Tuesday, July 29

summer residences

Sophie's summer house
Seems to be that every time a room is thoroughly cleaned around here I hear little voices saying "my house". Thankfully, the voices are real people and not in my head.

I don't know what the draw is for my kids to claim a house, but it was the same when my sister Wendy and I lived with my dad in New York for a summer when we were younger. I think we were around the ages of 8 and 10 years old.

He has a large hill at the back of his house that used to be covered in shrubs, blackberry bushes and large to small trees. There was a particular apple tree on that hill that Wendy and I *lived in*. The tree was one of the knobby, thick barked trees with scraggly big branches. There was a branch that ran about 4 feet high straight out from the tree that any young girl would look at and know it was a floor in a house. We did. There were weeds covering the ground under that tree that we stomped down for the bottom floor of our house. We were so hidden in that tree off of the main path up the hill that it was like our own secret garden spot.

When I took my kids back there for their first time this past October the tree was still standing. When I looked at that tree on a now cleared hill I saw it as a little 10 year old girl again; full of possibilities and my little sisters voice beside me whispering what we need to bring here for lunch and which one of us gets which *floor* to live in for the day, the bees buzzing in the field next to us and the muggy air of an Northeastern summer day clinging to my little girl skin.

Monday, July 28

remnant fun

Aliss made each bags with matching wallets from the remnant tote for her, her two younger sisters and two neighbor friends last week.

notice the shoeless child on the swing and the shoe in the yard...ahem.
When I was younger I loved swinging at the same time as another kid. It was like there was some magical pull that made you swing together and it was even better if you hung onto the other kids swing and they hung onto yours. This new generation (at my house anyway) do tandem swing tricks. For example; they will swing back at the same time and then do a twirl in the swing and then a flip. Talk about synchronized swinging. wowzers

Aliss is the one in the stocking cap--and yes it is July here.

I had my first official machine sewing class today. I had three students beside Aliss; their ages range from 10 to 13. Three of the kids are girls and one is a boy. They have all chosen to do pajama pants for their first project. The second project will be a peasant top for the girls and a pillow for the boy.

I showed them their way around a pattern envelope, instructions and how to cut out their fabric with the pattern piece today, tomorrow is sewing. Yay!

Friday, July 25

Sophie-The Littlest One...

I should feel very blessed with these creative girls, shouldn't I? I mean one day I will be releasing girls (one at a time I hope) to a world that are very resourceful and creative with what is around them. It can be just a teensy bit crazy to keep up with the crafting and sewing of a houseful of FOUR girls.
When I decided to fill a large tote with small pieces of the furniture showroom fabrics to repurpose for the girls I never dreamed of all of the masterpieces they would make.
*tommorrow I have to show you what Aliss made her younger sisters and friends with the scrap pieces.
Just the look on Sophie's face from making those beautiful pillows tells you why I endure the perpetual mess that 4 girls can drum up with all of this creativeness.

Watercolor by Sophie age 5
grocery list for Momcheep fun rides in the house

Sophie composes the most beautiful songs on the piano. Really. This one she wrote down because it is my favorite and she will sit and play it over and over for me. Most relaxing. The side of the turquoise paper that has a cloud and raindrops reminds us of rain and the other side reminds us of church bells.

Hannah called Sophie up the other night when the dedication gowns were out and Sophie could still fit hers because I made hers the traditional way....HUGE and LONG.
Couldn't button the back though.

I love the detail work that I ended up doing on this.
the backI love the heart buttons and detail lace and ribbon rose on the sleeve.
sigh...time flies doesn't it?

Thursday, July 24

have the time?

In a couple of posts ago I said Hannah is the crafting queen of all 8 year olds...well the ones I know at least. She didn't get it from me...I am a sewer not a crafter. Well, I can make crafty stuff if someone gives me the heads up on what we are making but my Hannah....she can look at something and make it a new life as something else. Love it!

