Monday, January 28, 2013

Bibs du jour

What is the origin of the baby bib?  Who can know for sure?  What is certain is that new moms will be doing a lot of laundry and one thing that can help is to have a lot of bibs.  Now you can buy bibs in plenty of places around town - easy-wipe vinyl from drug stores or big-box stores; fancy, lacy or even designer bibs from clothing stores and high-end boutiques and Etsy will offer many handmade lovelies to choose from.  It's funny - with all those options, it is still nice to make your own. Sometimes Nana’s and Momma’s just want to a DIY project to put a little extra love in there.  XOXO!  Such was the case for us last weekend.  

I fell for these two fat-quarter prints.  They just reminded me of our little Fiona who's current best friend is her real family doggie, Berkeley.   The tiny daisies on the black field is also a winner destined to hide a splatter of smashed carrots.   I bought a new clean white terry cloth bath towel for $2.99 at my local Wal-Mart to cut and use as the soft and absorbent backside of the bib.  The fabrics are laid out below after I pre-washed them.

With little Miss Fiona and her Momma (my daughter Lauren) spending some extra time with us while Daddy/Hubby was on a business trip we had grand illusions of getting a great deal of sewing/crafting done over the week.  Unfortunately the little granddaughter ended up getting the dreaded cough and cold AGAIN and so most of our efforts were toward getting her through that and getting some sleep.  :-) 

Now luckily bibs are not terribly difficult and the folks at Instructables made it very simple for us.  I got started and made the doggie bib first and then Lauren turned out the adorable tiny daisy bib.  We ended up extending the pattern to make the bib about 1/2 inch longer since Miss Fi is nearly 12 mos. old.  We used Velcro as the closure and its working very well. 

Mis Fi was starting to feel better by Saturday afternoon she was kind enough to model the finished products.  Love that face!  We think these are bright, fun and great additions to her everyday bib wardrobe.  Already we are thinking of ways to dress the next ones up with rickrack and floral adornments.  Don't be afraid to try this project if you are a beginner.  **You might use flannel as the backing fabric instead of terry cloth for an even easier sewing experience.
Here's our model now...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Respect To The Tuna Sandwich

That's it!  Really. After going wheat free since Oct. 2012 I find that what I miss most is a tuna sandwich.  It's funny when I think about it.  There are so many things to miss when you give up wheat, like cake or cookies for example.  But a tuna sandwich is a lunch comfort food item that goes way back for me.  My mother was an excellent tuna sandwich chef.  Ha ha!  She'd serve it up on white, on wheat, on a plain bagel, an onion bagel and best of all on sourdough bread.  Mom was prone to snap it up with finely diced white or red onion and a bit of celery while her mother, my grandmother, was heavy on the piccalilli (as she referred to sweet pickle relish).  Grandma always did lean toward the sweet.  :-)

Since October I have navigated the wheat free waters pretty well.  It's not been as hard as I thought it might be, and oh by-the-way; I feel marvelous off wheat. But the one thing that crops up for me each week, when the noon hour rolls around, is the desire for a gosh darn tuna sandwich.  I have discovered that if you ask nicely you can get the Farmers Market Salad at Togo's with an added scoop of tuna on top for an additional $1.  That's ...been a life-saver!  Now I know there are gluten-free products out there and I'm sure I could have found some reasonable facsimile of sliced sandwich bread before now but I also know from what I read that it's no healthy thing to give up wheat only to replace it with some high glycemic bread made with a lot of sugar and a wheat flour substitute.  So I decided to just skip it and stick to eating salads with meat for lunch as well as certain soups.  Today, however, I read about some bread from Julian Bakery which I will set out to find in my local area tomorrow.  Wish me luck! 


