Sunday, September 05, 2010

Yummy Cookies


This is one of my very favorite cookie recipes from this book though I have modified it quite a bit and provide the recipe below. These are not your typical oatmeal cookies - they are filled with chocolate chips, cranberries and, if you like, walnuts or pecans. Today I omitted the nuts because we are taking them to a picnic but if I'm just making these for us, I like to add chopped pecans.

Heat oven to 350.

2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs

2 1/2 cups oatmeal - not quick cooking
1 cup flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or more if you like)
1 cup chopped nuts - walnuts or pecans.

Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time then vanilla. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl then mix with butter/sugar mixture. Last add chocolate chips, dried cranberries and nuts if you like.

I use a small ice cream scoop which is about 2 tsp. Space at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Make sure they cook through - these are good really crispy.

Makes about 4 to 5 dozen.

Enjoy.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Flowers from the farm



Flowers from the farm, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.
Yesterday I made it to the farm early before the humidity really picked up. Luckily for me our farm share allowed me to cut 30 flowers. I have a thing for snapdragons so I made my way to them first picking only those with pink and orange hues of course. Then I walked over to the zinnias where I found myself immersed in a sea of vibrantly colored flowers with honey bees and butterflies dancing from bloom to bloom. I took my time finding the perfect ones to accompany the snapdragons, allowing the bees to finish their business before snipping the stem. More than once I stood and watched a large yellow and black butterfly flap her wings on the perfect bloom - she seemed to have the exact same taste in flowers as mine!

Once home, I cut a few of the remaining pink hydrangea blooms from the bush outside my front door. I then haphazardly arranged my bounty in an old milk glass pitcher, placed the arrangement in a spot where I could enjoy them and sat down to read my new book. All in all a lovely morning.

Enjoy.

You can see last year's arrangement here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This is on my to-do list

From Amy Butler's latest pattern collection - knits!  Love the simplicity, the color and the yarns are also luscious.  Definitely on my knitting to-do list for the winter! 

Friday, July 16, 2010

A picture worth a thousand words and smiles.


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I have happy feet.  There's really nothing much else to say.  The picture speaks for itself.  I found these over at Anthropologie on sale in a size 9.5.  To my great delight and surprise they actually fit.  They are described as needlepoint wedges but we all know that this is cross-stitch.  Made by Schuler and Sons which I think is an Anthro brand.

Happy Stitching and Walking!

For some reason the picture won't post - will take a picture of them on my feet and post later!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I love this book!

I Love Macarons


A dear friend of mine joined me on a visit to Purl Soho today.  Though I was tempted buy the new Amy Butler knitting book and yarn, I refrained for now.  Instead I came home with this absolutely lovely book about macarons.  A number of the reviews suggest that adjustments need to be made to the recipes but I'm willing to give them a try and tweak as necessary.  Plus the pictures are adorable!

Happy baking and eating!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

New Skirt for Lucy


New skirt for Lucy, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

I came across this fabric while helping my mom move out of her house. There wasn't much of it - maybe 3/4 of a yard. So, I cut a simple skirt using this pattern in the smallest size, added a slip made out of the fabric I used for Lucy's curtains and voila! A perfect summer skirt that will last at least a year as it's a tad bit long.

I had the perfect flowery top all picked out for the skirt - something I picked up at the Saks Outlet. But Lucy said it was too itchy so instead she's wearing a Mini Mouse graphic tee from The Gap. Oh well. But the girl does have style!

Happy Sewing.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Crazy connections

Last month I visited a wonderful new consignment shop in town, Jane, to go to a trunk show of vintage charms from M and B Vintage.  I picked out a few charms and also brought with me my collection of about 20 charms as well as two vintage Bowdoin bracelets I bought while attending college.  After almost 25 year of collection charms, I finally had them solder my charms to a Tiffany's bracelet I had been given by a very generous patient of mine.  I also had them combine the two Bowdoin bracelets into one.  And I got Lucy started with a charm bracelet - her first charm is a bicycle since she recently learned to ride without training wheels!

Anyway, the bracelets arrived and  I have only taken them off to sleep.  It brings me such joy to hear them clanging on my wrist and to know that the charms are safely all in one place.  It's like wearing a little bit of history on my wrist.

So today I was going through our bookshelves to get ready for our garage sale when I came across this book.  The authors' names seemed familiar and then the lightbulb went on - these are the women of M and B vintage.  I loved reading this book when I was pregnant with Lucy.  I ordered it on Amazon and poured over it for the remaining weeks of Lucy's gestation, day dreaming of the perfect vintage nursery.

