Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Cutest Crocheted Tops!

My mother, my inspiration! That's all I can say. Give the women a needle and some thread and she can whip up anything your heart desires. She made these adorable crocheted tops for all four of her granddaughters. (I'd like to add, in one week.) The woman just amazes me. These were too pretty not to share. Hopefully the pictures I posted are clear enough so that anyone interested could copy the pattern. The gray top is about a size 3-4 in toddlers. The cream and gray is about a 7 in girls.  I have configured the simplest way to explain how this was made.

First, as you look at the top, eliminate all shell crocheted stitches. These are the stitches along the bottom and around the arm holes. Around the bottom you can see 6 rows on the gray top and 7 on the cream top, (the thread was thicker.)  She began this project where the chain stitch meets the shell stitch. She worked her way up the sweater making the front and the back in one single piece. Last, she added the shell stitching. This would be such a beautiful top for women too.  The shell stitches could start at an empire waist. I would love to give this a try. If I have the guts, I'll post. 

 My little models love their grandma's gifts.  

I love this picture!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What is musmula?

Look at these beauties. Finally, I find an answer to this question! The translation for the Turkish, Mediterranean fruit called 'musmula' is 'medlar'.  This exotic fruit that's a cross between a pear and a hawthorn is very unique and tasty. I owe great thanks to my grandfather for grafting this beauty in my yard. Sadly, I don't have any recipes regarding the medlar. But I have read that it is great for making preserves and jelly's. This is a tasty fall fruit that can only ripen after the first frost. I should really move them to a dry shelf until the pulp softens. Then, they're the best!

All for Quince!

Quince is known as one of the best fruits for jelly's and preserves.  A couple years ago, I stole a baby shoot from my in-laws backyard. (Old wives tale - if you 'steal' a plant, it's more likely to grow and flourish.) This tree has grown into a beautiful 12ft sight, flowering pinkish white buds in late spring.  (And, yes, they eventually found out.) This is the first year that the tree fruited to such an extent, I was able to make my first preserve/jelly. Now, in all honesty, the key to this recipe is measurement, meaning: everything depends on how much fruit you have. For the Quince preserve, I took a giant mixing bowl and filled it with water and two teaspoons of lemon juice. (Lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. But- don't be surprised if it still does a little.) I peeled all the quince very carefully, literally trying to remove only the tough skin. 'Organic' or what I call backyard fruit, really looks imperfect, with holes, dimples, and darkened spots. Remove any darkening areas. After your fruit is all peeled and is soaking in the 'lemon water', get another large bowl, we'll call it #2, and do the same. (Fill it with water and two teaspoons of lemon juice.)   Next, start grating the fruit. All grated fruit should be placed in bowl #2. After your fruit is grated, strain it. Measure in cups how much grated fruit you have. Place that in a cooking pot, NOT made of stainless steel or non-stick surfaces. The pot I use has a white coated interior. Now, you will need only 1/2 the amount of water. So.... If you have 6 cups of fruit, you will only add 3 cups of water. For the sugar, you will need one less cup than you have of the fruit. So, it would be 5. All ingredients should be added at once. Then cook for about 1 hour. Bring it to a boil then reduce it to low heat. I have a gas stove, and usually keep the flame on low to med. The grated fruit will become iridescent when it's ready. Some like to add a sprig of vanilla bean in the jar for flavor. Either way, I'm sure you'll enjoy it on toasted bread and buns.

Monday, October 24, 2011

We love Halloween!

So excited about Halloween this year! This is the first time that I was able to make costumes for both my girls. I'm going to start off by saying it's a great thing to keep old bridesmaid dresses around. Literally, I was able to cut the cost in 1/2.  Little Red Riding Hood and Purple Tooth Fairy came out better than I had hoped:)  I ended up using the skirt portion of the gowns, did a basic straight stitch while an elastic band was placed underneath. The skirt ended up being too long, so I gathered it with a sewing needle in multiple sections. Here's a closer look:
The cloak was made with a velvet bridesmaid dress that I took apart and used the lining as the framing for the hood. The Tooth Fairy costume is really a giant skirt, that has a mini satin skirt separating the top and bottom. I made two coordinating satin straps, attached them to the elastic top portion, (so that it appears to 'tie' around the neck).  Even better, as a mid-west mom- you want the costumes to be warm. My little tooth fairy gets to wear a turtle neck underneath and the cloak of red riding hood is big enough to cover a jacket! Everybody wins in the end:) Happy Trick or Treating! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Kitchen Table:

The kitchen table is an amazing place to gather for meals, hear stories from your children, family, friends, find solitude, and relax. In the mornings, I love to sit at the kitchen table with hot cup of coffee or tea & jot some ideas and drawings in the little notebook.  Good idea for your Morning Tea:

Boil 2 cups of water, (b/c you'll def. want to drink 2 of these)
When the water has boiled over, remove from heat
add 2 teaspoons of dried mint leaves,
1-2 teaspoons of orange or lavender honey,
and last, the 1/4 teaspoon of lemon zest.
Let steep for 4 minutes before drinking

The smell alone is enough to indulge your senses with positive energy! Hope you all enjoy:)

A Proper Introduction:

Inspiration! That is what this is about. I'm inspired by all that surrounds me. The colors of fall are absolutely beautiful. The smells, sights, and sounds. Today, tonight, is my first try at creating a blog. Why? Because I have spent an endless amount of time thinking about it. I feel I have great ideas, with sewing, crafting, cooking, and gardening. All too great not to share. So here I am, completely and utterly excited to be out and about. Hope you enjoy!