Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Conversations from the Back Seat

A conversation with Bug:

Bug: "I don't like fingernails."

Me: "You don't like fingernails?"

Bug: "Nope.  They're not good."

Me: *pause*  "You mean to eat?"

Bug: "Yeah."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Easy-Peasy Truffles

I hope everyone had a really nice time celebrating their winter holiday of choice. :)

We had a really great time and I'm looking forward to sharing some pictures a little later.  Right now I'm just too wiped out to resize photos, so I'll talk about food instead.  No pictures because it was all DEVOURED, but I made some yummy truffles to contribute to the holiday food selection.  It's becoming a bit of a tradition. :)

I know that this recipe came from somewhere, but it's been a few years and I couldn't say where.  Apologies.  I'd like to offer credit where it's due.

These truffles are SO STINKIN' GOOD...and remarkably simple.  You need baking chocolate - in a form that will melt - and cream cheese.  Whatever amount of cream cheese you want to use, have double the amount of chocolate.  Or equal parts of two different chocolates.

Melt 1/2 of your chocolate.  I do this on the stove so that I can watch it, but I suppose you could do it in the microwave and just keep an eye on it.  You don't want it to burn.

Once the chocolate is melted, mix in your cream cheese.  (I tried this over low heat this time because I was using a block of cream cheese and it worked out okay.  Just watch your heat.)

Once the cream cheese and melted chocolate are mixed together, put it in the fridge to cool.  About two hours.

When the chocolate and cream cheese mixture have set up a bit, remove from the fridge and melt the last half of your chocolate.  Form balls of the chocolate and cream cheese mixture and dip in the melted chocolate.  Set aside for coating to harden and then enjoy.

I tried something different this year and used almond bark for the truffle innards and Wilton meltaways for the coating.  They turned out nicely when the finished product was stuck in the freezer, but I wouldn't recommend it for truffles you'd like to leave out for the grabbing.  The almond bark had a lot more oil/fat in it and never really solidifed the way I'm used to.  Luckily, the meltaways hardened and held the truffles together.  Next time, I'll just spring for the good chocolate to begin with.  (In the past I've used both Hershey and Ghirardelli. Both work beautifully.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Skirt in Action

So it turns out that my niece likes the skirt I made for her birthday.  (Yay!)

She was wearing it when we went over the other day and I tried to get a picture...but three year olds rarely stand still...


Felt Eggs and a Sort-Of Tutorial

I've been in love with play food for awhile.  We started collecting it when Bug was about eight months old.  (We got an awesome crocheted set of fruit and veggies from my friend Crystal at Loin Cloth.  I highly recommend asking her for a set.)  When Bug got his play kitchen for Christmas last year, we added a fairly good selection of wooden food.  We've never managed any felt food, though I've been eyeballing it for awhile.  It's just so cool looking!

After having read a million and four tutorials on making felt (not felted...still out of my league) play food, I decided to take the plunge and try to whip some up in time for Christmas.  I'll split what I make between Bug and his best friend back in Texas, who's been really into his kitchen and store set-up.

Here's my take on eggs.  And I aplogize if I'm essentially repeating someone else's tutorial.  I've read a lot of them and absorbed a lot of tips from different places but ended up winging it.  Not trying to steal from anyone. :)

I started with two sheets of off-white and one of yellow-orange poly felt.  I would have preferred wool, but it was outside of my budget.

On one sheet of off-white felt, I drew egg-y shapes.  I managed five, though with better planning I think I could have gotten six to fit.  Sorry, no photo of that step.

I found a round lid that was a good size for the egg-y shapes, and cut circles out of the yellow felt.  Pinned them in place on top of the single sheet of off-white.


Because I thought it would look nice, I used a zig-zag to stitch the yolks in place.


When the yolk pieces were almost sewn into place, I paused and stuffed just a tiny bit of stuffing beneath.  I was thrilled to discover bamboo fill but, again, the poly stuff was in my price range.  Wool roving or small fabric scraps would also work.  Or you could just leave them flat.  That looked nice too, but I wanted them a little puffy.


