Tuesday, December 9, 2014

50's Poodle Skirt

Pattern: Simplicity 3836
Fabric: Satin from JoAnns
Cost: ~ $40.00 (I had enough skirt and lining fabric left over for another skirt)
Size: 7 with skinnier waist
Age: 10

[Shoes: $4 lucky thrift store find. Shirt: old Land's End altered for toddler pirate shirt last year. Fit perfectly! It used to be a 3/4 sleeve girl's shirt.]

So, um, I made this for Halloween. I came up with the 50s theme for Halloween this year because my MO these days is to figure out how I can get away with the least amount of work. I can't make three new costumes for every Halloween, throw great kid parties, and everything else all the time nor do I want to. (I even convinced my kids not to have parties this year. Yay for me! Really, it's better this way. They'll be able to appreciate them more this way). My son had an Elvis Jail House Rock costume I made for him last year for dance. So I figured he could get another wear out of that. I dressed up the little guy in jeans, a white t-shirt and a bomber-jacket which I made from an Ottobre pattern a while back for the older brother. So that just left me with only one costume to make.

So, Jail House Rock guy was not in a good mood here. We were in a super hurry. What else is new. We had to leave for dance class. He had gotten in trouble for flushing many hours of the day down the toilet and not being ready. He had no shoes because I had to buy them on our way to dance class. AND, my niece, who was doing his Elvis hair, apparently thought people in the 50's had perms. What?!  We were all ready on the porch, and he comes out with THAT hair.

Of course, I had to make it harder on myself by buying tule fabric for the petty skirt with plastic beads. WHY WOULD I DO THAT? I think I was sick, I was dumbstruck by how pretty it was and I was too tired to think about it anymore. It was also really expensive, I thought I had coupon, but I guess I didn't, and I totally screwed myself over with the cost of this skirt. I also bought way too much fabric by listening to the stupid pattern yardage requirements. The skirt is really simple but the petty skirt took FOR EVER. I had to cut all the plastic beads one inch from the edge so I could gather the fabric. My clunky, generic gathering foot apparatus caused me to break two needles and also made the thread guide fall off. It was a miracle I was able to put if back together as it is tiny and has the tiniest screw in the world.  So after the self inflicted aggravation, (I was also sick the entire time I shopped for and worked on this skirt) I was so happy with the end result on my little Tom Boy. Looking at this picture, you would never know.  I only convinced her to wear a skirt because she was going to be Jail House Rock girl (which is a thing I totally made up). Also, I felt the need to paint her face like a cat, because, let's face it, who hasn't seen a 50's poodle skirt costume a bazillion times.

And here she is again pulling off all these cute poses.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jaeger 'George' Cardi #2

Pattern: George
Book: Jaeger JB29
Materials: Knit Picks City Tweed DK
Amount: (4) 50g balls 'Basil' (pattern calls for 3 50g balls but I ran out -again)
Needles: US3 and US6 bamboo
Cost: $4.99/ball approx. $20.00
Notions: Buttons (Walmart .99 cents)
Size: 12-24 months.
Start Date: Nov. 12, 2014
Finish Date: Dec. 1, 2014

So, I have a grandnephew -yes, apparently, I am that old- that just turned one. OK, he turned one at the beginning of November And, I'm sure he already has all the cool toys and clothes a one-year old could have so I wanted to make him something hand made. I had made this little cardi for my little boy a few years ago and after perusing the web for some cute boy cardi patterns, which I found plenty, I came back to this one for it's cute cables and relative ease.  I guess I really like green because I picked almost the same yarn!  This one is a bit brighter green, the other one was a bit more teal.  I also didn't realize it, but I ended up making the same size. I thought I had made the bigger size for my son. I guess I should have consulted my blog notes a little more. I could have just passed the original one along as a hand me down, but somehow, I hope it will be a little heirloom that my son can have his son wear one day. It might be eaten by months by then, but that is my fantasy for now anyway.  My grandnephew lives across the country from me, so no modeled photos this time.