What a delightful moment.  These women inspired me on my journey to becoming a mother and now their creativity provides me with endless joy with each twist of my wrist.  What a wonderful connection.

Be well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hedgehogs



The Elegance of the HedgehogA while back my husband suggested that I read Elegance of the Hedgehog.  I use the term "read" but what I really mean is listen to it on my ipod.  I usually don't like listening to books on tape/ipod.  I prefer to read the words and admire the grammar, sentence structure, etc.  There's something about a really well written sentence that I just love - to think that someone can take words and create such beautiful prose inspires me. If there is one thing that I wish that I could do well it's write.

Anyway, after much prodding, I gave in and started listening to this book.  It was awesome.  The actors reading the parts were superb.  The language was seductive and elegant.  I adored all the references to philosophy, film and Anna Karenina.  I listened to it bit by bit, portioning the book out over a period of weeks for fear that it would end.  And then it came, the ending, and it overwhelmed me.

There are many reviews of this book out there so I'm not going to contribute mine except to say that this is a beautiful book and if you don't read it  you will miss out on something wonderful.  I can't say much more because I don't want to spoil it for you.  Believe me, this one is worth the time and if you prefer to listen to books, I found this recording particularly enjoyable.

That's all for now.  Lately I have been embroidering and sewing only occasionally.  We are in the middle of a kitchen renovation so that takes most of my time.  And I'm still trying to exercise but with the house a mess, I haven't gotten to the gym nearly as much as I should.

Happy Spring and be well.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Where am I?

I'm over here these days.  Come visit.

Hope to come back to this site soon.  Keep checking in!

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Baby Sweater

Just in case you thought I wasn't knitting anymore, here's proof.  I made this for my adorable nephew.  The color suits him, don't you think?
Sweater pattern is from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies by Erika Knight.  One of my all time favorite baby knitting books.  The patterns are incredibly simple and the pictures are lovely.

Monday, April 12, 2010

MARTHA




This has been an exciting year for me as I have had the opportunity to be in the studio audience for 2 MARTHA shows!  The first was back in February for the couples Valentine's special and the second was just last week with my friend, Alexis.  

I couldn't really enjoy the first one - I was way too anxious about actually seeing someone I have admired for years.  But it was really about more than that.  I've been sewing and knitting for as long as I can remember.  In fact, the desire to do needlework is in my blood.  On my mother's side, my mother, grandmother, great-aunt, their mother, their great aunt all knit, sewed, and embroidered.  Part of the family folklore is that a great-great-great aunt of mine, Cassandra Burgess, sewed a stunning trupunto quilt using her old ball gowns from the antebellum South.  She had been disowned because she married a sickly man who subsequently died and left her penniless.  Nonetheless she created beautiful things out of such misery. Another of her creations is a whole cloth quilt meticulously quilted at 12 stitches per inch.

On my father's side, my maternal grandmother sewed and knit keeping her Singer Featherweight set up and ready to go in her home office where she made decisions about investing in oil wells.  Her mother sewed a bit but her grandmother, my great-great grandmother was quite an accomplished seamstress who also did intricate beadwork.  The remnants of her work that still exist are breathtaking.

Now I am not suggesting that I am nearly as accomplished as these women were but I do think that I was born to work with needles.  You may ask what this has to do with Martha Stewart so I will tell you.  Through the years my hobbies seemed like something that old women do, sitting in their rocking chairs.  But Martha Stewart gave all of this crafting street cred and she elevated it to the level of art.  Her magazine and television show profile needlework artisans as great artists, which they are.  They create the art that surrounds us everyday, that we use on a daily basis.  They make the functional beautiful.

So, to meet this maven of craft completely freaked me out!  I was a wreck.  My stomach in knots, my brain in a fog.  Having my husband with me (remember, it was the couples show) didn't really help as he found the whole thing a bit on the silly side.  Although he was quite happy to receive his free ipod nano!  But at the second show, I enjoyed myself immensely.  I sat in the front row with my dear friend Alexis and I even got on TV a little bit (I'm the one sitting next to the pregnant woman, smiling in the orange top and red classes).  There were no giveaways but just being in that gorgeous studio again was enough of a gift for me.

I hope that Lucy will also inherit this love of needlework.  I'm starting her early and so now she sews on that Singer Featherweight though we don't invest in oil wells while we sew - we watch MARTHA.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Box Arrives

I came home this afternoon to find two boxes waiting for me.  Both were from my father in Oklahoma City.  I knew what was inside but I didn't know exactly what I would find.

My grandmother, Dorothy, passed away a little more than two years ago.  She left behind a huge legacy - some great and some not so great.  As her only granddaughter I had the opportunity to have an exclusive relationship with her.  She had high hopes for me - that I would become a great physician, marry a wonderful man and move back to Oklahoma.