Once all the yolks were sewn into place, I pinned the second off-white sheet of felt to the back (to add a bit of thickness and make them a tiny bit more stiff) and stitched just inside the lines I'd drawn. When all of the eggs had been sewn together, I cut between the stitching and the drawn lines and...voila!  Eggs!


Mud Day

Bug was playing with a bucket of water at the new house a few days ago.  Lots of splashy fun and I was kind of surprised by how relatively clean he managed to stay.

And then there was the clean up.  In which the bucket of water was dumped out.  And we had MUD!

He had a blast!


Check out those shoes.  They were the only pair he had that day...


Finished: Set of Pajama Pants

I actually should have posted this one a few days ago.

A friend of mine contacted me awhile back and asked about getting some pajama pants made for her family for Christmas.  Three matching sets - for herself, her husband and their two year old son.  We talked about it a little bit, it got put on the back burner for awhile, then was revived and turned into a real project.

She picked the most awesome fabric and Joanne's had it for next to nothing...until I went to the store the following morning and discovered that the sale had ended the previous evening.  The fabric was going to cost four times as much as we'd expected.  It took a week to hunt down the fabric in the proper amount for three pair of pants and, after talking to the store manager, another two or three days before we were able to get it at a reasonable price.  (Lesson learned?  It doesn't hurt to ask!)

I only managed a decent(ish) picture of little E's pants - and even that one was taken at around midnight so the lighting is terrible.  I loved how the pants turned out though (and I LOVE her fabric choice!).  She received them quickly and seemed very, very happy with them.  (Yay!)  I can't wait to hear how they work out.


Sunday, December 19, 2010


You read that right...winnings!  With an s!

Sew, Mama, Sew had a Giveaway Day on December 13th.  I first learned of Giveaway Day last time, during May.  There were so many neat giveaways but, even better, it was a great way to learn about some great new blogs.  I wanted to take part this time but there's been more than just a little bit going on here lately.  So I perused the lists and looked at blogs and entered a few giveaways.  And won!  Two!

The first was put on by ex libris handmade, for a custom bunting.  I'm really excited about it.  I think that it'll be awesome to hang up in the playroom at the new house.

The second was put on by Affectioknit, for a beautiful handmade felt ornament.  I love these and was so excited to see my name listed among the winners!

I'm looking forward to May's Giveaway day, when I can give back to someone else.:)

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Gift for Grandma

So that charm pack that I received with my mug rug?  It's already been chopped up and rearranged and sent to Texas as a Christmas gift for my grandmother.  Initially, I thought that a set of placemats and coasters would be a great idea...but I was limited to the charm pack and some Kona red.  I considered a couple of hot pads and coasters, but that seemed...small?  So I decided on the table runner.

I tried a disappearing nine-patch for the table runner - three sets with the blocks rearranged more or less at random.  There was a pattern, but I certainly couldn't explain it verbally. 

Table runner for Grandma

Close-up of part of the front.  Pretty prints. :)


I quilted around specific blocks, which is easier to see from the back.

Grandma's table runner - back detail

Twelve squares were turned into a set of coasters.

Coasters for Grandma

I LOVE the way this turned out and have been eyeballing charm squares to make another...

Mug Rug Received

A few days ago, I received an awesome little package from Hope (GoingSewCrazy) from the scrappy mug rug swap.  It was amazing!  The mug rug is super duper cute, and she included some amazing goodies.

Received from GoingSewCrazy

The mug is super cute - Richard said we need to find three more to make a set - and the fabric!  Bug was so excited to see it in the box that he snatched it out of my hand and kept asking "Is it fabic?  Is it mine?  Can I have it?"  He ripped the wrapper off before I could get a picture of the charm pack all together.  It's Moda's "12 Days of Christmas".  I don't usually go for holiday themed fabric, but these were awesome all together.

