Archive for March, 2010

Easter

I’ve accidentally neglected my blog.  Again.  Instead of whining about my jobs and how they prevent me from pursuing my true vocation(s) (laying on the couch, watching Anthony Bourdain, cooking, perfecting miscellaneous handicrafts, and of course, blogging about it), I will excite you with news!  One of my jobs gets a SPRING BREAK!!  So, for this week and this week only, I am back to a 37 hour work week like normal people!  So, back to blogging I go and I have SO MUCH backlogged content to discuss–like the napkins I sewed! and the table we built!  and the doll of myself I made!  and the SHIRT I MADE THAT FITS!!  So much to share!  So many exclamation points!!!!!!!

So, this post will actually not cover any of the above.  Instead, I will hold off till I have proper pictures and replace that content with my weekend plans.  MY NIECE IS COMING TO VISIT OMG.  Also my sister and brother in law, mom and dad and grandma. My first actual holiday.  And guess what?

I’ll tell you because, unless your last name is the same as one of mine, you’ll never guess.

We are having a TURDUCKEN for Easter dinner.  I’m sure you know what a turducken is, but I will tell you anyway because it’s fun to say.  It’s a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a hen.  Is that not sick?  Oh, and…it’s Cajun.  Or Creole.  I don’t really know the difference.  Here’s an example:

Turducken

 I’ll just give you a minute to collect your thoughts.

Okay.  So what does one serve with this mutant bird?  Well, I’ve decided to alter some more traditional holiday dishes to fit this…nontraditional theme we’ve started.

I’m planning on putting together some creamed spinach.  This a favorite of mine that I make fairly often, so I won’t have to be stressed about it coming out right.

Instead of mashed potatoes, I’m going to make these Bourbon Baked Sweet Potatoes from 101 cookbooks.  I can make this ahead, plus, we are in Kentucky, so bourbon is appropriate, I think.

 The bird(s) come with their own stuffing, but I’m also going to make this Spring Panzanella from smitten kitchen.  It’s light, room temperature and quick to make.  And I think I can make this ahead of time, too.

 Finally, for my mom, I’m going to make this Breton Buckwheat Cake.  I made it last year and, as soon as I tasted it, I thought of how much my mom and her mother (who passed away several years ago, just before Easter) would love it.  I am the latest in a long line of women who love a not-too-sweet dessert, and this cake is marvelous.  I’ll probably make some whipped cream and berry sauce for the sweet tooths among us, though. 

 Okay, since I HATE to put anything up without a picture (turduckens don’t count, obviously), here’s the doll I made for Ellie. 

aunt jilly doll

It’s Aunt Jilly!  Groovin to some tunes!  I still have to make one of David (or Unkadunk as he is known to Ellie).  I basically stole a pic of a paper doll body from flickr and hacked off her little head and put mine on instead, then printed it out onto transfer paper, ironed it onto some leftover flannel, drew an outline around it and sewed along the outline with a plain white backing, leaving a space above my head, then I filled it with lentils and sewed the top closed.  I got the basic idea from angry chicken.

Good morning starshine

On weekdays, I usually leave the house at 7:30 a.m.  Throughout the winter, I am already halfway to work when the sun finally clears the horizon, which means that I, like many morning commuters, watch the sun rise 5 days a week for about 5 months of the year, and oh my, it can be stunning.  However, waking up and getting ready in the dark is not easy for me.  Finally, this week, the sun rose when I did and the house was full of dewy, cool morning light by the time I left.  I am certainly not a morning person, but that quiet sunlight makes it worth it (although it would be nicer to watch that light while sipping tea in bed, just sayin”). 

David’s seedlings were enjoying the sun, too this morning, and will hopefully hold out for a few more weeks in their peat pots so that we can put them in their beds out back.

seedlings3

I think we have some four o’clocks, hollyhocks and black-eyed susans, here.  We’re also going to grow some veggies this year, but we’ll probably buy seedlings that have already been hardened, since this is our first time.

Although nature is currently outdoing me, I tried my hand at flower-making, too!  These are “dandylions” that I made by making two pompons and tying them to sticks I found out back.  Very high tech, I know.

pompons2

If you’re an early riser, I hope you’re enjoying your reunion with the morning sun, too!

Flannel Quilt Tutorial

I’ve never really done a tutorial before and I’m really really not an expert with the sewing machine (yet!), but, just in case you, too, would like to cozy up, impress your friends AND bring a tear to mother earth’s eye with your greenness, here’s how I made the Recycled Flannel Quilt of GLORY:quilt

Materials:

Cutting up:

We will be using the backs of the shirts for our plaid pieces here, so cut along the side seams and around the top yoke to get that nice, big back piece of fabric.  Then, cut each piece into 9 sqares, measuring 6.5″ x 6.5″

Lay out the sheet you’d like to use on your quilt top and cut out 72 small rectangles, measuring 2.5″ x 6.5″ and 10 long strips measuring 60″ x 2.5″. 

