Monday, June 28, 2010

Leit Motif

How many things can I make with two yards of fabric?

Let me count the ways:

1) A sewing machine cozy.

2) A decorative pillow.

3) A changing mat for Doodle.

4) An i-pad case.

And there's still fabric leftover......any ideas??

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Belated First Birthday

Doodle Bop (as his brother affectionately calls him) celebrated his first birthday in March, but it was a fete to remember!

He was a happy birthday noodle at breakfast....

And the joy continued with this vegan Candied Clementine Cake (receipe taken from Vegan Yum Yum) The site also offers a great iphone app. The cake was easy to make, delicious and involved candying my own clementines, peels and all, which made for a tangy, sweet and moist cake.

I made this fabric book for Doodle, taken from a pattern in the fall, 2009 Stitch Magazine. Maybe it will teach him his shapes and numbers. It certainly won't teach him how to sew properly!!!

Happy belated birthday, Doodle!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Snack Packs

This might be one of my favorite projects to date because it was super fast, it’s super functional and methinks it looks supercute!

I was inspired to make this after purchasing some fabric bags online for my kids' snacks, hence eliminating any need for those pesky Ziploc bags.

I ordered the following fabric set from etsy a while back and I’ve been waiting to make the perfect small craft with them. It's from the Riley Blake wheels pattern set and the individual fabrics can be purchased by clicking here.

So, basing the dimensions off of one of these purchased snack packs, I forged ahead and made my own.

I cut the outer and inner fabric: 7 ½ x 9 inches. I used a thicker, linen fabric for the lining so that if things got messy in there (think orange segments and whole strawberries) the mess wouldn’t spill over to the cute, outer layer.

I folded the fabric in half and with right sides facing, I sewed up the sides.

Turning the fabric inside out, I folded the outer seams inward and sewed around the entired circle (like you'd do if you were sewing up a sleeve).

Turning the snack pack inside out again, I sewed a long strip of velcro to both sides. Make sure you do a good job here, because there will be a lot of opening and closing going on and you don't want the bag to split open and your goodies to spill out.

Turn it rightside out one last time and voila! Four new snack packs for two hungry boys!! Machine washable.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Size Me Up

I recently found this blog post from Keyka Lou with a cute pattern making measurement chart, perfect for planning and plotting new sewing projects.

The only question left is what to make next?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

There are few stores that consistently wow me and the Toirtoise General Store on Abbot Kinney in Venice is one of them. Each time I've visited their cozy store I’ve found unique treasures to gift to friends as well as to myself. The owners Taku and Keiko Shinomoto frequently travel to their native Japan in search of handmade housewares.

How could I resist this set of three nesting baskets for my sewing accoutrement, of course? Each basket is lined with a different shade of blue. They're just so pretty! (Third basket didn't make it to the photo shoot because it's already filled to the brim.)

I was really excited to see they carried Japanese wrapping tape. It so beats the blandness of scotch tape and looks great on a recycled, paper grocery bag.

A few years ago when I was in, I purchased these fabric "napkins". (They are also used as wall hangings, gift wrapping and a host of other things.) Keiko had advised me to cut them in half as they come in an odd, oblong shape. Apparently, the patterns on the fabric are seasonal and all very symbolic. These were all fall napkins. This time, I purchased this lovely set that I will also cut in half, all from the summer collection.

I'd been searching for the perfect egg cup for a long time....constantly checking Etsy for some creative person's unique take on a simple concept and all I got were fuddy-duddy, frilly Easter-inspired porcelain that made me want to give up eating eggs.

But at this most recent trip to the Tortoise, I saw this odd-shaped plateware and asked the owner what it was.

To my delight, she said "egg cups!" There's even a little rim on which to put your eggshells!

Click here for a link to The Tortoise General Store Website

And if you're in the area, check it out! Your friends will thank you and so will your eggs.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Veggie Delights

Is it strange that my two favorite cookbooks were purchased at Anthropologie??? I thought I was just a sucker falling for scrumptious-looking cookbook covers, but, after having cooked my way through both books, they've proven their worth over and over again. I am by no means a vegetarian, but I do strongly believe that veggie side dishes deserve as much attention as their main dish counter parts and are perfectly suitable to replace said counterparts.

The first book is Pure Vegetarian by Paul Gayler

These are labor-intensive dishes intented for the serious cook. With receipes like Avocado Salsa Rolls (the thin avocado replaces the traditional seaweek), Sardinian Carrot Gnocchi and and Tomato, Spinach and Basil Sformatine (a Mediterranean polenta cake) - you will impress your friends.

