Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bike invasion!

This morning my Father came by and we went to see the final laps of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, as the racers rode circles in downtown. This was the sixth day of hard riding, from mountain passes like Monarch to scenic routes like the Lariat Loop and Garden of the Gods these guys have been wearing a hole in their spankies. Firstly, these guys at the end of a long tough ride are still riding 25 miles an hour! Then packs of sag cars and motorcycles are shadowing them, with so much fast moving wheels it's a marvel that there aren't more accidents, I guess that's what makes these guys pros. And while it wasn't sweltering, it was pretty dang hot today, intense stuff for these competitors.
Before and after it was an amazing sight as well, with a major set of streets and intersections closed to cars people were swarming the area on bikes, refreshing to see so many two-wheelers in fact. And I'll never again get to ride down the center of Speer boulevard, unless I have a death wish. Perfect end of summer day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crafting Makes People Happy!

So on my recent trip I helped my hostess with her sewing machine. It needed some tension adjustments and a little bit of the seamstress touch. In order to be sure it was working fully I suggested we make a project. Drawers of fabric were dug thru, and this gem appeared...
Together we made a pillowcase from Cowboy Beefcake fabric as a going away present for her roommate. That folks, is a smile of joy created by a little time and effort with a sewing machine. What have you made as a gift recently?

Monday, August 22, 2011


Lurking around an abandoned factory in Milwaukee...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Finds - Industrial City

So as I've been vacationing in Milwaukee I've been wandering around and enjoying the old industrial buildings. This was a factory town, and everything here is older than the west (euro-americans having been settled here for much longer) Here's some sweet local flavors with a little focus on the sleek gray of the city, starting with this killer photo from SophiLoreen.

Enjoy a business classic re-purposed for modern business needs! (I can never do a "Finds" post without something eco-friendly people.) Put your fancy ipad in a pouch from MyGreenMonkeyDesigns to protect it, and to accessorize yourself!...

Hard metal edges and polished shine, this has the appeal of an industrial tool with the soft shapes of fine jewelry. PsyFiJewelry makes futuristic pieces with exciting metals and interesting stones.

The locals here have some crazy state pride. But if tattoos are a bit much for you grab an embroidered piece of wonderful from Lulumisu. Still involves needles and bright colors, but you can move elsewhere and still get a job.

Check out this series of cute robot letters from Jimbot, I mean squeeee!! how cute! And useful for spelling out your plans for mechanically fueled world domination... or something.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Milwaukee Maker Space

I'm visiting friends here in Milwaukee, and they took me to the local hacker/tinker co-op - Milwaukee Makerspace. It's an old industrial building being used to make really cool stuff! There's folks taking cars and making them electric, and taking power wheels and powering them up.
There are boxes of tools and parts, and many old pieces to be taken apart for the goodies inside.

They even have an embroidery machine, a wood die cutter and lots of machinist...erm machines
There were many amazing things being made around there, fire and electricity abounds! I am always very impressed with people who make things that I cannot. These people do the hard goods and metal tinkering that I can only dream of, but we all must stick with our strengths.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Another Fabric Sale, Another Dress

My local craft shop Fancy Tiger had a huge sale this weekend, and I couldn't help myself with this lovely Moda print - I got it in two colorways! And some contrasting solids to make cute dresses with, I never seem to get tired of this pattern.
I made slight alterations in the shape of the dress, so I always outline all my cuts before I make any to be sure it all fits and there is little waste.
To avoid using a seam ripper I lay out pieces in order to make sure they will all be facing the right way and fitting together. It's the first time the fabric starts to look like something wearable...
I make all my seams doubled, so first I have to ignore my sewing training and sew things together with the wrong sides facing! Then I trim the edge and sew it together the right way. I makes it sturdy and keeps the inside looking neat.
The contrast fabric is for the halter neck, I lost the pieces for the neckline (little things bah!) So I used the drawings on the package and measuring tape to recreate them. I then sewed the wrong edge >.<
Putting the final touches on - it seems I picked fabrics that match my sewing machine very well. Add seven vintage buttons up the back and voĆ­la! It's a dress! A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon after some fabric shopping. And I have more fabric to go!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Changing it up...

