Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring Pinny

Although we had a bit of a cold snap this weekend,
Spring has definitely arrived.
The trees have buds.
The daffodils and forsythia have bloomed.
The bees are buzzing.

But, oh, it's too chilly to work in the garden,
So....a day of sewing instead!

Today I pulled a few apron patterns together
to construct an all new pattern....
A Spring/Summer pinafore.....
Perfect for serving luncheon, or picking flowers.

Roomy pockets, trimmed in crocheted lace....
I made all of my own bias tape for this apron, 
out of the same fabrics.
It's a bit time consuming to do so,
but it gives it such a coordinated,
polished look.
This pattern is a keeper.
Now, to take this over to my shop's for sale, of course.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Cleaning

I am curious about something.
How is one supposed to do Spring cleaning...
when it is so nice outside in the Spring.
I would much rather be outside doing some project than
in the house cleaning!!

Well, that being said, it still has to be done.
I have been trying to avoid buying harsh cleansers.
Today I used the end of my scouring powder.
For the past few years I have been using "green" products.
They tend to be expensive, though.

So, I thought to myself....
couldn't I use my homemade laundry powder and make it into a
scouring powder, too?

Today I did just that.
I took 1/2 cup of the laundry powder (see earlier posting)
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup baking soda

and placed all three in a jar, punched holes in the lid
 and made a label (I always like to make things look a bit fussy!)

Here it is: 

Clean and Green
I tried it out on a really messy kitchen sink and it 
sure made it sparkle!

The smell is clean and fresh, too!
Think of the savings!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Organizing Tip

Living this far out in the country makes being organized essential.  Especially with regards to my pantry.  I cannot just run to the store at the last minute if I need something.  This was in part the reason that I added a good sized pantry when we planned this house.  My pantry is outfitted with vintage cracker jars to hold all of my ingredients and keep them fresh.

In order to keep a running list of grocery items that are running low, I thought I would hang a clipboard inside the pantry.  I ordered a basic clipboard for less than $2 (no shipping charges...what a bargain).  I took it into my craft room and got to work gussying it up.  Vintage graphics gave it exactly the look I was after....

I laminated the front to protect it, made some grocery lists

 and hung it on a hook...
Now to add a pen on a bit of velcro, and....
Hopefully, this will help me to stay a bit more organized!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mom's Kitchen

Just the words "Mom's Kitchen" brings to mind an image, emotions, a flood of fond memories.  Growing up, I remember Mom's kitchen as being the heart of our home.  Guests gathered there.  Holiday meals were celebrated there.  It was a simple time when families gathered together nightly over supper to discuss the events of the day.  And after the meal we did the dishes together (me standing on a chair to reach the it was my job to dry.)

I remember the vintage charm of that kitchen with its bright colors...home to a very "modern" chrome and formica table with matching vinyl padded chairs.  I have this picture in my mind of my mother standing tall in her 50's style dress, a half apron over it, with her hair perfectly coiffed, jewelry and lipstick on.  (I, on the other hand, was out playing in the dirt... most likely picking violets or loading my pockets with earthworms.)

With all of that in mind, it is no wonder that I fell in love with this fabric when I saw it.  And of course it had to become an apron.  An apron fondly named "Mom's Kitchen".

This apron will be for sale on my apron website HERE.  It is "one size fits all".  

Wednesday, Part Two

If you are interested, here are the graphics that I designed for my
Busy Bee
Clean and Green
Concentrated Laundry Powder
(click on picture for larger version,
then right click to save to your computer)

Feel free to grab either of these
and use them on you own packaging,
if you like...
I used two brown paper lunch bags inside of each other
as my packaging.

PS:  I have a load of laundry drying on the line right now.  This laundry soap worked great...all the mud and dirt that was on my jeans and shirts is gone!  I am sure that greasy stains will still need pretreated, though.  My laundry room smells heavenly!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another Laundry Essential

On the subject of laundry essentials (see recent posts), I decided to make my own laundry detergent.

