26 June 2013

Little Fashionista Rocks the Sundress - but it's not my favorite

This lovely sample is made from a really nice stretch cotton jersey knit I bought from Fabric.com.I loved the fabric. It was really easy to work with and has a great feel and drape to it. I really, really did not like the pattern.

It looks cute, right? I made version F, but shorter. As is usual with a pattern I haven't made before, I measured my daughter and the pattern. Based on that, I chose a size 10. It was ENORMOUS. I had to take in the bodice back almost 4 inches to make it work. I also chose to do cross-over straps to pull things in a bit more. The instructions were a little cryptic in important areas. Most especially the part where it explains the bodice lining and stitching. I was able to figure it out, but I wouldn't recommend this pattern to a beginning sewist.

Another thing I would do differently (see back view in photo above) is cut the back bodice piece on the fold. I don't like the seam showing at the top. It's totally my fault because I decided after cutting the pattern out that I didn't want to put a zipper in a knit dress. It is plenty loose for getting in and out of, and I thought a zipper was going to be unnecessary effort. I still think so, but wish I'd thought to design it that way in the first place. I do like the crossover on the front of the bodice and the waistband detail. I also like the length we chose. Long enough to not need leggings, but short enough that she can wear it and ride her bicycle.


And she's all done modeling.

21 June 2013

Pizza Bread

Pizza Bread
Adapted from Family Fun Magazine

1 1/4 cups hand-hot water (about 110 degrees)
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. olive oil 
2 tsp. Kosher salt
3 to 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Pour hot water into Kitchen Aid mixing  bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the top and add the teaspoon of sugar. Let sit for about 10 min. or until yeast and water mixture is nice and foamy. Add olive oil, salt and 2 cups of flour and mix well using the dough hook. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing each addition in until dough is firm. Knead in mixer for a few more minutes. Remove bowl from mixer and scrape the dough off the dough hook. Cover the bowl of dough and leave in a warm, draft-free place to rise until double (45 min. to 1 hour).

When dough has doubled, punch down the dough several times with your fist. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 1 minute. Cover the dough lightly with oiled plastic wrap and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Dust a large baking sheet with corn meal (keeps dough from sticking). Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12- by 14-inch rectangle. Lightly brush dough with water and add toppings.
dry basil
mozzarella cheese 
Your choice! We have used pepperoni with and without olives, Canadian bacon and pineapple, veggies, sausage and mushroom, etc.
pizza sauce or marinara for dipping

1. Sprinkle dough with dry basil. 
2. Lay out toppings generously - for example the pepperoni slices should touch each other
3. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese

Roll the dough and toppings like a cinnamon roll, from the long edge, being sure to tuck the toppings in as you go. Press the edges of the dough together to seal, and tuck the ends under the roll. You can change to a new pan, or you can use the working pan, depending on how messy you got. Cover dough and let rest while you heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove plastic and bake for about 35 minutes, until loaf is lightly browned and crusty. 
Remove the pizza bread from the oven and let cool for about 20 minutes. Slice into generous slices and serve with a bowl of pizza sauce or marinara for dipping.

19 June 2013

Little Fashionista Rocks the Go To Shift Dress

I loved sewing this dress. In fact, I'm going to make another one. I got the pattern over at Go To Patterns, which I highly recommend. 

The pattern is pdf, which just takes some getting used to. If you haven't used one before, just be aware that you will have to print out the pattern and tape it together. After taping it all together, I traced the specific size I wanted onto pattern paper.

I really like working with the pattern paper. Often I make changes to a pattern, and making the notes on a traced pattern is really helpful for the next time I make the same pattern.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is the bias finished neck and arm holes. I wasn't sure I would like it, but it gives a really nice finished look without having to line the dress.

Serendipitously, my mother in law had just sent my daughter a belt - it had been given to her but it wasn't really her - and I was able to cut it down to fit. Doesn't it look fabulous with the dress? 

Has anyone else made this shift dress? If you have I'd love to know about it.

18 June 2013

A Little Company

I have a couple of sewing and knitting projects to show you pretty soon. A couple of installments in my daughter's summer wardrobe and a cool scarf made out of stash yarn.

Meanwhile, I took the week off last week to enjoy a visit from my sister-in-law and her little boy. We had a very relaxing time. Every morning, she did school with the kids while I did things I needed to do. So nice! Then the kids just played and played. The boys enjoyed wearing matching shirts.

We took a little field trip to the Colorado Railroad Museum. What a great place! There was so much to look at, and the kids especially loved being able to climb onto the trains and explore.

How's your summer so far?

07 June 2013

Chicken Salad

I had some leftover rotisserie chicken the other day, and I was craving something a little different. This yummy chicken salad is what I came up with. FYI - There is no Mayonnaise in this recipe.

Slightly Spicy Chicken Salad

2 cups rotisserie chicken, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Good sandwich bread OR
Chopped Romaine lettuce

Dressing (two ways - lazy and not)

I poured the remains of a bottle of Brianna's Poppy Seed dressing over this, but alternatively...

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. chipotle chile powder
a squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of chicken salad over a bowl of chopped Romaine lettuce made a delicious and filling meal.

06 June 2013

Spring Cleaning - Outside

Spring came slowly this year. My front yard tree is still a little shy about showing her leaves. My tulips and daffodils were stunned by the weekly snow in April and even May. The last Saturday in May, we decided it was time to take a serious look at our yard. We had a dead tree and at least 3 dead bushes. We have a big old patch of dead grass where the run-off from the neighbor's behind us ponds. We had some overgrown plants that needed serious trimming. The grass has grown into the rock border further than I'd like to admit.

So, two Saturdays and one Memorial Day of 9 hour days in the yard later, we are feeling like we're 90% of the way there. Not only did we do some major clean-up, we also painted the fence,

installed a drip system to our garden 

and a railroad tie border between the grass and rock

All we have left to do is put the rock back and new bark mulch,  

and we're done. Oh, and a trip to the dump... 

Now for the inside of the house...