Friday, June 22, 2012

Thrifting and Sewing and Some Lemonade!

This may be one of the best finds of my life.

Two dollars!

I am still speechless.

Look at the stitching!  All done by hand and very,
very tiny.  Even though I am so happy to have given it a new home, there is something sobering about it having ended up at the thrift store in the first place.  
Makes you wonder about the hows and whys.

Life has been so full these past few months, and when that happens, sewing (and blogging!) 
get pushed to the back burner.
I needed a quick project to get me back in the swing of things, 
and I have had the Oliver and S Popover Sundress saved for a while now.  
It proved to be just the thing.  
Quick, easy, and cute!  

Perfect for my niece
perfect for her aunt!

Well, summer has arrived, at least for a few days, here in the city.  Between the heat
and the kids home from school, cool drinks are in high
demand in the MorningGlory household.
I share this lemonade syrup that is great to have in the fridge.  

Lemonade Syrup

3 cups sugar
1 cup water
3 cups lemon juice
(you can squeeze your own, or the stuff in the green bottle 
works just fine!)

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  
Add lemon juice. 
Mix well and store covered in the refrigerator.
To use:  mix 1/4 cup syrup with 3/4 cup cold water.
You can adjust the amount of syrup to personal taste.  
This is also great added to seltzer or iced tea!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Can you say willpower?

Because I obviously can't!  
Yes, this machine called to me from the depths of the shelves, chased after me, jumped in my cart, picked the locks of my car, hid behind the back seat, and then when it thought I wasn't looking, 
slithered in the side door of my house. 

Yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

p.s. it sews like a dream!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day Musings

It's May Day today, and it's raining.  No tiny bouquets of flowers will be delivered to doorsteps in the midst of the rain.  Although, here in our part of the world, the rain is much needed.  As a child I remember making the woven paper baskets at school and at home, filling them with flowers picked from our yard, and leaving them on the front porches of our neighbors.  Somewhere along the way, the tradition slowly disappeared.  Even though it wasn't all that long ago, it seems very far away.  

Looking through some photos from this past fall, I came across a couple I snapped with my phone while waiting with my youngest for the school bus.  His stop is located near an older, brick building that probably, at one time, was an apartment building for the workers of a local mill or factory.  The corner apartment was likely the office or store-front for the building.  While standing near this corner store-front, waiting for the bus, I discovered these carvings in the stone and brick-work.  Funny to think that there must have been others who stood in the same spot, waiting, too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Baby Gift

Another friend recently had a baby boy, so I spent some time this weekend sewing and knitting a little set to send to the new parents:

two burp pads,
a tiny pair of knitted socks,

two matching bibs,
a Waldorf-style stuffed toy,

a copy of the infamous Dangerous Book for Boys.

Into the mail they go, and hopefully on their way to bring a long-distance welcome to a 
sweet, baby boy and his parents.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easy, Breezy, Knit Washcloth

It's been a while since my last post!  I've been keeping busy with kids' schedules and spring activities.  We had a wonderful Easter here at Morning Glory Lane.  We celebrated with a family dinner on Saturday, church on Sunday, and lots and lots of chocolate in between!

I have been squeezing in some sewing and some yarn goodness where I can.  Some projects require more thinking than others!  I like to always have an easy, no-brain-required, project at hand for those times when I'm just too tired to think.  For me, these easy knitted washcloths fit the bill.  I like to have a steady supply of these around for gifts, and I also try to have a few in my Etsy shop.  This pattern has been around
forever, made by grandmas and moms all over the world, but I thought I'd do a quick write-up for those of you who may be new to the knitting bug, or who might enjoy a trip down memory lane.  

Easy, Breezy, Knit Washcloth (knit on the diagonal)

Use a cotton yarn and an appropriate sized needle.  For Peaches -n- Creme yarn, I use a size 7 needle.    Switch up or down a size to adjust to yarn weight and to find your personal preference.  Some people like a very tight washcloth, and others like them loose and squishy!

Cast On 4
First Row:  Knit
Row 2:  K 2, YO, K2
Row 3:  K2, YO, K to end
Row 4:  K2, YO, K to end
Continue in this pattern until you have 45 stitches on your needle.
Now you will begin the decrease.
K 1, K2 together, YO, K2 together, K to end
Continue in this pattern (K 1, K2 together, YO, K2 together, K to end) until you have
4 remaining stitches on your needle.
Bind off, weave in ends, and enjoy your new washcloth!

