Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Yes, I know that I probably should have avoided the flash, but you get the picture. I'm very proud of this hat.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Pie Making

Pumpkin, apple, blueberry and chocolate, oh my!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Last Colorado Totes

The left one has a double pocket worked into the front - one for pencils and lists and one for extra bags. Yay!

Just three more sets to make and two are already cut out. They're for Oregonians though so I'm not on quite the same time deadline.

I may become an addict



The magic of felting is terrifying in its power. Horribly misformed, grotesque shapes are magically transformed into usable objects. It fascinates me. I think I'll needle felt the final product a little though- still a little muppety.

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Snow!

Even the ugly tree is beautiful in its snowy coat.

So, Monday and Tuesday's snow days were expected (sort of) and I was resigned after Wednesday's late start and school on Thursday that we were going to be in school today. The temperature was just too high to get any snow to stick. Yay unpredictability! What a way to start winter break! No school until January 7.
Not only is it all winter wonderland out there but every so often it starts snowing great big, fluffy, Hollywoodesque flakes again. Delightful.

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Totes

The only green totes, even though they don't really look it in this picture. Five sets to go...

Brown Totes

These are my favorite, although circles definitely stretch my appliquing skills.

More Kittens and Totes (and a Quentin!)

The lone blue tote pair. (Browns to be posted later today!)

Q and Ewok asleep!

Q and Ewok awake! (I told him that he shouldn't let such little babies watch TV.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Black Grocery Totes

Only 9 more sets to go and four of those are all designed and cut out. The sewing machine decided that it no longer wants to sew through as many layers as it used to so I had to change the strap attachment after one top took me an hour! Thank you again serger for making my life a little easier. Thankfully, the rest went considerably more quickly.

The rectangle on the one with the stripe is a pocket! I like that a lot.

The flower applique was of my own design and by far the most complex that I have attempted. I'm not pleased with the result (the curves came out a little sloppy) but I am still learning and the bag will still hold stuff.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Goodbye Kittens!

The kittens are now big, fat, and troublesome and ready to find forever homes. We take them back tomorrow afternoon. They've clearly made themselves at home here. I hope their new families enjoy them as much as we have.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Crafting - First Success

So, here's the first pair of grocery bags that I am making for holiday gifts. Only twelve more sets to go. So much fun!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sewing Practice, Kittens and Cooking

Today, Black Friday, I braved the bargain seeking hordes and went to JoAnn's Fabrics. I was surprised and delighted to find that by the time I got there it was pretty quiet and they still had everything I wanted, including the serger that was on the doorbuster sale!

I got the bottomweight fabric necessary to start me on my Christmas "shopping bags for everybody" project. With materials and tools now at my disposal, I went home and learned how to use a serger and how to use my sewing machine to do simple appliques. Below is the first bag...not professional quality, but sturdy and neatly done.

After sewing around the bottom, I used the serger to give it a quick finish. SOOOO EASY! I think I'm in love. Thank you for the early birthday/Christmas present, Mom!
On other, entirely unrelated, fronts, I promised to put up pictures of the six kittens we're fostering. The three black ones are named Hekyll, Jekyll, and Funf. The two black and white (a boy and a girl) are Puppet and Little Girl. The tabby is called Ewok. Just over a week and they go back to the shelter to find their homes.
Ewok had just had her bath about a week ago. (They're better at cleaning themselves now.)

And for my final sidenote, I've been meaning to post this photo since November 1. It's the huge batch of Three Bean Casserole that I made and froze. Four solid meals worth. I carried the casseroles down to the freezer in the huge pan I made the batch in. I got it at an estate sale. It's black enamel on the outside, bright red inside, and absolutely enormous. It makes me very happy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall's Harvest

