Pictures of Summer

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With the school year getting started soon or already, it feels like the end of summer, but that’s not how I’m thinking of it.  In this part of the world, there is usually another good month of warmer weather before fall gets underway, and the weather in northeastern Massachusetts this summer has been heavenly.  So here’s a look at summer past with a view toward another good month.  It may not be the same pace or schedule, but there’s still plenty of summer goodness to be had all around us.

 

Pictures of Summer (Pattern and Branch)

Summer strawberries

Pictures of Summer (Pattern and Branch)

Herbs and Flowers

Pictures of Summer (Pattern and Branch)

Lily of the Valley

Pictures of Summer (Pattern and Branch)

Independence Day

Pictures of Summer (Pattern and Branch)

Cake with Edible Flowers (Violas)

Pictures of Summer (Pattern and Branch)

Popsicles!

Pictures of Summer (Pattern and Branch)

Clamshell at the Beach

Pictures of Summer (Pattern and Branch)

Beach Plums Beginning to Ripen

Pictures of Summer (Pattern and Branch)

The Truth. (or “What My Living Room Really Looks Like When I Show You My Projects.”)

Pictures of Summer (Pattern and Branch)

Beach Plum Bushes

I hope September holds promise for you and that you can enjoy the last month of summer, even if (or maybe because) your schedule changes.

Beach Plum Adventure

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m slowly trying to learn more wild, edible plants.  I like discovering treasures and, like shopping for antiques and visiting thrift stores, foraging for wild food feels like finding treasures.  Last year I learned how to identify beach plums.  We have a lot of bushes that grow right by the boardwalk of one of the local beaches, so they are easy to find and pick.  Also, most beachgoers don’t seem to know about them, so they aren’t all picked over.

This year, I felt confident about finding beach plums (Maybe a little overconfident, as I’ve picked a number of underripe ones, which tend to be extremely sour.  I guess you learn more each year, right?).  Jam still seems like slightly too much work (although I hope to try it again someday–my first attempt was unsuccessful), so I decided to try something else.  To me, beach plums look a lot like cherries.  Check it out.  Here is a picture of ripe beach plums:

Beach Plum Adventure with Pattern and Branch

So, I thought maybe, just once, I would pick a bunch, pit them, and make a pie using a cherry pie recipe.  I reasoned that since cherry pies use sour cherries, and beach plums look like cherries and are somewhat sour, it might be a match.  Now, I have to tell you, that I have never tasted a newly picked sour cherry to my knowledge.  The taste of beach plums, though, is sort of like a cranberry.

What do you think?  Was it a good idea?  I’ll show you what I did in pictures, but first, here is a picture of unripe beach plums, so you’ll know in case you ever find them in your area.

Beach Plum Adventure with Pattern and Branch And lastly, before we get to pie, here’s a size reference:

Beach Plum Adventure with Pattern and BranchNow, to pie!  My little helpers and I picked three small buckets full of beach plums.

Beach Plum Adventure with Pattern and Branch We took them home and rinsed them off, and then I went to work pitting them.  I used this cherry pitting tool made by OXO to get it done.  I definitely recommend it–works for olives, too, supposedly.

Beach Plum Adventure with Pattern and BranchMany episodes of “Duck Dynasty” later, I had six cups of pitted beach plums for my pie.  I used a recipe titled “Our Favorite Cherry Pie” from one of my go-to cookbooks, King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

Beach Plum Pie with Pattern and Branch

Beach Plum Pie with Pattern and Branch

Beach Plum Pie with Pattern and Branch

Beach Plum Pie with Pattern and Branch

Beach Plum Pie with Pattern and Branch

The finished pie had a crumb topping (plus the whipped cream topping that we added).  So what do you think it tasted like?