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Digging for Treasure

I found some thrifty goodies recently.  A couple of linen table runners with embroidery and lace insertion.
Some old, deep-ivory colored lace, pipe cleaners, and royal blue wool felt.

A basket full of vintage bias tape, rick rack, and seam binding.  The polka dots and stripes are great!

A fat-quarterish piece of vintage fabric, and some HUGE rick rack!  It doesn't appear to be cotton, probably used in upholstery or home dec, but it is amazing stuff!

Some vintage ticking, a green colored wooden spool, and two rather tattered potholders.  The potholders have seen a lot of use, but I fell in love with the patterns.  The ticking was looking a little worse for wear as well, but I have since washed it, and it came out looking bright and clean.

All of these were stuffed in a box at my local thrift shop - I paid less then $1.50 for the whole lot!  sometimes digging a little can turn up some nice surprises!

Edit post to add, I'm linking this up with Elizabeth's Vintage Quilt Thursday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Bowlful of Pom-Poms

I've got crocus all over my yard right now.  Purple and yellow and white.  Spring might actually be here!  The weekend is supposed to be sunny and warm - I can't wait!!

It's been a busy couple of weeks around here, and as such, not much sewing - or blogging for that matter - has gotten done.  The girls and I have a few of the Clover pom-pom makers and when we have a few minutes, it's been fun to wrap some yarn.  It can be a little addicting, though!

I have no idea what we will make with all of these.  I was sort of toying around with the idea of a bunting of sorts that we could use at birthdays and parties.  We'll have to see.  I saw that Clover also makes a heart shaped maker - how in the world does that work?!?  I have to admit when the tool came out, I was a little skeptical.  I mean, really, it is pretty easy to just wrap yarn around a circle of cardboard to make a pom-pom.  But, I am admittedly a convert now.  We have them in three sizes.  The extra large one is great, and makes some impressive pom-poms, but it takes quite a lot of yarn!  If nothing else, they are fun to use!

Hope it's getting warm in your neighborhood, too!  Happy Friday!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Gardening Thoughts

With all this warm winter weather we've had, I am looking forward to doing some spring time planting in my little garden space.  Truth be told, it's really more of a container space.  Last year was our first summer in this house, and some of my tiny garden didn't do as well as I hoped.  This year, I am hoping to learn from last year and improve my results.  I have a lot of shade, so I'm going to need to move my containers around to best maximize the sun.  I'm currently on the lookout for some great make-do planters at the thrift store.  
I have found some great ideas at Life on the Balcony.  I like to have some flowers too, but buying a couple flats of annuals can be pretty pricey.  I usually wait until they are marked down, but then I don't always get the largest plants and they just never seem to quite catch up in size.  I don't have the space, or enough sunlight, inside to start my own seedlings, so I'm trying to come up with a solution.  Any ideas?  

Happy springtime dreaming!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Giveaway!

I was very fortunate to be given a copy of the new Elm Creek Quilts Novel to be used in a give away promotion.  I know it's a small group of us here, but that just makes your odds all the better!  Leave me a comment, and let me know if you have read any of the other novels in the series.  I will pull a random comment on Thursday, March 8.  Good luck!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kitchen Experiments

Recently, on Saturday mornings, I have been experimenting in the kitchen.  I am trying to recreate the type of coffee cake you find at your local coffee shop or bakery.  I love that sugary, buttery streusel that is sometimes nearly half as thick as the cake itself. I really wanted to try and make my own at home, so I started by looking for any coffee cake recipes with super thick streusel. I found one, and tried it out, but the cake part was a bit on the dry side.  The streusel, however, was nearly perfect. I decided to try and swap out the streusel recipe from one of my own tried-and-true coffee cake recipes with this new streusel recipe.  
So, the next Saturday, bright and early, I made Coffee Cake #2.  Unfortunately, it didn't work.  The bottom cake bubbled up and through the topping, and it took way too long to bake.  It tasted good, but certainly wasn't pretty - more importantly, it wasn't what I was trying to recreate.  On to Round Three.  I tried yet another coffee cake recipe with the new streusel, and still no luck.  Last weekend, I took a break - much to my family's dismay.  Next week, it's back in the saddle.

Here 's my tried-and-true coffee cake, before the streusel swap!  Even without a super thick streusel, it's still a great cake, and can make your Saturday morning pretty special indeed.

Buttermilk Coffee Cake
2 1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
Mix the above ingredients until crumbly, and remove 1/2 cup of the mixture to reserve for streusel.  To this, add 1/3 cup chopped nuts. 
To the original crumb mixture, add:
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
In small bowl, mix :
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
Add half of the milk mixture to the crumb mixture, and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the remaining milk mixture, and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Pour into a greased 9x13 inch baking pan and sprinkle with the reserved nut streusel.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes.


