27 September 2011

Dried or Frozen?

Do you prefer dried tomatoes or frozen? By February, we won't care. I love having a stash of tomatoes ready for winter. I didn't have enough for canning, so I froze some and dried some. For freezing, I blanched the tomatoes for about 2 minutes, peeled and stuffed them in quart size bags. Just the right size for stew or spaghetti sauce. For drying, I just sliced them up and put them in the dryer, inspired by Whole.New.Mom's post from a few weeks ago. They turned out great! I also got another batch of dried pears and peaches in.

 Aren't they gorgeous?


24 September 2011

New Etsy Favorites

Here is a little collection of things I added to my favorites on Etsy this week:

 This adorable print by Majali Design reminds me of my kids climbing our tree.

Another fabulously chic item from L'Accent Nou

This lovely Swiss dot pillow from Once Upon a Childhood - just love the piping around the edge

I. Seriously. Love. These. Shoes. by Vile Broccoli Fur. I am not as sure about the shop name...

I just used this gorgeous organic fabric by Birch for a custom nightgown. 
I bought it at Cedar House Fabrics. I can't wait to sew more of this!

23 September 2011

Upcycled and Repurposed

Wow! I have had a really busy week or so. Sometimes the days just fly by and I can't believe how fast they are gone. What have I been doing? Preserving food, organizing stuff, sewing for my Etsy shop, some half-hearted attempts at house cleaning, and this cool t-shirt!

I used a blue short sleeve tee that belonged to my older son and the front and back of  another old white tee and a strip of grey from one of this guy's outgrown tees. I have this big tee shirt collection in my sewing room, some of which will become tee shirt quilts for my kids someday, and some that I thought would make cool tees for the little guy.

This Tee for Two pattern was super easy to use, and I can't wait to make more!

 Completely in love with my double needle for the top-stitching.

My big and little guys. Love them.


16 September 2011

Need Help with ORGANIZATION?

You may have noticed, if you've been reading my blog for awhile, that I'm always trying to organize something. Often the same thing I just finished organizing. LOL. 
I think it's my biggest challenge in life. Things and people in my life (including me) just won't stay organized.

If this sounds like your life, there is a great little giveaway over at A Bowl Full of Lemons that might interest you.

 Don't you love the title? Head on over there and enter to win!

13 September 2011

Dehydrating Fruit

Lately, we have been ending up with more fruit than we can eat. It's rather an unusual situation for us, and it took me a few days to remember that I have a food dehydrator and that now would be a good time to get it out. Here's what we've made so far:

The raisins are delicious! So sweet. The bananas? Well, they are already gone. My kids love them. If only they would eat fresh bananas at the same rate... This week is all about pears.

Just like with canning, there are lots of websites where you can find information on fruit drying. My favorites tend to be university extensions. Here are a couple of websites I really like for fruit drying information:

I am a big fan of using lemon juice on fruit before I dry it. What do you use?


11 September 2011


Join Tom Brokaw and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for a memorial performance of Music and the Spoken Word. See the schedule here

10 September 2011

Time to think about Halloween...

I've been browsing Etsy for some Halloween ideas. My oldest son wants to be a viking. 

My youngest son wants to be a space man. I have told him over and over that he can't change his mind (last year's turtle episode in which he decided to be a turtle 3 days before Halloween is still a little too fresh).

I'm trying to talk my daughter into using a costume we already have...

Here are some of my favorites this week:

 What could be cooler than this? by CynCerelyCrochted

I bought a pattern like this one from Mamachee

 Felicity by Country Barn

Little Red Riding Hood by Storybook Styles

 I might have to have the jetpack from Luminous Moon

Loving this helmet, also from Luminous Moon

Do you have big plans for Halloween? Costumes? Do you have a party? I'd love to hear your Halloween traditions!

09 September 2011

Crockpot Minestrone

Fall is definitely in the air around here. It actually rained all day yesterday, gently. I am loving the 67 degree temperatures. My kids think they are cold. Ha! Have they already forgotten the minus 30 we had last January? I sure haven't.

Minestrone is the perfect transition dish. You can still use some zucchini and tomatoes from the garden, but it's also warm and comforting when the temperatures drop. This is my Grandma's recipe for you to enjoy.

Minestrone Soup from Grandma G-G
3 slices bacon (optional - for vegetarian, omit)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. basil leaves (I just tossed in a fresh sprig from the garden)
12 oz beef broth (for vegetarian, use vegetable broth)
1 can Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup (for vegetarian use a can of cannellini beans instead)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 cups water 
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh from your garden, chopped)
1/2 cup macaroni noodles
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup cubed zucchini

Cook bacon, if using and crumble into small pieces. In olive oil, cook onion, celery and garlic until onions are starting to turn caramel color. Watch the garlic! Put the bacon, onion, celery, garlic, basil, broth, soup or beans, tomatoes, salt, sugar and water into the crock pot. For the vegetarian version, you may need additional salt. Cook on low heat for about 5 hours. Turn heat up to high and add macaroni, cabbage and zucchini. Cook until noodles are done. Serve with crusty bread.

08 September 2011

My Favorite Project - Today

I am learning how to do something new!  And it's really fun. It's quilting as you go, following directions from Patchwork Style.  I am not a quilter. Someday, I'd like to have time to be one, but for now, I am learning this new thing. You will notice that my "quilting" is not at all elaborate.

I started with a 10" layer cake of Odyssea by MoMo. I used this nifty circle cutting tool and my rotary cutter to cut circles out of the center of each square. I also cut a bunch of 10" squares out of ivory cotton. I was stumped for a bit on how to get the circles sewn onto the ivory backing without them moving around. Then I thought of spray adhesive! It worked great and it will wash right out. Once the circles were stuck to the ivory backing, I pinned them to the 10" batting squares. Then I quilted a lovely X right through the middle. Yes, I traced a line with a ruler, yes, I used my walking foot. Yes, I changed the needle after sewing 45 squares through batting.

Now I just have to sew it all together...


07 September 2011


Have any of you ever played "steamroller" with your kids? You know the game. You lie down on the floor and try to roll over each other. My brothers and I played it all the time, now I play it (carefully) with my kids. 

This last week I felt like I had been steamrollered. It may have been the root canal I had last Friday, it may have been the fact that summer came to an end and school started. I was Just Plain Tired. I couldn't get up at 5 am to exercise, I couldn't stay OFF the couch. I couldn't blog. I really wasn't sick. Just Tired.  Does that ever happen to any of you? Is it just me?

It's Labor Day. We labored in the garage and we can now put one of our two cars in. More to do another day.
It's also time to be thinking about finishing up Christmas gifts. With all this company coming, wouldn't it be great to send them home with their Christmas presents? It would save some postage for sure. 

Before I got so crazy tired, I did finish one Christmas gift. I think we're pretty safe showing it to you since my FiL doesn't read my blog...but first I have to put the buttons on. I will show it too you soon.