Well…it was SOUR.  Ha!  Once you got used to the contrast of the sour filling with the sweet crumb topping and the sweet whipped cream, it was pretty good, but initially, it was a shocker.  I fed it to a bunch of hungry college students, and they voted that it was good.  I thought at first that it was a failure, but everyone liked it, so it turned out to be a surprising success.  Hooray!  Maybe next year I’ll try jam.  :)

Try It (In New England): Candlepin Bowling

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One of the really great discoveries I made while living in New England for a year in high school was candlepin bowling.  Candlepin bowling is the same basic idea as regular bowling, but you use a small, shotput-sized ball, and straighter, thinner pins.  You also get to bowl three times per turn and take two turns in a row, but you are still trying to knock down as many pins in a turn as possible by rolling a ball down a lane.

Candlepin Bowling (Pattern and Branch)

Some of my friends in high school were convinced that candlepin bowling was the norm in the United States and “big ball bowling” was a weird fringe sport that only existed in a few places in New England.  That, of course, was not true, but what was (is) true, is that candlepin bowling is the coolest!  Not only do you get more turns (one of my favorite parts), you also have a ball that is light and easy to handle for little ones on up to those who are much “older and wiser”.

Candlepin Bowling (Pattern and Branch)

Candlepin Bowling (Pattern and Branch)

As you can see, we visited Cape Ann Lanes in Gloucester, MA.  The paint is a little worn on the outside, but inside it was bright, clean, and friendly.  And for those of us who needed bumpers, they were available (BUMPERS:  not only for children.).

Candlepin Bowling (Pattern and Branch)

Candlepin Bowling (Pattern and Branch)

Apparently candlepin bowling also exists in parts of Canada and in a few other places as well.  You can read more about it here.

Lastly, no matter where you live, if you have kids or will be hanging out with kids during the remainder of the summer, check out KidsBowlFree to see if any of your local bowling alleys participate.

 

Finished Projects! Wow!

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Well, you may not believe it (I can hardly believe it myself.), but I found new drive to finish all those projects I was procrastinating on.  I’m excited to show you.

 

Now this first one is borderline “Craft Fail”:  The Swimsuit.  The nice thing is, it looks great on the hanger.

 

I sewed my first swimsuit! (Pattern and Branch)

Front view

 

 

I sewed my first swimsuit! (Pattern and Branch)

Back view

Now, maybe you will (immediately) notice something I did not.  I was so enamored with the chevron design that I only focused on lining the points up with the middle of the suit.  I was so proud of myself!  Now my husband noticed what you may be laughing about right now, but he knows that it annoys me when he trouble-shoots my projects, so he wisely stayed silent until I tried my finished suit on and saw it for myself.  In case you haven’t noticed, think about how the points of a chevron design could, possibly, act as arrows…Do YOU want arrows indicating your most private areas?  I certainly don’t!  Despite this feeling on my part, it seems I managed to point arrows at both my upper and lower private areas.  Oops.  That’s awkward.

I also realized partway through that although I thought I was sewing View C on my pattern, which has a built-in shelf bra, I had actually been sewing View A (even though I cut out View C), and had left the shelf bra out.  Oops.

Swimsuit woes (Pattern and Branch)See that extra piece on the left?  Yep.  Forgot it.  But, you know, I figured I could just skip it because there is that other view without it, so whatever.  Moving on.

At that point, I made the decision to carry on and just finish the suit and hope for something wearable.  I knew I could rip it out, and I also knew that if I did, it would cause a mental block and I would never finish this suit or make another one again, so I had to push through.  I ran into a few quality issues, but I decided to ignore them.  Here is my contrast edge with a few wrinkles.  Still a cool concept though, don’t you think?

Swimsuit woes (Pattern and Branch)I found the instructions for the contrast elastic edging on Kadiddlehopper’s 2013 Swimalong.