So now you have:

Laying out:

Okay, now it’s time to lay out your pieces how you want them. The quilt will be seven plaid squares X 9 plaid squares, lay out your squares in a pattern that you like, then lay your small rectangles between them.  You will have 9 strips that look like this:

Sewing up:

Now, sew each strip together about 1/4″ in from the edge.  Some flannel has an obvious “right side” and “wrong side”, and some is the same on both sides, so watch for that and make sure that you’re always sewing right sides together, if applicable. 

Once you’ve sewn your strips, iron out all your seams.  You will hate this, but it really has to be done.  Either iron them flat or toward the darker fabric. 

You are almost done, can you believe it?

To finish your top, sew these strips together, sewing one long rectangle of flannel sheet fabric between each row of plaid squares and at the top and bottom, so your first two rows will look like this:

Once you’ve sewn your strips all together….well, you’re gonna have to iron the seams down again.  THEN, walk around your house and show it to everyone there, and then take a picture of it to send to your mom and enjoy everyone’s praise for a while because you are now in the home stretch!

Make a sandwich:

Okay, find or make some floor space and lay down your backing sheet, right side UP (if you’ve got a right side–mine didn’t).  Then, lay your newly pressed quilt top over the sheet right side DOWN.  THEN, lay your batting down over the quilt top and pin all around, making sure you’re pinning through all 3 layers.  Your quilt top will be smaller than your batting and sheet, but don’t worry!! After you pin it together, trim the batting and the sheet to the size of your quilt top.   And now, my friends, you are ready to sew it all together. 

Finishing up:

Sew all around the four sides of your quilt with a 1/4″ seam, stopping about 10″ before you’re finished, so that you can turn it rightside out.  Trim the corners diagonally, as close to the seam as you dare so that they are nice and pointy when your turn it.  Flip your quilt rightside out, lay it flat and iron around the edges. 

Hand stitch the hole you left and then go back to your machine and top stitch about 1″ in from the side, just to make it lay nice and flat and look finished. 

Decide where you want to put your ties.  I put a tie at each intersection of the white sheet, but you might want to put one in the middle of each square, or at each corner.  The choice is yours, crafter.  Once you’ve made your decision, calculate how many ties you’ll need to cut.  Feel free to use a calculator–I’m not here to judge you.  Each tie should be about 6″ long.

Put in a movie–this part is tedious and brainless.

Lay your quilt right side up to sew in the ties.  Thread your needle with a piece of embroidery floss and run it down through all three layers of your quilt, leaving about a 3″ tail, then come back up again very close to the point of entry.  I repeat this once, for extra security.  Then tie your ends together in a square knot. 

And you’re done!

Enjoy!

Backlogged

Hello, friends!  I didn’t mean to put off posting until so late in the week, but here we are, on Friday, wondering where the time has gone…  And then we remember exactly where that time went (workworkwork), and we decide not to talk about that today.  ON TO THE CRAFTS!

In spite of my week-long silence here, I have been very extra crafty lately and have finally found the motivation to start a lot of projects that have been knocking around in the back of my brains for a while now.  This first one I mentioned a while ago–it’s the wooden sign from Apartment Therapy.  I made some changes, though–the first is that mine is not wall sized.  I would have loved to make a giant one, but David was fearful and the supplies would have been a bit too pricey, so I settled on mantle sized and used green instead of black.  Here’s what we came up with:
home is *

These are lyrics from a song by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros that has special meaning to David and I since we have never renewed a lease such restless spirits.  It was so easy to do, I just got a panel of plywood from the shelving area of Lowes, some green spray paint and vinyl sticky letters.  I used stuff I found around the house to keep my lines straight and even (namely a cruise brochure, a piece of chalk and a giant post-it note… Yes, you can call me MacGyver) and stuck the letters directly to the plywood.  Then I sprayed on some primer, and then a couple layers of the green and, after the paint dried and the ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD came down off of our collective spray paint high, I peeled off the letters and there you have it.  Awesome.

In between the steps for that project, I sewed a quilt!  My new sewing machine was an absolute dream come true and did not jam up even once!!!!  I could fill an entire page with exclamation points for that.  So, I was able to sew it all in one weekend with minimal cursing and zero tears.  For material, I bought 7 flannel shirts and 2 flannel sheets from goodwill, washed them all in hot water and started cutting and sewing.  I will probably put up a tutorial this weekend for those of you who would like to make a nice flannelly quilt of your own.  I found some information online, but I wanted something a bit more modern looking, so I just winged it, and it came out really great. Don’t mind all the wrinkles–we have been using this on our bed for a week now, so it’s sort of rumpley now.  You get the idea, though.
quilt

It’s cute, right? 

Finally, I couldn’t resist taking a few pics of our paperwhites, which have blossomed so quickly into beautiful flowers, even if they do smell vaguely of cat urine.
paperwhites

People: SPRING IS NIGH!!