I didn't become a doctor much to her dismay though over time she accepted my chosen profession of midwifery, in fact she often bragged that I was a graduate of the best midwifery school in the country and it was an Ivy!  I did marry a wonderful man who, as it turns out, is a physician so I guess I came close enough to the doctor thing for her.  She was one of the few in the family who supported our engagement as Mitch and I are not the same faith.  Her final wish was not granted.  I never did move back to OKC and visited infrequently, less and less after graduate school and even less once I started my job as a midwife.  I toyed with the idea with moving home but I knew that I never could.  Not that Oklahoma doesn't have its bright spots - really that had very little to do with decision.

My father is a bright man who suffers from an illness that makes him a bit...unpredictable.  Over the years I got used to this and learned to live with it until I really couldn't and moved away to be educated.  The stories are endless and so there is no need to detail them here.  But there is one story that relates back to these boxes.

As Dorothy approached her final months, my father's actions became more and more erratic.  He cut his family off and went into a dark and crazy place.  Upon her death, my father held an estate sale the day before Dorothy's funeral.  I flew into town to lay my grandmother to rest and ended up having to frantically  go through her belongings and pay for what I wanted.  There was little time and much emotion making the whole process gut-wrenching.  I paid for what I knew Dorothy wanted me to have and grabbed a few other of her personal belongings including her signature purses and decoupaged lunch box.

A few months earlier my father had removed her Singer Featherweight and promised me that it was mine.  I did manage to get it out of my parents' house the weekend of her funeral and have safely stored it in my sewing room ever since.  Recently I unpacked it to teach Lucy to sew but found it too emotional to actually work on the machine.

In these boxes that I received today were the rest of her sewing supplies.  The attachments for her machine, instruction manual, sewing needles, patterns, thread, scissors, lace, fabric.  Can you believe that the thread actually smelled like her?  I went through each box, untangling thread, organizing needles and testing scissors.  I cleaned out what was no longer needed or was too old to use (elastic) and neatly arranged the rest in a box to be taken upstairs.  The fabric I will give to Lucy for dress-up.

The day that I had to buy my own grandmother's belongings was one of the worst days of my life.  It was a blur in the midst of insanity.  But with these boxes full of sewing notions I feel that my father is trying to mend things, make it right again.  I appreciate that and will accept from him whatever he is willing to offer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

spring is in the air

March is a tricky month.  If you become too complacent and put away your winter coats, she is quick to remind that winter is not yet over.  Central Jersey was hit with a major rainstorm last weekend - reminded me of my Oklahoma roots!  Thankfully we are fine and our friends are also ok except for a lack of power.  

The good thing is that the weather has been so crummy that I have been busy sewing and knitting.  I completed Lucy's spring dress using a pattern from this book - well, almost completed.  I still have to do the buttonholes but I hesitate to do them on my old Pfaff.  Sometimes it gets overwhelmed by the process and just whigs out.  I may take the dress over to the store and do them on one of the shop Berninas.  I'm always looking for an excuse to sew on those!  Perhaps I'll take the new 730 for a spin....

And, I finished two knitting projects for my baby nephew.  Nothing fancy - everything in a 3 month size looks adorable don't you agree?

A few of my favorite things about spring:

1. buying a new pair of converse sneakers
2. lightweight jackets
3. helping Lucy learn to ride a bike without training wheels
4. watching daffodils emerge 
5. budding trees
6. sunlight and longer days
7. coloring eggs
8. flourless chocolate tortes for Passover
9. drinking coffee outside while reading The New Yorker
10. opening my sunroof

Pictures soon.  Be well and as always, happy (spring) stitching!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I knew it had been a while but....

All this snow has really thrown me off my game over the last few weeks.  Everyday I say to myself "I will write on my blog" and everyday I just don't seem to get to it.  It's either snowing, someone's sick or I'm working.

Let's be honest - our house obsessively watched the Olympics and yes we became addicted to Curling.  

But the season is changing, the sun is shining and it's time to get sewing.  I have many projects in queue including a spring dress for Lucy made out of Liberty, a cowboy baby blanket for my darling new nephew and fruit pincushions for some very special friends.

Happy (almost) spring and as always, happy sewing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sewing Room - The Sewing Wall



The Sewing Wall, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

A place for everything and everything in its place.

This is where I do most of my work. I had wanted the machines to be facing the window but this layout turned out soooo much better. I love my notions wall. When I'm sewing I can just reach up for scissors, a zipper or needles. Plus it allows me to display some of my favorite things.

