Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thrift Store bonanza

I'm a bonofide thrift store junky. I get a thrill and such a deep sense of satisfaction by using something from the past and finding that diamond in the rough. My decorating aesthetic leans heavily toward the 60-70's.I guess it's because I was born in the 1960's and remember the 1970's fondly. I love low profile, dark wood, clean line retro looking stuff. My home is decorated in a mix of my finds with a few contemporary pieces thrown in for good measure. You'll never find a matching suite of furniture in any of my rooms and I like it that way! As far as where and when I find stuff it really varies. I can go months and not look or if I look not be able to find anything that strikes my fancy or I can have week like I'm having where every time I turn around something awesome is waiting to come home with me. It literally started on Sunday when I read an article in Parade magazine by Jacquelyn Mitchard who wrote the book "Deep end of the Ocean". In the article she writes about how she loves the idea of decorating with inexpensive found items and how it just doesn't make sense to her to spend a ton to have style. I say preach it sister! That's exactly how I feel. I love that my home can't be found in any magazine. That when my dd drops her pizza on the couch,'s okay (sort of). I love that I found 2 matching crystal lamps at different stores at different times and didn't pay more than $5 for either one.
My latest acquisitions have me reenergized for thrifting. I've been looking literally for months for the perfect buffet. I knew I wanted something retro (1960-70's) and dark with lots of storage. I've been prowling thrift stores, posted on freecycle( you never know)and haunting Craigslist and yesterday there it was. The perfect piece had been posted on Craigslist over the weekend and it was Tuesday. Surely it wouldn't still be there...but it was and the best thing, the lady selling it literally lived 3 miles from me. I went to pick it up last night. It's in awesome condition, weighs a ton and has a gaggle of storage. It surely is circa 1970's and was from Drexel(before they had Heritage, lol) so I'm guessing it was a spendy piece in it's day. The wood is thick and solid, no pressed wood here. I love it! It fits perfectly along my short wall and I added my 2 lovely crystal lamps atop. Today I thought I'd run in to the Goodwill near my home and low and behold I found a solid metal round wine rack/bar combo. It's about 6 ft tall, heavy and just incredible. I can't believe I scored it! I've been looking for a wine rack for ages and now I found something even better. I also found a little leatherette storage bench to go at the foot of our bed. It'll be a nice place for sheets and extra blankets. I found a large mirror in a baroque style frame to hang above our fireplace. All total I have spent about $200, you got to love the prices!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WooHoo! Yarn Love!

I got my knitpicks order the other day and in addition to some knifty new needles I got gads of wonderfully soft yarn. I'm no connusieur but I love their yarn and the price is so right. I can't wait to get started making some fun projects. I will start my sock class in 2 weeks and my knitting group is starting a KAL for a really great, yet easy sweater in September. I have to start looking for the yarn for it...uh oh, does that mean I need to place another knitpicks. order?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A pretty dress, but an unwilling model

I finally finished hemming the Oliver + S teaparty sundress for dd. I think it came out so sweet and the fabric is this really pretty Sandy Gervais for Moda. I got it from my machine dealer who actually has an incredible collection of fabrics. I can't believe how perfect the buttons are too. They were in my bag of chez ami buttons and if I didn't know better I would think they were created specifically for this fabric.
The dress it self is well drafted and chock full of details that make it extra special. I love the piping and the little hem. It also comes together pretty simply, the directions are very clear and concise. I can see myself making a few more of these for both O. and N. I love the classic styling of the patterns and am looking forward to trying out the others I bought. I even tried something I had not done before. My machine has lots of feet that came with it and one of them is a blindhem foot. I had never used it, always hemming by hand in the past. I have a bit more to learn to master the use of the foot completely, it was not too difficult though and I think I did a pretty good job of it considering it was my very first time.
Anyways, O. is in a mood today and wouldn't put on the dress even when I said I wanted to take a picture of her. model shot today. Oh and excuse the fabric pen marks on the button holes, I haven't had a chance to wash them off yet, lol.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Exciting Times and a recipe's Monday and I have a great recipe to share. This one comes from my friend from High School Linda. Imagine my great surprise when she sent me a goody box (she said it was just for being a good friend, ah shucks!) and tucked inside was a little piece of Texas goodness. The following recipe, along with 2 of the essential ingredients that just say umm umm good! I love tex-mex food and although I have found some suitable substitutes here on the East Coast, nothing says home like Fiesta brand spices. I nearly cried when I saw that bottle!

