Saturday, August 28, 2010

Never Too Old For PPG!

Finally, this afternoon, not an hour ago, I put in the last binding stitch to a Power Puff Girl quilt I started for my youngest daughter almost 4 years ago! LOL! Why did it take me so long? Well, it's just one of those things - other projects took precedence or priority and this one was always shoved in the corner or closet for whatever reason. I believe there was a whole 2-year stretch where I didn't even work on it, let alone think about it - its memory was buried somewhere in the farthest reaches of my exasperated, project laden mind - awful to say, but true!

Oh, and please, let me add to my personal embarrassment! This was not a piece quilt with running stitches - no! I wanted this quilt to be quick and easy - I constructed it using two pieces of a PPG flannel print for the quilt top, and two pieces of a solid eggplant flannel for the quilt back. Rather than use a running stitch like a traditional quilt, I decided to get clever and make stars...wherever there were flowers on the PPG print, I did a star stitch - a flippin' million of them, let me add! And here I thought it would be faster and more efficient to do this. Foiled!

However, early in the summer, when cleaning up my sewing room, I felt a deep twinge of guilt when I spotted the quit under a large pile of "to does" - I was forced to reconcile the thing, so I rescued it from the stack, took it upstairs and pushed myself to work on it whenever I had free time. Yesterday, I cannot tell you the joy I felt knowing that all I had left to do was hand stitch the binding on and Viola! Fini! Admittedly, I was a little concerned - would my daughter even care about the quilt now, being 17-years old and all! Well, pardon moi, I should have known better than to inquire! She said to me in the most matter-of-fact tones, "Mom, you can never be too old for PPG!

So there it is - Sugar & Spice, and Everything Nice (with jigger of Agent X for good measure)...  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Becoming Jane (not really...)

This past Saturday we held our Second Annual Regency Picnic - it was a wonderful event despite the 90+ degree heat and the suffocating humidity - we all stuck to the shade and after a while sent the kiddies to the beach to cool off - besides, what teenager wants to sit around a bunch of tongue wagging women fanning themselves - lol!

Last year, Tonia and I put this little shindig together as a way for us girls to have a little summer costuming fun - and what better era than the Regency, right? Especially in the August sun! This year, we tripled our guest list, along with all the tantalizing dishes and desserts (potlucks rock!) -! But wouldn't you know it, just when I was settling in for some tea and cheesecake (or apple pie, or lemon tart - I could not quite decide which I wanted first), a huge storm broke over the horizon and roared over the area - we were pounded to pieces! Thank goodness all the food was saved - well, the ham did get a little waterlogged, but nothing a strategic tip of the platter it was resting on did not fix...

In the meantime, we all ended up stuffed in the spider infested, rockin' hot park restroom until the storm eased up enough for us to return to our site and assess the damage. Nothing too tragic, save some very soggy napkins, croquet and bat mitten bags, soaked dresses, muddy shoes and stockings, and some shivering teens wrapped in dripping towels...

After everything was thrown into the cars and we were ready to break for home, Tonia and I decided it might be best to move our annual Regency picnic up to mid-September - still warm, but pleasantly so, with little rain and humidity, lots of sun, and gentle breezes - and too, the beaches are still open for the kiddies. Or, if we decide for some reason to keep the picnic in August, to rent a shelter house - what's $60? Lesson learned...

...and damned if I did not get my dessert (*cries*) - lol!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Sauce Is On!

Tomatoes, Basil, Eggplant
I love gardening! Veggie gardening, that is - I know nothing about flowers. However, I am reading up on edible flowers at the Ohio Department of Agriculture because I'm thinking about adding an edible flower garden next year. Oh, and did I mention, I LOVE GARDENING! lol! For me, it's very much a spiritual experience, and as strange as that might sound for some, I feel closer to God when I'm playing in the dirt - I don't even wear gloves (or shoes half the time) - it kills part of the aesthetic of the gardening experience not to have to scrub the dirt from under my nail beds. It amazes me still that the teeniest, tiniest seed can give life to the largest plants bearing the most succulent fruits. Nature astounds me, and I am simply taken in by it - I am awe-inspired, to say the very least!

