Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year!

Cheers to 2009! I hope you all have a happy and safe New Years Eve and I raise my glass to you dear friends and fellow crafters, here's to creating handmade things in the new year!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Rose Garden Mommy and Me Set

Such a pretty pink party could be had with this rosey posey duo! I love the sweet little pattern of trailing ribbon with vintage rosettes strewn about. So nice!

Monday, December 22, 2008

snow cookies, no cookies

Well with all the snow we've been having lately I thought it would be fun to bake some cookies. See my inspirational photo above, well mine didn't turn out that well unfortunately! Maybe it was because I've misplaced my rolling pin and tried to flatten out the dough with my hand (the back of my hand, take that cookie dough karate chop!). Well, needless to say, we tossed those cookies and now I"m hoping to grab a container of organic sugar cookie dough that one can just scoop out and put on a cookie sheet......or better yet I'll just buy some cookies and make the frosting because that is the funnest part! I am a much better seamstress than a baker I admit that wholeheartedly! But I do get very inspired with all the holiday activities, and i"m having a good time with my kids. We've been indoors all week because of all the snow that has fallen in Seattle, whole lotta snow and now it's past the pretty stage and I hope it will all melt away soon because I need to get out and do some last minute xmas shopping for my kids. I was sick and we had a snowstorm so all my usual planning fell by the wayside. Such is life sometimes! It's going to be a wonderful christmas this year, and I hope yours is fabulous too!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

noguchi bag

I made this bag the other day, I used my noguchi red fabric, so it's now my new noguchi bag! I'm still making changes here and there, probably a heavier fabric next time, but I like the way this one turned out, a great market bag! I'll probably do more to match my aprons this spring!

Ugh, I'm up too early and grumpy, today I hope won't be a loooooong day. No preschool, more snow, ick.

Friday, December 12, 2008

my newest obsession

Oh just when I thought I was done for today, behold my newest obsession!!!! I found this photo of a beautifully constructed kanzashi flower on the web. They are a traditional japanese decorative beauty that after some practice is fairly easy to construct. I'm still getting the hang of it, but I've managed to make a few petals in my current state (totally sick with a big cough now, ugh).....anyhoo I'm going to have to ponder this little gem for a long while i know! Think of all the ways it could be worn!!!! Too cute and there are some amazing craftspeople out there creating amazing kanzashi's!!!

Gotta go tend to my soup and my cold, which is worsening, why am I on this computer? I don't know!

seeking warmth

brrrrrrr! Well just like that, a cold snap is upon us here in Seattle and the temperature is slowly going down and it's going to steadily drop into the 20's by Monday or so they say....... So in celebration of my winter cold that has now turned into a dreaded cough, I"m making a hearty split pea soup that will hopefully take the chill out of the air and warm up my aching bones. And since my husband is currently working on a project requiring outside activity, I hope it will melt his day away so to speak. December has been really nice so far and it's almost exciting the thought of snow, but getting stuck in the elements is always a possibility too and that is no fun.

I will be blogging about fun crafty things again soon, I'm just hunkered down taking it easy as I just can't shake this cold. More tea please, thank you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


So I'm also baking spiced pumpkin breads this year! They are turning out really well, even in a small small oven such as mine. I found the recipe on epicurious.com's website and I hope to have everything wrapped and shipped by the weekend, then I'll be done with gifts for others and I can then concentrate on my family. With tiny tots it's easy to want to do big gifts but not this year, we've been good and really scaled back. Last christmas was just too much, my little baby girl was so tired that we had to open the rest of her and our son's gifts. This year everything is going to be much simpler, all in one box kind of wrapping. It will be nice just to be together. I wish this season wasn't so stressful for our family but it is this year. I'm trying not to worry about worries and we're going to pull through just fine. Now I must go check on my oven!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


