Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sibling Camraderie

As Tiny Boy grows bigger I like to see my children change from a baby and a preschooler into a pair of kids and, more importantly, friends. They've just started playing together during the past few weeks and it makes my heart swell.
The down side of this new-found friendship between them is the game they choose to play. In this game, one claps one's hands over one's ears and repeatedly runs the length of the house all the while testing one's lung capacity with the loudest, shrillest screams one can muster.
How great would it be if they could cultivate the foundation of their brother-sister relationship by playing checkers? Better yet, the quiet game! I think I'll give them the suggestion and see how it's received.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An Apron Auction

Here it is. All done and ready for bidding!

Would you like a tour of the details? I'm glad to oblige.

This lovely apron, hand crafted from yellow dotted white cotton, features dazzling pink gingham decorative binding and a three button adjustable neck strap. (ohalala!)

A pair of delectable gingham strawberries adorn the... er, bodice? (Is is still a bodice on an apron?) Anyway, the strawberries, are a multi-dementional triumph of applique; lending just the right touch of innocence to balance the allure of the sweetheart neck line.

A gracefuly gathered pocket on the right side of the skirt is perfect for storing a wee treasure or resting a dainty hand.

The three inch width of the sash is ideal for tying a handsome bow.

What a delight to wear in the kitchen!

Now that I've stunned you with my infomercial-like display, I'll explain the mechanics of this operation.
Please place your bid by leaving a comment with your Bid Amount in the comments section.
Following the close of the auction, the winner will pay for their item via the Stephanie and Christian PayPal account. The winner will then forward the PayPal receipt email to uniquety(at)gmail(dot)com with their mailing address.
Please bid in increments of one dollar. The auction will end at Midnight (Pacific daylight time) on Sunday, August 31.

Ready. Set. Bid!

PS. Sorry about the crazy layout on this post. I promise it looked awesome in the preview but when I actually posted it, not so much. Normally I'd take it right down and fix it up but if I did that now, how would you bid?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

NieNie Day

I never "met" Nie until news of her accident started popping up throughout the blog world. Now, I'm amazed that I could have blogged along here for so long without happening upon The NieNie Dialogues. Delightful is the word that comes to mind as a description of that, and the blogs of her family and friends.
I'm going to be participating in NieNie Day this Thursday by auctioning an apron that I'm going to start making as soon as I finish this post.
Check out Design Mom on Thursday for a list of auctions to visit.
Here's a peep at the fabrics I'm using for my apron.

Wish me happy sewing!

Roast Vegetable Quiche

I was all ready to tell you all about my dinner last night. It was really good, but I think it's going to make a sort of boring post.
I think recipe posts need pretty pictures of yummy food to really be interesting. The pictures of my roast vegetable quiche didn't turn out very pretty.
You know what was pretty? The quiche. The cheese was all toasted brown and the butternut squash made pretty flashes of orange amongst the potatoes with the fluffy eggs filling in the space between.
It was good, and pretty. But the pictures weren't so I won't even tell you how the Mr tossed yukon gold potatoes and butternut squash with olive oil and plenty of rosemary, salt and pepper and roasted them up for dinner on Sunday.
Also, I won't mention how there were some left over and I was sad because they were oh so yummy but don't reheat well. What usually happens in this situation is; I put the unreheatable food in a tupperware and put it in the fridge even though I know I'm never going to eat it because I can't handle throwing it out when it's still yummy. I tell myself that maybe I'll find away to make it good again. After it sits in the fridge a few days and is no longer yummy I throw it out with a twinge of guilt over never having found a way to resurrect it.
The next thing you wont be interested to know is how as I placed the leftover vegetables in the refrigerator I said, "Maybe I can make something with them, since they don't reheat well" and how then The Mr said "They'd be good with eggs" and how I responded, with the light of inspiration shining in my eyes, "Quiche!"
I'll leave out the part about how I made a pie crust, because without pastry it wouldn't be quiche, but a mere casserole. How I sliced the left over potatoes and squash into bite sized pieces and arranged them in the crust before smothering them with 6 beaten eggs and a cup of milk. I'm definitely not going to mention the mozzarella cheese I layered over the top or how I baked it for an hour at 325.
All because my pictures didn't turn out.
In all honesty, the pictures are only a hair worse than what I post here on a regular basis, but the quality of my photos is so low already that I really can't afford to let it get any worse. So forget the quiche folks! I'm not going to tell you anything about it!

