Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I am usually a black thumb when it comes to gardening, so I am excited that this pot I planted is doing so well!  I love flowers!  (Especially when I don't kill them within the first week)  Hooray!  I don't remember which type of flowers I chose ... but the red ones attract hummingbirds, I have found!  I love those little surprises flowers bring.  Let me know if any of you know the names of these beauties ...  Next year you can take an old watering can and make it into something new, too! 

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Bundle for Joy

A new baby at church is an excuse to use my new book Handmade Beginnings: 24 Projects to Welcome Baby  by Anna Maria Horner.  I tried out the Patchwork Sleeping Bag using some scraps I had from making Kaitlyn's Basket of Love quilt.  Hmm.  Which I handquilted and have forgotten to blog!  That gives me an idea.  This was a fun project.  If I had had larger pieces of fabric, strip piecing would have make the project so much quicker!  However, I had to cut each square individually with my tiny rotary cutter, (the other had been borrowed by a friend).  The results were a bit "Monet-ish" which I like to call any project where my points don't exactly match up in every corner.  If you squint your eyes ... everything blends and looks perfect ... just like a Monet!

Little did I know I would become an impressionistic quilter:)  Is there such a term?  There should be -- if not, I will be the first! 
The sleepsack is lined with a cozy rosebud flannel for those crisp summer nights.  (Looks like the northwest is having a cooler summer so far... so the flannel works!)

Sometimes I like to see the inside of a book before I purchase it.   Here is the Patchwork Sleepsack project page for you to see. Anna Maria Horner's instructions are fairly easy to read for the beginner, and anyone can have fun putting this project together.  The book has great ideas for gifts for Mom, siblings and baby -- even dad.  I plan to use a lot of the patterns in here -- so it has my hearty recommendation to every would-be crafter who likes to take something homemade to welcome a baby to the world. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer afternoons

Summer afternoons are always so much fun!  I set up a couple extra chairs outside so the kids could have a little nook to eat on the porch.  Something about eating out of doors is so refreshing on a sunny afternoon.  I used the table runner I made a couple of years ago for a mini tablecloth with just in time for the fourth of July!
We did make an excursion to the Bainbridge Island Regional Library yesterday and came back with a bag full of fun!  I loved the Japanese gardens that surrounded the building!  The kids are officially signed up for their summer reading program, and I even picked up the Aloha Quilt to start off some summer reading.   Since we are new to the area it was so much fun to find an amazing kids section.  I believe the children's section is about the size of our Kingston library.  We are hoping the levy passes here so that we will have a new library in a few short years!  But until then, we are going to pop into the nine libaries throughout the county to check them all out.  Join us on our adventure and let us know what you have found! 

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Breakfast of Jedi

Summer vacation has begun, and breakfasts will never be the same in the Pennington home.  We decided to test out the Starwars pancake molds from William Sonoma that Auntie Jenny sent our way.  The recipe was so good, I thought I would include it here for you all to try!

Starwars Pancakes: 2 eggs, 2 cups flour, sifted, 3 Tbs. sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, 2 1/2 cups buttermilk, 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1-2 Tbs. vegetable oil.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer or a handheld whisk, beat the eggs on med. speed until frothy.  Add remaining ingredients.  Stir just until batter is smooth and no lumps of flour remain; do not overmix.  Thanks Williams-Sonoma for this yummy recipe!

The thing that saved the day and made these pancakes possible is this batter pourer also from Williams-Sonoma.  You can pour the batter in on the bottom and then squeeze the batter out in perfect amounts to all the parts of the pancake mold.  The storm-trooper was the toughest!  He was definitely the bad guy of the morning.  But we had fun.  Look, Reagan even dressed for the part in his Starwars shirt!
By the way, that is a Jedi "HeeYaw!" light-saber-fork- face...
Is it bad to start off the day eating Darth Vader?

Can this give small children nightmares?  Hope not!  Enjoy the recipe ... and may the Syrup be with you!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Coming to the breakfast table near you... STARWARS!

How much fun is this!  To celebrate summer vacation ... we are going to be having Starwars pancakes tomorrow morning!  We might just have to make some starwars cookies, too!  Thanks to a care package from Auntie Jenny and the cookie cutters from Papa ... we are set to have an exciting start to our summer vacation! 

