29 February 2008


I had it all planned out. I was so excited to have a finished project to share with you all this week. And I was so sure that it would be finished this week seeing as the recipient's birthday is tomorrow. Things came up and it didn't get done. And then, last night, I was all prepared to buckle down and bust it out. And then, as I sat back down at the sewing machine after dinner, the lights flickered. Once. Twice. Out. Yes, my dear friends, we lost our power for the rest of the evening. Which means, obviously, no sewing machine.

Oooh I was frustrated. I so wanted to share it with you today. That was my plan (you see how I'm beginning to actually plan my posts, as opposed to just sitting down and seeing what I can come up with? What a change here). Warding off the funk, part 5: finish a project, it'll make you feel good. Instead, part five has become: Acceptance. Accepting the loss of electricity and recognizing that it is beyond your control. And it's really not that big of a deal. I will still finish this project, and I will share it with you next week. But also, accepting the February Funk, and recognizing that there are times when the world is telling us to slow down, hunker down, nest a little, and wait for the sun to come out.

So friends, we've just about made it. It is the last day of this longest shortest month of the year. And a special day too. One that only comes around every four years. I've been thinking (since Shari posed the question earlier this week) about doing something special to commemorate this day, but I'm not quite sure. We'll see if I think of something by the end of the day. What are you all doing this leap day?

Have a great weekend all, and thanks for joining me on this journey into March. I'll be back next week, hopefully with a finished project to show off (now I'm getting nervous that I've built it up too much...)

28 February 2008

the beauty that is flickr

1. putting it together, 2. leaf outline, 3. color wheel, 4. soap, untrimmed, 5. Untitled, 6. snail trail 2, 7. evergreen, 8. foggy morning, 9. still life project ::4::

Ahh flickr. It's a tough call sometimes as to what is more of a timesuck (or clock gobbler, as Claire would say): flickr, or google reader. I have talked many times about how many amazing people I've connected with through blogging, and flickr is definitely the same. There is so much beauty and inspiration to be found there, sometimes I can hardly believe what I'm looking at.

I'm feeling short on words, and photos, today (and no, this is not-entirely, at least-because I still have not finished the project I was hoping to share with you this week). So I'll just share some of my recent favorites. This collection feels like the transition from winter to spring. Still grey, but color is apparent. And there is hope for more. Did I tell you that they've put out the seed rack out at my coop?! In my opinion, it's a little premature (as I sit here and watch the snow falling), but it gives us all hope. It's like they knew we needed help to get into March.

And, don't think I forgot about my giveaway winners...First of all, thank you all so much for commenting! It was so wonderful to hear from so many new and old readers. You really know how to make a girl's day. So...the winners are: Emily, Melissa, and Kloth & Bolt. Ladies, please email me with your addresses (juliaedavidson[at]gmail[dot]com). Like I said, I'm not entirely sure what you'll be getting, but it will be good. And it will be soon.

27 February 2008

Do Some Oga*

When it's cold and grey out, it's hard to get motivated. But moving your body will make you feel better, I promise. That is, of course, unless you hurt yourself. Don't hurt yourself. Anyways, I'm not a runner, or really that into sports, or going to the gym. So I've always had a hard time finding some kind of exercise that could keep me motivated and that I actually enjoyed doing. When I was in school, I found this amazing yoga studio. It was so amazing, in fact, that when I left Vermont, I was completely ruined and could never find another yoga class that I enjoyed.

But I finally did find one here. And I've been pretty diligently going once a week, and sporadically practicing at home in between classes. And it feels so good. A friend of mine recently said to me that she was feeling so uncreative since she had stopped doing yoga. She felt that because she had no time that was specifically carved out to do something exclusively for herself, something that was meditative, she was lacking creative inspiration. I totally get that.

I know it sounds cheesy, but I feel recharged after yoga. And the weeks that I don't go to class, and don't have time to practice at home. Well, I can tell the difference. So do some yoga. Or go for a run, bike ride, trip to the gym, or just take a nice long walk. Move yourself.

