Posts Tagged ‘handmade’

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.

We all need a friend like that, what a blessing it is to have one!


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or at least I was with my mom’s help.  I am  pleased with how they turned out, the girls love them and that makes me even happier!

Right before we left I figured found a tutorial (HERE) for a skirt that I really liked.  We just happened to have this Moda and Amy Butler fabric sitting around and a couple scraps that worked well for the waistbands and trim.  I love how they turned out.  It’s not easy finding fun patterns and tutorials for the older two that I like as much as they do.  Why do girls at this age go through such odd tastes in clothing?

There are some big things going on right now around here.  Two family reunions within one week of each other,  end of school/beginning of summer, and the biggy is my parent’s restaurant looks like it will only be theirs for a couple more weeks…good, but scary.  So, mom and I do our sewing up there, guess it is time to make good use of the big laundry room I have and re-vamp it a bit.  Nothing like a kick in the pants to get you to do something you should have done before anyways, right?

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This little halter dress I am quite proud of for several reasons:

  1. the print is really great with very rich colors (hard to see in my poor photos)
  2. it is my own design, no pattern
  3. the entire thing was completed in about an hour and a half
  4. total cost $0.00!

I did not buy a thing to make this dress, it wasn’t even things found in my stash.  The fabric was from my Aunt, the thread and bias tape trim was picked up during trips to my grandma’s house, and the elastic was in my mom’s box of trim and notions.  Free! 

I like these type of instant gratification projects.  Dresses that drag on for a few days will sometimes wear at my (lack of) patience.   I have plans for another already in the works…pink Scottie dogs trimmed in a home-made bias tape (tan and pink paisley)  for anyone who has perused my stash or remembers projects on my blog.

Pics of Minnie Mouse-type dresses, Tinkerbelle dress, and an Ariel wedding dress coming in near future.  (That is, after a trip to the fabric store for more eyelet and the completion of a certain star-fish.)

It is so hard to get the twins to take a decent no-flash photo with my automatic camera.   The natural light shows the rich colors better, but then it does also show the creases I didn’t get ironed out…oops.  Photographing clothing just isn’t that easy, anyone have any tips?

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(just to calm any fears, joys, etc. that anyone may be having…no we are not adopting again…so far it is just the six of us and one crazy spoiled ShihTzu)

I LOVE my clothesline.  If I only used it for sheets I would still be happy, but it gets more use than that.  My dear, dear friend and I talked forever about getting a clothesline in our yards.  When she called to tell me her husband was making one for both of us, I squealled…and I am not the type to squeal. 

So imagine, the other morning, the neighbors seeing me out putting clothes on the line on a cool winter morning.   But wait, what the heck is their odd neighbor up too?  Those clothes are not wet.  They are bright and springy, fresh and stylish…not her usual  laundry line digs.  Now she is taking pictures, yeah, she’s finally lost it.  All those hours in the winter cooped up with her kids finally did her in.

It was too nice not to.  I put the kids in front of a movie to keep them out of the muddy back yard. (Of course, it didn’t work, they were at the back door wondering why I was allowed to go out in the muddy yard.)  I hung the dresses, fixed the knots just so, and took a few shots in the natural light.  Don’t they look so pretty!  So here is the news:

I am opening a shop on etsy, I have fabric on order, the countdown is on! 

It won’t be hundreds of dresses and tops, but enough to keep me sewing (my new therapy that doesn’t kick my butt like yoga…which I’m still doing and still hurting.)  I will take custom orders for specific pieces.  I will work with farics I love to place ready-to-wear pieces online for sale.  I will work with fabrics you love to make pieces for your loved ones.   It is still in the planning stages, but I have a name (inspired by Ilean the dog) and I will announce here when it is open for business!

Ok, deep-down inside, I am nervous and a bit scared about it.  It’s outside my norm, but I can’t wait to get started!  All that to say, be nice.  I am already doubting myself, but pushing through anyhow.

