Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dried Cranberry Tea Bread

So I haven't been sewing much lately, but I have been baking.

I got a sudden urge to buy a bread machine. Yup, I'm way behind the times but that's OK. So, I've been making bread just about every day for the last two weeks. However, in order to do so, I've pretty much had to give myself the equivalent of a college course on wheat, yeast, all the various ingredients and the history of bread making in general.  I've obviously underestimated bread all my life.

Today, I actually made this bread in the KitchenAid mixer and baked it in the oven, but the recipe was from the bread machine recipe book I got last week.  The bread machine was already occupied with another bread treat I'm going to try to freeze for Christmas.

Maybe it's because I'm Hispanic, but I don't understand why cake is called bread just because it's baked in a loaf pan.  "Pan", "queque", "torta". "Bread", "cake", "cake"???  English doesn't make a lot of sense sometimes.

So, I bought the West Bend High-Rise Bread Machine from Walmart online because it was a good deal and I just happened to find a $50 gift card to Walmart I'd apparently been saving for this moment for the past three years.  I also bought the kindle version of The Bread Love'rs Bread Machine Cookbook.

I made these real quick for my son's dance teachers. And they smelled soooo good baking in the oven.  I had to make a couple more for us.  The tags are a free download from Lia Griffith.  I love her designs.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Prikka Blouse

Pattern: Ottobre 6/2012 #31 Prikka Blouse
Fabric: $2 Dollar Fabric Store (Home Fabrics) unknown fibers on clearance
Total Cost: $2.00
Size: 128cm
Child's Age: 8


I bought this fabric at, what I still call the $2 Dollar Fabric Store. I think it's called Home Fabrics now. They mostly carry discount upholstery fabrics and rugs.  They had this fabric on clearance in a cart outside the door.  It's very cheap and who knows what questionable, synthetic material it's made out of but hey the pattern, drape and price was right!  Especially considering the overpriced quilting cottons or psychedelic, old-lady synthetics available at my local Jo-Ann's, all of which are such poor offerings for kids clothes.

This was a pretty easy blouse to make. The only thing that was difficult was gathering the edges of the neck and sleeves because the fabric frays like crazy.  This was also my second attempt at a rolled hem on my serger for the ruffle edges, and I was really happy to have this new skill.

The blouse came out surprisingly nice.  I wasn't sure what she'd wear it with at first. She's not really a blousy-type girl. But the yellow capris I made her last year made a perfect match.  This is a really cute and wearable blouse if made in the right fabric. I'm not saying discount, unknown fibers is the right fabric.  It just needs to be light and a little drape-y.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Easy Jersey Vest

Pattern: Ottobre 6/2010 #27 Vest
Fabric: jersey knit in moss green from JoAnn's I think
Notions: brown buttons
Total Cost: don't remember
Size: probably the smallest one
Child's Age: 5

[Shirt: Janie & Jack; Pants: previously made Ottobre; Shoes: Gap Kids: Hat: Gap Kids]

So I made this a while ago but didn't post it because, I purchased the material and intended to make the whole outfit, pants and shirt.  Of course, that didn't happen and then a bunch of months go by and that's the story of my life. The vest has gone unused because, in mind, he couldn't wear it without the rest of the outfit.  Anyway, on the day of this photo, he actually put this ensemble together himself because he felt the need to be dressy. I was pretty impressed with it and didn't know why I hadn't put this together myself!  (Minus the gym socks, though).

The vest was pretty easy to make. The hard or next to impossible part was finding ribbing to match the jersey knit in the same color. Didn't happen. So I had to use the same fabric for the waist band, arm, and neck bands.

Pretty cute outfit. The vest definitely adds an instant scholarly flair. It also makes people think you're children are very well behaved.  As long as they don't speak, it's very convincing!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Zucchini Fritters

I know. A half-eaten plate of food probably doesn't photograph as that appetizing.  I always decide to take a photo of my plate after I get a taste of it and it's so delicious, I want to preserve it visually.

Zucchini is about the only thing that is thriving in my little square foot garden, probably because the huge leaves are killing everything else off. I had leftover lamb and rice from my husband's requested birthday dinner and I thought I would add some zucchini fritters to it. I just Googled a recipe and kind of modified it for what I had on hand.

