Monday, June 6, 2016

Time to Move!

I've neglected you little blog and for that I am sorry. I took time to focus on the book blog and that totally didn't work out. Or at least, I didn't think so.

Experiments, experiments.

My relationship with Blogger is over. Wordpress, the one I disliked for so long, seems more stable than Blogger after whatever it was a year or two years ago (or was it three? Man, time gets weird as the years pass). Plus, Wordpress has a lot more to it than Blogger. Wordpress grows. Blogger sits.

I'll get the old posts moved eventually, but update your links because here is the new link!

See you at the new blog!

PS: The shop is on vacation until further notice. That's also something I've been thinking over.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Achievement Unlocked: Knitting Dish Cloths

A while back, like a year or so ago, I decided it was high time I learned to knit. I grabbed the needles I inherited and dove in, head first, as usual. I looked up videos on YouTube and struggled and struggled....and struggled.

Last summer, I had a great opportunity to visit my mentor and help her out. In return, she showed me how she knits and it literally opened the door for knitting. Seriously. Without her, I probably would have given up. I had a great start, but I did not like it.

Before, knitting felt clunky and I thought it should feel smooth like crochet, no matter the skill level.

After, I was whipping up my first dish cloth.

Continental Knitting made sense. I scoured YouTube. I watched the video my mentor sent me. I got it. I totally got it. It was similar to crochet and I made a dish cloth. Pictured here is dish cloth number 2. Dish cloths are easy to do and a chance to explore stitches. I do the same with crochet...if I'm not crocheting in the round (which I love!).

Lessons Learned:
  • More like Achievement Unlocked! I can knit! I like knitting! It's easy and makes sense.
  • Mentors are cool people. Even if I'm not in touch as much as I want to be/should be.
  • My craft skills include: sewing, crocheting, knitting.
  • After I get the first step, I can teach myself stuff!
  • Knit dish cloths are actually a lot nicer than the crochet ones I've done...which is a bummer and awesome...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Project: Tank Top Totes

Somehow I've become known as the "person who will take your clothing" among family and friends. Part of this is that I can wear some of the clothing. Part of this is that they know that I turn jeans into bags. Another part is simply that I sew. Sometimes this is a good thing. Sometimes it's not.

I recently came into possession of a bag of clothing from a family member. As I sorted some of the nicer stuff, the stuff I wanted to refashion, and stuff I could wear, I came across two tank tops that I liked. I don't generally wear tanks because my frame is strange. Also, one was a little too large for me and the other, while I loved the fabric, I would never wear it.

I kept thinking about the one tank top. I loved the fabric. I wanted to make a bag with it, but how?

To Pinterest! I have a board dedicated to bag ideas. I remembered I had a DIY Tank Top Tote Pinned, but it wasn't what I was looking for. I looked around a little more and found this tutorial from SaltTree. Now that I liked. I took the two tanks and whipped them up. Yesterday, I got to test them out and the cashier was very impressed with my bag!

Here's how I made my first one. This was a gray tank top. I pinned the bottom and tucked in the side seams:
I used pins which is amazing for me.

I'd probably skip doing this on the inside next time.

 After that, I sewed the bottom, turned it inside out and ta da! Instant (new favorite) bag:

The second bag, I just simply pinned and stitched across the bottom. The fabric is really stretchy and this is the one that got the compliment. I can't wait to use this one at the thrift store and any other store (not the grocery store. That's what the denim ones are for).

Enjoy! I know I'll be looking at old tanks I get rid of differently now.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gardening 2014 - April 22 (Or, how I keep whining about my Brandywine Tomato seeds)

First, we keep having beautiful days! They are lovely. I love it.

On the flip side we're still getting into freezing temperatures at night which has annoyed me as I have three potted plants now. I've given up on the herbs from last year and the lettuce seeds I had outside (I can't keep them wet enough). I do have "globes" for the living plants which are basically plastic jugs, cut in half and put over the plants at night. We then throw a moving blanket over the whole set up and keep the pots close to the apartment itself.