Since I have gardened for most of my life, I like to shake things up a bit - give myself a little gardening surprise now and again. For my staple garden, like my tomatoes, legumes, leafy greens, peppers, various herbs, etc., I like to play Seed Bingo. For example, I place all my tomato seed varieties in one envelope, so when I plant and grow my starters in the spring, I never quite know which varieties of toms I will end up with until my plants begin to produce...

For the first time EVER, I ended up with 16 tomato plants that produced nothing but cherries and grapes. Surprise! I pickled, I ate, I shared - I did all that I could do within reason except make sauce out of them - there was no way in hell that I was going to blanch and peel a gazillion marble size tomatoes. And it was getting stupid, too - I had so many, I could no longer store them in the refrigerator or freezer - I had them in large mixing bowls and gallon-sized Ziplock bags sitting all over my kitchen. "Those are going to go bad, Sweetheart," said the hubs. "Yes, yes they are," I said in defeat, rolling my eyes.

Bloom County
Now, you may be asking yourself why I do not own a fancy-pants kitchen gadget like a juicer. Three reasons - 1) they are expensive, even for the manual juicers - I do not want to pay $80-$200; 2) I have flashbacks from the 1970s and 80s when RONCO dominated the market for cheap, too-good-to-be-true appliances that broke easily and sliced up appendages rather than veggies; 3) I never really had a need for one - it's easy breezy to core, blanch, seed, and peel larger variety toms for sauce. Ooo, but now, I was in a terrible pickle... 

...until Fortune smiled upon me. A Facebook friend of mine bought herself a saucer. Elma, like me, is an avid gardener, and considering that she has four little Happy Accidents (children) at home, who need a good feeding on a regular basis, every penny must count for something. It just so happened she posted pictures of the new manual juicer she had just purchased - I could not help but to ask her if she liked it, where she got it, and how much she paid for it. OverStock.Com - $39.99. On her recommendation, I purchased the Roma Food Strainer & Sauce Maker on Sunday. I used OverStock's standard shipping (5-10 days) and it arrived yesterday - Tuesday!! Holy Schmoly, that was fast!

And you know what I did this morning? Yes, siree! I juiced a gazillion cherry and grape tomatoes in two hours flat, producing just over four gallons of red, pulpy goodness! Right now, the sauce is on, bubbling away on my stove, reducing to a preservative free, thick and silky nutritious sauce, with garden fresh basil and oregano, thanks to Elma Sue! It's heaven in my kitchen once again - Hallelujah!

(For photos of the juicer, check out the Dressmaker's Album)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Dress For Rose

Rose's Gown (front)
That's one flower girl dress done (check!), and one more to go!

My brother and his fiancée are getting married over Labor Day weekend, and boy, can we all feel the crunch - it's just around the corner! Not only have I been given flower girl dress and bridal gown alteration duties, their reception is a potluck, and I am making my famous mushroom and spinach lasagna. It's a lot of work, but I am flattered to be put to use!

I suppose I should look at the happy couple's registry soon and purchase a gift?

Rose's gown is mainly constructed of white matte bridal satin, and rather than use the standard polyester lining with some interfacing around the neck and arms, I lined the whole bodice in the same matte bridal satin - it eliminates any sheerness in the torso and it adds weight to the bodice to better support the weight of the skirt.

I created the skirt from two 60" wide panels of the matte white satin and white shimmer organza - the effect is truly beautiful and unfortunately the digital camera and the quality of the light in my living room does not do justice to the aesthetics of the gown! Notice I have left the length of the skirt slightly long and this is for good reason - as I said before, beautiful Rose is experiencing a growth spurt, so I have left an extra 1-1/2 at the hem of the skirt - if need be, I'll take it up at the last minute. Better safe... 

And, as you have guessed, the wedding colors are burgundy and white! Because burgundy is such a rich color, I had to keep the decoration on her gown at a minimum - her hair will be professionally styled with burgundy ribbons and fresh deep red roses, and she will also be carrying a basket of burgundy flower petals with burgundy and white decoration. Here, it is a matter of too much of a good thing - no sense in gilding the lily - or in this case, the Rose... 

(For construction photos of Rose's flower girl gown, please check out the Dressmaker's Album)