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I feel bad for reader’s looking for raw milk articles, ferments, and handcrafted butter or bread.  Those posts are there, please search if that is what you are looking for.  As of late, though, I have re-discovered my love of sewing.  It satisfies the creative and practical side of me in one fell swoop.  I can’t help it, I love it.  Before kids I sewed, quilted, painted (oh my poor paints that are likely crusty with my dear brushes at their side), and all sorts of creative endeavors.  No schooling or training on it, just a love for it.  Sorry dear readers, but I promise with spring on the horizon the food related articles will return.  Meanwhile, you have sewing projects, homeschool, and Adventures in Daddyhood to look forward to.

All that to say, I made two more dresses that I LOVE!  The worst of it is that I have to send them away, but I can cope.  The best of it is they are going to the sweetest twins that were adopted the same time my girls.  Really, what are the odds?   We actually met up at the Hanoi Embassy without really knowing each other would be there.  We have kept in contact and it is great to have someone in a similar boat to talk to.  Her girls are a month older than mine so it is like a heads-up on things.  This family has been so gracious to us in the past I wanted to do something for them.  Long story short, she ordering some amazing Heather Bailey Fabric (Pop Garden) and I made these…I hope you like them!

the pics do not do them justice…flash (obviously) and me in a hurry

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I get quite a few hits daily on my site from people searching for tips and instructions on making butter at home.   I was thinking about this the other day as I was spreading yummy, cultured butter on our breakfast toast.  I reply to people about any questions they have and am thinking it is time to write about some of the most common concerns about making butter.  

A few tips on butter making, for the original how-to, click HERE.

  • Good quality cream makes all the difference in your end product.  I skim my cream after the jar of raw milk has sat in the fridge for a day or two.  The cream is pretty thick at the top and easily scoops out (consistency puts me in mind of an almost set pudding.)  Also, we get Jersey milk and I hear their cream churns easier, though I have no experience with any other.
  • Allowing your cream to culture some should increase your amount of butter in the end as well as decrease the amount of time it takes to churn.  Not sure how scientific this is, but it works for me.  Some will buy actual cultures, I just let it set out over night (lid covering it, but not screwed on.)
  • Cold cream tends to work faster.  I would guess about 55 degrees give or take.  Not necessarily fridge temp, but colder than room temp.
  • Trial and error is often the way to go.  Don’t give up after one try.  Ask questions, research, and try it again.  Trust me on this one, that fresh spring butter is worth it in the dead of winter! 
  • The picture above is the resulting butter from 1 quart of cream.  I wish now that I had weighed it, and when we have abundant cream like that again (usually in the spring) I will weigh the resulting butter from a quart of cream.  My guess would be that each packet above is about half a conventional stick in size (1/4 cup.)  Assuming that is accurate (again, sorry I did not weigh or measure this), the quart of cultured cream I used yielded 1  1/2 cups of butter.

All this butter talk has me wanting some toast with butter.  Such a simple food, but oh so tasty and nutritious when you have raw, cultured butter on sprouted whole grain bread.

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…yet I find myself posting a few tidbits just because.

  • Three girls and a mommy are well, still have one girl sick and now a sick daddy. 
  • No weekend post from daddy.  It was not a good weekend here.  A bloody nose that lasted all day and well into the night (Brie, and it was a nasty one), feverish kids, snot everywhere, cold weather, and just-not-what-you-want-to-do with-your-weekend type weekend.
  • The purse is almost done.  So far I have ripped out one seam twice as well as other odds and ends for a total of over 100 inches ripped.  I used to think patterns were over-priced, now I am liking the idea of a pattern very much.  It is turning out a little larger than I would have liked, but I let my fabric dictate the size.   So far as the fabric goes, I am so pleased with the combo I chose, more so than any project I have done in a very long time.

My resolutions:

  • I am still doing Yoga at minimum once a week (trying to bump it up to two times but everyone keeps getting sick!  Also paying more attention to non-starchy vegetables.
  • The house is slowly getting re-worked.  I am seriously thinking of going all white.  Crazy with all these kids running around, but half the rooms need painted and paint cost less in 5 gallon buckets.  Closets and cupboards are being drastically reduced and a yard sale will be had as soon as the weather breaks.  The laundry plan, I’m still wanting to give it a go, but it hasn’t worked so far.
  • Currently I am reading Galatians, main topic being false teachers.  It is more enjoyable and definitely more relevant to today than I had expected.

How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions?

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