Monday, February 13, 2012

It's a Basket!

I got really, really lucky and found this beautiful blanket basket at the thrift store recently  I almost missed it as it had been discarded on the floor and pushed to the side with other castoffs tossed in and around it. I have been looking for one of these for a long time.  

It's worn and weathered, but, to me, it is perfect.

Now that it is home, I can't wait to fill it full of quilts!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Looking For a Few Good Snacks

Popcorn Haystacks

1 quart popped corn (no butter or seasonings)
1 cup peanuts
3 oz. Chow Mein noodles
12 oz chocolate chips

Mix popcorn, peanuts, and noodles in large bowl and set aside.  Melt chocolate chips in microwave and pour over popcorn mixture.  Drop spoonfuls into paper cupcake liners, and refrigerate until firm.  Store in covered container.  Makes approximately 24.

*I doubled the recipe and used a variety of cupcake liners and candy liners.

Next on deck...Honey Nut Popcorn!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Snowballs from Feedsacks

I made these stacks of snowball blocks at least two January's ago, and that's as far as I got with them. The green and red prints are from some feedsacks given to me by my husband's grandmother.  The soft, white corners are from flour sacks she gave me, too.  My intent was to lay them out, alternating colors, for a Christmas quilt.  As you can see, they still sit quietly, waiting.  I don't know what made me pull them out this week, but for whatever reason, they are speaking to me now.  Seems sort of silly with Christmas over, but who am I to argue when inspiration strikes?  And who knows, maybe my interest will wane, but for now, I'm going to follow the call of the feedsacks.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Gift for Baby

I finished up this baby set a week or so ago, and am just now getting it in the mail.  Running to the post office around here can sometimes be quite a chore.  Some weeks it fits seamlessly into our routine, and other times, not so much. 
 The parents are close friends of ours, and this is baby #4 for them as well.   I love, love, love vintage children's prints, and this one from The Little Engine that Could is so sweet. The Little Golden Books will forever remain classics.  Somehow they manage to seem vintage even when they are brand new.  And I love that you can still usually find them at the grocery store, just as I did growing up. 


As I do with a a lot of baby/child quilts I make, I tied it with a soft yarn versus machine quilting.  I think the ties keep the quilt soft and cozy, and give it a bit of an old-fashioned touch - sort of like something made by Grandma.  I know many people tie their quilts with the excess yarn on the top side, but I have always done it in reverse, with the ties on the back side.  This is just the way I was taught.  I don't see many done this way, though.  How do you tie yours? I included a knit washcloth and two matching burp pads.  (As I well remember, by the time you get to baby #4, having matching anything feels extravagant!)

I wanted to include something for the older sibs, too, so I put together a couple of zipper purses for the girls and a pillowcase for the boy.  Unfortunately, I didn't grab a pic of the pillowcase.  It was hopefully suitably boyish, made from an alien novelty print I had stashed.

It is fun putting together gifts for others.  And, especially, when you know how much it will be appreciated.  

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The rising of the bread

Be gentle when you touch bread. 
Let it not lie uncared for, unwanted. 
So often bread is taken for granted. 
There is such beauty in bread. 
Beauty in turf and soil, beauty of patient toil. 
Wind and rain have caressed it, Christ often blessed it. 
Be gentle when you touch bread.

-Irish Blessing

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Green Finish

A Thursday morning finish - I put the last of the stitching in before I left for work!  I am so happy to have it all quilted and bound.  A very simple broken-strip pattern, but I love the monochromatic color scheme.  I guess it could be my St. Paddy's Day quilt, just a little early!  

On the back are my free form, log-cabin inspired blocks floating on some off white, organic cotton I happened upon last year in my local fabric store.  The store owner buys up end lots from high end manufacturers and sells them at amazing prices.  It has a wonderful feel to it that I think will only get better and better as it gets used and laundered through the years.

Well, it's time to add the sugar, potatoes, and water to my sourdough starter yeast mixture - I'm still craving those cinnamon rolls!  Hoping to make some granola today, too.  Late last night I mixed up some Popcorn Haystacks for the kids - more on those soon!  Family, baking, errands, sewing, laundry, groceries, the vet, cleaning, reading, and much more. The weekends are always so full with both have-to's and want-to's.  What is that old saying...a full life is a happy life? Indeed.   
May the weekend in your life be full.