Monday, July 25, 2011

Receiving blanket quilts

Wanna talk about receiving blankets for a minute? Sweet. Lets face it, most store bought receiving blankets are only good for up to about 10 pounds of baby. They hardly ever get used enough to wear out, and most are just painfully undersized for use more than a couple weeks. But they are also too cute to get rid of. I had this giant pile of receiving blankets, once used for swaddling tiny babes, then stockpiled for diaper making, secondary sewing projects and sentimental purposes. After we realized, with MAT, that they would be short lived for their intended use, we kept them. We used them as lap blankets for car rides, for playing, for making into capes, they were used and loved. But now that DOT is no longer swaddled we only need to keep a few out for playing, this freed up...many more than I care to admit, and off to storage they went. I will admit it, baby blankets are one of those things this Moma has a hard time parting with.

While going through my stash a few weeks ago, working on a separate project to be talked about later, I opened a box full of baby blanket wonder. I began to think of what I  could do with this box of gently used flannel goodness. Parting with them was out of the question. Two were kept back for each boy to pass on to their potential kiddo's, and the blue and pink striped ones, you know the one I am talking about, their very FIRST blanket, I kept for me to use at a later date. But I still had a rather large pile and I had to do something with it. All that snugly love and warmth was wasted in a box. So I thought.... And then it came to me when I was making MAT's bunkbed one day. After I laid the top sheet and was wrangling the comforter for the top bunk I had a thought. Quilts!

Not super fancy heavy top quilts. You know the kind for show and not for use, no, not that kind. Thin, snugly warm, extra blanket in winter, quilts. Keepsake quilts made from baby blankets, for the boys to use, everyday. Beloved baby blankets that were no longer useful, made usable for the next 20 years. For use when watching movies, sitting in the sun, roasting marshmallows on chilly nights, eating oatmeal on foggy mornings, and yes sleeping. Receiving blanket quilts. I browsed the local thrift shop for sturdy stain free flat sheets in the sizes of our beds. (This also made me realize we have NO blankets for our beds, comforters and sheets, yes, but no bed sized blankets) I procured the bottom quilt layer, two twin sheets and a full size for a grand total of $1.25 thanks to a half off sale and coupon combo, and headed to the fabric store for the batting. I have used poly blankets or poly batting for previous quilts and it was my intention this time, BUT I saw a sale on cotton batting and couldn't pass up the $6 a yard spectacular price. I sewed my quilt tops, pinned the layers together (can I tell you HOW much I love curved safety pins? SO MUCH!) and then thought about how I wanted to quilt the layers. I am a terrible machine quilter, sad but true, I do not have a quilt frame for hand quilting, so knotting was my best option. I may go back and hand quilt after I have a quilt frame. A few days of knotting and some sore hands later and voila, 3 finished quilts, made of receiving blankets, for my boys to drag in the mud, snugle and sleep under. And for me to remember tiny little pink newborn faces peaking out so long ago, every time I see their sleeping faces peaking out from now on.

Friday, July 22, 2011

This Moment

This Moment- A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember ( inspired by Soulemama)


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BEANS! and zucchinni and stuff.

"Mom LOOK! Green Bean MOOSTACHES!"

One more.

Now to work. This is our first year, EVER, that I have managed to get  green bean crop to produce. So we are in the height of picking, snapping and canning them. The first batch, which was picked and snapped by my lovely MAT and Spider-Man, canned the very same evening last week, and I am just getting around to telling you about it now. If it dries out a smidge I will pick and can another batch tonight, as is the plan, but with the soggy that is happening right now I fear they will have to wait till tomorrow.
"Shootsing webs at yous."

(in case you don't know, Spider-Man has been joining us for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner most days the last week or so. I don't know where RAT goes, but he never seems to be around when Spider-Man joins us. Weird right?)

We are kicking the bean harvests...bum. But the zucchini harvest is the other way around. I have made some zucchini pickles, I will give a recipe and photos after they have time to "pickle" and I know if they are good or not, we have been dicing, shredding, making baby food, putting them in bread, on eggs, in pasta, and eating them with two meals a day. None have gone to waste yet, but there is only so much room in the freezer and there is a limited amount of ways to can them. I am thankful for my zucchini, they are quite delicious. I am impatient for the tomatoes so I can add them to my sauce.

So that's it on the harvest front. The sunflowers are blooming, the pumpkins are taking over and climbing everything, the sweet corn is tasseling, and the tomatoes are plumping, though none are changing colors yet, rats.