So I am done with most of my holiday gifts this year, I decided to make all of my gifts this year and really try to go the extra mile as sometimes busy life gets in the way of my best intentions. It's fun making gifts as I can not deal with the costs of things in the stores these days! ($100 boots for a toddler, c'mon people). Sticker shock aside, I have way too much cute fabric to not make gifts and it feels good to complete a project or ten. It shouldn't be a surprise that aprons were a favorite gift from me, but I came up with a few other things too. We may or may not get a tree this year as the destruction factor is running quite high in our house with two kids under the age of four running about. Usually I'll get bit by the Christmas bug and we'll dash out and buy one later, we'll see. And there's holiday projects galore that I want to tackle but I'm trying to prioritize by the time involved to make said project and cost too. I really want to make candy cane greeting card holders that are strung like a garland (i saw a cute one in the evil Pottery Barn Kids catalog that I know I could do better if free time allowed). Then there's the christmas tree skirt that I want to create (for an invisible tree? so do I need to buy a tree so I'll make a tree skirt, that can't make sense...) and what about stockings? We all need our own awesome mommy crafted stockings but that means I have to scout out wool felt and I'm not ready for that as I've been having custom orders at Panhandler, I'm in apron mode right now. Then there's the whole Martha Stewart Craft website that makes me want to not pay my mortgage and just go hog wild -- we need gold glittery paper stars and trees and perfectly perfect thingys.......that will inevitably get crumpled by my kids. I love the holidays, with all the resources out there one can get tapped out really fast, so here I yap about prioritizing and organzing. I've done great this year and I'm keeping those wild shopping demons at bay and I'm going to try and get a fun thing or two on clearance after the holidays roll by. Target is a wonderland of deals too! Oh the list goes on and on. I love my house, my husband and kids and feel really fortunate to have the friends I have, so that's what's going to be the best present of all this year, good times!

Oh and my pie turned out great! Now I'm getting set to bake some pumpkin bread as my mother sent me the best little countertop oven for christmas this year and I can't wait to try it out!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Milk Free Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Just because Thanksgiving is over doesn't mean you stop eating pumpkin pie, right? This is one of my favorite desserts that I royally botched up on Thanksgving. That and sadly I have been on a baking hiatus as my son's preschool schedule, my sewing project list (which is growing extensively each day OMG), and our food allergies around here have all interfered with the fun part of the holidays -- but whose got time to bake much less research recipes????? Well lo and behold I think I've found a winner. I am going to try this this afternoon as the last recipe for 'vegan' pumpkin pie tasted so awful! (Note to self: no more tofu replacing the dairy milk in dessert recipes because it comes out tasting like crud....i mean tofu :()........My son has excema which really flares up from milk and it's a big deal around here to find him dairy free treats. I"m not even using a crust because mommy never liked pie crust anyway, but that's just me. Here's the recipe that I'm sharing, it calls for eggs so if you have egg issues this is not for u:

Crust: Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust. (Contains wheat ingredients, does not have soy or dairy.) The other pie crusts that we looked at in the freezer section contained milk ingredients, so weren't safe for Andrew. And I'm not confident enough to make my own crusts, plus Geoff is at a clingy stage, so I can't spend too much time in the kitchen.

The pumpkin filling was based on the pumpkin pie recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook, and I've copied it below.

16 ounce can pumpkin (I used a 14 ounce can of organic pumpkin)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (and I did look it up, and nutmeg is not a nut)
3 slightly beaten eggs
2/3 cup rice milk (substituted for the original 2/3 cup evaporated milk and 1/2 cup milk)

1. Put the pie crust into a pie dish. Put into oven to bake for 10 minutes or so, just to brown the crust.

2. Combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg. Add eggs. Beat until just combined. Gradually stir in rice milk.

3. Pour filling into pie crust.

4. Bake in 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. (The original recipe says 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. That was about 35 minutes for me, but my oven runs hot.) If you're worried about over-browning the crust, cover the edge of the pie with foil for the first 25 minutes of the baking time.

5. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate within 2 hours,

Saturday, December 6, 2008

i heart Kokka fabrics!

I don't know about you but I am in love with Kokka fabrics! I am a sucker for big bold patterns and their purple flowers is just too cute! I may need to start making little smock-ish tops for my little girl, but I"m having so much fun with the aprons right now I don't know when I'll get around to new projects.

We're taking our family photo for our Christmas cards today, I made all of our cards this year because money is tight and I really don't like any of those photo cards anymore! I couldn't find the one's from Target this year, maybe they've done away with their service I'm not sure, all they had was a link to places like Kodak or Shutterfly and well that just didn't ring my bell so to speak. Anyway, it's going to be a busy day around here between posing pretty for the camara and taking the munchkins to pick out our tree! (Hopefully NOT in the rain). My husband is so sweet too, he chopped down some BIG pine branches that have pinecones and I"m going to swag them all over the house! I"ll take pics if time, it's hilarious because one piece is really really big.

