Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A new bag!

I received some fabric "scraps" a while back from a friend's mom, and the fabrics were truly too nice to call scraps. They were perfectly cut squares, some cotton, some a thicker canvas... When I think of scraps I think of junk people throw away. Stuff that was cut from something else and just sits there. Anyway, so I had some fabric from her that wasn't going to work for my quilt. Its a thick canvas cotton. So I was thinking and thinking, and I decided I'd make a bag!

I've never made a bag before, and I didn't have a pattern. I just made it up as I went along and it turned out fantastically!

Cutting out the pattern that I decided on. One of each color, one for each side.
This is for the bottom and sides. I didn't have a long piece, so I just pieced it out later. I figured out the length by measuring around the bag with a piece of yarn.
Pinning the bottom. After this, I pinned the other side on.
I traced the sides on regular cotton so that I could make a lining for the bag.
Pinning the lining. This took a little while to figure out, since it had to go in the bag right side in, but be sewed to the front...
The finished bag! I added a strap with the green fabric. I still have to sew in pieces of the lining so it doesn't bunch, but its on my etsy page! Check it out to see more photos.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Phiddippus johnsoni

Saw this little guy climbing around in my yard the other day and I wanted to capture a picture of him. This one was a bit blurry, but when I got a bit closer....
... he looked me straight in the eyes and said, get away!
This is a male red back jumping spider. Apparently pretty common, but the first I've seen. He was very beautiful.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Forty Foot Man

This is really cute video and song. You really feel like you know this little paper guy. It really inspires me to take some video with my new camera... soon. soon. I hope. Watch out for those 40 foot men!

Forty Foot Man from Uniform Motion on Vimeo.

New labels have arrived!

I got my new labels in the mail last night!
They are way better than I expected they would be, and I am very pleased.
I saw on MADE that they bough some labels from this etsy company called "worldsalelabel". They are from Hong Kong, and they really do a thorough job. When I wanted to order, I messaged them what I wanted, they designed the label for me (probably 5 times until I was satisfied, mostly because I want more than I can get), and when I was happy, they told me what to order.
A whole box of my main labels!
This is what they will look like close-up
The mini labels for adorning the outside of clothing among other things
I also bought some size labels for clothing.
I honestly don't think I will ever have to buy labels again! The best part is, they were pretty cheap. I paid about 9 cents a label for the main labels and the mini labels. Pretty good considering I paid $1 a label for my old ones.

Music Monday and A new Machine

Today's song, off the new beirut album. Loving it much and even more than the first one.

My sewing machine officially bit the dust this weekend. Last week, if you remember, I called the repair shop and they quoted me $50 minimum to send out the machine, plus the cost of whatever parts I would need. I looked up my machine online (I received it as a gift) and it was about $70 originally. There was no way that I am going to pay the same price to repair a machine that it costs new. So, I tried to take apart my old machine to no avail.
I just couldn't do it. I took a trip down to JoAnn's Fabric thinking that the sold sewing machines, I think they normally do...
So in this JoAnn's there is a separate little shop inside that is a Viking Husqvarna sewing machine dealer. I tried out the machines just for fun. Their middle of the line was sewing like I've never experienced it. Truly amazing. I had no intentions of buying anything there. I figured I'd go home, get another $70 machine online and call it a day.

This is where my amazing husband comes in. He just says, "Ok, we'll take it", and my jaw drops, and we sign the papers and before I know it, I have a brand new sewing machine. Don't you love him? I sure do! He knows I "need" it. Its my favorite thing to do when I have a day, or free time. I've been trying to start up my business and its going well (minus the 2nd 'real' job that takes up all my time).

Are you ready?
Dun Dun Duuuunnnnn
I unpacked it, set it up, and sewed a little. Its a dream! I love my new machine. I know it will probably never break, and I know I'll be able to do a lot more with it than I could in the past. It comes with a free class that will teach me all I need to know about using it. I'm so excited!

While I was drooling over my machine I accidentally left the door to my craft room open and my dog secretly came in. I've been keeping him out of there because I have my quilt pieces all set out on the floor waiting for me to sew them. He took this opportunity to come right in and do this:
As I took this picture I was yelling at him.
"Get up!" "Out!" "Off!" "Bad DOG!"

