Thursday, May 31, 2012

celebrating 5. castles in the sky.

We have been celebrating some more birthdays this week. We spent the weekend in Alabama celebrating with Andrew's grandfather (he and Elisha share a birthday... not too gracefully- they enjoy bantering back and forth about whose birthday it is ;-)... Andrew was celebrated on Sunday and then we came home to celebrate Elisha on Monday. We wanted to be home so that he could thoroughly enjoy his gift:

We decided that building a house with Daddy would be this little guy's dream come true. He is always asking us to do projects with him... a number of times he has piled the scarp wood he can scavenge around the yard and claimed to be building a house. Now it is official! In the morning he did a treasure hunt with drawn clues to find his instruction manual... He loves to follow directions (or at least study them with importance), so I sketched out some drawings of the process for him to decipher.

And, you can't get through birthday month around here with out a cream cheese pound cake! I made the bouquet to show Elisha all the flowers that bloom around his birthday. We have some irises that bloom on Anna's birthday and we call them her birthday flowers... As we watch them getting closer to blooming we talk about how her birthday is approaching. Elisha had been asking, "what are my birthday flowers?" ... Well, as you can see late May has many many birthday flower options!

building team making plans

front view

supply list and first steps

door and window detail. more process directions

last steps

I think my newly five year old is looking pretty pleased with our summer project ;)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

birds of a feather...nestled

from sew sweetness blog
Have you seen this pieced feather? Well, it was made by Anna Maria Horner... I love it.

So, when I was trying to decide what to put on the front panel of the wrap I was making for my cousin's first baby (who was born friday night and I have been helping with the past few days... Oh- delightful!) what do you think came to mind? You must know me well ;-) Of course I had to copy Anna Maria! 

Here is tiny baby in her feathered pouch... if you are interested in a step by step of how I made the feather follow right along(I have no doubt that Anna Maria had it refined a bit more- you are getting my first copy cat attempt).

I paper pieced the colorful sides, so here is my paper. (The shape should be narrower at one end- I forgot and fixed that later).

I sewed strips of fabric together on top of the paper at an angle and ironed each strip open as I went along. When paper piecing set the stitch length tight; this will help the paper be very perforated and easy to tear away.

When this step is finished, the back should look about like this.

Then you trim off the excess fabric to get it into the shape of the template/base paper.

Now tear the paper off of the back.

One down, one to go....

When colored pieces are finished, you sew them to a piece of background fabric that looks about this shape.

Match up the edges the way you would pieces of bias stripes.

Next, sew your center strip to both side pieces.

Add little triangles to close in the top...

Then, add background fabric to the sides... Ta Da -- feather complete. Now, what to do with it?

I sewed more background fabric until I had a square that measured about 16"X16". I sewed a free form feather to finish the design. Then, I hemmed the top edge under.

I ironed all my edges under and pinned the two sides and the bottom to the center of my jersey. (to make a moby type wrap you use a ~20" X 5.5 yard piece (give or take depending on size of intended wearer) of jersey fabric. I like a medium weight that is mostly cotton with a little bit of lycra).

Sew the three sides down using a coordinating thread. (The white feather looks splotchy because I had just sprayed it to erase my marker sketch.)

See the handy pocket for keys and dipes? The panel is also nice for marking the center when putting on the wrap.

Peep eye ;-)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

queen of pops!

 I have been attacked with an obsession. Have you heard of "King of Pops"? They are a wonderful popsicle company here in Atlanta... fresh, healthy, sometimes seasonal, creative, and VeRy delicious! ... But.... at $2.50 a pop (;-) my husband is less than thrilled by the fact that I consider having stumbled upon one of their cute carts around town feels like enough of an occasion to celebrate with a popsicle for everyone (that means more flavors to taste!).

So, to relieve family tensions and appease my unending popsicle craving, I have accepted my challenge--- to make deliciously creative and healthy-ish pops of my own. My first attempt was so yummy the fam titled me the "queen of pops". It was blueberry, lemon/limeade, mint...uummm! As the King of Pops says,"frozen happiness on a stick"!

