Sunday, October 29, 2006
Even Sophia was enthralled with the ducks. Pin It
Saturday, October 28, 2006
The trees surrounding our home are almost bare and while our dog, Sophia, loves nothing more than running through the leaves to hear them crunch underneath her paws, it is time to get them raked and off of the grass before the snow falls. As my husband tends to the yard I've been busy baking treats.
Pumpkin poppers is simple -to- make treat that is always a hit. I'm not sure of the origin of this recipe as it was given to me in a handwritten form by my sister-in-law. Whenever my husband needs a treat for work this is the one he asks for. We call them poppers because you can't resist popping them into your mouth!
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup oil
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 can pumpkin
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 package cream cheese (softened)
- 1/2 cup butter (softened)
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
Just combine the above ingredients together and pour into an ungreased bar pan (or jelly roll pan). I use a stone pan from Pampered Chef. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Of course you may need to adjust the time accordingly for your own oven. After the bars are completely cooled, mix the frosting ingredients together and frost the bars. Cut into bite size pieces and watch everyone pop them into their mouths!
Apple crisp is always an autumn favorite. I tried a new version this year from the book Mom's Best Desserts-100 classic treats that taste as good now as they did then. How can something from a book with that title not taste good?
Then there is my daughter's favorite cookie - Snickerdoodles. Another simple recipe that almost everyone enjoys.
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup butter (softened)
- 1/2 shortening
- 2 eggs
- 2-3/4 cups flour
- 2 tsp cream of tarter
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
So, imagine my delight when I opened a box of patterns I purchased (sight unseen and at a great price off of eBay)and there were these four vintage apron patterns included!
The one on the far left is Simplicity 7974, c 1968 for simple-to-sew misses and men's aprons plus a potholder. Next is Butterick 7538 with no copyright date. I'm guessing it is from the 1950s. Next in line is Simplicity 1846. c 1956. Last in the photo is McCalls 1713, c 1952 for cobbler aprons and a potholder. (I'm pretty sure I have this one tucked away somewhere already.)
I especially like these two. The Butterick pattern must have been owned by Barbara Brown and the Simplicity has the name Nadine Brown written on it. Were they sisters? Maybe it was a school project or maybe their mother or grandmother was teaching them to sew. Were they were newly married sisters-in-law who decided to make aprons for the parties they would be hosting for the wildly successful business husbands. Was it a mother and daughter? Who knows but it is kind of fun to think about it.
The Butterick pattern is described as "Gala 1 yard aprons". I love that! Who calls things gala anymore? I find it interesting that they are designed to be sewn from felt. All of the stars on the white apron are cut out individually from felt and sewn in place. The jester apron (yes, that's what its called) is trimmed with 21 tassels! Was it craft felt or wool felt? Or was there another felt fabric widely available in the 1950s.
The Simplicty pattern is just darling and is described as "gay aprons for entertaining or gift-giving". Yep, that's right "gay aprons for entertaining or gift-giving." These again can be sewn from felt but other fabric choices are cottons, linen, rayons, synthetics, gingham, pique, broadcloth, organdy, cotton-blends, taffeta, nylon. Whew - did we miss anything? The aprons are trimmed with your choice of: 1) a heart with a dove carrying a letter, 2) three rows of ribbon and bow trim, 3) two pockets with flower trim and two rows of lace, or 4) contrasting tie ends, rick-rack and Christmas motif appliques.
Now I'm wondering, with the intricate appliques and non-washable fabrics, how did they care for these aprons? Does anyone know the history of aprons during this era of American history? Were they functional or purely for decoration? Pin It
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
As I was cutting out the jacket I remembered that this particular fabric was marked "Nanette Lepore". I had no idea what that name meant, so I did a quick Internet search and found the web site for designer Nanette Lepore. I peeked at the collections that were online and I found what appears to be (or is very close to) the black and white fabric I purchased in the Fall 2006 collection.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
But first, I wanted to put away the fabric I had recently purchased on my trip to SR Harris Fabric Outlet. That led to the decision to tidy up "just a bit". That led to pulling all of the fabric off of the closet shelves and out of the plastic bins. That led to "Oh my gosh! If I die before I clear this out everyone is going to come in here to clean up this room and shake there heads in wonder" (Except of course those of you that sew - you would understand!)
Some of the fabric stash - at least it helps insulate during the cold winter months.
Now, keep in mind, that all of this fabric is what is left after I donated a few bags to a lovely 20-something woman in my church. I found out recently that she enjoys sewing and I hoped that she would be able to make use of fabric I knew I would never, ever use - I mean c'mon, will I really use a piece of wool that is the wrong color for me just because it was imported from Ireland? And, I could tell she's one of us because her eyes light up at the mention of sewing and fabric.
