Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sweet Dreams Quilt


So this is Mikas' quilt, her birthday was Saturday. It's small, about 38" square. I used almost scraps entirely. The only purchased fabrics were the white, the brown floral, the binding and the minky. I had never done a paper piecing before and the center is done with four and then sewn together. After I did that I really didn't have any clue what I was going to do next. I saw some perfect castle fabric but it isn't due out till January so I decided I should just make castles. That was paper pieced as well. It really was a labor of love since those pieces are small and labor intensive! All in all I do think it turned out great and she does love it. I had never done a star block either so it was all new to me. Perfect quilt to learn on though since any mistakes are minor and a 5 year old is happy regardless.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pagemaps Kit Creations contest


I did this layout based on a pagemaps sketch. I love this photo of the kids. It's from December 2007, but I just did this layout last Friday! I enlarged the cute little deer to make the embroidery. It is really helping me to do it on paper. I may even try fabric one of these days. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bubble boy at the fair


This was the best ride ever! Combined two of the kids favorite things—mermaids and bubbles! This shot was too funny not to post. Mika is distracted looking at the turning mermaid in the center of the ride. Fun at the Minnesota State Fair.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Canning, canning, canning!


I think I'm up to 30 pints of marinara sauce now. Three batches. We have no more tomatoes though, so I should be done unless I decide to make some more apple butter. I only did one small batch of that so far but tomorrow we go to the apple orchard again with our play group. Uh oh!

First day of Preschool!


So we've started preschool and it will take some time to get in the groove, especially since it's just two days a week. They like it but it does wear them out since the class is late for Jasper but it was all we could get. We get home at 3:15 or so and then he takes a nap till about 5! Some adjusting time is needed but all in all they are both happy, just tired and a bit whiney at times. Jasper is doing SO well with the potty, which makes me a happy mom! Thank goodness the diaper fairy came and took all his diapers away about 10 days before school. He really did wonders!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Market Skirt

I made this cute skirt for Mika out of scraps from Linkon's quilt and the white was some super cheap fabric I picked up at Walmart. I had to double it so it wouldn't be see through. The pocket called for a cute button, but Mika hasn't gotten over her fear of buttons yet, so no button on this skirt! I only did one pocket so you could see more of the cute Blast Off fabric. It was a perfect skirt for her brothers birthday, since I didn't get a photo of them all that day, I took this one the other day at the park. Kind of goofy, but at least you can see her whole outfit! Find the tutorial here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Matt hanging with the Celebrities

Long ago before Matt and I met, he worked at Cooks on Crocus Hill teaching cooking classes. Some of the classes were co-taught with Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods. Andrew featured Matt on his blog last week, read it all here! How cool is that?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Treasured Items




We went back to my hometown recently for my 20th high school reunion. It was a nice time. The kids had fun swimming in the hotel pool with us and I got to see lots of old friends. One other benefit was stopping in to see my step-grandmother, Pearl. My grandmother died 1982 and my grandfather in 1992 but many of their things are still in the house and Pearl still keeps it pretty much as it was. Unfortunately she was ill and we didn't get to stay and chat long but Matt and I did manage to bring my grandmothers' old treadle sewing machine downstairs and out to our van and now it has found a place in our spare room. We're calling it the vintage room. Pearl also gave me one of the quilts my mother and grandmother made and finished when they were alive so that means so much to me. I love the quilt. The colors and style fit in the room very nicely. It took quite awhile to clean up the machine and table but it was well worth it and it just needs a new belt or I may be able to fix it. The vintage sewing manual has arrived from ebay as the one that was in it had been damaged in a flood long ago. The machine also housed lots of other goodies including two unopened satin blanket bindings and an item we don't know what it is. So if anyone has any ideas, let me know! On a sewing blog, they've suggested that it is a pin frog used for flower arranging which it does look like, Alana and just can't figure out why it was in the sewing table. So now I think our guest room is almost complete. I just need to find our create some artwork. Our chaise is thanks to Wendy and it works perfectly in the room too. Want to come and visit?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cookies--Week 4 and 5


Ok, so I kind of failed on my Lemon Squares review. After searching the MSLiving page, I couldn't find the recipe for the lemon squares that I made out of the cookie book but she has plenty of other lemon bar/square recipes. Matt liked them lots, but I had a couple and that was enough to satisfy my craving. I guess I'm not much of lemon "bar" type of person. They are VERY lemony. Super lemony. Matt loves lemonade and can drink it everyday, twice a day. That is too much for me and if I'm making a bar or cookie, I'd like to indulge in it twice a day but didn't want to with the lemon bars. The kids only liked the crust. Not too surprising. I had him take the pan to work. It came back empty. This recipe also called to line the pan completely in parchment and the butter to lift the bars out which I did not do and the bars came out just fine with a sharp knife so make sure you make them in a glass pan so you don't scratch a metal one.