Now we know what 100 lbs. of wheat looks like. It should be enough to make bread for the next far I've been too busy to try any though.
We went to Detering's on Saturday, lured by the advertised end-of-season peach special. Farms seem to be dangerous places for me. Q used up the last of the apple butter a couple of weeks ago, so I knew we needed apples too. Anyway, we walked away with 40 lbs. of peaches, 25 lbs. of apples, and 20 lbs. of pears. (The pears were just for eating because I'm entirely unable to resist them and they were being sold by the box.) Anyway, 21 pints of apple butter (equivalent, some are in 12 oz. jars) and 15 quarts of peaches later, our kitchen is again free of unprocessed produce (except for the drawer of pears in the fridge). The pantry is getting delightfully full.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Here are before and after pictures. The raw tomatoes are the 100 pounds of organic we bought from Sunbow Farm. Great tomatoes, but I don't think I'll be able to justify the expense again. You can also just barely see the 20 pound box of onions we got there the same day. I was actually just getting them for storing, but was grateful when I realized exactly how many onions I would use in the marinara. That box disappeared fast and there are not a lot left now.
In order to can all the things Valerie and I needed, I went to Thistledown and got another 70 pounds of not organic, but they are local, which is actually more important to me. By the way, the whole tomatoes in the after picture are a few of those we've been harvesting from our garden, which I swear are some of the best tomatoes I've ever eaten - Early Girls. Definitely getting more of those next year. I want to figure out how to have a cold frame so I can get starts to thrive outdoors earlier next year. Maybe then they could fill some of my preserving needs as well as just being delightful for eating. Of course, I would then need to plant some Romas as well as my Early Girls.

So, what does 170 pounds of tomatoes become?

8 quarts of sauce, 16 quarts of marinara, and 28 quarts of diced tomatoes.

The marinara was my first experience learning to use the pressure canner, out of three batches of 7 quarts each, I ended up with a total of seven sealed. I froze the rest. Each time it seemed a little more successful, even if the numbers don't support that assessment. Try, try again, I suppose. It was nice when I was just using the boiling water canner because I got little jolts of success to bolster up my home-preserving ego between failures.

Friday, August 22, 2008

August Projects

On Sunday, Q got up and decided we should do the laundry room project - a project that I had assumed we wouldn't do for at least several more months. I had not counted on my husband's kindness or on how much he wanted to make the shed less crowded. (Cabinets take up a lot of storage space!) By Sunday night the laundry room had been repainted "Baby Smiles" (not such a good paint name, but it is a lovely, very pale yellow) and the upper cabinets were in. On Wednesday night we labored (mostly Q) to install the base cabinets and get the counter top on just right. The join is slightly raised but I think the cabinets are almost 50 years old, so it's not bad at all. With a little bit of elbow grease, Goo Gone, and Simple Green they cleaned up really well. The picture doesn't do justice to how light, clean and airy the laundry room feels now. Wire shelves are going to go in the gap between the cabinets and the laundry detergent (currently on the counter) is going to sit up on those.

I was joking with friends that most of the stuff I keep in the cupboards is almost true to their period as well. The pantry is now available for actual food, the counter in the kitchen is less cluttered and the utility nook in the media room can actually hold everything it should. It's a beautiful thing. I can't wipe the stupid smile off of my face every time I go down there.

The other big part of this project that is still going to need to get done is putting in the laundry sink. It's going to sit between the washer and dryer in some sort of base cabinet that currently only exists in Q's inventive head. He's envisioning a pull out shelf that holds the cats' litter box behind some cabinet door with a cat hole, a deep counter top with a shelf above it that runs all along the wall at sill level, extending out to run above the tops of the washer and dryer. The broom and folding chairs will have to find new homes.

On other fronts, I went to the mountains for about a day and a half with my handwork group and got my braided rug started. It's about 1x2 right now.

It's not as wonky in real life as the picture makes it look. I think my poor photographic skills have conspired with the way I put it on the floor to make it look funny. It lies very flat, which I'm happy about. I've now run out of the light pink and am going to start with a dusty rose next. The gray (as you can already see) is getting progressively darker as well. The blue is going to remain throughout. I'm thinking it's going to be 2x3 as a final size, but am open to 4x5 if materials hold out and I still like its looks.

The other project I finally finished - it needed a button band and to have the buttons sewn on. I'm delighted with it. In the picture I'm wearing it over the dress that I made it to go with.