And I think I'm almost all done with gift making, I'm not baking anything this year but I do need to track down some holiday cookies to give at preschool (for the staff not the kids because there's so much hoopla nowadays with allergies and whatnots, it's confusing).

Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

And the Winners are.......

WOW! Thank you for the big response! Since Giveaway Day 2008 was so much fun, I decided to giveaway one of each of my punk aprons as so many people participated!!! The winners are:

Heidi wins the pink zebra punk apron! Her comment: Those aprons are fan-freaking-tastic! I would love to win!!

oona wins the blue zebra punk apron! Her comment: I would love to win the blue apron for my daughter! She is always baking something and she would rock your apron, it's just her style!
Thanks for the giveaway!

Emails have been sent to my lucky winners and will ship out shortly! Thank you all for playing and Happy Holidays!!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's giveaway time!

Hi everybody! Well I got myself organized just in time to be included in the Sew Mama Sew giveaway! Today only (December 3rd) I will be giving away one of my Sweet Jayne Aprons to a lucky reader! You will be able to choose from either pink or blue styles that are still available. Sound good? All you need to do now is leave me a comment right here and I'll reveal the winner tomorrow December 4th. This contest ends tonight at midnight, is valid only in the continental USA (I will only ship to a US address) and I will be posing the winning comment tomorrow morning. Thank you for joining in all the fun and good luck, please go tell all your friends about Panhandler and thanks for reading my blog!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

tiny bubbles

cocktails anyone?
Originally uploaded by *Panhandler*

Happy Thanksgiving! Even if you don't drink (like me) I'm still raising my glass to all my friends and family! Cheers! Clink! ta ta fo now ~

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

crafty bird apron, I'm going to scream

detail of crafty bird apron
Originally uploaded by *Panhandler*

Yes, it's Thanksgiving break around here and the little munchkins are getting crazy. We're in the heat of the moment so to speak as tempers flare up often, I get nothing done and messes everywhere!!!! How can one little house fall apart SO fast just because preschool is on hiatus for one week......at least daddy only works half a week and we'll all chill out together soon! Oh and this is my little crafty bird apron, I like the cut because the pockets are BIG and there's even a center seam that holds a paint brush or pencil or whatever I'm creating.....not that I have time to paint or draw anything leisurely, someday someday....

Monday, November 24, 2008

it's beginning to look alot like......

three cheers holiday apron
Originally uploaded by *Panhandler*

the holidays!!!! They are literally right around the corner and I'm on a crazy train trying to squish all of this into my schedule. We all have colds today so doing much of anything is challenging, and forget leaving the house today, I'm done. But I did manage to take a quick photo of my newest creation! I heart ric rac!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pink Little Chic Apron

Pink Little Chic Apron
Originally uploaded by *Panhandler*

I dig these little chic's! Chirpy happy prints just in time for the holidays. Now I"m dragging my tired butt to a friends house to watch Top Model!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sweet Jayne ~ Rock Solid Pink Apron

Sweet Jayne ~ Rock Solid Pink Apron
Originally uploaded by *Panhandler*

I'm feeling sort of sweet with my newest creations! I can't wait to finish them all! No time - until my pumpkin goes to preschool! xoxo

Friday, November 14, 2008

mr. robot-o Boys Apron

mr. robot-o Boys Apron
Originally uploaded by *Panhandler*

Every little boy needs a robot apron, especially a Mr. Robot-o style! Haaa ~ now I've got that song in my head.....who sang that? Styx? I'll have to research it. Having fun, my munchkins are both napping and it's Friday! Woooo hooo!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

holiday cheery bird apron

holiday cheery bird apron
Originally uploaded by *Panhandler*

tweedly deedly dee! I'm so happy with my newest bunch of holiday cheer. I'm tired now too, going to get some much needed rest....I'm so looking forward to the weekend! xoxo

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

sew much to do!

