Home Improvements

As a little break from The Sandwich Saga, I present you with this:

It's a clothespin holder I made for our back porch! Everyone in the house is absolutely in love with it, and it makes doing laundry so much faster. We used to have all the pins clipped to the line and we'd have to slide them down as we hung clothes, and our arms would get tired and it added a lot of time and effort to the job. I've been wanting to sew a little holder for them for some time now but all of the patterns I found for them were either attached to aprons, which I obviously wouldn't mind but Angela isn't the apron type, or they were waaaaay too big, like big enough to hold 500 clothespins. So I made this pattern all by my self, and it turned out exactly the way I wanted it to be. The best part was that I constructed it the exact way it was supposed to be done: I make no claims to be a master seamstress, and most of the time I'm flying by the seat of my pants, using my imagination combined with rudimentary sewing skills and half-read patterns. Often I have to stop in the middle of a project and rip something out or come up with a creative way to fix a problem. But not this time. Everything flowed and I was in the zone, and for the first time in my sewing career I actually felt like I knew exactly what I was doing! Yay!

Anywho, if enough people speak up about it, I will gladly post this pattern for free download on here. But you have to leave comments! I don't have time to make up a nice pattern if no one is ever going to use it, I'm busy growing things and baking things and cooking things and sewing things. I hope there's still someone out there who reads this thing, lol!


The Sandwich Saga Part 2

The bread (that's my pesto-baked version above) is an awesome step towards making our home more eco- and budget-friendly, but there's so much more we can do. I was reading through all the blogs I like last weekend and when I was over at Chez-Sucre-Chez I fell in love with the reusable sandwich wraps she was making. I don't know where on earth she finds the lovely oil cloth she used for them, but man are they ever cute! Unfortunately, I can't afford to buy one (I really love the woodgrain one, darnit), so I decided to make my own since she was nice enough to provide the link to where she got the pattern from. 

It's by a woman named Vickie Howell, who's a knit/crochetwear and sewing designer. The ones from Chez are better than mine because she used that cute little Martha Stewart scalloped-edge rotary cutter. I want one so bad! The only one I could afford is the deckle-edge one when it was on clearance a while back, so I used good old fashioned pinking shears. Anywho, you can find the how-to here at Kiwi Magazine. I made mine from an oilcloth tablecloth (actually it's acrylic-coated, not real oil cloth as it tends to be manufactured using harsh chemicals) that I bought from Target a few years back, red thread, and vintage buttons from the stash. I made two, one for me and one for my roomie, but she apparently never brings sandwiches anywhere (she works at a cafe and gets free lunches), so I might put the second one up for sale in my etsy store.

I have a bunch of oil cloth left over, and some in other patterns as well, but I don't want to be a copycat and compete with Chez for the sandwich-wrap clientele so I've decided I want to make some reusable paper-sack-sized lunchbags to complement the sandwich wraps. I found a fun and easy pattern here from Martha Stewart (actually I have that old issue, but it's the same thing). So that's next on my list of things to do, continuing The Sandwich Saga.


The Sandwich Saga Part One

I vow never to buy bread again! I bought the book that all the other bloggers have been raving about, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and it really is as easy, fun, and frickin' amazing as everyone claims it to be. I've made bread the old fashioned way before and it was a big pain in the behind. But now I've successfully baked 4 loaves and I need to mix another big batch of dough, and it really takes no time at all. I made the basic dough recipe in the book thus far, and on a couple loaves I spread some pesto in the middle and rolled it up before I baked it and it was soooo good! Anywho, I'm really serious about not buying bread ever again, because for one, I'm super broke right now and baking it this way is a lot cheaper than buying it. And for two, it tastes so much better than the cheap, crappy bread I can usually afford to buy. Angela and I are trying to eat locally and sustainably (not to mention cheaply), so this is step one. Steps 2, 3, 4, and 5 have been photographed and I will post them soon!


Spreading the love like butter!

I wanted to mention an awesome site I want to get the word out about. For the past few weeks a new member of the stitch 'n bitch meetup group I started (Which, by the way, is doing super-uber-awesome except for the fact that I can't find any sponsors... Next post I'll go into more detail maybe.) has been coming to hang out with us and the moment I met her I just thought, "Man, this girl is awesome!" Her name is Courtney and she's starting up a business giving private art lessons to kids. 
Her website is www.artdelivery.info, and when you check it out, can you believe she built the website herself after one of those HTML crash courses?! It boggles my mind. Anywho, at the first meetup she came to she brought along bright colored felt, 3 Aranzi Aronzo books, and enough enthusiasm for all of us to gleam some extra. By the end of the night she had me and Jill making little business card holders out of shared supplies and having a ball. I can see why she's so good with kids, she's so enthusiastic and fun. So if anyone out there is looking for someone to come spend some artsy quality time with the kids, Courtney's the way to go. She's willing to go all over the bay area, and you can check out her website for more info.

Also, today I received a note from a lady who runs a blog called The Rikrak Studio. She wrote to let me know she mentioned me and my little etsy shop in a post because I was the first person who ever hearted her shop. The post is so sweet, and it seriously made me tear up when I was reading it at my work computer. It's so nice how people still appreciate small gestures like that. I remember how excited I was to get my first heart, given to me by Sarah of Hi How Are You? She has a cute blog and an etsy shop so go check it out!


Happy Easter!

I spent my day with Dennis, having a wonderful time. We had omlettes for breakfast, then I made rice krispie treats and we dyed eggs using the marbelizing technique from a Martha Stewart Magazine from a few years ago. He went home at about 2:30 and I worked in the soon-to-be garden (more on that later), and now I'm considering making a ton of deviled eggs. It was a lovely day, hope everyone had a nice time.



Draft snakes! My goodness, these took me freakin' forever to make and I made waaay too many of them. I started this project a week after Christmas when it was unbearably, rediculously slow in the toy store and I had lots of time to spare after I organized every last item. I had a bunch of fabric scraps lying around taking up space, add to that the ones my mother gave me, and some I couldn't help buying from Christina's on etsy, and that makes a ton of fabric bits. But they were so beautiful yet so small I couldn't figure out what to do with them except some kind of patchwork. 

So, since I live in a very drafty old place I decided it would be nice to cut the pieces into 2 1/2 inch wide strips of random lengths and make some lovely patchwork snakes to keep the chill out, and then I could sell some extra ones. Then I matched up pieces of complimentary patterns into nine "personalities": the odd one out, the girly girl, the hipster, the green thumb, the diva, the tomboy, the treehugger, the sunny disposition, and the sweet tooth. I didn't realize how far those little bits of fabric would go until I had them all cut and started to pin them... I went a little nuts and ended up with about 40 snakes, which is about 800 inches or 66 feet of patchworked scraps.

It took me so so so long to make all of them and I've very nearly missed the proper season to list them. But they are still very useful in the summertime to keep the chill out at night and the heat out in the daytime. They make a home more comfortable, a little more colorful, and reduce heating bills. I filled them lightly with lentils, which overlap like shingles for better wind protection, and a bay leaf to keep away bugs and bring good luck. 

I know, I'm friggin nuts. But they have cute little tags and are easily customizeable to fit any window or door. And at least I don't have that huge pile of scraps laying around anymore... Now I have an even huger pile of heavy snakes until they go off to new homes, lol.