These are sooooo good. Probably too good. Everything fried is good, isn't it. I don't fry stuff often. I even pulled the never-used iron skillet out for these. I shredded the zucchini in the Cuisinart. Super easy. Everyone loved these. I also made the Savory Zucchini Pie last week. Probably a little more healthy and super delicious too.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Side yard gate

So this past weekend, I thought we would dedicate some time to the long list of neglected house repairs: re-painting the garage man door and trim, stripping and re-staining the front door, WEEDING, there's always weeding, replacing light bulbs in the outdoor garage light fixtures, etc.  Instead, while picking up supplies at Home Depot, I remembered one of the items in my long running, mental to do list & ideas --Replace the hideous chain link fence on my parent's side yard with a gated fence.  I've been scheming to do this at some convenient time that they are out of town (you can't do anything with my dad around, it's not fun) and we have plenty of time and the inclination to do it.  Well, it dawned on me, while carting the kids around in Home Depot, taking turns going to the bathroom, and trying to remember everything we needed for out little chores, that --Hey! They are out of town! And, we have maybe two days to do this.
My husband thinks I do these things on purpose, but I can't have everything pre-planned out all the time!  Luckily, he just rolled with it (for the most part).
The reason I felt a burning need to do this instead of painting my own front door is that there is no access from the front to the backyard other than through the house. There is solid chain link fence on both sides of the house.  You can get to the back through the garage man door but, my dad, in his infinite man wisdom made a deck in the back yard many years ago. He decided it needed to transition onto another deck close to ground level and made a little walkway with steps down to the garage door and down to the backyard.  I was like, "Uh, isn't that going to make it REALLY hard to get the lawnmower from the front to the back and visa versa???!!!" Well, he didn't really care about that, but it certainly does make it hard, and I suspect other people will be doing more lawn mowing than he will soon so a gate in the side yard was necessary. Plus sometimes, I need a way to sneak back there when the front door is locked.
When this was just an idea in my head, I thought we'd do vinyl fence with virtually no up-keep but since this was spur of the moment, we used these pre-made cedar panels from Home Depot.  They are eight feet long, so we had to cut them and re-assemble the ends. I didn't get a real Before picture, because we were all about getting it done marathon style and by the time I felt leisurely enough to take a photo, the husband had already taken the chain link fence down and we had made some progress getting the posts in.
I will tell you, this took two full days.  I had to leave my kids (3, 5, and 8) in the house and back yard unattended most of the time with only the TV to babysit them. Every time I went to check on them, I would discover that they tried to feed the dogs too many times. I even found the Super D (the 3-year-old) walking around the yard with a small glass bowl of dog food as snacks.  They tried to eat everything in the refrigerator despite my adamant demands that they not touch it.  Getting projects done like this is like the Amazing Race, exhausting, messy, frightening, and testing.  It was also 96 degrees the first day and then there was a thunderstorm!
Soooo, I was so happy that we were able to do it!  I even had to install a small retaining wall to fill the gap on the right caused by the slope of the yard. I also did  a tiny area of pavers under the fence so it won't get muddy in there. I had to severely cut down the two thorny rose bushes in the front just to get in there. Those things are brutal!

So my parent's should be coming back home today.  First, hopefully they will notice (they're elderly).  Next, I hope everything is level. I know my dad will check for level. And last, I hope my kids didn't clog the toilet in their house or leave some other kind of unintended pleasant surprise.

Friday, August 2, 2013

More zucchini breads

Yes, I've been a zucchini bread making machine this week.
Here's blueberry, banana, and banana with almond butter.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hey, look at me

I got this special German edition of Burda magazine a few weeks ago, and look who's in it. This is the Godet Skirt I made last December in a fuscia stretch velvet.

I left the magazine out to see if anyone would notice. Yes, people (regular, normal people that don't sew) actually do pick it up to peruse it at my house. Yeah, no one noticed. My kids were pretty excited about it though.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Square foot garden

This is our third year of our square foot garden. It's a fun thing to do with the kids. Teaching them where food comes from. They think it's pretty much akin to magic when they see it grows from a seed and doesn't come from a box.