Spanish Rice

1 cup of long grain rice
1-2 tsp cooking oil
2 cups + 1 tbsp water
1 medium tomato chopped ( I cheat and use a canned tomato)
1 tsp Spanish rice seasoning (if you have Fiesta, rock on! Otherwise I guess another brand will do, lol)
1 cube of Knorr's tomato & chicken bouillon, crushed

Heat your oil in a skillet and then add the rice, frying it until it is opaque. If some of it browns that's fine, it'll just add a nutty flavor. Add your water, chopped tomatoes, spanish rice seasoning and bouillon cube. Bring this to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 mins. Fluff rice with a fork and enjoy!

You can mix it up by adding a chopped onion, cilantro or green pepper if you like.

Also, this week there's been lots of excitement around here. M. started kindergarten today. He looked so cute heading off in mama made from head to toe, including his monogrammed backpack, lol. And I'll be having a shopping partner when I head to the Patsy Aiken's sale later this week. My dear friend Dawn is driving up to join me. She's so excited about the fabric, I'm a bit less about the fabric, but stoked to get to spend time with her sans kids. Look for pictures later in the week of all the loot we get.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Times Up!

Not much blogging going on this week, but I've been busy nonetheless. My kids start back to school on Monday (I must admit, I'm a tad excited, lol) and I've been busy planning, washing, cutting and sewing. I essentially have a small manufacturing operation set up on my dining room table. I have 3 sergers going, all with different colored thread (one set up for rolled hemming), the coverstitcher, embroidery and my main machine are all feeling the love too. I'm almost done though, just a few more items to sew and then I can sit back and enjoy the silence.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday's Meal

This recipe reminds me of my childhood. Remember when your mom would make you a Swanson's chicken pot pie and you'd watch it cooking, getting all bubbly and you couldn't wait to dig into that flakey crust? Ahhh...the memories.

Chicken Pot Pie

the crust
2 1/2 cups of flour (plus some extra for dusting)
pinch of salt
6 oz of diced butter (plus extra for greasing your pan)
6 tbsp of cold water
milk for brushing your crust

the filling
1 cup of chicken stock
1 lb of skinless boneless chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
2 potatoes, coarsely chopped
1 egg, beaten
3 oz of cheddar cheese
2 scallions, chopped
1 tbsp of chopped sage
1/2 small bag of mixed veggies
salt and peeper to taste

To make the pie crust, sift flour and salt in a bowl Add the butter in until it resembles bread crumbs. Gradually add the cold water. Knead the dough lightly, cover and let chill for 1 hour

Now bring your chicken stock to a boil in a pan, Reducing heat, add the chicken, potatoes and veggies, letting simmer for approx 30 mins. Remove for heat and let cool for 20 mins or so. Drain off the liquid and transfer the chicken mixture to a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients.

Now Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 inch pie pan. Remove your dough from the fridge and placing it on a floured surface, shape into a ball. Roll out half the dough to a thickness of 1/4" and place in the pan. Spoon in the filling. Roll out the remaining dough and place it on top to cover the filling. Trim the edges. Cut 2 slits in top for venting. Brush with milk. Bake for 45 mins or until done. If edges are browning too fast you can cover them with foil. Serve with a nice green salad and some homemade bread. Enjoy!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Monkeying Around

Just a sweet little modified "Miss Molly" tunic for O done in this crazy monkey fabric from JA's. I love these because they are so fast to sew up, alas...they are reminder that I need to hop to it and start my back to school sewing. Yowza! I only have 1 1/2 weeks before they go back. I have several pairs of shorts and t-shirts to make for the boys and of course we need to get busy and get those school supplies. I can't believe everyone will be in some sort of school this year, even O. will go to a 2 day/week program. Freedom!!! I won't know what to do with myself...oh wait,I'll think of something.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A new

I've been bitten by the knitting bug. It's as bad as sewing in terms of expenditures, worst even, remember the $30 socks? But, oh the yarns are so pretty and soft and I just want to turn them in to something beautiful. I've been on a little shopping spree as of late. I just purchased yarn to make 2 moderne baby blankets, one for my niece and one for O. Again...not cheap, each blanket required about $50 worth of yarn and that was getting the yarn on sale. I also am still in search of the perfect needles to round out my collection so I've ordered some knitpicks nickel, harmony woods and dpn to try out. Today I bought a pair of Susan Bates Velocity from A.C. Moore to check out. I read on Ravelry that the cables are just like knitpicks and the tips seem like Addi's. The price is slightly less than addi's so that is nice (about $5 less) and I was able to use a coupon (woohoo!) so while not a bargain, they won't break the bank. I knitted a few rows on them tonight and I like them. I have a confession though, I don't think I have very discriminating taste when it comes to knitting needles. I like them all and I guess since I haven't worked with a huge variety of yarns I can't really tell the difference.

