Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Change

We stayed out late Saturday night and Sunday was cold and gray, a big change from the beautiful sunny weather that we have had lately. We were feeling very lazy on Sunday and the gray didn't help. We had lots of coffee and our waffles with blackberries and honey and laid around some more. We watched an episode of Spectacle with Elvis Costello, now streaming on Netflix! It was the episode with M. Ward (love), Zooey Deschanel and Jenny Lewis. I was inspired and took scissors to hair for new bangs. I like the new look.
I needed a new look

Despite the gray and cold I couldn't be kept inside on Sunday afternoon (after I had my fill of being lazy). I started a fire in our neglected fire pit and worked in the back yard for a while. This too, was kind of a nice change from the heat that we had on Saturday.

It's cold today but I wanted to work outside

I just want to be outside constantly this time of year. By mid summer I'm over it and the heat drives me inside and to ignore my gardens. But for now, I'm obsessed, as I most often am this time of year.

mutablis rose

Mutablis or butterfly rose


For now I'm glad that it is cold, gray and rainy. If it wasn't so cold I would probably be out there in the rain just admiring my plants and their progress. But for now, I'm pushed back inside, which is a good thing because I have jewelry to make!

Okay, that was a bit of a fib. Here I am checking on my newly transplanted babies in the rain. Oh well, a girl can't help having Spring Fever, now can she?!

I am working, I really am, I just had to share my enthusiasm with you.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thanks Mama!

Beautiful tulip bouquet

Beautiful tulip bouquet

Beautiful tulip bouquet

Mom and I had a busy day in Dallas yesterday. The whole day was planned around my need to go to the Rock Barrell for gemstones and our desire to go to a few fabric stores while there. We made about a million stops and were exhausted by the end of the day, I just can't shop like I used to! We got to check out City Craft, finally, a newish fabric store off Lover's Lane. The store was super cute, and though small, has a wonderful selection of designer fabrics. Though I was tempted by many, I didn't take any fabrics home with me. We also stopped at a couple of the fabric outlets on Harry Hines, but those were a bust for me this trip. Our last stop was Hancocks in Lewisville where I got a beautiful piece of cotton ikat on clearance, yay!

The beautiful tulips were on major sale at Whole Foods, so mom got them and shared. I love how they look in my favorite flea market vase.

I switched the kangaroo paw to a smaller vase along with some Poppy seed pods that I picked at mom's. I'm hoping to dry them and save the seeds.
kangaroo paw and poppy pods

Kangaroo paw and gray wall

poppy seed pod

Thanks for the flowers and the lovely day mama!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fresh Flowers

We celebrated a birthday with a dear friend last week. I wanted to take her some flowers, so I bought three bunches at Central Market and made my own arrangements. I went with bright blue Larkspur, yellow Kangaroo Paw, and orange Lillies. I love the results. I took Alley a bouquet in one of these antique mason jars, and made a few for our house as well.

As the Lillies opened and sat in my window I was continually drawn to photograph them. I love the orange flowers in the turquoise vases!
In my office window

In my office window

In my office window

In my office window

bathroom shelf

dining table

I really wish I could keep fresh flowers in the house at all times! I am thinking about growing more flowers for cutting. Anyone have good reccomendations for North Texas? I know I have luck with Zinnias, and think I may try a few Dahlias this year. I would love to know of some more flowers that are good for continual cutting and easy to grow from seed.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Feeling Springy

I took these images last week with the Hipstamatic.
Our plum tree in the back yard was in full bloom with bees buzzing.
Our Plum tree is flowering

Our Plum tree is flowering

The Euphorbia in the front beds is always one of the first things to bloom in my gardens. It is one of my favorite plants and so easy to care for!
Euphorbia in bloom

I also did a quick little photo tour of our neighbors' blooming trees. This one is always beautiful with mostly light pink flowers, but a branch or two with hot pink. It always makes me smile.
Flowering Plum around the corner

Flowering Plum around the corner

A few doors down the Tulip tree was almost done blooming.
Tulip Tree in my neighbors yard

Our big agave in front is a tough one, it barely got damaged by all that snow and ice.
Big Agave in our front bed

My weeping Japanese Maple has had a tall branch that didn't belong (I'm assuming it was from grafting). I cut it off and stuck it in dirt with not much hope that it would root. So far it hasn't wilted and continues to leaf out. Does anyone know if you can actually root a Japanese Maple this way? I'm assuming I should leave it in the pot for a good long while so the roots can develop, like maybe the rest of the year? Might have to move it up to a bigger pot though, this was the only one I had on hand at the time. Fingers crossed that it will take root!

We had a great weekend. Our friend Claire came up from Austin and also participated in the Cowtown Indie Bazaar. The show was well attended and we got to show Claire around Cowtown a bit. Yesterday morning we went to the Modern Art Museum to see the Ed Ruscha exhibit and then to the Cattle Barn Flea Market for some junkin. It was a lot of fun and the weather was just perfect and springy for the first day of spring.

Now I get ready for Fiesta in San Antonio.

Happy Spring everyone!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Simplicity 2281 (Sort of)

I have been meaning to write a post about this dress for months.
My awesome mom gets all the credit for this one!
I got this lightweight, beautiful teal Silk Dupioni at Joann on major sale last year. I had had my eye on this fabric for months and knew I wanted a party dress made out of it.

I wore this dress to a wedding last fall that I attended with one of my favorite ladies, Christi.
We had a great time!
Christi and I

It was a really beautiful wedding with lots of DIY touches. My favorite part was this photo booth that they had set up for silly pictures of guests.
Ash, Christi and B Fry

Simplicity  2281

Now on to the sewing details. We didn't make a muslin as this was a last minute project. Mom says she hates ripping out and there was lots of that in this dress. I'm sure she was frustrated with me as I picked view C of this pattern but set about changing everything about it.

