Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adventures in Fabric Dying

Remember when I said I was doing a little fabric dying on some baby blankets? Well, I finally got around to finishing them all, and here are the results...

Plain white cotton gauze blankets...
get the Rainbow Bright treatment!

I also threw a little plain onesie into each of the dye baths, too.
I can't really say that I experimented too much with the dying, as I mainly just followed the same basic procedure for each. The yellow, orange, and pink were all dyed using one box each of powdered Rit dyes, the coral color was from a packet of Dylon dye that has been sitting in my closet for probably 4 years. For these colors, I just dissolved the dye along with some salt in a small Rubbermaid tub, added water and then the wet blankets and onesies. I left them in the dye for anywhere from 6-24 hours and occasionally stirred and redistributed the fabric in the tubs.

For the dark purple I was really going for more of a plum, and I was worried that only using one pack of dye would be too light, so I used two packs of iDye that were on clearance at JoAnn's. This type of dye comes in a packet that you are supposed to throw in the washing machine along with your fabrics and let the machine do the work. However, it also said that for dark colors you should dye in a large pot on the stove, so that is what I did. I only left this one soaking for about 2 hours, but it was nearly black when I took it out to rinse it. And rinse, and rinse...After much rinsing in the sink and 3 trips through the washer, it lightened up to this dark purple color. Perhaps one box of dye would have been sufficent.

So there you have it, 5 brightly colored receiving blankets and onesies for Baby Girl. Which pretty much makes up half her wardrobe so far. I think I have a bit of shopping to do in the next 6 weeks...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cherry Crisp

I'm not sure if anyone has noticed a lack of posts about food here lately, but in all honesty, there hasn't been much cooking going on in the Lovelady house lately.  When Roger is farming, kids are playing ball, and well, any other excuse I can think of lately, I just don't cook very often. Meals this summer have been a lot of sandwiches, salads, and quesadillas. 

But for some reason the other day I decided that I was determined to make my family a proper meal that night. It was really hot, so I thought I would be smart and just make something in the crockpot so my kitchen would stay cool. Maybe you've seen this recipe for Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin floating around Pinterest? It was delicious, and so simple! Even if you don't want to make a pork loin, just make the sauce and pour it over chicken or pretty much anything you want to taste fabulous. 

Of course, that afternoon I decided that we needed cherry crisp for dessert, so that kind of made my effort to keep the oven off a little pointless...But, I have loads of cherries in the freezer and this is so easy to make, I didn't mind the heat. The original recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Baking Book, though I make a few changes, which I note in the recipe below...

Sweet Cherry Crisp 
***The original recipe is for blueberries, but I used the same amount of cherries 
and have used a mixture of fruits several times with great results.

4 generous cups coarsely chopped cherries
1/2 c. sugar (I used less, probably 1/3 cup)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp lemon juice

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar (again, more like1/3 cup)
10 TB melted butter (I only used 8 TB, or one whole stick)
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (I only used 1/2 cup pecans)

Grease and flour a 9" pie pan. Preheat oven to 350.
Put the cherries in the pan. Mix the remaining filling ingredients together and sprinkle over cherries.
In a medium bowl, mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the fruit. Bake the crisp for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden and the filling is bubbly. (I almost always use frozen fruit, so I generally have to add about 5-10 minutes to the baking time.)
Cool slightly, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

I finally have a post ready to link up with Debbie for Tuesdays at the Table! I believe this is the last week for her special series, Tuesdays at the {summer} Table, so be sure to stop over there and see what everyone else is sharing!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Baby Shower Gifts

One of my good friends is having their first child soon (she's due 4 days after me) and her baby shower was this weekend. 
So this past week was spent making a few things for her sweet baby boy. 

I asked her if she had any requests for things she wanted me to make her and she suggested towels and washcloths. I had made some for another one of our friends a couple years ago and apparently she really liked them and told Karissa about them.

I just made basic hooded towels, flannel on one side and terrycloth on the other. I think they were about 30-31". The washcloths are the same, just simple squares and finished around 9".

Have you ever tried taking pictures of towels and washcloths? It just wasn't working out so well for me that day. I made a set of 2 towels and 4 wash cloths and just could not get a decent picture! I've decided that is what has been slowing down my blogging lately. It hasn't been for a lack of sewing, just the lack of desire to take pictures!

I also made her a set of burp cloths. I usually just make them from pre-fold cloth diapers, but I saw a tutorial on Made where Dana used chenille and I thought I would try it that way instead. Other than the annoyance of all the fuzzy bits flying around, I really like how they turned out. 

Again with the stellar photography...
I actually didn't get to go to her baby shower, since we had three baseball games that day, but it all turned out OK as Wyatt's team are the Summer League champions! And you know what else that means? Baseball is over for the year!! We still have a couple T-ball games and a week of swim lessons, but after that our days should be a little more free. Can you feel the joy?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

So Cute

I think these are quite possibly the cutest things I've ever made. Except my kids, of course...
But I'm sure you'll hear me say that a few more times before I'm done sewing for this baby girl!

