Saturday, July 24, 2010
I am so in love with the market bag I made months ago (using the tutorial from Film in the Fridge) that I set out to make more as soon as finals were over last week.
Chris has been asking for a "manly" market bag to use at the grocery store and farmer's market so we took a little trip to the fabric store for him to choose his fabrics.
He settled on the pairing of a navy blue, nautical print and a bright red fabric with black doggie footprints.
He seems to love it and it definitely goes everywhere with him these days :)
We decided to tweak the dimensions of the bag this time to make the bottom wider and we love the outcome of a roomier, more boxy bag.
The straps were still a bit narrow on Chris' bag so on the third bag (which I made out of the most scrumptious lemon fabric) I increased the strap width considerably and the straps are much more comfortable for long walks around town.
Now we have three market bags which we find to hold just about everything for most of our grocery store and farmer's market runs :)
The fabric pieces that I cut for both the inside and outside of the lemon bag ended up with the following dimensions:
2 pieces of 18 1/2 by 13 (for the body)
1 piece of 14 by 7 (for the bottom)
2 pieces of 27 by 3 (for the straps)
I just love these bags and can't wait to start making some for friends and family!
Happy Marketing :)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I think I went through every emotion and curse word in the book to get this baby done...whew.
You amazing quilters didn't tell me that I would break three needles, rip out the top at least twice, throw the entire quilt in the trash can and do the binding by hand twice (!!!) before I broke down and made my own unique style of zig-zag machine binding.
But, you know what? It's done.
And while my friends and family say they love it, I know that they are really saying that they love me for having the fortitude to finish it. And that's good enough :)
I started out on this project last summer (before I began crafting OR sewing) with the hope of finishing this lap quilt for my sister-in-law, Carrie, for Christmas.
My goal for this quilt was to make the front really traditional as Carrie has a traditional streak. I mean, come on, her favorite movie is Pride and Prejudice! And, I wanted the back to be completely modern as she also has a modern, independent streak a mile wide which I adore about her. In essence, the end product was supposed to be a perfect marriage of traditional and modern, just like her.
I did all of the purchasing, measuring and cutting on my own and was halfway through sewing the front strips BY HAND when my mom felt so sorry for me that she actually machine sewed over my hand sewing and finished the top of the quilt for me. And so it sat, top done, folded neatly on my desk, for longer than I would like to admit.
Needless to say, Christmas came and went. And then Carrie's birthday in February came and went.
I made the backing all by myself, just after her birthday, on my new machine and then "stitched in the ditch" to sew the front, organic batting, and back together.
Then, I hand-sewed the binding...and proceeded to tear the whole thing off.
Then I put the quilt in the scrap pile and left it there for months.
Then I got so mad at it that I machine sewed the binding...and I hated it so I ripped it out again.
Then I decided that it had to be finished so I machined sewed the binding again!
And, while unique and a bit road weary, no one can say that it doesn't have character :)
Love you Carrie - hope it keeps you warm!
Happy Cursing, errr...Quilting Everyone!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Today I became a chicken. Metaphorically of course.
My husband and I have three adorable teenage chickens who seem so absolutely happy in the daily course of their lives that I was positive that there were lessons to be learned from them. So I let them out of their chicken cathedral, a palatial chicken coop that took us much too long to construct and decorate, and got down on their level. I mean really got down on their level.
I lay in my belly, in the grass that desperately needed mowing, surrounded by chicken poop and dog poop and, god literally only knows what else, and I attempted to scientifically observe chicken behavior.
All too soon I realized that there is nothing to be learned from scientifically studying chickens. It's much too sterile an approach for these amazing little creatures and to really figure out what makes a chicken tick I had to let go of the hypotheses and clinical observations and just feel what a chicken feels, see what a chicken sees.
So, I gave in, crawled a little closer to the babies, lay my chin on my hands and watched, really watched, with an open mind and an open heart. When chickens find something of interest they throw their entire beings into it. If it looks edible they gobble it up with great abandon. If it needs further exploring they scratch at it until it all becomes clear in their little chicken minds. Then, they try to eat it again. If it runs they chase it, wings flapping, tail feathers flitting wildly behind them and they just, well, go for it.
If it flies, by Jove, they fly right after it. They jump right up into the air, flap wildly, squawk like it's going out of style and then, mid-flight, they inevitably take a fancy to something else and begin the process again. They don't fret about lost chances or the bug that got away. There's always another interesting patch of grass and another shiny tidbit that just has to be examined. And they never, ever, get embarrassed about running in circles, ad nauseum, just for the pure joy of it.
And you know what? When they get hot, or they get tired, or bored, they lay down. Imagine that. They just scratch themselves a nice new layer of cool dirt and they lay down. Generally right on top of one another. They use each other as pillows and blankets simultaneously and just snuggle right in. Not a care in the world.
Chickens preen when they want to. In essence, they scratch it when it itches and the rest of the time they leave it alone. We can learn a lot from that mentality. They revel in dirt baths, and I don't mean $100 sterile mud baths, but simple, organic, right off the ground, dirt. They throw it up in the air, they roll in it and then they get up, shake it off and they get on with their little chicken lives.
