Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Ballet Bag for my Sweet Girl

I have been wanting to make a ballet bag for Madelyne for over a year now. I mean, seriously... this adorable girl deserves a cute, hand-made ballet bag!

Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol was the second sewing book I ever bought. It's a pretty fun book with a lot of ideas and great information for beginning sewers like myself. The "Pleated Beauty Handbag" has always been one of my favorites in the book. I would dream up what it would look like in different fabrics. THIS was the perfect bag! It seemed a little advanced for me (pleats, really?) but I just had to make it!

A fuzzy view of my cut pile... It looked like this for a long time :)

Amy Karol does some embroidery on the front of her bag, but my little girl needed an "M." The "M" was finished months ago. Once I started the project in earnest, it actually came together much faster than I thought it would.

All in all, I'm pleased with the bag. There aren't any puckers and even my hand sewing isn't too shabby. It was a challenge for me, though. There are a lot of steps and I had to read the instructions a hundred times. Apparently I have a lot to learn about sewing jargon!

(I promise to work on my photography. I know it's BAD!)

There are a lot of steps to this bag. I hope that the next one is easier. I'm sure it will be. Practice definitely pays off when it comes to sewing. If only there were one more hour in every day that I could dedicate to sewing... Or maybe two.

The finished product!

Headed to ballet!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What's for dinner? A Chicken, Chard and Lemon Lasagna!

Ever since my knee surgery six weeks ago my desire to stand in the kitchen and cook has greatly diminished. Honestly, it's easy to get used to having someone else make dinner! This week the weather turned semi-Fallish and I have had a sudden inspiration to cook again. Thank goodness!!! Last night was a delicious potato leek soup (at least I heard it was delicious... I was at a birth). Tonight I pulled up my sleeves to try something new: Martha Stewart's Sausage, Chard and Lemon Lasagna. We received some beautiful Rainbow chard in our CSA box this week and we have an amazing Meyer lemon tree potted on our patio. I happened to have some chicken so I decided to use that instead of the sausage. I am certain the sausage would be amazing in this though.

Chicken, Card and Lemon Lasagna
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, March 2011

3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk (I used 2%)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Course salt and freshly ground pepper
Zest of one lemon
5 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard (I used Rainbow chard)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders
1 lemon, very thinly sliced (a mandolin would have been nice!)
6 no-boil lasagna noodles


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt butter in a large sauce pan over high heat. Stir in flour and cook for two minutes. Whisk in milk. Bring to a boil and continue to stir. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in 3/4 cup of cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper (to taste). Stir in chard.

3. Heat another skillet on high heat and add EVOO. Place chicken in skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes on each side until chicken is just cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

4. Place sliced lemons in a sauté pan and cover with three inches of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 7 minutes. Remove lemon slices from pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate.

5. Cover the bottom of a glass or ceramic 8x8 inch pan with 1/2 cup of sauce. Place 2 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce and top with half of the chicken and 1 cup of the sauce. Repeat. Top with a layer of lemons, 2 noodles, then remaining sauce and lemons. Bake, covered for 30 minutes.

6. Remove from oven. Turn on broiler. Uncover lasagna and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese. Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes until bubbly.

Enjoy! It's delish!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A great gift: The Infinity Scarf

A very special person is celebrating her birthday tomorrow! So, I made her a present! My friend, Sora, wanted one thing for her birthday... an infinity scarf. That had to be pretty easy to make, right? Right!
My first lesson was in material. We live in Santa Barbara so a heavy scarf usually isn't needed here. I did a little research and it seemed that voile would be the perfect weight. It is a super-light cotton that feels silky to the touch. There are tons of prints to choose from. Thank goodness my sewing goddess, Raven, keeps quite a stash at her house! I picked out a chocolate brown and a light blue floral pattern to create a two-sided scarf.
My machine was giving me a hard time... Who knew that re-threading your machine could fix it? (Raven to the rescue, again!) So the project got to a slow start. This scarf really only took about a half an hour to machine sew and then another half an hour (due to my utter lack of skill) to hand sew. Once I work on my hand sewing skills I think this will be a pretty quick and easy project. Perfect for a birthday or Christmas present.
I followed two tutorials to complete this project. The measurements I took from The Cottage Home and the closing instructions from Anna Maria Horner's Make page.
Try it! It's easy and fun!!!

The finished product!

My little model trying it out for me :)