Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sidebar Additions

I've added a couple of additions to the sidebar of my blog. I struggled through my technology-illiteracy and figured out how to include a link to both my etsy shop and my classic campbell facebook page.

The facebook page will mostly be used to update on additions to the shop, new product info, and overall advertising for my etsy shop. Word of mouth, so spread the news!

And the etsy shop link shows a couple of my creations that are for sale right now. A couple of blog readers have contacted me through email about items that are not listed in the shop. If there is anything that you have seen on the blog that is not on etsy, please let me know. We can set up a custom order. Here are a few of the items I have listed right now:

The apple bucket liner

The pastel poppy organizer

Custom fabric banner

The lily bucket liner

The cherry bucket liner

There are also several new items about to pop up in the shop! Thanks for all of your support!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Embroidery to Fit a Frame

A few weeks ago, we held a rummage sale at work to raise money for a friend in need. I found quite a few things to buy, including a beautiful antique frame that I planned on painting white and hanging in Anna Jane's room.

As it sat in my house, waiting for me to attack it with spray paint, I changed my mind. I picked up some linen for half price (lots of fabrics on sale right now!).


I picked out a favorite verse and printed it in a pretty font:


I cut the phrases out and arranged them on the fabric, using the frame as a guide:


There could be better ways to transfer images onto fabric, but here is how I do it...Using a pencil, cover the back of the text with a layer of pencil lead:


Then turn the paper over and place the scribbled side on the fabric, exactly where you would like the text to appear. Using a sharp pencil, trace the letter, pressing hard so that the pencil scribble underneath will transfer to the fabric.




If this strains your eyes, you can go over it again with the pencil directly on the fabric. Then use your favorite embroidery stitch:



I loved spending time embroidering this...it's been a long time since I've embroidered anything. When Anna Jane wore little fancy dresses, I would embroider them with shadow-work, and I used to monogram her little clothes by hand. I also embroidered hankerchiefs for each of the attendants in my wedding. I wish I had taken photographs of each of them. I picked out designs for each attendant based on their personality and style. Forget taking pictures, I wish I had kept them all for myself!

This took a little time, but what is really taking most of my time....?


Pleats for the dining room chairs were a good choice, but I'm pinning from morning until night. It might help a little if I knew what I was doing and not making it all up as I go along. I will be quite tired proud when this project is wrapped up. And will have to invite over many more friends for dinner to make the project worth it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thoughts About Food (and a recipe)

I am not a vegetarian. That is a necessary statement in this pro-vegetarianish post.

Warning: There will be thoughts on the environment and your health in the following post. You absolutely positively do not have to agree with me on any of these thoughts. I'm just sharing.

There are lots of things that people do to try to save energy and save the environment. Recycling, turning off lights and tvs, only running your dishwasher when it is full, etc.

The most effective thing you can do to have a positive effect (or less negative effect) on our environment is to eat a little less meat. I have mentioned that to a few people over the past few months (in conversation, never preachy, never hey-you-shouldn't-eat-meat). They totally didn't believe me.

I have said it without exactly knowing where I heard it. I couldn't give facts and figures. But I've collected a few and would like to share these facts and figures with you. Mostly because I feel like we all want to help out good-ole mother earth when we can, and most of us are not aware of this minor change to our lives that can make a pretty significant difference to our environment.

Behold some environmental impact bullets:
  • 1/5 of man made greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change are generated by the meat industry
  • eating 20% less meat (one day a week) would cut greenhouse gas emissions as much as if every American switched to an ultra-efficient hybrid vehicle
  • 1/2 of river and stream pollution is a result of meat production methods
  • 2500 gallons of water are used to produce 1lb of beef
  • 220 gallons of water are used to produce 1lb of soy
  • because of the amount of fossil fuel energy needed to produce beef, 12 billion gallons of gasoline would be saved if everyone in the United States spent one day a week without eating meat
  • the livestock industry is responsible for the release of two dangerous gases, methane and nitrous oxide. they are considered to be more harmful than CO2 and remain in the atmosphere for up to 114 years
  • a third of all cereal crops are used for animal feed, not food for humans
  • it is anticipated that the meat industry will double it's production by 2050

I'm sure that there are facts and figures out there that will contradict each fact and figure I just gave you. But those would not have exactly supported my cause, now would they?

My very awesome doctor told me recently that while the Meatless Monday is quite trendy these days, her motto is more like "Only meat on Mondays." Too extreme for me. When I stopped to pay attention to it, I realized that a lot of my meals are meatless.

Think about your meals. How often do you eat a meal that is meatless? On average, Americans eat 45% more meat per day than the USDA recommends. Can you cut out a day of meat? If you already do, can you cut out one more?

Here is one of my very favorite recipes. And it just so happens to be meatless, but I've loved it far longer than I've known that I'm saving the earth by eating it.

