Thursday, July 30, 2009

the stitchin' vixen

Yes, ladies and (wait, do I have any?) gentlemen, the Buttercup Bag strikes again. It is a subtly matching accessory to my new Barcelona Tiered Skirt, because as you see, the interior fabric MATCHES my skirt. Can you believe it? Coordinated handbag and skirt. I had only grumpy helpers available today, so I couldn't pull the whole photo shoot together...but you can imagine.
I love that both sides are different. And I love that this Anna Maria Horner fabric is so varied in its pattern. Also, do you see I am using one button accent per side this time? I couldn't get excited about covering up any of the fabric, and wanted to use the buttons to accent the pattern in its interesting symmetry.
Inside, on the pocket, I did some crazy Traci Bautista-inspired stitching, just for a laugh.
And, oh, that awesome tee-shirt I am modeling? That's courtesy of my girl Rickie, who scored it at the Goodwill in Portland, and can you believe her generosity of spirit that she didn't just keep it for herself?!?! I love it so very very much. I can't quite picture the person who might have cast it aside, like how could you not want this in your wardrobe anymore? Perhaps the former vixen was ready to spread the vixen vibes in the wider world, sharing the bitchin' stichin' love. Anyway, I'm grateful it made its way to me via Rickie (who is stitching her own Buttercup bags like mad!). I wear it proudly!

Monday, July 27, 2009

pink grapefruit sorbet, take 2

my crafty boys came up with this amazing dessert
for a humid night
garnished with fresh raspberries and mint,
served in the grapefruit halves

Exploring picturesque Belfast recently, we were directed to the Three Tides, a brewery and eatery right on the water. Atmosphere totally funky and awesome, with a sailcloth awning, and a variety of lampshades strung along the upper deck.
Bocce court down below, with a fire pit and movie house seats. If you are into oysters, they have them; for myself, I prefer to stay away from food items that have the consistency of snot. There are lots of small plates to share, salads, and the crabmeat and avocado quesadilla was excellent.
The gardens have enjoyed the recent bouts of sun. These photos are from a trip down to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, rendezvous-ing with my mom to get our kids back. (Oh, did I not mention we were kid-less for three whole nights?!)
This boy is looking bigger and bigger these days. From June 5th to July 17th he grew 1.5"! And I'm feeling like I am seeing this shimmer of his teen self coming through, flickering in his expressions and his body language.
A tricky time to be a person. And a tricky time to be a mom. He still has that twinkle and for that, I am grateful.
I have a chicken in a box in my air conditioned bedroom, recouperating from a sprained ankle (or bird equivalent). This is Mavis the Bravest, always canny and smart right from when I first met her, and she's one of our new girls (about 8 weeks old). She managed to snag her foot between two boards but everything seems to be facing the right direction, just a bit swollen. She's better today, limping but perky when I took her outside this afternoon for her airing.

And stay tuned for a new favorite tee-shirt...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Voila la Skirt

It's done: the Amy Butler Barcelona Tiered Skirt. Yup, even the boring hemming part and snipping of stray threads.
I love it! And thanks to my friend Kim, (who let me try on her size M), the size is perfect. I even shaved off another half inch while sewing up the sides, so it's really perfect.
I feel pleasantly summery and girly trying it on, though I haven't worn it out yet. (I'm saving it for a date with the Mr. for its debut.) I feel proud of doing my first zipper! And proud of making a skirt with a liner! Hooray! I am already thinking of making the A-line skirt, and soon, before the summer of boundless sewing time is over... and I am reading textbooks again.
Anyone know what this unusual-smelling flower is that is suddenly rocketing out from my clump of Solomon's Seal? It's so pretty and delicate, though I am not sure I could take it inside my house.
Miss E. received her PJ pants with aplomb. I am afraid the colors are a bit washed out here, in life, they are more intense and groovy. I am eager for her next sleepover so I can do a true photo shoot!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Birthdays, etc.

the whistling pitcher
I've been a bit busy this week. For one, it was great weather and I have been working on my Amy Butler Barcelona Tiered skirt (promise to have photos soon). For two, my baby just turned seven (really?) which called for some celebration. It's hard to believe that I have a seven year-old. He has been having a little crisis lately---am I a baby or a big almost-first-grader? It seems he was just a wrinkled and sweaty little newborn, then a chubby chubbo baby, then a toddler with long blond fluffy hair. He still likes a good cuddle, for which I am grateful.

