Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Finals Week Looms!!!

   Counting down the days now, with final projects and papers weighing on me, and the first Farmers Market of the season this Saturday. Stress is something I'm doing right now, but I handle it well. How do I prepare for a day at school? 


First, I start my morning with a serious cup of tea. Use a hefty mug that holds the heat, like this one from FullofGracePottery. So delicate a flower, but a piece of clay that's not going to crumble. Green tea, no sugar.

Then you have to make sure you've got what you need for the day... Be Prepared! A pencil case for your #2s and calculators keeps you from panicing and dropping a wad at the bookstore on test day (2$ for a pencil?) Whoopsidaisy has got some cuties, like this one with fawns to make you Daaaaaww!

Or, If you are an art student, or an elementary school kid (what's the difference?) you can bring your colors. And if you get your roll-up crayon organizer from BloomWoosie you get to bring robots to school too. Wouldn't that make anyone's day better? I have a case for my sharpies, and doom to the person who borrows one and leaves an empty space!!

Next we slide our computer into a colorful puffy laptop envelope from Fernfiddlehead to protect it from bumps, and roll up that powercord, if it wasn't for the internet in classes when would I post in the Etsy forums? Not to mention, lot's of good deals on computers are only available to students, that's like a mandate to bring them to class right?

But let's not forget about snacks. No way I could make it through the day with out munchies! Keeps the brain working and all that good stuff. To be enviromentally responsible get some reusable sacks, like these from evelynfields. It's much healthier to eat slowly through the day than to stuff your face with fast food between classes! Now we're getting close to go time...

Now just stuff it all in one totally huge Felted Sweater Bag. Backpacks are sooo 7th grade!

Now I 'spose I need to go study, snacks and computers at the ready, teacup at my side... if only I could get off of the internet!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Flowers Treasury

A lovely treasury with all the ways to carry you flowers along... Check it out!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

High Altitude on 1000 Markets

Good news! The geographic markets on 1KM have finally come to the west, with the Rocky Mountain Market featuring goods from artisans in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and other parts of the mountainous country. Go check out some of the wonderful things being made at 5000 ft and above (there's less oxygen up here, we're a little loopy...)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Curried Cream of Butternut Soup

Well spring is here, but the farmers market season is still a few weeks away, here in the cold dry rockies we don't get out of "winter" vegetables for a while yet. But that doesn't mean potatoes and cabbage, a little (or a big, look at that thing!) squash goes a long way for a warm yummy meal. I really do love curcubits!
So, I used a butternut squash, a mango, onion and garlic, lemon juice, carrots (with tops if you can get 'em) and coconut milk. Any assortment of curry spices you desire, even a chile if you like spicy curry.
And of course my beans and grains component. A balanced vegetarian diet loves jars of dried little things. Yellow split peas to keep the color scheme going, and soft white wheat. Yes I have different types of wheat berries in my kitchen, and use them for different types of cooking. I'm a dirty hippy. I'm over it.

Chop the squash in half, remove and reserve seeds, and put it in the oven to roast. Put some oil in your sauce pan and toast the spices first. I used whole corriander, mustard, caraway and anise, I ground them lightly in my suribashi (below) first, but you can just rub them in your hands to break them up and bring out the flavors. Also turmaric, ginger, cumin, paprika, and allspice. I guess you could just use curry powder, that would be cool.
Sauté until the seeds pop and jump, add onions and garlic and caramelize, add the carrots and tops.

This is a suribashi, the Japanese morter and pestal, perfect for grinding sesame seeds, but they also use it like a food mill and grind things like edamame into a mushy paste. I got mine at the Daiso 100 en store in Harajuku... Sugoi!

Add water, lemon juice, and Mango. A very ripe mango is preferable. Dice it fairly small, salt to taste... looks ready to eat already! But this is not chutney soup, so carry on. By this point the squash should be getting close to done, give it a fork test. Add grains and beans. I could have soaked the beans to quicken the cooking time, but this soup will be best after cooking for many hours anyway!

Once the beans and grains are starting to soften the squash should be cool enough to handle. Scrape the flesh out with a spoon. (I'm only using half, that is one big squash!) Note the scrape, not the scoop. You want the squash mushed in to little bits. If you have a food mil you could pass it through that, or just scrape away!

Now add the coconut milk. I'm using about 2/3 a can, I used the rest on coconut cupcakes and icing (wow was that good!!). Also note that this is full fat import coconut milk, not the watery domestic stuff. After sitting in the fridge it was thicker than homemade whipped cream...
Let simmer on the lowest setting for many hours. You want the peas to me mushing into oblivion, and the flavours mellowed. You may sent part of it through a quisanart if you like that smooth finish, but I prefer to be able to identify the components. Serve with toasted coconut and roasted squash seeds, or a sprinkle of raisins. Praise Annapurna, and pledge to plant more squash in your yard this year...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Now That The Earth Day Maddness is Behind Us...

