Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Collection Of Favorite Recipes

(My personal recipe collection)
When I was a child my mom had most of her favorite baking recipes written down in a little silver bound book. She still uses it to this day. Once I was married and started cooking and collecting my own favorite recipes - some passed down from family and friends and others found on my own - I began compiling them in one place. The book above (a Carl Larsson blank book - I LOVE his art work - I have a number of his prints in my home) is my personal cookbook. It is my go to book for tried and true recipes. I only put recipes in here that are true family favorites. This book has a permanent place on my kitchen counter and is batter splattered and the binding is starting to come apart to prove it's use. I have taken the idea and created a few as gifts - one as a special wedding gift for a cousin and two as gifts to my sisters-in-law for one Christmas. I hope someday this book will be a treasured item of my boys (I will have to make two so they each have one!)
Above my little is making one of our FAVORITE recipes - Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (pic of recipe below). We make it at least every other week if not once a week.

My Mom's recipe for cucumber sandwiches. A regular request at family gatherings.
My walnut-imprint bookmark that I still love even though it does kinda look like a tushy.
Probably THE most favorite recipe in my family - Chicken Huntington.
My mom made it and now so do I. It is SO good. The perfect comfort food.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Great Read

In our library the new fiction starts out on one special kiosk in the middle of the library. This has become my go to place for a good book to read when I have no time to peruse the rest of the library. I am rarely disappointed with what I find there. The last trip to the library was no exception - in fact, I found a book that I had pinned on my ideas board (above and below), one that I wanted to be sure and read. And read it I did - in 3 days! The book is Simply From Scratch by Alicia Bessette. It was a wonderful read about loss, recovery and, overall, hope. It was just what I needed to put a little light into this long winter.

He Just Might Turn Into A Good Dog (Not Just A Good Hunting Dog)

 Despite all my muttered oaths and some not so pleasant puppy days this guy just may turn into a good dog (we already have a strong feeling that he is a good hunting dog - to be tested on Friday...). He is 9 months old, around 90 lbs. and firmly believes he is a lap dog. He LOVES to cuddle! He listens to commands about 90% of the time and for a puppy I think that is pretty good. He just may get to stay :)!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Last Week In Review

 Last Monday and Tuesday my oldest didn't have school due to Martin Luther King Day and a staff development day so we came up with lots of fun things to do at home. Above is the start of a science project that we didn't quite complete but we did make our own compass which was fun for the big and the little.
There was also Playdough play which BOTH boys had fun with. Above is the oldest with his race car being driven by Sonic.
We also made some pendants and beads from sculpey clay using a tutorial I found online (and for the life of me now can't find!). My favorite is one where I used a walnut half and pressed it into the clay and used an acorn cap to pattern the sides. It kind of looks like a butt-shaped heart so wearing it is kinda out but I have turned it into a bookmark in my go-to recipe book (note to self: blog about that book later...) and I smile every time I see it.
On Wednesday we celebrated a birthday! My oldest is now in the double-digits! Yep - he is 10! So hard for this mama to believe. He is such an amazing kid! I hope we made his day special with a chocolate zucchini cake (with zucchini frozen from the summer), his choice for of meal for dinner - grilled cheese, french fries and raw cauliflower with ranch dip (I used to make my mom make beef stroganoff - I must be doing something right that he picked such an easy dinner for his mama to make :)!) and of course, presents. We wrapped up the week with him having a friend over for a sleepover and I know they both had fun!

As for other things that filled our days I was able to fit in some knitting - washcloths for myself (I found it funny that I make dishcloths to sell and as gifts yet don't make any for myself so I fixed that).
 My little spent every spare minute he could find coaxing me into doing puzzles. We did many over and over.
I also have a couple sewing projects now lined up waiting in the wings. Above is the start of my project bag. I am using some vintage feed sack scraps as a frame around the embroidery and absolutely love how it is going to look. I also have the supplies put aside to start making some market bags from vintage kitchen fabrics that I am going to put in the shop.  I am hoping to find some time this week to get those started.
I also did some other knitting in the form of hats - a hat for my little, a hat for our winter weather donation tree at church and started a hat for my big. In regards to my other WIPs posted about earlier, the Wallaby sweater is to the point where I need to add the sleeves so a trip to the knitting store is in order for a little instruction. I did finish the needle felted Snowy Owl (I think - I keep poking at it) but have yet to take a picture. I am feeling good about what is coming out of my little sewing room and off the needles but I do need to start working on things to sell. Hopefully, this week!

I have also started packing up the items I have been gathering for the big shop move. I did get out thrifting on Saturday and added a few more items to the shop fodder and hope to get out once or twice more before we move next week. I am getting really excited and hope that this move improves our traffic flow.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On The Shelves (Or Nightstand, Or Countertop...)