More pictures to come ... as the pancakes will be colored!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sailing the High Seas ...

Here is the ferry leaving the Kingston dock heading to Edmonds.  We were able to capture it from a boat!  Our friends invited us along for the opening of sailing season.  Our parade of boats, comprised of the boats from the Kingston yacht club, made a loop down to Jefferson Point to celebrate the opening of boating season.  What a beautiful day!!!

The parade of boats can be seen trailing behind us with the ferry on its own course.  I could definitely get used to this boating thing!  Reagan liked walking around the boat because he thought he was "surfing".  Poor kid, it will be the closest he will get to surfing for awhile...
Doesn't he look like he does this all the time -- the look of confidence and almost boredom?  I wish I could pull off that look.  When I am doing something new I wear a sappy grin like a kid in the candy  store for the first time.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gaming takes on a new meaning.

On Monday we headed to the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, (pronounced Squim).  We brought my mom along to check out some new places in the area.  We saw Kodiak bears, bald eagles, llamas, peacocks... you name it!  This place started out as a farm where the animals used in Disney movies were housed after the filming had ended.  They have pictures of Walt Disney here as well as old movie posters for the many animal movies Disney produced during the 1950's-1970's. 

I thought this guy had such a sweet face.  There is actually another bear beneath him!

This place is like no other ... We bought 3 loaves of wheat bread before driving through so that we could have the all-American experience of feeding such animals as the American bison! 
The highlight of the day was the near heart attack I received.  While my dearest husband was so diligently focusing on taking this amazing photo of this animal standing blocking our way ... (he was actually creating a diversion for his buddy), a HUGE bison had quietly come from the rear to my side of the car.  My window was completely down when I heard a snort coming from my elbow.  As I turned I was greeted by a head in my window with a tongue looking for more bread.  I screamed, jumped and somehow knocked the car our of gear.  My mom, behind me, screamed, too.  I couldn't roll up my window because his head was in the car.  My mom came to the rescue with a quick piece of bread inched out of her cracked window.  Scott deftly moved the car into gear ... and we were able to move away before my arm was mistaken for whole wheat bread.

Everyone had a great laugh at my expense ... even me!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Birthday at the beach

We headed up to the beach to try out a new kite Scott received for his birthday.  We were excited to see the amount of wind we had at home.  By the time we got to the beach, the Sound was calm as no other.  Even Reagan's kite was hard to fly.  Hmm.  At least we soaked in a little sun and took some fun pictures!

The cake I made actually looked like a birthday cake, can you believe it?!  Scott had requested a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting -- and that is what he got!  Look at all those candles! 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Partying Cowboys and Cowgirls!! Yeehaw!

Reagan's birthday party was so much fun ~ and exciting.... As children were being dropped off by unsuspecting parents, a neighbor stopped by to let us know a baby bear had just been spotted two doors down.  And when a baby bear is spotted -- there is the worry of an over protective mama bear.  Good times!  Luckily, the voices of 10 kindergarten-age kids were enough to scare most off even the wildest of  animals!

We even had a swooping visit by a bald eagle through our trees.  Seems we sparked the interest of him!  Our games consisted of "Lasso the Rocking Horse (with hula hoops)",  Pin the badge on the sheriff, Cowboy pinata and a Stick Horse relay where kids earned their sheriff badges and red bandanas.

Scott was ready to jump in on the fun.  Oh, yeah!  Little did I know that he loves hula hoops.  After a decade of marriage I am still learning!  (Okay, he may kill me once he sees that I blogged this!  He still cracks me up.)   But in the background of this lovely photo of my hottie hubby is the teepee I made for Reagan's birthday.  It is made with old bed sheets and pvc pipes -- and it turned out super cute!  It is such a fun gift... Reagan even slept in it in his room that night.  Like I said before, "Oh to be six years old again!" 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The big 6

Wow.  Hard to believe that six years ago I did not have children.  Saturday mornings were meant to sleep through, I ate when I wanted to ... and I didn't have anyone taking away my Nintendo DS privileges when I raised my voice.  But those were boring days compared to now!  Reagan is 6 tomorrow, and I am feeling sentimental.  Oh, to be six again -- when life was an adventure.  Learning to ride your bike was akin to flying.  The joy of six.  It is a beautiful thing!

