Monday, November 16, 2009

Marvelous Macarons...

While I should have been finishing up a Christmas bishop dress for Violet yesterday afternoon, Jesse and I decided to take a stab at a very intimidating recipe (in French).  She wanted to make Raspberry Macarons - just like the ones in Paris!  How hard could it be?  First of all, I don't speak French.  Jesse is fluent, but as she has reminded me many times in the food markets in France, "Mom, I don't speak culinary French!"  We were in for a challenge!

"Mom, it says to 'stir to a bird's beak', what does THAT mean?"  While I know what 'stiff peaks' means when it comes to egg whites, have you ever heard of 'bird's beak'?  Ha! We had more than a few laughs!  Just to be safe,  I found a similar English recipe to help us along when needed.  The results were stunning and delicious, and surprisingly easy!   They are perfectly crisp on the outside, tender on the inside - just a bit of sour raspberry filling...yummy.   Jesse took a plate of them to school today, and I really must get on the treadmill this morning to negate the thousand calories I ate of them. 


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Smocking with Grandma...

For my quiet time today I decided to get cozy and finish up a project.  Despite the glorious sunshine, I was finding it difficult to get warm - our house is so drafty!  Chris dutifully made a fire, stoking it until it was crackling hot, and still I was cold.  I pulled out a trusty old warm quilt my grandma made, wrapped my chilled bones inside it, and in no time I was toasty.  With each little stitch, memories came flashing back as my eyes wandered between my needle and the patchwork quilt that kept me cozy and warm.

"He really wants a warm quilt.  He asked if I had any 'real' quilts,"  my grandma told me as we brought a handmade quilt to the traveling preacher's aged silver airstream parked behind our church.  I didn't know what a 'real quilt' was, and I couldn't understand her agitation as she quietly said, "Lord, I pray he takes care of it." 

Not until my grandmother saw the quilt she gave me for my wedding hanging on our front porch swing did she ever truly chastise me - "Becky, do you realize how many stitches went into that quilt?"  I had just recently begun to sew and it dawned on me -  That's why she prayed over that quilt!  I knew I had disappointed her, and I felt neglectful and unappreciative.  I brought that quilt inside and never has it been left outside since!

When The Smocking Loft opened at our last location, my frail, loving grandmother was so proud as she struggled through the back door, looking upon the sewing room wall.  Her eyes lit up as she saw hanging there another of her treasures - a quilt she and her mother had made together.  One which I shall always take care to preserve.  Her words to me, with watering eyes, were, "Will you take care of it?"

"Yes, grandma,  I will,  I promise!"  I miss you!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's up at the Smocking Loft Shop

It's been an incredibly long 3 months since we closed our shop. I laugh at my innocent notions about setting up a website! I recall thinking we'd be up and running by the end of July. HAH! At least now I know how to build a website! It has been a difficult learning process, but totally worth the efforts it has taken. Ginny, Chris, and I have worked our booties off getting it up and running!

Anyway, I have to say I'm missing the shop and seeing all our customers on a daily basis. Nevertheless, it has been nice to see you at our delivery spots and pick ups.

I thought a blog would be a great way to let you know what's going on around here.

Last weekend Chris and I drove to see our son at his boarding school. I miss him lots, but I can see the maturity it takes for him to be so independent and that makes me feel very proud! He's so tall & handsome! I can't believe he used to fit in a romper! : ( I remember when he started growing out of handmade things - I was at a loss for how to sew anything for him. He loved collecting rocks and shells - basically anything dirty or boyish, so I began to make for him what he called "pinch pockets". We would go down to the craft/fabric store and purchase the most boyish fabric - just a quarter of a yard. I'd get sewing as soon as we walked through the door with him standing anxiously behind my back asking, "is it done yet?" When the finished product was in his hands, he would run to his room and stuff it full of things. It wouldn't be long before he asked for another one to hold some new-found treasure. He had pinch pockets stashed everywhere! Basically it was a sack with a drawstring tunnel at the top. I'd use one of those springy clasps that come in bright colors to keep the drawstring tight. Really such an easy, simple thing to do, but for Charlie it seemed like such an amazing thing his mommy could do for him! sweet memories!

Anyway on the 13 hour drive to his school, I began smocking on a piece of bright red/orange (Flamingo) corduroy. I chose white as the smocking color. Wasn't sure what pattern I'd be making - kinda tired of the usual yoke, ect. When I came home a friend called and asked if we had any patterns from "the Handmade Dress" company. We did not have any but after investigating their products, we decided to carry them at the shop. I ordered several of each pattern. So, the newly smocked corduroy will be a top made from one of their patterns. I absolutely love the design of this dress. Be on the lookout for our 'inspiration of the week' next week. I will feature this pattern/fabric with pictures of my finished garment.