Surprise Cookies
These were super good. Kids loved them, I loved them. Matt didn't get too many since he was traveling. I'll make some more since I didn't use all of the frosting it called for and we'll make some more in the next day or two. My first batch was a little burnt on the bottom since I kind of forgot that once you baked them for the allotted amount of time you have to top them with the half marshmallow and bake for 2 more minutes. So I recommend baking only 8 minutes and then 3-4 minutes with the marshmallow to get it a little toasty and a more developed flavor to the marshmallow, but that is probably a personal preference. I didn't cover the marshmallow completely with the frosting either so it really isn't a surprise, but that much frosting was a little overkill to me. Our neighbors liked them and the 7 year old boy thought they should be called s'mores cookies. They would just be missing the graham cracker. Martha remarks in the book that it is reminiscent of a hot chocolate. I can go with that. Also the recipe calls for whole milk and I just can't buy a half gallon of it when I'm already buying two kinds of milk--2% worked just fine. (photo taken from the Martha Stewart Cookies book)

Robot Party


Jasper had a wonderful party! He loved that everyone was there to celebrate with him and was excited about his cake. His favorite part of the cake was the little bolt eyes and had to eat them and of course he loved them. They were made of almond paste and very sugary! I think we did pretty good for our first fondant cake. I searched all over the web for Robot cake inspiration but found none. There was one awesome one, that I didn't dare try recreate and it had lots of airbrushing, but don't own a $200 cake decorating airbrush set and it isn't on my list of things to get! I used plastic curtain rod molds for the arms. They held the rods in the box from Jaspers' new book "shelf", when I unpacked the rods, I thought, "hey, this might make a good robot arm!" and it worked perfectly. It was a rainy day so we ended up inside instead of at the park like planned but it was still a nice party. I wish I would have taken more photos. I was hoping to get a photo of all the kids in their robot shirts but completely forgot in all the party revelry. It was a good weekend. We especially loved having all the family and friends here. Thanks to everyone for a great weekend!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Purse on my birthday

My super sweet husband gave me the day off on my birthday last week and I took the day to finish up a skirt for Mika (will post photos later) and make myself a purse. I'm super happy with how it turned out, being my first one. Next time I'll either use a heavier fabric or some interfacing. I had received this fabric in a scraps stack I ordered in hopes to use on a quilt for my sister. Sorry, I just had to use it in the purse. The print was too big for her quilt anyway. The purse pattern is free from a blog and you can find it here. It's called the Buttercup purse and you can also see many versions of it on flickr. That night after a wonderful day to myself of sewing, organizing and getting stuff done, Matt made me my requested birthday dinner of Buffalo Shrimp. Seems like an odd request, but I had them in Florida with my friend Rose years ago and loved them and it's not like we can get them here on the prairie. He made his own batter and buffalo sauce. We ate a pound and a half. Yummy!


I was sick last Monday so I didn't make cookies but I did make some Pinapple Macadamia muffins for our trip up north. They were missing something... we decided it was white chocolate chips. Then I think they'll be a winner! I did make Lemon Bars tonight and will do a review and find a link for the recipe later this week.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Propulsion and projects

Matt really propelled Jasper up into the air today but boy does he love that. Getting the kids to giggle is a specialty of Matt's. Of course Mika had a turn too, but I didn't get as good of a photo. The sun was coming down so this one isn't the best either but it was too cute to pass up posting.

