Wednesday, September 30, 2015

40: A Portrait

I am 40 today.

Cantina do Spade in Venice

Watching a small child grow keeps you anchored to the present rather than reflective about the past or contemplative about the future. This portrait, taken by Phin during our first family vacation in Venice, says just about everything I would want to say about my life in the present.

It says I am happy.

It says I have grown.

It says I like crazy pants.

It says I have purpose.

It says there is meaning.

It says I have joy.

It says I am loved.

It says I love. 

I've heard that 40 is the place between experience and possibility, and I'm excited. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Did I forget to mention that we are away for a few weeks?

I've just finished a week of work in London, and now we are on our first family vacation. Guess where.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Crazy Pants

I made crazy pants.

Can you tell that I really kind of like them?

I've been feeling like the summer has flown by. Taco's ongoing nap strike along with a somewhat complicated sewing project for Phin (to be blogged) has really eaten into my sewing-for-me time and made me feel, well, a bit depleted. So, a quick win was in order.

You've seen these pants before. They are Ralph Pink's Hareem pants, which I made twice last spring, once in jersey and once in stretch silk. Harem pants are kind of crazy to begin with, and now I've made them out of crazy... aka hot pink and orange snake print cotton jersey.

I've worn the first two pair of these pants before, during and post- pregnancy. The easy fit made them ideal and I always get compliments. Becoming a mom can really leave you in a style rut because almost your whole wardrobe becomes transitional as you gain and then lose weight. Also, your needs change as comfort becomes more of a priority. If you are not careful, you can end up wearing the same baggy yoga pants for days on end. A pair of really fun and casual pants for pushing the stroller around town, chasing after my increasingly mobile Taco and meeting friends for brunch/coffee/ice cream, but that were NOT yoga pants is what I was after. I think I succeeded.

I actually felt pretty cool pushing the stroller yesterday, in my mind if not temperature-wise in this late summer heat wave. I really should have made them sooner since the fabric is pretty light and relatively comfy in the heat.

Honestly, I don't think this is the last time I will make these pants. They went from being a style I was not sure about to a real staple item. And they sew up in a jiffy on my serger. And they look great in different colors and prints. So, I guess these are sort of a "basic" in my wardrobe, if you can consider hot pink and orange anaconda knit a basic...

Anyway, Phin was getting punchy by the end of our little photo shoot. This is my "I mean business, mister" face.  And now, if I could just finish my very summery project for Phin, I could move along to some fun fall sewing. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Finished! A Beautiful Bag

What else can I say about Butterick B5005, which is sadly OOP?  I've sewn it 5 times now, including for myself.

Diaper Bag and Changing pad

This version is for my sister, Terpischore, and my new nephew!!!

My very first version of this bag was for Poly, one of my other sisters (I have 4 of 'em). So, I called her to see how well her bag had held up. I was considering using Amy Bulter fabric, like I did for her's back in 2009 and wanted to make sure it would be durable. She reported that after using it daily until she no longer needed a diaper bag for her first child, she retired it to "beach bag" and was still using it. Even better, she reported that it machine washed beautifully and - six years on - the only real visible wear and tear was on the straps. That was all I needed to hear and I'm hoping that this bag holds up equally well for Terp.    

I wrote about the hardware that I've used for bag sewing when I made another version for a dear friend. The only elements that I've added since then are the zip welt pocket, which I first did for my own diaper bag (here). And now this fun "Handmade" plate from Emmaline Bags.

Zipper double welt pocket 

I never can get good pictures of the insides of the bags so I took the above and below inside photos before final assembly. They're a bit dark since I took them inside. But you get the idea.


On my bag, I use these nice sized pockets for diapers and wipes. 

The only other detail is that I made a matching changing pad.

Isn't the changing pad pretty with it's hot pink bias edging? As always, I used iron on vinyl.

 Here's a few detail shots...

Metal zipper

Outside pocket with a magnetic snap closure; webbing straps

I really think this may be my best looking bag yet. I'm just wild about the color combination and prints; they really pop!  And on that note I have to confess that I hope it's my last bag, at least for a while. When you do a bag right and add so many little details it becomes a big project. And frankly, I'm feeling very eager to get back to some non-baby-oriented sewing.

Anyway, I can't wait to meet my nephew and drop off this diaper bag in the next few days. I hope it serves my sister well! 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Quick Quiche!

