Monday, June 29, 2009

Hidie-Hooter Hootie-Hider Hooter-Hidie Thingie!

So this sewing thing is getting easier.

This past weekend was a complete blur. The boys opened a new Black Rock in Vancouver (www.blackrockcoffeebar.com) and Baby Lily is officially due at any second (www.fortheloveofpaisley.blogspot.com). My aunt and uncle were also in town, and my list of devoirs was pretty long. We went and saw My Sister's Keeper, it's a sobber. Through all of the activity I finished this for Tiffany yesterday: the Hootie Hider!



Hooties of the World Unite! No longer does a mother have to wrestle with a small blanket to hide her feeding child! No longer does the blanket have to fall down and compromise a mother's modesty as she checks on her baby! The HH has righted a wrong and fought an injustice on every nursing woman's behalf!

Moving on...she purchased the fabric kit and pattern at Craft Warehouse, I contributed my sewing machine. Her mom helped me clarify the pattern and how to go about it, and so I sat down yesterday afternoon and cranked it out. We loved the finished product! They are going to be addicting to make for friends who are expecting, and they are so dang practical that I think every nursing momma needs one. And if you don't want to make one for yourself, you can find them on Etsy, too. The packet was $13.99, which included fabric for the cover and straps, the D-rings, and the corset boning. The pattern, sold separately, was $4.99. However, as proven by Tiff's mom Marlene who went back the next day and bought rings and boning for pretty cheap, you could do this for way less. It all depends on the fabric that you want.

I also found a free pattern online, which cuts your cost even more: http://www.blisstree.com/breastfeeding123/free-pattern-to-sew-your-own-nursing-cover/

I'm of the opinion that Lily was just waiting to come until she knew her Hidie Hooter-thing was ready. Okay Lily we're ready for you now!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cherry Chutney


Andy's parents have two big cherry trees in their backyard. They sent me home from Jacksonville with two bags of cherries; juicy, stain-y, bright red globes of goodness.

Cherries and I have an interesting history. We lived in Concord, California when I was about 5 years old, and the house we lived in had a big cherry tree in the backyard. Our house on Dumbarton Street was also the home my mom had grown up in; there were 8 people in a tiny 4 bedroom, 2 bath house. Can you imagine sharing a tiny bath and no shower with 5 sisters? My poor Uncle Jim!


Anyway, I remember eating tons of the dark juicy fruits off that tree. It only took one incidence of one cherry too many and my stomach was done for the next 17 years. In the last few years I have started experimenting with them again, and to my great pleasure, I love them!

What happened next was so sad. I came home with cherries on Wednesday, we left for Astoria on Friday, and it was not until Saturday that I finally got around to thinking about what I would do with them. There was no way we could eat them all, that would be guaranteed DEATH and another 17 years of cherry-free living.

I hopped on a few sites I frequent to pull off a recipe I had been wanting to try called Clafoutis. Being that I start a summer intensive of French classes where I will be speaking for 3 hours a day, I figured it was appropriate. I linked to Smitten Kitchen, then to La Tartine Gourmand, then google-d Julia Child's recipe. I then flipped open my most favorite book, Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions to check out her Cherry Chutney recipe.

Andy tied on an apron and got to work pitting them, and he noticed a very bad thing. Leeettle worms. Yuck! I guess that's one drawback to growing organically - bugs can't resist them just like us. So out of a big colander of cherries, I only got 2 cups of fruit to work with. I went with the Chutney. Poor guy, he thought he was helping me so I would make him a yummy dessert. He asked me this morning, "so, are you going to make the cherry dessert today?" whoopsies.


Cherry Chutney from Nourishing Traditions

4 cups pitted, washed cherries
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
grated rind and juice of 1 orange
1/8 cup Rapadura (or sugar)
1/4 cup whey (see instructions below)
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup filtered water

Mix cherries with spices and orange rind, place in a quart-sized, wide-mouthed mason jar and press down lightly. Mix remaining ingredients and pour into jar, adding more water if necessary to cover the cherries. The top of the chutney shoudl be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to refrigerator. This should be eaten within 2 months. Makes 1 quart.

*Whey*

1 or 2 quarts good-quality yoghurt or raw milk

Whey is a starter culture for many lacto-fermented veggies, fruits, and beverages. The by-product of this process is homemade cream cheese, which is so much more delicious than anything that comes from the store. If you are using raw milk, place the milk in a clean glass container and allow it to stand at room temp. 1-4 days until it separates. Yoghurt needs no advance preparation. Don't use Greek Yogurt, which already has the whey strained out.
Line a large strainer set over a bowl with a clean dishtowel or cheesecloth. Pour in the yoghurt or separated milk, cover, and let stand at room temp. for several hours. The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the strainer. Tie up the towel with the milk solids inside, being careful not to squeeze. Tie this little sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a container so that more whey can drip out. When the bag stops dripping, the cheese is ready. Store whey in a mason jar and cream cheese in a covered glass container. Refrigerate. The cream cheese keeps for 1 month and the whey for approx. 6 months. 2 quarts of yoghurt makes 5 cups of whey and 2 cups of cream cheese.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lily's Blankie and "Real Stitches"


I made this blankie for my dear friend Tiffany, who is expecting her first daughter, Lily, within the next month. We hosted a shower for her last weekend in my parent's backyard in Medford, and she received some preciously adorable and deliciously delicate gifts! I can't wait until its time for Lily to come; I dearly love all of my friends' little boys, and I have a feeling I'll have a boy first too (when my time comes, not yet!), but there is just something about little girls that is painfully cute.The coloring of the above pictures is not that great, I wish it had turned out better!

I made this cotton flannel blankie with satin binding in a couple of evenings, but I'm sure it could be done in one evening, it was surprisingly simple. The hardest part was the satin binding and the corners, which took up most of my time and brain energy. One side of the blankie is a playful princess-ballerina print with stars (because Lily IS going to be a dancer) and the reverse is a soft pink solid. The black binding is in homage to Tiff and her husband, they both like black with almost everything! It works!

I google-d flannel blankie DIYs and just made up my own pattern. I sewed the pieces wrong-side up, turned the blankie inside out, and stitched the small opening closed. I used tons of pins when I sewed on the binding, and though that was very helpful, it still was a brat to get straight. The corners caused me the most pain - I almost failed geometry in high school and this is no different - but again I used a lot of pins and google-d "mitered quilt edge" and got some great tutorials. I used Wright's binding and they have a nice tutorial on their website that was helpful.

I was smiling ear to ear when I finished this project; Blankie is SO soft and light enough to be used all year. I think I have found another favorite project to add to my small yet slowly growing reperatoire of sew-skills. What was so hilarious about this gift is when she opened it she exclaimed, "oh my gosh, there is real stitching on this!" meaning, I am notorious for giving up on sewing projects and resorting to stitch witchery or glue because I'm such a sewing numskull. Another win for the gipper (in this case, me)!


(Shower goodies: fruit, veggies, quiche, the best warm-asparagus salad EVER, fresh sugar snap peas, and super delish chicken-almond tea sandwiches. Not pictured were the beautiful chocolate covered strawberries) Mommy Tiff and my cute mom in background) (Coldstone Chocolate Chipper Cake - I had 2 pieces)