So this year, we planted a couple of zucchini. I don't eat zucchini. I was born a finicky, picky eater. You know, like those weird people on that TLC show Freacky Eaters that only eat potatoes. It's only been a couple of years that I started eating lasagna (before this, it kind of struck me like vomit) and most recently, I've learned to eat oatmeal. Yes, oatmeal. This took several tries as I couldn't get over the slimy texture at first. I'm still not that fond of water. Enough of my weird eating habits. I could go on and on. The point is, I don't want my kids to turn out this way, so I try my best to introduce them to healthy foods. OK, and in this case ... chocolate.

Anyway, now the zucchinis are really, really big (apparently you're not supposed to let them get this big) and I need to figure out what to do with them. Here's one of my first attempts using an internet recipe, Chocolate Zucchini Bread found here []. Success. Warning: this is REALLY chocolate-y.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


This is currently my favorite breakfast:

- Kodiak Whole Wheat Flapjack mix pancakes
- with fresh mangoes
- and Kodiak Raspberry syrup (there's also a Marionberry syrup that is equally good)

Delicious! And if you eat this outside, it's even better.

If you're trying to make the switch from white flour baked goods to whole wheat, like I've been trying to do for a few years now, this pancake mix is a sure winner.

This also helps explain, why there are less posts about sewing and crafting. I've been concentrating my efforts on eating yummy things.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Explorer Vest

Pattern: Explorer Vest Little Things To Sew by oliver + s

This is an oldie I made last year but it's a super favorite that he still wears all of the time. It's also been very popular among the guys. More than once, we have been out somewhere that a guy will comment to him about his vest, how cool it is, and how they wished they had one!

This was pretty easy to make up. The pockets take the most time obviously, you can omit some, but then, what would be the fun in that. It is lined with another cotton on the inside. The binding around the arm openings makes it so you don't have to do any tricky turning of the vest.

It's just about ready to hand down to the little brother, but first I'll have to make him a new one.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Did you see this?

Sew Mama Sew is sponsoring an online sewing contest. I just got wind of it so I was too late to try for it, but there is a Community Bee for those interested in sewing along with the weekly contest challenges.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Summer has been getting in the way of blogging and well, uh, sewing lately.

I have, however, been making plenty of use of my Blendtec for healthy smoothie snacks. I was even motivated enough to buy a popsicle mold and make semi-healthy fruit pops. My kids are always begging for treats like this in the summer and I'm pretty stingy when it comes to buying candy, junk snacks, ice cream and anything else kids really like a lot. So I thought I would pre-empt their whining for popsicles by making them in secret.

I've made the pineapple ones from this Blentec recipe and yesterday I concocted my own mango recipe. This is what I used, it will make more than you need, but you can always drink the rest.

My three-year-old, Super Disgusting, kept asking me for these one day for about two hours. I couldn't figure out --What the hell he wanted!!!

- "Mom, can we have some pachios?"
- "What?"
- "Mom, can we have some pachios?"
- "I can't understand you".
- "Mom, can we have some pachios?"
- "You want some pachios?
- "No!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can we have some PACHIOS!?"

I figured it out several days later.

My kids loved these. My husband did too. The only problem was that they wanted to keep eating more. I did too.

Mango "Pachios"

3 mangoes
1 cup greek (or plain) yogurt
2 tblsp. agave nectar (or honey or other sweetner)
2 packets of Splenda-type sweetner (I wanted to make sure they were going to be really sweet this time)
It's possible I added about 1 tblsp. of vanilla protein powder. I don't remember. It's not critical to the recipe.
A little bit of Cranberry-Raspberry juice. Ok, it was probably about 1/2 cup.
1 tsp. orange zest
2 cups of ice cubes

Mix in high powered blender (Ice Crush/Milkshake setting on Classic Blendtec).

