Monday, July 30, 2007

Snippets from a Summer Garden

Yesterday we finally went to see the Harry Potter movie and then came home to watch the final stage of the Tour de France (of course), after which I decided to make Indonesian Beef Rendang for dinner. It sounds much fancier than it really is, but does take time to make. The bottom line, once again no crafting around here.

The garden is in the final throws of its summer beauty. Soon everything will go to seed and the tedious fall cleanup process will begin.
I've had quite a few people ask me to post more photos of my garden. Here are a couple.

These are "dinner plate" dahlias. They are about 10" in diameter.

The shade garden.

The bird house was just an unfinished one from the craft store which I painted with leftover paint and coated in a couple of coats of polyurethane. It's been outside for nearly 10 years and seems to still be holding strong.

It looks like we'll have couple of tomatoes this season.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A night at the races

It was a beautiful, sunny, Saturday evening, with barely a cloud in the sky.



and bicycles going at the speed of light.

What more could you ask for?
(photos taken at the Marymoor Velodrome in Redmond, WA)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Totally off-topic

This has nothing to do with craft, but...

One of the wonders of blogging is that it leads you down all kinds of paths. Jen at The Cottage Nest (a really cool blog, go check it out) left a comment on one of my posts. I love to go look at the blogs of people who like mine. As I was paging through her old posts, this one caught my eye. Finally, I thought, a kindred soul!

I never feel completely pulled together and am always totally lost when shopping for clothes. I often wish I could have Clinton and Stacy from "What not to Wear" go shopping with me, but then I don't look THAT bad. I'm caught somewhere in the middle between looking really stylish and looking really awful.

In one of the comments on Jen's post, someone referred her to this blog. I just LOVE it! Becca finds the best looks from all over the web and post links to them.

This is my current favorite and I may just head to the mall (on a SATURDAY!) and go find the makings of this outfit.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Me too!

Simplicity 3887 is a bona fide blogger favorite. I am amazed at the wonderful interpretations given to this pattern by bloggers. Check out Amy's, Julie's (scroll down), Mary's, and Lucy's versions!
Of course, typical to me, this very simple process did not go off without any hitches. I used a very pretty eyelet fabric from JoAnn's. I don't really like elastic around my fat muscular upper arms, so I made version E, but without the bottom elastic. I think my fabric was a little stiff, because when all was said and done, the sleeves looked like mumu sleeves. Really old-ladyish. Really!
So I unpicked the sleeve seams and put elastic in. It's not too tight, so I kind of like it.
Because this top is very flowy, I'm considering making the belt, which would turn it completely into version C (although I did chop some of the length off).
If I make it without the belt again, I think I'll shape the waist a little to make it less "baggy".
I made it in size 14, and it's kind of big, so I think I may go down to size 12 next time. (For non-clothes makers, these are not American sizes. A 12, for instance is for a 34" bust and 26" waist. It kind of scared me the first time I bought a pattern...)
And I think putting elastic in the bottom, a la version E, would actually look rather nice.

Bottom line: in spite of the long, grumbling essay above, I really like this pattern.
I have some fabric lined up, and may make another one today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm no Martha

...but sometimes I play her in the kitchen.

When I saw this on her show, I knew I had to make it. Fruit tart is Josh's favorite dessert. We buy one at the grocery store about once a month as a special treat. I swapped out Martha's berries for fruit, but kept the rest the same.

Be forewarned - this is a day-long process of making stuff and putting it in the fridge repeatedly, but oh, so worth it!

As another TV chef would say: Yum-oh!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Nothing much

Yesterday, as all Mondays, was a craftless day. Monday is the day I catch up on everything I let slide by the wayside the rest of the week. I DID finally sew some Velcro onto the bottom of Josh's IKEA duvet cover. He's had it for at least 2 years and the comforter always hangs out the bottom opening like a wet rag. Yesterday was washday and I was NOT going to put that comforter back in there without doing this. Woohoo!

This is what I spent 4 hours doing on Sunday. It's a prototype. I'm not happy with it, therefore no inside photos. I did however figure out how I'll do it next time. It's a holder for my little (very) sharp scissors that always manage to get their sharp point stuck in whatever bag I put them in.

Finish taking out the monster heather bush in the back yard
Take Syd to the groomer
Go buy a beige zipper so I can make a bag
Check Freddies for Strawberry Sunny-D
Fetch Syd from the groomer
Maybe craft a little

Monday, July 23, 2007

(very) Wavy Seams

I've been inspired by Kathy's wavy seam tutorial, and Kristin's spring table runner using this tutorial for a while now. So when I had some fabric that I love left over from the patchwork bag, I jumped at the opportunity.

Josh was playing games on my computer (his is too "slow"), so all I got was a quick glimpse at the tutorial and off I went.

