Sadly, this blog is a bit sleepier than I'd like these days. Pop over here if you'd like to know why.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More Practical Knitting

Again on a trip to the desert, I took up the knitting needles.


I love love loved knitting this pattern. But, I can't remember what it is! I do know that it's available for free on ravelry.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Comfort Food

There's something about a rainy weekend (It's actully flooding here right now!) that just begs you to make pot pies.

Veg Pot Pie

Sadly my usual pot pie recipe is boxed up in storage, but I found a decent substitute. As it goes with pot pies, you don't really follow a recipe anyways.

This time I had a lot vegetable broth and soymilk mixture left over from the filling, and not enough regular soymilk for the topping. I decided to just use up the veg/milk instead of popping out to the corner market.

I think it worked.

I still had veg/milk left over so I baked it into a loaf of herb bread yesterday. Not too bad.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bread Abroad

Now that I'm finally settling in to my new apartment (and new life) here in Abu Dhabi, I thought I'd take advantage of my last few days off of work. What better way to spend the day at home than by baking bread?

Bread Abroad

I looked to my usual basic bread recipe because I knew I had all the ingredients on hand (subbing soymilk for dairy, olive oil for butter). Then I added 3 cloves of garlic sauteed in olive oil and various shakes of thyme, oregano, and sage. As a fan of savory breads, I was pretty happy with what popped out of my oven. The flavor is mild but present and the texture is on the course side. A nice country styled loaf in this big new city of mine.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Practical Crafting

When packing up my crafting supplies, I tried to include crafts that would be useful to me over here in Abu Dhabi. I packed up two skeins of cotton yarn with the idea of making dishcloths in mind.


Finally during a quiet weekend in the desert, I quickly knit up this one. The pattern is Chinese Waves from Ravelry. I like it fine enough, but don't know that I'd knit it again.


Sorry for the hasty post and photos. I'm off on a plane this afternoon but didn't like the idea of a solitary post for November! I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Every Western expat's least favorite word. It means "God willing" and if you're living in the Middle East, you will hear it a lot.

It's definitely an adjustment to hear Insh'Allah in reference to anything future tense. It's like how we'd say "Hopefully" before something we want to happen, except Insh'Allah is all the time. It's especially annoying when you get the impression that it really means, "Yeah yeah, I'll get to it when I get to it." You can let it drive you crazy, or you can add it to your own vocabulary.


In an effort to fully embrace the Insh'Allah expat lifestyle, I embroidered a friend a little bit of Insh'Allah to keep nearby in her kitchen.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hello, World.

My ClustrMap is resetting soon. It's fun to see where all the hits come from.

Thanks for stopping by, World.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I needed some sanity time the other day so I finally started a craft project I meant to start on Day One in Abu Dhabi.


It's a little garland made of tokens... one for each day spent in this new life overseas. Considering that I'm slated for more than 700 days... it's probably going to be quite long. I'll have to figure something out.


The felt is a mix of wool felt and Eco felt I brought from the states. I wish I liked the Eco stuff a bit better... it's difficult to cut crisply without super sharp scissors.

The idea came from the lovely Anna Maria Horner.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Bits

I'm still settling into life in Abu Dhabi. Not much time for crafting yet as I've been living in a hotel for the past month. I'm finding a few supplies around town, but mostly of the glitter and feathers variety. Soon I can dip into the supplies I brought from home. In the meantime, check out this lovely new masthead from Julia.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Music Bag

Music Bag

On my last productive day (crafting wise) in the states I set to work making Julia a tote bag for her piano music. She requested a market bag in gold and showed me a few examples of what she liked. I knew this would be last sewing project for awhile so I wanted it to be simple enough yet challenge my skills. After thinking it through (very informally) for a few days I decided I definitely wanted to use piping on the sides and add a gusset. This was my first attempt at making my own pattern/design and not following anyone’s tutorials (which the exception of this apron which was a combination).

Music Bag

I’m really excited and think it turned out quite well. The bag is reversible with gold and gray stripes on one side and a muted beige and cream on the other. I turned a little mishap into a design feature when I ran out of length for the straps. I pieced the two fabrics together to create the full length and like the way the two patterns blend when the bag is worn.