*This came from a little girl I know who was having a lot of temper tantrums and whose mom was trying to help her calm down by doing yoga. When her doctor asked her what kinds of things she did to calm her body, this little two year old responded "I do oga." She then clasped her hands in prayer position and said "namaste."

Also- you have no idea how hard it is to capture yoga poses with a self-timer. Must figure out this remote thing!

26 February 2008

spend some time in the kitchen

Let's be honest here. When it's cold and yucky out, don't we all head to the kitchen? Or is that just me? At least in my house, the kitchen is always the warmest room in the apartment. Most likely because I'm constantly cooking or baking. I just realized that this is my sixth post this month about food. Wait a minute, I thought this was a crafting blog? Anyways, we all know that food is comforting, and the bottom line is that we all need some comfort this month.

I would recommend some nice bread.

Or maybe a good bowl of chili and a piece of cornbread.

Or if you need something to get you going in the morning, how about some nice warm oatmeal with some almonds and raisins, topped with brown sugar.

Since I had such great response to the last bread recipe I shared (check these out!), I'll give you another one. Don't forget: if you want to be in the running for my blogaversary giveaway, leave a comment here before midnight tomorrow. I'll announce the winner on Thursday.

Flaxseed Loaf (from The Bread Bible)

2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup pumpernickel flour (I didn't have this, so I just used whole wheat instead of this)
1/2 cup flaxseed (the recipe recommends coarsely grinding or cracking the whole flaxseeds for better digestion, but not to use pre-ground flaxseeds. This might be a good idea, but it seems fine in my experience to leave the seeds whole).
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbl honey
1 3/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
2 tsp salt

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the water, honey, flaxseed, pumpernickel flour (or whole wheat), and yeast. Then stir in the salt, whole wheat flour, and all-purpose flour until mixed well. Knead the dough in the bowl for about five minutes, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for another 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky, but don't add too much more flour. Cover dough with an inverted bowl and let it rest for about 20 minutes (this will make it easier to knead). Knead for another 5 minutes (dough should be elastic and still cling to your fingers, but not be too sticky) and then place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dishtowel and let the dough rise for about an hour (until doubled).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press down on it to flatten it slightly. Shape the dough into a loaf and place in a lightly greased loaf pan. (I like to first spray the top of the loaf with a little water and dip it in more flaxseeds-they don't stay that well, but I like the look). It should be about 1/2 inch from the top of the pan. Cover with a large bowl or oiled plastic wrap, and allow dough to rise until center is about 1 inch about the sides of the pan. This should take about 45-60 minutes. Note: this bread will rise a lot in the oven, so don't worry if it looks like it's not big enough.

About 1 hour before you're going to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 375. Place a baking stone or extra baking sheet in the oven, and place a cast iron skilled or baking sheet on the floor of the oven. When dough is ready, slash with a serrated knife. Set the loaf pan on top of the baking stone or sheet and quickly toss about 1/2 cup of ice cubes onto the baking sheet that is on the floor of the oven. Close the oven door. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. Halfway through baking, turn the pan around for even baking. Remove the bread from the oven and place on a wire rack. Allow it to cool at least 2 hours before slicing.

25 February 2008

warding off the february funk: part 1

required ingredients:
a good book or magazine
a cozy spot with a blanket

nice cup of tea or hot cocoa
yummy snack. i would suggest a cookie, or maybe some chocolate, or a bowl of popcorn. the possibilities are seriously endless

directions: put on pajamas. make hot beverage of choice and snack. find good book or magazine, must have the ability to fully engross you. choose cozy spot and have blanket handy. take a deep breath. begin reading.

ps: it's okay if you fall asleep. naps are encouraged.