So, I finally finished, and was hoping for something wearable.  (Sorry, but you aren’t getting a picture of the finished project.  I don’t feel embarrassed by how it looks, but there is something about modeling a bathing suit on the internet that doesn’t appeal to me.)  It looked ok when I put it on, although the fabric was a little thinner than I would have liked.  That’s when I saw the “arrows” on the suit and also realized that it wasn’t squishing me because it was actually a bit too loose.  I had followed the measurements on the pattern, but either I had picked the wrong fabric (very possible) or they don’t have enough negative ease built into the pattern.  It’s really had to tell what is operator-error or pattern-error here.  Most/all is probably operator-error since this was my first attempt.

Will I wear this in public?  No.  But am I glad I made it?  Yes.  Now the question is:  Should I buy more fabric and try again since I could probably get through it quickly now that I’ve done it once, or will I still get a mediocre suit because the pattern is not awesome?  I don’t have the experience to know.  What do you think?

(In case you want to read it, I posted a review with more technical details on PatternReview about this pattern.)

Now for the other two projects, the shirt and the dress.  Rather than getting fancy with them, despite how cool it could have been, I could tell that if I didn’t finish them soon, they would enter that perpetual work-in-progress zone and never be done, so I decided to call them finished with only the contrast binding on the neck and shoulders.

Alabama Chanin shirt by Pattern and Branch

The shirt

Alabama Chanin dress by Pattern and Branch

The dress

I did have to go back and do a small zigzag stitch right on the edges because the wide zigzag I did in the middle of the binding didn’t reach far enough out to tack the edges of the binding down, and it kept rolling up.  Maybe you can just see it below.

Alabama Chanin shirt with contrast binding by Pattern and Branch

Both of these patterns are my machine-sewn version of some of the basics in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin.  I love the look of the hand-sewn garments (especially the embellished ones) in her books, but when I want a quick project with a great silhouette, I sew the basic patterns on my machine (plus, you can use old t-shirts or knit sheets for fabric).

I’ve worn the shirt, and I like it, although I will give you one thing to be aware of if you sew with knits sheets.  Sometimes (ok, every time I’ve used them) the grain is off.  I don’t often notice it in the finished garment, but I feel like this shirt pulls slightly to one side.  It’s subtle.  I’m the only one who will notice, but I haven’t yet started to obsess about fabric grain.  If you do–then buyer beware!  The good news is that knit is really forgiving and I never find any of that to be a problem after a few wears.

The dress fabric is pretty thin, so it shows curves and bumps more than I would like (as opposed to skimming over them), but I’m going to try some of the layering techniques in the Alabama Chanin books and see what I come up with.  I think it will be cool in the end.

Wow.  If you hung in there through this super-long post, way to go!  Before we go, I want to tell you that I’m keeping my eyes open for a day to take you along clamming (virtually).  This has been a terrible clamming summer with lots of clam-bed closures for a late red-tide bloom (I feel knowledgeable saying that, even though I just learned about it.) and due to rainfall.  (I can explain that more another time.)  I tried to go last week to do a little “catch and release” clamming, but didn’t find any.  I’ll try again, though, and try to document it all for you so you can come along via the blog.

Update:  After hanging on hangers, the fabric in the shirt and dress seem to have relaxed enough that the shirt no longer pulls to the side and, while the dress still pulls to the side a bit, the fabric has relaxed enough that it no longer shows every bump and line.  The dress has also lengthened to floor length, rather than ending at the top of my feet.  Problems solved!  ;)

 

 

 

Boston Pattern Review Day!

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Do you know about the website PatternReview?  Well….If you are a sewer and have never visited PatternReview, you need to hop right on over there!  I joined relatively recently so that I could look up patterns I was interested in and read reviews.  I didn’t want to invest time in a pattern that turned out to be a nightmare to make, even if I had gotten it on sale, and I wasn’t willing to pay the big bucks for a pattern from an independent designer unless it was completely awesome.  Well, I found all that and more when I joined PatternReview.  I haven’t even discovered a fraction of all it has to offer (sewing machine reviews, sewing tips, contests, classes, etc., etc.).