Here's a picture of just the mug rug.  Check out the cute cloud quilting. :)

Mug Rug from GoingSewCrazy
(And now I can say that my little robot mug rug went to Kendra.  You might recognize the name from a June bee block post.  I thought it was super cool that, from a pool of something like 120 people, I was paired with someone that I "know".)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bug's Obession

Oranges - Almost Ripe

This is what we see from the kitchen at my mom's house.  A gorgeous orange tree that Bug has been eyeballing for almost six months.  Now that the oranges are actually *orange*, he's been chomping at the bit to eat one.  Daily, he'll exclaim "They're ripe!"  We tested one a week or so ago and it was still pretty bitter.  This week, they're MUCH better.  And he's been eating as many as we'll allow him to have. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Birthday Skirt

I have so  much to blog about that it's not even funny...  But I'll tackle it one post at a time, yes? :)

Nearly two weeks ago now, my niece turned three.  She is a sweet, amazing, smart, beautiful little girl and I wanted to give her a really amazing gift.  Lucky for me, even though she's discovered Disney's Princesses, she also tends to be a fan of NON-Disney stuff.  She also loves purple.  A lot.

I went around and around trying to decide what to do, and kept coming back to a t-shirt that I'd set aside to "do something cool with"...but I still wasn't sure what I wanted to do.  At not-quite-the-eleventh hour, I decided to make her a skirt.  It was remarkably simple and went together super fast.

It was cute...but lacking something.  So I appliqued a little flower on the hem.  I free-handed the flower (which was scary as crap to do on a finished garment), and was really happy with how it turned out.

G's 3rd Birthday Skirt

The applique is finished, but rough on the edges so it'll fray a bit in the was and with wear.
G's 3rd Birthday Skirt Detail

I haven't heard yet if she liked it or not.  (But I enjoyed it so I'll probably be making some more anyway. ;) )

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mug Rug Finish!

(First, I know...I totally dropped the ball on NaBloPoMo.  But that's not the point of this post.)

Because I don't have *quite* enough on my plate, I decided awhile back that I REALLY wanted to take part in the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap.  I watched the last round come to close, drooling over all of the terribly creative and oh-so-cute things that people thought up and I HAD to get my name on the list for the holiday/everyday round!

This is a blind swap, so I know who I'm making for (though I can't say yet!), but not who's making one for me.  Very exciting!

I was lucky to be somewhat familiar with the photostream of the person who's name I was given.  Not saying any more than that so that I don't drop too many clues, but I was at least vaguely familiar with some of what she's done recently.  It was kind of cool to see that I'd drawn her name. :)  And the questionnaire thing we filled out gave me some ideas that I probably wouldn't have come up with strictly from looking at her photostream.

After a bit of thought, I knew which fabrics I wanted to use, but hadn't entirely settled on an idea.  Tonight, I cut into the fabrics with a plan in mind...and then watched the mug rug take shape on it's own.  It's totally not what I had initially planned to make, but it just came together so nicely that I ran with it.

For Scrappy Mug Rug Swap

Given the green stripy fabric, straight line quilting seemed the best fit.  I did a stitch-in-the-ditch at the edge of each white strip and then eyeballed the interior stitching lines so that they wouldn't be quite even.  It seemed like a good idea since the green stripes and the robot are both a little bit wonky and not-straight.  It's backed and self-bound in the green fabric.  My initial plan was to hand stitch the binding in place, but I kind of liked the idea of visible, light stitching.  Doing it by machine kept the stitches even and, I hope, seem a little more "robotic".

Or maybe I'm just talking out my ear.

At any rate, I'm pleased with how the mug rug turned out and I hope that my partner likes it, too.  We still have a few days before it has to be in the mail and I'm contemplating a holiday themed mug rug as well.  (She didn't specify one way or the other.)  I've got an idea for that one too, but the way this one took off on it's own, I'll have to see what happens when I start working with the fabric...

(This mug rug finished at 7 1/4 by 9 1/4 inches.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Now it's REALLY Official

We signed the paperwork on the house this morning.  It's OURS.

*big silly goofy grin*

We spent most of the day over there, mostly kicking around and doing little things.  We changed the locks on the doors, mowed the lawn, tested different paint colors on the wall.  Having done that with a two year old helper, I really should have taken some pictures today.  (Unfortunately, my batteries died.)  Bug played in the yard and had a blast.  Boo rolled around on the various pallets we made and watched her brother play and laughed at us.

