A home for all things crafty, health-conscious, cake-related, or in need of a wagon!



Monday, November 10, 2014

Goals for the week

I'm thinking that if I post some of my goals for the week, I'll a.) actually feel accomplished when I do them and b.)post more frequently.  Really, a win-win all around!


Cooking Goals: 

PB &J Breakfast Bars from Thug Kitchen (man, this book is AMAZING)
Kale and Coconut Bowl from Joy the Baker



Craft Goals: 

Start on the next section of knitting scarf (which has scary new stitch in it!)
Embroider on quilt top
Open pop up shop on Etsy (!!! One of my New Year's goals, coming to fruition!)

General Goals: 

Get this kitten to stop biting me!

Oh look, he's so sweet!
There is a reason his nickname is "Bitan", but this isn't illustrating it.



Friday, November 7, 2014

My First Quilt!


It has taken me forever, but I've finally finished my quilt top!  I started on this journey years ago when I found this book.  I cut all of the pieces, and started making squares.  Then I'd put it away for months and months until I felt like making squares again.  After getting some tiny baby quilts from my friends, I decided that maybe this didn't have to be a 100-piece quilt after all.  Maybe a throw quilt would be fine for my first project.  Then I made some more squares.  


The other night I was feeling crafty, but no desire to spend more money or cut out a new pattern...and I busted out my quilt bits again.  I pieced them together this week, and here we are!!  A finished quilt top!!  There was one part that didn't come together exactly perfectly, but I just added two more strips of fabric to even it out.  I'm hoping that you won't even really see it once I add some binding and put it all together.


Here is part of the reason that my posts have been so sparse lately.  


This is Titan! We adopted two kittens at the middle of September, and they have been happily sucking up a lot of our free time.  They are both orangers and are getting spoiled rotten.  (Yes, I made up the word "orangers".  I think it's hilarious, and John was sick at the time that I first said it, so he couldn't fight me too hard about it.)

Upcoming crafts: Resin Jewelry!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Homemade Applesauce!!


Lately, Zephyr has really wanted to "cook".  This usually means putting on her apron, hitting things with a spoon, and tasting all of the ingredients.
I couldn't be happier.

The other night, we decided to make applesauce together.  All of us!


Step 1: Peel apples

Step 2: Cut them up and put them in a pot
Step 3: Add a little water and cinnamon.  Cook until they start to break down.


Step 4: Mash until desired consistency.
Step 5: Eat!
(Also, hit some pots with spoons for good measure.)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Learn to Knit with me!

image source
It is Fall, and this means that it is the time of year when I usually take a (small) break from sewing and start doing lots of yarn/fiber-based crafts.  I can crochet decent scarves and irregularly shaped afghans, and we all know I love needle felting... but this year, I am challenging myself to finally learn how to knit.  I've tried a few times in the past, but always given up once it comes time to decode the weird language of knitting patterns.  Not this year!  I have discovered this great program of sorts through a site called Tin Can Knits.  It's called the Simple Collection, and it has easy to understand, step-by-step directions.  They have free patterns, tutorials, videos, and cheat sheets that you can print out.  My first project is the scarf above (as though I need another scarf? But whatever.) called "Wheat".  Here's how much I've gotten done so far this week:

I love this yarn color!
What I like about this whole process is that you are learning different stitches as you go, and working on them for a little while before you get something new.  I think that might really make it stick this time.  
This gorgeous hat is what sucked me back into the knitting world.  It might take a while to get to the point where I can make it, but I'm going to do it!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Zucchini!

Have you reached a point where you have so many zucchinis, you don't know what to do?
Image source

Crafty Cakewagon to the rescue!!

First off, let me congratulate you on being able to grow so many squash successfully.  At our house, we managed I think 4 this year; and 2 of them were thick-skinned and less than delicious.  (insert sad trombone here)  However, here in the PNW, we have had an AMAZING summer, so I'm sure that many many people have more zucchini than they know what to do with.  Here are some ideas:

Image source and delicious recipe!
Ratatouille.
No, not just a movie with a rat who cooks, this is actually a pretty delicious and versatile dish.  I like to make it into an entire meal by adding chickpeas and some dried pasta to the mix, but you can really make it your own pretty easily.  Zucchini+eggplant+tomatoes+basil and whateverelseyouwant.  (Try some ricotta or fresh mozzerella in there! Mmmm....)  Basically, slice, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for a long time at 350*- try an hour or so, if you're like me and cut thick pieces.  I really like eggplant when it's super done and squishy, so that requires a long baking time.  You can also serve it with some crusty French bread if you don't add pasta/the piles of extras I throw in there.

Image Source and Recipe

Zucchini Cheesecake
This recipe is from I Quit Sugar, and with a few tweaks, I think you'll like it!  I made this a few months ago, and it was just a little bit too salty and lemony for my taste; I would reduce the salt by half and same with the lemon zest.  If the idea of a savory cheesecake weirds you out, then just tell yourself it's a quiche.  :)


Image source
Zucchini Noodles
Are you pretending that you want to eat less carbs? Or you just want to trick your kids into eating a huge pile of zucchini? Try making noodles out of them!  You can make them into wide ribbon "noodles", or you can buy a fancy gadget that will make spaghetti-looking strips.  Either way, they cook up really fast, and then just disguise them with some sauce and you are golden.

