Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sewing: Circa 52 Game Day Jersey Tee (Fabric Giveaway)

Birch Fabrics asked me to participate in the blog hop for Circa 52 fabric collection from Monaluna and I was immediately on board. But when I received these organic knits in the mail I was in love. (You can get some too--enter the giveaway below.)

The color palette is as soft as the organic cotton. And I love the faux bois trees and little birds in the "Tree Stripes" print.  

Tess always picks yellow, grey and white knits out of her drawer so I thought sewing a Game Day Jersey Tee and matching skirt with Circa 52 would win her over. As soon as the calendar turns over I want to wear colors that lean more towards Spring but are still cozy. Add leggings and boots or a cardigan and this outfit is just the thing to get her to Spring. 

Plus it matches the landscape so nicely.

 You'll have to check out the other great projects that are part of the Circa 52 blog hop:

Monday 1/26: Caroline from Sew Can She
Tuesday 1/27: Heidi from Fabric Mutt
Wednesday 1/28: Anneliese from Aesthetic Nest
Thursday 1/29: Melissa from Lunden Designs
Friday 1/30: Melissa from Brindille &Twig
Monday 2/2: Marte from Companie M.

And enter to win a yard of each of the cute Circa 52 fabrics!

Good luck!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cooking: Green Chile Breakfast Casserole

I'm a big fan of recipes that work for any meal. Such as my mother's "Puffy Oven Pancake" (good for breakfast, lunch or dinner!). It's great to have something in the repertoire to serve the family when you need a sure thing. Or when you are too tired, or busy, to think of something more appropriate for dinner but have a bunch of eggs on hand!

That is not to say this Green Chile Breakfast Casserole is just for times when you are in a pinch. It's definitely guests-for-brunch caliber. It's full of green chiles, and cheese and has a tiny kick to it. It's great with salsa. My husband also likes it rolled in a fresh tortilla. It rewarms nicely too (if you have any leftover) so you can serve it for an after-school snack. I love it!

I love it especially because of it's origin. One of our dear family friends, Sally, made this for us a couple years ago when we were visiting her for brunch. She is one of those women whose creativity and great style is equaled by her generous heart. I'm so grateful to have her in our lives. 

So now when enjoy this dish she calls "Chile Cheese" I can also enjoy warm memories of her.

She prepares this and lets it stand in the refrigerator overnight but I was pressed for dinner so I made it, set it in the refrigerator while I took my girls to swimming lessons, and then baked it when I got home and it was great. So this can be prepared the night before a brunch, or an hour before everyone in your home is asking for dinner. It would even work baked immediately--it just may bake a bit faster as it wouldn't be chilled to start. You can't go wrong!

Click through for this recipe.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sewing: The Game Day Jersey Tester Roundup

I'm so grateful to my team of fabulous sewing testers! (If you are interested in testing a future sewing pattern send me an email with the subject line "pattern testing.") They ensured that The Game Day Jersey pattern is easy to read and use and helped me put on that final polish. Thank goodness for multiple sets of eyes! Testing a pattern in this way adds time to the schedule (I'm always so anxious to finish a pattern and get it out there!) and takes a bit of work to coordinate but it's so worth it.

And it was a lot of fun to see what they sewed. So many combinations. And lots of sewing Game Day Jersey Tees for boys! I need a lot of help in that department with my houseful of girls. Take a look!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Crochet: Triple Strand Earflap Hats for Sledding

With a just-in-time white Christmas my family and I had a great time enjoying Winter sports over our holiday break. Skiing with the cousins is becoming a tradition for my girls, which is so much fun. And so is sledding! 

Especially with the right gear! I made an armful of Triple Strand Earflap Hats in various colors and sizes to share with my extended family. I love the gree-and-green version I made (three different strands of green yarns) with big pom-poms embellishing the flaps.

Scarlett requested a version that reminds me of cotton candy ice cream. A bit too sweet! But she loves it.

And I pulled out one of my original hats--a fuchsia with white tassels.

Looks like I need to get working on some for the men.

You can find out more about my Triple Strand Earflap Hat Crochet pattern here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sewing: Dachsund Game Day Jersey Dress

This little girl loves knit dresses. And she especially loves the Soleil dress I made her in a yellow Dachsund print this past summer. She wore it several times a week! But it's a bit cool for wearing that, so I thought I should make her a long sleeved Dachsund. With tights it should work just fine indoors.

This time I used the green and navy version of this knit, which is equally cute. Especially with purple and white tennis shoes, according to Tess! And I used the dress version of my new Game Day Jersey Pattern.

I sewed the size 3 dress for my typically size 4 girl, because I wanted to try a more fitted look with this pattern. (You can compare this fit to the size 4 she is wearing in the original post on this pattern.) 

I love all the possible variations in this pattern. I wanted to maximize the Dachsund print so I used it for the yoke, bodice and skirt, with contrasting solid navy for the sleeves and neckband. Pretty fancy print matching on the yoke, if I do say so myself.

 I love this doggy version! And so does Tess. Hooray!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

FYI: Happy New Year! (and some thoughts on Christmas)

With school out for the girls and family in town, the past two weeks have felt like a much longer time between 2014 and 2015. It was endless Saturdays with lots of hosting and playing and some intense deadlines to finish presents and get things ready for January. It's kind of nice to get back into the routine. I had a couple hours to myself yesterday to sit down and start a list of things to do this month and this year now that the holidays are fading.

But before I launch into business as usual I wanted to wish you a happy new year! I hope your holiday celebrations in December were beautiful and warmed by love.  I found that the things that meant the most to me this Christmas were Advent Sundays singing Christmas carols as a family, listening to Handel's Messiah and the Nutcracker all day long, attending Christmas plays and concerts with our girls, having them help me decorate gift tags and wrap presents, and gathering as a family to eat and play. 

I'm finding that I enjoy the shopping and the buying and the gift lists less and less (unless it's a Sub for Santa activity). Less of that really is more. I loved finding inspiring ideas for incorporating the story of Christ throughout the month (such as these advent ornaments and this Christ Themed Advent) and had the girls help me paint our own wooden ornaments to use next year. Like many of you I'm sure, I tried to take stock during the hustle to determine which activities really add to the season and which detract. One of my goals for 2015 is to fine tune our Christmas celebration to make it reflect more the true story of Christmas. If there are gifts given I want them to be heartfelt and needed and given from the heart, ideally with a bit of sacrifice. This year I sewed little clothes to go with the Waldorf dolls I made for my girls last year, and they were the gifts I enjoyed giving the most because they were a labor of love and creativity. I wish every gift I gave felt that way. For most of us "needs" aren't very material, and material "wants" are pretty easily fulfilled, so they don't lend themselves to purchased gifts in very a fulfilling way.

The best gifts, especially at Christmas, aren't purchased. They are acts of unconditional love and kindness and selflessness. I was reminded of this when my husband shared something from a lesson he gave in our church the Sunday before Christmas. This encouragement from President Howard W. Hunter is such a beautiful reminder of how we can truly recognize the season:

"This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.
Christmas is a celebration, and there is no celebration that compares with the realization of its true meaning—with the sudden stirring of the heart that has extended itself unselfishly in the things that matter most." (“The Gifts of Christmas,” Ensign, December 2002).

In fact, "extending oneself unselfishly in the things that matter most" is a really great resolution for the year.

Best wishes in giving yourself to the things that matter most to you in 2015!

(This year's Christmas Card featured three of the people who matter most to me, in a photo from one of my favorite projects this past year.)

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