Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sew Camp Challenge Fabric

At the end of June, I went to the extended Sew Camp at Carriage Corner B&B (which is a really nice place in a good, central location, if you're looking to vacation in Lancaster County, PA at some point).  One of Gaylen's gifts to attendees was 3 yards of fabric.  She presented us with choices, and the group voted on one fabric out of which we would each make a garment of our choice within one month of the end of camp.  This is what we chose as a group:

It's a medium weight fabric with a little stretch.  There was a black border on each side into which the flowers in the center faded.  Naturally, I chose to make a dress; for me, what other choice is there, really?  If you look carefully, you might be able to just pick it out of the things hanging here.

Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic designated herself the group photographer, and she was absolutely amazing.  She made us laugh, and got some wonderful pictures of everyone.  So these are pictures she took of me, in my challenge dress.

If anyone cares, I used McCall's pattern M6958.  It has a center front seam (which I usually despise, but this fabric is so busy it hides well), and 4 large tucks front and back for shaping.  There's an invisible zipper in the back; I always use a 22" zipper so I can step into my dresses (I hate clothes over my head if they don't stretch).  This fabric has a little stretch, but not so much as to render the zipper unnecessary.

And if you look through the gazebo, you can see an Amish buggy turning the corner, hence the name of the B&B.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, July 18, 2019


What's more fun than a Jack-In-A-Box?  A Dog-In-A-Box!

Jeff has Tank trained so well that he pointed at the box, and Tank obediently sat in it.

Then Tank got out, and Jeff put Thatcher in the box.  You can see from his expression that this did not please Thatcher.

No matter; there were treats for both after they'd sat in the box.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Produce Box, Week 8

My box arrived about 15 minutes in front of torrential downpours, and, as usual, was great fun to open!

This week they included butternut squash, eggplant, summer squash, baby greens, English cucumbers, Bok Choy, onions, broccoli, redskin potatoes, apples, mangoes and blueberries!  Looks like a fun salad is on the menu for tonight, and I guarantee blueberries will be involved.  (I also laughed at the fact that one onion was huge, and the others were tiny.)

Happy Wednesday, everyone; we're past the halfway mark in the work week!

Monday, July 15, 2019

More Food With Veggies

Well, there is a lot of veggie inclusion going around in my little corner of the world.  Today I bring you 2 dishes, neither of which was all that spectacular on its own, but which were actually excellent.


1/4 box grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 zucchini, sliced
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper

Slice the zucchini into thin, bite sized slices.  Cut the grape tomatoes in half.  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or small skillet, then add the garlic and cook until softened.  Stir in the tomatoes and zucchini slices, then cook, stirring occasionally, until they are fork tender (or as soft as you'd like them).  Add salt to taste, and plenty of pepper.  Even Thatcher approves of this.  OK, he's a dog, and as such, he approves of just about any food you'll share with him.  Still....


1 Cup rice
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 zucchini, sliced
1 summer squash, sliced
1 bunch red or green kale

Put the rice, water and salt in a pan and cook in the usual way.
When the rice is about half done, melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the onion for a minute or 2, until softened (this gets rid of any harsh flavor the onion might add to the other veggies), add the zucchini, summer squash and carrot, and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the kale, and cook until wilted.   Remove from the heat, and stir into the rice as it's almost finished cooking.

Clearly, I served this with roasted beets and steak, although I can't say I have a clear memory of that.

This is a good way to add veggies to an otherwise boring starch.  Don't get me wrong, I like boring; that's how I've always operated.  But some folks (like my sons) don't.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Grandchildren sewing

Forgive me if you've seen any of these before.  But my grandchildren are cute.  That's not entirely because they're mine, although that helps.  But, let's face it, preschool aged kids just operate cute.  So, as I said, forgive any repetition.  These sewing projects are just fun!

First up: Nora's birthday dress.  I got this little piece of fabric with owls on it.  It literally was under 24" square.  And I had this adorable wrap dress pattern.  And Nora's favorite animal has been an owl since her aunt bought her a stuffed owl at the zoo a few months back.  So, the dress practically designed itself:

And this picture of Nora gazing out the window at the rain, while wearing her new sun hat, was just too adorable to go unnoticed.

