- kids clothes : bermudas
- falling cables [a capelet to knit]
- simple + superdelicious supper: DINNER PIE
- a shining star
- patchwork switch plate : HOW TO MAKE
i love that my kids love and appreciate their handmade clothes. hearing things like "they fit me so well!" is music to my ears. and i love love love that they are becoming more and more interested in the design + making process. talk about motivation to create more clothes for them, um yes. not to be ignored in this love fest is the value factor. for example, these bermudas were made using materials from around the house and in my stash = free. as the weather gets warmer, i foresee more of these being made + worn very soon. i love the length of these shorts for my girls, too. just above the knee and roomy so that when the kiddos grow (how quickly they grow!), they'll still be a respectable length on their legs. bermudas are super simple, the same process as making wide leg capris, just a little bit shorter. and the possibilities for customizing them are endless. just ask your little designers. xoxo
a few years ago, Jennifer at CraftSanity contacted me to see if i would design a knitting pattern for an upcoming issue of their print magazine. it was early summer when i started, although we were looking ahead to the autumn issue. Fall is my favorite season of all (if one can truly have a favorite season, they are all so uniquely beautiful here in Ohio). i closed my eyes and thought ahead to the textures and hues of Fall. the lovely people at Briar Rose Fibers offered to contribute my choice of wool for this project, and their rich colorways helped put me in the right mood to knit for a cooler season. before i knew it, the idea quickly surfaced for a slim-fitting capelet draped with cables: FALLING CABLES. it's a great piece for nearly every season, as is evidenced by my daughter's recent restyle of it to wear to school in springtime. i love pieces that can transition from season to season, and especially for children, pieces that grow and evolve with them. one thing i really dig about Falling Cables is that i had not even anticipated my girls would do wear it as a skirt someday, but there it is. imagine if you had two differently-aged children, they could even share wearing it for years. love that. the pattern is beginner/intermediate-friendly involving basic cables and knitting in the round, and there is sizing for both child + adult. it is available in ISSUE #4 of the CraftSanity Magazine, home of Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood's podcast + blog + magazine which have been such a support and inspiration to artists and crafters worldwide for nearly a decade. like many of you, i enjoy working my way through the podcast archives and am in awe of the many people who have been featured over the years. if you are a fan, i hope you consider supporting them. think about it: the magazine costs less than a few lattes + will be enjoyed for much longer. ready to cast on? find it in CRAFTSANITY ISSUE #4 HERE * look for ISSUE 4 in their left sidebar * PDF of the magazine is $6 and print copy is $12 * and all profits go to CraftSanity HAPPY KNITTING! xoxo : if you enjoy sewing + knitting transitional pieces as much as i do, check out these lovelies: * girly dress (dress for baby + toddler tunic) * leisurely (summer dress + easily altered to a skirt for older kids) * loop (felted wool clutch + handbag + wristlet) * one willow (bulky knit cowl for adult + kids' capelet) * summer crush (child's knit tunic + halter)
the last-minute dinner-making scramble happens to the best of us. especially when there are activites, lessons, sports, and not to mention a sunny day when everyone (including the cook) would rather be outside. enter the simple supper. i have a few go-to entrees that i rely on for when time is tight, leftovers are plentiful, or i just don't want to do so many dishes. Dinner Pie is a favorite. now you may be saying, "hey jennifer, that's just a quiche." au contraire, mes amis. perhaps some may call it quiche, but if you are looking to sway a skeptical diner or two (children... husband... just saying), my experience is that calling it "pie" works wonders. try it on for size. YOU WILL NEED: pie crust (homemade or store-bought), 4 eggs, 1 cup of whole milk (you could go over-the-top with cream or half & half, but stay away from skim milk because the custard will end up runny), 4 oz. (or more) of cheese, and 1-2 cups of whatever food is making the guest appearance. the pie shown here features goat cheese + shaved asparagus sauteed with a bit of olive oil, garlic and a splash of chicken broth. switch up the vegetables, try a different cheese, add fresh herbs or even a bit of leftover meaty bits (bacon, ham and chicken are classics). mix and match according to what you have on hand. HOW TO MAKE: place the chilled crust into the pie pan, next layer the cheese on the bottom, then the veggies. whisk the eggs + milk in a separate bowl and pour over top of everything. crack black pepper all over and dot with a bit more cheese if you like. bake at 350 for about 45-50 minutes or until the custard is set. take it out of the oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes so the custard holds its form when sliced. oh, and the leftovers are also yummy for breakfast. enjoy! xoxo : i found a few other delicious looking variations on dinner pie that might interest you, as well... * Julia's veggie quiche on THE MINECREATIONS BLOG * chard, gruyere + pancetta pie on BITS & BREADCRUMBS * fresh swiss chard quiche on MUNCHO MOM * pancetta lardons, sorrel and mushroom quiche on BONA FIDE FARM FOOD * leek and mushroom quiche on SMITTEN KITCHEN * asparagus parmesean tartlets on ANJAS FOOD 4 THOUGHT (via The Pioneer Woman)
the devastating passing of Kathreen Ricketson and her husband Rob Shugg has weighed heavily on my heart all day. Kath was a truly inspiring creative force with whom i have had the honor and pleasure of working with over the years, as have so many of you. her legacy will live on in the inspiring community she pioneered all those many years ago. and she will be missed dearly. xoxo.
