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Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Costume Part I

Tiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial
Since I'm going to be a milkmaid for Halloween, I needed a tiered, ruffled skirt to show underneath the main part of the skirt. I was a little overwhelmed by the idea of making it from scratch. It seemed like it would take a lot of fabric--I wasn't sure how much, or how expensive it would be. So I went to goodwill and bought a dust ruffle. I would use the center of the dust ruffle (the part that goes under the mattress, which is just cream colored fabric) for the skirt, and use the ruffles for the ruffles on the skirt! For $1.99 it would be fine if it didn't work out. Especially since I had measured nothing and just figured this would be enough fabric. The dust ruffle had 3 layers of ruffles, in cream and green, and it seemed like plenty to go around. This is what I started with:
Tiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial: Dust Ruffle
I figured I would make 3 tiers so it wouldn't get too complicated, and I would put the ruffles between the tiers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Simple Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds

Roasting isn't just for pumpkin seeds!

  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
After cutting your squash for the Easy Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe and scooping out the seeds, put the seeds and stringy pieces of squash that are stuck to them in a colander and rinse under cold water. As you rinse, pop the seeds off of the squash that it's attached to and discard the squash strings.

Drain and leave the seeds in a colander for a few hours, mixing periodically to get rid of all the water, then spread on a large plate or baking sheet overnight or for 8 hours or so. This just helps to dry them out so they become as crispy as possible when roasted.

When you are ready to roast them, coat with olive oil (I sprayed them with the oil), salt or any other seasonings, and toss with a spoon or your hands. Spread them out on one layer in a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes, or until golden on the tops. Turn off the oven and leave the seeds in until evenly browned. (Turning off the oven makes sure that you don't forget about them and burn them, like I almost did while trying to make them, shower, lanolize diapers and get ready for work at the same time.)

You can also get creative and use any oil/spice combination you want. Go crazy!

Easy Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe

The perfect complement to my Easy Roasted Chicken Recipe
This is a great way to take advantage of squash when it's in season (and cheaper!) in the fall.

  • Acorn Squash
  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise. This is done more easily with a serrated knife. If you try to use your giant non-serrated knife, it might get hopelessly stuck in your squash, making you feel like you are involved in a gourd massacre. And possibly a gourd-and-your-own-finger massacre.

Scoop out seeds with a large spoon, and put them aside in a bowl to make Simple Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds. Place squash cut side up on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Add 2 pats of butter, and 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar (or to taste).

Roast in oven for 90 minutes or until soft and slightly browned on the edges.

To serve, you can cut into wedges (watermelon-style) or simply serve the entire half of the squash on a plate and scoop out the flesh with a fork.

Easy Roasted Chicken Recipe

Stretch one roasted chicken into 3 different meals!
I realize it helps to see a picture of the recipe. I'm new to this whole blogging thing, and forgot to pull out my camera. So here. This is all I've got:

Roasted Chicken Recipe

  • Roasting Chicken
  • Olive Oil
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Remove innards and wash chicken. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub a few tablespoons of olive oil (I don't measure) all over chicken, inside and out. Rub in some salt, pepper, basil, and oregano (I didn't measure this either, but if you're a stickler, use 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of each). Roast, breast side up, in oven for one and a half hours or so, until a thermometer inserted into the thick part of the breast reads 180. (I roasted it for 2 hours since I also was roasting an acorn squash with it).

I use Rachel Ray's Bubble & Brown Dish as my roasting pan. I love this thing! Functional yet super cute and stylish.

You can eat some chicken tonight and use the leftovers for Chicken Noodle Soup and Chicken Nachos.

Losing the Pregnancy Weight

And eating healthfully on a budget
I was working on my Halloween costume last night, and pulled out my dressmaking dummy to work with. I hadn't used her in a while, and I needed to adjust her measurements to match mine. She's a vintage dummy, so I had to manipulate her in several different places. Well, I adjusted everything I could. To the max. I pulled and tugged and tried to make her go out farther, but she was as big as she could get.

And she still wasn't close to my waist size. Grrrr....

I did just have a  baby (5 months ago).