22 February 2008


I've been thinking about this post ever since I realized that my one year blog birthday was coming up today. There's so many things I feel like I could say about blogging and this whole blogging/flickring community. I could talk about how lovely it's been to have a space to write more and take better photos. (I actually cringe a little when I look back at those first few posts, it definitely took me a little while to find my "voice"). Or I could talk about what a wonderful feeling it is to put my creative side out there into this wide wide world and get back the most lovely comments and feedback from "strangers" (even though I don't really consider you guys strangers at all). Or even how, when I first started this whole thing one year ago, I barely knew what a blog was, had no idea that this huge (and I mean huge) crafty blogging community even existed, and it was honestly an attempt to market my little "business" and try to promote myself more. But how, over the course of these past twelve months, this space has come to mean so so much more than that-to the point, actually, where I feel like I hardly ever talk about selling crafts here. I have come to love checking in on all of my favorite blogs (a list that keeps on growing), have "met" some incredible people that I've connected with through this community, and how each time I get that little email telling me that someone has left me a comment, a smile creeps across my face.

I'm doing my best to not get too sappy here. But truly, you all make my day everytime. And I've been thinking about what the best way would be to thank all of you for coming to visit me here and supporting me in all my endeavors. In the kitchen, with my sewing machine, in the garden, or just my random thoughts and ramblings. If I could, honestly, I would send each and every one of you a care package. I'd send you something sewn especially for you, some baked goods, a nice letter, and some other fun and crafty goodies.

But alas, that is not really possible. So instead, I will just send such a package to three of you (I'm trying to be realistic). Leave me a comment here, anytime between now and next Wednesday, and I'll randomly choose three lucky readers. I can't say exactly what it is you'll be receiving, but I promise it'll be good. A nice smattering of what you normally find here. For now though, one thing I can share with all of you is my tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe. Even if I can't send you all cookies, at least you can make some yourself (does that sound mean? Really, it's meant to be nice). This recipe is adapted from the recipe on the bag of tollhouse chocolate chips, which my mom always said was the best.

So, have a lovely weekend my friends. The forecast here is for 40 degrees and I'm hoping for a nice long walk, maybe even a bike ride, some sewing, some reading, and oh yeah, a waffle party with some friends tomorrow morning. I'll be back next week with some anti-February funkiness and the final push into March!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup non dairy margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbl ground flax mixed with 6 tbl water
2.5 cups flour (1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-1.5 cups chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
.5-1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Cream margarine and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in vanilla and flax/water mixture. Add in flours, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if desired). Bake for 8-10 minutes on a greased/silpat lined baking sheet.

21 February 2008

the funk made me do it.

Well, it's been a slow blogging week over here. A short week that turned very unexpectedly busy. With a very unexpected (and totally pointless, I might add) four and a half hour trip to the ER on Tuesday. (I am totally fine- remind me to never call the insurance company nurse hotline again!) And now it's Thursday. Normally, I would be jumping for joy at the speedy arrival of the end of the week, but where did all that time go?

I can't even count how many blogs I've read recently whose authors were voicing their collective complaints about the month of February (and that's not including the 207, yes 207, posts in my google reader that are waiting to be read). That's right, bloggers hate February. Well, not all of us, but many of us who live in the northern part of the US (and Canada, I suppose). It's a hard one, this February. The holidays are long over. We're pretty much settled in to this new year and its routines. We're ready for the next big thing. But it's still cold. Winter persists. And we're patiently (or not so patiently) awaiting spring's arrival. And to top it all off, the days are still short and grey enough that it's still pretty hard to take nice photos. Now, I am under no illusions that suddenly on March 1st, spring will appear and stay until summer comes. No no. But there just seems to be more hope in March- there's some spring like weather, even if it continues to be interrupted by the occasional snowstorm. At least all these way below zero degree days will be behind us (fingers crossed).

