Sunday, October 31, 2010

Farewell October...

Until next year!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

As close to Paris as I can get...

I'd love to see France one day, but in all honesty it's not really at the top of my list. Venice, Scotland, and Alaska all easily trump the Eiffel Tower. And with all the great places that are geographically a whole lot closer, this is probably as close as I will ever get to Paris.

A sweet little Parisian blouse.

I've been rereading this series at Oliver & S and tried to use their principles as inspiration for this top.

The fabrics are definitely understated and proud members of the supporting cast. I definitely mixed collections, the prints are tonal, and there are no juvenile prints to be found. And I think the back looks a bit sophisticated...maybe???

I'm not one to create skirts with hundreds of loud, bright, bold prints all mixed together. I don't often make use of juvenile prints...especially for Belle. And I hope that you see the child first in the clothes that I make. BUT, I can't say that I have mastered the minimalistic art of Oliver & S. This is definitely a new look for me!

But clearly, Belle wears it joyfully...and you definitely notice HER! How could you not? She's the loudest thing in a 10 mile radius:)
What do you all think??? Do you love the understated, un-juvenile fabric choices? Or should I go back to bright florals and more kid-friendly prints?

Monday, October 25, 2010


We took a trip to the local pumpkin patch and brought home this gourd-geous gourd! Of course, I forgot to take a pic of it before we baked it:( And I forgot the variety name:( So, I'm no help whatsoever:( But ask the farmers at your local stand which of their pumpkins will make the best pie...that's what I did.

We cut it into fourths and scooped out all the stringy stuff and seeds. We separated the seeds and bagged some for planting next year and some for roasting. The pumpkin hunks went into a 350 degree oven until they were ultra-smooshy. I think ours were in the oven close to 2 hours...we had a BIG pumpkin!

When it came out we scooped the pulp, and boy was there a lot of it!

So last night, I dug out my grandma's pumpkin pie recipe. Remember my rather sketchy soup recipes...well, you're about to see where I get it:)

A little fresh whipped cream and YUMMY!
Grandma's Pumpkin Pie Recipe:
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 can pumpkin (when using fresh, eyeball it - put about 1 can worth of pulp in)
1 small can evaporated milk
pumpkin pie spice (I asked, "How much?"...she said, "enough.") - I went with a generous sprinkling approx. 1-2T
pie shell
Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into shell. Bake at 375 degrees. I asked, "How long?" She said, "Till it's done." I think it takes about an hour...but have I ever timed it? NOPE! You'll know it's finished when it is firmly set. Cool before serving. Serve with whipped cream. And that pic above...that was my first scoop of whipped cream. I FIRMLY believe that you should have a 1:1 ratio of cream to pie, but that's just me:)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming...

for this very important announcement: Belle + Bee will be participating in Handmade Holiday 2010, the goal of which is to promote the giving of oneself through handmade gifts. And when necessary and/or appropriate supporting small businesses by purchasing their handmade products.

I'm going to have to be careful because most of my gift recipients read this blog on a regular basis. I'll try not to ruin any surprises and may even have to save a few projects for after gifts have been given. But, I'll do my best to share as much as possible as early as possible:)

As a teaser of what's to come, here are some supplies that I've purchased recently (and links to where you can buy them, of course!).

Natural Wool

Handmade Felt

Orange and Black Wrap Dress

Remember this? Here's the more sophisticated, grown-up THREE YEAR OLD version:)

Made with a simple wrap dress pattern, but let me warn you...wrap dresses and pinafores are made such that when turned the entire body of the garment must pass through that tiny, narrow, little shoulder seam. Decorator weight fabric does NOT make this easy! But well worth it in the end:)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Sweet Treat

Belle and I made this delicious candy corn trail mix with part of a bag of candy corn that she quite literally STOLE from her Neeny (my MIL).

The Recipe: All quantities are to be determined by the eating parties. We kept the sweets to a minimum and loaded up on the sugared up kiddos allowed around here.


crispix cereal, pretzels, peanuts, dried cranberries, golden raisins, marshmallows, and CANDY CORN (orange and black m&m's would also be quite yummy now that I think of it!)

Directions: Stir:)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Making Do Monday - TREASURE PANTS

AKA - Lots of Pockets Pants, Pocket Pants, Mountain Pants, Who Needs a Bag? Pants, and my personal favorite Acorn Pants (because that's what Belle always fills her pockets with:).

I used this pattern from here. It's unisex and couldn't be easier to put's only TWO pieces! But, you could use any comfortable pants pattern that you have.

For the pockets, I used every pocket tutorial, design and/or pattern I could think of and went a little crazy. There are 8 pockets on the finished pants. I originally cut out 12, but 2 covered too much of the flower print, and 2 others seemed to be too far away from little hands to really be of much use.

