Wednesday, August 29, 2012

back to school

My kids started school last week.  Third grade for Henry, and Kindergarten for Ellie.  This is a big deal for Ellie (and me!) as it's her first time being in school for a full day.  I felt pretty lost and out of sorts the first day(s) without my cheerful, talkative little girl to keep me company -- she handled it much better than me!  But this week I've settled into a working routine and I'm really enjoying it.  I'm finishing up a couple of projects for publication in a book.  That's right, a book!  My very first.  I'm really excited, and I'm not sure how much information I can share yet, so I'll just leave it at that for now.  Next week I hope to get in a regular routine of blog postings and other sewing, printing, and design projects...  Maybe even an overhaul of my Etsy shop...  The possibilities are endless!

In the meantime, I thought I'd share this back-to-school project with you.  On our school supply list for Kindergarten is an "art smock."  Three years ago, I made a felt applique and applied it to an inexpensive IKEA smock for Henry.  I offered to give that one to Ellie, now that Henry doesn't need one anymore, but she wanted her own.  So, on the morning before the first day of school, I sewed up this dolphin patch for Ellie.

Then I stitched it to another IKEA smock -- you can see from the paint splatters that this smock was already broken in!

Here's Ellie's new patch and Henry's old one.  These were (and will be) used well, and should serve as nice keepsakes to remember the first year of primary school.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Berries and cukes

We've got a bumper crop of blackberries this summer -- the most we've ever had by far.  I think this is due to my careful desperate pruning at the beginning of the summer.  Really, after only moderately trimming them for the past nine years, the blackberry plants were taking over the backyard.  I hacked them way back just so they wouldn't swallow us up.  I guess it turns out that they really needed a good pruning.  Who knew?!

Other than eating them by the handful or topping tapioca pudding with them, I'm absolutely loving this Blackberry Gin Fizz recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  Of course, I haven't yet made anything from Deb's wonderful food blog that I didn't enjoy.  This cocktail, though, is especially delicious.  Next up, blackberry pie and syrup for pancakes.  Yum!

And check out our cucumber plants this year!  I really don't understand how we can have such an abundance with so little rain -- I don't water them much, I swear!  We've got both the pickling type and regular slicing kind for eating raw.  On Sunday the hubby set up an outdoor kitchen for me with the propane burner he uses for brewing beer, and I made a batch of bread and butter pickles.  I've made these pickles every year for at least the past five years, and they go over pretty well in our house.  We're still harvesting several cukes a day, though, so I think I'll be putting up dill spears this year, too.  What else?  Maybe a big batch of tzatziki sauce to freeze?

Ellie likes to help with the harvest... and to goof off for photos.  Here she is with a couple of the scant green beans we've had so far, (They don't even make it into the house before they're eaten raw!) and a yellow carrot from her own tiny garden.

Hope your gardens are flourishing as well!