It was pretty awesome. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We Have A House!

We have a house, we have a house, we have a house!!


I'm a little excited about this. ;)

Contract negotiations ended today.  Tomorrow is a holiday, and we close on Friday morning.

I'm totally jazzed. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

3x6 3rd Quarter - Complete!

This post is a smidge belated, seeing as Q3 ended in September, but I just recently wrapped up my blocks and received my last package.

The blocks I received from Beehive 5 of the 3x6 Sampler Bee:

Q3 blocks received

Aren't they amazing?  I keep getting mesmerized by them.  They're all so pretty individually, and I love how they look all together!

Here are the blocks that I sent out:

My tester block, in my colors
Test block in my colors

For smoochee
For smoochee

For bessiemae
For bessiemae

For nikkipeterson
For nikkipeterson

For quiltygirl2
For quiltygirl2

For miesmama
For miesmama

For woolymama
For woolymama

I had so much fun with this (even though I took waaaaay too long), I can't wait to get started on my Q4 blocks!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Four Cousins - First Top Complete!

Remember these?

Colin's fabrics

Given the move and the new baby and a gajillion other things, it's taken awhile, but I finally got them all chopped up and put back together.

Bug's quilt top is done!


More on the process later...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Camera: Found!

Good news - I found my camera!

And we went out today (to the dinosaur museum!) and took a gajillion and four pictures.  Which I might  be overstating just a wee bit.

And, now, I'm sitting at the computer, typing one-handed and trying to move as little as possible because I have a finally-sleeping baby on my shoulder.

So, the pictures will have to wait until tomorrow.  Again.  Sorry.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

How to Pet a Kitty (Link)

My camera is still MIA, so tonight I'll be phoning in my post.  Sorry about that but, if you have a cat, this should make you laugh until you cry.

A friend of mine posted this link from The Oatmeal... "How to Pet a Kitty".


Friday, November 5, 2010

Farmer's Market Win, Farmer's Market Fail

I’ve misplaced my camera, so no pictures with this post.  Sorry.  You’ll just have to deal with exposition today.

As per usual, we headed out to the farmer’s market today.  Just me and the kids, and we planned to hit two of them.

The first was a weekly market that we’ve made it to once before.  Not huge, but a nice combination of farm fresh produce and artisan items.  Everyone’s really nice.  Bug got to pet baby goats and the honey guy recognized us.  He  even remembered that Bug doesn’t get to eat colors and talked him out of buying the green honey stick.

When we got there, we passed by a little girl eating a carrot and Bug decided that he had to have one.  I was all for that but, I kid you not, I couldn’t find a single carrot in the market.  I’m sure I just overlooked them.  We got some pictures with the 180 pound pumpkin, bought some cheese curds, and decided to go check out the second market.

I don’t think the second market happens regularly, but it was listed as a farmer’s market so we decided to go.  Turned out to be in a kind of ritzy part of town and not far from the awesome railroad park.  I loaded Boo into her stroller and Bug into his mei tai and headed in.  There were two other kids there, both older then ten.  I kept getting sideways glances.  The first table we passed was a woman selling knitted kids caps.  Cute stuff.  We stopped to look and she asked Bug something about what animals he liked.  He said he wanted a carrot and everyone within earshot laughed.  Because there were no carrots there.  There were $30 kids t-shirts BeDazzled with licensed characters, but no veggies.

We passed by a really neat looking little shop that Bug and I both wanted to go check out, so we did.  It was bright and colorful and fun, and pretty packed with stuff.  Given that I had Boo in the stroller we didn’t go to deep into the store and we moved really slowly so as to not get anywhere close to the displays.  We were finally acknowledged five or ten minutes later, when a woman who worked there finally stepped into the room, breezed past us and told me to be careful because the stroller was a tight fit.