The reason I went wheat-free back in October had to do with my reading of the book the Wheat Belly Book by cardiologist Dr. William Davis.  If you haven't read it, I do recommend it.  I have lost 6 lbs. since dropping wheat from my diet but I don't feel like I am dieting at all.  It's pretty easy to get your head around the fact that you just can't eat wheat.  You can eat ice creamYou can drink wine.  Enough said - I digress.  Ha! 
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
I find that restaurants are helpful and grocery stores are really organizing and increasing the products they carry in support of so many Gluten Free folks. I suspect true Gluten Free folks actually may have to avoid more than just wheat. I try to keep in mind - eat real food, not too much, avoid wheat. 
So here is to the weekend and my quest for a tuna sandwich!  I can tell you already mine will have celery and onion and some crispy lettuce.  Sorry Grandma, I'm not feeling the piccalilli right now.
Did this post remind you of a comfort food you've been missing?   

Monday, June 18, 2012

Watermelon + Blueberries = Heaven

On a hot day - and we get them in Livermore, CA - this is one of the most refreshing salads I've ever made for a BBQ / Picnic. I credit Pinterest for my finding the picture first which led me to the link at the Food Network site for the actual recipe.  I already knew I wanted to do something with watermelon and blueberries but I was looking for a new spin.  Ha! What is it about that combination that I love so dearly? The secret to this recipe is in the mint infused simple syrup you toss with the fruit right before serving.  It's just a small amount, and if that's too much sugar for you it could certainly be skipped, but it adds this hint of mint that pops the refreshment factor X 10!  

The nutrition educator in me is always trying to find ways to promote watermelon to anyone that will listen because folks don't often realize the healthy benefits of eating watermelon.  ... this delectable thirst-quencher may also help quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis. It's just crazy how healthy this fruit is.  Find out more here.  The only fruit more popular than blueberries is strawberries.  Blueberries are a powerful antioxidant and recently discovered to have ties to improving memory.  WHFoods has the details.

Pinterest also led me to Jenny over at Everyday Occasions where you can discover how easy it is to cut up a watermelon.  I bought a small seedless variety for $2.99 at Safeway - can you say bargain.  Great job Jenny - this is so helpful!
And so it is that Pinterest is not just a waste of time.  I'm actually doing something with some of these things I've pinned.  Use that search bar for anything that comes to mind. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Rabbit Hole and Me

Talk about momentary passions of mine,  I've just made a lunchtime purchase of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland - a Norton Critical Edition.  Hey, it's 20% off weekend at Half-Price Books and I'm nearly finished with reading Papillon.  I was in the play Alice In Wonderland in 7th or 8th grade.  It was a grand production and I was the Lead Flower.  You mock, but it was the only flower with a speaking part.  Ha!   I think we all focused on our own parts and I don't remember any required reading of the whole play or any critical analysis of it. It was more like  - show up, audition and then rehearse and perform.  I'm especially interested in that rabbit hole as a metaphor!  Presumably there is a college course somewhere that requires the reading and critical analysis of the works of Carroll and I can't think of anything more fun to spend my spare time reading this Spring/Summer.  .Keep in mind I've little spare time with a full time job, new gym membership, an upcoming quilt making class and a nearby baby granddaughter, but I'm enthusiastic.  Yes, the passions all start with enthusiasm.

Did you read AIW and any of the follow-on books like Through The Looking Glass as a kid?    As an adult?  I'd love your comments.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vintage Children's Print Blanket For Fiona

A premonition purchase?  A couple of years back there was to be a big sale of donated fabrics at a church in my town benefiting women's Cancers, if I remember correctly.  I didn't know what to expect stopping by on Day 2.  I must have had other things on the list for the day because in an unusual turn I had both my young adult daughter and my college age son with me.  I don't think either one was thrilled to go but I promised we wouldn't stay long.   It was first thing on Sat. morning and a little chilly in the fellowship hall where the fabric and patterns were laid out.  The son, being the only man on premise, was immediately doted on by the elderly ladies volunteering.  He had a grand time being fed donuts and hot cocoa and managed to get a kick out of some of the 70's fabrics.  The pickin's were slim, I must say.  I wasn't really sure we'd find anything we needed at this sale.  Did I say needed?  LOL - we had no list mind you - just checking it out - looking for a good deal. 