Pasta with Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella

1 box whole wheat penne
28oz can and 15oz can of diced tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
olive oil
pinch of crushed red pepper
handful of shredded basil
parmesan cheese

Slice garlic and sautee in oil over med high heat until slightly brown (I use a large skillet). Add tomatoes and crushed red pepper (I like mine quite hot, so I might add two pinches). Let simmer for 10 minutes or so, until it reduces and isn't so juicy.

Meanwhile, boil pasta in salted water. When cooked, add to tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Add cubed mozzarella cheese, a sprinkle of parmesan, and some basil shreds.

This is an inexpensive meal, very filling, very healthy (as long as you don't overdo it on the cheese). I'm not a big fan of tomato sauce, but these diced tomatoes and mozzarella are a perfect match with the sturdy whole wheat pasta.

I would be happy to share my favorite meatless recipes. I plan on serving them more often these days!

My resources include the always-reliable wikipedia and goop

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ruffles or Knife Pleats?

We returned from almost two weeks of being out of town...photos to follow.

I jumped out of bed this morning and frantically tried to put my to-do list in some sort of order. I never seem to get done what I think I will over the summer, but I have a few weeks left to try.

I have been wanting to overhaul my dining room, so I got started a little on my chairs today. These chairs and my dining room table belonged to my great-grandparents. My mom covered them with a blue and white plaid and I covered them with a pink and yellow stripe when I moved into my first house. They looked adorable in my yellow living room, but they are long overdue for an upgrade.


Because any chair that will be pulled under a table is bound to be spilled upon, I'm going with a slipcover. And because you can bleach anything out of white fabric, I'm going with a white slipcover. And because I love ruffly, fancy things, I'm going with a white, ruffly slipcover.

I used some scrap fabric to make a little practice slipcover. My chair has quite a few rails and a wide back, so I wanted a trial run to make sure it fit just like I wanted. Then I added the ruffle to make sure it was the right length.

Then I thought that maybe it looks like a pillowcase.

dining room chairs (1)

I will be using a much heavier white cotton duck fabric, so the resemblance to a pillowcase shouldn't be as strong on the real thing. But just for fun, I made a strip of knife pleats and pinned it in place on top of the ruffle.


What do you think? Do you have a preference? Does it look much different?


Knife Pleats?

Please dicuss, keeping in mind that the final product will be heavier. And ironed.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July

Technically, all of these activities took place yesterday, on the 3rd of the July. But with the spirit of the 4th.

We spent most of yesterday at Old Salem. If you live in North Carolina, you probably visited Old Salem with your 4th grade class. It is a beautiful place, but we visited yesterday for the guns, not the beauty.

Years ago, when Dave worked at Old Salem, his very favorite part of his job was his role in the militia. He would return from work on the evening of the 4th of July with the very strong scent of gunpowder and a large, purple, impressive bruise on his shoulder from the kickback of the gun.

We impressed the kids Wilson with these stories and hopped in the car to see the show. Unfortunately museums are hit hard during times of economic struggle, so the once-great militia show has become a demonstration. Still great guys shooting great guns, but without the fanfare that really drew an excited crowd.

Let me preface the following photos by telling you that there was a fire drill demonstration soon after we arrived. This included pumping water from the well on the square (oh, the well memories....salem girls?), filling leather buckets, and emptying the water into some sort of hand-pumped water hose. The interpreters (men in costume) then asked for children to represent the fire and squirted all volunteers with the water hose. This is the reason for Wilson's lack of attire...

The guns were really loud.


But we were so excited!


Cousin Nat, firing on the enemy:


Despite the noise, Wilson and Anna Jane both decided to register themselves as members of the militia.


Anna Jane told the recruiter that her occupation was "designer." He wrote that she was a mantua maker, which is what a clothing maker (seamstress?) was called in the 1700s.


Wilson's occupation as listed on his enlistment form is a transformer. There was no alternate description given for this occupation. Guess the word meant the same 300 years ago.

After a close examination by the town joiner, posing as a doctor, the kids were accepted into the Old Salem militia.


Despite 75 tries at a photo with all 3 kids, this is the only one where all of them are looking at the camera:


Thank goodness for digital.

When we got home we decided to bake some cookies, which would usually not rank high enough on the excitement meter to land in a blog post. The difference this time, however, is that I made them with a recipe from a good friend, and they are the most delicious sugar cookies you will EVER eat. So I snapped some pictures of the process to accompany the recipe. It is too good not to share.

This dough definitely rolls out easier than any other dough I've tried before.


No good reason for lack of clothing in this picture, other than the fact that this is how Wilson presents himself 85% of the time.


This is what happens when you give a 2-year-old a cookie cutter and his own dough:


This is what happens when you give him sprinkles:


Maybe he learned it from his 4-year-old brother:


Sugar Cookies
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (soft)
1 egg (beaten)
3 Tbs cream
1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Mix dry and wet together. (it really is that easy).

Roll out, cut out, bake at 400 for 5-6 minutes.

That's the recipe as I got it...but as a rule I always cook at a lower temp and at a lesser amount of time than called for. ALWAYS. So my oven was set at 350, and I baked for about 5 minutes. PERFECT!!