Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Brought to You By the Letter S

My younger son's class at day care is discussing the letter S this week. They've made sock puppets, painted spiders, played with stickers and sand, and talked about the sun and smiling. I thought it was a good excuse to make square shortbread cookies with silver sugar stars. My son isn't actually old enough to eat the cookies, but, you know, I'm just trying to support the school.... and perhaps getting to eat the broken ones was an added incentive.

Shortbread is remarkably simple: just butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour. I say "just" butter, but in truth it's an ungodly amount of butter. But, wow, the buttery-ness! My best friend and I were discussing fruit crumbles once and she said, "yeah, a stick of butter makes pretty much anything taste phenomenal." Indeed, a stick (or, ahem, a stick and a half) makes for a divine dessert.

Let's just hope this batch makes it to day care.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Reversible Pinafore Dress and Bib

I came across a free pattern for an infant pinafore dress at Smashed Peas and Carrots and I’ve made two of them so far. It’s an incredibly satisfying piece: The pattern is easy to download and tape together, the instructions are fabulous (and include lots of helpful hints and illustrations), and the sewing is straight forward. The dress itself is adorable.

I bought some cute buttons to match the different fabrics I used, but I wasn’t sure which side of the reversible dress would be worn the most, so I couldn’t decide which side to sew the buttons on. Also, buttonholes are a pain in the neck to sew, so I kept putting off finishing the dresses… Until I made a coordinating bib, that is, and broke out my “Easy Attacher” for its inaugural run. 


I picked up the Easy Attacher at the fabric store for about $7.50. The kit includes a small plastic contraption that holds the pieces of a snap. You align the snap pieces, close the tool, and give it a few whacks with a hammer. It’s about a million times faster than sewing button holes or sewing on snaps. Of course, the plastic will probably break quickly and I haven’t had a chance to test the strength of the snaps yet, but as of this moment, I love this thing!  
Note: I put the Easy Attacher on the carpet before using the hammer.

Disclosure: I have not been paid to endorse any products or companies on this blog. All opinions are based on my own experience.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Canning

I’ve been on a canning kick lately. It started with a recipe for peach butter that Deb at Smitten Kitchen posted. It was so, so good. I ate a spoonful  every morning in my oatmeal and it was hard to resist dipping the spoon in the jar at other times. My stores of peach butter started to run low right when the farmers’ market was packed full of delectable local apples. I brought home several bags and made some apple butter without a recipe. It was… meh.

I’d been craving lemon, so on Friday, I made a lemon raspberry marmalade.

It was a bit too sweet. I think I’ll leave out a tiny bit of sugar if I make it again. It’s a lovely, vibrant color, though, and very lemony.  I zested the lemons, rather than grating them. Grating would make it more like orange marmalade and less like raspberry jam.
I had to wait several days for my Bartlett pears to ripen in a paper bag with bananas and apples, but today they were just the right degree of squishiness. I made this pear-cranberry butter from a 1982 New York Times recipe. It took about five hours to firm up (not 50 minutes), but I hope the butter will be worth the wait. The jars are still cooling now.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Baby Overalls

Here's a shot of the baby overalls I've been working on. They're not quite done, but I'm close. It's surprisingly hard to sew for 20-30 minutes at a time and then pack everything back up so that little people don't play with pins and thread!

I'd intended to share some of the patterns I create on this blog, but this pattern needs a bit more work. I think I will try to make it reversible to add warmth, versatility, and durability (it's sized for crawler-age babies). I'd also like to add a few different sizing options, since I sketched this only in a nine month-size and my own baby will soon outgrow the size. 

I bought this fabric many years ago and I've been waiting to use it for something special. The selvage says Michael Miller Fabrics LLC # C-163 Caribe.