And we ended up with about 3 pints, for a first haul, not too bad. I hope to get 4 quarts or so today or tomorrow. Gotta keep those plants picked so we can get enough beans to get us through till next year. Here's hoping! And happy growing!

Friday, July 8, 2011

This Moment- A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember ( inspired by Soulemama)

This Moment-  this week requires no explanation, but it does require many photos.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Around here.

Days have been flying by, and times have been good. The 4th (well the 3rd actually) brought friends, food, and fireworks, but you know what, I did not take a single photo of the day. I know, I am terrible. But here is a couple photos of what has been going on around here the last two weeks.
Up first is the holiday sewing.
 Unfortunately I dropped the ball on photos of all the projects. Seriously, I didnt mean to but things got away from me this year. I blame general distractions of life. Below are the place mats I made, I heart them. I also whipped up a patchwork table runner, 50 or so feet of flag bunting and three table cloths, all of which you will have to take my word for because...I suck. Look for them in next years pictures. Ha!

And Now onto the food, or rather two of the 17 things I prepared. Yeah, I know, incomplete, oh well.

My Grandmothers rhubarb custard pie. OMG, this is absolutely to DIE for. Fresh out of the oven under some vanilla ice cream it is just as good, maybe better, than the best apple pie ala mode I have ever tasted. Really delicious. Not to mention, fresh homemade pie crust, freshly laid eggs from my ducks, and fresh cut rhubarb from my garden make it that much better. I intended the pie crust to be woven lattice, but got sidetracked during that step. I am sure my children had something to do with it, possibly Mr. T too, it is still pretty and delicious anyway. Recipe to come later.
 I made an easy lemon cream pie too. Sadly no photos, it consisted of a vanilla wafer crust, as not to use up any needed s'more graham crackers, one can of lemonade, one can sweetened condensed milk, and 8 oz. whipped cream. It was spectacular! and VERY easy. But looked a bit bland. So to punch up the presentation I made some candied lemon slices.

I am gonna be honest, I was worried when I first had the idea. I thought it was going to be very labor intensive and difficult. It couldnt have been further from the truth. The seed removal was the toughest part, and totally worth it. Two lemons thinly sliced and seeds removed. Blanched for 5 minutes. Then into a boiling mixture of 1c. water and 2c. sugar. add lemons and simmer for at least 1 hour, though 2 is better.

Remove from syrup.
and let dry 24 hours, they will still always be sticky.
Then I placed them on top of my pie. You will have to take my word on how pretty it was as I am sans pictures.

And now a gratuitous kiddo picture, just because. MAT came to me and said " Hey mom, lets all put on hats and you can take our picture!" so, they did, and I obliged.

How about some garden pics!
I noticed that my dill was looking quite sad and upon closer inspection I found these.

I thought for a split second about giving the ducks a caterpillar treat, then I decided to sacrifice the dill for some potential black swallowtail butterfly beauty later. Fair trade by my accounts.

Things are growing and blooming.
The corn is FINALLY cooperating with me, see "knee high by the 4th of July". It ACTUALLY happened this season! Now if I can just keep the critters out to actually get a harvest. More on that later I am sure.

The kale and chard are coming in beautifully and are delicious! The onion are also looking quite plump...and the weeds are thriving too, I am going to work on those tomorrow...probably.

The beans are happy too.

And I pulled my first zucchini, of hundreds this season I'm sure, this morning. I cannot wait to eat it for lunch.

Much of our days, of late, have been spent in our pool. Thank you to friends who get a REAL pool and have the courtesy to offer up their perfect pool from last summer to poor, pool less, cheapskates. Ha! It is nothing fancy and its only 18 inches deep and 8 feet around, but we love it just the same. As it turns out, 18 inches deep is the perfect height for RAT to play safely in the pool but for the rest of us to be able to float. It holds the 5 of us and that is all we need. Sorry there are no pictures of the children in the pool, they were in for 6 hours yesterday, but I am having too much fun with them to stop and take photos. The story of my life.
MAT is finding his way to putting his whole face in without encouragement and thinks we picked the depth just for him. RAT is a little fish and frighteningly fearless. And DOT, well DOT nearly fell asleep in his ring yesterday. He is just perfectly content in the water, as long as the water is 80 or above, he's a happy camper. Have I told you all what a delightful even tempered baby he is? Cause he is just a happy dude pretty much all the time.

We all just think this summer is the bee's knees.