Category Archives: Sewing

Simple Success

I set my simple goals back in August for Elsie’s challenge and since 2011 is almost here, I’m reporting on my success.

  1. Start Knitting Again: This has been a difficult goal since my hands always seem to be busy with Joshua, work, making dinner or picking up, and when they’re not busy I’ve got them to the keyboard.  I did start a hat for Joshua but haven’t gotten more than a few rows done.  However, I just joined the newly organized Stitch Craft Club at my school and I’ll be able to attend at least once a month, so that’s better than nothing! I’m really excited about the club and it’s open to both faculty and students.  I’m hoping to learn a little more there and get motivation to finish my projects!
  2. Learn More About Chickens: I just received my copy of Chick Days by Jenna Woginrich (of Cold Antler Farm fame) and have been reading it when I get moments.  I’ve already instructed Ed that he is to build a chicken coop for me for my 30th birthday in March and I’m planning to get chickens this spring.  I still need to pick out varieties and decide how many to get!
  3. Go to Bed Early: This has been difficult for me, since I’m so busy with work and Joshua that my only time to get things done online and around the house is at night.  Still, I’ve mostly been able to get to sleep by 10, so I’ll consider that a success. 
  4. Blog Weekly: I’m doing my best! My cookie swap here at Farmer’s Daughter is in full swing (see the side bar!), my Breastfeeding Diaries posts are running weekly, and I’ve even managed to update Joshua’s baby book blog on a regular basis.

I’d say I’m doing pretty well, especially since I’m now back at work full time! Just don’t expect me to get the dishes done.  Did you join in this challenge? How are you doing?

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Baby Afghan and Pregnant Bellies

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I think this is the simplest afghan pattern ever.  If you can make a granny square, you can make this.  If you don’t know how, then check it out this tutorial with pictures.  I re-learned how to crochet a few years ago, after learning a little as a child and deciding that I preferred knitting.  I would describe my skill level as basic, meaning that I know some stitches and like to crochet, but I’ve never made anything fancy.  Still, this simple afghan is quick and easy for me.  Plus, people are so appreciative of a homemade gift that it’s totally worth the time. 

To make the afghan, you will need two (or one, or more) colors of yarn.  It’s totally adaptable and up to you.  Make a granny square, and just keep going around and around the square until the afghan is the size you would like it to be.  In the picture above, I started with 20 rows of blue, then added 10 rows of yellow and 12 rows of blue.  I then double-crocheted around the edge of the blanket in blue to finish it.  That’s all!

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I made this afghan for my dear friend Cindy and gave it to her at her baby shower today.  Cindy and her husband Sean are friends of mine from high school, and so the shower was a wonderful reunion with high school friends that I only get to see a few times a year.  Cindy and Sean are expecting a little boy in November.  Because they live in the same town as us, we look forward to our kids growing up together.  They’ll even be in the same grade!

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As many of you have been asking for belly shots, I’ve decided to comply.  I still don’t have a noticable belly (at least I don’t think so), so here’s a picture of me with Cindy.  I’m 4 months, and she’s 7 1/2 months along.

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New Page

I’m happy to announce the new Projects page here at Farmer’s Daughter.  I’ve been thinking of organizing all the projects we work on for a while, but just finally got around to it.  There, you’ll find my sewing, crafting and other creative projects as well as Ed’s projects here at the house.

In compiling our projects for this new page, I realized that there are a lot of projects I haven’t posted about, so I’ve now got some new ideas for future posts.  I’m hoping to give homemade Christmas presents this year, but I always find I run out of time.  Hopefully this page will help me stay organized and also share some new projects, too!

I’d love to hear what you think and also if you have a link to any project you think I might enjoy, I’d love to check it out!

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Made by Hand

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I’ve been working on a baby blanket for a friend who is expecting a little boy.   This blanket will be blue and beige, and I love the simplicity of the design.  I don’t use a  pattern, I just made it up, which is true of most of the things I crochet, knit, or sew.  Really, it’s just one big granny square, and I’ll change colors a few times to make stripes. 

Last summer, I made this blanket in shades of blue and green for my friend Rachel’s little boy.  I was looking in my yarn basket today and thinking I’d love to make one in shades of pink and purple.  I hope somebody has a girl soon!

What handmade gifts do you like to give?

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My Five Favorite Kitchen Tools

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A long time ago I got an idea to write a post about my favorite tools in the kitchen, but it slipped my mind until my mom took this photo of me cooking on Easter.  This is a neat way to talk about my cooking style and I’d love to hear about your favorite items, too!

  1. Dutch Oven– My oval,  blue, enameled cast iron Le Creuset “French Oven” was a gift from Ed’s mom for my birthday years ago.  I use it for so many different recipes almost every day.  I like to cook bacon in it, as I’m doing in the picture above, because it keeps the grease from splattering all over the place.  Tonight, I made arroz con pollo in it, and I use it for roasted chicken, pork roast, pot roast, stew, soup, macaroni and cheese, paella, pasta sauce, meatballs, scalloped potatoes, casseroles, and many more recipes that I can’t think of right now.  So many of my recipes begin “In a large Dutch oven…”  I love that it can go in the oven or on the stove top, and that I can pop the lid on and stick in the fridge, then put it right in the oven to warm up.  I’d love to get another bigger one sometime in the future, but I know this one will always be my favorite.
  2. Chef’s Knife– Back when we first started dating, Ed gave me a set of Wüsthof knives.  I use the big chef’s knife everyday.  Whether it’s mincing garlic, chopping onions or herbs, slicing carrots, cutting up a chicken, or even slicing homemade pizza.  In a pinch, I’ve even used it to peel apples (when the paring knife was dirty) and it’s great for slicing through tough winter squash or pumpkin.  It’s also top choice for serving cake or ice cream cake.  I used to be afraid to use such a big knife, but I’ve never cut myself with it (now I probably will) although I’ve come close and chopped my fingernail right off once, but that was back in the days when I actually had nice, long nails!
  3. Large Mixing Bowl– I have a few big bowls, but I use the same stainless steel one all the time.  I use it to make salads, mix dough and let it rise, mix pancake, cake, brownie batter, marinate meats, or even fill it with water and use it to speed up the thawing process when I’ve forgotten to take something out of the freezer.  I don’t remember where I got this bowl but I’ve had it for a long time and use it all the time.
  4. Wooden Spoons– It seems like every cook knows the value of wooden spoons.  I’ve got quite a few of them and I’m constantly using them all day long.  I think I could probably get by in the kitchen if they were the only utensil I had.  In the photo above, I’m using one to stir scrambled eggs.
  5. Homemade Apron– I think for a lot of women, the apron is a symbol of oppression, of being stuck in a kitchen.  However, I think aprons are beautiful and they remind me of my family’s matriarchs.  To me, aprons symbolize self-sufficiency and taking care of your family, and I wear mine as much for the pretty style as for function.  I made my apron about a year ago, and I’m eyeing patterns from MaryJane’s Farm Stitching Room for future creations.

There are other things I love, too, like a great big cutting board, tongs, pie pans, a scallop baking dish, or my great-grandmother’s biscuit cutter, but the five above are my favorites.  I’d love to hear about your favorites! Either leave a comment or write a post, but don’t forget to leave a link here!

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Cute, Flirty Homemade Apron

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After I made my apron back in the spring, Marie told me that she would like one similar.  I made this for her for Christmas, in her favorite colors.  I really like this apron because it is so cute and flirty, not at all matronly like most aprons.  If you want to make your own, you can buy the pattern from Sew Liberated (called “Montessori by Hand” back when I purchased the pattern).

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