Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Very favorite muffins and great summer shirts

Last week I made two batches of my very favorite muffins and have been asked for the recipe a few times so I thought I'd post it for easy reference.  I've been making these muffins for about three years and they are so full of so many filling good things that they stick with you until lunch time.  I really liked them when AJ was a tiny baby because you could eat them with one hand and they were great for nursing since you are always snacky.

I added mixed berries to this batch and they were really flavorful.  
The recipe is from a complimentary organic magazine that our local grocery stores hand out. 

Blueberry-Walnut Wheat Germ Muffins:
Makes 16
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (i use whatever i have on hand)
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 egg, well beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup nonfat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
(I also add 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds)

1.  Preheat oven to 400.  In a large bowl, combine flours, wheat germ, baking powder, and salt (and ground flaxseed if you want it).  Stir in walnuts.   In a medium bowl, beat together egg, oil, honey, and molasses.  Beat in milk and vanilla extract.  Add liquid ingredients to dry, stirring just until mixed.  Fold in blueberries.
2.  Line muffin cups with paper liners, and divide batter between cups.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Remove from oven, cool, and enjoy!

Now on to the sewing.  I haven't been able to do as much sewing lately because of a persistent virus that has plagued AJ.  I think we are finally over the hump.  But here are a couple summer tops I've completed.  The pattern is incredibly easy and it fits just right.  Its from Colette patterns and found here.
I've completed two and plan on more since they are a great summer staple.  I have to rave about the fit because the measurements that I took to match up with the garment came out perfectly and the neckline is not too low cut which is a problem I often have.  With a two and a half year old I stoop down, bend over, and generally flash everyone every now and then, and this top does a good job of giving good coverage.  The black one with the floral print (fabric from Joann's) is a chiffon top and feels so soft.  However the blue one below (thrifted fabric) is my favorite since it is even softer and more casual.  I'm pretty sure the fabric is rayon.  I wore it yesterday and just loved it. 

We will be spending some time vacationing in Alabama with family this summer so I need a few breezy, sleeveless tops to beat that muggy Alabama heat!  Well have a great day and happy sewing!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My "new" chairs and AJ's sunhat

A few weeks ago I found a couple of new kitchen chairs.  We have a modge podge of kitchen chairs and a couple of them are getting kind of squeaky and sway a bit...two bad signs for chairs.  I've been on the look out at thrift stores and antique stores for a couple more chairs that will last longer and look like something I'd want in my house.  I found two a few weeks ago. 
They appear to be oak and also appear to be antique.  I like to call them my "farm house chairs."  They have this interesting wire reinforcement.  Most chairs I've found like this are really shaky and squeaky.  These are neither.  They are so incredibly sound and sturdy and I think it is all due to the wires.  I don't know if an individual added the wires later but I would LOVE to know the story behind them.  Wouldn't you?
The spindles were what first drew me to the chairs and then the grain of the wood was so beautiful and rich.  I'm not sure if its something to mention or brag about or what but if you're curious they were 15.00 a piece.  I think its a steal and the thrift store where I found them supports a transitional housing group so I feel good about giving them my money. 

Of course AJ wanted up in the chairs so I thought it would be a good time to take pictures of her braids (which I LOVE) and her new sun hat (which of course she refuses to wear!!).  The sunhat is a pattern from a book by Emma Hardy "Making Children's Clothes."  It has adorable clothes and has been a good book to have when sewing for a small child. 

She has an itchy nose in this picture.  This morning as I was getting ready for church and leaning over the bathtub washing my hair I could hear that the house was very quiet, too quiet.
I quickly stepped out of the bathroom and called for AJ.  She yelled something indistinguishable and I went into the kitchen.  There she was with a measuring cup on the kitchen table and a whole box of baking soda overflowing out of the measuring cup and on to the floor.  She said, "I'm baking!"  I would have taken a picture but was pressed for time to get to church and it was a lot of baking soda to get up.  We wiped and wiped it.  Our floor and table is still grainy.  But on the bright side the baking soda got a couple of stubborn spots off our kitchen floor!

Little hands had a hard time not taking the hat off so I promised her a couple of rabbit marshmallows.  Something I try not to do but really wanted to take these pictures of her.
This picture shows the other side of the hat but it also shows a pitiful bottom lip demanding those rabbit marshmallows!!  Well happy Sunday and happy sewing this week!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Memorial day fun and new aprons!

We had a great Memorial Day.  The weather was perfect and we ate two meals under our shade tree in the backyard.  AJ had requested ice cream so we were happy to oblige and it was the epitome of happiness to watch her enjoy her ice cream cone. 

Buster loves to pace around the table and beg for a taste.  We had BBQ pulled pork and ribs from Winslows BBQ and we always love it.  We fancied up some canned baked beans with a little BBQ sauce, brown sugar and ketchup and boiled some corn. 
She's catching that drip of ice cream.  After she sat at the table for a while she wanted to sit in her swing and eat her ice cream.  That was pretty cute too.  She was as happy as a lark let me tell you!

For the past two weeks I've been making more aprons for the Peacock Cafe in Leavenworth and here are the five I've completed. 
I call this one the "Chick chick apron." 
The embroidery on the left is hand embroidered and the chick was done with my sewing machine.  I just sketched a basic outline and went over and over it with stitching.  Most of the fabrics used in my aprons are reclaimed linen from some really unflattering women's dresses.  I have to tell you that most of them already look like giant feed sacks before I deconstruct them. 
This picture does not do this apron justice.  I love the chocolate color of the fabric and the pale pink of the tea towel is beautiful along with the pale gray stitching on it.  The linen ruffle was cut from a really weird pants outfit that would've been completely see through because the weave is so loose.  But it makes an absolutely perfect ruffle on my aprons. 
It is really hard to photograph my aprons by hanging them up but I hope you can tell that this one says "Home."  There are few words that I think evoke such deep nostalgia like the word home does.  It has wonderful, rich nostalgia for me and I hope for most people.  I also think it evokes a deep sense of longing to belong somewhere.  I think it is perfectly suited to an apron.

This is my patriotic apron.  There is some red stitching detail on each pocket.  I was asked to make some aprons look patriotic but had a hard time coming up with something that I didn't think looked hokey.  Any suggestions?

You can see some of the red stitching detail in this picture.  The flowers I add are always detachable and can be worn on a shirt or a purse as well.
This might be my favorite apron out of this bunch.  The "Chick chick" comes close.  I love, love, love white linen and shell buttons.  Love it!  The embroidery also turned out just how I wanted it to.

The flowers are made from some chiffon fabric that I cut into circles and singed on the edges with a candle.  I think they look like brown poppies. 

I really enjoy creating these aprons out of old garments.  The linen is usually softer and on most of the 
backs of the aprons I used vintage sheets.  I hope to get a few more aprons done before I hand them over to be sold.  They take a good chunk of time to create since I want to feel inspired by them as I sew them. 

I don't really know how to "sign off" on my posts so I guess I'll say..."that's all I have to say about that"- to quote one of my favorite movies, Forrest Gump...well whatdaya expect, I AM from Alabama!!!!