Monday, August 25, 2008

2 elephants went out to play

This is the Elephant I made as the prize for my giveaway. I called him Lucien, though his new family may name him whatever they chose.

I waited to post his photo until he arrived at his new home.

Here he is saying good bye to his sister Lizzie.

Farewell Lucien, enjoy your peanuts!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hot Hot Hot

I learned something today. I learned that it really is important to have your air conditioner looked at now and then to keep in in working order. Also, if some afternoon you hear it squealing in protest of the flesh-melting temperatures you require it to combat, that might be a good time to have it looked at.
My own air conditioner made that noise yesterday afternoon. It's called wolf before, squealed angrily and then indignantly settled back in to it's labor when I failed to heed the warning. Not this time.
I noticed it was hot last evening as we lounged on the sofa but I decided I'd just been lounging too long on the sofa and betook myself to bed. I noticed again how hot it was and as I walked past the thermostat on my way to see why Baby Girl was moaning rather than sleeping, I looked to see if it was all in my head. It was not. The thermostat read 85 degrees.
Now, that's not a hideous temperature, but it is a good deal warmer than we prefer and it signified that our over-worked-under-appreciated AC unit had indeed not been calling wolf in the afternoon.
I gave both the children sippy cups to keep in their beds all night, I stripped Tiny Boy of his jammie shirt and we all slept tolerably in our under wear with no covers. This morning The Mr. called a repairman who by 10:30 had come and gone leaving comfort in his wake.
At it's hottest the house was 88 degrees. For this, I am thankful. It could have been so, so much worse.
Thank you repairman. Thank you for coming in the morning before the devil came out to lick our windows and cook us as we cowered in our dark closets where pockets of cool sill dwelt. Thank you for rectifying the grievances of our AC unit so he would bless us once again with his cooling breath of life. Thank you for working fast and making it unnecessary for me to escape with the children while The Mr stayed to battle the hotness alone. For all of this, I forgive you charging double to come on a weekend.
I leave you now with an image of Baby Girl lounging with an ice pack in order that she might watch The Wonder Pets in some comfort.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Daddy Daughter Dress

I've been meaning for months and months to make a dress from this tutorial. I'm going to be teaching a little sewing class for some of my friends in a few weeks and the dress from a shirt project seemed just the thing.
I think it's a perfect first step into the land of sewing for the following reasons.
1-It works up quick, I made it start to finish during nap-time
2-It's basically just straight seams.
3-The finished product looks way more complicated that it actually is thanks to
the work that was already done for you by the shirt manufacturer.
4-There's no dadgum pattern getting in the way, being all bossy and confusing. (yeah, I am not a pattern Girl)
I changed a thing or two from the tutorial when I made my dress. Most notably, I added and armseye (or armscye if your spelling it all hoity-toity. either way, the word means arm hole) and I changed up the sleeve from a ruffled strap to a little cap. I liked the cap better with my fabric choice and the other variation I made to the dress. The other variation being the high-low hem line.
As I was cutting out the back piece I noticed that the curve of the shirttail lent a lovely trailing effect to the back of the dress so instead of hacking it off and hemming straight around, I left it and worked the curve into the front of the dress for a bit of drama.
The shirt was one of my favorite's from The Mr's wardrobe. His brother bought it a few years back. He took it home and showed it to his wife. Her response was "So, you bought a shirt for you brother?" It would seem she doesn't care for dragons in men's apparel.
It's been hanging in the closet unworn for ages because it's %100 rayon and is found it's way into the dryer one time. It still almost fit, but it looked a little funny. It lasted through multiple closet purges because unlike his sister-in-law, The Mr and I both really like the dragons.
As luck would have it, so does Baby Girl! She's thrilled about her new dragon dress.



Friday, August 15, 2008

Grandma Bread

My Grandma made the best bread. I use past tense because she doesn't make it anymore, not since Grandpa died. She made it for him. She doesn't see a reason to go to the trouble just for herself.

I made bread on my own for the first time when I was in the neighborhood of ten years old. It just so happened that we went to Grandma's house a day or two later and we took my bread along.

