Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Craft This!

Craft This! purse

My submission to this month's (and the very first ever) Craft This! project. It's kind-of hard to see the details in pic, but this is a tote bag and the handles extend up (in the faux suede). I was given an amazing Alexander Henry fabric that reminds me of an Oilily grafitti banner that I have. The images depict what appears to be travel--loading up a car for a road trip, luggage, a hot air balloon, a train, US state I went with that theme. I based the tote bag on Betsy True's 2 Hour Tote pattern, a pattern I have made several times before, and learned in a class taught by Betsy. For me, however, I can't even cut a pattern out in two hours, and it took me more than two days just to figure out the interior pocket (but that was my own addition). I wanted to add a flap so all the contents wouldn't spill out, but I don't like interior ties, and a flap over the top would obliterate the fabric design and the ribbon. I may add something later, but I haven't figured out the details yet. This is a great pattern though, very roomy, and simple to follow. The exterior fabric is quilted with random stitching lines in a contrasting aqua-colored thread. I will try to post more pics later, but I am having some computer problems right now. Thanks to Tracie for letting me use her digital camera and her computer so I could post this by the due date.

Purse interior
I added a beautiful postcards-themed fabric as a lining, and two interior pockets. Not having a pattern for the interior proved to be quite a problem, between my lack of expertise and the slippery quality of the linen. It's a fun fabric though, with pink threads making up the warp, and yellow the weft so you get a coral (or is it the other way around? I can't remember from textile class anymore). And yes, I hand-stitched that f**king trim around the zipper, and the interior of the ribbon edge on the top of the bag too. Project from hell, but it turned out pretty cool. I already had the rust-colored faux suede in my stash--that color appears to be the "new black" this season.

postcard fabric
She had sent two color schemes of the same beautiful ribbon, which I used to trim the top edge of the bag, then I left as a side tie also, and hand-stitched the main fabric on the ends. I was also sent two small cow bells which I somehow immediately lost in my haste to open the package at the post office. I hadn't seen the "craft this!" on the envelope, so I assumed an ebay seller had sent me the wrong merchandise. In the process, I must have dropped the bells. Surprisingly, I was unable to find replacements, so I substituted two small silver bells, then added travel-related charms on a detachable chain across the outer pocket. The chain is attached to tabs made out of the same ribbon, sewn to either side of the outer pocket. The charms include an airplane, a girl driving in a car, a camera with a glittery lens, flip-flops, a bikini top and bottoms, and beach chairs with palm trees (because my idea of vacation is someplace tropical).
Entries from all participants can be viewed here.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Cake Decorating Magazine, May/June 1974

Cake Decorating Magazine, May/June 1974
These citrus slices are kind-of cool, but in a food-coloring overkill sort of way. I have always wanted to learn this craft--art in icing.

sun cake

teapot cake

grad cakes

fish cake

dad cakes

Castle cake
I would have killed for this as a kid. Now it just looks like too much sugar.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

It's Too Hot....

I want to thank Susie Sunshine for making me laugh today when I have spent yet another afternoon with my seam ripper, sweating like a pig in this heat. I am not one to normally accept "good enough" on a project, but it was either that or toss the I opted to take what I could get. I will post a pic of the project from hell, Craft This! submission, later in the week.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Be patient

Not sure what's going on with my blog today--one pic not appearing from Flickr, and one pic not appearing from Picassa, and one pic all of a sudden showing up twice....when it was all fine previously. Different pics are placed on posts where they don't belong...I apologize for any difficulty reading my blog right now. Just bear with it until the bugs are out, I guess. Frustrating.

Oh my gosh, what is going on today? First all this weird scrambling of my blog. Then I can't for the life of me make a zippered pouch for the purse I'm sewing. I have sewn, taken out, sewn, taken least ten times today. I was very close to throwing it in the trash earlier this afternoon. I thought I was supposed to interview a singer for the music website I write for, but it's NEXT Friday. Why did my boss overnight the CD then? Everything is Twilight Zone right now. My computer keeps freezing up or just shutting off at random. It is roasting hot (in the 90's, I think). Grrrr....(and that politeness is for Laura's benefit, let me tell you).

I did have one bright spot, in that I absolutely HAD to have a Coke earlier, so I dragged my butt out of the house, sans make-up, and went to the little mom and pop market down the street. Outside, there is a wooden stand where a woman sells "liquados". I know that's Spanish for drinks, and I've been wanting to check the place out. Today was the perfect opportunity. I never buy those in Mexico, because one can never be sure if the ice is pure. Unpure ice=baaaaaad news. I don't want to get sick in Mexico. I've heard the stories. Not that I don't drink cocktails with ice, or water in restaurants, but vendors off the streets is a bit trickier. Anyway, the lady didn't speak any English, but I managed to dust off my four semesters' worth and order a pineapple drink. It turned out to be sort-of like a Hawaiian Ice or snow cone, with fresh pineapple puree over crushed ice. Insanely good, even at $2.75 for a tiny glass. I'm going back tomorrow.