I recently changed up the way I sew my handles on to my bags, earth-shattering I know. But the new way is every bit as sturdy, and looks a bit neater. Not to mention it doesn't involve changing the stitch length or direction anywhere so it's more uniform. Why do I feel the need to share this on my blog?
I think very often we get into ruts, habits we cling to for no reason. Why is it I always sew my handles on the old way? Because that's how I'd done it for some 5 years, and I was accustomed to it. Perhaps we should take a moment every now and then to pause and question, why is it like this? Am I doing things this way for a reason? Perhaps there are more things I can change-up to make my craft better... What about you?

Monday, August 8, 2011


Now I have always regarded my mother as a master cookie baker. She can easily turn out 10 dozen delicious pieces in a single evening, and her toffee bars are legendary. As I have entered upon my Journeyman stage in baking training (where one goes out into the world to try it without support from your master) I was delighted when we found a cookie press at an estate sale - now I can make the family favorite Spritz cookies!
My mother always relied on her perfect cookies to speak for themselves and does little to dress them up besides a sparkle of colored sugar, but I was less optimistic. I made three different flavors, the green is Macha, the Pink are Sesame, and the middle ones are plain dotted with a little bit of apricot jam. Not quite the masterpieces of my childhood, but my roommates have already devoured most of them so they must be good enough...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer Spice!

Ripening fruit is arriving from the garden, it's the days of the "First Harvest" so we may as well eat fresh! I've been pulling big juicy tomatoes in, sweet and flavorful. As the season goes along my harvest will become tomato sauce and tomato soups, but right now I want to savor the raw tastes.

I diced the tomatoes coarsely, you can't chop juicy things very small! I then diced up some hot hungarian wax peppers. The picture shows two, but after sampling a bite of this one I decided that one would be enough! I like spice, but I wanted to still taste the other ingredients.

I then added diced cilantro, salt and lime; Spooned the juicy chunks onto chips and sipped a margarita! I ended up with lots of extra juice at the bottom of the bowl, and threw that in rice for dinner. Any idea how to keep salsa from getting too liquid?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Horseshoe Market This Saturday!

Just wound up the County Fair, and it's already time for another! I'm looking forward to the Horseshoe this Saturday on Tennyson from 9am to 4pm. It's always a good crowd at the fair, with food and activities as well! It's looking to be nice weather this weekend, and not too hot, but there will be frozen treats and a misting tent to make things even nicer.
There are about 100 vendors, with awesome vintage finds and the best local handmade greatness. Expect to need plenty of time to see all we have to offer, and don't go home empty handed! I love summertime, because I get to spend every weekend at places like this. (Heck, sometimes I even make a little money..) See you locals there!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Long Weekend... Fun Times at the Fair!

Whew, I'm still recuperating from the Denver County Fair. It was great weekend! Between speed crafting, steampunks, cute critters and live music there was non-stop fun.
My mother helped me gather the best of our vintage crafting collection to spread the love around (and make space for more estate sale finds...)
I had prepared an entire herd of pincushions for the event, many went home to be someone's new crafting buddy, but many more will be going up in my Etsy shop soon!
It's easy to forget that a ten foot square is really not that big, but I managed to have lots and lots of bags displayed so people could easily find their favorite.
I have some brand new signs, but my old racks are starting to lean dangerously, so that's on my list of wants for the business. It's a little more stressful to be figuring out a set-up for four full days! I wanted it to be the best possible, so naturally I was tweaking and moving things the whole time... It was a good crowd, and I sold enough to cover the booth fee. I'm already looking forward to next year! Has anyone else been having a good time at local fairs?