Sunday, June 29, 2008

Progress...and Some Random Thoughts

I'm progressing on the bunny, a little slowly because...brace yourself...I've been doing a lot of cleaning lately! Every time I have a minute, I've been cleaning and purging. Which is a good thing because we have way too much stuff in this little house and we are in major need of some organization around here. Suffice to say, I have been able to sit down and do some crocheting. Should be ready to stuff and piece together soon.

On another note all together, Dot at Dabbled is doing a 4 part Shrinky Dink Test Drive with #6 plastic containers. Super cool!

It has been brought to my attention that Christmas is only 6 months away! Time to start thinking about what to make for gifts this year. It is a little hard thinking about Christmas in July, but there have been too many years that I've found myself sitting at the sewing machine or knitting until the wee hours of the night on Christmas Eve to finish the last of the gifts. So this year, I'm going to try to get started now.

We had a power outage in our neighborhood this morning that lasted almost 2 hours. It was right when I was about to make coffee, take a shower, start some laundry, put on something for the kids to watch, read blogs, call some people; all the things that could not possibly be done with out electricity. First, the kids went around testing all the light switches, and I walked around the house wondering what in the world I could possibly do until the power came back on. After we finally accepted our predicament, we sat in the brightest room in the house and started crafting! The kids did some beading and I worked on some crochet. What a relaxing morning! Some times it takes a power outage to remind you to slow down!

Hope you all are having a great summer!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

One Fine Looking Tomato!

Just look at this beauty! It is a 2+ pound Heirloom Italian Beefsteak tomato sitting in front of baskets of Sungold cherry tomatoes. Those lovely ridges on the shoulders are common on many heirloom varieties.

Heirloom Zebra and more Italian Beefsteak.

These wild, curly things are garlic tops. They are sweet with a subtle garlic flavor and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Sauté them quickly with olive oil, salt and pepper and use them like you would asparagus or green beans. Or blend them up in a pesto and have them with pasta or on pizza.

We turned some of our lovely tomatoes into bruschetta for dinner. The temperatures soared to 99 degrees today, so we used the gas grill to toast our bread. We also grilled some Romanesco zucchini that was brushed with olive oil and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.

For the bruschetta, rub cloves of garlic onto toasted bread. Mix diced tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, salt and pepper and spoon on top when ready to eat. The juices will soak into the bread blending all the flavors. Simple, refreshing and delicious. This brought me right back to when I traveled in Italy.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Look At Blue Bunny

This is Blue Bunny, my first amigurumi. Violet loves Blue Bunny. I look at Blue Bunny and see all the things about it I want to change. It has pretty wonky ears, and I tried so hard to get its face just so.

Well, now is my chance. I'm going to make one as a gift for one of Violet's friends. I will keep most things the same, I'm just hoping to make it better.

Once I've finished, I will post the pattern for all to use.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Taking A Sewing Break, Just For A Bit...

I had to take my sewing machine to the doctor. It wasn't feeling as well as usual. I took this opportunity to bring in the serger that had been given to me that I've never used. Yes, you read that right, I've had a serger sitting in my closet. But I've actually taken the step to finally get it going, so that is a good thing.

In the mean time, I'm going to start some yarn projects to keep myself occupied. And since this post needs some pictures, I'm leaving you with these.

Our family laying in the grass watching the clouds.

Violet had too much fun with the green marker!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Shrinky Dink Experiment

Over at Unplug your kids, I read about how you can use #6 plastic to make shrinky dinks and wanted to give it a try. We salvaged some take out food containers and I bought some colored sharpies. The kids enjoyed coloring on the plastic, and I gave my hand at one. Wow, I haven't drawn for a while!

I'm not sure if it is the plastic we used or just that it was our first try, but they ended up sticking to themselves and not uncurling. I was able to pry one open and flatten it. It could have been that they were too large because the long skinny ones turned out a bit better.

I tried to make two of them into rings, but they wouldn't hold their shape. Still, this was a very fun project and I love that we can use what we would other wise toss out to make them.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

This Week's Market Peek

The season is really kicking in now. There was a lot more variety from the farm this week.

These are an early variety of cherry that are similar in flavor to Bing.

This ribbed zucchini is a distinctive Italian variety called Romanesco. It is nutty and crisp, delicious raw or cooked.

Heirloom tomatoes nestled in with basil.

Look at that lovely color!

Raspberries season is really picking up. I just love the contrast of the red and golden raspberries. There is a slight difference in flavor between the two, golden tend to be more aromatic.

I just can't help myself with these strawberries. They are just so beautiful and glisten in the sun. Denison grows seascapes that are an ever bearing variety, so we should have them through to the fall.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Forced to Craft

I came home with this book from the library the other day. It is very cute, set up like a comic book of instructions on how to make all these cute useful things like tissue holders and water bottle covers. The book is narrated by two rabbits named White Rabbit and Brown Bunny.

Wren got a hold of the book and informed me that he wanted me to make everything for him right now. And specifically he wanted me to make him one of the rabbits, right now. Telling him it wasn't actually possible for me to make them all for him, right now, was not getting through. Desperate to stop the demands, I started searching for a way to appease him. I spotted some terry cloth that had been in the closet for quite a few years, it was finally destined to become something. A rabbit, right now!

Here you have it, White Rabbit!

White Rabbit with a shirt made from one of my socks.

I really like how they turned out. Although, the terry cloth was a little hard to sew through, especially at the arms and legs where there were four layers. I was worried for my sewing machine! I made Violet one and used corduroy for the body, which was much better. Luckily, they came together pretty fast and Wren has been appeased. For now, at least!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Simple Summer Dish

This is Ten Minute Tasty Asparagus and Brown Rice from 101 Cookbooks. Instead of brown rice, I used quinoa because it is a quick cooking grain that is high in protein. Although it comes together quickly, it does take more than 10 minutes. More accurately I would say it takes 10 minutes of cooking time, after you have gotten all your mis en place (a French culinary term for having everything all prepared).