Poor into popsicle mold. I dropped a couple of raspberries in there too.
Makes approx. 14 pops

Monday, May 20, 2013

Passenger Trench

Pattern: Ottobre 1/2013 #31 Passenger Trench
Fabric: tight weave cotton; lining light green dot cotton
Notions: gray buttons
Total Cost: ~$18.00
Size: 128cm
Child's Age: 8

[Tights: White pin dot Old Navy; Shoes: Mud boots Walmart; Raaf en Vos]

It's taken me a while to post this one. Spring has gotten in the way. Weeding, biking, mostly weeding. But I'm so glad I got it done in time for the season.

I've been wanting to make Monkey Pants a trench coat for several years now.  I bought my first issue of Burda just for the child's trench coat. I painstakingly traced the pattern, bought the fabric and never made it.
She had a trench from the Gap I loved so much, she wore it for about four years which is like wearing something for half your life when you're child.

When I saw this in the Ottobre issue, I was determined to make it before she got to old for the cuteness of it.
I had a heck of a time finding fabric. I really liked the orange color in the magazine but couldn't find anything like it.  There was a whole incident at the Bernina store with the lady that decided to cut me down to size when I asked for help finding "cotton poplin". She told me there was no such thing. All poplin is polyester. Took me to some hideous 70's polyester. Yes, I had told her I was making a child'r trench coat. When I politely tried to get her to not help me anymore, she through her Major in Fiber at me. Insane.  Then I found this blood orange, unmarked fabric on sale for about $4.00/yd which I'm pretty sure is COTTON POPLIN and bought it.  Then she tried to force me to buy matching thread. It was horrible.  I barely made it out of there without blowing my top.

I'm sure she would balk if she knew that I didn't use matching thread ON PURPOSE.  I used hot pink. Yes people, hot pink with blood orange.  I would have liked to find duck egg blue for the buttons, but no such luck so I had to settle for these gray ones which somehow happened to be the most expensive buttons at JoAnn's.

I was very happy with result despite getting off to a disappointing start. I expected the welt pockets to go quite well but I they weren't as smooth as they should be.  The pattern markings simply weren't enough for me on this one. I also messed up by forgetting to do the double top-stitching on them and had to do the second line after they were already on.  It's not too noticeable though.

Here's a peek at the lining. It's white cotton with light green/gray dots.  A fabric I already had in my stash.

It was freezing when we took this photos. She was a good sport and was very happy when I told her to just put on a hat and that it was OK to be cold in the photo..

And last, I found a great source for European shoes and was so happy when they opened an online store. That is until I went to pay. I had to swallow hard several times before clicking the submit button.  I store these beauties in my closet to insure nothing happens to them and maybe they can become an heirloom her daughter can wear someday.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blendtec facebook giveaway

Blendtec is having a Smothie Stash Contest on their facebook page.  Vote for our photo or enter your own for a chance to win a Blendtec blender.

I've been making smoothies for the kids for about a year and recently ventured into hummus. I even made my own tahini yesterday (for the hummus). Ironically, I didn't even know what tahini was before yesterday. I also made sun butter for my nut-allergy guy. It's a great way to ease your way into a healthier eating lifestyle.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Camera Dress

Pattern: Ottobre 6/2012 #33 Peilisali Dress
Fabric: 1 1/2 yds camera fabric Hobby Lobby; pin dot fabric Hobby Lobby
Notions: aqua piping, invisible zipper
Total Cost: ~$14.00
Size: 128cm
Child's Age: 8 

[Tights: White pin dot Old Navy; Shoes: Raaf en Vos; Cardigan: Target]
When I spotted this camera fabric at Hobby Lobby, I couldn't help myself, I had to make something with it.  Why not a dress. I picked out the white with black pin dot fabric for the yoke for a bit of contrast and also decided to add the aqua piping in between the yoke and bodice for a bit of color interest and playfulness to the black and white.

I think it's a fun dress, perfectly complemented by these shoes I was finally able to snag up from Raaf en Vos for the small price of an arm and a leg.

I made the size 128 cm which is probably still a bit big on Monkey Pants' slender frame but that's OK.  Aside from the little fabric variations, I did engage in a bit of totally unnecessary nonsense with the yoke. The pattern has a facing but I decided to do a full lining and then realized I would have to put the facing on there anyway to be able to finish the top edge. Overkill with lining the yoke. But Monkey Pants does have an appreciation for smooth seams.