Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple picking, 2013 edition

We've gone apple picking in the fall every year since we've been in St. Louis (except the first year because we moved in August, and everything was still so new to us). (You can see pics from years one and two at the links.) This is not something you really do in Texas, so it's been a wonderful new family tradition in a place that actually sees fall (although, to be fair, it was 80 degrees here on Saturday, so it's not feeling super fall-y just yet).
We took baby B last year (eek, looking back at those pics, he's so little!), but this was the first year he was able to actually participate. We went with our friends Katie and Chris and their twins to a local farm that also has "attractions" for the kids to enjoy. Our little ones are still too little for a lot of the rides, but we visited the petting zoo, pig races, pumpkin cannon (named the Jack-O-Lobber, natch), and the corn maze.
B was not particularly impressed by any of those, but once we got in line to catch the wagon out to the apple trees, he was all in.
He loved riding on the tractor, and the minute we stepped off, he headed for the trees.
Of course, B wanted to pick up all the apples on the ground, so Matt guided him to some nicer ones on the trees and then helped him pick them and put them in his bag.
B got through about 10 apples before Matt decided to take a bite out of one. Once B saw that, he wanted a bite, too, and his picking was done. He followed us around the rest of the time, juice pouring down his chin as he chomped away on his apple and we picked.
We came away with a pretty good haul (though we tried to hold ourselves back, as we've been known to come back from these adventures with 40 pounds of apples, ahem). I already have a few recipes in mind.
All in all, it was a great day of friends and food. Welcome back, fall!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WIP Wednesday #46

Hiya, Wednesday. It's been a while, hasn't it? I've been traveling and working and caring for a little man who just hasn't been feeling like himself lately, so there hasn't been much going on in the sewing department, which is really too bad because I'm itching to get started on several fun projects. This week's post is truly about WIPs.

Not a darn thing

In progress:
Lots! What happens to sewers when they don't have time to sew? They buy fabric, of course. I've been on a self-imposed fabric diet the past few months and have really been trying to sew from my stash, but these two projects really required something new, so I had to oblige.
The first is a wall hanging that my husband requested for his office. He liked the Ohio Log Cabin Quilt so much that he asked me to make something for him, too, so we headed to my LQS last week, and he picked out several pieces from the Comma collection.
Of course, after buying them, we decided to use a different quilt pattern (this Disappearing 9-Patch on Craftsy), which required more fabric than the original plan, so I'm going to have to make a return trip soon to pick up a bit more, plus some coordinating solids. Oh, darn.
The other project is a secret quilt for which I purchased this beautimous Waterfront Park bundle from Llama Fabrics.  (Side note: This was the first time I'd purchased something from them, and I was very impressed. The shipping was crazy fast, and their prices are extremely competitive.)
It's a good thing I already have something in mind for this one, because otherwise, it would have been hard to get me to cut into this lovely stack.
As it is, I will be cutting very carefully and saving every little scrap for myself. :) And for now, it's making me happy just sitting next to me in my office.
After much debating, I think I've settled on the Mod Circuitry Quilt from Don't Call Me Betsy. I think the squares will highlight all of the Waterfront Park fabrics nicely. I'm leaning toward using a light gray solid for the background.
The last project on the list is to finally get started on my Go Anywhere bag. I was hoping to knock this out before my recent travels, but that just wasn't in the cards.
I originally picked out this stack for the bag, but I'm wavering on the gingham and think I might have to pick up something new on my trip back to the LQS. Perhaps this floral from the Simply Color collection (love that collection). What do you think?
And, of course, somewhere in sewing land, I'm still working on my T-shirt quilt and Kitchen Window quilt. Sigh.