This is what my dog does when he is in trouble
How can you be mad at such a cute gremlin?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A real gardener

Today I made my choice between becoming a gardener, or an animal lover. I know I'm both, but my garden comes first. The last few days a mouse or rat has been digging holes in my garden. Today I woke up to check it out, and there were holes again. I proceded to cover up the holes when the soil gave way and a huge indent under the soil was covered. Then, I heard the screams. I'm positive I covered up a bunch of baby SOMETHINGS. Sad. I tried to uncover them, but I couldn't find anything. I think they were between the planter box and the wall (there is a small space there). I couldn't do anything. So I covered it back up and left it. Honestly, I want them gone. I want my garden. They dug up most of the cilantro... I'll have to plant more and hopefully that will deter them from coming...

After this week I don't have much for you. Sewing machine is still broken. I haven't had the energy to crochet much.

Here is a photo of the Harvest moon from earlier this week

I've got a huge list of things to do today including replanting of some plants, mostly some new houseplants I got for my birthday.

Since I haven't been doing anything, here is some

Monday, September 12, 2011

Music Monday

I've been listening to this song quite a bit when I'm driving lately. It really makes me feel good. Its one of those songs that you really want to yell out as loud as you can.

Art links that I've enjoyed in recent days

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My new class

So as I've mentioned I'm working at a new school, and I wanted to share with you some exquisite wall art that they have there.

Mainly I'm sharing this because I think that these are wonderful paintings for a child's room at home, or nursery ideas. I love how modern, yet cute these paintings are. They look like they will take some talent, so they aren't for the artistically challenged types.

Sorry for the phone pics, its all I had...

This is the preschool bathroom, 2 different walls.

There is so much amazing detail here. Honestly, should be made into a wallpaper. The teacher that painted it no longer works at the school, but she should design wallpapers...

This is in the kindergarden book area. The teachers were going for a living room vibe.

For any of you who have personal interest in my life, this is what the classroom I'm working in looks like.
I painted that blue thing in the background. Its supposed to be to hang the kids artwork on.
I am very interested to learn how the classroom will function. I guess I will learn this on Monday. I don't really know what is expected of me, but I'm just going to do what I know. Play with the kids and have a good time. Help them answer their own questions. Be a friend. Hopefully Montessori and Reggio have those things in common!

Making homemade pretzels

The last two days have been extremely busy. I started working, and I'm honestly been unable to sit in front of the computer and type. I haven't checked email, nothing. Thursday there was a massive power outage, but luckily my house was spared.

I've received my new cutting mat, and my new crochet borders book, but unfortunately my sewing machine bobbin spinner is broken. The sewing machine shop says it would cost over $50 to fix! I'm going to have to mess around with it myself a bit before I can even think of doing that. For now, I'm working on my crochet blanket.

Now, on to how to make pretzels! This was SO EASY and really satisfying.

You need :

  1. 1 1/2 cups warm water
  2. 1 tablespoon sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  4. 1 package active dry yeast
  5. 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  6. 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  7. Vegetable oil
  8. 10 cups water
  9. 2/3 cup baking soda
  10. 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  11. Pretzel salt or coarse kosher salt
First, put the warm water, sugar, kosher salt (from #3), and yeast in your mixing bowl and let sit for about 5-10 minutes. You should be able to see a difference in your yeast. You can see how mine was a bit bubbly.

Then, add flour and butter directly to the bowl and mix with your kneading mixing attachment until it pulls away and is formed into a ball.
Next, I took it out of the bowl, washed out the bowl (you can just use another large bowl if you don't want to do the washing now), coated the bowl with vegetable oil, and placed the dough in the bowl. I covered it with saran wrap, and put in outside (anywhere warm works), for about an hour.
After (I love before and after pictures of dough rising. Its so satisfying)
After the hour, take a large pot an boil the 10 cups of water with the baking soda. While you are waiting for it to boil, take out the dough and knead it again on an oiled surface. Once you feel like the air bubbles are out, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Preheat your oven to 450.
At this point you can shape your pretzels any way you like. I rolled out a few snakes of dough and made twists. Some I left large and made into pretzel shapes. Once you shape your pretzels, drop them in the boiling water for about 30 seconds. Basically you want to wait for the pretzel to rise to the top of the water and puff a bit.