Here are the ingredients for a summer birthday around here: outside fun, low-key, a few families and special friends, some music, good food.
We started with Whiffle Ball at a nearby field. Some players were complete rookies and were batting with Dads and Moms at first.
Followed by a good hose soaking here at home. It was a sticky, humid sort of day that really called for wetness.
Barbecue and potluck until our bellies were full, like this, of Jenny's great beans (from a not-stolen recipe, she got it fair and square), Rickie's wonderful jicama-apple slaw, terrific green salad from Brooks (sadly, a little neglected, but really good, I ate some), chips, etc.
A little impromptu mandolin music, thanks to Bruce.
Thankfully, we managed to squeeze some dessert in. Mr. Crafting Dadda created two amazing frozen cakes for the birthday boy using homemade ice cream and sorbets. Above, mango sorbet topped with lime sorbet. Decorated beautifully with flowers by Hannah.
And this one was mint ice cream with mint from our garden, with oreo cookies as a middle layer, and oreo frosting around the sides. Decorated with Junior Mints and jimmies by Jonas and the meringue mushrooms by Hannah. The only sane choice was to have both.
One very special present came this way. All wrapped up in a box (with air holes), and carried by her UPS Dad, came one of Sylvan's favorite friends, Sophia. The looks, as she popped out of the box, on both his and her faces, are not ones I hope to ever forget.
And one more present. The first raspberries.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

recipe for a fine summer day

me and my pink grapefruit sorbetto

Start the Sunday morning with sourdough pancakes.
Totally fudged the recipe, added a little yeast, milk and butter, along with a couple of cups of flour the night before, some eggs, salt, and more flour and milk the next morning. They are divine, so light, so delicious...

While cleaning up the breakfast dishes, begin preparing dinner (love that). What's on the menu? Quinoa salad with peas and radishes, mint and cilantro, based on Heather's great recipe. Quinoa takes a lot of coddling (rinsing it beforehand, dry roasting it, rinsing it in cold after cooking to minimize the mush factor), but I think it's worth it. And so good for us.
And also, Baked Sweet Potato Falafel from 101 Cookbooks. My new favorite vegetarian food porn site. Here's what it looked like on the plate tonight, served with a side of cucumber-dill-mint yogurt salad, and fresh greens from our garden:
Sylvan had three helpings of quinoa salad, no Sweet Potato Croquettes (as we called them to avoid the gag reflex on the word "falafel" for the boys, you know "feel awful"). Jonas avoided the quinoa but ate the croquettes. Hey, both are delicious and good for you, so who cares.
Between breakfast and dinner we went to Damariscotta to the bead store for Jonas (who makes great earrings and he's taking orders to finance a portion of his ski pass), for a swim (my first of the season), and the fabric store for me to remedy one of those awful mistakes that we sometimes make. That would have made me swear a BIG BAD swear, had Jonas not still been awake.
Is the addage "Measure twice, cut once" one that crosses cultural borders? Probably, since idiocy knows no bounds. So I KNEW that I needed to cut the fabric for E's PJ pants a certain way. I thought it through twice. I laid it out. And cut it completely the wrong way. Argh. *&(*@!!!! See how I had the iPod all set to go for the pinning and cutting last night? (And that adorable little bag, a gift from E. and her mom, just because. Just because they thought of me when they saw it. I love that sentiment, the bag, and them!)
Also while in Damariscotta, we stopped by North Cottage Coffee for some outrageously lovely handmade gelato. This place is worth a stop, for coffee, gelato, sweet and savory treats, and a great cafe atmosphere. Above is pictured the blood orange sorbetto. I chose the pink grapefruit, which might possibly be up there as my new all-time favorite, up there with Jake's homemade strawberry sorbet. Great color, texture, and flavor to die for. And please notice these cute cups they serve the gelato in, and those plastic spoons? Totally great design, although made of plastic, they fit in your hand and have a nice small spoon-head, perfect for shaving off tiny nibbles of these delectable frozen treats.
Finally, our new peeps went outside their enclosure for the first time this evening. Just a little bit of fresh grass and flying bugs. They were a little unsure, a little nervous about the idea. Kept going in and out.
Notice that buff cochin at right, above photo? I love her fluffy little botto and feathered slippers! There was some aggressive behavior we observed, and we are hoping that we are not seeing the beginnings of roosters. We still have them separated from the "big" girls for now.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


