Sunday, April 06, 2014

~Staple Blouse~

 Last night I whipped up a Staple blouse, using my Staple Dress pattern, and April's T as inspiration.


I didn't really measure - I just held the pattern up to myself and guessed at how long I wanted it. Then I made both pieces the same length.  I shirred just the back:



The fabric is 97% cotton, 3% spandex, purchased at Joann's. The spandex doesn't really add that much stretch, but it keeps the wrinkles away, which is always nice! The photos above were taken after I'd worn it all morning at church.

I like that this can be dressed up or down - I can just as easily wear this with a jean skirt as for Sunday  morning!



My mom, dad, and youngest sister were here last weekend. What a special treat! I helped my youngest sister make her own Staple dress, in fact out of this very fabric! There was enough left for me to make a blouse with. So now we can be matchy-patchy across the miles. :-)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

~Happy Spring!~

We got a dusting of snow overnight, so much for the calendar telling us spring is here! The calendar may say, "spring" but our weather still says, "winter".

A peek out my front door:


The snow has at least started melting, which is a good thing - it was impossible to see down the street as we were backing out of our driveway! At least now we can see cars! Still a ways to go before the snow is gone though! But there's hope! :)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

~Winnie Shrug~

When Anneliese of Aesthetic Nest recently asked me to test sew her pattern, Winnie Shrug, I was happy to oblige! For my version, I used fleece and a big pink button. It was a quick, fun sew, and my daughter really likes wearing it!

At first I thought that I would just be able to trim the seam allowances and leave it unhemmed, but when I tried it on my daughter, I realized that it would gain a lot by finishing with a hem - it added structure to the garment so it stood up on it's own, as well as adding a more finished look. I'm glad I hemmed it!

Here are my pictures:





I also made the little blue skirt, following a not-quite vintage pattern in my pattern stash.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

~Ice Cream Dress~

About two years ago I won a gift certificate to an online sewing supply store. It honestly wasn't a good advertisement for the store, because it was hard to navigate, and everything I wanted was out of stock! I finally settled on two patterns which at the time were not in my daughter's current size. One of them was Oliver + S's Ice Cream Dress pattern, in sizes 5-12.

I have always loved the Ice Cream Dress. It's simplicity in styling, yet attention to detail, is the type of clothing I like my daughter to wear. I decided to break out my pattern and make it for my daughter's upcoming birthday.

I bought this fabric at Joann's, with a coupon of course. :-) I love this fabric combination! It's bright and cheery and will be the perfect spring and summer dress!




I love this dress. Love it! It fits so well, and I would like to make another dress and a top for this summer, at least. I think it is such a darling silhouette on a young girl. It harks back to a time when little girls dressed like little girls and not miniature adults.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

~Oh, hey! Hello, March!~

On this first day of March, I am thankful for:

~hands to work, a home to clean
~my back being so much stronger, the ability to clean my home without pain
~coffee, always coffee, every morning
~my big-little almost-five-year-old precious girl
~friends to share the afternoon and evening and a meal with
~and a big cup of tea which I shall retire to the couch with as soon as I click "publish"

Yesterday I snapped this picture:



and contemplated, when to get rid of a faded apron? I made this apron a month or so before I got married, with the anticipation of cooking and cleaning in my new apartment. It's taken me through a lot of cooking and cleaning, as you can see! The blue used to be a very dark navy blue. My daughter solved the dilemma of another apron by taking a pair of scissors to it! No need to ponder over a hacked up apron...

I pulled out my Crocs to wear around the house. I don't know why I haven't thought to do this sooner. They are comfortable, and when I come home and in the back door with snowy shoes, I can change to these.

So there! March is coming in as the proverbial lion. The snow is swirling outside right now. Winter is dragging on for me this year. I have to focus on what I am thankful for, but right now it seems so endless! Endless snow, high snow banks, changed plans every time we turn around. I will be so very glad to see spring!

