Thankful for…

 

IMG_1503pm.png

As I sit and reflect on my past year this Thanksgiving season, I have many, many things to be thankful for, and this Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful for my good health and for the good health of my family.  I’m grateful to be able to wake up in the morning and be able to get up on my own, to be able to take care of myself and my children, be able to drive and go places, be able to cook, bake, sew, read, do the things I enjoy and also the things I may not enjoy too much (aka: clean the toilets), to be able to live life and not be in constant physical pain is a tremendous blessing that I am reminded of this season.

My next door neighbor has cancer and only has maybe a week left before she will be leaving this world behind.  I believe she will be happy and no longer be in physical pain after she leaves this world, but it is still difficult to see her go.  During my last visit with her when she was still awake and aware of her surroundings, she said to “enjoy life while you can” and that is something that I really need to work on.  I am always immersed in the “to-do’s” and always looking for the “better”: “I’ll be able to breathe after I get through this, this, and this”, “I’ll be happy after I get a bigger place”, “I’ll be happy after the kids grow older and can take care of themselves”, etc, etc.  I have been trying to find joy in the “here and now”, and it really seems to be about your attitude and perspective, as I found in this pretty neat post circulating Facebook: (read from top to bottom then from bottom to top)

11745868_10153402918191291_7035104667065874590_n

I am grateful to be able to use my hands to create things for my children.

I have always been afraid of hand-sewing and have made a boy’s necktie before that required hand-sewn seams to close the back of the tie, but that may have been the first and last tie I made due to the hand-sewing which deterred me from making more.  That was a few years ago, and I was really doubtful about trying to make a doll that was ALL hand-sewn when I stumbled across this book by Shelly Down while Christmas shopping (in lieu of Santa) and thought they were beyond adorable!  I looked up her Gingermelon blog and saw there were free tutorials and patterns for some other insanely cute felt animals/projects and decided to try my hand at her little Sparkle Kitty. I figured I would throw up my hands (like the necktie) after trying to hand-sew the kitty and save myself from spending money on a book/pattern I wouldn’t end up using, but I really surprised myself at how the hand-sewing didn’t seem too bad and at how quickly and easily it came together (plus they are Super cute!).  Coming into the project, I had NO idea what a whip stitch, blanket stitch, or a ladder stitch were but after a few searches on Google and youtube, I was good to go; though you could tell which stitches were first and which came later.  I made 3 of these little creatures (one for each of my children) and was ready for more!

IMG_1493pm

They’re tiny little creatures 🙂

 

IMG_1499pm.png

After the kitties, which were a huge hit with my 3, I decided to purchase a PocketPoppy pattern from Gingermelon’s Etsy shop to try my hand at a doll and am pretty impressed with the pattern and how the dolls actually turned out!

IMG_1506pm

I used a wool blend felt from Felt the Wool (Etsy).  The wool blend felt really does make a difference in the quality of your doll and I would advise against using acrylic felts (usually sold at Joann and Michael’s) because they pill and don’t look nice after a little bit of handling.  I made the Kitties with the acrylic felt I had at home and they look worn and old already.

IMG_1501pm

I used 8mm safety eyes from Amazon instead of the 7.5mm that the pattern calls for, and I think my dolls look perfectly cute.  My only real challenge with the dolls was the hair!  I was able to “poke” the hair into the seams at the top of the head, but I couldn’t “poke” the hair into the felt down the back of the head like the instructions suggested and opted for the gluing option instead.  Only the first layer of “hair” is glued to the back of the head and the other layer of hair over that portion covers it and makes it look just fine.  I also ended up gluing the bangs portion in the front to keep it looking nice.

Add a little color to their face with a red or pink crayon! Rub on gently and add more as desired~

1125151010

The other more minuscule problem I found was that a couple strands of hair that was “poked” into the seam and hadn’t been glued to the back of the head had fallen out after my girls had played with them.  So I tried to remedy that by adding a tiny bit of glue to the “scalp” to keep the upper layer of hair in place and hopefully, withstand the playtime that it was meant to provide for my girls.

Summary of supplies:

  • PocketPoppy pattern
  • wool blend felt  Felt the Wool
  • pair of 8mm safety eyes
  • batting, fiberfill, cotton batting  (I used polyester batting)
  • yarn for hair (thicker is easier to work with)
  • Aleene’s Jewel-It glue (this is the one I used)
  • matching embroidery thread
  • needles (a few different sizes help)
  • fabric scissors and embroidery scissors help too
  • pink/red crayon for blush

Here they are so happy with their little dolls!

My older girl wanted black or brown hair for her dolly and my younger girl wanted red hair.  Sisters yet they are SO different!  I love them so much and am so grateful to have a family I can dote on.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving season with loved ones.