...those of us who are Eco-friendly the other 364 days can go about our ways. One must usually beware of false "eco-washing" but if you shop the Eco-Friendly Market at You can be sure that the enviromental statements are true (really, they have a screening process), and you are supporting a craftsman directly.
Lots of different goods for every part of your life, and lots of unique artisans!

Like this basket made from Pine needles! I've seen books on how to do this, but I didn't know any mere mortal had the patience... Grizzly Mountain Arts does! And his wonderful pieces come in many shapes and sizes.

If you're looking for something a little softer, Obelisk Fiber Arts Makes hand woven scarfs and shawls with materials like hand spuns, organic cotton and many other natural fibers With wonderful textures and soft demure colors these will flatter any outfit and give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside too!

For the Earth lover who also wants to let their Hippy flag fly, perhaps a little peace love and understanding? zJayne's recycled glass medallions come in many styles and colors, and bring a little brightness to any setting. Get a pack of them and spread the peace around!

After you've spent all day being a dirty Hippy, community garden, protest marches, free love orgy etc... You need to clean up your act! Aquarian Bath to the rescue! Any "flavor" you can imagine, all good for you and the planet. Happy not-earth-day, let's get back to living responsibly again.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Phoenix Teapot III

Praise the kiln Goddess! She has spared my pot and in fact gave me a lovely tone and patina. I glazed the outside with an ox blood red rubbed into to design to highlight to carving.

The burn out pattern reminds me of ash from raku firing, I'm very happy! See more of the pot at Pink's Pots Colorado.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day Treasury

In honor of Earth Day Poppyswickedgarden made this wonderful treasury of eco-friendly tree inspired objects. Go check it out at Treasury West and support my fellow hippies!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tutorial - Victorian Cuffs

So you've just finished your corset, the bustle frame is sitting on the dress form, but your jewelry collection is far too modern. Got some scraps? Good, let's make some classy cuffs to cover those scandalous wrists.
First, get a piece of paper, I like grocery sacks, and lots of my fabric has been stored in old bags, so there is plenty around! Make a fold and measure your wrist. Mark the wrist, mid arm and fattest part of your arm, note the distance between each measurement too! Add seam allowance, divide by two and make your pattern piece.

The cool thing about the pattern is that you can make all different sizes of cuffs, depending on the fabric you have available. The reason you measure from the middle fold, is to make the seams line up when you take it from 2-d to 3-d. (Damn bodies! why are you 3-d?). Just line up the small end with the edge of your fabric and see how far you get.

For this cuff I'm using bright blue silk and white lace. I lay each piece of cut silk on the lace and pin before cutting. Lace tends to be stretchy and to deform when tugged, so take care to lay flat and not twist it! I don't usually use many pins but with this you can hardly have enough.

Hem the top edge first. Then decide how long to make your slits. Measure around the fattest part of your fist, imagine you're putting on a small bangle. Measure the cuff and mark where it will be wide enough to put your fist through. You can make your slits longer, but that is the maximum limit of your seam if you want to be able to put it on! Hem up the sides to that point.

Sew up the rest of the side seam and hem the upper edge. Reinforce (with zig-zag of back stitching) the seam at the top and at the split. Put it on and measure the spot you want your first button. (Yes, I stabbed myself several times with the pin.) You can use just one button, or do a row in true antique style.

Cut pieces of cord, ribbon or yarn. I recommend against loose spun yarn or natural fibers. Cut them to be large enough for the buttons and with enough tail to sew them in place. Pin them in even spacing down the side of he slit, starting at the spot you marked.

Sew down the tails of the cord loops. I use a zig-zag and vary the width to cover the whole tail. Give the loop a slight tug, and if it budges sew some more, you will be sad if the loops rip out. Sew on your buttons and ...

Voila! Light and lacy. Looks like clouds in a brilliant blue sky! These materials are stiff, use a jersey or other stretchy fabric for a snugger fit.

There are tons of variations to be had depending on what's on hand...

Pink satin with lace trims and ribbons, vintage buttons. These are super long and hang down over the hand. These aren't for sale, they match my party dress too well! It's so nice to have matching things.

The same blue silk with a partial overlay to show it off. See more pics of these here. With the lace trim, sew it on to the top edge, then hem.
Get your lolita on!

