Friday, July 31, 2009

Danger: Cute Kid Story

And a brief one at that, but it just made me giggle.

The other day my child was dressed up in her Cinderella outfit, a perennial favorite. She comes over to me and says, "Mommy, I don't have a magic wand. Do you think we could get one at the magic wand store?" Oh man, she can crack me up some days. What's your favorite cute kid story of the day?

~Melissa, in Portland, OR

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Recipe

At least all this cool, rainy weather is good for something.

I just picked a nice little batch of shelling peas from our garden in order to make one of our favorite family dishes. I have struggled with my weight my whole life, and am currently a lapsed member of weight watchers. The following comes from one of my many cookbooks. It is fast, easy, and tasty even for the littlest in your family.

Tortellini with Peas and Proscuitto in a Creamy Sauce

½ lb. of refrigerated tortellini
1 c. peas (frozen or fresh)
¼ lb deli-sliced prosciutto, chopped
2 tbsp. flour
1 c whole milk (I use skim because it’s what I have on hand, and put a dash of half and half in)

½ c. grated parmesan (I use the stuff that comes from the cheese counter, not Kraft’s)
½ tsp. pepper or to taste

Cook the tortellini according to package instructions, putting the peas in for the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile coat a non-stick pan with cooking spray, and add the chopped prosciutto. Cook for about 2-3 min. Remove the meat and save for later. Whisk together the milk and flour and add to the skillet. Cook until thickened (this only takes a few minutes on my gas stove), stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and pepper. Add the proscuitto, cooked tortellini and peas.

Dinner is served!

This makes 4 light servings, is 6 pts. per serving. 358 calories (with whole milk), 4g fiber, and 6g fat.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sewing what I shouldn't be sewing...

I know, I know, I ‘m supposed to be designing for the fall, but all I seem to want to do is use pretty fabrics and make sundresses! All in a climate that has not been conducive to wearing them. We have had the rainiest summer I can remember. And it’s been chilly too. Only a few days have reached 80. Most of the time we are in the 60’s or low 70’s. And maybe that’s the point. I can’t design for the fall, because I haven’t put her in enough sundresses. But finally last week we had a beautiful day, and I had just received three new fabrics in the mail.

Ordinarily I have to think of combinations for a little while, but this one practically fell into my lap (or out of the parcel as it were). I just happened to order two Heather Bailey fabrics, and one from Anna Maria Horner. And there it was. As soon as I opened up the package, I “saw” the dress. Snappy yellow straps, yellow piping, aqua print bodice, and what I am calling the “under the sea” print. I have no idea what Anna Maria called her design, but to me it looks like brightly colored kelp, coral, and sea anemones in the shape of flowers. I wasn’t sure about it from the pictures on the web, but in person it is glorious.

So, we took it out for a test run at our local farmer’s market. Which, by the way has the most extraordinary donuts ever; just the right amount of squishy doughy texture, super fine sugar, and ever so slightly crisp on the outside. But I digress. She had to pet the biggest dog I have ever seen, which stood just as tall as she, and the other lab mix old girl. And had to run around every park bench she saw, whilst eating said donut. Sit still? Oh no, not her.

So, after greeting a few neighbors, my husband and child headed to the beach, and me to Denver. It’s so hard to go to work on one of the few nice weather days, but at least it wasn’t a sewing day, which is way harder to forego to be outside. Today I’m headed to Anchorage for some of the freshest halibut ever, nice and fried. And a beer. And a view of the bay. You jealous yet? OK, I’ll stop.

And I have all my pattern stuff with me, and promise to be good and set the sundresses aside for daydreaming in winter…

Monday, July 13, 2009

Want to see?

I felt like a proud parent, putting it all together. Our crazy umbrella and yet to be painted dowel all properly clothed, just like I always knew it would look (wink, wink). Even if it took us three tries to get there. So without further ado...

And they're still not completely finished. Each dowel will get a hat and has to be painted too. I need 30 hours in every day! And here are my adventures in applique. I haven't done a lot of this, but it was FUN! Like decorating with scissors and thread. I'm pretty thrilled with how they turned out, so there will be more...

Coming to you from Denver, Colorado where it is way past my bedtime...

Friday, July 10, 2009

A little blog experimentation

As if you hadn't noticed, I'm experimenting with background wallpaper patterns for my blog from Let me know what you think...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I wasn't kidding...

when I said I had made a LOT of these skirts...

So, now the issue becomes how to display them at a show. I had some ideas right away as I was making them, and now it's time to show you just how ridiculously yankee we get around here. By yankee I mean cheap of course...

My husband is an engineer, and he had the best idea almost immediately, but no, no, I couldn't just go with it. I had to "devise some kind of system" to put these on display. My first thought was wire hangars. If I could bend them into some kind of spoke system, and somehow twist them together and nail them into a dowel, and, and, guessed it. Total disaster.

My next thought was to use wire. It'd be easier, right?? So the thought process here was to get some metal rings which would slide over a dowel, and make a spoke system that would then attach to a ring below. Here is how far I got on this idea before total abandonment...

The problem was that the wire kept sliding around the ring, making it impossible to support the skirt in any kind of meaningful way. And I can just see myself futzing with the display every time someone wanted to look at the skirt. Unacceptable.

We then thought that something rigid might work. We have some foam laying around, and thought that by pushing the wire up through the foam and down the other side, we could create, you guessed it, a spoke system for support. This may have worked other than that the foam kept sliding down the dowel, and the spokes weren't perfectly symmetric. Which leads me back to my engineer husband who suggested a modified umbrella.

Oh, I wish I had just started with this idea in the first place...I couldn't find any children's umbrellas at my local drug store (our town's version of a five and dime), but I did come up with these trusty large ones. I took off the fabric, saved the plastic doo-gigs on the end so that no one gets hurt, cut off about 6 inches of frame, and voila...

Eventually, there will be two holes in the base; one to hold the umbrella handle, and one right next to it to hold a larger dowel with a cross-piece for a top. I anticipate adventures in applique later today. The larger dowel will fit through the spokes of the umbrella so that when the top comes down, it'll cover up the top piece.

Oh sure, I could have purchased some dress forms that would accomplish the same thing a whole lot quicker, but they're expensive, heavy, and that's just not the "yankee" way.

Note to self: listen to your engineer husband more often.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The day of the twirl skirt...

Actually, more like two days of twirl skirts.

I have a cold. A really bad one. The kind where you think your head might explode from the pressure, you are coughing up a lung, and you can't breathe. Just in time for a rainy 4th of July...

But I had sewing days, and you know how it is. These days aren't often enough, and I wanted to take advantage. I was planning on some pattern work this week, but I just couldn't do it. My brain was like that commercial where the woman's head is sort of floating above her body. I am not actually taking anything other than a little ibuprofen at night, but I still feel disjointed.

I am totally inspired by Heather Bailey's blog, and saw an adorable twirl skirt using her fabrics. I really wanted to try this out because the cutting portion is just a series of rectangles and a little bias. Simple. But totally beautiful. So, I made a LOT of them. And I am getting an idea for displaying at markets in my sinus congested head. The only question is whether to just applique a t-shirt to coordinate or make the top myself. What would you do?

So, my daughter is bewitched...

And what little girl wouldn't be?