Wednesday, March 13, 2019

So Many Sandoval Hats

Look at my loves, just look at them! I'm here taking photos of their hats, but they themselves are so dear and happy in the cold breeze.  Let's say it's because their heads are warm?



I knitted up a Sandoval hat for my husband with grey worsted wool, and then Genevieve tried it on and asked for one, too.  There was a little grey yarn left from my husband's hat, and I had a little light blue yarn left from my nephew's baby hat, so we agreed a light blue brim would look cool.  I dearly wanted to use the rest of the light blue in a pom pom, but Genevieve was firm and kind: no way.



This hat is easy to knit, super comfy to wear (okay, I snitched my husband's hat a few times now), and looks good.  I've now cast on to knit my own Sandoval.

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Big Kids Cook Supper

Have you ever broken down the skills that go into cooking a good meal?  There's planning ahead to decide what to cook, matching that up to what's in the pantry and planning how and when to get other ingredients.  Then you have to decide what recipes, or else have some back-pocket knowledge of food if you're not using recipes.  And will the people you're feeding like what you're planning?  Is it balanced - protein, carb, veg/fruit? Then you have to time the whole shebang to be done at the same time, preferably the time your people are expecting to eat.  Wow! That's a lot of skills!



So obviously, this is a big step for kids to produce a meal.  Over the years, however, I've taught them some individual recipes and they've made one-off desserts.  Also, since I stopped making breakfast for everyone, Ben and Genevieve have gotten more experience with what it takes to prepare a meal if they feel like eating something other than cereal. 



Ben and Genevieve take turns cooking dinner on Saturday evenings.  Early in the week, I discuss the menu with them and help them make a plan.  I shop for any ingredients they need.

On Saturday, I leave the kitchen in the late afternoon and park myself somewhere in the house with a project that can be interrupted.  They come and consult with me if they need to (usually do), and I don't have to sit on my hands and bite my tongue watching them cook. They do fine! They do things differently from me! It's mean to expect them to be tidy and efficient when they're beginners!



Some of Ben's menus:  
vegetarian chili, cornbread, and pickles
Singapore street noodles (with Dad's help)
dhal, rice, greens in peanut sauce

Some of Genevieve's menus: 
chicken corn noodle soup, pimento cheese + crackers, cranberry applesauce
taco salad
waffles, creamed spinach, pickles, and waffles with ice cream and magic shell


Ben says he likes seeing us eat the food he made.  Genevieve says she likes being able to choose the menu.  It's really nice for me to get a break from cooking supper, and it's wonderful for them to be acquiring life skills. High fives all around!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

I Sliced Up My Blue Boho Shirt

I thought I could make myself a popover shirt that would work as part of my winter uniform: jeans, cardi, shirt.  I used this 1970s pattern again, and this time I decided to insert some lace.  I was afraid I had made a cowgirl shirt, but Rebecca called it boho and talked me into wearing it (good job, R!).  I do adore the blue fabric, which I got for pennies somewhere. I had just enough for this shirt



But here is the slicing part:  as I was sewing the shirt, I accidentally made a 1" cut on the front hem.  I was squeezing this shirt out of very little yardage, so I couldn't re-cut the front.  Instead, I "mended" the cut with a little piece of flowered bias tape because I've seen some trendy labels put their tags on shirts that way.  Most of the time, the hem is tucked in my jeans anyway. 


I used that same pretty bias tape to make the casing for the elastic in the sleeves.  I opted for elastic to make the shirt more user-friendly in the kitchen with my hands in dough or water or whatnot; plus, it's easier to get dressed without buttoning cuffs.

 But unfortunately, even though I had measured carefully for my long arms, the sleeve elastic had pulled the sleeves back behind my wrists. I hate sleeves that are too short!  Instead of tediously picking out the elastic and casing and adding length there, I sliced the sleeves and inserted a few inches.  Uncoventional, but really not very visible, and now I truly have just a few inches of blue fabric left.  And the shirt is so comfortable and hard-working that I wear it often. 


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Simple, Satisfying Banana Pudding

I desired banana pudding recently, and not having a dearly beloved banana pudding recipe in my background, I was left to search the internets and my cookbooks. 



Seems to me, banana pudding lovers have a favorite recipe, usually an ancestral one, and mighty strong opinions on the subject.  I simply wanted to use up some brownish bananas that my family was ignoring.  I wanted something fast and delicious using what I had on hand, so I mashed up a few recipes. 



But the recipe turned out so well, I'm making it again on purpose and sharing it with you!  Maybe this is the start of a banana pudding loyalty in my family?



Thrift at Home Banana Pudding

Make pudding.
In a saucepan, over medium heat, heat until steamy hot:
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Meanwhile, beat well in a glass measuring cup:
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Pour a little hot milk into egg mixture, whisking.  This tempers the eggs.

Now turn heat to low.  While whisking milk mixture, pour egg mixture into the saucepan slowly.  Whisk continuously.  When the egg mixture is totally whisked in, turn the heat up to med-low and whisk continuously until it comes to a slow boil.  Allow to boil 3-5 minutes, still whisking. Should be quite thick, basically pudding, after the boil.

Take pan off heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla.  Set aside for about half an hour which allows it to cool a bit.