learning to knit in the round on two circs. A hat in progress on 2 size 8 addi turbos.

yarn for O.'s baby moderne blanket

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My new favorite Japanese pattern book

Move over Girly Style Wardrobe, there's a new book in town. It's called Simple + One. I've had this book for more than a year, but didn't really give it much thought. Now I absolutely love it. I wasn't sure about it at first...I guess it seemed well, too simple. I think I would call the styles classic and well, I'm a lover of the classic so this book fits my personal aesthetic to a tee. I made a t-shirt for my son in size 120 and it's absolute perfection (I'll have to add a picture later, it's in the wash). I can't wait to make more and try out some of the other patterns from it . I think I will use one of the dress patterns for O.'s holiday dress this year. I have just the perfect fabric in mind and since I will be doing all the outfits I'll be starting on it in a few short months.
Don't be deterred by the fact that the Japanese pattern books are, well all in Japanese. There are tons of pictures and arrows to get you through and generally the designs are straightforward and even a novice can produce a lovely end product. The sizing is based on height in cm and I find the fit to be pretty true to size and very similar to the euro patterns like Burda or Ottobre.
Anyway, just wanted to share my delight in something so simple.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday's Meal

I can't begin to tell you how much I love soup. I could eat it everyday, summer and winter. I especially like a hearty soup with lots of stuff! So, here's a recipe I thought I'd share. Serve it with some cornbread and you've got yourself a good meal. Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup chunky salsa
8 ounces corn tortilla chips
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the chicken in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and mix well. Then add the broth, corn, onion, chili powder, lemon juice and salsa. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Break up some tortilla chips into individual bowls and pour soup over chips. Top with the Monterey Jack cheese and a little sour cream.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A birthday gift and a new toy

So, look at me, plugging away at that to do list. I finished N.'s birthday gift and go it in the mail this morning. I also have just about finished another knitting project and got the stuff to start on another one. Progress I tell you is a good thing.
I love how the dress for N's came out, but I'm not at all pleased with the neckline on the shirt...from the outside it looks fine, but the inside...I don't know and I have a feeling it might be too wide and gappy (excuse me as I make up some new words) in the back. I always have trouble with the knit neckline on Ottobre, and I don't know why exactly...I've never done one where I didn't redo it at least once, it's very frustrating. There's got to be some trick.
Oh and my beloved Pfaff serger has been acting up...I've figured out that it's the foot pedal and the machine itself is fine (although being that the company that made it is no longer in existence...not pfaff the actual manufacturer, it's only a matter of time before something happens that spells the demise of my machine). In my panic to finish my gift and of course knowing I use my serger every time I sew, I got on craigslist and found 2 used sergers that I was interested in. I checked out the reviews for them on PR and both got glowing reports and I asked the sewing mamas and each had a legion of fans. In the end it came down to age and price. The Viking was cheaper and younger than the Imagine serger. I really was impressed with how each machine serged, but I was concerned that the imagine that was at least 13 years old, but probably older and would give me some trouble. So I bought the viking. So far I like the viking 905 and as long as my pfaff keeps serging I will keep that set up for serging and the Viking set to roll hem. I'm excited about that since it's a pain in the ass to convert the pfaff to rolled hem. You have to change the needle plate, take out the left needle and change all your settings. The viking was much less involved, plus the rolled hem it produces is gorgeous. Anyways...more toys for me to play with.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