So far it's working. Just have to remember to do this tonight as there is a frost advisory.

I haven't had much happen in the garden department. We did buy plants last week and I lost some sprouts, gained some others, and am trying desperately to get some Brandywine Tomato Sprouts...period. The old seeds (5-10 years) did sprout, then they got mold and died. I tried again. Nothing. Something else sprouted in the container so a few days ago, I just moved the old seeds and put some High Mowing ones in. The other High Mowing container has a sprout as of yesterday (What? That's been sitting LONGER) and I have Cherry Tomato Sprouts.

It all confuses me and I'm being sort of lazy because I've been (yep) sick off and on the last few weeks and busy, busy, busy (which probably caused the sick last week).

But hey, so far so good. I lost a broccoli sprout (not sure how that happened right now), gave up on a few others and keep trying to get Brandywine Tomatoes.

Garden Status:

Seed Sprouts:
  • 1 baby broccoli plant (waiting on the 4 inch size to transplant. Also, technically two but from the same spot. If I can split the sprouts and get two plants, I will!)
  • 2 Cherry Tomatoes (pictured left)
  • 1 (MAYBE) Brandywine Tomato
  • Some random weeds in a seed pod that I'm waiting to see what exactly they are before I say "good bye" to them.

  • The Farm Variety Broccoli. We love their broccoli and the price was right so I'm giving it a try.
  • Marigolds (to be planted with tomatoes. Some are outside, some aren't).
  • Snap dragons (they are just pretty).

Lessons Learned:
  • I am impatient at gardening, but I do like it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shop Post! What's new!

What's new and interesting in the shop? Well, right now, I've been working to get my sewing pattern de-stash up. I have a great mix of new and old patterns in the shop. Your next project could be here!

If you're looking for a coat pattern, I have that here, here, here, and here. These are vintage goodies and oldies (click on the picture for the shop link).

Although, after this winter, I'm sure we're all looking toward spring and summer. Here's a variety of tops, dresses, gaucho pants, and a classic short sleeved shirt.

Be sure to check out the shop! There are many more patterns available, not to mention the Book Page Gift Bags and a few denim grocery bags.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gardening - 2014 - March 24 (Or, something happened to a seed starting pod so I got organic seeds.)

Last time I wrote about the garden, I had:
  • three pods starting seeds: lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli.
  • The pods were in a different window from last year because of Orange Cat 2.
  • I had no sprouts and we were getting to the 10 day mark.
 What I did since then:
  • I opened the pods and added more water because they looked dry.
  • I moved them into the better window.
  • The cat is not at fault for the loss of the lettuce pod.
Saturday. We had wonderful, open-the-windows kind of weather. The kind where you wish the whole world was off and you could enjoy the weather. The kind where you go home, grab Husband, and take a 1.74 mile walk around the large awesome park nearby.

The kind where Husband clumsily knocked the lettuce pod out of the window while I'm at work because he didn't check that the pod was sitting in the window track. I really don't know who is at fault here: me for putting it there or him for not checking. Either way, the lettuce pod was a mess of dirt inside of it (thankfully, it did not pop open and send dirt everywhere. OC2 would have loved that).

I was kind of bummed. Actually, when I saw it, I thought OC2 did it. It was right up his alley to just go "WHOOPS. (Not really). Feed me."

Nope. It was Husband and he probably could have blamed OC2. Husband's first thought was "You can just fix it."

"No. There is dirt everywhere. I have no idea where the seeds will sprout, if they do and if something else sprouts, I'll have no idea what's what. I have to start over."

So, he felt kind of bad about it. I said "I want these organic seeds I know we can get [here]. You can pay for the seeds when I figure out the brand name."


Sunday, it is colder and we have errands that will take us by the place with the seeds. We go there and at this point, I'm feeling less annoyed with him. I'm also wondering how the destruction of the lettuce pod means I get 7-8 packs of seeds. I forgive him (I forgave him pretty quickly because I decided the seeds weren't really working anyway. They are 5-10 years old. Same group as last year.). I decide to just pay for them myself and he decides he's going to treat me to pizza later that night.