His freckles, his vibrant expressions -- he is a gift to my life, and I am so thankful for him! 
Happy Birthing Day, to me!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A little reading, a little sunshine ... lots of fun!

I am loving Cal Patch's book, "Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified". 

A simple ball and a simple swing ... they make all the difference on a sunny afternoon.  So, no ... I did not sit in front of a sewing machine today.  Hmm.  Wonder how much sewing I am going to get done this summer.  Oh, well!

Friday, April 16, 2010

What happens if...

So, what happens when you have this urge to sew something.  Now, I am not talking about logically finding a project to use up some of the stash that you have.  I am thinking about the urge to sew something for which there not a stich of premeditated planning.

Answer: Raid your husband's closet!  Heehee!

Okay, so it was a pair of pants he was already willing to donate; hence, they were fair game.  I have had this copy of Ottobre sitting on my sewing desk for months -- A European design magazine with lots of ideas.  The problem is you have to have a lot of know-how, too, in order to make your way through the maze of patterns and lack of detailed instructions.  And, well, I am a bit of a novice at best in the sewing world.  Maybe my big sis, Jenny, can share some wisdom as she took sewing lessons in 8th grade.  Me?  Couldn't be bothered.  Where is that 4H class now?  However, the sun is out, spring has sprung -- and I had a surge of confidence.  That is, until I looked at the pattern sheet again...

Hmm.  Anyone with colored glasses?  Wish me luck!

But here is an Easter family pic of my husband, smiling -- just as he will be when he sees his pants!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

By the way....

ANSWER:  The red truck in my second to last post is from Forks, Washington.  Yep, I admit it.  My friends and I took a road trip last February ... and that is Fork's version of Bella's red truck.

Why haven't I been at my computer? It's spring!

Even my unfinished "Easter" chicks found their way outside to enjoy the sun!  Hey, come back here!  You still have pins and stuffing coming out of you.  Plus, where are your eyes?  You can't see where you are going! 

Neighborhood kids playing together even have taken off their shoes and socks for a day of romping in the grass.  Why would you want to be inside for this?

So, the projects will continue to sit and wait for a rainy day.  (Tomorrow -- according to the weather guy). 
 And the flowers on my table will sit to remind me to head outside!  I love spring!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cool Crewel

This is one of my garage sale finds on Bainbridge Island last summer.  New to the area, I would pack the kids in the car with snacks galore and head off in search of garage sale signs.  I saw this crewel from the sixties and loved it.  It is close to four feet tall ... try walking across a busy street carrying this and trying to hold on to a 1.5 year old's hand and keeping the five year old glued to your side.  Who said garage sale-ing wasn't an adventure?!  When most people are tossing these crewels, I wanted to bring it home -- it just makes me smile. 

This huge piece of art found a permanent home on top of a freshly painted hutch I found on craigslist.  A perfect match!  ... Do you notice that red car in the photo album beneath?  Know where that picture was taken?  Hint: No, not Spoons, Washington ...  Post your guess!

Also, here is a my version of a pincushion I made from a pattern found in Anna Maria Horner's book, Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love SewingI used up some scraps I had in my stash.  I am always trying to use up all my stash before I buy any more fat quarters.  Yea, like that works. 
 In the works today ... two Spring Chicken stuffed animals for my two little ones' Easter baskets, and a new Easter doll dress to put into an Easter basket too!  So, more on that soon...  But I thought I should blog something since one of my few followers, (ahem, big sister Jenny), was complaining I hadn't blogged for awhile.  If only my other sister, Jody, would send me the photos of our trip to Denver we all took last week including an adventure in the random snowstorm to see John Mayer (15 inches of snow in one night), Breckenridge Snow Village, Indian Cliff dwelling photos, and our amazing food pictures, too.  Yep, that is what has been keeping me from blogging.   If you have any sunshine like we do today ... I hope you take time to get outside and play on a wee (2 year old translation: a swing).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dooly and the Snortsnoot

Did you ever have that childhood book that you loved, but somewhere along the way it disappeared so it only seemed to be a hazy memory of reality? Maybe it was just me, but the book I loved was Dooly and the Snortsnoot by Jack Kent. It is no longer in print and is quite hard to find. My big sister found it for me somewhere on the internet and sent it along to me as a surprise. It was like a bit of childhood became concrete and real in my adult life.