Here's the fabric I gave her earlier - after today I have another few bags filled - hope she won't mind!
Not only do I have more fabric than I can ever hope to sew stored on these closet shelves, I have four more plastic bins bursting at the seams with fabric.
Oh, and I know why you've been having trouble finding black fabric in the fabric stores. Apparently I heard a rumor that black fabric wasn't going to be produced any longer so I stockpiled it - black linen, black wool, black cotton, black silk, black knit - you name it, I have it.
Some of the many pieces of black fabric that hiding in my closet.
What about you? I can't be the only fabric hoarder in the sewing community.Pin It
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
30 years ago today this cute little guy came into the life of a young (18 years old) wife. He entered this world two months before his due date and was baby number two- only ten months younger than his big sister (who was also a preemie.)
The photo above shows my little baby boy with his first pair of blue jeans, which I made for him out of scraps from a pair I had made for myself. Good thing I knew how to sew as it was impossible to find a pair of blue jeans for an infant in 1976.
I can hardly believe it has been 30 years since I welcomed him into this world.
Happy Birthday Rob!Rob today (with his beautiful girlfriend Julie)
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Now, I'm not a quilter so if I hadn't met Cheryl I would never have discovered her incredibly clever clothing and accessory patterns. The way this lady's mind thinks never ceases to amaze me. I also know that she is a gifted teacher - everyone I talk to that has attended one of her classes at an expo has commented on how much they learned as well as how much fun they had.
Cheryl has appeared on Kaye's Quilting Show a number of times; this latest appearance was to demonstrate her Pantry Purses pattern. Get this, it is a pattern to make a purse with eight coordinated accessories tucked inside of the purse. Nothing too special right? Wrong! The purse and accessories began life as potholders and placemats.
I would guess the clip was about 25 minutes long. Not only does she show items from her pattern, but she demonstrates a way to install a zipper and how to install the magnetic snaps that many purses use as closures. I got a kick out of watching the episode as I don't have the opportunity to see these types of television shows. Now you can too! Grab a cup of tea (and chocolate) and enjoy! (Just click on the image below to go to the site.)
Sunday, October 15, 2006
By far the most time consuming part of constructing this jacket was sewing on the soutache trim! As you can see, I didn't think through where the beginning and ending of the trim should be, so it is more visible than I would like. It would have been better to hide it in one of the scrolls.
The full review of the pattern can be read at patternreview. Now, on to the next project. Next up - Simplicity 4074.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
This time I thought I'd try something different - I purchased fabric with specific patterns in mind. Sounds simple enough, but I tend to get carried away by the colors and textures of fabrics and purchase material that I end up never using.
For this retro jacket from Simplicity 4047, I purchased a lightweight black and white small houndstooth wool. I have red wool in my stash to make the pencil skirt to coordinate with the jacket.
For the retro jacket and pants from Simplicity 4044, I purchased a lightweight grey wool check. The lines on the grey are a deep purple and a lavender. The pant material is a deep purple wool.
I purchased a black woven stretch fabric with a white dot to make the suit for Simplicity 3962. I think I will need to tone it down with some solid black as a contrast as it is hard on this fabric is hard on the eye after awhile.
This colorful print is destined to become a dress and sash from Simplicity 4074. The hand and drape of this fabric is wonderful.
This knit has a white background with black, taupe and pink squares. It seemed very retro to me so I think I may use it for this retro Vogue 4074 Diane Von Furstenberg dress. Or maybe a wrap dress; I haven't decided yet.
These colorful knits will be used for the faux wrap top from Simplicity 4076 and Vogue 8181 (Sandra Betzina's tee - one of my favorites).
The photo doesn't do justice to this unique knit. It is a blue mesh with ribbon flowers sewn onto a white background. I purchased it with the thought of making the Sewing Workshop Teagarden T, but it may not have enough stretch.
For Kwik Sew 3434, I purchased two lightweight knits. The one on the left is pink and brown art deco floral print and the right is a grey speckled with black. I made the sleeveless version when the pattern was first released so I know these will take only about two hours each to complete.
Another retro pattern I plan to sew is Simplicity 4081. I found this beautiful deep wine no wale corduroy (with stretch) to use for the jacket pictured in the upper right corner.
I only came home with one piece of fabric that I don't know what I'm going to use it for. I purchased four yards of a heavier chocolate brown rayon/poly/lycra knit. I just couldn't resist. I'm sure I can figure out what to do with it my the time I get all of these other projects completed!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Cochranton is located in the northwestern corner of PA, and what a beautiful part of the country it is. Cheryl and Francis live in a 100 year old home and own a dairy farm. I had a chance to learn firsthand how hard farmers work. He was up early every morning and retired for the evening long after we had gone to bed. I had no idea, and I certainly have a better appreciation for what they do.