 Gathering books for our March trip to Arizona - much more on that big LONG car trip to come...
 These are the cookbooks that are currently "living" on my kitchen counter top. I have made something from each of them except for the Heartland cookbook but I hope to soon rectify that.
This is the book I am currently reading before bed. 
It is the second book by the author of Into The Woods.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shop Fodder and A Shop Move

At the beginning of February my in-laws and I are making the big move at the shop
from the outside building to a room in the main house. We hope this will increase our sales as we will now be in a much higher traffic area. Fingers crossed!

In preparation for this move, this past weekend I was able to attend an estate sale right here in town and I think I was able to pick up some really nice items to go into the shop. Below are some doilies and hankies that I am going to work into some bags that will be going into the shop this Spring. I am particularly taken with the woodland floor themed hanky. That just may turn into something for me :)!

(Hankie cards, a scrapbook and a Girl Scout cookbook from the 1940s)

(A vintage candy tin)

(Vintage linens - a scotty dog towel, strawberry table runner
and hand stitched violet eyeglass case)

(Aluminum mum tray)

(Vernon Kilns Fruitdale dinner plate)

(Lovely vintage handbags)

(A vintage Black Swan scarf - it is gorgeous!!!)

(A vintage Irish linen Hermann hankie - with paper label intact)

(A vintage butterfly scarf)

(A handmade wooden cake stand)

Not pictured are 2 enamel ware containers that I hope will sell rather quickly as we have already sold 2 like them in the last couple months.

Monday, January 10, 2011

WIP Wednesday

A needle felted Snowy Owl
(we had a real owl in our neighborhood last night but once again he eluded me - I could only hear him, not see him (although the boys and I did our best impressions from Owl Moon)

Teddy bear hats for the shop.
(a move is in our future - more on that later)

My very first sweater! A Wallaby for my little.

Another embroidery destined to be another project bag for our big road trip.

Also, to be started soon is a housing warm gift for my parent's new place in Arizona.

Images From Our Monday

A blue belt is earned.

Magnetic letter play on the door and coloring by the fire.

Cold snow falling outside and warm chicken stock simmering inside.

Two loaves of homemade bread made. (orange cinnamon and dill cottage)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Exploring A New Craft

As I mentioned earlier I decided to try my hand at a new craft - one I have been thinking about for awhile. To date I have completed 3 needle felting projects - a robin, a cardinal and a mushroom (which began as a dog leg - I discovered I am not ready for 4-legged creatures just yet). To help me out in my learning I checked out some needle felting books from the library. The cardinal is by far my favorite and I envision a bird mobile encompassing the birds that visit our yard. This means of course that I need to start working on a chickadee, goldfinch and blue jay to add to the two already completed. There are many more that visit but I think this will be a fair representation. I also have a strong desire to make a snowy owl. I have always loved owls and since they elude me in the wild (I have yet to see one on our excursions in the woods) I must create my own.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Evolution of a Quilt

Once I completed my youngest son's quilt I knew that I needed to immediately start one for my oldest son. Eight months later it is done!

I am not a quilter in the traditional sense. I really don't like following directions (although I am okay following knitting patterns) so I have found my own way of quilting. I call it "mud map quilting". I start by assembling the fabrics I like, cut them into random sizes and then put them together in a pleasing manner (pictures above and below show the process). I may cut pieces here and there to make them fit a particular spot or luck out and have just the right size already cut. Once the map is put together I either draw it out as I did with my youngest's quilt so I can pick it up and come back to it later or just start sewing it together right away and photograph where everything is in case it gets out of order (which is what I did with this quilt).

Below is the completed quilt in all it's glory. My mom came over and helped me finish it (actually she finished it for the most part by tying most of it and binding it while I made animal ears for a church pageant but I was there :)! Thank you Mom!!! I was going to present it to him as a Christmas present but couldn't wait so he got it on the Solstice - what better night to receive a quilt than on the longest night of the year.

I love to include a number of embroideries (I LOVE to do embroidery) in quilts that fit with the theme of the fabric. My oldest son LOVES the outdoors and animals so his quilt is in fall colors and speaks to the animals that roam our home state of Minnesota (including a few dogs - his favorite animal).

I tried to make the back as pleasing as the front so he can use either side on his bed. The back side is leaves and eagles.

Above is my favorite block. I did the same style of writing on my youngest's quilt and loved how it looked. It was such fun to do something freestyle. All the other embroideries are from embroidery patterns (there are appx. 8 embroideries in all on this quilt).

I was going to present it to him as a Christmas present but I couldn't wait (and neither could he) so he got it on the Solstice - what better night to receive a quilt than on the shortest night of the year!

One added note: I am very pleased to say that all the fabrics in this quilt and my youngest's quilt were fabrics from my stash or my mom's - nothing was purchased specifically for the quilts outside of the batting and some thread. Even the yarn to tie them was from my stash. I have another quilt top that was done the same way that I will report on once it is finishes. I call that one my Summer Quilt and is intended for use in our camper so I must have it finished by camping season.