Out of Season Stitching

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Right in the middle of Christmas sewing, I decided to take a break and finish up this dress from my UFO pile. Honestly, I don’t know how it got into my UFO pile in the first place. It’s cute as a button, cut from a simple pattern, and uses two great vintage fabrics. Most likely, it’s companion dress was to blame…notice only one is finished.

This dress is made from McCall’s M6015, which believe it or not, I purchased new and it is made pretty close to pattern specs.  The lined bodice in place of facings and the giant pockets are my only alterations.  Saddly, since I cut it out so long ago (**cough, cough**this past May), I have no idea what size I used and somewhere over the summer and fall most of the pattern pieces disappeared, hopefuly just to the wrong envelope.  

Since it is now winter and we have six inches of snow on the ground, this dress is being worn jumper style.  However, Dark Moon is not bothered by this in the least.  In fact when I first pulled it out of the UFO pile and tried it on her, she was quite insulted that I took it back.  Here she is wearing it almost immediately after I finished it, so that the hem hasn’t even been pressed.  

When I first decided to just go ahead and finish this dress, we were all in the middle of that nasty cold I told you all about.  It was the middle of a excruciatingly long day and I just needed something to take my mind of the misery.  That’s when I found this dress and I really thought I was looking at an afternoon’s worth of work.  Just quickly inserting the zipper, then tacking down the lining and the hem would have finished up the job.  However, inserting a zipper in a Benadryl haze is not quite as easy as it sounds… I picked the zipper out twice before I finally got a result I was happy with.  Hubby thought it was hysterical, but I was less than amused.  By that point I was over it, so I didn’t get around to the tacking for a few more days.  

It took her awhile to notice the bucket sized pockets, but once she did it was true love.  The first wear alone, they held everything from blocks, to her constant companion “Fox,” to a handful of pickles.  My husband went so far as to suggest that she could carry her baby brother in one.  

I use to make these dresses three at a time for my older daughters, but right now I am thinking one is enough.  It’s fun and adorable, but I really think I’m ready for a new go-to dress for little girls. 

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Christmas Make #1

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Once, a long time ago, I found the perfect table cloth.  It was in my favorite little chairity shop (the kind you have to dig around in) and knowing me, I only spent a $2-3 on it.  I bought it so long ago, I really have no idea what I spent on it anymore!  

In one capacity or another, I used this table cloth for years.  It  looked great anywhere I put it and it was always ready to make me smile.  In fact, I even painted the kitchen on my homestead specifically to match this table cloth.  

As time went by, life happened.  The table cloth was smudged with a bit of white paint, graced with a few small coffee stains, and then developed a hole.  It was all getting to be too much, but still I couldn’t part with it.  So, I folded it up and added it to my fabric stash, just sure that someday I would use it to construct something wonderful.  

And that is exactly what I did!

The first of my Christmas sewing is now complete and I couldn’t be happier with this upcycle.  Now, my cheery table cloth will still be a part of my kitchen, but in the form of little aprons.  

When I started this project I had a little diagram depicting the size and shape of each piece I needed to cut out.  But as soon as I started working with the fabric, things got changed up a bit.  I wanted to really use the pattern in the absolute best way possible, so I added an inch here, took off an inch there, etc.  I had also intended to make them identicle, but durring the cutting stage decided to change the pattern placement on the bib.  Later, almost on a whim, I also changed the construction of the skirts.  

 I’m sure the girls are going to love these, but for now they are hidden away (back in my fabric stash) until Christmas.  

Stocking Up

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    Our household has been fighting yucky colds for the past few weeks, but it’s back to business as usual now.  Since I used up all my stock making (our cough syrup dazed) Thanksgiving dinner, I started a fresh batch just before bed last night.  A good stock or broth is essential to quick yummy meals and can even be heated and sipped for a light breakfast.  (On cold winter mornings, I like a mug of steaming stock with a soft boiled egg.). At the supermarket, a quart of this essential liquid goes for$2.50 on sale.  Making your own is much more economical, especially if you use my hack.

    Some of you may have this figured out by now, but I really try to be frugal.  Throwing out vegetable “scrap” really seems like a waste to me, especially since there really isn’t anything wrong with all the odds and ends left after putting a meal together.   So, somewhere along the line, I came up with the idea of tossing all those random pieces into a plastic freezer container and turning the contents into stock when it was full.  Vola!  Essentially free stock!  

    It’s so simple, every cook ought to be doing it!  Onion ends, pepper seeds and centers, wilting herbs, celery ends, potato peels, garlic papers, etc, etc all end up in the container then simmer together to create a delicious stock.  The only sand traps to avoid are cabbage (brussle sprouts) and cabbage, they do a hostile take over in the pot and no other flavors come through.  I even toss lemon and lime peels in.  (Also, if I debone any meat durring meal prep, I toss those scraps in with the veg for a little extra flavor)

    Here’s how I do it:  1 gallon of frozen vegetable scrap is dumped in a 2 gallon stockpot and covered with water and a splash of apple cider vinegar.  Toss a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil before turning the heat to low/simmer and walking away.  (I usually go to bed.) Let it all simmer for 12-24 hours, replenishing water as needed.  At this point you can cool, strain and jar your stock, but I’m always short on fridge space so I remove the lid and reduce it down a bit first.  I like to simmer mine down to about 2 quarts.

     My rule of thumb is to use all stock within 2 weeks, but honestly it rarely lasts that long.  I use it as a base for sauces, gravies, and soups.  It also makes delicious rice.  Just dont forget to add salt.