Grandma was very complementary and served my bread at meals until it was all gone. I was as pround as ten years old can be. I'll admit though, my bread was flat and heavy and awful and I was dissapointed that we had to eat mine instead of hers.
I always wished I could make bread like hers. Once my mother told me she could make it if she had grandma's dishes. This assertion gave me new respect for my mother, not that I lacked it before. She couldn't make the bread with her own dishes because the recipe was along the lines of "fill the yellow bowl so high with such and such and do this thing in that one jar."

If you ask Grandma for her recipe she'll tell you you don't need hers, just find one you like and after a while you'll learn what works for you and then your bread will be as good. I decided a few years ago, before I moved away, that I was not going to take that answer. I called and asked her for a bread making lesson and when she gave me the standard answer I told her that I knew that, but I still wanted to know how she did it and she gave in.

My sisters and I spent an afternoon with her, watching her work, writing down everything we saw, after she measured things with the particular dish she used we re-measured that ingredient in as close to a standard measurement as we could and in the end we had the closest thing possible to her recipe. We also learned that a good measure of what makes it so darn good is that she kneads it by hand for twenty minutes.

I made some a few days ago. The kneading nearly did me in. I had to switch to using my knuckles instead of the heels of my hands because I was afraid I was going to give myself carpal tunnel syndrome in just the one batch of bread. It is a really stiff dough.

I am pleased to say, that I got pretty close. The flavor I think, is just about right. I'll need to practice a lot if I'm ever to get my crust as thin and delicate as hers. Grandma bread is about the same texture all the way through with no interruptions from the crust, dense but not heavy, sturdy but not though. Other breads I've made tend to be crumbly, not grandma bread. You can cut half inch slices of grandma bread and depend on them tho hold their ground in the face of what ever you choose to spread them with. Butter straight from the fridge? no problem.

The other distingushing feature of Grandma bread is the shape. She bakes hers in old crisco cans because a lot more of those will fit in the oven at one time than regular loaf pans. My mother has been wishing after her own set for the length of my memory. They stared making crisco cans out of cardboard before she thought to collect a set for herself and she's never found a substitute.

I found a metal jar intended for storing spoons and spatuals and whatnot on the countertop that I use for the purpose. I only have the one though, the rest of my bread is doomed to conventional loaf shape. And you know? It really just doesn't taste as good that way.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

So tan you can smell it

Picture this. I am standing beside Dusty Miller buckling seat belts. There is a car parked behind my own. As I am still buckling things the woman in the car opens her door to get out of her car. Suddenly a familiar fragrance washes over me. The scent grows stronger as I open the lift gate to put my stroller away.
I identified the aroma fairly quickly as self tanner, and was trying to figure out how I came to be washed in such a fragrance, alone in a parking lot with years between the present and my last self tanning experience. Then the woman got out of her car and the question was answered.
I climbed in Dusty Miller and drove home while she went into Ulta, presumably to secure more tanning products.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Oh, how I love thee. My favorite of condiments, or are you a chutney? Regardless, you are delicious.
Here is my recipe.
5-7 grape tomatoes cut in half length-wise and then in thirds
a thin (1/8 inch) slice of red onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
2 1/8 inch slices of green pepper, also chopped fine
a handful of chopped cilantro
3 avocadoes
salt and pepper
juice of a lime

First off, mix your tomatoes, garlic, onion, pepper and cilantro. Now you have pico de gallo though I don't fancy it prepared this way if the intent is to eat it as such. This is what mine looks like

Now, get out a cooling rack and lay it over your bowl, cut your avocados in half and remove the pits. Then smash them through the rack into the bowl.

By golly, that's fun. Get it as flat as possible.

Now peal the skin off. See those bits of delicious avocado flesh still clinging to the skin? I recommended removing all of that forthwith using your teeth so as not to waste an ounce of deliciousness.

I guess you could also scrape it off with a fork and mix it in with the the rest but you can rest assured I never do that.
I may or may not also clean the cooling rack with use of my tongue.
The cooling rack method of avocado squishing is not only super fast, it also creates a perfect mix of chunky-smoothness in the resulting Guac.
The next thing to do is sprinkle in some salt and pepper and squeeze in a lime. Then mix it all up and taste it. I usually need to throw in some more salt at that point. Then I mix and taste again after which I add a little more salt and a little more pepper. Then I mix it up and taste it again. After that it does not leave my sight until it is all consumed.
I have honestly eaten a whole batch in a single sitting entirely on my own.