there are ten hundred ideas rolling around in my brain at all times lately and you know what ~ i love all my new little projects!!! My newest one is the snowflowers apron I just posted on etsy...check out the double pockets on that baby! I'm on a roll and i"m not stopping. Now if I can just get the gifts done in time for my nieces and friends I haven't seen in a millenium! (We're heading out on the road, 9 big days with my family in one vehicle!). We're heading home for the holidays and my kids are going to see their grandma and meet a bunch of mommy's friends (some who also have kids now and haven't seen me or my family in like ten years or more!) WHERE DOES THE TIME GO PEOPLE? Ahhhh, well it's raining but at least we're back to normal as yesterday was a holiday and nothing was open, my son is off to preschool this afternoon and I'm hoping to complete one or two more little goodies! And hey! I had my first sale in my etsy shop, yeah!!!! That rocks!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

lil welder

So I finally completed a toddler boy apron! Whew! I was pondering for a while about what image to transfer.....and I got inspiration upon finding my hidden holiday bag of fabric yeah!!! Tartan plaid monkey wrench ~ how can you go wrong! I'm going to play around with denim some more this month and see what else I can conjure up! Oh and this welder apron will fit a size 2-5T nicely as the ties are long enough to accommodate that size range. I love the holidays!

Monday, November 3, 2008

pot holder party

So I had a bit of a potholder party this afternoon as I realized I don't have any matching things in my collection! Potholders are no easy thing either as I've found out the hard way.....but so cute when completed. Now I can feel good about going to vote for Obama tomorrow! And my kid starts preschool, oh it's going to be quite a day tomorrow!


toddler time!

Here is my pint sized version of Swizzle Sticks, such a fun little ditty!  The peppermint candy trim makes it perfect for a party!!!  My daughter is going to have one heck of a dress up time with all of these aprons I keep making!  I've noticed lately that my kids are always running around with bits and pieces of thread hanging off their clothes, so I was a good mommy today and got out the vaccuum to help eliminate the fuzz.  Well it's going to be another busy day around here and I've got my next pattern cut and ready to sew, I guess I'm in a toddler mood since I've been making so many misses sized things lately....next I'll have to take a picture of these sets together and if I venture out to the fabric store again (big no no because I spend way too much money there) I need to get batting to make some potholders.  Who's got time for all of this??? Not me, but that what I hope will keep me busy in the evenings....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I love the holidays!

I'm thinking about making a turkey apron as I now have images of all things Thanksgiving-ish in my head.  I really do love the holidays and if I weren't so tired tonite I'd elaborate more!  I finished my new toddler apron tonight, it matches my swizzle sticks adult one so that's good!  I'm feeling worn out and will get back on here sooon...


Saturday, November 1, 2008


I suppose I'll introduce myself to you, my name is Claire and I'm so excited about my little collection of things I like to call Panhandler.  I'm inspired by lots of things like vintage americana, music from the 30's,40's,50's,60's and 70's I like it all!  I'm fond of bold patterns and love mid-century modern design, I'm always drooling over new fabric and what I want to buy next.  Sewing makes me happy and that inspires me to the fullest degree.  I must say that aprons are my newest fling with sewing and I'm usually up at night thinking about what colors to put where and how to sew pockets on and how do you attach bias tape to a sculpted hemline.  I am no means a professional seamstress, but I was raised by a wonderful grandmother who taught me how to sew at a very early age.  Sewing has come back into my life after my grandmother's passing 3 years ago, sure I always knew how to put on new buttons or fixed shabby hemlines, and when I managed a vintage boutique in San Francisco we did constant repairs on all sorts of vintage fabrics so I guess you could say I've had a lifetime of experience, off the cuff of course.   My life is a whirlwind, I am a stay at home mom of two adorable kids, my son is 3.5 years old and my daughter is almost 2 years old (we share the same birthday!) and they are my world.  We live in Seattle and love the Pacific Northwest in spite of all the grey skies that cloud up the days sometimes.  What else about me???  I am quite grumpy lately because I can eat no sugar, caffeine, bread, animal fat, etc....I'm on a totally bland caveman diet due to a disgruntled gall bladder ~ sewing is my new dessert I suppose.  Without my crafty new little hobby I would go bonkers with all of life's up's & down's.  I'm not complaining, I'm happy to be basically healthy and love my crafty life!!!    Check out my collection on myspace!  www.myspace.com/gumdropgarden.