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I was floundering the other night trying to decide what to do for dinner.  We had been to the farmers market that day and I had made my Nana’s potato salad (recipe below) but I had no idea what we were going to have beyond that.  Then, all of a sudden it came to me that all of the ingredients we had would be perfect for salad night.  And, in order to keep the babes interested in salad night, I put everything in separate bowls so they could do it themselves. Unfortunately, we ate the entire quart of orange cherry tomatoes (not sure what variety) before they could make it to the salad bar, they were just too sweet and delicious.

Make Your Own Salad Night

I also made Nana’s bumbleberry cobbler, easier than a pie but still as delicious as anything.  I  didn’t have any apples, so it was just berries and rhubarb.  Plus, I almost burned it by absentmindedly going for a walk with the babes while it was in the oven.  I guess the smell had not filled up the house enough yet.  I will post the recipe for that one another day, it is sort of ad lib anyway.

The babes enjoyed it enough, though I wouldn’t say it was as big a hit as pizza night.  At any rate, I enjoyed it immensely and it was so good to have such nice produce from the market.

Nana’s New Potato Salad

2 lbs new potatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup parsley
3 or 4 green onions chopped fine
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Boil potatoes and cut into pieces while hot. Mix other ingredients in a bowl. Pour over hot potatoes. Enjoy hot or cold. (This recipe is sort of loose, I always add a bit more vinegar or onion depending on the taste. Don’t be afraid to tweak.)

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I have been on a total book and blog binge lately.  There are so many amazing people out there writing about what they enjoy doing, it is kind of addictive.  I already mentioned the books by Amy Karol and Amanada Soule (here and here), and both of those ladies also have blogs (here and here respectively), which makes for additional interesting reading almost daily.  And, they both have children so it is nice to see what they are doing for and with their kids. 

So, the book of the day is Lotta Jansdotter’s Lotta Prints (she has a blog too, not one that I have explored though).  I want to try every project in here but I started with something relatively easy and light on specialized materials: printing leaves onto fabric.  I plucked a few ferns from our front yard and spread out all over the floor and washing machine with an old pillowcase to practice on.  I mixed two colors of paint, green and gold, to get the subtly sparkly green. It was SO much fun, I couldn’t stop and totally missed my bedtime.  The results were pretty darn good, though the photography  on wrinkly fabric isn’t so hot:

Leaf Print 

Then I was left with the conundrum, what to do with the prints?  Again, lots of ideas.  Here is how the first one turned out.  I would have liked to get a shot of it on, but my uncooperative model has not wanted to even try it on yet, no matter how cool I try and make it seem. 

Leaf Print

Leaf Print

I have been working on a wedding veil for my soon-to-be sister-in-law.  It has been fun and a bit stressful.  I got the most beautiful silk double-sided satin ribbon to edge the tulle with, however they had one yard less available than I wanted.  I decided to get it anyway because it was so pretty but was a bit nervous that there would not be enough.

Now, I am not much of a pattern person.  I sort of follow patterns but I am more likely to just start and see how things turn out.  And, I always underestimate the amount of fabric, ribbon, elastic, etc. that I might need for the project.  So, when I started to sew on the ribbon I held my breath that it would reach all the way around.  When I was getting down to the last bit, I realized that it was going to be awfully close.  My palms started sweating, I was letting out huge sighs, but by some miracle, there was just enough, only a few inches to spare.

I will eventually post a picture, but not just yet.  My soon-to-be brother-in-law has been trying to sneak a peek at pictures of the dress and I think posting a picture now would make it all too easy to see the veil.

One of my favorite combinations in the world is chocolate and peanut butter. I have no self control whatsoever when presented with these two treats. So, I don’t know why I continue to make things like this pie:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
(No, I haven’t had any friends over — just me eating the pie.)

I guess because it is so easy and SO delicious. Plus, since the secret ingredient is tofu, I convince myself that it is really healthy for me. Ha! Anyway, just in case anyone else wants to indulge, here is the recipe:

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 chunk of tofu (I used the Mori-Nu Soft Tofu that comes in a 12 oz package)
1 graham cracker crust (This is really much better if you make your own crust, but I had this pre-made crust because it was on sale and I was feeling lazy.)

Melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter together — I do it in the microwave.  Beat in the tofu.  Pour into the crust and chill.  Enjoy.  Easy, eh?

Eleanor's Embroidery

This isn’t my project.  I do love it so very much, though.  It is my 2.5 year old daughter’s first embroidery project.  I was inspired by Amanda Blake Soule’s book, The Creative Family to get a needle and embroidery floss and let her try her hand at sewing.  We went to the store together and she picked out the colors, this redish orange and a green that she is currently working with.  I think she made some nice color selections, though I am not sure if she conscientiously chose or just randomly grabbed.  Either way, she did a nice job.

I should also note that I LOVE the book.  Love, love, love.  I enjoyed it so much in fact that I cried reading while I read and thought about raising my babies in a creative, encouraging and loving environment.  What can I say, I’m a bit sappy when it comes to the kids.

At any rate, I thought this would be appropriate to include, even though it is not mine, since it sort of (really) makes me want to do some embroidery of my own.  I haven’t done embroidery before, only a bit of cross stitch when I was younger, so it might be fun to try something new.  I am always up for trying something new, in fact I need to stop reading other blogs because I have more projects lined up than I will ever be able to do.  But, since this little blog is my own way to keep track of creative endeavours, my inspirations should probably be recorded as well.

pineapple upsidedown cake

A while back I made a yummy cake with some fantastic pineapples from Hawaii.  My ever-so-thoughtful mother-in-law sent the pineapples to us and there was so much fruit, I wasn’t sure how we would ever eat it all.  I figured that if I added some sugar and butter, I would be a bit more likely to eat it all up.  The recipe was from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.  Almost everything we have tried from that book is delicious.  My other favorite recipe from that book is for Molasses Spice Cookies.  Unfortunately, they always get eaten far to fast to get a picture taken. 

pineapple upsidedown cake

Now that I have the booties up for the Craftzine.com contest, I’m going to jump back in time a bit and put up some other little projects that I have worked on.   Not too far back, I think I’ll try to stay within 2008, or I might just make myself crazy.  Once I feel sufficiently up to date with past projects, maybe I’ll have enough free time to actually make something new! 

So, here are a couple of little projects from Amy Karol’s book, Bend the Rules Sewing.  This is a great book, by the way, perfect for a novice on the sewing machine, such as myself.  I imagine someone who knows how to sew well might also find these projects fun or at least find the book lovely to look at.  Anyway, I made this smock and bibs for some friends who welcomed a baby fairly recently.  Obviously, the smock will be for down the road a bit but the bibs should work out now. 

Smock

Bibs

I didn’t actually bend the rules too much on these patterns.  I did use terrycloth instead of cotton flannel for the backing on the bibs and I think they turned out fine.  Target sells inexpensive packages of washcloths, which just happen to be the perfect size for the bib pattern in the book.  I now have a bunch of extra washcloths waiting in the wings — just need an excuse to make more bibs.

Here are the boots I made for the Craftzine.com/Michael Miller baby bootie contest.  I had the idea to use wool and make a rainbow of stripes all the way up, but once I started with the purple, they took on a life of their own and went a totally different direction.  The rainbow idea still came out a bit in the stitches — lots of different colors of embroidery floss were used to hold all of the pieces together.  

Baby Boots

Baby Boots

Baby Boots