I did sign up for the weekly e-mail and, in the last one, I saw that there was going to be a PR Day in Boston!  I was so excited!  It seems that nearly all the cool sewing people I know live far away and all the get-togethers are just out of reach, but this was going to be in Boston!

I’ll spare you the long story about how I almost got cold feet about going to a part of Boston I didn’t know.  Let’s just say that I have a very active imagination in the category of “Scary Things That Could Go Wrong”.  But, despite my imagination, it was great!

Pattern and Branch goes to Boston PR Day!

We met at Grey’s Fabric & Notions in the SoWa district of Boston (SoWa=South of Washington Street).  It was a lovely place.  Grey’s served mimosas and cookies and Deepika (the founder of PatternReview) brought nametags, “I Love PR” buttons, and tape measures for everyone.  It was so nice to look through and touch so many fabrics I had seen online!  Although not a large shop, Grey’s has a good variety of fabric types, patterns, and notions.  We also had a pattern swap.  I brought five and left with three new ones, two of which I had really wanted!  I also got some fabric (of course) and fold-over elastic.  Want to get an idea of what it was like?  Check it out:

Pattern and Branch goes to Boston PR Day!

Pattern and Branch goes to Boston PR Day!

Pattern and Branch goes to Boston PR Day!

Pattern and Branch goes to Boston PR Day!

One thing that I really liked was the various examples Grey’s made up of different patterns.  It was very inspiring.

Pattern and Branch goes to Boston PR Day!

We had a delicious lunch at Cinquecento, a nearby Italian restaurant.  Lunch was filled with excellent conversation.  All the women were so interesting, from various walks of life and in differing professions.  One of the ladies,  Maria Denmark, was a pattern maker, sewer, knitter, and all-around accomplished person.  I’m really excited to check out her patterns and look through her blog.  I loved talking with Deepika, as well.  It’s amazing to think that she started PatternReview twelve years ago and now the site has grown to the point that she is able to find friends who use it throughout the world.  I think it really fills an important part of the sewing landscape.

Here we all are outside of Cinquecento for a group shot.

Pattern and Branch goes to PatternReview Day in Boston!

I didn’t get to have in-depth conversations with everyone, but I was happy to be able to meet and talk to a few other bloggers.  You may want to check them out, too.  I met Carolyn of Allspice Abounds, wearing her “Spring Archer” (I was seriously impressed.) and Ebi of Making the Flame.  We didn’t get down to much blog-talk (we were too busy talking sewing), but it was great to meet fellow bloggers…and fellow sewers…and fellow creativity lovers in general.

Before getting back on the train, we walked into Chinatown for a visit to Winmil Fabrics.  The advice I got from one of the other PR members was, “If you see something you like, grab it, because it won’t be there next time.”  I loved looking through the eclectic mix of fabrics–I felt like I could easily find some treasures.  I would definitely revisit both Winmil and Grey’s.

I’m glad I faced my fears (I’m also glad the parts of SoWa and Chinatown I visited weren’t too sketchy.) and made some new friends.  I hope that PatternReview has more Boston-area meet-ups and that some of you are able to join us!  If you live far away and there is a PR day near you, be sure to check it out!

Works in Progress

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I thought it would be nice to take a little break from clamming and show you what I’m working on.  Once, I asked my husband to make me only work on one project at a time.  He is a wise man, and did not attempt to do this.  Seems like having multiple projects happening all at once is the way my creativity works best.  At least that way, if I’m procrastinating on one project, I can move ahead with another.

As I mentioned previously, I’m working on sewing something I said I would never sew:  a bathing suit.  This is one of the projects I am procrastinating on.  Here’s what I’ve got so far.

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

Cutting out the bathing suit

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

The bathing suit so far

 

In case you are interested, here is the pattern that I’m using.