Homemade Pinto Beans

It has been awhile since I posted a recipe, and this is a must-have for your card file. I live in San Diego, so I'm very close to the Mexican border, and much of what I eat is influenced by their cooking. I love bean burritos, and if any of you think you're going to open a can and get a semblance of what beans are supposed to taste like...uh, that stuff is just "bleck" (tongue sticking out). Beans are so easy to make, and they are great as a side dish or as an ingredient in so many dishes.

1 cup dry pinto beans, rinsed
3-4 cups water
1/2 onion, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 jalepeno pepper (cut stem end off, but otherwise leave whole)
2 serrano pepper (cut stem ends off, but otherwise leave whole)
Optional: bacon or ham hock for flavor

Place beans in a saucepot and cover with water (you can soak beans several hours or overnight if desired).
Add rest of items.
Cover, and simmer 3-4 hours for tenderness.
Make sure you add water as needed, and stir the pot occassionally. You do NOT want the beans to stick to the bottom.
If any of the beans burn, the whole batch will taste burned.

After cooking, remove the flavoring additions and throw away. I leave the garlic and onion, because I like the additional texture, but throw out the peppers and pork (if using. I never add that).
I also like my beans soupy (frijoles de la olla), but use a slotted spoon to drain off excess liquid when you go to use the beans, if you like yours a bit drier. I would refrigerate it in the water, however, or it may become too dry. For the very last step, salt to taste, but go lightly as it can easily become too salty. Good in refrig for three days, or freeze for later use.

If you want to refry your beans, in a frying pan place oil (or bacon drippings, or shortening) and your cooked beans (it's the fat that adds the flavor, sad but true, so add a lot!).
As the beans heat up, mash with a potato masher continually until you get desired consistency, and beans are warmed through. If desired, add sour cream and cheese.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Coveted issue of Sassy Magazine featuring a necktie skirt. Various reconstructed clothing ideas by Todd Oldham. January 1992.


Sewing is Fun, 1958

Copyright 1958, by the Singer Manufacturing Company (the sewing machine company). A scrap of paper left in the book indicates it was purchased at the Edith Farnsworth Book Shop in Colorado Springs, Colorado for a Christmas gift. The paper lists assorted "good reading for November, 1959".


Gingham Apron

Bird Needle Case

This is so cute. Looks like something Bella Dia or Little Birds would like to make.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Re-discovering Macrame

I'm experiencing a re-interest in macrame. It has been ages since I tried this, but I bought some hemp twine, and I thought I'd start with a dog collar. This book is a Conde Nast publication, 1972. Yes there are the dreaded over-the-top knot combinations (like the funky cave girl necklace on the cover), and the dreaded obligatory lampshades and wall hangings, but there are also a few treasures in this book. It gives a detailed how-to with diagrams of each knot, and it's loaded with ideas.  Posted by Picasa

Fun deck chair! Posted by Picasa


Macrame Apron

How fun is this?! Macrame bib apron with fringe. Posted by Picasa

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Still Stylin' after all these years

This knotted jumper is adorable. Unique. Posted by Picasa

Homemade fringe can be quite elegant. I found this surprisingly fun and delicate. Posted by Picasa

Cute, very wearable beanie. I maybe could do without the tassel, but it's pretty timeless. Posted by Picasa

This is just Wrong

Seriously, WHAT is going on here? Experimental stitches meet poodle cut. Was it supposed to look like some ethnic garb? No. Oh no. Posted by Picasa

Reggae Boat Cruise! (said with Jamaican accent)

Gettin' Irie on the Reggae-on-the-Bay event for Marcus Garvey Day, on the San Diego Bay. I love live music, and reggae is one of my favorites Posted by Picasa

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The boat cruises underneath the Coronado bridge, and from that vantage point, it seems so narrow (versus a five-lane highway). When I was a kid, there were drive-on ferrys (or is it ferries?). They were awesome. The lower level was for vehicles, and the upper level allowed pedestrians to walk on, or people could get out of their cars and walk around and enjoy the scenery. You could go back and forth all for a nickel, but you could stay on for hours if you wanted to. People would just hang out on the top level and play cards, listen to music, relax, etc. I miss the ferrys. There is a small pedestrian version now, but it's not the same.

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This view always reminds me of the Titanic. God I hated that movie.

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Being a native San Diegan, I too often forget to take advantage of the "tourist" stuff. I forget how beautiful the bay is. On a daily basis, I can see sail boats, Navy ships, pelicans...I don't think I could handle being land-locked. The sea is too much a part of me.

