Friday, March 20, 2009

gone granola

A while back, I started researching homemade granola in an effort to get some morning nutrition into my always-in-a-rush, "Coffee is breakfast" husband. I did some looking online, played around with a few recipes, and finally landed on my own version below, which has since become a family staple. We eat it daily as cereal (no icky preservatives or dyes!), a handful at a time for a snack, over yogurt, with berries and cream... Yum.

What you need:

12 cups old fashioned oats (basically one large box of Quaker)
¾ cup wheat germ
1 ½ cups sesame seeds
3 cups slivered or sliced raw almonds
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Optional adaptations:
  • Add 3 cups dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut. (Love the flavor. Not so much the fat.)

  • Add ½ cup milled flax seed. (The only reason I leave this out is because my husband has convinced himself that he's allergic. Hmf.)

  • Add chopped dried fruit. (Mix it in at the end, after baking.)

  • Change up the nuts. (Pecans are DELICIOUS in this, but make sure you don't overbake them – bitter! I made this mistake early on and now they're outlawed. Unfairly.)
Okay, so here's how you make it:

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Separately, mix the spice and wet ingredients thoroughly, then pour them over the dry mixture and give it a good, thorough stir. (I like to get my hands in there to make sure it mixes well and every little oat is covered with spicy, sugary goodness. But I guess a large mixing spoon might also do the trick. Suit yourself.)

Spread an even layer on a nongreased baking sheet (I use three at a time for this size batch). Bake at 300 degrees for about an hour and a half, stirring every 15 minutes or so, or until the granola is consistently golden brown.

The process is a little labor intensive, but totally worth it. (Really perfect for a rainy afternoon when you're stuck inside. The entire house smells like oatmeal cookies. Mmmm.)

And with that much granola, it's not like you'll be doing it that often, right? If you're concerned about the amount, cut it down. Or freeze it in portions and use as needed. There's no science to making or eating granola, so consider these some loose, but proven (by me at least) guidelines and go make up a batch of your own!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Anthropologie pillow...of a sort

I love Anthropologie, but I mean, for real, I'm not likely to be dropping $65 for a pillow any time soon. So I cheat. This cute little pillow started as a reversible Anthropologie placemat that I opened up on one end, stuffed and stitched closed. Just that easy and for all of about 7 bucks.

If I get ambitious one of these days, I think I'll embellish it with some contrasting embroidery around the medallion designs. Or maybe stitch on an interesting fringe. Hmmm...

Monday, March 16, 2009

That does it.

photo courtesy of

I have been making a real effort lately to unclutter my calendar, say no to new commitments (within reason), etc. Being 28 weeks pregnant on top of being perpetually overcommitted makes this a real necessity. To the point that my husband made it an official "What I Need You to Do Differently During This Pregnancy" declaration in front of our entire Bradley class. Lovely.

So, in that context, I was really fine with not making Audrey a new Easter dress. She's got plenty of cute, spring dresses and, if I get desperate, I can always go shopping.

That is, until I saw this. How can I not make her a new dress when Gage could so easily have a new tie to perfectly match? That would just be irresponsible. Wouldn't you agree?

And I do have a visit to Purl coming up in a couple of weeks...hmmm...

Friday, March 13, 2009

I told you so.

See? I already have a project in the works using a bit of my new fabric. (Sorry, Larissa.) And this one I have to actually finish because it's for my upcoming vacation. (Girl trip two weeks from today! Woohoo!) Nothing like a deadline to get my lazy rear end in gear...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Erm...I bought more fabric.

..and all it took was an innocent email check and a sale notice from these folks.

Larissa, you know what my fabric stash looks like. More coming in to feed the hoard than going out as finished projects. But it's not like I was out there looking for it this time.

Also, in my defense, some of this fabric was only $2.98 a yard. Stuff by Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner... I mean, really, could you have let that pass you by? And I will use it. I will.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Easiest dress ever!

Which I guess most people who sew knew a long time ago. It took me a while to get around to this one - a basic pillowcase dress.

My "trial run" was this nightgown, made from a really soft, vintage pillowcase and some gingham bias tape I had laying around. I encased elastic across the neckline (front and back) and used bias tape to finish off the arm holes and form the ties. I also secured the ties at the shoulders with a few hidden stitches so we wouldn't have to deal with any wardrobe malfunctions should they come untied.

Start to finish, this little project took all of about 30 minutes. My favorite kind.

So I made another one. I just kind of made mine up as I went along, but you'll see that there are several ways to get the job done.

Here are a few easy tutorials:

Try it out!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

quilt for the girl

I've wanted to make a quilt for Audrey for, oh, about a year and a half now. Looking at patterns, collecting and playing with bits of fabric, generally stalling the entire process. (See #12 of the Procrastinator's Creed. Kindred spirit, whoever came up with that one.)

So, I'm pleased to announce (again, mainly for accountability's sake) that I have selected and cut all of the pieces for her quilt. Now that she's officially out of the crib and into the big girl bed(okay, this happened almost a year ago), which is in dire need of some proper covers.

My original plan, way back when, was to make a very simple patchwork quilt of various and random calico squares, tied with red thread/yarn. After much deliberating, that's what I'm back to. Which is good, because it should be fairly quick and easy. Whenever I get around to making it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Girl Needed a New Friend

So, my daughter Audrey has this stuffed dog, Meow. Meow was a gift from her grandparents and dons a black Harley bandanna around her (or, depending on the day, his) neck. Meow is Audrey's baby, puppy, kitty, best friend, and loyal audience.

Now, I'm fine with Meow. But a girl needs more than just one beloved doll. Especially when that one is a steadily-growing-grungier labrador from the local Harley dealership.

So, for her last birthday, I made this doll, inspired in part by Hillary Lang's creations. Well, I guess you could say more than inspired by Ms. Lang, and more than "in part", since I basically used this pattern, but redesigned the head and added accessories. And a matching backpack.

Being a fickle three year old, Aud wasn't thrilled at first with the doll. Until I pointed out that this baby doll actually looks like her. You know, sort of like her own little baby Audrey. I guess that appealed to her budding vanity, because the doll has since joined Meow as a regular bedfellow. Oh, and the backpack was an big hit right away. I'll tell you more about that another day.

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