 I had seen a posting by my friend Mary Jane of the Beehive Cottage.  She posted a recipe which I decided to try.

It is super easy, super inexpensive and according to Mary Jane makes clothes sparkle.  I can hardly wait to try my

"Busy Bee
 Clean and Green 
Concentrated Laundry Powder".  

I had to package it in something "vintagey" so I made my own bags and labels.....

4 lbs. Borax
4 lbs. Washing Soda
4 lbs. Baking Soda
3 bars Fels Naptha soap (grated)

Only 2 tablespoons of this is needed for one load of this recipe should last quite a long time.  I have a front-loader, so I will dissolve 2 tbsp. in a bit of warm water to add to the detergent dispenser.
I will let you know what I think of it after next Laundry Day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More Laundry Day Essentials

Last week I made Minerva's Laundry Day apron with extra large, deep pockets for clothespins.  By the end of the week it was in the mail to Colorado. (Hope you enjoy it, Bonne!!)  That left me with a problem, though....still no place to put my clothespins.  So this morning, while a load was washing, I headed up to my sewing room to use up the remaining apron fabric.  I had no pattern, but I had a plan.   I thought I would shape a clothespin bag to fit over an old wooden child's hanger that I had.  A little bias tape and rick rack added and voila...........
Plenty of room to store my clothespins and handy to grab and throw in my laundry basket as I head out the door.

Moving to the country has once again given me the energy saving pleasure of line-drying laundry.  I love the smell of freshly laundered sheets that have been line dried.  And if I almost never have to use my dryer....well, think of the energy savings!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Green Idea

We have been trying, in all that we do, to be as green
as possible.
I stopped buying plastic storage bags over a year ago.
Instead I bought this....

I keep re-using the ones I have.
I keep the ones that are given to me by others.
This bag had a cherry pie inside...a gift to Hubbs.
I simply washed and rinsed the bag and hung it on the rack to dry.

It saves me a little money.
And keeps the trash from being overloaded with plastic.
Which, by the way, doesn't decompose for centuries.
Long after humans are gone from the face of this earth,
our plastic will remain.... the reminder of our throw-away society.

If you are interested in joining me in this effort,
You can purchase one of these handy driers
Here or Here or Here.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Laundry Day Apron

A windy, rainy day afforded me the time to make this retro styled
laundry day apron.

It has four deep pockets across the front...
perfect for filling with clothes pins.

I just love the fabric. 
It is one that I have been hanging onto for a couple of years.
Vintage ladies...involved in all sorts of laundry day chores.

The pockets are a companion fabric....laundry day essentials.

Now that my embroidery machine is back from its repairs,
I am able to do fancy stitches once more.

Now, to move this little apron over to my selling blog (here).
I think I shall call her
"Minerva's Laundry Day Apron"
(She might make a good Mother's Day gift.....)


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Adventures in Breadmaking

I am happy to say, that I have made it through the first two months of 2010 and still have not bought a loaf of bread.  Each week I bake a loaf of whole grain bread and a loaf of cinnamon, raisin, walnut bread.  I have also dabbled in pizza dough, homemade calzones, and various rolls.  Today's project was pretzel rolls.
(Anke...I had to laugh, because I first tried these on Sunday and then read your also made pretzels on Sunday.  Great minds think alike!)
I mixed the dough, kneaded it for 8 minutes, let it rise in a greased bowl, punched it down, shaped it into 8 round balls, scored the tops,  and let them rise again.

I then dropped each into 6 cups of boiling water with 1/4 cup baking soda added.  The cooked for 2 minutes on each side and then I scooped them out with a slotted spoon, placed them on a baking sheet, and sprinkled them with Kosher salt.

Into the oven at 425 degrees for 12 minutes and they turned a beautiful golden brown.

Oh my goodness are these delicious!!!

Here are the ingredients....

1 cup water (105 to115 degrees) 
2 1/4 tsp yeast
2 3/4 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Follow my steps above....these are the yummiest!!

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