Our friends opened their home to us and put us up in their guest bedroom. I don't know about you, but the guest bedroom in my home doesn't look like this one. Their guestroom reminded me of a B&B my husband and I stayed at in Denison, IA. Apparently everything in the room has a story and was handed down from Cheryl's side of the family. Can you see the old wedding blouse in the corner? It is from the early 1900s and belonged to a relative of Cheryl's.
We only had two days on the farm and my husband was looking forward to getting me in the barn. I spent my childhood in the suburbs of large cities - mostly the Twin Cities - and never had the opportunity to experience a farm. My husband had a good chuckle when I had to leave the barn after a few minutes to "catch my breath". However, like they told me, you do get used to the smell after awhile. And while I couldn't bring myself to try milking one of the larger cows (and I'm sure Cheryl and Francis were grateful for that) I did put on some "barn clothes" and helped clean stalls and feed a calf.
We spend one day sightseeing in the area visiting the Drake Well Museum in Titusville, PA and the old sight of an abandoned city called Pithole, PA. The Drake Well Museum was fascinating and well worth the visit even though we were there during the non-peak season. It told the story of the birthplace of oil industry. On August 27, 1859, "Edwin L. Drake struck oil in the first commercially successful well drilled specifically for oil and launched the modern petroleum industry in the United States."
The next stop was the location of a town named Pithole. (How would you like to live in a city named Pithole?) Pithole came into existence because of the oil boom. It was a boomtown community that began in 1860 and grew rapidly - over 10,000 in 1865 - then decreased almost as rapidly - 237 in 1870 - and ceased to exist by 1880. Its hard to imagine that a thriving city could be gone in only twenty years. All that is left of the city is some small indentations in the ground with markers in front indicating what once stood there. The museum is only open on weekends during the fall/winter season so we were only able to walk around the grounds and try to imagine what the city once looked like.
Our time on the farm was much too short and we left for the next portion of our trip with my husband vowing to come back and spend a week working the farm.
Neither of us had ever visited DC before so we were excited about seeing all the sights along the Mall. We stayed at the Capitol Hill Suites located only two blocks from the capitol building. The staff was courteous, friendly and very helpful. When we checked in they gave us a bit of history of the hotel - it used to be an apartment building that the capitol pages lived in. And they upgraded us from a one bedroom to a small suite after learning it was our first time in DC! I highly recommend staying here if you're in DC. It is located in a residential area, one block from a metro station and walking distance to the mall and small dining establishments.
We only had two days in DC and we jammed as much in as possible. The weather the first day was cold and rainy, but that worked to our advantage as we were able to secure tickets to tour the capitol with hardly any wait at all. Fortunately we had packed warm jackets and raingear so we were dressed for hiking in the foul weather. The first day we left our hotel at 8 a.m. and arrived back after 6 p.m. exhausted after walking from the capitol building to the Lincoln memorial and back, stopping to visit all the sites in between - the Washington monument, the World War memorials, the Wall (the Vietnam memorial) and as many of the Smithsonian museums we could visit before they closed for the evening.
Our last day was a Sunday and we rode the metro (another first for me - sure wish we had mass transit like this where I live) and began the day by visiting the White House. It really was awesome to actually stand in front of the White House. Next stop - Arlington cemetery to visit Kennedy's grave and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. We happened to arrive at the Tomb of the Unknowns 15 minutes before the changing of the guard and were able to get a front row seat. My husband is a Navy vet and this was something he really wanted to experience. The Tomb of the Unknowns is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and in any weather by Tomb Guard sentinels. Can you imagine what an honor it is to be selected as one of the guards for the tomb of the Unknown Soldier? To see the ritual brings tears to your eyes. We rode the metro back to the city so we could stop by the National Archives Building where we stood in line to view the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. We finished the day by walking back to our hotel stopping at the National Gallery of Art - the last museum we could visit before the end of the day.
There was so much more we wanted to visit but we just couldn't squeeze anymore in...The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Textile Museum, Ford Theater, the Library of Congress, etc. The next morning we packed the car and drove home - straight home, no hotel stops or sightseeing along the way. Did you know that it only takes 21 hours to drive from Washington DC to St. Paul, MN? I would not recommend it.
Now that we're home and unpacked and I have a few days of vacation left I just might indulge in some uninterrupted sewing time.Pin It
Monday, October 02, 2006
You know, I was stuck. I just couldn't decide what I wanted to do on the neckband and ended up sewing on this piece of trim after the dress was completed. I think I'll end up hemming it about 3 inches from where it is right now. You can read my full review of the pattern on patternreview. Since I've got the fit down on this one, I'm going to see what else may be lurking in my stash that I could use for this dress. This pattern's a keeper. Pin It