Saturday, May 30, 2009

Reusable Fabric Snack Bags

These reusable snack bags are a huge hit in our house. I finally broke down (after two years) and bought some PUL fabric. I'm not really planning on making any cloth diapers with it (but perhaps I'll give it a try!) but I have a lot of other uses in mind. One idea is reusable snack bags. I've seen them cropping up at some of the trendy stores and websites so I had to make my own. I just cut fabric the size of a ziploc bag and sewed it up-- cute fabric on the outside and PUL on the inside. Velcro at the top. Mostly I just shake out the cheddar bunny crumbs but I did have to wash one and it was just fine. Someone did ask me if PUL is ok to be next to food. I hadn't thought about that. It's not like I'm throwing the whole thing in the microwave but it would be nice to know. I'm not too freaked out by chemicals so it's not a huge concern to me. How nice is it to not have to wash or throw out plastic ziploc bags? Priceless.
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Friday, May 22, 2009

Cowgirl Skirt

Whenever I am sewing-- no matter what I am sewing-- Talia always wants me to make her something too. I used this brown daisy fabric for a trim on an apron I made myself (I plan to alter it so I haven't posted it yet) and she, of course, NEEDED a skirt made out of that exact fabric. I used part of an old dress pattern to make the skirt and added a store bought red ruffle trim. Talia was adamant that she wanted an apron on the skirt so I added that as well. I like that she helps me "design" clothes. The skirt is way more twirly than I wanted it (that bottom ruffle is actually FOUR yards, gathered) but she likes it and today, when she wore it for the first time she got many compliments and said she felt special. I'm happy to oblige. I feel like I should get her some cowboy boots to go with it. And yes, she likes the Red Riding Hood shirt I made her.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Ruffle-y Apron Gift

I saw a ruffle-y apron at Anthology a few weeks ago and thought it looked fun so... I made one as a birthday present. In this project I am, once again, loving my serger which is now broken because I tried to sew through a piece of piping while unecessarily serging the edges of a pillowcase for my niece (darn it!) I already took it to the sewing store to be fixed (in TWO WEEKS and around $50). But anyway...
Lots of sewing going on in my house these days (why oh why does it have to be nice outside? why did I wait until SPRING to get a new machine?) so there will be more pictures to come. I'm about to start a new (waaaaaay overdue) baby quilt but I'm hoping it will be quick because I'm currently loving the fast projects. There's just something so satisfying about starting and finishing in the same day (or two).
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Sustainable Fabric Food Covers

I bought my friend Annemarie the Farm Chicks Cookbook for her birthday. It's cute-- country recipes with crafty projects thrown in. The recipes are a little sweeter than I like (lots of desserts) but are fresh and seasonal. The crafts are all made with thrifted materials which I really appreciate! One of the projects is for sustainable food covers. Since I like to toss in something handmade with gifts (when I get the chance...) I decided to sew some up. I dug into my stash of 30's reproduction fabrics (all thrifted, I might add) and used a set of nesting bowls as pattern to cut out circles. Then I serged the edges (SOOOOOO in love with my 2nd hand serger right now-- thanks Jennifer!) and sewed on 1/4 inch elastic-- pulling it as I sewed to create the elastic sides. I tried them on different bowls with and without lips and they work great! I'm definitely going to make some for myself. I'm a stickler about sealing food up in the fridge so I'm not sure how these will fare but I was thinking they could be used for things I might leave open in the fridge anyway, like washed grapes or food I've prepped for dinner or maybe when we eat outside.

To recap:
1. cut out circles of different sizes
2. serge the edges if you can, or leave them to be pinked after the elastic is on.
3. sew on 1/4" elastic and PULL as you sew
4. pink the edges if you haven't serged them
5. enjoy!
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Saturday, May 16, 2009


I finally got my garden planted. It's been hanging over my head for a few weeks. Last year was so successful-- and I'm scared it was beginner's luck. I wasn't sure what to plant, the compost/soil doesn't look as good, I don't want to compete with the produce I get from the CSA, etc. Truthfully, my main goal for the garden remains the same as last year-- I just want tomatoes and herbs. Everything else is bonus. I ended up planting everything from seed except the toms, which I haven't picked up yet. And the strawberry plants were bought too. The list is:

Every herb imaginable.
Radishes (just for fun)
Patty pan squash (we only got one bunch in our CSA last year and liked them a lot)
Snap Peas (definitely didn't get enough of these from the CSA)
Carrots (I think it would be fun to pull up carrots)
Jalapenos (I always need them and never have them)
Peppers (We eat a lot of peppers in salads and it would be nice to have them on hand)
Cucumbers (We eat tons of cukes here. They didn't grow last year but they didn't get enough support)
Spring Onions (I'm always buying these so I thought I'd grow them)
Pumpkin (just a few seeds for a Halloween pumpkin)
Strawberries (The one item that tastes completely different when picked fresh)
Tomatoes (of course)

Now that I look over the list, the only thing I really have in there from last year would be the toms, herbs and radishes. I had other varieties of some of these things, like summer squash and peppers. This year I know a little bit more about where the sun shines on my garden and how big some of these plants can get. I think for the most part I didn't crowd things in as much as I could have last year so this year they are probably overcrowded. I made sure to leave ample room for the tomatoes. I also tried to plant all the vine-y things like pumkins and cucumbers at the back of the garden and I'm going to get some sort of trellis for them to climb. In addition to my wish for tomatoes and herbs I can see I will be disappointed if I don't get some strawberries. I have a strawberry pot with a PVC pipe in it the I drilled full of holes. I read about it in some gardening book last year but couldn't find the instructions this year so I did it from memory. I hope it's right...