Once you boil, pick them out of the water with a slotted spoon, and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper, or the beloved Silpat. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my silpats. Get some! You never have to use cooking spray, which I hate, and they wash clean with just a bit of water.

Finally, coat with your egg yolk and water mixture, sprinkle the pretzel or kosher salt, and bake for 12-14 minutes.

I made two batches of these so far. They are SUPER easy and delicious. I made some for small get together here at my house and a friend commented "these are the best pretzels I have ever eaten". He was shocked that I had made them myself! For that batch I shaped them like mini bagels and served with 2 different types of mustard.

Readers, whoever you are out there, try this recipe! Its really worth it. I think I will make this over and over again.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Old crochet blanket

About 2 or 3 years ago I learned to crochet granny squares. One day I started crocheting a square, and I never stopped. The blanket was put on hold for a while in leu of other interests, but I've brought it back out again to work on while watching tv. I'm hoping to finish this ball of yarn, and then add the edging.

So far this blanket has one huge ball of yarn, and about half of another. I suspect I've got quite a ways to go.
The corners
What the main part of the blanket looks like
The leftover part of my yarn ball.
I'd like to finish off this blanket with a granny ripple in a different color, but i'm not sure this can be done. Does anyone reading have experience with this?

I'm thinking an olive green blend would look nice on the edge of this blanket. Maybe blue... I'll have to explore.

Here is a tutorial I found on doing a granny ripple

After a little bit of research, I decided on purchasing this book that has been on my wishlist for a while.
Now I can "shop" for a border once I get this book. I'm excited for some new dainty thing I've never seen before!

On another note, I start my new job tomorrow. I am excited, but also will miss being at home. The crafting will have to take a backseat for a while, but I'm hoping that by planning in advance, I will still be posting often.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Some quilting inspiration

Since I've been working on my quilt a lot lately, I've been searching things online and I found this recently.

Its this really awesome, old, quilt along that craftzine put on. The links are still up on how to craft an awesome quilt, and I'm hoping to be able to do something this good soon.
The flikr pool for this is still up and here are a couple of quilts that were created last summer with this quilt along. I would LOVE to be a part of something like this!

Mod Mood Quilt, Summer 2010

The color schemes have helped me place squares in my quilt.

This is it so far. I have a long way to go, but I'm really liking it so far!

A couple photos from the weekend, and my husband's uncle's garden.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Music Monday

Here is a song the came into my head this week while working on my quilt. I used to play it on the piano when I was younger. Its pretty great.

I don't have much for you today. It was a lazy labor day.
This weekend I went to Borders, since they will only be open for a few more days. I got these books for $4 and $8!

They look like they should be some fun to read. The little bit that I skimmed through was pretty good! I've been working on my quilt, and I have a shipment going out to Idaho tomorrow.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday's end.

Today was spent finishing up projects. This means the house is messier, only one project is 100% done. Now is the stopping point. I will have to do my house duties, clean the kitchen, grocery shop.... I'd rather continue cutting quilt squares. I think it is almost enough!

Here is my cutting table for the day.
I ordered a new larger mat today from amazon with a birthday gift card from my sis-in-law. I hate that saying "in-law". Sister is sister, who cares about the rest, anyway, thanks Jill! I will now have a surface larger than my pinky nail to cut fabric on!

Here is the guest room/my craft room's floor today. I'm organizing the squares, I will try and place them more in the coming week. I hope after these scraps I will have enough to start sewing. This will be my very first quilt, and I'm excited. I can't wait to start to try more abstract designs. I think squares is good for the first try.

Today I also finished up the bird hanger for my cousin.

The hanger. This is where she can add a hook anywhere, to her ceiling, a window sill, you name it. I added this really neat bronze ball to the bottom of the hook area. It matches the heart on the bottom.

Here is the bottom. I used a bronze heart to weigh the end down so it doesn't just fly everywhere in the breeze.

Link Love