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

So far, it’s going ok, thanks to numerous blog posts around the web, but I keep avoiding it because I’m afraid I’ll mess it up.  That’s pretty silly, though.  I mean, really.  If I could master bathing suits, I would probably be tapping into one of the few areas of home sewing that’s actually still cost-effective.  It would be SO GREAT…so I’ve got to get moving.  You can all hold me accountable to actually finish it.  Plus, I need a bathing suit that fits.

One of the projects I am using to procrastinate on my bathing suit is this shirt, made with a pattern from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin (one of my all-time favorite sewing books).  This is the sleeveless t-shirt top.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt TopSo, this was meant to be a quick project.  I need a few of those to motivate me through the long projects.  The book I got this from is all about hand-sewing, which is really fun, but when I need a quick project, I cheat and machine-sew one of the garments.  They come together really fast and all the patterns that I have tried have been flattering at various sizes.  This one is made from a bed-sheet and an old t-shirt.  (Incidentally, the bed sheet is partly made from recycled plastic bottles AND I got it at a thrift store, so it’s like it’s been recycled multiple times!)  But…

I decided it needed some details, so I added the contrast binding and then tried to add some crochet trim.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt TopAbove is the marking I made for the trim, but the trim was too white, so I dyed it in black tea.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Above is the original white, and the tea-dyed piece, but now the white still seems too white and the tea-dyed piece looks…dirty.  See what you think:

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Not to fear, though!  I decided to procrastinate on the t-shirt with this!

Works in Progress:  Long Fitted DressThis garment is the Long Fitted Dress, also from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.  This was the quick project that was to save me from the avoidance of the other two.  But then I faced a few decisions.  What color binding to add?  Contrast like the t-shirt or the same fabric?  How about keeping the binding the same as the dress and adding some crochet details to this garment?  (I’m starting to sense a trend in both crocheted details and decision-making leading to procrastination.)

Works in Progress:  Long Fitted DressMaybe something like this?  (The trim on the bottom would actually be on the back side.  There is a small train on the dress–similar to a high-low hem but, being a maxi dress length, it’s more like a small train.)

I was trying to actually make a decision, but it was tricky.  I tried the dress on to see how it looked and realized that the fabric is pretty thin and, rather than skimming curves, it reveals the curves and lines that you usually want fabric to skim over.  So now I’m procrastinating on this project, too.

But I did get something done today!  I have a very weedy garden, but I actually weeded a small part of it.  Want to see?  Yes, you do!  (Because if you stop reading now, I can’t tell, so I’m just going to assume you are still going strong.)

Works in Progress: Garden

Before…

Works in Progress: Garden

After!

I also made a little sign with paint pens on some bits of slate to mark our morning glories and moon flowers.  I’m hoping they take over the deck rails.

Works in Progress: Garden

Lastly, check out my leeks.  They flower every year and look so cool.  They also attract all kinds of very waspy looking insects, so I admire them from afar or in the evening, just to be safe.

Works in Progress: Garden

What are you procrastinating on?

Try It: Learn about Clamming

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Two summers ago, I got my first recreational clamming license.  I really wanted to learn to forage, but I was nervous about teaching myself.  I also felt like I needed a little guidance if I wanted to learn to fish, but I thought I might be able to learn to clam.  Why clamming?  Well, this part of New England is pretty big on clams, so it seemed like a good way to learn more about the place I now call home, and I thought it would be fun.  Why not?

The only problem was, I didn’t actually know any clammers, despite the fact that it’s a big industry around here.  (We even have a Shellfish Constable.  Isn’t that the coolest?)  So, I turned to books and the internet.  Just in case you share the same interest (You were probably hoping I would post on this, right?), I thought I would point you toward the resources I used to get started.

First up:  The Compleat Clammer by Christopher R. Reaske.