fact: there are scraps of vintage fabrics strewn about the house. i can never seem to part with even the tiniest bit. fact: for months, the light switches in our sunroom has been without a cover. it was misplaced during the renovations and had yet to be replaced. one thing led to another... eeep! patchwork switch plate LOVE! want to make one? or more? (me too!) WHAT YOU NEED: fabric scraps, a switchplate (they are stock items at most hardware stores; this one cost < $2), Mod Podge (i used Fabric Mod Podge, but regular Mod Podge would also work fine), a paintbrush, wax paper or freezer paper (to protect your work surface), and a craft knife + self-healing cutting mat. HOW TO MAKE: lay out your fabric scraps in a way that makes you happy. place a piece of wax/freezer paper on your work surface. brush a thin coat of Mod Podge onto the switch plate, then apply a fabric scrap to the surface, smoothing out any air bubbles with your fingers. apply another coat of Mod Podge on top of the fabric scrap. repeat this process with the remaining scraps to cover the entire top surface of the switch plate, including the openings. allow to dry overnight on a piece of wax/freezer paper. when dry, place the switch plate onto a self-healing cutting mat with the right side facing down. use a craft knife to carefully cut out the excess fabric that covers the openings for the switches, plugs and screws. use appropriate hardware to fasten the switchplate to the wall. super simple + love! i hope you enjoy it all the time :) happy making, friends! xoxo
oh, hello there. my goodness, how time flies - or drags or slips away from you, depending on how you look at it - when you are busy. life since my last post many weeks back has been full and rewarding in so many ways. you see, i have been working on something near and dear to me. something big. last summer, after many long discussions with my husband and friends about directions in life, i came to the realization that in my heart of hearts, i am both a maker and a teacher. i love to make things by hand: knitting, sewing, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, or crafting with my kids. i taught foreign language for over a decade (prior to becoming a mother) and loved it. yet it took me all these many years to recognize that even though i was no longer working in a traditional classroom setting, i have continued to teach all along. it has simply surfaced with different subject matter (handcrafts + homemaking) and in different formats and venues (writing the blog, magazine articles, and books). part of what i love most about making is sharing the whole "How to Make" with people like you. and i want to continue along in this direction. so i hunkered down and devoted considerable time and energy to creating my next proposal. much to my delight, shortly after it was sent into the universe, it was warmly embraced by Roost Books (an imprint of Shambhala Publications). yes, friends, i have written another book! i made a firm commitment to myself to devote daytime (while our girls are in school) as work time, and then "clock out" of work to be fully present with my family after school and on weekends. it has been wonderfully fulfilling both as a writer + maker + teacher, as well as a wife + mother to be able to make that happen these past months. the only drawback of that balance was that some things had to give, most noticeable was writing my blog. for sure, i have missed being in this space here sharing art + craft + cookery + family goodness with you. i have been looking forward to returning here, and am happy to find you here as well. hello again! so... can i tell you a bit about the book?! it is a collection of sewing + craft projects with a focus on repurposing vintage and antique textiles to create modern heirlooms. all new projects, with variations on a select few of my most popular pieces from years past in there as a treat. at this time the title may still change, but my editor (hi Jenn!) tells me that the anticipated publication date is late summer/early fall 2014. that may seem far off, but these things take time. and there is still a lot of work to do - i am thrilled to be doing the photography and illustrations for the book - and i will be busy through the end of June with all of that, but the manuscript is in and has been well received, much to my excitement! this really is a dream come true for me. a dream i didn't know i could or would dream, had we spoken a decade ago. my voice developed through blogging and pattern-writing, and the dream of becoming a writer materialized a few years ago when i had the opportunity to write my first book. i would like to THANK YOU, my friends, for joining me in this journey. for many reasons, on many levels, and under so many different circumstances, we have connected. over the years you have responded to my work, and that inspires me to continue to create and make and teach. i am so thankful for all that has been, all that is right now, and what is yet to come. for all of us. xoxo
the girls are on Spring Break this week, yippee! work necessitates blocking out a few hours each morning for them to hang out in their pjs and play while i work on my manuscript (due very soon, oh my). but come late morning, work will be set aside in favor of swim lessons, libraries + museums, roller skating + bowling, hiking + biking (on new bikes as per Santa's instructions), cooking + baking, treasure hunting, and hopefully a bit more cross-country skiing. and most definitely there will be crafting, because as the girls would be the first to tell you, "it's our thing." they've been looking through our book for ideas that might get them started on new creatons of their own - lately it's been paper dolls and painted bead necklaces. neon is all the rage, yo. (apparently i am on trend, who knew?) and of course there is the ongoing list of really cool ideas i've pinned on my summer camp board on Pinterest that the girls might enjoy trying. i'm just putting it out there... i pity the fool who says, "i'm bored." xoxo any new fun crafts you and your kids are into these days? if you have something special to share, i'd love to hear 'em + pop me an email (jenniferATjcasahandmadeDOTcom). thanks + happy spring breaking to you!