They don't care about a ruffled feather every now and then and they never hold a grudge.
From what I can tell a chicken thinks like this...if it's bigger than you (like say, a German Shepherd), peck it in the nose to see if it's really dangerous. What a fabulous idea! They must figure, well, it's bigger than me, let's really piss it off by poking it on the nose and if it eats me, then well, the suffering won't be drawn out. If not, then it's all good and...oh look...a bug! No excessive stress...just a matter-of-fact peck. Maybe that's why it's called the pecking order ;)
Chickens, when raised from babies stick together. If two of them wander off to investigate some new, intriguing patch of grass and one looks up and realizes the other two are too far away all hell breaks loose until they are, once again, within their proximity comfort zone. But they don't dwell on who left who or any misplaced abandonment issues. They just fix it, then and there, and get on with life.
And when chickens want to get somewhere they go from zero to speed walking in nothing flat; wings flapping, butts shaking, beaks squawking. No dilly-dallying. Unless of course there is a bug in their path, in which case all else must be forsaken to investigate.
So, I spent the day wallowing in dirt and speed walking with chickens and you know what? It was the most enlightening day I've had in a long time.
My recommendation? Get down on the ground, throw yourself into it and look at the world from a whole new perspective. You might be surprised at how much there is to learn.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
As I mentioned, Chris and I are venturing into the realm of canning and baking these days. Add that to our chickens, Chris' love of composting and my need to rescue every plastic bag and can and bottle from a sad life in a land-fill and we're starting to be referred to as "those people" on our court. But, as Chris says...he doesn't mind being labeled a hippie as long as he can shower whenever he wants to. Silly Chris :)
We made this delicious peach pie filling from the organic peaches at the you-pick "Impossible Acres" farm just down the road and decided to make the pie crust and crumble topping this evening.
We loosely used the peach pie recipe from the blog pete bakes! (http://www.peterandrewryan.com/baking/2009/06/peach-pie/).
I bake much like I craft as I look at recipes as loose suggestions. I know...I know...baking is an art and it matters how much of each ingredient you add...but we haven't had any major disasters so far from my "oh that looks like about a cup" measurements :)
The first time we made this pie we had a bake-a-thon over at our place with some good friends and we created 3 peach pies, 3 blackberry pies, strawberry jam and apricot jam. Now that we know how to do them ourselves we can't seem to stop!
The strawberry jam recipe we borrowed from Cake on the Brain (http://cakeonthebrain.blogspot.com/2008/07/homemade-strawberry-jam.html) and the apricot jam is from The Kitchn (http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/recipe-3day-apricot-jam--089449).
If you haven't had a chance to try canning yet it is no where near as complicated as I originally thought and we don't seem to have made anyone sick yet! There are a million fantastic tutorials out there so I won't add one here (I probably don't do it right anyway!) but there is something elementally amazing about knowing exactly where your food is coming from and what is in it. We now have about 8 jars of apricot jam and about 4 jars of strawberry jam. We might call that good enough for now and move on to raspberry and blackberry.
As we speak, this loaf of organic wheat bread (made with local honey from a friend's bee hive) is baking in the oven. Home-made bread and home-made jam. Yes, please!
So, here's the deal. I have the attention span of a new puppy on crack. A strange analogy to be sure as no one should be giving their new puppy crack but it gets the point across! My entire life I've jumped from thing to thing, absorbing as much information as possible about the topic and then moving on as soon as the desire strikes.
I blame my dad ;) He's the same way. One year he decided that we were going to sell our house in Orange County, CA, move to Wyoming or Montana, and become bison ranchers. The next we were definitely going to learn to fly Cessna airplanes (which we did) and then it was all about re-building old WWII jeeps in the garage or piecing together old clocks. I grew up with it and it's in my blood. I love everything and want to be able to have a conversation about ANYTHING for at least five minutes before the person I'm talking to clues in to the fact that I'm full of it.
So, while crafting and sewing has been my thing for the last few months I'm starting to feel the itch. I still love crafting, don't get me wrong, and I'll probably do it off an on for, well...ever but there's this little demon coursing through my blood that says it's time for the next mis, er...I mean adventure.
It's already started...
In March it was chickens and my gosh they are the most amazing little creatures. Who knew I had such a capacity to love livestock? They are the happiest little buggers in the world and Chris and I spend hours and hours just watching them interact with their world.
In May it was starting a 365 photo blog and while it is challenging and most of my pictures come straight from my iPhone it's been a blast!
In June it was discovering a you-pick fruit orchard in town and canning and baking like crazy. Two batches of apricot jam, strawberry jam and a peach and a blackberry pie later and Chris and I are still going strong on this new passion but it won't last...it never does.
Oh, and I discovered that I just HAD to have yellow high heels?! Why...I have no idea :)
So what new thing will the second half of 2010 hold? I have no idea. But I can feel it coming and I welcome it...that's what life is all about anyway, right?
Happy New Adventures!