So here I am. February 21. We're so close (except for that darn leap year thing). I'm proposing to take the last week of February and post everyday next week about something I'm doing to tide me into March (Meg suggested daily chocolate rations, which I think is an excellent idea.). So that's the plan for next week. We'll see if I stick to it. Feel free to join in if you're feeling like you need a little jolt into March (just leave me a comment so I can read yours too). I'll be back tomorrow with a super duper giveaway (and maybe a sappy bloggy post) for my one year blogaversary! Happy Thursday friends, hope your days are filled with as much sun as my lovely plant is getting, but warmer temperatures.

{PS: Sorry for the totally random photos of my plant, but due to the unexpected busy-ness of this week-see above-I've got nothing else right now. Soon. Very soon.}

18 February 2008

By popular demand

After my post about breadmaking, I received a number of requests for recipes (how could I have had an entire post about breadmaking and not included a recipe? what ever was I thinking?). I mentioned the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book in that post, and another book I would recommend is The Bread Bible. You can usually find bread recipes in regular (i.e. not necessarily bread-focused) cookbooks as well. I'm not quite up to making up my own bread recipes just yet (you see, I'm not completely over my phobia of yeast...) but I've had no trouble finding delicious and simple bread recipes in any number of cookbooks.

This weekend's bread recipe comes from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook; it's the Hearth-warming Homemade Bread, and is a great recipe for a pretty basic hearth bread. So it's good for beginner breadmakers, or the more experienced among you. The recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but I like to use half all-purpose and half whole wheat pastry flour. This mixture gives it more flavor and I like that it's more whole grain. I think this would work well with an addition of one cup or so of seeds (flax, sesame, sunflower, etc.) if you wanted to go that route. I love this bread because it's so versatile. It's delicious on a sandwich, for breakfast toast, or as garlic bread with a nice italian meal. Also, I don't have a bread machine, or an electric mixer, so I'm just including the directions for mixing it by hand, but you can use an electric mixer if you prefer that route. Okay, okay, I'll stop rambling and just give you the recipe so you can try it out yourselves...

Hearth-Warming Homemade Bread (from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook)
(makes 2 loaves)

2 cups warm water (98-115 degrees F)
1 tbl sugar
1 tbl (1 packet) dry active yeast
6 cups flour (half all-purpose and half whole wheat)
1 tbl salt
olive oil for greasing the bowl
cornmeal, for dusting.

In a large bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture sit until it turns creamy and tiny bubbles appear on the surface (about 5-7 minutes). In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 cups of the flour (1.5 of all-purpose and 1.5 of whole wheat) with the salt. Stir the flour mixture into the yeast mixture and beat by hand until very elastic (about 100 strokes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a dishtowel and set it aside for at least 2 hours (note: you can let it sit for up to 24 hours at this stage, and the longer you let it sit, the more of a sourdough flavor it will acquire).

Beat down the batter and stir in another cup of flour. Continue to add the rest of the flour until the dough is stiff enought to handle. Dough should be a little sticky at this point. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 15 minutes (until dough is smooth and springy). Shape into a firm ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl (I use olive oil). Cover with plastic wrap and towel again and let rise until doubled (about 1.5 hours).

Press down the dough in the center to deflate it. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just long enough to squeeze out the air. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and dip the top in flour. Place each piece of dough, flour side down, in a bowl (approximately 8" in diameter). Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and a towel again and let rise until doubled again (about 1.5 hours).

About 45 minutes before you plan to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 450 and place a baking stone on the center rack of the oven (I don't have a baking stone, so I just use a non-rimmed baking sheet). When dough is ready, sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and carefully turn the dough onto the baking sheet, flour side up. Using a serrated knife, score the top of each loaf with an x or three slashes, or any other design you can think of (my boss at the bakery always used to make smiley faces) and put the loaves in the oven by placing the baking sheet on top of the baking stone (or other baking sheet).

Close the oven door for 15 seconds, then open it and spray water into the oven with a spray bottle. Close the door for 30 seconds, then repeat. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until loaves are golden brown and, when tapped on the bottom, sounds hollow. Transfer loaves to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy.

