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February 2009

baby knits

silk baby hat

I did it ... I actually knit something for the baby! This little hat from Leigh Radford's One Skein is 100% silk - the softest, yummiest, tiniest little hat that will be his first Mama made gift - to be placed on his delicate head after birth. I thought about this moment all through the knitting.

Yarn: 1 skein Jade Sapphire's Maju 100% silk in Silver Fern
Time: 3 hours

I think I have enough yarn left over to make some booties. Any pattern recommendations for little booties that stay put on little feet?

You see, unlike many of you who schlep your knitting around wherever you go, taking advantage of red stop lights to make a few more stitches, I pick up my knitting needles on rare occasions. It didn't used to be this way. When we first moved to Mexico, I brought a stash of yarn that I whittled down to practically nothing. I knit myself sweaters and socks, I knit scarves galore, and, in my brightest of moments, knit both myself and my Mom one of these for Christmas.

Then the yarn ran out. And the money ran out for buying yarn. And even if I could have bought the yarn, I wouldn't have been able to ship it to rural Mexico. So I started to sew again ... and the rest is history, so they say.

But I do love knitting. My friend Karen is one of those super-talented, prolific knitters, and she and I spent last Friday afternoon at the yarn store. With my knitting fire rekindled, I'm dreaming of more baby hats, a few Harvey Kimonos, and finishing the bias baby blanket.

bias baby blanket

There's something about the click-clack of knitting needles that makes waiting for a baby all the more sweet.

On an unrelated note, I'm starting a small sponsorship program on the blog. Please welcome Wood Toy Shop, run by Mark, a stay-at-home dad who makes wooden toys by hand. Check out his kinetic toys - wooden boats, catapults, and race cars that are powered by rubber bands. How cool is that?!

My sponsors will be hand-picked by me, with Montessori/Waldorf/Attachment Parenting principles in mind. In the spirit of small businesses supporting small businesses during these less-than-stellar economic times, I think it's important to highlight quality, non-corporate options, especially when it comes to children's products. I hope you'll find my sponsor recommendations helpful - we'll also be hosting the occasional weekend give-away or special deal for Sew Liberated readers.

Yay for handmade!

on needles, shots, and the shutter

thread on fabric

Hello! I'm just peeking out from behind the camera for a sec. Did I tell you that I'm doing the technical photography for the book? Not the photos of the projects themselves, but the step-by-step photo tutorials. And you know what? I think this part is pretty darn fun - at least it beats writing technical instructions. Bleck.

thread on white

I love my cheap-o light box set up. I made one before while in Mexico to combat the mid-winter, low-light blues, but this one is much better. I use four daylight bulbs in shop lights that shine down from above.

We're off to our prenatal appointment this morning. It's the one where they make you drink that sugar stuff and draw your blood to test for gestational diabetes. Ick! Honestly? There's not much worse than getting one's blood drawn, in my opinion. I'd rather run a marathon. (And I have run a marathon, so you know I'm not exaggerating. Heh.) Thankfully the phlebotomist at the birthing center is a jolly lady who knows that wussies like me need to lay down, turn their heads the other way, and be distracted by lively conversation about anything other than needles and getting one's blood sucked out by one of the aforementioned devilish contraptions. :)

It's a wonder I took up sewing, isn't it? What with all of these needles that surround me at all times!

Soon enough, I'll be back to my happy needles, hopefully getting some good shots (with the camera, of course.)

sunday morning waffles

sunday morning brunch

Waffles are a standard in our home. I'm sure that, of all of the wedding gifts we received, the waffle iron has gotten the most use. Here's my recipe, which has evolved over the years:

Makes 5-6 waffles, depending on the size of your waffle iron.

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbs ground flax seed
2  eggs
1 3/4 cups Stonyfield organic "Banilla" lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. Separate the egg whites from the yolks, placing the whites in a bowl to be whisked and the yolks in another bowl that will accommodate all of the wet ingredients. With a hand-held mixer, whip the egg whites until they stiffen. I like to try the "if I turn the bowl upside down do they still stick there" test. (Bummer for you, though, if you haven't whipped them enough!)

Mix all of the wet ingredients together with the egg yolks. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir. Fold in the whipped egg whites and pour the required amount onto your waffle iron.

Top with a dollop of yogurt and berries. (I heat up frozen, organic berries in the off-season).


more moos

more moos

Why are they called Moo Cards? In any case, my moos have arrived ... after many, many moons. You see, I ran out of moos in December. (I put one in each pattern package that I send out). I thought I ordered more. I waited and waited, and given that they ship from England, I was expecting it to be a few weeks. Come to find out, I never ordered them. I just thought about ordering them. So much, apparently, that I came to believe that I had ordered them. Pregnancy brain or just pure ditzy-ness? I vote for pregnancy brain.