After reading my notes on the first cardi, I see I made some changes to the length. I knit this one exactly according to size, except I had to switch to #4 needles on the collar because that previously mentioned, adorable, recipient of the first cardi and his little brother where jumping on the couch, where I stupidly left my knitting for two minutes, and broke my needles.  It helped tremendously to knit the collar on a cable needles this time. The first time, I think I tried to stuff all the stitches on a tiny 12" bamboo needle.

Also, I made a feeble attempt to make an iron-on label on ribbon. Now I remember why I didn't do this before. It came out OK, but it left a darker, textured film on the label that I don't like. And the lettering on the bottom was too small and not clear enough to read. I have made labels on printable "fabric" before which come out better but the so called fabric is pretty stiff and hard and I didn't want that on the neck for a little toddler. My iron-on paper is literally from like 20 years ago, so maybe I just need to buy some new stuff. It's possible it has improved since then, right?

I have been getting sick every two to four weeks since the beginning of summer and recently, it occurred to me that maybe I should sit down and rest. I know, crazy, huh. But of course, that makes me antsy just thinking about all the things I should or could be doing, so I figured if I knit, while "resting" I would still feel like I was getting something done and making use of my waking hours. In my excitement over this, I went crazy and bought a bunch of Knit Picks yarn for a few patterns from the Brooklyn Tweed Kids collection that came out in the summer.  So I'm hoping on a lot more knitting this winter season.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Landscape Dress

Pattern: Burda 9/2012 #152 Cap Sleeve Dress
Fabric: Landscape fabric from Hobby Lobby
Cost: ~ $14.00
Size: 122 cm
Age: 9

[Shoes: Target]
I've been wanting to make a Belgian style landscape dress for ever and finally got around to it before my daughter is old enough to look at me like wearing a dress with wheel barrows on it is just crazy. I came across this at Hobby Lobby and I thought it might just work. I also thought I would make it for a spring-y Easter dress. I needed a pattern that was pretty straight forward to show off the pattern. I used this pattern once before for a holiday dress and I really loved the retro/classic style. Although, I love the cap sleeves, I thought taking them off would suit the fabric better and give her a slightly different look.  Here is the result.  (I also lined it just like the first time and added a wee bit of tule to the bottom of the lining to help keep the skirt full. And I added a couple of inches to the bottom of the skirt for length). 

(She gets quite forlorn when I part her hair in a way she simply cannot stand).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spinach Fettuccine

For St. Patrick's Day, my kids demand green food, just as they demand to wake up to hearts leading the way from their bedrooms to a great Valentine's Day surprise and glorious Easter baskets, etc. The aftermath, I now suffer for doing cute things on holidays when they were younger that I may not necessarily feel like doing anymore. But, anyway. I made the obligatory green pancakes this morning. I got away with the inclusion of lettuce for lunch. And for dinner, I decided to try the Spinach Pasta in the Blendtec Twist Jar recipe book. I had a bunch of spinach from my Bountiful Baskets that I recently started to participate in that I needed to use. The pasta looks really appealing in the Blendtec photo, but I wasn't too sure it would turn out so well.

No, I don't think you're supposed to have to put this much flour on the pasta dough, but I had to.
It wasn't too hard to mix. The ingredients are pretty simple: spinach, white whole wheat flour, egg, and water.  I didn't have white whole wheat so I used whole wheat pastry flour and organic all purpose flour and omitted the water because I had just washed the spinach.  Well, I was right. The resulting "dough" was pretty sticky. I had to dust everything many times with more flour. (I should have just added another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour directly to the dough, but I felt I needed to stick to the recipe on this first go around). I cut them fettuccine style with a knife and let them dry for a while. Then, I had a heck of a time trying to peel them off my board. That's where I really started loosing faith in this recipe. But I made myself go on and threw them in the pot to cook them for about 6 minutes in boiling water. I made some grilled chicken strips (OK, they were frozen) and cream cheese sauce to help everyone with the task of eating this.

