Thursday, February 27, 2014
My regular computer appears to be trying to break up with the internet. My new computer is several hours of work away from being ready. and I just typed all of this using one finger on a tablet. :( New posts should resume next week, hopefully. in the meantime, I highly recommend the show "Arrow" on Netflix- it's amazing!!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
This month's HGTV magazine (my new favorite decorating magazine) had a feature on this incredibly detailed craft room. It was amazing. She had turned her son's bedroom (he went off to college) into a crafting room that would make Candy Spelling's wrapping room jealous. She had sections for all of her scrapbook paper, her stamps, drawers that held different colored ribbons- and everything was white. This was obviously not my craft room.
|This is nothing. NOTHING!|
As a result of that article, I'm in the process of organizing my craft room. It's amazing how a clean space will make you actually want to a.) be in the space and b.) make more things.. that may or may not add cause a mess, leading you to start all over again.. but I digress. My parents got me 2 fancy spice racks for my birthday- I put one in the kitchen for spices, and the other is in the craft room for organizing tiny things. It's kind of like this one:
Right now it's only got a few things in it (washi tape, paperclips, small necklace/resin thingies) but I think it will be really useful when I fill it up!
I also added a couple of hooks like this to my fabric shelving unit. Since I like to store projects in bags sometimes, I thought this would be a good way to get them off of the floor (and out of Ms. Mischief's reach). Sadly, they were not these Bear Wang ones:
Such a shame.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The first seminar I went to was actually 3 classes in 1! Part One: Fabulous Veggie Varieties was by Willi Galloway, author of Grow, Cook, Eat, and blogger at digginfood.com. Here are some tips that I learned from her.
1.) Fava beans: These are supposedly easy to grow, but kind of a pain to cook. You have to shell the beans, and then boil the beans to remove a second casing. :( I haven't had much luck with them, but I might try again in the front yard. She said that you can actually grill them in the pod, and they will self-steam- and then you can eat the beans just like edamame! Seems worth a try to me!
2. ) Zucchini Romanesco: She recommended this variety, as it produces a large amount of squash blossoms. She and her family eat them stuffed with hatch chiles and cheese, or in quesedillas.
3.) Baby Greens: Willi was saying that everyone should grow baby greens- you can sow a variety of greens and lettuces really heavily, tap them into the soil, and sprinkle a bit more soil on top of them. They come up really quickly, and you can cut them when they are small and they will grow back! You can also transplant a section of them (if you're growing them indoors under lights) and let some get to full grown size over the season.
4.) Carrots: Did you know that all carrots aren't necessarily meant to be eaten raw? How weird is that? She suggested that if you had grown carrots that didn't taste that good to you, you should cook them and see if that improves the flavor. A few varieties that she recommended were: Yellowstone, Cosmic Purple, and Nelson.
Willi also had a few tips for companion planting, or space sharing. When you plant peas, put in your A-frame, and then underplant it with greens or radishes; by the time those are ready to eat, your peas will need the whole space. You can also do this with squash- plant greens in the area, and by the time the plant needs the whole space, you will have harvested the greens. Lastly, she mentioned cover crops-specifically clover and buckwheat. If you're going to be growing things consistently in the same space, you want to be able to add some nutrients back into the soil. So, in the fall, throw out some clover or field peas, let them grow over the winter. In the spring, chop them up, and till them into the soil. Plant your spring crops, then replace them with your tomatoes/peppers/squash. Add some buckwheat around them, so when those plants are spent, you can till it under in the fall.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I think I have about 6 posts worth of things from this year's NW Flower and Garden Show, so if that's not your thing, you may have to ignore me for a week or so! First up, the show gardens. These are put on by various groups of nurserys, garden designers, and artists. This year's theme was Garden in Bloom.. and they did a lot more with it than they did last year!
This was my favorite garden. It was called "Circles All Around Us" and was by Susan Browne Landscape Design. After doing some research, it looks like she also designed the 3 Little Pigs display that I liked a couple of years ago.
Lots of very cool glass sculptures
The bamboos were my favorite!
Another display with canning jars and a giant mushroom stump?
This one took the "art" idea pretty seriously, with an artist painting all day long for the whole show!
This was a great little studio cottage
Carved metal garden gate
This one was another favorite, unfortunately, this was my least blurry picture. Lots of chartreuse and purple, in a great little greenhouse!
I took this one just for John. Note the Minecraft pickax!
Living roof in the Zen Pavilion
This display was a collaboration with Chihuly's people. Can you tell?
This was the bottom of the archway. Another woman and I were joking that it should be called the "Path to Tetanus"!
This last one was by an orchid society, called, "50 Shades of Orchids". I don't think anyone had the heart to tell those little old ladies what that popular book was really about.
Next up? One of the many seminars I went to!
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Here are some things that I'm working on right now...
I'm adding fringe to an old Target dress to remake it into a flapper dress for my birthday party. It's kind of slow going, mostly to pin it and line it up, but it looks SO AMAZING that I want to add fringe to everything I own. I just love it! (also to note: I bought all of the fringe that they had at Jo-Ann's, but it probably won't be enough to cover the entire dress. I don't even care, I love it so much!)
Remember this pants quandry? Well, the hearts won out. I thought about doing some ribbon on the bottoms too, and then decided that would be overkill.
It's kind of hard to a.) sew felt accurately and b.) sew felt accurately to pants that have already been finished. The bunny pants were sewn before the seams were closed... much easier to plan ahead! I have some polar bear pants coming up that will be a piece of cake compared to this.
I'm planning to sew this supercute Farbenmix ribbon to the tops of this jumper...