At the store, I pick up seven packs of High Mowing Seeds. This includes: Brandywine tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, Basil, Romain Lettuce, Sweet Pepper, and Spinach. I was so excited. I love the idea of new seeds and possibly non-GMO ones? Yes, please!

What I did today (or status as of today):
  • I set up more seed pods bringing the seed pods to the following:
  • Pods: Small, plastic take out containers, 4 egg slots of a paper egg carton, water, dirt (I'm using compost), seeds. Works very well with good lighting!
    • Original: Brandywine Tomatoes (Burpee seeds, older), Broccoli.
    • High Mowing: Brandywine Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Lettuce (not shown. In another window due to lighting and temperature), Sweet Pepper (this plant is for our Guinea Pig and is a total experiment)
  • Broccoli has sprouted! Two of the four have come up so those seeds aren't "bad." That's from an older, refrigerated seed pack. Look at those sprouts!

Here's hoping the third year is a charm!

Lessons Learned:
  • Read seed packages or research how to grow things. Most will do well where they are, but the lettuce will probably do fine at room temperature during the day and tucked into the pod at night. I learned so much by reading the packaging this year. Let's see if it translates into our own food.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Foodie Friday: Tofu Scramble

Remember my idea ages ago with Foodie Friday? Well, I'm trying again, but this time, I'm including stuff made by Husband. Why? Let's be honest, in this place, he does the cooking. I do the baking...usually. He's a good cook and we have a lot of recipes we've adapted for gluten free cooking.

Tofu Scramble & Rice
Today's comes pretty much gluten free right off the bat. Pro tip: just because you're gluten free doesn't mean you have to focus only on gluten free cookbooks. I'm really glad we don't because some of our favorite recipes come from general books. For example:

 Mushroom Scrambled Tofu (or as we call it: Tofu Scramble) which is in The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas (page 133). This book was an impulse buy from one of our favorite used book stores. It only cost us $5 and was like new!

The Cooking

Now, since I don't cook this, I really can't comment on it. The only thing I can say is that I'm so glad he uses an iron skillet. I personally think food tastes better when cooked in iron, but that's me.

Not instant.
I did ask him though what he thought about cooking this recipe: "SOOOOOO easy. The only thing that would make it easier is if you used instant rice." He doesn't. He's been experimenting with cooking real rice. Anyway, I know this is a recipe he likes to make up because every week he asks "Tofu Scramble?" This is his go-to dish once a week for the simple fact it is easy. It also provides us with 4 meals: 2 for that night and 2 for leftovers.


When he first made this, I thought this looked like scrambled eggs. I thought it was going to be bland, but surprisingly it isn't and it goes great with rice (actually, there's curry powder in this). In fact, this is one of those dishes I look forward to as left overs. Unlike some other leftovers, this one keeps flavor and is fantastic mixed up in rice. I tend to have it as my evening shift dinner and I think it is a good match. It is light and delicious.


First, the recipe calls for margarine. Um. No. We do not do margarine in this place. We use butter. Butter is good. 

Next is the mushrooms. Whatever is on sale at the store is what we get, but no matter what, they work. I think at some point, he wants to experiment with rice and move us from white rice to something else.
Fourth, we've used both soft and firm tofu and it seems to turn out the same both ways, but the softer tofu is definitely better. 

[Edit from Husband: I usually add some salt to the rice, both as a counterpoint to the mushrooms and so the rice can stand on its own. We usually end up with some rice left over.]

If you can check out this book, do. We haven't fully explored this book yet, but just from this recipe, I think that there is probably more in here we'll love. We just haven't tried many yet. This recipe is (for the moment) in our rotation of recipes.
PS: I'm still looking into affiliate programs for books so you can visit a site to check out the book. Any favorites? Any not so favorites? Leave me a comment.  (Amazon is out.)