (I call the owner "the Angry Farmer" because he was always so cranky last year -- he's in a much better mood this year, but the name stuck); then we come down here for whatever the Angry Farmer didn't have. We buy those radishes all the time, as well as their carrots.

(Photos #2 and #3 are my red outside pics for this week's Year of Color theme.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

red inside: a year of color 3 week 1

Rody in the autumn sunbeams

Rody looks so calm and collected, doesn't he? We need more calmness around here -- it was not the finest day for the House of Fun. Evan lost an hour's work to the depths of his computer, and I checked in here (because it was the fastest way to check on how I made those tomatoes!) to discover that my blog was devouring itself. A few hours later I found the coding error and fixed it, but that was not. fun. at. all. All is back, but still. I can think of a million ways I'd rather have spent the last few hours.

Anyway. I've always loved seeing people's Year of Color posts, and caught a post mentioning that year 3 was about to start last week. I could use some assigments that make me look around with fresh eyes, so I'm taking the challenge on. We'll see if I can hack all 52 weeks!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

polka dot macaroni!

A while back, I was going through my repro edition of Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls to find a recipe and stumbled on the following:

polkadot macaroni

Which is basically a baked macaroni with sliced hot dog arranged all over the top before baking. Since I happened to be making baked macaroni and cheese that night (different recipe though), and we happened to have a single leftover hot dog, I decided to give it a try:

polkadot macaroni - the reality

My photo's not as pretty as theirs, between the lack of wicker and kitschy pot-holders, and the glaring flourescent tube over my stove. In person it looked pretty much like the original. And as far as taste goes -- I was actually surprised to find that it was pretty good. I kind of thought we'd be picking those polka dots off. Still, I have my doubts that I'll be going out of my way to make it again. But you never is polka dots, after all!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

what's up, baby cheetah?

Here's a possibly-finished work-in-progress:

cheetah quiara

It's a top for Emily, made from some cotton baby rib and some recycled fabric from a favored pair of "cheetah" PJs (which I know some of you will recognize!). The pattern is QUIARA from Farbenmix, which I have made before and really like. The problem? The kitty's face. We all have different opinions on how to finish it. I was thinking maybe button eyes, but I couldn't find any buttons I liked. Evan likes it the way it is. And Emily thinks every little detail should be embroidered in. Any suggestions? (I'm starting to think that if it sits long enough, my lazy streak will win out the more we will all get used to it and decide to leave it as is.)

By the way, this shirt was the start of my Fall/Winter sewing! And if it's done, it's the first thing I finished on my Fall sewing list. Yay!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

this is ... what I do with a spare 10 minutes

Okay, so this is all getting to be a little too philosophical for me, I mean, what is spare time, really? Do I have any? No, I just have stolen time. Because I have a list of things that need to get done that stretches ahead of me interminably. I could say that I read , but actually reading is kind of on my list of things to do these days as in "oops, this book is due Monday, I'd better finish it now or give up!" Really, I don't want to examine my life this way right now.

But the truth is, every moment that I can steal or spare, I try to spend on this:

muno rocks!!

having fun with Emily. What better use of time?

This week's This Is... theme brought to you by hoppobumpo.

Friday, September 12, 2008

domo-kun + target = halloween happiness

domo is in the house!

They're starting to roll out the Halloween stuff at Target, and this year they're using Domo-kun as their mascot. No idea why, but since Emily loves Domo it was fun to find him there! Not much was out yet, but we did get a pencil case that had cute little candy bracelets in it; as well as a nasty mockolate candy game (I did not notice until we got home that it wasn't actually chocolate, merely "chocolaty". Grrr.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the end of summer...sewing, that is

I recently wrapped up the last stragglers from my summer sewing pile and now that's all done. First, I finally finished this butterfly pinafore and matching Hannah top that had been sitting for a while; I had run out of the dot fabric and had to track another half a yard down! The butterfly fabric I picked up a while back, Emily picked it out off my fabric shelf. (There's plenty left so I think we'll be seeing it again next year!) The top I trimmed with FOE (fold-over elastic), which I have been using for a few years, but not on clothes. I didn't like it as much as just a regular inserted elastic, but I may warm up to the effect. Overall, not an outfit I am in love with, but Emily's happy so I'm happy.

