Archive for February, 2010

My, how she’s grown!

Our mutt Gertie turned one this winter – have a look at her now!  She really is much smaller than we had anticipated, and happily she is still sleek and seal-like.  Her energy is humbling, and she’s a lot of work (you won’t believe how much time I spend now repairing the faces of all our stuffed animal friends), but we do enjoy our morning amblings with our equally enthusiastic canine neighbors next door.  Thank goodness for Clover and Daisy!  That’s when she’s at her best, running with them in the woods.

Yes, I know she shouldn't be on our bed....

Yes, I'm very cute. Please don't kick me off the bed.

In other small news:

The skirt of the day is for a girl!  Aqua and cocoa fabric from japan, very sophisticated…. More info here.

I love small things…

Jewel Tones

Have a look at today’s skirt:

Or wear it as a dress when the weather heats up!

Jewel tones are different for me, but I just loved this piece of fabric.  Very modern, I think, and so soft and flowy, I just could resist and bought a ton of it.  Have a look in my shop!  I’m prepared to make lots of these!

Gluten Free Apple Cake

Yesterday I made Tartelette’s beautiful apple cardamom cake.  It turned out so well! I would surely recommend her recipe which you can find here.  When I find these lovely recipes I usually have to mess around and convert them to be gluten free, but Helen has done the work for me on this one! Imagine my glee!  It both looked and tasted magnificent, and we gobbled it right up.  Even the boy did not complain about cooked fruit, which usually is a no-no in his world.  This might open up a whole new era!

Fresh from the pan

Cutting into it

Soooo good

What could be better at around 3pm with tea or coffee?  Sadly, I have no time to bake today (field trips! Soccer! The list goes on!), but if I did, I would make this again.  Or better still, just start working my way through  all of Tartelette’s goodies!

Finally Finished the Chairs!

Now I can have people over for dinner again! Who wants to come sit in my new/old chairs! We bought these little swedish chairs in August with the intention of repainting and recovering the seats.  It took until February to do it.  Oh well, they are done now!  You might recall from an earlier post  (January, Little Renovations) that I painted them and took the seats off, but then it took me a while to sit down and actually staple the new fabric on.  But like everything else, once I actually take the time to sit and do a project, it isn’t so bad, and the outcome is grand.  Have a look!

Before....

After!

pretty seat...

...using Anna Maria Horner's oil cloth - this fabric is so nice because it is actual cotton fabric which has been laminated (pthalate free!), and not that awful plastic stuff which cracks over time. I think this will last, and be easy to clean.

Really, renovating a chair is super simple. If you have old chairs that need a facelift, don’t be intimidated!

Here’s how:

1. Most seats are only attached with a few screws on the underside, so just flip the chair upside down and unscrew those with a screw driver – and save those screws for later.

2. Now you have the seat cushion off, take out your hammer.  Most of these chairs have the fabric attached with either staples or little tacks.  My chairs had tacks so I used a hammer to pry them out, but if yours has staples, your screw driver will work just fine.  You can save these if they aren’t too bent and old, or you can get new ones.

3.  Pry that old fabric off!

4.  Now is when you sand down the old paint, and put a few new coats on.  If you’re lucky, your kids want to help with this step.  Mine sure did! For 5 minutes…. then they got bored, but I did manage to snap a picture of it, so I can make it look like they are helpful angels…. Ha!

5.  Then while the paint dries (or a month later when you get tired of sitting on random stools you pull up to the table for dinner), you recover the cushions.  Sometimes I like to add a layer of batting (you get this at the local fabric store – ask for the stuff they use inside quilts) for extra cushion, but these chairs are so dainty that I wanted to keep them sparse and sleek, so no batting here.  Basically, you cut your fabric into a square that is at least 6″ wider than your cushion.  You do NOT need perfection here, which is great.  You take your staple gun (or your hammer and tacks) and just staple as you wrap the fabric around to the underside of the cushion.

Tips:

– Make sure your fabric is facing the direction you want it to go before you start stapling!

– To get a nice tight fit, staple once on all four sides first.  Staple front and back (in the center) and side to side (in the center).  Then fill in all around until all fabric is wrapped and stapled to the underside, smoothing out the corners.  This is a very forgiving process, because it doesn’t have to look good underneath!

– Trim away any excess fabric underneath, screw the cushion back on to the frame using the saved screws from earlier (you still know where they are, right?!) and voila!  Brand new chairs.  Feels so much better….

Tartelette

Mon Dieu!  I found this baking blog online last night that completely took my breath away.  Seriously, I think my heart stopped for a second or two.  So beautiful.

Tartelette's Gluten Free chocolate pear cakes - her photo.

J and I are going to France in a couple of weeks to chaperone a high school trip (his students – I’m just happily tagging along) so I have been spending a good deal of time in the evenings trying to learn about Paris, what to see, and especially, where to eat! I mean, can you imagine going to Paris and trying to eat gluten free?  Luckily it has been so long since I’ve eaten anything wheat related that I don’t even consider pastries to be a food source anymore, but just what will I eat? Luckily others have paved some of the way before me and lived to tell about it, so I have a few suggestions for how to eat, and even a recommendation for a restaurant that is completely gluten free!

Anyways, in this never ending search of mine, I wound up following links to this blog by Tartelette, who turns out to be a lovely French gal who lives in South Carolina, very near to me!  What a small small world.  I started perusing her beautiful recipes, and trying to figure out how to convert them to be gluten free, when much to my surprise, she has done the work for me on some of her recipes! A food blog about baking where many of the cakes are already gluten free?! This was about the point that my heart stopped a little.

Every recipe looks so divine, I almost don’t know where to start, but chocolate cake with pears? Really? Obviously, I’ll start there.  Then on to the Chai cake, Apple Cardamom, where to stop?!  I’m hooked.

And….

A little reminder….

Climbing yellow roses skirt of the day on Etsy!

(Follow this link to Etsy to see more views!)

Cupid

This is what I made J for Valentine’s day – little knit hearts to put in his pocket while he’s at work.  Basically, you take whatever size yarn you have (can you believe I actually had red yarn lying around?), and any size needle, and knit 2 little hearts, sew them together and stuff them with a little polyfill!  I stuffed mine with a combo of polyfill and dried lavender, so they smell very summery.  I looked all over the web for a pattern for a heart, and guess where I finally found what I was looking for?  Yes, you guessed it – Martha Stewart.  Arrggg! Must she have the answer to everything?!  Oh well, I took it and made it my own.  Here’s the link to the pattern.  You need very little yarn – be creative! I’m going to make tiny tiny ones next and string them up for the kids to wear as necklaces – I think that’ll be really sweet.  Here’s a close up:

My ever creative husband needed no pattern for what he made me.  I don’t know where he gets these ideas, but look at this cool shadow box made from one of the kids old colored pencil boxes and copies of the Smithsonian magazine from the 70s:

Cupid with a tommy gun and mini pigs, of course. He's so dark and twisty - I love it!

Just little tokens, both, but so much better than candy!

Birds on a Skirt

Busy busy weekend! Valentines Day, snow days, kids everywhere, making heart shaped cookies, etc, leads to very little blogging time.  Also, a dead camera battery slows things down.  I promise to show you the cute valentines clothes I made the kids as soon as I can get them to sit still and model for me, now that my camera is working again.  In the meantime, here is the skirt I posted on Etsy today:

entirely organic, flowy, soft cotton

Remember the Gocco printing I was experimenting with a while ago? I think it looks so pretty flying across this hem.