Monday, June 30, 2014

Cooking: Classic Lemon Poundcake (Recipe)

My brother's wife comes from a family of amazing cooks. And they really know how to cook for entertaining. They have a wealth of recipes fit for a crowd and I am sure they are constantly asked to share them. Fortunately they've shared a few with me.

I was fortunate to eat with them recently and enjoy this amazing pound cake. It's such a classic. And they had the recipe memorized so I could go home with it. I baked it about a week later!

This cake has the density you would expect of a pound cake, a hint of lemon, and really yummy crust on the outside. It's pretty amazing to eat plain, but I love it with whipped cream and berries. I'm fantasizing about topping it with sweetened ricotta and grilled peaches. And my sister-in-law toasted it and topped it with ice cream. Even better, it travels well on a picnic and keeps for over a week in the refrigerator. It's the perfect summer cake! I understand why my father-in-law was such a fan of pound cake. I wish I'd had this recipe to make it for him.

Click through to get this classic recipe.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sewing: Floral Lulu Dresses for Summer

I am trying as quickly as I can to sew summer dresses for these girls so they can wear them for the next few months. And it's working. And it's so much fun. Scarlett couldn't wait to wear this dress and Tess quickly followed suit. It's been difficult to convince them they need to be occasionally washed.

These were made with the darling Lulu Dress and Top Pattern from CINO. I think Jess has an instant classic with this! I love the extended cap sleeves and the easiness of the cut. And of course the potential for mixing fabrics.

I chose a blue floral jersey knit for Scarlett from this Etsy shop (it's sold out but they have a lot of other cute fabric!) and combined it with a pink and yellow stripe (from this Etsy shop) for the bindings. Actually, Scarlett is the one who picked that combo--what an eye she has!

Tess's dress is a combination of Heather Ross Briar Rose Jersey Knit and this Sunny Yellow Dot from EuroGirls Boutique. I love combining florals with these graphic prints.

I followed the pattern pretty faithfully but I did make on seam pockets and top-stitched them on the front of the dress for added fun.

I think these dresses have a great vintage feel. As do piggy tails...  and cane sugar sodas... yum.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sewing: Casual TShirts and Shorts for Summer

Our summer of reading is being fueled by weekly trips to the library to stock up on books. Granted we aren't very far into summer, but so-far-so-good. The girls are loving it.

I don't always coordinate their outfits, but today I nudged and they were happy to oblige because who wouldn't want to wear new, super soft t-shirts and shorts?  Audrey's and Scarlett's fishy raglan t-shirts are sewn with the Field Trip Shirt pattern from OliverandS, which I converted to short sleeves. The colorful fish cotton jersey was purchased here on Etsy. Their shorts are sewn with Dana's Kids Shorts pattern, which is so quick and versatile. I made Audrey the racer shorts style (cut somewhere between the boys' and girls' lengths) and Scarlett the basic shorts, and made them both flat front. I purchased the striped linen from Jo-Ann. Pretty fun combo. Audrey has worn hers a few times already.

And what about Miss Tess? She is sporting her own knit skirt with a new Nessie Top (pattern by CINO) sewn with a very lightweight floral knit purchased last year at Girl Charlee. Very lightweight knits are not my favorite to work with but I worked it out. In fact, I made a duplicate for Scarlett, which may appear here soon.

Sewing casual clothes seems to be a good strategy if the idea is to make things my girls will wear. In fact, a couple of the dresses may soon be worn out! How great is that? Only probably is, I'm feeling rather compulsive about the whole thing so other summer projects haven't quite launched... Oh well, that's how it goes in summer.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sewing: Dachsund Knit Dress and Raglan T-Shirt

This summer we're doing a lot of reading. After years of working on projects late into the night and then falling straight to sleep I've returned to books and I'm loving it! (Yes, the projects are suffering a bit but I've also woken up to the flexibility of audio and Kindle books--hooray!) Audrey has been devouring a young reader series, Scarlett is reading (such a thrill!), and Tess loves looking at and listening to books.

I've got an incentive program in place to hopefully keep them motivated this summer. They earn tickets for reading, which can be redeemed for rewards, such as a trip to the paint-your-own ceramics store. So far it's working like a dream! But of course it's early...

Reading in the backyard on a blanket is one of the simple luxuries of summer. It's pretty great. We need to do it more often. I've also thought of constructing a reading tent indoors to make reading more fun.

Sewn summer wardrobes is another trend for us this summer. I've been having a ball sewing dresses, t-shirts, shorts and skirts for the girls! I'm hoping to get around to sewing some for myself too.

Tess is wearing another SOLEIL dress. I first made this Selvage Designs pattern for Scarlett and I couldn't resist sewing another for Tess. The crazy cute knit Dachsund fabric is organic knit jersey by Nosh. I died when I saw it at KitchyKoo (it's sold out now...). I bought it to make Audrey a shirt but had enough for this dress for Tess! Hooray!

Audrey's raglan t-shirt adds a solid black jersey to the mix (purchased at Jo-Ann). It's sewn with the Oliver+S Field Trip pattern, which will likely become a staple. I modified the pattern to make the sleeves three-quarter length and also think it would be great short-sleeved for summer.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cooking: Greek Pasta Salad with Lemon Feta Vinaigrette (Recipe)

It's summer, which for me, means it's pasta salad time! I love eating pasta salads this time of year because they are simple, one bowl, meals to make; they typically include lots of veggies so it's easier to get your daily allotment; and leftovers store nicely for snacking or lunching on the next day.

Here are some of my favorite pasta salad recipes:

I was in the mood for something lemon-y so I came up with a greek pasta salad, and I love the vinaigrette! I will definitely be trying it on a green salad too.

Click through for the recipe.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sewing: Striped Strawberry Nessie Dress for Summer

Ah, summer! I'm so excited about a change of pace. I have big ambitions, now that I feel more in control of our schedules, for activities (swimming, etc.) and "enrichment" (daily reading, etc.).

And I'm also excited about sewing some summer wardrobes. I'm on quite a roll! Nicely timed for #madeforkidsmonth sponsored by Rae and Liesl

You may have noticed I gravitate towards sewing Sunday dresses. This is because the value seems to make more sense (once you purchase the materials and add your time) compared to something I would buy, and because they are treated more carefully so they can be passed down. Though I haven't really thought about it, it likely also has to do with the fact that my mother sewed all my dresses, but I don't remember her sewing my play clothes.

Well, I'm flopping my sewing ratio this summer in favor of play clothes! I've realized there is something so satisfying about having one of the girls pull out from her drawer something I've sewn for her and wear it to play, without any encouragement from me.

Case in point is this knit SOLEIL Dress I sewed for Scarlett a few weeks ago. She seriously wears it a few times a week!

Scarlett loves wearing dresses, especially if they are in a comfortable knit. So here's another knit dress for her this summer. This striped strawberry dress is a riff on CINO's Nessie Top Pattern. I was cutting out a bunch of the tops (stay tuned...) when I thought her color-blocked version would make a really cute dress! I just love an empire waist.

So I lengthened the top, preserving the hi-lo hem, and added some extra fullness so I could create gathers in the center of the front and back skirt. I also made elbow length sleeves because I'm loving that length lately.

The strawberry knit is of course Heather Ross Briar Rose Jersey and the green and white striped lyrca knit fabric is from this Etsy shop. They are both incredibly soft!

Rather than being passed down, the things I'm sewing this summer may just get worn out. Which would be fabulous!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...