I had to get some photos tonight since Jasper is wearing one of my latest project, his shorts that I finished up on Wednesday. I used the robot fabric left over from Linkons' quilt and the rest is from a mens XLT button-up shirt I got at Goodwill for $3.50. I knew I could find something to use for a pair of shorts there and found the perfect shirt to transform into great looking shorts for Jasper. The pattern is from Oliver + S, it's the Sandbox Pants, but I just shortened them. I'm glad I started with cheap fabric since so much of the pattern was new to me. I did my first button holes and pockets, 4 of them! There was lots of topstitching too which was difficult to line up perfectly with all the fabric underneath, but I think I did pretty good for my first pair. Oh, and Mika is wearing the Pink Fig Girly Skirt I made for her for Christmas. So nice that they like the stuff I make for them. Makes me one happy mom.Jasper has a birthday coming up and tons of books in his room so we gave him an early birthday present today of this...I saw the photos and a tutorial on a blog. The girl who came up with the great idea actually won a $250 gift certificate to Esty for it from Apartment Therapy. It's genius—works perfectly and is much more cost effective that other book storage ideas that we had looked at but were unwilling to pay for. It was super easy as well, now I just need to make a second one as you can see the extra books sitting below. Maybe Christmas. It's just some fabric on a double curtain rod. All I had to do was, cut it out, stitch it together and make the casings for the rods.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cookies—Week 3

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These were a big hit with everyone in the house and the next door neighbors who the kids were playing with at the time of them coming out of the oven. Of course I brought a plate over and Mika was so happy that she could share them with all the girls next door. She also beamed as the oldest girl who is about 7 said, "wow, these are the best cookies I've ever had, you're really lucky that your mom makes such great cookies!" Mika's reply was, "I know". I consider it a big success since Mika (and Matt for that matter) doesn't typically like nuts (or bones as Matt in his youth called them) in their cookies. I did chop the nuts rather small though just for them. You can find the recipe on Martha's site here. I even took a photo of the cookies this time instead of the book.

Coconut Swirl Brownie recipe

Friday, July 24, 2009

So much cuter!


Isabel is so adorable, anything would look great on her—but I just love this photo Katie took of her sweet daughter! Doesn't she look so happy?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just Ducky!




On the request of my good friend Katie, I made her daughter this cute little outfit. Hopefully all her little friends will want some too! Fabric is by Lizzy House skirt pattern from Pink Fig, like the ones I made for Mika, who was a tiny disappointed this one wasn't for her. Her dress fabric should be here soon, she'll just have to wait till the end of August for me to make it. Too many other projects ahead of it. (Stuff for Jasper's birthday). I'm excited to see little Isabel in the outfit, maybe Katie will send a pic!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Martha Stewart's Cookies Every Week



Two weeks ago I decided that instead of buying prepackaged cookies, I'd make a new cookie/bar recipe each week. Hey, I don't have enough projects right? I do love to bake and I love a good cookie or bar so this benefits me as well as the family. Better to be putting good homemade sugary goodness in our bodies rather than the processed stuff I figure. Sounds good anyway. I plan to have all of these come out of the "Martha Stewart's Cookies" cookbook. I made some for the holidays and they were all good. On to the reviews!

Week 1 (last week)—Butterscotch Cashew Blondies
How much did the kids like them? Lots, both gobbled them up.
How did I like them? Thought they could have had more butterscotch chips and more toffee chips (husband agreed). They were good but not as good as Oatmeal Scotchies. It was nice to have the salty cashews in them though. I'd make again but add more chips and I'd live on the edge and not do the foil lined pan. This bugs me. Seems like a waste, next recipe calls for the same thing and they came off of the foil without a problem. Creating more trash isn't a 'good thing' if you ask me. Tune in week 3 to see if the foil lining is truly needed.

Week 2—Coconut Swirl Brownies
How much did the kids like them? Jasper likes them lots. Mika will eat a very small one. They are too rich for her.
How did I like them? I loved these. Super rich, dark and chocolatey. Maybe not quite as good as the Cooks Illustrated brownie, but good in a different way with the addition of the coconut. I love coconut though. It is swirled throughout in a sweetened condensed milk batter. Yum. These were better once cooled. Again, foil lining seems wastful.

Now we only have to decide what to make for next week. I'm craving lemon... but I'm probably in the minority.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Starting a new quilt

I'm finally working on a quilt for us! It's been in the project list for awhile now and I just needed to order the fabric. Once it finally came, I was so excited and it was so beautiful, it was hard to cut, but of course I did. After getting all my pieces cut, I commandeered the living room (photographed) to see exactly how I was going to lay it out. Being a woman, I changed my mind from a hour-glass quilt to a pinwheel quilt at the last minute and was rearranging the triangles till 11 p.m. and then had to map it all out on my chart and pin them all together and label them. The next morning I started sewing. Never having sewed "prairie points" before I checked online real quick and gave it a shot. My results were not stunning. Luckily for me the women at the local quilt shop here are very helpful and sweet. She explained in great detail how to sew it and then pull a tiny bit out on the back once you've sewn it all to make it all lay flat. Yay! Success! Here is my first successful block--the other one is ok and will still be used in the quilt, it just isn't perfect. Two down, 22 to go.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Robot Pillow


