i almost forgot

Making this sugar cookie house is becoming a tradition in our house. I’ve been meaning to re-post the recipe because it has worked out so well for us in the past and it actually tastes really good.  We leave ours out as a snack for Santa. Last year he took a big bite out of the roof.

Sugar Cookie House

4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup light-color corn syrup
1 TBS vanilla
1 beaten egg

Combine flour and baking powder. Set aside.

Cook butter, sugar and corn syrup over med. heat until sugar dissolves. Pour into large mixing bowl. Stir in vanilla. Cool 5 min.

Add egg and mix well. Add flour mixture to this, and mix well. Divide dough in half, cover and chill at least 2 hours.

When you roll it out for pieces, they should be 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. They bake at 375 degrees for 6 to 9 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces.)

Original source of the recipe is here.

proud {and maybe just a little bit excited}

You know I must be excited about something when I decide to post THREE {!!!} photos of myself, with my kids, all lined up in a row on the internet. The reason for all the excitement is because my mom recently renovated her beautiful 162 year-old colonial home and has turned it into a bed and breakfast called the Greenspade Inn. It is located in my hometown, just a half hour drive south of Boston. Her website gives a nice, succinct history of the house and the many amenities the Inn has to offer, so I will not repeat what she has already written so elegantly. However, I will tell you what she is too modest to share herself.  My mother was born to be an innkeeper. She is welcoming without being intruding, an amazing cook, and is meticulous about maintaining a beautiful homestead and gorgeous surroundings. This new venture is a dream come true and it has been so enjoyable to watch it unfold.

Congratulations Mom!  We are so proud of you and are thrilled that everything is going so smoothly already. The Inn is stunning. I can’t believe I grew up there!

oh hi!

It’s been a while. How about an update?

::We had a nice, quiet Easter at home. I don’t normally share recipes, but this lamb was incredible. It’s the second time we’ve made it. I added gorgonzola cheese to the stuffing as a compliment to the feta and used spinach instead of mixed greens. We will make this again, and won’t wait until next Easter to do it.

::We went to the EcoTarium and did things like this in Worcester, MA with my cousin and her lovely little family. It was such a great visit. I am so glad they no longer live on the other side of the country. I made them a draft catcher as a housewarming gift. I love the patchwork bit. And the linen. I actually sent it to them while there were still drafts to be caught. {Minor miracle.}

::Baby girl is a full fledged homo-erectus. And a cute one at that. She is now bunking with her big brother, so my sewing machine and supplies have been upgraded from the front porch to her old room, a.k.a. the guest room. My husband is devising plans for a cutting table that will hover over the bed. All of my fabric looks so darn happy all stacked up on the shelves. {I will show you around soon.}

:: I made a puffy pouch for my new sister-in-law. Fantastic tutorial here. I cut out three other pouches and have done nothing more with that fabric. This is very typical behavior for me. I am always distracted by the next shiny new thing.

::I know about a gazillion pregnant ladies/new moms right now and want to make pretty things for all of their babies. Almost all of these folks are having {or have just had} girls. I am thinking pink. I really need to get to work.

:: I am working on a color wheel quilt with a friend who lost her dog recently. Its a memory quilt of sorts. We’ve sewn together the arcs and are picking out background fabrics. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

::My sister’s-in-law wedding is coming up in June. Besides a few top secret bridal shower projects I’m working on with two other bridesmaids, I am going to make clutches for the bridal party. I’ve tried out a couple of designs and think I may have finally settled on the exact one I want to try to replicate. The smart thing would be to use a tried and true pattern. But where’s the fun {and cursing} in that? I would also like to make the Oliver + S Birthday Party Dress for my girl to wear to the wedding, but I’m assuming that I will run out of time.

::I signed up for a fun swap. As if I needed one more project. But with this one, I actually get something handmade {for ME ME ME } out of the deal, so I am excited.

:: Speaking of ME ME ME, Liesl sent me the best apron ever. Just because. How sweet is that? (See top photo.) I owe myself an entire post on how great it is to be part of such an amazing community of crafters and show off just how generous so many people have been to me in the past two+ years.

::Having said that, the crafty community can be pretty creepy too. People stealing photos from blogs and claiming sewing projects {and children!} as their own? It’s horrible. I haven’t made a final decision yet, but I am leaning toward face-free shots of my kiddos from here on out.

Phew. That was a lot of updating. Thanks for sticking with me through all of that. What have you been up to lately?

bits and pieces

:: I’ve got lots of projects in the works. I’d list them but then there would be a record of my overly ambitious plans. I will tell you that most of the prints in that happy stack pictured above will make their way into a color wheel quilt for friends who have lost a beloved pet. Materials from the belongings of that sweet pup, plus another twenty or so prints, will complement the selection.