Should any guacamole make it to the refrigerator, you're going to need press and seal wrap. I am normally not a fan of the stuff but I'll keep it on hand eternally for the benefit it does refrigerated guac.
Move the guac to a storage container, smooth out the surface of that delicious green chutney and wipe the edges of the dish clean. You don't want any little bits of avocado hiding on the edges where they can oxidize and ruin things. Now, place your press and seal right on the surface of the guac and press out any air bubbles. Then "press and seal" the wrap to the sides of the container and secure the lid over the top of that. Stored in this manner, your guac will live to see another day. I don't know how much longer it will last though, as that's the only length of time I've had the restraint to test.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Winner

This morning, in my jammies with a pile of laundry waiting to be folded beside me, I started out choosing the winner.
I printed the comments and cut them into strips with Baby Girl's scissors and stuffed them in Tiny's backpack.

She took this photo in the process. Man am I HAWT!

Then, Tiny was so kind as to select a single strip of paper. He pulled two out actually, and I waited very patiently, not looking lest I figure out which two he'd selected, while he decided which to hand to me.

He chose this one. The winner is Rae, she'll be receiving an elephant pillow in the color scheme of her choice.

I didn't ever look to see whose entry was on the second slip. Tiny kept it for a moment and then, with the help of Baby Girl they handed me all of the slips thus obscuring the identity of the one who was almost the winner. I think it's best that way.

Thanks again for playing everybody. I think I'll do this again some day.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My confidence, shattered again.

One day last week Baby Girl and The Mr had a discussion about how he is sometimes stinky, but she always smells like roses.
Saturday afternoon we were all watching "Good Eats" when she came and snuggled up by me. She only sat there for a minute. Then she scooted away and said, sceptically, with her nose crinkled in distaste. "Momma do you always smell like roses?"
What am I supposed to do with that? I was only just getting over this incident.
Is it bad that later, when she came in from jumping on the trampoline smelling like wet-dog, I took satisfaction in noting her stickiness in the list of reasons why she needed to get in the bath? Because I did.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Big 200 Giveaway is Over!

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Thanks ever-so, friends for being such.
So glad am I to be a blogging girl, I am willing to give up my crafty independence for a few days and let you chose what I make.
To enter the giveaway leave a comment telling me what you want. It can be anything you've seen here or in real life, if I know you in real life.
Now, there are a few things I'm not willing to recreate and send away, For example, if you asked for this or this

I would answer with a resounding no.
Anything that I spent more than six hours on is out. I realize that my blog entries do not include time spent on projects, so just try to guess and if you pick something I'm not willing to do, I'll let you know.
I am allowing multiple entries per person as long as each entry is requesting a different item. For example if you ask six times for a baby harness, I'm going to throw out five of those requests. I won't set a limit on how many times you can enter unless it gets crazy.
Go ahead and dig through my archive to see what you want. If you're just happening by, feel free to join in. Lurking? This is the perfect time to make yourself known.
Stagger me with a response people. If I'm not staggered, I may retreat into myself and hide in shame.

Wow, this is fun! I am loving reading all the requests/entries. I've even drummed up a comment from my dear brother Boy who despite nearly being my most faithful reader, second only to The Mr, has never left evidence of having been here at all.
I've got to say though Boy, I hope your satchel is not the winning project. I am fairly new to the world of applique and your friendship-bonded animal trio would uncomfortably stretch my meager skill.
Anywhoo, I guess I have to close this little contest at some point but I'm still having fun taking entries so I'll hold off another day yet.
Thanks for playing everybody, you've made my week-end!

Ahh, fantastic. I was staggered and will not have to hide in shame.
I'll announce the winner tomorrow. I am selecting randomly so I still don't know what my next project will be. Weird.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A sunday evening at Grandma's house

Tiny Boy learned how much fun it is to run with sticks.

Yeah, sticks are a good time.

You know what else is fun? Spinning 'till you fall down dizzy.