I'm waiting for my fabric to arrive to start sewing our quilt and a skirt for a friends daughter, but I needed to sew. So I had a pillow form and some scraps laying around and decided to make a pillow for Jasper. Of course I had to meet my nemesis again, the zipper. Thanks to googlereader, I follow many blogs and I remembered that House on Hill Road had a tutorial for such a thing. Checking my bookmarks, I quickly found it and got to work. Jasper and I are quite pleased with the results. Check it out, the zipper is hidden, yippee, success. Maybe my unnatural fears of the zipper will subside soon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bikes n' Kites



videoWe spent the little bit of time that it wasn't raining in the last couple days taking a quick bike ride and flying our surviving free kite from the 4th of July activities. We got a nice video clip from the camera and some cute photos, and now we are down to zero kites. Clearly we live in the prairie with lots of wind and need a real kite! As Matt says, make lemonade out of lemons (the wind). Plus as you can see by the photos the kids really love(d) the kite.

Oh, Mika is wearing a new skirt and shirt set that I made her. This is the second skirt with the Pink Fig, Girly Skirt pattern. Although she likes it, she said, "mommy, it would be better if was a dress". Dress to come soon.

4th of July




Marshall puts out a pretty good day of activities we found out. They have an annual Festival of Kites and they give out 500 free kites! We went to the park, got our two kites and started flying. Ironically it was about the least windy day for months. We ALWAYS have wind. Fast forward 20 minutes to kites in the air and gusts of wind and large rain clouds coming in. Gusting wind = unruly kites ours tangled and Jaspers broke. Amazingly he was ok with it, but when the rain came down and he realized we were headed for the car and NOT the metal playground in the thunderstorm with lightening he was MAD. Matt wrestled him in the car seat--really it should be an olympic sport, Jasper is strong. We've both done it several times. Screaming child in tow, we decided to go have dinner out at a local pub that serves sandwhiches and pizza. They also have NTN and pool tables. Once we got there, we gave him the choice--calm down and go have dinner here or go home. He chose dinner here. Mainly he just didn't want to go home. 45 minute melt averted. Once inside Mika requested the NTN, we put some quarters in the back pool table and peace resumed. Ahh. After dinner we took an hour break at home and the skies had cleared and we went back to the park for a great firework show. Mika decided that fireworks are her most favorite thing in the world. "More that popovers and everything". It was a late night and we paid for it the next day with the beast in Mika. Jasper was fine. Kids! Oh, I have to include this funny photo we got at the "pub"--we took it since it was so unlike us, we don't have any toy "gunners" as the kids call them at home.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Catching Tadpoles


The kids had a wonderful day at Camden State Park about a week ago. We had planned to go and the day was sunny in the morning, however the news had thunderstorm warnings out for the day. I decided to go anyway since I knew they'd be disappointed if we didn't. Packed up the lunch, the sand toys, the swimsuits and off we went. It was well worth it, the weather was perfect—warm and a bit windy, which kept the bugs away. They played in the sand and then discovered the tadpoles and went wading in the ultra cold spring-fed waters. Before long they pleaded for their swimsuits. Watching the sky I obliged and told them that if it started to rain we'd have to head home. With the giant shovel and the buckets they skillfully caught lots of tadpoles, dumping them back in when they'd get about 5 in the bucket. Working the water and the sand castle kept them busy and satisfied. I gave them the 5 minute warning and then we got dressed headed back to the car when we felt the first few drops of rain. Our picnic would have to be inside. They were ok with that. Safely back home we had our picnic lunch, a bath and snuggled in since the thunder had started and was very LOUD!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Pagemaps Contest

I did this layout based on the sketch provided by the Pagemaps blog. The winner receives some goodies from My Little Shoebox! The sketch is super cute and worked perfectly for a day when we all went to Camden State Park. Jasper was mesmerized by the ants crawling on the tree so we snapped a photo of that and the ants. He watched lots of other bugs that day, so I thought it was an appropriate title. Matt did a great job of taking photos too!

Fathers Day Gold!

