Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pay It Forward

I'm Paying It Forward, as promised to my sister Nettie. Here's how it works. Within the next 12 months (and probably a LOT sooner), I will send a hand made gift to the first three people who leave a comment here, committing that they, too, will post it on their blog and send a hand made gift to the first three people who comment on their blog.

Want to play? Leave me a comment and a way to get in touch with you.

P.S. This photo was taken at the Huntington, where I went with Evie yesterday to enjoy the art and the gardens.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

July 26

I made improvements to the needle case design; on my first attempt, the gutter wasn't wide enough. This one's much better.

I also worked on my tote bag tutorial; not quite finished yet, but look for it in a day or two.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 20

I wanted to make some child's pyjamas, so went to the fabric store to peruse the knits. While there, I suddenly remembered that I had many yards of cream-coloured knit fabric in my stash, bought on a whim in New York long ago (I was thinking I could make dolls with it, before I learned that it was way too stretchy for that purpose.)

So I came home and dyed some of it. I was disappointed with how pale the colours turned out; I guess it's because of the synthetic content in the fabric. So I went back to the store for some strongly coloured ribbing to tie it all together. I'm pretty happy with the end result.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

July 19

Today I made a needle case.

Unlike most needle cases which do not organize or identify the needles in any fashion, this design allows me to keep them in their packets, so I can easily find the right needle for the job.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 15


The last time I posted an edamame recipe, a few of my southern hemispherian friends asked, "What's edamame?" Well, it's just soybeans. Here in California I find them, shelled, ready to steam, in the freezer section of the regular supermarket alongside the peas and corn. They are super yummy and good for you.

So here's another recipe the utilizes these little beans of goodness. It's adapted from a Weight Watchers cookbook.

1/2 cup brown rice
1-1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 carrot, shredded
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, diced

Cook the rice. Transfer it to a plate to cool.

Meanwhile, cook the edamame in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, drain again. Set aside.

Whisk together the zest, lime juice, soy sauce, oil and salt in a large bowl. Add the rice, edamame, carrot, bell pepper and onion, and toss to combine.

Fabulous as a light meal, or as a side dish. Just as yummy the next day.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

July 13

After many failed attempts, I finally refashioned a man's shirt into a top for myself. Well, I mean, a top for myself that doesn't look hideous. I've been road testing it all day and I'm pretty happy with it ... ready to tackle some more!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

July 8

Back to aprons. This one would work for crafting or gardening.

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 7

Lauren's old enough now to occasionally have her own money and gift cards, and she's always misplacing them. None of the various wallets, purses, piggy banks, or toy ATM machines she owns are really working for her, so she asked me to make her a wallet to her specifications.

This is it: a place for notes, a couple of gift cards, and a zippered pocket for coins. I also made a matching shoulder bag to keep it in. Let's see if this helps her keep better track of her money!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

July 6

Lauren's been complaining that she has no summer pyjama pants, so last night I whipped her up a pair after dinner. She chose some fleece from my stash, which rather defeated the purpose I thought, but she was totally delighted with the result. To see her prancing around in a garment that took all of half an hour from go to whoa was pretty gratifying. She's already picked out fabric for a couple more pair.

LATER (before breakfast!): Another pair done, these ones in soft flannel.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 5

More shopping totes. I'm thinking of writing a tutorial for this bag. Any interest?

Josh may use a couple of these as props on his show this week. Fun! Maybe they will appear on national television.

Friday, July 04, 2008

July 4

It is Independence Day in this country -- a land I have inhabited for 11 years but still do not think of as my own. I left Australia without saying good-bye to anyone, not children, not parents, not siblings, not friends. I came here with only a computer and a few changes of clothes, leaving behind bewildered and hurting loved ones, who still after all this time do not really understand why I left, though they mostly have forgiven me.

It was the toughest thing I have ever done, but it was absolutely essential for my survival. This morning I read these words of Mary Oliver's, and gasped, tears springing to my eyes. She understands.

The Journey, by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –-
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –-
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Happy Independence Day, wherever you may be.