Friday, February 21, 2014

~On This Friday~

Simple things making me smile today:

:::a mug of hot coffee to wrap my hands around
:::kimchi prepped and sitting on the counter
Not "his and hers", just the jars that it fit into this time around. LOL 

:::my shelf full of cast iron goodness (with a random butternut squash, ha!)


:::the ice-skating penguin who lives on my griddle


:::quiet time postponed to make cookies with my girl


:::laundry that is all caught up
:::my daughter's art
:::tea, for after I've had too much coffee...

See? I am smiling:


This winter has not been for the faint of heart! We have had our due share of snow, ice, and below-freezing weather. The last 24 hours we saw sun, rain, sleet, wind, and then today? more snow, snow, snow! Craziness. 

~Fermenting Vegetables~

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been fermenting vegetables. There have been two things that have surprised me: how much I love them, and how much Kevin enjoys them! Even my daughter is coming around a little bit - she doesn't grimace over her little tastes any longer (but doesn't want a full serving either).

Currently I have, from left to right, sauerkraut (50 days on the counter), sauerkraut (24 days), and carrots (3 days).



I have a friend who told me that she likes her kraut to ferment for 50 days in the winter, 30 in the summer. The amount you see in the first jar is what we have remaining. After 30 days we started eating it. I have to say that I love the way it tastes right now, so 50 days has been perfect! I was careful to use clean utensils and make sure the brine was covering the top layer each time I pulled some out.

The carrots are delightful at about 7 days. I make a mix of half daikon radish, half carrots, and a 2- or 3-inch piece of ginger. I grate everything, add salt, and then pound it till the juices cover the top.

I am starting another batch of kimchi this morning. Last time I ate it a little too enthusiastically (we're talking breakfast, lunch, and dinner!) and Kevin was disappointed he didn't get very much. So I'm half way thinking of splitting the batch into two jars. One for me, one for him. What do you think? :-)

Do you ferment vegetables? I am looking for more recipes to try, so if you have recipes to share, please leave a link in the comments!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

~Teal + Red, and Snow~

This morning as I was getting ready for church, my daughter was watching Peg + Cat. If you're familiar with the show (on PBS) poor little Peg has a lot of problems that she sings about. As she was singing about her "big, BIG Problem" I was thinking the same of my wardrobe. I need to get a few things to wear, as I have only a few things that fit me at the moment.

Today's choice:

My red shoes were a splurge for me! I got them with birthday money. I didn't know if I'd have much to wear them with, but I thought I'd go for them anyhow. They've been fun, and I have surprisingly found a lot to wear them with. Today I got adventurous and wore a teal scarf.

And see what I'm standing in front of? Snooooooooow. Nooooo more snoooooow please! :D This is by our back door, looking into our back yard.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

~Misc.~

I have a basket of acorn squash sitting in my kitchen, left over from fall. Since they're still good, I hopped onto Pinterest and found a few recipes to try out.

First up, acorn squash and carrot soup:


It really should be called carrot and acorn squash soup, because there are more carrots than squash. But it was good. I had all the ingredients, so I did something I rarely do, and made myself lunch from scratch. (I always eat lunch, just leftovers or something quick and easy.)

I ate it for lunch, then breakfast the next morning, then lunch the next two days after that. It was good but now I'm not so sure. :-/

It is snowing. A lot. I'm tired of snow. Mostly, we've just stayed home. I did get out today and it was nerve-wracking for me to drive on the roads. Spring is around the corner, right? I hope so, but right now we're buried in snow! Last year I took Vitamin D3 for the first winter since we've lived in Michigan, and I had a marvelous outlook on winter, which I attributed to the Vitamin D. I think maybe this year the placebo effect has worn off? ;-) Or maybe I should up my Vitamin D. I don't know...but I do wish it weren't so cold and snowy! Oh, and I have been wondering why I am so, so cold this winter and then it dawned on me that I'm missing 30 pounds of insulation. LOL I guess that's a fair trade, but...brrrrrrr.