We had a lovely Fathers Day celebration a day early, on Saturday instead of Sunday. Our celebration included homemade potato salad, green beans, Jamaican jerk burgers on the grill, grilled pineapple, and salted caramel ice cream. I made everything and Matt just had to grill. Yes, I even formed the burgers! I did marinate a couple of portabello mushrooms for myself. You can find the burger recipe on epicurious.com and the super yummy ice cream recipe here. The toffee bits (pictured) stayed nice and crunchy the day I made the ice cream but then melted and became all gooey the second day, so I recommend eating the ice cream the day you make it, and it was certainly worth the effort.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Simple Pleasures



So about 4 times a summer the lots behind ours are harvested and baled. We took advantage of this about a month ago and got some great photos. The kids thought it was great fun when daddy put them up on the giant bale too. It's almost ready for them to harvest again and I know they'll want to go do it again. Notice Mikas new haircut? It's so much easier and she gets lots of compliments.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Wood Quilt




MyLyn picked out super cute owl fabric and these wood fabrics went perfectly with it and "boy-ed" it up the perfect amount and how could I go wrong with wood fabric for little Owen Wood? It has a minky back just like his cousin Linkin's quilt. Super soft and cuddly :) I got my inspiration from an avid quilter and sewer who blogs here. For my 4th quilt ever I'm very happy with it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pagemaps Basic Grey contest


So there is a little Pagemaps contest going on for some sweet Basic Grey paper packs and it's been a little while since I did a layout so I got to work! I followed their wonderful sketch and came up with this layout of Jasper when he was sick on day back in February. Pardon the not-so-great photo, it has been raining all day here today so there was no chance of taking a photo outside :(

I used a Hambly overlay, Fancy Pants, Sassafras Lass and Jenni Bowlin patterned paper, Studio Calico stamps, Making Memories passport letters.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The tooth fairy cometh!


I finished the tooth fairy doll just in time! Well actually a bit late, but the beast decided that she wanted her to come to our house instead of Papas which made me happy. We sent the fairy an e-mail and stated her wishes. Mikas second tooth came out on Friday on our way to the city to see Papa and some other family. She was acting sleepy and we thought she was asleep when she simply stated "here mommy, my tooth came out" and handed it to me. Goofy girl. We gave her some water and she was happy. Saturday I bought some felt at the quilt shop with my sister Alana and then promptly finished the little basket on Sunday when we got home and hung her up on the bed! Wonder what the tooth fairy will leave tonight?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bubbled over!


I finished making Mika's new dress and overall I'm pretty happy with it. I wish it was longer. I made a size 5 and as you can see, it isn't any too big for this 4 year old. I did LOTS of seam ripping in this dress. I guess it's to be expected due to my lack of sewing clothing. I probably couldn't have picked a more difficult dress pattern. It is lined entirely and has a zipper. Ugh. I didn't feel the need to embellish it with the ribbon or flowers it called for, I think it's cute without those things. I was going to just to hide the fact that the two different fabrics don't meet up perfectly in the back, but then decided that it isn't that noticible. Now I'm off to finish up her tooth fairy doll before that second tooth falls out!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Baby Quilt





So I made my second quilt ever (this one is for Linkon) and I'm improving. Certainly learning with each new quilt which is good. On this quilt I did sashing and the squares were much smaller which didn't leave room for error. When I realized this I kind of freaked out and started to make my seam allowance smaller which would be ok if I did it consistently but I didn't, therefore the squares aren't all lined up. Oh well. My top stiching however, is SO much better. I think it's fabulous! Also, since it is only 36" square I decided to hand bind it which looks much nicer, but did take awhile for me to get the hang of it. I'll do it again, especially when the minky fabric is the back since I wouldn't want to run that through the machine, but I'm not sure if I'd do it on a large quilt. I spent about 4 hours doing the hand binding. I just did it when Mika goes to bed and needs someone in the living room watching tv so it wasn't really a chore! :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Snuggling in the quilt


I snapped this photo today right before we read books at nap time. Despite some of the troubles I had with the quilt and the small flaws, I am just in love with it. It's the first quilt I've ever made, so I shouldn't expect it to be perfect anyway. Love was certainly sewn into each stitch. I've told Jasper who has just started to be a bit fearful at night that the quilt is special and the robots in it can fight of any monsters or ghosts. Can't hurt! Both kids really enjoy the quilt and Mika is asking what I'll make her now. A dress pattern has already been purchased and fabric is on the way! Who knew I'd like sewing this much. I really hated it in high school! Here are a few more photos. I really like the stripes on the back too!