20 March 2012

Starting seeds

So, I have decided to try my black thumb at the garden box idea.  I figured with our wacky weather again this year, perhaps I should start my seeds indoors, and the tray with seeds was set up Wednesday (14 Mar 2012).  I snapped a pic on Saturday of the little seedlings peeking out:
seedling tray, 17 Mar
I've been faithfully following the instructions about indirect sunlight, leaving the shades down in the east-facing window until right before lunchtime, and turning the tray a quarter-turn when I remember so they don't grow sideways.  Yesterday afternoon, after hubby remarked about how well they had grown just while he was at work during the day, I joked that in a day or two we'd wake up to find the beans had lifted the lid and were clamoring, "Feed me, Seymour!"

Note to the beans: that was a JOKE!!!  It was not an assignment, nor a goal!  Holy ****!  This morning, the lid was indeed lifted, as the beans doubled in height overnight.
bean sprouts doubled overnight
seedling tray, 20 Mar
So now I need to go Googling to find out how to transplant the beans this soon, since I can already see the roots wrapping around the cell in one of the four.

Meanwhile, outside ... neither the thornless blackberry bush nor the ten strawberry starts have taken off.  The supposed-to-be-compost potatoes are sprouting again with the warm fronts.  For some real fun, the "bad" potatoes are all over the bottom of the garden box.  If all else fails, we'll have potatoes and green beans ... if I add bacon to the mix that makes "Mulligan's stew" which Dad always made the first evening of camping.

19 March 2012

B4419 in progress

I had shown y'all the black wool shell for Butterick 4419 hooded cape, and did sew up the linen/cotton lining ... then a funny thing happened when I pinned the two layers together.  While they matched up in front, the back lining was hanging more than an inch lower in back.  I didn't snap a pic, but I did leave the two pinned layers hanging on Matilda while trying to work out how I would solve this.

It appears gravity has done a decent portion of the work on this fix.  Most of the hemline is now matching up a good week-and-half later.  A few pics this morning:
B4419 hooded cape front
B4419 hooded cape back
The only place the hem still isn't hanging evenly is between the side seams and the center back seam, and I am wondering if I pin each side and let it hang for another week if it won't "fix itself" like it did in the middle of the back.
hems still uneven on the back curve
I figure it's worth a try ... the weather decided to get with the calendar and we've had beautiful sunny days in the 70s and 80s, with no real cold fronts behind the storms recently.  We could still get a freak frost between now and May - it's happened before - but it's a lot less likely I'll get a chance to wear this before fall.  That should give me plenty of time to hand-embroider it.

So I'll check the hems again next week.  I've already decided I will hem the layers separately then hand-stitch them together after I attach the layers, so if gravity doesn't do the whole job for me I can still adjust it that way.

16 March 2012

Massive cook-fest in progress

I've had some good days over the weekend, which involved planting, yard work, building a second garden box ... and a whole heapin' mess o' cooking.  So much cooking that hubby was the one who suggested I get pics!  Hubby has been a happy man with a full belly ...

Saturday's quiche for brunchfast (credit to hubby for coining "brunchfast").  This was my first try at making a quiche, and I kinda-sorta followed a recipe from (of all things!) a Wal-Mart holiday sales flyer.  Seriously ...!  I say kinda-sorta because I didn't buy what they were trying to promote: ready-made pie crust and brand-name sausage, and for some reason they were only putting sausage in it.  I grabbed up my reprint of the 1896 Fanny Farmer Cookbook and made my own crust while hubby cut up fresh spinach and mushrooms to toss in with the browning sausage, then I sprinkled shredded sharp cheddar over the top right before putting it into the oven.  Here is the result (the one that kicked off hubby's "Do you want to get a picture of it before we devour it?")
My first homemade quiche
When son got home from Lexington, he lamented that we didn't save him any, and I learned that the kiddo loves quiche.  Hubby reassured him there WILL be more, with a look my way .... he claims he wants one each weekend now.