And why is this a Making Do Monday project? Well, for's because everything I used came from my stash. You might not have a yard of luscious, soft, velvety, baby-wale corduroy in your stash, but you can find it here. Mine is "Lipstick," but there are tons to choose from. The pockets are definitely stash raiders! Find some random scraps and start cutting:)

I even had to "make do" with my elastic! I didn't have any 1/2" elastic and really wanted these pants finished in time for Belle to wear to the mountains, so I stitched two long pieces of 1/4" elastic together...I do NOT recommend that you make do quite this much, but I was desperate!

Plenty of space to stuff with acorns, flowers, leaves, rocks etc.

Maybe I should have made the elastic tighter so the treasures don't pull the pants right off the kid!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Do You Decorate?

We don't. At least we never have before. But this year, our neighborhood is having a decorating contest. Did this make me want to decorate? NOPE! But, it apparently made lots of our neighbors want to decorate. Which in turn, led to Belle asking about all the decorations.

And OF COURSE, wanting to decorate our house. Since I had no real excuse why we couldn't...we did.

We started by doing a google image search for ideas. I made sure that I entered search words that would lead to the kinds of things that I would actually put on my front porch and that wouldn't terrify my sweet, little 3 year old. We saved a bunch of pictures that we liked and then went back and looked at our digital collage.

With those images in our minds, we hit the "projects store." We gathered supplies and came home and got to work. Belle painted the skeleton mask while I cut out paper rats for our stairs (they met an untimely death when I forgot to bring them in before it rained...we'll be sure to replace them soon).

I used some of our left over fabric for the wreath alternative on the door...and yes, that is packing tape holding it up. I couldn't reach the wreath hanger and my husband wasn't home to get it for me. I promise we will fix that too!

A couple of pumpkins and a mum finished off our simple look. Will we win? HA! But at least Belle is happy:)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Beautiful Butterfly

As promised...more costumes!

I bought these hand-painted wings here.

And boy did I learn A LOT making this tutu! You know those go-to designs that you make time and again? Well, it turns out that they are "go-to" designs for a reason....THEY WORK! So next time you think that adding two extra layers of fluffy stuff won't change your go-to design at all...think again! It will...and you will get frustrated...and there will be a little girl standing at your side begging to wear it...over and over and over again. So after some modification to my go-to design, we finally ended up with a wearable result.

And why, you might be wondering, is that child staring off into the distance in every single picture?

She's watching else do you get a butterfly to stand still?

Thursday, October 14, 2010



These petals were KILLER! But totally worth the extra effort.

Now, is it for Belle or Bee???

NEITHER! This little number is for our neighbor, M. And guess what that means....more costumes to come!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


A lovely little pirate! For a lovely little gal:)

Sorry for my absenteeism...crazy busy and crazy sick, AGAIN! Trying to get back on track! Hopefully a couple of new tutorials coming in the next week or so...and the BIG unveiling:)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Halloween Art - A Product Recommendation

No - I'm not getting paid for this endorsement! But, I do SERIOUSLY love this product!

Belle has some new "pens." [Thanks, Nana & TT!] We aren't really sure what to call them because they draw and color like nothing else. The color is so rich, so smooth, so vibrant, so...
Anyway, save your pennies and make sure some of these are in your little one's stocking (oops...wrong month)!
You can find them at most mass market and craft stores or here.

And look at what they can do! Belle has a seriously light touch so most of the time she ends up with super pale drawings...not with these! We have a stack of about 30 different drawings on the counter because she loved drawing with them so much. I didn't think anyone else would want to try to decipher the subjects of the entire stack (ok - grandparents excluded), so just the October themed ones made the cut...hope the subtitles are helpful:)

Pirate Dinosaur (see...he has a tail!)

Witch on a Broom

Pumpkins and Ghosts

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Soup's On!

Nothing says fall like the return of the soup pot to its cozy home on my stovetop! Here are two of my favorite soup "recipes." You'll quickly discover that I don't actually follow recipes, refuse to measure, and never replicate the same pot of soup in exactly the same way...EVER! But, I think you will easily be able to recreate these much loved pots of yummy deliciousness:) Just trust your gut and season till it tastes good!

Chicken Noodle Soup:

In a large stock pot, saute onion, garlic, carrots, and celery seasoned with S&P. Add previously cooked chicken whacked into bite-size pieces (I usually use leftovers from roasted chicken, but you can easily grill up a breast to use if you'd like). Saute briefly. Add low-sodium chicken broth/stock and water. Season with dried thyme, minced rosemary, a bay leaf and more S&P if you desire. Bring to a rapid boil. Add wide egg noodles. Simmer 15 minutes.