14 February 2008


First of all, welcome to anyone here who's just found me via jen or meg, those ladies are two of my most favorite recent discoveries, and I'm so honored that they feel the same way about me. I gotta say, I'm really feeling the blogland and flickr love these days (I almost said cyber love and then I realized the unintended implications of that term...glad I caught myself on that one!). I realized that my one year blogaversary is coming up next Friday (I know, how did that happen?). I really want to do something special for you all, but I'm at a loss at the moment. Rest assured, there will be something exciting, but we'll just have to wait and see what it ends up being.

Jared and I had an absolutely delicious dinner last night. It was actually the first Valentine's Day that we spent together and celebrated, and it was lovely. We cooked together for a few hours and then just enjoyed the deliciousness of it all.

We had broccoli polenta, sauteed seitan with mushrooms and spinach, and a fancy dessert of tea-poached pears with chocolate sauce. Every recipe was from my current bible-Veganomicon. I gotta get off this book. But why? It's so good (I think I'm officially eight for eight right now). Of course I want to share all the recipes with you, but I think I'll stick with (guess which one?) the dessert. It was so perfect--not too difficult to make and just the right combination of fruityness and chocolatey goodness. I'm afraid I'm pretty far down the path of just publishing this whole book right here on this blog, hmmm.

Well, I've got a three day weekend, and it's the first weekend since December that Jared will be home for! We'll be helping out a friend who's shooting a movie (I'll be appearing as girl #2) and just generally enjoying the weekend-ness. Hope you all have lovely ones.

Tea Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce (from Veganomicon)
3 cups water
4 tea bags black tea
1/4 cup sugar
4 firm Bosc pears, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, and cored (I forgot to peel them and I thought it was good with the skin on)
zest from 1/2 a navel orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 oz bitter or semisweet vegan chocolate

Boil the water in a medium saucepan. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and add the tea bags and sugar. Steep for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags and stir, making sure the sugar is dissolved. Bring the tea to a boil, and add the pears, orange zest and vanilla (note: I was worried because there wasn't enough liquid for the pears to be submerged- they don't need to be, and it's okay if they overlap in the pan). Turn down the heat to simmer and cover. Let simmer and remove the orange peel after about 15 minutes (it will get bitter if you leave it in for too long). Simmer for another 20 minutes until the pears are tender.

Transfer the pears and liquid to a large bowl to cool. Remove a cup of the liquid from the bowl and place it back in the pot (note: there was only about half the liquid I needed, so I just took it all out and added some water). Bring liquid to a simmer, then turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until completely dissolved. Let the sauce and pears cool for about an hour, it tastes really good at room temperature.

Ladle a good amount of chocolate sauce into a bowl and place two pear halves on top. Add a scoop of vegan ice cream or a sprig of mint if desired. Yum!

For you all.

I think today I'll skip the philosophical analysis of Valentine's Day and whether or not I agree with the premise of this Hallmark holiday (why can't we tell people we love them everyday?, wait, I said I was skipping this...) and just get to the point. Take today to find someone you love. Friend, family member, lover, whoever. And tell them you love them. It's okay if you don't do it today. But do it soon. I know I don't do it enough. I want to tell you all how much I appreciate you coming to visit me here. The fact that you take the time to read my ramblings and comment on my creations, makes my day everytime. I once had to fill out an application for something that asked me to write the meaning of life in three words. I wrote "love each other." And I still stand by that. So here's a little shout out to all those that I love...

Dear lovely people in my life (not going to name everyone here on my blog),

I love you and am so lucky to have you all in my life. Happy Valentine's Day.

Love, Julia

11 February 2008

I like to make bread

First of all, I did not grow up with homemade bread. My mom is an excellent cook and an incredible baker, but fresh bread was not something we had coming out of our oven. In fact, I think middle school was the first time I remember going to a friend's house and having bread that her mom had made, and I thought it was really weird. Who makes bread, I remember thinking, don't you just buy it at the store? Ahh, what a city kid I was.

