Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring = Green

We are so happy to be getting outside!  Not so much the lawn-mowing and weed-pulling, but the general outdoorsyness of it all makes it all o.k.  Last year I started seedlings inside, and this year I did that too, but for some reason, I only started hollyhocks and a couple of tomatoes, whereas last year I started tomatoes as well as butternut squash and zucchini.  I just started my squash and zucchini, but since the risk of frost is gone, is there any purpose in starting the seeds inside? 

Anyway, Imogene loves planting seeds.  I should say she LOVES planting seeds!!!  All last summer, all she wanted to do was plant seeds, even when we were picking vegetables from the garden.  Thankfully some of our flowers produce seed pods and I showed her how to open them and scatter seeds.  In the fall I gathered a bunch of marigold seeds just for Imogene to plant this year.  Our garden will be ready to plant soon (later than everyone else around us I'm sure) but who cares.

Hmmm...what's going on here?  Maybe these seeds were not watered enough?  They were pretty dry looking before planting, and I just soaked some last night, and they plumped up and we planted them this morning, so maybe they will go better.  Maybe they will all grow and we'll be inundated with squash!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Quinoa Muffins - Yum!

Do you eat quinoa?  It is a wonder grain (seed, actually) that is a complete protein!  It is a bit nutty in flavour, and we eat it sometimes, but I'd like to cook more with it.  More good news about it is that it is gluten -free, and you can do so many things with it!  You can buy quinoa floor, but I just made my own today but grinding it in the food processor until it was the texture of cornmeal.  Then I made these quinoa muffins, the recipe for which I found on a parent website.  Our little guy is 7 months old, and he is a picky eater.  He'll eat a bit of rice cereal, and that's it!  He really wants to hold his food and take bites of big things - I let him scrape at my apple once, and on a pear - he only has 2 teeth, so he couldn't get much apple at all, mostly gumming it, but I did watch him like a hawk to be sure he was okay.  Anyway, he has had quinoa, and so I made these up with a modification, and he loved them!  Again, he got tiny pieces, but as he gets the hang of solid foods, he'll get larger pieces.  No eggs, and no gluten-grain flours, so no allergy concerns for us here! And since quinoa is a complete protein, they are a great snack for the rest of us too! 

*note - I am no baby nutritionist or doctor, so only try foods for your baby that your doctor/nurse practitioner/naturopath say are okay**

Here is the recipe:

Quinoa Muffins (makes 6)
Into a mixer, combine:
1 cup quinoa floor (you need to grind more quinoa to make less flour...confused?  good)
2/3 cup cold water
1 tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup brown sugar

In small bowl or plate, mash a banana and add 1 tsp baking powder to it.  Let it sit 2 minutes

Add the banana to the rest of the mix.

Add in another 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix well.  Pour into muffin tin (silicone, or papers or greased pan).  They don't rise much, so don't be too stingy.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

We all love them!
Proof of happy baby eating muffin!

I think I'll experiment with other sweeteners later, like I used to: stewed dates come to mind, but for now brown sugar is the cheap, easy option.  I'll be baking a bunch of these this long weekend and freezing them so that when the weather gets really hot and we want muffins, I don't have to heat up the house.  Maybe we should just build a summer kitchen!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Triumph over the flood!

Here is my entry in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival!  I just found out about this festival a few days ago, and it was perfect timing, since I was almost finished this quilt.  The perfect motivation to get it done.

I started this quilt in February, and it is my first large quilt.  I have made some mini quilts, and I have been wanting to make one for my queen size bed.  I fell in love with Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks Voile fabrics and ordered a bunch last summer, and I was inspired by a quilt by Film in the Fridge, entitled Postcards from the Park.  And then our Little Guy was born in September and I was quite busy with him and the Little Monkey too, Christmas happened, and then I got to start my quilt!

I was making good progress, laying out the blocks, and that night our basement flooded.  Big mess, long story short, although everything is cleaned up, we are living in half our house still.  I didn't want the flood to get in the way of making this quilt, and I have triumphed! Our house situation is still crazy, but I made my quilt! My First Quilt!!!

I used my favourite colours of the Little Folks fabrics, and it ended up being quite mustardy over all, which is funny for someone who does not like mustard (the food anyway).  I used a white with it to show off the colours.  I went with the wonky design because I love the look, and also I wouldn't have to worry about matching seams and straight lines.  I used Warm and White batting and quilted in lines that are mostly straight, but that was part of the plan too.  It's not bunchy, it turned out well, and I'm super happy with it!

I learned so much by making this. It took making 156 or so blocks to then realize there was an easier way to do them.  I learned the wonderfulness of the walking foot!  I read even more quilting blogs.  I tried machine sewing the binding, and I will definitely try that again! I learned that I love quilting!  My favourite part was laying out the blocks, and also the feeling that it is completed, I can use it, and I can now move on to another quilt!

I can also tell you that I am sure I did a hundred things wrong, and I won't tell you what they are, because I am sure that some of them are quilting sins! 

So in conclusion, quilting is awesome, I love it, I hope to participate in more bloggy goodness!
Thanks for looking!

ps - I don't know how to get this thing here to work, but check out the Bloggers' Quilt Festival here!
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Amy's Creative Side"><img src="" alt="Amy's Creative Side" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Crazy Scrappy Blocks

I've been doing more patchwork lately, and there is so much inspiration out there!  I have started checking out comfortstitching lately, and loved her crazy scrappy blocks and wanted to try some for myself!  I love how the blocks highlight a centre fabric, and even a small image looks great!  I had ordered some munki munki prints from sewdeerlyloved, and what a great way to stretch out this precious fabric (I've a bit of a miser!)

My first block turned out well I think!  My strips were so narrow, I realized I would have to do many more cycles around the centre, so I went wider at the end. 

My second block was less vortexy, but I still like it!  I splurged and used 2 gnomes this time!

I am loving this orange and pink combo right now!  I think of it as tropical punch, and I saw it referred to as Sangria.  Not sure about some of the more vivid colours, but I didn't have a lot of these colours in my stash.  Guess I need to buy some more!  Especially to go with my special munki munki prints!  I can't wait to make more of these.  These first 2 will be pillows, maybe for the little monkey, maybe I'll split them up and send one to a new little girl I know of.  The next versions will likely go into my etsy shop or the local store I sell at. 

And later tonight, after the little ones are asleep, I'll work on the binding for my first quilt!  I hope to post it by Friday, and get in on the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Busy as a Bee

Yes, I have been busy lately!  There is of course all the time I spend with the children, whether we are going out to playgroups (friends! play! snack!) and getting out to the park now that the weather is warming up, and then I am also trying to find time to cook, bake, clean (some of which I can do with my "helper" (some of these jobs get more complicated and take longer this way), and sew!  I have some things going in a new local shop so I have trying to get as much done as I can, but some days I end up getting nothing done.  I accept this, and am trying to go with the flow.  I decided a good plan will be to try to craft a tiny bit in the morning, since that is when the children are their happiest and most independent.  Then we go to playgroup or the park, lunch, naps/quiet time (sewing? cleaning?) some time outside and supper, then bed, and maybe a bit of crafting depending on the night.  That's my plan for the summer.  Summer is short, so I want to take advantage of it, especially since last summer I was hugely pregnant and it was so hot, I lived in the basement.  It's not my fault I gained 80 pounds, that's what happens when I'm pregnant!

And so, here are some pictures of what I have been up to:
Ponytail holders!


Yoga mat bag
Skirts again!

And we're tired!