Beef and Barley Soup (my fave!):

Cut stew beef chunks into bite-size pieces. Season with S&P. Heat a tiny bit of olive oil in a large stock pot, add beef and sear on all sides. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and saute until soft. Add a couple of good glugs of balsamic vinegar and worcestershire sauce. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add a carton of low-sodium beef broth, a large can of tomato puree, and a can of water. Season with a bay leaf, minced rosemary, a sprinkling of Splenda (or sugar), and more S&P if you desire. Bring to a boil. Stir in approx. 1 cup of pearl barley (NOT THE QUICK COOKING KIND!). Simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring regularly. Once the barley starts to release starch, the soup will thicken (YUM!), but it will also start to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn, so be sure you stir every few minutes.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Making Do Monday - FREE PATTERN - Cozy Hat

I make's good for my marriage!


Yep, that's right. It's better than counseling, because it prevents us from needing couseling.


Ok - maybe I should explain.

I'm a control freak. Especially when it comes to driving. My husband is a terrific driver. He's safe; he's responsible; he's reliable; he's know, all those things you are supposed to be when you are behind the wheel. HOWEVER, the rest of the world...not so much! It seems that lane lines have become optional, speed limits are mere suggestions, and common courtesy is out-dated. Glance in any window on the interstate and you can pretty much guarantee that the driver is talking on the phone, texting, or checking their email. I think my life is shortened by one year every time I am on a highway!
So how does this relate to hats???

I make them. In the car. While my husband drives.

I can happily crochet, still carry on a conversation, and never have the opportunity to glance up and see the swerving vehicles, drifting tractor trailers, and teeny-tiny little lanes through the construction zones. I used to try to read, but every time I wanted to talk to my husband I looked up...not good! I tried just talking about really riveting things, but then I could still see everything that is going on...not good! I've occassionally tried to sew, but bumps result in finger pricks, then my eyes wander, and get the picture.

Then one day I brought some yarn along on a trip, and before I knew it we were there. I hadn't gasped, gripped the mercy bar, or hissed, "They're stopping!" at my husband even one time. He was smiling; I was smiling; We were happy! It was a minor miracle!
So now...I make hats.

And in honor of the month of October and the return of cool weather I'm sharing my SUPER-SIMPLE Cozy Hat pattern. This pattern is easily adjustable from newborn to adult. You will need basic crochet knowledge, but I mean BASIC. And if you've never crocheted, but still want a hat...let me know. I have LOTS of them. One for every ride I've taken in the last 6 months:) Did I mention that we recently purchased some land in the mountains??? It's only going to get WORSE!

And how, might you ask, is this a Making Do Monday project? Well, each one of these takes about half a skein of yarn (even less for the newborn hat), so it's a great way to use up bits and pieces of yarn that are left over from other projects.

Cozy Hat Pattern:
You will need - 1 skein of medium weight yarn (a 4 or 5 weight will work), crochet hook (H)
Size - Pattern is written for an adult. Stitch count changes are in parentheses for 0-6 months, 6-12 months, and 2-6 years respectively.
Row 1: Chain 24(13, 16, 21).
Row 2: Skip chain stitch and single crochet in BACK LOOPS of each stitch, 23 (12, 15, 20) stitches in all. Chain 1.
Rows 3+: Repeat Row 2 until piece measures approximately 20 (13, 15, 18) inches (. BE SURE TO STITCH AN EVEN NUMBER OF ROWS!
Last Row: Fold hat right sides together and match up end rows. Skip chain stitch and single crochet in each pair of stitches (pass hook through loops of both ends of piece with each stitch). 23 (13, 15, 18) stitches.
Tie off. Clip yarn leaving long tail (25+" long).
Weave tail around circumference of hat. Pull tightly to gather top of hat. Tie off and clip strings. Turn hat right side out and fold up edge if desired.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Inmate Pinafore:)

On a mission to find fabrics for our newly decorated family room, I found this gorgeous yumminess at Ikea.

I had 2 yards of each in my cart in an instant. I love the heavy canvas-like feel of the fabric for fall. It seems more substantial and therefore warmer. Even though it is often still in the 80's for most of the month of October here, it still seems important that our Halloween clothes be warm. So I just knew this would be perfect for October/Halloween outfits, but I wasn't totally sure what I would do with it.
I scrolled through all of my new patterns (oh, there are so many that I can't wait to share!) and decided a sweet little pinafore would be perfect for Bee. Short sleeves, long sleeves, no sleeves underneath...just right for the up and down temps we often have at this time of year in NC.
I used this pattern guessed, it Heidi and Finn. I omitted the pocket because I didn't want it to interfere with the fantastic bird print. It's totally reversible...if Bee wants to dress up as a sweet little white collar criminal:)