At any rate, I finally figured out that I needed to place an order, and once I did they arrived within two weeks.

I love these little things. In fact, I need to gush a little more about stuff from England today. That fabric in the background? Yup. That's a Liberty Tana Lawn print from across the water. Eep! It's so nice. And no, I didn't buy it myself. I guess that's one of the benefits of writing a sewing book, eh? Free fabric for book projects!

For those of you who asked: I found my glass jars for storing dry goods at World Market, and the slipcover is from SureFit.

Thanks for all of your compliments on the house tour. There's still more to see - our bedroom and the baby's learning environment. Those are still a work in progress. Our mattress is still on the floor and will be until IKEA Charlotte opens its doors in a few weeks. We looked and looked for a used, king-sized platform bed frame but we've never been able to find one. (We need a platform bed because our mattress was a lucky find - a slightly used TempurPedic on Love that thing. I attribute my continued ability to sleep comfortably at night to that mattress - even if it's on the floor and extremely difficult to haul my preggo body out of in the morning!)

Anyway, more house tours when things start coming together!

Have a lovely weekend!

house tour: the kitchen

amy's orange chocolate scones with tea
Okay, this photo isn't taken in my kitchen. But honestly, it's much nicer looking at this photo of something yummy made in my kitchen than the actual photos of the kitchen. What with the poor lighting, the tight quarters, and my inability to get a shot that really captured much of anything, this here pic of an orange chocolate scone will have to suffice for the requisite bloggy eye candy. (The recipe, by the way, is out-of-this-world good - it came in my Mailorder #9 from Angry Chicken.)

So here we go. I apologize for the cruddy photos. There's something about an orange kitchen with not-so-large windows that really wrecks your confidence as an amateur photographer!

kitchen 1

No fancy, chrome fridge here. Just big ol' whitey sporting a few family pics, Mexico memorabilia, and a magnetic pad of paper for writing a grocery list. And no, the sink area is not always this clean. Washing cookware by hand is not on the top of my list right now, as I really don't go out seeking activities that are guaranteed to give me a backache for the rest of the day - you try being 5' 4" with a big belly and leaning over that sink! Too bad Patrick only does housework if he has a This American Life to listen to on his headphones ... now where is that ipod? They must have a new show up by now ... maybe I could get him hooked on CraftSanity podcasts in the meantime?

My favorite kitchen decor item is "The Cupcake Peddlers" framed print from The Black Apple. I have another cute-as-a-button print from Emily of a hedgehog doing laundry. The only problem is that I, personally, hate doing laundry, and I can't bring myself to hang that sweet little print in the dark, dank underbelly of the house that is the unfinished basement laundry room. Nope, I wouldn't even think of taking you on a basement tour. Nuh-uh.

kitchen 2

I have a few aprons hanging on hooks for easy access. Because, in the spirit of real-life confessions, I'm an extremely messy cook. I really do need to wear an apron - not for aesthetic preferences, but to protect my clothes. I've lost count of how many shirts I have ruined with splattered oil. Come to think of it, perhaps I should design a sewing pattern for an industrial hazard suit apron, which would provide maximum coverage. Just kidding. But it's what I really need.

We recently removed the cabinet doors because they were ugly, dirty, and all-around unimpressive. Plus, I've found that if I have open shelving, it's so much easier to keep things organized. I can see all of my cookbooks, and I can tell when I need to buy more all-purpose flour, for example. It's fun, too, to be able to use my purple dishware, vintage glass serving pieces, and growing collection of Le Creuset aqua cookware (thanks, Mom!) as functional decoration. Unfortunately, this fun shelf is on the other side of the stove, and I would have had to knock out a wall to get a decent photo.

shelf storage

I have big plans for the kitchen once our little boy starts walking around. Right now, I have a hand-me-down bench in the kitchen nook corner. Eventually, I'll have a child-sized table and easily accessible shelving with his food preparation activities prominently displayed for his use. I believe that the kitchen is the backbone of Montessori practical life exercises and ours will definitely reflect that once the time is right.

kitchen nook bench

For the time being, this bench displays some of my first embroidery projects as well as some fabric from my stash. It's not a sewn cover or anything, it's just strategically tucked around the cushion. This way, I can effortlessly change it to suit my whims.

Happy cooking to all!