The artwork in reds, yellows and oranges beckons any child of the late 70's into peaceful bliss. Yippee! Now another generation can learn the importance of bravery as Dooly faces the snarling Snortsnoot. Browse your used bookshops and garage sales and pick up a copy if you see it. You won't be sorry.

Along the way, another book by Jack Kent dropped into my hands, Joey. So much fun! An overprotective mamma kangaroo will not let her baby leave the pouch. But when his friends come over and have band practice in her pouch ... she begins to see the positive aspects in letting her little one step out of the nest. It is amazing to see how a children's book has the capacity to bring a smile to anyone's face. So ... let me know what your favorite book was as a kid and share the memories!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


McCall's Pattern #3531
Material:  Vintage fabric

I lovingly refer to this dress as the "Half Pint" Dress.  When my little girl is wearing this one ... you can't help but picure Laura Ingalls running around in bare feet along a flowering meadow.  Side note:  Did you ever notice how the youngest little girl, Carrie, just seemed to sit in her small chair every episode and make wierd noises -- that was all she seemed capable of doing.   If only I could get paid to sit in a chair with food in front of me and make unintelligeable remarks. 

Anyhow, this was the first pinafore I have ever attempted, and it was a lot of fun to make.  I love how a pattern is like a 3-D puzzle, and even if you did not take Home-Ec in highschool because the teacher scared you to death (more on that another day), if you follow the instructions -- in the end you will most likely have something that at least looks like the picture on the front of the package.  It's magic!  It is always disheartening to spend a fortune on gorgeous fabric, experiement and find yourself the murderer of a perfectly innocent piece of cloth.  However, when you find fabric for pennies and can make it metamorphize into something presentable -- it is a thing of joy!

 The buttons were another fun find.  I was at a Good Will one day and noticed an avocado green craft box.  It was filled with buttons -- to the brim!  Small, large, a myriad of colors... There was no price tag on it, so I asked the lady at the cash register how much they would sell it for  ... the reply, "Three dollars."  Whoopie!  I have not had to buy a button in the last few years, and the buttons are precious! 

With warm banana bread wafting through the air, a pot of chili on the stove and a pinafore dress to boot, I am wishing you a day filled with barefoot meadow frolicking!  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Having a little girl after having a boy must have changed the chemical balance in my body. For some reason pink had become an obsession for me. Her room slowly turned from pale green and yellow to ... pink -- nothing else. Oooh! Pink for the walls! Ooooh! Pink curtains! Pink chair! Pink baby bed! This continued until one day I walked into her room and found myself tasting a chalky film in my mouth as if I had just chewed some little pink tablets for an upset tummy. Something had to be done to stop this insanity.

Hello Hancocks of Paducah sale bin!  This sweet little Moda print caught my eye.  With mostly green vines and only a little hint of pink, it may help to add a balance to the oh-so-toot-sweet room.  So what to do with a little bit of fabric ....  (Thoughts like this can keep me up half the night!)
I started up my White Fury (the endearing name I have given my Elna ... that was a bit too old lady of a name for me), and we began to reshape this into something more.

First, I made a mini quilt.  This is hanging on her wall right now instead of keeping a baby doll warm.  I sewed and hand-quilted this in one afternoon.  The free-form doll was an idea I picked up from the book Material Obsession written by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.  I can't wait to do an entire quilt with these little girls.  It was a lot of fun, and it did not take much time at all.
Next, I made easy curtain tie-backs to breat up the color.  Do you see ... even the binkie in this room was pink!  Nice tack working to hold it back, huh?  Nothing but quality here!

I had a pack of three 8 x 10 thin canvases on which I fused the main vine fabric.  I cut out simple shapes out from my fabric stash -- a butterfly, the letter "K" (for Kaitlyn) and a flower.  After fusing the shapes to the vine print I then Mod-Podged the entire canvas and added a simple pink gingham ribbon to hang them.  Voila -- wall art!  Kaitlyn now says "Mamma, look ... my fluffly!"  (interpretation of two year old language "Cool butterfly, Mom!")

Next on the drawing board, a toddler bed sized quilt!  Oh, all the fun things you can do with a little fabric.  Little by little, pepto room has become a sweet little girl's abode.

Happy sewing!