I made Maddie a wrap dress from the same pattern.  Hers has mermaids on it.

 I showed you this dress that I made for Maddie from a small piece of fabric gifted to me by Gaylen.  This is when she wore it one day, using the pocket for her stuffed puppy:

And an ABC dress I made from the remains of a piece of fabric from one of my bundles, after I'd made a dress for myself.

And pajama pants, started by Gaylen for her granddaughter, then abandoned in favor of more girly patterns.  I didn't do much; just finished the waistband and added the cuffs to the bottom so I'd be certain the pants were long enough.

I made Maddie a dress from the remains of a border print I'd used for a dress, and a sweater to go with it.  She wore this dress for Easter; Gaylen spotted it on her in some of my photos.  I didn't have a pattern for the sweater, so I just winged it.

There are more, but that's enough for now!  I'd quite forgotten how many adorable little kid garments I had produced!

I hope you're all having a nice weekend!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Gifted Fabrics and the Green Wardrobe

There's a lot of sewing for me to catch up on.  Sometimes I sew to keep me sane; other days I just "need" a whole new wardrobe.  We all have our idiosyncrasies, don't we?

The green bundle came from Fabric Mart in March.  I know that I bought it because of the green that I used for this top, the H0172 (which also can be made as a dress).  I've worn it with brown and black skirts; I love the color and feel of the fabric.  I have beige skirt fabric in the bundle I'm currently working on, and I think that will look great with this top, too.

Next up was a princess seamed, strappy dress, which is a pattern I copied from a dress I bought at the beach about a million years ago (or maybe in 1988).  I really like this style, I really liked this color, and this dress was absolutely, positively impractical in early February, when I was sewing it during a snowstorm.

The last thing in that bundle was an olive green heavy knit, which I cut out using a pattern from about 1995 (I purchased it from the House of Fabrics going out of business sales).  I cut it out, didn't like the color, and promptly stopped to sew fun things for grandchildren, napkins, anything except this.  But the rules (or "best practice" in engineering parlance) state that I have to finish everything from a bundle before I'm allowed to start another bundle or piece of fabric.  So eventually I sucked it up and finished it.

Thatcher was happy to help me take pictures, albeit only because there was no one else home at the time, and that dog can't stand to be alone for more than about 15 seconds.

Gifted Fabrics:

At the March Sew Camp (abbreviated version), Gaylen gifted me 3 pieces of fabric.  First up was this wild striped fabric, which I turned into a "Claire" dress (so named for the lady who gave me the pattern, McCall's M5466).  I love the fabric, I love this dress style, I love everything about it.  I wear it with a narrow white belt.

Next up is another dress from my princess seamed beach pattern.  This is a red chrysanthemum patterned knit, which is soft and cute.

Last up: a black floral print, which I turned into a H0172 draped neck dress.  The fabric is fairly heavy, so I wore it in late winter and really early spring with a cardigan, and really enjoyed it.

That's it for today.  Thank you, Gaylen, for the fabrics, and thank you for encouraging me to finish the olive green dress (or abandon the rules, which you also suggested)!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Roasted Fennel Bulbs

This one was rather interesting.  I've never actually seen a real live fennel before one came in my produce box, and was somewhat at a loss as to how to use it.  (Truthfully, I didn't know what it was; I took a picture, sent it to my daughters, and asked if anyone could identify it.)  Enter the great and powerful G-- search engine.  This was a suggestion, adapted to my own idiosyncrasies, of course, and we rather enjoyed it.


Fennel Bulbs
vegetable oil
garlic salt
fresh ground black pepper

Cut off the fennel fronds and set them aside.  They can be used for garnish or added to other recipes (or so I'm told).  Slice the fennel bulb about 1/4" thick, side to side.  Lightly brush both sides of the bulb with vegetable oil.  Mix together the parmesan, garlic salt (I use Lowry's low sodium), and pepper.  Sprinkle on one side of the slice, lay it down on a greased baking sheet, then sprinkle the mix on top.  Repeat for all of your slices.  Roast at 350F to 400F (wherever you have your oven set) for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned.  Chop some of the feathery little fronds and sprinkle on top of the roasted bulbs, just for the sake of pretty.