I love the freshness of this dish and the tahini dressing, and it's asparagus season! The kids, on the other hand, don't really care for it. Violet mostly ate almond slivers and Wren ate mostly asparagus. But I can't please them all the time!

*recipe found on through link above.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ah, Summer

Summer is here. At least school is out, now we are waiting for some hot weather!

Wren graduated from preschool on Friday. The kids made tie-dye shirts in class to wear to the celebration, so there was a sea of color.

My little grad!

We have a few things planned for the summer, but mostly we will be spending our days around town and at home. So, I need to get organized! I decided that every night I will write a list of things that I want to accomplish the next day, then when I wake up I will have some guidance. Otherwise I'm afraid we will end up spending too much time in our pj's wondering what there is to do. Of course, some days like that are OK!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Going Local

It was a beautiful day at the Beaverton Farmer's Market, we have finally gotten some sun here in the Pacific NW. Produce is about a month behind, but there are still wonderful things to buy grown by Denison's Farm.

There were more varieties of cherry tomatoes this week and a few Oregon spring tomatoes. Heirlooms are coming soon.

I made a wonderful jam with golden raspberries last year.

Fresh bulbs of garlic.

Fava beans, there is always a lot of talk about how to cook fava beans. Usually the beans are taken out of the pod, blanched and then shelled again. Many steps! Apparently they can be just as good chopped up whole and sautéed with olive oil, salt, pepper and some lemon juice. Not only does this make the job a lot easier, it means that you have more food for your money. I brought home more fava beans this week and I'm going to try cooking the whole bean.

Fennel has a subtle anise flavor that is used in many Italian dishes.

And lastly, someone found this crazy strawberry and we all had to marvel over it a bit.

Happy Father's Day!

To a wonderful husband and Father. We couldn't ask for better.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Wren turned 5 on Saturday! The party was such a whirlwind, I barely got pictures.

Denny and Wren made the bean bag toss using one of Wren's drawings and the huge box our gas grill came in. The kids thought climbing into it was more fun than anything else. Here is Wren and his cousin peeking out. So, the bean bags I made hardly got played with at the party. That's OK though, the kids each picked one out to take home.

We also made pop-up monsters with paper cups, craft sticks, construction paper and googly eyes.

I made the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake from Baking Bites and went with a fancy look rather than a monster cake.

Our little house was just about bursting at the seams, Wren had the best time of all. At school on Monday, he ran up to his friend and asked excitedly "Do I look like I'm 5?!"

Market Tidbits

Cherry tomatoes!

Edible art.

Table of sweets: strawberries, raspberries and cherry tomatoes.

We liked the garlic tops from last week, so I grabbed more of those. And this week, I'm trying the fava beans!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Kids Ate This!

I had no idea what was going to be for dinner. Wednesday had been left blank on the weekly menu, thinking I'd fill it in after I finished grocery shopping. We had food, just what to do with it?

Riffling through the fridge I found chard, ricotta, spring onions. I knew I had some pasta and garlic. Oh, and those cherry tomatoes that needed to be used up!

I sautéd the garlic and onions. Threw in chopped chard. OK, that's good, but my kids wont eat it like that! What if I blended it up with the ricotta? Now we're talking. I thinned it a little with cream, seasoned with salt and pepper and tossed it with whole wheat spaghetti. Still needs a little something. Cherry tomatoes halved, with olive oil, salt and pepper. Perfect!

And look! They are eating it! Minus the tomatoes, but I'm still happy.

I know that there are some kids who wont touch anything green, so I know I'm lucky. My kid's issues have more to do with texture and appearance, so I get fairly good results when it works to blend up the vegetables. For tonight, I'm a happy mom knowing my kids ate their greens!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Totally In Need Of A New Pincushion!

This pincushion has sentimental value, it was my mom's. I really have no idea how or when I ended up with it. I probably took it with out her knowing! I have many fond memories playing with it when I was a kid.

It has one major flaw, it is entirely too skinny! The pins poke out of the bottom. Part of the memories I have deal with this very issue. I was fascinated with pushing them down and seeing them poke out the bottom. Alas, I have been poked one too many times and I'm ready for something new.

It finally occurred to me that I can make a new one myself! Now I just need to decide on something and make it.

I love Betz White's felted cupcake pincushions. The instructions are in her book Warm Fuzzies.

Molly Chicken has this cute little house tutorial that would make a great pincushion.

I could always crochet a cupcake and use that for a pincushion.

There is a book called Pretty Little Pincushions.

I really like these mason jar pincushions and they are multi purpose.

The possibilities are endless, which is making this seeming easy project hard for me! I also feel like I should be able to come up with an idea on my own. Oh the pressure! One of these days I will just force myself to sit down and make something and the dilemma will be over. Until then, must not let kids get poked with pincushion!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

That's Some Mighty Fine Veg.

Lots of lovely color at the market. Here are some pictures of the set up. Tom, the farmer (in the denim jacket) arrives at 5:30 am. Everything has to be unloaded from the truck and set up by 8:00 am.

There were 175 flats of strawberries, that's 2,100 pints! And we sold out!

Eye catching display of carrots and beets.

Look at the colors, not very common at the grocery store. From the front: yukon golds, french fingerling, purple viking, and red golds.

Fava beans, leek tops and fennel were popular. We also had 3 kinds of garlic; bulbs, green garlic, and garlic tops. The leek and garlic tops can be chopped and sautéed, roasted or grilled. I brought home some garlic tops and plan on throwing them on the grill.

Soon to arrive: tomatoes!