Thank you for reading.

-Flora

 

 

 

Advertisements

Early-bird Bacon and Egg Breakfast Tart

IMG_1466

What do you do when you get up at 6am to drop off the hubby at the BART station so you don’t have enough time for your morning exercise (since that means you would need to account for shower time) and you realize you have all the ingredients (surprising, indeed) to try out the recipe you have been wanting to try for a couple months now?  You roll up your sleeves and just do it, despite, after quickly skimming the recipe, the many steps including refrigerating the dough and pre-baking seems to threaten complicating your morning routine when you have lunches and snacks to pack, not to mention getting the kids out of their PJs and into semi-presentable (okay, passable) clothes for school.  You give yourself a pat on the back for getting it done with time to spare and now the kids are having fun playing with the empty laundry baskets that carted the weekly mountain of laundry onto the bed (one can be hopeful that it will get done before bedtime), where it awaits its return to the basket at night when you accept defeat, then back onto the bed then the basket a few more times before finally making it into their intended drawers.

What is this?  You hear rain outside!  It’s a welcoming pitter-patter with a few rolling thunders to pique the children’s interest away from the laundry baskets so you can finally put them away.  Besides, the youngest kept spilling out of the basket and you were afraid she would end up bumping her head on the furniture.  The kids have never witnessed a thunderstorm or seen lightning and so you show them a few youtube videos so they can see what lightning is like; nothing like experiencing nature vicariously through the web.  The boy was especially intrigued, and sat looking outside the sliding door waiting to see if the rumblings of thunder would make way for some lightning flashes across the gray sky, but none so far.  Maybe next time.

The rain is still coming down at a steady rate and you secretly hope the rain will continue for a few days so you can hibernate in your little home with the heater cranked on, maybe finally get some of the backed up projects done.  Too ambitious?  Perhaps, maybe just get through the day and squeeze in some laundry folding followed by the tedious task of distributing the folded laundry into its place.  Let’s take it one day at a time; or one moment at a time.  Breakfast is done.  Now on to…

IMG_1453

Unroll thawed pastry and cut into 4 squares. Fold in edges 1/2″. Brush with beaten egg. Refrigerate for 15 mins.

IMG_1456

Mix cream/milk with Dijon mustard. Mix in 6 TB Parm cheese. Spread cheese mixture into center

IMG_1459

Bake at 425F for 8-10 mins

IMG_1454

Slice grape tomatoes in half, slice green onions, cook bacon then slice into 1/2″ pieces

IMG_1461

Crack an egg and place into center of each tart. Scatter bacon, tomatoes, and green onions. Sprinkle with salt and remaining Parm cheese

IMG_1462

Bake for 5-7 mins, until egg whites firm up

IMG_1465

Beats cold cereal any day, but especially so on this cold, rainy day.

This recipe was adapted from Janice Cole’s “Chicken and Egg” recipe book.

Bacon and Egg Breakfast Tart
ingredients
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (I like the ones from Trader Joe’s)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 slices of Trader Joe’s Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 TB shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions (sliced through the white part, lengthwise to make thinner)
Directions
  1. Thaw the puff pastry (or if you’re in a hurry, I microwave it very carefully at 50% power for 30 secs, then maybe 20 more secs, if needed.  You don’t want the dough to be hot).  Unroll the puff pastry then cut into 4 squares.  Fold over the edges of the dough 1/2″ and place on baking sheet covered with parchment. Prick the center of the pastry dough to prevent it from puffing up.
  2. Whisk 1 egg in a bowl, then brush it onto the pastry squares.  Refrigerate the dough for 15 mins (or you can put it in the freezer for a shorter period).
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.  Cook the bacon over medium heat until browned, pat the bacon with a paper towel to remove oil, then slice into 1/2″ pieces.  (I used kitchen scissors to cut them)
  4. Mix the heavy cream with the dijon mustard, then add 6TB Parmesan cheese and mix.  Spread the cheese mixture over the center of each of the pastry squares and bake for about 8-10 mins until golden.  If the center has puffed up, then prick with a fork to deflate.
  5. Crack and place an egg into the center of each tart and sprinkle with some salt, then scatter the bacon, tomatoes, green onions onto the egg, and scatter remaining 2 TB Parmesan cheese on top (I omitted the sprinkling of cheese)
  6. Bake for about 5-7 mins until the egg whites are firm and cooked.

Serve and enjoy!  Makes 4 tarts.

IMG_1470

Breakfast of the champs! My 3 kiddos enjoyed it, despite some picking off green onions and others, the tomatoes. 🙂

Thank you for reading and please subscribe!

-Flora