Reading journal: Not your Mother’s Make-ahead Freezer Cookbook

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Image via Amazon

I love to read but, lately, I find myself reading less fiction and more and more about practical topics that relate to my everyday duties. Therefore, I am reading a lot of cookbooks.

My preferences in this area have changed a lot, as well. I prefer healthier cookbooks now, seasonal cookbooks, and recipes that can be easy and nourishing.

I really enjoyed Jessica Fisher’s book because she “gets” being a homemaker and having to feed a lot of people and being rushed to do it. She does it all the time as a Mom! But she also gets that, along with nourishing, you want to make food that is tasty. Her recipes seem all of them delicious, and the ones I have made have turned out fantastic. She has recipes for every cooking category that you would need to feed a family, and she goes into detail about how to prep them, store them, cook and serve them.

Along with detail cooking day plans, she has shortcuts to make meal preparation easier, which are just as valuable as the plans. I have not set up a full cooking day yet, but I have used my favorite shortcut from her: store meal components ready to go. So, if I brown beef for a meal, I save half in a dated freezer bag, and there I have more beef to pull out for pasta, or a casserole, all ready to go.

Her book is full if this kind of shortcuts, clearly explained, along with a lot of encouragement to put it all into practice. I loved this book!

I give it Five Stars.

Go Tigers!

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I had bought my son that cute little smocked LSU outfit to take hospital pictures after he was born and felt like my daughters needed something to match, so I decided to whip sweet little dresses up just a week or two before my due date. Talk about a race against time! But they love these dresses and so do I.

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The dresses are very simple. This Leila & Ben pattern has to be my most sewn pattern and it sews up so quickly every time. I used gingham fabric from Hobby Lobby (these checks are 1/8, they didn’t have 1/16 when I was there) and added a ruffled ribbon detail at the neckline in contrasting gold for the LSU effect, as well as a ribbon hemline finish following Liesl’s instructions from the Lazy Days Skirt pattern.

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The little girls love these dresses! And I must say that I love to see them wearing them.

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Linking at:
girl. Inspired

The Train to Crazy

Nap Time Crafters

Minoru Jacket (from the old blog)

This March marked the one year anniversary of my Minoru jacket 🙂 I am so happy I made it, and so in love with it! This was, by far, the most ambitious sewing project I had ever worked on and it built my confidence tremendously. I am reposting it from my old blog as a reminder that challenging yourself every once in a while is well worth it.

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It’s finally finished! And I am so pleased with the results. I have never *ever* worked on such an ambitious project, and I feel so happy I stuck with it and got it done. Thank you, Tasia, for such an awesome pattern and sewalong!

Materials: red wool crepe; lining: print quilting cotton, both from www.fabric.com I got the notions through Amazon, if you can believe it. It was great, I did not have to go anywhere!

Adjustments: The only adjustment I did on it was shorten the sleeves. Oh, and I did not add Velcro to the pockets.

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Notes about the fabric: It was great to sew with these two fabrics. They are both very forgiving when it comes to using your seam-ripper. The wool does not press well, but I was okay with that. Such a lovely color! It is the perfect fall/spring weight.

Difficulties: Stitching in the ditch and the final hem were the hardest for me. They look a bit wonky, but not too bad considering… I was scared to sew in the zippers, but everything turned out great. Tasia’s instructions on the pattern are absolutely fabulous.

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Techniques learned: I am not rembering the proper names for these right now, but I learned so many things! The most important lesson was to take my time preparing to sew– it is so worth it in the end! I also learned neat techniques for attaching lining, new ways of transferring pattern markings, the meaning of stitching in the ditch, a review of slipstitching, among others. It was great!

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Favorite features: I love everything about this jacket but, especially, the raglan sleeves with gathers, and the cinched waist. Gorgeous! My four-year-old asked me if she could get this jacket when she grows up 😉

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Thanks again, Tasia, for such a fun sewalong!

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Finished: Car seat cover

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Remember when I blogged about this project? It has been finished for a while, but I had not been able to snap some nice pictures of it. I finally decided to go ahead and just post the pictures I have and put a check mark next to “done!”

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I love how this one turned out, and it has been so useful for us. The fabrics I used are, for the exterior, Sarah Jane’s Children at Play for Michael Miller from Fabric.con, the name is Making Paper Hats, Aqua and for the interior I used a gorgeous yellow minky from The Minky Boutique. I love the service of these two stores and love my new fabric.