So, I've been working very diligently on my UFO list. I've finished the 6 pairs of undies for O. and am almost done with N.'s birthday gift (the sundress and shirt combo), also been making tons of progress on my second knit project. I plan to spend some time sewing today. I'll finish up N.'s stuff so I can get it in the mail by tomorrow, finish my gym bag so I can use it tonight for my spin class, finish the tunic for O. and perhaps finish the TDK bag which will be part of the Christmas presents pile. It's a good start...I like to see that list getting smaller, lol.
Just thought I'd share pictures of 4 of the pairs of undies. Two aren't pictured since one was in the wash (the first pair of Ottobre ones done exactly by their directions using elastic which I don't care for) and one pair she was wearing.
The pink pair at the top right were made using the new TDK undie pattern that I was one of the lucky testers for. I like them. I love that they use c/l for the waist and legs. They are very modestly cut which is appealing too. However for O. I'd make a few modification, I sewed up size 4 without seam allowance so I guess they are like a 3 which fits her perfectly, but I feel that the front rise hits her in an odd place and could be prone to bunching so I'd raise that and I'd like a deeper leg hole because I thought they were more of a boy cut than a girl cut, but dd doesn't mind that at all since she regularly wears her brothers undies, lol. The other 3 are my version of Ottobre brief done using c/l for the waist and legs. I might try using lastin wrapped in rib knit too. Anyway, I have to say that underwear making is very addictive. You can get rid of tons of scraps and they are so cute and fast. Instant gratification projects. TDK is working on a her boy version which will be perfect since I have tons of boys scraps and my boys are much more the tighty whitey type of underwear guys than the boxer brief kind of guys which is probably why I never finished the many pair of boxer briefs I had cut out. (yeah, that's the reason).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday's Meal

I've had this recipe for years. It makes a quick and delicious hardy casserole that everyone enjoys. It's one of my all time favorites and I hope you like it too.

Turkey Chop Suey

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked elbow macaroni (or pasta of your choice)
1 pound of ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 jar of beef gravy
1 tsp of oil
salt and pepper to taste

* we love cheese so I will often times toss whatever shredded cheese I have around on top before baking.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put salted water on to boil pasta. Boil pasta according to the package, being sure to not overcook.
Heat a skillet with the oil over medium heat, add the onion and celery and cook until they are just beginning to soften, add your ground turkey and brown it. Set it aside until your pasta is completed. Now mix meat mixture, spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, gravy , salt and pepper together, blending well. Add this to the your cooked pasta mixing well again. Place everything in to a casserole dish (9 X 13 or whatever size you have) and cook uncovered for approximately 30 mins or until bubbling on top.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

UFO's...they're every where

Since my sewing space is miniscule I cut fabric for projects on the dining room table and since it's kind of a pain to drag everything out, I cut a bunch of stuff at once.However, sometimes I cut more things before I finish old projects and they kind of uh hmm...back up on me. Currently I have in my to do basket the following things.
1. double duty diaper bag
2. a quilt that needs to be tied and bound (binded...whatever)
3. a pair of denim capri's for me
4. a Oliver + S tea sundress for O.
5. a sweet sundress for N.
6. 6 pairs of undies for O.
7. a bag for the gym for me
8. a pair of lounge pants for S.
9. a camp shirt for M.
10. 2 pairs of shorts for E. & M.
11. a slim t-shirt for E. from Simple + one
12. a TDK coming and going bag
13. a Miss Molly dress that I modified to be a tunic.
I think that's a lot...but I am determined to finish these things. And did I mention that I bought fingering weight yarn (sock yarn) and dpn today so I could knit some socks. Am I crazy? So, if you ever hear me complain that I'm bored and don't have a thing to do, just remind me about this list, will you?

Friday, July 4, 2008

I finished my first knit project

I finished my first project, a simple scarf knitted with a really fun and soft novelty yarn in garter stitch. It came out pretty well and I learned a lot about picking up stitches and correcting twisted stitches too. Now I've started back on my sweater for O.. I had stopped for a bit to do something quick that I could finish and have that sense of accomplishment. I've also started on some more Christmas presents, but's a secret. Oh and I signed up for a sock class that starts in a month. I can't wait. I'm really jazzed about learning to knit socks.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Christmas in July case you haven't noticed I do like a good craft. So, I've decided that this year I will do even more gifts for Christmas handmade. I've already started working on them. I can't say who's getting what since my family reads this blog...but just know it's going to be awesome (lol) and created with love. Hopefully if I work hard, a little at time I will finish and not feel the pressure the holidays can bring. I know my kids don't read this blog, so I can tell you what I plan to make for them. I want to do socks for everyone, a skywalker cape for E., doll clothes for her waldorf doll for O., a big bag to carry all his train stuff, boxers and lounge pants for S. and perhaps a few other things I'm still tossing around. My children are really blessed with a lot of material things, so I want Christmas to be special...but not about the material or over the top. We did well last year with a scaled down holiday and I think everyone enjoyed it and didn't miss the over the top commericial holiday haul. So, that's what I've working on. Planning, cutting, shopping my stash and working just like a little elf to get ready for the holidays.