Friday, July 15, 2011

Garden Treats

Can you spot the two cardinals bathing in the water from the sprinkler?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Some Goodies

I tried out a few new recipes for my dad's retirement party. It seemed like the perfect time to experiement and have some fun, and it turned out to be a hit. I made this wonderful strawberry lemonade (recipe from the black apple). It was a big hit with our guests. I had to make three extra pitchers because we kept running out.

It really is a great way to use up those extra berries! My mom just brought me a bag of lemons so I could make her another batch.

I also ventured into cakepops. I've seen these things pop up everywhere and have always wanted to try them, but felt a little intimidated. It turns out they are super easy to make (well, the outer layer can be a bit tricky if you want it to be perfectly smooth). They are intensely sweet, but I'm sure there are some less-sweet cakepop recipes floating around somewhere. In my case, I used vanilla cake, vanilla frosting, and chocolate flavoured candy melts. Oh, so good. Unfortunately the leftovers will be hanging around a while since one is more than enough.

All lined up and ready to be dipped in their outer candy shell.

Not bad for a first try.

And now, back to lemons!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

'Congratulations' Banner

My dad retired just a couple weeks back and my mom and I decided to throw him a party. My dad's not the kind of guy to like attention or a fuss made over him, but we thought he deserved it just this one time. At first he was hesitant, but once he started inviting anyone and everyone we knew he was glad. We wanted to go all out, and so I decided to put together some decorations for the event.

I've always liked the look of bunting style banners, so I decided to go for it. I wavered between "happy retirement" and "congratulations", but congratulations won out since it can be used over and over again. Underneath are some favourite pictures from my dad's life, and at the very bottom are a couple plane toys that were on the cake from my dad's co-workers. He has a trip around the world with my mom planned, you see.

I free-handed the letters, machine stitched them to some polka-dot linen fabric, and then stitched around the edges of the fabric. I decided not to finish any edges. Both because it would be quicker (and I never realized how long a word 'congratulations' really is. 15 letters? Oh, my!) and because I like the unfinished look. I sewed a strip of ric rac across the top, and voila! Everything was done with materials I already had on hand, and most of the letters were done with scrap pieces of fabric (from the scrap pack I got from Jeni, seriously one of the most useful purchases I've made when it comes to crafting). That picture of the little boy with Santa? My favourite ever picture of my dad. Love it.

This banner here was the perfect backdrop to the buffet table we set up. I cannot wait to use it again!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In the Now

This year coming up is sure to be a busy one. Exciting and new, challenging and rewarding. It is something to look forward to, but I find myself looking forward too much. I have been trying to bring myself back to the present to focus on and enjoy what is going on around me, for there is oh, so much to enjoy right now. Trips to beautiful places, a lush garden outside my backdoor, celebrating and sharing time with loved ones, the wildlife busying about these summer months, and simple daily tasks that I don't need to rush through as much as I do. So focusing on the now!

Yesterday evening I took a walk through the berry bushes and shared the first of this summers raspberry harvest (with some garden strawberries too) with loved ones.

I also found the first of the tomatoes. A bright red grape tomato, juicy and sweet.

In just a few days there will be a retirement party for my dad, with even more friends and family to enjoy. Right now is a good place to be, even if the future is full of things to look forward to.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Making Clothes

As a bigger girl, I often have trouble finding clothes that I like that also fit right. A favourite clothing line of mine (where about 80% of my wardrobe comes from) that used to carry beyond a L recently cut out their XL and XXL outright. So this summer I've been wearing a couple old favourites, one new one, and have been disappointed in the offerings I've come across. I've always been intimidated by sewing clothing, well, aside from some ridiculous 'fat pants' I sewed up in high school. Oh, fat pants! For years I wore nothing but pants with legs so wide I could put one of me, waist and all, in one upside down leg. I was far from stylish in high school. But anyway, to the far away fabric store I went to search out the perfect fabric for a new sun dress.

I didn't find that fabric, but I did find some already gathered cotton fabric with an already finished bottom hem. You just wrap it around your body to measure and sew up a seam. Crazy! So I bought some since it was 1/2 off, and in about 5 minutes I made a summer dress that's flowy and cool, and fits my bigger girl frame.

And with a cotton slip underneath, so my undies aren't on display to the world, a pair of sandals, and a light knit cardigan, it is the perfect summer dress. Soon..soon I will try making a 'real' dress.