Music Bag

I think a white “wishing flower” (dandelion) would look lovely fabric painted to the widest gray stripe. Similarly, fabric paint on the more muted fabric would look lovely as well. Knowing my (timid) artistic skills and knowing Julia’s (fabulous) artistic skills… I left that task to her discretion.

Music Bag

In addition to the tote bag, I whipped up a little tiny bonus box bag using the same material. I just love these little things.

Monday, September 7, 2009


SIP: Day 67

A few weeks ago my mom and I headed out to the local peach orchard, picked 20lbs of peaches, and had them canned by noon. I love those kind of mornings.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Napkins to Pack


My scout in Abu Dhabi mentioned she had a hard time finding cloth napkins. When I combined this information with the knowledge that Stitchcraft is selling it's remaining fabric at $5 a yard... I settled on a quick little project to keep myself busy during the Great Wait of '09.

During this project I abandoned the style of corners I had been so excited about this spring. Now, instead of snipping off the raw corners, I just fold the fabric over. This way I don't have exposed raw edges if the sides don't line up correctly. (Except reading the tutorial again, that's pretty much what it's telling you to do... I just didn't follow it from memory very accurately!)

It seems a little silly to pack your own cloth napkins... but they certainly don't weigh much. And you just never know when you might need one...

(Currently flying over the US...)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Finally I feel like I can tell you, Blogland, what many people already know...

I'm moving to the Middle East!

SIP: Day 20
FedExing my contract, what a nice employee to take my photo

Just when I felt like it was safe to announce, my departure date would be delayed another week. Finally, about a month later than anticipated, I received my itinerary!

Flying out Saturday in the early morning to arrive in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday evening.

What might I be doing in the Middle East? Teaching primary school, of course!

Lucky me, one of my favorite very people will be there too! In fact, she's been there scouting it out for the past week and half...

Keep up with me on my new travel blog: Battered Suitcases. Remember to bookmark or follow along via Google Reader or Bloglines! (You won't want to miss it...)

I'll still be crafting and posting on this blog, but perhaps a bit less frequently. I'm bringing along as many knitting and embroidery supplies as seems responsible considering I'm packing for two years. In the meantime, the plan is to schedule a few posts to keep the blog running while I'm traveling and settling in!

I can't wait to get out into a new part of the world!

"She's got the whole world in her hands"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Green Beans and Beans and Beans

SIP: Day 71

Good golly, my green beans refused to stop growing this year. Last week I picked as many beans as I could transport back to my mom's house. We spent the morning preparing the beans to eat this winter by washing, chopping, blanching, and packaging them up.

My favorite way to eat green beans this season involves a quick little jump into the skillet and a very delicious homemade peanut sauce.

Monday, August 31, 2009

"Where the watermelons grow"


This year on a whim I added watermelon to the garden... since you can't really have summer without it. Unfortunately, although cute, the melons' flavor proved lackluster.


Saturday, August 29, 2009


Ok, there are really only two questions I get asked in regards to the blog... but it just seemed fun to create an FAQs page. Here it goes...

Q. Where does your blog name come from? What does "pilliebee" mean?
A. Pilliebee is derived from a childhood nickname, Pill Brain Feather, bestowed upon me by my sister. It just came out of her mouth one day and in hindsight she attached the following meanings: Pill from "Jill the Pill," Brain because I did well in school, and Feather she has no idea... "I think it just sounded good." I suppose it should really be "Pillie B." but oh well.

Q. Are you going to open an etsy shop?
A. No, probably not. I prefer to work out trades, although I have sold a few projects.

Anything else you want to know? My favorite color is green and if I could be any animal in the world I'd likely choose a cat.

Best Cat Tail Ever

Friday, August 28, 2009

Peach Tomato Salsa

The other night my aunt brought over a giant bowl of beautiful tomatoes. We still had some peaches left over from canning earlier in the week... recipe here.

Peach Tomato Salsa

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Box Bags

Box Bags

A couple more box bags. One for a birthday girl and the other for a soon to be traveling graduate. Yep, these are pretty addictive.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Food Cravings

I'm not sure what is worse... craving something vague that you can't quite put your finger on, or craving something so specific that it's difficult to replicate?

My mom lost a favorite recipe years ago for a delicious bean salad. No matter how hard she's hunted for it she can't seem to find the exact recipe. Yesterday I made a bean and tomato salad that came close...

It's so entirely simple I can tell it to you right here: 1 can cannelinni beans, pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half, 4 green onions chopped, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. (Thanks, Martha!)

