Frock By Friday - Anda

Have I previously mentioned Kathleen Frances' great monthly Sew-A-Long, Frock By Friday? She's been hosting the event since April and I keep wanting to play along, but alas, I have not. (Though, I hope to go back and make April, May, and June's dresses on my own.)

This month's pattern is Anda, from Burdastyle. Make sure to check out all of the amazing finished projects. So much inspiration.

The pattern looks super simple and is just the thing for this crazy mod fabric in my stash. (Bought last year at Fabric Depot's outdoor sale, of course.)

So, this month, I'm definitely getting in on the fun! I already bought the pattern - a mere $3.50 - and the fabric is headed for the wash so that it will be ready to press and cut. I've added a button in my sidebar that links back to the Sew-A-Long at Grosgrain, KF's blog. Let me know if you feel inspired to play along, too. And stay tuned for the finished dress!

Ryan's Shirt Re-Do

This was the inspiration, found at CraftStylish. Check out their quick and easy tutorial first. While I loved the original project, I couldn't resist adding some really girly touches to my version. (No surprise there, right?)

First, I took apart Ryan's Shirt. I removed the sleeves, collar, cuffs and pocket. Then I opened it at the sides, shoulders, and back yoke.

Next, I added three pin-ticks to either side of the button placket, stopping about 3 inches from the hem. You'll see that I left extra room on one side of the button placket. This was so that the trim I planned to add wouldn't cover the tucks. It looks wonky here, but balanced when finished. After the tucks were done, I cut across the entire piece at the armpit. I cut across the back at the same place. The tucks took about 3" total out of the total width of the front, so I didn't have to trim too much from the sides before sewing it back together.

The rest of my process was pretty much the same as the original tutorial, except that I added eyelet trim, bought at Bolt, to the edge of the button placket and straps.

My last step was to change the buttons. I found this super-cute fabric on super-sale at Bolt, and decided to make self-covered buttons.

Aren't they adorable? The perfect finishing touch, I think. Btw, there were only a couple of yards left on the bolt, so I bought it all. What do you think I should make with the rest? A flirty skirty? A top? A dress?

Taa Daa!

This was an amazingly satisfying project. I found it very freeing to have just a simple guideline from which to work. Clearly, it lead to a lot of improvisation. It isn't the first time I've made one of Ryan's cast-offs my own,and it certainly won't be the last!

Also, nothing to do with the sun-top, but I picked up a yard of this really awesome fabric on the same trip to Bolt. Couldn't resist, but have no idea what I'm gonna do with it. Maybe an apron. It makes me crazy happy.


Farm Tunes, pt. 2

Another Thursday, which means another look at Farm Tunes. We won't be going tonight. Ryan has a softball game. And, we need to prepare for tomorrow's camping trip. So, next week I'll have camping photos for you instead of Farm Tunes photos.

Last week's concert was Los Cowtones. Ryan and I were on our own, as much as you can be in a sea of people, so the evening was even more laid back than usual. No chatting and visiting with our friends and their kids, just enjoying our picnic and each other's presence on the blanket.

This week's picnic was a quick salad inspired by one we had at Delancey when were in Seattle last month. It only took about 5 minutes to make. I put the slicing blade in the food processor and pushed through 3 Belgian Endive, 2 small heads of Fennel, and a bunch of Radishes. Then I tossed it all with a quick Dijon vinaigrette and topped it with a sprinkle of Feta and fresh-ground pepper. We took along two baby avocados to cut into the salad at the farm.

I ate mine scooped onto bits of a roll. Crunchy, chewy, sweet, spicy, bitter, tangy and salty - delicious!

Ryan brought Life Among the Lutherans, and I kept hearing him chuckle as her read. His father is from Minnesota and he used to spend the summers among his family there. As a result, he really connects to Garrison Keillor's work.

With all of the busy-ness between concerts, I hadn't the opportunity to work on my knitting since the previous Thursday.

During a break between the band's sets, we wandered around a bit. Farmer Don's sunflowers are starting to open and are just lovely.

Oh, and here's my new top! I made it out of one of Ryan's cast-off shirts.

Hard to believe this was a man's shirt! Tomorrow I'll give you a little look at the process.

Boy, do I ever look like my mom!

The evening was very cool, so we packed it in a little early. A view of Mt. Hood as we walked to the car.

Goodness, I do love the farm!


In a Jam

When we were at The Farm for the Buckles concert, I was completely transfixed by all of the amazing produce in the farm store. So, Ryan and I returned the following Saturday to load up. We bought:
  • 8 lbs. of shelling peas
  • 24 pts. of Raspberries
  • 24 pts. of Boysenberries
  • 3 lbs. of Rainier Cherries
  • 4 lbs. of Bing Cherries
  • 7 lbs. of Apricots

On Sunday, I shelled peas. They nearly filled my big mixing bowl, made by a lovely friend, and then went into the freezer.