The first real experience I had with making bread was when I lived in this hippie/environmental co-op house in college. Every one of the seventeen people who lived there had a house job (coop shopper, bulk food orderer, tofu water changer, composter, and of course: bread maker). For some reason, the people who were bread makers when I lived there could not make a fluffy loaf of bread to save their lives. Every loaf that appeared in that kitchen was super dense, dry, and crumbly. Not an enjoyable culinary experience, to say the least. This furthered my belief at the time that it was really hard to make bread. I volunteered to be the stand-in bread maker for one month just to try this whole mysterious thing out, and I'll just say that it went alright. I began to overcome my fear, but it still seemed really hard to make a good loaf of bread. Further explorations (largely based on this book) continued for a few more years and more and more I began to really love making bread. I especially loved making challah for the holidays, although I hardly ever make this anymore due to the high egg content, and Jared's lack of egg consumption.

A few years ago, when I was living in Berkeley being unemployed (again), I got a job at a bread bakery in the hopes of improving my skills. While I was certainly not baking the best bread in the world (excessive use of "corn sweetener" aka high fructose corn syrup- yuk!) I did love being surrounded by all that dough everyday, and some of it was pretty tasty. During the year (ack!) that I worked at the bakery, I almost never made bread at home. It was just too much. In fact my whole diet went to hell that year- mostly the result of a whacked out sleeping and eating schedule (getting up at 4:30 am and not going to bed early enough for that). I can't say that I learned any recipes or anything like that from working at the bakery (seeing as I'm not planning on making 100 loaf batches of bread anytime soon, nor am I planning on using "corn sweetener" anytime soon), but I did finally get over my fear of bread dough. See, I had always harbored this idea that yeast was so super sensitive and if you pissed it off somehow, your bread would never rise and would just be ruined. Well, for any of you out there who share that fear, I'll clear things up for you...don't mess with your bread dough too much, but it is okay to play with it. If the dough feels too hard, add some water. Too sticky (as long as it's not supposed to be a sticky dough), add some flour. And be patient. If you bread isn't rising, give it some more time. Sometimes it takes longer than you think it will. I was really happy to see so many others making bread this weekend.

Whew. I didn't realize I had so much to say about homemade bread. Nowadays, I try to make a loaf every week, since, well, I just love homemade bread. And you just cannot beat the smell of baking bread. It feels like home.

10 February 2008

And again...

I haven't made any progress on my Japanese language skills since last time, but I think this dress came out quite good. I'm not exactly sure what the fabric is, I bought it on sale at JoAnn's a few weeks ago, but I don't remember what the label said. Anyways, it definitely hangs well, which I'm learning is quite essential for clothing like this. And I made the right size this time too, so I'm clearly learning a lot!

It fits a bit differently than I thought it would based on the photo, but I'm thinking that this is a result of the model's {ahem} flatchested-ness. Oh well, it still looks cute I think. And I even broke my no-dresses-over-pants rule today because I wanted to wear it out so bad, but I've learned my lesson that tights and -27 degrees don't go so well together.

I've spent most of the weekend in the house (see above note about -27), mostly in the kitchen. Haven't done any sewing since I finished this project up Friday night. But I have crafted up one loaf of bread, one half-batch of vegan waffles (for one), one batch of hummus, and one batch of cran-apple oatmeal cookies. So I'd say I've been fairly productive this weekend. And despite the majorly freezing temperatures, it was sunny, so that made things all the more enjoyable.

08 February 2008

Granola Head

I have been called a granola head more than once in my twenty-five years. I never really thought that I deserved it, although now I would take that name willingly. As much as I majorly love our local coop, the granola selection leaves much to be desired, and I found that I never eat cereal for breakfast anymore because I just couldn't find a good one. One that wasn't too sweet or too cardboard-y. I'd never made granola myself, but I kept seeing this recipe pop up all around blogland, so I figured I'd give it a try. And it was good. I think I baked it a little too long, but it was good.

