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

Sunday, April 26, 2009

For Angela

Angela's No Cash Wallet

One Monday night I whipped up another one of these wallets from Bend the Rules Sewing. It's such a quick little project that forces me to pay attention to details. Plus, it's fast enough that I can finish it up in one sitting without having to lug the sewing machine back and forth.

Angela's No Cash Wallet

It arrived in its new home in Bellingham a few days ago, and the owner seems to enjoy it!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Professional Housewarmer? Is that a job?

Housewarming Apron

So I might be addicted to sewing aprons. Each apron I make I love a little bit more than the last. My current favorite went to a co-worker for her housewarming party (which I couldn't attend, what's new?). I dropped it by her desk Friday morning and was thrilled with her reaction. She liked it.

Housewarming Apron

I found the fabric in the vintage inspired section of my local craft shop and again followed the basic guidelines in Bend the Rules Sewing. For the ties I decided to halfway follow the BTRS directions but instead of cutting the ties at an angle, I folded the ends over like I'd seen on other aprons I own. I like this approach for saving time and fabric.

Housewarming Apron

It seemed like the apron needed a little something extra so I whipped up a little felt flower using the colors found in the fabric. It turned out being my favorite part of the entire project. My first thought was to sew it on... fortunately it occurred to me that for washing ease and styling preferences pinning it on would be more practical.

Housewarming Apron

I'm already planning my next apron for another co-worker's request...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Stitching

Spring Stitching

In life, if you're really really lucky, you can get in your car, drive for four hours and feel like you're coming home. There's one little house, on one little street, in one little town that gives me that feeling. A place where I know for certain I'll be greeted with the warmest hug, lots of smiles, and maybe even some beans and rice cookin'. It's not often as a house guest that your friend's roommates actually want you to stay longer...

Spring Stitching

Last week I decided to send a little bit of spring to that little house on that little street in that little town that always makes me feel welcome.

Spring Stitching

Each tea towel was stitched with lots of love and care, and a decent amount of freehand. The patterns are vintage from dating from the 1930s and '40s.

Spring Stitching

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fish N Chips

Last Saturday I set off on an adventure with my Watershed Stewards team. I'll admit... I wasn't so much looking forward to the main event... fish chipping. Turns out... when you know the full story, it's actually quite amazing. This is how it works (at least to the best of my memory):

Habtitat Restoration

In the natural world, once salmon spawn they die. Their bodies then decompose and replenish the ecosystem. Obviously, hatcheries are not natural. When hatchery salmon return to spawn, their eggs are cut out by workers for artificial insemination. When the egg quota is reached, the remaining returning fish are bopped on the head. Hatchery carcasses ("carcs") are sold to cat food companies. If cat food companies don't want them or can't use enough of them, they take a quick ride to the landfill. The nutrients in the salmon are not returned to the ecosystem, weakening the habitat for future generations. Bad.

Habtitat Restoration

This is where fish chipping steps in. Unwanted hatchery carcasses are kept frozen until most needed by the ecosystem (typically spring and fall). Volunteers of all kinds join in to feed the carcs into a wood chipper (yes, a wood chipper!). The chopped up bits of salmon fly back out into the river becoming food for the young fish either coming off of or entering into a long winter.

Habtitat Restoration

So what seemed like a repulsive project involving maiming carcasses, actually turned out to be an amazing way to support the ecosystem.

Habtitat Restoration

I can't say I didn't get smattered with fish guts, but I can say I helped keep 600 salmon out of a landfill and supported the new fish generation. I was also grateful to have a stuffy nose so that I didn't have to experience the smell. The larger fish remained frozen, but a few of the little ones were starting to thaw... eww!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Vegan Shortbread Stars

Vegan Shortbread Stars

When I was in Los Angeles I had this tremendous craving to bake shortbread cookies. I finally got around to it a few days later. I thought it might be a little tough to find a vegan recipe, but nah... there are quite a few out there. I picked through and finally settled on this one from Get Sconed. It's fun to find local blogs. I decided to make mine stars and skip the ganache. I also made them a bit thicker so baking took closer to 12 minutes.

I would happily bake these again and am thinking about bringing them along to an upcoming beach trip.

Vegan Shortbread Stars

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Find Ourselves a Country Home

Another apron. This one was made for a friend's birthday, which sadly, I was unable to attend. (But it sounds like it was quite the riot even without my karaoke skills).

I especially love how "farmy" my house looks in this picture. Boots, plaid, and chicken wire.


And here's Julia's apron in action. I love it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Til Country Dusk From Country Dawn

I very much want to snuggle under a pile of quilts in a field in the country with kittens to play with. There might be iced tea, flowers, and books involved too. I've been in a throwback country mood lately. It's showing in my music choices and especially the projects I've been working on.

Like this.

Apron for Julia

An apron for Julia in exchange for a new spring masthead. Luckily for me, (and Julia), my sister gifted me a sewing lesson for my birthday. Now, I've declared many many times my distaste for sewing. But it turns out... when you are working with a decent machine (ok, a super nice old Viking I was very lovingly gifted by my aunt when her mother passed away), and someone actually shows you how to do the maneuvers, I actually like sewing... quite a bit. Since that lesson, I've worked on several projects with minimal phone calls to my sister (minor questions!).

Apron for Julia

So the apron. We loosely followed the directions in Bend the Rules Sewing (my sister, the trained seamstress, was aghast). She suggested a few changes to improve the construction of the ties and it turned out very nicely. Inspired by the beautiful chicken scratch my mom stitched on aprons for me, I added a bird for some embellishment. I personalized it with Julia's name on one tie, and that was that.

Apron for Julia

It made it down to her and has already been put to work in the kitchen. Maybe she'll even send me a photo of putting it to use?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Apple Picking in Los Angeles

Griffith Park

Not really. For my birthday Taune gifted me a lovely little bag that she sewed herself! I'm such a sucker for handmade gifts...with good reason. I've spent many loving and frustrated hours crafting for friends and family and completely appreciate the effort involved. So much more special than picking something off a shelf (in most cases), but of course if anyone wanted to buy me this or this, I'm all for that too.

Apple Picking Bag

Back to the bag. It's the Apple Picking pattern from The Purl Bee and let me tell you why it's perfect:
A. nice and roomy
B. perfect width straps to not dig into your shoulders
C. made with love
D. totally cute

Pictures taken at Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sunshine & Sewing

Yesterday I got back from a quick little jaunt down to Los Angeles for some sunshine and catching up with a college friend. It was a nice change of pace. A few of my favorite photos:

LA Mosaic

The full set of photos is available here.

In return for letting me stay at her place and showing me around the city, I whipped up a little wallet from the Bend the Rules Sewing book. Despite my love for the book, and the book's author, it is full of errors. Luckily, I thought to visit the flickr message boards to find some really good advice... like adding a half inch in width! (Make sure you do it!) Although the wallet turned out pretty well, there were a few little details I wasn't happy with. I'd totally make another one, but make a few changes to the pattern. For example, I felt like the length of the wallet was too long. When I folded it up I didn't like the resulting shape. Oh well.

No Cash Wallet

No Cash Wallet

Because I wasn't super completely happy with the end product, and because I'm a bit of a perfectionist... I decided to just sew up a few napkins with the left over material and gift those as well.



Check out that monster cupcake from Crumbs.