We ended up walking over to the Trader Joe’s in the next parking lot to pick up carrots (Bug said he wanted the “biggest carrot I’ve ever seen!”), some tomato candy (because we’ve all but finished yesterdays) and some more French bread.  The people there (customers and employees) were awesome.  I’d drive across town for that, but we’ll be skipping the “farmer’s market” there from now on.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Yummy Foods

(I really will get back to posting on other topics soon.  Honest.)

We hit up the farmer's market this afternoon as a family.  It was nice to have Richard with us, and he seemed to have a good time.  We indulged Bug's honey obsession, though it was difficult to pick which flavor to buy.  He got a few honey sticks as usual, including an acid green sour apple flavored one.  I don't even want to *think* about what's in it to turn it that shade of green.  It was a one time thing though, and he didn't eat that much of it, so I'm just going to let it slide.

For the bigger jar, after a taste test we decided to bring home the desert wildflower honey.  I want to say it's from prickly pear, palo verde and chrysanthemum, but I might be making that up.  Richard was really, really fond of the mesquite, but Bug and I kind of liked the desert wildflower a little bit more, so...  We'll get mesquite next time.

We also picked up a really beautiful honey dipper.  Walnut, I think.  (I'm not looking at the tag and the screaming baby in my lap is keeping me from looking for it.)


Ooo.  We also bought a super yummy chimichurri.  No idea what we're doing with it yet - though I'm thinking that it might involve the french bread and goat cheese from the last few markets.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Teeny Tiny Food

Mom and I took Bug and Boo out to the farmer's market today.  (Town and Country this time.  Liked it.)  It ended up being Teeny Tiny Food Day.

Tomato candy.  (Organic heirlooms this time.)

Tomato candy 11-3-10

And crabapples!  Partially because I've never had one before, but mostly because Bug thought they were cute.  They're crispy and tart - apple win!

Crabapples 11-3-10

We also bought some yummy kalamata olive hummus, but ate almost all of it in the car on the way home.  It was that good.

Then we stopped by Trader Joe's because I've never been.  Picked up some veggie/flax chips (eaten with the hummus in the car) and two mini loaves of french bread.

I don't think I've ever thought my groceries were so cute.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cat's Claw

This morning, Bug was in the yard with Mom for awhile.  He ran in shouting "Cat's claw, Mommy!  It's a cat's claw!"

He's pretty excitable about finding our cat's discarded claws, so I expected him to deposit one into my hand.  Except that he always calls those "kitty moons".  Today, it was a plant.

Yay, Mom, for teaching him what these deserts plants are called!

Cat's Claw

Monday, November 1, 2010


Thanks to A Day in the Life of Val, I've discovered NaBloPoMo.  It's essentially NaNoWriMo for blogs.  With no word count.  Which is a good thing,  because a couple of years ago I attempted NaNoWriMo and it was a total disaster.

So, here we go.  I'm pledging to do my best to blog every day this month.  I'll even try to put up decent content. ;)

Off to upload some pictures, and then I'll have some goodies to talk about...

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Tonight, Bug and I did a mini home pedicure.  Meaning, we sat down in the middle of the kitchen floor and I painted our toenails.  Green.  Because it's Bug's favorite color. :)

Bug and I paint our toenails

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Farmer's Market Day

Purple Pepper

I didn't even know that peppers came in purple before today, but I found this little guy at the farmer's market in downtown Phoenix.  Or at the urban market next door, rather.

The farmer's market was AWESOME.  So much yummy food and beautiful artisan items.

I really intended to only go and look around today.  Kind of get a feel for the market.  But then we ran across a woman who was selling, among other things, hand-knit socks for kids.  Wool socks.  For five dollars.  And they were cute.

Bug didn't pick the pair I'd have bought had he not been there, but I'm glad that he was able to choose the ones he liked.

Bug's Wool Socks

He'll have some (cute!) toasty toes in those this winter!

We're also enjoying some yummy tomato candy (as Bug calls them) today.

Tomato Candy

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Egg Bread

Oh yes, the bread machine and I will become VERY good friends.  Two loaves in one day!

Egg bread!  SO soft and yummy!

Egg Bread

3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in bread pan as directed by manufacturer. Select
Light Crust setting.