And then, I was wanting to keep riding this granola wave. When I lived in Berkeley, my local grocery store had the best "ginger snap granola" and now I'm looking to see if I can replicate that- I loved the gingery spiciness of it. And I wanted to send a jar of homemade granola along with the oven mitts, so I was looking for another recipe to try out. Molly must have read my mind as she posted a recipe just a few days ago as I was searching. This is the winner so far my friends. Sweet, but not too sweet. Not too crumbly, but just the right balance of clumps and loose ingredients. Perfect, I would say. It's not ginger snap, mind you, I'm still on the lookout for that. But it's delicious. And mix it up with some of the best organic yogurt and a little pure maple syrup. mmm mmm mmm.

{By the by, that's Molly's on the left and Stephanie's on the right up there}

06 February 2008

I warned you

Didn't I say there would be a whole lot of craftiness coming up? Well here we go. A simple set of oven mitts from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing.

I have to say, that as much as I love her style and designs, I'm not super impressed with the instructions in this book. Maybe since these are all pretty simple projects, I should just start using it as a guide and not necessarily following the instructions. Over the summer, I made the sun hat for my mom. If I hadn't read enough reviews of this pattern out here in blogland, I would have ended up with something that would've fit a giant. And for this project, I guess there was nothing wrong with the instructions, per se, just that the photo of the finished mitts makes the binding seem like it's about two inches wide on each side, when really the instructions make it about a quarter of an inch wide. Anywho- they turned out just fine, and I'm pretty happy. So I guess I should be quiet now.

These are a present for my first college roommate whose birthday is coming up this weekend. The first birthday of hers that we celebrated was about 5 days after we met and moved in together at college. I bought her a foam cow. It was like one of those stress ball things, but in the shape of a cow. We went to school in Vermont, I found it in the school bookstore. It was probably one of the most random presents I've ever bought someone. But what do you get for someone who you just met but you share a room with? I think she'll like the oven mitts better.

05 February 2008

...For a soon-to-be little one

I think one definition of a great job is one where it's okay to decide at 9:00am on a Tuesday morning that you're going to take a personal day. That day. Yeah, I think I've got a pretty great job. Jared's making his last (for a little while at least) trip to San Francisco tomorrow night, so I decided to take the day off to hang out with him. We don't have any big plans or anything like that (so it goes when you decide to stay home about 15 minutes before you were going to leave for work), in fact, we'll probably do boring stuff like errands, but it'll just be nice to have some time to be around each other.

Also, I finally finished up this big project that's been looming for a little while. I'm not sure why I procrastinated so much, but here it is, in all it's glory. A custom diaper bag set (including bag, changing pad, and matching zippy pouch) for a friend of mine who is due in, oh, less than two weeks (aka: any day now). I'm super honored that she wanted me to design and make this set for her and her baby and I hope that it will always be used in good health and happiness.

I loosely based the bag shape on Melissa's "waiting bag" and I kind of fudged the elastic on the sides, but I think it works well enough. There's plenty of pockets on the inside for all manner of baby things that will find their way in there. A matching changing pad, and zippy pouch so that mom can avoid digging around for her essentials. Even though none of these things were that big a deal to sew, I feel like making this coordinating set was a big accomplishment. (And I never thought I'd say this, but I may have overloaded on this fabric!) I honestly love doing custom orders, because I feel like it really kicks me into stretching my boundaries and ideas, and I don't have to worry about whether or not someone will want to buy it, because there's already someone ordering it. I continue to feel that, with every project I complete, I am learning new sewing techniques, as well as expanding my design capabilities. Yeah, that's a good feeling.

I've got a whole list of upcoming projects that need getting done, so get ready for some major crafty action coming up here. Happy Tuesday!