Fabrics: Little Red in Bluebell by Aneela Hooey and Herringbone in Red from Riley Blake
I used this tutorial from Sew Much Ado for the peasant dresses. My friend Kelli assured me it was a great pattern, and it really was so easy to sew up. By far the most annoying part was sewing the little elastic pieces together, and even that wasn't awful. 

Fabrics: Lantern  Flower in Zen by Kate Spain and Haybale in Yellow from Riley Blake
For the diaper covers, I used this tutorial from Made, which is such a great site for tutorials and fun ideas. These were easy to make, too, and so much cuter than diapers peeking out from under dresses!

Fabrics: Chicken Eggs in Maize and Daisy Ditsy in Green Acre, both by Sentimental Studios

I think that I like the dresses better when they have the contrasting sleeves, but they are cute either way, right? Now to just get the little girl here so she can model them!

Sorry for such a long break around here, but so far summer has been one long baseball game, with a few brief intermissions for illness and a trip to Iowa. Baseball is over at the end of June, so hopefully life will slow down a bit, though I'm not betting any money on that!  I hope you all are having a great weekend and a fabulous summer!

Thanks to my friend Sarah for reminding me that it isn't too late to enter this in the Summer Sewing Contest at Ellison Lane Quilts! There are so many fabulous entries over there, be sure to take a look!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Couple More

For this month's dGS blocks, Amanda, the leader of our Imagine circle chose these improv chevrons using the tutorial from Six White Horses. I've seen several of these blocks being made lately and think they are so interesting, but honestly wasn't looking forward to making one myself. I really like them, but they just look like they would take a long time. And they did. But I had fun making them, and if you are someone who gets to sew without too many interruptions, they shouldn't take nearly as long as they did for me.

I love the palette she chose. White, light grey, blue, yellow, and green. She wanted soft shades of these colors, which was a fun change from the brightness I'm usually drawn to. 

I was determined to get my bee blocks done early this month so I wouldn't feel guilty about making some fun things for the baby with the rest of my sewing time. I got a few fun new prints from the sale section of Bloomerie Fabrics the other day to make some little dresses and diaper covers and I can't wait to get started on them! 

And check out our first real harvest from the garden...

It isn't technically the first harvest, but it is the first produce that has made it into the house. The kids have been snacking on broccoli and radishes from the garden for a couple of weeks and I've used some of my herbs. It has been so hot and dry here that my cilantro and radishes are already bolting and the broccoli hasn't produced too much, but everything else is looking good so far.

Monday, June 4, 2012

June Bee Blocks

Did you guys have a good weekend?

 Ours was great. My parents came for a quick visit which is always fun, but my mom also painted my bedroom while she was here! Isn't she great? Rog was working all weekend so she painted while my dad and I took the kids to baseball practice Saturday morning. I had already gotten around all the trim done, but hadn't gotten to the rest of it yet. Mom to the rescue again! No pictures yet as we haven't moved anything back in there, but I have yet to decide if I like the color. It is a grey, but tends to go more towards the lavender-beige side. Not exactly what I was going for, but I doubt it gets repainted.

Onto the blocks...
I joined a new group, Always Bee Learning, and June was the first month of this round. Megan chose the Tokyo Subway Map blocks from the tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson. There wasn't anything really difficult about these, just a little tedious making sure things lined up and seam allowances were accurate.

These blocks were for Valerie in the Modern Blocks Bee. She requested square-in-square blocks in red, blue, grey, and white and she sent some great fabrics. I love that blue one with the white hexagons, though I have no idea what it is. She suggested four blocks from the book,  so I chose "Seeing Double" (on the left) which was designed by Yvonne Malone, and "Boxed Up" which was designed by Angela Yosten. Fun and easy blocks to put together. She is making a quilt for her son and I think it is going to look fabulous when she gets it finished!

While I was working on these, guess what I found...

The Marker Bandit strikes again!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fresh Sewing Day

Why is it that I only remember Fresh Sewing Day after I start reading others' posts about it? 

I'm afraid there isn't too much to show as far as productivity in May, but with all that has been going on this month I'm quite happy with what I have accomplished. 

This was the first of two baby quilts I made for high school friends with new babies. Simple patchwork of 9" squares with the baby's initial appliqued on a square of Essex linen, finished with a fun blanket stitched binding.

And the second quilt, this one using For the Love's Shelby pattern. Raw-edge appliqued orange peels in yellow, orange, fuchsia, and plum on a Kona snow background. 

That pretty much sums up my month of sewing, except for a few small projects...

Set Sail block, PJ pants, and baby blankets
As I was writing this I also realized that I've made about 6 pairs of pajama shorts for the older boys, though I have no pictures of those. I'm the quilter for May in our circle of do Good Stitches, so hopefully I'll have another quilt finish to show in June and let's not forget all the baby things left to be made...

Linking up with the the ever-talented Lynne of Lily's Quilts...

Lily's Quilts