Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reversible Placemats

The other day, I woke up and just had to sew. We got a 'new to us table' that seriously needs some place mats to make the table  My fabric stash is appallingly low and somehow full of fabric that doesn't match (am I schizophrenic?)  So instead of waiting until I could make it to a fabric store to buy coordinating cloth, I thought I'd make do with what I had.  These is crazy place mats!!

Hip on one side...

French country on the other!

These were easy to make and are so handy to have. You can flip them over, depending on your mood (or company.)
I used four fat quarters. I cut each quarter in half and trimmed it to placemat size. Mind you, these are rather skinny--I'm thinking of adding extra-wide binding tape all around just to flesh them out a bit more. I matched up the fabrics right sides together, pairing one modern piece with one country piece, and sewed three sides with a tiny seam.  Then I turned them right side out and pressed flat.

Next, I cut some batting so that it was 1/2 inch shorter than the placemats on all sides.

I inserted the batting.  The easiest way to do this is to fold the batting in half and place one side flush with the inside of the fabric 'envelope' and then unfold it. Then I turned the open side under about 1/4 inch and sewed that up.

Here they are, before getting their batting.

And here's the monkey waiting for them to dry!

The Mad Hatter's Tea Party--San Francisco Style

So my wonderful sister and her housemates decided to throw a tea party at their home in the Haight. With their combination of artistic skills, imagination and substantial baking capabilities, I knew this was going to be a party I didn't want to miss.
It didn't disappoint.

Don't you love the carrots in the long vase? I think radishes would look pretty cool too.
On the menu were cupcakes, chocolates, cucumber sandwiches, carrot cake, tea cookies, almond cake, and lots of assorted teas in lovely pots. I love the look of 'arranged chaos.'

And the costumes! That's me in the polka dot dress with my sister.  The Mad Hatter looks wicked, doesn't he?

Anyone care for some tea?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lovely beautiful things

I love this lamp. It's from Anthropologie and costs nearly as much as one month's rent around here, but still...isn't it pretty?

Cadiz Mug 
And this beautiful little garden mug...a set of these would give me a reason to make scones and invite some ladies over.
And these towels are so dear, don't you think?

 We like birds around here, can you tell?

 And last but not the least cute, could I please have this tablecloth?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Felted stone soap and dolls

I saw this lovely craft on Martha a few weeks and knew I had to try it. Then these beautiful 'stones' showed up at our local yarn shop and I was reminded that they were still on my mile-long list of craft projects. So since I was there, I picked up some roving at said yarn shop and came home and made some stones of my own.

Who knew roving was so beautiful. For those of you like me who hadn't previously heard of this material, it's basically raw wool. I thought it would be rough and nubby like the tufts that you'd find on sheep, but it's luxurious and soft, almost hair-like. And it feels so good in your hands! I'm in love like, seriously. I want to learn how to spin wool just so I have an excuse to hold this stuff in my hands everyday.

I found the instructions for the project here. My only issue was in getting the soap shavings to stick to the bar itself. I found that once they were warmed by my hands a little, they finally stuck. I had a good time with this craft, it was refreshing to break away from my usual fabric and sewing machine type of creation. Plus it's something usable, would make a nice gift, and would be a great activity to do with older kids. That's what we call a win win over here.

I've also been eyeing these as the next item to place on that mile-long list of craft projects.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My morning oatmeal or Things to do with extra baby food

I borrowed Jessica Seinfeld's book Deceptively Delicious from our library in the hopes that it would give me some good recipes in which to sneak more vegetables into my 15-month-old's diet. I tried a few recipes, the French Toast with butternut squash (yum!) and the coffee cake with butternut squash (why did I buy so many cans of butternut squash?) Other recipes left me a little skeptical: brownies with spinach?

Finally, I gave this oatmeal a go. Not only does Jack love it, so do I. While I generally like oatmeal, it usually leaves me starving an hour or so after I've had it. Not this one. It's got lots of protein in it--a plus since Jack and I are both vegetarian, and it's a great, cozy dish for these not-yet-warm Spring mornings.

The peanut  butter gives it a sticky texture which I love. The original recipe calls for a garnish of dried fruit and nuts, but I had already raided my fruit and nut supply to make these. Here's the recipe, with a few changes.

Deceptively Delicious Oatmeal
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar (the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup brown sugar which makes it WAY too sweet for my taste)
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin or sweet potato puree (I used sweet potato baby food, almost one entire 4 oz. jar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional but good)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons natural peanut butter
  • Dried fruit and nuts (optional)
  • big pinch salt
1. In a small saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, pumpkin or sweet potato, vanilla, salt and spice. Bring to a gentle boil and stir in the oatmeal. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until the oatmeal is soft and creamy. Stir in peanut butter, if using.
2. Spoon the oatmeal into bowls and sprinkle with dried fruit and nuts. Yummmm...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The plaid Easter Bunny

I whipped this little fella up in an hour (or two) the other day. The fabric is from a huge, and I mean HUGE men's shirt that I found at our local Salvation Army Superstore. I've already made a set of picnic napkins and a patch for my son's jeans out of said shirt. And its newest offspring is this wee bunny for our wee son's Easter basket.  I found the template for the bunny online a few weeks ago and now can't find it anywhere (sorry!) But as there are so many free templates to find online, you could just as easily find a bunny shape that you like and go from there. Just trace your shape onto a doubled up piece of fabric, right sides together. Cut around shape 1/4 to 1/2 inch wider than your tracing and sew with a heavy stitch (I used a machine but you could easily do this by hand, making sure to use strong thread and stitches.) Leave a small opening for turning out your bunny and stuff with fiber fill. Whipstitch the opening, add a pretty ribbon and voila! You've got a sweet handmade Easter bunny!

Apple Pandowdy

What is an Apple Pandowdy you ask? Well, it seems to be a cross between an apple pie and an apple crisp-- like a juicy apple pie without the bottom crust. It's good. You should make it tonight. I found the recipe here.

You'll notice that she suggests putting yours in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Mine baked just fine in a nine-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Serve the pandowdy warm over vanilla ice cream or at room temperature with a big cup of coffee for breakfast, tea, late afternoon snack, heck--whenever.  And don't you just love the name? There's something to be said for a dessert humble enough to call itself 'dowdy,' don't you think?