Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring lunch

spring lunch

This is a recipe I like to make in the spring, whenever asparagus is coming into season. The ingredients may sound odd, but it's truly delicious! (By the way, this is called a sandwich, but I eat it with a knife and fork.)

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Open-Face Sandwich
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 14 oz. can of cannellini beans
  • 2/3 c. half-and-half (for non-American readers, this is a 50/50 mixture of milk and cream)
  • 4-8 oz. young asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • salt and pepper
Melt butter in sauce pan and saute onion and carrots, around 4 minutes. Add thyme. Rinse beans and drain, then add to onions and carrots. Pour in half-and-half and heat slowly, until just short of boiling. Remove from heat and add freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste.

Poach asparagus spears 3-4 minutes or steam until just tender.

Toast bread. Place asparagus on top of toast, then spoon bean mixture over top (or vice versa, like I did). Serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Leather toddler shoes

I'm rather behind on posting any projects! Here are the shoes I made for Rosie's birthday over a month ago. I posted a photo on Instagram while I was making them, and you can see that they originally had leather bows for a little feminine accent.

[One shoe down, one to go!]

I handstitched the bows onto the uppers before assembling the shoes, but I'm sorry to report that my handstitching was not strong enough to withstand even one day of toddler crawling! By the end of the first day, the bows were loose, wonky, and falling off. I removed them and pondered how I could re-attach. The only solution I can think of is leather glue, but I am dubious as to how well that would work. Rosie is now walking more than crawling, which means less stress to the tops of her shoes, but still! Even though the bows were cute, I think I will leave these as is, and chalk it up to a learning experience.

leather baby shoes

Thankfully the quality of the leather hides the holes made by my handstitching. I used the same pattern as my last effort, but resolved the printing issues I had. This time I used a size 6-12 months and they fit her just right. I sewed the shoes on my machine, with a leather needle, and had no problems with skipping stitches except once, when I was trying to sew through too many layers. The leather (and suede for the soles) came from a local shoe repair shop, where I can go and root through bins of scraps and take what I need for a few bucks.

leather baby shoes

This project earned me the title of "shoemaker" from Edmund. :) I'll take it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Florida in February


We just got back from a family trip to Florida, our first in three years.


Lots of firsts for my girls. First airplane ride, first visit to the beach, first visit to their great-grandparents' condo.


We built some modest sand sculptures.


The weather wasn't very cooperative. We had one sunny day, and although the temperatures were always more pleasant than what we'd experience back home, it was still a bit cool. The natives were wearing winter coats.


Lots of greenery for winter-weary Northerners, however.




And these kids would not be kept from the ocean! Edmund and his cousin loved to jump waves.


My favorite memory was taking Edmund for an early-morning walk to hunt for shells and other beach treasures. The commonest seashells sparked big-time excitement. You can see we found a nice assortment! God's beauty is everywhere.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A rosy day in February

Rosie's 1st birthday

Yesterday our baby Rosamund turned one year old! At breakfast, she opened some handmade cards from her siblings and a gift from Mommy and Daddy.

Rosie's 1st birthday

She has been in danger of getting very attached to a very soft, but very ugly, orange plaid throw blanket that we have. We gave her her own soft pink baby blanket from Berkshire Blanket. See those fingers in the mouth? That's a sign of contentedness. I think the switcheroo will go unnoticed.

Rosie's 1st birthday

She also received the felt rose hairclip, which I battled to keep in place all day long, and some new chocolate brown leather shoes made by me. I'll post about those soon.

Rosie's 1st birthday

I asked my mom if we could have the birthday luncheon at her house, so she provided the beautiful table while I contributed the food. We had tomato bisque and a variety of small, savory sandwiches and crudités, with cake and tea for dessert.

Rosie's 1st birthday

Mom set the table with vintage dishes belonging to Rosamund's great-great-great-grandmother. I sure hope Rosamund loves roses as much as I do, because the rose theme is not slacking off anytime soon!

Rosie's 1st birthday

For her first birthday cake, I used our champagne blush wedding cake recipe, which I've not tasted since our wedding. I thought the recipe was lost, but when I mentioned it to my mom, she found it for me. Whew!

Rosie's 1st birthday

Happy day celebrating a precious little lady. We love you, Rosamund!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Felted wool baby shoes

felted shoes

OK, OK, I didn't think I would do it, but I did! I'm giving baby shoes a shot. It is so hard to find classic, sweet shoes for little girls that don't involve pink, cartoon characters, and glitter. Rosamund is outgrowing her winter shoes (hand-me-downs from Lavinia) and the next sizes in girls' winter shoes that I have just aren't working for her. She is just on the verge of toddling so I want to continue to put her in soft-soled shoes, the better to walk on her own.

These are a "dipping my feet in" version of the free pattern available at Darling Diapers (brought to my attention by Shannon, who has already made and shared several pairs of adorable leather shoes on her blog! Thanks for the inspiration, Shannon!) These ones are made of felted wool, with leather (wrong-side-out, for texture) on the bottom. I sewed the wool parts on my sewing machine, but I don't have any leather needles for my machine (yet -- they're on their way, thanks to Amazon Prime) so I hand-stitched the uppers and soles together. Let's just say my hand-stitching could use a great deal of practice.

I made the 12-18 month size, but they are a tad snug on my almost-one-year-old, so for my next version, I will size up. (EDIT: I think I made a mistake while printing, so that's why the sizing was off!) These practice ones are not very feminine so I am mulling over some ways to "pretty" them up while still sticking with neutral colors.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mei tai in action

I find I am using baby carriers more and more with each successive child -- it becomes more necessary to have hands free when you've got other children to care for. I've actually tried three different "traditional" baby carrier styles over the years -- a ring sling, a mei tai, and a moby wrap. They each have their pros and cons but the one I've ended up using the most is the mei tai, made from Sew Liberated's mei tai baby carrier pattern. I haven't used my sling since Edmund was a baby, because the uneven weight distribution just tends to make my neck and shoulder ache. My sister-in-law lent me her moby wrap when Lavinia was born, and even though it's the most complicated to get on, it's my favorite for the newborn stage because of the great head support. However, when my babies get old enough to hold up their heads on their own, I favor the mei tai because it's easier and faster to put on than the moby.

Mei tai

This is a typical scene you'll find around our house on any given morning -- Rosie riding on my back in the mei tai while I'm doing housework. She is not-so-content to play on her own while I'm busy, but she's very content to hang out back there while I do dishes. I also frequently use the mei tai when I'm out and about. I almost always wear Rosie in the front when I'm grocery shopping, which leaves one kid in the cart and one kid walking beside me (or both kids strapped into one of those ridiculous, un-maneuverable two-child carts at places like Walmart or Target -- why they like to ride in there, I have no idea).

Mei tai
[I do have to put my hair in a stylin' side pony because Rosie LOVES to pull it otherwise!]

So anyway, about the pattern. I made it a long time ago, when I was pregnant with Lavinia, but here's what I can recall: first off, I managed to make it out of 45" wide home décor fabric, and less than what the pattern calls for. I think I did this by rotating the layout of the straps 90 degrees. Unfortunately I can't remember exactly what I did, but just a head's up that you don't have to go with what's recommended in the pattern -- play around with the layout and see what you can come up with. Also, you could totally omit the patch pocket on the front of the mei tai. I never use it; it's just not handy.

All in all, I'm happy with my carrier and it's held up well after nearly three years of use (although the fabric has faded quite a bit).