You just mix it all up together. The recipe I was trying to duplicate had radishes so I tossed some of those in as well. We both really loved the salad (my sister too), but I don't think it was quite the same thing.

SIP: Day 63

Then later in the day I was so mondo craving these cookies. The trouble is... that recipe is packed up in a box located deep in my storage unit at this very moment. I did a quick search for oatmeal raisin recipes that don't include cinnamon or nutmeg (a little difficult to find).

I finally just started using a recipe after only glancing at it... took me halfway through to realize that not only did the recipe not call for flour, it didn't call for a rising agent either... I was not headed for the desired results. I added some flour and baking soda and hoped for the best. But of course it was too dry... after various attempts at achieving the right consistency I finally baked the cookies (which took forever). They taste ok... but definitely not what I originally had in mind.


But to be fair to the cookies... I was also in a rush to get out the door to hear these sweet songs at the Doug Fir.

So what do you think is more difficult to quell... a super specific craving or a very vague one?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Aqua Apron

This apron was to say: "Thank-you-for-the-boxes-Happy-Housewarming-you're-a-great-hostess!"

Aqua Apron

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Box Bag

SIP: Day 59

I made a little home for my future sock. Someday... someday I will cast on for my second Jaywalker... and when I do, it will live in this little bag. In the meantime, I think I'll just use it to store the supplies all nice and tidy. But really, I need to finish that pair of socks!

This box was made via a tutorial here. It's a pretty easy project... but the tutorial is bare bones. If you try it out, it might take you a little extra time to figure out the fourth step... I know it's not just my brain that had problems, I looked into it!


Regardless, I made a few mistakes (not counting the mistake of taking the photo right in front of the compost bin). If you notice, when zipped the zipper is at the opposite end of the handle. I don't like that. I actually even tried to think it through so that the zipper and handle would meet, but looks like I foiled myself. The other mistake is that the tiny Pilliebee label is upside down... however, it's likely that will only ever bother me.

I predict a few more box bags in my near future. Anyone want one?

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I have never been so excited to open the oven. I was watching the timer count down and calling out the minutes... What could possibly get me so worked up? Homemade vegan bagels, of course!

Vegan Bagels

Last Friday while in a restless mood, I heard this story on NPR. One of the takeaway points (for me at least) was the frugality of making your own bagels. I was intrigued.

I researched a few recipes and found, well, kind of a horrible one. It seemed pretty easy and basically too good to be true. So little effort. Turns out... soggy bread is not very appetizing. And it's never good when your mom admits to "choking it down." I won't even share that recipe with you...

SIP: Day 55

Luckily, I know of a little something called perseverance. Yesterday I found a new recipe and tried again. If you were present in the kitchen you would have heard me exclaim, "Wow! These bagels are already light years ahead of the other ones!" at just about every stage of the process. I was a little giddy with excitement.

Here's the recipe I used. I added a half teaspoon of garlic powder for flavor as well as about a fourth of a cup (I didn't really measure) of nutritional yeast for flavor and protein.

Vegan Bagels

I liked the entire process of bagel making so much (from the kneading to the eating), I'm actually making them again right now. But I also think listening to this goodness contributes to the enjoyment.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Summer in Pictures & Google Reader

I'm really having fun with my summer photo project. I'm taking a photo a day this summer to help me remember as many moments as possible! There have only been a few times where it gets a bit past the good lighting hour and I realize I've yet to shoot anything...(and I bet it's pretty obvious when you look at the photos as a set).

Here are a few more favorite shots:

Summer in Pictures Mosaic

And the full set is here.

Jumping to Google Reader. Amy at Angry Chicken mentioned Google Reader in a post a few days ago. I've been holding out subscribing to any such organization site (including Blogger itself) because I like the little surprise of clicking on a link and not knowing if there's something new and exciting on the other end. But really... it's not all that practical if you have limited time on the internet. And there are those moments when I feel like a cyber stalker because I'm convinced if I click it just one more time the blog will magically update. Never works.

I've plugged in all the links on my sidebar... but what are some of your favorite blogs?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Order your aprons in advance...

I completely forgot I made this apron. And it's a cute one too!

Kara Apron

A friend of a friend has taken a liking to my aprons. She's made it well known that she expects a Pilliebee apron at her bridal shower... whenever that may be. Fearing future circumstances might impede apron availability, an order was put in early.