My waves are REALLY wild, not exactly as gentle as Kathy's, which led to a lot of seam clipping, but I'm totally in love with the runner.

Of course, now the rug under the kitchen table has to go. It doesn't match the runner, and kitchen rugs are so passe anyway...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I'm glad...

...for Glads.

It's wonderful to be able to go out in the garden and pick these beauties.

Aren't the stems in the vase just lovely too?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Floral Fun

Yesterday I attempted another project from Amy Butler's book. A simple little project, I thought. I was wrong, very wrong! I know it's seems hard to believe, but this simple little organizer was much harder to make than the seemingly complicated patchwork bag.

In theory it wasn't more complicated, but getting the measurements and seam allowances just perfect in order for everything to fit together nicely was my downfall. Then, of course, as everyone who's tried working with Timtex or anything remotely similar probably knows, it is really hard to work with. Especially when it's in the middle of a sandwich which has to be turned right side out through a tiny little opening.

Anyhow, enough whining already. It turned out fine, if a little more floppy than I'd have liked. It stores all the little loose things on my desk very nicely in one spot, but easily accessible, and it goes with the colors of my workroom (thanks to the lovely fabric I received from LeeAnn in the "Use what another person has" swap).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More wisdom from BHG

Today I bring you the second installment of wisdom from the 1961 version of the "Better Homes & Gardens Decorating Book". Some of you may remember Chapter 1 - "It's your home, what kind do you want?"
Today we're looking at color.
(If you click on the pictures, the full size versions will provide more detail.)

"Would you wear a check blouse with a plaid skirt? Would you choose a red dress to make you look smaller? It's easy to use the color facts you already know in decorating your home."

"Bold colors advance, pale colors retreat"
"Closely blended colors conceal"
"If you want to conceal...bulky lines...blend it to the background with matching or similar color." (This may be good fashion advice too.)

"One bold pattern is usually enough"
"You probably won't go out dressed like the golfer at the right..."
"Some colors are cool, some are warm"

"Unequal areas are more pleasing"
and my personal favorite from this chapter:
"Color is affected by its neighbors"
"If you have a red sofa that stands out against a blue rug, and a red bookshelf against white walls, slipcover the sofa to match the rug." (Oh my gosh!!!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ta Da!

Here she is. My Amy Butler patchwork bag from this book. The weather is atrocious today, so the photos are not what I would have hoped for.

The lining is a wonderful matching fabric I found at Joann's. I could hardly believe my luck.

I "only" broke two needles in the process and got the seam allowances wrong, but I'm very happy with this. Do click on the images if you want to see more detail.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

WIP Tuesday

I'm working on a project I'm very excited about. Here's a little sneak peek.

I'm also making slow but steady progress on granny's flower garden.

I have lots of home sewing (duvet covers, chair covers, curtains) waiting for me, but I'm having so much fun with the creative stuff that is falling badly by the wayside.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Four years of waiting

Pretty please?????

bleep, bleep, bleep...


Sunday, July 15, 2007


I love Rainier cherries. They just have a better taste and texture than normal old Bings. The only problem is that they generally cost an arm and a leg. They are truly a Washington State original though and I get at least one pound every season to savor slowly.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Now I remember...

...why I don't make clothes.

The fabric was extremely slippery, which caused the pattern pieces to be cut out rather inaccurately, which resulted in a lot of seam ripping and swearing talking in an angry tone of voice. And then there are those two dark splotches which just happened to end up quite symmetrically on the front of my chest. Fortunately they look worse on the photo, and because I keep staring at them, than in "real life".

Pattern: Butterick 3385

Friday, July 13, 2007

Strawberry delight

What do you do when your family is all eaten out on fresh strawberries, but you have a bunch of them sitting in the fridge threatening to go bad? Make strawberry sauce for ice cream!

Strawberry Sauce

1 pint strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cut about 1/3 of the strawberries in half. In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine strawberries, sugar and vanilla. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a blender, puree about 1/3 of sauce, then mix back into remainder. Store in refrigerator.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Swap Goodness!

The "Use what another person has" swap was my very first. When I received my swap package from my partner LeeAnn, I knew why people do this. The joy that overcame me upon receiving all this wonderful stuff was indescribable, not to mention the inspiration that now flows through my veins!

wonderful fabrics

something left over from what must have been an amazing project (show us LeeAnn!)

an absolutely stunning pillowcase

buttons, beads, thread, vintage trim, and more

so much stuff, it filled almost half of my patio table

I'm a very lucky girl!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Use what you have

Ooh, having my sewing machine back is fun!!!

I'm still using what I have, thanks to Katie. Add to that being inspired by Amanda's patchwork obsession posts, fabric still left over from the apron project, and the need to make something for someone (it's a secret, I can't say more), I came up with this yesterday. This tutorial helped a whole lot.