The Compleat Clammer

This book is an interesting read on more than just clams (as you can see from the book cover).  It tells you about clams and other shellfish, where and how to find them and how to “catch” them (it’s not like they really run away, but they do dig), and how to prepare them for eating afterward.  It also has an interesting trivia section.  Here are a few pictures from the book:

The Compleat Clammer

The Compleat Clammer

The Compleat Clammer

This was a great book for learning about the different tools I would need both for clamming and in the kitchen.  It was also really interesting.

Next up:  Clams:  How to Find, Catch and Cook Them by Curtis J. Badger.  While The Compleat Clammer is written by a New Englander, Clams is written by a Virginian.  It was great to get a bit of a look at clamming in another part of the country.  While much of the information in the two books overlaps, every region has slight differences, so I say, read widely and learn as much as you can!

Clams:  How to Find, Catch and Cook Them

Clams gives good strategies for those with and without a boat as well as interesting history and lots of good recipes.

Clams:  How to Find, Catch and Cook Them

Clams:  How to Find, Catch and Cook Them

I also spent time on Google and YouTube looking for clamming and cooking videos.  One of the most helpful, was this one on “How to Open Clams” by Rich Vellante of Legal Seafoods.

I also had to learn about tides and how they worked (Google it!) and read the town’s shellfish laws.  No illegal clamming for me!  It was a fun learning experience, but the part I love the most is being outside, knowing the beach and ocean better, and being able to bring home treasures for my family that we can actually eat!  It’s so cool!

If you have the chance, I hope you try it.  And don’t worry!  More information on clamming will follow.  I’m sure you were worried, but you don’t have to be any more.  ;)

Happy Independence Day!

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Happy Independence Day to everyone in the U.S!  When I was growing up, my Mom always made us wear red, white, and blue for July 4.  We’re all decked out in red, white, and blue at our house today.  Here’s an up-close shot of my patriotic garb:

Independence Day!

Shorts: J.Crew; Shirt: Diesel–thrifted (yes!)

We’re also getting into the spirit with our food.  We tried this recipe and came up with these chocolate covered pretzels.  I think I would use white chocolate as my main chocolate if I did this again, but nevertheless, they are good and easy to make.

Indpendence Day!

I think we also need some late strawberries.  Aren’t these gorgeous?

Independence Day!

If you plan on relaxing at all this weekend, here’s some reading for you:

  • Have you ever looked at Susan Branch’s cookbooks?  A friend just recommended her work, so I’m looking at The Summer Book, which is filled with recipes, gardening tips, and more all illustrated with colorful watercolor paintings.
  • A walk in the woods is always more fun with a foraging book in hand.  The best I’ve found are by Samuel Thayer, who wrote The Forager’s Harvest and Nature’s Garden.
  • Want a fast-paced and interesting adventure book?  Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson may be aimed at a middle reader/young adult audience, but it’s good enough that even older readers will enjoy it.
  • Finally, if you’ve ever dreamed of two of your heroes joining forces, you’ll know how I felt when I heard about Craft South and Fashion by HandAnna Maria Horner + Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin teaching a workshop together?  Sounds like creative heaven.  If you go, report back!

 

Have a great weekend!

Of Clams and Chowder

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Foraging, clamming, cooking, New England food, summer.  All of these things can go into a good pot of Massachusetts clam chowder.  You can buy a great bowl of chowder at a lot of places (my favorite is Ipswich Clambake, also my favorite spot for a lobster roll), but have you ever made your own?

Yes?  No?  Maybe so?

I think it’s time to talk chowder.

Chowder Time (Pattern and Branch)

 

When I first decided to make my own, I looked online to see if Ipswich Clambake had ever published a recipe, and…no luck.  What I did find was a recipe from Periwinkles in Essex, Massachusetts.  I tried it, and it was love.  This recipe is my ideal New England Clam Chowder:  white, thick, creamy, with chunky potatoes and clams.  Yum.  I’ll reprint it below with my very minimal changes.  I admit to trying to lighten it up very slightly, but only very slightly.

