There's a bit of a creative bug happening here... not nearly enough hours in the day to accomplish the many things I'd like to try and tackle, but none-the-less, I'm feeling the need to make. With that in mind, I'm starting a bit of a series here in this little space, a little addition to my crafty list of things to do. I'm calling this little series "three things I'm itching to make" and hope that it will cover some recipes I'd like to try, knitted lovelies I'm looking to start, sewing projects I'd like to get stuck in to, even books I'd like to read. So here goes...
I'm not sure how I missed Katy's Farmer's Wife Quilt block when they first happened on the scene, but I did. Goodness are they lovely. I'm itching to tackle some small blocks, sew with my Liberty stash (goodness knows it's time) and I love the addition of that black fabric. Just perfect.
I love the muted tones and florals in this pile of whole cloth quilts. I need to use up some fabrics in my stash and love the idea of a simple printed whole cloth quilt with some irregular lined quilting. I especially love the thought of a more busy binding on this one.
And lastly, on the making dinner front (which I really do not do as often as I should thanks to the talents of my sweet guy) the very second I spotted these "Mushroom Lasagna Rolls Ups in a Creamy Gorgonzola Cauliflower Sauce" (phew, what a mouthful!) I knew I needed to make them. How genius is cauliflower sauce I ask you?!? I can't wait to try these and you know I'll share how they were. I should blog and pin less when hungry!
Happy Thursday everyone, I hope it finds you feeling creative and looking to make the most of the day ahead!
It was 84 degrees here today. 84. It is such a treat and we are just loving and soaking in these warm (bug-less and humidity-less) days. These delicious stolen moments make enjoying this fall season so lovely, but also have us holding on a bit to summer, especially when it comes to dinner. Mint and pea pesto has been on a continuous loop here at our house, it is so quick, so easy and most importantly so tasty. You must try it. My sister and brother in law made it for us when we visited them this summer and they follow this recipe. We follow it a bit, but mostly just eyeball things as they go into the blender. Here's what we do...
1. pasta into salted water and cook according to directions
2. reserve some of the pasta water for later before you drain it (this is 1 cup)
3. Into the food processor goes... 1 cup of mint leaves (we've kept a potted mint plant that stays pretty happy throughout the year, be careful not to mistakenly put mint into the ground, it will take over everything... my Aunt once tried to throw bleach on her runaway mint as it took over her yard... it still grew back... true story)
4. Don't blitz anything yet, just throw in some peas (a bag or so is fine)
5. Next goes freshly grated parmesan cheese (1/4 cup or so...) add some olive oil (1/4 to 1/3 cup no precise measurements needed), lemon juice to taste (1/2 lemon? my sister likes a bit more) and blitz it...
6. Add that mixture to a sauce pan and heat it. Remember that reserved pasta water? Add it to the mix as it heats until you get a consistency you like.
7. Add in the pasta and make sure the pesto covers the noodles. Garnish with parmesan.
Happy Wednesday! Hope you find yourself enjoying these first days of autumn, even if they're feeling a bit like summer.
I spent a bit of time over the weekend working on some x plus blocks for my quilt and decided to take my new Little House pins for a test drive. I love, love, love these pins. I'm convinced they are responsible for some amazingly accurate piecing on the blocks I finished over the weekend. I'm so happy with these little glass head pins.
At first, I couldn't really justify spending a bit more for pins... I sew right over mine and though I've never had an issue, on occasion, they've bent as a result my laziness. I kept seeing Little House pins pop up in blogland (and promptly disappear) read some reviews on-line and decided to give them a go with another order I placed for thread. They're so great, and I'm so in love that I ordered another set.
While I was thinking about coming here to profess my love for these little pins, I also thought about updating the post "to the beginning sewist" written a few years ago. While I don't quite have the time to do that just now, I have to share two other tools that I've grown to love and use while sewing. The first are my small scissors... I so love these.
I bought mine a while back from Brooklyn General (it appears they are out of stock), a set of small scissors was not something I imagined was useful beyond embroidery. Since buying these little guys (which meet TSA guidelines), I've done everything from trim log cabin strips to snipping chain pieced rows for my x plus blocks. These stay right by my machine (some people like to keep them around their neck for easy use), and I absolutely find them a must have these days.
Lastly, my Dritz Disappearing Ink Marking Pen is something I'm constantly picking up (when they're on sale) at JoAnns. I love the way this pen works. I'm often able to mark several lines before the disappearing begins making it perfect for quick chain piecing. It's also really fine, making my lines for my x plus blocks really accurate, always a fabulous thing. So, what are you loving in your sewing room lately?