Assemble. Lay 3-4 graham crackers in bottom of lightly greased 8x8 dish or equivalent. Slice a banana over the crackers.  Add another layer of crackers.  Pour the still-warm pudding gently over the top layer. Cover. Refrigerate for several hours - best eaten within 24 hours because the bananas will inevitably turn brown.

Notes: Use 2 cups half-and-half in place of milk and cream.  I'm sure you could double this recipe.
You could add some nutmeg somewhere. . . or use chocolate graham crackers or Nilla Wafers. . . or put whipped cream on top. . . or what else?  Are you a banana pudding fan?  How do you like yours?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Hearts and Sloths

Of course, Phoebe's preschool is going to do valentines.  Phoebe and I took some time one day to make valentines, and I used what I had on hand: construction paper, lace and rick rack, and a red stamp pad (borrowed from Genevieve - she has a serious craft stash!). 


I first tried hot-gluing the trims to the hearts, but it was tedious and fraught with glue-strings. So I put an old needle in my sewing machine and sewed those babies up. 

I used Phoebe's thumb in the red stamp pad to make little hearts on each paper heart. To be frank, that part didn't go well, and I should have stayed with my policy of letting my kids design and execute their own little projects.  But Phoebe does love the resulting valentines, and even put her own "P" on each one. 



But in general, Phoebe is confused about what exactly is happening with these valentines.  We'll see how it goes at preschool today and what she comes home with!

In keeping with tradition, I made a little valentines' carrying bag for Phoebe (Ben's bag, Genevieve's bag). Luckily we had a plain yellow bag in the bag cupboard, and I just picked through my piece bag to make some fun hearts.



I also made Phoebe these mittens recently, and they are a scream. Phoebe and I had a serious artistic discussion among the bolts of fleece at Joann's Fabric.  I told Phoebe she could pick a fleece that wasn't too light and would go with her red winter coat.  She studied the bolts, we pulled out a number, rejected the ones that wouldn't work, and ended up with this mint-colored fleece. I love seeing my kids develop their personal taste!  The lady at the cutting counter admired the sloths and Phoebe looked at her reprovingly, "they're kitties!"



I used the Purl SoHo pattern, although I sort of free-handed a child-size paper pattern.  I made a test mitten and had to adjust the dimensions. 

However, even when the sloth mittens were made, they needed some tweaking.  Phoebe said her hands were still cold, so I made a second pair of mittens and inserted them inside to make lined mittens.  Also, the mittens were literally falling off Phoebe's hands, so I put some elastic at the wrist to help them stay on. 


Now, finally, the mittens do what they're supposed to do.  And they make me laugh every time!

Happy Valentine's Day to you all, in whatever way you celebrate or not. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Keeping Phoebe Warm

I took some oddments of sock yarn and made Phoebe some wool socks.


 I aimed to make the heels and toes red, but I colored outside the lines on the one sock.  And also, this is some vintage sock yarn I picked up somewhere, and I think it's a little fragile.  I caught the sock unraveling in two red spots, where I joined the red to another color.  Or perhaps the socks are already wearing out because Phoebe has worn them almost non-stop?


Phoebe is suddenly so much taller that her pajamas were inches too short at wrists and ankles.  When I asked her if she'd like a nightie, her face lit up and she asked if she could wear it that night: I had yet to even search out a pattern and fabric!

 But the nightie was fast and easy, and Phoebe has rarely slept in anything else since it came off the sewing machine.


 I let her choose a button - she chose a lamb.  She's my little lamb! And look at my precious 6-year-old Genevieve in a nightie from the same pattern.  Little girls in nighties - so dear.



Thursday, January 31, 2019

Bright Things I Made

I recently spent hours uploading 2018's photos to Shutterfly, partly to make a surprise project for someone who is probably reading this blog post.  So that's a secret.  But it's so trippy to zip through a year in photos - the events I've forgotten, the details, my children who used to be small, the things I've made.

So here are some things I made that I fully intended to blog, to put on The Record.  Bonus:  they are bright! Perfect for winter when we must make our colors while the natural world sleeps in grey, white, and brown.

I made a new batch of handtowels and aprons (Simplicity 1221) for a shop that promotes young Mennonite makers (I am still young, see). 

I am particularly proud of that little zing of yellow rick rack with the calico and gingham.

 Also, I love yellow and pink together, particularly these strong shades.  I didn't have enough for the belt, so I pieced together the feedsack calico.




I love mixing fabric so much that I like to piece even the toppers for handtowels. Also, I have not forgotten that I owe my readers a handtowel tutorial. 




Also, I made a beautiful cake for Christmas day; well, it's presented as two rectangular cakes.  It's the petit fours cake from Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant Unfussy Favorites

There was some difficulty and swearing involved as is normal for fancy cakes, but oh my word, this cake was beautiful in every respect.  Those are almond paste holly leaves and berries that I colored and formed with my own stained fingers.  On top of ganache, which covers a triple layer of delicious almond cake sandwiched with raspberry jam. So, so delicious.



Hope your winter day has some brightness in it!  Around here, it's terribly cold and I just found out that school is canceled.  This is frustrating to a person like me who makes it a priority to get proper clothing for my family so they can get fresh air in any weather. I'm sure I'll be sending them out to sled!

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