A long sunny day---and I wasn't at work!

We gardened, mostly working on filling up those front gardens. I busted up a bunch of sod, revamping the Grandparents' Garden. I am a little sunburned and tired and feeling good.
And I finished the curtains for my bedroom! Hooray! Don't you just love that birdie fabric from Alewives??? I also finished Jonas's second pair of PJ pants, but he hasn't let me take a photo of them on him yet.
We have ten new babies, five weeks old and cute: 5 araucanas, 4 cochins (fluffy slippers and super mellow), and 1 New Hampshire Red (since we are sadly missing our old Reddie). We (using the Royal We, here) are on a strict regimen of hand-feeding and handling them, so they will continue to be tame and sweet.
So far, one is called Mavis June (she likes to climb on my hand and arm) and one is called Sophia Mae (a friend to Mavis and named after Sylvan's friend, since we already have chickens named after two other of his favorite girls, Alice and Zola). Then there's Reddie #2. And possibly Fluffernutter, pictured above right.
And here is some very happy lettuce, being such a ham and practically shouting "cheese."

Have you seen these two videos of adorable children? Charlie Bit Me is our family's new favorite shortcut to giggles, followed only by Once Upon a Time with la tres adorable Capucine of the enormous eyes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

holiday with my boy

Sometimes, some very few times now, we are just the two of us. Jonas and I visited our old home for a couple of days, Mount Desert Island, which is sort of like a whole lot of beautiful in one tiny place.
our sea glass mosaic at our hosts' house
So if Maine's one of my favorite places in the world for natural beauty, MDI is sort of the essence of that; the best of the best. Most of it is owned by the National Park Service.
the view from Parkman Mtn.
We have so many favorite spots there and so many memories of when Jonas was small. I was always saying: Look, Jonas, that's where we went to the beach! That restaurant bathroom has special significance for you and your dad! That was our apartment when you were a baby! There used to be a goose at this beach we called Lucy!
We kayaked with friends, hiked up a favorite old hike (still great), and visited this lovely secluded beach full of rocks and sun (yes! SUN!).
I did not reenact being the troll under the foot bridge, but only because the stream bed was flowing quite strongly. Jonas was still game!
The Asticou Azalea Gardens are always a treat. And so much more relaxing now that I have an older child who is not about to shriek or run into the Japanese sand garden or stray from the path or otherwise disturb the meditative mood.

We camped out in the backyard of two friends (one of whom is Kate, my Unfurling Ferns collaborator) and listened to the rain on the tent, all snuggled and cozy. (OK, actually it was a little sweaty.) Both of these people are artistic food-lovers and have these amazing little treasures everywhere you look (driftwood accents, for example) around their very sweet and comfortable home. Martha Stewart has one of her houses on MDI and is probably sneaking around stealing their ideas.
Kate has this adorable tea cup, her grandma's. That I am in L O V E with. So here are two pictures, that's how much I adore it.
I couldn't even bear to use it. Kind of like having a crush on a boy in 8th grade that you can barely stand to look at, you like him so much. You might just fall into a really embarrassing swoon, just by glancing. Swoon away, in the comfort of your own home.