I've wanted to write this post on knitting for many weeks now. Seems like today is the day, finally. My half hearted attempts to reallly get into knitting have been well documented here in this space over the years. I purchased a Group On deal for knitting lessons for a local shop that closed down mere months after my purchase, I have a collection of books to help me... knitting just doesn't come easily for me. And yet, I still keep coming back to these needles. While visiting my sister and brother-in-law over the summer (who live a stone's throw away from Jimmy Beans Wool, I caught the bug again. Yes, I have loads of learning to do, and yes, as my sister showed me I've been knitting backwards (how does that happen?)... but my focus so far has been gathering the resources that will make this learning curve a bit easier. So far, I bought a really good set of needles. What I was using beforehand were needles that were way too big and trying things out on this set has been heavenly. I love having a set of needles that will work when I need them to.
I'm also learning about yarn. First and foremost, I'm learning that yarn is incredibly expensive, much more so than my beloved fabric! But learning about yarn is a must. Sport, DK, worsted... Ravelry has been an excellent source for that. So is this and this. Luckily I remember figuring out fabric weights quite well... I purchased more home dec fabric for the wrong projects than I care to remember on first learning to sew. With yarn buying, I've learned, it is important to have a clear project in mind.
My sister also gave me some really helpful video tutorials that have worked really well for her on her knitter's journey, though she's an incredibly talented knitter busily making baby sweaters and really amazing lace shawls. My sister knit the most beautiful shawl/scarf for me, which she gave me while we were visiting this summer. I love it and it is now in constant rotation as the weather turns chilly.
So beautiful! Yes, she is super talented that sister of mine. So to share some of her resources, and hopefully become as talented...
Knitting Help: a totally free website that my sister recommends for casting on, binding off and other essentials.
Knit Picks (on YouTube): some really fantastic videos on knitting in the round (which was paralyzing for me) and other basic and advanced techniques that appear in knitting patterns.
Jenn Wisbeck's Videos (on YouTube): I watched a few of these in the airport and really love the learn to knit series.
So here's my plan... practice, practice, practice. It has proven extremely hard for me not to revert to my backwards knitting when I'm not really, really paying very close attention to what I am doing. Old habits... they do indeed die hard. Soon though, I think it will be old hat. My first project will be a Honey Cowl with that beautiful snowy-gray yarn picked up at Jimmy Beans. Seems my fabric and yarn preferences run the same! I'm looking forward to enjoying this learning process and knitting a little each night. Find me on Ravelry here. Happy Monday everyone!
It's really, really fall-ish around here and I'm loving it. We've had our first wood fires, butternut squash soup and cider. Oh yes, it is here. Besides the usual fall treats that I'm looking forward to (you should know Rob's apple pie is top on that list) I have a craving for some new fabrics. I'm starting to believe that work should direct deposit my checks to Anna Maria Horner... there are two fabric lines that I'm obsessing over from Anna Maria the Great. Dowry is just so beautiful and so filled with colors and patterns I love. I may or may not have already pre-ordered this line from Hawthorne Threads (you should know that's exactly what I did this afternoon, ahem). I cannot wait for this little treat... November is just around the corner.
Anna's elemental line True Colors is another must have.
I'm in love with this collection. The patterns are simply perfect and the spectrum of colors in this line are just magic. I can't wait to get my hands on some (you should know that I have zero self control and would have promptly pre-ordered this too had it been available at Hawthorne Threads... alas it isn't).
The last line that I am planning on hoarding snatching up this Fall is Birch Fabric's new Charley Harper collection...
I love the prints in this collection... all of them of course. I love the unexpected images and the traditional colors in this. I cannot wait to sew with these!
This fall has brought loads of changes at work which has been difficult and trying. There's a white knuckled grip on that vacation glow I wrote about a while back, but it's still there. This fall my goal is really to delight in the season, be grateful for things as they come, sew often and at unexpected times and buy some of that lovely fabric I've been waiting for. Welcome autumn, we're so glad you're here!
It has been a while for Polyvore and I... a long, long while actually. I thought, as the year really gets underway (trying to stay positive here!) I would share some of the pieces I have my eye on for the new school year... and display a bit of my recent retail therapy. As a teacher, my budget is always a little limited, in the beginning of the year especially, also I would much rather buy fabric than another pair of work pants! I do however always buy a few new pieces for work each year. These clothes of mine must weather all kinds of abuse in the line of fire... snagging, walking, sitting, squatting, chalking, eating, pen, markers, glue, driving... yes, holding up year after year is a must. I've had dress pants from Express for seriously ten years, and they continue to be my go tos. If you don't have the Editor pant in your life, give them a try! I still go to Express to replace pants that don't make it to the next year or when I need a new version, but will try other options along the way. Loft pants are also ones that I love. I almost always wait to buy a few things at Loft until they have their 40% off sale. They always, always have sales (often times after other sales oddly enough), and waiting allows me to buy more things and more fabric so I'm all for it! Those wine colored pants are ones that I've had my eye on (love the color) I waited to buy them and with discounts they were $29 instead of $79. Score! More fabric for everyone!