I've finished my shawl - just need to block it. My sister emailed me and said a gray Staple dress would be perfect and I think so too! Now to find time to make it! I haven't started a new project yet; I'm making myself block my shawl before casting on a new project!

This deserves a whole new post, but something I'm excited about lately: fermenting vegetables! I love them! So far: kimchi (2 batches so far! it's so addicting, and Kevin likes it so much he packs it for lunch), a carrot, daikon radish, ginger mix (that also found its way into Kevin's lunchbox), and sauerkraut. There is something so satisfying in spending time on food that needs to just sit for a while.

Well....that's it for now. Soup, snow, a shawl, and fermented veggies! :D

Take care, and stay warm!

Friday, January 24, 2014

~Sending a Smile~

Going out in the mail today (or possibly tomorrow, if the weather is not cooperative for going out to the post office today):

Postcards cut from a cereal box!


Want to make your own? The Post Office has a required minimum of 5" by 3 1/2" and a maximum of 6" by 4 1/4" for postcards. Cut, write, stamp, and send some happy mail!

Monday, January 13, 2014

~Shopping~

I feel like a 12 year old announcing some sort of discovery that everyone else probably already knows about, but here goes: I've been grocery shopping in the mornings these last few weeks, and guess what? empty stores! I mean, who knew? (hint: not me!). I've always gone shopping in the afternoon. I'm not really sure why, except that it always seems to take me forever to get my shopping list together and since shopping isn't my favorite activity (far from it!) I procrastinate until I absolutely have to go out.

But I've been pulling my shopping list together sooner, getting us out the door to go shopping or run errands earlier in the day, and it's really exhilarating to get first dibs at parking, not have to weave in and out of a lot of fellow shoppers, and not have to wait excessively to be checked out. Though, on the last point, I will say that there are fewer checkers so sometimes I do have to wait a bit. And another bonus? My daughter is more of a morning person so her attitude and behavior in the store is more pleasing to everyone in our general vicinity. ;-)

So do tell me, what time of day do you shop???

Saturday, January 11, 2014

~WIP~

My shawl is progressing very nicely. I got up to the lace and decided not to go with the purple I had purchased. I got a lime green. My sister told me I should, and that was what I wanted in the first place, so I did.


It's a different yarn than the main part of the shawl - it has mohair in it, as well as SEQUINS! Tiny little sequins that add a little sparkle. This is fun! I really can't wait to finish it. The lace part is taking so long, because: the needles. I hate these needles! And also, I am working the pattern purposefully so I won't make mistakes - I really don't want to do any ripping back.

I don't have anything to wear with this shawl, so I kind of need to work on that while I finish knitting - don't you know I'll want to wear this right away! I'm thinking the shawl is busy enough, the outfit should be pretty neutral. I'm not sure what though. Maybe my sister can email me with wardrobe choices too. ;-)

As obsessed as I am with shawls right now, I'm actually thinking of making a sweater next. This sweater, to be exact. I have the yarn so all I'll have to do is buy a decent set of needles! I will not work another project on my current needles!

In other news, we went from 1 degree weather to above freezing. Instead of snow and ice it is raining cats and dogs. When we first moved to Michigan, we were told, "If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes." Pretty much.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

~Home-making~

This last week or so I've been settled at home, working around the house. Trying to make my house more homey by keeping up better with things like: dishes, laundry, sweeping. That kind of thing.

Yesterday I tackled some of the ironing. I've been behind since before Christmas, so all my napkins had cycled through the wash and ended up in the laundry basket. They're all ironed and in the drawer now, the Christmas napkins tucked away to wait for next Christmas.


Oh, the weather we've had. I say, "Baby, it's cold outside" and my daughter argues that the song is "Maybe it's cold outside." Maybe, nothing. It's cold out there! Kevin took our car to work Monday through Wednesday so that he could drive safer. The roads are still not lovely, but they are improving.