Another recipe from the same WM flyer: stuffed mushrooms which went beautifully with a nice thick-cut ribeye that was in the serious markdown case.  The entire dinner:
ribeye steak dinner
And a close-up of the stuffed mushrooms (which really ROCK fresh out of the oven!)
Stuffed mushrooms
Cream cheese, sharp cheddar, bacon, the diced-up stems, fresh spinach, a clove of fresh garlic, and a piece of dried-out cornbread crumbled up ...measurements?  Errr ... oh yeah!  I used 4 oz of cream cheese and 4 pieces of bacon ... the rest I just tossed in what looked like enough.  The recipe left out the stems, the spinach, and the cornbread, if I recall correctly.

Now for the sole survivor from the chicken pot pie the night before last:
Homemade chicken pot pie
It looks so lonely ... that is the butter-crust!  I finally got one half-way photogenic!  The guys pretty much raced each other to the stove for seconds, while I waited out the feeding-frenzy wondering if I had room for a second piece.  (I didn't.)  When they got done with seconds, they commiserated about leaving one survivor.

Hubby has offered to buy me a second glass pie pan, not only so I can make two quiches at once, but so we don't have to hurry to wash the one up.  He'll pretty much buy me any cooking implement I want, as long as I keep cooking good food.

07 March 2012

Butterick 4419 hooded cape in black wool

I hinted at this, then used it as the "background" for Mom's doily ... and now here is the wool hooded cape shell on Matilda!
B4419 cape shell in black wool
The pattern itself calls for a lining, and using this cute piece of black with white dotted FM Shetland wool that was on sale a couple months ago just makes a lining necessary.  I actually cut and sewed the wool shell a few cold fronts ago, but didn't want to jinx myself on the lining by blogging it.  Since it's a cape - no fitting issues to worry about, so the continued weight loss is not a problem!  I now have the lining cut and on the new (to me) sewing cabinet to be sewn.

I intended to sew the lining (a 50/50 cotton/linen blend in fuchsia) yesterday but realized I needed to get a very old project out of the way: the Pembleton wool blazer UFO that Mom gave me back in June.  Yes, Mom ... I finally finished this unclaimed UFO that has been sitting on Matilda since I got back in June (and before that in your houses since the mid-1980s!).  When I test-drove Camster I sewed the underarm seams back, and yesterday I grabbed my hand-needle and black thread to reattach the lining around the bottom hem.  Why black thread instead of matching the grey?  My handsewing does not look as pretty, so I figure I'll want to pull it out in about a year and redo it.

This morning hubby mentioned he really likes the wool Matilda is wearing now.  It sounds like I may need to break the news to him that there is only a little bit of scraps left of it, as I had only ordered 2 yards instead of my usual four ... he loves the wool blanket I made him the other month, even though it has doubled in thickness due to the cat fur.

05 March 2012

Final pics of Mom's monster pineapple doily

I got moving early this morning, with morning sunlight streaming in to light my pics.  The air was dry enough for Mom's big pineapple doily to be finished drying and I couldn't wait to unpin it and see how it looks in the middle of my table.  Since the wooden table top is light-colored, I ended up setting the doily on today's sewing project: the black Shetland wool cape shell I cut and sewed a couple cold fronts ago.  It shows off the off-white thread quite nicely:
Mom's big pineapple doily in off-white cotton thread
I won't be starching it since that tends to make it difficult to fold up (and it will hold creases as well) for mailing, but hubby agrees that our coffee table would look quite nice with one of these on it.  I think I will use the next size up hook to see just how big this can get.  As for how it looks on our table:
Mom's doily on our table
It doesn't photograph as nicely as it will on dark-stained wood ... or black wool.  Tangential note: the sewn coasters on the right were a gift from Mom a few years ago.

One more doily pic before I break out the fuchsia linen/cotton lining to sew together for the wool cape ... this one doesn't have a "home" yet but it was fun to do and it holds its shape quite well.  It's half the size of Mom's doily.
Smaller pineapple doily
I'll post more on the sewing project after I get rolling on it ... I really don't want to jinx myself!  As cold as it is, playing with wool coating does have appeal this morning.

04 March 2012

Monster pineapple doily for Mom

I finished Mom's requested off-white pineapple doily ... and it hooked up huge!  The booklet said it should be 20 inches across, but when I measured it says 21 inches ... although pinning it out I could have sworn it was over 24!
pineapple doily for mom
The reason I did this pattern is because I have wanted to make it since I bought the little book.  It was the reason I bought the book.  It will really stand out on Mom's antique dark-stained dining table, too.  Of course, my mind is already supplying the image-overlay of a large holiday ham on a pretty blue-trimmed serving platter sitting atop this doily.

