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Showing posts from June, 2014

"Toothless" Hat

Monday 30th June 2014

Toothless is the main dragon character from the movies "How To Train Your Dragon" and "How To Train Your Dragon 2".  You can see a trailer for the second movie HERE.  We went to see the movie last week and very much enjoyed it.  It was just as exciting and crazy as the first movie, with lots of flying scenes!  When we came home, my daughter who is 14, decided she was going to make a Toothless hat following the success of her green hat.  It took her most of the afternoon to adapt her pattern but it came out great.  She used a basic pattern from the book Sew Kawaii, 22 Simple Sewing Projects for Cool Kids of All Ages and black fleece and felt. 










June Reading

Saturday 28th June 2014



It's been harder to find time to sit and read this month, I think because school is out and our routines are all different.  This is what I've been reading this month.
The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson is a vegetarian cookbook.  I was first attracted to the beautiful cover of this book. The book is full of colorful photography, rustic settings and pretty artwork.  Each recipe has several photographs, which for a visual person like me, is perfect.  There are lots of recipes I want to try.
We Make Dolls by Jenny Doh features 23 dolls made by established doll makers.  There are patterns, tips and detailed instructions.  It's an eclectic collection.  I like to read and learn about the processes of other crafters.  
Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay.  I picked this up at our library in the book club section.  I'd seen it at the book shop but wasn't sure I wanted to read another war story.  This story was very sad but I'm glad I read it.  It exp…

A Sunny Afternoon At The Beach

Saturday 28th June 2014

Earlier this week we drove to the beach for an afternoon.  It was a typical summer day at the beach, warm and sunny until we got to the dunes where the marine layer was still hanging around!  It came and went all afternoon.  When the sun broke through it was beautiful.  There were lots of pelicans flying and I sat and watched some of them diving for fish.  The tide was going out and there were lots of sand dollars left on the tide line.  I read my book and I think I napped for a bit, lulled by the sound of the crashing waves.  In the last photograph of the pelican, it really was that close, I didn't use my zoom at all.  Sunset Beach is on the Monterey Bay.  To the south is the Monterey Peninsula, to the north, Santa Cruz.  It's a lovely spot to spend an afternoon.  On the way home we bought the best strawberries in the area from our favorite organic farm shop.









Crazy Hats

Friday 27th June 2014

My nearly fifteen year old daughter took sewing lessons at a local quilt shop.  She started when she was in second grade and her wonderful teacher made them do all their own cutting, ironing and sewing.  The lessons continued until middle school when the homework load became much more intense.  Recently she has become interested in sewing again and likes to refashion t-shirts or work on items from our local thrift store.  She saw this hat in a library book and made it in an evening.  It is very cute and very green!


After making this green hat and realizing she forgot to shape the ears, she decided to make a second hat in black.  You can see in the photos how the ears are different.  What a fun project.  I am so proud of her!  Yesterday she wore the green hat to the beach but we had one of those rare days when the sun came out and it was warm on the beach -  no crazy hat necessary!





Gluten Free Baking

Wednesday 25th June 2014

I have been cooking and baking mostly gluten free now for a couple of years since we figured out my husband has a gluten intolerance.  To begin with it was really difficult because you cannot simply substitute a gluten free flour in your favorite recipes, it just doesn't work.  Cooking savory things is not really a problem although I still don't love gluten free pasta!  Baking, however, is a whole new adventure.  I borrowed books from the library and tried recipes but it wasn't till I found THIS book that I began to feel like things might not be so bad after all!




Now that I have tried lots of recipes from different books and websites and read up about different flours, I tend make my own flour mixes using brown rice flour, sorghum flour, finely ground cornmeal and arrowroot powder depending on what I'm baking. The mixes described in this book are reliable for anyone just starting out though and use finely ground brown rice flour, tapioca starch a…

Sewing Bunting

Tuesday 24th June 2014

Yesterday I worked on and finished my third strand of bunting for my booth at this years Quilt Show in September.  I'm very happy with how they came out and surprised at how simple they were to make!  I wrote about how I made them in THIS post but here are some pictures from this most recent sewing project.   As before I used a white bias binding and made my own template for the flags using a cereal bowl and some thick cardboard.  This strand has slightly smaller flags than the other two strands.  I used some of the same fabrics as before and added some different ones.  Because the flags are a bit smaller there are more of them on this strand of bunting.  The binding "string" is the same length on each of the three strands of bunting.  I used one and a half packages of bias binding for each so it works out to 13.5feet for each strand with a good bit free at each end for tying or pinning the bunting up.










A Secret Lake

Monday 23rd June 2014

I spent Saturday out on the water with my husband and daughter.  This was our first day out with the kayaks this year.  Utica is one of a group of lakes that are used by our electric company for hydro electric power.  There are no boats with motors allowed on this lake which makes it absolutely perfect for kayaking.  The lake is big with lots of places to explore like this little hidden lake, covered with lily pads, which you get to through a very narrow and shallow channel.  It has a magical, other worldly feel to it as if you might spy one of the "Old Ones" from traditional tales.  It is the sort of place where sounds are hushed and vivid blue dragonflies land on your toes as you paddle along!



More Big Trees

Friday June 20th 2014

Today my daughter and I hiked another trail at Big Trees State Park.  We were thankful that we got a reasonably early start because it was a warm sunny day.  We hiked a five mile loop that took us through a grove of giant sequoias.  There are two groves of these magnificent trees in the Park, the North Grove is easily accessible year round and is invariably busy.  The South Grove (where we hiked today) has bigger, older trees but is only accessible when the road is cleared of snow from late Spring till the first snow.  The biggest tree in the Park is here and is likely 2000-3000 years old.  It is incredibly, mind-bogglingly big.  Thinking it seemed appropriate, I brought some tree stump pincushions to work on while we are here.  You can see these pincushions in my Etsy shop HERE  and the matching needle book, HERE.











Sunday Afternoon In The Monterey Bay

Thursday 19th June 2014

Summer is not always the best time to visit our local beaches.  It has nothing to do with crowds but because in the Summer we get a thick marine layer which can hang about all day.  We can leave our house in 90degree sunshine and get to the beach and it will be in the 50's or 60's!  Sometimes they'll be a break in the middle of the day and the sun will turn the ocean an incredible turquoise with pristine white surf.  On days like that you can see the seals inside the waves as they rear up, just before they curl and break. The beaches we like to go to are wild and natural.   On Sunday it was Father's Day and in the afternoon we drove down to Moss Landing beach which is on the Monterey Bay.  To get there you drive through miles of fields which this time of year are full of salad greens, strawberries (you can smell them as you drive) and raspberries.


Moss Landing is a wonderful place for seeing wildlife.  There is a harbor and a slough, where they us…

From The Garden

Wednesday 18th June 2014

There is something very satisfying about picking the ingredients for dinner moments before using them in the kitchen.  I love this time of year for this! yesterday I picked salad greens, herbs, swiss chard, tomatoes, onions and carrots.  A couple of days ago a friend brought over some eggs from her hens (she keeps me supplied through most of the year) so dinner was frittata and salad.  







To the frittata, I added some applewood smoked bacon and a flavorful cheddar cheese.  It smelled wonderful!  I also roasted some fennel for the salad.  This didn't come from the garden but our local farmer's market which we go to each Saturday.  For dessert, there were cherries, strawberries and tiny, super sweet apricots from the farmer's market and we shared what was left of the gluten free chocolate cake I made for Father's Day.  Yum!
Here are some more pictures from the market last Saturday.  I try and buy most of our fresh produce here and also fish from the f…