Much to my surprise, although, they did NOT look pretty, they tasted great and the texture was ... normal! The kids loved it!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

English Flowers Blouse & Lindy Hop Pants

Pattern: Ottobre 1/2013 #29 English Flowers Blouse & #30 Lindy Hop Pants
Fabric: Heather Ross, Crafty Chloe found at Hancock Fabrics; cotton dot fabric JoAnn's brand
Notions: zipper, reused button, cheap green buttons from Walmart and a couple cute green flower buttons from JoAnn's
Total Cost:  I don't remember, probably about ~$12.00 blouse; ~$7.00 pants
Size: 122cm
Child's Age: 9

[Shoes: Umi Moraine Mary Jane Silver]

So back when I made the Passenger Trenchcoat about a year ago, I immediately wanted to make an outfit to go along with it just as in the magazine, with the English Flowers Blouse and the Lindy Hop Pants. Loved the whole outfit. I managed to churn out the blouse not much later, but the pants. Oh the pants, I just got around to making today!

I always have a hard time picking a size. I don't like to round up and go the safe route because I like things to fit right not like gigantic hand-me downs. Unfortunately, sometimes I cut it too close, and things end up very fitted as did these pants. Her measurements are just all over the place!  I should have gone up at least one size more even though the actual waist is still too big on her.  I was going for something similar to the magazine model with the dot fabric. This is the closest I could find. It's a JoAnn's fabric which I wasn't too excited about at first, but it really ties in well with the blouse, I think. This style of blouse is not the easiest to pull off.

The sewing was pretty straight forward. I think my collars are coming out a little cleaner. My tucks on the blouse were not as uniform as I expected them to be. I was working with a very small piece of fabric as I had overlooked that piece when cutting out the rest of the pattern and barely had anything left. But the overall effect was great. I found this fabric at Hancock Fabrics. It's one of those little gems you spot and then look at the label and realize why you liked it so much. It's from Heather Ross's Crafty Chloe line.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Melt Butter Review & Giveaway!

End Date: Feb. 28, 2014   ** Winner: Shoumita F. **
Prize:  (1) MELT Organic prize package which includes:
                   1 cutting board,
                   1 spreader and
                   2 VIP coupons for free MELT Organic Spread


OK, I'm kind of a bread junkie.  I don't go for chocolate or ice cream.  I like bread!  Especially warm, homemade bread with butter.

We have been using Smart Balance butter for a while and we've looked for butter replacements when one my kids was allergic to milk.  He's now outgrown this allergy but we have recently found out that my youngest boy, Super D., is lactose intolerant.  Needless to say, I'm always looking for the healthiest butter spreads and ones that Super D. can have, which means I'm always reading the ingredients list on the back of packages. This is kind of the first elimination round on packaged or processed foods. I had a hard time reading the small print on the Melt container.  I wish it had been printed a bit easier to read as I bet many people are interested in the ingredients when choosing this buttery spread over others.

So what is it made of? Here is an excerpt from their website --
Rich & Creamy MELT® Organic
  • Ideal balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids – 2:1
  • Good daily source of Omega 3 ALA’s at 425 mg – 26% RDA per serving
  • Good daily source of Vitamin E – 15% RDA per serving
  • Certified Organic and Kosher
  • Certified non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project
  • Absolutely no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
  • Trans Fat Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Soy Free
  • Lactose and Casein Free
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
Rich & Creamy MELT Organic Ingredients: Expeller-pressed organic oil blend (virgin coconut oil*, palm fruit oil, canola oil, high-oleic sunflower oil, flaxseed oil), water,  sea salt, organic ghee (clarified butter), natural flavor, tocopherols, sunflower lecithin, organic annatto. CONTAINS MILK. *Fair for Life Fair Trade certified ingredient at least 20% fair trade content.
Naturally Sweetened Honey MELT® Organic
-Organic Wildflower Honey
-Organic Cinnamon
-Dairy Free
Plus All the Goodness of MELT Organic:
  • Ideal balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids – 2:1
  • Good daily source of Omega 3 ALA’s at 425 mg – 26% RDA per serving
  • Good daily source of Vitamin E – 15% RDA per serving
  • Certified Organic and Kosher
  • Certified Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Absolutely no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
  • Trans Fat Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Soy Free
  • Dairy Free
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
Honey MELT Organic Ingredients: Expeller-pressed organic oil blend (virgin coconut oil*, palm fruit oil, canola oil, high-oleic sunflower oil, flaxseed oil), water, organic wildflower honey, sea salt, natural flavors, organic vanilla extract, organic cinnamon powder, tocopherols, sunflower lecithin, organic annatto.  *Fair for Life Fair Trade certified ingredient at least 20% fair trade content.

