Thursday, July 18, 2013

sewing for my boys

I remember, when I was quite little, wearing clothes my Mom had made for me. I'm not sure how she found the time, with four of us so close in age. (She also knit us sweaters and things. I think she didn't sleep much when I was small). Those hand-made things were always a little more special, although I think they were worn by too many cousins to last until my boys were born.

I also made things for my boys when they were babies. Rompers, sweaters, hats, mittens, and scarves. I don't remember if I shared many of those projects. I don't even know if I have photos of some of them. Anyway, at that age, you can't really tell if they prefer the things you make for them. But now, my boys are old enough to ask for things, and tell me how much they love them!

The shirts in these photos are made from  McCall's M6540. I haven't seen many sewing patterns for boys, and most are pretty basic, or overly fussy. I really liked how this pattern had a simple shirt with a yoke but no collar, and pockets (which are necessary for my kids). And the shorts are super cute (I have a pair cut out of corduroy for Lev, just waiting for some cooler weather for me to sew them up). The dress patterns in this set are nice too, and you certainly don't need to add all those ruffles. A friend of mine, just learning to sew, made one without any trouble.

I decided to make the yoke and pockets of each shirt from some quilting cotton: orange for Lev (his favourite colour), and some pirate ships for Kyr. I faced the yokes with plain white cotton. The other fabric is a nice cotton/linen blend that I used to make a shirt for their Dad. These shirts came together very quickly, maybe 4-5 hours, including cutting out (I'm not really sure, since they were both made over a few days). In the pattern, the pockets are on the chest, with flaps, which didn't seem practical. So I moved them to the lower front, and left off the flaps. As you can see, I made them a little big, so they would fit longer. I think they will also be nice over a long-sleeve t-shirt in the winter.

(I've also made them hats like the one from this pattern. It's a great sun hat, fits most head shapes, and you can make one from 2 fat quarters)

I'm not sure how much longer Lev will be happy to wear things I sew, but I'm so happy he loves this shirt. And I'll certainly get a few more years out of Kyr, before I have to go back to sewing just for myself!

Friday, July 5, 2013

multigrain granola

One of my favourite breakfasts, especially in the summer, is granola with plain yogurt and fresh fruit. However, one of the main ingredients of prepared granola is rolled oats, and sadly, oat bran and I do not get along (large-flake oats are the worst, but I can eat a small amount of quick-oats). Luckily, a local natural food store has a wide variety of rolled grains available, so I've been making my own granola for a few years now. What follows is a very general idea of what goes into my granola - every batch is different, depending on what's in my cupboard. But if you find that sort of baking fun, you should be able to make a tasty batch from my directions.

Multigrain Granola

2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 cups rolled grains (I use a mix of wheat, kamut, rye, barley, or quinoa)
2 cups puffed grains (I use rice, millet, or wheat, depending on what I can find)
1 cup raw seeds or chopped nuts (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, walnuts, whatever you like)

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 250 F. Place oven racks at 1/3 and 2/3 of oven height. Line 2 large cooking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the grains and seeds/nuts in a large bowl. Place the last 4 ingredients in a small pot, and warm until just bubbling. Pour over the grains, and mix to thoroughly coat everything. Divide the granola between the 2 sheets. Spread into an even layer, and place one sheet on each oven rack, but not overlapping too much (you want good airflow in the oven).
Bake the granola for about an hour, switching the sheets after 30 min. Once the granola feels dry to the touch, increase the oven temperature to 325 F, and toast the granola for another 15 min, or until golden brown (watch it carefully, because it can brown quickly).
Cool the granola on the baking sheets, then store in an airtight container. It should stay fresh for a few weeks, as long as it stays dry.