Gayler marries an unusial trio with his Salad of Chickpeas, Caulifower, and Apricots. And my favorite dish out of this book is the Vegetable Carpaccio, thinly sliced beets, fennel, celery, cauliflower, radishes, zucchini and avocado with a delicious saffron-parsley inspired vineagrette. Just know that once you open this book, you are setting yourself up for more than a thirty-minute fling in your kitchen. (On average, each recipe takes about an hour.) I learned this the hard way the first time I cooked out of the book when I attempted to make three veggie meals to serve all at once. I belive we ended up eating each course as it was finished because the organization of that meal was for someone who knows how to run a real kitchen and has a team of helpers (the four-year old sous-chef didn't count.)

The photos make you literally want to rip out the pages of the book and eat them. I'm serious.

The second book is Fast, Fresh and Green by Susie Middleton

I definitely use this one more frequently because the recipes are much simpler and often involve ingradients that I already have on hand. The thing I like best about this book is how excited it makes me to eat vegetables. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a bunch of carrots in the fridge and wondered what to do with them besides dipping them in hummus, throwing them in the juicer or tossing in a salad.

Well, now I know I can whip up Braised Carrots with Blood Orange-Fresh Tarragon Pan Sauce or Sauteed Carrots with Warm Olice and Mint Dressing or Stir-Fried Carrots with Ginger, Lime, and Cilanto. Middleton's ideas are fresh and simple.

Here are a few things I've made recently from the book:

Peas with Lemon, Mint, and Scallions

Summer Heirloom Tomato, and Fresh Herb Gazpacho Salad

Both books are a perfect companion to culinary-bound, farmer's market frequenters.

And now, I'm hungry......

Monday, June 14, 2010

One Mom's Trash is Another Baby's Treasure

Today, I set out to make a baby bib.

Recently, when I was in Vancouver, there was a great looking fabric bib that was essentially a triangle shape with snaps. It looked a bit like a bandana worn around the neck.

I cut out the triangles in my main fabric as well as in terrycloth.

With right sides facing, I sewed around the perimeter, leaving a small, three-inch opening on one side. I turned the fabric right side out and then sewed up the three-inch gap.

I placed the bib around the babe to check out where the two points would connect so I could add the velcro. It looked awful. It was all bunchy and tight and the angle that I chose for my triangle was just not right. I was about to throw it away when I accidentally dropped it. Baby ran over, picked it up and gave it a hug like he had just found his long, lost best friend.

The two have been inseperable ever since.

At least there's one fan of my work out there!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Who Doesn't Love Cupcakes?

This weekend's baking project: cupcakes for my mom's 70th!!! (My oldest ate only the frosting off of at least 18 - gross.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Blogger Named Joel

I totally heart Joel.
Who is this man who has stolen my crafting wannabe heart, you may ask?
Joel is a Dad and fellow crafter. We have so much in common. Except that I’m a Mom and I kinda suck at crafting.
Joel is good. He’s really good. He builds handmade toys for his kids. Like this wooden one.

And plushie snakes.

And people pillows for his twins (of course he has a boy and a girl. How perfect…just like him).

He also whips up small, 5-minute projects like this playhouse!!!!

Alas, he lives in Portland, so I guess this love wasn’t made to last.
In the meantime, I like to follow his blog.
And copy his crafts.
(Can you guess which is his….and which is mine??)

You can stalk…. er…follow him at:

What (not) to Wear

So, here is my very first attempt at making an adult-sized garment.
It’s a "Sew Liberated" tunic pattern and I chose an aubergine, medium-weight linen.
Cutting it was a pain-in-my-rear, but the sewing went pretty quickly.
Fearing a miscalculation in cutting and my usual overly aggressive sewing habits, I made the tunic two sizes bigger, just in case. What I ended up with was more of a maternity tunic.

There’s enough extra fabric to conceal a bowling ball, houseplant, or 8-month old baby in or out of uterus. Take your pick.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer Garden

Notice anything different with this blog? I've made a bit of blog progress I like to refer to as "blogress". I've finally figured out how to put pictures side by side. Many people on my Google search claimed I had to enter some sort of HTML code which sounded very confusing but after some puttering around, I figured out how to do it another, much easier way.

Are you visually stimulated?

Here's what's growing in the garden.....(I've only included edibles here as they excite me the most.)

The Veggies:

Little tomatoes, heirloom tomato vines, pole beans and chard!

The Fruit:

Blueberries are cropping up everywhere! There is one lone satsuma (the first time it's fruited since we moved it from Los Feliz three years ago), a few strawberries and the new kumquat tree.

The Herbs:

Chamomile (where are the flowers so I can make tea??), rosemary, mint (three different kinds including something called "chocolate mint" that literally smells like mint chocolate), lavendar (I know it's not officially an herb...), and purple basil in honor of my husband who is accident prone.

Everywhere I look edibles, edibles.....

Except for the fish.... (but don't think I haven't thought of sushi post major earthquake.)