And across the button placket of the pockets! Just like something someone out of a fairy tale would wear. :)
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
This is my new favorite banana bread... after many many edits to Martha Stewart, I think I've got it down! It also freezes well, so if you make the mini versions you can save some for later.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
(adapted copiously from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)
makes 2 regular bread loaves, or 15 mini-breads
3 bananas, mashed
3 large eggs, or flax eggs
1 c. sugar
scant 1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. whole milk + 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (to make it sour OR soy milk+ vinegar to make it vegan
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350*, and mix these ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then add:
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. oatmeal
Mix well to combine ingredients, then blend with a hand blender to incorporate the oats well. You can add in a cup of coconut or nuts, but the ones I made yesterday were just plain banana bread. If you are making regular sized breads, spray your pans with nonstick spray, and divide the batter between them. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake for about 60 minutes. If you are making the mini-breads, spray those pans, fill 2/3 of the way, and sprinkle with chocolate chips- bake for 35 minutes. With both breads, check for doneness by using a toothpick poked in the center- if it is clean, it is done!
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Did you know that you can buy fabric and notions on Etsy? I've been doing it for a little while now, especially when it's something that's kind of hard to find (i.e. Viking fabric), but you can generally get really good deals on craft and sewing supplies.
That brings me to my latest finds: Farbenmix ribbons. It's made in Germany, but manages to have both a Nordic and Japanese vibe at the same time, in my opinion. This stuff is ridiculously cute! I was initially looking for ribbon with gnomes on it (which doesn't really exist- at least not to my cuteness desirability level) but then I found this:
then this took the cake:
Red freaking Riding Hood ribbon? You know I'll use that to edge Zizi's future red cloak!
There are also some like this that are super cute:
Just so. much. love. How could you even choose? Let's just say that I went a little bit overboard, but my kid will have some over-the-top cute - one-of-a-kind clothes. :)
(All of these ribbons/pics are taken from Chickadee's Supplies, where I bought my ribbons. Not only was she super fast (i.e. so fast, she kept updating my special order as I added ribbons to it IN REAL TIME), she threw in a free piece of ribbon with my order!)
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
It's that time of year again... almost time for the NW Flower and Garden Show!!
It runs from February 5-9th at the Seattle Convention Center, and this year has some particularly amazing speakers. Like Stacy Brewer from Seattle Seedling, and Erica Strauss from NW Edible Life.. super exciting to be able to see some ladies whose blogs I read all the time. This year's theme is "Art in Bloom"- I'm still trying to figure out the theme gardens. Some years the designers follow the theme, and others it seems completely non-related. Stay tuned for more pics in a week or so!
Friday, January 24, 2014
Even though it may still be the middle of an Arctic winter outside...
You can start some seeds inside now! I like to start my seeds in a mixture of compost and potting soil, and leave them under lights for at least 12 hours a day. (This is probably way more light than they'll get in the ground at my house for several months.) You don't need to get any kind of special expensive "grow" lights, seeds will grow with regular fluorescent lights. More details on a seed-starting setup can be found here.
|This is a great book to give you some ideas for year-round gardening; the author is in Canada, so I figure it's fair to say that anything she can grow, you can grow in the U.S.!|
So, what seeds should you start right now? I'm focusing on greens like kale, chard, arugula, and lettuce, as well as some quick-growing herbs that don't need to ever be outside to be delicious. (I'm looking at you cilantro and parsley!) Find some other great suggestions here at NW Edible Life.
Soon my garden will look like this, but until then, I'll take some indoor veggies!
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
|(Winter is coming)|
Just in case you want to join us as a Viking some day... you can make yourself a hat.
You will need:
brown fleece (1/2 a yard or less really)
white fleece (scraps are fine)
pillow stuffing (small amount)
To start with, hold up the brown fleece to your head, and see about how big your head is. You will be cutting a half-circle that will fit over the top of your head. Get the straight across measurement, and this will be the bottom of your circle. Add about half an inch to the bottom measurement, then cut a makeshift half-circle. Pin it together and try it on your head. If it's too small, try again. (You should have more than enough fabric with a half of a yard of fabric- get a yard if you want to make more than one hat.)
Do not sew the hat together yet! The next step is to make the horns. Using your white fleece scraps, fold it in half an cut out a horn shape. (If you are hesitant with your scissor skills, you could also start by drawing the shape on paper, then cutting it out with that... I'm just not that serious here.) Make two for each hat (with two layers of fabric each, so 4 total, 2 each that match each other.)
Sew together the horn bits, right sides together. Turn them inside out, poke out the ends with a pin head or chopstick, then stuff with pillow stuffing.
If you want your horns to stick straight up (instead of the kind of floppy ones I did) you could put a pipe cleaner into the middle of the horn to give it some stability.
Now you are going to sew it together! Place the finished horns FACING INSIDE the hat, and pin it along the edge. (*Note, the horns should actually be between the two brown fleece layers, I just did it this way to show you what they should look like on the INSIDE.)
Check and make sure that when you flip it, the horns will be facing the way that you want them to.
Carefully sew the whole thing together. Turn it inside out and put it on!
The nice thing about fleece is that it doesn't unravel. At all. So you don't have to hem it anywhere. You could make a fancy pattern on the bottom or add some ribbon or something, but you totally don't have to.
Optional Braids (like Z's hat):
Cut some thin pieces of fleece, way longer than the braids you want. Tie three of them together with a knot, then braid the fleece. When the braid is a length you like, tie another knot, and cut off the ends. Make another one, then sew the top of the braids to the inside of the hat on either side, spacing them evenly.