Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Good [Handmade] Stuff: Quilt for Baby

Here is another product of my recent sewing frenzy. Although I think I just unpacked 50 other baby blankets from Pete's infancy, I just had to make a special quilt for the little man on the way. And then, of course, I had to make a matching crib skirt and a blanket for his big brother (pics to come). I actually did some machine quilting this time, which was really fun, easier than the usual tying, and I definitely like the look of it better. In the past, I've made quilts without knowing what I was doing, but this time, I relied on my new book, Last Minute Quilted Gifts, which had some fantastic general quilting tips. Hope baby boy likes it!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Good [Handmade] Stuff: Sofa Cushions

Many a great sewing project started with curtains....

Eight fabulous play outfits for the Von Trapps...

A killer dress to seduce Rhett...


My new sofa cushions. I found the curtains at DI for four dollars and whipped these cushion covers up, using inspiration from Jill's blog.

The envelope design of the pillows means that they can be washed! Genius!

The Good [Handmade] Stuff: Table Slipcover

We are settling into our new place and, as with any new living arrangement, our new apartment has come with different room configurations and storage strategies. This place has much more living space (yay!) but almost zero storage (boo). So, those things that used to live in the far reaches of our storage cage, like this plastic table we got from Costco, are now front and center all the time. But, this great challenge also brought great opportunity, for now I finally have a sewing table! hooray! I made use of my fabric I bought in Aix-en-Provence two years ago, and made this slipcover. Not only does it mask the unsightly plastic table, but it also brings a cheery yellow corner to a very dark room in our house (and also hides the shredder, which you can see creeping out from underneath there.) Who knew that making a slipcover was such a cinch? I just measured the dimensions I wanted, sewed the pieces together, and voila. I've been sewing like a mad woman at this table (with my mom's Bernina, while mine gathers dust. The Bernina is nice). I'm trying to get too many projects done before my belly gets too big to be able to fit behind the machine. More posts to come!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Good Book: Pretend Soup

I have been a fan of Mollie Katzen since high school. She is the author of the acclaimed Moosewood cookbooks, and her original Moosewood cookbook was the first cookbook I used in my early days of cooking. A year or two ago, I heard a radio interview with Mollie Katzen, during all the 'sneaky food' hype, when everyone was sneaking cauliflower and spinach in their chicken nuggets. Although I definitely understand why parents do this, I guess my philosophy is a little different. I never really liked vegetables growing up, mostly because they weren't prepared in the most pallatable way (sorry mom!). Once I tasted fresh vegetables in season that were cooked well, I gladly loaded my plate with veggies. I guess I feel like if I'm sneaking food in, and wow, I can't even taste it, well, it's kind of a diss to all the poor veggies and their spectacular flavors, colors, and textures. In the interview, Mollie Katzen suggested incorperating veggies in all of the main dishes that we make for our kids. Instead of having a portion of the plate dedicated to canned corn and hovering over our children to eat it, maybe we could chop up some fresh peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes and cook them up into an omelet or soup or pasta sauce. Not only do our children learn about a variety of beautiful veggies, but they get used to a variety of flavors, tending to be less picky about the good stuff. As I've tried to incorporate this philosophy in my own cooking for Pete, I've been amazed at our little gourmand! He doesn't eat everything (asparagus: no, broccoli: no, mushrooms: no), but he will try most things and really loves many of my favorite veggies--red peppers, green beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes...and as time passes, and he has more encounters with different dishes, he likes those veggies formerly on the hate list more and more.

Anyway, how'd I get on this food diatribe again? Ah, yes, Mollie Katzen. Well, at the end of her interview, she talked about the importance of including kids in the cooking process and she mentioned that she had written a few cookbooks just for young kids. I was ecstatic! At the time, Pete was too young for these books, but he is now the perfect age for her first cookbook, Pretend Soup. We got it from the library, and Pete loves this book so much, that he reads it every day while eating his breakfast. Pretty cute. Anyway, we tried out the bagel faces and they were a sensation:

Pete's impersonation of the bagel faces.

In the future, I might try flavored cream cheese, as Pete wasn't too crazy about the plain stuff. One exciting thing about this book is it has great lunch ideas--finally! Something beyond the current three lunches that I have been making for so long! We're excited to try them all!

The Good [Handmade] Stuff: Merry Christmas, 2008

I finished knitting Pete's Christmas sweater (which I started last fall) at long last. This project was a great challenge for me, who had only knit scarves and booties prior, and I learned a tremendous amount in the process. After many starts and stops, it actually took moving to Utah and going to a knitting session at the local yarn store to finally get me to the end. I was the youngest knitter at the table by about 30 years, and I thoroughly enjoyed the knitting wisdom shared around the table. I did end up taking the whole thing off the needles and unraveling a good chunk of the body to get back on track.
I love these orange buttons! They were made in the 1940s and I bought them at the Brimfield Antique Show last fall. When I showed Pete the finished product, he immediately wanted to try the sweater on. It barely fit, but he wore the sweater all afternoon, despite the 90 degree heat. I loved that he loved it so much.
Interestingly, I've noticed that the trendiness of knitting that exists in the east is not very common here in Utah. In fact, I don't know anyone here who is close to my age who knits or sews whatsoever. Guess I'll have to be the trendsetter (or outsider) while we live here.