Brocade with ribbon, lace and lots of buttons! Very victorian, I even need to call on my chamber maid (boyfriend) to help button them up. Like any fine lady.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mother Nature is...a Mother

Now, this weekend I wanted to get out and garden. But instead it snowed nearly a foot of wet mushy flakes. So I need a warm thing that still reminds me of flowers veggies and dirt. Quiltlover makes lots of lovely bed covers, including this rose garden inspired piece. Perfect for these spring days when it can't decide what the weather is going to be.

Now, some people may not need accessories to garden, but I like to get in the mood. bionicunicorn has some lovely florals which will prepare you to go get your weed on! They might also find that they're just as nice for say, evening wear and the like...

Now, there are things to be aware of in the yard - bugs, fungus, psuedopods. Badbird's snail in need of anger management is sure to make you smile (or cower in terror). Not to mention it will make you feel gardeny year round.

And of course when it's time to plant your own, Myvictorygarden has things, well, for your victory garden. Seeds of the heirloom and not so heirloom variety for every corner of your plot. And pictures to make the plant porn lover in me drool (I'm a little jealous FYI).

Friday, April 17, 2009

Gotta Look Good for the People on the Train

Any fashionista knows, when it gets cold and snowy outside you've just got to match your knitting. So start projects that match your finished fuzzies and go knit in public!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Joys of Handspun

As summer comes it's not time to give up on the knitting. Not only can we knit for summer, light airy pieces and skinny scarfs; we can knit to prepare for the winter. I know many people get their Christmas shopping done by September, it doesn't hurt to do your holiday knitting too! Check out these Etsy sellers and their wonderful goods to stock up for knitting bag for the winter.
Soon it will be hot here in the city, and I'll be fleeing to the mountains for hiking and backpacking. And what better to prepare then this forest green think and thin spun. Beeskneesknitting makes the pine forest come alive in this deep colored and bulky yarn. Of course I can knit while hiking!

For summer we need light filmy shrugs and shawls, and this aqua lace is fine and light. Get your little tiny needles out, Llanadovella spun this two ply green lace yarn from merino and love. The tones remind me of tropical waters and relaxing on the beach. Ahhhhhh.

Like a golden field of wild flowers this luminous corridale is the perfect color year round. Mae's fine smooth spinning makes this perfect for warm fuzzies or light summer shawls. A fine blend of subtle colors and tones this truly seems like a pile of clippings from a summer meadow.

Summer makes me think of water, and this lovely indigo dyed rough silk yarn from rootandleaf is just pure water and light. The slightly fuzzy texture makes me want to weave with it. Or perhaps I'll just put it in the yard and pretend I have a pond.

And this wonderful yarn by UrbanGypZ . A three ply and lovely hand colored bulky yarn. The colors are a nice mix of sea, earth, and fresh green sprouts.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Edible Knitting - Yum!

Earlier today I was staring down a spool of speaker wire, wondering if it could be knit? One could make a large mat, then hook up your sound system with it. Which led to the thought, of what else one might be able to knit, when I got home from craft night the search bagain.
And the results are meager, why is no one making things from food?
Like this delicious piece, red licorice (one of my favorites), meets thongs (not one of my favorites). Kinky. Sassy. Sticky?
From, the real class is in the satin covered hanger...

Or the great noodle knitters of the modern day. What better way to eat ramen!

So help me out dear internetsers. What else can we knit with? What edibles can be coaxed into interlocking loops with the help of two sticks? Extra credit given to non-manmade options.

Friday, April 10, 2009

"Don't Throw it Away!" - Estate Sale Finds

This morning my Mum and I hit the estate sale circuit in search of crafty goodness. I picked up some sweet yarn cheap and a few other bits, the lady was obsessed with Christmas and the craft supplies followed that theme. But paydirt was the books!
Like this lovely bit - "Don't throw it away!". A Better Homes and Gardens tome, and copyright them etc... We are chastened by author Vivian Abell to turn trash into treasure, and I think she liked lamps...
Who throws out a grater? Do they wear out? I stole one from my parents that may be older then me, and it shows no sign of wearing out!

And of course, what little girls room wouldn't be completed by this "Military Boot Lamp". In pink and white. With a hummel tucked into the faux foilege.
And I suppose one must make a pair of them, unless it's being discarded because one went missing. A great craft project for out men and women in service...

But the tour-de-force has got to be the Meat Grinder with basket lamp. And dangley pom-pom trim. sure to brighten up any room! Don't want another lamp? It's OK, there are other projects you can do with a meat grinder. Don't have a spare meat grinder sitting around? Neither do I. Woe to the poor soul who has two tho...
The real punch line here is not the projects, the flashlight lens pendant, the eggshell covered trinket box, the wig stand... No, the cover is the real reason I bought this piece of history "...turn household throwaways into objects of lasting value." If you're lucky your heirs will get .50$ for it at your estate sale...