My daughter who had recently fallen in love (with her now husband) found 2 great fabrics.  One was a very masculine-friendly toile, a black print of tall ships and buildings on a linen background.  7 yards for $5!  A couple months later we made fantastic bedroom curtains for her and her man when they got a new townhouse.  The other fabric she loved was this vintage lions / candy stripe fabric you see here.  
I wondered what she had in mind making this selection.  I loved it, too, but hadn't seen her favor these colors in previous apartment decorating.  Hmmmm... I remember her smiling saying,  "Mom, we should get this.  Someday I might have a daughter and we could make a blanket out of this."   I jumped at that suggestion though it surprised me so very much.  That was the first I had ever heard her talk about the possibility of babies - who knows how far off she was dreaming.  The fact that the door was opened was all I needed to hear. 

We made the purchase.  The fabric is light-weight cotton and only 36" wide - we got about 3 yards for $3.  I really can't tell when it was made but the colors remind me of the 50's.  Was it normal to have 36" wide fabric in those days?   I stored the fabric away and before long they were engaged.  The wedding plans were on - so for 6 mos. or more all our creative efforts went to planning a very beautiful and fun wedding.  Less than 2 years later we have the blessed arrival of baby Fiona Caroline! 

When we found out the baby she was carrying was a girl my daughter immediately remembered this fabric and the promise to make a blanket for her.  Luckily I knew just where the fabric was stored - and that's no easy feat.  We moved twice since we bought the fabric! You can read about that in some earlier blog posts

This week I finished the blanket.  I kept it simple since the fabric itself is so cheerful and bright.  I played up the hot pink by backing it with a vivid pink flannel which I pre-washed for extra softness.  The satin blanket binding is also a great match.  I put some nice 100% cotton batting in between and stitched by machine around some of the graphics to create a bit of a raised image effect.  I must thank YouTube for the help with the blanket sating and especially the mitered corners.  I sent the blanket home with Mom & baby yesterday. 

From premonition to completion - I love it!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Introducing Fiona!

With great joy I share the news that we are grandparents again.  This time we have our first girl.  Fiona Caroline was born to our daughter in February.  I'm head-over-heals in love with this little girl!  I can't believe how fast the time is going.  She is changing so quickly.  In the first picture of the 3 girls in the family Fiona is about 1 week old.  In the next picture she is about 6 weeks old. 
So Fiona makes 3 grandchildren for us and life is all good.  I do wish I were able to retire now so I could spend more time with them.  The good news is I'm too young for that and I don't want to miss one day I have here.  The older I get the more I appreciate all the joy in my life. 
3 generations of love

Fiona's first Easter - check the shoes!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

40 Days

Today is Ash Wednesday as you may already know.  I'm not Catholic, but my Presbyterian Church has always had an Ash Wednesday service which I have often attended. Lent is the 40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays. I didn't grow up Presbyterian or Catholic so some of these religious traditions were curious and new to me in adult life.  Over the years whether I attend the AW service or not I have found the practice of either denying myself something or even taking up something for that 40 day period very enriching to my life.  I get to learn how ridiculously habituated I have become to some product or practice.  It is quite empowering to realize that with a defined focus period of just 40 days I can commit myself to one new practice.  I know, I know, the curiosity is killing you.  What have I decided this year?  Am I giving up something I love or taking on something new?  Drum roll, please ..................

Ta da!  I am adding exercise, yes, real exercise back into my daily life!

I can honestly say I have not done anything to exercise since we sold the house last September and I am ashamed and actually worried about my overall health because of it.  I seem to be fine, albeit a lot softer than last year, and I can tell by my clothing that a few pounds have piled on the middle and the thighs.  I can also tell when I climb the stairs at work that I am more easily winded.  I'm 50 now and cannot afford to start down that slippery slope with a trip to England in 72 days (but who is counting?), so being in better shape will only make that a much more enjoyable trip.  A bonus.  Grin.

*One final note since it is Lent.  Yes, I will be spending some meditative time during my exercise for prayers of confession and repentance - doing some spiritual “house cleaning.”

Here is an interesting link on Lent 2012 from a source I don't usually recommend - seems they will keep this up through Lent.