Today was the first day this week that I had the chance to run errands. So run them, I did. Now it's time to get back to my homemaking. And another cup of tea.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

~New Project~


So. I'm slightly obsessed with shawls these days. I've been pouring over designs, choosing which ones I'll be knitting next. While I had Pendulum still on the needles, I saw Zaria, and fell head over heels in love with it. It's not your average granny shawl, that's for certain!

I bought a dark purple for the lace insert, but I'm not all that sure about the color choice. I think a lime green would look nice with this yarn, but the store didn't have any so I chose the purple for now.

I need to get some decent circulars. I've been hesitant to spend more money on needles, but I do think it is necessary. Tools of the trade, and all.

Next up for consideration? Citron, Wingspan (Ravelry link), Betsey (Ravelry link), and Color Affection (sorry...another Ravelry link). And more being added all the time....

I haven't really set any resolutions for the New Year but one of my strong desires is to spend more time on the things that bring me enjoyment. I feel like I've pushed a lot of my creative endeavors to the side, or maybe not challenged myself enough. Knitting is one of those things that I feel like I have let languish over the last few years, only pulling my needles out every once in a while. It feels good to be knitting again!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

~Reflections on 2013~

The year 2013 was a good year. God showed Himself to me in a very real way, when He answered a prayer in His timing - not mine. It was something I had prayed over for several years. The answer didn't come when I desired, but God in His wisdom answered it on His timetable. After the answer came, I realized that during the wait, through my pain and troubles, God stretched me and taught me so much, changing me for the better in the process. So while I didn't desire the trial, I learned much through it! (Sorry to be so vague, but it isn't something I can really share about in such a public place!)

Toward the end of this year, God blessed us with yet another answered prayer - my husband gained full-time employment - with benefits! Again, this isn't something I've even mentioned here before - but the past three and a half years have been years of learning to trust! God is so good! Through it all we have seen God's hand and provision so much more than we would have otherwise!

This year brought some challenges in mothering. Some people talk about the "terrible twos" but Katy bar the door! four has beaten two by a long shot! We've gotten through it all though, and I'm so thankful for the fun and joy our daughter brings to our household!

Looking over this past year there are two things that I have been 100% consistent with, and it has bolstered my confidence in other areas of my life. Thing #1: I wrote in my One Line a Day journal every day. Let me amend that: every day has an entry. ;-) Every day to every few days I would open it and write. It's a habit that I hope to continue for at least the next four years (since it is a five-year journal).





Thing #2: I worked on my weight. Every day I consistently counted calories and watched my intake, and slowly but surely I saw that scale number creep down. I loaded an app called Lose it! to my Kindle in mid-July, and since that point I have lost 27 pounds! It has truly been an exciting journey!  I still have some more I'd like to lose in this coming year and because of my success so far I have no doubt that I have the ability to make that happen!
Christmas Eve 2013 - a lighter, healthier me! :-)
2013 was a good year, and I look forward to what the Lord has in store for the year to come!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

~Finished Pendulum~

This was a knit that I finished quickly! Cast on: December 2, Bind off: December 22.


And then: I blocked it! Hurrah for me! No waiting 2 years to wear this fun knit. :-)

When I finished knitting the shawl, I was kind of "meh" about it. I thought, "Wow, that was a lot of knitting for that." And then, I moved on to the blocking a few days later. If you look on Ravelry, knitters block this shawl with it either being knit from the neck edge down, or as if it were knit from the bottom edge up. It is designed as being knit from the neck edge down, but from looking at other projects, I decided to block it in the opposite direction. As I was blocking it that way I was again feeling as if I had taken way too much time knitting something I didn't like very well. So I took the pins out and blocked it according to the pattern and I instantly started liking it very much!

Project notes found here (Ravelry link).