One of my favorite things to bake and eat over the last year has been quiche.

I really craved dairy during pregnancy and found it equally satisfying during the early months of motherhood. With limited time and patience for baking, I developed this very basic recipe for a crustless quiche that was the perfect use for leftovers. My quiche making eventually got to a point (obsession?) where I started trying to generate more leftovers in order to have more quiche fillings.  

Calling this a recipe is an overstatement. It's actually a ratio based on how many eggs you want to use. The basic ratio is: 
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 oz cheese (cheddar, gruyere, a blend...)
1 oz of one or more fillings
salt and pepper to taste
So, if you want to use 4 eggs, you would add one cup of milk, 4 oz of cheese and 4 oz of as many fillings as you would like. When it comes to cheese and fillings, you really can use more or less to suit your tastes.

Leftover Veg, diced leftover ham and gruyere

What do I mean by fillings? I mean leftovers. For example, the rest of the broccoli or spinach from last night's dinner. Or leftover roasted chicken or ham that's been diced. Or a few strips of bacon that you've crumbled. You really can use just about any vegetable or meat that you'd enjoy as long as it isn't too wet. As for cheese, use whatever suits you - cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella, blue cheese, feta..

Leftover bits of broccoli, mushroom and sauteed spinach.

Just put all your fillings in a pie plate (for a 3 or 4 egg version) or another small or large dish that will hold everything, keeping a bit of the cheese aside for topping. In a separate bowl, whisk your eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mix over the filling and top with cheese.

With a dusting of parmesan on top!

About 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven should do it. Just be careful not to drop yours onto the kitchen floor.

Yeah. This happened. 

Enjoy your quiche warm or cool with a side of soup or salad.  I ate my many quiches during the winter with this awesome and easy tomato soup. Perfect!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Summer Socks!

I love how these socks look.

They are Tennarisukka ankle socks; the pattern is a free Ravelry download which I knit up in Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn. This is probably why I love how these socks look. Isn't the colorway beautiful and fun?

But the yarn itself is kind of scratchy. I think they will definitely exfoliate my feet when I wear them.

The yarn wasn't scratchy enough that I didn't like knitting with it, but these socks definitely don't feel buttery soft. The yarn is much less springy than other sock yarns I've used and has little in the way of give. I think that this may be my one and only pair of Noro socks. I'll have to make the other colorway I have at home into a stuffed animal. Wouldn't that be fun?

As for the pattern, it was very easy and satisfying. I think it makes a nice looking sock with minimal effort or skill; the pattern is entirely knit and purl stitches. It was a winner for my first pair of back to work/back to commuting socks.

And now I am back in the swing of sock knitting and commuting. Sort of. At least that's what I tell myself.

How do you get back into the swing of sewing or knitting after a hiatus?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ring Sling for a Cool Dude

This is just a quick post to say, "Look I made another ring sling!"

You remember the ring sling I made during the SHB Sew Along, right? I use it every day.

Details here. 

Well, I've sewn another one. This time it's for my brother-in-law.  My younger sister is expecting a boy, due in mid-August. So an all black ring sling was requested.  Here is Phin happily modelling it with Taco, a more reluctant model.

Didn't we do this already, Mama? 

For this sling, I once again used a tutorial from MayaWrap.  They have a really well designed shoulder, which Phin actually didn't quite get on his shoulder.

Not quite on the shoulder

Phin doesn't use my ring sling, so he was not used to wearing Taco. But they lumped on through the photo shoot. Thankfully, for novice baby-wearers there are many resources on line. Seriously. Just google it.

And we're done

I mentioned how beneficial babywearing is for babies when I posted my own sling. Now that I've been wearing Taco for a few months, I have to say that it is beneficial for me, too. Taco started crawling right before I went back to work. So, if he is on the floor, he is going, going, going and pulling himself up to standing on furniture, toys, walls... But he is very content as my sling-worn sidekick. This frees me to bake, putter around the house or get things done when I have to, without having to watch the little guy like a hawk. In social situations, having him on my hip deters people from touching or kissing him and lets me mingle without having to worry that the situation is overwhelming - he's right there, content and secure being on my hip. Sure, I could hold him, but the sling is easier and much more comfortable for longer stretches of time since it distributes his weight.

Anyway, I hope my bro-in-law gets a good amount of use from this cool and understated sling.