Here is a mold like the one I just got... I like that it is smallish and you can make 8 in the tray at a time. One thing that slowed me down with popsicle making before was waiting until all the pops were eaten to start a new set and then having a hard time keeping up with the sticks. I just bought 150 popsicle sticks for $2.50 at Michaels, so we shouldn't have that problem anymore. You just wait an hour or so after putting them in the freezer to put the sticks in -- that will keep the stick centered. I am pulling them all out and putting them into a ziploc when they are frozen that way I can start a new batch before the previous batch has been consumed.

Now, as far as recipes go, the internet (and some cute books) seems to be full of options. I read a few to get ideas (and looked at the flavor list on the King of Pops website)... but then I just added stuff until it seemed right. I think it needs to seem plenty sweet as a liquid in order to be sweet enough frozen.

My Blueberry Mint Lemon/Limeade was a generous handful of frozen blueberries, maybe 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, 2 cups Country Time lemonade (premixed), lime juice, and a few sprigs of fresh mint -- tossed it the blender and poured in the mold.

For the Salted Chocolate Banana, I melted about 1/3 cup dark chocolate morsels in about 2 cups whole milk, added about 1/8 cup coco powder, 2 ts flour, 1/4 vanilla yogurt, bit of sugar, and sea salt to taste. I put a few chunks of very ripe banana into each pop mold and poured my chocolate mixture on top.

My Tropical Treat is about 2/3 cup canned pineapple, 3/4 cup pineapple juice, 1 cup orange juice,a handful of grapes, and a dash of honey blended in the blender and poured over kiwi slices.
When my basil has really taken off you can bet I will be incorporating it into the mix!

All these measurements are approximate and you will have to adjust them to the amount needed to your popsicle molds, but I hope I have given you some inspiration and a feeling of freedom to freeze up some happiness in your home ;-)

:::edited to add--- I had a conversation with a King of Pops seller... I was digging for tips and figured out that they boil the fruit puree to make it have a more concentrated flavor... and they have a super yummy flavor- cookies and cream. It is chunks of actual chocolate chip cookies floating in a sea of frozen "cream" I know that they use sweetened condensed milk to make that "cream"... maybe that is all they use, maybe they do something to it, I haven't had the chance to experiment with it yet.

Guaranteed to turn your pouty child into a happy child ;-)

*** a happy child with blueberry (or any other popsicle flavor) on their face!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

around here

Around here:

We have been enjoying what remains of our fall planted carrot patch. For those of you who have never grown your own carrots-- this is what they look like all cleaned up... pretty interesting characters, don't you think?

We are thrilled to have a jar of VERY local honey. Some friends from our community garden have bees... We made a trade- eggs for honey. YUM!

We have been enjoying the centerpieces leftover from my sister's wedding. I really love having a little of the beach on my table.

I just love a simple project like this! Denyse Schmidt taught a mini-workshop on making these pieced pouches... not only do they make great gifts, I'm thinking I could use a few more around here for organizing who-know-whats.

Around here I have been wondering why on earth my tomato seedlings have stalled at this point for at least a month. What is the deal?!

Our grass, on the other hand, has not stopped growing! Thankfully, my husband has a fairy princess brandishing her blankie, ever ready to help him keep that unruly grass in check ;-)

Monday, May 7, 2012

pretty in pictures

I was beyond thrilled when Christina offered to take a few pictures for us to broaden her portfolio. She was so sweet and patient with my kids who were more interested in acting for an Oscar than smiling sweetly at the camera. It is such a pleasant surprise to find such lovely photographs in your inbox when you were certain your kids were never  holding still enough to be anything but a blur! I love that we have their personalties captured, as well as their cute wedding clothes, our new door, and my "Little Folks" quilt (that I have yet to make a full finished post about...).

making serious faces

So So Lovely! Thank you Thank you Christina! I hope your internship with Leah and Mark is amazing and I hope that Atlanta folks will have you clicking away ;-)

p.s. - I think your blog "Home says Hello" is really lovely too!