I received a coupon from MELT and purchased the Rich and Creamy as well as the Naturally Sweetened Honey.  There is also a chocolate version I did not try.  I had to go to another city to buy them as none of the stores nearby are carrying it as of yet. Bummer. So, after getting home I whipped out my magnifying glass, going directly to the allergen list first, I see that both of these spreads contain "tree nut". That's a major bummer, because my older son is allergic to all nuts.

The Rich and Creamy, regular spread contains milk. I initially thought that was strike two for my other son who is lactose intolerant. However, it also says on the side of the tub that it is "Lactose and Casein Free".  In that case, this would be a great butter alternative for Super D. I would have loved to find a new spread that tastes good AND everyone can have, if it hadn't been for the tree nuts.

Now, I just noticed that the ingredients and nutritional labels are available on the MELT website and they don't list tree nut as an allergen for the honey spread. ???  I don't know what this means. Maybe the formula has changed? This is important stuff and it's proving a bit confusing.

My other consideration is price. I buy the Smart Balance for a cost of about .1145 cents/oz. The MELT Organic comes to about .3069 cents/oz. Smart Balance is not organic but does have some similar features.

One half fresh bread; one half toasted.

Anyway, on to the taste test. We tasted the regular spread, Rich and Creamy MELT, on warm, homemade bread. My favorite.  It tasted great, very similar to the Smart Balance spread we normally use.  It was easy to spread and melted great. Next, we tried the Honey MELT.  We had mixed reviews on this one. The adults, probably used to the flavor of real honey-butter, felt it tasted a bit less natural. The kids totally loved it.

I've received an update: upon further tastings, my husband has decided he loved the honey flavor too! Also, my kids think the little spreader is the neatest thing in the world.

So if you'd like to try this for yourself, sign up for the make|me|studio and Melt® Organic, Butter 2.0 Reader Giveaway.  Giveaway end Feb. 28, 2014.

PRIZES: One (1) winning entrant will be randomly selected to win a MELT Organic prize package which includes 1 cutting board, 1 spreader and 2 VIP coupons for free MELT Organic Spread. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. Prize package is nontransferable.
See additional rules and restrictions on giveaway page.

*Disclosure* The product(s) in this review were provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting my review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bread, glorious bread

So, I got a bread machine a few months ago. Bread machines were one of those things I didn't comprehend the need for. My grandma used to make bread by hand and I always thought that was the way to make bread.  Well, I got sucked into looking at an e-mail with some deals on it and next thing you know, I'm buying a bread machine.  Nevermind the fact that my kitchen is bursting at the seams and has no more room left for appliances.

I started out with a couple of recipes from the machine recipe book. But my real interest is to continue to eat the whole wheat bread we've finally become accustomed to.  I ended up buying the Kindle book, The Bread Love'rs Machine Bread Cookbook. And, I've made bread just about every other day since then!

Here is some of the bounty.

Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns - Delicious!

Squaw bread - was good until I figured out I'm allergic to rye. : (
The first, only, and most decadent sticky buns I have ever made.
They are so good, I can never make them again.

Pizza dough with whole wheat. Even Monkey Pants has made able to make the dough on request!

And the outatkes:

I got a special pan that make two 1 lb. loaves. Uh, one loaf decided to be bigger than the other. 
They were eaten, nevertheless.

This is what I like to call the bread cavern. I made it for Valentine's Day. It was late at night. I was going to enjoy it with some chocolate-covered strawberries and some wine.  After my initial knee-jerk reaction of disappointment, I laughed for about ten minutes straight. It was the best gift I could have given myself.

And just for reference, I made the same loaf the previous day for a birthday party. This is what it should have looked like over there behind the paella.

Look for a MELT Organic Butter Giveaway post coming up next!