Oh, and I guess I should also mention that I also ate root beer floats every night during those 5 months. I think it's time to stop that.

I really try to keep to a budget when grocery shopping, though. I try to spend $50 a week, and eat healthfully at the same time. Sometimes it's hard to get all your veggies in when you're trying to budget. For example, this week, whole chickens were on sale for $.59 a pound. This is what my weekly menu looked like:

Monday: Easy Roasted Chicken and Easy Roasted Acorn Squash.
Tuesday: Chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
Wednesday: Nachos with chicken

I finagled 3 meals out of one chicken, which was great for the budget, but even if I squint, I can't see the veggies. (Other than the acorn squash on Monday). Looks like I'm having salad tonight!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Deciding on a Halloween Costume

(That's not too scary, sexy, or cliche--Hey, I have a baby now. I don't want to scare him or attract strange gentlemen callers by my getup.)
For Halloween, Baby T is going to be a cow. It's a hand-me down costume hand made by my very own sister. So that was a no-brainer. The main issue was deciding what Big T and I were going to be. Big T doesn't love Halloween or dressing up, and I've been a vampire every year since freshman year of college (so the past 13 years. Creative, I know.) But now with a kiddo, a scary vampire is out.

So Big T is going to be a farmer (i.e. wearing jeans--adventurous) and I'm going to be a milkmaid. Since baby T is nursing and I'm slightly obsessed with breastfeeding, I thought that was quite appropriate. Plus, the milkmaid nursing the cow is kind of funny in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way, isn't it?

Of course, this adds to my to-do list this week:
1. Start business blog, make inventory, clothing tags, business cards
2. and--oh--make Halloween costume! (Please please please sleep, Baby T.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


What's in a name?
When baby T was just a few weeks old, we got a smile out of him. Of course, it was when he was falling asleep. We used to get those sleep smiles quite a bit. The happiness was sweet, however involuntary. When he started becoming more alert, a fun game was trying to make him smile. I found that if I called him silly names, the smile came out. The first time I made him smile was when I called him "Tmuffin." I will never forget that first sweet smile.
Baby T First Smile

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Getting Off My Butt

Finding time from the whirlwind of life with baby
I have had years to get off my butt and do something. Thirty-one, to be exact. Well, I did a lot up to about age 13. I would take out books about different crafts from the library and come home, perusing them in bed on Saturday mornings, dreaming about the toilet paper roll dolls and clothespin characters I would make. I sewed my first outfit when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. Actually, all I sewed was the button on the back of the skirt and on the vest. I think I glued the gingham ribbon to the flowered skirt. And you might have been able to see my butt from the back. But check out the trendy mixing of patterns:

Sewing at an Early Age @ Tmuffin
I woke up early on Saturday mornings to make pancakes for my family, made friendship bracelets in the porch on hot summer days, and coveted a pottery wheel for Christmas when I was 9. My favorite gifts to receive were the ones that included a project of some kind: a kit of embroider-it-yourself Christmas stockings, DIY ornaments, jewelry making kits, etc. I loved to sit and draw. I even submitted my work to those art education schools from the back of magazines (where you copy the drawing of the cartoon turtle).

Then I hit high school age. I was so busy with schoolwork, friends, and theater that I didn't have time for making things anymore. I thought I'd be able to do more once I was in college and had more time to myself. Then I got to college. Between my sociology classes analyzing the effects of social movements, Phish shows and Indigo Girls concerts, and all night talks about the intensity of art with my roommates, man was I inspired. I had ideas jammed in my brain. But I didn't have time to make anything. I thought one day I could travel the U.S. in a van, making things and selling them along the road. THEN I would have more time to make everything I wanted to make. And so I graduated, joined the rat race, turned 30, and had a baby. I would CERTAINLY have time during my maternity leave to make everything I wanted to make!


So here I am, 31 years old, with my almost-5-month-old baby T, up at all hours of the night, working full time, with my free time taken up doing public relations for a nonprofit group. And all of a sudden I have found the time to make everything I wanted to make. I made the most important thing: a family. And now I am flooded with inspiration, motivation, and most of all, a desire to support my family doing what I love. And so the saga begins.
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