Ingredients:

3 celery ribs, chopped (makes about 1 ½ cups)

1 white onion, diced (makes about 1 ½ cups)

1 ½ cups of unsalted butter (12 tablespoons)

2 medium sized russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½” cubes

2 cups fresh chopped sea clams

2 cups of clam juice

1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste

½ teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 tablespoon chicken base

1 cup white flour, unbleached

1 qt. heavy cream (I removed the heavy cream and increased the half & half below from 1 quart to 2 quarts. This lightens it a little bit without sacrificing taste or texture.)

1 2 qt. half & half cream

Directions

1. Cut each celery rib lengthwise into five pieces, then cut pieces cross-wise into medium size pieces.

2. Cut ends off the onion and mince.

3. Add butter, onion and celery to sauté pan and sauté over medium heat until onions and celery are translucent and soft, about six minutes.

4. Peel and dice potatoes into ½ inch pieces.

5. Add clams, clam juice and potatoes and all seasonings (white pepper, chicken base, Worcestershire Sauce, and salt) into large saucepan and heat until potatoes are softened but still whole.

6. Add flour to onions and celery in sauté pan and mix into a roux over medium heat for about three to four minutes.

7. When potatoes are softened add roux mixture to pan with clams and potatoes and mix over medium heat to make the clam base.

8. Add cream and half & half to clam base. Over low heat mix and stir until well blended and near boiling. Be sure to break down all of the base/flour mixture into the liquids.

9. Serve warm.

Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Thomas Rafferty, Periwinkles Catering and Periwinkles Restaurant of Essex, 2009. – See more at: http://cook123.com/recipes/periwinkles-clam-chowder.html#sthash.36IKOknz.dpuf

 

Even though I tend to think of chowder as a winter comfort food, I usually do my fair-weather clamming in the summer.  I must not be the only one thinking about clams in the summer because many a town around here hosts a chowder fest in the warmer months.  In a future post, I’ll share a bit about clamming and some resources for you in case you decide to give it a try.  Buon Appetito!

 

 

Summer Fun

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Hi, friends!  Happy Summer Solstice and first official day of summer!  This has been the first week we’ve consistently had 70-degree or higher temperatures and it has been a gorgeous week.

Summer Fun (Pattern and Branch)

The advent of summer and the end of school has gotten me thinking about vacation activities.  I saw a toddler summer bucket list on Pinterest, so I made one for us, too.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • Tube down a river.  (Maybe we’ll try tubing the Saco River in Conway, NH.)
  • Visit Castle Island in Boston.
  • Try out the Swan Boats and Frog Pond in Boston.
  • Visit a swimming pond.
  • Go to the beach!
  • Try one new beach.
  • Go to Women’s Surf Camp (that one’s just for me).
  • Teach the neighborhood kids to play kickball.
  • Teach the neighborhood kids how to do the big jump rope.
  • Go to a wading pool.
  • Made popsicles, frozen yogurt, and gelato.
  • Do art!  Paint driftwood, make a mini art gallery, sew.
  • Try one new park.
  • Have playdates.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Pick some fruit.
  • Go clamming!

Summer Fun (Pattern and Branch)

We may not do all of these, but now we have some fun ideas to try together throughout the summer.  I’m pretty excited.  What about you?  Any summer plans or fun ideas?

 

Before we say good-bye, here’s a little weekend reading for you.

  •  I just checked out the book First Prize Pies by Allison Kave and it looks DELICIOUS!  I definitely recommend that you look through it.
  • Check out these super cool Euro bikes.  They’re like the mini-van of bikes.  You could haul so much with one of these…
  • Have you ever read any of the books in the Singer Sewing Reference Library series?  I have two of them and currently have another checked out from the library.  They are an excellent and very helpful resource.
  • If you’ve ever thought of stenciling fabric, Alabama Chanin provides the ability to download their stencil designs for free, so you can make your own versions.  If you have more money than time, you can buy premade stencils.

Have a great weekend!