The changes:
1: the sleeves. I didn't like the sleeves in View A, I wanted more of a flutter sleeve. I also didn't like the 80's open shoulder on View C. We ended up putting the sleeves in last and drafting our own pattern for them. We put little tucks for pleats like this top.

2: I wanted a slit down the front with a tie at the top and a slip underneath. Complicated (thanks mom). That meant taking the seam out of the back, moving it to the front and figuring out how to add a slip like lining with a scoop neck underneath. It worked, but don't ask me how. Actually I could probably figure it out, or ask mom to tell in more detail if anyone really wanted to know.

3: Took lots of fullness out of the skirt. As drafted, the skirt pieces are really wide at the top for gathering, and pretty straight at the bottom. This was quite comical when we put it together, as it looked like I was smuggling an inner tube under my skirt. I have decided that gathered skirts are not for me! We took out a lot of that fabric and put pleats instead of gathers.

I think those are all the changes, but since we changed the pattern so much I really can't comment on the original pattern. I think I would make View A of this dress, but it isn't high on my list. I love, love, love this dress and will definitely wear it again, given the opportunity.

another pattern
More pattern info here.

Big thanks to my mom, you are awesome and I will so miss our sewing sessions when you move.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Needed That!



A sunset view from our house is rare, so when I saw this one I hopped to it, grabbed my camera and ran out in the middle of the street to take these pictures. I needed that moment of beauty and calm in my life. The weather has also been absolutely perfect and I'm soaking up the sun and perfect, just right cool breezes as much as I can.

I have been thinking about my maternal grandparents a lot lately. My Pawpaw is in my mind the most, probably because he was the last grandparent that we lost and lived with my parents for the last few years of his life. Though I was extremely close with Granny my whole life, I feel like I knew Pawpaw best because we had the most time with him. As he got older he had a sort of mantra and would always tell me, "I just hope and pray that everything is going to be alright". That was him showing me, even when he was starting to have dementia and be confused, that he loved me and cared about my well being. It didn't matter if things were going good or bad, that is just what he said. That has stuck with me and I have been repeating it to myself in good times and bad.

I just hope and pray that everything is going to be alright.
I love you Pawpaw, you taught me so many good lessons by being such a loving grandfather.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My new favorite top

I made another top, and from my pattern reviews it looks like that's all I make! Oh well, I really love this one. I bought this fabric last summer at Mama Said Sew in Fort Collins when I was visiting the Frys. It is Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks collection in cotton Voile, and this is the second top I have made from her voile (first one here). I love it, it is so soft, fine and silky, it feels really nice against the skin and I adore the colors and pattern on the fabric too.
Simplicity 3835/Built By Wendy

I chose Simplicity 3835,a Built By Wendy pattern, which turned out to be super easy, with great results. It has a raglan sleeve and came together super fast. I left the elastic out of the sleeves because they weren't loose enough to warrant it on me. I also put little slits in the sides at the hip because it was just big enough and I didn't want it to feel restrictive. I will be posting my review over at Pattern Review soon, so check there if you want more info.

Simplicity 3835 /Built By Wendy Pattern

I have another soft cotton in my stash that I plan to make into the 3/4 tie sleeve version of this pattern. It is a plaid though and feels like it should be a fall garment, so it will have to wait. This pattern is out of print, but you can still buy it from Simplicity at the link that I provided above.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cowboy Cookies

Frank spotted a recipe for Cowboy Cookies in a back issue of Saveur, specifically the Texas issue. He requested that I try to make them earlier this year, and this recipe has been on heavy rotation in our house ever since. These yummy cookies are filled with coconut, oats, pecans, chocolate chips and made extra special with cinnamon. Apparently this is George W's favorite cookie, but I won't hold that against the cookies.

Also, I got a new cookie scoop, which is awesome! It is larger than what I was using for these cookies though, and now I need to get the small version too. This is the OXO medium cookie scoop.
Cowboy cookies

Cowboy cookies

Cowboy cookies

Here is the recipe as written on Saveur's website. I double this and use 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie. I have frozen the formed dough balls and baked later as well. *When doubling, it helps to note that 12 tbsp = 3/4 cup.

3⁄4 cup flour
3⁄4 tsp. baking powder
3⁄4 tsp. baking soda
3⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
6 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 egg
3⁄4 tsp. vanilla extract
3⁄4 cup rolled oats
3⁄4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1⁄2 cup chopped pecans
1⁄2 cup sweetened flaked coconut (I used unsweetened coconut)

1. Heat oven to 350°. In a bowl, whisk first 5 ingredients; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter with a hand held mixer until smooth. Add sugars; beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add flour mixture; beat to form a dough. Stir in oats, chocolate, pecans, and coconut. Form dough into 24 balls; divide between 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cooked through, 16–18 minutes*. Let cool.


*I also bake my cookies for only about 8 minutes, I found 16 to be way too long in my oven with 1 Tbsp. size cookies.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This Weather

After suffering through a couple of weeks of miserable winter weather in early February, we are being rewarded with the most beautiful and perfect sunny days. I spent yesterday in my parents' yard planting flowers and sprucing up. Here are a few of the blooming beauties that we have planted lately. I may even get out and do some work in my own yard today, if I have time.

The daffodils are popping up.

Spring is coming

Iceland Poppies are one of my favorite flowers!

Blue skies

And on the way home I was treated to the most gorgeous sunset.


Spring is coming in a hurry here, and I am so happy!