The tutorial came from Make-it-do and, what I loved most about it (beside the awesome instructions) is her suggestion to make rounded corners instead of leaving them square. Works perfectly!

What have you finished and have not blogged about yet?

Making it on Monday

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– Began work on the girls’ birthday outfits, and please wish me luck as they have to be completed by Saturday, on top of other party preparations.

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The pattern is oliver + s Ice Cream Dress which I had never felt like I needed to buy until I saw this and this.

I am making mine of linen shirting (which is already turning out to be too light and flimsy. I am underlining the whole thing) and cotton facings. The colors are pink and orange since it is a Dora party– I thought it would be a nice nod to Dora without it being too Dora-ish.

Wish me luck!

Making it on… Friday?!

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We had a bout of the flu at our house this week and that, of course, switched my gears from crafting to cleaning and trying to figure out a good way to strengthen our immune system for the rest of the season.

This is, I’m embarrassed to say, my first pot of soup ever. I have read that bone broth is actually very nutritious, so I made some too, to keep, using a recipe similar to this one.

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Here, Keeper of the Home has some good tips on boosting your immune system during cold season. I will pay more attention next year!

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I did manage to get some sewing done. I was privileged to test an awesome pattern, and I’ll tell you more about it in a future post.

What have you been making? Hope you all stay healthy!

Finally, the Hand-smocked dresses

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I began work on these dresses back in March of last year. Then I got pregnant, and morning sickness hit. It has been such a busy time for us that I had not even been able to take pictures of them, but I finally managed to finish both of them. If not for one year’s Easter, for next year’s, right? 😉

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I had always dreamed of smocking a dress, but with nobody to teach me it seemed like a lost cause. And then I came across a fantastic book by Gail Doane called Sew Cute Couture and I knew that maybe, just maybe, I could have a chance. So I bought it.

The book was a dream. It walks you step by step through many beautiful smocked creations, and I was smitten by many of them. Two problems, however: the bishop dress pattern only came up to three years old, and one of my daughters was already four and way past that size. Problem number two: I did not own a pleater.

What was a girl to do?

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Well, I decided that my eldest did not need to have a bishop, after all. I do like them to match, though, when I make their clothes, so I adapted one of the designs in the book to match the design of my two-year-old’s bishop. Problem solved!

Now, what about the pleating?

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Unable to find anyone locally who would do the pleating for me (and if anybody knows of anyone who does pleat for a fee, please let me know), I set out to pleat on my own. (I will have a separate post on pleating–it deserves its own separate treatment, for sure!)

It was a lot of work–not hard work, just long, especially because I was making two dresses–but I am do happy with the way these turned out! And, the best part, the girls loved them, too.

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The first dress only has pleating on the bodice. The collar features the same buttons as the bishop, with some stitching (this design was supposed to go on the collar of the bishop’s matching jacket that I never made).

This is what the back looks like.

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For a while, when I was in a hurry, I debated whether I should work on that belt detail or just add some ribbon to adjust the dress. Conclusion?: the belt is worth it. It makes this look!

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And here is my darling bishop!

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I love this dress, and I love it on my child. She still looks do much like her playful self in this dress, and it is hilarious to see the traditional/mischievous together.

Here is a look at the back:

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And here are some close up shots of the collar/embroidery of both dresses:

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If you have ever wanted to smock a dress and were daunted before you even began, please consider it again. It is fun and it is not hard; it is just long work, but it is easy if you are shown how. I highly recommend Gail Doane’s book. If I could do it, anyone can do it!

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Mid-week’s fun links: Printing by hand

This week I have been thinking about printing by hand. I did some of that back in college, but somehow it always seemed like you needed a workshop and a lot of fancy equipment to make it work. Not so! These ladies have fabulous printing tutorials that are sure to inspire anybody to give it a try:

A Winter White Project by You and Mie, where she teaches about hand-carving stamps to make a fabulous throw pillow.

How to screen print on fabric by See Kate Sew.

Freezer Paper Stenciling by Dana, from Made.

Painting on fabric again by Cherie from You and Mie.

Stamping on fabric by Skirt as top.

Finally, and completely unrelated, but I found a fantastic recipe for homemade Läräbars that I cannot help but share, here

Happy rest of the week!