The sewing table was my maternal grandmother's and still houses her old, working Singer. I recovered the seat with Denyse Schmidt upholstery weight fabric. The serger is set-up on an old bedside table I picked up at a thrift store in Pittsburgh. I keep the serger thread in the top drawer. The little drawing above my serger is from my beloved great-aunt. It says "yeah Marisa" and was given to me when I graduated from midwifery school. Above that is one of those neat removable chalk boards - I use it to keep track of works in progress, of which there are many. Prints on the left are Bad Bird and Sarah Jane Studios.

Overall, I think the room turned out pretty great. I certainly like hanging out in here!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tough day - Happy Thoughts: My Sewing Room


Lucy has been up since about 3:30 am with a horrid stomach virus. I just stumbled downstairs to take a break and found myself at the computer looking for happy things, which are clearly not in the news, when I remembered that I hadn't posted a pic of the entire sewing room. So here it is. I try to keep it nice and neat when not in use so that when I am inspired to come in here I can jump right into a project without having to clean up first. Most of the time that works but quite often this room is covered in a sea of fabric, cutting rulers and yarn!

Here's to wishing for a brighter tomorrow!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Favorite Fabrics 2009





Ok.  So over at this site there's a little thing going to list your favorite fabrics.  I have so many but have done my best to narrow it down!  What were your favorites?

Favorite Quilting Weight Cotton Collection


Favorite Home Decor Weight Fabric or Collection


Favorite New Designer


Favorite Floral Print


Favorite Holiday Fabric or Collection



Favorite Juvenile Print: Boys, Girls:


Favorite New Fabric You Worked With in 2009



Wildcard Category
 


Favorite Overall Designer: Heather Bailey
Favorite Fabric Shop: Pennington Quiltworks

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Last photo of 2009


Nutcracker Ballet camp, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

This is the last picture that I took in 2009. Lucy participated in an adorable Nutcracker ballet camp through the local Y. All the girls and boys danced fabulously and appeared to have a wonderful time. This picture of Lucy seemed to capture the spirit of it all: pink, glitter and trees. To me she looks both grown-up and young: one foot in the future and one in the now.

So here's to twirling into 2010!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Sewing Closet



The Sewing Closet, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

I figured that it was about time to blog about the sewing room. I will post pictures every few days and provide details. This picture is of the actual closet. I removed the doors and painted the closet the same color as the room walls. The curtains are hung on a tension wire though I wish they were a bit higher. I used fabric from this designer to make them. I cheated and just serged the edges and then folded the top over. This way I didn't have to commit to a length.  I love that I can just close the "curtains" and tidy up the room when guests are staying or when I just want to curl up with a book and not be tempted by fabric!

The shelving unit is from The Container Store. It was a labor of love. The right side is all of the fabric somewhat organized by style. Unfortunately it's not as organized as I would like but that's because I'm constantly digging through it looking for just the right fabric for a project.  Underneath the fabric are the extra sewing machines: my mother's Singer from the '60's and Dorothy's featherweight. Above the fabric is one long shelf that holds batting and stuffing, etc.

The shelves above the dresser mostly contain books and embroidery tools. I also have three cases of old patterns. I've been going through them and have kept my faves and plan to post the remainder on etsy. I use the dresser for sewing notions/tools. The bottom 4 drawers are empty for guests.

The TV is not hooked up to cable so for the most part I don't watch it. I've found that I make mistakes if I sew and watch old Gilmore Girls or Masterpiece Theater DVDs. I do watch Martha when I can - I don't make as many mistakes with her on in the background! ha ha!

Oh and to the very left of the closet I left space for wrapping paper and I plan to hang a grid on that wall for ribbon, etc.

For the most part, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Any suggestions?

My lovely friend Sandy just sent me this link from BHG about craft rooms.  Great ideas!  Thanks Sandy!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Cheap Shot - Making Fun of Scorpios.



Scorpios, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.
My brother found this inside a Butterfinger wrapper years (1991) ago and gave it to me. I think it pretty well sums up his experience of having a Scorpio as a sister: "You see yourself as forceful, compelling and passionate.  Others see you as an abusive, self-righteous psycho."

Monday, January 04, 2010

And, at last, the finished house



front of finished house., originally uploaded by stitchingpink.
This is the front of Lucy's house. The marshmallows are supposed to be snow drifts. Turned out much better than I expected, mostly due to the fact the Lucy did the decorating! Next year I want to make one from scratch, not using one of those Wilton kits. We'll see if that actually happens!

And here's the back:
back of finished house

Twittering

Ok, I gave in.  Now I'm on twitter as stitchingpink.  Thought I should try it out before I judge....