Saturday, March 25, 2017

Work in Progress

It was so sunny last weekend I couldn't resist taking a few random pictures. The sunshine just felt so Springy! None of these pictures are tidied up, they were taken right in the moment. As you can see, the sewing closet is a mess.......

In the midst of sewing non stop, there isn't much time left for tiding up. I am planning to refresh the whole room; give it a good cleaning and then rearrange and re-do a bit. All hoping it will help me keep it a bit more tidy. Mostly I need to start some good habits! Maybe a refresh will help gets those habits started. Right now, I am not sure what all I want different, but plans are slowly taking shape. Of course I will be sure to let you know how it goes!

An extra picture of the bright sunny book nook.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I had forgotten.......

I had forgotten how much joy a finished garments brings, how sitting at a sewing machine with fabric feeds the soul, how ideas begin to sprout quicker then one can keep up while sewing, how good it is to fashion something with your own hands. I had forgotten how much I love sewing!
As much as I love knitting, sewing is really my passion. Working with fabric, letting my mind and fingers tuck and pin; brings the rest of life into perspective, and usually makes it look brighter! 
 I learned to sew when I was a wee girl, so it has been a part of my life for a long time. I still remember the fascination of watching Mom make my sisters and I dresses. Just about my eye level, I would stand for hours and watch the machine whirl away.

This is the York blouse from Seamwork. In a lovely Art Gallery Fabric, Ink Outburst in Atelier. The fabric was a birthday splurge!
This pattern gets quite a few bad reviews online, but I have made it work. I love the classic silhouette! My library of Seamwork patterns have really inspired my to sew plenty of pretty things that go with my everyday wardrobe. I haven't found the latest patterns much my style, but I love most from the first two years. And even if I don't like the patterns, the articles are always interesting!

The pattern originally had a slit in the back that closes with bias tape ties. I made a bias bound keyhole instead with a button.
I also altered the neckline a bit, too much of a boat for my small shoulders. The biggest problem most people had with the pattern was the low dart. I simply angled it upwards to create a French dart. I do have a bit of a problem with the armholes, but that might be because I went down a few sizes as there was a lot of wearing ease. I still ended up taking in the side seams and the center back.

I love all the extra details of this pattern! Can't wait for the weather to warm up a bit to wear it!

Has anyone else watched The Great British Sewing Bee? So inspiring watching all those amazing sewing projects!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Baking Day

The last couple of weeks I have  been baking up a storm! I don't think I have been in this much of a baking mode since moving to the little cottage. Somehow, for me baking requires a clear, quiet mind.(I am not talking about whip-up-the-tried-and-true-favorite-muffins-and-biscuits baking, but the let's-go-on-an-adventure-and-try-something-new baking). There has been a lot going on since we have moved! But now that the house projects have slowed and nothing needs to be urgently finished, I am ready to bake!
I have also been setting aside a  weekly "baking day", depending on the schedule, whichever day I have an empty evening. It has been so fun to plan what I want to make and something which I look forward to all day!

Suddenly I find myself reading cookbooks just for fun, making a list of things to bake. Wondering how a recipe would turn out if I used this instead of that or added in this or possibly add more of that. I know some of the enthusiasm has come from a Christmas gift, The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking. (I didn't even know there was a cookbook!?!) I have tried a few recipes so far and have a long list I would still like to make. Which I will be sure to share!

Last week I tried 100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread from King Arthur Flour. It turned out fabulous! I have been trying to eat more whole grains for a bit more staying power to meals (I have a fast metabolism).

It is kind of an interesting recipe. You start by making a starter to give the yeast a bit of a boost. There is also orange juice to counter the bitterness of the whole wheat flour and instant potato flakes for moistness.
I've never tried brushing the dough with a beaten egg before sprinkling on the cinnamon and sugar filling, but it works really nice. No falling apart of layers or getting stuck in the toaster! 

A lovely dense texture and the perfect sweetness!
The only thing I changed was to make it dairy free; used water instead of milk and left out the powdered milk completely.

This bread sure didn't last long! I just barely managed to photograph the last slice before it vanished!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March Madness

 We have gone a little mad over here. Mad for making things! There has been a lot of knitting and crocheting, baking of bread and cookies, soap making, sewing of shirts and pajamas, quilting and more knitting going on. Creativeness oozing out of us until we finally fall asleep at night. It must be Spring!

 Doesn't the changing of the seasons invigorate you? Somehow it has a way of setting us all in motion. And since we can't work outside yet (especially with this weeks snowstorm!), we have to satisfy ourselves with creating things indoors.
Pictured here is one of the projects I am currently working on, a crocheted Haiku Shawl. It will be a sample for a class I will be teaching at our local knit shop. I have had a lovely time repeating the patterns three rows over and over again (it gives me time to dream of other projects!).
Made in Swan's Island Fingering in Lupine, what could be more springy?

What are you making today?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Snowdrop

 My snowdrop bloomed this week. Between the new sidewalks, removing the walk along the house  making the flowers beds larger and getting moved several times, only one snowdrop made it! I will have to replenish. (maybe I need to also try crocus again?) This little guy is now along the east side of the house where my cutting garden is. The bulbs love the warm morning sun! 

  As you can see the daffodils really love the morning sun! I have been trying to encourage them to slow down.......

 As this also happened this week..... A spring snow!
I knew we would get a bit of snow once more, now hopefully we can move on to the business of Spring!

At least Kerri had fun with the snow! She is ready for a game of hide and seek!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies

In our house February is a busy month. It is birthday season! About three-quarters of the family celebrates their birthdays in February. So Valentine's Day often gets over looked. This year, my contribution to the day was making cookies!

 I used the Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies Recipe from On Sutton Place. They turned out really good. Right out of the oven warm, they were like eating a warm brownie, once cooled they are more cookie like.
A word of caution; it is really hard to tell when these cookies are done! The recipe says to bake for 6 minutes and that was right on. I just wish I would have set a timer! As the second batch was in a bit too long and ended up very crispy and crunchy.  

I did change the recipe to make it dairy free by substituting canola oil and coconut oil for the butter. I also skipped the dipping in melted chocolate and made a simple chocolate glaze. Just enough to make the sprinkles stick! Aren't the little hearts fun? (It will probably take me years to use them all up!)



It has been a long time since I rolled out my favorite vintage Valentine. For the month of February, his home is on my dressing table mirror.

Happy Valentines Day Friends!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Homesick......

The other days as I traipsed quickly from the porch door to the front door, I had a sudden wave of homesickness......a longing for a place I use to visit......
the Front Porch!

A longing to be able to sit on the front porch and feel the warm breezes, to be able to curl up on the settee with a book, to be able to listen to the chirping of the birds while munching breakfast.

I thought a little tour of the porch was just what I needed! Want to come along?

It started as a blank slate - Sitting Pretty
Finally furnished like I dreamed - The Front Porch
Enjoying the porch more them I imagined - Pinwheels
All decked out for Christmas - I Heard the Bells
A bit of rearranging- A Bit of Yellow
Red, White and Blue - Happy 4th of July
Last spring and summer - A Sure Sign of Spring

(To view all the Front Porch posts, click here!)

It shouldn't be too long before we can Spring Clean the porch and enjoy sitting out there again!