On Monday, Alexis came over and we made jam out of the berries - one batch of raspberry and one batch of boysenberry. We ended up with WAY more jam than we anticipated - 40 jars! We used all of the jars emptied and saved from last year and still had to send Ryan on an emergency trip to the store to buy more jars! He came home with two cases (24 jars) and I think we used all but one or two. Forgot to take pictures of all the berry jams lined up, but it was impressive!

On Tuesday, I went to the store for still more jars and a few more boxes of pectin. I like Pomona's Universal Pectin, which allows you to use less sugar (or honey, agave, etc.). Which reminds me, I like to use unmilled organic cane sugar from the bulk bins at New Seasons.

Alexis wasn't feeling well Tuesday, and I would be unavailable Wed - Fri evenings, so I was on my own to finish jamming the rest of the fruit. As you may know, when preserving, you are working on the produce's schedule, not the other way around!

So, I got down to business and worked for 6 straight hours to pit and chop cherries and apricots and turn them into jam. I wish I hadn't been the only one home, 'cause I would love to show you the process of pitting the cherries. I used my new Cherry Chomper. It was really fun at first, but after you get through a couple lbs., it starts to get a bit tiresome. I'm sure it would be the same with any type of cherry-pitter. The best was when I was in the midst of doing the red cherries, and everything was covered in bright red juice. It was more than a little gory!

But this is the lovely result of that hard work.

From Left to Right: Ranier Cherry, Bing Cherry, Apricot

Since I didn't have enough labels for all of the jars, I labeled my half of the jars with Japanese Washi Masking Tape. I scooped it up when it went on clearance at work and I love, love, love it. (Oh, did I tell you that I got a part-time job? Working at my very fave non-fiber shop in Portland?! Yup! Been there almost 2 months!!! This somewhat explains my inconsistent posting.) I keep the tape in my kitchen drawer with a special sharpie so that we can mark goodies as they go into the fridge/freezer. It comes in all kinds of super-cute colors and patterns, and just like regular masking tape, it comes off without leaving behind any residue! Did I mention that it's really cute? For Portlanders, Collage has a great selection.

After all the jars were labeled, I packed Lex's half for her to pick up, and then rearranged the pantry to accommodate the fruits of our labor. (HA! That was for you, Dad!) The top shelf is all of this year's jams, and there will be more to come. The lower shelf is what remains of last year's jams. I think that more toast is in order, don't you?

A couple of notes:
  • Though I hoard jamming and preserving books from the library, we mostly use the recipe guide inside the box of Pomona's when making our jam. They are simple, allow for a lot of improvisation, and always yield good results. Maybe next summer I'll try some of those other fancy recipes.
  • It is good etiquette to return your empty jars when given a gift of homemade jam, pickles, canned fruit, applesauce, etc., and helps pave the way to future gifts of handcrafted foods. I didn't learn this until a couple of years ago and have kept more than my share of jars - oops!
  • I'd really be interested in hearing about you! Do you have canning memories? Favorite recipes?


Farm Tunes

Has it already been a week since the last farm concert? Well, I guess I should maybe show you the photos from last week. Some were taken by me, some by Ryan. It was a really beautiful evening out on the farm. We were joined by lots of good friends, I packed a picnic and put on an new dress (made the previous evening), and we settled in to listen to The Buckles.

Dinner: Homemade rhubarb soda, from this recipe, fried chicken, from here, and a salad of new potatoes, bacon & spinach in a buttermilk bleu cheese dressing, very loosely based on this recipe.

My new dress. Yeah, the picture is washed out, but it gives you an idea of the shape and length. Ryan spotted the bushes in bloom against the side of the barn and said it was just the place for taking snaps of my new dress.

A little girl who was nearby while we were taking the pictures said "You need a blue flower, and then promptly picked and brought me a stem of tiny hydrangea blossoms in the perfect blue. What a sweet and unexpected surprise.

A view from the farm.

Inside the Farmstand.

Dessert: Doughnuts, purchased at the farm, alongside basil-flecked ricotta topped with homemade strawberry rhubarb jam.

My favorite cowhand.

Casting on a new project.

Lots of happy dancing by Ollie, Jerry, Katie and Max.

Ollie with his rock candy. Oh, rock candy! Wouldn't it be fun to make some?

A rare quiet moment for Jaryn.

Who can resist bubbles?

Jen, getting in on the fun.

Tonight we're off for more farm tunes, this time provided by Los Cowtones. Another picnic, another balmy evening under the stars - though this time I'll bring bug spray, and another new outfit for me (sewed the same day as last week's dress).