This recipe yields 1 loaf.

Recipe here, again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Today, I took on the bread machine.  And won.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

1 cup warm water
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup oatmeal -- not quick-cook
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Combine ingredients in bread maker per your manufacturer's instructions.
Select "Basic/White" bread setting; crust color as desired.

This recipe yields 1 loaf.

Recipe found here.

It's really yummy (we've already devoured almost the entire loaf and it's been out of the bread maker for about twenty minutes!) and I want to make more right this instant.  The house smells SO good.

An Awesome Gift

The ladies from the Live Laugh Bee completely surprised me this past week.  They made a quilt for Boo!

Boo's Quilt Front

It was such a sweet gift, and such a surprise.  Knocked my socks off.  And made me cry.

Boo's Quilt Back

Love that polka dot binding!

We ALL love the quilt, and it's getting plenty of use.  Boo has napped on it.  Bug has slept under it and periodically steals it.  I curl up on the couch with it.  (Well, with it over my legs, anyway.)  My sister even got to use it at her most recent chemo treatment.

This quilt is loved.

Boo Napping

Two Months of Sew Bee Wonky

Sew Bee Wonky - Another bee that I'm not behind in!  If you don't consider that I haven't done my October blocks yet.  (But I just got the fabric?)

For August, Kellie requested wonky houses.

Kellie's Block

I can not describe how much fun this little block was to put together.  I stressed over it for way too long, so worried that I was going to completely mess up her little bits of fabric and then have to figure out how to fix it and make it work.  No need to worry.  Pretty much anything goes with wonky houses, and they're so stinkin' cute.

For September, Paige requested wonky log cabin blocks.  (Yay!)  She sent some of the most delicious fabrics.

Paige's Block #1 - Partial

Yep, that's Mendocino in there.  I heart Mendocino.  And check out those awesome little bicycles!

Paige's Block #2 - Partial

The only thing I had trouble with was making the blocks big enough.  Even though I was careful not to cut into the long strips before I had to, I still ended up a bit shy.  The first blocks needed one more strip.  The second was considerably smaller.

Next up...more wonky stars. :)

Live Laugh Bee - Catching Up

Aside from two blocks this week, I haven't actually done any sewing for Live Laugh Bee in a little bit.  All caught up, if you can believe it!  (Well, sort of.  More on that in a moment.)  I just never got around to posting pictures.

Here's what's been going on:

Kelly requested confetti blocks.  I LOVE the blue fabrics that she picked out.  Blue, black and teensy little bits of gold in some of the prints.  Very pretty.  And she's planning to quilt with sashiko stitching, which should be gorgeous.

Kelly's Block #1

My second block came out a tad small.  I ran out of white fabric and couldn't find any in the right weight to sub in.  She requested that we just send small blocks if that happened.


Then Sarah requested wonky log cabin blocks.  I think wonky log cabins are my all time favorite.  Super easy to put together, lots of fun to put together, and I always love the way they look. Sarah sent a TON of fun batiks to choose from, too.

Sarah's block #1 - Sept 2010

Sarah's block #2 - Sept 2010

Of course, as soon as I finished Sarah's blocks I realized that I had done them wrong.


She wanted then wonky, but with traditional styling.  You'll note that I intermixed the blues and greens instead of putting blues together on one side and greens together on the other.  Gah.  Lucky for me, these will be simple enough to rip apart and put back together properly.  Also lucky that she sent so much fabric in case I need to add a little more.  She also said that we could add some of our own fabrics if we have any that tie in, and I know I have some blue and green batik.

Ursula's blocks, for October, have been so much fun.  She sent out the same fabrics that I have waiting to turn into my nephew's quilt.  She requested flying geese blocks for a little boy's quilt.  It was so much fun getting to play with these fabrics and seeing how they look with the various solid colors (which I still have to choose for my project) before I've cut into my fabric.

quilt,quilt block,flying geese,polka dots,gears

flying geese,quilt,quilt block,polka dots,gears

The other blocks turning up in the flickr group look great.  I can't wait to see how she puts them all together!