Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bistro Apron

I have a few yards of linen that I had ordered from here, sitting in the cupboard.  I found it while looking for fabric with animals on it for another project, and got momentarily distracted, thinking how the linen would make a great apron, then dropped everything, signed on to Pinterest and well, you know how it goes.  So I made an apron.
My name is Lynne.  I'll be your server this evening.

I always admired those long linen aprons the wait staff wear in chic uptown bistros, a pocket for their book, a towel hanging smartly from a loop or tucked into the waistband.  They would smile and say their name was Andouille or something just as equally hard to remember, and announce the daily specials with gusto and flourish, for dishes like roasted baby quail legs over a bed of rosemary infused polenta and masticated butter beans, or imported Chilean sea bass smothered in spring onions, lightly steamed fiddle de de head ferns and remoulade.
Whatever.  I'll have the cheeseburger and the pommes frites
Anyway, I like the apron see?  The problem is I am about 5 feet nothin' so a long apron makes me look like I've been swallowed by a bolt of fabric, and besides it would just get get tangled around my ankles.
So I shortened it a bit, to Hobbit length, added a pocket using scraps of Umbrella prints fabric, a towel loop (which is a small band of fabric sewn horizontally onto the front of the apron so you can hang a tea towel through it) and a length of twill tape for the ties.  The twill tape was once wrapped around a giant stack of washcloths I bought at Target years ago.  Don't ever throw anything like that away.  You never know.
 Eager to test drive my new apron, I scurried into the kitchen, but alas, no sea bass.  Instead I pulled out an old cookie recipe that my Grandma used to make.  They come out of the oven big and plump and just barely fit in the palm of your hand, and contain easily recognizable (and pronounceable) ingredients like cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts. So I made some.
 The kitchen smelled great, the apron did it's job, and I didn't trip over it.

Grandmas Roses' Raisin Cookies

(you can cut this recipe in half, but I never know how to cut 3 eggs in half, so I would just use 2)

In a small saucepan place 2 cups of raisins in a cup of water and boil gently about 5 minutes, or until the water is gone.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile cream together
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of shortening.
Note:  I used coconut sugar which is brown, so my cookies came out darker than if you use regular white sugar.  I also used Spectrum brand all vegetable shortening which is non-hydrogenated.  You can also use coconut oil.

To this add:
3 beaten eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups of flour (2 wheat, 2 white) or whatever you have on hand.
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Mix everything together and add the cooled raisins.  Drop generous tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet.  Flatten the cookies slightly with the bottom of a small glass dipped in sugar .
Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Two weeks later....

It's been anything but peaceful here at pieceful.  My son is home from college, so that means more food shopping and cooking (man, that kid can eat!), and the parade of 18/19 year old friends to and from the pool and pantry has officially begun. On the making front, it seems as though I'm starting more things than finishing, but it's fun to dabble in new stuff.  Like this flowering snowball block found over on Molly Flanders Makerie.
The curved seams weren't too bad, and the template works up to a 12 inch block.  I also tried  making one by paper piecing with a smaller template, but it turned out like crap. In fact it looks like my dog made it.  The 9 inch template I used needs to be tweaked a bit.  If I make more, I think I 'll stick to machine piecing.

I started some big chunky, fabric inspired granny squares. It's hard to stay away from the granny when the mood strikes, even if you have a thousand other things going on.
And another Haiku shawl is on the hook, this time in pink.  When I finished the gray one, I thought Awwww, it's done.  I wanted to keep going. I missed it. Kinda like when you finish a good book and you think about the story and the characters for days after.  Yeah, it's like that.
I did put together the quilt top I have been working on for weeks.  I really enjoyed looking at this one up on the design wall and took my sweet time putting it together.  It's very simple really, just HST's made from scraps, but this is my absolute favorite kind of quilt.  I'm thinking wool batting and either hand quilting or tying this one.  It says "farmhouse" to me, something you see on the porch swing or on a bed in the attic at grandma's house.  It measures 60x60. 

Oh and I managed to squeeze in a bit of thrift store shopping. These are possibly going in a bathroom that's being painted.  I'm going for a cottage look, with pedestal sinks and white bead board paneling.  Maybe I'll add my crochet rag rug, which is about 3/4's of the way done.
There.  I think that's enough to keep me busy for a while.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Country Music

If you live in the city and think the country is quiet, you need to spend the night at my house.  The last few days I've been waking up about 4:30 am.  Now that it's spring/summer (106 degrees here yesterday), we sleep with the bedroom windows open, and by dawn the noise is almost deafening.  Let's start with the birds.  Mockingbirds are the leaders of the noise brigade. Anyone else get to listen to these bastards sweet cherubs?  They usually begin the symphony along with the occasional rooster.  Then there's cattle behind us that arrived during the night by the truckload.  I like to pretend they are gentle Jerseys, doe brown, little bells tinkling around their neck, quietly munching on meadow grasses, making cream for my coffee. Nope.  These are Angus beef cattle, led down metal ramps, hooves banging, bellowing loudly because they've arrived in a strange pasture, milling around trying to locate their kin in the crowd, and irritated as all hell.  The next stop for them is probably a local CAFO.  I'd be screaming too. (now I know where the phrase "have a cow" comes from)
Dairy trucks bump down the country road, frogs and other birds join the fray, a tractor starts up somewhere, a train blows through town......
At some point I just get up and sneak down to my sewing room so I don't wake the dog.  She is 8 months old now and has a full set of adult teeth which she sharpens daily on anything not nailed down and sometimes that doesn't even matter. The casualties this week include 1 pincushion (thank goodness there were no pins in it!), 1 coaster, 4 inches of baseboard in the den (nailed down), 1 shrub, several zinnias and a steak waiting on the table to be put on the barbecue.
And it's only Tuesday.  Dog training continues.
So I finished the Haiku shawl, it came out smaller than most shawls I've made but it is oh so pretty and blocked out quite nicely.  My girls are going to a baby shower next week, and I was requested to please make a quilt with a safari theme.  I found some novelty prints on sale and backed it with a flannel from Joann's.  It's for a boy, and I think it turned out pretty cute.

Watching for Mockingbirds.  Good girl.

Shawl: Haiku found at Quince
Baby quilt fabric: Safari Soiree by Dan Stiles, border Kaffe Fassett shot cotton.
Pattern: By me, just made it up, 44x34 inches
Local grass fed beef: Eat Wild

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Will someone please tell me why, when I'm deep in the belly of a quilt, blocks sewn, rows arranged, binding chosen, almost done, heading down the home stretch..C'mon Sea biscuit! (or California Chrome...are you going to watch the Belmont race this weekend?), that I decide to crochet something?
This blanket pattern is from the Crochet Today, August 2011 issue, and has been resurrected from the closet.  I don't know why I choose to work on a wool blanket when the forecast calls for hotter than blazes temperatures, but there it is.