I had creative freedom over this project so I decided to copy a photo of an apron I saw on Craftster. I couldn't find a similar pattern for the apron itself... so, a little trial and error was in order. Eventually it all came together... although I ditched the second pocket.

I hope the recipient likes it... although it may be awhile before she sees it... she still has to wait for the proposal, afterall. (And I'm pretty certain she doesn't read my blog...)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pinwheel Purse

Carly thought her purse needed a little something extra... and I agree.

Pinwheel Purse

It needed a pinwheel!
(Pattern from Wild Olive)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Early Birthday Pouches


It's kind of neat when you can procrastinate by being productive. I wasn't in the mood to pack a few weeks ago... so I decided I needed to make early birthday gifts for the most immediate birthdays I'll be missing (due to secret mission to be explained at a later date).


I'm finally feeling comfortable sewing in zippers which made these little pouches a quickish project.


I think they turned out nicely.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sewing Lesson

I've come a long way, baby! Just a few months ago, I was a student in a basic sewing lesson with my sister. I made my first apron... remember? I kept at it adding a few more items to my repetoire. After a few months of practice... I gave a sewing lesson of my own! Can you believe it?!

Annie's Apron

Annie has a sewing machine on loan for the summer and wanted to put it to use. We picked out some cute polka dot fabric and set to work on an apron. Lucky for me, Annie's a fast learner! We cut out all the pieces for a basic apron and then... uh oh... I didn't know how to work the machine! It was so different from mine! We put the project on hold for a few hours until a phone call revealed that the manual was actually in Annie's trunk. Of course!

Annie's Apron

Finally I solved the riddle and was able to get the machine working properly. We snuck in a few seams before Vegebration and finished up after the dinner guests retired.

What a beautiful first sewing project! Turns out I'm pretty good at teaching intelligent women. (I hope the same is true for intelligence-developing children!)

Annie's Apron

The best part was how proud Annie was of her creation. I love it!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vegebration 3.0

Every summer I host Vegebration (Vegetarian + Celebration) to celebrate my anniversary with Vegetarianism. It's a fun low pressure way to expose my friends to really good vegetarian food. The formula is... I provide soup and salad from my garden, everyone else brings a small meat/gelatin-free dish to share. We always end up with tons of delicious food!

This year marked year number 3! Circumstances called for not one, but two!, vegebrations!

Vancouver: (I didn't get many good shots that night)

Vegebration Mosaic (Vancouver)


Vegebration Mosaic (Bellingham)

I don't know if I've made any converts, but I was told that Vegebration is a favorite event of the season... and that counts for something! Thanks to everyone who attended!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Market Bag 5.0 or The End of the Market Bag Parade (I promise!)

Just one more Market Bag to share with you... and I'll make it quick. This was another birthday present and came together quickly.

Market Bag 5.0

This version has double pockets on both the black and the blue sides (with velcro closures).

Market Bag 5.0

See... that was painless, right?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Market Bag 4.0

I'm actually in Bellingham or hiking the North Cascades/Mt. Baker as you read this! Scheduled posts are so neat.

Here is yet another version of the amazing Market Bag. This one I actually kept for myself!

One side is the pretty gold leaves...

Market Bag 4.0

And the other this fun mix of randoms...

Market Bag 4.0

scissors, irons, butterflies, alien-robot-cupcakes...!

Market Bag 4.0

This version of the bag has two deep pockets on the gold side that close with velcro. I've been using it as my go-to bag lately... no complaints!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Carly Apron

I wanted to thank a coworker for being exceptionally warm and encouraging towards me this year. I spotted some Heidi Grace fabric that was perfectly tailored to her. She has a knack for unknowingly selecting clothing featuring little bird designs. Unfortunately, when I had time in my sewing schedule, the fabric had sold out.

The Carly Apron

Luckily, I had stash fabric that perhaps was even better suited to her.

The Carly Apron

What should have been a quick easy project turned into a heinous beast for reasons I can't fathom. At a certain point you just have to give in to the fact that some projects will have more "design features" than others. ("Design feature" is my sister's code for sewing mishaps.)

The Carly Apron

In the future I'd raise the pocket up a few inches... but considering all the trouble this apron was giving me, I didn't think it wise to rip it off and reattach.

The good news is she liked it!