I meant to snap a "before blocking" pic ... but once I got the ends woven in I didn't remember until I had it wetted down.

Oh, I also cut some fabric today.  More abut that tomorrow, I think ... I am feeling quite pleased with this latest doily.

03 March 2012

Thrift store score sewing cabinet

I went thrifting yesterday, and bought myself a new sewing machine cabinet!  This is certainly a much nicer cabinet than the one Camster came in, so I am quite happy ...
My new sewing cabinet (thrift store find)
For those of y'all squinting at the pic and wondering ... yes, that is a foot pedal and power cord hooked up to a machine inside the cabinet!  This is what was tucked inside:
A Singer 620 Golden Touch & Sew
One Google search confirmed my suspicions ... this is one of the infamous Singer "Cuss & Throw" machines that a few people love and so many more hate.  I had to clip loose a decently-tangled thread nest to get the needle unstuck out of its throat plate.  I have no idea how the bobbin comes out of it, and the manual for it is missing.  However, the reason I fussed yesterday about taping the drawers shut at the store while the rain turned to hail is here:
Three boxes of accessories for the Singer 620 Golden
It has cams, a buttonholer, cleaning stuff ... also inside the drawers are old spools of thread (30 cents each!), safety pins, seam rippers, tracing wheels, a couple pin cushions, a sewing basket ... even a piece of blue poly-feeling fabric.

I'll probably put the machine and its attachments up for sale or trade.  I have no desire to rassle with a manual-less machine with such a reputation.  I am certain somewhere there is a Singer fan who wants it (or maybe needs parts?) but that sure isn't me.  Note: If you are interested in this Singer plus the three accessory boxes of stuff, leave me a comment or hit me up at Pattern Review.  I have every intention of putting my most-used computerized Brother up on the cabinet, because that is what I figure I bought.

I will say that clearing a space for the cabinet then getting home and in the house have wiped me out.  I even vacuumed the carpet this morning in anticipation of my new cabinet.  It looks nice and holds up the "leaning tower of bookcase" better than the box of cast iron.

More crocheting and doilies

So I found my digicam ... finally.  I had set it down near hubby's hobby corner after showing him this little snapshot of our dog's dedication to duty:
Pre-Rinse is more than a nickname - it's a calling!
The dog has very few chores, but this one is definitely his favorite: pre-rinsing dishes for us.  That's the rice steamer bowl, and I still haven't quite figured out how to keep the rice from sticking to the very bottom.  He was chasing it around the kitchen in his determination and zeal to get every last grain of rice off the bowl before he figured out to pin the bowl against the wall to make it hold still.

So my digicam sat in hubby's area, mainly because he has almost the same model of camera too and I was thinking mine was his.  I finally remembered where I left it and liberated more doily crochet pics.  Here is what I've packaged up to send to my sister for her holiday gifts ... and I beat my self-imposed deadline of April Fools' Day!  (Sis asked, "Why April Fools'?"  My reply: "It isn't as soon as Valentine's Day!")
Doily and 4 coasters for my sister
I figure the colors are appropriate, given the NFL (American football) team choices under that roof ... if I could have found the colors for the local minor-league hockey team up there I probably could have made both happy.  Oh, it's the exact same doily pattern as the variegated holiday pineapple doily but done in solid colors.

Mom, I am almost done with your requested off-white doily ... but I used a different pineapple pattern for it.  I just started the last round, but it's a bunch of little stitches so it won't go out until probably next weekend because I'll at least block and pin it out for you.  Val asked for an in-progress pic of it which I haven't snapped yet.  I'll probably take a "before blocking" pic since my before-and-after-blocking coaster pics didn't turn out like I wanted.  I saw someone post that crochet people make blocking sound "mysterious and magical" ... it's not mysterious at all (hot water plus pinning out), but it sure does feel like magic as I am pinning out a doily and the pattern stretches out in all its glory!

There was more I was going to post, but just can't recall ...