The girls and a couple neighborhood girls claimed the livingroom floor as a scrapbooking session the other day. Tessa had the neighbor girls running home for pictures and helped them and her youngest sisters make a scrapbook page for their own. (scrapbooking-another gene that skipped me...I would rather play with color in sewing dresses or handbags)

Anyway..while helping them sift through the aftermath of this session I came across this clock. After I flipped it over I noticed it was a small pizza cardboard bottom. I am nabbed it to save before the girls bedroom swallows it up. Mom's are entitled to first dibs aren't they?
A couple of weeks ago I was doing some late spring cleaning in my bedroom . Hannah happened to be in there and is perpetually begging to go through her baby box. I love the idea of a baby box. It makes life so much easier. She has two of these boxes. One is for small things from the hospital and cards of congratulations to her Dad and me; the other is a tote of favorite clothes she wore as a baby and that I made for her.Hannah had to wear the bonnet that goes with her Dedication Gown from when she was 6 weeks old.

It's amazing to me how the memories of designing this bonnet and Dedication gown come right back. Sitting down to sketch out what I wanted my baby girls special outfit to look like. Going to the fabric store and picking out fabric and trims just right for my girl. Sneaking away to sew it bit by bit over a couple weeks time and having to rip out the bodice and re cut a larger one at the end of the couple of weeks because my baby had grown so much.

The bodice seems to have a yellow spot on it though. I am going to handwash it and try to get it out.

The memories.....

Wednesday, July 23

easy lunch

Tuna-Cheesy Melts...at least that is what we call them. We came upon this by chance a long time ago (we didnt have enough bread left for all of us to have lunch and I didnt want to go to the store while hungry for lunch-or something like that).

lay bread on a cookie sheet, mix up tuna and mayo in a bowl and spread on the bread, sprinkle on or lay on your favorite cheese (we like mozzarella or cheddar), slide under the broiler element and stick around they melt fast and then start to burn just as fast. Don't ask me how I know.

We have been enjoying some flowers from around the yard this summer. The pink rose was planted in my yard by an elderly neighbor who taught me a lot about taking care of my yard when I was twenty something. He planted it while Tessa (1 or 2 at the time) and I were across town. We came home to a lovely surprise. Hannah has taken over that rose bush and Sophie has claimed the one beside it: a very dark red rose.

Monday, July 21

slow, summer mornings...

Remember those carefree summer mornings of childhood where the whole day was yours starting with a slow morning? I loved hearing the delight in Sophie's voice as she called me to the deck to see how Hannah's cat, Tommy was sprawled out on her lap. The first thing Sophie did that morning was grab some blankets (I keep in the livingroom for snuggling) and drag them out to the deck for some slow waking up time.
The pool water should be warming up with the morning sun rays for children who anticipate a cool dip later (on days the sun peeks its head out) but alas, we cannot seem to find every small hole. Anyone know any tricks for tracking the holes down?Hannah hasn't gotten out of her p.j.'s yet and is already perusing the craft book she loves....girl after my own heart. She is the craft queen of all 8 year olds for sure.

We made an easy summer (or winter for that matter) soup tonight. start with chicken broth and boil, add potato chunks til you can smash them, shred in cheddar cheese and add some milk (we didnt have any so we added a dollop of sour cream for milkiness) and ham chunks.
would taste even better with corn but we were out of that too and tonight was the first night of Veggie Tales VBS and I was running too late to run to the store. Besides that it wasn't worth the gas to just go get corn...go figure.

Thursday, July 17


There are certain foods that just say summer. For us fruit salad is one of them. We used to buy fruit cocktail and then just add cut up bananas to it, but found out that there were much to much grapes with brown ends on them for our taste.
Sophie cutting up banana

Now we find that making it ourselves from fresh fruit makes a whole lot more for less money and none is wasted because of canned brown grapes.