This year, I'm looking for pieces that are just a bit different and classic. At work, we'll be having parent conferences for the first time at several points throughout the year along with our usual Open House, so some new dresses are in order. At least that's what I've told myself! Rob and I spent some time in Anthropologie yesterday and I bought that sweet little yellow dress. It is so incredibly comfortable and very, very pretty on. I also snagged that beautiful grey cardigan, I think it's the perfect wear to work and wear to travel piece. I have a ton of sweaters so this will be it for the year... unless a cardigan (which I wear like crazy at work, often layering a few...it's so cold!) needs replacing. I like the long-sleeved Loft dress a lot, but am worried about the length (always a consideration when working in a high school... or should be), a better option might be that beautiful peacock blue dress from Garnet Hill. I like to read the reviews before committing! The weather makes this one certainly something that can wait. I'm loving anything with a Peter Pan collar right now, so I might be tempted to pick up that little grey shirt also. Again, definitely something that can wait.
I did buy that beautiful Fossil bag before vacation (on sale!). It's gorgeous and though I have a lot of totes for work, one that I bought last year at Target began to literally come apart at the seams. Lesson learned. I love that the bag is small enough to look like a purse, and will remind me to not to take too much work home, balance is important. For other accessories, that Timex watch was a birthday present and I love that it goes with anything. I was in desperate need of a new belt this year (I think I borrowed one of Rob's to wear with a tunic dress last year... sigh), the skinny one from Anthropolgie was picked up yesterday. Small pearl earrings are so versatile and I have those little pave posts from Anthropologie, they've been thrown in bags, wallets, compartments in my car and they still are beautiful.
Clearly, this lady is in love with clothing, accessories (and people) that can weather any storm. That appears to be a bit of a theme this year for school... lots of change, loads of new... all a little unsettling. My goal is to do what I can to make it through this year with gratitude, clarity and all seams intact. We'll see! Happy Monday everyone, shouldn't every weekend have three days?!?
Oh friends, we had the best little adventure. Right before school got underway again (not always my favorite time of year, ahem) we stole away to see my sister Amy and brother-in-law Greg who live in Reno, Nevada. Our time allowed us to head to Yosemite National Park, I can't tell you how magical the landscape is. We saw deer, a bear, the most amazingly beautiful mountains and vistas, waterfalls, snow (in August!), and had such laughs along the way. I'm still sort of processing our experience, certainly still processing our beautiful photos (how happy I was to have our new camera snapping away!) and sort of still basking in the post vacation glow. It made everything... nicer. Heading back to work I am much calmer, grounded and situated. So lovely. We absolutely fell in love with Lake Tahoe! Not only is it pristinly blue and lovely, but it was nestled in some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. It felt much like our own coast in the Sierras. Lake Tahoe was just beginning to feel the smokey effects of the near by fires. Sadly, this area, including Yosemite, has turned into a very different place than it was while we were enjoying our time there. The Rim Fire has devastated some areas outside the park as well as some more remote parts of the park proper, yet the smoke (which we experienced on our last day and has really made Reno smokey) has made visiting this beautiful place difficult for many. We're so, so sad about the conditions in and around the park and our hearts go out to the thousands of firefighters and volunteers who are helping to put them out. If interested, Yosemite has put together information for those interested in helping... find them here. Happy Sunday everyone, how happy we are to have an extended weekend!
A few weeks ago, I happened to run in to Joann Fabrics to pick up elastic for some teeny tiny pants (Anna Maria Horner's quick change trousers to be exact) in the making. Heading past the fabric I usually don't peek at (I don't always love the fabric at Joanns) I saw the most lovely collection of prints and was tempted to pick up a bit of each. I told myself I was there to buy elastic and a bit of backing fabric, but I did pick up that beautiful orange floral pattern. Certainly not fabric for a baby, especially one whose gender will be a surprise, but some of that lovely orange fell into my cart and the rest of the prints stayed in the back of my mind. Really small detailed prints, perfect for small patchwork projects and those times when one needs a near solid. The larger scaled prints, like my favorite orange one, perfect for garments and a staple dress or two. I was surprised to hear that the prints are from the talented Juliana Horner, daughter of another favorite designer around these parts. The prints are really lovely, and today I picked up a little bit of each. They must be a quilt, they look so beautiful together. And that orange print... still going to be a dress, just the minute I get around to it. Yay for lovely finds and new designs, can't wait to see what Juliana designs next... and bravo to Joanns for giving new life to their quilting section, these are simply lovely. Happy Friday everyone!