Image Source
Some people prefer to do sweet things with zucchini; maybe originally out of desperation to use up the vegetable, but then out of deliciousness (my grandpa made zucchini cookies, I remember them being really good!).  If this is you, I have to introduce you to a few bloggers. Have you ever read Smitten Kitchen? If not, you are in for a treat!  She has a whole section devoted to zucchini, and I remember that her zucchini bread is especially awesome.  And if for some reason that doesn't float your dessert-laden boat, try Happy Herbivore's Chocolate Zucchini Muffins- super good!! (I think I threw in a few chocolate chips for good measure.)

If after all of this you are completely sick of zucchini, you can freeze some for winter.  Just blanch it a bit first in some boiling water, then freeze in small-ish quantities (amounts that you will actually use in one sitting).  Then you can enjoy your summer bounty for months to come!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Harvest Fair!

August has been a whirlwind of jury duty (escaped unscathed!), parties, and a pile of sewing.  What better way to end the summer than with Seattle Tilth's Harvest Fair


It's become a yearly tradition for us.  It's like a gigantic farmer's market, with some live music, farm animals, and herb crowns thrown in.  Hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Block Party!!


 Our annual block party is tonight!  Here are some more decorations that I made for this year....


Pennants, thanks to some scrapbook paper, a Cricut, and my never-ending supply of  baker's twine.



Super awesome fancy streamers, using this video here. It was a bit more difficult than I expected, but they look so great I think I'll make some for every party I throw in the future!  (That, and the fact that there are 3x more streamers mean they'll actually last instead of being thrown away.)

Streamers, all rolled up and pretty
I'm also planning to make the famous rhubarb cake and a version of this kale salad.  I have some wheat berries that I got at Bob's Red Mill, so I thought I'd cook some up and add them to the salad.  Should be a great party!!


Monday, August 4, 2014

HOT!

It has been consistently hot here for about a month.  I think we had a week of respite somewhere in the middle there, but my brain is suffering from the heat crazies and I don't exactly remember.  We have taken to setting up a sprinkler on the deck to a.) water plants and b.) stand in (Z has learned how to get particularly soaked!) and eating food from the barbecue most nights.  Here are a few things that you can do to help your garden (and friends) in times like these.


1.) Refill your hummingbird feeders weekly; even if they're not empty, the liquid can go bad much more quickly when it's hot.  I use a 1:4 ratio of sugar to water- so 1/2 c. sugar + 2 c. water for mine.


2.) Pick any flowers that come back over the season, like sweet peas or hydrangeas.  This will let you have fresh flowers in your house, but also will promote them to grow more flowers!  My sweet peas have been growing for months now, and even though my biggest one is looking mostly dead as far as the stems go, it still is producing more flowers.  If you're really quick, you can also plant a few more sweet pea seeds right now for a fall crop.  (This is the first year I'm trying this, so we'll see how it goes!)


3.) For God's sake, water your plants!  Mine usually look like this by the time I get to them in the daytime; so try to water at night, or really early in the morning.  I only water at midday if I have no other choice, since most of the water will evaporate pretty much instantly.  I've also thought about adding some plastic jugs with the bottoms cut off- sticking them in the ground near things that need lots of water, then filling them when I water so more of it released slowly into the ground.  I haven't done it yet, but it might work in the areas of your yard that are harder to get to.  You can also run soaker hoses over any areas that are flat; I've used an "extension hose" to get the soaker hoses down the hill where they are needed the most.  Then I can just turn on the hose, come back in 10 minutes, and my hardest-to-water area is done!


4.) If you have a birdbath, keep it full of water.  Not only do birds use it, bees need water too!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Craftmania!

For the past few weeks, I've been crafting up a storm! To start with, my neighbor and I are in charge of the block party this year, so I've been wearing out my Cricut making giant signs and banners for it.  Those will go up tomorrow (since it's next Tuesday)!


For the 4th of July, I made a Ruby Dress


 It actually was very easy (aside from picking the top fabric; does it look familiar?) and I finished it in one night after cutting it out!


I got the blue lotus fabric in Portland at Fabric Depot; it's actually designed by the same person who designed the dress pattern! How could I resist?


Then, this weekend, I modified a Staple Dress.  The first one I made turned out like a giant sack; which is fine, I just wear a belt with it, but I wanted this one to be better.  


I changed the neckline at the last minute, and I really like it.  Just having a bit of a time getting it to lie flat. 


I based the idea for the ties on this shirt from Purl Soho (what a fantastic blog that is!  You should check it out if you have any interest in sewing or knitting.)  I think they worked out pretty well!


Up next?  I'll show you the fancy streamers that I made for the block party, and the finished pennant banners! 





Friday, July 18, 2014

Gardening at My Parents' House


My parents' garden is going gangbusters right now. 


This is their view from the backyard



Wild poppies


Artichokes; going on year 3 or 4.


Tomatoes and whirligig (can you believe that I've already harvested more tomatoes than they have? It's the first time ever!  They pretty much have a tomato farm over there, so it must be all of the heat we've been getting.)


Raspberries


I've never seen raspberry flowers like this; they were really cool.



Baby "sputnik" squash


Now, on to the front yard...





  
So peaceful!



My mom's new bottle tree


Crocodile's not pulling his weight; look how he's just letting that wheelbarrow sit there!