Friday, September 25, 2009


My little brother, Sam, asked for salsa. I had a bunch of tomatoes left after making all of the spaghetti sauce, so I harassed my knitting group for recipes and then grabbed onions, limes, cilantro and jalapenos at the grocery store and went to work.

I used a recipe for fresh salsa from my friend Jill. She advised against canning it. Which is cool, because my friend Heidi provided 2 recipes that are great canned. I think that will be our weekend project.

Onions, garlic, cilantro and jalapenos. Can you smell it? Almost, right?

It made about 3 pints. I kept one and delivered the other 2 to Sam and Liz's refrigerator, being extra careful to go in the back door to avoid Diogi, who, in his skunk-sprayed state, was locked in the front porch.

I think this salsa is fantastic. In fact, I think I will go have some right now!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tomato Sauce

Yesterday, Dana and I picked these from my mom and dad's house:

So just to clarify, we picked 2 gallons of cherry tomatoes and a big basket of regular tomatoes. Plus, on top of these lovelies, Kevin's mom gave us a gallon of tomatoes.

And so, since Nora and Dana ask for spaghetti every single night for dinner, I thought it would be smart to can a whole bunch of sauce. (Let me clarify that I do not actually serve spaghetti every single night.)

I halved the cherry tomatoes and sliced the regular tomatoes into thick pieces, chunked up some onions (some from our garden and some from the grocery store), cut the tops off of several cloves of garlic, drizzled it all in olive oil, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and roasted it for half an hour in a hot oven.

Doesn't it look gorgeous, all browned and juicy?

I carefully transferred the roasted items into the food processor, along with fresh basil (some from my garden and some from the grocery store) and whirled it up.

I did this many times.

I ended up with 16 pints of spaghetti sauce!

I know that some of you can't understand why I made pints instead of quarts. The thing is, a pint of spaghetti sauce is exactly the right amount for two adults and two little girls. Nothing ends up in the garbage, and nothing ends up getting moldy in the back of the refrigerator.

Tomorrow there will be at least 2 more gallons of ripe cherry tomatoes. My little brother has requested salsa with lots of cilantro. I have never made salsa before, much less canned it. I may have to do some research here. Anyone have a good recipe?

Fall Fest

Fall Fest was on Saturday, and it went pretty well!

I sold eleven bags! Now, that may not seem like that many, but it became pretty obvious that this was the wrong venue for selling bags. People were buying apples, pumpkins, corn, jam, pickles, flowers. Bags? Not high on the list.

My friend Charity was awesome! She procured a table from her mother in law, drove us out to Chester Bowl, helped set up, and sat with me under the blazing sun all. day. long. Then she helped me load everything up, drove me back to her house and made me a nice, cold drink. I love her so!

I learned some very good lessons. For example, don't start sewing 3 weeks before the festival. Bring a tent. Wear sunglasses and sunscreen. Bring lots of water and a cooler.

I fell asleep around 6:30pm on Saturday and didn't wake up until 8:00 Sunday morning. And I had a great time cleaning up my gigantic sewing mess from the kitchen table on Sunday.

Don't get me wrong: I love to sew. I never got sick of sewing. I just wish I would have had more time so I could have enjoyed it more. Because rushing through it sort of sucked all of the joy out towards the end.

Next year it will be so much easier!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tote Mania

My love took the girls out on the town yesterday so I could sew. I finished six bags, and I am up to 12 done now! Not bad for less than 2 weeks.

I started with these two Amy Butler prints.

The girls have been really into playing with Duplo blocks lately, and the other night Kevin pointed out that Nora had a little block assembly line going. So I took a cue from her and sewed these two bags simultaneously. And you know what? It didn't take twice as long to sew two bags.

Then I moved on to this, as I have been imagining how lovely it would be since I sewed its mirror image last week. And I love it. I am tempted to keep it for myself.

Then I sewed the other one of these.

On Thursday night, my friends came over to help cut out fabric. I sewed four of the eleven totes they cut out, starting with these funny doggie totes. Dana selected this fabric. You might have to click the photo to see it larger.

I love how these bright totes turned out. So cheerful!

Here's the mirror of the Eiffel Tower tote. I think I like this one better, with the towers as the accent.

Finally, the other turquoise tote.

I have fabric for four more cotton totes and three canvas totes cut out, thanks to my friends. I hope I can finish them all by Friday night!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bold Tote

Final tote for the weekend. I am officially out of interfacing.

More Michael Miller fabric. The blue stuff is called Pod Vine. I can't figure out the name of the floral.

Inside view. I used a black zipper.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Yep, another one.

I made another one this afternoon.

The fabric is Michael Miller, Lava Flowers and Lava Leaves.

I swear-I love each tote more than the last. And I am getting faster at sewing them, too. Which is nice. Because I have many more to make.

I have another one in the works for tonight, and then I am taking tomorrow off. Mostly because I bought all of the interfacing they had in the weight I needed at the chain fabric store, and my favorite neighborhood shop is closed until Monday. At least, I hope she's open on Monday, what with the holiday and all.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Some Progress

I spent two after-bedtime evenings cutting up fabric. I cut ten yards to make ten totes. I intended to then interface all of the pieces, then move immediately on to installing the zippers on all of the inside pockets. However, at some point, it got sort of boring. So I stopped cutting interfacing when I had enough for 4 bags, and have moved onto actually sewing. I have finished two more kid totes and two more adult totes, with a third planned for tonight.

This spider fabric is pretty cute, but was sort of hard to work with. My rotary cutter did not enjoy it. I am not sure why. My girls really want these for Halloween.

Is this cute? I can't decide. I have been oohing and aahing over the Eiffel Tower fabric for months. See, when Nora was 3, we asked where she would like to go on vacation, and she told us she wants to see the Eiffel Tower. What kind of 3 year-old wants to go to Paris? I love that she thinks big, and we promised to take her there when the girls are a bit older.

Nora thinks this bag is lovely, so if nobody buys it, she has dibs on it.

Here's the inside. I used a red zipper and I think it came out pretty nice. I am not afraid of zippers.

I really love this fabric combo. It's from Laura Gunn. I can hardly wait to make the mirror image tote. The green fabric is gorgeous, with little birds in cages. It's a bigger print, so it doesn't show its true beauty as the contrast fabric, but I think it's going to be amazing as the main fabric.

Here's the inside. You can see the print a bit better. I used a green zipper, but it looks sort of gray in this photo. Weird.

Anyhow, I promised the girls ice cream, but I have to vacuum out my car first (don't ask). More sewing tonight, and more photos when I have a few more finished. Feedback would be much appreciated.