All sorts of fruit can go into a salad I guess but we prefer a pretty basic version-
  • bananas
  • grapes
  • strawberries
  • peaches
  • apple slices
Fruit salad is perfect for little cooks to help. Cutting up bananas and taking grapes off of stems are pretty harmless. Even the stirring in of whipping cream would be a fun way to introduce *cooking*.

Yesterday I took 5 bags and 4 leather & suede clutches to a local boutique. We (the owner and I) are both happy with this arrangement. I LOVE having my bags in her boutique because it is a very trendy place and it makes me happy that I can make a quality bag that is also trendy.
cheesy, I know.

I just happened to drop them off in time for a big showing several businesses are having at the local Country Club and the theme is Hawaiian. She said she is going to take a few of my bags because of the large flowers in them. I won't object.

I am going to try out the idea of having one day a week that is a shop update day in my Etsy shop like several other ladies do that I know online. I can work on bags throughout the week and then come here and tell you all they are there instead of you looking there here and there. Sound good? Sounds more organized to me and that is what I am shooting for these days--organization.

Now that the Summer Collection the boutique owner has asked for is dropped off, I need to help Aliss with a few shirts she designed that didn't fit her very nicely to finish them up so she can wear her own creations. She has been asking me for help and waiting patiently for about a month.

Still pluggin along on reclaiming the house too and trying not to fizzle out.

Getting frustrated with the ongoing medical appointments to Chiropractic and Physical Therapy that are happening because a man rear ended us 2 years ago in a F350. Also, getting further frustrated at people who are insurance investigators looking up my ex-husband to ask personal questions about me and the kids. Good thing I don't have anything to hide.

Anyone else out there doing fix-it-up or beautification projects around the house this summer?

Hope you are enjoying your week!

Wednesday, July 16

2008 Riverfest

Home Depot table drawing on tiles
The festival organizers work in conjunction with a local radio station and have a contest to see whose rubber duckie wins the river race. You buy a duck for $5 and have a chance to win up to $50,000.
The local parks and rec department put on the carnival type booths for kids.
Even the fire dept came out and had fun. We needed the water splashing all around us too....summer was happening here in Washington that day.

Tuesday, July 8

Our 4th...

Well, I guess I will give you a break from more food blogging. I didn't realize how passionate I can be about feeding my family. Before I move on though--Has anyone tried soaking the oatmeal the night before and how do you like it compared to just cooking it that morning?We had a fun 4th of July hanging out here at home. The kids went with their Dad earlier on in the day to a fun festival along the river that has huge blow up toys to climb all over and ate cotton candy and all sorts of junk. For the rest of the day we hung out in the neighborhood chatting with neighbors and eating potato salad, the yummy dessert I made with red, white and blue fruit and watching the many beautiful fireworks.Aliss (14) lighting snakes for her younger sisters-
can ya tell by the hundreds of matches that it was windy out?
I stole away to my sewing room more often this past week and got a few new bags made. It was so much fun to be able to mix and match fabrics again. I have two Geranium bags ; the one above in yellow that's already in the shop and one that I am putting in my shop tomorrow in mauve and green. These two bags are almost 100% upcycled/ repurposed (whatever the correct term is now days). I love working with the fabrics from the furniture showroom to make bags, the colors are so beautiful and the bags end up so durable.I also am on an orange kick this summer. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this bright orange color. There is just something about gingham and flower prints together. This bag has a fun pocket inside the shape of an orange slice!
They are both in my shop along with other fun summer stuff.

Friday, July 4

Sloppy Lasagne...

the chef
1.cook hamburger & boil noodles
(we like shells because they hold all kinds of sauce and cheese..mmm).
2. stir hamburger, drained noodles and spaghetti sauce together in a casserole pan
3. spread a layer of cottage cheese on the meat layer
4. spread a layer of half cheddar cheese and half mozzarella cheese on top of cottage cheese and sprinkle oregano on that

bake between 350-400 degrees til bubbly on top

mmmmmm...gooey goodness and super easy!