That's it!  Easy peasy (although not necessarily summer friendly).  We had a day where it only got to be 65 and rainy, so this was a good choice for that day.  I'm going to be making it again soon, given that I got more fennel in this week's box.

Happy Weekending, everyone!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Lime Parfait Pie

I totally stole this idea from Pam at For The Love of Cooking.  She made cute little individual parfaits for her family; I was too....busy, let's go with busy, not do so.  Still, the boys loved this; I think that when they see the limes in the fridge, they're going to be all over me making another one.


1 graham cracker pie shell (homemade or store bought)
1 can sweetened, condensed milk
1/2 cup lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
(optional) lime slices

Whip the cream; when it's soft, add the vanilla, then sprinkle in the sugar and beat until it's still.  In another bowl, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice; stir in the lime zest, then about 3/4 of the whipped cream.  Spoon into the pie shell, top with the remaining whipped cream (I piped mine on), and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Top with lime slices if you'd like, although I didn't.

This was absolutely delicious, with just the right amount of tart flavor.  It's also incredibly rich, so don't eat too much, especially if you're dieting off your 4th of July picnic!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What I've Done....

First, Produce Box, Week 8:

They made a mistake and sent me 2 boxes.  That's OK; I can live with that.  Included:  4 butternut squash (I've been steaming them up for lunch of late), 3 eggplant, 4 zucchini, 3 bunches of carrots (2 large, one small; I think the tops can make soup), 2 fennel bulbs, English cucumbers, onions, mushrooms, garlic scapes, green beans, rainbow chard, mangoes, plums, apples, limes.

The limes are involved with my chicken tonight.  I might even remember to take pictures....

What I've done with previous veggies, since I haven't been able to remember to blog, but I did take some number of pictures.  I know; it surprised me, too.

Broccoli that was starting to bloom.  It tasted fine; the boys thought it looked weird.  I told them to quiet down and eat, or go hungry.  We tolerate no fussbudgets in this household.

Breakfast: I often saute up some quartered grape tomatoes, then add eggs and cook them sunny side up.  Why not?  I'm not that big a fan of scrambled eggs, and this works for me.

Lunch one day: Leftover pork fried rice, with cut up broccoli, cooked in the microwave for a couple of minutes.  My bowl is pretty; that makes it taste even better.

 Red kale, sauteed in olive oil with garlic.  I don't remember what the chicken was, although it's plain that lemon was involved.

 Roasted beets. I'm still not that big a fan.  I tossed them with olive oil and Himalayan pink salt and roasted them for a while.  I can take them or leave them.  There were more in my box last week, so I guess it's a good thing that I don't entirely hate them.

 Salad: Red leaf lettuce, shredded carrots, diced apple, slivered almonds and Italian dressing.  Rather normal, even boring, fare.

 So, that's some of what's been going on with my produce boxes for the last 7 weeks.  I see ratatouille in the future, like maybe Friday night, and I"m going to have to learn what to do with chard.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Produce Box, Week 7

I've gotten produce boxes for the past 2 weeks, but not photographed them, having not been home for an absurd amount of time. 

Anyway, my latest box, which I think was week 7, arrived Friday.

There was a great, random selection of veggies, and lots of fruit.  Onions seem to be the one thing that always arrive.  Since everyone uses plenty of them, no problem there, right?  Also included: beets, broccoli, summer squash, English cucumbers, celery, garlic scapes,  grape tomatoes, limes, yellow delicious apples, mangoes, white nectarines, and one mysterious but very pretty thing right there in the center: Romanesco Broccoli.  It's formed into a head like cauliflower, but very pointy, almost space-age looking.  I cut the florets off the stem, steamed it (they turned brighter green) and served with butter.  The flavor is a little sharper than regular broccoli, but the design led to a discussion amongst the 10 of us here about fibonacci sequences and designs, and the fact that this is, indeed such a design.  Hmmm.  Conversations around my table can get to be rather wide ranging.

With all of these limes, I need to get looking for something exciting to cook with them.  Maybe as a seasoning for my fish tonight?

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day!

My grandson is excellent at celebrating!
(look closer at the sunglasses he borrowed from his uncle.  They're fantastic!)