Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Smocking

My sister taught me to smock one afternoon in about an hour. I already knew a little bit about sewing. I could sew in a very basic way. I had sewn for my son and once I had a daughter to sew for, I got even more interested in sewing. My sister kept urging me to learn to smock for this baby girl I had. I had only the vaguest idea of what she was talking about. But after that one hour session, I was hooked.
The first book I purchased to help me in this new needle art endeavor was by Elizabeth Travis Johnson simply entitled, "English Smocking". Ms. Johnson had a list in the book of "Do's and Don'ts" in the planning of a smocked garment. Those tips held me in good stead and to me were the epitome of good taste for dressing a child. For the most part, they are still just as good today and bears a review!!!
From Elizabeth Travis Johnson (paraphrased):
Do make the garment style age  and body type appropriate, i.e., a waisted dress is not as good on a one year old as a bishop and a ten year old looks better in the waisted dress.
Keep color shades of brightness in the same family.
Use quality fabric.
Smocking is a busy form of needlework, so use care when adding too many other details.
Keep sleeves short, collars small and hems deep.
I guess it is because this is what I first learned when I was learning to smock,but I still lean towards these ideas today.

What to do?????

The Christmas season of festivities and merrymaking are now memory for me for 2009. Now I find myself on to other pursuits. It ocurred to me this morning that I didn't know what I was going to do with myself today.
I began Monday morning with a new program of getting myself in shape. A new eating plan and a workout program. I know it should be based on health but I have to admit, it is more vanity. I have put on a few "LB's" and I have some great clothes that are now too tight, so it is also a matter of economics!!! I don't want to replace any clothes!!!
But enough of that boring subject.
I am already thinking of spring sewing for my grandchildren. Planning for clothes to be sewn is always a happy project for me and it is hard to decide which is more fun, Fall and winter clothes or spring and summer clothes.
An elderly friend of mine, who passed away several years ago, told me once  that her mama tried to have all the spring sewing finished by the end of February. I don't know if I'll meet that deadline or not!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Harvest Fresh Apple Cake

Thank you to
Designs by Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday!!!








I just finished making this cake for my precious husband for his birthday dinner tomorrow. His late mother made this cake for him every year on his birthday, as it has always been his favorite. In the years since she has been gone, I have made it for him using her original recipe. But I have experimented with my own revisions and would like to share it with you. My sister also makes a wonderful apple cake and I have used her recipe for the glaze that she puts on hers. It is wonderful and gives the cake a bit of caramel flavor that is a wonderful autumn touch for the apples.
Because I like my cake to be rich, dense and dark, I allow my chopped apples to "sit" and let the air darken them. I also have substituted part of the sugar for brown sugar. That also adds to be the dark texture.
And of course, this is the type of cake that only improves after a day or two from baking!!!!
Hope you enjoy!!!
Harvest Fresh Apple Cake
1.5 cups oil                                               1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup granulated white sugar                    1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup packed dark brown sugar                3 cups tart apples, finely
3 eggs                                                             chopped
2.75 cups all purpose flour                        1 cup chopped walnuts or
2 tbsp. cinnamon                                             pecans
1 tbsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour tube or bundt pan. Combine first 3 ingredients in large mixing bowl and blend well. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to first mixture along with eggs. Fold in apples, nuts and vanilla. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Glaze
3 tbsp. butter                                     3 tbsp. cream
3 tbsp. dark brown sugar                   1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. white sugar
Bring all to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Spoon over warm cake.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

His Majesty--Tablescape Thursday


Thank you to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting  Tablescape Thursday. Be sure to visit her blog for spectacular tablescapes and more!!!


I adore Fall. It is filled with warm memories for me. The cool, crisp days, the changing of the foliage, and the familiar smells evoke feelings of hearth, home and family. I suppose it is my upbringing, being a farmer's daughter, and remembering the things that fall brings with it: mainly , the harvest. I love those harvest time smells, but most of those are gone forever, I fear!! One being the smell of the beans drying in the huge silos, which because of the times and technology and the demise of the family farmer, are no longer around these parts anymore!! Weird of me, I know!! My dad, being a farmer, never liked fall, he always said it felt like everything was dying. He preferred the spring, when everything was coming to life. But fall doesn't feel that way to me.
Fall also signals the coming of the holiday season and I love getting my home prepared for festive times ahead. I typically begin listening to my Christmas music in October.
Even though Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, I couldn't wait to get out my Thanksgiving table accoutrements.


This table has enough leaves to make the table large enough to seat 12. I have found that it is not an easy task to find tablecloths that size, 140" long, without breaking the bank. So, I was delighted to discover this lovely Ralph Lauren chocolate brown cloth at TJMaxx for a mere $20.


This lovely china was given to me by my sister, as Thanksgiving dinner is usually held at our house . The pattern is "His Majesty" by Johnson Brothers. I love that graceful bird in the center of the plate, surrounded by the fruits of the harvest!!


Here is a sweet Pilgrim couple that I have had for years
 


 
This is a wicker cornucopia that I have also had for a long time. I get it out every year and fill it with various fruits, vegetables and leaves.
 

The grand old bird himself!!! He is ceramic and was made locally. I actually have two of him!!!

 

Don't you love the gobbler napkins rings? They were made by my mother and sister in ceramics class.

                   I can hardly wait for the festivities to begin and family
to start coming in!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Met Monday--Long overdue Kitchen Remodel



Be sure to visit Susan who hosts Metamorphosis Monday, at Between Naps on the Porch. thanks Susan!!




We have lived in our home over 25 years and almost every year here, we have made some improvement to the house. Alas, we did not make before and after photos along the way. How I wish we had, as it would fill a book!! We love old homes, with all the nooks and crannies and little oddities that come with them.
To begin, we totally gutted the entire house. We put in new plumbing, wiring and put up sheet rock, as it had none. We took down some walls to create a master suite with another bath. We added insulation, a new roof, new heating and cooling system, new windows (the squirrels had eaten the old ones), remodeled the kitchen, enclosed one porch to make a laundry room, and  enclosed another porch to make a sun room.
In subsequent years, we added  a den and another bedroom over it, a large porch, a dressing room to an upstairs bedroom, a carport with a storage room and game room over it, and  remodeled my closet, which is under the stairs. It has been painted on the outside 4 times, another new roof, another central system unit (getting that this week) re-landscaped 3 times, two new driveways, and a potting shed remodeled.
Here is the kitchen remodel we did last summer.

                                                  Before

 
 



                                                          

                                                                         After



 

 

 

 





Blue Monday--Little Boy Blue and Little Girl Blue










This is my first time to participate in Blue Monday, hosted by Smiling Sally !! I hope you will visit her site and take a look at all the beautiful Blue posts!!!

As an heirloom clothing designer, I make many, and most, things in white. So, it is a lot of fun to create beautiful garments in blue. I love dressing a baby girl in blue as, well as little boys!!!
Here are a few things that have been my favorites over the past! Hope you enjoy!!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, September 6, 2009

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