Thursday, January 31, 2008

January 31

In anticipation of starting a new job very soon, I made myself a lunch bag. This puppy is BIG. Big enough to hold my large square lunch-salad-sized plastic container. And a bunch of fruit, veggies, cottage cheese and high fibre bars on top. And a water bottle. Because when I start this new job, I'll be EATING RIGHT! I've heard that new employees at this company gain 15 pounds in the first six months, because of all the free, bad, food there. But not me, no-siree. I'll be LOSING fifteen pounds, all thanks to my new lunch bag that's large enough to hold a day's worth of healthy eating. Ignore the disbelieving expression on the button. You'll see.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

January 27

The dark green grapeyness on the piano stool had to go. This was my first attempt at upholstery, and the results are pretty wonky. It's all in getting even tension while stapling, I've learned. Obviously, my tension was anything but even. Nevermind, we all think it's a great improvement and I'm glad to have tackled (if not yet mastered!) something new. Yay for the new sewing machine ... my old one would never have managed this job.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

January 26

Following Barb's lead, I made some burp cloths for a friend who's expecting.

Some points to note:

(a) When I was little, I heard my mother refer to someone who was expecting a baby. I was surprised to later learn that this friend did, indeed, go on and have a baby. To my young mind, "expecting" didn't mean "having". I guess it meant more like "hoping". I mean, expectation and certainty aren't the same thing, are they?

(b) These burp cloths are made from what Josh calls "diaper rags" and Gerber calls "cloth diapers". This discombobulates me on three levels.

(1) We have many dozens of ratty diaper rags around here. Josh would buy them by the ton when he was a prop master, probably paying pennies apiece. But he's not a prop master anymore, so I was reduced to paying $13 for 6 of them at Babies R Us. That felt weird.

(2) I had to go to three different stores to even find cloth diapers. They seem to be going extinct. Except at the places that prop masters shop, presumably. But I didn't want a ton of them. I only wanted six, or twelve.

(3) Maybe they are going extinct because they are so thin and inconsequential compared to the luscious, thick, terry towelling nappies I wrapped my babies' bottoms in 20 years ago. How does this little thing soak up ANYTHING that spurts from the nether regions? They do seem quite bulky and absorbent enough for burp cloths, however, so I am satisfied with the results.

Oh, and speaking of nappies, it's Australia Day. And Rhea's birthday (the baby whose bottom I first wrapped in nappies 20 years ago.) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY GIRL!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

January 25

Another cushion -- paisley velvet enhanced with running stitch embroidery.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 24

I've had a run on cushions this week. I've been wanting to re-cover the daggy toss pillows on the couch for a long time, and I was finally inspired by some great striped remnants, and got stuck into it. The patchwork one I made from my stash.
I made this one this morning, from a groovy knitted cardigan. I used the buttoned-up section of a man's shirt for the closure. I'm really happy with the way it turned out, and am now eyeing all the thrifted clothes in my stash for more cushiony possibilities.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

January 20

Lola and Sara loved their birthday gifts :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

January 19

A regular Saturday morning event in my kitchen, before the weekly grocery shopping, is the making of what I call End-of-the-Week Chili. I sauté onions and garlic in a big stockpot, then throw in all the perishable vegetables remaining from the week. Today that included carrots, bell pepper, broccoli, zucchini, scallions, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, sugar snap peas, snow peas, and collard greens. I add anything else from the fridge that I think won't clash too much: salsa, steamed or roasted veggies, tofu, pasta sauce, tomato paste. Then I throw in a can of beans, and usually a large can of tomatoes (though today I used vegetable juice instead). Sometimes I'll add a can of corn too. At that point, I can add some broth and call it soup, but usually I finely chop one or two chipotles en adobe, because I happen to have five cans of them in my pantry (thank you, Lola), and call it chili. As the only vegetarian in a houseful of omnivores, this stockpot of veggie goodness provides me with daily lunches (and sometimes breakfasts) as well as dinners on the nights when I'm serving the family meat. Every week it's different, delicious, filling, and oh so easy.

It was another glorious day today, and I was itching for some exercise and beach time. Everyone else in the family had plans, so I took myself off to Point Dume alone. Since my childhood summers spent on the rocks at Kiama, I've always loved tidepools, so when I saw that we were expecting exceptionally low tides this afternoon, I had a yen to photograph starfish and anemones. I was hoping to spot some migrating whales, too, but no such luck ... I'll just have to go back again soon.

Friday, January 18, 2008

January 18

An apron made from the back of a skirt, complete with pockets, and ...
...following Juliette's lead I used three yards of flannel to make a blanket, change pad, and burp cloths for a dear friend's impending grandson. Fun, fast, and very cute!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 17

I made two successful hacky sacks, and then the third one, for no apparent reason, turned out really huge. I'd used the same pattern, same yarn, same hook, but it was, like, fifty percent bigger. So I tried again, paying very careful attention to the number of stitches and increases, and this, my fourth hacky sack, turned out just right. I think maybe I started with one stitch too many on the previous attempt. By the time I did all the increase rows, I ended with a dozen more stitches, which did indeed make for a larger sack.

Anyway, I was relieved to manage another good one, but I have to say, I'm done with hacky sacks for now. I've nearly used all my share of the crochet cotton my sister and I dyed last year. Come back soon, Sister. We need to find more yarn and dye it. Among other fun things. I miss you.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

January 13

I've been working on a Secret Project this past week, which I can't post until the recipient (who reads this blog) unwraps it on his or her special day. I've made a few other things in the meantime: another hackysack, and another beanie.Today Josh and I visited the Will Rogers State Historic Park on our way home from doing a little work at his school. This park has been on my "list" for oh, ten years, and I was finally pushed to go by reading this article in the paper the other day. We hiked the 2-mile loop trail and I recalled anew how much I LOVE hiking. Today was such a glorious day, too. 84°F/29°C in the middle of winter. Gotta love SoCal weather. I pocketed these three gumnuts as I walked, and when I got home noticed that they have four, five, and six "petals" respectively. What are the chances of that?
Then I made meat pie for dinner, including the crust from scratch. A very good Sunday, it was. How was yours?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

January 6

A birthday gift for a special friend.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

January 5

I've been making more of these ever-so-useful wrist pincushions for my sewing buddies.

Friday, January 04, 2008

January 4

Last week's beanie pattern called for the use of stitch markers. I'm not much of a knitter, so I didn't really know what they were. A quick google introduced me to the wonderful world of stitch markers (Etsy is full of them) and I knew I needed some of my own. So I called my beading buddy Sara, and went over there today for some bead play. My eyesight is pretty bad these days so I don't feel very adept at crimping thin bits of wire nice and neatly (I'll also blame the cloudy day and lack of Ott lighting at Sara's). So these may not be the most elegant pieces, but I like 'em!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

January 3

My little kitchen helper fell in love with the apron Evie made me for Christmas, so I had to make one for her in similar colors. She's very happy with it!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

January 2

A messenger bag I made (without a pattern) from thrifted clothes (oh how I love that dollar rack -- the outer layer was a corduroy dress, the lining was a hemp skirt.) It has internal pockets and a key holder. I thought it looked pretty masculine but Ian immediately started mincing when I asked him to model it for me, and Lauren burst out laughing at the sight of her brother with a girl's bag. Oh well.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

January 1

Back to sewing again today, with the result being a groovy travel wallet, based on a pattern in Adorn Magazine. All the fabrics are from thrifted clothes. Excuse the crappy photos. It's late.