Monday, August 22, 2005

What's Happening....

I will be writing a guide to San Diego crafting for Get Crafty! This will be a list of places where people can find places to learn crafts or craft with others--places that readers may not have been aware existed previously. Get Crafty! posts a variety of regional guides, so they may have one for your city. If not, offer to write one! If anyone reading this lives in the San Diego area and would like to forward me some lesser known crafty zones, classes, etc, I would be appreciative. I would like to provide the most thorough list possible.

There is a call out to crafters who use recycled materials on The email I received says:
"And a new Call to Artists -- an announcement of an upcoming juried show for artists over 18 years old who work with recycled and reused materials. If you want to add another show to this list, please send the announcement to us"
I love recycled crafts--especially the unusual, like the bracelet on their site made from old typewriter keys. Check out their cool book list, including a book called Arborsculpture: Solutions for a Small Planet, by Richard Reames. It introduces us to living furniture. That's right, trees as functional art. And I bet Kath and Amanda would enjoy Signs of the Wind: Postcard Collage, by Leonore Tawney.

Well, I decided to opt out of the Softies and Apron challenges this month, but I am almost done with my project for Craft This! This is a new challenge thought up by Millenium Hippies, but she has lost the use of her car, so is asking if perhaps we take on a hosting relay (a passing of the torch month to month). I think that's a fun idea. Participants pay $15, and are sent a fabric and embellishments (this month ribbon and two small cow bells, but it could be buttons and trim, or whatever), chosen by the person in charge that month. Yes, everyone has different styles and tastes--but that's the creative part! That's why some quilting shops and magazines hold "ugly fabric" quilt contests. And the results are always so amazing too! Participants are free to add additional supplies, and choose their craft of choice--whatever the fabric "tells" them to make. The fun part is seeing the variety of projects. So I hope more people participate next month.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Fabric Finds!

Just some of the fun fabrics I found recently at garage sales. My favorite is the brown fish design on the left--it's a knit! I also got a box full of aloha fabrics from a woman who happens to own a bikini business. Perfect. I'm going to have to start a quilt soon. Posted by Picasa

I don't have anything to play with!

Best kitty on the planet.
This is Terry (terror-on-paws back in the day). He'll be 15 in October. Poor guy had a huge lump on his neck yesterday, and I was so worried it was going to be the Big 'C'. We've got angels though, and it turned out to be an abcess--an uncommon occurance that resulted from a puncture wound (he and "That Baby" play too rough. After all, That Baby just turned one, so he doesn't know any better). Anyway, over $300 later (and I think the vet cut this poor girl some slack), but he's going to be fine. When I first got Terry, I asked my boyfriend at the time to get me a kitten. I asked for a gray, long-haired, female kitten. For Valentine's Day, here was Terry in a red bow, but a black, short-haired, male, and four months old! Read that again. Everything is the opposite! Just the most amazing, friendly, angel in a cat's body. I hope I'm graced with several more years of his presence. Poor guy has already been through two life-threatening urinary tract infections, a stint with starvation because he hated Science Diet, and a thyroid problem that requires daily medication. But for an old man he's doing just fine. Posted by Picasa

My Boo-Boo (and Boo Hoo)

Okay, this is a learn-a-lesson-from-my-mistake post. Put on your best Napoleon Dynamite impression, and in unison (are you ready?), come on, you can say it....

I purchased two vintage aprons on ebay. Both amazing, both the perfect size in width and length, both with cool front pocket areas. Well the first thing I always do with vintage fabric stuff is wash it, because, for all intents and purposes, I don't know where it's been. Well...have you guessed yet? I went into zombie, forgetful, force-of-habit mode...and threw these forty of so year-old items in the blazing hot dryer. Hello Barb! Back in the day, they had clotheslines. Back in the day, they probably didn't preshrink. These may as well have been wool, because what emerged from the dryer are two aprons that are almost child-size.
What a dope.

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Fun (reversible!) owls apron, and the other is a similar design but features blue and black roses. For whatever reason, I tend to gravitate toward aprons that contain black.

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Fabric Details

Close-up of the two apron fabrics. Isn't the owl fabric to die for?!
black floral

owl fabric

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Clothing made from Towels

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Pullover robe from towels, 1965. The sleeveless shift is rather chic, don't ya think? I have a love affair with patterns and ideas that utilize towels. Maybe because it involves recycling. Maybe because someone once made me a robe and I dearly loved it. So now I collect these patterns, and have shared them here. I apologize for the multiple entries versus all on one post, but dreaded computer issues again. This works though.


Longer, simple poncho, 1973

Yeah, the full length one is a muu-muu, but I bet the shorter one might be pretty cute for the beach. Posted by Picasa