And finally, my very last Summer 2008 sewing project: the mini-Rømø!


After I made mine, Emily wanted one to match. She also wanted a ruffle just like her doll Lilli's (it's hard to see in that pic, but the doll's top has a pleated organza ruffle). And a different ribbon. (The demands ended there, thank goodness.) The hard part was getting her to settle on what she wanted, once that was done, the skirt went together super-fast, and she was wearing it that day:

mini-römö in action

Note the coordinated pajama top and garden hose!!

And's time to get cracking on fall and winter...a few things are done, and more are in the pipeline...I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

this is... my absolute favourite band of all time

So, this is....a late post! But Sunday there was a minor incident, then yesterday a hectic day. Ah well. The truth is, I don't have an all-time favorite band anymore. I thought about it...and I really don't. There was a time when I was quite devoted to Siouxsie (and I have the 7" collection to prove it!). But if you looked at my CD collection? You'd think my all-time fave was the Go-Bang's! And there's only one band I own dolls of...and not just one set, but two! (The Takara Jenny set, and the vinyl Rodney Alan Greenblatt set) And that would be Puffy. (Who, incidentally are one of Emily's absolute favorite bands.) And if you asked me right now what band I couldn't live without, it would very possibly by the Electric 6 by a hair, and the list of 2nd place winners would be endless. And we're not even covering all the genres I am quite devoted to (but never bought much of on CD), most notably ska, rockabilly, and standards from the 30s and 40s.... I never would have thought that was such a hard question!

This week's This Is... theme brought to you by Curlypops.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

all this orange...


I noticed the other day that there is a lot of ORANGE showing up in my flickr stream and on this blog. Only weird if you know that I traditionally loathe orange. I mean, like, seriously. But all of a sudden, thanks to an orange-obsessed child, I seem to be surrounded by it, and I'm finding that I actually sort of like it. I guess I finally warmed up to it after having it around enough. I'm still never going to wear it though.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

dreamsicle lollipops!

So, round two of the lollipops, with some good and some bad. The good: I've got the system totally down now, it was easy as pie what am I saying? I can't make pie! It was totally easy this time around. A new experiment, "adding sparkles" at Emily's request, went really well. But, the dreamsicle flavor is too chemical, I think. She has given up on them already, declaring that they "taste like lip balm". I'm not a big fan of orange flavor, real or artificial, so...I think these pops will be heading out soon. They sure were pretty though!!

Action shot -- that's stovetop napalm, basically. Scary!!

eek!! sugary danger!

Here are the molds all nicely lined up. You can just see my trick for perfectly straight sticks at the bottom there -- I line up extra sticks and rest the bottoms of the sticks that are in the molds on the line.

mold setup

Freshly filled molds - you can see one "sparkle" lollipop on the right there.


Popped out of the mold and ready to go!

just unmolded

Here's a close-up of the "sparkles" -- the one on the left is what the backs looked like, we put some in before pouring and they look like they're embedded in resin (I guess they kind of are!). On the front we sprinkled them on right after pouring, and as the mold company promised, they stick perfectly. And here's a whole mug full of dreamsicleness! Dreamsicle lollipops, I wish we loved you more.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Emily found an orange tomato at the Greenmarket this weekend and asked to buy it (just because it was orange!), and I wanted to find something to do with it that would preserve it's orangeness. Knowing she won't eat raw tomatoes, I looked through my books and cobbled a recipe together that resulted in this:


And it was delicious! She still wouldn't eat it though...but that's okay, more for us!

Here's what I did: slice up yummy tomato and lay out on a baking sheet. drizzle with olive oil (I used 1 T for one tomato), sprinkle with salt (I used kosher, any flake salt would be good), grind some pepper over the lot, and finally, grate piles of parmesan on each slice. (okay, actually, I use pecorino, but parmesan will work fine and most people have that instead). Broil 6" from broiler unit for 6 minutes. Transfer carefully to plates and then scarf down.

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