Talia seemed to have a LOT more interest in the garden this year than last. She helped me plant the seeds and wrote out a bunch of the stakes-- until she got tired. I also planted a lot of flower seeds for her around the house, including sunflowers. We tried them last year but I have to admit I was very neglectful. This year they have a prime position with lots of sun.

There will be many posts about the garden-- I'll keep you all updated!
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fresh Baguettes with Fresh Goat Cheese

A simple dinner of homemade baguettes from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. This was actually easier, faster and better than the master loaf. It takes only about 45 minutes from fridge to table instead of 75 and also more consistently cooks through so I will be making these again (I already did!). Fresh goat cheese straight from Dreamfarm and fresh watercress from our CSA, Vermont Valley. Just let me get those tomato plants in the ground and EVERYTHING in this sandwich will be local.
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

A field of dandelions

We had a very busy day yesterday with many accomplishments-- a ballet recital, a playdate, planting the garden, cooking dinner plus sharing it with friends, and finally... a sewing machine purchase! Stay tuned!
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Saturday, May 09, 2009

A blog-worthy meal... finally!

Note: I wrote this post two weeks ago but was too lazy to add the recipe so it's getting posted now...

We've still been cooking up a storm here but nothing really new and exciting has made its way across our table. In trying to eat seasonally our main dishes lately were a little boring. Now that it's spring we have some great new possibilities. This was Moroccan Red Lentil Soup from a recent cookbook acquisition (Thanks M&D!): A Beautiful Bowl of Soup by Paulette Mitchell. It was delicate with layers of flavor. I also made pita crisps with oregano and parmesan and a delicious tabouli (so easy to make--just google around a bit until you find a recipe that looks yummy!) from Raising the Salad Bar by Catherine Walthers-- a book I HIGHLY recommend. This meal was yum yum yum.

Morroccan Red Lentil Soup adapted from A Beautiful Bowl of Soup by Paulette Mitchell.

1 tbl olive oil

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1 tsp saffron threads (I didn't have saffron so I used a pinch of turmeric)

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried rosemary (2 tsp minced fresh)

1 tsp fennel seeds

6 c vegetable stock

1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed

1/2 c dried red lentils

1/2 c basmati rice (uncooked)

1 tomato, diced

1/3 c chopped cilantro plus more for garnish

1 tbl tomato paste

splash of Tabasco

salt and pepper


1. In a dutch oven or other soup pot cook the onion in oil over medium heat, 5 minutes

2. Add curry powder, cumin, rosemary and fennel seeds, and saffron (soaked in water for a few minutes) or turmeric and stir for 30 seconds.

3. Add stock, beans, lentils and rice. Bring to a boil and then cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in the tomato, cilantro and tomato paste. Season to taste, garnish with cilantro and serve!

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Spring CSA: Week One

We belong to Vermont Valley CSA. Last year we only got summer shares. This year we are getting spring shares as well. It is an exciting but daunting challenge to figure out how to serve all those vegetables each week. We rose to the challenge this first week. Here's what we came up with:

Salad mix and Lettuce Head: Those are easy-- they fed us three salads throughout the week.
Arugula: I made arugula pesto which I served with tortellini and sun-dried tomatoes. Alex actually ate it!
Bok Choy: I made a fried rice stir fry with pretty much every vegetable in my fridge (carrots, onions, broccoli, snap peas, frozen peas). It was a little bland but I served it with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. I'm still eating it 4 days later. I like to put pickle-y banana peppers in it. Actually lately I'm putting those on everything. I mean EVERYTHING.
Dandelion Greens: Sauteed with onions and parmesan and served with leftover arugula pesto tortellini
"Saute Mix": This is a bag of mixed greens. I don't really know what's in it. I just sauteed it with sesame oil and soy sauce and garlic. Served with the fried rice dinner.
Spinach: I added some to the arugula pesto and some to the sauteed dandelion greens.
Radishes: I made a yummy radish and white bean salad with feta and lemon.
Chives: Sprinkled on everything

The only thing we have left is watercress. I'm planning on adding some to tonight's dinner and a special salad for tomorrow. We pick up the next CSA box today so I'm feeling pretty good about my accomplishment with last week's supply. Plus, we were gone for two dinners over the weekend. Today we get fresh goat cheese and farm fresh eggs. I'm looking forward to that!
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No More Babies in the House

Alex is two! We spent his birthday in Chicago at Navy Pier (the ferris wheel!) and the Children's Museum. He definitely didn't know it was his birthday despite many attempts by Talia to explain it to him. She kept saying, "Alex, do you know what a birthday is?" and "It's your birthday!" The funny thing is that he would never answer whether or not he knew what a birthday is so instead of continuing on to tell him what a birthday is she just kept asking him. Over and over again. With all our traveling Alex didn't get to take a nap on his birthday and was thus pretty cranky by dinner. He didn't eat much and was simply not interested in sitting for a birthday cookie/ice cream combo. He got a second wind when we all went swimming at the hotel.

So there are no more babies in my house and no current plans for any more. I still can't manage to give away that sling and co-sleeper though... so you never know.
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Quick Baby Gift

I'm a little burnt out on baby quilts these days. For Ron's cousin Alexis and her new baby Zachary I used a store-bought Dwell Studio blanket and appliqued the baby's name on it. Then I decided to hand draw the giraffe image and applique a onesie and sew a giraffe stuffie. Because I can't ever seem to stop, I had to add trim to store-bought baby pants. I also wanted to put a binding on the blanket but I didn't have nearly enough fabric and of course couldn't find it again since I bought it over a year ago. So, all in all, handmade touches to store-bought items. Fun, quick, satisfying.
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Friday, May 01, 2009

Cutest Ever Freezer Paper / Fabric Collaboration

I used freezer paper for the Little Red Riding Hood and fabric for the hair. If Talia doesn't like it I might just have to make one for myself. Or kill her. Whichever feels right at the time.
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