Tiny practiced his spinning but he couldn't quite keep it up long enough to make himself dizzy. Lucky for him, there was an uncle on hand to help him out with that. He still missed out on the falling down though since he couldn't stand when the uncle stopped spinning.

Whoopsy daisy! never mind, he got in a staggering fall or two.

One more crazy fun thing to do. Run in the street.
Where is that Uncle? Clearly it is his job to keep the children out of the road.

Big news folks, this is post #199! That's right, next time is the giveaway!
I hope you nearly wet yourselves with excitement. Only nearly though, as a mother of small children I know too well what it is to mop up "accidents" and don't wish any more of that than necessary on any of you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

When I grow up I want to be

Meryl Streep.
Had a girl's night out on Friday. I'll tell you all about that in a minute. The most important thing I want to say is WOW! Meryl Streep!
Of course she's fabulous. No none can deny that, but watching her in Mama Mia? I have never been so captivated by an actress. Also, that movie made me want to climb on a stage and dance and sing.
It didn't help that I've been listening to Kristen Chenoweth and racking my brain to come up with a forum in which to preform "Taylor the Latte Boy". It's time I did some research on community theatre in my area I think.
Anyway, Girls Night out here we go!
We started out at the Cheesecake factory, yumm. This is Melissa's Cheesecake. I had key lime myself, divine.

Then it was on to the movies where as you already know we saw Mama Mia and I now, rather than an appreciation for, have a crush on Meryl Streep.
The icing on our girl's night out cake was the midnight release party for Breaking Dawn at Borders. As you can see, I had a hard time containing myself.

So did Melissa.

A few of us decided it was necessary to get at least one photo with a superfan. That's what Midnight release party's are for after all. Right?
But we were disappointed.
There was a little scrap of a black haired girl wearing Alice's prom dress who walked right through our little cluster on her way out with her book, but we hesitated, and missed her.
In the end this was the best we could do. The 13 year-old with the wax vampire teeth. The very fact that she's wearing the teeth whispers to me that she's not much of a superfan, everybody knows twilight vampires don't have fangs, but it was the best we could do ok?

After a while it became apparent that we weren't getting books at that party anytime soon so we wandered out side and photographed the joy of others more fortunate than ourselves.

And we tried to make due with being near the book, in spite of the tragedy of not having our own copies to press our loving cheeks to while we whispered words of love on our way to the car.

Just as we were, all of us, plunging to the depths of despair someone drove by and yelled from their window "Go to Wal*mart!" so we did ,and guess what!
We were rewarded.

I finished the book on Saturday and was altogether satisfied with the conclusion of the tale.
One more thing. I made a guess before the release of the book about one little aspect of the plot. I told my sister and my bestest friend so I would have witnesses in the case that was somehow right. AND I WAS! I am the coolest!
Sorry Cas, If I just spoiled it for you. I'll do my best to see that you don't read this post before you know for yourself how awesome I am.

There you have it.
Meryl Streep? captivating.
Key Lime Cheesecake? blissful.
Wal*Mart? the place to buy sought after books.
Superfans? disappointing.
Breaking Dawn? satisfying.
Me? Awesome!

Friday, August 1, 2008

My new blouse

I've been planning to try my hand at this pleated collar since May when the tutorial was posted.
I drafted my pattern before I left for my trip in hopes of getting it done before I left. No such luck.
From this I learned that I should never wait three weeks between drawing up a pattern and cutting it out. It was kind of annoying as I was cutting figuring out what I was thinking when I was drafting. Anyway, I sorted it out and here it is.

It might have been wise to wait until The Mr. got home to man the camera but I'm impatient so I went ahead and took the photos myself. I discovered that it's easier to photograph yourself if your making a crazy face. That way if you look, well, crazy, there's a reason for it.
A word on hair. I decided a while back to try for a curly style with my current cut. It worked like a dream that first time but I've never been able to recreate it. I like the back well enough but the front leaves something to be desired.
At this time I would like to remind you that I am fast approaching my 200th post and that I plan to commemorate that blessed event with a giveaway.
Get ready folks cuz it's gonna be a good one! No, there will not be any $500 giftcards involved. I'm not The Pioneer Woman, after all. But it will be the best giveaway I've ever given so get ready to comment like mad! I may allow multiple entries just to spice things up.