:: I am going with my aunt-in-law to my local quilt guild for the first time tomorrow and am looking forward to three consecutive hours of crafting time outside of my home. I need to decide which project to bring. My fall-back plan is to just grab a bag of scraps and cut out 2.5″ squares. And maybe some cross stitch. {Cross stitch is allowed at a quilting guild, right?}

:: I don’t normally make new years resolutions. And if I do, I don’t normally share them with others. It’s not because they are super personal or anything. I think it’s because I’m afraid I will be held accountable.  This year I am making an exception by writing in this space that the one thing I am really trying to improve on is keeping our home clutter-free and being better about having a regular cleaning routine. Earth shattering, right? The reason why I am mentioning it here is because this new little mission has actually helped me free up more time for my two favorite hobbies: sewing and sitting on the couch. I hope to share some of my new habits in another post.

:: I’ve been thinking a little bit about the different elements that make a blog attractive to me.  Currently, my favorite blog is Buttons Magee. I probably found this one because the author sewed something that caught my attention, but what keeps me reading is her beautiful photography, great writing, and relevant content. She offers snippets of her daily life, without offering too much personal information, and talks about topics that resonate with me. Organization. Simple meal ideas. Thrifting. Things she does with her young girls.  Conversations she has with her husband. My favorite posts relate to little things that she does to make life easier on herself. Really, just every day stuff.  Her photography is pretty incredible, and yet it seems to truly reflect her real life. You won’t find perfectly staged shots with bright colors against stark white walls. But the writing.  I think that is the most important aspect for me.  Words matter. The reason why I mention this is because I am wondering what draws people to certain blogs. What is it about your all-time favorite blog that keeps you coming back for more? {I’d really love to know your thoughts on this if you have a minute to spare.}

:: Speaking of good blogs, my little sister has a newish blog. What it lacks in craftiness, it makes up in thoughtful, well-articulated prose. Have a gander if you are so inclined.

:: My best friend relocated back home with her family recently. They used to live in Florida. Last night I called her to see if she needed anything at the store because I was going to pick up milk. She had run out of coffee filters. I picked them up and brought them to her. We chatted in her kitchen until it got to be a bit too late. I was tired the next day. But was also very happy. There is nothing like good friends.

:: And last but not least, I finished the Oliver + S Jump Rope dress and have never been more proud of something I have sewn.  Will be sure to take a photo and show it off as soon as I can!

cutest patterns ever… and for a good cause

I don’t think there is a person out there who isn’t aware of the devastation in Haiti and the current tremendous need for help.  I won’t go on about that.  But did you know that you could purchase two of the absolute cutest softie patterns on the planet and help the relief effort?  {That bat just kills me! My absolute favorite.} I bought these just yesterday and received a follow-up email explaining that all proceeds from the sale will go to Partners in Health.

Non stitchers can also do good by way of the mighty shopping cart when they spend their pennies on beautiful handmade goods that have been donated to the Craft Hope Etsy shop.

Happy weekend.

christmas 09

Christmas was really nice this year.  We did a little bit less running around and a lot more lounging* around.  We were treated to a beautiful pre-Christmas snowstorm and a very special surprise wedding on the 26th. (More on that later.) I’ve had the whole week following the holiday off from work to spend with my little gang, playing with them and their new toys. I’ve also gone out to breakfast alone with my best friend.  (Thanks Mom.)  And out to dinner with my husband and some friends for New Year’s Eve. I’ve even had a chance to sit down at the sewing machine for a couple of small spells.  All in all, a really great holiday week.  Hope yours was nice too.

*I feel like the use of this verb requires some explanation.  Aside from nap time, we are never really left to actually lounge.  Our kids are in that constant motion stage. When I say that I really mean:  we stayed in our pj’s and didn’t leave the house. Which is a pretty awesome thing in my book.

our kids are still awesome

Its been a while since I told you how awesome our kids are. No changes there. They are still pretty darn awesome.

She is super happy because she recently found her feet and figured out that they make excellent chew toys. She’s also been teething on stalks of her daddy’s homegrown broccoli.

Occasionally she gets to hang out with her big brother in his new fort. It gives her the giggles. She has the best little giggles.

Eating his favorite dinner {chicken pot pie} up high in his new favorite place.

He is realizing that he really does have a sister who is here to stay. A playmate forever. He relishes his role as the one person who can make her laugh the hardest. They are already dancing together in the kitchen-when she is in the doorway jumper contraption. Kitchen dancing = the best.

He’s been speaking in full sentences and, I think, has become an even happier person since discovering that the adults in his life can actually understand almost everything he says. The other day he called me stupid. The comment was appropriate at the time. Smarty.

He’s developing a crazy Boston accent. He gets it mostly from his mom. Yikes. I didn’t realize it was that strong.

I’ve been enjoying the summer with our little family. We haven’t been taking tons of weekend trips, like we did last summer. Been taking it slow. Its been nice.

The baby has started to consistently sleep through the night (knock on wood) but still goes to bed kind of late. I’ve been sewing a couple of hours here and there once or twice a week, but most nights I just want to sit on the couch with my husband.

We have an abundance of spearmint in our garden, so I have been making myself a mojito each evening. It’s a good habit to get into. Reminds me of my days in Berlin. That doesn’t sound logical, but it is. New favorite recipe here.

I bought a remote for the camera. So now I can be featured in some of my goofy photos. I think a family portrait is in order.