On the "to do" list: 
Pillows for the STLMQG Pillow Bomb Project
Re-covering the downstairs chair
New pillows for the downstairs chairs
Christmas table runner
iPod workout strap
A mug rug for me
Ironing board cover
Another divided basket from the Noodlehead pattern 
Reusable snack bags
Living room quilt
Small zipper bag for me

This week, I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A featured mini quilt

Happy Saturday to you! I'm just popping in to let you know my Covered in Stripes Doll Quilt tutorial (aka, a great mini quilt) is being featured over on Sew Can She today!
You may remember that, back in the day, my Kindle Sleeve tutorial was one of the first tutorials ever featured on Sew Can She, and I've been following the blog ever since.
In case you're not familiar with SCS, they post a new, free sewing tutorial from the blogosphere every day. It's awesome — great tutorials from blogs you probably know and lots you might not for every possible thing you could imagine. They also host lots of fabric giveaways, you know, in case you're into the whole getting free fabric thing.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the tutorial! Click on over to check it out.
One new sewing tutorial every day.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Boot slippers

Beckett has recently discovered and formed an attachment to these boots, which for much of the year sit in the space between our dresser and the bedroom wall, too warm to be worn. He likes to bring them over to me and will not give up until I relent and put them on. He laughs, walks away, and I promptly take them off, glad to remove my feet from their fake-fur-lined interiors.
It wasn't until about 3:30 this afternoon that I finally realized I was still wearing the boots he'd brought me this morning, which can only mean one thing — fall has finally arrived. Who needs PSLs? I've got snuggly boot slippers on my feet.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Baked goods

Over the past few weeks, I have splurged a bit with my baking as we're beginning to transition into fall, and there were still a few summer desserts I was dying to try. I used two dinners with friends as an excuse to whip up this Cornmeal Peach Cobbler and this Coconut Tres Leches. They were both amazing. I don't need pumpkin desserts. I need more of this goodness.
The peach cobbler was exactly what I'd hoped for, and I loved the slight spin of using cornmeal in the biscuits. It added just the right amount of textural contrast, and the flavor really played well with the peaches.
I did end up having to make some changes to the recipe, which was pretty poorly written (unusual for the Food52 website), so I thought I'd chronicle them here for my future reference and yours, should you happen upon some late-season peaches at the farmers' market and want to make this (and it's definitely worth making with some minor tweaks).
Here are my notes:
1. In step 3, she has you throw out most of the peach juice because it wouldn't fit in the pie dish she calls for. Madness! I kept all of the peach juice and used an 8" square baking dish instead. To account for the extra juice, I increased the sugar in the peaches to a scant .5 cup and the cornstarch to 2.5 tablespoons. It worked great.

2. I used corn flour instead of cornmeal because that was all I had on hand. I think the cornmeal might have added a bit more texture, and I would use it if you have the option, but the corn flour worked fine.

3. In step 5, she says to add salt to the biscuit ingredients, but salt is not listed with the biscuit ingredients at the top of the recipe. Because she uses a good amount of salt in the peaches, I only added .5 teaspoon salt to the biscuit dough in step 5, and it worked well.

4. At 30 minutes, my biscuits were golden brown, and the filling was bubbly (like the recipe says), so I took the cobbler out. It ended up being a bit underbaked on the bottom of the biscuits, so keep an eye out for this. I should have probably covered it with foil and finished baking it for the full 35 minutes called for in the recipe.
The Coconut Tres Leches, on the other hand, was absolutely perfect exactly as written. We are big tres leches fans, but I'd never actually made one before. In Houston, we had easy access to amazing tres leches at restaurants, which was usually enough to satisfy our craving, but we have had no success at finding a decent version in St. Louis (and believe me, it's not for lack of trying).
Well, there's no need to continue that search now. This cake was super easy to make and exactly what I wanted. The addition of the coconut milk was a nice touch, too. It's definitely coconut-y, but it's not overpowering, and the recipe could easily be tweaked to sub out the coconut milk and leave off the toasted coconut if you're not a fan.
We ate this one with some friends while we watched the U.S. men's soccer team qualify for the World Cup against (ironically) Mexico. Thanks for the dessert and the win, guys.
Leftovers for lunch? Yes, please.